Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Letter

it is 6:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  we start the second holiday of pesach tonight.   candle lighting is in 40 minutes.  it was a lovely and comfortable pesach.   it was partly due to using disposable dishes and more importantly, my son was home all week.  he took the kids on trips and spent 3 full days with them.  there is a first time for everything, I guess.   we ate tons of steak and lamb this year because my son was home and in the mood to barbecue.  we had close friends visiting for a few days which made the holiday fun.

I had a few friends come over for lunch and I made schnitzels, fries and salad in record time.  the kids are going to the Sephardi family for the holiday and I am going to my friends in the neighborhood.  the kids will be returning for Shabbat.  I spent all morning cooking for Shabbat.  I went to the supermarket to by some spices because pesach ends on Friday night and I wanted to make regular food for Shabbat.  my son barbecued this afternoon and we had more lamb chops and chicken wings.  I am still stuffed.

all in all, it was a great chag.  I got an email a little while ago letting me know that my niece in Delhi had given birth to a baby girl ten days ago.   my older sister in California had told me before pesach that she had seen a picture of my other niece holding a baby.  she couldn't read the Hebrew text and as none of us were informed that my niece was pregnant, she assumed it was from the exended family.

my sister emailed me the night before she travelled to India and still didn't mention that my niece was due at any moment.  I kind of suspected the truth because my sister, her daughter and husband, all went to India this year.   I figured they were going for a bris.  anyway, I was deeply hurt, once again.  I am happy for my niece but I am not interested in any news from over there at this point.

I guess I should rap this out and get a shower in.  I did the floors this morning.  they were black.  I made spicy chicken legs, spicy chicken stir fry, mashed potatoes, beets and carrot salad.  I will make an Israeli salad on Shabbat.   I bought drinks and also made fresh lemonade and apple juice.  we still have pesach cakes left over and I bought two pints of ben and jerry ice cream.  chag samach!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

We Made It Out

it is 8:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  Shabbat ended a little while ago.  I just washed up the pots and plans.  no dishes this holiday.  the disposable dishes, cups and cutlery were wonderful.  we all are exhausted and some of us have upset stomachs from the matzah.  I got sick last night during the seder.  the matzah wasn't exactly going down.  I felt like I might have to throw up.  I was also drunk after the first cup of wine.  I felt a bit dizzy but thank goodness, it passed.

I ended up pulling an all nighter on thursday.  I finished washing the house at around 2:30 a.m.  I was bent over and my hands were burnt from the bleach.  I went to sleep in my newly cleaned master bedroom but couldn't fall asleep.  I was ill from all the bleach I used.  I was congested and couldn't breathe.  today my nose is running nonstop.  I think I passed out at around 4:00 a.m.  it suddenly was cold and I was shivering.  I went over to the t.v. couch and fell asleep with my dog on top of me.

I jumped up at 9:00 a.m. and went downstairs to burn the chometz.  It took me just a little while to cover the counters with industrial strength tin foil.  this year I bought the less thick and ominous tin foil.  the expensive one, which is razor sharp was about $20 a roll.  I bought 3 rolls which were $10 a piece.  I have a roll leftover for next year.  I try to leave things in my pesach cupboard for the following year.  it's like a good luck charm to last another year.

I took the kids to the supermarket to buy towels for the neighbors.  I spent about $35.  it took us about an hour to wait on line.  my back was killing me.  a neighbor drove us home.  the kids wanted to go to the playground.  I think I am going to nix it on the gifts next year.  no one cares anymore.  it took me all day long to cook the Shabbat meals and prepare the seder.  I finished up minutes before candle lighting.    I was dragging my heels at that point.  I saved the charoset for the last minute.  wrong choice!.  I had to crack 2 bags of filberts and walnuts and peel a kilo of apples.  I then had to throw it all into my mini food processor.  it took about 10 batches or more to finish.  the filberts tasted stale.  I'm used to using almonds.  I ran out of time.  I still had to peel the dates and the machine wasn't grinding them up.  I ended up not using the dates.  my charoset was a bust.

