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Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Havel Havelim Situation

The situation of Havel Havel is the Israel Situation.  Yes, that's the situation, and it's a good one for Havel Havelim.  Don't take my word for it.  Check it out yourself!  There's lots to read and enjoy.

Some Light Blog "Housekeeping"

I'm pretty lazy about housekeeping, whether the house we really live in or my blog tasks.  I'm embarrassed to say that not only don't I have an up to date template which can list blogs I follow, but I don't get around to adding to my blogroll often enough.  I do add upcoming Kosher Cooking Carnival hosts and dates once they're set, because otherwise things will get very difficult and embarrassing.

Finally, I added  upcoming first-time hosts to my blogroll.
The "Bima Ima"

Adventures in Mama-Land
They're all wonderful blogs and bloggers.  I trust that you'll visit them.
Not only is my timing rather off, but my camera is pretty slow to click; I think it's called shutter lag or something like that.  I spent ages trying to get just the right image when I was waiting for my bus to come.  I kept focusing on a bus which had the outdoors reflected from a window quite a distance away, but by the time my camera reacted, there was always somebody blocking it.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Just Remembered the Missing Rant

I had previously planned on blog-ranting about my senile computer and that I hate TU B'Shvat.  The computer complaint got into the post, but my kvetch about TU B'Shvat didn't make it to my consciousness at the right time. 

Yes, I'm suffering a severe case of information overload.

Nu, you're wondering aren't you why I hate TU B'Shvat.  TU B'Shvat is the winter holiday when we're supposed to celebrate the New Years of the Trees in Judaism.  It's customary to eat fruit, especially fruit native to the Land of Israel.  But to be honest, there aren't too many of those in this season.  The wise Jewish men in Europe didn't know that, not when they decreed that we eat fruit, and not when they thought it would be a good time to plant trees.  It's not the season to plant trees here, a reason that so few of these ceremonially planted trees survive.  Chanukah is better, since there should be a few good months of rain afterwards.

But I haven't explained why I hate TU B'Shvat.  I hate it, because I love eating fruit.  Nu, do you follow?  I can just gorge myself on all those dried fruit that's served, the dates and the raisins and the papaya and the mango and the coconut all sugared and dried and addictive and yes I ate too many at my friend's house.  There were these little cubes of coconut in front of me and a bowl of etrog slices that had something done to them, which I liked so I kept eating and eating and...

...Did I tell you that I ate too much? 

A Couple of Rants

Well, I can start with the  totally unexpected appearance of blue on my blog.  I didn't change  the template and can't understand why suddenly it's there.

Another rant....  I had two in my head and when I decided to start with what I started the two ran out of my head... hmmm

Yes, I'm slowing down, well, not all that much compared to this old clunky, may it live and be well computer.  I spend much more time waiting than typing.  My 89 year old father reacts more quickly at times.  We can't afford a new computer.  One of the things I do when waiting is to tweeze "misplaced eyebrow hairs."  My face hasn't been this clean of stray hairs for years.

And what was the second/third thing?  Gevalt  How could I have forgotten?

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Visit to the Pisgat Zeev Mall

Cross-posted on Shiloh Musings

Pisgat Zeev is a Jerusalem neighborhood, a very big one, especially if you take into account that it's connected to Neve Yaakov.  Those two neighborhoods combined are larger and more populous than many Israeli cities.  Nothing can rile a resident of Neve Yaakov or Pisgat Zeev more than someone visiting saying:

"Now I'm going to Jerusalem."
"Mah pitome?!  What's all this?!  You're in Jerusalem!  This is Jerusalem!"

Yes, it is.  Residents vote in Jerusalem Elections, and there's even a local political party with a representative in the City Council.  The mess you can see in the street is from the the construction of the Jerusalem Light-rail.  It will whisk residents and those from the Shomron, like myself, to downtown Jerusalem by avoiding the sedentary traffic of cars, buses and trucks.  (At least that's the plan.)

As you can see in the picture, there's a lovely modern mall in Pisgat Zeev in addition to lots of small neighborhood shopping areas.  In addition, there's a very good Matnas Community Center with a wide variety of activities, including the Neve Yaakov Pool, which I try to get to weekly.

The mall has the same variety of chain stores and restaurants you'll find all over Israel.  A couple of weeks ago, I met Voices Editor and good friend, Sharon Katz, for lunch and a tour of the neighborhood.  Sharon's from Efrat, and even though she had passed Pisgat Zeev many times she wasn't really familiar with it.

