Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Independence Day 2015

it is 8:30 a.m. in the holy city of zefat.  it is a cold and nasty day.  it keeps on raining a bit.  this is not your typical Independence Day weather.  what gives?  there are fewer flags outside this year, too.  my neighbor, who usually displays 50 or more flags, only put out 5 yesterday.  there are a few neighbors who didn't put out any this year.  what gives?  no flag wars this year.  was there some sort of meeting on the block?

I couldn't find my medium sized flag either.  I looked everywhere.  I remember washing it last year and putting it in the linens drawer or the pillow case drawer.  I searched every closet and tore it apart.  no flag, anywhere.  I was feeling so pressured.  I was imagining a lynch mob coming to the door.  I noticed that no one had put out their flags on Monday.  it was pretty strange.  by Tuesday it wasn't any better.  what was happening in this little village?

I went to the large supermarket and the pharmacy.  they weren't selling flags.  I ran across the street to the charcoal stand, no flags, either.  I was stuck without a flag.  I didn't want to go to town.  I was tired.  the kids came home from gan waving tiny plastic flags.  voila!  I seized the moment.  I taped these tiny flags onto my gate.  pretty sad.

my daughter-in-law was sick on Monday and ended up being hospitalized overnight the next day.  I woke up on Monday having a terrible nightmare about having to care for the little kids and my dead father too.  I didn't know when I woke up that the daughter-un-law was undergoing a head CT at that moment.  she had had a nasty migraine and ended up being dehydrated that evening.  I thought that she might need infusion but she went to bed after throwing up and no one came to tell me that she was still in pain.  she had done a 40 minute work out that very warm afternoon, migraine and all.  I didn't think that she was stroking out at 24 years old but I did think she needed medical assistance.

I've been watching the kids everyday and nearly every night,too.  I've been super tired and not sleeping well.  while I lay sleeping and dreaming, her mom came to take her to the clinic.  they sent her over to the hospital immediately.  apparently, the eye doctor 'saw' something in her eye.  thus, the head CT.  they supposedly did a series of tests.  she was released the next day with only the results of the blood workup, which were totally normal.  what isn't normal, is that they didn't give her a copy of the eye doctor's report.  she has to schlepp around and go back to the hospital to find these papers.

zefat hospital is a zoo.  they systematically lie to the patients to keep them in fear so they will agree to do all kinds of unnecessary tests.  they will dispense the wrong dosage of medicines and even give out medicines that the patients are allergic to.  their insane reasoning is that the patient is already in the hospital.  I kid you not.  you must always have a family member with you to advocate.   they  told me that I had cancer right after undergoing, what I thought, was a routine ultrasound. ultimately, they were correct but I hadn't had a CT or biopsy yet, and was completely alone in the hospital. they lied and said that I refused to do the CT.  they even lied about trying to do a biopsy.  the head of the department told me that I started to hemorrhage during 'said' bogus biopsy.

I was totally disgusted by the useless tests and head CT that the daughter-in-law underwent.  because she didn't respond immediately to the migraine meds she was rushed in for a head CT?  that doesn't make sense.  as a former migraine sufferer, I know that you can be ill for a few days at a time.  this doesn't constitute a brain tumor or brain bleed.  but I am not a doctor.  my neurosurgeon told me that any pain that doesn't respond to meds in a few days could constitute a bleed but they know for sure that I have a brain tumor.  when I think of the blatant misuse of the CT and the enormous amount of radiation, I see red.

the kids went on a day trip to Carmiel.  I didn't want to accompany them.  I have been working hard for the past few days catching up on the kids' laundry.  I wanted to get it all done and put away before the daughter-in-law came home from the hospital.  it was a herculean task.  it was weeks of dirty laundry and clean laundry strewn all over the place.  the daughter-in-law has been working out lately.  I guess after pesach she wanted to shed a few pounds.  I've had to take care of the kids from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. every night.  I've fed and bathed them and gone mad from them, too.

