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Meet Sassy! An incredibly cuddly girl looking for her “furever” home! #Toronto #Ontario #Cat #AdoptDontShop #ScarboroughBluffsCatRelief

Meet Sassy

Sassy


Scarborough Bluffs Cat Relief is looking for a loving, forever home for adorable Sassy, a three year old tabby. She needs a home with no other pets as she is terrified of dogs and not happy to share her human with another cat.  Sassy has been vet checked, vaccinated and spayed. Super affectionate, she will be your best friend! She loves to just be around people and spend time with you. Like any cat when she wants your attention she will go out of her way to get it! She loves to show off how absolutely adorable she is by rolling around, especially if you’ve just gotten home from a long day she’s a cat who will definitely show you how much she’s missed your love during time away!

Sassy

Playful, she loves to play! Laser pointer, teaser toy or just noisy little ball toys that she can pat around! She loves them all! I think as long as you’re taking some time to just play and show her you’re there she’ll enjoy just about any toy you throw her way!

Please note that an adoption fee applies. For further information or to meet her, please contact scarboroughbluffscatrelief@gmail.com

***Please note: GTA/Toronto adoptions preferred***

 

#WATWB, Quotes

A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are  Susan Scott, Lizbeth Hartz, Shilpa Garg, Mary J. Giese and Damyanti Biswas.   To learn more about WATWB or to join us click here. For updates, news and monthly reminder notifications please join us on our FB page here and follow us on our Twitter account: @WATWB


“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” ~ Bob Kerrey

We are living through very trying times and for many of us our lives have changed so vastly and so quickly we are learning that many of the things we often took for granted mean the world to us. Often an act of kindness can make a huge impact to someone’s life.

Recently there has been a lot mentioned about a certain act of kindness that helped a woman reconnect with her family during this trying time.  A woman in her 90’s from the Rexdale area of Toronto had been desperately trying to access the library’s free Wi-Fi which she relied on to contact her family . She kept trying to access the signal from the parking lot after her branch closed due to COVID but to no avail. When Toronto Public Library (TPL) employee Young Lark Jin, Library Service Manager for the York Woods District heard about the issue he went above and beyond to make sure the woman could communicate with her family once again. Once learning of the issue, Jin said he contacted multiple library departments, including IT, to see if the Wi-Fi at those branches was working. When Jin got the confirmation that the wireless network was in service, he informed the woman.

“She was using her iPad to connect with her family members because I believe she didn’t have an internet connection at home. She was coming to the local library to get an Internet connection,” Jin said.

However, Jin said the woman called him back to let him know that she went back to the library and still couldn’t access the Internet.

At that time, I realized that she might have some issues with connecting her device to our Wi-Fi. So, I went to Albion and Rexdale and checked our Wi-Fi signals. They were strong, and I was able to connect.”

So, Jin offered to meet the woman at the library to help her resolve the problem. He said they met at the library parking lot while maintaining physical distancing.

“We rolled our windows down, and she passed her iPad to me, and I cleaned it with a hand sanitizer and then I tried to help her. In the end, she was able to connect to the Wi-Fi at the Rexdale branch so she will be able to connect with her family members,” Jin said.

 

To see video on the story,  please click here….

https://www.cp24.com/news/toronto-public-library-employee-praised-for-helping-elderly-woman-connect-with-family-1.4952523

 

“Kindness begins with the understanding that we all struggle.” – Charles Glassman

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#NetGalley #BookReview Sea Change by Nancy Kress #ScienceFiction #Ecology #GMO

 

Sea Change

by Nancy Kress

Release date: May 22nd, 2020

Sea Change Cover

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(3.5) Rounded Up


I received a complimentary ARC copy Sea Change by Nancy Kress from NetGalleyTachyon Publications in order to read and give an honest review.

To give her credit, the book is well-written, clever and the author does write realistic, multifaceted and mature characters …

This was the first work of fiction I have read from Nancy Kress. In the past I had read her non-fiction books on writing as part of a workshop I had taken and really enjoyed them.  I was really looking forward to reading this novella and although well-written in many ways, it just wasn’t what I expected.

