Saturday, July 31, 2010

Heat Wave

This was a hot Shabbat, very hot.  I can't remember the last time I suffered like this from the heat.  We had a full house. My married daughter and the family were/are over.  

Actually the kids are still here.  They're watching a Sesame Street movie about the letter "Y."  Even though they don't know much English they like it.  I speak to them in English with the odd word in Hebrew to give clues.  It's amazing how they answer and act appropriately without really understanding all I say.

The eldest wants me to really teach her English, reading and writing, too.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Changing Colors

It's no secret.  I like nail polish, and I don't mean clear or pale pink.  Last fall I bought some Sally Hansen "apple green" and love the look of it.   I bought some more in the blue-green shades during this visit to the states.


I took that picture a few days ago.  Now the polish is all chipped, so I guess it's time to take it off and put on a different color.... just not red or pale pink.

Sometimes, Only Coffee Helps

When I was in Arizona, there was an afternoon I was desperate for some coffee.  That evening, my sister and brother-in-law took me for a real coffee experience.






I love coffee!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Enjoying A Safe Old Age

Airports are enormous, and it's really helpful that anyone who needs it can request handicapped assistance when buying tickets.  The airports have people who work as aids, wheeling wheelchairs provided by the airport, and when there are major distances, they have these carts.



Just because one (like my father) needs some assistance, he still exercised when he could.


Many people try avoiding using walkers, because they're embarrassed.  Accidents happen when people are too self-conscious to use walkers.  Luckily the people who live in the senior citizen home my parents now live in seem to enjoy their walkers.  It's like a fashion statement.



I especially love the metalic red and hot pink ones.  Make it fun, and you'll use it when needed.

Delayed Jet Lag

I functioned fine my first two days home, and then last night I couldn't sleep.  Too much dozing when traveling to pay a shiva (condolence) call up north.  Thoughts of the suitcases still cluttering the livingroom with those last few things to unpack kept me from relaxing.

So I jumped out of bed and emptied out the suitcases, finished folding the laundry, read some newspapers my husband had saved for me.  Made myself some vegetables to fill be up and keep temptation away.  And I only went to bed a few hours ago.  So, I really didn't get much sleep.

At least I fell asleep immediately second try.  I hope today is better...  lots of cooking and cleaning for Shabbat.  The grandkids are coming with their parents!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kosher in Arizona

I was in the Phoenix area of Arizona.  It's relatively well-endowed in terms of kosher restaurants.  I ate in two of them.  For the rest of my meals I relied on raw walnuts, fruit, fresh salad and canned fish.  Oops! I almost left out my favorite, Hagan Daz ice cream, especially the "5 Mint."

There are at least three kosher restaurants there.  I didn't get to the Chabad one, though my neighbor gave it a great recommendation.

A friend took me to the pizza - dairy restaurant which shared the building with the veteran kosher Segal's.  We ate fish.  It was fine, but we were disappointed that they didn't have coffee.  I needed coffee to wake me up and counteract my jetlag.




I had the Segal food twice.  My sister picked up a great variety of take-out from there before we landed.  Most of it was very good, but their faux Chinese was awful and we suffered from the chemical after-taste.  Because of that my sister was wary of returning, even though I offered to treat the entire family for a dinner out.  They refused my invitation.

But the night before my flight to New York I begged her to go with me, so I could get a good meal.  We had fish, salad and vegetables.  Everything was delicious, so I hope that next visit they'll go there with me enthusiastically.


We were so hungry that I forgot to take pictures of the main course.

Thanks to My Friends (Blogging Teams)

Before I went off to the states, bringing my elderly father to rejoin my mother in their new home in Arizona, I contacted the team of friends who have blogging rights on my blogs (and invited new ones.)  I expected to be sans computers and internet for most of the visit.  That's how my previous stays in the states were.  I expected a sabbatical from blogging and email.  I really was psyched up for one.

Then in Arizona I was pleasantly surprised to be housed in the master bedroom at my sister's while they slept in the neighbors' spare bedroom.  I shared the room with a computer, an apple which I learned to use pretty quickly.  Next stop on the itinerary was New York where my sister-in-law gave me one of those tiny laptops to use.  So, I really wasn't sans internet/email except when flying.

Generally, when home, I post to both blogs about twice a day and to my Arutz 7 blog a couple of times a week.  While away I reduced that to once a day on my "home blogs" and took a break from The Eye of The Storm."  I communicated a lot via email, and I was happy not to return home to a thousand unanswered letters.

Most of all I enjoyed reading the blog posts I hadn't written, yes, those by my team of friends who make my blogs more interesting than I could ever do on my own.  Please go through Shiloh Musings and this blog's posts from the past few weeks and see the great posts.  I really appreciate the time they took to keep my blogs fresh and exciting.  Thank you!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Losing Track of Laundry

Please don't ask me how many washes I did today.  I can't remember.  But don't be all that impressed, because I have a pretty small washing machine, not tiny, but not large at all.  Generally that's good, since the house isn't full, not at all, and now after my father's return to the states even emptier than it had been for almost a year.  So when I get all the wash laundered, or is it better to say the laundry washed or or the laundry laundered.... then the washing machine will be large enough for our needs, at least most of the time.

