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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Holiday Highlights

The First Night of Hanukkah

I was alone in Toronto on a business trip and staying at a hotel that was too lovely to be alone in. Feeling lonely in an ugly hotel is fine, really, but feeling lonely in a beautiful hotel–one with two bathrobes, two glasses etched with the room number, two chocolates from turndown service–that is a much lonelier lonely. It was a sub-zero night and the third time that I’d rescheduled the trip, so all of my friends that I’d meant to see weren’t available. I went to the hotel restaurant, had some elk, some creme brulee and went to bed.

The Second Night of Hanukkah

After a great day with colleagues in Toronto that went something like Hotel-Car-Conference Room-Car-Airport, I was in the Toronto Airport which always leaves me frustrated. Somehow I fly up on United and always come back on Air Canada, which is confusing. Then you think you are done and still have to cross the border into the US before you go through security. I got through customs, zipped through duty free and got to my gate to find a delay. The 30 minute delay stretched into a two hour delay. I found an outlet at the Molson Bar and got IM working on my phone, chatting away until I finally boarded. I got home around midnight and went to bed.

The Third Night of Hanukkah

Around 5:30 I was grating the second potato out of a 10 lb bag so I could fry up a latke storm. This was going to be the first night I lit candles, finally, and all of my friends were coming over to eat piles of latkes. Then there was a boom and the power went out. If you haven’t been to my house, then you should also know that I have an electric stove. No power means no frying latkes.

My phone started ringing with friends calling to check in and see if the bad weather was making me cancel the party. No, but, um, you see, I have no electricity and no way to cook the latkes. After a bit of stress, we decided that Plan B would be to go to St. Andrew’s, the Scottish bar around the corner, if the power didn’t return.

The power didn’t return, so we blew out the candles and walked over to St. Andrew’s for a traditional Hanukkah feast of nachos, fish n chips, hamburgers and potato skins. I was very embarassed, but everyone had a good time, lots of laughs and good company.

Around 9PM or so, a few twitter friends from Wicker Park hopped in a cab to join us. When they got to the bar, they passed over a menorah that a couple Chabad kids had given them on the street downtown. “Are you Jewish?” they were asked. “No, but we’re going to a Hanukkah party to hang out with some Jews.” “Then take this menorah to the party

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