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Friday, April 30, 2010

Tolerance?

Joking around with Elisheva, we were talking about the parsha and she joked that I should become a rabbi because I know so much (even though I was in the middle of mixing up the rituals of the ben sorer umoreh and the sotah at the time). 

So I told her, off-hand, that a modern Orthodox woman has received semicha along with the title of either “Maharat” or “Rabba.” (Google it yourself and pick your favourite!)

Anyway, she paused not even for a second before blurting:  “Oh, modern Orthodox!  Modern Orthodox is basically Conservative with their… happy Yom HaAtzamaut, and let’s all… celebrate Shabbat.  Wear a long Israeli skirt!”

All of which in a kind of sing-song, twirling around the kitchen.

Ohkay.

I dunno.  I don’t see this as intolerance, even though, in public or coming from an adult, I definitely would.  Sometimes it just makes me happy that my kids are so confident of where they stand in the Jewish world. 

Life is THAT simple when you’re 14.

Sooner or later, life will probably prove them wrong… but who hasn’t been proven wrong about something they deeply, passionately believed when they were 14 years old?

YM’s brillianté idea! for Teens and Shabbos Tasks

clip_image002Instead of nudging and nudging or making up task lists for Fridays and have each big kid wandering around wondering what to do… we set up a point system.  Each thing we usually do on Fridays is given a number of points.  Kiddies accumulate points however they want.  And when they reach 200, they can quit and usher in their own personal Shabbos… or play a game.  Or whatever.

Here’s a breakdown of the ones we’ve come up with so far.  If you spot any flaws, or think of other tasks (this is very preliminary), please leave a comment to let me know!

Torah tasks:

100 Dvar Torah

20 Parsha q&a / craft / activity

Childcare tasks:

20 Bathe littles

15 Park walkies

10 Walkies on street

10 Learn parsha together

Indoor tasks:

20 Clean bathroom

20 Mop floors

10 Bermuda triangle (table)

10 Bermuda triangle (desk)

10 Sweep the J

10 Sweep stairs

10 Books / toys / fireplace

Outdoor tasks:

20 Weeding 10 mins

10 Garbage, recycle, compost

10 Tidy entire driveway

10 Sweep ½ driveway

Food tasks:

30 Wash dishes (full)

20 Make main course or cholent

20 Peel vegs (many)

15 Make veg or side dish

10 Make dessert – scratch

5 Make dessert – mix

5 Kneidlach

Miscellaneous:

20 Set up lights / timers

10 Fetching from Bubby’s

5 Eruv 350-2879 (the eiruv hotline)

Shabbos Food (with no Mommy)

It’s always weird these days when my mother isn’t with us.  We were supposed to be going to Ottawa this weekend, and Ted actually took today off so he could have three days in a row with no work, like normal people have every month (apparently, it’s called a long weekend!). 

But at the last minute, we couldn’t afford it (still reeling from Pesach), which is why we’re still here.  But my mother had already accepted an invitation for this Shabbos, knowing we wouldn’t be home.  It’s okay with me; I’m really happy that she has a social life in the neighbourhood outside of us.

So here’s what we’re having.  I’m planning and mulling as I write this.

Dinner.

  • Challah (no-vanilla Breadsmith challah from Maggie Glezer’s book)
  • Chicken soup w/ kneidlach (YM can make them with his broken arm!)
  • Shake n’ Bake Chicken
  • Mashed Potatoes (Elisheva’s request)
  • Corn
  • Gravy –? (maybe, maybe)
  • Desserts

Lunch.

  • Sushi-rice salad
  • Lettuce salad by Elisheva
  • Blintz loaf
  • Assorted cheeses
  • Desserts… hmm… maybe I’ll ask Elisheva to make dairy chocolate-chip cookies

Desserts.

  • Key Lime Bars with Gingersnap Crust (Ooops… didn’t notice I was supposed to line the pan with foil!  The truth is, we usually just scrape hunks out of the pan anyway; we are very not-elegant around here.)
  • Chocolate Mousse (adapting this a la Julia Child with a bit of coffee in with the chocolate and a slightly different way of preparing the eggs, as described by David Lebowitz here)  (Postscript:  tastes yummy, and I am leaving it in the fridge, instead of the freezer, like usual, to see how well it sets.  Should be fine; even plain olive oil sets in the fridge, I’m just worried that the water in the coffee will stop it from setting firmly.)
  • Dairy dessert – if there’s time

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blah. Blah. Blah. Prager. Blah.

image Sad and discouraged!  I wrote here the other day all excited that Dennis Prager was coming to town and that I was going to find a way to go hear him speak on Friday night…

Well, no.  Apparently not. 

Apparently his talk on Friday night is ONLY for those upper-crust folks who can afford a $40 fee per person for the privilege of dining with His Pragerness and listening to him speak afterwards.  To be fair, the rate is lower for members, so it would only cost us $124 for dinner if we joined the shul.  Otherwise, it’s $175… oh, but Gavriel Zev could eat free!  Seems like a bit of  a waste considering 4 out of 6 of us couldn’t care less about the talk.

I guess I could just pay $40 and have dinner there all by myself.  But that seems so sad when my family is just a block away, enjoying a wonderful Shabbos meal I would still have to prepare in its entirety.  For another $40, I could bring Ted along… raising the question of who’d take care of the rest of our family.

The third option is the saddest:  pay the $40, skip the meal, and just come for the talk afterwards.  $40.  Is he worth it?  Do we even make $40 a day after taxes?

Apparently, there’s no way they could let in rabble from the neighbourhood who are simply Prager fans.  Not for any price.  Not for a donation to the shul.  Nothing gets you in except the cost of their chicken dinner.

There are only about THREE speakers I jump and run to go hear, anytime, anywhere.  Maybe four.  Dennis Prager is one of them, and everybody who knows me knows that.  There MUST be a way around this little obstacle…

Supper – on time!

beerbread 010 6:15 on the dot… the time I aim for every single day, and today we finally made it!  6:15 is because Elisheva finishes school at 5:30, so it allows for some travel time, some table-setting time, but not too long before she eats or she gets really GROUCHY.

“Vegan Vursday” here today.  Happily, bread is vegan, plus pasta is vegan beerbread 005(I checked – no eggs!).  Beer bread:  I had to make a special trip to the LCBO store to buy beer.  Had no idea what was what so just bought the very cheapest ($1.75) and fled.  It just feels so sleazy, you know?

Oh, and then I made a delightful (vegan) mushroom-barley soup to go with the bread and pasta.  What a simple, yummy meal!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

And in other garden news…

… it’s starting.  Despite the colds.  Despite the winds.  Things are growing.  Here’s a quick roundup, because I’m supposed to be making supper right now.

