Friday, July 31, 2009

Even In The Saddest Times, You Need To Smile A Little...

Why is Joey (Oh, please do pardon the "three weeks haircut" and beard....) sitting at my laptop with a plastic soup bowl atop his head?
Simple. Somebody arrived at the shiva house and motioned me over, requesting a yarmulka. My mind raced, trying to remember after 12 years where my father in law, z"l used to keep his spare yarmulkes. As my brain was in panic mode, I spotted Joey out of the corner of my eye. I swooped down and in one deft motion, removed this yarmulke and plunked it down on the visitor's head, to which he responded, "Hmmm, perfect fit". As you can imagine, Joey was none too happy at being relegated to the kitchen, but he was rather resourceful in fashioning himself a bit of a replacement, don't you think?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

מי כעמך ישראל

I sincerely hope and pray that none of my readers ever need to see the inside of a hospital bikur cholim room, so I am going to take you on a virtual tour.....

I spent all last Shabbos repeating and repeating the phrase
מי כעמך ישראל due, in large part, to two most worthy organizations, Satmar Bikur Cholim and Chesed of New Square.
To say that the Bikur Cholim rooms they maintain are well stocked would be the understatement of the century. There is no truer chessed that that which is done generously and with warmth.
Upon entering the spacious chessed room, you cannot help but notice the stacks of Jewish Press and Hamodia papers. The large refrigerator is stocked with dozens of cartons of orange juice, dozens of containers of milk, an entire shelf of small grape juice bottles, drink boxes, apple sauce and borekas. There is a drawer full of potato chips, a cabinet full of cake products and rolls, another cabinet stacked high and deep with noodle soup cups of every flavor. There is a hot water machine and an array of cofee, teas and fixings. There are two microwaves - one for milk and one for meat. There is a commercial sized warming oven, filled with containers of chicken noodle soup, cholent and kugels. There are labels, foil and markers for your own food. Two tables covered with bright cloths stand in the middle of the room. Everything is sparkling clean.
When people have loved ones in the hospital, they invariably feel very vulnerable. This kind of generous concern acts as a balm for very raw and frayed nerves.
In the merit of the selfless, generous and kind acts of these women and those that support their good works, may we be zoche to the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash and the geulah sheleimah quickly in our days.....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Of All The Gin Joints In All The Towns In All The World....

Over and over again we see indications of Hashem's unfathomable coordinations and machinations for all his beloved children. His hidden hand is barely "hidden" at all if we keep our eyes open.
There are no coincidences in this world.
I spent this past Friday night in a Bikur Cholim apartment near the hospital that my mother in law had been admitted to.
These apartments are run by caring, generous, selfless women and the organizations that they represent.
The setup was one apartment for men, one for women, with 4-5 bedrooms and 2-3 beds per room. When I went to bed Friday night, I was the sole occupant of my room. When I awoke Shabbos morning, not only was every bed taken, but there were women sleeping on the living room couch and the living room floor.....
At 1 am a women stumble exhausted into the empty bed which remained in my room. She had obviously not had the warning which I had on Friday (since my mother in law had been admitted in the middle of the night on Thursday) and had no belongings with her. We got to talking and she asked me "Who are you here for?". I responded that I was here for my mother in law who has had Parkinson's Disease for the past 35 years.
"THIRTY FIVE years?!? Really?" Her voice took on a tone of urgency as rapid-fire questions ensued. She then revealed to me that her own husband was admitted to the Emergency Room only hours earlier. After his immediate injuries were tended to, she was hit with an unexpected additional diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. She was without a doctor, without the benefit of her support network and faced with this devastating news.
This poor woman, all alone, frightened, exhausted, charting foreign waters "just happened" to fall into the bed next to somebody with experience and support to share. We spoke for quite a while...

Ruby Tuesday - The Birds And The Bees....

Visit Ruby Tuesday for links to more red themed photos.....

Monday, July 27, 2009

My Apologies...

