What’s Been Happening | January 2023

The last Friday of January is a good time for me to reflect on what’s been happening and what I enjoyed during the month. January has been a calm and joyful month in lots of ways.

Exploring Outdoors

I enjoyed time in nature – always a happy time for me. Outdoor cycling and walking supplemented my indoor fitness routine. Toronto has experienced relatively mild temperatures throughout January and just had a major snow storm on January 25.

A glorious winter day
Canada geese having a snack
Beautiful blue space
Resilient Hellebores flower in winter
Snow on tree branches
Holly berries give a pop of colour
Snow on evergreens

Socializing, Art and Culture

I celebrated New Year’s Day and Lunar New Year’s Day with my family. Good food, good company, and twice in three weeks, what not to love? We all hope for a year of good health, peace and joy.

I also met up with friends for a few fun outings. Outing #1 was to the Bentway Skate Trail which is under the Gardiner Expressway, a major road in Toronto. On display at the skate trail is artist Shellie Zhang’s Beacons installation of five colourful flame-like features that light up at night.

Outing #2 was a nature walk and coffee catch up in the downtown core where I photographed Thing’s End sculpture by artist James Carl. I love the crafty title, the unique design of a rubber band and the soft blue colour.

Thing’s End, 2012 by James Carl

Outing #3 led to discoveries of public art in Chinatown.

Blogging

My blogging and hosting the weekly Weekend Coffee Share (WCS) linkup has been going well. Thank you to all who have shared updates, comments and/ or photos from around the world. Here’s the links for January’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up:

For more blogging fun, I’m linking up with Ju-Lyn‘s #TheChangingSeasons and #WBOYC hosted by Donna, Sue, Jo and Deb.

Reading

This month I enjoyed discovering four new books and three new-to-me authors (Mandel, Patchett and Picton). While all four books are very good, the most delightful is The Knighton Women’s Compendium. It was published on January 4, 2023, set in Australia, and told from a child’s point of view.

  • The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
  • The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • The Knighton Women’s Compendium by Denise Picton

What’s the best book you read in January?

Weekend Coffee Share

I’d love for you to share what’s been happening, simple joys from your week and/ or favourite public art photos from around the world in the comments or Weekend Coffee Share linkup #104 InLinkz below.

Please note that starting in February, I’ll end the WCS linkup on Sunday at 5 p.m. Toronto time. The start date and time stay the same. This change should not affect regular participants since all add their links on Friday or Saturday and before 5 p.m. on Sunday. If any blogger wants to join in after the linkup is closed, feel free to leave me a comment with the link to their WCS post or a pingback. Thank you.

Happy February!

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Wrapping Up 2022

Hello and welcome! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 50 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share (WCS) linkup #100 which includes the Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC). Feel free to link your WCS or PPAC post to this post. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

This is my last post for 2022 before the holidays. I’d like to wrap up my 2022 with beautiful lights and gratitude. Below is my selection of blue light displays for PPAC and Sunday Stills photo challenge.

Beautiful Lights

I started my walk at Nathan Phillips Square to see the 56th annual Cavalcade of Lights in Toronto. The event is on from November 26 to January 7. It includes lighting of Toronto’s official Christmas tree and thousands of energy-efficient bulbs adorn the heart of downtown Toronto.

Along Bay Street, all the major banks have glittering trees and holiday decorations. Royal Bank of Canada displays their signature blue and silver tree for the holidays.

I ended my walk at Union Station. The Pixel Matrix, created by Michael Awad and David Rokeby, is a three-dimensional cube made up of 30,000 individually controllable LED lights on strings, with constantly changing lighting effects.

The Pixel Matrix, 2009

On another walk, I discovered an intense blue aluminum sculpture. I thought it would be fun to add it to this post.

Blue Chip, 2016 by Brendon McNaughton

Gratitude 2022

On January 2, 2022 I hoped to continue focusing on Health, Home and Leisure to live a healthy and enriched life. Reflecting on 2022, I feel truly grateful for an amazing year.

Here’s the gifts in 2022 for which I am grateful.

