Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Purple Orchids

I'm exhausted and it's not even 4 PM yet. Not a good sign.

I woke up at 6:45 and walked in circles for lack of anything better to do. (I figured that it was too early to bang pots and pans or to wash dishes.) At 8 I started working. First I put a load of laundry into the washing machine, then I made the peanut-butter candy-coating for the apples and dipped them. I was extremely pleased with the results and the candy actually adhered quite nicely to the apples. I moved the apples to the table to let the candy set and popped a whole lot of popcorn. I then washed the dishes that had accumulated on the counter since I made mushroom barley soup last night and stuck a second load of laundry in the machine. At 10:00 I left for town to run 2 errands.
I was back home by 11:45. So at 12 I cooked up the caramel coating for the popcorn, coated it and stuck it in the oven to bake/crisp/dry out/set - or whatever it does in the oven. The I had a quick lunch with Z - thank heavens for our freezer full of soup - today it provided us with a delicious tomato vegetable soup.

Then Z went to school and I wrapped up the apples in cellophane with a bit of raffia. Next I put away the dishes from the first batch of washing and washed the next batch which had accumulated on the counter-top. I then folded 3 loads of clean laundry and started packing for the weekend.
Now I'm procrastinating by blogging even though I still have to wash the stove-top and counter, sweep & wash the floor, make dinner, finish packing and do a whole other bunch of little things.

So, in short I'm just kind of wondering - is it nap time yet?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reinforcements

Last night I spent almost 3 hours baking about 80 hamentashen. I haven't baked my very own hamentashen in about 6 years and I figured it would get me into the Purim spirit. I filled them with all sorts of fillings. Strawberry, Cherry, Apricot and Chocolate (chips) - I was super careful not to overfill them and I must have done a good job because there were only 3 cookies out of a double batch of dough that opened in the oven. I was so excited - I felt like I'd succeeded at something monumental. Ok, I'm crazy - I know - but it's a good kind of crazy.

Of course - I only started baking at around 8:30 so by the time I got everything straightened up and got into bed it was after midnight. Suffice it to say I woke up at 5:00 AM and couldn't fall back asleep for about an hour and the next time I opened my eyes it was 8:15AM. Late - again. It wasn't terrible though. I got up and dressed and walked Z halfway to school then I caught a bus into town.

I stopped at Meuhedet and got my blood pressure checked - it was 114/81 - completely normal. Guess I'm less stressed now that I'm on a holiday-hiatus from 'work' on the ridiculously long project. My second stop was at the local library - I checked out 3 books and had a nice conversation with the Russian librarian about my 'new' last name. My third stop was at 'Mega' for a couple of groceries - apples and sugar, cause it's hard to make candied-apples without apples and near impossible to make caramel without sugar. Last stop was the 'dollar store' where I picked up some cellophane and a couple of cute little wicker-type baskets. The bus came after a quick 5 minute wait and that just about sums up my morning outing.

Now it's afternoon already and I'm not sure what to do. I'm going to make some mushroom barley soup for dinner tonight and some fresh dinner rolls to go along with it - but considering Z doesn't come home until somewhere between 8-9PM it's a little too early to start cooking.

Maybe I'll work on the Snoopy hook-rug that I'm doing for Fredso - that would be a good idea. There are still a whole lot of little strings to latch on, even though I'm halfway done with it.

I-pod: check
Latch Hook: check
Teddy Bear: check
Ok - we're clear for take-off...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Oasis

Last Thursday night I had the worst puff-pastry dough experience of my life. First the kasha knishes expanded out of the dough splitting and growing to insane proportions and then the apple turnovers refused to stay shut. I managed to bag the knishes, more or less and the turnovers tasted delicious anyway. I have reason to believe that the knish failure was due to the addition of mashed potatoes to the filling in an attempt to help the innards stay together. I'm not giving up though - they taste delicious - I've just got to figure out the potato-to-kasha ratio and the correct thickness for the dough. I'll get there yet.

In other news I think I've finally figured out what to give for shalach manot. This whole mitzvah becomes overly complicated when you don't want to give pre-packaged candy bars and you'll be leaving home 4 days before 'giving time' - like we will be.

