Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Feeling Sick

it is 3:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.   i have been fighting off a viral infection for weeks but finally succumbed.  i feel awful.  it's hard to swallow, my throat is sore and i have a dry cough.  my head aches and my eyes hurt.  i tried swallowing a cold tablet last night.  once again, it proved impossible to get a pill down.  i was utterly put off by the whole process.  half of the family was on antibiotics.  the other half is still coughing.  i felt so bad yesterday that i actually wanted to see a doctor.  i didn't have cab fare and i didn't have the strength to walk to the bus stop so it was a no go.  my son did go and was told that it was a cold..

i went off my diet a couple of weeks ago and consumed a ton of sugar.  i think i put back the six pounds that i lost, if not more.  i think that was the reason that i got sick.  i don't know if i'm coming or going.  i spend most of the day in bed, sleeping and watching television.  reading is out of the question.  it hurts my eyes even to blog.  i still have the kids with me and it is hard to cope.  my daughter-in-law was sick and home bound for a few days so she had the kids with her downstairs.  i did a couple of night babysitting stints but it was really hard and i refused to help out last saturday night.  i had had my fill of the kids all of shabbat.  i know that it is not a very nice thing for a grandma to admit.

i made shabbat meals but it was a bit of a struggle.  last week the house was trashed.  all of the dishes were in the sinks from the entire week.  i had run out of dish washing soap and didn't have the energy to go down to the supermarket.  the floors were filthy.  the dogs had pishied all over the house and one dog had thrown up in every room.  the floors were covered in dog hair and sand from the kindergartens.  it was horrible.  i had to choose between cleaning the house or going out and shopping at the supermarket.  i chose washing the floors.  i stood up somehow and started filling the bucket.

i spent about 3 hours doing all the rooms.  i spilled tons of soapy water all through the house.  i was exhausted afterwards.  i didn't have to deal with the kids that day.  i never made it to the supermarket.  the daughter-in-law shopped for the items missing for the shabbat.  she bought some fish, a few veggies, the drinks and milk. i had some chopped chicken and a small piece of beef to cook.  i made a soup with the broth from the sheep's head but it nauseated the big kids. i think it was a bit rich for me , too.  i made a cholent out of barley, potatoes, sweet potatoes and beef.  that came out pretty good.  i took eggs from downstairs and made a noodle kugel, a date loaf and some egg salad.  i had some cabbage and made some slaw.  i made two beet dishes.  one was baked beets cubed with lemon and the other was a raw beet slaw.   i took back the empty bottles on friday morning and with the returned cash bought some sunflower seeds and beer.

 i haven't made it over to the bank all month.  i didn't get any phone calls yet about returned checks so i'm hoping i'm okay.  one of these days i'll face the music. i don't have any income coming in besides from my welfare /disability check.  i'm in a whole.  i don't know what will be.  i haven't paid the water bill yet or the real estate taxes.  i can't really pass about any more checks right now.  i can't take out any more bank loans either.  just thinking about it makes my head ache.

i just signed up for an all day trip next week to some religious sites.   i have never been to hebron and i haven't been to kever rachel in years.  i hope i'll be physically up to the trip.  i was just at the kotel last month and would love to skip it but it is an integral part of the trip.  i can't imagine being out all day and night.  the last time i went to the kotel with my friend we were home by 9:00 p.m.  i don't think i'll get home before 2:00 a.m.    i don't know how i'll really survive the trip.  it is also a bunch of money.  and money that i don't really have.  i guess i can always cancel.  i'll think about it another day or two.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The End Of A Chag 2014

it is 7:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  our week long holiday of sukkot finally ended.  we had our barbecue this afternoon.  once again, we ate way too much meat.  i didn't even put out half of what i bought.  i had well over 2 pounds of steaks, half a pound of lamb chops, a package of hot dogs and 2 pounds of chicken wings for  4 adults and two little kids.  the daughter-in-law doesn't like meat.  i put back two pounds of kabobs  and 2 pounds of chicken liver into the freezer.  it was just overkill.

one of my gal pals was supposed to join us for the barbecue.  she came up last night and was very turned off by the, soon to be, three year old granddaughter's behaviour.  something was bothering the girl.  she cried a lot and screamed in pain for most of the meal.  she kept complaining about her tush burning and then it was everything form her stomach hurting to her big toe burning.  i tried rubbing vasoline onto her anus but it didn't soothe.  the daughter-in-law didn't help things any by trying to squeeze pus out of a hang nail on the little girl's big toe.  at one point she was screaming blood curdling noises.

