Share Your World 2015 – Week 35

…..thanks to Cee for four more great questions

What made you feel good this week?

My family and friends sent me wonderful birthday wishes this week and brought me very thoughtful gifts. I got to go to the AGO (art gallery) with my husband and had a wonderful meal in Chinatown. The next day my girls and their significant others and a couple of dear friends came to the house for a BBQ and my husband outdid himself.

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For potlucks or parties do you cook it yourself, buy from a grocery store, or pay for catering?

I went to a potluck yesterday and I brought an arugula and apple salad and spinach and cheese crepes. If I have time I usually prepare something on my own and I like to make appetizers. If I’m short on time I will sometimes go to a take out place and bring samosas, pakoras, fried calamari or sushi (things that I wouldn’t make myself). Cheese and crackers and veggies and dip are also easy.

What is your favorite part of the town/city you live in. And what Country do you live?

I’d have to say that I really like where I live in Toronto. I live right by Lake Ontario (I can see it from my house). I’m right on hiking and cycling trails so going for walks is very enjoyable and I’m only a 15 minute drive from downtown or a 10 minute train ride. The streetcar is about 45 minutes and the subway is 30 minutes (including the 10 minute car ride to get to it). For those of you who don’t know Toronto, I live in Canada.

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Complete this sentence: My favorite place in the whole world…..

My favourite place in the summer is my cottage on Georgian Bay. I don’t travel extensively but every place I’ve ever been to I’ve really loved. Some of those places are Ireland, The Netherlands, Hawaii, San Francisco, New England and Quebec City. Funny how all these places are on water.

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Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for time spent with family and friends on my birthday. I’m also grateful for a wonderful day spent with my Dad. He treated me to a very special lunch at the Royal York Hotel and a visit to the Ripley’s Aquarium. Yesterday I spent a few hours with my daughter, A and her partner, J at the CNE. We played some games, took in the sights and tried some new food.

Today I was grateful to my good friend L who stepped up and helped me clean up the library and transferred all my art supplies to a new home in the school. She came just at the right time when I needed her moral support the most. In the end many people chipped in to make sure that the library would be ready for the first day of school.

For the rest of the week I’m looking forward to spending a few more days at the cottage before I head back to work on Tuesday. I’m also looking forward to getting back to working on my art. Have great long weekend. I’ll be back on Sunday or Monday.

Escorting My (soon to be 89 year old) Dad to the Aquarium

….when your elderly father tells you he’d like to see the aquarium you go

My father has never been one to make a bucket list but as of late he’s been interested in doing things that were never on his or our radar before. When our daughter announced that she was pregnant my father was delighted and decided on the spot that he had to stick around for at least six more years so that he could enjoy his first great grandchild. When we had the shower for G, he decided that he would attend as well and we made sure that a few other male members of the family were there for moral support.


A few months ago my father expressed an interest in going to the Ripley’s Aquarium here in Toronto. I offered to accompany him and even suggested that I could take a day off from work so that we could avoid the weekend crowds. May and June passed and then in July and August we didn’t make plans because we weren’t sure when my husband was having his surgery. Last week we finally made plans to meet downtown and go to the Aquarium.

In the fall of 2014 my father was reintroduced to the Go Train and he decided that he really liked travelling to Toronto from Oshawa on the train. He’s done it a couple of times since and so we agreed to meet at the Royal York Hotel across the street from Union Station. I also took the train from the west end of the city where I live. For $5.60 (half of that if you’re a senior) you can jump on the train and be downtown in 15 minutes.

Now my father had another motive for meeting at the Royal York Hotel. Sixty years ago when my parents and I first arrived in Canada my father’s first job was at the Royal York Hotel, working as a waiter. He has fond memories of his seven years there and he was really looking forward to having lunch there. Seeing that last week was my birthday he treated me to lunch and he paid our way into the Aquarium. Thanks Dad!

I have to admit that I was a bit nervous about walking over to the Aquarium with my father. He has definitely slowed down in the past five years. He tends to walk 20 to 50 paces and then stops to talk. He seems to need frequent breaks but he assured me that the walk would be just fine. As we got closer I could tell he was getting tired but he motored on. He really wanted to see the fish. IMG_6040

As we were standing in line he asked me if I could pass for a senior. Adult fares are $29.99 and seniors are only $19.99. Seeing that I was only a couple of years away from actually qualifying for the senior’s rate he decided to take a chance and he ordered two senior’s tickets. Well if it wasn’t our lucky day! Tuesday’s happens to be seniors day and we received an extra $5.00 discount for each of us off the ticket price and we were handed vouchers for a free coffee or tea and two granola bars. After he purchased a $2.00 program his total came to just over $35.00 for the two of us.

The crowds weren’t too bad today. Being it was the end of the summer, I knew that there wouldn’t be any school trips and the CNE was on so a lot of families would be heading down to the exhibition grounds. For the first part of the self guided tour we saw fish from Canada and we headed down the ramp passing huge aquariums with fresh water fish and then fish from the tree oceans that surround this huge country of ours. The octopus and the blue lobster were especially interesting.

I knew that there was a moving sidewalk when you got to the ‘dangerous lagoon’ area where you were literally in a glass tunnel surrounded by water and I think that Dad was glad to take a break from walking when we finally got there. The only thing that would have made it better might have been chairs to sit on. For me the sidewalk moved a little too slowly but you could step off if you wanted to. This was my favourite part of the aquarium. I loved seeing the sharks move towards you and then swim over your heads and then out of nowhere the stingrays would appear and glide by. I was amazed that the other fish weren’t bothered by the sharks and the sharks weren’t interested in them. I guess they must be fed in separate pools so that they don’t freak out the little ones or deplete the collection of tropical fish.

About two thirds of the way into the tour my father thought we had come to the end because we ended up in an area where you could rest, have coffee, a bite to eat and there were numerous hands on activities for the kids. He was pretty much done but there was no short cut that I could see to exit the building. He was a trooper and soldiered on as we made our way through the jelly fish exhibit and other exotic creatures. This is where we saw the lion fish, piranhas, sea horses and sea dragons. I would have liked to spend more time here but Dad really was getting very tired.

Of course the end of the tour takes you through the gift shop but we didn’t buy anything. We made our way back to the train station but not before I had my picture taken inside this sea turtle body. I guess I should have tried sticking my head out farther than I did.


All in all we had a great day. My dad made it home safely and all my worrying was for nothing. I wonder what he wants to do next?


A Visiti to the Aquarium Inspires This Art Class

….a watercolour wash, crayon resist, and playing with salt

The kindergarten classes made a trip to the new Ripley’s Aquarium here in Toronto. They researched marine life before going on the trip and I brought library books to the class to use as a reference for their fish drawings.

We started with a crayon line drawing of the fish and surrounding sea plants. I showed the class how to make a wash for the background and while the paint was still wet we sprinkled it with salt to give the water an interesting texture. We also used white crayon to create bubbles in the water and some of the children wrote their names with the this crayon. The last step was to add colour to the fish themselves and the plants. I think they did a wonderful job.