Thursday, October 06, 2005

Better Than a Poke in the Eye with a Sharp Stick

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The title of this post refers to something my husband always says when there's a choice to make. If we decide on the first alternative instead of the second, he might say this. If things don't go as planned, he might say this.

And today I say it.

At 5:45 a.m. I was lying on my daughter's bed; sometimes she requests that I lie with her, and of course, I fall asleep. She was pulling the covers and kicking them off at the same time and I turned around to look at her and see what was going on. And then I got it: THWAP! Poked in the eye. The pain was instantaneous and my hand went to cover the eye. I ran out of the bed and ran into the master bedroom, crying from the pain and unable to catch a breath to speak. My husband who woke up kept asking, "What's wrong? What happened?" And I couldn't get the words out. Finally between large gulps and sniffles I told him and he immediately made a compress to put on my eye.

I have, thank G-d, a high threshold of pain I believe (natural childbirth 3x; no painkillers after root canals and other minor surgeries), but this pain and the pressure behind the eyeball was almost intolerable. What was worse was that exactly two weeks ago, my co-worker somehow managed to scratch her cornea with a paper towel, and I had a feeling I had done the same to myself.

For an hour I couldn't open my eye, my nose was running like what, my eyes were tearing like what. It was like I had a severe cold, sinus infection and allergies rolled into one. But I knew I had to get to work and then see what to do: try to get an appointment with my eye doctor or go to a walk-in medical clinic. I chose the former and later in the morning, managed to book an appointment for this evening.

At first the discomfort and pain were tolerable, but then throughout the day at various intervals, the nose and eyes started running again, and I was blinking incessantly. Imagine when you wake up with that gritty, sandy feeling in your eyes; now imagine an entire sandbag has been dumped in your eyes, and someone is pushing your eyeball from behind, to boot! That's the pain I was having.

Driving home was murder; the sun was glaring in the west, in the direction I had to travel. Even with my sunglasses and the sun visor down, any time the sun hit my eyes, my vision blurred up with tears and pain.

Well, I just came home from the opthomologist. And I am a Moshe Dayan wannabe with an eye patch -- flesh tone, not black, thank G-d. Yes, that THWAP! in my eye managed to cause an abrasion. The doctor put an ointment in the eye, patched it up so it wouldn't get infected with bacteria, and tomorrow will check it out.

To drive with an eye patch (at least in my eyes-- yes the pun was intended!) is rather difficult; to keep the eye closed under the eye patch is rather difficult. To type this post is somewhat difficult.

My daughter kept apologizing profusely for what she'd unknowingly and unintentionally done, and even called me on the cell this a.m. as I drove to work, giving the first apologies. (when she woke, my husband told her what happened; she'd slept through all the medical drama) When I came home from work, she gave me more apologies and countless kisses. When I got back from the eye doctor, there were more of the same. And my youngest wondered aloud if with the patch I now qualify to be "a pirate."

Yes, this was a mishap, and thank G-d it wasn't worse. Because a poke in the eye with a finger or fingernail is ... as I said when I started this post: "Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick!"

A Yom Tov Heat Wave

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"We're havin a heat wave
A tropical heat wave
The temperatures rising..."

One would think that October brings a crispness to the air, a cool breeze, the need to wear a light sweater when outdoors...

Yes, one would think. BUT NOT THIS PAST YOM TOV!

Rosh Hashana was sweltering hot -- whatever new wool suits and wool hats women bought for the chag, had to be stored for another time. The straw hats came back out, the lightweight, light-colored suits and shoes came out of storage to make appearances.

It took me 30 minutes to walk to shul. It took me 40 minutes to recuperate from that 30-minute walk.

My parents came for lunch the first day. My mother was wearing a dark pinstripe wool dress, my father was in his dark suit. I said, "Ma, just looking at you makes me hot." She and my father told me how their shul was FREEZING!!! In the winter it's freezing 'cause they cut back on the heat, during the High Holidays it's freezing 'cause they cut back on the heat...and put on the air-conditioning.

