Sunday, April 26, 2015


I spoke to my mom earlier this week.  She said, in a 'nudge, nudge, wink, wink' kind of voice: "So, are you doing anything special this Saturday?"

I had no idea what she was talking about.

"No," I said.  "Should I be?"  "Come on, Spark," said my mom.  "Think about it."  And, oh yes, right you are mum, April 25th is our wedding anniversary!  Ken and I would both have completely forgotten about it.  Six years, and I don't know where they've flown.

Thanks to the reminder, Ken and I decided to go out and have fun.  We hadn't been to a mall to throw money around in a while.  We checked out the designer outlet centre, starting with the food court.  (Priorities.  Poutine.  You know what I'm saying.)

We figured that we'd splash out on one or two fun, unnecessary fashion items, as we have done many a time before.  However, we did not have much luck at the discount mall.   All the styles were either boring or just freaking crazy.  Like acid-wash jogging jeans.  They're more '80s than the '80s, and that's saying something.  No thank you.

I found a couple of items I liked, but the store didn't have them in my size.  So they called the Yorkdale mall location.  Yorkdale had my size.  It wasn't far.  So off we went to Yorkdale.

Now, Yorkdale isn't a place that I do much shopping anymore.  The ratio of high-end stores to... moderate-end?  No.  I guess: middle-of-the-price-range stores, is not conducive to my usual budget.  They have a lot of real estate devoted to the likes of Versace, Burberry, Tiffany & Co., etc.; places I normally ignore, because $$$$$$$$$.  However, Ken said that he was feeling rich, and when he's feeling rich, watch out.  The sky's the limit.

I found a perfect little silver ring in Tiffany.

It's like leaves!  Just the thing for spring!  I was happy.  What a lovely anniversary gift.  I was ready to call it a day.

But Ken didn't feel finished.  He wanted to poke around in the stores some more.  So, just for fun, we started going into all the high-end places that usually aren't even on my radar.

Versace has some fierce shoes, if you can afford $2,400 for footwear that you probably couldn't walk in.  If you desire a handbag that looks like a watering can, or a grumpy frog,  Kate Spade has got that covered.  Cartier has some awesome panther themed jewellery.  I like all the rings, with those glinting emerald eyes.  If I was going to choose one, I think it would be this one

Because: meow!  Hey, it's only 20 grand.  Ha ha ha, like we could ever afford jewellery from Cartier. Yeah, right.  *eyeroll*

But Ken was feeling rich.

Now, I didn't walk away with this panther ring.  Let's not get completely crazy!  But when Ken decides to make a statement, he makes a statement.

Check this out.  It was wrapped for us while we sat in a fancy waiting area, sipping complementary beverages.  Ken went with sparkling water, but I wanted to find out what type of coffee Cartier provides.  I don't think I'll be able to sleep until next Thursday.

Closed with real sealing wax, using the company's historic seal.

It comes with a certificate, like a little passport.

Alright, the wrapping is off.  There's the box.  

What's inside?

Another box?!  You're kidding me.  I can't stand the suspense.  

That's more like it.  Looks like a pendant on a gold chain.

It is a pendant, mother of pearl with a diamond in the centre.  How elegant!  It looks very sweet, glowing and glinting in the light.

I assure you that we do not do this type of thing for every anniversary.  Given that I was brought up to believe that thrift and saving is a virtue, and spending shows weakness of character, it's a bit overwhelming to be so indulged in luxury.  However, Ken would be quick to remind me that jewellery is also an investment, so it's not like we're spending our wealth never to see it again.  We're just changing dollars into a much more compact (and gorgeous) format.

I'm going to have to thank my mom, right?  If she hadn't reminded me of the date, we would have just had a regular old Saturday.  (Which isn't such a bad thing.  As long as I'm with my sweetie, I'm a happy lady.  Gold and jewels are just an extra bonus.)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Let's Sing the Alef Bet

First, a fridge update.  New new fridge has arrived and settled in.  We have ice cubes.  We have fresh milk.  It's all good.  :-)

And now, today's topic.

This photo is from circa 1922.  The cross-looking little girl standing between her father's knees is my maternal grandmother, my Bubbe.  The grown-ups are my great-grandparents, the other girls, my great-aunties.  My great-uncle wasn't even born yet. 

(This photo goes a long way towards explaining my Bubbe's preference for extremely short bangs on her daughters and grand-daughters. She was happy to provide these to my cousins and I by trimming our hair when she was babysitting us.  Apparently it's a family tradition.   I now have several generations' worth of photographic evidence.)

My Bubbe is the sole survivor of the group in the photo.  Her last sister, Auntie Betty (on the far left of the photo) passed away two weeks ago at the venerable age of 99.  Although I'm not close with that branch of the family, I attended evening prayers at the shiva (Jewish week of mourning rituals at a family home) last Sunday, to be there for my Bubbe.  To say that there was a good turnout would be a serious understatement.  The little house was packed to the rafters.

As prayer got underway, I felt, as usual, a bit at sea.  My parents never sent me to Hebrew school.  In fact, I may be the only person in my generation who never had a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.  I know that my mother regrets not having sent me to be linguistically and culturally educated.  It never bothered me much, until this shiva.  That's when it occurred to me that when my parents die, as they most likely will before me, I will be sitting shiva for them with this same family, and even as a principal mourner I would not be able to follow along with the prayers and participate.

