Sunday, February 28, 2010

Party Like It's Purim!

This year is the first we've been able to go hear the Megillah (Book of Esther) read on Purim in a long time. Purim is a really fun holiday, with lots of sweets, costumes, boisterous behavior and even a little drinking on occasion. When we lived in Kentucky, it was just too far to drive to Nashville to celebrate this holiday/party with our congregation. (70 miles each way makes it a long journey, even for a fun event.) So, we especially enjoyed ourselves this year--with a knitting twist.

This year's holiday got a jump start when I got a sweet phone call from an editor the week before we moved from Kentucky to Winnipeg. It was July, it was hot, and the house was pretty much disassembled when this kind editor asked me if I'd contribute something to her publication. While I couldn't manage it before moving, I did eventually design these very simple knitted hamantaschen noisemakers and wrote an article for Living Crafts Magazine. I found out recently they made the cover!

Last week, the professor and I got asked if we could help out with a project. A volunteer group in town was preparing Mishloach Manot for some of the less fortunate in the Jewish community. We went along to help and I got one of the best jobs--rolling out dough for the hamantaschen. The dough is a tricky business--too soft and it's too mushy to mold into a three cornered cookie. Too much flour and it's too hard and it tastes pretty much like a rock when you're done baking.

In total, the two "rollers" of dough prepared enough for 35 dozen cookies. I was pretty worn out -- that's a lot of dough-- but it was a fun evening. The professor shaped cookies, made packages with the fruit and sweets in them, and was generally entertaining. :)

However, I was sort of worn out from all that dough rolling and didn't make any more treats to hand fact, we've rarely ever had a chance to give out treats for this holiday, since we weren't near enough to a community who did this or understood the tradition. When we got to the synagogue last night, we were surprised to receive 3 bags of treats of our own! We'll have to do better next year so we have treats to hand out to our new friends here in Winnipeg.

We're enjoying a bright sunny warm day--and the dogs are in high spirits. I've had to move all the cookies, fruit, and chocolates to avoid having some inadvertent snacks for a dog Purim party...

Meanwhile, we've been doing further work to get our house in order. (no, we still aren't entirely tidied up even though it's been 7 months...) The professor surprised me today. He'd been in the basement organizing. He assembled a shelf and made himself a gorgeous little work area. I took a photo because it may never be this neat again!

Right beside the new workbench, we've got another project going. Many Winnipeggers like to do "home brew." This is in part because the winters are long and the alcohol tax here is high! (many wines are twice the cost of what we paid in the US.) The biology professors even have a wine tasting competition each fall to see whose is best. So, the professor bought a wine kit and started our first batch in January. Here is our little basement "cave." The first batch of Sauvignon Blanc was "mise en bouteille" February 27th, 2010. I'm hoping that is a good vintage at our house....especially since two more wine kits are lined up!

The light is streaming in the windows's been a quiet and sunny day. It made me reflect on how lucky I feel to enjoy our house with its big windows with good positions to enjoy wintertime sun. We're still working out the fireplace issues. One detail? The insurance on the house would go up 20-25% if we were to install a woodstove or woodbox insert fireplace--a much higher incidence of house fires from this, so that option is out. We'll keep working on this to find a good solution. I'm still grateful to have this was hard to find.
We've had to make a fair number of repairs since the house wasn't always well maintained, but for a lot of environmental reasons, we feel an older house is always the right choice. (Curious about this statement? Let me know in the comments and I'll post about it. It's an interesting sustainability topic.)
In the meanwhile, hope you're having a sunny warm day and a Happy Purim if you celebrate it!

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Blogger mamaross said...

Happy Purim to you too! This is the first Purim that my youngest (he's 4) will probably remember. He loved Boo-ing Haman, fiddled constantly with his grager (there's a spelling mystery!) and finally made it through the whole Megillah without crying. I think it was a success. Good luck too with the fireplace; as much as I loved my old wood burning stove, the gas insert we have in our new house is clean, not stinky, and easy.

February 28, 2010 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger Gramma Phyllis said...

Happy Purim to you and your family. It was very wise of you to place the the "treats" on a different shelf as an unsupervised doggie Purim party would not be good.

As for older houses, I love mine. To some it isn't all that old as it was built in 1929 but in some places that would be very old. We have a fireplace dilemma as well. We have the old style of gas logs that if you don't crack open a window on the opposite side of the room to little pipe used as a flue doesn't draft properly. Technically they are illegal... but...when the power is out in a winter storm in upstate NY we close off all the other rooms and turn it on. Gook luck in finding an inexpensive and legal way to repair yours.

February 28, 2010 at 8:48 PM  
Blogger Geek Knitter said...

It's wonderful to read about you finding a sense of community in Winnipeg. So happy for you.

It's springtime in my blog... come see!

March 1, 2010 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

It's so good to hear you happy!

--AlisonH at

March 2, 2010 at 11:42 PM  

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