Monday, December 28, 2015

Redoux, If Only Life Was So Simple

For the last 52Frames photography challenge of 2015, we were offered the chance to recreate a previous photo from the fifty-one 51 we had submitted this year. In real life we don't get these opportunities. We can't take back words or substitute a bad outfit after the event etc. And I'm sure I'm not the only member of this group to wish I had been given another chance to submit a photo after the album was already published.

This was the chance!

I didn't really like the final result of my "Abandoned" photo, and since it was taken in my neighborhood, I took this opportunity to revisit the scene.

Here's the original photo I had submitted:

"Benched Bench"
I don't live in Jerusalem and have no idea of how this uncomfortable crooked bench ended up in my neighborhood. It looks pitiful and is certainly abandoned. I've never seen anyone sit in it either. It has obviously been rejected, sent off the field, benched, the Benched Bench.

And here's the new one from the What I've learned Album:

"Abandoned Bench Redoux"
I was never completely happy with "Benched Bench."  There was something too harsh in the black and white. So since it's in the neighborhood, I went out and photographed it again. This time it was late afternoon, with long shadows, and I processed it differently. Using IrfanView I kept reducing colors until I got to the minimum, 5, before there would only be black, grey and white. It looks so perfectly abandoned and dusty, just right.
What do you think?

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Perfect Size Tuna Sandwich for Only ns15.90*

I'm always looking for a good sandwich deal, one that not only doesn't cost too much, but there's something to eat in it. I did try a few of those ns5 places, but even though there was enough roll for me, it was hard finding more than a bite of tuna inside. I've bought some nice big sandwiches for ns20, but I really don't need so much food.

I bought this one in the Sambooki, 34 Rechov Yaffo, Jerusalem. It's between Zion Square and the Jerusalem Municipality. As you can see, it was full of salad and tuna and a hardboiled egg. That's a meal. It was readymade, so service was quick. I think that the custom-made ones cost more.

*I'm pretty sure that was the price. If I got it wrong, it's small mistake, unless they've raised the price since I bought mine.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Nu, Why Do I Go To Football Games?

Most of you must know that I go to football games, Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions, yes American tackle football, like in the USA but here in Israel. 

Like many in my family, I'm not a spectator by nature. My father didn't watch sports on television or anyplace. Once his cousin's husband got him to take my brother to a baseball game along with him and his two sons. That was the first and last time he did it. In high school there was a time I went to the school basketball games which are so fast moving that I didn't feel like I was sitting still. I was jumping up cheering and moving all the time.

I do that at the football games. I keep moving. There are three reasons for that:

  1. It's too cold to just sit, even if Mishor Adumim, which is warmer than Shiloh.
  2. The seats are too far from the action. I'm allowed to stand behind the players who aren't on the field. We all follow the action by foot.
  3. I like to move/walk. My phone's pedometer aka "WalkLogger" shows that I get a lot of walking done during the games, which is good for me. 
You must know the real reason I go to the games. It's a good way to see some of my children. At most of the games a majority of my kids are there, and that is the best reason of all!!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Hit The Spot Lentil Soup

For decades, I've broken fasts on vegetable soups. My kids remember them, too. I'm not quite sure when I started cooking them, but now it's automatic. So on Tuesday, while fasting to commemorate the Tenth of Tevet, I took a bunch of brown lentils, checked them first bit by bit on a white plate to make sure there were no stones or worse, and then I put them in a large pot, added boiling water, covered and let them sit.

I started a good few hours before the fast was to end, so the final cooking with vegetables shouldn't take long. When I checked softness and wasn't satisfied, I added more boiling water and boiled them on the stove a short time. After again letting it sit, I could easily see that they were soft and ready.

Then a couple of hours before I wanted to serve the soup, meaning break the fast, I added cut up:

  • onion
  • carrots
  • squash
  • a generous "splash" of vegetable oil
I boiled, then simmered it on the stove. And then I added cut up sweet potato and some dehydrated parsley. Salt and pepper were added close to the end of cooking. About a half hour before serving I turned it off, and then when it was time to eat, we had a feast. 

