Thursday, October 19, 2017

Jerusalem Fun! Lots of Photos

I just spent a couple of days in Jerusalem. Here are some pictures, and explanations are in the captions.

Some buildings in the Center of Jerusalem have special lighting.

Some buildings in the Center of Jerusalem have special lighting.

Street decorations

I treated myself to a cup of coffee.

Following the path to Matan


Jerusalem Old City Walls

Kotel, Western Wall

Kotel, Western Wall
It's nice to get away for a bit. At my age, I have to live the "bucket list" while I can.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Found It!

The other night I discovered that one of my earrings had disappeared. It must have fallen out of my ear during or after taking a walk with a friend. It's a big silver one, which has fallen out/off a few times. But all the other times I'd hear it, or notice it on my clothes and it wouldn't be gone for long. I just figured that its luck had run out. I thought of putting a note in the Shiloh group email, but was too tired.

I carefully checked the jacket and sweater I had been wearing. And then I sort of forgot about it.

Then the following evening I took another walk. When I got to the bench where my friend and I had sat to talk after walking I decided to look around.  Of course. You guessed it.

There was the earring waiting patiently in the dirt, not harmed at all, Baruch Hashem, Thank Gd.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tough Choices and Easy Failures for Dieters

I think that this week will be a bad one for my weight loss quest. Last week, even with the Jewish Holidays, I managed to reduce a bit. But this week, I'll be eating in restaurants a few times.

Yesterday I showed up for a brunch on a very empty stomach. I even made a point of getting a decent walk in beforehand. I was very hungry by the time I sat down. OK, I saved a few calories by being able to substitute a second coffee for the juice. You may not realize this but juice is just the sugar, the calories of the fruit without any of the roughage which is so good for your system. And also it takes a few apples/oranges etc to fill a glass with juice.

The breakfast/brunch I ate was like two meals, with two eggs, some lox, cheese, salad, a bit of bread etc. But I could rationalize that brunch is "two meals."
But then... suddenly this irresistible calorie laden vision appeared in front of me:

I failed to resist. OK, I had half of the cake, none of the jam and just a spoon of the whipped cream --just to check if it was real of course-- Sometimes self-control deconstructs and just disappears.

To quote Scarlett O'Hara:
"Tomorrow is another day..."

And since today is yesterday's tomorrow...

Monday, October 16, 2017

Tip: My Tip To Make Laundry Easier

Today, daylight hours for me, was "National Laundry Day." I did about a half a dozen loads of wash. Most of the wash was hung outside to dry, and Gd decided to let us skimp on electricity. The weather was perfect.

And after my husband helped by taking in the dry wash, the real work had to be done, the sorting, folding and putting away. That's the part I don't like. That's the part I have trouble making time for.

It can be quite overwhelming and boring, too.

Years ago I'd get the kids to help me, and we'd sort the clean dry wash into baskets like these, according to family member. But now I'm stuck doing it all myself, and I don't like the old method.

 I made up a new method. I search through the wash for various kinds of items, like all of my husband's clothes go on the smaller couch for him to put away. Then, depending on my mood I make piles of other types of things. One pile at a time. To the left you can see the floor cloths all folded up. And then I put them away. So you suddenly see that less and less laundry is left to fold.

Of course, sometimes I take a break, and each time I return I find it less daunting, because I've already put away a lot of laundry, bit by bit.

And suddenly, the couch is clear, clean of laundry.

I highly suggest this method. It works for me, and I hate housework.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Harvey Weinstein in the Land of the Casting Room Couch

Why davka has Harvey Weinstein been expelled from the Academy of Motion Pictures when Mel Gibson, Bill Cosby and others are still in that exalted body? Whom did he touch/exploit that got those Hollywood people so enraged?

I'm no youngster, and from everything I've read over the decades, Weinstein's behavior was the norm, the price for fame for many -both male and female-

It's rather ironic that davka, at the same time that Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, who idealized/institutionalized female sexual exploitation, passed away Harvey Weinstein became the symbol of evil.

