Tag Archives: Passover

Passover Irony

I had to write a short article about Passover, for which I needed a picture of food in my minivan.

So I opened a box of crackers, took one out, put it on the floor of the car and snapped the photo.

Here’s the irony: you could feed the Bronx with the once edible detritus that lines the floor of my car. There are two thousand crumbling potato chips shoved under the seats in the way back, four pounds of half eaten granola bars wedged in between the arm rests, three hundred cheese crackers between the seats and five liters of yogurt caked on the leather, not to mention many pieces of gum fossilizing here and there….

But I went and staged the photo anyway.

Was I afraid to show the true underbelly of minivan life?

Maybe…

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Filed under children, driving, Minivans, New York City, parenting, Passover, Uncategorized

Sprung.

Some signs of Spring could not be more welcome.

My favorite flowers are out and about…

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Other are less welcome. Spring = Passover, which = an inordinate amount of preparation for eight days of unceasing constipation. I actually like the holiday. A lot. I just don’t like the feeling of dread that precedes it.

That feeling began last week. I was lying in bed, still in the clutches of the stomach flu, when Bennett came home from school and asked me two questions, neither of which put me at ease:

1. Where do you keep the flour?
2. How hot does the oven get?

It turns out that someone had taught them how to bake matzoh at school. He knew there were two ingredients – flour and water – and that the ratio was 2 to 1. I told him I thought it was likely that the two parts were flour. (This represents the beginning and the end of my baking expertise.)

Minutes later I was presented with this::

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Spring apparently also = baseball, which is not a sport given much shrift chez nous. This is quite fortunate because it’s about as compelling as dry rot. But it seems that Spring in NYC means I have to see a lot of these:

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Yankee fans — what’s with this oversized bumper sticker? Do you really need to be LARGER than all the other bumper stickers? I even saw one on the back of a Mini Cooper and the thing took up the ENTIRETY of the rear window. Is it really worth sacrificing safety to alert everyone in a two mile radius that you are a fan? Are we compensating for something that I don’t know about? (I have no allegiances, but I have noticed that these enormo-decals are on the backs of the cars driven by some of the more obnoxious NYC drivers. Discuss.)

These stickers remind me of those similarly wankerish oversized polo logos:polo

I want to smack the parent of every child I see in one of these. Really? Do they need to see signs of your affluence from space?

I envision a Venn Diagram of all owners of the bumpers stickers and polo shirts. Other than wankerism, what’s the common ground?

Discuss.

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Filed under baking, children, middle school, moving, NBA, snow

My (brief) Adventures in Porn.

As I have mentioned, over here a wordpress.com, you can see which search terms people enter to get to your blog, and which blogs refer readers your way. Last night I got an email that someone had listed my blog on her site — I believe the kids call it “ping back.” I went to the site in question — Did a fellow Mommy Blogger fan put me on her blogroll? Did I make it onto a list of funniest people in Seattle? (which is about as competitive as getting on a list of fat people in L.A.)

No. Someone chronicling her adventures in (ahem) bondage decided to write about getting her period (who know that was kinky? certainly nobody in this house.) and she posted my link: Boogers and PMS

The post was about my four  year old’s moods, but I can only suppose this blogger was casting a rather wide net. Of course I looked at her dirty little site. Then I looked at some of the smutty links she had on her blogroll. And then for a few minutes I did some heavy duty judging, which is remarkably easy when you are a Victorian, as I am.

And then, right in the middle of reading some dreadful stuff by some guy who referred to himself as “Daddy” (eeew), I realized that this was probably something of my doing. You can’t write about vagina necklaces and not expect the dirty people to find you.

Which brings me my latest genital riff:

M is the baker in this house. While I like to cook, I do not enjoy baking, and am not especially good at it. Especially bread. (I like to make a big performance out of my inability, and march around my little kitchen announcing that bakers are predictable, dull, and lack a certain joie de whatever, telling M that he’s so very lucky to have married me instead, what with my flexibility (mind out of the gutter, porn friends who have found me by accident) as well as my unbridled spontaneity. But really we both know that I’m just restless, sloppy, don’t like to follow directions, and have the attention span of a toddler.

Therefore, if we want freshly baked challah each week, M bakes it. (Challah, is a Jewish braided bread.) For some reason I do not fully understand, the week after Passover we bake something called “Shlissel (key) challah.” Some people actually bake a key into their challah, others shape challah into keys.

