Friday, February 5, 2016

52Frames, Shot From Above

Shot From Below
Greetings from...
A couple of weeks ago, I was so shocked and happy that my "Greetings from..." photo for 52Frames got so many "likes" and nice comments, but then, my "Shot From Below" was very ignored. I have no real eye for what the "audience," other members, like. This week's "Shot From Above," which I thought was interesting barely hit a combined double digit for "likes" and "comments."  Maybe I should have photographed more or chosen one of the other pictures, like these?

Here's the one I chose. Did I choose incorrectly?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bragging, The Piano Recital and More

final practice
before recital
Now, for the second year, I had the privilege and pleasure to attend the piano recital of my granddaughter. Now that she has two years of piano study under her belt, I see such a great improvement over last year. Unlike her older sister, she didn't try a number of instruments before the piano. There's something about the piano and her innate drive for perfectionism that suits her nature very well.

Her older sister has settled on the guitar after trying the chalilit, recorder and the electric organ. And her younger brother loves his electric drums. Electric drums? I had no idea there was such a device/instrument until one was bought for him. Yesterday he performed for me, having more fun changing the sounds and effects even more than doing the Ringo Starr thing. It's a new world out there. And my younger grandchildren aren't yet up to learning a musical instrument.


P.S. "Icing on the Cake," she's wearing the sweater I bought her in NY!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Whatever Happened to Decent Service?

So many times after eating my restaurant meal, I've waited much too long to finally get the bill, I've been tempted to just walk out and wonder if they the staff would ever notice. And other times, even if I was with a group of just three, we'd find a terribly long time between when the first was served until the last. Or as happened in a well-reviewed kosher restaurant, 613, in Stamford, CT, they seemed to have forgotten to bring our food until long after it should have had arrived. And of late, more than once, my dining partners and I weren't asked if we wanted dessert or tea/coffee after the meal.

Today, when I was dining with two others in the "Gregg's" in the Sharonim Mall, Hod Hasharon (near Yarkon Junction,) almost all of those things happened.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, because we grabbed our table without the assistance of the staff. Nobody seemed to be in charge. We asked for the menus, of which they brought two even though we said that a third would be joining us.

They took our orders without too much trouble, even checked to see which quiche would be served. Actually that we for me. I ordered their mushroom quiche which came with a salad and some sour cream or creamy white cheese. I had asked for the green salad, but they gave me Israeli one cut up small. I didn't bother complaining since I was served about twenty 20 minutes after one of my dining companions was served, and she had gotten her meal about fifteen 15 minutes after our friend. The quiche was the doughiest I'd ever eaten, but at least it was whole wheat.

After we had all finished eating, we had to work hard to catch a waiter's attention to order coffee. The waiter didn't ask if we wanted any dessert, nor were our plates cleared away. Then the coffee was brought, which we finished quickly, and then we wanted to pay and get out. But we couldn't find any staff to bring the bill. We were getting rather annoyed. I suggested that we just walk out, and if they do notice, we'll say that we're just testing them as part of a survey. My idea was vetoed, and we weighed the idea of not tipping. On that we disagreed, but the final result was a much lower tip than the bill would indicate.

And we asked for the manager to come, especially since the staff we could see were so young, much younger than our kids,  and it was obvious that nobody was well-trained. A young woman came identifying herself as manager. She admitted that things aren't running smoothly. She offered us a free coffee, but she could see that we had already had coffee. She offered some cookies, but we're all dieting. If she had offered some sort of discount card, that we would have taken.

This sort of thing has happened too many times to me. It's becoming more and more rare to get good competent service in a restaurant, anyplace at all.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

More Steps = Less Weight & Lower BP

A few months ago, when my blood pressure was suddenly in that questionable numbers category that is too high to be good and too low for medication, and my weight had crept up just a wee too much, I decided to try to "walk it off." Ever since I got my smartphone, about two years ago, on the recommendation of Isramom, who is still a close friend, though no longer blogging, I got the WalkLogger application for my phone. It's free, of course!

Until then, I hadn't used it to push me to walk more. It did make me realize that I don't walk as much as I thought I had been walking. On very rare occasions, I'd march around the house to get to a close goal. I'm set up for a Bronze Medal at 5,000 steps, Silver at 8,000 and Gold at 10,000 with a special mention of 5 kilometers. I had gotten myself "satisfied" at the lowest level of 5,000 steps, and even that wasn't all that often.

But things changed during my recent trip to the states. I love walking in Manhattan and walked a lot. An almost daily Gold Medal perked me up, and then I was in the Phoenix, AZ area for a few days, during its most comfortable season for walking, and I kept it up. When I got home I saw that even though I hadn't stuck to my eating plan all that carefully, I had dropped a kilo.

So I decided to push myself to read at least Silver and even Gold as much as possible even if it wasn't an outdoor walking day. Remember, it's winter and that means rain and snow. So equipped with my phone in a pocket, I've even put on my listening device and marched around the house to make sure I'd get a "prize." And even my blood pressure dropped to an amazing (for any age) 123/66, bli eyin haraa, and that was at the "first try." And another kilo plus (each kilo is 2.2 lbs) left, bli eyin haraa.

There's nothing like success, so I'm determined to keep up the walking, even if I'm home or at work, since my phone counts the steps.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Bnai Akiva Comes to Shiloh!

Due to the weather, all of the TU B'Shvat festivities, plantings etc were postponed a week. Here in Shiloh, Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh to be exact we hosted a major part of the Bnai Akiva youth movement, the Jerusalem, Gush Etzion and Mateh Binyamin sniffim, or chapters/branches/clubs. I went down to the Tel to see what was happening.

