Monday, June 3, 2013

Summer Vacation

I'm way behind on checking in with my friends - who are so much more than just "blogging buddies" - and reading and commenting and staying involved in your lives and your adventures. Instead of being two weeks ahead with my posts, as I like to be, I'm lucky to get posts written a day or two ahead of time. There's too much going on. As I like to phrase it, since you've gotta have a bit of a sense of humor about such matters, lately I've been serving as the proverbial ham 'n' cheese in the Sandwich Generation. It can vary in intensity and be unpredictable. That's probably the most difficult part of it, the not knowing what the day will or might bring with regard to loved ones.

In addition to that - since life goes on despite diversions - I'm co-chair of the dessert committee for Alpha House's annual fundraiser this September; we're asking local congregations to provide bite-sized sweet treats for the party, which is raising money to help an organization that helps to house homeless families.

I'm also emcee-ing a fundraising party and auction for the Girl Scouts this September, an event at which local chefs take the famous and fabulous cookies and transform them into glorious cakes and tortes and pastries, competing to see whose is the most delicious and most beautiful. We're still working to enlist both judges and bakers.

I've also been working with a tremendous mentor, Jan Longone, who is curating an exhibit of Jewish cookbooks which will be shown at the University of Michigan this fall - everything from, we hope, community fundraising cookbooks from each state to the oldest Southern Jewish cookbook, and even a brochure from the recently-held Yiddish Food Fair in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Yup, you read that correctly! Who'da thunk???

I'm also still writing for AnnArbor.com three times each week, and for the Washtenaw Jewish News every month.

I'm working on an essay about baking matzah for the newsletter of the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor.

I have two events scheduled already this month - professional food fests - and even had to turn one down, in addition to a presentation about non-alcoholic drinks that a friend and I are giving. And I'm getting locked up by the Muscular Dystrophy Association on the 13th, to raise money for that very good cause.

And - don't forget! - there's the day job, which is kicking into high gear as we prepare for the Jewish High Holidays. Summer involves working late and, by August, working 6-day weeks. Rosh Hashanah cannot feasibly come earlier in the year; it arrives 2 days after Labor Day. We are already staring it down.

Something has to give. I've said it before. I've said it repeatedly. And each time that I think I've pared things down, new invitations and opportunities come along. I'm enormously flattered to be included in so many exciting projects! But a girl can be too popular. And I can't balance all of these commitments and still do proper justice to them. Most importantly, I don't want to neglect my loved ones - those with significant health concerns and those who are, thankfully, well.

And so, I'm going on summer vacation. Or, at least, since I can't get away because of the above list of obligations, ye olde blog is going on hiatus for awhile.

Every item on the above list has been facing the judges for a long time and been evaluated for its pros and its cons. Each time I reassess, I don't have the heart to cut anything out; I cut back, I apologize for failings, but I don't eliminate anything.

Today, after an enormous amount of thought and deliberation and consultation and agonizing, the blog has been chopped. Where is Ted Allen when he's (finally) needed, to make the announcement?

I have so many deadlines, so many responsibilities ... my brain just spins trying to keep track of it all. Something has to give.

I certainly hope to come back to this site for the new year 5774, once the High Holidays are over. I love this venue, as it's solely mine; it permits me to rant about wedding cake (or, rather, the lack thereof) or about shake 'n' bake cupcakes. I can use pictures for amusement or to tell the story of an event. I don't have to answer to anyone here, as I'm my own editor/boss.

I could/should be pontificating today about the National Spelling Bee and the winning word, one of only four I knew in the final round while immersing myself in my annual geek-fest. (I listen to the preliminary rounds at work, then watch the finals with the enthusiasm that others have for hockey games). Knaidel [kuh-NAY-dul] - a dumpling or matzah ball - is not only a Yiddish word but a food word; you can imagine my glee upon hearing it, especially because I spelled it correctly.

Or, at least, I spelled it the way Merriam-Webster does, which is all that mattered on Thursday night. You may be aware that Yiddish mavens, Jews, lexicographers, linguists, folks who grab a little nosh at the deli, folks who eat their bagels with a schmear, and virtually everyone else has an opinion about whether the spelling was kosher or not.  There are many variants. There has been much debate about it among my friends, who are a mix of rabbis and shul-goers and unobservant folks; some even speak Yiddish, and one acquaintance is a supreme authority who teaches Yiddish at The University of Michigan. But the most astounding aspect of the entire mishigas is that the winner - who lives in New York City, of all places! - has never eaten a knaidel. What?!?!? A kid from New York, Arvind, and you've never eaten a matzah ball??? Oy ....

But, as per usual, I digress ....

I've made some amazingly wonderful friends here - real ones, not insincere flattering spam-bots - just by virtue of blathering a bit about recipes and cheap places to eat 'round town. I've maintained all along that people bond over food, even in cyberspace. And I'm enormously grateful for the friendships I've formed here, which I hope to be able to tend better when the blogging isn't calling loudly and taking up my precious little time ....

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