Thursday, November 30, 2017

On The Tracks, Jerusalem Wanderings

Jerusalem's most amazing park is the one still under progress, still being developed, built and landscaped. It's the one that follows the old train tracks.

Some sections are pretty narrow, having just two "tracks," One is for bicycle riders and the second for walkers, joggers and runners. And in other sections, there's lots of space adjoining with all sorts of playground equipment. Actually, the area across from Matan has parking and then lots of other things, including public toilets and a fenced area for dogs.

There's even a little "sit and read" library.

Yesterday I walked a bit further than before and discovered this painted area under a bridge. You never know what you'll find in Jerusalem. It's a great place for wandering.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Heater/Cooler Update

The other day I posted that I feared we bought "a lemon" concerning our new airconditioner/heater. Twice I've had to call for repairs within months. So the technician came yet again and said that the actual machine is great, but the crew that installed it made mistakes. Apparently there have been major leaks with the "gas."

So, the technician told me that he'd "reinstall it," whatever that meant. OK, I didn't have to do anything at all. He didn't even want to cup of coffee or glass of water. I didn't bother him. It's not one of my fields of interest. And as I've written before, we're probably one of the last people in Israel to buy one of these machines that both heat and cool. 

I just hope and pray that the two I bought will work without more than the routine care, cleaning the filter. That we did learn how to do. My husband climbs up to remove it, and I do the "cleaning."

Modernizing can be rather complicated, but our house is now so much more comfortable, thank Gd, bli eyin haraa-don't tempt the evil eye.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Losing The Diet Battle

People who see my almost nightly post about how many steps I've taken each day as I kick off my shoes must think I'm winning the battle. But the truth is that I'm making pretty much no progress in getting off the weight that snuck on the past couple of years.

A very important diet principle I stick to is to make/design an eating plan you can live with. That's because if you have a numerical weight goal, which requires a food and exercise regime that isn't really sustainable, you'll quickly go off of it and yo-yo. We all know what that means. It means that the weight will return "with interest."

Not only are we all different, but our bodies change with time. The medical experts say that even our metabolism gets sluggish, not just our minds with age...

So far, I like this pedometer application, and it's working well. The three numbers (you can set it to do miles and inches) I follow most carefully are:

  • steps
  • kilometers per hour
  • time exercised
I've really been trying to keep to two hours of being active each day. Now, being active also means the simple walking around the house while doing daily chores. You can also see on the graph, that I have periodic heavier active times. Now that it has been raining, thank Gd, I also walk quickly around my house to get the steps increased. 

Food is pretty easy to control, since most meals are home, but after about a decade of trying to diet/keep my weight down, it is harder to deny myself some foods. But the good thing is that smaller quantities of food like dates and cake etc now satisfy my sweet tooth.

I hope you're not bored by this, because my diet saga will continue for the rest of my life. And how is yours going?

Monday, November 27, 2017

Could It Be Real?

Last night I took a picture of the Shiloh Tabernacle Synagogue from the vantage of my neighborhood. It was all lit up and gorgeous. Suddenly I had idea. As soon as I got home I used the double exposure tool on Snapseed. Yes, I pasted/superimposed the synagogue over the location where it's believed that the Mishkan, Tabernacle had stood in Shiloh from the time of Joshua until Eli, the High Priest.

It's far from perfect, but...

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Airconditioner Blues, Did We Get A "Lemon?"

It wasn't that long ago when I, in the voice of Baile Rochel, joyfully reported that we had gone modern and gotten those air-conditioner/heaters.

I just hope that ours isn't a "lemon." A few months ago we had it serviced, since water was coming down onto the couch. And now I called the agent I had used to complain that it's not heating up.

Grrr... I'm not a happy camper. Bli eyin haraa, the smaller bedroom one is doing its job. I started turning it on for an hour or so before going to bed, so the room will heat up a bit. I hardly used it in the summer, since my bedroom is pretty cool and shaded, especially since the neighbors put up an industrial kitchen next door that blocks the sun.

Winter has arrived, thank Gd, and the rest of the house needs to be heated. So, I'm waiting to hear from the guy who has promised to "take care of it."

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Super Extraordinary Life

I blogged about Rabbi Natan Gamedze on Shiloh Musings tonight, The Jewish African Prince Rabbi. Please read it, and tell me what you think. Thanks

When I was looking for something to do on Tuesday evening, I remembered the promotional article about the Telfed the South African Zionist Federation of Israel event in In Jerusalem. I'm glad I went. Apparently the organizers were surprised at the very large turnout. If they have other interesting events on Tuesdays, I many attend. I'm always looking for something special to do on Tuesdays in Jerusalem.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Back to Almond "Milk" for...

I decided to go back to my "no lactose" experiment for at least a few days. Last night when I bought milk for us, I saw that they had almond milk/drink in the dairy section/refrigerator of the local supermarket. Tnuva, the large veteran dairy company in Israel now produces a whole range of non-dairy "milks." They are marketed as משקה mashkeh, "drink," rather than "milk." I believe that is because milk must come from an animal, not some vegetarian recipe.

