Violet Flowers and Disc Golf Intro

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #15! 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.

Spring Flowers

First, it’s been delightful to see Spring flower blooms around here. I went for a walk in the Toronto Music Garden and took tons of photos. I’m sharing a few in violet colour below.

Violet croci.
Croci
Pasque flowers.
Pasque flowers

Here are a few more from my photo archives in alphabetical order.

Next, let me introduce you to how to play disc golf at a beautiful 9-hole disc golf course. If you have never played or heard of disc golf before, read on.

How To Play Disc Golf

  1. Review the map of the golf course posted at the entrance. Note the direction to throw. We’re at a 9-hole course so the numbers go from 1 to 9. At a 18-hole disc golf course, the numbers go from 1 to 18.
Disc golf course map.
  1. Here’s the game objective, how to play, and course courtesy.
Disc golf instructions.
  1. The tee pad is rectangular with soft padding. Next to it is a post that shows the tee number, par number, and the distance from the tee to the corresponding basket. Par is the number of throws a disc golfer is expected to need to complete an individual hole. Par 3 is common.
Disc golf tee.
  1. Start at tee #1. Stand in the tee and throw your disc towards the corresponding basket (hole). The varying distance at each hole and obstacles such as trees or hills make the game fun and challenging.
Disc golf obstacles.
  1. The basket for each tee is also numbered. Once your disc lands in the basket, pick it up, and follow the directional red arrow at the bottom of the basket to go to the next tee.
Disc golf basket.
  1. Continue playing until the last hole. Have fun and remember the course courtesy. The Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) Disc Golfers Code is posted at each tee.
Disc golfers code.

About The Discs

  • Below is a sample of 3 discs, each has a name, an image and 4 numbers on it. The yellow disc is the Driver for maximum distance, the white disc is Mid-range for a wide range of distances, and the blue disc is the Putter for short distance and putting into the basket.
Disc golf discs.
  • The discs have fancy names and come in different colours. When you’re new to disc golf, the variety of discs can be overwhelming. Start with an inexpensive set of bright coloured discs (not green or brown). The bright colours make it easy to locate the discs on the course. I also label the back of my discs with a sharpie.
  • The 4 numbers on a disc golf disc are a flight ratings system to indicate how a disc is supposed to fly. For first time players, I’d suggest to have fun playing and not be concerned about these numbers yet.

Why Disc Golf?

  • It’s a fun sport that I can play with others or alone (safer in COVID-19 times).
  • It’s outdoors, usually in a park where I can play any time, weather permitting.
  • It involves mental estimates, body movements, and walking.
  • I like the calm and meditative feels when I play and walk the course.
  • Like any sport, part of the fun is to keep playing to improve.
  • The discs are light and easy to carry. Each of my discs weighs about 150g.
  • The initial cost is minimal. A set of 3 discs costs about US$20.
  • A disc golf bag to carry the discs is nice to have but not required (about US$20).
  • The ongoing cost to play is $0 in Toronto where disc golf courses are in public parks.
Disc golf course.
A lovely view.

I hope my introduction to how to play disc golf is clear. Consult with your doctor before starting any new sport activity. For more information, check out the Professional Disc Golf Association web site and YouTube.

What’s your favourite violet flower? Is my introduction to disc golf helpful? I’d love to hear your comments.

Linking to #BrightSquare, #FOTD, #SundayStills.

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Fabulous Walk and Interview

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #14! 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.

What’s New

It’s been a fab few days here…

  • Beautiful spring weather has been ideal for my cycling, walking, playing disc golf, visiting local beaches, gardens, parks, and the city centre. I choose to go outside on weekday and Sunday mornings and to places that are quiet so I can keep a safe distance from people.
  • I mapped out new cycling and walking routes that offer me plenty of things to see and photograph. I usually cycle to the destination, lock the bike, go for a walk, then pick up the bike, and cycle home. Fitness and fun combo wins! See my walk in Yorkville and my photos below.
  • I had a fun interview with Marsha Ingrao at Always Write blog about hosting the weekly Weekend Coffee Share blog link-up. Click here to read the full interview. (Virtual) coffee and beignets from the historic Café du Monde in New Orleans were on the table. Marsha retrieved comments from my blog for the interview so you may see your name and comments in her post.