There must be something we're not being told.

Friday, October 13, 2017

"After the Holidays," אחרי החגים

Here in Israel and in some of the Jewish World, there's a frequently heard phrase:
"After the Holidays,"
Acharei hachaggim... אחרי החגים
The "Holidays" referred to are Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Succot and Simchat Torah. From beginning to end, not counting all the preparations, mostly in the kitchen but spiritual, too, this is a period lasting a minimum of three weeks plus to almost two months.

Jews out of the Land of Israel who observe traditional Torah Judaism don't have the twenty-three hour break before Shabbat that I have. They are now in the third week, out of four, in which a two day holiday is immediately followed by Shabbat. We, here in Israel, just had it once with Rosh Hashanah.
sukka partially undone

Since we're not supposed to do any "unnecessary work," like laundering, we have a backlog of dirty wash. I asked my husband to take down the sukkah walls, so I could hang wash easily this morning. So now one wash is already hung to dry in the sun, and a second is being laundered in the machine.

Today, I'll do the side dishes for our Shabbat meals. The meat and poultry were cooked before Simchat Torah.

This coming week begins more of my study schedule. Matan's regular classes will begin, though my senior citizens study program in the Ofra Girls High School began at the beginning of the regular school year with the teenagers.

When I was a high school remedial EFL teacher, this part of the year, from after to holidays until Chanuka, made up the bulk of the time we had to teach all of the year's curriculum. TU B'Shvat was sometimes too soon after Chanukah, and then, if there wasn't an extra Jewish Month of Adar, Purim took over the kids' time much too quickly and lasted a lot longer than you'd expect. Don't forget that almost immediately after Purim comes Passover, and by then the school year is well over, considering how many Bagrut, Israeli Matriculation tests the kids must be prepared for. Honestly, I'm glad to be out of that high pressure wringer. Yes, sometimes retirement has its advantages.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Diet Update, Weight Loss

Like too many people, I've been struggling trying to banish unwanted, unneeded, unattractive and unhealthy kilos/pounds. And in addition, I've had an occasional though chronic cough* that annoys more than anything else.

About a decade ago I managed to lose about 15 kilo, 30+ pounds, by reducing carbohydrates and getting out of the classroom. The rationale behind the low carb diet was based on the Blood Type Diet which prescribes this sort of eating plan for those with Type O blood. And when I was teaching in the yeshiva high school in Beit El, my schedule made it difficult to eat well. But the real reason I was pushed/encouraged into trying to diet was a chance to join the StartFresh kosher diet program for free in exchange for blogging about it.

The vast majority of that weight stayed off until about a year or more ago when I noticed that three kilo, six or more pounds, had suddenly reappeared. I tried all sorts of painless maneuvers to remove them, but somehow instead of reducing I found that two more had joined them. That meant that I was well over five kilo or eleven pounds more than what had become my weight. Even at the reduced weight I was technically overweight, though not obese.

Of course, I blamed my return to the classroom for the additional two kilo. Then at the end of June I really retired. The pool opened, and I exercised in the water a few times a week. And, although I began to look better, the extra weight didn't budge.

I needed to "recalibrate."

I listened to my body, which had been sending hints. For a few months I had begun to crave fruit after breakfast. And you must understand that I was eating nice breakfasts of vegetable omelets, which were large and theoretically filling enough to be proper meals. But somehow they didn't satisfy me. I was craving something sweet afterwards, and I had been drinking lots of coffee with sugar earlier in the morning.

Hint! Hint! Suddenly I decided to listen. If my body was asking for fruit in the morning, maybe it needed a fruit breakfast. So, I began having fruit, oats and goat yogurt. And afterwards I even left out the oats. The biggest surprise was that a small bowl with cut up fruit and under a cup of yogurt was enough for me. I felt satiated and had no sugar cravings.

