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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Birthday


It was Margalit's 11th birthday 2 weeks ago, and while she celebrated already in school, we were going to wait for a home celebration until Avishai and Ariel(la) got home. This was supposed to be the weekend, and Ariel is bringing her boyfriend Ben home for a visit too, but then Yochi was told that she has a Shabbat with her school, and then Avishai's army unit decided to do Shabbat together by the Kinneret......I'm just the restauranter, I guess. Robin, my cousin, is coming back, this time with a friend. So that will be nice. There's going to be a lot of chili left over.


Margalit's friends made her a suprise birthday party Wednesday afternoon. Here's a picture.
Top row: Chaya Rina, Hadas (the girl who took the stray pup) and Zohar;
Bottom Row: Meira (who's been in pre-kindergarden and onwards with margalit since age 1), Margalit, Racheli and Ta'alia.
Trivia question: WHICH one of these girls looks like she gives her teachers sleepless nights?
Answer: The one I know the best.


Monday, April 23, 2007

A Sunday on a Tuesday




Yochi told me a few weeks ago that a group of "March of the Living" teens from Palm Beach would be coming to Tzfat after their Poland experience (I can't quite bring myself to call it a "visit") and she and some of the other Young Leadership kids would be doing something with them.

Saturday night, she suddenly told me that the "something" that they were going to be doing included hosting them overnight, and that we'd have a young girl staying here.

Sunday night, Yochi showed up with three guests....one was one of the Israeli girls in her group, who would be staying overnight, one was the American guest, and the third was one of the group leaders whose promised arrangement for a hotel room fell through.

I just moved upstairs and gave them the downstairs, and the three girls got along very nicely, attending the Rememberance Day ceremony on Sunday night and going to school together on Monday. Truthfully, I hardly knew that they were there. And the madricha (leader) was a lovely young thirtysomething lady who was lively and easy to talk to....I enjoyed her visit very much. I'm not quite sure where 3 bags of milk and quite a bit of cereal went to, but I'm glad that Yochi feels comfortable inviting unexpected guests, and knows that they'll be taken care of here.
Today is Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day. I call it my one Sunday of the year, because it's the one day that we have off of work that isn't a Shabbat/holiday (with its religious restrictions) or getting ready for a holiday/Shabbat (i.e. cooking). I could have technically slept in, and should have, since I stayed up late last night waiting for Margalit to come in from her wanderings around town (with friends) but my internal alarm clock woke me up at 7:00a.m., so before I start doing the things that I had planned for today (besides the picnic -- mostly early Shabbat prep) I am enjoying the time on the computer that I have with no one else saying "when are you going to be done?"

Yochi was supposed to join the march to Homesh, which is one of the West Bank settlements evacuated by the army last year, but their bus leaves early, and she got home late last night, so she decided to forgo that, and will be hiking to Meron with her B'nai Akiva group. I decided to join a group of friends who are going into the wadi beneath Tzfat for a picnic...aside from the lack of need to drive, this way I can help ferry out some of our neighbors who don't have a car. Margalit will have friends, but the "other" picnic, which is planned for farther away, has families with older kids, and Hagai and Yochi would prefer to go with them.

Frankly, I'm worn out with trying to make everyone happy. The endless worry that everyone's needs be taken care of. I could care less where I set up my barbque, or with who, but somehow I always feel as though I'm slacking because whatever I decide, someone isn't pleased.

On the upside, whatever we do, I'll have some nice pictures to upload afterward.


And afterward.......here's some pics!


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Robin and the Rappeports



"Timon"


The "cousins weekend" didn't really turn into one, in the end. One of my cousins, who comes every year to volunteer with a program called "Shaltiel" which promotes Arab-Jewish cooperation, was bumped from his flight because of overcrowding and will only get to Israel tonight, which won't allow him to come north. I am very disappointed, but that's life.



My other cousin, who is volunteering for 3 months in Tiberias, came yesterday afternoon, but decided to return to Tiberias as night because she didn't think that she had warm enough clothes for the chilly Tzfat weather. I offered to loan her some things, but she thought that she'd prefer to go back. When she was going to meet her ride, however, she did say that she'd like to come back again, perhaps with a friend, which would be nice, so maybe they can come in 2 weeks when Avishai and Ariella are going to be here.



And in another coincidence, the couple who are renting downstairs for 2 nights didn't bring their food with them, so I invited them to eat lunch with us, since we didn't have our other guests. They turned out to be lovely people and good conversationists, and even though I was disappointed at the cousin-less lunch, I had a good time.



As Shabbat ended, the neighborhood kids found some puppies which had been abandoned on the road below the house. I shouted at Margalit to take the one that she wanted to foster BACK to where she found it -- maybe just ONCE, some other sucker can take care of a stray.



So.....it's now snuggled with Hagai on his bed.....not enough other suckers in the neighborhood.



Here's some pictures of the creature (and his sibling, which, thankfully, some neighbors took in)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Restock







Interesting culinary challenges this Pesach.
Avishai eats kitniyot. He could care less. Me too, frankly, though I like to stick with what I know.

