Monday, June 18, 2018

New Mind-Boggling Photo-Editing Technique

It's hard to believe that just a few years ago, I barely knew more than cropping as a my repertoire of photo-editing. Now, besides "lightening," sharpening, turning the photo into black and white, etc. I've discovered that you can change its shape.

I thought people in 52Frames were kidding when they said that I could change the perspective of a picture. I could make a distorted one into a perfect square or rectangle. Someone told me that I could do it with Snapseed, an app I have on my phone for editing. They were right. I did fix the photo with the Perspective Tool.

I'll show you what I mean with a photo that was really distorted. I turned this one...

into... this.  Until I did it, I  couldn't believe such a thing could be done.

It's like magic. Isn't it?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Well-Used World Book Encyclopedia

My parents bought us World Book Encyclopedia in around 1960, the first edition that had the human body with a special layered plastic section. I loved going through the volumes. And for a number of years, they also ordered the supplements. World Book was readable and accessible even for younger kids.

So, when not long after we returned to Israel from shlichut in London, a salesgirl showed up (1977 or 1978) selling World Book, I grabbed the opportunity. I even joined the sales team a few years later but had trouble countering people's
"...but it's so expensive."
So, I didn't last long nor sold much.

My kids grew up with World Book. I would tell them to use it for school projects and research even when they couldn't read much or any English. During the period of time we had new immigrants from the USSR over for Shabbat meals, our trusty World Book proved very helpful in explaining and illustrating. I even remember being shown the breed of dogs one liked from the Dog section of the encyclopedia.

In recent years it hasn't been opened much. I was thinking of just giving it to the kids and even letting them cut it up for projects, but then...

As we were talking on Shabbat with guests, there was a bit of a debate about some location in Israel. We're Sabbath observers, so no computers or smartphones can be used, and I needed the answer ASAP. So, I went to the shelf and pulled out the World Book Atlas. Alas, the map of Israel wasn't large and detailed enough. So, I got out the "I volume," found Israel and checked the map there. My proof was easy to show everyone.

It looks like in this retirees' home, the World Book isn't retiring yet.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Michmoret, Heavenly Fish in the Shuq

The other day my friend and I decided to have a nice early dinner together. She asked me for suggestions, and I told her about Michmoret. It's an excellent fish restaurant in the Machane Yehuda Open Market. I always take a table inside, since I find the shuq much too noisy. This time the piped music was a bit too loud for my taste, so I asked them to lower the volume a bit, which was done immediately.

There's a choice of fish for NS75 or NS85, depending on which fish you order. And there's a choice of side dishes, either vegetables or french fries. If you want a fresh salad, as a side dish, it cost a bit more. This cost much less than a fish meal in any of the popular dairy restaurants.

You start the meal with a variety of Israeli salads and freshly baked bread. The salads are replenished and taste delicious. The wait staff was extremely polite, and although Michmoret's a small restaurant, we weren't rushed out.

I had the Denis, which was perfectly cooked. My friend and I just drank water, although Michmoret has a very well-stocked bar.

Michmoret's on 7 Ha-Tut Street, just off of Agripas Street, Machane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem, Israel, telephone 972 -2-579-4847.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Shells... She Sells Seashells...

When we were at Ashdod, I went to the beach and couldn't resist picking up some shells.

Ever since then the old Shari Lewis song has been playing in my head:

I can't get a proper recording of it to share here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Living it Up in Retirement, New Life

As many of you must know by now, I'm retired, and I'm having great fun. For the very first time in my life I'm enjoying "school." I'm studying in two different places, Matan and the senior citizens program in Ofra.

One of the extra enjoyable "bonuses" in the Ofra program is our interaction with the students. We study in the girls high school. I like to say that we're a three generation family in the school, since two of my daughters are graduates, I have granddaughters studying there and now, so am I.

Today we heard a presentation by girls studying graphic arts about how they designed the logo for our program.

It has an "eye-catching" wise owl look, which really grabs attention and honors our wisdom. The large Hebrew writing says:
מועד ג
moed gimel (3)
"third chance*"
Followed by:
כיתת וותיקים
kitat vattikim
senior citizens class
The girls chose the gold color for the phrase "golden age," which as you know is one of the euphemisms for the elderly.

