The Holiday Armadillo

The Zs celebrate Easter with their parents. When they were little, I hid eggs and gave them animal shaped baskets.  Now that they are older, I still want to indulge in my Nana joy of giving them gifts.  Last year, I sent them some Amazon items for Spring/Passover/Easter.

This year I wanted to show up in person. I needed my hugs.  I didn’t call in advance because I had no idea how long it would take to get there. It was a three hour drive today.  Traffic made the trip twice as long as it should have been. My body was not happy, but my heart sure was.

On the way, I checked in with my cousin to see how she was doing post her J&J vaccination yesterday. Happily, she is great. She commented that she hoped I had fun being the Passover Easter bunny. I literally laughed out loud. Then my mind went to the scene in Friends where Ross was the holiday armadillo to teach his son about Hanukkah. Maybe we WERE holiday armadillos delivering our spring gift bags. 

I called my daughter when we were exiting the freeway.  Happily two of the three Zs were home. We brought Annie with us so the kids could see her and play with her. Licks and kisses were exchanged.

We gave Z2 and Z3 their gift bags. Along with assorted candy, the required chocolate bunny, and Jelly Bellies, each received a gift. Z2 a liked her gallon of clear Elmer’s glue and Z3 was happy with his Lego cars. I checked in with both to make sure they were still interested in making slime and building Legos, respectively.   

While we were visiting outside  Zdrove up and gave us a quick hello. I told him his gift bag was in the house. He retrieved it and came to the door with a mouth full of candy and a “thank you.” He picked up a few items then bolted to his car. Oy vey, 17-year-olds. 

After hugs were shared, catching up was completed, and more hugs, we returned to the world of crazy traffic. It was worth every minute of it to see my grandkids.

Perhaps from now on, I shall consider myself the Passover armadillo delivering gifts at the end of Passover.

Why not?

9 years ago. Where does the time go?

 

 

 

SoCS Run – Running My Mind Through Memories

I am going to take a run at today’s SoCS challenge by looking at Passover Seders I’ve been to.

My grandmother ran her Seder with military precision. Everything during a Seder has an order and reason to it. But as a young child, it seemed like a test of endurance as the grownups read in Hebrew and in English. I just wanted to consume whatever was attached to the aromas wafting through her house. Most of the special Passover foods were never made at home. My grandmother was an amazing cook. While I did not understand all of it, I did love the feeling of family history.

When my aunt took over the reins, things ran a little different. My aunt would often run into a family member, who knew a family member, who thought of a family member that needed a place to be for Passover. Of course, they were invited. That’s how she rolled. Our Seders were often filled with additional people I had never met. It was great. Passover was a wonderful ritual filled event that I looked forward to every year. I would ask my aunt if I could help with anything because she often seemed to be running around like a chicken with its head cut off. The same reply always was given, “I’ve got it covered.” Eventually, I stopped asking.

I began having my own second night Seders at home. True to form, I loved inviting others to join us. My goal was to include people who had never attended a Seder so they could experience an important part of who I was (and am). I’d run through the plethora of recipes in my collection to see what I wanted to make. Foolishly, I often didn’t try the recipe ahead of time. So, there were some interesting dishes served to unwitting guests. Every Passover holds special memories in my heart.

When circumstances changed, I began hosting my aunt and uncle for Passover. I finally understood why the cook runs around like a crazy person. I would do my best to accommodate the special food needs of those at my table. For example, I had to make three different kinds of potatoes. My aunt and uncle preferred roasted potatoes. The rest of us couldn’t live without mashed potatoes. But some family members are dairy intolerant. All were mashed up then divided into two bowls. One had garlic, milk, and butter. The other had almond milk, fake butter, and no garlic. Funny how you remember things like that.

I ran into more restrictions when family members told me they could not eat certain foods. For years, I had to remove walnuts from my charoset. I was reminded of this yesterday when I used pecans because that has been my norm for so many years. A few tears were shed at the fact that I no longer have that restriction.

In years I had both my aunt and uncle as well as my grandchildren, I needed to run things very differently. I still completed the Seder as required, but I added my own levity to the occasion. I included Sammy Spider’s First Passover, The Matzah Ball Fairy, and The Matzo Ball Boy, as well as others for time before we started our Seder. I included soft toy plagues that the little ones were able to play with. Later I included plastic and paper representations of the plagues. There were Passover coloring sheets at the table to keep the little ones involved. For a couple of years, we read children’s books about Passover instead of reading the Haggadah. The most important thing to me is to continue feeling the love of my heritage.

