I am pretty much fruit and vegetabled out. We all went on "diet" this week. That is bwo, bdo and I, the boy needs the opposite of a diet, he definitely needs a few pounds. All I have eaten for the last few days are vegetables in every form, from a bland soup to salads of every make and size (including a whopping great fruit salad). I have cut and diced and chopped, washed cutting boards and dishes and even cleaned the fridge so there was room for more fruit. I still feel like a blimp though. This is going to be a long hard road. What happened to that blackpetero who could eat anything and never put on weight. I seem to remember he could happily skip meals and found food rather a waste of time. I suppose he just grew up, that's all.
We drove up north for a brit yesterday, all the way to the other side of the Kinneret. Israel is really looking good. On the way home today, through Kfar Tavor and the Yizreel valley, we could not get over just how green and luscious the countryside is at the moment. The spring wild flowers are out in force and everywhere there is deep green and bright yellows, reds and purples. We had a wonderful time. Even the not nearly 80% hotel we stayed in Tiberias was not so bad. The bed was comfy and the hotel dinner in the dining room was an anthropological experience. All in all it was a good time. Yahel Baruch Naali's brit was calm and not all that barbaric.Just a small family affair. I am glad we went as I like Ravid and Shiri's families, they make us feel at home.
I am sick and tired of this old, fat and lazy body of mine. So I took myself walking the last few days. I am sore all over. It is incredible how quickly you get out of shape when you hit the big 5 oh. I used have no trouble with the hour and half walk to work a few times a week. But since I have become a lazy slob who only cares about feeding my face, I struggle to walk for half an hour. All this must stop, so I dragged myself through the fields around Raanana yesterday and today. Now it hurts to sit and laying in bed is agony. The goal: Walk three times a week at least. For at least an hour each time. Don't listen to myself when I tell myself I have no time. Don't listen to myself when I tell myself that I could just eat a little something and sit back and read. I'm a well known liar to myself, and can spend hours creating all sorts of rubbish excuses why I should just laze out. It will stop!!
The Haggadot are lost. She admitted to me that they are really lost, then quickly changed her mind to say that they are actually "misplaced". I asked her a week or so back about the Pesach Haggadot, seeing as we are having around 30 people for the seder. She blew me off, with her well practiced, "leave me alone, if you care so much about it, YOU deal with it" look. Well, the chicken soup (vegetarian) and mazto balls is made, the potato kugel looks good, the long table is set but there are no Haggadot. She put them away last year, somewhere, now no one knows where.
The whole Haggadah thing has a lot of history. One year, around when we first arrived back, the wife decided we needed to use a feminist, environmentalist Haggadah (God, whoever he or she may be). Her family did not like that at all. Although the time she decided we needed to use a pro-Palestinian, left wing Haggadah caused more strife. It nearly caused a major rift with her far right leaning father. The last few years we have been using Haggadot she bought over the internet (you get the rights to print off a certain number). They were quite alright. Each family member had their own named copy and some were even decorated with colored markers (a sure way to keep the kids from being bored during the reading). But these sadly have disappeared just like Pharaoh's soldiers, swallowed up by the Red Sea. What can you do, we will have to pass the only remaining Haggadah (The Elie Wiesel, We made it through the Holocaust, Haggadah) from person to person. Just like they did during the 40 years in the desert.
The white cat died today. We have no idea why. I saw him this morning laying on his favorite Auntie Netta footstool by the window and he seemed perfectly healthy. Then while we were at Barry's for a BBQ the boy called to say he was lying dead on the lounge floor. We hurried home and there he was. Luckily Oren was around and he plopped him into a hefty bag and I washed the floor. He must have had a heart attack or something as there were no physical signs of problems. He was not old, only about 5 years or so and seemed to be strong and healthy. Funny how things can be perfectly alive one minute and not the next. We are all quite sad. We can't even find a picture of him, but if we do, I'll post it. He was a good cat.
Some times it is terribly hard to live in this country. Takes this act of vandalism for example. It's the third time the Reform Shul that both my kids had their Bar and Bat Mitzvah's in has been targeted. The Shul is a few hundred meters from our house, in the middle of a nice neighborhood opposite a High School. What kind of warped sense of religion drives people to do this kind of thing? It just makes me wonder, do we really deserve statehood? If this kind of vandalism happened once, I could believe it is just the work of some crazies, but this is the third time. Why aren't there cameras watching? I'm pretty sure that if this happened at an Orthodox Shul somewhere on the West Bank, those responsible would be brought to justice immediately. It is completely outrageous.
