Wow! It's almost over!Didn't feel entirely like Hanukkah until last Friday and Saturday, though.The first night started at the same time our support group meets, so I thought I'd try Shari's Potato Pancakes. We usually go there after it. They didn't even resemble latkes to me...I know latkes tend to be translated as 'German potato pancakes', but this was different. Although, they didn't have 'German' in the name. This didn't have onions, was pureed so much it resembled mashed potatoes (the waitress even started describing it this way...), no garlic in it, and wasn't crispy. What's more, they sprinkled some scallions on top of it.I suppose that's one way to get the onion part. But, it's not cooked into it!I thought it was cool that it'd come with a side of 'apples'. I was thinking that meant something close to applesauce. It was really huge chunks of apple in a cinnamon-y/caramel sauce on the side. They were good, but didn't go with the 'pancakes', and didn't really stick to them like applesauce would have.It's like they weren't even trying anymore...If I thought of them as something totally different, they were ok. At least I thought I was getting something similar to latkes to start off the holiday.
For Shabbat (Friday night's) dinner, I made latkes from a mix. Wasn't as good as from scratch, but that's a bit more of a to do. As it was, these took a while to cook. Turned out pretty good, though.(Messed up 2 or 3 of them in the first batch, but the rest came out like they should.) Of course, we had applesauce with it. Had lemon-filled powdered jelly donuts and some gelt (chocolate coins) for dessert. It was all so good!Really felt like it was Hanukkah this time.
Saturday night, there was a Hanukkah party at one of the local synagogues. (The one that's been really nice to us.) We brought our menorah, candles, matches, and a drip tray (to catch extra wax from falling off the menorah). Last time we went to theirs there wasn't enough matches for everyone, and no one thought to have something under their family's menorah. So, it was a mess and a bit dangerous.This time was different. Although, I was one of the few with a tray. I helped 2 other people with their individual menorahs, since they didn't bring matches. But, it wasn't as crazy.
We all lit our menorahs, sang the blessings and some songs. It was really pretty looking around the tables and seeing them lit up. Each family had brought at least one, and there were a lot of people. It was nice and warm, too.
After that, we had a potluck dinner. We brought some tabouli for it. There was so much food! There were like 10 different kinds of homemade latkes. I think there may have been some homemade applesauce, as well. Lots of different types of salads (pasta, greens, etc.), some kugels (in fact, someone was calling one of them a latke casserole which looked a lot like a creamy potato kugel), crackers, cheese, etc. For dessert there was a chocolate babka, muffins, fruit, a spice cake, and more. Gelt was scattered all over the tables, and we made dreidels out of a chocolate kiss, marshmallow, and pretzel stick. There was supposed to be a make your own sufganiyot or jelly donut station. But, the deep fryers that were set out on the table next to the regular desserts, weren't working.So, instead of making our own, they made them in the kitchen and had us be able to roll them in a cinnamon and sugar mix or powdered sugar. Either way, they ended up being really good. (Although, I'm slightly disappointed I didn't get a chance to learn how to actually make them.) I had one of each. They weren't really true sufganiyot, because there didn't seem to be any jelly, but they still were good and gooey in the middle. They were somewhat small, too. Bigger than donut holes, but smaller than a full fledged donut. Perfect size, to me.
After that there was a paper cutting activity. The woman leading it snapped at a girl that asked her a question and was trying to follow her instructions. She said something like: 'this is for the grown-ups I don't expect you to be able to follow.' It was incredibly rude, and I know she apologized later to her, and she was nervous at the time, but that's no reason to snap.Just close your eyes for a second, take a deep breath, and help. It was something similar to when we made paper snowflakes in elementary school, so it certainly wasn't too 'adult'. Plus, some of the adults were having a harder time with it.They ended up making paper Magen Davids, or Star of Davids. Once they finished making them, she gave tips on how to make them with intricate patterns. I wasn't interested in making them, but watching it was interesting.
