From Daydreamer to Daydoer, The Edmonton Tourist Project

November 11, 2010 047
November 11, 2010 047 (Photo credit: matt44053)

I am nearing my 2 year anniversary of the Edmonton Tourist Project. The purpose of this project was to take risks, climb out of my depression and experience  no regrets. Looking back it boggles my mind what I different person I use to be. I had a resigned nature and attitude about things. I have spent countless hours reading about other people’s journeys. I have become an active member in the blog community, so much so – there are many bloggers who I have never met, yet I count as friends. I have learned there is no destination as long as you are still traveling. Making a conscious effort to be a tourist in my own life has opened up possibilities that I had never seen before.

November 11, 2010 (again with the 11 thing)I was Freshly Pressed. All that means was the choosers here at Word Press saw my post and thought it was funny enough to place on the front cover of the WordPress Blog Site. I received close to 2000 hits that day, 50 subscribers in a single day and hundreds of comments. It was a real Rock Star moment. Looking back, that moment was fairly significant for a couple of reasons.

  1. It convinced me that I can do the impossible – or what I perceived as impossible
  2. It made connections with people I never would have otherwise known, and in return I have learned great lessons and made spectacular friends. Not just blog friends, but actual human beings who I can look in the eye and touch their hands.
  3. It taught me that everything and everyone has a story that should be told. It is from stories that I learn great things from.

I remember November 11th ever well. It was a stat holiday here so I was having a long lay-in that morning. Snuggled up and daydreaming. (I was a great daydreamer – I am a great daydoer now) when at 8:00AM my emails start going crazy. My first one was from Chef – She was from Edmonton too only now lived in Texas. I found it odd that she stumbled onto my blog.  Since then, we have commented back and forth and I even won a contest she hosted! The list of commenters grew. Then another Edmonton commenter found me.

Her name was Audrey. She was blogging from Edmonton and was struggling with the day to day problems of cancer. She was determined not to be angry but to embrace every moment she had left. She spent spare moments in nature photographing the beautiful river valley, she took art classes at the Art Gallery and she spent quality time with friends and family. Her journey was more than a day to day struggle. I learned that you don’t get moments back. She inspired me to take risks with people. Tell them the good things I think about them as they pop into my head. This has not always been welcomed, but I have no regrets about it. It doesn’t always turn out the way I hope, I get rejected in friendship – but they go away knowing I like and care about them. Some people just aren’t ready for someone to think highly of them. Sad – but true. Audrey embraced the Edmonton Tourist Spirit, always thinking of the next risk and how it would effect those around her. Kindness and compassion enveloped her.

Audrey passed over yesterday morning at 9:38 am surrounded by those she loved and who loved her back. We all should be so lucky. This is an excerpt of her final post:

Thank you to everyone for your support and caring.

 

I started the blog as a record of my journey for my family but it has become much larger than that, it became a helping tool for those in a similar journey. I am grateful if I have been helpful in anyway. I leave you with the encouragement for you and your loved ones to visit your family doctor regularly. Know that you are your own advocate, and don’t accept no as an answer.

 

I don’t know where I would be without my family. The love and support they have shown me has made my journey so much easier than I know it could have been. I am not sure I would have lived this long without them. They accepted my bumps and challenges along the way. They responded quickly to my needs and they gave me meaning to the term unconditional love. I wish I had another 40 years to return to them.

 

I love you all, take care of yourselves and each other.

 

See you in the funny papers.

 

Love Audrey

Thank you for the life lessons Audrey. I shall miss you.

 

Death by Sushi

Eye death
Eye death (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

There have been two times in my life when I welcomed death and she snubbed me.

The first time was I was in labor with my first born. I don’t recall my surroundings other than bells were going off and a ton of people suddenly appeared. I feel into my pillow and thought to myself – I’m okay with dying. Then I looked over at my husband and he was worried. Then I thought, oh hell – I can’t very well leave him alone at a time like this.

I pulled through.

The second time was yesterday. I had sushi for lunch. within 10 minutes I was sick, within two hours my joints were swollen, my breathing was comprimised and I was covered in hives. I was in so much pain I thought, I’m okay with dying.

I am no a wimp when it comes to pain and sickness. I go to work with pnemonia, I walked 7km on a broken foot, I have even had a hangnail and survived. I was totally cool with dying. This poisoning business has taken a lot out of me. I am exhausted and afraid to eat. The not eating part is good and bad. I hope to lose a gazillion pounds because of this, but I know I will never get my strength back unless I do. Fresh food has me a bit scared.

