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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Eclipse

Yesterday we saw a solar eclipse, which was pretty neat. I knew that it was expected, but hadn't thought too much about it. Luckily, my co-worker kept us all up-to-date, and when the hour came, she made sure that we were ready to watch it, with the pin-prick in the cardboard and some X-rays on hand to look through and see the actual process. It was really quite something, and I was pleased that Hagai was home sick, because I was able to call him and tell him where there were some x-rays stored so that he could see the process for himself. He definitely got a better education at home yesterday than he did at school!

Yesterday was my english birthday. Forty-eight. Yochi made supper, and I frosted a cake that I had in the freezer and had "Happy Birthday" sung to me, and some back-rubs. Nice. I bought myself a food-processor with the Pesach money that my mother sent, which, believe me, was a very nice birthday present, since it will save me a LOT of time and energy in the future.

I also got my hair cut this morning, and at my friend's house, where I was getting it cut, caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I can actually SEE that I've lost weight! Hurray! Now if I can just get through Pesach without putting anything back on......The Weight Watcher's program really works, with its point system, and the kids help, always asking me "how many points in that? Have you finished all your points yet today? My problem is that now, I've gotten used to not eating, and am almost not meeting my mandatory points every day! Such problems! I never could have managed to pay the Weight Watcher's fee, much less to go to the weekly meetings -- leaving the house at night is impossible...in addition to the time constraints, it's not nice to leave the kids alone in the house. But so far...so good.

Pictures will be posted soon -- I figured it out, and just need to download them into my home- computer, one at a time. Oh well, easier than making hard copies of them and sending them out to everyone through the snail mail.

Monday, March 27, 2006

thank goodness for internet!

First of all, thanks to TsfatMarm for her post...aside from the knowledge that someone reads my ramblings, there were some interesting ideas there for brewers yeast.

HOWEVER...I just found this on the internet: "Since brewer's yeast is low in carbohydrates, fat, calories and sodium it is especially useful to diabetics, hypoglycemics, weight watchers and vegetarians". I forget the website that I found it on, but it was good to know that I can indulge A LITTLE without feeling guilty. I did ask my neighbor to air pop my popcorn, and yes, the brewers yeast and salt didn't stick to it much, but...such is life. I munched on it in the bottom of the bag after I finished the popcorn, and enjoyed it just as much (though it turns me into kind of a mess while it's dribbling on me at work).

Tomorrow is election day here. I'm not going to comment much on the Israeli elections, especially since I have very little to say besides...Israeli politics is just as disgusting as politics are anywhere, politicians are just as crooked, and the whole process leaves me just as disgusted. But it gives us a day off of work, since according to Israeli law, election day is a paid holiday! so I have a day to work on my fridge and stove and some other cleaning jobs pre-Pesach. It won't exactly be a day off, since there's a ton of stuff to do at home, but at least I don't have to take a vacation day to clean!

In addition to Pesach cleaning, I am scanning the internet for Seder ideas. It seems that we'll be home for this year's Seder, and though we may have another mother and her children with us, I can already see that the running of the Seder will pretty much fall on me.

One of the things that I've dreamed about for years is making an interesting, entertaining, interactive, inviting Seder, with lots of questions, discussions, and child-participation. We didn't have that too much for most of the years when my husband ran the Seder -- he just read through the Seder like a novel (though he let everyone take turns reading aloud). I guess that you do what you know. But I've been surfing the...you guessed it...internet, and am preparing my crib sheet with questions and ideas. I HOPE that it will be fun, and will give my children something to build on when they establish their own homes.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

menus

I haven't had any popcorn with brewers yeast for about a week, and sure enough, my fingernails are tearing. I figured out several months ago, when I started eating popcorn with brewers yeast, that the extra B12 is very helpful for my nails, which, for my entire life, have been soft and short. So now I have to decide what to do....use up 2 of my precious Weight Watchers points for a bag of popcorn in the morning (with brewers yeast) or forgo my nails, since I don't seem to eat anything else that b.y. goes well with. Maybe I can borrow a popcorn machine from my neighbor so I can pop it without oil. One point.

On the upside, I've lost 8 kilos in the last 2 months, so something must be working.

Did a second mamogram this morning...the first one showed "something suspicious" on it, so I had to redo it. There's still something suspicious, though it's small enough that the doctor couldn't feel it during an exam. Anyway, I'll probably have to go for some kind of biopsy soon. I take comfort in the information that most of these findings turn out to be cysts, and at my stage in life, that's when all these cysts start forming. But I really didn't need this now. Just when I think that I've got more on my plate than I can handle....something to keep life interesting. sigh.

Friday, March 24, 2006

You learn something new....

