I bought a new phone! Yes. Not state of the art, it is Android and it only has JellyBean, but it is a lot better than my previous phone. My only complaint is the battery life, because while it would last forever in stand by mode, playing Minion Rush kind of drains it baaaaad. But yeah, for now I’m super happy to have it. I already added some music and more apps than I’ll ever use, and yes, Farmville 2 works with it! It also has a better camera (which i won’t be using much, I suspect) and nicer, bigger screen. Yes, I’m happy. Please refer back to this post in six months when I express my undying hatred for my phone.
After weeks of coffee free existence I had the best raspberry latte with an ice cube. Of course I know Starbucks is not the best coffee, but it was nice enough as a dessert. Because let’s admit it: a shot of coffee with milk, syrup and whipped cream is a dessert, not a coffee.
Sunday evening marks the beginning of Yom HaShoah, the Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel. The International Holocaust Memorial Day, commemorating the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camps. It is held on the 27th of Nisan (or a day before or after). On Sunday in Budapest the local March of the Living will be held. Today (Thursday) four of my teenagers left for Poland to participate in the March of the Living event in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
This year there is a special theme that makes it even more personal to my children (though none of those who are travelling this year are Hungarian or my biological children): one of the themes of this year’s event is the fate of Hungarian Jewry. 70 years ago this year, 600 000 of Europe’s most assimilated and very patriotic Jews were deported and killed in a few short months. We shall remember them this coming Sunday, and recite the Mourner’s Kiddush for them–for those, who had no one left to recite it for them.
Today I had the best meal: stuffed lamb chops with eggs and fresh vegetables. It is a typical Easter meal in Transylvania, at least among the Hungarians there, but the other ethnic groups also eat variants of it.
Being mistaken for an American, I was told that I probably don’t want to know what the stuffing is made from. I informed the lady at the food truck that I was Irish, and we eat most everything in a sheep, and what we don’t eat we wear, so she provided a link to the recipe, and I was right: it included lots of different internal organs of the lamb, and thus it was delicious. I need to find a recipe for it and share it with the adventorous eaters and cooks.
This past week I was asked if Easter had a corresponding Jewish holiday. That reminded me that a) I need to send my friend this book, or b) I need to start blogging more seriously about my experience with Judaism. Would anyone be interested if I did the latter? If yes, what would you like to know more about?
Last week I posted my Quick Takes here. I also posted a domestic misadventure making cold porcelain and a recipeforof how to make very deviled eggs with the kids. It was a blogging heavy week! I hope to update with the second attempt of making cold porcelain over this weekend. And I will really post that recipe soon, I just ran into some problems. Most of those are fixed now.
The last few days we perfected our method of making a large number of deviled eggs. You see, we all love them, and Kevin thinks they area Biblical requirement for Easter. It is probably in Acts or something. Anyway, today is Easter and we have deviled 40 eggs. This is how it works.
Find a large pot and put fifty eggs in it. (Dad, we only have 40!) So put 40 eggs in it. Try not to break them. Add some salt and water to cover them and then some. Bring to boil, and cook them for fifteen minutes or so. Drain, and immediately cover with ice cold water.
Peel the eggs. Save egg shells for your garden/chicken feed/potted plants. Don’t drop the eggs. After dropping eggs, wash them. Smear some egg over the camera of your iDevice and do not notice it till all the food is gone.
Cut eggs in half and lay them out on a plate. Scoop yolks out to another bowl. Observe that all the egg withes are paper thin, and use colourful language every time you accidentally pierce the paper thin parts. Ask your 18-year-old to google why those who resurrected Hebrew failed to create proper swear words.
Have a kid use a fork to break the yolks up. Break up a fight over who gets to squirt the mayo in the bowl. Break up a fight about who gets to squirt the mustard in the bowl. Tell kids to wash their hands both before and after tasting the yolk mix. Make sure you contol the salt and pepper. Make sure that there is some of the yolk mix left for the eggs after all the trying.
Carefully spoon mix into a zip-loc bag, cut off tip, and hand it over to kid to fill the empty egg whites.
When bag breaks, use teaspoon to scoop mix out of the bag and into the egg whites.
Sprinkle paprika over half of the eggs, and promise not to put paprika on the other half. Take blurry pictures and blog about process.
