Tuesday, April 25, 2006


I know I am crazy. I have to put together an Excel Spreadsheet to figure out if I'm over-packing!

But I already know I'm overpacking. What Excel really lets me see is how much I'm over-packing by.

For example, Excel allows me to see that the peach top doesn't really go with anything else.
Of course not. But I have to take it - I bought it specifically for L.A. It's got an L.A. vibe, man. 'Cause it's like, peach! And fun! And flirty! It's got sequins! And beeeeads! Oooooooh...


I am determined to close the darn suitcase in one hour from now.

Wish me luck!
'Cause then I have to tackle the carry-on... heh...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Sunday, Sunscreen, Sundress, Skulls

From onebag.com:

"Remember, sunscreens work by penetrating the skin to create a barrier, while insect repellents work by evaporation, so apply the sunscreen first."

I never knew.

I was looking at the site 'cause my sister recommended packing light.
I considered it, but I don't intend to pack light for L.A. I know I am taking at least three pairs of shoes.

I'm going to be in one place the whole time and I have a great fear of being inappropriately dressed for any occasion. I've decided to indulge a bit. I have several summer dresses that I don't usually have enough summer for, so I'm taking them.


A few weeks ago, I decided to get literary on CSI, and bought a used copy of Dead Men Do Tell Tales about forensic anthropology. The author specializes in bones, so there's not a lot of gore. Well, squishy gore. There are lots of photos of skulls which are sufficiently creepy. I'm not fond of skulls as something to look at. Although, I did see a bag on Friday night that someone received as a birthday present - it was covered in line-drawn skulls and hearts and it was remarkably not creepy, much to my surprise.

On Wellesley, south of Church Street, a sign on the door of the convenience/dollar store:


...yeah. You tell me.

Well, the suitcase beckons. More later...

Friday, April 21, 2006

Hello Hello

Well. I've told a few more people about my blog.

So if you're reading it for the first time, welcome.

I might change template soon, 'cause every time I try to add links to my sidebar or put the links into categories, I throw the template out of wack.

More soon, but I gotta run just now.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


When I posted my last post, I hadn't watched the news and I hadn't read my sister's blog. I didn't know there was a suicide bombing earlier today (Monday) in Tel Aviv.

Sorry about my flip shallow post.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Shoe-rant, Kale-rave

Remember those boots I bought on Feb 22?
They broke. I've worn them approx. 5 times.
I returned them today. I can exchange them. Oh yes!
But only for what's in season now.
Sandals are in season now.
Sandals are not boots.

I can opt for a bag.
I cannot get a refund.
I cannot get a credit note.
I can only get angry
and then buy sandals or a purse.

Fine. I pick out a nice big bag - on sale - I can even buy sunglasses with the money left over.
I go to the cashier.

I say, "This is real leather, right?" Because it looks like real leather and it is priced like real leather.
"Oh, no," says the assistant manager, very pleasantly. "We don't carry any leather bags."
"Uh, you know what - why don't I come back tomorrow? I need to think about it."

I know someone had to design the bag.
Someone had to approve the design of the bag.
Someone had to make a prototype.
I understand that it took someone a lot of time and energy to sew the bag. I know it's not easy to sew neatly through leather, and prob. even more difficult to sew through fake leather. And there are grommets and buckles and trim, oh my!
But when did fake leather become the same price as real? I can't handle it.

I am a snob. I think perfume ought to be made in France. I think shoes ought to be made in Italy (good luck). And if a bag is going to sell for over $75, I want a cow to die for it. I am going to be a crotchety bitter old woman.

Here is a somewhat better price for the same pleather bag, although not photographed well and in gold instead of white. And here's the matching smaller bag photographed better.

And really, it's not impossible. Because here are leather bags the same size and the same price (CAD).


Ok, ok, I'll get over it. Did I mention how much I love kale? The vegetable. I can't believe I was introduced to it so late in life!
I am going to sautee some now with some chopped onion and almonds. There's an interesting note about kale and oxalates and gallbladder/kidney issues here, but I can't vouch for the accuracy of the information.

That's all from me for today. Exchanging boots is exhausting!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Los Angeles To Do List

1. Botox
2. Restylane
3. Facial + Manicure + Pedicure
4. Detoxifying Cleansing Wheatgrass-Spirulina Fast
5. 10 sessions with Personal Trainer
6. Laser Hair Removal
7. Tooth Whitening
8. Tanning Session
9. Straighten hair, dye it blonde
10. Practise holding latte while walking in wedge heels
11. Buy new outfits from BeBe, Guess and Marciano. Get inspired!
12. Talk about self

Alright, I never said I was a comedy writer.

Sure I'd love to be able to afford #3, 5, and 6, but I guess I'll paint my own toes. Ok, maybe #7 too, but my teeth are sensitive already.

