These are a Few of My Favorite Things

This weekend I fulfilled a long time dream. I was the recipient of a ticket to a Sky Box seat courtesy of my niece Favorite. That is correct. I have favorites and not afraid to show it. Sure lots of people frown upon having favorites in the first place. They are liars. It is impossible to love everyone equally. I am always telling my offspring they are my favorite. Which is true. They are my favorite for different reasons.  Do I love them differently? Yes I do. Do I love one more than another? No – just differently. Thus the reason for favorites in the first place.

I prefer to go out on the town with one more than the other because of grumbling that may occur. I prefer to sit beside one over the other at the movies because of the silence factor. See, favorites for different reasons.

My niece Favorite, won a Sky Box at Saturday nights Oiler Game against the San Jose Sharks. Did we win? No. Did that stop me from having the best time at a hockey game since I was 16? No. Saturday Night was my favorite hockey game because of the experience. I think I need an Oprah style favorites list!

Here we go, The Edmonton Tourist’s Favorite Edmonton Things

1. Favorite View at Rexall – Sky Box #72. My Favorite Fan Costume – Rider Melonhead

3. Favorite Festival:

4.Favorite Restaurant:

5. Favorite Park – Any River Valley Park!

6. Favorite Museum – Edmonton Art Gallery:

7. Favorite Farmer’s Market – City Market:

8. Favorite Statue – Wayne Gretzky

9. Favorite Fountain – Legislature

10. Favorite Waterfall – Highlevel Bridge

11. Favorite Stanley Cup – The Last One

Let me hear your favorite thing about the place where YOU live!

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Cougar!

Jack & Diane
Image via Wikipedia

When I say”Cougar” I don’t mean I am signing up for Cougardate.com.  Although there was that Firefighter in St. Goar, Germany, but Mom called dibs. In the true sense of Cougar, a woman over 30 pursue younger men. I never found guys younger than me all that appealing. From as long as I can remember I liked the fellows who were much older than me. After seeing Empire Strikes Back, I had a major thing for Harrison Ford. That is a torch carried through all the Indiana Jones Movies, up until The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. At that point he was just OLD. There was of course the Edmonton Oiler Hockey Team staring Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, Kevin Lowe, and Jarri Kurri. Now they are retired, so that means OLD. I do have a thing for Puddy, you know, Patrick Warburton. My Honey teases me about it while standing in the queue for Soarin’ at Disneyland. When the guy says “Welcome to Soarin’ over California. My name is Patrick and I will be your chief flight attendant today”. He is looking ME in the eye, not you, not my honey and not my offspring, it is ME he is looking at! He is older, only by 3 years but as I am aging maybe the need for less older than me is more prevalent. Before you get your knickers in a twist, my honey has “girlfriends” too. Only they tend to be red heads who star on Taxi. But I digress…

Aging is a big deal for me today. I am feeling it from head to toe. I know it is mostly because I am suffering from jet-lag. I also know I am not alone in being tired. However, when I am tired I don’t really care that you feel tired too. I become selfish, cranky and ambivalent. My fuse is shortened in half and it takes everything out of me to be kind to people at work. I become sarcastic and sinister. Secretly I enjoy this side of me, but I am old enough to understand that these qualities are not welcome in the work place so I keep them under my hat and save them for my poor family for when I get home. The good news is that Offspring #1 is EXACTLY like me. So we share a laugh and understand each others dark and twisted sense of humor. The other important reason I feel very old today is Starbucks Pick of the Week.

Every Tuesday Starbucks hands out little cards that feature a music artist and they give you a code for iTunes to download the artist song for free. Well sitting next to me is John Mellencamp. I knew him when he was John Cougar. Sure he was older than me, 16 years to be exact. But when I was 15, Jack and Diane was released. I fell in love with John Cougar. He had longish dark hair, he had stubble, he had worn out Levis, he popped his collar like hot 80’s guys did, and he had that sexy smokers voice. He was a rock star. In my books, if you couldn’t be a hockey player, then rock star would do, but only just. Listening to his music today brings me right back to 15,the concert, his music, the era.  It is all wonderful until I look at his picture. The guy became old! If he is old, then I am old. What the?!?! How did this happen?

