Wednesday, April 15, 2015
A Word From the Weiss
Normally, when I hear the word “anniversary,” it is preceded by the word "happy,"
and I respond with joy and jubilation and get ready to break out the Manischewitz.
Nah, let's get real. Make that the champagne.
That’s what my husband and I did last summer when we marked 30 years of matrimony by returning to the scenic seaside place where it all began, The Water Club in NYC.
Since one dinner out was hardly enough to contain our joy (and jubilation at having survived 10,950 days and nights together without killing ourselves or each other), that celebration continued
in the fall with a three-week Asian tour to Hong Kong, Beijing, and Bangkok.
course, some anniversaries stir mixed emotions instead.
My family and I were both deeply saddened and in my
case incredulous last week to realize that my own nice Jewish
mom had now been gone for six whole years. (Wasn't she just here weighing in loudly on our lives and serving her incomparable
mushroom barley soup?)
Yet when we were
gathered together for Passover we still managed to derive no small amount of comfort and joy while reminiscing about her life and what an
unforgettable character (with a distinct emphasis on the word "character") she had been.
We also were amazed and amused to learn that when my daughter told her German-Chinese boyfriend JP that April 4th was Grandma Bunnie’s yahrzeit, he nodded solemnly, noting that “yahrzeit” means “anniversary” in German, so no further explanation was required.
But any sense of joy or amusement over recent anniversaries
stopped right there.
This week marked Yom HaShoah, otherwise known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, on which we commemorate the murder of 6 million Jews and millions
of others during what were not only the darkest days for our people, but for all of human existence since time began.
But this was not the only anniversary this past week
to commemorate the mind-boggling extent of man's inhumanity to man. My emotions were anything but joyful when I woke up on Tuesday morning to learn that this was the one-year “anniversary”
of the disappearance of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria at the hands of the militant group Boko Haram.
One year? Seriously? How
could this be?
How could the world let this be?
course, there has been no dearth of public outcry or publicity. But to what end?
The Twitter campaign #bringbackourgirls has done little to bring back those girls.
As a nice Jewish mom, I can’t begin to get my mind around
how their families must feel. If my daughter – or son, for that matter – disappeared for more than an hour or two (long enough for it to be clear that they weren’t either simply out of range on the subway or waiting
for their phone to recharge), I would have hyperbolic conniptions, then deploy Liam Neeson or do
whatever else it took to find her or him at once and bring them home safely.
And in this case, we are not just talking about one girl.
are talking about more than 200.
Letting a whole year pass without solving such an abomination is no “anniversary.”
It is just a travesty.
According to the Wall Street
Journal, these girls are not alone in their horrid plight. The human
rights organization Amnesty International contends in a new report that Boko Haram has in fact
abducted at least 2,000 women and girls since the beginning of 2014, many of whom have since been forced
into sexual slavery or trained and forced to fight alongside the insurgents.
The young schoolgirls
kidnapped in the northeastern town of Chibok are merely the ones who caught
the world’s attention, they say, and became the catalyst for Nigerians to begin protesting the untenable level of chaos that their country endures.
Despite those ongoing protests, and regardless of the attention of the world, nothing has
been done to recover the missing girls, who appear to have simply vanished without a trace.
As you may have noticed, I rarely if ever write about politics or world events in this space, in part because
I believe people get enough of that stuff elsewhere and also in part because when I write about my own life I know what I
am talking about, and when I write about others' lives, I don’t.
Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about in this case. But I am going to say it anyway.
According to a friend who appears to be in the know, the missing Nigerian girls cannot be
found because they are no longer in one group. They have been carted away individually and simply disappeared. But that doesn’t mean they’re not still alive.
It only means they may each be somewhere alone suffering in their own private forms of hell.
I don’t care if those girls remain in a group
or have been sold into sexual slavery or other abominations one by one. If my daughter were among them, I would not be able
to rest until she were found. And I would not want my government (or the rest of the world) to either.
I feel the same way about anyone’s daughter. Or certainly,
of course, anyone’s son.
Let’s not let another day go by, let alone another anniversary. Forget the hashtag. It’s time to find them. Let’s bring our girls home and pick a day
to celebrate that.
