Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Yona, G.G.’s and Beachcombers

I am beginning to worry that if I do not get up and blog in the middle of the night, I will not be able to keep up with writing about my life and my recipes.

Wednesday, while Saul had an MRI of his painful shoulders and then went to physical therapy, I cleaned the house, watered the garden, caught up with laundry, made Israeli salad, and began preparations for Jessica and the three girls to visit with a trip to Costco.

Thursday, I roasted a 25-lb. turkey on the Weber grill with lots of dried herbs from last year’s garden among the hardwood charcoal. Under the skin, was sliced elephant garlic and fresh pineapple sage leaves from this year’s garden. My two granddaughters are so opposite in their tastes that turkey is just about the only food they both like. Then, Saul and I decided to catch a 1:15 p.m. matinee at the IMAX theatre in King of Prussia. We caught the last day at the IMAX of the new Star Trek movie, by fortunate coincidence. We had great seats in the middle. The movie was enjoyable, but like all the big action movies lately, there was really no logical plot. If Hollywood is going to spend all those millions of dollars producing a visually stunning and imaginative blockbuster, can’t they at least afford some writer to come up with a good story line? The ghost of Gene Roddenberry in outer space must be turning over in his zero gravity environment. After the movie, we used up a $10 Internet coupon for a late lunch (or early dinner) at Bahama Breeze; and since we were on the same parking lot with Nordstrum Rack, we spent a half hour shopping as well.

My beloved leather handbag that I bought in Beijing’s Silk Market two years ago has begun to fall apart and I needed a bag for the summer. I found this one absolutely perfect large orchid leather Coach bag as soon as I walked into the store. It was reduced over $150 dollars from the original price, but was still very expensive. I decided that if I found shoes to go with it, that would be a sign that I was meant to buy it. I didn’t really think I would find orchid shoes, but sure enough, I found a great pair of Puma flats on sale that were white and dusty pink with a little trim of bright yellow. Close enough! I went back and bought the bag, the most expensive I have ever owned! It was really a fun day, and I don’t feel too guilty because I carry my handbags for years. When we returned, I made gravy and began to carve the warm turkey. It was falling apart as I was slicing, so we put it in the refrigerator to firm it up for slicing the following day.

I was up at 3:00 a.m. on Friday. I knew that Ari’s plane was due to land in Moscow around then and the part of his trip that was most worrisome to me was his landing and taking a subway to the hotel. At five I began to worry and Saul was annoyed at me with all my justifications of why I should be worried. At six, I convinced him to get out of bed to Skype our cousin Mark in Israel who only speaks Hebrew and Russian to find out the number of hours from airport to hotel by subway. Just as Saul sat down at the computer, Ari’s email arrived telling us that he was at his hotel and everything was fine. Within five minutes, we were Skyping with Ari and sharing the panoramic view from his window and taking a 360° tour of his suite at the impressive Swissotel in Moscow. After our conversation, I went out and planted a row of marigolds along the front of the garden. I showered off the dirt and Saul and I went out for lunch at a favorite nearby mom-and-pop Thai restaurant, Pho Thai Nam. Before dinner, we had this amazing technological experience of speaking with Ari live on Skype while, at the same time, viewing his day’s photographs in Picasa while he described them to us.

Only Faith joined us for Shabbat dinner this week. Larry is still in Jordan. We had defrosted homemade challah and garlic bread, butternut squash soup from Trader Joe’s, guacamole with pretzel chips, sliced turkey in gravy, black and white rice, Israeli salad, cranberry apple chutney, jumbo oatmeal peanut butter and raisin cookies, and strawberries dipped in individual pots of melted chocolate.

Saturday morning, Ken and Randi came with Randi’s sister Sheri to stay with Mom so that we could meet Jessica at Lion’s Gate to introduce Yona to her great-grandmother. Sima’s feet and ankles were very swollen, but she seemed really delighted to see all of us. After a half-hour visit, she wandered off from us into another patient’s bedroom to use the bathroom and seemed to forget that we were there. We had to go and find her a few minutes later when it was time to say goodbye.

