Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Driving Exam!

Its been a few days since I've updated the blog and there's lots to talk about! First of all, Happy Xmas to all of my friends celebrating today and tomorrow. Right now, on the East Coast, Midnight Mass should just about be finishing and all the kids scurrying home to wait for Santa.

Santa visited me last night, in the form of Pidgeon, and he brought me a keychain flashlight. G-d bless him, it's the perfect gift for me! Not only could I use it during one of our unfortunately many blackouts in the apartment,  but it's good to ward off would be attackers. He also brought me cake, since I didn't bake any cookies yet, and I enjoyed a piece of cinnamon crumb cake. It was good, a bit dry for my taste, but still it hit the spot. I need to teach pidgeon the art of selecting cake. I need cream on my cake. I had a hankering for 7-layer last night, but poor pidgeon had no idea where to go to get me some cake. So, I've decided to make it my mission to find good cake places so in my next cake emergency, pidgeon can find the perfect piece!

Friday was extremely mellow as I cooked for Shabbos. We ate out lunch by pidgeon's 2nd cousins, so all I had to do was make Friday night dinner. And, I decided to go ALL out and bake Challot for the first time! Here are some pictures:

Unfortunately, we discovered on Friday night that the big one wasn't cooked through. Pidgeon loved it, telling me it was like eating a donut, but I wasn't happy. We ended up eating around the center and then, after Shabbos, pidgeon threw it out so we wouldn't eat the raw dough. I guess it's a case of live and learn, and I'm just going to keep on trying with the Challah!

Shabbos day we went to Pelech and it was really, really nice. Somehow, we managed to go when there was another Kiddush and a Bat Mitzvah. The shul was packed with people, it was standing room only, and since I didn't show up until Anem Z'miros, I didn't manage to snag a chair. We saw a couple of people we met the last time, and then we joined his cousins for lunch. They are very nice people and we had a great time at their house, and then we raced home to us the facilities. I don't know why we didn't go before we left the house. Either way, we both just made it in time. Phew! And I thought those days were long over.

I decided I didn't want to go out to our usual movie on Saturday night, so we stayed home and pidgeon worked while I watched TV. I'm addicted to SideReel and now that I know they have episodes of Dead Like Me, I've been spending all of my free time on the site. We ended up going to bed fairly early and got up really late on Sunday.

I made us oatmeal raisin pancakes for breakfast on Sunday morning and they were really, really delicious. It took me a while to get into the whole groove of the pancake thing, but by the 5th one, they were coming out picture perfect. It was nice. Pidgeon spent the day doing work and running errands, and I began cleaning the apartment in preparation for my family's visit. My brother should be leaving today (yea!) and so I had to get that room all ready for him. We had so much junk lying around that I'm just trying to get things in order so no one things we live in a pig sty. 

I also decided pidgeon and I need to start doing some exercise. Not to be too graphic but there are things jiggling here that have never jiggled before, so I had to get my butt back in gear. Already, we've gone on a nice walk for 2 nights in a row and we both really, really like. And, as long as the weather holds out, I think we're going to continue with the walking. At some point, I'd like to try to walk around the neighborhood in the sunlight, but for now we walk at night because it fits into pidgeon's schedule.

But, the biggest news of the week is that they have finally scheduled my driving exam. Granted, I've been driving on my American license with pidgeon in the car for some time now, but I finally have a test. I won't reveal when it's going to be because I'm scared of an Ayin Harah, but I'm hoping I'll pass. My friend Lisa told me to make sure the instructor sees me constantly looking into my mirrors, and Pidgeon told me that I should really try not to be too aggressive a driver on the exam. I just hope I'll be able to drive like I did when I was 17 and not give him reason to fail me. Think it will help if I bring him home baked cookies?

I was supposed to go to Bar Ilan today but it didn't happen. On Tuesdays, Pidgeon gets up really early and needs to be out of the house by 7:30 for an 8:00 a.m. class. I need to concentrate on getting him out the door and so I didn't really think about getting myself ready too. That, and I was in the midst of a good catch up session with my Cousin Neil, so I didn't want to pull myself away from the call. Either way, I think it works out better, as I still have to finish getting ready for my brother's visit. Today, I have to make the bed in his room and make sure all "girly" items are out of his bathroom. He gets pretty pissed off if I leave anything too ladylike around. Oh well, I'll see what I can do! I also have to figure out where to put one of my wigs. Right now, his room is the only place for Wiggy 1 (I have wiggy 1 and wiggy 2, as named by pidgeon) and Wiggy 2 is stored neatly away in the carry case. Think I can get away with leaving the wig in that room? Hopefully he'll be kind...

