Monkeys and Mountains

7 Reasons You Will Love Cycling in Myra Canyon

The original can be found here: 7 Reasons You Will Love Cycling in Myra Canyon. Please read the original.

Myra Canyon in Kelowna, British Columbia is a a scenic cycle route along an old railway with 18 bridges and 2 tunnels with views over the Okanagan valley!

Monkeys and Mountains | Adventure Travel Blog - Outdoor Adventures | Germany Travel Tips | Life-Changing Trips | Adventures in Europe

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Posted on 14 August 2015 | 10:29 am

Indian Country

Where’s the Bison? KivaSun Launches Bison Jerky in Two Flavors

Just in time for American Heart Month, Native American-owned KivaSun has added antibiotic free, no added hormone bison jerky to its product line....

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Posted on 10 February 2016 | 12:00 am


PUMA Celebrates the R698

For Autumn-Winter ’15, PUMA worked with today’s most distinctive visual artists presently dominating today’s online digital photography scene.

The post PUMA Celebrates the R698 appeared first on Hello Vancity.

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Posted on 17 August 2015 | 5:37 pm

List Verse

10 Sordid Insights Into The Victorian Opium Age

Opium dens, the oblivion of laudanum, the relief of morphine, and the illicit activities of a drug culture so captivated that they didn’t even know how much danger they were in—the Victorian era is forever linked with the idea of opium. It was important enough for nations to go to war over it, and it […]

The post 10 Sordid Insights Into The Victorian Opium Age appeared first on Listverse.

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Posted on 11 February 2016 | 8:00 am

The Gate

Giveaway: ‘Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse’ Blu-ray swag bag

Just in time for Valentine's Day, The GATE and Paramount Home Media Distribution are giving away three copies of Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, and a special swag bag filled with goodies. We can't think of a better way to celebrate the big red heart day than with scores of zombies trying to eat the brains of a few wacky teenagers.

The post Giveaway: ‘Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse’ Blu-ray swag bag appeared first on The GATE.

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Posted on 5 February 2016 | 9:50 pm


Go figure! Jim Prentice, failed former politician, resurfaces with sweet gig at Washington think tank

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Posted on 11 February 2016 | 6:24 am

This hungry Kitten

Easy Chicken Shawarma Kebobs

My last post was almost a month ago! Life gets busy sometimes and finding moments to sit and reflect don’t come around often enough. I have been on a journey to better health, and it’s been wonderful! I think we’ve … Continue reading

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Posted on 10 July 2014 | 3:45 pm

The cat from Hell

Goodbye Dear Furrends

This is said with a heavy heart, but it is time to say goodbye. Wes has been blogging since August …

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Posted on 22 September 2015 | 4:28 pm

The Future Soon

Octopus killing a seagull - THE KRAKEN WAKES

Octopus killing a seagull off Ogden Point breakwater

I love octopuses. Smart, powerful, adaptive, and deadly.

These are the first ever photos of a Giant Pacific Octopus catching and killing a Glaucous-winged seagull.

And they provide two important lessons: One, always carry a camera with you because you may happen upon a scientifically important event. And two, keep an eye out for the unusual.

I loved finding and booking this story for my local CBC morning show, On The Island. 

Take a listen to Ginger Morneau, the woman who took these photos.
Here she is speaking with CBC On The Island host, Gregor Craigie.

And this is where I found this story.

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Posted on 3 May 2012 | 6:21 pm

Urban Toronto

The One to Feature Innovative 'Sefar AG' Glazing System

New renderings of Toronto's tallest proposed building are continuing to reveal new—and evolving—design details of Mizrahi Developments' much-anticipated Foster + Partners-designed project, The One. An update at the beginning of this year saw the project—designed in collaboration with Toronto's Core Architects—grow to a new height of 340.6 metres, with a reworked exterior bringing greater aesthetic balance to the tower. Now, UrbanToronto has learned more about the proposed tower's cladding system, which will feature an innovative glazing system by Sefar AG.

The One, Toronto, by Mizrahi Developments, Foster + Partners, Core ArchitectsThe One's latest design (looking northeast), image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

The Swiss-based company produces high-performance architectural glass that allows for patterns and designs to be enmeshed directly within it. For The One, the laminated Sefar glass will be used to create the intricate honeycomb cladding pattern along the tower's podium. According to the company's website, the 'fabric&glass' system provides "improved thermal performance, reduces glare, and adds a unique depth in façade design by utilizing the three-dimensional effects of fabric."

The One, Toronto, by Mizrahi Developments, Foster + Partners, Core ArchitectsLooking east along Bloor, with Sefar's honeycomb cladding system visible, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

Utilizing metal screens sandwiched between layers of glass, the system allows for a wealth of aesthetic options, as virtually any type of pattern and colour can be printed between the glass. Sefar glass' wide array of aesthetic configurations is clearly evidenced on The One, with both the glossy golden honeycomb pattern and the lighter, mesh-like elevator core set to utilize the unique glazing.