All I want is peanut butter toast. I did live on that in high school. I was a non eater in those days. Give me a snickers bar and a glass bottle of coke and I was set for days. I would pack a peanut butter sandwich and an apple. It is still one of my favorite lunches. The best part was, I didn’t starve to death. I am pretty sure I am not starving to death now. I am super dehydrated and very sleepy. I spent my day drinking water and sleeping. I watched a movie and slept some more.

What this experience has done for me was reflect on who is important to me. I contacted everyone who I thought should know. ChatterBox even came in my room to creep on me to see if I was still breathing. I had no idea. I was out. Thinking about the list of people may me think about my small circle and how important they are to me. I also realized I am not all that important in the grand scheme of things. Life will continue whether I am here or not. The thing is, I would be so ticked off if I had expired yesterday. I still have goals to meet.

I was goofing around with some cards I have and chose a single card to meditate on. I use these cards for focus during my yoga practice or quiet contemplation. Usually a card that pops up is about creativity or joy. The message is often about seeking a creative outlet for expression of self or it is telling me not to take on too much and slow down to enjoy the view. Yesterdays card was one that has never shown itself to me. The card is Victory. The message’s essence was whatever you have been working on will succeed. I was surprised to hear that message. I never thought I wouldn’t succeed. I am tenacious enough to plow through to get what I want even if I need to find it in unusual places. I seen the brass ring and my eyes don’t leave it until it is in my hand. Sure this is obsessive or overly focused, but some of the greatest success stories are not because opportunity fell into their lap. These people worked for it. I am working for it. I expect my education dream to be fulfilled in a years time. Possibly a year and a half because I need to take some time off to rejuvenate my mind and make me hungry again for learning. I am tired and resent having to write with managerial focus when the sun is shining and the farmer’s markets and parks are calling to me. I also expect to have a new career within the next two years. I hope it will be much sooner, but I am willing to wait. I am not that person who is waiting for the opportunity to fall into my lap, I am keeping a watchful eye and listen carefully to signs.

Today is a big day in my world. My ED announced her retirement and the new replacement will be introduced to the Board today. The rest of us will find out on Monday. I look at this with mix feelings. I am ready for change but hesitant to discover how the change will affect me. At any rate, I am ready. A newish friend of mine asked me yesterday what my plan was to do with my degree once the business of school and homework was done. I said I want to be Emperor of the World complete with cape, awesome silver boots and minions. If that fails, I want to be an integral part of a non-profit agency. Not front line but management. Eventually I want to run the agency. Not necessarily the one I am in, but AN agency. I figure it is a great shield to the world being an ED for non-profit when I am trying to rule the world. It is a perfect plan and no one will suspect it. I will gain the trust of loyal minions and have access to an office secret lair. My son is savvy enough to build me all the technical gadgets I would need, like sharks with lasers on their heads or a volcano that erupts with a push of a button.

So either my near death experience has made me delusional or very self-aware. Either way, I’m glad I didn’t die by sushi – it is a pitiful way for the emperor of the world to die. I’m think more along the lines of death by a Q gadget or squeezed to death by Doc Oct. Either way, I will make a splash because I am reaching for the brass ring.

Hey, I’m not Dead!

Good New! I am not dead! The typical foreboding nature of my winning streak didn’t kill me. How do I know? Quite frankly there are lots of reasons. My legs hurt for one. I would hope when I am dead, I wouldn’t feel pain. I have started back training for my next half marathon and my legs are a little cranky after today’s session. It is almost time for new shoes, but I am going to wait a couple of more weeks before I buy new ones. I also checked my pulse…it was beating, clearly not dead. That is a good sign after working out.

I thought I would make a handy little pocket guide to know if you are dead or not. So here it is:

