Tuesday, April 24, 2018

I am angry with Yahoo

I am, like ALL yahoo email users  pissed off now and wondering what to do about the loss of privacy. I wonder if there is anyway I can transfer all my emails to Gmail and close my yahoo account and inform all my friends to start emailing my new gmail id...with minimum effort.

It is so wrong of Yahoo to deprive millions of users of privacy.

Now I can truly understand what (1)prisoners, (2)the people in totalitarian and communist countries feel like. Now I can empathize with (3)the teenagers whose parents keep an eye on them(I mean their emails, cellphones, friends, stuff they watch on TV, etc) feel like.

Looks like we have to go back to the old fashioned paper, notebook way of storing things. Back to primitive but reliable style of communication and storing.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Rouge Valley Park

April 22, 2018...too lovely a day to spend indoors after the long winter. Went to Rouge Valley Park, despite warnings that the ground would be slushy or too slippery with ice to walk. Had a lovely time. The temperature was perfect... not warm enough for mosquitos to have arrived and not so cold that  we couldn't enjoy. 
 Had taken our new Kelly Kettle stove to try outdoor cooking. Boiled noodles on the stove with  firewood gathered from nearby. The smell of smoke from the fire reminded me of visits to my village in India where my granny cooked on firewood.

 I loved the atmosphere here...the smell of smoke from our cooking, the roar of the Rouge river flowing by, the blue blue blue sky, the perfect temperature despite the snow on the ground.

Torontonians are unbelievably lucky to be living here...a modern urban city...with plenty of nature WITHIN  this urban area... rivers, forests, hills and valleys, wildlife, a lake the size of an ocean, beaches, nature trails. 
Hope we have more such days this year. Maybe I will try out the Humber river banks next week.

Above...I saw three kayakers fly by on the river ....so fast!

I suppose people toboggan down this when there's snow.

My husband's latest hobby is wood-carving or wood-work since the last few months. He's been glued to U-Tube videos of men who single-handedly build log cabins, wood houses, make furniture, and so on. Some of his favorite UTube builders/ bushcraft men or whatever they call themselves are: Dick Proenneke, Shawn James, Mors Kochanski.  He even bought a couple of knives and a saw. Before cooking, he carved a piece of wood into the wood spoon you see in this vessel. It actually looked more like a stick with the bark shaved off than a spoon! 
I gathered the firewood...there's tons of it anywhere in the wild in Toronto. 
We had got the chopped vegetables, cooking oil, water and noodles from home. This Kelly Kettle stove stove is great. Lots of heat and in no time, our noodles were ready. The vessel  above  is part of the Kelly set. I think it  looks bigger than it is. The Kelly kettle stove comes with stainless steel stove, a big container to boil water, vessels for cooking and even mugs to drink. 
My husband loves this stove. I don't think I have what-it-takes to lug this around in a back-pack on hikes. It's too heavy for me. 

Above is a dead tree disintegrating. I love the texture or rectangular shapes of the wood, crumbling.
It looks way better in reality than this photo.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Pre cherry blossom in High Park, Toronto

April 21st 2018...lovely spring day, with sunshine and increasing temperatures. Went out for the first time this year to enjoy the lovely spring weather. Drove to High Park, hoping to see the Cherry Blossoms, which are there only for a week and then disappear. But we were too early and the tress were bald! Not a single pink cherry blossom! But we did enjoy a lovely walk in the Lovely High Park along with hundreds of others who had turned up here to enjoy the lovely day.  

 Thought this tree trunk above looks like abstract art

 Redwinged Blackbird in a tree in High Park
 A visitor to the park reading near Grenadier Pond. 

Mallards and swans at Grenadier pond.

We then went to the Junction and enjoyed window shopping at the cool shabby-chic shops around on Dundas West.  Dinner at High Park Spicy House and back home, driving through the busy and lively Bloor street. 
Overall,  a lovely afternoon after months of the depressing winter blues!

I love the junction area. A couple of nice used book stores, antique stores, lots of eateries and drinking spots. Sadly one of the book shops is shutting down...damn gentrification!
I love the ambience at The Junction. The shops are not 'richly' decorated but each shops seems to have a unique style of decor...not the tacky indifferent decor I have come to expect when I visit shops in the East end of Toronto where I live. 

