Thursday, December 29, 2011

Last'11 post

It has been a great year and I've thoroughly enjoyed a few days off during this holiday season. It's always so nice to catch up with family & friends who maybe I hadn't heard from in a while. I love this time of year.

Alvin & I are especially stoked after booking a weekend Toronto trip- we're planning our first NBA live experience. And of course we've bought tickets to see our favourite team (I feel like a little kid I'm so excited) the Boston Celtics. It's going to be a quick trip & I'm hoping that my family will forgive me because we're planning on having a very selfish weekend- hopefully 2 NBA games before returning home- with little (or no) time for visiting & gallivanting. We'll see as the date draws nearer.

But I do get ahead of myself. Christmas was lovely- and I'm thrilled that my Gran-style verenike (cottage cheese perogies) turned out great. Mom taught me how to make the cream gravy- who knew it had to be whipping cream?!*grin* Tom very graciously took a photo because I was so proud of how beautiful my perogies turned out (the rest of the meal was divine- I'm just the one who insisted on the photo)*grin*.

I could post a whole bunch more reflections on an amazing year...but I'd rather show this video that Tom shared with me- hilarious. I do love yoga but don't always like the trendiness surrounding it...hope you enjoy this video, I know I did. Happy New Year all.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Worst Reads of the Year

Most of you know that I'm an avid reader...most of you also know that I'm an optimist. That's why I want to try something a little different as we near the end of 2011. This year I would like to highlight my 2 worst reads of the year. I know- I usually stick to my faves (& some optimism might still trickle in...) but I really feel like sharing the most disappointing reads my greedy little eyes consumed.
#1- The Good Mayor - a love story that could not get any worse. I held on through the disappointments hoping it would improve. A secretary for the town mayor who has been unlucky in love has a crush on her boss- one that is strongly encouraged. The setting is some Eastern European country I was trying to dive into. Just as I'm beginning to see that this will not follow the fairy tale ending the heroine (?) turns into a dog to escape the prying eyes of the townsfolk and steals away in the night with the mayor. When the dog and mayor are safely away to start a new life she resumes her human shape.

#2- I do try to read Canadian literature...but this author I found particularly discouraging because she used lots of long complex sentences to say nothing. Nothing! I know you've all tried to read those books- but I kept getting distracted by these perfectly manufactured (sometimes beautiful phrases) that did not tell a story. Call me old-fashioned but the stories I enjoy have a beginning, a middle, and an end*grin*. I wouldn't say this lady is a terrible author but Charlotte Gill is not my preferred type of story-teller (& I would not recommend her short stories)*grin*.

Apart from those two it was another great year of reading. I shamelessly fall back on British murder mysteries when I've finished a book that leaves me feeling 'meh'. If any of you have some good recommends please send my way. I could recommend a couple good ones but don't want to change this post from the negative to the positive*grin*.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Only Thing Worse...

The only thing worse than finding that someone has left a tissue in their pocket & thrown the load in the washing machine is knowing that you're the one who left the tissue in her pocket.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

1st Snow Run of the Season

That's right, I hit the road tonight & it feels great. I would lie if I didn't say that about half-way through I thought perhaps I should've shortened the first run after quite some time...but the home stretch felt great & I feel motivated to keep it up with the mild weather.

I was also the lucky beneficiary of an extra wreath that Dev accumulated- how cute! I suggested that perhaps I should hang it on the inside of my door so I could enjoy it more often...I don't think Alvin's up for that*grin*. Thanks Tom & Dev for passing this on to me.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Romantic View of my Canadian Heritage

A couple of weeks ago, during our short cold snap and snowy weather, I had stepped outside to go for a walk. I was well prepared for the cold in multiple layers, my homemade scarf, and a new puffy winter jacket. I smiled and thought how lovely it was to be so warm all wrapped up outside in the cold but refreshing air. And that got me thinking about how I survived so many years in Lusaka's hot (& sometimes steamy) temperatures. What a lovely little revelation- I enjoy both the cold and the hot. I let my mind wander down a fairly romantic ideal of why this might be...
"Ha" I thought to myself: I enjoy this cold climate from my Swiss German mother's side & love the heat from my Pop's Croatian side (you will understand this association if you've ever seen photos of the Dalmatian coast)*grin*.
The truth of the matter is that my mom's from Saskatoon, SK & my Pop is from Timmins, ON; I come by a love of hot summers & cold winters from good solid Canadian stock.

