Musings of the Tourist

Do you even remember me?

I have a new blog, new look, new attitude   scratch that, same attitude. I still look at things with humor. I find things odd and I have become less tolerant of immature behavior.  I chalk it up to being old -ish.  I have figured out a lot of things and now I am ready to just be. I am celebrating the butterfly stage. For those of you wanting more detail, head over to the About ME page, it’s all there. Meanwhile, I am forging new ground for myself and calling it Musings of The Edmonton Tourist.

I spent my summer thinking…I should blog about that – but I didn’t have the forum. I knew I would come back to the bloggoshere, eventually. Let’s get started shall we? We have to catch up!

This summer I started a new project with a friend of mine that I will announce in January. It is pretty exciting and takes up a lot of my time. It makes me crazy and it makes me laugh. I am inspired by it and I wish it was a paying job. Meanwhile, I love spending all my spare time on it. Curious? HA! wait for it. It will blow your mind.

Then I did the usual things like run races, go to festivals, hang out with friends and read. Wait a tic…I didn’t read much.  I quit book club because I need more time to read books I want to read. I just don’t have all the time in the world lately – did I ever? But the moment that sticks out in my mind was  my sister’s wedding. It was a beautiful affair in her backyard with just family. My brother, of course was there.

When I say of course, that isn’t a given. You may expect my brother to show up for these events but circumstances are such that he may or may not make it. He requires lots of reminders, as does my sister. I am known as the family calendar. I am suppose to remind everyone of these major events. But this past year has me forgetting everything. Clearly we have now all reached that age of forgetfulness.

I arrived at my sister’s wedding decked out in my new fabulous red shoes and Teal Dress that is – 7 sizes smaller than I would have previously bought. I know 7 SIZES SMALLER!! The back yard was filled with Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head decorations, Hot Wheels as a cake topper and charming black and white photos of the Bride and Groom and their family. Hmm, when I put it that way is sounds redneck, but honestly it was fabulous and charming! The Ice Cream Truck drove by and the Bride and Groom ran to get ice cream, the even got their picture taken in the back of the ice cream truck. Cute and adorable!

I was hanging out visiting with all the people I love in the back yard and my brother came to join the conversation. He will always be Mikey to me. My baby brother 1.5 years younger than myself. My partner in crime and my bench mark for when my kids do bad stuff. I say to myself, “Did Mickey and I do that? Is it worse than anything we had ever done? No? My kids are then ANGELS.” It’s true, Mikey and I were HELLIONS in a big way. From having campfires under the bed to skipping school for an entire week when we were in Grade 5 and 3, we were bad, but we have great stories for our kids!

So Mikey comes up to me and says,

M: “Hey, I called you to wish you a happy birthday!”

Me: When?

M: Yesterday, wasn’t yesterday your birthday?

Me: Yes, Awww Thanks Mikey I don’t think you ever called me before!

M: Well, I was really calling because I needed help updating my Apple TV

Me: Oh… gee thanks

M: Well, I CALLED! How come you didn’t call me back?

Me: Did you leave a message?

M: No I hung up.

Me: Then how was I to know you called?

M: You don’t have fink phone?

Me: Only for numbers in my phone, I don’t have yours because you never answer the phone, so whats the point?

M: True, but you still should have called me back.

Now if you can see the logic in that, I will introduce you to my brother, I am sure you will get along famously.

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

There has been some serious rainfall here. While other parts of the world are experiencing extreme heat, I pulled on a hoody and warm socks to stay inside. There was a time I would have bare feet from April to October. Not this year. The snow was over my head in winter, and I get wetter walking outside than I do swimming in the summer. I can list a million reasons why this summer bites. However, that isn’t helping my quest to show more gratitude and be more thankful. So the up side is?

