My Secret Kiss

How patriotic are you? Look at this guy

now either he has a statue fetish, entirely possible, or this guy is truly grateful for everything Lady Liberty stands for. I can’t think of anything symbolically Canadian I would kiss…that’s a lie, I would kiss Lord’s Stanley’s Cup. I have seen it up close and it is very shiny. We ALL know how I feel about shiny! However, the Stanley Cup is not uniquely Canadian. Blablabla…what ever you are WRONG. Ask New York how they felt about winning the Stanley Cup, or Boston. The original 6 teams get the significance. So as it stands, the cup does not count.

When Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics there was a united enhancement of patriotism across the country. I felt it, Quebec felt it and the Maritime felt it. Ontario always feels it, but us prairies and maritimes not so much. certainly not Quebec, they are always trying to leave. So for the first time in my life IN Canada I felt patriotic. When I travel I always feel Patriotic. I love it when people find out I am a Canuck and welcome me with open arms. That is one of the biggest reasons I love to travel. As a Canadian, it often feels like I have a special privilege visiting other countries. I am thankful and always grateful for the opportunity.

What symbol or artifact would make me want to kiss it? Certainly not a statue of John A. MacDonald. He was Canada’s first Prime Minister. I tend to look at Ministers and Politicians with an air of contempt or mistrust. I get there isn’t anything they can do until the rules change and the house is cleared after every election. It is the people who work for the politicians who have the real power. So no, that is not it.

How about the Last Spike? That is the the piece of the railroad that united the entire country, well theoretically at least. I was there. I didn’t feel like kissing it.Then there is the Giant Perogy on a Fork in Glendon, Alberta…although it looks tasty it isn’t something that I want to kiss.

There is something that I would miss if it wasn’t here anymore or if i moved to New York to hang out with Lady Liberty and pick up guys. I would miss Queen Elizabeth Park and a meaning of summer.

Queen E park symbolizes to me Summer Time. The most coveted time of the year in Edmonton, and may I be so bold and say, all of Canada with the exception of those parts out west that have spring all year long. Im sure they love summer too. They get a TON of rain.

Winter is so dark and cold and, well…SNOWY! When the time springs forward in March – can I just say I hate it? I do. It feels like jet lag without the awesomeness of a great tan or nifty souvenir – As I was saying, when the time springs forward in March, the geese magically appear. The Sun sets at 7:30pm and the snoweater arrives. Sure it’s still cold but the wind and sun are doing damage to the snow that the winter sun couldn’t do. When this happens, I know it is time to start thinking about Friday Night Picnics. The earliest we ever had one was in April. I am hoping that will happen again. In Fact, I am going to plan Easter Dinner at Queen Elizabeth Park. Weiner Roast, Bottle of Red, CHOCOLATE and possibly family that might be brave enough to join me. If I promise a fire, my offspring will come.

The question remains, Why is Queen Elizabeth Park my special stolen kiss? That requires an Edmonton Tourist top 11 list.

  1. It was the place where I had the first picnic with my children. Then we headed off to the Castle for a swim. They don’t usually want to swim afterwards now. A walk along the river with their Grandpa is what they prefer now.
  2. It was the place where I sat and talked on the bench with my best friend. We talked about things and stupid stuff and it made me realize how incredible special they truly are.
  3. It was the place where my friends and family came to celebrate my completion of my first Half Marathon. It meant a lot to me that they all came.
  4. It was the place where my mom and I stole picked Lilacs to fill our homes with smells that reminded me of my house as a little kid. My Grandma doesn’t have lilacs anymore but they remind me of her and her back yard.
  5. It was the place where I started to record family stories. I learned the importance of hearing stories and sharing them.
  6. It was the place where I saw a my first deer in the city. Sure there are TONS of them running around in the country, but you rarely see them in the city. The river valley is a great place to view wildlife and never have to leave the comfort of an urban space.
  7. All the saskatoons, strawberries and raspberries are yours for the taking!
  8. Skunks Hollow is located in that park. It is Edmonton’s BEST kept secret! I want a house there someday.
  9. Our picnic spot is always available, ALWAYS…it’s a sign
  10. Friday Night’s there is the best way to kick off the weekend always. When I can’t go, I resent it.
  11. Queen Elizabeth Park was the last place we had a picnic with my Grandpa.






Looking across Yellowknife Old Town towards N'...
Image via Wikipedia

I had extreme deja vu the last couple days. Not the kind where I felt “I have done this before”, but the kind where you hear your grandpa’s voice echo in your memories or you speak and it’s your mom’s words. Maybe that isn’t deja vu, maybe it is old age where you actually turn into your parents or grandparents (much to your 16 year old self’s horror).

I am not that horrified. That surprises me.