But then a couple days later I was reminded of how we Canadians love to explore our histories when my mom took me to the U of A's "Festival of Ideas". It was a lovely evening with renowned Canadian author Michael Ondaatje (& hosted by Marina Endicott). It has been a long time since I read one of his novels but I was so impressed with his readings & the engaging discussion that followed I'm keen to pick one up again. I'm always surprised when someone who has been so successful Internationally remains grounded, humble and downright enjoyable. I love finding inspiration in unexpected places.

Monday, November 14, 2011

My new earrings

I recently invested in new glasses (people have been hearing about this for years- I know...& I finally bought them). It's been a love-hate experience because the vision is amazing, but the comfort of the glasses has been trying. I think I'm finally satisfied with the below (only I was trying to show how they're blue on the inside & they look cool but you can't tell in this shot). There's a little bling on the arms as well but I didn't want to post the brand name all over the world (I know, lame- I wear them everyday).

Also featured in the photos are my new earrings (the inspiration for this post). I went shopping with my mom to Ten Thousand Villages- one of our favourite shops. She picked out some cards for herself & a pair of earrings for her sister. I picked up my usual tea and a cute pair of earrings. By the time I got home I decided I really loved the earrings that my mom had bought for her sister & told her they would match a recently purchased blouse just perfectly. Of course Mom handed them over & I am proudly wearing them above. (Allan, if you tell you mom I'll be disappointed but I really had to have them)*grin*. I do realize that I'm terribly spoiled but the worst case is that I have to go back to the shop & replace my Aunt's pair- right?

Here's a photo Alvin recently uploaded from our NY trip- I love it- it's so hokey.

Alvin's sister recently sent a photo of her beautiful baby Jasmine & our niece "baby Mutale" who's looking so grown up (we left Lusaka when she was about 8 months old, now she looks like such a little lady) - I couldn't resist posting because I miss them & think they're just the sweetest.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Snow Fever

Our first snowfall & I can't really explain why I'm so excited. I couldn't resist putting off the housework to take a couple snaps after the first snow. Everything looks so clean & fresh. As soon as I got back to the house I called Tom to talk about how soon we could skate...apparently they don't flood & open the outdoor rinks until December 15th. And there's certainly not enough snow for tobogganing or cross-country skiing...yet. Until then I'll enjoy what we've got - doesn't it look beautiful?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Zambia's Independence Day

I was so excited on Monday (24th October) to celebrate Zambia's Independence holiday. Unfortunately it's been a crazy week & I haven't been able to post anything. When in Zambia I always celebrated Canada Day in one way or another- now that we're here I felt a Zambian meal was the least I could do. Pictured below is the 'chitenge' (aka sarong) I wrapped round my waist to serve as an apron (it was a gift from my good friend so I was able to reminisce and cook in a very happy mood...which also makes the food taste better, no?). Also see below steak, nshima, 'soup', and stewed kale- yum yum. And of course the salt- anyone who's experienced eating in Zambia knows that salt if never far from reach. I even splurged on Amarula- can't go wrong with that.

On an unrelated note, a short blurb about my morning commute yesterday (I'm not sure I can even call it a is only 5 kms from my home); I noticed a white mini van zoom around me on the corner where we're advised to drive at 30 kilometres per hour. We met at the red light & said mini van was off to the races as soon as the light changed green. I couldn't help but laugh when the van veered off the road to line up at the Tim Horton's. Honestly, that is one Canadian cultural activity that I just can't understand- really, line up every morning for a double double? I'd rather be sleeping. Perhaps you have to be a coffee drinker to get it?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Whirlwind Seattle Trip

At my cousin Caroline's wedding she mentioned that the day was so perfect she felt it was a fairy tale- and I have to agree. As you'll see in the following photos it was a beautiful wedding, and I sincerely wish the bride & groom the classic "happily ever after".

