Friday, June 25, 2010

Izzy’s Corner

The tarantula is fuzzy because it is hairy. It eats crickets and it doesn’t walk, it hops.

Editor’s Note: Izzy is now six years old and can write by herself. She wanted a blog corner of her own like her sister. She is very intrepid and patted a large, live tarantula at the Philadelphia Zoo.

Samara’s Corner

For my first ‘‘block’’ in school we learned about animals and we had to choose one and do a report on it and make a diorama in 2 weeks! My favorite block was norse mythology because I love hearing stories about Thor and Odin and all of the other gods. My three best-loved specials are woodwork, handwork, and eurythmy because I love movement to music and in both arts I made a candlestick, a mouse, and a bag. My thing that I did for Mayday is maypole which is FUN !!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Preparing to Leave

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We had a leisurely breakfast on Friday. The girls, evidently, have favorite memories of previous “camp” activities. On Friday morning, they requested that I make banana taro pancakes, a request which I gladly accommodated, realizing that they must discuss all their experiences here, and really enjoy and appreciate them. We arranged with Beth and Larry to have Shabbat dinner very early on Friday to be able to attend the Chester County Balloon Festival and watch the hot air balloons glow in the dark. The girls napped after lunch and Beth brought Brenna later in the afternoon as it was her last day of school and Beth only works half days on Friday. While I prepared dinner, the girls played and helped slice up a mountain of mushrooms, which I sautéed. We had chicken soup with matzoh balls, spinach salad with hot dressing, chicken cutlets with satay sauce, black and white rice, and chocolate chip mandelbread. Larry did not join us for the balloon festival, but the rest of us all piled into the SUV for the hour-long trip. The weather was perfect for such an event, not too hot, gentle breezes, and a sunny sky. At first, I was sorry I had made the journey because the girls were not exactly wowed, as we adults were, to be really up close to a beautiful hot air balloon. Booths were set up on the grounds to raise money for a youth group, and Beth took the girls off to make sand art souvenirs. Then, we watched a rather bad marionette show, but it amused the girls for a while. After that, they ran around playing tag until dusk. For the girls, the great success of the evening was discovering fireflies. Another little girl joined us on our blanket who happened to have a special box in which to house the ones they had caught. As darkness fell, we insisted that our kids stay on the blanket. Their little friend, whose parents were nearby, said “I’m not part of your family, right? So I don’t have to stay on the blanket, right?” We all laughed. The glow of the six huge balloons in the dark was spectacular, memorable, and worth the drive, as far as I am concerned.

Brenna slept over at Beth’s house, and had breakfast with us on Saturday morning before being picked up by Erica. We went to services at Melrose B’nai Israel. Rabbi Addison’s sermon was excellent as usual. This week’s parashah (Torah portion), about the red heifer, is particularly difficult to understand and interpret, and he was able to relate the obscure purification ritual to Miriam’s legacy to our people of providing comfort and sustenance through water to those who have been alienated from the community by death or illness. He began with an anecdote of a woman who wanted to be interred, when she died, with a Bible in her right hand and a fork in her left. If this piques your curiosity, write a comment, and I will explain.

After services, we went home, had lunch, changed into comfy clothing, and crawled through miserable bumper-to-bumper traffic to attend the Summer Solstice Celebration at the Kimmel Center downtown. Again, we were happy we made the drive. Architecturally, the Kimmel Center is spectacular. We had never been there before. We parked in a lot just down Broad Street for $10 for the day. The party was a fund-raiser for the center and was very reasonable, $10 per adult and $5 per child. A continuous array of bands, ensembles, and performers entertained from three in the afternoon until dawn. We stayed for about three hours, enjoying activities provided by the Please Touch Museum and Zoo on Wheels, checking out art on display by various artists, trying on costumes used in theater performances, having the girls’ faces painted, and especially, watching the high-energy Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble perform. The audience was invited up to try learning the dances on stage, and Izzy went up and tried, although Sami would not. We had dinner at Cracker Barrel on the way home.

