Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Glorious Jewish, Zionist Evening!

I was one of the many lucky people to have attended  last night's Moskowitz Prize for Zionism event.  I was supremely priviliged to see living legends, the proof that Zionism and idealism are far from dead. 

Having flown twice with Nefesh B'Nefesh olim to Israel as a journalist and seeing how quickly and joyfully they got all of the work done for my father's aliyah, I have no doubt that they deserve their prize.

Another prize winner, former MK Chanan Porat showed us that the spirit rules the body.  His strength and determination shine through, although he's physically frail.

Sharon Katz of Voices Magazine blogged lots of pictures from last night.
It was great seeing her.  I hope to post my own pictures later on.  Today I'm just too busy.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Experimenting: You Can Call It Moussaka

I'm not good at following recipes, and I generally cook according to what's in the house.  I don't plan a menu and then check what I need and then hunt for the exact right foods.  So, on Friday I found myself with chopped meat (turkey) and vegetables and the desire to bake them together, not stew them.  I love having the food in a "cook and serve," even though just the two of us were home.

One of the vegetables I felt like cooking with the chopped meat was eggplant, so I decided to make a version of moussaka, which is layered eggplant, chopped meat and misc. (other vegetables, sauce etc.)

There are probably more versions of moussaka than chocolate cake, so my version is just as "kosher" or authentic.  Yes, it's definitely kosher! 
  • I thawed the chopped meat for easy mixing
  • and sliced up some eggplant* and sweet potato. 
  • Then I mixed the chopped meat with diced onions, eggs, garlic powder and a squeeze of catsup.
  • And then I layered them in the "bake and serve" baking dish, eggplant on the bottom.

After that I baked it, mostly uncovered.  I added foil on the top towards the end, so the top wouldn't burn.

Yes, I must admit that it was absolutely delicious and unbelievably easy to make.  You can add different vegetables if you want, like tomatoes and squash.  Really, there are no "laws" preventing creativity.

*There is absolutely no need to precook, fry, salt etc. the eggplant!  This was a simple one-step dish.  If you want an easy meal, just serve it with a nice salad and you're set!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A "Gantseh Megillah," We're All One Family

My blogging has introduced me to people and audiences I never would have met if my thoughts and feelings just remained in my head.  Being part of the Gantseh Megillah is proof that blogging unites us.  We share the banner, though we may disagree about many things and live very different sorts of lives.

The internet is amazing.  Check out the articles in the latest Gantseh Megillah.

A Fun Meal

Last week my husband and I met friends at my favorite restaurant, HaGov, The Lion's Den.  It's a kosher sports bar and grill in downtown Jerusalem.  It now opens for the late lunch/early dinner crowd and doesn't get the "bar atmosphere" until about 9pm.  During the early hours it's just a great, reasonably priced meat restaurant.

Not long ago, I discovered that their Tuna Salad cost a lot less than in dairy restaurants.  But since we met for dinner, I had my usual Chicken Salad, which cost less than any non-carbohydrate meal one can buy in a dairy place.  I always enjoy this and find it very filling.

The men both had hamburgers, which they loved and polished off with great enthusiasm.

My friend decided to try something different and had the Fun Joel Platter.  As you can see below, there's a variety of food.  Besides the fresh salad, there are Buffalo Wings, Schnitzel, French Fries and Onion Rings.  It was more food than she could handle at one sitting so the always helpful staff packed up what was leftover, so she could treat herself at home.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Summer, Where Are You?

The general "rule" here in the HolyLand is that the rain stops by the end of Passover and resumes sometime around the end of Succot.  But the real "rule" is that there aren't any rules.  Almost every year has some sort of exception, whether it's "unseasonably hot and dry" after Succot or, like this year, "unseasonably wet, cool and rainy" after Passover.

At 5am I woke up to the sound of thunder.  I managed to get back to sleep, and when I finally got up to get up before 8am, it was wet outside from the rain.  Since I noticed rainclouds in the west, I took a shawl to shul for protection.  We don't use umbrellas on Shabbat.  But it was very much like a rainy summer's day in New York.

At some point during the dovening (prayers) there was a very heavy downpour.  Then the rain clouds "went" away.

Was that the last rain of the season?  I'd be afraid to take bets on it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Perfect Shavuot "Ditty"

I can't believe that Shavuot is so soon. The 49 days of Sefira are so full of special days, memorial days, holidays, birthdays... Somehow Shavuot always catches me by surprise.

