Category Archives: Uncategorized
Early on in my self-isolation in Toronto, beginning in mid-March after my return from Thailand, I put away my sketching and painting and my cookbook writing in favour of one of my other passions, sewing. From watching a news report about sewing groups making non-medical face masks for the benefit of our society, I felt that this was a way for ME to do my part too.
After researching on the internet, I found a different pattern, not the norm of what others were sewing. My daughter, Jennifer brought my sewing machine from the 70’s while I was in isolation. But it wasn’t able handle the many pleats of that usual surgical-style mask. Sewers were already filling the needs of medical professionals in the GTA hospitals and I felt that my masks were going to reach my ‘target market’ – the people in my community of mainly seniors amongst my family and friends who also needed protection from risk.
Then, in addition to a donation from my friend Naomi Bloom to buy fabric and other sewing stuff online, I found Suzanne Carson and Melissa Truong on a Facebook Mask Sewing group. The three of us together joined the newly formed Toronto-based group www.sewforTO.ca (Sew for TO on Facebook). Ron Tabachnick took me to find sewing supplies and the search rendered very little so I reached out to the group for donations of the fabric and supplies that all of the sudden were nowhere to be found during the lockdown. In a very short time, I realized my desire to be involved with that amazing, dedicated, smart, knowledgeable and articulate group of people who were spearheading this community-minded cause in Toronto to make it safer for people at high risk or any risk! I became a volunteer, monitoring our social media and the email requests for more information. An additional bonus was that I got a whole new bunch of very talented people to socialize with when we get back to some sense of normalcy.
My sewing was really at a snail’s pace because of my need to stay socially connected through Facebook, FaceTime, Whatsapp, Zoom, Skype, email – everything to keep me sane and not feel too lonely! But I was undeterred. Very quickly the pile of masks started growing with the help of my selfless delivery angel, Le Truong, who lives near to me and goes downtown to Melissa’s house often. She’s the one who brings me fabric every time I run out and I give her food, home cooked food, in return!!!)
After a couple of Facebook posts with photos of my face masks all lined up, close friends and relatives in my immediate neighbourhood of Thornhill/Richmond Hill/Markham began asking if I could help them. Having people I know well come to pick up masks became the highlight of my days. Of course because of with our social distancing and ‘porch’ pickups, masks and gloves, we all feel safe. And seeing friendly faces offers me a brief time to chat a bit and catch up through our isolation.
My masks have gone to 45 members of the Talbot/Tabachnick Thornhill, Willowdale and in the mail to the California, Buffalo and Wisconsin. They’ve gone to ICU doctors, Baycrest Hospital nurses, real estate agents, people suffering from cancer, asthma, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, dementia, sciatica, arthritis, you name it – for the young, for the old, for social workers, for one of my grade 2 students from Crestview PS, Post Office workers,HP employees, my condo concierges, and every other type of high risk person for getting Covid-19.
Just like the stock exchange, when the piles grew smaller, they grew up again and I committed to finding a bigger organization. I reached out to Betel Seniors Drop-In Centre because of the newsletters I get each month. I sent an offer to Betel to donate masks and sure enough, there was a need – for masks for Meals On Wheels volunteers and for masks to be put into the gift bags for the Russian Vet’s Day celebration this coming Thursday.
- Today my numbers are :
- 201 masks donated
- 230 masks sewn
My heart is proud, I am feeling my own ‘nachos’, that I could make these lovely senior’s days a little easier to handle in the lockdown by having a mask to go out for groceries or prescriptions and feel a little bit safer. And the rest, as they say, is history!
With special thanks to Irina, Anna, Julia and Mark from the Betel Centre for giving me the opportunity to do my part and feel the nachas!
The people are gone and others have taken their place so it’s still the same.
BRINGING BACK THE LOST ART OF LETTER WRITING – MY GOLDEN YEARS, FORTUNE COOKIES IN MY MATZO BALL SOUP
I thought this was an original idea, so I googled it to be sure, and what do you know: someone has stolen my idea! haha!
All this info comes from this link:“But according to McQuivey’s Forrester study, How Video Will Take Over the World, “Video is worth 1.8 million words.” 1.8 million words, exactly. His reasoning is simple: if “a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video has to be worth at least 1.8 million words.”
It’s no secret that visuals—gifs, images, and video—boost engagement with social media. In 2016, Wistia and HubSpot found that “social media posts with videos in them boost views by 48%, and visual content on Facebook specifically increases engagement by 65%.” We like video a lot, and a link and thumbnail of a quick 15-second video is a great way to get around that pesky 140-character count. And that’s the real value of video.”
I can tell you that I am loving vlogging and sharing all my videos with you. Cooking, travel, social activities, art, technology and more! So many of you have been curious enough to check them out to get an idea of what a double life’s like in Toronto and China!
