Monday, September 14, 2009

Living with terrorism.

The anniversary of 9-11 just passed, and, not living in America, I almost missed it. And, on top of that, I don't feel bad about missing it. you see, now that I live in Israel, terrorism is a daily thought, not an annual one. I barely even notice the metal detectors and guards at malls, restaurants, and hospitals any more. Want to look in my purse? Fine, whatever. Last year there were 3 separate attacks in my city using bulldozers. there were countless other attacks also, but you tend to look for trends to keep yourself safer. I still wince at the sight of an Arab driving a bulldozer. Just like I watch to see who is on the buses I ride, are they too 'bulky' looking; do they look nervous; have a heavy package? I get off and wait for the next one.
But even with these (and many other) precautions, I don't have an overwhelming sense of fear, either. all the above is just a way of life. We're careful, but not paralyzed, and we can't commemorate each event because there are too many, but we have a word for it. Pigua (pi-goo-ah). It seems to incorporate all our tears, all our apprehensions into one word that is never said in the same tone as the rest of the sentence. We can't remember every name, every time, but we memorialize each victim with the word we invented to tell of your tragedy.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Wow...time flies!

I can't believe it's been so long since I posted anything. In truth, getting adjusted to having 2 instead of one child has been huge! But now Devorah is 6 months and Shevy is 21 months, and I'm feeling like I've got my feet under me again. However, I'm beginning to think this whole potty training thing isn't all it's cracked up to be. Well, another adventure.
So, I'll try to write more about our crazy life and Israel and whatever else pops into my head. Meanwhile I can at least put up a few pictures...
Shevy at the Zoo
July at the park

June telling her sissy what to do

August picnic at the park
July's smile.

Devorah surprised by food!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A tribute to my dad.

Father's day is tough for me. My Father in law has passed away and my own wonderful father is thousands of miles away. I think about my dad a lot lately. I watch the special relationship develop between my own daughters and their father and I know how wonderful it will be as they get older. I subtly (or not so subtly) encourage my husband to do the wonderful things I remember my dad doing with me. Being silly. Special trips out together for just the 2 of us. Making me laugh until I cry. That stuff...Stuff that emphasizes the special relationship between father and daughter and also sets the tone for all relationships with men in the future.
You see, I had a wonderful father. There were some tough times for all of us, but he always worked hard to provide for us, went without extras (like his dream car so I could have braces), and protected me as best he could. He gave me the best gift a parent can give a child--themselves. I can remember having my dad's time, undivided attention, and love from, well, forever. And he and I connected in a very real way: same kooky sense of humor, same outlook on life, same physical constitutions. And even as an adult, he has continued to be there for me, supporting my dreams and ambitions even when they carry me half way around the world from him. Following me on that path half way around the world himself, when he'd be far more comfortable in his own familiar environment.
So, on this Father's Day, even though I can't give my dad a physical present, I'd like to let him know that I'm doing my best to give him the best present a child can give to a parent. Adoring Grandkids.

I love you, Dad.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Chicken Cholent

So, this will be a combo-post. it will answer a common question and give you a fantastic recipe. So, the Sabbath. Everyone wonders what we can and can't do. well, one thing you can't do is cook. So, we get all our food ready the day before, and keep it warm all the next day. This has led to the development of a special kind of dish, called cholent, that will stand up to long, low cooking. Traditional cholents are kind of like beef and bean stew, but my ear Husband and I designed one based on rice, which we never fail to get compliments on! nd it's probably the easiest recipe ever.

You will need
1-3 lb boneless chicken thighs (depending on how many you feed)
1.5 c uncooked Persian rice
1 large jar of spaghetti sauce
2 T salt
Tabasco sauce
Heat your cholent pot (heavy pot, at least 2 quarts) and toss chicken in to lightly brown for a few minues (it doesn't have to be fully cooked) Pour in rice and salt, then dump spaghetti sauce over it all. Add half a jar of water and several dashes of tabasco. put over low heat for 12 hours or more. can also be made in a crock-pot.

Friday, May 1, 2009

kitchen adventures

I'm a bit of a foodie. Seriously. I love to cook, bake, create, etc. I love all cooking TV shows, food network, etc. Gordon Ramsay is my favorite Chef, despite his potty mouth (or maybe because of it...). So, I thought I'd share 3 things (one each of ingredient, tool, and technique) I'd never be in the kitchen without and a recipe that incorporates them all.

1. Salt. I've only recently come to love and understand salt, but I can't emphasize how important it is. Especially in baked goods.

2. Parchment paper. this is the secret to all beautiful baked goods, and has changed my world. Use it for everything from cookies to bread to candy, and you'll never be disappointed by stuck food ever again.

3. Mise en Place: French for everything in place (roughly) Your experiences in the kitchen will be ever so much more enjoyable if you begin with everything you nee for the recipe in front of you, just like a cooking show. It also makes things move a lot faster, and saves you from having to "improvise" when you've run out of that thing you swore you had some of but now can't locate.

I also believe in simple foods, easy prep. things taste better if you on't have too much going on. so, my crowd pleasing PB balls to the rescue!

