Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Transformation of Stan Wadlow Park


They're cutting it a bit close this year...
Every year since we moved into this apartment overlooking Stan Wadlow Park in the fall of 2005, I've looked forward to the last couple of days of June and the makeover the park below us receives in anticipation of East York's Canada Day celebrations. I've taken pictures of the slow transformation most of those years; in 2009 a strike caused the cancellation of the event and, for some reason I can't explain, in 2008 I simply didn't photograph the events at all. Tomorrow, July 1, is the really big day around here as the view from our balcony of the midway and other activities is incredible, surpassed only by the eye-level fireworks display that counts as not-to-be-missed for as long as we do live here. I'm a bit concerned about the scope of the midway this year, however, as this picture was taken at dinnertime tonight and as of this writing - about 9PM - there have been virtually no additions to what you see in the photo above. I realize that many of these ride and midway technicians are used to working through the night to get everything set up and today was not the best day to work outside due to the heat; however, this is the most incomplete I have ever seen the park as the sun has set on June 30. I guess I'll have to see what happens when we get up tomorrow for the parade.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Rob Ford is Shiftless


A surprise visit from RoFo at the IDAHO flag-raising
I mean that quite literally. I am not calling RoFo "lazy" nor possessing of "a lack of ambition"; Ford has "ambition" out the wazoo. But in a blog post in May - on my birthday, no less - I wrote about the flag-raising ceremony at City Hall for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. I attended that ceremony and was shocked to see the Mayor as he had stated repeatedly that it "wasn't possible" for him to be there. I mused at that time - not on my blog, but elsewhere - that perhaps we should give Ford the benefit of the doubt here; that maybe - just maybe - this was the very small stirring of a paradigm shift in his belief system and that the next few "gay-friendly" events would tell the real story. I still believe that was the right thing to do at that time.

But the benefit of the doubt is no longer an option, in my opinion. Ford clearly is not in the process of a paradigm shift - or, indeed, of any other sort of shift. Mayor Ford is completely "shiftless".

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Nora's Lists


Nora Ephron, 1941-2012
Two days ago the world lost Nora Ephron due to complications from the leukemia she had been battling for several years. I didn't know a great deal about her other than I enjoyed many of the movies she had written and/or directed over the years, but in scanning the myriad tributes to her over the past two days I have come to realize that she was looked up to and admired by women - and men who name themselves as feminists - the world over. I never gave much thought to the strong female leads of her movies, nor to the fact that she was a rare animal, a "woman director" in Hollywood; in my defence, it simply didn't seem "out of the ordinary" to me, not because I have my head in the sand but because when the social order starts to feel "right" to me I have a tendency to be soothed and not shocked by it. These tributes, appearing on such diverse online sites as The Huffington Post, The New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor (Ms. Ephron was Jewish), are remarkable to read now, as fascinating and insightful as the incredible volume of tweets sent out over the same period of time lamenting her loss. She seems to have been a rather quiet hero, neither shrill nor obvious, just a woman who believed that women had been shortchanged forever and set out to subtly change the way of the world.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Photocopia"*

*pronounced: "fo-to-CO-pee-uh", as in "cornucopia" but with photos.

There's not too much happening 'round these parts today - sort of the calm before the storm while we wait for the carnies to show up and take over the northern part of Stan Wadlow Park. Sometime later this week the trucks will start trickling in and a midway will take shape, mostly under cover of darkness. The first ride/attraction/food booth may appear late tomorrow night, but I expect it's more likely we won't see any activity until sometime on Friday. I hope they can handle the "ovenlike conditions" which are apparently on their way to Southern Ontario. Seriously. The paper called them "ovenlike". Hyperbole much?

In any event, and in lieu of any real "news" today, I thought it would be a good time to play "catch-up" with some of the recent pictures I've taken at home. First up: this bold, brazen pigeon. Being on the twentieth floor, we're quite regularly visited by pigeons - especially in the first light of the day. However, they seem to have become much more frequent in their appearances over the past week or so and I have no idea why. This guy landed on the sill just in front of my computer and proceeded to strut right past the open window, stopping on the other side to stare through the glass at Addie, who was as taught as a bowstring on the couch behind me:

"Come and get me, copper!"