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Disarm Them with your Smiles

There has been some negative energy around the office. For the most part I have no problems staying positive and enjoying the challenges that all teams bring. But over coffee I happened to mention to a new colleague that I was struggling to stay positive with all the complaining. His response was something along the lines of 'work is work. Just disarm them with your smiles'; it has become my motto when negativity comes to breathe down my neck. And it seems to be working; I feel like I've been successfully deflecting negativity.

On another note...Thanksgiving.

With the folks out of town & Tom hosting the in-laws Alvin & I were on our own for Thanksgiving. I spontaneously decided that I should do a turkey dinner that would've made Gran proud. What better time to roast your 1st turkey than when you're not hosting anyone? Unfortunately, things didn't turn out quite like I'd hoped. My gravy was not a rich deep brown- boo. My bubbat (Mennonite-style raisin bread) did not raise nicely - I believe I had too little batter for the pan. I chopped up the turkey like Gran used to do & at least that turned out lovely. I tried my first ever stove top stuffing & I'll confess that I enjoyed every bite! I rounded out the not-so-colourful meal with a scrumptious glass of Amarula. I really do have so much to be thankful for...especially as we're packing our bags for a weekend in Seattle. We're looking forward to being together with the whole family for cousin Fitzy's wedding! More from Seattle.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Harvest 2011

Thursday morning I found an email from a group that had received funding from the offices I worked in (in another life) about three years ago. Attached was a report indicating the successes and failures they had seen over the three years as well as recommendations for moving forward. I was so excited to read the email, to reminisce about the small towns I had visited in Zambia's Eastern province to see how the funding dollars were being managed. I got a little caught up & realized that if I didn't get a move on I'd miss my bus. I still felt it a beautiful way to start my morning- despite setting off for work with the usual primping & fussing (OK, I didn't have time to straighten or blow dry my hair so up it went into a ponytail- minor, right?)

Reflecting on a life I loved very much in Zambia has not let me forget just how much I am enjoying this harvest season. On Monday Mom, Pop & I had our first foray into pie-making (from the folks' homegrown apples) without our matriarch. Of course we missed my dear old Gran, but it was wonderful to be remembering her advice from last year. Here we are hard at work. We're all looking forward to comparing the pastry...we certainly don't have hopes that it will be just like Gran's- but maybe close?!*fingers crossed*

Looks pretty good to me

Last weekend Tom, Dev, Jason & I spent the day out at Alaina & Marc's farm; I've been meaning to call her all week to tell her how much fun I had. I'm sure the photos will highlight my excitement about being out there chopping wood*grin*.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Waiting is Over

...and it's official- Zambia has a new President. Alvin & I have been closely watching news stations & chatting with friends back in Lusaka to find out how things were progressing after elections held on Tuesday. Today it was announced that Michael Sata will takeover. Being away from 'home' I have no opinion on whether or not this is a good thing; but there is a part of me that is so proud that the current President is standing down. Many African nations have been criticized for being democratic only in theory- I'm smiling that Zambian voters have been heard in the announcement of a new President. I will certainly be keeping a close eye on developments and security as change is not always smooth; but for now I'll imagine the energy that we are hearing about- thousands of Zambians celebrating in the streets. I'm smiling to see the familiar streets in my mind; hope-filled people along Chilimbulu road & Independence avenue.

Other news:
I've been savouring a gorgeous Fall. Here are some shots of me & Al out for an afternoon stroll.

Tom turned another year older...

And I can't believe I got my first canna lily flower in September. Now there are three blooms on this one plant. It's a remarkable Fall!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Travel by Air

Here are some thoughts I jotted down on September 1st. Odd that I should be posting on Sept.11 of all days...perhaps the cause of the many restrictions we now face when readying ourselves for air travel.

