Wednesday, March 07, 2007

love, hate and the holidays

it is always at this time of the year that i start to feel tremendously stressed out. really, i shouldn't but it just inevitably happens, whether i like it or not.

there is much to look forward to — the winter is almost over [if you can believe it's now almost -40C with the wind factored into the temperature] and spring is just around the corner. they've even now moved the changing of the "spring forward" time to this weekend. that's a double-edged sword since it means that all my electronics are going the majorly [insert bad word here ending in -ed] up and i will have to RESET everything again come april when we normally do it since some of them are auto-configured to change in april. i guess the silver lining is that we have an extra hour of daylight, three weeks early. however......

that means one hour less in my already stressed out state concerning something i have to complete in less than 4 weeks time. for those of you who aren't jewish, or who are and don't observe our meshuggeneh rules, this translates into a thorough spring cleaning. this isn't your normal spring cleaning though. it means going through every single thing you own and checking for any remnants of forbidden foods or articles which are to be "disowned" for the holiday of passover.

despite what i am saying, i really like this holiday for a few reasons. it's the time of year to get together with family and friends, the time to honour our history and repeat ancient traditions celebrating freedom from oppression and slavery, and the time for purging.

it is at this time that i get to go through all my things and discard all the crap i don't really need or want and have been clinging on to for dear life for no good reason. [ok, i'm a bit of a (still reforming) packrat .... i gave up keeping elastic bands and twist ties a few years ago. enough said]. for the past few years, i've gotten a lot better at letting go and not been tempted to run out in the middle of the night and reclaim what i've trashed.

along with this purging comes my not so favourite part — washing and scrubbing every wall, window and area of floor, cleaning out every closet, every drawer, and every nook and cranny. this is later compounded by removing all the foods i cannot have during the holiday and storing them away so that they can be ritually sold [to disown them] and later rebought.

it is during these four weeks, from the holiday of purim that just passed, until a few days before the eve of passover, that many jews worldwide will try to use up tons of foods we can't consume during the 8 days of this ancient celebration. once the "forbidden" food is totally removed a day or two before the commencement (erev pessah), another crazy fit of cleaning happens with scouring the fridge, oven and stove, scrubbing the floors, usually a la cinderella on hands and knees, and covering the counters and finally cleaning the sink in a special way to make it "kosher" for the holiday. it's only once this final step of cleaning the sink and not being able to use it for 24 hours that i know that i've almost finished.

is it at this point that all the dishes and kitchen equipment for the holiday finally are taken out. this is the fun part, in a way. you get to see all the things used only at this time of the year and for 8 days only. it's these pots and pans and special china that hold tons of memories, sometimes memories that are only jarred by seeing these objects tucked away from year to year, taken out for those few days.

did i say i still have to cook because i can't make any food until i've completely changed the kitchen over??

in the end, it's a lot of work. it's actually tremendous work and i've not mentioned a lot of other things that go into it, like shopping for the food, making menus, cooking the foods, entertaining guests, etc. so, if you're following my blog, excuse the delays in postings. i have tons of things to talk about, recipes to post, and information to relay. unfortunately, time is short and i'm busy beyond belief. this doesn't mean i won't be posting things. i will be but just not as often as i have been doing for the past few months.

stay tuned for more.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I can understand your stress apprehension regarding this time of the year. I would also feel like you if I had to clean every centimeter of my apartment ;-P! Cleaning is not my friend, although, on a weekly basis, I accomplish this horrible task without showing any opposition or complaining too much (it makes me swear a lot, in fact)...

Good luck and work well!

trupti said...

-40?? damn. It's ok here in NF..not as cold as you guys. Re: Time Change, I'm kinda okay with it...I like that idea...

good luck cleaning, you're gonna be busy! I can't wait to see what you cook up for your guests, good luck,my dear.

stay warm,

Pam said...

I swear. You are starting to sound exactly like me. -40 AND Passover stress. It's freaky. ;)

I had 15,000 lbs. of Passover food delivered yesterday. Imagine THAT stress!

Just remember, do not let the stress get you. And good luck!

burekaboy — said...

rosa - cleaning isn't one of my favourite activities either but it must be done. i can live with mess but not dirt. i keep thinking to myself (as i swear) that the house is going to look amazing when i'm finished finally. i think that's the payoff.

trupti - today was much better but the past few days were so cold it was crazy. of course, the wind brings the temperature much lower. it seems to have abated for the moment and on saturday it's supposed to go up to +12C!!! so crazy.

stay tuned, i will be posting lots of food things for the holiday of passover.

pam - LOL, i can't even imagine having to deal with the store/business on top of everything else. i'll be freaking out in another week and a half when it's down to the wire, most probably. so much work, so little time.

keep your head up, too!! :) did u get the CL article done?? don't forget eG duties, too!! sheesh, girl, you make me feel so lazy!

tschoerda said...

