Category Archives: seven quick takes

Friday seven – Things I’ve learned

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  1. I love cooking on a gas stove.
    We have one here in the condo and it’s the first time I’ve ever used for any length of time. Fast heat, fast off, and easy to clean, the only negative is the retractable vent hood that rises from just to the rear of the cooktop that is really loud. We will definitely be putting a gas cooktop in our kitchen when we renovate.
  2. The name “Istanbul” is actually a variant of  “Constantinople”.
    I mean, we all knew that the original name of that city was Constantinople, but i didn’t know that one came from the other. I met a Turkish jewellry vendor in the Granville Island Public Market and we chatted for a while. He told me that people shortened “Constantinople”, dropping the first syllable, and the word morphed to Stamboul, or Istanbul. (When I checked this out on wikipedia, it turns out to be something of a simplification, but I had never made the connection before.)

    Bracelet by Murat Senemoglu, Turkish silnersmith at Granville Island Public Market.
  3. I can live without owning a car, in the right place.
    I took out a car2go for a spin the other day with Alex, when we went to Granville Island. I love the fact that you just drop it off when you’re at your destination and pick up another one when you want to continue your trip. The smartphone app makes it so easy to reserve a car (optional), unlock it, and manage your account. Driving (and parking the Smart fourtwo was a little unnerving at first, but actually quite enjoyable.)
  4. I’ve missed Netflix.
    With the renovation of our main living area and some reconfiguration of our electronics, we haven’t had easy access to Netflix on our living room television since the summer. The setup here in the condo is a Samsung Smart TV and so we have access to a pile of streaming services from one device. (I don’t really like watching video on my computer or ipad. I can’t explain it. could be my age. Could be that I prefer the big screen and better sound.)  I finally watched the NFB film on Healey Willan that our choir director recommended (very interesting), and have been catching up on some series (Master of None (Aziz Ansari), Marvel’s Jessica Jones). Last night I watched a riveting doc on Iris Apfel, who reminded me immensely of my Grandma Winer (Vera Elstein) and makes me want to pump up the colour in my wardrobe (and the size of my accessories.)
    Here’s a trailer:
  5. The best part of genealogy is meeting new relatives.
    I’ve said before that a blog is like “cousin-bait” to genealogists. If someone googles and ancestor’s name and your blog comes up, bingo! I’ve recently had an email exchange with the wife of a cousin on my father’s father’s side. We’ve exchanged some information and I hope to meet them in the near future as our geographic circles intersect on a couple of fronts. (We both have relatives in each other’s home towns.) Briefly, my grandfather (David Berkman) had a sister Sadie who married a Samuel Rubenstein and lived in Hawkesbury Ontario, a predominantly francophone town between Ottawa and Montreal. I’d very much love to see pictures of David, Sadie, and their parents (Myer and Adela), and get any further info that might help me with my research.
    Here’s their marriage registration:

    Marriage of Sadie Berkman and Samuel Rubenstein, Lachine QU, 1909, Beth Israel.
    Marriage of Sadie Berkman and Samuel Rubenstein, Lachine QU, 1909, Beth Israel.
  6. I want to read more internationally.
    I posted about this a couple of weeks ago, but am pleased to learn that one of the Goodreads groups that I belong to is starting a new sub-group called “Around the World” where we will be reading from various areas for the first six months of 2016, and then concentrating on Asia in the second half of the year. I’m starting to get my list together. In January we will be focussing on North and West Africa, and I’m hoping to read some Egyptian and Nigerian writers that have been on my radar for a while. In particular, I want to read The Automobile Club of Egypt by Alaa Al Aswany and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. And maybe Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El-Saadawi and Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. If anyone would like to join me in this venture, consider joining The Roundtable on Goodreads!
  7. I can’t live happily without sunshine. Temperature doesn’t matter.
    Since I’ve been out here in Vancouver, we’ve had a few periods of sun. It’s nice to be able to live in a midweight (waterproof) coat.  I picked one up with Vancouver in mind at the Royal Winter Fair from the London Trading Post booth. (They’re located in Bobcaygeon ON and have a lot of great British gear.) But honestly: the gorgeous views, sea wall, and mild weather, cannot make up for the lack of regular sunlight. It makes me feel sluggish and like I want to cocoon at home. And my knees? I’ve had to up my Naproxen since I’ve been out here to compensate for the dampness.