Coined a bio-thriller, although interesting wasn’t as dynamic or “thrilling” as advertised.  The author bases an espionage story around the benefits of GMO’s over traditional agriculture but much of it felt like a huge info dump interspersed with an interesting mystery and very character driven story.  To give her credit, the book is well-written, clever and the author does write realistic, multifaceted and mature characters.

The Protagonist, Renata Black is driven by her beliefs, all her life she has been championing for good, always looking for a cause even to the point of ruining her marriage to her Hollywood bound husband.   When her son dies because of a water issue attributed to agricultural run-off she makes promoting GMO’s her new mission.

Set in the future, an incident ten years prior involving an bio-pharmaceutical incident resulting the deaths of children causes major GMO companies to disappear and agriculture with pesticides and fertilizers to become the norm.  Looking for a cause to help her deal with her grief  of losing her son she joins “The Org” as operative Caroline Denton. The Org, a pro-GMO, ultra-secretive , underground organization is working to bring back GMO’s to reduce starvation and ecological disasters around the world. When not working as an operative as Renata she works as a paralegal for a lawyer prosecuting rape cases for the Quinault reservation, where her son passed away.

The story opens with Caroline getting to investigate a runaway  self-driving house blocking traffic and its operator/owner believed to be an Org operative is missing, and it appears to be the result of a mole in “The Org”. When a splinter cell gets raided and her name becomes known, Caroline/Renata is hunted by the government and labelled a terrorist.

The hunt for the missing operator, a case involving the rape of a Quinault teenager and her grief over losing her son are the plot-lines running through this novella, but they all felt overshadowed by too many info dumps revolving around GMO’s which in my opinion took away from the story of this short novella.  Reading is subjective and although I found Sea Change hard to immerse myself in, doesn’t mean it won’t be appreciated by someone else.

 

Information, Scarborough Bluffs Cat Relief

Urgent: Experienced #Foster Families needed for #Kittens & #Pregnant #Cats #Toronto #Ontario #ScarboroughBluffsCatRelief

Porsha and kittens

Sadly, it’s that time of year and with the current climate many cats are in dire need of foster homes.
Scarborough Bluffs Cat Relief needs experienced fosters for pregnant moms or moms with kittens, preferably in the Scarborough area or close by.
We have one mom, Porsha, with 7 four week old babies and another mom expecting very soon.
Kittens need special care and a very vigilant foster, as kittens may be unable to nurse properly or mom may not have enough milk. In that case, bottle feeding may be needed.
For further information or to foster, please contact Katherine at getset2001@gmail.com.

***Please note: East end GTA/Toronto fosters/adoptions preferred***

 

#WATWB

#Creativity & Coming Together in Quarantine #WATWB #Covid19

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference, we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Eric Lahti,
Susan Scott, Inderpreet Kaur Uppal ,Damyanti Biswas, and Dan Antion,

To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!


“Appreciation is a wonderful thing: it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” ~Voltaire

Almost every nation in the world has been touched by COVID19. Globally most people are on lockdown unless you are one of the brave individuals caring for the masses whether it’s medically or keeping our supply chains moving so that we can have our necessities and you have my heartfelt appreciation.

Unlike previous plagues, we have so much more to keep us connected to each other and so many things to be thankful for. For many, putting your lives on hold, living indoors and cut off from friends and families can be lonely and extremely boring.  But the old adage “where there is a will, there is a way” is ringing true for so many. Below is a collection of how some are finding creative ways to keep occupied and keep families together.

Whether or not we want to, we need to #stayhome and be diligent about #socialdistancing that is the only way we will beat this.

~Stay safe and Be Well~

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Say Hello to Moggie, a tiny little girl with a big personality looking for her “furever” home! #Toronto #Ontario #Cat #AdoptDontShop #ScarboroughBluffsCatRelief

Meet Moggie

Moggie


Scarborough Bluffs Cat Relief is looking for a single home for Moggie, a tiny little girl with a big personality.
She is friendly, seeks out attention and loves her head and neck petted. We’re not exactly sure of her age but guessing around 5. She was found roaming the streets for some time, even in the coldest winter. A concerned neighbour asked us to help her when he saw that she was hurt. Moggie was in a cat fight and sustained injuries and developed an abscess but she is fine now.
She was vet checked, chipped, vaccinated and tested for FeLV and FIV and tests came back negative. She is declawed, so at one point she did have a family that we were unable to trace. Like many declawed cats, it takes some time to reassure her that she is in no danger and to make her feel comfortable.
For further information on Moggie or to meet her, please contact Katherine at getset2001@gmail.com.

