Thursday, March 28, 2013

Me, Molly, Friends, Ontario: A Week in Pictures

As many of you know, Molly is studying at the University of Western Ontario in London.  She is halfway through a Master's degree of Library and Information Sciences.  It has been a long winter so I flew out for a week-long visit during Spring Break.

Before I begin, let me brag about my firstborn child.  I am so incredibly proud of her.  She is brave, she is strong, she is smart, she is resilient, she is independent, she is powerful.  Just how I like 'em!

Molly the brave and powerful.

Here is my week in pictures.  With a few stories thrown in for good measure.

- 4 degrees Celcius may not seem that cold, but when you consider the windchill factor IT WAS BLOODY COLD!

Every time we stuck our noses out the door we had to bundle up against the wind and freezing temps!

 Molly and her room-mate Fazia decided on a 'minimalist' look for their apartment.  Meaning they have no furniture!  I dragged out Molly's wooden desk chair from her bedroom to use as a table and she went down to the laundry room to borrow her landlord's camp chairs for us to sit on.

The view from Molly's apartment.

The people of London have a long wait ahead of them for spring.

I have to be honest with you.  London, Ontario is not on my top 10 list of cities.  In fact, I found it rather depressing.  Lots of empty storefronts, crumbling buildings and litter.  This was the most interesting block of downtown I found.

That said, there were some nice spots.  Here is Saint Peter's Basilica...

...and Victoria Park...

...and of course I would find an overcrowded used bookstore utterly charming.  As I did this one.

Western's campus is starkly beautiful in the winter.

Ducks on the 'other' River Thames.

The sun came out for a couple of hours one day and it warmed up to a balmy -3 C!

As always, it is the people you meet that make one's travels memorable.  Case in point:  I grabbed some souvlaki for Molly from this diner one day at lunchtime.  The Greek man behind the counter struck up a conversation with me.  I told him I was visiting my daughter who was studying at Western.
Him:  Where are you from?
Me:  Vancouver.  But I now live in a small town halfway between Vancouver and Whistler.
Him:  Horseshoe Bay?
Me:  You know Vancouver?
Him:  I worked at 12th and Cambie for many years.
Me (laughing):  Then what are you doing here?
Him (shaking his head):  I moved to London 20 years ago.  Bad decision.  Bad decision.

He asked me if I would like fries with my souvlaki and I declined.  When my order was ready he handed me the souvlaki and said, "This is for later."  Then he handed me a small paper plate of french fries and said, "This is for now."

Lunch with Molly.  We needed a bigger table so we pressed my suitcase into service.

We spent the weekend with Squamish friends who now live in Toronto.  We stayed with Robin and Alex who live in a quaint house in Little Italy.

Molly has been best friends with Robin and Danielle since they were little girls.

It's impossible for me to pass up a hot dog stand.  IMPOSSIBLE I TELL YOU!

We ate some great meals in T.O.  I mean, who can resist fried chunks of Indian cheese deliciousness?  Not me!

We went to see their friend Andy Shauf perform as part of Canada Music Week.

Hipsters on the town.

We spent a morning at the Art Gallery of Ontario.  Such culture hounds.

Pondering life at the AGO.

This was my favourite installation.  And guess what it was called?  'Paris Salon' of course.

Well, who do we have here?  Only my baby doctor, Gabor Mate, who was with me and my midwife for the births of Paige and Will.

The girls kindly agreed to be my personal shoppers.  They spent three hours running around gathering clothes for me to try on.  Such good kids.  Check out the cropped pants that Danielle is holding up.  I think every kindergarten teacher needs a pair of pants with lobsters embroidered on them! 

Sunset over the rooftops in Little Italy.

Thanks Alex, Robin and Danielle for showing us such a good time in Toronto.  And a special thank you to Alex and Robin for graciously hosting us in your home.  It was wonderful to hang out with you 'kids'.  You are all amazing adults.

Back in London, I finally got to meet Molly's newest friend Courtney.  This girl had me laughing within minutes of meeting her. She is smart and sassy and HILARIOUS!

I am so happy these two are friends.

On my last day in London, the weather warmed up considerably.  The snow even melted!  Maybe spring was on its way after all.

Molly, you do your parents proud.

And THAT my friends was my week in Ontario.  I loved every minute of it.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


For my entire life I have been incredibly blessed to have wonderful friends.  From the time I entered kindergarten until now.  Many of the girlfriends I have today I had back in the '60s.  And many I have met along the way: in high school, university, the places I've lived and through my children.

The past 48 hours have brought me together with 3 of them.

To Diana, Fran and Julia: We may be separated by cities, provinces and countries, but nothing else.  When I'm with you it feels as if I just saw you yesterday; the intervening months and years seem to melt away.

Diana and I with my mom and her mother-in-law.  Diana and I were Grade One locker partners in 1964 and have been best buddies ever since.

Fran and I met in 1987 when our husbands were both graduate students at the University of Washington in Seattle.  Those three years were some of the best years of my life.

Julia and I met in 2005 when she and my daughter Molly were students at Simon Fraser University together.  She makes me laugh and I am in awe of her musical talent.

I cherish these women's friendship.  I am so lucky.