M chose the latter. But God love him, he doubles every recipe he comes across (you never know when angry Cossacks will come banging down your door and if you have to leave the shtetl in a hurry, it’s good to have three tons of freshly baked bread), and his oversized creations were shoved, rather inartfully, onto a baking sheet. He shaped them, and I put them in the oven later in the day. When he came home from work, he asked:

“Well, do my shlissel challah look realistic?”

To which  I replied, “Well, I suppose if shlissel were Yiddish for giant, doughy, penis, then yes! Bravo!”

I cannot print his response, but I’m sure he still feels very bad about it. I can say looking back on this, and considering my decision to write about it, that I can’t be shocked at all that I have now have porno street cred. I may like to read Victorian detective novels for cheap fun, I prefer my romances to be Edwardian, but I may not be as clean as I thought I was.

As for M….  Reader, I married him. And he may not get all my jokes, but he bakes the best damn doughy penis challah in the Pacific Northwest.

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Keystone Capers

At our Passover seder (meal), we were all tasked with bringing the one item that we would grab if like our ancestors, we were forced to leave our homes in a hurry. As many of you know, I don’t buy anything without asking,” Can I move with this?” — so the challenge for me was not a new one.

I tried to impress the gravity of the task on the kids, and even though Francie kind of got it and brought a book, the boys brought a Frank Gore (NFL) jersey and a basketball. Sometimes I wonder if they really are mine.  (If you were wondering, I didn’t need to bring anything. The only thing I would have brought are baby pictures, and they are saved to the cloud. Do you think that the cloud that the Hebrews followed in the desert had all their data stored on it?)

After a few delightful days in D’Enver with the inlaws, we drove to Keystone for few days of skiing. (D’Enver is my way of compensating for the fact that even though M is practically perfect in every way, he is not French and does not have a family home for me to visit en France. Tant pis.)

We needed a car to get to Keystone, but they ran out of minivans at the rental car place and instead, M was awarded this:

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He said it feels like driving a couch. I shall not be finding out.

Although we did not escape in a hurry, nor were there angry Egyptians on our tails, we did have to pack to leave town. The Hebrews may only have had the clothes on their backs and some really shitty flat bread, but a few thousand years later and the inside of our chariot looked like this:

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There are five kids hidden in there somewhere. Maybe even a sixth.

When I started to gripe about all the crap we were hauling, M noted that the Hebrews probably didn’t bring three pairs of boots and six novels for four days. (I didn’t think it the right time to tell him that I also brought a pair of sneakers and some ballet flats, just in case I wasn’t feeling the boot thing. A successful marriage is really all about the things you choose not to say.)

We are now at the condo we’ve rented up here. Sidney is on the porch, naked, playing in some snow with Halu and Yendis, the imaginary friends she brought from Seattle. I have no idea where the other children are. M is squealing with joy because, among a stack of the condo’s DVDs, he just found “Caddyshack.”

I am lying down reading book one of six, trying not to panic about tomorrow.

I have skied a handful of times, never particularly successfully, and the last time I did so, Bennett was one.

He turns eleven next week.

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I saw Eminem at the Pink Elephant.

Today I spoke to a friend, who lives in a hip city, with two kids. She told me she was taking her kids to a jazz bar that catered to families with small children. They were going for brunch.

Brunch.

I haven’t used that word since 2002.

Wanna know what I did today? In anticipation of Passover, M and I drove our cars to the Pink Elephant car wash so that we could get some professional help removing the 3,000 tons of stale Cheerios, 600 revolting lollipop sticks and 1000 gallons of crusted yogurt that has lodged itself into the very fabric of our cars.

Once again, the glamor of my life overwhelms me at times.

Now that I’ve been in Seattle for (gulp) over six years, I don’t actively miss LA as much. Sure, I think of the beach and the light in Santa Monica in March, and my heart hurts. But, most of the time I shove it to the back of my brain. With brunch.

But whenever I have to get my car washed, then I really miss LA; and it’s a feeling so deep I can’t shove it anywhere.

In LA the car washes are architectural splendors of the 50’s and 60’s, or they’re just built to look that way… so you always expect to see Wally Cleaver or Mike Brady pull up next to you. And gee whiz Alice, they do a swell job washing your car. I swear the hand of God is involved in the car washes of LA.

In Seattle — not so much.

Case in point: The Pink Elephant.