My Walk in Yorkville

Yorkville is a historic and upscale neighbourhood in downtown Toronto. Established as a separate village in 1830, Yorkville was annexed into Toronto in 1883. In the last three decades, many smaller buildings in Yorkville were demolished and office, hotels, and high-priced condominiums built.

Yorkville is now home to some of Toronto’s most expensive condominiums. It has art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, spas, and luxury hotels catered to the wealthy clients. Fortunately, it still retains its attractiveness with pedestrian traffic, narrow streets, quaint row houses, and charming curb appeal.

Let me show you a few of my favourite Yorkville murals and architecture in pictures.

Yorkville Murals

Yorkville Murals in August 2020 was a cultural event that celebrates contemporary muralism and public art. It was a huge success despite the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s scheduled to return in August 2021.

Yorkville Mural by Ola Volo.
Yorkville Mural by Canadian artist Ola Volo.
OK mural by Ben Johnston
OK mural by Toronto-based artist Ben Johnston.
Yorkville mural by Jason Botkin
Yorkville Mural by Jason Botkin.
Canada Geese mural by local artist Bacon.
Canada Geese mural by local artist Bacon. The building is the famed Sassafraz restaurant.

Yorkville Architecture

Church of the Redeemer founded in 1871.
Church of the Redeemer, an Anglican church, founded in 1871.
The Church of Redeemer main doors in Gothic Revival style.
The Church of Redeemer main doors in Gothic Revival style.
Yorkville Park walkway looking south.
Yorkville Park walkway looking south.

Click on any image in the image gallery to see it bigger.

Linking with #BrightSquare, #Lens-Artists 142, #LifeThisWeek, #ThursdayDoors, #WeeklySmile, #WW.

How did your week go? Go on, brighten my day. I’d love to hear your comments.

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Bits of Joy in March

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #13! 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.

My coffee share today includes two recent walks and a monthly review:

  1. Early spring flowers – Shared with Becky’s #BrightSquare, Cee’s FOTD.
  2. St. Andrew’s church – Shared with Dan’s #ThursdayDoors, Patti’s #Lens-Artists 141.
  3. March at a glance – Shared with Denyse’s #LifeThisWeek.

1. Early Spring Flowers

Tuesday March 30, 2021 was sunny with daytime high 17C (63F) and ideal for my walk in the Toronto Music Garden. A variety of bright and cheerful early spring flowers made me smile. Here’s my selection.

Croci

2. St. Andrew’s Church

A second walk was to St. Andrew’s Church, a large and historic Presbyterian church in downtown Toronto. St. Andrew’s was founded in 1830 as the first Church of Scotland congregation in the Town of York. It was first located at the southwest corner of Church and Adelaide Streets but this building was abandoned when it became too small for the expanding congregation.

William George Storm was chosen to be the architect for a larger building. The present building at King and Simcoe Streets was opened for worship in 1876 and is built in the Romanesque Revival style. The geometry of the church’s facade is amazing.

St. Andrew's Church.
St. Andrew’s Church

St. Andrew’s today is a living church. The church interior includes rich and handsomely carved wood, the Gallery Organ and choir loft, and beautiful stained glass windows.

St. Andrew’s manse, located south of the church, is in the Second Empire style with a Mansard roof. Again, the geometry of this building makes it attractive.

St. Andrew’s Manse

3. March At A Glance

We had a mild March with plenty of sunny days and warmer than normal temperatures. Daylight saving started on March 14. Spring arrived on March 20 with clear blue skies and sunshine. The nice weather was ideal for my outdoor explorations.

Health

In March, I cycled, walked, did body weight workouts, practiced meditation and yoga regularly. I started playing disc golf as the weather warmed up.

