Friday, August 17, 2018

Precarious Cooking, Kitchen Chaos

Last night I really didn't feel like schlepping the food out to a neighbor for cooking. Being that it was the last really full day of work in the kitchen, every few minutes I was called in for something.

These were good "somethings."

Wall tiles needed my input, and there were other questions the "kitchen guy" had for me. So I couldn't disappear for half an hour or so.

So I decided to see where I could set up the two-burner hotplate I'd been cooking on for almost two years. I managed to find a "safe" surface within read of an electric outlet. The truth is that the place on the laundry room sink was more "precarious" than "safe."

So I cut up an onion, potato, carrots and a nice sized sweet potato. On top of that I placed two pieces of filleted frozen fish. Then I added some oil, covered an placed it on the burner.

Once it began cooking, I lowered the flame a bit and kept checking until the potatoes were soft. White potatoes take longer to cook than sweet potatoes and unlike most other vegetables, they are awful when not totally cooked. Only eggplants, which are a "cousin" to white potatoes need even more cooking.

I'm glad I decided on that fish meal, because it was nice, filling, tasty and so easy to make, even under the difficult conditions we have right now for cooking.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Managing Sans Kitchen, Thank Gd For Friends

We're close to two weeks without a kitchen. Before then, we've been almost two years with a very problematic kitchen including a year without an oven. It took a long time to plan and find a crew to renovate my kitchen, and as of now the work isn't over.

I've been able to have my morning coffee without any real problem, but I can't cook, and during the first week, the dust was so awful I couldn't even cut a vegetable.

I don't need a kitchen for my coffee as you can see, but meals are something else.
As you can see, we moved the fridge into the livingroom and plugged it into the airconditioner socket. We have a fan blowing, which has been fine most of the time.

Thank Gd our wonderful neighbors have invited us for some meals, and I've also heated and cooked food at neighbors. Besides that I've eaten more sandwiches than I've had for decades. And we had a couple of meals at a local restaurant. Normally I'd consider eating out a waste of money, but it's nothing compared to the price of the kitchen.

At this point we're in the "home stretch," Gd willing. It shouldn't be too long, if all goes as planned. So, stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Kitchen Chaos- Unexpected Delay, But Keep Smiling 馃榿

I'm glad I'm not doing more than just the kitchen.

OK, after living with a barely functioning kitchen for almost two years, if not longer, and not having a kitchen at all for over a week, do another couple of days really make a difference? I've been working very hard on myself not to get hysterical over things. Not long ago, a close friend died from cancer. A couple of weeks ago was the yartzeit, death anniversary, of neighbors, half a family, three children and the father who had been killed in a horrific car accident almost thirty years ago. So, I'm not going to allow myself to freak out over the kitchen. Fishtande vu?

Yesterday, when I was on the bus to Jerusalem and we had just left Shiloh, while there was still phone reception, I got a phone call from our kitchen guy.
"There's a problem. We need you."
"I'm on my way to Jerusalem."
"Oh, call when you get back."
"The countertop you ordered no longer exists. It's no longer being produced."
"But we double-checked."
"OK, I'll call when I'm on my way back."
Now for the backstory:
When I was choosing the wall tiles, sinks and faucets in a large Jerusalem store, I had with me my formica samples etc and also chose the countertop from samples on display. It was similar to what I had previously chosen, but more interesting. Then I discovered that it didn't appear in all of their "catalogs."
So I called my kitchen guy and had him check if it was really available or no longer being produced. He called the local guy who was doing the carpentry and counters who called his supplier, told him the model number and was told that there still was a supply. So we ordered it.
Then yesterday morning, as the counter guy took the dimensions/model of my new kitchen counters and was about to do my counters, he discovered that he didn't have enough. And then the phone calls were reversed in perfect chiastic structure until I got the call.
That's why yesterday late afternoon, I had to re-choose my countertops. We carefully compared the samples to the formica, sink color and the wall tiles which are to be just over the counter. And surprisingly, ended up with my first choice from a few months ago.  Davka, then I had a slightly different color scheme and very different formica...

That's the wall tile on the "naked" countertop.
I must keep my sense of humor and put all this in proportion. Right?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

I Don't Swim, Just Exercise/Dance in The Pool

I'd burn more calories in the pool with this music.

In all honesty I was never a real swimmer, but that doesn't stop me from doing my own version of "swimming laps."

Monday, August 13, 2018

Kitchen Chaos Meltdown → Happy Ending

Yesterday was "Kitchen Chaos Meltdown Day." I'm pretty sure that almost every renovation project has at least one day for the homeowner when things hit a crisis mode and hysteria reigns. I got there yesterday afternoon when due to a misunderstanding one of the necessary "pieces" of my new kitchen wouldn't be available at all.