i know that it wasn't pleasant to listen to it or be around it.  i was getting more uptight by the minute.  my friend asked me if this was how it was all the time and on every shabbat.  i didn't answer.  i felt like i was being judged.  i didn't like her assumptions about my life.  to be perfectly honest, i never really accepted invitations to families with a lot of kids throughout the years.  i also, do not like a lot of noise.  i don't like crowds, either.  but this was not the usual at the shabbat/holiday table for us.  it is usually more pleasant.

the kids usually play around the house while we eat.  i try to feed them a bit early,too.  they make noise but they don't usually scream all night.  when the little girl gets tired she usually falls asleep at the table in her mother's arms.  my friend was frustrated with what she perceived as poor judgement on my daughter-in-law's part.  according to her the kids should have been fed and put to bed earlier.  she was also very hungry and it was taking a bit too long to get the kiddush going.   we had all eaten a late afternoon meal knowing that we would be home from services late so we weren't starving.  my friend lives on coffee and cigarettes.  i felt very pressured and internalized her discomfort.

the little girl finally went to the bathroom for the umpteenth time and came back smiling.  she was no longer in pain.  who knows what transpired.  maybe she finally passed a stone, or laid an egg?  what matters was that she was no longer suffering.  my friend wanted to leave right after the meal.  i offered to escort her out of the neighborhood.  my grandson wanted me to stay home and sleep with him.  i was rather tired but i walked my friend to the top street.  when i got back my grandson was  playing cards with my other friend.

my other friend was angry at my daughter-in-law for picking at the little one's toe all evening.  she blamed her for all of the commotion.  we both tried telling the daughter-in-law that she should soak the toe in warm salty water to draw out the pus.  i explained that a cotton ball soaked in warm water would help the situation but of course, she ignored me, as usual.  i can only imagine how much it hurt the granddaughter as she squeezed the infected toe.  anyway, it was only the four adults for the barbecue this afternoon.

both grand kids are sick.  the grandson is officially on antibiotics for a throat infection.  the granddaughter has been coughing all week long.  both have runny noises.  i'm just waiting to collapse from some ailment, too.  i invited another gal pal from the neighborhood to join us for the barbecue but her husband had warned her about the rabbinical difficulties in making a barbecue on the holiday.  she is getting ready to go to the states soon and i think she just really wanted to rest and diet away the remaining time here.  to each his own.

we all woke up late this morning.  my grandson usually wets the bed around 6:00 a.m. or so.  i was shocked to see that it was already 8:30 a.m.  the services start at 7:30 a.m. at the Sephardi shul.  my son left around 9:15 a.m and came home to get the boy.  they put all the boys under a huge tallis on simchat torah and bless them and they get a bag of goodies.  they didn't make it to shul on time but the boy got the goodies anyway.  i didn't get to see the kids under the tallis and i got down.  i started judging my own kids for their lack of tradition.  what a way to celebrate simchat torah with so little joy.  i decided to pray by myself while i was waiting for the service to end.

we all went to the kiddush in the shul except for the daughter-in-law.  by then i was calmer and in a better mood.  after a few pieces of herring and a handful of cashews and pistachios, i was a happy camper.  it started raining but ended pretty fast.  i went home with my friend and granddaughter and the grandson stayed in shul with his dad.  the weather cleared up enough to be able to grill.  the steaks were still frozen and the coals weren't getting hot enough so my son started blaming me.  i guess he had a few l'chaims at shul because he started being nasty.  anyway, it all worked out.  the big kids had words between them but it never escalated into a full fledged argument.

after lunch i took my grandson with me over to the chabad bomb shelter minyan to say the prayers for the departed souls of my parents.  he was very good and not wild at all.  we were there for about an hour and then we went home. the big kids went downstairs for an early evening nap and both little kids went to bed with me.  somehow, after a lot of kicking and fussing and pushing, we all fell asleep for a short time.  the big kids came upstairs to make havdallah and everyone went downstairs, once again.  tomorrow is shabbat and i think that i might have enough leftover beef and meatballs to make it through the meals.  i just need to make some new salads and some side dishes.

i should take down the sukkah tomorrow.  i'll have the kids with me so it might be rough.  it might also rain.  we'll just have to see what happens.  anyway there are no more holidays until chanukah.  i think i feel relieved.  we made it through the holidays. whoopee!  i'm still a bit miffed about my girlfriend.  'let it go' as the popular song says, i guess.  if my current life style isn't her cup of tea, so be it.  different strokes for different folks.  amen!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Living In Huts

it is 6:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  we are in our 4th day of the festival of sukkot.  we had holiday meals on wednesday night, thursday day, and of course, our shabbat meals, on friday night and saturday day.  i was invited out for all of the meals.  that's right, zelda didn't cook.  i did make a small pot of rice for friday night.  i didn't bake either.  i brought store bought cookies to one host family and a few Bacardi breezers to the other.

