Monday, March 31, 2008

Winter Reading 2008


I just remembered that I keep forgetting to post a recently-read entry, so here goes. I don't think I've been reading as many books, though I have been writing more poetry and catching up on piles of magazines, so I guess the time I spend on those pursuits is finite.

Since October I've read:

Water Logic
by Laurie J. Marks
fantasy, third in the Elemental Logic series
This book was a little work, but oh, so worth it. It picks up where the previous story left off, with many of the main characters finding themselves in new positions, with new challenges, some seemingly unrelated to things they were good at before. This is also a book about "after." After a war, after one side loses and the other wins, after injury. And then an unexpected loss and a mystical connection tie practically everything together. If you haven't read Laurie Marks, please do, but don't start with this one. This was so much more satisfying having read the first two books.

Smoke and Ashes
by Tanya Huff
fantasy, in the Smoke series
In the first couple of books in this series I wanted to like Tony, the main character, and I was mostly giving him a chance because I like Tanya Huff's other novels so much. In this 3rd one I'm finally starting to really like him on his own merits. It was a relief, though, to have a character in this one to tell him he was being stupid in a way that seemed to finally sink in. It was about time.

Light Music
by Kathleen Ann Goonan
science fiction, one of a series
This series started with Mississippi Blues, then Queen City Jazz, and then Crescent City Rhapsody. There was a long time between my reading each one, partly to digest the ideas and partly because I was never sure I really liked the characters. Goonan has such a long, large arc to her story in these novels that the characters are new in each one - it is only the premise and situation that continues over time. Each book tells the stories of multiple characters, each getting separate chapters and occasionally overlapping or meeting some of the others. It is quite orchestral in some ways, each voice is there for a reason, but you may not see how it all fits together until it is all over. But Goonan knew. I give her that. I was satisfied with the last one, and I'm thinking it is the last one in the series, although I suppose she could surprise me. But if so I won't be ready to read it for another couple of years.

The Down Home Zombie Blues
by Linnea Sinclair
romance in a science fiction wrapper
The story is outrageously far-fetched, but the characters were likable enough, though dense in a way typical of romantic fluff. You know: the man is divorced and dives into his work as a homicide detective; the woman is all career military (and a good alien from outer space) and is all about the work. Chemistry ensues while they hunt down bad aliens called zombies without tipping off the unsuspecting inhabitants of a small Florida town. OK for fluff, but it goes directly on the give-away stack at work.

Magic Bites
by Ilona Andrews
I think this is the author's first novel and it definitely kept me interested. This is an alternate-near-future book, set in Atlanta, Georgia. What makes this an alternate future is that waves of magic make technology stop working, but when the waves fade, magic-driven things stop working. The main character is a woman with a secret past, but she is all about the "now" and "next". I appreciate that she is smart. I'll look for more by this author in the future.

Iron Kissed
by Patricia Briggs
fantasy, a Mercy Thompson Novel
The continuing travails of Mercy Thompson, mechanic and part-time coyote, as she gets caught in the middle of a big magical mess. The metal-working fae who used to be her mechanical mentor asks her to use her coyote nose to snoop around some murder sites. But it always ends up more complicated than anyone could imagine. She is also forced to come to a decision about the two guys who love her (finally!)

The Cipher
by Diana Pharaoh Francis
The description sounded good. I liked the author's previous books well enough. And then I started reading this and was sure I was going to hate it. I couldn't stand the main character! Eventually she won me over enough that I cared what happened to her. And by the end I was definitely cheering for her. But I think this book needed some heavier-handed editing. There were several places where I just wanted the story to MOVE FORWARD ALREADY. I'm guessing the end set us up for a sequel but I don't know if I'll try another in this series or if I'll give it a pass. Now if I only remember that I wrote this down, next time I'm browsing for books!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
by J.K. Rowling
Yes, I know. This is not the last book. It is book 6 and there is one more to go. Number 7 is sitting on a stool in the bedroom. You see, Chelle and I have read the other Harry Potter books aloud to each other and we see no reason to change tactics now. But we haven't been very efficient at it, so please don't spoil the ending for us, OK?

That's the bottom of the stack. Now to start reading the next one.

