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Barometric Pressure & Migraine

Janet:

Very interesting piece on weather, headache, and arthritis. Experiencing all three at the moment. Now off to find some barometric pressure change info for Toronto….

Originally posted on Hope for Hemiplegic Migraines:

When I grow up, I wanna be a human barometer… said no one ever! But, that is in fact what many people with migraine, arthritis, former athletes, etc. grow up to be, human barometers.

Ages ago, long before the Weather Channel and 10 Day Forecasts on the local news were even a glimmer of thought, people could rely on Old Uncle Fester and his Rheumatism acting up to know a storm was on it’s way, or Aunt Martha and the Terrible Headache to know to dive into the root cellar because a powerful storm was tearing through the plains.  Somewhere along the way, in all of its medical prowess the medical system forgot about the reliability of the body, and ran with the hypothesis that if a group scientists could not quantifiably prove something to be true, then it must in fact not be true. Ha! What fools we…

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2015 Reading Challenge – Canadian Edition

Janet:

Here’s an interesting reading challenge that some of my Canadian readers might like to try!

Originally posted on Literal Life:

Matilda, Roald Dahl; Illustration by Quentin Blake

Goal: diversify your reading!

While this challenge encourages you to ‘read Canadian’ (CanLit is fantastic!!), there are so many opportunities here to read beyond your comfort zones. New genres, new locations, new themes, new perspectives – each book you choose to read as part of this challenge has the potential to take you so many places, opening your minds in completely new ways. I would also like to encourage your to read diversely when choosing your authors and books.

The challenge is fairly straight–forward: find a book to read that fits each ‘task’.

With my own reading, I am not going to ‘double-dip’ (or triple-dip, etc.) my book choices. Meaning that I will not use one book for more than one task. Some people may prefer to mix-and-match the tasks, knocking off several tasks with one book. This is absolutely fine!! There are no…

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Bookish update plus the Outgoing Introvert

I usually tweet my #FridayReads, the meme started by Bethanne Patrick (@thebookmaven), so I thought I’d let y’all know what’s cooking on the reading front this week here as well.

I’ve done my first dive in to The Novel: A Biography. I’ve read the Prologue and most of the Introduction and it’s absolutely terrific reading. Once I get to the first chapter (Literature is Invention), I’ll also be picking up The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, noted by the author as being the first English not-quite-a-novel (but a constant narrator and more of a memoir/travel book.) (It’s free at the link as, written in the 14th century, it’s well out of copyright.)

I’m halfway through Inside by Alix Ohlin. I heard Ohlin read at IFOA a couple of years ago and purchased her book based on that. But never got to it. So far so good, and I hope to finish it this weekend.

On the audio front, I started listening to In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. This is for one of the Winter Reading Challenge at Roundtable on Goodreads, and is referenced in The Novel’s chapter title Impersonation.

I have yet to dive in to The Brothers Karamazov, although if I don’t want to get hopelessly behind in the group read, I should pull it out tomorrow. Or rather boot it up. This is one of those cases where my paper copy’s print was too small for me to read comfortably so I ended up buying a copy of the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation for my Kobo. They did a fabulous job on Anna Karenina so I’m hoping Brothers will be good too.

The Outgoing Introvert

This article from the Globe and Mail kinda sums up my project/non-resolution around meeting more people IRL. (It’s well worth a read, if you think you might not have enough community time, and I don’t mean your family or work community.) While I have benefitted incredibly from meeting people online, particularly when I was out of the country for five years, it made me do a bit of a mental inventory of the places where I am part of a community outside of my family. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become much less shy and more outgoing. (“Shy” you say, incredulously, those of you who have met me in the past five to ten years? In truth, I used to have trouble ordering a pizza by phone.)