A few days ago, at work, I saw some onions whose time had come and gone. They were rotted, and green stalks sprouted from them.

When I pointed them out, one of the girls who works at Livnot said "oh, you can plant them in the garden, and they'll grow new onions.

Since it didn't cost me much, and since I have the garden space that I cleared, which is sunnier now after I pruned the tree above it, and since I won't have much time to do much else with the space, I decided to give it a try. Hagai and I planted 7 bulbs, with the stems sticking out of the ground, and I've watered it a bit.

Today, I went to the local nursery to get some window pots and herbs/plants to plant (if they're on the porch, i figure that I won't forget to water them too much) and I asked the manager there about the onions. "Oh yes," he said "leave them there all summer, and by fall, you'll have onions!" I'm so proud of myself!

Took Lola, the stray that we've been taking care of, to a new family yesterday afternoon. By evening, she'd bolted her leash and was back in our yard. Depressed doesn't quite describe how I feel. She's a great dog, but I think that I've done my part with 2 dogs and 3 cats (not to mention the nudnik outside who yowls every time she sees me, waiting to be fed). My tikkun? If it is, it's not the worst one that could be.

Shabbat Shalom,

Monday, March 20, 2006

24 hours

Finished work yesterday at 4:15p.m., after a full 8-hour day. Just a little log of activities afterward.....
  • Stopped at the supermarket on the way home for tofu. None.
  • Fed dogs and cats
  • Put chicken backs on to cook for dogs/cats dinners for the next week
  • Gave Margalit 20 shekels for a ball
  • Wiped down the last of the bookshelves (yes, I know that I said that I wouldn't do anything that wasn't necessary for Pesach, but they were full of dust, and if not now....never!
  • Did the tops of the bookshelves, (schlepped in a ladder) which haven't seen a human hand for years. Got rid of unnecessary stuff.
  • Took down 2 loads of laundry that had been hanging.
  • Put another load of laundry in the washing machine.
  • Wiped down drawers in girls' room.
  • Washed floor in boys' room.
  • Washed floor in girls' room.
  • Fielded phone calls.
  • Made dinner -- fried fish, mashed potatos, salad. Set table, put out everything. Made hard-boiled eggs for Yochi, who doesn't eat fish. Margalit ate most of the eggs.
  • Cleaned up from dinner.
  • Discovered that Yoda (ginger cat) had somehow gotten something on his back. Gave cat a bath. (a whole blog in and of itself!)
  • Put a load in the washing machine.
  • Dessert for dessert-eaters.
  • Put Margalit to bed. (15-minute activity, since she uses that time to tell me everything that's happened in her life, and she likes do do a relaxation exercise that we've begun to do)
  • Recopied my address book into a read-able format.
  • Washed the after-dinner coffee/mocca/hot chocolate mugs.

Bed.

this morning, I woke up at 6:30a.m. Had to be at work at 8:30a.m. Before work, I:

  • Woke up Yochi and Margalit.
  • supervised Margalit's dressing/preparing her backpack
  • Made Margalit's grilled cheese, vegetables, snack
  • Made my Weight-Watchers food for the day. Counted 10 points. (I get my other 10 points at supper).
  • filled the dogs' water bowl.
  • filled the dogs' food bowl.
  • filled the cats' food bowl.
  • Fed Bagheera and Miranda (cats who distain dry food)
  • Got Margalit out the door with her friends
  • Hung laundry from last night
  • Prepared the bedrooms downstairs for renters
  • Closed and locked windows throughout the house
  • Took out garbage.

Got to work at 8:30a.m. (OK, it was more like 8:35a.m.)

When I pray, I basically just ask God to give me strength.

Heard through the grapevine that Ariella is back in Tzfat, staying at her father's house, suspended (or expelled) from her latest school. How much can one person worry?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

technological blip

Just got my last roll of pictures developed, and there are some that I'd love to post, but....I'm having trouble figuring out how to work the disc that they gave me. I downloaded the disc to my computer, but can only see all the pictures at once...can't figure out how to pull out one at a time. Gr-r-r-r-r. I'll just have to ask my 13-year-old.

The Purim barbque was a great success. Hagai and his friends did the fire and the grilling, while the rest of us sat around the table, munching. Everything was grilled to perfection. The last time Avishai was home, he got the fire going by putting our fan on an extension cord and bringing it out the window to fan the fire -- quite a bit easier to get the fire going when you don't have to spend so much time and energy madly fanning it manually. A bit of a cheat, I guess, but it worked. So Hagai had the fan next to him the whole time, and getting a nice hot fire going was a....um...breeze.

The director of the program that I work with, aharon, mentioned that his son was returning to Tzfat...he had tried to help set up a farm in the Shomron (Samaria), but it hadn't worked out.

