Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It really happened...

Last night I had the amazing experience of attending my brother's wedding. Let's not begin this story at the beginning, because the beginning includes all the stress and the lateness and frustration. Let's begin with the kabbalas panim because that's where things started to settle down...and that's when the entire chosson's family (chosson included) arrived. As was to be expected, the kallah, Mya, was absolutely stunning. None of us could get over how beautiful she was, and I'm sure my brother's heart skipped a beat when he saw her as well.

When I saw her for the first time in her gown and makeup, I actually lost my breath for a fraction of a second. No exaggeration. That moment was also the first one where the enormity of what was happening that day hit me. It was the first, but definitely not the last. The next was seeing my brother standing under the chuppah. That's when I started to tear up. But the moment where it all came to a head, where it really smacked me right in the face, was watching the crowd dance them off to the yichud room. Suddenly, I realized that my brother was the one holding hands with a beautiful kallah in the middle of a huge circle of singing boys. I don't know what came over me, but the next thing I knew I was sobbing uncontrollably.

I'd like to add that I didn't shed a single tear at my own wedding, despite my best efforts and contrary to popular belief. I had been so disappointed because I thought it would be this huge emotional experience for me, but I was just too spaced out to really feel anything intense.

In spite of my little epiphanies at the wedding, I still can't believe my brother is married. I'm hoping it will really sink in when I see them together at sheva brachos tomorrow night.

Mazal tov Shmuel and Mya! May you have bracha, simcha and good things from your lives for many many many many many (etc) years to come. :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

STOP!!!!!

You see the title of this post? That's what I want to scream at the world almost every day. Every time another friend gets married or pregnant, or every day that I realize I have new and bigger responsibilities. Every time another person I know suffers a tragedy. Sometimes I just want to revert. It doesn't help that it's been 6 months since I deactivated my facebook account and only just reactivated it for this short trip to Israel. I've been bombarded with change. Just going through my friends list and seeing all the girls with new names, I became very aware that time stops for no (wo)man.

The past year has been a rocky one for me with ups and downs and the occasional diagnals, but all that is status quo. As I believe I've mentioned before in previous discussions on the matter, change terrifies me. I spent much of my first night of marriage crying and wondering what the heck I had just done. By the next week, it had become normal. The same with my first week of seminary. I just don't like it when things change. I fear the unknown.

But that's not really the point I'm trying to make here (and I'm not sure how my brain ended up on that tangent anyway...) What I'm trying to say is:

1) To all of my friends who have gotten engaged, married, pregnant or had children since I left facebook, I am so happy for all of you. Congrats! Mazal tov! May you continue to have plenty of simchos, brachos, and nachos (mmmm...cheezy...) for many many many years to come.

2) To all of my friends who have been upset for one reason or another that I was not on facebook (and that I am going to once again be not on facebook in a little over a week), I do not drop off the face of the planet. I have a blog, I have email, I have a phone, I have IM and Skype, and I even have (gasp!) a physical presence in Baltimore.

It was very easy over the past 6 months to really know who my friends are. Don't get me wrong. I'm not implying that people who didn't keep in touch are not my friends. I understand how crazy and hectic life can be and remembering to keep in touch with people when you don't have status updates as a constant reminder that they exist can be very difficult. But those people who really went the extra mile to punch my number into their phones, write my name into the address box of an email, or click my screen name on instant messenger and committed almost herculean acts of socialization in this day and age to speak to me really showed me how much I meant to them. Please please, don't mistake my grandiose exaggerations for sarcasm. I appreciate my friends more than they (you) know.

Just please, stop changing. K?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Somebody's Getting Married

I'm preparing to embark on an epic journey. It is a journey to Israel for my brother's wedding. I'm very excited and have already started packing. Truth be told, packing isn't nearly so hard when you're only going for 2 weeks, as opposed to for a whole year. The only issue is that I'm going for two weeks during which there will be a wedding and sheva brachos. That means I'm going to have some tightly packed suitcases. But never fear! I'm resourceful! I'll figure something out. :)

I'll be leaving on Sunday and coming back on February 1st. Don't worry, I expect my internet presence will still be around. Anywho, if there's anyone in Israel who wants to see me, I'll be with the Aaronson's in RBS. You can probably reach us through them until we know what our phone number will be.