My communities:

Choir: an absolute necessity in my life. My last two choirs (Toronto and Atlanta) have been associated with my parish. Plus a summer choir that was Catholic but not parish-based. When I lived in Ottawa, I was part of a community choir. I love crave the chance to sing on a regular basis. I meet people of all ages, different religions (or none), knitters, readers, professional musicians, students, vegans, retired people, professors, writers) who all come together to seek beauty in the combination of voices.

Book club: While the club started out with mainly people I know, we’ve branched out and I’ve had a chance to meet fascinating people who have a common love of reading and talking about literature. We’re one of the few book clubs that I know about that includes both men and women and I find that this makes for a somewhat more interesting vibe. We’ve also started an annual low-stress December meeting where, rather than read a book to discuss, we each bring a book that we’ve loved to introduce to the rest of the group. This is a great way to get to know each other a little better.

Genealogical meetings: I used to volunteer quite actively but have had to give that up in the past couple of years. I don’t know many people at the events so sometimes I don’t talk with many people, but I”m travelling to Salt Lake City with a group in February and will get to know some of the local people better.

The Salon: In years BC (before children), we held a reasonably regular “salon” where we invited friends who were interested in smart discussion to talk about topics. Wine and nibblies and a moderator. Sort of like a book club but not on a book. I’d love to do this again and have been mulling over format, topics, and logistics. I even have a spreadsheet somewhere….

So, where is your community? Do you have one? Do you need one?

New Year 2015: Projects

I’m not making resolutions per se this year, but I’ve started a few projects that will put some discipline in my life.

On the health front, I’m starting the 100 days of real food program. It’s 14 weeks of “mini-pledges” that (hopefully) turn into habits. This week I’ve pledged to eat two servings of fruit/veg with each meal which is only an issue for me at breakfast. I mean, not an issue, but it’s not a habit (yet.) I also have a few minor health issues that I should deal with in the new year.

On the reading front, I’m participating in a few online challenges and read-alongs. I’m a member of the Roundtable group at Goodreads, a newly formed group rising from the ashes of Bookish that was recently closed. Like Bookish, they do a bi-annual reading challenge and so I’ve made my plans for the next four months. (I won’t get them all read, but I’ve lined up a book for most of the challenges.). They’re also doing a year-long group read of The Novel: A Biography by Michael Schmidt (along with various novels discussed therein); and a two-month discussion of The Brothers Karamazov. We’ve got our next four books lined up for my IRL book club: Us Conductors (Sean Michaels), Chez l’arabe: Stories (Mireille Silcoff), All My Puny Sorrows (Miriam Toews), and Bad Feminist: Essays (Roxane Gay).

On the social front, I am committing to meeting some online friends/relatives in real life! Last year, it was wonderful to finally meet Zouheir’s (and now my) friend Jean-Paul Audouy, high school friend Judson Stone who I saw in Paris for the first time since high school, as well as sheep-farming cousin Tom Goddard. This has spurred me on to get together with a cousin on my father’s side, Lillian Orloff Spencer, in Arizona in February and another on my mother’s side, Audrey Groff, close to me here in the GTA later this month. I also commit to be better about keeping in touch with those closer to me but with whom I can go for weeks or months without seeing.

With JP at Volos in Toronto
With the Temiskaming Goddards in Barrie
With Judson in Paris

And finally, on the home front, I will be continuing the decluttering with Rosalind from Fresh Start Solutions and getting some renovations done. December was a great month for that, with a huge purge of our main floor, new fridge and wall oven, as well as a good start on the basement (which is currently the home of things to be consigned/sold in the next little while.) The biggest win for me here will be the creation of my study/studio with all my creative endeavours organized and ready to go.

What do you see looking forward this year? Any projects/resolutions?