Thanks, Menya

My Loss, I Should Have Gone to the Writers Seminar

A neighbor mentioned that she was going to attend the Annual Jerusalem Writers’ Seminar and suggested that I, too, attend.  It looked interesting, but it was already about a day before the price was going up.  Considering my financial situation, it seemed too expensive for me, so I forgot about it.  My mistake.  Sometimes we must invest to earn more.

I'm writing all the time.  Why shouldn't I get paid?

Please remind me next year, as soon as it's publicized.  Thanks!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

When You're Looking For Something To Say

One of the perks of blogging is that I get the opportunity to review some very interesting books.  I do appreciate it that some publicists offer me books to read and write about*.  There's one I've been looking at for a while already.  Why has it taken me so long?  Besides being busy, it's a collection of "contemporary reflections on the weekly Torah Readings."  So I find myself looking at it weekly, chapter by chapter.

This Gefen Publication is an attractive easy to read book with short, but not too short, messages, Divrai Torah, Torah thoughts about the various Parshot Shavua, weekly Torah Portions.  Each concentrates on one short aspect.

It's the perfect book for someone who wants to enrich his/her Shabbat meal with Torah words or just wants to learn a bit something extra about the weekly Torah Portion.  Each chapter is short enough to be read at the table during the meal and can be used to begin a discussion.

For me, The Fire and the Cloud is a departure from my usual Torah and Tanach (Bible) studies.  I'm generally very text oriented, and Rabbi Bigman takes a different approach.  I've found something new and interesting in every chapter.  Rabbi Bigman uses all sorts of references, Medrash, Chaza"l, Kuzari and other Torah chapters to enrich the learning.

Yes, I highly recommend The Fire and the Cloud by Rabbi David Bigman.

*Publicists are invited to contact me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Wish I Knew How To Edit My Videos

I don't know who how this is done, but there's a funny version of Bibi's "joint house" speech now going around the internet.

I wish I knew how to do this sort of thing. I film them with my camera and have a youtube account, but that's as far as it goes.

Gift-Giving Dilemma

I'm starting to freak out seriously wonder what to give as a gift to some wealthy couple getting married.  We're going to the states for a wedding of the more moneyed side of the family.  The young couple lacks in nothing money can buy, and considering that good health etc are from G-d, what can we give?  Well, we're spending big bucks to get to the wedding.

OK, I admit that I spend over one thou$and dollar$ every year to get to the states to see my parents, but my husband doesn't go.  This summer he'll fly to the wedding and may have to get a new suit.  No, he won't be buying a tuxedo, even though it's "black tie."  For the last American wedding, he bought a black tie for a couple of bucks in Conway.  By buying in Conway, he was actually "donating" to Shiloh.  That's because the owners are big supporters of Shiloh and Yeshivat Hesder Shiloh. So you should know that a tiny fraction of a percent of their profits find their ways to help Jews in Judea and Samaria.

Every time we've gone to the United States specially for a wedding, I tell my husband and kids that our big gift is our presence, considering the financial cost.  We do go because we love family, but we certainly won't try to compete with their wealthy friends and relatives in gift-giving/buying.  The trick is to find something they may actually use and treasure.  When you buy something practical for those who don't have much money, you can be pretty sure that they will use the gift and be very grateful.  I had been "negotiating" with one of my kids about what to buy, but I have a feeling that we'd be better off buying something on our own.  Everything I've suggested has been rejected.  It's not worth the aggravation.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sefirat Ha'Omer, More Than Numbers

Today I ended up home all day, so I was able to go to my neighbor's house for the weekly T'hillim, Psalm reading.  Afterwards I stayed to talk a bit.  It's such a treat to have time and to see my neighbors.  Shiloh has three hundred families and a few shuls and neighborhoods.  We don't have too many chances to get together.

As we left the house, one of my friends began telling us that she uses the 7 week, 49 day Counting of the Omer as a chance to work on herself, to improve herself.

