Thursday, December 31, 2015

Let It Snow 2015

it is 5:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  they are predicting a huge snow storm.  I spent the day yesterday running around town getting a new heater plus a kerosene one in case we lose electricity.  I am not into this at all.   I had a taxi take me to the gas station and the driver filled up a huge geri can for me.  I felt thoroughly useless.  I ran to the bakery and supermarket twice.  I wanted to make sure we had a lot of milk and challah for Shabbat.

I am now making a chicken soup and cooking chicken and potatoes for Shabbat.  I have gas so if we lose power we can still heat the food and have hot water.  I am a wreck.  the porch shutter slats are broken off and we already have a lot of water backing up.  I did have all year to remedy this situation so I'm truly frustrated.  I tried hanging up a shower curtain but it blew away.  I should have been working on this weeks ago.  I bought bottles of water in case we have to shut off the water pipe.

I finally went off my diet and went on a 3 day sugar and carbs binge.  it took me three months to lose a kilo and I gained it back in a few days.  I'm disgusted.   I have been sick for about three weeks now.   I made it to the doctor who suggested I have inhalation therapy, 3 days of prednisone and 10 days of antibiotics.   I haven't taken any meds.  I've had a huge appetite and  have drunk tons of orange juice and hot milk.

I don't think I have pneumonia yet.  the doctor said it was bronchial.  I do feel winded after I walk a bit.  the doctor suggested doing a chest ex ray.  I just didn't get around to do it.   I ran to town to pay the city tax and water bills.   the weather was so nasty.  I hadn't been out of the house, except for getting the kids from gan.   the computer wasn't working in the water company.  I didn't have the energy to schlep way across town back to their office.  I took a taxi home and ran back down to the supermarket.   I missed the hail storm by a few moments.

I wanted to make a cheesecake for Shabbat but I truly don't have the energy to bake.  the bakery didn't have any yeast cheese cakes, either.   I made a special detour just to buy one.  I bought cottage cheese to make a lasagna tonight.  guess what?  I don't have the energy to make one.   I bought organic non gluten gnocchi that were on sale.  I doubt that I have the energy to boil water at this point.  at least, I got a jump on the Shabbat cooking.  candle lighting is around 4:00 p.m. these days.

I always schmooze with a gal pal on Friday morning.  last week it was 11:00 a.m. when I got off the phone.   I had to pick up the kids from gan at 12:30 p.m.   I felt extremely pressured.   I don't think I have the energy to shower the kids tonight.   I think they may stay home with me tomorrow.  it will either have snowed tonight, or  harbor threat of afternoon storm.   I walked to pick up my grandson at 3:30 p.m. and it was really cold and rainy.  I couldn't get a taxi home.  I had the company of a young mother and her son so the trek home wasn't so bad.  luckily, my grandson had galoshes and a hooded coat.

I managed to wash the kitchen floor before I headed out.  I wear my winter boots while I 'sponger' the water.  my vacuum cleaner doesn't suck up the dog hair from the carpet in the t.v. room.  when the kids sit on it they get full of dog hair.  I use a lint brush a couple of times a week to scoop up the hair.  I sprinkle baking soda on the rug to try and freshen it.   if only I was dog less.  how easy would life be?  I do use them for body heat when the kids aren't around.  I have plenty of scents all over the house to prevent that doggie smell.   it's hard in the rainy season to prevent that.

the gnocchi was not that big a hit.  it did have a weird smell.  it's non gluten so it's probably made with rice flour.  the last time I made it I didn't boil them first.  I think I just threw them into the tomato sauce.  I don't remember a smell.  I have watery chicken soup with soggy thin noodles or the gnocchi to offer my son when he comes home.  he'll probably eat something in town if I know him.  I'm going to take the kids downstairs now.  I don't think I have the energy to shower them but we shall see.  I'm tempted to use the noodles to make a kugel for lunch.  maybe i'll go for it.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

For He's A Jolly Good Fella

it is 5:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.   tonight is my son's 29th birthday.  that's right folks, I gave birth to an 8 pound baby boy right here in the holy city of zefat, many years ago.   I have been struggling with the flu since Sunday morning.   I am at last, back on my feet.   it has been awful. 

