forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
Bits and bobs is my many small things make post category. Feel free to comment on only some of the things.

*After no one in the household being sick for several weeks, the kid brought home a nasty cold that we all got. I have very mild case and am still up and about but R and E where pretty wiped out. I've been doing quite a bit more around the house the last couple of days to make up for it.

*I was listening to an episode of Be The Serpent,, one of the Hugo nominated fancasts, about personality taxonomies and it made me realize that my trouble with people using Hogwarts houses as shorthand for personality types is that everyone means different, sometimes very different, things by the different houses so its not actually a useful shorthand at all because I have no idea what any one person means. But then I did go read some Sorting Hat Chats and think about different morals systems. I'm definitionally someone with a felt moral system even I can't quite figure out if that makes me a Gryffindor or a Hufflepuff primary in that system.

*This morning I did a big Passover shop. I bought lots of veggies and three kinds of matzo (normal, spelt and whole wheat) and chicken for the soup. I have so many people coming to my Seder. Its going to be awesome! There will be mulitple kids to look for the afikoman. I will feed people. Do you have plans for Passover or Easter? Or just fun things to do this coming weekend?
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
Passover started Friday at sunset. I had small seder for my family on Friday evening. My mom and Edith helped with the cooking so I didn't have to do too much work. I just made a main dish (frittata) and mazto ball soup. I think people had a nice time.

The last night I went to the seder held by my secular jewish group. It was lot of fun. The theme was modern exdous and several people told family stories of escaping from persecution, which were both interesting and moving. The meal was part catered and part potluck.

I've tried two different types of non-chametz cereal and not really liked either. Oh well, at lest I got strawberries this morning.


Apr. 17th, 2014 11:09 am
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
I really should write about my seder. I doubt that this will be a long a detailed post like the one I wrote about the tea party.

Anyways I spent the afternoon cooking, except for going to get my blood drawn. Where because I wasn't thinking very clearly I decided to go to the slowest lab possible. (There were multiple labs I could have gone to.) I had to wait an hour and a half. So I came back in a foul mood and dashed about trying to get everything ready. Which I manged, but my mood was still grim when the seder started.

Anyways the seder went ok. Out of 16 people expected 12 showed, up so there was even more extra food that expected. It was bit disorganized, I didn't have as much time to play with the Hagadah as I wanted, and most of the people there were not familiar with seders. Also while in theory I'd like my seders to be full of deep meaningful conversion about justice and freedom, I was pretty tried, and didn't really encourage conversation.

The last few days since then have been fairly low key, I took Tuesday to do nothing. Yesterday I worked on my thesis a bit, and went cheese and fabric shopping with my mom. This morning I finished my novel before starting to work on the thesis.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
Yesterday was my mothers annual "I survived cancer" tea (17 years!) I offered to help out. R was going out for the day and dropped me off at the family home at 9:30ish. My Dad and Brother were just about to take a walk to a bakery about a mile and a half away, so I said I'd go along. And I did and it was nice.

We got back around 11 and I started making scones for the tea. I hadn't made scones in a while, and the recipe is only a list of ingredients plus an oven temp, and baking time, but I remembered how it went and make good scones.

The I tried to make french macrons. The batter came out the wrong consistency, so that the cookies don't look right or have quite the right texture. However the are still quite tasty. I sandwiched then with chestnut paste and will serve them at tonight's seder.

Around noon I took a break to eat something.

Then I made tea sandwiches, cucumber and cream cheese; and salmon with watercress butter. For some reason this took a long time. I cut the crusts of then cut the sandwiches in fourths, squares for cucumber and triangles for the salmon.

Then I helped but various other foods in plates and bowls. Strawberries, and tiny little tea cookies, and tomatoes, and some dips, and I don't remember what else. Then I got to chill on the sofa for a little bit.

At 3 the 1st guest arrived. We were still bringing the food out the the garden, and making tea. The party itself was quite nice. I had good time talking to people I had not seen in a while. (One of them has a foster cat she is looking for a home for -- I wish I could take her.)