As I was packing for the NYC trip (squish one pair heels, 2 x sundresses, jeans, shawl for cool evening) into one small carry-on bag. Ensure all fluids do not exceed 100mL - pack in clear plastic bag that's easily accessible for all the security gates, easy to slip-on/slip-off shoes. Dump out purse to double check that nothing sharp (like nail clippers) got stuck into a compartment, or that I do not have a tube of hand lotion that may be a little too large- all I could think was: rules rules rules.

I began to miss traveling in Southern Africa. I miss how packing didn't have to involve minimizing. Giant purses, big ol' suitcase, minimum one plastic carrier bag full of food and drinks. Any bus or train would have at least one chicken, if not- there would be a goat. The worst though, would be the giant feed bags shoved under seats- but stacked so deep your feet end up on them as footrests; naturally your knees would come up to your ears while digging into the vinyl seat in front of you (think sweat).

And of course the bus/train schedules are merely suggestions- when the bus is full it starts rolling. The train will break down at some point, so even if it did leave on time chances are it would not reach it's destination on time.

But, the clothes are rolled tight. Snacks on hand. Mini soaps packaged in clear plastic. A long sweaty dusty ride to an exotic-sounding African town isn't in the cards right now (Harare, Maputo, Dar es Salaam). A stuffy red-eye to an iconic city is exhilarating in a different way. NYC here we come!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The New York Trip

For my faithful readers (I know there are a few)- here are the photos from our trip out to meet Alvin's family in Connecticut. There are several tales that I hope to post when the weather is not quite so gorgeous...
Until then here are a few shots of our fabulous weekend away.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

If I could belt it out like Alicia...

This is what I'd be hollering:

This tune will be my anthem this weekend. Alvin & I are off for a long weekend in New York to visit Alvin's family & see the Big Apple. I can't wait to post photos of our adventures...starting from taking the red-eye Friday morning- *eek*.
Until then I'm humming along to New York- dah dah dah dah dah daaahhhhhh.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Self Professed Writers

It's the oddest thing: of late, I have met several people who tell me that they are writers. They write all the time. They develop special bonds with people because they have writing in common. And I never know how to react. They make writing sound so romantic & lofty. How does one respond to that? These are some thoughts that run through my head during that awkward silence after one informs me of his/ her writing prowess:

a) Are you published? (That sounds so pretentious)
b) What do you write? (Really, I'm curious- poetry? Stories? Research papers?)
c) How do you do it? (At the computer or old school with pen & paper? Maybe you have a coil bound notebook that you carry everywhere with you?)
d) Where do you find your inspiration?

I am a self-professed reader. I'll read anything (once anyway). One of my secret dream jobs is to proof-read for people- or for a big publishing company- because I hate picking up a book (or reading an article on-line) that has spelling or grammatical errors (but please excuse the errors you find throughout this blog- I know they're there)! But mostly I'd like to proof-read because my desire to read is insatiable. I have been dually inspired to post something about writing up here because, funny enough, I've just picked up a book about writing (Aunt Julia & the Scriptwriter, a required read from way back in high school by Mario Vargas Llosa). Maybe I don't call myself a writer because as I re-read this message I realize I've got no 'close'- all of these coincidences about writing have led me nowhere. Except inspired to post a blog about writing nothing. And to enjoy a quiet evening filling the lines on a page of loose leaf with news to an old friend that will have to get mailed the old fashioned way.

Monday, August 22, 2011

39 Years

We decided to host my folks to celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary. I was humming & hawing about what to make for such a celebration. Alvin suggested a smorgasbord...& what a smorgasbord is was*smile*

The centre piece of the meal was Thai Salad Rolls- inspired from a colleague's recipe & the question: why not try something new after 39 years? Congrats Mom & Pop - 39 years is no small feat!

Even more fun than all the eating was the match of cribbage post-feast. It has been years since I've played crib & knew that I wouldn't be able to remember all the rules to teach Alvin- I can't wait to play again.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tom's Harvest

Tom & Dev have a lovely garden. The other day Tom took a quick photo of (one of his many) harvests.

