This Shabbat, Jonathan came home from shul to tell me that Marina wanted to talk to me. Marina is a woman a few years older than we are and we're...friends is too strong, but a bit more than acquaintences. We don't avoid each other, we talk when we're in the same place and it's usually fun, but we don't seek each other out. So that was confusing. Since I didn't go to shul that morning, the other option was going to a mutual friend's house for seudat shleshit, the ritual third meal on Shabbat afternoon. Hindi runs a sort of open house, and women from the synagogue just drop in. I've never gone because I have other Shabbat afternoon activities and, honestly? I just don't want to leave the house. Otoh, Marina is a regular.
But after a rather...tumultuous afternoon and a nap, I put on Shabbos clothes and walked over, and it was very, very pleasant. I sat with Marina and three other women - all of them bright and funny - and traded quips with Hindi, and the food was excellent, but Hindi's food always is - various salads, surimi cocktail, good breads, plus when her pregnant daughter and son-in-law stopped by, *breakfast cereal*. We teased Me'era about having cravings, until Mattisyahu requested Honeycombs.
And what did Marina want to talk about? Well, about an hour or so later, when we left, she told me. There's a kosher butcher/supermarket in the area that's somewhat controversial, but as it's still in business and there's been no one who has gone there to say for sure one way or the other, and *she* and others believe it should be ascertained for real, instead of relying on rumors, she wanted to know if I go there.
I don't, but for geographic reasons - there are two others significantly closer to me. I thought those rumors had died a long time ago. She buys her meat from there, and wondered if, if she invited us to her house, would we eat. I said yes until or unless something definitive happens. So, that was it.
Sunday, our friends mabfan and gnomi, who live in Brookline, Mass, were in town to visit his family. They had an open house of their own that day, with various local friends (for a certain definition of local - his mother's house is in Queens, which is fair trip from Flatbush) dropping in and out all day long. We sat down. I saw another woman knitting, so I pulled out my sock, which had chaoswrangler pull out her crocheting, and then Nomi got her own socks. It was a lot of fun - pretty much everyone was fannish, so the talk was about everything. We came latish, so we were among those left at the end (also sdelmonte and batyatoon) eating pizza before being kicked out so that our hosts could go to the movies.
Yesterday, we went to see my family. This had a bit of a logistical problem, as we were taking a train. (Car rental = $60/day and we didn't know if the place was open today to return it,, plus gas. Off-peak round trip ticket = $12.50. No-brainer.) Jonathan had an appointment he needed to get to, you see, and he didn't want to travel separately and I didn't want to meet someplace because that never works well. So, we took the subway together to downtown Brooklyn, and he went to his appointment and I spent the time in Barnes and Noble. I looked at knitting books but didn't buy any (did see Big Girl Knits, and maybe when my skill set improves so that I can make the necklines more modest, I'll get it.) I did get a knitting magazine, the latest Lynn Flewelling and a book about how the school history textbooks of other countries see us.
And then we were back on the subway and getting our tickets for the train to Woodbridge.
We bought the makings of a barbecue - hamburger meat and various sides (cole slaw, potato salad, corn salad) from a local kosher market, plus a disposable grill. My mom's kitchen isn't kosher, so this way we coud have a nice meal. We also looked for a local yarn shop, but it was gone.
The grill worked well - It's an aluminum foil pan with a thin metal grill on top, vent holes in the side and little legs. Inside, there's a paper bag filled with wood and charcoal. You poke a match through a vent hole to light the bag, and that lights the charcoal. I put it on a folding table on my mom's balcony. It was big enough for six hamburgers, and I made large ones for the five of us (my mom, her boyfriend, my brother and us) and it was just nice. We hung around for a while afterwards. My mother tried out my bamboo crochet hook and gave me a size E aluminum one (she has others) so I didnt need to use my knitting needles to pick up dropped stitches any more. She liked the bamboo. She also liked the yarn I had with me. She doesn't work with wool, even the blends I had - only acrylics.
I'm getting her the Knitpicks catalog. She deserves to work with nice yarn. Getting her a few balls for her birthday, too.
(Anyone know the amount of yarn needed to crochet an afghan? Okay, that's dumb. Anyone want to give me a decent guess?)
Meanwhile, I did some practice lace with a pair of her aluminum knitting needles.
If I ever need straight needles that long, I'll work back and forth with circulars. These were heavy and awkward and I've been spoiled for metal ones. Also, I need more lace practice.
We got to the train station with minutes to spare for the trip home, stopped for some ice cream when we got to our home station, and that was it.
And now I'm exhausted and feeling rather socialized out.