I looked at the Oilers Roster and I could be their Granny! How does this happen? On the inside I feel all young and fun. Then I look at myself and I think whose hands are those? I have gray hair for crying out loud! My gray hair matches my gray eyes! SO NOT COOL! I thank the heavens above that I am happily married because I would have to be a Cougar. That would be me chasing boys who are 40. Now that would be an interesting dating blog. My baby sister, who is so much younger than me she always thought she was an only child, has a boyfriend who is pushing 40! My Baby brother is over 40! My closest male friends are over 40! So the question of the day is what do I do about it?

I could get plastic surgery done. Boob lift, and maybe reduction because just a lift would impair my sight. Botox so you couldn’t tell when I was cranky. Become friends with Miss Clairol again. Between you and me, I think those old movie starlets who “get work done” look hideous. I prefer the natural look. So I will get plenty of sleep, eventually. Call my gray hair “highlights”. Give you a “knowing” smile instead of giving you cheek. I will stay current with technology and music, but still give some love to my “oldies”.

But mostly I, the Edmonton Tourist, will try to embrace the aging process and try not to say “when I was your age” even though I have some great Blizzard stories.

 

Melty Chocolaty Goodness

A chocolate bar and melted chocolate. Chocolat...
Image via Wikipedia

I have been engaged in a love affair for years. My Honey knows about it and sometimes the 3 of us share some quality time. My Honey is very understanding. I bet you know what I am talking about! You love him too. Dark, rich and smooth. The perfect type.

Chocolate.

In 1978 my family embarked on a 6 week adventure across Europe. I was about to be 11. Little did I know that the moment I set foot on European soil, my life would be forever changed.

For an entire decade I experienced the delights of Canadian Chocolate. Aero Bar was my favorite. Smooth milk chocolate, wrapped in foil, filled with tiny bubbles. Melt in your mouth chocolaty goodness. Every time I was allowed a treat, it was Aero or Smarties. I had a deep affection for Milk Chocolate.

Europe taught me that I was only practicing for the real thing. Belgium, Swiss, British Cadbury all teased me with the promise of more. I experienced Toblerone for the first time and loved the odd shape of the bar. Ferrero chocolate from Italy was delectable. I remember sitting on a patio somewhere along the Mediterranean, not really sure which country as we visited all of them that summer. We were enjoying a continental breakfast. Croissants, fruit, jam and pot of chocolate. That was the first time I had melted chocolate as a beverage. Locally, it is Hot Chocolate, it comes from a can and is powdered. There is was chocolate melted with hot milk added. Undeniably the best hot sweet beverage I have ever had to date. It came in a tiny individual silver tea pots. I remember thinking how grown up it felt to be served your own potted chocolate and the taste was heavenly. Easter Bunnies were forever melted and turned into my most favorite beverage. It never quite tasted the same because the quality was just not there.  In England I learned the delights of a 99 Flake. It is a soft serve vanilla cone with a Flake bar stuck out the side. I remember that snack better than I remember the Tower of London. The Ice Cream Van was located beside the Tower Bridge and as people left the Tower of London, they purchased a 99. Scrumptious!

As an attempt to eat less and move more, I have taken on the challenge of “better choices”. It works like this: My Starbucks Order is now skinny, I choose a dipped cone at DQ instead of a Blizzard. See what I mean? Better choices. Not Diet. Eat Less Move More. But when it comes to Chocolate I am defenseless.

I wish I had the same food sense as my sister. As a kid, she would bite into a chocolate bar, eating one or two bites then be done. Never in  my whole life have I ever been able to do that. One or two bites gave her the taste she was craving then she would put down the bar and walk away. SHE WALKED AWAY! Wow, I wanted to eat my bar, finish hers and go see if there was more. If you know us, then you can see that she walks away from food WAY MORE then I do. I don’t seem to have the switch that says, you are full, or finished or not hungry. I just have to make myself stop. I am getting better but I still need a long way to go.

Soon I will be back in the land of chocolate. I plan to share the best with my children and honey. I will bring back a sampling of the “good stuff” to show my boss that Guatemalan chocolate that she brought back was the worst food I had ever tasted in my life. I will teach her that chocolate is supposed to taste divine.

I will only be gone a week, ten days, less than a fortnight. I am giving myself permission to eat more than I move for that time, as long as it is a worthy chocolate befitting of my undoing. After all I was only 10 once. I want to experience the same pleasure of Chocolate without the guilt.

Isn’t that a novel concept. A Guilt Free Vacation. I am going to live, love, laugh, play and eat like I did when I was 10. I am sure I will need to remind myself that it is okay. Risks are like that. I am taking one. So now I get to be a Real Tourist being a Tourist.