Hard to believe it's Monday. Z finally went back to school this morning and I sighed a breath of relief. He'd been home since Thursday and was starting to drive me crazy (especially considering he just went back on Monday after a 3 week 'test period') Of course - today is his short day so he'll be home at around 4 (instead of 8 or 9 like all other nights.)

Today I'm supposed to 'work' some more and I had invited a friend to come over and hang-out but I'm not sure whether she's coming and if she comes I'm not sure what sort of fun activity to do. So very complicated. I don't want to bake anything because it's too early to make anything for shalach manot and I definitely don't need any more cakes/candies/cookies in the house right now. I also have 2 loaves of white bread and enough challah rolls to last me until Pesach in the freezer - so making bread seems sort of pointless - although I'd be happy to make bagels - but seeing as I can only make 8 at a time it seems silly to make them with a friend and then give her 1/2 to take home - especially since they freeze SO well.

I've been making an effort to get to bed no later than 11PM the last few nights and I think I'm slowly getting back onto my 'natural' schedule. I mean, I've been waking up at 7AM feeling pretty refreshed. (This is MUCH better than the schedule I'd been on - 'the Z clock' - going to sleep at 1AM and waking up at 8:30-9AM feeling wiped-out, exhausted and ready to take a nap.) Now that I'm waking up feeling ready to face the day I really need to start doing something poisitive about it. I still have all these aerobics/dancing/yoga videos that I downloaded but I never DO any of them. I should! Really! I've got to get my heart-rate up a bit and sweat. If I did that 3 times a week and walked the other days of the week then I'd be on my way to getting back in shape. Problem is: I'm a lazy bum and have no motivation.

I just completely 'spaced out' of this post.

I guess I'll get to work and if I think of anything else to say I'll say it then...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Loose Quarters

So it's Erev-Shabbos and I'm blogging because I'm too lazy to do any more 'getting ready' type stuff.

This morning I woke up at 8ish and at 9:00 Z & I caught a bus into town. We had to buy lettuce and flowers for our shabbos table. Somehow we wound up with salted cashews, a bunch of walnuts, a container of maraschino-type cherries, a jar of tomato sauce and a little clementine tree.

While in town we ran into a whole bunch of neighbors/friends who we have been 'neglecting' due to our busy lives on the 'far side' of town on the top of the highest hill. So we shmoozed and hung out for a bit and then realized that it was almost 11 and that we hadn't started Shabbos preparations yet - so we made our way home.

Luckily the menu planned was super easy. Friday night: roasted garlic, chumus, chicken soup with matzah balls, spicy Indian Chicken, Basmati rice, roasted root vegetables and apple turnovers for dessert. Shabbos lunch: eggplant parmigiana, kasha varnishkas, home-cooked chickpeas, a huuuuge greek salad and more apple turnovers for dessert. Of course I made some peanut-butter coated popcorn (after trying the caramel version I just HAD to try the other one - although the taste of the peanut-butter coating is really awesome we like the caramel better on popcorn. The PB will be reserved for an experiment with apples...)

In 'horror-news' our little blue fuzzy friend, Mr. Twisty somehow wound up going through the wash and dry cycles. He seems to be alright more or less - although his eyeballs have fused together and his plastic house shrinky-dinked to 1/2 its original size and he no longer fits in it. It was also quite traumatic to clean tufts of 'Mr. Twisty' out of the lint-trap.

The apartment smells delicious and I'm rather looking forward to trying this new experimental spicy chicken. The roasted veggies are also adding to the aroma. All in all - quite mouthwatering.

I guess I should go put away the dishes that are taking up most of my counter so that there is somewhere to set up the plata...

Have a wonderful Shabbos!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Little White Fishies

Hard to believe it's been a week since I last posted. I'm really not sure where this week has gone.

