Street Festival

Locke Street FestivalToday is one of my favourite days of the year. Today is the day that our high street is closed to traffic and hundreds upon hundreds of people take to the street.

There are vendors selling just about everything you could imagine, face painters, musicians, junk food and fun. There are packs of happy teenagers, kids roaring around, babies, dogs and families of all shapes and sizes.

Today is like one big cocktail party. It is the day when everyone returns from summer to socialize, to catch up and to have a blast.

And even as I sit here writing, there is fabulous live music pumping through the windows which will go on until 11:00 tonight.

I love this community! 🙂

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Gong Show

As I mentioned in last night’s blog post, I am having a super-duper-crazy-busy-work-week and Simon is out of town on business. The past four mornings have started at 4:00am because, frankly, the workshop needs to be designed before I can go out to deliver it.

I am between workshops at the moment and am sitting in a Starbuck’s on the University of Toronto campus. And, with this morning’s slam-dunk of a workshop behind me, my mind has turned to the Gong Show of last night and I just have to share…

Sleepy CommuterI am always amazed, as I ride the buses, trains, and subways that get me to and from work, that people can sleep on public transit. And, I don’t mean a light cat nap. I mean drooling, snoring, sleep talking, and, my personal favourite, the shoulder lean. Really, there’s nothing quite like a fellow commuter asleep on your shoulder!

I am not a transit sleeper. I just don’t ever feel tired enough, I am not relaxed enough, and, it is not that comfortable. However, last night, on my way home from Toronto on the GoBus, I was so tired that I drifted in and out of fitful sleep.

When the bus pulled in to Hamilton at 7:00pm all I could think was; ‘In 90 minutes, after getting Zachary and Michael settled into bed, I can climb into my own comfy nest and get a good night’s sleep. Only 90 minutes, only 90 minutes…!’ I could feel the comforting mantra playing in my head as I made my way home from the bus stop.

Well, the Universe had other plans for me…

When I arrived home at 7:15, the kids were just heading off to the park to play lacrosse with my mom so I had a few minutes to empty the dishwasher, tidy the kitchen, clean out lunch bags, pack lunches for tomorrow and unpack and start repacking my own lunch bag. I debated putting in a load of laundry but decided I wouldn’t be up long enough to see it through.

When the boys got home from the park at 8:00, I told them it was snack time and then teeth. Michael told me that he could not eat his snack until he told me about a bullying incident that had happened after school (part of a larger issue that has been ongoing through the winter).

Baby BunnyMichael and I were on the couch in the living room when Zachary, who was sitting at the kitchen table, let out an ear-splitting scream.

Zachary tore out of his seat and ran to the back door yelling; ‘Mommy, mommy, hurry…Prana has a baby bunny!’ Our cat had caught a baby rabbit in the backyard and was proceeding to torture it at the back door. Zachary’s screaming scared her away from it so that when I arrived on the scene, I had a full view of an adorable little brown bunny lying on its side and twitching helplessly.

I am usually vey calm in an emergency. I can keep my head, be rational and I know what needs to be done. I don’t know whether it was just sheer fatigue or the upset of Michael’s bullying story, but the sight of this poor little injured baby bunny just undid me.

And, at 8:45 at night, all I wanted to be dealing with was the effort of brushing my teeth in preparation for bed, not dealing with frantic kids and an injured animal.

So I didn’t. I sent the boys across the street to get my neighbour, John.

John arrived all calm and in charge. He asked me to get a box and sat with the bunny and the five worried kids surrounding it (at this point, Max had come home and John’s kids had come over to join in on the excitement). When I procured the requested box, John suggested I call Animal Control, which I did. Animal Control told me they would send someone out as soon as possible. Seeing that we were all settled, John left the rabbit in my care and took his own kids home for bed.

At this point it was 9:30. My kids were totally wired, I still hadn’t heard the bullying incident and I had adopted an injured bunny for an undefined amount of time. I sent Zach to bed and sat down with Michael to help him. It was 10:00 by the time I got to the bottom of the story.

Animal ControlI had just settled the kids when Animal Control arrived and everyone came flying down the stairs to witness the handing-over of our furry little charge.

I had visions of a big, burly man who was going to grab the bunny and head for his truck to put the poor little thing out of its misery. However, what we got was absolutely the opposite!

The Animal Control guy was wam, nurturing and so gentle. He told us that the bunny looked good and that he was going to take it to his truck so that he could keep it warm in a little incubator. He also told us the bunny had a good chance and that, most likely, he would recuperate and be set free in a few days.

We had barely shut the door behind Animal Control when I burst into tears! I just felt completely overwhelmed with the bullying, the bunny, the late hour, the long week, and my partner out-of-town that I just dissolved. The kids, being so comfortable with my outward displays of emotion, just hugged me and told me that everything was okay.

All I could think was; shouldn’t I be the one comforting them?

It was well after 10:30 by the time I re-settled the kids. At that point I needed to craft a lengthy e-mail to Michael’s principal about the bullying and tidy up some work e-mail before shutting down.

I was just finishing up when Max produced a five-page trip form that was due the next morning!

Good NeighbourSeriously?!?!

It was 11:30 by the time I got into bed…and as I reflected on my extraordinary evening, I realized that my wonderful neighbour had swept in with his cape flying when I really needed him. It’s funny, when you are a mom, you are supposed to just innately know what to do in any situation that should arise.

Well…last night all I could think of was asking for help.

And, not only did help arrive, it arrived with a smile, a laugh and the warmth that I needed. Isn’t it amazing to know that we live in these incredible communities with extraordinary people who don’t even think twice about lending a hand?

And that all we need to do is ask.

I think that is truly extraordinary! 🙂

Sesame Street

I was just over a year old when Sesame Street aired its first episode. Sesame Street was so much a part of my childhood I feel almost as if the Sesame Street gang were part of my family. I learned to count with The Count and was always frustrated when Big Bird never got to see the Snuffaluffagus. I was delighted by the antics of Ernie and Bert and was absolutely in love with Maria, Bob and the delightfully gentle Mr. Hooper.5c21eaee-a292-4b66-84f4-45a59fdc0860

I think my idea of community and neighborhood came from my Sesame Street days and I always dreamed of living on a street like theirs.

Flash forward a few decades and I live in an old and charming neighbourhood. The houses are brick, the architecture is striking and the people are wonderful. Our neighbourhood is bisected by a High Street that boasts an art gallery, a butcher, a bakery, a health food store, a book store, a library, craft stores, cafes, and restaurants.

There are dogs and strollers and old people and young people. We have street festivals and a Farmer’s Market in the warm months. And everyone is on foot so it feels accessible and friendly. It feels like community. It feels like home.

I ran a workshop this morning in Toronto and hopped a 12:30pm GoBus home. The bus dropped me off at the top of the High Street and, with my suitcase in tow, I set off on the six block walk for home.

And in my six block walk, I had a visit with my favourite Barrista, Kate, at Starbucks. I popped into the Health Food store to get some organic red peppers for dinner and had a chat with my buddy, Nadia. And then, just as I was rounding the corner for home, I bumped into our butcher, Chris, and talked about my workshops and meal plans for the weekend.

As I arrived home I realized that I had a great big smile on my face and a warm glow in my heart. And a familiar old song was tugging at my memory; ‘these are the people in your neighbourhood, in your neighbourhood, in your neighbourhood. Yes, these are the people in your neighbourhood, they’re the people that you meet each day.’

And then it hit me…I live on Sesame Street. And, I just couldn’t be happier about it!big-bird