Edmonton Tourist: Under the Big Wheel

Winter is still going strong here in Edmonton. I am not going to lie, it is bringing me down. Six months of winter is more than enough. Thanks Old Man Winter, you can stop now. Happily I haven’t removed my winter tires.

As far as second winters goes, this one isn’t all that cold but I still find myself wanting hot coffee. Today I had a date with a great University chum who tells it like it is and asks the great questions that make me think about things from a different perspective. Today we chatted about friendship problems we both have, parallel to the point that loyalty is an issue for both of us. We are loyal and hope for a reciprocal arrangement. It didn’t happen for either of us and then she said, “What did you want to happen?”

That simple question knocked my socks off because I  have been looking at it from the perspective of ‘This happened and I need to do this because I am loyal and the friendship is important to me so I need to forgive.’

Her question made me pause and think. I love that quality in this friend, she makes me think.  Then the server came and asked what we wanted to order.

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Right…breakfast! We decided to go to Old Strathcona and have brunch at Under the Big Wheel. A farm fresh organic kind of place with a really large Penny Farthing bicycle hanging on the wall. I am assuming that was the big wheel, not the red plastic kind of my sister’s childhood.

The Big Wheel

We both ordered coffee, she had a mocha and I had a latte because I am on a quest for the best one in the city – side bar: It was good, really good but I place it third on my list.

It was served in a very unconventional way – as was the entire experience – Unconventional.

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It came in a tall highball glass or something you would have cold chocolate milk in. It was hot on the hands but felt nice on my cold fingers after walking here in the wet snow. Because it was in glass, the coffee didn’t stay hot for long. That would be the biggest reason it is only third on my list. I like coffee hot and to stay hot. But it was good enough to have two. I rarely do that.

So where was I? Right! What did I want to happen? I wanted my friend to stick up for me, not be neutral. She agreed. Her friend was neutral too. We both would have been okay with “What you did was really crappy and I don’t like it.” but still be their friend…because it isn’t high school. Or if you thought I was being crappy – say so! I respect that!  She also agreed that would have been a better solution for her as well. So meanwhile here we are sharing similar experiences and our Server comes back – can I just say, our server’s lipstick was on point? It was the perfect shade of red for her alabaster skin. I digress… Our Server comes back and asks if we had decided. Of course not, we were catching up! We quickly glance down at the menu and she says, ” have you been here before?” Nope, first time. “My personal favourite is the waffle, our Belgium waffles are amazing” There was a gal behind us at a different table shouting out, “OMG THE WAFFLES ARE AMAZING” I enjoy that kind of enthusiasm and recommendation, so I had the eggs benny on a waffle – it was called The Savoury Waffle. I had a choice of smoked salmon, sausage bacon or cooked spinach (who wants to eat that? Cooked greens just taste like Chlorophyll to me. Too green. I prefer my greens uncooked with the exception of Beet Leaf (not Cabbage) Rolls and baby bok choy in soup. I picked bacon because, well, bacon. My friend chose the Traditional Breakfast, it was very conventional.

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Both were tasty. The hollandaise sauce was not the usual and I couldn’t put my finger on it, what made it taste different? It was good, but different than the norm. The waffles were light and fluffy, the gal behind me did not lie.

Where were we? Right…. loyalty. I also disclosed that I was thinking about words that had been said to me and playing them over in my mind. She agreed that she does the too. Only I don’t think about where the person was coming from when they said them, it was more of a how those words affected me and caused me to behave in certain way or do things maybe I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t been so hurt and how could I have reacted better?. These were traumatic experiences I kept reliving and then looking at how I could have done things better/different. We agreed this wasn’t helpful to moving forward. But yet we still did it. I suspect most people do this.  Some people can just let it go easier than others.

We also talked about how awesome our dogs are. Hers are new to her family an mine is celebrating his 3rd adoption day with us on the 27th. I call it his birthday because he didn’t have to be a wild dog any more and hunt for his food. He found out very quickly he prefers being retired and living a spoiled life.

The best part of this breakfast was the server let us visit and chat as long as we needed. She kept coming back to see if we needed something more – just salt for the eggs and another latte, but it was really restful. I really did enjoy this spot for brunch, the food was great.

I have visited a few other spots around town to test out their coffee. I went to Anvil, a new spot in Ottwell. Decent but over priced. It tasted fine but didn’t wow me.

