- Peter Robinson: Wednesday's Child. I love his books, and I"m reading them in order. This is the next one on the list.
- Robert B. Parker: Sudden Mischief. Parker is about as light as they come in the genre, and he just died. I only have one of his left on my shelf, so it's a go.
- Pierre de Calan: Cosmas or the Love of God. Unlike most of my books that I get used through BookMooch or Paperback Swap, this one was purchased new. It's a Loyola Classic, a study of a young man experiencing life as a Trappist monk.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
At the behest of my dear husband, who never says a negative word about my appearance or behaviour, I decided to go back to covering my gray. I had it done this morning, plus some highlights, and it looks great I must say. I look younger and less tired, just in time for our romantic trip to Rome next week.
I dropped into a local fast-food joint on my walk home from the salon and settled in to my burger and book, when a gentleman sat down at the table next to me. I live in a very Jewish neighborhood, and this guy totally reminded me of my (Jewish) father: one of those older guys, not too tall, thinning grey hair and, ahem, a relaxed look about his clothing. You know, sort of loose fitting trousers, a short sleeved mostly polyester button up shirt, and a plaid wool jacket over top. (My father was a cardiologist and no doubt made quite a good living, but his casual clothes made him look like your neighborhood Home Hardware salesman.*)
Shortly thereafter, a similar looking fellow walks up and exclaims "There you go again, Mort...sitting next to the most gorgeous gal in the place! Every time I see you, it's the same thing!"
Mort: "Don't start with me. We've got business to do. Leave the poor gal alone....she's trying to read."
"But did you see....?"Mort shakes his newspaper at the friend, exclaiming "Enough already. Get me some coffee...there's something I want you to read."
My eyes were boring holes into my book at this point, and I'm trying to stifle a smile, but I have to say, it made my day. It's even possible I did a little hair flip when I turned the page
*And it's true. One time I was in a hardware store with him when I was about eight, and someone came up to him and asked him for help with some paint.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
- Z and I went to the preview of Cooking With Stella last night, courtesy of Mika at Good Egg who tweeted an offer for a double pass. Dilip Mehta, the director and co-screenwriter was there and took questions at the end of the film. Before the screening, Mehta suggested we look at it only as a comedy. I didn't understand what he meant until afterwards. The film addresses the relationship between employers (in this case diplomats living in the Canadian compound in Delhi) and servants (the Indian staff), and is a look at the discomfort that can arise for both parties, as well as the various "businesses" that the cook runs given her access to duty free goods and the apparent wealth of her employers. It stars the most fetching Don McKellar . You can view the trailer here.
- Tuesday afternoon, our hot water tank went. I was trying to do some dishes and the water wouldn't get hot. It's a rental tank from our local gas company, so I got on the horn and, after looking at our file, they determined that the tank was 18 years old. At that point, they just decided to send out a replacement tank, which came the next day. I have no idea if it will be more energy efficient, but I'm hoping so. I guess we'll be able to tell from our gas bills, to some extent. I also very much need to replace our washer and dryer.
- Last Sunday, we picked up some flowers for my aunt's birthday and bought ourselves a pot of spring bulbs at the same time. It's wonderful to have that little blast of living colour in our kitchen. I used to always have some fresh flowers around, but have gotten out of the habit since we've been back in Toronto. I think I'll pick it up again because they are really refreshing.
- I read an extremely compelling piece yesterday at a new-to-me blog called Exile Lifestyle. The author talks about undertaking short (a few months) experiments with lifestyle to push him in new directions and encourage positive habits. For example, (and I really encourage you to read his whole post), he did a period of no TV. A period of no black clothing. An experiment with no new paper products (except for some personal-hygiene related ones and his notebook.) Z and I talked about this last night, about some experiments we might try individually and together. More to come on this one, I'm sure.
- Does anyone else have an issue with the shortform for microphone? "mic" It just doesn't work for me. It should be "mike".
- I "made" a loaf of bread last night, that is, I loaded up the breadmaker and set the timer for fresh bread this morning. I do this every two days or so. I was having a glass of limoncello at the same time, having just returned from Cooking With Stella and dinner at the Bloor Street Diner. This morning, it didn't smell like it usually does, and I couldn't see the bread through the window in the machine. I had forgotten to put the paddles back into the pan and the bread didn't mix, It just baked itself into the pan in a big floury lump. Now I'm just waiting for it to cool down enough so that I can dump it into the compost. No sandwich for my sweetie's lunch today.
