Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday's Wacky Signs

Perhaps more like Wednesday's Clever Doormat, but I'm taking a few liberties.
This doormat is in front of a neighbors apartment.
Doesn't it look welcoming?

The problem is, on occasion they turn it around.
Can you read what it says then?
(I guess we all have days like this....)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Food Photo Friday

Yes, I know - It's Sunday.
That's because there isn't really any photo.

Do any of you know the old story of the boy who brings his mother a blank sheet of paper and asks her to admire his drawing? She asks him what the masterpiece depicts. He tells her that it is a rendering of a cow eating grass.
"But I don't see any grass", she says.
"That is because the cow ate it all"
"But I don't see any cow"
"Well, once all the grass was gone, the cow went home"

Joey came home early Friday morning and I wanted to make something special in his honor. Binny, an honorary member of our family since way back in his 7th grade year (he may actually have been the original "starving dorm boy"), was also joining us for Shabbos.

Since I had to drag Jen's camp luggage this past Tuesday all the way to Brooklyn for pickup, I figured I'd make the trip worthwhile and stock up on things that are no longer available in my own neighborhood, like real aufshnit and a selection of meats. I purchased and prepared for the very first time veal spare ribs. There is no photo because there are no leftovers. That should tell you how good they were ;)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"I Feel The Earth Move Under My Feet......"

While I didn't actually feel the "sky tumbling down.....", I did receive a call from Avram this afternoon telling me that while eating lunch he felt our apartment shaking and heard the hardware on our bedroom set clanging. Jennifer of course had evacuated the building and was tearing towards my office at a world record setting pace, bemoaning the fact that she'd left her "valuables" (a.k.a. her camera and her wristlet) behind.

A quick check of the local news websites yielded no information (and if you are familiar with the structural integrity of some of the buildings in my area, you would know that an earthquake is not necessarily the only option.....).

So I turned to the way the world shares information today - - - Twitter. A preliminary search for some key words made me instantly aware that this was no isolated incident. There had indeed been a seismic event in Canada that was felt along a wide swath of Eastern United States. How different is the spread of news and information today. It was a good half hour before the story was picked up on traditional news sites (and The Yeshiva World wasn't far behind) but by then it was "old news".

Twitter, though I am not the biggest fan, is really the "way to go" in situations like this. It's the wave of the future in the way people all over the world connect. So much so that when the news agencies finally did get their acts together - what do you think they reported on? The tweets of course! They even gave mention to yours truly - @Gsix.... Check it out here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Trivia of the Day

In deference to my recent tooth extraction, I offer up the following trivia question for the day.

I'll give you a chance to come up with the answer on your own and then post the correct answer in the comments section.

I'm going to moderate comments for a little while to give everybody a fair chance.
Good luck.

Trivia of the Day: How did the prescription painkiller Vicodin get it's name?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Let Me Tell You About My Father

Today is Father's Day. It's a bit of a harder day for me ever since my father was niftar.

My father's 9th yahrzeit is coming up on Rosh Chodesh Av.
Since I can't send my Dad a card today, I figure I'll tell you all a little about him and that will make me feel better.

First off, let me say that those of us unfortunate enough to have lost our fathers want you to know that there is so much more to our fathers than what others remember. We wish you could remember the whole person, but of course you cannot.... because he wasn't your father.

My father was one of the smartest, gentlest and honestly internally frum men that I've ever known.

My father was torn from his parents arms at a young age in order to "save" him. He was transported to England with many other German children of that time and celebrated such milestones as his Bar Mitzvah alone with his brother. He later traveled to America and resided with non-frum relatives while he went to work. Through ALL THIS, he remained steadfast in his practice of yiddishkeit and his emunah. What a STRONG upbringing he must have had at such a young age in order to hold him for so many challenging years on his own.......

My father knew something about virtually everything. You could start a conversation about anything and he could talk knowledgeably with you on the topic and likely impart a bit of wisdom on you that you'd never heard before. He felt very strongly that children should not be "taught for the test" and that the only true exams would be those taken six months after a course ended. He prided himself on still remembering everything he had learned in his college Chemistry class (he was an English major). I still remember that even in his last days he was instructing his nurses in the hospital that the chemotherapy drugs he was being administered also happened to be a component in rat poison. On the day of his petirah I felt like I'd never learn another thing for the rest of my life. We always thought he should go on the game show "Jeopardy". It's kind of ironic that his own grandson ended up on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire"....

