December Grays

December is gray and dreary. It creeps in trailing vestiges of crisp autumn days and lingering aromas of Thanksgiving turkeys. It is dark here before 5 PM, and the sun does not reappear—when it does–until 7 AM. Thank goodness for central heat and electric lights! I understand the desire in previous centuries to conquer December’s gloom with Yule logs and candles. I understand the impulse to brighten the grays and browns of December with fragrant greens of fir and pine and the bright red of holly berries. I understand the requests for cinnamon and nutmeg scented treats, savory stews, and belly-warming drinks. I understand the wish for miracles to light the darkness of body and soul.

December is also the anniversary of my birth—yesterday. Some people with December birthdays feel that they do not receive a full birthday celebration in the midst of holiday celebrating. I look upon it as having extra days of celebration, and my birthday is simply one part of it. On Saturday, my husband and I went on a wine trolley tour of four South Jersey wineries. (We did this last year, too, and you can read about it here.  This year, my younger daughter and her boyfriend joined us, and we visited some wineries we had not been to before. It was a fun day, and I’m glad my husband and I got to share it with our daughter and her boyfriend. We laughed at the totally obnoxious group of women who drank vodka on the trolley and other drinks at our late lunch/dinner. (They sat at the bar; we sat at a table with a view of the lake.) Thank goodness, though they stumbled, dropped things, and yelled, they did not spill anything on any of us or vomit on the trolley. I can appreciate even small holiday miracles.

Enjoying My Wine at Heritage Vineyards

Enjoying My Wine at Heritage Vineyards

Yesterday, on my actual birthday, I spent the afternoon relaxing. In true crazy cat woman fashion, I sat in my bathrobe, ate the double chocolate cake my daughter had baked for me, and re-watched The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, as cats alternated cuddling and prowling about the living room. Then my husband and I went to see the next Hunger Games movie, followed by the now-traditional birthday meal at our favorite Indian restaurant. It was low-key, but fun.

As I get older, I realize it’s not presents that I desire so much (although they’re nice, of course). It’s the love of husband, family, and good friends that I cherish the most. It’s the desire to continue to be strong in mind and body, and to have warmth and cheer in the dismal grays of December.

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. My husband and I will light the candles, and I will think of miracles. One is that I am connected to everyone who reads this post. Time and space have been manipulated in ways our ancestors could never imagine. Peace on earth; goodwill to all.

And don’t forget to eat latkes. They’re a culinary miracle.

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For information about the Wine Tours see Vintage South Jersey.

Cultural Encyclopedia of the Breast Featured in Stuff Mom Never Told You

I’m so excited to find Cristen Conger of HowStuffWorks.com and StuffMomNeverToldYou.com posted a great video on breast size and stereotypes about women that features my book, Cultural Encyclopedia of the Breast. You can see it here.

Or on Upworthy

Feel free to circulate this everywhere. :)

And if you’re still looking for the perfect holiday gift. . .

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On Waiting

There are different types of waiting. There’s excited, anticipatory waiting—like waiting for Christmas to come. There’s the should-I-be-worried-waiting?—when it’s late at night and your child is still not home. You know, the two AM crazies? There’s the trying-not-not-to-think-about-it-and-so-it’s—all-you-can-think-about-anxious waiting as you wait for the results of a job interview or audition. There’s the even more anxious no-I’m-not-going-to-think-about-it waiting when you wait for the results of a medical test.

Waiting can be routine or boring—like in lines at the department of motor vehicles, grocery stores, or doctor’s office. Waiting can be totally exasperating—the “on hold” phone calls when you wait to be connected “to the next available representative.” A few days ago a friend told me of her recent experience in getting a new mobile phone plan. She said she became best friends with “Colin” after having to spend hours with him on the phone as they went through her records and various options as she disputed a bill and tried to get a new plan. She was relentless, however, and made herself French Toast and did laundry while she talked to him. She emerged triumphant from her long ordeal, as she wore down Colin and got the best possible deal. Hey, you do what you have to do! It’s possible I may have danced around my kitchen once or twice while on hold. Come on, who hasn’t done that?