Now, that would be a happy anniversary.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
A Word From the Weiss
As any nice Jewish mom knows, there’s no holiday meal more challenging to prepare than a Passover
Seder. It’s like Thanksgiving on steroids, plus a whole lotta matzo products – and minus the
bread stuffing, pumpkin pie, and dinner rolls, of course.
if you ask me, there’s only one thing harder than
serving a Seder in your own home, and that’s preparing
a Seder to go that you will serve
So when our family’s plans changed abruptly last week only the day
before the holiday began, I was truly thrown for
As I explained in rather excruciating detail
last week (detail that was even more excruciating for me to live than it probably was for
you to read), my daughter was suddenly grounded with a bad ear infection and unable to fly back from
Hong Kong until late Friday night. My husband and I
planned to pick her up at the airport in Newark.
postponing our big family Seder until Saturday night. But I couldn’t imagine doing
nothing whatsoever to observe the first night of Passover on Friday.
long as we were going to be in the New York area, we were inclined to mark the holiday with our son Aidan and his girlfriend Kaitlin, and they
were happy to be with us. The question was whether to go out for dinner or try to bring a meal to eat in their brand new apartment, which required schlepping the entire production more than 100 miles?
Aidan instantly opted to take the easy route.
It might not be the most intimate
or traditional Seder we had ever had, but as long as I was already making the whole Megillah (or should I say Haggadah?) on Saturday
night, shouldn’t we just eat out?
I reminded him that although
we normally don’t keep kosher, we do keep Passover. That meant
all bread, pasta, and rice were verboten, so we couldn’t eat anywhere Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, or otherwise “ethnic.” Other than that, I was happy to go anywhere. He promised to find somewhere suitable.
But he called
back within 20 minutes ready to throw in the proverbial
towel. Every eatery that was even vaguely
Jewish would be closed for the holiday, he said.
Checking online myself, I found a place called Talia’s Steakhouse on the Upper West Side that was offering
two seatings on both nights for an entire Seder
meal. This rare opportunity came at a hefty price, however -- $125 per person including tax, to be precise. That would amount to $500 for the four of us; $600 including an appropriate tip.
So I felt mighty proud of myself when I went to our local Jewish supermarket, The Crown, and managed to put together from their prepared Passover foods a complete
meal for four for under $40. Of course, that included only the entrees (chicken Marsala for three of us and stuffed mushrooms
for Kaitlin, who is vegetarian), as well as two kinds of matzo stuffing, a salad, and a
pound of chocolate-covered macaroons for dessert.
I would add my own homemade matzo ball soup, chopped liver, and steamed broccoli, as well as the charoses, parsley, and all the other items that
went on the Seder plate.
Speaking of the Seder plate, I had already set our dining room table with the one we usually use – the silver one Aidan brought back from Israel after going on Birthright –
but I packed up the old one that my late mother gave us years ago.
In the same bag, I began assembling everything else required
to serve the meal and not leave a mess behind afterwards – a tablecloth, white Sabbath candles, paper plates for both dinner and dessert, plastic bowls for the soup, paper napkins, plastic cups, two boxes of matzo (one whole wheat, one regular) and of course, most important of all, the Haggadahs – our special Passover prayer books.
On Friday, I was so excited that I would actually see my daughter by nightfall that I could hardly breathe. But
I kept busy for much of the day making the brisket that I would serve the next night – a messy business, to say the least. I was also busy making the non-brisket.
vegetarian option, that is.
The first time Aidan brought
Kaitlin home for Passover, I wanted to
make sure that she had a great experience, but I was a bit perplexed about how to alter the traditional meal. I served her matzo balls in canned vegetable broth instead of homemade chicken soup, although I knew it just wasn't
the same thing.
As for the entrée, I simply made a small extra
batch of my usual brisket recipe, which includes potatoes, carrots, onions, and other vegetables, but I left the meat out.
Since that time, I have served many meals to Kaitlin
and become a little savvier. When she came for Thanksgiving, I bought her a nice stuffed “Tofurky” at Trader Joe’s. But for this, her third Passover with us, I came up with some better homemade
Instead of settling for canned vegetable broth in which to float my matzo balls, I made my own, starting with chicken-flavored soup base from RC Fine Foods.
It’s not only kosher and vegetarian, but vegan… and gluten free. Best of all,
it tastes like real chicken soup! I boiled sliced
carrots in it, along with some fresh celery,
parsnip, parsley and dill, and when I served it to her it looked and tasted very similar to everyone else’s.