Ariella doesn't eat meat, fish, eggs, or cheese. Try organizing some food for her! (her boyfriend doesn't eat kitniyot, so when I asked her what they took to eat for their tiyul to the Dead Sea, she said "LOTS of fruit and vegetables")

Yochi doesn't eat meat or fish, and DOES NOT LIKE MATZA. She's rather fanatic about it.

Hagai decided that he loves "matza crap", which most of us call matza brei, or fried matza. Thank goodness, because he ate enough of it.

Margalit continues to get away with eating very little food of nutritional value and showing no worse for the wear.

As for me, I managed to get through the holiday without gaining any weight, which is something that I'm a little obsessed with, after having lost 15 kilos last year. Everyone keeps telling me how great I look, which is....well, what can I say.....VERY encouraging.

Took a nice trip to Tel Dan with the kids, though I have to find a solution to the problem of everyone wanting to do something different. Yochi kept saying "what's there to DO there?" even though the spot is magnificent -- lush, clean, wonderful hiking trail.....we originally said that we'd do the nature thing first, then go do "paintball", which I still don't know what it is because we never found it. But we did stop in the "Center" in Rosh Pinna for some shopping, so everyone came home happy.

Now I have so much on my plate these next few days that I don't know what to do...lots of food items still need to be bought, either because I forgot them during my first massive post-holiday shopping, or because the store wasn't stocking them yet. Hagai wants to go to the library in Rosh Pinna tomorrow, and it's Margalit's birthday on Sunday, so aside from her present and home celebration, she wants to do her school celebration on Friday (games, prizes, treats, etc).

And finally, I have two cousins coming for Shabbat....Russ from my father's side, and Robin from my mother's side. Robin is here in Israel for 3 months volunteering in Tiberias, and this is the first time that I'll have ever met her. She's 23. Russ comes every year -- he volunteers for a week with an organization that promotes Jewish-Arab relations, and always comes to visit for a day. I'm really looking forward to the Shabbat with them, but it would be nice to have something good to eat, which means -- cooking.






Wednesday, April 04, 2007

On the Road.....

There are only 2 days of Chol HaMoed (the intermediate days of Pesach) this year when it's feasible to "do" something....tomorrow is Friday, which means we need to cook for Shabbat. And Sunday is the morning before the last holiday of Pesach, which again means...cooking.

So yesterday and today are the days that we have to take a trip. I'm supposed to work for part of Chol HaMoed, and I have the other part off as a paid holiday, so I worked yesterday, and today I'm off. Frankly, my idea of a wonderful vacation would be to stay and home and putter around, read, maybe take a walk, etc.

But no one really cares what my idea of a good day is. So we are off to the Banias National Park this morning with grill and food (YOU figure out what kind of food to take for a picnic on Pesach, especially non-meat!) because Hagai wants to hike. And then, we'll probably stop at the paintball hall for a few hours, because Yochi wants to "do something fun".

I'll take a book, I guess. At any rate, it'll be good for some new pictures to post.

Now the dilemna is when to wake up the sleeping tigers. It's SO quiet and peaceful here now -- but I don't want to stay out late, especially since I should get the Shabbat cooking started tonight. Plus some shopping. Plus I promised Margalit that we'd look for sandals for her. It's going to be a LONG 12 hours.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Ah-h-h-h-h

So, between Saturday night and last night, as of 6:30p.m., the following had been taken care of:

  • chametz stuff -- put away
  • Pesach stuff -- taken out of boxes and shelved
  • kitchen floor -- washed
  • soup -- made (vegan)
  • chicken -- made
  • eggplant cassarole (vegan) -- made
  • ratoutille -- (vegan) made
  • roast potatos (v) made
  • mashed potatos (v) made
  • quinoa (v) made
  • salad (v) made
  • traditional Pesach strawberry Rappeport jam (v) -- made
  • Pesach rolls (for the day-of-Seder-before-Matza-allowed) -- made (eggs)
  • living room (where chametz was set up for the hours pre-Pesach, since it's freezing outside and the porch wasn't available) -- cleaned
  • last minute shopping (milk stuff, drinks, Kosher-for-Pesach dog food) -- done
  • laundry (2 loads) -- done
  • Seder plate -- set up (including a spare zorah bone, since the cat ate #1)
  • Margalit's room -- set up for 2 overnight guests
  • lettuce (for Seder) checked for bugs

This included an 8-hour work day on Sunday, though I admit that I slipped out about 15 minutes early.

Anyway, do I deserve to be proud of myself, or what? This was mostly a one-woman act, and I didn't get upset even once, or even raise my voice. What I didn't do myself, I directed, and aside from a case of pure exhaustion, I'm rather pleased with myself.

The Seder itself was also nice. For the first time, I pretty much led it, though we shared tasks and didn't stand on ceremony much -- everyone took turns participating, and I offered 5 shekels per person to anyone who had a question that no one could answer, so the kids came up with some good questions, for the first time ever. I also prepared a trivia quiz for Pesach, and that was fun too, and added something.

We still don't compete with the folks who end at 2:00a.m., but I think that we can be proud of our Seder, and I'm pleased that we stayed home and ran our own Seder, rather than counting on someone with a "father" to lead. By golly, we're pretty good!

Next challenge....where to go for a tiyul?