Sunday, March 30, 2008



[Read Write Poem challenged us to find inspiration in something overheard. I found my inspiration on the website, listening to interviews (nice because I could make sure I had the quote right). We were further challenged to write a prose poem. Because many of my poems read like prose (with line breaks), I was a bit challenged to keep the words in this one carefully chosen so as to stay on the poetry side of the prose poem line.]


In a make-believe town, it’s a make-believe position. I might as well be paid in Monopoly money, all orange and blue and yellow. I put my sham-leather shoes under my ersatz-wood desk and tidy my polyester pullover. And for what?

I flirt with the truth. I fold the truth into origami so that it is sharp and cute and fits in your pocket. I trim the edges of the truth so that nothing sticks out when I cram it into today’s box. A pert plume of truth may as well be dross. When do the creases wear through on my facts, turning them into tattered fictions?

But such pretty fictions! At my coffee break I drink water flavored with delightful simulated tastes and charming false colors. I smile with my artificially-whitened tooth veneers at tanning-booth-bronzed co-workers in counterfeit friendship. My perfectly-polished acrylic nails flash in the light from full-spectrum bulbs as we wear the same weight clothes all year round, having fine-tuned the building to impersonate one unchanging season.

In a make-believe town, we may as well feign reality.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Out of this World


[Sunday Scribblings this week prompts us with Out of this World. Here are the memories that prompt evoked in me.]

It isn't my fault. I blame my dad. Perhaps I should blame those old department stores instead. Maybe I'll let you decide.

My dad was born and raised in the borough of Brooklyn, in New York City. His parents were educated; both of them were teachers, and they passed to him the love of learning. My dad read everything he could get his hands on.

I never heard stories of my dad having to "do without" when he was a boy, yet they weren't wealthy either. So my dad used the libraries and he was always looking for a bargain. He was in heaven one year when two department stores had a price war, each trying to undercut the sales of the other. Some of the highly-discounted items were novels. Some of them were on an upper shelf in one room of our house 50 years later.

Among the stories my dad read were the works of Mark Twain, H.G. Wells, and Jules Verne. And that may be where it started.

You see, Jules Verne wrote Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. H.G. Wells wrote The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds. All were stories of the fantastic, where the imagination soared beyond what was possible. Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is certainly about either time-travel if anything is.

By the time my dad was in medical school, he had been reading "the pulps" for years and was enjoying stories in magazines like Astounding Science Fiction. He was reading science fiction by Robert A. Heinlein and Donald A. Wollheim. And my dad's brother had a college classmate by the name of Isaac Asimov – he was writing science fiction too. My dad kept reading science fiction over the course of decades.

My parents read to me when I was tiny, and I from them I learned to love reading and learning. Books were never a question – I grew up with them all around me. Our living room had floor-to-ceiling bookshelves to one side of the fireplace. When the house was remodeled when I was eight, a small bedroom was turned into a library with shelves lining 3 walls. The two lower shelves on one wall held kids books. I was soon ready to start making my way through the books on the other shelves.

I don't remember what the first science fiction book I read was, but I'm sure my dad gave it to me. It was probably something by Isaac Asimov, and I was hooked. I read what I could find in my dad's collection and in the town library. When browsing in the fiction section, I came across an anthology of Nathanial Hawthorne stories. I wasn't in the habit of reading mid-1800's literature, but two stories in particular stayed with me. The first was called "Rappaccini's Daughter," full of dark fantasy about the effects of a certain plant. The second was "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" in which a group of old men give in to temptation by water from the fountain of youth.

I'm sure my adoration of science fiction was initially fueled by my dad's fondness for it, and perhaps a bit by my mom's dislike. She thought stories about rockets to outer space or aliens or elves were stupid.

But I was not alone. When I was 10 a student teacher read two or three Narnia books to my fifth grade class. One teacher recommended A Wrinkle in Time. In my high school we passed around copies of J.R.R. Tolkien, each of us waiting impatiently for the person ahead of us in line to finish the next book of the Lord of the Rings. When I was a teenage camp counselor a friend suggested I'd like Robert Heinlein and starting with Stranger in a Strange Land, I plowed through many of his books.

And by the time I was in college, I was distinguishing between fantasy and science fiction, but either one might take me to far planets, with or without alien life. And the term "speculative fiction" now covers a lot of sub-genres, many of which I spend time with.

