Wednesday, June 23, 2010

on into summer and two requests

This morning at about 3 a.m., there was so much scuffling and squealing from beneath my bedroom window that I shined my flashlight down onto the deck. There, in a row on the bench, were four baby raccoons blinking up at me from behind their bandito masks. I almost thought, aww how cute, until I remembered how much havoc and noise they and their parents create around here and hissed at them to chase them off. So Canadian - hissing and shooing and waving around a flashlight beam in the middle of the night, to chase the wild animals away.

Before that, last evening, I was at Ellen Roseman's Ryerson workshop called Financial Basics. What she does is so important - teaching how to manage money, get good deals, not be cheated. I'd thought that the free workshop was aimed at students, but most of the audience were new Canadians and adults, there to learn how to survive and thrive in their new country. None better to teach that than Ellen, who is upbeat and open, welcoming comments and suggestions from the audience. She welcomes input and complaints to her website too, will often take on issues and try to resolve them. She is a one-woman financial advice resource centre.

I took notes, resolved to check my accounts and speak to my bank manager on a more regular basis, but left when she started to get into the details of saving and investing. Unfortunately, even on the cusp of sixty, I don't make enough to save and certainly not to invest. But what I do have will now be managed more wisely.

Ellen is giving the same free workshop again on October 20. The Chang School at Ryerson has all the information. Highly recommended - a bargain.

I am madly, passionately in love these days - with my garden. I walk up and down, pulling weeds and crooning to the plants and flowers. Yesterday I was putting out the garbage when a couple from the neighbourhood walked by, and I invited them in to see the garden. My next-door neighbour Robert passed by too with his boyfriend, so the four of them came in for a dusk tour. Then Robert invited us all in next door to see his elegant home. Half an hour later, after much mutual admiration, I was back putting the garbage out.

REQUESTS of my faithful readers: My dear friends the Blin family are coming to visit from France at the end of July, and now have decided that they'd like to go camping or somewhere north to have a rustic Canadian experience. I'm trying to rent a cabin or cottage or even find a good campsite for the first week of August, the more rustic and Canadian, the better. If you know of anywhere that might be available, please let me know. A moose or two would be a nice touch. Raccoons they'll see here, in downtown Toronto.

And also, if you know anyone moving to Toronto or needing a new place to live - please keep in mind that there are two spaces to rent here in September or even by mid-August, a basement apartment and an attic room. As Ellen will attest, it is a good thing to rent space in your home. It helps the bottom line.

I thank you.
with love


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