I also visited Wild Earth Bakery, cookies were good coffee was fine, also didn’t wow me.

If you decide to come to Edmonton for coffee and want to meet, let me know, I would love to experience coffee with you!

My list of favourites so far in order:

  1. Mandolin
  2. Cafe Bicyclette
  3. Under the Big Wheel
  4. Little Brick
  5. Anvil
  6. Wild Earth

Where do you like to go for your favourite coffee?

Edmonton Tourist: Mandolin Books and Coffee Company

The sun was out and spring felt like it was here. After being in a stadium for 5 days with 7000 kids, I was happy to get out in the fresh air and explore a little of my city. Plus, I wanted a coffee, a really great cup of coffee. To me great coffee comes in the form of a Café Latte. Hot, creamy with a strong coffee flavour. My favourites in the city are Café Bicyclette, Block 1912, Transcend, and now Mandolin.

I had heard about this place from some people at work. They knew I am a hard core book lover and was serious about my coffee so they thought the combination would be right up my ally. I headed to highlands on 112 Avenue. I used to live in this neighbourhood about 25 years ago and all that was here a a restaurant and wool shop. The 2 block street has undergone some heritage sprucing up, new lamp posts, some cool signage to let you know what used to be in that spot and a mural. This little trip had all the things a nice exploration includes:

  • Points of interest
  • nifty shops
  • pretty neighbourhood
  • coffee

It felt like an afternoon vacation.

My Companion and I walked along the south side of the street first, in search of the coffee, I was charmed by the signage.

I bet that was a great Hardware store! I love old timey hardware shops, Steveston BC and Entwistle AB have some of the best I have ever been to. Highland Hardware is now the Apple Box, a crafty paint shop that has milk paint, I need to remember to head back there when I pain my bench – I want it to be a rusty red.

Continuing along the street we found La Boheme. I always wanted to sign and dance on the tables there like in Rent, but have only eaten there and went to the wine cellar for a tour before I even knew anything about wine. Man, I wish I could go back in time and appreciate it more.

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Then came Mandolin Books and Coffee Company.

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The place had a great selection of used books and antiquarian. I found a Rudyard Kipling book of poems dated 1922. On the front cover was a swastika – pre-nazi Germany swastika meaning ‘lucky’ or ‘auspicious’. This was what it symbolized for 11,000 and now its an ugly symbol of hate. This book was in perfect condition as were so many of the books in this place. But first, COFFEE!.

The coffee here is Catfish Coffee, and I have to say, it is now my favourite coffee in the city. I really enjoy the flavour.

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We went to the counter and ordered 2 lattes, a lemon square and a blondie because this was a vacation and we needed sustenance.

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The baked goods tasted homemade (WIN!) but the coffee was smooth, creamy and strong – everything I look for in my favourite cup.

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It had been a long time since I enjoyed a coffee this much.

We poked around this shop and found some other great finds, like blind dates,

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we found a guy playing scrabble in the back and a mama reading to her offspring.

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There is also a patio out back.

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Once we found books we had to buy, it is a book store after all and I buy books because that is who I am, I ventured back outside and explored the other side of the street.

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We went into this great little candy shop and found vintage candy and poked around the antique store.

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It was the perfect afternoon in a great neighbourhood of Edmonton.

Edmonton Tourist: Government House Park

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Such a great day for a visit to a park! But because it is early spring, choosing a park that would have very little melt or muck was important to me. Government House Park is located on the north bank of the North Saskatchewan River and gets direct sunshine and heat. I figured it would have minimum spring run-off.

When The Captain and I parked, I looked around and decided to take a path less take by me. I had run this park multiple times and know where the trail leads along the river, but I had never followed the path that goes north. Until now.

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The first thing we found was a big puddle, the ground is low here and the run-off pooled to create this large pond-like water feature. We walked around it.

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We quickly discovered this path went parallel with Groat Road, something I had never walked or run on before.

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We made our way towards the new bridge that spans Groat road and is part of the Edmonton Marathon route. The old bridge is the one I broke my foot on during my very first half marathon… good times.

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Once we made under the bridge we found the path to be icy, and I was not in the mood to fall so we turned backed. I might come here in the summer and walk over to Coronation Park to explore.

