Edmonton: Big Town, Small City!



The strangest thing I would point out (for a little while at least) we have no buildings greater than 42 floors and that’s a brand new building (not even pictured above!).  Why?  We used to have a bustling little airport in the north end of the city.  Thanks to the prevailing wind coming from the northwest landings would come in from the south.

Small planes?  No problem.  Boeing 737?  …little bit.  Federal regulations ensured a flight path that kept the height of buildings below a certain level for safety.  Our city has been kept ‘small’ until now.  That 42 floor condo tower is the first to break through the 40 floor barrier and since then a 62 floor and 70+ floor project was just announced.

Maybe we are growing up.   MAYBE.

You can be the judge.


Night Time Photo Challenge

This was taken in August of 2008 (?) with a Kodak Z1200 in panorama (as if you didn’t know). The image was difficult to do since I had to brace the camera on top of the railing with the Cathedral behind me at the top of Montmartre.


Back in the Saddle (again!)

The idea of a blog, in my mind, is to write about stuff that interests me and possibly others out across the ‘interweb’.  It has been much too long since my last post.  It was a stab at creative writing that was not as good as I thought it was at the time.

 Îlet du Gosier, off Le Gosier, GuadaloupeSo I come back after a hiatus that included a trip to Guadeloupe (a department of France if you didn’t already know), a high school graduation, and two new (to us) vehicle purchases.

I will endeavour to continue to write, if nothing else, for the purpose of writing.  I will look for more blogs to follow and continue to follow those that I originally followed.  It’s interesting to read blogs that I can relate to, want to relate to, even those I could never relate to.  Who am I to judge, they’re still writing and I’m just getting back from holiday(!).

Thanks to Whirlwind Travel and Bucket List Publications which I still follow (wow, how to live vicariously through a blog!) for unwittingly inspiring me.

I welcome critiques, comments, corrections.

Here we go.  Let’s light’em up!

Back on Track

The snow may not be gone but it is on its way out.  It better be, we’re sitting at April 10 and I’m done with snow and winter.  Spring is here dammit (sorry, I’ll watch the language from here on in…).  We can have rain, like we do today, but no more snow.  Certainly nothing measurable.

More help than you'll ever know until you slip
More help than you’ll ever know until you slip

Last Saturday’s run (10K) required the additional traction of the spikes and it was done in comfort and a decent time.  The weather itself was good and not too cold.  I made sure I dressed for 10 degrees warmer than it was and that worked nicely.  I also ‘rocked it old school’ with a cotton fleece hoodie and sweats with a wool cap.  That’s right, no neoprene, breathable plastic fibre clothing, or any sort of ‘technical’ wear.  OK, my shoes weren’t “Chuckies” they’re a decent running shoe, but the rest was cotton and wool.  I guess there’s a reason they invented that stuff: I carried every drop of sweat home to my laundry room.  My clothes must have weighed 3 pounds before the run and about 7 pounds afterwards.  YIKES!

Yes I will go back to breathable, wicking shirts etc…

Tuesday was a little tougher as I dragged my non-running dog (just wants to explore and sniff, not stick with the trail and runner).  The off leash area is perfect as I just ran up and down a 3 pronged 4k loop.  Dexter just kept up then went off.  Caught up, ran past me, pee’d on something, ran behind me for a few hundred meters then stopped.  Repeat as required.   Funny dog.  The run was challenging as there are many bumps and inclines, hills and dips.  Still got out for 30 to 35 minutes but am unsure of how far I really went.  Good to get out.  Tomorrow, it’ll be up at 5, hit the street at 530 for a 6.5k loop on flat ground.  Saturday I’ve created a 16k loop from home through the river valley and back.  I better get up early for that, too.

I Hate Cancer

Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton, Canada
Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton, Canada

There many things or even places in this world that I always say “I hate”.  “I hate Calgary”.  I don’t really hate Calgary or Calgarians.  It’s a fun city.  It’s near the mountains.  It’s a movin’ and groovin’ city.  I have friends and family in Calgary…that I really like.  “I hate losing”.  Nobody likes losing but let’s face it you learn more from losing than you do winning.  You learn where you went wrong and can easily point out what they did right.  I don’t “like” losing.  “I hate liver”….ya, I really hate liver.  Blecch.

