Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mango Season

It's officially mango season in Israel and I am so proud of myself because I picked us the sweetest, juiciest, tastiest mango I've ever eaten! It was such a good afternoon snack! Buggy and I split one and then I did one of my favorite things: I sucked on the mango pit. But then, I was distressed, because whenever I do that I end up getting threads of mango stuck in my teeth. I flossed at least 3 times yesterday just to get out all those threads. But it was yummy and worth it!

We were busy people yesterday! We woke up at 7:00 a.m. to go to the Wolfson Medical Center for blood tests. Since Buggy and I have different health insurance plans, we were fortunate to find that the medical center will do blood tests for both Maccabi (me) and Meuchedet (Buggy). Anyway, it was a zoo when we got there at 8:00 a.m. with tons of people waiting to do blood work. Unlike in America where your primary care physician will just take blood after your examination, in Israel they only draw blood during certain time periods of the day. Mostly, it's early in the morning and they are only open for 3 hours each day. So, you have to make a special trip in order to do any blood tests. It's a bit more efficient the other way - I think - but it's not terrible so we suck it up and do it.

Well, the woman who took my blood is a newbie and of course she couldn't find my vein. I have weird veins - which I told her from the beginning - and so she went poking around both arms looking for one. Finally, she called her supervisor over and the lady helped - but not before she stuck the needle into something that wasn't really a vein. She finally got the flow going and within seconds I was done. Buggy finished a bit later and we were off to our next pit stop.

Which was breakfast, at Faza, which is a great little cafe restaurant in Katamon. They make Chai tea with 1% milk and since Buggy and I are on diets, it's a nice treat! Buggy was exhausted after our breakfast so I took the keys and drove us all the way to our next stop:

Jerusalem's Department of Motor Vehicles - which is located in Talpiot! I think I drove pretty well and Buggy agreed, although he did a lot of clenching and slamming on the invisible break on the passenger side. The rules here are different, as are many of the signs, so I just need practice in order to learn. That, and Buggy's car is a Peugot sports car and I'm used to more humble a vehicle. P"G, when we buy me a vehicle it will be something familiar that I can drive.

Anyway, the DMV was pretty typical for a DMV. Lots of people, not enough workers, take a number system. We were number 312 and they were serving 270 when we got there. We settled in for a long wait but it really didn't take us as long as we thought. Of course, I came armed with practically all of my Aliyah papers cause I had no idea what I really needed. The lady was nice when we got up there and said that I had 3 years to switch my license - and not 1 like everyone else told me. At this point, I have all the paperwork and now I just need to find a driving school, take 1 lesson and pass the test, and I should be done. Of course, passing the test is going to be difficult. I've heard that driving school's like to fail people not because of ability but because they like to get them back to get more money. That, and the driving instructor won't tell you after the test if you passed or failed. Buggy said it's for the instructor's safety, because a disgruntled Israeli who hears that he/she failed might try to kill 'em.

Ain't that nice?

So, now we have to add finding a driving school and taking the test to my "to-do" list.

After the DMV, we went to drop something off for Buggy and then we went food shopping. We're having 10 people over for dinner in our Succah on Friday night and yes, those people are Buggy's parents and family, so I'm trying to cook to impress! Here's my menu:

Appetizer: grilled steak salad with warm shallot dressing

Soup: chicken noodle with matza balls

Main: cranberry/onion soup mix chicken (all bottoms, they are not top people)
spinach chicken rolls
cauliflower kugel
salt and pepper noodle kugel
green beans sauteed with onions and toasted almonds
orzo with grilled vegetables, basil and pine nuts

Dessert: velvet sponge cake and chocolate cake with tea and fruit

Good thing it's not Yom Tov for me on Thursday night/Friday cause I'm going to be doing plenty of cooking those days! Plus, tomorrow, I have to cook for Yom Tov lunch as Buggy and I wanted to eat alone in our Succah. We might be a bit anti-social, but I think it will be better for us to just experience having our own Succah for the Chag.

So, after I bought all the ingredients I need to cook for Friday night and for Chag on Thursday, we drove to 4UGifts on Derech Chevron and picked up the things I needed for dinner off of our registry. I picked up 6 place settings on dinner plates, cake plates and salad plates. We picked up 12 soup bowls that are slightly smaller size than normal soup bowls and are also square not round (I love the look of square bowls!). We picked up this cute glass water pitcher with the hole in the middle and 12 drinking glasses. Well, now the car was absolutely loaded, so we drove back to the apartment and I got to work unpacking.

Thinking I would have the rest of the afternoon to write my thank you notes, I got into comfortable clothing and got to work. Then, Buggy's Mom called and told me that the "hat ladies" were at the Kings hotel and that I should come if I need a new hat. Well, I didn't get a black felt hat when I was in the States, so I said sure and she picked me up and we went. They had some great stuff: Louise Green, Naftali, etc. and I was able to find a nice hat in no time. The nicest thing was that my MIL picked up the tab on my hat, which was very, very kind of her, and so now I have to write another thank you note!

I decided also to walk home from the Kings hotel cause I've notice my body has started to loose some of it's tightness since I don't do as much excercise like I did in Tel Aviv. When you live by yourself, it's easier to fit it in, but now that I live with Buggy and we always have so much to do, excercise has falled to the wayside. So, I walked from the Kings and it was a heart pumping 25 minutes! I got in nice and sweaty, a bit thirsty, and happy to have been moving!

And then, I settled down for a few hours and cranked out those thank you notes. I am happy to annouce that of the 145 thank you notes I had to write from the wedding, I now have 5 left, and those 5 are basically family ones. Now, don't think I only had 145 to write people! I had 30 from people who bought off our registry, 25 for my shower, and 85 for people in Israel who gave us gifts at our Sheva Brachot. I have 75 to go and I hope to G-d I can get these done before Succot is over! I think it's important to send thank you notes quickly after the wedding - especially since people really were generous and they deserve to be thanked in a timely fashion.

Yeah - Buggy thinks I'm crazy and he would love it if I joined him on the couch at night for some CSI or Law and Order, but I am on a mission.

I wrote almost 50 thank you cards yesterday! My tongue is nasty from all that licking too!

I'm up extra early today and Buggy is snoring lightly besides me as I update this blog. Today, I hope to decorate the succah, unpack some more boxes and clean out the apartment so that it looks in semi-decent shape for our company this Chag. Tonight is going to be busy as we are taking Buggy's cousin out to dinner for her birthday. And then, I have to start cooking!

Oh, and yesterday I made us a nice dinner of chicken burgers, salad, 2 individual servings of french fries and Jerusalem artichoke. I decided to try it again, even though the last time I ate the Jerusalem artichoke I was sick for 2 days with an awful stomach. We both had a bit of minor discomfort but fortunately, I think it passed and I might even make them again!

Oh, and my sister Rick RULES! She faxed me a bunch of baking recipes so that I can bake for all the things I need to bake for. I have to help make dessert for Buggy's Aunt on Wednesday night, I need to bake dessert for our dinner Friday night and since Buggy's MIL does a huge open house for Simchat Torah, I am baking brownies and blondies for that too. Plus, well, we're having almost 15 people over for dinner on Simchat Torah night (I'll fill you in more in my next post) and I'm gonna be baking for that as well!

Happy cooking everyone!

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