March was also the month when Ontario entered Wave 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic while the vaccination rollout made small progress. Toronto has been in lockdown since November 2020. I continue the 3Ws to stay safe and healthy: Wash my hands, wear my mask, and watch my distance.

Home

In March, I celebrated virtually with two family members and one longtime friend on their birthdays. I baked a blueberry banana loaf, first of 2021.

To support local businesses, I ordered Pad Thai and curry dishes from Salad King, a new-to-me eatery. The delivery was quick. The food arrived hot and tasty. I got a break from cooking. Win-win-win!

Leisure

Architecture – I visited Campbell House and Osgoode Hall, before St. Andrew’s Church, to satisfy my interest in architecture and history.

Art – I saw amazing ice sculptures at the IceFest 21 A Trip Around The World event, colourful portraits at Femme de Fleur exhibit and attractive art items outside the Gardiner Museum.

Blogs – I hosted four Weekend Coffee Share blog link-ups and participated in several other fun link-ups in March. Great turnout each weekend kept me actively reading blogs and writing comments.

Books – I enjoyed reading 9 books from 5 authors. I’d definitely read more of their books:

  1. Ridgerunner – Gil Adamson. *
  2. Just Listen – Sarah Dessen.
  3. The Moon & More – Sarah Dessen.
  4. This Lullaby – Sarah Dessen.
  5. What Happened To Goodbye – Sarah Dessen.
  6. An Ocean of Minutes – Thea Lim. *
  7. The Suspect – Michael Robotham. *
  8. The Chalk Man – C.J. Tudor. *
  9. The Hiding Place – C.J. Tudor.

Asterisk indicates new-to-me author. I keep track of what I’ve read on my Books in 2021 page. Year-To-Date Reading Totals: 25 books, 10 new authors, and 10 categories.

Languages – I continued taking French and Spanish lessons on Duolingo. They’re fun exercises.

I’m grateful for the bits of joy in March. I look forward to exploring more local places in April.

Happy Easter to those of you celebrating. Enjoy the weekend and keep safe. I’d love to hear your comments.

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5 Themes For A Fun Week

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #12! 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.

The first week of Spring has been fantastic. Daytime high temperatures ranged from 12C to 20C (54F to 68F) with clear blue skies for most of the week. The mild and sunny days made all my outdoor activities enjoyable and me happy.

Here’s my 5 selected themes for a fun week:

1. Architecture

On sunny morning #1, I cycled to Queen Street West to visit several heritage-designated buildings. I’m sharing two of them with Thursday Doors photo challenge this week: Campbell House and Osgoode Hall. Click on my image gallery for more photos and history details.

Campbell House is the oldest remaining house from the original site of the Town of York, and is one of the few surviving examples of Georgian architecture left in Toronto. It was built in 1822 by Chief Justice William Campbell and his wife Hannah. It’s now a heritage house and museum owned by the City of Toronto government.

Exterior  of Campbell House.
Campbell House.

Osgoode Hall is named for William Osgoode, the first Chief Justice of Upper Canada (now the province of Ontario). The original building was constructed between 1829 and 1832. The iron fence around the property dates from 1867. The so-called “cow gates” were based on the design of cattle guards meant to keep out grazing animals.

Osgoode Hall was built over a period of 190 years, so as to accommodate the growing needs of its owners. A National Historic Site of Canada and a Heritage building of Ontario, it currently houses the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Superior Court of Justice, and the Law Society of Ontario.

Osgoode Hall.
Osgoode Hall.

Before COVID-19, I had done tours inside both Campbell House and Osgoode Hall. The impressive interior of Osgoode Hall includes the Rotunda with the original tile floor, heritage courtrooms from the late 1800’s, the Great Library with holdings of 100,000 volumes, Benchers’ Quarters, and Convocation Hall that boasts ten gorgeous stained glass windows covering 4,000 years of law. I highly recommend this tour when Osgoode Hall re-opens to the public.

2. Art

On sunny morning #2, I cycled and walked around to see outdoor public art: Two portraits at the Femme de Fleur exhibit by Apanaki Temitayo M, one Untitled display by Jun Kaneko, and Cracked Wheat by Shary Boyle.

