Friday, December 21, 2007

Technorati Claim

Thought I'd done this ages ago, but here it is, so I can ping them when I update and find something on Google more up-to-date than my Thousand Paper Cranes post!

Technorati Profile

Monday, September 24, 2007

More family stuff

This is Mum's gorgeous sister Hanna and her husband Mendel in 1936. It's truly sad to think I never knew most of my family because of the Holocaust. After it was over, on Mum's side ofthe family, there were only her and her sister Esther and a cousin or two whom I never met as they were in America. When people who will never suffer such loss question the Holocaust, my blood boils.

Anyway, here's Hanna - see what I mean about the film star looks?

Monday, September 17, 2007

On scanning family photos

Dad gave me a pile of photos to scan a few days ago. Some I have seen before, others not. The pictures are of him, his friends and Mum's family. It's strange to see family members in the 1930s and 1940s, before I was born, some relatives I never met, such as my mother's beautiful older sister Hanna, with her husband Mendel, taken in 1936. She looked like a film star, the kind you could almost imagine being carried up the Empire State building by a giant ape ... or in Roman costume, falling in love with Fredric March. Dad was quite a hunk in his youth too, smouldering out at you from some of them, standing in his Israeli army uniform or outside the hostel where he worked...

I'm going to use this post as an experiment, to see if I can put one of the pics up on-line. Here's one of my gorgeous family members for the enjoyment of all.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Afternoon Tea at the Windsor

Let's face it: I'd always wanted to find an excuse to have afternoon tea at the Windsor Hotel, one of Melbourne's historic hotels. Afternoon tea there is an institution. I'd never got around to it. So when, a few days ago,my Brisbane friend Natalie Prior e-mailed me that she was going to be in town to see her new publishers at Penguin, it seemed a great excuse. She was staying at the hotel anyway; she'd liked it when she was here as a guest at the Melbourne Writers' Festival and decided she'd indulge, despite the hotel's expensive room rates.

On the Sunday, I rang the hotel to inquire about times and prices and discussed it with an amiable young staff member with a pleasant Irish brogue. I booked us in for 3.30 and off I went, Monday afternoon - the first day of my term holidays.

Natalie and I sat in her room and chatted for about half an hour, interrupted only by a phone call from my sister, Mary, who wanted to know something about a payment for her latest article; it was more than she'd expected and she was wondering if there was a mistake somewhere. Natalie told her to take the sizable amount offered and run. Then we strolled downstairs to the hotel restaurant, where we were settled into a nice corner table. The waitress brought us coffee and a huge pile of sandwiches each, along with a cake stand of tiny, dainty cakes. It didn't look much, but by the time we were through with our afternoon tea, there were still half the cakes left.All those sandwiches, maybe? The coffee was a bottomless cup, as much as you wanted. The waitress also brought us each a glass of iced water.

Outside, it was cold and wet; inside, Natalie and I sat and yarned on about family, friends, work, movies, books and publishers - I last saw her a year ago, but it was as if we'd never parted.

Afterwards, when I was standing in a queue to pay for the tea - a set price per person - I was surprised to see several people who were paying extra because they'd ordered wine. I mean, honestly, why would anyone want to buy more stuff when there was plenty to eat and drink within the set meal?

Anyway, now I know how it works, I'm certainly going to do it again, whenever my next interstate or overseas friend is in town.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Mark's Wedding

Last weekend, I went to my nephew Mark's wedding. Mark and Bianca had been going together for several years. You wouldn't have imagined them together. He's six foot four in height, she's more like about four foot ten(This is not necessarily a problem. I'm five foot two and used to date a guy around Mark's height. You do have to lean a long way back to kiss, unless you're sitting down). He's gentle. She's a black belt in her martial art of choice. That said, she works for a vet and adores working with the animals. But their personalities meshed. And she had some great ideas for the wedding, such as getting a friend to make up about fifty squares of patchwork and sending them to family and friends to decorate. These squares were then made up into the chupah, the wedding canopy. And wasn't the finished product gorgeous! Mine was a unicorn (because that's my personaily) surrounded by Australian native flowers and Mark and Bianca's names and Hebrew wedding date. Embroidered, of course - that's what I'm good at. My parents contributed one of Dad's cartoons of themselves, Mum's contribution a heart with their names in it, between Mum and Dad's upraised hands. I traced the picture on and embroidered it in black thread. Mark said it was his favourite. The chupah will be an heirloom they will cherish.

Friends of Bianca's family lent their home for the event. I still have no idea how they got 270 people into a large, but not huge suburban back yard, and it wasn't even very crowded, not uncomfortably crowded, anyway. The food was home made, not catered, and it was terrific. Vegetarian, as Mark is a veggo, and it meant I could eat anything on the table. I usually go for vegetarian on plane flights in preference to kosher, which is rarely as nice.

My brother Maurice's mother-in-law, Carole, for whom a kosher meal was prepared, was very helpful in the lead-up to the wedding. She and I went halves on a pair of Shabbat candlesticks. I also went halves on a dinner set with my friend Bart.

The ceremony was beautiful. One of Mark's friends from his rock group sang the bride and groom under the canopy, and the rabbi was a "cool" one from my sister-in-law's workplace (Joanne works at Mount Scopus College). And Mark and Bianca were beaming, absolutely delighted with each other and with finally Doing It. The little girls - my grandnieces, Dezzy and Rachel, and my niece Amelia, made lovely flowergirls in their pretty floral gowns. I'm assuming someone explained to Amelia that it was okay to scatter flower petals on the ground. At her Uncle Robbie's wedding, she was scrabbling around, tidying them away during the ceremony! Mark said to me, dazed but thrilled, "Hey, I'm married!"

The speeches, later in the evening, included three songs - one from Bianca's Dad, one from my brother Maurice and one from Mark himself who decided it was easier to sing than to make a speech. Bianca, though, had no problem. "He's my best friend and my lover and now my husband!" Yesss!

Today, on my way to the beach, I passed another Jewish wedding in the park and stopped to watch and call out my congratulations. I was utterly moved, as last week (when I stood under the canopy with other family members, a broad grin on my face).