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Another "Pleasant Valley" Sunday (and Friday and Saturday, too!)


Relaxing on the porch with coffee and the Globe and Mail
Yesterday I wrote about the wonderful Art Fayre in Dunvegan over the weekend; now it's time to tell the story of the rest of our road trip to the Ottawa Valley. It began on Friday morning, around 11AM, when we had finally finished packing and Tim's bag (he cat-sit for us) had been picked up and delivered to our apartment. We fueled up at Timmy's first, then we had to make a stop in Leaside to pick up some fireworks for a Solstice party on Saturday night (at the request of Sarah's mom). We swung back down to our neighbourhood to pick up Tim and drove him up to an interview for Co-op placement for this fall (it went very well) and then we were finally on the open road, headed for the Hawkesbury region. We had more time than we needed so we decided to take a more scenic route than simply Highways 401-416-17 to get there. Part of our scenic route included a jog down to the St. Lawrence along the Thousand Islands Parkway.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Art Fayre "Report"


Jolly dancing letters
As I may have mentioned, oh....once or twice in previous posts, Sarah and I spent the weekend in the Ottawa Valley. The point of the trip was to visit her mom but the timing of the trip centred around Art Fayre, an annual event which took place in Dunvegan over the weekend. (For pictures of the wonderful art that was hung there, as well as profiles of the artists themselves, please take a look at the Art Fayre blog - which I also link to in the right-hand column of this blog - or their Facebook page.) These jolly letters on the lawn of the Glengarry Pioneer Museum welcomed visitors to this event; there was a lively (and welcomed) little breeze on Saturday when we attended and it had spun a couple of the letters around the opposite way. I think this added to the charm!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Art Fayre in Dunvegan...Full Report Tomorrow



Grumpy P and partner are away in the beautiful Ottawa River Valley right now. I hope to be back in time tonight to post a piece about the events of this weekend. In case I am not, please have a look at the Art Fayre blog and Facebook page for this event - there should be updates there. I'll be back as soon as I can with pictures and tales from Art Fayre!


If that isn't good enough for you, here is a video of a squirrel eating peanut butter from inside the jar. Enjoy!




****UPDATE Sunday, June 24, 10:50 PM****

After an exhausting weekend we arrived home late this evening far too tuckered out to do the Art Fayre any justice. I'll have a post up on Monday about the Art Fayre itself and another post on Tuesday relating how the rest of the trip went. Please come on back and check them out! Thanks!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Late, Lamented Ontario Place


One of the "pods" suspended out over Lake Ontario
cc Flickr user: sookie

I miss Ontario Place. Weirdly, though, I don't know if I miss the actual, concrete and glass Ontario Place or the idea of it, the spot it holds in my heart.


The Forum in its early days
Toronto Star File Photo
I miss the concerts at the Forum, free with admission for many years. My folks took me to see the Toronto Symphony Orchestra perform the 1812 Overture more than once, with the cannons on the HMCS Haida (which used to be moored there) providing the percussion for the final movement. I miss the rotating stage which meant that, at some point during every concert, you would be positioned in the best seats in the house. I miss lying on a blanket on the grass of the surrounding hills, staring up at the stars while the sounds of Chuck Mangione or Spyro Gyra carried me away.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Heading for the Ottawa Valley


Sunset on the Ottawa River, seen from Mom's home
It's Art Fayre time in Dunvegan, Ontario this weekend. (If you haven't checked out the Art Fayre blog or Facebook site please drop by and take a look.) Some very talented local artists will have their works on display at this annual exhibition and Sarah and I are really looking forward to being there. Today we're on the road, heading up to Sarah's mom's home in Lefaivre, near Hawkesbury. We haven't been up there since last August; we used to go a little more frequently but the addition of Addie to our family has made us, by necessity, less spontaneous. It requires some planning on our part if we're going to be away even overnight; this weekend my son, Tim, will be staying in our apartment and cat-sitting for us.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Happy Solstice!


