Sunday, November 10, 2013

Learning Reiki in Beit Jala

It was bad enough that I was taking Reiki. It was even worse that it was in a Palestinian neighborhood, although legally allowable for Israelis to enter. I had wanted to take this course for quite some time. I sometimes "lay hands" on my kids and they either feel heat, or electric shocks or some other vibration, but it does zap my energy. My friend, a Reiki Master, told me that without Reiki training, I lose my energy, but the attunements will let me give treatments to whoever needs it without losing any of my own energy . That did sound tempting as my 8 month old granddaughter is chronically congested, and 2 pregnant and very uncomfortable daughters - and wouldn't it be amazing if I could treat them all with the energy of the universe!

My family, especially Hubby, wouldn't let up that entire week before though. My hubby was muttering to everyone the entire time at Friday night dinner that Beit Jala was where the second intifada started. My daughter, who was staying over for the weekend, said to me as I was leaving the next morning, "Why are you going there? You know they hate us." I sighed. I had been going to dialogue groups for 11 years now and nothing....absolutely nothing had rubbed off on any of my kids. I had even taken them when they were younger to some enjoyable events, like parties, weekends and joint Tu-B'shvat tree planting. They enjoyed it at the moment, but then whatever it is that takes over their minds, took over and I was just left sighing at her statement.

I decided to nix the plan of hitchhiking on Saturday morning to Jerusalem, as buses don't run on Saturday, and then take a bus that services Palestinians and that does run on Saturdays - to Beit Jala. But that apparently aggravated Hubby even more so I had to splurge on a taxi to take me directly there. No shortage of Arab drivers on the Sabbath. My driver happened to be a cousin of my friend Ibrahim who lived on the Mt. of Olives and was probably amused that I was traipsing off to Beit Jala. I told him he could turn up the lively Arabic music, which was barely audible when I got into the car. He told me it was Lebanese music he was getting from an Israeli station. I was happy to hear Israeli stations that play Lebanese music and wondered to myself whether Lebanese stations played Israeli artists at all - perhaps Zehava Ben or Sarit Hadad?

I got to the private home and quickly called Hubby so he should know I was safe. The Reiki instructor, much to Hubby's horror was taking away our cellphones for the duration of the 10 hour course, so he would be out of touch with me until the evening. The Facebook/Candy Crush addict in me pined a bit for my phone during the day, but it really was ok to be without it.

There were 6 students - 2 Jews - me and an English guy who now lives in Israel and 3 Palestinian women and 1 guy from Bethlehem, Hebron area and Ramallah. There was a nice immediate bond between us all and it was especially nice to meet someone from Ramallah since meeting is not so easy to come by.

The first stage of the course went by quite quickly. We brought food to share for lunch. I was amazed that I didn't freak out during my attunements and felt trippy as I saw - with eyes closed - energy in various colors, especially purple, during the attunements.

During the last bit, while practicing Reiki treatments on ourselves, and the two of us - a Palestinian young woman and myself - lying there on the beds chatting about life. And the water shortages. She told me she based renting this home on the fact that it had an underground water cistern. Because if it didn't there would be severe water shortages. Most villages do not get enough water - even big places with thousands of residents like this one. They could be 3 days without enough water to bathe and wash dishes. This was awful. I live 1/2 hour drive from her and never experienced anything like this. Once in a few years, when the building is fixing something, we go without water for 6 hours, but never for days on end. But she seemed resigned to this - it is a way of life and it's been a way of life for years.

So besides learning about Reiki, I had learned that something as simple as water, which I take for granted, is not taken for granted by my neighbors and wished that I could "heal" as well the inequal standard of living that not everyone knows about....

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Candy Crush Anonymous

I don't know about the rest of the world, but certainly in Israel there needs to be a Candy Crush Anonymous 12-step group, and I have to day at a time. But as I'm only on game 78, and lord knows how many games there are, those meetings will have to take a back seat.

I see people playing the friggin' game everywhere - on buses, at work, at ticket sales offices (where I wouldn't get served because she was doing "something" on her iPhone). But even I have a problem. My daughter took me out for dinner the other day and we sat outside, enjoying the beautiful weather and instead of deep conversation, we both took out our phones to play Candy Crush. Quality time, indeed. We were looking for pointers from each other but she is way ahead of me.

