Friday, February 29, 2008

Working Out to the Golden Oldies

This is the exercise DVD set my kids bought me, Richard Simmons, "SWEATIN' TO THE OLDIES." They know that the minute my ears hear the "old music" of my youth, my body forgets that decades have passed by.

After doing what my son-in-law suggested to get the DVD working again, it worked! So, this morning, I decided to try it out. Yes, it's fun. No, I didn't do a full session.

And just in case you want to know how I fixed the DVD, he said to unplug it, which works like restart, which theirs has. Then I plugged it in, and like magic it opened and worked. I guess these machines are like people. Sometimes we also need to unplug and rest up.

Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Height of Fashionable Face-Covering

Believe it or not, but this is from The New York Times, Style Section. Who would have thought that those well-draped Chareidi women would have inspired the fashion conscious of the world?

Yes, the ultimate of tzniyut!!!

Close Call!

Don't panic; nothing serious. But I must be losing it to almost do something so foolish.

For some very peculiar reason I had been convinced that my two passports were expiring this spring. It's strange. I did look at them on a number of occasions and was sure they said: -08. I made an appointment at the US Consulate, online, to apply for a new one, and this morning I got dressed specially to have my picture taken, two sizes, so they'd be good for both American and Israeli passports.

The plan was to then go to the Ministry of the Interior office and get the form for the Israeli passport. Then, when I took my passport out of the closet, just in case there was no line and I could do it this morning, I took a look again. It had been renewed in 2004. That means that five years later is 2009--next year.

I never said that I was perfect.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Maven and No Dancing Tonight

The English Teacher I am forces me to admit that there's no connection between the two parts of the title.

The Maven
Yes, our trusty computer maven was over today. We hadn't needed him for almost a full year, since last March, and it's already the end of February. This computer, bli eyin haraa, has been healthy. It was never a fancy one, and now the keyboard is fine for touch-typists, but if you don't know where the letters are, you may find it rather frustrating. Luckily, touch-typing (called blind typing in Hebrew) was a required subject in the 7th Grade in JHS 74, Bayside (towards Fresh Meadows) NY. I remember sitting straight and tall, intimidated by the imposing manual typewriting we learned on. We were never allowed to look at the paper, only the "instruction book." I was a horrendous typist. (I still am, but don't tell anybody.) I knew that I'd never be a secretary. Today, decades, many decades later, I must admit that it's the only thing useful I learned in school. There was a time when I said that Typing and Sewing were the most practical things I had learned, but I haven't sewn for almost twenty years.
How did I get on this tangent?
Oh, yes, the maven. He's in touch with netvision trying to get them to fix it. He's our computer's lawyer.

No Dancing Tonight
Don't worry. I'm fine. It's just that we were invited to another wedding and just couldn't get there and back and it is an exhausting week.

Purple doesn't quite seem the right color for this. Why did I choose it?

Gone Gmail

Many of us have been using gmail, yahoo, hotmail and the like as "insurance policies," guaranteed free storage, since we don't know how long our hard disk or aol or netvision or whatever will last. A friend recently told me that when she checked out her gmail account, she found it empty, and then she googled for more info on it and discovered that she wasn't the only one unpleasantly surprised.

It's frightening that on one hand, anything on the computer may be hacked or stolen, but there's no guarantee that the data will remain.

As a postscript to this, old photos, especially black and white, keep for decades plus, but our storage disks have a much shorter shelf-life. We take more pictures, print fewer, and who knows what will be available for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren?

Ha'Ikar, The Most Important Thing

In the Teachers Room, we were talking. It's where I get to hear what's going on in everyone's minds. And though we're all involved in education (or other jobs in the school,) our ages and backgrounds are varied. The subject suddenly became weddings, the money, the exenses. Did you guess? Many couples put more thought, care and investment into the wedding, rather than the marriage.

What is most important? It's the chupah, the ceremony.

What do we show the youngsters?

One of the great things about Israeli weddings, especially on the yishuvim, is the joy, the emphasis on sameach chattan v'kallah, and not on fancy tuxedos and ballgowns.

