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.

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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.

 

 

Edmonton Tourist: Café bicyclette

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I went out to breakfast Saturday. Breakfast has become my favourite meal of the day. If you knew me when….you must be laughing you head off. Why? Well, how many ways can you make eggs taste good? Seriously?  As I learned more about nutrition and understood how a really good breakfast made me feel in the morning and how it set the tone for the day ( yes I am a mom that is why I sound like one) I found a great breakfast to be so enjoyable!

I set out to Café bicyclette. I had only been once before and really enjoyed myself. I have a memory of their coffee being the best I have tasted so far. I decided to go back and see if my memory was correct or was it just the company that I was with.

This time, I went with the hubs. Last I went with a college pal. Different company, both charming.

Café Bicyclette is located in Edmonton’s French Quarter, small but charming, nestled next to the University of Alberta’s Campus Saint-Jean. I had been here previously for BYOV Fringe plays and had pals who talked about how much they liked it. So I went for breakfast.

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Breakfast is not table dining, that occurs for dinner. This was counter service. They have their regular menu – although it is written in chalk so I suspect it changes, and there is the special.

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I saw the pâtisserie counter and considered just sweets for breakfast.

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BUT I love Croque Monsieur ever since Madam told my daughter about it in French class. We made it, we ate it and now we love it. So I like to try different variations. This was was unexpected from my norm, but so tasty. I could eat it like a regular sandwich rather than with utensils, also unusual from the dish I had else where – like Be Our Guest Restaurant in Walk Disney World…that was also great.

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Le pain tasted like it was baked in-house. The sauce was tangy and of course dripped on my sweater having me smell fantastic all morning long. It was served with a side of cold dill potatoes. This was fine, but didn’t rock my taste buds. I am used to a cheese sauce poured over the sandwich, however, this was delicious. As I looked at the Hub’s breakfast I did experience a wee bit of regret. His Oeufs Benedictine had crispy potatoes. I had that last time and loved every bite.

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What I wished I had on my plate was that ruby red grapefruit grilled and sprinkled with brown sugar. He had bacon instead of ham and his hollandaise sauce was perfection.

But the star of the show? The café latté hands down my favourite coffee in Edmonton that I have tasted. Clearly I need to visit the best coffee houses so I can give an accurate judgement.

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The decor is charming with little bicycles scattered around and black and white bicycle prints along the back wall. There is a floor to ceiling wall of light that adds a sunny atmosphere to this café. They also have a winter patio complete with throws and fireplaces so you can enjoy your Chai or Latté snuggled up. Edmontonians are a hardy bunch. Patios are not just for summer anymore.

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The preperations for the Flying Canoe Festival have begun and this is one festival that I have not participated in yet. So I booked my calendar and I am ready to roll. It is a French Canadian/ Métis festival that happens in my favourite creek. I am really looking forward to that and will come back to you with a full report because after all, I am the Edmonton Tourist.

Canada 150: Elk Island Park

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Canada turns 150 this year and Parks Canada has opened up its gates to give visitors free access to all the national parks across Canada. When I say ‘free’ I mean I paid for it with my taxes but not out of my wallet.

I ordered my Park Pass in December and it never came – or hasn’t yet but the temperatures were so lovely to day (-2C) that I decided to get up early and head 45km east to Elk Island National Park. I went to the gate and it directed me to the Visitor Pavilion where I went in to get my pass. I was asked a few questions:

  • How many people will be using this pass?
  • What is your postal code?
  • Have you ever been to Elk Island National Park before?

Have I ever been? Sure I had! I like to bring visitors from out of country here. EIP is a nature preserve and is filled with Bison, both Wood and Great Pains. So for someone who had never seen one before, coming here is pretty spectacular. It isn’t a zoo though. It’s not like you can go to the Bison enclosure and take a look at them. It is wilderness so you might see one or you might not. I had been here when I was younger and saw herds of them and I had been and only saw a single one. Today I was hoping to see a few. The park is also filled with elk, deer, moose, wolves, coyotes and birds.