Shabbos was a peaceful and wonderful success. Sunday was a PJ day - nothing too exciting happened, aside from the bagel baking experience - I made bagels and they were really good. Monday Z went back to school and I worked a whole lotta hours, I finished a 'chapter' in the project and in celebration I baked these cookie-dough topped brownies - (don't worry, there are no eggs in the cookie dough.) On Tuesday I took a 2 km walk - just for the heck of it. I worked a bit and I also sent most of the leftover brownies to school with Z - (rumor has it that they were much enjoyed by his classmates.)
Today I was a very busy bee. Z and I went to Yesh to do our weekly grocery shopping. I got chicken for shabbos and am very much looking forward to our 'Indian Menu' for Friday night.

I got noshy in the afternoon so I popped up a whole bunch of popcorn. Of course, after a few handfuls I decided that popcorn wasn't quite hitting the spot. It needed flavor - I wasn't sure whether it was lacking sweet or salty - so I decided to spice it up a bit...
It needed flavor - I wasn't sure whether it was lacking sweet or salty - so I decided to spice it up a bit. I turned to my trusted source for many things delicious and decided that caramel popcorn was THE way to go.
Easy recipe, common ingredients, candy thermometer not required - this is my kinda recipe!

So we boiled up the goo...
The we coated, tossed and baked the popcorn. It was so easy and came out so deliciously it's hard to believe we made it in practically no time at all!
I'm hoping some of it will be left for Shabbos. This is a perfect noshy treat!

Maybe I'll make a bunch of it to take to the parentals next weekend. It's easy enough to throw together and I think everyone would really enjoy it - even Oscardoodle!

Still - there's another whole week to think about that. I think I'll make another batch of bagels and some peanut-butter cookies in the meantime.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cause I Can...

Change in plans. I just completely re-wrote my shabbos menu. Now a quick trip to Mega will suffice. (That's 40 minutes of walking rather than 40 minutes on buses.)

Friday Night: Challah (from the freezer), roasted garlic, chumus, chicken soup with matzah balls (from the freezer), chicken pot pie (from the freezer) - so all I have to make is garlic and dessert.

Shabbat Day: Vegetable Lasagna (I just need some cottage cheese), Salmon (got 1 piece left in the freezer), Green salad.

I love freezer shabbatot! Yay!

Now I've got to go take care of the 3rd load of laundry, wash the rest of the dishes, scrub the oven trays, clean the bathrooms and wait around til' 3 so I can go shopping with Z.

Treehouse...

Where the heck has yet another week gone? I didn't spend it but it's nowhere to be found! I'm so confused.

Sunday was a general mope around and do nothing day. Monday I moped for a bit and then did a teensy bit of work. Tuesday I had a terrible morning which inspired me to get dressed and walk for an hour - on the way I bought 4 kinds of apples and 30 eggs. On Tuesday afternoon I dealt with a couple of things that I had been putting off. First there was Orange - I finally cancelled the useless 21 shekel per month charge because I finally could since the hitchayvut on my phone is up. I also got in touch with Bezeq to find out what they could offer me in the router/modem department. Turns out that I am eligible for a free 'all-in-one' wireless gizmo on the condition that I have a Bezeq contract for the next 2 years. (I don't see myself switching to HOT any time soon - so I figure that's a pretty good deal.)

Wednesday was an extremely productive day - I was up, dressed and working by 9:30. At 1:25 Z and I hopped on a bus to Petach Tikvah. First stop was the Bezeqstore where we picked up our new internet-connection-gadget. Then we went to the 'kenyon hagadol' (big mall) and wandered around for about an hour. At 4ish we stopped at BurgerRanch for lunch and then we bought 2 tickets to the movies. 5:00 was showtime, we saw the new 'action version' of Sherlock Holmes on the big screen. Then we caught a bus home. There was no traffic in either direction so the ride only took 1 hour each way.

This morning I woke up and realized with a start that it's Thursday. Thursday means general prep for Shabbos and starting the cooking. Problems - I haven't got any chicken in the house and still haven't decided what to make for shabbat lunch. Thankfully there's challah in the freezer so at least I don't have to start baking bread. I also think I've decided to make a cinnamon swirl cake for the occasion and possibly some cookies of some sort.