Well, I've been up since 6:15 a.m. so I'm ready for my morning nap. Hope everyone whose off today is enjoying the vacation and I wish all of my non-Jewish friends and very Merry and Happy Holiday!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

RIP Mixer

This morning, I decided I wanted to make Challah for the very first time! I went online and found a Challah recipe, took out the ingredients and then set up my American Goldline brand of electric mixer. It came with the kneeding rods and so I figured I would use it to make the Challah. It worked great for a bit, and the dough was coming together nicely and I thought it was looking good, and then the mixer started to smoke. It was a little frightening and so I quickly unplugged and watched as more and more smoke poured out of the mixer. Obviously, I just burnt out this little motor trying to bake Challah for Shabbos. And now, I'm 10 days away from my parents coming to visit with no electric mixer in sight!

I need a Kitchen Aid STAT! And, I'm really annoyed right now that I don't have one. Let me explain. My sister-in-law, Pidgeon's sister, asked me what I wanted for a wedding present. First, she mentioned getting us a plasma TV and Pidgeon and I were all for that. Then she told me that the back of the truck she was supposed to get it off of was - well - I think busted, so there went that wedding gift. At that point, I realized that the electronic mixer I was using now wasn't really strong enough for my needs. I mentioned that I really could use one and she said "done". That was three months ago. No Kitchen Aid. And damn it, I really need it now! I hate that I'm going to have to ask my Mom to get me one, especially since it's so freakin expensive, but it's one of the essential kitchen tools that's needed!

I'm so excited about this Challah too! The dough rose very nicely the first time and I was instructed to "punch it down", which I did and walked away with a punch of dough on my hands. I think that means that my dough is too "sticky" but I'm not sure. I'm going to wait a bit before I add more flour, maybe in the rolling out process I'll add some more to the dough. Anyway, I have 45-60 minutes left to let it rise a second time and then it's time for some braiding. I've never done the whole braiding thing, so I think I'm just going to make little rolls. I know how to make the "breakaway" Challah, you know with the little balls all stuck together that you just rip apart instead of cutting. I'll guess I'll just have to see when I'm at that point.

The electrician is supposed to come today around 4:00 p.m. to fix a couple of problems and I really, really hope we don't lose power. One of the reasons I'm so busy cooking now for Shabbos is just in case something goes wrong. The chicken for Friday night is already cooling and I'm saving the soup for later. I'm making crock-pot meat and barley soup for Friday night, and will probably steam some artichokes later as well. We're having edemame for a first course with a dipping sauce, so I don't have to do that until tomorrow. Sadly, Pidgeon and I have to go pay a shiva call later. I also want to go to the Mikvah to toyvel some coffee mugs we picked up at Soho in Tel Aviv the other day. With the folks days away, I'm trying to get everything set for their visit. It's gonna be loads of fun!

I didn't make it to campus today, I couldn't get out of bed. I have no problem fasting, it's the day after a fast that gives me trouble. It really takes a lot out of me to not be able to even drink water, and so I was feeling particularly nauseous and tired this morning. Pidgeon rules though, because he called the school and they said we could just fax the page over. Pidgeon is on his way to the office now to take care of that. I'm slowly acquiescing to his request for a fax machine though. We do so much faxing in this Country, it's ridiculous! When will they get on board with the whole e-mail thing?

Last night, after we broke our fast, Pidgeon and I went to Rami Levi in Talpiot to do a food shopping. We've been really good and haven't hit a Supermarket in a few days, and this was such a great experience! I wrote out a list and we really stuck to it, no deviation because something else caught our eyes. We look at prices, something I've never done in my entire life, and we went with other brands based on shekels. We bought a 1 shekel cheaper bag of corn because, well, it was 1 shekel cheaper. We had about 120 extra expense this trip that we won't have the next time around and so, I'm proud to say that we only spent 737 shekel yesterday! That's really, really great for us! First of all, it's 100 shekel cheaper than the last time we went food shopping. Without the two boxes of tea (one big box for me and one for a present for our lunch hosts on Shabbos) we would have been at 627 shekel! That's pretty impressive if I do say so myself. Plus, I got enough frozen protein to last a while. I already make 3 quarters of chicken for dinner Friday night, and we have pargiot and shnitzel and 1 kilo of soup/chulent meat to last at least 2 weeks! Here's hoping we stick to this rigid money-counting life and be able to live on what little money we bring into the house!

Well, I'm off to figure out the next part of the whole Challah making thing! Will hopefully post pictures later so you can see the finished product!

