Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Eco-Me Home Products Scam... oy

Found this site thanks to You Grow Girl, a local gardening & life blog I read very regularly.
My first reaction, posted at You Grow Girl:

"OK, part of me says this is a cool way to promote eco-friendly cleaning. Another part says, "wait a second… they're selling a 'refillable/ reusable/ recyclable' jar and a tiny vial of lemongrass-scented oil for $6.50?!?!" (you provide your own baking soda)

Hmm… I ought to start selling my amazing baking soda / apple cider vinegar "no-'poo" hair wash/rinse … or rather, the two dollar-store bottles I mix it up in!!! :-)))

I know you said it's aimed at those who are too "intimidated" to DIY their own eco-products, but this is maybe just a bit silly?" 

But I started thinking and you know what...?
Having perused the site in greater depth now and discovered that EVERY SINGLE "recipe" is either baking soda or vinegar or both (including their baby wipe spray which seems to be mostly vinegar - yuck), I believe this concept is a total scam.

Either that or a joke - like someone saying, "how can we get away with selling 2 for $1 plastic jars for $6.50 a pop?" Gack.


Shepherd's Pie!  Yum!  Nothing else - just the pie!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What do these dates have in common???

Tuesday, October 28 at 4 p.m.
Friday, November 7 at 8 a.m.
Friday, November 21 at 8 a.m.
Tuesday, November 25 at 4 p.m.
Give up???
They are all dates I will be spending 2.5 hours in the dentist's chair.  Gaaaah.
And then, when all that wraps up, December 8th is BELLY BUTTON DAY.
They told me I could be in there FOUR NIGHTS.  Not just four days; FOUR BLOODY NIGHTS (oops, I said bloody again).  I hope they're wrong, he said it could possibly be only three.  I hope to heal up as fast as possible, especially because they charge something like $135 a night for the double room.  Plus, being away from the baby... plus, well, I don't want to think about how it's all going to work.  I don't want this to be the end of breastfeeding.  He's not even a year - he won't even be 18 months.  I'm not ready, dammit!!!  >:-o
The surgeon was pretty ignorant about the breastfeeding issue, actually.  I asked about possible side-effects of the anaesthesia, and he said, "how long have you been nursing?"  And I said, "well, since birth, really."  He said, "I meant, how old is your baby?"  "Almost a year."  "Well, they only recommend nursing up until a year" - as if it's utterly contraindicated beyond one year.  Who the heck does he think he is.  Luckily for him, he backed off, and kind of implied that it was a personal decision between me and my baby's doctor.  Though I'm sure he would have loved to express tons of opinion on that particular topic... I was relieved he didn't venture too far out of his area of expertise (bellybuttons, of course).
The scariest potential side-effect he described is a 1% chance of permanent chronic nerve pain at the incision site.  The question I didn't ask, but wanted to, was - "would most people among the 1% who develop nerve pain consider it less pain or more than the original hernia pain?" 
He explained some stuff about their hospital - Shouldice - that I already knew from the book How Doctors Think (which is where I first heard of it).  Many places are doing hernia operations laparoscopically these days, using mesh patches, all kinds of technology - and most are doing it on an outpatient basis - but their failure rates are higher and their recurrence rates are much higher.  Shouldice sews together your own muscle tissue through a regular old incision.  As he described it, it's the same operation they've been doing for fifty years.  And then they keep you in for three days afterwards to force you to get up and moving around.
During the three hours I was there this morning, they were constantly ordering patients around via the hospital pager system:  "would all patients who are not having surgery today come to the lunchroom?"  or "report for exercise."  It's like a cross between military school and a country club... and a hospital, of course.
Oh - and like I think I said before - he said I have to lose not just eight but fifteen pounds before December 8th, or they won't take me.  I'll think about that tomorrow, because...
Supper tonight:
Didn't happen!
Ted made quiches, but then I spent the evening shlepping around buying Ted's gift and ended up feeding the littles on pizza buns, grape juice & fresh air in the children's garden (aka Claire's garden). 
No circle time at the garden tonight - claire was too exhausted.
And by the time I got home, all I wanted was an Ottawa bagel (only the bagels are under OVH hashgacha - nothing else on the menu!), instant macaroni and iced tea... so that is what I'm having!
What a day; what a week.
<3 J

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ted's Top Secret Birthday Project

Just checking to see if you occasionally stop by to read this thing.
Hee hee.

a mess

I'm a mess... and so is my strawberry patch.

