Temple Sinai event: Jews and the Jazz they made

I had the opportunity on Friday November 19th to attend an event at Temple Sinai in Toronto, called Jews and the Jazz they made.  One of the main reasons I wanted to go was because it was arranged by a friend of mine, Dr. Andrew Jacob Scott, a guitarist / arranger and composer who has released 3 internationally recognized CD’s.  Dr. Andy, as I call him, has lectured at universities and for conferences across North america and has been published on the subjects of jazz and popular music. 

I sat right up at the front and not only did I thoroughly enjoy the hour of fantastic music and interesting discussion surrounding how Jews wound up in Jazz and to the same extent the Blues, but I got to see first hand how amazing Dr. Andy is on the guitar.  His hands were moving so fast and the music… Amazing… I’m speechless. 

Dr. Andy (no surgery, please, he’s a doctor of music) brought with him 3 other fantastic musicians; Mark Eisenman, Shelly Berger and Barry Romberg.  Even Cantor Gershon Silins got into the act, singing on a couple of songs.  I can speak for all those who attended when I saw that Shelly Berger attacked the bass and at times played with his eyes closed, by the feel of the instrument.  He received numerous ovations as did Barry Romberg who was magnificant on the drums.  Mark Eisenman was wonderful on the piano but it was Andrew Scott who stood out with his magical fingers and beautiful music.

… and all in all, the event was way more than I could have ever anticipated.  I would definitely have paid for this event – which was free courtesy the Carl Mendelsohn Family Endowment Fund.  The house was packed and as I looked around I think each and every person was toe tapping enjoying the music.  There was a buzz in the air and at the end of the event people were raving about what they had just witnessed.  A wonderful way to end a long week of work

Some non-music highlights from this night;

  • I had a card for the event stating it was to start at 8pm, so when I arrived at 8:30pm, I was shocked / pleasantly pleased to see 3 other people in the room, so I walked in, stood there and blurted out to Dr. Andy, “Are there any good seats left?!?”  I then went and sat with his wife and MIL. 
  • As the event began, the Cantor made a speech that someone left their car running in the parking lot.  It stayed running throughout the show.  The driver did not want to miss a beat!
  • Listening to Dr. Andy play and talk about the music he was playing reminded me of the many walks we used to take together on the evenings and weekends with our boys, where Dr. Andy would enlighten me on the topics of music, marriage, politics, religion, sports and life.  We would walk and chat for hours… Then came our second kids, and third, and I moved twice since then… Ah, good times indeed.

All of the feedback I heard from the crowd was terrific and there were high compliments paid to Dr. Andy not only for his music and discussion but also for the fact that he composed a song for this event, he called “Flat Two Blues”. 

For more information on the congregation or to see some upcoming events (or for information on a wonderful young-families group), you can click here; www.templesinai.net

For more information on Dr. Andy, or to book him for your events, you can reach him here; www.andrewjacobscott.com


My Daughter is 1! Happy First Birthday Berry!!!

Has it been one year already?

Yes it has.

It seems like so much longer. I can’t believe how much she has grown in the past few weeks. Aside from her regular vocabulary, Berry has added the following gems;

She says, “yeah” now. Me: “Berry, do you want to eat?” Berry: “Eat… Yeah!”.
Me: “Berry, do you want more?” Berry: “Mowr… Yeah”.
Me: “Berry, do you want a kick in the head?” Berry: “Yeah!”

She calls all stuffed animals, “bear”.
She calls all dolls, “Dawl”

She looks to her big brothers for their feedback and will continue to act in a certain way depending on them, for example, when she was smacking herself in the head, they laughed, she continued…

When she doesn’t want to eat anymore, she shakes her head no.

She has become very loud… Not surprising as she has to keep up with the boys.

She has developed a fondness for the rubber duckies in the bath tub and treats them the same way little girls react to Justin Beiber… Shrieks of adoration.

She has crazy hair that comes down past her nose in the front and she can often be found pulling at her hair, usually with hands full of yogurt or oatmeal… UGH.