I realize that the blog has been noticeably silent of late.
Sadly, this has been due to the fact that my dear mother in law צפורה בת לוי יוסף had some serious medical issues over the past few days and was niftar Sunday afternoon.
There is much to say about the experiences of the past week and the amazing chassodim and hashgacha protis that I was zoche to witness.
I hope to have time soon to update all of my readers.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Remembering My Father z"l On His 8th Yahrzeit

The above photograph was taken on top of the Rigi mountain in Switzerland on what could arguably have been one of the best days I ever enjoyed with my father. My, how time flies (and hairstyles change....).

If anybody would like to dedicate their learning or acts of chessed today, Rosh Chodesh Av, to my father's zechus, I would be most grateful.

Ruby Tuesday - "Two-fer" Tuesday......

Well..... maybe "Three-fer"....

While looking through my photos for those suitable for the Ruby Tuesday meme, I came to the realization that I should do "Ruby Tuesday, The British Edition", because:
a) my husband is a huge Anglophile
b) three things that are quintessentially British, just so happen to be RED - the uniforms on the Queen's Guard, double decker buses and telephone booths.
Enjoy these photos from our recent trip Smiley Faces .....

Visit Ruby Tuesday for links to more red themed photos.....

(P.S. Check out the Ruby Tuesday blog owner's photo contribution for the week... they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery ... Smiley Faces )

Monday, July 20, 2009

Jen's Feeling Much Better, Thanks For Asking....

She's had no fever for over 24 hours...... much to my great relief, but not for the reasons you might think.

I just got really tired of Joey following her around the apartment making "oinking" noises....
(coupled w/ all sorts of "Swine" puns......)

{ah.... siblings........}

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Once A Year I Become Robert Peary...

... and brave the undiscovered Artic wilds that is my large freezer requiring its annual defrost.

I usually embark upon this expedition on the first rainy Sunday after Pesach, when there is no place good to go in the inclement weather, and no Pre-Pesach project to take precedence. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on where you stand) I have become quite good at procrastination of this plum assignment. I mean who wouldn't want to spend five hours hacking away at a year's worth of ice, trying to decipher the rosetta stone coffee cakes and ice age mystery meats? (You want Rubashkin meats? We've still got 'em!).

Well, I thought this weekend would be perfect since Jen is home sick with a fever (hey honey - wanna cool off by draining the ice water every 10 minutes darlin'? Sure you do! :D ).

Well, 2 1/2 buckets (yes, big buckets!) of chunky glacial water later, what have I found of interest?
Not much.
2 packages of lamb... a bit freezer burned but in a stew, maybe......
3 glow bracelets in assorted colors (if you stick them in the freezer, they keep the remainder of their charge for another day....or year, depending on how long they are forgotten...)
Enough freeze pops to open a small day care center for the summer....
A cinnamon cake older than my granddaughter.... 'nuff said........

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Breakfast Better Shared...

Some things are just better when they are shared with others. We know this to be true about Shabbos meals to be sure. The more company, the more lively the conversation, the better the zemiros harmonies, the warmer the atmosphere.

But I will tell you a little secret. I have a breakfast recipe that is better shared as well. Of course you can make it for one, but the more people you share it with, the more variety you are able to present in each individual dish.

I am talking about Birchermuesli.
It's been a while since I've posted a recipe, so I figured that rather than have you all traipse over to my house in your pajamas on Sunday morning, I'll give you the recipe here to share with your own families. It's really easy. All you have to do is remember to set it up the night before, since it "cooks" in the refrigerator overnight. (No heat + taking advantage of the bountiful July produce = the perfect summer recipe) I should mention that it makes a great brunch or lunch as well.


1/2 to 3/4 cups rolled oats per person
1/2 to 3/4 cups milk per person (equal parts ;) )
1 handful of raisins per person (craisins may be substituted Smiley Faces )
1 squirt of honey per person

Mix well and let set in refrigerator overnight where it transforms into sweet creamy perfection. In the morning add tons of cut up fruit. Now keep in mind that this is where you need the larger group of people because a whole peach and a whole plum and a few handfuls of assorted berries and a handful of grapes might be a lot for one person in a bowl of cereal for breakfast, but when divided more ways, your ability to increase the taste variety increases accordingly.

