Can you spot him?

By , January 27, 2019 1:02 pm

Photos courtesy of Val Dodge

From the dining room window at our cottage Val spotted this Common (or Eastern) Screech Owl. He’s doing what he’s supposed to do: sleeping against a tree trunk. Poor little guy; it’s super cold and blowing snow.

I have never seen an owl live in the wild before, though, like most people, I hear them often. This is very exciting.

Grade 11 History Class – Almost Last Day

By , January 19, 2019 3:29 pm

Thanks everyone. We had some ups and downs but you were a fun bunch.

Thanks for putting giraffe in the photo!

Tell Your Friends to Take Grade 11 World History

By , January 4, 2019 8:28 pm

Watch this video to see what all the fun is about!

Take Grade 12 History Next Year

By , January 4, 2019 1:30 pm

What do we do in grade 12 history? Check out this video. And see you at Course Fair in February.

Good Things of 2018

By , January 2, 2019 8:18 pm

Other than things I have already posted about – such as our amazing trip to BC – here are a few other memorable events from 2018.

Summer with Val – Bike Trip

Val planned an entire Risa-friendly bike trip in August around Lake Simcoe, from Barrie to East Gwillimbury. Other than the hills near Keswick it was desirably flat.

Even when there was no vegan restaurant around Val cooked for me on his camp stove at Lagoon City.

A great, if obvious, sign from Orillia.

Lindsay and Ian

Lindsay kept the surprise for Ian’s grad party in the spring. Even better, they are now engaged to be married. Looking forward.


I’m not a big fan of Halloween. Judging by this look, neither is Richard.

Cottage Time

Sunset at Rice Lake.

Out and About in Summer

During the school year I don’t see much of life because I’m at school so long each day. I really tried to get out and about this summer, mostly on my bike.

A heron fishing in the Don River on the trail north from Pottery Road.

An art installation on the Lower Don Trail south of Pottery Road. I love the viaduct in the background. By the way, the Prince Edward Viaduct celebrated its 100th birthday this year. I’m proud to say our street begins at the foot of the bridge.

Mike, our leafy greens guy, at the Peterborough Farmers’ Market. We visited his Tiny Farm some years back. He is such a lovely, positive guy.

Val on the waterfront trail in front of Redpath Sugar. That was my longest ride in the city – 43 km.

Sculptures of three ladies at Zim Art on Rice Lake, an outdoor gallery specializing in Zimbabwean art. The work is incredibly beautiful and diverse.

This graffiti on the trail near Davisville subway station was my inspiration for the cover of Rapport. I’m not usually a positive person but I liked its message for these troubled times.

The young artist Lacey Todd took inspiration from the photo and came up with this cover for November’s Rapport. I am now happily retired from editing Rapport. I met Lacey in December and she’s a lovely girl.



Everything else that I enjoyed I already posted about. No need for repetition. Happy 2019.

Horses of 2018

By , January 1, 2019 1:56 pm

In the spirit of end-of-the-year lists of things we should remember, here’s my biggest.


I still can’t bring myself to write too much about the fire and the death of the 16 horses below. Let’s just say when I close my eyes I often see fire. And since I have only ridden twice since the fire in May, I miss riding and I miss the 13 beautiful horses who did survive. I have the utmost respect for school horses with all they have to put up with, including innumerable children and poor riders. It’s an immense sadness that all of these solid horses met their end in this tragic way.


Here are a few short recollections about some of the Sunnybrook horses lost to us now.

(photos from and the Sunnybrook Stable site)

Sugar – one of my favourite horses, though I often didn’t want to ride her because of her horribly uncomfortable saddle. She could be really cantankerous but she could also provide a very lovely frame if you treated her mouth with gentle caution. For entertainment, her kick-outs during cantering weren’t to be missed! She was graying and slowing down but still very reliable.

Christmas, 2017.

Misty – another of my favourites. We had some really nice rides during which she showed she was quite capable. Lovely little pony-like canter. She could even hold a frame in the canter, something most school horses couldn’t do. I always called her Misty May after the volleyball player.