The One, Toronto, by Mizrahi Developments, Foster + Partners, Core ArchitectsA closer look at the honeycomb glazing, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

Sefar's uniquely textured glass also lends the podium glazing a three-dimensional visual quality. The glazing itself will actually be installed on a flat plane, however, with the sense of depth created by the texture embedded in the glass. The element of textural nuance will be underscored by changing natural light, with the surface's visual appearance changing depending on how light is reflected from it.The One, Toronto, by Mizrahi Developments, Foster + Partners, Core ArchitectsA closer look at the elevator core and podium cladding system, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

With variable colour, texture, and opacity, the system allows for glass to take on a multiplicity of aesthetic styles. The bird-friendly system maintains relatively unencumbered views from the interior while ensuring a sense of privacy with the panels appearing more opaque when viewed from a distance. A close-up look at one of the designs reveals the intricacy of patterns that can be created (below).

The One, Toronto, by Mizrahi Developments, Foster + Partners, Core ArchitectsA closer-up of a Sefar glass product, image courtesy of Sefar AG

Meanwhile, a recently released interior rendering of a high-end restaurant space in the podium provides a glimpse into the tower's interior aesthetic, with the unique cladding system also seen along the windows. Seen up close from the interior, the Sefar glass is expected to appear nearly transparent.

The One, Toronto, by Mizrahi Developments, Foster + Partners, Core ArchitectsAn early look at a luxury restaurant space, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

To learn more about the 84-storey tower's design elements, our previous editorial provides an in-depth look at project's ongoing evolution and the latest design, while our dataBase file includes additional information and renderings.

The One, Toronto, by Mizrahi Developments, Foster + Partners, Core ArchitectsLooking north on Yonge, The One now includes heritage preservation along the property's south end, image courtesy of Mizrahi

Want to share your thoughts about the project? Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page, or join in the ongoing and highly informative 178-page (and counting!) discussion on our Forum. You'll find the link below.

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Posted on 11 February 2016 | 10:22 pm

The Hook (B.C. News)

Dear Maclean's: Urban or Remote, Indigenous Communities Not Served Equally (in Mediacheck)

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Posted on 11 February 2016 | 8:20 am

The Greater Fool

A little screwed

Andrew just bought a condo in DT Calgary. Poor Andrew. Unlucky in love, now horny over property. “A few years ago my life changed and I stopped owning a house (along with a wife and a couple dogs, I really miss the dogs) but with my divorce winnings (I mean home equity buyout) I put […]

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Posted on 22 September 2015 | 9:39 pm

The Cop Who's Suing the Family of the Teen He Killed Is Why People Hate Cops

The incredible lawsuit filed against the estate of slain 19-year-old engineering student Quintonio LeGrier comes at a delicate time in Chicago policing.

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Posted on 11 February 2016 | 8:41 pm

Michael Geist

The Trouble With the TPP, Day 29: Cultural Policy Innovation Uncertainty

This week's lengthy Trouble with the TPP post focused on the likelihood that efforts to require online video providers to pay mandatory Cancon contributions would be challenged under the TPP. While I am not a supporter of extending contributions to companies like Netflix, including such a restriction within a trade agreement is bad policy. Today's post continues with the culture theme, by examining the risk that other new policy innovations might also be stymied by the TPP.

The Globe and Mail's Kate Taylor recently wrote a column arguing that Canadian cultural production is in crisis and calling for reforms to address the issue. For example, Taylor cited the possibility of tax credits for advertising on websites that meet a Canadian content threshold similar to the policy for television and radio broadcasters. ACTRA has long called for a similar policy, noting the benefits of tax deductions for advertising on Canadian-owned websites that give prominence to Canadian content.

But would such a policy pass muster on the TPP?  It's not totally clear that it would.

The post The Trouble With the TPP, Day 29: Cultural Policy Innovation Uncertainty appeared first on Michael Geist.

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Posted on 11 February 2016 | 3:02 pm

The Tyee / The Hook

Dear Maclean's: Urban or Remote, Indigenous Communities Not Served Equally (in Mediacheck)

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Posted on 11 February 2016 | 8:20 am

Booker T. Jones fields a question from David Gogo

Gogo's a big fan.

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Posted on 5 February 2016 | 8:47 pm

A View from the Edge

Merry Christmas!

I just want to take this opportunity to thank all of you
for following my blog. I have been blogging since 2005; 3 years on 
another site and 5 1/2 years on this site. I started the blog mainly as a
diary and for my friends and family to keep track of our doings and 
whereabouts when we decided to hit the road in our RV. We got off the
road in April 2012. I have decided to step away from blogging for awhile, if not
permanently. I have many ideas in my head for books, and, in fact, have started
a few of them! I am hoping to spend more time this new year on writing. I
might check in from time-to-time on your blogs; may not comment, but just to
see how you all are doing. I've made some good friends over the years through
blogging, and I know that we will stay in touch.

Have a WONDERFUL Christmas and a HAPPY and HEALTHY
New Year!

Love, Pat

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Posted on 22 December 2013 | 2:24 pm

Cottage Country Reflections

Wetland walkies were tough!

