What The....Instagrammit!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I blog regularly or at least I try to. So you would think that I love words, right?
Well, to be frank, it's a yes and a no.
I do love writing stuff, sharing viewpoints, relating to the next person....there are times though that I feel I'm not making much sense but I write on anyways.
Other times, well.....I think there's something novel about getting messages across without uttering a single word. Most people do this with pictures. And I'm no different.
My weapon of choice is Instagram. All I needed to have was a smartphone (with a camera) and day-to-day normal subjects (that were really all around me). Instagram appealed to me because it was real-time and instant (as the name would suggest :-)) Plus because of my undiagnosed OCD, I seem to really go for its standard square shape on any picture.
Anyway, I must confess that I am no photography buff. My earlier photos on Instagram were a hit or a miss. Although I do try and put more effort into taking nicer photos nowadays.
But I digress. I did not want to blog a lot but I see I'm now on my 6th paragraph. I can't seem to help myself. Maybe I am more of a word-maniac than I let on? I actually just wanted to show an Instagram photo and write a couple of words that best describe it.
After all, who doesn't love reflecting on photos that say it all with just the shot angle and the subject's look?
Okay, okay. Let me restrain myself, I can't seem to stop blogging. I'm posting the Instagram photo NOW. All I wanted to say about it was.....
Don't you agree?
Youngest walking home from school

The Bread and Honey Festival

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Bread and Honey Festival parade

I first heard the words "bread and honey" on a notice that I saw on my FB wall from a page that promoted events happening in Mississauga. It's a pity I didn't understand what it all meant then. Else I would have planned better and experienced the whole festival better. I casually scrolled down and the notice flowed out of my sight and mind.
You see, if not by chance, we would not have witnessed The Bread and Honey Festival at all.
I really should thank my lucky stars (or must I say the shining sun since it happened in the morning?) that hubby and I decided to wake up early that day and go garage sale hunting. On our way back home, we couldn't get past the road blocks. Lucky again, since if we weren't stopped, we would not have stumbled on the parade and decided to stay on.
This year, the festival was on the first weekend of June. The Streetsville Bread and Honey Festival celebrates the founding of the village. You see, Streetsville used to be a village before it was incorporated into a town in 1962. According to Wikipedia, it was amalgamated with other villages to form the town of Mississauga in 1968. And is now a suburb when Mississauga became a city in 1974.
I wish my kids were with us that day. I'm pretty sure they would've enjoyed seeing the community coming together. But there is always next year.
For more info, check out their website.

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
I don't know what it is with aquariums but we just never seem to get enough of visiting them.
Previously we've been to uShaka Marine World in Durban and Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town. And now, of course, it's Toronto's turn.

The Ripley's Aquarium of Canada is a recent addition to the major attractions that can be found in Toronto. It opened its doors in 2013 and is the home of some 13500 specimens from 450 species of marine life.

If you've just visited the CN Tower, it is hard to miss the aquarium. For one, the aquarium is situated right beside the tower. And if you braved the Glass Floor and looked down, the aquarium was directly underneath it.

View from CN Tower's Glass Floor

The aquarium was certainly one for the kids. My youngest thoroughly enjoyed the visit. We were extremely impressed with the movator experience, where we were transported on a moving walkway through a glass tunnel surrounded by water. The sea creatures were literally swimming all around us. What a treat! And no walking necessary :-)

Photo captured while on the movator

We also had a chance to see some "Nemos" (clown fishes) again. This time, there was even a Dory in the tank. Nemo and Dory are beloved characters in the Disney-Pixar movie, Finding Nemo.

Youngest with "Nemo" and "Dory"

Sharks, stingrays, jellyfishes, normal fishes, exotic fishes, "you-name-it" fishes....the aquarium was most definitely geared to impress both young and old. It's less than a year old but highly likely will stay as a Toronto attraction for a very long time.

Notwithstanding my seemingly obsessive love of water tanks and sea life, I highly recommend that a trip to Toronto must include a visit to the Ripley's Aquarium. And please don't skip it if you've got kids.

For more information, check out the Ripley's Aquarium website.


CN Tower

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Panoramic view of the city of Toronto

Now I wouldn't be a real Torontonian if I've never even once visited the CN Tower, right?

One mid-winter/spring day, around March school break, the whole family decided to spend a day in Toronto. And of course, top of the list of things to see, was the CN Tower.

I pre-booked our tickets online so that we could avoid the queue at the admissions office. It was school break and a Friday, you see, and I was pretty sure it was gonna be hectic that day. And it was packed, but probably not as bad as I thought it'd be. We squeezed through admission quite briskly and walked slowly to the elevators that would lead us up.

Our Tower Experience tickets gave us general admission access but did not include a trip up to the very top. An additional fee of $12 was required for Skypod access.

View from CN Tower's LookOut

The first level, called the LookOut, is an observation deck that offers a spectacular view of the city of Toronto. It is 346m high and can be reached with a 1-minute elevator ride. And if you look closely on a clear day, you might even find your eyes making out as far as some parts of the Niagara Falls region.

Glass Floor photo

On a level just below the LookOut, the Glass Floor also serves as a great attraction. You either loved or feared the floor. I am not one who is often afraid of heights but it did take me a while to feel comfortable walking on the Glass Floor. My knees wobble and my heart drops each time I take a step. I think knowing that you are 342m off the ground did not help matters. We took some "scared" photos and got out of there.

If you are adventurous enough, you will also find the Base Camp on this level. The Base Camp is the starting point of the Edge Walk, which is a walk outside, around the tower. The activity was closed due to weather when we visited. And it was probably a good thing, else I would've had to challenge myself to go take a hike around the tower.

Toronto city backdrop

After taking enough photos around this level, we've decided to venture to the Skypod elevator access. The Skypod was a further 33 storeys above. This would take us a total of 447m off the ground. It was a bit nerve-wrecking but the greatest photo opportunity. This level did not have as huge a space as the LookOut and access was controlled. We took a lot of selfies at this point. The city was really a wonderful backdrop.

For a trip to see the city of Toronto dramatically, check out the CN Tower website.

Writer's Workshop: The Graduate

Thursday, July 3, 2014
The graduate

Prompt #4 - Share your top favourite photo you took in June. Give us the back story.

The day has finally arrived....I am no longer a mother of a high-schooler. I graduated and have now become the next level, whatever that is. A mother of a university learner? I'm feeling kinda tired and old just by saying that.

It seems like it's no biggie, but in true honesty, I am feeling blessed and very, very proud. I know, I know....graduating high school is definitely my child's momentous milestone, not mine. But as a parent, you can't begrudge me for equating her achievements as me doing my parental obligation correctly somehow?

I can't help it. In the past, I've had some serious doubts about my motherly skills from time to time, wondering if I'm doing the right thing by her, by them (if you have not followed the blog, I have 2 kids by the way)...

As a mother, am I disciplining them enough? Am I too lenient? Too harsh? Too crazy? Am I setting a good example? (No?) Are they learning what they should? (Probably?) Am I the right guide? And on and on and on. I'm not the perfect mom, but this graduation is certainly a nod in the right direction that I'm doing some things right, at least.

I do not wish to take away anything from her hard work and dedication. Today is a celebration of her success. This accomplishment is all hers. She did it all and she did her best. For me, it is just a proud mama moment of my child, the graduate.

This is my photo share for Mama Kat's today. I personally love the photo because...well, it's exactly like what I said above. And that which rarely happens, getting a gazillion likes for it did not hurt either.

Mama’s Losin’ It