So, please forgive me for this short post, because I have lots of laundry, clean and dry laundry to sort and fold.

Unpacking, Why Is It Always A Problem?

Packing is relatively easy for me.  Of course, when it's for a flight I worry about overweight charges and taking too much or too little, but the act  of packing goes quickly.  Unpacking is always an ordeal, even when I've only been away one night and bought nothing new.

Now after just over two weeks away from home, taking my father to join my mother in  Arizona, my livingroom is cluttered with bags and suitcases, all open and partially full of clothing and gifts for the family. 

I also have lots of laundry which waited for me here, so the second wash is ready to be hung and the third ready to go in the machine.  I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by all this.  It's par for the course for me.

OK now to hang #2, dress enough to doven, grab something to eat and then go the the pool, and then, try to tackle the unpacking and clean-up here in the house...  Hopefully, my husband will find me some goats yogurt to eat or I'll have more of my almonds...

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm Home!

Yes!  I landed this afternoon.  I'm starting to fade.  I did a drop of the unpacking.  I cooked dinner.  I'm here on the computer.  And I'm tired.

And I haven't looked at Boston's Havel Havelim yet.   And I didn't plan on doing these colors.  good night

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Food Too Clean or Too Dirty

It's certainly true that food infected with various bacteria etc is dangerous, but the cleaner one is from birth the more susceptible one is to these infections.. 

At home I'm rather fanatical about cleanliness in the kitchen and reheating food to boil and hotter, but now I've been out of the house and out of my kitchen for two weeks.  I know that none of the food I've eaten, besides my freshly made breakfast omelets are as pristine as I'm used to.

It takes a lot of faith to eat.  I know it sounds rather funny or ridiculous to say that.  I wash my hands with soap all the time in the kitchen before and after dealing with food.  There's more to eating than just checking if the food is kosher, but it's better to eat than to starve.

I hope to be able to post some pictures once I'm home. My husband got us a new computer maven.

It'll be strange to be back in my home kitchen, trying to keep the germs away, even though I  don't think I've been damaged by eating other food.

Pretty much Packed

Tomorrow's the big day.  After two weeks away, I'm going home, G-d willing.  I did everything planned.  I took my father to his new home in Arizona with my mother.  I've seen some relatives and a close friend.

I don't think I over-bought gifts, though I kept saying that I'm not buying anything... as I bought.  Considering my parents' ages, I'll have to travel more frequently.  Financially, it's complicated.

I'll have to find away of making money which will still leave me with the opportunity to travel.  New challenges.  I'm no longer my father's caretaker.  That saga is over.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Nice Museum Visit, Though Didn't See Many Exhibits

Now before I write about the museum, just to tell you that we wasted time in this Jersey mall with outlet stores, including a Lord & Taylor Outlet.  We would have found more stuff in a regular department store with all the special sales.

Last night, I met some cousins in the Jewish Museum on Fifth Avenue.  I had to pay $12- to get in.  It's a small museum.  We didn't see all that much.  We ended up spending most of the time talking in the cafeteria.  For the same, ok, a bit more money, we could have just gone to a kosher restaurant to talk.  But it was still worth it.

Today I've planned another trip to Manhattan...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

More Than Six

I tried to reduce my packing this trip, so this article about wearing six items of clothing for a month was very interesting.  I took less clothes than usual to the states, and my most valuable ones even fit in my backpack, since I brought the type you can roll in a ball and wear without looking wrinkled.

Of course, things must be laundered all the time and that gets complicated as I'm a guest.

Since I'll probably be traveling more, I'll have to learn how to plan, pack and purchase the right things for minimal packing.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Feeling Dumb

Yesterday, during the Tisha B'Av Fast, my sister-in-law and I were in Manhattan.  We went to a shiur class in Lincoln Square Synagogue and Mincha (afternoon) prayers.  Then we walked around.  I hadn't yet bought any presents for anyone including the grandkids.  But the 9th of Av isn't a shopping day, at least for clothes.  When we saw the large Barnes & Nobles nearby, I figured that books for grandkids in a foreign country should be permitted.

So we found some books to help the grandkids learn English.  And I also got some DVD's, yes, a few movies on sale.