When we all arrived back home, my mother was equally happy to meet Yona and see Sami and Izzy again. Both girls were very happy to have sliced smoked turkey for dinner with the black and white rice. They watched television, played with their toys, and were tucked into bed with a Shmuel story from their grandfather.

Sunday morning after breakfast, the girls went next door to play on Beth’s recently refurbished swing set. Saul and I set about gathering together everything we needed for an afternoon at the pool. Beachcomber Swim Club has been purchased by a new owner this year who made much-needed improvements, and it was an absolutely delightful experience to revisit those golden days of last summer when we frequently sat by the pool and watched delightedly as the girls enjoyed themselves swimming, doing arts and crafts, playing on the playground, or having their faces painted. Stacey had the weekend off and Jessica had chosen to stay behind with Mom and Yona, although I offered to stay with Mom instead. They spent the afternoon in Mom’s bedroom watching old movies, and Mom had a chance to spend a few quality hours with her new great-granddaughter. We were all exhausted after a day in the sun, so after a light dinner of “fishy burgers,” which Izzy requested, and which they both like, we took a 2-hour nap. Around 7 p.m., we headed out for the merry-go-round at Plymouth Meeting Mall, but found the mall closed. Amidst distant lightening strikes and gathering dark clouds of a looming thunderstorm, we attempted to salvage the evening with a visit to Freddy Hill for ice cream. Sami and I got a little wet running to the door. Saul got very wet gallantly retrieving an umbrella from the trunk because Izzy refused to get out of the car without one. The girls went right to sleep, again with a Shmuel story, when we arrived home at about 9:30 p.m.

To our disappointment, Jessica decided to head home early on Monday to avoid the heavy Memorial Day traffic. We understood. Alex had stayed home because the new puppy, Inky, has been chewing up furniture and shoes when left to her own devices and a dog sitter would not have sufficed. Jessica is a trooper when it comes to heading out on her own, but knowing she was travelling at the height of Memorial Day traffic would have worried us all. Every spare minute this week has been spent preparing for an imminent garage sale, so Saul and I spent the rest of Monday cleaning out 16 years of accumulated stuff in our large office closet. When we finished, among other things, we had a carton with over 1200 floppy disks, the accumulation of 22 years in the desktop publishing business. We checked on the Net about recycling them, but found out from our waste disposal company that they are not truly recyclable and can just be put out with the trash. Among them was the first floppy disk I had ever made. The office looks wonderful and neat now, and there is lots of room in the closet! I also got rid of bags of multiple copies of samples of work I have done. When I started my business, there was talk of a paperless society. I used to scoff at that in the beginning because my work generated reams and reams of paper. With the advent of the universal use of the Internet, email, and the cross-platform nature of today’s software, I truly have become almost paperless now.

Jessica called to take me up on my offer to make desserts for Yona’s baby-naming on June 13, so I will be busy in the kitchen for a while. Although Beth liked the original logo I designed for her new business, everyone thought the gyroscope design she had envisioned, and that I had executed, was too complicated. Another, simpler logo was designed by Haley in PowerPoint and needed to be made into a vector graphic. I had done this for Beth last week, but ran into a complication when we shrunk it down to business card size. Then, a simple job became very complicated as I attempted to create a special effect that would not cross platforms to pdf. I spent four hours trying every way I could to make it work. In the end, I went back to the original design and modified it to look better when miniaturized. The moral of the story is: use the KISS method—Keep It Simple, Stupid!

I am looking forward to the end of the week and the holiday of Shavuot which celebrates the giving of the Torah, including the Ten Commandments, to the Jewish people. I hope that people will put their differences aside and that the atmosphere in the synagogue will be as warm and spiritual as it has been in the past. I guess where my psyche is concerned, hope springs eternal. Larry will be back from his journeys with lots of stories. I was finally able, over a month ago, to make a date with my friends, Jay, Laura, and Marc to come to Shabbat dinner this week. I hope it is not cancelled. It may take a year to schedule another one.

I am really thankful for incredible blessings this week. Jessica came and went safely. Ari had a remarkable trip to Moscow and, hopefully, will prepare a guest blog as soon as he recovers from the jet lag. My granddaughters are healthy and beautiful. What more could anyone ask?

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