My next challenge was when the pool closed on the first of September. I needed to exercise and really missed the water. Friends suggested I join the sports center in Ariel, even though the swimming pool has very few "women only" hours. Many of my friends go dressed in modest swimwear, which I do have. I went to take a look, but it didn't appeal. It's part of the view from a restaurant, and there are men who just sit by the pool watching...

I decided on the low cost walking, both with a friend and alone. My walking partner and I even exercise together at her house on occasion, and I've even forced myself to exercise to the music in good musicals. 

goat milk
almond milk
An additional change has been in the milk I put in my morning coffee. Instead of regular cow milk and sugar, I've been experimenting with all sorts of other fattier milks* and leaving out the sugar.

Now for the results. In less than two months, plus the summer vacation, over three of the five kilo are off, bli eyin haraa. And during that time I've eaten out, had some desserts etc. I haven't put myself on a super strict eating regime. In addition, there have been days when I've hardly had any exercise. One of my long time "diet principles" is to find an eating routine you can live with. Don't focus on a "weight goal," since maintaining it may well be impossible.

So far, bli eyin haraa (not to tempt the evil eye,) every few days I do see that my weight is slowly going down. I don't know how long that will continue, but I feel that I'm on the right track.

For me this has been a reminder that we must keep on changing and adapting to the new realities of our bodies and life situations. Do you have similar stories? Don't be shy. Comment, please.

*I will blog about my milk and lactose changes and how they have affected my cough in a future post, Gd willing.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Succot, Holiday and Vacation for Some but Not For All

On Jewish Holidays, like Succot, when children are on vacation from school, Jerusalem is one big festival.

Not all the grownups are lucky enough to be on paid vacation. Many stores are open for business, even if just shortened hours. When I worked in Yafiz, we were expected to be at work. It wasn't easy for those with young children, so people like myself ended up with extra hours, though there wasn't any bonus pay.  So, I'd like to remind you to be extra polite and grateful to those who have to work when there are holiday vacation days for most everyone else.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Meeting Some Visitors From China

The other day a neighbor called with an "offer I couldn't resist." 
"Are you and your husband available to speak to a group of Chinese Christians visiting the country?" 

And luckily we were free at the time she needed us. It was great fun. We talked about living in Shiloh and a lot about our town of Shiloh in the Bible.

They were a very friendly and supportive audience. We also got to speak to a number of the group while eating lunch in the sukkah.

I've always loved these little jobs. It's fun for me to talk to groups, especially when they're better behaved than my students had been. I hope we'll get some pictures of us on the stage, and if so, I can post them, too. When I was talking, I could see that some of the audience was recording everything on their phones.

Nowadays very few people use an actual camera. Why should we? The phone cameras are better than reasonably priced cameras and are part of the "package." I'd rather spend a bit more for my phone and get a camera at the same time. I've found that phone camera is easier to control/adjust than the camera is.

I really do appreciate the freedom that retirement has given us. We both now have "small businesses," so that when we're hired for jobs, we can give receipts. And I really do love the fact that I'm not working at Yafiz, since the store is open also on Chol Hamoed, the "intermediate" days of Succot and Passover.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

"thankful for each drop"

Here are more of my morning haikus, which are written on facebook most mornings. I haven't posted them here on the blog for quite awhile. This morning while struggling with finding just the right words, I think I got them. Multiple meanings are very haiku. Aren't they?

sunshine and coffee
but tomorrow maybe rain
thankful for each drop

coffee sans sugar
just isn't as delicious
but weight is dropping

trying almond milk
cold brew coffee tasted great
no need for sugar

sad morning coffee
just doesn't taste all that good
funeral today

up much too early
two-faced mug perfect coffee
with coconut cream

sans sugar small mug
tightened my pouch yesterday
stupendous sunrise

cool misty morning 
cold brew coffee just perfect
after Yom Kippur

Comments and shares on facebook are very welcome. And I'd love to read your contributions to #morningcoffeehaiku.

