Sunday, September 28, 2014

Back To The Mundane

it is 7:00 a.m. in the holy city of zefat.  my grandson joined me in bed a little while ago.  i let the dogs out even though they had already made in my hallway.  i was surprised to see that it had rained.  we had endured a hot and muggy shabbat.  i was delighted to see the entire courtyard wet.  i thought that it was a good thing and that it had washed all of the dogs' pishie from the courtyard.  i then saw tons of mud everywhere.  i quickly threw a bucket of soapy water down the stairs and sponged away the mud.  i guess that was all the dirt from the roof.

my gardener was here and i offered him a cup of coffee.  he reminded me that it was a fast day.  and i was just about ready to have some fish and salad.  i really should fast as i ate way too much on the holidays.  we had seven holiday and shabbat meals.  i ate everything but did not indulge in cake or chocolate.  i did have dried fruit and bread at every meal.  i actually ate an entire roll last night.  i didn't even remember about the fast when i ate some fish and salad before retiring.

the holiday was very pleasant.  i went to the in laws for the first night's holiday meal.  it was pretty 'active' as usual.  i made a couple of honey loaf cakes and about 60 chocolates to bring.  i made symbolic chocolate fish and apples for the new year.  i must have made about 3 dozen banana cupcakes for us.  we had tons of overripe bananas around so i added chopped dates and cranberries and voila!  my sour cream chocolate cake was a complete flop.  it was burnt and dry even though i topped it with my first chocolate butter frosting, ever.  my friend liked it so i sent it home with her.  i had lots of store bought cookies and wafers on hand, which got us through shabbat.

another friend brought tons of bitter sweet rum balls and colored licorice to our mutual host couple so i brought some home for the kids.  they were a big hit.  i think i'll buy some next week for sukkot.  we had a blast at our friends' home on thursday afternoon.  i actually got tipsy off of the sweet kiddush wine.  it was a pleasure to have adult conversation in english.  it was a welcomed change.  i'm always with the kids and don't get to talk freely.  the kids came back early enough to take naps while i made salads and got all the food on the electric platter.  i made a red cabbage slaw with apples and cranberries which was well received.  i added some chopped garlic to counter balance the sweetness.  my son was pleased.  he does not like sweet salads.

i was able to serve a different dish at every meal.  the first night we had meat in sweet wine and chicken stir fry in plum sauce.  the sheep head was a big hit with my grandson.  i managed to pull off some very soft lamb to feed him.  my son was totally grossed out and couldn't look at it.  he asked me never to do it again.  i guess next year it will be back to fish head for us.  we had turkey meatballs in artichoke bottoms and stewed chicken for lunch.  i served the sweet spaghetti kugel.  my grandson loved it.  he loves spaghetti and he loves honey.  it's a no brainer.

i made a lovely barley chicken soup for friday night.  i put it on the platter to heat up.  i then got the bright idea of putting it into two small pots.  i took it off the platter and managed to drop the entire pot of soup all over the floor.  i was mortified.  i had boasted at lunch time that i had made a soup for dinner.  i was desperate.  i thought about going over to my friend to ask her for soup.  my son said that it was a tikun (rectification of a sin) and that i should rejoice.  i didn't feel like rejoicing.  i felt really dumb and inadequate.  it was not like i didn't have any other food to serve and really in a jam.  however, i couldn't start cooking another soup because my electric stove top was turned off.  i had barbecue chicken wings and leftover stewed chicken and turkey meatballs,  piquant fish and a couple of salads, chumus and rice.

 i also had a special noodle kugel that my friend had brought from a caterer.  i told my son that i was saving the special kugel for shabbat.  i showed him the kugel and he showed me the mold that was setting on top of the kugel.  i was once again mortified.  i felt just awful.  the electric water urn was a bit low so i added a lot of cold water.  i decided to make some packaged couscous for dinner but it was a disaster.  the water wasn't fully boiled so the couscous was a mush.  i tossed it.  we had a nice shabbat meal and no one except me, missed the soup.  the piquant fish course was devoured.  the little kids loved the chicken wings and the adults ate the remaining wings and the leftover turkey meatballs.  no one went to sleep hungry or dissatified.