Then we walked and sat on one of those park benches in the middle of the street.  Last stop was the Apple Store.  No, not a fruit store, the computer one.  We composed a fantasy shopping list.  Actually, the Apple products (computers) were very tempting.  Then in the downstairs of the store we saw children's things, a learning program.  We pulled up two round and comfortable stools and played the game.  It was one of the "look for..."  Boy, did I feel dumb. Even with my reading glasses I couldn't find all the objects.  Let's blame it on the fast...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Just Like Home

Yesterday morning I accompanied my sister-in-law to a friend of hers for T'hillim, Psalms.  T hey have one of those sets of all the one hundred and fifty divided into equal length booklets.  There were lots of women, and we finished quickly. I'm getting to know the women, since I've met them in shul on Shabbat here.  Home in Shiloh, I frequently join neighbors on Tuesday afternoons.


One big difference was that in Shiloh we finish our prayers, requests and Psalms and then leave.  In my sister-in-law's neighborhood they read from a book.  Amazingly the excerpt was about caring for parents.  It was as if it was chosen specifically for me.  I was in New York after taking my very elderly father from my home in Shiloh to Arizona, where my mother decided they should live, near my sister.  Last October I took my father to Shiloh from their home in New York.  He made aliyah and impatiently waited for my mother to join him.  We all accepted the change in plans, and now I'm "vacationing" with family in New York.


Last night we all went to their synagogue for the Tisha B'Av service and reading of Eicha, Lamentations.
This was also divided up among a few readers.


The synagogue was very crowded.  Public mourning on Tisha B'Av is much more common and acceptable abroad than it once was.  I consider this a very good sign.  G-d willing we will rapidly begin building our Beit HaMikdash, Holy Temple and all be in the Land of Israel.  And next year, we'll be celebrating the dedication of the rebuilt Holy Temple!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Timely Summer Safety Reminder

My good friend Sharon Katz of Voices Magazine has an article about first aid training on her blog.  It reminds me that this is a very dangerous season.  Here's my comment:

First aid is so important to know. Many years ago, soon after reading about the Heimlich maneuver for removing something from a choking person's throat, I had to do it on my youngest child when an ice cube got caught. My husband's cousin had to do CPR on her daughter around the same time, also because of an ice cube.

Yes, ice cubes may be considered as a great zero sugar cooler for the kids (and others) but it can also endanger life if it gets stuck in the throat.  People choke on ice cubes.  So please beware.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Just Call Me The Gypsy

It's always disorienting living out of a suitcase or two.  At least here in my sister-in-law's house I was able to hang some clothes up.  But my biggest problem is always that I function best on my food routines which I can't duplicate out of my house.  Exercise is also complicated when not home.  Davka, when I had my last couple of visits to my parents' home, I did exercise a lot because I had to walk to town and to the station etc.

But otherwise it's really great here and was also at my sister's.  It's wonderful having such generous family.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Kosher Nostalgia

Hi all! This is Risa pinch-blogging for Batya who's visiting the old country.

Just Call Me Chaviva has a lovely post in regard to the Red White and Kosher article in the New York Times where she mentions her love for hot dogs. When we were kids my brother and I love(d) hot dogs too! Her post took me way way back to the days when LBJ didn't mean LeBron James (2 points to anyone under 30 who knows who I'm talking about and 10 points to Batya if she knows who LeBron James is) there was a World's Fair held in Flushing Meadows in my home town of Queens, New York.
There were many great pavilions representing the best modernity by General Electric and General Motors; cultural contributions to the world such as the Pepsi-Cola pavilion where I believe "It's a Small World After All" made its debut.
Many countries had official representation there but Israel was represented by a private initiative which consisted mainly of concession stands selling Jewish memorabilia and souvenirs from Israel. What the Israel pavilion did have was a stand selling kosher (well, at least Hebrew National was considered kosher then) hot dogs! Well, hot-diggedee, dog-diggedee you can be sure that that became my favorite place in the fair!




Like A Fish To Water

I'm at my sister-in-law's and using for the very first time... one of those small computer laptop notebooks or whatever they're called.  I've never even touched one before.  And even our home laptop, which is too heavy to use other than on a table, has an old-fashioned mouse plugged in.

Almost fifty years ago I was first taught to touch-type on a giant imposing manual typewriter before they made electric ones and decades before personal computers.  So this little thing is a learning experience, and I'm proud to say that I'm managing just fine.

Who dared to say that you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Frightening Vision Into The Future

I'm trying to remember why I got a morning flight out of AZ.  Maybe it cost less.  What really shocked me was to discover that I don't get a free suitcase.  There's no baggage included in the type of ticket.  I'm going Delta.  I was first told that I was going American Airlines.  I'm not the one who booked the tickets and I'm not allowed to complain.  This is also a trip I didn't pay for.  So, if I have unexpected expenses, they are minor all considered.  That's the mantra today, this week etc.


Both of my parents have deteriorated over the years.  They are no longer the all-powerful.


It's frightening to consider that one day, I, too can be like they are today, or worse...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

All I Needed Was A Long Walk

Last night I finally got a full night's sleep.  Actually, I slept later than usual, which will mean that it will be harder to get up tomorrow to catch my flight to New York and predicts possible jetlag in the other direction.