That’s all folks!

Friday Seven – Chilly in the YVR Edition

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  1. This pretty much sums up the week:
    IMG_1823
  2. My sister was here this week for a medical conference, and my elder son arrived for a visit as well. It’s been lovely to see them both and to check out some new-to-me restaurants (Cactus Club Cafe, Nuba, Joe Fortes) as well as a meal here at the condo. Fran heads back east today on the train, and Alex is here for another week or two.
  3. Charlaine Harris's Dead Until Dark
    Photo credit: Wikipedia

    My four month reading challenge is winding down at the end of November. I’ve got two novels to finish up by the 30th: Dead Until Dark: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel by Charlaine Harris (the first of the Sookie Stackhouse series) and Story of Blanche and Marie by Per Olov Enquist. The first is a vampire novel and fulfills the task to read a book set in Louisiana. It’s not the sort of book that I would normally read, but it’s entertaining and light. I picked up the second book in Stockholm and it fulfills a task to read two books set in the same watershed. I’ve chosen the Seine and this book is set in Paris.

  4. The trash sorting system in this building is intricate. Unlike in Toronto, where all the recyclables go into one bin, we have to separate everything here including paper into “dry newsprint” and mixed paper (magazines, junk mail, writing paper, phonebooks, cardboard). No styrofoam or plastic bags, and only plastics labelled 1,2, and 3). I haven’t figured out how to return beer, wine, and liquor bottles yet, and milk bottles go back to the grocer. There is compost for the building, so that’s good.
  5. Our extended family meals are starting to go here.
    rozchastthanksgiving
  6. Last Saturday, Z and I had lunch with a colleague of his and her partner. She is Jewish, from Odessa, and when she heard that my ancestors were also from there, was interested in getting together. We had a lovely time, and it has spurred me on to try to break through some brick walls on my Berkman research.
    Baron de Hirsch - De La Savane Cemetery, Montreal.
    Baron de Hirsch – De La Savane Cemetery, Montreal.

    My great-grandfather was Myer Berkman (b. 1863, Minsk), who was married to Adela (d. bef 1909), for whom I do not have a surname. My grandfather was David Berkman (b. c 1888, Odessa; d. 1956, Hawkesbury, ON). David had a sister Sadie who married Samuel Rubenstein in Lachine, QU in May 1909. They went on to live in Hawkesbury and have nine children. I have recently been in touch with one of Sadie’s descendents and I hope to get a chance to meet him next time I’m in his city.
    I continue to pour over JewishGen, a very comprehensive set of databases, but records are scanty, language and transliteration make names difficult to find, and I still dream of hiring a researcher to see what can be found on the ground in Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania. I’ve also done DNA testing, but I really need to get my brother to do it as well as we need the male line to trace paternal genes.

  7. How awesome is this?

    “About to take a Selfie with Medal of Freedom co-recipients Barbra Streisand and Steven Spielberg at the White House. OMG! I’m so excited!” — Itzhak Perlman (posted on Facebook)

    Itzhak Perlman, Steisand, Spielberg

 

That’s all folks! Keep warm. Enjoy your leftovers, my American friends. More quick takes over at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

Friday Seven: Vancouver edition

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  1. I’ve been in Vancouver for five days now and don’t seem like I’m adjusting to the three hour time difference. I’ve been waking up between 4:30 and 5:00 am PST and am pretty much nodding off by 10:00 pm. I wonder if it has to do with the dearth of sunlight here. The condo has a gorgeous view, but it’s northwest facing and so doesn’t get any direct sunlight, even on the few occasions when the sun is visible in the sky. Perhaps I should  have brought my Golite with me to dose myself with rays during the day.
  2. We have a lovely condo apartment with a very well-equipped kitchen. I’ve tried a few new recipes, and hosted an old friend for dinner on Wednesday. I worked with him at Bell Canada in the 80s and we’ve kept in touch ever since. I made Za’atar Roast Chicken with Green Tahini Sauce, mashed yams and green beans, plus a cheese plate and a lemon tart purchased from the Urban Fare across the street. Martinis and red wine were also consumed.

