Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
1. We went on our shul's annual Shabbat HaGadol Retreat. It was held in a youth hostel in Yerucham, otherwise known as The Pastry Dough Capital of the World. We feasted on potatoes wrapped in pastry dough, cheese wrapped in pastry dough, soy dogs wrapped in pastry dough, and even pastry dough wrapped in pastry dough.
The highlight, at least for the kiddies, were the awesome bunkbeds in our room. Kids on top, grownups on bottom. By the end of Shabbat, Yaakov was climbing up and down like a pro. (Well, sort of.) The kids had all their friends there, and Ariella spent Shabbat either hopscotching or playing "goomi" - aka Chinese jumprope - and Yaakov, as to be expected, spent much time engaged in "shtuyot" with his friend Eitan. We all had a really nice time, though I'm not terribly broken up over not being able to eat borekas for the next week.
2. We found an untoothpicked folding chair on Friday. This nearly reduced me to tears. (I guess this is more of a lowlight.) You see, I had already crossed folding chairs off my to do list! What was I going to do - uncross it off???? Never! I'd rather burn it. Luckily, Donny stepped in and cleaned it this morning.
Well, I had many more thoughts earlier in the day, but as we ebb closer and closer to the holiday, they have flown out of my head, to be replaced by images of matzah meal and eggs. I bought lots of eggs this year. Lots. How many? Let's just say we could egg you all into oblivion and still have enough left for cooking all of the various matzah-meal-and-egg delicacies we will be consuming over the next week. Matzah meal and eggs...fried! Matzah meal and eggs...boiled! Matzah meal and eggs....baked! When the kids called the Pesach rolls "matzah balls" I started to correct them, but just gave up. They're not wrong.
Anyway, I should get back to the pyramids.
Wishing all of our loyal readers a chag full of kashrut and simchah. And, of course, eggs.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
"Time to leave!" announces Moshe.
"But Moshe," complain the People, "I have to let this cleaning solution sit for 2-3 minutes on the stovetop before I can properly scrub it!"
"Oh," says Moshe, "you're right, we can't leave yet. Just as long as we get out of here before the dough rises, 'k?"
"Dough? Rising? Who has gotten around to cooking yet? We haven't even touched the pantry!"
Anyway, when discussing with LISA the irony of how a holiday which is based primarily on speed now takes us endless hours to prepare for, we came up with a brilliant idea.
Are you ready?
The Eighteen Minute Clean!
Clean whatever you can in 18 minutes or less! Make sure not to go over by even a minute! Good idea, right? Let me guess - you're already implementing it in your house, right now. Good for you, I say!
Well, as for me, I guess I should get back to the kitchen now. Or, rather, the Shrine to Paper Towels. Only 14 minutes left!
Friday, March 19, 2010
Sadly, it seems our 15 minutes are over before they even started. As I suspected, the producers weren't interested in doing a show based around The Rose's Pile of Rubble. But they are looking for people in Israel who have bought property that actually live in said property. So if YOU are interested in becoming a House Hunter International, you can get in touch with Kristen at kristen NEKUDAH lombardo STRUDEL leopardfilms NEKUDAH com. Be sure to tell her aliyahbyaccident sent you!
In other news, Donny has arrived back at the homestead with presents galore. Everyone got something they wanted: Ariella received her very own hopscotch mat, Yaakov got his very own Leapster, and I did not have to take out the garbage last night.
Meanwhile, Yaakov continues to impress us with his Pesach knowledge. He knows all about the ten makkot, Kriat Yam Suf, and seder rituals. In fact, he's come up with some cool traditions of his own. We were looking through a haggadah and I asked him what we break during "yachatz." He correctly responded "matzah." Wow, I thought, let's try another one.
"And karpas? We dip the vegetables in water, right? And what do we put in the water? Lots and lots of....?"
"Cheese," he promptly responded.
So if you're looking for a truly different kind of night, Yaakov is your guide!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Now, you may remember some time ago (I think it was Monday), I was feeling slightly insulted that aliyahbyaccident had not been invited to speak at the Bloggy Booty Camp, or whatever it was called. But since then, something has happened which will blow you out of the salty karpas water.
I know you're probably thinking that the big excitement is "aliyabyaccident and ontiredema do kiryat sefer," in which I regale you with fascinating tidbits about our trip to Shefa Shuk, where we performed the Ashkenazi Kitniot Squint and spent lots of money on food and other Pesach items. But as exciting as that was, what I'm about to tell you will make you turn off your vacuum cleaner, put down the Windex, and forget that little Shmueli is running around your newly cleaned bedroom, crushing graham cracker crumbs with gleeful abandon into your pillows and behind your dresser.