Sunday was Father’s Day, and we let Saul sleep as long as he wanted. Eventually, he joined us for a leisurely breakfast. The girls went upstairs to the playroom and each crafted a diorama for him as a gift. He went off to take care of some business in the office and arranged for a realtor to put our house back on the market while we are away on vacation. I did laundry, cooked, and cleaned. Then, we changed into bathing suits, packed chairs, towels, and snacks, and headed off to Beachcomber for the day. The weather was again glorious, and we stayed at the pool until it closed at 8 p.m., something we had never done before. The girls were in the water until hands and feet were as wrinkled as prunes. We arranged to have pizza delivered to the swim club and ate it at the picnic tables for dinner. When we returned, after showering, the girls wanted to try their hands at catching fireflies in the backyard using the bug kit with an insect vacuum that we had bought for Izzy several months ago. Braving the mosquitoes for a little while, they were able to capture one and put it in the special box. They kept it in their room that night and I released it in the morning.

On Monday, we had intended to visit Saul’s mom at Lion’s Gate, but we wound up making an appointment to sign papers with a realtor at 4 p.m. We cleared out a number of things to donate to Impact! to prepare the house to be shown and took the girls shopping on Monday to try to find a bicycle seat for Yona while we are at the shore. We bought some items at Impact!, a valet for Ari from Bombay Company, an American flag, and a beautiful, framed painting of a palm tree to hang over the palm tree comforter set in the guest room in Ari’s house. We went to Target, Babies R Us and Toys R Us as well. In the afternoon, while we met with the realtor, the girls were invited next door to play with our neighbors’ granddaughters, who are similar in age, in their pool. They were very well behaved all day and we treated them to sushi at King Buffet again, and then carousel rides in the mall.

Since time is short before we leave for Ocean City this weekend, we arranged for someone to come to stage the house for photography yesterday afternoon. Everything went smoothly, but I just did not think about how much would need to be moved and cleared away for staging. The photographer followed on the heels of the stager. After clearing off his desk into a storage box, Saul took the girls off to the pool for the afternoon during the whole process. Immediately, when the four-hour process was over, I curled up in the fetal position for a while on my “freshly-staged” bed to absorb the impact of what I had just undertaken and to deal with the beginning of dismantling the beautiful home we have designed, built, and happily lived in for the last seventeen years. When Saul returned, he and the girls began helping to return some of our things to where they had been. I finished making some beef, mushroom and barley soup I had stupidly started cooking in the early afternoon, and made barbecue beef to take to the shore. The girls loved the soup, and both had two bowls for dinner. Saul and I spent an hour sitting in our stripped-down living room reassuring each other that we had made the right decision while the girls watched movies on t.v. in our bed. This morning, I have been up since 3:30 a.m. fretting over the fact that the whole world will be able to go through our things while we are away and perhaps steal or pilfer stuff. Although I am planning to sell most of our things, I suddenly realized that I will need to go through everything we own in the next few days to figure out what would devastate us if it were missing when we returned. The stager and photographer were subtly warning me about the possibility of theft the entire time they were here. Preparing to leave, my feet are suddenly turning very cold.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Camp Bubbie and Saba Opens

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Wednesday dawned gray and threatening. Thunderstorms were predicted at any time and I awoke with a headache from the atmospheric pressure. “Picnic at the Zoo,” our official opening activity this year, did not look promising. As the day progressed, however, the sun did peek out several times and Saul and I managed to hit several stores to shop for and accumulate all the possible food items the girls could want. This was no easy task as their taste in food is completely opposite from one another and finding items that will satisfy both is a real challenge. During the afternoon, I managed to prepare a large Israeli salad for Saul, adding tiny cubes of a mild purple radish we found at Assi Market, creating the most colorful Israeli salad ever! I also bought an assortment of mushrooms, white, portobello, and eryngii, or French horn mushrooms, and sautéed them with onions and soy sauce. I made a big bowl of black and white rice, one of the few things they both adore. As the time for the picnic grew closer, the rain had continued to hold off, so Saul and I decided to prepare the picnic anyway. We packed lox and bagel sandwiches, assorted veggies, boxed drinks, potato chips (supposedly with artichoke and parmesan dip which we forgot at home), assorted slices of cheese, and Late July Oreo cookies with green tea. Our alternative plan if the storms began was to meet Jessica downtown at the vegetarian restaurant, Singapore, and have our picnic for breakfast the next day. We always joke about the fact that Jessica has a weather genie. When she plans to attend an event, it never rains. She was so sure that it would not rain on her outdoor wedding that she would not let me make alternative plans and the pattern of clear weather has held now for many years.