- Spent a couple of hours in the Kensington Market area with Michael yesterday afternoon. We had just picked up his tuba from Long and McQuade where it was in for repair, and were heading to Good Egg on Augusta to get my movie passes. I had assumed Michael had been to Kensington as he spends quite a bit of time in Chinatown with his friends from Japanese class, and it's just a little north of there. But it was all new to him, a bit of a wonderland of cheesy discount shops, produce markets, funky shops and restos. He found a Point Zero sweater at 50% off and I picked up a couple of scarves at Zimmerman's Discount, where Mr. Zimmerman told him to come back often as there are lots of nice-looking girls in the area. It was a gorgeous day, and MIchael is a 15yo kid who doesn't mind hanging with his mom, so it was all good!
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
The Therapeutics Education Collaboration podcast is intended for medical practitioners. It presents information on evidence-based drug therapy content, and give that I've been getting some, I'm interested in looking at the evidence. It's Canadian too, which is good 'cause we've got a slightly different approach to pushing the pills.
Monday, March 15, 2010
— Maya Angelou
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Shot 1: Love this poster on Bloor West near Spadina.
That tapping into his inner Carrie Bradshaw the other day was none other than Mr. Omnivorous -- John Malkovich! The stupendous star of the big screen was spotted over the weekend at Toronto's famous foot locker, a.k.a. The Bata Shoe Museum, on Bloor.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Marilyn Waring is a powerhouse of a human being. Born and raised in New Zealand, she has dedicated most of her life to addressing the inequalities in what we value in the world, in an attempt to have women’s work (often unpaid) considered a societal contribution that is as valuable, if not more valuable, than much of the paid work that contributes to the GDP.
In 1988, she published (also published under ), a sharp assessment of what we do and don’t value by only calculating paid work into the GDP. She raises many of the same examples used in the NFB Film, such as oil spills, drug trade (through money moving around, policing and incarceration) and war as contributing to the GDP, while child rearing, housework and taking care of one’s aging family members are not.
As Marilyn explains, what we measure matters. When driving towards specific goals in, say, increasing the GDP to show growth, policies change to encourage economic growth, but remove costs in social growth. For example, a country wanting to increase the GDP may remove or reduce fines on companies that commit environmental damage in order to raise that company’s yearly earnings and shift the burden onto the education system, an ostensible drain on the economy.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Very moving works. Women in art, marketing, pornography...consideration of culture, beauty, consumerism, body image and health, race. Holes hammered into the walls. Power and powerlessness.
This exhibit made me want to make art.
Quite the monumental installation. Didn't quite understand all the references to Mary in many of the parts of the work on the walls. I mean, I understand the references, just how it fits in with the Palm Sunday thing. Will watch the press and maybe try to get to a lecture.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Rob Teehan, Michael's tuba teacher, has been nominated for a 2010 Juno award for Classical Composition of the Year. Dreams of Flying was composed for the NYOC while he was composer-in-residence last summer. We heard it when the Orchestra played at Roy Thompson Hall last summer and I've got it on my iPod. You can listen to it here at CBC Radio 2 Concerts on Demand. (Look for the misnomer "Bob Teehan"...they better get that fixed up pronto!). The orchestra was also nominated (or the first time) for Classical Album of the Year: Large Ensemble.
I was listening to the NYOC recording of [Dreams of Flying] on the subway yesterday, and realized that it would be the perfect score for a movie about immigrants to Canada crossing the country by train to their new home. It capture both the rhythm of the train and the hopes (and dreams) of a new country/new opportunities. It was so evocative that I started to feel like **I** was part of a film shoot, sitting there on the Spadina line with my ipod, LOL!
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
2. Learn to say no to requests.
I don't think I have a lot of requests that I deal with on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis. But I'll keep this in mind.
3. Start to eliminate things you don’t care about.
I have some volunteer work that falls into this category.
4. Give yourself huge blocks of time to work on one project.
5. Turn off distractions.
Uh, yeah. This is a huge thing for me. Internet, blogs, twitter, etc etc. I need to corral that time into some manageable chunks.
6. Don’t comment on things that you don’t want to be involved in.
Not sure that this is an issue for me, although something along these lines came up today and it got dumped in my lap.
7. Make time for important things.
If I plan it right, I can get my must-dos into a manageable time commitment and then can chunk off big swaths for my important things.
8. Tell people about your priorities.
Not an issue here. Very supportive family and friends.
9. Learn as much as you can.
Again, I'm already doing a lot of reading and not enough doing! I know where and what I want to learn. With some time-chunking, I am coming to the realisation that I can accomplish a lot.
