Archive | May 2014

The lost court cause

I’m so way behind on updating folks on what is going on that I have a post saved in drafts called ‘overwhelmed’ from five days ago.

In a nutshell: We lost but almost won and the judge said we’d win if we took this to the higher court and the whole thing was like watching a British comedy: Fawlty Towers and Monty Python had nothing on this.

Ronen was awesome for so many reasons. He not only spent two days and nearly all of the night before re-translating everything I’d given him, calling lawyers and looking up case law himself, but he seriously rocked when presenting my case. The judge (a new one, thankfully, because the previous one was offended at my lack of hebrew fluency) started off asking all the right questions. She told the crazy machshefa that her explanation was beyond credibility. We’d only just begun my counter argument when some warring parties waiting to present their case went to fisticuffs, security was called in, and the judge was like yo you people (us) go outside and see if you can reach a compromise.

The machshefa refused to compromise and it quickly became clear why: We already learned that her business went under (yo wonder why) and she is currently pretty much destitute. When we went back in, two security folks were still trying to keep the peace, another set of complainants were attempting to present their case, and the Judge stopped them and was like, nu?

Ronen explained that she refused to compromise and then tried to pick up our truncated defense, pointing out that she had brought in a clearly forged ‘contract’ and… the judge was like stop, I don’t have the time, you can pay her what she wants now and be done with the balagan or take her to the higher court and from what I see here you won’t have to pay her anything if you do but also from what I have in front of me you (me) wrote her a check and that shows intent to pay and even though she can’t produce it, you yourselves claim you (me) wrote a second check and that shows intent to pay more than the check in front of me and so..

Long story short, after determining that it would take at least another six months in court proceedings (and I won’t be in the country that long) and the judge was willing to put into writing a guarantee that the check made out to the ‘Bettler’ guy can’t be used in any further proceedings, I was like fine, screw it. There were some serious comedic moments and I’ll try to write them up as soon as I get a bit more time.

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green olives and sushi: I will eat it in my house, I will eat it with Little Mouse

Yesterday I realized I had the perfect combination to make sushi rolls in my cupboard. I haven’t attempted making sushi rolls since I was back in college and, while they were good it took forever to make them and they didn’t really function as sushi rolls (using non-sushi rice, no rice vinegar, and not having the towel and knife-trick knowledge off youtube) and so I never tried again. Until yesterday. Yeeeee haaaaa a wow wow 🙂

I had nori (seaweed sheets) left over from my winter soup making; I had a package of sushi rice that I got free last fall when there was a ‘buy 3 regular rice bags and get a specialty rice free’ deal; I had 3 packages of fake crab meat (those strips) when I got them at 3 for 10 sheks at a Russian grocery; I had rice vinegar I bought after my bro got married and I was inspired by the great Japanese food, and finally I had an avocado that needed to be eaten like now. So I went online and watched a couple of sushi roll making vids and decided to go for it. It turned out to be neither long and involved and these things came out PERFECT.

Actually, they came out better than perfect because of the secret ingredient I added to half of them and will never again want to do without. My sushi rolls beat the pants off the super expensive ones at the sushi place close by –and all the other sushi places I’ve eaten at here (ok, so that would 3 times in 10 years). The secret ingredient is sliced green olives.

I cooked a cup of sushi rice in my rice cooker (this makes enough for two people with these sushi rolls. While it was cooking I washed and then thinly sliced two small cucumbers (makes enough for 6 people as I discovered): Cut the cucumber in half longwise, then each half into four more long thin slices. I took the defrosted fake crab sticks from the fridge and, after unwrapping each individually wrapped one, sliced four of them in half, again lengthwise.

When the cooker went to the ‘warm’ setting, I put half a cup of the rice vinegar, nearly 1/4th cup of sugar, a teaspoon of salt, and a tablespoon of olive oil into a small pot and heated it, stirring, until the sugar dissolved. Pour this over your sushi rice and mix gently. Let sit until cool enough to handle with your hands and then stir it a bit more.

While the rice cools, get a clean kitchen towel and spread it on your counter, shortest edge toward you. Cover the towel with a sheet of saran wrap. Lay a sheet of the Nori rough side up on the saran wrap. Now slice open your avocado making a cut all the way around, twist slightly to separate the halves, and remove the pit. Fill that small pot you used to heat the vinegar in with cool water and place at a convenient distance. Wash your hands again but don’t dry after rinsing –use your wet hands to scoop up a slightly larger than an egg amount of your sticky rice and put it at the edge of the seaweed closest to you. Use your fingers to spread it out evenly in a thin (much thinner than you’d think and mine still ended up being double the size around than those little quarter sized ones you get at Sushi places –all good in my opinion!). Continue adding and spreading rice until the entire sheet, less 1 inch at the far end, have some rice. Make sure that you get rice all the way to the other edges. Wet your hands in the pot of water as needed to keep the rice from sticking to you rather than the seaweed.