The matzo balls are no problem either, by the way, because I banished schmaltz (chicken fat) from my recipe years ago in favor of
a far healthier alternative – olive oil -- although I fry onions in the oil first to add flavor.
As for the main event, I still am making her a separate
pan of “brisket” sans meat. But instead of limiting this to veggies alone, this year I added some protein -- cubed Westsoy seitan, which I found at Whole Foods.
Since seitan (a wheat-based protein) is already cooked, I added
it toward the end of the cooking time. Kaitlin seemed
to enjoy it and then happily took the leftovers home. So I can only assume that she did.
Here’s the recipe:
Sauté a sliced onion in olive oil until
beginning to brown. Add two cloves minced garlic, two sliced carrots, ½ cup sliced mushrooms, and a handful of green beans (for Passover, you can substitute
broccoli or Brussels sprouts). Remove from heat and put in a baking dish with 1 cup tomato sauce and ¾ cup vegetable broth. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. It can be refrigerated overnight at this point. Before serving, add one package (about 1
cup) cubed Seitan or meat substitute of your choice
and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes.
By the time I’d finished preparing this and the actual brisket on Friday, my husband had returned from work and we were already running late to leave for NYC. I’d put all of the perishable food into a
big insulated bag by the door and asked him to load both this and the bag with all of my other accoutrements into
the car while I finished my blog.
After arriving nearly three hours later, we opened the car trunk to retrieve our bags.
Make that bag. The insulated one with most of the food was there. The other one was not.
“Where is it? I asked you to put the bags in the car,” I reminded my husband.
“I told you that I couldn’t
carry them both and to take the second bag,” he replied.
“Yes, I did!”
Whatever he may have said to me about that bag, he had not said it within earshot. At least I hadn’t heard it. I will spare you the hysterical, shrieking
scene that ensued. Although it was the warmest evening we’d had all year,
I must say I totally blew my cool.
Whose fault was it really? I can't say for sure. But let's put it this way: The other day,
he misplaced a box of cereal and a banana he was about to eat, until it finally turned up in about the last place you would
look for a box of cereal and a banana. Would you or would you not say the man is seriously fedrayt?
I rest my case.
But never mind that. It was after 6 and we were on a tight schedule because Allegra’s plane was due to arrive in Newark by 9:40. Now what were we going to do?
The good news was that nearly all of the actual food
was with us, and so was the wine. OK, it was just Manischewitz. But still.
fortunately, there was a Gristede’s right on that block. While my husband brought the food upstairs
to Aidan’s apartment, I dashed into this supermarket, which like any store in NYC is obscenely overpriced but was at least well-stocked with Passover foods.
There I managed to procure two boxes
of matzo (one regular, one whole wheat), a box
of white Sabbath candles, paper plates for both dinner and dessert, and a box of dark chocolate-covered matzo to replace my own macaroons in
the bag left behind.
We would have to make do with a regular plate in place
of the Seder plate, and make more of a mess than I had hoped by using my son’s own bowls and wine glasses.
I made the table look as nice as possible using his everyday placemats instead of a tablecloth.
The biggest problem was that we now had no Haggadahs. I searched for an online version that we could pass around the table, but no
one seemed eager to use this. Besides, having celebrated
Passover every year of our lives, we were perfectly
able to recite the main prayers from memory, as
well as to chant the Four Questions and sing “Dayenu.”
Besides, I had to get a grip. For
as the refrain to that song goes… if we’d only had
a box of matzo to eat, but we were still
able to be together, it would have been enough.
And as it turned out, leaving the Hagaddahs behind turned out to be a blessing in disguise. For just as we finished
eating, I learned that Allegra’s plane was about to
arrive an hour early. Had we read more prayers,
we never would have made it on time.
The moment I
spied her emerging from the baggage claim at last, I began screaming so uncontrollably that I imagine passersby were tempted to call Security. Or maybe just the paramedics.
By the time we got home, it was nearly 1 a.m. The rest of our family and friends arrived the next afternoon. Good thing that I’d planned ahead and already cleaned the house, set the table, and cooked almost the entire
meal before I had left the day before.
