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Thursday, November 26, 2009 The Artful Dodger on Isabella Street

Sat under this sign gulping down water, an Oliver Twist salad and some fries before heading to see My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding at the Panasonic Theatre.

Emil noticed it once we got up and were ready to leave.   He's the only one of us who had beer with dinner!  He and Sheba are getting ready to celebrate their son's mundan tomorrow.  Clearly this sign does not apply to him.   :)

If you live in Toronto, check out My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding.  It's an autobiographical musical about a man whose mom leaves his Dad, falls in love with a witch and rediscovers her Jewish faith.  Everything ends wonderfully in an eclectic wedding!  There was something about the narration that reminded me of Fred Savage in The Wonder Years.  Where else will you hear lyrics that include words like Saskatchewan, port-o-potty, Svend Robinson and IUD?  It's cute, Canadian and quite funny!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


This photo was taken on Riaz's 2nd birthday.  Not sure where but I know it's somewhere in Toronto.

I look at it and it makes me laugh....from my belly...out loud!!!

Every expression is priceless. 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Old School - November 20, 2009

Book club has just wrapped up for November.  This month, we all read Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger.  The ladies have all left and I cannot help but give thanks.
Thank you to the five lovely ladies who I had the pleasure of spending this evening with...

Marta - This woman knows the best desserts in town.  Tonight she brought a Dulce De Leche cake from She Takes the Cake.  It was my first time trying this amazing sweet treat.  Heavenly, heavenly, heavenly.  Apparently she's got an amazing chocolate cake to unleash upon us when it's her turn to host in January.  Can't wait!

Sylvie - She's been making some pretty big decisions lately and I have to applaud the way she's been handling them with logic and patience.  Way to go girl!

Makeda - Next time I see her, I am going to count the minutes in between laughter. I am pretty sure not more than two or three minutes go by without her making you laugh out loud!

Sheba - There are no words.  How do you possibly give thanks for someone who gives you their shoulder, their heart and their unconditional love on a daily basis?

Krista and Naaz - You were missed.

Thank you for the women in my life.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why I Love November.

I know I am in the minority when I make the statement "I heart moustaches!"

Hold on now...let me clarify.  I do not dig a Fu Manchu or Handlebar or anything of that sort.  I definitely prefer a clean shaven man.  Something about our cheeks kissing sans razor burn gets me everytime.

Let me further clarify.  It's no secret that I am unhealthily attached to Victor Newman...and his moustache. Just look at it!  It yields power and ruthlessness and deviousness.  I love to hate it - and hate to love it.

As evidenced in the photo below, when his upper lip is bald it's just not the same...

I'm convinced that Eric Braeden's contract demands a stylist and special products for his facial hair.  I like to pretend that that has something to do with his hiatus from The Young and the Restless at the present time.


Back to the topic at hand...we are deep in the midst of Movember and everywhere I look I see men in moustaches awkwardly navigating through their days and I can't help but smile...sometimes I even giggle a bit.  It's not a typo folks, it's Movember indeed.  Simply put, socially conscious men around the world cultivate moustaches throughout the month of November in an effort to raise funds and awareness for men's health issues - usually with a focus on prostate cancer.  I just can't help but feel grateful for the good old moustache.  I think the men who participate are wonderful and I salute them!   A high five to you all!  This month, if you see a pair of lips with a little more of a brow than you are used to, I hope it's because of Movember.

PS.  There's a man who sometimes takes the Bay #6 bus at the same time as me.  He's clearly embraced Movember.   I didn't have the heart to tell him that a bit of boscotti had taken up residence in his 'stache this morning...  Maybe tomorrow I'll thank him for making me start my day with a smile and some thanks!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thank you.

Yesterday, I wrote about asking my friend Ahmed to take a picture of a giraffe while he was at the Metro Toronto Zoo. I was so happy to get a picture from him!  You can read about it and see the photo here.

Then to my complete surprise and delight, today my cousin Fatima sent me this picture from her trip to Mikumi.

My heart literally flutters when I see giraffes. 
Thanks Fatima and Ahmed for your gifts!

Supper Story - Swiss Chalet with Erin and Shafik

Had dinner last night with Shafik and Erin at the bizzaro Swiss Chalet at College and University.

When you first meet Erin, within minutes you are able to answer the question, "Please describe Erin in one word."   Your answer will be - "Brilliant!"