It all started when I read a blog from a fellow in Yellowknife. I lived there when I was 6. Yellowknife, North West Territories, Canada. It is in the Arctic. (Yes it is cold, yes it is hot, yes there are a lot of mosquitos, yes I saw a ptarmigan, yes I ate caribou, yes I ate arctic char, yes it was too cold to start the car in the winter so we walked. When Grandma came to visit she brought a suitcase full of food. In the early 70’s it felt like another planet. TV Football games came up on the truck in a can a week after the fact. Everything was a week after the fact. It was kind of like living in the past.) I googled street viewed Yellowknife last night. I found the fire station – it was red when I was a kid, now it’s blue. My school is gone and a new one is in it’s place. It is just as rocky as I remember, it is on the Canadian Sheild. There is more grass than there was when I lived there but everything else looks the same. Except my house. I found it. It was a blue duplex. It now has crazy shack-like additions all over the other side of the duplex – not my side. I remembered the road where the ravens worked together to open a trash can. One would lift the lid, and two would carry out the trash bag. It was a sight to behold! Those birds were smart and the size of turkeys, at least to a 6 year old they were.

I was so excited to see my house, I called out to my kids “HEY! Want to see the house I lived in when I was in Yellowknife?” They both came running and looked for 1.2 seconds then they saw a cloud that looked like Pooh and Piglet. I almost yelled “Get back here I am showing you my history and teaching you something!” But I didn’t. I never let those words leave my lips. I remember my Grandpa saying those to me when he was showing me endless booooooooooooooring stuff about Humboldt, Saskatchewan. Suddenly, I realized how Grandpa felt about reliving those memories and wanting to share them with me. Did I care? Eventually I did. Not at the time. As an adult I sat and listened to the Humbolt stories. Sometimes my kids ask me about when I was little. Rarely I talk about the Arctic. I lived there for 2 years. Maybe they will ask more one day. It is fun to sit around at family picnics and talk about the funny stuff when my siblings and I were little. Our kids love hearing those stories.

Tonight at the family picnic, we were talking about how my parents dressed when we were young. Dad in his Family Tartan Suit jacket with matching tie. Mom with her hair teased a million miles high. It’s funny to remember the perms and leisure suits, dickies and white paten leather shoes with matching belts. Fashion of years past is hilarious.

Somehow the topic was changed to pickles and brine. Then mom turns to dad and has the following conversation:

Mom: Remember that town we were in where all those people bought that Buffalo mozzarella to take home on the plane?

Dad: What town? We have been in 500 000 towns.

Mom: You know, THAT town where the cheese was.

Dad: Well THAT helps.

Mom: YOU KNOW THAT TOWN, it had that place, the place with the THING!!!

Dad: Well, THAT narrows it DOWN!

Mom: It started with C something, You know THAT TOWN!!! WITH THE CHEESE!!!

As if emphasizing THAT TOWN helped dad remember. My sister and I laughed, but I had a scary realization, some day that is going to me. There would be me yelling to my kids, you know, THAT THING! That THING I NEED!! Then call my daughter every girl name I know but hers. I can see it coming.

Oh well, it makes for a fun picnic.


So This Is It…Good Bye

Well it’s been nice knowing you! The world is about to end and yet here I sit blogging. Genetic offspring is pacing the house waiting to use his “Red Alert” app on his iPod Touch.

I spent my last day on Earth talking to the people who mean most to me, both here in Edmonton and else where in the world. I kept up with tradition and went on one of our famous Friday Night Family Picnics! We sat in the traditional way my Cree Sister-in-law loves to call “a White Man Pow Wow”. What is that you ask? a circle of lawn chairs around a smoking fire. Sans the smoking fire because of the total fire ban right now in Alberta. This concerns me because when the fire balls start falling from heaven, Alberta will go up like a match! Clearly I shall die by fire ball. I’m cool with that. I like to make dramatic exits.

During “the White Man Pow Wow”, we discussed the end of the world. My mom said, won’t WE be sorry when it happens and we will all be sitting here thinking “huh…who knew?” On the way home my children we concerned about all the potential looting that may occur. Then Genetic Offspring said, “if my stuff has been looted I will be REALLY TICKED!” So being the fair mom I am, I told him if he was looted, he could loot too. This caused a stir of excitement. Most kids would go to the Best Buy and get games or TVs, not my kid. No HE wants to go to the local school and walk out with a Smart Board and a Tesla Coil.

So this End of the World business had me thinking. If I had one last day to spend, what should I be doing? There are so many things I have not done yet because I wasted so much time not knowing what I should be doing!! Now that I know what I want and am working on achieving those goals, it would really TICK me off to not have finished them! With that said, I do have a list of things I want to do that are not a part of my big picture. Maybe they should be. These things would fulfill me just as much as getting my Degree and MBA, or walking a half marathon.

This is my plan, I will make a list of 5 things that I would want to do on my last day on Earth. I will throw them into a hat, and on the last day I will pick one.

  1. Go to Disneyland on my Birthday with my best friend.
  2. Go to New York and Buy a Tiffany Key. It’s the last day so I can afford to charge it to my visa.
  3. Sit on a bench in Central Park and watch the world go by.
  4. Stand in the middle of Stone Henge.
  5. Watch the sun set in Santorini.

Maybe I shouldn’t wait for the end of the world to do this. Seize the moment. I think I need to get started on these quests.

Meanwhile, I on Twitter today and saw what Jann Arden was tweeting. She tweeted this today, “I would like to know if heaven has a “fast pass” like Disneyland? Cause it’s gonna be nuts tomorrow to get in.”

Good Bye World! Or at the very least Good Night, I’ll see you in the morning.