Have fun! Enjoy breakfast and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another Ingenious Way To Keep In Touch With Far Away Family....

I am pleased to report that I am NOT one of those mothers that "texts" her children to come to the dinner table. I tend to prefer the more civilized, personal touch like shouting myself raw at the top of my lungs from the other end of the apartment "DINNER!!!" even though nobody hears me with earbuds in....

I like to feel "close" to my family. Heck, I like to feel "close" to strangers :)

This may explain why I enjoy reading what I call "slice of life" blogs. You know ..... the ones that draw you in and treat you like friends. Who knew that keeping in touch with strangers would help me keep in touch with family?

Imagine my surprise when commenting on one of the newer blogs on my Google Reader Blogroll last night, to see a follow up comment from another reader saying, "G6, Are you my Aunt S?" ... ummm "Yes!"... You know, I could've just picked up the phone.........

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ruby Tuesday Meets "Scene Around Town"

Many of you may remember the beloved children's book entitled The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, about a proud little lighthouse on the Hudson River and the bridge that looms high above it.

Well, for those of you that may not know this: that little lighthouse really does exist (Manhattan's only lighthouse) and it is practically in my own backyard.

I took this photo from atop the George Washington Bridge as I admired the "spunk" and determination of that little lighthouse that still stands tall in the shadow of the monstrous steel towers.

For more red themed photos visit Ruby Tuesday here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Reassuring or Revolting?

There seems to be a well known segulah out there to hang a photograph of Reb Yeshaya Steiner of Kerestir (alternately known as the "Mouse'eh Rebbe" and/or the "Pied Piper of Infestation") in any area you wish to protect from rodents.

(On a side note: I have heard it questioned and have started to wonder myself of late, whether this practice isn't a bit too similar to the avodah zarah practices of patron saints, but that is a whole other post....)

My question to you is this -
Upon entering a New York eatery, is the sight of Reb Yeshayale a reassuring sight ("oh great... we're safe ... couldn't possibly be any mice here!") or a revolting one ("how badly infested is this place that the owner feels the need to place that photo in plain view of my table?!?!?")?

Comments anyone?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Weekend Update

If ever there was a relaxing summer weekend, this has been one. (Of course, factor in the fact that I do not have to participate in the Visiting Day Parking Lot Pilgrimage this year and my chances of it continuing are looking better and better...).

We had Sir Fig Tree for Friday night dinner, which was enjoyable, relaxing and entertaining.

Avram davened in the early minyan on Shabbos morning, which gave us a chance to take a beautiful park stroll before the weather became too oppressively hot.

I spent quite a bit of time reading and being captivated by the travel log of a cousin who just went on an interesting overseas journey. Some people should write blogs of their own and just don't know it.... (did you know that there are no Orthodox Jewish cemeteries in Antwerp because of a longstanding law on the books that all bodies are to be disinterred after 99 years? I didn't....)

On a side note, Leora has tipped her hat to my blog by awarding me the "Blog de Ouro" award.
The rules to this award are :

1)Show the award in your blog.
2)Link back to the blog that tagged you.
3)Pass on the award to 8 blogs that you love. (Since this award has been around for a while feel free to pass it to as many or as few as you want.)
4)Inform the bloggers that they have been awarded.
5)Take your time, there’s no pressure, but try to check out the other awarded blogs.

I picked the following blogs:

Congratulations to the awardees, and thanks again, Leora.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Anbeisen is the German word for breaking one's fast.
All afternoon during the latter part of the fast day we wish people "Beis Gut An" - break your fast well (i.e. don't be stupid and gorge yourself within the first 5 minutes, causing a decidedly uncomfortable bloated feeling followed by all night reflux....).
Some people break their fasts on the same foods fast after fast.
Others like to mix things up a bit.
I fall into the former category.... an everything bagel with scallion cream cheese, tomato, red onion and lox. I also cook up a pot of pasta (with or without creamy garlic sauce, depending on how many guests are coming).
What do you break your fast with?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sometimes I Take My Own Good Advice