My kids like to craft. I do, too, but they, unlike me, have quite a bit of artistic talent. One of their loved medium is polymer clay. Because it’s quite pricey, I decided to look for alternatives. Cold porcelain seemed to be a good idea. I decided to follow this recipe, and because of her warnings of no substitutions and exact amounts, I did exactly as she wrote the tutorial. Something still went horribly wrong.
I used an unopened box of corn starch (all the open ones were thrown away before Passover), an unopened bottle of PVA (white school) glue I bought in Ireland last year, lemon juice and baby oil. This is the consistency I got upon mixing the carefully measured ingredients:
It reminded me of cottage cheese, except this one stunk. The glue ran through the corn starch, and no matter how much I mixed it, it was just a grainy, stinky mess.
Then I microwaved it. After the third round I removed it from the bowl, where quite a bit of liquid was left behind. I tried kneading in the bowl first, but the hot liquid gave me 1st degree burns.
Upon the first attempt to knead, more liquid came out of the mixture, which now resembled unpressed cheese. So being creative, I put an old sieve over the bowl I originally used, put an even older kitchen towel in it, and tried kneading the trutymó (Hungarians, is there a good English word for trutymó?) in that.
I kept kneading till it cooled down… and fell completely apart. I threw the whole thing away at that point. I got to, however, try another Pinterest find: I cooked a lemon, cut in half, in a bowl of water in my microwave to get rid of the stink. It worked beautifully.
I suspect either the corn starch or the glue were to blame, because the recipe was also tried by many people, who had successes with it. Or maybe it’s just cursed with me using corn starch during Passover.
Passover, or Pesach, began on Monday evening with the Passover Seder. Sefer means “order” and it refers to the order of events during this one specific celebration. I’d like to point out that “Christian” Seders held on any date other than teh first or second nights of Passover are model Seders at best: the date of the Seder is just as strictly defined as the date of the whole festival. Exodus 13:8 tells us this date. In the Diaspora Jews usually have two Seders and Passover lasts 8 days, in Israel there is one Seder and Passover lasts a week.
This year my parents visited one of my brothers for Seder, and we ended up hosting Kevin’s (Christian) parents and brother’s family, my twin brother’s family and my little brother’s family for the Seder. We kept it sweet and short(ish), with the kids getting tired, and to be honest, I don’t think our non-Jewish family got much out of our Haggadah reading, but everyone seemed to have fun.
Those of you who have read here for a while know that Passover is a very challenging festival for me, because I hate matzah. I love egg matzah, but unfortunately it’s not really acceptable in Ashkenazi circles. I try to eat several small pieces every day, as it’s a mitzvah, but I generally try to avoid matzah and matzah meal in most meals. So I made a veal roast with vegetables and mashed potatoes for lunch, which I will brag about in my new cooking blog, My Gay Kitchen. No, I didn’t buy the domain, and no, I don’t expect it to last much longer than my previous cooking blogs. But maybe.
Tuesday night Kevin and I had dinner with some of his former colleagues. It was a lovely meal, and I had a blast. One of his colleagues works for a magazine that deals with the supernatural, UFO sightings, and conspiracy theories. He is on the payroll as a translator, but when they don’t have enough stories to fill the magazine, sometimes he has to write some. He shared some of tge things he had translated/written, and I have to admit that the dust in the wir interpreted as plasma spheres are pretty believable compared to some of the things these magazines publish. Did you know that not only is Elvis alive, but he is financing Obama? Yeah, me neither.
That reminds me, if creationists want equal air time for their pseudo-science, I demand TBN show The Cosmos–both the original and the new one!
I am making coasters for a fundraiser! I’m really excited, because it’s benefitting new immigrants! The money raised will be used to provide services for elementary school aged olim, who normally receive no language and other school support in their new communities. I only need to make 100 more!
Since I discovered Warehouse 13, making those 100 coasters shouldn’t be that big a problem. I can make three or four during an episode, and there are several seasons… Why didn’t I know about this show before? I have been discovering shows like that, shows that I should have been watching and I didn’t even know it existed! I really am living under a rock! I still haven’t seen Oblivion, either. I don’t want to see Noah, to be honest, but apparently there are some good films out now. So recommend me something to watch… and to read. I am currently not reading anything.
