Sunday, August 27, 2017

This Is A dog's World

it is 8:00 a.m. in the holy city of safed.  I am utterly exhausted.  I finally tackled cleaning up the rooftop apartment.  there was a lady who wanted to see it.  I dragged myself upstairs on Friday afternoon and washed the porch area and the bathroom.  I was too tired to deal with it in the morning.  it took about 2 hours to do this task.  everything had to be washed.  I did all the dishes, pots and pans, cutlery, knickknacks and pictures and the screens and windows.

I had my friend's dogs with me so I put them out on the porch while I worked.  on Saturday night after Shabbat ended, I began washing the floor.  I could not finish it.  yesterday morning at 6:00 a.m. I washed the entire wooden floor.  that was no easy feat.  I had to go over it about four times.  the space is about 120 meters.  the place needs throw rugs, for sure.  I also dragged up a couple of tables and chairs and other heavy items.

the lady in question, had emailed me that she was available to come in the evening to see the place.  of course, I came home from cooking at the yeshiva in time to meet her.  when I got home I checked the phone and internet for messages.  she had decided not to waste my time as she was exploring other situations and locations.  I kind of knew it in my gut that this was a no show but I am ever so glad that I finally took care of the apartment.  I now know what repairs are needed to do when I get some money.

it is pesach clean right now and will make a great sleeping space for the holidays.  I might even show it to a student .  there are not many jewish students, unfortunately; and I feel uneasy renting to moslem arabs.

at around midnight last night I was awakened by the hysterical shrieking of my friend's two dogs.  I had no idea what time it was.  I was beat.  I had to walk over to my son's apartment and feed his cat while they are away on vacation.  I waited for the sun to go down because it was another hot day.  it is a 15 minute walk uphill.  I struggled.  I used to walk an hour and a half every night, effortlessly.  a lot  has changed.  I am older, heavier, and I have high blood pressure now.

I have let myself go.  I used to do cardio and yoga.  I can't bend down to pick up objects without wincing.  I still haven't lost an ounce.  it's been about two months now without sweets and nashing.  I do not eat after 8:00 p.m. and before 8:00 a.m.  I need to get this belly fat cut down once and for all.  I lost a ton of weight after the cancer treatment but I felt too thin.  I gained about 10 pounds this summer after I had a bitter fallout with my family.  I am not the kind of person who stops eating when she is sad.

I have an animal crisis.  my friend's dog wandered into my neighbor's yard and she let her out.  I should have let the neighbor's no that I was babysitting other dogs.  I hope she will find her way back to my house.  I just went around the neighborhood with the other 2 dogs but didn't see her.  I am feeling awful.  a few years ago I sat for another friend's dog and she made it out for hours.  I will wait until this afternoon before I go to work.  oh well....

aftermath:  it is 9:00 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  I went downtown at around 2:00 pm. to see if the doggie had made its way back back home.  I stayed home all day long in case she returned.  I ran around the neighborhood for hours looking for her.  I prayed all day long and put coins in a charity box to find her.  it turns out that the neighbor heard her barking and called her nephew, who in turn called my son to get my cell number.  he was going to pick me up and take me there.  my son,
G-d bless him, never thought to call my house phone to let me know that the dog was downtown.  anyway we got reunited and I took her home in a taxi.  I then went to work and came home around 7:00 p.m.

I stopped off to make a condolence call.  a young man aged 33 passed on.  he was a tortured soul with schizophrenia    I knew him when he was a young lad. what a tragedy!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Very Busy

it is 11:00 a.m. in the holy city of safed.  I am just getting up.  I need to go to the supermarket and buy cleaning supplies.  there is someone coming on sunday to check out my roof top studio apartment.  it has been trashed and unclean for about two years.  the pigeons have taken over the porch area, once again. that will be a load of fun to clean up all that dried up pigeon poo.

yesterday, I cleaned my house.  I spent the morning washing the floors and doing laundry.  the pincher dog has become incontinent and is making all over the house.  the kids trash the rest of the house with paper cuttings, potato chips and spilled apple juice.  I saw an ad for part time work at the old yeshiva that I used to cook for.  of course, I needed to start the same day.  it is only for supper and there are only about 8-10 young men at the moment.

the pay is pretty low but it will help pay for my dental crown.  I probably will have to stop working to have the brain surgery.  I made an appointment to see a local neurologist to get permission to have  both my wisdom tooth and another tooth removed.  I have been suffering from intense ear and jaw pain and the dentist is afraid that the brain tumor is presenting nerve symptoms in my face.  the ear doctor said to get another dentist.

