I was one of those lucky kids.
You know the kind, I had a dad who would play with me. As a teacher I could always spot the kids who had a great relationship with their father, they would talk about him and tell stories or behave in such a way that reflected the good times they had together. I was one of those kids.
I learned plenty of great things and was fortunate enough to be scarred for life because of my Dad, so I decided I need to have a Dad Tribute today on my Dad’s 45th Father’s Day Milestone.
Things My Dad Taught Me by the Edmonton Tourist
- To love Superheroes: Sure my Dad is a Superman fan, and I think that is sad and pathetic because he is the WORST SUPERHERO EVER. But I was encouraged to be my own superhero. I was Danger Girl. I had my own cape and my own super powers. I stored lightning bolts in my chest and could throw them at a moments notice. I learned that I had my own inner power to conquer all things difficult. I just needed to put my mind to it and work for it.
- It never hurts to be kind: I was taught the kindness, manners and respect was a common courtesy that everyone should enjoy. This didn’t mean you had to like the people, but you had to be polite. It makes the world a better place. I’ve witnessed it.
- Appreciate other’s strengths: Life is too short to harbour jealousy. Everyone has a talent that should be celebrated. Embrace each other’s talent and be thankful they are good that things you are not. Work together and be a team, more can get done that way.
- Be a Reader: The fact that my Dad was an English Teacher is the reason I am a reader. Sure he would give me books and then talk to me about them, but that was because reading for pure joy will take you places you can never imagine. There is nothing more delightful than being so caught up in a book you think about the characters and places long after the book is over. Reading great novels has made me smarter through understanding, questioning and researching further to gain a greater understand of the events.
- Travel: I have been all over the world the seen things that only a handful of people have had the privilege to see. Dreams came true on holidays with my parents. I saw the Bird Lady feed the pigeons on the Steps of St. Paul, I’ve stood at the base of Vimy Ridge and felt the whispers of Canadian boys who died there so that I may live the life I have today, I learned how locks and channels work on a rare sunny evening in Amsterdam and learned about laughing until your sides hurt and tears spring from your eyes because being silly is way more fun on vacation than being serious.
Of course my dad has taught me many more life lessons, I just appreciate these ones the most and have taught my children the same life lessons.
The biggest and best lesson I learned from my Dad, is don’t take yourself to serious and laugh at yourself more often. Think about it, you are hilarious. Embrace it.
Happy Father’s Day Daddy! Love you! xxx
The family went to my sister’s home for cake. Her fiance had kindly invited the family, arranged the party. Mom made the cakes. Sister is the cake maker in the family but it is wrong to make your own birthday cake. Not sure why, but it just is.
My brother, for various reasons is sometimes at family events and sometimes not. He came today. My baby brother who is 43. It was good to see him.
He walked in, said hi to my sister. Mom said she told him it was her Wedding Day so he felt he should come. He sat down on the steps and we all laughed because we will celebrate her wedding in August.
Then my sister looked at him and said, “You come to my Wedding and you dressed like THAT?”
He had on jeans and a hoodie.
I laughed because no matter how old we get, 45, 43 and 38, we always talk to each other like we are 16, 14 and 8.
It’s great having siblings. I recommend it.
Happy Birthday Sista – Love ya!
I was finishing up a proposal for an ethics paper when Environment Canada issued a Tornado Warning. A warning is scarier than a watch because funnel clouds were spotted. I was going to post my Wordless Wednesday for today but I am too shaken to stay quiet. Surprised? Ha! Don’t be.
This isn’t my first rodeo. I have lived to tell the tale of many of prairie storm, including the bad one in July 87 where 23 people died from a direct result of that tornado. I remember Pine Lake and I have survived plow winds and flooding. Today had me nervous like the one in ’87.
My daughter was sent home early today – that was worrisome, the storm must be bad.
The Sky was green – also a bad sign.
The hail smashed my flowers – thankful I don’t need to eat my flowers, feeling bad for the farmers.
The wind was brutal – kept listening for the ‘freight train’ sound – luckily it never came in my neck of the woods.
Hunkered down in my basement with my kids, listening to the weather outside and on TV. None of it was hopeful. Yet all I could think was “I am glad I got my hill repeats in before the tornado.” HA! I must be a runner.
Then the rain and wind stopped. Twitter had a great lot of pics tagged #yegwx that showed off the storm. This is the not so Wordless Wednesday.