  1. My good health throughout the year. I enjoyed cycling on recreational trails, exploring from Hanlan’s Point to Ward’s Island, kayaking around Toronto Islands, playing disc golf, sailing in Toronto Harbour in the summer, and walking. I love being with nature and taking in the beauty around me.
  1. My family and friends near and far. I’m grateful for the opportunities to meet some of them in person in Calgary, Hamilton and Toronto after a long gap due to COVID-19 pandemic.
  1. My home and city with many cultural and recreational opportunities. I appreciate Toronto’s festivals, events, art, history, parks, gardens, beaches, ravines, rivers, Lake Ontario, trails, and more.
  1. Hobbies that are fun and enriching. I celebrated my 6 years of blogging in October. I appreciate all the visits, likes, and comments on my blog and contributors to my weekly Weekend Coffee Share linkup and Photographing Public Art Challenge, as well as my fellow blog hosts. I’m grateful for easy access to books and films from the Toronto Public Library.
  1. Travel: I’m grateful to be able to explore amazing natural wonders in Newfoundland and Labrador, on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and enjoy fun adventures, historic sites, delicious seafood and desserts in these three beautiful Canadian provinces.

My three ways to give back in 2022:

  1. Met with family and friends at local eateries and Indie cafés to support small businesses.
  1. Volunteered to run my first food drive for Daily Bread Food Bank, and helped out at one public art event and six running races.
  1. Traveled in Canada to support Canadian airlines, hospitality and tourism industry.

A friendly reminder that there is no WCS linkup on December 23rd and 30th. I’ll return with a fresh post on January 6, 2023.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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Amazing Walks and Art in November

Hello and welcome! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 48 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share (WCS) linkup #98 which includes the Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC). Feel free to link your WCS or PPAC post to this post. Come on in for a coffee or tea and let’s chat.

This weekend is a good time for me to reflect on November and my 2022 focus on Health, Home and Leisure. The first half of November was filled with wonderful bike rides, hikes and walks thanks to well above average and record-setting warm temperatures (daytime high 25C or 77F on November 5). The second half of November brought wet snow on November 15, cooler temperatures and the start of festive events.

Here’s my monthly recap for November.

1. Health

I hiked in High Park and along Grenadier Pond a few times. High Park has all sorts of trails to explore. Flat and easy trails as well as long hills, steep staircases, winding trails through woods with more challenging terrain. On each hike, I used all my senses to connect with nature and immersed in the beauty around me.

2. Family

My family and I picked a beautiful sunny 18C (64F) day to stroll along the water’s edge from Kew Beach to Woodbine Beach and Ashbridge’s Bay. A few days later, we had our first dusting of snow that signaled the transition from Autumn to Winter. I took a few ‘fresh snow’ pictures before it all melted.

3. Friends

A friend and I enjoyed wonderful walks at Evergreen Brick Works. Evergreen Brick Works was a clay and shale quarry for one hundred years. The 16.5-hectare (40-acre) area is now a thriving green space, with ponds and many varieties of nature trails to explore and wander. We love seeing turtles, fish, grey herons, ducks and beaver dams in the wetlands.

Evergreen Brick Works connects to Moore Park Ravine so we walked in the stunning ravine as well. Tall trees tower above and envelope us while leaves crunched beneath our feet. We feel fortunate to have such beautiful green space right in the heart of the city.

4. Photographing Public Art Challenge

Here’s a sampling of public art at Evergreen Brick Works.

My favourite is Legacy (the mud beneath our feet) sculpture by Dave Hind. It’s 10′ x 10′ made by reclaimed steel, aluminum and wood. A.P. Coleman’s legacy as the geologist who put the North Slope of the Brick Works quarry on the map is represented in a sculpture depicting a pair of his boots.

Legacy (the mud beneath our feet) sculpture by Dave Hind, 2010

5. Blogging

Photography – I posted square images with a brief caption on four Wednesdays in November. It’s my way to support Becky at The Life of B blog while participating in her Walking Squares and other photo challenges. These posts have the #photography tag in their titles.

Weekend Coffee Share – On November 11th, I started hosting both Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC) and Weekend Coffee Share (WCS) under the weekly WCS linkup. I’ve included the links for November’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up.

December schedule – Please note the following:

  • December 9: Linkup #99
  • December 16: Linkup #100
  • December 23: No linkup
  • December 30: No linkup

I’ll repeat this announcement on December 9th and 16th since some bloggers don’t participate every week. I’ll be taking a break in the last two weeks of 2022. After the holidays, I’ll resume the Weekend Coffee Share linkup on January 6th, 2023.

I’m grateful for all the good things that happened in November. Happy December!

Linked to Ju-Lyn’s #TheChangingSeasons.

