Edmonton Tourist: Kinsmen Park

Hot day in the city and everyone thought it was a great idea to head to the valley. My first thought was to head to Emily Murphy and walk back along the river to Kinsmen but there was no parking to be found. In fact there was huge lines of traffic trying to enter the 3 major parks that surround groat bridge. So Cap and I headed east to Kinsmen to try our luck.

  
Parking was not much better but I did find a space in front of the John Walter Museum. Walter owned a brick manufacturing company and the ferry that transported people a horses across the river from Strathcona to Edmonton. Today was the 160- something birthday of Ann Walter so the museum was serving up tea and scones to celebrate!
   
   
Cap and I passed. He was more interested in finding chickens. We could hear them in the coop but I kept him away because his hunting instincts kick in and I was not up for a wrestling match against my pup and his favourite meal. So we walked along the path looking at the homestead of Walter and his two homes there after.

   
   
   
    
 
We past many actors who were polite and friendly. Many people were drinking tea on this hot day.

We made our way towards the Highlevel Bridge and walked around Husky House (the Husky Football Club) and the ball diamonds. The last time I was here was for the Run for Pie which was delicious. 

   
 
My kids always called this the Blue Park. Apparently this was because of a big blue slide. We used to come here for Friday Night Picnics, play at the “Blue Park” then head to the castle to swim before bed. 

The park has been completely refurbished since my adult children were young. I had a fleeting wish I had grandchildren to bring here. It’s now Kinpark and is bear themed. It’s reminiscent of Goldbar’s Moose Meadow complete with No Moose Allowed signs.

   
    
    
    
    

Cap pulled me along to Queen Elizabeth Pool. It used to be up the hill at Queen E Park but this is a perfect location for an outdoor pool.

   
    
   
It is located across from the Kinsmen Recreation Centre that holds a special place in heart. Lots of amazing swim memories here. 

  
As Cap and I walked  away, we saw the Street Car glide across the Highlevel Bridge. Apparently it is the highest crossing in western Canada but I didn’t fact check. 

   
    
 We also found the Alberta Legislative Building or Castle as my kids liked to call it, peeking out from across the river. 

 
As Cap and I made our way back to the Car, we noticed how the new Walterdale Bridge will dominate the skyline in the valley. I quite like it.  

 
This is still one of the best multi-use parks in the city. Come give it a visit! Next week is Canada Day, so I think I’ll cross the river and head to the ledge for the festivities and check out that park.

  

Edmonton Tourist Globe Trotter

I have spent the last 2 days, on and off, watching movies. I do not do that very often. Each movie had a different theme and message but none of those things stuff with me, it was the visuals. It was the locations. I heard myself say “I have been there.”

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I have had the good fortune to have parents who taught me the experience is more important than stuff. I had to go through a phase of needing stuff but thankfully I outgrew that. Give me a plane ticket or a Tiffany diamond to choose from and believe it or not, I would take the plane ticket every time.

I have been places that gave me a sense of DejaVu, The Cliffs of Moher. I felt like I had been there before or lived there. Then there are places that frightened me beyond words like the strange FanTan Alley in Victoria. I have no reason to fear it but please never make me go there again. I have been as Far North as the Canadian Arctic and as far south as dipping my toes in the Southern Ocean of Australia. I have wandered around Europe and explored kookie touristy places in Nevada. I still do not feel like I have seen enough.

There are places I still want to visit, like St. Barts or New York or Prince Edward Island. There I places I never want to see, India, Pakistan or Sauria Arabia. I’d like to visit Copenhagen or Prague but I’ll pass on a trip to Seul. Places I have been to and would love to spend an entire summer would be Monterey, London, Vancouver, Inverness or Niece. Places that make me think one and done are Yellowknife, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Tacoma. I am torn at the thought of being given an opportunity to travel anywhere in the world and how where would I go? Someplace new or someplace that deserves more time exploring? How do you decide the place to visit? I have never been that girl who wishes to spend my holiday staying with people I know. I’d rather dip my toe in all the oceans and have someone with me who wants to experience new things than the comfort of same.

This concept has me planning my next vacation to the West Coast of Canada. Sure I have been there before but I now have the means to explore it without someone telling me what I need to do and how best I can accomplish it. That will also be next year’s trip. I am taking my vacation to a city I have dreamed of going to forever. Your trip will not be mine because we do not share the same interests. I have a list that I will check off. Following that trip? I think I will explore the East Coast of Canada and see an Iceberg for the first time.

Where do you love to go?

 

Acoustic Neuroma Chronicles: The Troll

My thoughts have been traveling to new possibilities lately. I have finally let go of who I thought I might be or what I thought my life might look like. Let me tell you, that is not easy. The Universe has been giving me opportunities to learn about Shoulds.

With physical limitations and the acceptance that my life is just going to be different, I realized it doesn’t have to be bad. I thought I was headed down a certain path and I came to a bridge that spanned a deep and dark stream.