    We're on the cheese course here. I probably could have dimmed the lights a little...
    We’re on the cheese course here. I probably could have dimmed the lights a little…
  3. We’re in the Coal Harbour area of downtown Vancouver, right on north shore of the peninsula, overlooking Burrard Inlet. It’s lovely to see the water and the view constantly changes with the movement of the sun and the weather. It’s a great area for walking as everything we could need is close by. Z walks to work every day, the aforementioned grocer is right across the street, and I’m steps from great walking paths along the water.
  4. I brought a couple of small knitting projects with me, as well as a book called ZENSPIRATIONS, CRÉATIONS DE MOTIFS by Joanne Fink. I picked this up in Paris when we were there in September. It suggests a process for creating your own art for colouring and it’s a nice compact book to spur on some creative work.
  5. The apartment is very quiet, with a couple of notable exceptions. During the day, there is a persistent tapping sound that seems to be coming from another unit. It sounds like someone is lightly hammering fine nails or something. It’s most noticeable in the bedroom. I’m wondering whether someone is making jewellry or working on some other small craft in an adjacent suite. Also, I thought a seaplane was taking off this morning, and realized that it was in fact the very loud washing machine that I had just started.
  6. I’ve been trying to find out something about the gorgeous bronze medallions embedded in the sidewalks on some streets in this area. If anyone has a lead, I’d be interested. Haida or Coast Salish perhaps?

    Medallion embedded in some Coal Harbour sidewalks.
    Medallion embedded in some Coal Harbour sidewalks.
  7. How about that investigator on this season’s The Good Wife??
    Jeffrey Dean Morgan

    That’s my seven for today! Visit This Ain’t the Lyceum for more.

Friday Seven – October 23

— 1 —

Our reno is done and we’re really happy with it. New hardwood floors throughout the second floor and in the living-dining room meant that every item in those areas had to be removed to either boxes in the basement or to a temporary storage pod (mainly the furniture.) Now we’ve got to sort all the boxes in the basement and reorganize (or get rid of) a lot of stuff. It’s actually been a great exercise, to see how the house looks with quite minimalist decor. I am taking things slowly and making careful decisions about what to keep and where. One of the good decisions we made was to have cabinetry built in around our (new) gas fireplace so all our decorative items can be placed together, behind glass, and reduce the clutter on surfaces, one of our big issues.

— 2 —

The timer switch for our exterior lights on the front door quit, leaving the lights on all the time. I picked up a new timer and attempted to install it myself. I’ve done minor electrical work before with no problem but this was part of a three switch plate and the installation quickly proved beyond me, even after a lot of googling and referring to my trusty Reader’s Digest Complete Do-it-yourself Manual. So I left the circuit breaker in the off position and we have no lights in the powder room or at my favorite reading position in the kitchen. I tried to hire an electrician the normal way (Homestars) but the earliest i could get an appointment was in two weeks. I called my contractor for a name and he said he’ll get it done for me tomorrow or Monday at the latest. He’s the best!

— 3 —

I’ve been on the hunt for a daybed or sofa bed for my study. I had it painted in a lovely pale yellow, a good colour for creativity, and when I checked out a couple of shops in the nearby Castlefield Design DIstrict (Elte Mkt, Shelter) everything suitable was only available in a cool grey. By chance, Ethel 20th Century Living posted this gorgeousness on their Facebook Page yesterday afternoon and I’m heading there to check it out in person this afternoon. It’s in a warm grey (Pebble), five years old an in apparently fabulous condition. And at a great price.

BluDot One Night Stand sleeper.
BluDot One Night Stand sleeper.

— 4 —

I am almost finished an absolutely terrific novel by Ruth Ozeki called A Tale For The Time Being. It is hard to describe how much this book resonates with me. I’ve been listening to the audio version, read by the author. Watch the trailer.

