Vomit Trail as Communication

My cat is named Rascal. I gave him that name as a kitten because he was exactly that, a rascal. Occasionally he still lives up to the name. Today he certainly did. The good news is there was no chicken bone blocking his system. The bad news is it took hours of vomiting and a middle of the night trip to the emergency vet to determine he was okay.

I realize writing about my cat and his vomiting seems odd. I decided to because I think the incident offers a rare opportunity to track patterns of movement and use for one who can’t speak.

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City Oasis, Monet Style

Last spring, I discovered an oasis in busy Toronto, the redesigned green roof on the podium at city hall. It was my final stop, after a long day of Doors Open tours and the crowds that the event generates. I sat on one of the benches nestled between the gardens and looked south past Queen Street. Surrounded by the city, I felt calm and removed from the chaos below.

My next visit was on a steamy hot day in July. I expected the plants to be taller and fuller. What surprised me was how different the

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He Said. She Said. The Architecture Version.

I’ve been holding onto this post for a while, writing and rewriting it to help me to understand my relationship to architecture. Time to stop thinking, and commit to a final version before I’m lapped by Doors Open 2011.

Architecture was the theme of Doors Open 2010. My visit to the McKinsey & Company office was an unusual opportunity to hear both sides of an architectural story, through the

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A Lesson from the Washroom

I have recently started working out of CSI-Annex. (A shared office, not the latest incarnation of the TV show.) The newly renovated space has a communal washroom, and for a semblance of privacy, each stall is fully enclosed. In previous posts, I have cited the power of the seemingly utilitarian washroom to reveal the character of a building. This time, the revelation is about me, rather than CSI-Annex.

It seems I am a habitual person. I suppose I knew this, but the washroom stalls confirmed

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Did Your Grandmother Hang at the Windsor Arms?

I am at the Windsor Arms Hotel for a YWBC volunteer appreciation tea. The first time I visit a building, I always make a point of checking out the washrooms. A room, so tied to function, can reveal a lot about a place. The washrooms here are what I expected, full wood panel doors on each stall and luxurious finishes. The interesting part came as I left.

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Nature Disrupts My Design

About three years ago the large Elm tree in my backyard died. The tree was the redeeming feature of the backyard and unfortunately had to be cut down. The job took several days to complete. After the first day, I came home to a backyard full of giant logs, a depressing sight. I wandered amongst them, sitting down on one. This would make a great bench, I thought, and would let me hang on to part of what had defined the space for so long. The next day, I had the workers push three logs aside.

That was January. My summer project was to redesign the yard using the three logs as key elements. By fall everything was in place, a new patio, gardens and the logs.

I had one great summer with the logs. Fast forward to our early spring this year, beautiful warm weather and the insects that come with that. I had ants. Not the small ones that build

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Arabians in Arizona

In 2000, Toronto began a program called Doors Open. Every year since, on a weekend in May, countless buildings have opened their doors to the public for tours. Los Cedros, a horse facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, has taken this idea a step further. Their door is open to visitors everyday, letting you see not only the dramatically situated architecture, but also the day to day workings of the facility.

Visitors are welcome to wander through Los Cedros as long as they adhere to the straight forward rules posted at the entrance. My mom, my sister, her kids and I were the only visitors there that Tuesday morning. We saw the giant

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