      1. Dragonflies are HUGE!
      2. Grass is very green!
      3. The berries are extra juicy!
      4. The air smells fresh!
      5. The clover is gorgeous!
      6. There is lots of water in the river, creeks, bogs, sloes and ponds!
      7. (This is getting REALLY HARD!) Falling asleep to the sound of rain on the roof is soothing!
      8. Saving money on not watering the lawn!
      9. You can play “Pooh Sticks” in the street!
      10. I didn’t have to set up my pool this year (or last year)
      11. You can always find a picnic table for Friday night family picnics
      12. There are NO crowds at Capital X (the fair grounds)
      13. Alex Tagliani got to rest today – The Indy was a rain out
      14. The rain barrel is full.

The rainbows and evening skies have been beautiful and there have been cold weather funnel warnings. As hard as I try to be grateful, would a little more sun hurt? Please?


Happy Solstice

Today is the Summer Solstice. I know it is quite significant to some people for various reasons. For me, it is the reason I love to live and play in Edmonton. This picture was taken from my deck at 9:44 PM. We will have a total of 17 hours of sunshine today – not counting that brief thunderstorm. Sunset in the Northwest sky is at 10:07 PM. The light will linger long after midnight with the sky in the north not ever getting black but staying a very dark blue. To me there is nothing finer than long lazy evenings on my deck or at a family picnic. Lots of great things happened to me today. Solstice is one of them.

Reno Time!

My sister came over to drink Bacardi fruit juice today. We sat on my deck and talked, caught up in each other’s lives while I was suppose to be doing homework. She I invited her family over for dinner. An impromptu affair of hotdogs cooked over the fire and a salad with, of course, more bacardi fruit juice. It really was fabulous. We laughed and talked, and watched the neighbor put an addition onto his deck.

You really need to see this deck. It scares me. This guy’s deck if one story off the ground. About 10 feet high. He crippled or laminated ( I do not know the terminology) the beam to the old one, with a few nails. He has added 2-3 feet of extra deck without supports. I’m am worried I will come home one day to carnage in his back yard. Him and his wife laying on the ground below with little “x’s” over their eyes, and a ring of birds flying in a circle over their heads. When I say birds I mean vultures. Nothing good can come from a guy whose saw spews out blew smoke because the blade is too dull and makes up the plans as he goes along. I am guessing he doesn’t have a permit.

Apparently you don’t need a building permit to build stuff. Take THAT Mike Holmes, shows what YOU know!

I know this because on my many, many walks around the city I see the results of non-planning popping up all over the place! You all know how I feel about having a PLAN. It is just good sense to plan and be prepared. That is what good goal setting is all about!

Let me share a few examples of people saying to their spouse “Honey, I think we should build a….” Knowing they should HIRE someone, but watch enough HGTV to know they can do it themselves. Afterall, how hard can it be? Anyway…. I was walking past a home, and noticed four walls going up on a deck that is built high off the ground. A balcony of sorts. The guy is building an In-Law suit with a DECK as the foundation. I don’t know about you, but I am pretty sure they didn’t have a permit for that. How do I know? I am blessed with the gift of COMMON SENSE. I live in EDMONTON. Edmonton has summer 3 months a year. My summer is Bokkie’s winter, so she would disagree profusely with my definition of summer. Being that it is winter the REST of the year, building a room on stilts is going to be cold. He needs to super duper insulate that sucker. -40 is FREAKING COLD in January. This isn’t Aftrica or the Middle East or even the USA. This is CANADA. You say CANADA and you instantly think Great White North, Touques, beavers, moose, igloos and Beer. Maybe that is the problem, too much planning and building happen while sitting around a Newfie Kitchen Party drinking screetch. No good can every come from that!

So, of course, my sister and I were drinking Bacardi fruit juice and started planning like good Canadians do…

We decided I need an in-law suit on my deck. We could staple a pool or hot tub to the side of the deck to free up floor space. It could be lovely! Throw down a few ikea rugs for warmth, tack up some walls and viola! A perfect extra home for my Mom if she wants to live with us! It would be perfect for her because A> she doesn’t use heat in the winter now, so she won’t miss it and B> I want to come home to my mom’s dinners again. Win/Win!