In fact, in all the years that I have been preparing that mother of a meal, this was the first time that this nice Jewish mom had been relaxed, ready, and able to sit down and visit with my family when they arrived, rather than
being sequestered in the kitchen.
So whether or not my daughter continues to live halfway around the globe (yikes!!!), I intend to
make this new routine as much a part of my Passover ritual as the set of silly masks we wear representing frogs, lice, wild beasts, hail,
and the rest of the 10 plagues.
Although from now on, I am either serving at home or we are going out. That’s that.
The morning after, although everyone was still stuffed with brisket (or “meatless brisket”),
I got up early and made a huge mess of matzo brei (fried matzo) for breakfast.
Then, following a brisk walk, everyone left after we’d eaten some matzo pizza for lunch.
Over the next few days,
I got to enjoy Allegra’s company ’round the clock. What a thrill it was having her home, even if we
spent most of our time doing mundane things
like going to the mall, walking the dog, and lying on the couch watching "Married at First Sight" and other criminally
bad American TV.
There is a huge part
of me that wishes she would just move back
home so that we could continue frittering away our time doing those things together
for the rest of my life.
she is 25, and she has her own life. And so a few days later –
as soon as she had recovered sufficiently
from severe jet lag to rejoin the human
race – I put her on a train bound for New York, where she was soon happily reunited with Aidan and Kaitlin.
And perhaps the leftover meatless brisket.
It nearly broke
my heart to see her leave so soon. But it was time to let her go. We’ll see her again before she returns to Hong Kong. Besides, as any nice Jewish mom knows, just as there is no meal more challenging to serve than a Passover Seder. there is only one thing that can make you even happier than being with your children.
And that is doing whatever it takes to make your children happy.
Friday, April 3, 2015
A Word From the Weiss
Last week, I posted something
on Facebook that seemed to spark more
interest than almost anything I have ever put up on social media before: a picture of my Passover table… already set.
I looking forward to having my whole family home for Passover?” I wrote. “Let’s put it this way… It’s 10 days away and I have already set the table.” This prompted not only dozens of
likes, but a flurry of comments hotter
than a spoonful of fresh-grated horseradish, ranging from “Lovely but maybe a little
premature” to “Do you have time
to come over? I need HELP!”).
The last of these
was offered by an old childhood friend named Elyse
who grew up to become a rabbi, to which I responded,
“If YOU need help, then G-d help us all!”
As for my making it look like I was uber-organized, the truth was that I simply could not wait until my daughter came back to visit for a few
weeks after spending the past nine months in Hong Kong.
As it turned out, though, I would have to.
other truth of the situation was that I am no Jewish Martha Stewart, and I am certainly no Donna Reed. As much effort as it takes to prepare
the Passover meal from scratch – and I do make everything but the gefilte fish and macaroons from scratch – people who know me know that for me, the most challenging part of the entire Pesach enterprise is making my normally
cluttered house presentable enough to receive guests.
I don’t dare
aim to make it what normal people might actually classify as “clean.” I’m afraid that we Jews ran out of such miracles following the parting of the Red
Part of the problem is that my
husband and I are both what you might call pack rats, if you were being charitable. And if you were being honest, you would just say slobs.
Some people may think that I never
clean, but the exact opposite is true. Even though we have a cleaning lady who comes over once a week, it feels to me like I am still always cleaning up myself, if only to keep on top of the accumulation of clutter.
But this often amounts to merely moving the various mountains of clutter around. Every time
someone suddenly pops over, we take a few piles of stuff from the living room
and transfer them to the dining room
table. This works reasonably well, since we are very busy people and don’t
entertain for dinner all that much (in part because we are very busy people, and in part because we are pack rats…
or should I just say slobs?).
Whatever the case, until last week we had not been able to see the top of our dining room table since Thanksgiving. And this began to cause me serious concern.
just that my entire family was expected to arrive this Friday for the first night of Passover. The problem was that my daughter Allegra was flying in late on the previous Wednesday night from Hong
Kong and I planned to pick her up at the airport in Newark, NJ, about three hours away from my home in Connecticut.
We intended to stay overnight in a hotel, and as long as we were going to be near New York City, I wanted to drive my son Aidan and his girlfriend Kaitlin home with us for Passover. They were unable to leave
until after 6 p.m. on Thursday, though, meaning that I would arrive home late Thursday night and have to serve a Seder meal
the next day.
