Seder Plate

Years ago Kathlyne and Ross invited Joey and me to celebrate the Passover Seder with them. I want to say it was the spring of 2000, but I could be wrong.

Celebrating Passover became a tradition. Joey and I would go up to Fort Worth, or Kat and Ross would come down to Austin. We invited others to join us over the years. Sujata, Troy, Christinne, Kay, Lindsay, Don, Misty, Brian, Robert, Laura, Jason, and probably some other folks I am forgetting joined us one year or another.

When Ross and Kat got married in January 2001, I found a beautiful crystal Seder plate. It was awesome. We used it for many years. Then, one sad day, the Seder plate was minding its own business on a shelf in Ross and Kat’s house, and a huge truck came down the street. The vibrations from the truck caused the plate to “walk” to the edge of the shelf, and then it crashed to the ground. This is how I recall the story, but I wasn’t there. Kat will have to correct me if I got anything wrong. We were all very sad, and I have looked and looked for another crystal plate like that one, but I have never seen anything like it!

Naturally we continued celebrating the Passover Seder without the plate. A white and gold china plate that Joey and I got as a wedding gift stood in as the Seder plate. If I am remembering correctly, the first year without the crystal Seder plate was the same year that Misty and Brian joined us for the Seder for the first time. Kat and I shared the story of the Seder plate (after all, Passover is about recounting stories, even if this one is a little off topic), and Misty was very sympathetic.

Fast forward a few years. Ross and Kat now live in Baltimore, and were not able to travel to Austin for Passover. Misty and Brian have continued to participate in our celebration.

Over the last few months, Misty has been talking about how much she would like to have a Seder plate made. She has a friend who is a potter, and Misty commissioned her to make the plate. While I knew of this plan, I was completely floored when Misty handed me a brown paper bag with a beautiful handmade Seder plate in it, and said it was a gift for me! I am very grateful to have my very own Passover Seder plate. I will keep a close watch out for a crystal plate for Kat and Ross, though!

Trip to Fort Worth

DSC01657 Joey and I drove to Fort Worth on Friday night. The main purpose of the trip was to see Ross and Kat before they leave Texas and move to Baltimore, Maryland.

Joey got us all packed for the trip, and arranged for Elanor to stay with Lee, Billy, and Cali.  Troy came over to pick up Katy for the weekend.  As he left our house, he was holding her bed, and the bag with her food, etc.  He called Katy, she followed him into the driveway.  Katy was confused about what car to get into, since the tailgate of our CR-V was open, she she stood behind the CR-V  waiting to be lifted into the car (she is too old and arthritic to jump into the car on her own anymore).  Then she got fed up with waiting, and went to find her Uncle Troy, who loaded her into his truck and drove away.  It was pretty cute.

After a crazy day of work on Friday, that included many projects, and a child with chicken pox, we finally made it out of the house at around 5pm.  I had foolishly decided that I would be able to escape work by 2pm.  It did not happen.  My wonderful co-worker, George, asked me to take over some tasks for her because her son came down with the chicken pox.  Now, before those of you who have opinions about vaccines start in on George – I will inform you that you that she lives in the UK, where they do not routinely vaccinate for chicken pox.

We made it to Fort Worth around 9pm.  The furniture had already been shipped off to Maryland, so the house was mostly empty.  We helped Ross and Kat clean the house a bit, but mainly kept them company while they finished packing up the last of their stuff, and scrubbed walls and floors, and cabinets, etc.  We also got to hang out with their neighbors, Margot and Otto.

On Saturday Joey and I slept in a bit – we continued trying to be as helpful as possible with the cleaning, and then we went to lunch at Byblos.  Yum!  After lunch we drove over to Bethany Boba for some Bubble Tea.  When we made it back over to Ross and Kat’s house, Joey and I got into the car and drove up to Denton to visit Laura and Jason.

DSC01678 Jason was working, so we ate at Chili’s.  Joey’s insane cat allergy meant that staying at Laura’s house with her cats, Lee and Macy, was not advisable.  We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Denton.  I cashed in some of my Hilton points, so it didn’t even cost anything!  Laura hung out with us at the hotel after we ate dinner.  We had a great time, just visiting and enjoying each other’s company.  We went down to the lobby to get ice cream, and then we found a luggage trolley in the hallway, and decided to see how it worked as transportation for people – not so well, it turns out.  However, it did turn into a good photo op – Joey was ready with the camera, as per usual.