I'm just glad that the daughter-in-law is home.  I've had to take care of the little kids and their father for days.  after pesach I was burnt out and cooked out.  I didn't feel like doing anything.  I start my rounds of doctors visits and tests next month.  I will have a few days off from doing daycare while I go to the hospital in Tel Aviv.   oh well.....  we are having a barbecue later on this afternoon.  I ran out on Tuesday to buy frozen fries, rolls, marshmallows, wings, hamburgers, kabobs, and franks.  the daughter-in-law got steaks and drinks.  I'm not really up for a barbecue.  tomorrow is Shabbat again, and i'll be hard-pressed to make a few meals.  

epilogue:  it is now 9:00 p.m. and all the guests have finally left.  we started the barbecue at 5:00 p.m.  the wind and rain and cold made it very difficult.  almost all of the food was burnt.  the men were freezing downstairs manning the grill.  the clan came in the end.  we all worried that there wouldn't be enough food.  I had two chicken wings that were not done inside.  I ate way too much, as usual.  the men kept on grilling whatever was left downstairs.  what a shame and a waste of food.  it isn't like I can use it for Shabbat.  it's all really burnt. I came downstairs twice to ask them to put the cooked meats on the electric hot plate.  no one was really paying any attention.

everything was served cold.  yes, ice cold from the grill.  what a disaster.  the young mothers were too tired to do anything.  it was left up to me to make the chips and salads and set the table.  I scrambled all around schlepping up chairs and a small table to set the kids up.  everyone is more comfortable upstairs in my home.  I had to lock the dogs upstairs in the roof top apartment for hours.  I just let them downstairs and fed them leftover scraps.  they'll be eating franks and hamburgers for days.  all in all, it was not a fun independence day for me.  and now tomorrow is Shabbat and I begin my cooking again.   and of course, I have to wash the floors again after the barbecue.  oh well........

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Erev Chag

it is 2:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  tonight is the second chag of pesach.  the holiday ends on friday night.  the granddaughter is sleeping and the grandson is drawing on his blackboard next to me.  I finished the cooking.  I made an avocado and egg guacamole, a potato salad, a cole slaw with cabbage, apples and carrots and fried chicken wings.  I used the mayo dressing but had to doctor the salads.  it was a bit too salty and sharp from the horseradish.

I tried to make a chocolate sauce from cocoa, oil and honey but it became inedible after a few moments.  I had wanted to make a chocolate bark with the leftover almonds, walnuts and dates but it wasn't meant to be.  I actually made two batches and both ended up in the garbage can.  what a waste of walnut oil and honey!  oh well....  I'll  just serve the nuts and peeled dates as a nash and i'll put out some chocolate squares for those who imbibe.  I have brownies and marble cake and a friend is bringing macaroons.  we won't suffer. I hope the poached pears are good.

i'll serve the lemon and honey chicken for Friday lunch and again for Saturday lunch.  I have spicy fish and chicken soup for Friday night.  i'll probably have some meat leftover, too.  I have tons of salads and I think we'll all eat well.  I made jello with canned pineapple pieces for Friday night dessert.  i'll use the rest of the pineapple for a fruit salad for Saturday lunch.  I may go out for Friday lunch.  I can't believe anyone will be hungry on Friday night.  we have a holiday meal after services on Friday and another nash in the late afternoon which is called the "feast of the Messiah". 

it was a truly joyous holiday this year.  I could use a nap.  the granddaughter just got up and is crying.  I hope the parents come home soon.   Happy holiday! and a good Shabbat to all!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The End Of A Chag

it is 8:00 the holy city of Zefat.  tomorrow night is the second holiday of Pesach.  the pesach holiday officially ends on Saturday night in Israel.  I invited a few guests for the meal.  the kids are going out for the holiday and will come back from the Sephardi clan on Friday night.  I washed the floors this morning very early.  I wanted to watch 'million dollar listings' but I was too busy.

I spent the entire day in the kitchen.  the little kids were at the Sephardi grandma's today.  I took the initiative to cook most of the food for the holiday and Shabbat.  I will make a few salads tomorrow and some battered chicken wings.  I want to make a fresh beet and carrot salad, avocado and egg salad, some coleslaw and a green salad.  I made some kind of pesach barbeque sauce with wine, orange juice and sugar.  it is horrible.  I actually burnt the syrup when I boiled the concoction.  I tried to doctor it with more orange juice and honey but I added salt and ruined it.

I started the morning by peeling lots of veggies and fruits.  I made a dessert of poached pears in wine.  I also made a tomato salsa and peeled the tomatoes and peppers. I made the Niles perch Sephardi style with tomatoes, carrots, potatoes and chili peppers.  that was a whole lot of peeling, right there.  I made a piece of beef in wine and chicken bottoms in a lemon, onion and honey sauce.  I made a small pot of mashed potatoes and a small amount of squash and onions.  I made a soup with chicken necks for Friday night.