Friday Seven: the culture edition

Seven eh

  1. Just finished listening to the podcast version of Terry Fallis’ fourth novel, No Relation. It’s very funny, in Fallis’ bordering-on-cheesy style, and a good story. A narrative driven novel, it’s an easy read, and involves a lots of Hemingway lore and a shout-out to the Sherlock Holmes society in Toronto, The Bootmakers. Highly recommended.
  2. TIFF starts next week and I’m planning to see 16 films over the 10 day festival. I may add in a couple more that were on my list and that have received good reviews. I’m seeing five with Zouheir (he’s only available on the weekends) and one with a friend. Here’s my list. I don’t pay extra for premium screenings (first screening of high buzz films) as I don’t particularly care about the red carpet (although I always stay when there is a Q&A after screenings, when I have time before the next film.) I see the majority of the films alone which is fine by me. I always have a book to keep me occupied in line, and I don’t need to look for seats together. The one star I’d love to see is Eddie Redmayne who’s plays the role of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. I first saw him in My Week with Marilyn and from everything i’ve read, he’s smart (Eton/Cambridge) as well as a gorgeous, freckly red-head. I also wouldn’t turn my head away from Adam Driver, Ethan Hawke, or Robert Downey Jr.
  3. My book club met last Sunday to discuss The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country by Charlotte Gray. An absolutely fascinating study of World War I Toronto, we rated it an average of 7/10. Gray details the social structures (and strictures) of life at that time, particularly for women. Unfortunately, we have nothing in the historical record in the voice of Carrie Davies (the “maid”) so she remains a bit of a mystery. We were fascinated by the burgeoning maternal feminism of the time, the Toronto Local Council of Women, and the Toronto Women’s Court. In chatting with my aunts about this time (they were born in the following decade), they reminisced about Sunday observance in the city, where swings and slides in parks were locked up and their Scots Presbyterian father forbade running, knitting, playing with toys (with the exception of some dolls their grandmother had give them), and swimming on the Sabbath.
    IMG_0008
  4. Our 31st wedding anniversary was this week. It passed quietly as Z is very busy at work these days, and our celebration will be our trip to France in late September. We’re spending a week in Paris and have rented an apartment, and then we’ll spend a week further south. We need to book a rental car and start planning our little road trip.
  5. Michael texted me from Montreal yesterday. His flat-mate is back from China and they were cooking dinner together (she’s a pastry chef!) He wanted my guacamole recipe which made me feel warm all over (he still NEEDS me….). MIchael had a wonderful if exhausting time at the Orford Orchestra Workshop this summer. We headed to Orford to pick him up a couple of weeks ago and heard their final concert, which was marvellous. Really, the best orchestra which which I’ve heard him play. They performed Smetana’s La Moldau, Stravinski’s Firebird Suite, and Brahms Symphony No 4, under the baton of Jean-François Rivest. They started the program with a Bach Chorale, sung by the musicians in their seats, something that they did every morning to warm up and “form a community”. It gave me the chills.
    IMG_5875
    Orford Orchestra brass section.
  6. Alex is fostering a kitten! He’s named him Pascal (after the mathematician) and I suspect he’s on the road to being a “failed foster” i.e. he’s gonna adopt him. The Toronto Cat Rescue hooked him up with this cutie.
    Pascal
    Pascal
  7. I’m off to Canadian Tire for and oil change, new headlamp that just burned out, and new tires. Exciting, eh? I really like my local CT shop. They don’t talk down to me, don’t try to upsell, and are just nice guys. Plus, there’s a mall attached to it with a Fortinos so I can get groceries while I wait. 

That’s it for the week! I hope to be back on here more regularly, but no promises, LOL.

The return of the black dog

statue-sad-1

I got three things done this morning that have been on my to-do list for some time (one for months). It’s a good upswing in mood for me as the black dog has been visiting recently and I was starting to hibernate.

See how I used the secret code in that last sentence? Black dog? Because we still don’t like to talk about it, despite all the social media campaigns, the celebrity confessions, the it’s-just-like-any-other-disease comments. I’ve been getting a lot of support from the few friends with whom I’ve talked about it. But so many people just don’t get it. They want to solve the problem, and it just ain’t that easy.

Depression.

