Tuesday, April 9, 2024

"May Be More Wondered At..."


Yesterday's total solar eclipse reminded me of Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1:

Yet herein will I imitate the sun

Who doth permit the base contagious clouds

To smother up his beauty from the world

That, when he please again to be himself,

Being wanted, he may be more wondered at

By breaking through the foul and ugly mists

Of vapours that did seem to strangle him.

Toronto got only 99.9% totality and the sun was mostly playing peek-a-boo with the clouds.

We studied the exact location of the sun at 2 pm, 3 pm, and 4:30 pm on Sunday which, ironically, was cloudless and bright to see whether we could just look out the window at the condo. Going out to the terrace would have been ideal, but it's now inaccessible because I can't schlep a walker over the steps and Michael's mobility isn't up to doing the steps without at least a railing. Because the sun was so high in the sky at those times, we needed an unobstructed view.

So we went to the nearby mall's parking lot, facing south and west. Lots of other people had the same idea. But, mostly, the "base contagious clouds" obstructed our view.

The sky looked as if there was a thunder storm on the way and the parking lot's automatic lights turned on because it was so dark. We were wearing jackets but noticed a chill in the air. For a few seconds the clouds parted and I glimpsed the sun through my eclipse glasses, but that was it.

Some places in downtown Toronto got to see the show. Here are some photos from CP24 (Canadian tv news channel):


Saturday, April 6, 2024

How to Multi-task Successfully

I thought I was no good at multi-tasking until last Thursday morning, when I had to 

keep one eye on my cellphone to read texts from the Instacart deliverer,

keep one eye on my landline to answer an important phone call, and

keep one eye on the kettle, waiting for it to boil so I could finish making breakfast.


Sunday, December 31, 2023


 A couple of weeks ago I slept with my watch on  accidentally broke my watch's metal band.

This should not have been a problem because I always slept with my watch on own three other beautiful watches:

1. My grandfather's pocket watch, a true art deco antique, which I wore on a gold chain for my wedding as my "something old." All I have to do is wind it and the thing keeps on ticking. Just like in the Timex commercials! However, you have to wind it at least 50 times. Who has the time for that?

2. My father's watch. It works fine when you wind it, but the clasp doesn't work and I was afraid I'd lose it.

3. Another watch which I thought worked but never wear. I found out why I don't wear it. It must have died in the drawer a while ago, neglected and lonely. I put it in the donation box in the recycling room.

So I took my watch to the jewellery store in the mall to send to the manufacturer to fix. This was right before Christmas. I had to wait 10 days to get it back.

Ten days of not being able to time how long something cooked. (Needless to say, I forgot to update the oven clock every time the power went off so it was hopelessly wrong.)

Ten days of not knowing how late I was for anything.

At first it was frustrating and I had to find various ways to work around it.

I put my (working) father's watch on the bathroom counter.

I turned on the tv even if I wasn't interested in the program, just to check the time in the upper right corner.

I asked M what time it was. Constantly.

However, there were advantages to being Timeless.

As long as I didn't have any appointments that day, I could just relax and go at a more leisurely pace.

Sure, I was still busy all day. (I'm the equivalent of a personal support worker to my husband.) There was laundry, dishes, and meals and medications to prepare.

But I forgave myself if I didn't do all the chores.

I kicked out the voice of the Mean Home Ec Teacher who lived in my head, criticizing me. She was (and probably still is) a perfectionist. Well, I didn't need to be.

I decided that there would be a new way to do things. I asked myself:

- Must I do this? (If not, forget it!)

- If so, must I do this NOW? (If not, I'll postpone and do something else. Something fun.)

- If I need to do this NOW, how can I break it into manageable little pieces?

It was a revelation. I'm much more relaxed now that MHET has been evicted. I even somehow found the time to write and submit a few short non-fiction pieces. 

I have my watch back now.

But I hope the new me I discovered when I was Timeless will remain.

Time is on my side.



Monday, December 25, 2023

Season's Greetings to

 everyone! Merry Christmas or whatever you celebrate, and Happy New Year!

All my blog readers. All five of you.

People who are just browsing and found my site by mistake. Welcome!

Friends and family checking out my blog.

Everyone, that is,


our doctor who chose to take the holiday week off, along with all the secretaries and nurses,

leaving M without two important prescriptions!