I was again brought to examine my own reservations at starting anything new...the fear of failure, of trying the unknown. I told Aharon that I admired his son for trying (trying, in his case, meant not only going to see if he could live there, but taking with him his wife and 3 little girls). so what if it didn't work out -- he tried to follow his dream.

I have an idea for a little cottage industry, and I'm pretty sure that it would be a success. But aside from the time pressure that I'm under (I barely have time to make phone calls -- I'd have to get a design ready, order the initial shipment, work out payment, register with the income tax authorities, and figure out how to market), I'm scared about investing the initial, what would be, about $1000.

I'm so used to living hand -to-mouth that the thought of finding 4500 shekels to invest terrifies me. Yet I'm pretty sure that I could at least get a return on my investment, and I'm also pretty sure that I'd turn a profit.

I hear all the time about people who mortgage their home because they think that they have a good idea and need some start-up capitol. Why can't I?

Maybe after Pesach cleaning is finished....

Monday, March 13, 2006

our messages

Should have some nice new pictures from Purim and other happenings soon. Now that I have an idea of how to put pictures on the net, send them through e-mail, etc., I'm really into it! I also always get hard copies of my pictures for the photo albums.

Part of my job at Livnot is to keep track of the letters that the alumni send. Yesterday, I saw a letter that someone had written to her chevre (co-participants) that really made me sit up and take notice.

She wrote that several months ago, one of the national service girls (bnot sherut) who work with the participants when they're here had called her to tell her about something that was happening in her city (Washington DC) and when she told the girl that she couldn't attend because of her friend's wedding, the bat sherut became very animated, saying "oh, how nice that your friend is getting married? To whom? Where?" and so on.

It struck her as nice that the bat sherut had joined in her "simcha" (happiness) for her friend, but didn't think much of of it until recently, when she was excited because of the birth of a cousin. She was stunned that her co-workers, whom she told of her excitement, showed no interest or appreciation of her joy, and she ended by saying that she wants to find a community where the members feel each others' happiness (and, when necessary, sadnesses too).

Aside from the message of "community", I was struck by a second message that came across...the message that something that we do without even thinking about it, something that is a passing moment in our lives, can have such a profound effect on others.

Obviously one can't live one's life constantly thinking of how one's demeanor or actions are affecting everyone around them. But it's something to keep in the back of our mind...that what we do can sometimes have reprecussions way beyond the moment. And if that's true, how much truer can it be that when we (almost always) act in a pleasant, joyful, peaceful manner, we positively affect those around all the more.

For a parent, that's something not just to think about, but never to forget!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Welcome back

Haven't posted for awhile, but it doesn't mean that I haven't thought about putting recent events down in writing...just haven't had time. I have, to put it as simply as possible, very little time for myself. Oh well, I guess being bored would be worse.

A young woman came into the Visitors Center yesterday. She was part of a UJC mission from Palm Beach, and was enthralled (as so many people are) by the city. It is very picturesque and quaint from the outside, and frankly, from the inside, it's pretty nice.

Anyway, she was very emotional about her visit, and said that she felt drawn to Tzfat, and kept crying, and didn't know why. I told her that perhaps, she had been here in one of her previous reincarnations (gilgulim in hebrew), and she somehow remembered it. Or maybe her soul was just telling her that Tzfat "spoke" to her her in some way, and she was being encouraged to come back, study, connect, whatever.

It sounds kind of hokey, but I do know that things that I once dismissed as "too other-worldly" or "weird" or "mumble-jumble" can't be so easily dismissed...there are too many things that happen that we can't understand, and sometimes, it's just best to give yourself over to the realization that there are things out there that are beyond our understanding, it's our "job" to do the best that we can with what we're given.

The concept of reincarnation sounds nuts, but, well, why do some people have such a hard row to hoe? Why is life so hard for some people? Why do some people seem to look for trouble, for abuse? Why are some people so seemingly angry when other people who have a much harder life never show anger and always seem to be happy? Could it be that some people have a "tikun", a rectification of something that happened in a previous life, that they have to go through?

I think about this a lot because my 18-year-old, Ariella, has always been a very difficult person to be around. Pregnancy with her was difficult, her birth was difficult, and from the first day that I brought her home from the hospital, she was never consolable, never calm, never happy. Today, she's hurt and angry, and deals with those feelings by being demanding and selfish and rebelling against any boundries. Why? Why her? And why couldn't I have found a way to help her a long time ago?

To say that I feel guilty is an understatement, but at some point, I also feel that there are some things that are out of my [our] control, and I have to give myself up to that and just pray that things will come out for the best.

OK, enough. Purim! Barbque with friends! Costumes! HAPPINESS!!! Hope that there will be pictures for posting soon!