Trash Walking

disposables, keepers, treasures

Gratitude, Pride, Canada.


Today I am grateful.

That I live in a country and a neighbourhood where my family and I can walk in freedom, without fear of persecution for being who we are.  This weekend is a huge one here in Toronto.  WorldPride events everywhere.  As a family, my wife, son and I will head downtown to participate in Pride, but really, where we live we are able to celebrate it everyday. 

It is also Canada Day on Tuesday, so for me, this weekend is a double dose of greatness.  Thank you Canada, land that I love for so many reasons.  This weekend, I love you because you celebrate diversity so well.  Are there things about Canada that need to be changed?  Absolutely.  But I’m not going to get in to that today or this weekend, because today I just love you.  And thank you, my neighbourhood of Port Credit.  For being the warm, caring and inclusive community that my family is honoured to call home.  I know how fortunate we are. 





Mac & Cheese. Writing 101, Day Ten: Happy (Insert Special Occassion Here)

This is a keeper post.  A cherished memory of cooking with love.

Tell us about your favourite childhood meal.  That’s the Day Ten writing Challenge here in Writing 101 land.

That’s so easy!   My mom’s World Famous Baked Mac & Cheese, hands down.  Still a favourite, although now it’s me making it for my son, from mom’s recipe. He likes it, but he likes KD (Canadian readers know what this is) better.  I just don’t get that. At all!

Mac& Cheese was not really a special occassion meal, but because everyone loved it so, it sort of became one.  When it was the family member who’s birthday, (or whatever we were celebrating) it was, would choose Mac & Cheese when asked what they would like for the special dinner.  And so we would sit in the dining room, with the good china, and the good silver feasting on mom’s Mac.

There are three secrets to the deliciousness of Mom’s Mac & Cheese: 

One: Don’t skimp on the cheese, and use old cheddar, for the best flavour. 

Two: Use a can of Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese soup mixed with an equal part of milk to achieve that maximum creaminess that is so important to a good Mac & Cheese.

Three: Broil for a couple of minutes (but watch it carefully, so as not to burn it) just before you remove from the oven.  That way, you have a good crunchy cheesy top.  Heaven!  That crunchy, broiled top was always my favourite part of the entire dish, and if I was lucky, those who really loved me, and who didn’t love the crunchy top quite as much as I, would give me their portion of this little piece of heaven.

I have to laugh now, because when I think about having this as a meal, I’m pretty positive that the Mac was the entire meal.  No vegetables on the side.  Who wanted vegetables when there was this lovely steaming mass of noodles and cheese waiting to be devoured?  Not me.  Not any of us, as I can recall.  Now, I do serve vegetables with my Mac, but that’s really just paying lip service to the idea that we need vegatables in our diet. The vegetables, however wonderful they are, are definitely an afterthought when it comes to a meal of Mac & Cheese.

The Mac was always baked in a huge, deep caserole dish, so we were pretty much guaranteed leftovers, which were every bit as delicious as the first go round.  I never minded being on dish duty when we had Mom’s Mac for dinner either, because it meant that I could pick at all the lovely crunchy bits that were stuck to the side of the caserole dish.  Added bonus!

Mom’s gone now, and we all, the kids and the grandkids, have many wonderful memories of her.  When I use her recipe to feed my own family now, it takes me back to my childhood and to her, and I smile as I tuck in to the best ever Mac & Cheese.  Think I’ll make some for dinner tomorrow!


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Heroic garbage pickers

It seems I have not been able to find much time for blogging lately, and I feel terrible about that.  I have been trash walking, of course, I do it all the time, whether a dedicated beach walk, a walk around my beautiful Port Credit neighbourhood or just picking up a piece or three while ferrying my son to school, karate or play dates. There is always something to pick up, and every little bit counts, in my book.  I don’t take pictures of everything, because how many pictures of garbage can one possibly post?

I mentioned a while back that I’d like to acknowledge a few organizations and individuals who are doing the same thing as I am.  I’ve come to discover that there are a lot of us out there!  In no particular order, here are five of my favourite garbage pickers and organizations.  I’ve focused on the smaller ones for this list, because the grassroots is always a good place to start.  Much respect to them all.  Check them out, if you’re so inclined, and see what they are doing to make a difference.  If you know of others doing some garbage picking, please send them some love, and send me a link to their page or website.  As you go out and about in your part of the world today, be a heroic garbage picker too.  resolve to pick up one piece of trash, or two or three.  Resolve to refuse a plastic shopping bag.  Join the fight against plastic pollution.

1. Balloons Blow.

Two sisters who grew up on the beaches of Florida, they’ve been cleaning the beach all their lives and continue to do so and to document it.  They are particularly involved in educating people about the dangers to wildlife of balloons released.  I have so much respect for this organization and what they do.  When they learn about an imminent release, they alert their 27,000 FB followers, and an e-mail and FB campaign is quickly underway.  Countless dangerous, airborn littering events have been averted thanks to their tireless work. I am in awe of Chelsea and Danielle, and I’m proud to sport one of their stickers on my car.



2. Plasticpicker.

Plasticpicker is somewhere in California, I think.  It doesn’t really matter where he is though, because we all share the oceans.  He seems to pick up daily, and posts quite a lot of pictures,  many of them accompanied by some very wise or humourous captions.  He loves his coast, wherever he is, and I always enjoy his posts in my FB feed.  Always interesting to see where the floating garbage originated, and believe me, some of it has travelled a great distance.

