Wednesday, March 16, 2016

3 Things to do Outdoors in Southern(ish) Ontario Before the Snow Melts

Spring is only a day away and the tilt of the earth has given us back the sun, but until the temperature falls in line and decides to cooperate, cycling along the trails, warm breeze rushing past your bare arms remains a distant dream. A watched thermometer never rises so here’s a few distractions to while away the hours of winter’s dying gasp.

1. Cycling on slippery city streets is an activity for only the most confident pedal-pushers. If you’re one of them, you have my admiration, but for those of us waiting for the mercury to climb a little higher before getting our spring bike maintenance ritual on, there’s an alternative. Fatbiking. Snow-friendly tires. Algonquin Park trails. It looks pretty awesome. Braving the cold would be worth it to give it a go at least once.

Go fatbiking at Algonquin Park.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Batchawana Bay Provincial Park

Lake Superior sparkles in the sun at Batchawana Bay Provincial Park.
Lake Superior sparkles in the sun at Batchawana Bay Provincial Park.
Sunlight beams on the rippling waves. A promising sight when standing in the scorching stillness of midday atop the dunes. Despite the brevity of the path sloping down to the beach, the wind off Lake Superior creates a vast temperature difference. After our morning hiking the Edmund Fitzgerald Lookout Trail, the cool water feels fantastic on our feet, as does digging our toes into the exfoliating powers of the millions of tiny smooth stones within the sand. Despite how inviting the water temperature begins to feel after splashing our feet in the shore for a bit, the wind is too cold to make a proper go of swimming. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Newsworthy Dine and Dash?

RE: BBC News - South Wales Police: Valentine meal fleeing couple sought

Wow. In 15 years working at a wide variety of clubs, bars, and restaurants, I never heard of anyone calling the police to report a dine and dash. Is this a one-off, or standard practice nowadays?

They'll never catch me now! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Real Back to the Future Date: October 21, 2015

In the spirit of truth, justice, and the skeptical way I give you the real day Marty McFly travels to in Back to the Future II, straight from the dash of our favourite DeLorean time machine. Taken the last time I watched the film, you can even see the little pause symbol in the top right. So kids, unless today is October 21, 2015, then today is not the day Marty visits.

Spread the word. Peace.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Gunther and Christine Holtorf

I know I’m a bit late on this story, but I’ve been away on a road trip of my own, not quite so many miles but a pleasure all the same. Clearing out the old inbox and catching up on the pile of bills should be my first priority, but the tale of Gunther and Christine Holtorf caught my eye via Pinterest. I followed up with a bit more research and although saddened to hear that Mrs. Holtorf has since passed, I am inspired by their story and happy that they did what so many of us fail to do—exactly what they wanted to do. The second star of the story, their trusty Mercedes Benz G Wagen (affectionately named Otto) clocking over 500,000 miles is nothing to sniff at either.

So much happens to us all every day. Never mind the big go-to events (career changes, deaths and births). We also deal with allergic reactions, fender benders, stalkers, root canals, broken toes, expired milk, incarcerated uncles, and maniacal neighbours. “When will it all just stop?” is an often claim of the exasperated. There will never be a break in the insanity of life where you will finally say, “Hey now’s the perfect time to explore the Darien Gap or learn to surf in Tofino”. The only time “it all just stops” is when we’re dead. The only time is now, full stop.

Friday, April 27, 2012

In With the New: An Old Samsonite Contains the Keys to a Treasure

Who would have known that such an unassuming bag would unearth keys to a treasure? Days gone by, after marriage and motherhood, I pulled out the faded black carry-on, buried beneath slippers and stationary stock, that had once been my constant companion. Last seen, I transported my jewellery box when we moved almost two years ago, and hadn’t touched it since. My jewellery box contains pieces from my youth and old keepsakes, no longer worn. I didn’t intentionally send myself on a sentimental journey, my husband was wondering about the chain he used to wear that was kept on our old dresser, and figured it had been tucked into the jewellery box for the move. Lo and behold, there it was, but the real find was the myriad of items revealed once with the box out of the case. Keys to a flood of memories.

