Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Someone Left His Good Manners at Home

This is just going to be a rant post.

I was at a very elegant fund-raiser dinner last night for our children's school, which celebrated its 25th anniversary. The dinner honoured the school's nine past presidents, as well as one of its benefactors who died too young, too soon.

Along with being a parent at the school, I volunteer for different programs at the school -- including being on one of the committees affiliated with this dinner. I am never a leader, but am happy to be a follower, thus I sit on committees, I don't head them.

I wouldn't be wrong to say the school population is somewhat elitist, in many ways. Just come to the parking lot and you'll see countless luxury vehicles. Check out the addresses of the students, and you'll see what I mean.

I have no interest ever in "keeping up with Cohens" but it is always clear to see how "money talks."

Last night I was standing alongside my husband as he talked to an acquaintance. A few minutes later, another school parent came hurrying over, hand outstretched to my husband's acquaintance and immediately started talking to the man.

This "young pisher" -- a good 10 years our junior -- not only interrupted my husband's conversation, he didn't even bat an eyelash to my husband, nor to me, and gave a return limp handshake to my dear husband, who stretched out is hand in a menschlich kind of way. I was shocked as I watched this other person, and I could see my husband was also taken aback by this young man's abrupt/rude behaviour.

It isn't as if we don't know him, or he doesn't know us. Our kids are in school together, often socialize together, we've sat at their Shabbos table in the past, we make it a point to be friendly whenever we see he or his wife, even if we don't move in the same circles.

I so would have liked to say something to this guy. And I can imagine him saying "I'm sorry...I didn't realize what I was doing." But I wouldn't give him the benefit of the doubt; I can imagine this scene replaying itself over and over, knowing who this person is and what his station is in life.

I recall relaying something similar in a post a few years ago; the setting primarily was the shul we attended at the time, as well as the kids' school. I think sometimes that rude stems from a feeling of entitlement.

So in the meantime, I have to air my grievances publicly on my blog, without naming this person, but truly wanting to do so.

Rudeness and bad manners simply rub me the wrong way. When a type of arrogance is enmeshed in that rudeness, I am more than peeved.

Aside from wanting to confront such people about their behaviour, more than anything, I hope they will be on the receiving end of such behaviour time and time again. Maybe they'll begin to recognize just how wrong it is....

One can only hope!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Scared Canine Gets Smart!

Our dog, Max, is rather smart...even if he cocks his head sideways sometimes as if he's clueless as to what you're saying.

Here's the perfect example from tonight:

I wanted to let him out the back door to do his thing in the yard, and he went out a couple of paws (translation: inches/yards), then headed back into the kitchen almost immediately.

At first I had no idea why he'd done that, but I heard the sound of fireworks, and that's when I saw Max run upstairs. I'd assumed he'd gone to hide out on one of the beds he enjoys sleeping on.

Nuh-uh! When I followed him upstairs, I found the dog under the computer table in the main upstairs hallway.

When had he gotten into social sciences textbooks? How had Max known that during air raids, bombs, earthquakes, and school lockdowns people are told to hide under tables and desks?

I guess to him the sound of exploding fireworks mimics that of exploding bombs, and he thinks "bomb=hiding under desk"!

Then again, maybe he figured that sooner or later I'd end up at that computer writing a blog post about how smart he is, and knew that my presence would be an added comfort.

Smart dog -- he was right!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Shoe-In

What do Dorothy and the Pope have in common?

[Cue (annoying, yet catchy) music from Jeopardy...]

She visits the Emerald City. He lives in the Vatican City.

Nope. Not the answer I was looking for.

The shoes. Those red (Prada, I'm told) shoes of his keep him grounded. Dorothy also wore red shoes.

Remember the refrain after she clicked her heels 3 times? "There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home."

Well, I've been informed of the answer to the question "Why does the Pope wear red shoes?"

In case he needs to get back to the Vatican real quick, he clicks his heels... and says..."There's no place like Rome...there's no place like..."
Now I don't truly mean to insult his eminent Holiness, and I understand that the wearing of those red shoes have a history and a meaning, but c'mon, those shoes are so "fly" that I'd expect to see them on this website. Talk about a pair of traffic stoppers!


Thanks to good genes, I have good skin. My whole life, my face was normal to dry, so for the past 25+ years, I've used daily moisturizer, namely Pond's. A simple cream for simple needs.

The past year or so I've begun to notice a bit of sagging in the lower mouth area and a few more laugh lines round my eyes. Okay, granted, I certainly don't get enough sleep nor do I drink enough water. Lack of those two makes for these facial skin changes, I'm sure, but now I have to work with what I've got.

