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I'm sending out virtual valentines to two people I have never met today.

The first goes to someone at The Well. It's a local shelter for homeless women. spikesgirl58 suggested I make a donation to a charity following an incident a couple of weeks ago. I did, and got back a lovely card with a hand-written note thanking me for my donation and assuring me that it would help support local women with medical, housing, job training and other assistance. I owe a valentines shout out to Spikesgirl too for giving me the idea. Thank you!

The second is for someone even more anonymous. I have a winter hat that I adore. Just yesterday, I was thinking about how long I have been wearing it (about a decade) and that it still makes me happy. It is knit in all the primary colours, with red being the most dominant. It has ear flaps and braided ties with colourful tassels at the end. Yesterday, on the way home, I noticed that one of the tassels had fallen off. I retraced my steps without success. I even spent time last night figuring out what colours of yarn I had, and how much I needed of each colour, to make a replacement tassel that would be a reasonable match. This morning, as I walked to work, there was my tassel, carefully placed on top of a snowbank! It must have been covered and then turned up by the sidewalk plough overnight or early this morning. It's a little worse for wear, but totally salvageable. I really appreciate your thoughtfulness anonymous person. :)

The murder of crows came back

I'm happy about it because I set my alarm clock for 6 pm instead of 6 am. The crows woke me up at 7 am (though my neighbour tells me they had been cawing for at least an hour already). This is what they looked like from my front step (right below my bedroom), and in the back yard.

Today's happy

What kind of coincidence does it take to send a cop to a call about a fight? And the fight turns out to be students filming a dance video? And the cop is himself a dancer? So they film him joining in?

Apparently it's a coincidence that happened in Toronto today.



Building Habits

I have been thinking a fair bit lately about how we build habits. It comes up every year around New Year's, partly because I have been working for a while to develop permanent behaviour changes that I post about here. Some have gone well, and some - not so much.

One of those "not so much" habits has been to take action about litter. I couple of years ago, I read about someone resolving to pick up three pieces of trash a day. I thought "I can do that!". Wrong. I would do it for a day or so, then forget for months on end, or decide a piece was too big or disgusting to carry, or the trash bin was too far away. But suddenly this month it seems to have clicked. I find myself picking up 1-5 pieces of trash every day. Sometimes I do it twice a day, as I walk to and from my bus stop. I'm not ready to call it a habit yet, but at least I am much further down the road towards becoming the crazy lady in my neighbourhood.

The Friday Five - Pets!

How many pets have you had at one time?
What is the strangest pet you have ever had?
What is the coolest trick you have ever taught a pet?
Real animals: What animal have you always wanted as a pet?
Imaginary animals: Describe the ideal pet, an animal that doesn't really exist.

I have no idea. We had a lot of pets when I was a kid. At one point we had two pet rats - we went away on vacation and when we got back we discovered they had been breeding. The neighbour who cared for them was literally in tears. In a three year period, I do remember a dog, multiple cats, the rats, gerbils, at least one hamster, goldfish, turtles, mice, budgies, and a canary (who barely survived an encounter with one of the cats).

The strangest was probably a chinchilla.

I had a cat who would sit and beg for food like a dog. He would also shake paws.

I had indulgent parents and am an indulgent parent myself, so we have owned pretty much any pet we wanted, at some point. Part of me would like a hedgehog, but the responsible part of me knows it's not a proper pet. Ditto de-scented skunks.

The ideal pet? Probably one that doesn't need to be cleaned up after. I hate dealing with litter boxes and scooping manure.

A very late Friday Five

1. Do you have one spot in your house where you like to go and just dream?

2. Do you had a special blanket that you like to cuddle up in?

3. If you could have one room in your house refurnished, which one would it be?

4. Did you have a good week?

5. Do you have special plans for the weekend?

1. My bed. It's my cozy place for hand crafts, reading, and cuddling with a kitty.

2. No. The closest thing would be a little afghan my grandmother crocheted for me, but I don't pull it out very often.

3. Maybe my son's room? My house is full of antiques/vintage furniture that I like a lot, despite its rough edges. Since the boy moved out though, I would happily turn it into an office or craft room, with a daybed/sofa for guests.

4. I think so. Seems so long ago already.

5. I'm late answering, but sort of. Last weekend I went for a very icy swim. It was definitely the hardest this year. Plus, I got to ride my horse (shared with my daughter and she usually hogs the weekend rides). This weekend, my son and his girlfriend are coming to visit.

1. Do you have one spot in your house where you like to go and just dream?

Having a hard time posting

I keep telling myself that what is happening in the USA is not my circus and most definitely not my orange monkey, but the fallout of decisions being made there will have a profound impact on our economy, our security, our environment, and potentially our society. Some may be good, some are likely to be very bad. My FB feed is full of things I want to comment on, or support, but I don't dare. Even though it is limited to friends, I don't want to be perceived as making any sort of public political comment beyond general human rights comments that are not targeted at any political party. Mostly I don't dare, though, because I fear that if I open the tap, I will spew all kinds of things I shouldn't say to anyone but close friends I trust.

A teacher friend was telling me just last evening about how, after the US election, she had to give up on trying to teach the curriculum for a day or so in order to allow her students to question, vent, and express their fears. Many are new immigrants. Then I got into my car to drive home and heard the news about the mass shooting in a Quebec City mosque. I'm feeling gutted. The two things may not be related at all but it's not the first time this particular mosque has faced harassment. Two suspects were identified this morning - one Québecois and the other of Moroccan descent (but no info on whether a new immigrant, 2nd generation, or other). Then it was announced that there is only one suspect and the other is being held as a witness; no info on which is which. In some ways, it doesn't really matter because there will be a narrative about racism or extremism to fit the circumstances.

I have no idea whether protests have any real long-term impact, but there was one protesting the refugee/immigration ban at the US Embassy at noon today, complete with a human chain. Tonight there will be a vigil on Parliament Hill. And for today, at least, all Canadian flags in the city are flying at half mast. The constant stream of leaks, including this one regarding a dissent memo being prepared by US diplomats (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38799796), will probably have more impact.

I may be missing in action for much of the next few weeks. I'll post when I can, but right now it's hard to find the right balance between anger/fear politics and the mundane but happier topics that are personally closer to home - for now.

Another icon of my childhood is gone

RIP Mary Tyler Moore. You did amazing things as an actress, producer, and advocate. You were the role model for so many of us. And as much as I loved the original theme music, I think this tribute is just awesome because you did so much to show girls that they rock. https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=RD7NI8WJ85EVw¶ms=OAFIAVgB&v=7NI8WJ85EVw&mode=NORMAL


First, something serious. On the left, you have our former Governor General, Adrienne Clarkson. She came to Canada as a refugee child and has been a fierce human rights advocate throughout her brilliant career as a journalist and in her vice-regal role. She is walking with Margaret Atwood, the multi-award winning author who has been writing about women's rights and dystopias for as long as I have been reading Canadian literature. Her works include The Handmaid's Tale and the Penelopiad.

Next up, the yarn bombed Make Way for Ducks statue in Boston. Clearly the people who claim feminists are humourless, shrill harridans are wrong.

Finally, a sign shared by a friend who is the mother of a girl not much older than the little one shown here. Here's what she had to say "As mama to a little girl like this, worried about what it still means to grow up in this world, all i can say is, you tell 'em, sweetie.". I have no idea where the picture was taken.