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Loving Life in October 2022

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 43 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #93. Come on in for a coffee or tea and let’s chat.

It’s the last weekend in October and a good time for me to reflect on my 2022 focus on Health, Home and Leisure. Here’s my monthly update for October.

Health

Fall colours have been stunning this October. I enjoy views of yellow, orange and red leaves and feeling the crisp, cool air when I go cycling and walking. There’s no shortage of interesting places waiting to be explored.

One of the parks that I was thrilled to revisit this month is Tommy Thompson Park. I wrote about it here. I cycled on the Waterfront Trail, passed the brand new Cherry Street South bridge to Cherry Beach and all the way to and through Tommy Thompson Park. It was pure bliss to be surrounded by the sights, sounds, and feels of nature on the trail and at the park on a gorgeous, sunny day.

Home

After an active summer with monthly out-of-town trips, October is the month for me to relax at home with family, reconnect with friends and complete home maintenance tasks.

I enjoyed small gatherings with family and close friends to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and Thanksgiving. It so happens that the special occasions spread out in October so there is a celebration every week. It was wonderful to catch up on what’s been happening with everyone.

In addition, there was a coffee date with my sister, a 8 km family walk on Toronto Islands, another 8 km urban walk with a friend, and a coffee date with another friend. We visited the Manulife Elevate Global Photography Exhibition in a beautiful garden and the World Press Photo Exhibition 2022 at Brookfield Place.

For the family walk on Toronto Islands, we walked from Hanlan’s Point to Ward’s Island, visiting the beaches and trails in between. It was a gorgeous morning with blue sky, soft white clouds, calm wind, and the water mirrored the scenery.

Leisure

I balanced outdoor physical and social activities with indoor quiet and creative activities. I baked, listened to podcasts and music, read books, sorted my pictures, wrote blog posts, and researched potential travel destinations.

Photographing Public Art – In August 2012, a group of twenty three emerging youth artists and volunteers created an amazing 80 foot long mural from beautiful tiles and grout, under the artistic guidance of artist Cristina Delago.

Here is the Shore Stories mosaic mural located by the Toronto’s Ferry Terminal exit. Enjoy the following images and if you have 6 minutes and 20 seconds, watch this YouTube video on how the mural was created.

Toronto Harbour and ferry mosaics
Shore Stories mosaic mural

Writing – I’ve included the links for October’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up:

Overall

I’m grateful to have special occasions to look forward to and enjoy with family and friends throughout a beautiful October. I hope to share the first post on my adventures on the Bay of Fundy next week.

Happy November!

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Loving Life in September 2022

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 39 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #89. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

It’s the last day of September and a good time for me to reflect on my 2022 focus on Health, Home and Leisure. Here’s my monthly update for a social and adventurous September.

Health

I maintained my wellness routine and enjoyed a lot of cycling and walking throughout September. There is always something beautiful and colourful to see along the way.

Home

Family – My sister and I had a nice evening out together. We enjoyed good conversation, tasty dinner at a new-to-us pub and a walk along the waterfront. The Redpath Waterfront Festival was on that weekend so we saw the For A Better Planet floating installation by Bonterra and Theodore TOO Tugboat, the 65-foot working replica of the original TV character.

Community – I was up early on two Sunday mornings to volunteer for the annual Terry Fox Run and the 40th Longboat Roadrunners Toronto Island Run. The Terry Fox Run raises funds for cancer research. Longboat Roadrunners partner with SchoolBOX North, an organization whose mission is to make education possible for kids in Indigenous communities across Canada. It felt good to contribute to these events.

Friends – A friend and I went for a two-hour walk on a beautiful morning, followed by a break at Dark Horse Café where we got delicious coffee, quick service and nice outdoor seating. This is the last stop of my Tour of Indie Cafés for 2022 which I started in April.

Four friends and I rented a sailboat to go sailing in Toronto Harbour. We lucked out with the weather and enjoyed a glorious, sunny afternoon. It was a fabulous farewell to summer 2022. In the image gallery below, our boat is the closest to the dock on the right.

Leisure

Blogging – I’ve included the links for September’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up.

Traveling – My adventure of the month was to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. I started and ended my tour in Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia.

An adventure from beginning to end, around and across the Bay of Fundy

After I arrived in Halifax, I met with Dar (An Exacting Life blog) for dinner. I greatly enjoyed our first meet-up and conversation. In hindsight I’m glad that we met before hurricane Fiona hit Eastern Canada.

