Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Fighting to Get Off Every Ounce, Gram

Just under ten years ago, I found myself going on a diet, helped by Start Fresh, for two reasons:

  1. I was obese
  2. I was offered the program for free in exchange for blogging about it.
One of the biggest reasons I continued dieting, my own version of course,  was that the weight just fell off. Really, it was easy. I was out of work that year for the first time in over a decade, so I was able to devote the energy to myself and take walks with friends. The switch from high carbohydrate vegetarian eating to carnivorous low carbohydrates was just what my body needed to shed about thirty 30 pounds, fifteen kilograms. In six months my body changed enormously. I hadn't looked that good for years.
In the past year a few kilo snuck back on. Maybe I'm not as careful as I was in the heyday of my big weight loss. But I am still very active, exercise and rarely eat carbs, except Shabbat. 

If only there was a simple magic formula... an abracadabra that could make our bodies become what we dream.

In the meantime, I just do my best and try to fight to get the weight back off.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Changing Plans, Blessed is the True Judge

I don't have a weekly routine. Even "during the school year," there can be lots of variations in terms of my travels, studies events etc. But in the summer, especially now, I have to work very hard to keep track of where I'm supposed to be from day to day. The logistics can get pretty complicated, even though I'm no longer "working" at a "regular job."

Since the pool is still open, I try to make it possible to be there every day during "women's hours," but sometimes even that is out of my control.

Yesterday I had a nice busy day planned in Jerusalem for after the pool. My clothes, including a matching necklace, were all laid out on my bed when my husband suddenly called out that a neighbor had passed away. He was an elderly neighbor who had been amazingly busy, active, strong etc. until just a few short years ago. I actually visited with him a couple of weeks ago, and it broke my heart to see his deterioration.

I quickly calculated when the funeral would probably take place, and realized that there was no way I'd be back in time, so I canceled all my plans. Everyone was very understanding. Here in Israel, funerals are well-attended by many more than close family and friends. When I worked in Yafiz, I was always excused from a shift to go to funerals. In this case, I, davka, am close to the family.

At 5pm we met at the home of the neighbor and as is custom here when possible, we accompanied him from his home to various locations where he had once been active, and then finally to the cemetery. It was very somber but suited him. We shared memories as we walked.

Death freed his soul from the bondage of an elderly damaged body.

Baruch Dayan Ha'Emett
ברוך דיין האמת
Blessed is the True Judge

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Tips for Better Cold Brewed Coffee

Especially when your cold brew time is limited, giving it a good stir before refrigerating goes a long way to "get your money out of that ground coffee."

Not all of the coffee is wet, so no longer how long it's in the fridge you won't get full flavor.

See how pale and weak the coffee looks. So I took out a fork and gave it a real energized "beating."

Look how much darker it looks now.

on my instagram shilohbatya

Then in the morning straight from the fridge with the sun shining through.

And here after more stirring.

Finally after lowering the plunger/filter of the French Press, coffee ready to drink.

I don't know if you can tell, but I'm using a small spoon for sugar...

Have a great day everyone.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Kids Fun in Center 1

There was a time when you could barely bribe people to enter Center 1, the "mall" near the Central Bus Station, at the corner of Yaffa and Yermiyahu. It was very "dead." Businesses didn't do well at all. But in recent years it has gotten very popular, especially with chareidim, probably those in all of the new housing developments within walking distance. It's also a short walk from the "Chardal" stronghold of Kiryat Moshe. I always see it full of families and lots of children.

This area between the orginal part of Center 1 and the addition added a few years ago is used for all sorts of temporary sales and events. During Hebrew Book Week, it was full of books. And now that it's that difficult time of summer vacation when the camps have closed, and the yeshivot are on breaks, too, they have children's activities. It is mobbed, but everyone seems to be having fun.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Pool Progress, Season Too Short

As our pool season gets closer to the end, I'm getting there even more, thank Gd. In June, the first month it was open, I was still working and studying when there were "women's hours," so I missed a number of opportunities to swim. Now I'm "unemployed" or "retired," so I can take advantage of the pool much more.

I try to get at least forty minutes of water exercise when it's open at night and an hour or more during the morning "women's" time. Nothing beats exercising in the water, and I say that as a professional. I have a lot of dance, fitness and exercise experience and training. I know my body well. The other day I tried to do easy floor exercises, and I was very disappointed. There really is no substitute for the pool.

That's it for now. I don't want to be late; it's already open. Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Real Popcorn! Easy to Make

Every once in awhile I get a hankering for popcorn, but it must be real popcorn. To my taste the air poppers produce tasteless plastic, or Styrofoam.  And I wouldn't use the packaged microwave popcorn even if we had a microwave.

I make my popcorn in a good stainless steel pot with a lid and some oil. You need a large bowl and some table salt handy.