We had a wonderful time looking at the graphics exhibit about the special programs in the high school of which ours is one.

*moed is a testing time, and usually there are two, moed alef (1) and moed bet (2.) A euphemism for post-retirement is the "third" stage of life, which is alluded to in the logo's moed gimel.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Diet Dilemma: Will Water Exercise Get Weight Off?

After dropping to the lowest weight I had been for a couple of years, due to a few factors, including a Jewish eating Holiday and a weekend in a hotel, a few of those annoying kilo returned.

Last summer, although I exercised a lot in the pool, no weight left. If anything חבר הביא חבר chaver hevi chaver, a friend brought a friend, and I weighed more at the end of the summer than in the beginning.

So, I'm back struggling, trying to eat less, walk more and also tone my muscles in the water. This morning I was pleasantly surprised to see a better number on the scale, B"H. It's a struggle for sure.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Pishers' Guide to Jerusalem #29, Kotel WC, Prayer Come True

This is a continuation in my ongoing series about public toilets in Jerusalem. See  #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

To say that I was "pleasantly surprised" at the state and setup of the public toilets near the Kotel, Western Wall would be quite an under exaggeration. Over the decades the situation has changed from non-existent to "hold it in," to "you must be joking," but now they get top rating.

As I blogged here and here, last week I was in the Old City with my senior citizen class for a tour of the Kotel Tunnels. Convenient and usable public toilets are especially necessary for those of us of a certain generation, and time was allocated for "toilet breaks."

At first I was rather nervous about what we'd discover in the WC near the entrance to the Kotel Tunnels, which is near the Men's side of the Kotel. But I was overjoyed to discover that it was clean and had staff on hand.

There are also lots of stalls, and as you can see from the icons on the right, there's a baby area and handicapped stalls, too.

My only suggestion, not even a complaint, is that there should also be lower signs outside indicating which entrances are for men and women. Some of the elderly couldn't look up easily and entered the wrong door.  See the uppermost photo.

These WCs are also the official ones for the Kotel Tunnels, besides the Kotel itself. It's a real pleasure to have some good news to report.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Finally Feeling Like Summer at The Pool

This year our local Shiloh Swimming Pool opened relatively early on the "goyishe calendar," June 1, 2018, and the water was cold that first full week.

Only this morning did I really enjoy every minute in the water. OK, it was a bit chilly when I first entered, but I quickly got used to the water. Or did the water really heat up? It was probably a combination of the two.

Whatever... I have no complaints, except for the fact that we were all sent out too early for our taste. We would have been much happier if the pool had longer hours for us "women," females 18+.

OK, I guess I could have come a bit earlier, but then the water would have been a bit colder. The pool is on the eastern slope of the neighborhood, and every minute the sun heats the water a bit more. Last week it was bitter cold...

Happy Summer, Everyone

Friday, June 08, 2018

Perfect for Drinking My Cold Brew Coffee

I thought I'd have to shop for a new glass for drinking my summer morning cold brew coffee. I even started looking in stores for the perfect glass cup. I didn't find something new, but I realized that I had the perfect glass cup at home.

I will just have to get a supply of straws, since they can't be cleaned.  What do you think?

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Kotel Tunnel Tour

Yesterday, the senior citizen program I study in went on a tour of the Kotel Tunnels with the students who worked with us on our "stories" for the multi-generational project of the Museum of the Jewish People, formerly the Diaspora Museum. I must tell you that if you've been there before, unless it was a very short while ago, you'll find it totally changed. Also, there are a number of tours and activities offered. I doubt if you'll be bored if you go again.

Most if not all of us had been there before, but none of us had participated in the activity we did there yesterday. Bli neder, I'll write more about the activity in a future post.

For example, this enormous and impressive hall hadn't been emptied out the last time I was there.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Simple Chickpea Salad

Since we were hosting a vegetarian for a meat meal, I needed to serve a suitable protein for the guest. Summer weather made a salad seem like a good fit.

You need chickpeas, either from a can or cooked. I cooked these. It does take a few hours plus. First you soak them in boiling water in a covered pot for a few hours until they begin to swell, and then you pour out the water and rinse. Add lots more water and boil them for another couple of hours until they are nice and soft. Let them cool.

