Monday, May 31, 2010

Kosher Menu Plan Monday #17: 19 Sivan, 5770

Back to sweetness, light and trivia!  If you’re curious about who we are and what we eat, please scroll to the end.  I’ll put it back up front next time!  I’m just feeling grumpy right now.  So if you’re curious, scroll.

It’s still Monday, dammit, and we need to eat.  Just the bare bones this week.  I’m having a terrible week, and it’s only Monday.

Thunderstorms every day, so no bbq.

Monday:  No menu planned, and I had my signing class, so Ted made pita pizzas and frozen french fries; I microwaved a tin of mushroom soup.  Some kind of all-time low, that’s for sure.

Tuesday:  Garlic, kale & white bean soup – to use some of the kale that is doing so fabulously in a container outside the door.  Bread?  Bake bread?  Maybe, maybe… to use some of the dough to make Wednesday’s supper.  Hmm…

Wednesday:  Hamburgers baked inside buns – looks bloody, tastes fantastic!

Wednesday (Vegan Vursday!):   Stir-fry… peanutty thai this time, on wide rice stick noodles if I can find some in time.

Shabbos:  Well, let’s not push it.  I only have 17 minutes of Monday left to get this thing posted.

Here’s the standard spiel about who we are and the food we eat:

For newcomers, welcome!  We are a Jewish family of 6 (2 parents, 4 kids) and all our meals are kosher.  We have two sets of dishes (plus lots of pareve stuff for veg prep, bread baking, etc).  We all eat meat, chicken, etc., along with dairy.  The kids tend to prefer non-meat meals, and our ratio (outside of Shabbos) is generally one meat to three or four non-meat meals.  I try to offer one delicious non-animal-product-dependent meal each week, usually on Thursdays (aka Vegan Vursdays).  You can also visit my super-duper-list-tastic itemization of Everything We Eat (as well as the rest of this blog, of course).

Thanks for stopping by!

Wisdom / Peace

Comes sometimes from people who have been there done that, who have thought these things through and made peace for themselves, however uneasy it may be. Here’s what a wise friend had to say today. I have not asked permission to quote this person, so will not use the friend’s name or any other identifying information. Don’t bother asking – I’m a journalist (kinda) and I have my integrity!

There are priorities in Judaism. Being a decent, honest person. Being clean and respectful. Being conscious that God created more than one person because creating a functioning society in which people help each other out was one of His goals and that engaging in that is performing His will. Modesty is about not showing off, not the clothing you wear. Halacha is complex so anyone who have a simple answer for you is lying or an idiot. It's more important to not be rude than to be right in your own eyes. It isn't the hat on your head, it's the attitude in your heart that decides what kind of Olam Haba you get. Need I go on?

For today, that’s enough to chew on.

Betcha y’all wish I’d go back to blogging about smoothies, right??? The unexamined life rocks!!!

Clueless? Or just invisible?


I have been frum for SO long and had no idea that photos of women were so very, very controversial.  Clueless, that’s what I am!

A few months ago, we all found it amusing that there was a notice, similar to that on the left, in Oorah’s auction brochure indicating that if any family wished to receive a separate auction catalog with no photos of women (or girls, presumably), they should call or email.  I didn’t save that notice:  this is a similar one that appeared a couple of years ago, I guess when they were testing out if there was any demand for the woman-free edition.

imageBut then, a couple of weeks ago in Kosher City, I picked up a copy of Binah, a magazine for Jewish women (there’s also a kids’ supplement called Binah Bunch inside).  Why not? 

Brought it home and, on Shabbos, started flipping through the articles.  Moderately interesting, kind of, in a women’s magaziney kind of way.

But after a few pages, I stopped short.  There were NO PICTURES.  Men, sure; boys, sure; flowers, great.  But I realized quickly that this must be a magazine for invisible women.

No pictures of women – in a magazine which purportedly addresses women’s issues and concerns.  I don’t know why I was so naive. 

And now I’m wracking my brain to remember if I’ve ever seen a photo of a woman in Horizons, Mishpacha… or any other frum publication.  Have I?  Now I have no idea.


Perhaps the most famous example is this photo of the White House kitchen, kosher-style!  Amazing, and there’s the First Lady, right in the middle, smiling and going along with the whole “Jew” thing. 

Heartwarming and wonderful, except to the editors of one Jewish magazine who saw only one thing:  the lady in red.  Covered up collarbone to wrists, grinning broadly what I guess is an ervah-dik (lascivious) smile. 

imageBecause the publication couldn’t take it, and ultimately ran the photo looking like this instead:

Anything missing?

(this issue is more funnily explored over here…)

It is a shame; a real shame.

Though I don’t get the Jewish Press every week like I used to (!), I still believe we should all strengthen our yiddishkeit by reading things that are uplifting, at least sometimes, and also that the kids should also see that there is at least some entertainment available that reflects our values.  Plus – shouldn’t we support whatever talented Jewish writers, photographers and whatnot that are out there.

Too bad the quality of said talent – even to my kids’ relatively uneducated eyes – is of such poor quality compared to what they get elsewhere.  I hesitate to use the words chillul Hashem, but they’re going to come away thinking Jews are morons – why not go elsewhere if this is the most fun the frum world can dish up?


There are so many talented Jewish artists, writers and animators in the world, just to name one random example.  Surely, there are a few who could put together something as brilliant as VeggieTales, for Jewish kids?

Novels that don’t stereotype Jewish kids in the most cliché ways possible?

Or maybe, just maybe, a woman’s magazine that can realistically compete with all the shmutz that’s out there?

I used to get People Magazine from the library sometimes simply because it’s such indulgent, meaningless FLUFF that made me happy when I felt like deliberately NOT using my brain.  But at the time I was being fairly strict about what the big kids read and they realized the inconsistency right away.  “Okay,” I said, “I’ll give up People Magazine.  I won’t read it anymore.”  (I haven’t… as long as you don’t count the dentist’s waiting room)

Sometimes, just sometimes, I like a magazine, though.  Something easy, light, funny.  Something with absolutely no connection with our Real Life (“15 Clutter Busters!” “Drop-Dead Window Treatments for Under $500!” “Eighteen Ways With Ham!”).

Know which women’s magazine we read most often?  NOT that we read them, you understand!  But the only one I feel confident having around the house is Women’s Day.  Why?  I picked it up in the library (you thought I’d buy a magazine???), flipped through it, and noticed a Bible quote on the “editorial advisory board” page. 

They have a different one in every issue.  Okay, some of the quotes are not technically from my Bible, but I figure it’s like the old joke… if you were on your way home, downtown, late at night, all alone, cornered in an alley, and you saw a group of rowdy teenage boys coming towards you, would you or would you not feel reassured to know they were just coming from Bible study?  Most people would. 

A Bible quote – like Bible study – is no guarantee that the magazine won’t mug me, trade my cash for crack and leave me for dead, but I have to hope it says something about how decisions are made at the editorial level.

This is a niche.  I have to believe I am a niche, our family is a niche.  Literate, smart Jews who read a LOT of EVERYTHING and don’t mind looking at photos of decently-dressed (and presumably, thus, decently-living women – role models and n’shei tzidkaniyos). 

