Wednesday, September 26, 2007

visit this blog

This blogger is documenting the protests in Burma. The larger his global audience, the less likely the government is to shut him down...

The photos are powerful, but his courage is even more impressive.

Friday, June 22, 2007

because the last post was a cop-out...

Well, I just made it through a stint of working practically full-time for 2 months. And survived. OK, it wasn't really full time, but it was a lot more than I've been up to since we got to Havana. Hopefully, more things will come up in the fall, cause it turns out: I like to work!

And tomorrow, we head off to Vancouver for a 3-week break for Steve and a 5-week break for Sam and I. And boy, do we need it. It's a good thing it is really sunny here, or it would be just downright depressing. I'm finding the level of hopelessness that lies beneath the surface here to be a bit much at the moment, so am really looking forward to a good, long break in a city with life and action and options. Not to mention good food and shopping.
We have long lists of foods to eat (sushi, fresh ramen, a really good burger, salmon, salad with more than one kind of lettuce in it, an apple, onigiri, bagels, steak you can actually chew with your teeth, extra old cheddar cheese...), things to do (go to a movie, see some Shakespeare, do some essential shopping, take a vacation [Steve and I are taking a parental 5-day break to Whistler], see family, go to a wedding...). I really and truly can't wait!

In amongst the anticipation of our trip, life in Cuba continues. Last weekend was a series of ups and downs:

The high point was definitely Sam's first piano recital - he was just excellent. I swear, the kid has talent. He really gets the music. He was completely nervous and couldn't play either of his pieces through all morning, and then he sat down at the piano at his recital and played like a pro. About halfway through the first piece, he just relaxed and went with it. So proud!

After the recital, we hustled home and had Sam's 11th birthday party - this year's cake looked like this:

On the down side, on the way to the recital, our car got swarmed by about 5 guys who managed to tear off our rear-windshield wiper - I think they may have been trying to "surf" behind the car in the 2-6 inches of water on the road due to the rain, but it was a freaky moment.

In other exciting and decidedly Cuban news, while we were on our fabulous (and now far too distant) break to Playa del Carmen, we had a new kitchen installed - 100% termite-free! For now! It's quite gorgeous, and came with a new oven that looked like this when we first turned it on:

Hmmmm... not so much.

Last night I had a dream that we got a new dishwasher that actually cleans the dishes...

wasting time before vacation

My New York age is 39

This New York age puts you into a middle category between young and old (but not "middle age" per se). Be proud. You've got a nice balance between going out hard-core and staying in. You care about culture but also like some quiet nights. Keep it up, but think about expanding your horizons in the other directions. Head to Studio B or Anthology Film Archives for the first time, or finally check out the Village Vanguard or Elaine's for a dose of old-school NYC.

Does your age reflect how you're living? Let us know.

What's your New York age? Take the Time Out New York quiz and find out!

Saturday, June 09, 2007


There are just to many small, slimy, many-legged things here for me to actually relax. Cause, really, underneath it all (and on top of it all, actually), I am an urban, Jewish-Canadian princess. And I truly believe that creepy-crawlies should not be in my house.

It's almost an escalation... First, the termite infestation in the living room walls. Big termites. With wings. And of course, there are the ants. Big ones, but mostly thousands and thousands of little, tiny sugar ants. Really, thousands of them - especially now that it is "ant season", which is apparently differentiated from the rest of the year when things go from, say, 200 ants per square meter to, say, 400 ants per square meter. It's more, but it's never none.

The lizards, I like. They eat ants and termites. I think. The frogs are generally ok, except the other night when we had an albino frog on the balcony railing. That was a little creepy.

The land crabs are a little over the top, since they are at least 8 inches claw-to-claw (I know, I just can't stick with one form of measurement), and blue. Tarantulas are ok, you just have to stay clear of the holes in the lawn. If they are out of their holes during the day, they are generally dead.

The thing that did it for me, that pretty much ended my feeling of comfort, that pushed me over the edge, was the SCORPION in the LIVING ROOM.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

sorry, sorry, sorry

I know, it 's been ages. I blame it on life. Life in Cuba, really. In between almost non-stop guests between New Year's and oh, next week, things have been busy. I've seen lots more of Havana, what with touring people around (or, being toured around, more likely) and the need to FIND things.

And I've been working on and off. Luckily, mostly off for the 4 months of visitors (nothing like living somewhere hot and generally accessable to generate interest). I had a job briefly in January, but it was so boring that I quit after 4 weeks. On the up side, I was working during the PTA elections, so managed to dodge that bullet - but still managed to get volunteered for the upcoming "international food fair" this weekend. Canadian food? Right... hmmmm....

Now, I am working again, for 8 weeks part time at the Canadian Embassy - don't ask what, at least not on the blog. I shudder to think... And I am working as an editor for the UNDP - starting last week while we were in Mexico for 5 days. I know lots more now about drought patterns and relief than I did a week ago...

I have to say, I was tootling along just fine here in Havana, scrounging yellow peppers here and frozen spinach there, with the odd exciting moment (feta cheese! a new skirt!), and feeling pretty good about things. And then I left the island. For Playa del Carmen. Oops.

Turns out that visiting Mexico (a mere 40-minute flight away) has had a much more serious impact on my impression of Cuba than say, visiting Ottawa in December. Go figure. Damn, that Mexico is a place that WORKS. With restaurants. And taxis. And stores. We went to a grocery store and it had actual groceries.