The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon

Reading time: less than 1 week
Number of pages: 400+
Book from: Fripe-Prix

Chabon has created an alternative history for the 20th century in which Jews, exiled from Palestine, have settled on the West coast of Alaska in the burgeoning city of Sitka. Officially a temporary Federal District, Sitka will revert its territory to Alaska in six months time, and the future of the Jews of Sitka, the Sitka District Police, and Detective Meyer Landsman, are uncertain. What a time for a man to get shot in the scummy hotel where Landsman has been living since his divorce.

Strange times to be a Jew.

A story of a whole culture's fear, exile, and self-pity hidden inside a murder mystery adventure, The Yiddish Policeman's Union is rife with archetypes - the partially destroyed, alcoholic police officer who is offered a chance at redemption; the returning ex-wife (smarter, sassier, and stronger than the ex-husband she left); the "half-breed" Tinglit/Jew side-kick who struggles between his histories; and the Messiah-who-could-have-been, who turns up dead.

Fortunately, they are archetypes, not stereotypes. Chabon has created an alternate world which hangs together without being startling, contrived, or even particularly alien. It leaves you at least partially believing that the world that he has created is really our own, that Chabon himself grew up with penguin pajamas, and an island full of maniacal Messianic Orthodox Jews living across the bridge. His Alaskan Jewish enclave is rich in culture and character, and the "historical" tidbits he peppers through his narrative can be amusing and sweet - JFK seems to have survived and married Marilyn Munroe.
So far I've been doing pretty well with the exciting salads we've been making for dinner lately. (Healthy! Low-carb! Uses inexpensive ingredients - fruits and veggies!) Bear's felt kinda so-so about so much salad, but that's mostly because he just doesn't enjoy vegetables. We make up for it with croutons, chicken or some other meat either in the salad or beside.

Tonight, we present Fattoush! Fattoush is a Lebanese salad, which I have adapted for the very selective taste buds in this house (and even so, Keiran didn't like it, *sigh*).

1 red bell pepper, chopped finely
1 large handful spinach, chopped finely
4 or 5 lettuce leaves
1 zucchini, quartered and chopped
1 can black beans, drained, rinsed, and allowed to dry a little
2 large handfuls of grapes, halved
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 large handful of parsley, very finely chopped
1 handful of mint leaves, very finely chopped
2 extra large stale pita breads, cooked to a golden brown in the oven, and crunched up into little bits

Toss all ingredients in a salad bowl, and dress with salad dressing:

All to taste:
Canola oil
Lemon juice
Salt & pepper
Garlic, minced or grated

Toss again with dressing. Sprinkle lightly with ground coriander, and liberally with sumac, toss again.

Refrigerate to let flavours combine.


Things this recipe could have included: tomatoes, cooked asparagus tips, honey in the dressing, red onion, chopped apple, artichoke hearts.


Saturday night's salad was a sorta-caesar:

Lettuce & spinach ripped up
1 Tomato, chopped
BBQ chicken, chunked up
1 orange, peeled, sectioned, and cut up
Most of a quart of blackberries
1 zucchini, quartered and chopped
1 onion, sliced fine

Tossed with caesar salad dressing (Rene's - the good stuff!)

Dressed with home-made croutons! and fake bacon bits.

I made my archery bracer today! (Go-go-gadget, archery gear!!)

It's purdy. One of the stitching lines is very crooked :( So now, I have a quiver, a bracer, and still no glove... notice that I've not yet done the hardest, most fail-able task on my list for this weekend?

2.5hours for the quiver yesterday, 3hours this evening on the bracer = 5.5hours total, 6.5hours remaining that I am to put in tomorrow on the glove. I spent a lot of time today on my first bike ride of the year! I went to the sewing notions store for leatherworking tools and thread, and the wind on the way back was arresting - the whole trip took longer than it should have, ah well.
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The lovely and leethal Lee Meredith is holding a 24 Hour Make-Along this weekend. The idea is to spend some quality time with your crafting/making life, stay up all night, or commit to some sort of time span, where you can really devote your time and attention to your work.

I am not good without sleep. I never ever pulled a true all-nighter in university. I become a heinous bitch. Really, ask the hubby.

So I set myself the challenge to do 12 hours of crafting over the course of the weekend. I'm forever going on about the things I could make, should make, or whatever, and I really really really need to just do them. So!

This evening, I made my quiver!! Bear has gotten me really into archery, and so I've got to start making my own gear. I made a hip quiver that hangs from a belt or belt loop - it's even reversible, and lined with green plaid. I've found the materials to make my bracer, and I should have pulled out the necessary bits for the fingers of my archery gloves at the same time. Oh well.

I figure those 3 projects should cover me for the weekend, and outfit me a little better for next Tuesday.

Size 6 = 26" waist jeans (approx)
Size 18 = 38" waist jeans (approx)

6 x 3 = 18
26 x 3 ≠ 38
26 x 3 = 78

Why am I three times her size if I do not have a 78" waist?

What's with that?
One of my best friends had her birthday party last night at a restaurant called Zero 8. It's a new place (they're not even listed in 411 yet! Their sign is affixed over the sign from the last restaurant that was there!), but damn, it was yummy! My fiance is lactose-intolerant and has a low tolerance for carbs/gluten, so it was such an amazing experience to be eating in a restaurant where we didn't have to worry about his allergies. The birthday girl's boyfriend has even more serious allergies, and he's the one that found the restaurant for us.

Zero 8's concept is that they do not cook with the top eight allergens in Canada (fish & seafood, peanuts, nuts, sesame seeds, milk, soy, eggs, wheat & gluten, and sulfites). The result is amazing food (I cannot stop going on about it...) that you can eat with your allergic friends. About a quarter of their meals are vegan*, too. They even have a kids menu.

Restaurant Zero 8

1735 St Denis right below Ontario

Food style: grill, pasta, pub-style, phenomenal desserts

Price: $5 - $10 appetizers, sides, desserts; $15 - $20 main dishes
Alcohol: Fully licensed, wine & booze list, wheat-free beer!!

Service: Wonderful servers, but with a group of nine on a Friday night the service was slow.

Other: It looks as though they will have a terrasse in the summer. Menu available online.

*footnote on veganism & other allergies: because they don't cook with dairy and eggs, most of the non-meat dishes are vegan. However, I did not inquire if they use other less obvious animal products like honey and mono- and diglycerides. The kitchen is 100% flexible though, so if you have other concerns, including allergies not listed, do give them a call, and see what they can do for you!
Which I completely forgot to add to my last post:

We played a round of "there's an ap for that" (row/stitch counting! stash-tracking! Colour matching!) with J and his spiffy iphone.

My little Leatherman Juice won the day, however, because there isn't an ap for scissors.