***Please note: East end GTA/Toronto adoptions preferred***

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#NetGalley #BookReview of The Age of Witches by Louisa Morgan #HistoricalFiction #MagicRealism

 

The Age of Witches

by Louisa Morgan

Age of Witches Cover

Release date: April 7th, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Age of Witches by Louisa Morgan from NetGalley and Redhook Books in order to read and give an honest review.

Although slow to get into it is a well-written, engaging tale that once you are into it is well worth the read

The third in an unconnected series from Louisa Morgan Age of Witches is brilliant as a standalone.  Following the interconnected lives of three descendants of Bridget Bishop, a witch executed during the Salem Witch trials we see the good, the bad and the ugly of the craft.  Set in the late 1800’s we are introduced to Harriet the kindhearted elder of the group who as a healer has set up shop in New York. She prefers to use the craft to help others. We also meet Frances, who grew up in poverty and was deprived of her power only learning of it when her mother passes away.  Angry with her station in life she uses her power to elevate herself in society, by bewitching a young widower and finally getting the finances and respect never afforded to her before. We also meet Annis, the young stepdaughter of Frances who fights against her stepmothers controlling ways, preferring her horses to shopping and socials. Annis, not a “proper young lady” wishes to become the “unthinkable” for a young woman, a horse breeder, hoping to build an empire of her own.  Frances has plans of her own, wishing to obtain the one thing that would elevate her in society, a royal title and will use her powers to ensure that it happens.    Harriet who has watched over Annis through the years after her mother, another Bishop descendant passes away, steps in to ensure Frances doesn’t get away with the unthinkable.  

When the opportunity to arrange a marriage with a young Lord in England in financial straits arises Frances begins to bewitch those around her to meet her goal.  Harriet follows them overseas knowing Annis is at risk and is still unaware of her powers.  When the young Lord James finally meets Annis, he finds it difficult to accept Annis’s unorthodox behaviour Frances becomes desperate and her power, perverse. 

 Although slow to get into it is a well-written, engaging tale that once you are into it is well worth the read.  Louisa Morgan does an excellent job and creating brilliant multifaceted characters each with their own strengths and weaknesses, showing kindness and compassion in the name of family which is the one thing I found prevalent in this book. All in all a brilliant book I would definitely recommend. 

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#NetGalley #BookReview The Body in the Garden (Lily Adler Mystery #1) by Katharine Schellman #Historical #Mystery

Review

Body In The Garden Cover

The Body in the Garden

(Lily Adler Mystery #1)

Release date: April 7th, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Body in the Garden
(Lily Adler Mystery #1) by Katharine Schellman from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

…Clever, complex, incredibly well-written and researched…

Set in Regency London, widow Lily Adler is returning to her old high society life as a reasonably wealthy and independent recent widow.  Without her husband or children, Lily is trying to carve a new meaningful life for herself in a society that once embraced her. Lily is not alone thanks to a strong friendship with her husband Freddy’s dear friend, Navy Captain, Jack Hartley.

While attending a friend’s high society ball she realizes that her social circle is fraught with scandal and secrets.   Lily overwhelmed with grief and the drama of the event takes a step outside for fresh air and hears an argument that ends in murder.  Shocked and overwhelmed by the events she is drawn to action when the case is swept under the rug and it appears that the victim won’t receive the justice he deserves.  Captain Hartley attempts to honour his friend’s memory by watching out for Lily which proves to be a constant and difficult challenge. Faced with the period’s misogyny Ms Alder boldly tackles the case with the help of Captain Harvey, and the young victim’s former fiancée Miss Ofelia Oswald. I have to say I’m also impressed by the way the author handles the misogyny, race and class issues of the time with sensitivity and respect.