3.  Take3.

I’ve mentioned them before, but they are worth linking to again, because their idea is brilliant in it’s simplicity, and can absolutely be incorporated by everyone, everywhere.  Take three pieces of litter, everywhere, everyday, and dispose of them properly.  So easy to do, doesn’t take any time out of your day, and if you start doing it, it very quickly becomes a habit.  Trust me, I know this for a fact, and so do the people I hang out with. 🙂

4.  Good Beach Bad Trash:

To quote the ABOUT section of his Facebook Page, he is “Just one guy trying to spread awareness about our disposable lifestyle and its effects on oceans and rivers. And not shaving till 1ton has been picked up.”  Nothing fancy, just a straight up caring surfing dude.  I love his posts.  Short and to the point.

5.  The Flotsam Diaries:

Cleans a beach area somewhere in Maine, documents his finds and blogs about it, and shares stories and information from other individuals and organizations.  In particular, I like his 3 part series entitled “Plastic Recycling: The Triangle is a Lie”  Take a look to understand recycling, and to learn why it really is not the solution to plastic pollution.

This list is only a small sampling of the organizations and individuals who inspire me to do more. There are so many more organizations worth mention, and worthy of our support, that I could go on and on forever with a list.  I will create a links page one of these days, I promise.  But this is a start for today, and I’ve got to get outside!!!


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For Tory as she heads west.

Thoughts and advice for my 19 year old niece as she heads out to find her way. 

Trust your instincts and be safe. 

Always know that you have a home back here, and that you are loved.  You know that, of course you do.

Don’t worry, you’ll find work, and you’ll make some really amazing friends, but not everyone you meet will honestly and truly have your best interests at heart.  So, again,  trust your instincts. If something or someone doesn’t feel right to you, listen to that inner voice.

Be open to finding your passion, and don’t settle.  I know you’re nervous as you pack, but that is entirely normal.  I’m excited for you, I really am, and I understand why you made a quick decision to go west.   Sometimes we just have to take a leap, and I think that you are at a point in your life where this leap of faith and trust in a positive outcome is just what you need.  I remember when I first headed out west, searching for something.  What a feeling of freedom to hit the road with my sister and my best friend, and what wonderful experiences I still treasure. I think it’s good for kids to do this, I really do, and so I am happy for you. 

Don’t forget to post updates and pictures, so we can see how you are, and what you are up to, because we really are interested.  Don’t forget to stay in touch with your mom and your grandpa, they love you unconditionally. 

Have fun, but work as much as you can, and save your money, so you can travel.  If there is one thing that I truly regret about my youth, it’s that I didn’t save my money so I could travel more.  Do it while you’re young.

Feel nature.  Breathe and be thankful for the beauty around you.  Get to know it.  Feel the peace of the mountains on a starry night, and the power of the ocean when you hit the coast.  Since you’re going to be in Whistler, maybe you’ll want to learn to ski or snowboard.  Go for it!  You’ll love it.

Approach everything with an open mind and an honest heart and you will find what you need.  Surround yourself with truly good people.  There are many out there, just waiting to meet you.  Don’t give the jerks a second thought.

Write.  Letters, blogs, poetry, whatever you please.  You are a good writer, and writing (as I have only recently discovered) can be freeing, exciting, therapeutic, enlightening. 

I always thought that you and I are a lot alike, did you know that?  Next time I see you, we’ll talk about that, maybe over a bottle of wine 🙂

I am so proud of you Tory.  You are going to be just fine.  Stay true to yourself.  Always.

Much love,




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Book Club at my place, June, 2013

Our book club get togethers were always sleepovers because geographically we are not close, and because we like to imbibe while discussing books.  And yes, we really did always discuss the books, and read many wonderful ones. Many (our spouses) thought that book club was just an excuse to get together and drink, but no, this really was a book club, albeit maybe an unusual one. Definitely a fun one. It evolved over the years as we kept adding new bookclub “rules and procedures”  which we referred to as “ordinances”, as a homage to one of our earliest reads, The Gate to Women’s Country, by Sherri S. Tepper.  One of the rules we incorporated in to book club very early on,  is “anyone who doesn’t read or finish the book, must be beer wench to the rest of book club for a period of one hour during book club meeting”.  So you get the idea, right?  Much more that your average book club, 

I am using the past tense here, because our book club has unofficially ended.  No one has actually said the words “bookclub is finished”, but we haven’t had a get together in a long time and so we all know.  I miss it, I really do, and I know that the others feel the same way.  But, life sometimes gets in the way, so, it is on hold for now.  I think this photo, taken about a year ago, was our last bookclub meeting, held at my place.


Good thing that these women are also part of “chick’s weekend”, “camper’s thanksgiving” and “christmas trees”, so I still get to see them all, just not often enough.  I love them all. 

I’ll probably post about book club again sometime.  Maybe I’ll introduce you to Barbie and Skipper, and tell how they became a part of book club.  I have a copy of our ordinances somewhere, maybe I’ll post that.  Maybe I’ll mention a little something about plaid hats, or yellow happy faces.

All of this is for the keepers and treasures part of my blog.  It has nothing to do with trash, and everything to do with friendship.


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