Where did Chanukah go? It sped by this year and now it’s over. Okay, technically today is the last day of Chanukah and it officially ends at sundown tonight. But there is no more lighting of the menorah. There are no more presents.
It’s nothing but Christmas from this point out.
For me, it was the least fulfilling Chanukah in many years. As a kid I would judge the relative merits of each Chanukah based on the number (and value) of presents I received. Today, as an adult, I look back on how many latkes I was able to stuff in my pie hole.
One of the great things about my congregation in Schenectady is the annual latke dinner. I’ve been to a few latke dinners at other synagogues in the region, and they just don’t compare. Don’t tell the rabbi, but it’s one of the reasons we joined Gates. Do you know how many latkes I had this year in the diaspora of central Jersey?
I’m getting older. Can’t say anything about wiser. But older, definitely. Friday is the birthday, and like Thanksgiving, I’m making it up as I go along. For dessert of the birthday dinner, there will be custard. On Saturday, I may end up treating myself to a day at the pinball museum on the Jersey shore.
Please, please tell me that it hasn’t been corrupted by any of those reality TV show personalities. I can’t imagine Snooki plays the silver ball, but maybe The Situation is all over it. What the hell do I know?
I do know that I would like to go into the next year of my life without a lot of reader questions hanging over my head. So like I’ve done periodically in the past, I am fulfilling my commitment to answer all questions asked (with proper punctuation) in the comments section. Yes, most of these answers are a little late. But I never promised the answers would be timely.
For those unfamiliar with this semi-regular feature on the FLB, do not be alarmed that the links preceding each question all go to the same spot. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature. And I like to call it the mystery link of the day.
Now without any further ado, onto the questions.
Autumn pastures are turning into winter at Tilldale Farm's Open House on October 20, 2013. The farm, located in Hoosick, NY, is offering fresh pressed cider, hay rides, roast beef made of their red Devon, heritage breed cattle, and pulled pork from their Tamworth herd. Dan Tilley, co-owner of Tilldale Farm with his wife Joanne Tilley, has converted his family's old dairy farm into a thriving, organic meat farm.
The impact of Thanksgiving seems to have been about five pounds. But it wasn’t just Thanksgiving. There were really two Thanksgivings. And right before that was a surprise birthday party planned by my adoring daughter and her grandmother. I have to admit being surprised because it was sprung on me over a week before my actual birthday. Naturally, there was cake and ice cream.
After second Thanksgiving, there was the feast of the Pepe’s. We got four large pies, from this New Haven institution: cheese, sausage, white broccoli and their famous white clam. Let’s just say that not only did I eat a lot of that, but I also took home most of the leftovers and consumed it for breakfast and lunch yesterday.
I also took home some a container of my favorite stuffing ever. Speaking of which, Aunt N. read the comments from Mr. Dave and Burnt My Fingers, and let’s just say that she was not amused. Personally, I say let those who don’t appreciate this stuffing miss out on its buttery succulence.
It was great to see the family and to eat so much tasty food. But now I’m done.
That, of course, is going to make the observance of my actual birthday this Friday a bit more tricky. Seriously, at this point, I couldn’t possibly even think about putting another forkful of cake or pie into my mouth. At least now I finally have an idea about how to celebrate.
Let’s remember for a moment that I know nothing about Christmas.
There’s a Christmas dinner, which if you are very lucky involves a goose and chestnuts. There’s the tree, the lights and the caroling. And then there are the presents. What I’ve always been fuzzy about is the delineation between the presents under the tree and the presents in the stockings.
But I know that the stockings require a copious number of small thoughtful gifts. That, combined with the package I received from City Dining Cards, gave me a terrific idea.
If I didn’t have lunch plans today, I would absolutely be participating in Buy Nothing Day. That would be the lesser known holiday that was created in protest of Black Friday. And hopefully it is just one more incentive to keep you out of the malls until Small Business Saturday.
Although, actually I’m not so sure I can support that either. Not because I don’t love small businesses, I do. It’s just that the rampant consumerism of November and December makes my head spin. And I’m not the only one, perhaps you’ve heard about Reverend Billy?
Mostly I try to stay away from crowds. I’ll go to popular places, but I’ll make sure to drop in at off times. I’ll never stand in line to get into a bar (although I will wait in line for a cup of exquisite coffee). And this is from someone who happens to enjoy being around people.
Perhaps the worst part is the parking lots.