Happy Passover

MatzohThe past couple of days have been busy ones.  We’ve had to clean the entire house to get ready for tonight’s Seder.  Yes, tonight begins the holiday of Passover.  Passover celebrates the ancient Hebrews’ freedom from slavery in Egypt.

Of course, as the story goes, since the Jews left Egypt so quickly, they didn’t have time to let their bread rise.  Therefore, for eight days, all leavened products aren’t allowed.  Bread, cakes, cookies, and more are no-nos.  To limit our food choices even more, custom forbids a list of other foods including corn, rice, and beans.

Instead, we chow down on matzoh, matzoh, and more matzoh.  We’ll eat matzoh and cream cheese, matzoh brie, matzoh pizza and more.  It’s always a difficult holiday because of the combination of massive cleaning, switching of pots/pans/dishes/etc, and dietary restrictions.

Of course, I observe the holiday by going offline for the first two and last two days.  This means that I’m not going to have time to post additional blog posts for the next couple of days.  I’ll be back on Thursday, though.  Perhaps with photos of our Seder.

If you celebrate Passover, I hope you have a wonderful holiday.  If you don’t, I hope you have a wonderful week and I’ll see you in a few days.

Purim Time

CostumesThis past weekend, we celebrated Purim.  Of all the Jewish holidays, this one is my absolute favorite.  And it’s not just because there is very little preparation required unlike other holidays.  (I’m looking at you, Passover!)

First of all, you get dressed up in costume.  Who doesn’t like that?  Plus, there’s something fun about seeing your rabbi dressed up like a Rastafarian and your cantor dressed like Groucho Marx.

Next, there’s the story.  Good man doesn’t bow down to evil man.  Evil man takes offense and plots to kill good man and his entire people.  Plot backfires thanks to the workings of the good man’s niece who happens to have been named queen.  Evil man is killed instead.  There is much celebrating all around.  (Well, except by evil man’s family.)

HamantashenThen, there’s the noisemaking.  Most times, you must keep quiet during a religious service.  On Purim, however, you can make as much noise as you like – provided that it comes after Haman’s name was said.

You also get to eat wonderful food.  Specifically, Hamantashen.  These are triangle shaped to represent Haman’s hat.  I guess munching on the hat of your enemy is a sign of victory.  Given his state by the end of the story, Haman certainly wasn’t using his hat.  (I make pretty good Hamantashen, but haven’t done so in years.  I was planning on making some this year, but the stomach bug ruined those plans.)

You also exchange gifts on Purim.  Most Jews do this Chanukah, but the only reason we do that is because of competitive feelings with Chanukah falling out around the over-commercialized Christmas.  In reality, you are supposed to give gelt (money) on Chanukah and gifts on Purim.  Granted, the gifts you give are mostly food.  Nothing extravagant.  Still, it can be fun to get a bag full of goodies.

WineFinally, there’s a sacred commandment that you must follow.  Most sacred commandments come in the form of don’t consume this otherwise tasty food, attend this long and boring religious ceremony, or spend eight days without bread/pasta/rice.  This sacred commandment is to drink: heavily.

The specific rule is that you need to drink so much that you can’t tell the difference between "Blessed is Mordechai" and "Cursed is Hamen."  I’ll admit that I haven’t followed this rule ever.Then again, I’m not much of a drinker.  So I’ll "lend" this sacred commandment to anyone who is looking for a plausible excuse to get drunk.  If anyone asks you, just tell them that you’re helping TechyDad celebrate Purim – albeit a bit delayed.  (Better late than never!)

I just wish every day could be Purim!

Sweet New Year

Apples_And_HoneyI’m going to be offline for the next two days while we celebrate Rosh Hashana.  Thus the short post today and lack-of-a-post tomorrow.

For those who don’t know, this is the Jewish New Year.  One of the many traditions on this holiday is to eat apples and honey.  This is supposed to help you have a sweet year.  I’ve got plenty of both here.