Between shopping, cooking, making sure the house was ready for the girls, and Chuck, our painter, touching up our walls, neither one of us was positive we had turned off the mushrooms on the stove and had to enlist Beth to reassure us. Of course, I had turned them off. Although we got caught in horrible traffic on the way to the zoo, arriving an hour late, the picnic was going strong with the small group of intrepid and optimistic people who, like us, believed the threatened storm would hold off long enough. It did. The rain did not begin until the party was over at 8 p.m. The girls rode on the little zoo train, and patted bunnies, birds, sheep and goats. In Izzy’s case, the patting included a live fuzzy tarantula and several other insects, large and small. Sami and I managed to be elsewhere when the large tarantula came out for Saul and Izzy. I have never gotten over my fear of spiders.

We tucked the girls into bed with a short “Shmuel” story from Saul, and went to bed exhausted, but with great satisfaction. Adding to that satisfaction was the fact that Ari, with only a day’s notice, had taken a “Relativity” test in Chicago. His boss had suggested on Tuesday that he call and see if there were any last minute openings to take the test, which is offered monthly. There was an opening, and the boss also suggested that he fly in and out on the same day. So Ari spent Wednesday in Chicago for about eight hours, and passed a test that less than a dozen people have passed so far. This gives him certification and privileges with the software company in accessing their top technical support. We all went to bed very happy on Wednesday night.

Yesterday, the girls awoke us at 7 a.m. as agreed. We all had a wonderful breakfast together, with an assortment of absolutely beautiful and delicious fresh summer fruit—giant strawberries and blueberries, peaches, pink lady apples, seedless red grapes, apricots, bananas and ripe avocados. While I cleaned up, Saul took the girls outside and together they planted tomatoes in the garden. I joined them and spent about an hour weeding. Then we began the process that Jessica calls “dumping day,” where the girls go through their toys, books, and projects to organize and donate some of them. We had a very successful and enjoyable afternoon and by dinnertime their room and closet were organized and clean. They were dying for sushi at their favorite restaurant in the area, King Buffet in Plymouth Meeting Mall, and they also wanted to revisit what they call the “castle playground,” which is actually called Park-Sci Playground in Upper Gwynedd. We called Beth, who works nearby, and she joined us at the mall for dinner. Then we drove directly to the playground where they romped until dark. After another shower, one following gardening, and one following playground, they were again tucked into bed with another short Shmuel story that had them full of giggles as he described his misadventures with a “bleishtift,” or blue carpenter’s pencil that was given to him by his carpenter father in the first grade and how he turned his mouth blue and could not get rid of the awful flavor of the extra-strong graphite.

The first full day of Camp Bubbie and Saba was a great success!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chicago, Chi-blog-o

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Our ride to the airport early Sunday morning to catch our plane for Chicago happened at a very convenient time. A friend of Beth’s needed a rental car returned there and Beth dropped it off on Saturday night so that we didn’t have to pay for parking, nor wake anyone up early in the morning to drop us off. Our flight was relatively smooth, but turbulent enough for a few minutes that I felt I needed to take an Ativan. In retrospect, I should have toughed it out. By the time the pill took effect, everything was smooth sailing. The same thing happened on the way home. Probably, I should just take the darned thing when I get to the airport.

Ted and Susan met us at Midway Airport, which is just a few minutes from their incredibly unique and art-filled home in Riverside. We spent a few hours browsing at the extensive outdoor 57th Street Art Fair, now in its 63rd year, in Hyde Park. After the unseasonably muggy weather in our area, Chicago was literally a breath of fresh air. A short distance away, we enjoyed a late lunch together at a very pleasing Caribbean restaurant, Calypso Café. Then, being the Frank Lloyd Wright buffs that we are, we took a guided tour of the Robie House. Our docent was very informative and interesting.

Tired from our day’s excursions, and still sated from our big late lunch, at home we tossed together a big and satisfying salad for dinner with Susan’s homemade remoulade dressing and went to bed early.