Muscari (grape hyacinths, or, as we call them here, gray “pie-a-cinths”!)

artemisias 013 

Arabis (wall cress).  I’m loving the solid, thick carpet of white they’re providing.  Bought a flat of these on clearance last year, almost dead and dried out.  I will look for more this year, because what a delight!  (They say you should photograph your garden in the morning because the afternoon sun is too glary.  They’re right.)

artemisias 014

Garlic.  Two varieties, I forget which, purchased at Seedy Saturday-on-a-Sunday.  Now growing in pots.  You can JUST see the green starting to peek out here!

 artemisias 017

Humulus lupulus “Aureus.”  (golden hops vine)  This climber, now in its third season here, has gone utterly feral and is popping up all over the bed, as seen here where it is in the middle of some Shasta daisies and bee balm.  I don’t mind it popping up except that it has nowhere to climb, being so far from the trellis.  I am trying to transplant them to places that make sense.

artemisias 018

Volunteer Violets.  None of those scary pansy faces here!

  artemisias 019

Basil.  I bought a basil and was keeping it at the front of the house, but on Monday, Naomi said, “let’s plant it!”  So I brought it out to the SFG bed and pulled some straw around so it wouldn’t perish in this week’s cold and winds.  Here’s hoping!

 artemisias 020 artemisias 021

And finally, Boy with Cast and Phone.  It was my mother, inviting us for lunch the first day of Shavuos.

 artemisias 023

Of course, lacking social skills, as always, my knee-jerk response was, “well, I guess we have to eat somewhere.”  Not exactly the delighted reaction she was hoping for.  Of course, having known me for 40 years, you’d think she’d know by now what a dummy I am… but anyway, the reason I was less than thrilled is because Ted & YM will have been up all night and are sure to be exhausted.  Going out for lunch seemed like not so much to look forward to because of that.

Still – I should have been more delighted.  One less meal I’ll have to cook for!

The 2010 Artemisia Collection

In my usual impulsive gardening  strategy, I amassed a veritable collection of artemisias last year (the English name is Wormwood, but let’s just forget that ugly old thing).  I am drawn to the silveriness of them, and decided to just stick a bunch in the ground and see which survived.

Here they all are, coming back again this year.

Top performer – BY FAR:  Artemisia “Silver Mound”:

artemisias 011

It’s already reached nearly the size it was at the end of the season last year.  I actually planted this rather late in the season, inspired by my mother-in-law in Calgary.  Apparently, it is vigorous, but not a thug.  It doesn’t seem to be growing anywhere else but in this neat, furry mound.

As opposed to its nearby neighbour… Artemisia “Silver King”:

artemisias 012

This seems to be spreading its wings nicely and popping up all over the place in the front bed.  Unfortunately, it isn’t really doing much ground-covering while it’s there.  I think I will only keep it if it does a decent job of covering the soil, because otherwise, that area will just look like a mess.  I’ll see how well it fills out during this season.

Then there is Artemisia “Silver Brocade” (accompanied by foundation-bed faux-stone froggie).  Half-forgot I planted this one, I suspect it’s the same species as the mysterious “Dusty Miller” my mother bought which just keeps on coming back.  In garden centres, Dusty Miller is usually the English name for Senecio cineraria, a frilly, thick-leaved silvery thing that is an annual here.  You buy it in flats, pop a thousand of them around your garden and throw them out in the fall.  The one in my mother’s garden which keeps coming back is most likely this Artemisia, which was a VERY late addition on sale last fall.  Doesn’t look like much, but there are a few plants and I really hope it fills in, too.  I think it would look very nice among the coleus.

artemisias 008

Finally, the one I thought would be my favourite, if only for the romantic-sounding name:  Artemisia “Powys Castle.”  Some people spell it Powis, but as far as I’m concerned, they’re just cowards, or Americans.  I was hoping it would take off there because it is a little more casual, or natural-looking, and less ball-like, than Silver Mound.

It has definitely spread, and there are lots and lots of tiny ones coming up, but they are just that:  tiny.  Here’s the biggest one, and you can see it is very much dwarfed by the irises behind it.  This one is smaller than the palm of my hand.

 artemisias 009 

Good thing our city councillor’s Free Compost Days are coming up.  Not that I know anymore whether it’s safe to use city compost.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hey! I forgot…

… to EVER make a homemade ice-cream cake again!  I mean, I did it once, with great success, thirteen years ago, and then never again.

For anyone too uninterested to scroll down.  This ice-cream themed post is brought to you by Baskin-Robbins 31 cent scoop night, being held tomorrow evening around the US and in Canada as well!  And now, on with my blather…

Amy over at homeshuling posted today about a birthday party she made for her dd, including a homemade ice cream cake.  Brownies, ice cream, homemade whipped cream, and a few crushed m&m’s.  It looks like there is some type of illustration on top of her cake as well.

As I typed in my appreciative comment – about how wondrously easy and cheap it is to make your own cake, compared to what they charge for such a thing in stores – I began wondering how come I never did it again.  We had one for YM’s 2nd birthday party, though I forget exactly what flavours of cake, or ice cream, I used.

But, ONE birthday out of... 36?!?  I counted just now and apparently have celebrated 36 of my own kids' birthdays, and made my own ice-cream cake for precisely ONE of them.  :-o

That's it... whoever's up next is getting an ice-cream cake!  What a special treat it will be… for YM’s 16th birthday.  Happy Sweet Sixteen to Mommy’s Little Boy!

Oooh! Look who’s coming to town!

image

Dennis Prager!

Oooh, I’m so excited, and it’s just down the street from me, too! Closer than my own shul, even!

His talk on Friday night is “How to fix non-Orthodox Judaism,” which is unbelievably intriguing to me. I mean, if it could be FIXED, maybe I could join in again, right?

Of course, I’m being tongue-in-cheek. Because it all depends what you mean by FIXED. Nevertheless, I’m intrigued, and I think my mother, who’s just been taking a course on denominational Judaism (taught by Conservative rabbis) might be interested as well. And Ted, who happily joins me on any and all Prager-related errands.

(So far, Ted & I have been to hear him more than any other speaker, including local speakers… I believe it’s five times, but perhaps only 4: Pride of Israel, Leah Posluns; hmm… I forget where else we’ve heard him. Suffice to say, we’d go hear him in a bar, mosque, church, anywhere as long as he was at the front of the room!)

Slightly less interesting is his Shabbos morning sermon: “Why I am a Jew.” I mean, he’s written books and books about that… I don’t think there will be any surprises, though I’m happy to go and check it out.

