Well a lot has happened with the TPW group over the past month. The Banff trip (3 years in the making!!) finally became a reality – and it was worth the wait. We talked, we ate, we cycled, we rode horses, we swam, we soaked, we shopped – and, oh yeah, we all completed the Melissa 10K and have the shirts to prove it! In short we had a wonderful time in large part to the efforts of B and R. The trauma of the trip was little Spirit getting bitten but he is on the mend – a true TPW trouper.
I confess I find it truly amazing that such a large group could travel together so successfully – there were minor mishaps but everyone kept their sense of humour and there was always someone to play with depending on your interests. Thank you all for your company – and now let’s start planning our next adventure!
Just a heads up that we are thinking about moving the Tuesday start time to a bit later so we can have an early dinner afterwards. There will be an email to all when that is confirmed.
First of all, three cheers for the TPW’S who made their way to Melissa’s race in Banff and went the distance! From their photos, it looks like they had a wonderful time in such a beautiful part of our country.
We who hadn’t joined them, walked our usual route in Mount Pleasant cemetery on Saturday morning, enjoying the fall colours and crisp air but the warm sun of a beautiful blue sky day. It’s so peaceful and quiet in the cemetery (I guess that’s not surprising given it’s a cemetery) that I contemplated once again the many pleasures of walking.
According to the NYTimes daily newsletter that I receive, the artist Jenny Odell has written a book called: “How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy” and says “To do nothing is to hold yourself still so that you can perceive what is actually there.” For me, that is the greatest pleasure of walking. Of course I hear about all the health and social benefits from walking but something not so often referenced is how the pace of it allows me to “see” the environment around me. To clear my mind and just observe, absorb and reflect upon my surroundings. I am so busy trying to stay connected, responding and reacting to events reported in the news, that it is such a pleasure to slow down and just walk companionably with others. The familiarity of walking lets me fire up all my senses so I can watch and listen to where I find myself, in the time I have left.
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 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.
That is always how I think of September regardless of how long I have been out of school. Mind you, Saturday was still full-on summer weather but there have been hints of cool since. I love the fall but it is a bittersweet kind of love knowing what comes next.
But enough of that – there is lots to look forward to, including an upcoming trip to Calgary/Banff for the Melissa race that a group of us are doing. Huge thanks to our wonderful organizers, B and R, who have thought of everything, including pre-testing the 10K hill (conclusion – we can all do it, no probs!).
I confess I haven’t trained all that hard this summer but that is okay. We all have to judge our own energy level at any given time and remember, just getting out is a win. As we have all read in many studies, the combination of exercise and congenial company is what helps keep us healthy both physically and mentally.
Enjoy the long weekend and keep walking your own distance!
“Oh, what a beautiful day I’ve got a beautiful feelin’ Everything’s goin’ my way” (Rodgers & Hammerstein)
Well, except for the “everything’s goin’ my way” part (as those of you who have heard my latest housing misadventure know), we had the most beautiful morning’s walk on the Toronto Islands on Saturday. The beginning of the day was a tad cool with that autumn’s coming nip in the air but it was sunny with an absolutely clear blue sky; a perfect day in every way. We met at 8 am at the Ward’s Island ferry and joined the small group of people taking the first crossing. It had been a couple of years since we walked on the islands and it’s so easy to forget how wonderfully special they are. The green lushness of the landscape, surrounded by the glittering blue lake, and the peaceful quiet of the roadway we followed as we walked to Hanlan’s Point and back, taking the boardwalk along the breezy waterfront on our return. And of course afterwards, we had to rest our weary bones at the Island Cafe where we ate and drank sitting in the shade on a most beautiful day. How lucky we are!
Photos are on the TPW chat on Whatsapp..
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.”
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.
Lately, for a variety of reasons, feet have been on my mind.
For one thing, I have been having discomfort in my arches for the last month or so (it is plantar faciitis and I have an appointment with my foot guy coming up) and, for another thing, I just finished taking an anatomy-based art course that demonstrated the wondrous construction of those hard working parts of our bodies. So many little parts that can hurt!
Having anything wrong with my feet or legs troubles me, as I know it does others. I depend on walking as my principal form of exercise, a major contribution to my sanity and a source of friendship and joy so it does worry me to consider there might be a time when I can’t walk. Hard as it is to believe, our hearty band of walkers isn’t impervious to the passage of time.
So, what to do? Well, look after ourselves as best we can obviously and, if we can’t walk long distances, try shorter ones and, if we can’t walk, we can do other things together – as we already do. One of the wonders of the group is that there is always someone who shares your interest be it biking or movies, coffee or wine!
That brings me to a reminder that we are going to the island on Sat, Aug. 27. For those who aren’t up for a long walk, we can set up a ‘base camp’ near the cafe and meet up after walking.
Here are some details for those who like to plan ahead (we will repeat them closer to the date).
Ferries leave from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal at the foot of Bay St at Queens Quay. We take the Ward’s Island ferry and the current consensus is to aim for the 8:15 (thereafter the schedule is every half hour starting at 9am, the return is on the quarter hour). The website is a bit contradictory saying you can only purchase tickets online but also saying you can buy them in person at the terminal (and one of our group has done so) so it is your choice.
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.