Rinse your hands again and then place two of your cucumber slices, end to end, at the closest edge to you of the seaweed (now covered with rice). Next to that, again end to end, place two slices of crab stick. Now make two thin slices of your avocado and place those, end to end, on top of the crab sticks. You could add a thin slice of carrot or bell pepper now (or instead of the fake crab). I didn’t. Now evenly space your green olives (not too close together, as you don’t want it overwhelming) so that each leans up against the crab and avocado on their edges. Using your fingers to hold the ingredients in place, slowly roll the edge over until it meets the rest of the seaweed sheet, then use the saran-wrapped towel to continue rolling, putting slight pressure all along the length to get your roll nice and tight but not squished. When you get to that final bit of seaweed that doesn’t have any rice on it, wet your fingers, grab 5 or 6 grains of rice and smear them along its length and then continue rolling.

Almost done! Unwrap the towel and then the saran wrap. Pick up the roll and move it back to the edge of towel and saran closest to you drape towel and saran over it and roll again, again applying only very slight pressure to jell the insides together.

Now it is time to slice. The trick to this is to wet your knife between each slice! If your knife is wet and it is sharper than a butter knife, you will have nice pieces in no time! The two very end pieces are never going to look like the professional ones you buy at sushi places — they don’t even look like those pieces when made by the professionals. They use a trick of flipping them over in the presentation (so that what was the innermost side is what is up) and they put them in the middle of the displayed pieces — these are the ones that always tend to lose structural integrity when you dip them into your soy sauce and lose a lot of rice (and sometimes collapse on you if you really soak them).

It took me less than an hour start to finish to make two rolls cut into 8 slices each (but since mine were nearly double the size around, it was really like a total of 32 pieces!).

I put them out on a wooden cutting board so they looked just like what you get in a restaurant. The first roll, made without the olives, was delicious and restaurant quality. The roll I spontaneously decided to add the green olives to was simply out of this world. It hit ‘best damn sushi roll ever’ with my taste buds.

*I got the olive idea because when I was in college I had a Korean friend who always made a sushi roll version using a pickled radish that was fantastic and I have since missed that salty/spicy/not a word for it/ combination when eating standard sushi rolls.

Could I start a new toothless fashion fad?

Is going toothless an option? Seriously, I would be a wealthy woman if all the money spent on my teeth over the years were in my pocket. Yesterday, I watched another 1300 shekels fly away and only one tooth got fixed. On June 5th I get two more done and I’ve still got the specialist for the rogue root canal to see and who knows what that is going to cost.

I did get to see my umpteenth dentist do more than a double take and have a mini freak out over the tooth that was about to be fixed. As he was doing the pre-exam I could hear him murmuring to his assistant things like ‘muzar meod meod’ (extremely strange) and a number of other things that would have been extremely alarming if I hadn’t heard them so many times before, and then ordering all sorts of special tests. Wait! Just hang on, are you talking about my eye tooth? Yes, there is a real problem. It isn’t shaped correctly, the root is incredibly short, it…yeah, yeah, I know. It isn’t an eye tooth.

When I was a kid, an incompetent dentist decided to pull both my eye teeth to fix an over-crowding problem when the teeth that couldn’t fit started popping out in the gums above the adult teeth that were already in or the baby teeth that were refusing to fall out on their own and make way for the adult arrivals. He guided two pre-molars into their place and then did some ‘artistic’ filing to make them look sort of like eye teeth from the front and filed the back half of the molars down to mere nubs. It first befuddles and astounds and then produces apoplectic responses from every dentist who has subsequently taken a good gander at them –that has been a lot of dentists. I’ve had a couple of dentists who refused to believe that these two teeth were not simply naturally deformed abnormalities because they could not fathom that a dentist would do this — I promptly said thanks and bye to them without letting them touch my teeth further.

It seems el incompetanto violated the number one rule in dentistry that you never, ever take out an eye tooth unless there is no choice (e.g. the tooth itself is toast) and you sure as hell don’t take out both. The eye-tooth is a critical tooth since it plays the most important role in your bite. Because they have the longest root amongst all teeth, they can support very strong forces from your muscles of mastication. The shape of the eye-teeth will guide your jaws and the rest of your teeth in proper position when biting and are critical to a variety of other gum and bone health factors. Yeah, well.

