Sunday, 27 April 2008

A nice touch

I had a nice experience on my last flight to Denver. In addition to a smooth ride, not terrible food, and a high quality of service - the flight crew of United Airlines 1136 carried out a particularely cool gesture.

After the standard safety procedures snoozefest, the crew asked the passengers if any of us were serving with the Canadian Armed Forces. One dude raised his hand to the applause of the airline, and the pilot went on to thank Canada for its shared sacrifice with the US in Afghanistan, while upgrading the gentlemen to First Class.

I didn’t think they did those sorts of things in the airline biz anymore. Whether it’s a rare gesture, or one that happens more frequently than I think – it was a nice moment.

Saturday, 26 April 2008


A reproduced story from the 23Apr2008 issue of the Globe and Mail about our beloved mother, daughter, sister, auntie, teacher and friend. Read below or view the following link:

Facts & Arguments: LIVES LIVED

Matriarch, wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend, caregiver, music teacher, school concert organizer. Born Sept. 28, 1944, in Trinidad and Tobago. Died Feb. 23 in Toronto of brain cancer, aged 63.

April 23, 2008

All her life, Diane gave. It was a duty thrust upon her at an early age, but one she chose later in life.

Born Diane Kassie, her mother died when she was 8, leaving her father with six children, including a newborn just two hours old. Diane, the first-born, helped raise her siblings.

She took piano lessons and, with her musical skills, became the pianist at her church while still in her teens.

In 1968, Diane immigrated to Toronto. She worked and took night courses, eventually graduating from the University of Toronto. In 1972, she began her teaching career - primarily in music - with the Toronto Board of Education.

Diane met Doug Longley in Toronto. They married in 1978 and raised two children, Catherine and Kelly.

Diane was a sociable person with a wonderful laugh and a sense of humour that shone through any situation. After she was diagnosed with cancer, as she arranged for her burial, she said, "Well, I just bought myself some new property!"

She was a dedicated teacher and had a keen interest in the world around her. Never one to mince words, she expressed her thoughts with passion, colour and wisdom. Her words were not always soft, but her heart was.

Music brought joy and peace to Diane's life. It was a love she shared through teaching - students would return from her classes humming tunes, and concert audiences would often be moved to tears.

Her empathy was extraordinary. You could count on her when times got tough. As a mother and aunt, she taught the younger generation many life lessons. She believed in cultivating strong relationships with family and friends, encouraged finding one's potential through education and urged choosing a career that fed one's passion.

Diane taught the difference between a house and a warm and loving home, frequently welcoming visitors to a home-cooked meal.

At Toronto Grace Hospital, where she lived her final days, she charmed staff and visitors, celebrated birthdays and gathered her children, nieces, nephews and friends to tell them witty life stories, evoking howls of laughter - so alien in a palliative setting.

Her niece, Roshini, a trombonist, captured Diane's aura at her farewell: "You will always be the music in my life, Auntie Diane, and I will always play for you. I will always remember your wonderful stories and smile - always with music in my heart."

Rawle Kassie is Diane's brother, and Barb Broadbent is her colleague and friend.

Monday, 21 April 2008

GTA Clause Skepticism

I'll be the first to admit that I haven't been up to speed on the recent contract dispute between the TTC workers, management and the City of Toronto. All I know is that expectations of a transit strike were widespread and that many of us who depend on it were actively making contingency plans on how to get to work this week.

So after finding out a deal had been reached I happened to read a couple stories on the 11th hour settlement, where one of the key terms - the "GTA Clause" left me puzzled. This clause stipulates that TTC workers would be guaranteed to have the highest wages of all transit workers in the GTA region over the next three years.

For one, the enforcability of how to "guarantee" such a clause is questionable - especially seeing as it's not the province that is footing the bill for the wage increases. A transit worker from York Region or Mississauga might legitimately ask why a transit worker from Toronto is worth more than them. Does the TTC have side agreements in place with other regional transit operators to not raise wages to much? I can't help but wonder what would happen if workers from either of those jurisdictions decided to fight for equal footing with their counterparts in TO.

All in all, I'm happy I can still ride the subways, but will be keeping an eye on developments over the term of this contract. With all the uproar and scrambling of the past week, along with the pre-weekend weigh in by Premier McGuinty - it may also be interesting to see if a more serious effort gets under way for the province to declare the TTC an essential service.

Running Ridiculousness

So Paulette (P) and Bryan (B) looked at some bikes this past weekend ...

B missed his original morning plan and goes to the Nike Lounge to test out some new kicks over a quick 5k, just as P is coming back from leading a short 3.5K clinic

B says: Ya know, Endurosport's store and clearance outlet are both in akward locations for TTC - whadda ya say we hit 'em up over a long run?

P says: Hmm interesing i dunno ... how far would that be?

B says: It's not that bad - the store is about 6 and the outlet about 11 ... a slow 21-22K would take us there and back

P says: That could work ... lemme go home after work, drop off my stuff, and we'll head out this afternoon

B says: Great - I'll just head out for a quick test run and will see ya in a bit

B gets back, and P ups the ante with this line: There's also this Trek shop up on Yonge ... how about we hit 'em all up and make it a 30K?

B now says: Hmmm interesting i dunno ... I haven't hit that distance yet this year. Why not - let's give it a shot - go big or go home, right?!

A LONG TIME LATER - Booster Juice felt like finding White Castle, both of us could barely walk, and we felt great!

And the bikes weren't to shabby either:)

Friday, 18 April 2008

Great running routes Toronto: Warden Woods - TNRL

Length: 18Km
Time: 99min

Weblink to map of route:

Description: Warden Woods to Toronto Nike Runners Lounge (TNRL)@ Summerhill,
via Taylor Creek Park - DVP - Riverdale Park - Rosedale Valley