Visitors to Toronto should spend a couple of hours or an hour in this area..they would love the ambience. The junction does not have  the touristy vibe of downtown Toronto...it's a slower, more mature ambience. One should get it before the damn gentrification kills this all.

Below are some wall art around the junction area. 

I liked these houses in the Junction...they must be worth a fortune despite the understated looks  

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Spring flowers, pre and post ice-storm, Toronto April 2018

Above are photos from my garden on April 5th 2018. 
Below are photos from my garden April 16th 2018...post-ice-storm

Friday, April 6, 2018

Spring 2018

Today, April 6th . 2018, 6.11am: I heard the birds singing, outside before sunrise, first day I heard birds singing this year.  It FELT like  first day of spring for ME this year...
Growing up in Bangalore, I got a certain feeling on a single  morning (it would be in February, March or April)  every year...a certain spring smell in the air, the first time I smell it in a year and it feels like spring. It's a wonderful smell, a mix of flowers and earth from outside the house, from the garden. If I remember right, I think, to my imagination, I get that lovely spring aroma, only once each year....lasting for a few precious minutes. It's a Gestalt of experiencing so many things simultaneously. I can't describe the perfection of the moment but I can list the parts of the Gestalt: the smell of earth & flowers; the coolness of the breeze, the dawn's gold-red rays  coming through the windows, the sound of birds chirping outside in the guava tree, the relief-joy-peace of 'no-more-exams-it's-summer-holidays-now', the 'not-cold; not-hot, but just right' temperature under the bed-sheets as I lie in bed, the fantasies about how to spend the day as I lie there.
In spring-time Toronto, I  don't get that smell of earth and flowers as I don't think that smell 'happens'; even if it does, my  windows are shut for 6 months of the year here. But it was the sound of birds ..the first time I heard this year along with the calmness and 'no worries' blank mind as I woke this morning,  which made me think of today as the first day of spring. 
If only I could capture this feeling and feel it every morning... capture that spring aroma, wafting on the cool early morning breeze through the window, in my home in Bangalore to enjoy it at will!

PS: I think spring would have been earlier than April 6th...if I had slept in the bedroom facing the street, before April 6th. Let me explain. I sleep in different bedrooms for different reasons..when it feels hot I choose one, when  cold, another. The bedroom at the back, faces the garden and trees while the bedroom in the front faces the street and more to the point, there are electric lamp-posts and wires on which  chirping birds sit. I do not hear the birds almost till May when I sleep in the back bedroom but the birds  are audible in the front bedroom almost from late March. One would expect birds to prefer trees which are 'nature' than lampposts and electric wires which are 'artificial' but it seems otherwise. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


Listed below are experiences which I have had 'only once in my life'. They were brief moments of indescribable joy and it  happened but once.  I haven't experienced the same amount of joy when  the I experienced the same  again. Or the experiences never happened again. But I do enjoy the memories of those once in a lifetime moments  when they come to mind.

1)When I could balance on the cycle for the first time! The thrill was amazing! Going downhill, fast, not falling off...that thrill cannot be measured.

2) As a preteen, I went for a walk, one evening with my cousins, in the 70s, in Rajajinagar (west of chord road, Bangalore) when it was still agricultural fields and not houses. As we walked, in the distance,  I spotted what looked like 'woodrose' and ran towards that plant. It was not wood rose but the thrill of 'spotting woodrose' I felt was overwhelming. Later we did grow woodrose in our home and I loved those flowers. I have not seen woodrose plants or flowers in vases anywhere in the last 30 years. Is it extinct I wonder.

3)Spotting the beautiful weaverbirds' nests for the first time in my life as a pre-teen in my village. It was such a joy I have never forgotten my first sight of those nests, hanging from the branches of a thorny tree (Jali mara?)waving in the breeze as I walked with my uncle to a neighbouring village. I clearly remember the walk. We had left my village early in the morning and had to walk through fields and the valley of a hill. The village I was visiting was the other side of the hill. As we walked, I saw these beautiful nests, sort of golden brown in the morning sun, swinging gently in the breeze. I knew they were nests though I had never seen one before. In those pre-internet days, I had not seen the photo of a weaverbird's nest. You cannot imagine the joy of a child, at beholding such a perfect thing of beauty, for the first time! 

