On The Street


The streets are alive with art, inspiration and commentary on this cool early morning in Kensington picking up the goods at Caribbean Corner located on Baldwin west of Spadina here since 1977.

No West Indian comes here and leaves without some fresh fruits and vegetables such as okra, bodi, shadow bene, banana leaves scotch bonnet peppers, salt fish and cassava from the islands.

Art from 185 AugustaDeadboy and more is "admission free" and passionately served. Rob Ford, Prime Minister Harper feature along the way as the sweet smell of cinnamon calls around the corner to Mexican Churros $13. per dozen filled with caramel, chocolate or strawberry sauce.
Deep fried while you wait. Served hot at Pancho's.


Surrounding by glammed up teens and young adults sharing the F21 love over the holiday season, I make a post boxing day trip to the Eatons Centre, a mecca of  indoor shopping to check on the Forever 21 fashion frenzy.

Plastic. That's the smell. How many soda pop bottles did it take to make that dress?



So much colour and beauty taking the shortcuts down so many downtown alleyways.

Just bring your own paddle and ball for Ping Pong at June Rowlands Park at Davisville and Mt. Pleasant. The ice cream truck still appears every Spring and is in serious need of a 2015 makeover - Gelato, Yogurt shakes and Kombucha popsicles anyone?


Keen Canada makes a great sole for any season on these mean streets of Toronto. This is a lightweight, comfortable waterproof shoe or boot that breathes. Build your own shoe online. Feel good supporting an organization that helps preserve the places we play.
















It's art on the street in Kensington. Thank You for no car Sundays in the summer.

Weathered and neglected for years this unbranded wood makes for an exotic 352 Baldwin shop front.

Indigenous Women speak out against TAR SANDS poster.
Endorse, support or get more info at firstnationswomenspeakingtour@gmail.com

Not much warmth from the grate and a light green blanket at Bay and Bloor in below zero weather.

Get Inspired by
 the work of French Street Artist Dran and British street Artist Banksy.


Giant multicoloured navigational buoys designed by Douglas Coupland in collaboration with Philips-Farevag-Smallenberg



What a beauty!
On the way home and on the theme of one-of-a-kind, we find a lotus. Ryerson University / Mount Pleasant Cemetary bicycle rack competition 2010 winning design LOTUS by Katy Alter and Jeff Cogliati bring together aesthetic, functionality and ease of use in perfect harmony.







Out front at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place, we're happy to find this wonderful swirl of serious bike parking available.

City and Colour


Early morning market's a breeze



Stores are still shut tight in Kensington and hand-painted artwork on the storefronts are exposed when shutters are closed. A few early morning breakfast-seekers and food shoppers are about.


Trees are up in flames everywhere


Both urban artscape and natural colours of Fall inspire and charm. We stop just for a moment to enjoy the play of light and the uplifting feeling that a splash of colour adds to life.

Closed Coffee Shop front counter art




It's like a different coloured scarf everyday changing colours, wrapped around this Church on Belsize Drive.

Halloween skeleton pirates hang out below the brightest shades of orange and yellow

On Oct 31, a front yard line up of Halloween favourites include pumpkins, spiders, witches and Count Dracula.

Leaf tips seem dipped in petal colours after the rain




Groceries bagged and a quiet street makes a skateboard-perfect ride home.

In memory of Bill Cunningham




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Control Freak: the steps from project planning to product launch

Photo: Lunch stop at the Lake, Ward's Island, looking back at the city across the lake, July 1 2015


Project Development Overview


Use this project management worksheet to plan and keep your web projects on track. These essential steps and tasks are applicable to most projects.


Project Name:

Strategy - user needs and site objectives identified:

  • The Goal of this project
  • Intended audiences
  • Scope of the information to be included
  • Staffing and resources requirements
  • Approximate time lines
  • Hardware and software requirements
  • Plans for implementation and maintenance.

Stage 1 - Planning

SITE SCOPE

  • Requirements Gathering
  • Project Creative Brief - Information gathering template
  • Content Requirements - Overview
  • Functional Specifications - description of feature set
  • Content Outline - Guidelines
  • Information Architecture - create Site Map
  • Establish Client Zone - presentation of work in progress.

Stage 2 - Prototype Design

SITE SKELETON

  • Creative outsourcing. Who will do the work: design, write, produce, test, sell
  • Information analysis
  • Design studies. - Design tasklist and activities
    • brainstorming, design language alternatives
    • grids, navigation studies
    • sketches for look and feel, placement of key elements.