And then there is the lunch and learn, which is totally uninteresting to me: “Is a religious or secular America (or Canada) Better for the Jews?” I suspect he will come out on the side of religious – ie that any values-based, Bible-based culture is better than a valueless culture of apathy and false gods.

I also suspect he will end up saying America most of the time, or simply substituting the word Canada into his usual talk, which speakers do to not offend anyone, but is most annoying, because politically, economically, societally, Canada is most definitely NOT America.

Anyway, he’s coming, and I want to attend the Friday-night talk, though I don’t want to pay $175 for our family to eat at the Oneg Shabbat dinner. SO… I recently wrote a nice article which included quotes on accessibility from the shul in question, and have emailed my contact person there to see if she could sneak me in.

We shall see!

UPDATE: Apparently not. Blah.

Kids’ Book for Shavuos / Shavuot / Ruth / Rus / Rut

imageHowever you want to pronounce it all, I wrote Naomi Rivka a Shavuos story!

I wasn’t going to say anything here, but since I had a lot of response to my Pesach Four Questions story, I wanted to put it out here in case anyone is interested.

But – it’s a very different kind of story. Read on!

First of all, my wonderful dd2 is very VERY interested in princesses, and a friend said to me, in passing last year, “you should write a Jewish princess story.” This is that story. It is very princess-centric. It’s also slightly flatbread-centric. :-)

Secondly, it’s long. It’s 8 pages long in Word. When read out loud, I think it took about 10-15 minutes, which makes it more appropriate for older kids, like 5 and up.

I am actually quite pleased with how this story came out, with a few big caveats:

  • I didn’t know what to call it… I don’t like the current title. Suggestions? :-)
  • Ruth is called Ruth throughout. Shabbat is called Shabbat. For simplicity, if nothing else.
  • It’s not really illustrated. It does include a few of these lovely Guyana stamps depicting the story of Ruth, but that’s not exactly the same thing as a big, bright picture on every page. This is partly because I’m trying to get my kids used to stories without pictures, ie listening to stories – a lost art I think will be helpful to our Charlotte Mason homeschool education. But enough of the speech.
  • The aforementioned fascination with All Things Princess… okay!

Anyway, judge for yourself. Here are the first two pages. If you’d like to receive the rest as a PDF, leave a comment with your email address (comments are moderated, so it won’t be published).

image

image

No pansies, no!

image

Stopped by Fortino’s Garden Centre for the first time this year.  It’s NICE that it’s open, I’ll give you that (especially on a blustery day when it feels like winter is turning around and heading right back for another stretch!). 

Fortino’s may not be my favourite garden centre, but it is certainly one of the nearest and most convenient, given that you can plunk your car in the parking lot three feet from the entrance and wheel out bags and bags of soil and amendments on one of their mega-carts.  Oh, and get some shopping done in the main store building while you’re there!

So, yes, I welcome it back happily every single year, and this morning, the kids and I paid it a visit.

But once you’re in, it’s basically the same Pots of Pansies that you see everywhere.

Pots of Pansies, and Emerald Cedar trees.

Ugh.  Pansies.

Frankly, pansies look like floppy hanky-flowers.  Like somebody wadded up a tissue and glued it to a bit of green.  The foliage is nothing special and the flowers are so huge and floppy.  I don’t mind violets and Johnny-jump-ups, which are all basically the same species, because at least they’re not OVERLY much.  If you know what I mean.

It’s not like the pots are arranged creatively, either.  It’s like they take as many pansies as possible, regardless of colour, and stick them in a rounded pot and sell it to you for – well, I don’t know how much because I didn’t get close enough to look.

Cuz you know what happens if you get close enough to look?  The pansies look BACK.  And not in a friendly way, since close-up, they look  exactly like ANGRY monkey faces.

Not cute zoo monkey faces, you understand, but the kind of rampaging cross-eyed monkey faces that might appear in a movie version of a Stephen King novel.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday #13 – 12 Iyar, 5770

Yes, it’s ridiculously late at night. Or early in the morning. But here we are! We have arrived! At yet another Meal Plan Monday.

I just decided, before I post this, to go look at how many of these I’ve done so far so I can celebrate maybe my 10th MPM post! But you know what?

This is actually Lucky Number Thirteen!! Yes, I’m giving myself a break for not posting over Pesach and pretending that they have all been consecutive. Which is not a bad streak, if I say so myself.

I like it. I really do. I like having some idea of how the week is going to go, and I like the freedom to shop early and just HAVE the ingredients I need on hand. It doesn’t always work, but often enough that it’s liberating.

Sunday (tonight)!: Chicken Nest at Mommy’s house w/ Sara & Abigail

Monday (Ted’s off day): SuperSticky sweepoes; chicken on top of rice, leftover Shabbos soop.

Tuesday: Corny Salmon cakes w/homemade potato buns (brushed with butter...amazing!) squash soup.

Wednesday (Ted’s late day, CPP day): Melissa D'Arabian's North African Meatballs (inspired by Jolly Green Mommy) w/couscous - (eta: AMAZING!)

Thursday (Vegan Vursday): Mushroom barley soup, homemade buns, pasta w/tomato sauce. OMG, I just realized pasta is VEGAN! (as long as it’s eggless… I’m not falling for any of last week’s Bad Vegan temptations again!) No parmesan, though. Blah. :-(

Friday = Shabbos: No clue!!! TBD! Didn’t we just have Shabbos??? But I might want to try these nifty Chocolate Eggs filled with Julia Child’s Chocolate Mousse. Or maybe these Key Lime Bars over at Couldn't be Pareve. Or both! Why is it so easy to plan desserts, and so tough to plan the rest of the meal???

Forgot to add! If you’re dropping in for the first time, feel free to visit the super-duper-list-o-mania of Everything We Eat (as well as the rest of this blog, of course). Thanks!

Gazing at the navel

When I should be gazing at my pillow… I am gazing at my navel, or rather, the navel of my blog, the top-secret site that tells me how y’all got here and what you want from my creative writing output. After all, we aim to please!

Well, okay, no. Secretly, I aim to lure people in here with whatever ridiculous keywords will suck in the suckers… and then send everybody home convinced of the stunning spiritual authenticity of our kinda-crunchy eco-conscious crunchy-con religious Jewish life. Secretly, I just want to turn everybody into ME.

Barring that, however, I aim to please! And it seems like I am doing a pretty good job!

First, a couple of searches over the last few days that my blog could NOT help with (sorry, everybody!):

But on a happier note, most of the searches actually are dredging up stuff from my blog that is at least kind of relevant… such as:

There are a few things that are important to me that I weirdly WISH people would find at my blog, but that they are not… things like homeschooling, ASL, parenting; not many parenting-related searches at all, unless you count fracture clinic cast. What can I say? I guess I am not an expert on those things, don’t write about them often enough, or don’t write about them compellingly enough for Google to send people my way.

