Sunday, August 30, 2015

Home Again Home Again

it is 7:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  the big kids finally returned home from their vacation on Saturday night at 1:00 a.m.  I had their little kids with me the entire week.  they were supposed to come back on Thursday night but they decided to break up their long ride back from Eilat .  they spent Shabbat in the old city of Jerusalem.  the little kids stayed with me for Shabbat.  I just served my son and grandkids organic premade gnocchi with tomato sauce.  they were on sale at the supermarket.

I spent a few hours on Friday doing the small kids' laundry.  I made minimum food for Shabbat.  I cooked up a few chicken legs with potatoes. I made a bit of instant couscous and a small salad.  I bought mini challah rolls and pastries.  that was it.  the kids had lots of junk before Shabbat. I bought several cartons of chocolate milk.  I didn't even feel like mixing up chocolate milk for them.  I actually enjoyed the store bought chocolate milk.

I took both kids to synagogue with me on Friday night but I was very nervous.  I gave my grandson a slap.  that wasn't exactly conducive to want to be in shul.  I was way too tired to be with the kids by myself.  I finished my stint as a cook in the yeshiva on Thursday.  I returned home from work and had about an hour to get ready for a wedding.  I returned home from said wedding at 2:00 a.m.  I did get up and dance a bit to the very loud Israeli trance music.  I wore my wig and it was winging wet.  it was fun to be with all the neighbors again.  it's been a few years since I could manage to go to a simcha.

I decided to take the kids back to shul on Saturday morning.  I managed to pray inside while they ran around outside.  a family who lost their soldier son last year donated a new sefer torah to the shul.  they made a simple Kiddush after services.  the kids were happy to sit and eat.  they had brown hard cooked eggs and lots of soda.  I never buy soda.  I let them have as much as they wanted.  I munched on nuts and raisins and eggs, too.  when we got home I let them go in the wading pool. when they came upstairs they ate some cold cuts.

we all settled down in a bed together and I fell asleep.  I was rudely awakened by my granddaughter bopping me on the head.  my friend came to visit and we had a couple of vodka breezes.  the kids were making as much noise as they could.  my grandson had a birthday while his parents were out of town.  I didn't get a chance to buy him a gift or make him a cake on Friday.  I didn't realize that it was his birthday until Saturday morning.  my granddaughter and I sang 'happy birthday' and made a big fuss over him.  I tried lifting him 6 times in a chair.  I hurt my back. the kid weighs a ton.  he will have his official party on Tuesday.  i'll make the usual cheesecake.

my daughter-in-law's sister took care of the kids all week long.  she got here every morning around 9:30 a.m. and was here when I returned from work at around 4:30 p.m.  one day I went to pick them up at the Sephardi grandma's house and we returned home on the bus.  almost every day, I took them locally to have a frozen coffee drink.  I needed one every day to keep me going.  I bought barekas, potato puff pastries with potato filling, every day too.  it was our staple food.  I had cheerios and cornflakes on hand and lots of milk.  I managed to make an omelet or two. and I opened plenty of cans of tuna last week.

I wasn't much for cooking after working all day long in the yeshiva's kitchen.  it was good for me to work this summer.  I haven't felt so much like my old self in years.  I am a fatter version of the old zelda but I can still bust a few moves o the dance floor.  I lost a few pounds but can't seem to get the bulk off.  I haven't been exactly eating well lately.  I haven't binged in a couple of months.  I did eat a bag of Doritos this afternoon.  and I had my fair share of the gnocchi at dinner time. I didn't have any ice cream this summer or any candy.  I did have an occasional cookie or piece of cake. it was really too hot to eat much this summer. I tasted some milk chocolate yesterday but it tasted nasty.

I managed to buy a few tops and skirts this summer.  I definitely, haven't been running around in the old rags lately.  I need to shed about 18 pounds to look like my old self.  it's funny but when I got thin after the  chemo, I felt emaciated and couldn't wait to put on some weight.  I then, unfortunately, spiraled out of control to my present day state of being grossly overweight.  even the gyn oncologist said that I should start losing some weight. I see him again in December.  if only I can be slender again....

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Home Sweet Home

it is 7:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  I got home about an hour ago.  the bus ,which is on holiday schedule, got stuck in the middle of a street in Canaan.  the bus driver honked incessantly for a while to try to get the owners of the cars, which were blocking the road, to come out and drive their vehicles away.  he wouldn't allow the passengers to get out of the bus, either.  we sat there for a good 40 minutes. normally, I could have walked home but I had a heavy 2 burner stove to bring home.