For dinner I dined on a container of Hagen Daz 5 Mint, ahh heaven.  I also ate a supermarket bought kosher vegetable soup.  It's one of those pop in the microwave meals.


I had lunch with a friend in the kosher pizzza place here in AZ.  I had tuna and salad, no fries and no pittot.


After dinner we had a "ladies night out."  My sister, niece and I took a walk throught the nearby university campus here in Tempe, AZ.  We came back drenched in sweat and needing water.  I slept well and will have to get back on my better eating to keep the weight off when low carb kosher food is easier to get.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

From AZ #2 The Blogging Insomniac

Tonight I slept a bit more than the night before.  By the time my body adjusts to AZ from Israeli time, I'll have to adjust to NY time.  That's quite a challenge for a broad of my age, old enough for certain discounts.


I finally looked more carefully at the icons, menus etc on the apple screen, so now I can copy/paste.  It's amazing what four hours of sleep can do for you.  Just like the computer instructions my Shiloh neighbor, Yossi Apter, gave me a good twenty-five plus years ago:
"Play with it!  That's how you learn to use a computer.  Don't be scared."
I hope you're enjoying the posts all my guest posters are posting on this blog and Shiloh Musings.  Tell them in comments how much you like what they're writing.  Thanks

KCC Beneath The Wings

There's a great Kosher Cooking Carnival beneath the wings...  You'll have to scroll down btw to see it, because I'm having trouble cutting, copying and pasting on my sister's computer.  Pleaes visit it and publicize it by telling everyone to visit it and all the links.


The kosher cooking carnival is due every Rosh Chodesh, first day of the Jewish Month.  If you'd like to host one, please let me know.  Please send in your kosher food post.  Remember that the Kosher Cooking carnival is lots more than a simple recipe collection.  We deal with all aspects to kosher food.  Send your links in via the blog carnival service.  Details on the widget on my sidebar.


The medicinal shot of strong coffee I took a few hours ago is wearing off.  I'm getting tired, on schedule, yes.  I've been hoping to stick it out until midnight and then get at least six hours of sleep.


Good night and good...

Monday, July 12, 2010

The 9 days: Page 2

Page 2.

My wife has educated me that me-ander is Batya's blog for 'stuff' around Shiloh and life and ShilohMusings is more of a political forum.

Being ADD and also have a Myers-Briggs personality profile as an ENFP, I don't have a lot of boundaries in my operation. This is probably one reason why I chose to become more observant as I grew: I took on boundaries.

In any event, if you are interested in Page 2 and subsequent Pages on 'The 9 Days" please go here:
http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2010/07/9-days-page-2.html

Hillel Levin

From AZ #1 The Blogging Insomniac

B"H, I'm in AZ, and my father is with my mother, here in their new home.  The flights here went pretty well, but a warning to anyone flying Birtish Airways, dress for the Arctic.  It was very cold on both flights.  People complained.  It didn't do much good.


British Airways is nothing like ELAL.  We were in the premium coach and got the front seats with oodles of legroom.  That's some switch from flying sardine can, but I enjoy the family feel, large crowded family feel of ELAL.


My #1 son, the trekker, flew with us.  It's a good thing, since I hadn't slept the night before.  We shared responsibilities and must sort out all of our passports.  My father got all the wheelchair and electric cart services they give to handicapped.  I joined him in the cart in Israel and we all went together in the cart in Heathrow.


More later...


ps I hope you enjoy the guest posters I've lined up.

The 9 Days: Page 1

Shalom,
My name is Hillel Levin. I am a neighbor of Batya's here in Shiloh. Batya is taking her father, Sidney to to his new home in Arizona. If you would like to read about my parting with Sidney, check out Batya's other blog: ShilohMuse.

By way of introduction, I am a LISTER. What I mean is that I am a member of and post on over 200 Yahoo/Google Groups for Jewish Communities, Israel Action, Jewish and Zionist Groups on 6 continents.

I post for the various chessed (loving kindness) projects that I am involved in. I also receive digests from on average 100 groups per day. I admit that I do not succeed in reading them all, but I do read a broad cross-section.

Before we made Aliyah the fall of 2006, I focused in on my Tafkid, Mission in Life, that is to connect with my brothers and sisters worldwide.

I guess that one of the benefits of having the Hyper-Focus of Adult ADD is my ability to have so much stimuli coming at me all the time.

Anyway, to get to my post about The 9 Days:

This is the nine day period, from Rosh Chodesh Av until the 9th of Av. The first of the Jewish Lunar month of Av through the 9th day of Av. Today is Rosh Chodesh Av, it is in the middle of the period referred to as the 3 weeks. A period of remember-ation of the destruction of the walls of Jerusalem through the destruction of G-D's House (the Temple) on the Temple Mount.