If you celebrate Rosh Hashana, I hope you have a good year ("L’shanah tovah").  If you don’t, I hope the rest of your year (and all of the ones after this one) are very sweet.

What is a favorite holiday tradition you have?

Disclaimer: The image above was created by combining Apples by gnokii and Honey Jar by PrinterKiller.  Both of these images are available on OpenClipArt.org.

Slumbering Inspiration

nicubunu_Emoticons_Sleeping_face"It came to me in a dream, and I forgot it in another dream." – Professor Hubert Farnsworth (Futurama)

I’ve had a few times when ideas came to me when I couldn’t write them down.  At one point, this might have been when I was out and about.  Of course, since the advent of texting (and, later, Smartphones), this isn’t a problem.  A quick text or e-mail to myself and I’m good to go.

Recently, ideas seem to come to me on the Jewish holidays.  You see, during certain holidays, I refrain from "working at my occupation."  I take this to mean that anything that I could use to do work for my job is off-limits.  I’m a web developer, so computers are no-nos as are pen and paper (could write down code/designs to type up later) and phones (could call in to discuss work issues).  (NOTE: I’ll carry a phone with me in case of emergencies, but it is set to vibrate and everyone knows not to call unless it is a matter of life or death.)

So what happens when I get an idea in the middle of a Jewish holiday?  That is, during a time when I can’t write it down, type it up, or use my smartphone to send a reminder to myself?  That’s when I’ve got to exercise that brain of mine to remember it myself.  Kind of like how people used to remember things before computers were all-but-grafted onto us.

A couple of nights ago, I had a weird dream.  In it, I had built a very popular Twitter application.  I was showing it to someone to demonstrate how it worked.  I’m going to leave off the "how it works" details for obvious reasons, but suffice it to say that my dream was quite descriptive.  When I woke up, I remembered it perfectly and realized that this was an application that I could actually develop.  One that people might use.

Of course, the past three days have been Jewish holidays.  (Shabbat followed by two days of Shavuot.)  Since I couldn’t record it in any other manner, I kept it in my mind up until the Jewish holiday ended.  Luckily, by then, it hadn’t been forgotten.  If anything, it’s taken root and expanded.

Now if I only had more free time to work on Twitter applications.

Have you ever had an idea come to you in a dream?

Disclaimer: The "sleeping face" image above comes from OpenClipArt.org.

Aloha Friday: Picky Passover Progeny and Cuisine I Crave

Passover means that a lot of our favorite foods turn into shadows of their non-Passover selves.  Cakes and cookies get replaced with bland knock-offs that use matzo meal instead of real flour.  Bread is a big no-no.  Pizza is just sauce and cheese slapped on matzo.  The less said about “Passover Pasta” the better.  (NOTE: Just because a food claims to be “Passover Pasta” doesn’t it will cook up anything even remotely resembling, much less tasting like, real pasta.)

As I posted earlier this week, JSL has had a hard time this year.  He’s a very picky eater and all of his favorite foods are Passover no-nos.  He is refusing to try new things.  Why?  Because he doesn’t try a food unless he already knows he likes the food.  (Yeah, yeah, I know.  Doesn’t make any sense.  You try arguing with the 4 year old.  I’ve already tried tons of times.)  The few times he’s tried something (under heavy protest, mind you), he’s either spat it out or proclaimed that he loves it but doesn’t want to eat it ever again.

All this has got me thinking about what foods I miss.  I certainly miss my usual breakfast of oatmeal and bananas.  Bananas are fine, but replacing the oatmeal with matzo and cream cheese just isn’t the same.  I also miss being able to use beans and corn.  Most of all, I guess I miss the pasta and bread, though.  So much of what I eat contains pasta or bread in some way, shape, or form that I couldn’t imagine not ever eating that again.

My Aloha Friday question for today is: What one food could you never give up for good?

P.S. If you haven’t already, try out my Twitter applications: FollowerHQ and Rout.

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the linky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #134

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