And no, the big excitement is also not Dadz re-figuring out how to leave a comment. (You can read his pithy words here.) Not that it's not exhilirating and reinvigorating and rehabilitating as well. But no, even bigger than that.
Without further ado.....I received a comment on the blog from my friend Kristen, who works on this little show you might have heard of: House Hunters International. That's right. Bloggy Boot Camps are soooo small fry. Aliyahbyaccident is headed for the Big Time!
Kristen, who is a casting honcho at HHI, came across this blog and thought we might be a good family to highlight for their show. And this is even without knowing about my striking good looks and winning smile! Can you imagine???? I immediately called my mother, who is a HH devotee. I can safely say that nothing I have accomplished thus far in my life - good grades, college degrees, jobs, marriage, kids - has made her quite this proud. She was practically in tears. "I'm just s-s-s-s-so h-h-h-h-appy," she sniffed.
The downside, though, is because our apartment is not going to be ready until November 2011, it puts us at a slight disadvantage. See, the final segment of the show is the "big reveal," where they show the family living happily in their new digs. And they're not so into the "big reveal" revealing Donny and me and the kids standing next to a big rubble heap, slowly sinking into the wet cement while happily waving our floor tiles (light gray, in case you were wondering.)
In any case, Kristen asked me some more information about our family and said she would see if our story could be told. So this is obviously very exciting, and I will of course keep all 61 of you informed as the story continues to break.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
And okay, I don't really "tweet," which probably puts me out of the running for keynote speaker anyway. Good bloggers use Twitter and say things like "maximizing my social media presence" with a straight face. But since I did sign up for an account, once upon a time, I still get random emails telling me that "LakishaMonono is now following you on Twitter!" Always with an exclamation point! Yay!
In other news....Donny continues his tour of the great United States of America. He is finishing his week in Seattle by sitting in the airport all day, because his flight to New York was canceled due to some wind issues in NY. We are starting to forget what he looks like. I am starting to forget what it's like to have adult conversation. But, as Ariella so optimistically put it, "Yaakov, Daddy is coming home soon! Not today, not tomorrow, not the day after tomorrow, not the day after that, but the day after THAT!" Soooooo soon.
Yaakov continues to learn about Megillat Pesach. Ariella continues to try and patiently explain that there is no Megillat Pesach; it's called the Haggadah. Yaakov refuses to believe this. Today's halachic tidbit from Yaakov:
"Mommy when we wash our hands on Pesach we do NOT say a bracha. Because because because Hashem, is in the sky. And He knows."
So be careful out there, kids. Hashem is in the sky. And He knows.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
1. Yaakov was walking around the apartment with a bag of cereal. I promptly told him not to.
2. Our cleaning lady - bless her soul and her way with a sponga - tried to put away my Pesach food, which was resting comfortably in the guest room. Naturally, wondering why these seemingly normal people (we do seem normal, right?) were hoarding foodstuffs in their bedroom, she attempted to put the coffee in the pantry (gasp!), the ketchup in the fridge, (double gasp!) and the bags of matza meal on the counter (*faint*). I swept the food up as fast as I could - does the 5 second rule count for Pesach food in the chametz kitchen? - and hurled it back to its staging area. Crisis averted. (Just don't tell any rabbis about this. Especially not my newly-minted rabbi brother, coronated just this past Sunday at the Chag HaSemicha.)
3. I called Lisa and told her that next week, I would - deep breath - be ready to "discuss seder."
4. The kiddies are shteiging away, learning about Pesach ("Megillat Pesach" as Yaakov calls it) in school/gan. Ariella comes home daily with a new picture for our wall; Yaakov has not done any projects in gan. Not that there isn't Pesach work being done in gan. It's just not being done by Yaakov. When I walked into gan and saw that every other child had completed a Pesach drawing - except for my son - I asked him, "Just what, exactly, were you doing when all the other children in gan were doing this project?" He cheerfully replied, "I was doing shtuyot and hitting people." Sigh.
5. Um....that's it. Not bad, right?
Monday, March 8, 2010
Well, folks, (Baila, you might want to stop reading now) I bought matzah today. Now, don't get alarmed. I haven't so much as picked up a vacuum cleaner or a couch cushion, so I'm not what you would call "ahead of schedule." But I happened to be at Shufersal, and they happened to have had their matzahs out. And I knew that the matzah is not going to be any "fresher" if I wait a week or two to buy it. Come now. They were all baked somewhere around Chanukah time and left to harden in their boxes, just like the matzahs of yore. (Judah Maccabee: "What the heck is this? I need some oil!" Shmueli, the Maccabee underling: "It's our matzah factory. Just preparing for the Pesach rush, sir.") So I picked up some matzah, and matzah meal while I was at it, and felt very accomplished, Pesach-wise. See, it's much easier to shop than to clean.