i got a bright idea for shabbat lunch.  i took the leftover rice and added a can of mushrooms and a bit of olive oil.  everyone here loves canned mushrooms.  it was like i made a fresh pilaf.  the rice got consumed.  i served chicken in sweet chili sauce and it also got consumed.  my daughter-in-law complimented me too, for serving a new dish at each meal.  my son came back from services really early.  we sat down at 11:00 a.m. for a change.  he usually stays for kiddush and we sit around waiting for him.  it was a pleasant shabbat even though it was hot outside.  after lunch the kids went for a short outing with the kids.  it was nice to see everyone  getting along.  even the 4 dogs were more or less content.

the daughter-in-law did the dishes and everyone went to take a nap.  the little kids fought over me but i ended having both of them in my bed.  i fell asleep with the granddaughter but the grandson woke me up right away with his noise.  so much for naps.  the rest of shabbat flew by and we had our traditional third meal.  i put out leftover egg salad, cole slaw, olives, pickles, capers and i opened a cople of cans of tuna fish.  i had some sweet  challah rolls left so it was easy.  i even put out some leftover salami for my friend who isn't a fish eater.  soon shabbat was over and everyone left.  it was just me, the two dogs, the sofa and t.v.  i don't even remember falling asleep.

next shabbat is yom kippur.  yes, we have to fast on shabbat.  there are two meals that we eat before the fast which starts at sundown.  the big kids have to work so i guess that leaves me with the little kids.  i usually go to the cemetery to visit my parents' graves.  i don't see that happening unless i take a taxi and schlep the kids with me.  i also go to the mikveh.  i don't see that happening this year at all.  the kids will be spending yom kippur at the clan's home.  that works for me.  i get to spend the day in synagogue alone and i don't have to watch and feed the kids.  one for my team!

i  guess that's enough talk about next week.  i still have to get through the fast today and pick up the grand kids from gan at 1:30 p.m.  i thought about washing the floors.  i don't think that i have the strength today.  it is also cold outside.  the kids were not dressed warmly today.  i don't know if i need to take a jacket for my grandson.  i will have them the entire day and evening.  the parents aren't fasting.  that means i have to give them lunch and dinner and baths.  i thought about going to the supermarket to buy milk.  i don't know if i have the ump to move right now. what a dilemma!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Shana Tova! 2014

it is 11:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  i am completely exhausted.  my grandson climbed into bed with me this morning at 6:00 a.m.  this boy does not like to sleep.  after a while of his playing with my neck and back, i finally got up and let the dogs out.  i also put the t.v. on for him in another room and tried to go back to sleep.  pretty soon after, the girl came up for chocolate milk.

i decided that it was time to start cooking the sheep head.  it was really easy and not nasty at all.  it was pretty clean.  it didn't really have much meat on it.  i cooked it for about 6 hours but i don't think it really needed that long.  i quickly plumped up some dried apricots and apples for a garnish.  i saved the broth for a future meal.  it wasn't fatty.  i might throw it into the cholent sometime soon.

i baked a small dairy chocolate cake.  it was my sister's rendition of my grandma's cake. i wanted to make a sour cream icing but i didn't have enough powdered sugar on hand. i ended up doing a 'pesach' number on my large bedroom.  it was really ripe. my granddaughter had pished on the porch as well as several of the dogs.  by the time i finished cleaning and changing the bedding, it was time to pick up the kids from gan.

at the corner gan, the cleaning lady was trying to get a small kitten out of the gan with her sponger stick.  my grandson carried it outside.  i thought it belonged to my neighbor's cat.  we carried it back to the house but i instructed my grandson to leave it in front of the nieghbors' house.  it followed us home and got hit by a car right in front of my house. my grandson saw the entire thing.  i tried to retrieve it but my dogs followed me out of the house and i was afraid they'd drag it away so i left it.  i finally scooped it up into a plastic bag while it was still alive. i placed it near my neighbor's steps.  by the time i came out again it was dead.

the little kids wanted to see the dead cat.  i had placed it in a plastic bag and put in it the garbage can.  i thought to myself that it was a kappara for my life. i took advantage of my granddaughter taking a nap.  i made a small tsimis with sweet potatoes, carrots, canned pineapple and dried apricots and apples.  it was the first time that i placed it in the oven.  i usually cook it in a pot on the stove until it is a darkish mush.  i didn't buy prunes this year.  i decided to stick with apricots.  i read online about adding apples to the tsimis.  i guess there is a first time for everything.