Some searches make you want to reach out and FIND the person and get to know them better. Like the one looking for “where to buy golden tansy.” Because I love my golden tansy so much, and consider it perhaps the best $10 I’ve spent on my garden… ever. Here is last year’s ode to my golden tansy (no, a regular-coloured tansy just won’t do)!

If there is anybody out there in Google-land that I could actually embrace, it might be the person who correctly spelled and searched out persicaria amplexicaulis. I hope they enjoyed the picture of mine! Another garden bargain, by the way. I bought one plant at Humber Nurseries last may, but noticed it was very crowded in its pot. So I divided it before planting into TWO plants and both have come back with amazing vigour this spring. Looking forward to a lot more of its lovely delicate firetail wands this summer.

But sometimes, when it comes to folks who stumble in from the search engines, there is absolutely nothing you can do to help. Like the person searching for “what is a animal that is brown lives in water a mamaland kinda small?

They, too, landed on the pareve cholent page. Which is probably a healthier outlet for their fascination in any event.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My NEW “next coffee maker”

image

Now that my bodum has turned me into a bit of a coffee snob, I started thinking I wanted an Aeropress.

Okay, actually, truth? The SAME week my sister Sara bought me the Bodum, a facebook friend bragged that she’d bought an Aeropress. Same principle as the Bodum, but a little more space-age. Just the top part in this picture is the Aeropress, by the way (which, by the way number two, is made by the same Aerobie people who make weird shapes of floppy frisbee); underneath the Aeropress, you can use any sort of mug you want.

Some people swear by the Aeropress, saying that it reflects the best of all worlds. Like the bodum, you are pressing… but unlike the bodum, the grounds are not sitting in your coffee. You press it through so quickly that there is no time, I think, for the bitterness and oiliness to come out; just rich, smooth coffee.

imageSo that’s what I was thinking I wanted, but when I went today to research what would be the utterly most geekiness in home coffee brewing equipment, I discovered the sleek-but-apparently-effective Chemex, which promptly head-butted the Aeropress out of the way for the coveted title of “Next Coffee Maker.”

Priced not unreasonably (cuz it’s basically an hourglass-shaped beaker), it works exactly like you’d think it would. In fact, as far as I can tell, it works exactly like those little plastic cones you can get anywhere for a few bucks.

According to the true geeks (which is not me), the big difference between this glass thing and the plastic cones lies in the filters, which are thicker than regular filters. Like, superthick filters. Filters you could use as a parachute in a military application and rest assured you would land safely.

So could you use the Chemex filters in a plastic cone drip one-cup coffee maker? Maybe, maybe.

But I’m not taking any chances with my coffee. Plus, the plastic thing doesn’t come with that cool wooden collar or leather lanyard around the neck. What is that, anyway? It even has a matching bead? And I don’t think the plastic cones have been immortalized as part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, something Chemex owners apparently never let you forget.

By the way, lest you think I am in any way dissatisfied with my present coffee-making methodology of present coffee flavour results, I’m not. I actually enjoy what I get out of the bodum a lot. Quite a lot. I love the bodum.

But being a coffee geek is apparently all about the gear. Some folks have five or eight or ten different ways to make coffee in the morning.

And right now, there are so many ways in which I’m downsizing: the number of carriages we own, baby carriers (gulp; I haven’t even used the Ergo in over 6 months…), even diapers (well, we need more because they’re falling apart, but we are going through about ten a week at this rate).

Which has left a “gear gap” just waiting to be filled… perhaps, someday, with caffeine geekery and paraphernalia!

Now, if only I had the funds to underwrite this exciting new habit.

Busy Little Homeschooler… worn out!

shluffy 001We were carless, for a change, so I ran the kids around a bit today.  After a trip to Dollarama and the library, we met some friends and they spent about 20 minutes running up and down a hill in the rain.

I told Naomi Rivka she didn’t have to nap, just have an hour of quiet reading time, and for her reading material, she chose this atlas, which she loves.

Unfortunately, as many of us might when attempting to read an atlas cover to cover… she fell asleep.  I just thought it was very cute how she managed to pass out directly underneath the book.  Also, how wonderful it is that her arm is beneath her mouth so she won’t drool all over our pillows!

This actually happens quite a bit of the time when I tell her she doesn’t have to sleep.  With the “naptime” pressure off, she’s able to just snuggle into bed and relax with a good book… often with very soporific results.

Speaking of sleeping beauties:  as I loaded up the picture to blog this, I heard a snore from the sofa.  Yes, Ted is passed out cold as well.  3 family members down, 3 to go!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Another decent kiddie parsha sheet

image During the hopefully-temporary absence of our weekly Torat Imecha sheets (she isn’t doing them at the moment due to personal circumstances), I am downloading parsha sheets for the little kiddies from MiBereshis.  It’s a little annoying because you have to choose the year and parsha every time, and sometimes there is no sheet for the combination you’ve selected (this week, I selected 5768 Acharei and imageKedoshim – the FIRST 5768, not the second!), but I do like the bright colour illustrations and clear explanations.

This site also has parsha sheets available (I think) in Hebrew here.

Uninspir(ed/ing) Shabbos Food: Acharei Mos-Kedoshim

Okay, I’m stuck.  In a rut.  No inspiration.  What will we have for Shabbos?  (yeah, I know it’s 1 p.m. and Shabbos is in only 6 hours)

UPDATE:  Alright, it’s now 7:00 p.m. and I am changing this to list our FINAL Shabbos food items before shutting down for the next 25 hours!

Dinner?

  • Challah (Maggie Glezer’s Breadsmith Challah recipe)
  • Soup (didn’t bother making it because we have so much frozen) w/kneidlach
  • Mommy is making duck – I hope she saves the fat because I was just told that
  • Duck-fat roasted small potatoes is the most delicious thing to have on the side
  • Broccoli & potato kugel
  • Corn
  • Desserts

Lunch?

  • Turkey meatballs heated up w/s&s dipping sauce
  • Cholent
  • Slicey meats
  • Urgh; is everything meat???  Can we not have some veggies in this meal?
  • Okay, I’m happy bc Ted made Green beans
  • Desserts

Dessert(s)?

  • Yes, we have some! 
    • Lemon cake – from a mix, with real lemon juice & icing sugar
    • Fudge brownie cookies – from a mix, with white-choco chips added!