  • put in just enough popcorn to barely cover the bottom of the pot
  • check that all the kernels are good, and there are no stones
  • add a bit of oil
  • cover
  • give it a shake
  • put on high flame
  • the minute you hear the "popping" shake again
  • when it pops again, lower the flame a little
  • if the top starts to lift when still popping carefully pour some of the popcorn into a bowl and quickly re-cover
  • quickly take off flame when it stops popping and pour into bowl
  • add a bit of salt
You'll be amazed at how much popcorn you get out of a small amount of kernels.

Enjoy real popcorn!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

New Haunt of Sorts

In taking on new challenges, I found myself wandering around Malcha near Teddy Stadium.

Literally I wandered around, since I couldn't find the entrance needed. Luckily I gave myself lots of spare time.

I also discovered that there's a fantastic bus that goes there from the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, #31. Years ago, I'd take the same number to the Malcha Mall from the center of town. I spent a good portion of the trip from Shiloh googling and examining google maps to find the best bus. I also asked for help from others. I could have just taken the #77 from Ramat Eshkol, but it certainly would have taken longer.  I had also thought of taking the #15 from the bus station to near Matan and taking the #77, #18 or #14. But I was convinced there had to be a more efficient way, and that's why I kept googling. Davka, the #31 leaves from the same stop as the #15. And even though the "board" and my "efoBus" application both insisted that it would be another 19 minutes to the next bus, one came about two minutes after I got to the stop.

And not being able to find the exact place I needed did have its advantages, I walked a lot, lots of steps.

Monday, August 14, 2017

I'm a Morning Person, Sunrise, Coffee and Breakfast

My facebook friends know that pretty much every morning except for Shabbat, Jewish Holidays and fast days, even when not home, I manage to post a #morningcoffeehaiku. My computer photo gallery is full of pictures of sunrise, coffee and breakfast.

When I was growing up, a gazillion years ago, in America, parents were instructed that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. It worked for me, and I've always made a point of making sure that my kids had a good breakfast before leaving home for school, play etc. To this day I can't imagine not having breakfast. I don't function without it.

Until recently when American style breakfast cereals succeeded in marketing themselves here in Israel, most Israelis had nothing at all for breakfast. They relied on "aruchat esser," the "ten o'clock meal." Parents packed a sandwich, sometimes with nothing more than chocolate spread on the bread, and a fruit. That was the standard in the 1970's when my older children were growing up. Of course I gave my kids cheese or peanut butter in their sandwiches, never chocolate spread. And they always ate a proper breakfast before leaving the house, even when it meant that they just got some fruit for "aruchat esser." One nursery school teacher was furious with me; she insisted that "aruchat esser" was more important than breakfast.

As I've blogged, my breakfasts have varied over the years, but one thing I must have is a protein, even if it's nuts on the run. For some reason, my vegetable omelets just aren't doing the trick of late, because I immediately crave fruit or something sweet. So, I now have fruit as part of my breakfast. Sometimes, when I know that I'll be eating again soon, I just have a fruit with a bit of yogurt. And then I can have a vegetable omelet for lunch or even dinner.

When I was seriously dieting and managed to lose about 15 kilo, over thirty pounds, I sometimes had vegetables and fish for breakfast. Eating a large nutritious meal in the morning made it much easier to resist temptation during the long day.

And don't forget that I actually don't start the day with coffee. I drink close to a liter of water, sometimes with freshly squeezed lemon juice and ice. I drink the same before going to bed. My morning coffee adds another liter or more of liquid to my body, which is why I must have a couple of hours at home before going any place. Only when my body "empties of old food" do I have breakfast. I firmly believe that this promotes good health! And, yes, it's a reason I must get up early in the morning or I'd never get out before noon.

What's your morning food and liquid routine?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Apologies to Jackie Gleason, "How Sweet It Is"

This morning coming back home from our local pool, my mind kept repeating Jackie Gleason's iconic:
"How Sweet It Is"
Of course that was just in my head. It has been decades since I heard Jackie Gleason say those words.

I had just spent over an hour moving around in the water, doing my version of water aerobics. During the three months of the year the pool is open, I feel I'm in heaven. My friends and I keep saying that we don't need to go away to vacation, since we have our summer resort right here in Shiloh.
"How Sweet It Is"
And then when I got home I made a muesli of oats, cut peach, grated ginger and goats yogurt.

When I bit into the peach, I just couldn't believe how sweet it was. If someone had served it to me I wouldn't have believed that there was no added sugar. It was that amazingly sweet.
"How Sweet It Is"
I thank Gd for all this, our lives, family, health, living in Shiloh and all it includes.
"How Sweet It Is"

Saturday, August 12, 2017

I Bit The Bullet and Beaded Myself a Necklace

At the wonderful TU B'Av Micholilot Bacramim celebrations at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh, early last week I ended up buying myself a couple of new necklaces. It's not that I don't have any necklaces. It's just that my necklace collection was inherited from my mother and is rather old-fashioned. I was getting awfully bored wearing them. I've been attracted to the funky ones you can see here to the right. I also got a simpler and less expensive one from a different crafts stand.

The more I thought about it, the more I knew that I had to start making them myself. A few years ago a friend had put together a little workshop one afternoon for some of us, and I had a great time. I'd even been trying to get her to do it again, but it hadn't worked out.

