AFTER SOLID TRAINING A YOUNG LAD MIGHT WELL BECOME AN AIRLINE PILOT. I KNOW ONE WHO DID.

How lucky I’ve been to have such a long-time, best friend, JAN ANDREA. We’ve known each other for decades and still regularly communicate. Jan told me “I was seven at the time the above photo was taken – we were living in Curaçao.”  We became good friends, and much later he set off working as a KLM Airline Pilot based in Amsterdam, flying internationally. Jan had never flown to Toronto, but when he came over here for the first time I gave him a detailed tour and after that we began more-than-once connecting to Amsterdam, and he took a liking to Toronto and then Montreal, back and forth. I got to know the Dutch quite well and Jan’s partner, HenkVos, who found his English improving all along the way.  Jan was already quite fluent in EnglishRoss and I took both of them on a tour around Nova Scotia and Halifax, over to Prince Edward Island, and then later we managed to explore the Netherlands. Just for fun a highlight for me was Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Holland.  Fire works were everywhere. I asked Jan if I could use his photograph. He said “Of course you can. All going well over there?”, And I said “Thanks again for the photo! We’ll talk one way or another real soon.”

JOHN TORY, TORONTO’S MAYOR, IS PLANNING ON A THIRD TERM AT CITY HALL – NOT SURPRISING!

Within Toronto’s history this 67-year-old will no doubt become the city’s longest serving mayor. Mr. Tory’s goal is to continue his current policies. Barbara Hackett, his wife, has already given her approval for a third term. Administering an increasingly expensive metropolis is a challenge, but he’s been facing no serious opposition – even from City Council. Among John’s present achievements – transit construction, housing affordability, street improvements, a recovering economy, and setting up partnerships. There’ve been no protests so far when the mayor announced he would run again. Polls have shown already that he’ll be a formidable candidate in the October 24th municipal election. Others are doubtless waiting to decide if they have the nerve, finances and ability to compete. We’ll wait and see who will be directing Canada’s largest city.

PETER SMITH, MY BROTHER-IN-LAW WHO LIVES IN NOVA SCOTIA, CELEBRATED HIS BIRTHDAY IN “THE WOODS”

Peter welcomed our extended family who made themselves comfortable in the woods. They’re allowed 20 people to gather outdoors, so family members could legally enter the woods to roast hot dogs over a fire pit.  Everyone enjoyed doing that. My sister, Sharon, identified all 16 of them, the closest I’ve been with my family in person for some time now. I’ve been looking forward to visiting them soon. Meanwhile for fun, here’s who in the picture.
Starting left from the red chair – Heidi, Naomi, Mark, Phoebe and Ian behind Mark, Charlie, Luke, Dave (Peter’s brother), Peter himself (in the red jacket), Andrea with Caroline on her knee; Sharon herself (blue cap), Jordan, Vanessa, Greg and then back to the empty chair.  Isaiah was the photographer, hence the empty chair.  The trucks belong to Mark and Greg, Fortunately the weather was quite fine. I thank my sister, Sharon and Isaiah for this photo, and a very Happy Birthday, Peter!

A CAR STUCK IN OUR STREET – TWO SHOVELS IN OUR GARAGE – DUST PANS ONLY WAY TO REACH THEM

We had to manage both getting out of the house, and then in through the garage door to access those shovels. And for that the dust pans were most helpful. Once outside we went to work, first using the dust pans, and then sweeping and shoveling. And it’s snowing again! <Photos by Ross Winter>

NATURE’S PERFECT NEST DESIGN – MADE BY BEES, HORNETS . . . . OR WASPS? PHOTO – BRYAN BLENKIN

Bryan says the photo above is “Nature’s Perfect Design.” Yes, they’re good at making nests, but be careful with stinging insects. We’re not sure what stung Bryan yesterday morning during a trip to The Toronto Dump. The trip was fine at first, but then he discovered an insect on the car seat, and picked it up. The insect stung him, and Bryan tossed it out the window. Not certain what it was exactly. . . . . .  I got stung a couple of weeks earlier at College Park on my upper lip, by what I believe was a hornet. That sting took about three weeks to subside.

IN HIS 30’S MATT GREEN SETS GOALS FOR HIMSELF, LIKE WALKING ACROSS THE UNITED STATES

Traveling on his own two legs Matt walked across the United States from Rockaway Beach New York to Rockaway Beach, Oregon some years ago.  The latest quest for this ex-civil engineer, was to get off his duff, give up his apartment, get rid of most possessions, and walk every block and street in New York City. He now couch-surfs across the boroughs and lives on about $15 a day – no small challenge in the Big Apple. “At its core, my walk is an oxymoron: an exhaustive journey through an inexhaustible city. Instead of seeing a million places for just a minute each, I’m going to spend a million minutes exploring just one place.” – says MATT GREEN. He is also a better-than-average photographer, and has an eye for New York’s idiosyncrasies, both its beauty and ugliness, curiosities and national landmarks.