Talking to another friend one day, I pleaded with her never to touch Candy Crush. Never. I see her a week later and she's telling me she's at level 14 and can't stop, and do I buy extra game time. That's where they can't get me, thankfully. If there was real food involved, like buy 4 and they'll give me free breakfast at a local restaurant, I might go for it, but I won't buy crushers, boosters, hammers or the like. I know other people have less will power than I do, and the people who created this monster of a game are definitely raking it in.

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Syrian Babies

Now that most of my kids are out of the house, I had to fill a void. So I rescued a street kitten who met me at a Jerusalem bus stop and began licking my toes. We were definitely meant for each other. And now my heart and soul have adopted several Syrian young adults over the past couple of years - all fans of Israeli metal band Orphaned Land. I mean, like the kitten who kissed my feet, I couldn't help loving this young crowd. Despite our countries being officially "at war", these young people were intelligent enough to recognize their government's hate propaganda against Israel and the Israeli people and maybe even Jews themselves. Yes, they all said they wanted to get to know Israelis and were so happy to expand their circle of friends to include us, quite a few Israelis, including the band themselves.

I'm not a big fan of heavy metal music. That and improv jazz gives me headaches. But because of the band's oriental bent and publicity in the Israeli press that they have an unusually large following of fans from Arab countries, this piqued my interest.

But getting back to my Syrian babies, and the crisis in that country, I was worried sick over them on a daily basis and wished there was a way to whisk them from there to here. There were wounded Syrians being treated in Israel, so why can't a few healthy ones be let in? Besides, the Islamist extremists most probably hate them because of the music they like and the way they look. So isn't an enemy of an enemy a friend?

I felt great relief as one of them safely made his way to the US in the midst of heavy fighting and another one, more dramatically, made her way into Turkey. But are they happy? They miss their family terribly and I seem to think they feel quite isolated in their strange surroundings. Safe but lonely and empty. It's a tough choice, to flee to safety and feel horrible or to be chronically in fear of your life.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Updates from an empty nester

From the age of 50, I have felt a surge of happiness over newly-felt freedom. My kids were all still living with me at the time, but they were teens and not in need of me as much as they were when they were younger. I was able to hang out with friends more and finally do alot of things for myself.

These days, while only my son is living at home with us, the food bills have gone down slightly - as he eats vast amounts of whatever crap it is that he eats - cereal, tuna fish, chicken, rice, pasta with tomato sauce, deli, huge amounts of chocolate, and that's about it. He sticks up his nose at anything else I seem to be making that day. Fresh salmon? Spaghetti with garlic and assorted veggies? Chicken in wine sauce? Smoothies? It's all "disgusting" to him.

One of my married daughters just rented a lovely apartment in Beit Hakerem. She constantly invites us over for dinner and I am only too happy to have a Friday evening off cooking and entertaining or to have a place to crash during the week between the time I finish work and a party or a concert later on in the evening. This is what you call "nachas" - deriving pleasure from the kids.

And my daughters are floating back to me on occasion - some are pregnant and are in need of advice. They seem to know nothing. One did her ultrasound last week and had no idea what it was. When the technician asked if she wanted to see the baby in the monitor, my daughter freaked out. Seriously. And then calmed down once she saw the almond size fetus on the screen. "I don't know if I'm feeling the baby move" is another often-put question to me by another one. One kid wants to stay with us every other weekend for 4 nights. She's the noisy one and we always ask her to just please, PLEASE come for one evening only. We'd love to have dinner with you on Friday night, but to have you over for 4 days every 2 weeks is like having 10 extra people - with the energy and noise level and complaints. She even wants to come with her baby once he's born and wants us to buy a porta-crib and change table and what-have-you-not. She wants our cat declawed too. I don't understand my eldest daughter's mother-in-law who wants all her 7 kids around her with their family, every Friday night, in her cramped apartment. I am so not Middle Eastern.

We thought of downsizing and moving to Jerusalem, but I think Hubby is quite frightened he'd never see me at all - with all the lectures, funky things going on, restaurants, cinemateque, friends. He's probably right. We'd also have to move to a much smaller place like 60 meters instead of our current 140 meters. And we could only afford a 60 meter place that would be run down and one that Hubby would have to renovate. The good thing is that we wouldn't have space for any of our kids to sleep over, but we wouldn't have room for an office, nor would we have that magnificent view of the Judean desert and the distant Jordanian mountains. Tough choice.

