You Missed Some Parties

we all sits & fits

Okay, YOU didn’t miss them. I was very remiss in posting anything the first quarter of this year. Truth be told I was worn out, unhappy, and finding it difficult to think up positive things to post. I was putting all my effort into trying to be positive in my day-to-day dealings – writing was a step too far.

ready for setup. isn’t that floor gorgeous? 20 years or so and still looking so good. ignore the shade. 🙂

One of the activities that usually cheers me is entertaining. Now that most people are vaccinated and feeling a tad more confident about other people being considerate with regard to spreading germs, I felt comfortable throwing my traditional Super Bowl party.

don’t need to miss a minute

48 hours pre-party I was expecting 34 people – quite an unexpected positive reply. 24 hours before I’d lost 2 people who’d become new grandparents. 8 hours before I’d lost 5 people to illness and positive covid tests. By party’s end we’d had 24 folks eating, laughing and celebrating – only lost 3 to general rudeness of saying they’d come and never showing up or sending word.

hadn’t yet removed the chair covers because it was misting just before party time

I had the deck set up for anyone who might feel overcome by so many people in an enclosed space – all the propane heaters going, the drinks were outside and the umbrellas were open to keep the hot air down. We had covid tests on the front porch as a gentle reminder to anyone who had NOT considered it before coming. *laughing* 4 people emailed me their clean covid test results before the party. Now THAT is consideration. *grin* Also totally unnecessary – I trust you.

looks so much better than during the renovation, right???? no plastic to be seen!

So that was February. March was a misery. The last month of work as daily I detached more and more work threads from myself, attaching them to others. I was bored out of my mind, quite honestly. It’s exhausting to sit at a computer (hah – first I wrote “terminal” but realized how totally dated THAT term is) doing nothing but unable to leave in case someone has a question. Ugh. There was a Jewish holiday in March – Purim. One year I remember everyone on my social media feed was going crazy making various specialty hamentaschen. This year I thought that maybe indulging in baking would cheer me up. I made sugar-free chocolate tahini ones, dipping some in melted SF chocolate, and mojito ones. Darn those mojitos are good. 🙂

not a Superbowl party without the boxes

My last day was March 31, my son was arriving April 1 and the first Passover seder was April 5. We do first night at my sister’s and 2nd night at my house. My sister and her husband had just moved so it would be the first family dinner in the new house. We were expecting 14 at our house – we’d lost one whole clan because of 2 new grandchildren (see above *grin*). That’s a small crowd for us. We weren’t expecting any Zoom attendees this year for the first time in many, many years.

tahini hamantaschen plain and dipped in chocolate, mojito hamanataschen

We woke up April 5 to the news that we’d lost the southern contingent – my niece had tested positive for covid. Besides being EXTREMELY disappointed that they would not be attending, I had 2 major concerns. My nephew-in-law was bringing some of my liquor for my plague cocktails. And my niece had been out in Arizona the week before on business and she and my son had dinner together. All we needed – NOT – was for him to be positive as well. Thankfully that did not happen. We managed the liquor issue as well. 🙂 Another very typical Ahuva crisis-hysteria-solution-overkill. *laughing* We had a very lovely dinner inaugurating my sister’s new dining area.

while this is definitely NOT the best picture of any of us, we are happy together, w/ the southern contingent on Zoom

Among the many great joys of having my son is his ability to bake & cook. The baking he gets from me and the cooking from his father and he’s moved beyond our capabilities. 🙂 I turned over all the dessert making to him. All of our desserts were sugar free with something to appeal to everyone. He made the most amazing icebox cake out of matzah, whipping cream and SF bittersweet chocolate. It was so good that we let my brother-in-law keep the remainder from the first night and we came home and my son made another whole cake for the next night. He made a SF flourless chocolate torte, SF macaroons, and our traditional SF tahini chocolate chip cookies. I made the SF ginger snap cookies and the fruit salad. Yes, we did indeed have 6 desserts for 6 people. *laughing*

you very rarely see such a PERFECT breaking of the middle matzah!! a heretofore unknown talent!

We ended up being 10 at my house – the smallest gathering since my first attempts at a seder when it was myself, my parents, my son and husband. 🙂 Size does NOT matter. We had a fantastic time, laughing and celebrating and eating and playing new games (I always try to have something new for us to do). This year’s “game” was a bag full of things found around the house – things that have nothing – on the surface – to do with Passover. Each person in turn had to draw an item from the bag and then explain what that item had to do with the Passover story. I have very talented and creative friends and families – who KNEW how important a curtain cord binder could be????

matzah icebaox cake

While we did have a wonderful time both nights we hope that next year we have back all the families that could not come this year. Although I’m not sure where we will fit everyone – we’re going to need a bigger house and table. Maybe time to do another renovation and expand the first floor??? Not. Happening. 🙂

a small but merry band

But There’s Nothing NEW

She is managing me as I work.

I’m impressed by the bloggers who still manage to find interesting anecdotes and photos to share. I have lots of thoughts in my head, but nothing ever seems urgent enough to overcome the winter/covid/lockdown lethargy that possesses me. It was rather fun to have a major snow storm, especially as the teenager who lives next door dealt with the shoveling (yes, we loaned him our snow blower to do 5 houses on the block). Neither my husband nor I had to go out so that was also good. But now I’m over it. We had snow a week later and honestly – boring. I want to say something like “either snow a substantial accumulation or don’t bother”, but I want to be very, very careful what I wish for. Because it takes a LONG TIME for the snow to melt, and it’s not so pretty anymore.

It snowed.