The only way that I could possibly pull this feat off was to do as much preparation in advance as possible.
So I began thinking of all the things that I could do in advance.
Of course, brisket always tastes better the second day, or so they say. But I am not one
of those people who make food ahead of time and freeze it. To me, the freezer is just a pit stop on the way to the garbage
can. So I couldn’t make that too much in advance.
As for the rest of the meal, I will make the chicken soup a day or two ahead of time, but I prefer to make the matzo
balls just before we sit down to dinner, and the carrot tsimmes, steamed asparagus, and other vegetables while everyone is
eating the matzo ball soup.
And then the answer came to me in a flash of inspiration: There was one thing I could do already. I could set the
This seemed particularly prudent
in view of the fact that there are things you use for Passover and only for Passover, and then you put them away and have to remember where they are a whole year later. I’m not just talking about the Haggadahs – the special prayer books containing the Four
Questions, the story of the Exodus, and all of the various and sundry prayers we recite as we break matzo instead of bread.
There is also the silver Seder plate that my son brought us back from Israel; the silver chalice from my daughter’s bat mitzvah that we always use as the cup for Elijah; a square ceramic dish that we pile with squares of matzo; and a set of silly masks I own representing the 10 plagues, from locusts,
boils, and frogs to the slaying of the firstborn.
Besides, I want the
table to look not just festive, but truly elegant, so I always use only our finest things, from my mother-in-law’s Sterling silver flatware to our
good china, the hand-blown wine glasses, and some French cloth napkins clasped with napkin rings.
I had finished clearing the dining room table
(a heroic effort itself) and arranged all of these items painstakingly upon it, I stepped
back and admired my handiwork. And yes, I felt like it warranted a photo, which I dared to post, not realizing that this would provoke an onslaught
of comments, both complimentary and otherwise.
(One friend went so far as to express concern that the table settings
would get dusty sitting there for 10 days, leading me to point out that I had placed the glasses and goblets upside down and
covered all of the dishes with paper plates just to prevent this.)
I had this sense of satisfaction that, even if I am not the Jewish Rachael Ray (I am way
too long in the tooth, and besides, that title is already taken by Jamie Geller), I was organized and all ready for my guests, other than having to still cook all of the food.
But as I am fond of saying and I find out much too often, the best-laid plans of mice and moms often go astray.
We began weeks ago counting down the days until Allegra would arrive on April 1. But two nights before her departure, she wrote to
say that things were already going wrong.
She had been nursing a cold for the past week, yet this had not discouraged her from spending the entire weekend out
with her boyfriend JP at a big international rugby tournament, to which they had worn vibrant matching his and hers rugby jerseys.
She’d seemed in particularly good spirits during this event, no doubt in no small part due to all the spirits they imbibed both during the matches and
at the after parties. But on Monday morning she had woken up before dawn feeling ill and in serious pain.
A doctor took one look in her ear and nearly howled. She had a serious middle ear infection, she was told, and shouldn’t fly for at least two or three days.
Her flight was scheduled
for the very next day. Now what was she going to do?
I may not be an actual
doctor, but I play one on the Internet. That is, as most nice Jewish moms, I am extremely adept at diagnosing symptoms and
uncovering horror stories by Googling every
ailment I hear about. And in this case, I didn’t need to look far.
typed in “Flying with a middle ear infection” and uncovered
a host of horrific tales, ranging from people
who had been in excruciating pain during flights to those who had suffered ruptured ear
drums and temporary or even permanent, irreparable hearing loss.
Allegra, as regular readers of this space must know by now, is a professional jazz singer. About the last thing she needed to do was jeopardize her sense
So I urged her to call the airline ASAP and see if she could get onto a flight a day later instead. But after waiting indefinitely on hold and repeatedly getting disconnected, she
wrote me that, having been awake half the night, she
was beginning to fall asleep.
Then, apparently, she did.
Hong Kong is 12 hours
ahead of us. I stayed up as late as I could, hoping to still hear from her, then eventually gave up, but deliberately left my cell phone on just in case. So I can hardly blame her for waking me up when she texted at 2:47 a.m.
She had woken up
and finally gotten through to the airline. They’d said that there were no flights
available the following day, which was Thursday, but that they would let her have
the last seat left on their Friday flight, which
arrived in Newark at 9:40 p.m.