There's a whole system in which each week and each day have special significance.
For expample, we are now starting the sixth week, and that means that for this week we should work on Yesod or bonding.  And for today:
Day 36 - Chesed of Yesod: Lovingkindness of Bonding
Love is the heart of bonding. You cannot bond without love. Love establishes a reliable base on which bonding can build. If you have a problem bonding, examine how much you love the one (or the experience) with which you wish to bond. Do I try to bond without first fostering a loving attitude? Is my bonding expressed in a loving manner?
Exercise for the day: Demonstrate the bond you have with your child or friend through an act of love.
I haven't been doing this. I really think it's a good idea. The way to make it work is to think of it all day, not just the minutes we're quickly trying to say the prayer and count.  My friend says that it helps to have a booklet and look at it during the day.  OK, add that to my shopping list, G-d willing.

What's Cooking?

Here's the simple chicken and stuffed peppers from two weeks ago, before they entered the oven.  I have a tiny oven, so I couldn't cook them at the same time. 

When we planned the kitchen it never occurred to us that:
  1. In a few short years it would be easier to find/buy a larger stove than the 1970's standard width we still had in the early 1980's.
  2. We'd really need a larger oven for more efficient cooking/baking.
  3. A large proportion of my "standard fare" would be baked.  That includes the meat/poultry and vegetables.
I dread having to find my "next stove." When I bought this one I had very little choice of brands and models.  Redoing the kitchen is outrageously expensive.  My present way of preparing food is terribly time-consuming, because even for these two, not enormous pans, I need separate baking time.  I feel like I spend all day waiting for the oven to be free for the next tray of food to cook.  It's definitely not efficient.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Mitzvah, Help a Mother Mother

A blogger, lady-light, needs help to finance a trip to Israel to care for her daughter.  She's also looking for a place to stay near her daughter.  From what she has written, they also need help working the system to get her daughter government aid.  Write to her for details.

Refuah Shleimah to "Rambo bat Lady-Light"
G-d knows your true names

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Don't They Look Like Cousins?

The family dogs met for the first time on Yom Ha'Atzma'ut, Israeli Independence Day.  They got along pretty well. 

They look even more alike in person.

Yummy, Simple and Delicious Vegetables, Cook and Serve

The trick to making this fantastic vegetable dish is a pan you can bake and serve in.

I'm in the market to stock up on some new ones.  One can never have too many, especially when you serve/cook as many vegetables as I do.  My husband and I are both trying to keep our weights down, and the key is to eat a lot of cooked vegetables.  Here are squash, carrots, celeriac and dla'at,  pumpkin.  Sometimes is set it up very orderly, but the day I made this one, I didn't.  You can also cut the vegetables in various ways. 

Once it's ready for the oven, I sprinkle oil and sometimes some spices or herbs or both.

Every time I make it, it's different. Be creative, enjoy...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Should I Try Something Like...?

A young neighbor across the street, no not the blog across the street, started doing daily "newscasts."

Of course, I would do it very differently. I would do it like me, not like Eliyokim.  It would be hard to set it up for sure.  I'd even put on some make-up, maybe.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Getting Impatient

I keep seeing those trains, Jerusalem's lightrail, chugging along the tracks.

A select few journalists, no bloggers I've heard of, are allowed to sample the service.

Since the route is good for my travel needs, many times I've wished to be invited for a ride.

I wouldn't have needed to walk so far the other day if the train had been operating for ordinary people like myself.  I could have either taken it to the bus station, instead of walking to Shmuel haNavi, or in the other direction to Pisgat Ze'ev.

At this point we should call the train:
The Great Tease

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Is It OK to Complain?

Should we chalk this up to national nouveau riche syndrome here in Israel?

When we made aliyah in 1970, the standard of living here in Israel was so much lower than in the states.  It was a culture shock for many and the reason why the return rate to the United States and other western countries was so high.

We had telephone service pretty quickly.  Within a few months (yes months) there was a phone in the Betar Student Hostel we lived in in the Old City of Jerusalem.  Before then, we had to walk out to the public phone near the police station at Jaffa Gate.  Then in the summer of 1971 we moved into a second hand apartment we purchased in Bayit V'Gan and had a phone a year later.  My cousin made aliyah late 1974, and it took seven years for them to get a phone in their Netanya apartment.  And when we ordered our phone, it was still possible to get, for less money, a party-line.

Of course, now in Israel, most people have a few phones, internet and any appliance they can fit in their homes.  There's no real difference in day to day life.

