Thursday, October 02, 2008

challah and nails

So, it seems I missed my chance--twice!--to have a baby named Violet. E. and his wife have just named their new little one Violet, joining Dutch, his ladywife, and their girl Violet. And since there are other ladies out there who might very well have spawned by now, perhaps there are even more Violets among my ex's. Well, a big cheer to all of them, and here's to their getting a full night's sleep again sometime in the next five years.

What else? Last night was a lovely Rosh Hashanah celebration, with piles of homemade challah, much butter and honey, apples, pears, Asian pears and pomegranates, Arkansas wine and grape juice from the Post Familie winery, lots of barbecued chicken, corn muffins, and honey butter from Roxxie and Nancy's new favorite bbq joint out in the avenues, right next to their favorite cheap Indian place, and salad from Christina. It was a stone soup/potluck kind of deal--the best kind--and everyone agreed that the wine tasted like Manischevitz, only better. I've done many types of RH dinners, and this was the most low-key but one of the warmest, too.

Now, onto Sukkot planning! I wanted to build a sukkah out at the farm last year, but busy farm life got in the way. But here, we have a little back patio, just big enough for a little hut. It could happen, with some scrap lumber, rope, nails, and branches. One thing I am not going to do, though, is spend $$$ buying some super-ugly sukkah from a kit. A writer from the NYT reviewed a few this week, and they all sounded (and looked) hideous, made of metal tubes and printed plastic sheets, nothing like the rustic farm-laborer's shacks that were the inspiration for the holiday in the first place. The writer freely admitted having no confidence in his ability to even put together something from a kit, inviting an architect friend over to do the screwing and hammering. Are we really that far removed from taking care of basic tasks for ourselves? Granted, I'm no handyperson, but I can hammer a nail, sew a button, and bake a loaf of bread. (Given my druthers, I'd also like to know how to spin wool, make croissants, and tend goats, but that's just me.) Slapping together a temporary little hut in the backyard--one that, by Torah mandate, cannot have a solid roof, and only needs 2 1/2 walls to be kosher--is not like raising your own barn. It can look as slapdash as you want, as long as it can stay up for a week and provide space for a dinner table. I'm no carpenter, but how hard can it be? I'm thinking of having a build-the-sukkah party in a few weeks. Bring a piece of wood, bring a handful of nails, and help make it happen! followed by, of course, dining al fresco, looking up through the branches at the stars.

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