The journaling prompt had me write and reflect on a highlight of my day. Without going into detail, I learned that what is important to me, and what I have been missing over the past few years since I left the paid workforce, is a sense of focus, with a deadline (self-imposed is fine), and the resulting sense of accomplishment.
You see how this all fits together? By chunking my time, and focusing on the important, I hope to be able to set myself some real goals for each of my important areas. And actually make progress on my family tree. Make myself a computer bag. Sew curtains for our bedroom. Read my Western Civ book. Things that I haven't "had time for" because I was trying to get them done in an hour here or there.
Fr. Dwight Longenecker's The Gargoyle Code is a twenty-first century homage to C.S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters. A set of missives from a Master Demon to his trainee (with adjustments at the end for some plot twists), this slim volume is a sharp look at sin in this decade. The master (Slubgrip) writes to his devil-disciple Dogwart with advice in handling “patients”, the earthly beings they are charged with tempting. The former’s patient is an elderly male conservative Catholic who has cancer, the latter’s a lazy,TV-watching Catholic High School graduate who is getting involved with a young woman. In the course of the book, we learn about both parties, their successes and failures, as well as Slubgrip’s views on various types of sin, the ways to induce them in patients, and the human acts that stymie them.
Longenecker is very insightful in his take on spiritual warfare, in how easily we can slip into various types of sin, and the acts of our faith that can serve as a sort of immunization against temptation. From staying up late on Saturday night and missing mass the next day, to the self-righteousness that is sometimes associated with traditional Catholics, Longenecker doesn’t leave many stones unturned. Most everyone will see themselves portrayed somewhere in this book, and in his opening “Letter to the Reader”, he asks us to read this story as if we were looking in a mirror.
The set of letters are written over the period of Lent, with a letter or other communication for each day in that period, which makes it ideal reading for this time of year. But it’s a worthwhile read at any time, and is quite convicting. He makes a strong case for self-reflection, for holding on to some traditional faith practices that keep us close to God, and asks us to consider where our weaknesses are, that is, where we may be prone to temptation and sin.
At the same time, and entertaining and thought-provoking read. Highly recommended!
They didn't lie to you in elementary school, being different is awesome.
In high school and my early twenties I was teased for wearing video game related t-shirts. Now the the same girls who teased me often complain to me over facebook about being suck in generic relationships and "wish they had found something to love the way I love gaming". Also, I recently made a bet that my $15 TMNT purse would get more compliments at a bar than a $900 coach purse. I won.
Wheaton adds one piece of advice of his own, which you can peruse over at his blog. It involves "not being a dick", and is good advice to most people under 20, and lots over 20.
Having a few close friends is better than a huge group of associates.
I somehow became the cool nerd girl when I moved to my current city. I went to a different party every night of the week. It's so pathetic to admit this, but in a month I went from having around 33 pics of me on facebook to over 300. I felt cool. Then I had an issue I needed to talk to someone about. All of my cool friends were as helpful as paper weights in a hurricane. I went back to my small group of "unpopular" friends. They helped me through my issue and loved me just the same.
There’s a famous Zen story that goes:
A monk told Joshu, “I have just entered the monastery. Please teach me.”
Joshu asked, “Have you eaten your rice porridge?
The monk replied, “I have eaten.”
Joshu said, “Then you had better wash your bowl.”
At that moment the monk was enlightened.
I’m not going to try to explain that story, as I am far from enlightened enough to understand it. Instead, I’d like to focus the wonderful simplicity of that advice:
Have you eaten your rice porridge? Then you had better wash your bowl.
This is something I think of every time I eat, and in fact whenever I’m done doing something. “Done eating? Then wash your bowl.”
There is something profound and yet minimalist about this advice. It’s: don’t get your head caught up in all this thinking about the meaning of life … instead, just do. Just wash your bowl. And in the washing, you’ll find all you need.
I’ve found this to be true. I literally wash my bowl after eating, slowly and with mindfulness. It’s satisfying, and takes no money and little resources.
When I take a shower, I hand wash my dirty clothes (if they’re dirty), wring them out, hang them to dry. When I change, I carefully put away the clothes I’ve change out of. When I prepare food, I wipe the counter and put away the ingredients. At least I try to – I don’t claim to be perfect.
Remembering to do these things when we’re done with the activity isn’t just about neatness. It’s about mindfulness, about completing what we started, about being present in all we do instead of rushing to the next activity.
Wash your bowl, with care and joy.
This is what appeals to me about minimalism: the ability to focus, to be in the present, to not be thinking of the next thing (or the last thing).
I have a lot of housework to do this afternoon and am going to try to do it with this sense of presence. And get done what gets done.