Okay, off to put GZ to bed.  Hopefully, I’ll update soon.  Please forgive me, family.  Please forgive me, world.  Please forgive me, Hashem for giving your holy precious Shabbos – our 52nd in the last year – short shrift.  I have been sick this week and only just feeling slightly better this morning.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bad Vegan!

meals 002 Ugh… noticed as I was mixing up the corn fritter batter for tonight’s Vegan Vursday that it may not contain milk, but DOES contain three eggs (I tripled the recipe because we like corn fritters a LOT).

Doh!

Apparently this vegan thing is not as easy as it sounds!

Too late to fix it for this week… so we are having roasted root veggies (beets, carrots, potatoes) alongside non-vegan egg-based corn fritters.

Elisheva objects to calling it “Vegan” anyway… she doesn’t mind eating non-meat, non-dairy food, just doesn’t want to give it a big fancy name.  To her, I think, vegan means unpalatable bland tofu-based food.  But maybe that’s a good thing.

Maybe the kids get used to a whole palette of delicious non-meat, non-egg, non-dairy-based foods, they will come to realize that responsible eating doesn’t have to be stodgy or tasteless.

Of course, it’s only one meal a week.  But still, one vegan meal, times six people, times 52 weeks a year.  If everybody did it, it would make a real difference – somehow.

POSTSCRIPT:  Okay, the fritters were not vegan.  But the roasted veggies were, and they were utterly out of this world.  I don’t rave about my food that often, and I mean it ALMOST literally.  Beets, carrots, potatoes, and one onion.  A little bit of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, a sprinkle of garlic powder (I prefer fresh, but that’s not an option right now unless I buy Chinese… and no, I have no clue where the powdered stuff comes from).  Simple – and delicious!

Welcome ICLW bloggers!

To any ICLW (IComLeavWe, April 2010) bloggers dropping in, I want to point out first of all that I’m not infertile in any way, or even TTC in any way.  I know a lot about infertility and even got a certificate from FertilityFriend.com saying that I know my way around a chart… kind of.

So that’s my credential, right there.  But then again, I also I have three children who were very easy to conceive and – in the grand scheme of things – one more who was pretty easy to conceive (with two early mc’s between the last two, which led to my charting obsession)… so overall, no complaints.

Who am I?

Like it says above, I’m a fourFIVE-year-breastfeeding Yiddishe (Jewish) supermama of four (2 big, 2 little!), who writes unswervingly, cooks tenaciously, parents attachedly, gardens (semi-?) naturally, homeschools frugally, and navigates unfalteringly through the moments between the Kodak ones

Which basically means this blog is all over the place; it’s a good thing I’m not trying to make money with it!

I hope you’ll stick around even though it’s not about fertility, but I’ll understand if you need to move on.  When I was scared we were never going to be able to have more children, I just wanted to surround myself with other people who knew exactly what I was going through.  Oh, well, that and analyze pee sticks at 2ww.com!

So why am I participating?  I think ICLW is a cool meme.   Didn’t realize it was mostly a fertility-related thing when I stopped by, but that’s still great because I love reading other people’s blogs.

(you’d think the name Stirrup Queens would have tipped me off, but hey, I did live out west for a while, where stirrups are for horses!)

As for ICLW, I love the idea of unearthing new (to me) blogs… and leaving “graffiti” to let everyone know I was there.  Also nice to hear from others, for a change, because this blog only has a couple of regular readers (not including my sisters!).

So welcome, pull up a chair, stick around… and leave comments if you find something interesting!  (I am moderating comments at the moment, but usually have a <12 hour turnaround time)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The mystical GREEN layer

lasagna 001For the last couple of years, I have made a point of  always including this weird, magical, mystical GREEN layer in almost every lasagna I have made.

It’s easy and turns any everyday lasagna into a gourmet treat!

So what’s in the green stuff?

A tub of ricotta cheese, some frozen spinach, an egg and salt.  Okay, sometimes, if I’m not sick and miserable – like today – I use fresh spinach, wash it check it steam it.  But today, it was frozen Bodek spinach, straight into the blender with the other stuff.  Poke it around a bit if it doesn’t blend smoothly at first, and then it’s done.

The other trick with lasagna, which I didn’t do today, is the old “hiding-the-veggies-from-your-family-so-they-won’t-know-it’s-healthy” trick, only since my intention is not to HIDE the veggie but to combine it, it’s okay.  Just roast a red pepper or two and then purée it with the tomato sauce. 

Oh, also, in addition to one tin of pasta sauce, I blend in one tin of tomatoes.  So the red layer is usually pasta sauce – tomatoes – red peppers.  I omit the red peppers if my sister is coming over; she can’t stand them.  Also when I don’t have any or if I’m sick… like today. 

Sniffle.

Here’s how I assemble it:  red layer, pasta layer (precooked; rarely oven-ready anymore, because it just doesn’t taste as good), green layer, sprinkle mozzarella, red layer.  Repeat as many times as you have pasta and room in the pan.  Finish with a pasta layer and then a red layer over the pasta.  Wrap tightly, bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes.  Uncover, sprinkle top generously with mozzarella, and bake another 15 minutes uncovered.  Serve and delish!

lasagna 003One final word of lasagna wisdom:  if you notice halfway through the layers that you are running out of mozzarella cheese, stop!  Save it!  Nobody will notice if it’s a little skimpy in the middle… but everybody will complain if there’s none on top!

Mmm… secrets of the lasagna-making pros.

In case of emergency

lasagna 006In case of ice cream too frozen to scoop:

Hack at outer wrapping mercilessly with sharp knife until it yields.  Peel packaging off in great primordial chunks and toss in whatever bin is closest.  Eat.  Enjoy.

lasagna 005 

As with cocktails, I feel like 7:30 p.m. is somehow too early to be eating ice cream.  But Ted’s at his pottery class, YM went to learning, and Elisheva took the little kids out to the park (in return for a library book she’s been bugging me for weeks to get her!). 

So I am all by myself, here, sick with a miserable runny-nose cold – the very worst kind.  In the rare and deafening silence that descended on the house when the kids left, I heard the ice cream calling to me plaintively from the downstairs freezer… where it indeed was much too cold to scoop.  Ergo, the sharp knife.

p.s.  This is NOT  my favourite Ben & Jerry’s flavour (that would be chocolate fudge brownie), but any port in a storm.

Two ghost poems

My father’s birthday was April 25th, so this is his week.  We are all thinking of him in our own ways.

These are old poems, and I was going to include a whole bunch of apologies and whatnot for not being gardening-related or childrearing-related, but hey, I’m making ZERO money from this blog, and the fame isn’t that much ahead of that zero mark.  So read them or not; it’s okay by me.

Ghosts 1: Skeleton Birthdays

There's not a month

that passes now

without a few

the year is littered with them

friends who have moved

on, leaving only

their birthdays

fossils in my mind.