Now G-D's House was destroyed twice. The first was the House that King Soloman Built, about 3000 years ago and it stood for about 1000 years and the second, which construction was started by Cyrus, Queen Esther's son and later re-fitted by King Herod, which was destroyed in the year 70 of the Common Era.

Two interesting things to note:

First, both of G-D's Houses were built ling before the prophet Muhammad was even a glimmer in his grandfathers' eyes. The 1st over 1600 years before, the 2nd over 600 years before. There has be at least a remnant of Jews living in the Holy Land of Israel for over 3000 years. So these facts fly in the face of any claim that Jews have stolen The Holy Land from arabs.

Second, both of G-D's Houses were destroyed on the same day of the calendar: 9 Av.

Let us look first at the reasons that are shared by the Sages of Israel that G-D's House was destroyed not once, but twice.

One learns that the House that King Soloman built was destroyed because the Nation of Israel turned away from the laws that G-D gave regarding proper behavior in the area dealing with physical relations, intimate relations.

The House that Cyrus and Herod built was destroyed because of baseless hatred among the Children of Israel.

Let us think about both of these reasons.

While I am not Paul Harvey, please look forward to Page 2.

Please leave your comments here, in addition, I would appreciate it if you would connect with me at: hillel.leib@gmail.com.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I can't sleep...

...so I'm doing my nails.

After I posted the previous post, I washed the dishes etc, tweaked the packing, then I went to bed...

but I couldn't fall asleep.  I kept thinking of all sorts of things I still have to do. 

So, I packed some herbal tea for the planes, yes, not a typo, more than one plane.    I rinsed apples and some cucumbers.

Soon it's going to be time to get up.

I don't like morning flights.

When the kids were little and we went/flew to NY, I'd pull these all-nighters to pack etc, but I packed a couple of days ago.

I can't sleep.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Just a few more hours...

I ought to do my nails.  The nail-polish is all chipped.

I have a ton of dishes to wash.

I have to burn the latest pictures onto a cd.

My father had even more guests today to wish him good luck etc and tell him how much they'll miss him.

This was his last Shabbat, because next week it'll just be a Saturday.

This little "adventure" of taking care of my father isn't over yet.  We have to fly to Arizona tomorrow morning.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Trying to Calm Down

  1. Nowadays many people do all the flight arrangements online.
  2. When I called British Airways, the woman said that I can do things online.
  3. The British Airways site is very easy to use, and I did fix the food to kosher.
  4. I shouldn't have any reason to panic over that part, even though their office won't be open until we'll already be in the air.
Almost everything is packed, including the eticket, though I have to go through my flight pouch and take out old tickets etc.  I have a special flight pouch for tickets, passports etc which I wear in addition to my usual money and camera pouches.  I end up looking like a kangaroo carrying quintuplets.

My book-supplier neighbor was over yesterday with a selection of books.  I packed two in the flight bag and two in the suitcase.  I'm sure I can get more reading material in NY from people who have books to get rid of.  I'd love that "Castle" book, written as if it's the book the TV character wrote.  But it's still a bestseller.

Of course, noshes must be packed at the last minute, or night before.  A big disadvantage of not going El Al is that you need more noshes.  I have to bring cookies for my father, because BA's won't be kosher.  The nosherie on El Al is kosher.

Only one (as two) cousin confirmed a date to meet. The rest of the NY visit will have to be planned when I'm in AZ.  Thank G-d for cellphones.  I hope my USA one will be OK.

G-d willing, in another hour and a half, I'll be in the pool.  The kids are coming today to see my father again, at least some of them.  I wonder if I should have my husband buy bourekas.  That's what I served last week for late lunch.  For many years, when they were still home or at least home for Shabbat, that was the Friday menu.  Potato bourekas with cottage cheese and big pieces of salad.

A few neighbors came over yesterday to wish my father good luck.

I've made a ridiculous amount of typos this morning.  I'm glad I have the google toolbar with spellcheck.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Pre-Flight Panic

A few days ago, I called British Airways but it didn't ask if kosher food had been ordered and the wheelchair for my father. 

Tonight I was looking at the ticket and didn't see any indications.  So I tried going online to find out.  Until I found all the codes.  Davka, there wasn't any special or kosher food ordered for me.  So I changed the order.  My father's and son's said "special," so even though I presume it's the kosher, I changed it to kosher.

My names were written crazy two as one.  My daughter who made the arrangements insisted it was OK, and I tried to call the agent she used.  Now she's angry with me.

I can't call the British Airway office tomorrow, because it's closed on Friday and Shabbat, real ducky for flights like mine on Sunday morning.

I can't wait until this is over and I'm home again and my father is happily with my mother etc.

I just realized that I never ate supper...  When I forget to eat, you know something is nuts with me.

Until The Coffee Kicked In

I woke up totally foggy-brained this morning.  Could it be because I got such little exercise and too much stress yesterday?

