Winter, you are a jerk

Winter is being a jerk.

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I was sitting in my office on, APRIL 19th, and looked out my window. Snowflakes the size of quarters were coming down. Had it been Christmas morning I would have thought, “Oh How Lovely!” Then carry on with the presents and food. BUT APRIL 19th?

THIS TOTALLY SUCKS!

As a winter protest, I am creating a list of things that are suppose to happen in Spring here in Edmonton.

  1. Hmmmm okay this is harder than I thought it would be. We don’t get spring in Edmonton.

It will snow on and off until the end of May. I know, I know… this is complete and utter lunacy. I am so over winter I can’t tell you how badly I want to hear robins on my front lawn or smell fresh cut grass.

In protest I went and bought 3 short sleeved running shirts and several pairs of ankle socks for running.

Apparently I am only hurting myself because today is a crappy cold and windy day with the odd snowflake here and there. There is no way I can run outside in my new running togs and stay warm.

In 10 days it will be May. On May 26th I am running my first 10km race. I don’t want to wear this:

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But seeing as I am racing in Alberta, odds are excellent that I will be wearing exactly that.

I have decided I will use a technique called planned ignoring. This is where you don’t reinforce negative behaviour, you ignore it. In this case WINTER is being a jerk so I will no longer pay attention to this bad behavior. No more pictures, no more winter clothing, no more tolerance. Winter will finally become tired of being ignored and go away or at the very least, change it’s attitude. From now on my stubbornness will finally come in handy. I will force winter to leave by not giving it what it needs. That’s right winter, your days are numbered!

Anyone up for a picnic?

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Wishes on Stars ALWAYS come true for me

wish-upon-a-starI know a lot of people don’t believe in wishing on stars, people are hopeful, they want to believe but it usually doesn’t work out for them. I have wished twice upon a star. Both times they have come true. That is a 100% wish successful rate. So one would think that if you wished on a star for everything you want, you would be filled with bountiful wishes right? I don’t think it works that way. I think you have to respect the star and respect the wish.

My first wish is turning 17 tomorrow.

17!

My second wish turns 15 in two weeks.

15!

I am thankful my wishes came true in separate pay periods, that was just smart planning on my part. This weekend’s events have me thinking about my birthdays as a teen. I cannot remember my 17th birthday nor do I remember my 15th birthday. Odd. I usually have a very vivid memory of my past. What I do remember are not major events but incidental moments that make up my childhood.

My dad married the girl next door, down the street and around the corner when he was a kid. After 46 years of happily-ish married bliss (lets be honest, 46 years is a long time to be happy every stinking day. It doesn’t happen like that. But my parents ARE great friends and still do TONS of stuff together. Luckily they don’t play old people sports like bridge, lawn bowling or canasta. There is still time for that though…) When I came a long, we lived within walking distance of both my grandparents homes. I was one of those lucky kids who had 2 grandmas, 2 grandpas and a great grandma and a great grandpa. Most of my friends only had one or two, I had the collectors set.

I remember Sunday dinners, sleep-overs, craft days, stages productions, Barbie bliss and general good times at both homes. Eventually we moved away to the Arctic (I know, insert pity party here —>     ) and what I remember most was missing my grandparents. When we moved home, my brother and I were placed on an Airplane and met in Edmonton by my Grandfather. I remember the sense of relief at the age of 6 to be met by that hug. They took me home to their house and the fun times resumed. But I missed my other Grandparents terribly. When I eventually saw them, more fun times ensued.

When we moved back to Edmonton for good (I know…but it is PARADISE compared to the Arctic) I lived a bike ride away from my Grandma. Believe it or not, I was the opinionated kid of the family and often disagreed with the way my parents bestowed RULES upon me. Injustice raged through my veins so I always called my Grandma – she loved me and she would rescue me.

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I would ask if I could sleep over. The answer was always yes. The green chip bowl was always ready with Old Dutch BBQ and Carol Burnett was always brought to you by Kraft. When I wished upon the star many years later, that was part of my wish. For my wish to have the same relationship with their grandparents as  I had with my grandparents.