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Under that bridge was a Troll who had me by the ankle. I reached over to the branch of a very large tree that I thought was going to rescue me, save me and keep me on the path I was headed.

The struggle was long and hard and I fought the valiant fight. But I became weak and tired and couldn’t hang on any more. I cried, struggled and finally the branch slipped from my grasp. The branch did not care about my struggles, the branch was perfectly happy just standing there watching, it may have even mocked my pain a bit because it could not relate. It was a branch, it was not me.

As I tumbled into the water below I feared the Troll. I could see the branch snap back into place and turned away from me. I flailed around the deep dark water in the shadow of the bridge and the branch of the very large tree. As I called to the branch for help, it ignored my pleas. Of course it did. It was a branch, why was I expecting it to be something it was not? I had to accept it for what it was and I mourned the loss of the safety of the branch.

I realized I had stopped flailing about in the water and I had begun what was instinctual. I began to tread water. The current slowly pulled me away from the shadow of the great tree. I could no longer see the branch as an individual but saw the tree as a whole. It was dying. Witches Broom had taken root on another branch and was taking its life away as parasites do.

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It left gnarled branches and twigs that twist and bend in the wind. I felt a sting on my hand, the branch had left a deep cut from my struggles. I knew it would leave a scar.  I realized the branch could not have possibly saved me because it was doing the best it could to survive. As the current continue to pull me away. I noticed the branch I had been pulling on crack in the wind. It was not as strong as I had thought. I too had left a mark and new we were both on separate paths.

As the current pulled me further down stream it turned me towards the opposite bank. I saw the Troll standing on the shore.I felt fear. As the water pulled me closer, I saw it was a trick of light that made the troll appear as a hideous and fearful creature. While the Troll was deformed it had gentle eyes as they peered into mine.

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I could see compassion in the face of the troll. The kept pace with me as I floated farther down stream. I was no longer feeling fear but I was unaware of what this emotion was.

The stream led me to the elbow of the river. The bend was filled with rocks that created rapids. I felt fear again.

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I looked over to the Troll who was now my only hope. I reached for her hand and she did not reach back. She tilted her head and sat on the ground lifting her legs. She was showing me how to navigate. I turned to face the rapids and I lifted my legs to a sitting position. Memories flooded back. I remembered how to do this, I remembered how to steer with my legs to navigate safely around the rocks and while I was slightly injured with bumps and scrapes, I got through fine.

I looked over at the Troll who was still keeping pace with me and I smiled and waved. The Troll smiled back. I could see she was relived I made it through okay.

As the current pulled me further down stream, I could see birds overhead.

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They dropped stones while circling above. They were trying to hit me, I had no idea why. I covered my arms over my head to protect myself and I looked over to the Troll. The Troll tilted her head once again and made movements with her arms. I realized she wanted me to swim. I had forgotten I knew how. I rolled over to my belly and swam close to shore under the protective cover of the branches. The birds lost sight of me and left.

I turned over and floated once again and waved my hand in thanks to the Troll. The Troll smiled.

I looked to the sky and noticed it was not dark like it was when I was on the bridge. I looked to my right and saw sunshine dappled through the trees. When I was on the bridge I saw shadows over take the sunshine. I closed my eyes for a moment to absorb this feeling at I couldn’t identify. All I knew was I didn’t have the same feeling of fear and anxiety as I did when I was on the bridge.

The sound of the stream became louder, in increased in decibels and became a roar. My eyes flew open and I saw a flash of fear in the Trolls eyes. She ran ahead and climbed up on a fallen tree that spanned the width of the stream. She reached her outstretched hand before me and grasped mine as I floated beneath her. In a single motion, she pulled me to the safety of the log.

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She sat beside me breathing heavily with relief. She hugged me gently and lifted me off my feet in a warm embrace. Carefully she put me down on the mossy covered log and showed me what she had rescued me from.

The stream had taken me past the bridge where I had started. I could see the bridge across the meadow and it was leading into darkness.

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The branch that I had wanted to save me was gone and broken with some pieces on the rocks below. The Witches Broom Parasite had destroyed the branch and the bridge was crumbling into the darkness of the forest. The log I was on had saved me from the waterfall below and I watched as pieces of the branch tumbled over the side never to be seen again.

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I was saved in a manner that I had not expected. I trusted where I was told to fear.

The Troll lead me across the log until I was safely on solid ground. She smiled at me and hugged me once more. Then she let me walk forward into the sunshine. I then recognized this new feeling. It was peace and I knew everything would be okay.

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Edmonton Tourist: Queen Elizabeth Park

I have not had the time to spend an hour so on just me. I find that incredibly sad. So I packed up my dog and we headed north towards one of my most favourite parks of all time.

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This park has been off my radar because of the construction on Walterdale bridge and road. The park sign is gone, so perhaps this means a new sign and park update is on the way.