Ready for the Solstice in Virginia Beach
credit:Lorraine Eaton | The Virginian-Pilot
At 7:09 PM EDT last night, summer "officially" began. If you live anywhere in Southern Ontario, however, you would be excused if you let out a little scoffing noise upon reading that information, for it has been almost unbearably hot in these parts for at least a few days. Tomorrow Sarah and I are heading for the Ottawa Valley to visit her mom and attend Art Fayre; it's been even hotter there than it has in Toronto. How hot is it? Well, I'll tell you: it's been so hot up that way that our friend Nat had to give her ducklings a watermelon to eat in order to help them stay cool.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Social Marketing Summit


As I consider what path my recent work with The Challenge Factory is helping me to find, my career "guru", Lisa Taylor, steered me toward a terrific event that took place yesterday under the joint efforts of Enterprise Toronto and Constant Contact. The Social Marketing Summit, a completely free event which quite understandably was fully booked days in advance, was held in the Council Chambers at the Scarborough Civic Centre and featured several informative and engaging people all speaking to the theme, "Learn How Online Engagement Can Drive Business Opportunities". That fourth word, "Engagement", was the theme of the day, both in the way the speakers worked with the attendees and in the messages they were delivering.

First up, after the opening remarks from Katherine Roos of Enterprise Toronto, was Lisa Kember, Regional Development Director of Constant Contact. The big message from Lisa was that many small businesses are too focused on the "numbers" and not nearly enough on engaging with their clients. A company running a Facebook campaign, for example, is far more successful when a few people "like" or, especially, "share" their posts than when a great many people "fan" their Facebook Page but don't get involved in the discussion in any way. Her most salient point, in my opinion: "When it comes to engagement, small = big." She was very strong on the message that we need to pay attention the "social" aspect of "Social Media" and must take every opportunity to "Wow!" our customers, keep in touch with them and continue to engage with them.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mythic Niagara Falls


****GUEST BLOG****

The Grumpy Penguin spent the day at a Social Marketing Summit presented by Enterprise Toronto at the Scarborough Civic Centre. A full blog post on this event will be available for public consumption on Wednesday. As the A/C was not working at today's event, Grumpy P took the rest of the day off and has asked a special Guest Blogger to fill in for one post.

The Guest Blogger for today is Sarah Gledhill, who could probably have used a day off herself but stepped up to the plate like a champ. (Love ya, honey!)

Here is her Guest Post!

*************************


Last Friday I insisted that we turn on the TV to watch Nik Wallenda walk the tightrope across Niagara Falls. I had been reading in the paper for days about his intent to perform the feat, and surprised myself with my own excitement at seeing the event.

Nik Wallenda
credit: cc ThaddeusB, Flickr




















Monday, June 18, 2012

If I Hadn't Been a Dad


Grumpy P and the chicks, Father's Day, 2006 at Bluffer's Park
"The first time you hear the word 'Daddy', I don't care who you are, your heart just melts."

I blame Three Men and a Baby.

Tim, brand-new. Nice specs, Dad. Good idea with the sticker, too.
There we were, four twenty-something couples out together for a night at the movies in 1987, no distractions, no worries, just one of so many frequent nights out with friends. We could do that, then; we were only responsible for our own happiness and comfort. But near the end of the movie, Mario Joyner as "the cab driver" delivered that fateful line to the three hapless bachelors in his taxi heading to the airport to bring back the little girl they had been raising since her mom dropped her on their doorstep many months earlier. And in that instant, I knew life had changed forever for each and every man in our little group. I stole a glance down our row and saw three other Adam's apples bobbing up and down as quickly as my own as we each pretended that the scene had had no effect on us whatsoever. But the jig was up.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!


Grumpy P and Pop, 1965
Yesterday I mentioned that I had a "terrific post planned" for today; I finished it a few minutes ago but I noticed that: a) it said absolutely nothing about my Dad in it; and b) tomorrow is a full day with scant free time to write another blog piece. So I shelved that post until tomorrow and will use today's space to talk a little bit about my Dad and Father's Day. Here is my Dad at 30, horsing around with me (aged 4) at a campground somewhere (my best guess would be Silver Lake Provincial Park near Perth, ON), looking slim and active and impossibly young. We camped a lot when I was a child, first in a heavy, dank old canvas tent which I loved and later (when my Mom got her way) in a pop-up soft-top tent trailer. When we weren't camping we were at my grandparents' cottage in the Laurentians; renting a house for two weeks (or longer) in Old Orchard Beach, ME; taking a month-long cross-country trip to Vancouver Island and back across the northern States; or driving down to Orlando to visit Walt Disney World. We traveled a lot back then and I loved every minute of it. I never got bored on those trips, which I think pleased my Dad no end, no matter how mundane the attraction that we had to stop the car at and visit.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Woozy Weekend


Vertigo!


