Friday, May 30, 2014

E = L

One error equates to a loss.

9th inning.  We are standing, cheering, encouraging, hooting and hollering.  2 outs and 2 strikes.  Guy on second. We have the lead.  One more strike and the game is over. One strike away from the 10th consecutive win for the Bloomington Blue Jays.

Kansas City batter smacks the ball directly to our shortstop Jose Reyes, who shall remain unnamed. I don't like to name names, but Jose Reyes fields the ball well and then makes a bad throw to first which results in the speedster at second getting home, a tie game, extra innings, a loss.  Jose Reyes says he screwed up and today he's putting it in the past and moving on.  I only wish that were so easy for the rest of us Jose Reyes.

Today I will recite this Buddhist Prayer of Forgiveness for Jose Reyes and for all people who like me have trouble putting the past in the past.  I know I'm only hurting myself by hanging on to this pain.  I love Jose Reyes and the rest of my team.  I might go back tonight to see you again.  I'm not sure right now.

"If I have harmed anyone in any way
either knowingly or unknowingly
through my own confusions
I ask their forgiveness.
If anyone has harmed me in any way
either knowingly or unknowingly
through their own confusions
I forgive them.
And if there is a situation
I am not yet ready to forgive
I forgive myself for that.
For all the ways that I harm myself,
negate, doubt, belittle myself,
judge or be unkind to myself
through my own confusions
I forgive myself."

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thursday Creativity Share: Art + Words = Artwords

The Weisman Art Museum hosts an annual writing competition. Students from the Creative Writing Department write poems or prose using art from the museum's collection for inspiration. I wish everyone could win, but that's not how it works. The winning submissions are laminated and hanging next to the corresponding pieces.  It was fun to take the poems off their hooks and stand back to look at the art while reading the texts. Here are this year's winners.  I want to do something like this next year with the 5'ers.  The competition is called ArtWords. I thought it was pretty neat.

Let's call it a day for Thursday Creativity Share. Once again, well done.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

T < Epsilon

If we let T be Today, then we see that today was less than epsilon. I asked Husbandman how to communicate that today was a big fat ZERO and he said to say it was less than epsilon.  He explained why, but I can't remember the deets.

Basically, all we need to know is that I didn't care for today. I wish I could be more like Jiko, the Buddhist nun in the book I finished today, A Tale for the Time Being.  If I were more like Jiko, I wouldn't be kvetching about having a crappy day.  Crappy, Wonderful.  Jiko would say they're the same thing. A pretty good way to think about things when you get right down to it.   KC recommended this book and I give it 5 stars so read it if you feel like it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Blogging Equations: X - 1 = P

Sister rarely takes eyes off big brother.  I couldn't either.  He's so amazing.  If you ever meet him, ask him to do some folk dancing for you.  And ask him to tell you about his trophy.  And his trains. The kid's a keeper.

Jdoc looks at Eloise, who looks at Sam, who looks at me.  This is great photography.
Check out the awesomeness.
Let X be the # of days in the school year.

Subtract 1.

BAM! You're looking at Penultimate Day, my friends.

Back in Bloomington, everybody's celebrating it this very day. It's definitely one of the best holidays of the school year. Here in Tdot, which I've been told is a short cut way to say Toronto, we're simply frittering it away, but it's okay to procrastinate when you have a super bad sore throat.  My sore throat is so bad that as I walked this morning around Tdot's beautiful city streets, I had an overwhelming desire to ask everyone I passed, "Have you ever had a really, really bad sore throat?"

Just finished an excellent novel called We Are Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler.  I loved it.  I truly believe you should read it if you want to.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Equations #2 L > mg

Little baby horse in Turkey
Lift needs to be greater than the mass of the plane times the acceleration due to gravity.

This is an important equation today because we're about to get on a plane back to Toronto and it's all about the lift, when you're flying on a plane.

We had a fab time in Minneapolis.  I love that city.

No links today, why?  Because they're calling us to board our flight.  There's a band playing, celebrating our departure.  It's all a big hubbub right now.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Blog Challenge #1: V > I + T

As you may already know, there's a new blogging challenge afoot.  This one has to do with equations.  Jump aboard if you are so inclined.  You blog about equations that you make up yourself.  30 entries by the end of June.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Today's equation is V > I + T, or more commonly expressed, Voucher is greater than Inconvenience plus Time.