I was able to cook 4 dishes at the same time so I had a pot of meat, potatoes, beets and chicken all  going at the same time.  seconds before Shabbat began, I made a carrot salad.  no one touched it.  during the meal I made a green salad with avocado for my son.  I didn't put the meat on the electric hotplate and of course, everyone wanted meat.  I saved it for today's lunch.  there is actually, a method to my folly.

my son said that I made magical food on pesach.  I use no spices and yet everything has a taste of pesach.  I use a lot of onions, salt, wine, lemons, oranges, olive oil and pepper corns.  I do use a bit of honey.  my granddaughter put a bit of the mashed potatoes on her fork and turned it upside down.  the potatoes didn't fall from the fork.  she said, "look, just like play dough".  oh, the adorable things kids say!

the little kids and my daughter-in-law didn't make it to end of the seder.  my son finished reading the hagada in record time.  we were finished with the meal by 11:00 p.m.  I walked my friend out of the neighborhood.  at first my back was killing me.  I had to sit down twice.  on the way home I was able to walk normally.  I got home at 12:45 a.m.  I cleaned up and set the table for today's meal.  I went to bed at 2:30 a.m.  I passed out as soon as my body hit the bed.  my grandson slept on the t.v couch.  he tried to wake me up at 7:00 a.m.  I couldn't get out of bed.  I think I finally got up around 8:30 a.m.when the granddaughter came up.  and then it was a round of hot chocolate for everyone.

lunch was pleasant even though my grandson was suffering from constipation and spent the entire day complaining and kvetching.  I had little patience for him.  I made a huge fruit salad with fresh oranges, grapefruits, nectarines, bananas and tangerines.  it was just what the doctor ordered.  I also enjoyed the cooked pears in red wine and fresh ginger that I made.   the meat was tasty but a bit tough.  the honeyed orange chicken was a bit dried out today.  the mashed potatoes was a bit thick, as previously noted.

it's back to work for the big kids and I guess, I have the little kids tomorrow.  if it isn't brutally hot, I will take them to the petting zoo.  we are in the midst of a heat wave and they predict that it will get hotter this week.  the big kids are taking off on Monday to do a family trip.  my good friend and her son are coming to zefat on Monday from efrat so I think I won't be going on that outing.  it's a shame because I enjoy our yearly outings.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Is It Pesach Yet?

it is 1:30 a.m. in the holy city of Zefat.  I just finished cleaning the house.  I am defrosting the chickens and will cover the counters in the morning.  I already covered the dining room table.  I have a lot of things to bring back into the house in the morning.   the carpet has been outside all week.  I already made up the master bedroom.  what a job it was to straighten up the room!  I might have laundry on the lines, too.  I can't remember.

I did sponger for hours.  I didn't do the outside windows nor the windows in the blue bedroom.  my back gave out on me.  the house looks clean but nothing special.  last year it shone.  nothing really sparkles.  we had pizza for supper and I drank two glasses of cola and ice tea.  talk about your sugar and caffeine rush.

I am pretty tired and need to sleep.  I have to get to the supermarket in the morning to buy some gifts for the neighbors.  I might have to give out chocolates this year.  maybe they have some towels on sale.  we have to burn the chometz in the morning.  every year I make a small bonfire and burn the bits of bread that we saved to do the ritual checking.  I had the kids search for the tiny wrapped up pieces of pita.  we put out 10 pieces upstairs and 10 downstairs.  of course, I lock the dogs out so they can't eat them or hide them in the house.

I am relieved that I finished.  I wanted to finish a lot earlier but I did have the kids with me and it slowed me down.  I hope i'll have enough energy to cook in the morning.  candle lighting is nearly 7:00 p.m. so I think I'll manage.  I want to make some chicken schnitzels to eat before the Seder.  I think i'll go with honey and orange chicken.  I might throw in a small piece of meat with a lot of potatoes for Shabbat lunch.