Click on the picture for cool facts about vertigo!
Late yesterday afternoon I suddenly developed a wicked case of vertigo, pretty much out of nowhere. I figured it was something simple such as pinching a blood vessel in my neck or perhaps just not enough sleep, but then last night my joints were sore as well. I went to bed hoping everything would take care of itself, but really only 50% of it did. My joints don't hurt today but the vertigo is still there and now it's accompanied by a left eye that simply won't stop running. I'm guessing now that it's some kind of a cold virus or perhaps low-grade infection in either my ear canal or (more likely) Eustachian tube on the left side of my head. Since there's no pain involved I'm going to wait on this for a day or so to see if it goes away on its own; I'm loathe to take up a doctor's time unless I think it could be really serious.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ontario Turtle Tally




Snapping turtle on the road in Eastern Ontario
The Toronto Zoo has been running a project under their Adopt-A-Pond umbrella called the Ontario Turtle Tally since 2003. From their website: "The purpose [of the Turtle Tally] is to collect, record and store location and species information on Ontario turtles, including species at risk....The information that is collected in this database will be submitted to the Natural Heritage Information Centre and will be used to learn more about turtle distributions in Ontario." Sarah submitted two pictures and the corresponding info to the good people at the Turtle Tally, including this one taken from her mom's City Mouse/Country Mouse blog.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

"Jays Care" Indeed!


Lawrie, Bautista, Romer-o my!
Yesterday, while I was on the balcony taking the pictures that turned into a blog post, I noticed some activity down on the ball fields in Stan Wadlow Park, below us. Specifically, I saw a couple of trucks and a sort of electric scaffold thing that can be raised up and down like a cherry picker (yeah, I'm so not a handyman kind of guy) parked behind the arena near the diamond with the new lights. It's the time of year when the school next to our building usually has an outdoor play day, so I just assumed that the field was being set up for that activity and didn't think any more of it.


More permanent Jays' signage at Stan Wadlow
However, when Sarah came home from yoga around 8PM she told me her instructor had mentioned that some of the Blue Jay players were over at Stan Wadlow Wednesday evening to help celebrate the 60th anniversary season of the East York Baseball Association. I had no idea anything that interesting was going on just a couple of hundred metres from our home; even with the windows open I couldn't hear any cheering or ruckus of any kind - and believe me, we hear everything here. So Sarah and I headed over to the far end of the park to see what was happening.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June is Bustin' Out All Over!




♪ June is bustin' out all over!
All over the meadow and the hill!
Buds're bustin' outa bushes
And the rompin' river pushes
Ev'ry little wheel that wheels beside the mill! ♫


Our view of Lake Ontario (Woodbine Ave. is at the far right)
What a beautiful day it was around these parts. The sky was a deep, clear blue and I could see for miles (all right, kilometres) from our balcony. It was such a pleasant temperature - once the sun wasn't shining directly into our windows - that I was able to turn off the air conditioners for a while and bring Addie outside with me for some fresh air. I loved the little ring of clouds around the horizon: it really lent some depth to the vista. You won't be able to tell from this picture, but the camera was pointing towards Niagara Falls; the day was clear enough that I was able to make out the silhouettes of the Skylon and the hotels surrounding it. It's a pretty incredible view on a clear day; it's even better at night. Last night it was so clear that I could see the lights of Hamilton, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and even Fort Erie, all along the west side of Lake Ontario to the Niagara Escarpment. On clear winter days we can actually see the steam rising off of the Falls. And on Canada Day we can see seemingly infinite fireworks displays in that same direction.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Los Angeles Kings: 2012 Stanley Cup Champions