Then after the part stopped by my sister-in-laws place to bring her some leftovers. The came back and boiled some eggs to be made in to deviled eggs tonight.

I'm hosting a seder tonight at 5:30. 16 people are coming, two of whom cook professionally. I'm also quite tried for yesterday.

I slept in this morning (lately I've been reading books in my dreams, and they are awesome, so when I wake up I'm sad that said books aren't real. This morning I was dream reading and awesome Vorkosigan book, that was sequel to another awesome book, and then I woke up and neither existed. It was sad.)

I was about to start on the chicken soup for tonight when my nephew asked for ride to school, because his bike had a flat tire. So I did that got back started the soup, and made the matzoh ball mix. I'm supposed to be updating the Hagadah now, but instead I'm writing this and a reading the internet.
forestofglory: a small plant in a clump of dirt  (eco-geek)
For Tu b'Shevat, the Jewish New Year of the Trees, which started last night at sunset, we hosted a dinner party with a fruit course. I'm pretty sure there are some rules and some ritual one can do, but I wanted to keep it low key. So we went to the co-op and bought all the fruit that looked interesting, which given the the time of year was mostly dried fruit. Then I severed it all with cheese and bread as first course as people were arriving.

We had:
Dried figs
Pink navel oranges
Banana chips
Dried pineapple rings
Fig jam
Blood orange nectarine conserve
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
I'm having a bit slow morning. Trying not to beat myself up for only slowly adding words to the thesis.

I ended up making a lego sukkah. It has lego walls and twigs on top. Not as much fun as a real sukkah, but better suited to my current energy levels. I also made cake for the 1st night of Sukkot.

We were planning to go up to Minneapolis this weekend and stay with a friend of R's. However R's friend had heart attack! He seems to be as ok as possible, but needs to rest. So we aren't going, it is quite disappointing.
forestofglory: picture of califorina poppies (poppies)
I'm a only sometimes observant, uneducated, intermairried, agnostic Jew. My mother's mother was Jewish. (My mother is Jewish-Buddhist-Spiritual.) I've been trying to learn about Jews practice more as an adult, but it is hard. Living in a small town in the midwest doesn't help.

This year for the high holy days I ate some apples and honey. That's about it. Most years I make round challah, but I've been so busy this year that I didn't. I could go to services, but I'm intimated by the local community. So many people I don't know, and I feel like they expect me to know more about Judaism than I do.

Meanwhile I'm trying to pull together something for Sukkot, which is a more minor holiday, but one that I really enjoy. (It's harvest festival were you get to build a fort -- so very awesome!) We don't currently have any outdoor space, so we may build an indoor sukkah, even though it not really legit.

Anyways while my non-jewish friends have been teasing me about being a bad Jew, I've never gotten that line from anyone Jewish.


Mar. 26th, 2013 11:57 am
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (veggies)
So my seder last night went really well. People liked my Haggadah with agnostic gender neutral English blessings,("Let us bless the source of life which ..."), the bit about the hand of god and the finger of god, and "When We Were Robots in Egypt". There was good amount of discussion, enough that people got their questions asked, but not so much that we got really off track.

The food turned out well too -- the best thing was the matzo ball soup, which I made really good by boiling some onions,carrots, celery and chicken pieces in the stock before adding the matzo balls. I also made a fritata with some of caramelized onions, Kale and Parmesan, and baked chicken pieces. The guests brought a salad and some lentils. For desert we had ice cream.

People really liked eating the parsley dipped in salt water, so now I don't have much parsley leftover, which is good. I do have big chunk of horseradish root that I'm not sure what to do with.

If you attended a seder last night I'd love to hear about it.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Tree climbing)
I'm planning on hosting a seder this year. I've never really done one by myself. If I had all the time in the world I'd write my own Haggadah, but since I'm going to be spending the week before the holiday doing archival research I don't think this will be possible. So I'd like some recommendations.