This should be an amazing adventure!

The Edmonton Tourist’s Top 11 Pet Peeves

Lately my escape has been the world of other bloggers. I love to read the mishaps and mistakes others make. Or their brilliant insights to some topic, or even their quirky ideas in regards to some inane topic. Lately there has been a run on Pet Peeve lists and I find myself adding to each list at the bottom of their comments. So here I am jumping on the bandwagon and making a Pet Peeve List. I really enjoyed Girl on the Contrary list and Adventures and Insights peeve lists too. You should check them out too! Of course my list is 11 items long for reasons listed here.

Top 11 Pet Peeves!

  1. Bandwagon Jumpers – I HATE it when people can’t make up their own mind and decide for themselves or cheer for winning teams and show not an ounce of loyalty. For instance: When Mark Messier left the Edmonton Oilers, moved to New York and charmed everyone with a Stanley Cup, Edmonton Oiler fans jumped ship and became Ranger Fans. Oh ya, that was me. I HATE it when other people write blogs about topics, such as pet peeves, and then suddenly EVERYONE is doing it. Oh ya, that is me…Hmm,  I HATE that I am a bandwagon jumper!!
  2. Technology challenged people who own a cell phone. I understand that many people are technologically challenged. My father is one of them. I still love him. HOWEVER, don’t go to the movies and open your phone with the light on EXTRA BRIGHT! You have a dim setting…. Know it, use it, love it.
  3. Wallet Searchers. Nothing is more annoying than standing in line at some check-out counter and the person in front of you is surprised when the cashier asks for a method of payment. You have been waiting in line for 15 minutes. You have had nothing to do but look at gum and mints. Open your wallet and find your cards BEFORE it is your turn.
  4. Dilly Dalliers. I am driving the speed limit 😉 on the freeway, come up behind you, use my indicator with the intent to pass you and you speed up so I can’t pass you. Then back in the right lane I go and  you slow down again. At this point, I support road rage and weapons.
  5. Like. I live on the Canadian Prairies. If you look at a map of North America, you will notice that California is fairly far away. That is where Valley Girls live. Alberta Girls are NOT Valley Girls. So never say, “Like, I saw this guy, and he was all like, you know…” You may use “like” as a verb, preposition or conjunction. You may only use it in colloquial speech IF you can tell me what that means. Otherwise stop talking.
  6. Traveling without a plan and then complaining about your trip. Many people enjoy a spontaneous trip. I am not one of them. I like to plan because it brings me joy and enhances my trip. If you are so inclined to travel to Disneyland on the 4th of July and arrive AFTER lunch. Don’t cry to my about the crowds. Traveling without a plan is like trying to win a football game with out a game plan. Do you hear me Lelacheur? You will NEVER win without a game plan… but I digress
  7. Wrong Numbers. Please remember that you called me. So don’t be all mad at me because Sarah doesn’t live at my house. She never did. She gave you the wrong number because you are a dork. Do something about it other than being mad at me.
  8. Cadbury Factory. You sold out and now the new guy ruined you. I shall never forgive you.
  9. Plastic Bottles. In the olden days ( I love saying that!) I use to walk to the Red Rooster (similar to 7-11 but not as far from my house) and purchase a GLASS bottle of Coke. Nothing tasted better. Then Coke became New Coke – gross, then Coke Classic came back but you were put into a plastic bottle. In there you were flat. I miss the extreme fizz and the bite that came from glass.
  10. City Transit. I really want to be a one car family. City Transit is screwy. It takes me an hour to get to work by bus OR 7 minutes by car. Maybe I should just work from home. OR win the lottery.
  11. Cottage Cheese Milk. There is NOTHING worse then making a delightful cup of coffee, reaching into the fridge, removing a BRAND NEW carton of milk, opening it, and pouring it into my coffee. Then watching it pour in chunks. It makes me weep with sorrow over my coffee. Thanks Lucerne.

What will you add to the pet peeve list?

I Promised Mess I Wouldn’t Cry

Today I stood curbside at Floden Park to cheer on runners for the Canadian Derby Marathon in Edmonton. All I can say is, unbelievable!