They will dig me up

years from now and probe

my brain.

What is all this?

The sacred

birthday burial ground.

 

Ghosts 2: Haunted Numbers

The telephone number I need

Springs to mind

Bubbles up

Eager to be of use

398-8520

 

So familiar; this must be

the right one

I almost dial, but my fingers

Stroke the keypad

Sketch its delicate right angles

Tracing out the pattern

Puzzling

Something isn't right

 

Is that you again?

The telephone number hangs its head

Ruefully

Ashamed

to belong to my dead grandmother

 

disconnected three years now

Ashamed

to be useless now

Resorting to trickery

So I will not forget

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

So, nu…!

ym 001One EMT transport, two phone calls (one home, which I couldn’t answer in time; one to my mother, who went to the scene), four hours in emerg, fifteen minutes in the CT scanner, a bazillion shots of lidocaine and two big burly guys (one from Australia) to yank his arm into alignment, a great big fluffy flannel cast (weird) and a ton of bruises later ... and he's okay! 

[EDITED TO ADD:  one pair of glasses, the second destroyed of two purchased, meaning tomorrow is GLASSES DAY.]

He was trying something dumb on his bike... and it didn't quite work out.   I suspect he was attempting to ride on this raised curb on Bathurst St, just south of Glencairn, on his way home from school:

image

He would like me to point out that it is ironic that he was injured falling off his bicycle on his way to jump off high objects.  He was having so much fun climbing up (and jumping off?) my mother’s garage roof last night, I think he was hoping to do more of the same on his way home.

I don’t want to pin this adventure- and danger-seeking behaviour on anybody, but it is interesting that this fascination with high places and jumping off comes just a couple of weeks after his Pesach rock-climbing expedition with a certain wonderful, loving relative. 

So now I am sitting here wondering if there is some connection between his obsessing about things, his wanting to do them over and over and over unceasingly that may have led to increasingly dangerous behaviour on his bicycle.

Anyway, luckily, he was wearing his helmet.   Baruch Hashem.  Everybody at the hospital commented because the helmet came with him in his possessions bag.  I guess because they see the kids who weren’t wearing theirs.  They are the ones who have to hook those kids up to life support.

Luckily, the police are not pressing charges.  Like YM said, though, we’re not sure what they would have charged him with – dangerous driving?  Maybe they just said it to scare my mother.  Anyway, they mentioned charges and that they were not pressing any.  Good enough for me!

ym 002In these pictures, he is wearing my sweatshirt; it’s the only thing he can get on over his great fluffy puffy cast of an arm. 

He can barely bend his elbow; the cast stops short of it, but it is SOooo heavy! 

This is definitely not one of the sleek colourful modern fiberglass or plastic casts you see nowadays.  This is a very old-school cast.  You can’t even sign it… though it might work if you tried it with a Sharpie or some other fabric pen!

We do have to go down to the fracture clinic once a week to make sure the wrist (that’s what broke) stays in alignment.  If it doesn’t, they’ll have to cut him open.

They did say at the hospital that he was extremely polite and mature.  YM says, “of course… all their patients are like screaming eight-year-olds.”  But he really was a gentleman, from what I could see.  He told them the pain never went about a 3.5 (out of 10), and refused all painkillers.  I swear, he has different nerve endings from the rest of humanity.

Anyway, I made him take an ibuprofen before bed, both to help him sleep and because it helps with swelling.  So that’s our afternoon! 

Ted said, “I guess you’ll have a lot to blog about today, right?”  But secretly, I’m kind of annoyed having to chronicle this because I can’t write my usual tediously philosophical navel-gazing drivel, but that’s just me. 

I guess there’ll be time enough for that tomorrow, assuming nothing else happens.

Menu Plan Monday: 4 Iyar, 5770 (Kosher, Jewish, dee-lish!)

Late late late Sunday night, but I’m trying to get a jump on the week ahead by planning a menu… hmm… what shall we eat???

Monday (Ted’s late day): Potto-leek soup, salmon puff pastries, frozen peez on the side.

Tuesday: Chicken Stir-fry (Ted’s request), served over rice

Wednesday: Cheesy lasagna and/or tortellini casserole Green-layer LASAGNA won!

Thursday (Vegan Vursday!): Hot & Sour soup as the main (too similar to Tuesday's Asian-veg soup), hmm… with beer batter corn fritters, with roasted beets & other veggies.

Shabbos: TBD, but Mommy wants to make duck because she bought a duck.

Oy. I got sidetracked doing something else and it’s now VERY late, so I’ll stick with this plan for now.

If you’re dropping in for the first time, feel free to visit the super-duper-list-o-mania of Everything We Eat (as well as the rest of this blog, of course). Thanks!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Davening that’s SO “old-shul”

imageJust for fun, I brought my wonderful new siddur along for its Inaugural Davening down the street to Beth Tzedec, one of two local Conservative congregations. 

This happens to be the monster shul in town, not to mention the shul I grew up in.  These days, they’re calling it the Synaplex.  Get it?

I don’t think I’ve been there since my Uncle Abe’s funeral many years ago, but that was an awfully long time ago, so that may not be true. 

The occasion was Shabbat Itanu, a Shabbos of inclusion for a number of shuls around the GTA.  Beth Tzedec’s participation included hiring a sign-language interpreter for the main sanctuary today, so I decided to head over to watch. 

Elisheva decided to tag along.  I actually debated inviting her along, because I thought it might be detrimental to her spiritual well-being.  But then I decided she SHOULD see what they do there; that it might be an education.  It sure was.

It’s a good thing we went – otherwise, the interpreter would have been signing to… NOBODY. 

I didn’t see a single other person present who was watching the interpreter, despite the fact that the rabbi assured me that the event would be publicized well.  Sigh.  It was very interesting, though he was much too fast for me to follow most of what he was signing.  It was fun watching him sign “CONTINUE READING TORAH” over and over. 

During one of the rabbi’s explanations, I tried to catch the sign for “scaly skin eruptions” – the phrase both rabbis insisted on using instead of the inaccurate term “leprosy” – but couldn’t manage it.  Funny moment, though:  a baby started making noise up front, and I caught the interpreter signing “BABY CRY.”  Two signs I know very, very well.

As for Elisheva’s education in Conservative Judaism, well, score MANY, many points for the Village Shul, or just about any other shul she’s been to.   It’s as if everything I hated about being part of the Conservative movement all came to the fore during one long, long, tedious service.

The laining was long (not their fault; Tazria-Metzora it is the longest of the year, I believe), but the two bar mitzvah boys were both exquisitely slow and horrendously incompetent.  The chazzan and choir were pompous to the point of ridiculousness, as was the rabbi speaking simultaneously to both bar mitzvah boys, offering them “four reasons why today is special.”