This most recent bout was likely triggered by a diagnosis of osteoarthritis in one of my knees. I’ve been having increasing levels of pain and discomfort over the past few months, with respite from time to time (including, thank G*d, during our trip to Sweden.) But this last flare up found me in my doctor’s office.

I love my family doctor, and really liked the doc who was covering for him while he was on vacation. She sent me for an xray and ultrasound, but based on her examination, she said it was likely osteoarthritis. So I went for the scans and waited for a call back for another appointment.

What I got was the (very nice) secretary reading my results off of the computer screen, as follows : “Degenerative condition. Patient should continue with pain medication as discussed and get physio.” No offer of a follow-up appointment.

I’m 54, retired, overweight and not sporty in the least, but walk a lot: in my neighbourhood, on public transit, in travels abroad. I want to adopt a dog in the near future. We look forward to this empty nest season in our lives as active, and so the knee thing is kind of alarming. Feeling brushed off by my doctor’s office was the last straw. I was angry, and then, a couple of days later, on my way to my first physio appointment, the tears just welled up. I spent the next couple of days feeling not anger but fear and sadness. I found myself checking not once but twice whether I’d forgotten to put my antidepressants in my pill dispenser. (I hadn’t forgotten.)

The physiotherapist I saw was absolutely lovely, talked about the objectives of treatment (strengthening the muscles around the joint), and did some work on my leg and foot. My homework for this week was to apply heat to my knee a few times (which was lovely.) Next week she’ll start me on some exercises.

I realized this morning that I feel better when I accomplish things. So I’ve been forcing myself to get out of bed and work on my list. Yesterday I cleaned my desk (NOT an insignificant task) and made dinner. Today I replaced my broken Birkenstocks, shopped for groceries, and got my computer glasses fixed. I’m seeing a friend for a late lunch today.

This weekend, my loved one and I have nothing on our calendars. We’re planning to visit the McMichael Gallery, to which I have never been, despite seven years in Toronto. Next week, my personal September madness starts, with TIFF (where I’m seeing 17 films over 10 days), TSO opening night, and then travel to France, so I will be busy and occupied. And (hopefully) fully mobile.

I’ve recently started following the blog Momastery after someone shared this post. I think it’s brilliant. And her voice really resonates. In her About page, she finishes with this:

My job is to wake up every day, say yes to life’s invitation, and let millions of women watch me get up off the floor, walk, stumble, and get back up again.

Love each other, my friends.

~~

Wanna know what depression feels like? This video is pretty much it.

http://youtu.be/XiCrniLQGYc

Friday Seven

  1. Heading to a Syrian wedding today: the sacrament is this afternoon in Woodbridge and the party tonight in Etobicoke at the Edessa Banquet Hall. I won’t know many people there, but my partner-in-crime is getting less patient with loud music so it likely won’t be a late night.
  2. For a complete change of pace, we’re heading up to Wyebridge (near Midland) tomorrow morning for a Goddard family reunion. I think it’a actually referred to as the “3G” annual event, for Goddard, Gear, and Graham families. I’m looking forward to meeting some new-to-me cousins and fleshing out my family tree. Our hosts are Stephen and Frieda Goddard. Stephen is my mother’s first cousin, the son of her uncle Percy Goddard.
    Doug Townsend, Stephen and Frieda Goddard
    Doug Townsend, Stephen and Frieda Goddard

    I blogged about another branch of my Goddards here. Two brothers emigrated to the Barrie, Ontario area (John in 1970 and William in 1871). I descend from William and the branch at the link descend from John.

  3. For my book challenge this quarter (my booklist here – I won’t read them all, but it’s a goal), I’m reading a memoir by Vladimir Nabokov called Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited. It’s achingly beautifully written, and I’m doing a slow, close read to enjoy it. Here’s a snippet, a memory of a young Nabokov sitting on the veranda while his nanny reads french novels to him.