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What I didn’t realize in all my years living in this city, there is an upper trail – who knew? (apparently every other Edmonton Citizen but me) It takes you by the toboggan hill. Up that hill is Government house. I always fantasized about living there as a kid and having this be my toboggan hill. Canadian Dreams….

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It is steeper and higher than it looks. But could you believe it was closed?

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We kept heading west with the intention of heading to McKinnon Ravine but as the trail combined with the lower tail, the water and mud was more than I wanted to let my white dog wander through.

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We began walking East towards the parking lot and decided to sit and enjoy the sun on our face.

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We were watching a flock of mauve/grey birds flit around when a Peregrine Falcon swooped in and crashed the party.

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Also bigger than it looks.

We headed up to Government House – the actual House. It is located on the old Royal Alberta Museum grounds. Government House was originally build as the residence of the Lieutenant Governor. That did happen for long and it soon became a meeting place for caucus. I toured it once and learned it was haunted, but I always fancied myself living here and it was the backdrop to many of my imaginary adventures.

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The now empty museum is such a beautiful building, I hope they do something amazing with it.

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It was a great day for the park adventure, but the mud was more that I had hoped for. I think I will wait a few more weeks before venturing deeper into the valley. I have a few more parks to visit to complete my river valley adventure:

  • Emily Murphy
  • Hawrelak
  • Buena Vista
  • Laurier
  • Rundle
  • Hermitage
  • Riverdale
  • Victoria

I have been to 10 (11 if you could Strathcona Science Park) I am over half way now. It should be a good summer!

 

 

Edmonton Tourist: Doughnut Party

I belong to a karma group. It is a group of friends and friends of friends who give stuff away to each other. For example, I had a tiny oak table and gave it to one person on there and I have received art and a spirograph, I like obscure things – Don’t Judge. Since belonging to this group I haven’t needed to buy a thing and I have given away so much usable things. It is a lovely way to trade.

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Today I was heading to heritage neighbourhoods to pick up items I have claimed. One in Eastwood – way on the Northside for me and then Laurier Heights, farther west but sort of central. The quickest way between both points was to stop at Doughnut Party.

Doughnut Party is a tiny little shop that has been open for maybe a month or so. It is located in the old garment district at 10938-119 Street, Edmonton AB. Their web page says:

Tues-Fri: 8am-1:30pm; Sat: 9am-2pm

Open until sold out – come early! 🙂

Now, I grew up with the Sherwood Park Bakery making the classic old Fashion Doughnut. Mom would come home with a few for a treat. I loved doughnuts hardcore as a kid. Then Tim Horton’s came along and was a game changer in the doughnut (not donut) game. It fast-food-ized doughnuts here. When they were a bakery, creating doughnuts in store fresh, letting the dough rise and then frying them in the vat with the baker using chopsticks to flip them, they were amazing. When Timmy’s became a fast-food chain and needed to have more control over baking so they send frozen donuts to be baked, the doughnuts became donuts. and my love wained. I no longer cared for one. Not worth the calories. Every now and then I would find a bakery that really knew what they were doing and was happy to have a doughnut.

I sat around the lunch table one day and the team was talking about Doughnut Party because they had all tried the Moonshine doughnuts from the Farmer’s Market in Old Strathcona. I had not. I feel like I was late to the party. I am no longer on top of food experiences in Edmonton because I have been busy exploring parks, burning calories rather than consuming them. Everyone said, “You have to try them! But go early because they are lined up out the door and close when they sell out.”

Okay, challenge accepted. I knew I was out on Saturday morning and could swing by.

When I arrived, the line was not out the door but the parking lot was jammed with people trying to find a spot. My advice is do not park in the lot, drive to 120 street and park along the road. You will get in before they sell out with the added bonus of burning 15 calories walking to the door.

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There is a bar-like counter in the centre of the room with a ramp on the left to manage line-ups. I waited maybe 5 minutes and took in the atmosphere. Brick walls and simple signs Party for 1, Party for 6 etc. There is a rule of 1 dozen per person, but they don’t offer a dozen, you would buy 2 boxes of 6. I hope you can do the math.

These doughnuts are not the cheap Tim Horton donuts. $3 for 1 and worth it.