She has a boyfriend – let’s call him Neeson – who is a few months older than her.

And she learned to shake her head in the “no” manner but doesn’t know the world “no”… yet.  She actually makes herself dizzy and laughs while she’s doing it… She’s crazy like her big brother.

Happy 1st Birthday, Berry!

Random musings about my kids… Please share yours too…

One day I heard on the radio a song called “Godzilla” by Blue Oyster Cult.  I liked is so I looked it up on YouTube.  The video was old and cheesy.

I guess I was walking around the house singing part of the song; “Oh no.  There goes Tokyo.  Oh no Godzilla.

After a week my kids insisted I show them the video which I did with a little trepidation knowing it might scare them. 

It didn’t.

They loved the song but my middle child was staring at Godzilla as he shot a flame ball out of his mouth while he was swatting at airplanes.  “Daddy”, he asked.  “What is that?” he said pointing at Godzilla.  “What does it look like?” I responded.  “A man in a dinosaur costume”, he replied.   

So today, as we were singing it together in the car, my middle child – oh, how creative is he, fired out this line; “Oh no / Tokyo / There goes Joe Mihevc.”

Joe Mihevc is our city councillor.

I may have told Stewie during the election in Toronto that we we not going to vote for Joe because he wanted to put a streetcar on Eglinton like he did on St. Clair and if that were to happen they would have to remove hi favourite places on Eglinton, namely, Baskin Robbins, Big Bite Burger and the Thirsty Fox Pub.  He never forgot that and I would catch him passing along this information to anyone and everyone who would listen. 

So cute.

And yes, I corrected him once I found out that was not true about Joe.  He has not asked me in a worried manner about his “favourite” places since.  🙂

Also in this urban daddy’s household comes the latest expression from Linus whenever we catch him doing something to torment his younger brother, and send him to his room.

“You just ruined my best day!” is what he blurts out to us.


maybe he should have thought about that before he;

1) calls his brother a baby
2) pinches his brother
3) pushes his brother from behind
4) tries to tip his brother off his stool
5) yell at the nanny
457) act goofy
458) say “poo” as every third word
459) write the word “boobies” on the shopping list
460) throw food at his brother

Needless to say, he is our first child and sometimes I feel we are making an example of him, but we ruin his best day, a LOT.

Why Do I Blog? Why Do You Blog?

I often wonder why it is that I blog.  I wonder, during the day, if I’m wasting my time with this whole blog thing, and at night, I wonder the same thing, as I’m typing up my posts for the week. Is anyone going to read them? and if someone does, why, and in the end does it really matter? 

I’ve said this before, that I don’t write posts for others… usually… although I have been known to in the past – I won’t make that mistake again.

I try to write my posts with the view that this online journal is going to help me remember key points in my family’s life as we move from day-to-day, kid-by-kid, and event-to-event.  It’s nice to be able to look back and see what we did, for example, for my 1st child’s 2nd birthday, and use that in preparation for my middle child’s 2nd birthday, and still have that online when it comes time for my daughter’s second birthday.

I used to post about events that happened to me at my old job – but that turned out to be a colossal error of judgement as it revealed WAY too much about me and my family and opened up my life for judgement and criticism from those who knew that I blogged.

Going forward I share events and stories with like-minded individuals and use my blog as a forum to talk about me, the father of 3 kids, the husband, the manager, volunteer and human being.

I was content doing this for the people who came to my blog with regularity and maintaining a respectable number of daily readers.

All of this changed last Wednesday – for those of you who read my comments, you would already know – when I was reached out to from a local TV station regarding my interest in participating in a talk show on blogging as a Daddy-blogger.

Initially, I was dead set against the idea but after talking to some friends in the media, I met with the executive producer of this show and we chatted about what it is that I do and why. 

During this 15-20 minute chat, we talked about how I got started blogging, what my challenges are as  a Dad and why I like to blog stuff.  I answered the questions as best as I could and the more we talked the more it came back to me why it is that I do this in the end of the day. 

It’s because I love being a Dad! 

