Friday, December 15, 2006
The Princess has been beside herself with excitement over the past few weeks and can hardly believe that finally finally Chanukah is here. What she doesn't yet know is that she'll be getting her very own ladybug menorah which she's been coveting for weeks. We begin our celebration this evening and I've been cooking non-stop for the last 24 hours: brownies and Meyer lemon sables for a bar mitzvah tomorrow, a cheese ball for tomorrow evening's Chanukah party, and tonight's dinner: challah, purple cabbage salad, a green salad, cheese sambusak (pastries with a spinach-feta filling), potato latkes with homemade applesauce and sour cream topped off with a marbled chocolate-orange cheesecake. Whew! Luckily for me, I wasn't alone in the kitchen. MonkeyBoy did a great job on the cabbage salad, and I got to visit with not one but two good friends who had warm drinks while I braided challah, sauteed spinach and occasionally even washed a dish. The weather was completely psycho--bright sun one minute and dark, icy skies the next. It's been a good day.
Chanukah, like so many winter holidays, is about light. There's fried food, the triumph of the underdog, and miracles too, but today I'm mostly thinking about the light. One of my oldest and dearest friends mentioned how the darkness and gloom this time of year really affects her. The sun gives her energy and makes her feel positive but the lack of light really seems to darken her days in more than in the obvious sense. I see these gloomy days as nothing so much as an excuse to drink rum-laced eggnog and knit, but I think I have a sense of the feeling she describes, though I don't seem to crave the sun in the same way. What lights up my life are all the dear ones who bless me with their presence: my kids, my dear friends, my sweetie, even my nutty-but-affectionate cat. On the eve of the holiday I find myself counting my blessings for I am indeed blessed. All this love and latkes, too. What's not to be happy about?