We had salads in Cafe` Cafe`, as you can see.  They were delicious!  All of the Israeli restaurants and coffee shops seem to be competing for creative salad ideas, which is great for those of us who love vegetables cooked and raw.

The Pisgat Zeev mall is a real meeting place for Israelis of different backgrounds and cultures.  It's no secret that many Arabs from northern and eastern Jerusalem also shop and work there.

For me and my Shiloh neighbors, there's really no need to travel to the much larger and more distant Malcha Mall, because, whether by car or public transportation, it takes barely half the time to get to Pisgat Zeev.  Many of my neighbors also work in Pisgat Zeev and Neve Yaakov in all sorts of jobs. 

I must admit that I don't really know all of the Jerusalem neighborhoods.  For me, Gilo is as foreign a place, if not moreso, than Pisgat Zeev-Neve Yaakov is for many.  Yes, Jerusalem is a big city.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Feet!!!

Since my father has moved in with us, I can't take my walks during the day.  I go out at night and walk over two kilometers, not much in terms of distance, but on these cold nights my feet suffer.

Years decades ago I suffered chilblains, which I discovered is like frostbite.  My toes would swell, I'd think it infections, put ointment and heavy cotton socks, they'd get better, I'd go back to my thin socks and they'd swell up again. 

Finally, my when husband's aunt and uncle were visiting, the aunt told me to go to a dermatologist who said they weren't infected.  I had "babuot choref," "winter pox," or chilblains.  That has made my feet more sensitive to the cold.  I get the same thing in my hands and fingers.  When I have to do a lot in the freezer, I put on gloves, or I suffer.

I looked for heavy walking boots when I was in New York in October and would have paid full price if had found something I found comfortable, but... nothing's comfortable.  I bought two new pairs of sneakers/walking shoes when I was there in June.  They don't keep my feet warm enough when it's this cold.

Enough kvetching and ranting.  I ought to drink my water and go to sleep.

This Month's The 50th Kosher Cooking Carnival

This audio shiur (question-answer session) by Rabbi Heshel Schachter is the perfect accompaniment to:

The Yovel 50th Kosher Cooking Carnival!

Fiftieth! Wow! Even I’m impressed.  Can it really be over four years since I got upset when a recipe carnival rejected my post, because it didn’t include the theme food, pork? In response, with the encouragement of a few bloggers, like Ezzie and ~Sarah~, I began the Kosher Cooking Carnival.  Dozens of bloggers have since volunteered to host it.  I hope and trust that they’ve enjoyed the experience.  Some have even volunteered more than once and with twelve months in the year, there’s always a month available if you want to join the club.  If you’re interested please let me know.  I’m always willing to mentor anyone new to blog carnival hosting.

According to Judaism, fifty is very important, yovel, so I’ve instituted a change.  We’re gradually shifting our scheduled postings to Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the Jewish Month.  The Jewish months are lunar, and you can tell the beginning of the month, because you can barely see a sliver of the moon’s crescent.

No doubt that G-d timed this edition of the Kosher Cooking Carnival, since this past Shabbat, Parshat Bo, is the Torah Portion of the Week that gives us the commandment about the Jewish Lunar Months.  In Bo we also learn basic Passover Laws, so it really is the time to start our inventory countdown to see what chametz food must be finished before Pesach begins.

Looking back, here's a list of all the previous KCC's: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, KCC Meta Carnival, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48 and 49.

Click here to send in a post for the next one.

Now for the 50th KCC!

Let’s start with an alert to remind you to check out what’s in your freezer and pantry which must be finished off before Passover.  In some cases, it’s a convenience to discover cooked food waiting to be eaten, just when you don’t have the time and energy to cook.

Every day meals

In the pink’s kosher jambalaya seems easy to make and yummy, too.
You can call Hannah’s soup, borsht with zip.
Whether you call it chopped liver or liver pâté, Gloria’s is a perfect treat any time of the week.
Leah’s right.  Buckwheat (kasha) is a great food, and she includes a number of ways to prepare it.
The Bima Ima posts a delicious dinner.
Waffles aren’t made everyday, but actually, they’re not hard to make at all.
Ilana-davita’s Belgian Beef Stew seems too good for everyday, so I’m sure she won’t mind if you serve it for more special occasions.
Try Annette’s easy stir fried vegetables.