I’ve run on now for long enough. I had more in my brain, but it’s time to start finishing my courses for tonight. Happy Passover.

This post is part of  LindaGHill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday.

What To Do? My Dilemma

I am struggling today. Struggling not with my physical health, as my pain levels are under control. Not with mental health, as I am doing well in that department also. I am having difficulty with my emotional health.

I was unaware of the implications of compounding grief. It was leaving me in a state of indecision. Thankfully, when I talked with my coach this morning, she helped me have more aha moments. I have still not made any decision, but I now realize why I am feeling so conflicted.

A little background to help clarify what I am dealing with. My Orthodox grandparents never celebrated Hanukkah with us. But joyfully we were always part of the Passover Seder. I relished the usage of the 5th and 6th set of dishes in her breakfast room. I understood the locked cabinets in the pantry room. I always knew how special Passover was to my family and ancestors.

I must give one detail that was spoken about almost every year at Passover. It seems that when I was a little one, I was sitting in a highchair watching the proceedings of the lengthy Passover service. At some point I was fed up with the reading and picked up my spoon and fork. I banged on the metal tray of the highchair and chanted, “I want food.” The entire family broke out in hysterical laughter which has never happened again at a Passover meal.

My paternal grandparents gave me a love of my Jewish heritage. I knew that I would never be a part of the Orthodox belief system, but I appreciated how it felt to belong to my family. After my grandparents ceased to host Passover, my aunt took over the helm. Our gatherings grew larger and larger encompassing more family than I ever knew existed. The evenings were joyful, spirited, and heartwarming. My entire being felt the special impact of celebrating Judaism.

Once my aunt could no longer host Passover, I happily stepped up to continue the traditions. I do not keep a kosher kitchen. I did my best to continue the family traditions. I also wanted to incorporate new, modern activities. I had young grandchildren who needed less time reading and more time actively participating. My aunt and uncle graciously accepted my Passover service. Bringing my grandchildren, a part of my history was, and is especially important to me. I may be the last generation to host Passover. That makes me sad.

Last year, needless to say, I did not host Passover. There was no family gathering. There were no kids wondering when they would finally be allowed to eat. I did not make special plague bags or coloring pages for the little ones. Instead, I made the five courses of food for two and watched a virtual Passover online. It was not the same. I was sad, missing my family. My heart ached for the loss of normalcy.

Now, Passover is coming in two weeks. I am feeling an unexpected internal turmoil. For many reasons, I don’t feel safe hosting Passover right now. I now realize the depth of my grief. I feel grief from Covid taking away my sense of wellbeing. I feel grief about sad things occurring in my extended family. I feel grief at the loss of all my family in my elder generation. I feel grief at losing my family connection to Judaism. I don’t know what I want this year.

Hopefully, next year I will return to some type of a new normal. I want to give my grandchildren a sense of their heritage. That doesn’t help me right now though. One option I have been given is to spend the day in meditation exploring more about Passover. That feels doable. Another idea was to spend the day at the cemetery reciting the Haggadah at my grandparent’s grave. I did some research and found that that is not appropriate.

I am struggling with the desire to respect the traditions while not feeling able to do what I have always done. I don’t like being indecisive. I have worked hard for three years on doing things that are good for me. I am happy with who I am now. I am struggling dealing with all the grief in my life right now. At least I know why I am feeling such indecision.

What should happen, will happen. I am leaving it up to my higher power to give me a clue as to what is good for me. A wise comment was stated to me today. I was told, G-d will understand if you can’t hold a Seder this year.

Day 194 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – # SoCS Rib – There is always something to be grateful for.


Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “rib.” Use it as a word, or find a word with “rib”in it. As always, use any way you’d like. Enjoy!


Today’s stream of consciousness is “rib.”   An easy one for me today as sitting in my refrigerator is an eight pound prime rib roast. 

This is in no way a norm for me. I was raised in an environment of how do you make one pound of meat last two days and feed three growing kids. That is on the days we had meat. Once a year on our birthdays when we were teenagers we could pick a place to eat a special dinner out. Marmac’s restaurant was always a favorite. I don’t have any idea the cost but I knew it was a great splurge for my mother.