... funny you should mention that ... i need to do a propper spring cleaning too. not because of religious rules or because my appartement is dirty, but because of the odd weather here in austria. we had like 15°c for a couple of days now, a sapphire blue sky and ... well, it felt like spring!
i feel like i missed out on the whole winter experience this year.

another thing: "meshugge" is a word i frequently use when i speak in my german dialect. and now that i did a little research i noticed that i use quite a few jiddish words in my everyday language ... that's pretty cool!

i avidly followed a special about judaism on arte, a german/french tv station over the last couple of days, i was amazed that i could really understand people talking jiddish ... and of course i learned a lot about your rituals and rules along the way :)

burekaboy — said...

tschoerda - it has indeed been a very strange winter all over the world. only for the past month or so we've gotten our real winter weather but it wasn't a regular once since it didn't snow until after january!

i believe root of the whole phenomenon of 'spring cleaning' was borne from the ritual passover cleaning. it's also the time for birth and renewal so it makes spring cleaning appropriate, doesn't it?

as for your understanding yiddish, it's not surprising since its basic structure is germanic. you'd probably have an easy time learning to speak it. [you must be saying now, learn yiddish? "bisdu meshugge!" LOL]. well, spoken anyway. all the writing of it is in hebrew characters.

thanks for the link. there's thousands of years of info there! :D

Pammie said...

Hi Burekaboy,

You don't need to worry about setting your computer to deal wtih the time change issues, Microsoft has issued a patch to take care of this one for you and also so you don't have to worry about the normally scheduled one in three weeks time. You can download the patch at :

Hope you get through the cleaning okay. Turn on the music to help you through it! It will all be worth it in the end.

the chocolate lady said...

I feel the same way about becoming reacquainted with my peysekh things every year. It's always a moment of heightened emotional experiences.

the chocolate lady said...

Oh, and -40 C is the same as -40F. It is the point where the two scales cross.

burekaboy — said...

pammie - thanks for the link for the microsoft patch. gonna install it right away. i managed to change all my clocks a few hours before hand to "get used to it" before i went to bed. hope i won't feel it in the morning :s

as for the cleaning, well, i'm nowhere near where i need to be but that will come with time. music does help :D

hi chocolate lady - it is funny how some of those possessions can make one emotional. a friend of mine has her great grandmother's hackmesser and bowl for making gefilte fish and swears it makes all the difference. i can just imagine how many batches it has made over the years.

thanks for the info about the temperature. didn't realize that was a cross over point.

shelly said...

Nikuy pesach... eizeh balagan! Btw, if it makes you feel any better, I read a while back that a lot of the meshuggeh scrubbing is really above and beyond the halakhic requirements of pesach. You don't need to scrub the walls and turn your house upside down. You just need to clean the house a little more thoroughly than usual. Even the countertop covering thing is slightly, er, over the top. It's enough to scrub the counters and kasher them by pouring boiling water over them. C'est tout. My Moroccan neighbors in Israel used to paint the house every pesach, in addition to cleaning it thoroughly from top to bottom.

Princess Jibi said...

i was going to comment long on this, but something keep gettin in my way..
In my country, daddy normally hires a maid to do the cleaning, and my job is to sit and watch her and make sure she do her work and don't skylauff(which is creoles for idealing).
I like a clean house, but I never really did much cleaning, ur post is making me wonder how our house is going to get cleaned for our holiday.
Its not like the have cheap labor here, where u can just get anyone for a negotiable price, i think u have to call a cleaning agency over here? the must cost alot...
oh now I remember why i never got to post this, it makes my head spin, thinking about whose going clean up this holiday... i sure hope its not me...

burekaboy — said...

shelly - את צודקת מאה אחוז שרוב מה שאנשים עושים בשביל ניקיון פםח הוא יותר ממה שכתוב לעשות בתורה

למרות זה יש בלגן עצלי עכשיו -- אבל לכל משפחה יש לה את המנהג שלה, נכון? את יודעת -- יש לי ידידים לובביצים והם דווקא לא רוחצים קירות וכו

בקיצור מהשחשוב זה להוציא את החמץ מן הבית

lol, at least my house is clean beyond description!!

hi PJ - usually people hire cleaning ladies from either ads in newspapers or more commonly from recommendations from other people who have them clean their homes. you could ask around. i'm sure the agency ones may be more expensive but then if something goes wrong, the agency might be responsible. LOL, i soooo wish i had a cleaning lady right about now to help me!! (which holiday are you referring to?)