I bought avocados and they ripened super fast because we are having a heat wave.  it finally got hot in the house.  the bananas went bad and so did the nectarines.  i'll try to buy some bananas in the morning.  the melons I bought were totally rotten and tasted like bleach.  I don't know how much I paid for them.  oh well....

wishing everyone a happy and kosher pesach!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


it is 12:00 the holy city of zefat.  my son came home a little while ago and helped me fix the arm  of my dining room chair.   he had a couple of beers in him and this was not an example of his finest work.  the screw was not placed correctly and is jutting out.  we can't get the screw out at this point and my son's attitude is that the chairs are old so they don't count.  they are old.  this is my fifteenth year in the house and we bought them second hand.  I try to keep things taken care of because I don't know when i'll have money to buy new furniture in the future.

my son says that I cannot throw things out.  I beg to differ with him.  I threw out an aluminum folding card table this week that had to have been over 50 years old.  and today I threw out a china serving dish because the handle had been glued on, that must have been over 100 years old.  I also threw out an antique wooden decorative table and an antique dining room table and two of its chairs.

I was given the day off from child care so I got some things done.  I managed to clean the living room, do two loads of laundry and wash the dining room chairs.  I still have two bedrooms to clean and the t.v room.  I found bloody feathers under the dining room table.  apparently, cloey the pincher,  ate a bird yesterday.  a little while ago she entered the house with a roll.

everyone throws out their bread before pesach and my dogs bring it all home.  I have the morning to myself tomorrow.  hopefully i'll get a lot accomplished.  I usually kill myself the day before pesach and  end up cleaning until the wee hours of the morning.  I think I have a good chance of finishing up at a decent hour.   I may go into town tomorrow.  I must check out the bank account and make sure that I'm not overdrawn again.  I would love to buy new slip covers for the chairs and couches but I don't think that I will be able to financially swing it.  right now I have some pillows soaking in the bath tub. 

I must get to the clinic and sort out my medical papers.  I would love to put off the gyn appointment for a while.  we'll see what I can do.  I need to get a  tick and flee collar for tiny, the large dog.  I also need to buy lettuce and celery for the Seder.  I hate to lose momentum by going to town.  I woke up early today and started to clean straight away.  I finally stopped at 7:30 p.m.  I was wasted.   I can hardly walk.  my back is all scrunched up. 

I am very hungry but there really isn't anything to eat.  and anyway, I don't eat after 7:30 p.m.  I  had eggs, bananas,  melon and 4 granola bars today.  and yet, I'm still hungry.  I put the kids to sleep at 10:00 p.m. and took the lolly pop out of my granddaughters hand and ate it.  it was actually tasty.  haven't had a lolly pop in many years.   I am very tired sand very hungry so I think i'll go to sleep.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Tell Me Why I Don't Like Mondays

it is 8:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  I had the kids all day and didn't really get to do much pesach cleaning.   I cleaned the computer area and key board and washed the windows in my blog/costume back bedroom.  I can't really close the closet doors.  they have been stuck all year long.  the owner of the furniture store where we bought them is my neighbor but I haven't gotten the chutzpah up to ask him for a favor.

I spent a lot of time screaming at the kids today.  they are so wild and needy without having gan.  It was non stop treats and drinks all morning long.  at 2:00 p.m. I made a batch of soy franks.  I made scrambled eggs for their father before he went to work, which he didn't finish.  the dogs got them.  I opened a can of sardines in olive oil for the granddaughter, which she didn't eat and the dogs got them, too.  I made warm milk with sugar which both kids didn't drink.  I dumped it down the drain.  I found a can of palm slices, which the kids gobbled up and a can of tuna which I gobbled up.

I spent the morning searching for the granddaughter.  this 4 year old spends all morning applying makeup.  I put on movies for the grandson but he was totally rambunctious and kept on bothering his sister who kept on whining to me.  I totally lost it at one point.  the granddaughter took my one and only pen and lost it.  I went ballistic.  I used to have tons of pens back in the days before grandkids and poverty.  I never had just one pen.  what can I do?   the little kids take all my pens downstairs and I never see them again.