And I hate Cancer.

Cancer is such a rotten disease.  It comes in a zillion different forms.  It always does whatever you don’t expect it to do.  If it’s supposed to stay in one place…it moves.  It keeps moving.  If it’s supposed to grow, it will sometimes shrink and go away…without explanation.  Modern medicine has provided some treatments that make patients feel better and sometimes even cure them.  Just not everyone.   So why do I hate Cancer?  I don’t have it.  I have never had it.  What’s the deal?

Too many people who I know have had it.  Testicular.  Lung.  Ovarian.  Breast.  Bladder.  Prostate.  And it just spreads if you don’t discover it soon enough.  I know one person it started as a growth on her kidney, so they took the kidney out.  Then they discovered it had released spores(?) on to her lungs.  20 spores.  Then it spread to her other kidney and finally her liver.

She is expected to leave this world in the next 24 to 48 hours.

An aggressive clinical trial was suggested but the cancer did not retreat.  In fact she was given 6 months to live, three weeks ago.  The doctor said he has never seen such a fast-moving, aggressive cancer.

I hate Cancer.

So what’s the ripple effect?  You must be thinking of, as I was,  her two sons.  A 17-year-old and a 12-year-old.  Great boys thanks to her parenting.  A single mom for the past 11 and a half years (deadbeat dad – totally out of the picture –  jerk) she made them her focus.  Never a complaint.  Never did they want for anything that they really needed, and most importantly, they were a family.  House a little messy?  She’d rather play with the kids.  Now they won’t have a mom after not having a dad.  So who do they go to?  Her sister has agreed to take them in.  Now that family are affected as they were about to enjoy retirement.  Not anymore. (Old joke: Want to make God laugh?  Make plans!)

She is loved.

Thankfully, by the smallest of margins, there is a small, tee-nee tiny silver lining: Many people have stepped up to show their love.  Just today, more than ten people from her work showed up to visit; her extended Knights of Columbus Hockey family has provided food, new house fixtures, rides, support, shoulders to cry on, DQ Blizzards, all the things she could not do for herself and her family, they did.  We did.  It was our privilege.  We are also committed to ensuring those boys know they are loved, and will always be loved.

For Connie.  For Doug.  For Uncle Ed.  For everyone.

I Hate Cancer.

So This is Why I’ve Stopped Running…for Now.

On March 20th and 21st, this city was crushed by a “spring” snow storm.  It’s only a “spring” storm because it was days away from the real Spring.  Whenever that is.

At Snow Valley Edmonton (I am being specific in case you think I could be referring to Snow Valley Barrie, Ontario or Snow Valley California…as if), we stared at the sky and kept on staring.  It was like we just started the season over again.  As the snow began at 5:30 am it did not stop until the next morning and then started again.  The least amount of accumulated snow I heard reported was 20 cm or 7 inches.  The most was 40.  I’ve ranted about this before so I won’t go on too long here.  Yikes we have had a ton o’snow.  It’s so much that not everyone can keep up with the shoveling and running becomes an after thought.  It’s tough to run in snow shoes…really tough.

I’ve been counting shoveling as a work out since I had, with the rest of my family, been moving hundreds of kilograms of snow for 4 nights in a row an hour at a shot.  It’s a work out to the uninitiated.  To those who know, I salute you!

50th Street Walking Bridge at 6:30 pm MDT
50th Street Walking Bridge at 6:30 pm MDT

I could go inside to a running track but it’s a bit of an  investment each visit.  200 meter track and it’s clock wise on even days and counter clock wise on odd days.  Then if you go upstairs to the upper track it’s the other direction.   It’s so dry in there all I need is a couple of olives and it’s a Martini.

I need to get back on the road.  I will.  Not worried.  Still aiming for the half marathon at the end of April.  Will do.

I’ve walked the dog through the deep snow and the packed single person trails.  He loves it…bounding like a puppy and rolling in it.  Oh how he loves it.  One more thing: The light has returned..  As I write this, it’s past 8pm MDT and I’m gushing that it is still light out.  It’s just going to get lighter from now until the end of June.