Jewish Shabbat and Holiday food

Mimi’s chicken soup with rice isn’t quite the children’s book I used to read to my kids, “stirring once, stirring twice…”
Shorty’s Shabbat Chinese style looks great, and no doubt tastes great, too.
Mrs. S’s Shabbat lunch soup seems like a good idea.
Pesky’s Sweet Potato and Chicken sounds really good.  Try her Tu b’Shvat Turkey, too.
Leora’s easy stuffing does seem easy, as it should be, considering how busy she is.  She also sent me Larrys Sweet 16 Chollent which looks very interesting.


G6’s chocolate chip cakelets aren’t for dieters, unless we share…
Believe it or not, I’ve made my easiest cake even easier.
And now that the Bima Ima has done the hard work, you, too, can learn how to make mandelbrot.

Anything kosher!

Follow Sharon to “the shuk,” Jerusalem’s Machaneh Yehuda open market.
From the natural food in the shuk, the opposite would be fast food.  Talking fast food, can kosher eaters now eat in the newly renovated and koshered McDonald’s?
For many people, kosher is just a form of quality control.  You don’t have to be Jewish to buy kosher food.
Leah gives some good advice to keep the bugs out of your fruit.

Next month, Adar, the Kosher Cooking Carnival will be hosted by Adventures in Mama-Land. You can send your post via blog carnival. Please let people know about the carnival.  Post about it on your blog and send the link around.  Thanks!

Olive Oil and the Shuk (Market)

Jerusalem's legendary Machane Yehuda shuk, market, is getting more upscale by the day.  When I was passing through this week, I noticed a new store.  No, it's not a wine shop.  It's an olive oil store.  To the mavens, olive oil is like wine and there are tasting techniques.

I remember when we were impressed because they finally supplied plastic bags.  You used to get a tin "tray" to put your choice, and it would be dumped into another which went on the old type of scale.  About the scales, you were lucky if they had proper weights and not just rocks.  After paying you just poured it all into your sal shopping bag, which was brought from home. 

"מה הבעיה Mah habaaya?  What's the problem?  You can trust me that the big rock weighs a kilo and the smaller half!"

Now, with the sophisticated electric digital scales, you can know to the gram how much you've bought, as long as you can see the numbers that is.

Here's a fruit stand with a pre-TU B'Shvat selection.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Grandkids Came!

I've been complaining that since I began taking care of my father, I never get around to seeing the grandkids.  Last year I watched them two afternoons a week, and now I can't.  Someone always has to be with my father, and when I can get out, it's more morning and I'm exhausted by afternoon.  Yes, sandwich I am.

Last night my daughter called that her husband would drive over this afternoon.  Wednesday is our movie day and the movie is here, but she said that the timing would be fine.

And so, instead of getting all ready for my adult guests, I cleared the dining room table and set up the drawing supplies and the kids had fun drawing and writing.

When the movie club came, they saw the kids and then when everyone was gone I put on Serpico, a great movie.  There's no actor like Al Pacino.

I Thought I Was Losing My Mind

I just got back from previewing the pictures on my camera to check if there are enough to make it worthwhile to burn a disc or whatever the phrase should be.

There were two shots davka from yesterday I couldn't place for the life of me.  I kept going over all the things I had done and seen and photographed.  They weren't from packing for the IDF soldiers I did with Packages from Home.  They weren't from the Jerusalem streets.  They weren't from the --I'm not allowed to blog about it yet--  They weren't from my lunch with a friend in the Village Green, nor the streets I walked nor the shuk, Machane Yehuda Market, nor the bus.

Suddenly I remembered.  I went to the Camera shop in Binyan Clal on my way to the bus station and shuk.  My previous photos had been marred by a strange blurring, which I trust you can see in these pictures.  No, it wasn't some intentional effect I had wanted to achieve.

I tried cleaning the camera lens and had decided to bring it in to make sure it was really OK.  The nice guy in the shop must have shot those two pictures when he tested it out and before giving it a super scrubbing.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Very Strange

The other day I noticed that my watchband was about to split, so I stopped wearing the watch.  Today I bought a new one, and the watch was put on/in it at the store.  I have a Speedo watch with a plastic band.  I was so happy that I found one.

I love the lightness.  It's a comfortable watch to wear.

Every since the battery was changed it's no longer waterproof but it's good enough for the dishes and all.