I was talking with a gal pal on Friday morning and she had just gotten over a stomach virus.   I  could have sworn that I caught the flu from her over the telephone.  I know that stranger things have happened.  I somehow, had a strong appetite through out the week.  I didn't take any aspirin or flu tablets.  I have a psychological problem swallowing pills.   I must have been feverish because I kept on seeing moving objects.  I actually thought I saw a huge black rat.

I never got to put away the Chanukah menorahs or wash the remaining Shabbat dishes.  I stayed in bed under the comforter huddled with the 3 dogs for days at a time.  I was able to get up to pish and make cups of tea.  showering or getting dressed was not possible.  I wore about three layers of heavy clothing.  I had muscle pains and sciatic twinges.  I ate toast from left over frozen challah rolls and whatever else I could scavenge from downstairs.  I had a bit of Shabbat food leftover which I went through very early in the game.  I didn't lose an ounce.  as I imbibed lots of carbs, I may have even gained some weight.

I slept through most of the week.  I kept the t.v. on but slept through all of the programing.  I managed to stay awake for the X Factor finale but I kept on schmoozing through 'Fargo' and 'The
 affair.  I craved sugar but was afraid to have any.  I had a couple of strawberry yogurts and a bar of halvah.  they tasted awful.  I was craving orange juice but didn't have any oranges.  the daughter-in-aw doesn't buy fruit from the right place for me, kashrut wise.   I did have a banana each day.  pretty heavy on the carbs.

 I bought a digital scale today.  my scale is probably about 15 years old and I don't think it's accurate.  family members and friends have been complaining about my scale for years.  the consensus is that it is on the plus side.  I'm actually afraid of digital scales, myself.   we shall see.  I need to shed all of my layers before I attempt to weigh myself.  it cost only $20 so I'm not all that concerned about it.

the Sephardi grandma was on call this week.  I still had to pick up the kids on Tuesday and it was traumatic for me.  I was so sick.  I couldn't get it together to call a cab so I walked to the gan.  it was a lovely day but I was very weak.  going there was okay but the return walk was tricky.  I felt a bit faint and couldn't find a cab.  I got home and couldn't handle the kids.  they were very rambunctious and aggressive with me.  it was their first day back to gan and they were overtired and violent.  I ended up passing out on the t.v. sofa.

my son expected me to bathe the kids but I physically could not.  I am very lucky that the kids are going to the Sephardi family for Shabbat.  I thought that I was going to have to cook tomorrow.  I didn't really want to go to the supermarket today but I needed to buy a birthday cake.  I was in no shape to bake a cake, either.  I bought some veggies to make a chicken soup for myself and a couple of challah rolls for Shabbat.  one evening my son ordered in some spicy Chinese chicken soup.  it truly relieved my throat of any pain.  boy was it hot!!!

I took a cab to the pharmacy to buy a gift for my son.  I couldn't really afford a bottle of cologne and I wouldn't know what to buy.  the saleslady wanted to start spraying me and I had to decline in order not to start a coughing and choking fit in the store.  I bought a bunch of face wash and deodorants and body gels.  every thing was on sale.  I think I spent about $30 and another $10 for the cake and $13 on cabs. 

the big kids went off to the maul and I picked up the small kids.  I got back from my shopping spree and felt really awful.  the weather changed and it started to rain.  I called my neighbor and enlisted her help in picking up the grandkids with me.  I was a bit short in the cash department to order any more cabs.  next week I have to pay some bills and straighten out the finance situation.  I 'blew my wad' during Chanukah.  I went through the loan money pretty fast, too.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Sleepless In Zefat

it is 11:00 a.m. in the holy city of zefat.   I am truly tired.  we came home from the family haircutting celebration party at 11:00 p.m..  I had taken the kids out to a show at 10:00 a.m.   I was very pressured to catch the bus.  as we were literally out the door, I ran back inside to catch the phone. I thought that it might be the daughter-in-law calling to coordinate the afternoon's plan.  I don't carry my cellphone and it makes it hard for her to reach me.  it turns out that it was my BFF and I blew her off to catch the bus. 

