Friday, July 15, 2011

Home Sweet Home!

Thanks to the Good Lord, I'm home.  OK, just 24 hours later than originally scheduled.  My Delta flight was cancelled as we waited to board it.  Hundreds of passengers scrambled to make other plans, including yours truly.  There was all sorts of unexpected "bonding" between strangers as happens at times like that.

With the help of dear relatives I got one of the very last seats, if not the last, on the same flight the next day.  Delta gave me a choice of hotel near the airport or taxi service to/from wherever, plus three $6- food vouchers to be used in the JFK Airport nosh places.  Considering that an apple cost between $1.03 and $1.90 each and kosher food was a scoop of Hagen Daz or some exotic stuff in one food place, there wasn't much to buy.  And I wasn't going to drink coffee when I needed to sleep.

I ended up needing the keys to my daughter's NY studio apartment.  Just the night before at dinner I tried to return the keys and she said:
"Keep them; you never know when you'll need them."
So, now, back to the routine of cooking.  My husband and the freezer (I prepared stuff in advance) are providing most of the Shabbat food.

Thank G-d we're back home safe and sound.  More of my adventures for future posts, G-d willing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

3, 2, 1! Havel Havelim #321 worth more than 10 Agoroth

Despite blog carnival's lack of functioning, Ya'aqov has produced a fine Havel Havelim.  I don't know what happened to my posts.  I'm positive I sent links, but none have been included.  They may have gotten lost.

Check it out.  There's plenty to read.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011Adventures in America, Summer 2011, #7, Hanging Out in AZ

I've been enjoying my time in Arizona, at my sister's, seeing my parents, and now with friends for the weekend.  I had a nice relaxing Shabbat and now we'll be off touring.  That's a bonus, an unplanned surprise.  G-d willing I'll write more about it later.

AZ is so different from Israel.  Phoenix is enormous, and the Great Phoenix area is close to the size of Israel, at least Judea-Samaria and the coast combined.  Without a car, you just can't survive here.  They also have a lightrail which cost a fortune.  Few people use it.  Actually my brother-in-law is in that exclusive club, because there's a station by their house and it goes to his office.

More later...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Adventures in America, Summer 2011, #6, You Need a Sense of Humor

I'm in Arizona being hosted by my sister and her family and will spend Shabbat with a friend.  We visited my parents who are in an "old age place" in Scottsdale.  The place was started as an "independent living" facility with a few "assisted living" contracts.  They've expanded the assisted percentage, so there's a bit of a traffic jam during mealtimes from all the walkers and wheelchairs.

Those who function without help keep away and sit at separate tables if they are taking meals.  They know that at least if their minds begin to go, they won't be thrown out. 

My parents each suffer different versions of dementia.  There seem to be lots of versions, variations, more than colors in the rainbow.  They've made a friend there, a woman who lives on her own, propels herself around with the help of a walker.  She considers herself very independent.  All of the bus drivers in the area know her and where she must get off. The guy who brought my father is night meds told us that he used to work on the bus.  They didn't let her off at the mall. She's very friendly with a very poor short-term memory.  I was introduced to her numerous times, and she kept forgetting who I am.

She has latched herself onto my parents, since they like company, and she loves to be with people.  My father doesn't seem to notice or mind the repitition and my mother loves the compliments and attention.  My sister has known her for months now.  While we were visiting my sister was taking care of some things for our parents and saw her in the lobby.  The woman began a conversation, and my sister tried to explain that she had to get to her parents and suggested that the friend come along.

"But I don't think I've met your parents."

No surprise that she didn't remember who I am when she couldn't remember my sister.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Adventures in America, Summer 2011, #5, Bad Time to Visit Phoenix

Maybe I shouldn't go.  I really must go to Phoenix, AZ, even though there's a dangerous dust storm, and I have a bad cold and I feel awful.  I can't not go.  I have to see my parents.

My sister and her husband were out last night when the dust rolled in.  OK, not outside, but they entered the car in an indoor parking lot, heard the fire alarms, because the dust was thought to be smoke by the machines. 

Since almost everyone has totally airconditioned homes, no windows are left open.

I'm glad my kids and baby granddaughter were there last week.

Never dull, is it?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"Adventures in America, Summer 2011, #4, Being "Groped" in The Hospital

I ended up having a "cousins club meeting" in a Long Island hospital.  I don't know if the other people in the waiting room appreciated our sense of humor.  Actually, there were cousins from both sides, all who loved to joke around.

And the "groping" incident.  It even put a smile on the face of the person we were visiting. 