Then, on my way home on the bus, I felt something strange in my sleeve.  The watchband is broken, very broken.  So I have to go back to the store next time in Jerusalem.  I hope they don't claim that I broke it.

Ruby Tel Aviv Tuesday

We escaped to Tel Aviv a few weeks ago.  While walking around I suddenly noticed this red-faced building and snapped it specifically to post for a Ruby Tuesday.  Sorry, I don't remember what building it actually is.  It's probably a hotel.  So if someone can identify it, please do in the comments, thanks!

On Tuesdays, just post any photo you like (it must be one of your own) that contains the color RED and then link to this blog.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Bit Of An Ego Trip

The other day the phone rang:
"I have someone to meet you."
"Yes, you.  One of my friends is a fan of yours, and she's here in Shiloh.  Can we come over?"
"Sure, just don't mind the laundry drying in the living-room.  The house isn't set up for guests at the moment."
"No problem.  She only wants to see you, not your housekeeping."

I'm well aware that all sorts of people all over the world read my writing, internet, newspapers, magazines...  It's nice that they even make an effort to f2f, meet me in person.


No doubt that it's possible to buy every imaginable spice in Israel.

This spice store is in Jerusalem's Machaneh Yehuda Market, aka "The Shuk."  I don't keep all that many spices in my closet/pantry.  Fresh spices don't stay fresh all that long.  They lose their potency and get buggy, too.

Our menu doesn't include the sort of foreign exotic foods demanding anything fancy.  Recently I began sprinkling curcum, turmeric on my morning omelet, because it's supposed to be medicinal.  A doctor even told me that it's good to put on cuts to make them heal more quickly.

A Yemenite neighbor told us that their traditional spice is a combination of curcum, paprika and black pepper.  That's pretty easy.  Beware, it can cause a serious arthritis flare-up for those sensitive to nightshades.

Not long ago I bought pieces of real ginger which I've added to all sorts of things.  It's powerful. 

My latest Apple Compote was cooked with ginger root, cinnamon stick, freshly squeezed orange juice and water.  No sugar, of course!  That was easy and delicious and perfect if you're trying to keep your weight down.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I Got Out!!

As lazy-natured as I am, I do need my exercise and fresh air.  I've noticed that if I don't get enough exercise, outdoor exercise during the day I can't fall asleep.  And today I didn't get out.  It was windy.  That doesn't bother me all that much, but I couldn't take my father out in the cold wind.  By the time my husband arrived home it was raining, pouring, thank G-d.  Yes, we do need the rain, lots of it, but I needed some exercise.

The rain lessened and I changed into my cheap payless shoes, put on my hold heavy black winter coat, scarf, gloves and stepped out.  Quickly, I was back in and grabbed my umbrella.  I did half my usual walk.  It was worth it, even though my shoes were soaked and so was my skirt.  If I had waterproof boots, I would have walked my usual distance or more.

My father marched around the house today, counting steps to tell me how large it is.

There was nobody else in the street unless they were in a car.

Another Really Great HH, Jewish Blog Roundup

Havel Havelilm has floated to the Real Shaliach this week.  As usual he did a really great job.  Many of the posts are about the Israeli aid efforts in Haiti.

Havel Havelim is the multi-topic weekly Jewish internet magazine (blog carnival,) floating around the internet and hosted by a variety of bloggers.

Take a look.  You're bound to find some interesting posts.

Here it is! The First Person Anti-Arthritis By Not Eating Nightshade Vegetables Report

So, you asked me to write to you how my diet is working for me.  I started a couple of months ago.  We had a house guest for Shabbat and N mentioned that she'd heard staying away from nightshade vegetables sometimes helped with arthritis pain.  I decided, on the spur of the moment, to try it out, starting with the very next meal.  She said that it took about 6 weeks to see results if I was going to be one of the ones helped.

To be honest, it was just a whim to prove it WOULDN'T work.  I figured that I'd do this for the 6 weeks, see no real change, and go back to eating "normally".  HA!  By Tuesday I saw a significant difference.  The weather changed, and my joints hadn't forewarned me.  It was truly shocking to be caught unawares by rain!