As we're getting  closer to departure, I'm getting more hysterical.  Taking my father to Israel was much easier.  Of course all the Nefesh b'Nefesh and Jewish Agency personnel who had to do their bureaucratic miracles in record time may not agree on that, but I find that packing up his Israeli life and getting him ready for Arizona aren't that easy. 

My daughter came yesterday to help with the actual packing and sorting through clothes to see what we really don't have to send with him.  He hasn't worn short-sleeved shirts for years, between trying to prevent more skin cancer and feeling cold, so any shirt which can't be used as an undershirt will stay here.  If my sons don't want them, we'll give them to a g'mach, one of those charity stores where people can buy clothes for very minimal prices.

About my own packing, I've done it "in my head," meaning I'm constantly mulling over what to take.  I'll probably do the basic packing today.  It's just that too many days in a suitcase isn't all that great for clothes, especially synthetics, but tomorrow will be full of pre-Shabbat and last visits by the kids.  I hope for photo-ops with my father and them.  Printing and framing I'll have to do in Arizona.  I'm the one people generally call for large family portraits.  I'll have to ask a neighbor to come by.

I still have to arrange a ride to the airport and sign up for the American Airlines frequent flyer club. 

I feel the coffee finally and it's good.  Now for my day...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Colorful Salad Recipe sans Picture

I took pictures of my easy to make colorful and absolutely delicious salad, but I don't have the time for the picture posting right now.

Ingredients:
red cabbage
a couple of carrots
some dark raisins
olive oil
lemon juice, I squeeze fresh from a lemon

  1. Shred the cabbage and carrots in the food processor, or suitable grater.
  2. Put in a bowl and the raisins.
  3. Then pour in a bit of olive oil and lemon juice.
You can add nuts for protein and then you have a complete meal.

I Must Admit: That Was Dumb of Me

Last year, during my October visit to the states when I brought my father to Israel, I bought two new radio CDs in the Bug duty free at "natbag*."  One was missing its cord, which challenged me to demand service from a host a uncooperative clerks in various companies.  Of course, they all provided me with more phone numbers, because they "don't handle that sort of snafu."  One even told me that I shouldn't be bothering them at all:
"Why don't you just buy your own cord?  They're not all that expensive."


Last night as I was going to bed, I didn't like the program on the radio, so I decided to play around with it.  Again, OK, the previous time had been many months earlier, I opened the CD part, lifted the disk and saw something strange.  I touched it.  Funny!  It felt like paper.  It lifted out easily.  I replaced the disk, pushed and pressed all sorts of buttons and dials, because I didn't have my reading glasses on, and...

...nu?  What do you think?

*natbag is the transliterated Hebrew abbreviation for Israel's main airport.  It's use in Hebrew on all sorts of important road signs is used as a prime example of how idiotic government workers can be.
By the time I opened the second box and tried to use it, I just couldn't bear to report that the CD player didn't play.  No great tragedy; I used it as a radio.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Packing Help

My daughter #1 took a day off from work and she'll be here tomorrow to help with most of the packing for my father.  Of course we'll leave clothes out to cover the rest of the week, and I'll launder everything I can.  This is getting very real.

The suitcases are down from the attic etc.

I'm tired.  I guess bedtime is here.  I need energy for tomorrow.  How will I function that long flight and then evening when my body thinks it's night?

Getting Ready for The Big Trip

I got my travel insurance yesterday, B"H, so that's done. I buy it from my sick fund.  They have a new booklet.  I just hope I don't have to use it.

I still have to sign up for the American Airlines frequent flyer group.  That's the one my agent said is best since it covers all the airlines I use.  Now that I'll have more complicated flying than just deciding between a flight to and from JFK or Newark the El Al one won't give me the service I need.  And then I'll need someone to help me learn how to get the best from them.

We're taking BA from here to Heathrow then direct to AZ.  My father will travel as handicapped with wheelchair.  I wonder if I'll then need to get to the airport all that early, since handicapped don't wait on lines.  I'll also ask my husband to find my good suitcase and pack what I can already.  I don't want to pack just hours before the trip.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Guess Where G-d Sent Me This Morning

Before leaving for Jerusalem, I blogged about wearing wild wigs, not that I wear them, not even boring conservative ones.   I have no doubt that life's a boat steered by G-d. 

Today I didn't rush out of the house.  I knew I was taking a risk, because it was after the "almost 9 bus," meaning that I had to trust that G-d would arrange a ride or two or more.  Ever since we moved to Shiloh, a few weeks short of 29 years ago, I've been working on myself to have more faith and not be so hysterical about having to be early.  "On time" was always late in my book.

Smiling and confident, I walked down to the bus stop.  I had plenty of time to meet a friend for an early lunch or snack.  Within a minute there was a ride part-way to Jerusalem.  Less than two minutes after I got out of that car, another one showed up and the driver said that he was going to Talpiyot, a Jerusalem neighborhood with great shopping.  I looked at my watch and began to calculate how much time I had and what did I really have to do.