My ideal Haggadah would:
Be in English with transliterations for any Hebrew
Not refer to God as male only
Include and orange on the seder plate and Miriam's cup
Not focus too much on the story of the exodus
Focus on the social justice aspects of the seder
include that bit about the hand of god and the finger of god that my dad and my uncle both love
Not be too long

I doubt there is something out there that meets all of these criteria, but if you know of something close, please tell me about it.

Honestly reading from fixed text can be problematic. Last year I went to someone else's Seder and she had a customized Haggadah, which I liked the text of, but I keep wanting to go of scrip and just talk about things, but didn't really feel able. So I don't want that, but I'm not sure what other options there are. When I've been at Seders with multiple Haggadot generally people converse while someone is trying to find the next bit.


Apr. 24th, 2011 09:37 am
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Cherries)
Friday night I went to a seder. I planned it with some friends. My friend M was excited about using her table linens and knows more people them me, so she hosted. I was in charge of the menu. Planning a vegetarian seder is a bit tricky, and I'd never done it before. I did a bit of prep before hand (see last post). I had few things I knew I wanted to make. (And had asked R to bring a yummy quinoa dish) but I knew my friend was getting her veggie box Thursday so we didn't plan everything ahead. Planning the menu the afternoon of the meal was a bit scary but everything worked out great. Here is what we ate:

Carrot and Celery sticks with (store bought) dip -- this was to keep us going during the bit before the meal.

Frittata with caramelized onions and Parmesan cheese
Roasted asparagus
Broccoli with a soy dressing
Mashed sweet potatoes
Matzoh ball soup (brought by someone else)
southwest quinoa (brought by R)
Mataoh, plain and whole wheat

The French Macaroons -- which where a hit (yay!)
Ice Cream a pint each of chocolate and salted caramel from bi-rite
Chocolate sauce

There was also going to be sauteed chard, but we forgot to cook it until the last minute and then decided there was too much other food to bother.

I also enjoyed the ritual part of the Seder. We had three Haggadot, with different numbers of copies. The where "seder in the bar" -- very short and basic haggadah one of M's friends put together -- 10 copies as it was only about 10 pages long. A traditional Haggadah that I fond on my parents book shelves --3 copies. The Velveteen Rabbi's feminist hagadah -- one copy.

So we mostly used the short one, but digressed a lot. I read a few bits from the VR hagadah, and we read a few bits from the traditional Haggadah, including my family's favorite bit that no one else knew about. This is the bit where the Rabbis are discussing how many plagues there where and go on about the hand of God and the finger of God.

We also digressed to tell personal stories about our families and favorite Midrash.

R had never been to a seder before so I recruited him to ask the 4 questions which he did with style. I think he had and ok time, but was bored by some of the longer bits.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
I had a nice Shabbat dinner last night. I made baked beans, took some challah out of the freezer, and made lemon poppy-seed pound cake. I do enjoy cooking for people, baked beans are slow and don't need much attention. Nice for a rainy day when I don't have to be anywhere. The food was good (if I do say so myself) and the company even better. Lots of good converstion and I got to talk about bioswales.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
I really enjoyed reading this book. It is the kind of that is easy to read for a little bit and then put down (which what I did) but everytime I picked it up I found out something new and interesting.

The book's thesis is that changes in Jewish eating laws have reflexed and often reinforced changes in how Jews have seen themselves in relation to non-Jews and other groups of Jews. Kraemer draws many symbolic parallels between dietary changes and a social changes.

One tantalizing idea that wasn't followed up as much as I'd have liked was interaction between gender and Kosher laws. Kraemer mentions that women generally had less access to religious training (in many times and places they couldn't read Hebrew for example) and that this might have caused women to be extra strict about the laws, but this point isn't dwelt on for long. I think that since women did most of the cooking that their views on keeping kosher deserve more pages.

I liked this book for combining subjects that interest me, for being well written and very readable, for being full of interesting facts. I enjoyed how the book used many sources including archeology, written Jewish law and other historical sources. I thought the book did a good job at painting an engaging picture of a very small part of Jewish history.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
I got a real letter in the mail today! I love getting mail more then is perhaps reasonable so that made me happy.

