Last Unofficial Day of Summer?

I took advantage of the beautiful weather today, in what seemed to be the last day of summer, notwithstanding what the calendar said.

Fall is usually when we move from walking at High Park, typically our Spring/Summer home, to Mt Pleasant Cemetery where we walk Fall/Winter. As with many activities over the past 18 months, adjustments were made for COVID, and we hardly walked from High Park along Lake Ontario on Saturdays this summer or last, because it was so crowded. I missed the lake!

To my pleasant surprise, the waterfront trail was not busy today;  the lake looked like a mirror, and the boardwalk was relatively clear.  I took mental photos of the lake, not wanting to break my stride.  We walked through High Park; up the hill and around the top of the park, and back down cherry blossom hill  (memories of summer hill training in my mind) to the Queensway. High Park was calm too – blissfully clear of the usual kamikaze cyclists.

Despite the warm weather, Mother Nature was sure to remind us that Fall was on its way, with a few maple trees beginning to change color.

I said goodbye to the lake until next Spring. I’m ready for Fall now and look forward to the red, orange and gold foliage in Mt Pleasant Cemetery.

Resolution Run 2020

TPW kicked off 2020 early with strong participation at the 5K Resolution Run. We all finished upright and smiling, despite the headwinds on the 2.5k back to the Palais Royale. Here are a few photos of the gang.  Thanks to photographers Alex and Peter!

Falling for Fall

The scenery, walking in the Cemetery,  rendered me speechless, so I called on my friend Jane.

“Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn — that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness — that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.” — Jane Austen

Loving The Lake

I love walking by the lake , you never know what is going on from week to week, and whether they will close off part of our route, heading east what excitement is along the Lakeshore. I also love the peace and quiet, and green.

Saturday was no exception. So nice to be welcomed back to High Park by the unnamed ‘green goddess’.


Signs of Aging

As a senior, I tend to closely monitor my performance to be sure I’m not “slipping.” In my middle years, if I forgot something, I’d put it down to being too busy or would reckon that the item was somewhat less important than whatever I was focused on. If I lost any physical strength or ability, I’d be sure that I could recover it with a little training. Now I worry about “signs” – signs of my worst fear: loss of self-reliance.

This week was a particular hell in that regard. I double-booked an entire weekend. Trying to board a bus over a snow bank with two bags of groceries, I slipped and fell into the arms of a very sweet young man. My new optometrist must wonder if I’m safe to be left alone after I inserted my new contact lenses without removing my old ones and then declared that the prescription was wrong.

But I’ve found the antidote to these fears. Nope, not walking, although it is one of my favourite activities. It’s babysitting two very active toddlers for two days. They remember every word that comes out of my mouth and so must I. My reaction time is tested moment by moment as one of them learns to climb out of the former safety of her crib, or nose-dives off the couch, or requires a toilet immediately, or reaches to wipe the finger paint from her hands on my shirt.

And I’m ok!

Walk, Talk – and Eat!

Saturday morning, I woke up and checked the weather forecast. Cold and windy. Hmm. To walk or not to walk? Knowing that a fearless and friendly group of Toronto Power Walkers would be waiting to greet me at the gates of Mount Pleasant Cemetery, was the motivation I needed to climb out of my cozy bed.

As I pulled on four layers of clothing, zipped up my down-filled parka, and laced up my winter walking shoes, my thoughts traveled 4000 km south to sunny Mexico, where my parents are spending the entire month of February. Every morning, they walk along the Malecon, or boardwalk, that runs along the north shore of Lake Chapala, the largest fresh water lake in Mexico. We may not have pelicans or palm trees, but we do have coyotes and towering oaks.

After our walk, we had the annual TPW brunch. What a spread! We ate and talked—about fees, community service, self-defence courses, and upcoming races. Two members head to London, England on March 24 for the Landmarks Half Marathon, while I head to Key West for the EverWalk + Habitat for Humanity Service Walk, March 31-April 6.

A big thank you to the members of the TPW co-ordinating committee for the great get-together.


It really is about the chat and the meals!