I have to confess that sometimes I look forward to being in a situation in which I know I will have to wait–OK, NEVER those from hell on-hold phone waits—but maybe, for instance, waiting at a hair salon. That type of waiting gives me an excuse to sit and read a book and not have to do other tasks. When our daughters were little, I often read books to them at doctor’s offices, and we played games, too. My younger daughter loved to play a game she invented called “Fishies and Sharks.” It involved just using our hands to make the fish and sharks, and there were songs that the fish and sharks sang. I can’t say more, or she may never talk to me again.  When the girls were older, and I took them to piano and voice lessons, I always brought a book to read. They often read or did homework, as well, while they waited. Of course, the choice of books should be considered. I remember trying desperately not to cry or sob aloud as I read The Lovely Bones during one daughter’s piano lesson.  Yay books!

Although Kindles and other e-readers make it easier to have a book readily available, waiting areas of all types now make it more difficult to read because there are so many distractions. Apparently Americans can no longer wait anywhere unless we are entertained with televisions, music, and movie theater pre-show experiences—and of course, our phones. My husband and I usually arrive early at the movies. We always allow time for traffic problems, or sometimes we go out to eat first. I hate to rush in at the last minute and worry that we’ll not find seats or miss something. As a result, we’re usually there extra early, which does allow us plenty of time to buy cups of coffee. But we now also have to listen—or try to tune out–the totally inane shows that precede even the commercials and the movie trailers. Does anyone enjoy those “shows?” It was so much more pleasant when the movie theater simply played soft classical music or jazz before the movie started. (Sorry for getting dangerously close to a “good old days” rant. I apologize.)

Do you bring a book with you when you know you’re going to wait somewhere?  Do you ever have a problem deciding which book to bring?  Rory Gilmore on The Gilmore Girls always had a difficult time packing all of the books she wanted to read.

Kindles, Nooks, and iPads make it easier to carry many books with you, but you still have to decide which one you want to read. Do you text people or talk on the phone while you’re waiting? Do you play games? What do you do while you’re waiting? Inquiring minds want to know.

But–you don’t have to answer right away. I’ll wait. There’s a book I want to finish reading anyway.

See the Geese in Chevron Flight–I Wonder What They’re Saying

“See the geese in chevron flight flapping and racing on before the snow
They’ve got the urge for going, they’ve got the wings to go.”

–Joni Mitchell, “Urge for Going”

Early fall is generally beautiful here in southern New Jersey. The days are still warm, the nights cool, and the sky is a clear, vivid blue. Gradually over the next few weeks, as the daylight hours grow shorter, the sky develops a violet cast. Even days that are freakishly warm are somehow melancholy—the angle of the sun is wrong, the light is dimmer, and despite the temperature, nature whispers, “Winter is coming.”

A few days ago, just before Thanksgiving, I was awakened by the honking of geese as they flew over my house. It was probably about four o’clock in the morning. I dozed off again, and then as I awoke at my usual 5:15 AM time, they came back, honking so loudly that even the cat by my side was startled.

I wondered then—why are they so noisy? And why are they flying in the dark? And why do they like my house? Of course, I looked it up later (not the part about my house), and found mostly that scientists do not know a whole lot about the subject. I did discover that most birds call out as they migrate. Often we don’t hear them because they fly at night. Well, so much for the early bird. Or maybe the early bird gets the worm, but the late night bird gets the prime location? (Great view! Only a few predators!) I know that birds often call as they fly over our house and yard and around the bird feeder, but that’s just one isolated call—“great eats here!” Or “watch out for that hawk.” It’s not a group that’s migrating. But then I started wondering about words for collections of animals—you know, flock of geese, murder of crows. I remembered this video about a murmuration of starlings. If you’ve never seen it, it’s beautiful. It actually has nothing to do with birdcalls, but murmuration is a great word. So just go with it.

Now that you’ve been amazed, back to the geese. I found some information that suggested the V formation used by geese and some other birds is helpful both in orienting the birds and also in helping them to communicate. Apparently, too, the leader of the V changes, according to some unknown bird hierarchy or schedule. Personally, I think they draw up a daily or weekly chores list, a rota of routing, you might say (but probably wouldn’t).

But what do those honks mean? I do wonder what geese talk about as they fly. Those honks can’t just be random. (What me anthropomorphize? My cats do talk, don’t yours?) I imagine conversations like these:

“I’m the leader. I say we turn right at the red house to get to the lake.”

“Gabe, you’re wrong! Why won’t you listen to me?! Boy, I can’t wait till it’s my turn to be leader.”

“Well, it’s my turn now, so shut up, already.”

“Mommmmmm! I’ve got to go!”