Clever, complex, incredibly well-written and researched, this book keeps the reader enthralled and I have to say I absolutely loved it! Ms Schellman creates interesting, dynamic and real characters who have their flaws yet are likeable despite them.  The mystery plot itself though slow to build definitely does not disappoint.  With both friends and foes as suspects as well as corruption and treason at the highest levels, this book keeps you guessing to the very satisfying end. I’m looking forward to reading future books in this series!

#WATWB, Art, Creativity, Personal Development, Quotes, Writing

Resources to explore and learn during Covid-19 & #WATWB celebrates three years!

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit.

This month also marks our third anniversary, we send a huge thank you to everyone who has joined us throughout the years.  We feel now more than ever that positive stories are needed to help balance all of the heartbreaking news we’ve been hearing in the wake of COVID-19. Having the internet is helping to keep us all connected, to ease the isolation and to let people know they are not alone.  For now, I hope to continue sharing on the last Friday of every month. This month’s five co-hosts are Sylvia McGrath,
Damyanti Biswas, Shilpa Garg, Dan Antion, and myself Belinda Witzenhausen.

If you are interested in joining us please feel free to check us out on Facebook and Twitter


In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are now all facing a life-changing crisis.  Most of us will survive this, it will be difficult, challenging and many of us will have to rebuild but many of our grandparents and great grandparents endured their trials too, World wars, famine, diseases and the great depression just to mention a few…and yet here WE are. Most countries are implementing drastic measures to halt the spread of the virus, including social distancing, closing schools, public venues, bars, restaurants or even, putting the entire communities on lockdown.  As a result there seems to be a shift that despite our isolation thanks to the internet we are seeing that we are not alone.

Good deeds are being spread online too…we are seeing celebrities and organizations making extraordinary donations to charities that are in desperate need. We are hearing positive stories of people stepping up to help their communities and many celebrities are going online providing encouragement to help people in isolation.  Due to pleas online from frontline workers some big manufacturers are stopping production of their usual products to help provide essential medical equipment and supplies. Big or small gestures we can do our parts by social distancing (if you are able) keeping ourselves, our families and our communities healthy. Reaching out to those who might be lonely, by just checking in.

While in lockdown or self-isolation we need to try and keep engaged yet positive but unlike previous generations, we have this wonderful thing called the internet. For as much negativity we see at times it is also a wonderful way to reach out to friends, we can video chat with those we are missing, share resources, learn, pick up hobbies and console each other when we are overwhelmed. Museums and Artists have opened their doors virtually to brighten up those who are isolated.  Experts are offering free online help to students who are now being educated at home. Musicians are holding free online concerts and Authors such as Deborah Harkness, V.E. Schwab to name a few are reading their favourite books online via Instagram Stories to their fans. So many things to occupy our time here of my favourite links, most free are:


Museums

Ten Museums to Visit virtually (Smithsonian) ~  Click here

Guggenheim Museum, New York ~  Click here

British Museum, London ~  Click here

Musée d’Orsay, Paris ~  Click here

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam ~ Click here

Louvre, Paris~ Click here


Education

190 universities just launched 600 free online courses ~ Click here

NASA has made their entire collection publicly searchable and copyright-free ~ Click here

Scolastic has created a free “Learning at Home” hub for teachers and families which presents 21 days of engaging, knowledge-building learning journeys for different grade levels that can be accessed at home by kids on any device, even phones. ~ Click here

Fun activities and downloadables for kids~ Click here

Teaching kids about coronavirus ~ Click here


Books

Download free books, e.g. Shakespear, Edgar Allen Poe, Frankenstein from Project Gutenburg ~ Click here

Listening books.org  Audiobooks for people with Parkinson’s Disease, visual impairment, fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, mental health difficulty or learning difficulty such as Dyslexia, which impacts the ability to read or hold a book ~ Click here

How to access local libraries virtually~ Click here

Neil Gaiman offers tons of cool stuff for free for you to kill your time with ~ Click here


Music 

Austin City Limits Online Archives and live streaming ~ Click here

Canadian band the Arkells fight COVID-19 social distancing isolation with online music classes via Instagram  ~ Click here

Canadian live streams ~ Click here


Cooking

“Kitchen Quarantine” With Michelin Star Chef Massimo Bottura offering free daily cooking lessons at 3pm EST via Instagram ~ Click here

