Foto Friday #49 – Return

….thanks to Rag Tag Team for hosting Foto Friday

Of all the places I’ve visited the place I’d like to return to is Venice. I loved everything about it.fullsizeoutput-6f42

Ready, Set, Done – Off To the Vets We Go

…’s Daily Prompt

Today, write about anything — but you must write for exactly ten minutes, no more, no less.

Three weeks ago we took our dog, Frances to the vet to have a couple of teeth removed. Two hours later and a bill for almost $800.00 we were informed that the x-ray showed a root floating around in her gums that our vet couldn’t remove so we were advised to see a vet that specialized in dental procedures.

The appointment was made, time off from work arranged and we drove to the hospital this morning. When we got there, in plenty of time for our appointment, we waited for almost an hour and a half before the vet could see us. She looked at the x-rays done by our vet and was a little concerned about the bone structure on the one side of Frances’ jaw but she couldn’t really tell what the problem was and could only make some educated guesses at this point.

When discussing our options, she said that if it were her dog she would probably wait and see and maybe start a course of antibiotics. She left us for a few minutes to write up the estimate if we chose to go the surgery route. When she returned she presented us with the estimate that ranged from $2000. to $2900. The option of going the medication route didn’t come up again.

We asked if we could have a few minutes to go over the numbers before making our decision. The dog wasn’t in any pain, there were no visible signs of stress or inflammation and she seemed content. What to do? $400. for meds or a possible $3000. for surgery?

The 10 minute buzzer just went off. I guess you’ll never know what we decided.

For more Daily Prompts check out Ready, Set, Done.


Daily Prompts – The Wanderer

……name 5 places you’d like to visit

1. The west and east coasts of Canada. I’ve lived in Canada pretty much all of my life but I’ve never been to any of our coastal areas. I’m very much drawn to water and that’s one of the reasons I’ve lived in Toronto in the same house for over 35 years. I live right next to Lake Ontario and in the summers I spend a great deal of my time at the cottage on Georgian Bay. P1020618 P1010866

2. Italy, the entire boot. I’ve wanted to go to Italy for awhile now. The rolling hills of Tuscany, the history of Rome, the romance of Venice, the mountains in the north and the rugged coastlines tug at my wanderlust. I love the food, the wine and the art and of course the beautiful scenery. What more could a person want?

3. New Zealand and since I’ve travelled so far I might as well hop on over to Australia. I love reading about both countries and I follow several bloggers from ‘down under’. 

4. New York City. The last time I was in NYC I was a mere child of 5 years. We drove down to pick up my Oma from the ship that she travelled on from Germany. Everyone should experience this iconic city at least once in their life and take in the shows, the great restaurants, Central Park, Coney Island and of course the Statue of Liberty.

5. Iceland. My daughter and her partner just came back from Iceland and the rugged scenery intrigues me. The entire country has no more than 300 000 people so the roads are never busy and they are easy to manoeuvre.

Daily Prompt: Quirk of Habit

Which quirky habit annoys you the most, and what quirky habit do you love — in yourself, or others.

 As a teacher I am painfully aware of overused expressions and words that people tack onto the end of their sentences. When I went to teachers college, eons ago, we were asked to do a lesson while being filmed. It was suppose to help us with our teaching style, voice projection and class management. The one thing that I was made aware of was my overuse of the the word ‘okay’. I was appalled at how often I used it. To this day I avoid using the word ‘okay’ at the end of my sentences whenever possible.

When I have student teachers in my classroom and I notice that they overuse a word, I will actually count how many times they’ve used that word in a 10 minute period. I’ve counted as high as 50 for some of my students when they’re in front of the class teaching. Trust me, students pick up on these quirky habits and can use them against you.

Sometimes it’s the quirky habits of our siblings that annoy us the most. A few years ago my middle sister constantly added the word ‘right?’ to the end of every other sentence. One day I just couldn’t take it any more and when she said ‘right?’, I immediately answered back and said, “Wrong!”. She looked at me puzzled, completely unaware of her quirky habit. When I told her what she was doing she tried very hard not to do it but she found it difficult and even cursed me when she’d catch herself falling back into that pattern.

The habit that I hate about myself is the one where I pick up on other people’s expressions even when I don’t like them. I find if I hear something too often I catch myself doing or saying the same thing. When I worked in Germany as a young adult the only English I heard all summer was from an American couple from New York. When I returned home I discovered that I had a bit of a New York accent. Bizarre!

Thinking of a quirky habit that I love is a little more difficult. I guess the little things that babies and very young children do when they first learn to speak and walk are very endearing to me. Unfortunately and I guess fortunately for them they do outgrow them.

Special thanks to and

Daily Prompt: Colour

Write about anything you’d like, but make sure that all seven colors of the rainbow — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet — make an appearance in the post, either through word or image.

What better than colour wheels produced by grade 5 students to show all the colours, an art project done by a grade 3 student of multi-coloured concentric circles and a trip to the local fruit market where flowers and vegetables vibrate with colours of the rainbow.

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Daily Prompt: Beyond the Pale

…..todays challenge asks the questions: When was the last time you did something completely new and out of your element? How was it? Will you do it again?

I didn’t have to think too hard for this one. Last fall I took a group of grade 5 students to an outdoor education centre for three days. I’ve done this many times so the actual trip wasn’t out of my element. What was new for me was a brand new activity that the centre introduced that month – Treetop Trekking.