“Just hold it a bit longer, Sally. We’re coming up to a good windshield. Wait for it. . .one, two, three, go!”

“That’s my girl. Your aim is getting much better! A double shot–windshield and car roof!”

“Oh, Sylvia. Did you notice how Frank can’t keep his eyes off of you? Didn’t you hear him honking at you?”

“I’m ignoring him; I’m not interested. His feathers are always dirty.”

“Gabe, I told you this was the wrong way. Now, we’re gonna have to turn around.”

“Shut up, Joe! I’m the leader for two more days!”

“Hey, Joe! Hey Gabe! Did you notice Sylvia looking at me?”

“Shut up, Frank. We’re busy looking for the lake. Sylvia’s not interested in you. Ewww– Don’t you ever clean your feathers? “
“Mom! Mom! MOMMMMMMMMMMMMM!”

“Sally, what’s the matter?”

“Are we there yet?”

I know nothing about birds—obviously–but how do you know they’re not having conversations like this? Listen closely the next time they come flying and honking over your house. You just might hear them in a whole different way.

****

Joni Mitchell’s “Urge for Going” is one of my favorite fall songs. Here’s a young Joni Mitchell performing the song.  Enjoy.

Why I Love Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving. To me, it has never been a holiday about shopping. It’s a holiday that’s all about food. And being thankful for food. And being thankful for having family and friends—with whom you can share food. Do you sense a theme?  It’s about sitting at the table, talking and relaxing over food and wine.

I love the scents that envelop the house as the turkey roasts and the gravy simmers. These scents evoke long ago memories of past Thanksgivings, or perhaps better stated, they evoke long ago feelings from past Thanksgivings, feelings of warmth, comfort, and joy. I don’t know why, but it makes me happy.

I love my crazy, dysfunctional family. I don’t care if there is stupid, family drama. I still love them and love having them here. I will try to remain calm if tempers flare. (And if not, there’s always more wine. . .and food. . .and chocolate.)

I love our family Thanksgiving traditions—our cranberry squirrel (you can read about it here), our breaking bread to make stuffing, and our having to eat the same food every year.

I will miss not having our older daughter here, but I am happy for her that she gets to spend Thanksgiving with her new wife, and I’m grateful that her in-laws are so welcoming. I am happy that our younger daughter will be with us again this year. I am thankful that my 92-year-old mother is still able to celebrate the holiday at our Thanksgiving table.

We are expecting a winter storm today. The rain is starting to pick up now, and it’s expected to turn to snow. I am thankful that my family is not traveling today.  For those of you who are traveling today, I wish you a safe and uneventful journey.

I know that many of my friends have lost loved ones, and I know Thanksgiving is a reminder of their loss. I am sorry, and my heart aches for you. Please know that you can call me, and that I will be thinking of you.  I know I will be in that situation some day. That makes me more all the more thankful for what I have now.

I know that many believe the world is broken. I have no answers. . .

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -

And sings the tune without the words -

And never stops – at all -

–Emily Dickinson

And what is a world without hope? I am thankful for hope and grateful for all those who strive to make the world a better place.

I am thankful to have submitted my latest book manuscript and that all my test writing assignments are completed, so now I can relax and cook and enjoy my family. I’ve done much of the Thanksgiving cooking already—breads are baked and in the freezer, soon to be thawed. Applesauce and vegetarian gravy are thawing now. My younger daughter and I will be baking and cooking today and tomorrow. My house will be filled with the scents of pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, onions, and turkey. I will break bread for stuffing with my daughter as we catch up on Scandal or binge watch The Gilmore Girls on Netflix. We will shoo cats away from the food, and we will not dare to set the table until the last minute. The house will not be spotless, but I won’t care. I will feel grateful for it all.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Thank you for reading!

Thanksgiving Cranberry Squirrel

Thanksgiving Cranberry Squirrel

The Phone Rings

The phone rang. It was my niece. Let’s call her . . .oh, let’s say, Hannah. That might actually be her name.

So this is our ritual—she calls me almost daily, usually around 6 PM, with that day’s problem or question. In fact, now if a day or two goes by and she doesn’t call me, I’m worried. And if I’m not home, she worries—because where would I possibly be? I don’t have a life. She never thinks to try my cell–which is good—because—Oh-My-God—what if I didn’t call or text her back? I mean, I’d obviously have my cell with me, right? I mean if I did go out? So she’d probably call my daughters and husband, and then the police. Because that’s the way we are. We’re chronic worriers, and if there isn’t something to worry or feel anxious about, then we invent something. I rarely call her because she doesn’t ever pick up, and when she does, she automatically thinks it’s an emergency and yells, “WHAT’S WRONG?”

