The Perfect Thanksgiving

I have the perfect Thanksgiving in my mind. It has lots of crystal and china. The table is perfectly set. Friends and family (mostly friends who have become family) sit around the table drinking from big globes of wine that sparkle in the candlelight as we laugh and eat pumpkin and apple and pecan pie as the candles flicker into the night.

The evening never ends.

There are no fistfights on the front lawn in front of the neighbors. No sulking children who have to be punished and told children should be seen and not heard and thoroughly humiliated in front of their aunts and uncles. No food fights. No burned turkeys with long forgotten giblet bags trapped inside.

Yep, that’s the Thanksgiving I’m having in my mind. The happy one.

It’s not like I remember ANY Thanksgiving from the time before my mother died because I have absolutely no memory of Thanksgiving at all. I associate gray skies, snow flurries, my grandparents making an appearance and the whole situation devolving into a drunken fist fest and, of course, football with Thanksgiving but I can’t remember any particular Thanksgiving Day at all…which I suppose is probably best.

I know I’ve tried hard to give Evan memories of Thankgiving. We would always get up, watch the Macy’s Parade and then cook the Thanksgiving dinner. Every year we had the same special dishes. Turkey, sausage stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potato “hats” (scoops of sweet potato casserole on pineapple rings), and Evan’s favorite – sweet gherkins.

Then after dinner we would watch the Holly Hunter movie – Home for the Holidays.

This year I knew I had really done my job well. Evan has it all planned out. First thing we will do is watch the parade. We will have popcorn and cocoa (popcorn – really?). Then I will cook the feast (mom, did you get the pickles??? Yes, I did get the pickles Evan!)

And we will wind it all down taking our after dinner nap watching Home for the Holidays because I made sure that was the first thing I replaced when I could after we started to get settled again.

So even though it’s not the Thanksgiving in my mind…it IS the perfect Thanksgiving because it has all the traditions that I created so long ago that are just as sweet today as I see how important they are to Evan as they always were to me to make sure he had them.

That makes it the perfect Thanksgiving.

If you blog in the woods and nobody reads it, is it still a blog?

I have been blogging somewhat faithfully this month for the NaNoBloMo (National November Blogging Month) which, at it’s very basic, was a month set aside (November) for the National Novel Writing Month (I am not exactly sure of the acronym) when writers would avow to knock out a specified number of words a day and specifically, a fully written novel by the end of the month.

That evolved into National Blog Writing Month where bloggers avowed to blog every day for an entire month in search of better blogging habits and overall, hopefully, better blogging.

I know, for me, I spend countless minutes of the day thinking about what I could blog about. I spend about equal amounts of time thinking about possible ways to start and finish that elusive novel I have promised to write since I was six years old. In the end, neither gets the amount of attention it deserves or I just think myself out of the idea or more often, just think I can’t do it and go find something else to think about or knit.

Why was I able to write so freely when I was 9 and 10 and 11? I wrote pages and pages and pretty much volumes and volumes of paper. Ask people who read it! What has changed so much now?

I am not an outliner. Why do I think I have to be one now?

I don’t know. I wish I did. I wish I had a way to let these ideas out and get this unbridled creativity get from my brain and out through my fingers onto the paper. Or screen. Do I think people don’t think I can? Do I feel that there isn’t the environment for me to think these big thoughts? That my life bears down on me and my critics weigh so heavily that I just can’t squeeze anymore out?

I really just don’t know.

A drive by NaNoBloMo Posting

Yes, I signed up to blog everyday in November and I have every intention to do just that. Only I forgot how busy I was today running here and there, seeing my therapist, buying the boy a new comforter…I forgot to get my blog together until I realized it just after I had taken my sleeping pill.

And realized I had about 15 good minutes before my eyes started crossing and today would be just a memory (along with this blasted headache I can’t seem to shake!)

So here is my drive by offering. I’m not proud but I do promise to be a little more substantial tomorrow.

Until then don’t let the bedbugs bite.

Outrage

There is little more to say.

Today in Jerusalem, four fathers woke up, put on prayer shawls and tefillin and went to their synagogue to welcome the day in morning prayer as they did everyday.

Today two cousins, Arabs, woke up and armed themselves with hatchets, cleavers and guns and also went to that synagogue.

Their intent was to kill everyone that they could inside of the synagogue.

When all was said and done, the four fathers were dead. Many more of the morning worshippers were hacked and maimed. A policeman was shot in the head.

He died tonight.

The Arabs were killed in a shootout as they tried to escape.

Benjamin Netanyahu says that the homes of the cousins will be demolished. Arrests were made, others detained. The internet reported another attack this evening in Jerusalem.

I saw videos of Arabs in East Jerusalem throwing candy and celebrating the massacre.

I watched a live video of the Kotel (Western Wall) throughout the day.

It was desolate.

People in Jerusalem said the buses were empty, people were skittish.

But…people do go on.

I feel strongly about this. I know that the people in Jerusalem are surrounded by Arabs who live and work amongst them. Cab drivers, cleaning staff, bus drivers. And for the most part we are friendly with them and they are friendly with us.