Yesterday my husband and I were pondering why we didn’t use grocery delivery systems. This morning, as I was getting ready to join the gang, he read out from an article in the morning paper that spoke to that very topic.
The article surmised that such services may be bad for many of us as they eliminate one small source of social interaction. The article quotes an expert as saying “Social isolation is the public health risk of our time”. It goes on to say there has been a study that found that, on the other hand, social integration is “at the top of a list of lifestyle factors that had a positive impact on longevity, beating out quitting smoking, getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight”.
Wow. Who knew that our collective joke that ‘the real reason we walk is for the chat and the food’ is, in fact, a good thing!
So what is my point? There may be times, for all of us, when health or circumstances mean we can’t walk but let’s keep coming out and encouraging each other to do so. That does not mean we shouldn’t walk for as long as we can but it does mean our group is about much more than that.
Looking forward to seeing most of you next week for our annual winter meeting – and, of course, for chat and food.

Stranger Than Fiction

On Wednesday I visited my mother in Ottawa. The weather conditions -for someone like myself who had  lived on the coast of Labrador- were expected winter conditions.
The Ottawa train’s arrival time was a little bit late. Coming back from Ottawa, the Toronto arrival time stretched passed the expected evening time and dipped into the following morning.  
Slightly after midnight I emailed my boss to inform him that an announcement had just been made to say that the train would be arriving in Toronto at one thirty am. Of course, when I arrived in Toronto there was no subway access, so I took a taxi. On route going home the taxi driver’s  car got a flat tire .I got home around two thirty or so Thursday  morning.
That same Thursday (late) and the following day Friday I went to work. Saturday morning I got up at the usual time to take the streetcar to meet up with the TPWs. I went to the washroom. I then listened to my body that was begging for sleep and I returned to bed and slept.
There you have it. My reason for not walking with the TPWs on Saturday.
Sometimes truth is just so much stranger than fiction.

A Cold, Snowy Day

I almost turned over and went back to sleep this Saturday when I checked the temperature.  I finally got moving by promising myself that I would turn back at the underpass if I was cold.  By the time I made it to the underpass, we’d been rewarded with sightings of the family of coyotes living in the cemetery.  Of course, wild beings in the city don’t always end happily.  But they are so handsome, I always feel gratified to see them.   I was happy with the weather and the company so finished my circuit.
I committed to myself that this winter I’d do the full 12K maintenance walk every Saturday.  After quitting early every Saturday during a disappointing December, I think I’ve come up with the answer.  I’m walking a circuit of the cemetery for 6K and then, after breakfast, I’m walking to St. Andrews Station for another 6K.  It seems to be something I can enjoy, not a chore.  There’s always something interesting happening on Yonge Street.  I can’t congratulate myself on my pace but the distance is what matters.  On a freezing snowy day, I can use the Path from Dundas.
As I write, the snow is flying sideways outside my window.  I’m glad to be nestled in my home, listening to a collection I call “Ridiculous Love Songs.?  Think Air Supply.  Very cozy!

Good Intentions

Did you walk in the mall on Saturday? Or did you brave the cold graveyard? Or were you like me, having great intentions but ending up snuggled under a warm blanky and walking in your dreams?

I did get out on Sat., later on, for a walk up to one of my clutch of favourite coffee spots. It’s about 4k each way so I got some distance in, but not with any great speed. 🙂

I was thinking about my intention to walk and all the other things I needed to squeeze on the weekend. Meeting up with TPW would have been good for me but would have made the day very hectic. I did regret not going. I didn’t beat myself up though! In a world where we often fail to maintain balance, deciding to drop one of our intentions is a sign of increasing wisdom (at least that’s what I’m going to tell myself). It was a much less hectic day for me.

One of the things I regret though is not joining in in the conversations. Now I use the phrase “joining in? knowing that I lean towards the listening side of most conversations 🙂 I listened to Under the Influence this morning and one of the lines was, “Men shop at Sears, Women shop at Bloomingdales?. It was a discussion of differences between how men shop and women shop. While I shop like a regular male, I do tend to find my feminine side takes precedence in conversations. I may not remember much, but I really enjoy the topics that come up at TPW. And I especially like to hear the questions that I should be asking but my male brain doesn’t think to explore. So even if I’m not saying much I’m thoroughly engaged. And that’s what I missed by not walking, along with the general sense of camaraderie. 

I’m smiling though, because there’s always next week!