Dear Ricky; Thanks for your visit to the Island -- it was fun to be your hosts! Here's a little online photo album so that you can better remember your adventures on PEI this summer... remember to click the images to enlarge them. xxoo, Vera, Alex & Simon :)
Mousehunt in Ch'town
Lighthouses and Sunsets
Even a visit to and personal tour of the local police station...
And let's not forget the excellent movie we saw in the rain (hehe. haha!), the stunning view from "little mouse", our hearty trek to the cliffs in Cavendish and all the woolly friends we saw. Between the sights and the endless seafood lunches and dinners, well, you must be very full! (Who knew one could pack so much into a single week???!!!)
I know the old saying, "Company: Love to see them come, love to see them go!" But truth be told, Ricky, we were more than a little sad to see your plane take off tonight.
Hope you've landed safely by the time I publish this, and enjoy this little photo essay of your week on PEI!
"SOMEbuddy likes peanut butter", came the email from Tats and Sneakers this afternoon, accompanied by this cute and incriminating photo...
"You might know her. Name is DORG.
She'd say hi if she weren't so busy licking. This Kong thing is brilliant. Just a teaspoon of peanut butter is holding her attention longer than anything I've seen, apart from another DORG, of course. She's been going at it for twenty minutes, causing no problems at all! :))) "
As my partner wrote in a previous email after heading back to Ontario with Sneakers last week, the news these days pretty much revolves around the dog, hehe.
"One week is too short!" Alex and Simon complained this year, their third year of Art Camp at the Confederation Centre. They really got into their work this summer, learning various new techniques, and even requesting a sketch book to use after class on their own time, to practise at home.
Thanks to reasonably reliable wifi, Daddy got to enjoy the end-of-camp show as well from Ontario, with a personal tour from Simon.
Rick, who is visiting from Toronto this week, was pleased to see the work the boys did; his favourite was a scrimshaw the boys had made. I myself was partial to the wire trees (not pictured) and the marionettes.
Next year will be their final year as campers; following that, Simon and Alex can volunteer for the kids' camps if they want to, and/or attend the teen program.
Despite our 4:30 a.m. wake up and scramble earlier this week, we missed the dog kennel boarding cut-off by 4 minutes, and Sneakers and Tats were not able to board their flight back to Toronto!!! Non-plussed by the change to an alternate flight later that evening, Sneakers made the most of her extra day on the island by spending the morning at Upton, where she bounded about like a cross between a doe and a kangaroo, played with other doggies she met, and made scary shark faces at us!
Later in the day, the furry beast made an appearance at Art Camp, where she was immediately surrounded by friends and admirers!
Came across a postcard-perfect shot at the lighthouse beach the other day, so we snapped a few pics whilst the kids danced around through it, and the dawg built a sandcastle nearby...
We also had a chance to reconnect with some friends in Ch'town recently, at the annual Pride Week Coffee House at Beanz, where we heard a variety of excellent and still-growing performers, and won a prize watermelon with our group's combined knowledge of queer trivia!
The next day, our Ch'town friends came to visit with their doggie for a playdate. Sneakers and Luka played and played and played and played, and swam and swam and swam, and ran and ran and ran and ran... Sneakers was still tired this morning!
Although, she still had the energy to dismantle the wood pile out back of the house, lol!
It's nice to have a dog on the island again... but it SURE IS BUSY!!!! :)
It's been a while since we've all been together... the Melvin twins (whose mom I met through TPOMBA when I was still pregnant, and who were born only weeks before Alex and Simon) the "Twiplets" and us.
(forever ago, in the park in front of the house on central)
Vida's twins are a bit bigger now...
We met in the park recently for a picnic, and to celebrate Jeffrey and Justin's graduation from Grade 8! (I first met them as they were going into Kindergarten!!!)
A few of us had gotten together and chipped in for tickets to a track and field event at the Pan Am games this summer for the boys and their mother. They were soooo excited when they opened the gift. But even more excitement ensued when they discovered it was going to be just them and their mother: "No triplets?" queried one of them in disbelief (Karen is taking care of the "little" boys while Vida takes her older two to the event). When we told them that's right, just you guys, they responded with "YES!" and big smiles.
I can only imagine how little "big boy time" these teenagers get in their tiny home with five boys!!!
While we celebrated the young men's milestone at the picnic table, the "little boys" played in the big, new playground next to our building; an intensive game of school, led by Joel (who gave his attentive triplet brothers and our twins a "music lesson") was unfolding...
It's never been an easy feat to capture everyone in the same frame, but we managed to corral three sets of twins, one set of triplets and an impostor (a friend of Karen's kids) into the same location for a few shots before everyone ran back off to play!
Today after church, we enjoyed a spectacular (and mercifully affordable) performance by Breakin' Ground, whose mesmerizing production of Urban Legends we took in at the Fringe.
Following our Dance adventures, Simon and Tats headed home while Alex and I went to check out Paintlounge, a wonderful and collaborative painting studio on College Street.
Alex set to work on a medium sized canvas, and painted for nearly two hours with acrylic. He used various brushes and a sponge, mixing colours on a small, disposable palette.
Although the fruits of his labours were rather child-like in nature, one can see his eye for composition. It was neat to watch him work...
On Alex's last day as an only child before the return on his twin brother from a week of overnight camp, we decided to spend some time at the Island.
We started at Hanlan's Point, and walked past the turn off to the clothing optional beach (though not without sharing fond memories and a story at Alex's request), on towards a smaller, more private spot of beach; we all kept our clothes on this time.
