Sunday, April 20, 2008

Passover and HELP!

Last night was the first family holiday we've celebrated without Avivah. The first Seder of Passover.

V and I text messaged as the family all arrived at my mom's house and then I called her. I sat out on the front porch talking and chatting just fine... and then my 3 neices, Hannah, Isabel and Tillie ran by laughing and playing and having a great time. Soon my nephew Hunter joined them.

One question I really hated hearing the answer to was if V had found a seder to attend there at Vandenberg. The answer was No. She asked the Chaplain and he knew of none. Ouch.

As V and I talked, Hannah came over and sent a hello to V...
Tillie came over (I get called "Aunie Lela" now), blessed me with some rocks and then a huge smile when I told her I was talking to "her Viva"...

It crept up... and then it GOT me.

I had to finish the conversation (promising to call back) saying I had to go light the holiday candles. HA.

The hole in my heart that V's absence creates started a good cry that began at "Love you" and barely made it through "bye".

I know how much she adores her little cousins (and No, Hunter, you're not little any more, but she adores you too!) and would have loved running around with them. I know how happy she would've been to meet Mike's daughters, Sarah and Cassy (Mike is Karen's bf) who all came from MD to be here. I know how she and her brother gab and snark through the seder with each other. (LOL) I know how much she loves her Grandma and Grandma's cooking! I know how much she loves the songs we all sing together for Passover. I know how much I love her voice.

And I know how much I miss her.

I pulled it together and on with the ritual we went.

I called her again after dinner, taunting her (good naturedly) about the tower of Passover rolls on the table and saving her a mocha bar. She then shared that she really misses "cooked food". Huh?!

Here I thought that "The Breakers" their Dfac (dining facility) had good "cooked" food for them 3x a day. She says it's not that good and it's far away from them. (a 10 min bus ride) So it cuts deeply into the short times they have to eat, especially breakfast and lunch.

She said she misses proteins the most. My little 'meat and potatoes' kid is living on energy drinks (shudder) and Ramen noodles for lunches. Breakfasts are a disaster. Dinners are hit and miss depending on her time and duties.

We talked about a few things that she might be able to make in her dorm room (which she would prefer) but we ran into a few obstacles...

  • She has a very tiny fridge (a dorm sized cube)
  • No freezer to speak of (a tray of ice cubes + 2" maybe)
  • Very limited space to store dry goods
  • No sink (except the bathroom)
  • A shared microwave - on every other floor
  • The Commisary is about a 9 block walk each way

We agreed that I'd once more venture into her bedroom here for her bag of Tupperware (we were both reps, so we believe in the stuff!) and get her soup mugs and a couple other pieces to help them store foods more effectively (and pest free. It is a dorm after all.)

Gods bless Grandma, who jumped at the chance to send food to her granddaughter. There's a box of Matza and three kinds of cookies all ready to go out to V on Monday. I'll add some canned soup and a few other things...


Avivah needs ideas of things she can make, given the above limitations, that are nutritious, quick and easy. If it's "cooked food" then all the better! I'll probably send her a Tupperware microwave steamer to help.

Please comment, e-mail and call me with ideas. I really want to help her if I can.

If you want to send her something yourself just ask me for the address. If it's helpful, you sure have my blessing. If you have a FoodSaver or something like it and can vacuum pack REAL foods safely, PLEASE let me know. I'll send you whatever funds you need to mail V (and Latoya, her roomie) a couple of home-cooked meals.


Michelle said...

Darn it! I wrote this long comment and hit the wrong button so it all went away. What did I say?

I know that holidays are the worst. No matter what you are doing or who you are with you can't help but think of the one who is not there.

Shay was lucky at Shepherd as the dfac was right across the street from the dorm. At Wright Patt they have one in the dorm quad and they usually eat breakfast and lunch at the hospital during the week. I seem to have memories of the air force dfac being much better than the Army but she says it sucks. She has a little bit bigger fridge, a microwave and a sink so it is easier to prepare stuff. Plus each floor has a kitchen. This is lab week (no idea) so her and another girl are trying to make a cake that looks like a syringe. Picture one cut in half laying on its side. They bought different size round cake pans. I hope she sends me pictures.

Gotta get back to my laundry. Take care.

Di said...

Hmm... does she have access to a toaster? One thing I ate a lot of in college was dry tuna (no mayo cause of lack of fridge space) on good whole wheat toast. Not quite a full meal, but a substantial snack. Add an apple or some other fruit, and it's pretty darn nutritious.

I am trying to think back to my college days... a tub of hummus with some baby carrots and apples is also a snack needing minimal fridge space and zero prep, but it doesn't meet the "cooked" criteria.

Is she allowed to have one of those electric tea kettles? If so, she could boil water for lentils or couscous and she could keep some pre-cooked chicken in the fridge to add in. It might work for pasta, too...

That's all I got for now, but I will keep brainstorming!

Lea said...

Hi Di,

No. No toaster. Sorry.

I should mention... V doesn't eat fish of any kind, dressings are a no-go and sauces are a rarity for her.

She's not a picky eater as really picky eaters go, but she has her likes and dislikes.

Keep those suggestions coming!!

Lea said...

I like the pasta idea. V is BIG on pasta or rice with a protein mixed in.

Need to check my sources on making decent pasta in a microwave, but this may be doable.


Tonjia said...

I am still thinking, I might have to go to the market and peruse the shelves.

here in the mountains we have all kinds of cool quick cook foods.

It doesnt get any easier does it Lea?? Every holiday will bring the blues, but here in bloggerland we are quick to step in and offer a shoulder!! hang in there!!

Di said...

She can also make scrambled eggs in the microwave!! It just takes a minute, and a carton of Egg Beats wouldn't take up much room. Bread, microwaved scrambled eggs, and a slice of cheese (maybe with some tomato?) would be a yummy breakfast (or dinner!)

Anonymous said...

well, being a current college student i guess i'm somewhat of an expert on dorm food.

firstly, just roam around meijers... you'd be surprised how many different soups, pastas, and even desserts are either canned or dried (add water) and microwaveable. easy mac is good, but my personal favorite and diet staple is spagettios. and betty crocker makes the BEST microwaveable desserts. my favorite is the chocolate chip cookie. popcorn is also a good staple. oh, i eat alot of oatmeal for breakfast.

i haven't really tried cooking rice or pasta from scratch... but i'm sure v can figure that out faster than me. you might want to send her some basic spices, i know how much she loves those.

as far as refrigeratable stuff, that depends on what she eats on a regular basis. i always have some kind of cheese, meat, and pickles in my fridge. along with TONS of bottled water. (dorm water here is poisonous, i swear.)

one thing i'm living without right now that's killing me is my microwave teapot. i miss it so much. but i move out in four days, so i guess i don't have to wait much longer.

<3 Nancy