while the girl slept, i cooked.  i made a chicken stir fry and added store bought plum sauce. i usually use the sweet chili sauce but i decided to keep it sweet for rosh hashana.  it was a bit too sweet so i added some powdered garlic.  i had pondered the idea of adding pineapple but i decided not to in the end.  i have the kids with me tomorrow all day long. gan is on vacation.  i washed the floors this evening.  my granddaughter the not yet 3 year old clean maven, told me that i did a good job.

i put the kids to sleep under duress.  the girl couldn't find her pacifier and had a huge meltdown. my grandson told me his head hurt from all her screams.  i was upstairs searching every where for that darn pacifier.  she wanted to go to sleep by the television so her older brother also wanted too. he accused me of not being there for him.  she always says that i am for her brother and not her. he passed out in the middle of a story and she nearly passed out in my arms but woke up a moment later.  thank goodness her father, my only child, came home and found the pacifier.

before he left for a torah class, i found my dog on the stairs annihilating a live pigeon. i quickly retrieved it and disposed of it in my garbage can in the kitchen.  i better throw out the garbage the first thing in the morning.  so tomorrow, i have to make the following things: beets, leeks,string beans, fish, pumpkin and a quince.  i buy one every year and no one except me tastes it.  i have to open the pomegranate,which is a messy job.  i have to defrost the barley chicken soup, turkey meatballs, 2 types of chicken, and reheat the sweet kugel.  i have to make some rice and possibly some couscous.  i have an easy day tomorrow.

shana tova!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

What's For Dinner

it is 11:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  i am exhausted.  i went to town today to check my bank account.  it isn't good.  i spent way too much money on food and am back in a bad overdraft situation.  i will be lucky if they do not start bouncing my checks.  i simply lost track of all of the checks that i wrote.  i don't exactly know what to do at this point.  i'm praying that i'll survive the holiday.

i have been cooking and baking for a couple of weeks already.  today i made a dozen banana-pineapple cupcakes and two honey cake loaves.  i have already frozen a small cut of beef cooked in sweet wine, a package of BBQ chicken wings, a package of turkey meatballs in a piquant sauce, a package of chicken thighs in a piquant sauce and a package of chicken thighs in a thai sweet chili sauce.  i also made a sweet noodle kugel with pineapples.  i usually place a meatball in an artichoke bottom and spoon the sauce over it..

i have a lot of side dishes to make on wednesday.  i want to make a chicken stir fry with peppers and carrots in a plum sauce, a couscous with dried cranberries, and some sort of rice dish.  i need to make the symbolic foods that we eat on rosh hashana, too.  i have to cook: leeks, string beans, pumpkin, beets, a sheep's head, and some fish. yes, i said sheep's head.  i've been wanting to do this for years.  i ran to the big supermarket this morning and they didn't have any fish heads.  i have never attempted this before.  it isn't really large.  it may be a half.  i have been on line to find instructions.  the sephardim love the brains.  i think it is also a delicacy for ashkenazim, too.

i asked a sephardi lady at the bus stop how she prepared a head.  she gave me the basic outline and then spent nearly a half an hour telling me her life story.  she ranted on and on and did a monologue similar to mine.  it's amazing that we had similar lives.  i'm only making small amounts of each symbolic food. i want to make a tsimis with sweet potatoes, carrots, apricots and pineapple.  i'm planning on making two types of cabbage salad.  i need to cook up a pot of fish for the shabbat  meals too.  i want to do this all before the holiday starts.  i don't like cooking on the holiday.

i bought a bunch of sweet round rolls and placed them in the freezer.  i hope they won't be too dry.  i don't see myself going back to the store any time soon.  i hope i haven't made too much.  it's only the 2 big kids, the 2 small kids and the 2 old ladies at each meal. i guess i can always freeze the leftovers.  i served a chicken soup on shabbat that i had made and frozen on tuesday.  it was delicious.  as long as the kids don't catch on that i'm cooking in advance and freezing everything, they will enjoy it.  all i need is strength.