Visit to the belly-button clinic (aka Shouldice Hospital) in the morning lasted ALL morning and I'm still not done - I have to go back and meet with the surgeon. And possibly lose 5 pounds before they'll consider me. Luckily, very luckily, this has been my first pain-free week in MONTHS. I don't know... maybe those aerobics classes are helping? Though I was worried they'd just strain things more. Maybe I can go back tomorrow morning. Ted works late and my mother sort of said she'd stay with the kids in case it takes longer than I planned.

But the falling-apart became more evident in the afternoon with a visit to Dr. Jeff, our friendly neighbourhood dentist. Yes, it's been 3 years since my last cleaning visit. I did expect to be chastised, although I saw him more recently - I went while I was pregnant with Gavriel Zev, he did some work, but then said not to come back until after I'd delivered. Which I didn't quite get around to doing until now... okay, yes, he's 11 months old. The baby, not the dentist. So?

Anyhow. There was NO good news. He thinks maybe I can keep some of my teeth. Just a couple of root canals, a few fillings and gum surgery and then I'll probably be fine, just fine.

The teeth that need to come out are the left wisdom teeth. I was horrified to find out that one of them is LOOSE. I mean, how falling-apart do things have to be to have your teeth actually coming LOOSE at age... ahem... 38???

Plus, my teeth are super-sensitive because apparently I have very little gum tissue left; it's all receded.

The good news is that he was astonished at how good my "home care" is - there was almost zero plaque, even after 3 years with no professional cleanings. The flipside of that is that maybe I'm doing too good a job. With receded gums being so rare at my age, I think he suspects that it may be caused by excessive brushing.

Sheesh. I can't even brag that I'm keeping my teeth nice and CLEAN. They may be clean, but it's because I'm shaving away at my gums twice a day.

As a consolation prize, he sent me away with a nice soft rubbery tipped toothbrush. And some special Fluoridex uber-toothpaste. Regular toothpaste is something like .76% fluoride. This one is 1.1%, which is like the legal maximum or something. And another one called MI Paste. I think MI stands for Mission Impossible - as in "it is impossible that this lady will keep her teeth beyond age forty."

I blame my father; he had gum troubles early on, too. He says he has always been conscientious about brushing, but came to flossing and gum care late in life; too late to avoid painful surgeries etc. Yikes... is that what's in store for me?

Teeth extraction, gum surgery, belly button surgery... my mother said I should just get it all done at once while I'm being anaesthetized anyway.

I am actually happy and excited about the belly button surgery. Not at all scared, even though they only use a local. But I am about 8 pounds over their weight limit for my height so I'll see what the surgeon says - hopefully tomorrow. Gaaaah.

Don't even want to think about that messy strawberry patch right now. I'm just letting the weeds, astrantia and yarrow get clobbered by the giant evening primrose.

Should I make supper? Or continue work on Ted's Top Secret Birthday project? We shall see!


Salmon - some kind of salmon
Scalloped potatoes
Corn on the cob

Only the salmon is legit according to the the Shouldice Surgery Reducing Diet #4 (1000 calories). Blah. :-(

<3 J
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bloody - ack!

Well, please ignore the fifteen-thousand videos of my very cute baby that appear below. I was trying and trying and trying to post and it looked like it worked every bloody single time. Despite any form of confirmation to me that it was working. And despite me checking every few minutes to see if it had posted the video here. Gack.

Speaking of "bloody"... I have been trying NOT to say "bloody hell" around the kids, but Naomi picked it up and a few weeks ago asked me, "what's 'bloody hoo'?"