Recently, I've been to some very special weddings, which didn't leave me with the feeling that I had eaten much more than could ever be healthy. I certainly don't go to weddings to eat. I'm also very glad that the only "dress code" obeyed in our weddings is tzniyut, Jewish Laws of Modesty. Not even the groom needs a tuxedo; some don't even wear conventional western suits.

And an added significance of the thick veils many brides wear is to make them concentrate on the true significance of their wedding day and not be distracted by the flash and frills. In life, we're supposed to reflect, concentrate on what's important, the gifts G-d gives us, life, health, rain and what we're obligated to give in return.

Good health, Refuah Shleimah, to all... Esther bat Henya, Elkana Yedidya ben Dvora Leah, Menya Libba bat Itta Chaya, Penina bat Sofiya Zlatta and all Cholei Yisrael...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Just Perfect!

Bli eyin haraa, shouldn't tempt the "evil eye."

I was at a wedding last night, after paying a shiva (condolence) call. It was the second in less than a week to friends with the same name after the death of a parent. In both cases, the parents had made aliyah as young families, from different places, but in both cases they had first buried children in their "old country." Strange coincidence, and in the past few weeks, so many friends have "lost" elderly parents.

But... back to the wedding and life, Baruch Hashem, Thank G-d. This wedding had lots of guests and was very joyful. It was also the first wedding I can remember in decades where I didn't feel like I had eaten too much. Not because the food wasn't good. It's just that they didn't duplicate, triplicate or quadruple the amount of meals/courses served.

There was a perfectly adequate "reception" before the chupah (ceremony.) It was enough if you were hungry but not so tempting to make you eat a full meal's worth of food. After the ceremony we sat at tables with a very impressive variety of salads which were replenished when finished, and then they served the main course. Recently I've been to weddings at which I found myself eating four meals.
  1. The Reception
  2. Pre-first course, already waiting on the tables
  3. First Course
  4. Main Course

An obscene amount of food is thrown out and over-eaten at most weddings. This one was just perfect!

Mazal Tov!!

Monday, February 25, 2008

What's Next? Gevalt!

Do bad things come in three? I hope not.

Last night, while I was doing my usual at my usual perch here in the den on the computer, suddenly mail on mozilla refused to upload, or whatever the term is. I can send, but I can't receive. So if anyone has sent us a letter to our netvision address since last night, we haven't received it. I turned the computer off/on etc but no new mail, even though we get those funny pop-ups telling us that mail is waiting. I emptied all sorts of unnecessary mail from the mailboxes and compacted them, but nothing. Everything works but the inbox. I sent a letter from yahoo to our computer maven, but I haven't heard from him yet. Big problem is that he no longer lives nearby. I may need a new computer maven. It's like changing doctors or dentists, not easy. We use the same electrician who did our house when it was being built. That's the way I like it. Our computer maven has been caring for dear computer for years and keeps records like a good doctor.

Then I decided to look at the new exercise DVDs, a Richard Simmons collection, my kids had bought me. Did you guess it? The DVD holder doesn't open. I tried all of my tricks, with the remote, from the DVD, you name it--no DVD. We have one of those VCR-DVD combos, since there isn't space for two separate machines in the place we have the TV.

Yes, these are all material things, not people, not health. So, maybe the fact that my father's medicine prescriptions arrived here, by snail mail, as my son was on his way to the airport to NY and couldn't bring back the medication be the third thing.

Everything must be looked at in proportion to their true importance. Yes, easy to be philosophical in theory. Now, to get the machines fixed.

PS some good news! Blogger's spellcheck is back in operation.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Comments From a Friend

This was in response to: "Are We Near the Gush?

You raised memories of 1976-7 back when I was in Bar Ilan. Thought I was making Aliyah. Never dreamed that going back for one (!) class to graduate meant that I was not getting to live here for another 30 years... so I didn't push to see the Land. thought I had all the time in the world and it turned out that it was a huge thorn in my life. So what did you think of Tiberias? Don't know, didn't get there. But you were in Israel a WHOLE YEAR? Yes, but I thought I had the rest of my life for touring.