Stay warm!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


It's 10 of Tevet, a fast day for all us observant Yids, and I've got a serious craving for a Crumbs Devil's Food Cake cupcake. I have yet to find a decent cupcake shop in this entire Country (well, in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem) and it's really starting to hurt. I'm thinking of just baking cupcakes for myself, you know, to keep me nice and happy when I need a sugar rush. 

So, this morning I asked pidgeon why we're fasting today and he told me it's because we're commemorating the start of the Babylonian siege on Jerusalem. He then told me that the Rabbanut of Jerusalem also declared it the day to mourn those who perished in the Holocaust. This confused me because Yom Hashoah is right after Pesach, but he said that Yom Hashoah was created by the non-religious State of Israel and 10 of Tevet being a day of mourning to the Shoah victims was created by the Religious State of Israel. Sometimes I really wonder which "States" I'm living in.

I watch a lot of Food Network TV on Hot 32 and I have to say, when I watch the Israeli programs, I get really, really upset to see non kosher ingredients. Does that make me a hypocrite? I don't eat non kosher, keep a strictly kosher home, but have been known to "eat out" at non kosher restaurants while in the States or abroad. I'm careful with what I eat, trying to keep within the kosher parameters, and I absolutely love watching Chefs like Mario Battali, Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay, etc. working with exotic ingredients I won't ever be able to eat. So why does it bother me so much when an Israeli Chef from some hot restaurant in Tel Aviv is cooking duck with cheddar cheese or shrimp cocktail? I  guess I just have to put myself under the microscope :)

Yesterday was boring, which was why I didn't update the blog, nothing new to write about. I decided to make pidgeon a candlelit dinner - complete with whole wheat pasta and sauce, breaded chicken cutlets (low-fat!), sauteed string beans and onions and leftover cauliflower kugel. I figured the balance of protein and carbs would be a good idea for before the fast. Well, I don't know about pidgeon, but I woke up starving! Fortunately, only a few more hours to go until the fast is done.

I have to go to Bar Ilan tomorrow and I'm really not excited about it, especially since I have to be on campus bright and early to get everything done. I have to file a formal request to take a final I missed last year because, well, it was scheduled 4 days before our wedding. I'm bringing a copy of the invitation for proof, just in case they don't believe me! Pidgeon offered to drive me, which is great, because the weather is supposed to be absolutely lousy. Nothing like arriving on campus looking and feeling like a wet dog. Oh well, I just have to suck it up and take care of things. Hopefully it won't take us too long to do.

The countdown until my family comes to visit is upon us and in less than 7 days, my brother will be in town! The house is an absolute wreck, so I'm looking forward to the next fews day to take care of tidying up before he gets here. Hopefully, he'll have a good trip!

Well, I'm off to shower and get my day going. I figured lounging in bed until 11:00 a.m. was enough indulgence for one day. Hope everyone who is fasting is having an easy one!

Monday, December 17, 2007

New Years Eve Countdown!

I'm getting so exciting about New Years Eve! If I were back on the Upper West Side, I would join my buddies over at BangitOut and drink in the New Year at Heartland Brewery. I'm actually a huge fan of Heartland Brewery because they make the most amazing pumpkin beer! I highly recommend on your next New York City trip during Autumn, to check out one of these great locations for pumpkin beer. It's yummy!

But, since pidgeon and I are going to be here in Jerusalem for New Years Eve, we decided to host a little shindig of our very own in the apartment.  We've already heard of some parties in Tel Aviv at Mike's Place and other's at people's apartments, but we're going to stay home and keep things nice and relaxed. I actually feel like a teenager since my parents are coming in on December 30th and will be in Tel Aviv toasting the New Year with my brother. It's the one night they'll be in town but won't be in Jerusalem. So, pidgeon and I decided to have a house party and hopefully clean up before the folks come our way on New Years day.

We invited a few people already and hopefully we'll round out the crew at a couple more. It should be fun, and hopefully not too un-Jewish of us :)

On to something a bit more interesting, like the fact that I've been fighting tooth and nail to get a driving test in this country. My incompetent driving instructor claims that 1) it takes 3 months before they can schedule you an exam (this is crap, as when I gave him my forms to submit to the Misrad Rishui, I was given a date during my trip to London that I ended up missing because my incompetent driving instructor never informed me that I had a date) 2) People need to take exams in groups of 2's and 3's and he doesn't have anyone else who is learning how to drive on an automatic vehicle (again, I think that's absolute garbage. You can't tell me that every single one of his students is learning shift. He just isn't interested in giving me a date because he's an asshole)

The problem at this point is that I can't find another driving instructor to take care of me because this one already submitting my paperwork. It's annoying because, had I known he was such a jerk, I would have found myself a different driving instructor and driving school to take care of me.