A dark blue lighter with Iberostar Dominicana printed in white on the side, the once trusty fire starter reduced to releasing a powdery puff when flicked. An odd assortment of change from around the world concealed in the folds of fabric and netting.  A small bag tucked deep into the side section with a pink razor, two nail files, iron pills, tweezers, toe clippers, a hair tie, a miniature bottle of Vicks VapoRub, and a strange factory sealed bag containing what appears to be papery pink underwear.  I don’t know what I’d planned for that particular little getaway, but it doesn’t sound like anything I’d like to be involved in now. Tickets stubs from Jersey Boys and Evil Dead: The Musical. A pen from the Pickle Barrel and a receipt from B√Ęton Rouge for $123.25. One Sun Globe lime green eye cover, and finally, one Air Transat double pronged headphone jack adapter (do they even use those anymore?)

Vagabond's Pocket Change
Vagabond's Pocket Change

Saturday, May 14, 2011


When I was a teenager I cut an article out of the paper about a woman who had set foot in hundreds of countries and all the continents.  She had travelled with her husband at first; they had met in their youth and discovered the shared love they had of travelling. They happily hadn’t had any children; that wasn’t the lifestyle they had wanted. The pair travelled together for decades until his death ended their union and now she was still forging her own way across the globe.  I pinned that story to my bulletin board—read it over and over—I had found a kindred spirit, one who understood wanderlust.  I had never identified with the attachment people felt to their homes, their need to settle, be surrounded with familiarity day in and day out.  Perhaps because I‘d never felt as though I found anywhere I belonged, I never felt more at peace than when I was on the move. Soothed by transience my outlook baffled everyone I knew. Sure, many loved to travel but still felt the need for a foundation.  I needed no such trappings.  Nor did I need to be going anywhere spectacular as long as it was somewhere different. I longed to travel from town to town, work in odd places, live a little while there and then move on.  A human version of the littlest hobo—though nowhere near as helpful.

I did move a lot (fifteen times in ten years), had at least thirteen different jobs in seven different industries and travelled some, making my way to the east coast and down to the Gulf of Mexico.  I strolled on the streets of Havana, scootered around Cardenas, and drank Pina Coladas at the Bridge of Bacunayagua where their succulent flavor heartily competed with the stunning view.  I bartered on the streets of Santo Domingo and traded mixed tapes with a taxi driver in Higuey, convinced I was shredding my return ticket home to eternally live with the gorgeous crashing tides and surreal flowers of paradise.   

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Expressions Most Loathed: "You'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did."

I’m sure most of you have had one or more variations of this little nugget shoved down your throat at one point or another.  Don’t take it personally if you’re one of the many who use this paltry declaration as a lifelong motto but I abhor it—not you; after all Lucille Ball used it and she is one person for whom I could mean no disrespect.

The major thing wrong with this oft quoted fluff is the obvious. Something you did do is always something else you didn't. Left college to follow your ‘heart’ to Toledo only to end up a penniless single parent whose spouse left long ago for greener pastures?  Left your high school sweetheart to pursue a law degree and found your career unfulfilling and life empty?  Hopped a train to Hollywood and ended up a faded beauty, hardened by the cruel reality of the business doing demos at the local department store to make ends meet?  Never got on the train and focused on finding the wedding, side split, sedan and 2.5 children that elude you to this day?

There is no “do” or “not do”, there is only “do” or “do something else.” Both can lead to regret. Or sorrow. Or joy.

But wait, I know there are many of you that look deeper, that say this quote is really about love—about following your heart! Your passion!  Well, there are many quotes about love, about following your heart—your dreams, that don’t contaminate the sentiment by throwing regret in the mix and prompting far too many members of the general population to spout it at regular intervals. Geysers of uninformed advice, thinking that's is as simple as recommending the least popular decision.