I realized later that coincidentally, all four art items have a human body theme. The Cracked Wheat vase stands on two human legs. Click on the images to see their bigger version.

3. Beaches

On sunny morning #3, I cycled along the shoreline of Lake Ontario and checked out several beaches. It was a glorious day to be by the calm water. By lunch time, I sat down on Sunnyside beach and watched a group of mute swans. They swam, ducked their heads for food, spread their wings, etc. It was an amazing swan show!

Mute swans.

4. Disc Golf

On sunny morning #4, I cycled to the local 9-hole disc golf course and played my first disc golf game of 2021. It was a perfect day to play. Calm wind, pleasant temperature, and soft sunlight. I enjoyed playing while listening to birds, watching the squirrels, and looking at the lake.

5. Nature Trails

On sunny morning #5, I cycled to High Park, a big and beautiful park in the west end of Toronto. I explored nature trails, walked among tall trees, listened to birds, and watched the ducks in Grenadier Pond. Total bliss!

Nature trail in High Park.

Overall, it was a fun-filled week. I’m grateful that I’m able to do what makes me happy.

Linking with #LifeThisWeek, #WeeklySmile.

How did your week go? Which of the 5 themes would you choose? I’d love to hear your comments.

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How I Enjoy Spring

Green chairs by the lake.

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #11! 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. Let’s sit in the big green chairs and chat while enjoying the views by the lake.

A Good Week

It’s been a good week, cool, with a mix of sun and clouds, and great for going outside. Five fun activities that make me smile this week:

  1. I cycled on a recently added bike path on University Avenue which is one of the main arteries in downtown Toronto. My trip was fast and fabulous.
  2. I visited the Bloor-Yorkville IceFest21 event. This year’s theme is A Trip Around The World. Click here to see some of the amazing ice sculptures.
  3. On one of my walks, I discovered several beautiful outdoor art displays and murals. Art where I don’t expect it is delightful.
  4. I read a good suspense novel, The Chalk Man, by C.J. Tudor, a new-to-me author. I enjoyed her debut novel so much that I read her second and also good book, The Hiding Place.
  5. I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share #11 and participating in the following link-ups: Leslie’s Spring Fun List, #SundayStills, #Colour2021, Cee’s FOTD, and #LifeThisWeek.
Tulips in Spring.
Soft Spring green.

Spring Fun List

As I type this, Toronto is still in lockdown. My Spring fun list includes what I can do while following public health measures:

  1. Cycle to explore parks, the lake shore, and the city centre.
  2. Take walks to enjoy nature in Spring and free outdoor public art.
  3. View Toronto’s Cherry Blossoms and the annual Canadian Tulip Festival.
  4. Meet my family and friends outside.
  5. Play 9-hole disc golf in a public park.
  6. Paddle around Toronto Islands.
  7. Plant a small herb garden.
  8. Read 1 book per week and add to my Books in 2021.
  9. Take photos and share my explorations on my blog.
  10. Try a new restaurant take-out.

The Sakura (cherry blossom) trees in Toronto’s High Park are a gift from the citizens of Tokyo. The first Japanese Somei-Yoshino cherry tree was planted here in 1959.

The Canadian Tulip Festival celebrates the historic Royal gift of tulips from the Dutch to Canadians immediately following the Second World War as a symbol of international friendship. Over 1 million tulips will be available for local or virtual viewing May 14-24, 2021.

Spring Green

Spring and green go hand in hand. Let me show you my Spring Green pictures from my photo archive.

The Emerald Isle: March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day which reminds me of my trip to Ireland. The Ring of Kerry, in the south west of Ireland, is a scenic drive that follows the coastline along the Wild Atlantic Way for about 180 km (111 miles). The stunning and green landscape has everything from the mountains to the shoreline.

The Ring of Kerry in Ireland.
The Ring of Kerry in Ireland.

