Monday, May 25, 2015

On This Journey

There is a pack that I pick up and wear every day.  

I need it for the journey.   

Its contents have been carefully selected, but even so, they feel heavy after a while.

Stamina is needed to carry the extra weight, and so I do what I can to keep my energy high.   At times, I have even sprinted with it on.

At other times, it feels so heavy, I cannot help but cry.  Knowing that failure is the inability to carry the weight.  Knowing that I will be lost without the contents.  That somehow, I must find hidden strength and persevere.  

It is an honour to be on this path.  To have direction.  To see a way forward.  To know, that if the journey is made successfully, it will all be worth it.

This is my mood coming out of a weekend with Henry that was exhilarating.  

Our time together is like walking the Yellow Brick Road; certain that we're on the right path, but not exactly sure how everything will play out.

Saturday's highlights were going for a bike ride and trying out the local swimming pool.  Henry was apprehensive about swimming, and once in the water was all tense and chattering teeth.  But after a few minutes he relaxed somewhat and we ended up staying the whole hour with Henry asking to stay longer and to come back again.

Sunday's highlights were choir at church and going to Henry's 2nd cousin's 6th birthday party just out of the city.  There was a bouncy castle, water guns, relay races...and he got to spend a little time with his great grandpa.  

What I enjoy most about being with Henry is his honesty and sense of humour.  He is exploring sounds, silly faces and how to tell a good joke.  There is some whining, but he is finding that it does not result in getting what he wants.  Patience and good manners on the other hand, do.

And so, the rest IN PICTURES

Picking Henry up from school.  

Bread made from scratch.
Henry helped to kneed.

Stepping stones.

Pirates capsizing.

Ivy on the window = better than curtains.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Victoria Day Adventuring

The weather was on our side today and so Henry & I had a 4 hour cycle adventure down at Ashbridge's Bay.  

Armed with my leftover baking, we cycled to Woodbine Park, up and around to where the boats are best viewed.  We climbed on rocks, followed a hidden trail, threw rocks and sticks into the water, found a "hidden" beach where Henry entertained himself scooping rocks with a shovel until both of our skin had past reached sun-exposure capacity.

We cycled back to the apartment, marvelling at the large number of people gathering at the Beach for Victoria Day.  

To save our skin as well as to rest, we stayed at the apartment for the afternoon.  Henry played video games for a bit, we played "steamroller", played Bingo, coloured, had a bath (well Henry did) with a pirate ship and then had dinner.  I had made a new recipe and it was the first time I'd cooked shrimp and possibly the first time Henry's eaten shrimp.  Served with rice and a salad, it went down a treat.  The okra and red pepper remained on his plate however.

After dinner, we walked back to the beach as promised, to enjoy soft serve from the ice cream truck.  Followed by a short play in the park, the kid was ready for bed.  

The fireworks didn't start until 9:45pm so unfortunately for Henry it was too late for him.  But happily, I discovered that my apartment has a good view from the living room window.  So I tried to wake Henry up to have him watch, but he sleepily shook his head "no" and went back to sleep.

At the end of the day, I'm still none the wiser as to why Victoria Day is (still) a holiday.


"Down Home Shrimp" in the slow-cooker.
Henry actually liked it.  He liked it!

Woodbine park.

Woodbine park water fowl.

"Follow me!  I'm going to walk down to the point."
Sure, whatever you say.

Rock Climbing

Trail blazing.

Snack by a glorious willow.

Henry picked a dandelion for me.  

Ice cream truck treat.

Great view!  Except for the filthy windows.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Adventures and Fika

Adventures can be created from nothing.  Or sometimes they are the result of how we choose to react to a given situation or challenge.


  • Origin:  from Latin adventurus 'about to happen',
  • Noun:  An unusual and exciting or daring experience; excitement associated with danger or the taking of risks.  
  • Verb:  Engage in daring or risky activity

There is nothing particularly risky per se about the last week.  Or my life in general.  With the exception that I'm actively engaged with my emotions.  That I actively manage the swings up and down.  

This means not pouring that glass of wine every night, so that I can stay focused.  

It means choosing to go for a bike ride when all I'd rather do is eat cookies and watch Netflix, because there is an ache I'd like to not feel for an hour or two.

This is an adventure because it feels like I'm taking a step forward into the dark undefined space of the future, where I blindly place my hope.  Hoping that I will find something.  Something akin to turning on the light.  Something akin to being at peace.


And so, each day is taken as they come.  


On Wednesday, Henry was very keen to go for a bike ride, so we quickly had dinner and headed out across the street into the warm spring sunshine.

And enjoyed the Mother's Day cookies
Henry had made at daycare.

The next morning as I was getting Henry dressed for school, I noticed red spots all over his body.  Oh boy.  So I made the calls in "sick" and we headed to the Dr.  

The doctor said that he had a virus, similar to measles or chicken pox, but this was so mild that it needed no medication.  The spots weren't itchy and Henry was in good spirits, so we enjoyed an unexpected day off together. 

We walked home from the doctor's office and ambled a bit.  I bought a kite for Henry as well as some water wings.  

Ambling around.
We then relaxed at home, watched Mary Poppins which he was very reluctant to do, but by the time "Chim Chim Cheree" came on, he was dancing on the back of the futon.

Having karate that night was an excellent outlet for all of that pent-up energy.

The next day Henry was back at school and then with his dad for the weekend.  

My friend and I planned to bike to India Bazaar and have a curry on Friday night.  When she was delayed by a flat tire, I decided to ride around the neighbourhood and explore.  I was surprised to find a very diverse collection of places of worship.  Here are some things that caught my eye while I killed some time:

Craven Road artwork.

Craven Road.

