Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Blogging Isn't Dead

My Desk-"Multi-Tasking" 52Frames weekly photography challenge
Bloggers, am I the only one who has noticed a downward trend in page/post views? I wonder if it's personal, or maybe the anti-spam check has kept the fake views down...

I do blog a bit less than previously. No longer do I skirt the OCD daily posting on both blogs, even when it's done by writing in advance and setting up the post to be published on a future date. Now I blog less frequently and rarely on both blogs, this one and Shiloh Musings, on the same day.

Blogs for me are the ones we publish on our own "sites," not when using the "blog" option on conventional mainstream news sites. That's another genre completely.

Havel Havelim
Over a decade ago, bloggers from all over the world developed a community, visiting, commenting and even promoting each other's blogs in a few different "blog carnivals." There were some Jewish ones which I was involved in, and I'm still friendly with other bloggers I met through these "carnivals." Havel Havelim was the biggest of all and continued for many years. I still use the name when posting blog "roundups."

Very few of the blogs from way back when are still active, but there are some interesting, well-written blogs. Here are a few posts for your reading pleasure. Please read, comment and share. And if there are some blogs you'd like to recommend, then list them in the comments here with full links, thanks.

Listed below are titles of blog posts about Israel and Jewish topics from a variety of blogs. Click to read and enjoy.

Gala World Betar Reunion
Thank You
An Idolater Complains
Israel: Where We All Have Something to Give
Four Generations
Attractive, Easy to Make Healthy Shabbat or Anytime Food
The Unthinkable is Happening in The USA
Amazing New Poll Exposes that Israelis Are Vastly Against the Two-State Solution
Finally, Farewell to Tsipi Livni, Failed Politician
Purim, Two Weeks After Rosh Chodesh Adar Bet
A Lion taking care of kitties
Has the Peace Process ‘Prevented Palestine’? Joel Singer vs. Seth Anziska
Hurry to The Israel Museum Before Israeli Fashion Exhibit Closes

Enjoy, and keep on visiting and commenting on blogs.

Monday, February 18, 2019

19,492 Plus Steps Yesterday, Fitness & Pedometer Tips

I post many of my "steps" on my instagram page,  shilohbatya

Actually, by the time I went to sleep around midnight, I had reached 19,542 steps. Yes, that may be a record number of steps for me. I use the simple "pedometer" app on my phone to keep track.

Except for when my phone is charging, I have the phone on me, so every step counts. My rationale for that is that since every sip, taste or bite of a food counts for adding calories, then we shouldn't be shy about counting those steps, whether to the laundry room, refrigerator or even the loo.

When you're setting up* your pedometer, make sure that it's sensitive enough to count all those very short "walks." Once after a few hours in a museum, I discovered that although I had done a lot of walking, my pedometer had ignored most of it, since they were short walks from picture to picture, exhibit to exhibit.

I know that the 10,000 steps a day benchmark has been pooh poohed as not very significant, but that's not really true. Once you start keeping track of your steps, you'll discover your own personal benchmarks, and for many people, davka, 10,000 steps is a good number to aim for and later top.

As you may know, I'm no youngster, and I'm overweight and not in perfect shape. So managing almost twenty thousand 20,000 steps in one day is quite impressive, as is my average, which recently has been twelve thousand 12,000 or more. Friends ask me how I do it, without damaging myself.

If you look at yesterday's record, you'll see that I was on my feet most of the day, didn't walk all that quickly and only had three "long" walks. And, thank Gd, it all added up.

Below is a more "average day," and you can see that I was quite sedentary for quite a long period of time. Two long walks of about 4,000 steps each, one at a really good pace, made up for two-thirds of the day's step total. That means that I got in over an hour of good physical activity that day.

The key to my approach is to exercise in small quantities, not to strain the body at all. If you're not in good shape, from injury, age, illness whatever, it's very important not to risk injury. But it's also extremely important to maximize activity. For many, that's a very fine line.

One of my big problems is that I hate exercising alone, whether walking, floor or more aerobic exercise. Ironically, I had once been an exercise teacher, and I know what we should be doing all too well. I just need the added socializing to do it. Listening to classes, music whatever does make walking a bit better, but I can always walk longer and more quickly with partners. To help, I opened a small whatsapp group. Our aim is to walk twice a day. Almost always I'm the nudge writing:
"Anybody able to walk tonight/tomorrow morning? Please, pretty please..."
I don't always find someone, but not only does it help me, my friends enjoy it, too. Instead of chatting over coffee and cake, or not seeing each other at all, we really enjoy our friendly walks. There are people who use the walking time to talk on the phone, but to get full benefit, swing your arms and get a "headset" if you're going to have a "long distance partner." One of my walking buddies uses walking sticks to be steadier and give more upper body workout.