The Edmonton Tourist’s Top 11 Ways to Tell You are not Dead

  1. You don’t crave brains – or so I am told. Then you would be a Zombie… but Zombies aren’t dead – they are UNdead. I am not sure how that works and now I am confused.
  2. I BBQed on my deck last night. I made burgers. Yes it was dark. Yes it was cool (cold by non Edmontonian standards). I knew I wasn’t dead because my feet got cold. I was out there in my bare feet. Clearly not dead! However, excellent way to induce hyperthermia and cause death.
  3. I followed a pair of very nice calfs around the track yesterday… Clearly I am not dead. Great motivation too.
  4. I saw a fetus doll yesterday for the first time. I was GOBSMACKED. I had no idea what to say. Obviously I have seen everything now and can die, therefore I am not dead yet.
  5. The Time Capsule Con Smythe buried at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1931 was opened yesterday. As usual, the Toronto papers hyped it up because they are the center of the universe. After opening it…just lame stuff and a white elephant. Very disappointing yet predictable. Unlike Vegas, if it happens in Toronto – Then everyone hears about it. Had it been exciting news coming from Toronto, then I would have had a heart attack and died. I still have a pulse…I just checked.
  6. It is the decade of sequels. Ferris Buller 2 is coming out…I can’t be dead!
  7. On that note…Star Trek 2 is coming out this summer too… I can be dead AFTER watching Chris Pine
  8. I suppose those last two don’t really qualify to tell if you are dead. This one will – The only fictional man to make me swoon just thinking about reading about him again… Mr. Darcy – ya you know what I mean <wink wink> I don’t think there is swooning once you are dead…I hope I am wrong about this one.
  9. I still want chocolate and a diet coke everyday – not dead… Now I’m wishing I were…
  10. The Edmonton Oilers are STILL rebuilding since 1991. If I was dead, we would be Stanley Cup Champions again.
  11. Finally, George Eliot said “It is never too late to be what you might have been” I am not there yet…so I can’t possibly be dead yet. There you have it…

Now that I am dead, facebook can help me disapprove of you and other fun stuff to do posthumously

I have a couple of facebook friends who have passed on. I don’t mean they stopped updating their status’ because they are too busy to care if I know what they ate for breakfast. I mean… they DIED. This may be painful for some of my friends to read. So I will wait until you click over to another blog….it’s okay. I understand – just come back tomorrow okay?

When someone dies these facebook pages just sit there. Sure people come over to it and write things on the wall about missing them, wishing they were here…stuff like that. Unless someone knows your password to delete your page, then what? I have one “friend” who died 2 years ago. It was too painful for me to see their name pop up from the facebook monkey’s suggesting I write on their wall, or suggest friends to them. I had to unfriend them. Weird but true. I know they aren’t offended, they are dead. If they are offended…seriously get a life  haunt me already. Knowing them the way I do, they could care less if I unfriended them.

Mashable posted this

I Die lets “you” post a final message to your wall and loved one when you’re dead. After installing the app, you choose three “trustees” (Facebook friends) who are charged with verifying your death. Users can then record videos or craft any number of Facebook posts to be published posthumously. When your trustees confirm your death, your messages can be published all at once to your Facebook wall or released on a designated schedule.

I think I could have a lot of fun with this! Posting little messages weekly, reminding people things or just looking at them in a disapproving manner and saying – I can see your every move. I know what you are doing in the car when you think no one is watching. This could be the ultimate revenge!

But what would I say? And more importantly who do I trust (that is sure to live longer than me) to post this video to my facebook wall?

Well, first of all they must be facebook friends, so that rules out my Aunt who is on top of all kind of details and would be PERFECT for this job. The fb friends must also be tech savvy, meaning they can add/delete and set privacy settings with ease. This rules out Joe because he can’t figure out how to let me and AnotherGoalSetter see his mobile album on fb. It also has to be someone who – chances are – will live longer than me. They must be younger than me but not too young that it would be traumatic, so not the OffSpring. I think the best choice is The Photographer Farrah Fowler. She is my wingman and co-admin on The Edmonton Tourist Fan Page. She is reliable and loyal to the nth degree. My next choice would be Chicken Hawk. Chicken Hawk would make a list and add me to it. Then a neat check mark would go beside my name and poof! My posthumous video would be on my wall for all to see. My third choice (because Mashable recommends 3 fb friends for optimum performance) is FavNiece. She is smart, younger and knows how to do illegal cool stuff with technology. Excellent choice Edmonton Tourist, if I do say so myself. Note to my wingmen – contact Oracle regularly. He lives in Australia the future and will know when I die.

Now what should me message be? I thought I would record a few samples like “Uncle Bloefeld – it’s TRUE you do need dracma to get passage to Hades” or “the winning lotto numbers are…” or ” up the hill, around the rock, over the bridge under the Lodgepole pine tree, 4th from the left but to the right of the Mountain ash, is a box burried in a hole about 2 feet down”

but I decided the “look of disapproval” would be fitting for most people I know. It can’t be suitable for different events in many different contexts.

What do you think? More importantly, what would YOU say?