In 2001, I sat curbside to watch the marathon for the World Track and Field Games in Edmonton. That was surreal. My kids were small, and I brought noise makers and face tattoos and fun things to play with that would support the athletes as they ran by.We were very excited! Suddenly, we could see the elite runners  in the distance! Then…. zooooooooooom… they ran past us at light speed. We saw them run by for maybe 45 seconds. HUGELY anticlimactic! But today was different. We stood curbside at the wall. From my understanding, the wall is where the runner reaches complete fatigue.

Wikipedia explains is like this:

Carbohydrates that a person eats are converted by the liver and muscles into glycogen for storage. Glycogen burns quickly to provide quick energy. Runners can store about 8 MJ or 2,000 kcal worth of glycogen in their bodies, enough for about 30 km/18–20 miles of running. Many runners report that running becomes noticeably more difficult at that point. When glycogen runs low, the body must then burn stored fat for energy, which does not burn as readily. When this happens, the runner will experience dramatic fatigue and is said to “hit the wall“.

We cheered and yelled! You could see the looks of determination on some faces and appreciation on others. Some runners thanked us as said they really appreciated our support and that it made a difference. We arrived after the elite runners had finished the race ( Brendan Lunty of Camrose, AB 2:33:17). We figured it was the middle of the pack and the back of the packers who needed our support the most. I saw people who could barely walk keep moving, people older than my father keep moving, (not that you are old DAD!) and people who just thought they would give it a “go” keep moving. What drives someone to run/walk or crawl 42km?

My dad is amazing. Everyday he runs 10km because:

A) he likes to

B) it keeps him fit

C) it feels good.

What the?!?!?! It feels good? My mom, is a walker/cycler. She will walk everywhere for HOURS because:

A) she likes to

B) it keeps her fit

C) it feels good.

I hear that a lot.  It feels so good.  I have NEVER experienced athletic euphoria. I use to cycle great long distances. I like the feeling of speed and wind in my face. But that was pretty much it. I takes major drive and commitment to be an athlete.

Drive and Commitment. I don’t think I have those. My sister does. Well, maybe it is more ambition then drive, or maybe you need one to achieve the other.

I am a huge hockey fan. During the 80’s the Edmonton Oiler’s were THE TEAM TO BEAT. The league even made a new rule to help the other teams try to beat the Edmonton Oiler’s. Together they won 5 Stanley Cups. A Dynasty to be reckoned with. There was a core group on that team that really had drive and commitment.  Others came and went. Mark Messier really lead team in spite of all you Wayne fans, it was always Messier’s leadership on and off the ice that led the team. This was evident when Wayne left, cried because he would never see another team so amazing in his career, and Mark led the team to yet another cup.  The man had a focus that you could see in his eyes. He willed the impossible to happen. I suspect, Mark Messier believed that you wanted something bad enough, you made it happen. Anything less was inadequate. I can just imagine what it was like to be Steve Smith. He scored on his own net during the playoffs and the Oil lost. Mess likely didn’t say a thing. Just let Smith wallow in it for the rest of the very long summer. He brought his “A” game the next season. I am sure Mess had a lot to do with that.

How do I get that kind of drive? I want that kind of focus. I want to see the brass ring and not just reach for it but grab on to it and hold it in my hands. I want to know what that feels like. I chose what I do for a living because it was easy. It is something I am good at and it comes easy to me. I was too afraid to reach for what I wanted so I chose the easy path. Thursday I register for University. This is not the easy path. The easy one is to stay in a position where I can assert myself and do more, but I am not able to move forward. I am held back by the constraints of my education even though I know I am capable of so much more. It frustrates me that I am capable of doing what is required of others, yet unable to step into that role. I refuse to be held back any longer. When I spoke to my adviser in regards to my class load, she suggested I start with one class. It will have 4 major projects, and 60 hours or so of class work/studying etc. My first thought was “I can handle a full class load easily!” But then I thought, well – hmm, It has been years since I have done this, I still need to be a parent and help out with homework etc ( although this angers me a woman, maybe a great topic for another blog) plus, my family still needs me to bring in a paycheck so I will need to continue my full-time job. Contrary to popular opinion, I am not independently wealthy! I still want to volunteer on the Parent Advisory Council at my children’s school. Then there is family stuff!! Wow, I am tired just looking at this.  But I am digging deep. If Messier could guarantee a win for the Rangers so they could go on to win the Cup, then I can do this. Who are we kidding, my goal is harder than Messier’s. He just had to win a game.

I guess I do have drive and focus.

Here we go, the next travel stop on my journey as a tourist and I promised Mess I wouldn’t cry.