And truly, it has to be a really significant difference for me to stick with this.  I have not been one for potatoes much, but I lived off eggplant, charif (hot spice,) and tomatoes!  Especially here in Israel, with the Mediterranean diet, it is a tough haul.  I went through a month or so of feeling that there was no food I was allowed to eat, mostly because there was so little food that I was used to eating that I could still eat with impunity.  Eating out is a nightmare.  Even when I tell hosts what I can't eat, they frequently don't get it.  Peppers includes not only bell peppers, but also paprika, which is ubiquitous, and the hot peppers.  Eating in restaurants is dicey.  While I can see most ingredients and at least eat around them, so many things have paprika.  We can't use any more prepared foods.  I have been to simchas (joyous occasions like weddings, parties etc) where there was not a single solitary thing that I could eat served.  And once, my girlfriend very carefully left the tomatoes out of the salad so that I could have some, and the other woman at the table reached over and cut some into it before I had a chance to take any!

But I have seen 3 important changes in my health:
     1) I have so much less pain and stiffness now that I can't believe the difference
     2) I don't even have to know that I ate something from the nightshade family, to feel the arthritis come back (almost immediately, in as little as 20-30 minutes!)
     3) I lost a kilo (2.2 lbs) the first month of doing this and I think it is mostly because I can move more easily (the arthritis is in my knees, hips, wrists and elbow, not my  hands).  That first month I practically lived off noodles and cottage cheese from feeling "deprived", so it can't be that I was eating less -- I was eating much worse.

H recommended that I look upon it as a food allergy, and that has been an important step in accommodating the changes I have needed to maintain.

Remember that following this diet isn't easy if you can't control your food intake or cooking.  Restaurant and processed foods don't get labeled as nightshade inclusive or not.  I'd be very interested in additional reports and recommendations.  Thank you

Sans (No) Nightshades Diet vs Arthritis

When I first met "C" she told me that she was frequently sidelined by severe arthritis.  Being blessed with a healthier body, I couldn't imagine what that really meant.

But then we'd make plans and I'd call or get a call and hear:
"Today, I can't move.  Sorry, it's the arthritis."

And even when we'd take a walk, it was a strain to walk slowly enough for her.  Yes, she's younger than I am.

Not long ago, she experimented and started that no nightshades diet.  She was warned that if it worked, the results probably wouldn't show for at least six weeks.

I've been begging her to write a report for this blog.

Nightshade vegetables are hard to avoid.  How many cooked and processed, even salads, foods have neither tomatoes nor paprika?  And they aren't the only nightshade vegetables.  Don't forget potatoes, tomatoes and peppers.

Oh, do you want a quick report of the results of her experiment?  Within days the pain and swelling went down.  She reads my blog, and I hope this great public hint will inspire her to write a first person report on this non-medical cure/method for controlling arthritis.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Version of My Simply Easy One Bowl Cake

My classic easy cake is a "white cake," or yellow, plain for sure, though it's the basis for almost any type of cake you want from fruit to chocolate.  I'm lazy.  I don't like complicated things nor memorizing a lot.

Last week  I decided to bake a cake, but I didn't have the brown sugar I like to use to moisten the wholewheat flour.  Then I remembered that I had juice syrup/concentrate, mango flavor.  I bought it a few months ago, and we never use it.  The time had come to experiment!

I cut the amount of sugar in half, a quarter of the amount per flour instead of half.  And I added the syrup as about a quarter of the water/liquid.
Basic Recipe--to be multiplied
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 spoon baking powder
1/6 cup oil
1/6 cup fruit syrup
1/3 cup water
1 egg
additional flavors, diced fruit, etc optional

The cake was delicious, moist and more attractive than most!  This is definitely one of the easiest cake recipes you can do.  Of course, since some syrups are less or more sweet, you can adjust the relative amounts of water and syrup, as long as you have about a half a cup per every cup of flour.

I must try it without sugar, only using syrup.  If you do, please let me know how it comes out.  Thanks

Work Ethic

I'm still pretty shocked about the Belgian medical team leaving the injured in Haiti, just walking out when the UN or their agency decided there were security problems for the night.  What would have happened to the sick and injured if there hadn't been a journalist doctor with the CNN crew?

The whole story is so peculiar.  How was it that CNN was there to witness the scene and conveniently film the takeover?

There are certain professions and "status" which can't just be turned off like a car engine.

There are times when you can't just obey orders.

I had returned to teaching this year, as a substitute, in a school so large that it was made clear that if I did well, there would be work for me all year and beyond.  Even though I was pretty sure that I couldn't handle it again, I decided to try.  Maybe, if "other things" hadn't gotten in the way, taking my energy and attention, I could have returned to teaching.