My father was also incredibly warm. He wasn't overly demonstrative in public but he was a teddy bear. He loved his children and we knew it. Nearly every Sunday of my youth he made time to take us on an outing (yes, many were a bit overly educational, but boy do I appreciate it now).

He was the best chess partner I ever had and he never "let me win". A compliment from my father *meant* something because he was honest and was a man of few words. By the same token an admonishment from my father truly meant something as well, because my father seldom interfered and if he said something on a very rare occasion, you knew that this must be something he felt very strongly about.

My father was a very peaceful man, eschewing involvement in any and all machlokes. How appropriate that he was niftar on the same day as Aharon Hakohen....

Though he is no longer with me to accept my (likely humorous) card with a chuckle (that I can still hear in my head nine years later), which would likely come with a free backrub (he trained his children young ;) ), I can still recount these bits and pieces and smile.

Thanks for listening.
Thanks for helping keep the gloom out of my Father's Day.

Friday, June 18, 2010

No Guests For Dinner

Sometimes we do learn from personal history...
Eight years ago, I had an emergency wisdom tooth extraction on a Friday morning. Simcha and Eric were coming for dinner (a night they will never forget - I assure you!). Now let me remind you that I am petrified of dentists.
Well, I survived the ordeal, came home, popped some Percocet (bad move on an empty stomach, believe me!), stuffed the chicken in the oven and set the automatic start, then retired to my room to wallow in some well earned self-pity. I managed to haul my drugged up body out of bed about 15 minutes before Shabbos to check on the food.
THE OVEN WAS COLD! The igniter had picked the most inopportune moment to give out. The chicken was raw and I was in agony. Several frantic trips downstairs to my friend Judy's house got everything microwaved and edible, but I was "done for" that night. "Cruise Director Julie" was nowhere in sight (I believe she spent most of the evening moaning on the living room recliner). The guests practically had to serve themselves.....

Fast forward eight years. I am still absolutely TERRIFIED of dentists (though I'm not quite sure why.... I have very good and trouble free teeth and I gave birth to FOUR children with NO pain meds...).
I had another emergency wisdom tooth extraction yesterday.
a) I refused all prescription pain meds
b) I have NO guests this Friday night
c) My oven's igniter is only a year and half old, so it should be all right.

So it seems that I learned a few things. Now if only somebody could help me conquer my fears of the dentist......

Disclaimer: I have a wonderul, trustworthy, sensitive and gentle dentist. It's not him... it's ALL ME.....

Food Photo Friday

These photos, of a farmer's market in Montreal, come to me courtesy of Naomi. Thanks for the contribution. The colors and presentation look luscious!

Which item pictured could you not pass up? What would come home with you for dinner?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Lazy Days of Summer?

You know how they say that March goes in like a lion and out like a lamb?
Well, they should have a similar axiom depicting the prelude for those "lazy" days of summer.

Here's a current summary of some of the activities going on in our house at the moment:
  • Sewing name tapes into every (and I do mean *every*) imaginable article of clothing.
  • Shopping for all manner of obscure items detailed on the camp's suggested packing list.
  • FOURTEEN pairs of socks? Seriously??!?!? I thought we don't launder during the NINE days.... silly me...
  • Making luggage labels.
  • "Where did we store the super sized duffel bags?" "What do you mean, Joey currently has the 'good one' down in Florida?"