It mostly came true. The grandparents were only on my side, but they came with extras. One great grandma each and a great grandpa who was EXACTLY like Carl from UP.

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My grandpa and my son

 

I moved down the street and around the corner so my wishes could visit and run away every chance they got. One wish goes there after school every thursday to hang out. One stops by for milkshakes on a regular basis. There was a suitcase packed and one ran away to grandma once, and many movie and sleepover nights were held. The grandchildren even had their OWN bedroom at Grandma’s house.

So now that my first wish is 17 tomorrow, I asked him how he wanted to spend his birthday. The reply was, “Dinner at (favorite restaurant) and invite Grandma and Grandpa.” No family or friend party? No cake or donuts?

“No, just a really good steak and grandma and grandpa.”

I am living proof that wishes come true. Sure I augmented it by moving close to my parents but what kind of mom would I be if I didn’t at least try to provide the circumstances that enhanced my childhood?

Happy Birthday Wish #1 xoxoxox

Go Home Winter, You’re Drunk

Go Home Winter, You’re Drunk

was the facebook status of one of my friends this morning. I figure this is just par for the course. My week has been difficult having the plague and all and this is the icing on the cake – 15cm of new snow.

This week started off swell! The snow was melting, over a foot of it was gone. I was running WITHOUT cleats! Sure I had to wade through giant glacier fed puddles with huge icebergs floating by, but that was just a minor inconvenience when confronted with the fact that I could run without cleats AND in a t-shirt! All the winter gear got left at home! So freeing and delightful.

Not only is it snowing this morning, my coffee machine broke and it needed tech support. I nearly had to DRIVE for coffee in my jammies. Luckily the phone call to Kuerig’s Brandon sorted things out. Charming southern dude who gave me life this morning. In fact, he gave me enough life to fill two giant travel mugs  – Thanks Brandon!

Meanwhile this is my back yard on April 5th at 11:14 AM – the view from my desk

Go Home Winter, You’re Drunk

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Quite frankly, all of us up here in the Great White North are sick of it. I am not sure why, this is quite typical for us. Perhaps it is because of social media. We can SEE what kind of weather the rest of the world is having and we want some. Bring on Global Warming, I want ocean front property with a citrus grove in my yard. Meanwhile, back to our regularly scheduled winter…

 

 

 
A member of the "Optimalist" heath club hacks a hole into the ice covering a canal near the village of Viazynka tumblr_mbscgjgkVl1qeablwo1_250 20130324-190003 winter-spring-clothing-closets-seasonal-ecards-someecards 181056_10152744308960121_1118041930_n558883_10152722713120005_190268040_n (1)

The inner workings of the Tourist’s mind

Obviously I am procrastinating.

I am working on a paper and have reached the SWOC portion of events, and needed to think about the steps. As with all things I need to think about, I turned my chair towards my window to ponder.

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Mind: Holy Hell it’s still snowing

Eyes: The snow is halfway up the shed

Feet: I am not running 6k today in THAT, that is just stupid

Mind: Feet, I am making you do it so shut it.

Legs: but I am cold already, why is there no heat in this house?

Wallet: because I am cheap

Mouth: remember that Irish Whiskey we taste tested at the liquor store on Saturday? It would taste really good in the coffee about now.

Mind: Shhh, I am focusing on the steps needed for the SWOC analysis.

Eyes: That is a lot of snow. Don’t expect it to melt anytime soon.

Feet: Seriously, I am not running today.

Mouth: The Apothic red wine is just sitting there, we could drink that!

Back: Wouldn’t warm sand feel great to lie on right now?

Feet: I’d run on sand!

Mind: Shhhh, I am trying to concentrate

Ears: Why does it sound like there are mice in the water heater?

Mind: Not mice, there are no mice.

Fear: I hate mice.

Mind: It ISN”T mice! Just squeaking coming from the furnace.

Fear: sure sounds like mice, what if it’s baby birds – can’t you think of anything worse?

Mind: There are no baby birds in the house.