It has been very sunny and warm here. I'm still not adjusted to back to the lack of winter.

The number of books I am reading at once seems to be growing. I find this somewhat alarming. I am currently reading 4 books. One fiction (just at the moment Nova by Samuel R Delany); One general non-fiction (Strawberry Fields by Miriam J. Wells); One book with R. (Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld); and one Jewish Non-fiction which only gets read on Saturdays, as part of my making up for not having got any official (Jewish education Jewish Eating and Identity Through the Ages by David Kraemer).

Which reminds me, yesterday was Tu B'Shevat (the new year of trees) and I tried out a new recipe to celebrate. It is from the french Jewish cook book I got my mother for Xmas. It is bread/cake thing full of dried fruit. I thought it tasted nice, but it was a bit doughy in the middle even though I baked it longer then the recipe said. I wish there was a good fool prof way of telling when bread is baked through.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
So I finished the Sukkah. R found a power drill and yesterday we finished putting up the frame. It's an 8 foot cube. My mom thinks its big -- I'm not sure as these things go.

Then this morning I tacked (with thumb tacks) some old blankets and sheet to make the wall. (They don't go all the way to the bottom of frame in some places -- I'm not sure if that's ok, but it's going to have to do.) Then I went and trimmed the the grape vine and a few other plants to make the roof. It turns out that vines are long but not very stiff (who knew) so I stuck a 2by4 across the top and used that to support the vines. I think it looks pretty now-- not sure how well it will hold up for a week.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
It turns out building stuff is hard -- I can't remember the last time I built something. The last thing I remember building is sets in high school, but surely I've build something in the last almost 10 years.

Anyways today was devoted to working on the sukkah. First R and I went to the local salvage place and picked up lumber. Salvage is awesome because it's cheep and sustainable. It took us a while to pick out enough boards that are about the same length and load them up into the car. We had to make two trips -- with the boards sticking out the sunroof.

Then we worked on putting the thing together for a while. Nailing in hard work. We got about half way done at a guess. There are currently lots of boards in the back yard. The plan involves finding a power drill for tomorrow.


Sep. 18th, 2010 09:49 am
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin and Pooh floating in a upturned  umbrella , with the word Ahoy in the corner (The Brain of Pooh)
So I've decided to build a Sukkah(*) this year. I've never done this before -- but it should be exciting and fun. If you happen to have advice that would be helpful. The internet says a sukkah should have two and half walls -- what counts as half a wall? If I use an existing structure for the bottom half of the wall does that count? (I'm thinking of using the porch railing.)

(*)Generally translated as booth, a Sukkah is a structure in which one traditionally dwells during Sukkot, which start the 22 at sundown
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
There is no internet at my house. There hasn't been any since Thursday afternoon. (It's now Sunday.) And as of this morning we also have no land line. I'm currently at R's borrowing his internet.

I've been doing a fair amount of Jewish stuff -- by my standard anyways. I went to services on Rosh Hashanah at a gay synagogue in SF. Then Friday night I had dinner with a bunch of people celebrate the holidays. There was honey cake. My round challah came out well this year -- it was cooked through unlike last year.

Friday I also went to the library -- I renewed my library card, which had expired in 2007! I also checked out a few books. When I finish will then I plan to play with the online registration thing. Yes I'm behind the times. I prefer to own books -- I find it easier to remember then when I have a physical copy of the book. And I just like owning books. However I have neither money nor space. Anyways I do enjoy the library.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (CR reading)
So passover is coming up. I'm excited. I've been invited to two Seders after three years of missing them.

However I'm a bit worried about what I will pack for lunch. I mostly take sandwiches at the moment. And when I don't I generally take some other baked goods. So if you have suggestions for veggie, non-grain stuff that can be eaten cold, that would be very helpful.

Also if you celebrate passover and you want to tell me about what you traditionally eat, or what you are planing to eat this year I would enjoy hearing about it.


forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)

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