I went on and on and on about not taking my pens without permission.  I asked the 4 year old a hundred times where she put my pen.   after all, how can I make lists for everything I still need to do and buy for pesach without a pen.  the little one didn't flinch.  I just went downstairs to check out the new curtains the big kids put up in the kitchen, and the 4 year old handed me a pen.

last night my son painted the downstairs.  it was a long time coming.  he wanted designer colors but his wife wanted white.  it looks clean but boring and the curtains are totally inappropriate for a kitchen/dining room.  they are actually for a living room.  they also do not give them any privacy.  what can you do?  I just said it was stunning.  in the meantime, I attempted to paint a kitchen wall, white and it became a real hassle.

first, I had to cover a darkish tan wall and second, a lot of the old plaint peeled off under the pressure of the roller.  originally, the wall seemed smooth to me but I had some water damage on the bottom.  I thought about contact paper but I went with the paint.  I now have to go back to town and buy some spackle.   the wall looks awful.  I wanted a high gloss white plaint but this isn't it.  the floor is a mess and I'm finished.  I do have until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow to myself.  I then have the kids until nightfall.

I took the kids out for a little while.  actually,  a neighbor came by with my mail  and the little devils ran outside.  I was embarrassed because I had been screaming with the windows open.  we took their scooters down to the park and my granddaughter took a dive down a hill.  she scraped both arms, her knee, chin and shoulder.   there was a bit of blood on her lips and she went hysterical.  I tried to apply aloe Vera plant but she howled so loud a male Sephardi neighbor came by to check it out.  he calmed her down and brought her some cake and a hand full of Dora band aids.

I, once again, looked like a fool.  I was totally in control but I was waiting for her to stop crying.  I am not Sephardi.  I don't go looking for candy and cartoon band aids when someone is bleeding.  I cut aloe Vera plant.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Countdown To Pesach 2016

it is 7:30 a.m. in the holy city of zefat.   I just let the dogs out.  once again, I woke up wet.  cloey, the pincher seems to pish in my bed every morning.  I have been banned from throwing my soiled clothing and bedding into the washing machine downstairs.  I have to soak my towels, sheets and clothes in my small bathtub first.  this is a lot of work.  my back aches.  I have a load of sheets on the lines outside to take in.  I managed to do a couple of loads before Shabbat.

I have a few dishes and pots soaking in the sink from Shabbat.  I used disposable plates and cups this weekend.  I have no strength to wash dishes at this point.  I bought 2 sets of designer disposable dishes for the seder night.  I am busy washing every thing else in sight.  I spent most of Thursday washing all the Lego.  I have washed nearly all of my chactchkas and pictures around the house.  I still need to do my mother's brass candlesticks.  you can't buy brass polish in zefat.  I will use lemon juice.

I need to go to the nurse this morning to have my polymem bandage changed.  my thigh is beginning to itch so I take it as a good sign that my burn is healing.  I went twice last week.  I also need to check up on my medical paper work as I have a gyn oncologist appointment right after pesach.  I am seriously thinking about putting it off.  I was supposed to lose some weight but it looks like I have lost that battle.

I  need to do some errands this morning because I have the kids this afternoon.  I want to sell my chometz at the rabbinate and buy some household goods.  I don't really feel like going to town today.  I ate too much on Shabbat.  my son bought some Yemenite bread and rolled pastry dough which is made with tons of margarine.  I never eat this stuff.  I indulged big time and my stomach is suffering today.  I usually starve before pesach but I have been stuffing myself on potato chips and cookies while I watch the kids. 

I  still have the living room and 3 bedrooms to clean for pesach.  I keep avoiding this like one of the plagues.  I seem to have a block against putting my clothes away and making order in the back bedroom.   I don't think i'll get the chance to do my living room windows this year.  if I had some money I'd buy a couple of new couches.  I will have to settle for buying new couch covers.  the kids gave me a little money. 

I still need to buy veggies and fruits for the holiday.  I think I have enough food and supplies for the week.  I am pretty tired.  I need to get the male dog a flea and tick collar.  he is very hairy and full of ticks.  we suffered from an infestation last summer and it is beginning all over again.  the year went by so fast and here we are, once again, scrambling to finish up for pesach.