I might have a short term renter so I went out and bought another stove.  a family staying for a few days, broke my daughter-in-law's stovetop so she took mine.  I've been cooking with gas, once again, since Pesach.  electric burners do take forever to make meals.  I got up very early this morning to go upstairs and straighten out the apartment.  it needed a sponger so I washed the wooden floors.  someone from the yeshiva group, staying downstairs for a few days, was using the upstairs to have coffee breaks.

I asked my son to bring up the bedframe and mattress and of course, I was met with a lot of resistance.  he brought up the frame but of course, he didn't bring up the mattress.  I will have to schlepp the mattress up in the morning because the lady is coming to see the apartment. I would like to make the bed up and run to the supermarket first thing in the morning.  I have to watch the kids tomorrow as well as cook for Shabbat.  I need to buy dog food and I have a million beer bottles to return.

I can take the kids with me in the morning but it is easier if I go alone. they always want to stop at the playground and then they always want treats at the supermarket. it's faster and a lot cheaper if I go alone.  again, that depends on when the young lady is coming. I hope she decides to stay for a few months.  I can sure use the little bit of rent money.

this morning I waited here with the kids until their teenage aunt could come to babysit.  I took a taxi to work because it was almost noon when I got myself together. I defrosted chop meat to make chili but I knew that would have to be for their dinner.  I didn't have enough time to cook it by 2:00 p.m. that is when I serve the lunch.  well, I don't actually serve it. I bring it into the dining hall and leave it on the electric hot plate.  the guys come to eat any time afterwards. they are mostly polite and always thank me for their food.  I explained to them that I was not a chef. I told them that I was only a Jewish mother cooking for her 25 boys.

I thought about making a tuna fish and macaroni salad for lunch.  I needed something else for those who don't eat fish.  I thought about making buckwheat groats and onions.  I found two packets of instant couscous and decided I would make a vegetable medley with sauce.  I had a few carrots, potatoes, onions, and squash and I added a few tomatoes. I usually add pumpkin and cabbage but that is what I had in the kitchen.  the guys loved it.  they also loved the tuna fish salad and hard cooked eggs, that I made at the last minute. 

it took another two hours for the chili to finish.  I browned a lot of chop meat and added it into the chili mix.  I only used kidney beans this time.  the last time I added chick peas.  I made a large pot of rice.  the guys love rice.  they aren't so keen on pasta. I made a huge Israeli salad but I didn't dice the veggies tiny.  I didn't have the strength.  I washed the floor and went home.  I stopped at a local super and bought the electric burners and headed for the bus.

I am exhausted.  I was hoping to get out tonight for the last night of the klezmer music festival.  I will take a shower and crawl onto the t.v. couch.  I am wasted.  I just had a few dried dates and a slice of cantaloupe. I had some eggs this morning. the kids didn't eat theirs.  it was hard to eat them. I have been drinking milk with cinnamon.  I read that cinnamon helps lower the blood sugar.  I haven't had much of an appetite in this heat. I did have a taste of the couscous and tuna salad.  they were both very tasty.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

If You Can't Take The Heat In The Kitchen

it is 6:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  I just got back from town.  I finished work at 4:00 p.m. and found a lovely second hand boutique clothes store in the old city.  it's been there for 5 years and I never passed it.  I was able to buy a jeans skirt, fancy sequined top, dress, dressy skirt, and 5 assorted tops for about $70.

I have been running around in rags because I refused to buy fat clothes.  I lost a few pounds but I still look overweight.  my stomach is a source of embarrassment to me.  the lady who runs the boutique is a neighbor of mine and we used to go to exercise class together. she is gorgeous and thin. she looks like a Hollywood actress.

I left work sweaty and smelly. my clothes reek of cooking grease.  I fried about 50 tuna patties and tried to make potato puffs out of yesterday's left over turmeric potatoes.  I ended up tossing out the oil and the potatoes.  I thought I could get by with yesterday's lentil veggie soup but it had gone off so I tossed it.  I made a huge oatmeal kugel with the leftover oatmeal from breakfast.  I added tons of eggs and several cups of flour and a cup of sugar.

it was a great success. I let that sucker bake for hours.  it finally became crusty and I couldn't stop eating it ,myself.  I tossed in tons of cinnamon and powdered ginger. one young man called it 'brilliant'.  the huge pot of rice was virtually untouched so I will use it for lunch tomorrow. if someone will open up an industrial sized can of tomatoes for me , I will make Spanish rice or sloppy Joes.  I left 1 1/2 pounds of chopped meat defrosting in the fridge. there is no real can opener in this kitchen and the men use knives and hammers to open these huge cans.