The snow is maddening but the light is better.

So that’s why I stopped running… for now.  The shoes are ready.  It’s time to start…again.  Go Team.

Spring Report Card

OK, so I seem to have a mix of kind bloggers who enjoy what I write.  I love to write.  Sometimes I write well and sometimes not so much.  Some times it’s funny, sometimes serious, sometimes…well pretty brutal.

100_0417.jpgSo where do people want this to go.

Do I keep it as it is, with no real direction and ramblings of what ever I happen to stumble upon.  Do I focus on a style, such as finding the funny or comedic side of what ever comes down the pipe…and reblogging the also funny and comedic blogs of which there are plenty.  Or do I go in some other direction.

It would be easy to stay the course.  Harder to do the second and harder still the third.

And maybe it’s just my self deprecating look upon my life while pumping the tires of any accomplishment (however anonymous to protect the innocent) of my family.

Go people.  Let me know…show me the way, as Mr.Frampton sort of said back in “Frampton Comes Alive”. ( One of the few GREAT albums of the 70’s…oh don’t get me started…..).

I want to hear what you want or enjoy, please leave a comment or if you “like” this effort I will take as go with what you do when you do it…oh I’m rambling again, dammit!

More Snow?

The other day, we got snow in Edmonton.  Now we have more.  20cm, at least, have fallen in the past 48 h…maybe more.  There is no “official” snow meter, so even the local meteorologists rely on input from listeners who have used a ruler in their back yard.

We’re more used to cold.  Edmonton is on the 54th parallel (60 is the Arctic Circle map fans!)  and the wind blows down from the Northwest bringing cold.  Not so much snow, some but not like the extreme cold.  In 2010 we held the one day title of “Coldest Place on Earth” at -54C with the windchill.  It made leaving the house a major risk and huge under taking.  So ya, we know cold.  We know snow but not this much snow…not this long.

Happy St.Patrick’s Day – After shovelling on March 17…more on the way.
Snow never stopped.  Shovelled earlier in the day - can't tell.
Snow never stopped. Shovelled earlier in the day – can’t tell.

We are done.  Enough is enough.  We got snow much earlier than normal so the 2012-13 snow year seems especially long.  Not only that, as good neighbours, we shovel up to 5 other houses plus our own.  Condos are looking good right now….real good.  These are seniors or shut ins that cannot get out and we just do it.  No thanks required, we’re trying to do the right thing.  Maybe it’s a test.  The all Omniscient being that runs this whole show is  seeing what the breaking point could be.  Is it more snow?  Is it snow combined with rain then freezing?  So

So the sun comes out...it just means we can see how much snow there really is...grrr
So hte sun comes out…it just means we can see how much snow there really is…grrr

far, I think we’ve passed. There are piles of snow at least 175cm tall on some drive ways that we clear.  The four of us get out with our shovels and ‘get’er dun’.

Why not get a snowblower?  Great question.  Unfortunately it becomes an economical question.  We could get a decent snow blower for $1000 or get four new shovels each year for $80 to $125 total.  The snow blower may not last 10 seasons of this!  So we plod on.  Maybe this spring we’ll jump on the band wagon.

Our neighbours on both sides have one but hardly ever use it.  Is it because we get out there first?  One neighbour offered the use of his but I would feel very uncomfortable in case I broke it. I would find a way, plus would his expectations be that I’m doing 5 houses each time?  Probably not.

Enough of the snow.  Just let spring do it’s thing.  It is supposed to start in 4 days.  I think it will be late…really late.

It Was Warm a Few Days Ago


Woke up to 5 cm of snow. It’s mid-March for Pete’s sake! Spent the first 45 min of consciousness this morning shoveling neighbours’ walks instead of running. New workout, I guess. Now we go from roads of ice due to a freeze melt cycle, to fluffy white snow covering that same sheet of ice: Can’t wait to drive to work…right here in ‘pothole-city’! Forecast is for 10 more cm today; 5 cm tonight; and just for fun…-16C…yaaaaaaay.

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