If you were sitting near us you may have overheard Erin passionately declare (with a bit of a glisten in her eyes) "I love McDonalds hashbrowns so much that if I died and you buried me in a gigantic hashbrown, I would wake up from the dead just to eat my way out of it."

So thankful today for good food and great friends!

PS.  Try the Chalet Chopped Salad at Swiss Chalet, it's delicious!

Monday, November 9, 2009 the Metro Toronto Zoo!

Today on Twitter, I found out that my friend Ahmed was taking some kids to the zoo today.

I asked him to take a picture of the giraffes for me and .....

Lately, I've been learning that to ask for anything in life - be it help, love, advice, support or a picture of a giraffe - is not a sign of weakness but a sure sign of strength and self worth. 

This picture made my entire Monday (and it's only 3:30pm!) You never know what happiness awaits you, if only you have the courage to ask!

Today I am grateful for you Ahmed!  THANKS!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dying 6-year-old girl leaves love notes behind

Aneez passed this article on to me today from the Toronto Star. 
Such a strong reminder that love is healing, love is powerful and love is everywhere.

Dying 6-year-old girl leaves love notes behind:
Elena Desserich left hundreds of pictures and messages that continue to comfort her family
By Andrea Gordon

Living Reporter Published On Thu Nov 5 2009

Six-year-old Elena Desserich is shown in February 2007 in an unfinished playhouse built by her father, Keith. Elena died of brain cancer later that year but left notes and pictures for her family all over their Cincinnati home, hiding them in bookshelves and drawers. “That’s my favourite picture of her,” her father told the Star.

PHOTO COURTESY OF DESSERICH FAMILY (as published in The Toronto Star)

From the moment she first picked up a crayon, Elena Desserich loved to draw. Even as a preschooler, her favourite gifts were pastels, markers and blank notebooks.

So it wasn't unusual for Keith and Brooke Desserich to find their little girl's trademark purple hearts and "I love you" notes on scraps of paper and stray envelopes all over their suburban Cincinnati home.

But it wasn't until weeks after their 6-year-old died of cancer that they realized she had left hundreds of messages planted in nooks and crannies for her parents and little sister, Grace, to stumble upon after she was gone.

Each one they find – tucked into bookshelves, dishes in the china cabinet, corners of dresser drawers, bags of stored clothing – is like she's sending "a little hug," say her mom and dad.

"She's giving us a little message saying that everything's going to be all right," Keith said in a phone interview Wednesday.

Elena was only 5 years old when doctors diagnosed pediatric brain cancer. They said she had 4 1/2 months to live. But she made it to almost nine months.

Her parents didn't tell her the prognosis; in retrospect they say she must have somehow known as her small body started to fail her.

Since her death more than two years ago, the discoveries of what she left behind have grown fewer and further between. There was nothing for six months. And then last week, there she was again, inside a Strawberry Shortcake notebook in the back of the cupboard tucked behind the game of Candyland.

"I love you Mom, Dad and Grace," she had written inside a heart with arrows.

Keith doesn't remember the first one she left because for awhile, he and Brooke thought her notes were part of the daily household clutter that had accumulated over the years.

"But after you get to 20 or 30 you realize this isn't just scraps," he says. "We don't even know when her notes started. We have three Rubbermaid boxes full." There could be 300, they haven't counted.

Elena left them for her grandmother too, and even a great-aunt's Chihuahua she adored, who stood guard at her bedside until the end.

While they offer a powerful source of comfort to those who adored her, Elena's family believes they contain a universal message too: cherish the small moments in life; be present for those you love.

The girl with a ladylike fondness for headbands, tights with polka dots and anything lacy or pink was also "a wise soul," says her dad.

"She found grace even in the smallest details."

Her parents hope to carry her message and her example in their newly-published book Notes Left Behind, a series of their journal entries during Elena's last months, written for her sister, along with samples of her messages and artwork.

Proceeds go to the research foundation the Desserichs created called The Cure Starts Now Foundation (

Keith doesn't know how many bits of paper are still waiting to be found. Each new one is wrenching, but at the same time he never wants them to end.

That's why one letter he found in an envelope inside his briefcase still remains sealed. So too does another that had been slipped into Brooke's backpack.

Keith doesn't believe he'll ever open it, even though to him, this letter is the most important one.

"There's something wonderful about knowing there's always one more message from Elena."