Either way, I'm still driving around town with pidgeon just getting familiar with the roads. I've had a driver's license for more than 13 years at this point, it's just a ridiculous formality the government is putting me through. I'll be happy once it's over and done with, so I can move on to the next government crisis that I'm sure will be coming down the pike. 

I started smoking again, which is really, really bad but seems to be the only thing I do these days that can relax me. The good thing is that I've moved from the more expensive brand (Marlboro) to the cheaper version (Camels) and that's making a bit of a difference on my pocketbook. Since we're still on the we-have-no-money-for-food kick, I'm trying to do my bit to keep our expenses low. The good thing is that nicotine is a natural appetite supressant so I won't need to eat as much. (Although, in truth, the last time I smoked in earnest I really didn't lose any weight, just maintained).  I have to take a picture of our fridge, I've never had a fruit and vegetable bin this empty before. We have one eggplant in it - that's it - nothing else. Pidgeon and I shared the last grapefruit for breakfast this morning. He promised to take me to Rami Levi today in Talpiot for some provisions, but we have dinner with his parents tonight so I doubt that will really come to fruition.

Pidgeon and I are playing name that Christmas caroler and he's doing an AMAZING job! He guessed WHAM! for my Last Christmas, Alvin and the Chipmunks for The Christmas Song and now Bruce Springsteen for Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Not to worry, I'm going to play him the Otis Redding version of White Christmas and we'll see if he'll be able to get that one! I'll  be shocked and impressed if he does as he knows that I absolutely adore Otis Redding.

Yes people, we are Jewish (Modern Orthodox too!) but I just love Christmas songs! What can I say, I'm THAT girl! We're doing Chinese and a movie on December 25th, as tradition with me and will hopefully continue with this new family of ours that we're slowly building.

It's 2:00 p.m. and I'm still in PJ's. I think I'm going to go and take a shower and get dressed and get ready to greet the world today. Here's hoping everyone is enjoying the fantastic SNOW that has blasted the Northeast and Northwest! We hope all the kids home from school are making snow angels, snowmen and having great big snowball fights! I, for one, am truly jealous!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lazy Sundays

Happy Sunday! It's 10:30 a.m. and I'm still in bed. I will never get used to this whole working on Sunday thing that Israel has got going. It annoys me. I like my lazy Sundays, when I can sleep in and hang out in bed reading the paper or surfing the net. I enjoy my Sunday brunch, which usually includes some form of french toast or eggs with grilled cheese and a croissant if I'm really not in the mood to stick to a diet. I like my Sunday afternoon football, and since we're 7 hours ahead that means Sunday evening football (and I don't have a choice of game, sadly). And I like walking around the house in sweats all day, thinking about doing the little tasks like laundry or paying the bills, and then curling up on the couch with some hot chocolate and the remote. 

I feel sad for the Israeli people who don't know from Sunday, I truly do. I already warned pidgeon that there will be a Sunday in this house, even though he is a born and bred Sabra and is pretty used to not having the extra day off. And so, when he popped out of bed this morning at 7:30 a.m. and raced out of the house to get his busy day going, I just gave him a big hug and a sleepy kiss and tried to go back to sleep.

Unfortunately, it seems like my body had other plans for me, and so I couldn't get back to sleep. No matter though, there is plenty for me to do from here! Although, my growling stomach is definitely going to send me to the kitchen in no time. I've got a hankering for some Challah roll french toast and a diet hot cocoa. I really do need to get my day going though, I have to call the electrician and have him come to the apartment to do some much needed work. I just hate having to give up my Sundays! Maybe I can procrastinate a bit and push the electrician off until tomorrow!

Oh goodie! Pidgeon just called to say that he was on his way home and I asked him to pick us up some Chai's. I absolutely LOVE Coffee Shop's Chai; they make it with 1% milk and it's DELICIOUS!

We had a lovely Shabbat. I spent almost all Friday on my feet supervising workers, our cleaning lady and cooking for Friday night dinner. I was in a such a foul mood that I ended up baking some butterscotch bars, hoping it would help, but it did little to pull me out of my funk. When pidgeon came home, I was pretty much exhausted and we had words, but then we made up and that was a lot of fun! Friday night, pidgeon went to shul and I waited for him under three layers or covers. We are trying to save money, which means we are trying not to heat the house unless it's absolutely necessary, and so it's freezing all the time! I spend most of my days walking around in the thickest clothing I own, and I snuggle under blankets and quilts. I hope this will help us lower us electric bill next month!