It’s just such an awesome feeling to know so many folks want to see what I’m up to here. The China stuff so far has been interesting. I’m learning the videoing part and can’t wait to get back to terra firma in Toronto and California in August to start videoing stuff there. So please check out all of my new videos on myYouTube Channel. And enjoy!
Love, Roz x0x0x00x0x0x
It’s so thrilling to share this good news with you. Views are gaining momentum and subscribers are increasing daily. I’m learning new stuff, like how to raise the volume when I’m making a video and how to cut out or change the audio portions. This is all having an overall effect on the quality of my videos. And I’m much more prolific than I ever thought I’d be. I take some bits for new videos almost everyday. I hope you find my stuff interesting.
Living my best life, I mostly left behind the tight knit Jewish community and my family and friends in Toronto to spend the last nearly fourteen years on and off in China – a consultant to teachers/artist/traveler/foodie and so much more – and as an expat single lady. My vlog chronicles my adventures, my life and the challenges of daily living in China.
Can’t wait to get back to Toronto, see my fam jam and friends and do some recording there.
Check out my 7 new videos on my channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1RYBBDvZOhoQ__SuMxnCkQ?
ENJOY and MUCH ❤️! Roz
#8 THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR – MY GOLDEN YEARS, FORTUNE COOKIES IN MY MATZO BALL SOUP
I’m with Ken, reading this famous children’s story, THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR together.
#9 CACTUS BUYING & PLANTING – MY GOLDEN YEARS, FORTUNE COOKIES IN MY MATZO BALL SOUP
Come with my friend Lance and I to the flower market to buy cacti and then see them in my finished arrangements.
#10 THERE’S STILL GOODNESS IN THE WORLD! – MY GOLDEN YEARS, FORTUNE COOKIES IN MY MATZO BALL SOUP
In a world where there’s so much unpleasantness around us, isn’t it nice to hear a story that has a happy ending and restores your faith in humanity…well this is just one of those stories that gives us back our faith!
new one: https://youtu.be/x1AjGgbI42A
#11 DAY TRIP TO SHENZHEN, CHINA – MY GOLDEN YEARS, FORTUNE COOKIES IN MY MATZO BALL SOUP
I share my day trip to ShenZhen and Hong Kong so you can get a glimpse into travel in developing China.
#12 STRESS-FREE PARKING – MY GOLDEN YEARS, FORTUNE COOKIES IN MY MATZO BALL SOUP
This is a video that’s been passed around over the years because of the astronomical growth of car ownership in China and is an idea who’s time has come, if the developers can ensure that a power failure won’t lock up your car in for hours or days!!!!
#13 THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR ACTIVITY – MY GOLDEN YEARS, FORTUNE COOKIES IN MY MATZO BALL SOUP
Another activity with Ken about this famous children’s storybook, THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR. Teachers love to use this book to consolidate learning in the early years of ESL & English in acquisition of numbers and counting, colours, days of the week, sequencing and story recall and the life cycle of a butterfly.
#14 BIG BOX STORE SHOPPING IN CHINA – MY GOLDEN YEARS, FORTUNE COOKIES IN MY MATZO BALL SOUP
I’ll take you along on an eye-opening trip through the big box store, METRO. Get an amazing glimpse of grocery shopping in China.
Hello dear friends,
I have always wanted to keep in touch with you regularly. Although my heart has been in the right place, it seems life does have a way of getting in the way and I have not always done so. This is my attempt to reach out to you in an interesting way, at least for me, and hopefully for you too, while giving you a glimpse into what I am up to from time to time.
I hope you subscribe to my channel, watch my videos (I am learning how to make them better, so be patient!!), get a laugh sometimes, have an ‘ahah’ moment other times and just enjoy these videos. I’d love to hear from you, so if you have comments or want to give me some suggestions for future videos, please write in the comments:
My Vlog Channel
#1 INTRODUCTION – My Golden Years, Fortune Cookies in my Matzo Ball Soup
An introduction to my video channel, showing my interests and why I am making a series of videos to chronicle my senior life in Canada and China.
#2 AT A CHINESE SUSHI RESTAURANT – My Golden Years, Fortune Cookies in my Matzo Ball Soup
Come with Hannah, Taylor and I on a visit to a local Sushi Restaurant and enjoy the delicacies of Japanese food. https://youtu.be/mqKmDMxwDtg
#3 AT THE FRESH FISH MARKET- My Golden Years: Fortune Cookies in my Matzo Ball Soup
I’ll take you on a visit to the local fresh fish market where you will see how fresh salmon and other seafood is processed and sold in Kunming, China.
#4 COOKING WITH FLOWERS – My Golden Years, Fortune Cookies in my Matzo Ball Soup
Here’s my latest episode on my Youtube channel. Meet my lovely friend Vivian and learn how to cook with Day Lilies.
