Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I have a problem...

I have absolutely, positively NO interest in working today. 

I've been up since about 7:30, I left my house a little after 8, and I've been in my office since 9:30 but very little work has actually been completed.  All I've done is watch the facebook chat room with my ttc friends, beg people to have a snowball fight with me, and tease the CA employees. 

I want to go home! 

I want to be in my PJs, in my bed, watching Christmas movies OR baking!  I have not baked in months and I need to.  It's almost Christmas, gosh darnit!  That's what Italians do this time of year! 

6 pm is way too far away!

Sorry for the rant, I needed to get that out!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas with the Cooks

It's possible, I may have gone overboard with decorating this year!  I'd like to take you on a tour and show you everything we've/I've put up.  Please excuse some of the pics, I love my apartment but it desperately needs updating, and it's hard to keep Jim from being messy.  With that being said, welcome to our home!

Front Door wreath, the beginning of a lot of Giants paraphernalia!

Apartment door

Dining room chandelier, the balls are uneven but I don't care!
Dining room table
Dining room corner, Jim loves his skulls!
Coffee table with the new nativity, and the love seat.

Close up of Santa.  He's so old but he still dances, I love him!

The nativity my parents bought for us.  It's so cute!  I'm so excited, I've wanted one for a while
The side table
Entertainment center and our tree (please excuse all the wires!)
The tree!  I love that our topper is a Rutgers Santa hat!  Can you see all of the Giants/Mets ornaments?
Close ups, love the little present tree
C is for Christmas, Cookie, and COOK
The Christmas village.  I need to put something on top and I can't decide what, suggestions?
The kitchen is even taken over (please excuse the table, it's old and stained!)
Close up of the salt and pepper kissers!  I love them!  My nonnie bought them for me last year and I forgot until I started unpacking everything, they were such a great surprise!

Well that's it for the Christmas tour!  The only none Christmas decorating is in the bathroom and our 2 bedrooms, so I spared you any pictures of that.  Thanks for coming along and joining in the Christmas spirit!

Also I'd like to note how ironic it is that we don't plan to do Santa for our kids and yet I'm obsessed with Santa.  Not including ornaments there are 7 Santa's scattered around my house right now.  Our kids will definitely know about the fairy tale of Santa, just like they'll know about Rudolph and Frosty, but they won't believe he's real, they won't demand presents, and they won't loss any of the fun or magic that is Christmas.

Friday, December 6, 2013

High Five for Friday (Vol. 13)

Linking up with the lovely, Lauren for this weeks

Can I just say this was a very good week?  It was also a bit rough because of work stress, but lets focus on the good!

1. Meeting up with old friends!  I was lucky and got out of work early on Tuesday.  This left me time for a dinner date instead of a coffee date with my oldest friend, Michelle.  I will never forget how we met- we were 13, it was the 1st week of 8th grade and I was new to school (we had just moved from Ohio to NJ.)  We were on the bus ride home, she popped her head up and said "you're new here!"  I said "yes" and she squealed "great!  I'm Michelle, we'll be friends and I'll show you around."  She's been showing me around ever since.  She was the maid of honor in our wedding and although we don't see each other often, I feel like no time has passed when we finally get together again.  Sadly, Jim had fallen while I was out and thought he would need to go to the hospital, so I only got dinner and then had to leave, but I loved getting to see her, hear about her engagement, and all her wedding plans, and I can't wait to see her again in January!

2. SUSHI!  Michelle and I went for sushi, which I've sampled before but never really eaten on it's own!  OMG I love sushi!  I had a Boston and a Philadelphia roll, and I could not have been happier.  We also had miso soup, which tasty a bit like Bacon (odd since it had tofu in it,) I guess it was because it was so salty.  Needless to say, I'll definitely be having sushi again!

3. The holidays are here and my apartment could not be cheerier (is that actually a word?)  I'll be posting all the final pictures of our decorating extravaganza this weekend!

4.  The holidays being here means Christmas movies!  I've already watched National Lampoons Christmas Vacation a couple of times and can't wait to watch Elf, Rudolph, Charlie Brown, etc...

5. Chocolate!  Sales reps are starting to get presents from their doctors and lets face it no one needs that much chocolate, so they're sharing with us!!!  We were given this box of Godiva on Thursday morning and it was gone by lunch.  So stinking delicious!

Hope you all had a fantastic week and are feeling the holiday spirit as much as I am! 

Are you planning to decorate? Or have you already decorated?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's beginning...

To look a lot like Christmas!

We started decorating last night!  I have been holding off since learning we lost the baby.  Originally, I thought this would be a great way to drown my sorrows, but then I was afraid I would look around and just be sad that I wasn't decorating and getting ready to tell my family a baby was on the way.  So I held off.  But it's been a few weeks, Thanksgiving is over, and it's time! 

The tree is up. 
The lights are strung, but there are no ornaments yet.
The Christmas village has replaced the pictures on our entertainment center, but it still feels like something is missing!
The nativity is on the coffee table.
There are santa's everywhere!  (How is it that I love him so much but I'm actually considering raising my kids without Santa?  Does that make me a bad mom?  I'll save that for another post!)