Most people have good heating systems and air-conditioners.  Here's my little rant.  They overheat in the winter and freeze everyone in the summer.  It drives me nuts.  Instead of keeping homes, offices, public buildings, stores etc at one comfortable temperature we end up suffering from all sorts of annoying colds etc because of the extreme temperatures.  It was like that in New York in the 1960's.  I remember having to take a sweater with me in the summer to keep warm, because the air-conditioning was much too strong.

I hope you weren't shocked that I actually complained, kvetched.

Long Walk Yesterday

I'm looking for a map to show you how far I walked yesterday.

This map gives an idea but only to those who know Jerusalem, since there are no street names nor distance key.

To give you an idea, I walked from Matan, which is near the traintrack on the bottom of the map, all the way to town and then down Strauss Street to the road which goes to the Shmuel HaNavi bus stop in Ramat Eshkol, which is just out of the map on top, if I'm not mistaken.  I took a couple of "breaks."  The first was at the Emek Refaim post office to buy stamps for the birthday cards the grandkids had made for three generations of May birthdays in the states.  I even sat a few minutes while waiting my turn. 

Then I walked to the Mamilla Mall to pick up my birthday gift, (not really worth the detour) at Dorin Frankfurt.  After that I stopped into HaGov to refill my water bottle, any excuse to visit my son.  And after that I realized that I'd probably miss the 3pm bus home, and the lightrail still doesn't take passengers, so amazingly I remembered that I could walk to the Shmuel Hanavi stop for the bus.  It would take almost the same time as to the bus station, without the security delay and 5-6 minutes into the trip. 

I got there with time to spare, and when I got on the bus I had a pleasant surprise.  My eldest was on the bus on her way to see the grandkids.  So we sat together and had a nice visit.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Am Now Officially OLD!

Yes, it's not just the grey hair, hidden with the still brown for religious reasons.  It's not that I'm a grandmother.  I could have had been one twenty years ago if my eldest had gotten married young, or gotten married at all...

It's not just that most of the people I work with are younger than my youngest child.

According to Israeli laws, rules and regulations, I'm among the ותיקים vattikim old-timers.  I got the official card in the mail from the government.  With that card I can get all sorts of discounts. 

I can't get things for free.  One needs money to pay for what isn't discounted.  But it's still nice.  I've been able to ride the buses half-fair for two years already.

Think about it:
When a girl turns twelve she's Bat Mitzvah, a woman according to Jewish Law, and fifty years after that she passes the next milestone and becomes an official senior citizen.

So, what am I supposed to do? get up on the stage and say:

Now I am an alte bubba!

An Easier Way to A Fancier Chicken

Cooking does not have to be complicated.  I generally make chicken the same way every week.  After soaking in a large pot, changing the water and then cleaning it by pouring boiling water over it to more easily remove the remains of the feathers, I usually put the pieces in a large baking tray, dribble freshly squeezed (from my hand) lemon juice, then sprinkle paprika, pepper, garlic and sometimes more spices.  Then I bake the chicken in a hot oven until crispy on the outside and well-cooked inside.

But sometimes I add other things, like wine we didn't like, which is really good cooked with onion slices.  Or pour leftover fruit juice with or without slices of fruit or fruit from a can which has been sitting in the closet for who knows how long.

You can also cook the with vegetables, which I don't do all that often, since I don't like my vegetables overcooked and it takes much less time to cook the veggies than the chicken.  If you want them cooked together, then add the vegetables when the chicken is almost fully cooked.

Since we keep kosher, we don't cook poultry or meat with dairy.  We don't eat them at the same meals either.

Any other tips or ideas welcome via comments.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nail Polish... The Problem

Well what's the worst problem with nail polish?

OK some people really don't like it.  Some people don't like the smell. 

I can live with the smell.  That's not the worst aspect as far as I'm concerned.  What drives me crazy is how long it takes for the coats to dry.  I never had the patience.  Even for my wedding, the first time I ever had a manicure I ended up smudging it.  Some how I had been allowed to escape the place before my nails were fully dry.  I took off the polish before the wedding.  They were smudged.  I wonder if anyone noticed, but you can see in the pictures.

I only got three out of the four coats on tonight, and I can't wait up until a fourth coat is on and dry.  I should have stopped after the second coat.

Does anyone have any "tricks?"  I'd appreciate it.  And if we're talking about tips on drying the nailpolish, what about a tip on getting the polish on the nail and not the skin?

Just asking...