 I am able to open the large cans of tuna but not the mushrooms with the Israeli opener.  I wait for one student who seems to have the know all and he opens the cans for me.  I bless him and make a big deal about him each time.  I made a huge pot of mushroom barley soup for dinner and added tamari sauce to last night's kasha varnishkas.  I also added more macaroni.  I cooked up a package of chick peas this morning and they went like hot cakes.  I ate about 3 tuna patties.  I skipped meals yesterday and just drank milk with cinnamon.  I am trying to lower my blood sugar.

I would love to get out of going to the neighbor's wedding.  it will cost me a lot of money to go. I still need to buy a skirt and I have to give a cash gift.  I won't be able to eat anything there because it isn't my level of kashrut.  I was hoping the kids would go in my place but I think they will be in Eilat next week.  the worst thing is that I don't like the bride.  I have always found her to be a crass young thing.  she used to scream out her window for my father to shut up on weekends when he would sit outside and sing.

the klezmer music festival starts tomorrow evening and the busses are already on holiday schedule.  the drivers are also quite nasty and very impatient.  it has already become a hassle to go to town and return.  i might venture to town tomorrow night to check things out. my friend will probably want to go really early. I don't get back from work until  5:00 or 6:00 p.m. I don't know any of the acts anymore.  once I waited to hear the 'Klezmatics' and the violinist Muriel Reznick..  that was a very long time ago.

Monday, August 17, 2015

What A Difference A Day Makes

it is 8:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  I haven't had any time to blog in a couple of weeks.  we went through a horrific heat wave.  we gave most of our fans to the renters downstairs so we were stuck upstairs sleeping without any.  I managed to buy a couple of new fans but the puppy aka 'tiny' ate the wire off the really strong one. hopefully I can get it fixed soon.

I had a 10 day hiatus from the cooking temp job.  I went to do a brain MRI last Monday.  I had planned on cancelling the appointment but since I was off from work I decided to keep it.  I took a direct bus to Bnei Brak, which I was able to catch in my neighborhood; and caught a bus to Tel Hashomer from there.  the bus didn't enter the hospital area so I had a good 1/2 an hour hike in the sauna like weather.

I arrived at the hospital at 9:00 p.m. my appointment was for 10:00 p.m.  they took me at 11:15 p.m. and I was finished at 11:45 p.m.  I ordered a cab to take me home earlier in the day. my medical carrier pays one way. there really isn't any way to get back to zefat at that hour.  I was exhausted and fell asleep immediately.  the nudnik cab driver actually called my cell and then proceeded to wake me up to get me to answer my phone.  he thought I had given him a bogus cell number because he had called me while I was in the MRI machine and of course, I didn't have my phone with me.

the taxi was too cold so I kept on opening my window.  every time I would fall asleep the driver would close the window and I would wake up from the cold.  I am not a big fan of air conditioning.  it would have been nice if the ac unit was working on the 3 hour bus ride to Bnei Brak.  it was stifling and very crowded.  I had two men sitting on the floor of the bus at my feet.  these lovely young people gave me the heads up to get off of the bus to catch a connecting bus to the hospital.  I had no idea where I was.

I stayed in bed all day on Tuesday.  I was physically wiped out from the travelling and the heat.  on Wednesday morning I caught an 8:00 a.m. bus to Jerusalem to visit my dear friend who was visiting from upstate New York.  she was kind enough to meet my bus at noon so I didn't have to struggle to find the neighborhood where she was staying.  travelling in Jerusalem was quite efficient and inexpensive.  it was the first time that I didn't taxi it and I used public transportation.  I was always afraid of bus bombings so I never travelled.

I was afraid of cafĂ© bombings so I never went to Netanya to see my other dear friend.  I finally had a reunion a few weeks ago and the three of us gals had a ball. for someone who doesn't leave zefat, I've made it all over the country this summer.  as soon as I got back to zefat, I was back to babysitting literally, straight off the bus.

my friend and I went to the Kotel on Wednesday night.  the busses weren't running there because the president was at a ceremony there.  a man from Montreal donated 73 sefer torahs for the fallen soldiers of last year and another 3 for the 3 kidnapped young men who were murdered.  it was an amazing sight to see so many torahs in one place.  we were able to catch a taxi with another couple of people so it was very inexpensive.

a young man helped walk us through the old city to get to the Kotel.  I enjoyed the walk immensely. neither my friend or myself knew how to get there from the Jaffa gate. after the dedication service the crowd thinned out.   the regular visitors were there to pray and suddenly the live band started playing the 'Moshiach' rock song and the men started to dance with the torahs.  they came around to the women's section so we could touch the torahs and blow kisses.