I made some honey and orange glazed beets and an eggplant salad with boiled eggs.  I peeled the eggplant, wrapped it in tin foil and roasted them on top of the burners.  the outsides were burnt but the insides were mushy and smoky.  I added chopped onion, lemon and olive oil.  I don't use garlic on pesach so I use a lot of salt and pepper.  that was a lot of work peeling off the burnt parts of the eggplant.  I was thinking of using the disposable grill but I was too tired to go downstairs.

I made a mayonnaise dressing.  the recipe I had for beating all of the ingredients together didn't quite make mayonnaise so I have an egg dressing instead.  hopefully, it will be okay on the slaw.  I wanted to make some kugels but I couldn't get it together to bring up the toaster oven.  it is in the living room storage area under a very heavy wooden board.  maybe i'll make a small amount of potato salad with the mayonnaise dressing.  it has bits of horseradish root and red onion.  I don't use vinegar or mustard on pesach.

I thought about baking brownies but I still have store bought pesach cakes to finish.   I don't think that I have the strength to lift the heavy boards in the living room.  I cracked open the rest of the walnuts and almonds and I peeled the rest of the dates just in case I want to make another dessert.  I am exhausted.  I have to go downstairs now and babysit while the big kids go out with friends.  I also have the little kids here with me tomorrow.  the house is clean, more or less, and the majority of the cooking is done so hopefully, it will be okay.  happy Holliday!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Pesach The Holiday 2015

it is 10:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  we just got back from a children's show in Tiberius.  I was starving.  the kids had pesach pizza and I had none.  I don't eat out on pesach.  I only eat what I cook.  and I have been doing a bit of cooking this holiday.

I took the kids to the petting zoo in zefat on sunday.  I used to live across the street from it.   my son grew up there.  it was our backyard for many years.  I cabbed it to town.  I needed to get to the post office.  my big sister sent me some cash for the holiday.  I brought a picnic basket of potato chips, cake, hard cooked eggs, tangerines, and apple juice to the zoo.  I had tried to feed them before we left but they weren't hungry. all they had was two rounds of chocolate milk and some matzo meal cookies.

it was not easy chasing after the two kids.  we all walked back to town for ices.  it was not an easy walk for any of us.  when we finally made it to town I couldn't find any place open.  I wanted to buy the kids something to eat.  I found a small candy and nuts shop open and bought the kids ices on a stick.  I let out a scream in the store when the kids started touching and sampling the candy.  a Sephardi grandmother told me off.  I seamed like a lunatic, I know, but after being alone with them for hours I was freaked out.

we passed a bakery with pesach pizza but the kids didn't want any.  I found a cab and we whizzed home.  I fed their mom, Israeli salad, leftover orange chicken and mashed potatoes.  later on that evening I cooked up a package of asparagus for my son and heated up the remaining chicken for him. 

the next day we went to the Haifa zoo.  what a wonderful place!  we saw a lion, and white Bengal tigers.  we saw polar bears, a kangaroo, water turtles, and lots of snakes.  we also saw pink flamingos, giant cranes and countless other animals.   we did a lot of walking and climbing.  I was beat.  I got up at the crack of dawn to fry up some chicken cutlets for the trip.  the daughter-in-law fried up matzo sandwiches, too.  I packed up a picnic basket with drinks, fruit, cutlery, plates, napkins, cake, chips and salad.  we sat in the grass and grazed.  I even brought ketchup and salt.

we made a barbecue when we came home.  we had tons of steak, lamb chops, chicken wings, franks and goose liver and wine.  I made a ton of fries.  I haven't stopped making fries since.  I made 3 batches today.  I went with the daughter-in-law and kids to a Tiberius maul.  I hate mauls.  after the  kid's show the daughter-in-law did clothes shopping.  I sat while the grandson played at a Gymboree. we finally went to eat at 8:00 p.m.   I had a peeled apple while everyone else had pizza.    I had eaten vegetable soup earlier in the day but I was hungry.  I came home starving but I locked out.  my son had just made a barbecue and I was given lamb chops and steaks.  I had a bit of wine and I didn't need to make anymore chips. that's a holiday!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Aftermath of Shabbat Pesach 2015

it is 9:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  Shabbat ended about an hour ago.  we used fancy disposables this year so the washing up was minimal.  I could almost hear my mother saying from her grave "what a waste" but it was wonderful.  it also enabled me to be calm and allow the kids to eat chumus and sunflower seeds at the table.  it also didn't phase me in the least when the daughter-in-law wet her matzo.  I wanted this year to be easy breezy.  I have tormented friends and family for years with my stringencies.  it felt so good to be finally free of my pesach insanity.