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So I hung my pass on my mirror and away I went! I didn’t have snow shoes and if I am coming back here, I think I need to either rent a pair at the Visitor Pavilion or buy a pair. The snow was deep and walking was not easy. I looked at the map and decided to head to Astotin Lake. It is the only lake where you don’t have to hike to, the parking lot is right by the beach. So that was my destination. But first I was going to circle the Bison Loop Road to see if anyone was out in the paddock today.

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That was a negative. There were lots of animal tracks but none around. What I did see was the Red Chair. These Red Chairs are set up all over Parks Canada and are located in special view point spots. These beauties were overlooking the paddock on Bison Loop Road. I saw two earlier at the Visitor Pavilion. Now I want to see all of them in Alberta.

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After I left the loop I drove north to Astotin Lake. We (me and Cap) came to the parking lot and I saw a single bison munching on grass in the distance. I rolled down my window to take a photo and my pup was over my shoulder barking, snarling and growling at the bison – who was unaffected and just ate. Bison are a lot like cattle. They seem docile and only concerned about eating. This was was no different, although I am smart enough to know to keep my dog away and not to approach these large creatures. They are after all, wild animals.

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We left the beach parking and I headed up to the golf course because I just didn’t want to fight with Cap. I knew there was a nice little 6k loop around the lake and thought it would be a nice diversion.

We got out of the car and I noticed the silence. I didn’t even hear birds which was weird for a park that has 250 bird species.

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My goal was to head out to the next set of Red Chairs. Cap found all kinds of new smells. As a former wild dog who has now retired to a cushy city life, he was sniffing and digging in search of all kinds of old familiar scents.

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We hiked through a foot of snow towards the bison gate.

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I was happy I decided to wear snow boots instead of my trail shoes.

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Once we made it to the gate, Cap was a little reluctant to go any further. He stopped dead still and listened. I heard nothing, but being deaf I wasn’t all that surprised. Still, the silence was so peaceful. We were the only two city people out and I was the only human except for the park ranger. Early morning does that, people are still in bed.

We made it around the bend before Captain stopped and would not go any further. He sniffed the ground and looked further down the trail. He sniffed again at a very large paw print. it was 3 times the size of his. The he turned around and began pulling me back towards the gate. I have a sled dog. This fellow can pull me up a hill without much effort. He is about 75lbs and is a big boy. Pulling me is something we fight about. He is not allowed to do that, but he sensed danger so we needed to get out and fast. I had never seen such urgency in him before.

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I think the track was wolf. Likely more as they run in packs. The difference between a coyote and wolf track is the size and the claws at the end of the toe prints. This thing was huge. Captain wanted nothing to do with this smell. He was going so fast and so hard he pulled the leash right out of my hands and he ran for the car. Stopping every now and again to look over his should to see if the wolves were coming. Once he got to the car, he sat and waited. I swear he was tapping his foot say ‘COME ON HUMAN – HURRY UP!’

As soon as I opened the door he was in – he usually goes through the back hatch, but he jumped into the front seat and then made his way into the back where he sits. He was not getting out of the car again.

I drove back to the beach and the bison was far off in the distance. I wanted to get out but Cap would not leave the car.

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I got out and took some photos but it was less fun without my pal, so we left for the drive back.

I am definitely coming back. I will rent snowshoes and bring a picnic lunch. Skating round the island opens up in February so that might be fun and this is the perfect spot to set up the telescope at night. With my handy pass and the park being only a 30 minute drive from my doorstep, I can see me here a lot this year. I am also not coming without my pal, clearly he is the watch dog I need. Who knows what might have happened if I snuck up on a pack?

I am so very thankful I live here. Thanks Parks Canada!

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Edmonton Tourist: Upper Mill Creek Ravine

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I have been house bound for days. Partly due to illness and partly do to…who are we kidding, I was sick in bed for 5 days. I was feeling slightly better by Friday and today I felt slightly better than yesterday but I then came down with a serious case of Cabin Fever.