I decided to try to make a new dish for us for Friday night and so I cooked up a bag of Full. It's basically a kind of bean that is prevalent in Sephardic cooking. Pidgeon is a big fan of Full, so I tried it for him. Turns out, though, I'm allergic to Full as I had a nasty reaction afterwards. I broke out in hives and turned a bit red. I guess my Ashkenazi stomach just can't take the unique cuisine. Fortunately, pidgeon loved it and was very, very happy with dinner. I managed to pass out around 9:00 p.m., and so of course I was wide awake at 4:30 a.m. I tried to get pidgeon to keep me company, but no dice, he wasn't having any of it. He rolled over a couple of times and told me to go back to sleep, but for the most part, I spent 2 hours trying to count sheep.

We missed shul on Shabbos morning, primarily because we didn't hear the alarm and since I was up in the wee hours of the day. We quickly scrambled when we did get up to get to our host's house for lunch. We were only a few minutes late, and I had the chocolate mousse and butterscotch bars in tow. Lunch was a lot of fun! We love our host and their friends were really nice people. Pidgeon and I floated home happy and, since Shabbos was soon out, just spent the afternoon relaxing. 

I am proud to say that we didn't do anything exciting last night, and I do not feel like a loser! I ironed the wash from Friday, which came out really nice if I do say so myself. Pidgeon helped me put Shabbos away and then I spent some time working online while pidgeon did some home work. We gathered around the TV for some late night CSI: Las Vegas and then were asleep by 1:00 a.m.

So, that's the roundup. Here's what I really want to write about today.

What is with strangers trying to befriend me on Facebook? Especially, strangers who appear to be single men. I don't get it! I didn't realize, until this morning, that my settings on Facebook was such that anyone in my network could look at my profile. That meant that anyone who was in the "Israel" network was reading almost everything that's written on my page, and looking through my photos, etc. I was really freaked out this morning by a friend request from some gentleman who I've never even met. So, I decided to e-mail and ask him WTF? His response was that "my profile was cool" and "I belong to really interesting groups on Facebook" and "it's for networking purposes". Well, since this isn't the first person to do the whole friend request thing who I've never met, I decided it was time to do something about. I went to my privacy settings and completely changed them so that only my friends can view my profile. And then, I went to pidgeon's facebook page and did the same thing for him. The whole world shouldn't have access to a page that I treat like my online diary, and includes personal photos and posts and information about me. For anyone new to Facebook, make sure you go to your privacy settings and select the ones you're comfortable with. At the very least, for your own knowledge base, make sure that you're fully aware of what information is available and out there for both your friends - and compelete strangers - to see.

Well, I'm going to snuggle back into my pillows and wait for my fantastic and amazing pidgeon, and my yummy Chai. Till tomorrow!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I Predict a Riot!

I caused a scene at my in-laws house this evening, and I'm trying to imagine the reprecussions and it absolutely frightens me. Here's how it all went down. Pidgeon's parents told us last week that they were going to have a shiur in their house in honor of his Grandparents Yahrzeit. We were told that the shiur was to begin at 7:00 p.m.

Fast forward to today, which was an anxiety filled day for pidgeon and I. We had to go to Tel Aviv as it was the last day for me to get covered by Minhal Hastudentim before they closed the budget. Since they paid for my tuition last year, I needed to bring them my transcript and a letter from Bar Ilan stating that I was continuing with courses this year. Because of the strike, it took forever to get what I needed from Bar Ilan and the next thing I know, I'm facing down the barrel of the deadline gun. So, until we met with Minhal Hastudentim and they handed me the paper I needed to get my coverage, I was a big mess. After two hours waiting for Michal, the worker in charge of my case, I was thrilled that she gave me the form for coverage this year. Next, we went upstairs to Misrad HaKlita so I could get a form in order to take free Ulpan in Jerusalem. Turns out, the only way I can do that is if I go to Jerusalem's Misrad HaKlita to get the form. Fortunately, we didn't drive all the way to Tel Aviv for that reason.

Next, we went to Dizengof Center to cash in on a wonderful wedding present we got from our Tel Aviv friends. We went to the Soho store, which I absolutely adore, and for 600 shekel walked away with a retro grabage pail for our bedroom, a set of 4 coffee mugs, a pizza slicer from Oxo, 4 mini Oxo prep bowls, and a chain wine holder (very retro and cool). Afterwards, we stopped by Comicaze for pidgeon's reading pleasure, and walked away with a couple of comics to keep my husband happy this Shabbos. Instead of heading to a Tel Aviv restaurant for lunch, we decided to eat in the food court and were regretting it a few minutes later. After bowls full of chicken and meat hamburgers with rice, pea, and potatos, we went back to the car and drove over to my bank. We had to wait an extra hour for the bank to open so I could go and change my address. I was told the only way to change my address was to go in personally.

