Yom Kippur started Friday night. We had an early dinner Friday since the fast began around 6:30 and we had to be in shul by then. Mom cooked a lot: there was gefilte fish, chicken soup, and then of course the main dinner course - it was a LOT of food overall. I'm not such a fan of chicken soup, but luckily Sky is :)
Yom Kippur davening is always long but it seemes to take forever Friday night. My mom was schmoozing with her friends to I sat with my aunt E... My cousin, her eldest son, got engaged recently to a girl who went to the same HS as him and myself, but since were all in different grades I never crossed paths with her there. Neither did he - they met in college. Anyway, point is that other then a very brief hello at the L'Chaim (= mini engagement party immediately after the engagement) we haven't spoken. Not only did the long service give me plenty of opportunity to get wedding/fiance details from my aunt, but I also got invited to lunch on Sukkot. The fiance and my other cousin's girlfriend are going to be by AE's for Sukkot, so I get to check them both out in person! My cousins only have 1 female cousin in this hemisphere, so I need to watch out for them and make sure the girls are good enough for them. Although I don't think I have any recourse if they are deemed unworthy. So I'll be keeping my mouth shut until I'm asked. And besides, my aunt has plenty to say on the subject, as I found out Friday night :)
Finally after about 3 hours davening was over and we got to go home... I fell asleep early and woke up early, but really didn't feel like getting out of bed so I read most of the day. Went back to shul for Mincha & Neilah, the last 2 services of the day, at around 5:45 with my parents. For the first time ever I think I stood for the entire hour-long Neilah service. I think my dieting and drinking more water during the past year made me better prepared for the fast this time around, it seemed much easier than previous years. I'm going to skim over the dead car battery and how we hitched a ride home with my mom's friend and get to the good part, break fast at my neighbor's.
After 25 hours of fasting, not showering, not brushing your teeth, and davening a lot, the last thing I want to do is go to a big break fast party and see people I actually know. That's what's so great about going to my neighbors'. They invite about 50 people, and they all seem very nice but since we just know my neighbors I'm under no obligation to make onerous small talk or linger very long. This year we had the same bagels, cream cheese, lox and tomatoes as every year, but the desserts were great - petite madelines and a cheesecake my mom made. After about 30 minutes my brothers and I thank our hosts and wander back across the street. Then a week later we always have these neighbors over to dinner in our sukkah, since they don't build one anymore.
This morning I finished stitching a kit I bought last Thursday at my LNS - definitely my quickest finish ever :-) It's kosher, don't worry - the finished product is a gift, which is clearly defined as an exception to the no-new-charts rule from a few posts ago. Since it's a gift though I'm gonna have to post pictures later, so for now you get my Lizzie Kate dog blocks - enjoy :)
These other pictures are of the sukkah. We put it up last Sunday but decorated today. Mom did the walls, I did the christmas lights, and then she did the chains. We did the hanging decorations together, and mom has a great system. We took out all the decorations and divided them into 4 pretty-much-equal piles. Then each pile went to a quarter of the sukkah. It's genius, saved a LOT of time since we didn't have to stop and squint at the ceiling every time we had something new to hang to figure out where it should go.
Exterior shot of the Sukkah
Interior shot of the sukkah - like the decorations?
This is my favorite decoration: the bee trap.
Yup, along with the more-traditional apples, oranges, bananas, pears and grapes we also have asparagus decorations.
There was some sort of street festival in town, so I called up a friend from the neighborhood & we checked it out. There were a lot of nice classic cars and two gorgeous motorcycles, but other than that it was just a lot of people at a block party. Not our scene, and we had stuff to do, so it was a short visit.
Sky and I went to the 5PM walk at the park but we got there 10 minutes late due to festival-related traffic, but apparently no one else made it either - the parking lot was empty. I felt bad taking her and then not going, Sky wouldn't have understood, so we went for a walk anyway. I was worried about taking her around off-leash without other dogs around, in case she decided to take off, but, as always, she was an angel and I worried for nothing. We had a great 30 minute walk, although I feel bad, she didn't want to run in the water much since there were no dogs to play with her.
I'd better go feed her. TTFN!