The 16 emerald-coloured lakes at Plitvice Lakes National Park, the oldest and largest national park in Croatia. It was designated as a national park in 1949, and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia.
Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia in March.

Spring Showers: These Lady’s Mantle fuzzy and cup-like green leaves hold onto water droplets like little gems.

Water drops on Lady's Mantle leaves.
Lady’s Mantle.

Spring Flowers: Daffodils, tulips, and many more flowers bloom in the spring. Their green leaves provide a fresh backdrop and a good colour combination with the flower colours.

Daffodils and tulips.
Daffodils and tulips.

Spring Growth: From bare to green leafy trees. Move the arrows to see.


How did your week go? What do you look forward to this season? I’d love to hear your comments.

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IceFest21 A Trip Around The World

Hello friends! This is my post to share some of my ice sculpture photos from Toronto’s Bloor-Yorkville IceFest21 event with the theme A Trip Around The World. As I type this, Toronto is still in lockdown. The IceFest21 is a nice change of scenery without traveling out of town.

From Canada to the USA, Mexico, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, Italy, Russia, Japan, and Australia. Bon voyage!

The Canadian Rockies.
The Canadian Rockies.
New York City Taxi, USA.
New York City Taxi, USA.
Chichen Itza, Mexico.
Chichen Itza, Mexico.
Palm Trees and Beach Photo Op, Caribbean.
Palm Trees and Beach Photo Op, Caribbean.
Big Ben in London, The United Kingdom.
Big Ben in London, The United Kingdom.
Gondola in Venice, Italy.
Gondola in Venice, Italy.
St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow, Russia.
St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia.
Pagoda in Japan.
Pagoda in Japan.
Opera House in Sydney, Australia.
Opera House in Sydney, Australia.

I hope to see you again at the Weekend Coffee Share link-up on Friday.

#IceFest21, #Lens-Artist, #Lovin’Life, #WeeklySmile, #WordlessWednesday.

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A Year Later

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #10! 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.

This Week

It’s been a very good week with spring-like and mostly sunny weather here. The daytime high temperature reached 17C (63F) on Thursday. I complete my meditation, body weight workouts, and yoga at home before going outside to cycle and walk most mornings.

A beautiful day by the pier.
A beautiful day by the pier.

When I walk in the parks and along the lake shore, I see and hear red-winged blackbirds, sparrows, starlings, woodpeckers, ducks, geese, gulls, long-tailed ducks and swans . Most trees, except evergreens, are still bare with small buds on the branches.

White birch trees.
White birch trees.

Nature continues to keep me smiling and feeling positive. I also blog, chat with my family and friends by phone, learn French and Spanish online, listen to music, sort my photos, read, and write. I just finished a very good thriller, The Suspect, by Michael Robotham.

A woodpecker.
A cute woodpecker.

A Year Later

One year after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, I reflect on some of what’s been happening:

SubjectMarch 13, 2020March 12, 2021
Lockdown in TorontoFirst lockdown lasted from March 13 until June 2020.Second lockdown that started on November 23, 2020 is still on.
Food and household suppliesShortage occurred (e.g. Flour, yeast, toilet paper).Stable supplies.
Arts and entertainmentAll venues were closed. Exhibits and shows moved online or outside.All venues are closed. Exhibits and shows are available online or outside.
City-led and City-permitted outdoor major eventsOutdoor major events were cancelled (e.g. Parades, running races, festivals).Outdoor major events are cancelled through July 1 (e.g. Parades, running races, festivals).
Personal and recreational servicesLibraries offered digital services and closed branches.

Hair salons, gyms, and swimming pools are closed.

Public parks are open. Going outside is allowed for essential reasons (e.g. exercise, health care, groceries).
Libraries offer excellent digital services and limited services inside library branches.

Hair salons, gyms, and swimming pools are closed.

Public parks are open. Going outside is allowed for essential reasons (e.g. exercise, health care, groceries).
Social distancingPublic Health advised people to practice hand washing and social distancing (2m or 6 ft. apart).

