We’re Different

My son called me from Israel yesterday. He was pretty excited. He was on his way home from volunteering and he decided to walk along the ocean instead of taking another bus. He was wearing his Toronto Blue Jays World Series sweatshirt, obviously a vintage store find, when a couple passing by remarked on the sweatshirt. The man told him that he has the exact same sweatshirt but he got his when he was at the actual game.

My son said how nice it was to bump into some Canadians. There aren’t any Canadians in his programme. Everyone is either from South America or the United States of America. He’s missing the Canadian vibe.

You see there really is a difference. We are kind of, but not American, kind of, but not British and a teeny weeny bit but definitely not French. We are Canadian, whatever that means. I’m not talking about the way we pronounce the word ‘about’ or that we use that ‘u’ in words such as colour and flavour. I don’t mean the use of the expression “eh”.  Yes, we will take our shoes off when we come into your house to sit on your chesterfield and eat a chocolate bar. We will also rhyme the last letter of the alphabet with bed, not with tree. It’s more than that.

We love our country, but we won’t wave our flag. Flag waving is kinda rude in our collective national opinion. The only reason our travellers have flags sewn onto their backpacks is so they will not be mistaken for our southern neighbours and will be treated better for it. Sorry, but it’s the sad truth.

Ultimately though, we know that we are different.  Americans certainly don’t see the difference and we probably don’t matter enough to the rest of the world for them to be aware of who we are. But, we know it. It’s as though we are the quiet, cute, geeky girl in the teen movie who will get the makeover and then be noticed by the handsome hero who falls in love with her because he suddenly realizes that she’s beautiful and that which makes her different makes her special. Except that we never do get that makeover so we remain unnoticed.

Canadians never feel so Canadian as when we are travelling out of country or discussing gun control and health care with Americans.

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I Loved Pi

I’ve never done a movie review before.

To be honest I just don’t go out to movies that often. Last weekend I saw Life of Pi with one of my sons. We were going out to see a movie as a family, it had been decided that we would see the new James Bond flick. I don’t love James Bond but I do love Daniel Craig. One of my twins decided that he really wanted to see Life of Pi. I really did not want to see it as in general I hate seeing books that I loved made into movies. The movie never seems to live up to the book. Will anyone ever be able to get Jane Eyre right? Anyway, more than not wanting to see the movie I didn’t want my one son sitting in one theatre alone while the rest of us were in another theatre. So I decided to go with him.

I could not have been more surprised. I think that this is one of the few movies that may be even better than the book. It was long enough that I didn’t feel like anything was left out or lost and the cinematography was absolutely stunning. When I heard that it was in 3-D I really thought that it was going to be Disneyesque. Nope. It was a feast for the eyes.

I don’t want to give anything away. Just go see it and let me know if you loved, liked or hated it. By the way, my 15 year old very not artsy but high-tech kid also loved the film.

Gloria Says…

WordPress likes to give us little inspirational quotes to help us in our writing. Thank you WordPress people.

Often I see the quotes and just sort of shrug, sometimes I see the quote and think that yes this is something that I could respond to. However, more often than not (let’s just say everytime until now) I don’t get around to it and then the quote is gone both from WordPress and from my memory.

Until today.

I do not like to write, I like to have written. -Gloria Steinem

Good quote. I get it, but it’s not me.

I like writing. I like listening to the clack of the keys on the keyboard. I like trying to organize my thoughts. I like looking for better words if I feel I’m being redundant or unclear. I like everything about actually writing the post. What I do not like is coming up with the idea of what I’m going to write about.

I am amazed by people who have just every day regular lives and have been managing to write interesting blogs for years.

So please tell me how you do it. What inspires you, gets you riled up or intrigued.  But please, don’t tell me that it’s just a matter of discipline.

Big Ugly Mess

Believe it or not, I try not to be political on my blog. I try to be diplomatic. O.K. so I’m not always successful.

Right now we are faced with a big ugly mess in our schools. It’s contract time for our teachers. Our provincial government has refused to negotiate.Add to that the fact that the parliament has been prorogued. The union is not happy with the new contracts. Strikes are looming and all extra curricular activities have been suspended.

I know that these issues are never black and white. I have issues with the government as well as with the union. But, first and foremost I am angry that it is the students who are being used as pawns. As far as I’m concerned this does nothing to engender any feelings of empathy on my part for the teachers. This is like watching divorcing parents put their spite for one another in front of the well being of their children.