I thought about trying to show him up but with a balcony & no garden patch that's virtually impossible. I'm going for size here, not quantity- check out this monster; I am quite proud of my first pot-grown fruit of the season*grin*. And it was quite delicious in the tomato sauce I made last night.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Cherry Platz

The other weekend Pop & I picked cherries from Tom's backyard. We pitted, packaged & planned how we would use them. Alvin complained that they're too sour for muffins (for him maybe- I love them); but still, I considered other ways for enjoying these sour cherries. I looked through some of mom's Mennonite cookbooks looking for a platz recipe- that's what I decided I wanted. Gran used to make fruit platz (pronounced plautz) with an almost sugar-cookie bottom, fruit filling, and a sweet brown sugar topping. None of the platz recipes I could find were exactly what I was looking for. Undeterred, I baked without a recipe. A little daunting at first, but it turned out just as I had hoped so now I feel a bit like a seasoned baker- or like a Granny - to heck with measurements! I brought some over to the folks & after some of mom's input I would change the topping up a bit next time. But doesn't it look scrumptious?

When I was uploading my platz pictures I found some shots from one of my fave Edmonton festivals- Heritage Days. It was great to have Candra back too because her family always gets us free goodies from the Caribbean tent*grin*- gotta love Jamaican beef patties.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

To Each His/Her Own

I rarely write about when I don't reach a goal, or when I cheat on my morning runs. I feel like it's time to come clean. The other morning when I set off for my 5:15 a.m. run it was pretty darn chilly. It was also not sunny and bright. Out came the fleece vest and thoughts of a looming Fall. Drat, I will have to come up with another exercise program because in the coming months morning runs will not be so enjoyable. The very next morning when the alarm clock went off I rolled over & stayed under the warm duvet.

But it turned out to be a gorgeous Friday and I made up for it in the afternoon when I went for a glorious run in the full afternoon sun. I chose a route down by the river (feel free to cue Neil Young- it is Folk Fest weekend in Edmonton) where the blue sky contrasted against the glistening green leaves. The river is so full from all the rain - it felt positively lush.

As I trundled along - enjoying the colours, the red-winged blackbird atop the highest branch, and the robin who's lunch I interrupted (he flew off into the bushes and left a writhing worm) - I noticed an older man out enjoying the trails as well. He had his book open in front of him as he walked along the trail. At first I judged- seriously? You need to read a book out on this glorious afternoon? And then I thought- if that's what it takes to get him out, or if that's how he enjoys his strolls- so be it. I will enjoy the colours, the birds, and the exercise in my own way...he can enjoy it in his.

Cheating on my early morning Friday run turned out to be a great thing- my weekend surely started out on a bright note.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Internal Smile

The other morning when I set off for my bike ride I was met by the most perfect full rainbow. Set against a dark sky and all. Drat, I thought, if only I had my camera I could share this moment with my few faithful readers. But as I pedaled faster, in search of the mythical pot of gold, I realized that's why I get out first thing: so I have this solitude to savour such beautiful gifts. I've started making a habit of referring to these sweet solo moments as my "internal smiles"; I carry them with me throughout the day so that when something doesn't go my way I can return to that private moment and smile.

On a completely unrelated note, I came across a beautiful piece of writing the other day and I suppose it made me consider how I remember my life in Lusaka. I don't usually post excerpts up here but I thought it such a poignant description of memories:

In real life, I reflected, you warmed yourself on cold winter days in a foreign land by pulling out a rag-bag collection of those memories. You wondered which ones to keep and which to throw away, paused over a fragment here, smiled at a scrap. You reached out to grasp people you knew and came up with a handful of air, for they were only chimeras, spun out of your own imagination. You tried to pin down a picture, thought that you had it exactly the way it smelled and looked so many years ago, and then you noticed, out of the corner of your eye, a person who had not been there before, a slight movement where there should have been the stillness of empty canvas. (Anita Rau Badami, "Tamarind Mem")

I'm off now for a quick bike ride before the next downpour (hopefully)*grin*

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Going to the Place I Need to Go