I really didn't go far, but I was ducking tree branches, and getting smacked in the face. I started following the coyote tracks (looked like two of them), searching for deer sheds, then I realized that they wouldn't leave me an antler! Witch's nest! (Likely caused by fungus or something!) On the lee side of the wetland, there is still running water. I was very careful! Back I went the next

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Posted on 10 February 2016 | 12:00 pm

Weighty Matters

Weight, BMI, BF% - Should MDs Measure Things That Shouldn't Change Treatment?

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Something I struggle to understand is the medical community's (and much of the public's) use of some combination of weight, body mass index, body fat percentages, or waist circumferences as a means to determine whether or not a person might benefit from an exploration of their lifestyle.

While all of those measures to a degree do inform risk, are they really useful to the clinician in determining the need for the exploration of a person's lifestyle? Does it simply follow that if one or more of weight, BMI, body fat percentage, waist circumference or waist to hip ratio is high that said person's lifestyle isn't healthful, or that treatment (lifestyle, meds, or surgery) is required?

A more important question though would be if all of those numbers were in so-called healthful ranges, does that mean your patient's lifestyle shouldn't be explored?

I know plenty of people with weight whose lifestyles are tremendous, and plenty of folks without whose lifestyles are horrifying, and as such, regardless of numbers, clinicians are best to explore lifestyle with every single patient. Artificially hinging a discussion on lifestyle on a number which even with the best of intentions and efforts, might not change much, can both lead a person to abandon their efforts to live more healthful lives when things don't change, and preclude conversations that in turn might benefit your patients and their families.

The goal is the road (a healthful one), there is no destination (the numbers).

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Posted on 10 February 2016 | 10:30 am

Margaret Wente

The Ghomeshi trial turns into a fiasco

A case that has evoked powerful emotions appears to be on the verge of collapse – and many people are going to be outraged

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Posted on 8 February 2016 | 10:42 pm

Lauren Out Loud

HIATUS: re-launching sometime, maybe, in the future

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Posted on 24 July 2014 | 6:54 pm

Rants n Rascals

Vicks Sweet Dreams Cool Mist Humidifer #giveaway

With the cold and flu season upon us, despite the fact early spring is on the horizon, we are still suffering from a dry winter season and the spread of viruses. Cold and flu season was expected to hit later this year and it has in February. This year for our family it meant stocking […]

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Posted on 10 February 2016 | 11:53 am

Bow. James Bow

Nora's Face in Bubbles

Nora’s face in bubbles, seen at the Ontario Science Centre on January 29, 2016....

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Posted on 10 February 2016 | 2:00 pm

A Toronto Blog

Motorcycle Show Toronto 2016 coming February 19

The groundhog saw its shadow and said that it would only be three weeks until the Motorcycle Show. The cuddly prognosticator guessed right and the show takes place February 19-21 at the Enercare Centre in Exhibition Place. Visitors will also get a chance to win a 2016 Triumph Street Twin motorcycle and you can purchase advance discount tickets at select motorcycle dealers.
This will be the 29th anniversary of the National tour which showcases industry with over 500 bikes on display from some of the world's most famous brands and the newest models of motorcycles. Also featured will be the bike's slower cousins - scooters, ATVs, along with all the motorcycle gear and accessories you will probably ever need.
The Friday opening is She Rides Nite: "Women are taking to motorcycle riding at a record pace and we'll celebrate that on the Friday evening of the Show (Feb. 19). She Rides Nite features half-price Show admission for ladies after 5 pm (and free parking after 5pm), and industry experts will be on hand to provide information and advice specific to the needs of the female rider. There's a ladies-only draw that night to win a new 2016 Kawasaki Ninja 300."
Stunt riders from Team Empire Freestyle Stunt Team will be smoking up the concrete surface within the cavernous exhibit hall G which will also hold the Yamaha Riding Academy For Kids. Members of the Ontario Provincial Police Golden Helmets will put on a riding skills showcase.
"The Motorcycle Show-Toronto presented by Dalton Timmis Insurance is produced by Power Sport Services. This is the Show where enthusiasts will get their first live look at the new 2016 models set in impressive displays from the biggest brands in the business, including Aprilia, BMW Motorrad, Can-Am BRP, Harley-Davidson, Ducati, Honda, Husqvarna, Indian, Kawasaki, KTM, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio, Polaris, Suzuki, Triumph, Vespa, Victory, and Yamaha. Show hours are: Friday, February 19 (noon - 9 pm); Saturday, February 20 (10 am - 8 pm);Sunday, February 21 (10 am - 5 pm)."

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Posted on 8 February 2016 | 11:00 am

Robyn Urbak on Campus

The hosts with the most: Insider tips from campus tour guides

Who knows universities better than campus tour guides? Some suggestions from the trenches: Leave mom at home, check out the town, and follow your heart

The post The hosts with the most: Insider tips from campus tour guides appeared first on

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Posted on 11 February 2016 | 11:35 am

Postcards From the Mothership

Flashback Faves: This is how they grow up, quietly and quickly and right under your watchful eye

Thanks to Facebook, I know that five years ago today I wrote this post. Tristan is now in middle school and safely walks to and from the bus stop without incident. What I find charming is that he was in Grade 3 when I wrestled with the idea of the risk of letting him walk […] Related posts (automatically generated):
  1. This is how they grow up, quietly and quickly and right under your watchful eye
  2. Flashback faves: Back to school
  3. Thoughts on changing schools and echoes of years gone by

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Posted on 11 February 2016 | 3:14 pm

David Akins on the Hill

Who’s chairing Commons committees? The scorecard so far.