I didn't get to visit my friend in the old age home and I felt very guilty.  I had a moment of clarity on Friday where I realized that I had tried to be a good friend to this lady for years and had been the one who was rejected.  I had offered her to come here for holidays and shabbatons and rest after medial procedures but she preferred to stay down town.

my sister and family all went off to India for pesach.  my niece runs the chabad house in Delhi.  I didn't even get a phone call.  I did get an email inviting me to run up to the top street to say goodbye to her at the school where she works.  yes, she works part time in my neighborhood and yet I haven't seen her in nearly a year.  and yes, I feel rejected and abandoned by her.  I invited my other niece, who is staying in zefat, to join us but she didn't respond.  so much for family.  I didn't make it to the school that day.  I wasn't feeling up to going out and my thigh was throbbing from the burn.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Friday Afternoon

it  is 4:15 p.m. in the holy city of safed.   I am taking a break from my Shabbat preparations.  I've been on my feet since 10:00 a.m.   the kids told me that they were invited out for dinner after I cooked 2 packages of chicken and defrosted a package of chicken cutlets.  after a bit of deliberation, they decided to stay in this evening and go for a celebratory lunch for a newly married couple.  the little kids will stay with me as the couple live quite a distance from here.

I made fish fillets, stewed chicken, a sweet noodle kugel, beets, cauliflower, fried eggplant and chicken cutlets.  the kids like to eat schnitzel before Shabbat.  candle lighting these days is at 6:30 p.m. and the Shabbat meal starts around 8:00 p.m.   it is a long Shabbat.  I spent the week cleaning for pesach.  I managed to throw out chatchkas, dishes, books, and clothing that I no longer want.  the dining room area is done.  I have pesach goods in the closets and food in the freezer.  I want to do the actual cooking area next week.

I may have the kids with me next week.  I'm not quite sure when the holiday vacation starts.  it seems like it gets longer every year.  it is quite hard to do much when the kids are under foot.  they are so wild when they go outside.  they play with the hose and get everything full of mud.  they paint nail polish all over the walls.  it isn't easy being with them while I'm so busy.

my back is killing me.  I did the four kitchen windows yesterday and it was too much for me.  I may not get around to doing the bedroom windows.  the windows in the living room are impossible for me to lift out.  I spilled a boiling hot cup of tea onto my upper thigh last night.  it was excruciating.  I watched my skin melt away.  I ran outside for aloe vera.    I should have put cold water on it but I was in shock.  I managed to leave the plant on my wound for an hour but it still burned.

I had adhesive eye bandages which I covered the wound with because I was all out of sterile gauge pads.  it still burns a bit. I just burnt my finger and I poured boiling hot water on my fingers last week.  what is happening to me.?  I went to visit my friend at the old age home on Wednesday.   it was most unpleasant.   she is desperate and demanding and clingy too.  I had made plans with another friend for lunch and I was over an hour late.  we ate dried out cheese omelets and were glad to be alive.

I was exhausted when I got back to the neighborhood.  I felt that I had wasted a good cleaning day because the kids were at the other grandmother.  I decided to go to the large supermarket and shop for pesach.  I was in a trance.  I shopped by route.  I had come with a list but I just kept on going up and down aisles.  it took hours.  I bought the essentials but I still need lots of other things in town.  I bought the pesach dog food yesterday in the small supermarket downstairs.  the large supermarket is too religious to carry pet products.

there are two weeks left before pesach; but as I already stated, I'm on a race against the gan vacation.  if I only had me some bucks, I would hire someone to clean my house.  I'm at that stage where the thrill is gone.  I still need to buy: wine, nuts, dates, paint, and of course, veggies and fruits.  I need a new broom and mop.  that is pesach, folks.  meat was extraordinarily expensive  but I managed to get a couple of small pieces.  I bought chicken but I'm not sure what parts.  I went by prices and not cuts this time. 

pesach is only a week so I'm sure we'll manage.   I'm assuming that the kids will go to the Sephardi family for the second holiday of pesach.  the big kids will be working and i'll probably have the small kids.  we'll do picnics and playgrounds and lots of  French fries.  I bought really cheap oil but it fries up great.  I passed on the expensive walnut oil this year.  I'm not planning on baking.  I bought pesach cakes and chocolate and candy.  I made my famous matzah brie for the kids last year and they didn't want any part of it.  this year I bought chocolate spread for them.