So we try to go to a new place every month or so. Hate leaving home, especially on Shabbat. Shabbat is SO Shabbat here. But this is when we have the opportunity to walk our dalet amot... and I finally get to discover the Land HaShem gave me as a --present.

I Should Have Lots of Mazal, Luck, Nu?

There are those who say that if you break glass or pottery, you'll have "mazaltov," good luck. Well, on Friday afternoon, as I was lighting the Shabbat candles, as I put down the match, before making the blessing, it touched something on the shelf which caught fire. I tried to move it and ended up knocking the glass and candles all over the place, so I had to quickly re-set it all up and then say the blessing.

The house was full, including all the grandchildren. Luckily my daughter's #3 is not like my #3 who crawled around at the ripe old age of 4 1/2 months, since there was glass all over the place. Yes, I still had to try to sweep it all up, pikuach nefesh (saving a life overrides everything.)

Honestly, I'm not the type to break things. We still have the same glasses we bought over 35 years ago, and we do use them, OK, not daily, but we use them. Our mugs have their handles.

One thing I've noticed is that after not breaking anything for a number of years, I suddenly break a number of things in a short period of time, and then nothing for a long time. The question is if all those little glass candle containers count as "one breaking" or multiple.

The most important thing is that we have "mazal" from it, G-d willing!

HH Innovates!

This edition must be experienced! Believe me, really, really.

The 155th Havel Havelim has something new! And, of course, it also has a great variety of interesting posts from the jblogger world.

Part of an International Experiment

This isn't from my school, PS 46, Bayside, NY, but...

we, too, got those very early polio vaccines as soon as they were available.
I know it's not my school, because we all lined up in the gymnasium, and we were a very full, over-crowded school. There were five classes in my grade, and we had double-sessions in Kindergarten, First Grade and Second Grade. We weren't such a mottley crew. The school shown here looks more rural. Of course, I may be wrong.
My generation was vaccinated in these massive efforts many times. First the injections, then the "sugar water," if I remember correctly. We had it all, a bunch a lab rats we were.
About twenty or more years ago, there was a polio panic here in Israel, and the medical authorities decreed that everyone between certain ages must be vaccinated. Of course they made their decisions according to the vaccination history of Israel. I was in that age group, but refused.
I had always claimed that there was so much of the polio virus in my system, that one more vaccination would give me the disease.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Historic KCC #27!!

Check it out at Gillian's Food History. Next month will be at frumhouse.

Please send your links to any post concerning kosher food, kosher cooking, Jewish Law pertaining to Kashrut, menus, Jewish food traditions, etc.
  • Purim Food
  • Pesach Food, menus and tips
  • Kosher Food annecdotes
  • Shmitta update

If you're interested in hosting a Kosher Cooking Carnival, please let me know.

Please submit your posts and any others you deem suitable for KCC via blog carnival.

Shavua Tov!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Finished My Coffee

So, I must get back to cooking and cleaning.

Most honored and beloved guests, my kids and grandkids are coming for Shabbat.

Strange. When the kids were younger, we had lots of guests, and the house always was large enough. Now that we've been empty-nesting for years, it's such an effort to make room. I can't remember the last time every room was full. Not long ago we took the old couch out of the den and put up more book shelves. Now we'll have to put mattresses on the floor. There won't even be a room to dump things.

And, as I said, I finished my morning coffee, so now I have to get to work. Cooking and cleaning and getting ready for Shabbat and the people I love the most.

Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach
May You Have a True Shabbat, a Blessed Shabbat


Yes, I'm hungrily awaiting the next Kosher Cooking Carnival. It should be posted here at Food History.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tired... I Think I've Titled With That Already

Sorry no pictures.
We had a family get-together at the new "mall" on Mamilla. Strange place, more a street than mall. Open roof.
We planned it there, since we thought there would be a nice view, but it was cold outside, and no view. We ate at the Rimon Cafe (inside), a branch of the veteran one off of Zion Square. Food was fine except the "fish of the day," which was as thin as paper and as expensive as hand-painted silk.
My baby's visiting.
Now I had better get to sleep, so I can finish cooking and cleaning for part 2 of the reunion.

ps My granddaughters loved the floor of the Superpharm. It was shiny and slippery, and I had to hold on carefully, since they wanted to slide around.

Lots Planned for Today

So if you don't hear much from me, don't panic, please. Just keep on dropping in to check up, or just set up one of those rss things. And if you know how to do that, please let me know. OK?

Another load is in the machine... The sky is getting blue-er. Is blue and exception to the "add -er and -est to short words rule?"

And while I'm mentioning grammar, my husband found this great online dictionary.

Enjoy your day!!

Should I or Shouldn't I...

... do lots of laundry? The kind of laundry which needs to dry in the sun outside? Is today going to be a laundry day?

I'd love another couple of days like we had Sunday, when I could open up the windows and let the fresh air in and the old air out.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

For This?

On Monday, in dreaded fear of another major snowstorm, which the media had been predicting, like their support of "Land for Peace," the school where I teach dismissed the students and teachers and told us to return on Wednesday, unless...

... unless it doesn't snow.

Do you consider this "snow?" There was a disagreement in interpretation of the term. The administration didn't consider it "snow" and ordered staff and students back yesterday. We teachers braved the elements to return, but the students saw it differently.

"Snow is snow," nu? no? Why quibble over the quantity of flakes?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

For What?

Today was not one of my better days.
I got a call around ten something announcing that it was "business as usual," and I'd be teaching. But I had just received a beeper announcement that there was no public transportation. So I called the Shiloh office to clarify.
They checked and announced that public transportaion had resumed at ten. There really hadn't been any snow, certainly not enough to stop traffic, but traffic hadn't started...
It was raining, but I had no choice and I got myself ready to go.
By chance I got a ride down the hill to the bus stop, and then a ride to the Beit El Junction.
Then... I stood there in the rain. And I stood and I stood and it was cold and wet. Cold and wet outside, but inside I was steaming and boiling and miserable and wondering what I was doing standing out there unprotected, getting colder and wetter and more miserable by the second.
Then the secretary called.

"Where are you?"
"I'm at the T junction waiting."
"Maybe you should go back home."
"There's no way I can go back home from here."
"Just turn around and try to get a ride to Ofra."
"But it's not so easy. I'm standing here in the pouring rain, totally unprotected."

Then the reception went.
Now I was both wet, freezing and boiling mad.

Luckily, a few minutes later a car picked me up and took me to work.
OK, sounds good, but then I realized that even though the staff had returned, few students had. I was in the teachers room trying to dry my skirt and jacket.

The secretary came in:

"This weather looks terrible. Why don't you go home? I think there's a jhs bus to Ofra."

I looked out the window at the pouring rain and didn't see any sign of the buses.

"Are you sure?"
"I think so. Hurry up. Get your jacket on."
I did, and she called the bus service to check. It was long gone. No bus and no buses at all to Ofra or Shiloh.

By then I could have sterilized medical equipment, I was that boiling mad. Every time I looked out the window, I knew that there was no way I was walking to the bus stop. Why couldn't somebody just take me home?

It was time to teach, so I went to the classrom. On the way I saw two students. One said:

"No way I'm going to be the only one at English. I'm leaving."
The other one fled as soon as he saw me. Don't say anything; please. I went into the classroom, turned on the light, took attendence, marking "absent" for everyone--but me. Then I crocheted. "Be prepared." That's my motto. A third student popped in to get his books and was surprised to see me.

"I'm going home," he said.
I was bored so I went back to the teachers room via the office. At that point I had no idea how or when I'd go home. Finally some good news. The secretary said that another teacher, who lives nearby, would be taking me home in an hour.

And Baruch Hashem, thank G-d, we made it home safely.