In the morning, Ted was up early preparing an elaborate breakfast for us. Saul and I were fraught with indecision about how we wanted to spend what we thought was our free unscheduled day, he leaning towards just hanging out and taking a walk around the neighborhood, and me wanting to check out the new modern art wing of the Chicago Art Institute. Eventually, we set out, just the two of us in the car, to see the museum, and within just a few minutes, took a wrong turn and got lost. Almost immediately after that, our cell rang, and Susan and Ted asked us to return because they had mixed up the dates for the Appreciation Concert of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and it was that evening. Returning to the house, we changed into nicer clothing and a short time later, set out to tour Millennium Park and have dinner out with Ted and Susan before the concert. Parking underground at the Symphony Center, we were greeted, as we emerged topside, by two huge Blackhawks-helmeted lions outside the Art Institute in preparation for the upcoming final games of the Stanley Cup playoffs with the Philadelphia Flyers. Who would have guessed, when we booked the flights back in December, that Chicago would be competing against Philadelphia!? Again, the weather was delightful, a perfect day for wandering around the extensive gardens, avant garde fountains, striking architectural features, such as the Frank Gehry Pritzker Pavilion, and viewing Cloud Gate, better known as “The Bean” to the locals.

Eventually, tired from a few hours of walking, we settled in for a very early, but very leisurely, dinner at Rhapsody, an exquisite restaurant that Susan told me is usually packed with people on regular concert evenings, but which, to our delight, was relatively empty at such an early hour on a Monday. Our dinners were elegantly and artfully presented, the food imaginative and delicious, and the service was cheerful and efficient to a fault. Over a mellow bottle of Merlot that Susan selected, we caught up on old times, and pleasantly whiled away the evening until it was time to take our seats at the concert. The concert hall itself was spectacular to see and the acoustics marvelous. During a violin solo, we could hear every nuance of the highest notes as they resounded and then faded away. The truly excellent performers were winners of the Fidelity FutureStage Auditions.

On Tuesday, after such a busy and satisfying round of activities, we decided to just hang out for a while, and Susan unveiled a deluxe Scrabble game which entertained us for a few hours while Ted went out to pick up some produce for dinner. After we all caught up with some computer work, Susan and I went to Trader Joe’s to pick up additional supplies. I took a nap that afternoon while Susan prepared dinner, Ted made his signature coleslaw and Saul hung out with them.

On Wednesday, after Ted again prepared a delicious breakfast, we set out with him to take “The Official Architecture River Cruise Tour” of the city, arriving in time for the 11:30 a.m., 90-minute boat tour. Boat tours can be very chilly or very hot, and I chose poorly, although I was glad that my arms were spared a sunburn by my long sleeves. I was wise, however, to borrow a Tilley hat from Susan that was indispensable for protecting me from the strong rays. Saul and Ted had Tilley hats as well, so we were all covered, you might say, and we were able to maintain our upper deck seats with the best view. Our guide was a wealth of information and spoke incessantly for the entire length of the tour to the point where we wondered if it was possible to do more than one tour a day without doing serious damage to the vocal cords. The architecture of Chicago has many beautiful examples of classic buildings, well-preserved, over a long period of time. The river, once spurned, has now become an attraction, flanked with tony balconies sprouting from interesting and award-winning residential skyscrapers, such as the new Aqua building.

After the tour, we wandered a bit down the inviting Riverwalk to an outdoor café, O’Brien’s, opposite the new Trump skyscraper where the ambiance greatly outdid the food. On the way home, Ted took us to Chicago Portage National Historic Site, for a brief walk through the woods to see the local flora, and to experience what they call a swale, and we call a swamp. After I took a quick shower back at the house, we set out for dinner with Ted and Susan’s regular Wednesday night group of dining friends, who have been getting together on Wednesday evenings for dinner for many years. On this particular evening, about 20 of us dined at a very good Thai restaurant called Bodhi Thai Bistro. We were all invited back to Mary’s house to view what turned out to be the final hockey game of the series together, but decided not to go for several reasons—Susan had a headache, Mary has several pets, and we would have been the only Flyers fans there. We returned to Susan and Ted’s house after dinner, uncorked a Valpolicella we had purchased at Trader Joe’s, and sadly watched the Flyers lose, although the game was very lively and we only lost during a sudden death playoff.

