Friday, January 6, 2012

Makin' Challah, or, Challah Life with Jade

Remember that old SNL skit, "Makin' Copies?"

Well, this isn't that.

This morning I made challah.  It is one of the 3 special mitzvot dedicated especially for woman.  I most gratefully thank Leah Shemtov for teaching me, in conjunction with my own reading in the Spice and Spirit Cookbook (which phans so avidly refer to it as the "purple cookbook"  no joke), the specifics of how to carry out this very holy act which will bring great peace to one's own home and the world.

This is the dough at 8:08am this morning (see clock).  I mixed up the dough sometime in the middle of the night, around 2:40am perhaps.

This is the actual challah.  The word itself, challah, or in Hebrew lihafrish means "to separate."  So, this is the piece I pulled off of the main big batch.  Notice it is next to the big bowl in photo #1 as well.  This is just a close-up.

Next, you burn it to a crisp in remembrance of the destruction of the Holy Temple (Beit haMikdash) in Jerusalem.  It is a sign of being hopeful for the rebuilding of the 3rd Temple, a time of redemption.   I know this sounds very, very, very bizarro to the untrained ear and mind.  But I am starting to make more sense of this part of the holy act (that is, after all, one of the meanings behind the word mitzvah).  Just the fact that I have posted my challah making this morning tells me the time is closer.  We'll get there.

Unbaked, braided loaves

Paint with egg.  Thanks again to Leah Shemtov; this egg brush is a product of her most excellent program at the Chabad House of Stamford.   Notice also mama's last remaining purple nail polish from last week!  (mama being me, Loony)

Aw, sweet sweet boy. He is a yum-bun.
This, my phriends, is The Wolfman's Brother.  He is almost 4 1/2.  He is making a robot challah.

Said robot.  Pretty spacey, right?  Do you see the two eyes and the tentacles? Pretty out there and phunky!

And, ladies and gentleman, the Pièce de résistance...

Challah Life with Jade.  (sorta like Still Life With Apples?   Cézanne anyone?  Do you know that I *still* have never made it to the Getty, where said painting resides?  The Original Bandana Boy (in my own existence) lived right near there but at the time of our acquaintance it was either closed or we couldn't get tickets.)

In wanting to capture an artful look at my homemade challahs, I just "grabbed" (though it isn't nice to grab) one of Stango's jade plants on the windowsill.  But since nothing happens by chance and everything happens for a reason, I ask the Nunever to really think deep and hard at the fact that I just seemingly randomly took a Jade plant.  Indeed, I was in a rush as it is Friday morning and the last thing I should be doing is blogging about interconnectivity, blah blah blah.

It is weird, I texted Jade the other night after we saw her at the end of the NYE 12/31/11 show that I don't use Jade (I like using her real name but then again the name I call her by isn't her original anyway...and hey Nun, neither is yours!).  Ask her if I wrote something to that effect.

However, it seems apropos that I have a Jade plant and I do hope that Jade and the Nunever will make an appearance on the Whole Phamily scene because it pretty much seems like the stars are aligned.

No, I don't know much about astrology.  But I asked Schwee about it last shabbes.  He knows a lot, but women like Cute Indian Girl and PurpleGirl and other women out there know more.  I don't want to misrepresent him.  But he is a scientist and he believes in physics and formulas.  And yet, Schwee is pretty much out of this orbit.  PurpleGirl, do you remember at mine and Stango's wedding, the guys who were rapping the machetunim song?  Schwee is one of those dudes.  Really smart, really out there.  Really not intimidated by that stuff any more because we can all benefit.  I mean, the dude is an Argentinian (or I could sound highbrow and say Argentine) tango dancer!

Nunever.  Jade.  Like my Mid-century kitchen furniture?

Why it is important to remember a person's name.

Our new cleaning help has an unsual name and I am having a hard time remembering it.  Her name is spelled Atysha and pronounced "Ah-tee-sha."  For a week or so I thought it was "Akysha."  I also lost her phone number numerous times.  Call me a busy mama of 3, which is what I am.

Earlier today I picked up my kinderlach (Concealed Light, the Wolfman, and The Wolfman's Brother) at school and decided to finally be a bit more friendly than I had in the past with the new security guard.  After all, the school encouraged all of the phamilies to do so.  I am proud of their school for implementing a more rigorous security system.

So, I finally decided, what they heck, ask the young man his name.  It was Tevin.  Ok, easy enough to remember as I knew one Tevin growing up.