I had a wonderful trip, visiting two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nova Scotia and exploring the Bay of Fundy and surrounding cities and towns in New Brunswick. Now I have loads to write about, but it will have to join the queue.

I was in Saint John, New Brunswick when hurricane Fiona hit east of Nova Scotia on Saturday September 24. By the time I returned to Halifax on Sunday September 25 afternoon, the sun came out and downtown Halifax was lively.

While I was safe and didn’t experience any hardship, many people in Atlantic Canada experienced devastation caused by the hurricane. I found ways to help. Here’s how to donate to Fiona relief for Atlantic Canada.

Gratitude

When I think about my 100 days of summer this year, I’m grateful for a summer of health and happiness. I’ve explored and enjoyed Toronto’s beautiful beaches, islands, parks and Lake Ontario. I’ve supported local businesses and volunteered for community events when I could.

At the beginning of 2022, I hoped to resume travel to see family, friends and explore new-to-me places. I’m grateful to have an amazing adventure to Newfoundland and Labrador in June, joyful time with family in Hamilton in July and in Calgary in August, and a wonderful tour in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in September.

Happy October!

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Loving Life in August 2022

Trumpet vine flowers

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 34 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #84. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

The last weekend in August is a good time for me to reflect on my 2022 focus on Health, Home and Leisure. I was in two cities, Calgary and Toronto, this month. Here’s my monthly update for August.

Health

I continue my wellness routine throughout a hot August. To manage the heat waves in Toronto and Calgary, I drink a lot of water, wear sun protection, and go out earlier in the morning when it’s less hot. While I was in Calgary, I took daily walks on a trail near where I stayed.

In Toronto, most mornings I cycle along the shore of Lake Ontario, stop by a park and enjoy nature. I also go to the beautiful Toronto Islands to kayak and explore the many waterways. I love being enveloped by nature and seeing aquatic plants, waterbirds and turtles from my kayak.

Click on any image in the gallery to see its bigger version and caption.

Home

Family – Home in August is with my family in Calgary and Toronto. Calgary is in the western Canadian province of Alberta, about four hours by plane from Toronto. My flights to and from Calgary were both on time. I traveled with a carry-on so there was no waiting for baggage. It was my first time back in Calgary since the COVID-19 pandemic started and it was joyful to be with my family there.

Friends – After my trip to Calgary, I had some catching up to do in Toronto. My friends and I continued our Tour of Indie Cafés of 2022 and met up at Fahrenheit Coffee. Fahrenheit Coffee is within walking distance to St. James Park so we took our cappuccinos there and enjoyed our coffee chat in the lovely gardens. We hope to meet again in September and will end the tour once the weather gets too cool to sit outside.

Community – In August I volunteered for two events:

  • The SuperPower race: Funds raised through the SuperPower race go directly to the Holland Bloorview hospital to help kids with disabilities.
  • The Terry Fox Run: Funds raised through the annual Terry Fox Run support cancer research. Even though the Terry Fox Run is in September, there is work to do before race day. I’m happy to be sharing Terry’s message of hope, courage and determination and giving back to my community.

Leisure

Photography – I discovered many amazing artworks on my walks. Here’s a sampling of some of the colourful murals that I’ve seen. They depict Toronto’s urban wildlife with remarkable details and realism.

Which mural is your favourite?

Another source of joy is summer blooms in public gardens. August blooms include different varieties of bougainvillea, coneflowers, daylilies, dahlias, daisies, hibiscus, hydrangeas, marigolds, moss roses, sunflowers and more. The flowers in my header photo are Trumpet vine flowers. I’m sharing a sampling of some of the gorgeous daylilies below.

Which daylily would you choose for your garden?

Reading – In August, I read four books. Here’s my list by author’s last name:

Writing – Before today’s post, I wrote three posts about my experiences in Newfoundland and Labrador. I’ve included the links for August’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up.

Overall

Similar to July, August has been a beautiful and joyful summer month. I’m grateful for time with family and friends in Calgary and Toronto and all the good things that happened in August. Happy September!

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Loving Life in July 2022

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 30 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #80. Come on in for a coffee or tea and let’s chat.

It’s the last weekend in July and a good time for me to reflect on my 2022 focus. The month started with Canada’s 155th birthday on July 1st and finished with me having lived in two cities (Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario). Here’s my monthly update for July.