Once the chickpeas are cool, pour out the water, and in a nice bowl add:
chopped garlic
onion cut in small pieces, red onion is great if you have one
diced tomato

Mix them with the chickpeas, then add some olive oil and then coarse pepper and a bit of coarse salt to taste.  If you wish you can also add leaves or/or additional fresh vegetables. My guests loved it, even those who eat meat.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Diet Tip: Banish "The Clean Plate Club"

One thing that has been consistent in most of my life is that I was a founding member of  "The Clean Plate Club." That was even before the "baby nurse" my parents had hired after my sister was born introduced the name to our lexicon.

I almost never left food on my plate. I can't remember ever being served something I didn't like, even vegetables.

That may have made me into a "good eater," something praised by my family, especially because I wasn't a fussy eater. And since desserts were rare, candy forbidden, and we had lots of freedom outside to play, I wasn't fat as a child.

Dieting is a losing battle!
But as I got older and bigger, so did my appetite and at some point I was overweight, even mildly obese. For the past ten years I've been working hard at getting weight off and keeping it off.

First I cut out carbohydrates to almost none, and I also limited my protein portion. By doing these two simple things, I was able to lose about 30 lbs, or close to 15 kilogram. And I've kept most of it off.

To be honest, as time went on I've become less strict. One of the reasons is that research has shown that varying your calorie count, including having one day "off" a week actually speeds your metabolism. That helps the weight stay off.

About a year ago I discovered that five kilo had snuck back.  I've spent the last year fighting to get them back off. A month ago I succeeded, but now after some holidays and a hotel vacation a couple just crept back.

The good thing about having the weight off for so long is that my body has adjusted to the lower weight, and frequently, I realize that I'm "full," when there's still food on my plate. That is a new phenomena for me. So, as quickly as I can, I "clean" my plate by either packing away some of the food or throwing it in the garbage.

It's not a waste to throw out food. It's a waste to add it to your waist!

Monday, June 04, 2018

Pool Exercise Fitness

I'm pretty low tech when it comes to my fitness routine. I walk all year round, and during our short three month pool season I exercise in the water. To be perfectly honest, I'm not a swimmer, never was.

Somehow the basic "crawl" stroke was never a success with me. I don't suffer fear of water, and even though I don't "swim" properly, I can go from one end of the pool to the other endlessly using my own "strokes."

In recently years I developed techniques using two of these floating things to exercise my upper body reasonably well. In the water, they are like weights when you hold them and try to push them into the water.  The thicker they are the better, and you should make sure you're using the same length and thickness in each hand for an even workout.

Our Shiloh pool has them available for our use during Women's Hours and Water Aerobics classes.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Eeks! I Keep Forgetting to Prepare Cold Brew/Press Coffee

Not today, sigh...
After a great start of season, I now find myself consistently forgetting to prepare my summer cold brew/press coffee in advance. It must be made the evening before and then refrigerated.

It's just awful to wake up on a hot summer morning and realize that there's no cool/cold coffee waiting for me in the fridge.

So, I decided to take an idea that has worked for me for other things. I set up a daily "event" on my phone. It will ring with a message about 9pm every night until late September, and there will be a reminder to prepare the coffee. Gd willing that will work.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Whoopee The Pool!

Even though it hasn't been all that hot, the local Shiloh Swimming Pool opened officially today for the 5778, 2018 season.

I must admit that when I began the procedure to enter the water, it wasn't easy. The water was freezing cold to put it mildly. A more intrepid neighbor was happily swimming. She insisted that I'd feel warm once I began to swim, but considering that I don't really swim... My exercises don't heat the body as well as her laps heat hers.

I used to just jump into the water, but in recent years I've decided that at my age, jumping into freezing water isn't the greatest/smartest thing to do. So I slowly climb down the ladder at the deep end. At times I moan and scream from pain, but I keep going. It just takes a few minutes until all but my head is in the water, and then there's no going back. When I used to jump, I'd something waste five to ten minutes just standing there. So, the new method is actually a bit more efficient.