America’s Test Kitchen posts full episodes of its cooking show, and more than 50 of the most recent episodes are free to stream. ~ Click here


Health and Well-Being

The people behind the Headspace Meditation app are offering a free collection for everyone called “Weathering the storm. It includes meditations, sleep, and movement exercises ~ Click here

Yoga with Adriene my go-to YouTube Yoga instructor has classes for everyone and at every level. ~ Click here

Planet Fitness has a free daily class at 7 p.m. ET on its Facebook Live page. ~ Click Here

The YMCA has a variety of resources for FREE online including Tai Chi, Barre, Youth Sports Performance and Weightlifting. ~ Click here

Even those who aren’t spending every waking moment online but are making the best of it…families are spending more time together, books sales are increasing and even from city blocks, while on lockdown, singers and musicians performing from balconies, fitness instructors are running exercise classes from rooftops, local restaurants closed to the public delivering meals to those on the front lines. Everyone is doing their best!

My advice for what it’s worth, take this seriously, adhere to advice but maintain a cautious optimism. If in isolation take this opportunity to take up a hobby or pursue an existing one, spend time with your family, read, write and create. You can’t control what’s going on but you can control how you respond. A cute little infograph I found on Facebook via TheCounselingTeacher.com puts it in perspective…

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For those brave ones on the front lines, the nurses, doctors, essential store clerks, farmers, truck drivers and all of those who are stepping up in this crisis putting themselves at risk I thank you!

“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”

~Kitty O’Meara

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#YoungWriters Series: Writer’s Block

Welcome to my #YoungWriters Series!

With the isolation and quarantines in place for COVID 19, many students are off school and at home. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing writing prompts and writing articles to hopefully inspire and motivate you.

A Young Writers Guide To Writer’s Block

Rogers Wallpaper“You can’t think yourself out of a writing block;
you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.”
~John Rogers

Some people will tell you there is “no such thing as Writer’s Block” and to some degree they are right. But there will be days when writing just isn’t working for you. You know what I mean, those days when you sit in front of your computer and it feels like getting a cavity filled would be easier. Unfortunately, the only way to overcome this dreaded feeling is to write or refill your creative well… Here are five tips to help ignite your creativity…
Keep a journal. Set the timer on your phone, computer, whatever works for about 20minutes. Your goal is to just write continuously without stopping until your timer goes off.  Write down whatever comes into your head, however random, strange or unimportant it may seem. No censoring and no over-thinking.

Brainstorm. If you are stuck on a particular plotline grab a large piece of paper or a mind-mapping app and write down as many ideas no matter how unusual they may seem, they might trigger something that will work. It’s all about getting ideas down. A page full of ideas can jumpstart your creativity.

Talk with other writers. There are some moments when it’s easier to speak to others about ideas than to write them down. Try talking your story out with another trusted writer. If you are not yet ready to share ideas with another record your ideas on your phone or computer, talking things out can often help.  Take a look at online groups via social media.  On both Twitter and Instagram there are groups that share under various hashtags. Check out #writingcommunity #amwriting #writersofinstagram #writersofig. Facebook has so many groups and pages for the writing community and often they are genre-specific ie. urban fantasy, mystery, ya, romance etc. so you can connect with a community geared to the genre you wish to write in.

Writing Prompts. Sometimes all you need to get the creative juices flowing is to have some fun with silly or thought-provoking writing prompts. If you search google there are many sites that offer prompts, I will be sharing some here in the coming days too!

Create an Atmosphere or Ritual to get you in the writing mood.  I absolutely love my writing area. My original workspace is no longer available so I recently set up a new one in a corner of my bedroom and I love it! I have bookcases filled with inspiring books, vintage typewriters, inspirational pictures or quotes and a few kitsch items that are prominent in my story. I listen to music that helps evoke images in connection with my current WIP, light candles, grab a tea or coffee and snuggly blanket, something to stimulate each of my senses.

These are just a few ideas that work for me but often just sitting down and free writing helps. Journaling, prompts, or just documenting the moment by just writing about the room you’re in, can be enough to ignite that creative spark!