Passover is one of my favorite holidays, and I usually spend it with my fabulous crazy vegan cousins.
Even before the Seder itself, it was like an Oscar Wilde comedy.
I arrive at 6:00, as requested. Jeffrey and Dylan, the boyfriends, are sitting on the couch watching the History Channel's show on engineering disasters, this one on the Deepwater Horizon. They report that I'd just missed the show on underwear. It took me a minute to realize this was not something in the engineering disaster series.
Lynne reports that Marty and Carol aren't coming. She's upset. Andy tells his daughter, Chloe, that Marty gave him the number of someone who works at an ad agency and that she should call him. She looks at him like he's crazy. He says, "Why can't you be normal and call him?" She says, "Because it's not normal to call people you don't know. You email them." Andy had neither his email address nor his actual name.
Lynne tells me I'm leading the Seder. What a treat, although had I known before I would have pulled some material. She says we're starting as soon as Rochelle arrives. This is good: I want to start asap because then we won't be rushed through the Seder; everyone else wants to start asap so we can eat soon.
Mickey and Barbara arrive.
Rochelle arrives. I'm eager to sit down and get started.
Andy gets on the phone to call Marty to ask him for the email address of the ad agency guy.
Lynne remembers that we need a pitcher of water and a bowl for handwashing and digs out a pitcher.
Chloe announces that we are going to Facetime with her sister now.
Lynne asks Chloe to corral everyone into the dining room. She corrals them into the kitchen.
We discover that there are two extra chairs around the dining room table. We debate whether or not to remove them.
Andy is not there.
Andy arrives, but Lynne has to get up to get something.
Lynne returns, but I remember that I have a great story on my phone I could read, so I run and get it.
Richard starts talking about the Breslov Haggadah and how it reminds us that we should find our ways out of our own narrow places and that we need to teach future generations about this. My reaction is that he's just led most of the Seder, and I wish I didn't have to now because he's been so eloquent. Also that what he said isn't unique to that Haggadah by a long shot.
Mickey says we should share our narrow places with each other.
Chloe's phone rings as she tries unsuccessfully to Facetime with her sister, and she asks her dad why the internet connection keeps cutting out.
All this before the Seder officially begins....
I love my family.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Passover is one of my favorite holidays, and I usually spend it with my fabulous crazy vegan cousins.
Posted by Lisa F. at 10:38 PM
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Ironically, after that last post I had laryngitis for five days. Relying as much as I do on talking into my phone to send messages, I was very frustrated.
The fun part was when I would gesture and friends would deliberately misinterpret it. Laughing like that kept me going.
Laryngitis is what got me going on this blog, and I've had it since, too.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
As is well known, an iPhone isn't a great phone. Its form factor, plus AT&T's irregular service, results in not effectively being able to hear the people you're trying to talk to.
I love my iPhone, and it changed my life and the way I think about information and action. But I don't like talking on it. But who needs talk? Texting, email, Facebook -- I can connect with people through my phone without actually talking. It's not just an app device -- it is indeed a device for connecting with people, redefining the adverb "telephonically."
Initially, there were also complaints about the iPhone keypad. Blackberry users felt that a keyboard with actual buttons was much easier to use. There was this repetitive strain injury called "Blackberry thumb" from people typing so frequently with their thumbs on their RIM devices.
Clearly, we have moved on from the keypad issue. Those of us who were using T9 on our little flip phones thought that anything that had actual letters was great. Whatever you think of autocorrect, the iPhone is your partner in typing quickly.
Now, with Siri, with the marvelous Google search app with voice recognition -- in fact, since every keypad that pops up includes a little microphone button -- it's even easier. More quickly than typing, I can dictate my messages, my emails, my search requests. Rather than wearing a headset to improve my experience of phone conversations, I now wear one so that my phone can recognize my voice and help me send the clearest email and text messages to people.
Talking on the phone has come full circle.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
I have a friend who has a stutter. He manages it well, and I didn't know he had it until he told me. He says it's situational: it only comes out when he's nervous.
That's what made it a surprise for me -- I've seen him meet strangers and immediately start bantering with them. I can find meeting strangers to be anxiety-provoking. He says he's good at schmoozing.
Looking at him as someone who generally seems very open and confident, I marvel at how vulnerable he must feel. It's not just a speech impediment that can be embarrassing when it kicks in -- it also reveals something about his psyche. When he is nervous, he can't hide it because his speech betrays him. What is that world like?