Yesterday evening Avram and I took a walk across the George Washington Bridge at sunset. The weather was mild, a soft breeze came off the water, and the views were fantastic.
We met a very nice young man from Switzerland (which is quite amusing if you know a little bit about my family) who had forgotten his camera and wanted me to send him my shots (right... I needed more encouragement to stop every 20 feet and annoy the bikers trying to pass me....).
By the time we made the trek over to the New Jersey side, the lights on the bridge began to wink on. I took the above shot upon our return to the New York side and I love how clearly you can see "Martha" (the affectionate name given to the lower level) all lit up.
After the sun sunk below the horizon, the moon rose low in the sky a brilliant orange in a relatively cloudless sky, which I thought quite curious.....
About 20 minutes after we returned home, we heard an unexpected and torrential downpour outside our window. I wonder if the color of the moon was related. Any meteorologists out there?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Goldfish Tank

Recently Ilana mourned the loss of her beloved, if not short lived fish. I saw this photo and thought of her. Kind of saves time in the whole, buy, feed, mourn, flush routine doesn't it ;) .....?

Ruby Tuesday

In honor of our silver wedding anniversary, both of our married children arranged to move back in with the rest of the brood, lock stock and grandkids for the weekend. Yes, yes, I know that all the extra cooking fell on me, but my family is aware that I don't mind in the slightest and that having everybody around the same hearth so to speak, would make for the most perfect anniversary ever.

Among other things on the celebratory menu was this chocoholic's delight cake (chocolate cake, with chocolate frosting, topped with chocolate glaze and decorated with chocolate leaves). The chocolate leaves and marzipan flowers are quite elegant looking and are not nearly as hard to make as they look.

See more Ruby Tuesday photos with a little or a lot of red in them here.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Scene Around Town - Ft. Tryon Park Edition

One photo is not enough to do justice to this "hidden treasure", (though hidden in plain sight) within my neighborhood. It was built by Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr., son of the famous architect of New York's Central Park and it sits on 67 acres that I daresay are lovelier now than they were when I was a child.
It boasts pristine views of the Hudson River, superb landscaping (I'm saving those photos for another post....), beautiful walking paths, promenades scattered with benches and lovely expanses of grass for picnicking - all of which combine to make the park a place that has been referred to as one of the city's most beautiful outdoor pieces of art. (If you enlarge my last photo, you will notice that it is also a lovely "shidduch date spot" Smiley Faces )

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Scene Around Town - July 4th Edition

If you've never walked the span of the George Washington Bridge, July 4th is a lovely time to do it and get an up close and personal view of the tremendous flag which hangs from the steel towers. When you get to the New Jersey side, take a stroll through Ft. Lee Historic Park. It has a nice overlook point (and a museum which is likely closed on the weekends....).

(I took these pictures last year on Memorial Day when the flag is also hung....)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Hang In There... Yom Tov (?!?!?) Is Coming...

It may smell and look like Yom Tov around the G6 household, but it is actually Shabbos that is coming, albeit a very special "anniversary" Shabbos. The whole family is moving in and the menu is decidedly "Yom Tov".
Notice the lovely arrangement of 25 red roses on the table - a gift from the man I'd marry all over again Smiley Faces . I too prepared something involving red roses, but you will have to wait for next week's "Ruby Tuesday" post to get a glimpse of it.....

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Scene Around Town I

Due to a comment made by Harry-er on this post, claiming that a photo I posted made my neighborhood look "really pretty" and deeming that "sneaky", I decided to post on occasion a new theme entitled "Scene Around Town" which will contain photos I took depicting scenes from in and around my neighborhood.
This one was taken earlier this week. The bridge looks even prettier after dark. I suggest you all grab your spouses/friends/kids/(spouse's friend's kids? {grin}) tonight and go out for a stroll!

View Scene Around Town I in a larger map

(Guest submissions to this meme readily accepted. Email to I will happily credit you or keep you anonymous, as per your request.....)