I'm sure I had a lot more to say earlier today, but this will have to do for now. Seeing as how I'm brain dead at the moment and all. Have a good night, a good shabbos, and a good couple of weeks while I'm away. Bye, y'all!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Relapsing

As my sister prepares to host her 2nd Annual Cake Awareness Conference, I've been receiving a lot of emails from Facebook. My sister doesn't want to exclude me from the event's updates just because I'm not able to attend or on Facebook anymore so she (somehow) sends me all of the same materials sent to the rest of the group. While I'm glad that I get to enjoy the planning aspect of this event, it does lead me to the Facebook homepage on occasion, questioning if I should just log-in and restart my account.

"I could just shut it right back down again," I tell myself.

I sit there, shaking, drooling--in short, jonesing--desperately trying to make this pivotal decision. Finally, I have to pull myself away. I can't go back there or I risk relapsing into old habits. Stalking friends and family (and worse, vague acquaintances!) and getting emotionally involved in their lives when I'm not really a part of them. It's too depressing, and it's not a risk I can take. Not even for a minute. Sometimes, I log into my friend's facebook (I think he's cool with it...) to play bananagrams because his account is safe as he and I have very few mutual friends. (What I mean is, most of his friends are total strangers who I can't really become depressed about.)

On another note! I just tried my hand at making moo shu. I saute`d some shiitake mushrooms with scallions and chopped fresh ginger. Then I threw in some soy chicken, followed by some soy sauce and let that simmer for a bit. Finally, I threw in a bag of cole slaw mix (aka--shredded cabbage and shredded carrots) and let it cook until it got "tender." While all of that was going on, I warmed up some flour tortillas to use as wraps. It came out pretty yummy, though it didn't taste like what you get in the restaurants at all. All in all, it made a very tasty dinner.

In other food talk, for a while I've been searching for a good and simple fudge recipe (see Fudge!) but most of the recipes I've found have required candy thermometers or ingredients that I can't find (like sweetened condensed milk, which I can't find cholov yisrael). It finally occurred to me today to see if I could find substitutes for those difficult ingredients. This led me to a few good options which included using powdered milk, soy milk, coconut cream, or even tofu with honey. I personally like the coconut cream idea best because it doesn't require any extra effort.

Anyway, with these recipes at my fingertips, I feel prepared to try my hand at some simple fudge recipes and see how it goes.

Here are links to some of those recipes:
The Best Holiday Fudge Ever, and It Just Happens to be Vegan

Easy Vegan Fudge Recipe

Vegan Fudge Recipe

Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Fudge

You get the idea.

Be well!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

More Food? Oh Yes...

Well this shabbos certainly was nice. We got a (relatively) last minute invitation to go to Mark and Frayda's house for dinner where I got to spend time with many of my friends and their adorable babies (and one terrifying gorilla). My friends have some really cute babies (and some freaky gorillas) and I honestly don't think that I could pick a favorite. Well, I could but it might offend people. I think my favorite baby at any given moment is the one that's smiling at me. It really is irresistible, isn't it? That precious little smile that babies have. I think it's because, unlike adults, when babies are happy it is real, pure happiness. There's nothing behind the smile except simple joy, and that comes through. Happiness that pure is bound to be infectious, and it just makes you all squishy inside.

For shabbos lunch, I had the honor of hosting Aviva, Andy and Yaella (and my brother). I made mac salad (my specialty), broccoli kugel (Jamie Geller's specialty), some delicious oven-baked schnitzel (an adaptation of my sister's specialty), and cholent (I'm sure it's someone's specialty). I also wasted much of my Friday afternoon making an eggplant dip (seen here) which tasted absolutely awful when it was done. I should have known it would be awful when I read the ingredients, but the picture they had looked so good. I've learned that this website often uses pictures of completely different things just to illustrate the basic idea of the recipe, so the picture was likely of some other eggplant related food. Oh well. Yaakov liked it, but no one else could really stomach it. It tasted vaguely like herring. Now I know and so do you. Aviva was wonderful enough to bring a cake which she made FROM SCRATCH! (That's right! No Dunken Heinz for her!) I was really impressed. So much so that I made her share the recipe with me. She also shared her challah recipe. Yay!

Well, since I had just gotten two new additions to my recipe collection, I decided it's time I started organizing them a little better. And since I wasn't feeling too great today, I took the immense amounts of free time I had to write some scattered tried and true recipes onto notecards and place them into the pages of a photo album which was given to me by my sister's good friend, Chana, for my wedding. The original intention had been to gather recipes from my friends and loved ones before presenting the recipe album to me, but people forgot to send back their notecards, so Chana had to improvise. This resulted in a pretty empty recipe book, and we figured I'd just add recipes as I went along. Anyway, today seemed like a good time to do it, so I did.

Well, that's pretty much all I've done this weekend. Be well, everyone. :)