4)Seeing the ocean and the seashells for the first time. Actually finding the  seashells for the first time in my life (I was below ten years?) was more joyful than seeing the sea.

5) Finding comics which I dearly loved in secondhand book stores. This may not be once in a life-time experience but still, each time, the euphoria is unbeatable!

6) A  dear friend served us bubbly (champagne but not produced in France) about 12  years ago. I LOVED it. The taste was fantastic and like nothing I had ever tasted before. Later I asked him which company it was but he had thrown away the bottle and did not know. I tried a few different bubblies but nothing ever tasted like that wonderful glass I had that day! 
Similar to the above, I had fresh beer once in Bangalore on Residency road, about 20 years ago. It tasted so good! I know beer is not supposed to be sweetish but I recall this one was.  I have never ever tasted the same amazing taste ever again though I have had dozens of different beers since then. 

Analyzing the above, I see that:
 Cycling was the joy of achievement...being able to do something for the first time. 
The taste of bubbly was a delightful sensory experience...taste.
Finding the comics, was the joy of unexpected good luck.
Spotting the seashells, weaverbird nests and woodroses was the joy of finding perfect symmetrical beauty in nature.  Even now, I feel such a sense of wonder at 'perfect' symmetry, lovely colours  and beauty in nature. I can't believe that nature which has no  assistance from machines or 'measuring devices' can produce such amazing symmetry. Anything in nature which looks 'perfect' amazes me...even the round river rocks on beaches, butterfly wings, geodes...
I am trying to analyze my ?memories and check  if the joy was equal or at different levels for these above experiences. I cannot say that one was more or less than the other. The "ah ha" was equally high for all of these experiences.

7) I will write more 'once in a life time experiences' as I recall them.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Ithaca New York state...Home to many many water falls

Visiting Ithaca over the long Easter weekend of 2018.
Nice drive but a bit chilly.
Stopped to  see Eternal Flame at Buffalo...natural gas comes from the ground behind a waterfall and there is a fire behind the falls fed by the natural gas from underground.  We hiked and after 45 minutes of slow cautious hiking on icy slippery slope-y ground ..we gave up, without seeing the flame or the water fall 'cause too slippery and we also had to wade through icy water ...we didn't have knee length boots for that.
Eternal Flame should be visited only between June and August in my opinion!

Saw the Taughannock falls (photo above) it's over 215 feet! Taller than Niagara falls at Ithaca!
Did not  get to walk to base of falls as it was closed off due to dangers of slipping. Should visit this in summer! We did spot a few dare-devils down by the falls...they had dared defy the rules and he slipper conditions. I wish I had their guts! I have the guts to defy the weather but not my husband or the US government, both of whom clearly dont want me going down to this amazing falls.


After checking in at our hotel, we went to the nearby 'Buttermilk Falls". Below are a few photos. Thanks to the rains and melting snow, the water was flowing with tremendous force and noise! It would have been a 3/4 mile walk uphill, next to the falls to see other falls of the same water. However the path was closed as it was winter conditions and too dangerous to walk. I did not dare to break the rules..I fear being arrested more than slipping and falling! 

See the rock formation on the right? It was so crumbly! I could break pieces of the rock with my hands. The water has 'gored' through this softish rock for years and formed the gorges all over this area. I do feel a bit worried about the houses built on these crumbly rocks in the  hills and mountains of Ithaca.  

See the layers of rock above...this is right beside the falls. It crumbled nad pieces of it came in my hands when I  pressed it. This 'rock' is  not '"rock-hard" like granite. 

Back at the hotel after seeing a few buildings of Cornell university. Below are 2 buildings in the university area...one old and one new-fashioned. 