I sure do look forward to putting my feet up and sipping a nice tall glass of iced tea when I return home from the airport next week. I may even add a sprig of mint or a wedge of lime. Who is joining me?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Wedding Season

These few weeks in June prior to the three weeks are always jam packed with weddings.
Mazal tov to my nephew A and his new wife S on their wedding last night.
Mazal tov as well to frumcollegegirl on her upcoming nuptials (Any other bloggers going? Drop me a line and we'll designate a meeting spot...).
I tend to blog all too frequently about all the things I hate about weddings, but last night's festivities have put me into such a good mood that I'm going to tell you all the things I love about weddings today.
  • Families gathering from far flung corners in order to celebrate together.
  • Young "love" - full of promise and hope.
  • Two less "Shidduch Crisis" statistics
  • Dancing with my grandchildren (they don't step on my toes with stilletos)
  • Open bars (though we've been renaming some of the drinks for takana purposes.... "Bochur in the Beis" anyone?)
  • .... and of course..... curling up and going to sleep when the night is finally over :D

Friday, June 11, 2010

Food Photo Friday - The "Girl Kiddush"

The phenomenon of the "Girl Kiddush", in celebration of a new baby of the female persuasion, has been around for quite some time, but the contention that a girl will not find a shidduch if she hasn't had one held in her honor, is a more recent development. In fact, if anybody can cite me the source for this position, I'd love to hear it.

In any event, since nowadays we appear to be concerned about the shidduch prospects of children from conception, a kiddush seems de rigueur.

Last Shabbos, we had the zechus to attend a kiddush in gratitude to Hakodosh Boruch Hu for the birth of our newest granddaughter, Tzipora Chaya. I prepared, among other things, rainbow cookies, "pink & whites" and the lovely chocolate truffles you see above.

I'm contemplating compiling a list of segulas here ("Segula Sundays"?)with sources so that we can all begin to separate the wheat from the chaff together. (Did I ever tell you about the pushy, strange lady who, while in labor, approached me on the postpartum ward at the hospital after I had just given birth to my baby? And how upon grilling me discovering that I had a 2 hour labor insisted on davening certain tefillos while all the while placing her hands firmly on my (postpartum) belly??!?!! And how she "shush shushed" MY DOCTOR away when he had the "audacity" to interrupt her in order to examine me - his patient?!? No? Well, remind me some other time...)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday's Wacky (Clever) Signs

Not exactly a "wacky" sign, but clever nonetheless.
In my experience though, this is not a threat to our children.
How is it that they get married and leave full closets and bureaus behind?
Oh, and don't you dare throw out or even move that lucky baseball or tape from a random 1997 shiur.... just leave it right where it is.....

Friday, June 4, 2010

Food Photo Friday - Tofu Shirataki

If you're thinking that I've held off on telling you about this amazing product so that I could secure my stock in it before creating a "run" on it, you may be right.

When it comes to pasta, all bets are off with me. I never met a pasta dish I didn't like (well once... but that was as a guest of a new bride cooking during Shana Rishona and we don't have to go there....). I love all things pasta, but we all know that pasta contains a lot of empty carbs and calories, not to mention what one can dress it up with.

Enter House Foods Tofu Shirataki Noodles (hey, get out from under there... don't let the word Tofu scare you... this product tastes like PASTA!). They have recently gotten certification from the OU, and they are a mere 40 calories for the whole bag, with a whopping 4 grams of soluble fiber (so you feel very full for a very long time after eating them). They come in three varieties - Angel Hair, Spaghetti and Fettucini.

According to House Foods, "Tofu Shirataki is a great pasta alternative made from blending the root of the Konnyaku -- a member of the yam family and tofu." They are available in the refrigerated produce case (near the tofu) and come bagged in liquid. Now here are the caveats:
  1. The liquid in the bag has what the manufacturer refers to as an "authentic aroma", which is why they tell you to rinse the product thoroughly (and they do mean thoroughly....) and pat dry before use. So yes; there's a bit of a funny smell, but once the sauce is on, you don't notice at all. Did I mention that the whole bag is only 40 calories?
  2. The texture is a touch more "chewy" than regular pasta. You may want to cut the longer spaghetti strands a bit before dressing it, to minimize the bite.

Recipes for using these noodles abound all over the internet by fans who continue to rave that this product has changed their life, but I say to just put on them whatever you usually put on pasta and when you go shopping, be sure to leave a few bags over for me.

(Oh, and I'm going to head commenter extraordinaire, Baked Lecho Dodi, off at the pass. I've asked our Rov what brocho to make on this and he said Shehakol. Bon Apetit.)