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I had the Vanilla because it is my most favourite flavour ever. But I did buy one of each. From everything I have seen on instagram, they never have the same flavours out, they rotate. Flavours were Lychee and Raspberry, Vanilla, Birthday Cake with crumbed, Apple fritter, some pink coconut confection thing and a pink sugared doughnut. The names were written in red marker on the glass but I didn’t pay that much attention, no point when there were only 6 choices. Each donut is made with fresh, local ingredients. The one I bought was HUGE. I could not get a proper bite because it was high and actually fluffy. Delicate is the word that comes to mind. It melted in my mouth. Hands down the best doughnut I ever had.  It was worth the trip. Happily it is far enough away from me it needs to be a planned trip.

Go early, go often.

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Edmonton Tourist: The Music Man

I love community Theatre. Any time you can support activities that involve creativity, kindness and fun, I think you should do it. Now, not all community theatre is good. Some is actually very terrible. But for the most part, these are people who have day jobs and want a forum for their creative outlet. Not everyone needs to have a career in the arts but arts as a hobby is what helps fulfill people and make their day brighter. I am for that. So I like to support it, and its fun for me….usually…

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Photo by the Edmonton Tourist
Thursday night I had the pleasure for going to the Trinity Players rendition of The Music Man. I brought my dad because it is his all time favourite musical. It is essentially the feel good story of the power of positive thought. If you think you can succeed, you will.

A friend of mine Tim Lo, who is the company’s Assistant Director, Barbershop Quartet member and all-round good guy, suggested I come see the show. I had never been to a production of the Trinity Players before and was hooked when he told me it was The Music Man. My dad often showed us the movie as kids and on car trips we sang the complicated musical pieces for pure entertainment. Now that I am an adult, I realize just how complicated these are. Think of it as the ground roots for rap – early Hamilton? Well…Not quite but fun to listen to!

The stage is at the Trinity Church 10037 84 Ave, Edmonton. The seats were less than comfortable being wooden pews, but had a licensed intermission in the basement and there was something strangely naughty about drinking beer in the sanctuary, that part was fun too. I am not sure where the actors come from or how they came to be part of the theatre troupe, but I do know there were auditions in September, so its not a group of pals saying “You be him, You be her and I’ll sew stuff” It might be that way actually, but it didn’t feel that way.

The Music Man was preformed in an over-the-top fun and kitschy way. But it worked and I sat with a smile on my face for most of the evening. Harold Hill played by Kyle Sanscartier, was slick and smarmy, the way Harold Hill should be played. His character development evolved into a guy with a conscience. I wanted him to be Robert Preston who portrayed him in the film, but as soon as the opening scene was done, this guy was Harold Hill to me. He masterfully pulled off Ya Got Trouble and 76 Trombones, his rendition had me singing in my seat. The show needed a strong lead because Marian Paroo played by Christina O’Dell would have carried the show off on her own without that balance. Her skill and musical talent had won our hearts from the first moment she sang on stage. My dad remarked that he enjoyed her rendition far more than than that Shirley Partridge, or Shirley Jones who portrayed Marian the Librarian in the Movie version. The two worked beautifully together although lacked real heat during the love scene, but that kept it family friendly.

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Photo by @Nancpricephotography
There were hidden gems throughout the show, such as the hen party singing Pick-a-little/Talk-a-Little/Goodnight and the Wells Fargo Wagon, I won’t divulge any spoilers, but that was my favourite scene of the night. The Barbershop Quartet gets a big shout out too because Barbershop makes everything more fun and the scene they sang with Christina O’Dell was complicated and their skill made it so fantastic. Hats off to Producer/Director Morgan Kunitz who brought together this community theatre and created something fun and enjoyable.

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Photo by The Edmonton Tourist
Tickets are available at the door and eventbrite.com for tonight’s show and tomorrow night. This production was great enough for me to become a regular patron of the Trinity Players. Next week I will be at Jesus Christ Superstar because I bet they will create a fantastic version.

Go give them watch.

Photo Credit Nance Price @nancpricephotography

Trinity Church 10037 84 Ave, Edmonton

March 23-26, 2017 @ 7:30 PM
March 25, 2017 @ 2:00 PM
$18 Holy Trinity Edmonton

Edmonton Tourist: Woodrack Café

img_5994I have been driving by this café since they broke ground a couple of years ago. I figured with a name like Woodcock, it was a steak place. Today after a race package pickup in the neighbourhood, I decided to stop in and see if I could grab a nice lunch. It was a total score, there was awesome coffee AND amazing soup on the menu.  This is what caught my eye:

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Coconut Curry Soup with rice. That is one of my favourite flavour combinations so I decided I was staying for lunch.

