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Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Blog Roundup

Chanukkah kicks off this weekend and we're having our Very Middle Eastern Almost-Oil-Free Chanukkah celebration (do you remember all of those Brady specials? "A Very Brady Christmas" or "A Very Brady Motorcycle Accident"? We like to name all of our meals like the Brady's). We're making pita and shishlik and salad and tehina--and washing it all down with tiny cups of Turkish coffee. Just like the Maccabees.

I'm really not a fan of Chanukkah. First and foremost, I don't like fried foods. An entire holiday dedicated to oil? Really not thrilled about it. Second of all, I don't like the way Chanukkah is now celebrated as if it's a Jewish version of Christmas. I wrote about it a while back on BlogHer, but Chanukkah is actually this small holiday that is about fighting assimilation (and isn't it weird that a holiday about fighting assimilation has become assimilated in order to be more like the majority holiday close on the calendar?).

I wrote:

So what is this celebration about? Jews don't celebrate war, therefore, it's not about the victory. Most people will still insist that the celebration refers to the miracle of the oil, but if the miracle of the oil was simply a story, what are we celebrating?

Personally, I look at the holiday as a kind of Thanksgiving. It is that period of peace that comes at the end of a struggle where you're simply thankful for what you have. Just as Succot is a harvest holiday where thanks is given for the crops, Chanukkah can be a time of thankfulness--marked by community service, family meals, and enjoying what you already have rather than thinking about getting more.

So we're having this big meal and we've decorated the house and we'll eat doughnuts (called sufganiot) on Monday morning for breakfast for the first day of Chanukkah and we'll light the candles each night. And then that's that.

Doesn't that make me sound like a Grinch?

Reminders: today is the last day to guarantee that your entry for the Creme de la Creme is up on January 1st. Anything that comes in after midnight tonight (American EST) will be on the list, but it will most likely go up after January 2nd or beyond. You can add your entry to the list until next December--it's open literally the whole year and people do add themselves daily usually through February--but...yeah...I can only do so much between now and January 1st and once I have the final number, I make myself a daily budget. And that, babes, is how I get so much done. Oh, and having a stunt double, which is so much more useful than a personal assistant.

By the way, we had 160 total last year (and there were only 122 on January 1st). We're already over 170 participants. I think this list is going to rock.

The IComLeavWe list closes for the month on Sunday and commenting begins. Get out there any comment heavy at the beginning of the week if you won't be around towards the end.

And now, the blogs...

Elm City Dad has a post about getting a tattoo following his son's death. It was really difficult to pull one sentence out of the post that summed up its incredible writing and heartfelt idea; if it were a book, I would have gone a little highlighter happy marking up all of the thoughts that made me pause. So take this passage as just a small offering of all the post presents: "To reflect the change within, to honor our son, to remind us with both pain and beauty, to capture the raw and terrible truth of this time in our lives, for all of these reasons we have decided to have permanent marks placed on our skin."

Missing Eliana has a post about the kindness of strangers. On a day where she didn't want to be out, didn't want to be around all of the holiday decorations and music, a stranger walked up to her and gave her a $50 bill. For no reason. And disappeared. She spent some time walking through the store, trying to find her and speak to her. She writes: "And as strange as it sounds to say it, I think I wanted to cry with her. Maybe someone who would do something like that for a stranger is the kind of person who would be willing to listen to me try to explain why my emotions are so close to the surface. Maybe she would like to hear how much she touched the heart of someone who’s heart has been so recently broken." It is about being receptive to receiving and how much our small acts of kindness can affect another person. It is a story, if you are willing to do so, that should be passed along. Hopefully the words will reach this woman if we all spread the word via our blogs.

An Offering of Love has a post in a similar vein of a coworker who said the right thing at the right time. In a world where everyone is so eager to fix your problems, make suggestions, offer hollow promises, her coworker simply agreed, shared his own similar story, and let her know that she wasn't alone. And that is a tremendous gift.

Finally, Life after Infertility and Loss has a post about not being able to write. But no, no, no, of course she has put a tremendous twist on it AND in turn, by writing about not writing she has written a fantastic post. It is about seeing yourself in an entirely different light and learning to live in a new state of being. She writes: "Then it hits me, I always expected the 'after' thing to be when I was older, so now that we're here at after, I must be old. And maybe that is what this is all about - accepting that I am getting older and I've reached that age that my 20-something self considered no longer 'young'." Wasn't that an incredible thought? I am still chewing on where I fit on my "no longer young" spectrum.

The roundup to the Roundup: Chanukkah starts this weekend, last day to send in your post for Creme to make it on the initial list, IComLeavWe starts this Sunday, and lots of bloggage to read (as well as a story to pass along). See everyone back here Saturday night with Show and Tell.


calliope said...

I *knew* you had a stunt double! KNEW IT!!

luna said...

so what, no presents? just kidding.
but no potato latkes either? it's all about the fresh applesauce you know. they're like crunchy potato apple cookies!

Grad3 said...

I do enjoy a good latkes with applesauce ;)

Cheers to your great sounding dinner!

JuliaS said...

Oh, I so want to join you for doughnuts!! I think it sounds fabulous - not grinchy at all. :0)

Cassandra said...

Are the sufganiyot fried or baked? I have a recipe for a baked version that I haven't gotten around to trying (not suitable for breakfast; I was planning to fill them with chocolate). DH is torn about the baked sufganiyot because he generally prefers lowfat foods, but he also feels obliged to consume oil for the sake of the holiday. He also has many fond memories of fried sufganiyot, but not a single baked sufganiyah. I say that the latkes are enough to satisfy the oil quota, and that it's always a good time to make a new memory.

Speaking of which... I am dubious about your latke omission. Do you want to try my latke recipe? Mine are the best I've had (I can say it humbly because the magic comes from a trick that I learned from someone else).

Cassandra said...

Okay I totally should have read last year's Hanukkah post before commenting. You do have a latke recipe and you do bake your sufganiyot!

But I stand by my idea of supplementing the jelly sufganiyot with some chocolate-filled ones!

Billy said...

What a nice way of looking at Hanukka - as the Jewish Thanksgiving :-)

And this weekend (I'll ignore the momentary scare I had forgetting that in most of the world Sunday is still the weekend) - wow, it's just around the corner! I usally have no idea when such and such holidays are on untill there're almost here.

Erin said...

I'm not big on sufganiyot but give me a big pile of latkes with applesauce and sour cream, and I could sit there for the entire 8 days and eat them.

This year I wanted to do Hanukkah smaller. One night, I bought the kids little boxes of Hanukkah cookies (think animal crackers but Hanukkah shapes). Another night, they'll get dreidels. Most nights we weren't going to give them anything.

Then our parents sent presents and now there are a million of them here. Foiled by the grandparents. Rats. Next year I'll talk to them and explain that we'd rather not focus on the materialism so much.

nonlineargirl said...

Wait, it isn't a holiday to celebrate the eating of my husband's brisket?

m said...

I'm sorry. But a holiday dedicated to fried food sounds divine...

Bea said...

Dude! You have a stunt double? You mean that time when you... and that other time... and the thing where the... it wasn't you? Damn. I'm disappointed. I may have to get a new hero.