I woke up two days ago and couldn't move my head to the right.  it is still pretty stiff and I have lower back pain, too.  it is a bit scary.  I can move my head now but it is still painful.  some how, I managed to work that day at the yeshiva.  the cooking doesn't take more than 2 hours, but the clean up and putting away leftovers does require an additional hour or two.

yesterday I spaced out and cooked enough rice to feed 25 people. I added way too much water and got a giant pot of yellow mush.  I made a kugel out of it by adding eggs and cinnamon.  they will be eating kugel for days.  I strained most of the rice and in the end, I could have presented it as some form of sticky rice.  I ate a bowl of it before I cleaned the kitchen.  it actually, wasn't so bad.

I got back home at around 5:00 p.m.  I showered and met a friend at 6:30 p.m. and we took off for the klezmer music festival in town.  I have been going to the festival for over 30 years.  I used to live in town and it was right in my backyard, so to speak.  now I live a good hour by foot to town.  I used to walk there and back.  I am pretty out of shape these days.  my friend and I did walk up and down the main pedestrian street in town last night.  we wanted to check out the food stalls.  it was mostly the usual stuff.  I thought about buying an eggroll at the thai-chinese restaurant.  my friend wanted popcorn and soft ice cream.  as much as I was tempted to get a frozen ice coffee, I held out.

my back was pretty much aching and sore and I was truly exhausted  form the day's work.  I ended up getting a slice of pizza.  I have been trying so hard to lose weight lately, but I haven't lost a drop.  I haven't been eating after 8:00 p.m. but I started nashing on sunflower seeds at night.  not great!  I only had about 20 shekels on me and that was for a cab if we needed.  the busses were running to 12:30 a.m. so we didn't need a taxi.  we were both ready to go home by 10:00 p.m.  It felt like two old ladies out to town.

there was an outdoor market so we walked around for a bit.  I didn't see anything to buy except a toy for the kids and I held out.  they are going away for 5 days to hotels for a vacation.  my vacation is not having to mind them for a few days.  I ended up buying a fresh fruit salad for 5 shekels.  even though I don't eat at night, it was refreshing.  it probably gave me a sugar rush.  I drank two glasses of almond milk when I got home from work.  I didn't have any real milk at home.  I added a bit of cinnamon and chocolate powder.  it was okay but I think I will buy some real milk this morning. 

we didn't walk all over the city looking for music.  we went to the central area where there was a huge outdoor concert space.  we saw an amazing Russian violinist named sanya kroiter.  I truly loved him.  he looks like a young Robert dinero and his music is out of this world.  I left feeling very satisfied.  it was a little bittersweet because I remembered the years before when I would be at klezmer with my young son and parents all night long.  I don't think I could handle being there alone with my grandkids.

 I am alone for Shabbat.  I will make myself something simple to eat.  I have a copy of the novel, 'the zookeeper's wife', so I will have something amazing to read.  I start my dog sitting gig on Saturday night.  my friend is bringing over her two small dogs for about a month while she has a family reunion in montreal.  that's right , I will have 4 dogs here.  I am planning on keeping her dogs downstairs.  I can't worry about the two males getting into macho alpha dog fights or peeing all over my house for territory.  I also, have to go over to my son's house and feed his horrible cat while they are away.  at least, my friend paid me for my services even though I already blew the money.

and now I must get dressed and out and somehow get the upstairs cleaned.  that will be quite a feat.  I don't truly believe that this woman will want the apartment but I must at least, try.  I let the water out of the pool yesterday.  it had turned green and I didn't have the money to buy cleaning agents.  hopefully, my son will clean it and put it away before winter this year.  we had a wonderful summer in it.  so that is my story for now.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A littleTired

it is 6:00 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  I am missing my cooking competition show because the kids are watching a movie.  I am pretty tired and have little patience left.  I had some guests for a few days and I also had the kids here, too.  my friends arrived in the late afternoon on Wednesday and the kids were still here.  my grandson received a giant box of lego and he went into building mode for hours.

my son decided to go out to get a bite to eat with his friend and I stayed home with the kids to about 10:00 p.m.  no one had eaten much so I ran out to the neighborhood pizza shop and bought a small pie.  on Thursday we made a barbecue.  my friend's adult son stayed in the pool with the kids while I got everything organized.  he was a bit shell shocked.  these kids are wild.  anyway, he survived and was able to man the fire that evening.