Eyes: Nope, they are freezing their feathers off outside.

Fear: good, I hate birds.

Mind: STOP IT, legs turn us back around and get back to work

Feet: I am not running in that snow.

Hands: Tell me what to type and I am on it!

Mind: Okay people, focus

Feet: I am really not running, like to see you try to make me.

Fear: it sure sounds like mice

Eyes: Can’t we read something more interesting?

Mind: Shhhhhhhh, focus!

Eyes: fine, Once the internal strengths, weaknesses of an organization is identified….

Mind: I wonder if the 10k maps are up yet for Calgary…..

 

 

The Pope’s Prophecy as told by a 8 year old

When I was a kid, I went to Catholic School. The early years of my education was in Canada’s Arctic   I was instructed by Nuns who floated around the school as if they didn’t have feet but roller skates instead. When we moved back to Edmonton, my Catholic education was at the hands of a kid named Rolland. Sure I went to a Catholic School, but I only remember the lessons he taught in the school yard.

Roland was the type of person who would only know a small bit of information, add it to what he thought was true and gave examples to prove his street cred. It worked, we all believed everything that came out of his mouth. He was charismatic. Every grade three kid knew he was THE authority on all things from the Prime Minister of Canada being married to Queen Elizabeth II to when the last Pope dies the world will end.

images (1)This morning when I heard that Pope Benedict decided to retire, my first thought was, DUDE you are suppose to die as the pope. But then I remembered what Roland prophesied and was thankful The Pope decided to step down, because here is why…

We were sitting around our desks at lunch, we had just came back from getting our milk and cracked open our tin lunch boxes. Mine was the Flintstones and Roland had the Mystery Machine. We were talking, as grade 3 kids do, about the world ending. It was 1975 and I was 8. Vietnam and Watergate were being talked about at home and I didn’t really know what this meant, so I asked Roland. He watched the news and read the Edmonton Journal. He took a sip of his chocolate milk – right from the cardboard container, looked thoughtfully for a moment and said, “This is God’s way of telling us to get ready for the End of the World.”

I was shocked, and scared, of COURSE I believed him. He knew everything true.

So I asked him when that was going to be. “Apparently, there are 4 Popes left to die. When the 4th one kicks the bucket and THAT will be it.” He was so calm while saying this.

I had just seen a movie about finding Noah’s Ark and the end of that movie showed the earth burning up in a fiery ball of orange and red. That movie was a documentary of how they discovered Noah’s Ark and of course it was true. It was a documentary. So now I had the image of the Apocalypse in my head. Every movie in the 70’s was about death and destruction. So now I had proof. Roland said it would happen.

pope_paul_vi_postcard-p239354259447071593baanr_400Fast forward to 1978. Pope John VI dies. Up until that moment, he was the only Pope I ever knew. My life was a series of constants, Pierre Trudeau was the Prime Minister of Canada for my entire life (Pearson didn’t count, I wasn’t even 1 yet when he left office.), Queen Elizabeth II – the only Queen in my life time (and still hanging on! Go Bessie!), Kermit the Frog was still the front man for Sesame Street and started his own variety show. Obviously my life was shattered when Pope John VI died. It was also very interesting. I learned about how the Cardinals of Rome locked themselves in a room with a fireplace and picked the next infallible guy through divine intervention. They sent coloured smoke up the chimney to let everyone know how the progress was coming. Apparently there was some smoke signal language that I didn’t know because I was taught at the hands of Tonto from the Lone Ranger, and he could read it like it was words. Pope smoke was different.

Then Pope John Paul was picked! Be celebrations took place in Rome, there was special a mass said at our Parish. and life was great for a month. Then he died. This was when I started to get nervous. Roland said 4 more deaths. YIKES 2 down and 2 to go. Luckily the Cardinals picked a healthy dude, Pope John Paul II and he seemed like a nice guy too. john-paul-1-sized

Pope John Paul II was a good guy. people liked him, he was big on kindness and he went touring in the Pope Mobile. That was kind of cool, he even came to Edmonton. I didn’t go because, I’m not sure why other than I think I was out of town, but the souvenirs were cool, like Pope Soap on a Rope.pope-soap1 He lasted a really long time and Roland moved away and I didn’t think about the world ending until the Iran hostage crisis. But the Canadians saved them and the Pope didn’t die so all was safe in the world. Even when Desert Storm happened and 9/11 I knew the world was a lock because Pope John Paul II was still going strong.

