Monday, July 30, 2018

Arguing Over a Couple of Inches, Few Centimeters, Kitchen Saga

One of the reasons I didn't go for a less expensive, store-bought modular kitchen is that I wanted things that you generally cant find in those more standardized kitchen places.

When we ordered the kitchen in our house just under 35 years ago, it was dakva our contractor who suggested that I have the upper cabinets 50 centimeters up, rather than the standard 60 centimeters. Because of that I can easily reach both lower shelves. If the cabinet was five centimeters higher, I'd have a problem. So I told the kitchen guy I need 50 centimeters, not a drop higher.

He brought me the plans from the carpenter, and I noticed that it said 52 centimeters. And there were only three upper shelves instead of the four I expect and require.
I said: "No!"
I made it very clear that at my age, one gets shorter, not taller. And if 50 centimeters was OK for the past thirty plus years, if anything, I need lower not higher for the future. And I want my four shelves.

He explained that the height must take into account easy use and cutting of the wall tiles. They are 15 centimeters by 15 centimeters, so a trim of 5 centimeters won't work.
"Great! Make it 45 centimeters."
"Nobody does 45; I've never heard of it."
"אז מה Az mah? So what?"
Off he went to the carpenter for a new plan. They have to give me what I want; it's my kitchen.

Yes, the saga continues...

Friday, July 27, 2018

Oops! No Water

Like many Israeli suburban locations, our regional council thinks the way to our hearts/votes is with new sidewalks. We would have really preferred they return the bush shelters they replaced with holey tin cans.

Instead they have made our lives difficult, not only ripping out perfectly good sidewalks, but adding another to the other side of the street, which has narrowed the street. Many bus drivers have gotten stuck and refuse to drive by the house. They go a different way, which leaves waiting passengers in the lurch.

Besides that, there's the dirt and dust, and I almost broke my leg the other night. I hadn't realized that the sidewalk nearby had been ripped out, and I stepped into a mess in the dark.

And then yesterday, just as I was about to leave the house for Jerusalem, I tried to wash my hands and discovered that we had no water. I had heard the tractor at the front of my house, and had an awful feeling about it. I ran out and discovered that it had broken the water pipe to, davka, my house.

I ran back in and called the "municipal authorities." Thank Gd they were able to quickly send a plumber to make a temporary repair. If I hadn't been home, I never would have known about it to be honest. That is except for the mess in the yard...

Never dull, for sure.

When people are battling serious illness, I'm not going to get hyper hysterical over inconveniences. Please pray for a refuah shleimah, complete recovery for:
Miriam bat Chaya
Leeba Asnah bat Sara

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Too Bad The Pedometer Doesn't Count Water Exercise

As many of you know, I have my phone set up as a pedometer, and I happily show off my step count on Instagram and Facebook.

On a day like today, when it was a scorcher, real summer day, my walking partner and I walked two circuits early in the morning, and then I was home until evening when I went to the nearby pool. I exercised in the water for 45 minutes.

According to my pedometer I did a rather lazy under 9,000 steps. And no, my phone isn't waterproof.

Isn't it a bit crazy that I don't feel I've exercised if the pedometer doesn't confirm it?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Super Simple Salad

My favorite type of food preparation is "easy." The other night I had promised to bring a salad to the potluck dinner my book club enjoys before we get into the meat of the book discussion. Since another member said she was brining a green salad, I decided to make mine a "Walking Salad," as my mother used to call it, a Simple Salad, just cut vegetables, perfect for noshing.

I was planning on using carrots, too, but I forgot. As you can see, the tray was full without them.  And I bought a kohlrabi, but it was rotten inside.

This salad has mushrooms, red pepper, cucumber and tomatoes. That's it.

Simple salads like these are very popular in my community. Whenever we have an event with cakes and cookies there are salads like these, too. I get a kick out of seeing young children filling cups with carrots, cucumbers and peppers, as if they're candy.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Low-Tech "Blended" Vegetable Soup

I don't have a stick blender. I did have one many years ago, and since I didn't use it, I passed it on to one of my daughters. She loves it, and I'm pretty sure that by now, that cheap one I got as a bonus, when buying something else, has been replaced at least once.