As noted last week we went through our yearly horseradish (chrain) production cycle. I have been performing a semi scientific study of the strength of the chrain over the last 10 days. It seems that we still haven't cracked the secret of keeping the stuff at maximum strength. It definitely seems to decline linearly in strength over time. This is very sad. It was blazingly hot and scorched the sinuses a week back. Now it is still slightly hot, but nowhere near as dangerous. This is very sad. We have spent a considerable time on research but it appears that we are missing something. We tried using more water than vinegar while blending this year as it has been noted that vinegar reduces strength, but this has not helped the sustainability. I think the only solution is to make it the day before, but that leaves little time for distribution.
I bet the grandfather from Lithuania knew the secret. We will not give up and continue to experiment.
Clearly I am in dire need of a vacation. One far away from this daily life. For some reason, this song "Year of the Cat" reminds me of places far away. It reminds me of long summer holidays, that smell of the beach and things remote. It reminds me of all sorts of holidays: driving through the light rain in Devon and the freezing mornings in Umbria. I don't know why but it reminds me of different times, from narrow-boating to the smell of suntan lotion in Eilat. Man, I need to go. Somewhere, anywhere. Just far away. So here you have Al Stewart and his "Year of the Cat". The comments on YouTube for this song are really funny.
I had a good day today. Bwo went off to help a friend and do some doula-ing (she is still not home), so I was left to myself. Larry, Matan and I went off to Wingate and watched Israel beat Austria in Rugby. It was a good game and Stas, one of our squints, plays scrum half for Israel. He scored the first try. Israel won 20-11. I then stopped in at Brian + Irit for a while to say hi and give some support to Dasi who lives on one of those Kibbutzim that surround Gaza. Thankfully she is visiting the center of the country and so avoiding all the shelling and rocket fire that they have been subjected to this weekend. I don't know how people can live under that kind of pressure. I then came home, made meatballs (veggie) and pasta, chili It is not really all that edible, but the kids were hungry and so they did not complain too much. Bwo will have to fix it up tomorrow. That's it another weekend bites the dust and it's back to work tomorrow. It flew by so quickly.
We made our Chrain on Tuesday. It is strong this year. Get your orders in early if you are interested. We went with smaller bottles (Gerber size) and we managed to fill 115. I cried for the sins of the Jews, for the pain of building the pyramids (they were built by aliens anyway), I cried for the sore feet after 40 years in the desert. I cried. The horseradish was so strong that my hand started burning half way through. The only problem I see is that seeing as we made it quite early this year, it will lose some strength before the Seder. I tested it on the squints yesterday, and Yaron said it was the strongest he has ever tasted. I hope Ostrin Chrain 2011 is a vintage to remember. Here are some pictures:
An "artistic" bwo picture of the bottles, the peels and the peeler, which actually worked well. You can see the raw material in the bowl of icy water in the sink.
If you could only see my eyes. They were blood read and the tears were flowing. Using the icing bag was a stroke of genius. The real Pesach miracle was that bwo knew where to find the bags in the storeroom. Chrain making music: Tommy and Quadraphenia by the Who, Lamb lies down on Broadway by Geneis (concept albums people, we called them rock operas when we were young and unpretentious).
Martin (who is one of the blog faithfuls) pointed me to these Pomplamoose folks. He has been following them on YouTube for a while. They play all their instruments and edit their own videos, which is a growing trend. Personally, I find them a little too sweet for my bitter, bitter heart, but I can see the attraction. So here is Pomplamoose and "Achin Heart".
For the longest time we had Haaretz newspaper delivered to the house. Eventually we had to cancel as the old uncollected copies were piling up and one needed spikes and crampons to climb the mountain of rotting newsprint blocking our door. I don't really miss the daily news as the internetz provides enough details to keep me happy, but I sorely miss Sayed Kashua's weekend column.
Occasionally, Haaretz does us the favor of printing a copy of the column on their website. He manages to capture the irony of living in Israel as an Israeli Arab with a cynicism and tongue in cheek humor that is completely atypical in this country. I really like it. And don't forget this is translated. Here, read today's column.