The Edmonton Journal as a feature running until July 10 called Tell us what makes the city tick with 50 Things That Define Edmonton. The Summer of 2010 is when I became the Edmonton Tourist. I chose to live my life like I do when I am on vacation, take risks and explore my surroundings. Part of that included being a tourist in ETown.
I grew up with parents and a grandma who knew the importance of exploring your surroundings. From an educational and child development standpoint, exploring my surroundings increased my vocabulary, taught me about my City’s history and gave me a solid sense of family. I grew up learning that families do stuff together. Over the years we visited the Zoo, Fort Edmonton, Muttart Conservatory, the Royal Museum and Art gallery and went to shows and concerts at the Citadel, The Jubilee, Rexall (coliseum), and Commonwealth Stadium. I’ve curtsied to Royalty, hugged hockey players, conversed with artists, and chatted with fellow citizens. I think this makes me more than qualified to contribute to the 50 things that Define Edmonton.
But you guys know me so well, I won’t make a list of 50 things – just the 11 things that define Edmonton for me.
The Edmonton Tourist’s Top 11 Things that Define Edmonton
- The Edmonton River Valley: I have always love the valley. My family picnics there every Friday night and we utilize the park system on a regular basis. Since I have become a runner, I now want to move closer to the valley. Every season there is something spectacular about it. I love running through it 5 times a week. There are trails I have never explored and some that are my favorite. It is the only place I know of where you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere and yet you are downtown. End to end it is has more square feet than Central Park. Yet it is made up of hundreds of parks honoring great Edmontonians and Canadians. This is hands down, the number one thing that defines Edmonton.
- Volunteers: Every city brags about it’s citizens. True Story. But Edmonton has a community of volunteers that just come out of the woodwork to support events. It is nearly impossible to get a volunteer spot at the Edmonton folk Fest. When major sporting events come to town like the World Track and Field games, the Masters or the World Triathlon, volunteers put their hands up and say “I’d love to help!” Sure there are events where they just can’t get enough volunteers, but I think that has more to do with marketing than people not wanting to help. Edmontonians give back on a regular basis. True Story.
- Festivals: I’ll be honest, not every festival in Edmonton to fantastic. I have been to all of them – except any new ones that will pop up this summer. Some are duds. However, there are some festivals that are out of this world AMAZING and people (like me) plan their summer around them! Well, I plan around The Fringe Festival and the Canadian Derby Marathon. Marathon Weekend use to be Edmonton Festival Marathon, but now it’s name has change. The Fringe is a the largest Fringe Festival in North America and second largest in the world (Edinburgh is first). I can been seen DAILY down at the Fringe. As for the Derby Marathon Weekend? I am running on Saturday (5k) with my ChatterBox and on Sunday (21.1k) with a plethora of people – some friends and some strangers but we are all part of the running community!
- Hockey: I know not everyone is a fan (What???) but those who aren’t true fans are bandwagoners. True Story. When I say Hockey, I don’t just mean the Oilers, there are the Oil Kings, Minors, street hockey, pond hockey – you name it. It is all year, every day. The NHL lock out was hard on me, but there was enough of the other stuff to keep me happy. Edmonton has some pretty cool hockey memorabilia, like the giant Stanley Cup (engraved and everything!), Wayne Gretzky Drive (Cap freeway), Mark Messier Trail and the new arena controversy that keeps saying they are done but are they really? I think not. In fact, the papers are all full of the 25th Anniversary that Waynederful was traded to the L.A. Kings. And we have never been the same since. We have a new coach, but I am just going to keep hoping for a playoff spot and pray we don’t become Toronto (45 years since the last cup).
- Patio Seating: Weird right? Well, in Edmonton we have THE WORST weather. I am sick of rain and cold and before that I was sick of cold and snow, hopefully I will get sick of dry and hot. We don’t get much time to sit outside on patios drinking beverages with friends. So when we do, on a long summer evening, we try to maximize it. My favorite patio is one that has padded chairs because I will be there awhile. Those bistro chairs aren’t as comfy. Yes you will find Patio Heaters because in the fall and early spring it is cold but we just don’t want to admit that winter is around. All hail the PATIO!
- Construction: Before there was a guy named Mayor Mandel, we had a dude who wouldn’t spend money on infrastructure and we are paying the price now. But when it is done, we will finally have roads that can move the population around. Meanwhile, I cannot remember a time when potholes didn’t need filling, bridges are being built and road closures make summer driving hot and long. Which is why I am trying to be a long distance runner, it will be faster to run downtown than drive.
