Exploring One’s City

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Toronto Harbourfront

When I was in my 20’s, I was constantly downtown. I lived in the far Eastern and worked in the North-East suburbs of Toronto but I was still downtown as much as 4 times a week.

Even then. I hadn’t even come close to exploring all the wonderful gems the city had to offer.

Now, what with career advancements and being a parent, it takes a lot of effort to go downtown. Normally, we need a reason to go. And it’s not because I don’t enjoy going – I love our city and everything it has to offer! I know there’s so much to do in our own city – we actually could do a stay-cation and not have any luck covering all there is to see and do in a week.

Still, I always tell Doug, “We should go more often!” It’s true – we really should make an effort. Parts of the city has changed and we really had no idea. The waterfront, for example, is simply gorgeous now. It always was but the additional work the city has worked on for the past 10 years is all very new to us.

For example, I had no idea they are playing free concerts at the Toronto Music Garden all summer long. All summer long! For FREE! Come on – how much better can it get?

It just goes to show you – never underestimate how many gems one can find right in their own city.

I Lied

Earlier today I posted about how we were going to have a nothing-day.

I’m obviously a big fat liar.

But with the weather the way it was, I just could not pass up an opportunity to hit the trails. Plus, Hobbes the Dog needed his exercise.

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Blue sky, green trails

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Hobbes the Dog on the look out for squirrels

And the Rest of #Canada150 Weekend…

I always come back to work feeling content after a good weekend well spent. I do. I feel like I deserve a pat on the back or something. Because that’s the kind of ego I have!

Granted, some weekends are very “nothing” weekends. Ones where we are just lazy. And that’s okay – I think we need those types of weekends every now and then. Then there are weekends where we are booked with social events. These are the weekends I try to avoid – It’s one thing to spend an evening with friends or family but it’s another weekend where every single minute of our day is spent socializing.

And, no surprise, these types of weekends happen not by choice. We’re about to approach just that type of weekend when we visit my husband’s family in Thunder Bay. My MIL has this weird obsession of making sure the entire city has a chance to visit with us when we arrive – something no one in the immediate family cares for. But she INSISTS. Which is why I always stop at the liquor store and stock up for such weekends.

I’m almost positive there are rumors going around that my poor husband is married to an alcoholic. Fine by me… just give me my red wine!

So due to this impending weekend of doom approaching fast, we’re making sure this weekend is going to be one of those nothing-weekends. Today, yeah, I did play around with the idea of a hike but I have too much to do with laundry and stuff at home as it is. So I’m going to just throw in the towel and stay home. I will, however, enjoy our patio just to say I ‘got out of the house’ – how about that? Does that count?

And I’ll have a martini whilst I’m enjoying our patio.

Last weekend which was the #Canada150 long weekend, we had one of those very fulfilling weekend where we saw no one but did a lot as a family. Chaeli and I did participate in the July 1st festivities, but we also made sure to spend the rest of the weekend doing things we love to do (and take advantage of good weather)!

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Crawford Lake Hike – 1 hr 45 min

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Our first raspberries of the season

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Late afternoon stroll by the lake

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Hobbes the Dog was a happy pup!

#Canada150

There is no better day than to be a proud Canadian than on Canada’s 150th Birthday!

We went to the Civic Centre and took part in the Reaffirmation Citizenship Ceremony where we had a chance to recite the oath. This is something I always wanted to do but being born in Canada, I never thought I would have the opportunity.

Then, I find out on July 1st, across the city, they were having four locations holding a citizenship oath ceremony and all were welcomed to participate! I knew right there and then I had to experience it for myself – I would have regret it if I didn’t get to be part of it especially on Candda150!

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Canada150 – Proud to be a Canadian!

I swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King George the Sixth, His Heirs and Successors, according to law, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen. > View video of today’s ceremony.