another friend joined us and thankfully, it cooled off in the late evening.  the kids were tired and we brought out covers and mini mattresses for them to lie on while we ate.  they did perk up for the roasted marshmallows.   the kids slept over on Thursday night.  their parents wanted some 'alone' time.  my friend and I had ventured out to town earlier that day to check out the art galleries.  she hadn't been there in years.

 we stopped off at a local Yemenite restaurant in the old city.  they serve sandwiches and we drank some exotic plant juice, known to make you high. we blew big bucks with the rest of the tourists.  we didn't really get high but we both seemed more relaxed.  we ran to a small market and bought some beer and things for the barbecue and for Shabbat.  once again, we blew big bucks.  or in my case, a big check.  we got stuck in town and waited for 20 minutes for a taxi.

on Friday I washed the floors, once again.  I had done them on Wednesday and changed all the linens in the bedrooms.  what could I do, the floors were trashed.  I got a late start cooking.  the kids needed a lot of attention and they wanted to be in the pool.  my friends joined the kids in the pool while I scrambled to finish the floors.  my friend did all the peeling and helped me cut the veggies for salad.  I seldom accept help, but I was losing steam fast.

while the kids stayed with the adult male guest, his mother and I ran to the local supermarket and bakery.  we schlepped home an enormous watermelon, and a case of bottled water in my shopping cart.  we took turns pulling the wagon.  the amount of shopping and schlepping seemed endless.  my money soon ran out and so did most of my physical endurance.  I was beat. 

I have been suffering from an infected wisdom tooth and neuralgia in my face and ear.  I had taken a week's worth of antibiotics which left me reeling.  the dentist was afraid to do any work until I had my ear checked out and a letter from a neurologist.  she is convinced that my brain tumor is presenting symptoms.  I ran to an ear doctor on Tuesday evening.  he had arrived late and I ended up waiting in a freezing reception area until 8:45 p.m.

he told me that my ear was fine and that I needed a dentist.  he had little patience and said there couldn't be any connection between the pain in my jaw and ear to my brain tumor.  he said to switch dentists.  the bus wasn't running on schedule due to a concert in town.  I waited 40 minutes for a  bus and got home at 10:00 p.m.  I was simply overwrought.  I have an appointment with a neurologist in two weeks.  in the meanwhile, I tread lightly.  every once in a while I get a twinge of pain in my teeth and mouth and eardrum. 

I tried to keep the Shabbat preparations to a minimum.  I made spicy stewed fish fillets, and stewed spicy chicken.  I defrosted  turkey meatballs from two weeks ago and threw it into the chicken.  I wanted to make a liver teriyaki with the left over liver from the barbecue but I ran out of time.  I also wanted to fry some chicken schnitzel but I ran out of strength.  I did manage to make a huge potato kugel and baked a few beets.  I made a  cooked tomato relish, a carrot and almond salad, an egg salad and a lettuce, cucumber and tomato salad.  I had store bought chumus and olives.

I did all the dishes and clean up by myself.  I usually have help.  I set up the electric platter for the morning.  I couldn't get to synagogue.  I was wasted.  I gave over the master bedroom to my son and wife and they slept with the granddaughter.  I slept in the t.v. room on the tiny sofa and my grandson slept in the middle of the room on a mattress.  I stayed in the living room for most of the morning on the large couch.  it was surprisingly comfortable and cool in that room.  I never sit there.

everyone took naps and I fell asleep in the living room with the kids.  I actually passed out while the kids went amok.  I had sat downstairs in the sun while the kids swam in the pool.   I woke up and the kids were in the t.v. area with my friend.  the parents were still resting.  I worried about what to serve for the third meal.  I made an Israeli salad with tiny diced tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion.  I served fresh whole wheat pitas, danish butter, sliced yellow cheese, cottage cheese and 5 % white cheese spread.  everyone was satiated.

another friend stopped by with chocolates, fruit and cookies so we all munched out on her package.  it was a very long Shabbat.  I made French toast with leftover challah this morning and my friends left.  the kids came over at 1:00 p.m. I ran to supermarket to bring back the empty beer bottles and buy some treats.  I am beat.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Life Goes On

it is 8:30 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  the grandkids just left.  and no, I did not shower them.  they were in the pool and I was exhausted.  they were actually, getting along together in the computer room and I passed out for a moment.  I even got to see my Australian cooking contest show at 6:00 p.m.