- Gardens: We don’t have Butchart Gardens, but since the season is so short, there are an awful lot of flowers in people’s yards. We can squeeze 4- 4.5 months of gardening in before the frost destroys everything. People go big with their gardens and I am one of them! I have huge patio containers in the back and planted beds in the front. I like flowering trees and running lately is a fragrant paradise! May Day trees and Lilacs fill the river valley. Beautiful!
- Golf: I don’t golf but I know by just living in Edmonton that lots of people do. There appears to be a golf course for every 5 citizens. They are pretty – maybe one day I will be a golfer. However, it just doesn’t make sense to me. There should be a goalie, THEN it would be a sport….whatever.
- Parks: Edmonton Parks are spectacular. The city does a great job keeping them sparkly and clean. The river valley does have great parks but they aren’t the only ones in town!
- Ponds: Actually they are reservoirs. They were created to assist the rain overflow to prevent basement overflow. And the result is fantastic wildlife pockets around the city. Geese, Herons, Ducks, and Bald Eagles can be spotted at some of these places. They are lovely spots of tranquillity splattered all over the city. And in the winter? Shiny or just skating happens. Skating on a frozen pond is a Canadian rite of passage. If you have never done it, embrace your heritage and do it!
- Recycle: Odd I know, but Edmonton is a world leader in Recycling. I notice it when I travel. We recycle everything and other cities barely recycle paper. Shocking. So happy we are doing our part.
There you have it, my personal opinion of what defines Edmonton. What would you choose?
I have been thinking a lot about pushing myself to the limit. Be it physical, mental or emotional. There seems to be no greater satisfaction than from those who are able to accomplish this feat.
Emotional limits, both positive and negative expression is not my favorite. I struggle with the pain of ending and heartbreak as do most of the humans I know. It is the hardest one for me to push.
I love pushing my mental limits, but being brain tired is the worst after emotional tired.
Yet there is something so completely satisfying about pushing your physical limits. It makes my mental juices flow and sends me to emotional heights that I am sure only George Clooney could equal.
This past month I have pushed my physical limits past the point I thought was my limit. I ran up Emily Murphy Hill 3 times, for the first time ever. She normally kills me after half way on the first time. Yet I conquered her. I ran in my first 10k race and set a personal time record. I was tired for 2 weeks but I knew it was because I left my guts out there on the road. I have set some pretty tough goals for myself this summer and I know the only way I will get there is by leaving pieces of me on the ground, in my books or on my sleeve. I will either be broken or exhilarated. Either way, pushing myself is my way of celebrating success.
A couple of years ago I never did anything that was hard. I never challenged myself through work, I never challenged myself through intellect, I never did anything physical that could test my limits. If it was hard, I avoided it and said no.
The Edmonton Tourist Project challenged me to say yes and try new things. I look back and don’t recognize that girl in the pictures. She looks different than I do now, but more importantly, her spirit was broken or harnessed by others. I said goodbye to her and the new and improved me is - as my friend It’s Maevealous says – FIERCE. I love that word.
I am inspired by her intellect. She is knowledgeable in ways that humble me. She is insightful and brilliant, adventurous and fun. All things I wanted to be and now am achieving.
Through facebook I have become part of a running team WDW Radio Running Team for The Dream Team Project. I have met amazing athletes who are in different chapters of their book. I am just past the Introduction, while others are near their climax and some others are in their epilogue. Yet we all chEAR each other on and support through words, laughter and help. One of these athletes just became a 2 time IRONMAN. She is my hero. I am inspired by how she pushes herself to her physical limits and signs up for yet another IRONMAN because a teammate has decided to enter for the first time and so she will be there in full support. She is gracious enough to tell me her story, so look for that coming up soon.
Weeks ago I put my emotional struggles here on this page for all to read. The fat girl running faced bullies and went head to head with them. That blog post went near viral. Women all over the world read it to the tune of 15000 visits and countless shares. Local women came up to me and asked for my autograph. It was weird. But through that post I met a running mom who ran her first half marathon in Vancouver. She has inspired me to join Team in Training and pursue the San Francisco Marathon next year. I will be talking to her soon too about Team in Training and her exciting adventures about running in Vancouver with an injury!
