Category Archives: family

Royal Ontario Museum Sleepover — a scary experience

Taking my 4-year-old nephew to the Royal Ontario Museum’s dinosaur-themed sleepover seemed like the perfect plan to win me the Favourite Auntie Award.  Not so, it turns out, if your nephew has an unnatural fear of just about every animal (dead or alive).

Still, we survived.  You can read the article I wrote about it here. Hot tip: Bring or make a fast friend the same age as your niece/nephew, and suddenly the “I want to go home to Mommy’s” dissapear.  It’s magic.  For more photos from the night, check out my ever evolving flickr page.

For those of you into such things, this event occurred about a year ago — but I just stumbled upon the article and thought I’d post it.


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Filed under family, journalism, love, thrifty, Toronto, travel

Work, work, work

That’s what 2011 has been all about for me so far.  Well, that and a big fat engagement ring. (Yeah!)

But seriously, apart from shoving the gold and emerald band on my fat knuckle (thanks recreational basketball) I’ve hardly felt time to breathe work wise. So I’ve retired all of my public relations work to focus on writing and editing (almost) full time.

I’m just finishing up my first feature for Reader’s Digest (it’s a meaty story, and I can’t wait to get my edits back as I think I did a kick ass job, fingers crossed). I wrote a service piece for them earlier this year on Allergies, which opened the door to the editors taking my feature idea. In December, I landed my very first profile in a national magazine — it was on Lynda Powless, the editor and publisher of Turtle Island NewsMore nominated it for Best Profile for this year’s National Magazine Awards, which made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

I also acted as a judge for those awards – in the always glamorous and exciting “How To” category.  There were over 50 pieces to read, from How to Make a Wreathe to How to Stalk a Deer.  As a new editor, (I started as Managing Editor at Precedent last June), I found the discussion with the other judges highly instructive — my opinions were sometimes wildly variant from theirs, and I even admitted that I was wrong on some fronts — but not all.

On the non-work front, I’ve been taking a photography class through the Native Women’s Resource Centre — as a Board Member it’s given me a chance to spend time with the women who use the centre everyday — and get to know my new Panasonic DMC LX5.  I love you camera. I love you. We were tasked with a photo essay, so I chose the Business of Weddings, documenting visits to three wedding venues in one morning. You can see those pictures, and more on my Flickr page.

And now the second big season of my walking tour company — Walk T.O. — is ramping up. And it’s a busy one.  We’ve hired four new guides (all amazing teachers, eco-geeks, artists and/or a combination of all three) and we’re in training mode. Today and tomorrow we have 300 students from North Toronto Collegiate on our Toronto the Green Tour — that’s the entire section of Grade 9 Geography.  And it takes a lot of energy to keep one step ahead of them. One thing to be thankful for: the weather forecast was wrong today, no thunderstorms, just light rain.

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Filed under family, journalism, Toronto

Shane Belcourt’s Toronto on blogTO

shane_belcourtEver struggle with coming out of your parent’s shadows?  Try having a father who is one of the most famous Aboriginal activists and thinkers in Canada.  But filmmaker and musician Shane Belcourt has done better than most.  Find out how the Ottawa-born native lives his life in Toronto – he’s the latest subject for my blogT.O. Toronto through the eyes of column.

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Filed under Aboriginal, ethical living, family, people, Toronto

Free ways to wish Toronto a Happy 175th

Baked Creations cupcake

Baked Creations cupcake

It’s the city’s birthday today but celebrations will last well into the year.

Here are my picks (insert nerdy history bias here) for not-to-be missed, FREE, happenings:


The Bohemian Embassy Revival – Toronto Public Library City Hall Branch 7-8:30 pm.

Watch Toronto in Six Words:


Go to Fort York it’s free all weekend!  After all, we’re also nearing the 2ooth anniversary of the War of 1812 (I know you’re flush with excitement).

Starting tomorrow until  June 13th — Lit City: Toronto through the Eyes of Authors and Artists @ The Market Gallery, The Market Gallery, 2nd floor, South St. Lawrence Market, 95 Front Street East



Fabled City: Red Square – The Great Depression in the Township of York
York Museum, 2694 Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto
Saturday May 2, 1 – 2 p.m.

In the 1930s many families in the Township of York lost were forced to move into tent “cities”. One (located at the current site of George Harvey Collegiate) was labeled “Red Square” because of the political agitation of its residents. Hear compelling stories from Red Square during the depression.

