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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How I Enjoyed March 2022

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #63! 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 13/ 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. April 1 is a good time for me to reflect on how well I’ve aligned my actions with my intentions in March.

Waterfront Trail
The Waterfront Trail, March 2022

Health

In March, I continued my wellness routine. Indoor practice includes meditation, language lessons, strength training and yoga. Outdoor fitness includes cycling and walking; both have increased in frequency as the weather improves.

When I cycle or walk on a nature trail, it’s a time for heightened sensory awareness and health booster – the colors around me, the variety of birds, the sounds of birdsong, the views of Lake Ontario, and the sight of new buds on trees in spring along my route.

Home

Family – As we moved into spring, outdoor social events gradually returned. I celebrated two family birthdays with an outing to see five Winter Stations at Woodbine Beach. Spring inspired me to bake before the summer heat arrives. The banana muffins and blueberry muffins turned out yummy and were devoured.

Friends – A lovely evening out to celebrate a longtime friend’s birthday gave us the opportunity to admire three beautiful art installations. A coffee date with another longtime friend included a visit to see six amazing black and white murals.

Community – On March 21, Ontario lifted masking requirements in most indoor settings. Toronto welcomes back major in-person events and festivals this spring and summer. I intend to volunteer at selected events to support my city.

On March 20, I volunteered to help at the Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5K Race, awarding participants medals at the end of the race. The event successfully raised money towards supporting athletes with physical and mental disabilities and the Red Cross Humanitarian Relief Funds For Ukraine.

Leisure

Bird watching – The common birds in spring have returned in good numbers: American robins, European starlings, red cardinals, red-winged blackbirds, red-breasted nuthatches, to name a few.

I was pleased to see about twenty Trumpeter swans by Toronto Outer Harbour. Their black bills distinguish them from other swan species. The bright yellow numbered wing tags mean the re-introduced Trumpeters are from Ontario.

Blogging – I wrote four blogs and hosted four Weekend Coffee Share linkups:

  1. Cycling The Lower Don Trail
  2. Visoleil, moonGARDEN and Dreaming
  3. These B/W Murals Revive History
  4. Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring 2022

Reading – I read seven engaging books; listed below by author’s last name:

  1. Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (family grief)
  2. The Long Call by Ann Cleeves (detective)
  3. The High Road by Terry Fallis (humour)
  4. Operation Angus by Terry Fallis (humour)
  5. Mrs. Caliban by Rachel Ingalls (fantasy)
  6. Tales from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (time travel)
  7. Small Bodies of Water by Nina Mingya Powles (memories, essays)

Overall

March was a fulfilling month that ended my first quarter of 2022 on a positive note. Throughout winter 2022, I maintained a good fitness level with regular exercises, stayed connected with my family and friends, contributed what I could to my community, and enjoyed several leisure activities.

I’m grateful for my good health, joyful moments and fun experiences in March. April is off to a beautiful start.

Pink cyclamens with water droplets

How was your March?

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Running My First Food Drive

Hello and welcome back to Weekend Coffee Share #51! I hope you’ve had an enjoyable holiday and a great start to the new year. Let’s catch up while we enjoy our hot coffee or tea.

If you’re new to my blog or the weekly Weekend Coffee Share link-up, welcome! Please check my guidelines before linking up.

Week 1/ 52

I had a wonderful blogging break and returned with my Happy New Year 2022 blog post last Sunday. On Tuesday I finished my first Community Food Drive. In previous years, I donated food items and money to food banks. A few events compelled me to take a more hands-on approach.

Heart
Heart display at the Distillery District

My First Food Drive

Here are 5 things I’d like to share about my first Community Food Drive:

1. It started with an e-mail

In early December 2021, I got an email from the office of my community centre advising that during COVID-19, food banks will not pick up donations from our traditional collection boxes at the community centre. They pick up from fire halls or participating grocery stores. In the same week, I read articles about increasing food insecurity, food prices, and use of food banks.

Both the community centre and a local fire hall are on my walking route. They’re about 800m (0.5 mile) apart. For pedestrians, it’s easy. For drivers, it’s a nightmare due to the street layout and no public parking at the fire hall. Without the convenient pick up from collection boxes, food banks may get less donations. I saw a service gap that I could bridge.

2. It was easy to set up

I contacted Daily Bread food bank and the community centre to inquire about having a collection box to run a food drive. I volunteered to pick up food donations from the collection box and walk to deliver them to a local fire hall.

After a few emails, the community centre agreed to set up two collection boxes with Daily Bread’s list of Most Needed Food Items posted, and a message out to residents in my neighbourhood.

3. It was a contactless project

Following public health COVID-19 guidelines, I had no contact with the donors or staff. Pick-up and drop-off locations were unattended and outdoors. I specified a start date and an end date for the food drive: From December 13th to 31st.

I took a blogging break in the last two weeks of December to work on the food drive. It was a good decision. I picked up the food donations, sorted them to balance the weights, and walked to drop them off.

Samples of food donations
Samples of food donations

4. It was heartwarming

Since it was my first food drive, I had no idea what to expect. The donations were heartwarming. One neighbour left me a message to say my generosity has inspired other residents and they offered help if I needed assistance moving the donations.

The donations and that message affirmed my faith in humanity. Good people are out there and we care about our community.

5. It ended with excellent results

My food drive collected three hundred fifty (350) non-perishable and most needed food items, or about $1500 in cash equivalent. I shared the results with my neighbours and thanked the donors for their generosity.

Together, we contributed to help those in need and make our community a better place. It was an excellent way to start the new year.

How has your week been?

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