To be honest, I can't even remember when I last used the potato-masher. It may have been decades ago.

Yesterday's Vegetable Soup was very easy to make. It's my basic one-pot recipe, which I've made before. I don't measure; there's no need to.


  • dried peas
  • onion
  • garlic
  • carrot
  • squash
  • pumpkin
  • dehydrated parsley
  • whatever vegetable oil you like
  • coarse salt and pepper to taste
  • boiling water, time-saver rather than tap
  1. Check peas, put in pot, add boiling water to cover plus.
  2. Cover and leave for at least an hour.
  3. Cut vegetables.
  4. Add vegetables and oil to pot.
  5. Start cooking on high flame/heat until boiling, then lower to simmer
  6. Add more boiling water, no higher than 2", two inches from top of pot. 
  7. After half an hour add parsley, salt and pepper. 
  8. Cook for at least 10 minutes more. Turn off flame, and let it "sit" for another 10 minutes.
  9. Mash optional, and serve.

PS You can always add more vegetables or leave out the pumpkin or squash. And of course you can cook with fresh parsley. I almost added some sweet potato but wanted to cut our the carbohydrates, so added an additional squash. If you want a heartier soup, then add barley or rice to the peas.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Pasta-Chickpea Salad, Pre and Post-Fast Meal

One of the popular suggestions for pre-fast meals is to eat complex carbohydrates, which take longer to digest. The experts consider that a good idea before fasting. So, on Friday I decided to make a Pasta-Chickpea Salad. Of course I had to make sure I had enough time to soak and cook the chickpeas, which I did. You can "cheat" by getting a can of them.

Cooking Chickpeas
First I leave the chickpeas in a covered pot full of boiling water for a couple of hours. Then I pour out the water, add new boiling water and simmer on the stove until chewable. Leave covered for another hour or so.

Pasta-Chickpea Salad Ingredients
  • cooked pasta, drained
  • cooked or from a can chickpeas, drained
  • cut tomatoes, large diced
  • diced onion
  • olive oil, coarse salt and coarse pepper
  • optional other salad vegetables and leaves and/or grated cheese
Mix all of the ingredients together. Yes, it's that simple. It's a simple "one-pot" summer meal. Which additional ingredients do you add? I'd love to hear.

PS for the post fast, fast-breaking breakfast meal, I heated up the salad, since my husband prefers warm pasta.

Friday, July 20, 2018

New Kitchen Progress, Gd Willing, After 9th of Av

For months, I've been working on getting us a new kitchen, and for years I've been talking about it. Honestly, I had no idea how complicated it could be. Somehow even building our house seemed easier. Then there was nobody around  to tell us that we were doing it wrong. We didn't comparative shop in terms of architect and cablan, builder. We just chose professionals who made us feel comfortable, neighbors, then planned and trusted them.

We didn't do that awful a job. None of us were terribly experienced, not the architect, nor the builders and certainly not us. Davka, the house has held up rather well. But to be honest, the biggest mistakes were in the kitchen planning. That's one of the reasons we need a new kitchen, and the other is that the plumbing needs replacement. Actually I'm keeping an entire wall of closets from the old kitchen and not changing them at all. The planning of those closets was mine alone. At first I thought that I'd get new doors for them, but then to save money, we're not. The formica on the new part of the kitchen goes well with it. Wherever we can save money, we will try.

A few months ago I thought I had it all wrapped up with the right plan, builder, color scheme etc. Then at the last moment, I canceled. One of my daughters helped me find someone else to do the work, and I'm much happier with this one, even though it'll cost a bit more.

The new kitchen contractor "tweaked" the plan in a great way. He's not pushing, which is good.

I took a couple of trips to Jerusalem to look at ceramics, colors etc, and things have changed enormously since my first plan.