And now to the connectivity.

When Atysha told me her name later in the day, I tried explaining to her that I can easily remember her name now because she has a "T" in it and that Tevin starts with a T and both of these name-recall incidents happened on the same day.

I think I lost her.

She offered a simpler, more eloquent tool:  think of her name Atysha as rhyming with "teacher".

 I am looking forward to having Atysha here and hope she will do a great job helping me keep our home in order.

The Basketball Coach

Though I already wrote him a handwritten note, since this is the ultimate expression of class (which Derek Blasberg recently wrote in his book Very Classy (click on that link to the Washington Post review from 12/2/11) which my own mother reared me properly to do, I have to thank one person in particular for his role in this phishy journey.

PurpleGirl's brother (not blood brother but her soul brotha), The Basketball Coach, is a tall guy.  He is gregarious and a true mentch.  He also happens to be very tall and easy to pick out of a crowd.  So, over the years when I would go to shows and my heart would be pining for my dear soul sista PurpleGirl (because I knew she was at the shows but it wasn't our custom to make a plan to meet) I would keep my little eye out for the Coach.  

Because everything happens for a reason, I often spotted the Coach, and would ask him to lead me to PurpleGirl.  And that would happen over and over again.

Which leads me to remembering seeing the Coach in the Hartford parking lot a few years ago where I met the very holy M.C. and his kallah as they belted out "Rider" (if you ever see a very sweet, cute, petite, married mandolin-playing duo in Israel please say hello).  Seemingly out of nowhere runs along the Coach, and he is sending his regards to me.

Just about this same time is when I saw the mysterious purveyor (I say this because I haven't seen him again since then) who was selling the Mr. Snuffleupagus's sister (or cousin) Alice t-shirt that you will only find from him because he created it (and was a staple on Dead tour, but as I only saw them once, in 1994, yes, I am a late-bloomer but all in my right time, I never saw that shirt before or after).  I  have since asked the Coach numerous times if he sees this shirt to please get me one and I will pay him back.  So, all of you 5 faithful readers out there, if you see that shirt please buy me one and you will make Loony smile, smile, smile.

Coach, you is da bomb!  (I mentioned that good-ole phrase to my 2nd son the Wolfman the other night and he had no clue.  It was really sweet trying to explain it to him).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Old school 1970's sweatbands

You know exactly the type.  Either your dad or grandfather wore them to play tennis or to go jogging.  When I mentioned a couple of years ago that I think there should be a revival of them, I was strongly discouraged.  I thought they would be a good fundraiser for our local JCC, embroidered with their name.  But, we didn't have an investor or a plan of how to sell them, so the idea just fizzled out.

And then, boom, they show up on Phish dry goods, embroidered with Phish's name.

I still get the dour remarks, "Loony, no, please, don't do it."  "Loony, you will look ridiculous"  So, I heed the call of the fashion police and I don't wear them.

On 1st night's show there were a group of teenagers with one of the dads in front of us.  It was all their first show.  And the son was geared up in full regalia:  red & white headband, wristbands, and a red & white t-shirt where the image is of a bass guitar's head in white.  I complimented the dad and told him he should be proud of his son.  The teen was dressed quite tidily...proper I would even venture to say.

Here's what I have to say about tri-color sweatbands:

The are all the rage.

And when you rage wearing terry headbands at a show, they give you that rock-star-quality aura.

Mr. T...I certainly don't pity da fool

Of course I loved "The A Team" growing up in the 1980s, but I am not talking about that Mr. T.

Over the NYE run of shows, this holiday magnet card landed in my hands from a member of the Whole Phamily, Ms. A.  This is her son, let's call him Mr. (or, really, since he is a young boy, Master) T.

Thank you for this lovely message.  The dancing stars, the cute boy with the long hair (my very own Wolfman used to also have long hair), the purple.  Ms. A has known the original PurpleGirl for years and years.

However Reba and I were just having a discussion about how the classic "Happy Hannukah" has devolved into the more generic Happy Holidays.  There was a discussion on Kveller  regarding the sending of cards by Jews at this time of year rather than at Rosh Hashana, which is the more traditional time to send cards.

For Stango and I personally, we have made it a custom to follow the Jewish calendar and send out a card with a phamily photo in September.

By saying Happy Holidays, there is a watering-down of the message.