Health

July has been a mainly sunny and very warm month. I maintain my wellness routine and pay extra attention to hydration and sun protection when outdoors. The lakefront, tree shades and iced drinks help. When I stayed in Hamilton, I was within walking distance to the Dundurn Stairs (326 steel steps) which lead to nature trails and waterfalls. So I included the stairs to my walks.

Home

Family – I went to Hamilton and stayed for ten days to assist with a family project. Hamilton is 58 kilometers (36 miles) southwest of Toronto. It was joyful to finish the project with my family despite an unexpected full-day Internet service outage and a heat wave.

Friends – It was also joyful to catch up with friends in Hamilton. I haven’t seen them in person since the pandemic began. We met outdoors and took walks several times for iced coffee and conversation. When I returned to Toronto, I continued my Tour of Indie Cafés for 2022 and met up with my friends at Dineen café.

Dineen café is located in the historic Dineen Building, once home to W. and F. Dineen Co., who originally made fur clothing. The building is one of the oldest structures in Toronto, and is listed as a Toronto Heritage Property. This café is on busy Yonge Street and is usually full. We were pleased to get quick service, good coffee and comfortable seats at their outdoor patio.

Leisure

Outings – The rest of July was relaxing summer living with visits to farmers’ markets, music festivals, beaches and parks along the shore of Lake Ontario. I took a self-guided tour on Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship HMCS Glace Bay 701, a Royal Canadian Navy coastal patrol vessel, when she docked in Toronto.

Photography – At this time of year, it is easy for me to spend hours in public gardens to photograph an array of colourful flowers, including different varieties of bee balms, coneflowers, daylilies, roses and more. Bees and butterflies hover to nectar or flit and flutter everywhere. Plenty of berries to pick, too.

Aside from summer’s beautiful bounty, it was delightful to discover new public art. Here’s a sampling in July:

Indigenous Hoop Dance Gathering Place

Reading – Before this weekend, in July, I read many blogs (more than 110 Weekend Coffee Share blogs alone) and four books. Here’s my book list by author’s last name:

Writing – I’ve been documenting my experiences in Newfoundland and Labrador for me. It’s the icing on the cake when my blog readers enjoy my travel posts and pictures. I’ve included the links for July’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up.

I used to be able to leave comments on all blogs. Recently, I’m unable to leave comments on Blogger blogs that set Sign in with Google as the only option. Some blogs let me comment with Name/ URL or Anonymous. I haven’t been able to resolve this issue with Google yet.

Overall

July has been beautiful and joyful. I’m grateful for time with family and friends in Hamilton and Toronto, and all the good things that happened in July.

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Why My June Was Wonderful

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 26 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #76. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

July 1, 2022 is Canada’s 155th birthday and the start of a long weekend in Canada. It’s a good time for me to reflect on my 2022 focus and last month. Here’s my monthly update for June.

Travel

June 2022 was an extraordinary month as I traveled to Newfoundland and Labrador (abbreviated as NL). NL is the easternmost province of Canada, in the country’s Atlantic region. It was my first time visiting the province and my first air travel since the pandemic started.

Despite recent negative news about Toronto’s Pearson International airport delays and flight cancellations, I experienced excellent service at the airport and with Air Canada. Security lines were quick and my flights were on time.

Left: Red box marks Toronto. Right: Blue line marks my itinerary in NL.

I flew from Toronto to Deer Lake in NL (Flight distance = 1785 kilometers or 1110 miles). On my way home, I flew from St. John’s to Toronto (Flight distance = 2109 kilometers or 1311 miles). Newfoundland Daylight Time is 1 hour 30 minutes ahead of Toronto.

I had an AMAZING trip and experienced many wonders in NL in two weeks. Highlights include iceberg viewing, hiking in two magnificent national parks (Gros Morne and Terra Nova), whale watching, bird watching (bald eagles, puffins and other seabirds), enjoying delicious food and warm hospitality, visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites, National Historic Sites, several coastal fishing villages, lighthouses, and St. John’s, North America’s oldest city.

This was one of the trips that was cancelled in 2020 when the pandemic started. I’m glad to complete it in June. As a result of my adventures in NL, I have a backlog of things to write and pictures to share.

Health

Last month, I continued my wellness routine to stay healthy. It’s a pleasure to go cycling and walking along the waterfront. I look forward to paddling around Toronto Islands.