We’re just not a niche that anybody is interested in serving, or even knowing about.  Invisible.

How could I not have noticed this, ever, ever before???

Living Jewish: Negotiation vs Assumption (and the slippery middle)

Have you ever noticed that there are times in your life when you just know you are supposed to be receiving a particular message, and that message suddenly seems to come through everywhere you look?  Overwhelmingly so, like you can’t turn away?

In the blog world, in the real world, even in the fiction I’m reading (re-reading Naomi Ragen’s The Saturday Wife), the message is coming through loud and clear:  Judaism is not a one-time thing.  Judaism must be continually renegotiated.  And I am exhausted with the effort (or maybe it’s still the heat?).

Prager, for instance [last weekend, he was at a Conservative shul here speaking on Friday night and Shabbos day - I went to hear  him twice].  Very helpful in so many ways, but very disturbing in others.  Why would I pay big bucks to go hear his special method for “kosher” driving on Shabbos (tip:  leave the radio off, or it “breaks” Shabbos!).  His special justification for one-day yamim tovim (except Rosh Hashanah).  Why he eats chicken with milk (single-handedly obliterating hundreds of years of near-universal Jewish practice).

These are decisions I understand, but simply do not respect.

On the other hand, the WHY.  The why, Prager believes, is taking one’s Yiddishkeit out of the study halls (not that mine spends much time there, anyway) and into the (non-Jewish) streets of the world.  That’s why he moved away from New York – it’s also a compelling reason NOT to make aliyah.

He believes, fervently believes (and I believe he believes it), that Hashem would not have chosen us to do… NOTHING.  Or given us the Torah only so we can… LEARN TORAH.  When Hashem called us “or lagoyim,” he meant it, meant that we are the light and we shouldn’t keep our little light shining in our closeted little communities.

His talk on Shabbos morning was on “why be Jewish?” and the answer, for him, is to take it out and share it with anybody who will listen.  How does the world today know about the Torah, about the avos (Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov), about Moshe, about yetzias Mitzrayim…?  From the Christians.  He calls today’s Jews “a messenger who’s forgotten the message.” 

It’s a resonant image.

At Har Sinai, we had a message, a gift, a chosenness.  And at some point along the way, we simply dropped the ball.  Started keeping the gift to ourselves.

His talk on Friday night was about the future of non-Orthodox Judaism.  He’s not sure it has a future because of birth rates and levels of committment.  He once tried to start a program where Jews shared Shabbos meals with non-Jewish friends and neighbours… but it failed because the Jews who have a strong, committed Shabbos, by and large, do not know many non-Jews.  And those who do know lots of non-Jews, by and large, do not have a meaningful Shabbos to share.

The solution to that problem, for him, seemed to be emunah, but I got a little muddled in what exactly that meant, because that’s where he branched off into “kosher driving” and frankly, yes, I did tune out a little bit because it was not what I wanted or needed to be hearing.  Did you know driving on Shabbos is more Shabbosdik?  Because you’re not getting all that rain or snow or heat on you all the way to shul, so you arrive dry and cool and happy and ready to daven fervently… or something.

So I missed the point to some extent, but got the idea… Judaism that is totally insular, Judaism that seeks only to reinforce itself, is self-congratulatory and nice and comfy is also virtually meaningless.  Or is it?

Our Shabbos lunch guest disagreed.  He’d been to Prager, then I walked to our shul with him & nabbed him and his girlfriend for the meal.  He believes – I’m paraphrasing my understanding of what he was saying – that a home where the family studies Torah and lives a frum life in a Torah community creates a type of spiritual energy that necessarily radiates outward and influences the world.  Creates a light, in other words, and a force for good – just not in the brute-force, direct way Prager would recommend.

But I’m not so sure.

Lately, for me, it’s come down to negotiations vs assumptions.

Negotiation is the exhausting process of examining everything you do, Jewishly.  Why am I doing it, what does it mean, does it reflect my beliefs, my integrity.  Is it the right thing to do?

Blogs I’ve been reading – including DovBear, but also some others (most written by men, which may tell you something), suggest that one take nothing in Jewish life for granted.  Question everything – every midrash, every received wisdom, every community standard, every move by Israel – and arrive at unorthodox, non-chareidi conclusions or you risk sliding down the slippery slope that leads inexorably to the right.  But be careful – there’s another slippery slope that goes the other way if you’re not.

Assumption is the underlying advantage of conformity.  Dress the way I dress, cover your hair the same way, avoid the same foods, shop in the same stores, and you are automatically accepted.  Of course, according to this article, they’re only pretending, but let’s pretend for twenty seconds that it’s real. 

You’re in!  You passed the test (of conformity)!  You fit right in, so I can now make all sorts of happy assumptions about you:  I will eat in your home, let you into my shul, my yeshiva, my high school.  I will smile at you in the playground and say “k’neynehora” when your baby does something cute.

A friend once told me you could never tell I was a baalas teshuva.  Yes, that’s probably a shock to anyone who knows me today.  At the time, I was in full sheitel-and-tznius mode; my then-husband had a bushy beard, long black coat, a gartel and the most incongruous Yiddish accent.  With our baby boy in peyos and suspenders, I was working towards the cookie cutter and happy to be well on my way to fitting in.

A lot went wrong, as you can see.  Uncovered my hair, dated a goy, then he converted, we got married, and covered my hair again, though not usually with the sheitel anymore.  Not comfortable, for so many reasons.  Moved away from the Jewish mainstream, consciously choosing a community where there are many others who don’t fit in.

But guess what?  I’m still making the assumptions.

Like with friends of ours who wanted to reciprocate a Yom Tov invitation, and we hadn’t known them all that long, weren’t sure exactly where they were coming from – more rebels, like us, baalei teshuva of unknown background.  So I had to embarrass myself (or her) with The Talk:  asking about their standards of kashrus.  That’s one talk that never gets easier, though we’ve had it with a few lovely friends over the last couple of years.

It turns out they were just new in OUR neighbourhood, but well-known by so many people at another shul not far away.  Basically, it turned out that everybody eats in their home, people far holier than me, and I felt ashamed for even questioning it.

The thing is – I have no idea how to get around that, though, because if you cast aside the assumptions – that if someone wears a sheitel and a suit and sends her kids to yeshiva, her kitchen is kosher – you’re left floundering.  Negotiating, every inch of the way.

And negotiating is exhausting.  While the cookie cutter is demoralizing, squishing your persona into a mold which simply doesn’t fit, I know from baking experience that a cookie cutter is very handy when you want your cookies to simply Be Cookies and not be mistaken for anything else.

You use a cookie cutter when you want your cookies neat, precise, giftable, presentable.  When you don’t, you get blobs; amoeboid cookies that are great for picking off the pan and announcing that “it all gets mushed up together in your stomach anyway.”

(Although, if you roll the cookie dough in sugar and pat it down, it actually gets a nice smooth profile with a sparkly, sandy crunch to the exterior.  Finding a meaning for all of which would probably be pushing the whole cookie metaphor…  just a little.)