House of Commons committees are finally forming up for this 42nd Parliament. The 25 standing committees of the House and three Joint Committees (committees of MPs and senators) are where much of the real work of our federal politicians happens. Each standing committee is made up of 10 members and seats on each committee are […]

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Posted on 6 February 2016 | 8:03 pm

Dutch Blitz

Nine To Five

When people ask me what I do for a living, the short answer is that I’m an accountant. The long answer is that for the last four years I have balanced a number of part-time accounting jobs and a few writing gigs in order to bring in income while also having flexibility. I’ve been able […]

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Posted on 5 February 2016 | 5:32 am

Nik at Night

We Could Be Heroes: Losing David Bowie

This past Monday, I woke up and glanced at my phone on my nightstand. I’m not one of those people who typically reads my phone when waking up in the morning, but for some reason I pushed the button just to see if there had been any messages in the night. Inexplicably, I’d forgotten to set the alarm the night before, so where I usually woke up to the CBC — and would therefore have awoken to the sombre news I was about to receive — I instead discovered it through a text. A friend of mine who lives in the UK, and who would have been grieving through this news for the past five hours, had sent me a text just saying, you’ll be hearing some devastating news this morning, and I know it’ll upset you the same way it upset me. I’m so sorry.

I didn’t even have to turn on my phone. I knew David Bowie had died.

But I did anyway. I rushed to Facebook and saw friends posting their shock and agony, and I said to my husband, who was just waking up and turning on his phone (and who is the biggest Bowie fan I know), “Oh my god David Bowie died.” He snorted, and said, “No, you’re reading a hoax,” and continued nonchalantly looking at something on his phone. I suddenly started crying, “No, it’s true. He died.” He went silent as he, too, clicked on Facebook and looked. And saw. I got up and went into the shower, where I started crying in shock. How was it possible? His album had only come out a couple of days earlier. I was just posting happy birthday messages to him on my Facebook wall.

How was it possible I was now living in a world that didn’t have David Bowie in it? I’d never lived in that world. I didn’t want to do so now.

I’ve seen some people posting about grief-shamers on the internet, people saying it’s ridiculous to mourn for someone you never actually met. I’m thankful to say that not one person in my Facebook or Twitter newsfeeds said anything of the sort. I’m assuming I merely surrounded myself with the right people, because we were all similarly mired in grief.

Why do we mourn for someone we’ve never met? I pondered this question 18 months ago when Robin Williams died. And the only reason I can come up with is, we may not have known them, but we felt like we did. They managed to speak to us, and, in some ways, allowed us to see ourselves in new ways. That was certainly the case with David Bowie.

I can’t claim to be able to sing every lyric to every song, or to even be able to name without fail what album each song was on. I leave that to my husband, who has been a fan since he was 13, and who got me hooked on his music when we began dating five years later. I still remember him asking me if I liked David Bowie, and I said, “Like... Modern Love and Let’s Dance?” He smiled, and knew he had a lot of work ahead of him.

But David Bowie meant a lot to me, and the last time I saw him will stay with me always.

I saw him for the first time when he came to Toronto with Tin Machine in December 1991. My husband had already seen him once on the Glass Spider tour in 1987, and twice on the Sound + Vision tour in 1990. But this was my first time. It was at the Concert Hall, the old Masonic Temple that was my home away from home in the ’90s, where I’d just seen the Pixies two days before and was about to come back two days later to see someone else (I can’t remember who). My husband, then-boyfriend, had given me my first ring a year earlier, and right before the show, I realized it wasn’t on my hand. So throughout the show I was fretting about it, and determined to look under every car seat and scour the car later. I looked for that ring for months. It was only later I realized it must have fallen off in the car, and when I’d opened the car door it probably fell out into the snow just outside the Concert Hall. (I still have dreams of finding that little ring, with the black pearl, the white pearl, and the two tiny diamonds.) I remember the rush of Bowie walking on stage and being in the same room as him for the first time. That suit, the rock and rollness of it all. I was in heaven.

The next time I saw him was September 1995, when he came back to Toronto for the Outside tour. That album is so underrated, and I still think it’s one of his very best. Problem was, the album wasn’t released until the week after the show, and it’s a highly conceptual work, so while Bowie’s stumbling around onstage in a hospital gown and clawing at the air, the audience mostly reacted with a “what the HELL is he doing” kind of response. I wish I could have seen him again after that to have truly appreciated what was going on, but I listened to the album endlessly and loved every second of it.