It's time I need a little more than what Pond's Daily Moisturizing Cream has to offer, but I don't want to spend big bucks either on beauty products. And so I've been working with some sample-size products before I make any purchases.

But I just looked over the array of samples, and I don't like what I'm seeing -- the names of these products:

Dove Pro*Age (ready to give back to your skin what it needs right now): Neck & Chest Beauty Serum

Olay Definity: Re-energizing Serum
(Night) Restorative Sleep Cream

Lise Watier L'Experience: Morning Potion
Age Spot Control Serum
Nighttime Skin Rescue Creme

L'Oreal: Advance Revitalift Deep-Set Wrinkle Repair

Ewww, the word "serum" has such medical connotations; I don't like to think I need a serum to help prevent aging.

n. serum [ˈsiərəm]
a watery fluid which is given as an injection to fight, or give immunity from, a disease

There are other options, I know, but plastic surgery isn't one of them...I'm simply not that vain enough for any mini Botox or Restylane injections.

Here is probably the best solution to my problem. But until I get to the hardware store to buy a lifetime supply of light bulbs, I'll stick to my Pond's.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Red, White and Blue

So I'm driving north on Bathurst Street (the unofficial/official Jewish thoroughfare in Toronto) late yesterday afternoon, and the farther north I got, I began to hear honking and see people waving flags out of car windows and from sun roofs -- huge flags, medium-sized ones -- and cheering.

When I reached some major intersections, cars began honking at one another in greeting, and people are waving to each other... It was as if they had a secret language, one I was not privvy to.

People at bus stops are waving at each of the cars bearing flags, and vice versa. Fists shoot up in a victorious manner.

And all the while, I'm clueless. What country are these flags from? What is the emblem on that flag over there; which country is that from?
When I reached a certain intersection, where there' s a plaza and large parking lot, I see cars assembled on the parking lot, with flags flapping madly all around.

Was there some sort of international soccer game I hadn't heard about? No doubt there had been some sporting event...so when I reached home, I immediately went online to do my research.

Of course, Russia beat Canada in the World Hockey Championships in Bern, Switzerland.

That was the flag/emblem of Russia I was seeing; the northern neighborhood I was driving in is very Russian-oriented, and they were the people assembled and celebrating in the plaza parking lot and waving from the bus stops.
I can well imagine how many bottles of vodka people went through yesterday in celebration of this sports victory. Although immigrants to Canada, and many of them rather recently, these people still salute the Russian flag and their homegrown winning sports teams.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day to Me...

...thanks to these three wonderful children of mine. (pu, pu, pu)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Pet Airways Commercial

Coffee, Tea, Soft Drinks...or Kibble, Anyone?

This is the logo for Pet Airways...where your pet is a "pawsenger".
Max flew to Toronto from Quebec, when we first got him, but he was no doubt in cargo. Why not let our beloved pet fly first class via this airline?
[from their website]
How Pet Airways Flies Your Pet

The Pet Airways Promise
We promise to transport your pet with lots of love, care, safety, and comfort in the main cabin.
Pet Airways is the first airline exclusively dedicated to pets - no humans please - and we take the job of providing a comfortable experience for pets very seriously.
We'll do everything in our power to make sure your pets get the best care during their journey because we're committed to taking care of our pet "pawsengers" as if they were our own.

The Pet Airways Travel Experience

1. Drop your pet off at our Pet Lounge, located at the airport. You must check in your pet no later than 2 hours before take off. If you choose, you may check in your pet up to 72 hours before the flight. We’ll be happy to board your pet at our PAWS Lodge until the flight.

2. Potty Breaks are very important to your pet. With the human airlines, your pet could be made to hold themselves for a very very long time. Pet Airways monitors the last time your pet had a potty break, and makes sure that they get regular potty breaks along the way. This means that it may take us longer to get to where we are going, but the care of our pawsengers is our first priority.

3. Pets board the plane and our Pet Attendants make sure they’re all comfortable and that they, and their pet carrier, are secure.

4. A Pet Attendant monitors and checks the comfort of all pawsengers every 15 minutes during the flight. After landing, pets will be disembarked, given a potty break, and will be available for pickup at the Pet Lounge.

