1. We just renegotiated our lease with my landlady. It's gone up $80, approximately 5.1%. We will see what happens in later years. We do like living here.
2. I was about to leave the house tonight to say Psalms with a bunch of women (description to come later) when my mother called.
And what we ended up talking about is one of the hard parts of becoming a ba'alat tshuva, of becoming Orthodox after a non-religious background.
My mother is upset she couldn't spend Rosh HaShanah with us (she would *not* enjoy being Shomer Shabbat/Yom Tov, and I would get very shrewish. I get that way.) She had the dinners with a friend and her daughter. I also should point out that my brother, who lives very close to her, spent the holiday with his *own* friends, and I don't want to feel guilty about that.
And she wants us to go to her for Thanksgiving. She doesn't keep kosher. She could try, but. Her mother stopped keeping kosher after *her* mother died, and so my mother grew up in a non-kosher home. She never kept kosher in her own home, either. There are people who keep their homes kosher for religious relatives, but those are generally people who grew up that way. They've internalized the rules. And they can count on those relatives coming over on a regular basis, so they have incentive to do it.
My mom doesn't. I come to visit her only a few times a year - my lack of a car and the fact that Sunday is my only real day off (and so, my own selfishness, I suppose) keep me at home. If she doesn't believe in doing it for herself, it's an imposition for her to keep a kosher house for *me*. A big one. And, since she won't ask questions and doesn't really believe, she'll get nonkosher food - she won't check for hecksher. It didn't really exist during that brief time her family did keep kosher, and she never shopped for food then anyway. She'll make mistakes and decide it won't matter because "Debbie won't know." Which is true.
She won't do it maliciously. But it will happen. Because it doesn't matter to her if she uses her meat knife to cut cheese. This is not evil. This just *is*. This happened when she tried before, even before my brother and his wife moved in and destroyed whatever kashrut she had left. And, honestly, she had no real reason to maintain it.
So. I can't eat food cooked in my mother's house. So I can't spend Thanksgiving in her house, and that hurts both of us. And she is hurting a lot. And I hate that I'm the cause of that hurt.
Except, I've been this kosher for years. I haven't spent a Thanksgiving in her house for a decade, and we haven't had a Rosh HaShanah together for longer than that. So something had to have changed, and I think it was due to her friend. I can just see it - "Oh, Bunny, it's too bad you can't be with your own kids for R"H. It's so sad your daughter is so religious. Well, at least you can spend it with us if your kids won't be with you." And my mom would think, "Well, we could do Thanksgiving."
There is a solution. I could come to her house and cook, using my own equipment and food I've purchased. Her oven is self-cleaning, so that would be possible. And maybe I'll do that in a future year. This year we have an additional problem - my mother-in-law and her broken arm. God willing, it will be healed by November and it won't be a problem, but. It might be one. In which case, I'm going to *her* house and making Thanksgiving there according to *her* direction and recipes. No matter how much curry she wants to use.
Or, maybe I'll just do it in my own home. Last time was a minor disaster because the mothers assumed I'd be incompetent or something, but maybe it'll work this time. We'll see how mother-in-law's arm is.