Self-improvement (er, "improvement") - insidiously addictive!

Ah, L.A.! So many canyons, so many palm trees! So many aspiring writers directors actors whatevers, so much anxiety!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Sunshine + Sam Cooke + Gershwin = Great Day

Beautiful Saturday today. I walked and walked and walked all over downtown T.O.

Did not go to synagogue today. I rarely go. But usually, during the week, I hope to go. I always sleep in Saturday morning. That's 'cause I always get in late from dinner at my parents' on Friday. Excuses, excuses.

Anyhow, today was really lovely - probably hit 18 degrees. Got some cleaning done too. I did a bit of cleaning and a bit of laundry, but otherwise, I just walked.

Part of the problem I have when I'm in California is that I think the beautiful weather is going to end, so I still have a Toronto compulsion to be outside all the time in great weather. But it doesn't make sense in L.A. I'm going to have to get used to taking the good weather for granted when I'm there.

Listening to Sam Cooke

You know how you can listen to a CD a hundred times and then, suddenly, a song will stick out for some reason, and you'll hear it differently than you ever did before. That's what happened today with the song Summertime. I'd never noticed quite how Cooke sings it. He's brilliant.

I bought this CD since ahem someone's sister moved away and took her Sam Cooke CD with her. Also, 'cause I get a discount at Starbucks. You can also check out Cooke and his discography here.

10 days till L.A. and then two months of L.A. culture blogging. Oh boy!
But seriously, I will be blogging a lot more about writing once I'm there. That's what I'll be doing, mostly.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Books I've been meaning to blog about:

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I've been re-reading it lately. It's so comforting. And it's not just for girls. It's a very simply and well-told slice of pioneer home-steading life. Also, tends to drive home how lazy I can be in comparison to Laura's Ma, Caroline. I plan on reading the rest of the series soon. I don't know why I never did as a child. Forget the TV series from the '80s, the books are where it's at.

The Emperor of Scent by Chandler Burr. (Doesn't his name sound like an alias?)

I plan on reading it on the plane. I'm always fascinated by people who are "noses". I've always wondered if I could memorize hundreds of natural and synthetic scents and then put them together in meaningful combinations.

I never did read White Teeth. Maybe in a few months.

I heart Pesach

Tonight was the second seder of Pesach. In Israel there is no second seder, as the second night is only observed by Jews in the Diaspora. Tonight's seder was at my parents' house and it was lovely. Anyone who has been through any sort of large family dinner is aware of the potential for well, disagreements. However, everything went very smoothly and we went through the whole hagaddah. Sometimes certain relatives have been known to truncate the blessing after the meal. I prefer to do the whole thing.

Anyhow, my mom made a traditional Libyan-Jewish dish called mafrum. It is an extremely labour-intensive dish made with ground beef and potatoes. You really can't tell from the link, but it's divine! For Passover, though, the potato-meat "sandwiches" are dredged with potato starch (I think), not flour.

For Pesach, my dad usually makes a dish of lamb and leeks, and then there is also the lamb shank that is broiled at the end of the seder. It is pretty much the only time of the year I eat lamb so it is extra special. The shank is part of the seder plate to represent both the "outstretched arm" of G-d, and the sacrificial offering of the time of the Temple.

I tried to find a good representation of a seder plate online, but all the examples are so paltry looking. Our tradition is to fill a huge basket with enough of each symbolic food to feed everyone at the table. The examples one sees online usually display one of each food on a small seder plate. It just doesn't make the same impression.

I am (at 30) the youngest at the table. I am supposed to sing the Four Questions ("Why is This Night Different From Other Nights?") all by myself, but the family pities me and sings along. If you want to hear a somewhat sombre-sounding version it's here under "Ma Nishtana". Only, you have to imagine it sung sweetly (or precociously) by a little kid, with the rest of the family and guests singing the answers.

My cousins are in San Diego and my sister is in Jerusalem, so I am the young'un holding down the fort and listening to the well-worn jokes and brand new remedies.

Yes, I said remedies.

Because of the aging population of the seder table, the conversation often drifts to ailments. With ailment comparisons come many helpful suggestions. Not just doctor referrals and drug-interaction warnings. No, every year there is something strange and exciting and new that just might be the thing to help everyone feel better! One year, quite memorably, it was shark cartilage. This year, it is cactus juice. I don't know which cactus juice.

This year I've been invited to my first post-Passover party. The idea is that after abstaining from leavened foods and all things chametz, you get together, eat pizza and cookies and drink beer. I don't know if I really want to ruin all the healthy eating in one fell swoop, but it's a cute idea.

Now it's 4:00am, but I can't seem to wind down. (I've been home since 12:30am) So much to do before I go to L.A. It's so much easier to be overwhelmed than to tackle a bit at a time. Maybe I'll just stay awake and do all my chores starting at
7:00am, so as not to disturb any neighbours.

