Monday, September 27, 2010

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.

Our Chloe baby.

I went to Debra’s this week for lunch. It was Sukkot, the Jewish festival of Booths.  This is the Jewish festival of giving thanks for the fall harvest, as well as the commemoration of the forty years of Jewish wandering in the desert after Sinai.  A sukkah is often erected by Jews during this festival, and it is common practice for some to eat and even live in these temporary dwellings during Sukkot.  Sukkot is also a harvest festival and the direct ancestor of the American Thanksgiving.  William Bradford and the Pilgrims were very familiar with the Bible (Bradford, like many other educated people of his time, spoke and wrote Hebrew) and likewise wanted to give thanks for their deliverance from the wilderness.

Debra didn’t have anyplace to build  a sukkah so she decorated her porch.

Her table was very pretty also.

Debra made a delicious lunch of an Asian salad made with deep fried Mai fun rice noodles and chicken with an Asian dressing.  I loved it so much I went right out and bought me some of those noodles.

See how they puff up after you deep fry them?   They are very crunchy.

After lunch we went out on her porch to observe The Four Species or the lulav and etrog.  The lulav consists of a palm branch, a myrtle branch, and a willow branch bound together.  They all have symbolic meanings relating to the land of Israel.  The etrog is a citrus fruit native to Israel (and now, California) and is held separately.  With these four species in hand, one recites a blessing and waives the species in all six directions (east, south, west, north, up and down).



I made Debra a tie blanket. I tried to find colors that complimented the decor in her fifth wheel.


Phil had to go to Kittanning this past week to check in materials, and I rode with him.

We went to Pittsburgh afterwards.  Because of a bad storm and traffic lights being out, we were in stop and go traffic for two hours, so I spent the time taking pictures of the sunset.


And of this lovely tree


On Saturdaym Debra and I went to a Sukkot service in Pittsburgh at Congregation Yeshua Ben David, led by Pastor Jeff and Kathy Kipp.  They had a service that wasn’t very different from what I was used to.  The Pastor explained Sukkot to us and there was singing and a lot of rejoicing.  Afterwards we went out to decorate the sukkah, then we went downstairs of the church to eat together.  I brought homemade baklava.

Pastor Jeff


The big news this week, though, is that we booked a cruise up the Allegheny River to watch a Steelers game and hang out with Robin Cole, a former linebacker.

The dock

The boat


The boat full of partiers.  Pittsburgh Water Limos provided the food and the beverages.

Robin Cole and I.  What a super nice guy!  He makes cheesecakes now.

I took a few pictures while we were in between plays and cruising up the river.

The city


The H. J. Heinz factory.



The Duquesne Incline up to Mount Washington


Mister Rogers statue

The USS Requin is moored on the Ohio River at Carnegie Science Center

Pittsburgh is called the city of bridges for a reason.

A 2006 study determined that Pittsburgh has 446 bridges, and with its proximity to three major rivers and countless hills and ravines, Pittsburgh is known as "The City of Bridges".  Pittsburgh is the world record holder for bridges with piers and stands contained entirely within city limits, beating out Venice, Italy, the previous record holder, by three bridges.  There are many more bridges in Pittsburgh that are not counted toward the world record, as they lack piers.