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How could you not like a guy who goofs around?

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In 2005 he died. He was number 3. I thought about Roland for the first time since I was 9. When Pope Benedict was elected/chosen/ divinely inspired, and I realized he was the oldest pope in a very long time. I knew he wouldn’t be long for this world at 78, his healthiest years were behind him. Knowing priests on a personal level for years, I knew their diets were less than healthy. I now thought about the end of the world in real time.

Other Apocalypse predictions came and went. I thought it would be funny if the Mayan calendar considered with the passing of Pope Benedict, but that was not to be. Then news came this morning about how he is too frail to sit as Pope anymore, and he had prayed on this decision with God for a while before deciding to step down on the 28th of February. My thoughts went back to Roland. If the Pope dies before February 28th then that’s it. World over, good night nurse! But if he steps down and the new Pope is elected by Easter (March 31) we have bought ourselves some time.

According to Wikipedia (reliable? no because it is a wiki meaning anyone can change info. Don’t use Wikipedia as a source in your University papers kids!) the next Pope will be Peter

 In ꝑsecutione extrema S.R.E. ſedebit.
In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit.[66]
   Petrus Romanus, qui paſcet oues in multis tribulationibus: quibus tranſactis ciuitas ſepticollis diruetur, & Iudex tremẽdus iudicabit populum ſuum.[67] Finis.
268 112 Peter the Roman, who will nourish the sheep in many tribulations; when they are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The end. Unknown Unknown

So not only will Rome fall (do the Romans know they are just Italians now? Do they know they aren’t in charge anymore?) But the church will cease to exist. The next Pope will be the last Pope. I am not sure the world will end, but it will get interesting. It’s funny how I think of Roland in times like this. Part of me hopes he was a great Prophet. How cool would it be to tell my grandkids that I had lunch with the Great Prophet Roland? I could sell t-shirts and start a social media champagne  Perhaps sell Roland soap on a rope too.

Interesting times indeed…

Save me: Intervention Time

Intervention

I have never been a part of an intervention before. I have only ever seen them on TV sitcoms. Usually a bunch of friends gather at the person’s home who needs help, accuse them of a bunch of stuff and demand they change. Sounds awful.

I need one.

I was the person who would have coffee with my best friend and tell her our friendship would be over if she didn’t take her Christmas lights down – because it was February for crying out loud. To be fair, it is always -gazillion degrees F and no one wants to be on a ladder in a blizzard. Yet I judged her and everyone else on the street.

I was the person who mocked people when they confessed that their Christmas Tree didn’t come down by January 7th – I gave them a week after New Year, I was being kind. You see, I grew up in a home where the Christmas Tree came down on Boxing Day (December 26th for those who don’t celebrate it) Because my mom always said, “when Christmas is over, it is OVER!” Sometimes she would take it down right after Christmas Dinner because…say it with me…”When Christmas is over it is OVER!”

Well…

Guess what?

Karma is real and present in my life.

Today is January 31, 2013 and my Christmas tree is still in my living-room in all her Tiffany & Co glory. She is still beautiful. I No longer light her up because THAT would be wrong, it is January 31st for goodness sake.

Not that excuses are okay, but I have a few. School is nuts, I started my own consulting business and THAT has kept me super busy. Lets face it people, I also have a life! I read, I run, I go out for coffee, I am a busy girl!

The good news is, my daughter is just like me. She will pick up odd jobs and hoard her money away. I may have to hire her to take it down. I know, I should just TELL her to do it, but that will only work if I help. Typically she has a host of other chores she must do because to live in THIS family, one must contribute to keep the house running. The Christmas tree is not part of that…or is it?