Trust me, Ms. A, I am not blaming you, it is just a sign of our culture.  Even my alma mater (for Junior year abroad), The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, sent out an end-of-year solicitation with the words "happy holidays" in the subject line. I was pretty appalled that an overtly Jewish institution would be so generic, but Stango justified it by stating they didn't want to offend anyone (particularly their big donors).

I fully understand that we all have phine phine phriends, many of whom don't celebrate Hanukkah and therefore why would I wish them a happy hanukkah?  Yet, on the flipside, pretty much everyone out there wishes everyone a "Merry Xmas."

Isn't that a double standard?

Time to step up to the plate as proud, educated and identified Jews!  You, Reba, are clearly one of them.  And how nice it was of you to order a Shabbes dinner for Phluffhead's dad who is currently hospitalized.  Can you pass on a refuah shlaima to him from Stango and me?

Reading Rainbow and LeVar Burton

Like many kids raised in the '80s, Reading Rainbow, the award-winning PBS show that encouraged children to read by mixing in great music, child book-readers, and funky animation, was a staple. More so for my sister, Reba, who was born in 1980, since this show began its run in 1983, and ran through 2006, but I enjoyed particularly the opening sequence. The song, sung so beautifully by an awesome soulful female vocalist, is ingrained in my memory forever.


 thank you for allowing me to post that YouTube. You get full credit for posting that on YouTube. It belongs fully to you. But all ideas going forward regarding why I am blogging about Reading Rainbow are mine.

 Further to Mr. Burton:  He is great, and yet I must admit I still have never seen Roots, which also made him famous. And I digress.

 Back to Reading Rainbow. What does this have to do with the WholePhamily? The first two nights of Phish's NYE run at MSG last week, December 28 and 29th 2011, I happened to visit one of my favorite tables as of late, the Waterwheel Foundation. Gotta give it to those guys for recognizing the value and need for such an organization within their larger for-profit venture.

 I love seeing what products are there. Last summer I saw a fantastic photo from their NYE show at MSG in 1995 when all of the huge white balls came down. I joked with the seller that it was all "about the visuals" (thank you Stango for feeding me those verbal ideas and so humorously, too). He laughed. But the price...$600 or so...I mean, for me personally I am not into Phish memoirbilia, though it was lovely to invoke that real experience I had (Mik the Fish and I sat directly behind the stage I think in section 69 and those huge balls all came rolling back towards us, it was really a sight to see).

 Back to last Thursday... I saw a phantastic sticker that said "Read the Book" with a rainbow underneath it. Clearly, if you didn't know much about Phishisms, you wouldn't get it. When I mentioned this to Stango he had no idea what the reference was. But if you have the cultural background, you know that it is a direct reference to LeVar Burton's Reading Rainbow, and you felt happy because it created a link between a happy childhood memory and the HPB

 aka the Helping Phriendly Book.

 At this moment I have Lizard's in my brain. Go figure  (hamayvin yavin...translated:  if you get it, you get it, more literally it means, "those who understand will understand"  If I could only say that about the 613, the taryag, then I would be getting somewhere.  Which reminds me of how much I LOVE seeing a Phish show at MSG and through the show glancing up about the stage at the Horowitz jersey...613.  Stango or Nunever said that this was likely done on purpose...I mean, it ***is*** New York, after all!  But at a Phish show, well...kal v'chomer, dude!!!).   I won't make you go searching...613 refers to the number of commandments in the Torah.  And taryag is the numerical when people refer to the 613 mitzvot, they will often say, "the taryag mitzvot."


Because everything happens for a reason, it is apropos that the particular link that I chose comes from a show that I believe I was at (I only doubt this because I am too lazy to see if they were in Amherst on 10/24/10 for just that one night or two) the way, what a terrific venue. Nunever, Stango and I truly had a lovely time at the show. Thanks Nunever for a smooth ride up to Northampton in your beemer station wagon which you know I love driving.

 Back to Gamehenge, it is a made up story, which I know indeed was a document written for a college paper (thesis, right?), but it is rooted in great truths (something like being a good person and always looking towards the light).

Speaking of truth, a big shout out to Brandeis University whose motto is "Truth, Even Unto its Innermost Parts."  As a Brandeisian, I can safely offer up a thank you to Louis B himself (pronounced Looey...again, hamayvin yavin) for being a Supreme Court Justice in the first place so the Jewish community could have a person after which to name a university.  And a phine university it is.  With most excellent research phacilities and phaculty.