(one was, it’s Shabbat Itanu; another was, “it’s your day”)

The first thing she picked up on – after calculating how many times our entire house would fit in the volume of the main sanctuary (about twenty) – was that there were about twenty microphones visible, on the bimah, hanging from the ceiling, everywhere… along with a polite notice in the bulletin that “use of electronic devices is prohibited on Shabbat.”

Ah, the Conservative movement!  What a quirky mess o’ contradictions!

There was a sparse crowd when we first arrived, which later filled in to a pretty respectable showing; it’s always embarrassing when that huge sanctuary is nearly vacant.

The silent shemoneh esrei of Musaf was just about as fast as fast could be.  I was nowhere near finished when the rabbi interrupted with a tefillah for people who are sick, and just barely had time to whip through before they started the repetition.  To his credit, he urged people who weren’t finished yet to continue their own silent tefillos; from what I could see, nobody did.  They are just all super-fast daveners, I guess.

Then there were the old guys sitting in front of us talking.  Okay, everybody talked through the whole thing, but unlike at our shul, the place is so cavernously huge that it doesn’t disturb anybody if you talk!  Nobody will hear you except maybe people sitting one seat away. 

So these guys were sitting talking, and when the rabbi began reading the (really, really long) yahrzeit list, this one guy kept repeating about every fourth name… friends of his, I guess, who had escaped his vocal range for the time being.  During Adon Olam, he turned around and started belting out the (wrong) words.  It actually made me a bit nostalgic at that point:  he reminded me of my grandfather.

The last few minutes of the service were entirely occupied with alternately standing and sitting… I got befuddled at one point and sat down during Kaddish, because that’s what everybody does there.  I stand during Kaddish, whether or not I’m saying it myself.  Minhag Conservative is that everybody who isn’t should sit down.  So I accidentally sat, and didn’t want to get up again in the middle.  It was all highly aerobic.

Later, Elisheva and I went and found the portrait of my grandfather, up on the Wall of Presidents for the one year he served, then we took a slice of spongey marble cake, thanked the interpreter (nobody else was speaking to him) and left.  Oh, the interpreter told me that if I practice for six months to a year, I can become fluent in sign language.  Nice. 

I didn’t mention that it’s already been more than six months… and then again, I do already know how to say (lie), “I live in a seven-storey building.”  So I guess I’m fluent now!

The Koren Sacks siddur was out of place there…but then, so were we.  Glad I got that out of my system; now I don’t have to go back for another very long time.

Snazzy new siddur… a first glance at Koren Sacks

imageNow, how often is it that you hear those words together – “snazzy” and “siddur”???

But, yes, I have leapt on the Rabbi Dr. Sir Professor Jonathan Sacks Bandwagon and invested in my first non-Artscroll siddur in years (okay, not counting the small shacharis-only siddur I bought for my sister’s birthday – which is terrific, btw; I don’t remember if I posted about it here but I like it very much).

After reading Rabbi Martin Lockshin’s thoughtful discussion of the new(ish) Koren Sacks Siddur vs Artscroll, I realized I simply must have it.

My own humble first impressions:

From a strictly aesthetic standpoint, the Koren Sacks wins hands-down.  Such thoughtful layouts (one pasuk per line!)!  Such helpful pagination (all of havdalah, on a single page!)!  So much white space… wow; almost literally a breath of fresh air.

And I had forgotten – over 20 years, I guess I became numbed – how much I utterly HATED the all-italicized English text in every single Artscroll siddur I’ve ever seen.

It was not exactly love at first sight  when it came to the special, copyrighted Koren font used for the Hebrew text throughout.  I actually prefer the clear Artscroll font slightly… slightly.  I can easily imagine the Koren font will grow on me; it looks almost like super-neat Hebrew handwriting, as opposed to the crisp, almost-robotic Artscroll font.

Here is a non-judgmental review (cuz some people get pretty passionate!) of some siddur fonts.

1) First, the traditional Ashkenazi basic illegible siddur font.  I don’t love it.  And most of the siddurs that use these fonts also offer blurry, illegible and crooked text, as though the whole siddur has been photocopied badly in the shul’s office.  Pheh.  It is the 21st century.  To its credit, some people feel right at home with this type of font and printing; maybe they feel it brings them closer to the tefillos of their ancestors.  I am not one of them.

image

2)  And here’s Artscroll’s revolutionary, crisp, clean font.  I like it a lot, though some have argued that it strips the letters of their beauty and dignity.  Fine; it’s also very easy to learn from, though… and as a BT, this was the font I cut my teeth on.  I already knew Hebrew, but didn’t really have a clue about davening.  Artscroll made it easy – as long as my gaze didn’t wander across the page to that awful italicized English.

image

3) Finally, here is a selection from the Koren Sacks siddur.  As I said, it looks more hand-written; apparently, it’s more rooted in  Sephardi traditions.  It definitely looks more like what you’d see in a sefer Torah.  Like I said, I could easily imagine coming to love this font, especially if everything else about this siddur feels right.

image

The translations I’ve read through are fine so far.  I’m not dazzled by them, but then, I was never really turned off by Artscroll’s.  I also haven’t looked at any of the controversial egalitarian bits.  The first thing you notice after 20 years of Artscroll, however, is the absence of the word HASHEM screaming at you off the page.

Sacks uses the word LORD instead, which I don’t love, but I guess the alternative is using the non-gender-specific but also kind of annoying ADONAI, or some such.

The bentsching does, as Rabbi Lockshin mentions, include a suggestion that three women who have eaten together may lead a zimmun, beginning with the words “chavrotai, nevareich.”  Not exactly a revolution, but it’s kind of nice to see it in print.  There is also the famous inclusion of “Modah” along with “Modeh ani,”

Back on the bentsching, I am a bit disappointed that the Koren Sacks doesn’t seem to include instructions and compensatory passages for “tacking on” a section of the bentsching that was missed… but that was just after a cursory glance; this information may be elsewhere.

Speaking of elsewhere, just about everything is.  While Artscroll lays out tefillos pretty much in the same-old, same-old order of the old-style Ashkenazi siddurim, Sacks shuffles things around a bit more.  For example (back to bentsching AGAIN!), Birkas Hamazon is included in a special section of Giving Thanks, rather than in a general “brachos” section immediately following the weekday Shacharis.

Individual sections of the book, including Weekdays, Shabbat, Festivals, Giving Thanks, Life Cycle, etc., each have their own index.  This might be more helpful if those pages were marked with thumb tabs or indentations or something, but that would increase the cost of the book.  As it is, I don’t find them particularly useful, since if I’m already in the Shabbos (okay, Shabbat!) section, I can probably find Shacharis (Shacharit!) just fine on my own.