My home has fallen apart. I have laundry drying in the kitchen, clean dishes sitting in the drip rack, the vacuum sitting at the front door, dust bunnies lurking in corners, and here I am blogging instead of doing something about it.

The solution? I could invite people over, that usually motivates me to clean up. I could hire someone – but that costs money and I am cheap. I could ignore it – I am AWESOME at ignoring, or I can rely on my friends to come over and give me the stink eye and shame me. It may come down to that – SHAME ME INTO TAKING DOWN THE TREE!

Wow, and just when I thought I had it all going on, clearly I am delusional.

Please, this is my cry for help, save me.

See Ninja Run

com.tgb.mj250beebdbe3e43_spApparently it is cold right now in North America. Everyone seems to be complaining about colder than normal – what ever that is – temperatures. That is not the case here in Edmonton. It’s cold but be haven’t had a deep freeze that was -30C or colder for a week or more, not that I am complaining! There is a ton of snow and the weather guy says ambiguous things like Snow tapering to Flurries. Oooooooooookaaaaaay. Translation? 5″ of snow by Thursday. Even I have taken a turn shoveling the driveway and I never do. It was always in the back of my mind that it was ‘boy’ work. But truth be told, I was never fit enough.

Until this year.

I have been in training for some runs coming up this summer. I was always a walker and a swimmer, but I have learned running is very different. In some ways it’s easier than walking. A) it’s over quicker and B) it isn’t as painful for my MCL  – weird but my coach told me that is not unusual.

Running has made me stronger. Abs, legs and back all benefit from just running, but the extra stuff I do helps too! How do I know this?

I dropped my eldest of for his Final exam today at his High School. I parked the car, and decided to run in that neighborhood. It is more sheltered than the open fields of my usual trails and the wind is wicked today with windchills reaching -20C. After last week’s Flash Freeze I have been cautious about slipping on the ice. Sure I run with YakTraxRun, a spike and spring combination for my shoes, but with ice-rinks on the roads and sidewalks, I still find myself slipping a bit.

I did a drive through of the neighborhood first so I wouldn’t get lost. I hadn’t explored this place since my grandparents lived here when I was a kid. Good plan too, I got lost. But once I tuned into my Ninja sense of direction it wasn’t a problem.

I ran mostly on the road because there was a good solid snow pack that had my cleats digging in. I was solid. Then came the final half block. This half block was on a major bus route so running on the road was not an option. My foot found ice under the snow, not once but four times! The first time it caught my off guard and I fell. I fell in a weird  Ninja-like way – it was like a plank or a push up. Not a problem, I do those every day. I didn’t hit the sidewalk except for my hands. The next 3 times I slipped I had it under control. I am now fit enough to use muscles to prevent myself from going over! YAY! Ninja Inner thigh magic held me upright. I think I will pay for it tomorrow, but today I am loving my new found strength! Obviously my Ninja skills are paying off.

Not only do I run in Ninja black, I have the skills to terrify the average pedestrian with my Ninja runner moves. Eventually I will be Ninja fast, you will only think you saw something as I run by. But that is a goal for this summer.

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I have a fitness and lifestyle blog here if you wish to take a gander at it. It is running and nutrition reports that keep me on task. You can find the link here.

My hair is nicer than Barbie’s and its about time

When I was 6, I received ‘Quick Curl Barbie’ for Christmas. Likely because she had curly hair like me. I didn’t have friends who had curly hair, they all had the lovely long straight blond hair of the 70’s. The kind that Jan and Marcia Brady had. I was a curly head brunette kid, who looked like a boy because of my short locks (Thanks Mom!).

Quick Curl Barbie was beautiful for one day. She had  synthetic hair with strands of wire woven into it. This was to ‘hold’ the curl in place – kind of like weaving pipe cleaners through your hair for that Pipi Longstocking look. Barbie came with a pink brush, comb and curling wand. Give those tools to a 6 year old and soon the beautiful Barbie had rats moving into her hair. The ends became all matted and knotted. Basically it looked like crap for the rest of the Barbie’s natural life. Funny…so did mine!