5. Pick up your pet up at the Pet Lounge at your destination, knowing he or she has traveled comfortably and safely in the main cabin of our plane. If you cannot pick up your pet that day, we will be happy to board your pet overnight at the PAWS Lodge.
Each time pets move anywhere, from the Pet Lounge to the pet limo or from the pet limo to the plane, we track and record their progress, which means you can monitor your pet’s journey every step of the way online at Pet Airways Pet Tracker. Our Pet Airways Promise is that your pet will never be left alone. A pet attendant will always be within a cat's meow.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Patrimony by Philip Roth

Last night I completed reading Philip Roth's memoir, Patrimony, a story about his relationship with his father as his father was diagnosed with a brain tumor and eventually succumbed to it.

It is such a moving story, and one in which I find several familiar scenes that I can relate to.

My mother-in-law died last June of a brain tumor, having been diagnosed not even a complete six months earlier. We watched as her body began to shut down.

My own father had a brain tumor diagnosed back in 1981. He was operated on, and it was discovered to be benign. But it was the scar tissue and fluids over the years that built up, pressed on nerves and caused him grand-mal seizures, and his eventual death.

Roth examines his own thoughts and feelings as a son who has to figuratively hold his father's hand through Herman Roth's diagnosis and physical setbacks. As his father continually reviews life in New Jersey as he once knew it, Roth listens and nods again and again, the nostalgia feeding him at times while at other times making him nauseated.

As his father's disease progresses, without the tumor being operated on, save for a biopsy, Philip watches and records his father's decline. It hurts for him to record it; it hurts for us to read about it.

And in those last hours: “Dying is work and he was a worker. Dying is horrible and my father was dying. I held his hand…I stroked his forehead; and I said to him all sorts of things…”

I could've written those words...first about my mother-in-law, and then about my father.

When my mother-in-law was dying last summer, her sons, daughters-in-law and young grandchildren did those things.

My brothers and I, our spouses and dear children did exactly those things, said all the endearing words and relayed our personal messages to my father in March, watched as my dear mother had to do the same. Although our words were met by silence and closed eyes that entire week, we continued to do so. My brothers and I were there with my father, seeing him through the last night, listening to the labored breathing, and near the end, as the pattern and sounds changed. There was almost a gentleness, a calmness, an acceptance of the inevitable end. With our hands on my father’s chest, his breathing slowed, slowed and the last breath was taken. And still we continued to stroke his hands, his forehead and whisper our messages…for the soul is said to still be there to listen and understand, even if the body has ceased. Our rabbi said that we should comfort the soul before its journey. It was the week of shiva that was to comfort us….

And as Roth said: "A mystery, scarcely short of divine, the brain…” So true. The brain, with all its achievements, yet with so many deficiencies, continued to astound me as I watched my mother-in-law and father's mental/physical abilities decline.

I highly recommend reading this memoir; it allows us insight to the mind and personal life of an award-winning, longtime author. We ride along with his pain, and we smile when he does, too.

His father, Herman, was a real character and a tough man in so many ways, providing much source material for his son to write about. May he rest in peace...

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Spring Awakening

I am a notorious pack rat, saving things because I'm afraid that if I throw them out, at some point in the future I'll be sorry I did.
If all these "things" would be gathered in one place, perhaps it wouldn't be so bad, but because they're all over the house -- in an armoir, on bookshelves, in closets, in the basement, etc -- and I'm not even sure where "all over" means, it makes it difficult to even track things down.
So, for that reason, I'm trying to be a bit aggressive today, with a recycling box and a garbage bag in hand, and getting rid of stuff that I probably will not look at again.
For example, I'm blessed with three children, and I'm blessed with being able to send them to Jewish day school. The Hebrew books they use differ from what I used in my day school -- we actually had hardcover and softcover textbooks; these kids have text/workbooks. So whereas we used to keep our textbooks from my school, there is really no reason to have to save these workbooks that my kids have been using. They've written all the answers in, so they don't help anyone anymore.
Sad, just how many years it took me to figure that one out. My oldest will be graduating junior high next month, G-d willing, and I have all his workbooks going back to grade 1. Now multiply that times three kids!
I volunteered for many years with Ontario Jewish Archives, where we'd archive documents in acid-free files and classify them, etc. If there were multiples of any one form in a file, we were told to keep at least two of each, and trash the rest. Now I have to apply that to my own personal archives I've been keeping at home. For example, if I've got published poetry in newspapers, I don't need two copies of the full newspaper, and three copies of the page the poem is on. One full copy and one page copy should suffice.
Getting my house in order is certainly an extension of getting my life in order. Isn't it great to be able to hit two birds with one stone? Hmmm, but does that mean I then have to get rid of my stone collection too...?