Sunday, November 22, 2015

How Many More?

it is 9:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  it is quite cold this evening and the wind is howling loudly, typical of a zefat winter night.  a 21 year old girl from zefat was murdered a few hours ago in a suburb of Jerusalem.  she was standing on the roadside waiting for a bus.  she was knifed to death by an arab.  it was the third attack at that location this week.

 my very close friend lives right there.  she services her car there and buys groceries at the supermarket there.  she is afraid to go there with her grandchildren.  it is a beautiful place to live but very dangerous as of late.  I can't see myself going any time soon to visit my friend.  we are enduring knifing attacks on a daily basis.  a young bride who lost her father and brother in a ghastly terrorist attack last week, has decided not to cancel her wedding this week.  she has invited the entire country to come to her wedding.  they are having it in a huge conference hall in downtown Jerusalem.  I saw a notice on the zefat line.  some people are planning on going to the wedding.

an 18 year old yeshiva student was sent home to America in a body bag.  he did a lot of good deeds in his very short life span.  this 21 year old zefat girl never had a chance to be a woman or have a family.  my heart is aching. I feel so sick.  I'm sure I know her family.  I have no way of knowing if there will be a burial tonight.  I can't really go out in this wind and cold.  I will probably find out in the morning where the family will be sitting Shiva.  I'm sure the entire town will be there.

I had a lead today for a really good job but it didn't pan out.  the job was definitely a hard one, but the salary would have taken away all of my financial pressures.  I truly didn't think I was physically up for the job and it required my working on Fridays, too.  it would have been my ticket out of babysitting for the grandkids and it would have provided me with a good income.  when push came to shove, I declined the job.  the hours were a bit much for me and I wanted to work off the books.

I have definitely slowed down a lot.  the cold weather doesn't agree with me.  I get all achy and my right eye gets easily inflamed.  I am super stiff and my back hurts.  as soon as the sun comes out, I am fine.  my granddaughter turns four this week.  my daughter-in-law wanted to have the birthday party in my home.  I didn't agree and she got a bit peed off.  I have way too many pictures and books and chactchkas lying around to entertain a band of 4-6 year old wild kids running around.

 I offered to clean the roof top apartment for the party.  it's a good place for a party.  she declined.  she will just have to suffer and throw the party in the gigantic laundry room.  I offered them a while ago, to take out my maytag washer and dryer from the room.  they both declined.  my grandkids have soiled my dining room chairs, as it is.  I have placed cushions to keep most of the mess off of the chairs but the kids always remove the cushions.  the daughter-in-law won't sit on a cushion because the dogs also use the cushions sometimes.

I think I will be called upon to make yet, another cheesecake.  the one I usually make, which calls for a low fat white cheese spread and instant vanilla pudding, has become very affordable to make.  I bought a caramel like instant pudding hoping to make a slight variation of said cheesecake.  I mentioned the caramel pudding to the daughter-in-law and she said that it tasted horrible.  all of the instant puddings here taste horrible.  the Belgian chocolate and French vanilla are much better but nearly impossible to find.

I had a very aggravating phone call from a nasty clerk at my medical insurance carrier.  she said that my getting a one way taxi ride to the hospital near tel aviv was coming to an end.  I didn't really understand every thing she said.  she was no mean and even hung up on me when I raised my voice.  I get so nervous when I need to deal with these bureaucrats.  I ran to get a doctor's letter and faxed it to this witch.  I haven't heard from her in a week.  it turns out that she was out sick and no one else could tell me if my dotor's note got sent on to the proper authorities for consideration. 

the entire thing makes my blood boil.  I can't fight properly with these small minded paper pushers in Hebrew.  although I've lived here for over 30 years, I still speak like a new immigrant.  it is a real drag.  it zaps me of all of my strength.  I always crash after one of these encounters.  I will have to head on over back to the office tomorrow for another one of these shout outs.  I see red every time I go there.  someone just might get the wrath of zelda tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

All By Myself

it is nearly 9:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  I am all alone this evening.  I actually spent the entire day alone.  the Sephardi grandmother picked up the kids today from gan.  I was given the day off by the daughter-in-law.  I guess she thought that I was upset last night or just totally overwhelmed.  they don't get that their kids miss them.  I do not understand modern parenting or non parenting, as it may.  it really bothers me that the big kids spend so little time with their little kids and that they don't seem to miss them.