Now getting back to having them all out of the house, at least the daughters, I can now safely display my good quality makeup and perfumes on my shelves without worrying that I'll never see them again.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dance cliques

One Saturday afternoon in Central Park, when I was in my early 20s and living on the Upper West Side, I came across a group of dancers dancing to this incredible ethnic music. I stood there transfixed for hours and asked where I could learn these dances. The dancers told me of a couple of places where international folk dancing was taught, and I remember learning the dances in a large loft somewhere in Manhattan. I became part of the "in group" of dancers, even progressing to a point where I was going to join a Yugoslavian dance troupe that would dance in the 1984 Olympics - until marriage in 1983 and a move to Toronto put a stop to those plans.

But I loved dancing and even in Canada I danced Israeli dance three times a week. It was enjoyable, though not as diverse music-wise as the international dance scene. I remember, being Orthodox at the time, when one of the male dancers, during the couples' dances (the Orthodox women usually had other women as partners), pulled me over to dance with him, and I heard gasps from the other dancers..."but she's religious!" I felt like I was one of the characters in Fiddler on the Roof, when one of the secular son-in-laws of Tevye's daughters pulls the mother or the wife in to dance with him at a wedding amid gasps from the others.

When I moved to Israel, in my 40s, my neck wouldn't cooperate with me and the osteopath told me the impact of my dancing is probably what caused the pain.

So I was quite happy to be invited by a friend to Greek dancing in Jerusalem. The evenings are cool and I know from international dancing that there is not quite as much running and jumping in Greek dance. I told my friend who had been dancing for 5 years that I'll figure out the steps quite easily. There's much repetition and I know the rhythms of Greek/Balkan music. I pretty much followed along, not stepping on anyone's toes, and felt so happy to be dancing again, feeling that my legs were getting a good workout. It was someone's birthday and there was a huge spread of salads, pita, wine and ouzo, even eclairs, which were tempting but what is the point of a workout when you stuff yourself with those things!

One guy came over to me. "You need to come at 6:30 to learn the dances, this way you can be part of the circle and won't throw people off."


"I wasn't throwing anyone off. Didn't you see that I knew the steps to the last dance?"

I had seen the same guy dancing next to another new woman who didn't know the steps at all, but he held onto her anyway. Did he tell her the same thing?

"This way, no one will be under pressure," he continued.

Greek dancing puts people under pressure?

"I wasn't under any pressure!" I told him. The guy was pissing me off.

There were about 5 dances that had more intricate steps and I followed in back of the circle, just to be polite, but people can get really antsy about newcomers. Even my friend remarked that she even thought she had been dancing 5 years already, no one ever bothered to celebrate her birthday there.

"They can get pretty cliquey here," she informed me.

Well, I can remedy that and invited another friend to join me next time, and maybe she'll invite one of her friends. And we'll make our own clique of newcomers.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

When Worlds Collide

I'm so happy to be off work for two weeks. Not that I have anywhere to go. I usually take stay-cations. August is atrociously expensive everywhere and Hubby is busy with work. But I am happy to be away from the cookie jar across from my office which is filled with Pepperidge Farm cookies - both Brussels and Milanos. I begged the office manager to revert back to buying cheap nasty-tasting cookies so I wouldn't eat them, but these are irrestible and I've gained weight. Now I have 2 weeks to recuperate from my sugar addiction, have a healthy leisurely breakfast and a non-rushed dinner at home with some dinners/lunches out with friends. And I can't forget the grandkids. No - not the grandkids. See, I'm not the kind of granny that watches the kids for weeks while their parents fly off somewhere exotic, or the self-less grandma who just wants to be with the little ones, and then is exhausted and needs yet another holiday. Their other granny had my eldest grandkid of 6 over at her house for weeks on end during July but he wasn't bored because all his cousins were over visiting that granny as well. Besides, that granny never leaves the house. Ever. She's the type that stays home and cooks and cleans all day.

We were discussing the differences in culture over lunch one day - me, my daughters and my son-in-laws. I asked them why they were never interested in museums, in culture, in going out to festivals and why do they just eating schwarma on their evenings out. Why?

"The Israel Museum?" scoffed one son-in-law, who I thought had the potential to be more cultured than the rest. "It's full of leftists!" was his excuse why he doesn't step foot in there or the Bible Lands or any other museum.

I was furious - "What about the exhibit on Hasidim? huh? Were all the Hasidim leftists? How about the synagogue repicas? Why can't you come out of your narrow world."

I was getting really angry at their narrowmindedness, my daughters included.

And then I thought of a great idea which will make everyone happy. If my kids don't get it, maybe my grandkids will. I'm gonna take my grandkids, at least the oldest ones, to museums, fairs, etc. The science museum is great for kids, as is the upcoming Kite Festival at the Israel Museum and the Bible Lands Museum has a two-hour tour discovering the Mystery of the Pyramids.