You will need:
3 T margarine
1 c Peanut butter (not natural, the heavy kind like Jif)
about 1 c powdered sugar
1 tsp salt
150 grams of coating chocolate or 1 pkg chocolate chips and 25 grams parafin

In a bowl, mix the PB, salt and Margarine. Slowly add the powdered sugar until you have a doughy consistency, like clay. Roll into 1 inch diameter balls. Melt chocolate over low heat in a small fry pan. place a large square of parchment paper over a standard cookie sheet and place near chocolate. a few balls at a time, add to the pan with chocolate, then fish out with a spoon and arrange on the parchment paper for cooling. for quick serving, place candy in the freezer. makes 3-4 dozen.

Sunday, March 29, 2009 did you two meet?

A new one in the series about demystifying Orthodox Judaism...Jewish dating!

I know a lot of you wonder how these super-religious people meet and marry, what with their separate seating, schools, synagogues, events, etc. (in case you weren't aware of it, let me fill you in: men and women occupy almost completely different spheres in our world. I haven't spoken more than 2 words to most of DH's friends, nor he to mine. We went to a wedding together and I had to call his cell when it was time for us to go. I hadn't seen him since we arrived, several hours earlier.) Anyway, the answer is both simple and complicated: We date.

This blows some Christians away, as many of them have eschewed dating as an immoral, worldly practice. Not so, say we. Our dating just looks very different. How? let me list the ways:

1. You already know quite a bit about your date before you meet them. You were probably fixed up by a professional, who looked at your respective dating resumes and decided you two were a good match. You each then got to look at the other's resume (and possibly photo) and decide for yourself if you were interested. If yes, the meeting is arranged.

2. Participants do not touch. EVER. Until they're married.

3. Feelings are not discussed, but life goals, children, where you want to live, religious practice, politics are all discussed, maybe even on the first date, which is a big no-no in the secular world.

4. If you date more than 2-3 months without getting engaged, it raises eyebrows. This is a fish-or-cut-bait kind of thing.

5. It isn't unusual for a person to have multiple first dates with different people in one weekend.
especially if they've traveled to that town expressly to go on dates.

Some of you have no doubt heard that Orthodox Jews have arranged marriages. What I've outlined is how things work in 99% of Orthodoxy. Yes, there are really extreme sects that arrange things and the girl and boy only meet once or twice before the wedding, but it's really, really rare. And Jews have a less than 10% divorce rate, so we must be doing something right.

thoughts? Questions? Anyone?

East meets West, or Israel meets Italy

Pizza is a new universal, you can get it anywhere, even Africa. Iraelis LOVE pizza. For Kosher reasons, we don't put meat on it (Dairy and meat don't mix), but you can get it with all kinds of other things. I've tried Falafel pizza in NY, which sat like a rock in my stomach (like all falafel does), but I've been very curious about something I've only seen here in Israel. Corn pizza. No kidding. I've seen, or rather, smelled Tuna pizza, but there's no way I will eat something that smells that foul. Corn seemed unusual but do-able. So, since my parents are here, and my dad is as silly as I am, we got half a pizza with corn on it, just to see what it was like. Here's how it looked:
Here are the pre-eating reactions to the idea of Corn Pizza.
My Husband is clearly excited. And silly.
My father is clearly proud of himself. And also silly.
After eating, the reactions were mixed. My daughter was not impressed, but ate all of hers. She likes pizza, but doesn't seem particularly drawn to the corn aspect:

My dad was confused, clearly, from this picture:
But he didn't spit it out like Gordon Ramsay on Hell's Kitchen, so that's good. My husband was also indifferent. I believe his quote was "I wouldn't avoid it at a party, but neither would I seek it out." I Felt that it did little for me, and if I'm paying extra for a topping, it's going to be more cheese or olives or onions or something. Corn just isn't a stand out on pizza, it's just extra calories. Not too odd, but not something you'd find in the average Domino's either (although it is in the Domino's here)!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

new house, new kid, same old me.

Yes, I know it's been ages.

Yes I have good reasons.

See, isn't she cute? And FOUR FLIPPING WEEKS early?

5 days after she was born we moved into a new apartment.

2 weeks later we're still mostly in boxes.

Oh well. At least I got my Redhead!

Edited to add: We named her Devorah.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Reflections on traveling with a toddler...

So, we survived the trip! The plane was not so bad, thanks to Benadryl, but they did lose our gate checked stroller in London (how do you do that??) which we didn't get back until our way BACK through Dulles going home. sigh.
3 days in a car with my good-natured kid? piece of cake. seriously. the 4th day was pretty bad however. We arrived in Washington State at my Parent's with a trashed SUV (crackers and dried formula everywhere) Naked Child (well, she had a diaper on. I didn't have the will to dig out clean clothes from one of our 7 suitcases after her diaper exploded in Eastern Oregon), and two parents with only one nerve left after nearly being blown off the road in Wyoming and nearly being blocked from our end destination by state-wide flooding in Washington. WOW.
It was pure joy to see my parents interact with their only grandkid (for another 6 weeks at least) and be so silly and permissive and un-parent like! Sigh. and I never had to worry if I wanted to leave the baby home, because you know G-ma and G-pa WANT to keep her there!
I've many thoughts about America in general, but I'll save those for another post.