Thursday was our last full day in Chicago, as we were due to fly home around noon on Friday. After another of Ted’s wonderful breakfasts, early in the morning, we set out with him to attend another concert and finally tour the new wing of the Chicago Art Institute. The concert was, again, at the magnificent orchestra hall, an open rehearsal for donors at 10 a.m. The orchestra was rehearsing an all-Beethoven concert, including Leonore Overture No. 2, Op. 72a, Symphony No. 4 in B-flat Major, Op. 60, and Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68. The orchestra, conducted ably by Bernard Haitink, was in fine form. Afterward, we went to see the Matisse exhibit which is featured right now. I had hoped to develop a greater appreciation of Matisse from the exhibit, as I had with Picasso, Cezanne, and especially, Dali, but found that Matisse’s work just does not speak to me on any level. I was absolutely wowed by the spa-like beauty of the new wing with its natural daylight filtering down through the glass ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows through pristine mesh screens. I was immediately greeted by my favorite Picasso, “The Old Guitarist,” as I entered. We spent a brief time touring through the older part of the Institute with a docent named Martine, who is a neighbor of Ted and Susan, but I was more interested in spending time in the new wing.

This time, on the way back from the city, Ted took us to an original section of real prairie because I had asked if any still existed. In fact, there is very little left intact as most of the land was farmed at one time or another. There was a small footpath which led into the acreage and we photographed some of the native wildflowers before heading home. Susan and Ted took us to a great barbecue joint, Chuck’s Southern Comfort Café, where we pigged out on great food, and met Chuck in person, telling him how much we enjoyed his sauces, especially the honey chipotle.

On Friday morning, we arrived at the airport to find large crowds at the Southwest terminals. We immediately discovered that our flight was overbooked because of bad weather elsewhere and we volunteered to be bumped to a later flight, which was less than a half hour later. For that, we received half off of our previous tickets, $100 each in free vouchers for future flights, and Saul got a pre-boarding pass which allowed him to save seats for us together on the plane. As it turned out, because of delays, our “later” flight arrived about 20 minutes before the “earlier” flight on which our luggage resided. We had to wait around a bit for the earlier flight to arrive. Beth was right there to pick us up in her new car, a Hyundai Tucson. We drove to King Buffet in Plymouth Meeting Mall where we were met by our friend Larry, and had an early dinner before Shabbat. We went to bed early, not even bothering to unpack our suitcases.

The next morning we attended services at Or Hadash for our friend, Faith’s, granddaughter’s bat mitzvah. The building, the music room addition of the converted old mansion, Fairwold, is magnificent, and after the warm and unpretentious service, featuring the poised and beautiful Abby, we had a light luncheon on the patio. The bat mitzvah continued later at Camp America, where there was kosher barbecue, and all the camp facilities available—paddle boats, fishing, heated pool, playground, etc. It was great fun!

Last weekend, my brother Ken was taken to the hospital in great pain. After much testing, it was discovered that his gall bladder needed to be removed, a laparoscopic surgery that was performed on Tuesday morning. He was home by Thursday, and I was not able to visit the whole week, so Sunday, Saul and I picked up all the ingredients for a nice breakfast and went to visit him. An added benefit was that Randi was babysitting Presley so that Jamie and Andy could catch the Broadway show, Mary Poppins, in New York. We were able to see them briefly before they left, and we were able to enjoy Presley, who is absolutely adorable and good-natured, as well. Last night Beth called to ask what we were doing for dinner and we wound up dining together at Bonefish Grill. Our time has been so filled that we will need the next few days to prepare for the opening of “Camp Bubbie and Saba,” which will officially begin on Wednesday evening when we meet Jessica and the girls for a Picnic Event at the Philadelphia Zoo.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend 2010

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We were on our way to Washington, DC, again on Thursday afternoon before Memorial Day in order to meet the Comcast installer for another crack at getting Ari’s television working with all the HD channels that he was supposed to be getting and to get everything working with TiVo. Unfortunately, it was not until the weekend that yet a third Comcast installer was able to get everything working to Ari’s satisfaction. When Ari returned from work on Thursday we had dinner in his new house and helped him by eating all the leftovers he had left in the refrigerator from the previous week.

Jess and Alex and the kids were busy most of the weekend as invited guests for b’nai mitzvah of members at Chizuk Amuno and Jess was having a yard sale on Sunday, so we spent most of the weekend in DC with Ari. On Friday, we picked up and installed most of the rest of Ari’s blinds. We had an early dinner with Ari before Shabbat at Bombay Restaurant. We did a lot of shopping trips this past month to Tuesday Mornings, two of them in the DC area, where we got some wonderful bargains—a large and graceful planter urn to grace Ari’s front door, decorative planters that were just the right size and style for ledges along his slate walkway, 750-thread count Egyptian cotton sheet sets, a Croscill queen-sized bed-in-a-bag with palm-tree-embroidered trim on the comforter, and a professional steamer—to name a few. At Pier 1, near Next Day Blinds, Ari ordered a finely woven wicker and wood headboard and matching wood and wicker night tables to carry out the tropical theme for the guest bedroom.