Yikes! The ropes were 25 to 30 feet off the ground. I practised on the lower ropes and learned all the signals and how to clip on and off to go from one section to the next. That wasn’t too bad and I felt that maybe if I could get over my fear of heights that I might actually be able to do this. What I didn’t figure on was how strenuous it was just getting to the first treetop station.


There were two ways to get up there …..either climb up the ladder, then up the tree and then hoist yourself over the edge of the platform and walk across the ropes to the first station or climb up the rope net. I opted for the rope net. I managed to climb 25 feet but I was still 5 feet away from the top. I had no idea how much upper body strength one needed to climb up the net. I was just too tired to go any further.

Now one thing I’ve always wanted to try was repel down the side of a cliff or wall. If I couldn’t make it all the way to the top then at least I could experience repelling. That was fun and it encouraged a few of the students who were afraid to try it to actually go back up and give it a go. P1030235 P1030231

Would I do it again? If I can get into better shape I think I would absolutely give it another try. For more photos of the experience go to my post Up in the Treetops.

Daily Prompt: Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Imagine, in great detail, an invention that could help reverse pollution — describe for us how your invention works and how it will help save the planet.

The inventions are already out there and the technology to make them happen also exists. Pollution is reversible. We can see it in our own backyards.

Twenty years ago, one could not swim in Lake Ontario because of the pollution. Today more and more beaches are once again open to the public for safe swimming in the summer. I think the beaches are probably even cleaner now than they were when I was a little girl in the 1950s. I remember the water being brown and filled with algae and seaweed.IMGP0423

Twenty years ago you couldn’t eat the fish from Lake Ontario because of the high mercury levels in the fish. Today fish from the lake is once again edible.

Twenty years ago air pollution from coal burning plants choked many European cities. Today harmful emissions have been greatly reduced and air quality has improved.

Twenty years ago many lakes in northern Ontario and other communities across Canada were suffering the affects of acid rain. Today these same lakes and bodies of water are coming back to life and supporting new growth of plants and fish populations are returning.IMGP0166

Does all of this mean that all is well on this Earth and that no more can be done? No, not by any stretch of the imagination. The good fight needs to continue. Many developing countries in the world continue to produce unacceptable levels of pollution that ultimately affects the entire world. Even the super powers need to do a better job.

So is there an invention that can put a stop to pollution or reverse it significantly? Like I said earlier, the inventions are already there. What we need now is the will and financing to make those changes and implement the technology that already exists. What we need are politicians and bureaucrats that are willing to take a leap of faith and make these things happen. It requires money to get these things off the ground. Fossil fuels are cheap but they won’t last forever and renewable energy is costly to start but once it’s in place and running the benefits will far outweigh the initial cost.

Wind Power-courtesy of Twin Wind Power. com

What we need is a machine that can reverse ‘conservative’ thinking and thinkers. A machine that will make each and everyone of us to see the benefits of reducing carbon emissions into our atmosphere. A machine that convinces our politicians and naysayers that developing renewable energy sources is the way to go to producing a cleaner and healthier world.

In the meantime we can continue to do what we’ve started and build on our individual efforts. Recycle, reuse and reduce. It sounds so simple but it’s a start and it’s something that each and everyone of us can do to make a difference.

One thing that my husband and I do, when possible, is get on our bikes to do our grocery shopping instead of using the car.

One thing that my husband and I do, when possible, is get on our bikes to do our grocery shopping instead of using the car.

This post was inspired by Daily Prompt: Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Daily Prompt: Learning Styles

Results from a teachers' hands on workshop.

Results from a teachers’ hands-on workshop.

What’s your learning style? Do you prefer learning in a group and in an interactive setting? Or one-on-one? Do you retain information best through lectures, or visuals, or simply by reading books?

 I learn best through visuals and hands on activities. Long before I learned about different learning styles, I knew that I needed to be shown how to do something or at least have a visual that explained the process.

Many years ago my parents invested in knitting machines to be sold in their wool and fabric store. They asked me to learn how to use the machines so that I could give demonstrations to some of their customers. They handed me a cassette tape. I just laughed. Even then I knew that I couldn’t learn how to operate this piece of machinery by simply listening to a tape. My middle sister, however, jumped at the chance and became very proficient with the machines. She was also a lot better at learning languages than I was. My friend, L, teaches children to memorize words to songs by simply making them repeat the words. I’ve tried but I need that piece of paper in front of me to help me with the process.

Over the years I’ve learned to use a variety of teaching techniques to accommodate different learning styles. What works for one child may not work for another. This week in one of my art classes, I had students come to me individually when they were ready to start a new project. I had pictures and samples in front of me and I explained the process when they arrived at my desk. After showing several students what to do I asked one student if they could see from the examples what needed to be done. He had no clue. He needed to hear the instructions. He was clearly an auditory learner.

As for me, give me a demonstration, a video tutorial or a hands-on workshop. I’ll come away inspired and ready to try something new.

Learning by doing

Learning by doing

Rewarded by success!

Rewarded by success!

Daily Prompt: The Power of Touch

…’s no secret I love texture

Nature has an abundance of beautiful textures. Here are a few of my favourite subjects to photograph because of their textural surfaces.

Fossils embedded in the rock.

Fossils embedded in the rock.

Tree Bark

Tree Bark

Feathers in the sand.

Feathers in the sand.



For more photos of texture check out Daily Prompt: Texture