I worked nonstop from 8:00 a.m. .until 7:30 p.m. on Friday.  I managed to do a bit of the cooking with the kids here.  I freaked out in the early afternoon when I found both kids outside playing in the mud with the hose.  I ordered them both to strip outside and hosed them down before allowing them to enter the house.  that was the worst of it.  when my son called to ask if I wanted a new Seder plate from the gallery, I begged him to come home.  he was already on his way so while he and the kids napped downstairs, I cooked the meal.

I had four burners to work with so I was able to get the food going pretty fast.  in one pot I threw in two packages of chicken bottoms and added onions, fresh squeezed orange juice, peppercorns and some honey.  in another pot, I threw in a piece of meat, some onions and carrots, a bottle of sweet wine, and peppercorns.  I peeled and cut up an enormous amount of potatoes to make a mash.  I made a soup with chicken necks and wings.  I added an onion, a kolorabi, a few carrots, a couple of sweet potatoes, and a couple of squash.  I added some of the meat and wine gravy for added flavor and a bit of color.  we do not like the typical Ashkenazi color less chicken soup in this household.

when I had a free burner I cooked the hard cooked eggs, beets, fish and chicken nuggets.  I peel everything on pesach so it is a lot of work.  I made a fruit salad with red grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, apples and pears.  I didn't buy bananas this year.  I couldn't find any normal looking ones and they were $2.70 a kilo.  everyone liked the fruit salad and no one missed the bananas.

I went to bed very late on Thursday night.  I was shivering.  I put the covers over my head.  the kids came upstairs at 7:00 a.m. and I wasn't ready to cope until around 8:00 a.m.  I gave them chocolate milk and cake and went downstairs to burn the chometz.  I put up a pot of boiled eggs and I forgot about them.  I went outside and made a small fire outside of the gate.  a couple of neighbors came with their little morsels of wrapped up bread.  one neighbor actually came with huge hunks of bread and I sent him away.  burning the chometz is a ritual.  huge amounts of bread are thrown down the sewers.  it would take hours to burn them. I smelled something burning and ran to the kitchen.  the eggs were about to explode.  I had to put up another pot of eggs. oh well!  I ran around the putting away non pesach items.  I started making up beds but didn't finish all of them.

I got super tired in the late afternoon and didn't think I could finish.  I still had to make the charoset.  a fine paste made from nuts, apples, dates and pears.  first, I peeled the apples, dates and pears. I then had to crack open a bag of walnuts and a bag of almonds.  the almonds were a synch.  I didn't think I could stand any longer but I couldn't manipulate the nuts while sitting.  I have a very small food processor so I had to do it in batches.   afterwards, I ground the horse radish root.  I burnt a chicken neck on one of the burners, which took forever.  I still had to do the chicken nuggets and I was beyond exhausted.  I pushed through the exhaustion and made a batch of very tasty nuggets.  I don't use mtzo meal so these were made with a batter of potato starch and eggs.  I had several and fed the kids downstairs as well.  this year we came to the seder not famished.

the kids went to synagogue and I took a hot shower.  I then set up the Seder plate and set the table.  it looked nice even though it wasn't the real china.  the daughter-in-law returned from synagogue in a rage.  the 5 year old was acting 'inappropriately'.  welcome to my world!  I thought we were in for a stormy night but the son tuned it all around.  he had taken a Ritalin and was in control of the night.  I was too tired to intercede.  after the first cup of wine we were all drunk.  the wine was rally strong.  after the first batch of matzo I felt nauseous.  I struggled to finish the fourth cup of wine and the last bit of matzo.  my son read most of the Seder in rapid speed hebrew.  I was too tired to participate.  the kids were present for most of the Seder.