He was in a room for people awaiting and recovering from simple procedures and tests.  The beds were separated by curtains, and no matter where I stood, people on the other side kept touching me.  It certainly wasn't the sort of "hospital grope" one could report or even would want to.  There was nothing sexual or intentional.

The staff also totally misinterpreted all the relationships etc giving us more to laugh about.

Let's wish refuah shleimah, complete recovery to all who need it.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

KCC, Outside of the Box and Other Jblog News

Cooking Outside the Box has presented her debut Kosher Cooking Carnival!  She did a wonderful job. there are lots of tasty ideas in the included links.  Be sure to visit.  If you'd like to host one, please contact me.  Don't forget to send in you kosher food posts to be included in the next edition which will be hosted by Adventures in MamaLand.

Havel Havelim has come back to life!  Frume Sarah's the hostess with the mostest, especially considering that there hasn't been an HH for a few weeks.  This edition is packed with lots of goodies for your reading pleasure. 

And check out the "blog across the street" who celebrates Rosh Chodesh by posting some great articles.

If you facebook, then be sure to share all of these with your friends.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Call for KCC Posts!

Don't you guys cook? 
The Kosher Cooking Carnival is coming up real soon, and you should send in your posts directly to Cooking Outside the Box today. 

Everything about kosher food goes to KCC!

Adventures in America, Summer 2011, #3, Preparing for a "Plastic Wedding"

This time I'm prepared.  We're in for another "plastic wedding."

American Jewry has changed.  In our day, decades ago, most Jewish weddings, no matter how non-religious the families were, took a kosher caterer.  A festive event necesitated "Jewish style" food, and the goyim, traif caterers, just didn't know how to fill up a Jewish stomach.

Today, from what we have been told, things have changed. 

But eating plastic wrapped kosher food at an "all Jewish" wedding is nothing compared to what someone I know recently went through.  She decided that even though all the major players in a family wedding weren't really Jewish and it was even going to take place on Shabbat, she would attend so she could see her surviving parent, all her siblings, their kids and lots of cousins.

America has changed.  American Jewry has changed.

I live in a special Jewish "bubble" in the holy city of Shiloh, thank G-d!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Writing About Summer Camp

A few weeks ago, I saw that Tablet, a Jewish internet magazine, had asked for stories about camp.  My camp experiences weren't very Jewish, so I didn't even attempt to enter anything.  Instead I sent a note about it to the Betar list.  A lot of our Betar friends got their start in Betar and Zionism by being sent to Camp Betar.  So I had no doubt that there were some really great stories to be told.  I just wondered if a Camp Betar story would be chosen among the winning ones.

Too bad there's no "agent's fee."  Eileen's story made it!

Homecoming
by Eileen Chupak Baranes, Camp Betar


I first went to Camp Betar in Neversink, N.Y., when I was about 14 years old. I went there with my best friend, Shushie, whose mother found the camp. I had no idea whatsoever about Zionism, but I knew it was a Jewish camp.

The first year we were in the Kanaim group, which was the oldest group. We were two teenage girls from the Bronx who were into boys and not much else. I loved it there. It was fun. The girls and guys were fun, and the counselors weren’t much older than we were.


Tisha B’Av came around. Whoever fasted was exempt from activities that day. So, of course Shushie and I fasted. We got bored sitting in the bunk, so we snuck out of camp and walked into Neversink, which was a small one-general-store town, to get supplies for after the fast. I remember buying a bottle of Mountain Dew and lots of munchies. Then we turned around and, to our surprise, saw all the head staff of camp in the store. Did we get in trouble! They confiscated what we bought and marched us back to the camp.

That night we had kitchen duty. We had to clean the kitchen and scrub down the stoves and ovens; it was terrible. We got so dirty and greasy; the showers in the bunks didn’t have hot water so we had to take a cold shower to get the shmutz off of us.

But don’t think that that was the end of our being bad. Our counselor, Barbara, didn’t know how to handle us. She just finished high school and was going away to college. We didn’t like her. One day we got a bucket of water, opened the door a little, and put it on the top of the door; we waited until she came in and she got the bucket of water on her head. For that she made a guy counselor take us on night maneuvers to scare us. But, please, we were from the Bronx (as a matter of fact so was he): Nothing scared us.

