Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Week with Izzy and Naming Yona

This past week with Izzy has been positively delightful. During our time together, she helped me each day to prepare some dessert item for Yona’s naming ceremony on Saturday. At one point, Jessica told me she had a dream, or nightmare, that I made gingerbread teddy bears in diapers and used real safety pins in the cookies. I already had been thinking about making gingerbread cookies, but couldn’t figure out what to do that would be appropriate for a baby naming. Her dream spurred me to get out my extensive collection of cookie cutters and among them I found a dove. Yona means dove in Hebrew. Izzy was amazingly adept at every aspect of cookie-making. When I left her so that I could sit at the kitchen table with Mom’s social worker, Marion, and discuss Mom’s condition for a while, Izzy continued to roll out the dough to the proper thickness, cut the cookies close together as I had showed her, move the cutout cookies to the baking pan, and re-roll the scraps—very impressive for a five-year-old. I taught her how to make and thin royal icing to just the right consistencies so that I could outline the doves and she could fill them in with the icing. Friday morning we packed up the cookies, extra icing, food coloring markers, and sugar sprinkles and decors, and drove to Baltimore where Izzy and her sister, Sami, decorated dozens of them, each one with its own unique design. I find it remarkable that never for a minute did either one of them show any signs of running out of ideas for the next cookie or repeat themselves on any one of them.

Izzy awoke early every morning, but played with the toys in her room until a reasonable hour before waking us. We watched a series of On Demand Tom and Jerry cartoons over and over while having breakfast together, usually with Mom joining us. Each day, we arranged to do a little something different and fun. One day, we went to Chuck E. Cheeses for an hour. Another, I set up an Elmo sprinkler on the deck so that she could run in an out of the spraying water. We went to Bahama Breeze where she was crazy about the gigantic stack of coconut-crusted onion rings and the black bean soup. We met Ken and Randi for dinner at the Easton Buffet which had as much sushi as Izzy could eat and where they gave her a little pile of caviar all by itself. We enjoyed teaching her, feeding her, cuddling her, amusing her, and telling her stories as we tucked her into bed. It was truly a wonderful week that culminated in Yona’s naming ceremony. I wish there were more photographs of the occasion, but most of the action took place in synagogue and at Jess and Alex’s home on Shabbat, so no photography was allowed.

Stacey stayed with Mom this past weekend so that we could be in Baltimore. For Shabbat dinner at Jess and Alex’s, we were joined by Alex’s parents, Maury and Elaine; his sister Naomi; his brother Aaron and his wife Stacey and their three children, Jacob, Lilly, and Zach; and Ari. Alex made guacamole, lentil soup, sushi, and fruit salad. After dinner, we went home with Ari.

Saturday morning, we arrived at Chizuk Amuno to find our family looking healthy and beautiful, and ready for Alex’s lively children’s service to begin. Yona was asleep in the stroller. Adele and Larry arrived shortly before we were fetched to go into main sanctuary for the actual naming ceremony, around 10:15 a.m. Ken and Randi arrived with Jamie and Presley just as the ceremony began. We were surprised to find the synagogue so packed with people on a June Shabbat. There were hundreds present. The rabbi had wonderful things to say about our children and it was beautiful to behold them standing together at the bimah.

Maury and Elaine and Saul and I remained to greet people at the kiddush luncheon we had sponsored for the synagogue and gather our friends, David and Karen, who live in Baltimore, and Elaine, who drove down for the occasion, to go back to Jess and Alex’s house for the party. Alex, as usual, outdid himself with the delicious luncheon he had prepared, which included whole fillets of the best salmon anyone had ever tasted, a beautiful tossed salad, hummous, baba ganoush, assorted cheeses, deviled eggs, roasted veggies, pasta salad, and other delicacies in great number. For dessert, I made the gingerbread cookies; ultimate carrot cake; Presley Bella marble angel food cake; mini strawberry cheesecakes; mini filled chocolate cupcakes; Yona Rae cake (a three-layer coconut cake); mini cashew pies; chocolate mousse crepes with vanilla custard sauce; and jumbo oatmeal, peanut butter and raisin cookies.

The weather on Saturday was beautiful and not too hot. Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves and about 60 people attended. After the party, we headed back to Ari’s place and were too tired and not hungry enough to go out on Saturday night. We wound up watching a hilarious movie together called “Noises Off” from the early 80’s with Michael Caine, Carol Burnett, Christopher Reeve, John Ritter, and other famous actors. I don’t know how I missed seeing it back then, but it certainly had me wondering what other treasures I have missed.

Sunday morning, we helped Ari clean up his condo, packed, and headed out for our usual favorite spot for dim sum, Hollywood East Café, which had just been listed in Washingtonian Magazine as one of the best “cheap eats” in the DC area. We were shocked to find a closed sign in the window and their name signs taken off of the building. The closed sign said that they would be reopening in August in a nearby mall. We ate a satisfying meal at the dim sum restaurant across the street, Good Fortune, which, by the time we left, had filled up with a long line of people waiting for tables who had been as surprised as we were by the closing. We spent the afternoon with Jessica and the kids while Alex watched sports on television after mowing the lawn and assembling a new gazebo (or as Izzy called it, “gazumba”) on the patio. We headed for home around 5 p.m. and arrived about 7:30 p.m., happy, but exhausted.

Mom had a good weekend with Stacey. Her volunteer, Marianne, had stopped in to see her and so had Ken and Randi on Sunday. Adele and Larry had a problem getting home on Saturday, as evidently, the Philadelphia area had had a torrential downpour that left many streets closed, including theirs. After hanging out at a nearby restaurant for a while, they were finally able to reach their home in time for bed as the waters receded.

Stacey requested the day off on Monday to visit with an aunt she had not seen in several years. On Sunday, a gum irritation I was beginning to feel turned into a full-fledged abscess. The dentist cannot work on me until I have been on a strong antibiotic, Clindamycin, for 24 hours. This afternoon, I have a dentist appointment to work on the problem, but I have not been feeling like myself since Sunday. I tried to get work done, but kept getting distracted and losing focus. At 6 p.m. last evening, Saul, Mom and I met with Debbie, the mother of one of Ken’s employees, who will begin working for us on Wednesday.

Many of the remnants of last week’s garage sale are still hanging around the garage and I have to arrange to get them out of here this week. My friend Laura suggested I title one of my blogs “36 Suitcases.” That is how many were listed for tax purposes when we dropped a carload of things at the Salvation Army location nearby. Toward evening yesterday, there was a violent thunderstorm that dropped a load of marble-sized hail on us. I wish the SUV had been in the garage rather than all that junk. Thirty-six suitcases is a great title, but the past week was much larger than that.

1 comment:

Stacey said...

The cookies came out amazing. The girls did a great job decorating them. I looked through the pictures you uploaded and took some time to look through the others in your Picasa, since I never had the chance to look through them before!

Hope your dentist appointment goes well.