My Pop's God-mother & her husband (my Uncle Nick) were in town for a couple of days. I love this couple; and if I've ever met a story-teller it would be my Uncle Nick. Born in Croatia, he grew up in Northern Ontario mining towns. He spent 41 years underground working in those mines. Despite all these years in Canada he still weaves amazing stories of 'the old country'. (I learned the other night that these stories need not be fueled by home brewed red wine...though they seem a bit warmer after a glass or two).
His story that made me smile so recently has to do with the things people first learn in a new language. Out came the story of Uncle John not knowing the word for toilet on one of his many trips to Croatia. Uncle Nick provides a translation of how villagers refer to visiting the bathroom/washroom/toilet: "I'm going to the place I need to go". I love it- isn't that the perfect conversation stopper.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Then...& Now

I don't think any of us predicted that after this camping trip:

Mount Robson, August 2004- it would be 7 years until the five of us were together again.

But there you have it. Seven years: after each of us has had many an adventure (travels around the world, degrees under belts, break-ups, marriages, family births & deaths) here we are- all five of us back together again for a long weekend in Yoho National Park.

It was amazing to re-connect, to see just how little each of us had changed, but to share in the many experiences we've each had that have helped us mature. What am I talking about? We hiked, ate, laughed, drank, hit the hot springs...& acted as if no time had elapsed since our last visit.

Here is a slide show for your viewing pleasure. Otherwise I'm basking in thankfulness for having such a tight knit group of friends from way back in the day.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes

Oh the joys of an Edmonton summer. The weather on Thursday was glorious before the thunder storm rolled in- 27 degrees. Friday we were down to 11 with rain forecast for the whole weekend. Alvin came up with the lemonade this weekend though- rather than complaining about all the rain he gathered the troops & we hit the ice. That's right, who knew skating in July would be so much fun.

Alvin's second time on skates & he's already starting to look comfortable. Here are the boys warming up.

Al & Devo:

Let's get back at it...

I realized when uploading these photos that I never even mentioned Canada Day long weekend. Oops- we celebrated Jason's birthday one night

I couldn't resist posting this photo of Ma because it is rare to see her with two drinks...

and Canada day the next

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Not enough hours in the day

I've been struggling to post for a number of reasons.

1. Lack of inspiring stories (sorry). I do have a couple epic camping trips coming up so inspiration should be round the corner
2. Desire to avoid computer at all costs while not working- when I get home from work I try to enjoy a few moments on my balcony...I would rather enjoy that beautiful Vitamin D while I can & leave off the blog
3. I can't think of any more reasons right now.
But what it leaves me with is some photos from my balcony taken a couple weeks ago...which I can compare with much more recent photos!
The first bloom on my fave portulacas

Portulaca now*grin*

Tomato in bloom

Tomato now...with some awkward-looking fruits

Finally, on a rainy day Alvin & I happened to discover a shoe organizer (not sure if I've ever mentioned we live in a small one-bedroom apartment...with little storage space). And apparently Alvin & I really love shoes- how sweet is this organizer! I'm so chuffed with this find.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tall Tales of a Fisherwoman

Ok, none of you are going to believe this but I spotted a coyote this morning on my run. I do not want to gain the reputation of telling tales like fishermen...I may have to start carrying my camera with me because it is rather unbelievable- oh the wilds of suburban Northern Alberta.

I did bring my camera to shoot a couple photos of the beautiful Alberta wild roses that are in bloom.

Al & I were out enjoying the balcony as well- I'm enjoying every moment of sunshine.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Fox sighting

I've started running (or cycling) in the mornings again- it has been so wonderful. Yesterday I saw a fox on the street- I couldn't believe it! Alvin chides that it must have been a dog -but he was home having his breakfast so what does he know? Plus I was wearing my brand spanking new contact lenses so I could see for miles*grin*. I forgot how much I loved having these small morning adventures.
We also bought a car- weeeeeeeee! I can't wait to have all the paperwork in order so we can cruise in our new (1998) Toyota Rav4.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Looks like Summer

It doesn't feel like summer on these cool mornings...but it sure looks like summer's here.