The 2012 Cup Champion Kings

Captain Dustin Brown and Lord Stanley's Mug
Well, they did it. Last night the Los Angeles Kings won a most improbable Stanley Cup, becoming the first team ever to finish the season as a number-8 seed and go on to win the championship. (In point of fact, whichever team had won this series would have been the lowest-ranked team ever to win a Cup, so the whole post-season has been pretty unusual.) But it's not simply that they won; rather, it's how they won that is so amazing. Their record, in a era of incredible parity in the NHL, was an astounding 16-4 including a ridiculous 10-1 on the road. They won last night's Game Six by a score of 6-1, a score that very much reflected the Kings' dominance of that game, the series and the entire playoffs. Along the way they knocked off the number one seed in their conference 4-1; the number two seed 4-0; the number three seed 4-1. They led every single series they played in by three games to none. They didn't even trail in a single game of the finals until Game Four. On and on and on go the staggering details of their crushing dominance of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They are a huge, fast, mobile, pounding, disciplined hockey club that was perfectly designed for post-season hockey and they were unstoppable.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Locked Car is NO PLACE for a Pet.




Firefighters finally broke the back window of this death trap
A dog died in this car yesterday. A one-year-old Chocolate Lab/Weimeraner mix was left alone for over three hours in the backseat while its thoughtless and ignorant young "owners" - a couple from Val Caron, near Sudbury - presumably wandered around Vaughan Mills Mall, northwest of Toronto. Apparently a couple of the windows were opened a very miniscule amount, but not nearly enough to keep the temperatures inside of that car from reaching unsurvivable levels (it was about 30 degrees outside the car when the dog was found, likely 2-4 times that much inside); certainly not when the car was left in the direct sun for several hours.

A Chocolate Lab/Weimeraner mix
According to the reports I have read, including on The Star's website, a passerby noticed the dog (similar to the one pictured here) "in distress" in the locked car at about 2:15PM and notified mall security. Security personnel notified emergency services and went out to the car, where they tried to splash water into the backseat, although I don't fully understand what they hoped to gain from this. Firefighters arrived after a while and they immediately broke the back window to release the trapped dog, but it was too late to save its life.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sarah Takes Another Walk


Happy little summer snowman
It's a hot, steamy, suffocating day here in Toronto, absolutely not the kind of day when I would really ever be interested in taking a walk for the fun of it. Luckily for me I had a built-in excuse in that my son is spending time with me this weekend and, as I have written previously, Sarah likes to get out and spend time alone on weekends that one or both of my kids is staying with us. After seeing the condition Sarah was in when she got back I am 100% convinced I made the right decision. On the plus side, though, we have our guest photographer back with us for today's blog post. Hi, Sarah! Let's see what treasures she has in store for us....

Sarah didn't head down into the valley today as she did on previous perambulations, opting instead to walk down to the Danforth and poke around there for a while. On the way she passed the local rink, still operating for the figure skaters and summer hockey players, and she stopped to make me this miniature snowman out of the ice left outside by the Zamboni®. Poor Sarah might have been better served by then either eating him or stuffing him down the back of her shirt to keep cool.

From the rink she proceeded to Danforth Avenue and then west a little past Woodbine to East Lynn Park, where there is a Farmer's Market every Thursday evening from June until the end of October. For the past three weeks, the park has also been home to the Art of the Danforth festival, which ended today. I've been there in past years during the outdoor art festival and it has been quite bustling; for whatever reason, judging from Sarah's pictures, it was pretty quiet there today as it came to a close for another year.

Here are some of her best shots of the winding-down of the festival:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A "Cat Got My Tongue" Kind of Day


Cat on a tray, anyone?
Well, not literally...but she could if she wanted to, because she has me smitten. This morning Sarah brought coffees and some finger pastries up to the computer room for us to enjoy. Addie was very interested in the pastries; for some reason, she goes crazy for sweet foods. We gave her a very tiny amount and this seemed to make her crash on the floor for a while. When we were done with our nosh, Sarah put the tray on the day bed so we'd remember to bring it downstairs. Next thing we knew, Addie had roused herself, climbed up onto the tray, licked the remaining few crumbs off it, and then crashed once more right where she was sitting. It's not in the same league as Emily sitting in a pot (from Knatolee's World) but it's the best I have to offer today. Well, for now, at least. You never know where Addie's going to turn up next.