I don't mind being unobservant of the sabbath, or skipping Hanukkah, or even having to read from the English translation section of the Passover Haggadah, but feeling like the odd man out at my own parents' funerals does not feel like the right way to go.  It will make everything worse at one of the hardest times in my life.  So, I have decided to teach myself Hebrew.

I'm starting with the alphabet, or alef bet, as it is called in Hebrew.  Some of you may recall that a few years ago I made an attempt to learn Russian, because my workplace moved into an area with a lot of Russian immigrants.  That was tough.  The Cyrillic alphabet has 33 letters.  Yikes.  The Hebrew alphabet is a much more reasonable 22.  That's, like, 30% easier!

I'm making pretty good progress on learning my letters, thanks to watching a lot of videos like this one.  Once I've got the alphabet backwards and forwards, I'll take a crack at words.   I don't even  know Yes and No yet.  That's the next lesson.  If I get bogged down, I suppose I could take a class, but I'm going to get as far as I can solo.  That should be pretty far, with the help of professor Google.  Thanks to the internet, I can broaden my horizons while nurturing my introvert inclinations!  Isn't that why we all love the internet so much?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Fridge Report, No. 2 of ?

New Fridge is here!

Isn't it beautiful?  It may look average to you, but to me it was a sight for sore eyes.

The delivery guys looked just like the pirates from Captain Phillips,

minus the guns and excessive sweatiness. Actually, they were both super-nice and helpful.  This is probably a better representative photo:

I watched them roll the new fridge off the truck, as gently and carefully as though it were a newborn baby.  They pulled off a layer of plastic wrap to reveal it for the first time... and my brand-new fridge had a big dent in its side.  :-(

"Ah, you can see that," said the lead delivery guy.  "Someone must have squeezed it with a forklift at the factory."

In fact, it was so squeezed that the damage went all the way through to the inside.

What?  It looks fine to me.

Oh.  Now I see it: a crack by the light.

Man!  That's disappointing.  

The guy who did all the talking told me that he would call Sears customer service and arrange for an exchange.  I get to keep this fridge for one week, until the new new fridge rolls in on Friday.  The customer service department called me within an hour to confirm the next delivery time.  So, while it's not an ideal situation, I have to give full marks to Sears Canada for timely damage control.

My fridge isn't usually this empty.  I had been letting our supplies run down so as not to tax the cooling powers of the old fridge.  I was looking forward to doing a big, unrestrained shopping trip.  Now I'm still holding back, because I whatever I put into this fridge is going to have to be unpacked next Friday, put into shopping bags out of the way, and then re-loaded into the new fridge.  Darn it, I need cloud storage for my milk and eggs!

Also, let's hope that it's not raining next Friday, so that I don't have to face another round of muddy footprints and handprints.  (The delivery guys had one of those dollies that's a flat, carpeted platform pulled by straps that look like seat belts.  Of course the straps fell into mud puddles outside; then they picked them up from the puddles and got their hands muddy; then they handled the fridge.)  After the guys left I had to swab the decks and give Temporary New Fridge a bath.  #FirstWorldProblems

Please wish me better luck with New New Fridge.  It had better not be a

Monday, April 6, 2015

R.I.P. Fridge

It was a marathon long weekend of friends and family (mostly family) and this Spark is feeling crusty.  I am way too much of an introvert to enjoy as much social exposure as I got.  Whose idea was it to schedule Passover and Easter on the same weekend this year?  It's a terrible idea

I didn't host any of the events, however I did have responsibilities at my mother's seder, not least of which was dish-washing.  My mother does not have a mechanical dishwasher, and never has.  Let me tell you, the amount of cutlery, plates, bowls, cups, wine glasses, etc. 13 people can go through in an evening is impressive, especially when you factor in half-a-dozen ceremonial foods and a soup course.  I waved a white tea towel and let my grandmother's paid carer take over when it came to the pots and pans, and tea/dessert. (She was cooking and serving while I was washing the rest of the time).  Thank goodness for her help.

I came away from the weekend with a sense of accomplishment (mission accomplished!) and a sense of needing an additional weekend to recover from my weekend.  The good news is that despite indulging in Easter chocolates and my sister-in-law's Pavlova,

(photo stolen from here)

I didn't gain any weight this weekend.  Hallelujah, it's an Old Testament miracle!

In other news, my fridge is almost dead.  A couple of weeks ago I noticed that yogurt cups were not feeling as cold in my hand as they should.  Turns out the refrigerator side of our French-door-style frigo wasn't working anymore.  The freezer side is fine, although it's running double-time to try to make up for the... fridge... side of the fridge.  

I figured out that I can freeze containers of water in the freezer, then move them over to the fridge side to cool it old-fashioned-ice-box-style.  It's a decent stop-gap solution.  

I would love to be able to take advantage of the Big Fridge (i.e. outside), but I don't have any raccoon-proof bins to store food in on my  patio.  I bet the local raccoons would love to get their dexterous little paws on my yogurt cups.  Especially the cappuccino flavor.