The exact details aren't important, but my first reaction was "mild" hysteria and then that I'd have to make an unplanned trip to Jerusalem to buy a replacement. Then all of a sudden I remembered that in the Shiloh Industrial Zone there are two stores that sell the product. OK, maybe not the exact one or the fantastic price I had expected to pay, but if I could buy it here and have much easier delivery logistics, too...  Also, the missing product wasn't something that needed the "wow factor*," so once I had calmed myself a trip to Jerusalem seemed totally unnecessary.

So, I quickly called my "kitchen guy," the one whom I hired to do this daunting project and told him about the unexpected complication and my solution. That solution meant that he had to quickly drive over to my house from whatever/wherever he was, drive me down to the two stores and help me pick out the missing product.

Apparently crises like these are part and parcel of renovation projects like mine, so he wasn't phased by the little emergency. And I was perfectly calm by the time he walked in. He drove me down.

I went through one store's showroom, and although I easily found a perfectly suitable replacement, the prices were too high. So we went to the other store. Again I quickly found something nice, and there the prices there were extremely reasonable. I definitely recommend the large hardware/building supply store in the Shiloh Industrial Zone. There's no need to go to a city to shop. That is one thing I've learned now. The product was ordered, and we're on track, B"H, thank Gd.

Here's how my new kitchen looks as of right now:

*To be honest, if you have a good eye for design and color you can easily "wow" from this simple local store.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Rosh Chodesh Ellul Treats

This morning I managed to get to the pool early. Not only was I the first one in, but for at least half my "swim," I had the entire pool to myself.

The swimming pool sparkled in the sunlight, and the water was just perfect, even at 7am in the morning.

After that I quickly made my way home to shower, change and get ready to go down to Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh for our Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers.

It was decided that next Rosh Chodesh, two months from now Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, will be celebrated on Tuesday, 30th of Tishrei 5779, October 9, 2018, 8:30am, we will have our Women's Prayers. 

转驻讬诇转 谞砖讬诐, 专讗砖 讞讜讚砖 讞砖讜谉, 诇' 转砖专讬, 讬讜诐 讙',9/10/2019, 8:30, 讘砖讬诇讛 讛拽讚讜诪讛, 转诇 砖讬诇讛.

Please mark it in your calendar, so you can join us.
Chodesh Tov
讞讜讚砖 讟讜讘

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Kitchen Chaos Break for Shabbat

Ever since my friend treated me and some other friends to a day at the spa on Wednesday, I've had renewed energy, and have gotten out of the paralysis caused by Kitchen Chaos aka the necessary renovations to make me a new kitchen.

Thursday morning I woke up extra early and began rinsing all the dust and grime from the floors, Israeli style, before the workers came in. And then on Friday before Shabbat I took the dust-filled covers off of the couch, laundered them, dusted the leather couches and then oiled them. Afterwards I recovered them, changed the filthy dusty tablecloth, swept and washed the floors all over the house even better than the day before.

That way as Shabbat began the house felt more like a home. We were invited out for Shabbat meals, which was great. I spent most of the afternoon with a neighbor. And the two of us attended the special Shiloh 40th Anniversary events together, which was fun.  Gd willing the kitchen renovations will be finished by next Shabbat. Before using the new stove I will need to get it attached to the gas canisters. I'll keep you updated.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Shiloh Celebrating 40, Before The Show Began

Last night was a tremendous celebration for the forty years since Jews returned to live in Shiloh. we've been celebrating the forty year milestone for quite a while, but the big concert extravaganza is supposed to be the end of the party. Soon we'll start planning forty years of the school and our neighborhood.

Here are a few of the "warm up" photos. I was the first to sit down and save seats. The person in charge said that I could come in even though the ticket collector hadn't gotten set up yet.  There are times it's so nice to be old...

Israel's iconic, most popular entertainer Yehoram Gaon sang for a minute, checking out the sound etc. It was such a treat to hear him even for a few seconds.

I was tempted to walk over as he passed by afterwards to tell him that we had lived in "his grandfather's house*" in the Old City of Jerusalem our first year married/in Israel. He did catch my eye and nod, but I chickened out. Yehoram Gaon still has an amazing voice and during the show he was fantastic.

At the show I was so happy to be sitting with some of my children and grandchildren who traveled to Shiloh specially for the celebrations.

I plan on posting more photos and videos later on Shiloh Musings, so stay tuned.