Free, Please RSVP as seating is limited: 416-394-2759


Lit City: Yorkville
Yorkville Branch, 22 Yorkville Ave.
Wednesday April 29, 7 p.m.
Ray Robertson reads from Moody Food, set in the village’s 1960s era. Katrina Onstad reads from How Happy To Be, set during the madness of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Lit City: Friday Nights with Diaspora Dialogues
Palmerston Branch, 560 Palmerston Ave.
Fridays, April 17, 24 and May 1, 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Diaspora Dialogues returns with its popular Friday night series of free readings and performances. Sample a captivating cross-section of our city’s writers, performers, and artistic forms, including fiction, poetry, spoken word, theatre, and music!

  • April 17: Priscilla Uppal and more
  • April 24: Anthony De Sa and more
  • May 1: Nino Ricci, Sherri Vanderveen and more

Photo credit top: A Baked Creation


Filed under cheap fun, family, news, recession, thrifty, Toronto

Five-pin on Family Day: A photo essay

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Filed under cheap fun, clothes, family, love, thrifty

Love, Mom

Mom and Baby TGood afternoon Crystal:
Hope you are doing well and you had a nice dinner with your sisters last night.  Dad arrived home around 10:30 last night and it is great to have him back.  He was very tired and he looks better today.  Can you email us the name of the wind magazine (I couldn’t remember) Dad wants to know?
Well it was just like Christmas when I went home for lunch as Dad surprised me and brought up the sewing machine & table from the car.  I unwrapped it & gooed and gawed over it.  I brought the manual to work to look it over as I am not busy this afternoon.  Would love to pay hooky and play with my new machine instead but I only work here 2 days a week so that is not possible.
How is you work coming along?  Have you gone out lately?
Take care.
Love, Mom
mom and the girls
Letters from moms are a unique treasure: loving, surprising, zany, and often the pinnacle of passive-aggressiveness.  My mom’s emails from her reception desk are something I always look forward to, but she doesn’t have much of a passive-aggressive edge (mom, ya big softie).
That’s why I am in love with Postcards from yo momma.  Created by two friends after exchanging favourite emails from their moms, the blog posts real letters or instant messaging exchanges between moms and their offspring.  The site is so popular the creators (editor of and the New York Observer respectively) compiled the best into a book that I want.
Here are a few posts that made me laugh out loud:

Mom, Dad and Facebook: A Dangerous Combo

Mom: How do I unfriend on Facebook?
What, you only have like 8 friends, who do you want to get rid of.
That’s really none of your business, and I have 40 friends thank you very much.
That’s right, Dad has 8 heheh
Not for long!

Subject: Doggie Prozac Experiment, Part I

This morning I accidently took Spike’s pill. I feel a little light-headed but that’s about it. I wonder how he feels when he takes it. No wonder he just lays on Jared’s bed all day.

The Main Course

mom: sounds good to me, does he need a birthday dessert??
me: sure, how about a fortune cookie?
mom: i guess only if you are the fortune cookie–hee hee
me: OH MY GOD.
mom: lighten up –jk, jk…………
mom: why is it so gross, you’re not a little fortune cookie??? you could be a dumpling….or tofu
me: um but not a dessert!
mom: oh you’d rather be the main course??

Get me out of here!

Surprise, I am writing you an email.


I am guessing that you are wondering how come I’m doing this — it’s just because I am locked into my computer room and cannot get out.  I was trying to put a door knob on the door and got started, but the thing went completely closed as I was trying to see if it was going to fit — and now here I am having to stoop so low as to write an email to you to see if you could call someone to come get me out.  My phones, of course, are all in the other room. I thought that perhaps you could call Beverly and have her and Howie come over and get me out.  If you happen to have Tami’s number then call her.

Anyhow, can you get me out of here.  I guess I’ll just play games on the computer until someone lets me out of here.  Send me an email to let me know you are doing this for me.

You Can’t Handle the Meth

Mom: So what are you doing for New Year’s Eve?
Heading to Cleveland with some friends.
Are you going to the Flats?
No, probably heading to the Warehouse District.
Is that in the Flats?
No, it’s in the Warehouse district.  [lingering inactivity]
Is that where they do the meth parties?
What now?
Meth Parties. I heard there are all sorts of meth parties up in Cleveland.
No, no meth parties.
Just promise me you won’t go to any meth parties. You can’t handle meth.
I promise.

Cleaning Out The Closet

Me: I was sorting through my closet today and I thought it’s kind of funny that I have “vacation clothes” and “date clothes” when I neither date nor vacation.
Really???  Do you have “work clothes” and “gym clothes” in there too???  HA HAHHA HA HAHA AHAH A.
Not funny
Sorry, I couldn’t resist )

mom and me in BC