And 2018 Begins...

Tuesday, January 02, 2018
Its the start of another New Year which means I've gotten the blogging bug again - sort of. It hasn't hit full force yet but the itch is beginning to ... well ... itch. Normally, at this time of year, I lie to y'all and tell you how I'm not going to make any resolutions and then proceed to list a bunch of things I'm going to try and "work on" instead of calling them resolutions. Po-TAY-to, Po-TAH-to. Screw the usual getting in shape, eating better, cutting back on the Coca-Cola, etc. We all know I'm not serious about any of that.This year instead I'm trying to be a happier person. 

I'm a news junkie, mainly CNN and MSNBC with some CBC thrown in for Canadian content requirements and the occasional local newscast for good measure. As the majority of news, regardless of source, seems to focus on Donald Trump, his actions and his goddamned tweets these days, I get quite agitated at times. For my own sanity, I need to let go or at least cut back. To help save myself and my sanity, I've already blocked him on Twitter. Yeah, that's right. I blocked HIM. This also means when anyone I follow who retweets one of his tweets, it says the Donald's tweet is unavailable. Small victories.

I'm also going to try and have more patience. I don't like to repeat myself. Not a good quality in someone who has been told they mumble. I also get easily frustrated when other people can't grasp what I think are simple concepts. Like using a TV remote. Because my mother and I share an apartment and we spend a good deal of our time together, she usually bears the brunt of my lack of patience. I promise I will TRY my best to not get annoyed so easily with her. 

Those are the big things. Nothing too major but important to me this year.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Its that time of year again - Edmonton Marathon weekend! Actually it was this past weekend but I'm late posting about so pfffftttt to you. On the Saturday, I kept with what's becoming an annual tradition and volunteered to help with some of the pre-race set up; this year it was "medal prep". For those not in the know, each medal (over 4000!) are wrapped individually and have to be unpacked from their various layers and then hung on hooks so volunteers can quickly grab a handful to pass out as runners, walkers and wheelchair participants fly across the finish line.
I had originally signed up to walk the 5K this year (post race last year I thought I might try to run it again...ha!) but when Mommikins and I looked at the start times, her 10K race began three full hours before mine did! She would start, finish and get home before I set up on the start line. So, blinded by the beautiful ribbon colour of this year's 10K medals, I switched my registration to the ten. It should be noted that this is two days before the race, I have done NO training this summer and I started up with my physio exercises to counteract my runners-knee the same day. I don't recommend my plan of attack.

While I was unwrapping medals in front of the Shaw Conference Centre, I heard someone calling my name. Turned out a friend who lives nearby happened to be returning home from the downtown farmer's market and saw me! Long story short, I somehow managed to convince her to sign up to run the race with the rest of us the next day. 

So proud of Mommikins who beat her time from last year, shaving off about six minutes. My lack of training and prep work showed in my results and the condition of my knees. At the turnaround point, my knees began scraping against bone (or so it feels) and everything below the knee tightened up. I was passed by a woman who was about 8 months pregnant and looked like she was out for a Sunday stroll. I came in just over two hours which is about the same time it took me to do the Moose is Loose train run last year when both my knees and hips decided to rebel against me. I can't complain about my time (FYI, I finished dead last for 10K walkers! Yeah baby!) as I'm normally slow anyways and its my own fault for not taking care of my feet and knees well in advance. Will definitely do better next time... 

... anyone want to join us for 2018?!

The Joys of Car Ownership

Wednesday, August 09, 2017
Earlier this week, I received an email from the dealership where we purchased the Baby Clown Car, letting me know it was time for the first "scheduled maintenance". Having only had my vehicle for six months, I couldn't imagine what on earth I would need to bring my car in for. Turns out, it was for an oil change. Knowing I had minimal KMs on my odometer, I questioned the dealership and called my Dad to get his opinion. Turns out, the manufacturer recommends an oil change every six months or 6000 KMs, whichever comes first.
My Dad confirmed I should probably get this first oil change and check up since its a new car and I don't want them saying I didn't keep up with the maintenance, thereby screwing up my warranty. So, off I went first thing yesterday morning and drove into the service bay.

