Thursday, January 29, 2015

No Tu b'shvat Seder This Year

it is 10:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  I have already made the chicken and fish meals for Shabbat.  I defrosted some turkey meatballs and artichoke hearts from the first snow day a while back.  as I previously wrote, I spent the entire day cooking and baking.  I have leftover lemon cake and orange poopy seed cake in the freezer but the big kids don't like leftovers.  unless they read the blog, they will never know that the meatballs are not freshly cooked.

I went to town to buy veggies for Shabbat and fruits for tu b'shvat.  I have a brochure to make a Seder in Hebrew.  I persuaded my son to perform such a Seder on Tuesday night for the little kids.  it entails reading Hebrew torah passages and eating 15 items that correspond to the passages.  I always make a Seder for ladies and provide 30 varieties of nuts and fruits.  I just can't do it this year.  I took out my recipes and notes and put them back in the closet.  I just don't have the strength or finances to make a big deal this year.

I truly hate to disappoint my ladies but I don't have it together to perform and lead a Seder.  I didn't really think that anyone still wanted to come.  this one has gum problems, and this one is on a diet and this one goes to bed early,etc.  I actually had 4 people wanting to come that I know about.  I guess I could have invited a few more ladies to round out the table but I just didn't go for it.  I've been doing this for 25 years or more.  I just couldn't summon any inner strength.  I am tired.  I've been tired since I came back from the hospital last week.  I've had a head cold that doesn't leave.  I'm just plain worn out.

the weather, which fluctuates from extreme cold to extreme warmth, is playing havoc with our immune systems.  I am never feeling energized.  I am eating way too much, which doesn't help the situation in the least.  although I've kept away form sugar this month, I've recently started on the dried fruits.  every year at this time, I lose control and gain a ton of weight.  it always starts after tu b'shvat.  I found some lovely new recipes too, but it costs a small fortune to create them.  I am keeping it simple this year.  I say this but I still spent nearly $100 today.

it is supposed to rain tomorrow.  we had a summer like day today.  l went to town coatless.  I have a few errands to take care of on Sunday.  I have a few more fruit items to buy.  I need to settle my accounts at the water company and city tax office.  it's a lot of running around and a lot of paper work and of course, a lot of money.  I am thinking about  Pesach.   I just want to skip Purim and go right to the main event.  I recently had the roof repaired and am finally rid of the pigeons.  I need to clean out the roof one of these days.

I just need strength.  I am planning on baking a crust less cheesecake tomorrow.  it is one of those simple, no fail recipes, using vanilla pudding and whipped cream.  the kids love it.  I usually make carob brownies and some coconut dish but not this year.  perhaps, i'll do some baking next week with the leftover tu b'shvat dried fruits.  I bought many packs of prepared chestnuts to make my famous tu b'shvat soup but I ended up eating all of the chestnuts for snacks.  I bought chocolate raisins and two types of fruit leather that just might make it to tu b'shvat.

I can't come up with a supper menu for after the Seder of fruits.  one year I incorporated 30 varieties of fruits and nuts into our Shabbat meals. it was amazing!  the Thai lychee coconut chicken stir fry was the most crazy I went.  my lychee fried donuts were pretty cool too.  and how can you forget the non gluten, sugar free, carob coconut soufflĂ© I made for a friend with food issues..  I just can't do it again.  I'm played out.  I had to control myself from adding prunes and dried apricots to the chicken today.  my head is definitely into tu b'shvat.  my heart isn't truly involved.  the rest of the body is tired.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Letting Go

it is 11:30 the holy city of zefat. I finally got a new computer. my son and daughter-in-law took me to another town to change the wi fi modem.  we do not have a telephone store in zefat.  it was over six years old, I think.  I think the computer was also a relic.  I think we bought it in 2000.  we did have it restored once or twice but it was definitely time to get rid of it.  I had been using xp 2003 forever.

I am now in the world of windows 8.  I sure hope my blog will be readable now.  I applaud you out there who read my long runaway paragraphs.  we went to several stores at the mall before I found my new computer.  the first place, which was recommended by a friend, wasn't very cordial, helpful or amenable to many checks.  the second place didn't accept checks at all and voila, the third place took 12 checks.

