Thursday, July 18, 2019

Love Our Pool, Though Season Over Half Over


Summer in Shiloh... It's great, because we have a swimming pool. And the pool is a short walk from our house.

When we chose the building plot, where we now live, nobody had a clue that it would be such a great location. It's a minute's walk from the shul and in the other direction, about three minutes from the pool, besides being in between two bus stops. I chose it for the sunrise. It faces directly east and doesn't get strong winter winds.

One of the great things about the pool is that not only do we have "separate hours" for males and females, but there are "adult"hours. That means that the opening and closing hours of the pool are for grownups. It's quiet and peaceful, less crowded. We can swim and exercise without distraction and bother. I only go to those adult hours unless my granddaughters are visiting.


I've been taking out membership for years. It encourages me to go, even when I don't have all that much time. When you pay for each time, you end up going much less. I try to go every day, whether hours are in the morning or evening. To be honest, I'm not a "swimmer." I do my own version of water aerobics. Years ago I went to the pool in Neve Yaakov and learned a lot from the teacher there. They had fantastic lessons free once a week. So now add what I learned there with my years studying dance and "movement" to get a lot out of my time in the pool.

Our pool season ends at the end of August unless enough people sign up for September. Gd willing, I'll find a way to get to a pool during the rest of the year. It is so good for my general fitness and wellbeing.

Must get moving, so I can go to the pool.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Beatles, Memories of My Youth

I'm not shy about admitting my age, recently 70, so you shouldn't be surprised that I loved the Beatles' music. I sang it and danced to it. And I still do.

My first "introduction" was a letter from a British "penpal," who sent an article about them. And then their music began to be heard in New York. I think that one of the reasons the Beatles was so much fun to dance to, in contrast to today's music is because of the live drumming of Ringo Starr. For me the mechanical drumming you hear today is a total turnoff. It's so artificial.

I'm happy that there was a mini-reunion performance with Ringo and Paul McCartney. They're older than me, so I find it inspiring and encouraging that they can still perform.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Jerusalem Scenes, Summer 5779, 2019

It's a half a century since I first arrived in Jerusalem, and I'm never bored by the views and people. There are things that never change, and others that surprise and become unrecognizable.

Enjoy the photos I took the other day in the center of Jerusalem.







If you recognize anyone here, please explain in the comments, thanks.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Life in the "Senior Lane"

Today at my mosaics class I was having a lot of trouble visually focussing on the work I'm doing. I felt awkward and couldn't see it the way I needed, considering that I have to fit small pieces of glass in all sorts of spots. This wasn't the first time, but it was the worst. My glasses were fine for everything else.

I began trying to raise the wooden tissue box, which I'm decorating. Working on it became easier, and suddenly I realized why.
MULTIFOCALS
Yes, I wear multifocal eyeglasses, and each "level" of the lenses is calibrated for different distances.



In order to work well with the sides of the tissue box, I needed to raise it. Once I found a solution, everything became easier. It was also better for my neck to have the project raised. I could sit straight and be more relaxed. I felt stress free. Next time I do a project like that, I'll have to bring something, so working on it will be more comfortable.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

About That Gorgeous Sequin Top I Wore to US Embassy Bash

Here are my husband and me, all dressed up waiting for the bus that never came.
Those who know me in real life know that I have simple, relatively inexpensive and easy to launder clothes. I buy most of my new clothes in the Israeli Hilah chain. I take pretty good care of my clothes and some are very old. I also buy skirts and sweaters in a second hand shop. Actually the skirt I wore to the big festive American Embassy Independence Day "bash" in Jerusalem predates my big diet. It was bought in Hagara, another Israeli chain. My neighbor took it in after I lost about 30 lbs, 15 kilo.

But this top I'm wearing has a history. No, I didn't buy it. I inherited it. It had belonged to my mother. My sister offered it to me after she had passed away. It was too nice to donate to Goodwill. It's covered in sequin and heavier than it looks. This is definitely a more expensive piece of clothing than I've ever bought for myself. And, no, I have no idea when my mother bought it. The sleeves are slightly shorter than I normally wear, but not too short to wear.