It was a darned tough decision, but this afternoon we decided that flight vouchers are greater than the inconvenience involved and the time lost due to giving up our seats on our flight back to Toronto.  So now we're hanging at an airport hotel, relaxing and planning out our next trip.  And wondering if we made the right choice. We may never know.

We had a fab dinner last night with Word Savvy and Pronto Pup.  That's where Husbandman helped us come up with this blog challenge topic*.  Word Savvy got us started.  Miscellaneous Missives is in.  Pronto might be too busy.  Anybody else???  Let's do this people.

* Updated correction:  It has come to our attention that this statement is not 100% accurate.  Please see comments.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Thursday Creativity Share

This sculpture is in the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).  It's called piETa.  Artists are Marman and Borins.   We were all wondering what was up with this sculpture and then when I read the name of it, it all clicked.  See how it's a modern rendering of Michelangelo's Pieta.  Neat, right?

I'm a day late with Creativity Share because I spent the day at Word Savvy's Cool School.  I saw kids being creative all day long:  building birdhouses, speaking Japanese, testing lego robots, playing violin, wood working, writing fiction stories and poetry, creating power point slide shows about South America, which they narrated in Spanish, making board games from recycled materials about world issues.  My fave was called World Domination and had 5 dictators for game pieces.  The kids at this school can select various "tutorials" if they want to.  One group watches and discusses Chinese movies each week. Others made a fantastic yearbook.  I saw 2nd graders folding 1,000 paper cranes.  After watching the way they followed a fold, press, pass, repeat pattern with their cranes, I said to a kid, "Wait.  Is this like an assembly line?"
He answered confidently, "No.  It IS an assembly line. Like Henry Ford."
So that's when darling 2nd grade kid walked me through the assembly line of 8 tables and helped me to make an awesome crane.

Too fun.  So that's Thursday Creativity Share on a Friday.  A piETa.  And a crazily creative school.  Hashtag Wow.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Chucklehead

This morning I met the guy who holds the title of friendliest waiter in the world.  Periodically during my breakfast, he stopped by for some brief chats. He suggested some menu items for me and asked me questions about my iPad and my career. He told me about his fifth grade teacher. At one point I made a slightly amusing remark as I'm wont to do and he laughed appreciatively.  "You really have made me chuckle," he said, reaching out and touching my shoulder. "Would you mind if I continue chuckling about your remark throughout the rest of my day?"

He actually asked me that.  I mean, why would I mind?  And what could I do about it in any case?  Overall though, I liked this guy and will probably go back tomorrow for the oatmeal.  He claims it's made from steel cut oats, is a great source of protein, and is filling as well as tasty.

The Soil

We are on American soil.  Not literally, but figuratively.  We are actually on carpeted hotel room floor, taking a short visit to our old stomping grounds, Minnesota.  Husbandman is working at his chosen profession, and I'm working on my project.  I'm not working on it literally, but kind of figuratively.  I'm sure I'll get into it soon.  I have the perfect work set up right now, so there's really no reason to not make progress today.

Big news:  Tomorrow I get to go to Word Savvy's school!  I'm really thrilled about this.

Yesterday we took a walk to see our old rental home. The neighborhood looked the same as it ever was.  We have fab memories of our sabbatical time in Minneapolis.  As #1 Son says, "Good year.  Good city."  High praise indeed.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Queen

Happy Victoria Day, Canada!

Victoria Day is a national holiday in memory of Queen Victoria.  I've been reading up on Queen Victoria and she had an interesting life.  Some fast facts:
  • She was born in 1819.
  • Her mom raised her using a system called The Kensington System, which was a big drag. Victoria's social life was rigidly controlled.  Victoria hated it.  
  • She became Queen when she was 18 and reigned for 63 years, longer than any other female monarch.
  • She was shot at a bunch of times during her life, which I'm sure got tedious.
  • Victoria loved her husband Prince Albert and they had 9 kids.  When he died, she went into seclusion, which annoyed people. After awhile, she came out of seclusion and people liked her again.
  • After her husband died, she had a manservant by the name of John Brown and some people thought they were having an affair.  They may have been, I'm not sure.
  • She died in 1901, after not feeling that great for awhile.
  • That's basically all I know at this point.

I hope everyone in Canada, our neighbor to the north, has a great Victoria Day.  Try to think about the queen a few times during the celebrating. When all is said and done, it's her birthday and she went through a lot.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Mink

We had quite the weekend with our good pals from Bloomington.  This morning we took a ferry over to Ward Island and walked about.  Get this.  A mink came out of the woods and ran along the boardwalk near us before hopping back into the brush.  A mink. If you see a mink, you're going to have a great day, from what I can tell.