I made some chicken wings and French fries for my grandson.  the granddaughter wanted tuna fish but of course, didn't eat any.  she ended up having a yogurt with a banana.  I had one myself.  I am suffering from a severe earache.  I have had it since last week.  I did go to the dentist because I also had an awful toothache.

the dentist thought that I had an infected wisdom tooth so I took a week's load of antibiotics.  I can't believe how woozy I felt.  I have been pretty miserable of late.  a couple of weeks ago I slid on some dog pish and broke a toe.   on Shabbat my sciatic acted up and I was crippled.  I couldn't even stand up straight.  my teeth ached and my ear was inflamed.

I couldn't reach the dentist today, of course.  I don't have the kids tomorrow so hopefully I will get to see the dentist tomorrow.  it was a bit cooler on Saturday but once again, it became unbearably hot today.  they say that it is the hottest it's been in 100 years but I think they said the same thing last year.  my back is much better but my inner ear and jaw are both killing me.

 I am having friends stay over on Wednesday so I went to the local supermarket to buy a few things today.  there are tons of tourists visiting safed right now so the large supermarket is a real jungle.  if you don't get there early there is nothing left on the shelves.  I couldn't deal with the place this morning.  we will probably do some barbecuing on Thursday so I will have to buy some wings, kabobs and hamburgers.

I spent a bit of time in the pool this afternoon. I don't think it was the best thing to do with my ear problem but it was too hot not to.  I have no patience at this point.  I cannot deal with this pain much longer.  I have some pain relief pills but I haven't taken any.  i'm too lazy to go and find them.

I am basically, using arnica oil and peroxide to deal with the pain.  I travelled with the kids to hadera on Thursday to pay a condolence call.  my daughter-in-law's 49 year old aunt succumbed to her 9 year battle with bone cancer.  she was truly a saint.  she was a tremendous source of strength when I was sick.  she truly was a happy woman who loved her family.  she had an infinite amount of faith,  too.

it was a pleasure to see this extended family in action.  in spite of the tragedy everyone was united and loving.  there were loads of little children and babies running around and everyone got along.  the family unity is amazing.  having not had that all my life, made it seem even more miraculous.  yes, I am still not speaking with my family.  I try not thinking about them now.

the holidays are getting pretty close.  I want to do the minimum.  I will try and go out for most of the meals.  I am still contemplating the brain surgery.  my friends are leaving for a month in November so I need to do the surgery in October.  my other option is to wait until I become symptomatic.  my sister not having anything to do with me, leaves me very vulnerable, medically.  I don't think my son will be able to help me that much.  oh well.....

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Fasting In Safed

it is 4:40 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  we have been fasting since 7:30 p.m. last night.  I asked the gardener what he eats before the fast.  he told me that he just eats some sandwiches.  he also said that eating too much makes it harder to fast.  I haven't suffered on a fast in years since I stopped drinking coffee.  I used to get the most extreme caffeine withdrawals and headaches.

I haven't been drinking much tea lately, either.  I've had a pretty bad toothache.  I've been applying  arnica oil and rinsing with peroxide every 4 hours. I found that chewing raw ginger seemed to have a numbing effect on the gums.  since we are fasting, I didn't rinse with the peroxide this morning.  nor did I chew any ginger.

I have been watching holocaust memoirs and movies all day.  it is hard to stay in a sad mode.  we are mourning for the loss of our holy temples but it not so easy to relate to.  there was a large march last night by the 'women in green' movement  through the old city of Jerusalem.  there has been a lot of violence perpetrated against Jews recently.  two young policeman were killed and three members of a family were butchered by terrorists.

the incident happened on Shabbat night.  they were murdered at their Shabbat meal in their family's home.  I know that I write a lot about what I cook for Shabbat.  it is impossible to grasp the horror of what happened to this family who were celebrating the birth of a son, grandson and nephew.  the Jews are not allowed to pray on the temple mount.  it is under arab jurisdiction.  they consider it to be one of their most holy sites.  the two policemen, who were in their early twenty's, were murdered because the government had installed security equipment on the mount.  the arabs didn't much like that.

the two policemen and three members of the soloman family have been buried.  the surveillance equipment has been dismantled.  and we still don't have a holy temple.  that should be enough to keep us sad for a period of 24-25 hours while we fast.  somehow it doesn't.  we need to read the book of lamentations but yet it still isn't enough.  so we resort to watching holocaust movies.  if you google 'tisha b'av' you can get a list of the 10 best holocaust films.

on Holocaust memorial day there is no regular television broadcasting except for holocaust documentaries and movies.  even though it is a regular day in the country you cannot watch regular television.  on tisha b'av, the saddest day for the jews and a mandatory fast day, it is hard to find a holocaust show on cable television.  so, I sit and lie in the computer room watching the 1978 movie 'holocaust'.  it is hard to believe it was broadcasted 39 years ago.  there is a very young meryl streep playing a berlin gentile intermarried with a jew.