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Spontaneous Night Out


Yum!
Late yesterday afternoon I received a text from a good friend of mine whom I don't get to see nearly often enough, asking if I wanted to grab a beer "later". We've had trouble making plans recently so she thought she'd just try, on a whim, to get us together. It took a bit of thought (because it required some car-centric arrangements with Sarah, who was also out last night) but I accepted. I'm really glad I did, too, because my friend has been having a particularly awful time of it at her job the past several months and yesterday was an even worse day than normal. It was great to get out on the spur of the moment and just have a chat - I think it did wonders for both of us, really. We tried to go to the Bull & Firkin on Yonge near Davisville, but when I arrived I was greeted with a huge professionally-made sign that informed me that there had been a fire during their scheduled renovations and that they were "sorry for the inconvenience" but they would "remain" closed until July 15. As you can see from the link I provided (and which I checked out yesterday to see where they were located) there is no mention of this on their website, even though it clearly is not a recent development. That was pretty annoying, but not a deal-breaker because my friend used to live in the neighbourhood and quickly suggested another pub three blocks up the street called the Bow & Arrow. However, when we got there we found it had been renamed and was now the Twisted Kilt. It was still a pub, though, with pubby beers and pubby food so really: how could it be a bad choice? I had a couple of different pints and a delicious pizza while my friend had a half-pint and a salad with salmon. The salmon, sadly, was not cooked right through and when we told them about it - just to let them know - they actually took it right off of our bill. That was a nice gesture and I think it might just require of us a return visit to show our appreciation. Darn the luck!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Ford Chronicles Continue


On June 1, 2009, the city of Toronto passed a bylaw stating that retailers had to charge a minimum of 5 cents for every plastic bag they gave to a customer. I have always thought this was a good idea; Sarah and I have smoothly switched to the mindset of bringing reusable bags with us wherever we plan to purchase large quantities of goods - or just large goods. Shoppers Drug Mart, grocery shopping, clothes shopping, what have you, we bring bags with us to ensure we are not bringing home unnecessary plastic bags to clog up the landfills. Sarah and I each have a couple of "Randy Bags" with us most of the time and in the back of our car there are several cloth bags of varying sizes; we bring a few with us on all major shopping excursions. We don't do this to save the five cents; rather, we do this because it's the right thing to do. What the five cent fee accomplished is it made retailers ask if we needed a plastic bag (or several) which prompted us to say "no, thank you". There is no conceivable way this is a bad thing.

That is, unless you are a certain lame duck mayor of a certain giant metropolis in Canada who has absolutely no other "cause" that he is capable of "winning". Then it becomes the Biggest. Issue. Ever.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Strutting Peacock, Purring Jaguar (Volume 2)


Flamingos doing what flamingos do best




....the story so far....

On Tuesday, our intrepid Zoo-venturers, Sarah and Steve, braved the mid-morning threatening skies and less-than-inspiring forecast for a trip to the Toronto Zoo. In yesterday's gripping yarn we learned that the skies cleared up, the crowds were small (actually, that's new information), the animals were engaging and the trip was a success. Here is the exciting conclusion to their story, post-penguins. Well, perhaps "exciting" is too strong a word......


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Strutting Peacock, Purring Jaguar (Volume 1)


"How you doin'?"

Wherein the saga of "Sarah and Steve's Day of Fun!" is so long, dear reader, that your humble author saw fit to break it into two parts. Volume 2 will appear tomorrow.

Sarah and I had planned to go to the Zoo yesterday, but *gasp!* the weather people were wrong. It was cold and damp in the late morning when we decided to stay home; it stayed that way all day long, so that was a good call. Luckily, Sarah had had the forethought to book off a back-up day today and, even though it was overcast with a small threat of rain when we took off for the Rouge Valley, we decided to brave it. Thank goodness we did, because by the time we had been at the Zoo for about 20 minutes the sun came out and the skies were a warm, cloudless blue the rest of the day. The peacock pictured above we encountered on our way to see the penguins shortly after we arrived and he was strutting around like nobody's business, completely ignoring all the little people (by which I mean "kids") who were following him around on his walk. We had to go another 40 feet or so before we saw the intended recipient of his display, a peahen who was, unfortunately, ignoring him even more effectively than he was doing to the kids. I hope it made him feel a little better that we were darned impressed with his "rack".