This past Friday I took my 6 year old grandkid to the First Station - the refurbished Turkish-era train station that had been neglected for 10 years or more. It had been open since June, but my kids don't know it even exists. It's a remarkable place with activities for kids, films, concerts, shows, food courts, restaurants, carts where designers sell their fantastic selection of handmade clothing and jewelery. We listed and danced to songs welcoming the Sabbath, ate an enormous portion of ice cream at Vaniglia's until it dripped down both our faces, and we just pointed fingers at each other and laughed, I bought him a ridiculously expensive balloon, shaped like a beagle, that "walked" when you put it on the ground and if he comes to my house on my day off, I'll make him his favorite food - pancakes. It's a food he always asks for when he comes over, even on a Friday night.

So, yes, I may not cook 1,000 dishes over Shabbat and stay home all day and all night while everyone comes to visit, but I will be the granny who will make sure the kids love the rich culture that Jerusalem has to offer.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

No more chaos

My daughter gave me instructions by phone.

"Please don't look at the video of the wedding and the CD of the photos on Shabbat. OK?"

I sighed and agreed. Shabbat is the day of rest from work, when I can enjoy viewing such stuff that I have no time to get to in the weekday rush.

My youngest daughter had just gotten married in May and disturbed all the secular guests at that wedding who were shocked to find that dancing was going to be separated by gender. Their rabbi had asked them to do so and they were going along with it. They even stopped the music a number of times when men and women started to dance together. Protests were stronger coming from the groom's side, as there were 600 of their guests and there were just a mere 50 guests on our side. Most of our 50 guests were North Americans, and were used to this type of wedding.

We weren't too pissed off at their rabbi who told them not to live with either of their parents, as many young couples do for a year or two so they can save money. It pushed them into being responsible adults for the first time in their lives.

Hubby and I went to her house for a Friday night meal. She had cooked an amazing dinner and seemed so at ease with her new role as wife. This daughter, who was the messiest girl in the Middle East, was now keeping a spotless home. She now has her hair and elbows covered, in accordance with the strictly Orthodox, and this change of lifestyle had me reminiscing on the way back home with Hubby.

"Remember all those times when taxis would honk at 4:00 am years back because she just ran out of the cab without paying?"

"Remember all those all night 'nature trance parties' that went on in secret locations all over Israel that she went to every weekend?"

I had bought new folders to sort out our new home office, made possible by all the girls leaving home and leaving us with a spare room.

As I rummaged through her files, I came across letters from the courts, lawyers' bills - from 2002 to 2007 -when her hobbies were shoplifting, stealing charity boxes, trying to get into Teddy Stadium with a knife, painting graffiti on public buildings and simply passing a joint to her friend which resulted in 120 hours of community service. We had our hands full with that girl. It had seemed like 24/7 chaos in our lives. It was frightening not knowing which way she was gonna go in life.

I remember my boss telling me not to worry, during those awful years. That she would give me the most "nachas" (pleasure/pride) one day. And he must have been a prophet to foresee that, because I couldn't. And for once, though I am not a fan of rabbis, I am grateful to the influence this particular rabbi has on her and her new husband. I don't give a shit if he wants her to wear a burka. Funnily enough, I'd be all for it.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

some (raunchy) shabbat table conversations

Many traditional Jews on Friday night, when they sit down for their festive Sabbath meal, have intelligent conversations, discussing the Torah portion of the week, talking about work, singing songs, etc. While we did have festive food in common, I suppose the topic of our conversation this week was very different from other families.

That morning my son called us while we were doing our shopping in Jerusalem to tell us happily that he had a girl over on Thursday night and "there's a condom on my window sill".

I was happy that he was practising safe sex or, for that matter, any sex at all. I was worried because he hadn't been dating for a while. No one. He had brought home some girl right before he was drafted into the army because, as he said, "I don't want to die a virgin." I hadn't seen her since. But I was upset that he wanted his condom to be on display on his window instead of putting it in the trash.

I complained to Hubby.

"The cat is gonna find it and drag it through the house."

"Oh God. She'll probably put it on the dining room table where I make haMotzie (blessing over the Shabbat Challah bread)!!"

Not that we were having guests over, just the recently married kids, and that would put them in fits of laughter.