So when my preference for novels leads me to one small corner of the bookstore, when I can't find much to my taste on the bookshelves in the airport terminals, I blame my dad for leading me down this path. And I smile just thinking about it.

Friday Fill-In #65


1. Some relationships are meant to lighten your load.

2. Three Redneck Tenors is the last concert I saw; it was in Las Vegas and they were terrific (and very funny)!

3. Spring should be here soon - I know because I'm starting to make lists to get ready for Passover.

4. Oh no! I forgot to dust! Oh well, guess it is too late now (LOL).

5. I've recently started thinking about exercising more - I haven't done it, but I've been thinking about it.

6. My wife's smile never fails to make me smile.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to making meatloaf, tomorrow my plans include finishing the laundry from our trip to Las Vegas and Sunday, I want to enjoy the sunshine they're forecasting!

See more at Friday Fill-Ins.

Thursday, March 27, 2008



[Read Write Poem asked us to go green. Here's what the other folks came up with.]


The first drawer to the left
of the stove held rubber bands and
an old sandwich bag with used paraffin.
The oven's lower rack
held a stack of used aluminum foil.
And we never ran short of twist ties.

T-shirts and towels became rags
for dusting or washing the car.
Empty plastic ice cream buckets
carried vegetables from the garden
or at least garden tools.

One quilt challenged us
to remember which patch
came from which dress.
Toys and dolls from one generation
entertained at least two more.

My grandma used an old coke bottle
fitted with a nozzle to sprinkle
cotton shirts before she ironed them.
And she used to tell us
the same stories over and over
as we listened in familiar comfort.



[Totally Options Prompts asked us if novels ever inspired us.]


I wanted to leave town
so I went to the library
and read a book.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008



[Totally Optional Prompts this week encouraged us to be surreal. I'm working on another piece that may or may not turn out, but I couldn't get this out of my mind until I wrote it down. It is largely true and perhaps one of the most surreal experiences of my life. In the footsteps of the surrealists, I ask you to draw your own conclusions.]


Yesterday they were inside the blue glacier.
Today one hundred teenagers filled
the aerial trams cars above Chamonix
ascending in the bright morning light of summer.

The girls' smiles flashed bright
above long, formal black dresses.
Warehouses of paisley Victorian sofas
had provided the synthetic material
for the boy's tuxedo jackets,
some in dark blue, some in dark red.

From the tram they walked on
the dusty path carved for skiers, not
black dress shoes. Each person carried
one box: this one for flute; that one
for trumpet; over there one pushed
the giant timpani case on wheels.

By ones and twos they rode
up the chair lift, even the ones with
acrophobia, hands gripping tight
to the saxophone and the frame,
as they rose up the green hillside.
Up and up into the clouds until their feet
touched down near the hut.

Instrument containers littered the grass,
yawning next to the large wooden platform.
In the cold, sunny summer air
the cows looked up in surprise
as the warm-up began.

The brass and players were too cold
to hold tuning as one hundred teenagers
played the concert in the Alps for
thirty or forty hikers and the herd of cows.

[Note: When I was editing this piece, I tried to enhance the dream-like hyper-reality of it. I tried to cut transitions that didn't have impact themselves. I removed or changed every occurrence of the word "a". I often used the word "the" instead. I think doing so added to the immediacy and removed potential ambiguity (what hut? oh, THE hut). What do you think?]

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

One Night Only


[OK, I guess I had another tree poem in me tonight. This one just shook itself loose. See more at Read Write Poem.]

One Night Only

There was one time,
when the monarch butterflies
stopped for the night
en route to Mexico
and made it look
as though my pretty,
green leaves were dead.

Stand Sure


[This week at Read Write Poem we were challenged to be a tree. Check out what other folks came up with here. And you can check on some tree poems I wrote before here and here and here. But today, I came up with something a little different. And for the record, in our family Loni is pronounced with a long "O" like lonely without the second "L".]

Stand Sure

My mother's mother's mother died
when Gramma was still little.
I don't know much about her
except from family stories and
one other thing. Great-Grandma Loni
was an Anderson.

When Gramma talked about the Andersons, she
meant Claude or Eva, or Pearl,
or Cousin Radah.
But before they were Midwest farmers,
the Andersons came from Scotland.