I guess I should go buy some chicken. We don't even have any potatoes in the house. Maybe I should remedy that situation as well. Today I'll have to shlep the groceries all by myself. Z is busy coloring in a picture for his presentation this afternoon and then he's got the presentation so he's too busy to come with me. I guess I could wait until later but then there might not be any chicken left at the grocery store. Decisions decisions.

Alrighty - time to get a move on.

Toodles for now.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Huff-N-Puff

Weekend re-cap - cause I don't want you to feel neglected.

Let me begin by saying that we didn't have a quiet, 'just-us-2' type Shabbos after all. Somebody called at 10:30 PM Thursday night in desperate need of a place for the weekend. It was one of those situations where you really can't say no. So we had a guest after all.

Usually it wouldn't phase me to have a last-minute guest, but considering we've had guests for 5 out of the last 7 shabbatot and we live in the middle of nowhere with no car we tend to plan in advance to a certain extent as far as stocking up on meat, groceries and such. As a result davka this week - (when I was going to cook 1/2 a pot of chicken soup out of 3 chicken wings and cook the last tiny chicken 'kirayim' (leg & thigh) that I had in the freezer and not really cook anything else for the 2 of us) a guest called at the last minute. Fact: It is impossible to always be prepared for all eventualities.

In the end we weren't lacking for food. It was just a bit frustrating to suddenly have to plan 'real meals' rather than the 'freezer shabbos' I'd been planning. (No I couldn't make a 'freezer shabbos' because my freezer portions are really planned for 2 people. They feed me & Z perfectly - and definitely can't accommodate feeding a third.) And so Friday morning I had to bake challah (we were going to just use the 3 itty bitty rolls I had in the freezer - but that doesn't really work when you're having guys), I wound up making deli roll, shnitzel (with the last chicken breast from the freezer), kasha buttons, I found 8 chicken wings in the freezer so cooked those as 'zaatar chicken' for friday night, couscous, glazed sweet potatoes, peas, and I even pulled a potato-knish-kugel out of the freezer. I was thankful that last week I was smart and put 1/2 of the birthday cake into the freezer. I was able to just pull it out (when it thawed it was just as delicious as it was last week) and I made a small pan of brownies.

Overall it was a nice Shabbos although after so many weeks of guests I'm kind of ready for a weekend that I can sit around in my pajamas and not cover my hair. I know - I do that all week, but it's nice to do it with Z home, at a time when there's no phone or computer or ipod or homework or anything else to distract him.

Maybe next week. *sigh*

In other news, this is Z's last week of 'vacation' (it's really 'midterms period' but considering he doesn't have class, just projects due and exams - he's home almost all the time so we call it 'vacation') The first 2 weeks of 'vacation' have been spent doing Z's favorite things - reading books, reading the news on the internet, checking Facebook, staring at the walls and sitting around doing nothing. Personally I would've very much liked to do something - out of the house. I wanted to go on a trip, maybe even stay away overnight somewhere - but that's asking too much. If I don't plan it and insist on it then it won't happen and I'm sick of always having to make all the plans and all of the decisions and all of the preparations. So I guess we won't be doing anything this 'vacation' after all.

More about this past weekend - remember how I had mentioned last week that the 'fix-it-guy' finally showed up after 3 months? Well, the day after they did the repairs it started raining and pouring, the next day it hailed and stormed, the next day it rained some more. Suffice it to say, although they seem to have fixed the 'leaky ceiling problem' the window-frames are still oozing and dripping. We're hoping that since the weather seems to have cleared up that everything will dry and there won't be any more problems.

Someday I want to live in a warm house. One that actually heats up and stays warm. I am sick of always wearing a winter coat in my apartment. We had heaters running all of shabbos and while they did raise the temperature in the apartment about 5 degrees, the temperature inside was still only 58F.

This wasn't supposed to be a kvetchy post but that's what it's turning into. My apologies.

I should really be working on the dreaded 'project' now but I just can't bring myself to finish it. There are still 11 slideshows to put together, I have to gather/arrange/organize/lay out the 'handout' sheets, redo the 'fact sheets' (cause I don't like the original layout), finalize the flyers, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Problem is - I'm SO not in the mood.

