I’ve been inspired by a graduate school friend, Allie and her blogs here and here and just a general sense of contemplation lately to try and write again. It may fail, but I’m going to try.

Last week was Pesach began. It is obviously already over.

Maybe because I’m getting older (I know I’m not old), but some of my memories are fading from the seder meals of my childhood. Nothing really stands out. It isn’t that seder growing up was bad or good it is just in the recess of my mind and I can’t find a clear memory of any of my childhood seders really.

Yet ever since I’ve reached adulthood I have developed a strong affinity for hosting a first night seder.

Maybe this is because I’m a bona fide Jewish professional. (Whoa. Don’t know if I’ve ever claimed that title with such authority before. That feels good.) Or maybe it’s because I’m far away from biological family and as a Jewish Professional it is a bit difficult to go home for the holidays.

(It’s a double-edged sword. I’m committed to making the Jewish community stronger but that means sometimes I’m unable to spend holidays with my family.) More likely this affinity comes from my mother who modeled hospitality and how to be a “hostess with the mostest” so well that I want to try and emulate that important skill.

It is a skill in development. Not mastered. Yet.

Yes, I really love hosting seder.

This year for the first time in a few years I hosted and I was definitely in my happy place.

(Cooking is my happy place so being able to create an entire meal for friends is like the Gan Eden for me.)

As always with the seders I host it’s a bit of a motley crew that I invite, but I like it that way. Variety!

This year my friend Naomi (who I used to live with and who together we hosted several seders together before I went to graduate school) and her husband (and friend) Joe attended. My good friend (through kickball, of course) Michelle was there for her first ever seder! And two of Zach’s oldest (possibly) friends in Portland also came —  Mafe and Dave. (I think I can call them my friends too now!)

I made matzo ball soup (from the box. Judge if you must but there were some time constraints), a cauliflower kugel (it needed more spice), a matzo spinach pie (pretty yummy, though next year I may need to follow directions better when it comes to soaking the matzo), Naomi brought over a green salad. I baked (I am a much better cook than baker) apricot bars. They were tasty and moist (yuck, that word) but I’ll definitely need to practice more with that recipe. And gefilte fish from the jar. I’m not the biggest fan of gefilte fish but man it has to be at Pesach. And only from the jar!

Of course there was plenty of wine! (My neighborhood Trader Joe’s even had K for P wine — what?! Amazing!)

The hard-boiled eggs were on the table when everyone arrived. (Taunting.) They were placed in glass ramekins with salt water. The maybe first distinct memory I have from how my grandmother set the Pesach table.

But. The thing that I thought was the BEST was the mock chopped liver! 

So good. So Easy. And memorable.

Memorable not because it was so, so good but because I do actually have one (more) distinct memory of Pesach from my childhood. My mother making chopped liver.

(The real kind. I can’t obviously make the real kind because I’m a pescetarianism/vegetarian plus the fact that I think liver is kind of gross.)

I think she had a red meat grinder contraption thing. (Clearly I don’t eat meat.)

It took her a long time to make.

She wore an apron.

The endeavor took over the whole kitchen.

She would talk on the phone (anyone who knows my mom won’t think this is strange) while also lovingly and carefully making this family recipe.

(Apparently our family has the “best chopped liver” recipe ever! Though I’m sure many others also have “the best.”)

The entire house smelled. Not the best smell to me, but if I smelled that smell again it would immediately make me think:


It’s the smell of the holiday. It’s our Fleet Family Tradition.

My mom would bring over her vat of chopped liver to my grandparent’s house for seder. They’d have the tam-tams ready. Everyone would dig in and make all those yummy-this-is-the-most-delicious-thing-ever food noises.

So I made a mock chopped liver this year. It was my only appetizer. We all were a little late getting started. (I mean I did call for people to come over on a Monday at 6, not an ideal time) So the appetizer was a bit missed, but just having it there made me feel like I was bringing a bit of the Fleet Family Legacy to my own Trexler in Portland Diaspora Traditions.

Because so little was eaten during seder and because the recipe made so much Zach and I indulged in it later in the week. So good! So memorable. So Pesach. So Fleet. So 2014. So Portland. So LT. So Vegetarian.

Redefining traditions and trying to make new ones.

And here are a couple of pictures. Nothing so exciting, but I was proud of my festive spring table!

My seder table! The seder plate is from my grandmother. The iPad did NOT make an appearance at the actual event.