What do you do to make fitness more fun and doable?

*You also must get your step length accurate. A good way of doing it is to actually count ten or twenty steps in your head while walking and then check if the pedometer agrees. If the pedometer says you've taken more steps, then increase length; decrease if it doesn't credit you with enough steps.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Attractive, Easy to Make Healthy Shabbat or Anytime Food

Bake and serve dishes are favorites for my Shabbat Menu. Here are a couple of Attractive, Easy to Make Healthy Shabbat dishes you may like. I'm vague about quantities and ingredients, because I don't measure, and I also don't obsess about having specific ingredients. That's my approach to cooking:
  • be flexible, spontaneous
  • don't obsess
When I have an oven, not something I take them for granted*, baked vegetables are on the menu. I have a variety of bake and serve oven pans, so that even the simplest of baked vegetables can look very fancy.

The photo on the right shows "orange vegetables," baked with just a bit of cinnamon and oil. On a "bed" of onion slices, no need to cut exact anything, I placed carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin in that order. I bake them in a medium oven, heat from the bottom, until they look baked and are soft.

Tonight's main course is pretty much a "one pot meal," besides being "bake and serve." It doesn't include any carbohydrates, so if you eat carbs, have them on the side with salad.

I layered onion and squash, maybe eggplant, too, on the bottom of the baking pan. I used chopped/minced turkey (500 gram, just over a pound) with onion and a small 100 gram container of tomato paste, plus garlic.

Spread the turnkey on top, with a large spoon and then, as you can see, top with fresh tomatoes. I then added just a spoon or so of vegetable oil and then baked it in a medium oven, heat on top, until it drew from the sides of the pan.

You can substitute ground meat, beef, chicken or a combination. Consider it a version of a meatloaf or musaka.

Cooking should be enjoyable and creative.

Shabbat Shalom UMevorach
Have a Peaceful and Blessed Shabbat

*During the year before our kitchen was renovated, we didn't have a functioning oven.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Hurry to The Israel Museum Before Israeli Fashion Exhibit Closes

I've been through the Fashion Statements: Decoding Israeli Dress Exhibit in the Israel Museum a number of times, and each time I notice more and enjoy it more. It's closing on  April 6, 2019.

Here are some pictures I took there the other evening:. Which is your favorite and why?

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Instead of Groundhog Day...The Cyclamen, Rakefet

There's no Groundhog Day in Israel. We know that we're having a good winter when we see these flowers blooming.

The Cyclamen (Rakefet) is a hardy root, that spreads easily. The flowers pictured here are from my garden. A number of years ago, someone gave us one as a gift. When it dried out and died, I put it in the garden, and in good winters it blooms.

You can even find these flowers blooming in stone walls or around stairs. In a couple of months, when the rains cease and the air gets warm and dry, they will die... But next winter, Gd willing, if there's sufficient rain, even more cyclamens will bloom.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Purim, Two Weeks After Rosh Chodesh Adar Bet

We're now in Adar Alef, which seems to me should be called Shevat Bet, but I'm not one of the sages...

Purim and birthdays from Adar, when only one, are all celebrated in Adar Bet. Rosh Chodesh Adar Bet is another two day special. I took a "poll" among the women who come most frequently to our Rosh Chodesh Prayers, and they voted that we doven together at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh, on Thursday, 30th of Adar Alef, 5779, March 7, 2019, 8:30am.

כולן מוזמנות, תפילת נשים, ראש אדר ב' , ל' אדר א', יום ה' ,7/03/2019 , 8:30, בשילה הקדומה, תל שילה
Today when I was in Shaar Binyamin shopping in a variety of stores there, I came across busy mothers already getting costumes for their children to wear on Purim. It's barely Adar Alef. There are five weeks to go before Purim!

Rosh Chodesh, first of the Jewish Month, is the traditional women's holiday. So, it's really the perfect time to take some time specially for you, ladies. Join us in Rosh Chodesh Prayer. We pray Hallel together outloud, and the rest of the prayers are said silently. There will be a tour of the Tel and Divrei Torah, Gd willing, in both Hebrew and English. For more information email shilohmuse@gmail.com, with "Rosh Chodesh" as subject.