So maybe we’re just a teeny tiny bit neurotic. We’re still loveable. Mostly.

By the way, I’m the calm one. That means I worry quietly.

Anyway, the phone call–

“Are you eating?” “No, I’m making dinner.” “Oh, Ok. I just have to tell you this real fast.” (The phone call will last about 45 minutes.]

“OK.”

“You know—I think you should write a blog post about my phone calls.”

I laugh.

“Wouldn’t it be entertaining?” she asks.

“Well. . .I couldn’t write about everything,” I tell her. She agrees—we wouldn’t want hurt feelings, or libel suits (assuming anyone reads this).

So today’s problem involves some lengthy, crazy emails she’s received—a postscript to yesterday’s call on the same subject. She needs to vent. I groan and laugh over the ridiculous things she tells me.

Secretly—well, I guess it’s not really a secret anymore—I love these phone calls. They bring connection and usually a laugh at the end of the day. My days recently have been spent mainly in front of my computer. Hannah’s phone calls are like a break from reality—although often rooted in family foibles, if not full-out family drama. It’s kind of like I’m suddenly in the middle of a sitcom, or perhaps an episode of Parenthood, her favorite show.

She warns me not to tell her any spoilers. Usually I’m the one who’s behind. We want to live in a Parenthood family compound, the one that I guess no longer exists on that show either, because there, too, life moves on, houses get sold, couples grow apart or together, family members get sick, and children grow up.

But back to the phone call. We discuss her oldest child growing up.

She called to him the other day, “Is that you?” “No,” he replied, “It’s the foreign exchange student.” Twelve-year-olds have their own sense of humor.

We discuss how much wine might be needed for Thanksgiving. It may require a lot.

“I have a new favorite cocktail,” she tells me. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem doable for Thanksgiving. But some other time. . .

Hannah’s husband calls to her, and my dinner is almost ready. “I’ve got to go. Love you,”

“Love you, too.”

I forgot to tell her about the apple cake I made today. The kind she likes. Oh well.

Until tomorrow night then. I’ll be waiting for your call.

 

5 Things I Learned While Writing World of the American Revolution: A Daily Life Encyclopedia

I’ve been in hyper-writing mode for the past few months. My days—and nights—have been consumed with writing. I would begin writing early in the morning, take a break to go to the gym (a spin class or boot camp class—something to make my heart pound and my body drip with sweat), and then go back to my keyboard for the rest of the day. Sometimes I stopped to make dinner; sometimes I didn’t. I didn’t do much of anything else. I didn’t want to stop to make phone calls or do the grocery shopping, or pay bills (OK, no one wants to do that anyway). Books and papers piled up around me. I have felt like I couldn’t pause or relax or do anything except write. In a strange way though, it has been exhilarating and empowering. I have never written so much so quickly. I amazed myself.  My feelings may change once I’ve heard back from my editor, but in the meantime, here are some other things I learned while working on this book—my tenth!

1. I’ve admired—and envied—my daughters’ ability to write quickly and well. I’ve seen my younger daughter write brilliant school papers in an hour or two–while watching TV and answering texts. Both daughters have written school and professional papers, blog posts, plays, and of course, the annual Passover skit for our family Passover dinner. Well, the envy is gone because now I know I can do it, too.

2. I’ve learned there is actually some scientific research that supports the idea that the more you write, the better you become at writing. You can read about it here and here.

My brain has been practicing quite a bit. I’ve even been having writing/editing dreams. What’s interesting to me is that they did not seem like anxiety dreams. They were more like my subconscious giving me encouragement. I was seeing eighteenth-century texts in my head, and Dream Me was kind of saying—“Hey, look at this.” Or, “remember to look for this tomorrow.” A couple of nights ago Dream Me even saw and read from Thomas Paine’s The Crisis, “These are the times that try men’s souls. . . ” I read much more to myself in the dream, as I saw the words on a page. I definitely couldn’t quote it to you now, but somewhere in my brain, those words exist. How weird! How wonderful! (Hmmm. . .maybe I do really know Italian, I just can’t remember it when I’m awake.)