SITE STRUCTURE

  • Information Design
  • Navigation design
  • Interface Design
    • Update client zone - presentation of work in progress
    • Client review and input
    • Develop to incorporate feedback
  • Content Management System - content development and administration
  • Content plan - schedule includes client milestones.

SITE SURFACE

  • Initial visual design
    • comps look and feel, navigation and user interface
  • Update client zone
  • Prototype Review. Client review and input to proceed
  • Review work based of feedback
  • Design Specification - create first draft document for team reference
  • Content development
  • Design development. Final Comps:
    • all graphic elements and treatments identified
    • multimedia development - audio, video components
      • behaviour and functional design
    • Initiate StyleGuide to document development decisions.
  • Content first draft - all pages identified
  • Initial information layout
  • Update client zone - present work in progress
  • Team review
  • Client review and approval to proceed based on design specifications and established requirements.

Stage 3 - Prototype Development

  • Establish internal development area
  • Final content
  • Create working HTML prototype
  • Update site presentation area
  • Conduct internal usability review - see Usability Principles and Checklist
  • Test on identifed browsers and platforms
    • Design revisions based on feedback
    • Client review and input
    • Revisions based on feedback.

Stage 4 - Project Development

  • Develop by completing:
    • templates for all pages
    • code integration
    • graphics and visual elements design
    • final content presentation
  • Conduct quality assurance review - see Guidelines and checklist
  • Conduct User testing - external team as defined by Scope
  • Make revisions based on feedback
  • Document development decisions. Update style guide.
  • Update site presentation area
  • Team review

Stage 5 - Implementation

  • Prep project for technical integration
  • Stage to Q A site for internal team review
  • Maintain communication, support, collaboration with cross-functional team

Stage 6 - Maintenance

includes Next Phase Planning
  • Site Administration User Guide
  • Post Mortem
  • Site Content Annual Launch Plan
  • Update documentation and presentation area
  • Update documentation and site presentation area
  • User Experience Review
  • Content Update
  • Functionality Update
  • Update to incorporate current website standards
  • Document recommendations/milestones for next development cycle
  • Considerations for social media and promotion.
PHOTO: Lake Ontario, Toronto view from Ward's Island, July 1 2015
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Experience the world through the eyes of a child

Once in a while we get to rule the streets - family and friends relax on the tracks between sessions at the Beaches Jazz festival on Queen Street East.

My teen home was filled with Catholic guilt and conditional love. We were kept in line with angry words, long spans of silence and enjoyment withheld, including Christmas presents and time out on weekends with friends.

When my second son was born, tired and cranky, my self-awareness became heightened.

It was time to become a better parent if I wanted a home filled with harmony, cooperation and love.

    It was heartbreaking listening to Patrick O'Sulivan's interview on The Current, wonder why no one ever stepped in when his Dad was beating him in the parking lot after hockey practice.

    In junior school, my entire class received a caning one day. Someone had done something wrong and No one had owned up to some wrong doing so we were all lined up outside and with outstretched arms, each received two lashes each. It stung like hot coals - swollen, broken skin, shamed in front of the school.

    Names like Bones, Chicken legs, Breastless  came at me as a preteen and I learnt that words could sting as much as that cane.

    Petar was excited to start school at 5 years old in Croatia. He quickly learnt that a bad grade in English would mean a beating at home.

    When he ran away from home for three days, nearing starvation, he reluctantly returned.
    The beatings never stopped until he was old enough to stop the hand himself.

    Patricia grew up on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent with her single Mom who would brandish her with an iron comb and take a hammer to her head in rage.

    Andy's parents used corporal punishment as a motivational tool to increase grades, while at school he faced racial slurs and death threats as a minority Chinese Canadian in his neighbourhood.

    Norman became a good runner as a kid. As a fun loving geek growing up in Mississauga, he'd run or ride his bike to school every day.
    Those skills were useful in making a quick getaway from bullies on the football team at the end of school.

    Deng was a young man in Dafur when he was captured and kept in a deep, dusty hole in the ground for days on end with little food, water - no bathroom facilities.

    When Steve was five, it felt natural to use his left hand but whenever he picked up a pencil, he got rapped on the knuckles hard. Over and over this happened. He was told that it was the hand of the devil working.

    Do you have a childhood pain that cuts deep? Scars that fade but never go away.

    In the early spring the Willow trees attracts aphids but a few weeks later, become an elegant shelter for family gatherings at the Lake.