A Late Start to Teaching, The Down-Side

I was just talking to a relative who is now in the position I was in a few years ago.  A teacher who gets into the system young can retire young, before the age of sixty, and enjoy those years.  I did teach for thirteen years starting in my mid-30's, which isn't young by teacher standards.  But if I had gotten into the system, retirement pensions and all, I could have retired with a pension a couple of years ago.  That job had no rights.  I got my salary from a special "fund" and had no idea that I should be thinking of my future.  I never took my work seriously in terms of long-term finance.

I repeated the mistake when I became an English teacher, and when I finally signed up for a pension scheme/insurance I committed to teach more years than I could handle.  So, I'm stuck without a pension.

In my clan, I'm not the only one to begin teaching in my 40's, so I hope my relatives have the health to teach long enough and live long enough to enjoy their hard-earned pensions.

ps I do enjoy the work I do now selling and tutoring, but as a school-teacher I'd be making more money and have a better retirement financially.

Monday, May 16, 2011

It's Starting to Look Like Summer

Even though we've had late, unseasonable rains, the winter green is going brown.  There's a limit to how long they can stay green.  The strange comparisan that just went through my head concerns growth hormones many parents of short children try to get prescribed with dreams and wishes to trick the genes into making their children taller.  The hormones may get the children to grow at a younger age, but they can't really override the maximum potential the child was born with.

So, even though we've had a "record wet April and May," the wild flowers and weeds which looked so pretty a month or two ago are "aging," drying out and turning brown.

These pictures were taken at Tel Shiloh on Rosh Chodesh Iyar, (the first of the Jewish month of Iyar) less than two weeks ago.  I go there every month for Women's Prayers.  Next Rosh Chodesh will be Sivan on Friday June 3.  Women are invited.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Too Tired to Blog...

So, why am I blogging?  I should just turn off the computer, sign out of whatever I'm in...

I had a busy day, really enjoyed both jobs.

I love both selling and teaching. You could say they are related, both are people oriented.

I'm glad to be back teaching.  I'm having fun doing it.

Now I'm feeling tired.

It was a long, long day....

I don't have the energy to post politics right now.

ps Don't forget to read the latest Havel Havelim.

Even Though We Must Keep Taking Out Our Winter Coats....

... there still hasn't been enough rain.

It rained again yesterday.  Generally, there's no rain here in the HolyLand between Passover (early April) and Succot (early October.)  This year was pretty dry the first few months of winter, which is one of the reasons that the Carmel Forest burnt so uncontrollably.

We're already in the middle of May, and we've been getting good strong rain at least once a week.  Meteorologists report that we've had a record-breaking April's rainfall.  No doubt May will also reach a record.  Friday night my sleep was disturbed by loud thunder.

These things do happen here, every few years, but usually it's only once or twice past rain season.  This year it's more frequent than we've had during many winter months.  And when it rains, it sure rains.

At Yafiz, the clothing for the entire family store where I work, people keep coming in for winter clothes, but most are packed up.  We just don't have room for everything.  Last week I managed to sell a woman and her young daughter a cute shawl/poncho from the half-price-rack to keep the little girl warm.

Neighbors keep saying that the late rain is bad for the crops, but I reply that in most agricultural places it rains all year and the crops thrive.

We need the water and shouldn't complain about the timing.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Welcome Me Back To Blogging

I would have blogged on Friday, but blogger wasn't working.  What would I have blogged about? Good question.  At this moment I can't quite remember.  I think there was something I had started but blogger just died out on me.  When I get to facebook I'll check my pictures, because I think that I had planned a post with a picture.

The blogger malfunction started Thursday I think.  I got a call at work from another blogger who wanted to know if I was also having problems.  But at Yafiz, a clothing store I don't blog; I rarely sit.  There's no desk.  The computer is the cash register. But I don't use that either.  I talk to customers and show them clothes and help them find what they need.  There's nothing sedentary about my job.  It's a good job for someone my age; it keeps me moving.

Considering what I pay for blogger's service, I really can't complain about a day's malfunction.  It is free.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Guessing Game

If you're good at "pictorial trivia" and think that you can guess who (which famous actresses) three cute kids ended up being, then check out the contest on Seraphic Secrets.

I'm not guessing. I haen't a clue.  I'm not good at that sort of thing.