Come along with my local friend, Vivian and I and we’ll introduce you to a famous food tradition in Yunnan – that of eating flowers. Today we’re cooking Day Lilies With Egg in Kunming, Yunnan, China.
#5 HIGHLIGHTS – My Golden Years, Fortune Cookies in my Matzo Ball Soup
I’ll outline the highlights of some future videos and ask you for your feedback. What is of interest to you to see and hear about in China from a Canadian, Jewish grandmother’s perspective? What suggestions do you have for me?
#6 FRIED EGG IN THE MICROWAVE – My Golden Years, Fortune Cookies in my Matzo Ball Soup
Another cooking with Roz video. I’ll show you my new dishwasher and then teach you how to make a miraculous fried egg in the microwave with easy cleanup after!
#7 HOW TO TEACH ENGLISH IN CHINA – My Golden Years, Fortune Cookies in my Matzo Ball Soup
Through a collection of photos of students from 2015, I demonstrate good ESL teaching style in China.
I have really enjoyed doing this. It hasn’t been easy because I had to redo a lot of the stitches to get it right. Here are the photos of my progress in the past month:
TaDa!!!!!! Today I finished stitching the last characters. Thankfully now I don’t have to ‘kill myself’ for not completing it within the 6-month time-frame that’s allotted to each of us!
And now it’s onto the illumination for the text, an optional choice in the stitching — but since I have lot’s of empty space, I’ll do one, even though it’s going to be a challenge to find the right colour combination. Stay tuned to part 3!
My friend invited me to a synagogue to see some wonderful needlepoint and to a listen to a presentation by her sister-in-law. I was immediately drawn to photograph the huge project hanging on the walls of the huge room in the synagogue.
Being an avid crafter all of my life, embroiderer, crocheter, knitter, sewer, quilter, scrapbooker, miniaturist, sketcher, painter and artist, it would come as no surprise that I was mesmerized by the project that was before my eyes.
Having never participated in Shabbat services (even when living two short blocks from a synagogue for several years) I do not consider myself to be religious in any way. But if a Jewish holiday is coming up, I always prepare a lesson and a craft or cooking activity in class about that holiday. I do possess knowledge of the religious and historical significance of most of the holidays and avidly cook traditional food that I serve during them. To me, it’s all about bringing family together to celebrate Jewish tradition, but not in the pure religious manner.
One spin off is being a part of something much bigger than just doing some cross-stitch. Imagine I’m part of a worldly group of thousands and cross-stitching the Torah in Hebrew, including: an agnostic Jewish woman, a Mormon fire chief, a Muslim immigrant from Turkey and a Mother Superior at a church in the English countryside to mention just a few.
During the presentation, I was enlightened to the Torah containing 5 books, being: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. What I had seen on the walls was only the first book. They needed more than 300 more volunteers. I was in!
Signing up to cross-stitch a portion really did surprise me though, but looking back, I thought it was inspiring, a way to go back to my Jewish roots, participate in a huge project and do my share, along with create something so meaningful and do some handwork, something that I hadn’t done for many years.
I was so eager to get into the work and dug right in. I thought it was good enough to baste the borders on the cloth! Then stitch, rip out, stitch, rip out for the first row and part of the second. Humm! So much ripping out and I was going to run out of thread. I hadn’t carefully read the instructions, helpful hints or tips and at first I thought I had failed. Well, failure is not a word in my vocabulary. So I decided that I’d better be a ‘good student’, I went to do my research.
After the first week of stitching and I have finished 2 complete rows (5.5 more rows to go)…and I think it looks pretty good!
My portion is Numbers 7:55-7:58. It is part of the story of an outsider from another country who has an affair with the wife of the Israelite leader at the time. This causes a war between the countries. The Israelites win and the punishment is that the outsider must pay retribution in the form of one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty [shekels], one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering, one golden spoon of ten [shekels], full of incense, one young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering and one kid of the goats for a sin offering. My portion is short and leaves a large portion at the bottom of the aida cloth which is big enough for an illumination (illustration) for embroidering. Being in China while doing this stitching, I am thinking that I may embroider a yuanbao, which is ‘boat-like’ type of silver or gold ingot currency used in imperial China. Since the illuminations are limited to 5 colour choices and grey or silver isn’t one of them, I’d have to get creative!
If I don’t finish in 6 months I won’t kill myself, but I certainly will think about it…haha@!
For more information on how to sign up to stitch, or to visit the exhibit at Darchei Noam in Toronto, visit torahstitchbystitch.org (mention my name and they’ll mail you a kit).