Also, I opened up our very useful Pesach documents. That also enables me to feel like I'm "doing" something without actually "doing" anything. So I have the master Pesach list opened, which is where we document our yearly (non-food) purchases, with notes of what we bought each year and what we need for the next year. I will give you two guesses which adult member of our family thought up this system. And let's just say that if it were left up to me, we'd probably end up with 35 soup bowls and no frying pan.
Our list is very useful. It contains helpful items such, as
"Purchased - salad bowl and thingies. Milchig silverware (crappy)" - Pesach 2001
"Buy cooling racks that won't bend!" - Pesach 2004
"Purchased - 3 tube pans. Next year buy ones that don't leak." - Pesach 2004
"Purchased - egg slicer (Donny doesn't like it)" - Pesach 2005
"No more cheese graters! We have 2!" - Pesach 2007
"Our seder plate broke!" - Pesach 2008 (This was very tragic.)
"Don't buy so much jelly! 2 or 3 is PLENTY!!" - Pesach 2009
So, as long as all you need for Pesach is a bunch of Word documents and some matzah, I am SO READY!!! Bring it on!
Donny, meanwhile, is doing his part for Pesach preparation by traveling to America for 12 days. Now, you might think this is, in fact, not so helpful, but he will be making a very important Pesach-related purchase while he is there: Kosher "Real" Salt. As you matzah-and-butter connoisseurs know, Real Salt is a crucial ingredient. And we have not been able to find it here. They have fine salt (too small), and super-sized, 'roid salt (too big), but not the Baby Bear of salt - the Kosher Salt. So while I am here (not) cleaning, Donny is on a mission to Find the Salt and bring it back.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
This particularl chilazon came to us via our lettuce (always wash those leaves, kids!) Actually, there were two, but one, um, never quite woke up from its nap, and found itself hurtling down the chute with our leftovers from lunch. We think Yaakov might have actually frightened it to death.
Anyway, we found the chilazon on Shabbat morning, and WOW! Such excitement! Eventually, we (and all the "we's" here do NOT include yours truly) coaxed it into a large container, where the children happily fed it leaves. It was quite happy in its new abode. At least, I think it was, although it kept trying to crawl out. (Do snails crawl?) But Ariella just nudged it back in with the edge of a plastic cup. Silly snail!
This provided minutes of solid entertainment. Every few moments during lunch we were interrupted to hear Chilazon Updates.
"It's trying to get out!"
"I see it moving its head!"
"I can see its eyes!"
"Why are its eyes on its horns?"
Well! Who still has an appetite?
After lunch, the chilazon, like all good Jews, settled down for a nap. A heavy lunch of lettuce and squealing children will do that to you. Later in the afternoon, the snail was still sleeping. Uh oh. Cue foreshadowing music. I instructed Ariella to sing to it gently, which she did, singing a song of her own making and serenading our little friend. But to no avail. As of this evening, the snail is still "sleeping." Yaakov wants to bring it to gan tomorrow. I fear for the future of this little creature.
In other news, Modiin held its annual Purim parade on Friday. Now, I know you're thinking, "Purim? It sounds familiar. When was that again?" In fact, it was only last week, but seems like ages ago. Like in that glorious time before Lisa called me up to "discuss seder." Anyway, the day scheduled for the parade was last Friday, erev erev Purim, and it was pouring rain. So they postponed it for this Friday. All the schools and gans finished at 11:00 in preparation for this exciting event.
My friend "Rachel"* and I decided we would walk over to the park together, where the parade was supposed to end. It's about a 15 minute walk from our apartment, so we figured we'd time it to get to the park at the same time as the parade. There was going to be all kinds of booths and entertainment at the park. I double-checked the location of the park with someone who's in the know. "On Emek Hachulah, right? Near Country Center?" Check, check.
We made it there, no problem, and saw a bunch of people milling around the park. We thought we were right on time. The kids started playing, and I found some shade and plopped myself down. After a few minutes of pleasant chatting, Rachel said to me, "You know, the parade hasn't come here yet."
"Hmmmm...." I said.
"And it looks as thought a lot of people are actually walking past the park."
"Hmmm...." I said again. It was true. People were streaming by our little park, but no one was actually stopping IN the park.
We chatted for a few more minutes.