As we sat down for dinner, my son proudly boasted of his "date" last night to his sister and brother-in-law. The condom was still sitting on the window sill and the cat was smart enough or repulsed enough not to go near it. And then the conversation progressed to more graphic tones. My daughter, whose English leaves a lot to be desired, and whose husband's English is limited to "Hey daddy, how are you" and "Big Ass", told us that when she was a teenager, she knew of girls from religious families who had sex in other ways because they didn't want to lose their "vajournal".

The son and son-in-law continued their conversation in Hebrew - how to do what where and other assorted tidbits, while we laughed and munched through the coleslaw and quinoa salad with kale. And I'm thinking - so what if we don't have the conversations that normal people have around their Shabbat table. As long as there's laughter and good spirit, I think that's all that matters.

Thursday, May 09, 2013


My young friend looked at me aghast as I dipped into her stuffed grape leaves and told her to take some of my chicken salad off my plate.

She had told me that she wasn't used to being spoken to on public transportation. Swedish people are extremely reserved and quiet, yet, she prefered boisterous Israelis. And I had become one of them, calling loudly to our waitress, budding into conversations and sharing food. I wasn't the only one, as 2 other restaurant patrons looked at our food and talked about it with one another.

"In Sweden", she explained, "it's unheard of that people interrupt conversations to add their own 2 cents, they don't talk about other people's food in restaurants, and they certainly don't share food on their plates" she laughed, and her rasta-hair laughed along.

I remember horrifying another Dutch friend as well when she came for a visit in 1998. We were waiting to be served in a bakery, and the line wasn't moving. I wasn't being attended to, so I helped myself to 2 challah breads, while my friend put her hand to her mouth to stifle her laughter, and explained that THAT was never done in the Netherlands.

"Well, it's done here. As long as I pay for it, it's fine to walk around the counter and get it yourself."

I seem to be unintentionally shocking nice Europeans these days.

We went over to the Abraham Hostel after our meal. This was the funkiest, coolest hostel around and I had never ventured inside before tonight. The place was vibrant, colorful and full of assorted tourists of all ages and types. We went there because she was planning to write a children's book about Hebron and wanted to tell both the Jewish and Palestinian narratives of this holy and tense city. I know that dual-narrative tours leave every Wednesday from the Abraham Hostel and she might want to book herself a tour. Meanwhile, sitting on the couch in the lobby, I saw Eliyahu, who runs the Jewish leg of the Hebron tour. I introduced the 2 of them and she put out her hand for a friendly handshake, but since he's quite an Orthodox Jewish man, who doesn't touch other women other than his own wife, he simply put his hands together in a Buddhist-type greeting to welcome her. He gave her contacts on the Jewish side of Hebron, since she already had Palestinian contacts in place and told us a story of one tourist he guided, who went to inside Abraham's tomb in Hebron. On the Palestinian side of the tomb, the Moslem worshippers were complaining to the tourist bitterly that the Jews were being loud on purpose while they were trying to pray. When the tourist went over to the Jewish side, he saw that there was a circumcision ceremony going on and thus the reason for the loud whoops of joy accompanied by singing and dancing. Nothing was done to spite the Moslem worshippers. So there you have 2 narratives of people who need to understand one another by just going over to the other side (not possible at the tomb these days) to see what is really going on.

We ended our evening by walking over to the shuk, to show her the new restaurants that had sprouted up since she had last been here a year ago. She ordered us 2 beers, but because of my Jewish genes, I guess, I couldn't down the entire giant glass of brew.

"Sorry, I just can't finish this." I told her, leaving 3/4s of my beer intact.

"That's ok. I'll just take whatever's left," and she took my glass, pouring the entire thing into her glass and for that moment, she stopped being Swedish and became one of us...

Monday, May 06, 2013

Liverpool Legends

I looked at myself in the mirror in the ladies bathroom at the Steinberg Music Center and just stared. My hair was a mess, but it looked good, I had a wonderful flush to my face and my eye makeup was totally smudged.

"We look like we just had sex," my friend remarked. Ahh. So that was the "look" that stared back at me in the mirror.

We had just gone through two hours of Beatle ecstasy with a Beatles cover band from the US called Liverpool Legends, that had flown in especially for Israel's yearly Beatlefest. Nothing else over that weekend seemed appealing but this band, who was managed by George Harrison's 81 year old sister, Louise.

But it was in Holon of all places, and we were wandering around the music center 2 hours before the show began trying to find a restaurant that looked like it wouldn't give you food poisoning. I had ordered a capuccino from a decent looking bakery, only to find that the coffee tasted like water with a bit of coffee flavoring. Feh. I figured I wouldn't have much luck in the food department, as we walked around the working class neighborhood where elderly men were sitting around tables on the sidewalk, playing backgammon.

