What a weekend! I was off work, but I feel like I hardly slowed down at all. I spent Saturday evening with some friends from temple, Cheryl and her little girl, Maggie. We went out and all ate breakfast foods for dinner, then browsed in a lovely store that was all decked out for the holidays. Seriously, I should've taken a picture of all the decorations and lights and toys. It was like Christmas exploded in there! I didn't buy anything, even though I saw some cute ornaments. (Our tree has been a little bare since I got rid of our religious ornaments. I might buy some Hanukkah ones online - if I can find any.)
After that, we went for a drive along the lake to look at Christmas lights. A lot of the swanky houses on the lakeshore had very impressive displays, including one of Santa Claus in a pirogue pulled by alligators. My favorite were the Live Oak trees draped with Spanish moss and encrusted with little white lights - so pretty. One house even had a real live Santa on the curb giving out free candy canes. There was a Christmas parade downtown that we didn't go to, but after the parade, there were fireworks. We watched them from the opposite, infinitely less crowded side of the lake. Maggie said something like, "Fireworks are like somebody threw a lot of glitter in the air!"
I didn't get home late, but I was up very late that night. Some weeks ago, a lady at the temple asked me to teach a Hebrew school on Sunday morning, and like the fool that I am, I said yes. Do not ask how Rebecca, one of the least qualified people at the temple, got this job; I have no idea. And of course, I left everything to the last minute the night before (my bad habits never change!) so on Saturday night, I gave myself a crash course in Hebrew and tried to develop a lesson plan from scratch. Did I mention that the Hebrew students are 6- to 10-year-olds?! I have even less experience with both that language and that age group than I did with teaching French high school students to speak English, and you all remember how mightily I sucked at that.
Anyway, come Sunday morning, I arrived at the temple looking awful and blearly-eyed, and I'm sure everyone thought I hadn't slept at all (which was practically the case). Fortunately, the lesson wasn't so bad. We - me and another, infinitely better teacher - taught the Hebrew months to the older kids and the Hebrew alphabet to the younger ones. Our class wasn't an easy one to teach; we had some students who could read Hebrew better than me (which isn't saying much) and some who didn't know alef from bet. Debbie Friedman's alef-bet song was a big help with them. It was stuck in my head all day! It occured to me later it all counted as talmud torah: the mitzvah of Jewish learning/teaching, the most important mitzvot.
I had meant to run some errands after Hebrew school, but instead I conked out as soon as I got home. So the errands had to wait until this morning, and they were much more frenzied than I would've liked. They involved several failed attempts to make a Christmas tree ornament (for my grandma) out of a dreidel. Hooked screws from the hardware store didn't work because I would've had to use a hammer, and the dreidel was so small that I was sure a hammer would smash it. Super glue from the dollar store didn't work, because even though the glue was strong enough to take paint off the dreidel (and my skin off my fingers, it felt like) it didn't affix the string to the dreidel. Finally I used silver dress trim from the fabric store. It's not very nice-looking, but it was the only thing that worked!
Then I drove by Grandma's house to give it to her. It went much better than my last visit with her. She sat up, came to the table with help from my aunts, ate a meal, had a conversation with me, and (best of all) understood what I said in French and answered me back in French. She is still my bad-ass Cajun grandma. Hooray!
And just to prove that all my Hebrew cramming didn't go to waste, I'll sign off this entry with my Hebrew name:
שָׁלוֹם - רִבְקָה בר יַעֲקֹב (Shalom - Rivka bat Yakov)