Anyway, I upped my committment NOT to say it at all, but I guess that revamped committment slipped a couple of times because NOW she has taken to saying "bloody Hoch." Because, of course, that's the rabbi's name. Yikes. In the name of all things that are holy, I really MUST stop saying "bloody" anything now that I know she's listening so intently.

I still hear her bumping around in her bed! Argh. Hope she doesn't get up. Ted should be home from work soon, thankfully.

<3 J
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The VERY cute baby!

testing, testing, testing

Better lemon bee balm picture

Here's a better picture of the lemon bee balm. I love how it looks with the yellow black-eyed susan and the purple coneflowers. Bit of a cliche, sure, but the absurd flower shape of the stacked bee balm MORE than makes up for it, in my humble opinion!
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Garden highs/lows!

Well, I haven't done one of these in a while, so I'm going to allow myself TWO of each!

Garden highs first!

High #1: Butterfly bush, blooming EVERYWHERE! Even the ones I started this year from seed. The two I bought last year are kind of straggling along disappointingly, but the seed ones are lovely and fragrant, if a little sparse just yet...

High #2: Continuing with the "purple" theme, Lemon Bee Balm, aka Lemon Mint, aka monarda citriodora? Whatever you want to call it, here it is, though this shot doesn't capture at all its utterly Seussian glory. The best one has LITERALLY five tiers of flowers. I'll try to get a shot of it tomorrow. These things smell utterly awful, by the way. I know it's supposed to have a lemony smell, but to me, it just smells like mothballs. DO NOT RUB THE LEAVES! But I'm so happy I grew it anyway because they are completely absurd and just plain fun to look at in the garden.

And now, the downers...

Low #1: Some of the tomatoes in pots continue to rot at their blossom end. Here's a lovely tomato, should be ready any day now, that we'll never get a chance to eat! This is from that unknown "Teflon" variety. Never heard of it, and it looks like I'll never taste it, either. The seeds were freebies, but I have put a ton of effort into this thing and for it to keep rotting like this - argh! Frustrating! Other tomatoes in pots are coming along nicely. More pics soon.

Low #2: Okay, this is a beautiful cucumber - which I realized now we completely forgot to eat on Shabbos, but that's beside the point. The point is I noticed a few spots of mildew on the lower leaves, and the vines are nowhere near as productive as they should be. I am worried that all this WET wet WET weather is going to kill them off again.

I did spray at the time, with baking soda & milk, but a few days of rain has likely washed all potential benefits of that away. If it's dry tomorrow, I will spray again.

I read in a garden book today that if you want the taste of cucumber without all the effort of cucumber, you should just plant borage - apparently, its leaves, stems, flowers, etc all taste like cucumber. And I thought, "well, isn't that stupid?" You may as well buy cucumber-flavoured chewing gum, if all you want is the TASTE of cucumber! Honestly, I like cucumber for the experience of eating cucumber. I doubt borage, or cucumber-tasting bubble gum, can do that for me or anyone else. Not to mention the joy of poking yourself as you pick a spiky almost-ripe cucumber you grew yourself from a seed. Can borage give you that, I ask you? I think NOT.

Shabbos was mellow with the big kids away.

Went with my mother to the ladies' Shalosh Seudos - kind of a surprise because the shul bulletin they emailed out on Thursday said nothing about it. I keep thinking maybe if we paid more dues, it would be a better shul. And also, since we hardly pay anything, I have no right to complain when the office is disorganized, there are typos in the bulletin, etc.

I picked up a BAYT bulletin while I was up north yesterday, just for the pleasure of seeing one that was crisply laid out, accurate, helpful and informative. It even had a short dvar Torah! Ours is lucky if it has the shul's name spelled right. Well, maybe not quite, but still.
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The VERY cute baby!

Why the HECK won't this thing post? Anyway, if it works, well, it's self-explanatory. Enjoy!

The VERY cute baby!

Why the HECK won't this thing post? Anyway, if it works, well, it's self-explanatory. Enjoy!

The VERY cute baby!

Why the HECK won't this thing post? Anyway, if it works, well, it's self-explanatory. Enjoy!

The VERY cute baby!

