Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November Weekend with Ari and the Girls

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This past week was especially busy for Saul and me. Saul has been overwhelmed with meetings as department chairman and as a student advisor, and spent long hours at school. On Tuesday evening, the anniversary of Kristallnacht, our friend Elsa had a showing with another artist of her works in connection with hidden children of the Holocaust. When Saul came home on Tuesday, we didn’t know if he would actually be able to “come home,” or if we would be able to go out to the art show. The police had closed off our street in both directions as someone had hit an electric pole with their car and compromised it to the point that nothing could be done until PECO arrived from another emergency to stabilize the pole so that they could work on the wires. Fortunately, the police let Saul sneak through, and by the time we were ready to leave for the show, the pole and wires had been fixed. The show was very interesting, especially since Saul’s aunt, his mother’s sister, had been a hidden child who had been saved by a convent. The show’s kickoff took place at Gratz College.

We had arranged for Ari to bring Sami and Izzy in to spend this weekend with us. Ari had Friday off for Veterans Day and the girls were off for teacher conferences. They were supposed to come down on Thursday evening when Ari finished work, but as luck would have it, he had a stomach-wrenching computer crash at work that afternoon as a result of upgrading some software. By evening, it had all been worked out with no loss of data, but they all decided that they would come the next day, which made me a happier mommy also. I worried about the long drive in the dark, late at night.

After my class with Faith on Thursday, where she introduced the background and life of Maimonides, she mentioned to me that she was doing Shabbat dinner with her son and two of her grandchildren, Alex and Hilary, as her daughter-in-law was away. I already knew that I would be preparing a vegetarian meal this week for Shabbat, and that Alex is a vegetarian. Also, Hilary and Sami were born only a week apart and I thought it would be a good time for some bonding between the girls. We had a wonderful evening together this past Shabbat. I made homemade challah, quick black bean soup, lettuce salad with assorted dressings, vegetarian meat balls, kasha with whole wheat noodles, soba with mushrooms, potato latkes (from the freezer), and a whole assortment of freshly-baked cookies along with some desserts from the freezer and pumpkin-flavored coffee.

This past weekend was to be our cookie-baking and decorating weekend. I suddenly realized, about two weeks ago, that Chanukah this year is extremely early, beginning only three days after Thanksgiving. Adele has been tied up with helping Irv clear out Fran’s house before he flies home to California this Friday. She hasn’t had time to make all the varieties that she usually has finished by now. On Friday, when Sami and Izzy arrived, however, Izzy was ill with a stomach virus that her mother had thought was already over. She threw up as soon as she got to the bathroom and spent most of the afternoon and evening sleeping. Sami was a tremendous help this weekend, helping to get dinner on the table, and making snickerdoodles and chocolate chip cookies before dinner. We had a wonderful evening with Larry and with Faith and her kids. Sami and Hilary appeared to get along famously. On Saturday, Izzy woke up her usual energetic self, ate a big breakfast with us, and together with Ari, we decorated over 100 gingerbread bears that I had baked earlier in the week and glazed dozens of sugar cookies that I also made earlier in the week. Saul was committed for the day to an open house for prospective new students. He was delighted to see about 180 students where usually there are a few dozen, but he came home hoarse from all the speaking he had done, unusual for someone who has taught for as many years as he.

Since everyone was good and the cookies were looking fine, later in the evening we decided to go out for dinner and a movie. Ari purchased tickets through Fandango to take the girls to see Megamind at the 3D IMax theater in King of Prussia. We headed out for Jim’s Buffet, which is only 5 to 10 minutes from our house. By the time we arrived, Izzy was extremely ill again and only had some miso broth and some white rice. By the time the rest of us finished eating she was so miserable that we decided against the movie. By the time we arrived home, she was doubled over in pain and I thought I might have to take her to the emergency room. Jess put in an emergency call to her doctor, who said that this was characteristic of a virus that is making the rounds right now. We gave Izzy a Tums, and I massaged her tummy for a while while she and Sami watched a children’s video on their t.v. Both girls, thankfully, fell asleep within a very short time. I settled into an easy chair to relax and complete the New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle from last week while Saul and Ari watched an episode of Dr. Who.

Erica was supposed to come early to pick up the girls and take them home with her for Brenna’s birthday party. She had rented a moon bounce for the day and was also going to be making and decorating gingerbread cookies with the kids. But on Sunday morning, Izzy was okay, but Sami threw up. She wasn’t as sick as Izzy the night before, so I left the girls home with Saul to goof around in their pajamas, and Ari and I went shopping for dining room chairs. Saul was happy to have the day at home with them as he had not really been able to see them much this weekend and he had computer work with which to catch up.

Ari and I began by heading out to King of Prussia to get credit for our unused movie tickets. We stopped into Nordstrum Rack which is right next door to the movie theater. Ari wound up purchasing a beautiful cashmere and wool formal overcoat at a terrific price. There was no price tag on the piece and the sales guy was having trouble locating the information, so he just made up and slapped a price tag on it to save himself and us further time and aggravation. The salesgirl who rang it up even commented about what a good price Ari was paying for such a great coat.

We headed over to The Dump, but were disappointed to find that most of their merchandise had not changed in several months. We also checked out a furniture place next door called Mahogany and More, especially since it was mahogany chairs for which we were searching. By late afternoon, we were hungry. When I called home to see how everyone was doing (the girls were only supposed to have clear liquids all day according to the doctor), Saul said everyone was okay and Ari and I should go ahead and have a late lunch. We decided on an Indian buffet we had spotted across the street from the mall called Desi Village. Ari had not had Indian food, a favorite of his, in many months. The buffet was very good, but did not compare to the one at Sultan near our house. The girls were packed and ready to leave as soon as we returned. Sami had produced some beautiful origami boats while she was hanging out. I don’t know if she followed a pattern from somewhere, or just designed them herself. Unfortunately, Ari encountered large traffic jams on the road back and both girls arrived home exhausted and a bit ill. By Monday morning, the worst appeared to be over, and both girls have been in school for the last two days. I cleaned up the house after this past weekend and have been preparing more cookies the last two days. This weekend, all three girls are coming and this will be Yona’s first time away from both mommy and daddy for the night. I hope all goes well!

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