2 January 2017 – We all need guidelines.

But only a few.

Here are mine …

1. Know your priorities.

Odin café, King St. East

2. Get out & about. By foot, bike or skateboard.

Underpass Park

3. Remember the wise words of Antonio Machado: “Traveller, there is no path …

Corktown Common

Paths are made by walking.”

West Donlands Park, trail by the Don River


4. While walking, keep a wary eye out …

Queen St. E. & Saulter St.

for very, very large flying insects with stingers & attitude.

The Heroines of Fairy Creek

8 October 2016 – That would be us!

DJ & I learn about the Fairy Creek trail while on another trail — one of the Montane loops that offers an eye-smacking view over Elk Valley & the mountains beyond, & a bench from which to admire it.

We’re chewing our sandwiches when a young mountain biker drops down beside us, sucks some water, falls into conversation, and suggests we visit the Fairy Waterfall, up a trail on Mount Proctor, the other side of town. “The signage isn’t great,” she adds, & offers way-finding tips involving cattle-guard locations & the like.

She’s right about the erratic signage. Still, when it does show up, you get more than information. You also get to enjoy yet again that mountain flair for trail names.

signage on the Mt Proctor trail system

DJ is more than a terrific human being & a greatly valued friend. She is also Dr. Ethnobotanist DJ, & this means her photo moments usually involve plants. This time, she is focussing, literally & metaphorically, on a Mahonia shrub.

closing in on that Mahonia

Fairy Creek is an undemanding trail — only 400 m. of elevation change over 4 km. — but it is also very, very pretty.

a lower stretch of the Fairy Creek trail

Old stumps like these earn their eco-keep in a variety of ways. Some, for example, as woodpecker condos.

old stump, Fairy Creek trail

This is big land, with big vistas.

Here, white Snowberries dance on their denuded shrubs in the foreground, while glowing Trembling Aspen leaves live up to their name farther back.

on the trail

But looking down at your toes is equally rewarding. We see varieties of lichen, snuggled up in symbiotic bliss with moss …

lichen in moss on a log

and vivid “polypore” (without gills) fungi living just as companionably on a rotting log.


A rare signpost appears.

We learn we can veer off to the right for the upper falls vantage point, or stick left for the lower falls. We’ve been tipped to go to the lower falls: it delivers a bigger WOW factor.

the upper & lower falls trail divide

So we go left.

Pretty soon Fairy Creek comes into view, its waters tumbling their way down, down the mountain to Elk River below.

Fairy Creek below the falls

We must be almost at the falls. We’re hearing waterfall drum rolls now, not just the chatter of successive rapids. Round a bend, and yes! there it is.

I stop to take a photo …

Penny sees the waterfall at last


and then stow my camera.

We settle our bottoms on a rock, pull out some gorp …

Fairy Creek Waterfall

and enjoy the view.

Speaking of Signs …

Meanwhile, back in Fernie itself …

in front of Nevados

a Mexican-themed restaurant uses signage to woo the health-food crowd.



The Art of a Happy Saturday

31 July 2016 – Art comes in many forms, as you will have noticed. Saturday offered me three, any one of which would have been more than enough to colour that day very happy indeed.

Plus. Bonus. I did it all with my AGO volunteer colleague & friend, Cyndie.  Call that the Art of Friendship.

But back to the other three expressions of art.

First, the Art of Glass Sculpture.

"Blue and Purple Boat," Chihuly show, ROM

Wow, indeed. This is the art of renowned American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, now on offer in a dazzling new exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum. The only prosaic thing about this particular work is its title: “Blue and Purple Boat.”

Each room in the exhibit is dark; most installations are mounted on dark reflective surfaces; the works glow, they saturate your senses.

We approach the second room, devoted to “Laguna Torcello” — a mammoth, complex installation of appropriately sinuous, underwater forms. It is laid out in a giant oval; visitors circulate around it in awe.

"Laguna Torcello," Chihuly show, ROM

Cyndie is on the other side of the oval at one point, on my side I am standing next to a young woman who, mesmerized, breathes softly, “It’s magic.” We begin to talk, to examine the Laguna together. Cyndie catches us at it, through waving tendrils.