I had arranged with another girlfriend to meet up on the 10:00 a.m. bus with the little boy that she cares for.  I felt a bit bad about the abrupt way I hung up with my gal pal but I couldn't call her back.   the bus actually came late and we waited for nearly 20 minutes.  it isn't easy waiting at a bus stop with two small kids.  a  taxi came by but he was only going as far as the central bus station.  we all piled in and out of the cab in rapid speed and waited for the bus.

a local yokel city worker was spray painting parking lines in front of the bus stop.   the fumes were unbearable.  we were all coughing and holding our noses.  sometimes it feels like we are living in  the city of 'helm'.  we got to the theatre with plenty of time to spare.  the kids had a ball running around in the lobby.  each grandkid found a friend or two from their gan.  it was really cute.   the production was only an hour long.  we then went into town and to a grocery where I bought cookies for the 7th anniversary of my mother's passing.

when I realized that I had missed her date that night I went into a tail spin.  I usually do something to commemorate her passing.   last year I made a latke night for a few friends and I made a 'thanksgivica' dinner when historically, the two holidays coincided.  the big kids had taken the small kids out of town to buy Chanukah gifts.   I thought about making some latkes and chicken cutlets for after the lighting of the Chanukah menorah but  they had already eaten at 'burger ranch'.  I waited the entire night for their return.  I ended up going to sleep around 11:00 p.m. without lighting my chanukiah.

I woke  up shortly afterwards to let the dogs out.  I saw the car and realized that the kids had returned.  by then I was really in a bad way.  I felt so alone and isolated.  after my son lit the Chanukah lights I called my sister in L.A.   it was midnight our time.  my older sister is my voice of reason and was able to calm me down.  I may have stopped crying but I was still quite agitated.  I  went to light a memorial candle but I was all out.  I poured a lot of olive oil and a bit of water into a  small juice glass and  lit it next to a small picture of my mom. 

I then read s bunch of psalms.  now it was 2:30 a.m.  I went to lie down.  my mind was racing.  I jumped out of bed to make a potato kugel.   there is nothing worse than yesterday's kugel.  I thought about making a  cake.  I was all out of eggs.  I got back into bed around 3:00 p.m.   I came up with a game plan.  I would run to the supermarket at 7:00 a.m. and buy a ton of goodies.  I would get all kinds of nuts and dried fruits and chocolates.  I would then run over to my friend's  house and bring a fresh bag of milk and feed the cats.  I would then return home and shower and  get ready to go to the kids' show.  now it was 5:30 a.m.

I could not get up the next morning.  I felt nauseated.  my head hurt and my eyes burnt.  before I knew it, my son was going off to work.  I needed to shower and the kids were alone downstairs.  they were already dressed but a bit unkempt.  somehow I managed to get dressed and made up and out of the house by 10:00 a.m.  game plan changed.  we did not go over to feed the cat.  after the show we had an hour or more to kill.  I was able to get some cookies and cheap Chanukah  presents for the kids.  I didn't buy a gift for the little 3 year old having his first haircut.  I had asked the daughter-in-law to pick up something from the clothes store where she works.  it didn't happen.

she picked us up and drove us off  to Meron for the haircut.  the family was very delighted with the selection of  cookies I brought.  we made platters to give out to the people there.  I had enough time to stop off at a souvenir shop and buy a small leather drum and cards for the birthday boy.  I had enough time to enter an indoor gravesite and pray for my mom and family.  I even got to light a memorial candle for my mom.  I had some refreshments and was driven home.  I had enough time to go over to feed the cat and bring fresh milk before I got picked up to go to the party.