Bah, humbug!

Friday, September 29, 2023

My New Year's Surprise

Something remarkable happened to me the first night of Rosh Hashana.

I arrived home from visiting M in rehab about 6:30 and discovered that both of the two elevators of our condo were out of service. Because I use a walker and can't schlep it up six flights of stairs, I was stuck in the lobby. I kept asking the concierge when the repair person was coming and was told, "Soon." 

By 8:30 I was getting hungry. The concierge, who had stayed past her official quitting time, told me that someone was having a party in the party room. She asked them whether I could have something to eat because I was stuck downstairs and was hungry. They said okay and I crashed the party.

The party was a family of four, eating a catered meal. When they said, "Actually we're having our first night of Rosh Hashana meal," I smiled. 

"That's what I should be doing, too. My husband is finishing some physiotherapy in rehab* and I was visiting him."

They had plenty of food, a  mind-boggling variety. Vegetarian or meat. Gluten or gluten-free. With nuts or without nuts. All kosher--I'm not--and all absolutely delicious.

My neighbours, whom I was meeting for the first time, were charming as well as gracious. I left after half an hour, refused their offer of taking some leftovers, and thanked them.

I only wish that M could have been there, too, to share my special Rosh Hashana surprise.

* a long, evolving story, which I won't go into here


Thursday, June 29, 2023

The Last Word (a 50-word biography)

 The Last Word

Pregnant Paris doctor flees Nazis.

Landlady: Someday you speaking English. Then you being a lady.

Crossword puzzles become her English lessons.

Toronto medical school head: Stay home. Be a mother.

Accepted two years later.

"You actually passed. And your English is so good!"

"It should be. I memorized your textbook."

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Writing Mentors


Until recently, I always thought that a writing mentor was a result of lucky happenstance. Someone who gave useful advice or who helped you connect with the right person or market, sprinkling fairy dust on one's writing journey.

It didn't occur to me that you could seek out a mentor, as some people now do in Twitter pitch sessions. You just had to be lucky and hope someone would sprinkle fairy dust in your direction.

I've had four such incredible people in my life.

1. Rita Fromkess 

was the wife of a movie producer and an assistant producer. I met her in August 1970 in London's Dorchester Hotel when everyone was stuck in the lobby during a sudden downpour. We started talking and I told her that I was in university and wanted to be a drama critic. She gave me some tips on what to see in London and in Florence. She said that her husband was producing the movie, "The Last of Sheila." She said she wanted me to see it and write her to tell her what I thought of it. She gave me self-confidence in my ability to write. 

2. Barbara West

was an editor at Chatelaine magazine. My future mother-in-law was her doctor and insisted that I give her a call to get writing tips. Ms. West was kind enough to talk to me about Chatelaine and what kind of articles it used. I sent her a few queries but never hit the Chatelaine sweet spot. However, after rejecting my query about James Houston, she told me exactly which market would accept it: enRoute. She was right.

3. James Houston

was the author/artist/screenwriter/glass designer/discoverer of Inuit sculpture and printmaking who was the subject of my cover story for enRoute. He took a chance on a novice journalist and let me interview him on speculation. (I didn't have a market yet when he was in town for his Glass Art Gallery show opening.) I will always be grateful to him. And to Janak Khendry, the owner of the gallery who arranged the interview.

4. The woman at Italian Night

M and I went to an Italian Night sponsored by the church of our friends in the fall of 2008. (We just liked Italy and our friends suggested that we might have fun.) Although we were the only Jewish people there, everyone made us feel welcome. The Italian food was delicious, of course, and we enjoyed the entertainment. Sitting at our table was a couple whose son was an author of children's books. The woman told me the name of the publisher and I recognized it. I'm still kicking myself that I didn't bring my business cards with me for this purely social occasion. 

After we left early to feed and walk Echo, I researched her son. He had written some high quality non-fiction children's books. And he had an agent. A Canadian agent. It hadn't occurred to me that there were any Canadian agents who might handle children's authors. Soon after, I sent a query to a Canadian agent and was successful.

From my mentors, I learned that market and publishing information is always changing and it's important to keep up-to date. Talking to complete strangers, while scary, can be rewarding. Inspiration can come from the most unexpected sources. Act self-confident before you actually are.

Also, never go anywhere without your business cards (or your book's bookmarks)!