I decided to bundle up me and my pup and head to my most favourite part of the city, Upper Mill Creek Ravine. You may recall this summer, I went to the lower creek, north of the pool. Well,my favourite spot is south of the pool in the Argyll and Hazeldean neighbourhoods.

Did I mention how cold it was? I was in the kitchen drinking hot chocolate, you know the kind made from Ghirardelli and milk on the stove? Yeah, THAT kind. So delicious. When I said to my Captain, Want to go for a walk? His head snapped back so fast you would have thought we had not done this in a while. Wait…I hadn’t been at a park with him since November at the Science Park…Sorry Cap.

We both put our jackets on because it is cold. Fahrenheit on the left Celsius on the right. The wind made it feel colder -12F and -24C, that to me is the real temperature because feeling is everything.

Mill Creek Ravine is my happy place. It is the place I go when I am sad, happy, angry, resentful, disappointed, or any other myriad of emotions. I enter and become instantly relaxed. I kind of needed that today. Lets just say I am filled with complex emotions that need sorting out, so off I went.

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The upper trail is groomed and paved. The off leash dog park is way down in the gully. That is where Cap and I were headed. Not that I can trust him to be off leash, he is independent minded so I am not really sure he would come when I call him or if he would just say, “You know what Peasant? I miss living in the woods, I am out of here.” Now I am all for independent thought but I’d rather keep him safe with a chance at a long life rather than struggling to live in the wild, so I keep him on a leash. I do let him investigate all the great mouser places and animal dens. One day I am sure he will find a skunk hallow and then I will be sorry, but until then, it makes me happy watching him be happy.

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Happily there isn’t a lot of snow so far this year. That makes trekking easier and there hasn’t been any freeze/thaw cycles so no ice. This makes it safer for me who is prone to falling.

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Mill Creek trail is built on an old railway bed, so there is a converted trestle farther north, I am not convinced that what this is, it doesn’t seem sturdy enough to hold an old steam engine, but it is built in the old tresses style and is a lovely bridge over the creek. Obviously at temps that have been sub -20C for weeks, the creek is froze solid.

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This is part of the off-leash walk. There are trash cans an dog bag bins all through here. All they are is old grocery bags for people to use. There is zero excuse to be a lazy pet owner. I bring my own eco ones attached to Cap’s leash.

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Lots of pets with their people come down here. If my Real Estate agent called me tomorrow to say he found me a house within walking distance to here, I would cry with joy. Who doesn’t want to live here? It is silent as if you are in the middle of the country but the convince to being 5 minutes to downtown Edmonton. To me it is perfect. I have been down here and have spotted deer, the occasional moose, falcons, hawks, eagles and coyotes. I have heard of a bear sighting once and know there are porcupines and skunks with the odd badger but my trusty pal looks after me.

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After wandering around for about an hour I asked myself why I wait so long to come back? It clearly the best place I can be.

 

A Year in Books: Love Warrior

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Love Warrior: A Memoir

Glenn Doyle-Melton

Available at Indigo, Chapters and Amazon

Yes I read it. I didn’t want to at first. It seemed so – Mommy Blogger. Clearly I am a book snob. It is also an Oprah Book Club selection. I usually do not read her book club books. That’s not true, I have read some either because I read it first as was the case with Tara Road by Maeve Binchy or because it interested me. I will not read a book because the American Nation is reading it. It has to appeal to me. This book did not appeal to me. Then I watched her on Super Soul Sunday – that I watch usually every week because I think these people offer great insight to evolving their spirit and their world. I think it is important to want to be more and not drift through life. Super Soul helps me discover people who are on the same journey as myself.

After hearing Glennon Doyle-Melton’s story, I thought, she is a lot like me and went through a lot of the same discoveries. Okay – I was not bulimic but I have an eating disorder. I was not the party girl/sex girl she was but I did have the same ideas and thoughts about men verses women and how society has boxes for both. It was hard climbing out of those stereotypes – and still is. She made sense to me.