Then last Wednesday I found myself in Jerusalem with time to "kill," and I didn't want to go near my favorite clothing store. Also, I needed to plan a project for when the big grandchildren come to visit. I found myself near "Hobby," which is a craft store. I decided to take a look, and before I knew it, I had bought all the equipment needed to make necklaces with my older granddaughters. I also found beads in just the colors I wanted for myself.  Yes, the picture on the left.

Somehow on Friday before Shabbat I just couldn't resist making myself a new necklace. It took me just a few minutes. I was rather shocked that I bought exactly the right amount of black and white beads necessary. I didn't measure anything except to count the six red beads. And I debated with myself whether to make it symmetrical or asymmetrical.

The clasp had me most nervous. I was terrified that I wouldn't remember the salesperson's instructions, or it just wouldn't work right. It pays to be a remedial teacher, because I kept repeating the instructions putting it into clearer and more simplistic language. I found a logic in it, too, which helped me remember.

To save money I didn't buy a special tool to close all the parts of the clasp insisting that a tweezer that doesn't grab the hairs well could do the trick. It was a risky gambit for sure.

I also only bought one type of string, even though I had chosen a number of different types of beads. I think they called it fishing line. It's stiff enough as to not need a needle.

First you tie a knot at the end, and then you somehow get the smallest of those three parts on the knot. Make sure there's at least an inch, a few centimeters of line; it helps to control the knot. Squeeze with tweezers.

Then put the middle-sized piece, close it with the tweezers. Maybe I should get stronger reading glasses just for this fine work.

I got "screws" instead of "hooks." They were recommended and look nicer, especially on the thin string. The last step is to attach the clasp and close it well with the tweezers. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised that it was easier than I had expected.

From beginning to end, making this necklace only took a few minutes, and remember that I had never done a complete one before including clasp. Of course I knew exactly what I was going to do with the beads. They had been bought in the exact quantity needed.

What do you think?

Now I have to find better places for buying beads, since I wasn't all that impressed with the selection at Hobby, though I like beading as my new hobby.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Cool Your Coffee with Coffee Ice

When I have leftover coffee, usually perked, I freeze it in disposable cups. And then when I want cold coffee and don't want an ice cube to dilute the flavor or, like yesterday, I had forgotten to prepare the cold press coffee in advance, I can just add frozen coffee aka coffee ice.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

TU B'Av, Women Celebrate at Tel Shiloh

The relatively minor "holiday" of TU B'Av has morphed into an Israeli "Valentine's Day," which isn't quite what it should be. You never saw heart-shaped candies and romantic getaways marketed in Israel mid-summer until recent years. And besides Biblical scholars, nobody had a clue that there was some significance to the date.

Biblical TU B'Av celebrations took place in Shiloh. This was an opportunity for unity between the Jewish tribes by marrying together. Single women would dress in white and dance together observed by men looking for wives. That's how men and women would meet; today's "singles get-togethers" are really nothing new. They happened every summer in my "backyard."

In recent years the administration of Shiloh Hakeduma, Ancient Shiloh, produces a blockbuster event for women called מחוללות בכרמים Mecholilot Bacramim, Dancing in the Vineyards. Thousand of women come to Tel Shiloh to celebrate together.

There are various "dance" workshops, crafts, gifts, clothing, jewelry and more for sale, besides food. Young women were dressed in bridal gowns for a special fashion show. And of course you hear music all the time. Many women come to pray and be at the Holy Site of Shiloh.

I did my best to talk up the Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers with whomever I could. And I'll take this opportunity to remind you that in less than two weeks it's Rosh Chodesh Elul. Please mark it in your calendar/diary/event planner so you can join us, Gd willing. If you have more questions about it, please contact me shilohmuse@gmail.com with "Rosh Chodesh" as subject. Our women's dovening isn't a version of male synagogue prayers. We sing Hallel out loud and then doven Musaf individually.

Women's Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh
Rosh Chodesh Elul 5777 
Wednesday, August 23, 2017 
1st of Elul, 5777, 8:30am 
Hallel and Musaf for Rosh Chodesh 
Tour of Tel Shiloh 
Dvar Torah, Short Torah Lesson 
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors. 

תפילת נשים ראש חודש אלול
בשילה הקדומה, תל שילה
יום ד' 23-8-2017
א' אלול, תשע"ז 8:30
הלל ומוסף לראש חודש
יהיה דבר תורה קצר וסיור בתל
כדאי לבוא ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

The highlight of the TU B'Av מחוללות בכרמים Mecholilot Bacramim, Dancing in the Vineyards was a big musical production featuring an amazing singer, Victoria, plus a Spanish Dance, a story told in Modern Dance and finally the popular singer, Sarit Hadad. Following are photos, and I'd like to remind you that Shiloh Hakeduma is open to visitors Sunday through Friday. There's also another enormous event for women a week before Rosh Hashana, Tefilat Chana. For more information call 02-994-4019. Following the pictures there are a few video clips.