The technician came out to get the keys and take down my mileage. When he re-emerged, he gave me a weird look. "You don't drive this one very much, do you?!" he laughed. Nope, I replied. Not much. He nodded when I said I'd had it for six months and drove off in my little grey baby. It felt a little weird as no one had ever driven my car before. Oh sure, someone had drove it off the transport and moved it in the lot but when I took it for a test drive, it had 4 KM on it. FOUR!

At first I was taken aback at the thought of having to shell out a wad of cash every six months for something I likely didn't need. Then, I started thinking about resale (should I ever decide to trade it in or sell it) - having records of all the regularly scheduled maintenance, checkups and oil changes would be beneficial. However, I've said from the beginning that I'm planning on driving this little bad boy until it falls apart and I'm aiming for 15 good years of driving. So, six months from now, I STILL likely won't be at 6000 KMs but I'll be pulling into the service bay once more and will gladly put up with the laughter coming from the mechanics.

Clifford E Lee Nature Sanctuary

Sunday, August 06, 2017
On Saturday I took my first road trip in my baby clown car. Mommikins and I headed out to the Clifford E Lee Nature Sanctuary for a little walk around, some fresh air and a few photos. 

Stolen directly from their website, "Located 33 km southwest of Edmonton’s city centre, the Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary protects 348 acres of marshland, open meadow, aspen parkland and pine forest. The varied habitats of the Sanctuary attract a diversity of animals, including more than one hundred bird species, and provide excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing." This trip marked the first time I have taken my car out on the highway or gone over 70km an hour in it. Handles beautifully and has great pick up. Vroom vroom!
We saw plenty of swallows and a few ducks swimming around the sloughs and marshes but other than a plethora of spiders and mosquitos, very little other wildlife. Making our way along the raised boardwalk, it was quiet and serene - a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning. We didn't encounter any other people until we were on our way out. There were two couples who were obvious birdwatchers with their tripods, campcots and lenses heavier and larger than many toddlers. A very loud group of four arrived back at the parking lot at the same time we did. While they seemed quite nice, they definitely broke the relaxing atmosphere.
I would definitely recommed the Clifford E Lee nature sanctuary as a nice half day trip from Edmonton, especially for nature lovers. We spent about 1.5 - 2 hours walking around but you could easily spend longer if you took the trails through the woods but we opted to stick to the boardwalk and viewing platforms. Make sure to wear plenty of bug spray and sunscreen. Cost is free but they do accept donations to keep up maintenance on the platforms and walkways. 

Feeling inspired, Mom and I already started talking about other day trips to take and are thinking we might pick up the niece and nephew one Saturday and head out to the corn maze. Any suggestins for 1/2 or full day trips from Edmonton?

You can view my other photos from the trip by visiting my new Flickr Page.

Are you ready for some football?

Saturday, August 05, 2017
Last night, Mommikins and I made our annual excursion to watch the Edmonton Eskimos play a little football. We usually try to take in one game in person each year; usually we both prefer to watch on television thanks to the commentary, close ups and replays. However, there's something special about watching a major league sporting event up close and personal. And we were CLOSE! Someone must have given up their season tickets because we managed to get tickets in the third row! That's three rows between us and the field. Where the players are! Unfortunately for me, it happened to be the Hamilton Ti-Cats bench we were right behind but we were close enough to hear them mouthing off to the Eskimos and some of the banter back and forth on the bench. The Eskimos were victorious and remain (fingers crossed; knock on wood) undefeated so far this year while the Ti-Cats have yet to win a game.
Great to share a passion for sports with Mommikins. We're going to see a second game later this season when her favourite, the Toronto Argonauts come to town for one of our last home games. It remains to be seen whether we'll be wearing parkas or shorts at game time.

The only two downsides to last night's game (yes TWO) was the woman beside us who REEKED of cheap perfume. Why oh why do some women bathe themselves in scent? And the guy behind us who coughed constantly throughout the game. It wasn't a regular "I have a cold" cough but rather one loud, head rattling hack every few minutes that made my eyeballs hurt.