Happy Passover and happy Easter to all who celebrate.

This is a post about the time preceding Easter, but it's really interesting.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Staying up too late sometimes includes staring vapidly at infomercials.
I was watching one of the make-up infomercials tonight when I started wondering if anything they were saying on the "teevee" was true. A minor lapse due to sleep deprivation. No, I did not call the number on the screen. I went online and googled every "miracle" make-up line I've seen in the last 10 years.

I learned a little about each one. My credit card stayed ensconced in my wallet.

The best thing I found was a link to the site of a professional make-up artist. One section of his site is dedicated to his favourite products. I don't know if someone is "sponsoring" him, but he sounds honest and sincere. He lists some interesting products worth investigating in future (i.e. four dollar blush).

I noticed he had no MAC products listed. Perhaps after Estee Lauder bought the company, the focus shifted away from professional make-up artist use to a wider (non-professional) consumer base.

I would blame this all on the iminent trip to L.A., except I can't.
I just like make-up.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Impending Nausea

I know I have to stop watching CSI, but more importantly, I have to stop eating while watching CSI!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A Post to Link to a Post

I posted my "Science Fiction" post, but because I wrote the draft on Feb. 2nd, Blogger has published it in the archives by date. So you can read it by clicking here.

Off to do some Spring/Passover cleaning. More posting soon.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Food Processing Mania

I went down to my storage locker yesterday and discovered some treasure. This is great, 'cause - yay, treasure! This is also bad because it debunks the principle of getting rid of clutter. I.e. - the principle "get rid of it, you'll never miss it". Here's a run-down:

(a) old Doc Martins - I thought that I'd worn these into the ground and got rid of them. In fact, I bought my Blundstones to replace them. Of course, after working on my feet at S'bux, I found that Blundstones are no good for me. My feet are too flat and there are no laces with which I can tighten the support around my arch and ankles. So I've re-instated the Docs as my work shoe and my knees are quite happy.

(b) "Guess" brand wood-soled sandals - almost brand new. I had to exchange them late in the season and by then, summer was over. Now, years later, they're back in style.

(c) Parts of a Braun Multiquick Food Processor that I forgot I had. This is an awesome little machine that my parents must've bought when they arrived in Canada. The manual is from 1980 and was printed in West Germany. I'll have to scan in the photo of the happy late-'70s mom chopping leeks with her toddlers.

I'm thrilled. I'm in love with my food processor. It's small and heavy and works like a dream. It has three attachments - chopper, slicer/grater, and blender/puree-er. (Puree-er?)

When I moved out, my dad suggested I take it, despite the few broken/missing pieces. I thought only the food chopper worked and I don't really need to make breadcrumbs or pulverise things very often. I thought the blender didn't work at all, so I didn't even explore it. It sat in a cupboard, taking up space.

But down in storage I found a bag! With the slicer/grater part! And the blades! And everything! And it all works, and I had no idea, and here I've been grating everything by hand.

I sound like a food processing zealot. Because I am one. I'm like a creepy-happy person from an infomercial! Because having the choppy/slicey/gratey thing has already led to my eating of almost every vegetable in my fridge. I grated the carrots and made a carrot/sesame salad. I sliced the cucumbers and the celery and ate a cup of each. I have a huge bowl of salad just waiting for me for tomorrow. This is so much better than the usual of arriving home hungry and eating cereal for dinner.

My god, the opportunities. I don't know how I can sit here and blog when there's so much slicing and dicing and gratingand blending and pulverizing to be done! And the book, oh the book. It has "115 recipes from 34 countries (plus lots of handy time-saving tips)".

Do you want to chop raw fish for soufflees?
Do you want to make Dutch onion soup and French potato pancakes?
Do you want Scotch Eggs (Dutch style)?

It's all in the book. It is so sweet and earnest and straightforward. It doesn't use jargon. It offers imperial measurements for Canadians!

I love cooking, but I find that it is lonely to cook a good meal for just me, so I stick to pasta or tuna sandwiches, or the aforementioned cereal-for-dinner. But now, I'm re-inspired. (Insert slightly crazed googly eyes here.)


The thought of adding sesame oil to a carrot salad wouldn't have ocurred to me were it not for the folks at:
Martha Stewart's Everyday Food. The sesame carrot salad will probably be online next month, it's in the current issue. Lot's of good recipes on the site.

My little food processing miracle has led me to wonder whether I can ever find a cord to match the old chrome vacuum coffee maker my aunt gave me.

I love old appliances, but it's best if they still work rather than take up space.


When I retire, I think I'd like to do something like these two are doing. It's Lar & Ted's Excellent Adventure. I discovered them randomly on the "recently updated" blogger roll.


Well, it's midnight and I'm hungry again. Maybe I'll run to the 24-hour grocery and get some potatoes. Heh heh...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Flaming donuts, Batman!