Results from the blood-test are in. Now I've got to go see that dietitian. yahoo.

Oh yeah - and I bit 5 of my nails off after a 3 week battle to get them to grow back. They were finally looking pretty. *sigh*

Alright - enough for now. I'm going to go find my slippers. I had to wash them on Friday after the cocoa powder fiasco. (I poured the stuff into a storage container and all was fine until I tried to put the lid on and a plume of the powder exploded forth and covered me head to toe.)

Maybe I'll eat another kasha button.

I'm out of red apples.

Toodles.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Burgandy Bandana

Good morning world! Oh wait, it's 11:22 already?! When did that happen?

I guess I should start with a quick story about yesterday. I went to the Doctor (nothing serious, I just had to get a form) and while I was there I asked him offhandedly what to do about the problems I have when I eat and my sensitive stomach issues. Rather than suggesting allergy test or a gastro - in a nutshell - he told me that I was overweight, that the nausea caused by eating probably wasn't due to 'what' I was consume but rather 'how much' I consume and printed out a referral for a dietitian. (Nice Dr, huh?) Preliminary work for the dietitian is a blood test (which you need to fast for 14 hours before having) and they're only open from 7:30-9:00 in the morning.

And so...

We woke up at 7:00 this morning and went out to catch an 8:00 bus to 'town' - there was a light sprinkling of hail-balls falling from the sky but luckily one of our friends (with a car) was heading in the same direction and gave us a ride right to our destination. As we walked into the clinic the skies opened. The blood test was a cinch (even though I forgot to bring Fringe with me) but I still really don't like needles.
After the blood test the sky had cleared so Z & I headed down to Yesh. It's a nice 15-20 minute walk from town. Of course we stopped at our favorite little 'natural health-food store' to pick up some provisions for the weekend. Nuts and berries stuff.

As we arrived at Yesh, got a shopping cart and entered the store the skies opened again and a deluge of rain washed over the city. (3 times lucky so far today - not bad.) We did our shopping and as we headed over to the check-out aisles Z noticed a guy from shul on Shabbos. He lives in our neighborhood so we asked him whether he was driving home. He answered affirmatively and said he'd gladly give us a lift.

He had a shopping cart full of groceries and we had a backpack, 2 cloth shopping bags and 2 plastic shopping bags. I wondered briefly whether there would be room in the car. But we're Israeli, we'd make it fit. As we headed out of the store he glanced at our purchases and said with a smile, "I'm not sure whether there's going to be room for everything." I got a tad nervous as he headed across the parking lot but he motioned for us to follow him. Turns out - he drives a bus. He was extremely nice and dropped us off right in front of our building.

Did I mention the rain and hail stopped falling just as we finished paying at the supermarket and didn't start again until we were safely in our apartment? (4 lucky breaks in one day.)

We looked out on the mirpeset as the next wave of rain began to fall and noticed that the hail had accumulated in a layer of slush.
Tonight for dinner I'm making steak and mashed potatos for Z. It's his Hebrew Birthday! Yay! Let the celebration begin.

I also have to cook for shabbos at some point. This will be our first 'quiet weekend' in a month. It should be nice. (Though I wish it would warm up a bit. I'm ready for the spring, can you tell?)

Sunday night is the 'Midnight Superbowl Party' and I'm still trying to decide whether or not to go. It'll be a 25 minute walk at well, midnight - or around then. I feel bad making Z go alone - but I think I want to be sleeping by then. Also, there haven't been many female rsvps - so I feel like I should go just to 'represent' - only thing is, I don't really care about football. I don't even really care about the superbowl commercials. I know, I know - I should be tarred and feathered. Oh well.

In other news I'm on the last leg of the 'painfully-long-project' and hope to be done with it by next Tuesday.

Also good news - the repairs made to the window-frames and ceiling seem to be holding up alright in the face of today's storm.

I am sitting in front of the computer wrapped up in my quilt but I refuse to take off my boots - they are sooooo warm!