Let's go ESKIMOS!

Have a bright sunshine-y day

Friday, August 04, 2017
It's finally Friday - the weekend is here! Alberta has a long weekend thanks to Heritage Day on Monday. Lucky me, I've also wrangled a day off on Tuesday so I have an extra long weekend. What on earth am I going to do with myself?
Tonight, Mommikins and I are headed to the Edmonton Eskimos game. Our local CFL team is taking on the Hamilton Ti-Cats. Its a night game, starting at 730 - I don't know how I'm going to stay awake! On Saturday, we might head out of the city to visit a local nature conservation area. Naturally, I'm going to take a few more pictures and get used to my new lens a bit more. Plus, we'll get some (hopefully) sunshine and some much needed exercise. Other than that, I'm keeping my options open.

So far, the return to blogging is going well; at least I think so. Four days, four blog posts. I have to admit, making myself write something, even as banal as my plans for the weekend has gotten me back into the blogging mood. I'm looking forward to reading what my friends write and hoping that they blog regularly. Remembering my early blogging days, I was following 20-30 blogs at any given time, taking advantage of tools such as feed readers. I don't know if I would be able to find 20 blogs nowadays that I'd be interested in reading regularly. For my blogger friends, how do you find blogs to read/visit regularly now?

Have a fabulous weekend everyone. Hopefully its bright and sunshine-y!

Are there any Flickr Fans left?

Thursday, August 03, 2017
In addition to the big blogging question, I have also been questioning my presence on both Instagram and Flickr. When I noticed that Instagram no longer allows cross-posting directly to Flickr (apparently this happened months ago), I decided to visit my Flickr page. To be honest, I rarely go there and it seems that most of my friends haven't been either. When I asked on Facebook who still uses the site, the response was an overwhelming "not for a long time". Most people I know who used to be active on Flickr have essentially given up on it and moved to Instagram.
There was a brief discussion on FB with Robyn, who blogs at Musings of the Edmonton Tourist, about her personal photography strategy which set me off thinking about what photos I want to share, with whom, and in what way. I followed that up with a lunch with Michael today to discuss his views on photo sharing and storage. FYI, he's the one friend who seems to STILL use Flickr regularly. After weighing the pros and cons of Instagram, FB and Flickr (along with Google Photos, external hard drives, etc) over some McNuggets and fries, I think I have landed on a first phase photo strategy.

Despite my original thoughts of ditching it, I'm going to keep Flickr for now and give it another go. It will be used as my main page for photo storage and sharing - mostly travel pics and times when I go out to specifically take photographs (like the recent trip to Elk Island National Park). Also, Michael figured out how to post to Instagram, Twitter and FB today from Flickr (bonus!). My Instagram page will be used for more of my day-to-day photos and select photos from trips and photography excursions. I will still post pics to FB as well but doubt I'll be uploading an entire album to share. Instead, I'll likely share a couple of photos and then a link to Flickr should anyone want to view more.

Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts and experiences. The more info I get, the better decision I'll make.

Say Cheese!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017
A couple of weeks ago, I finally purchased a new lens for my camera (Canon Rebel T3) - an 18-250mm Tamron. After six years, my friend Michael can finally stop bitching and complaining that I have something other than the stock lens my camera originally came with. For those who follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you'll know that we went out to Elk Island National Park this past weekend to test it out and see if we can spot any bison. The answer is yes.

Most of the time, I keep everything on automatic and just change the setting (landscape, sport, portrait ...) depending on what I'm doing. The result is that I often have to adjust the colours, sharpen the image, adjust the saturation, etc once I have the images downloaded. While I've got the basics down and have picked up a few tips from Michael and a great photographer I met when I was in Hawaii earlier this year, De-Jay Hanssen, I'm very much a photography novice. Occasionally I luck out and get a nice shot but I could certainly improve. 
Lake Astotin, Elk Island National park
Still planning on taking a basic photography course one of these days to increase my skills but it will have to wait until after my trip to Spain in the spring. Every spare nickel now has to go towards saving up! I guess that means, I'll have to take advantage of the knowledge around me and plan a few more trips to other beautiful shots near our city!