All I needed to fill me up after fasting was this soup, bowl after bowl. The lentils tasted like honey especially with the small chunks of sweet potato.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Blogging About Elderly Parents

my father walking around our Shiloh neighborhood
on the plane to Israel
Six years ago we had my father living with us for almost a year. I blogged about it a lot. Aliyah To The Land of Israel At 89Keeping Busy, Arts, Crafts and ExerciseCasting A ShadowI DID It! The latest episode in the saga of my father's aliyah at 89 and more. In the end, my mother (who was supposed to have joined him in Israel when health permitted) and sister decided that they would be better off in Arizona near my sister, so my son and I took him there. That's where he now is, in a "memory center."

visiting my parents in
When he was living with us, I didn't know of any other blogs about taking care of the elderly, coping with dementia and all it entails. Now I follow two blogs about elderly senile (not the modern pc term) parents. One is a very interesting one that combines the saga of the blogger's deteriorating mother with recipes,  The Lost Kitchen: An Alzheimer's Memoir and Cookbook, and the other,  Alzheimer's - My Mom My Hero, which is davka written by a childhood friend of mine. We were even nextdoor neighbors in Great Neck our teens; our parents had been close friends for about forty years beginning in Bell Park Gardens, Bayside, NY, and then until hers moved to Florida.

There are dozens of types of dementia and how it affects the person. No two are identical, though there are patterns and signs that we should be aware of. And sometimes this disability develops so slowly affecting very isolated brain cells that the effect is very subtle and hard and traumatic to recognize.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Bringing Out The Beauty in a Rose

The latest 52 Frames Theme/Challenge was to use two different ones from this year for/on one photo. When I took a picture of this lovely shy rose I thought I'd combine Nature with Macro, and the raindrops would be the Macro. Of course I'd crop it well. 

Then on the 52Frames facebook discussion page, someone offered to edit a photo -which was also a theme/challenge, and I just jumped at the idea of sending the rose to more capable hands. So, I sent her off to Bridget Mayfield. She came up with a few interesting and gorgeous works of art.

Take a look.

 And I chose.....

"Power Flower"
This photo combines the two challenges of Nature and Another's Editing. I must thank Bridget Mayfield for turning my shy rose, a true "wallflower" into this Power Flower. 

This photo qualifies for the "Extra Credit" challenge: "No B+W, Odds, or Lines"

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Inexpensive Meal Near Mamilla Mall

Since none of the restaurants in the Mamilla Mall can be called "inexpensive," you may be interested in one just outside of it and across the street on Shlomzion Hamalka Street.

Ajamir may be the name. I couldn't find it on the internet. Next time, I'll take a card, but it does have a Kashrut certificate, and there are always people there eating happily. It's  a simple meat place, grill, kosher, with the usual salads, felafel, kabob, shwarma, chicken breast, schnitzel etc.

I've eaten there a few times, and service is good, too. Not only did the guy fill my pita high with salads, but he gave me a small bowl with more the last time I was there. There is a nice variety of salads. Service is friendly. I'll get more information when I pass by next, Gd willing.

Monday, December 21, 2015

And the Tremping Saga Tremps on...

It's hard to believe that all these siyate d'Shmaya rides and tremps were all in one day...

Newly redecorated trempiada, hitchhiking post
just outside of Ofra going to Shiloh and further
north or west
I've frequently described my mode of travel as siyate d'Shmaya caful X2 ( the Hand of Gd doubled.) First of all we must remember that all safe traveling is due to Gd's help,  siyate d'Shmaya. And all safe traveling is a gift from Gd, which is why I call it "doubled."

Yesterday was a busy day for me. No, I didn't go to work. I had errands in Jerusalem and then babysitting for the young grandkids in Ofra and visiting the older ones. So I had to squeeze in my Jerusalem shopping within the rather late opening times and still manage to get to Ofra in time to pick up my young granddaughter from Kindergarten. I also wanted to get in as much walking/exercise as possible.

After walking down the hill to the main Shiloh bus stop, I saw a lot of people waiting to get out. OK, not everybody goes towards Jerusalem.  And the large number of young girls from the 8th Grade were waiting for a bus to take them for entrance exams in a nearby high school. But still, even after taking all that into account, I wasn't quite sure how I'd travel. Nobody seemed to know if the 8:29 bus had come or not, even though I did get down there at 8:30. So we waited. After a bit, one of the young home-grown Shiloh men, who now has children attending the local school said he was off to Ofra, so I got in. We had a great talk catching up and I told him a lot about the history of the school, things little kids don't notice or quickly forget. Due to our talk he discovered that one of his students is the daughter of an old friend. He dropped me off by the Ofra bus stop, and within a couple of minutes, who should drive by but my very own daughter... Now, that was an unplanned treat. We had a nice visit while going to her Jerusalem office.

In Jerusalem I managed to walk to all of my planned destinations and got almost everything accomplished. The only foul-ups were when I discovered that my water bottle had probably fallen out into one of the cars, and my lunch (apple and almonds) had either done the same or had been inadvertently left at home. Minor snafus.