Now since the 9th of Av is so soon, nothing gets signed until afterwards.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Healthy Lunch at Herzog

Even though I usually "brown bag it," bring my own food when out, I don't when I sign up for a day of studying at Michlelet Herzog's legendary Tanach summer program during the 9 Days.

Their lunch is perfectly healthy and diet-friendly. You serve yourself and can choose fish and lots of salads. The dessert is fruit, and on the table there's water to drink.

There are a selection of pastries in various hallways, corners etc throughout the buildings along with coffee, tea and cold drinks, too. And there was fruit, too, in some of the snack places. They are included in the price. The lunch is a separate payment when you register. I consider the lunch a very good investment. The food is tasty, and the diningroom cool and comfortable. A friend and I met up to eat together since we were in the same "sitting," though taking mostly different classes.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Keeping The Coffee Fresh

I'm very grateful for all the gifts of American coffee I've gotten over the years, especially since I no longer go to the states. I must keep them as fresh as possible after opening. I saw that the tabs just didn't do the trick, even though instructions say they should.

As you see, I added a simple clothespin to keep the bag closed.

Even though we have a clothes dryer, I rarely ever use it. I have 20 meters of clotheslines and lots of clothespins.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Such Miraculous Traveling, Thank Gd

Jerusalem Egged Bus

We're "carless," meaning that we don't have a car. So to travel to and from Shiloh, we're very dependent on others, public transportation, rides planned and "spontaneous," and above all, the mercy and miracles of Gd.

I'm the impatient type. I hate waiting. It makes me nuts. Unless I'm pretty certain that there will be a bus in 5-10 minutes, I prefer waiting at a bus stop where there's also a chance for a ride aka tremp. I also time my leaving home for when there should be a bus very soon or lots of people passing with cars, who could offer a ride. I also have a pretty good knowledge of Jerusalem bus routes, the lightrail and connecting stops.

For years I've said that I travel by siyate d'Shmaya caful, meaning "doubled hand of Gd." First is that like all travelers, my safety is in Gd's Hand, and second it's thanks to Gd that I even get on the road.

How to travel, which bus or ride to get into, sometimes demands split-second decisions:
"Should I get into that ride which only goes part way?"
"Will this bus stop give me a better chance for a ride home?"
"Does this look like a good driver?"
"Do I have enough time before my scheduled bus to do a quick shopping?"
The list of questions as I travel is really much longer.

Yesterday after checking out some new kitchen stuff (bli eyin haraa, slowly making progress) and seeing one of my baby grandsons and his parents, I started on my way home. I caught a #18 and hoped I would be able to get a #66 from King David Street. But there wasn't any listed on the sign or app, so I walked as quickly as possible to the lightrail across from the Municipality. I took that to Pisgat Zeev and waited for a bus there.

Since I have a month's unlimited bus ticket this month, I can get on and off buses and the lightrail between Shiloh (actually Eli) and as far as Mevaseret Zion or Maale Adumim. That gives me a lot of flexibility in traveling.

I checked the schedule of buses to Shiloh and saw that there'd *probably be one in about half an hour. Now, would that give me time for a quick shopping in Rami Levy, Shaar Binyamin or not? OK it would depend on how quickly I could get to Shaar Binyamin. But I also must remember that the last time I tried it, I missed my bus. Maybe it would be better to just get off a Hizme-the "city line" and tremp home...

A minute later a #468 came. I could take it to Ofra, which is more than half the trip home. Usually, that's my principle:
Take the first bus or ride that is going in the right direction as long as it has a chance of connecting buses and/or rides.
But for some inexplicable reason, I jumped off at Hizme. Within seconds there was a ride to Ofra, but again, I didn't go for it. Something in my head kept saying to wait for an even better ride, even though the chance was minimal. A minute later someone I know was going to Maale Levona and could drop me off at Ofra. As I weighed the pros and cons in nanoseconds I heard my name being called. Just past the bus stop a neighbor had stopped and was inviting me for a ride home.

I ran to the car, got in and had a ride to my door. Totally miraculous. Gd is truly great!