Would you know it, but they had already  changed my address since I changed my Teudat Zehut weeks ago. I was pretty furious, especially since my dollar account was mysteriously wiped out as well. We're investigating, but when we got into the car to drive back to Jerusalem I was really down.

Unfortunately, the stress got to me and I ended up picking a fight with pidgeon, which wasn't exactly the highlight of my day. Finally, we got home and I discovered an extremely rude e-mail from pidgeon's sister. Well, that was really upsetting and so I decided to do something about it.

Let me explain how I roll. If I do something wrong, and I apologize, and someone says they forgive me, I expect us to move on. What I don't do, ever, is hold a grudge or tolerate anyone else who does. So, last week, I did something that really upset pidgeon's sister. I apologized. She told me she forgave me. And then I received this e-mail and obviously she didn't forgive me. So, I called her back and she told me that she still was "confused" and "upset" by what happened. So, once again, I apologized to her but I was super upset that she was still pissed at me, especially since I thought all was water under the bridge. Then, she told me that she told EVERYONE in pidgeon's family about "what I did to hurt her" and they also "didn't understand why I would do that". I was really steamed to hear she was bad mouthing me to the family, but I tried to move past.

Pidgeon and I got dressed and raced over to his parents house, only to discover we were early and had gotten the information wrong. Well, we both thought this would be a good opportunity to bond with his parents, especially since they had been in London for a few days with pidgeon's brother and his family. I went to tell his Mother something that is going on with me, medically, and just as I was about to confide in her, she picked up her cell phone and called pidgeon's sister-in-law. Apparently, she was coming in for the weekend for a family simcha, and I felt so snubbed and slighted, that I could barely contain the tears.

I went to pidgeon's bedroom to fill him in on the situation, and told him that I was really upset about the snub and the fact that his sister bad mouthed me to the family. And suddenly, the walls were closing in on me and I couldn't breathe. I needed to get out of there, I needed to get away and try to get my head together. Fortunately, I have the most amazing husband in the world, and he agreed to leave. 

And that's when I accidentally made a scene. You see, his Aunt had arrived and when she saw we were leaving she insisted on knowing why we were going. That's when his Mother caught wind of the fact that we were going, and she wanted to know why. At that point, I thought I was going to pass out from holding in my emotions, but I managed to get out of the house and onto the porch. That's when I ran right into pidgeon's other Aunt and the lecturer. He seemed like a lovely man and I felt terrible that I wasn't going to stay, but didn't say anything to let him know. I didn't want him to feel bad about anything. 

His Mother called from the door and demanded to know why we were leaving. Pidgeon tried to make excuses, but they didn't seem to be buying it. I ran to the car and tried to get into the driver's side, but it was too narrow an opening. I was so desperate to leave, that I pulled open the passenger side door and climbed over the gear shift to get into the driver's seat. Pidgeon joined me a few minutes later and we left. With tears streaming down my face, I  managed to get us back to our apartment and my heart didn't slow down until I was on the phone with my Mother and she was finally calming me down.

I honestly have no idea what to do know. I feel like I've embarressed pidgeon's family and I don't want to see them for a while. I just don't know how to handle being around them anymore. We've only been married for 4 months and already the integration process has hit so many bumps. How do people do this? How do people deal with the new family they've married into?

What should I do now?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tooling Around JTown

It was a complete nightmare driving in Jerusalem yesterday but I did it, I drove during the day and into town and around the neighborhood. It was absolutely amazing, refreshing and so free! Pidgeon, of course, was with me as we were running his errands all day, but it was just incredible. It helps that pidgeon has a nice car too, and slowly but surely I'm getting used to driving a French car. Personally, I would trade in his care for a Toyota, but he loves it so we're not there yet. Since it's still just the two of us, we decided to keep his car for a while longer.

Our 4:30 a.m. wake up call yesterday was jarring and I wasn't as pleasant as usual in the morning so I bit the pidgeon's head off a bit while trying to get dressed. The drive to Ben Gurion was very nice, the roads were empty and we practically flew there. It was all worth it when we saw his brother's face; he was exhausted and just seemed so happy to see us that I felt good we went to get him. We dropped him off at home and then came back to the apartment to catch up on some more sleep.