*In Gaon's movie "I am a Jerusalemite," he enters the Old City and tells that he's walking to his grandfather's house.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

End of an Era, Proud of Myself

I'm very proud of myself. When the "kitchen crew" took off my old door, which was full of "the past" I didn't take one thing off as a keepsake. The only thing I took were some pictures:

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Mystery to Me, Too

This week's theme/challenge on 52Frames was What is it??

By chance I spotted something very strange. I photographed it from a few angles, in its real color and also sepia. I chose the sepia and cropped it a bit.

Mystery to Me, Too
Can you guess what I photographed? Please post your guess in the comments. In a few days I'll tell you what I know about it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Noon in Ashkelon

I went to Ashkelon yesterday with my cousin. None of us could remember being there in recent decades. We were at the Marina, which is filled with restaurants facing a colorful collection of boats. We shared a meal of fresh fish, which does taste very different from the frozen variety. I'll review the restaurant at another time. Kitchen chaos is draining my blogging capabilities.

Enjoy the pictures:

Monday, August 06, 2018

Grapes, Glorious Grapes

Some things are worth waiting for...

Our little vineyard, which we barely cultivate, has been amazingly good to us. Just a little patience and we get the greatest grapes. I really love the dark grapes which grow by the sidewalk.

The other day my husband climbed up on the wall to get me some clusters of them. They are sweeter than candy. The only candy that competes, as far as I'm concerned, is chocolate-covered mint. But I'm a "mint freak."  Maybe that's why I like to brush my teeth a few times a day.

This year at the suggestion of a neighbor who makes wine out of our grapes some years, I watered the vines when it was dry in the winter. The grapes are a bit better. Just don't forget that the Shiloh area is one of those most suited in the entire world for growing grapes. Gd made Shiloh for grape growing. But since the area is filled with construction dust from the roadworks being done, I can no longer nosh on them when walking by. But after a good rinse...

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Bye Old Kitchen, You're History

Kitchen Saga

I may be terrified, but I'm not sad about getting rid of my old kitchen. We've used it well for over thirty years. Kitchens aren't people. They are just kitchens, things.

I'm excited about getting a new kitchen. I'm terrified of the mess, the chaos.

I've been talking about getting a new kitchen for years. That's ever since I realized that there is no way I could get decent sized ovens in the old one. And I need two ovens.

The last time I bought a new refrigerator it was almost impossible to find one that could have the door hung from the other other side.

And did I mention that things got moldy in the corner closet and wet under the meat sink?

Yes, this old kitchen had paid its dues. Over thirty years is a nice age for a kitchen to be retired.

That phrase "get a new kitchen..." It's not very accurate. Because you don't "get a new kitchen," like getting a new coat or set of dishes. A kitchen must be planned, planned very carefully. And it isn't cheap. And the old one must be emptied and taken out. It's a process. It is neither easy nor cheap.

Gd willing in a couple of hours, we'll be on our way...

Friday, August 03, 2018

Shelves Cleared, Books Out, Almost Gone

When we had our house built and kitchen planned thirty-five years ago, cookbooks, diet books, childcare books etcetera were very important to me and read a lot. In recent years I haven't opened a single one of them. So, even though in the new kitchen, that wall of closets where the shelves are will remain, the books are going. The shelves will be used for my coffee accessories, the French Presses, mugs, whatever fits.

A few months ago when I first advertized that I had cookbooks and others for the taking, some neighbors took some. But now I'm still stuck, so I took them all down, put them in a box and advertised that they're near my door.

 Now, barely twelve hours later, the box is emptier.

Gd willing more books will find customers/readers. Whatever doesn't will be taken to be placed next to the paper recycling box in the neighborhood. 

Nowadays, when I need a recipe, which is rare, I just look on the internet. Even my recipes can be found on the internet, on this blog!

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Pre-New Kitchen Chaos #1

No doubt that over the next two weeks I'll be posting lots of pre-kitchen chaos posts. This entire undertaking is terrifying, and I can barely keep track of the things I must do, buy etc.

I hired someone who is responsible for dealing with all the professionals, from the carpenter to the painter to the plumber, electrician, plasterer, general workers etc. He even does a lot of the dirty-work and professional stuff himself. Besides that, he tweaked the plan I had come up with with my son-in-law, sketched it professionally enough to bring it to the carpenter, etc, etcetera.

I'm keeping a wall of old cabinets, so the colors we've chosen all have to tie in together.

When he said that next Sunday he's planning on coming with the sledge hammer to break up/down the old kitchen, I could barely breathe. Yesterday I picked up a few boxes from the grocer and filled some. I emptied a few closets and threw out lots of stuff. This is only the beginning.

