No Cuts to Education

By , June 6, 2019 7:24 pm

Cuts will hurt our students.

Goodbye, Fletch

By , May 9, 2019 7:50 pm

Fletch – 19 years old. A very good boy. We had to say goodbye to him today.

Fletch should be remembered as the cat who cured himself of diabetes and lived through three near-death experiences at the emergency vet.

Fletch was my first cat. He’s the first cat I was allergic to.

He is lovingly remembered by Val, his best friend and loyal companion who brought him home from the Humane Society at age 1, his aunt Felicity, who cat-sat him often and just loved him to pieces!, and by me, his adopted dog person.

Fletch was pre-deceased by Bailey, step-dogs Hopi and Zuni, and survived by Shadow (his best cat friend) and Richard, his nemesis.

Fletch – good-natured, friendly, cuddly and sleepy!

Goodbye old man.


Risa and Val, Shadow and Richard


Happiness at Stars on Ice

By , May 8, 2019 7:59 pm

Last Friday I had the most amazing time at Stars on Ice, a long-time tradition with my mom and step-sister Lindsay. With on-ice seats we had incredible views and even shook hands with Andrew Poje! For a super fan of Canadian skating it was an incredible treat.

An Eye for Photography

By , April 28, 2019 7:11 pm

This person has one. I wish I could see like that.

Tapestry of Leaves by Susan Butler, York, England.


This is all I’ve got.

Olives at St. Lawrence Market, March 2019.


Withrow Park clubhouse, March 2019.


Queen’s Park protest, Apri, 2019.

Richard Gets All the Attention …

By , April 2, 2019 8:39 pm

… so Shadow would like to say “hi.”

That’s all. She’s very quiet.

International Women’s Day

By , March 10, 2019 10:53 pm

Since 1909, International Women’s Day has been acknowledged and (sometimes) celebrated. Because its origins lie in various labour movements, it makes sense to look back at women at work. The links below show women at work in Toronto and Ontario.

Toronto women

Ontario women

Women’s rights in Toronto


We should not take anything for granted – we always have to work hard! Even in 2019 we don’t have full equality yet – there’s still work to do.

1975 Why Not? Campaign (CBC)

And now, for a comparison to today:

75 cents 

The average amount earned by full-time working women in Canada for every dollar earned by men, according to Statistics Canada. The wage gap widens for women who are Indigenous, living with a disability, racialized or newcomers.

15.5 months vs. 12 months

On average, it takes women 15.5 months to earn what a man earns in 12, according to the Ontario Equal Pay Coalition.

$7,200 less

Women with the same experience, socio-economic and demographic background earn approximately $7,200 less than their male counterparts per year, according to an Ontario Government report.

Source: Canadian Women’s Foundation

Richard Turns Three

By , March 10, 2019 5:03 pm

Almost exactly three years ago we rescued Richard from an impending blizzard at the cottage. He’s a lot calmer now – he even sleeps at times other than nighttime – though I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s more mature.

Richard is a character. He has a tonne of it. He employs it at almost all times, such as when he stares into the sink even when there’s absolutely nothing happening in it. He loves boxes, but he also eats boxes. He finds the corner of the kitchen counter the most exciting place in the world even though there’s not much there except a bowl of bananas. He loves socks, blankets, bathrobes, and all things fuzzy. He gets so obsessed with them that we have to take them away. Okay, so he has OCD and ADHD. We love him the way he is.

Like all good cats, he can lounge anywhere. In piles of laundry, in the laundry basket, beside the phone, on the ottoman on top of my paper work, on the sofa, in the sink…

Last year at this time I wrote about him turning two. Check out how adorable he was (and still is).

We love you Richard! Thanks for picking us.


By , February 18, 2019 3:31 pm

I couldn’t be any luckier to have such an amazing husband. On this, our 13th wedding anniversary, I wish to share his qualities.

Amongst many other attributes, Val is:

  • a cat whisperer
  • a tech genius
  • a selfless guy
  • a generous volunteer
  • my best friend


SWSH PD @ Bloor CI

By , February 18, 2019 10:45 am

While students were off on Friday, we were at the SWSH/THHSSSC/TGTA pd conference at Bloor CI. It was an amazing day. Our group of volunteer teachers brought it together so well.

We started planning in  September. We meaning THHSSSC – Toronto History Humanities Social Science Subject Council! That’s a mouthful. I’m a proud exec – VP and Treasurer (okay, treasurer is not the most fun job in the world!).


Registration ran smoothly thanks to Kathryn, Aaron, Sue, Alicia, Byron and all the other THHSSCers who helped out!

photo courtesy of Ben Gross


I was proud to be the emcee again this year. I’m so short!

Keynote speaker Desmond Cole really challenged teachers with his talk on why TDSB must stop suspending and expelling Black students. Here he is talking to a group of student volunteers from Bloor CI who had A LOT of questions.

photo courtesy of Ben Gross


Our post-lunch subject association session was really well-attended. We had four amazing books to give away. Hopefully the recipients will come to our next meeting.

Thank you a million times to Luis Felipe, THHSSSC president, and his incredibly helpful teachers and student volunteers at Bloor CI. Thank you to the entire school for putting up with us, especially all that furniture moving. Thank you to my student teacher, Karen See, for helping out at much needed times!

We hope to be at York Mills next year for SWSHpd20!

Haute Goat

By , February 17, 2019 8:30 pm

For a belated birthday present (and, is it turns out, an early 13th anniversary present), Val took me to Haute Goat near our cottage!

The visit began with the goats going for a walk and munching on cedar trees while the 15 or so humans watched and took pictures.

At one point they got a bit far ahead of us so the owner had us call them back. And back they came.

After this the goats led us back into their play area where we got more up close and personal with them.

The 250-acre farm also has horses – a few Icelandic ponies included.

A beautiful mane and tail. Well insulated, too!

This lad, Yoda, was one of the highlights of the visit. He was very sweet.

Thanks Val for such an awesome treat! I can’t wait to visit the goats again.

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