Now the seeds of mistrust have been sown. I can’t help but say that even though they may or may not even remotely know any of these terrorists who are so wantonly killing Jews in Jerusalem these past so many years; Sadly, because they have not taken any steps to put their collective foot down and mandate responsible leadership that can and will take decisive steps to STOP it, they are just as complicit as if they, themselves, wielded the cleavers and axes this morning.

And I also know according to western standards how I feel is not politically correct but it IS correct by way of my Israeli sensibilities and I am an Israeli you know….allowing this CANCER to remain and grow independent of any action to cut it out and eradicate it forever will only bring further heartbreak to Israel. Cancer is not “managed” – it is expunged for the best outcome. And when it isn’t….

Baruch Dayan Ha’Emet.

Am Yisrael Chai!

The Holidays Are Here!

I know that I am probably supposed to be the curmudgeonly Jew who reluctantly put up with the season of American excess and bacchanalia and is breathlessly grateful when New Years signals it’s completion and a return to normal American consumerism.

Yeah, that’s what I guiltily expect of myself as well.

But I have a confession to make and I might as well make it here and now while I still have your attention.

I LOVE THE HOLIDAY SEASON!

There, I’ve said it.

I get onto the bandwagon the first of November and ride the Turkey bus through Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving! I like to make pilgrim hat place cards, search endlessly for recipes I’d like to try (even though I always make the same thing the same way year after year), watch the Macy’s parade with Evan and, of course, our traditional viewing of the quintessential Thanksgiving movie – Home for the Holidays!

I just love it.

Maybe because I don’t celebrate Christmas I just sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds and fun of the season. I love the tv cooking shows – I am especially addicted to all the Unwrapped shows where Marc Sommers goes and tells us how candy canes and turduckens are made. I like the kitschy Christmas movies like The Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation and I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit to watching White Christmas and Christmas in Connecticut a few times every year.

I certainly have my Hanukah but I also am well aware of the nature of the celebration. It’s a small holiday in comparison to our High Holy Days of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippor or even the fun and very festive holiday of Purim that most American Jews just ignore sadly.

I decorate a little and we light our own chanukiot and exchange small gifts. I make latkes and other special food items because for me, its a great time to try out all kinds of new recipes (even though I always go back to the old standbys like a good brisket!) I buy donuts and we play dreidel.

Christmas comes and finds me like it does countless other American Jews with a plate of Chinese food and a movie in front of me. I can’t say I am not bound by tradition now can I?

The holidays wrap up on New Years Eve when we have another big party for our little family with cocktail food and punch as we watch more tv and then race to see who can be the first to bed before the New Year.

It’s a great season for me. I am too poor to really be able to spend money on gifts like I was once able to so I sit now and knit presents that I think are cool and definitely made with love. I plan how to make Hanukah sparkle with homemade and dollar store decorations that Evan and I can make together. I stick cloves into oranges and I bake cookies while the snow flies outside.

It’s a nice time and a time I really enjoy.

So there…you have it. My confession.

No, I am not all of a sudden pulling a big, Griswald-sized Christmas tree into the living room. And no, I am not planning a trip to the mall to sit on Santa’s lap to whisper what I’d like under my menorah while perched on his lap.

What I AM doing is just enjoying each day as it comes and enjoying a time of year that is going to happen whether I welcome it or not. I have great memories of Christmases from when I was young. I can’t deny that now that I am a Jew. I don’t think it would be healthy TO deny that.

So I am embracing everything I am. The little girl who still has that look of wonder at the shiny lights and sparkly tinsel all around and the grown up girl who knows her boundaries and can still enjoy it all for what it is.

The Walking Dead – Am I Walking Away?

Last week’s Walking Dead found me fast asleep with 8 minutes to go.

THE WALKING DEAD MAN!

WITHOUT MY SLEEPING PILL!

No, I was NOT among those million or so lemmings who were “shocked” that it was FINALLY revealed that Eugene was faking it all along and DIDN’T have the cure.

I didn’t really care to be honest. That part of the storyline never gripped me like the storyline about Rick’s gang and I guess that’s where I am feeling the disconnect.

I don’t like splitting up the gang and having dueling storylines. I want to see more Daryl and badass Carole avenging bad guys and having a little bit of win for our band of walker stalkers. I want to see Carole bust Beth out and then bring her back and reunite her with Maggie. I want to see Rick get all ghetto on the preacher and see what happens when other wandering bad guys mess with our group of just-trying-to-make-a-living-hearts-of-gold survivors.

Yeah I don’t follow the comics and I am not a super, uber fan but that episode last week completely left me wondering where this was all heading. I was NOT in the mood to watch this little band of Abraham’s merry makers heading to Washington in their little church bus (well, until they NASCARed it dodging a herd of walkers about 5 miles after they left the church apparantly.)

And yeah, I fell asleep and to be honest, I ditched Talking Dead too.

So I am interested to see what tonight brings. I am committed to seeing the season through but last week has put a big question in my head and has me looking out for big sharks and Fonzie on a motorcycle.

**** Please leave a comment!!!!!