    From "Speak, Memory" by Vladimir Nabokov.
    From “Speak, Memory” by Vladimir Nabokov.
  4. For my Toronto readers: I just discovered an interesting website called Tabs Toronto. It sends automated alerts any time key words that you select are identified in city government records. You can do a search and then decide whether you’d like an email alert based on it. I’ve registered for my street name, neighbourhood name, and local BIAs. It’s a great initiative intended to improve civic participation.
    TABS
  5. Every since we moved in to our house seven years ago, we’ve known that we had issues with poor air circulation (basement too cold, second floor too hot). We finally got around to having an HVAC professional in to look at our system and he gave us some good advice about improving our duct work, and noted that our AC had been incorrectly installed, effectively blocking the path of air in to the ducts. (Or something.) Our furnace maintenance people had told us that our furnace was on its last legs, and so we took the plunge and replaced both furnace and AC. What a difference. We can actually feel cool air coming out of the ducts in our upper floor. He also recommended that we put a shade or covering of some kind on the large skylight in our stairwell so that’s the next job.
  6. My last post on my Berkman ancestors got a lot of hits, and I’m hoping to get in contact with some cousins. In the meantime, I finally scanned this business card of my grandfather David’s fur company. He moved back to Ontario in the early 30s and had some retail businesses. More about that soon.

    D Berkman Fur Company
    D Berkman Fur Company
  7. My book club had an excellent discussion of Donna Tartt‘s The Goldfinch last Sunday. It got pretty high ratings for the group (average 8/10), a surprising amount of sympathy for Boris, and totally expected love for Hobie. We also sniffed at the critics who looked down their noses at the accessible writing.  We met on the patio at the lovely Grenadier Restaurant in High Park (well, the food is fine but the venue is lovely) and will meet there again next month when we move to non-fiction with The Massey Murder: The Maid, Her Master, and the Trial That Shocked a Country by Charlotte Gray.

We’ve got a long weekend here in Ontario so Sunday and Monday are going to be read-and-relax days. On Tuesday, I’m heading to Ottawa to see my mother and some friends, and then back on Friday.

Leave me some love in the comments!

Mining (a document) for genealogical gold.

I started my family history journey 30 years ago, specifically when I became interested in the Jewish side of my ancestry. I knew very little. My father (Franklin) was an only child, and both he and his mother (Vera Elstein) had died by then. Plus, his parents (David and Vera) had divorced when he was quite young and no information about his biological father was ever forthcoming. I knew from David’s marriage certificate that his father’s name was Myer Berkman (b. Minsk) and that his mother’s name was Adela. Her surname was not particularly legible but my best guess is Vaskoboynik.

At some point, I requested death information from the Province of Ontario and got a computer generated extract with the basics: name, date of death, parent’s names (no maiden name for mother). At the time, I’m not sure that one could request a photocopy of the actual death certificate and that it contained much more information of interest to genealogists.

Death Extract, David Berkman
Death Extract, David Berkman

Note the typos (“BERKHAN”, “BECKMAN”), the place of death as Cornwall, and undetermined marital status.

A few weeks ago, I submitted an online request and received the full statement of death.

Statement of Death for David Berkman
Statement of Death for David Berkman

It sent me off on a research journey and I seem to have discovered a branch of my family of which I was not aware.

The first thing I noticed was that David didn’t die in Cornwall as per the extract, but rather in Hawkesbury Ontario, and that his place of permanent residence was the (now demolished) Manitonna Hotel in Brockville. Originally a furrier, he had also been a merchant in ladies wear and millinery. So I supposed that he might have had a store in Brockville. While I was driving through the town on my way home from Montreal, I dropped by the Brockville Public Library and perused their business directories from the 1950s but couldn’t find him there.

Manitonna Hotel. Brockville Ontario
Manitonna Hotel. Brockville Ontario

The marital status field was not filled in, but the name of his ex-wife Vera (my grandmother) was there. I also noticed that the informant on the certificate was described as a nephew. This would imply that he had at least one sibling. Unfortunately, the signature of the informant is illegible.