After that, they were supposed to have 2 dreidel contests downstairs. So, they quickly cleaned up everything in the main room. Apparently, others thought that this meant it was the end of the party, and left.Not many stayed for it, including us. I hope the people that stayed still had at least one decent game of it. There were supposed to be 2 prizes given away to the 2 winners of those contests. (Besides the gelt, obviously.) I haven't actually played a game of dreidel in a very long time. While we were finishing our donuts one of the people across the table from us wanted to know how to play the game. I went through the motions of it, and he followed with a paper that had instructions for it. They apparently play a little 'nicer' than what we usually would do. (Like, when landing on a 'shin' putting one into the main pot, instead of half of what you have from your own pot into it.) He really seemed happy that I was able to explain it to him. The only thing I didn't tell him was how someone loses or wins.Like, when you run out of your 'pot', you lose. Once someone wins all of the main 'pot', and no one has anything to put in, then that person wins. But, I'm sure if he stayed after he'd be told that, too.
So, it seemed like a pretty active party. Ended up talking to a lot of people, too. Felt like I did 'something' for it.Also, on the 8th night I'll take a pic of my menorah fully lit.
I had planned to do a drawing project during the holiday. But, I haven't gotten too far on it.I dreamed about some of the drawings, and thought it'd be cool to do. At least something related to Hanukkah. They all involved my oc's (original characters) from Alliance. Anyways, my first drawing idea is of Shadow (the main character) watching the menorah's candles. Kind of like he's mesmerized by them. Kind of similar to a pic of me when I was younger. The menorah part went through a lot of different 'phases'. I wasn't sure how I wanted it.Then, I again, had problems with his hair. Oddly, not too bad on his perspective. I just need to shade and color it. It's nighttime, so obviously it's going to look a bit dark except for the areas that the lit candles light up. So, I guess with the finished product, you won't see that much of his hair. Just mostly the front. I'm thinking of using my colored pencils, shading pencils, and markers for this one. I already used one of my 'manga' fine-pointed pens to outline a lot of it, and the fine pencil from that pack to sketch it. Should be interesting to see what'll happen with it.
Another idea was having the 4 main characters playing dreidel, and Junko winning. Each character might have a different expression with it. Another one was a good chunk of the main and side characters eating latkes together around a table. Of course, Sin would be the one that cooks everything...It'd be kind of a fun and light one. Another was some of the characters singing. There were others, but these are the ones that came to mind the most. I could probably still do them, even if it's after the holiday.I was surprised I did as much as I did in one sitting for the first drawing. Also, finished coloring the outfits/accessories for my oc's. Another 'project' that I started a while ago, but just finished. (It was to give me more of a 'feel' for my oc's.) Just need to edit it a bit in Photoshop and submit it to dA. I really like how some of my characters' outfits turned out. The rest were pretty good too, but not as cool looking.
A couple of Fridays ago, it was pouring down rain and very windy. The power went out at around really late the night before. Except for it coming on during my usual lunch time for 45 minutes, it stayed out for about 15 hours.I made/had breakfast in the dark. Luckily we have a gas stove top, so I could still make tea, and cook some sausage. (I also had some challah, but I don't really need to heat it.) Our camping lantern worked well for this too. I could actually see what I was doing. I was happy that the power came on just as I wanted to make lunch, and stayed on until a little bit after I ate.
Then, I finished cleaning the china cabinet in the sunlight that was coming in. It was just enough to see what I was doing, too. Tried using the silver polish for the first time, and I think it's gotten so old, that it doesn't do much.Had to pour the stuff continually on things. After finishing the cabinet, I vacuumed the carpet in that room. It was pretty bad in there beforehand. Ended up looking really nice after. Luckily, the power was on by the time dinner rolled around. I was pretty cold most of the day until the power came back on, though.
Last Friday, for my 'cleaning' day, I did part of my room. Vacuumed all the ceiling stuff (there were quite a lot of thick strands of webbing), some of the walls, all of the window stuff (again thick black stuff was lifted from them when I used the windex. Scary...), and dusted the corner of my room near my door. Vacuumed a little bit behind my nightstand, and the carpet under it, as well. It was pretty bad back there. Next time I hope to dust the rest of the room, take down things I don't want from my walls, and vacuum the floor. In the future, when I get back to my room, I'll go through my closet. Then, under my bed. Those are going to be crazy to go through themselves.But, I'm glad I'm getting to these things.