Well, this is totally self-explanatory! Will this post twice? MAYBE...

The VERY cute baby!

Well, this is totally self-explanatory!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Supper preparation, Part 3: Did I mention SOUP?

Well, the soup was no big deal... just a creamy carrot-coconut concoction. Looked lovely, though it could have used a bit of watering down. Too much like baby food for my taste!

Anyway, the flavours of this supper were superb - definitely made up for last night's dismal creations.

Went to Dufferin Grove after supper tonight to see a play! Long on drama, short on plot or enduring significance - perfect! Naomi loved it through and through. Gavriel Zev was not sure about the actor who kept shouting an inch away from our faces and cried a few times until I nummied him.

Weather was lousy but the rain held off - just barely - except for a bit of spitting, which I thought at one point was the actor. Thunder and lightning added dramatic flair!

Now we're home and tomorrow is another busy BUSY erev Shabbos with Ted off work. Looks like some serious peach pie is on the horizon...


<3 J
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Supper Preparation Part 2: The Rice

Well, here you can see the peach from Part 1. And also some fresh rainbow chard from the garden.

Chop up the chard and fry it in a pot a bit with some garlic until the chard submits and goes weak at the stalks......

oh, but before you do, spray yourself in the face with the garlic press. Just go ahead. You'll figure out FAST why this stuff is used against insects in the garden. Ouch! I thought it was just painful in my eyes, but even on unbroken skin - yikes, it stung.

Anyway, once the veggies are nice and limp and the pain has passed, stir in 1 cup of rice and mush it around in the pot until brown. Then, add a couple of cups of water and some chicken soup powder. I'm Jewish - everything must taste like chicken soup!

Bring to a boil, turn it down, cook until done (about 15 minutes). Turn off and let steam quietly for five minutes before serving.


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Supper preparation, Part 1: The Fish

Take six lovely almost-ripe "Black Cherry" tomatoes and a fresh Ontario peach (not pictured)...

Whir it up with some green onions, fresh basil, parsley, lime juice, salt & pepper... basically, you're making salsa here!

... then, smear it on some fish. These are mostly-thawed whitefish fillets from a package.
It looked more appetizing in person, I swear!
Bake at 400° for 20 minutes, and...

Wa-la! Flaky, delicious, tender... mmm!
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Farewell, sweet plum tree!

Meanwhile, I dug up this plum tree, because it really wasn't thriving in its mostly-shady position. I found a $2 clearout kolkwitzia amabilis ("Dream Catcher" beauty bush) and stuck it in the spot instead. And I supposedly Freecycled the plum tree, but now it looks like the recipient is not going to show up.

Her exact words: "If you could send an address, I'll try to get there Thursday a.n., or pm. latest."

My reply, because I've been burned so many times lately: "If it's still here by 6 p.m. Thursday and I haven't heard from you, I will have to reoffer. Hate hate HATE to have to say that, but I have had so many inconsiderate no-shows lately. :-((in other words, if you can't make it, just let me know and I can happily reschedule within reason)"

And, of course, now it's 3:30, and it's raining. Who wants to take the TTC to pick up a tiny plum tree in the rain? Who am I kidding??? She's not going to show. And meanwhile, I have this dying little tree in a pot!!! Argh.

I'd better go offer it on Craigslist so the poor tree doesn't have to suffer for some dippy lady's inconsiderate behaviour.
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Easily the worst supper ever!

I don't even want to talk about it... I had SUCH high hopes. And it does look okay!

~ Swiss Steak
~ Roasted cauliflower & garden beans (just a few tossed in so they wouldn't go to waste)
~ Egg noodles tossed with fresh peas

See, it doesn't sound awful!
But it was, so there you go.

~ Whitefish (breaded? in the oven? dunno; it's thawing now)
~ Soup (carrot?)
~ Rice w/garden chard

Just had a daring thought: I have a small clump of "Black Cherry" tomatoes almost ripe out back... would it be a desecration to turn them all into soup???

We went to Dusk Dances on Tuesday at Withrow Park. Tonight is our last chance to see Clay & Paper's Horsefeathers production in Dufferin Grove. but it's a lot for one week, although it does sound like a child-friendly production.