Are those amoebas the cookies you want to share with the entire world?  Are those “light-unto-the-nation” cookies?  How can I share my work-in-progress Jewish persona? 

Prager certainly doesn’t come across as a Jew-in-progress.  He doesn’t sound like a man who negotiates this way of life; he makes it sound like he sat down one day and figured out what kind of Jew he would be.  Doesn’t communicate at all the angst involved in those kinds of decisions (yes, drive, but only to shul; yes, kosher, but chicken isn’t meat).  Makes it sound easy.

It isn’t easy. 

The biggest downside of being an amorphous, amoebic Jewish blob seems to be that the kids have no solid place in the frum world.  For me, I guess I don’t mind being an enigma, being a work in progress.  But for them – well, I certainly wish progress for them, and thoughtfulness in their spirituality.  But I guess I also hoped Judaism would be more of a home for them than it was for me, growing up, so that at least these negotiations wouldn’t be so wearying, so debilitating, for them in their own grown-up lives, clawing out their own place in the Jewish world.

No answers to any of this… only questions, so far.  Answers welcome.

Today’s drinkie…


Since I requested No More Chocolate Bars from Mr. Enabler, he likes to pick up these Starbucks DoubleShot drinks for me instead (should I tell him that’s enabling, and probably more addictive than chocolate???).

I like the taste of these better than the bottled frappucino, which is cloyingly sweet with an artificial aftertaste (and none of the texture of a REAL frappu).  But the doubleshots, like the name suggests, are MUCH too strong – and again, naturally, no icy “blenderized” texture.

So I mix it in the blender – to “stretch” the drink, water it down, and give it some texture.  No big cost savings with this one – these drinks are pretty pricey to begin with.

Here’s the magic formula for today:

  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1 tin starbucks doubleshot = approx 192mL, poured into 2-cup measure
  • add milk to 2-cup measure make 300ml (guess that would be about 110 mL, right?)
  • 2 tsp sugar

Blend and blend and then blend no more.


Consume with delicious garden-herb and tomato omelette!  :-)))

Sorry my posts are so shallow right around now… it’s not that I’m not having deep thoughts this week.  In fact, quite the opposite.

The weekend with Dennis Prager, on top of a lot of blog-world reading and our own personal circumstances, have given me much too much deep stuff to think about.  So I am drowning my own depths for the time being in coffee smoothies…

What are the depths?

Put briefly, I am troubled by the tremendous effort required in remaining a committed “Jew in the middle.”  And troubled by the rejection this means from the mainstream Jewish community here which is normative to an extreme and becoming more so by the second, it seems.

More anon.  It’s also tough to think when my brain is hot.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Six Word Saturday: 17 Sivan, 5770 – the Munsch edition

Robert Munsch? How very, very sad.

Or is it…? Is it perhaps hopeful that at least one Canadian icon is speaking up about mental illness and addiction?

Does this mean we respect him less now, or MORE?

imageHere’s what I remember from when my mother took us to hear Robert Munsch telling his stories, back in March. He came on stage and began telling the story but got stuck in the middle of a sentence. A couple of times. It was troubling. He was stuttering – and this is NOT a man who stutters. I almost couldn’t sit there & listen, it was so troubling. When I came home, I said to Ted, and he remembers – or at least he says he does - “That is not normal. Something neurological is going on there.”

Indeed. It turns out that among his many revelations this week – which I totally missed because I don’t watch news – is the fact that he had a stroke two years ago. imageWoke up one morning and he’d totally lost his ability to speak. Had to learn how to talk all over again, from the start, “like a baby,” he says. Had to learn how to say his own stories, without stumbling in the middle, though he sometimes does stumble.

So yes, now he stutters. Yes, sadly, I was right: it is neurological. But at least he is still alive, and still writing, and still telling his stories.

I think I’m coming out on the MORE side on this one.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Shabbos Desserts… stuck in a rut!

Well, I seem to be totally stuck in a rut when it comes to Shabbos desserts.  I hadn’t even realized it, but we’ve basically been going ‘round and ‘round with banana cake, brownies, cookies (3 kinds:  choco-chip, brownie cookies, and almond cookies)

So, for this week, just to bump us out of the rut, two pareve desserts that are at least slightly different from the usual:

  • Rice Pudding (first made this here… very easy & yum!)
  • Mandelbroit / Biscotti (if I hurry, if there’s still time)

Must run & start the mandelbroit – they need two LONG baking times.  Oh – here’s the recipe.

p.s.  The mandelbroit is done, but now Naomi Rivka has requested Rice Krispie Squares… maybe!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

First bout of garden optimism

waters 003 Well, who wouldn’t be optimistic with an amazing clematis like this in bloom???

I love the motif of miniature bulldozer juxtaposed with natural wonders… something about “paving paradise”, but then, I’m tired.

waters 004Here’s the rest of the clematis.  The story is – I bought two clematises on sale at the end of the season two years ago.  One is Nelly Moser and one is The President.  I planted them in what I thought was a good spot (feet in damp shade, head in the sun), but alas, it was too late.  They died.

Except not quite.  Last year, Nelly came back and gave me two blooms – here’s one of them.  Not a sign of the President anywhere.

This year, not only is Nelly back with a vengeance – that’s what the flower shown here is – but there is a single stem creeping up behind her that looks suspiciously darker in colour.  It won’t flower this year; in fact, Nelly is promising only one more bloom again this time, but the things have leafed out tremendously and are almost half the height of their trellis already. 

So next year, we will hopefully have not one, but two colours of clematis blooms, and not two, but many, many flowers.  Not that I’m counting chickens before they hatch or anything… but you can see why I’m feeling optimistic today.

waters 001Oh, but here is a whoopsie.   This is what happens when you are too tired, lazy, hot, cold, sleepy, Jewish (Yom Tov, ya know), homeschooling, running-around, busy elsewhere to plant the potato seeds you purchased two months ago…

I love the term “potato seeds.”  I know the proper term is “seed potatoes,” but frankly, all potatoes are seeds (though, luckily, not all seeds are potatoes).

See how sprouty they are?  Well, I planted them as best I could, this time around right smack in the middle of the square-foot beds.  Six in the middle of the right-hand bed (sfg bed #1), and maybe four in the long tomato bed (sfg bed #3).

There are two varieties:  purple something and finger something (banana something?).  I bought the finger ones because fingerling potatoes really REALLY creep Elisheva out.  Why not grow something to frighten the kiddies???

More on potatoes below.  Specifically, The Potato Curse.

imageAnd then, finally, today – in record-setting 32 degree weather – I got my WATERING APPARATUS set up.  AKA soaker hoses.  AKA splishy splashy water-everywhere paradise.  This is a chain of three soaker hoses (two from last year, one found at the curb a few weeks ago) that not only winds through all 3 square-foot beds, but also provides a nice spritzy place for the kids to run and play and get a little cool and damp but not soaking wet.

In order to avoid leaving the hose on the ground as a tripping hazard, I strung it between the two pea-and-tomato trellises, creating a nice breezy archway just the right height for a child to run under (but probably not Ted).