I grew up in a time where the mom was always home.  you came back for lunch and she would have tuna salad with a smiley face made up of carrots and raisins and red pepper.  my parents never took a vacation with out their kids.  I actually was 18 years old the first time my parents stayed away all night.  my father came home at 5:00 p.m. and we would all have our supper.  my mother wasn't out shopping all night and my dad wasn't out at the baseball games.  parents once stayed home with their kids.

I worked long hours when my son was growing up and he was left to his own devices for most of the afternoon.  I did provide him with a car service and plenty of cash to buy pizza or falafel and a pass to the local pool.  nevertheless, I wasn't home to make him tuna faces but I never went shopping without him.  I didn't have any outside help with my son, either.  I will admit that I was already in my thirties when I became a mom.   it never occurred to me to go away for a couple of days without him.

I had a late start today but I wasn't under any pressure of a time restraint to pick up the kids today.  I was able to clean up the house and straighten out the living room.  I even washed the kitchen and front hall and got rid of all the dirty dishes.  it was freezing today and exceptionally windy.  it sounded like a hurricane.  we had a bit of rain but mostly it was dark and grey.  I didn't get out to the supermarket until 4:00 p.m.  I found it hard to focus.  I bought veggies for Shabbat and a few drinks.  I couldn't really visualize what I planned to make for tomorrow's lunch and I was limited with cash. 

I ended up writing a couple of checks.  it was a bit risky but what the heck!  I bought eggs, cornmeal, lettuce,  Greek cheese and black olives.  I came back from the supermarket with a cab.  I was too tired and cold to schlepp with the shopping cart.  I made myself a cucumber and tomato salad with a probiotic yogurt.  it was yummy.  I then made a banana bread and a corn bread.  both were new recipes that I found on line.  both used butter and were quite different from how I usually make them.  I will make the bread pudding tomorrow morning.  I sure hope that my guests don't have eggs for breakfast because I think that i'll be making poached eggs in tomato sauce as well as a Greek salad.

I feel like I should be making some type of soup but I think that it will be enough food without it.   I also keep thinking about making tuna patties, too.  I think the shakshuka and cornbread with a greek salad will be fine.  and we still have the bread pudding and banana cake with the coffee.  I would have preferred making a meat meal but the guests preferred a dairy one.  I didn't feel like making fish.  I thought about baked potatoes but I think it is overkill at this point.  I bought an orange juice  drink so I think we are set.  my girlfriend has gum problems and I know it is hard for her to chew her food.  I think that she will be able to manage with this menu.  I will shred the salad and cheese.

I bought a bottle of sparkling pomegranate wine but I think i'll save it for thanksgiving.  my son had his eyes on it last Shabbat.  it was on sale for $5.  I can get another one, I guess.  if I have the time tomorrow morning, i'll try to buy a soft cream cheese spread.  I already used up 2 bars of butter.  I bought a blue cheese.  perhaps it goes with corn bread.  we will see.  I am truly tired and cold.  I am too tired to take a hot shower tonight.  there's always tomorrow morning.  I will get an early start and if I'm inspired i'll make another dish.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

All Night Long

it is 9:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  the small kids are still up and their parents just got home.  I managed to bathe the boy but the girl is still prancing around in a princess gown I found near the trash.  I had them since 2:00 p.m.  I called the big kids three times to ask them to get home.  the little kids wanted to see their parents.  they did not want me to bathe them and i was desperate to get upstairs after being with the kids for 6 hours today.

of course, the big kids came home and didn't get the kids settled down.  the daughter-in-law came home with all sorts of sale clothes.  how that girl loves to shop! it  doesn't matter that it's way past the kids' bedtime, the kids must try on all the new clothes.  they bought the boy Australian leather boots that looked tiny.  watching them struggle and not succeed to get his big hooves into the boots was not pleasant.  it was down right annoying me.  and then my 28 year old son was carrying on because his wife doesn't want him to go out of town tomorrow night to see a champion soccer game.  like I didn't have my fill of whining all afternoon long with his kids.

I haven't blogged in some time because I have been taking care of the little kids every day.  I spend most of the day and evening downstairs.  when I try to sneak a bit of time to blog or make a phone call the kittle kids follow me into my computer room and play with the computer.  they usually are watching videos on my computer.  the computer downstairs is kaput.  mine will be too if I continue toallow the kids to use mine.