There WAS a plus to the big snow storm. As I checked in on the neighbor to make sure he knew that he could use the snowblower, his little sister came to the door as well. 🙂 You remember her – she’s the one who greeted me on my return from a long, hard day at the office with “Can I have a hug?” *huge smile* I adore her and miss our baking sessions. Maybe we could bake with masks on? Anyway, she came to the door and told me she had a gift for me. She then presented me with a gorgeous eye glass case that she had made for me. Can my smile get any bigger? What an absolute joy!

The most beautiful eye glass case!

I made it back to the library this week to pick up more books on my “want to read, too cheap to purchase” list. Thank goodness for the library. What a brilliant innovation!!! 🙂 While reading eBooks I came to several conclusions. I’ve already ditched the author who never lets her characters be happy. The relentless misery and disappointment is too much for me. I’ve decided I’m also bored when the main character is YET AGAIN considered the main suspect. Enough already. We know it’s NOT you so it’s boring to read all the details implicating you and the hostility of the ones suspecting you. Yawn. I’m also tired of books that start out with the protagonist breaking the law deliberately even though they are in law enforcement. I couldn’t make it past the first chapter. I don’t know if it was the writing or the “here we go again” feeling it evoked, but it’s taking up room on my iPad at the moment until I figure out how to delete it. I don’t mind obvious plots – I’m very happy reading “chick lit” where you KNOW who ends up together (unhappy girl runs to wherever, swears off men/that man, meets man/remeets that man, sparks, misunderstanding, fight, reunion, happy ending) if the characters are likeable and believable. I treated myself to a big THICK book a few weeks ago – Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson. This is Book 4 of the Stormlight Archive series. My son got me started on it and I love it. The books are a few inches thick, *grin*, and you do have to like sci-fi. I look at the book and I don’t start it, I just sort of drool. It seems that there are at least 3 years between the publication of each book. If I read it NOW, that will be good, because I remember everything (okay – a lot) because I just read the first 3 books all fall. But if I read it NOW, I’ll have to wait 3 years to find out more. If I wait to read it until Book 5 is out, I can have the pleasure of re-reading books 1-3 and then 4. 🙂 I do that with another series – reread the entire series start to finish when the latest book is published. Those are much shorter books, however, and I’m sure that they are in the “teen novel” genre. I don’t care. I love Elantra.

And snowed.

We have still not braved going out to dine indoors at a restaurant. As stir-crazy as I feel at times, it’s still not worth the possible risk. What we did instead was have a friend come to dinner at our house. Rather than eat in the snow on the deck, we ate inside. We sat at opposite ends of the nearly 9 ft. long dining room table. I had an exhaust fan pulling air out of the house in the sun room, and a fan in the dining room pushing air out of the dining room (or such was my theory/hope). We had a fantastic dinner – my husband made what is now my all-time favorite dish, some French chicken recipe. It was wonderful to see our friend, who we’d not seen in months. We talked and talked and talked. Absolutely great.

3 cheers for teenagers with snow blowers!

This past weekend was the NFL Superbowl. It was also the first time in over 25 years that I was NOT throwing a Superbowl party. I’ve mentioned this in years past, how this might be our premiere party each year. We have to move out the living room furniture, we set up 2 TVs, TONS of food, dozens of friends. It’s always a wonderful wonderful time, no matter how uninteresting the game. I’ve been a bit bummed about no party – difficulty wrapping my head around that. On top of that I had some health problems. I mentioned my costochondritis. Not only did I have that, but apparently at the same time I contracted shingles. Well NO WONDER I’ve been exhausted all of January. Just as both of those appeared to have loosened their grip on me, my back went out the way it has not done in years. I don’t remember the last time I got “stuck” and had to call for my husband to help me move. I spent the day with my back packed in ice and popping ibuprofen. Thank goodness it cleared up very quickly. That meant I could think about a Superbowl zoom get-together. Cheers for my friend Pam who refused to let me wallow in self-pity. She kept nudging and suggesting things to do. I got my sister signed on board (as she is the one with the zoom account that can run for more than 50 minutes) and we did indeed have a virtual party. I made up Superbowl bingo cards (can’t start playing until after kickoff, and only words that are used in commercials or during the game broadcast) and sent them out to everyone. We had folks logged in from Florida, NC, Delaware, NJ, Ohio, and AZ. 🙂 We all shared views of our party food and drinks. For most of the game people stayed on mute but when something major happened we’d text and chat. 🙂 It wasn’t the same, but it was fun. It’s good to have family and friends. 🙂

BC with her absolute favorite prey – the cloth butterfly. It appears regularly by my bed, delivered overnight to the sound of hunting meows.

The rest of life is pretty much as it has been. Sandwich making twice a week. Working from home. I took a new role at work, which contains all of what I used to do and then some. That means I’m in a LOT more meetings. I also appear to be on the 2-person committee of people expected to create a virtual “water cooler conversation” in text channels. Although it can be a bit annoying when the other committee member nags me to figure out what to do, it can lend itself to some very fun activities. I spent several hours photo-shopping our VP into “Where’s Waldo” type scenarios, and onto Mount Rushmore, into a suit of medieval armor on a horse also wearing medieval armor, and more. Today was turn our VP into an emoji. This is because I got tired of the other committee member saying last week “What do YOU want to do, Ahuva?” I replied “*I* want to be on vacation in the Caribbean”. Sigh. But today’s pictures did seem to bring a lot of enjoyment to the team, including (or maybe especially??) our VP. 🙂 Success!

Sometimes that tricky butterfly manages to hide safely under the couch.