Interesting reading about this delightful project at http://nationalpost.com/news/religion/the-stitched-torah-toronto-tapestry-project-inspires-volunteers-from-around-the-world/wcm/53889c37-86c3-40d2-91e6-1e4ae6062e83
Every country throughout the world has their own typical or cultural bread. China is no exception with their mantou and baozi, which are rolls of dough steamed in stacked covered bamboo or (now) metal baskets at boiling temperature, sometimes being stuffed with meats or vegetable combinations. But perhaps a fairly unknown but interesting, tasty and most-like Western bread is Guandu Baba.
Baba is a yeast bread, made in my local neighbourhood market near Guandu Ancient Town in a 40 meter square bake shop. But it’s not your traditional Western loaf, cut into slices, but a 10-15 centimetre round, so delicious with a wonderful texture like some Western breads. Since finding Baba, the baking couple have become my friends, sharing our creations in bread making and our little secrets (even though the language barrier is great, we still enjoy our short conversations). When I asked to watch them and know more about this bread process, they obliged.
I have used Guandu Baba for making salty and fruit pizzas as well as my main breakfast food – cut into quarters, sliced in half through the middle, toasted in my small oven, and eaten with butter or jam or cream cheese. At this point I’d bet it’s even delicious with peanut butter.
No matter where you live in the world, if you’re a bread maker, your work starts way before your customers get their hankering for a slice of your bread or toast, and usually even before the sun comes up. My bakers, who come from DongBei in northern China, are no different. Mr. Wang Jing Zhang and Mrs. Bi Yi Min start their loaves rising at 6am and continue to bake and serve their customers until the last of their daily supply is sold – that’s usually 8pm. You could say that bread making is not an easy life. But it’s a rewarding one – as “bakers feed the world”.
It’s said that Westerners eat bread and Chinese eat rice. Of course there is much truth to that in general, however Westerners eat bread more often in loaves, whereas Chinese have just as many varieties of bread products to choose from. What starts off as basic dough, but by changing the shape or changing from wheat to rice flour, produces a huge variety of foods by mixing in or sprinkling on some spices, more or less salt or sugar, other ingredients, such as eggs, or vegetables, or adding or subtracting oil.
(I like to call them) my bakers use one small grill-type round ‘oven’ for their many varieties of bread-type foods. Interesting enough, the temperature of 150C was used for all products, only shortening or lengthening the cooking/baking time…all done without a timer, amazingly!
When asked how she learned to make these breads, Yu Min, replies, “There’s no big secret to our recipes. These are the original green foods, free from chemicals with no food additives and made with pure ingredients. They’re the ones that we’ve been eating since we were little kids.”
The baba dough consists of plain wheat flour, water, yeast and a very tiny amount of MSG. When saying this she puts her thumb and finger together to suggest a pinch! The dough is mixed and shaped into larger than fist sized discs and set aside in their warm, small shop to rise on baking sheets until about doubled in size. The baking procedure is simple. Three babas at a time are placed on bottom of the ‘oven’ – a very lightly greased surface – and using the hand, are flattened. Then the lid of the ‘oven’ is closed. The babas bake on one side for 5 minutes, then are turned with wooden tongs and cooked on the other side for another 2 minutes with the lid closed again. After much discussion about the correct name for this oven, it’s been determined that the oven is called a “Bing Cheng 饼铛”. Voila, fresh, hot, wonderful smelling Guandu Baba!
This dough is also used to make the large flat pancakes with a heavy, long rolling pin, in two flavours. More oil is added and the first pancakes come out of the oven quickly, then are sprinkled with sesame seeds on top, cut into small bits and put into a small plastic bag with a toothpick from snacking as you walk along doing your errands. There’s a lovely, crispy sesame taste to these.
The same pancake is morphed into a spicier snack, with a mixture of chilli sauce, sprinkled with green onion on the top.
The dough that’s wrapped in clear plastic is the original recipe with some oil and eggs added into the dough, and following the same procedure as above, is cooked in more oil and done very quickly.
The morning I was there, they had already made over 30 babas, many other kinds of bread products, and nice warm soya bean milk. And that was at 9:00 in the morning. During the mid day they will make another batch or two of dough and continue to bake more breads throughout the day, keeping their booth stocked with the tasty morsels that the customers have grown to love over the 6 years they have been in Kunming.
I am wondering if they’re going to expand or sell their business. Just last week, they had a woman and her son working together and the baker seemed to be teaching his sister-in-law and nephew how to do what he and his wife have been doing for so long…baking baba and traditional street snacks. It’s quite normal that with two more pairs of hands in the back, their business will improve, just as long as they don’t move or close down that will be fine…that would be a pity for all of the residents of my neighbourhood but mostly for me!
My hats off to this talented couple who, like so many others in the same shoes all over China, work incredibly long hours in cramped quarters with recipes passed down from generations using simple utensils and equipment to feed the masses with ever tasty and predicable breads!