Midwest Loni didn't know
the Andersons' motto is "Stand Sure."
Farmer's Wife Loni didn't know the crest
is a great oak tree.
But I do.

I hold the Anderson crest pin and
my spine straightens
and my feet fit closer to the ground.
No bend-with-the-wind
willow for us.
We brace ourselves instead.

We stand firmly planted
as the four giant feet
of Paul Bunyan's big blue ox,
or the perfect anchor on
a tug-of-war team.

The oak's roots go deep, so maybe those are
buttery shortbread crumbs
in my pockets, and maybe those are
Scotch eggs lining my arteries.
My fifth-grade oboe didn't squeak,
it was the skirl of my ancestral bagpipe.

[You can find more info on Clan Anderson's symbols here, or check out the mottos for other clans here.]

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Go Read Another Poem


Hi, friends.

I have a new poem up at Poets Who Blog. It was a response to a prompt to use ten words, one each contributed by a different person. Mine is only one of four (so far) so if you want to give it a try, hop over to read mine, read the others, and take a stab at it yourself.

Have fun.

Thursday, March 13, 2008



[This week the Totally Optional Prompt was "Smoke and Mirrors" but my brain wouldn't let go of "Smoking Mirror" which is another name for the Aztec god, Tezcatlipoca. You can see what other folks came up with here.]


Smoking Mirror, Aztec god of night,
of temptation and chaos.
You like to "stir the pot," don't you?

You play your flute and charm.
You tempt. You seduce. You sit back and
watch what your trickery started.

Jaguar that you are, spotted as the night sky,
you see behind things when you gaze
into your obsidian mirror.

Comfortable people sit on the couch all day.
God of the cold north, of hurricanes,
you make people uncomfortable.

You make them twitchy and ill-at-ease.
Uncomfortable folks don't sit still. They restlessly
move around, seeking resolution to the itch.

Is it your influence I feel as I struggle
to create? Is your enmity the
reason I reject word after word,

uneasy in my push to craft, to polish
my own magic mirror that reflects
what I see behind the world?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008



[Read Write Poem encouraged us to use dreams as a prompt or inspiration. See what the other folks dreamed up here.]


I dream only of the familiar
although fragmented and re-mixed
until the mosaic-tile result
no longer bears resemblance
to my every-day.
A doorway from the house
of my 3rd-grade best friend

leads into the high school gym.
I dream without plot.
If my dreams were novels,
I would never bring them
home from the library.
A swim turns into flight,
and then I'm arguing

at a bowling alley.
My dreams are without art,
not much "there" there,
a gallery of the pedestrian,
I'd pass it by on my way to
more interesting places.
I shuffle papers at work,
on the first floor of a skyscraper

in the middle of the woods.
But does my sleeping-self
guard me against
dreams of excess?
The time spent in luxurious splendor,
in sybaritic excesses,

where my every desire

is anticipated and fulfilled.

A rage of resent,

accompanied by rancor-ridden roars

of enmity,

in which I yell until my ears hurt.

The terror that chases me

as I suffer and panic and pant and stumble

until I can't run any farther

and it wouldn't do any good anyway

because I'm in a corner

and it is dark and dank and
Does my sleeping-self protect me?

Or perhaps I have only boring dreams.

Sunday, March 09, 2008



[Sunday Scribblings asked us to write about Experiment or Experimental this week.]

I don't remember many classroom specifics from Junior High School, but I do remember that in 9th grade I had "Introductory Physical Science," which we called IPS. Unlike the mousy grandmother-like 7th grade science teacher and the dynamic, moustached 8th grade science teacher (who said all 8th graders were squirrels – probably due to being largely little bundles of hormones) I don't remember who my 9th grade teacher was, except that it was a man.

Back then 9th grade was in the junior high school, although some of us had some classes at the high school, meaning we walked back and forth, around the football field and across a small parking lot more than once during the day. 9th grade band members played with the high school band. 9th graders could take Spanish and that was at the high school. And most of the sports teams we were on were at the high school (after regular classes were over). But everything else was at the sprawling, single-floor, cinder-block junior high building we shared with the 7th and 8th graders.