3.  Dealing with contributors. Has anyone written a book on that?  I’ve edited four encyclopedia projects now, and two collections of essays, so you would think I’d know that contributors can be horrible and wonderful, but with this project I seemed to hit extremes at both ends. World of the American Revolution a much bigger project than others I’ve worked on, a fact that my otherwise wise and creative brain (see above) failed to recognize at the outset. With this book I had more contributors simply vanish into thin air after agreeing to write (and of course, they were usually the ones who insisted they could write many, many entries). I had others who thought plagiarizing was no big deal. Uggghhhh! I had a few who simply did not know how to write an encyclopedia article. Seriously, you’re an adult, I shouldn’t have to send you multiple e-mails telling you that you’ve missed the deadline, or explaining to you that you can’t plagiarize. If you agree to write article, write them, do them correctly, and get them in on time. If something comes up, then send me an email so that I know.  Really, I’m not your mom, and I shouldn’t have to nag you. (Not that I nagged my kids. . .much).

SOOOO. . . I had to write many, many more articles than I thought I would have to write.

However, I also had wonderful contributors who took on writing additional articles. And if any of them are reading this—a thousand thanks!

4. The bright side of having to write so many more articles myself? I’ve gained all sorts of fascinating knowledge about subjects I knew nothing about before starting this book. (Yes, I am a cockeyed optimist. See, I can’t even maintain my rant!) I’ve learned from reading articles, of course, but there’s something about researching and writing about a topic that makes it stick more firmly in my head.

5.Finally, I’ve learned that despite my best intentions, I am not an organized writer. This is what my kitchen table looked like.

My assistant sits on Mt. Chaos

My assistant sits on Mt. Chaos

Anne Lamott says:

“Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow (inadvertently, I’m sure) forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here — and, by extension, what we’re supposed to be writing.”

My philosophy? I aim for perfection in my writing, but it takes an enormous mess to get there.

So if I announce I’m going to work on a new project, please remind me of some things. Remind me that if the next project involves contributors, I’m going to be frustrated. I’m also going to be disorganized, even though I start out with lists, perfectly organized files, and good intentions. By the time I finish, my house will be a complete mess, and most likely I will be, too, but I will also feel that I’ve accomplished something remarkable. It’s an awesome feeling.

And now, I’m going to get started on Thanksgiving cooking!

Love and Marriage, Part 4: Sisters

As some of you know, I’m in crazy writing mode. I have a deadline coming up, and my life right now is writing and more writing with breaks for the gym and food. By sunset, which comes early now, I can barely form comprehensible sentences, and it’s time for dinner, a TV show, and bed.

BUT—this past weekend, I took a break for my little sister’s wedding. Our newly married daughter and her wife flew in for the weekend, and we went to a wine festival on Saturday,

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the annual Red Bank Battlefield (Fort Mercer) reenactment Sunday morning,

Red Bank Battlefield

Red Bank Battlefield American forces firing the cannon

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The charge by the British troops!

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A casualty of war

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and then my sister’s wedding on Sunday night. On Monday, my husband and I went out to lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant with my daughter and her wife before they flew back home.

My sister was my maid of honor when my husband and I married 36 years ago. I never thought I’d be at her wedding, standing at her side to witness her say her vow of love and commitment to her long-time partner in love and life. For over twenty years, she and her now wife have been together. They’ve built a life for themselves in their beautiful house with their two cats and a dog. My dad did not get to see this day, but he would have been thrilled and excited. My ninety-two-year-old mother was there, smiling—and dancing, too. I know this was an event she never thought she’d witness.

Some people would say I’ve been to two “gay weddings” in the last two months, but to me, they were simply weddings of two couples in love. One is a young couple just beginning their lives together, and one an established couple of many years, but they, too, are now newlyweds. My sister’s wedding was a joyous affair. As they gazed into each other’s eyes, my sister and my new sister-in-law said their vows. Family and friends surrounded them in a love cocoon from which they emerged transformed, married. We cried tears of joy, and laughed and cheered as they broke the glass.

Sunday morning had dawned blustery and cold. My daughter, her wife, and I walked to the battlefield. I’m writing an encyclopedia of daily life during the American Revolution—it was a weird and wonderful seeing people dressed in the clothing of the period I’ve been writing about. We took a tour of the Whitall House. I wondered what the strong Quaker woman who had lived there over two hundred years ago would have said about two women marrying. She was a woman who spoke her mind—I’ve no doubt that she would have had an opinion. Despite being morally opposed to war, she cared for wounded soldiers in her home. Perhaps she would have disapproved of a same sex marriage (a concept that she would not even have considered), but I like to think she’d recognize the love in the hearts of those committing to a life together. My daughter and her wife glow, and everyone around them feels their love. The beating of the drums that day on the battlefield marked the rhythm of soldiers and battles. The hearts that bled out that day—and stopped–had been hearts that loved and had been loved.