The mink was a big highlight, and there were sundry others including Second City, the Henry Moore/Francis Bacon exhibit, the shoe museum, the art walk, the ferry ride, and the talking and the laughing and the walking and the storytelling.    We're on our way home soon.  I'm getting so amped.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Cherry Blossoms

I took a long walk to see some cherry blossoms yesterday.  We have some friends from Bloomington visiting in about 30 minutes.  Welcome, Bloomies!  Our aim is to soak up the Canadian cheer and tour the town.  First stop...Dumpling House????  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thursday Creativity Share

I'm all over the place this week.  I started carrying a sketchbook, so I'm obsessed with sites about sketchbooks right now.  This one's v. interesting, I think.  I want to buy some fine colored pencils for my sketchbookery.  That could be a goal today.  For all of us.

There are these amazing online magazines out there that are inspiring me maybe to start an online magazine with the 5'ers next year.  I love Oatmeal Magazine (20 something's pal is an editor) and this Carleton Graphic Press (You know Cynthia who reads and comments here regularly?  Her daughter is the editor and a contributing artist).  So in other words, you all have a connection to these publications.

Speaking of creative pals, Sam made this movie about Escuinapa, town of bikes and mangoes, and I want to make a movie like this. He shot it all on his iPhone.  It's fantastic.

I just yesterday learned about this one guy who makes incredible sculptures out of legos and this other guy who makes incredible sculptures out of moveable paper.   What in the world?

This is a hodgepodge, but an incredible hodgepodge none the less.  We've got some fascinating, famous sketchbooks, independent digital publishing, movie about a cool town in Mexico and some oddball sculptures.  Thursday Creativity Share.  It's a wrap.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Blue Jays

We've seen the Bloomington Blue Jays play 3 x this week, against the Phillies, Angels and Indians. We won tonight in a game that had a little bit of everything.  The crowd was thin, with less than 14,000 attending.  I'm here to tell you, we get bigger crowds than that back home for our middle school games. Shape up Toronto.  Your team is awesome and deserves your support.

I don't usually like to cast aspersions, but here's another thing with which I'm not overly impressed----our phone company.  If you come to live or stay in Canada, avoid a company called Telus. Avoid it like the plague.  It's a bad company.  Telus, I hate you and you know why.  

Ending with a positive, I'm having fun here in Toronto, walking the city streets, eating the dumplings and watching the baseball. Except for the low attendance at the baseball games and our crappy cell phone company, you really are tres bon.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Les Amis Canadiens

We spent some great moments with Les Amis Canadiens (LAC) this weekend, eating incredible food, sharing a plethora of fun stories, and enjoying various beverages, mostly wine.  We took a hike through a forest where we saw a yellow warbler and four garter snakes.  When we got back from the hike, I heard Amie Lia say "Coucou!" upon arriving home, which I later learned is a fun way to say hi. Or maybe peekaboo.  If you want to throw in some french tomorrow, you may want to use this fine term, Coucou!. I took 3 quarters of French in college, but they never taught me about Coucou, which seems weird since it's a pretty basic term.

As I worked to identify the yellow warbler this morning, I came across this site, which really caused me some problems today.  I became obsessed with checking this site every 10 minutes or so.  When I get back to teaching, I'm going to have to keep this site up all day long.  The 5'ers will enjoy it and we'll all be able to pretend that we're outside in nature.

There were many Baltimore Orioles flying through the site today.  They really are lovely and in the northeast, they are a sign of spring.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Celebration