If I had been offered a job which didn't demand anything other than the straight work hours, I probably could have handled it fine.  But teaching, like medicine, can take over your life.

These emergency medical teams, like in Haiti, must be organized like 24/7 hospitals with everyone working their shifts.  They can't close for the night like neighborhood clinics.

If those Belgian medical staff could desert their patients, I would be afraid to go to that country.  I don't like their mentality.

Friday, January 22, 2010

"Seize the Day." Shoot!

A couple of weeks ago I was in a tremp (ride) to Jerusalem, sitting in the back seat, when suddenly the guys in the front said:
"Where's your camera? Why aren't you taking pictures?"
"You can see the Dead Sea behind the mountains. That doesn't happen every day."
"Here it is. You shoot."

Then nothing. He just sat there.

"Why aren't you taking pictures?"
"Maybe they'll be better over the next hill."

Of course they weren't. You've heard the saying:
"Shoot first and ask questions later."
Well, the same goes for photography, especially today in the digital age. Just shoot as soon as something looks interesting. The next opportunity, over the next hill, may be worse. And if it's better, you'll shoot more. The guys in the front seat were tour guides. They can always "spin with words." I'm a photographer, so I need the right image.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Risk Taker, Not Me

I took this picture on our way to Tel Aviv a couple of weeks ago. It was fine to observe it from the bus window.

I can't relate to my younger son's tackle football. Even when younger I couldn't see the attraction in those things. I don't like being injured. I don't feel confident that one heals and is fine afterward. My elder son was seriously injured when hit by a small truck when he was riding his bike almost twenty years ago. Once he recovered, I warned him to be careful, so he won't get hurt. He thought I was crazy.
"I healed and I can be healed again."

Is it a female thing?

Woody Allen's Best When He's Neither Seen Nor Heard

Yesterday I showed my Movie Club The Purple Rose of Cairo, a Woody Allen movie.  We loved it and all agreed that his movies are best when he's not in them at all.

Allen's presence can be very distracting, since he's always the same persona, even his voice when he narrated Radio Days and had a little kid play him as a child.  Thankfully, there's no Woody Allen character in Purple Rose... and that makes a big difference.   It's pure theater of the absurd, cinema style, mixing reality and fantasy and playing it all very straight. 

A miserable, abused wife, Mia Farrow, finds herself courted by a movie character who has somehow left the screen.  None of us left our seats, as we watched enchanted.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Doubt If The Trick Will Work Here

This was posted on Hadassah's facebook page.  I guess that the vast majority of bloggers wish we had more visits.  There are a few mega bloggers who get thousands a day, but I'm no where near there, not in a week nor month either.  OK, in a month a couple thousand on this blog, but considering the amount of posts and effort.... ehh.

Next week I'll be posting the 50th Kosher Cooking Carnival.  Actually, I've done a lot of work on it already, but you can still send your posts in.

Nothing Like My Shiloh Neighbors

My father can't go out in the cold, so I barely got out yesterday.  I needed to borrow some "light reading" books from a neighbor.  He came over to visit with my father while I ran over to choose some.  His "library" is just my taste, and without even trying I grabbed four books.

I did my fitness walk late at night after my husband got home.

I didn't manage to buy more milk.  Before my father came to live with us, one 2 liter container generally covered per week, unless we had guests.  Now, every couple of weeks I have to buy an additional 2 liters, and this week is one of those.  But I couldn't get out to the store yesterday.  And my husband didn't have a chance to buy some in Jerusalem.

I figured that I could always call the store and ask the manager to ask a neighbor to bring some up.  First I asked my husband to ask around on his way out to work.  Before I managed to call the store, my cellphone rang:

"Your milk's on the way.  Can you come out and get it from my car?"
"I'm not dressed for that."
"So, I'll deliver to the door."

And that's what a neighbor did. Thank G-d for good neighbors.

G-d's Canvas

Winter, sunset, Shiloh...

Nothing can ever be more beautiful.  Art on G-d's canvas.  We're so small in comparison.  Capturing these images on my camera makes me think that photography may really be the greatest art medium for humans.  It's recognizing that we're secondary to G-d.  It's a form of worship.

I've lost all control of my life since I began caring for my elderly father.  I didn't even feel this way when my children were born. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Thank G-d, False Alarm!

After running the hot water boiler for a few hours, the water was actually hot.  No doubt, homeowners all over the world can relate to that sort of panic.

