By , July 30, 2018 9:28 pm

We just returned from an amazing holiday in BC. It started with our first ever trip to Victoria. What took us so long? It’s a beautiful, friendly city.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

By , July 22, 2018 3:55 pm

Val has made good on his threat to cut his hair. Of course I documented the process.

Richard – the Latest

By , July 16, 2018 3:43 pm

Here he is looking longingly outside at the cottage. He knows how good he has it – he doesn’t really want to leave. Just look.

Belated Happy Canada Day

By , July 15, 2018 8:03 am

East York Canada Day parade took place on a very hot July 1.

Ward 29 Bikes had a small “float” of riders, with the star of the show being Felicity in her fabulously decorated balloon bike.

Yes, she is actually in there somewhere.

Captain Canada emerges!

A lot of people took pictures of Felicity!

The streets of East York (at least those on the parade route) were lined with red and white (mostly white, to be honest) viewers.

That was my first ride, albeit at a snail’s pace. I am now practicing for my August ride around Lake Simcoe with Val.


Come From Away

By , July 9, 2018 8:04 am

My mom treated a group of us to this fabulous musical on Saturday!

It is very emotional.  I was told I would cry but I wasn’t prepared for it JUST HAPPENING from very early on in the play.

Very Canadian. Lovely music, great story. Great band – one guy wore a Def Leppard shirt. Does he wear it to every performance, I wonder?



In Memory – Sunnybrook Stables

By , May 22, 2018 9:06 pm

I haven’t really had a chance to get my thoughts together about losing so many wonderful horses and the entire barn at Sunnybrook. I’ll have to write more about that later.

I am so grateful that there are 13 horses still remaining, among them the incredible horses that Julie and I ride: Skye, Rex and Daisy. We are both so relieved to say that Polka, Carmel, Yukon, Dante, Flight, Queenie, Huckleberry, Will, Georgia and Clyde are also alive!

Sugar is the horse that I have thought about the most; she has always been the “welcome” horse in the first stall – standing or box. My last ride on Sugar, some time in the winter, was wonderful. She was showing off her increasing and decreasing canter circles. Last Thursday I said hello and goodbye to Sugar, as I always do. She looked her usual serene self just standing there checking out the view. It can’t really have been the last time, can it?

Here’s a picture of Sugar from this past December.

Like all Sunnybrook horses, she served us well. Thank you, Sugar. We love you and we will miss you.

Stars on Ice Toronto

By , May 13, 2018 1:39 pm

On the day of the crazy windstorm the Stars on Ice 2018 tour arrived in Toronto. I was lucky enough to have incredible on-ice seats to view what had to be one of the greatest moments of my life. Yes, I said that.

For a figure skating fan this was the highlight: our entire gold medal team plus Javier Fernandez and Jeffrey Buttle (well, I’m not much of an Elvis Stojko fan but he tried)! What more can a figure skating fan ask for (Kurt Browning might be my answer).

It’s hard to pick out just one highlight as there were so many thrills but tears came to my eyes during Patrick Chan’s Hallelujah and Tessa and Scott’s Roxanne. The filled ACC was SO loud for Tessa and Scott. The entire gold medal team skating to Fields of Gold was pretty sweet, too.

I have to say that after the thrill of the World Championships for Kaetlyn Osmond’s gold and Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje’s bronze it was pretty awesome to see them live. Kaitlyn and Andrew, in particular, did two amazing numbers. Kaetlyn stands out for her speed, grace and maturity – not a concept very common in women’s skating these days with all those 15 year old jumpers who don’t hear their music.

On a parting note for the 2017-2018 season I will just say this: Tessa and Scott skating to Roxanne is the greatest creation figure skating has every seen. Superlative. Happy to have been a witness to it.

Recent Reads

By , April 29, 2018 2:36 pm

I’ve fallen a bit behind in my book reviews so I’ll just quickly say a few words about a some books I’ve read lately.

The Trouble with Brunch: Work, Class and the Pursuit of Leisure by Shawn Micallef (2014).

Someone at Val’s office lent him this book and I pilfered it. It was a short and relatively fast read, kind of interesting.

Micallef details his Windsor sort of working class background and how it gives him a more realistic sense of class. He does discuss brunch a lot, probably too much. He dissects it as a reflection of our class consciousness. He also quotes Thorstein Veblen a lot. Veblen was a late 19th century – early 20th century thinker who wrote about the leisure class and conspicuous consumption.

Micallef also writes some things that he doesn’t quite finish up on about farmers markets. Though his experiences aren’t just Toronto-centered, I did like his local references, particularly to the Riverdale Farmers Market (which is quite different from the ones I frequent at East York Civic Centre and in Peterborough).