This is a big day here on leeway, peeps.  Not only is it Mother's Day, it's my dad's 85th birthday! Happy Mother's Day Mom!  Happy Birthday Dad!  I'm remembering a lot of great times today.  Here are a few standouts, presented in a bulleted list:
  • Remember the times we used to camp in the Everglades in that huge tent that held a family of 9? 
  • And remember the times we hiked through cool National Parks in the east and in the west?  
  • And remember the pool parties we used to have where everyone would play raucous games of water polo and long tables would be set up end to end along the patio?  
  • And remember how everyone was always welcome at our house and we always had extra friends at every gathering?
  • And remember how we always used to buy doughnuts on Sunday after church?  And go bowling?
  • And remember the year when Danny and his friends all lived in our garage?  
  • And remember the tons of times you drove up to Bloomington and you helped do so many trillions of things for us?  
  • And remember the times you used to play scrabble and all of us kids would sit around and watch you? 
  • And remember the times we would travel in our green VW bus and all sing songs together?
  • And remember the times we would stop off at our nation's rest areas to take breaks from our long drives and that one time when you left me at a rest area and drove off without me but luckily found me later, walking along by myself crying in a strange city's streets?  Good times!
  • And remember all the Christmas mornings when we couldn't wait any longer and we got up so early and the living room was packed to the gills with gifts for 7 kids and we all opened presents together and you both acted so surprised to see what Santa had brought us? 
These are just a few of the times I'm thinking about today, with so much love and thanks.  Can not wait to see you, most wonderful Parents.  As Dad says, "We're on short time now!"

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Blue Jays

The EdgeWalkers
We went to a Blue Jays game on Thursday.  The attendance in the stadium was not great, and that's why I propose that Toronto give up their major league team to Bloomington, Indiana, where I know for a fact we can and will fill the stadium at every game. Sorry, Toronto.  You snooze and then you lose your team who will now be the Bloomington Blue Jays forevermore.

Blue Jays had 5 home runs during their winning game.  I caught one of them with my bare hands and after the game I went down to the dugout and all the players signed the ball for me.  I told them about Bloomington and they're all eager to move there soon.
I bought these shoes on my last sabbatical.

We are going back to another game this afternoon. The Bloomington Blue Jays are playing the Angels and I hope we send them straight to hell, as we did with the Phillies.   I also hope to catch another home run ball, or perhaps 2. FYI on another great fact: We were featured on the Jumbotron on Thursday night. Maybe this time they'll capture some video of me catching the home run ball. I'm getting excited.  Go Jays!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Thursday Creativity Share: The Subtlety

Here's what you need to know.  Kara Walker has created this amazing sculpture in the Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn.  This sphinx is coated with sugar donated by Domino Sugar. I saw some art by Kara Walker at the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis a few years ago.  Her work gets me to wondering. The Walker Museum art made me a little uncomfortable, so I was glad to read that the work even makes the artist uncomfortable at times.  I'm in awe of this new installation and I wish I could go to Brooklyn and see it. Field trip to Brooklyn! Let's do this. We can all stay at my nephew's apartment.

Fascinating side note:  Did you know "subtleties" were small sculptures sometimes made out of sugar that people put on their feast tables during the Renaissance and Middle Ages? Let's bring that tradition back ASAP.   Subtlety Hand Turkeys?
The full title for this sculpture is A Subtlety or The Marvelous Sugar Baby, an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant.

Thursday Creativity Share:  An amazing installation in a soon to be destroyed sugar plant that will get you thinking about race, gender, food, our nation's history and our present day realities.  Once again, well done

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The EdgeWalk

I haven't yet gone up Toronto's stunning CN Tower, but soon I will.  Here's what I will not do.  I will not participate in the special attraction called The EdgeWalk, where you wear a harness and traipse along the edge of the tower, displaying bravado. First off, it costs 175$, which to my mind is a lot.  Getting married on the EdgeWalk costs 6,000$, but that's neither here nor there for obvious reasons.  Secondly, The Edgewalk doesn't allow you to bring your camera with you which to my mind would be the only reason to go on the Edgewalk.  In summary, I'd probably be too frightened to venture out on the Edgewalk when you get right down to it. I'm not afraid of heights, but why push my luck?

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

The Crank

I wandered into the Toronto Public Library this morning.  That place gets a solid 5 on the fist of 5.

I met Husbandman at our dumpling place for lunch.  A woman at a nearby table was flipping out because her order came, but her friend's order didn't.  This happened to us when we ate here a few days ago, but we didn't really care. We just accepted it, because we have our priorities in order.  Cranky Woman scolded the waitress loudly, "This just isn't right. This is not etiquette.  You just don't serve food this way."  I wanted to turn to her and ask, "Do you think you're in Chez Panisse right now? Look around!" The place really is kind of a dive, but the dumplings are so delicious.  CrankyWoman should  give it a rest.  So many people in this world go without dumplings. It's not even funny.  My dumplings were amazing, just like last time. I wonder how many dumpling lunches I'll eat before I don't want to eat dumplings for awhile.  I'll keep you posted.