Alrighty - back to work...

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Loss for Words...

At 8:20 this morning there was a knock on our front door. It turns out that the guy who was supposed to fix our leaky roof and windows finally decided to show up to do the repairs. Well, that's what we thought anyway. We invited him in, showed him the problem-spots (for a third time) and he proceeded to inquire when a good time to make the repairs would be. We sternly and politely insisted "NOW!" and unbelievably enough he actually made them.
The windows in both our bedroom and the office got re-sealed from the outside in and the inside out. The window-frame in our bathroom finally had a layer of silicon applied (for the very first time I might add.) Most importantly though - the leaky ceiling in the bedroom was finally (theoretically) repaired. I guess we'll find out for sure the next time it rains.
While the repairmen were hard at work I tended to my little potted plot of herbs. I really need to take care of thinning/cutting back my dill but I've been too lazy and it seems to be doing just fine anyway. Can you believe how tall it is? That 2 liter water bottle is there for comparison.
Today I was a bad freelancer. I barely touched the work that I have to do. I got burnt out by working 20 hours in the last 48 and my mind just wouldn't focus. I did eventually manage to eke out 2 extremely graphical slides for the slideshows but it isn't really worthy of mention considering how much there is still left to do.

Thankfully our internet connection was in a compliant sort of mood today - I was able to download all of my Monday Night tv shows in record time. Gosh I'm a 'Big-Bang-Theory-a-holic! "Bazinga!" No really, I am! I am!!!

In an effort to further procrastinate 'working' I took a stroll down memory lane. I have 7 years worth of family photos. It's funny how 'the early years' are all pixelated and grainy - there are also significantly less photos. (Probably because we were all using 'the family camera.') Finally at the very tail-end of 2006 I got my first camera and suddenly there are pictures galore.

I think it's funny to note that the time when I was taking the most photos and really enjoying life the most were my 'single, working, fun' years. After I got married I kind of lost interest in a lot of things that I really used to enjoy. (I know I blogged about this a couple of weeks ago - but it irks me that I've lost the will to do the things that I used to enjoy so much.)

I know I should get back into the habit and "just do it" but I have no goals or aspirations. It's kind of a bad rut I'm stuck in right now. I need a kick in the butt and some helpful support.

It's also kind of sad that I don't have any pictures of myself that I actually like since June 2008.

On a bright note - whenever I start photographing again I've got Photoshop at my disposal.
...and the sisters walked together into a bright and promising future.

The End.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Hair Depletion...

Look! It's me again! I think the trick to continuous and steady blogging is to be stuck in an extremely boring routine of work. Have you noticed that? When I have nothing at all to do I don't blog and when I'm busy having a 'fun' time all the time I don't blog.

But here I am. Because I'm working on an extremely time-consuming and relatively boring project. And now I've started 3 sentences with words that they've always taught me never to start sentences with and do you know what? I don't care!A couple of months ago when I went out to see 'New Moon' with Feige she gave me the greatest gifts. They're toys for my desk. She handed them to me and said, "if you're going to be working - you're going to need some of these to keep you sane" and guess what, I really do!!!

The giraffe is so friendly and there are also some bubbles (which I've been happily blowing and chasing around the office like a nutcase.) Cut me some slack - you'd do it too if you were doing what I do. I'm almost positive.

Here's a photo of my provisions. Today we'll be ingesting the remainder of the birthday cake and there's a biiiiig bottle of water. (Cause my Dunce told me off for not drinking yesterday.)
I've also got to thank Becca cause without her help Ryan wouldn't be able to Skype with his friends. This is the perfect webcam.
Exciting note - it's Monday - which means tonight is a new episode of The Big Bang Theory! Woohoo! Something to look forward too. (Not that I've watched any of my shows from last week - they're just sitting and waiting for me to have some time.)

The pretty colors in my computer case are mesmerizing. Aren't they just?
I really really really want to go on a fun trip that I can take some great pictures on. I'd like to go with Z and I'd like to go soon.

I'm almost 1/2 done with the work project. I'm on slideshow 6 of 11+.

Maybe next week...