One day, we drove for 40 minutes to an upscale outlet shopping center to shop at a Restoration Hardware Outlet, but found the furniture very damaged and still very expensive. We checked out a low-end furniture warehouse that was going out of business in its location and were depressed by the amount of junk. We stopped at the Bethesda Flea Market and bought nothing, but on our way home, decided to stop at Bloomingdale’s to inspire us with the really good stuff and so that we could check out the brand-new, enormous Whole Foods that just opened in the same shopping center. As we reached the top of the escalator at Bloomies, we were wowed by exactly the type of dining table that Ari had been seeking—dark, rich finish, with pedestal legs, that opens to seat 12. The entire display was set up with pale green upholstered chairs and gorgeous table settings. When we immediately checked for the price, we noticed that it was marked “sold.” After drooling over all the beautiful and pricey (even on sale) room set ups, I told Ari that I did not want to leave until I at least checked out the price of the dining room table that we so loved. I walked back to the register to ask, while he and Saul found comfy chairs to sit in by the down escalator. The saleswoman began reciting the price with a seven, and I thought she meant $7,000, but then she clarified that the price was $719.00 and I could not believe my ears. But that was for the floor sample, so I asked her how much to order a new one. She could not even order a new one because that was the last of a discontinued item. She asked me if I would like her to call the customer to whom it was sold to see if he still wanted it. I nodded, not daring to hope, but within a few seconds, she had reached him and he had released the table, only desiring the pale green chairs that went with it. I called Ari and Saul (who were at the other end of the store) on my cell and told them the price. They didn’t believe it either and were sure that I had misunderstood until they spoke to the saleswoman themselves. So this turned out to be one of those fateful circumstances that in Yiddish we call “basheyrt,” or intended to happen. It was a happy day all around. We planned to meet Jess and the girls to see the new Shrek movie in 3D at the Egyptian theater at Arundel Mills Mall. We could not decide where to stop for dinner. On the way there from Bethesda, I realized that we were passing the University of Maryland, next to which is our favorite kosher shawarma place, Pita Plus. We hurriedly called Jess, and she was delighted for us to stop there. Within minutes, we were on the road again, with all the fixings for a delicious kosher dinner, which we ate in the food court of Arundel Mills, before going into the movie theater to see the very enjoyable Shrek sequel.

As we were walking to our cars after the movie, Sami asked if she could come home with us. I checked with Ari and Jess, and everyone was delighted to accommodate. Ari provided tee-shirts for sleeping, and we tucked both girls under their new palm tree-decorated bedspread after they spent some time checking out the new house and had a quick “Shmuel” story from Saba. They went to sleep immediately without fuss and were quietly watching children’s television in the living room when we got up at a respectable hour in the morning. I made them scrambled eggs with sliced avocado and cheese crackers, accompanied by orange juice. A little later, Jess and Alex drove in with Yona and we all wound up having lunch in downtown DC at Founding Farmers, a restaurant that has become so popular lately, that we have avoided it during the usual mealtimes. We found parking right across the street, and had only a short wait for a table in a practically deserted section of the city on Memorial Day. The food was delicious, if pricey, with lots of interesting vegetarian options.

After a few minutes back at Ari’s house, Jess and Alex were on their way back home with the girls, and Saul and I got on the road back home about an hour later. The weather has been unseasonably hot and humid for the last week and every foray outside causes fatigue. We were very happy to climb into bed early with just an apple for dinner.

Saul had meetings at school again this week and then the two of us spent some time together cooking and baking. We made chocolate chip mandelbread to take to Susan and Ted when we fly to Chicago tomorrow morning. We made a large quantity of potato latkes (which we froze) to use up an oversupply from Costco, which can be used for Ari’s housewarming in August. We smoked a large turkey with fresh herbs from the garden, sliced it down, put it into homemade gravy, and froze it for dinner while we are on vacation in Ocean City, New Jersey, in a few weeks. We made butternut-apple casseroles and froze them to accompany it. After our week in Chicago, we are returning to Faith’s granddaughter’s bat mitzvah, and a few days after that, the start of Camp Bubbie and Saba for 2010.