as soon as I entered the house, I ran to call my friend back.  she was very cold and when I tried to explain what was going on she didn't want any part of it.  finally we made up.  now I'm off to take the kids to a carnival.  and I have to make Shabbat meals.  we will do it up in honor of mom.  I invited 2 friends for lunch.  I still have a sparkling pomegranate wine in the fridge to toast mom.  I will make a cheesecake later this evening, too.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Spin The Draidel 2015

it is 4:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  I just got back from a playdate on the next street.  a lovely young mother of 3, invited us to play with her kids.  two out of the three kids are in the same gans.  we met at a local Chanukah party in the nearby community center.

it was way too crowded and over heated.  today was a lovely and warm day.  the sun was pretty strong and you didn't even need a coat.   I got stuck carrying mine as well as the kids' coats.  I took out a huge loan yesterday at the bank.  my checks were bouncing all over the place.  I needed some breathing space.  I ended up taking out more than I truly needed thanks to the bank clerk who was doing some fancy financial hullabaloo.  I was flush today. I spent $10 on the party and another $10 at the bakery.

I will be paying off this Chanukah for the next three years.  go know!  I plan on taking the kids to a production of the 'ugly duckling' in town tomorrow.  we then have a haircutting ceremony in Meron,  followed by a celebratory dinner in the evening.  the daughter-in-law is taking the kids to 'toys are us' to buy Chanukah gifts.   I don't have the strength to go to town now to buy a gift for the three year old birthday boy.

my check to the gas company was returned.  I don't think they have an office in zefat.  I called the number for the guy who schlepps the gas balloons to zefat and I tried to arrange for him to come over so that I could redeem my check with cash.  well, that didn't  happen today.  it's hard to navigate this world  without a cell phone.  yet, I resist using mine.  I could try again in the morning but i'll be out all day.

I just thought of a good idea.  I will ask my daughter-in-law to buy something from the clothes store where she works for her nephew.  of course, I will reimburse her when she returns.  that way I can rest now and not have to jump on a bus.  I do need to jump to the supermarket up here to buy a carton of milk.  my friend is out of town and I have been coming over to feed the outdoor cats they have more or less benefactored, as of late.  they called me last night to come over and get a bag of milk that expires today.  I, of course, need to schlepp on over there and replace the expired bag with a fresh one.

it is very dark outside and the street lights haven't come on yet.  I think I will treat the cats to a bag of milk.   this young mom of three gave me a brand new doggie bed, a bag of top quality dog food and treats.  I see that money is not lacking in this household.  they brought in a puppy and apparently someone stole it.  that happens a lot in zefat.  for some strange reason people/kids steal dog collars off  dogs' necks here.  pretty bizarre!  her 3 small kids were afraid of the puppy.  my grandkids are crazy for dogs, having grown up with two, and now three dogs in my house.

I went off  my diet a bit.  yesterday I had potato latkes and today I had a greasy pita with olive oil and zatar.  I think that's hyssops in English.  I then had two barekas with salty cheese and half a small bag of chocolate milk.  I also had half of a strawberry flavored leban.  however, I didn't succumb to eating a fried donut yet.  I think I will p ass on those and get back to my carb free diet tomorrow.  I allow myself carbs on Shabbat.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Come Back In 6 Months

it is 4:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  I just got back from my gyn/oncologist appointment in Tel Hashomer, a small city near Tel Aviv.  I left by taxi at 6:00 a.m.  my appointment was for 9:15 a.m.  of course, I didn't sleep a wink last night, for fear of oversleeping this morning.  it was very dark and very cold and wet this morning.  it wasn't much warmer in the center of the country.  I read on line that they had foiled a plan by the Arab head of cleaning there to organize a few terror attacks.

I took a boiling hot shower at around midnight and watched the recent British 'x factor' into the wee small hours of the morning.  I felt a bit nauseous when I got out of bed.  I had a strong cup of black tea and away we went.  traffic was pretty decent and I got to the hospital before 9:00 a.m.  after travelling for nearly 3 hours, I was told at the front desk that my doctor wasn't coming in today.  I nearly had a meltdown.

 I have been seeing this top doctor through the clinic for 3 years.  I learned very well at the beginning not to settle for a substitute.  I actually left the women's clinic twice when he wasn't there.  both times I had other appointments with either the radiologist or neurologist.  I was getting ready to get up and go back home at 9:30 a.m.  I was trying to figure out how I could wangle another taxi ride back from my health insurance carrier.  I was called into he doctor's office at around 10:00 a.m.