When my husband told me that the invitation to the Independence Day celebration gave "cocktail dress" as the "dress code," I was suddenly inspired to wear the top. And as you see, I paired it with the white linen skirt and simple white scarf. I felt that black would be too formal and "heavy." It is summer time now, and Israelis don't dress as formally as Americans. The white felt right, and I was comfortable in all ways. 

The only problem was when I was waiting at a cocktail bar for a special drink, and the bartender spilled the drink all over me. At least it was a pale color, but now I have to get the sequinned top cleaned, dry cleaned. That's a challenge. Any recommendations nearby?

Selfie at Embassy Bash
with the YESHA crowd

great music

With Moshe Lion, Mayor of Jerusalem

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Pishers' Guide to Jerusalem #31, Pisgat Zeev Mall, Awful Loo

This is a continuation in my ongoing series about public toilets in Jerusalem. See #30#29#28#27,  #26,  #25,  #24,  #23#22#21,#20#19#18#17#16,  #15a#15,  #14#13#12#11#10#9,  #8#7,  #6,  #5, Saved by The First Station aka #4a#4#3#2 and #1

I was awfully disappointed in the horrendous condition of the public toilets in the Pisgat Zeev Mall. No upkeep/repairs, no toilet paper and no paper towels.

Also, the locks on the stalls are very tricky, which is a problem.

They've been repairing the public toilets on the main floor for ages, so you have to go upstairs, and this is the situation one floor up.

Considering that there aren't any other public toilets nearby, many of us have to rely on the mall, which is near the Jerusalem lightrail and many bus lines. Besides buses to the rest of Jerusalem, most of  the buse lines to the Shomron and Mateh Binyamin have stops nearby, so this is the best/crucial location for WCs.

The only compliment I can give is that they seemed to be clean, not something to be ignored. Just remember to always have lots of tissues on you, since one can never rely on finding toilet paper in Jerusalem's public toilets.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Caption This!


Your chance to star, but there's no prize.

If you can think of a "caption," please add in the comments, thanks.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Israel Museum, Peter Pan


The big exhibit now in the Israel Museum is about Peter Pan. I found it very interesting, though the "Peter Pan" I grew up with, singing along all the songs, wasn't included. I'm of the generation of Mary Martin's Peter Pan.  I would watch it every year on television. My mother bought the album, and I'd play it, sing along. Even today I know almost every song, and certainly can sing along, picturing it in "color," even though tv was black and white.

Visit the Israel Museum, and tell me what memories Peter Pan awake in you.








Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Perfectly Simple Stuffed Squash

I'm not the "strictly plan a menu and shop" type of person. I decide what to cook according to what I have, or spontaneously when seeing something special in the shop.

So, when I saw these squashes, almost mini-pumpkins, which were just perfect for stuffing, I grabbed a couple. Then I got some ground turkey, even though ground beef or chicken could also be used. Years ago when I was the cook for the local day care center, we learned that turkey had more minerals than chicken and less fat than beef. It was highly recommended, so I started cooking with it more than before.

I mixed the ground turkey with diced onion, granulated garlic, dehydrated dill and a small container of tomato paste. That was it. Of course you can add whatever seasonings you like or have in your pantry.

With a strong knife I split the squash and emptied the halves of seeds. Then I stuffed them and baked on a Pyrex type of baking dish 180c (360f,) though any baking pan would do. I have a fan oven and turned it off when I could see that the meat was done and the squash "bubbly."

If you're serving the stuffed squash as a simple meal, just add a salad and carbohydrate, if you eat carbs. They also reheat very well.

Enjoy, and let me know if you've tried the recipe and how you changed it, thanks.


Saturday, June 15, 2019

Double-Tweaked My Challah Recipe, Better Results

I made two changes to my usual challah recipe. One change I made in my challah recipe was intentional, and the other was accidental, but the results were phenomenal. For the longest time, even though my challot tasted great, the texture was problematic. My husband complained that the sandwiches I made him with the leftover challah crumbled terribly.  I tried leaving out the eggs, but there wasn't any real improvement.