The Future of Blogging?

Tuesday, August 01, 2017
I haven't blogged since March. Ugh.

What's keeping me from writing? The lack of feeling as if I have anything to say for a start. Looking back through my previous posts, its been 11 years (June 27, 2006) since I started this portion of my blogging life (when I was hugely into hockey) and I had a different blog prior to that for at least a year or two. It makes me sad in a way to look back at how often I would write and about the wide variety of topics. I had opinions and wasn't afraid to express them, even if I knew I'd get blowback from some folks. There were movie reviews, book reviews and interviews. What happened to me?
My good friend Allyson who blogs over at Wandering Coyote asked on Facebook recently if anyone blogs anymore (specifically "Is food blogging still worth it"). There was a good deal of discussion in response to her question - basically yes blogging is still a "thing" although I would argue that general content blogging (e.g. using your blog like a type of diary, like me) has dropped off considerably. Specialized content (food blogs, running /exercise/healthy living blogs, fashion blogs, etc) seem to me to be more the norm when it comes to consistent blogging activity. For me, the question of whether to blog or not, and whether anyone would read it if you did, boils down to (1) if it makes you happy, do it; and (2) stop caring about the number of visits you get or comments you receive.

Another friend, Eugene from 27th Street, blogs more than any one else in my small circle. He writes about his local community, art and music. It was his comment that summed it all up better than I have above: "I guess it depends on what kind of value you put on the activity and what you expect from it." Barbara, our favourite Bad Tempered Zombie, wrote: "It's worth it if you enjoy doing it."
I miss blogging, something I know I've said before, so I'm going to give it one more go. Allyson's harmless question has restarted my blogging engine. No clue as to what direction it will take or if it will stick this time around. Likely it will remain a hodge-podge of moments from my life, complaints about random frustrations and overall silliness. My reply to Allyson's question was that I had been considering giving up my domain name and letting the blog go. However, her post kept popping up in my thoughts and making me evaluate what I really wanted. Do I want to let go of this sometimes rambling insight into the last 11 years of my life? Do I want someone else to scoop up the minute it becomes available again and claim it as their own? The answer to both was NO. 

There will be some modifications to the look of the blog - still loving the simple clean template but I'll be updating the links and info on the sides and the bar at the top to reflect where I am and what's important in my life. Previous posts won't be deleted like Anthony Scaramucci's tweets; who knows if I'll still be blogging 11 days after I start... Whammo! Current events political reference.

I'm a nerd.
So, there you go. I hope you stay tuned and enjoy the ride.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Saturday, February 18, 2017
Who knew looking at vehicles would be so draining?! 
Curently loving the Kia Sportage and the Nissan Juke and Rogue...

Get to the point

Friday, February 17, 2017

Lonely....I'm Mr. Lonely

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Decided to take part in my friend Barb's month end Photo A Day Challenge for February. Prepare yourself for the most random photos...

Dear Donald Trump Supporters and Surrogates...

Thursday, October 27, 2016
Hello Conservatives. Please don’t worry – this letter is not to slam, insult, denigrate, or belittle you. I fully support your right to vote and to vote for whomever you choose, even if we disagree. Voting is an important right and a responsibility. While I would prefer to see Hillary Clinton become president instead of Donald Trump (even though she’s not my ideal choice), if your side wins the election, I will fully accept the results. Full disclosure: I’m not American, I’m Canadian so I don’t have a say or a part in your election but if I did, I would still feel the same way.

However, I’m not writing to you to talk about the American electoral process or exercising your right to vote. I would like to address an issue that continues to pop up, although it seems not as frequently the closer to the election we get, despite all the other nonsense that’s been going on. I’d like to address the accusations of sexual assault against Donald Trump by a number of women. While not all Republicans/Conservatives feel this way, the media chooses to interview those of you who question why these women are coming forward NOW, some of them years after the events allegedly took place. On behalf of women everywhere who have experienced the unwanted groping and grabbing, the unsolicited vulgar comments, the rape and the abuse, let me tell you why.