Quick curl Barbie #4220
Quick curl Barbie with new hair

Quick Curl Barbie the next day

Quick Curl Barbie the next day

Some time between starting this blog back in 201o and today, I lost my curl. I no longer have the tight curls of my youth except for the nape of my neck. Those critters are still curly like my baby curls. If I don’t flat-iron my hair, I have thick or big hair. It’s still straight but just bigger. Swimming made a mess of my hair and my hair dresser reprimanded me regularly. I decided I needed to let my hair grow out so I could get a proper cut. My hair had become the exact same as Quick Curl Barbie. Wiry, stiff and a weird not blond colour. It had grown past my shoulders – only when I straightened it could you tell it was that long, and I was tired of the ugly hair. Time had come for an appointment to cut it all off.

I went into the stylists and told her what I had been doing and why. Then I said, “I trust you, do what you need to do to fix it and I want to look sassy because, quite frankly I need hair to match my personality.” She told me she loved it when she was given free rein, and off to the sink we went.

Hair Stylist – “So tell me, how blonde were you as a kid? Because the blonde is holding up really well!”

Me – “I have never been blonde in my life”

HS – “um…yes you are.”

Me – “WTF? 45 and NOW I get the Long Blonde Straight hair of my dreams? Oh sweetie, that is GREY hair mixed with my BROWN hair.”

HS – “If we add some foils of Dark Brown and Blonde, use your natural colour as the base, you will look like you have always been blonde.”

Me – “Do it.”

So not only do I have the best cut I have ever had in my life (from a girl who was BORN IN THE 90’s!!), I now have long straight hair and will look like I am a natural blonde with highlights and lowlights by Thursday. Dreams DO come true.

Suck it Barbie, my hair is now NICER than YOURS.

A Hard Truth: I am the family cat

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I learned some hard truths this Christmas. Apparently I am the family cat. And here you thought I was people! Well, I guess I had us both fooled.

It all started Christmas Eve, the family was gathered at my brother’s home for dinner and small gifts from the Grandparents to warm us up for the big festivities the following day. My family is hard-core. We meet for every meal in a two-day period. Mostly because we like each other and we like to laugh. The secondary reason is to complain and grumble about stuff we all understand and can sympathize with. The third reason is to eat and open stuff we love because if nothing else, my family puts TON of thought into gifts, the presents are meaningful. Try it sometime, its awesome.

Anyway…

After dinner we were sitting around the living room admiring the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, first tree my brother ever put up, when we started talking about the pets. My youngest nephew (who stands 6’4″ and 225lbs) asked his dad for a puppy for Christmas. He wasn’t interested in a girlie dog, but wanted a manly dog. My mom thought my nephew should get one because his dad (my brother) had every pet he ever wanted. To be fair, my brother look better care of all those pets than he has ever taken care of anything AND my brother is a great guy, so those pets were well-loved. He had Guinea pigs, hamsters, fish, rabbits, and dogs (one dog at a time). My brother does not want a dog anymore because he is tired of looking after animals. My nephew argues that he would look after it and my brother doesn’t buy that story. In the end, he is right, my brother will eventually fall in love with the dog and be the sole caretaker.

This story had us talking about the various dogs that tried to kill us, would run away as soon as the door opened or would fight the ravens back so we could enter the house. All of them great dogs except the one that tried to kill us. Grandpa took him back to the original owner.

These stories reminded me of this video called Cat-Friend vs Dog-Friend. I was telling my dad about it, when he said “You are the reason we never had a cat. You were the Cat of the family.” WTF DAD! OUCH! Then I thought about it. He was right. Everything I did, I had a cat attitude. I invite you to watch the video and when you see the yellow words that spell CAT – substitute that word in your head for Edmonton Tourist and you will have a pretty good idea who I was as a kid.

This was posted by @hilariousted on twitter, I see them the same way too:

How I see dogs: Beagle, german shepherd, poodle, bulldog, labrador. How I see cats: Cat, cat, cat, cat, cat .

Hope you are enjoying the holidays as much as I am!