On Friday, when I made my latest batch of challah (usually enough to last a month or more, since we don't eat much bread) I increased the water to four 4 cups. And for whatever reason, I forgot to add the pinch of salt.

I used the same whole wheat flour as usual, but the challot ended up almost double the size, much softer and better texture.


This is the newly tweaked recipe:

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar (I use dark brown)
2 Tablespoons or a bit more of dehydrated yeast
approximately 2 kilo flour (I used 70% or 100% whole wheat extra fine)
4 cups of warm water
1 cup of any vegetable oil
1 egg for painting to make a shiny challah

Instructions:
Mix sugar and yeast in large bowl.
Add the warm water.
mix
Cover with plastic.
When it looks all bubbly and has risen add the oil.
Mix
Gradually add flour, mixing all the time, until you can knead it.
Knead for about 8 minutes.
Coat completely in a bit more oil.
Cover and wait until doubled in size, anything from 20 to 40 minutes depending on the weather and quality of yeast.
Punch down, then cover and wait again.
"Take a piece of challah" for the blessing.
Punch down and then shape on baking pan, covered with baking paper. The shaping as you can see in my photos can be very simple.
Paint with raw egg and let the challot rise a bit.
Bake. *Start in a hot fan/turbo oven 180c (360f), and then lower temperature when you can see the challah begin to brown a bit 150c (300f).
It's ready when hard on the bottom and has a hollow sound when tapping the bottom.
Let cool out of the oven.

Enjoy for Shabbat, Jewish Holidays or whenever you want a special bread. PS They freeze well.

*There are too many factors to predict exact baking time.

Monday, June 10, 2019

"One Pot Meal," Dairy Vegetable Kugel

Notice that I used a different, for me, shaped pan, so the frozen kugel will be easy to recognize in the freezer, without having to uncover them.

Since my husband and I found ourselves eating alone on the Shavuot holiday, when it's traditional to eat dairy meals, I tried to come up with practical foods.

I used this Dairy Vegetable Kugel as a side dish, but with the addition of a fresh salad, it (certainly the leftovers) makes a perfect and tasty "One Pot Meal." An additional advantage is that you can make more than one at a time and freeze them.

Ingredients:
1 package broad noodles, (you may use any pasta)
1 package cottage cheese
6 eggs
3 fresh mushrooms
1 large onion
1 squash
2 tomatoes
seasonings to taste
You can vary/change the vegetables to your liking and what you have in stock.

Instructions:

  1. boil the broad noodles
  2. while they're cooking cut of the vegetables
  3. Put the vegetables, cottage cheese, eggs and cooking/rinsed noodles and a large bowl and mix. Add whatever seasonings you wish.
  4. Pour the mixture in baking pans. Optional to line with baking paper.
  5. Bake in moderate oven 160c or 320f until firm and "bubbly" on sides. 
  6. that's it
  7. serve with salad if you wish
I used to make a sweet version of it, adding fruit, apples, raisins rather than vegetables, seasoned with cinnamon and sugar.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Shavuot Menu, Keeping it Easy

Maybe someday I'll still do it. A number of years ago, I started writing a cookbook which I named:
The Lazy Cook Cookbook
For some strange reason, people told me that the title is awful. Am I the only person who looks for easy ways to prepare food? I don't like recipes that have too many steps and too many ingredients. Those of you who have seen my recipes already, must have noticed that they're pretty minimal.

Those of us who live very Jewish lives, according to halacha, Jewish Law, will be celebrating the Shavuot Holiday immediately after Shabbat. That means that since it's forbidden to do any preparation, whether cooking, setting the table or even cutting a salad on Shabbat for the Holiday, even the fanciest balabustas, Jewish housekeepers, should keep it pretty simple. The family and guests, if you have any, will want to eat as soon as possible, no doubt.