I wrote this yesterday, but I'm posting it today.


As for news from Toronto, let's start with the fire at Tim Hortons. A man walks into a donut shop, apparently with a gasoline can, goes into the bathroom, and intentionally or not, sets himself on fire. This was on Sunday, April 2nd.

Luckily, no one besides the guy who, well, set himself on fire, was hurt. The police aren't saying anything yet. But the Timmie's (as it is fondly called around here) was evacuated. So was the Metro Reference Library on the same block - which happens to be quite a large 6-storey library. And 12 police cars were on the scene, with reporters and bomb-detonating robots, and all this just 5 minutes from my apartment. And I slept through it all.

There was a funny quote in one of the news stories online. Replying to the fact that the emergency was enough to "shut down (part of) Yonge Street", someone replied, "it's worse than that, they shut down Tim Hortons". Maybe you have to be Canadian to get it. Tims is a Canadian institution (despite the fact that it may or may not actually be owned by an American company at this point). The fact is, a "double-double" - coffee with two cream and two sugar - is standard enough around here to make it into the Canadian Oxford dictionary.

I'd link to the quote, but as my eagle-eyed b/f noticed, the newspaper service (canada.com) has removed the quote from the original story. Online revisionism. There was also something in the original story about a visitor from Halifax who returned to the scene wearing a t-shirt that said, "Gimme my Timmies, and no one gets hurt".

So, how does this affect me? After months of having customers and skeezy sketchy non-customers ask for/demand the bathroom key at Starbucks, the manager finally decides to do away with the key system. The employees are all quite happy 'cause now we don't have to keep passing icky bathroom keys to people while we're trying to serve coffee.

Of course, now our customers are saying, "guess you're gonna need to put the bathrooms under keys, huh?"

Uh, no. However, I have personally re-instituted our "customers only" policy when I see sketchy skeezy crazy people head for the bathroom. After what I had to clean this morning, it is my only option - since I am NOT paid NURSES' WAGES.

I also got a lecture from a man who was angry that it took our police an alleged 6 hours to detonate a shopping bag they investigated further north at the Yonge & Lawrence Tim Hortons. (It was a cheap alarm clock w/ price tag on, inside a plastic bag). The employees phoned it in, 'cause they were understandably nervous. I shrugged and smiled and handed the man his coffee. Then he told me how the Israeli police would've been done with it in an hour. He used to live in Israel, he said. That didn't impress me, 'cause so does half my family.

"Well," I said ruefully, "I guess they've had a lot more practise".

"Oh, so I should be happy that our police haven't had more practise."

Uh, well, yes. In a way. Also, I don't know what was actually happening, and I don't know how to detonate a suspected bomb. Also, shut up!

To be honest, I don't think Toronto is ready to respond to a terrorist attack. The last line in the Toronto Star article is a quote of a passerby saying something like "of course it's not terrorism, this is Canada!". A Barbie-worthy comment. We're incredibly naive about our vulnerability here. But seeing as they were on the scene and I wasn't, I'm not about to judge the cops on this one. Yet.

It was a weird day today. I blame it all on Daylight Savings Time.


Reading You're Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation by Deborah Tannen. It dissects the ways in which moms and daughters frequently misunderstand each other.

Tannen mainly explores the concept of "metamessages" (similar to subtext). For example, when a mother says, "you're wearing that?", Tannen reveals what the mother means, why she says it, what the daughter hears, and why the daughter reacts the way she does - and all of the same in reverse.

There's not a lot of practical advice in terms of what to do once you've identified the "metamessages" in a mother-daughter conversation. Perhaps identifying them allows each person to create their own strategies for altering the cyclical nature of the exchanges. It's an interesting read, if only for all the anecdotes.

However, put it alongside The Meaning of Wife by Anne Kingston, and it's a powerful argument for staying single and childless as the route to happiness (for women)!


However, if you are gonna have a baby, then this is really cool:

Children can apparently learn sign language before they can manage spoken language, and thus Wee Hands was born. It's an organization that teaches parents to sign with their babies. They teach American Sign Language, so the signs are all established, nothing made up. I think this could be an incredibly valuable tool if it allows you to figure out what your kid wants before s/he can manage to tell you verbally.


I haven't been writing, but I've been thinking about my novel a lot. I'll be going to LA to visit the BF for two months. The main goals while there are:

(a) to finish my novel
(b) to try and like LA
(c) to not drive him crazy
(d) to not drive myself crazy
(e) to not drive the housemate crazy!

I think it's manageable possible.

Lastly, shameless plug on behalf of a friend:
Watch Sons and Daughters on ABC! It's a partially-improvised sitcom. It's absurd and sad and funny all at the same time.

Try it, you'll like it. Or not, but try it anyways.