You may enjoy the story, but I didn't enjoy the day. For what did I do it? What a wasted day.

Where's the Snow?

Last week the weather mavens were predicting with total and utter confidence the "mother of all snowstorms and freezing conditions" in most of Israel from Sunday night. Monday's snow was supposed to be more plentiful than what fell a couple of week's ago.

People were in a total panic, anxiety at its worst, when they heard of below freezing temperatures in the Tel Aviv area, where the only thing that freezes is ice cream and trendy Italian gelato.

Here in Shiloh, we heard and saw Monday's garbage trucks Sunday night. The Beit El yeshiva, a dormitory school, where I teach, dismissed the students at 4:30pm Monday and told them to return on Wednesday.

Well, I heard the rain all last night, and this is what I saw out the window this morning.

I don't see any snow. Do you? The rain has even stopped, at least for long enough for me to take these pictures out the opened window.

Of course, it may be snowing in Beit El and Ofra. Twenty-six years ago, during our first year in Shiloh, on a winter's day like today, my eldest daughter and the other kids too old to study in our fledgling school, were waiting for the van to come and take them to Ofra's school. They waited and waited and waited. No van. We didn't have phones here in those days. Finally, someone got one of the security walkie-talkies and contacted Ofra.
"School? There's no school when it snows!!"

Monday, February 18, 2008

No Snow Yet, But A Great Sunrise!

I had to get up early to go to Jerusalem today, not my usual schedule, even earlier than I leave for the pool.

Last week the weather mavens were predicting storms on Sunday and snow by Monday morning. Well, Sunday was a ray of spring; no sign of rain. Monday morning started with gorgeous sunrises.

I had to keep stopping to take pictures...

more sunrise
as I walked down to the bus.
and more sunrise

Put Sderot on the Board

The Monopoly Board!

Jerusalem's doing fine, already running, but Sderot, as wild card, needs your vote. They are not in competition.
Draw world attention to

So Far, No Snow

I was really counting on a snow day today, staying home on my busiest day of the week. Last week the weather mavens had predicted storms Sunday night and snow by this morning, but they were wrong. (See previous post--my nails are freshly and wetly polished; it's hard to type w/o smudging.)

Last night the Monday garbage trucks went around collecting. Too bad they didn't warn us, or I would have dumped more in the "frog."

They promised us an official day off if it snows again. Last time they tried "business as usual," but without us commuters. They hadn't checked how few teachers are local or could make it to the yeshiva. Many of the Beit El ones live in "Bet," and it's a hike.

Last night I was a bad girl and refused to go to the staff meeting. I work part-time, and they always have meetings on my days off.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Searching For Almond Blossoms

The Jewish month of Shavat is long gone, and now we're in the middle of the first Adar of this leap year. In Israel, we expect to see almond blossoms, certainly by the middle of Shvat, about four weeks ago, but this year we didn't.

A couple of weeks ago there was a serious, for Israel, snowstorm, and another is predicted for tomorrow. Actually, last week the experts were insisting that we'd have lots of snow by tonight. Today was supposed to be stormy, too.

But G-d had other plans and this morning we enjoyed an unusually beautiful sunrise. At least I made it to the livingroom just in time to see and photograph it.

sunrise in Shiloh
Then, instead of a storm, we suddenly had gorgeous, warm spring weather. Just the day to stay home and open the windows and air the place out a bit. Don't forget about hanging out the laundry.

I certainly couldn't stay in all day, so I decided to take a walk and search for almond blossoms.

I started with the almond tree by my front door, not that I expected to see any on its pathetic branches. It's the "Purim Almond Tree." Quite a number of years ago, we've been in this house 22 years, we planted a rooted willow branch from the "arba'a minim," four species of Succot. The tree never really took well; though I watered it as much as I could. Suddenly, one Purim we noticed almond blossoms. Willow trees don't blossom like almond trees, though they have similar longish leaves. Looking carefully, we could see the runty willow growing right next to it. A few years before, someone must have dropped an almond which took root and grew. It's really miraculous, since very few of our agricultural efforts have been successful.

searching for almond blossoms 1
As you can see, it's pretty bare.