Complicating things is the fact that I have my aerobics class Thursday nights. And the fact that it's raining. And then they just called to cancel the aerobics, and the rain seems to be letting up... but I still need to stop in at Barbara Frum because I told Judy I'd pick up a library book for her. What a busy day!

Today was our last Toddler Time at the library. Yes, neither of the littles is technically a toddler. It runs from 18-36 months and Naomi is fully 6 months too old, while Gavriel Zev is nine months too young (yes, he hit 11 months this week!). Still, they love Shannon, the librarian who does it, and GZ has the best, best time shrieking along with all the music. When he's not starving because it's at 10:30, his official Cranky Time.

Ugh. More rain.
Maybe we'll just drive down to Dufferin Mall and get ice cream and see what happens. I was looking forward to hitting the marmer's farket with Ted, too. Blah.
Yes, I know how to say it properly. I just choose not to.

<3 J
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fw: Stainless Loop Cap - waterlogged

From the complaints department - sent over a month ago and no reply.  Emailed the eBay vendor today... maybe they'll respond somehow:
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, July 07, 2008 11:04 AM
Subject: Stainless Loop Cap - waterlogged

I received my first 18oz Klean Kanteen very excitedly last week.  I specifically ordered and paid extra for a stainless steel lid (loop cap) because I wanted to avoid any plastic parts in contact with my water.  However, the very first time I washed the lid (by hand), the inside of the cap filled with water and now makes a sloshing sound.  It seems impossible to open and clean inside - meaning whatever dishwater is trapped in there is going to eventually fester and grow algae, mold, etc.  I am extremely disturbed that something like this would happen to a product known for its cleanliness (or, perhaps, "kleanliness", which may be something different) and non-toxic durability.
I understand that this is the reason you recommend against dishwasher use with the caps.  However, since we don't even have a dishwasher, the cap was only washed by hand along with the bottle and immersed for just a short time.
I'm not using the bottle now, and I'm wondering whether the PP#5 lid is a one-piece design, and if so, whether it might be possible to exchange one for this useless, water-logged stainless steel lid.  :-(
I'd appreciate any help you can offer.

Friday, August 08, 2008

And for Shabbos, we're having:

Hee hee. I found this WORD on the Internet and couldn't help saving it and posting it here. Just the word TIRAMISU all by itself.
Anyway, Elisheva did make lovely Tiramisu, so that's what we're having. Plus some other stuff to flesh out the meals a bit!

Supper: (Ted's brother & his wife Ruth are invited - I've given them a 60% this time because Ted spoke to both of them and both said yes)

Peachy whine chicken
Garlik Zukes
Roasted beets, hopefully not incinerated this time
Teddy's cran-rhubarb kugel
Lemon Meringue Pie

Lunch: (Elisheva invited her friend Mindy from shul)

Salmon w/mayo & ketchup
Bean salad
Potato salad

Yes, we got there after all!
~ Zucchini
~ Peaches
~ Potatoes
~ Beets

And the aforementioned... TIRAMISU!
Still don't know if we're going to walk to this reunion thing. It's from 12-4. Maybe we should eat heartily at shul and walk straight down from there...

Good Shabbos!

<3 J
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The world DEFINITELY needs...

A shelf-stable eclair! I opened up the package of frozen Rich's eclairs today and checked the instructions (ok, yes, they come with instructions) which say to thaw at room temperature for 10 minutes before eating... or that, for my convenience, they may be stored in the fridge for 14 days - or at room temperature for 7 days.

Of course, I am NOT the kind of person who can wait 10 minutes for eclair gratification - so I popped it in the microwave for 15 seconds, which did the trick nicely.

For some reason, this reminded me of those microwave milkshakes they had about 20 years ago. Sounds weird, right? But I guess the milkshake came completely frozen solid, and you were supposed to microwave it a BIT - not until it got hot, I suppose - and then shake it around to make it drinkable.

