Thursday, December 20, 2007
He is taking band in Middle School and as I have mentioned before, his instrument is the trumpet. He has come long way the past few months and is slowly able to play recognizable tunes. He is getting a feel for his instrument, which is remarkable because of all the mucking about his Orthodontist is doing.
Last week was the the Middle School Winter Concert. We turned out in force for the event. This was a far happier occasion for us compared to the last time Jake was in a concert. (That was for the Pyramid concert and I'm still irked over that one.) His attendance was mandatory, but it is part of the whole band thing and we fully expected it. Oh and the good part, it's free.
Anyway, we showed up at the appointed hour and shooed Jake off to the band room.
The concert was divided into three sections. First up was the Beginning Band students followed by the Intermediate Band and then the Advance Band rounded out the evening. Below is the first song played by Jake's group.
They did a good job. The band is clearly at the beginning level, but they were able to stay together. I think it is a remarkable performance considering they all starting playing their instruments for the first time just a couple of months ago. And I think quite a few students didn't even know how to read music. If you are interested the other three songs played by Jake's group were Cardiff Castle, Ode to Joy and Holiday Sing Along (with a guest vocals supplied by Rebecca!).
It will be fun to see how much they progress at the next concert.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Like tonight, I am baking a cheesecake to drop off at school tomorrow, it's for some sort of teacher/staff appreciation thingy. I *thought* I had all the ingredients on hand and that's why I volunteered to make my basic cheesecake. Note the thought. I sort of had everything, I was just shy 1/4 cup sour cream. It's late, its cold outside and I just plain don't want to go. So I haul out my cookbooks to see how I can make do. It's sour cream and I've got the cream, how hard could it be?
It turns out not very hard at all. One quick substitution was 3/4 cup oh heavy cream with 3 to 4 drops of lemon juice. Add the lemon juice and let sit for 30 to 40 minutes. It basically worked and I was able to finish the cheesecake. Whoo-hoo substitutes! I get to stay in.
Friday, December 14, 2007
We had gotten Crunch in January of 1993. We wanted another dog and we thought Rally would like the companionship. He just kind of fell into our laps. His breeder had called us wondering if we were still looking for a dog. I had spoken with her months earlier when we were first looking, but she had nothing to offer at the time. Apparently I had made a good impression and when they had decided that it was time to place "Nestle" they gave us a call.
Because of Crunch, Dianne (his breeder), became a very good friend. She then pointed me in the direction of the local dachshund club and I made a lot of friends in the "dog world." The local club was and still is very performance oriented and it was a given that if your dog had any talent in the field you should try to put a Field Championship on it along with a bench or rather show Championship thus earning the dog the title of Dual Champion. Crunch was a natural in the field, his only problem was the extreme difficulty I had in getting him back. He was notorious as the dog that would take off when the judges would ask for the handlers to pick up their dogs. His saving grace was his unfailingly happy demeanor and the fact that anybody could pick him up. Everybody loved Crunch because he loved everybody.
As the years slipped by I would occasionally bring Crunch out to show. He loved going to shows and always put on a good show. At the tender age of 11 1/2 he sired his first litter and a few months later John, his son, came to live with us. When Jake turned 10 we got him a Junior Handler number and he would take Crunch into the ring while I showed John. Crunch was very happy with his new career and was very patient with Jake. But I could she he was starting to fade.
But then at the end of summer Crunch started to falter. He wasn't as sure on his feet and his nose started to bother him. It looked like him had a nasal tumor. We never got a definitive diagnoses, because it would mean sedating him and the last time we did , about 8 months previously, it took 4 days for him to recover. I promised him I wouldn't do that to him again. At 15 he was too old. Then he stopped wrestling with John and not long afterwards to eat. I was able to tempt him along for a while, but in the end it was time.
The last picture was taken a few days before his final trip. He was my dog and always loved to be in my lap.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I know Nate would love it if John could spend the night with him, but it's not an option. I like to keep the upstairs as doggy free as possible because of allergies. Also John at 3 and 1/2 is still a fairly destructive dog. He is much better know, but he still chews up the occasional toy and blanket. I'd hate to see what would happen if he was left to his own devices over the course of the night. So Nate will just have to settle with his cuddle sessions downstairs.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I hope you all who celebrate Hanukkah had a joyous Festival of Lights. I would also like to share one more thing. It's a video I found over at YouTube and it's a really rockin' little tune that celebrates the Festival of Lights.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
He brought it in to school last week and it was a very popular item over at the reading corner. Everybody loved to play with it. Max's favorite part is the teddy bear, I think the other kids liked the dreidel.