Sunday evening was filled with warmth. Hearts beat excitedly with anticipation and were filled with love. I got to see my sister married, something remarkable, simple, and profound.

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We’re excited and waiting for the wedding to begin!

New Review: Cultural Encyclopedia of the Breast

Forgive me for sharing another review of Cultural Encyclopedia of the Breast (along with the companion volume, Cultural Encyclopedia of the Penis). I value the reviews from academics so much, and I’m happy to see it has received great reviews from scholars. I hope they continue. But I’m thrilled to see this book also receive mass-market attention, as in really mass market, as in Playboy. I write academic history books and reference books; my books are typically reviewed in academic journals and more specialized sites. So I’m going to take my few moments of almost-fame and share this review with you.

“Readers of this magazine may be forgiven for thinking they know a thing or two about body parts. But with two new volumes, Cultural Encyclopedia of the Breast and its companion, Cultural Encyclopedia of the Penis, publisher Rowman & Littlefield shows there’s always more to discover. From the ‘divorce corset’ (an early-1800s device to lift and separate) to ‘magical penis theft’ (the superstition that a man could lose his member to witchcraft), we’re not ashamed to admit we learned quite a bit. . .”
–Cat Auer, Playboy

 
The Playboy article has a chart with some fun facts from the books, if you want to learn more. Or better yet, buy the books! (Wouldn’t they make fun coffee table books?) I just noticed Cultural Encyclopedia of the Breast is available on Kindle–so you can take it everywhere.
Thanks for reading!
–Merril

Apples and Honey

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Apples and honey

on the blue kitchen counter.

Round braided challahs,

waiting to be sliced.

Soup is simmering,

and tables cleared.

Preparation done.

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Guests arrive

in a swirl of

arms, legs,

hugs, and kisses.

Mom’s walker

appears

before she does.

I pull;

my brother gently pushes–

she’s in.

One cat dashes

up the stairs,

vanishing for the evening.

The other watches us

with his huge eyes—

What does he think as the

sun-dappled day turns

to cool moonlit night?

Try this wine.

You don’t like it?

No—

it’s like bubbly, sweet air.

My daughter and I look

at each other

and open the red.

 

Snapshots of a moment;

pause to remember.

 

Family and friends

around the table;

the symbolism of

the new year explained.

Pre-teen eyes roll–

when do we eat?

Golden pumpkin soup,

salad with pomegranate seeds,

noodle kugel,

brisket and chicken, too,

because. . .well, just in case.

If my stomach is any indication,

this is going to be a very good year!

Love and laughter.

That’s what holidays mean.

 

Kids scurry away from the table.

Talk of youthful “adventures.”

Kids return—

Ooops! Change the subject!

Change—

the subject now!

 

Laughter.

Mouths covered by hands.

They both do it.

Is it genetic?

 

Latin scrapbooks

and “Footloose” dancing

across wooden floors—

the innocent joys of

being high school nerds.

Own it.

But you were always

incredibly poised,

and wise beyond your years.

 

Apple Cake, Flourless Chocolate Cake, Baklava--Early Celebration requires extra desserts to ensure sweetness for the year! ;)

Apple Cake, Flourless Chocolate Cake, Baklava–Early Celebration requires extra desserts to ensure sweetness for the year! ;)

Desserts!

Yay!

Extra sweetness

for the new year!

More wine?

Coffee?

I can’t eat another bite.

 

Guests leave.

Tables back

to their usual spots.

No Disney dancing

cups or magic cleanup.

But wouldn’t that be great?

The vanished cat

runs down the stairs,

hesitates at the kitchen,

stretching his long legs–

he sniffs,

and yawns.

Did I miss anything?

Love and laughter.

The joy of a holiday dinner.

Snapshots of life.

Pause to remember.

I got special cards! <3

I got special cards! <3

 

Because of our schedules, our family gathered for a dinner to celebrate Rosh Hashanah early this year. Wishing all of you health, happiness, and sweetness for this new year–and throughout your years!