7th grade science had been mostly about reading things from the text book. We didn't do much (and I know we skipped some chapters, but that is a story for another day). In 8th grade science, we were more hands-on, making things, and gathering things. We were still mostly following directions for everything and knowing what outcome to expect.

9th grade IPS was the first time we were introduced to the idea of reading about something, coming up with a hypothesis, performing the experiment with a lab partner (willing or unwilling), observing the results, and writing up a conclusion. I got stuck with someone really dumb and shy as my lab partner. This wasn't a big deal to me because most of the experiments could be done with two hands, and all the other things were up to the individual to write down. I always took charge of setting up the experiments. I guess I was heartless.

The class was relatively full of heartless people, in a way. I remember a week when we had a substitute teacher. The substitute was not dynamic and not even particularly observant. At one point, the boys gathered handfuls of little rubber stoppers from the bench at the back of the room and took turns lobbing them up to the teacher's desk. I guess that got her attention, but I don't remember what she did about it. I was not impressed (by the substitute or my classmates).

I do remember one experiment clearly, however. We did electrolysis of water, using electricity to break water into its component parts: oxygen and hydrogen. It was relatively easy to set up and it worked pretty fast as long as your battery wasn't dead. We used a medium-sized beaker of water and we gathered the oxygen and hydrogen gasses in test tubes. I remember being pleased that my hydrogen tube had more gas in it that the oxygen tube, since water is made of twice as much hydrogen as oxygen. And then we tested each gas to prove it was what we thought it was. We put a lit match to what we thought was oxygen and the flame flared up then went out after it used all the oxygen. We put a lit match to the other tube and it made a sound like a seals bark – a tiny explosion of the hydrogen gas.

I was so excited about this and I came home and told my family all about it. Well I told my parents about it, but my brother listened too. He was threes years behind me in school and wasn't yet in junior high. This controlled explosion thing must have sounded cool to him because he decided to try it on his own.

In our basement, he set up a large bucket of water and started gathering oxygen and hydrogen into glass bottles. Large glass bottles. They must have been one- or two-gallon sized. This whole thing was set up next to our gas furnace and water heater. Oh, yeah! And our parents didn't know about this.

Days later, Mom happened across the setup in the basement and when she learned he was gathering a large glass bottle full of pure hydrogen gas, she made my brother release the gas into the air outside (without the desired explosion). Had one of those bottles tipped over, we could have had an explosion in the basement and although it wasn't enough to bring the house down or anything, it would have made a sever mess and might have damaged the furnace or water heater. My brother was quite bummed.

I don't remember my thoughts at the time, but I guess the whole episode stuck with me, seeing as it is the only science content I remember from ninth grade.

Friday, March 07, 2008

I Can Go For That


Clare at Clare's Sunflower Sky honored me with an "I Can Go for That" award.

I was touched by her nice words and I suggest you all hop over there to see the other folks she has awarded because they have some pretty cool blogs themselves.

Also, I almost forgot that Redness invited me to join Blogaholics Anonymous. Check them out by clicking on the badge down on the right over there.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Up and Under


[So I happened across Laura Salas' website, where she offers a weekly 15 words or less prompt. Check out the picture and the other poems (in today's comments, on a post there tomorrow). I had fun with this, which is what Laura says we should be doing.]

Up and Under

Swing high
as the spring
buds on tree
branches, but watch
out for mud



[This week Totally Optional Prompts encouraged us to write with a different voice. I had trouble deciding whose voice I could use instead. Then I thought of this. More details after the poem.]


I'm so glad you came over today!
It seems you just got here
and now you're leaving again.
I wish you could stay longer.
I miss you when you are away.
I wish you came home more often.

Be careful getting back.
Airplanes are so dangerous.
They slide right off the runway!
You tell the pilot to take care of you.
I worry until I hear you are ok.
Make sure you call as soon as you can.

Don't forget about me!
I know you are busy studying,
but don't forget about your old Aunt Odie!

Give me a hug now!
This could be the last time I see you.
I am awful old.

[My great-aunt Odie was born in 1899 and lived to be about 90. Every time I headed back to college, I heard something very much like this from her. The last two lines were always accompanied by sobs. She was still alive when I graduated, and for years after that.]

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

3WW 76


[Three Word Wednesday today give us rest, sidewalk, twice.]