The coolest thing about that show was that the opening act was Nine Inch Nails. They were amazing, and near the end of their set the drummer got up and walked off and was replaced by another. Then the guitar player switched on the next song. Then the bass player. And finally, Bowie walked on and we realized this was his backing band, and there would be no break between opener and the main show. Reznor stayed on stage for a couple of songs — they sang Nine Inch Nails material before moving to Bowie — and it was fantastic, and then the performance art began.

Two years later, in September 1997, he came back to Toronto and played the Warehouse, of all places (this is a smallish club, the sort of place you’d see My Bloody Valentine, not David freakin’ Bowie), and the show was incredible. Gail Ann Dorsey had joined the band at that point on bass, and she did this version of Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman” that I can still picture. David stood off to the side, beaming at his new discovery as she wowed the audience. You can listen to the actual recording from the Warehouse here:

And then it was a long wait, until August 2002, when we could see Bowie again, this time touring as part of the Meltdown Festival with Busta Rhymes and Moby. Shockingly (to us), Bowie and Moby would trade places as the headliner each evening. The night we saw him, at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto, Moby was the headliner so Bowie got to go first. We got to see Bowie just as the sun was setting, shining spectacularly on him like a celestial spotlight, as he walked onto the stage with a royal blue tie just hanging around his neck, looking dapper and gorgeous. He grabbed the mike and sang, “It’s a godawful small affair,” and my husband, who is normally quite reserved, actually swooned. He hadn’t heard “Life on Mars” live in years, and he never thought he’d hear it live again.

And then Bowie toured for Reality. At this point we were wondering if it might be near the end of his touring career, and now we had a bit more money, so we decided we’d see him as often as we could (though we’re still kicking ourselves that we didn’t see him even more...) But it was this tour where my adoration for Bowie became far more personal. It’s because of the events of this tour that I’ve been so grief-stricken all week.

December 13, 2003: Montreal Bell Centre
I’d been trying to get pregnant for months, and month after month was met with the sad reality that it just wasn’t happening. But there was something about the past month and how I’d been feeling. I was convinced that THIS was it. Maybe I was finally pregnant. The show was fantastic: during this tour (also with the lovely Gail Ann Dorsey), Bowie not only performed a bunch of songs from Reality, but went back into the catalogue and sang hits from all of his previous decades as a recording artist. In each set he’d dig deep and pull out a number that he wouldn’t do in any other show, so there was always that excitement, wondering what it would be this time.

Then he sang “Heroes.” Partway through the song I suddenly felt this sharp pain in my abdomen. It was brutal, but lasted only about a minute and then faded. That night we floated back to the hotel room, thrilled at how amazing the show had been and excited about the three shows we still had yet to see. In the middle of the night, I awoke to horrible cramps. I literally fell out of the bed and crawled to the bathroom. I’d never felt anything like it, although I was pretty sure it meant one thing: I wasn’t pregnant. I sat on the floor of the hotel bathroom and cried. I took some Tylenol and waited for it to have an effect, and eventually wandered back into the room and went to sleep, the tears on my pillow sapping the joy from earlier that evening. As we drove back to Toronto the next day, we stopped at a friend’s house, and they revealed that, surprise! They were pregnant and expecting in about five months. I tried to look excited, but inside I was dying. I was never going to be pregnant. I was going to have to smile through the announcements of the pregnancies of all of my friends, and it was never going to happen for me.

Turns out, a very small percentage of the female population can actually feel the sensation of the fertilized egg implanting itself into the uterine wall. For most, it happens and the reality of pregnancy is a surprise a few weeks later. But, unfortunately for me, I felt it. That horrible stabbing pain in my abdomen that I’d felt during “Heroes”? It was the very moment that my body became pregnant. And I’d felt it while Bowie sang in the background.

April 1, 2004: Toronto Air Canada Centre
The show was glorious. The Polyphonic Spree were opening, all in their white choir gowns as if welcoming us to a church. And in a way, for many of the people sitting there, that’s exactly where we were. I had been doing that terrible thing that all first-time pregnant women do: reading every book I can get my hands on so I can work myself into a panicked frenzy about why this or that didn’t happen in Week Whatever. Apparently I was supposed to have felt her by now, but I hadn’t. I had somehow felt the egg implant itself but I couldn’t feel her??

And then... “Heroes.” The opening chords started, and that long guitar wail, and the whole place was up and dancing. We were all singing along, and then I felt it. Just the tiniest flutter, in the bottom left of my abdomen, like a butterfly beating its wings in there. There she was. She’d made her very existence known the last time I’d seen Bowie sing this song, and now here she was, letting me know she was growing, and saying hi for the first time. I will never forget that feeling, and exactly how he was standing and how the spotlight was glowing on him in that moment.

May 14, 2004: London, Ontario, John Labatt Centre
David Bowie was actually playing my hometown. This was beyond exciting. We made the drive back to London from Toronto to see him and the show was as amazing as it had been every other time. I’d like to say that I had some transcendent experience during “Heroes” for this show, but in fact, by this point the kid was doing jumping jacks in there constantly, and she went for an aerobics routine that lasted through about five or six songs (now, to be fair, part of that could have been because Mom was also dancing up a storm while watching the show). But during “Heroes,” she let loose one helluva wallop that actually doubled me over. Laughing, mind you (at this point it was an inside joke between me and my husband that “Heroes” had a weird effect on our unborn child, so he thought this was particularly hilarious), but man. Could that girl kick.