— 5 —

Kotodama: the Japanese belief that mystical powers dwell in words and names; that ritual words can influence our environment, body, mind, and soul. It’s everywhere in Ozeki’s novel and i want to think about it some more.

— 6 —

If you have a chance to see Remember, the new film by Atom Egoyan starring Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau, I highly recommend it. I saw a screening at TIFF this year and it was a highlight. While I don’t agree with this review (don’t leave early), I do agree that the rest of it is also very compelling.

— 7 —

Some Friday music humour.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!

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.

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!

Seven Quick Takes: 23 May

Seven Quick Takes Friday

  1. Since sometime after Christmas, I have had significant knee pain, the worst when I would first stand after ANY length of sitting, a quick drive, five minutes in a chair. It was so bad that I would have to support myself until pain dissipated, and then limp. I started taking Tylenol Arthritis three times a day, but knew that I had to deal with the underlying issues.
    After a web search, I made an appointment with Janet Walker, an osteopath. After assessing my alignment, she did some very gentle adjustments and recommended some basic stretches for my legs and feet.  Over the two weeks before my second appointment, the pain subsided considerably, although I still had the discomfort upon standing. A second appointment last week involved more adjustments and encouragement to continue the stretches. The pain has lessened by about 80%.
    Yesterday I had a massage that focussed on my hips, legs, and feet and am feeling quite well, apart from some mild stiffness. The osteopath doesn’t feel that she needs to see me again, although I may go back when I feel the need for another adjustment. I can’t recommend osteopathy highly enough for musculo-skeletal issues.
  2. There’s a cool new (free) app for the iphone or ipad that identifies leaves from a photograph. Check it out here.
  3. On Tuesday, Michael and I helped out Rob Teehan in a recording of his composition Lamb of God (Mass of the Redeemer) that he’s preparing for the final project of his Canadian Film Centre residency. The piece was scored for organ, orchestra, and choir, and we participated in the latter. It was fun and interesting and I look forward to seeing the final video. Rob “crowd-sourced” the musicians, and it was amazing to see how many volunteered their time for this project.
    Rob Teehan, composer. (Photo: Zahra Salecki)
    Rob Teehan, composer. (Photo: Zahra Salecki)

    Rob Teehan's CFC Final Project Recording Session. (Photo: Zahra Salecki)
    Rob Teehan’s CFC Final Project Recording Session. (Photo: Zahra Salecki)
  4. Alex finally found an apartment downtown, closer to work, and slept there for the first time last night. He’s repainted it and has been slowly purchasing furnishings. It’s just north of Kensington market, has a patio/balcony with a gorgeous view south to the CN Tower, and is about a 20 minute walk to work. (I meant to take a pic from the balcony last night but forgot my phone…coming soon!) I think he’ll be really happy there.
  5. Yesterday, our new memory foam mattress set arrived. We’d been needing a new sleeping surface for some time and with Alex moving out, it was an opportune time to pass on our current one. We’re both feeling creaky (see 1 above) and are hoping that this firmer but more supportive mattress will help us out. I had my first sleep on it last night and moved around (and hence woke up) much less.
  6. There’s a Farmer and Artisan Market opening up on Thursdays through October just down the street from us. There’s an unused bus turn that I walk by regularly and yesterday I saw this banner. This is great news for those of us living in the Upper Avenue area and I look forward to being a regular patron.
  7. I’m rereading The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud for book club this weekend. I very much enjoyed it the first time through and am catching even more the second time. I highly recommend it for women in middle-age, who may or not know how much anger we ALL hold inside. If you’re an underliner, you’ll be underlining. It’s an excellent story, well worth a few hours of your summer reading schedule.

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Have a lovely weekend!