Until the end of camp I didn’t have a clue about Zionism. Then the guys from Machon L’Madrichim came back from Israel. They had light in their eyes. They were like magic. I can’t describe how I enjoyed listening to them talk of Israel and their experience and the Jewish destiny to live in Israel. After that I joined Betar and went to the meetings in the Bronx. Forty-six years after that I am still in Israel and do not have a moment’s regret.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Adventures in America, Summer 2011, #2 Jet Lag

It's me, the zombie speaking blogging.  I dozed deeply if that's not an oxymoron for an hour yesterday and then a short doze after a late dinner on the way to my sister/brother in-laws' place.  Then I/my body was wide awake according to Israel time, so I kept talking to my sister-in-law much too late.

My husband is blessed with theability to sleep any time any place.

Today a dear friend is taking us shopping, discount style. I dont' really need much, but my husband does.

No doubt, adventure #3 will be a "mall."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Adventures in America, Summer 2011, #1 Good News, Bad News

Thank G-d the flight was fine.  Good thing I took a sweater.  The airplane was very cold.  Another thing was that the Delta kosher breakfast was not a menu for me.  Good thing that I had brought apples, almonds and a red pepper.

  • And good news that we landed early, no problems. 
  • Bad news was that USA Passport Control was still on skeleton staff until 5am, so we had to wait over half an hour.
I don't know how often I'll update.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Warning Re: Ice Cubes

Here's what I wrote on facebook:
Careful with ice. I had to save my youngest by doing the Heimlich to remove it, and my husband's cousin (an RN) had to do CPR on her eldest, both cases due to ice cubes.
Please don't give young kids ice cubes to suck on.

I don't have time to write more.  Stay safe!!

Spinning Out of Control

Last night I couldn't fall asleep.  I felt my mind spinning out of control.  It's not all that easy to relax when there are too many "loose ends" concerning our trip to the states.  We're not being picked up at the airport, and we don't have a "schedule" for the first few days.  Basically, we have a place to stay, but it's not all that convenient.  As much as I complained about my parents' Great Neck, NY house, at least we could walk the mile to and from the station and find lots of kosher restaurants on Middleneck Road.  Well, that part of my life is over.  The house was sold soon after my mother left it for Arizona.  I honestly don't know if I'll ever be in Great Neck again.

Before traveling, I still have to go to work in Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin.  Actually, my boss wouldn't have blamed me if I had said that I couldn't make it, but I don't want the week to be a waste.  If I see a ride home early, I'll take it.

The "upside" of my not sleeping well/enough the past couple of nights is that I shouldn't have trouble falling asleep on the plane.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"That" Time of The Year

Actually, I thought I'd do it more frequently this past year, but I didn't get back to the states at all.  My sister handled all of my parents' (actually my mother's) medical emergencies etc as they enjoy being in Arizona.  My father praises the weather, since he's never cold, and my mother likes having my sister nearby. 

I've "reinvented" my life after almost a year of having my father living here in Shiloh with us.  Wednesdays became my special beloved day of Tanach, Bible study in Matan.  I began giving occasional classes to my Shabbat Shiur Nashim Women's Study Group.  I've even registered for two days of the summer Herzog College Bible Classes.  I truly hope that I can handle/absorb two days of five classes each.  At least there is transportation from Shiloh.  Maybe one day would have been enough, and they aren't cheap.  I've wanted to other years, but I'm usually away then.

Besides my studying, I've taught as a tutor and returned to an earlier profession, sales.  I work in Yafiz.  It's not the best job I've ever had, but it's good for now and doesn't demand any preparation.  The added bonus is getting to see so many friends when they shop there and in Rami Levi.

I've requested that a few friends try to blog here when I'm away.  I may not get too much computer time.  I'm not leaving today, but I figured it was time to update you.

Stay safe and healthy and comment...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

New Veggie Combination and New Salad, Too

I'm trying to use up food that we have, since we're off to...



We have some mitzvot to do in Chutz La'Aretz, out of the HolyLand.

Searching the fridge, I discovered two cabbages I bought a couple of weeks ago. A red one and a green one.

With the red cabbage I made a simple, colorful salad.  I cut up all the ingredients, slicing the apples and carrots as thin as I could.  You can do the cutting in a food processor.
  • red cabbage
  • apple (I used granny smith, but any apple would taste good)
  • carrots
  • olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • I would have added raisins or dried cranberries, but I don't keep them in the house, because I'd eat them all immediatedly.
I cooked the green cabbage with onion, carrots, tomato paste and ginger root.  First I sauteed the onions, ginger and carrots.  Then I added the cabbage and tomato paste and some boiling water to dilute the tomato paste.  This was really delicious and so easy to make.  If I had enough squash, I would have added it, too.  Most vegetables would taste good with this, or you can use it for a sauce to serve with pasta or over hamburgers or meatlof or fish or just about anything!