As my daughter and I walked home together yesterday from shul, we played a game. I said, "I'm sweating like a...." and she filled in the blank. We went through the roster of family members, including cousins and uncle and aunt that were expected for lunch. Interesting how all her answers seemed to have some form of the word "fire" in it. I don't sweat like fire, but I sure was hot like it!

A summer heat wave for Rosh Hashana could very well become a cold snap and a need for ski jackets when sitting in the sukkah in a couple of weeks. Maybe it won't be Marilyn Monroe singing in the background, "We're having a heat wave..."; maybe it'll be some MGM musical actress singing "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow..."

The Yummy Awards

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So...we have the Emmy Awards, the Grammy Awards, the Oscars, the Soul Train Awards, the RITA Awards...and I now declare the grand prize winner of the 2005 Yummy Awards: TorontoPearl's husband.

This past Yom Tov, we hosted ALL the meals at our home; the number of guests ranged. Five in our family plus: one guest on Monday night, four guests for Tuesday lunch, six guests for Tuesday night and eight guests for Wednesday lunch.

When you host so many guests, many of them children, you need to offer a variety of foods. We like to refer to these days as "marathon eating" days, or as I wished a fellow blogaholic, a "happy foodfest!" She was going to have 27 people at one meal, but thank G-d, it was to be a potluck meal -- 27 people at one meal can either be a grand success or a dismal failure, and I give her credit for even having so many people sit at one or two tables. If it were in my home, I think the meal would end up like a meal that I used to have in the hotels in the Catskills or Florida: some of the guests would be at the first sitting for dinner, other guests would show up for the second sitting!

In any case, let me get back to my situation, my menu and my husband, the recipient of the Yummy Award.

Mr. TorontoPearl has a knack for easily finding his way around the kitchen; while I'm still reviewing the ingredients necessary for a recipe, he's already whisking, or chopping, or pureeing those same ingredients. He is quick, he is able, and he's g...o....o....d!!!

As I'd been busy for the past several weeks with freelance projects, yet had had the "brilliant" idea to invite countless people for Yom Tov, and the holiday was nearing, something had to be done. So hubby took the bull by the horns, started to plan menus, which we debated at great length in between my tackling a manuscript on Yiddish curses, and a manuscript on Reform Jewish identities and affiliation with a particular synagogue. As we debated the menus, I threw out some of those newly learned curses, and but then decided that if hubby was going to help me prepare for the chag, maybe it wasn't such a grand idea to want to reform him or his meal suggestions.

But variety, variety, variety was to be the key. And variety means several choices. And hosting four major meals means not wanting any repetitions. And not wanting any repetitions means lots of dishes that need to be housed in the refrigerator. And two full-size refrigerators and a bar fridge means learning to stack your dishes. And stacking your dishes means labeling them first so you know what's under all that aluminum wrapping.

So in one breath I will tell you some of our -- "our" meaning mostly hubby's prepared -- menu items. Chicken soup. Chicken soup with matzoh balls. Chicken soup with homemade kreplach. Broccoli-leek soup. Ashkenazi gefilte fish. Moroccan fish balls. Middle-Eastern eggplant. Orzo salad. Green salad. Meatballs. Turkey schnitzel. Honey-mustard chicken. Turkey legs. Barbecued chicken. Sweet-sour stew. Brown rice. Roasted potatoes. Honey cake. Chocolate cake. Apple cake. Brownies.

We even came up with a food-related joke. One of our meals had several dishes that used cumin to flavor them. It was decided that Sephardic cumin is the new Ashkenazi cinnamon.

In any case, my hubby is the master chef; I'm the sous chef. He prepares many dishes. I wash many dishes. He gets the Yummy Award; I get to eat everything yummy.

And best of all, we have enough food left over to feed a small army, to sustain us through most of this month's chagim, if not at least a couple more Shabboses.

Of course, after all the chagim are over, it's probably to be the diet route for us. Hmmm...wonder what goodies hubby will think up for our menus then. Water with ice. Water with slice of lime. Or maybe our intended diet will just be "food for thought"!