My seder table! The seder plate is from my grandmother. The iPad did NOT make an appearance at the actual event.

The guests minus Naomi and Joe because I forgot to take a picture before they left. Doh!

The guests minus Naomi and Joe because I forgot to take a picture before they left. Doh!


Shabbat shalom!

What are your distinct Pesach memories?

Day in Photos: November 11th

My friend Emily — who isn’t an MOT — but wanted to try a challah recipe she found on Pinterest. So we baked today. These turned out much better than my attempt on Friday. I think it was partially the recipe we used. I’ve definitely been off the healthy train the last couple of days. No good. 


Day in Photos: November 9th

Zach is not going to be in town for my birthday. Boo. So on Saturday we went to brunch (okay, we go to brunch most Saturdays. Portland does brunch extraordinarily well.) This, though was a celebratory, pre-birthday, let’s kick-off LT’s Birthday Week brunch. Look how yummy it was?!


It was one of the best Florentine Benedicts I’ve ever had. Seriously. 

Day is Photos: November 8th

Clearly I was not meant to be a blogger. Posting a picture of the last few days counts as blogging, right? Yes, I’m on Facebook and Instagram, but this whole blogging thing is a slower process for me. And yes, posting pictures to those two sites is probably more appropriate, but I have to start somewhere, so I am indeed going to re-start blogging (again) with all the random pictures I take of ordinary things each day. 

Last Friday evening I hosted a Shabbat dinner for a few friends. The first Shabbat dinner I was able to host in two years that wasn’t through work and wasn’t for 100 people. It was glorious. Image

Preparing food, having people over, and enjoying good stories really is my happy place.

This was my lame attempt at making challah. I did something wonky to the recipe as well as braiding it very haphazardly. Thank goodness I live near a Trader Joe’s!


Trekking through November

November is the best month. The weather. Thanksgiving. My birthday. Yes, I love this month. 

But that’s not really the reason why I’m going to try and start blogging.

No, I remembered it’s NaBloPoMo. And I’m looking for some creative outlets as the days grow shorter and darker, so I thought I’d start here.

I know that it is already the 6th day of this month, I’m not going to try back track, but just start here and hopefully have something to share each day. 

I started this blog to chronicle my time in Israel. See how well that worked out.

 A lot has happened since that year in Israel. Which was from 2009-2010, for those keeping track. 

I arrived back to the good ol’ USA. Moved to Los Angeles (HELL.ON.EARTH.). Finished graduate school in May of 2013. Got a job in Davis, California. Moved there. Lived there for one year. Then for so many reasons (all good) I made the decision to return to my beloved Portland, Oregon. That’s about it. 

And this…

I live with this guy now.

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I work in an office where I can see this on a clear day:2013-07-02 12.49.37-2

(Mt. Hood!)

I love to do this, especially in the autumn.2013-08-27 19.02.03-2

And of course on my way to “yogalites” in the dark mornings sometimes I’m startled by this.

It is Portland after all. It’s weird. 

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Happy NaBloPoMo!


Below is an email I wrote in the year 2000.

Do you remember what you were doing in 2000?

I was attending undergraduate school at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. The 2000 presidential election was the first election I ever voted in. I voted absentee in Florida. Leon County — where I was voting absentee — didn’t have any issues with “hanging chads” or “butterflies.”

Little did I know when I wrote this email to my family how historic the 2000 election was going to be, especially for Floridians.

I re-sent this email to my family right before the 2008 election. It just seemed appropriate.

By the way. I don’t claim Florida anymore as my home state.

dear grandpa and grandma, mom, dad, aunt judy, aunt janis and uncle bobby, aunt beth and uncle mike,
i know in the last few weeks there have been disagreements in the family about the election, but i just wanted to comment on the fact that its important to vote, i know all of you are voting, so its kinda like preaching to the choir, but this was my first time voting, and i’m really excited about that.
watching the news and seeing all the rallies and how close everything has been it gives me some weird kind of power that my vote did make a difference, i’m also excited that this election was my first one to vote in, because we really don’t know who is going to be president.
i don’t know this all might sounds silly, but i just wanted to share my enthusiasm with my family about this historic day.  i actually feel patriotic for once.okay, well i hope everyone has a GREAT day!
i can’t wait to see you all for thanksgiving
(i’ll miss you uncle bobby and aunt janis)!
love ya’ll!