For about forty-five 45 minutes I did all sorts of water aerobic exercises, even some underwater swimming. That was enough for the first day of the season. Thank Gd the pool is located on the eastern side of Shiloh, where the morning sun hits and heats early.

Shiloh Swimming Pool

Shiloh Swimming Pool

Shiloh Swimming Pool

Thursday, May 31, 2018

End of School Year Celebration

Yesterday afternoon, even the Ulpanat Ofra Girls High School hosted a festive end of year party for the participants of the senior citizens program I attend and our families. Most of us had some of our children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren in attendance, too. My daughter and grandchildren in Ofra came, too.

In the formal ceremony I was one of the speakers. I told everyone how much fun it is to be old. We get discounts, people give us seats in buses, we get paid not to work and we can attend the wonderful program in Ofra.

It was through that program that my "story" was put on the multiple history program of the Diaspora Museum.

I've made some new friends and really enjoy the classes. Gd willing I'll sign up again next year.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Recycling, Donating Old Scarves

Apparently, I'm not the only one with a houseful of things I no longer need/use but can't bear to throw them out. At least I found a solution for my old scarves, the ones I no longer wear. Some are in perfect condition, but they're old fashioned, a bit frayed or faded. Not even the clothing gmachs, the special low-price charity stores would be interested in them.

A couple of years ago, I found a place that does want old scarves. Those ladies at the Kotel, the Western Wall, who offer women a cover-up. Yesterday I met a group of friends for one of our periodic f2f get-togethers, this time in Jerusalem's Old City. Beforehand, I reminded them that they could donate tichels, scarves at the Kotel. So a few of us brought bags full of them, all styles and colors. They were received with great thanks and enthusiasm, and within a short time, we could see visitors wearing some.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Public Bus Travel Update, Easier Than I Thought

For the first time in ages, last Friday I traveled via the Jerusalem Central Bus Station. The last time I had taken a bus from there, I just had to say "senior" when I bought my ticket from the driver. I remember being "insulted" that he didn't claim I looked too young or at least ask for identification.

Now since I heard that I'd have to put money into my RavKav bus/train card and use it to pay, like a prepaid credit card, I was nervous. I had never done that before. Friends told me that it was the only way I could get the senior discount.
I'm lucky that I know Hebrew, because so many of the signs were Hebrew only, but the machine does have an English option. I went to a clerk; I prefer people. I asked him to put ns100 into my card, which he did. Of course I paid. I used a credit card.

The RavKav is personal. It has my Identity number and a photo of me. You only get a discount if you have a personal one, and you're old enough, or handicapped, of course.

Tourists pay full-fare. Actually a few years ago when I was in the states and took the train from New York to Philadelphia, I was told that my US passport didn't qualify me for senior discount. I needed a special American card. Later on in the visit my friend and I went to the special office to get one, and they still wouldn't give me. They said that I needed something other than a passport. And I'm an American citizen...

Apparently, here in Israel, if you're qualified for a discount, the sum you deposit in your card is doubled automatically. When you pay a fare, the "full fare" is subtracted from the card. But it's really the half fare, because as in my case the ns100 became ns200.

Not only was I able to use my RavKav to pay for the bus to Ashdod, but in Ashdod the local bus driver accepted it for payment to the hotel.

The only English signs I found in the bus station told people about the special bus to Ben-Gurion Airport and the bus to Tel Aviv. Information about depositing money in your RavKav was only in Hebrew. The powers there figure that anyone who's Israeli enough to have a RavKav must know Hebrew.

And if you need English explanations, I hope this blog post helped you.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Newly Decorated "Tunnel"

Last night, when my husband and I got off of the bus that had taken us from Ashdod to Jerusalem, I wondered how we were going to cross the road from Binyanei Ha'uma to the area of the bus station. My plan was to use the time before our bus to Shiloh to make a "pit stop" in the CBS, Central Bus Station. In order to cross that wide, busy street, we'd have to walk quite a distance to either the right or the left.

I hadn't gone through the tunnel underneath for years. It's really ugly, smelly and unpleasant in many ways. But he insisted that would be the best way to go.

As soon as we got down there, I was in shock!  Not only had it been cleaned up quite a bit, but it has been painted in a very attractive way. Abstract is perfect there. Flowers would have looked silly.

What do you think?