Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A refreshing change from the ujjjh

Write, write, write. Edit, edit, edit. Grumble, kvetch, grumble. Email, curse, curse.

I do like my job, but lately the frustrations have been causing my eye to wander a bit. You know how they say if your relationship has a certain proportion of negative interactions over positive interactions, it's time for intervention before things hit the rocks? Well, I don't think it's that bad, but I truly needed a change of pace.

And got one this morning.

A big bunch of us at our office got to spend several hours volunteering at Foodshare, a totally cool organization with a mission to provide, teach about, make available, "Good healthy food for all."

Here's an example of why I think they're wonderful. One of the many, many, MANY things they do is to help enable community organizations to pull together the resources to host farmers' markets in neighbourhoods without great access to fresh food. There are huge sections of this city which while being planned communities, were designed for people who own cars. Meanwhile, many of the original residents of those neighbourhoods have passed on, one way or another, and there's a new population of people living out there - within city limits - who rely on public transit, which is very sketchy out there, and walking. Foodshare helps to bring farmers' markets right to these neighbourhoods, and with their financial support, make it worth it for farmers to set up. At least, that's how I interpreted the talk we got this morning.

What we did was move a ton of boxes, chat with each other, then chow down on a nutritionally complete, delicious hot lunch.

In other news:
On Sunday, Charlie and I went to the 20th annual Word on the Street book festival. It was our third annual, and we bought a bunch of cool magazines: Dandyhorse, Spacing Toronto, and, of course, Chirp! We also ate roasted corn on the cob, giant yams, hot dogs, tiny tom donuts, coffee and freshly squeezed lemonade - lemonade served by a remarkably good-natured busy young fellow standing in a giant lemon, surrounded by wasps. He'd been stung, but, as he said with smile, only once.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cycling daze

You know how when you were a kid you just played outside in pretty much any type of ordinary weather. Rainy days are not crappy days to Charlie. They means there's puddles to jump in. Don't know about you but once I got older, most of the time I got a lot pickier about the type of weather I liked to go out in.

One of my favourite things about cycling (or camping, or having a kid) to work on a regular basis is that it puts you out there and reveals to you the delights of non-sunny perfect weather.

After I got home tonight and looked out the window into the dark, I remembered how much I love riding home from work in the dark and in the cold. It's quiet and private and stealthy, and it always seems a lot darker outside when you're inside than when you're out in it. It's your little secret.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You play editor: A contest

Last year I participated in Blog Action Day. I saw it mentioned sometime today, so I googled it and found the Blog Action day website.

Now, for a chance to gain the satisfaction of winning the editor-of-the-day award, please tell me what you think is the most irksome thing about it (the website, that is).

A hint: I find this page to be equally irksome for the same reason.

And this one. And this one.

C'mon Blog Action folks, get a clue! This could be really cool, but you've got to do better on your end. I will email them with my suggestion, but I'm going to hit the hay now, so I'll do it tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I found it - my joy

All day today and most of yesterday I've been rather joyless. The cop cars outside and the nagging worry, combined with a nasty sinus infection and some minor annoyance at work have brought me down to a flat, joyless plain.

Even coming home tonight - early - didn't jar me out of my funk. But sometime after dinner, hanging out with my delightfully funny, lively son - who's riding his bike now without training wheels super fast! And went underwater at swimming lessons today! And was just full of hilarious stories about his day - I found that I was laughing and smiling and feeling much lighter of heart.

Before he fell asleep, he was telling me about a little girl in his class. "Is she cute?" I asked him.

"No, no. But you'd think she's cute!"

"Really, why?"

"You know in Mickey Mouse? She looks just like one of the ducks."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I don't get it.

I'm taking a little break. I'm spending the day sorting receipts from 2007 and 2008 so I can (eventually) do my tax returns for those years (at some point very soon, really) - and I just got a gigantic paper cut.

All this amounts to less than a hill of beans, except that the sorting is allowing my mind to wander. Just outside our window is the sidewalk that Mariam Makhniashvili walked along almost a week ago, only to disappear. Roughly 15 minutes after she took that path, I did. It could've been sooner or a little later - I don't remember the exact time I left for work, but she could've hopped onto my bus, she might've been hanging out on the corner, but I've been wracking my brains and I can't remember seeing her. There's so many teenagers around the school at that time of the morning, and they do truthfully all pretty much look alike, and they all have gigantic backpacks.

Other than what happened to her, where is she, is she okay, is she alive, here's what I don't get: why'd they "scale down" the search yesterday? Friday night there was still at least 10 (as far as we could see) police cars lined up along the street, even blocking the driveway to her building.

Saturday morning, I looked out the windown and saw the top of a satellite antenna from a news truck. When we went outside about an hour later, it was gone and there's only the police "command centre" left. WTF?

And why'd they wait until Thursday and Friday to "scale it up" when she'd gone missing on Monday.

I shouldn't be getting mad at the police - they didn't make her disappear. But I don't get it.

Also, there's messages going out asking for her to return. Are any of them in Georgian, presumably her first language? Or Russian, which she likely understands better than English. The reports keep saying she speaks little English. Obviously I don't know everything they're doing, but...