*There is never any guarantee that a bus will arrive. They breakdown and there aren't any spares. Sometimes even two in a row don't show.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Food Ideas for The Nine 9 Days

I really doubt that when chazal, our Jewish sages, decided that during the  Nine 9 Days, we shouldn't eat meat they could have known that fish meals would be much more expensive for us. That was the topic of this morning's post on Shiloh Musings, 9 Days Rather Ironic, Fish Yes, Chicken No.

My husband and I generally eat Shabbat leftovers for the entire week, and I have lots of portions of cooked chicken in the freezer. All you have to do is to recook them with vegetables and carbs. But during the Nine 9 Days, I have to cook every meal. Sometimes I have a stock of vegetable soup, but in all honesty, hot soup on hot days isn't a favorite.
Following are a few recipes. Your comments, recipes, reactions and ideas are welcome in the comments section, thanks.  Sorry, but I don't go for exact measuring of ingredients or cooking time. I encourage variations and would like to hear about yours.

Latest Breakfast, No Cravings
Yummy Cauliflower Casserole/Kugel
Frying Pan "Lentil Stew"
Do you Quinoa?
Simple Chickpea Salad
One-Pan Meal, Tuna Steak and Veggies
Shakshuka Plus
Lovely Lentil and Mushroom Dish
No Mayonnaise Egg Salad
Low-Carb, Crustless Dairy Quiche
This Year's Purim Soups, Yes Two 2

Which is your favorite? And what do you suggest from your own repertoire?

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Rosh Chodesh Prayers at Tel Shiloh

This past Friday was Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av, and we met at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh for our Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers.

We ended with special prayers wishing a רפואה שלימה REFUAH SHLEIMAH, complete and speedy recovery to those in need.

Shiloh is a traditional place of Jewish prayer. Centuries before the Holy Temple was built in Jerusalem, the Mishkan, Holy Tabernacle was located here in Shiloh for 369 years. It predated the Temple as the main location for Jewish Prayer.

Archeologists and Biblical scholars agree that today's Shiloh is the Shiloh of the Bible, the same location.

I've been living in Shiloh since 1981, and for well over a decade I've been organizing Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers at the location where most experts believe the Mishkan had been located.

Next Rosh Chodesh is Ellul, which will be Sunday August 12, 2018, 1st of Ellul 5778. We meet at 8:30am, Gd willing.

ראש חודש אלול, א' אלול תשע"ח, 12-08-2018 ב8:30

If you'd like more information, please email me with "Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers" as subject, thanks.

Shiloh Hakeduma is a wonderful and fascinating archeological park. You can contact them for tours and more events. It can be accessed by public transportation or by car.

Friday, July 13, 2018


The other day I went into the FOX Home in Hadar Mall, Talpiyot to see if there was anything worth buying at the big 50% off summer sale. Of course, I really don't need anything other than a new kitchen, which they don't do.

I found myself, as usual, by the coffee and tea accessory shelves.

I'm happy to say that I didn't buy anything, but maybe I'll return...

PS They still have some of those gevaldik 1.5 liter French Presses for sale. Tempting, but the glass carafe never lasts long with me, sigh. So, as you may remember, I bought myself a stainless steel French Press.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

"Rescuing" Old Blogs

The other day I got a phone call from a total stranger. He said that his name had been mentioned on a blog post of mine, and he wanted his name removed. I said:
"No problem."
But then when he told me which blog, I explained that it hasn't been active for years, and I don't even know how to get into it. It had been controlled by an email/gmail name/account no longer in use. When he called, I wasn't home, and it seemed pretty impossible to access it from my phone. It would be near impossible from the computer.  I promised to try once home.

I asked him to send me the link to the post, which he did. I looked at the post and messaged him that I hadn't meant any harm. He was understanding, but really didn't want his name there.

Of course, it was pretty surprising to me that he discovered my cell phone number. I didn't ask him how he did it. It isn't all that secret. In the days when we only had landlines, most people allowed their phone numbers to be easily/publicly listed.