This is one of little treasures that we all look forward to seeing again each year. It has held up very well, the only damage so far is to the latkes. John nibbled the edge, so it is a bit ragged. Max's teacher thought it was pretty funny when I pointed it out to her.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Sunday, December 09, 2007
On Friday we lit the candles before we went out for dinner. We lit them just before Shabbat simultaneously with Meryl. We had our phones on speaker and recited the blessings together. It was a fun way to do things. Anyway back to dinner,I have a long standing policy that no one should cook dinner on their birthday. I picked the new Japanese restaurant, Kabuki, in our area. It was quite an experience. It was theater in the round. Parties of up to ten people are seated along three sides of a grill with the chef mans his position at the fourth side and does a knife and fire show while cooking your dinner. We all loved the food and Jake commented that "you don't get bored while waiting for your food." We will definitely be going there again sometime in the future. It's nice when we can add a new restaurant to our rotation.
I decided since we have a plethora of candles courtesy of Hebrew School that we should fire up both menorahs. They put out a fair amount of light and everybody got to do something. The dynamic duo got to select and put in the candles and the other two got to light the candles.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Anyway about the third day's menorah. It's actually a box of chocolate gelt that you open up one candle for each day of Hanukkah. It was given to the kids from their Aunt Meryl. We of course opened the whole thing up and distributed the chocolate, two pieces per child. This was very popular with the under 12 set.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Anyway the Hanukkah Fairy made a reappearance today. I brought this particular menorah into Rebecca's class today along with candles, a book selected by Rebecca and a handful of dreidals. The book was Hanukkah! by Sarah Freedland and illustrated by Sue Clarke. It is a gorgeous book with rich illustrations and pop-ups. It does a good job describing the meaning of Hanukah and was appropriate for Rebecca's class.
Rebecca was utterly delighted that I came in to read today. As Larry observed, when she is very happy her whole body smiles and when I walked into her classroom I got a whole body smile. The class was attentive and I think they really enjoyed the book. They loved the dreidals and they were all fascinated by the menorah. They wanted me to light the candles, but sadly we are not allowed to light candles in the classroom. Which, when you think about it, is not a bad rule. Open flames and twenty 5 to 6 year old kids don't really mix.
I had a great time and I think I was able to spread a little bit of light on the Festival of Lights.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Last night was the start of Hanukkah. We had latkes and the requisite arguing over the menorah. This year it was over who's candles we should use. Max, Rebecca and Nate all got a package of Hanukkah candles at Hebrew school on Sunday. Nate had brought out his candles and was just putting them in the menorah when Rebecca rushed over and burst into tears. She really wanted us to use her candles first. Nate, a bit puzzled over the fuss, was a gentleman and let the girl have her way.
I didn't take a picture of the candles in question, I thought it was better to show the hero of the moment with our fabric dachshund menorah. Nate brought it to school and one of the big questions was "Why is the dog's back on fire?" His answer: "It's not on fire, those are candles."
Anyway, he packed it up and brought it home yesterday and in the picture he is getting ready to bring it back to school.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
I sent a note to Max's teacher today about Hanukkah. He is the star of the week and I thought it would be a good idea for him to bring in a menorah to share with class since Hanukkah starts tonight. I gave his teacher my email addy so we would not be dependent on the vagaries of a 6 year old to deliver notes back and forth.
This email popped up in my inbox a few hours after I got the kids off to school:
Hi Mrs. G.!
We have been talking about Hannukah this week and asking Max a lot of
questions:) I have some books but I would love to have Max share a
menorah! And if by any chance you have a driedel that the kids could pass
around that would be great. I have a couple but for whatever reason I
can't find them --- I'm sure that I will find them in Jan!
Thanks so much!
No problem, we have menorahs and driedals aplenty. I swung by the school to drop
them off. While in the hallway chatting with Max's teacher Rebecca's stopped by
and wanted to know when I could read a book to the class. Ah book, I don't remember volunteering, but I smoothly covered my surprise and asked when would be good for her. She would like me to stop by before lunch any time this week and we settled on Thursday.
I know there are not very many Jewish families in our school system and I think my children are the most up front. That and I carefully note each year on the class forms that we don't celebrate Christmas. So I have become the "go to" person for all things Hanukkah at the school. Which I find utterly hilarious since I'm a convert, but it is also nice because it shows we are doing a good job with raising our children Jewish in an overwhelmingly Christian area.
Monday, December 03, 2007
I called him up at work today to get dinner menu approval (steak and oven roasted potatoes, I knew he would say yes, I just wanted to tell him) and ask what kind of cake he wanted. He settled on the Hershey's Three Chocolate Layered Cheesecake that everybody seems to be making.
Larry then got treated to lunch by his coworkers and got throughly cookied and caked out. He really has a nice place to work at, makes me miss the days I used to to work outside of the home.
Anyway my creation looked gorgeous, but would have benefited with sitting in the fridge overnight to allow the cake to firm up and the flavors to develop, but it was still tasty. Next year I need to remember to ask him a day ahead.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Your Score: Fennel
You scored 50% intoxication, 0% hotness, 100% complexity, and 25% craziness!
You are Fennel!
You're a cool cat. Crisp, clean, fresh, and extremely complicated. You're like quantum physics or modern jazz. Think Niels Bohr meets Ornette Coleman. You may look normal now, but once you sprout, you look kind of, uh, funny.
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