I treated the three of us to a quick dinner at a grill joint.  I think it was the first time we all sat down to eat together out of the house.  the kids were hungry after work and it was getting late.  the little kids were at the other grandma.  we were all free. after we bought the computer it was the daughter-in-law's turn to shop.  I hate shopping.  I hate malls.  at my current overweight status, the last thing I want to do is try on clothes.  we had a mother-in-law/daughter-in-law bonding over a stylish coat that I encouraged her to buy on sale.

we went into fancy housewares shops to look around.  I am at the point in my life that I do not want to buy any more housewares.  I do need juice glasses but I can always pick some up at the supermarket.  at my age, almost 64, I want to definitely simplify.   the mall finally closed and it was time to go home and pick up the little kids.  I was the only one worried about the kids.  I felt guilty that it was close to 10:00 p.m.

my son installed the computer but I was too tired to enjoy it.  I do not go out a lot.  I only travel to go to hospital visits.  I hadn't been in this town in over 20 years.  we are talking about a 40 minute bus ride.  I feel like an antique.  my son was on a mission to get his play station games up to a good speed.  the new modem  didn't really help much.  the wi fi upstairs in my home is his only source of internet access.  I pay for internet and he pays for cable t.v.

he tried to hook a very long cable through my window in my blog room to his living room downstairs.  it left my window and my grandson's window open a crack.  I went ballistic.  it was freezing in the house as we had incredibly cold weather, and I worried about my grandson's health.  it was not pleasant, to say the least.  we had a real blow out one day.  the kids bought a huge new plasma t.v. for their living room downstairs.  after all, if I could afford a new computer, they could also afford to indulge, too. 

I couldn't believe that they would be so wreck less.  they don't pay rent here because they are still in debt from their failed shoe store.  they offered  me their small flat screen that I had bought them a few years ago.  they actually thought that they were being very generous.  I did need a new t.v. but I couldn't swing any more checks. I think you can all see the irony here.  I came very close to asking my son to move again.  we both came close to a break up once again.  I locked my door as if that could keep him out.

I am free today.  no babysitting duty.  I also didn't need to do Shabbat meals.  I stayed home with a head cold and made myself some soup.  I went to  my friends yesterday for lunch and had a nice time.  I was too tired to come home after the meal.  I thought about going for a walk to visit my sister and her kids but I didn't have the strength.  I came home after Shabbat ended.  I am still tired today.

I have been on a diet for a month already and have only lost about 2 kilos.  it's hard in the winter to cut down on carbs.  I haven't binged or indulged in any sugar but I haven't really cut any calories or  done any exercise.  I am not one for portion control.  I'm freezing in my house and spend the day on the t.v. sofa under the comforter with the dogs.  I tried cutting out bread but I would eat, way, too many nuts.  I skipped fruit but I was too cold to eat salad.  I started eating lentils and buckwheat but I probably ate too many.  it's still good that I didn't gain any more, I guess.

I couldn't wait to start throwing things out.  I got to dispose of the old computer and speakers and modem and all sorts of discs and programs relating to it.  I felt so empowered.  I went to my living room closet and started tossing things.  I had old phones and recharges, and all sort of boxes.  I then threw out old extension cords and all sorts of telephone wires that I had stored.  I felt free.  I then took on a challenge and started sorting the family photos.  I threw out all of the baby pix of my siblings and their kids.  they were my parents' copies anyway.  I resorted my photos for 2 days.  it was a bit creepy ripping up photos but what the heck.

I went to telaviv for my gyn and neurosurgeon consults.  I got a clean bill of health from the gyn.  the neurosurgeon wants to operate.  he says that the tumor is causing my brain to suffer, whatever that means. he agreed to keep on monitoring it.  I have another half of year to live my life until I do another brain MRI.  I want to continue sorting papers and objects.  perhaps i'll get lighter if I dispose of some more things.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