By the water, we ate the tasty but somewhat meager lunch I had packed. We also watched the planes on left downwind in the YTZ circuit overhead, and enjoyed a lesson in stone skipping. After some time, a large group of loud and annoying teenagers descended on our turf, and we hastily made for calmer, more peaceful pastures.
Alex was determined to hit the rides of Centerville... en route we stopped to visit the haunted lighthouse, and also paused at the Franklin Garden, an old favourite!
Alex stopped for a brief chat and an imaginary game of chess with Franklin himself, then hunted around for the rest of the characters in the gardens before moving on to the newly installed Centre Island Maze (thank you, Mr. Meany), which he and Tats conquered rather expeditiously.
After a few rides, we did a little geocaching at the pier, and then tried our hand at a few "holes" of frisbee golf. It's harder than it looks, kids... we lasted about three baskets before giving up and moving on to the Rectory cafe for dinner (thanks, Rick)!
The ferry ride home afforded us the usual lovely view of the skyline. City side, we paused for a photo op with the late Jack Layton, and then took the GO train home, where we ate popcorn and watched "Searching for Bobby Fisher", complete with chess commentary provided by Rick!
The day after Alex's final "only child" day, we took him to see a musical downtown, and then it was time for reunification with Simon, who had arrived home from camp in our absence, and upon whom Alex visited a heart-felt and lengthy hug!
The rainy weather and various "alternate plans/commitment" could not deter our enjoyment of this spectacular time of year.
More aware this year than any previous year of the systemic oppression imposed on those who do not conform to the norm, and having experienced first hand that "equality in law is not equality in practice", I was especially looking forward to leaving behind a rather disappointing school year and embracing this weekend, when it is not only "okay to be gay", but when in fact one's gender creativity and sexual identity is celebrated and encouraged.
So, I joined my aviation colleagues on Friday evening at the post-booth-set-up party. My partner had been helping to set up the Aviation Pride booth, and I met her downtown afterwards to have a few drinks and staff the booth for the Friday evening crowd which was large and celebratory... and lucky, since that was the only part of the weekend when it wasn't pouring rain!!!
We laughed and joked with flight attendants, crew schedulers and other pilots in the group, as well as reaching out to and making connections with those who passed by the booth. It was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed the evening. (Tats did, too, as evidenced by this photo snapped mid-street-dance on our way back to the subway!)
The next morning, Alex joined us, and we headed back downtown. Bedecked in a colourful shirt and his rainbow airplane necklace, he was joining Tats for a soggy two-hour shift in the rain at the Aviation booth while I headed over to put in a few hours at the equally dripping ETFO booth, where I reconnected with a musician whom I had not seen or spoken with in nearly 20 years!!! (Turns out he is a teacher now, too (Kindergarten), and a darned good one, based on my observations during our time together on Saturday.)
After our shifts, we forwent the Dyke march and picked up a rainbow cake at the Village Loblaws before heading back to the west end to bring Alex to an end-of-year party hosted by one of his friends from school. But not before pausing in our rain jackets and soaked shoes to snap a photo at the Lucky Charms picture booth!
Sunday's parade was also missed, unfortunately, as we had to take Simon up to camp -- his first year of overnight camp! He and Alex bid a silly, huggy good-bye to one another in the lobby of our building before Simon, Tats, Vinx and I piled into Vinx' vehicle for the 2 hour ride up north. (Alex hung out with his dad for the day; he's decided on an alternative, self-directed camp week with a family friend while his brother is away dancing with the mosquitoes and canoeing in the Kawarthas.)
Simon having passed the camp's mandatory head lice check, I hugged my baby good-bye and walked back to the parking lot with Vinx and Tats. I shed a few tears, and then hopped back into the Van where I promptly pulled up the latest on the missed Parade on my iPhone, and eagerly read about Pussy Riot, Cindi Lauper and others who were headlining this year's event.
Pride weekend is the time of year when I am perhaps one of the more conservative people in the crowd, and it is a weekend I have grown to relish not just for social and entertainment reasons, but for the equity it promotes and the social justice it insists on. The celebration of Toronto's LGBTQ community for me symbolizes the rainbow of people with whom I share this planet. I love being amidst the great diversity of young and old, male, female and everything in between and outside of that binary, and the cultural milieu that descends upon Church/Wellesley and the surrounding area to experience first hand what inclusion can really feel like!
Alex and Simon are moving on to middle school...
Their elementary school had a little graduation celebration for them yesterday; apparently they were the only kids wearing shorts and T-shirts!
Happily, they seemed as unphased as their mother would be. We all agreed there is no need for a suit and tie for moving from Grade 5 to Grade 6, especially after one year only at the school. Just another contrived social norm to distract people from real issues in the world!!
That being said, it sounds like they had a really nice day, and enjoyed a little the pomp and circumstance generated around this transition. Parent volunteers had obviously worked hard to put together a fun day recognizing and celebrating the students' end of one phase of their educational journey and imminent beginning of the next.
Here's hoping those smiles will still be on Simon (left) and Alex's faces at the end of Grade 8, after three years of middle school, lol!
After writing for several teacher and multiple birth publications, including ETFO's Voice Magazine, Multiple Moments, and the Bulletwin, Vera now focuses most of her written attention to prolific blogging, including BiB, "Learn to Fly with Vera!" and, more recently, SMARTbansho and Homeschooling 4. Contact Vera by clicking the photo above.
The views expressed on this blog are the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the perspectives of her family members or the position of her employer on the the issues she blogs about. These posts are intended to share resources, document family life, and encourage critical thought on a variety of subjects. They are not intended to cause harm to any individual or member of any group. By reading this blog and viewing this site, you agree to not hold Vera liable for any harm done by views expressed in this blog.