Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Substitute for Goat Yogurt

For the past few weeks, I've found it impossible to find the good quality goat yogurt I like for my breakfast. I eat it with fruit and fresh ginger. I checked all over and asked why there weren't any on the refrigerator shelves. Apparently it is the season for those "mama goats" to have babies, and the babies get the milk for the first couple of months. I can understand that, but what was I supposed to eat?

I wanted a reliable natural yogurt, just milk and "starter." I looked through the dairy section in our local store and surprised myself. The most natural sort-of yogurt was sour cream. I bought a lowered fat one of 15% fat and have been using just a bit each morning with my fruit and ginger. It's amazingly sweet and satisfying. So, until I find good goat yogurt, I'm OK.

The irony is that I had never in my life been a sour cream eater. But now, I can see how addictive it can be. It really is delicious and sweet. But I don't need those fat calories, sigh...

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Salute to Israel Parade, NY, 1970

We've been pulling out old albums of late, and found these irreplaceable photos.

They are from the Salute to Israel Parade. Marching are members of the NCSY Dance Group which had performed in Felt Forum, Madison Square Garden that year. I was group leader. It was the first time the Israeli Folk Dance Festival had performed there.

Previously it had been in Carnegie Hall, which has, or had, an ambience all its own. But festival director, Fred Berk had been itching for a more genuine folk dance festival feeling. He hated the stage and curtains in the illustrious concert hall. When I took his Leadership and Choreography course in 1967-68, he always stressed that true folk dance required dancing onto the performance area and dancing off of it. NO CURTAINS raised and lowered.

At the 1970 festival we all sat around the performance area, getting up to dance on and off when it was our group's turn. Then at the very end of the show, all of the groups and dancers danced together in separate circles.

A couple of months later, at the parade, my dancers and I donned our costumes and danced up Fifth Avenue. We had sewn the skirts the year before for the 1969 festival, but then we added white trim on the bottom plus the "belts" in 1970. And we wore our own white blouses. For the festivals, we danced barefoot, but of course that wouldn't work on the NYC streets.

In 1970, NCSY was given a spot near the beginning of the parade, and Betar was towards the end. So, after dancing the entire way to the end, I quickly, literally ran back down Fifth Avenue to join Betar and march again. Being just a spectator was not for me.

Who else was at that parade?

Monday, January 29, 2018

Mosaics Rough Edges

My latest mosaics projects are still in need of finishing. Polishing and ridding rough edges are harder than any other stage for me.

I am happy to have discovered Judaica for my mosaics theme.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Saturday, January 27, 2018

40 Years Back in Shiloh

It's the Jewish Month of Shevat, the middle of the winter, when mud is deepest, and it's hard to thaw out toes and fingers. So, we really must give a lot of credit to those seven hardy pioneering families who came davka on TU B'Shvat to live in Shiloh. Most had babies and toddlers, so water, electricity and gas were necessities for daily life. Even when we came to Shiloh three years later, you couldn't take it for granted that you'd have both water and electricity when you needed to turn on the washing machine.

Shabbat lunch we had, what is now an annual event, an "oldtimers meal." Way back when, community events had high attendance levels. Now, it's rare to see our old friends from those early years, so we make a point of eating together once a year and exchanging news and memories. And every year I learn something new about those early years and days in Shiloh.

Here are a few of my old pictures from decades ago:

Friday, January 26, 2018

Caption This!

Please give this photo a title or story line. I just couldn't resist the shot.

What do you think?

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Pishers' Guide to Jerusalem #27, CBS Revisited, Worth The Shekel

This is a continuation in my ongoing series about public toilets in Jerusalem. See  #26  #25,  #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

The other week, I needed a loo in the area of Center 1 and the Central Bus Station. As much as I like getting stuff for free, I've had just too many bad experiences in the public toilets in Center 1. I decided to make my way to the Central Bus Station and splurge. Using the loo there would cost me a shekel, which is worth it for some toilet paper and maybe a clean seat.

I made my way up one flight to the floor where I had gotten a great deal on a salad a few months ago. I followed the signs and paid my shekel. That got me into a very acceptable, clean-smelling public toilet fully equipped with paper, soap, etc.

The management of the building, which is a mini-mall, seems to be taking their job seriously. Each time I'm more impressed. They are updating the way they should be.

I no longer use the building as a bus station, because our buses don't leave from inside. But there are plenty of stores and mostly fast-food or budget eateries worth patronizing. There are security guards outside, who mostly profile. Some people put their bags through the xrays.

There are a number of public toilets in the building. Look for signs or ask.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

All Lines Lead to Jerusalem

Sometimes Gd is the Stylist 

This week I took lots of Leading Lines photos for the 52Frames challenge. It was pretty easy at two very Jerusalem sites, the Chords Bridge aka Bridge of Strings and the Train Park which follows the old, unused tracks which lead to Matan where I study each week.