i did have the kids with me every day last week.  they were under the weather today and their mom came home early from work and whisked them away to some kiddie show.  good for her!.  as for me, i'm just plain tired.  i had to walk home on both nights and it took me forever to make the half an hour walk home.  it has been hot once again.  i do not know why i'm so tired.  i haven't been running around with the kids.  they have been tired and very happy to lay around the house and watch television all day.

i haven't had my family in my sukkah at all.  i spent several hours decorating it and making it really nice.  i didn't hang up the shiny metallic apples this year.  i chose to string up the plastic grapes to imitate a vine.  i had plastic vines on all corners of the sukkah and i strung up some individual fruits onto those vines.  i did hang up a few plastic pomegranates and estrogs.  i had everything really clean and organized and then we had a major monsoon.  it was like a tornado in my backyard.  i screamed for my son to come outside as the sukkah was flying away.  the wind was too strong to get hold of the sukkah.  i had tied it down in some places which made it worse.  the sukkah looked like an accordion folding in and out..

my son got caught inside and the weight of the entire sukkah was on his arm.  i couldn't get a grip on the rest of the sukkah to relieve him.  i told him to just let it go.  suddenly the wind stopped and the rains began.  we quickly moved the sukkah to stand up against the wall.  it looked terribly twisted.  actually, i think only one of the metal bars is truly bent out of shape.  luckily, the bamboo sheets which constitute the roof, didn't blow away.  i had reinforced them with bamboo twine.  after the storm was over, the sukkah remained in tact. and  even the decorations were, for the most part, still hanging.

by the time we sat down at the in-law's for dinner, the rain had totally stopped and the air was really fresh.  they had dropped a huge tarp to cover the roof of the sukkah so it was nice and dry inside.  their sukkah looked amazing.  it felt like we were inside a house instead of outside in the patio.  it is really lovely on sukkot that all the neighbors are outside in their sukkahs.  it is such a great feeling of community.  i love walking home and checking out all of the sukkahs along the way home.  our sukkah is just metal bars making up the frame and material all around it.  it is not really strong like the wooden sukkahs.  one day i would love to have a wooden one.

i'm lucky, as it is, that my son erected the metal frame for me.  he also strung up the special sukkah material, too.  it took in total, about an hour to do all this and an additional 3 hours for me to decorate it.  some things never change.  the kids usually celebrate simchat torah with me and we do not use the sukkah for that holiday.  we have until wednesday to eat the meals in the sukkah.  i had breakfast with the kiddies this morning in the sukkah.  it was pretty hot.  i tried getting them to take a nap in the sukkah but it wasn't meant to be.  i didn't make any food today for dinner.  i don't know if the kids will eat out after the show.  no one really told me anything.

i was too tired to get to the supermarket in the afternoon.  forget about making it to town this week, too.  i need to buy veggies for the upcoming holiday on wednesday night and for shabbat.  i have guests for simchat torah.  i'm planning on making some meat in sweet wine and beef meatballs in tomato sauce.  i am counting on my son to do a barbecue on thursday afternoon.  i bought a ton of things during the summer. we still have a kilo of steaks, lots of hot dogs, a package of chicken steaks and one of chicken wings, loads of beef kabobs and a package of liver.  if it doesn't get used i'll make some liver pate for shabbat.  i'll make piquant fish and chicken cutlets for friday night.  i'm thinking of making a cholent for saturday lunch.  basically, that's a beef stew with barley and potatoes.  i have a couple of noodle kugels in the freezer.  i made a sweet pineapple one and a savory zucchini and onion one.  the kids like 'spaghetti' kugels.  i guess i'll cook up some more rice.  i also have tons of buckwheat groats in the freezer to make.

i would like to do most of the cooking on tuesday.  i have a chocolate cake and honey cake in the freezer. i'd like to make a cheesecake for simchat torah.  if i can get to the store tomorrow i will be able to start cooking early.  i also need to buy challah rolls and freeze them.  i have some wine and beer but i probably need to buy drinks, too.  i don't know if i'm up for all of this.  i guess i got to be. after this we are free until chanukah.  i hope i'll survive.

 backyard.  i screamed for my son to come out when the sukkah was flying away.