Last night, right after Shabbat, we heard the first Megillah reading. There was one problem for me - there was a girl - early teens, if that - who decided her noisemaker would be a whistle. High pitched sounds like that are very painful for me. My husband cannot practice his soprano recorder with me in the room, and at Arisia, when someone played a soprano recorder in the filkroom, I had to leave. And she sat next to me. I wasn't the only one she bothered - half the women around us were holding their ears.
I walked to a different part of the women's side to get away. Which meant I had to stand throughout most of the reading.
Afterwards, we collected the shul mishloach manot (a square stoneware plate plus goodies we later gave away) and went home where I put together my mishlooach manot - a sandwich bag of pretzels, a sandwich bag of hamentaschen, and two pieces of fruit, all in cute little gift bags, and then, you know.
Watched tv and knit. :)
Got up early for the morning service - fortunately, the girls sat elsewhere so I could keep my own seat. And the leiner, a friend of ours, had fun with tunes, including concluding with "Megillah Gorilla", although I suspect few of the under thirties got the joke. Then we went home and had breakfast and coffee (yeah, I listened to the megillah without coffee. Not easy, I'll tell you that.) By this time it was 10AM. At about 10:45, Jonathan packed five bags into a Strand bag and I took a sixth, and we began knocking on neighbor's doors, getting things back in return.
Side note - it's long been the fashion to have fancy shlach manos - elegant bowls or baskets professionally filled with goodies and tied with net or cellophane. Everything is commercial because supposedly no one trusts anyone else's kashrut. Which is wrong, but hey. We got one or two like that, but most of what we got were small - a bag with two or three items - a bottle of grape juice and something else - candy usually. And it's much better - less stuff to worry about, often things we could use. My own seemed right in line with this. There wre a couple of especially cute ones - one was a bag of the "two necessary items for life" - garlic (in the form of garlic knots) and chocolate. Perfect. Another was chocolate milk and mini-donuts. In other words, they put some thought into it, and didn't need to spend a lot of money.
We delivered bags to the neighbors we know on our block and then parted company - Jonathan went to his teacher, who live two short blocks from us, and I went on to a friend's house. See, today's menu was lamb stew and couscous, only I forgot the couscous. I mentioned this on Shabbat at my weekly parsha class, and this friend said she had two boxes of instant and didn't want them - her husband didn't like couscous. So she offered them to me. She even said I didn't need to bring shlach manos, but, you know.
I left with the couscous and a homemade low sugar/lowfat apple cake. No, I don't have the recipe. Yet.
It's a longish walk between our houses (Frayda would have driven me, but I wanted the walk) and it was fun - all the kids and some adults in costume with the bags of goodies going door to door.
Got home and started cooking. My mom, her fianc&eacut; and my brother arrived about three. Seuda was challah rolls, salad, the stew and couscous, with a dessert of hamentashen, pineapple (brought by mom) and the cake. And then we had a long discussion about wedding plans.
All in all, it's been a lovely day.
Couple of highlights - the family who came as Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. The husband was the wolf - wolf feet and hands and tail in a gingham gown and mob cap, and the wife and daughters all had red capes and goodie baskets. The wife kept saying, "I'm on my way to Grandma's. Except I *am* grandma..." Which she is - her oldest gave her a granddaughter as a birthday preseent.
Pereleh. Pereleh is a bright and beautiful little girl who is completely spoiled by her parents. She's also the queen bee of her age set (about five) - she just assumes that what she says will go. Where other little girls were dressed as brides, Pereleh came as the Snow Queen from Narnia....
The boys dressed as girls because cross dressing happens.
Just how happy everyone was.