Monday, May 05, 2014

The Businesses

OCAD University, Across the Street from our place
Right now I'm on a quest for the best dumplings in Toronto.  I've had the dumplings at Asian Legend and the dumplings at Mother's Dumplings.  Both were out of this world.  Now I must try Dumpling House. Hometown, can someone please start up a dumpling shop?  If you do I'll come there every day.
I had another idea for a business yesterday.  I see a need for a glasses cleaning service.  I could ride around on a segway with a sign on the segway that says, "I'll clean your glasses.  Price = $1.00. Raise your hand if you want me to do this."  When people raise their hands, I stop and clean their glasses.  Then I go on my merry way, riding around town on my segway. I'm wondering about the pricing.  $1.00 seems reasonable, but maybe I should charge more.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

The Familiarity

I've had some jet lag as you know, and also a bit of culture shock.  In Israel, there are no Starbucks, so I was happy to take my work to a Starbucks on Friday and set up shop.  There are 100's of Starbys here in Toronto.  I got the weirdest feeling when I was in Starbucks. Everything was exactly how it's supposed to be in a Starbucks. Nothing confusing or awkward.  I still love Starbucks in theory, but the familiarity of the place felt a bit SCI-FI.  Sorry Starbucks, but you're starting to creep me out a little.

We walked to the St. Lawrence Market yesterday.  Then we walked to the Historic Distillery District.  Toronto is a good city for walking.  We've decided to be walkers this month and not rent a car. We might rent a car one weekend to drive to Niagara Falls. We witnessed a minor car accident on our walk, so that might be an omen not to rent a car.

Our friends here B and N have invited us to their home for tea today.  They live near a small urban farm and B says there may be lambs frolicking about.  Yesterday I saw some baby pigs hanging dead in the market, so this will be a fascinating contrast. We may also go to a museum.  Today is a day to put jet lag behind me and get some photographs of some art and some living, ovine creatures. That is my mission, if I choose to accept it.

Friday, May 02, 2014

The Stitches

I got a little down today, not going to lie.  Did I tell you that the editor wrote me back and wants me to work on a table of contents for the proposal?  I can't remember if I wrote about this already.  Because I have jet lag.  I have had jet lag for 3 days straight now.  I feel hideous.  There really should be a jet lag hospital for people like me.  People who can't handle jet lag.  Just put me in there and don't expect me to do much.  Don't expect me to write a ridiculous table of contents. Because I can't do it and that's all there is to it. Please stop asking me to get this done because it's putting me in a bad mood.

To escape my aggravation with myself I decided to take a twenty minute walk this afternoon . Unfortunately, I was stopped by some people with cameras and microphones who asked me to watch a video and share my reactions.  I asked them why they would want me to do that.  They said the video is getting a lot of press right now and they want to know what the people on the street think of it. The video's by Stitches and it's called Brick In Your Face.  I agreed to watch it, against my better judgment.  (Jet lag). I started laughing at first because it's pretty funny to threaten to put bricks in people's faces, but after a bit the video took a nasty turn, so I told them I didn't want to watch any more because it was kind of violent. They said it was fine to stop watching it. I read a little bit about the video this afternoon.  Some people really love it.  You should watch it if you want to.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Thursday Creativity Share: The Sketchbooks

I sketched this battery. It looks kind of long.  Maybe it's a cigarette battery.
The time was yesterday.  The place was a coffeeshop called Red Eye Espresso. Here's what went down:  I determine that someone has left their sketchbook and art supplies behind willy-nilly. What with my infamous jet lag, I'm not sure I have the strength to solve the mystery of the missing artist. Because I'm a good citizen, I stop thinking of my own problems and start searching for clues, high and low.

I don't have to search long. The case is solved quickly when I read a sign on the wall about a Public Sketchbook Project.  The sign encourages us all to use the sketchbook with the slogan, "Don't just sit there. Draw something."

All over this city and other spots in other cities and maybe all over the world, (Heck, I don't know), there are sketchbooks hanging around and people are sketching in them. I'm getting excited about this, my friends.  I'm probably going to set up my home as a place for a public sketchbook project next year.  Husbandman and I welcome you over to doodle any time of day or night.

Thursday Creativity Share:  A cool public art project and a sketch of a battery that looks a little like a cigarette. The creativity continues, even in a foreign land.

The Astronauts

 From a Lynda Barry book, I've used the idea to have the Thirdlanders draw self portraits on occasion.  Draw yourself as Batman, a monst...