(Doesn’t the backyard look HUGE in this sketch???  The three tires in the middle are from the time, two years ago, when I grew potatoes in car tires.  The experiment failed, so I declared that area a flower bed and tried the potatoes somewhere else last year… which also failed.  Blah.  Call it The Potato Curse.)

waters 005And here you can see another spot where I strung the hose between two decorations, creating a second archway and informal / damp “entrance” into the veggie beds.

I know technically that this will waste SOME water.  But it really is three or four pinpoints over each airborne hose length.  REALLY not a lot of water… I promise!

(PLUS, you can see in this picture that I have strategically positioned some garlic in planters to catch any excess drips and runoff…)

waters 006Here’s our new bean teepee!  Not exactly a teepee because there are four corners and the sticks meet at the middle.  I have read that joining the sticks in the middle makes it easier to reach the beans for harvesting.  I planted eight store-bought Blue Lake pole beans. 

Yes, store-bought.  Yes, I have bean seeds (okay, BEANS!), but don’t give me a hard time.  I can either raise children OR do laundry OR grow veggies from seed.  I also bought more basil and a couple of golden zucchini seedlings, even though I have my own started-from-seed green zukes waiting to go out into the garden.  I know all that.  So sue me.

Here’s a nice close-up that looked really cool and misty with hoses going full blast.

       waters 009

Ahh… if we have many more days like this one, you know where you’ll find me… out back in the veggie bed, resting in an easy chair under the spraying arches of hose.

Sweet potato progress

waters 011Originally reported here; I started growing this in mid-April.  Boy, is this thing slow to start this year… I think it really needs a lot of warmth before it will even start to root.  I probably began too early, when the house was still very cold.

I love the gorgeous purple colour of the new shoots…!

Shabbos Menu (early?) for a change!


  • Challah (crossed out = done!)
  • Meatballs
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Roasted beets again bc they are SO good
  • Corn
  • Iced tea


  • Teriyaki Salmonoodles on udon noodles
  • Blintzes
  • Marinated 3-bean salad

That’s it so far…more details to be filled in as it looms closer.

It’s unlike us to be anything like prepared ahead of time, even for as basic a menu as this one. But this week is the Dennis Prager event, and apparently it’s starting early. In the end, the deal we got was a reduced price that would have included supper except we’re not bringing the kiddies and not prepared to have Shabbos dinner without them.

(my mother is having dinner there, so that’s one less person here)

So Ted & I will eat at home and then make our way to the shul. The secretary said they’re davening at 6:45, having entertainment at 7:15, supper at 7:30 and he’d probably be speaking around 8:00. Ted doubts very much that he’ll be speaking before 9:00, however, so the way we’re working it is that I will go at 8:00 – just in case – and he will stay here and put the kiddies to bed.

The catch is that Elisheva is away this weekend for her school’s annual Retreat Shabbos. I was counting on having her home to babysit. Still, YM will have to fill in, and probably – without distractions like the computer – he will do just fine. Basically, once the kids are in bed, he’s just here in case of fire. (Chas v’sholom, but we knew that already.)

In any event, if I want to be out of here by 8ish, we have to eat by 7ish which means making super-early Shabbos. Ted will have to daven at home and then we’ll eat straightaway afterwards.

Cranky Complaints Lady… can’t haz Toonyaz?

Okay, I promise – no more lolspeak.  That is your RonyPony Guarantee.  So please, come back, keep reading – the latest installment in  the ongoing saga of how the world bruises the crank out of me over and over and over again.

It’s just a little thing… like, $3 worth of seeds little.  But you know by now how crazy I get about petunias… specifically, their wonderful, subtle scent.  Which is why I specifically chose “Laura Bush” petunias back in the madhouse depths of wintertime (read more here).

To raise them painstakingly from seed only to discover that they’re the wrong kind, that they’re scentless… well, it’s a betrayal of the highest order.  Well, maybe not, but here’s what I wrote:

petunia 007I bought the seeds for these petunias from your eBay shop back in January.  I started growing them in February, and finally planted them out a couple of weeks ago, where they're doing great.

However... they are not Laura Bush petunias.  One is - in this picture, the middle one is a pinky-purple and fragrant (my camera doesn't do a great job of capturing nuances of colour).  However, the others - those that have flowered so far - are plain pink unscented petunias. 

The colour is distinctly different, and the fragrance that I have been dreaming of (since January!) is missing in almost all the plants.  This has been a great disappointment, and I'd like a credit (including shipping) towards future seed purchases.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kosher Menu Plan Monday #16: 12 Sivan, 5770

For newcomers, welcome!  We are Jewish and all our meals are kosher.  We have two sets of dishes (okay, we also have lots of pareve stuff for veg prep, bread baking, etc).  We all eat meat, chicken, etc., along with dairy.  I do try to offer one delicious non-animal-product-dependent meal each week, usually on Thursdays (aka Vegan Vursdays).

You can also visit my super-duper-list-o-mania of Everything We Eat (as well as the rest of this blog, of course). Thanks!

Well, I missed last week due to Shavuos, and nearly missed this week because we were BUSY busy busy with the holiday, out in the garden, fireworks, etc.  Yay – finally, a Victoria Day where the weather is actually nice enough to enjoy sitting on the beach taking in fireworks.

Sunday:  Take-out Ely’s Chinese food – too expensive and not very tasty… it was an experiment I will not repeat.

Monday (Tonight, aka Victoria Day):  Homemade pizza on not-baked-enough leather-tough no-knead crust.  Ugh.  Easily The Worst Pizza Ever.

petunia 002Tuesday:  Salmon quesadillas (inspired by Laura’s menu plan for this week, but I used fresh salmon, quick-pan-fried in butter & lemon juice), spring greens salad w/mango dressing

Wednesday:  BBQ coconut-marinated chicken on skewers (Ted’s request), rice, side veg

Thursday (Vegan Vursday, Ted’s Late Day):  Spaghetti w/fake meat sauce

Shabbos:  It’s too late at night… I’m not planning this now.

Yay… only four minutes into Tuesday and I’m done!!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sometimes… my mother is amazing

image I really love my mother sometimes. 

Just chatting on the phone, on the porch, just now, a little birdie landed on the tree.  I said, “quick, it has black wings with white speckles, a black head and red spots above its ears.” 

(secretly, I don’t know where birds’ ears are, but it was where my ears would be if I was a bird)

And she said, “it could be a woodpecker?”

So I looked back and, indeed, just at that moment, it began to peck.  I’ve never seen a woodpecker before!  I think it was this type, a Hairy Woodpecker, but there is a Downy Woodpecker that looks quite similar, just a bit smaller and fluffier.

We really REALLY have to get a bird-identification book.  My mother has one, it turns out, so we will borrow that.  Naomi has been asking me bird-names, because I tell her all the flower-names, and so now she knows that everything has its own name.

(Why oh why do I teach them stuff?  Some lazy days, I think it would be easier to not know the flowers, just like I don’t know the birds…)

How did my mother know?  Does she know everything?  That sense of childlike awe, thinking my mother knows everything, really floods back so, so easily even now that I realize she probably doesn’t. 

