Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Indomitable Bubbe

My sister is awesome.  I met her for lunch at a restaurant yesterday.  When it was time to pay, this is what she took out of her pocket:

I asked her:  "Who's Andrew, and won't he be missing his wallet?"

Her reply was:  "Andrew is my wallet."  As in, her wallet has a name, and that name is Andrew.  When I burst out laughing, she told me that once she also had a toothbrush named George.  So yes, for the record, everyone in my family is weird.

For instance, take my 99-year-old grandmother, a.k.a. Bubbe.  Her mind is in great shape, but her body, not so much anymore.  She gets around with a cane and a walker, and she tires quickly.  She doesn't do more than one or two stairs at a time.  So when she decided that she wanted to travel out to West Lake to see my father and step-mom's new house, and was insistent that she would take the train by herself, we were all a bit dubious.

Eventually it was arranged that she would bum a ride out to the house with someone else who was making the journey, and on the way back she would take the train with my sister.  I let her know that if she called ahead, Via Rail would arrange to have whatever assistance she needed ready for her.  I had previously seen a wheelchair-bound passenger lifted off the train on a little scissor lift.  Sure enough, that was how they got her onto the train in Belleville.

My Bubbe was very pleased to have two hours to chat with my sister on the train.  When they arrived at Union station in Toronto, the last stop, the Via staff wanted to clear out all the passengers and luggage before they dealt with Bubbe.  Even my sister was asked to wait on the platform.  So Bubbe ended up waiting by herself in the train for quite some time while everyone else disembarked and the scissor lift was rolled into place.  

When the staff were finally ready to move their special passenger, they got back onto the train... and she wasn't there.  They walked all up and down the car looking for her.  She wasn't in any of the seats, or in the washroom, or (thank goodness) on the floor.  Finally they figured out that while they were taking their sweet time getting the lift set up, she ran out of patience and somehow got herself down the stairs out the back door, at the far end of the car.  She was waiting for my sister just down the platform.  

As my sister said, that is so Bubbe!

P.S. I said last time that I would tell you all about my birthday, so here goes:  It was great.  I got lots of love and cake; plenty of gifts and cards.  Thanks for all your good wishes!  :-)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Birthday Time

Hi kids!  I hope that you are all doing well and having a good weekend.  I'm having a great time with all my birthday celebrations.  For that reason, I am taking the week off from blogging.  I'll catch up with all y'all next week.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Mall Walk

When in doubt regarding what to do on the weekend, Ken and I go for a mall walk.  It's too hot in the summer?  Rainy in the spring or fall?  Snowy and freezing in the winter?  A walk in the mall is just what the doctor ordered.

Vaughan Mills mall, large and suburban, gives us plenty of room to stretch our legs and lots of good people-watching.  We usually park by the Bass Pro shop, and walk through the hunting and fishing sections on our way to the main mall.  The sign at the entrance is held up by a couple of bears.

One of them is proud and happy because he has a fish.

The other one looks grouchy.

I hate this stupid job.  My paws are tired, my back is killing me... this sign weighs a ton.  I complained to the bear union, but they're not doing a damn thing for me.  They probably spend all my hard-earned dues on honey for their meetings.

Mom was right.  I never should have moved to the big city to get a job.  I thought I could make a career for myself, but I couldn't overcome all the anti-bearism.  I should have stayed in the woods, scratching my belly and eating lumberjacks with maple syrup.  *sigh*

So, what's on trend for fall?  Black, grey, and other dark colours, for starters.  Like every fall.  Bah.  How boring is that?

Also, sack-like tops meant to be worn with leggings by tall, skinny girls.  I mean, some of the tops literally look like two rectangles of cloth sewn together, like a big pillowcase, with holes for a head and arms.  This is the type of fashion that makes it easy for me to keep my money in my wallet.

However, there was some interesting footwear on display.  In case you didn't know, Dr. Martens are back in style.

Now that's what I call colour!  The boots on the left are post-modernistically self-referential.

It's a boot with a print of a boot on it!  If you've ever wanted boots on your boots, your wish has been granted.

There were also ice-cream cone shoes.  On sale from the summer collection, of course.

We didn't end up buying anything except a snack.  But that's okay.  I can enjoy a good mall walk even if I don't make any purchases.  Window shopping is fine with me.

Monday, September 7, 2015

How I Spent My Long Weekend

A friend of mine whom I've known since first grade was in town this weekend (from the west coast, where she now lives in a beautiful, small town in the Rocky Mountains #MissHer #Jealous).  It was so good to see her for the first time since last summer.

It made sense to meet downtown, but neither of us could think of a decent restaurant, so she asked another friend for a recommendation.  Hence, our first experience at Lola's Kitchen.  It's located on Church St. in an old Victorian home.  

Would you believe that we are literally in the heart of Toronto, surrounded by towering high rises?  I mean, look at this view from the patio!

There were birds twittering away, and a tree behind the fence was loaded down with ripening apples.  It was surprisingly pastoral.

Besides being scenic, Lola's offers excellent eats, and can accommodate just about any dietary restriction you'd care to throw at them.  I had a vegetarian burger (made of mushrooms, black beans, and walnuts) topped with guac, pickled red onions, and shredded cheddar cheese on a soft bun, which was at least as tasty as any decent beef burger.  And the gluten-free, vegan coconut cream cupcake that I wolfed down for dessert was to die for.  I forgot to offer to share it with my girlfriend.  Oops.

The following day, I met my Mom at the Royal Ontario Museum, where she volunteers.  We took a brief walk through some of the galleries she's been studying, and she gave me my own personal tour.  For example, I had never visited the Judaica collection, despite this being something I should take a personal interest in.  

This silver spice box was used in a Havdalah ceremony, which marks the end of Shabbat.  It would hold cloves, cinnamon or some other sweetly fragrant spice, and would be handed around for everyone present to have a sniff.  A special prayer would be said upon smelling the spices.  My mother's mother's father had one made of olive wood.  My mother remembers this ceremony being performed every Saturday evening in her home (which was also her grandparents'  home) when she was a child.

We took a peek at the Islamic arts in another gallery.  There are some gorgeous Qurans on parchment from the 15th and 16th centuries, shining with intricate adornments in gold leaf.  I was wearing what I consider to be a cute sundress for this outing, on account of it being 30 degrees out.  It has short sleeves, is not low-cut in the front, and has a fingertip-length skirt, and I feel that it is quite proper... until I'm standing in front of a case full of Qurans, next to a couple of observant Muslim families.  Then I suddenly felt that I looked like a shameless hussy.  I have never before been so conscious of my hair being naked.

We exited through the gift shop, in proper tourist fashion.  I was pleased to see that you could buy a Frida Kahlo doll, featuring her charismatic eyebrow.  I can't say that I wasn't tempted.

We completed our visit with a stop for refreshments in a coffee shop which had an unusual display case for their to-go cookies.

If I offered them enough money, do you think they'd give me the keys and let me drive the whole thing home, just like that?  I'd roll down the driver's side window and stick out my head to see around the hood.  No problem.

It was too hot for tea or coffee, but just about right for a strawberry granita.

As you can see, my weekend has been quite proper and cultured so far.  I hope to remedy that tonight at a BBQ with a bunch of friends.  We'll see what kind of trouble we can cook up before the long weekend is over.