Unlike many other Biblical/Jewish sites, there's no debate as to whether Shiloh is Shiloh. Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh, is a recognized Israeli tourist and archaeological site. It's open on weekdays, offers guides and special activities for the entire family. For more information, contact them directly at visit@telshilo.org.il, or 02-5789111.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Simply Marvelous Apple Compote

Friday afternoon, I decided to make apple compote. I had hoped that it would distract me from eating cake on Shabbat for dessert.

First I cut up a bunch of apples, keeping the peels on, and put them in a pot. Then I added cinnamon bark, though the ground cinnamon would have been fine, too. For a bit more flavor and sweetness I added very little dark brown sugar.

While it was cooking, I got inspired and decided to add some pitted prunes.

Our guest and I absolutely loved it. My husband was happy with the cake and isn't a fruit lover.

The prunes added so much to the richness of the flavor, and to be honest, if you're adding prunes, leave out the sugar. BTW prunes have more flavor than raisins.

Now that I have four burners, bli eyin haraa, I ought to remember to make compote more often.

dark brown sugar (optional)

slice apples, cutting out core
add cinnamon, prunes and optional sugar
other fruit, fresh and dried, can be included
water, almost to cover
cover pot
bring to boil then simmer until colors change
turn off flame
leave covered until it cools down

Eat warm or cold from fridge.

Friday, February 08, 2019

Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions Undefeated in Season Play 2018-1019

The foggy night in the new Kraft Family Sports Campus didn't fog up two year reigning champions, Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions last night. In a very tough game against the Judean Rebels, the Lions showed their superior playing power.

53-12 Lions over Rebels

The next game is the semifinals in two weeks. Gd willing, we'll win that one, too, and then on to our third National Championship.

For more information about upcoming games and American Tackle (and flag) Football in Israel, click here IFL.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Facebook Photo-Editing Tips

Recently, I've been having great fun with a relatively new facebook feature, Photo-Editing. This feature compensates for the fact that they haven't offered me any new post backgrounds for much too long. Actually, that's why I decided to try clicking the cute little brush I had been noticing in the lower right hand corner of pictures when being up or is it downloaded to my page.

I hope these photos make it clear. If you have questions, don't be shy. Ask me. I read and reply to comments.

Yes, besides editing, you can tag people.

As you can see, there's a very complete menu to choose from.

Choose the color you want, by clicking in the right spot. It can be changed if you don't like it. You can also choose fonts by clicking where it says Arial.

In this mode, you can move, shrink or enlarge the box that has your text..

Don't be afraid to experiment.

PS The photos illustrating this aren't very clear/sharp, because I used my old camera. The phone was charging too far away.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Look at This! Surprise 🌝

This year has been an exceptionally blessed year for rain, here in the Holy Land. And in addition I had taken a neighbor's advice and watered the two barren citrus trees in our garden.

One tree is a lemon tree I had bought well over twenty years ago, and the other is from a sapling one of our sons brought back from a hike a few years after we had planted the lemon tree. We'll refer to the second one as "the mystery tree."

Over a decade ago, I remember seeing some small orange fruit on the mystery tree but don't remeber even trying to eat them. They were terribly small and hard.

For the past few months I've been noticing a number of orange-colored fruit growing on the mystery tree. At first they seemed to high to be picked, but yesterday when I walked by, I could see that there were quite a few of these fruit low enough, even for me. So, today, after my morning walk, I went over to the tree and decided to take a better look.

I picked one fruit from the tree, smelled it decided to take a bite. What could be wrong? They hadn't even sprayed with poisons. Yes, they're organic, completely organic.

One of my guesses, due to size, was that they were some sort of clementina, which is a small tangerine, an easy to peel citrus fruit. Here in Israel the clementina is the first of the winter citrus fruit offered for sale, late summer, early winter. The clementina has a very thin skin/peel, thinner than any orange I'm familiar with.

Test #1 This mystery fruit has a relatively thick skin for its size, but as you can see in the pictures, it's a tiny fruit. Now, I don't know if the mystery fruit is supposed to be small, or if the difficult dry and cold climate here has damaged/stunted it.

Test #2 was the taste test. The mystery fruit tastes something like an orange. I'll leave them on the tree a bit longer and taste them periodically, to see if they get sweeter with time. Of course the challenge is to pick them before they rot on the tree.

I'd be grateful for advice, thanks.