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)

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.


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.

Throw Back Thursday: The Skidoo Suit


All you poor Canadian kids and you northern American kids who survived winters from the 70’s, I feel your fashion shame. For all you greeners and save the planet geeks who know the facts on global warming, let me set you straight. 1972 the scientists announced to the world that we were headed into the next ICE AGE. I know, I know… whatever… Say what you want, but I believed them. For some reason (global warming or ice age part II) the ’70’s were freaking cold and I remember blizzards that lasted for DAYS (1973) and snow drifts that reached half way up the door. Walking to school required a herculean effort and massively strong legs because when you are a kid, deep snow came up to your waist – not lying and I have proof. My mom and her best friend in the 60s:

Winters got worse after that. Then manufacturers decided that kids needed protection from the cold because their parents were going to make them walk to school, up hill both ways, in -40F temperatures. (The uphill both ways was from climbing snowbanks that were the size of Mt. Logan. Up was hard, but down on a toboggan was crazy fun!) Enter the Skidoo Suit:

You will notice it is made of fabric that ATTRACTS SNOW. This was optimum for freezing to death, frost bite and stiff legs. Now there is something call snow suits or snow pants and parkas. Now they come in a variety of colours, not battleship grey, and have tech fabric to repel snow and keep you warm for hours.

The best part of the skidoo suit was the one piece nature and the zipper that would go too high on your neck and catch the skin in the teeth. I still wince at the pain of that. You could never stretch your neck back enough and your mom or granny would catch it every time. It took forever to become completely bundled, so of course you needed to visit the little girls room and unbundle.

Winter is exhausting.

We had a foot of snow drop here yesterday. I don’t wear snow pants any longer, but have long johns, mukluks and a toque. I’m considering snowbirding in southern Italy this year. I don’t think I would need a skidoo suit there.

Welcome to winter!



I Wonder What My Doppelganger is doing right now.

It can stop snowing already.  To night was Winter Concert night at the local Junior High School. We live close enough to walk. Did I want to? No. Why you ask? It was snowing with a windchill temperature of -33C. I still haven’t found a winter coat I like, so here is me walking in my light fall jacket and shoes. Was I cold, sure but it is my own fault. However, the snow needs to stop. There is no where else to put it. We passed this car in a driveway. They buried their car in an effort to free up some room to walk. Time for public transit. I’m not going to lie. The Snow and cold are bringing me down. Then I sat for two hours at a Jr. High Band concert. I can tell you are jealous of me. You should be. My day was awesome.

As I sat in the freezing cold gym listening to the musical stylings of 12, 13 & 14 year olds, I was thinking about what my doppelganger must be doing at this very moment.

For those of you who don’t know, a doppelganger is a person who looks just like you, but not your biological twin. In fact, they are unrelated.

I met mine in 1990. I was at a shop in Inverness, Scotland, and she was the grocery  cashier. It was a weird and awkward moment. My traveling companion, who I lovingly refer to as Idiot Stick (long story, and yes it is an appropriate nickname) started giggling uncontrollably and kept looking back at her then at me. He looked like he was watching a tennis match. I stood in front of her and we just stared at each other. We never smiled. We just stared. She had the same dark curly hair as me, blue eyes, and the same red cheeks. We couldn’t speak, words just were not there. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was like gazing into a mirror.

My brother claims we had seen her years before while camping in the UK. If it was the same gal, that would be twice in my lifetime of meeting my doppelganger. I’m sure people go their whole life never meeting theirs, and here I am living in Canada, vacationing in Scotland TWICE and meeting her. That is odd enough to call Leonard Nemoy and give him another episode of In Search Of

So as I sat there, listening to the music, my mind started to wonder…I bet she isn’t as cold as me…I bet she is planning a beach holiday…I bet she is dating George Clooney on the sly…I bet she is visiting Tiffany and Co. in New York this summer…

Inverness Tourist, if you are reading this, email me. I would like to know what you are up to!

So Where’s Your Snow Now?

Last week New York received a pile and a half of snow. It made international news. INTERNATIONAL NEWS! Yes there was a lot. Yes it was “coldish”. Yes it is WINTER.

This last weekend Alberta was hit with a TON OF SNOW. Did it make international news? I don’t think so. Was there a lot of snow? Yes. Was it cold? Yes it IS winter! It is always cold in winter. New York’s snow is nearly gone, it may be all gone, I don’t live there I don’t know for sure. The weather in New York was above freezing, and my scientific knowledge tells me snow melts when the temp is above 32F or 0C. Our snow wont leave until April – if we are lucky.