Micallef is a freelance columnist for the Toronto Star. He has a good sense of a city as a living, breathing entity. That I like a lot.

Ancient Worlds: A Global History of Antiquity by Michael Scott (2016).

This big book didn’t start off too well for me – the chapter on Roman-Indian interaction just went over my head. However, the subsequent chapters really captivated me. Scott’s main idea is that cross-cultural interaction defines history, yet each particular interaction has its own characteristics.

His case studies, so to speak, were Han China and its incorporation of Buddhism from India, Armenia and its incorporation of Christianity, and Constantine’s slow road to Christianity in the eastern half of the Roman Empire.

I have to say that I absolutely loved the parts on Armenia and Constantine. Who knew I had such interests? I have never read anything about Armenia’s ancient history. It turns out that Christianity was incorporated in such a way to bolster the ruling class. What a surprise! The parts on Constantine were eye opening too even though I know a fair bit about him and his time. What I did glean is a lot more about the way that the internal divisions within early Christianity were used by Constantine and his advisors to bring in tolerance of a highly persecuted religion.

As a person who teaches ancient history this book presents a real challenge to me. I absolutely want to incorporate its findings, and more importantly its global history ethos. However, time is limited and students don’t tend to do well in a global framework without a culture-specific framework first (at least in my experience they don’t). It’ll take me some time to figure out how to make use of this.

For those interested in this new stream of global histories, I highly recommend this book.

Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga (2017).

I wrote about this book in my OHASSTA blog post in March after having heard the author speak at our TDSB PD conference in February.

I was very touched by it, so much so that I kind of developed an anger toward Thunder Bay. I wanted to visit the north shore of Lake Superior – now I’m not so sure.

I truly feel all Canadians should read this book. We need to know that the legacy of residential schools lives on in such horrible ways. Yet the people portrayed in the book are so full of resilience and caring.

I have just started a new book. After reading about paleolithic cave paintings earlier in the school year I thought I’d follow up with something on archaeology.

Ancient Bodies, Ancient Lives: Sex, Gender, and Archaeology by Rosemary Joyce (2008).

More to come when I finish it. I’m only a few pages in – interesting interpretations about Venus figurines already!


TDSB@UofT History Conference – May 10

By , April 9, 2018 2:43 pm

April 27: now closed – registration has taken place.

Grade 11 history students: if you’re interested in attending the conference, please check out the brochure and let Ms. G know by email. The cost is $5.00.

TDSB program_History__Conference_2018

Richard Turns Two

By , March 14, 2018 11:22 am

It was exactly one year ago yesterday that Richard Parker joined us. Here we are again at the cottage with snow blustering around.

How has Richard changed?

He is definitely calmer. He was a ball of energy a year ago. He absolutely could not sit still except when he was sleeping. In the first few months of his arrival, none of us not got a lot of sleep. His most high-energy time of day was night, unfortunately for us and for Bailey. Richard seemed to think that Bailey existed to torture. He ran him up and down the stairs, into corners. It was sincerely hard to deal with. Though Val dealt with most of it, being the night-owl that he is, I often got up screaming at Richard to leave my poor frail Bailey alone! To no avail.

Richard is still very sweet. When he first arrived, he would often cuddle up and snooze with us. Though he’s older and more mature now (ha ha), he still loves a good cuddle. Especially, it seems, in the morning when I’m trying to put on my makeup. Just as I’m about to place a little wand close to my eyes he expects to be picked up and hugged. Yes, I have poked myself in the eye a few times.

Richard is still food crazy but he can be controlled now. If left to his own devices he would still eat everyone else’s food. If we left bread out on the counter, he would guzzle it. Sometimes now, especially at the cottage where he is generally calmer, he will sit and watch the other cats eating without making a move. At home, he still has to go for “timeouts” in the powder room to allow them to finish their meals in peace.

Most of all he’s a good boy – funny and charming, crazy and endearing. He’s a big ball full of personality. We’re all used to him in a good way.

But no more. We are full! We also need to sleep at night and not to worry about disasters every time we hear a noise!

Here are some of his greatest moments. All photos courtesy of Val Dodge.

Dec. 2017: Chair as jungle gym. He also does somersaults on the banister.


Jan. 2018: In the recycling bin. If he’s not in it he’s trying to lick all the cans in it.


March 2018: In a coveted bag. We always cut the handles so he doesn’t strangle himself.


Watching a squirrel take a nap outside the loft window.


RP and Val – friends forever.


Feb. 2018: Getting into trouble on the ‘jungle gym’ AKA the clothes dryer at the cottage.


March 2018: We’re so proud he loves laundry so much.


He also loves stairs. We’re less proud of this since we live in a four-storey house with several long drops from open stairs!

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