Once I got home, I emailed myself the link to the blog post and took on the challenge. I was pretty determined to figure out how to fix the problem, get into my old blog, because over the years I've heard of writers/bloggers/publishers/site-owners being sued for unauthorized use of pictures, names etc.

I finally discovered the email address which had been controlling/accessing it. The next challenge was to sign into the account. After a couple of wrong turns, I found out that my yahoo email was listed for such emergencies, and the yahoo is kept open on the computer. After that it was relatively easy to sign in, find the blog post, edit out the person's name. And then I hit another snafu. When I signed out of the account I somehow signed out of this one, too. Grrr. Of course, since I no longer sign in and out daily, I never remember the password. Then phone was used for sign in verification. Only after that did I realize that I should have added this email to the old blogs as writer/contributor/administrator.

What old blogs? You're probably wondering...
The Muse's Pics
Blog Free!
What do you think of them? As history, of course. No, I have absolutely no intention of adding to my blogging.

I'm relieved that I succeeded relatively easily. Why do people say that only kids manage well on the internet?


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Lovely Lentil and Mushroom Dish

Here's another super easy vegan/vegetarian dish that can be either a side dish or a main course for those who need a protein and there's nothing else.

Cut an onion, some garlic and a few mushrooms. Put in a pot. Check then add a cup of lentils. Add a spoon of oil, then three cups of boiling water, cover and simmer until the water is almost absorbed. Add a bit of salt and pepper. Turn off the flame and leave for another twenty minutes.

That's it. It's that easy. Cooking doesn't have to be a lot of work.

Optional: Add carrots, squash and other vegetables, too.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Last Day in "School"

Yesterday was the last session in of the Vattikim b'Kehila, Seniors in the Community, Senior Citizen program I had attended in Ulpanat Ofra, the Ofra Girls High School. The attendees came from all over the Benjamin Regional Council.

During the year I had been attending classes on Thursdays, but for the "camp" our group was cancelled, and I joined the Monday group, which was much larger. Even though I hadn't been studying with them throughout the year, I knew many of the group. I've been living in Shiloh for thirty-seven years, and have gotten to know people from most all of the communities in the region. Our children have gone to the same schools; I also worked in Yafiz, Shaar Binyamin for six years. And there have been many other ways to meet people.

The coordinator brought in many interesting speakers. There was an "inspirational speaker," who encouraged us to fulfil our dreams, write and live a "bucket list." The head of the program for handicapped and special education told us about what is done for the children, and their families, who need more help. Now there's a local program, Lev Binyamin, right next to the high school where we've been studying. Before then, children had to be bussed to Jerusalem and sometimes further.

We learned more Tanach, Bible and about each other.

It's definitely a good program, and I'm glad that I participated this past year.

Monday, July 09, 2018


Thank Gd for the blessings of our grapes, which grow so plentifully in our garden. But they aren't yet ready for "harvesting." I must admit that I've had a few so far, really dark ones, just for a taste. And they are sweet and delicious. But it's a waste to pick the red ones until the entire bunch is ripe and dark. And it's a total disaster to pick the green ones when they still look solid and waxy. They only ripen on the vine.

When I was checking them out the other day, a song from one of my favorite musicals, Dreamgirls, kept going through my mind... "Patience..."

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Getting Ready for Retirement Year #2

This year I had a fantastic time between my mosaics in Shiloh, Matan and the Senior Citizens Program in Ofra, cheering Jerusalem Lions American Football team, plus having more time to see my children, grandchildren, other relatives and friends. I even knocked off a couple of nasty kilo which had crept back on while teaching.

Now I have to decide on next year. I'll stick with most of the same, but I want to find a substitute for the Ofra program. The two courses that attracted me to it in the first place won't be continuing. I don't want to travel as far as Jerusalem. I'm thinking of checking out Ariel. Does anyone have some ideas? It doesn't have to be for senior citizens. I'm, bli eyin haraa, not that old. It's pretty easy to get to Ariel from here, especially to the university.

Suggestions very welcome, thanks.