She does know everything about where to shop.  She is the best shopper.  Whatever you need – she knows a specialty store where you can get the best WHATEVER at the best PRICE.  (though sometimes, if it’s the best, the best price is a high one)

imageI once happened upon a really cool store on Queen West that sold only ribbon:  Mokuba.  Every kind of ribbon, from grosgrain to Swiss hand-embroidered tapestry ribbon… all very expensive.  I was in awe that there was a ribbon STORE.  It’s so nicely laid out, all artistic.  And then one day, a couple of weeks later, she mentioned she needed some ribbon to finish a sweater… guess where she was going?

Anything is like that.  Any weird specialty item, anything you need to buy, no matter how offbeat, she’ll have a suggestion where you can get it, no problem.  There are probably limits to this knowledge, but I prefer not to test them. 

I prefer to sometimes still believe my mother really does know everything.

A name by any other rose

shavuos 058Andrea at Are You Listening?, a blogger I’ve visited a few times through IComLeavWe, wrote about nicknames today… the nicknames she swore her kids would never have.

Like her, I swore my kids would be given beautiful, well-chosen, well-thought-out names.   And indeed, they were... so why is it that they are more often than not referred to as Pookie-Loo (YM, 15), Boobah (EC, 14), Choochie (NR, 5) and Chicken Pie (GZ, 2)???

The scary part is the evolution of the nicknames.  Like Elisheva’s, which started out as “Elisheva-beva-boo-roo.”  These days, I mostly call her “boo” or “roo.”  Because who could say that whole thing every time?  We have also taken to calling her “Rochel Faigie,” because she said she was tired of hearing me call her name to do things, so I made up a totally different name.

Naomi’s full nickname is “Choochabee-pone-pone.”  (Don’t ask!)  And Gavriel Zev’s started as
“Chicky-Boy” because I was calling him “boy chick” before he got his name… and then realized it would be way cuter if I reversed it.

Sometimes, the nicknames don’t stick.  YM’s first three nicknames didn’t… “turtle” (for his beak-like sticky-outy upper lip), “honey guy” (for his golden glow in certain lighting), and “pecan man” (for his wrinkly newborn nut-face).  I guess I was strictly amateur at that point, because most of the names ever since have stuck pretty hard.

Not that anybody else calls the kids by their nicknames.  Because nobody does and, frankly, I don’t think I would let them.  After all… their names are precious, well-chosen and all that other high-falutin’ stuff!

Just thinking to myself, “did my parents ever call me anything?”  And I remembered my mother calling me “Jennie-doodles.”  Everybody else sometimes called me Jenn.  But like I’ve always said, I really can’t stand any variation on my name.  Hopefully, nobody from my family is reading this or they will simply continue to mock me.

shavuos 066In other news, GZ learned how to cut!  With scissors!

shavuos 059And YM, for his technology course, had to take a series of portraits of Naomi Rivka (inexplicably on top of the freezer in various sultry poses in a pair of weird homemade bloomers).


Meanwhile, GZ continues to learn – here in his way oversized astronaut costume – that the way to overpower his sister is by pulling her hair.  You go, AstroBoy!!!

shavuos 083

Circus festival tomorrow!  Fireworks on Monday!  I wonder if any sane family member is interested in taking my kids to enjoy either of these things…?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

First Shabbos bookay! (bouquet)

 shavuos 080

Three ornamental allium heads, two heucherella flower spikes, and three hosta leaves… minimalist, but I think quite nice on our Shabbos table!

These alliums (allia?) have been traffic-stoppingly lovely all week, with passers-by asking me about them and everything.  I haven’t been able to get a picture of them yet, but maybe tomorrow.  They’re a  new addition this year:  I am SO happy I planted them last fall.

The Internet is Full

I like to imagine that someday, I’ll go to post here and I’ll submit my post for publishing and get back a message saying “Sorry… the Internet is full.”

Hasn’t happened yet, though, so here goes.

My thoughts on Shabbos – before they were interrupted by my brother – were about vacations that never happened. I know, totally upbeat, right?

Three of them.

The first, not quite a vacation. A retirement, of a teacher in my high school. I’d seen him in the hallways & the language office, but we’d never spoken. He was the German teacher, Herr Dieter. Two teachers were retiring that year, and the yearbook crowd put together a tribute page for each of them in that year’s yearbook.

Then, one day, maybe right around now – late May? – Herr Dieter dropped dead. Maybe a heart attack. I don’t know. But he was immediately dead and gone. And then, just a couple of weeks later, in my memory, the yearbooks arrived. With the tribute page… including the cheery farewell: “auf wiedersehen, Herr Dieter!”

Second, my zeidy. The mythologized version in my childhood imagination, of a big, strong man who worked his whole life, working menial jobs until he turned old. That part is actually true: he was big and he was strong and he left home around about when he was 11 or 12 years old and worked his way across the Atlantic somehow to build a new home here.

So then he was about to retire, and he and my bubby bought tickets: they were going to Israel. They’d had regular vacations all along, but this was Retirement. This was his time to see the world, to finally relax and enjoy the fruits of a lifetime of labour. I was just ten or eleven, but it seemed very fitting, very nice…even I knew he’d earned it.

And then he did retire and when he went to shave one morning before they got to go to Israel he had a stroke instead and they never did get to Israel. He spent the next fifteen years in Baycrest, unable to speak, imprisoned in a half-crippled body. The legend in my mind – and this may also be true – was that the stroke didn’t kill him because he was so strong, so very healthy and fit.

And number three: my parents’ cruise. My parents travelled a lot at the end, partly because of my father’s “bucket list.” They did a lot of travelling in 2008 (click the link to see where), and it scared me because although they liked to get out around Ontario a lot, this was too much travelling. It made me nervous, thinking about what it could mean. What it ultimately DID mean.

Europe always seemed like my mother’s thing. My father studied Portuguese once and wanted to get over there but couldn’t because of health problems. I don’t remember now if Portugal was on the itinerary of the cruise they booked – it was all places that sounded totally dull to me. Then, on top of all the travelling, they booked a cruise.

My father planned out the whole thing, had his itinerary-binder all ready to go months in advance, with where they would be on which date and details of the ship, the cabin, whatnot.

And then he got cancer, and they didn’t go, and he died instead, and the only semi-payback is that apparently the entire cruise ship was stricken with Norwalk and everybody spent a couple of weeks at sea being very, very ill. My mother found an article about it as she was skimming the newspaper one day, either after he died or during the brief twilight-zone dusk of his life.

My mother is going to Europe, finally, if the ash-clouds clear. She’s going in June, and to different places, with a different group of people. Not exactly a happy ending, but at least it’s an ending.

At least she is getting her vacation…at last. Because three people didn’t.

Six Word Saturday: 10 Sivan, 5770

Schizophrenia: Giving “nutty” a bad name…

Below are some of my brother’s ramblings that he felt were important enough to write down (on some kind of wacky translucent cigarette paper) to pass along to YM. He is obsessed with YM, and often phones to share “life lessons” with him.

