juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
I'm headed home again tonight, for the last night of Hanukkah and to welcome my sister back from college for winter break. I lit the candles with my family last Friday as well, but this year, this will be our one and only night of Hanukkah with all four of us in the home.

I learned the other day, somewhat to my surprise, that my good friend [livejournal.com profile] aep didn't know that I was Jewish. I am indeed, in the most singular and cliche cultural form that you can possibly imagine. My paternal grandparents are both Jews hailing from New York (my great great [paternal paternal] grandfather was a furniture manufacturer, to be even more cliche; worse still, my grandparents retired to Florida and my grandfather lives there now), and I was raised as a cultural Jew. That is to say, I was taught Jewish stories and customs, but my grandmother was particularly agnostic and I never went to synagogue or had a bat mitzvah. I celebrated Passover with my grandparents each year, a tradition we no longer continue, and I still light the Hanukkah candles with my family every year. So while I'm the last thing from a devout Jew, and while you certainly can't see my heritage to look at me, Hanukkah is still rather important to me. We don't do much more than scrape the wax from the menorah, light the new candles, and put the menorah on the window sill, where its light shines down over the hill, over the city herself—it's no big ceremony, but I love it. We'll be having latka for dinner as well tonight.

A photo of the lit menorah on the windowsill, from my mother's arts blog.

ETA: Our menorah on the last night of Hanukkah, as well as the latka, again from my mom's blog.

(My mother's family is not-very-strictly Catholic, although she has always been spiritual/agnostic. I was raised agnostic, and along with celebrating Hanukkah, my family also celebrates Christmas, and we sometimes celebrate Kwanzaa with some family friends. I've been known to celebrate Yule, and to some extent still recognize the importance of the solstice. My papa's birthday falls right in the middle of it all—on the solstice, actually. As such, this entire season is important to us as a family, but tonight is the last night of Hanukkah, which is why I focus on it.)

My sister Allie started college at University of Washington in the fall, and this is her first visit home since then. Ironically, we keep in somewhat better touch now that I'm back home and she's away, but I've never been very good at keeping in touch. Still, rumor has that her first semester has gone quite well—she's adjusted to her (horrendously gigantic) school and even has a job up there, which is needless to say more than I've ever managed. She's taking the train down home, and I'm looking forward to seeing her. I hold such a sense of confidence in her now, a sense that I've never felt towards myself. I am the black sheep of the family, ricocheting between unstable extremes; she is a middle ground, so while she is by no means average or simple, she is balanced, she is capable.I'm older, I was a bright kid and a good student, and for a while I was the high standard to which she was compared. Now, I've dropped that standard, and she hasn't faltered. I feel a bit ashamed in the face of that, and yet proud at the same time. In her own way, in a way that I have never managed, she is brilliant.

It will be good to see her again, and good for her to be home. She deserves the break, after such a change and after college, of course. Plus, if nothing else, I know that Jamie—the family dog—will be excited to see her. She has three weeks here before she heads back north.

Elsewise, I've fallen into a brief hibernational rut. I do this often—not just during the winter, though it is hibernation all the same. I curl up in bed, and in between napping I find more things to do in bed. I don't leave unless I need to, and lately that's only been to pee and to see Devon in the evenings. Sometimes I just want the safety and immobility of my own little cocoon. It's not depression precisely, though it is I've no doubt related; it's more like quietude, a peaceful drowsiness. I've been entertaining myself with a lot of fic reading (from the hot recs over at [livejournal.com profile] daily_snitch, only a few of which have been any good...) and film watching (At World's End is as good as I remember and the DVD is great, but needs a director's commentary; The Polar Express is hideously bad; all the rest is old news and old DVDs), and I've made a new custom pony. I'll take pictures of her today (in just a few minutes, probably, before I nap) but I shant post them for a bit, because she's getting packed up and shipped off as a surprise gift for a surprise somebody. I'm pleased with how she turns out, and though the recipient doesn't much like snow, I hope she likes this pony. Another gift is going off today, fingers crossed and Devon willing, and those two alone is more than I expected to mail off already. I am horrendously unreliable, after all.

Now, to take photos, and then to sleep before I head to the house for sundown. I hope that all of you are well, and Happy Hanukkah to those that celebrate it.

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juushika

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