I took the lightrail to the Ammunition Hill stop and then walked down (Ramat) Eshkol Blvd to a bus stop at which I caught a bus to the "cityline," since I didn't know if there was a bus to Ofra. While waiting there a bus (461) to (Shiloh and) sped by and almost didn't stop. A couple of us had to run to catch it when he finally stopped a good 20 meters after the proper place. His driving was so crazy, we were halfway to Ofra before I could maneuver myself to a seat barely 90cm (about a yard) from where I was hanging on for dear life. The young man sitting there had kept motioning for me to sit down, but every time I tried to move I felt the bus careening in the wrong direction. Thinking back, I guess there were no passengers waiting in Sha'ar Binyamin or Ma'avar Michmas, so he never stopped.

I got to Ofra early and went to my daughter's house where I quickly took something to eat, relaxed, and then went to pick up my granddaughter. Eventually all of the Ofra grandkids got home, and I had a nice visit and was very impressed by their English comprehension and other talents. Finally it was time to go home.

Just as I got to the Ofra bus stop, I saw a 461, which goes up to my neighborhood coming in. I greeted the driver and a neighbor, and just as I was taking out my money to pay, the bus "died." The driver, well experienced as he is, couldn't get it to start, so I said goodbye and went off to the trempiada just outside. Within a couple of minutes or less, a neighbor who lives nearby stopped to give me a ride home.

B"H another wonderful example of siyate d'Shmaya caful X2 ( the Hand of Gd doubled.)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Visiting Maale Adumim

Now that my son's American tackle football team, the Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions has been having its home games in Mishor Adumim, I've been staying with friends in Maale Adumim after the games. It's not that it's impossible to get home, since I've done it. I can get dropped off at the "cityline" aka the "hizme machsom" and tremp. But since I do have friends who'd like to host me, and I love to socialize, even if it's just over a quick breakfast and a few words before going to sleep...

And now I'm getting to know a bit of a beautiful city very close to Jerusalem, Maale Adumim. Here are some photos:

Not only does it look like a lovely place, but considering all of the wonderful friends I have there, it must be a great place to live.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Simple Low Carb* Beef

A few days ago my husband messaged me reminding me that I had some old tomatoes in the fridge that should have been used/eaten a couple of weeks ago. I told him not to worry. I had a plan!

Since they weren't moldy, I knew they'd be perfect for cooking, and there was a nice piece of beef in the freezer waiting for them. On Thursday they "married."

Here's the recipe, and unlike many beef recipes, there's no sugary jam or wine or juice involved. That's why I call it "Low Carb*."


  • beef (I always buy the least expensive and look for a piece that has little fat on it.)
  • a bunch of halved overripe tomatoes or any tomatoes, as long as they're juicy and red.
  • a large onion cut in large pieces
  • a few pieces of fresh garlic
  • a few peppercorns 
  • a spoon or two of oil; honestly, I never measure
  • water to prevent burning
  1. heat oil, onion and garlic on high flame
  2. then add the beef to sear and seal in juices 
  3. keep turning over the beef until nothing looks raw on the outside
  4. add tomatoes and peppercorns 
  5. then lower heat and cover
  6. cook for at least 90 minutes; add water if necessary to prevent burning
And that's it! This is such an easy and healthy recipe, and it has no extra calories at all and no sugar, too. And it was absolutely delicious. I served it with two types of cooked vegetables, salad and mujadarrah/majadra, which is a rice-lentils dish.


Friday, December 18, 2015

For Better and For Worse, A Book Review

An "Only in Israel story" in an "Only in Israel story"...

A few weeks ago, I saw a reference to what looked like an interesting book on facebook. I decided to comment that I'd like to review it. After some fb messages and emails with the author, I discovered that she's a customer of mine in Yafiz, the clothing store where I work. This sort of coincidence is just the type of "only in Israel" story you'll find if you read For Better and For Worse: An Israel Odyssey by Batya Kroopnick.

And I want to make it clear that I would have enjoyed the book a lot, even if I wasn't acquainted with Batya Kroopnick. As far as I understand, this fictionalized story of Kroopnick's life in Israel is fairly close to her actual life. Names of people and some of the places mentioned have been changed, and of course it's not a diary.  But what is most important for the reader are the events, the recent history of the State of Israel and the feelings and reactions of the author.

I like the fact that she calls her life here an "odyssey: a series of experiences that give knowledge or understanding to someone," because life, especially in Israel is certainly that.

Kroopnick begins the book by telling of her main character, Shelly's childhood in America, why she came to Israel and how she became more Torah observant in Israel. When the media likes to publicize books by Jews who left Torah observance aka Orthodox Judaism, it's especially nice to find an interesting and well-written book showing how intelligent and idealistic Jews are attracted to a Torah observant life in Israel.