    Beaches Jazz Festival is fun for the whole family - Moka  brings it's blend of calypso, folk, reggae and parang to the streets summer 2015

    Learning the hula hoop with the family, Saturdays at the Evergreen Brickworks

    Inherited from the Pan Am Games, the colour-changing Toronto sign at City Hall is a perfect selfie backdrop
    Union Summer brought Front Street Eats on the street - a few picnic tables and umbrella for shade makes a difference with the Union Station construction


    In the backyard this  summer, the Nasturtiums went wild - easy-to-grow annual with edible leaves and flowers. 

    Bluffer's Park at the Lake.


    Kayaks and Canoes ready to go for a day sail


    There's nothing like being near the water on a hot day - Bluffers Beach.

    Lavendar is a flowering plant in the mint family that smells heavenly, is edible, has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Bring some indoors in the wintertime.

    Davisville Junior Public School is about to be transformed into a community mid-town hub. Learn more at  midtownhub.ca

    One Rule | Be Kind

    Manifesto of Kindness

    1. Be kind to loved ones: Treat those in your care as you wish to be treated
    2. Be kind to others: Put yourself in their shoes
    3. Be kind to the planet: Plant one tree in your lifetime
    4. Be kind to all living things: Remember reduce, reuse, recycle?
    5. Be kind to Yourself: Put it on your skin if you can put it in your mouth.

    From the exploring kids to the recycling entrepreneur, everyone's belongs at the intersection of Queen and Yonge. 


    Sometimes the best of friends can cut deep with words. What are the North Toronto kids are wearing these days? - the Herschel Supply Company Backpack is a must-have.



    Parenting classes gave me the tools not only to communicate with my kids but to reflect on my own behaviour as a parent, to be in the moment, every day.

    Here what I learnt from Beverly at the Parenting Network:

    • Equal rights, not equal in abilities
    • Keep "No" "Don't" to a minimum. Praise good behaviour. Ignore bad behaviour
    • Use "I" Messages; describe the behaviour, say how it makes you feel, describe the consequences of that behaviour
    • Always offer choices. example: "Time to get cleaned up, do you want a bath or a shower?"
    • Show children your trust, not your anxiety.
    49 Phrases to calm an anxious child


    Learn in your own way: essential parenting classes in Toronto, audio downloads and this book:

    Raising Great Parents: How to be the parent your child needs you to be.


    photos: Summer 2015 Toronto
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    Sitting for too long? My favourite Pilates stretches

    I just can't sit for a very long time. 


    How does humanity make could I make it through the movie premiere of Avengers: Endgame?.

    I know from personal experience with scoliosis,  sitting in one position for too long is no good at your desk, on the train or in your car.

    Movement is definitely key to feeling more energized and confident.

    These simple stretches helped keep my stiff muscles moving during a road trip to New York last winter.


    WARM UPS


    Neck Rolls
    Tip ear to shoulder, then drop chin to chest and roll to the other side. Back and forth. 10 reps.

    Neck Stretch
    Rotate head to one side, drop chin to chest, grab with same side arm at base of skull, pull up to stretch. Hold 10-15 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.

    Backward shoulder rolls. 10 reps.

    Ribcage mobilization
    Press ribcage side to side, then front to back sticking chest out and dropping chest back. Add "bowl roll" if you want, keeping the movement in a smooth circle.

    Hip "Bowl Roll"
    Knee Rolls: Feet together, hands on knees. Circle knees.

    Ankle Rolls: One foot at a time, move from tippy toes to balls of feet back and forth.


    STRETCHES

    Hold these stretches 1--15 sec, 2-3 times.

    Thighs

    Pull knee to butt. Point knee to floor.


    Hips
    Press hips/pelvis forward in a deep lunge. Alternate raised feet using a stair or step stool, for example.


    Hamstrings
     With one leg straight, sit tall and lean forward. Press sit-bones back.


    Calf
    Keep back heel on ground.


    Figure 4 Stretch
    Cross ankle over knee. Sit tall and lean forward.


    Backward Bend
    Feet apart. Stand with hands on buttocks. Abs are tight. Press hips forward. Repeat 5-10 times, no hold.


    TORONTO Movement FAVS

    My favourite super-stretchy exercises were shared by  Personal Best Physiotherapy and Pilates.

    If you're close to Birch Cliff, The Pilates Barr offers small group pilates classes during the week.

    Joan Baker will develop a personalized program that fits your health concerns. She combines the benefits of Pilates, Eldoa, Smovey and Pole Walking for a super fun work-out.

    If you find yourself frequently in a jam on Bayview Avenue, there's always a yoga class and the calming voice of Joanne Lowe at the Big Stretch. Some Hatha yoga will keep those muscles moving even with your eyes closed.

    Keep it fluid !


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