I started because my wife blogged and I loved reading her posts.  She is such a great writer (I miss her posts) and I wanted to have my take on family events too – we see things so differently.  Eventually, I added other topics to my blog, like work, the TTC, municipal events – like the condition of the streets – volunteer activities and my search for a new job.

I found my blog became the repository for everything that happened to me during the day – good and bad – and if you look back at some of my oldest posts, they have little rhyme or reason, as I used this blog for a dumping ground of my emotions. 

Doing that allowed me time to grow emotionally, and as a writer as I would go back and read comments and those comments helped me realize whether I was writing something interesting of something crappy.  The more I wrote my posts to those readers the less I became myself, but the more I wanted comments.  I wanted to be noticed.  I think deep down inside I wanted what some other bloggers I knew about had, like Cheaty Monkey and Redneck Mummy, I wanted to be able to write a post worthy of 30 comments or 200 hits… I wanted to be known.

Then somewhere along the line I realized that being the Dad of 3 kids, with a new job which I love(d), I had been blogging for over 4 years and with little in the way of hits or comments I just enjoyed using this forum to talk about what it’s like being an involved father. 

I was fortunate to have been in a position to have taken off 9 months to be with my first son, 4 months with my second, and yes, one day with my third, but on the weekends, they are mine and in the evenings I take care of their bedtime routine and I would not pass that up for anything in the world.

Sure I find there are times during the day when I wonder why I’m working (obvious reasons – to pay bills) because I just want to be home with my kids.  Yes, we do programs in the evenings and on the weekends, and sure every now and then I am able to walk them to school, be the class parent, or take them for a walk to run errands… I want them to be as involved as possible so when they get older they won’t be afraid to ask for what they want or settle for a job they do not like because they are too hesitant to make a move.

And while I do not have the burden of having to make the big decisions – schools, meals, camps, lunches, or stuff like that as my wife does all of that too much success, I am involved in the conversation regarding these decisions as much as I can.  My wife and I attended 5 or six schools before we chose the one my oldest goes to know and I went with my wife to speak to the principal of the new school that my middle child attends.  We visited camps, arranged sports events and we plan vacations that would be fun for everyone.  I like to be in control but where I cannot, I know my wife will have already done the legwork and spoken to people and will come to me when we’re close so we can seal the deal together and be comfortable that it is the right decision for us and our kids.

I try not to miss parent teacher interviews, I look at homework and often find myself asking my kids how their day was and what they did.  I worry about how they are socializing with their classmates, and between each other.  I worry about how they are to their teachers and try to get them to treat their nanny with the most respect possible.  I worry about how they are going to cope as they grow older. 

My oldest boy is so much like me that I want to watch his development and remind him that to be successful in school and in life he needs to be a little less goofy and a little more serious.  I remember about 6 months ago when he told me that he didn’t know; “When is the right time to be serious and when it’s okay to be goofy”.  I try to teach him.  My middle boy, on the other hand is all my wife and I want him to be a little less intense and a little more outgoing so that he can use his natural smarts to be the best he can be.

So getting back to why it is that I blog… I told this TV station about why I love being a Dad and why I didn’t really want to be on TV because I’m not the worlds’ most articulate guy all the time and at times I wonder if any of these posts even make sense on the screen after I type my garbled mess.  But the more I talked about myself and my enjoyment of fatherhood, I realized I could do this, and if they decided after meeting me that they wanted to give me a shot and have me on, I would do it.  Not for the potential for more hits, or more comments, but hit the opportunity to pass along to anyone that wants to listen why it’s great being a parent and to share some of the things we have encountered as a family and how we moved past them.

Trust me… If it’s going to happen, I’ll let you know…

… Maybe.  🙂


With Hanukkah around the corner, my wife has been checking in with the kids to see what it is that they would like this year.

Below, please find Stewie’s list and the rationale behind it…

Stewie’s Hanukkah gift list: “Chocolate Santa, my own fire hydrant, a car for when I’m a adult. And lights, for when I build my own house.” And he wanted to buy a snowplow.