Then we talked about my garden shed. I refer to it as the Cabana. It is located beside my wading pool. The one I love to float in and read all summer in the olden days before homework. My Garden Shed would be perfect for my Dad! Put up a hammock add a few vending machines, maybe a tred- mill, and my dad would be perfectly happy. It has electricity so he could play Mah jong on his computer. It isn’t insulated, but that shouldn’t matter, he is use to mom not allowing heat in their home.

See how Canadians come up with brilliant plans? Who needs permits? Not us! Now you know why we value our publicly funded health care system.


What am I going to use that Klondike Dollar for now?

Dressed and ready for the Klondike Promenade

Today is the last day of my summer vacation. No one cares? That is okay, I am well rested and excited about heading back to work. This summer I set a goal for myself. Happily I achieved it! It was my intent that I would attend as many Edmonton Festivals as possible. Edmonton has a bit of a reputation for being Festival City. All year-long, right here in River City, there are many fantastic festivals and some that are just meh. This Summer I was able to attend 9. That meant heading out every weekend and trying something new. I went with family and friends, or brought my children and I even went solo on occasion.

It was an import goal for me because I didn’t want to waste my summer. In years past, I have over planned my vacation, enjoyed every minute during the usual 10 days away, then came home a floated in the pool. It sounds much more glamorous than it really is. My pool is a 32″ deep wadding pool. Just big enough for me to float on an air mattress, have my standard issue beverage with paper umbrella perched on the side, and read one book or more a week. Last summer it was 15 books. This summer it was 2.

Now if you have read my past blogs dear reader, then you know that I don’t consider reading to be a waste of time. But I always felt I could do more with my days other than clean and organize my linen closet. Don’t get me wrong, I did that too, but I wanted to explore this great city I live in. And I did that.

When I was small, Edmonton didn’t have as many festivals, but the ones we had were so amazing! The biggest and Best was called Klondike Days. I know you are thinking – the Klondike was in the Yukon not Edmonton! True. Edmonton was known as the “gateway to the Klondike” the Alaska highway is just down the road and for the longest time Edmonton was the last major city to get supplies before heading north. So that’s how we called it Klondike Days.

Klondike Days had 10 days of bizarre and fun activities as well as a midway. There was everything from Bathtub races down Jasper Avenue to the Sourdough Raft races on the North Saskatchewan River. Sunday was the Promenade. Jasper Avenue would close down for the afternoon and people would dress up in their Klondike finery and stroll dawn the street parading around like peacocks with feathers in the lady’s hair and straw hats on the gents heads. Thinking about it now seems unbelievable that people would take the time and effort to do this. Shop owners would paint their store windows with Klondike themed pictures, the city would use Klondike dollars for currency during the 10 days.

The year I was 4, my mom made matching pink Klondike dresses and hand bags for me, her sister and herself. I felt like a princess! We went downtown and walked with the hundreds of other people in their Klondike attire. Stopping to look at booths set up for the street fair. People would stop and compliment us on our gowns. I loved every minute of it! If you weren’t dressed up there was a chance that you would be thrown into the Klondike jail and would have to be bailed out. That terrified  me, so I was secretly glad we had the pretty pink dresses.

I couldn’t be bothered with all of that costuming now, and I am sure no one else can either, which is largely the reason for the festival to be changed in the first place. Now it is just Capital Ex. A non descriptive midway carnival with not a lot of other things going on during that week. Thankfully there are other festivals with flair and flash that make festival season here fun.

I am thankful that my mom thought it was important to get out and explore the world where you live. It has brought a richer sense of community into my life and I appreciate home after traveling. It makes me feel like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, “There’s No Place Like Home”. I am trying to bring that sense to my children and hope they carry fun and crazy memories with them into their adult lives.

This summer I learned that to be a tourist in your own life, you really need to take the time to get to explore and discover your surroundings in order to better understand your personal journey.