This might sound like very good news, but it was not good news to me.
Friday night was the first night of Passover, and my brother and sister-in-law were driving all the way up
from Long Island for dinner, which would begin at around 6 p.m. So Allegra would miss
our annual family Seder (which was the main purpose of her flying all the way from Hong Kong). Plus, how the heck would we get her in Newark?
Would my husband have to miss the Seder in order to drive down and pick her up?
Would I be the sacrificial lamb instead, and if so, then who would serve the meal?
There was the remote possibility that I could hire a driver at this late date to pick her
up, but this would be extremely pricey, not to
mention the fact that Friday was not only Passover but also Good Friday, and finding a car service at this point was unlikely at best. Besides, I wanted to
greet her at the airport with open arms and a Welcome Home sign. How could we let
her endure a grueling 16-hour flight and be met by
a total stranger?
I was so anxious about the situation that I was up for most
of the rest of the night.
I must have drifted off eventually, though, because I woke up late the next morning to a
call from my brother.
News travels fast, especially when you put it on Facebook. My brother doesn’t go in for social media, but his wife does, and Allegra
had already posted the gory details of her dilemma on FB.
He was calling to
express his own concern and ask what we intended
to do now.
I told him that during my hours of insomnia I had managed
to check the airline’s schedule and learn that there was an available flight from Hong Kong to New York on Thursday
that arrived at JFK instead of Newark. I intended to call Cathay Pacific and use my nice
Jewish mom’s charm, or simply beg, to persuade them to put her on that.
My brother, who lives only a short drive from JFK, readily offered to pick Allegra up from there whenever she might arrive. But he didn’t hesitate to voice his own serious misgivings about rushing to get her airborne until she’d had sufficient time to recover.
She already had a seat for Friday. Wouldn’t it be more sensible to wait until then?
I couldn’t help agreeing with him and appreciated his being so concerned
about her welfare. But I still couldn’t come up with a solution to our dilemma. Unless…
“I hate to ask,” I ventured hesitantly, “but is there any way that you could possibly switch your plans and come to us for a Seder on Saturday night instead?”
I knew that my brother and sister-in-law were expected at a good friend’s house on the second night of Pesach, and it would be rude to cancel out at this point. But my brother didn’t even skip
course!” he replied without reservation.
He went on to explain that he was no longer going to that friend’s
house on Saturday night. He was being hosted by some other old childhood friends instead, but these people were having a cast of thousands -- well, dozens at least -- so he and his wife would not
Oh! And suddenly all of my anxiety flew out the window. All of our problems were solved in one fell swoop. My
heart grew lighter than the fluffiest matzo ball imaginable.
That meant the whole family
would be together for the holiday as planned, after all. No one would have to miss being at the family Seder, least of all poor, homesick Allegra.
And surely after three days on an antibiotic, she would be well enough to fly.
The first night of Passover might not be quite the celebration that we had planned.
But as long as we were going down to
the city, we agreed to have a scaled-back Seder at Aidan and Kaitlin’s apartment before going to the airport.
I would simply transport a meal down
to them, including a box of matzo, some homemade matzo ball soup, all the items on the seder plate, and of course a bottle of Manischewitz Concord Grape.
After which, instead of sitting around watching the kids search for the affikomen, my husband and I will head to the airport.
It may not be what we normally do on the first night of Pesach, but what the heck. What is it that we say every year when the youngest among us asks The Four Questions -- Ma nishtana ha layla hazeh micol halaylot?“ Why is this night different from
all other nights?” Well, this year, that night will indeed be different. With one
key exception. It will still be among
the happiest nights of the year. Well, my year, anyway.
Instead of just serving gefilte fish smothered in horseradish, though, I will be the one at Newark Liberty International Airport holding the goofy Welcome Home sign.
My daughter will be the one looking jet-lagged but happy and hungry for matzo ball soup.
And at the first sight of her
face, my husband and I will be the ones screaming our heads off, loudly enough to be heard all the way from
New Jersey to kingdom come.
the time you read this, she may already have landed safely, zei gezunt!
We will then arrive home so late that night that I will have little
time to prepare on Saturday before the rest of my guests arrive.
thing that I already set the table.