I've experimented with drinking a number of different "milks," including goats milk, the past few months, and I prefer this almond concoction. In terms of product purity and simplicity, nothing beats the old cow milk, even though I prefer it with some sugar. I haven't tried the rice milk, since it's based on a very starchy grain, rather than a protein.

They do have the no sugar almond milk here, which isn't fresh and refrigerated, but I didn't like it. I found myself adding sugar to it, so there wasn't much point in using it. Also, I don't drink milk as a drink and don't add it to anything other than my morning coffee, so there is no need for me to grind/blend almonds or cashews to make a homemade drink or milk substitute. I've checked out lots of labels and discovered that the fresh "milks" in the refrigerator section of the stores have much less additives than the ones you'll find on the shelf.

Tnuva markets this almond drink as:
  • rich in calcium
  • low in salts
  • low in fat
  • enriched with vitamins
  • no gluton
  • no colesteral
  • no preservatives
  • no lactose
Israel has a large and profitable food export industry, so they must adhere to international standards. The labeling is pretty reliable. Actually I consider Israeli dairy and other products to be healthier than the equivalent American ones.  

There are two factors that make it easier to find non-dairy, no lactose products here in Israel. One is the Laws of Kashrut, which mandates strict supervision and labeling of all dairy products. And the other is the fact that a relatively high proportion of the Israeli population has trouble digesting lactose. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Winter, Finally?

Here in Israel winter means rain. It only rains here from about October until March, rarely any other time. Those of us who live in the mountainous regions where it gets relatively cold, and occasionally snows, the lightweight raincoats I grew up with in New York, for spring and summer rains, aren't needed. By the time we get the succah stored away, early to mid-October, we're usually in waterproof winter coats and carrying umbrellas.

Unfortunately this year, it stayed warm and dry, with the exception of a day or two. This was fun for the kids and great for drying clothes outside, but my little vineyard was getting very confused. You can see that fresh new leaves began to grow months before spring. A neighbor of mine who works in agriculture told me a while ago, that without sufficient periods of cold, many fruits won't grow properly. And he also insists that the purified water which is touted by the government as the perfect solution to drought does not produce the same sweet fruit as rainwater does. No doubt that is the reason I'm not able to get myself to eat oranges yet. They taste awful.

Thank Gd, the last couple of days have been cold and rainy, although with enough sun to still get out a bit. A truly blessed winter would provide Gd given rain in great quantities every night and then mixed rain and sun during the day.

For that we need to obey Gd. Our rain is not due a scientific technique like seeding clouds.  This is the Holy Land where things work very differently from any place else.

The quantity, timing and location of rain are the barometer of the Jewish People's following of Gd's Mitzvot. This dry, unseasonably warm weather makes it very clear that we have a long way to go in improving ourselves.

Winter sky in Jerusalem yesterday

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

If You Haven't Yet Heard It...

Being interviewed early in the morning. I got dressed,
but slippers still on. Photo by Yisrael Medad
Yesterday morning I was interviewed by Tamar Yonah about the terror attack in which I was injured over twenty years ago. It's strange how when I begin talking about it, it seems like it just happened to me. Does that come through in the interview?

Click here for the show.  And then I'd love to hear your reactions and comments, thanks.

Yes, it was a phone interview.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Amazing Results With Photo-editing, Snapseed

For the longest time, I totally avoided and looked down on "extreme" photo-editing. I was raised in the film photography world and was always warned by my parents that it was a waste of money to develop and print bad shots. I had one chance, and one chance only, to click and produce a perfect photo.

So, as you can imagine, it's rather traumatic to accept the digital photography reality in which people may take dozens or more shots of the same scene. Trying to choose the best, after three or four, my eyes go foggy and I just can't see what's better or worse. I'm not a visual perfectionist. The truth is that I'm just not a perfectionist at all!

Now I must admit that even though I highly doubt that I'll be taking more than a handful of photos of the same scene, I have not only discovered the fun and art of photo-editing, but sometimes I fear that I'm addicted.

This week's 52Frames challenge was to use our phone as a camera. To be honest, I've been using my phone pretty much every week for months. Its pictures are far superior to what my cheap camera can produce. That created a bit of a dilemma. I needed to submit a photograph that would be a superior one, davka, because of my phone.

Here is the photo I submitted:
I used two new techniques here. Negative color and a new application recommended by a framer. Thanks
This is the story:
I decided to use a photography option that my Samsung J7 offers. I photographed this pretty flower in the negative. It looked pretty unusual, but just not special enough.

I'm also in a small 52Frames group which is to help each other out with ideas. One of the members of that group suggested that I use Snapseed, a free photo-editing application. So, that's what I did. It lightened the photograph just enough to give more detail and contrast between the flower and the leaves. What do you think?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Amazing Talents, Genetics

Those of us who are parents and grandparents most probably agree with me when I say that my "descendants" surprise me.