I noticed from the certificate that he had been in Hawkesbury for a month when he died, and that he hadn’t worked for much of the previous year. So maybe he was living with this nephew. I did a Google search for [berkman hawkesbury] and the first hit was a Sadie (Berkman) Rubenstein (born Russia), who gave birth to a number of children in Hawkesbury after marrying Samuel Rubenstein in Montreal. And then I remember the legal matter.

In going through my father’s papers with my mother a number of years ago, I found an agreement dated 1957 between my father (Franklin Berkman) and a Frank Rubenstein (living in Kingston), regarding David’s estate. There seems to have been some issue with the settlement of the estate and my father would have been his father’s next of kin.

Back to Ancestry.ca and I find Samuel and Sadie Rubenstein’s first child was named Frank. The place of death address on David’s certificate was their home in Hawkesbury.

Sadie had (I believe) nine children. I spent some time finding marriages for (some of) them, births of children, death dates, etc. And it would appear that I have some second cousins living in Montreal. I used a couple of newspaper sites to search for marriages and obituaries. Here’s an example of one for one of Sadie’s children, Helena.

Helena Rubenstein wedding

This experience underscores the importance of locating original documents when doing genealogical research. I was able to discover an entire clan based on a couple of addresses and names, and the word “nephew”.

10 things I loved about Stockholm – Part II

if you haven’t seen yesterday’s post, this is a continuation.

6. Family and (new) friends. We are blessed to have relatives in Taby, a suburb of Stockholm. Zouheir’s oldest brother Jean-Louis lives there with his wife Manar and their four adult children. The two youngers weren’t there: Jessica is in California finishing out a year abroad before she returns to the Stockholm School of Economics to complete her business degree. Mike has a summer job in a small town in Norway working with the elderly. He’ll be returning to continue his medical studies in the fall. George works as a trader at Swedbank and Rita works in Marketing at Nordea. We had a chance to visit them at their apartments, and the boys spent even more time with Georges watching the World Cup.

Our hosts for the week were Jean-Louis and Manar. We stayed with them for a couple of days at the beginning of the vacation, and also saw Zouheir’s brother Tony who was visiting from Paris. He’s been recovering from a significant health event and is retiring from his medical practice. Their younger sister Marie-Louise came from Lyon during the middle of our visit and it was lovely to spend time with her as well. We met a friend of Georges, Patryzcia Payak, a medical doctor who has just written a children’s book with her sister Anna, an artist, about dying called Dear Death (xxx in Swedish). Their other sister is a cinematographer. They live near J-L and Manar and I had a chance for a quick visit to see some of Anna’s work.

7. Visual beauty. Stockholm is a gorgeous city. I immediately noticed the relative lack of overt advertising (very few, if any, billboards) and the quiet presence of stately architecture of a city hundreds of years old. The city has preserved the traditional style and kept the waterfront (of which there are miles and miles) completely accessible. There are bike paths all over the city, and I had to get used to watching for cyclists as I crossed the paths that are shared with pedestrians. The apartment we rented was quite stunning. There were three bedrooms, including one with a sleeping loft, and one and a half baths, which were gorgeously tiled with a shower/sauna in one.

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I’ve already talked about the sea, and we saw lots of boats of all shapes and sizes, including a brand new super-yacht that had just been delivered. There was also a race scheduled while we were there.

http://www.charterworld.com/index.html?sub=yacht-charter&charter=motor-yacht-abeking-8521
Super-yacht Kibo, currently moored at Stockholm.

8. Quirkiness is in the eye of the beholder.  I like to laugh, and besides the great company, there were many chances for humour. A few that I caught on “film” (you know what I mean.)