Today’s life lesson: Power plus Intellect equals Money. He made me repeat it back to him (he asked nicely: “I’m sorry to ask this, but could you repeat it back because it’s SO important?”) – even though it’s also written on the cigarette paper. He said he’d only drunk “one tiny beer” but really, I almost keeled over when I smelled him.

He stayed outside but the house still smells like smoke, for some reason. I’m happy it’s finally nice weather for visiting outside because… well… the bedbugs are back. Shudder. brother

Sheesh… 6WS is supposed to be a “happy” meme: sorry for the big downer!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Shabbos Food – and welcome, ICLW bloggers!

Yup… yet another holy day to eat and eat and eat.  We’re making this an easy peasy Shabbos.  Very, VERY basic.

image Oooh – I just realized it’s IComLeavWe (International Comment Leaving Week – the 21-28 of each month)!

To ICLW bloggers dropping by for a visit, here’s my intro from last month explaining why I participate, even though I don’t have a fertility, infertility, adoption, fostering or any other kind of baby-having-related blog.  Basically, it’s a cool idea!

So we’re Jewish, and Shabbos is our Sabbath, and we have it every week, with festive meals and singing and whatnot.  Here’s our Shabbos food for this week.  We’re keeping it simple because we just had a major 2-day holiday (Shavuot) on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

So now you know.


  • Chicken soup
  • Glossy S&B Honey Garlic Chicken
  • Corn
  • Israeli couscous
  • Desserts


  • Jar g-fish
  • Deli-Meat sandwiches
  • Leftover chicken shnitzel from Shavuos
  • Potato salad
  • Green bean salad
  • Desserts

U-o… just got an email that someone’s coming for lunch.  She’s been here lots before, but not for over a year.  I have absolutely no memory of what she does or doesn’t eat.  :-o

p.s.  No mushrooms, no vinegar.  I can do that!


  • Brownie-Pecan thing from Yom Tov
  • Sweets from the Earth Cookies
  • Easy banana cake

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shavuos / Shavuot Dvar Torah

A rabbi, a priest, and a minister were swapping stories – why not? One time, the was caught in a snowstorm so terrible that he couldn't see a foot in front of him. He wasn’t even sure which direction to walk. He prayed, and miraculously, while the storm continued for miles in every direction, he could clearly see his home 20 feet away. That’s nothing, said the minister. He’d once been out on a small boat when a hurricane struck, with 40-foot waves: the boat was sure to capsize. He prayed, and, while the storm continued all around, for several feet in each direction, the sea calmed, and he got back safely to shore. “Well,” said the rabbi. “Wait’ll you hear what happened to me. One Saturday morning, on the way home from synagogue, I saw a wad of $100 bills on the sidewalk. Of course, since it was Shabbos, I couldn’t touch the money. So I prayed, too: and God answered! Everywhere, for miles in every direction, it was still Shabbat… but for 10 feet around me, it was Thursday.”

Well, it’s a silly story. Right? Actually, it’s an awful story, an awful joke (what kind of rabbi is that?) but it has stuck in my imagination forever.

It sticks because it’s so bizarre: we can’t make Shabbos go away, and so, too, like the Yiddish expression says, Shabbos Mitvoch (Wednesday Sabbath). It’s a joke – we can’t really make any old day holy. Or maybe we can, because this year, Shavuos happens to come out on Wednesday – mitvoch! In Israel, especially, it’s a little day in the middle of the week… a 25-hour blip; nothing – Shabbos mitvoch.

Holiness, in the middle of nowhere. Where have we seen this before? Take a look at Hashem’s choice of location for matan Torah, giving the Torah. Not in a village, not by the edge of the sea, the rocky mountains… nowhere. Literally, nowhere. In the wilderness. On a nothing of a mountain that the rockies would laugh at.

Any place, even the most humble, can be holy… it just has to be chosen by Hashem. And what a great self-esteem message for us! Any person, too, can be holy… as long as we’re chosen by Hashem. We are!

The message of this extraordinary “Shabbos mitvoch,” Shavuos, is that any time can be holy, too. And not just the times chosen by Hashem. When we came out of mitzrayim, the first mitzvah of the Jewish people as a whole was to create a calendar.

To observe the new moons, because that’s how we’ll know when to celebrate the yamim tovim. We decide when to celebrate. Hashem told us the dates, but not when the months start; that’s up to us to observe from the position of the moon.

In fact, even though things are not going exactly according to plan these days with no Sanhedrin, no bais hamikdash, the actual dates are STILL up to us to determine: we just do it on a fixed calendar that was established thousands of years ago. Even Yom Kippur, the day with the most dire consequences if we get the date wrong – even then, we have the power to decide when it’s celebrated.

That’s why in Kiddush we talk about bnei Yisrael as “Am mekadeshei shevi’i”… the people who make the seventh day holy. The power isn’t just in Hashem’s hands, it’s a partnership; we’re working together with Hashem and the day wouldn’t be holy without either Him or us.

On Shavuos, Hashem proves to us that even Wednesday – a day in the wilderness, so to speak – can be holy if we deem it so, doing His will by setting the calendar.

But as isolated as Shavuos is, floating in the sea of an ordinary week, it’s not really all alone - it does have a connection.

One of the names of Shavuos is a hint to this: Atzeres (from the mishnah and Talmud). In Hebrew, it means “stopping.”

Where else do we see the name Atzeres? On Simchas Torah, which is called Shemini Atzeres, the eighth day, the culmination of the joy of Sukkos. We count eight days, then stop and celebrate the Atzeres. Same with Shavuos. We count 49 days, then stop and celebrate the Atzeres. If the message of Pesach is freedom, the message of Shavuos is stopping, or – better, Atzar – boundaries.

Freedom – just to be hang around – is meaningless, unless you define the boundaries of freedom.

I once heard a story about somebody who was learning the many laws about lashon hora. A friend said, “that must make it really hard – you must have a tough time talking about anything now!” The person said, “au contraire… actually, learning the halachos makes it possible for me to speak freely, without worrying that I’m going to do anything wrong.”

The kind of freedom Moshe begged Hashem for in Mitzrayim was not the liberty to hang around doing nothing. It was the freedom to take Hashem’s will and make it our own.

But we weren’t ready at the time of Pesach for anything more than freedom – removal of the limitations of slavery. Now, through counting our way to Shavuos, at last we have become ready – for the essential freedom-through-boundaries that the Torah gives us to live our lives according to the will of Hashem.

[Chazal point this out by saying (Eruvin 54a) that “Cherus” (Freedom) and “Charus” (engraven) emphasizes

the fact that “Only that freedom is true freedom which recognizes the engraved commands on Hashem’s luchos]

May we all fulfill our destiny as part of am mekadshei shevii; the chosen-and-choosing people – constantly, consciously sanctifying the mundane through the will of Hashem.

Good Yom Tov… and this time I really mean it!

Shavuos Menu

shavuos 077 This is basically a literally reworking of last year’s disorganized Shavuos menu. I changed the days (last year, one day was Shabbos), and I’ve added a reprise of Shabbos’s delicious vegan samosas for guests who don’t eat meat. Yes, I’m serving meat… just not to them!