The last few weeks/months I have been experiencing some GI issues, including some reflux. After consulting the GI specialist, I gave up carbonated drinks, dairy and even coffee for now. We went step by step, and cutting out cola was a big help. Cutting out dairy wasn’t very hard either, and now I really am eating kosher. Now, while I expect coffee and eventually dairy make a come back to my diet, probably cola won’t. At least not for a while. So maybe I need a new blog name. Any suggestions?
Sunday, April 6, 2014 was the day of parliamentary elections in Hungary. As a citizen, I had the opportunity to vote at the Embassy here in Tel Aviv. I also had an oral surgery appointment close to the Embassy. I am not sure what hurt more, two teeth being pulled or the governing party (the right wing FIDESZ) getting another 2/3 and the Neo-Nazi Jobbik gaining strength. Another four years when I won’t consider moving back.
Brace yourself: Passover is coming. We have been cleaning like crazy, ridding the house of any chametz (leavening) we have. As of today any real bread, pasta or other edible things are only to be consumed outside, so I don’t have to clan the house on Sunday all over again.
Monday night we’ll host Seder, which is going to be great. We already know where to hide the afikomen, a piece of matzah that the kids will have to find.
And now comes a miserable week for me. I hate matzah. It tastes like cardboard. It’s awful. And here it’s not like I run out to the grocery store, take off my kipah and pick up a loaf of bread, because the grocery store will only have matzah, too!
Between my love for Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks and cooking show, and being introduced to several cooking blogs, I was just telling Jill yesterday that I’d love to read a cooking blog titled “My Gay Kitchen”. I googled, and there is a Blogspot blog with that title, that hasn’t been updated since last July. So I was thinking, maybe I should start a blog with that title. Of course GoDaddy tells me that mygaykitchen.com is $350 to reserve upon expiration. There is no site associated with the domain, though. So maybe, when I don’t have to save for the trip to Rome, I will buy mygaykitchen.net. Unless, of course, someone buys it seeing this post, so I can’t get my hands on it. Which would be perfectly good business sense, if I would be willing to pay more than the minimum for it.
We have a turkey. No idea where my son got it, but yesterday I came home to a turkey running around in my backyard. We have great plans for Mr. Turkey: he will grow a bit more, and then he will become the late Mr. Turkey, and he will be smoked and very yummy. Some turkey products are hard to find here, some are way overpriced. So now we will try raising our own.
Two posts back I wrote about the tattoo I got for my birthday. I was a gift from my step-mom. I told her a while back that I wanted a tattoo of חי to celebrate the anniversary of being cancer free (the day of the transplant). She gave me a voucher to a local tattoo place that my sons recommended her. She had no idea how big or how complicated a design I wanted, so she ended up getting me a voucher that didn't only cover my tattoo, but Shiri's ears could be pierced as well. I was quite happy about it. Then Thursday morning I got a test that we can go and pick up the second pair of earrings for her that we ordered. I went… and ended up having to pay about NIS 10 only for the shipping!
Converse Outlet Store is getting ready for Easter.
Yes, the shoes are used for easter baskets. Thanks to some of my friends for this photo. It made me LOL. Really.
I love Converse shoes (I usually don't buy them, because my ankle braces wear them out fast), but I really don't get the sandal ones. What is their purpose? They look ugly, they look too hot for sandal weather and not covered enough for shoe weather. So… yeah.
…And here I am, halfway through Friday morning, working on the third quick take… and after a busy week, my mind is blank about what I should write about, besides the tattoo and Craig's birthday yesterday, which was awesome. We had some of his friends over, including our old neighbours from Tel Aviv. It had been a while since we saw them, and it was great to have them over. While it was several degrees colder than on Itamar's birthday, we had a lovely time swimming and grilling and generally having fun.
Craig is already done with the coursework for this school year, and he is starting to work on the last year's work. He is sitting exams early, and even while we are working on finishing up that aspect, he is considering enrolling for more courses at the Open University. He is committed to compelte a dual degree in Computer Science and Cognitive Science by the time he goes into the army, or very early in his miltary career. Nirel is also taking his first course there, and they are both doing fabulously.
Oh yes, in the busy time with birthdays and holidays, it is now time for me to get all the tests and appointments for my big, one-year-post-transplant check up. I've already had some of them, including one that required some sedation this morning. Based on all the other tests I've had, I'm fairly sure that everything will come back good. It's just annoying that my mornings are filled with doctors.
