Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgivucka Ends But Chanukah Goes On

it is 8:00 a.m. in the holy city of Zefat.  today is the 4th day of Chanuka.   the gans are on vacation so i have my grandson with me until around 4:00 p.m.   i volunteered to take him to a theater in town for a chabad presentation at noon.  although it is only a five minute walk form the bus stop, we will cab it to be safe.   i haven't attempted to take him to town after a disastrous time with him a couple of years ago.   i am a bit apprehensive to take him today.

my thanksgiving/chanukah meal went well.  we were only seven at the table.  in the past i usually had a large crowd,  but i simply can't get one together anymore.  this friend is diabetic, and this friend is working evenings,  and this one's husband is out of town, and this one doesn't do well in a crowd, etc.  this was a small gathering and a cozy one at that.   i didn't have to open up the table and scramble for chairs.   it was comfortable  for each person.

i made sure to have a fun trivia quiz about both holidays and chocolate coins to sweeten the deal.  some of the questions were sheer silliness but i wanted a light evening.  it prevented a lull in the conversation.  we didn't do the usual  'what do you have to be thankful for' round robbin this time.  we were all thankful to be alive, warm, comfortable, and well fed.  we were all thankful for a couple of hours of  good cheer and food and fun company.  it was my parents' anniversary and i was thankful for all they did for me and the fond holiday memories.          

i had the grandson all day with me on thursday.  i hadn't been asked, either.  i spent a good couple of hours washing the floors and straightening up the house.   since i had pneumonia, papers and toys and clothes as well as, dirt and dog hairs piled up all over the place.  i found myself  trying to do a pesach clean up.  it was difficult to set the table and do the floors with a little 4 year old active boy  running around and getting  in my way.  i was not a happy camper or grandma.

i had a few turkey napkins left from former years.  i don't know what i'll do next year.  the supply is gone.  i still have my paper thanksgiving table cloth that i didn't use this year out of respect for chanukah.  the food was pretty good, if i do say so myself.  the applesauce which was frozen beforehand was just right.  the cranberry sauce was thick and jellied. it wasn't  too sweet but a bit tart.  i actually prayed for it to taste good.  the turkey wings and meatballs were good, not that i had many.  the corn bread was a hit although i didn't  go for it.  no one really touched the cranberry muffins.  perhaps it was overkill.  the string beans and almonds was a welcomed side dish.   the sage kosher 'sausage' rice dressing with chestnuts and cranberries was a big hit.  i served the rest on shabbat and even the sephardi daughter-in-law liked it.

i struggled with making sweet potato latkes.  they simply were not frying up.  they kept on falling apart.  i totally forgot how to make latkes. even after i had a long conversation with my sister the latke maven,  i wasn't able to produce one latke.  i finally threw the greasy mushy mess into a loaf pan and added a couple of eggs.  voila!  we had a tasty sweet potato kugel.  i had almost the same results with the corn fritters.  i persevered and made many very thin and greasy fritters.  they were actually a hit.

 i struggled at the last minute to make the pumpkin custard.  i really didn't care anymore.  i should have pureed it better because it baked into a very runny and very unappealing looking dish.  i tossed most of it. even though it was topped off with a scoop of pareve shipped cream it was untouched.  i think that's it with pumpkin desserts for me.  my pumpkin cake was not much better received last year.  fortunately, everyone was too full to complain or comment about the custard.   also, a good friend arrived with a huge box of jelly donuts with fancy icing to boot.  no one missed the pumpkin pie.

i was totally wiped out by the time the guests arrived.  i had planned on making a green salad.  it never happened.  i hurriedly cut up some red and yellow peppers and threw cherry tomatoes in to a dish.  i did make a mayonnaise dressing.  i had wanted to make russian dressing but the kids had made off with my bottle of ketchup.  i somehow relaxed during the meal.  i  ended up eating two enormous jelly donuts later that night after i did the clean up.  it was basically washing the dishes.  adults do not trash your house after a meal.

i woke up on friday and i was wasted.  i had to visit the cemetery.  it was the 5th anniversary of my mother's passing.  i was planning on going with my sister but i had to leave early.  my son couldn't go with me because he holds the custom of not visiting a cemetery during chanukah.  i took a taxi and literally stayed for about 5 minutes.  i cleaned both my parents' graves and had a good cry.  i lit memorial candles, said a quick psalm and went to town.  i had to exchange the bedroom slippers that i had bought for my granddaughter.  i wasted over an hour in the process.

i went to a small grocery and bought goodies.  i decided that in my mother's honor i would make a great shabbat.  i splurged.  i got home at noon.  i quickly sprang into action as shabbat candle lighting was at 4:00 p.m.  i  made a cholent with beef and chicken and used barley and wheat.  i fried up some chicken breasts.  i had a problem again.  i think using an electric burner just isn't the best for frying.   i cooked up a small piece of niles perch fish in a spicy sephardi sauce.  i served egg salad, corn salad, a green salad, guacamole, and two types of chumus.  i asked my daughter-in-law to make the red cabbage salads as i was losing steam.  i served the rice dressing and i made some oven fried white and sweet potatoes.

 i made a cheesecake using instant butterscotch pudding instead of the vanilla kind.   i had a banana  loaf cake leftover from thanksgiving that got overshadowed by the donuts.  i made raspberry jello with non dairy whipped cream.  i bought almond sticks, watermelon seeds and pumpkin seeds. i even sprung for kedem grape juice.  there was plenty of beer and a bottle of wine leftover from last shabbat.  i got the chanukiah ready for lighting and i was ready to collapse.

the daughter-in-law went to shul and left the two kids with me.  they were carrying on and the little one was crying and screaming  until i screamed at her to shut up.  i didn't get to shower.  i had a cranberry and vodka  cocktail and did the dishes.  i didn't let the grandson sleep over.  i needed to relax.  i didn't fall asleep until almost 11:00 p.m.  i was pretty wasted in the morning.  but the day went well.  i gave the kids chanuka cards and their mother played with them for a while.  lunch was tasty  and then everyone napped while i read psalms.  shabbat ended at 5:00 p.m. and i went to bed and watched t.v.  i watched a great movie although i was falling asleep during most of it.

the house is trashed.  i am too tired too clean it.  the heat wave is officially over and the weather has turned cold.  it is windy and definitely feels like winter today.  the grandson is anxious to get going.  the chanukah show isn't until noon.  i need a hot shower and some amphetamine.  wish me luck.

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