Emet = truth

Oh, and a hearty mazal tov upon the recent appointment of the school's new president, Frederick Lawrence, and a baruch dayan emet to the family of Evelyn Handler, the school's 5th president who was niftar in a fatal car crash.  See, President Handler, despite the fact that you succeded in getting the Hebrew letters that spell emet off of the school's crest in the 1980's (they were later reinstated.  I mean, c'mon, even Yale has Hebrew on its crest.  It is a classic language!), as Jews we still respect our tradition when you are gone and include that word when acknowledging your passing into the next world (is it olam haba when you die?  I do not have the answer to that, but I think not.  Not until moshiach comes.  Oh, right, yes I forget, t'chiat hamaytim.  So, indeed, yes Mrs. Handler you are simply in another place right now.  Who knows, maybe you are kvelling over me right now because I am the only person who has chosen to include you in her blog  And what a blog this is, all the cool kids who drink yummy juicy beverages and Kool-Aid like to read this.  But in Loony's case, it is actually the real Kool-Aid (which I won't drink any more due to food coloring.  Actually, that isn't so true.  I would still drink it.  Just as a special occassion type thing), but not the Timothy Leary type.

Back to the song Lizards, "The trick was to surrender to the flow" always gets a big cheer, but in real life I would say to go with the flow, and just always go with it.  That is what the original PurpleGirl encouraged me to do (I say original because you have many women at shows who like to wear purple, which I think is so terrific, but there is only one and one and only original PurpleGirl at Phish shows.

And she is my very, very , very, very, very, very good phriend.  Yep, we go wayyyyyyyy back.  This is true!

 Though I do give a big shout out to Mik the Fish for schooling me in the wonders of The Color Purple.

(not to be confused with the film that Oprah and Whoopi Goldberg star in)

By the time Saturday night rolled around and Stango came to that show, I wanted him to come with me to the Waterwheel table, and lo and behold, no stickers left (I was so willing and ready to purchase one for the Odyssey). They were donated by someone to Waterwheel and were being sold for $5. Great, awesome, but ya know what, I didn't need that anyway.

The WholePhamily's stuff isn't being donated to Waterwheel, sorry folks.  But (shameless shameless plug here...) we can trade our swag for laminates  (yes, a girl can dream, right?  As if!  I mean, that is the type of thing for very important people type stuff and who am I if not l'il Loony)  for me, Nunever, Stango, Reba and Phluffhead (since they are so central to the WholePhamily despite the fact that Reba thinks I am totally off my rocker for talking on and on about the ganse mishpucha at shows.  Actually Stango does, too.  And Nunever.  ok, ok, yeah, this is all going way too far.  Truth be told, I uttered not *once* about this concept during the NYE run, since I really don't want to get into anyone's faces and I know everyone is there just to have a real good time.  But for all intents and purposes, that is my real family at the shows.  Even though Nunever and I aren't blood, we are like brother/sister.  And not like I call Reba and Phluffhead that in real life, and anyone who knows about the Stango-Loony affair knows that when Stango was only Stango it wasn't really a good thing, yet.)

But, as I determined in the middle of the night last night  (indeed, I am writing this on less than 2 hours sleep last night, and I realize of course that I am sacrificing my family's needs right now by blogging and not doing the stuff I need to get done, now *that* isn't good, is it?), I would really be super satisfied if my laminate was numbered 127, as that is a very special number to me very near and dear to my heart.  I know this is a really tall order so if I am being totally high maintenance right now, I will tone it down a few notches.  Okay, okay, it really doesn't have to have that number.  But wouldn't that be fun?!

Oooh, which reminds me, did you see me wearing my purple fleece "fun hat" at the show the other night?  What a score that was from Amsterdam in 2002 (my 30th birthday/1 year anniversary trip with Stango, and boy, what a trip that was!  Life changing in certain ways.  That's where we met the Ninja Rebbe.  But about him another time...)

Next time you're in Syracuse, go visit 127 Fayette Boulevard.  You will start to begin to understand some of the connections.  (just remind me that it has to do with sarah imeinu)  As well as my own mother Soroh Gittel herself [hi mom!  Don't you have mah jongg today, or is that on Tuesdays?  I can't really remember your schedule, sorry! ]

I decided last night that when I get together the swag for the WholePhamily, I will be keeping it close to my own ganse mishpucha (though Reba has stated she doesn't wear shirts to a show as a crew, and I agree this is not really my style either; I was never one to want to draw attention to myself), because I must admit,  it is a pretty darn good idea.