I parked up by Skunks Hollow and if you told me I could live anywhere I wanted to with money being no object, Skunks Hollow would be the place. It is perfect. Your back yard is Queen E park, you have views of the river and you are walking distance to all the best places in Old Stathcona and Garneau!

I walked towards the path I never take because this park is my Friday Night picnic park, or it was. Now that the kids are grown those do not happen anymore. This park is filled with memories that I have shelved for a while. It has my bench, the place I would come for quiet contemplation. MY BENCH is filled with regret and a lot of shouldofs couldofs wouldofs. I made poor choices sitting there. Good ones too but the bad ones were doozies. Thankfully I am smarter now. You can barely see my bench but is it there hidden in the shadows.

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The playground where my children and their cousins learned to take risks while the adults watched between splayed fingers.

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Glimpses of the river is harder to see now that the trees are overgrown and lush. The rain we have had lately has really made the valley gorgeous.

When Cap and I got to the end of the road, we took our life into our own hands and crossed Queen Elizabeth Road to get to the west side of the park.

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We walked past the old pool that is now gone and a headed to the hill crest to view the new bridge in all its glory.

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It will be an amazing structure when it is completed next year, or some year… This bridge has been under construction forever it seems.

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The city views are still beautiful here and I am sure they are nicer at night when the construction is obscured by dark.

I had forgotten how much I love this park and plan to reclaim my bench to make smarter decisions than the ones I did before. But that is the beauty of this park, it gives you time to think. You feel like you are in the middle of no where while you are actually downtown.

Next week a little Kinsmen Park exploration.

Acoustic Neuroma Chronicles: Rage

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I have always felt this way…Always. Virginia Woolf and I are clearly thinking the same thing. Except for the rocks in the pocket when swimming thing, I totally get her. Although, I do understand that depth of despair. I am not there now, but I get it.

My daily life has filled me with rage and frustration lately. Some of it is directly connected to my acoustic neuroma and some of it is a by-product or side-effect of it and some isn’t connected at all.

It starts with being left behind. I am watching the running community leave me behind. I see them, understand what they are talking about but can no longer share in their goals. It has created a divide between me and my friends. Now I find I need an intellectual group of friends to converse with, I tried that by building a book club and that went nowhere. Its hard to converse about books when there isn’t a conversation to begin. I am seeing things I worked so hard to create slip through my fingers. Mostly because of choices I have made to distance myself from an attitude and behaviour I can no longer support. I have the urge to to seek out new adventures but am limited by ability and means.

I feel clumsy and awkward, unable to do simple tasks like walk on a flat sidewalk. I was walking towards a building and on level ground and felt like I was walking down a flight of stairs. The sensation is disturbing. I am not getting enough sleep because I crave alone time. I have not had enough time to be alone with my own thoughts so I stay up later in an effort to carve out time to rejuvenate my soul. This gives me less sleep, it affects my memory and makes me clumsy.

People commit their time to me and then brush it off or decide that the commitment is too much, so it wastes my time that I could be using for me. Angry does not begin to describe how I feel about people at the moment. It fluctuates between envy, anger and disgust. I wish I could blame people but I have brought every last thing upon myself.

No one is to blame but me.

I know if I get 8 hours of sleep, reduce my sugar intake and take an hour every day in quiet thought and reflection, I am calm and peaceful. If I let any of these things slip from my grasp, I feel rage and anger in ways that is unfair to those around me.

There I times I get flashes of past scenarios that fill me back up to the brink of anger. I know from experience that eating properly, getting enough rest and quiet mindful moments bring me back to centre where I can let go of the past and focus on the now.

Lately my life has been filled with me over committing. Doing things I don’t want to do, but not wanting to let down dear friends. Here is my mantra that I have lost:

No.

I used to be that girl who never said yes. Now that is all I seem to do. I need to cocoon myself for a bit so if you ask me to do something, I am going to say no. I am not coming to your party, I am not volunteering to help you out, I am not coming to support you in your endeavours.

I have let myself spiral out of control and that has magnified my symptoms in ways that nearly shame me. I know I shouldn’t feel this way yet I do. Today I was speaking with my friends on Skype and I could not recall the words I needed to be coherent. I opened the fridge door to gather items for dinner, lost my balance and grabbed the door spilling the contents all over my kitchen floor. I woke up early to volunteer and have that person I was working with not show up, this required me having a nap. Naps are not the same as uninterrupted sleep. I do not cope well with sporadic rests. I need more.

I have really let myself down.

There was a time when doing these things would just mean I was tired and cranky, but my symptoms become magnified, even to me. It is time to pull back and re-focus. I do not want to rage any more. I miss that peaceful easy feeling of normality.

My appointment arrive today from my Neurosurgeon. A MRI followed up with a visit to him. I need to get myself back on track to show progress. I know what works and I know how to do it.

Raging is not the way forward that suits me best. I desire more.