i bought 6 chocolate bars to make fish and apple candies.  i will try to make them tomorrow morning before i have to pick up the kids.  they are really a hand full.  they both  scream a lot and boss me around a lot.  the boy was getting very aggressive with me today.  he is quite strong.  i am totally beat. it's time to go to sleep.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Happy New Year 2014

it is nearly 3:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  i am blogging while the kids are unwinding from gan.  it has been two weeks since i last posted.  the kids went back to gan and i collapsed.  i couldn't move.  i  have been picking them up every day at 1:30 p.m.  it's about a 10 minute walk to my grandson's gan and a 20 minute walk on the way back.  my grandson is not a good walker.  my granddaughter is in a gan at the end of my street about 3 houses away. she throws a fit every day.  it is difficult keeping her form running into the street.  there are alot of cars nowadays.

i am exhausted.  i finally went to my homeopath and got a remedy for chronic fatigue and sciatic pain.  i am anxiously waiting for it to kick in.  i have been sleeping a lot ever since i got it.  i don't do anything except rest until it's time to pick up the kids.  i would love to do a real 'pesach' like cleaning before the holidays but i don't see it happening.  the2  kids and the 3 dogs trash my house every day.  the little chihuahua is marking her 'territory' all over the house.  i smell pish wherever i sit.  the lego is all over the t.v room floor and the there are toys scattered in every room.  i do not have the energy to clean it up.

i am not looking forward to an entire year of watching the kids every day.  so far the entire burden has been on me.  i think that once the holidays are over the kids might stay in gan til 4:00 p.m.  i can't wait.  i need some time alone.  i need to go to town and deal with my needs.  i need to get to the bank and i need to get a few things for the holidays. i am too tired to go to town bright and early and there isn't enough time for me to do my errands and be back in time to pick up the kids.  i feel trapped.

i've been on a diet for the last couple of weeks.  i am eating tons of veggies both raw and cooked.  i am trying to cleanse the old kidneys.  i lost a few pounds but my stomach is still enormous.  i  can't fit into any of my clothes.  i am tired of looking this way.  i can't run or walk fast.  i want to feel comfortable in my own skin during the holidays.  i have already made a few meals for the new year.  i do not know if i will have any guests, yet.  i wanted to farm myself out but my neighborhood buddy is having a difficult relative for the holidays and i don't know how comfortable that will be.

i invited a good friend to stay over with her dog for the chag and shabbat.  this year rosh hashana starts on wednesday night and goes right through shabbat.  that's 8 meals. i may go out to the sephardi clan the first night.  i don't know what my friend will do.  maybe she won't mind going to the neighborhood friend with the difficult relative. who knows.  i want to pray up here in my neighborhood.  i can have lunch with my friend  right here when i come home from services.  i don't know if the kids will be here or stay with the clan..  perhaps, the kids will come back for the evening meal.  if not, i can go to the neighborhood friend or i can stay home and host a friend or two.  i have no problem being home on friday afternoon and having lunch with my girl friend and the 4 dogs. woopie!

i think that the kids will be here for shabbat meals. i'll make the shabbat food on wednesday even though i'll have the kids with me all day.  i'm not planning on making elaborate meals.  i don't know if i'll get around to kugels.   i just might make some more food tomorrow and freeze it.  i am so not thrilled about cooking this year.  i'm pretty resentful about having the kids too.  when i'm not babysitting during the day and evening, i'm babysitting at night.  i am not happy one bit with this arangement.  so far i made a small beef roast in sweet wine, some chicken and some turkey meatballs in tomato sauce.  i don't even know what else to cook.  i'm toally unmotivated.

the only time i have off is when i go the hospital in tel aviv.  my recent pet scan was clean so i am cancer free.  i didn't schedule an MRI on the old brain yet.  i have a gyn oncologist appointment on thursday.  i'm going with my neighborhood pal and then we are going to 'jump' over to jerusalem and visit the kotel.  we were supposed to go on an all day synagogue sponsored tour but it fell apart.  this is the best we can do at this point.  i have a taxi taking me to the hospital and then it's about an hour bus ride to jerusalem.  i haven't been there in over 10 years.

the only downer is that i'll probably have to make shabbat meals on friday while i babysit the kids.  i know some grandmothers who would envy me.  they probably don't have little kids waking them up in the middle of the night or have to watch them every single day.  i should really curb my tongue.  that's why i love my blog.  i can really talk.  i spent all last week mourning for joan rivers. i watched every possible youtube video i could find on her. it felt like i lost a member of my family.  i guess the entire world felt the same.