"You know," I said, pondering, "there doesn't seem to be anything actually set up here. I mean, there are supposed to be booths and music and all kinds of stuff. I know this is Israel and all, but don't you think they'd be at least starting to set things up?" (The parade should have ended around 1:30. It was now 1:45.)
"Let me go walk down the street a little further and see if I can see anything," offered Rachel.
She returned after a few minutes. "Chalk it up to our ignorant immigrant-ness," she said. It turns out, that right on the other side of Country Center, is an even bigger park, where all the fun stuff was happening. It was now after 2:00, and the "fun stuff" was being packed away and people were leaving (hence the droves of people walking past "our" park.)
The kids were upset, partly because we had missed the actual parade, but mostly because all of those other people seemed to have artikim. So Yaakov and I bravely headed into Country Center, admist approximately 5,000 other Modiiners, and went straight for the Artik Store, fought our way through the crowds, and purchased 4 neon-purple "grape" flavored ice pops.
So all in all, I consider the day a success. Kids got to play in the park and eat artikim. I sat and watched them and schmoozed. Beats getting ready for Shabbos.
*Her real name
Sunday morning chilazon update: It lives! Trying to get out of its house again! Successfully dissuaded Yaakov from bringing it to gan.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
So. It turns out I was, unfortunately, mistaken. There IS, in fact, a massive holiday coming up that requires list-making, cooking, cleaning, and shopping.
Here are the clues that tipped me off:
1. Momz' comment. Vaguely set off some sort of alarm in my head, which I promptly smashed with a brick.
2. The kids requested the "Pesach Music." I, for one, was all ready to listen to my "Never Clean Again!" CD, with classic hits such as "Crunch! Crunch! Cereal On My Floor!" "Dust Bunny Love," and "Can't Do Those Dishes (All Night Long)." However, I was vetoed.
3. Lisa called me "to discuss seder." I told her that everything was "b'seder" and attempted to hang up. She kept on talking; I recall the words "potatoes" "wine" and "seder plate" being mentioned at some point. Must investigate.
But despite my brave attempts to ignore and hide from reality, it seems that I cannot be in denial any longer. (No, that was not meant as a Pesach pun.) Pesach is coming. There, I said it.
[Deep cleansing breath.] Ok, I'm ready for it. 3 weeks spent in a money-spending, cabinet-emptying, pasta-eating, toy-washing (very necessary; don't ask) frenzy.
But, followed by a week of matzah and butter. Kind of balances out, in the end.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Purim, as usual, was a big WHOOSH! Blink and it's over. Sunday morning we were out bright and early (while it was still bright outside) to deliver our mishloach manot. At one point, Ariella complained she was thirsty; it brought back fond memories of delivering mishloach manot with DADZ (through some quirk of the calendar, Purim is always, ALWAYS during tax season, but DADZ always took off for deliveries and seudah). Us kiddies would be sitting in the car, snarfing down junk food as soon as it entered the car, and inevitably we would soon be complaining of thirst, hoping with every house that THIS would be the family that included some sort of drink in their mishloach manot, and finally, finally, when we hit gold - usually a warm juice box or an equally warm small bottle of grape juice - we would fight over it like it was the remote control when WWWF and She-Ra, Princess of Power were on at the same time.
Luckily, Ariella soon scored with a Tropit. Yaakov was ignoring any thirst issues by happily sucking on a lollipop (I believe his 50th of the chag). His diet yesterday consisted of:
Breakfast: A lollipop
Lunch: Half a bagel with cream cheese
3 chocolate chip cookies
Dinner: Two hamantashen
We fortunately were able to complete our deliveries during the two dry hours of the entire day. As we finished our last house, the skies opened up and God unleashed enough rain to, hopefully, "make the Kinnewet ve-e-e-e-ewy, vewy high."
We returned home for Seudah #1 with the Balsam clan, or as Yaakov knows them, LISA and the other people who come with her. Donny read the megillah for the ladies, and then we chowed down on bagels while Donny tried - unsuccessfully - to get our resident teetotaler (Nafi) to drink from his (water-filled) flask. Though Nafi refused, Lisa practically drank Donny under the table.
Then it was time to head to Maaleh Adumim for Seudah #2 with the Sassoons. A fun time was had by all. The kids played, the men drank, the women did everything else. There was dancing and singing, including an original song composed by Robbie. Despite the vast quantities of alcohol at the table, I did not pull a Betty Draper and so remained sober throughout the meal. I drove home, through heavy rain and fog, though Donny was successfully able to navigate, despite his inebriated state.
So all in all, Purim = Big Success. Now everyone's back to regular life; good thing there's no huge holiday coming up that requires massive amounts of list-making, cooking, cleaning, and shopping. I sure am grateful for that.