When I was reading For Better and For Worse: An Israel Odyssey I read it as if I wasn't a "neighbor" in a nearby community; I tried to read it as if I was living in New York. In a sense you can say she about an "Israeli Forrest Gump," because the family Kroopnick wrote about had been involved with everything that has been going on here for over a quarter of a century. Her alter ego Shelly, the husband and children have been part of Modern Israeli History from up close. They vacationed in Gush Katif before the expulsion, and she went to help support Sderot when the Gazans were shooting missiles at it. The older daughter was at the terrible Amona destruction that had traumatized my yeshiva high school students. (I was an English Teacher at the time.)

I sincerely recommend For Better and For Worse: An Israel Odyssey no matter where you live and no matter what your religion. It gives a very necessary view into the lives and feelings of real Israelis in Judea-Samaria, especially when the international and even local media paint us so badly. And more than that, it is a wonderful story of how idealistic young Jews cope with the reality of life in a very turbulent world.

At present the book may be purchased through Amazon, click the titles in the review and you'll get to the right page. The book is also currently in the Mintzer book store in Gush Etzion and also in the Pomeranz bookstore.  Click here for the site that has more information on how to purchase the book. You can get more details by emailing

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Keeping The Salt Away

We live in an oversalted world. One of my late mother's cooking mantras was "no salt," because she came from a family that had/has a genetic tendency towards all sorts of heart problems. So I grew up without a saltshaker on the table and never developed a taste and liking for salty foods and fine able salt. I cook with coarse salt only. Our fine table salt package (a kilo 2.2 lbs) lasts for decades. Many times I just can't eat something because it's over-salted to my taste. And thank Gd, even at my advanced age, I show no signs of the medical problems over-salting can cause, bli eyin haraa.

Sometimes once a week, I need a good (and inexpensive) dinner when at work, so I go to the Rami Levy "burger kiosk" and order chicken breast and salad served on a plate, not in a pita. The pita is on the side to take home...  It costs me only ns15- which is maybe $4 or a drop less. They add some ready-mixed spices (like in all the grill places) plus salt. The first few times I ordered it even after saying "no salt" a number of times I had to make them start all over. Then the guy at the grill got clever and moved the salt to the other side so he wouldn't automatically add it.

It's funny that since then, he greets me by saying "no salt," and he hasn't forgotten, even when he doesn't move the saltshaker.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Body and Behind the Subject for 52Frames

With all my "what I did during Chanukah" series, I didn't post my usual about the 52Frames shot. Last week, we had to make the background stand out, or be even more attractive than the "subject." Or you can say that the background was the subject... But the official name of the challenge was "Behind the Subject."  Here's my photo:

I took this with my cellphone, since I hadn't planned on taking a picture. I just fell in love with the sky.

And for this week, the theme was "Body." I kept thinking more "body parts," which was a mistake on my part. I hope to be more careful in the future.

I got pretty desperate, not finding anything to photograph or if I tried, awful. So, I asked my husband if he'd mind being the model again. Luckily he agreed. 

Nu, so, what do you think of them?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

An Important Lesson for Soccer Moms, Football Dads etc

A few weeks ago, when my son's American Tackle Football team, the Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions, had their first game in the Mishor Adumim field, I noticed a very interesting sign:
  1. Cheer in a positive way.
  2. Honor the opposing players.
  3. Stay in the stands.
  4. Make it possible for us to learn the game.
  5. Make it possible for the coach to coach.
  6. Be positive role models.
  7. Value a good/fair game between two teams.
We play for enjoyment, because we love the game.
I promised myself that I'd blog about it, because I think it's important to remember.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Chanukah, 5776, 2015, Day #8, Partying!

Well, we won't be lighting any more chanukiyot until next Chanukah!

Yesterday I had a busy time, since it was Rosh Chodesh. That meant rain or shine we, the intrepid Women of Tel Shiloh went off to pray there.

On the way back, after praying, we noticed that there are signs that the ground and plants are reviving due to the Gd given blessed rain. Next Rosh Chodesh, Shevat, will be Monday January 11, and Gd willing by then we'll see lots of green all over.

Later in the day, actually after I had lit my chanukiyah at home, I went to the "senior citizen" Chanukah party. Actually, I had been asked to help translate the talk from Hebrew to English.  It was a lovely party, and Shiloh neighbors of all ages had been invited to join in the festivities as you can see from the pictures.

Young and old, everyone had a wonderful time. And now it's time to diet...