Sunday morning we went to breakfast with Laura.  Then we drove back to Fort Worth and spent a few more hours with Ross and Kat before driving back to Austin.

We had a great time, but it was bittersweet…  too short a time with our friends.  And it is really sad to see Ross and Kat clearing out their house, and know that someone else will be renting the space and living there soon.  Joey took lots of pictures of the house, so we will be able to remember it!

Hopefully we will get to visit Ross and Kat in Maryland.  My mom is voting for that option, and that is clearly all for the benefit of our friends – she cannot possibly have an ulterior motive, like getting Joey and me to her part of the country.

Clean Closet


Last weekend Kat and Ross were here in Austin.  They arrived in Austin before I got home from North Carolina.  Saturday morning as I was unpacking, I decided my closet needed some help.  I had lots of clothes that I never wear in my closet.  Due to lack of space, some of the clothes I actually wear were in the sewing room closet.

Kat helped me weed through all the clothes in both closets.  We made several piles: clothes I still wear, things that don’t fit, but that are in good shape, and I would wear again if they fit, stuff that I just don’t wear anymore becasue it is worn out or out of style.  We also made a stack of things that don’t fit me, but that I thought Kat might like to have.  There were a ton of yoga clothes in this pile.  Kat had actually been telling me that she doesn’t have enough workout clothes now that she is teaching yoga and working out every day, so it worked out really well.


Everything that fit, looked good, and I still wear, went into my closet.  The things that I would wear if only I was thin enough went into the sewing room close.  Kat took the stuff she liked, and all the rest went into bags so that I can give them away.  My closet is hardly recognizable!  Awesome!

Many thanks to Kat for all her help; she was such a good sport.  Even more of a sport than you might think, because apparently she has helped me with this same task a couple of other times over our many years of friendship.  I cannot express how wonderful It s to go to my closet and find clothes I can actually wear!

I am sad that I did not take before pictures so you could appreciate the change, but just imagine an forrest of crazy old clothes, and a shelf so crowded that when Joey tried to get the stuff down it crashed all around him!

Filter Poetry

So I’m sitting here at breakfast with Kat and she just demonstrated how you can use the power of the spam filter to create poetry. Open your spam mailbox, pick a subject line as your starting place, and just read each subject line aloud one after the other. Today mine is:

  • Suffering from low self-esteme?
  • Ever wished to increase your man’s size? Than do not miss the opportunity.
  • Now you can easily put your most intimate problems to end.
  • Get the pair of shoes you have been eyeing all season
  • Branded shoes at affordable prices now
  • Go to our online store to enjoy shoe heaven, as you will find what you want there
  • Gucci, Prada, Bally shoes at less than half price
  • Make all the girls in the neighborhood long for you.

Unexpected Day in Fort Worth

Joey and I got up extremely early on Thursday, 19 June 2008, to travel to Troy and Christinne’s wedding in Cozumel, Mexico. We boarded the plane in Austin at 5:45 am for the forty minute flight to DFW. From DFW we were catching a connecting flight to Cozumel at 10:25 am. If any sane person had to guess, they would say five hours is plenty of time to get from Austin to DFW, find the correct gate, and board the second plane. Well, if they were on our fligh, AA1038, they would be wrong!

As we approached DFW, the pilot announced that we would have to circle for a about twenty minutes due to some thunderstorms that meant no planes could land at DFW. The air was smooth, no bumps or anything from our perspective, but if they say there are thunderstorms, we sit tight! Twenty minutes stretched to forty-five. Now the pilot tells us we are running low on fuel (never good), and that we have been instructed by air traffic control to fly back to Austin to refuel. We head back the way we came, and by 8:30 am were back on the ground in Austin. Over the next two hours the pilot kept us informed about the status of taking off for DFW again; it boiled down this: no planes bound for DFW were allowed to take off, period.

So we sat on the plane – we decided staying where we were was our best bet, and that if our flight was delayed, then lots of other stuff (hopefully including our connecting flight) was also delayed. Joey and I entertained ourselves with music trivia, a game where Joey plays a song for me, and I guess who wrote and/or performed it. We also had a great time watching the other people on the plane freak right out! Angry business men, a guy trying to get to Korea, and a family trying to make it to grandma’s house in Louisville, KY make for great entertainment.