If you are a Phishhead.
And you are a phamily person.
Who likes to say phantastic and outrageous..
And the Phliers. (ok, ok, I know it is Fliers)
And is philosophical.
And phriendly.
and phirst and phoremost,
   an honest and decent human being who wants to do good, be good, follow the derech ha tov  (the good path), and be modest while being clear about her point.

Talk about verbosity!

So, here's what I have to say to you, Title 17 of the United States Code: Phishheads have disregard for you in the lot scene/popular culture element of seeing shows. (I really didn't want to have to elaborate here, but to clarify, we are referring to Copyright law.)  And that is all good because without that we wouldn't have a forum where the ideas can flow freely and disburse throughout the world.

 But not Loony. My idea I will be carrying out asap and I will own it and wear it proudly.  But maybe just around town.  Or, even better, if we can lobby Stango and the Nunever to go to Mountain Jam, that would be the place to debut the shirt in public.  Cuz me really has been jonesin' to get a karma wash!  That looks fun and good for the kinderlach, too!

Heady lot shirts

All you Phishheads know that a certain segment of the culture at shows is the creative t-shirts that people wear.  A mocking reclamation of corporate America, the shirts often display common brand images that have been morphed into insider song references.  Like Art Spiegelman's Wacky Packages created for Topps Bubble Gum, they are meant to be humorous and fun.  The difference is that Wacky Packages were mainstream as well as very dark.  You  could go into any place where they already were selling baseball cards (in my case, it was Cedar Heights Variety store...I still remember that blended smell of tobacco and gum and walking on a hardwood floor) and get Wacky Packages.  Shirts aren't generally sold in any commercial venue.  And Wacky Packages were warped and weird...dare I say they were wacky.  Phish lot shirts are more fun, light, and happy, happy happy.  

Unless you look carefully, you probably don't even realize that a Phish t shirt is different than the original.  Sure, it is in clear violation of Title 17 of the United States Code, but who the heck really cares?  The big corporations have bigger phish to phfry than to go after those folks who created the "YEM" t-shirt that looks like the IBM logo.  But, you still won't be able to see it or buy it online because we be smart pholks and know that would be pretty darn silly to post online!

It is all in good fun and happiness, and chances are that those YEM shirt wearers are big fans of International Business Machines, or more likely their own fathers worked for big blue and enabled them to have a nice house in Larchmont which enabled them to get into a good school which enabled them to be enabled and enabled and enabled and fall into listening to Phish (because most likely they were a huge computer nerd or stats guy or sports fan who by their very nature are stats guys) which led them to love You Enjoy Myself (because of course when you are in Florence and visit the Uffizi you are happy to know you know this song...or the flipside could be that you , and this would be my own personal experience, had visited the Uffizi during college and had no clue about this song at that time, and only later did you learn the song and come to appreciate its funniness).

I must admit that a very fun past time of mine over the years has been to observe all the variety of shirts out there.  I am not alone in this brother in law told me of an awesome shirt riffing on the Re/Max logo which has the familiar hot air balloon with the word Reba in it.  Only a phan would get that.  (Reba is a Phish song)

This is not unique to Phish:  The Grateful Dead also had its own t-shirt culture.  My very own husband, Stango, had a shirt based on the song "Cosmic Charlie" which featured Snoopy and Charlie Brown.  After viewing its stained pits and holes, I decided that it was worth a shot on selling on ebay, and somewhere around 2002 I sold it to a person in Japan for somewhere around $75.  Yes, for a stained-pit t-shirt.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Here comes the bride, all dressed in white

This wedding in Israel has a grooving, moving vibe.  Check out what looks like was a raging party.  The blend of the American and Israeli influence here can be heard through the music and seen through the people.

What a beautiful couple!

Mazal tov to your whole phamily!

p.s.:  I don't know the names of the artists singing, but it sounds like Aron Razel...please correct me if I am wrong.

Maui X-Mas

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know that December 25, 2011 is now long past, but if you still are in the holiday spirit you will be 100% entertained by Jeremy Safron's latest and greatest.

For entertainment sake, Mr. Safron is fully there, but if you start to think about it on a deeper level, there is much greatness to his message. Spread more rainbows, remember the promise, and always smile, smile, smile. Oh, and of course always Speak Nicely.

Surely, Mr. Safron is somehow familially connected to Jonathan Safran Foer. Oy, still must finish Eating Animals.