Next stop was the next door neighbor whose almond tree is just a few yards or meters from mine, but strangely, it's the most precocious of all in the neighborhood.

searching for almond blossoms 2
I continued walking and found just a few trees showing almost blooms.

searching for almond blossoms 3
Last years's beauty has barely awoken from its winter slumber.
searching for almond blossoms 4

And More to Read

The latest Gantseh Megillah is also up.

Enjoy the variety of articles.

Worth More Than Two Cents!

The Dollar has gone down in comparisan to the shekel, so "esser agaroth" are more like two and a half cents.

Why am I nitpicking about this? It's because the latest Havel Havelim is on esser agaroth! And it's worth lots more than a couple of pennies.

Thanks for all the hard work Yaaqov!!

Pesach's Approaching

I really ought to start getting rid of things. It's the easiest way to start cleaning. How can I clean when there's no room? I've been filling a large bag with clothes, hats etc to donate. Filling is the easy part. I have to find a way to get the bag out of the house.

I used to donate to the second hand shop here in Shiloh, but then I heard that there wasn't much turnover. There's one in Eli and one in Ofra. When I tested girls I heard that there's also one in Maale Levona.

All I need is to make a few phone calls...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

"Are We Near the Gush?

Israel is a small country, so it never ceases to amaze me when people here haven't a clue as to where places, like Shiloh, are.

We had some North American yeshiva guys over for Shabbat meals, and one of them asked that question I used as a title. Just a little simple geography. Shiloh is north of Jerusalem, and Gush Etzion is south of it.

You'd think that the people running the program would show them where they were going on a map. Actually, I think all these kids spending a year in Israel should get a nice big map and mark off all the places they go to. It would be a great learning tool. They could even compete to see how many different places they've gotten to by the end of the year.

Honestly, what's the point of spending the year abroad if you don't broaden your knowledge?

Friday, February 15, 2008

It Works!

You may be wondering what has me so excited.

Don't these flowers look lovely? Yes, I admit that they're old, but how old?

Would you believe that I got them four weeks ago?
I added a bit of bleach to the water, and as usual trimmed the stems, and I added some water periodically. But they don't smell, and some look pretty, ok in a faded way.
Now, I wonder if I'll be given new flowers this week....

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Old Cure for Earaches

Years ago some Olim from Russia taught me their method to cure ear infections. There wasn't much medicine in the USSR.

Heat coarse salt in a frying pan. Put it in a cotton or wool sock, and place it as a warm compress on your ear.

Refuah Shleimah, A speedy and complete recovery, to all those in need!

Arts and Crafts Pics

Here are pictures from yesterday's arts and crafts child-parent activity in my granddaughter's pre-school. Our delegation included the "student," her little sister, who fully participated, baby brother, handsome uncle, mother and me, the granny! Of course, if everyone had such a delegation, we would have been sitting out in the rain.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Long, Full Day, B"H

We've also been blessed with rain. My cup runneth over. And my shoes feel wet. I almost didn't use the phrase, was afraid it was goyish. So I "googled it" on Ask. Would you believe, it's from T'hillim, (Psalms) 23, 5.

I'm starting to fade.

I was up very early to go to the pool. I didn't wait long for a ride and cab. Water was wonderful, steamroom and sauna divine.

Then I got a ride to the Pisgat Zeev Mall to pick something up for my daughter and bought myself a sandwich, then I took the bus to work in Beit El. These are my fun classes. Then waited for ages to get a ride to Ofra to give my daughter the bag. Then I joined the arts and crafts workshop in my elder granddaughter's "gan," nursery school. Her teacher is the same one my youngest had when he was three. I think I was the only grandmother there. Afterwards she (the "ganenet," preschool teacher) took me home. She's a neighbor.

And yes, now I'm home. Yawn!