I have been trying to shed some pounds before my next gyn/oncologist appointment next month.  I have tried to do 'south beach' but I haven't lost an ounce.  I also haven't been watching how much I eat.  I have stayed away form carbs and sugar for three weeks but nothing is budging. I am still wearing my pregnancy jeans skirt.  my new clothes don't fit.  I have been hitting the humus a bit hard and have been overdoing the sunflower seeds.  that's quite caloric.

my girlfriend who does count calories has been on a strict regimen and has slimmed down a bit.  it was so much easier a few years ago.  I managed to lose ten pounds in a month.  but then I had cancer.  right now, I have a huge belly.  it is actually bigger than when I was pregnant some 28 years ago.  I am not in the best of shape.  I really need to lose about 16 pounds.  I have always managed to do so, on the 'south beach'.  I don't know why this time it isn't working.  I will still hang in there.  I lost some girth during the summer while I had the cooking gig at the yeshiva.  unfortunately, I regained it all.

the house is a mess and I haven't been functioning as of late.  i'm back to not sleeping at night.  that's not good for weight loss or one's vitality.  I am like a golem.  I leave the house every afternoon to pick up the kids but I never make it to the supermarket.  I am out of everything.  the fridge is bare and so are the closets.  I bought just what I needed to make Shabbat meals.   the kids went to their friends for Friday night meal so I went over to my friends.  they live a couple of blocks away, as we say in New York.  since we turned the clock backwards, Shabbat begins really early.  we light candles this week around 4:00 p.m.  by 7:30 p.m. it feels like midnight.

I still have some fish, chicken and soft drinks left over from last week's purchases.  i'll just need to buy veggies for this Shabbat.  I am very broke.  I am afraid to write any more checks.  I paid off the enormous water bill and am waiting for the kids to reimburse me for their share.  I got a little bit of  extra cash from welfare last month, so luckily, I didn't have any more bounced checks.  what a way to live!  is there any wonder I don't sleep soundly at night?

I invited my good gal pal over with her twin sister, who is visiting, for an early lunch on Thursday.  I definitely have to get out early to the supermarket tomorrow and clean my house.  the kids trashed it weeks ago.  they dragged in all sorts of toys and threw it all in the salon.  the salon looks like a storage shed.  we have a baby crib, mattresses, bicycle and mini car plus tons of leggo.    I need to dust all of the furniture.and wash the floor.  my friend's sister has never seen my place before.  are we having fun yet?

I am thinking about making shakshuka, a Sephardi poached egg dish in spicy tomatoes.  I also want to bake a banana bread.  I actually sprung for a few bananas for the kids this week.  they are pretty expensive.  of course, the kids didn't eat them so they are now brown.  they will make a great banana loaf.  I have tons of challah rolls in the freezer and was thinking about making a bread pudding, too.  i also wanted to make corn bread but I might just buy some fresh pitas and call it a day.  i think i'll make a greek salad with shredded lettuce, cucumbers and feta cheese.  let's just see how i function tomorrow.

we are once again plagued with a rat downstairs.  it seems enormous.  he manages to keep moving the trap around.  we haven't seen him but he did manage to eat a huge hole in the sewer pipe.  we need a plumber to replace the pipe but the kids can't be bothered.  if they were paying me rent I could cover the cost of the plumber but they aren't and I can't afford the repairs.  they are not good tenants.  actually, they are really squatters.  that's right, they moved in while I was sick and in the hospital without my okay.

upstairs i am experiencing a flea infestation.  i suffered the entire summer with ticks and now it's fleas.  i am covered in bites.  what's that old adage, "you sleep with dogs and you wake up with fleas"?  i am quite uncomfortable.  i keep sprinkling lavender oil on the dogs, my itching body and the bedding.  i don't think it's working.  i look like i have aids.  my entire body is covered in scabs.  the things we endure for our pets.  i still have three dogs.  'tiny' is huge and still a puppy.  he has eaten about 4 of my siddurs and other holy books.  he is insane.  he recently ate a huge gap in my bed.  i have to remember to leave him on the porch when i'm out of the house.

i started thinking about making a thanksgiving meal.  i don't know if i can swing it financially.  so far i have found new recipes for cranberry sauce, squash soup, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie.  i made a pumpkin custard a couple of years ago.  it was foul, all separated and runny. the only place where i can find raw cranberries is the Russian market near my house.  they also sell all kinds of non kosher products including pork.  i try not going in there but once in a while i need a small bottle of some kind of liquor and they always have it .

right now i am not sure if i will actually pull off the holiday feast but it's fun thinking about it.  i no longer have my turkey napkins but i do have a straw turkey bread basket and a thanksgiving paper table cloth.   i didn't take down the stuffing recipe yet.  we still have some time before the big day.