And then there is my one of my dear best friends. She is a new friend but you know how some people just click? We did. Last year she entered a spin-a-thon event and cycled for 90 minutes. She had never pushed herself to do anything like that. Today she is riding 93km from Leduc to Camrose in the MS bike tour. I am so excited for her because I know she will never be the same after she feels what it is like to push yourself beyond limits. I am going to meet her at the finish line today. You don’t get a medal for this event, so I made her a giant chocolate chip cookie medal to hang around her neck – and then eat because I am sure she will be super hungry.
So when people ask me “how are you able to do that?” be it running, university, work, momming or reading a billion books for fun, I tell them because pushing yourself to limits is incredibly satisfying and it makes me
- Push and be Fierce (justmeandmo.wordpress.com)
- “Team in Training” for Leukemia/Lymphoma Awareness (valleycentral.com)
- How far will you go? (fromheretome.com)
It has finally happened.
I have become my mother.
Every daughter has that fear and makes a pact with their sister/best friend/cousin/daughter to inform us of that moment so we can take stalk of our lives and figure out how to correct the anomaly from happening. Unfortunately for me, no one told me. I had to discover this for myself in public. So this is an open letter to my Sister and Daughter.
Dear Sister and ChatterBox,
Don’t get me wrong, my mom is awesome. She does things that we all tease about and accuse her of being crazy, but I know you do the same to your mom. That is how daughters roll. It is called evolution. Then one day it happens to us. We turn into our mothers. We hear her words in our words, we see her figure in our figure, we notice her OCD tendencies in our OCD tendencies and we realize we married our fathers.
Thanks (for nothing!)
I love you
Yes, my parents call me Skichucky. Tease me, I dare you.
One day I was sitting in the car with my mom and sister and mom said something. I can’t recall what it was, but I said to her, “Mom, remember when you said we were to tell you when you started becoming Grandma? Well, it’s happening.”
Mom replied with, “OMG (or something worse, I can’t remember) you are right! I do sound like my mother!!!!!”
She took immediate action to alter her behaviour pattern, every now and then it comes back. I like to think of it as a birthright. It makes me feel better calling it a birthright so stop hassling me already. Your turn is coming, I promise you.
I use to work in the family business. One day my mom came into the office and she was limping.
Me: Mom? OMG Mom what happened???
Mom: What are you talking about?
Me: Mom! You are limping!!
We looked at her feet and noticed she was wearing two completely different shoes. One Navy and one Black. The Navy shoe had a heel and the Black shoe was a ballerina flat.
Of course she was limping. You try walking in two different heel sizes and see what happens!!
In my infinite wisdom of 34, I said “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM How could you leave the house like that???? I am clearing you appointments and you are staying in the office today unless you are going home to change! GEEEEEEEEEEEEEZE MOM!!!”
I am sorry I criticized you and judged you.
Please forgive me.
Yesterday I went for a run. I have two different pairs of running shoes. Both are Adidas Gel 4, both have the same lacing configuration, yet each pair is a different colour. I rotate my shoes because I fear plantar fasciitis. I carefully monitor the mileage on my shoes and get new ones when they wear out. I rotate through the shoes (every run) to give each shoe the opportunity to gain the same mileage as the other. They wear out at the same rate and my feet are happy campers.
As of late, I have had a lot on my mind. I have a heavy course load because one of the projects is not pretend it is real life. I am focusing on it and think about it lots because detail will be paramount in the execution of this project. I am excited about it, but it is scary as well. I have not been sleeping well and I think the fatigue from driving home after the race in Calgary is still affecting me. I also have that tumour annoyance in my brain.
Okay…Okay…All of these are excuses.
If I turned on the light in the hallway to grab my shoes this wouldn’t have happened:
I didn’t notice it until my 5th hill climb. Obviously I don’t look at my feet when I run.
This is what I learned from yesterday’s shoe episode:
- If you can’t dress yourself, hire a Lady’s Maid (Downton Abbey taught me that)
- If someone asks about the separate shoes, lie and say it is a training technique.
- Stay focused on the task at hand. Think about the project while running. That is when you do your best thinking.
- Start buying the same colour shoes and label them on the INSIDE
- Take a picture and brag about your forgetfulness before anyone can tease you first.
Let’s get matching Lady’s Maids for us.
Then let’s go shoe shopping.