Granted that after working a few months at Yafiz, a "cothing for the entire family" story, I think that my "visual intelligence" may be improving.  Find where something belongs is like the memory games I never won.  I could never remember which pictures were where.

In the store I really must use my memory.  I never expected that.  I was sure that my biggest problemwould be to learn my co-workers' names.

HaGov's Tuna Salad, A Better Deal Than From A Dairy Place

Last week I lunched at HaGov with some friends.  Since I had plenty of cooked chicken waiting for me at home, it seemed silly to order meat or poultry at HaGov, no matter how delicious I knew it would be.  So I tried their Tuna Salad.

As you can see, it's a full plate of freshly cut salad, plus a generous portion of canned tuna.  It also came with toast and spreads.  The real surprise, bonus I'd say, is that it cost NS10 shekel less than a similar meal in the various batei cafe`, dairy restaurants downtown.

My friends both ordered their "Shay's Salad," which they also loved.  It was also less money by about NS10 than anything similar in any dairy restaurant.

Now that HaGov opens Sunday-Thursday at 2pm, it's a perfect place to lunch.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Addiction, Freecell

Have you ever played computer (simple not internt) freecell?

I just finished a game with 47 on the board to zero.  The funny thing is that I "lost the same game" a few times until something just went right and I broke my record.

So, now that I've done it and blogged about it, I'm turning off the computer and washing the dishes and hanging out the laundry, even though it's night time.

What A Start To "Birthday Month"

I must buy a bunch of birthday cards today.  Some will be sent a bit late, but at least they'll be sent.  I didn't like the selection I had found the other day, but today, G-d willing I'll find the perfect ones.

May is "Birthday Month" in my family.  My mother, brother, sister and I are all "May babies."  And so is my third daughter.

And, having no idea of course, a friend sent me a link to an old article about the founding of the State of Israel which mentions my birthday, not long before I was bornRead it, it's a great piece.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

With A Dog's Head in My Lap

Our older son and daughter #1 gave us a ride to my cousin's for the annual Yom Ha'Atzma'ut get-together.  The backseat was a bit crowded.

Yes, we had to share it with this frisky pup.  I guess by "dogs ages," she's a teenager.  On the way over, she got comfy on the floor, but on the way home she decided that she wanted to sit, and there really wasn't all that much room for the three of us.  So she took a nap with her head on me.

Did I ever tell you that I'm not a dog lover.  I used to be phobically afraid.  I've gotten over that, but...  as dogs go, she really is a nice dog.

Business Stopped at Rami Levi, Sha'ar Binyamin

One of the "public service" announcements yesterday, when I was working in Yafiz, of the Sha'ar Binyamin Rami Levi, before the "Mincha Prayers in our synagogue located at aisle..." was to get ready to stand at attention for the Memorial Siren.  Everyone, customers and workers were instructed to leave the stores and go to the open space by the parking lot to best hear the sirens.

Shoppers left their shopping carts, and workers left their stations to stand at attention.  Here are a few of the pictures.

You could feel how everyone entered his/her own world of memories as the siren wailed....

Monday, May 09, 2011

Any Color But Red

My roses and nail polish have that in common.  Yes, I don't have red roses and I don't wear red nailpolish.

When I was still "doing" my garden, I bought a number of rose bushes in all sorts or colors, every color but red.  My roses are whites, pinks, yellows and oranges.  Unfortunately I don't care for them very professionally.  They grow wild and unpruned.  But when they bloom, like now, they are truly gorgeous.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Counting on Leora for KCC

Leora of HP has just posted the Iyar Kosher Cooking Carnival.  It's definitely a tasty one.  Check it out.

The key to being a good jblogger is interacting with others, and Leora has helped many of us.  She also coordinates JPIX.
Next month's KCC will by in Boston.  Send your posts about all aspects of Kosher cooking, kashrut, etc via blog carnival.  And if you'd like to host one, please let me know.

More Recycling Options in Shiloh

On Friday when I went out to deposit the plastic, I found a new "structure."  A sign on it said that it's for cartons.  Unfortunately it was put in a place that blocks one of the sides of the plastic recycling "cage."  So now I have to use the other side.  I don't put my bags where they'd blow away.  I put all the bags in one, tie them and then throw them in with the bottles.