"I feel like we're in Bulgaria". It did seem like a different country from Jerusalem and altogether different from Tel Aviv, just a few miles north of Holon.

I hardly have time to travel these days, but I needed a bit of adrenaline and Beatle cover bands, especially if they're good, do just the trick.

I looked at the audience in the 600 seater place, and saw that it spanned the generations - little children came with their young parents and people older than myself were there looking ridiculous in their Beatles t-shirts. It's rare to see such a mix of ages at concerts. People were selling all sorts of Beatles-related kitschy stuff. I could do nothing but sigh. I had real Beatles memorabilia years ago, but sold much of it due to money shortages throughout the years.

The show started with the band coming on dressed as early Beatles, in their Beatle suits, c. 1964 and Beatle boots, then the Shea Stadium outfits, then with colorful Sgt. Pepper era duds and ending with the 1968/9 look - George, looking especially George-ish in his 1968 striped red pants. I had seen dozens of photos of that same outfit. They managed to pull off the sound and look magnificently.

We danced in the aisles, ran up to the front and danced and screamed and pretended it was really them and we re-lived each era that we missed because we were simply too young to go to any Beatles concerts in the 60s. I was only 10 in 1966 - the last year the Beatles were on tour.

After it was all over, we came out of the theater and people who were lined up to get into the later show must have seen our "just had sex" look. "How was it"? "Was it worth it?" After taking a look at myself in the mirror, all I could answer them was, "Can't you bloody tell?"

Monday, April 29, 2013

Food War

My friend and I are planning to go to Beatlefest in Holon this Wednesday evening because George Harrison's sister Louise will be there, as well as a Grammy-winning (so I hear) cover band called LiverpoolLegends.

Last night she called me up sounding very agitated,

"I checked and there are NO KOSHER RESTAURANTS IN HOLON." A true lament. But if there are kosher restaurants in Druse villages in the North of Israel, surely there must be a kosher falafel joint in the hood.

I checked under a different App and sure enough, found 34 kosher places, most of which probably sell crappy pizza and burgers with humous and all that. But I actually did find a kosher sushi place with good reviews in the local mall, and I know she'll be relieved when I tell her.

At least I have someone culturally similar to me to dine with. Lately, with my 2 youngest daughters getting married or about to be married, and as a result, all the additions to our family from North Africa and other parts of the Middle East, it has been quite a challenge.

My 3rd daughter married into a Moroccan/Iraqi/Kurdish-Persian family. The father is like Don Corleone. No one argues with him, or complains to him. Or else....

The Sabbath after the wedding we headed over to their house for a celebration - first in the synagogue, and then their home for a big lunch. Hubby and I thought, Hey! We rented a car. We haven't been to Tel Aviv in over a year. Let's finish off the celebration by just the 2 of us heading over to see the sunset over the Mediterranean. We began eating at 11:00. We figured the final course ended by 1:00, we could head off. Mr. Don Corleone sees us and says - "You're not going anywhere! We have Hamin! You have to stay for Hamin!" Do we argue? Of course not. At 2:00 pm, he serves me a plate with a large bone on it. "This you must eat. It's a foot." Shit. Now what do I do? I looked at hubby who just told me to be thankful we weren't being served bulls' testicles.

Next daughter's future in-laws invited us for the last days of Passover. They must have put 35 dishes on the table all at once. Nothing too spicy for us, but I couln't believe the amount of food. The hostess looked at me and said,

"I hear you buy organic vegetables. Hmph. It's too expensive. I go to the market and come back with half the market in my kitchen."

I can certainly see that. We must look pathetic to them with our one dish appetizer, one main course and 2 side dishes. But I was horrified to learn that they abhor left-overs. I saw her about to throw 1/2 a cake in the garbage and I shrieked! She looked at me like I was a homeless beggar lusting after her food.

"You want this?"

"Of course! I don't throw anything out, unless it's over 5 days old"

She shrugged. "If it's not eaten after 1 day, it goes in the garbage."

Hubby and I were horrified.

But there is a good side to all this. My daughter had wanted to live with us for a year after they got married. But just a couple of weeks ago, she said they decided to rent, even though it will be hard for him. And I know exactly why. Her future husband saw me cooking quinoa, tofu dishes and other healthy grains and beans, mostly vegetarian, and I think that scared the living daylights out of him.