Thanks a million!

It felt a little bit like fall today and that made me think of Thanksgiving.  It will be over when I write again so I thought I’d write a little note of thanks to TPW for all you’ve added to my life.

Thanks for being role models – showing me how to be kind, how to be courageous, how to live with difficulties, how to recover from hardship.

Thanks for being mind-openers – I always expect that everyone I know thinks like me.  It’s so exciting when someone I respect has a different opinion and I have to stretch my mind to fit that in.

Thanks for being travel advisors and travel companions – we’ve been some fun places together.  And when I’m planning a trip, there’s always at least one person who’s been there and has good advice for me.

Thanks for parties – pool and tea and otherwise.

Thanks for companionship throughout these years of covid – you were there by phone and zoom through the darkest times.

Thanks for medical advice, experience and referrals – it’s helped me make good decisions.

Thanks for listening patiently when I drone on about my grandkids or tell you for the 500th time that my knee hurts.

And of course, thank you for being friends!  (Hear theme song from Golden Girls in the background.)

THE END OF AN ERA (By Danielle)

The Queen is dead. Long Live the King!  Doesn’t that have a deeply antiquated, almost Shakespearean, sound to it? Yet this is 2022 and many of us are feeling strong emotions at what is the end of a long era of history. Queen Elizabeth II was the longest reigning monarch in British history (Canadian history too, of course.) Few of us knew any other Head of State in our lifetimes. We thought she might live forever. Even though she was 96 years old, we were surprised by what seemed like her sudden death.

The range of expression in the media and among friends has been huge. Some of us cried; some planned trips to London to be there for the royal funeral. Some worried about what King Charles III and his consort Queen Camilla might bring to their new role. Others found hope that this might mean the end of imperialism and colonialism. Quite a bit of anger was expressed by indigenous commentators whose coverage of the mass murders the same week in Saskatchewan was brushed aside by this news from Britain

Still others were just weird: One person was quoted as saying “How can they make a man Queen? This is carrying wokeism TOO far!” Then there was the issue of our currency. Would the Queen’s likeness be substituted by that of the new King – and will the banknotes then look like covers from Mad Magazine? Many worried about what will happen to the Queen’s corgies. More wondered if Canada will get a holiday on the day of the Queen’s funeral.

Suffice it to say, whatever your reaction to the news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the succession to the throne, there will be no shortage of topics for conversation on our walks together, no matter how far we go nor how long we take to get there.

Happy Birthday to YOU!

 

I intended to write about the birthday hat.  I started by attempting to verify my assumption that the birthday song had been written by Ira Gershwin.  Wrong!  And then I discovered that until 2015, there was a copyright on the song and the cost to sing it was $US700!

Reading more deeply I learned:

  • Patty Hill, a kindergarten principal from Kentucky, and her sister created the music and lyrics for “Good Morning to All” as a song that young children would find easy to sing. Their combination of melody and lyrics in “Happy Birthday to You” first appeared in print in 1912.
  • Warner/Chappell collected about US$5,000 per day (US$2 million per year) in royalties for every use in film, television, radio, and anywhere open to the public, and for any group where a substantial number of those in attendance were not family or friends of the performer.
  • On September 22, 2015, a federal judge ruled that the Warner/Chappell copyright claim over the lyrics was invalid. The 1935 copyright held by Warner/Chappell applied only to a specific piano arrangement of the song, not the lyrics or melody and that because there are no other claimants to the copyright, and the copyright to the melody long ago expired, the song was de facto in the public domain.
  • Famous performances include:
    • Marilyn Munroe singing to John Kennedy
    • On August 5, 2013, the first anniversary of its landing on Mars, the Curiosity Rover celebrated its “birthday” when it sang Happy Birthday on the Martian surface.
    • Stephen Colbert attempted to sing the song in honor of the 90th anniversary of the song’s 1924 publication, but was prevented due to the copyright issues. Colbert instead premiered his new “royalty-free” birthday song – which turned out to be a parody of the US national anthem and ends with the stanza “Warner Music can’t sue me, and the home of the brave.”

Courage

I used to think that courage was a matter of doing scary stuff like bungee jumping or surfing fifty-foot waves. It isn’t. Those things are just some people’s idea of fun.

Courage, as I have learned from my amazing TPW friends, is turning to life, and living it. Several of our friends have found themselves without the partners they had planned to be with forever. With enormous bravery, they have left the comfort of homes they lived in for many years and moved into new and very different spaces. They have made all the awful decisions on their own (what do I do with ugly electric light fixtures? How do I reduce the amount of furniture I am used to having? How do I stay in my current home, but turn it into a place I can live in the way I want to live?)

Some have found the courage to join new and unusual groups of people (Like L. who is a member of a gang of night-riding bicyclists who ride and dance until the wee hours!)

Some have stayed beside ill or ageing friends or family members until the very end, or until they know what comes next. They have had the courage to be there.

On this beautiful day in August, when the sun is shining and the weather is glorious, I send my heartfelt thanks to all the members of TPW who have taught me so much about real courage and who are continuing to be there for each other – and for me.

A Perfect Saturday Morning

 

On a perfect Saturday morning some of our group met at Diane’s and walked to the Brickworks – and from there into the ravine.  It was a good change from our now usual Cemetery walk, and it was topped off by a pleasant meandering through the market at the Brickworks and special treats to end the walk.  It was yet another reminder of the treasures in our city and how lucky we are to be able to enjoy not only the shade in the ravine itself but of course, the great company.  Lots to catch up on as we all start to venture farther afield in our travels both locally and afar.

Inspired by this latest adventure we talked about replicating this walk, perhaps parking at the Brickworks itself before heading out.  This would enable us to buy more items at the market to take home!  More to come on that possibility.  And next week, Saturday Aug 6, we’ll be meeting at the Cemetery as usual, at 8:30 a.m.

A lovely time was had by all!

 

TPW is fortunate enough to have some members (not all –it’s not a requirement for membership) with backyard pools.  In the Time Before Covid, we had lovely annual pool parties at R’s house where her husband, a good friend to the TPW, barbequed burgers for us on the Sunday after the Midsummer Night’s Race.  We’ve missed that race and that party!

But happy days are here again.  Another member with a pool invited us to come and swim in hers after our walk this Saturday.  The weather was perfect.  How lovely to hang about on a pool noodle and chat! The hostess provided a lovely lunch on her patio.  The person who created the birthday hat had a chance to wear it while we sang and then there was cake and gelato!  Could a better time be imagined?

This group or parts of it have been together for over twelve years.  It’s very satisfying to enjoy our traditions with one another.

A FITNESS TEAM? A SOCIAL CLUB? A SUPPORT GROUP? YUP!

 

I confess that I love the Toronto Power Walkers in all its guises. There are days when we are training for an event and get together to walk the distance at truly remarkable speeds. There are days when we enjoy talking with our walking partners and then sitting happily with a coffee discussing the latest news. And then there are the days when we really need a warm and caring group to listen to our troubles and help us make important decisions about what comes next in our lives.

TPW is all of that and more. Each walker is a unique individual with needs that vary from day to day. And each of us can count on the others to be there for us whatever the needs might be at any particular moment. A birthday? Put on the silly hat and let people sing to you. A family illness or loss? Someone knows what you are going through and will listen uncritically and patiently.  Need the name of a plumber or renovator? Someone will help you find what you need. And if you just want to enjoy the beauty of the day?  So do many others, no matter how fast or slowly they may be walking.

We don’t need to be anything other than who we are, in the mood or state we happen to be in. What a fortunate and special group of people we walkers are. When we get together next week at CS’s house for the annual pool party, let’s take a moment to celebrate just being us.

 

 

Our Summer Plans (by Barb)

Saturday morning walks

There has been much discussion about where we walk. For background, in previous years we have moved this walk to High Park, for the warmer months.  With the pandemic and now, there are no cars allowed in the park, on weekends.  Some of our group did go to HP recently, but parking outside the park, then walking in – combined with limited restaurant offerings created some challenges.   At this point, here’s where our thoughts are:

  • We will continue to meet at the cemetery at 8:30. This will be our default position, with the understanding that some West-enders may elect to stick to High Park.  However, we are also looking at adding to the distances (especially for those of us training for Banff) and could extend our walks to outside the cemetery – i.e. into a ravine or down to the Brickworks.
  • We will also continue to try to meet at High Park at least once a month – but this needs to be confirmed, and logistics organized.
  • Bottom line is that we will use the blog to relay any other options that we are pursuing.  Please read each week’s submission or check your email for these updates.

Speaking of the cemetery, our delayed start Saturday morning revolved around parking.  We have been advised that anyone driving into the cemetery needs to park in areas “C” or “U”, away from the main routes with the solid yellow and white lines.

Tuesday walks

We meet in the cemetery at 3 p.m.

Thursday walks

We alternate between the cemetery and High Park (where during the week, you can drive into the park).  Meeting time is 9:30 a.m. for both locations.

Ending on a very positive note, our group enjoyed the amazing scones/tea biscuits with fresh strawberries provided by the ever talented LR.  A perfect June treat outdoors in the church park (south of the cemetery, east side).

 

The Best Decision I Ever Made

Somewhere in my long life, I was given training on how to “bring people out” when I was conversing with them.  I don’t remember much of it except the question, “What decision did you make that led you to be here now?”  It often leads to fascinating stories.  For me, the decision to join Toronto Power Walkers was one of my best.

I moved to Toronto for a job.  I made lots of “work friends” (people I like and still see often) but I wasn’t developing much of a local social life outside of work.  I travelled a great deal, which meant regularly eating out and no consistent exercise.  At a women’s conference I heard Dr. Jean Marmoreo speak about training for a marathon.  The rest is history.  I got fit and made a lot of new friends.

These friends provide role modelling in so many ways, not least staying strong.  A huge contingent walked the Sporting Life 10K in May, two of them finished the London (England) half marathon a few weeks ago, and this morning, some of them walked in the Waterfront 10K and finished fit and strong, some winning their categories.  The whole community cheered them on.

The summer solstice is always a time of reflection for me.  I think about what I want to add to my life, what I want less of, what I need to continue.  TPW tops the list of what sustains me!  Thanks!

Where To Walk?

What a beautiful morning to be outside – wherever you ended up in the city. Some of us headed for High Park, even though there were dire warnings that the traffic would be dreadful, and there would be no way to drive into the park. As intrepid as ever, a good bunch of us got to the park before discovering that the traffic on Lake Shore Blvd was, in fact, a bicycle race. Those are scary vehicles!

The police kept us safe, not letting us across the road until most of the bikes and various official vehicles had passed. Thankfully, no one was mowed down — just a bit miffed. Aren’t pedestrians more important than things with wheels?

High Park seems to think so. While some of us were not too happy that we could not drive into the park, others were enjoying the carless roadways and the now-audible bird song. Something for everyone.

While walking, we talked about all the lovely places the group found to ramble
during the COVID lockdown. Should we revisit some of them in the weeks to
come? Should we alternate between the cemetery and High Park on Saturdays? We may need to take a poll, but in the end, each walker will decide where to walk. The one thing we know for sure is that we will enjoy one another’s company and the beauty of our verdant city.