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Don’t be deceived by the rosy pachyderm (or the blue sky; it was a one-off). There is very little smiling going on at the Pink Elephant. You drop off your car, some kid who looks like Eminem or the guy who was once married to Britney Spears takes your keys, sneers at you for a few minutes, and then spends thirty seconds removing absolutely no dirt from your car. When he gives you the keys back and you explain to him that he still has work to do, he turns into a pink elephant and uses his trunk to spray tremendous attitude all over you and your car. At some point you just grab the vacuum and do it yourself while he sneers at you. That’s customer service, Seattle style.

While we were there, doing most of the work ourselves, I took the liberty of looking at other people’s cars. This is the car of a woman BEFORE she has had it cleaned.

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My brain doesn’t even know how to process this.

This is MY car, or more specifically, what it looks like in between the seats of my car:

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I believe there are several strains of penicillin growing right there, people. Again, my life = all glamor.

I could tell you about the one helpful person in Pink Elephant history, who actually spent hours of his life in a hazmat suit, getting my car in respectable condition (“toughest job I’ve had yet.”), but that wouldn’t be any fun at all.

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Instead, here’s a picture of two of the kids, sitting in our carseat farm, watching as mum and dad shvitzed like pigs trying to clean six months worth of snack food from the car. Who the hell knew those nasty little snack bags could do so much damage? If you must know, I think they were snacking while they watched us.

There’s nothing like live entertainment.

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Filed under children, parenting, Passover, Seattle, Uncategorized

Sunshine in Seattle

Facing southeast from Seward Park, Seattle.

It’s been a pretty intense week here. The kids are off school for Passover and moments alone are hard to come by and extremely precious. Yesterday I spent some quality time with Bennett in the form of a bike ride to Seward Park, around the loop a few times, and then home again. When we had ridden down the hill into the park I said to him, “I don’t know how I am going to get back up that hill on the way home,” which was quite true. I run up that hill almost daily, but I am a bit of a disaster on the bike, mostly because I barely ride (and partly because I have always been something of a disaster on a bike).

“Don’t worry,” he says. “You can walk it up. That’s what the women do.”

The women? What women? Certainly not any women who live in this town. Most of them would ride it up on the highest gear and then skin a moose for dinner on the way home. (Of course they’d put the moose in the special moose pouch in their Patagonia fleece vest.) Still, I wasn’t too happy with his comment. Or with the chuckling that came after it. There was no way in hell I was walking that bike up now.

While we were riding some women stopped to point out that there was a heron perched on the dock in the lake. There were also 7-10 turtles sunning themselves on the dock (it’s been miraculously and marvelously warm here, we are giddy with disbelief). I wondered if these turtles were the ones that used to belong to us, but who mysteriously “escaped” into the lake one morning while the kids were at school. They looked like Gellers. “Wow,” said Bennett. “It’s a good thing those old ladies pointed out that bird, or we’d have missed all of this.”

The “old ladies” were no more than fifty.

He managed to redeem himself today at the Family Fun Center. FFC is one of those indoor game places for kids with an outdoor section for mini golf and bumper boats. No matter what precautions I take, I leave FFC with a headache that could easily fell an ox. But I’d made a bargain with the boys, and I had to pay up, so FFC it was. (And because of the glorious weather we’re enjoying, I’d refused to let them do anything indoors for days, so they sort of had it coming.) The boys cashed in a garbage bag full of tickets they’d won on all sorts of shitty games. Usually you take 10,000 tickets and trade them in for a squirt gun, which is always something of a disappointment. Today they seemed to do alright, and even brought back some little things for Fiona and Francie.

“Look Francie,” said Bennett. “Yours even came unwrapped.”

Brilliant. Knowing how Francie hates to unwrap and use things, he took the angst away from her. She saw that Fi’s toy was wrapped in plastic and that hers wasn’t. She said nothing, probably happy to be relieved of the pressure of unwrapping it herself. Ten points to Bennett.

I have seconds before I have to start prepping dinner. As a friend said to me, Passover food is remarkably like Chinese food: You eat a huge meal, don’t know how you’ll ever manage to eat another bite ever again, but less than an hour later you are ravenous and don’t think you can wait another moment to eat. All this makes for a lot of time in the kitchen, but it’s a holiday that also brings us all around the table together many times a day, which is messy but wonderful. I better run. I want to stand outside before I have to start cooking. The sun is still out and who knows when we’ll see it again…

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