Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mazel Tov x 3 (= 54 ?)

After not having been to a Bar Mitzvah in decades, there were three all on the same day, June 14. Lorien's cousin Josh had his Bar Mitzvah in Toronto. Dan, the son of Rich's cousin Gidon, had a Bar Mitzvah in Israel. And in San Francisco, Kathleen, the wife of Rich's friend Scott, who recently converted to Judaism (she's the one who sang the first song at our wedding), had an Anshei Mitvah, which is basically the adult equivalent of a Bat Mizvah. And on top of all of that, it was also Judy's birthday.

We went up to Toronto for Josh's Bar Mitzvah. Lorien's brother David flew all the way in from Australia.

The Bar Mitzvah was in the back yard of Josh's house. I have to admit I was a bit skeptical at first, but it was actually quite nice. And with a real rabbi (or so we're told) and a real Torah and real service -- all legit. And it was a much nicer scenery than many of the synagogues that I've been to. Although it had one bit that was unique to being in a suburban backyard -- that was when the breeze started blowing and the smell of the neighbor's cooking bacon for breakfast wafted across the crowd. Oh yeah, the remants of the Midwest floods that had been pelting Toronto with rain for many days on end took a break for the Bar Mitzvah.

I can't say as much for the lack of rain the next evening, for the reception on a boat on Lake Ontario. Not being able to access the top deck of the boat, and piddling around close to shore, were some unfortunate consequences of that. But we did get some cool looking skies and lightning at least. And there was plenty of room below decks on the boat for the crowd.

Rich's aunt Batya flew in from Israel to visit her sister Sarah right around the same time. Not exactly at the same time, because of Dan's Bar Mitzvah of course, but she arrived a few of days later. So we decided to hang around long enough to be able to visit her. Here we are in Sarah's apartment, Batya, Lorien, George, Judy, and Sarah.

California is burning

As Lorien mentioned, there are a lot of fires in the state. I think about 800. Luckily none of them are too close by, but there's enough of them that it is affecting our air quality a bit. Although living right across from the Golden Gate probably makes it not as bad for us right here -- Lorien says it's worse over the hills where she works.

The sun has this other worldly glow, kind of like a sunset, except it doesn't need to be totally at the horizon to look like that. This picture is from early this evening, from our back porch.

Happy Solstice!

We returned from Toronto (blog post to come) to the middle of a heat wave here in the Bay Area. When we took off from T.O., the pilot said that it was 32 degrees in SF, Rich and I looked at each other puzzled, wondering if he meant 32 Fahrenheit. 32 celsius is pretty unusual hereabouts.

Anyway, the picture was sent by Becka and Mike who were visiting last weekend. It's the latest sunset of the year over the Berkeley Rose Garden. All the roses had been baked brown by the sun, but it's still nice to get some heat now and again, especially since Toronto is the new England, or perhaps Vancouver, weatherwise.

This was the last day before the lightening storms started up the several hundreds of fires buring in NorCal. Now there's smoke blocking the sun all day long and the outside smells like campfire. And not in a good way. Don't worry about us, though, there aren't any fires within more than 50 miles of here.

Monday, June 02, 2008

bike rides

On the topic of bike rides around here (see my recent post), the nytimes just had a related article, Turning a Century in California. (free reg required, or use bugmenot) We're thinking about doing the Marin Century after reading that.