Friday, October 6, 2017

MARATHON in Shiloh

Easy to Make Non-Dairy Ice Cream

When I discovered that the coconut cream had separated into a pale liquid and a very solid "mass," I decided to experiment. I made Coconut Banana Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.

It was amazingly easy to make. All I did was mash up a very ripe banana, added the coconut cream to it.

Then for extra flavor I added some vanilla and cinnamon. I mashed all that up with a fork and then added chocolate chips. You may have noticed that I didn't add any sugar to this ice cream.

I served it on Succot, so there's no photo of it served in the pretty little glass bowls decorated with more chocolate chips. We all, my husband plus a guest and myself, finished our portions to the very last drop. I didn't hear any complaints about my latest creation.

IMHO this easy to make non-dairy vegan ice cream is much tastier than what most people make  with the commercial artificial "Rich's." I didn't need a mixer or any other kitchen tool. We all have forks; don't we? So, if you find yourself with thick coconut cream, you have the base for a very easy, simple and tasty ice cream. And as ice creams go, whether commercial or homemade, this one is pretty healthy.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

A Little Gardening

A month or so ago, I walked down to the Shiloh Industrial Zone to shop. No, I didn't buy food. I bought a new garden hose for the back of our house. I really want to fix up the garden, but as economically as possible. Since my husband and I are now home a lot, I figure that we can water plants the old fashioned way, by walking around the garden with a hose. There's an old one in the front of the house, but it doesn't reach to the back.

I had no idea how much a hose would cost, but somehow I guessed right. OK, the bought the longest one I could for the money I had with me. I also had the salesperson/clerk/owner, or whoever he was, explain very carefully how to attach it to the faucet. Miraculously I managed to attach it. And double miraculous, it seems the right length.

The next door neighbor has put a fence up between our properties, and I really want to have plants on my side. I've started on the corner by the sidewalk with geranium cuttings I got from a different neighbor.  So far they seem to be doing all right. It'll take a few months for them to really "take root." In the meantime I have to water them frequently. I'll keep adding up the length of the fence.

If you have any ideas of free plants that grow easily in our climate, please let me know, thanks.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Turkey "Meatballs" in Homemade Tomato "Sauce"

I've been getting more and more turned off by the commercial tomato pastes and sauces, since they're all produced with various chemicals, additives, sugars etc. Here in Israel you can get nice juicy red tomatoes for under $1 per pound, even in our small local supermarket. So I buy a bag, cut them up and cook with garlic, onion (whatever herbs and spices you want) and vegetable oil in a covered pan. That's my "sauce."

I added a bit of boiling water. If I had a "stick blender," I'd probably liquify it. When it got nice and mushy, I mixed the ground turkey with raw egg a diced onion, parsley and garlic, of course. You can add whatever herbs and spices you like. I used to add matzah meal but don't any more. The meatballs still stick together and have less starch, plus no gluten this way.

Next I double-spoon it into the boiling sauce and cook until it changes color.

Now, it's all ready to be reheated when needed.

I haven't yet decided whether to serve with a pasta or rice. And of course there will be additional vegetables and a salad on the table.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Finally Made it to New American Consulate in Jerusalem

A version of this post was also posted on Israel Blogger as Visited The New Jerusalem US Consulate .

Once I saw that sign, I could relax and
just follow the arrow.
For the longest time it seemed like I was the only American Israeli in Jerusalem or YESHA who hadn't been to the new USA Consulate, but that finally changed last week. And it was easier to get to than I had expected.

I have awful memories of going to that old American Consulate near the Damascus Gate, so it was a great relief to finally go to the New Jerusalem US Consulate.

We’ve been in Israel since 1970, so I can’t count the amount of times I’ve had to go to that horrid building in east Jerusalem that the American Government had used as its consulate for decades. It wasn’t just the building, of course, which was unpleasant and needed major repairs. The last time I was there was winter, and there were leaks. Jerusalem for the American Government had been considered completely Arab, so the staff was only Arab. And they weren’t nice to us Jews. One time as I got back to the bus stop by the Damascus Gate wheeling my then baby, the driver jumped out and lifted the stroller onto the bus for me. That’s how awful I looked from that visit.