I think I actually watched this television series when it was first broadcasted so many years ago.  it seemed so shocking at the time.  when I first came to Israel in 1984 I was bored.  safed was a one horse town and the horse had just died.  there weren't many cars and only one movie theater.  there was no supermarket yet and they had built a maul but it was empty.  I started reading books.  and I started reading about the holocaust.  I can remember entering my mother's bedroom on several occasions while she sat crying, watching holocaust documentaries. 

I never could relate.  after all, the holocaust had happened so long ago.  I didn't know of any family members who had been murdered.  my parents were born in America and my grandparents had emigrated at the turn of the century.  I never knew that my great grandparents and several of their children had succumbed to the Nazis.  it probably wouldn't have mattered.  we were so sheltered and spoiled.   in 1984 I got familiar very familiar with the holocaust by reading many books.  I still like to read anything about the holocaust.  I finished the novel 'the nightingale' on sunday morning at around 4:00a.m.

I used to be able to read the book of lamentations all day long.  I cannot anymore.  I struggle to be happy.  I respect the day so I keep with the program except for the praying.  I might try a little bit in a while.  I have been lying down all day.  I finally feel okay to sit up.  three weeks ago I went to the hospital in tel aviv on a fast day. the fast started in the morning.  I had stopped eating at 8:30 p.m. the previous evening.  I went 24 hours without eating and I felt fine.  it was hot and yet I travelled 3 hours to the hospital and another 3 hours back.  I was mobile and pretty active.  I can't move today.

I am beginning to think about what I want to eat when the fast ends in a couple of hours from now.  the kids came over last night to eat before the fast.  I wasn't planning on cooking anything.  it is extremely hot outside and very humid.  there is no air.  I thought that the heat wave had broken on sunday but it started right back up again.  I got out and went to the supermarket.  I bought a bag of green lentils, shallots, cracked wheat, bow tie noodles and a few sweet potatoes and a few white ones.  I bought a small cream cheese and half of a watermelon.  I have never seen shallots in my 66 years on earth except on a cooking show.  surprise, they are tiny red oinions! oh well.

I had to go back out into the heat to pick up the grandkids from their summer camp.  I truly struggled to get home with the groceries. I first stopped off at the bakery to buy a few baguettes.  cooking was even harder to do.  the house was so hot.  there was no breeze.  the fans blew hot air.  I made a lentil  soup with carrots, shallots and white potatoes.  I was going for stew but opted at the last moment for soup.  I cooked up the sweet potatoes and the bow tie pasta.  I made the cracked wheat.  I even cooked up a couple of beets.  the daughter-in-law loves beets. 

I was soaking wet after I finished cooking.  the kitchen was smoking.  I fed the kids pasta.  I also bought them each, two barekas at the bakery.  I wasn't feeling so well.  the granddaughter was being a real brat and I wasn't up for it.  I tried running away from her and sitting outside.  she followed me outside and continued her whining and screaming.  I was too hot to worry about the neighbors.  the grandson has been pretty easy going lately sans meds.

I continued to eat all day long.  the watermelon was not great.  I ended the day with a bowl of soup and a hard cooked egg.  it is traditional to dip a slice a bread or egg into a bit of ash.  every year I do this and every year I suffer.  this year I skipped the ash.  my son and wife weren't in a hurry to get home.  they seemed calm.  they said the food was good.  I felt dirty and smelly and couldn't wait for everyone to go home.  as soon as they left I got out of my rancid clothes and put on a robe and passed out.  I slept through the entire night.  I let the dogs out at 6:00 a.m. and went back to sleep.

the fast will end soon and the three weeks of mourning will end and then we will have the klezmer music festival.  the kids will be able to go back in the pool and I will do my laundry and go out and try to buy a new skirt or two.  I don't want to be sad anymore.