I harvested my first rhubarb from Ma's garden & made the most scrumptious cake- I'm inspired to continue with the homemade hand-picked goods throughout the summer & harvest seasons.

And this is my beautiful balcony. Right now my flower pots are lined up to soak up the most sun, I'm not sure how I'll arrange them for aesthetics. It is lovely to be out there sipping on my tea (so long as my neighbour is not out there warming up his stupid motorbike for ever)*nasty smile*

I've got two habanero peppers in the first pot, a tomato in the middle, and some lavender in the pot against the wall. (and creeping jenny & a pansy)

Mint, nasturtium, and cilantro (my mini herb garden)

Here I've surrounded one of Pop's canna lilies (I know...doesn't look so good at the moment) with celosia- such a stiking flower and some portulaca (another one of my faves).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nothing Like a Weekend in the Mountains

Here are some photos from my amazing Canmore weekend with my Mom.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Beautiful Way to Start my Day

My short walk from home to the bus depot is so enjoyable these spring mornings that I had to share- I have tried to capture the cacophony of birdsong I hear each day (and how fun is it to say 'cacophony'). Let me know if all those birds bring a smile to your face too*smile*

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

House-cleaning Hits

This is my call out- I need some help. I know many of us like to blast choice tunes while cleaning the house...this has been my hot tune of late:

Nothin' like going a little old school*grin*. Please send me your fave cleaning-rock-out-tunes so I can really rip it up on my next go round*grin*.

Oh how I savour the small things.

Apart from that I've been avoiding the blog for many reasons. I've gotten caught up in:

- the beautiful weather (spending lots of time out & about & not on the computer)*smile*
- catching up with Emily- Alvin & I met up with an Ontario-born-gal we know from Zambia. These smart folks attend conferences all over the world & connect with friends in their home towns. It was great to see her after our last visit in Toronto two years ago (time flies)!
- I'm hooked on the NBA play-offs (I've even placed bets with colleagues for a free lunch- oooh, the world of betting)
- there were the Canadian National elections with all it's surprises. I'm glad I got out to vote even if I'm not thrilled with the results.
- There have been a couple of minor world events that I've been swept up in: A royal wedding. The murder of bin Laden. We shall see what changes spiral out of all of these events (including the new Canadian Conservative majority government)...I'm half holding my breath for bad news but I'm not the best 'worrier' so I'll leave the cataclysmic predictions to others while I hope for the best.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

In my Corner

For several weeks I've been humming and hawing over how to post about my dear friend Alaina. Today- her 30th birthday- I shall put off the procrastinating & settle on something.

Alaina is that friend. The one who loves me unconditionally and never hesitates to say so. I realized it the first time when she introduced me to her boyfriend. I was excited to meet Marc on one visit home from Zambia. "This is my perfect friend Sarah". I laughed it off- remarking on how perfectly average I am.

In the past year, now living on the same Continent we've seen a little more of each other than in the past several years, Alaina has complimented me in various ways. The overall feeling she gives me is that I'm perfect just the way I am. Sometimes I want to throw my head back and laugh. Over the years we've had so many 'non-perfect' moments; sharing swears to shame truckers, falling off horses, moaning of financial woes, hangovers, health concerns or heart breaks. Through all the growing pains and now those worrisome thoughts about hitting the big 3-0 I can honestly say that I'm a better person just knowing she's in my corner. It's a special feeling to have someone who is not family or husband support me so unconditionally (& fiercely). I felt the best birthday gift for such a dear friend would involve trying to express my gratitude- I'm not sure how I did but in any case- happy birthday Lain!

And just because I know this will make her cringe- check out my first ever completed knitting project -weeeeeeeee!

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Canada Goose

I know the average Canadian hates these beasts...but as I've started my road runs I keep seeing a couple of them in the strangest places. The following geese were viewed in a ditch outside my condo, enjoying the shoots in the shallow puddle. I've also spotted them squawking out on the soccer pitches. Always two. And each time I see them (or hear them) I smile. I can't help it. Must be springtime in Alberta or something.