Happy Chanukah! We got our chanukiah up and lit and placed in front of the window. I probably should have wiped down the soil there after I moved the plant from that spot. I was more concerned with making sure that the cords for the blinds were out of the way. Please forgive the dirt.
I was looking forward to Christmas, too, because I have that day off. I had planned to bake and cook and read. Unfortunately for me, I woke up Sunday and thought “gee, I don’t feel all that well”. I was worse on Monday and really worse today. 😦 I don’t anticipate much baking or cooking in the near future. My day revolves around heating hot water for tea and filling a tall glass of iced water. As my mother would have said, I’ve drunk enough clear liquids to float a battleship.
I have lots of role models, however, to help me figure out how to spend my time. I made a little nest for GC on the couch. I took the fleecy liner from the cat carrier and an unused door-draft-blocker and made her a spot. I appear to have been successful in pleasing her as she has been curled up there since its creation. WC even left her red couch to join in for an afternoon cuddle. BC loves the box on the radiator. It’s been there for years now. GC likes it too. I don’t think I’ve ever seen WC in that box. She definitely likes cushioned comfort.
A blog is a piece of the internet, and we all know that the internet is all about cats. From all of us being relaxed and slow. Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday season!
Chanukah began yesterday at sundown. That’s how we do it – our holidays start and end at sundown. Very solar efficient. 🙂 Over the years I’ve used a variety of chanukiot (that’s the name for the menorah that is used for Chanukah). I have my very first one – silver in tone, a long low rectangle, the shamash had a Jewish star. It was identical to the one we used at home when I was growing up. When I went off to college I bought the same one to give me a little at-home-comfort while I was away. Over the years I found other chanukiot at craft shows, Judaica shops, and, of course, the ones my son made for me at school. *grin* Those are the most precious naturally. I have 3 of them. One is a block of wood with nuts (as in bolts & nuts) as the candle holders (2 nuts for the shamash) and the other 2 are white tiles with nuts. All 3 were decorated most elegantly (um, well, not really, but mother’s love and all that). I have chanukiot that hold candles, that burn oil, that use electric light bulbs (oh wait – I just gave that one to my sister). I even have strings of dreidels and Jewish stars that light up (ah, yes, assimilation. The irony of it all – Chanukah commemorates the fundamentalists beating up the assimilationists). But until this year I have never had a moose chanukiah.
The learned among you may notice that the moose is missing a shamash. According to the literature (little poorly written book) that came with the moose, WE are the shamash. For each mitzvah we do, an antler on the moose will glow. And in case we do not do a mitzvah at the correct time and place, we can squeeze his left hind hoof and that will light up an antler. It’s an amazing world.
I’m on a roll. I’ve made it inworld 2 nights in a row. I can’t remember the last time I did that. It was wonderful to see friends again! I got to Tribeca on Friday night just in time for the final wrap up – Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. Calli played “Jersey Girl” for me – her theme song for me. *smile* I requested Leonard Cohen’s “Closing Time” in memory of Lalo. It was one of his favorite tunes for our Friday night music fest. There were other friends there as well.
Saturday night I was still awake after we’d had a Big Bang Theory marathon. Everyone else headed to sleep but I wasn’t quite ready. I logged in and joined the folks at Calli’s Eclectica. Winston was there!!!! Haven’t seen him in months and months. It was great to catch up. 🙂 I made him get up and dance because as I told him – SL is pretty much the only place where I CAN dance these days. We’ve upped the PT exercises and my foot hurts. That’s GOOD. Hurt is good in this case, but I’m not quite ready to dance.
I guess that’s the upside of long holiday weekends. I get to sleep late or nap (because kittens don’t LIKE me to sleep LATE) and so I have energy late at night when “the gang” all start rezzing inworld. It’s also Chanukah so I try to log in each day to light my Chanukiah. Lalo made it and it is beautiful. Bamboo and I have been lighting the candles, but it’s not quite the same. 2 years ago the 3 of us lit them together. Last year I was at Lalo’s to light the Chanukiah and say the prayers together. Bamboo and I miss him very much and appreciate having his graceful elegant Chanukiah.
