Saturday, March 28, 2015

Countdown To pesach 2015

it is 7:45 P.M. in the holy city of zefat.  Shabbat has just gone out.  I tried to blog on Friday but I hit a button and lost the entire page.  I didn't have the strength to start again.  I was so sure I had saved the blog.  oh well! 

I tried to nap this afternoon but my mind woke me up.  this time I was thinking about the garden.  the gardener used some kind of agent to kill the weeds and now there is no semblance of grass.  it's dark brown and I'm very sad.  I doubt that I have the money to replant new grass and I know I don't have enough money to pay for watering the grass anymore.

my mother paid a fortune 14 years ago to make a garden.  we moved in during a shmitta year like now, where planting for the entire year is forbidden.  I am truly depressed over the situation.  I can hardly afford the gardener and at this point I'm ready to fire him.  he's been with me for 14 years and hasn't raised his price but there isn't much left of the original garden.

due to the last couple of winters, the fruit trees have broken.  both the cherry and apple trees died a couple of years ago and the orange tree broke in half last winter.  the gardener pulled out all of my rosemary bushes last year.  it created a huge space in my garden.  now without the green weeds it looks dead.  in the past 14 years I never had to buy lemons or oranges.

this week is the final countdown to pesach.  we have until Thursday night to complete the spring cleaning.  although it is not mandatory how can one not go for it?  I have basically completed the kitchen and cooking area.  I do not plan on cooking anything until this Friday.   I did my kitchen windows and we are expecting a sand storm.  this happens every year.

the kids are springing for a gan for the granddaughter this week so i'll have it easier.  my grandson alone is pretty easy.  put him in front of the telly and give him some nash and he's a happy camper.  so from 7:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. I can clean uninterrupted.   I still have the living room, t.v. room and 3 bedrooms to clean.  it mostly entails washing the floors.  I did the windows in the blog room yesterday.  all the purim costumes have been organized and put back in the closet .  there really isn't any leavened food in the bedrooms.

my keyboard is new so I won't have to struggle with a toothpick this year.  the fridge is new so cleanup was pretty easy.  the freezer was completely clean so I could buy the chicken and meat a while ago.  I'll go on Tuesday to the fruit store in town and get the veggies and fruits that i'll need for the week.  I can give him a head check and while I'm in town I can sell my chametz at the rabbinate.  the only hitch is going to town with the 5 year old.

I haven't gone anywhere with him in years.  I took him for sandals a few years ago and was traumatized.  he ran all over the store and into the storeroom and I was mortified.   I could go to the super up here but I still need to sell the chometz.   you'd think my son could do it as he goes to town every day but I have been doing it for 30 years and I'm expected to continue.

I even bought all of the matzoth this year.  one box of handmade round for me and two boxes of handmade square for the kids.  that's over $40 I spent on matzoth alone.  we still need to get a few bottles of good wine.  I have spent a fortune on pesach.  you can't escape it.   I may have caught a few bargains on cleaning products, grape juice and pesach cakes but all in all, it's a killer.

I hope the kids will behave on seder night.  I hope the dogs will all survive.  there will be 5 dogs in residence during the first part of the holiday, which falls out on the Shabbat.  it's less work this way and more days of vacation.  I think the big kids will be working most of the week.  we are planning one day trip with the kids.  last year we went to Tiberius and it was super crowded.  we ended up having a picnic on the stairs opposite the public bathrooms at a well known religious site.

we came late to a show for kids and ended up at the new maul.  I hate mauls.  after some time we went driving around looking for a picnic area.   we ended up going up a hill to visit a religious site and couldn't catch a space to eat.  I had prepared chicken cutlets and potato puffs.  the little kids got a lot of treats and ice cream and were happy.  I actually had a good time too.

we are thinking about taking the kids to a zoo in Haifa.   my daughter-in law's older sister is coming to us for the seder.  I am a bit nervous about the food.  I prepare very simple food on pesach.  I don't use spices, I peel everything including tomatoes and peppers and I don't use garlic.  I also do not use matzo meal.   I am a bit of a fanatic on pesach.  this sister is used to her mom's food.  she also probably never had Ashkenazi chabad pesach food.

the daughter-in law is used to my beef in sweet wine dish.  I usually make honey orange chicken for the seder night.   the little kids don't like saucy chicken so I will make some chicken schnitzel fingers for the kids.  I use potato starch for the coating.  when I was flush with $ I would use ground almonds.  those days are gone.  I will make a potato kugel.   everyone likes that.  I have always made mashed potatoes for seder night but last year I bought a toaster oven for pesach. 

I saw a Jamie Oliver recipe for vegan chocolate mousse using avocado.  I have heard of this before but somehow it makes me nauseous just thinking of it.  I made a raw cake a few years ago with dates, nuts, cacao and coconut.  I loved it but everyone else were grossed out.  I bought a bunch of pesach cakes and brownies in case I don't get around to baking.  and of course, I bought chocolate bars and potato chips for the kids.  I even bought pesach jello. 

I usually try to eat only what I make from scratch but some times I slip.  I don't expect the kids to follow my stringencies.   I want everyone to have a ball.  I  sprang for steaks and bought a bottle of pesach ketchup for the kids.  I don't really mind if they want to eat chumus with the meal.  I'm planning on using disposable dishes this year.  let's wait and see what specialties they have at the fruit store.  I might even spring for a fresh pineapple or coconut.  who knows?  the sky's the limit when you can pay for it next month.

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