my son bought them little gifts to help them be involved.  after we finished the texts, we sang all of the pesach songs.  I didn't sing because I felt like I was going to pass out.  the 3 year old granddaughter received a plastic beauty kit and ran around the house in plastic heels.  it was a riot. she danced with my son and I think I danced a bit too.  I was afraid to go to sleep for fear of choking on my own vomit but the nausea disappeared miraculously before I fell asleep.  I slept alone in my clean bed and clean sheets, in my clean master bedroom, because the 5 year old was punished for his bad behavior at synagogue.  his punishment is not sleeping with grandma.  go know.

lunch was a breeze and a pleasure.  I had plenty of orange chicken and leftover meat and mashed potatoes.  I freshened up the salads and we all had a good appetite.  the daughter-in-laws' older sister and dog never made it to zefat so we were only 6 at the table including 4 dogs.  I had worried about the food so much.  older sister likes her Sephardi mom's food.  I managed to make a very 'hot' Sephardi style Niles perch with tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onions, celery and a red chili pepper.  I had made a tomato salsa which was a 4 alarm fire.  I actually peeled the chili.  I decided to use the salsa to make the sauce for the fish. I usually use garlic and cilantro but I don't use them on pesach.  the fish was a success.

I want to take the kids tomorrow to the petting zoo in zefat.  there really isn't anything to pet but it's the only show in town.  i'll pack up a picnic lunch of potato chips, matzah and chocolate spread, tangerines, hard cooked eggs, and pesach cake.  we'll make some apple juice concentrate and voila!  of course we'll cab it.  there is no way I can manage both kids on a bus.  we can always walk down to the large kids park afterwards.  let's hope for warm weather.  it was sunny but cold today.  we were all so tired that we felt even colder.  the rest of the world is busy doing a second seder tonight.  I don't think I envy them.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Countdown To Pesach 2015 THursday Night

it is 1:30 a.m. and i'm ready for bed.  the table is set and all the pots and pans and gadgets are on the counters ready to go.  I hope I will be, too.  it was a very long day.  I started the final cleanup at around 7:00 a.m.  by the time the kids came up I was in good shape.  I kept on working while they watched t.v.

we went out for a pizza break around 2:00 p.m.  they only had the large family pizzas and there was no way to heat up any leftovers.  all toaster ovens, microwaves and ovens are sealed away for pesach.   we sat in the park and had ice-cream.  they each left their ice-creams to go run around in the playground so I had about 3 ice-creams.  any wonder my clothes don't fit?

I did laundry today and a lot of sponger.  I used an entire gallon of bleach.  I haven't stopped coughing all day.  all the real balabusters have cooked already.  I had the kids with me until 10:00 p.m. when we all passed out on the sofa couch huddled together.  I woke up in a spastic coughing fit and had a shooting pain in my right hip.  I suddenly was freezing and ran upstairs for my woolen cape.  I actually put the heater on for a bit.  I felt sick.

the big kids came home after 11:00 p.m.  my son bought some really good wine.  I did the search for chometz upstairs by myself earlier on.  I threw the 3 dogs outside and set out 10 small pieces of bread wrapped in plastic.  I only found 9.  oh well!  hopefully, one of the dogs found the missing piece.  I can't get all that excited at this point.  the house is beautiful and shiny and it feels like pesach.

the washing machine stopped working yesterday and my son and I got into a really bad fight.  he's been mad at me since I gave him hell for the missing kitchen tile.  we both said very abusive things to one another and I screamed at him to leave my house.  somehow, it turned around and we're back on track and peaceful.  I think he realized he went too far with me.  I called a repairman so we were able to finish the laundry. I left some out on my bedroom balcony.  i'll finish it after the holiday.  the machine malfunctioned again today and I had to get the repairman to come back.  he found little socks in the motor.

I have some meat and chicken bottoms, breasts, necks and wings defrosting in the sink.  I hope i'll figure out what to cook tomorrow and be able to function well.  I'm beyond exhausted now and I have the small kids all day.  the pesach stove is set up so I can make them eggs in the morning.  they went to bed without supper tonight.  I did give them each a glass of warm milk.   I have to make up the beds tomorrow and hang up the dining room curtains.  i'm sure there is lots more to do like burning the chometz.

I am going to attempt to make my own mayonnaise.  I haven't done it in years.  I have a lot of nuts to crack.  I was hoping to do them this evening but the kids needed my attention.  my pesach stove has 4 burners so I should be able to make the food relatively fast.  I don't know if i'll take out the toaster oven.   I may be able to function without it.  we'll see.  all you need is love and good health.

  happy pesach to one and all!!!!