Monday, December 18, 2006

Happy Hanukkah!

My mom & I started celebrating Hanukkah when I was a teenager and I have continued the practice with my kids. Friday night at sundown, the holiday began. J was at her plant's Christmas bowling party & Boot went to the movies with his buddies. So, Pie and I were on our own for the night. I made a pot of matzo ball soup and we had that with grilled cheese for dinner, along with doughnuts for dessert. I lit the candles of the hanukiyyah and said the traditional blessings in Hebrew and then in English. It was a nice, quiet evening.

Saturday morning, we had breakfast at Bob Evans. Then, J & I soaked in the hot tub with our books for awhile before heading back to the apartment for a snooze. It was a lazy, lazy day. The kids were thrilled not to be dragged to a museum or something like that. They got to lie around watching t.v. & playing video games for a change. J & I laid around, too, watching old movies like "The Lady Vanishes" and "Fire Creek." When she dozed off, I sneaked the channel to Food Network & watched Nigella Lawson for awhile. We finally arose & went to the bookstore.

When we got home, I made a big celebratory feast and we all sat down to dinner. We had brisket, latkes, glazed carrots and homemade applesauce. The recipes can be found at For the first time ever, one of the kids actually ate latkes. Boot found that he likes the crispy edges. After dinner, we opened our gifts, which are always either books or non-video games. We got Pie an Ironman collection & Boot a book containing collected works by and about the Black Panthers. Pie's hero right now is Ironman & Boot's is Huey P. Newton. Pretty funny for a little white boy. He is getting more & more aware of racial injustice, however, which is great. He also seems to be getting more aware of homophobia, which is surprising and welcome. He was talking to me yesterday about not liking Wal-Mart because they are racist & homophobic. I gave J a book on gay history for Hanukkah and she gave me a children's picture book about Cajun Papa Noel. The illustrations of his alligators are so cute! I read it to her before we went to sleep.

Yesterday, we were signed up for coffee hour at the new church. Since they are accustomed to storebought cookies only (last time we did coffee hour, people made a big deal about my having made a couple loaves of pumpkin bread to supplement the cookies), we didn't do our usual pull-out-all-the-stops coffee hour. Instead, we restrained ourselves to a few dips. We heated up some queso from J's plant & served that with tortilla chips. We had a bunch of cut-up bread, along with hot artichoke dip I made (recipe at La Luna Cooks) and brunoise from the plant. The other lesbian couple at the church had signed up to do coffee hour with us, providing cookies. There was also a big cake as a goodbye for the wife of the former pastor. She is moving away & they wanted to give her a warm send-off. Her son attended, too. He is a UCC pastor in a nearby town & his wife is Jewish. They were both very nice. We were able to send food home with a few people so we didn't have too much left. We do have quite a bit of bread, so we need to go feed the ducks or something.

We spent the afternoon taking the boys shopping for one another and for the mamas. Boot did a really nice job shopping, getting Burt's Bees products for his mom and a Nintendogs game for his brother. He has always been our most thoughtful gift giver, really thinking about what an individual would like, while Pie is self-absorbed enough that he tends toward getting people gifts he wants. We had a great time together. When we had a little extra time to kill, we sat in the snack shop at Target talking & eating pizza (Boot) and a hot dog (me). He had fun mixing Icee flavors with soda flavors. Then, we met J & Pie to exchange kids.

Pie didn't do as good a job, trying to talk me into buying a long string of movies like "Talladega Nights" for his mom, who hates Will Farrell movies and others of that ilk. I finally got him steered to the Sci Fi section, after he got mad at me for not letting him get her "The Blues Brothers" & telling him to pick something she would want, not something he would want. I said, "She'll just end up feeling like she can't exchange it because you got it for her." To that, he said, "Oh, like every single thing I ever get from you guys?" I told him I'd much rather have him return any gifts I get him than keep them when he doesn't want them, that it wouldn't have hurt my feelings a bit if he returned the PSP we just got him for his birthday. I had him there & that's when he moved to the films she actually likes, after commenting that his mom has no taste in funny movies. Cranky! He was also aggravated that I didn't let him buy her the video game he wants because she doesn't play video games. LOL! He did get his brother a game I think he'll like, although there was very little thought put into it and he neglected to tell me he'd already gotten his brother 2 video games while he was with his mom. Oy vey!

We spent the rest of the afternoon doing laundry & dishes, then J & I went out & bought a (fake) Christmas tree. She really wanted to get a pink one, but we couldn't find one, so it is green and pre-lit. I wish she would have consented to going to a tree farm to cut our own. Oh, well. Next year. We are going to have our tree-trimming party tonight. We picked up some (nearly flavorless) Chinese on the way home and went to bed at 8:30.