That's why I decided to serve me and my husband cream cheese, lox and salad. That's not something we have frequently or at all. I may serve a dairy vegetable kugel, which should heat up pretty easily, but I still have to make it today. With the added treat of ice cream for dessert, we should be ready on time to go to a Torah class. Neither of us learn all night anymore. We're not as young as we used to be.

For Shavuot "lunch," after synagogue, I'll make a version of my "one pot baked fish and vegetables" in advance. We don't have any guests for that meal either, so I can cook exactly what we need to eat.

Ever since we both began to "diet," I try to serve us only what we need. The only "unlimited" foods I have on the table are salad and low carbohydrate vegetables. We've never been on "starvation diets." Just the thought of one makes me gorge on forbidden foods. When we have guests, I put out more food, but many of our guests are "repeats" and have the same food preferences as we do.

I bought a couple of special cheeses as Shavuot treats, besides the ice cream. We won't starve for sure.

Soon I'll go to our local swimming pool, and then after breakfast I'll cook, Gd willing.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Shavuot Sameach To All

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Adventures on Public Transportation

We don't have a car, so my traveling is a combination of public transportation and rides, tremps, the Israeli word for hitchhiking. I also call it siyate d'Shmaya kaful, a double dose of the hand of Gd.

Unlike the lies you'll hear in the international media, anti-Israel NGOs etc, there's no apartheid in Israel. Jews and Arabs travel together, at least on Israeli "Jewish" public transportation. You won't find Jews on the Arab buses.

In the afternoon, buses to Ariel from the "coastal plain," Tel Aviv, Petach Tikva, Kfar Saba etc are packed with Arabs. I've seen buses speed past bus stops many times, while Jews and Arabs stand tired and frustrated waiting for a bus that will take them on their way. The Yarkon Junction is one of the most difficult places to get a ride on a bus during that busy time. I've had better luck at the Oranit/Elkana bus stop off the main Cross-Samaria Highway. But that doesn't mean that I can easily get into the bus and find a seat.

The last time I needed to get home via Ariel, a bus stopped there to let a couple of people off, but at first wasn't going to let anyone on. Then the driver saw that there were just a few of us, so he opened the door and asked where we needed to go.
I answered: "Ariel."
So the driver replied: "Pay me and then go in through the backdoor."
That's what I did, sort of. I paid him, and then walked to the back door. He opened it. I could see that the back of the bus was packed with Arab workers. I had already paid and had no doubt that the next bus would be the same if not worse. So, I stepped up and sat on the step. It sure beat standing.
A minute later I felt someone tap me on the shoulder, so I looked up. "There's a seat for you."
"Thank you," I replied.
Yes, one of the Arab workers had gotten up to give me his seat. This has happened before. I've found the Arab workers are very polite to an old lady like me, thank Gd.

A few minutes later, at the Gitit Revava bus stop, the bus emptied almost entirely. That's where most of the Arabs get off. There were just a handful of other passengers traveling to Ariel, where I got a ride home, thank Gd.



Sunday, June 02, 2019

Using Up Leftover Bread, Stuffed Chicken


To keep my weight down, not that I'm all that slim, I have to stay away from bread. We end up with the thick ends of bread, which my husband doesn't like for his sandwiches. So last week, I took four thick pieces of "standard" Israeli sliced/packaged bread and stuffed a chicken with it.

 As you can see, all I added to the bread was some water to soften, plus diced carrots and onion. You can spice it up or add other vegetables that will hold up to long cooking and have a lot of flavor, like celery.

Mix the bread, broken into small pieces, plus water and vegetables into a "mush." Stuff it into the whole chicken. If there's too much, then surround the chicken.
I baked the stuffed chicken in a large, deep dish. As you can see, I sprinkled lots of pepper, paprika and garlic on it.

For the first 40 minutes or so, I had the chicken covered with foil. For the final half hour or more I baked it uncovered, heat from top on turbo 210 degrees Centigrade, which is 410 Fahrenheit.

This is a very simple and tasty way to use up bread.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Freedom! What's Freedom? Moi on The Stage

A few weeks ago I took on a challenge. The Women's Performance Community of Jerusalem asked for volunteers to present poems or statements/short performances about Freedom. I decided to write something and send in my "audition." It was accepted, thank Gd.