We feel ashamed. We feel embarrassed. We feel, somehow someway, it is our fault. We know we are more likely to be dismissed than believed. We will be questioned, with less concern than that shown to the accused, about what we were wearing; about whether we had been drinking and if so, how much; about whether or not we led the other person(s) on; about our sexual history. We know that even if the person(s) is (are) arrested and it goes to trial, the likelihood they will be found guilty is slim. We know that if the odds have been defied and the person(s) have somehow been found guilty, the sentence they receive will be nothing compared to the shame, humiliation, and filth we feel for the rest of our lives for what has been done to us without our permission.

Yes, there will be a small percentage (no I don’t have actual numbers or data to back me up so please don’t ask) of women who MAY bring charges like those claimed against Donald Trump for time in the spotlight, the hope that they will get some sort of monetary settlement, etc. However, I assure you, as a woman who has experienced some of the things mentioned above, that number IS SMALL. I don’t know any woman who wants to endure on purpose the kind of humiliation, degradation and scrutiny laying these sorts of charges results in. No amount of money or “fame”, if that’s what you want to call it, will change how a woman feels about herself or what has happened to her. You can’t wash away the feeling of someone’s unwanted hands groping your body or the memory of being violated with cash.
How many of us remember being told the kid in elementary or junior high school who pulled your hair, called you names, etc did it because “they liked you”?  That's bullshit and we need to stop telling our children this. I knew a kid like that when I was in school - his name was Chad S. He would flip up my skirt or pull down my pants in front of everyone at recess. He didn’t do it to anyone else in our class. Just me. Did I think he liked me?  No. Instead I wracked my brain trying to figure out what I’d done to make him pick on me. By the time we’d graduated to Junior High School, he’d graduated to forcefully grabbing my breasts while we played Dungeons and Dragons at a mutual friend’s house. Repeatedly. Did I ever tell my parents? No. Did I stop hanging out with my other friends in those settings? No. Why? I felt ashamed. I felt embarrassed. I felt, somehow someway, it was my fault. All the other kids playing D&D were boys, perhaps this is just what boys do. I had developed breasts earlier than anyone else in our class. I should be hiding them better so he wouldn’t be tempted to grab them. I began a lifelong habit of hunching my shoulders to try to lessen how much they stood out compared to my flatter chested friends who didn’t seem to get this unwanted attention for having been born a girl.

Even before that, while staying with family friends while my parents were away, I had their oldest teenage son ask to see what was between my legs. He tried to convince me that it was ok. He told me I knew what he had because I had a brother but he didn’t have a sister so he didn’t know what girls had between their legs. To this day, I still don’t know how I got out of that situation but I remember avoiding him from that moment forward. Did I tell anyone? No. Why? I felt ashamed. I felt embarrassed. I felt, somehow someway, it was my fault.

When I went away to school, a drunk man followed me off the bus, across a crowded parking lot and into the entrance of a local mall, calling me by my name and grabbing me. I was wearing my beloved high school jacket which had my name on it. I never wore my jacket again. I felt it was my fault and I had done something to encourage his unwanted behaviour.
These are just a few examples from my childhood.  Experiences I am now finally able to share without being reduced to tears (although I came close while writing this). This doesn’t begin to cover the last 23 years of my life.  While I haven’t undertaken a scientific poll of my female (or male) acquaintances, family members or friends, I know that if I did most of them would have their own tales to tell. It’s not something we talk about, at least not openly and freely like we should. Why, you may ask yet again? For all the same reasons we don’t tell someone in the first place. We feel ashamed. We feel embarrassed. We feel, somehow someway, it was our fault.

You may not believe the dozen women who have come out publicly and claimed Donald Trump sexually assaulted them and that is your prerogative. I understand the particular timing of their coming forward might cause some of you to consider Democratic Party involvement. I get it – politics is a dirty game and both sides often don’t play fair. However, please don’t be so quick to judge them on why they are coming forward now. Think of your sister; your mother; your daughter; your friend; your coworker. While you might think they are strong enough to not let these things happen to them, or god forbid if it does happen, that they would come forward immediately. You would be wrong. It doesn’t matter how strong you are in any other aspect of your life – being groped, grabbed, raped, assaulted, pawed, kissed, or touched in any way without permission can destroy the strongest person you know, man or woman, and leave them a shell of the person you once knew. What you see on the outside often masks what's going on inside.