Why “13 Reasons Why Not” isn’t THAT Bad

I was skeptical at first. Really skeptical. And not because of all the controversial talk about how the series glamorizes teen suicide. I wasn’t worried about that – mainly because after doing my own reading on the internet, most articles who claimed professional psychiatrist stated this show could spur real life copy-cats, no where did they even give any reference of credibility of such professionals or case studies. Once again, alternate facts looms over us again.

And of the few supposed copy-cats that surfaced on the news after the series aired, there was no direct cause-and-effect relationship tied to show and real suicide victim. And the fact is – leaving a suicide note is not a new thing. Of course, with modern-day technology, letters are, I suppose, old school. Video and/or audio recording is probably more realistic these days.

The show, 13 Reasons Why, was not a great show and had mediocre acting (though I will say the main actor, Dylan Minnette, who’s character, Clay – who we watch as he unravels the mysteries from each tape – was my favorite). It captivated my attention enough to get me to watch all 13 episodes. Yet, 1/3rd into the show, I really was just wanting to get to the end so I could find out what lead to her suicide (the tapes gradually explained how they were all connected – but there appeared to be this looming doom which broke her soul at the very end).

Why I continued to watch the show was basically because of this:

While the suicide was a main focal point of the show, the issues that surrounded it was what people should be talking about: drugs, alcohol abuse, bullying and rape.

Especially the last two – bullying and rape (or assault of any kind).

So while the masses are upset with the show, fearing teens will be easily swayed to end their lives in a dramatic, revenge-like “trend”, I ask this… Would our teens feel a need to even consider suicide if they did not have to go to an institution day in and day out, facing such risks? When they go home, with social media being such a huge part of their lives, can they even escape it when they are not at school?

What are we as parents, the community and the school doing to prevent this warped, criminal behavior from happening? I say this because before this show even existed, this sad reality has happened before. The one I can’t get out my mind was the teen girl who was gang-raped by four of her classmates. The rapists took photos during the act and the photos went viral. Shortly after, she was bullied. Like 13 Reasons Why, she was called a slut and her reputation from good, sweet girl, flipped 180. Just like that. This poor teen suicide victim not only endured a horrible and criminal act, but then went through significantly, cruel bullying.

So for all the parents out there, outraged by this show, I ask this – what are WE doing to try and prevent this from happening in real life? If the issues on the show were not a real concern in our society, would there even BE such a show? Did we shape our culture/society to basically, give birth to the plot line of 13 Reasons Why?

I’m a bit dumbfounded why everyone seems to be pointing fingers at the show, stating it is too dangerous for teens to watch and lacks any accountability of the message. Yet what about the discussions this show has cultivated? Are we going to continue and point fingers at a fictional show (or novel which it was based off of) and ignore the fact that we have the power to make a change in society? What about the good that has come from all this controversy? What about the teens who created a project called “13 Reasons Why Not?”

People are also upset about this fictional teen leaving tapes – as if she was being selfish.

She was in pain. People who commit suicide are not thinking logically. They are not behaving normally. To blame the victim (for victimizing others in the aftermath) is a moot point. However, let me ask this – what if those tapes stop these people from making the same mistake to others? What if it is enough to bring charges down on the rapist(s)? What if it saves another life?

Honestly, before I watched the show I did not have a strong opinion of all the controversy surrounding the topic of 13 Reasons Why because it sounded like a pretty bad show. I don’t mean bad in that the subject was a horrible subject. I mean… it just sounded like a really bad show!

And, while it was not as bad as I imagined it to be, yeah, it was still bad.

I am not too swayed with this fear of teens glamorizing suicide. If they were in a suicidal state to begin with, the problem was there way before even watching this TV series.

The topics, however, were important to me. As a parent of a teen who has started discussing this show with friends (even though she has not seen it yet – she told me she is not interested at this point), I wanted to be prepared. I wanted to know what exactly happens so when she has questions or want to talk about it, I am hopefully, more ready than not.

Perhaps this show sort of sucked – but the topics are very real. We must stop the ignorance and get to the root of this problem. Increasing teen suicide rates are NOT due to this show. And we need to do something about it.