Considering the massive numbers of kids, hundreds or even thousands, I doubt that they all planted trees. And I left before that part of the festivities had begun. And festivities there were.... Here are some photos; you can find more on my facebook.

These photos were taken when I was on my way to Jerusalem by bus. Apparently the plantings were all over the Shiloh area.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Quickie Kosher Cooking Carnival

I haven't done this for a very long time, so I'm just grabbing a few recipe and kosher food posts. I'm listing the titles only and hope that you'll visit and comment and share thanks. And please remember that I run a KCC- Kosher Cooking Carnival page on facebook. If you'd like to get more involved, then please email me,, thanks.

Honey Mustard Roasted Fennel and Cabbage Wedges- Paleo, Vegan Options
Easy "Fancy" Cooking
Shabbat Menu
The elusive quest for a Passover beer
More than "Just a Meatloaf"
Soup Glorious Soup Take II - Thenthuk Soup
Homemade "Airplane Food"
Catching Cold
German Pancake
Oops, Kosher Clams Advertised at Ami Magazine
Hit The Spot Lentil Soup

Again, you're invited to send me links and kosher food blogs to be used in the next Kosher Cooking Carnival. And I'm sure you'll like the posts included, so please visit, comment and share, thanks.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Easy "Fancy" Cooking

No doubt you know that I love "bake and serve," easy "one-pot" meals. And I'm always trying different variations of it.  This dish was polished off by me and my husband today for Shabbat noon meal. I served it with a big fresh salad, a cooked vegetable that had carrots, squash, cauliflower, onions and mushrooms, plus I baked some pumpkin. And my husband also had some rice. But I think that most people would find this plus a salad to be a very complete and filling meal. 

Ingredients: (Vegetables are all sliced thickly, since the turkey takes longer to be fully cooked, and I didn't want the vegetables to be overcooked and unrecognizably mushy.)

  • two turkey legs
  • a large sweet potato
  • thick carrot
  • large zucchini
  • onion
  • about 1/4 cup of very sweet red wine poured at the last minute on the turkey
  • cover with foil and bake in hot oven until almost ready
  • turn off oven and let it finish baking
  • if you're afraid it will burn lower heat, but usually the foil keeps it from burning
  • ready when the turkey is cooked-- every oven is differnt so I don't give time or temperature, since mine isn't accurate

Friday, January 29, 2016

Sunset, Sunrise...

I reversed the usual order, because according to Judaism the day starts at night. And last night on my way home, when I was waiting for a ride at the Shvut Rachel-Shiloh Junction, I caught a lovely sunset. And a very sweet woman (neighbor's daughter-in-law) took me to my door, even though she was on her way to someplace else in Shiloh, picked me up after I had taken these pictures.

And this morning I took sunrise photos in two batches. One when I first prepared my coffee, and...

...the next when I got my second mugful.

One never knows what good surprises Gd will give us. When I took the first batch this morning I thought they were truly gorgeous. Sorry that the photos don't do the majestic scene justice,  but then just minutes later when I returned, the same view was super stupendous. As you can see from the last batch of photos. Yes, things can get even better with Gd's help.

May this foretell a wonderful day and week to come.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Snowstorm that Wasn't

I guess you can say that Israel suffers from "snow envy." The syndrome most probably doesn't appear in any of Freud's writings, but I think it should. This week, and not for the first time, Israeli media and various localities and the Capitol Jerusalem went totally gaga over the possibility of a snowstorm. To illustrate it, they didn't show the usual delicate dustings we get in Israel, they used the very recent Jonas storm in the eastern seaboard of the USA.

I missed a day of work, because my regional council recommended taking a road that didn't connect between Shiloh and Sha'ar Binyamin. And they had insisted that we should be off the road by 5pm. So I stayed home and lost money.

The truth is that there wasn't much snow at all on Monday, and Tuesday had barely more than that.

The above photos were taken first thing in the morning, but by the time I went to Jerusalem, there was no sign of snow at all. But soon after getting on the bus there were a few flurries. Of course, the driver reported it as "heavy snow."

No surprise. And I'm glad I went up to Jerusalem, because my Wednesday classes aren't cancelled. We've never had snow so many years in a row, whether furries or more impressive. Nu, would you call this "global warming?"

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Shot From Below, 52Frames

Here's the photo I chose.

"Aiming High"
This is the bottom of a special Sabbath and Holiday Prayer Readers Platform of an Cochin Indian synagogue reconstructed in the Israel Museum. It juts out of the Women's Gallery.
The title I gave this photo, "Aiming High," is a pun; it has double meaning. Not only do I have to aim my camera high when shooting from below, but I photographed a place of prayer. And don't we "aim high" when we pray?
And here are some of the "rejects." Did I choose wrong or right?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Opening Night! Very Off Broadway

Off, Off, Off Broadway extends as far as Jerusalem for sure. My husband and I were privileged to be among the lucky ones to attend opening night of “The Ghosts of Mizrachi Bet Street” by historian Zev Golan.

I must say that more than history came alive. Yair and Roni Stern came alive, too. I don't know how their son and his family felt sitting so publicly in the audience. My seat did not give me views of their expressions, but I felt that Zev Golan did a stupendous job in writing the play, and the actors,  just two on the stage, Steven Schub and Ayala Shiftan, played their roles amazingly well.

It's only going to be performed a few times, so get your tickets now and enjoy!!

TU B'Shvat? Where are the Flowers?

There's a traditional Israeli TU B'Shvat song that most probably everyone who has gone through the preschool system here learns to sing, השקדיה פורחת Hashkeidia Porachat, The Almond Tree Blooms.

This year, being a leap year and all--which means that an extra month of Adar is added to postpone Passover-- it's no surprise that my almond tree looks far from blooming.

I just wonder if there will be flowers in a month.  Or will it take even longer?