My current dentist is a good dentist and he didn’t just take my word for it. He took additional x-rays and spent considerable time examining that tooth and its’ twin before saying yo, she is right, they are both pre-molars. It still took a lot less time and expense before he came to this conclusion. This is where having a good grounding in psychology comes into play.

People tend to see what they expect to see and try to fit any deviations into their expected view. A dentist sees a tooth in the position where an eye tooth should be, it looks a little bit like an eye tooth, and he knows that it is extremely unlikely that the eye tooth would have been removed and replaced by a pretender and so tries to understand what he is seeing in terms of what he knows about eye-teeth without considering other options. You then introduce the idea that maybe he is actually looking at a pre-molar and suddenly everything starts falling into place.

Senate Dems kill key pro-Israel bill to protect Obama’s nuke deal with Iran

This fall, vote people, vote these Dems out:

The fallout from a rushed, late night decision by a leading Democrat to scuttle key pro-Israel legislation in a bid to appease the Obama administration threatens to complicate efforts by Democrats to hold on to the Senate, according to sources on Capitol Hill and in the pro-Israel community.

Senate Democrats led by Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) pulled from the foreign relations committee’s agenda Monday evening a major piece of pro-Israel legislation known as the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, which would have bolstered defense and intelligence ties between the two nations.

Menendez called off the vote in order to prevent Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) from introducing an amendment that would grant Congress a final say on any deal the Obama administration strikes with Iran regarding its contested nuclear program, according to congressional aides.

Sixty-nine percent of likely voters support congressional oversight on a nuclear deal, according to a poll released by the Israel Project. Read more at Free Beacon

Hat tip Weasel Zippers

Batya: good news and bad

I am back much, much sooner with Batya from the vet than I expected. I thought she had a bad tooth that would need to be extracted, along with a teeth cleaning. The good news is she got a shot and antibiotics and I’m not there with my nerves completely fraught while she undergoes the procedure. The bad news is that she has developed gingivitis and a really terrible case. Ronen was like, she is going to need all of her teeth out once you get her to the U.S. He would have done it today but it is a procedure that needs to be done more than a month before a cat flies anywhere and we are trying to schedule flying Batya and Nesicha in cargo with Mischa in cabin in just like 3 weeks or so. Yeah big expense looming on her arrival. I seriously hate that all these little critters almost without exception have this. Tzeekada, Flora and Flossie, Tovi before she had all her teeth removed and the inteferon treatment (the latter of which cured her), Puddin, and of course Little Mouse.

Well, at least the poor little thing should start feeling some relief in a couple of days and be able to eat and groom herself again.

website advice

I’m trying to code up a website for our animal sanctuary. I’ve got the domain name and webhost. I want and will need maximum flexibility as far as platform/design/layout/ etc but also maximum ease of use (so my Ema can add content easily that is wysiswig –what you see is what you get). I’ve got the skills for coding a “static” webpage (e.g., everything you add to it needs to be added via html, xhtml, php etc code). What I want really is a blogging platform that can be embedded into your existing web pages so that the person who wants to add to the ‘blog’ part (with sign-in access) goes right to a “add new, type your title here, type your post here, press publish and walla that is all there is to it.”

I’m looking at both Serendipity and Textpattern and am hoping for input. I’ve developed static webpages, I’ve used (obviously) blogging software, but I’ve zero experience in combining the two into one. Advice from techie folks? 🙂

a very pleasant morning

I spent a bit of time out in the garden before it got too hot this morning. I planted some arugula seeds in the planter that has the radishes growing down at one end. The lettuce I’d planted down where I’ve put the arugula seeds never sprouted, so hopefully we won’t get a repeat with these. The radishes are coming along great, however. I watered the six cucumber seeds I planted last night and watered all the collard greens, green onions, and lavender. Then I did some weeding in the main two beds and around the rose that has the mint and oregano. The oregano has come back with a vengeance and so has the thyme. I love weeding the mint, nana, oregano and thyme beds because the air gets scented and your fingers smell great 🙂

One of the compost pits is ready to be used and I plan to use it to fill a long planter a neighbour from the building behind us donated to the garden effort. I think I’m going to splurge for that neighbour and the kids next door and buy some pretty flowers to put in it and set up along the edge of the main garden bed. They have windows that look down on that bed and so will have a pretty view.

I’ve mopped the kitchen and as soon as the floor dries will go in to start cooking up some spaghetti sauce. I’ll need to run down to the garden to cut some of that delectable oregano to use in it. Ain’t nothing better than fresh out of the garden.

This afternoon I’ll be working but in a nice and relaxed state after my very pleasant morning.