Not the Multiple Skirts Everyone's Blogging About

Many of us have been blogging about the worrisome new chumra, religious stringency, which demands that women, and young girls, wear disguising scarves, hoods, shawls and multiple skirts.

Lehavdil, such a difference, when I saw my granddaughter playing dress-up, like many little girls, by dressing herself in some of her favorite skirts to look pretty!

A Blogger's Mazal Tov

The goyisherebbe, who sometimes contributes to my blog Shiloh Musings, married off a daughter last night. Very conveniently for me, the wedding was in Ofra, so I was able to bring my granddaughters to the Chuppah, the ceremony.

It was a very beautiful wedding, held in the Ulpana, the girls high school.
The Chuppah was outside, even though it had been raining most of the day. Apparently, G-d approved the plan, since it stayed dry during the ceremony.
Lots of joyous dancing.
I had planned on trying to catch a bus home, since I didn't see any neighbors with cars, just some teenage friends of the bride and groom. Then I realized that I had just missed the bus. I gathered my things and went off to say goodby to the parents of both bride and groom. Yes, I know both sides!! Mother of the chattan, groom, told me that a bus was about to leave for Elon Moreh and I should see if they have room and would drop me off at the Shiloh Junction. I found the bus and asked the driver, but he said that he thought that the bus would be full. Someone overheard and told me that he was taking a ride in a car and there should be room for me. There was. And less than two minutes after they dropped me off, a ride pulled up and took me to Shiloh. I just had to walk up the hill. It began to drizzle, but it was fine.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Weather Changed

The weather has changed after a couple of excellent laundry days. I finally feel "defrosted" after our freezing cold spell and subsequent snow. The house is also more comfortable. An "empty nest" is harder to heat.

This morning, when I went into the kitchen for my daily dose of coffee, I saw that sky and grabbed my camera. That's what a camera is for, nu?
I quickly unlocked the merpeset, porch, door to shoot from a better angle. Wow! Was I surprised. There was rain on the floor. So, yes, the weather has changed. Winter is the only season in Israel when it rains, so I'm not complaining, just stating a fact. The rain is a blessing; thank G-d.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Yes, Yesterday

Yes, yesterday was one of those days. I wrote on Shiloh Musings that I found myself at a Sderot demonstration against Olmert. Actually, I hadn't planned on walking down that street, but...

Let's start earlier in the day.

My walking buddy called in the morning and suggested that we take a walk to Shvut Rachel. It's just a ten minute walk straight east from my house. In a few weeks, the area should be full of gorgeous wild flowers. Now it is just sprouting new homes.

We made it to Shvut Rachel, which was established after my friend and neighbor, Rachella Druk was murdered.

Then instead of just walking back through the valley, we walked down the road and along the new sidewalk back up, via our supermarket, back home. It's quite a walk, and we both had plans to go to Jerusalem on the 10:30 bus.

We met up later at the bus stop. And just as the bus pulled up, I remembered that I had forgotten something important at home and then had to walk all the way back home, not an easy walk. When I got home I debated whether to go back down and count on a ride to Jerusalem or stay home a bit, wash the dishes etc.

I went back and wasted an hour waiting for a ride and ended up on the 11:30 bus. The ride was OK, that is until we got about a mile from the bus station, and traffic stopped, crawled, just took its time.

We eventually made it to the bus station, and I was surprised to enter quickly, went back out the other way, found the #9 bus stop... and waited ....and waited, at least 40 minutes, about double it would have taken me to walk to the Israeli Museum. I would have just walked, but I had already had a long walk, and the sun was very strong.

The bus finally came, and just when it was supposed to turn towards the Knesset and Museum after taking the new route from Hebrew University to some new offices, instead of the Knesset and Museum, we saw the police blocking the road. So I had to get off there and walk another ten minutes. That's when I found the demonstration.

I finally got to the Museum, and while I was waiting for my daughter to come out of her office, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the guard was a former student.

My daughter and I had a nice lunch; I didn't embarrass her by photographing it. Then I left.