This is me and my parents in the good old days when we had it all going on and didn’t need Lady’s Maids
Good News! I ran a personal best in Calgary! And can I just say, Calgary knows how to put on a party. They are really good at it. I knew this from their Stampeders coming up to Edmonton for various events and putting on a pancake breakfast. These people take food, music and fun to a whole new level. Not only that, but their Calgary Race Marathon organizers shame Edmonton by a mile. The City knew there was a marathon and came out to cheer in a big way – big for Canada. When the half the city is running, and the other half is cheering it sounds like a massive people event, but the population is small compared to the Marathon Majors like Boston, London, New York, Berlin, Tokyo and Chicago. But still! I didn’t run very far without a band/DJ/people cheering me on. The best part was running past a group of preschool dancers dressed as butterflies showing me their moves and suggesting I give it try. HA! Oh honey, I couldn’t do that when I was your age, please don’t ask me an hour into running to do that. But I shook what my mama gave me, high fived them and kept going.
Only in Canada when the Temperature is 8C is there a guy on the course with sponges trying to soak you. You see the sun was out and therefore that equals summer. So if the sun is shining that and it is almost June, that means WATER FIGHT! I was drenched. BUT, it was fun.
That was the biggest thing I took away from this race – it was fun.
If you wish to read about my race and more about the Calgary Marathon Weekend, please visit my running and health blog Just Me and Mo by clicking HERE.
Saturday Morning My Boy and I went to pick up Dadeo at his home – 2 blocks from mine. From there we drove in the pouring rain to Calgary – 3 hours away. My Dad is a pretty funny guy – especially when he plays the Cranky Grandpa. He was logically complaining about things in such a way that we laughed a whole lot this weekend. I did learn that if it wasn’t for my mom, I would have grown up in Wales. Why you ask? Well, on a vacation my mom had a nap in the Caravan. She left dad with instructions to stay on the road we were on until we got to London – we needed to catch a flight home. Mom slept and dad drove to Wales. He just randomly follows people thinking they know where they are going. True – they do know where they are going but it is rarely where WE NEEDED to go.
Dad freely admitted that a map to him is a bunch of squiggly lines that mean nothing. So when I printed off the instructions for the boy to navigate to Stampede Park, we arrived exactly where we expected to. Dad was amazed. From there I just drove without mapping assistance. I studied the map before I left and knew where I needed to be, so I drove there. This also amazed him. It was nice for Dad to just sit back and relax while I drove and he didn’t have to worry about anything. However, I must admit, I was tired driving home 3 hours after running for 1:47:01 hours. I felt good but I was stiff. That sucked. I am thinking about Running the Calgary 50th Marathon Anniversary next year (half marathon 21.1km) because if their regular party is awesome, I can only imagine what their milestone party will be like!
This weekend was a celebration of my dad’s 65 birthday and me running in my first official race. I achieved my personal best, although I need to work on refueling and running at the same time. I just can’t. I am not coordinated enough. Or perhaps it has to do with the Grandma’s and moms in my life who constantly reinforced “DO NOT RUN WHILE YOU ARE EATING!! YOU WILL CHOKE!” So consequently, I have to slow WAY down to get gel and water into me. I also can’t bring myself to throw the paper cups on the ground. Sure I know there are volunteers who sweep them up. But to it is WRONG to just litter like that, I just can’t do it! So I stop and work my way to the trash can. This is my downfall. It was these moments that slowed my pace from an 10:15 – 10:30 pace WAY down to 11:40 – full stop. I am pretty sure I am not competitive enough to throw garbage on the ground or have my mom worried about me choking while I run and eat so…I guess I need to step up the regular pace so my refuel pace can stay slow.
After the race when I was running into the shoot, fist pumped my way over the finish line and received my medal, I heard my ChatterBox’s voice calling me. I thought it was weird and must not be her because she was in Edmonton with her dad. But I was in the shock of my life when I saw her at the finish area! My Trusty Steed and her got up at 4 to drive to the finish line and surprised me with this:
It is 30″ long. I have 3 medals. Good thing I am a medal whore because I need to get out there and earn more so I can fill this puppy up! I am not sure where to hang it. It is WAY bigger than I figure it would be so the space I had allocated for a medal hanger won’t work. It meant a lot to me for my family to be there at the finish line. It was a great day.
On the way home my dad said to me he was officially retiring from racing, but when I turn 65 I have to promise to run at least a 10k on my birthday.
Absolutely Dadeo, but only if you are at the finish line.