Last post until after Labor Day weekend

August 26, 2019

Real time.

I can think of nothing better for my last post while physically in Canada than a tribute to the late Richard Williams, head of animation for “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” who, sadly, passed away 10 days ago.  While hunting for street art and graffiti in Toronto I found this amazing drawing downtown on Saturday:


RIP Mr. Williams.  Thank you for sharing your talents with the world.


I head back to the United States on Tuesday and have two items on my agenda before reaching my youngest brother’s home in Cleveland, Ohio.  I plan to visit with he and his family for at least a few days before heading home to North Carolina.  There is a tropical system approaching Florida and it’s timing and track is still up in the air so I may delay my arrival in North Carolina until that all gets sorted out.  It will then take me a few days to unpack and get my photos organized for posting.

I have updated the Home Page (the first thing you see) on the blog with a summary of my last 2 weeks which remain unposted (other than tease posts).  I have LOTS of photos so posting will go on for a while once it resumes.

Thank you for your patience!

Sam and the A hole

August 21, 2019

My first full day in Ottawa, at the advice of my Airbnb hosts, I left early and drove downtown to a parking garage they recommended. “Early Bird” parking (in before 930am) was only $18, they said, and I wanted to beat rush hour traffic. Lucky for me parking has been reduced to a mere $10 (woo-hoo!).

The parking deck was very close to a Farmer’s Market type place (indoors and outdoors) where vendors sell all kinds of things – food (fresh fruits and vegetables as well as prepared food), novelty food, crafts & souvenirs, etc. I milled around there taking photos for well over an hour, some of which I will post eventually. I studied the map I picked up at the Visitors Information kiosk in the Market and started to organize my day. First stop, the Parliament Building.

As I started walking that direction I saw the name OTTAWA spelled out in huge letters so of course I took a picture:


Don’t be misled by the wet pavement. It had rained overnight but the sky was already starting to clear and it became a magnificent day.

Shortly after I was done taking my photos a family of 5 came over and the parents told their three teenage kids to get in position so their Dad could take their picture. Daughter 1 chose the big O, their son Sam chose the fourth letter (the first A) and I believe the other daughter selected the W.

Well then Mom starts yelling “Sam, stick your head through the A hole….”. Apparently Dad couldn’t see him in the camera viewfinder.

Sam seemed to be reluctant or uncooperative.

By about the third time she’s emphasizing each word: “Sam! Stick.. your.. head.. through.. the.. A.. hole….” she yells, slowly, like Brad Pitt in Fight Club.

She repeated this several times until Sam, not a small individual, finally got his head far enough into the A so that Dad could see him and take the shot.

Poor Sam the trained circus monkey…

But that’s not all – then Dad speaks up and says “Sam, stand between the two T’s and pretend that you’re Hercules holding them up”.

And of course Sam the trained circus monkey dutifully complied.


I’m surprised they didn’t throw him treats when he did what they asked.

And note that daughter 2 now has her head in the A hole!

I briefly considered following these folks around for a while for, if nothing else, the potential entertainment value but didn’t want to be thought of as a stalker so we went our separate ways.

Cue the Stormtrooper music

August 24, 2019

Saturday was my first full day in Toronto.  I had been here for a few days maybe 30 years ago.  I remembered it as a very clean, modern city – very different than Québec, which is very old and French but has considerable charm.

I bought a pass which allows me to use three different public transportation options, bus, street car (modern trolleys, not like San Francisco’s classic street cars) and the subway.  My car hasn’t moved for two days and won’t move again today, my final full day in Canada this trip.  Public transportation, and lots of walking, is a perfect way for me to get around.

Saturday I went to Union Station, the main transportation hub downtown, to stop at the Visitor Center for maps and brochures.  On the way there I saw Robin, of Batman and Robin fame, ascending a set of stairs from the subway.  I thought – OK, just another day in Toronto….  He had lost lots of weight, not that he had much to lose, and had apparently undergone a sex change operation (Batman might be pleased with the result, actually).

Turns out Saturday and Sunday were the last two days of a HUGE, 4-day comics and fantasy exposition in town this weekend at the Convention Center and there ended up being an inordinate number of people dressed as their favorite characters milling about town.

While at Union Station I also saw this display:




Damn – I should have made this one of my “Go ahead, count ’em, I’ll wait…” posts.


Attitude Adjustment

August 26, 2019

Real time.


I saw that sign about 3 blocks from where I am staying in Toronto.  Please permit me to talk about myself for a few moments.

I generally think I have a fairly calm, go-with-the-flow demeanor, BUT, as we have learned from recent events, I am prone to fits of rage, usually short lived in intensity but the results of which linger and sometimes fester.  Road rage probably brings out the worst in me but Québec is starting to get on my nerves too.  I often tell people that some days it’s a good thing I don’t have a gun.

My friend and frequent blog commenter Shawn is my confidant and occasional JohnBoy whisperer who can temper my anger and speak calming truths.  She has talked me off the ledge more than once, believe me.

My friend and former co-worker Shari has indicated, politely but to the point, that I have become particularly SASSY, Mister (her words, and very apropos) during this trip.  My mother, may she rest in peace but who is undoubtedly keeping her eye on me and is becoming increasingly concerned about my ultimate destination, would be buying Ivory soap by the pallet at Costco.  I can be alarmingly potty-mouthed.  I sometimes surprise even myself.

I am grateful every day for the amazing beauty I have seen and charming people I have met on my journeys.  I used a phrase as a post title during my first trip to the Northwest US two years ago “The Best Day Ever” and since then have determined that pretty much every day is the best day ever.  Tomorrow is fixin’ to be the best day ever.

All that said, I’ll try to keep things in perspective going forward.