Marmac’s Restaurant, San Gabriel, CA. Prime Rib was the main bill-of-faire. You would be seated and then go through a small buffet line where you’d select a cut of Prime Rib and decide which sides to go with it. (from a Pinterest site)

My mother would laugh at the fact that each of her three children could eat any adult under the table when it came to prime rib. It was such a luxury and we were very appreciative and we all loved prime rib. You could go back as many times as you wanted and boy oh boy did we. It is funny but don’t remember overeating, just being blissfully satiated.   

My love for prime rib  has ebbed and flowed over the years. I am so very picky about my food being extremely hot (temperature wise) and that is not easy to do with a cut of prime rib. So I rarely eat it, not even once a year. 

Fast forward to today. Tonight is the second night of Passover and we are hosting a small dinner for  four generations. My 93 year old aunt, myself and my husband, my daughter, and two of her children will sit down together to a glorious meal that rejoices in G-d’s glory to our people. We shall partake of special foods. We shall indulge in prime rib. We shall ask the four questions, We shall hide the matzoh. We shall invite Elijah to our table.   Elijah is invited

I wish I could say I know exactly what I am doing when I make a prime rib but truth be told it is such a rare occurrence that I resort to YouTube and Google searches for help. I have made maybe 5 or 6 in my lifetime. Typically I make a brisket which is also a luxury in our home. Yesterday we were unable to locate one. The butcher said in this neck of woods brisket is not a go to item. Ah, the reality of living in the burbs sans a Jewish population.

So hopefully my special meal of matzoh ball soup, hard boiled eggs, gefilte fish, crudites, fresh cooked vegetables, Italian chicken, prime rib, three kids of potatoes, along with the ceremonial Seder foods will make for lovely memories for my family.

Happy Passover

 

 

 


If you would like to play along with the SoCS fun, head on over to Linda G. Hill’s blog for all the rules – then jump on in! It’s great fun.

Thanks, Linda!!

Day 188 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – A good day out and about – There is always something to be grateful for.

I am grateful for the beautiful So Cal day today. It started early as usual and moved with the pace of molasses on a cool day. I attempted some meditation but crazy dog had other plans. I came upstairs and locked her out of the room I was in, but she just raced outside and attempted to wake the world up. I got some things done on the computer and some school work done. Finally four hours later I awoke my spouse and asked if he was up to some errands. I told him it was 8 AM and he agreed. The laundry was already going so he had to take a fast shower to still have hot water. That meant we got out faster. I finally made a list of years of certain series I have found at thrift stores so I don’t buy duplicates. 

Goldsteins-Bagel-LogoWe made it to Arcadia and arrived at Goldstein’s Bagel Bakery. Much to our delight they had exactly two bagel dogs left. I am grateful that we were on time to get our “fix” of this deli delight. The aroma as soon as you enter the bakery is heaven to my senses.   

 

From this stop we went to our favorite Pasadena book and DVD thrift store. We surveyed the options available and filled a carrier with our finds. While on our way out we spotted some artwork that struck our fancy. My spouse is always adding to his classroom pieces that speak to him. The worker informed us that the artist is a local resident who changes his pieces often and then donates them to the thrift store. We picked up two beautiful European photos for less than the price of the frames. The pieces will be enjoyed by many high school students for years to come.

We decided to visit a couple of other thrift stores and found more treasures but none as wonderful as the pieces of art. I am grateful for the time we enjoy thrifting and seeking new items to add to our collections. I am happy with a book I found for Z3 and a movies for Z2.  I struggle for things I know Z1 will enjoy but I keep looking. I did find books for both my cousins and one for my aunt in Michigan and 3 for my aunt here in So Cal. 

I am so very grateful that I also found a few trinkets to change into table settings for Passover. Two years ago I found small photo albums and filled them with pictures of each guest as place markers. This year I found small fillable snow globes. I have an idea of possibly adding plagues to them for place settings. I like making things special each year.   

The afternoon meant a nap, laundry, calls to dear friends, and organizing items to go to the post office tomorrow. My feet are killing me because I overdid the walking today. The evening meant more calls and a quick dinner.  So now I am contemplating the list of “must gottas,” really want to do, really need to do, and hope to do this week. I fear that the week off school will be more strenuous than working. I will be grateful if I get a large portion of my list done this week.