(aka hannuka, hanukka, hannukka, hanukah, hannukah, hanukkah, hannukkah, chanuka, ... you get the idea. isn't transliteration fun?)
the holiday started last night, and i had a much nicer beginning to this low-key holiday than i had expected to have.
i was hanging around having gotten home from geocaching (thanks, cthulhia! (oh, and thanks to queue for driving)) in the lynn woods. it was too early to light candles, but late enough that i didn't want to go out & get something productive done. the phone rang, and an old friend was calling from jerusalem :-) i haven't talked to him in ages, and it was great just to hear his voice. and the best part of all: he & his wife may be here next year on sabbatical! (i don't really know his wife that well, having met her just before the wedding last year in israel, but she seems nice, and i trust his choice... so i assume she's a cool person to know better.)
another call from a good friend, then i lit the first candle. i had rearranged the living room a bit so i could put the menorah by the window (the traditional place to put it, to publicize the miracle of hannuka. which doesn't seem so effective these days, with so many lights for other holidays festooning the houses all around, but there you go.). i watched the candles burn, then read the traditional-for-me kids' claymation book about hannuka. (let me know if you'd like to read it, or just look at the pictures, which are wonderful).
hh had invited me to dinner, which turned out to be a dinner party: sitting around chatting over drinks, then an elegant meal, with candle-lighting in between. the food was lovely, the chat rather medical, with 4 of the 6 people who started the meal being doctors. (one couple was 1.5 hours late). the menu: mushroom-barley soup (3 kinds of mushrooms), then blackened salmon, salad, herbed green beans almondine, and hh's homemade latkes (recipe from his hungarian mom, with scallions in them) (and the traditional applesauce and sour cream available to top them). dessert included an apple-nut cake, some kind of sefardi cookies that were somewhat hard dough wrapped around a fruity/nutty filling, and chocolate medallions. i ate far too much & enjoyed every bite.
i'd thought i'd get home early enough to do things around the house, but it was around 11 by the time i got home. maybe today i'll manage to be productive...