Daniel Kligerman

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Loving the Good Lovelies at Glenn Gould

Seeing and hearing The Good Lovelies was pure delight. The Glenn Gould theatre was the perfect venue for the trio; intimate feel, delicious acoustics, and the Lovelies genuinely seemed tickled to be there. Swapping instruments and taking turns on vocal leads, the music was intoxicating and immersive. In between songs, the Lovelies chatted with each other and the audience, and had everyone in stitches.

Just like the musicians, the audience had grins on their faces from start to finish. When the last of the super-tight three-part harmony was sung, and the last chord strummed, feelings of authentic joy and friendship remained.

This is the way music was meant to be enjoyed. Bravo.

Liora

Liora Rose Kligerman was born on August 26, 2008, and is now almost four weeks old.  While the experience of having a newborn is familiar from just under two years ago with Joshua, it’s amazing how quickly you forget what it’s like: fussy and sleepless nights, seemingly continuous feeding, and the magic of seeing someone so new growing and developing so quickly.

Not Yet

Cisco sent me the result of my exam, and it was not a pass. I have asked them for a remark (which is allowed, but costs $250 unless they find an error that results in the mark being changed to a pass), mostly because of one sectcion in particular that I feel I tested, and was configured correctly, but came back with a low mark. I did quite well on the rest of the exam–even with this questionable section I was only a few percentage points away from passing.

Assuming the remark doesn’t succeed (and they usually don’t), I do want to take the exam again. I still feel that I am ready and able to pass it, and given the first-hand experience I now have, I should be able to brush up on the few things I wasn’t as comfortable with and do even better.

Overall, definitely a disappointing and surprising outcome, but I think it’s important to stay positive and use it as a good learning experience–just another step towards the end goal. As we say in hockey, through losing, the players on a team build character, and sometimes you can only win after growing stronger because of a loss.

The Deal is Done

This morning I awoke at 6am to a seemingly endess succession of wake-up calls and alarm clocks, put in place the night before to ensure I would not oversleep. After a quick but tasty complimentary breakfast at the hotel, I hopped aboard the shuttle which whisked me to the beautifully serene campus of Cisco Systems at Research Triangle Park. Being early, the doors were still locked, and so I waited in the warm morning air, pacing but not overly nervous. Two fellow exam takers arrived soon after, and then the proctor after them.

Walking into the exam room, I felt an odd sense of relief; the long hours of preparation and the more agonizing waiting were over, and all that was left was to sit down at one of the racks of familiar-looking routers and switches in front of me, and make them hum.

Over the next eight hours, plus a brief 20 minutes for lunch, I worked my way through the exam, running into a handful of problems, but solving them in time. One problem prompted me to ask the proctor for assistance, and after a few minutes of his double-checking it turned out to be a simple number conversion mistake that he was kind enough to point out. Another was not so simple, but I believe I came up with at least a partially correct solution. The rest of the questions I believe I solved correctly.

Only time will tell whether I passed, but I shouldn’t have to wait long: the proctor said the exam should be marked tonight, with the results emailed soon after. Needless to say, I am anxiously awaiting that email.

Now I am back on the Canadair Regional Jet that brought me here, an unbelievably refreshing Molson Canadian in hand. Beer always tastes best after playing hockey, but it tastes just as sweet now. All that would make it sweeter is a pass.

Here’s to hoping. Cheers.

Friends’ Wedding

Yesterday was the wedding of two friends of ours. I have known the groom since high school, and Merita has know the bride since childhood, so we were in the wedding party, and I was the best man. The wedding was beautiful from start to finish.

We start off at 7am at the bride and groom’s houses, respectively, helping them to prepare. We took lots of pictures and videos, then were off to the church for the ceremony. It was the first time I’ve seen a Greek Orthodox ceremony (or anything Greek Orthodox), and I found the differences and similarities between it and our traditions to be interesting.

Then we spent a few hours at James Gardens taking more pictures; the park provided lots of scenic backdrops and was chalk-full of bridal parties. The limo then took us to the banquet hall where we had the reception, which was full of food, dancing (I now sort-of know how to do the Greek circle-dance), speeches and, you guess it, more pictures.

After being out for nearly twenty ours, we got home and immediately passed out. We’re very happy for our friends, who were the second to get married of our group of friends (we being the first), and wish them all the best.