Masks were introduced later and mandated in indoor public spaces and on public transport.
The 3Ws (Wash hands, wear mask and watch distance) continue. Masks are required in indoor public spaces and on public transport.

Indoor gatherings are banned, except with members in the same household. Outside gatherings limit to 10 people.

International TravelCanadians abroad were advised to return to Canada.

Airline and tour operators started cancelling flights and tours.
Canada added travel restrictions (e.g. hotel quarantine, COVID-19 test).

Non-essential travel is discouraged.
VaccinesNo vaccine available.Canada has approved four vaccines and vaccine rollout is in progress.

There was a temporary relief in Summer 2020 when the first lockdown was lifted. I got a haircut, socialized outside, and enjoyed a fun-filled summer paddling around the Toronto Islands.

This 3-geese distancing sign reminds me to do my part while keeping a sense of humour, including in difficult situations like living in a lockdown and a pandemic.

Three-geese distancing.
Three-geese distancing.

A year later, the main improvements are stable food and household supplies and vaccines. Since December 2020, Ontario has started its three-phase vaccination plan. I’m in the last phase to get the vaccine at the end of summer 2021 depending on vaccine supply.

I choose optimism. Yellow is the colour of optimism. So I updated this post with some yellow flowers from my photo archive. All florals are shared with FOTD photo challenge and Life This Week.

Daffodils.
Daffodils.
Sunflowers.
Sunflowers.

How did your week go? What improvements have you noticed 1 year after the pandemic started? I’d love to hear your comments.

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Doors in Morocco

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #9! 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. Imagine we’re sitting down in a “tea room” in Fez, Morocco and let’s chat.

A sitting area for tea in a carpet shop in Fez, Morocco.
A sitting area for fresh mint tea in a carpet shop in Fez, Morocco.

Organizing

The weather has been good, cool and sunny this week. Most mornings I do my meditation, body weight workout or yoga at home, then head outside to cycle and walk. In the afternoon, I work on tasks to organize my living.

One example of organizing my living is a routine that I do in the first week of a new month, such as:

  • Back up my blog and media files: To have a back up just in case.
  • Update my reading list.
  • Download and delete photos from my phone.

Travel Photos

From my photo archives, I select a sample of doors in Morocco for Dan’s Thursday Doors photography challenge and Denyse’s Share Your Snaps this week.

1. The Royal Palace in Rabat is the primary and official residence of the king of Morocco. The current palace was built in 1864.

The Royal Palace entrance, Rabat, Morocco.
The Royal Palace in Rabat.

2. Doors at the Mausoleum of Mohammed V in Rabat: This royal family mausoleum contains the tombs of the Moroccan King Mohammed V and his two sons, late King Hassan II and Prince Abdallah.

Royal Guard at the Mausoleum of Mohammed V in Rabat, Morocco.
Royal Guard at the Mausoleum of Mohammed V in Rabat.

3. Doors at the Al Qaraouiyine Mosque and University in Fez: Al Qaraouiyine Mosque is home to the University of Al-Quaraouiyine. Founded in 859, it is believed to be the world’s oldest continuously functioning university, and remains a vitally important center of Islamic learning.

Al Qaraouiyine Mosque and University, Fez, Morocco.
Al Qaraouiyine Mosque and University, Fez, Morocco.

4. Doors at the Royal Palace in Fez: The royal family maintains a palace in every city for each of their visits. The gigantic doors are made of brass and gold, surrounded by zellij tile work and carved cedar wood.

Doors at the Royal Palace, Fez, Morocco.
The Royal Palace in Fez.

5. Doors at Place Seffarine: This square is one of the oldest squares in the Medina in Fez, with little shopping stores full of Moroccan handmade goodies.

Place Seffarine, Fez, Morocco.
Place Seffarine in Fez.

6. Bab Agnaou Gate: One of the 20 gates and part of the walls built by the Almoravids in the 12th century. It’s a passage to the Medina of Marrakesh. The Medina of Marrkesh, a World Heritage site, is a labyrinth of small streets and alleyways leading to schools, mosques, souks, and houses.