My poem was written in "free voice" form and probably works best performed, rather than just read from a page. My friend recorded/filmed my performance  on her phone last night. She knows who she is and I thank her. Two of my close friends came to cheer me on, which made the event even more special. And many others including family apologized for not making it.

Freedom, as I described it, is rather different from the other performances. Since this is a women's theater performance group, I'm not featuring others in this post, since many of the women don't perform in open, mixed venues.

Of course, I'm curious about what you thought of my poem "Freedom."

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Surprised Moi, Birthday Fun

I haven't been all that shy about telling friends and family that this year's birthday is to be celebrated. Hard to believe I'm seventy 70 and not seventeen 17. But somehow a bunch of my buddies, the ones in my Walking Anyone๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ whatsapp group, totally surprised me yesterday morning. I really thought we were getting together for a nice morning walk.

All the "Where are we going to meet?" and "Which neighborhood will we walk in?" questions/answers made sense, were perfectly normal. Even when some of us were standing and waiting in front of Merlot, the lovely dairy restaurant across from the supermarket and mailboxes, and I saw two friends approaching, I didn't  think it more than just coincidence.

I really was surprised when they said that we were going to a surprise party for breakfast, rather than take a walk!

We all had Merlot Breakfasts, eggs, salads, spreads, whole wheat rolls and coffee. Totally delicious. Then we shared their special dessert, waffle with ice cream, whipped cream the works! All of this was flavored with friendship, the most heavenly flavoring in the world. Thank Gd, I am truly blessed.


Monday, May 27, 2019

Tower of David Museum with Friends

Yesterday I met with a handful of friends from around the country, and we toured the Tower of David Museum. The only time I had been there was a half a century earlier, when I was a student in Machon Greenberg, and it was then just an ancient site.

The Tower of David is next to the Jaffa Gate and you can get there by public transportation, any bus to Mamilla Mall or the lightrail stop at Safra Square, the Jerusalem Municipality. Yes, it's a bit of a walk. The museum does require walking including stairs, so it's not for the handicapped or baby carriages/prams/strollers.

Even though it's called The Tower of David, it was built much later by Herod, and it's one of the only two remaining structures he had built. The other one is Maarat Hamachpela, the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. The other Herodian edifices have been destroyed, though sections and foundations remain.

Give yourself a few hours to wander around. There are public toilets at the exit and near the special exhibit section where there is now an exhibition about Har Habayit, the Temple Mount. My friends and I didn't have enough time, since we also had reservations at a nearby restaurant. Our time was much too limited.

Since it's not a planned museum, the rooms are small. Visiting students made it hard for us to see everything, also. One of our friends said that she has brought grandchildren, who really enjoy the Tower of David Museum. As a senior citizen, I only paid NS20 to enter, so maybe I'll be back. Yes, I recommend visiting it.

These photos should give you a good idea, but they don't tell the whole story.











Thursday, May 23, 2019

Medura Lag B'Omer Bonfire, Senior Style



When we first moved to Shiloh late summer 1981, we were among the older residents and the few with children old enough to be in school. Now all of us from that time and many who moved to Shiloh years later, are old enough to be in the 55+ group, old enough to enjoy a special range of activities.

Many of us "veterans," or vattikim as we're called in Hebrew are already retired. Consider us as a whole "young seniors," but last night we were all very happy that our Lag B'Omer midura,  or campfire/bonfire had chairs to sit on. Very few of us would have stayed or been comfortable if we had been expected to sit on old rugs and blankets like the kids, or like we had done easily decades ago.





Just like at the Medura Lag B'Omer Bonfires of old, we sang kumzitz style/genre, Israeli folk songs and told stories, plus some Divrei Torah. Unlike the kids, our menu was mostly fruit and watermelon. We do want to stay healthy active seniors for as long as possible, Gd willing.

Gd willing we'll enjoy many more together.

Chag Sameach!