With a healthy choice of Leading Lines photos to choose from, and the help of a small sub-group of framers, I chose this one of the String Bridge below.  After reading and digesting their praise for it straight from my simple Samsung J7 phone, I did absolutely no editing, not even the tiniest cropping. That's why it's so clear to me that I had Gd with me as the "stylist."

"All Lines Lead to Jerusalem"
The now iconic Chords Bridge aka Bridge of Strings designed by Santiago Calatrava always catches my eye. And for me it is always new. It was built 40 years after I moved to Israel.
It definitely features leading lines.
The "Rejects"

I had more good Leading Lines photos, and here are a few of them,* None have been either cropped or edited:

Do you agree with my choice?

*I had some technical problems and will add more Gd willing when I can.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Book Review: Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies by Jonathan Rosen

I must let you know in advance that Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies by Jonathan Rosen isn't a Jewish book, though the author certainly is. It was written for the general young English reading public. It is set during the Christmas season, but there is nothing religious in the story. It is culturally American, and the story would be much more difficult to tell without the American winter holiday customs. Remember that many of the classic English Literature is set during Christmas season.

Now, if you're still reading this review, I'm going to tell you that the book is totally fantastic. I really had fun reading it and would offer it to my grandchildren, who are totally Israeli, to read.

As I was reading Jonathan Rosen's debut fantasy for children, Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, I kept envisioning it as an animated movie. Or maybe that's too 20th century; today they have movies that realistically combine animated and human actors.
Twelve-year-old Devin Dexter has problems. His sister, Abby, is annoying. His cousin, Tommy, sees conspiracies everywhere. And his new neighbor, Herb, might be a warlock. When strange things start happening, like the hot new Christmas toy, the Cuddle-Bunny, coming to life and turning evil, Devin and Tommy set out to stop them and prove Herb is a warlock. Will they have enough time before the town of Gravesend is overrun by the cutest little murderers ever?
Even though this is a totally, or I should hope so,  make believe adventure story, the characters were amazingly well-written and realistictic. Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies should be found enjoyable by both boys and girls. There were lots of surprises in the plot, even for me who reads lots of suspense and detective novels. I understand that Rosen has more books in the works. I hope that he'll send me all of them when they are published.

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 7
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sky Pony Press (August 29, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1510715231
  • ISBN-13: 978-1510715233
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)

Monday, January 22, 2018

Feed The Body Not The Flu

As you may know, I'm at war against a flu which managed to breach the barricades of the flu vaccine. Thank Gd I don't have the worst possible case, but for me, it's bad enough. Cough and chills and difficulties concentrating are bad enough. Even before I had realized I was sick, my walking speed was reduced. The flu rather slowly reached its peak making me think that I wasn't really sick. And then as things got more uncomfortable I'd think:
"That's it. Now I should start feeling better."
But instead of feeling better, I felt worse. I even went to the doctor. But by then, as she pointed out, I was finally on the road to recovery. I should just be patient, not force myself to do anything, including eating. Of course, she doesn't know me well enough to know that "resting" is something I have to force myself to do.  My most "restful" activity is playing cards on the computer. At this point reading is a bit stressful to the eyes, but once I recover a bit more... And those movies I love to watch are usually just background sounds and pictures when I'm cooking and cleaning.

Today I didn't even drink coffee. Really! I had my water with lemon and a bit of fresh ginger, but since I didn't enjoy yesterday's coffee and threw out most of it, I didn't make any this morning.

Another change I made was to have a vegan breakfast. I mixed sesame paste with fruit, rather than using goat yogurt or sour cream. First I had it with apple and ginger and then with a persimmon. Both were totally delicious.

For whatever reason, I still have a good appetite in the morning, especially for these fruit treats/meals. Next on the menu is a vegetable soup. The peas are already soaking in boiling water.  I hope that this helps me get all better quickly, Gd willing.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Potion Plus Flu Vaccine?

For the past few years, I've been taking the flu vaccine, and I even got the pneumonia one. So, why do I feel so sick? Yes, I've heard that it's not a magic potion to prevent all winter ills. Sigh...

I also prepared another sort of magic potion for myself, but it doesn't seem to be working either. This includes honey, onion and whisky. And I also drink my water with lemon slices.

Let's see what the doctor says today. Maybe she'll have a more effective trick Gd willing.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Photojournalism Exhibition

Yesterday we went on a field trip. My Thursday Senior Citizen learning program in Ofra includes a Cinema class, and the teacher took us along with her students to the Eretz Israel Museum, Ramat Aviv. They even picked me up on the way, so I only had to leave my house an hour later than usual.
The International and Israeli Photojournalism Exhibition
The largest and most important exhibition of its kind includes a selection of World Press Photo photojournalism and the best of local photojournalism - Local Testimony. Tens of photographers from Israel and abroad will participate in the exhibition, displaying a sequence of events in selected photographs taken over the past year; the photographs refer to war and peace, politics and society, art and culture, nature and the environment, sports, portraits, multimedia presentations, and more.