First impressions was this was a charming café. Rustic and whimsical with a touch of grandma. I looked over in the corner and there was a sofa I remember from my childhood. My Grandma had bought a similar one at Campbell’s Furniture way back in the day. I loved that sofa! So seeing it here brought back great memories, already a win for me.

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I looked at the menu board to see if something else caught my eye.

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Nope, I still really wanted the Coconut Curry Soup and ordered it with a roll. I checked out the sweet counter and decided I wanted a kids cookie because who doesn’t love a great sugar cookie? I also took the last Chocolate Chip cookie to see how it compared to mine, while it was good, mine are still better. My lunch companion had the Whoopie Pie because as the sign says it is a specialty! I ordered a cafe latte because the point of this year is to visit new coffee places and delicious coffee that is created inside.

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The coffee was rich and creamy. While delicious, I found there was more foam than I prefer. Next time, and there will be lots of next times, I will order light foam.

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The cookies were good but not something I would order again. To eat cookie calories, the calories must taste better than my cookies and these did not. However, they were really delicious.(clearly mine are spectacular)

But the highlight of my culinary day had to be the soup. It is not often I make yummy noises while I eat. I am pretty sure people were staring but I was too engrossed in my soup. So flavourful and just the right amount of spice. I hope it is a regular menu item, but if their other soups are this good, then this is a must eat place for soup lovers!

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After we finished and licked the bowl clean, (I didn’t really but now wish I had…) We walked the perimeter of the café. I was pleasantly surprised to see an outdoor patio, it may not look like much to you, but for those of us who only get summer weather for about 3 months, outside time is a premium and we like to maximize it by dining outside.

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This place has been added to my list of great lunch stops or afternoon coffee breaks. I think you will be pleasantly surprise.

A Year in Books: Born a Crime

29780253I was a huge fan of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart; it was smart, insightful and hilarious. Change is hard for me. I didn’t think a South African native would be the best choice for such a political show. But I decided to give him a chance. His insight into American politics from a South African perspective was fascinating. He lived through apartheid. He knew first had how dictators manipulate their population. He was explaining it to a country who only ever knew democracy,what was coming. He made it less scary.

I then listened to him on NPR’s Fresh Air. Trevor Noah discussed his book  ( although the host is the most is biased and judgemental presenter, I enjoyed how he came back at her with intelligent and thoughtful commentary) and he had me hooked because the man loves his mama.

His life story (he is only 32) was terrifying for a white girl who grew up in socialist Canada where the government looks after lot of things for you. This is not the case for a coloured boy – his words not mine ( which must be prefaced because I am white) growing up during a time that I read about but did not understand until he gave me an account of his life. I could not relate to anything he spoke of which reiterated the fact that I needed to read it. I learned about perspective.

I knew a girl in elementary school who arrived from South Africa and enrolled into my class. She was white, and spoke of her black servants. Telling me everything about south Africa was better because you had servants. Black Servants no less. I met her while North America was watching Roots every night, I knew about slavery and I knew it was wrong. She was trying to tell me servants were not slaves, they were there because they wanted to be there. I didn’t by it. Even at that age, I knew what white privilege was. I had been to school in the Arctic, I was one of a handful of white kids and I knew my white teacher treated me differently. I didn’t understand why my First Nation peers didn’t look me in the eye, now here I was back in Sherwood Park – a white suburb of my Province’s Capital talking to a girl who is telling me the servants chose their life? What? Who chose’s to be a servant? That is a class issue. I bet they wanted to have their own business, go to University became professionals but were not allowed to. She told me I was wrong and I called her a liar. We were never friends. Her name was Susan. Through no fault of her own, she grew up in a situation that clashed with my values and I couldn’t accept her as an equal.