Bab Agnaou Gate in Marrakesh.
Bab Agnaou Gate in Marrakesh. Note the storks and their nests atop the gate.

7. Plant-covered entrance at Jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh: Jardin Majorelle was the creation of French painter Jacques Majorelle. Famed designer Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé bought Jardin Majorelle in 1980 and restored it.

Jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh.
Jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh.

8. Doors at Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca: The Mosque’s doors are made of Canadian titanium. Everything else is made of local Moroccan materials.

Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca.
Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca.
Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca.
Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca.

Your Turn

  1. How did your week go?
  2. How often do you back up your blog and media files?
  3. Have you been to Morocco or any other country in Africa?

I’d love to hear your comments.

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The 9 Gifts of February

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #8! 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.

In spite of the lockdown in Toronto until at least March 8 and wintry days, there were gifts in February. These 9 are mine:

1. Natural Light

We have some bright sunny days and longer daylight time this month. When I walk on the fantastic Waterfront Trail to the shores of Lake Ontario, the sunshine gives me our best natural source of vitamin D and boost my mood.

Sunny day with white clouds, ice and snow.
Sunny day with white clouds, ice and snow.

2. Beautiful Scenery

February delivers more cold days and snow than January. Still, downtown Toronto hasn’t had as much snow as other areas in Ontario. I embrace the quiet beauty of winter, perfect to practice mindfulness outside.

Snow on evergreen trees and the ground.
Snow on evergreen trees and the ground.

3. Personal Trainers

The snow-covered steps at the Toronto Music Garden reminds me of the Mountain Climber exercise. This month I use a different fitness instructor’s video series to refresh my body weight training at home. I also keep up with my meditation and yoga practice.

It’s fantastic to have access to workout videos on YouTube. I like how my intense body weight workouts and my relaxing yoga flow compliment each other. The instructors are my virtual personal trainers and fitness motivational coaches.

Snow-covered steps at Toronto Music Garden.
Snow-covered steps at Toronto Music Garden.

4. Happy Celebrations

Mid-February, my family had virtual celebrations on Lunar New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Family Day. Two family members had their happy birthdays. I had several phone chats with my longtime friends. Everyone is in good health and that is well worth celebrating.

Family Day fun: Build a snow fort.
Family fun activity: Build a snow fort.

5. Colourful Arts

Textile artist Amanda McCavour creates a colourful collage within the treetops with hundreds of pieces of hand-cut fabric for her Sketch, Sample, Sew exhibit. This creative display makes me look up and appreciate various colours including white.

Colourful Sketch, Sample, Sew art exhibit.
Colourful Sketch, Sample, Sew art exhibit against white clouds and snow.

6. Thoughtful Comments

This month I enjoy writing 4 blog posts, 1 guest post here, and host 4 Weekend Coffee Share blog link-ups.

While I receive many thoughtful comments from my blog readers every week, those left for this post stood out. Thank you, everyone, who took the time to write and share your thoughts.

Winter birds in the harbour.
Winter birds dotted the harbour with white clouds, ice and snow in the horizon.

7. Good Books

I use the Toronto Public Library Reading Challenge 2021 categories to read more widely and discover new books, authors, and genres. I read 9 good books in February:

  • Daylight – David Baldacci.
  • Minute to Midnight – David Baldacci.
  • Older, But Better, But Older – Caroline De Maigret. *
  • Saint Everything – Sarah Dessen.
  • The Rest of The Story – Sarah Dessen.
  • Empire of Wild – Cherie Dimaline. *
  • The Searcher – Tana French. *
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green and David Levithan.
  • The Summer Book – Tove Jansson, translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal. *

Asterisk indicates new-to-me author. I keep track of what I’ve read on my Books in 2021 page. Year-To-Date Reading Totals: 16 new books, 6 new authors, and 9 categories.

White Muskoka chairs with a view.
White Muskoka chairs: My book nook with a view.

