Friday, October 3, 2008

High Holiday Season

Shanah Tovah, Gmar Chatimah Tovah and Happy New Year! It's, one again, the High Holiday season and I'm already exhausted and stressed. Fortunately, my cooking and entertaining this year will be at a minimal, so at least that's a blessing.

Rosh Hashanah Rundown:

We moved in with Pidgeon's parents for the holidays. Since we still don't have one Shul in the neighborhood that we're affiliated with, it made sense for us to just join Pidgeon's parents. My in-laws bought me a seat in the express Minyan at Chovevei and Pidgeon went with his Father and brother to a Shul that's closer to his 94 year old Grandfather. 

First night of Chag was really, really nice. In the grand tradition of last year, erev Yom Tov included the ceremonial breaking of a bottle. Last year, Pidgeon broke a bottle of Merlot in his parents dining room 15 minutes before Yom Tov. I broke a bottle of Tabasco sauce in our kitchen about 30 minutes before I had to finish packing and get into the shower. Fortunately, we weren't staying for the holiday so I didn't mind that the kitchen stunk of Tabasco sauce. We made it to his folks without incedent and, fortunately for us, kept the bottle breaking to just the Tabasco sauce.

Pidgeon's folks entertained 23 people for dinner and it was loud, boisterous, hot and a lot of fun. I actually forgot to make a Shehecheyanu on my candles and so I was happy that I got the opportunity for redemption over the pomegranate seeds. I love how everyone says that pomegranates are in season around Rosh Hashanah, I really don't think it's true. The seeds were definitely better than last year but not nearly as sweet as they'll be in a few more weeks. Pidgeon and I were so tired after dinner that we were grateful for my 11:00 p.m. shot. We went to sleep pretty quickly after the shot.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the second day of Rosh Hashanah was my 32nd birthday. And, since people couldn't give me presents on the Yom Tov, I got some good stuff before hand. Pidgeon bought me the best present ever! A 6 month subscription to People magazine. A woman from Joe's World of Magazines physically walked over the gift, with a couple of back issues and a note describing the present, before Yom Tov. I was so happy with the gift! And then, when we got to Pidgeon's parents house, there was a beautiful bouquet of red and white roses from Pidgeon. He didn't send the flowers to our house since we weren't going to be here for 2 days and I wouldn't have enjoyed them. This way, they were in our bedroom at his folks house and until my allergies flared up on my birthday, they were beautiful to look at. My in-laws bought be a shmata for my head, some stretch mark and perenium oil from Avishag's maternity store, and the newest coffee table book of photographs by Annie Leibovitz with writings by Susan Sontag. Great gift for me as I think Annie Leibovitz photos are amazing. I would have been happy with a Wolf Kahn coffee table book too, but I'm holding out and saving up my dough to by an actual Wolf Kahn painting. Hmmm, maybe that can be my 40th birthday present to myself (P"G)

First day of Yom Tov, Pidgeon walked me to Chovevei around 7:30 a.m. and I hiked all the way up the fire escape to the express minyan. I found our seats in the front row and was happy that I made it in time for Torah reading. Unfortunately, I also discovered that I'm one of those pregnant claustrophobic ladies. You see, two seminary girls decided to make their own row right in front of my seat. So, I now had a row of seminary girls behind me and two in front of me. With a hat on my head and the AC barely working, I was getting more claustrophobic by the minute. I just wanted to ask the girls in front to move closer to the mechizah so I could have some room to breath! Fortunately, we had an extra seat for us, and when my mother-in-law came she left the one between us empty. Bless her! We were finished by 11:00 p.m. and that made me even happier.

Lunch was just Pidgeon and me, at Pidgeon's parents house. I couldn't have been happier. I was so tired at that point from all the standing and sitting and shuckling and swaying that I was thankful for the meal without anyone around. We had leftovers from dinner the previous night and we both ate in our PJ's and then went for a nap. It was a good thing I took that nap because we had quite a walk to and from dinner the second night.

Pidgeon's Aunt and Uncle live in Katamon, and from Pidgeon's parents house, it's basically an extremely hilly walk down HaPalmach street. Well, getting there was okay since I had about a 3 hour nap under my belt. It was a very cool night, so I was wearing a long-sleeve t-shirt but I brought a short sleeve t-shirt because I knew I would get warm in the house. With 26 people at this meal, I was glad I had! 

By the time we left to walk back to Pidgeon's parents house, I was exhausted and facing a number of tremendously steep hills. Oh, and did I mention the bats on HaPalmach street? There were a ton just flying back and forth overhead and I'm just not a big fan at all! So, I tried to walk very fast to get away and that's when I literally just petered out. Imagine, if you will, a man pushing a large car up a hill. That's exactly what Pidgeon had to resort to to get me back to his parents house. He pushed me up the hill and it was the only way I could have made it back.

When he finished pushing me up the last hill, I was panting and exhausted and needed some water. I took a swig and then said well, at least it's not raining. And, wouldn't you know it, but that's when the first drops started to fall. We were still 3 large blocks away from his parents and I just couldn't believe my luck. That, just when I said that about the rain, the rain started.

Think the Lord is sending me a message? Nah. I just think the Lord has a great sense of humor.

I was very thankful when we got home and just passed out.

Second day of Yom Tov was my birthday and the Minyan ended 30 minutes earlier than the first day! It was great. We then went to Pidgeon's sister's house for a BBQ lunch with the family and they all sang happy birthday and we had some yummy Aldo pareve ice cream cake. Pidgeon and I went back to the house after lunch and just relaxed and slept until Yom Tov was over.

Yesterday was very tiring and, even though I wasn't fasting, I somehow forgot to eat that much. I had a blood test early in the morning at the Medical Center, which was a zoo post holidays. Fortunately, the woman was able to draw blood without too much of a bruise, and they were efficient so we didn't wait long. We got back to the apartment and Pidgeon went back to sleep while I did some work. I have a lot of work on my plate right now and my writing is definitely taking a back seat. With Yom Tov crowding in, I'm starting to get anxious that I won't get all my work done in time. Fortunately, we only celebrate 1 day of Chag in this Country, so I get 2 extra days to do work at least over Succot!

We went food shopping yesterday and the Supermarket was a zoo! Fortunately, we had a short list and we really kept to it. We ended up spending almost 1,000 shekel though since we needed to stock up on food for the week and food for Shabbos. I was a bit surprised that our bill was so high though, especially since our cart was practically empty. Again, I have no idea how people can afford food in this Country!

Pidgeon broke his fast while I did some work and I was so tired that we ended up watching some new episodes of Heroes in bed. I passed out in the middle of the second episode though, I was that tired!

This morning, we were both up early again because Amos came to build our Succah. I am so happy to have the Succah out of the apartment! I kept tripping over the beams in the Mamad and I was really not happy about it. Fortunately, we're going to just cover it and tie is all up about Yom Tov is over and leave it on the Mirpeset all year long. My parents did that at home, although they did keep the poles in the garage, but with no garage or Machsan, we have no choice. Hopefully, we'll keep the elements out this winter and will be able to use the Succah again next year.

I have minimal decorations to do and I'm not doing anything until after Yom Kippur. There's no reason to decorate the Succah now, especially since it could rain between now and Succot and why should the decorations get ruined?

Well, Pidgeon just got back and I am off to finish my Shabbos cooking!

Gmar Chatimah Tovah from Baka!

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