Moving forward, I try to read books that give me someone else’s perspective. I want to understand how other people think given their circumstances. Noah explains his life in a way that is obviously normal to him, completely unbelievable for me. But it helped understand what was going on during apartheid. He spoke of something I think I knew but didn’t recognize it until he spoke about it. Language is a bigger barrier than race. He is fluent in several languages. He used this to his advantage to fit into different groups and tribes because although he looked different, he spoke their language. This confused people but allowed a fast acceptance into their social group. He may not look like us but he understands us, therefore he is one of us.

I think this is an important read for people who are struggling with today’s political climate and racism. Give it a read.

 

Risks

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When I started this blog, the intent was to explore myself. I had reached rock bottom. Everyone’s bottom looks different because everyone has a different pain threshold. I made a effort to to really change my life, say yes more than no, say no and mean it, take risks and try new things. The thing about taking risks is , its risky. A risk can be a fantastic amazing experience or it can be a disaster. So far it has been fairly equal, great verses disaster.

Great things:

  • I ran 9 half marathons and a bunch of 10k and 5 ks. I felt fantastic, looked pretty darn good and learned new things about myself.
  • I went back to school, got my degree and learned that I am smarter than I thought I was.
  • I became open to different points of view. This was something I was never good at, different meant fearful. Opening myself up let me become more humanistic. I learned so much and my children taught me more that I thought possible. Kindness became the number one most important thing to me. I gave it, I expected it and sometimes I raged over not being available. That was a strange journey and it still is.
  • I traveled more frequently and met new people. Some people became lifelong friends and some became the thing nightmares are made of but everything about travel was worth it. Learning about different cultures, seeing history, understanding climate change, and discovering perspective makes all the difference. I hope my travels aren’t over but if they are, I am very fortunate to have seen and learned what I have from my perspective.
  • Travel does not have to be far from your home, it can be in your own city. I met people, saw things and learned new stuff just being 10 minutes from my door step. New perspectives are everywhere.
  • I became an avid reader. I was always a book lover but I took a risk that had me reading genres that I had never explored before. It opened up my mind to scenarios I hadn’t imagined. I also learned that time is fleeting so don’t waste your time on books that bore you to tears. It isn’t worth it me. If I am not captivated then I close it.
  • I learn to value my health. Life changes on a dime. Do what you can when you have the opportunity or it will be too late. No one ever regretted doing fun things.
  • I learned work is work it is not my life. Don’t work late, leave work at work and do a job you can be proud of.
  • I have people who are in my order every single time. I have people who are not. I learned just recently that the people who are on my side are there because I am important to them. The people who are in my corner sometimes were the ones I spent too much time with trying to change their perspective. Stick with the people who love you. They deserve your loyalty, the others don’t.
  • I learned to feel and label emotion. Laugh, cry, rage, be pensive, sit in silence, do all the things that make you feel. I learned there are not negative emotions. Feelings just are and the sooner you can label your emotions and sit in it, the sooner it will pass. It is an important part of understanding your day. I helps you make better choices because quite frankly, I want to joyful all the time, I know it isn’t a reality for me but acknowledging other emotions means I can get to joyful quicker. It only took me 50 years to figure that one out. I no longer say fine. Give Terrible Thanks for Asking a listen, it will help put those emotions into perspective and help you move forward when you didn’t think you could. *Apologies for excessive use of emotional outbursts to my people, but thats who I am and you know it.

Terrible Thing: (remember taking risks opens you up to terrible things)

  • The thing about meeting new people is you are not everyone’s cup of tea. I completely expect that. However, I didn’t expect an old fashion school yard dressing down. Especially after placing my trust and friendship with a person. This goes back to kindness – if you can’t be kind just say no thank you. There is no need for a public stoning. All that does is demonstrate your sad life. Stepping on someone to gain importance is sad, there is no way around it. A lovely friend of mine pointed that out to me today. It helped me find a perspective that I couldn’t see before because pain and hurt were in the way. This man has a sad life which is evident with his vices, his free time, his friends and his wife. I couldn’t look at that before. Today I can. He needs things more than me so he can have the circle of friends, the position and the accolades. I don’t need those as much as he does. I still think he is a bully and is unkind to those he deems as having too much self confidence or those who make good choices for themselves when he did not choose it for them.  I still want to protect people from him, but mostly I look at him with pity. That whole social circle is filled with people who push back against people who are strong. Its as if they need to be alpha and no one can be equal. My take away is, I’d rather be on a team of equal proportions than have to live with in a social structure with a male privileged hieracrchy. My life is not broken with out them, on the contrary, it is peaceful and relatively drama free. All good things. So perhaps it wasn’t a terrible thing after all, I can chalk it up to a learning experience.
  • The other thing about risks is having an expectation of outcome. But a risk implies the outcome could go either way. So having expectations makes the unfavourable outcome sad in a way you never dreamed of because you always hope for the best – or at least I did. Its pretty painful. My take away is I learn better from failure and disappointment than I do from success. The hardest lesson comes from failure and disappointment. Perhaps this isn’t so terrible either, it just feels that way in the moment because pain hurts. True story. The list of outcomes I had hoped for and failed are equal to the outcomes I had hoped for and succeeded. The failures and disappointments stick with me though, its hard not to take them personal because I put my heart into those risks and the outcomes did not go as planned. Its hard to get over but I have a list of things I would do different next time. And it starts with trusting my judgement.

