Sunday, September 28, 2008

Word on the Street

Just checked out my first Toronto WOTS Book and Magazine Festival at Queen's Park and was really impressed.

There were hundreds of different organizations promoting literacy, freedom of expression, the joy of reading, storytelling, political awareness & advocacy, and everything in between. There were also different stages devoted to authors, performers and personalities participating in readings, panel discussions and concerts. Everyone from age 1 to 100 could find something of interest, including refreshments around every corner.

I was there primarily to see our Toronto Public Library presence which was strong with a children's booth and bookmobile, another youth and adult-oriented booth, participation in an adult literacy display and support for the City of Toronto's Toronto Book Awards effort. A combination of librarians, program staff and others were there to let everyone know about our amazing programs, services and collections.

Along the way I happened upon legendary Maple Leafs goalie Johnny Bower reading from his new autobiography - and heard some great anecdotes including his memories of team mate Tim Horton starting his now-prolific donut business. In the audience were a whole group of 60-70ish men looking not unlike my dad, eating up all his stories.

Further along, I was handed a complimentary copy of Towards Understanding Islam which I gladly took and will definitely read.

The TVO stage was just setting up for a performance with about 40 young audience members waiting somewhat patiently for their favourites to come out on stage.

2008 Toronto Book Awards finalists Elyse Friedman, Barbara Gowdy, Glen Downie and others were onsite for readings of their new works.

The most crowded of the tents I saw was featuring a discussion on Graphic Novels which had attracted a youth-oriented audience hanging off the words of the panelists.

A whole host of Canada's large and small publishers, many periodicals, the Toronto Womens' Bookstore, PEN, theatre groups and many other organizations were all there offering books, magazines, subscriptions, tickets and other cultural wares.

Upon leaving at the end of the day, I realized that next year I'm going to get there early as there is way too much to see and do in just one afternoon.

Photo: Toronto Public Library children's booth at WOTS, Toronto Public Library

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The stuff of life

Life's been busy of late with work, family, Maggy, friend and home stuff. Some friends have sadly been struck by the loss of parents, we celebrated my dad's 70th birthday with a surprise party, some key projects at work have been heating up, Maggy's health has been up and down and up again, a friend's getting married, etc., etc.

I've also been trying to get caught up on outstanding taxes, finding and seeing physicians, locating the finishing touches for our new home, getting to the gym, finding appropriate cards and gifts, catching up with friends and family, keeping on top of Maggy's appointments and ointments, cleaning off my pile-high desks at home and work, finding time for a hair appointment, joining a yoga class, getting out and about in Toronto, etc., etc.

Maggy and I will celebrate a year of living in Toronto on October 1 and it still boggles my mind that we've accomplished and accommodated so much since leaving Vancouver. Sometimes, it seems like just yesterday and other times it feels like a lifetime ago.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Weekend to end breast cancer

Maggy and I just went for our walk in the park across the street and encountered one of the checkpoints for this weekend-long effort to raise funds to end breast cancer. Thousands of participants in pink and black were striding along the street to applause, music, balloons and refreshments encouraging them along their route.

We stopped to chat with some of the walkers who said the weekend had gone well and they just had 13 kms to go. One mentioned she wished she could have brought along her labrador retriever 'training partner' who had to stay home for the actual event. She seemed to welcome a Maggy break before striking out again.

Everyone we saw seemed in good spirits and physical condition following the almost 50 kms already under their belts since yesterday. It was inspiring to feel the energy and hear the hooplah around an event that means so much to so many. Good luck to all.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mixed feelings

Paradoxes are such a part of life and when they hit you all at once, it's impossible not to pay close attention. Right now several key aspects of my life are being affected and tested and leading to that unavoidable of occurrences - personal growth. That in itself is paradoxical as the comfort and stability often sought can be the opposite of those annoying opportunities to evolve.

Relationships at work, in love, and in friendship are all over the place. The good news is that based on past learning, the challenges are not as disconcerting and I'm able to consciously guide myself through them with some clarity.

The other good news is that the saying 'when a door closes, a window opens' appears to be accurate. A budding love relationship is now likely to become a lifelong friendship instead, and current work conflicts may lead to bigger, better options down the road.

While we don't always know what lies ahead, it's important to have the faith and groundedness to hold true and keep looking forward. Life is wonderful and these transitions make it richer - as long as we keep our eyes, minds and hearts open. (And remember that talking like this is supposed to make us feel better :).

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A shock to the system

I am admittedly a liberal. Definitely a supporter of the US Democrats vs the Republicans. Without a doubt. However, I really have tried to tune into the Republican convention this week, to hear them out and compare their position to Obama's and Biden's from last week. I simply can't do it.

The words, the speakers, the delegates, the candidates - all espousing a primarily privileged, selfish and fear-based position - are too much to bear. God save America is all I can say.