Since pidgeon was ill, I had to help him get ready for his class assignment today and drove him around the neighborhood. He was starting to feel better in the afternoon, but with all the terrible traffic because of Chanukah, we ended up not getting back to the apartment to change before his Grandparent's Chanukah party. I was a bit embarressed that I showed up wearing my dirty jeans and a Better Than Ezra sweatshirt but no one really said anything. Of course, the mini sufganiot beckoned to me and I avoided eating one by smoking outside. I'm a social smoker and an uncomfortable social situations smoker, so I ended up sneaking outside with his Aunt and Uncles and bumming a cigarette. It relaxed me a bit, especially since I'm so new to the family that being around them still makes me a little uncomfortable. We didn't pig out at the party, so we got back to the apartment and ate some of the pea soup I made in the morning. I have such a great recipe from Alton Brown over at the The Food Network for Curried Split Pea soup that I've made it numerous times this "winter" and it's delicious. If you're looking for a good, easy and fast split pea soup, this is the way to go!

We lit candles, ate some soup and then just relaxed. We were so tired from the early morning that we fell into bed as soon as CSI: New York was over. 

Today, pidgeon stayed home cause of his bad cold and so he's going to spend the day in bed with my laptop watching episodes of Heroes while I make some more soup. We're on the we have no money diet which means we're eating more soup. I have a whole bunch of broccoli in the fridge, so I'm going to make it into a soup. The good thing about soup is that it fills us up and is cheap and affordable to make.

Tune back tomorrow, I plan on posting about marriage and my new theory on how to survive your first year with HIS relatives.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Airport Bound

For the life of me, I have absolutely no idea what happened on Thursday so I can't even recap for you what I did. Chances are, it involved errands and loads of TV. Friday, pidgeon headed out early to the office and I got cooking for Shabbos. We were invited out for lunch, so I just had to made dinner and I had a plan all figured out. That is, until the chopped meat that I had defrosted from the freezer turned out to be a brisket. I still have no clue how I made that mistake but I tried to roll with the punched. So, I was forced to pot it and prayed that it turned out okay. Fortunately, it was delicious and pidgeon loved it! Anyway, I also made artichoke's and asked pidgeon to show me how to eat one.  A few months back, right after we were engaged, pidgeon and I were at his parents for lunch and the appetizer was artichoke. Well, I had never eaten one like that before (I get my artichokes from the jar people) and so I mimicked their movements as best I could until I get to the heart. I had no clue what to do, so I handed it to pidgeon and told him I didn't want it. So, this Friday night, I asked him to finally teach me the proper way to eat one so I wouldn't have to embarress myself if we ever were in that predicament again. And, would you believe it, but the people we went to for Shabbos lunch served artichoke for first course? I kid you not - I told them the story and we all got a good chuckle.

So, pidgeon and I decided to keep shul hopping in Baka and we tried this new shul in Pelech, which is a high school for girls. Interestingly enough, pidgeon's cousin is a student there and it's also literally 2 blocks from the apartment. Friday night was nice and uneventful, but I somehow managed to get myself there for Shabbos day and the davening was very nice. The best part of the shul was what happened at the kiddush. Normally, when we shul hop, we don't go to the kiddush because we feel bad and don't want people to think we're freeloaders who just come for the free food. Anyway, it turns out that pidgeon's cousins daven in the shul as does his Uncle's brother, so we knew a bunch of people. His cousin insisted we come up to the kiddush so we joined them and immediately three strangers came over to introduce themselves to us. That is exactly what I've been looking for in a congregation and I was so happy that they did that. Pidgeon really liked the shul and so, for now, we've decided that we're going to start davening there. They also gave pidgeon an Aliyah, which was really nice, so I think this is going to be our home for a while. It's exciting, especially since there are a number of Anglos, and I'm looking forward to hopefully meeting lots of new people.

Jtownunderground pick for a great shul that gives you a warm welcome and that small-town feeling: Pelech. You heard it here first - at the underground.

Anyway, Shabbos lunch was great; we ate at our neighbors house and they are lovely people with a gorgeous home. The food was good too, as our host was a vegan, and pidgeon and I really didn't miss the meat too much. We slept the rest of the weekend away and then Saturday night we saw The Golden Compass. Well, that's two and a half hours we're both never going to get back, but it was nice to just get out of the house and relax at a movie. Because of the Chanukah vacation, the theatre was packed, and people were a bit unruly. But, you gotta love the seats at Rav Chen theatre. It's worth the mob.