Now we have recycling for plastic, paper and cartons.  Not bad.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Keeping the Teas Fresh and Organized

We buy all sorts of herbal teas and have been doing it for decades.  Actually, I've been trying to reduce the variety we buy, because we (guests and I) don't drink many of them. 

I store the teas in glass jars.  And I label the jars to make sure I know what's in them.

I'm not the most organized person in the world, but I do this.  Actually, I hadn't done a big organizing of teas for ages, maybe even years.  But Friday, before Shabbat for some reason, I just got fed up. There were too many boxes in the closet.  After Passover, it's always a mess, because we buy new teas and "sell" the old. 

I took everything out, jars and boxes and began emptying boxes into jars of the same teas.  Of course when I did that I first emptied the jars to put the fresher tea bags on the bottom.  Some jars were empty, and I'm not buying that flavor again, so they got put in the sink after their labels were ripped off.  Other teas needed new jars etc.

When we have guests I let them choose tea from the closet.  They're even allowed to "sniff" first.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Aliyah Stories...

West Bank Mama is calling for aliyah stories.  They're soon to celebrate twenty years in Israel and will do a big spread, round-up, blog carnival of sorts.

I guess I'm going to have to think of something.  Is there any story I had once promised to tell/write/post but never did?  If you remember or have an idea/question for a story I should tell, please let me know in the comments.

It's hard to believe that we're in our 41st year here, about to celebrate forty-one years of marriage and aliyah.  The number just doesn't jive with the way I think of myself.  It's hard to believe that I'm not a teenager any more...

Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach
Have a Peaceful and Blessed Shabbat

How Do You Celebrate Israeli Independence Day?

When I first got into the world of Zionism in the mid-late 1960's, a celebration of Israel and Zionism was "cultural," music and dance.  If there was any special food, it would have been felafel, but I don't remember food as being a central aspect of the Yom Ha'Atzma'ut holiday.

We danced Israeli Folk Dances and sang Israeli Folk Songs.

In our early years in Israel, when we lived in Bayit v'Gan, Jerusalem, we could see the fireworks display at Mount Herzl from our building.  An Israeli tradition at outdoor celebrations that bridge Memorial Day to Independence Day is to have impressive fireworks light the sky.

I don't remember doing much on the actual day of Israeli Independence Day.  On the Eve of Indpendence Day, as long as we're home in Shiloh, we go to the Mishkan Tabernacle Synagogue for the fantastic Holiday Prayers.

The Israeli custom is to eat, have cookouts all over the place and barbeque lots of meat which is eaten with salads and pittot.

Yesterday the Rami Levi chain had a special on many of the traditoinal Yom Ha'Atzma'ut foods, chumus, cucumbers, tomatoes, kabobs etc.  That was his (yes there's a Rami Levi who owns/runs the chain) way of celebrating with his customers.

For quite a number of years we've been going to my cousin's house for Yom Ha'Atzma'ut where they provide a very Israeli and extremely delicious meal.

And what do you do wherever you live?

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The "Trigger" That Gets Me...

Most of the time I can be very nice, but there's something that usually gets me going exploding mean.  That's when I'm insulted.  OK, not every "insult."  Insults are rather subjective.  Frequently people have no idea that they've insulted someone.  I can go months, even years without the trigger, but for some reason it happened twice in twenty-four hours.

Yesterday I was in Jerusalem and on the way to the bus station (walking) I looked for some sort of belt or sash for a new dress.  One of the first stores I entered was a fabric store, because I had this idea that a cord for drapes or curtains may do.  I started explaining what I needed.  I have no idea what it is in Hebrew, because I've never talked about it in Hebrew in all the forty plus years I'm here.  In most topics I'm very fluent in Hebrew.  I give classes in Hebrew, work in Hebrew and has even written a bit in Hebrew.  It's just that word I don't know or can't remember.  The woman in the store said:
"Why don't you learn Hebrew?"
I also work in a store, and I use every form of communications to make myself understood  to the customers and understand them.  What an outrageous thing to say.  My reply was:
"I never needed that word before, and I'll never buy anything in this store, even if you have what I need!"
Then today, when I was at work I got a call from an unfamiliar number.  Some guy kept talking about having my phone charger.  I told him that it's impossible, because I keep it at home.  He must have dialed the wrong number.  Then, in English, as if I didn't understand Hebrew, he asked where I was.  I told him that he was an idiot and hung up on him.

So, now you know how to insult me.