Home

Family – This summer I’m assisting my family with two projects that involve out-of-town stays. The first project is in July in Hamilton, Ontario. I look forward to helping out.

Friends – I continued my Tour of Indie Cafés of 2022 and enjoyed meeting with my friends at two Dark Horse coffee shops (Queen Street East and Canary District locations) in downtown Toronto.

I preferred Dark Horse Café in the Canary District. This café is below a George Brown College residence so they have plenty of loyal customers (students). Its location is close to Corktown Common, with interesting public art and a beautiful green space for a stroll before or after coffee.

Community – I supported my international community by volunteering at two events:

Toronto Corporate Run: Before the race started, we had a heavy downpour. It cleared up in time for the race and turned into a pleasant evening with a lovely sunset. I got a photo of two police officers on horseback as they patrolled the area. The event successfully raised funds to support the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Canada-Ukraine Foundation to help Ukraine in their struggle.

Toronto Biennial of Art: The weather was beautiful on the day of the one-of-a-kind “A Tribute to Toronto” smoke sculpture by American pyrotechnic artist Judy Chicago. A five-tiered scaffold on a barge was put in place at Sugar Beach with the help of the red Radium Yellowknife tugboat. The artist and her team directed from shore.

The show started with a row of flares igniting along the bottom tier of the scaffold. Then the environmentally friendly and non-toxic smoke started billowing from the stage in sequence of purple, blue, green, yellow, and white. It ended with volleys of fireworks and applause from hundreds of attendees.

Leisure

Reading – I read eight books. Here’s the list by author’s last name:

  1. Birds of California by Katie Cotugno
  2. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
  3. The Day The World Came To Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede
  4. Book Lovers by Emily Henry
  5. The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox
  6. Wait For It by Jenn McKinlay
  7. Around the World (Dora the Explorer) by Suzanne D. Nimm
  8. Dora’s World Adventure by Suzanne D. Nimm

Writing – I wrote four blog posts with lots of pictures in each:

  1. 5 Easy Walks To Cool Off
  2. Corktown Common and Don River (and gorgeous peonies)
  3. 5 Colourful Murals To See
  4. Toronto Music Garden in Spring

Overall

June has been adventurous, extraordinary and fun. I’m grateful for the opportunity to travel to Newfoundland and Labrador and all the good things that happened in June.

Happy July!

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Loving Life in May 2022

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 21 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #71. Come on in for a coffee or tea and let’s chat.

May is almost over and we’ve had a few warm days that felt more like Summer than Spring. The last weekend of May is a good time for me to reflect on my 2022 focus on Health, Home and Leisure to live a healthy and enriched life. Here’s my monthly update.

Health

In May, I continued my indoor exercises (meditation, language lessons, strength training and yoga) and outdoor activities (cycling, walking and playing disc golf). I’ve been cycling more often and longer distance.

I also took many walks to enjoy sunny spring days and May flowers. They make my heart sing and delight me with their beauty, colours, scents, shapes, textures and varieties.

Home

Family: I took the regional GO train to visit my sister. We had a good time together. It was my first time taking public transit since the pandemic started. I traveled during non-peak time and had the clean and comfortable car to myself. Currently, mask is mandatory and hand sanitizer is provided on the GO trains.

Friends: I continued my Tour of Indie Cafés in downtown Toronto. In May, my friends joined me at Boxcar Social at Harbourfront and Café 23 on Queen Street West. Both locations are wonderful for a stroll before or after coffee.

Boxcar Social: Cool interior designs and nice outdoor patio overlooking the skating rink/ pond and Lake Ontario beyond that. Quick service, delicious cappuccino. They use Subtext coffee roasters. In the area where the skating rink usually is during the winter, there’s a huge mural on the ground by artist Amanda McCavour based on her “Spirograph” art, consisting of joyful, colourful, and circular images.

Café 23: Behind the simple exterior is a stylish, Parisian-style café with chandeliers, artworks, books, mirrors, reading/ coffee nooks, and a charming two-level garden patio. Parisian-born owner Vanessa Sansonetti’s background in architecture, eye for design and love for plants influenced her choice of decor. Friendly, quick service, good selection of pastries sourced from local bakeries and delicious cappuccino. They use De Mello and Hale coffee roasters.