You know my teddy bear, who has been having lots of adventures
He is on the left. He is going to have a lot more adventures, and he had one just on Craig's birthday. You see, after all these neat and tidy kids it was inevitable to have a child who is a hider. Because the Teddy Bear and I got matching bags from my dear friend Jill, I wanted him to wear his. Except he was nowhere to be found. We were sure Yehudit had something to do with it, because her teddy bear was sitting on my bookshelf where my Teddy Bear lives. There were a lot of us, searching for the teddy, but he just disappeared. I was going through trashcans, because Judy is fascinated by the rotating top ones. I was trying to remember when we last saw the bear, and when the last garbage day was. He was simply gone.
Then, giving up ever finding him, went to change Judy's bed sheets. As I was lifting her matress to put in fitted sheets (how on earth can those be neatly folded?) I was greeted with a slightly flattened bear. He is back to his normal 3D self. I, however, have no idea how Judy got him there!
I woke up early as I wanted to listen to the Kerényi monologue on TV. He called for right wing revolution again! It was a wonderful feeling to listen to Hungary's greatest stage director calling people with morals to finally stand up for what they believe. I also wanted to attend a early appearance of Prime Minister Orbán Viktor, so I had to get ready. I wore my best suit with a striped shirt and unmatching tie; just like Viktor does!
On the way to the campaign meeting I tore down some of the blasphemous posters of the Liberal Democrats. I can't believe they would make fun of the Lord's Prayer! I passed by a “memorial” fopr Holocaust Day. These Commies… They should pay more attention to their own massacres. Eh, what do I expect?
The meeting was wonderful! Viktor delivered a very moving speech about lowering social security premiums, and giving retirees the 14th month pension and lowering the price of electricity and taking away the high family benefits, but lower the taxes for those who raise three or more kids… well, I am already on minimum wage and don't pay taxes, but still, it is such a brilliant idea to get tax breaks instead of this… pity money the Commies are giving us. We sang a few hymns and the local priest gave a blessing and I bought several orange giant hands and gave Viktor some flowers… Such a wonderful experience!
On the way out I stopped by the signature collection booths and I signed both petitions to ban abortions and to make gay marriages illegal in the whole European Union. Those pervs! What are they thinking! They should all reform and return to the Holy church and repent… Or they should just move elsewhere.
At home I went to the White House's website and sent an e-mail to former President George W. Bush, thanking him for the heroic work he did for the welfare of all people on the face of the earth. I expressed my gratitude for protecting me from Osama Bin Laden and his lackies by killing all those potential terrorists before they can even think of suicide bombing.
Now I shall pray and read the newest teachings of the Pope before bed.
Have a Blessed night, everyone. Unless you are a Commie, of course.
(Happy April's Fool! This is a repost from Rabbit Hole Day 2006 from my LiveJournal. The views expressed above may belong to someone, but that someone is not me. Always check your sources before posting praise for afred aphelps based on The Onion.)
Today is my birthday. Three days ago I celebrated the first anniversary of the transplant that saved my life. Today I got a tattoo.
As I type this, I can hear my more observant friends' exclaim in my head, “But Leviticus!” No, not 18:22 or 20:13. There are other verses in Leviticus, too. They are thinking of 19:28, the verse forbidding marking one's body. (Which, by the way, would be just as binding for Christians as 20:13, if either of those would have ever been intended for anyone outside the House of Israel. Luckily, neither were.)
So, now that we established that tattoos are forbidden, let me tell you what I had tattooed on me.
The above word reads as “chai”, with a hard “h” sound, not like the tea Starbucks sells for like five bucks.
“חי” in Hebrew means alive or living. These few days I'm celebrating the fact that I'm alive. And in a few weeks we will celebrate that the children of Israel, against all odds, are alive.
This is one of those songs that literally everyone in Israel knows. I think even Rose, the winner of the X Factor knows this song. I definitely do. And it was certainly funny that during those four minutes (or less) that it took to get the letters on my hip, this song was playing.
Of course, being a chicken, I took the Bar Refaeli route, and I got a white tattoo that doesn'tbshow that much now, and will fade with time. Adding the fact that it's not on the side of my hip, few people other than Kevin will ever see it. The choice of location is not random, though: I had three radiation tattoo marks that served as some of the starting points, and a white radiation scar is incorporated. So yes. I'm alive.
ETA: I just saw that Harel Skaat chose to commemorate my 32nd birthday with getting a tattoo of his own.