The Blog Across The Street, Rosh Chodesh Update

A few months ago, my across the street neighbor asked me to help her learn how to blog.  She's a well-known writer having published a novel and lots of stories in anthologies and the internet, Ester Katz Silvers.  Now she writes a blog,  It's All From HaShem.  She has it set up, so that there are new posts every month, on Rosh Chodesh, the first day of the new Jewish Month.  And since it's Rosh Chodesh, there are some new posts.  Give them a read; you'll probably enjoy them.

One of the great things about blogging is that it's such a flexible, individualistic hobby.  Every blog is essentially different, reflecting the personality and needs of the blogger.  And, yes, there are bloggers like myself who maintain multiple blogs.  I consider the sorts of posts on Shiloh Musings and me-ander too different to be combined.  At least at the time I first started blogging it was impossible.  Now with "pages/tabs" on a blog/site, I could do it, but I'd rather not at least at this time.

As hobbies go, blogging isn't very expensive.  It just costs time.  And sometimes, being able to write about something does make me feel better.

Chodesh Tov, have a wonderful month full of good things for you and your family.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

One of Those "Good News/Bad News" Stories

It's a short one:

  • The Good News: I had an extra hour's sleep last night.
  • The Bad News: I got up an hour late.
  • The Best News: I survived it.
That's why I hadn't blogged or fb'ed this morning.  I just answered a couple of emails when I realized that I hadn't set my alarm correctly.

Considering the big picture... it's small potatoes, no tragedy.  I hope you missed me!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

JPIX in Bloom!

JPIX is the third Jewish blog carnival.  It gets published a few times a year, and today is one of those special days. 

This edition is hosted by Ilana-Davita, who lives in France, travels around and posts the most gorgous pictures from all over.

JPIX is coordinated by Leora, an artist from NJ.  If you'd like to host one, she's the one to contact.  And if you'd like to submit a picture post to JPIX, click here.

Following are a few of the featured pictures.  Click them to see their blogs.

Was I Wrong to Refuse?

The other day when I was taking a walk, a couple of neighbors complimented me on losing weight.  I find it rather strange, since I've been this weight for two years already.  B"H, bli eyin haraa, my weight has been pretty stable for all this time.  This winter, the first in many, I didn't go swimming at all and I haven't had an exercise routine, because I just don't have a good schedule.  I blogged about how I lost weight in a very public diet.

I've learned how to eat differently and was hoping to make a career out of diet coaching.  Many years ago, before anyone knew what it was (including me) I took a course to be a coach.  I led a diet support group for a while, but then I couldn't get another one going.

So, one of the neighbors who had complimented me the other day also looked like she had lost weight, so I told her.  She said that she had joined a diet guru's group.  I was shocked, because I had thought that group had disbanded.  Everyone, including the guru, gains weight when it's over.  It's a very extreme diet, one you can't live on and totally opposite to my method.  I mentioned that to the neighbor.

"So, what's your method?"
"Sorry, but I'm not giving you my method for free when you're paying someone else."
We continued talking pleasantly, but was I wrong to give her that answer? 

I'm tired of giving people my methods and eating philosophy and advice for free.  That's why nobody pays.  I have to take myself more seriously, more professionally.  And I ought to go back to writing my book about losing weight.

What do you think?

Monday, May 02, 2011

Before It All Dries Out

Our "garden" is green, flowered, full of weeds, protected wild flowers and the promise of fruit to come.

This is the epitome of spring.  Here and there I'm starting to notice a few brownish spots, but this isn't the time to show them.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Can't Wait to Ride Jerusalem's Lightrail

For us the lightrail will be helpful, because stage 1 goes from Pisgat Zeev to French Hill, to the Jerusalem Municipality, Machane Yehuda, Egged Bus Station and then to Mt. Herzl.  If that means that we won't be stuck in traffic jams during rush hour, it'll be a great timesaver.  Of course we'll need to get on and off and off and on bus, train, bus or walk various stages depending on our destination or itinerary.  Apparently there will be an Israeli, or at least Jerusalem version of the Metrocard called Rav-Kav, many lines.

My neighbor told me that he has already ordered his. There are these special introductory offers.  I hope to find a place to get it next week.  I'd appreciate more information about it if you have.  Please comment and let me know.  In the meantime, here are two more trains in motion, videoed/photographed last week: