Each year I buy three calendars. One is the same 13 month planner, a week at a glance, that I have been buying and using for well  over 40 years.   I’ve developed it into a first rate tool – every spot has its own specific use.  People try to convince me that I’d be more efficient using an on-line calendar.  They get annoyed when I say I’ll have to go home and check it before I can commit to something.  But I can’t imagine life without it.

The other 2 that I buy each year come from the AGO gift shop some time in November (before all the good ones are gone.)  One is for the wall in front of my desk.  The other is for my kitchen.  They have no utilitarian purpose except to tell me what day it is if I need to know.  But they seem essential, perhaps a throw-back to a predigital time.

It takes me some time to select the pair each year.  Some years I am drawn to the Impressionists.  Some years to women artists, some years to the Group of Seven, some years to Old Masters, some to seascapes, some to Indigenous artists.  I went through a phase of Portraits of Women Reading.  The last 2 years I’ve been drawn to Japanese artists in my bedroom (for the calm) and Kandinsky in my kitchen (for the colour).

I’m sure an analyst would be able to tell a lot about my life’s progression from these choices, but I’m content to just look at each new month’s revelation.

Thanks for being there (By Danielle)

Having been away for a month from my beloved TPW friends and our walks together, on my return this week I am more grateful than ever before for everyone. Now I will tell you why! Did you know that everyone in our group smiles? Even when things are tough, each one of us finds something to enjoy, to laugh at, and to joke about.  When we talk about the serious things in life, we easily veer off into asides that are in turns fascinating, insightful, or hilarious. I remember someone saying the reason that angels can fly is that they take themselves lightly. You may not see yourself as an angel, but trust me, each of our TPW friends, perhaps unwittingly, fills that role for someone on a regular basis. And for this I am filled with gratitude and perhaps a bit of joy, even when my fingers and nose are frozen.

Eating Together!

In the olden days, pre-covid, we gathered for breakfast in a local spot that tolerated our large group, our idiosyncratic orders, and our rearranging of the tables.  There, walkers who were fast and walkers who were slow and walkers who couldn’t walk at the time shared our lives.  And not a single breakfast went by where I didn’t learn something.  Walkers who understood pop culture kept me up to date; walkers who understood science and technology educated me; walkers who saw the political landscape differently helped me understand their point of view (not necessarily changing mine.)  And in all of those walks and breakfasts there was never a disagreement that damaged the cohesiveness of the group.

So it was with immense joy that we learned that our favourite breakfast spot was opening early enough to accommodate us again.  There were a few changes – no more moving the furniture, the menu is slightly different.  The staff seemed glad to see us again.  The conversation continued! Another thing to be grateful for.

Holiday Memories (by Shirley)

At this time of year as we all run around to multiple social gatherings and events, I like to remember past Christmases.  Looking at the group WhatsApp anticipating a drive by of Krinklewood Santas reminded me of a favourite memory from childhood.

When I was 8 or 9 my Brownie troop rented a school bus for us to go see the Christmas windows at the downtown stores.  Simpsons, Eaton’s at Queen and the one at College, had all their windows decked with beautiful and funny scenes of Christmas.  We were all excited and totally engrossed as we drove around downtown seeing so many wonders.  The streets were all decorated, and it was a beautiful thing.  As we drove back to our west end community, we got to enjoy the wonderfully decorated homes of many older neighbourhoods.

After getting off the bus we gathered in our Church basement for Hot Chocolate with marshmallows and lots of Christmas goodies.  It was a memory I cherish.  I think of our Brownie Owl Mrs. Needham and wonder if she realized what memories she gave us.  To all the volunteers who share their time with others, thank you.

To walk or not to walk, that is the question… (By Diane)

It was certainly the question on Saturday morning with rain and a drop in temperature  in the forecast. However, I hadn’t walked on Thursday and was feeling the need so decided to go for it and, as often happens with this group, I was joined by a half dozen other sturdy souls (or fools depending on your point of view!). I blessed my rain jacket as we persevered for a full circuit of our beloved cemetery despite heightening winds and increased rain. And, when we finished, despite my chilly hands and damp feet, I was glad I had come out. Sharing hot drinks and chat at the end was doubly sweet.

The moral? When in doubt, walk!

Chills and thrills

Today I went with my granddaughters and their mom and dad to the Santa Claus parade.  I’m not a particularly sentimental person but there was a tear in my eye when Santa spoke about having missed us all for the past few years and how much he loved us.  My youngest granddaughter (demonstrating the likelihood of turning into a skeptic) informed me that it wasn’t the real Santa and provided a few reasons. I realized that this child has never sat on Santa’s knee and has only encountered him on a screen. It gave me a chill!

This coming Tuesday, TPW will hold its fall dinner after missing the last two. I am so looking forward to a chance to be with “the group.”  I am one of the slowest walkers in the group and this dinner is a time when I hear about the lives of the leading walkers. It gives me a thrill of expectation!

Covid is still out there but the miracle of vaccines and at-home testing has allowed us to expand our horizons almost back to our previous lives.  I’m holding a dinner party for 10 people next weekend after almost 3 years of no entertaining.  I’m thrilled to be able to do it but a bit chilled as I relearn how to get all the food hot on the table at the same time.

Leaves (not Leafs) By Danielle

You know you live in Toronto when you hear people talking about raking “leafs.” As someone who pays less than zero attention to sports, even I know where the confusion comes from. But is it ok to say that I love leaves?

Today in the cemetery, only a few trees retained their fall colours. Even though it has been weirdly warm for November, we are clearly coming to end of that brilliant season when we look up for inspiration. So, I have been looking down. There are still so many lovely and interesting leaves on the ground. For example, oak leaves might as well be made of plastic. They do not breakdown even if composted for years. Did you know that until it was renovated, the Winter Garden Theatre had real leaves decorating its ceiling? They just didn’t decompose! Now, for some reason, they have replaced them with artificial leaves. I would have been very happy to give them the five bags of oak leaves I raked from my very small back garden!

Gingko leaves are now bright yellow and still on some of the trees. But, if you can, take time to examine the ones that have fallen. (Unless you have acquired a taste for it, avoid the fruit that is also on the ground – your nose will tell you why.) Unlike other deciduous trees, gingkos have leaves where the veins are not interconnected. They run from the base of the stem in two groups. In fact, the veins look like compacted and well-ironed needles. These trees are a living fossil and may have been a delicacy for dinosaurs! Some living gingko trees are over 1,000 years old, the fossil remnants are millions of years old.

And who hasn’t made bouquets of beautiful red and yellow maple leaves? We ironed them between sheets of wax paper when I was a child. That way we could keep the bright colours for a bit longer. I have a friend who tapes maple leaves to his walls in interesting patterns – fall décor from the garden.

Until the snow falls and covers them up, you still have time to look down and enjoy the crunch, the smell, and the beauty of leaves. And I won’t tell anyone if you want to call them leafs.

Glorious weather and some changes coming….


We have been given a gift of a warm fall – and what a gift it is. The colours are astonishing – on my last walk I was entranced by carpets of scarlet and canopies of gold and rust. When the sun hits the trees, it looks like the leaves are glowing. I think autumn is my favourite time of year and this one is particularly grand.  Enjoy it with all your heart as we know what comes next.

We have seen a coyote twice over the last while so be alert. Remember to make yourself big and loud if you see one nearby (do not turn and run away!!). We think they are particularly interested in dogs and make a point of warning those walking their pets as we pass them by.

A reminder that we are having our fall social at Harbord House on Nov. 22 starting 6ish. If you have medals, wear them. Please let me (DIANE)  know if you are coming.

There are some changes to walking times coming up so watch for emails and keep an eye on the website.  We will move to 9am this Saturday (the 12th) and are getting input on moving to 4 on Tuesdays toward the end of Nov.

Walking in creation

This week, I recognized that I’ve allowed my busy life to take away the time for walking.  During the months of covid lockdown I planned a walk every day, in all weathers.  I had the time and I needed to get out of the house.  These were times of consciously being in my body and staying aware of the world around me, especially as it was often more empty of people.  I was touched by creation, earth and sky.

As things opened up, I started planning my walks to do errands or to meet people.  I was still getting the exercise but my mind was focussed on what I would be doing next and how I could fit in a few more tasks on the walk.  I’d lost the idea of walking for itself.  Last week I realized that my walks had become shorter and that I was simply fitting them in where I could (except for Saturdays, of course.)  It struck me that I’d lost the actual joy of the walk itself.

So last week I went back to planning time for walks with no purpose.  Except for joy!  It’s great!

Thanksgiving 2022 (by Danielle)

It’s that time of year again. It is autumn and it is beginning to feel like autumn. The trees are turning bright and beautiful colours. And my family begins to tell me about their likes and dislikes.

  • What is with those white pumpkins? Did they drain all the colour out to make pumpkin lattes?
  • I have always hated turkey. It is too dry. I just ate it to be polite.
  • Why can’t they make pumpkin pie without cinnamon? I HATE cinnamon.
  • Can’t you roast DIFFERENT root vegetables this year? I don’t like parsnips (or sweet potatoes, or turnips, or carrots…)
  • I am allergic to onions and garlic. Could you make sure not to cook with any?
  • I can’t stand homemade gravy. It is lumpy and greasy. It’s way better out of a tin.
  • Why can’t we just eat the turkey the next day? It is much better in sandwiches.
  • I ate all the whipped cream but haven’t started on the pie. May I have more whipped cream, and give you back the pie?
  • Turkey soup smells weird.
  • Do we have to have salad? We already have brussels sprouts.
  • Green beans are too thin.
  • Grapes are too small.
  • There is too much fruit in this house.
  • Where did you buy this apple?

And my all-time favourite death bed confession: I never liked broccoli. I just ate it so you kids would.

Thus, my dear TPW friends, I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving. May your dinner, whoever makes it and whoever eats it, be met with grumbling tummies and smiling faces and end with full tummies and no grumbling faces. Just go light on the broccoli.