May 25, 2004: Buffalo Shea’s Performing Arts Centre
This was not a happy day for me. Late morning it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t felt my baby move at all that day. She was usually quite an active child (see above) but on this day, nothing. Now, I should mention that if there were photos in thesauruses, you’d see one of me next to the antonym of “hypochondria.” My mother is a hypochondriac, constantly thinking she’s dying of one disease or another. Consequently, I actually could be dying and would think, “Ah, it’ll pass.” So I was putting off calling anyone, hoping that any minute now, she’d announce that she was okay. But it wasn’t happening. Mid-afternoon, I couldn’t wait any longer, and I called my doctor. She told me not to worry, that this was a common concern among first-time moms, and drink some orange juice or eat something spicy and that might kick-start her into doing something, but honestly, sometimes babies just sleep for a couple of days. I hung up the phone, drank about a litre of orange juice, and then we had to hit the road to drive to Buffalo. The whole way there, I worried about not feeling her. “It’ll be fine,” my husband kept saying, and I wondered if maybe we shouldn’t go to the show: should we go to an ER instead? He asked if I wanted to, and I thought about it and said no. The doctor said it’s a normal thing that a couple of days of quiet might go by without anything. We arrived at the show and despite my concerns, I will admit I was crazy excited about this one. We had the best Bowie tickets we’d ever had: second row centre. The stage was rather low, and as soon as he came out, everyone climbed up onto their seats and stood on them, as if to attempt to be face-to-face with the man himself. He came striding out on stage in that beautifully tattered black coat of his, grinning from ear to ear. I could see the differently sized pupils, we were that close. He sang a few songs and while I was enjoying the show immensely, I kept thinking, “Come on, baby... wake up. Bowie’s here.”


And then... “Heroes.” The whole place went up into a screaming frenzy, and Bowie sang the first verse in his quiet way, everyone else singing along. And then he went into the second verse. “I... I could be king!” he shouted. “And you...” and he looked me in the eye, and then pointed RIGHT AT ME. “ could be queen!” And just then... whoomph!! David Bowie had just looked right at me, and my baby walloped me so hard I was gasping. I was grinning ear to ear, my arms up above my head, dancing with abandon as the tears flowed freely down my cheeks. I’m sure other people thought I was having one of those religious experiences one has when faced with one’s idol pointing right at them (as I said to a friend a couple of days ago, I’m sure the woman sitting right behind me said he was pointing at her, but she would be wrong), but I wasn’t. My baby was okay, and the world was wonderful again, and I was dancing along to my favourite performer and I couldn’t have been happier.

It was the last time I ever saw him.

Three months later, my baby girl was born, beautiful and perfect. We had said all along that we were going to bring a CD player and that my husband would turn on “Heroes” at the very moment she emerged, but in the frenzy of labour pains and just getting to the hospital, we completely forgot. It didn’t matter. The first time I held her, I knew already that she was going to be my hero. Eleven years later, she has the voice of an angel and has actually sang before thousands at the very venue where we saw Bowie in London. She loves his music and sings it all the time around the house, and the day he died she knew that her parents were devastated, and she spoke in quiet tones all day long.

I don’t believe that David Bowie is some sort of Christ figure who made my baby move or imbued her with some special singing powers or anything like that. But to me, key moments in my pregnancy are inextricably tied to the last time I saw him tour. Just last weekend, on January 10, before David told his family he was feeling fatigued and went to bed, never to wake up again, my husband and I were tidying up the kitchen as Blackstar was playing in the background, and we were discussing how much we’d spend to see Bowie one last time, and we agreed that we’d fly to any place in the world, and, within reason, would pay whatever it took to see him. If it was easily done, we’d take the kids so they could finally see this man who had shaped so much of our life together.

But now, the cost of those tickets would be too steep, and the show will be too far away for us to attend.

I loved seeing my Facebook feed inundated with Bowie memories and grief on Monday. It was a terrible day, where I kept finding myself crying when I’d least expect it, where everyone was trying to figure out what had happened, where I got nothing done. The next day, sitting at my desk listening to Blackstar, he sang, “Where the fuck did Monday go?” and I thought wow... not only was his final video a hint that he was dying, but he even predicted how I’d feel the day after I first had to grapple with the fact that he had died.

On Tuesday night, my husband emerged from his music room in the basement and said he needed my help. I went downstairs and he’d recorded himself doing a stripped-down version of Bowie’s “Blue Jean.” But he said something was missing, and he needed my help. We’ve been together for 26 years, and both of us are musical, but we never collaborate (we’re both headstrong and probably would fight the entire time). He's asked on occasion, and I say no, and I've suggested it on occasion, and he says no. So I will admit to being surprised, but where I would have usually said no, that maybe he should get our daughter to do it instead, I just acquiesced. I knew this had been a tough couple of days for him, so I figured I’d just do this and he’d either cut it out of the song or, who knows, it might work. And we were both surprised by the final effect. He looked at me after he played the finished version back (whichyou can listen to here) and said, “Wow. Maybe we should work together more often.” I’m not sure that ever would have happened if it hadn’t been for the circumstance.