Yesterday was the 24th of Kislev, which means CHANUKAH!!!! I managed Happy Hour with my coworkers (but had to skip the fried food, as it was oysters *grin*). Got home and lit the chanukiah with my family. Got inworld a bit later than expected since an automatic update messed up my bios (why oh why does that happen?). So I arrived at Edloe just as they were finishing the Shehecheyanu. I couldn’t figure out how to work the voice toggle in Firestorm, so my “amen” went unheard. But I was not the only late arrival. So we went through the blessings AGAIN! 🙂
Then Lalo and I headed off to light the Chanukiot at our homes. First stop was his home. Note the lovely Shabbos candlesticks and wine cup! I have to get him a Havdalah set. 🙂
Then we head to my place so Bamboo could light OUR Chanukiah. I remembered to set the sky to midnight so that the flames show. 🙂 The beautiful Chanukiah was made by Lalo. We will be celebrating the Festival of Lights for another 7 days! I need to find a dreidel for ‘Boo, and some dark chocolate gelt for me!!
My sister sent me this link on how Christmas would be celebrated if it were a JEWISH holiday. *grin* If you have ever studied Talmud, you will appreciate this post and recognize the style. If you have not studied Talmud, this may give you some insight into how the Rabbis really HAVE decreed every little blink of an eyelash for observing Jewish life. My personal favorite is the stricture that allows you to have a miniature tree but ONLY IF you also put toy people around it so that the tree appears tall. *grin* Keep in mind folks, should you follow this link, that it is intended in good humor and gentle fun and no disrespect intended.
I have been struggling with the darkness for awhile now. Most days I win, but some days, well, it’s not so clear. I’m having some niggling health issues, it’s December, it’s been dark and rainy and gray. I’m a beach gal, you may remember. I thrive on sunshine and heat. I was going to sit down this morning and write from Kohelet (Ecclesiastes). I know – traditionally Kohelet is read on Sukkot, not Chanukah. But I have been feeling the “vanity of vanities, What profit has man in all his toil that he toils under the sun?” Chanukah is also known as the Festival of Lights. I need some light to get me through the next few weeks as the daylight continues to shrink. If I post this today, only 18 more days until it turns around and the days begin to get longer. Sunlight!!!!!
Chanukah is a very interesting holiday. Most people think of it as the triumph of the Maccabees over the Syrian empire. The Jews against the bad guys. (Hey, they won – they got to write the story.) Most people don’t realize that it was a Jewish civil war. It wasn’t all that pretty. It was the fundamentalists against the immersionists. Do you know that Judah Maccabee signed a treaty with Rome? Oh yeah, it’s true. It probably seemed like a good idea to Judah, but it wasn’t necessarily the smartest thing to do. That treaty was one of Rome’s little tricks – gave all the advantages to Rome and very few to the other side. Let me know if you want to hear more – I did a lot of independent research and study on this back in the day. *grin* Aside to Faust – that’s when I WAS living up to the very high standards of your department chair. *grin*
Anyway, Chanukah has never been one of my favorite holidays. I have always figured that here in the USA we have tried to turn it into a Jewish Christmas, devoid of anything but greed. Most people don’t understand that it was not just a triumph over external enemies but also a slaughter of brothers. I also wonder on which side I’d have found myself. So in my house, I’ve downplayed the holiday as far as presents. It is, of course, a time for family and lighting the Chanukiah and eating potato latkes (oy, the calories). /me smiles. Okay, I confess: when my son was little, I used to put up Chanukah lights (dreidels and Jewish stars) and string blue and white paper chains across the doorways.
So I was here this morning, not feeling all that well, contemplating doing more weather-proofing, drinking my coffee, going through my reader feeds. Lo and behold, Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic cheered me up with his post. I’ve just discovered Goldberg from following the TSA mishegas. He posted what he calls the best Chanukah song ever. I’m not sure that I’d go that far, but I really enjoyed it and it made me smile and feel light-hearted. I read the comments on his original post. Sheesh. That is the kind of thing I’m avoiding these days – the nit-picking and looking at everything negatively. Who CARES why Orrin Hatch wrote the song. Just enjoy it, okay? Sit back, look at the smiling faces, take it at surface value and smile. As Goldberg describes the recording of the song: a Mormon senator in a studio with an Arab singer and a bunch of New York Jewish background vocalists recording a Hanukkah song of his (Hatch’s) own making.