Brain Tumour Foundation Walk (Toronto) 2018
How will you give this #GivingTuesday?
Today marks the 6th annual #GivingTuesday. It is a one-day global movement that encourages people to give of their time, money or resources.
GivingTuesday is held after Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a way to give back to those in need.
The opportunities to donate are endless. Whether it is local, national or international there is a charity or cause for everyone.
CanadaHelps offers numerous suggestions and links to various non-profits. They even offer a tool that will list charities by category including: animal, religion, environment and health.
If you're still stuck, we've profiled a bunch of deserving charities on our website stories that would appreciate your dollars. Some of them include:
The Tory Day Fund
Nathan Deslippe Memorial Fund
Giving product that you may not want but someone else could use is another fantastic opportunity.
Charities like The Period Purse, run by the amazing Jana Girdauskas, take purses, backpacks and tote bags and fill them with menstrual products for homeless individuals and those in need. Go to their website to find drop-off locations.
Volunteering is another way to participate in GivingTuesday. If you're tight on funds but have some extra time, consider offering your services to a neighbour or elderly relative.
The concept of 'Pay It Forward' is another fantastic way to give. Wikipedia lists a number of ways to do this like:
Me, I'll be using today as an opportunity to submit our 2018 charitable donations. We have a number of places that are close to our hearts, some of which are: Mount Sinai and St. Michael's Hospital where our children were born, The Odette Cancer Centre where we've spent many hours, and the Daily Bread Food Bank that provides food for those in need.
Happy GivingTuesday everybody! Feel free to post where you gave today and how it made you feel.
I am a little excited but more scared about it.
My 16 year-old son passed his driving test last week. He can now drive on his own on the city streets of Toronto, but not on the highway. That's for another day's test.
For all of the years that I cringed at having to drive my children to their programs when they were younger, I long for those days now.
I AM excited for him and see from his older sister that she is a responsible driver. But deep down, I'm scared sh**less at the thought of him being behind the wheel on his own.
It's not necessarily because of his capabilities but how I see other drivers and pedestrians behaving when I'm out.
The examples are endless on any given day: jaywalking, faces in the phones while crossing the road, drivers who text and drive, bicyclists weaving in and out of traffic without a helmet, drivers speeding, drivers going too slowly, turning without a signal and flipping the bird at you for no big reason.
I hate to throw this into my sentence but, "It was a different time when I was learning how to drive".
The first time my daughter took the car on her own, she drove around the neighbourhood with her little brother in the passenger seat. It wasn't far but they loved it. I was nervous until they returned home.
We'll do the same for him but, with her being away from school, it might just be him alone in the car.
I wish there was something like a 'Teen Driver Alone, Nervous Mom At Home' sticker that I could affix to the car.
The best that I can do for him is trust in his ability and hope for the best.
Toronto Pays Respect On Remembrance Day
Today I attended my first official Remembrance Day service in person.
On November 11th I typically watch the Ottawa broadcast from the comfort of my couch. Or, when my children were younger, their school would stage a production - sometimes with military in attendance.
This year I wanted to do something different and chose to attend in person.
2018 marks 100 years since the end of the First World War. In Toronto there were several venues marking Remembrance Day including each of the civic centres, Old City Hall and Confederation Park on the Lakeshore.
I went to the Etobicoke Civic Centre and arrived to see hundreds of people gathered around the back of the building by the Cenotaph. Stationed there were four cadets with their heads bowed holding rifles, Toronto Police, Fire Services, Paramedics, government officials and hundreds of civilians.
It was remarkable to look over and see a Veteran who may have served in the Second World War and standing behind him was a young soldier in army green fatigues.
By 10:45am the service began with the laying of wreaths. There was total silence from the crowd, even with the many young children in attendance. The only nearby noise was coming from cars driving by along busy Burnhamthorpe Road.
Wreaths were laid by members of municipal, provincial and federal government leaders, The Knights Of Columbus among other high-profile groups. The last was laid by Veteran Affairs and for the Unknown Soldier.
A moment of silence was observed at 11:00am followed by the sound of a bugle and Scottish bagpipes. Both make my heart swell and bring a tear to my eye.
Standing beside me was a woman wearing a red bomber-style jacket. On the back was a map of the Middle East with the words Persian Gulf Tour 1990-91 Operation Friction. She was crying throughout the service.
The Canadian military served in Operation Desert Storm during this time and its involvement would be codenamed, Operation Friction.
Could she have served during this war or been close to someone who did? It was emotional to be standing beside her, knowing that she had been personally touched by war.
So many of us standing there today are so fortunate that we have not experienced combat first-hand.
Remembrance Day is a time to be thankful for the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives for our freedom, and those who continue to serve on our country's behalf.
Experiencing a Remembrance Day service in person has made me want to attend them from now on.
If not for the feeling that I have while standing there and the pride in my country, but to show my respect to those who sacrificed more than I can imagine.
Fall is here.
The leaves have all turned different colours and the trees are halfway bare.
As much as I love this season, I still feel apprehensive about what's to come. Winter.
Other than it being the time of my birthday (December 6) and Christmas, I am not a fan.
But I don't want to worry about what's to come but focus on the now.
This fall has been really wet and cold in the city. So how to deal with it when your preference is open sandals over rubber chelsea boots?
Embrace and start enjoying the heavier knits, water-repellant jackets, layers and layers and waterproof heavy flats.
Next, get outside. It sounds counter-intuitive to want to be in the rain when you're not happy about it. But breathing in the fresh C02 and taking a walk in it sure does help.
When the rain lets up, I'll be outside raking the leaves to make a pile for the dog to jump into. It used to be for the kids, but they're grown up now and not as interested in the getting their hair messed up. The dog definitely doesn't care.
Scheduling get togethers with friends is paramount. And family too.
Don't wait for special occasions.
This time of year, people tend to start thinking about cocooning indoors. By taking a walk together, or meeting for a coffee in the neighbourhood, or a quick dinner out, the social interaction feels really good.
What's your method of surviving the dreary weather? Give me some tips. And if you see an amazing pair of waterproof boots, send me a picture!