Now I have to plan, OK I planned it in my head, but I have to write up the "handouts" for today's lesson.

Still no spellcheck!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Counter Milestone

According to, I've passed the 80,000 mark, but pegs me at 93,534. A hundred thousand is just days away.

Why the discrepency? I signed up with blogpatrol first, so it should have the higher numbers, but there have been times when it was out of commission. I like its reports much better than the sitemeter ones, or I would have deleted it from my blogs. Sitemeter is just more reliable. I can hardly remember more than once or twice when it didn't function.

What's the point of having these counters? The best, in terms of blogging manners, is that we can see who's "referring" to our blog. If it's another blog, we can pay a courtesy visit and make new blog-friends. I like to thank the blogger in comments if I've been "linked."

One thing about this blog is that no matter how great I think many of my posts are, most "views" are via google to see my recipes. Easy, simple cake, baked apple and popcorn recipes are a real draw.

Sometimes it gets me down. I know that years after I give up blogging, for whatever reasons, it'll just be my recipes that will attract visitors, not the gorgeous photos, personal stories, etc.

HH Debut

The latest Havel Havelim is a first time for Baila. She did a truly excellent job!
Maybe now that she's gotten her feet wet, she'll try a Kosher Cooking Carnival!
Don't forget to send in your posts about kosher food. It's not just a recipe carnival. Cookbook and restaurant reviews, halachik controversies and explanations, menus, traditions, anything!
As long as it's kosher!
February, KCC #27, will be hosted by Food History. If you're interested in hosting a future KCC, please let me know, shilohmuse at yahoo dot com.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Interesting Guests

This Shabbat, our Shiloh neighborhood hosted a group of handicapped teens. Apparently, one of the neighbor's kids works or volunteers with the group. Most were in wheelchairs. There was a volunteer accompanying each kid.

They slept and ate in various homes, dovened in the shuls.

We hosted one of the girls and her volunteer for lunch.

For some of them it was their first trip to a yishuv, and they had no idea what to expect. They were surprised at how "normal" we are and how peaceful it is. As much as we need rain, I'm glad that the weather cooperated, which made the visit very easy.

Shavua Tov,
Have a wonderful week!

I see that the spellcheck still doesn't work...grrr...

Friday, February 08, 2008

"Chanukat Ha-Kitchen"

There's a Jewish custom to have a "Chanukat HaBayit" when moving to a new home. When my neighbor had a new kitchen installed, she had a Chanukat Ha-Kitchen.

Another neighbor came in and did a Torah-inspired presentation about baking challah and Hafrashat Challah.

I haven't baked challah for years. And in my challah baking days, it wasn't such a spiritually charged event. Now women (and some men, actually my youngest son used to be my challah baker until we went into the army) use the mitzvah to ask G-d for important things for family and friends. There are all sorts of things to say during every stage of the challah preparation, from sifting the flour onwards.

When we sift the flour, we're to ask G-d to sift out all of our faults, like imatience, jealously etc.
When the challah is rising, we're to concentrate on things like fertility.

Here are some of the pictures:

kneading challah dough

rolling challah dough

shaping the challah

special challah shape

Bagel, No Bargain

On Wednesday, when I was in Ramat Eshkol, after going to the Neve Yaakov pool, before going to teach in Beit El, I was starving, so I bought some lunch.

There's a nice variety of food places in the shopping center. Yes, the sandwiches were under ns20. I decided to try the bagel place, Sam's. They seem to be real boiled-first bagels. I chose tuna, even though its pale color hinted at much too much mayonaise.

It cost ns17, almost as much as the Red Box I had bought in Cafe Hillel earlier in the week.

Afterwards I was still hungry. And the wholewheat bagel was too sweet, but that's a common problem here.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


If you've seen a lot of my photos, you know that I get a kick out of reflections.

The other day going to work, I noticed that the front window of the little "guard booth" has a mirrored window.
reflecting guard
In it I saw the snow which was across the street. I could not resist taking a picture.

As I walked past the side window, the guard gave me the strangest look.