Celebrating Girls and Women

My little town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia, is having its own version of the Women’s March on Washington tomorrow, with participants, as one voice, reading Maya Angelou’s poem, “Phenomenal Woman.” (Performed so beautifully by Ruthie Foster in this video.)

The basic principle behind the March is that:

“Women’s rights are human rights, regardless of a woman’s race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, gender expression, economic status, age or disability.”

I got to hang out with young people yesterday, one of my favourite parts of being a writer. The diversity of Toronto city schools is inspiring, and it was great to see and hear the many vibrant, engaged and engaging, girls in those classes – the future. Rise up and stay strong! Let your voices be heard!

Toronto – Photo Essay in Under 100 Words…

Fee: $200 (1933) Earlscourt Branch of TPL

Mural fee: $200 (1933) Earlscourt Branch of TPL

Shrewdness (and who I want to be when I'm 100)

Shrewdness (and who I want to be when I’m 100 – the artist (Jean Pederson) told me Doris appreciated that she’d captured her shrewdness in this portrait:)

Juxtaposition

Juxtaposition

Bluffs from below

Bluffs from below

Sidewalk Flowers (JonArno Lawson)

Sidewalk Flowers (JonArno Lawson)

Rainbows in the Dark (Alice Priestly)

Rainbows in the Dark (Alice Priestley)

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Heaven?

The Chapter House - Doris wrote her autobiographies here after getting a degree from the University of Toronto at age 79.

The Chapter House – Doris wrote her autobiographies here after getting a degree from the University of Toronto at age 79.

Salvaged art (Guild Gardens - rescued from buildings being demolished for skyscrapers)

Salvaged art (Guild Gardens – rescued from buildings being demolished for skyscrapers)

Random information

Random information

Jasper

Jasper, one of the 6,000 pieces Doris created.

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Frolicking

Frolicking

Final curtain

Final curtain

Warehoused (Fitzhenry & Whiteside)

Warehoused (Fitzhenry & Whiteside)

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Time to reflect…

Fitness (transportation)

Fitness (transportation)

$2.5 million (neighbor)

$2.5 million (neighbor)

Family

Family

Real family

Real family

Free breakfast

Free breakfast

Airing out your feet on the street, generosity and famous people

We were visiting Liam and Rachel in Toronto last week. If you haven’t tried out Air B&B yet, it’s the way to go when you’re visiting a city. We’ve used their service now three times, and all three short-term apartment rentals have worked out perfectly. Here’s the view from our penthouse on St. George St.

 

Looking South on St. George Street

Looking South on St. George Street

So, I was sitting at the corner of Queen and Bay, out front of Old City Hall one afternoon during the five o’clock rush, resting my aching feet, when a man plopped himself down on the sidewalk at the bottom of the steps. He proceeded to take off his brightly-colored sneakers and socks, roll down the rim of a Tim Horton’s coffee cup, shove it into one of the sneakers, then rest one elbow on a pillow he’d brought along.  From behind, it looked like he was drawing something on the sidewalk. After a few minutes of speculating, I had to stroll over to see what he was up to (I explained I was a nosy writer). He was SO friendly, and seemed happy to have somebody ask. “I’m just airing out my feet,” he said. “I’m 45, but have the feet of a 20-year-old because I keep them aired out.” He extolled the virtues of the particular vent he was lying on, insisting it was just as warm as being inside a house, grinning all the while. As I dropped some money into his cup and said goodbye, I read what he’d written in chalk on the sidewalk, a message for all the Bay Street people rushing home. “I love you!” in fluorescent green:)  I love encounters like that that remind me that people are people, no matter what.

And right across the street, The Bay has this most wonderful old-fashioned animated Christmas window display.

The Bay, Christmas display

The Bay, Christmas display

In other news, while I was away, I got an email from ANNE MURRAY. I’d sent her a copy of The Power of Harmony, in which “Annie Murray” has a cameo, since it’s set in her hometown of Springhill, NS in 1968, the year she was on the brink of becoming famous. In the email, she thanked me, apologized for not getting around to reading the book yet, assured me she would soon, and gave me her best wishes for the book. I’m constantly amazed at the generosity of some people, especially those who are crazy busy, famous, rich, etc. Part of her success, no doubt, has stemmed from the fact that she’s a nice person!  Now if she’d just Tweet about the book after she reads it:)  Have you had any interesting encounters lately, meetings that made you pause and reflect?

In rural Nova Scotia, sometimes you have to stop for free-range turkeys crossing the road:)

In rural Nova Scotia, sometimes you have to stop for free-range turkeys crossing the road:)