it is 11:30 the holy city od zefat. the cold wave finally ended today. i heard it was -13 celcius in the holy land. they say it was the coldest in the history of the state. it is a brisk sunny day and i am catching up on laundry. i thought about using the dryer but i ended up hanging it all up outside in the sun. a bottle of olive oil froze on my kitchen counter which shows you how cold it was in the house. i have already shed a few undergarments today. i'm only wearing:knee socks, exercize tights, legwarmers and woolen house boots on the legs today. my arms are cold without the heavy sweater that i took off. i didn't need a coat in the sun downstairs. yesterday i wore a fur hat and down coat and still, couldn't deal with the cold. the house is freezing. we do not have central heating. we use space heaters in individual rooms. unless you are sitting in front of a hater you never are warm. the stone houses are not insulated and do not maintain heat. i had a horrific day with the kids yesterday. when i picked up my grandson i was told that he had maliciously scratched another boy on the face, drawing blood. i hardlly had the time to digest the news when he attacked his sister at home. apparently, she was teasing him and he punched her on the back several times. i got him distracted for a time until he once again, beat her on the back and started to bite her on the face and head. i quickly hit him hard on the head to get him off of her. she was zcreaming bloody murder. and he started to scream after i hit him. i know it was wrong to hit him on the head. i also potched his behind very hard. the 3 year old girl was hysterically crying and the 5 year old boy turned on me. i wanted him to go into his room for a rime out. he threw things at me and hit me several times. he started screaming like a maniac while the kittle girl kept on crying. i put up my hands to protect myself from flying objects and physical blows. i couldn't lift him and drag him away. he is a very strong and heavy little boy. i felt useless. somehow, i persuaded him to let me hold him and carry him into the bedroom for a time out. i explained that he needed some time alone to think about what happened and to chill out. i never raised my voice. i was thoroughly freaked out that i couldn't hold my own, physically, with a 5 year old child. he seemed quite alright in his room. it took awhile to calm down the 3 year old. my grandson brutally bit his sister on her back the day before. i never reported it to his parents. they came home late from work. i started to imagine the future of the 5 year old bully. i know i am a drama queen but i can't stand violence. i called the daughter-in-law at work to ask if they were going to a parenting class that evening. i told her to discuss this recent violent behavior. the big kids came home after 9:00 p.m. the little kids had been good the rest of the day and were getting along great together. i had expected the parents to come home immediately after the parenting class to deal with the situation. it was way past the little kids' bedtime when they finally came home. i guess they expected the kids to already be asleep. i was disappointed once agian, by the lack of interest, i perceived on their part. they both spoke to my grandson who seemed ashamed of his behavior. i feel it was too little and too late. his mother said that her boy's scratching another boy was probably out of provocation. she said that in parenting class they said that kids were violent at all ages. they claimed that biting was normal up until 5 or 6 years old. parenting has sure changed since i was a mom. i'm sure Doctor spock wouldn't agree with today's parenting advice. the dad,my son, accused me of being overly dramatic. if i refuse to take care of the kids they might get the message. i don't know why i do not evoke fear in my grandchildren or my dogs. they all do as they please. they all order me around like i am their servant. i guess i am not very good at parenting now and probably i never was.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Let It Snow

it is 3:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat. we have been on snow alert since last wednesday. it has snowed on and off for days. the schools were closed and it was too nasty to be outdoors. the snow never really stuck for long. we had huge cracks of lightning and thunder that were quite unpleasant. there waasn't any sun and so the kids didn't get to play in any of the snow. my hugest worry was that the power would go out. after a couple of days of trying to get a gas balloon, i finally succeded before shabbat. we found an independent salesman. i did all of my cooking for shabbat on wednesday. i baked cranberry muffins and a lemon cake. i made rounds of oatmeal. i spent the entire day cooking meals for the week. we ate well on shabbat. i prepared candles in strategic places all over the house. as it turns out we didn't need them. i think i made 3 runs to the supermarket between sunday and monday to buy bread, milk, veggies and lots of nash and chocolate. i imagined being stuck in the cold without hot food and drink, so i kept my gas on. as it turned out, we didn't need to. it was reported to be colder than -5 celcius. i can't ever remember such cold. i had 3 heaters going to keep us comfortable. we still were all in multi layers of clothing. you would not expect such weather in the middle east. in jerusalem people bought out shovels, oil heaters, and generators. after last year's storm, nobody wanted to be unprepared. i think we all kind of panicked. the kids, little and big, were all going stir crazy, and everyone was uptight being home. i'm used to being a shut in. on saturday all of the water boiler caps exploded. most people were left without any water. i have a turn off valve in my house so we were only left witout hot water until this morning. i think we spent way too much time together as a family, camped in front of my new heater, for hours at a time on shabbat. i ran to the electric apppiance store on wednesday to buy another heater. it was pouring outside. the large supermarket was having a grand opening and they were literally, giving away things. i was under pressure to get home to pick up the kids so i couldn't really buy anything. i am glad the 'storm' is over. we are being told that we may be in for another round of snow. it is absolutely freezing outside. i have no desire to go anywhere. i do have two hospital visits next week. last sunday there was zero visibility on the roads in zefat. it was hair raising until we got to rosh pina, a nearby town. i got to tel aviv at 4:30 a.m. i was finished at 6:00 a.m. and headed by bus to the train station. i enjoyed a fast ride back. i couldn't rest when i got home. the reported storm was freaking me out. i did what i could and bought a ton of candles, 2 gas balloons, and tons of food. the rest is up to the above. let it snow.