I wish you and your candidate luck in the upcoming election. At this point it could go either way. Here's hoping that whatever happens, your country can come together once its all over.


Your (still healing) northern neighbour.

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore

Thursday, August 04, 2016
As some of you know, over a year or so ago, I finally paid off my dreaded student loans *thunderous applause*. It represented the last of my debts and I finally felt as though I’d thrown off the yoke of repayment which had hung around my neck since I graduated back in 1999. At times it had felt as though I would never shake that monthly payment. However, I stuck with it, began making extra payments when I could, sometimes of only a dollar or two, and watched gleefully as my balance gradually diminished. Freedom! Ok, so I still have my credit card but I don’t put that into the same category as loans and other large financial obligations.

My whole life I have longed to travel. I attribute part of this to growing up in military family. When you move across the country every 4-5 years, you get used to seeing new things and visiting new places. While we didn’t travel far and wide for vacations during my childhood, I was always curious about distant lands and different cultures. Unlike a couple of my high school friends, I didn’t do the classic Senior Trip to Europe. I didn’t take my first “real” vacation until after I’d graduated when my best buddy and I flew to California to see Disneyland. After that, it was onto university where spare money was almost nonexistent and the most exotic locale I visited was a friend’s couch to watch a foreign film. A few years after getting my degree, I put myself deeper into debt by financing my next vacation (18 years after my first) and took a solo trip to the UK.

I was always jealous of friends and coworkers who traveled every year – a week during the winter in Mexico or the Caribbean, two weeks in the summer for a cruise or off to Europe. It’s not their fault I haven’t had the opportunities to travel but I was still a bit bitter hearing about their fancy fruit drinks, exotic excursions, and seeing their sun-drenched snapshots.  If I continued to only take a break every 18 years, I’d be lucky if I managed two more trips before I kick the proverbial bucket. Inspired by my well-travelled friends, and my mother who seems to be able to manage at least one short trip every year, I’m changing my outlook on vacations. No longer will it be me sitting on my couch in my sloppy jam-jams watching day time television (although, yes occasionally I will still do that). I am actively looking at filling up my passport!

It’s now no secret that I’m heading off to Hawaii with Mommikins in the New Year. However, I’m already looking ahead to my next two vacations! Yeah, I’m going a little hog-wild crazy here. My thoughts are that I “might” be able to afford a short (week) vacation in January with Mom, and then take a week vacation by myself (or with a friend) in the fall. I’m not one of those people who want to vacation in summer. Its tooooo hot for me to want to vacation here in Canada and many of the places I want to go have similar or hotter climates. No thank you. Plus, everyone else takes their vacations in July and August so I’m looking at September. Heck, depending on the location, I’d even look at October (plus it could be slightly cheaper!).

It would be nice to be one of those people who have a passport filled with stamps from around the world. To have had unique adventures, learning about history where it happened, and experiencing the way the rest of the world lives their lives. I don’t need to live for a month with the Bushmen of the Kalahari or something equally exotic. What I do want is memories, images and stories of my own from the places I’ve always wanted to visit – and the ones I didn’t realize I wanted to visit until I ended up there.
I’m already thinking of where I’d like to go come next fall – and yes, I’m aware it’s a year away. This gal’s an advance planner, remember? Nothing decided yet; I don’t even know what continent I might end up on. I do know that it will be for about a week (give or take a day or two). Possibly with a friend who’s fairly well-travelled or maybe on my own, everything is kind of up in the air. I’m taking suggestions if you would like to offer one. Nowhere hot, please. I’m not looking for a “resort” type vacation this time around. Lots of history, interesting things to see, fun things to do, etc. And I’m not averse to doing a tour package depending on the location.

As I leave you, I’d like to leave you with a question – tell me about your favourite vacation spot, your first “big” vacation, or somewhere you’ve always wanted to go.
Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top