Sunday, pidgeon spent the day out of the house working and doing errands and I too had loads to do. My blow dryer literally blew while I was drying my hair for Shabbos and I silently thanked g-d for my two wigs so I didn't look like a complete moron over the weekend. So, I went to buy a blow dryer and, while I was at it, I picked up an iron. See, dry cleaning in this country is unbelievably expensive! In fact, my dry cleaning bills are more than my food bills, and that says a lot. So, we decided to invest in an iron to cut down on our cleaning bills. Hopefully it will work, although I'm not sure as I've never ironed before. I decided to finish my errands and then get home and try it out on some of pidgeon's shirts. There's also a great ID Design in Talpiot and they have some really nice stuff. Unfortunately, they didn't have the furniture I really need so I left empty handed. A quick trip to the drugstore at the Hadar Mall for some sport socks for pidgeon and I headed back home. I was so sweaty from exercion when I got back to the apartment that I literally peeled myself out of my clothing. I decided not to be lazy in the afternoon and tackled our junk room, trying to throw things out and organize the mess. I think I made a pretty decent dent actually, and you can see some of the bed in the room. That's good as my folks are coming in a few weeks and I don't want them complaining that we live in a pig sty.

Last night, pidgeon and I did a low key night at home and just had left overs for dinner and watched some TV. We were just about to go to sleep when his Mum SMSed us from London to ask us to pick pidgeon's brother up at the airport this morning. His flight was landing at 5:15 and he had no luggage with him, so we SMSed back that it would be our pleasure and set the alarms for 4:30 a.m. That was an hour I was really hoping never to see in a long time - but his brother is one of the nicest guys I know and he deserved to be picked up at the airport. So, pidgeon and I called it a day and we tried to go to sleep early. Hopefully, getting up before dawn won't totally mess up our body clocks.

Uh-oh, pidgeon just told me that he feels like he's coming down with something. Crap, I hate when he gets sick! Hopefully it's not really anything and he'll be fine in the morning. I'm really praying people!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Chanukah - Day Two

I love this new blogger, it offers me so much more in terms of formatting options than my last blog. I feel a lot of freedom now that I can blog with complete and total anonymity. Anyone who knew me on my last blog was not given the new URL, and it's refreshing to know that I can write whatever I want, without any consequences.

So, let me begin. I'm newly married. Thankfully, I've been married for almost 4 months and we're having a great time together. Granted, life isn't without their ups and downs, but for the most part things are really fun. Now, I made Aliyah in 2006 and came to this Country without any family. Meanwhile, my husband (who will from now on be referred to as pidgeon) is a Sabra. Born and bred Jerusalamite to Anglo parents. His family, in this Country, is quite sizeable. It's lovely that he grew up with such a huge, involved, family. I, myself, come from a very small family and for the most part, we give each other space and get together during family celebrations and maybe Thanksgiving. It actually worked for me.

The other night, we all got together with one size of pidgeon's family to celebrate Chanukah. It was much better than my experience with them last year, as I'm a bit more comfortable interacting with his family now that we're married. But here's the thing, I'm having a lot of problems with pidgeon's sister. She's just not a nice person and, she's mean to him, and for some reason she feels like she can treat me the way she treats her brother.

First of all, I take issue with her because both pidgeon and myself are older. I grew up in a very strict family, where I was taught that no matter what you respect your elders. That doesn't just mean the old people in your life. That also means your older siblings. No matter how much I might fight with my older sister, I always respect her because she's older. I know, that thinking is extremely antiquated but sometimes it's not such a bad thing to revert to. Nevertheless, pidgeon is quite nice to her and yet she just continues to be a bitch. What I find interested and, ever since pidgeon brought me home to meet the family, she has gone out of the way to be nice and make friends. At first, I was more than happy with the attention and I reciprocated in kind. And then, well, then it got to be too much and now I have no idea what to do or how to interact with her.

I had invited her over this evening, with her daughter (her husband is out of town for a few days) to light candles. But, she was just so rude to us at the Chanukah party the other night that I am no longer interested in catering to her. So, I cancelled the other day and blamed it on some apartment problems. She SMSed early this morning to say how disappointed she was and if we could light candles together at their parents. I'm not even going to consult with pidgeon about this, I'm just going to say no. I need a break and, if I see her tonight, chances are that I'll say something I will regret. Space is a fantastic healer.

In honor of Chanukah, I baked oatmeal raisin cookies and - of course - helped myself to a handful. This morning, I'm 3 1/2 pounds heavier and am sending pidgeon to the office with all the leftover cookies. It's time this gal gets herself on a diet, marriage is not an excuse to let myself go! We're hopefully going to the gym today, which should be good and will get me out of the house and get me moving. I just can't believe that a handful of oatmeal raisin cookies could add so much extra weight to my body! Oy!

I think those will be the last cookies I bake in a while!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Welcome to the Jtown Underground

Welcome to my new blog. I used to blog under a different name, but after a couple of requests were made for me to censor what I was writing, I decided to jump ship and start fresh. And this time, I'm not making the same mistakes twice. Come back tomorrow for a lot of great fun!