A single individual came into this world and changed so much of it while he was here. And when he left, millions of people feel like there’s a giant hole in the world that will never be filled. But the world is such a different place because Bowie was in it, and after that grief is gone, it’ll be thrilling to see what people do with what they learned from him. The entire musical soundscape has changed as one band after another has been influenced by Bowie for decades, and I think twice as many people realize that now than they did a week ago.

For the first time, I’m living in a world that doesn’t have David Bowie in it. But it will always have his music in it, and for that, I’m grateful. 

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Posted on 17 January 2016 | 8:41 pm

Word Grrrls

The Forever Login with WordPress

I don’t like logging into my own WordPress sites over and over again. I really don’t like being logged out when I’ve been logged in for hours, or was just logged in a few hours ago, or yesterday. Ideally, WordPress core or JetPack, would refresh the login each time you log in. Instead it is set at every 14 days (so I’ve read). Out of irritation with the system, I have found a list of plugins which can (I’m only picking one to try so I won’t guarantee them all) keep you logged in. Or, at least let you choose ... Continue...

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Posted on 10 February 2016 | 12:12 am

Elfshot - sticks and stones

Back in the workshop

For the past couple of weeks I've been able to schedule a couple of days a week in the workshop.  I'm dreadfully far behind on orders and trying to get caught up again before the end of the fiscal year.  While I'm making progress in the workshop, I'll try to resume sharing photos and stories from Elfshot.  Here are a few of the first new pieces to come out of the studio.  They are knapped spear points based on PalaeoIndian artifacts from Alaska.

Spear point reproductions and reference drawings.
 Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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Posted on 9 February 2016 | 4:51 pm

Adam Radwanski

Trudeau needs to bring hope back to Canada's rust belt

PM ought to be talking up a reinvention for hard-hit industrial heartland in Ontario; instead, he offers ‘empty platitudes’

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Posted on 6 February 2016 | 2:13 am

How to Survive Life in the Suburbs

Top Ten Romantic Movies For Valentine’s Day

A couple of years ago I decided Valentine’s day was the best time to tally up my top ten Romantic Movies of all time! Hmmm of all time? That might be putting too much pressure on myself. Perhaps my top ten date night movies rating from one Kleenex to an entire box!  So as Valentine’s […]

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Posted on 10 February 2016 | 1:38 pm

A Peek Inside the Fishbowl

Feeling crappy on a Wednesday

I’ve been feeling pretty schlumpy these last few weeks. I am afraid that I am on the road to Burnoutville. It’s a long journey, and the traffic is kind of jammed up, but I am close to throwing myself out of the car because I really don’t want to end up in Burnoutville. I can […]

The post Feeling crappy on a Wednesday appeared first on a peek inside the fishbowl.

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Posted on 10 February 2016 | 9:13 pm

Dawg’s Blawg

Sunny ways, continued

First it was brokering the sale of billions of dollars of military equipment to the mediaeval torture-state of Saudi Arabia. Now the Trudeau Liberals are in court trying to deny compensation to three Canadians, Abdullah Almalki, Muayyed Nureddin and Ahmad...

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Posted on 7 February 2016 | 4:37 pm

Dammit Janet

What is Marie Henein's end game?

The trial of the former Q host on CBC is well underway. Five days so far of mediocre prosecutorial presentations while on the adversarial side, the best Grand Guignol cross-examination that defence lawyer Marie Henein is capable of executing.

What if Henein's agenda were to expose how the Canadian (in)justice system, with regard to crimes of sexual assault and trials, is fundamentally patriarchal?

Here's one account of the grim proceedings.  As well, _Chatelaine_ has produced formidable coverage of many aspects of the trial.

This insight into the first days of the trial came from a surprising source.
Though she was roasted and toasted in cross-examination by the former broadcaster’s lead lawyer, Marie Henein, it’s important to note that for all the inconsistencies in the woman’s evidence — some significant — a constant in her police statement, many media interviews and testimony this week is her claim that Ghomeshi struck her hard, with a closed fist she thought, on the side of the head.
[..] Her difficulties arose, in my view, in part because it appears her allegations weren’t as thoroughly investigated by the police as perhaps they should have been and because prosecutors didn’t thoroughly examine her or re-examine her at all.
The blow of those terribly damaging emails and the bikini photo she sent Ghomeshi, for instance, a year after the second alleged assault where he purportedly smacked her in the head, would have been mitigated had she been asked follow-up questions when she mentioned, voluntarily in examination-in-chief, that she had “a vague memory” of writing a note to him, in anger, but wasn’t sure she’d sent it.
“You aren’t trying to hide the fact that you might have written Mr. Ghomeshi?” prosecutors could have asked.
The question alone would have diffused the impact of Henein’s revelation.
I'm not the only one who is wondering, WTF game is the prosecution playing?  Why are the Crown lawyers throwing the complainants under the bus?  This from Jane Doe, provides illumination.