To me, that seems a bit weird and kind of onerous, which is, I guess, why the shelf-stable and/or refrigerator-section milkshake beverage has prevailed. You never see microwave milkshakes anymore.
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Thursday, August 07, 2008

There goes the Marmers' Farket

I was hoping to get down to Dufferin Grove today, but only one of these forecasts is correct... and it's the one that says it's gonna thunder. Waah!

OK, week in review - I cannot believe it's almost over already.

Sunday - fish supper @ parents' house.

Monday - civic holiday observed, but everything was open anyway. Went to Fortino's with Naomi & Gavriel Zev... but I cannot, for the life of me, remember what I made. Will have to check with Ted. OH... Lasagna. Delicious, non-oven-ready lasagna. With garden-herb sauce and ricotta. Yum, yum.

Tuesday - stir fry! Yummy, yummy. Tons of veg & tofu, rice stick noodle (kosher from Sobey's!), homemade sauce. Oh, and we didn't have any fake crab OR creamed corn so I made my own creamed corn and stirred it into veggie / corn / pollock / mushroom / egg-drop asian-inspired soup. Mmmm... deelicious. Shopped at Dominion while Naomi was in her gymnastics class; because of the weird time difference between the Barbara Frum rec. centre and the rest of the world, I left Dominion at 11:19, stopped at Second Cup, and got to Barbara Frum at 11:20, in time for a nice, leisurely peruse of Now magazine.

Wednesday - Ted-made quiche - broccoli. Went to the Island with my father and I originally meant to stay only for the morning but stayed until 4. Talked Sara into coming but then we got there late - NOT my fault for a change - and she only got to go on 2 rides. :-( It was nice to have quiche waiting for us when we got home.

Tonight - hmm... Ted wants to have perogies. I have mixed feelings. They are not very filling; YM alone can eat a couple dozen of them. And I don't have the energy or inspiration to make anything else. That's why I was hoping to get to the farmers' market. Aargh.

Not that I have the energy anyway.
Bellybutton has been hurting like crazy all week. I'm wondering if the crunches etc in my aerobics class might be injuring my ab muscles even more than they already are... :-(

<3 J
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Monday, August 04, 2008

Old Purim Costume: Carrot!


Hmm... I wonder if this will work?
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Crazy Neighbours' Sign

They think we are the ones throwing all this garbage on their lawn. OK, sometimes some car detritus falls out and blows onto their property. Maybe twice. There was a paper towel I didn't pick up off the driveway last week that may have drifted over there... to be fair, I had a baby in my arms and Naomi by the hand.

Certainly, the stack of garbage shown here has nothing to do with us. There's an Eye Weekly. We don't even read Eye. I use exclusively Now Magazine for the garden. :-)))

Apparently, the proscription is not technically against garbage being on the lawn... if I did it without actually trying, like with the paper towel, I suppose it's okay.

Alrighty then.

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Beautiful! Homegrown poppy seeds for challah!

Aren't these lovely? I think they look like cupcake sprinkles.!
(I know there's a period there, but if I erase it, stupid Blogger interface will erase one of my pictures as well)
Anyway, these are the seeds from the amazing peony poppies from about a month ago... these are annual poppies, so I pulled them out when they were done blooming, and two days ago, Naomi & I sat on the porch and shook out the seeds. I was amazed at the range of colours.
We shook the seeds into a clean yogurt tub, which then sat on the table waiting for Friday... but wouldn't you know it, I couldn't find them on Friday, so I asked Ted and it turned out he thought the tub had been used to hold a bagel and dumped out all the seeds! So I had to shake out the last few poppy heads, and this is all I got. I used ALL the seeds for the Shabbos challahs. So I'll need to get new seeds to grow poppies from next year.

The seeds tasted yummy, btw... almost exactly like the store ones. And the range of colours was much less visible once they'd browned in the oven. So I had to point out to everybody that they were homegrown, and I'm sure everybody just thought I was a tedious eccentric. :-)
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Friday, August 01, 2008

L'arche de Taqui

Well, that's how I think of it, anyway...
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Erev Shabbos menu - and garden "bounty"!

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