Monday, June 4, 2012

BlackOutSpeakOut




What Bill C38 means for the environment. (hotlink)




Please read more on the Ontario Nature Blog. (hotlink)




Thank you for your support and understanding. Please check out the links and consider writing to the party leaders or signing the petition.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

My Blog will be "Dark" on Monday



Our friend Natalie steered me to an event that is happening tomorrow, June 4th, across Canada: Black Out Speak Out. The Ontario Nature - Federation of Ontario Naturalists Facebook site offers this explanation for the undertaking:
On Monday, Ontario Nature will support a national campaign called Black Out Speak Out. Environmental organisations and supporters across Canada will darken their websites as a response against efforts to silence Canadians who speak up in favour of environmental protection. The support for this protest is in reaction to the federal budget bill C-38 and the provincial budget bill C-55, whose amendments to environmental legislation significantly threaten protective measures for species at risk and the integrity of the environment.
They (and I) urge you to read the full details on their blog.

I support these efforts 100%. I feel that the absolutely disgraceful "Omnibus" budget bill the Harper Government has put forth has the potential to set environmental efforts in Canada back scores and scores of years with one flourish of the pen. This faux-majority, which may very well have stolen the election last May, is on a dangerous path of destruction and I believe that concerned Canadians should fight them tooth and nail for every millimetre of our national fabric that they try to erode.

On Monday I will make no formal blog post. I am scheduling a picture and link to appear on my blog at 12:01 AM and that will be my only entry for Monday, June 4, 2012. Also, I will make no posts on Facebook or Twitter from midnight tonight until at least 12:01 AM on June 5. I felt an explanation prior to the actual event would be helpful, hence this post you are reading.

Please consider supporting this fight in any way you see fit. Thank you for reading this and please check out the links I have posted for further and more detailed information.

See you on Tuesday.

-Grumpy P.

Rainy Sunday: Perfect for a Stroll


As usual, Sarah was the brightest thing I saw on the walk


"Habitat Restoration": a very good idea indeed
I finally had the opportunity to go with Sarah on one of her weekly perambulations around Taylor Creek Park. It's been drizzling on and off here most of the afternoon, but that just made the walk even more refreshing than it would have been on a hot, sunny day. There were very few people on the paths in the valley and virtually no cyclists flying along from behind us. The air smelled wonderful: clean, fresh and healthy, unlike the heavy haze of recent weeks. Sarah has mentioned that the Parks and Rec people have been letting the natural habitat take over in many areas of the valley; here is a sign that speaks to that decision, one we are both very much in favour of.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Something in the Air Today




I guess I shouldn't be surprised that today just felt tense from the time I got up.

We had to miss the Sophie Milman concert last night - the one I won tickets for - because of the flooding of our apartment during the day. We almost had it under control enough to think about heading down to Massey Hall when the skies opened up again and the howling wind returned to buffet our balcony door, which started the flooding all over again. We knew we couldn't leave for the night not knowing how far into our home the water would get (and with Addie left alone to deal with it) so we decided to stay home. Luckily for us the rain had stopped by the time we went to bed, but I don't think either of us slept particularly well.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Après hier soir, le déluge*


In case you didn't believe it was raining here
Well, I've been asking for rain and we finally got it. It's pouring out there right now - I think I might even hear a little hail. No thunderstorm, though, which is too bad because they can be pretty thrilling from 200 feet in the air. Instead we just have wind and that's not a very good thing in our apartment. There is a leak that nobody has been able to fix somewhere near our sliding balcony doors and when the wind is coming from the east (like it is right now) accompanied by a heavy rain, water tends to enter into our dining room and bubble up through the tiles, like the opening scene in The Beverly Hillbillies. I find that metaphor quite apt because I feel like a hillbilly most days living in this building! In any event, the humidity had long departed our area by last night so I am a bit surprised by the ferocity of the downpour today. It is supposed to rain through the weekend, too, which I don't ordinarily appreciate but it's been so dry here that I'm not the least bit upset with that news. Also, Sarah is taking Monday and Tuesday off, so that can be our weekend (think: Zoo trip). Also also, the drum circle pounded away until well after 11 PM last night; rain means we won't have to put up with that nonsense on Saturday or Sunday. Always a good thing.


Kemp and Michael were good enough to pass along their photos from last night's wonderful evening. I don't have much commentary to add after yesterday's post, so I'll just showcase the pictures themselves here:

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