Time is just FLYING over here. I'm sorry I haven't updated much; I have been crazy busy since leaving the paper. I really didn't expect things to pick up this much this fast, but I am most definitely not complaining. :) Plus, the sun has been shining, and Joel and I are spending a lot of time outside... WORKING ON THE LAWN. I know! Who are we?
Truth be told, it sounds hopelessly suburban of us, but actually, the yard looks like crap. The house sat empty for two years and no one paid much attention to the lawn. We have grubs, apparently, and they've eaten large swaths of grass. The goal is not to make it look like a suburban shrine to carefully cultivated landscaping but rather to make it look... well, like Not Crap. The studio/my office seems to have two modes these days... pristine or hovel of a crazy woman. There's not much in between, but the goal for the front yard is more balanced than that.
Still with the warm weather, longer days, constant flow of freelance work and freedom from the impending doom of the newspaper industry, I feel positively giddy. I'll post photos from Easter later this week, but for now I'll just say that this photo of my sister's dog pretty much sums up my mood right now. Like Jackson, I'm spending a lot of time playing with Bella and there's a new spring in my step.
Joel and I went to Lancaster for Easter, after my first half-hearted attempt at a mini-seder on Friday night. The Shiksa does Passover! I had almost everything all planned out or prepped ahead of time. I was on my way out the door to pick up the shankbone for the seder plate when I got a call for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. I rushed back home, got my camera gear, changed out of my "I've Been Working on the Lawn" clothes and told Joel dinner would be an hour later.
I ended up doing "heat an serve brisket" from the fancypants grocery store with the delicious ready-to-eat options (Think Dorothy Lane Market, Wegman's, or Stauffer's on a really good day) I had to substitute romaine lettuce hearts for horseradish for the maror, and I bought the cheaty-cheaterson, pre-washed, pre-grated carrots. The matzah balls came from a jar, but it was a jar of deliciousness. Also, I made ham and eggs for my mother-in-law (who is totally reading this and was very worried that I hadn't updated in nearly three weeks- hi Mom! :) Also, it helps that she likes baked ham served cold and the eggs to order were sunnyside up: easy peasy.
So yes, I ended up cheating on the meat course for my first seder, but Gwen made me feel infinitely better on the phone- "If Angie only warmed up the brisket, and hadn't also provided ham for Joel's mom, it would have been enough. Dayenu!" :) My father-in-law really, really appreciated it, which was nice. Joel's dad's particular commitment Judiasm perplexes me, in a way. He never attends services. He doesn't read Hebrew. He got confused at Hanukkah and thought THAT was the holiday people opened the door for Elijah last year, but he keeps strictly kosher at Passover and always has. When it comes to Middle Eastern politics, Isreal is right. Period. He was very hurt that we didn't get him a Passover card the first year Joel and I were dating, which I didn't really think was, like, A THING. (As I understand it, it isn't for most people generally, but I haven't forgotten since). He insisted Joel and his brother be bar mitzvahed, but didn't care at all that our wedding was a Catholic/Jewish/New Age-y fushion as long as he and Joel's mom got to walk him down the aisle.
Still, on Friday night when we all broke off a piece of the matzah, and he made a little sandwich with the charoset- one thing I did make from scratch- he closed his eyes and said it tasted exactly right and thanked me for evoking a very happy memory. We didn't have haggadahs or do anything formal, but when I asked if we could all just take a moment and remove a drop of wine from our glasses for each of the ten plagues, he said, "I'm with you, kid!"
He did ask if he could say a blessing over the wine, the first Hebrew I've ever heard him recite from memory. When I busted out dessert- Easter cupcakes for me, Lyse, and Joel, and an entire box of jelly rings for Marty, he positively beamed. "You were raised right!" he said, and somewhere both my mom and Gwen's mom (my Jewish mother of the heart) are rippling with pride. Even if the matzah balls came from a jar.