(p.s. If you want to see how everything turned out, close-up, check out my baking blog, Adventures in BreadLand, over here!)

In case that sounds totally rude, they don’t eat dairy either, so I may as well make delicious pareve things. At least they eat eggs… I think!

Shavuos 2010





Lunch – Mommy

Neapolitan cake?

Dairy – Just us

  • Parmesan herb bread
  • Soup – squash?
  • Mushroom Crepes
  • Pan fried salmon w/lemon & butter
  • Mommy’s tuna quiche
  • Dairy Desserts


Dairy – Mommy

  • Parmesan herb bread
  • Gefilte fish
  • Soup – leeky ‘tato
  • Lasagna
  • Beets & carrots roasted
  • Dairy Desserts

Meat – Us + M&L

  • Herb bread
  • Gefilte fish (jar)
  • Chicken Soup
  • Kneidlach
  • Shnitzel chicken
  • Maple baby carrots
  • Samosas
  • Corn
  • Broccolini risotto
  • Pareve Desserts

Pareve Desserts

  • Pecan pie brownie bars
  • one more thing…???

Dairy Desserts

  • Ted’s cheesecake
  • My gulab jamun
  • My grandmother’s Neapolitan cake (to surprise my mother for the first day’s lunch)

To do on Tuesday (final update at 6:30 pm!):

  1. Samosa dough
  2. Pick herbs
  3. Mix bread
  4. Roast squash
  5. Roast peppers – lasagna
  6. Gulab jamun – mix & fry
  7. Elisheva – make lasagna
  8. Layers – Neapolitan cake, mix & bake
  9. Chicken soup boil
  10. Samosas – form, fill, bake
  11. Veg prep: leeks (soup), potatoes (soup)
  12. Leek soup (start to finish)
  13. Marinate chicken
  14. Pecan pie brownies
  15. Another pareve dessert??? Nope! Enough dairy ones already!
  16. Add squash to soup, boil, blend
  17. Roast beets
  18. Pudding – Neapolitan cake, cool, spread, fridge
  19. Veg prep: broccoli (risotto), mushrooms (crepes)
  20. Risotto
  21. Crepe leaves (if time before Y”T)
  22. Bread & bake chicken
  23. Cheese and brown lasagna top

Almost there – good Yom Tov!!!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Six Word Saturday: 3 Sivan, 5770 – Awards Week!

Blog awards… where do they start?

NOTE:  if you are here because I have tagged you with an award and have no interest in my ramblings, click here to get all the details!!!  But you’re missing some great – rambly – stuff.

On Friday, no doubt spurred by my inspirational Shabbos menu, Jolly Green Mommy named me (in this post) as one of fifteen Very Special Bloggers who have recently touched her life.

Being the cynic that I am (and figuring everybody else on the Internet probably had one already), I wanted to know where the award came from.  Not just as a cynic, but as a perfectionist who, if I’m celebrating an award, would naturally want to include a link back to the award’s originator as well as to the person who gave it to me.

For anybody who’s seen my home:  stop laughing.  I am indeed a perfectionist… a very, very frustrated one in a very tiny, squalid home.

So I clicked Jolly Green Mommy’s thank you link and followed it back, and back, and back, until one person several links backwards neglected to provide a link to the blogger who awarded HER the award, and the trail went cold.

So I Googled it instead to see if I could find the earliest instance of the award.  Very mysterious.

It seems to have originated in two place at once, by two bloggers of Indian (ie from India) origin.  I guess basic epidemiology would suggest that there was an earlier blogger who came up with the concept, but they seem to have created two completely different award “logos.”

imageThe first – the earliest reference I could find to the award, which even includes the same logo as Jolly Green Mama, seems to have originated with a blogger named Indyeah at this post, on January 18, 2009.

The other one seems to have been originated separately – but perhaps not – on May 14, 2009 with a blogger named Arpit.

He created two separate award logos for the two recipients, and mentioned that the award “is meant to appreciate the versatility of the bloggers who have the capability to divulge into different areas and yet emerge victorious . Be it sports, politics, entertainment they have always emerged with flying colors by impressing us with their opinions and posts.”

(call me racist, but I really think armpit every time I type his name)

Click the links on the images to visit each blog:

image image

However, in an interesting example of cross-pollination, Indyeah bequeathed her newly-minted “Versatile Blogger Award” to a blogger named Indian Homemaker… who turned around in May of 2009 and passed the award along to the same person, Kanagu, who’d been named as one of the two recipients of Arpit’s newly-minted “Versatile Blogger Award.”

Two awards, same name.  In neither case were there any strings attached to the award.  And, in fact, Kanagu does not mention that he is passing either award on to any further recipients.  In other words, the trail went cold.  Plus, I realized I had wasted an hour on a silly blog award and already gotten more or less the answer I’d been looking for:  where did they come from?

Blog awards come from blogs.

It’s interesting to note that for most of the blogs receiving the “Versatile Blogger Award,” the award was their first and/or only award.  Hmm… this in-depth analysis may be the reason why nobody gives me any awards.

I did realize that whatever happened, the lovely personalized jpg awards that Arpit created could not have continued for long.  Blog awards are mostly the 21st-century equivalent of the chain letter, and they MUST be fast and easy to pass along.  To actually go into an image-editing program and create a special award for each recipient would be very much more work than is in the lethargic click-to-pass-it-along spirit of a blog award.

Speaking of work, in the more than two years that it took for the award to reach Jolly Green Mommy and for her to finally pass it along to me, somebody had whomped on a ton of rules.  Sheesh!

Here are all the rules, as they were passed along to me.  And I’ll warn you right now, having gone back to the original source, I’m not planning to play by them all.

imageThe “Original” Rules:

1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!
4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

So!  Because I don’t innately like chain letters, but believe that hakaras hatov (gratitude), is a nice Jewish value, if we don’t make it too cheesy or oppressive, I am suggesting these modified rules instead.  (okay, maybe also because I’m lazy and 7 and 15 are such big numbers!!!)

I’m also modifying the logo, because I like this version better!

image “Versatile Blogger Award” Rules – the MamaLand edition:

(if you just landed here and want to see if you’d prefer the original rules, scroll up)

  1. 1. Thank the person who gave you this award.  Definitely!
    2. Share one thing about yourself readers might not know otherwise.
    3. List (with links) SIX (6… not 15!) bloggers you think are fantastic, and why.
    4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

I can do that! 

