Guest Post: Chanukah!

I’m excited to bring you a special guest post, courtesy of my friend Stevie – someone I worked with for many years in my former life as a City Planner.  Stevie is currently living in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two year old son, and is on a quest to integrate her own non-religious but Christian based upbringing (which I totally relate to) with her husband’s Jewish traditions (which I definitely know little about!).  I’ve been keeping up with Stevie’s journey via Facebook posts, but I’m thrilled that she’s expanded her thoughts on the current holiday of Chanukah to share with all of us here.  I hope you enjoy it too!  And if you live in Texas or plan on visiting, trust me when I say you MUST visit Sandstone Cellars (located in Mason) – the wine is fantastic, the food is incredible, and the hospitality of the owners is second to none!

Chanukah is celebrated from December 1st to December 9th this year.

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Giving Thanks

picture from Wikimedia Commons

We had a little snow flurry in Portland on Monday.  Just a tiny thing – although it was enough to cause panic for the morning commute, and to create a whirlwind of “storm coverage” on all the news channels.  At any rate, it was so short lived that I would have missed it entirely, if I hadn’t been out with my husband, returning a friend’s truck that we had borrowed for our weekend of moving.

On our way to return the truck, I was driving behind my husband . . . Continue reading


Losing a loved one (peacefully, quietly, late in life) is an interesting experience.  There is sadness – of course there is sadness – but there is also joy in remembering, and in celebrating one more time all of the things you shared with that person.  Things you’ve forgotten.  Things you may not have even known you shared.

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Bring on Fall

So.  Summer is over, even though I feel like it never quite showed up here in Portland.  What’s the first rule of doing anything well?  Show up.  Bad job, summer.  You’re fired.  We’re moving on to Fall.

Luckily, fall has all of my favorite things – cool, crisp air, college football on TV, beer (okay, that’s all year long, but still) – and Labor Day weekend is just the beginning of all of it.  Happiness, all wrapped up with an autumn-colored bow.

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The Things We Carry With Us

This post has been written in my heart for two weeks now . . . but putting it down in typeface seems so much harder, more permanent.  How is it that I can be a grown woman, a full-on adult person, and still feel as vulnerable as a child?

I know I’m lucky.  Until just a few years ago, all four of my grandparents were still living.  That’s pretty darn good.  And then my grandfathers both passed away, within months of each other.  They were both in their 80’s and had battled health problems for years, so the end, while sad, was not a surprise.

But my grandmother . . . my paternal grandmother, she’s the one who seemed destined to outlive us all.  An indomitable force.  A woman to be reckoned with.

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Sometimes I wonder why I go on vacation at all, considering how much work it takes to wrap things up before leaving, and how painful the re-entry into reality can be.  But then I look at pictures like this.  Sigh.

I’m working on getting back into the swing of real life . . . you know, wearing pants and long sleeves and waterproof jackets and all that  . . . but I’ve got some tropical inspirations for baked goods that I hope to be posting in the near future.  For now, I’ll leave you with a few more pictures from the last two weeks.

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Cocktails in Paradise

So, I’m in Kahana, Maui right now.  Did I mention that?  Yes, yes I did.  Somewhere after the download on the family trip to San Diego, and right before the little evidentiary post regarding a soccer outing in Vegas.  I know, because I received hate mail.  Not from you, lovely blog readers.  From my good friends.  Haters, one and all.

I kid.  Mostly.

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Vegas, baby! Part Two: The Evidence

I went.  I saw.  I survived.  And am attempting to recover.

There was soccer.  Lots of soccer.  So much soccer I am still limping around.

There was sight-seeing.  And OH MY are there sights to see!

There was a lot of eating and drinking.  Enough eating and drinking to completely cancel out the health benefits of playing all that soccer.  Enough drinking that I don’t really have pictures of any of the eating and drinking.  Which is probably a good thing.

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