Curator: Vardi Kahana

Open: December 7, 2017 - January 20, 2018

We could easily see the "agenda" of the curator in the juxtaposition of the pictures as they were exhibited. And of course we learned more of what makes a good picture in terms of the composition and how it tells a story.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Enjoying The AC/Heater

It's almost a year since we got a couple of AC/Heaters installed in the house. We're about the very last people to get them. One big advantage is that they aren't on the floor. Another is that they both heat and cool, although we rarely need them in the summer, especially the one in the bedroom. 

Unlike previous years, our house is rarely cold. I haven't let it get to that super-freezing state which made me suffer terribly. As long as there's electricity, bli eyin haraa, I can turn the AC/Heater on. It has a thermostat, of course, which keeps the temperature even and turns it "off" when necessary. Most of the house is now much warmer than it had ever been in the winter because of the AC/Heater. I still have a small heater going on in the den.

As you can see in the photo, I can also hang laundry in the living room on rainy days or overnight. It dries pretty quickly. Yes, I understand that's a sign of very dry air. We drink water, besides coffee. 

I'm very happy we finally have the AC/Heater. Better late than never. Life has sure changed, thank Gd.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

3 Self-Portraits

I've been a member of 52Frames, the weekly photography challenge for quite a long time. And amazingly, bli eyin haraa, I've an unbroken streak since the week I was accepted as a member. Way back when, the time I joined, you couldn't just "join." You had to be accepted.

We're given a couple of week's notice as to what the theme/challenge will be, except for the first week of the year, when the tradition is a Self-Portrait. The first few years I'd freak out in hysterics about it. But this year I found myself with three very different shots to choose from. They were all taken in the Israel Museum. Here's the one I chose:

Yes, that's me. I took this photo of myself at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. It was just for practice but ended up the best compared to the rest.
I am an active retiree always looking to learn new things. Does it show?

Following are the two others:

What do you think? Did I choose well, or should I have sent in one of the others? And why?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Easy and Healthy No Sugar Beef

If you check recipes in books and online for cooking beef, you'll see that so many require sugar, whether from jam, sweetened sauces, wines, juice or just plain sugar. You can cook a piece of inexpensive beef without any sweetener at all.

I buy an inexpensive cut of beef from the freezer section of the supermarket. I'm fussier about the price than the name of the cut. First, after thawing, I soak it in water to rid it of whatever salts and blood I can get out of it. Actually I use the pot for this, since health/hygiene experts say it's important to keep raw meat/fish/poultry off of eating and food prep surfaces.

Beef, vegetable oil, onion, garlic, peppercorns, tomatoes or canned tomatoes preferably diced/chopped without added sugar or salt

  • Cut up a large onion and some fresh garlic; store in a bowl on the side.  
  • Cut about a pound of tomatoes or get a can/jar of diced or crushed tomatoes without added sugar; store in a bowl on the side.  
  • Add a bit of oil in the cooking pot, (which should have a good cover)
  • Turn on the heat and then add the beef. 
  • Keep turning the beef so the outside looks cooked. 
  • Add onions and garlic; continue turning for a few minutes.
  • Then add the tomatoes and peppercorns, cover and lower the heat a bit.
  • Let it cook for a couple of hours, checking periodically to make sure there's enough liquid. You may need to add some water.
That's it! Very no fuss and extremely healthy. No added sugar or salt is necessary. You can serve it with rice, pasta, vegetables, salad or whatever you like.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Saying "Goodbye" to The Pan

The "Pan" I'm referring to here isn't Peter Pan as played by Mary Martin. The "Pan" is my old trusty covered frying pan, which I'd used for so many years to make everything from fish, vegetables, omelets, potato latkes on Chanuka and more favorite foods.

This large frying pan and matching cover were the most used pieces of the set of EKCO pots my late mother-in-law had bought me when I got married. The cover was also used for the large "soup pot" in the set. This EKCO set was for dairy cooking, and I got a similar set for meat cooking but Farberware. I got married in 1970, and I must say that the pots have all survived amazingly well, though many are missing their handles, as are the covers.

Actually, it was because the large cover's handle had become shaky of late that I finally decided to retire them from use. This has been rather traumatic for me, since I cook in it almost daily nowadays. I've been a fan of stainless steel pots and pans "forever." Nowadays they are very hard to find, and if you do, the prices are outrageous. I'd still recommend them for people just starting out. They last a lot longer than most marriages. My kids will be able to divide my old pots up after I reach my 120. They are worth more than most of my jewelry.

I gave in and bought a specially treated aluminum pot with a glass cover. It doesn't claim to be covered with Teflon or silicon, materials I don't like at all. And I sent a note to the local email list that anyone who wants can take my old beloved dairy pan and cover from next to my front door. It's still usable, even as a dairy cake/pie dish, since the plastic handle is ancient history.

If I had found a good stainless steel replacement, I may have shelled out the money, but I didn't see any. I looked in a number of stores. So far I used the new pan and cover set once and for parve (neither meat nor dairy) cooking. I don't cook dairy for myself anymore. Yes, I'll, bli neder, blog about it, and I'll have to get used to different cooking temperatures.