Another time, I was escorted by a gentlemanly Russian immigrant, who came armed with his licensed pistol. He volunteered to escort me, because he felt that the neighborhood wasn’t safe. And when I was inside taking care of business, he sat outside and waited for me to exit. Then he escorted me back to a safe Jewish neighborhood.

It has been a long time since I’ve needed any consular services, so I really hadn’t a clue as to the consulate’s new location. Its internet site said to take the 78A bus which isn’t very frequent, but a friend gave me walking directions from her home. Her directions made it seem easy to get to. And Google Maps have a choice of buses and very easy directions. I followed Google. After getting off the bus, I spotted a sign to USA Consulate and followed.

I walked from the bus stop.

It really was an easy walk as you can see. As I approached the New Jerusalem US Consulate, I stopped taking pictures, since I was afraid that the guards would then find me suspicious and interrogate me. That happened to me someplace else. And to get in the consulate, you must hand over your phone and camera and chargers etc. You no longer have to hand over all of your bags, which I remember doing the last time I visited the old one.

After going through security, which was much more pleasant than taking an airplane in the states, I entered a courtyard. On the side, before the main building, there are even public toilets. Of course I couldn’t photograph them, but not only were they clean, but there was also a cup for the ritual Jewish hand-washing. Yes, I was very impressed.

I just wish I could have photographed the area where we can take care of consular business. Not only were there comfortable chairs, but there were children-ized chairs and tables, too. To put it mildly, I was in shock. Everything was pleasant, thank Gd. What a change. The staff was mixed Jewish and Arab. I had brought enough money to pay, but didn’t realize I needed exact change. After emptying all of my change on the counter I was short a shekel or so, but my money was accepted. They probably had rounded off the amount, so they wouldn’t get stuck with lots of small change. If needed I would have asked people who were waiting.

One thing is that I don’t know if I’d go on a rainy day, since there may not be protection from the elements. I’ll have to take that into account. But I am so happy that the American Government has made a New Jerusalem US Consulate in which Jews can feel comfortable.

Monday, October 2, 2017

About That Coffee I Bought in The Shuq


 A couple of weeks ago, I realized that I would run out of coffee for the French Press before a new stock would arrive from the states. I even tried to find the link to a coffee place here in Israel that delivers, but I failed.

Then, by chance, I was in Machane Yehuda and came across a new coffee place, possibly a branch of a more veteran one. It's called Rosemarin, or Rosemary, and it's on the "main drag." They had a better price for Colombian coffee, so I decided to give it a try.

I asked for a quarter of a kilo, but the young man working there gave me more and had to keep asking the manager how to use the machinery. The store seemed that new. I didn't mind getting 400 gram, about a pound, because at the time I didn't know when some would arrive from the states.

As you can see from the photos the store looks nice and is stocked with all sorts of food, coffee and spices. The staff was very polite and accommodating. The grinder even had a label saying "French Press." I hadn't seen that in other stores.

My first taste of the coffee wasn't all that auspicious, since I could taste large pieces of what could have been the shell of coffee beans.  And the taste was nothing all that great. I was very upset.

But subsequent cups of coffee made with their coffee were good. I realized that the problem may have been from the fact that I had mixed the very last of an older different coffee with this new one.

And after a week or more drinking this Colombian coffee, which was also the best price I've found in Jerusalem, I'm happy. I've also been experimenting with different milks, as some readers may have noticed. Now I have almond milk and don't add the sugar, or as much, which had been a strong part of my coffee enjoyment.

The Rosemary coffee place uses high quality bags, as you can see here. I think it keeps the coffee fresher than from other stores which just use a reinforced paper bag. And once I get the coffee home, I store the bagged ground coffee beans in one of the empty tins from American coffee.

I'm glad to have found this Rosemary place with better prices and a better coffee grinder.