Whistling in the dark

Yaffa Phillips writes sporadically

Food Friday 2014 – Slide at the free buffet and a good book

Still having trouble with temptation. Offers of chocolate from coworkers and this week, a krispy kreme, a nice buffet spread at a workshop I attended followed by an ice cream….

The work temptations are also pick-me-ups when staying inside. Need to make sure to walk outside during the day. Then saying no to things I am tempted by rarely (fresh krispy kremes) or free food….It is not as though I’m hungry and need  the food…

Been reading a really good book (so far) called The Flat Tummy Club Diet (should I have left the typo in as Fat Tummy Club Diet??).

The chapter on getting ready to make changes in your life talks about the Stages of Change model which has been around for a while in various forms.

1. Pre-contemplation
2. Contemplation
3. Preparation
4. Action
5. Maintenance
6. Relapse

damn but you can get to relapse quickly.

“The trick with these relapses is to not let it lead to more, but rather to go straight back to contemplation, pass quickly through preparation, action and back into maintenance, or ‘happy balance’ mode.” – Kate Adams, Flat Tummy Club Diet, p. 25

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posted by Yaffa in food and have No Comments

Food Friday 2014 – Food tips and hacks

Preventing splatter with a hand mixer – genius! A heck of a lot cheaper than a stand mixer, wish I had seen this before making buttercream frosting and coating our kitchen counters in a layer of icing sugar.

Slicing cherry tomatos

Keeping brown sugar soft with marshmallows

Miniature marshmallows can go at bottom of ice cream cone to prevent leaks

Microwave for easy peel garlic

Make natural air freshener by boiling orange peels, cinnamon sticks and cloves

Put a wooden spoon over a pot of pasta to keep it from boiling over

Use a pants/skirts hanger as a cheap recipe holder

Use unscented dental floss to cut cakes and cheeses

How to tell if eggs are fresh before cracking them open and 9 other tips in this blog post

Add half a teaspoon of baking soda to the water to make hard boiled eggs easy to peel (the science)

Use lace to create beautiful pattern on a plain chocolate cake

Soaking beans in baking soda may result in less gas

posted by Yaffa in food and have No Comments

Thought on Ariel Sharon’s death

Ariel Sharon, the 11th prime minister of Israel was a participant in the majority of Israel’s wars. He was considered a great military strategist. I would need to read a lot more about wars to be more specific than that.

As housing minister, he encouraged Jewish settlement in such a way Hamitnahalim Geder Bitahonas to make the Green line blurred through his Seven Stars housing plan. Many supported him for religious or nationalist reasons, others thought it would help with security while others took part in settlements for economic betterment through subsidized housing.

I am sympathetic to those who took/take part in this activity out of a genuine if misguided belief it would help keep Israel safe. The sticker above at right is translated as “The settlers are the true security fence”

It’s a shame that Ariel Sharon fell into a coma just as his hawkish ways were turning toward Peace with quotes like “You can not like the word, but what is happening is an occupation — to hold 3.5 million Palestinians under occupation. I believe that is a terrible thing for Israel and for the Palestinians. ” Source

I remember left wing protesters at the time holding up placards with the words of Ariel Sharon, which was quite a switch from this parody of a playful children’s song sung at protests against wars in Lebanon.

Red Eleynu protest songThe lyrics of the song are

Come down to us Aviron (airplane) – רד אלינו אוירון

Take us to Lebanon – קח אותנו ללבנון

We’ll fight for Sharon – נלחם בשביל שרון

And return in an Aron (coffin) – ונחזור בתוך ארון

The original lyrics were Come down to us plane, Taking us to the sky to play above the trees to be like the birds.

My perception is that Israel trusts its old men. State builders and hawks who turn into doves have greater credibility in the eyes of the general public. Whether they transform in light of newfound knowledge and maturity obtained in later life, due to the practicality of the two state solution in terms of population numbers or a self-centered eye toward their historical legacy I don’t know.  

I wonder if Benjamin Netanyahu will one day turn toward Peace and whether he will be in a position to effect change. It will be sad if Peace waits for him or those that come after as that would mean the founders of the state of Israel do not get a chance to see Peace in their lifetimes, similar to Moses being unable to enter the land of Israel as the biblical story goes.

