Last weekend we went to Westport's Ric Rac craft fair, thanks to Shea's suggestion. It was a hot one but the crafting was unique and we enjoyed getting out. The highlight came at the end. We waited in line for a good bit, long enough to see others leave their spots because they couldn't take the pressure (just kidding, she was pregnant and carrying a toddler on her large baby belly). We persevered and enjoyed our first experience with Fresher Than Fresh, "Kansas City's 1st all natural snow cone stand on wheels". There are several flavors to pick from, but Maasen treated lil' Cass and me to a smorgasbord of flavors: ric rac raspberry, in honor of the craft gathering; espresso and mexican cane sugar, my pick; watermelon basil, Big Cass tried this one herself; blackberry lavender, for Lil' Cass; and green tea pear, Maasen digs all things tea. They were delicious, but I think I enjoyed it most because of the people we were with. In all reality it's just flavored ice. The concept is great, but I'm waiting for Shea to come up with her own flavors. Obviously Cassidy enjoyed it, and thanks to Maasen she got the last drop of her outrageously bright pink colored iced.


Her Works Praise Her: A History of Jewish Women in America from Colonial Times to the Present

I finished a dense volume of Jewish women in America by Hasia Diner this month. At times I could only read a page or two at a time, but that was mostly because I was so tired. Her analysis of the change of Judaism in America opened my eyes to the power and beauty that lies with being a woman, the one who leads the home into Sabbath and who also makes sure things run smoothly and the bills get paid. Here are some excerpts from the books, as well as some famous Jewish women (and men). I've decided to break this up into installments; it will be easier for me to post and you people will probably read it if it's not ten pages.

The central, beating heart is the Jewish home, indeed an entire network of Jewish homes that creates the Sabbath atmosphere, the festive rituals, the necessary foods, and the spiritual sustenance that constitute the Jewish conception of holiness. Only a house cleaned and polished in honor of the holy day, only a table covered with a starched cloth and laden with traditional delicacies, only the presence of possibility f children to carry on the tradition, affords the necessary complement to the ritual of the synagogue. (5-6)

But we do know for sure that colonial Jews kept another central element of traditional piety, the dietary laws. For a woman trying to provide her family kosher food, everything to do with their sustenance rises to the realm of the holy. Going to the market, raising chickens in the yard, churning butter and making cheese, seasoning a cut of meat, turning it on the spit, planning a day's meals, setting the table, clearing the dirty dishes, washing, drying and putting them away -- each of these deceptively ordinary acts brings her in touch with ultimate law of the Universe, as commanded by G-d and written in the Torah. (35)

And as in earlier days, some Gentile wives embraced Judaism. European-born Marcus Spiegel, for example, met a Quaker girl named Caroline on his peddling rounds in Ohio. They married and he brought her to Chicago, where in 1853 she became one of the city's first Jewish converts. Eleven years later Marcus died in the Civil War battle of Vicksburg, but Caroline remained loyal to her new faith for the rest of her days. (At the time of his death, Marcus was intending to go into business with his brother Joseph. Joseph went ahead and opened the planned store, which eventually grew into the Spiegel catalog company.) (91)


we went to lawrence and got amazing cheeseburgers and then cass rode this dinky old carousel. no music, so sam sang a song for her. the dialogue at the end is about how tom ordered a double shot of espresso and the barista asked, "for here or to go?" he should have turned around and walked away, like sam did, but he didn't. he got a quad shot (the barista's interpretation of a double shot) and it was pretty undrinkable. and really hilarious.
and then we went to worlds of fun. and she rode a real carousel, with music. and she sang her own song. it's hard to hear her singing, but it was about loving her horses. she sang the whole ride, which isn't surprising. she could sing about anything, for days.