I was so very relieved to see the doctor.  I had about a ten minute exam and I was finished.  he gave me a clean bill of health and told me to come back in 6 months.  I asked him if he was planning on retiring.  I was fixating on never seeing him again in the outer office.  I don't think I could trust another gyn doctor to touch me.  this man is an angel.  he is the kindest and nicest doctor,ever.  he is the top man in his field and in this hospital.  I had to fight really hard to get in to see him from the start.

I thought that I might have a hernia because I have been experiencing some discomfort around my naval lately.  I couldn't see my navel the other day and got a bit panicked.  I'm not one to run to doctors so I waited t see my gyn this morning.  I told him that I hadn't had any sugar in 2 months but still, haven't managed to get he belly fat in check.  he told me that I needed some physical exercise.  he didn't seem that patient, either.  I thought about rescheduling my appointment for when I was thinner but in the end, I decided to go while the weather was decent.

I asked my son to buy me some Chanukah candles from the zefat candle factory to give to the doctor and his assistant.  the ever wacked out secretary wasn't here today so I gave the doctor two packs of designer candles.  it cost around $25.  I think it's a nice gesture.  I believe that Chanukah starts on Monday evening.  the third day of Chanukah is the 7th year of my mother's passing.  last year I made a latke night for some friends.  I don't know what I will do this year.  the little kids will be home for the entire week and I will probably have them here with me.

money is also a problem, once again.  my daughter-in-law's nephew is having his third birthday next week and his first haircut.  in the past I made chocolate lolly pops with a picture of a scissors and a number 3.  I don't think I can afford to make them this year and I doubt that I will have the energy.  last few times it took about 3-4 hours.  the doctor asked me about my energy level.  I was too tired to tell him how truly tired I am all the time.  he asked about my bowel movements and appetite.  how embarrassing!  just one look at me and you can see that I have no problem with my appetite.

my nephew and wife came back from the Ukraine, where they were running a chabad house, to have their first baby girl.  they are staying in Rehovot, which is just a bus ride away from the hospital.  I  would have liked to go and visit them but I didn't have their address.  my sister was supposed to call me last night to coordinate the details.  she travelled yesterday.  perhaps she did call while I was downstairs with the grandkids but she didn't leave a message and I don't have her cell number.

the taxi driver was very accommodating and offered me a good deal to travel home.  I considered having him drive me to Rehovot but I didn't have my sister's phone number with me.  oh well....  that's par for the course with my baby sister.  she only recently let me know that her daughter-in-law had returned to the country to give birth.  of course, I wasn't told beforehand that they were expecting.  I got a text announcing the birth.  she never uses the phone for personal calls.  when my daughter-in-law was giving birth my sister called the hospital 5 or 6 times even though I promised to call her as soon as the baby was born.  she never let me know once in 4 births that my niece was in labor.  she's funny that way.

I took a 45 minute bus ride back toTel Aviv and caught a 2 1/2 hour express bus back to Rosh Pina.  I then took a 15 minute local bus ride back to my neighborhood.  I stopped off at the small supermarket and bought 6 kilos of dog food which was half priced.  I actually schlepped the dog food home and didn't call a cab.  that's 13 pounds of dog food.  I also managed to carry home 3 bottles of beer too.  my son needs beer at the end of his working day to relax.  yes, I am an enabler.  when he has had a particularly depressing day at the gallery he is MIA, leaving me to put the kids to sleep.

it was supposed to start storming today but the day ended on a very warm and sunny note.  I passed out on the bus ride home and woke up for the rest stop.  I got a cup of tea but it was too hot to drink.  I had some before we got back to zefat.  I ate a ton of roasted peanuts while I waited for the bus in Tel Aviv.  I guess I should have something for dinner.  I probably have a can of tuna in the closet.  I'm way too tired to cook.  I wonder if the kids will be joining me for Shabbat.  I was hoping to go to my friends but they are going out of town for a few days.