Somehow by Sunday I must get the place ready and set up a temporary kitchen around the house. We are grateful for invitations and excuses not to be home. We'll move the fridge to the AC outlet. There's a full-size sink in the laundry room. We are anyhow using an old electric cooking thing and no oven. It will be chaos, and then...

Updates to come, Gd willing.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Pickled, Super Easy Homemade Pickles

The other day I discovered a bag of almost totally frozen cucumbers in the back of the refrigerator. Even though here in Israel, cucumbers aren't all that expensive, I still didn't want to throw them out. You must have heard the saying:
If life gives you lemons, then make lemonade.
So, I took those frozen cucumbers and made pickles!

I made the pickles the easiest and quickest way possible. I don't measure. I just cut, poured and sprinkled.

  • cucumbers
  • fresh garlic
  • an onion
  • coarse salt
  • I should have added a few peppercorns but forgot
  • dehydrated dill and kusbara, (Coriander, also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley,) fresh would have been even better
  • vinegar
  • boiling water

I brought it to a boil and then let it simmer over half an hour. After it cooled I stored the pickles in a glass jar in the fridge. 

My husband even agrees that the pickles taste fine. And they don't have that over-salty chemical taste you frequently find in store-bought pickles.

If you're on a low salt diet, you can make low salt pickles at home. Get the flavor from the onion, garlic, dill and vinegar. 

Another advantage to the cooked pickles is that they just take a couple of hours from beginning to eating them. And don't forget that if I hadn't made pickles I would have thrown out the cucumbers.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Arguing Over a Couple of Inches, Few Centimeters, Kitchen Saga

One of the reasons I didn't go for a less expensive, store-bought modular kitchen is that I wanted things that you generally cant find in those more standardized kitchen places.

When we ordered the kitchen in our house just under 35 years ago, it was dakva our contractor who suggested that I have the upper cabinets 50 centimeters up, rather than the standard 60 centimeters. Because of that I can easily reach both lower shelves. If the cabinet was five centimeters higher, I'd have a problem. So I told the kitchen guy I need 50 centimeters, not a drop higher.

He brought me the plans from the carpenter, and I noticed that it said 52 centimeters. And there were only three upper shelves instead of the four I expect and require.
I said: "No!"
I made it very clear that at my age, one gets shorter, not taller. And if 50 centimeters was OK for the past thirty plus years, if anything, I need lower not higher for the future. And I want my four shelves.

He explained that the height must take into account easy use and cutting of the wall tiles. They are 15 centimeters by 15 centimeters, so a trim of 5 centimeters won't work.
"Great! Make it 45 centimeters."
"Nobody does 45; I've never heard of it."
"讗讝 诪讛 Az mah? So what?"
Off he went to the carpenter for a new plan. They have to give me what I want; it's my kitchen.

Yes, the saga continues...

Friday, July 27, 2018

Oops! No Water

Like many Israeli suburban locations, our regional council thinks the way to our hearts/votes is with new sidewalks. We would have really preferred they return the bush shelters they replaced with holey tin cans.

Instead they have made our lives difficult, not only ripping out perfectly good sidewalks, but adding another to the other side of the street, which has narrowed the street. Many bus drivers have gotten stuck and refuse to drive by the house. They go a different way, which leaves waiting passengers in the lurch.

Besides that, there's the dirt and dust, and I almost broke my leg the other night. I hadn't realized that the sidewalk nearby had been ripped out, and I stepped into a mess in the dark.

And then yesterday, just as I was about to leave the house for Jerusalem, I tried to wash my hands and discovered that we had no water. I had heard the tractor at the front of my house, and had an awful feeling about it. I ran out and discovered that it had broken the water pipe to, davka, my house.

I ran back in and called the "municipal authorities." Thank Gd they were able to quickly send a plumber to make a temporary repair. If I hadn't been home, I never would have known about it to be honest. That is except for the mess in the yard...

Never dull, for sure.

When people are battling serious illness, I'm not going to get hyper hysterical over inconveniences. Please pray for a refuah shleimah, complete recovery for:
Miriam bat Chaya
Leeba Asnah bat Sara

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Too Bad The Pedometer Doesn't Count Water Exercise

As many of you know, I have my phone set up as a pedometer, and I happily show off my step count on Instagram and Facebook.

On a day like today, when it was a scorcher, real summer day, my walking partner and I walked two circuits early in the morning, and then I was home until evening when I went to the nearby pool. I exercised in the water for 45 minutes.

According to my pedometer I did a rather lazy under 9,000 steps. And no, my phone isn't waterproof.

Isn't it a bit crazy that I don't feel I've exercised if the pedometer doesn't confirm it?