"Laguna Torcello," Chihuly show, ROM

“Look!” says the young woman, scrutinizing some of the white-on-white elements. “A tiny manta ray.” I nod, and add, “And spiralling above it, an eel.”

"Laguna Torcello," Chihuly show, ROM

We keep exploring. Over there, a baby octopus …

"Laguna Torcello," Chihuly show, ROM

“Laguna Torcello” is not all white-on-white. It pulses with colour, as well.

"Laguna Torcello," Chihuly show, ROM

Out of that room, finally, and we spend a moment with a vertical neon installation, behind glass, that has me thinking of ganglia and brain waves. Nope. The title calls it something like “Neon Tumbleweed.” (That may even be exact. My notes fail me occasionally, as you know.)

"Neon Tumblewood" (I think), Chihuly show, ROM

Into another room, where soft floor cushions invite you to lie down & stare up at the suspended “Persian Ceiling.”  Some people just crick their necks. Cyndie & I wait for an available cushion, and plonk down flat.

"Persian Ceiling," Chihuly show, ROM

The posture brings back memories of another vivid display of overhead light, that one supplied by Mother Nature. Years and years ago, I lay on my back on a gravel driveway in Muskoka, spellbound by the Perseid Meteor Shower.

I’m promptly snapped out of my nostalgia trip by three “Fire Orange Baskets,” each a complex of baskets-within-baskets, displayed on its own table.

"Fire Orange Baskets," Chihuly show, ROM

One last upward spray before we leave, a cool-down of rich greens after all that orange.

Chihuly show, ROM

Can’t even take a stab at the name, no idea. Sorry.

So that’s the Art of Glass Sculpture. On to the Art of Café Backboards.

Cyndie & I walk next door to the Royal Conservatory of Music, duck down Philosopher’s Walk just far enough to enter the RCM by the side door that gives directly onto the ground-level café.

Where we not only enjoy very good coffee, but watch a young barista create the newest backboard display.

barista in RCM café

And then across the street to the Gardiner Museum of Ceramics. Where we limit ourselves to the gift shop, and finger some very beautiful things indeed. Yet the one objet d’art that causes me seriously to linger is located outside the doors, not within, no price tag attached.

Call it the Art of the Rock Garden.

forecourt, Gardiner Museum

Isn’t that terrific? Great undulations of form & texture & colour, either side of the walkway. I’m down on my benders, cocking my head, taking it all in from every angle.

Now, finally, I double back of the Art of Friendship. Because Cyndie took some of the Chihuly photos, and generously forwarded them to me to use here. Hurray for Cyndie.

Coffee: all the way to Perfect

10 April 2016 – Signs about coffee promise a lot, have you noticed? Whether on a sign inside the café, or on the sidewalk sandwich board outside its front door.

Sometimes, though, there is no promise — just a warning about the dangers that await you, should you be foolish enough to ignore the coffee option.

oppoiste OCAD, on McCaul

This one spotted & photographed by my great friend & fellow WordPress blogger, Rio (Seriously Clowning Around). We’d just gone through the Outsider show at the AGO, by the time I’d reached home she had emailed me this discovery just opposite OCAD, down the street from the AGO.

“Use it,” she said, bless her generous heart. So I am.

It also made me riffle through some photos, to see what other coffee-related signs had amused me.

This one I first saw (& photographed) a couple of years ago in  Victoria, B.C., but spotted again last week in a new local favourite cafê of mine, The Flying Pony.

downtown Victoria; also in The Flying Pony

Then there’s Merchants of Green Coffee, another longtime haunt, chalking up its priorities for all to see.

Merchants of Green Coffee

Or, or, consider this medical advice being dispensed at the Rapido Café.

Ignore this symptom at your peril!

Rapido cafe

I lured you into this post with the promise of “perfect.”

Never let it be said I’m a bait-&-switch kinda gal.

The Atlas Espresso Bar tackles the eternal mystery of perfection … and solves it.

Atlas Espresso Bar

See? No need for existential dread.

Real & perfect is within reach.



    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

    "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" -- Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

    "A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities" -- Rebecca Solnit, "Wanderlust: A History of Walking"

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