Tag Archive for 'cats'

Jennifer Jilks writes My Muskoka

in Activism, Blogging, Muskoka, Ontario, Photography and Tourism

banner for My MuskokaJennifer Jilks is an Ottawa school teacher now living in beautiful Bala, Ontario. She’s over 50 and that’s a huge niche right there. She’s also a travel expert, wildlife photographer, hiker, and blogger who posts twice a week about a special little part of Canada called Muskoka.

Jennifer Jilks of My Muskoka blogMy Muskoka cottage blog is an inside look at life in five Northern Ontario towns including Bala, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst , Huntsville, and Port Carling. She also chronicles the changing seasons as reflected in the shorelines of the Muskoka lakes.

Jennifer Jilks is fifty two years old. Before living in Bala she taught school for twenty five years in Ottawa while raising three kids – now her children are adults, and they are all remarkably different. They are all professionals. Jennifer’s daughter is a hydrogeologist and married to green party candidate Jean Luc Cooke. Her second child is a gifted actor, and the youngest boy is a government statistician.

Living and Dying with Dignity

About Jennifer Jilks

You can learn a lot about Mrs Jilks by reading the sidebar of her blog. Halfway down the right hand column is a picture and link to her book

Living and Dying with Dignity, a daughter/caregiver’s point of view.  She writes here that ‘My mother’s cancer, dad’s brain tumour and dementia changed my life. The book includes information, research, as well as coping strategies from real life experiences.’ And now suddenly we understand what drove her to start this blogspot. It wasn’t fame, or a marketing assignment, or a creative outlet for her photography, but an expression of true self. This woman hopes to share her healing with readers. Jennifer is a Muskoka Hospice worker and the experience of helping people living and dying with dignity rings like a bell and resonate through her life’s work. Indeed her continued care giving and volunteer work at the hospice gives her existence meaning and adds value to her perspective on life in Muskoka.

Jennifer Jilks in WashingtonJennifer Jilks Photography

In addition to chronicling the adventures of her three cats, Jenn’s blog images waterfowl, wildflowers and rodents in high quality photographs.  She submits her pictures to a camera critters blog and to a popular Ontario photo contest website and it was through Lenzr that she first came to my attention. In late November 2009 Jenn_Jilks compiled a beautiful array of breathtaking photos, with multiple entries in all three web challenges.

Jennifer Jilks and Social Justice

Today Mrs Jilks understands the explosive power of blogging. She learned the hard way after posting a series of well researched articles detailing the political, economic and social implications of the Bala Falls hydro electric project.

Muskoka LakesShe generated sixteen comments with a  particularly contentious post on the bala hydro electric project in the fall of 2008  where she was accused of being a puppet for Dalton McGuinty.

Fortunately other bloggers came to her rescue. Jenn’s site is at the center of a local blog ring that doesn’t have a badge yet, but the members appear in an earlier post. Muskoka Bloggers is a list she updates frequently and links to in her sidebar.

Last summer, Jennifer Jilks did her civic duty and published a piece on the 2009 drowning in Bala explaining the water currents better than news media. Jenn lives in the Township of Muskoka Lakes and in one posts she took it upon herself to debunk the The Myths of Muskoka.

My Muskoka blog is already publishing original stories about the 2010 G8 Summit’s impact to ‘locals’ in Hunstville and surrounding towns.

My Muskoka is a very credible citizen journalist, a passionate photographer, and a writer with a soul living inside Ontario’s premier Muskoka cottage country travel destination.

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Life in Cowtown in Calgary

in Alberta, food blog, gardening and Personal Blog

Life in Cowtown banner

Tatina Kharitonova of Life in CowtownTatiana Kharitonova uses both sides of her brain. The 29 year old accountant crunches numbers in downtown Calgary from 9 to 5, but after work and on weekends she follows her heart and explores a ‘million mini passions’ which she writes about on her blog.

Life in Cowtown was originally created to document Tatiana’s first ‘cold climate garden’, and just in case anyone cared to duplicate her experiments she decided to keep an online journal that she could also reference later. An early post shows her backyard in the winter before the garden occurs and describes the conflict that occurs inside her own brain – Tatiana is torn between her desire to be outdoors, and her general fear and contempt for insects, esp spiders and stinging bees.

Stable, secure and contemplative, Tatiana has been locked up in a good relationship with “a great guy” for eight years. She loves to read books and digests about four per week. She’s also a champion of free printable coupons and occasionally  posts offers right on her blog.

pepper plantSkilled in writing unbiased reviews, it’s not unusual to find Tatiana combining food and travel in the same post. She reviews cafes, shopping malls and Calgary Hotels and her journal entries are sometime punctuated with pictures of half eaten sandwiches and empty soup bowls. Unpredictable, she’s best categorized as an abstract gardening and pets blogger.

“I’m a generalist” she exclaims, ‘I like to learn a reasonably shallow amount on a variety of topics, and here anything goes – from ‘quantum physics for dummies’ to ‘how to make penicillin at home’. For example, Tatiana is an amateur mycologist and goes foraging for mushrooms in Alberta every year. I hope she writes a post on that subject this summer, and perhaps someday she will offer up a homemade mushroom hunting map to her readers.

Miss Kharitonova shoots all her own photos, and counts photography among her many interests.  Some great posts include her review of Millarville, which is typical straightforward account of her journey to Southern Alberta’s largest outdoor farmers’ market. That destination relates to her cold climate gardening objectives. Here’s a fascinating look at wall systems and how she replants peppers and takes her own advice, for once.

She loves her cats, especially Tweak, seen here.
Tweak the cat
Tatiana’s journal is not political. She doesn’t write to offend anybody, or propose radical change or protest society. But she did relate to me her frustration with the city of Calgary. What other city builds overpasses and sticks six sets of lights on them? Or purposely staggers their red lights so that you catch each one when driving?

In closing, Tatiana relates, “I do have a pretty dark side, but it doesn’t come out on the blog for several reasons. First, the nature of this blog doesn’t really encourage it – it’s hard to write about gardening and cats then switch to something nihilistic. I may have to get a second blog to express that side of me, but when I think about it, life is hard enough for many people, so having something to laugh at is more important than dragging oneself down.”

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