So, without further ado… as if further ado is even possible after all the already-mentioned ado…


Thank you to Jolly Green Mommy!  I really am honoured; I hope you won’t think I’m dissing your award by researching it for an hour and then mucking up the rules.  ;-)


One thing about myself:  I didn’t wash any dishes today.  I sat and read and walked and after Shabbos, read blogs and did Internet stuff while Ted washed dishes.  I am so lazy after Shabbos… okay, always.  :-(


  1. Me-Ander by Batya.  We are probably not much alike in person, but her blog is my most regular taste of everyday Israel lately.  She’s been there so long and still marvels at the little things.
  2. Our Shiputzim by Mrs. S.   A new one to me, just in the last few weeks.  For life on the street in Israel, her posts are less frequent but always entertaining.
  3. You Grow Girl by Gayla.  A local hero, who writes & grows in as many and as unlikely spaces as possible and teaches the rest of us about chucking our limitations.
  4. Playing in the Dirt and Assertagirl, both by Amy.  More of a gardening veteran than me but more of a newbie mama, giving me a glimpse of what life was like with baby #1.
  5. Lionden Landing by Michelle.  Because, well… Jewish homeschoolers!  Gotta share what we can, because it turns out there aren’t many of us out here.
  6. Of Course You’ll Get Pregnant! by Sara.  Not just because it’s an infertility blog, because it’s so much more.  I don’t have many friends who blog, so why not pass it on to someone I know and like greatly IRL as well as OL (online)?

Enjoy your new award, and have a great week!!!

P.S.  Just emailed everybody on the list and BOY do I feel like a giggly groupie.  For those who don’t know me well, I’m not, I promise.  Not a stalker, either.  :-o

Friday, May 14, 2010

What to tell the kids when their friend is taken away by JF&CS

You’ve noticed Moishe hasn’t been around for a while.

Maybe you didn’t know that Mr & Mrs. _____ aren’t Moishe’s first Mommy and Abba. He had different parents when he was born, but he has been in their family for a long time, since he was six.  (I don't know what happened to his first parents:  sometimes parents get sick or can't take care of their kids, so other parents have to help out.)

Remember – we know other kids who didn’t have the same Abba when they were born? YM & EC had a different father. Then, when they were younger, he died. And when Mommy and Abba got married, Abba became their Abba: now you all have the same Abba.

So the people who decided a long time ago that Moishe should be in Mr. & Mrs. _____’s family decided last week that he should live somewhere else instead. We don’t know who he’s living with right now, or where he is. He’s not allowed to see his family or friends from our street yet.

Maybe the people thought they were helping him. Maybe they didn’t know how sad his family would be. And maybe they didn’t remember how important it is for kids to live in the same place the whole time, or how much he’d miss his friends here, like Liam and you guys.

Right now, Mr. & Mrs. _____ are talking to the people, phoning the people, emailing the people, and telling them how important it is for Moishe to come home soon.

What we can do is daven, we can ask Hashem, to help the people understand that Moishe needs to come home. We use Moishe’s whole name – he has three names! – to remind Hashem that he is a special important person. And we say please, because it’s more polite.

Please, Hashem, help bring Moishe Alter Benyamin home to his family.

Shabbos Menu

Updated just before shutting down… *DONE next to everything that is done!

Dinner – easy easy because we are broke till the morning so everything has to be fast & easy

  • *DONE Soup
  • *DONE Challah (eggless, honey-sweetened, 2/5 stoneground whole wheat)
  • *DONE Shake n’ Bake (honey garlic, not crumbs) (still to bake)
  • *DONE Starch and / or Apple kugel
  • *DONE Storebought spring rolls
  • Frozen Corn
  • Pareve Desserts

samosas 005Lunch – as vegan as possible because of a guest

  • *DONE Challah (eggless, honey-sweetened, 2/5 stoneground whole wheat)
  • *DONE Halva spread – homemade, just as an experiment
  • *DONE Baked Samosas – if I can make wraps because storebought wraps have egg in them (wraps recipe here)
  • *DONE Carrot/cumin/garlic salad – that’s it:  cook carrots, toss with cumin, garlic, olive oil and salt
  • Bean salad – brought by guest
  • *DONE Guacamole – storebought
  • *DONE Grainy/couscous salad – Ted’s request Pasta salad w/olive oil & roasted peppers
  • *DONE Cholent – the easiest vegan part of the meal!  (oy, our onion soup mix “contains eggs”)
  • *DONE Delicious Sweets from the Earth vegan cookies
  • *DONE Rhubarb-apple-strawb compote – if there’s enough rhube ready to go in the backyard
  • Dairy dessert that our guest won’t have?  Or would that be mean?
  • *DONE Vegan brownies

Still to do… Bake the chicken, steam the corn, clear the table, set the table…


If you’re into kol isha…

A womanly voice I think you oughtta hear:  Abigail Lapell (my sister).

More songs – but lower audio quality – here on YouTube.


The Week of Lost Boys

Wow, if weeks could have a theme in real life and not just in sitcoms, this week’s would be “The Lost Boys.”

I swear to you, I don’t court drama.  But between our neighbours’ taken-away foster kid, the kid with cancer, and then, today, a random invitation to lunch to observe the deathiversary (English-date yahrzeit?) of a friend’s 10-year-old (brain cancer, 28 years ago)… well, the drama is finding me.

And then I get home late tonight (from a wonderful amateur production of Cabaret), and Ted wants to tell me all the unholy pursuits one of our children has been pursuing on the computer and I just DO NOT want to hear it.  I want to make challah, plan Shabbos, fold laundry, go to bed.

(It’s already midnight and very little of the above list is accomplished just yet.)

I just want to keep my boys safe.  Besides the cast, I mean.  A cast, a minor break, that’s okay; I’ll take that, sure.  It’s the big stuff that’s scary.  Please keep my boys safe.  And girls.  Oh, and keep their socks up (the girls’).  That’s important:  socks.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Antisemitic Ads?

Just reading this amazing article at the JPost site when my mouse accidentally hovered over an underlined “advertising” keyword and this popped up:


Yup.  Jewish = Extermination.  Pest control.  Flattering!

I tried hovering over other words to see if it was a fluke, and got entirely neutral results for every single one:

imagejUtterly mystifying.  The article is definitely worth reading, though!

More of GZ’s Bubblegum Song

He seems to be stuck in a rut with this bubblegum thing (if you want to hear the real thing, click here - or here for a video of a creepy guy singing it not too badly).  More of his newly-invented verses I overheard this morning:

“Sticky sticky sticky sticky bubblegum, sticking to my cup…Oh, no!  I can’t pour!”

“Sticky sticky sticky sticky bubblegum, sticking to my head…Oh, no!  I can’t lie down!”

“Sticky sticky sticky sticky bubblegum, sticking to my clothes…Oh, no!  I can’t put them on!”

“Sticky sticky sticky sticky bubblegum, sticking to my slide… Oh, no!  I can’t… slide!”

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Emergency fudge

fud 005What’s the emergency?

Well… no fudge.  That’s an emergency, right?

Recipe here.  For Rocky Road add roasted half-pecans and mini-marshmallows.  Don’t add the marshmallows too soon or they’ll melt.

Happy Yom Yerushalayim – יום ירושלים שמח

Mee!!!  At the Kosel (western wall) Israel Trip 158

(most of these pictures are Ted’s… I never got to Machaneh Yehudah to see in person the infamous “Rock n’ Roll boxer shorts” for which the market has been known for hundreds of years).

Israel Trip 211Israel Trip 119 

Israel Trip 053 Israel Trip 056 Israel Trip 145  Israel Trip 195 Israel Trip 199 Israel Trip 200 Israel Trip 201 

Yup… here they are!

Israel Trip 204