Seven Quick Takes – Pi Day

Seven Quick Takes Friday

    1. It’s Pi Day. Given that’s it’s also a Lenten Friday and that I’ve given up sweets, I may be cooking up a lentil pie for dinner.
      pi day
    2. We’re heading to Sweden in June to visit Zouheir’s oldest brother, Jean-Louis, and his family. Happily, our sons are joining us on this trip which will coincide with Midsummer there, apparently one of the more festive periods in that country. Much to my chagrin, I’ve never been before, despite my late mother-in-law’s many invitations.  Here’s a shot of the lads Swedish cousins (shamelessly lifted from George’s Facebook page.)

      Swedish Mansourati cousins.
      Swedish Mansourati cousins. (Mike, George, Jessica, Rita)
    3. Dorothy Palmer and I are heading to 221b Con the first weekend of April in Atlanta! She’s a huge Sherlock Holmes fanatic and experienced improv-er and is leading an event:
      SherlockImprov – A live-action combination of cosplay and improv, where everyone gets the chance to create on-the-spot drama by jumping into the roles of Holmes and Watson and their crew. No theater or improv experience is necessary, just a willingness to enjoy the new story we create together.
      221b con
    4. Zouheir and I saw Metamorphosis at the Royal Alex last weekend. Brought to Toronto by Mirvish, this dramatization of the Kafka novel is a marvel, and left my head spinning and a little water welling up in my eyes. One of the finest pieces of theatre I’ve seen in a long time. It’s finished it’s run, but if you ever get a chance….
    5. Our first-born started his first job post-graduation in December, and yesterday he headed to University of Waterloo to interview co-op students. He’s with a small start-up and is getting the full range of work experience. I believe he was “nacho boy” at the beginning (responsible for bringing food to their Friday afternoon review sessions.) He’s coming up in the world! Only a few months ago he was getting coaching on how to handle the other side of the interview table.
    6. For those of you who do family history research, Mocavo is having a free access weekend. Check it out…you never know what you’ll find!
    7. A couple of Kickstarters have drawn my attention this week. First is Neil Young’s Pono music player that provides high quality audio, equivalent to vinyl but digital. I first heard of it when I read his memoir Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream, and the Kickstarter was launched earlier this week at SXSW. I have a whole blog post in my head about why I’m not listening to much recorded music these days which will be for a later date, but I’m seriously thinking of getting in on this project, especially after I watched the video at the top of the Kickstarter project page.

      The other Kickstarter is for the restoration of St. Francis in Rome. From the project page: When St. Francis used to come to Rome between 1209 and 1223 to meet the Pope Innocenzo III, his house was a small “Cell” where he lived and assisted lepers. After eight centuries this place now requires substantial restoration work in order to preserve its priceless spiritual value and its ancient works of art.

      I kicked in some support for this project and I hope that they’re able to meet their objective.

As always, more Quick Takes, many with a Catholic flair, can be found on Fridays at Conversion Diary!

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Seven Quick Takes – Is it March already?

Seven Quick Takes Friday

  1. Brasstronomical---bigI’m listening to the new Heavyweights Brass Band disc Brasstronomical that just dropped last night. We’re big fans around here, not just because they’re a hot local indie group, that crosses genre lines, but the sousaphonist Rob Teehan was Michael’s teacher for four years and had a huge influence on his decision to pursue his music dreams. Here’s a little promo vid:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EYm6s5LUI4
  2. i’ve got a couple of great books on the go right now. You’ve already heard my thoughts about the Neil Young memoir, but I’m also reading I The Divine: A Novel in First Chapters by Rabih Alameddine. Zouheir read his masterwork The Hakawati a year or so ago and has been raving about him ever since.
  3. If any of you use the Kobo ereader, there’s a coupon code for 30% off selected ebooks, good until March 9. Lynn Coady’s The Antagonist is there and it’s a terrific read. I’ve just picked up the Priscilla Uppal memoir Projection : Encounters with my Runaway Mother which is on my to-read list this month.  Be sure to use the coupon code MARCHOFFER.
  4. Thinking about a Toyota Venza. Any views yay or nay?
  5. Since my Goddard meet-up two days ago, I’ve re-invigorated my search for more cousins that I know are in the area but that I’ve never met. My great-grandfather Stephen Robert Goddard had a brother Samuel who had four daughters. I’d really like to see if I can find some of their descendants. Their married surnames are Bessey, Beecraft, and Young. The girls were born in the Toronto area between 1888 and 1893. PLEASE get in touch if you think we’re related.
  6. Look what I found at Value Village this week:
    And I bought it because this:

    Nathan Fillion of course!
    Nathan Fillion of course!