Yes, I'm just an ordinary homeowner, a small suburban home in a headlining-grabbing neighborhood.

But, push comes to shove, I'm a sandwich, like many baby-boomers, trying to balance taking care of an elderly father and enjoying the role of grandmother.  For the past few months things have been rather lopsided in favor of my father, but no doubt, they will straighten out whenever.

No, Not The Water Heater!

This morning my husband left the shower with bad news.  "The water wasn't hot."  But the "boiler" was on last night, on the timer; I don't know how long exactly.  I turned it back on, and I hope the water will be hot when I shower.

We don't need another major expense.

I've lost track of how many times we've replaced the heater in this house.  I hope it's OK, maybe just a matter of cleaning the "mineral deposit" from the pipes.

But human health is more important. Taking care of my father since October is a constant reminder of that.  Maybe the boiler just needs more time, since it's so cold outside and the entering water is colder than usual.

I turned it back on, and now I'm in suspense.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Keep Unplugging The Computer

It seems that whenever I get going, trying to catch up on my email etc... thunder and lightning, so I very cautiously turn off the computer and pull out the plugs.

Just in case you're curious, not that too many people read my rantings, I did make it to the pool.  It took about double the time, from house to water, for all sorts of reasons.  I made my 35 minutes in the pool count.  I didn't treat myself to the sauna and steam-room.

Then I took a ride to the bus station and shopped in the discount supermarket nearby for a few things and then just missed a bus, so I took the next one, dozing part way home.  And in one of G-d's little jokes the same neighbor who gave me a ride to Jerusalem took me up the hill and drove me to the door.

My father seems chilled to the bone, though the house is heated.  He'll feel better when the sun returns, though we need the rain.

Thank G-d, My Plans May Be Ruined

G-d has been good to us, and it started raining last night.  He even arranged things to encourage me to exercise by stopping the rain just long enough for me to "do" my two neighborhood circuits.

It's funny; I wasn't the only one pounding the pavement in the name of fitness.  There was a guy getting his body ready for the army and a few young kids running.  And there were a couple of heavier than they should be guys on a regular fitness walk.  I see them frequently when I'm walking at night.

Today, if G-d wants me to and takes a break from the rain at the time I plan on leaving, I hope to go to Neve Yaakov to the swimming pool.  Even on our rainiest days, there are periodic breaks.  My bag is packed, just in case.  I also got up early enough.  If I can't go to the pool, I'll try some other way of exercising.

The rain is the most important thing.  It's a blessing, a much needed blessing.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jack's HH

Jack, the Havel Havelim "owner" is hosting this week's edition.  There's plenty to read, and some of the posts look so interesting that I started "clicking" to take a peek before writing this reminder post.  I don't think that ever happened before.

I can't believe that I volunteered to host the one which scheduled four weeks from now, if my math is right.  Asking the date is one of the first things the neurologists do to see how "with it" the patients are.  Now that I'm home taking care of my father and not teaching, I rarely know the date.  I wouldn't be surprised to forget and suddenly become inundated with posts automatically sent by blog carnival.

And talking about that, please don't forget to send in posts about kosher food for the Kosher Cooking Carnival, which I'm hosting pretty soon.  It's not just a recipe carnival, because kosher food isn't just about eating.  And if you'd like to host one, please let me know.

Hard To Label

I've always loved taking pictures. 

On my father's side there are lots of artists and art talent.  It was always a great disappointment that my attempts at drawing and painting were disastrous.  The finished product was always far from what my mind had pictured.

When I was a kid I wasn't praised or complimented on my photos, I was threatened for wasting money.  But today when I look at those old black and whites, I see excellent composition, and of course in those days you just took one shot of something.  Every print and developing process was a lot of money.  Even now, when digital photography is so cheap you can delete the bad ones and print nothing, it's rare for me to take more than two or three of the same scene, and frequently the first is the best.

This photo, taken in Jerusalem, is just one.  The photos before and after are totally different.  It was photographed in Jerusalem, most probably Jaffa Street, either while walking or on  a bus.  Because of the time factor between pressing the button and the actual shot, I'm never quite sure how a picture will look.

Contrary to my former attempts at art, drawing and painting, I'm more than satisfied with the results of my photography.  I think that the picture is perfect, but I don't know what title it should get.  This is a real Jerusalem street scene. 

If you have any suggestions, yes, please caption this.  Send in your idea for a title via the comment option.