Buddhist Temple

Fatih Mosque

Hoa Nghiem Temple
Vietnamese Buddhist Association 
Circus School

This weekend, for a few reasons, I ended up doing a lot of baking.  The main reason is that I decided to attempt a Swedish fika, which is basically a coffee break that can be had at any time for any occasion and should have coffee, buns, cookies, cake, cream, fruit, etc...

On Friday I started the baking.  But not for fika-reasons.  It was more because I had old bananas.  So I made this ring cake.  And also some pie pastry dough.

On Saturday I mostly did chores and prepared food for the evening's picnic, as well as source some ingredients for more baking.  And then I baked.

The only place I know of to buy pearl sugar in Toronto.
That said, I haven't looked too hard.

Picnic Quiche

Swedish cookies.

I met my brother, his wife and their friends at Christie Pits Park for a lovely picnic.  Followed by pints in a pub and some requisite karaoke.

Picnic sunset.

Having stayed up much later than anticipated, I failed to go to church.  Instead, I baked.  

Crushing cardamom.

Swedish cinnamon buns, or "Kanelbullar."
I should have baked them a few minutes longer.

A fika for a friend.

After having baked and eaten some goodies, a bike ride down Ashbridge's Bay was a great cap to the day.

Tomorrow is Victoria Day holiday.  I'll have Henry at 8am and don't yet have a plan for the day.  It very much depends on his mood and the weather.

One way or the other, we'll find some kind of adventure.  Or it will surely find us.

à bientôt

Monday, May 11, 2015

Washington D.C. / First Flight

This last week, I could feel myself starting to burn the candle at both ends.  Not enough sleep, not enough energy, eating too much, and so on.  

I did have a reprieve mid-week with a lovely evening out with a friend.  We walked a lot, ate tapas, had a few drinks.  Quite merry.

And then, Henry & I had our adventure, a weekend away and his first plane ride.

Travelling light.
It started out with a pancake breakfast at the local diner, then we packed up and took the streetcar to the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.  

There is a 90 second ferry ride that we thoroughly enjoyed, standing at the railing, watching two sparrows hitch a ride.  

At the ticket counter, Henry was given a Blue Jays tattoo being it his first time flying.  The Porter lounge was civilized.  Henry used his crayons and colouring book and snacked on the complementary cookies, while I drank coffee and read the paper.  We arrived pretty early to the airport, to take in the whole experience without any stress.  However next time, perhaps we will cut down on the extra time.  

Finally, we boarded the plane.  Henry was very excited to have a view of the wings and watch the propellers start.  He wanted to know where the runway was, and why we weren't going on it.  When it was finally our turn for takeoff, the speed was clearly not what he was expecting, but in a good way. 

I thought that Henry might be freaked out by flying above the clouds, or would experience motion sickness, but he was all Gung-ho.  Mainly obsessed with taking his seat belt off.

The descent into Dulles was a little bumpy but he hung in there.  It took us 2 hours to clear customs and exit the airport.  Freaking heck.   But Henry was a great travelling companion and more often than not kept me laughing.  

My friend collected us from the airport and then braved the Friday afternoon D.C. traffic that landed us another 90 minutes of sitting until we reached the final destination of Greenbelt, MD.

After a scrumptious dinner and a play in the park, we all hit the hay.

On Saturday, we took to the subway into D.C. and headed to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.  Once we surface from the underground, Henry was not interested in the buildings, the heat or sunshine, but instead in the different coloured taxis, different kinds of buses and the "fire ambulances." 

The Air & Space museum was a hit, with lots of old aircraft and replica space crafts.  Henry touched a moon rock, but still doesn't believe that it was a moon rock, as it didn't conform to his imagination.

We headed to the food trucks stationed at the Mall for lunch and then ate in the Sculpture Garden by a large fountain.  Perhaps this was the most peaceful and enjoyable part of the day.  Lots of birds and ducks to feed.  Playing in the water, chatting with strangers.

Henry licked a happy face into the top of the ice cream cone.
It was hot, we had some ice cream and went back to the Air & Space museum.  We saw "Journey to Space" at the Planetarium, which was seriously awe-inducing.  

Amelia Earhart's plane. Lipstick red.  Classy.

After we had exhausted all that the museum had to offer, we headed to a French cafe for refreshments.  Henry was then introduced to Garageband and made his song.

Before heading back to Greenbelt, we of course had to stop off and see the White House.  But by this time, Henry was pretty tired.  Once there he said "that's it?  Oh."  And he refused to turn around and have his picture taken.  He just wanted to go home.

Sunday, we explored the Greenbelt Farmer's Market, the parks and the paths to the lake.  Henry was entranced by nature and the "forest" (trees.)  He enjoyed picking buttercups and dandelions, which he then gave to me for Mother's Day.  And at the lake he successfully spotted tadpoles (or "tagpoles" as he calls them) and some frogs.  He was especially excited to see a dragonfly and a frog on a log.

So then we made our trip back to Dulles, through the system and had a smooth flight back to Toronto. 

Henry leading the way to the departure gate.

Niagara Falls.
Once out of the airport, I decided that I'd had enough of waiting and opted to walk up to the streetcars instead of waiting for a taxi at the airport.  And the streetcar that came gliding up was one of the new streetcars, which really made Henry's day!

All in all, it was fun to travel with Henry.  He wanted to take charge and explore.  He was stimulated and energized and, most importantly, we had lots of time to just be together.  

In contrast, this coming week will see me with Henry for 2 nights only and then he's with his dad for the weekend.  

I take heart in the ivy growing across my apartment windows.  And in the flowers in the park and in the lush grass everywhere.  

So, I will ride the high from the trip and keep myself from slipping into any malaise.  

Until next time.