Friends’ Wedding

Yesterday was the wedding of two friends of ours.  I have known the groom since high school, and Merita has know the bride since childhood, so we were in the wedding party, and I was the best man.  The wedding was beautiful from start to finish.

We start off at 7am at the bride and groom’s houses, respectively, helping them to prepare.  We took lots of pictures and videos, then were off to the church for the ceremony.  It was the first time I’ve seen a Greek Orthodox ceremony (or anything Greek Orthodox), and I found the differences and similarities between it and our traditions to be interesting.

Then we spent a few hours at James Gardens taking more pictures; the park provided lots of scenic backdrops and was chalk-full of bridal parties.  The limo then took us to the banquet hall where we had the reception, which was full of food, dancing (I now sort-of know how to do the Greek circle-dance), speeches and, you guess it, more pictures.

After being out for nearly twenty ours, we got home and immediately passed out.  We’re very happy for our friends, who were the second to get married of our group of friends (we being the first), and wish them all the best.

Lunch with Liat

Today we took my parents’ Israeli house-guest Liat for lunch, belatedly for her birthday, to Mee Va Mee. It is normally a busy place, but at noon on a Sunday there is less of a crowd. The food, which is Israeli and/or middle-eastern, is delicious, especially the shwarma and hot mushrooms with humus.

My grandparents visited our new house this afternoon, and brought us some pastries. I ate a giant cinnamon roll about half an hour ago, and between it and the shwarma this morning, I’m stuffed.

Settling In

It’s been almost two weeks since we moved into the new place, and things are feeling much more comfortable and settled in.  All the furniture we brought with us from the old place is arranged, and we have added several new things: a couple of black leather chairs in the living room, a couple of storage units in the washroom, and a counter-top and shelving unit in the kitchen.  Things we are still looking for are a coffee and end tables for the living room, some more light fixtures, and dining and bedroom sets which our respective parents generously offered to buy for us.

Although the house has been taking up much of my spare time, I have also started an intensive Cisco course in preparation for the CCIE lab exam.  The class runs for six hours on Tuesday evenings, and on Thursdays and Fridays there is also physical access to the training centre for additional practice.  Given the difficulty of this certification, I intend to spend as much time there as possible, as well as studying at home.  If I expect to have a good chance at passing, I need to make sure I spend time on the material daily.

It is the Easter long-weekend (Merita even gets a fifth day off!), which should give us some time to finish a bunch of things around the house, and give me time to get some studying in, in addition to all the usual weekend fun.

Mike Harris

My flight back to Toronto was delayed two hours because the Calgary airport had had a power outage the night before I left.  I spent the time in the Air Canada lounge, which includes a full office environment where you can work at a desk, get on-line, and make phone calls.

While I was brewing an especially good cup of coffee in the very fancy coffee maker, I turned to see Mike Harris, the former Premier of Ontario, waiting for me to finish so he could brew his own cup of java.  Later, Mr. Harris was sitting in a room next to where I was working, talking on his cell phone about dinner plans.

It was an odd experience to see a “famous” person (by Canadian standards) in an ordinary scenario, such as being delayed in an airport and waiting to make a cup of coffee.  Not sure why.

My flight was not delayed any further, so Mike and I parted ways, and I am now back in Toronto enjoying an abnormally spring-like weekend for the elongated end of February.

Valentine’s Day

Today is Valentine’s day.  Although in the past Merita and I have gone through the typical gift exchange and romantic restaurant dinner routine, this year we felt it made sense to scale things down.  Aside from the cash crunch that comes with having to fork out a sizeable down payment on the house we will own in a few weeks, we felt that to put so much emphasis on expressing love on one specific day seems to say something not so good about the rest of the year.

That said, we felt there was nothing wrong with making the day special, but in a more down-to-earth way.  After our usual and satisfying trip to shul this morning, we spent a joyful but rare quiet afternoon reading our favourite pieces of the nicely substantial weekend Globe and Mail, the articles often acting as jump-off points for lively conversation; the kind of exchanges you can only have with someone you’ve been the closest to for years.

Tonight, take-out Greek food, a good movie and a nice bottle of Merlot will cap off what Valentine’s day should be: a day that need not involve any superficial, over-commercialized forced expression, but rather a reminder of all that you enjoy together daily, by spending the time doing some of the every-day things you appreciate most.

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