We'll work on it again tonight after work but for now I'll leave you with this:

A taste of the Santa explosion! They're all over the living room, in the hallway, on the tree, even in the kitchen!  I'll add more pictures once everything is in it's place.

Happy holidays!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tribute to Grandpa

As I mentioned on Thursday, my family did a ceremonial unveiling of my Grandfather's headstone on Friday.  This is a Jewish tradition that I've never experienced before but I was glad and proud to be a part of it.

My grandfather passed away on Thursday November 1, 2012 right in the middle of the Hurricane Sandy disaster.  I'll never forget escaping NJ to my parents house in PA for some electric- hot water and heat were much needed.  We woke up on Thursday morning and I could hear my aunt in the living room, she wasn't there when I went to sleep, immediately I knew Grandpa was gone.  He had been battling heart issues for years and I had been bracing myself for this moment since I was about 15, but nothing will ever prepare you for the first time you lose a grandparent.  I've never hugged my dad so hard, what must it be like to lose a parent?  I don't want to know!  It began a whirlwind of events including trying to find clothes to wear for the funeral, driving to CT, battling to get hotel rooms as everyone was fleeing their homes and also trying to find places with generators so they could be warm and take showers. 

It was sad to bury him.  He was small and quiet and I really don't remember much about him.  My parents kept me away from that side of the family because there was always a battle over me not being raised Jewish, but I do remember being more comfortable around him than I was around my grandmother and I truly wish he was still here.  He was buried in a traditional Jewish ceremony that Sunday morning, since he couldn't be buried during the Sabbath (Friday night into Saturday) and by the next Thursday we were all back to work or school and living our lives again. 

The tradition is that you do not visit the grave or place a headstone on the tomb for a year.  In a year you come back, have a ceremony, and unveil the grave, which is what we did on Friday the 29th. 

Here is an excerpt from the speech my Uncle Phillip made at the opening of the ceremony, I think it helps explain the process pretty nicely:

We gather together to formally dedicate this marker or monument or tomb stone to the
memory of Grandpa Milt.
“Unveiling” is the name for the ceremonial “unveiling of” or dedication of, the
headstone at the grave of a loved one. The dedication has its origins in the Biblical story
of the patriarch Jacob, who erected a memorial pillar for his wife Rachel following her
death, as related in Genesis 35:19-20: “So Rachel died, and she was buried on the way
to Efrat (that is, Bethlehem), and Jacob set up a pillar at her grave; it is the pillar of
Rachel’s tomb, which is there to this day.”
As the passage suggests, the chief purpose of dedicating a headstone is to mark the
final resting place of a loved one to honor his or her life and to serve as a focal point
for people’s memories for years and generations to come. This marker represents
our conviction that the life of a person does not evaporate when the body dies.
Some significant part of the person lives on among family, friends and community.
Accordingly, remembering and honoring Grandpa is the main purpose of this unveiling
While there is rigidity in some things done in the Jewish faith, it is not the case with
an unveiling. Other than not taking place on the Sabbath, there are no other rules for
scheduling. This enables it to be done when most people are available, it just makes
sense. The ceremony consists mainly of some psalms or poems, the memorial prayer
known by its first couple of words in Hebrew – El moleh rachamim or “Oh G-d, full of
mercy” and the Kaddish said by people who mourn.

After his speech, my cousin Melanie and I recited Psalm 121, she read it in Hebrew and I read it in English.  Then we listened to a song by Charlie Spivek, apparently Grandpa loved him, and my Uncle and dad shared some memories before closing the ceremony with the Kaddish and then placing rocks on the grave stone.

Things I learned about Grandpa:
    He was a hustler- he sold balloons and popcorn at street fairs and made my dad and uncle help
    He loved Jazz, especially Charlie Spivek
    He loved baseball and used to empire games because he was too small to play
    He was wounded in WWII, received a purple heart, served under and was a great admirer or Gl Patton
    He literally hid money all around the house
    He liked horse racing, playing poker, and smoking cigars in the part
    He refered to my aunt, uncle, and dad as the triplets, even though they were years apart in age
    He was a member of the Tribe of Levi, how they know that I have no idea, but it's pretty darn cool!

I wish I had a chance to ask him about the war, to know more about this man that always seemed so distant to me but clearly had quite a bond with my cousins.  It's sad but I c an't change it so I just have to be happy for what I do know about him and pray that I'll meet him again.

Here are some pictures to remember Grandpa with:

Grandkids with the grandparents at Michael's Bar Mitzvah, September 2009
First row:  Grandma, Alissa, Grandpa
Second row:  Me, Michael, Samuel, Melanie

Grandparents with their kids, also at Mike's Bar Mitzvah
Uncle Phillip, Aunt Reyna, and my dad

Grandpa's grave after the unveiling, it was wrapped in gauze, which I kept, not sure why

Grandpa was a good man, and a hard worker.  He worked so hard and never enjoy anything that he had earned.  My dad cried when he spoke about that, which made me cry, he said we should all learn a lesson from that.  Life is short.  It's important to work hard but not so hard that we forget to enjoy.  I hope you can all take that lesson to heart and balance work with life, otherwise it's gone in a flash and you can't get it back.  Rest in peace, grandpa, you are greatly missed.