In New York, I learned on Facebook, that some people couldn’t make it into work, or didn’t even try because of the snow. Here in Edmonton, there is no such thing as a snow day. You have work? Better leave early. You have school? Better leave early. You need to go shopping? Be careful of the parking lot, you may get stuck.

My Offspring have been shoveling along with their Dad and every other citizen of Alberta the past few days. Chatterbox had to stop because she could no longer lift the snow OVER her head to store it on the lawn. I have good news for Chatterbox. The snow stopped and the sun came out! I have bad news for Genetic Offspring, there is more snow coming Thursday. Another 5″-10″ on top of the two feet we already have. Where are we going to put this stuff? The City hasn’t sent snowplows out to residential yet. Our neighbors all pitched in with shoveling the road so the cars wouldn’t get stuck. I think I need to buy a patio heater to melt the snow in my yard.

This is the view from my car window. I am backing out my driveway and looking to see if any cars are in the way. Can you see any?

This is the Snow Fort the Offspring made, the snowbank is nearly 6 feet high.

The view looking east at my neighbors garage – I can’t see it either.

The Sunset at 4:15 today looking out my window. This is why I live here. The amount of sunshine and blue sky is worth it to me.

Stay warm, have that shovel handy and keep your stick on the ice.  🙂


It’s so Cold My Nostrils Froze Shut

I ventured outside yesterday against my better judgment. I went to a gathering because my daughter had a commitment I wanted her to see through. We stepped into the attached garage, I took a deep breath, and my nostrils froze shut. Now for those of you who live here on the Prairies, or even have experienced  north of the 45th parallel cold you now what I mean. Frozen shut nostrils means it is COLD.

We hopped into my car after unplugging it. It took about 10 blocks before we could feel heat coming through the vents. We didn’t find it cold enough that our feet froze in an effort to keep the windows clear, so I was quite surprised to find out a tidbit of information at this gathering.

Yesterday Edmonton was the 3rd coldest place on the planet. Antarctica was the first, than Calgary. When the wind blew it felt like -39C. Yes that is cold, the kind of cold that makes your skin burn. I love it!

I know you think I am crazy, but I don’t mind the cold so much. I find it convenient. I put a box on my deck to freeze my baking ( the box keeps the birds away). I have hoped we would have the coldest winter on record. Why you ask? Because the Evil Genius lands in Vancouver today, he comes to Edmonton on Saturday. He lives in Australia the land of sun, heat and Dingos. He is leaving his summer behind to experience a winter in the Great White North.  He deserves a bitterly cold winter.

Its been a while, but here is The Edmonton Tourist’s Top 11 Best things about a Bitterly Cold Winter!

  1. The Sound of Snow! I know this may seem odd, but as it gets colder, there is a dense sound Sound seems to be absorbed by the snow. When you walk on it there is a crisp squeak beneath your boots. I love this sound!
  2. A Prairie Blue Sky! As the temperature drops, the sky just seems to get bluer, if that is even possible.
  3. The Sun Always Shines! When a High Pressure settles in for a long time, the sky stays clear, there is no extra snow and the sun shines all day!
  4. It’s a dry snow. Here on the prairies snow doesn’t tend to be wet and heavy until spring. In the winter snow is light, fluffy and dry. It gets on your clothes and you don’t get wet. You can stay outside longer because keeping dry means staying warm. Shoveling is easier – not that I know what it’s like to shovel snow, I have a Honey and Offspring for that.
  5. Everything takes longer. I like that. It is longer to get to work, it is takes longer to move around when you are bundled up, it is a lazier time, much more relaxing.
  6. Ice Fog. Ice fog produces beautiful sunrises and sunsets, keeps the trees and shrubs beautiful with the absence of leaves.
  7. Wool Socks. I love to be bare foot, but when it is cold there is nothing I like more than colourful cozy thick wool socks.
  8. Quilts. I use to quilt daily. That dwindled to occasionally, then eventually to never. However, I am so very happy I was prolific in my creations. I have enough cozy quilts for everyone to have on their bed, and an extra one each to wrap themselves in while sitting by the fire.
  9. Northern Lights. It seems to me, the colder it gets the clearer the skies and the brighter the Norther Lights get.
  10. Yorkshire Pudding. Has nothing to do with it being cold, but tastes better when it is cold outside.
  11. Frozen Breath. As a kid it was fun making designs with it or just puffing it out. I still like to do it.

I love that I live in a place that has four very different seasons. Winter isn’t my favorite of the four, but I would miss it if I didn’t have it any more.