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9. Swedish design and eco-consciousness

10. The Swedish people. Everyone was friendly. English is spoken pretty much universally, and no one batted an eye when I responded to a shopkeeper’s hello (“hey hey”) with English. People struck up conversation in the street, and everyone seemed to smile. A lot. A really marked difference from Paris, Rome, or Istanbul, where service can be surly and a few words in English often result in an unwillingness or inability to continue the conversation. I certainly don’t think that everyone in the world should speak English, but when your school system provides it and you work in hospitality or services in a tourist destination, an attempt to converse is appreciated. I’m sure that Swedes realise that their ability to survive in a global economy requires another language, particularly when their native tongue is relatively rare.

10 things I loved about Stockholm – Part I

There’s no place like home.

But I had a fabulous time in Stockholm and, if life took such a turn, I could definitely see myself living there. (Although I’d have to visit in December to make sure of my feelings…)

In no particular order, five of the things I loved about Stockholm:

    1. Coffee. It’s great everywhere. It is not an exaggeration to say that I did not have a bad cup of coffee anywhere, public, private, or commercial. They make it strong and dark, are non-plussed when you ask for warm milk to go with it, there are indie coffee shops and what I assume are local chains. Our apartment had a very funky coffeemaker and we picked up a pound of ground beans with the royal seal on it, but otherwise randomly. This county knows its coffee.

      The coffeemaker in our apartment.
      The coffeemaker in our apartment.
    2. Fashion. It’s pretty low key there. Individualistic. I never felt under- or over-dressed. I noticed that over the ten days I was there, I slowly wore less makeup and felt better about it. (Not that I normally wear a lot, but mascara, bronzer, and lipstick seemed enough.) I would have liked to do some shopping for clothes as the relaxed style really appeals, but it will have to wait for my next trip. Have a look at this tumblr for an idea of what’s on the street these days.
    3. The Baltic. Michael announced in the car on our way home that he didn’t want to hear the word “archipelago” one more time. But really, that explains a lot of the appeal of the city. You turn a corner and suddenly a new vista appears that includes another bit of the sea, different from what you just passed. The climate is moderated by it, the food is influenced by it, history was shaped by it, and it’s simply beautiful.

      View from the restaurant in the Modern Art Museum.
      View from the restaurant in the Modern Art Museum.
    4. Food. Because we stayed either with family or in an apartment we rented, we experienced life as a resident, shopping in the grocery stores, as well as eating in restaurants. Compared to Canada, food is expensive but the quality is high. We had lots of seafood, fish, fresh salads, beets and legumes, breads scented with anise, dill, and caraway, and lots of flatbread (eg Wasa.) Fresh herb plants were available in even small grocers, and the owners of our apartment had a number of plants around the kitchen and on the balcony. I enjoyed a couple of different local beers, and a whisky tasting on an island on our final evening was both an excellent aperitif and informational.
    5. Interesting museums. We didn’t do all the biggies, but I had identified a couple that I definitely wanted to see. The Spirit Museum has an excellent exhibit of some of the Absolut Art Collection, in particular,  Art Pop, the artist and the record sleeve 1956-2013.

      There was also an exhibit there called Swedish Sin. In their words: In collaboration with artist Peter Johansson, we get to grips with lust and vice, liberation and shame – with ”Swedish sin”, both the myth and the phenomenon.

      We also visited the Vasa Museum, a showplace for the 17th century warship that sank into the Stockholm harbour, 30 minutes into it’s maiden voyage. It was salvaged in the early 1960s and is being painstakingly restored. If we’re going to build warships, we should make them beautiful.

      The stern of the Vasa.
      The stern of the Vasa.

      We enjoyed the Architecture and Design Museum where they had a temporary exhibit called Cykel as well as their regular exhibit on architecture in Sweden.

      ArkDes Museum
      ArkDes Museum

      We also visited the Moderna Museet, on the same campus as ArkDes, where we saw the Nils Dardel exhibit as well as some of the permanent collection. And the beautiful Fotographiska, the museum of contemporary photography, where I learned that black and white images can depict nature in stunning fashion.

      Stay tuned for items 6-10….coming tomorrow.