     

  7. On my way back from Barrie on Wednesday, I popped into the factory outlets to check out the Villeroy & Boch store, home of our china pattern. We don’t have room for more dishes really, but I picked up a couple of the large coffee mugs (of which we only have 2) so that there’s no more early morning pre-caffeinated contention for them.
    While I was there, I also stopped in to Crabtree and Evelyn to buy some small tubes of their beautiful hand cream for my purse. I have this thing about wearing gloves in the winter (as in NOT wearing gloves) and my hands are appalling. Or maybe it’s just age. Anyway, the young woman working there introduced me to their hand recovery product, a gritty scrub that is also moisturizing. After the demo, I realised that my hands felt better than they do in our high-humidy summers. SOLD (and on sale.)
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Seven Quick Takes – Almost spring? Please?

Seven Quick Takes Friday

  1. Last night I attended the Open Book Literary Salon hosted at The Spoke Club. Moderated by Becky Toyne, the discussants were writers Michael Winter, Stacey May Fowles, and Brian Francis. Sadly, the promised “relaxed, salon atmosphere” didn’t really materialize. The ambient noise from other areas of the club required the use of microphones, even in the small space, and it was really more of a panel discussion with a few questions from the audience than any kind of salon experience.
    That being said, there were a few worthwhile gems. SMF often writes to “work something out” for example, “why I like CSI or Rihanna”. BF is motivated to keep writing because he feels responsible for his characters, not wanting to leave them in limbo but finish their stories. He also noted that you need to allow yourself to have a crappy first draft, but just get the story finished. No one will ever see it and it’s the second draft where the magic happens. MW suggested we analyze why we like the books we like (to read). This will help with your own writing. And both BF and MW encouraged people to read a lot, and read what you like, not what you think you’re supposed to read,
  2. Before the salon, my friend and I ate at WVRST (609 King W), a lively place that sells artisanal sausages, fries, dips, and an interesting selection of beers (and cider). You place your order at a counter and your meal is brought to you. Seating is on long communal tables and while it got a bit noisy by the time we were leaving,  I’ll definitely be back.
  3. Last Sunday, the choir was ready to sing our first hymn in Icelandic. It took us a few weeks to get the pronunciation down as there are extra letters and letter-combos that we had to master . Because we sing at the back of the church from a loft, the sound is lovely. Here’s a video clip of the group Arstidir singing it in a train station:
    http://youtu.be/e4dT8FJ2GE0?t=5s
  4. I was crushed to miss Jonathan Crow playing a Beethoven Violin Concerto last Friday due to ill health, but surprised when TSO member services called me offering me other tickets through their missed concert program. How lovely is that?
  5. This Monday is the first evening in the TIFF Books-on-Film series. Eleanor Wachtel will be interviewing Mohsin Hamid, author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist. I’ve both read the book and seen the film, but am looking forward to hearing Hamid’s view of the translation from page to celluloid.
  6. I’m heading to Barrie next week for a day to meet some distant cousins. Thanks to the Goddard Association of Europe‘s Facebook page, I’ve linked up with descendants of the brother (John) of my gggrandfather, William Goddard. I’ll also spend some time in the Barrie Public Library’s local history room, and if weather permits, visit the cemetery where a number of Goddards are buried.
  7. I spend part of last week clearing out my mom’s condo, getting it ready for sale, and I came across this blast from the past:
    I hate to cook bookMy mom’s famous “Chicken Rice Roger” came from it, and I suspect some other recipes as well. They’re in pretty bad shape but I’m gonna look for new(er) copies as they’re the kind of cookbook that makes for a fun read. There’s a 50th anniversary edition published in 2010 (we’re the same age!) that I might just break down and buy.

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