I forgot to mention...people who enjoy photographing dilapidated looking farm buildings, houses which appear to be crumbling/collapsing with peeling paint, barns whose wood has crumbled away, should drive through from Buffalo to Ithaca. On this route, there are many such absolutely photogenic buildings, on the verge of collapse.  I did not take these photos. If I was alone, maybe, I would have. But I was with my husband and he would have lost his temper if I had asked him to pull over, again and  again for photos!
Below are a few more falls I saw the next day.
Above  and below is the Enfield Falls at Robert Treman State Park.

I walked to the falls...the ground was littered with stone pebbles...covered with invisible ice and slippery as hell!

Watching the running waters and falls, hearing nothing but the sound of water, seeing but a handful of other visitors, enjoying the mild sun reminded me of the English poem, 'The brook' by Alfred Lord Tennyson, I had read in a 100 year old English textbook from England which I had got second hand in India. I had loved that poem as a child and read it many times.  And for the first time, I experienced the poem here in Ithaca. I still recall the lovely black and white photo which accompanied that poem in that wonderful English text book.
I loved this bridge...the color goes with the surrounding nature and it's almost invisible. Even as I enjoy the beauty of the places I visit, I am reminded of the lack of aesthetics in India and feel sad and angry. A bridge built in India would be garishly painted and stand out like a sore thumb in natural surroundings, ruining the effects. 
There would be plastic and other debris floating in the waters in a similar brook in India. 
There would be temples at every fall and every brook, making it inaccessible for non-Hindus to enjoy the beauty of the falls and rivers. 
Below is a washroom by the waterfalls. I am putting this photo here to show how beautifully even a simple, functioning place such as a washroom is so aesthetically designed to go with the surroundings.

I fell in love with these icicles. To see these icicles is worth the cold!

Observe the exposed roots of the tree after the earth has crumbled away

I saw birds flying in and out of the gaps in the rocks...maybe they nest there ...?

There is a water fall right behind this mill
I took the photo above and below, when I was standing in the Old Mill. 

I love the mixed colors of this fern growth above.

Above is interlocked bricks, I saw in one house...they keep their car here. This house is besides one of the many falls in Ithaca. These people are so lucky to have a lovely waterfall steps away from their home. The homes besides the falls wee lovely. The houses are on steep hills, with winding roads, a waterfall and water running from the falls near them. There is always the sound of this fall in their ears. NOT city noises such as vehicles, people, etc but this lovely water.

Above is one of the many street art in downtown. 
the water coming from the building...produces electricity by running  the turbines in the building. This is in the University area.

 Above is the Ithaca falls in the city! Can you imagine, a powerful water fall, in the city, with roads leading right up to it and houses steps away from the falls? We could walk quite close to the fall as you can see. 
Growing up in India, my idea of a waterfall has always been that waterfalls are in the middle of forests or countrysides surrounded by plants, trees, mountains and rivers.  So it was a terrible shock to me to see Niagara falls for the first time and see  busy city life right by the falls. 
Here at Ithaca, there are many falls in the city, the river runs in front of some houses, there are houses by the falls, there are roads leading right up the falls. It's kind of unexpected to see this for the first time. Ithaca is in a hilly area. One drives up and down steep roads to get to different places; there are many water falls in the city and people have houses besides the falls; there's water flowing in front of houses; and the Cayuga Lake is also there.  The population is less and so it has a small town feel to it. It would be great to visit Ithaca in fall when the colours would enhance the beauty of this already beautiful place.

 Not paint! Lovely moss or lichen on the rocks by the Ithaca falls in Ithaca city.
 Reminds me of the forts built by 'Palegars' of Tumkur district!

 The layers of rock are not uniform...some thin, some thick
 Moss and lichen on the rocks above.
 Pieces of the rock, broken from the original, lying around. Each year, the water in the gaps, expands into ice in the winter  and weakens this rocky earth further. Each year there is more breaking.
 Above you see a section of the earth has crumbled and left a gap. I suppose there was earth where the trees are now but it's crumbled over time. The rocks which have come from the gap above are lying around here, as you can see near the tree.
 I usually see 'round' rocks and pebbles ...the edges shaped round by the flow of water. But in Ithaca, you see rocks 'broken' by water and not rounded off .

I am angry with Yahoo

I am, like ALL yahoo email users  pissed off now and wondering what to do about the loss of privacy. I wonder if there is anyway I can tran...