 I think the cost of a sefer torah is between 20 to 30, 000 dollars.  you can do the math.  we finally left the Kotel at around 11:00 p.m.  they had shuttle busses driving the masses to a central location.  we didn't exactly know where we were or how to find our bus.  a couple of young boys walked us around the block and then some to get to a connecting bus stop.  I didn't see any signs for our bus so we jumped into a cab.  I was strung out at that point and just wanted to get back to the apartment.  we had been schlepping around for hours.

we finally got back at about 12:45 a.m.  my friend had made a short film of the event so we watched it on her computer.  we ate a lovely meal of fresh salmon and brown rice and salad thanks to my friend.  I slept in the next morning and decided to leave Jerusalem a bit early.  I caught the 1:00 p.m. bus and returned to zefat at 5:00 p.m.  the bus was just pulling into zefat when I got an SOS call from my son.  he wanted to take his wife out on her birthday and needed me home by 6:00 p.m.

I ran into the supermarket across the street from the bus stop and frantically bought veggies for Shabbat.  there weren't any shopping carts so I schlepped bags.  I ended up leaving the super without my tomatoes. I raced home in a cab and didn't have a second to myself.  the next day was Friday and I had the grandkids with me all day and had to cook the Shabbat meals.

I took the kids out with me to buy some milk.  first they wanted to play in the playground and then they wanted to go in the pool.  I went to the local bakery and bought us each a frozen coffee drink. I bought a couple of berekas and pastries.  we sat for a bit and then went home.  I bought milk in the bakery so I avoided schlepping them to the super and up the hill.

we spent about 2 hours in the pool.  I then brought them in and gave them hot showers.  I put on a kid's film and proceeded to start cooking.  I made a cheesecake for the new month celebration.  I bought a lovely marble cake in Jerusalem for Shabbat.  the kids wanted to make a birthday party so I took out the marble cake but it was riddled with ants.  yes, the ants have come back this summer.  the ticks are also out in full.  my dogs are riddled with ticks.  I don't use the chemical collars so I spend hours picking off ticks.

I returned to work yesterday.  I only had to make them dinner.  l don't know why it took me 4 hours.  I made a Chinese style turkey stir fry with carrots, onions and canned mushrooms.  I had some tamari sauce and powdered ginger.  I also made a vegetable barley soup with fresh carrots, squash, carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes.  I made a huge vat of Israeli salad and a noodle kugel with squash and onions.  I actually used spaghetti.  I got home at 8:00 p.m. I was exhausted. it's hot again.

this morning I got to work at 11:00 a.m.  I was binge watching season 5 of 'The Good Wife'.  the boys have lunch at 2:00 p.m.  I made a vat of shakshuka.  that's a middle eastern dish of poached eggs in a diced tomato sauce. because I added 25 eggs I needed to bake it rather then poach them in a pan.  I also made a vat of cooked potatoes in tumeric.  I made a small bag of spicy split peas.  there were a few apples left over from breakfast so I made a sliced apple and carrot salad. I sprinkled cinnamon and powdered ginger. I was all out of lemon juice so I added a bit of olive oil.

I had to slice the apples and carrots very thin by hand. the food processor is kaput.  I also sliced up cucumbers and red onions for a second salad.  my hand was cramping up.  for supper I made a vat of macaroni and buckwheat groats a.k.a, kasha varnishkas.  I was all out of rice.  I also made a veggie red lentil soup and a huge tray of meatloaf.  I hand grated a few huge squash and onions and added it to 3 pounds of chopped meat.  I added 6 eggs and some matzah meal and voila! and an hour later, it was done.  I was all out of ketchup so I added some mustard, tamari sauce and some leftover chopped tomatoes from the shakshuka.  I didn't taste it because I was in the mood for a frozen coffee drink.

I went to town to shop for an outfit for a neighbor's wedding next week. although I dropped a few pounds, I am still awfully over weight. nothing looks good.  I found a skirt but it was very pricey and not good quality.  I will try the shuk (outdoor market) on Wednesday.  I might go back to the store and buy the skirt. it's been years since I bought myself something new.