Oh.  Yeah.  Shabbat.  The siddur says “Shabbat”, “Se’uda Shelishit” etc, in fine Sephardit fashion.  Which is lovely and precise and trips off the tongue except if you happen to be a proud Ashkenazi like me. 

When did the contemporary situation degenerate to the point where if you are happy to pronounce something the way your ancestors did (Shabbos, shalosheudos, shacharis!) – if you perhaps find those ancient pronunciations slightly richer than other ancient pronunciations – then you are some kind of repressive chareidi fascist fanatic?  (Is that too many adjectives?)

You’ll notice Rabbi Sacks doesn’t refer to the evening prayers as “Maghrib,” yet another legitimate pronunciation.  No, he calls it Ma’ariv, and so do I… but the point is, many Jews do not.  Ashkenazim call it Ma’ariv.  Ashkenazim call it Shacharis, too. 

I guess my only disappointment with this suddur, if you can call it that, although it bears the word Ashkenaz in Hebrew on the spine, it is entirely Sephardit in its pronunciations throughout.  To me, this is not comforting.  To me, this draws lines which I am miserable having to choosing sides over. 

Me Ashkenazi.  Me want Ashkenazi siddur.  (This is primal, people!)

If I love the State of Israel, I’ve gotta daven like an Israeli… why, exactly?  And why can’t the ladies lead a zimmun on Shabbos… only on Shabbat?  Can’t we all just get along?  (Here’s a bit more of a rant about me and my Ashkenazi inclinations.)

As an aside, I do not like that its promotion is billing this as an “Orthodox” siddur, nor do I necessarily love the OU imprimatur on the spine, though it gives me hope that the OU is not succumbing to any kind of chareidi pressures in the near future.  I think this is all mostly because I distrust the word “Orthodox.”  Perhaps it’s just me.

One more beef, and it’s a little one, because it’s always easier to  nitpick over someone’s masterpiece, and I do not want to undermine in the least the fabulous and important work Rabbi Sacks has done here. 

Shacharis or Shacharit; however you want to say it, spell it with a CH, please.  I dunno why.  KH bugs me to no end, but Rabbi Sacks has opted for the very, very awkward use of h-with-a-dot-under-it.

imageHere is my opinion of just such a “dotty” ches.  Oh, did you think you were reading a review by an intelligent, thinking person?  Well, I go kind of irrational when confronted with random specks on the page.

Still and all, and despite these few minor quirks (okay, the pronunciation is not minor), I have to say… I love this siddur.  I am irrationally excited about it.  The tefillos are the same, obviously, but laid out so beautifully that it is easy to approach them with excitement.  It is a beautiful book, and I recommend it to anyone who’d love to loosen Artscroll’s death grip on the siddur world.

Oh – I did have a bit of a choice when I bought the siddur.  The bookstore lady offered me the “Canadian” version, which apparently differs only in that it offers a tefillah for the government of Canada.  In a fit of rebellion, I opted for the “non-Canadian” edition, which is really the U.S. edition.  No idea why, nor why they’d carry both. 

But in any event, our shul doesn’t use the same tefillah for Canada – nor does it include the regular version of the tefillah for the State of Israel.  Tactfully, they omit “reishis tzmichas geulaseinu”… apparently, the modern State of Israel is something, but it is not (in their opinion), the dawn of our redemption, or its first sprouting, or anything potentially messianic or wonderful. 

The tefillah they do say has always made me uneasy for its nonstandard wording, but at least it’s something; many shuls don’t even acknowledge Israel’s wellbeing from the bimah on a regular basis.

Luckily, I even got to use the siddur for the Tefillah for the State of Israel today.  How?  Well, that’s a subject for a whole ‘nother post!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Off the wagon… and into the carriage?

perego double 002I’ve been SO good.  So very, very good about not acquiring any new carriages.  But sometimes, it’s just stroller karma, and I can’t help it.

When you get rid of five carriages you don’t want (old Pliko, missing fabric; Bertini frame, broken brake; Bertini frame & seat, bent axle; huge pink double jogger, too heavy & skunk-smelly), it’s just bashert (foreordained) that a new one will find you…

Out walking on Glen Cedar today (with the pretty-good navy BabyTrend side-by-side double my mother found at the curb for me!), I found an older-model Peg Perego Tender Twin front-to-back double. 

The problem:  how to schlep the HUGE Peg Perego home with us?  No problem!  It folded pretty smoothly and I stashed it on top of the hood of the BabyTrend to bring it home and test it out.  We were an extra-wide load,  however, and I didn’t even bother trying to wheel the wide double with the wider folded double into either of the stores we visited along Eglinton; I just left it parked out front… both kids can walk, after all.

I have wanted a Peg Perego front-to-back double for, ooh, maybe about fifteen years, since I knew that I would be having two babies back to back.  Instead, we were given a Graco (?) or some other cheapo brand that NEVER worked well.  Even with Elisheva as a newborn, the thing simply did not want to turn.  You had to HAUL it around corners. 

It was a gift, and I was gracious, but I did end up selling it the first chance I got (and yes, feeling sorry for the buyers, though it was in brand-new condition).  With that money, I bought a side-by-side Peg Perego folding double (Colibri) which served us well until it died; I seem to remember it literally fell apart from overuse. 

The nice thing about that double was not only that a) it folded pretty compact for a double (it was basically two Plikos side by side), but also b) if you needed to go through a particularly tight doorway, you could pull the “collapse” lever.  It wouldn’t actually collapse (yay, safety feature!), but it would squish in by a couple of inches, which allowed you to get through the doorway.  Then you’d just have to “re-open” the frame by stepping on the crossbar to lock it open again.

perego double 001cropAnyway, Shabbos looms and I’m sure nobody cares about strollers I loved thirteen years ago.  The point is, I found this one and it is actually fairly easy to push, even with both BIG kids in it.  It also has the weird sliding-removable-basket feature, as seen on the Roma and I believe also the Milano. 

The basket actually slides out completely and has its own carrying handles; I guess you’re supposed to haul it around the market as you buy your five apples and a banana (it’s really quite small), then slide it back under the carriage to bring it home.  In any event, the basket is missing in these pictures because I took it out to clean it and forgot to slide it back in before Ted left for shul with Gavriel Zev.

And no, I’m not proud of the fact that my son is going to SHUL in beige corduroy overalls that are so short they regularly hike themselves up past his knees.  All the Shabbos clothes were in my bedroom, where Naomi was sleeping.  So that’s my excuse.

Shutting down now… good Shabbos!!!