On the other side, my daughter - a decade younger than Ghomeshi or Henein - loathes what the former did as well as his lawyer's antics.

She has nothing but contempt for the high-stakes histrionical performance the latter is currently offering.  She thinks the lawyer is an opportunist who will leverage a spectacular win to catapult herself onto a larger and more lucrative stage.

The Ghomeshi trial could indeed do for Henein's reputation what OJ Simpson's did for the Kardashians: transform her into a minor US celebrity.

This is the Toronto Life article about Henein that gave my daughter pause, with regard to Henein's professional choices.

Perhaps her perspective is lopsided.  After all, she's a mere physician in a demanding specialty.  In her line of work, individuals who apply such rigour and dedication to the pursuit of excellence _only_ save lives.  They don't destroy them.

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Posted on 7 February 2016 | 10:48 pm

That Artist Woman

Valentine Printmaking Project

Valentine #1

This is a Valentine printmaking project I have planned with grade 5.

The main focus is teaching them how to create their own stamps with craft foam.

Valentine #2

Here is a second version.


- watercolour or disk tempera paint
- heavy paper or wc paper
- sticky backed craft foam
- scraps of corrugated cardboard
- black acrylic or tempera paint
- coloured pencils, china markers, sharpies
- alphabet stamps, glitter gems, optional

Using watercolour or disk tempera paint your background.

Here I'm using disk tempera and this resulted in Valentine #2.

I used watercolour paint and a little kosher salt to create the background for Valentine#1.

Set aside to dry.

Now we can work on our stamps.

Gather your materials, we need some scraps of cardboard for the base of the stamp and some craft foam.  I like the sticky back.

There are 2 ways to make a stamp with craft foam:

1st Way:
Cut the cardboard into the shape of the stamp. I then cut strips of craft foam and apply to cardboard to outline the shape. You can also cut shapes to be added like the inner heart for this stamp.

2nd Way:
Cut your cardboard shape, then trace around it on the craft foam.  Cut the shape out of craft foam.

You then use a blunt pencil and draw designs into the craft foam shape.  Push hard enough that you can feel the design marks with your fingertip when you touch the foam.

Here is a good tip I got from Traci Bautista.  Use small pieces of craft foam on the back of the cardboard to make a handle.  I use the parts where the product sticker is, I normally just throw those ones away.  You can also use the leftover little pieces from cutting out a stamp.
Use 2 layers and you'll have a good handle.

Using a paintbrush brush some acrylic or tempera paint onto the stamp.  This gives you more control than stamping into a plate of paint to load.

I always have practice paper nearby when doing a printmaking or stamping project.

Here you can see then difference between the 2 types of stamps. 

Have the kids practice working with the stamps.  Sometimes the ghost print or the 2nd ghost print turns out to be the best.

Ghost Print = the second print from a stamp without applying more paint.

When they are confident apply the stamp to your dry background.

Now you might want to just stop there but I like to take it further.

Ensure your print/stamp is dry.  I use a hair dryer to speed things up a bit.

I added some coloured pencil, some china markers, and some sharpie.

I also used a little white and silver paint that I dipped the end of a pencil into and stamped on some accents. (see finished photo)

I painted some scrap paper.

I then stamped on some letters and added these to the Valentine.

You can also add a few sticky gems.

You could also print off some text from the computer to add.

Pair it with a Valentine poem and you have a great Valentine the kids can make for Mom and Dad.


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Posted on 1 February 2016 | 1:34 am

A pretty Life in the Suburbs

Marshmallow Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

This Marshmallow Vanilla Buttercream Frosting is the perfect icing for either chocolate or vanilla cupcakes! – – – – – – – It seems to me that people are either icing on or icing off kind of people.  Are you an icing person?  I like icing, but I really just prefer cake and cupcakes naked. […]

The post Marshmallow Vanilla Buttercream Frosting appeared first on A Pretty Life In The Suburbs.

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Posted on 9 February 2016 | 11:45 pm

Canada's Adventure couple

What to do in Melbourne, 11 Things to do in The Coolest City in Australia

It is said that Melbourne is the coolest city in Australia. After visiting Melbourne we agree! Melbourne has been named the most liveable city in the world but it is also an excellent tourist destination as well. A superb jumping off point for exploring the Great Ocean Road, Melbourne is a spot where you could [...]

Read the original post What to do in Melbourne, 11 Things to do in The Coolest City in Australia on The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog.

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Posted on 11 February 2016 | 10:00 am

My New Life in Canada, under the snow!

A Sunday in Buenos Aires

We are standing at the entrance of the famous Cementerio de la Recoleta, a picturesque yet slightly creepy landmark that is famous for containing the graves of, among other notable people, Eva Perón and presidents of Argentina.

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Posted on 10 February 2016 | 1:24 am

Live From Waterloo

WW#389 - Spaghetti with Rosé sauce

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Posted on 10 February 2016 | 3:09 pm