Leisure

Photography – I love exploring and photographing Toronto’s neighbourhoods, parks and the waterfront. Nature shows that changes are constant. I experience delightful moments and something new every outing. One example is this Canada geese family with fourteen fuzzy goslings!

Canada geese family
Let’s go for a walk
Canada geese family
Then a swim

Reading – I read six books (five easy and engrossing fiction books and one children’s book in the Dora the Explorer series). Here’s my list by author’s last name:

  1. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
  2. The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves
  3. The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
  4. The No-Show by Beth O’Leary
  5. The Layover by Lacie Waldon
  6. Dora’s Camping Trip by Wendy Wax

Writing – I wrote three blogs and hosted three weekly Weekend Coffee Share linkups before today’s post:

  1. Weekday Walk: Exhibition Place
  2. Sakuras and Fleurs de Villes 2022
  3. What Stories Do These Trains Tell?

Overall

May has been an outdoorsy and social month. Most pandemic restrictions have been lifted and the nice weather continues. I’m grateful for all the good things that happened in May. It’s also the month to firm up my summer plans. I’ll probably have less time to blog. I’m looking forward to enjoying June.

How has your May been?

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Loving Life in April 2022

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #67! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.

Week 17/ 52

On January 2, 2022, I wrote that this year, I continue to focus my energy on Health, Home, and Leisure to live a healthy and enriched life. The last weekend of April is a good time for me to reflect on how I’ve aligned my actions with my intentions in April. There were a few fun ‘firsts’.

Pasque flowers
First Pasque flowers of 2022

Health

In April, aside from my regular exercises at home, I started a new season of playing disc golf. I’m loving it for two main reasons:

  1. On days when I play disc golf, I get to do three of my favourite activities in one go: Cycling to and from the golf course, walking on the course to play, and playing disc golf. It’s a fantastic three-in-one combo.
  2. I play on weekday mornings. There is no queue, just a beautiful and peaceful golf course, birds, squirrels, geese, lake views and sounds of nature. By noon, I’ve got plenty of fresh air, my nature ‘fix’, and good exercises for my mind and body.
View from Tee 5.
Lovely view from Tee 5

I also did many walks in parks and gardens. Since spring arrival, it’s been delightful to see and photograph emerging blooms every week. I created a slideshow of pretty flowers that carpet the ground beneath trees and shrubs in April. Click on the arrows or swipe to see the slides.

Home

Spring inspired me to start my Tour of Indie Cafés of 2022 and invited my family and friends to join me when they’re available. The plan is to visit up to two indie cafés per month, from April to September, in downtown Toronto. We’ll sit outdoors to enjoy the nice weather and a coffee or tea.

My intentions are three-fold:

  1. To enjoy social time with my family and friends
  2. To support small indie cafés and coffee roasters
  3. To refresh my knowledge of the indie café scene

To start out strong, in April, we met at Arvo and Balzac’s. Both are located in the Distillery District, a National Historic Site and a wonderful place to stroll before or after coffee. Both cafés offered friendly and quick service, interesting and unique interior designs, and delicious cappuccinos.

Arvo: Good vibes. Interiors display Become A Legend light art. They primarily use Phil and Sebastian coffee, roasters from Calgary.

Balzac’s: Beautiful building. Grand Parisian style interior with a chandelier and interesting displays. The company was founded in Stratford, Ontario in 1996. They’re proudly Canadian coffee roasters.

Leisure

Birding – Two Canada geese are back to nest in the same spot that they used last spring. I’ve been checking in on them and other bird nests.

Nesting geese
First sighting of nesting geese of 2022

Reading – I read one inspiring biography and five entertaining fiction books. Here’s the list by author’s last name:

  1. The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan
  2. Love at First Spite by Anna E. Collins
  3. Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years by Sarah Delany, A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth (biography)
  4. The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
  5. Gathering Dark by Candice Fox
  6. Running Wild by K.A. Tucker

Writing – I wrote four blogs and hosted four Weekend Coffee Share linkups before today’s post:

  1. How I Enjoyed March 2022
  2. What’s Blooming at Allan Gardens?
  3. Happy Easter Weekend
  4. Painted Ladies and Buildings

Overall

April has been amazing with a few fun ‘Firsts of 2022′: First disc golf game, first cappuccino at Arvo, first signs of spring, and first time reading Anna Collins’ debut book and the Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years.

I look forward to enjoying May. As always, I’m thankful for my good health, my family, my friends, all good experiences and joyful moments.

How has your April been?

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