It first began when my firstborn opened her eyes, and I could see they were a very light blue. I had always been known for my dark brown eyes. My parents and siblings all had brown eyes. My husband has brown eyes. But somehow Gd decided to shake things up and give us a beautiful daughter who to this day has big light-colored eyes.

Readers of this blog know that I love doing crafts, and I've shown lots of pictures of my mosaics. You may have noticed something about the mosaics. They are rather "abstract." I don't draw pretty pictures and fill them in with colored tile pieces like some of my friends do. I barely plan my "art." I keep saying that the colors inspire me. I don't like following lines and patterns and realistic pictures.

When I worked in Yafiz clothing store, I was known as the one who couldn't fold neatly. Some people would stupidly say:
"You'll get better with practice."
I'd answer:
"I've been practicing for over half a century. I'm hopeless, but I am the best salesperson you have."
A couple of months ago I discovered that my three year old granddaughter applied nail polish more neatly and exactly than I've ever succeeded in doing. When I put it on, there's always a lot on my skin, so I try to do it a day before a special event. That gives me time for the excess to "wear off."

And now I've discovered that another young granddaughter not only decorates cakes which are prettier than the special occasion ones you buy in stores. She decorates nails. The brush she uses is finer than the point of a ballpoint pen.  This sort of exactitude and perfectionism is so totally different from anything I could ever produce.

There are artists in my family who can do this sort of thing, but not me. 

Concerning my light-eyed daughter, she was followed by two other light-eyed girls. My grandfather and my father's two siblings all had light eyes. So adding my father-in-law's light eyes, the genetics behind these surprises are pretty clear.

Of course my grandchildren all have another genetic pool from which they've inherited a lot. I really do love the surprising talents I see in my children and grandchildren.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Jerusalem Big Blue Lions Started Season With A WIN

Jerusalem Big Blue Lion played the Petach Tikva team and won. The game was close. Both are among the top teams of the league. The field was the special American Football field in the new Kraft Family Sports Campus that Robert Kraft funded for the Jerusalem Municipality.

Photo by Ruti Eastman
JBB Lions were the home team and decided to go to the far side leaving the visitors the very narrow sidelines where the fans tried to watch. It was disappointing for us fans not being close to the players, but the Lions coach made the right decision. It's just too crowded where we were. We were all tripping over the equipment, bags and players from the visiting team. And of course they were also blocking our view. It was OK for the fans sitting on the top row, but I like to walk, watch and cheer simultaneously. I'm not an expert in artificial turf, the fake grass which is now used in most sports fields, but as a walker, I loved it. Even after a long day, it was easy on the feet and made walking very enjoyable.

I'm not an expert in football and barely know the rules, but my guess, also from the results in last night's game, is that the top four teams of last year will give each other real competition. None seem to be far superior to the others.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Chodesh Kislev Tov! Gd Willing a Rainy One

We've had such dry weather of late. It's very worrying. Rain here in the Holy Land depends on how satisfied Gd is with our behavior. So, let's start Kislev well with Women's Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh, 8:30, Sunday Morning, the 1st of Kislev, November 19, 2017.

תפילת נשים ראש חודש כסלו
בשילה הקדומה, תל שילה
יום א' 19-11-2017
א' כסלו, תשע"ח 8:30
הלל ומוסף לראש חודש
יהיה דבר תורה קצר וסיור בתל
כדאי לבוא ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

Our custom is to pray individually  but sing the Hallel together out loud. We also tour a bit checking what's new in the archeological finds. Email me for more information, Shiloh Hakeduma is an official archeological site open six days a week. For information about the site or arrange arrange special tours or other events, please contact them directly

Friday, November 17, 2017

Pishers' Guide to Jerusalem #25, New Park, New Loo

This is a continuation in my ongoing series about public toilets in Jerusalem. See  #24,  #23#22#21,#20#19#18#17#16,  #15a#15,  #14#13#12#11#10#9,  #8#7,  #6,  #5, Saved by The First Station aka #4a#4#3#2 and #1

I finally got a walk in during my long break between classes in Matan. The Jerusalem Branch of Matan is 30 Rashbag Street, which is near one of the entrances to the extended "train tracks park" in Jerusalem. You can get to the park through a parking lot.

It's a lovely park with all sorts of playgrounds and benches. Considering the parking lot, you can drive over just to enjoy or take the #18 bus and walk through an older park to get to it. It's also a short walk from a lot of other buses, such as the 77, 14, 15 and maybe more.

I was happy to see that the Jerusalem Municipality has equipped it with a nice public toilet.

At 11am, it was clean and fully stocked. I don't know how often it's checked. My experiences with municipal WCs has been very mixed, if not worse. But they do provide a phone number for complaints. It's in the fine print of the sign.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Great Evening in Israel Museum

The other night I took advantage of the free programs in the Israel Museum. There are always gallery tours in Hebrew and English, and sometimes there are free performances. I was happy to get to parts of the Museum I rarely see.

I highly recommend that you use the earphones, so you can listen to the explanations.  Enjoy!