Looking at the great/terrible things, I guess risk taking is better than not. It’s just the terrible was really awful.  Oprah once said 40’s are for learning about yourself, 50’s are applying what you learned. I remember think pfff….what ever Oprah. Now I think, sorry Oprah, I did learn a lot and now I am ready to be 50 and move forward with my life lessons, the most important one is “let that shit go…”

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Edmonton Tourist: Dawson Park

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With the temperatures reaching 6C/45F today, I knew I wanted to be outside with my dog. I am pretty sure I broke him. Since I have been home he has been sleeping in my room all curled up in a ball. We walked along the north shore of the river for an hour and a half today. He loved it but now he is back to napping. I, on the other hand feel great!

Dawson Park is located in Riverdale, one of my favourite communities in Edmonton. I had always made the assumption that Dawson Park was the Riverside golf course so I never made an effort come here because I don’t golf. Perhaps if there was a goalie guarding the green I may be interested but mostly I could careless about golf.

The parking lot is right in front of Dawson Park’s cook-out pavilion with an amazing views of the North Saskatchewan River and the Riverside Gold Course on the south/east side of the river.

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The shelter is built in the same design as the one at Capitano Park and Henrietta Edwards Parks, picnic tables and a fireplace with hearth are located under the shelter. Within a few feet are other tables with wood stoves ready for smokies and marshmallows!

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The river is very accessible here with catch and release signs posted along the bank. I suspect in the summer this has anglers lined up along the banks trying to catch Lake Sturgeon, an endangered species that lives in our river. With the warm temperatures we have had this week, I didn’t want to venture to close to the water. It appears froze solid but who knows? It is hard to tell where the land is and where the water and ice begin.

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We decided to venture onto the main trail, I think it is a paved multi use trail because of how wide it is, but it is well covered with packed snow.

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Along the trail are English and Braille signage describing points of interest along the way. Dawson Bridge is named for HS Dawson who owned a coal mine across the bank. Dawson Park is named for his son John who was wounded in the battle of Vimy Ridge. I love that the City posts these little facts along the way. The more you know…

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We rounded the river bend and headed east. The trail was packed with dogs and their people as this is an off leash area. This beauty followed Cap and copied his every move until her person called her back.

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She obviously was crushing on my Cap, who could blame her? He is a swell guy.

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Apparently the Edmonton River Valley is home to mini Hoodoos. WHO KNEW? I certainly didn’t. Good day for learning new things about my city!

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We travelled further west until we came to stairs that tool us out of the valley and I think to Kinnaird Ravine, I may be mistaken, but the distance seemed correct. I didn’t feel like traveling all the way to Wayne Gretzky Bridge, so this was our turnaround point.

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Cap and I stepped off the main trail and walked on the trail closer to the river bank for our trip back.

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Facing East the river really bends through here, another point of interest I had no idea about. 49+ years in this City and I am still learning new things.

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We stopped on the bench to listen to the drums coming from down town, I suspect they were from the New Years Celebration coming from China Town. It was a deep thrum echoing in my chest. Cap also stopped to listen. The snow was slick from the melt so we made our way back onto the main part of the trail. I imagine this is a hot section during the summer.

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Spent a long time here obviously leaving the park and meeting up with the River Valley Trail system. I tend to avoid the Northside of the river for reasons unknown. I think this is a lovely section of the city and I am sure I will find myself here this summer when the trees are lush and the river is moving.