Most recent news: they've "expanded" the search, which means they can get help from other police units. Hallelujah.

Friday, September 18, 2009


It's a beautiful September day, just the sort of early autumn Friday that makes you feel happy and carefree.

But there's a young teenage girl from our neighbourhood that has simply disappeared, practically from our doorstep. The media's camped out in the front of the school - I noted this morning from 5 different channels - and every kid I walked by this morning was talking about it. Now mind you, the media only grabbed hold of it yesterday and she has been missing since Monday morning. Mounted police were out searching the running trail yesterday - Charlie was delighted with all the horse poop on the basketball court.

It's all questions. Why do the police take so long to step up the search? And, the biggest question - where is she? Please let her be okay. That's all I got. Please let her be okay.
Police continue to search for missing 17-year-old girl

Police continue to search for missing 17-year-old girl - Headlines - News - 680News - ALL NEWS RADIO

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-5300, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com , or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).

I don't know the missing girl, but she lives in the neighbourhood, kids in the neighbourhood know who she is, and there's signs in the building and on all the telephone poles. Here is more information and a photo of the girl.

Shared via AddThis from 680 News

Monday, September 14, 2009

Those neon lights at Yorkdale

I've been trying to find photos of the old neon art installation at Yorkdale subway station - and hurrah!

Check it out - this old Night Moves video from Global starts at Yorkdale. Remember these old things on late, late at night?

This thing is making me woozy with nostalgia. Whenever I went out of town to visit my parents, I'd come back on the Gray Coach bus, and the terminal was at Yorkdale. I'd drag my luggage over to the subway station, up and down some stairs, and then up this escalator, invariably at night. I loved this neon thing. The lights were activated by a train coming into the station.

And, here are a couple of photos at a site showing Michael Hayden's portfolio.

Okay, now I'm going to be up all night watching these addictive old Night Moves videos now that I've discovered them.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday at the Fun Farm

On the most beautiful day in the world, we went to the fun farm. We harvested raspberries, eggplants and strawberries, and we ate butter tarts, corn dogs and pizza, and played and relaxed.

Friday, September 11, 2009


After a long and incredibly stressful day at work, my good friend GDAD and I found it interesting that we saw this individual on our way home from work this evening in the location pictured (CP photo).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Good morning

As I waited for the light to change to cross the street this morning, a young man pushing a little boy in a stroller came up beside me. The little guy was clutching - and I do mean clutching - a teddy bear.

I smiled at him - he looked a little worried, but to my surprise, he gave me a huge smile. Then his dad said to him, "Can you say, 'hi'?". He shook his head, uh-uh. "Can you say, 'bye'?" He looked at me, smiled, and blew me a kiss!

And life is grand!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Another reason I love cycling

I saw an old friend from a former workplace today, while I was cycling to work; she was riding right ahead of me. I wasn't sure it was her until she turned her head a bit, then I called her name. It took her a second to recognize me - my helmet serves as a disguise - then we hugged and screamed and laughed and caught up for 20 minutes.

We also discovered that we work in the same neighbourhood, so for the rest of my journey, I had a cycling buddy.

This kinda thing just don't happen in the car, eh.

In other news: On my ride home last night, I once again spotted a huge pile of I-dunno-what in the middle of the road, causing cars to stop in puzzlement, and then drive way around it. Once again, I thought of my dear friend, GDAD, then pulled over and put up my kick-stand. Once again, it was a big brown smushed lawn clippings bag, only this time it was filled with twigs, mostly likely from the Aug 20th big storm.

Most of the cars going by, had their windows open and several people called out "thank you!" as I cleared it all away (it took about 4 trips to the curb). Another cyclist came along, and said, "that's very nice of you!"

Boy, I sure felt good. Thanks for the inspiration, Ms Good Deed a Day!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The hills are alive

It was a gorgeous day here, and I had a wonderful bike ride. Yesterday in my rush to get home on time, I rode up the Casa Loma hill instead of my new usual, Poplar Plains Road. Turns out the horrid Poplar Plains hill has given me some good training - I just zoomed up the ol' Casa Loma hill. It's thrilling to feel improvement in one's personal power!

Plus, more good stuff: I've been working very hard at improving my focus at work. Depending on the day, I'm often distracted by googling every tangent that pops into my head on any article I'm working on. But the past two days, I've been just stellar, if I do say so myself. It's hard - but only at first.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

An awful tragedy

This news story is what we were all talking about today - our former MPP and attorney general had a very nasty encounter - as a driver - with a bike courier. Nobody seems to know exactly how it started, but it ended horribly, with the courier fellow being pulled and dragged by the driver, and, eventually scraped off the car. He died in hospital.

Drivers can be aggressive jerks, so can cyclists, so can pedestrians. People, in general can be jerks. But when things get really ugly, a driver in a car is protected by metal, distance and air bags. On the other hand, when a cyclist gets mad at a driver, it can be pretty tempting to punch their car - there's no distance or metal preventing them.

Thing is, a car's always going to be more dangerous to a cyclist than a bike is to a driver. Cyclists would be wise to remember that.

I don't know if it was my imagination, but on my ride home tonight, it felt like we were all being a little more cautious with each other out there. I hope so.