Well, if G-d sent me a ride to Talpiyot, then obviously I had to go to Talpiyot.  Who am I to question G-d's wisdom?  As we got into the crowded maze of shopping streets there, I asked the driver to drop me off wherever it would be safe for him.  G-d forbid he should be ticketed for doing me a favor.  I found myself at the entrance to one of the small malls.  I walked in very happily, since it has some great stores including a hat shop owned by neighbors.  Of  course I visited.  G-d sent me, nu?

I was greeted with an enthusiastic hug, kiss  and scolding from my neighbor:
"Why did you stop wearing hats?"

I was wearing a cheap bright orange, cotton scarf.  She knows how much I love hats and was disappointed to see me in that awful thing.  I had taken off my faded sun hat when I entered the building.  Then of course I had to look around.  I was only interested in the wide-brimmed sun hats, crushables, of course.  I found one so reasonably priced and flattering that it seemed criminal not to buy it.

Wow! Two posts in one day about my favorite mitzvah, covering my hair!

And, yes, if you're wondering.  I ended up only a couple of minutes late to see my friend, but that's because I entered two other stores in that building, but didn't buy anything else there.

If I Were To Wear A Wig...

As a married woman who lives a Torah Jewish life, I cover my hair.  Over the years I've gone from scarves to hats-large and small- and back to scarves tied and wrapped in countless ways.  For various reasons, including a "pledge" to follow the promise my great-grandmother (whom I'm named after) made to her father, I don't wear wigs, OK except on Purim to follow the custom of "nahaphochu," doing the opposite.

L'havdil, for a totally different reason, a friend's diagnosis of cancer, I mulled with her the choice of wigs she might make if she would need chemo and if her hair was to fall out.  Suddenly it hit me!  Just like I believe that my hair-covering for the mitzvah should be fun, so should wig wearing even for medical reasons. 

Forget the conservative faux boring wigs and wear something really wild and easy to care for. 

Women's hair-covering should be the most fun of all mitzvot, because it can be so creative.  Hairdos like these can easily weather storms, right?

From what I was taught, the point of the hair-covering for a married woman is to show that she's married.  That's why some rabbis oppose the wig.  They can't tell that it's fake.  So, maybe the halachic (according to Jewish Law) solution is a fabulously, blatantly fake wig... and if you need one for medical reasons, G-d forbid, make it fun!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Am I Insane?

Here I am, just under a week before taking my father to the states, and I have a "craving" to take the plunge and change this template (and the Shiloh Musings one) to one of the new blogger ones with all the options.  I still absolutely adore the banners ~Sarah~ designed for me.  And Akiva did such a great job fixing up the templates.

I helped set up a different blog and got to understand how revolutionary and exciting all the new options could be.  I always get a kick out of the changes Risa makes on her blog, changing banners as her family, bli eyin haraa, grows.

There are now these tabs, and I wonder if I could just copy some of the long lists of posts and KCC's I have, especially on this blog, and put them on those "tabbed pages."  It's just too time consuming to copy them one by one.  I've been blogging a long time, a very long time.  There's just so much stuff I'd have to find codes for in the old template.

Maybe I am crazy.  It would be a better project when the house empties out and I'm going a bit stir crazy.  Don't be surprised if my blog suddenly looks under construction.

Eating Kosher, Much More Than Hot Dogs

Some people think that kosher is just about meat, proper slaughter, no ham nor shell fish, but that's just a drop in the kosher shopping cart.

Kosher is also the separation between meat and dairy products.  That means that anyone suffering lactose intolerance and any other problem with milk allergies can use kosher labeling as their guide to what's permitted to safely eat.  Kosher labels which say "Pareve" or "Meat" can be life-savers for those severely allergic to dairy.  And some Passover foods which are labeled as not having any wheat product are just what the doctor ordered for celiac sufferers.

Strict vegetarians can also trust kosher labeling when wanting to avoid meat, poultry, fish, including the hidden amounts sometimes included in "so called vegetarian" oils etc.

Kosher certifiers/observers were also the first to discover that animals other than tuna were in those cans.

Yes, kosher is big business, because you don't have to be Jewish to... eat kosher food.

The HH Experiment

The Rebbitzen's Husband conducts a very successful experiment with the format of this week's Havel Havelim.  Take a look and tell him what you think.

Fear of Change

Dark becomes light...
Well, I have this gorgeous picture I took, but blogger isn't cooperating again.

My parents waited too long for their move out of the house.  I don't think that either will get full enjoyment from the assisted living place.  It's very sad.

My in-laws died more suddenly, a bit younger and in better shape, so we (and my sister-in-law and her family) didn't go through what we're (including of course my sister and her family) going through now.  Also the grandchildren have better memories of my in-laws because they died with all their marbles.