I think everyone between the ages of 40-60 should read the first 69 pages of her book. In those first pages you can clearly see how society defines gender roles and the harm it does. My children’s generation is better at knocking them down, once the old boys club is gone from the work place, I have tremendous hope for the future of humanity…but that is a topic for another day.

It isn’t great literature, it is a memoir. It is raw and honest and very familiar like it is your own story. I found it validating with sections of wisdom I wanted to write down. It belongs on my special bookshelf that holds Eat,Love, Pray and Wild. If you are like me and not willing to accept status quo and want more from your life, then is is a worthwhile read.

Its a New Day

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Everyone has been talking about resolutions. When I started the Edmonton Tourist Project, I gave up resolutions because they set me up for failure and that was a never ending nightmare I wanted to escape from. I always looked at resolutions as the societal pressure to conform into something the same as everyone else. The yardstick (or meter stick) that people expected youth be measured with.

Yeah….about that conform nonsense…

I won’t do that any more.

I have also spent the last 7 years deflecting comments from people about what I should write and what I shouldn’t.

Also….about that….

I don’t care what you think I should do.

I have spent a lifetime trying to be what everyone thinks I should be. 7 years ago I started exploring what I wanted to be, explored who I am and what I like and let me tell you – not one of those things that I am is anything remotely what you think I should be. So now that we have covered that – I think we can move forward.

But before we do, I just want to mention  those people who actually called me into their office, or called me on the phone or sent me a private message about what I was learning about me – their lives have spiralled into a sad abyss. They are not the people that should mentor others or give advice. But isn’t that always the case? The people who need the most help are the ones deflecting away from themselves. Pretty concerned about me but not so much about them.

Thanks, I’m good. I muddle along daily just fine. I make mistakes and screw up big time but that is when I have my greatest learning lesson. Its a pretty important step for me. Thanks, but, I’ll land on my feet. Everything is always okay in the end, if its not okay – then you are not at the end yet.

Back to resolutions. I don’t make them but I do set goals for myself. I found that goals are a healthy way to stay focused, live in mindful moments and feel success. I have set a few new goals for myself this year.

  • Write more! That sounds vague. I write weekly, every Sunday I set time aside to write my book(s). When an outside obligation comes up – Hello Christmas – that annoyed me. It shouldn’t but it did. I felt like I gave up an important part of who I am. What I should have done was reschedule that time. I will next time. I also want to blog more. Now that I know the difference between writing and blogging – its subtle but it is different – I think I can manage both. The more I write, the better I get at it. Just like anything I suppose. Practice makes perfect, or at least practice means I am not perfect and need work, so keep practicing.

 

  • Read every day. I read a lot. I will go through 50 books a year, that is almost 1 book a week. Its a lot. I have changed my goal on GoodReads to be 35 books this year. Also a lot but when I set up a goal I work really hard to complete it. So I will read anything. I don’t want to read just anything any more. I want to read great meaningful books. My favourite book last year was My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. You cannot become a great writer if you don’t read. Ask Stephen King. He said you want to be a writer? Read a book. Its true. The more I read, the more I write, the better I am getting. So my goal this year is to read great books and review them here. Likely Mondays. Got a great book I should read? Tell me about it. I am finding as I move forward people suggest books and I often say “read it, read it, read it” Hopefully I will find new and great reads this year. I have 5 on my night stand waiting for me. January 1st and I have finished my first book of the year. Easy to do when you are sick in bed.

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  • Explore Edmonton! I am after all the Edmonton Tourist so its a good fit. Canada turns 150 July first. I turn 50 August 16. Between us, we have had some great adventures. I am going to explore some of the Canada 150 events this year and I will tell you about them. I ordered my National Park Pass and plan to do some great National Park Day trips – I live super close to Elk Island National Park – where the Buffalo Roam and the Deer and the Antelope play… Well…Bison and deer play as well as some coyotes and wolves. So Cap and I will be exploring that more. I also see some Jasper National Park visits and likely a trip or two to Banff. Why Not? I live so close and its a world class destination! If you see me and Cap, stop and say hey!

Get ready – I am looking forward to a great year.