8. Fun Challenges

Aside from the Reading Challenge, I enjoy entering photography challenges weekly: Thursday Doors, Rosy Red, Birds and all things that are white in this post are for Terri’s #SundayStills photography challenge this weekend.

Samples of my February photo challenge entries.

9. New Learning

I learned from Trent at Trent’s World blog and a few longtime Weekend Coffee Share participants that the Weekend Coffee Share link up started in 2014. It had four hosts in the six years before I started being the 5th host this year.

I continued French and Spanish lessons on Duolingo daily in February. I learned more about plants and birds in my area. I look forward to seeing Spring flowers soon.

White trillium flower.
White trillium is Ontario’s provincial flower.

I’m grateful for the gifts of February.

What stood out to you in February? I’d love to hear your comments.

Linking with Life This Week.

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Lakeside Birdwatching

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #7! 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.

1. Link-Up News

Last weekend, we had a new high: 42 participants at Weekend Coffee Share #6 (41 in InLinkz and 1 did a ping back to my blog but didn’t enter the InLinkz party). Thank you, everyone, for your participation.

We have new participants and some returned from a blogging break at each link-up. So, a gentle reminder of my guidelines to join the Weekend Coffee Share link-up:

  1. Link one post.
  2. Read the host’s post and two posts from other Coffee Share participants and leave a comment so they know you’ve dropped by.
  3. Spread the Weekend Coffee Share word and link back. The hashtag is #WeekendCoffeeShare.

The guidelines are also posted in the InLinkz dashboard.

2. This Past Week

I had a good week, enjoyed many activities, and chatted with my family and friends more than normal. Downtown Toronto got some snow overnight on Monday and part of Tuesday, a lot less than other areas in Ontario. During the week, my brisk and long walks boosted my mood and the birds by the lake kept me entertained.

3. Birdwatching

I got into birdwatching about two years ago. When my sister and I went to Ecuador, the biodiversity there, including species of birds were amazing and noticeable. We spent time watching colourful birds and had a memorable overnight stay in the Amazon rainforest.

After that trip, I pay more attention to birds. Lucky me, Toronto is the home of the Blue Jays and over 350 other incredible species of birds. Toronto Blue Jays are a Canadian professional baseball team based in Toronto. They won the World Series titles in 1992 and 1993.

When I walk by Lake Ontario, I enjoy watching birds in the harbour. They make my walk more fun and interesting. In this post, I focus on birds by the lake even though I’ve seen many more bird species in land. Let me show you in photos.

Common Birds

Common birds that are at the lake year-round include gulls, ducks, geese, rock pigeons, and swans. The ring-billed gulls have a black band encircling the yellow bill that distinguish them from other gulls.

A ring-billed gull.
A ring-billed gull.

Canada geese have the signature white chinstrap on their black necks. There are many of them along the lake shore, both on land and in the water.

2 Canada geese.
2 Canada geese.
Winter Birds

In the winter, attractive bufflehead ducks, long-tailed ducks, and common mergansers arrive here and stay for a few months. The cormorants with aquamarine eyes show up in the Spring.

Bufflehead ducks: The male duck has a large white patch on the head, the female duck has a small white patch on the cheek.

2 Bufflehead ducks.
2 Bufflehead ducks.

Long-tailed ducks: The males have mostly white, rich brown, black and grey on the face and long, slender tail feathers. Females are smudgy brown and white without the long tail.

4 male and 1 female long-tailed ducks.
4 male and 1 female long-tailed ducks.

Common Mergansers: They are large ducks with long, slender bills. The males are striking with clean white bodies, dark green heads, and a slender, serrated red bill. The gray-bodied females have rich, cinnamon heads with a short crest.

3 female mergansers.
3 female mergansers.
Summer Birds

Last summer, I was thrilled to see many birds when I went paddling in the wetlands on Toronto Islands. My favourites were the great egrets and grey herons.

Great egret.
Great egret.
Grey heron.
Grey heron.

I refer to the Birds of Toronto guide to identify these birds.

What birds are common in your neighbourhood?

Linking with Sunday Stills, Life This Week, The Weekly Smile.

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