Sunday, October 19, 2008

Home Again

We're home again and I'm better able to post. For anyone who noticed the unusual brevity of the two previous posts, they were done on my beloved BlackBerry. I'm still working on becoming comfortable with typing lengthy posts because I'm not used to using the small, abbreviated keyboard. It's fine for short texts or cruising the web, but I'm used to a full QWERTY keyboard and to typing as I think.

The holiday has been great so far. Tomorrow night the two final festival days begin and Tuesday lunch is the last meal that we eat in the sukkah. In the meantime, we have an interesting time managing to eat, given that we didn't put up a sukkah here in Vancouver.

We ate a big meal before we left (the last of the brisket and some fried potatoes, yum!) but Dear Child and I wanted something when we got back to the city. So we put some stuff together and went out to a sukkah beside where I work. I'm switching vehicles with my son-in-law tomorrow so I can take all the girls to the Community Centre for lunch. It'll be my granddaughters' first meal in the sukkah this year so it'll be fun. Monday night we go to the rabbi's house and again for lunch on Tuesday. So, we're covered but it certainly eliminates snacking!

The trip was good for a variety of reasons. We had a nice time having our neighbours over for dinner in the sukkah and getting to spend a whole week at the house was great.

We had a guy in to service the furnace on Friday. It cost just under $150 but was well worth it. Our oil furnace is 40 years old and was working well when we first bought our place but we started having problems last winter after we ran out of oil. We were concerned that the furnace might be coming to the end of its life but it turned out that running out of oil had caused a deposit of crud on a microfilter and that seems to be what was causing it to not come on every couple of days. When it didn't come on by itself, we would just hit the reset button and it would start again but that's not very useful when it's the middle of winter and we're not there. Luckily, our neighbour was checking it out every couple of days but I don't want to rely on that or put that burden on him.

The other important thing I did on Friday was to go into town and pay my overdue property taxes!


Anonymous said...

do I remember correctly that Thanksgiving in Canada is near Columbus Day? And what exactly is sukkah? sorry, I just don't know.

Shevy said...

Canadian Thanksgiving is the 2nd Monday in October. Sukkot is the biblical harvest festival usually translated into English as the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths. A sukkah is the temporary shelter we erect for the 8 day festival (7 days in Israel). We eat only in the sukkah during that time (no matter what the weather is like).

I've had several sukkot (the plural of sukkah) over the years, with the sides made out of lattice and plastic, tarps on a wooden frame and now a metal frame that goes together with just a rubber mallet and has nylon sides attached with velcro. The roof must be made of organic material detatched from the ground, usually palm fronds, bamboo or (on the West Coast at least) cedar boughs. You also have to be able to see the sky when you look up at the roof material so you can't lay it on so thickly that it's solid and the rain definitely comes through.

Some people sleep in the sukkah, but it's not our custom. I did pray there, entertain company and study religious texts, as well as play with my daughter and read stories. And we don't use the sukkah on the last day of the holiday, known as Simchat Torah (Rejoicing in the Torah) but we can't take it down on a festival day.