I have a few good excuses:
1: Settling back into my apartment.
2: Being a tourist in my own city.
3: Catching up with folk I haven't seen in a year.
I had only meant to take a week off from working, two tops, and here it's been three and I haven't looked at any of my translations, nor have I written much creatively aside from editing and revisiting a few poems written in Israel. Today I get back into it all as well as updating y'all on the last three weeks. Heads up: four new photo albums have been added.
The non-stop flight from Tel Aviv to Toronto on the 5th was pretty uneventful except for the sweet 24-year-old dude from Montreal who insisted on switching seats to sit with me, kept me company on the flight, and refused to believe I was over 27. Sigh. Beware my big ego.
Julie was sprung from Ashbridges Bay for a few hours to come with Brandon to the airport to pick me up, with Timmy's doubledouble in hand. Welcome home, indeed! Mom popped by first, then the girls, then Dad, Laura, Seb, Em and I went to 7Numbers for dinner. I had sexy duck leg, of course, and experienced yet another inclusio to this year abroad: the night I flew out, all of us minus Seb (who was then in Barcelona) went to 7Numbers for my send-off.
My Mom threw me a fantastic "Welcome Home/40th Birthday Party" with her side of the family and some of my friends. The kids were a riot. Bridgette, my niece, and I have this thing where we go up to the cake (there's always a cake at our family gatherings) and take a fingerful of icing off the back. I've instructed her to lie if we get caught. So far, it works, even though she usually gives us away with stray icing on her face and I'm pretty sure our faux-innocence and giggling doesn't help our case. I went up to Mom's the night before and she must have really missed me because that night she gave me a particular pair of her boots that I've been coveting for 25 years. The party itself was great, complete with awesome gifts including Time and Life magazines which were published on the day I was born, a fancy lamp, and a drawing and a poem from Bridgette.
After Mom's party, we went to Dad's where they were throwing a "This is not a retirement party" party. Laura retired this year but is not a fan of a hullaballoo being raised about her. It was so much fun, too, and I had the honour (?) of naming a new shooter: it's made with espresso, vanilla vodka and something else...regular vodka? Anyway, Laura was handing them out saying, "Here! It's espresso!" while her pal Caroline was saying, "You have to name it!" I said, "Espresso, my ass," and a named shooter was born.
Adrienne and Johannes came to visit a couple of weeks ago. We didn't do anything majorly touristy since they were only here for two nights and we're leisurely morning types, but we did walk along Bloor in the Annex and we also went to Chinatown and Kensington. It was great, because it's been so long since I've been to these places that they felt rather new to me, too. So, um, when did Dooney's go? Does anyone else remember their big fight to stay in the 'hood when, I think, one of the big coffee chains was trying to take them over? I was pretty shocked that something new was in its place. The new place is nice but it's weird, to me, not to have Dooney's there. Do you ever get a sense of the guilts when something like this disappears in your city? Do you think: if only I'd gone there more often, maybe I could have saved them with my more-than-occasional coffee purchase? I do.
The girls and I went down to Harbourfront to their Mexican-fest - yum! - then Wednesday Daniele and I trekked back down for the free outdoor screening of "Desperately Seeking Susan," which I'd never seen. Fun! Afterwards, we were up at The Press Club on Dundas to listen to jazz and hang with my pal, Mikie, who owns the place.
Friday was Laura's birthday so she, Dad, Seb and I (minus a working Em) went to Frank at the Art Gallery of Ontario for lunch (on the phone, I thought Dad said "Rank" and I thought was a pretty lame name for a resto) then to wander in the new art gallery. It's great, and in my opinion is finally of a world-class calibre. I love being impressed with this gallery now that I've experienced others especially in London, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris and Jerusalem. Now, I can't wait to get me back to the ROM, especially now that the Dead Sea Scrolls are on exhibit.
Saturday saw me at a BBQ at Sonny and Jen's with folk I haven't seen in forever, and it was especially great to see Derek. Again, plenty of kids and plenty of fun. There's not much that's better in this world than hanging with folks whose company you truly enjoy, drinking a few Cinquantes, and eating BBQ...although, now that I think of it, I didn't have any hot dogs and that's just wrong. I will have to remedy that this coming weekend at Rahmer's belated birthday rooftop BBQ.
And now that you've had plenty of left to right, I'm heading off to translate a few verses of Judges 5. My shiny new BDB Biblical Hebrew-English lexicon arrived last Thursday and I'm dying to crack it open.