That’s all I’m saying.

Latke Guilt

It’s officially Latke Day at my house.

One day a year during Chanukah I treat my family to latkes. I could complain about the work involved but really with the use of a cuisinart it’s not sooo much work. The standing and frying is not much more tedious than making regular pancakes.

But, can we talk about the oil? We all  know that one Chanukah miracle was that the oil  burned for eight days so in celebration we eat sufganiyot and latkes however, each latke makes me feel as though I’ve eaten eight days worth of oil. I mean really I should be grateful that it’s not a holiday about the celery that did not wilt for eight days. But latkes just seem so indulgent.

I know, I know it’s just one day a year. We just have a lot of holidays that seem to celebrate with great food.

I can hear you out there saying, “Be good the days in between the holidays and just enjoy the celebrations.” You’re right, ideally that is what I should do. It’s just so much harder to do it that way. Guilt is so much easier and doesn’t it burn extra calories?

Whatever you eat this holiday I wish you and your families a joyous, healthy and   peaceful Chanukah.

He Can Still Surprise Me

I think that I’ve already talked about the influence of The Flintstones in my life. It’s not that I aspire to be like Wilma or Fred for that matter it’s just that they were an integral part of my childhood so that images and phrases from the show seem to be at the forefront of my brain ready to spring forth at a moment’s notice.

I was unable to sleep the other night – no big surprise – so I began to compose a post on my iPad. My iPad was acting up, it shut down the screen and then wouldn’t allow me to type, so I decided to go downstairs and use our desktop.

At 2:15 I heard my name being whisper yelled by my husband along with “Where are you?” I told him that I was in the study and that yes I was on the computer and then I said  “Why, do you want to use the computer?” Really? Like anyone other than me would need to be on the computer in the middle of the night? Ah yes, the clarity of 2a.m. thought. He responded with “No, I want to snuggle.” An offer too good to be refused I quickly closed up and got into bed. I then explained the iPad situation and said that I was completely wired and unable to sleep. My husband offered to sing me a lullaby, chuckling I told him to bring it on.

He began,  ” This little lamb is the littlest lamb…”

“Oh my God! Do you know who sang that song?”

“Yeah, it was Anne Margaret, I mean Margrock.”

“I can’t believe you remember that!!” At this point I was laughing hysterically a mixture of shock, amusement and punch drunk tired.

A Flintstones conversation ensued and then I contentedly fell asleep.

Very often our interests are divergent and we may not always get what the other  person is talking about (take for example our very one sided conversation the other day on the collapse of supersymmetry theory and the disappointing results of the Large Hadron Collider – all words that I never thought would find their way into my blog). However, I love that we can still relate to one another in the most surprising of ways.

Actually, I’m now kind of embarassed that it takes the Flintstones for us to connect and I’m left floundering when it comes to particle physics.

Whatever. I’m also a Popeye fan so I will quote, “I yam what I yam.”

Temptation

I have very curly hair. Now that it’s longer it hangs in ringlets. Every now and then someone will ask me if they can touch it. By touching it what they really want to know is whether or not they can pull one of the ringlets to watch it spring back. I’m accustomed to my hair so this is no big thrill for me.

Only once have I ever wanted to pull a ringlet.

My roommate and I were riding the bus in Jerusalem, chatting and laughing when something caught my attention out the corner of my eye. It was the most beautiful ringlet I had ever seen. It was brown with a hint of gold, lustrous and so thick that it appeared as though it were a solid tube. It moved along with the bus, bouncing and beckoning with every jolt.

The person was a complete stranger, it would have been improper and inappropriate to touch. It reminded me of when my father would make Friday night kiddush and my sisters and I could not make eye contact or we would laugh for no other reason than the fact that we shouldn’t. Our faces would burn and contort with the witheld laughter until it would escape through someone’s nose and then all was lost. Sometimes my father would be annoyed but the very best times he laughed with us. My fingers began to tingle. Just one little tug. No one would laugh but I needed to see that glorious ringlet snap back into place.

I looked at my girlfriend and smiled as I slowly raised my hand. My aitzer harah had come out to play. My girlfriend gasped as she realized what I was about to do. That gasp snapped me back into place. What was I thinking? How could I possibly be so disrespectful?

I didn’t do it and I have NEVER wanted to pull on someone’s peyos ever again but if I close my eyes and think about it I can see temptation in the form of that ringlet dangling in front of me as though it had just happened only yesterday.