Seven Quick Takes Friday



Have I mentioned how much I love my Kindle?  I have?  I’ve now carried it with me about town, on the subway, into cafes, and have totally loved the freedom to have a bunch of books with me wherever I go.  I like that I can increase the font size when I want to lay it on a table while eating, and that I have a choice of books for every mood.  One of my friends asked me to bring it with me on our outing yesterday so she could see it, and I may have a couple of converts.  I’ll never totally give up paper-based books (Toronto has one of the best library systems in the world), but it’s making reading very pleasurable nonetheless.


Am reading (on my Kindle) The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains by Nicholas Carr. I’m currently enjoying the section on neuroplasticity, the idea that our brain can change depending on the experiences/tasks/trauma it undergoes. Carr and I have had a similar history with computers and the internet, and similar feelings of loss of the ability to concentrate for extended periods of time. A snippet:

At first I’d figured that the problem was a symptom of middle-age mind rot.  But my brain, I realized, wasn’t just drifting.  It was hungry.  It was demanding to be fed the way the Net fed it — and the more it was fed, the hungrier it became.  When when I was away from my computer, I yearned to check e-mail, click links, do some Googling.  I wanted to be connected.  Just as Microsoft Word had turned me into a flesh and blood word processor, the Internet, I sensed, was turning me into something like a high-speed data-processing machine, a human HAL.
I missed my old brain. 


I am working on my third course through the Institute of Genealogical Studies, the second Methodology course called Organizing and Skill-Building.  I’ve been creating numbering systems and binders for each of the families associated with my four grandparents.  It feels great to get my stacks of paperwork and documents organized, and my next step is to try to make some headway with a Rubbermaid bin of photographs.  I’m also hoping to do more genalogical blogging, and possibly set up a separate site for those posts.


My summer choir program is coming together nicely.  We have a concert scheduled for August 15th at a Marian Shrine in west Toronto. The music is lovely, is a workout for the brain and the voice, and I leave rehearsals feeling calm and happy.  Almost meditative.  I’ve met some very nice people and have enjoyed it very much.  I may decide to stay on in the fall if I can get the okay to skip the last Monday of each month for the Toronto Branch (OGS) meetings.


Michael has been working on both his tuba and bass trombone this summer.  He’s taking lessons on both from two excellent (and very different) teachers.  He’s getting ready for music camp at the end of the summer (jazz camp on trombone) and the three music courses he’ll be taking in the fall.  He’s hoping to be in the Junior Concert Band, Junior Orchestra, and Junior Stage Band this year as well as a vocal ensemble, so he’ll be a busy boy.  He’s also planning to audition for a couple of community bands with the hope of getting some more playing.  I’m just thrilled that he’s enjoying music so much as I know how much pleasure it’s brought me over the years.


Made a very tasty quinoa salad this week.  Will definitely make it again, possibly adding more parsley and/or cilantro to green it up a bit.  Keeps quite well in the fridge for a couple of days.


We said goodbye to our niece, Magali, on Wednesday.  She came to Canada from France 2-1/2 years ago to work for Danone in Montreal and is returning to work for their Evian division.  She frequently came to Toronto on business, so we saw her every couple of months.  It was great getting to know her better, and having her relatively close to us here in Canada.  She leaves Montreal on Sunday, will have a few days in Paris to relax, and then will start apartment hunting in Evian. We wish her the best!
Here’s a little memory of Canada for her…the visit to Niagara Falls on an incredibly cold day two winters ago! 


Visit our host Jennifer at Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!

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