This should be a lesson, a wake-up call for all of us. 

"Old age isn't for sissies" may be true, but it's worse even watching it in others.  Very sad...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Dishes Call

Maybe I should rewrite that South Pacific song Bali Ha'i...





Why did I leave the party my kids made for may father to wash dishes on Friday?  I used to hate it when my mother-in-law would disappear into the kitchen to wash dishes during family meals, but there's no wall between my kitchen and dining-room, and Shabbat was approaching.  I dreaded the idea of starting Shabbat with a sink full of dishes.


And now Shabbat is over and the kids have all gone home, and my father went to sleep early, rather exhausted from Friday's party and then all Shabbat with his great-grandchildren and their parents.

I don't want to wake up tomorrow to a sink full of dirty dishes, so I hear them calling...



The dishes may call you,


Any night, any day,


In your heart, you'll hear it call you:


'Wash away...Wash away.'


The dishes will whisper


Every room in the house:


'Here am I, nice and dirty!


Scrub me clean, scrub me clean!'



Original Bali Ha'i

Bali Ha'i may call you,


Any night, any day,


In your heart, you'll hear it call you:


'Come away...Come away.'


Bali Ha'i will whisper


In the wind of the sea:


'Here am I, your special island!


Come to me, come to me!'

Friday, July 2, 2010

Packing Up

This coming week we'll be packing up my father's things so he can move to Arizona.  He's desperate to reunite with my mother but not at all happy about Arizona.  He really likes it here in Shiloh where the community has been so welcoming and friendly.

I'm not sending a lot of his clothes, because he gained weight here and his old pants are too tight.  Here he eats three meals and snacks, while before he came he barely ate two meals a day and fewer snacks.  Also, he's very sensitive to the cold, so it doesn't seem sensible to send him with short sleeved shirts he doesn't wear.  Yes, Arizona is hot, but it's air-conditioned, too, making it chilly.

He came with so many pairs of shoes they stopped me at customs.  I don't think the shoes are comfortable, so I won't send them back.  He'll have to get new shoes in AZ.

It's sad that he's going.  The kids are coming over before Shabbat to see him and make him an early 90th birthday.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

No Real Honor

Hat tip: Shy Guy (He comments a lot on Shiloh Musings, which is how he sent me this)

Maybe this sort of thing would have once bothered me, but not any more.  I don't feel involved.  Sloppy writing, I left out the subject.

OK, starting again.

Some people may think that all religious Jews are the same, or all Orthodox Jews are the same, but they're wrong, totally.  American Jewish newspapers seem to love exposes about how various "Modern" Orthodox synagogues keep tripping over their feet trying stay on that fence between chareidi/chassidic and Conservative.  Many of the various litmus paper tests revolve around the role of women.

Im not interested in taking over "men's roles" in shul for dovening etc.    Our shul has a token woman on the committee and I served on it for a few years.  I served on it for a few years.  The men were very upset with me, because I refused to consider my main responsibility to organize and set up the "kiddushim."  At that point we had them monthly, for Shabbat Mevarchim, the Shabbat before the new month.  I wanted my opinions to count on more interesting issues.  But I discovered that all the important stuff was decided "between mincha and maariv," as the expression goes.

My sole accomplishment was to make sure the towels were always freshly laundered.  Yes, "women's work."  The men never noticed how repulsive they were.  Nu, so big deal I made an exception to my rule.  I was afraid that someone would get sick.

The woman's "seat" on the committee is no honor, more a chore.

Shabbat Shalom

Is it Really Thursday, Already?

This week has sped by.  I guess it's because I had to take my father to Jerusalem twice.  The assisted living place in AZ demands a TB test which is a two stage procedure.  First they pricked him with something and then two days letter they check to see how the skin reacts.

Of course since he's very elderly, almost 90 (August 9,) his skin is very thin and sensitive.  Also, he's on blood thinners, so he had an ugly dark blue-purple thing where he was pricked.  The nurse felt it for a rash and declared him clean, negative.  I told her that the test was for America, so she brought out an English report form in addition to the standard Hebrew.

That second trip was yesterday and it really knocked my father out.  He enjoyed looking out the car window and seeing Jerusalem.  He was also so happy to return home to Shiloh.  The flight to Arizona will be a lot longer and more exhausting.  That's why my elder son will be coming along with us.

I've already started cleaning for Shabbat, since my married daughter plans on coming with the family, and Friday afternoon the whole crew will be over to see their "grandpa."  Today I have to cook some of the side dishes besides the meat and poultry, since I'll be busy on Friday.  I  also have to launder the linens which haven't been used for months.  They've been on the beds.  I'll try to put most in the final rinse cycle to save time and water.

A neighbor will be over so I can go to the pool this morning, G-d willing.

Next week we pack and get rid of the clothes my father won't be wearing again.  Busy day and week...