SutherlandSudsy. This old man was the first horse I ever rode at Sunnybrook for my assessment way back in 2005 (or so). I didn’t ride him too much after that. When I rode Charlie consistently a few years ago, Sutherland would make a bee-line for him and try to ram into him. Very entertaining. Everyone knew Sudsy was the boss at Sunnybrook.

Marty – this epitome of a mare was one of the horses I rode most during my early years at Sunnybrook. My first private lesson with my “mean” instructor was on her. That’s when I got a hump in my back from trying to put her on the bit for a solid hour. Still years later I didn’t know anyone who could, not even Julie. Marty had a lot of spunk and bile! But she had an excellent temperament while being ridden. She had the equivalent of a corner office in the barn!

Sandy – she lived at Sunnybrook a long, long time ago when I first started riding there. She was old then. I rode her quite a bit. She was probably the first horse that I could regularly put on the bit, but it was more of a show on her part than actual submission. One thing I do remember is she’s the first and only horse I ever rode in a dressage saddle. One really cold winter lesson it was only me and the “mean” instructor. She let me have a go in her dressage saddle. Sandy just cantered round and round because she had so much pent up energy from not having any turnout. When Sandy returned to Sunnybrook about a year ago it was a shock. She was still old but still going.

Beau – like everyone who rode him, what I remember most is his rocking-horse canter. He was a lot younger when I rode him. He had aged a lot but he was very trustworthy. We saw a lot of beginners riding him and a lot of instructors giving him his verbal commands to get going!

Tess – Tess was an enviable ride when she first came to Sunnybrook as she was quite capable. I didn’t ride her much over the ensuing years but I always enjoyed visiting her as she was Misty’s next door neighbour. I thought Tess had a beautiful face.


Mr. T – it amazes me that I never rode Mr. T, the denizen of Sunnybrook, over the years. I came close – I was slated to ride him once but a thunderstorm meant it never happened. Julie just loved Mr. T! He was old and slow but a really trustworthy epitome of a school horse. As the last horse in the main aisle he had a lot of friends! Anytime the horses broke out of the paddock Mr. T was usually responsible – smarty pants knew how to open the latch.


One last thing I want to mention is the horses who lived in the main barn who had moved on to greener (supposedly) pastures over the years and thus didn’t have to die in the horrible fire: George was one of my first loves at Sunnybrook, and Skye (the older, smaller one) was my solid, if extremely fickle, companion over many years.

One day we will come back and reclaim this beautiful piece of Toronto and remember them all forever.



Oh no, vegan baking!

By , December 28, 2018 1:31 pm

I made my first vegan dessert: vegan trifle. It was no trifle to make, let’s just say. A lot of assembly was required. Though I did not eat it (because I don’t eat chocolate), I did construct a small chocolate-free one just for myself.


Step 1 – make vegan spongecake – very easy

Step 2 (not shown) – make coconut cream (refrigerate a can of full fat coconut milk and then pour off the liquid, leaving the solid cream that you can whip in a mixer just like whipping cream)

Step 3 (not shown) – make chocolate mousse (avocado, banana, dates, cocoa powder) in the vitamix – my first time using this insane appliance

Step 4 (not shown) – bake brownies (I bought pre-made batter from Sweets from the Earth)

Step 5 – make cherry sauce


The final product assembled in (sort of) layers, garnished with cocoa nibs and shaved vegan chocolate


Val also made a dessert: not vegan.

Val’s New York cheesecake made in the InstantPot


As usual my mom was a lovely host and the setting was perfect

Happy Holidays – Let’s Go To Egypt

By , December 18, 2018 9:57 pm

Here’s an ancient history treat: a new tomb discovered in Egypt. Check it out in this short video:


Or look at some of the beautiful images in this National Geographic slideshow:

The tomb is that of a high-ranking priest with government ties from the fifth dynasty (Old Kingdom). It looks incredibly well preserved and decorated. It amazes me that this civ keeps on going!



By , December 1, 2018 1:34 pm

A great night. If anyone wants their picture removed, leave a comment.

Thanks Stuco, especially exec.


By , November 15, 2018 8:56 pm

Amazing conference. Insightful presenters. Old acquaintances and friendships renewed.

Why History? panel.



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