It is easy to forget that these politicians are also people. There was an exhibition in 2008 “Moments of Home – רגעים של בית” featuring photographs by David Rubinger and Ziv Koren of Israeli politicians/public figures in their homes to serve as a reminder. This exhibition was part of Israel’s  60th birthday celebrations. It took place in Shuk Hapishpishim in Yafo –  June 25, 2008 – July 2, 2008. There were postcards of some of the images. Below are two photographs of the ones of Ariel Sharon.

Lily and Ariel Sharon in their home, Havat Hashikmim – Sycamore Ranch, 1989

Photo by David Rubinger – דוד רובינגר

1989 ,לילי ואריאל שרון בביתם, חוות השיקמים

Ariel and Lily Sharon at Home 1989 photo by David Rubinger

Ariel Sharon in his home Havat Hashikmim – Sycamore Ranch, 2001

Photo by Ziv Koren – זיו קורן

2001 ,אריאל שרון בביתו, חוות השיקמים

Ariel Sharon at home, 2001 photo by Ziv Koren

Another pair of Ariel Sharon photos can be found in Ziv Koren’s book Milestones. Screenshot below in case the site goes down. At left is an opponent of Disengagement from Settlements reading a biography of Ariel Sharon, at right Ariel Sharon is at a Picasso exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Screen Shot of p36-37 of Ziv Koren's milestones

And then there was also this randomness in 2003.

RIP Ariel Sharon. Obituary in Tablet Magazine here, with a famous photo of Ariel Sharon holding a sheep.

posted by Yaffa in Israel and have No Comments

Stargazing at RSPB Saltholme

RSPB Saltholme puts on great activities for families. Just as BBC Stargazing Live returned to our screens they held two live stargazing events on the reserve. Both events were fully booked well in advance so it is worth pre-booking early.

Volunteers from the Cleveland and Darlington Astronomical Society helped out for the evening. They generally meet monthly at the Wynyard Planetarium.

There were 3 activities to keep everyone busy. We took our two nephews and were lucky to have a clear night.

We were at capacity and split into two groups.

Our group went outside first. The volunteers had telescopes set up.  There was a small one pointed at the moon’s craters – well within reach of little ones. There were also step-ladders to reach the eyepieces on larger telescopes.

We could see Jupiter and its rings with four moons, a yellow star near a blue star, and given a historical eye test. The telescopes needed to be readjusted all the time as the stars moved due to the Earth’s constant rotation.

A great tip from the volunteers was that an amateur would do well with a pair of binoculars rather than a telescope as it would have a wider field of vision that wouldn’t have to constantly be readjusted.

It was a bit chilly so we went inside to have a warming cup of delicious vegetable soup and a bun and take part in activity 2 to make planispheres.

It was then time to swap with the other group and go upstairs for activity 3. A star dome, a portable planetarium was set up from Teesside University. You have to crawl into it, it looks like an inflated igloo. There is a moment when the tunnel is pitch black. I was concerned my younger nephew would panic and freak out (flashbacks of his former 5-year-old self at The Forbidden Corner shrieking and crying). Happily he pushed past his initial fear :o) One of the volunteers then showed us different constellations inside the dome, telling stories with drawings overlaid on the stars.

As we left they handed  out the BBC Stargazing calendar for 2014 – available online as a pdf.

A great early evening activity with the boys at “the bird place” who are now looking forward to the Big Garden Birdwatch

More star resources linked to from the BBC website:

60 Second Adventures in Astronomy

Star Party Pack

Stargazing Event Pack

posted by Yaffa in family,Hartlepool,Middlesbrough and have No Comments

Food Friday 2014 – Alzheimers and food

A friend recently linked to this article on Facebook. There is some research that Alzheimers may be Type-3 Diabetes.

There is also this 2012 piece by Mark Bittman, the comments question the scientific rigour of his piece but I think in addition to the scientific research there is value in a parallel public conversation that gets some of the initial ideas out there a la the god particle.

Does a potential link between the food we eat and Diabetes and/or Alzheimers affect your motivation to eat well?

I’m hoping these links will help me to make long term changes.

 

posted by Yaffa in food and have No Comments