liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
[personal profile] liv
Happy New Year, peeps. I have had a month with a lot of intense activity and very little internet access. Now I'm at my parents so I'll make a start on catching up.

I made a slightly mad plan to spend the weekend at the beginning of chanukah in Sweden. I couldn't be more happy that I did this; I had an absolutely wonderful time. It meant spending all of Friday travelling, flying via Liverpool "John Lennon" airport (tagline: Above us only sky). EBH's niece met me at the middle of nowhere Ryanair airport, which made me feel like a complete VIP, and drove me the hundred km to Stockholm through the first serious snowfall of the season.

I then walked straight into shul and ran a chanukah party, with 60 guests including a good number of young children. So I choreographed candle-lighting, played human dreidl, led a short-short service, ran an improv version of the chanukah story, and found people too busy having fun chatting and socializing and eating to want to take part in a serious discussion. Joanna and her traditional egal crowd joined us, and she taught some songs (with a percussion accompaniment). And I ate about a dozen subtly different varieties of latkes, and started to catch up with some of my lovely Swedish Progressive community.

Saturday morning EBH fed me breakfast, then I returned to shul to lead a Saturday morning service. Attendance was good even though I was competing with Ada Yonath who was guest of honour in the Conservative service. My sermon on Joseph as a model for diaspora life was a great hit, and we had a great discussion on the Torah portion. Lunch at A&A's with the Progressive crowd, followed by making myself useful giving advice on some of the texts for the new prayerbook they are working on.

That was the end of my "professional" contributions, so I spent the evening at Malaysia with SA and a bunch of friends. SA and Joanna between them have managed to find all the 30-ish Jews who care about Judaism but are alienated from the formal Jewish community, even including eligible Jewish men. Though not so eligible any more since they have all paired up with the Jewish women who spent the last three years bemoaning how impossible it was to find a partner. It was a really lovely and somehow delightfully Swedish evening. Sunday I had an extended brunch and setting the world to rights conversation with EBH, and then a really satisfying second brunch / early lunch with Joanna.

The return trip to England was not so great, as I managed to lose my housekeys and ended up with a lot of panicking in the cold rather than collapsing into bed. Thankfully AF and his parents rescued me, providing a warm supper, a place by the fire and a bed for the night, so I could sort out the keys problem during working hours on Monday.

As for the second weekend in Chanukah, I went to the little synagogue in Stoke for Friday night, and found that the President didn't feel up to leading the service as he usually does, so I was volunteered to take over. There were 12 of us in the tiny shul, running a liturgically Orthodox service, and doing our best to make some kind of cheerful noise though you could hardly call it musical. And, well, that's chanukah too, because without communities like that there probably wouldn't be lively, exuberant parties with all generations celebrating together in beautiful 19th century cathedral synagogues. Really glad I got the opportunity to help make both of those happen.

On the seventh day of chanukah, I bought a house. Which was extremely awesome but left me completely buried in house organization for the next several months.

I also managed to squeeze in a really nice afternoon with [personal profile] loreid in Birmingham. I haven't quite got used to the idea that my friends (sadly not all of them, but some) are an hour away on the train, and I can just go and visit them, without needing huge amounts of time, money and organization. We had lunch in a really gorgeous hippy vegetarian cafe, The Warehouse, and chatted and caught up while [livejournal.com profile] kathrid lurked.

Then I moved into the house properly the Tuesday before Christmas. So much gratitude to my wonderful parents who made that possible, and got me started on the unpacking. And [personal profile] jack arrived on Christmas eve, and helped out some more. He drove us to his grandfather's place in Lancashire on Christmas day itself, and we had another lovely, quiet, companionable family Christmas with his mother, grandfather and second-degree relatives.

My Beau gave me a couple of hand-crafted Magic decks, which is nerdy, but ever so adorable and devoted, and his mother gave me Dominion, something I'd wanted not quite enough to just go out and buy it for myself, and his aunt gave me a scarf and gloves set which is pleasingly fuzzy and purple. I gave J a Go set with shiny purple and pearly white stones, and his grandfather [livejournal.com profile] papersky's Small Change trilogy, and his mother AS Byatt's Babel Tower. We spent Boxing day playing with our new presents; it was too icy for walking to be particularly pleasant.

[personal profile] jack drove me back to my new exciting house, meaning we could play with his new toy, an extremely functional and helpful satnav. We celebrated my birthday by going out to Blue Chili, a very nice but somewhat pricey Thai restaurant. Then we had a few days in which to acquire stuff for the house, [personal profile] jack being an absolute pillar of patience as well as providing transport for the most boring kind of shopping. I got curtains, lightshades, and some necessary tools and a few other large but boring things that are a lot easier to carry by car. And the good company meant I didn't need to be either bored or stressed. [livejournal.com profile] mathcathy came by on Tuesday night, bringing Agricola and mulled cider. With that, Dominion and good conversation we had such a fun evening she didn't leave until midnight.

We came back to Cambridge for NYE which we spent at a very convivial party at Relativity. Then [personal profile] jack drove me to the parents' for a belated celebration of my grandmother's 90th. This was only partly successful because although we did get all the sibs together in one place, there was only about a three hour overlap. Now I'm having a nice relaxing weekend hanging out, chatting to parents and catching up a bit on the internet.
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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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