I have an exoskeleton. I feel, and project, confidence, and strength. I am friendly. Public speaking gets me high. I can, in fact, protect myself with words. I express my moods and my worries, but no matter how profoundly I am feeling them I often do so with words and a tone that seem to lighten the tone of my distress and make it less dramatic. As a result, I am only partially revealing my emotional state and feel less vulnerable. Inside, I can be a chaotic mess, but I have control over to whom I expose that version of reality, and it's not to a lot of people.
My friend has no choice. He can't choose his words when he is profoundly distressed because words leave him. With his stuttering generally under control, its onset becomes a tell, a signal of a state of emotional chaos. He has no choice but to reveal his vulnerability. His chaos is on the outside. How absolutely frightening. He must have an endoskeleton, a kind of inner strength I can't comprehend.
A candy analogy would be better. With this one, I end up being a bug.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Thursday, October 18, 2012
I just picked up my new lenses for my glasses. The prescription is different in multiple dimensions. It is amusing to watch my brain adjust – or not.
When I look down when I walk (which I’ve discovered I do far more frequently than I'd thought), the earth rises toward me. I end up marching because I’m lifting my feet higher to walk uphill. Even on flat ground I’ve walked on a million times, my brain thinks I’m going up a hill.
As a result, I’m walking with my head up straight. Good posture! I have to keep it high or I end up with the earth rippling in front of me.
Walking with my head up causes the ground to recede. And I’m wearing heels. As a result, walking down the hall I feel like I’m seven feet tall. It’s an interesting sensation: one of puissance, actually. A man walked toward me down the hallway, and I looked at him thinking, with arrogance, “I’m so much taller than he is.” Which is something that does not cross my mind when I am my usual height. (I turned my head as he passed, and I was maybe a few inches taller than him.)
Is this what people who are actually tall experience? This feeling of power, of control, of ownership?
Sunday, September 23, 2012
About ten days ago, I took a workshop on how to make challah. Ever since, I have been trying to make one successfully.
When I was in kindergarten, my little sister went to a Jewish nursery school, and every Friday they made challah. She would come home with a hard twist of carbs, and, even though my parents laughed at it as not real challah, I thought it tasted good.
I have been living my sister's legacy this past week.
I get everything about the form right. I braid a gorgeous round challah. I roll the raisins inside so they don't burn. I use a glaze of egg, cinnamon, and sugar. If it could be a sculpture, it would be perfect.
My realization yesterday (I am on my fifth and sixth loaves) is that I need to not think that I am making bread but that I am raising yeast. Like my plants, which I examine carefully, making sure they are getting the right combination of light and, well, no water, I have to think of this as an exercise in growing something.
To grow, yeast apparently requires:
- Proofing. I wince as I say that. What a weird use of that word, but apparently it is something people say. My recipe didn't have instructions about it, but yesterday I combined yeast, sugar, and water warmed with meat-thermometer accuracy and watched the slurry bubble.
- No drafts. There is also something about covering it with plastic wrap. My immediate thought is that there was no plastic wrap in the shtetl, followed by a thought that if you cover it tightly the yeast will ferment anaerobically, and that can't be good. Apparently in the shtetl they used a damp cloth ... its purpose, as I'm trying to respect this time around, is to reduce drafts. Drafts?
- Patience. My recipe says to let it rise for an hour or so. So I set the chicken(-shaped) timer for an hour and take a break. It's supposed to double in size ... I look at it and think, well, maybe I forgot how small it was beforehand.
- Warmth. Everyone I've talked to about my challenges tells me that their grandmothers put the dough in the oven with the oven light on, that that is the perfect temperature for rising.
Last night: I proofed the yeast, put the dough in a cooling oven, put the light on, was patient, and left it there all night (which apparently also happened in the shtetl, although somehow I think perhaps they didn't have oven lights).
I woke up this morning and finally understood what rising means! This is an entirely different dough than what I've experienced so far. I've now grown some great yeast.
However, and perhaps this is the deeper source of my problem and my impatience, the part I really care about is not the growing, not even the eating, but the kneading.
The only time I ever saw a family member knead was when I was very, very little, and I watched my grandmother make kreplach. When I had my first wonton, it sent me right back to my grandmother's kreplach. Interestingly, my family laughed at my grandmother's kreplach, too, so that's probably why I only had it that once.
I love kneading. Delightfully, challah involves two risings and therefore two kneadings. When I started this process of learning how to make challah, kneading for just a few minutes was hard. Now I can easily go 10 minutes (and I'm not supposed to go longer, sadly), standing on solid shoes; sometimes literally pounding the dough with my fists after the second rise, breathing rhythmically, kneading with my palms and my fingers. Turn, fold, breathe, punch. It's meditative.
|The two that rose|