Nov 14 2013
I’m not always the best daughter. Sometimes I’m impatient, short-tempered, bossy, and annoyed with my mother. I work hard to promptly apologize to my mother when I’ve not behaved nicely but I admit that I don’t always do that perfectly either. I may be able to make up for every prickly thing I’ve ever said or done to my mother with this post, because I would like to talk about how she prepares for holidays such as Thanksgivukkah, which happens in a few weeks.
My mom is a great cook. Her Hungarian mother was also a great cook and I bet my grandmother’s mother was a good cook too, and so on, all the way back. My mother specializes in all kinds of food but her presentation, her attention to detail, and the joy with which she cooks and serves food are also noteworthy.
Since I had my first son eight years ago, my mother has started the mini-tradition of writing up menus before holidays. This serves a dual purpose. She is a Type A list-maker and, thus, making menus satisfies her list making needs. Secondly, she likes me to consult about the menu, make changes as needed, and select which items I will be helping with. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 5 2013
As I have written about here, I have started taking my sons on approximately once-a-month family Shabbat sleepovers to religious neighborhoods in Los Angeles. We stay with friends/acquaintances who aren’t intimidated by the fact that we’re vegan, my sons bring along their little travel KidKits, and we learn about another family and how they celebrate Shabbat.
This past weekend, we had our Shabbat sleepover in a very religious neighborhood. Like even more religious than I am used to, which you would probably describe as Moderate Modern Orthodox. This was not that. Everyone was very nice and welcoming, and I didn’t feel unwelcome at all, but it was very different from what I’m used to. It was more like ultra-Orthodox. Streimels, you know, those big furry black hats. And I might have been the only woman I saw with my hair peeking out from under my tichel (headscarf), since all of the women in this neighborhood wear expensive sheitls (wigs) or hats with no hair showing.
Here are the Top 7 Things I learned this past weekend.
1. Heads Up. Some women never uncover their heads. Like ever. Meaning: they even sleep with their heads covered. There’s a whole reason, it’s not just someone misunderstanding the rules of halakha (Jewish law). The woman who described it to me is a very educated, smart, and interesting person. I had never met someone who never uncovers her head except in the shower, literally. Fascinating. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 11 2013
As those of you who have been reading Kveller for a long time and/or following The Official Mayim Bialik Page on Facebook know, I love to cook and bake. I have written about my grandmother’s legacy of teaching my mother to cook and bake (and also clean a sink like nobody’s business) who in turn taught me to cook and bake (and clean a sink like nobody’s business) and I have many times posted pretty pictures of some of the dishes I cook and bake. Of special note is my Fruit Face post but that’s not the best example of my cooking, I promise.
I love turning traditional Jewish foods vegan without sparing the deliciousness or “heimishe” taste of so many dishes I grew up with: rugelach, babka, sufganiyot, latkes, tzimmes, kugels, hamantaschen… I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that just because I am vegan, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to still make delicious food that suits all of my ethnic and gustatory needs, as well as those of my friends and family. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 8 2013
As I have talked about here on Kveller quite a bit, I love Shabbat. I love turning off anything electronic for 25 hours, not working, not driving anywhere, having leisurely meals, taking a nap while my sons play hopefully safely and sort of quietly nearby. Oh yeah: I also love celebrating the miraculous religious experience of echoing God’s cessation of labor by engaging in the blessed Sabbath; it’s not just the hanging out and napping and not working, although those are pretty awesome too and sometimes seem more needed than the religious ecstasy.
What I don’t love is that I don’t currently live in a neighborhood with other Shabbat-observant Jews. I am not in a position to move just now, and so Shabbats are often “home days” with my kids. Sometimes we walk to synagogue but the closest one is about an hour’s walk away and since we don’t know anywhere well enough to eat after synagogue, we end up walking longer than we even stay in synagogue. And some of us get tired and cranky and hungry. And sometimes so do my kids.
What I have decided to start doing since my divorce is to try and take my kids to a Shabbat-observant neighborhood once a month and stay over for all of Shabbat. I don’t find driving in the spirit of Shabbat, even if it’s just to go to synagogue. It forces me to engage with streetlights, roads, people, traffic, and other things which do not make me feel the peace of Shabbat. I know some people drive on Shabbat and that’s fine for them, but it has never felt right since I took on observing Shabbat the way I currently prefer to. Read the rest of this entry →
May 28 2013
My younger son is coming up on 5 years old. As I’ve discussed here, he was very late to talk and really only started speaking in the past nine months or so.
This means I get a lot of mature questions from a not very mature vocabulary or set of linguistics. Meaning: his brain is almost 5 but his vocabulary and sentence structure and the notion of speaking itself is still catching up.
This presents as the following: I get a ton of adorable great questions about where babies come from, why is the sun sunny, what is body hair for, and things like that. It’s wonderful to see how Fred’s brain has been working all of this time and has been waiting for his language to emerge organically. Read the rest of this entry →
May 13 2013
I was in Paris last week for a photo shoot for CBS Watch magazine.
We did a vintage couture retro photo shoot at Hotel Le Bristol. It was very high fashion; big hats, gloves, posing awkwardly like I’m a 6 foot tall 120 pound model in Vogue magazine or something. It was crazy and super strange to be the “model” mostly because I am only 5’4″ and haven’t weighed 120 pounds since my Sweet 16. But it was also neat. And once I got my passport and actually arrived in Paris, it turned out to be a nice trip, if brief. Because I forgot my passport and had to have it overnighted and thus my trip got cut short by a day. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 22 2013
Today is Earth Day. I asked my 7 1/2 year old son what the main ways are that we make the planet a better place. He dictated the following:
1. Pick up trash. When you see trash on the ground or at the beach or anywhere, pick it up. And put it in the trash.
2. Recycle. Put bottles in the recycle bin and then they get crushed up to use for other things. You also can recycle newspapers and cans and paper. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 7 2012
I appeared on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson last week. Here’s the video. Here’s Top 10 Things You Should Know About My Appearance.
10. I had no idea what Craig would talk to me about. At all. They don’t prep you for his show like they do for other talk shows. It’s sort of like a crazy high pressure cocktail party. And for the record, even mellow non-tape-recorded cocktail parties feel like high-pressure cocktail parties to me because I am socially anxious. So imagine my anxiety for this appearance. Yeah: high. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 19 2012
We don’t do trick-or-treating in our house. Never have, hopefully never will. As a scroogey vegan with easily-scared-of-anything-dark-spooky-or-creepy children who don’t even like candy that much, we’ve avoided it very nicely by doing other things on October 31 like roast pumpkin seeds, eat fun food, and listen to “Monster Mash” on repeat.
Well, leave it to homeschoolers to be creative… Our homeschool community seems to feature “trick-or-treating” at Halloween at the park we go to each week for classes and hanging out with other homeschoolers. This year, my older son came home from Halloween park day with a bag full of candy that was handed out at the park. I appreciate the parents who only gave him vegan candy, but hmmm… what to do, what to do?
Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 25 2012
My oldest son turned 7 a few weeks ago. As I wrote about here, it was a really special and simple day and it was really lovely.
His birthday party was last weekend since every child we know also has a birthday in October and their parents snatched up all of the Sundays before and after his actual birthday but I’m not bitter it’s fine whatEVER. We hosted a few kids my son sees most days of the week at our homeschooling activities; I’d say these are his “closest” friends and he wanted a small party with the kids he sees most. Read the rest of this entry →