At about 10:45 we finally left Austin again. We landed in DFW at 11:23, as it turns out, this was three minutes AFTER our flight to Cozumel left! No problem. We are on vacation! We called up Kathlyne to see if she was free, and could come pick us up. She came all the way to the airport from DFW and picked us up, but not before I managed to suck down a very large margarita.

Kathlyne and Ross graciously let us crash at their place for the night. Joey and I decided that this was a pleasant twist of events since we had just been lamenting that we had not seen our friends in Fort Worth for too long! We had a great afternoon hanging out with Kathlyne. Once Ross got home we all piled in the car and drove to Denton to visit with Laura, and surprise Jason at work. We had a great meal at Chili’s, and enjoyed fantastic company!

While at Chili’s Ross decided to cut his corn in half (don’t ask me – I have given up trying to understand Ross). Laura was really giving him a hard time. After much fussing, griding away at the corn cob with a blunt knife, and switching of knives, Ross and Laura finally each took an end of the corn cob and broke it in half. I managed to get the camera out quickly enough to capture the action for your viewing pleasure!

After dinner Kathlyne guided Ross and me through a yoga workout, and Joey edited pictures and worked on burning some stuff to CD for Ross and Kathlyne. We turned in at the end of a long, but, in the end, very enjoyable day. The next morning, Kathlyne took us to the airport, and we got onto the flight to Cozumel without any trouble or fanfare. We finally made it to Mexico safe and sound, albeit twenty-four hours later than expected. Our luggage even made the flight with us!

Kat’s Birthday – February 2008

katbday_02 LD and I drove up to Fort Worth yesterday to eat cake, slay a piñata, and celebrate the beginning of Kat’s 32nd year on the eighth return of her birthday. Tim’s father was at the party and I spent some time chatting with him and Tim and Rod about home improvements, cellular networks, recumbent bicycles, and other worthy engineer topics while feeding my Yitzchak Spector glass a fair supply of bubbly sweet red wine.

Kat made a wonderful yellow cake with rich chocolate icing – I had two pieces and took a big piece home after the party.

Sad news for Fort Worth – Tagel is moving to Seattle to make big bucks as a super engineer. We will miss you!

Here are some images from the party:

Our Anniversary – July 2007

CIMG0859 On July 4th LD and I had some friends over for a party to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary. We played games, grilled burgers and hot dogs, made ice cream and mojitos, danced, and socialized well into the night.

We had a terrific time – it was a pleasure to spend time with everyone who came, and food hit the spot. I have finally finished eating the chocolate torte that Billy and Lee brought to the party – gotta remember to return that cake-taker.

LisaDiane’s 30th Birthday – September 2005

IMG_0082 I decided turning 30 would be no problem if I got to have a big party! I even got a fancy party dress for the occation. Lots of food, and a great cake made it even better.

Things got really crazy when I opened my presents to discover that my idle comment about wearing a Wonder Woman costume at the party had been exploited. Mom and Dad sent the costume, and everyone else had fun convincing me to wear it. Thank goodness for pictures, which will preserve the memory forever! We topped it all off with a water balloon fight, and a piñata.

Passover – April 2004

IF I love the Seder feast, and this year we celebrated a memorable one. For several years Kat, Ross, LD, and I have celebrated passover together. Kat is a marvelous cook and she has always treated us to a lovely dinner at passover. This year Kat was working in El Paso and could not join us – so we had to make do on our own.
We invited a larger group than usual, and everyone contributed to the evening. Kay (who joined us for passover for the first time last year) brought her friend Aaron. Troy, Christine, and Sujata all attended – and helped us cook. We had roast lamb, roast beef, haroset, broiled asparagus, palak paneer, boiled eggs, matzah balls, carrots, and potatos. And lots of matzah.
Passover has become a necessary part of my year. I am always refreshed by the opportunity to share the sincere, fun, and somewhat solemn service with my friends and to feast and celebrate with them at the same time. As we say in the Haggadah – For in the time of freedom, there is knowledge of servitude. And in the time of bondage, there is hope of redemption.