I raced to the store for some rice,
and I ran out of gasoline, twice!
On the sidewalk I slipped
and my slacks, they got ripped.
Oh, a well-needed rest would be nice!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Sitting Pretty


[At The Miss Rumphius Effect, Tricia's Monday Poetry Stretch is to write a mask poem, in which the subject is the speaker. I sat quietly and this is what I heard.]

No Longer in the Catbird Seat

I remember when I was your favorite.
You picked me out at the store,
making sure that my fabric would
not clash with the rug.
I had pride-of-place in the living room.

But now I sit with my back to the window,
off to the side, at the end of the room,
and I watch you sit on the new
leather loveseat,
your new favorite.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Vacation Repeats


[Read Write Poem asked us to repeat ourselves - well maybe just a little. Here's what I came up with. Others are repeating themselves here.]


When asked to contribute on Friday
treats nicely arranged on a tray,
I am not insincere
to say (full of good cheer)
I will be on vacation that day.

And people have asked me to steer
the committee that meets every year
about deadlines and dough
and the length of the show,
but I'll be on vacation, I fear.

The bathtub at home drains too slow
and I'm nervous that mildew will grow.
I should tend to the leak
with a careful technique.
Whoops! I'll be on vacation, you know.

March weather is looking quite bleak,
and my efforts to smile are just meek.
I watch clouds that are gray
and I schedule some play.
Hey, I'll be on vacation next week!

OK – not exactly next week, but I am going on a short vacation mid-month. But "month" is harder to rhyme!

Walking Limerick


[This week Mad Kane challenges us to write a limerick and/or haiku on "walking." Check out what the others have done here.]

Walking Limerick

As a teen I would walk down the way
with an effort to make my hips sway.
I had heard after school
that the boys though it cool
to watch girls who knew how to sashay.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Matzo Ball Memories


[Sunday Scribblings this week asked us to write about our own personal Time Machine.]

It is the first of March and even though Passover isn't until April this year, I'm already starting my plans. We'll figure out who can come, and start counting dishes and chairs to make sure we have enough. I'll start making lists of the various tasks that need to be done (and by when). And I'll start the menu.

Some menu items are optional; the vegetable and potato change, and although I always make chicken, I use different recipes from year to year. But there are some things that don't change a bit. One thing that doesn't change is the chicken soup with matzo balls.

The chicken soup is my own recipe, based on a couple of recipes from books, memories of my dad making soup, and years of my own experience. It is a labor of love and it is all me. But the matzo balls are made from the recipe on the side of the Manischewitz Matzo Meal box. That's how my dad made them, and I've clipped the side of the box to keep because they keep coming up with "healthier" versions and I'm afraid one day the old recipe won't be there any more.

As I eat one of the resulting dumplings, I eat history. I eat my own history. I eat the same matzo balls I have made since Chelle and I hosted our first Passover in the 1980's. The first year was just the two of us plus her sister; the next year we had a total of 6 people. I think the biggest year (so far) was about 15 people. There is almost always a conversation (or a friendly argument) over the perfect consistency of matzo balls. "Do you prefer floaters or sinkers?"

I eat the matzo balls I had as a girl whenever my dad made them. He showed me how to keep them fluffy, by handling them as little as possible as they go into the boiling water. Those were my standard. Fluffy, light ones some people have nicknamed floaters.

My parents didn’t often make Passover dinner at home. We usually drove into St. Louis to Sammy and Rena's. Sammy had been my dad's roommate back when they were doing their medical residencies. Sammy presided over the Seder. Rena presided over the kitchen. Rena's matzo balls were sinkers. They were more substantial, more solid. We couldn't eat as many of them. But every year when I eat matzo balls at my own Seder, I also taste Rena's.

I never met my dad's mother; she died before I was born. But somehow I know I taste her matzo balls too, when I eat mine. And her mother's too.

The entire Passover experience is filled with symbolism, the things we eat representing our history. The matzo represents the unleavened bread that Moses and Aaron and Miriam ate in the desert. Jews all over the world eat matzo to remember history and take a place in that history.

I do the same. I eat the matzo and remember my own history, the history of my family, and the history of a people.
And it doesn't hurt a bit that chicken soup and matzo balls are mighty tasty!