Easing Back into Life

Alberta is heading into Stage 3 for July 1. In three weeks time and my family will be two weeks post full vaccination. My friend texted me this morning to share her vaccination news with a “Let’s do something in July!” HARD YES.

I miss friends.

Work gave the option of working from home for the whole summer and coming back after September long weekend or going in after July. I am choosing the easy commute and lunch on my deck. So work from home it is!

I am taking a day off this week to celebrate 25 years of marriage with the hubs. Not 25 years of bliss but a solid foundation of trust and comfort. I don’t trust very many people and feel safe with even less. My comfort circle is very tiny. I just counted 11 people I completely trust and feel safe with. Maybe that is a normal amount and I just have high expectations or maybe I have put myself in disappointing situations wanting to trust people who I knew would walk away with a blade between the shoulders.

Anyway…doesn’t life go by in a blink? The hubs and I went through the ordeal of reservations this morning to a local bistro that a requires 48 hour menu selection and a $100 deposit in case we change our minds. This place came highly recommended and its a new type of experience. We will be dining on the patio in a igloo – not the snow and ice type of my NWT childhood, but rather a dome to protect me from unwanted germy people. I like the idea and it is a good first step to ease me back into the idea of dining out. I really want to go to the Sugar Bowl with friends, drink beer and eat popcorn. But my anxiety won’t let me do it right away, I need to gently ease myself into those situations.

I need to ease myself into most situations. Here is the strange part, I am fine with change but I don’t like surprises. I like to know what’s coming. If you said I need to pack up and move across the country – fine, don’t spring it on me that morning, I need to hear it and adjust. I think most people are like that. It’s about mourning the things you are used to and and getting excited about new things.

Stage three is like that for me. I like being home. The idea of not being home is a little bit scary but also exciting. I need time to adjust. I am not resisting it, I am just sitting with the idea in preparation for something different. Life is not going to be the same. BUT – it will be kinda the same with some new elements, like never being able to be spontaneous again. Businesses like knowing how many people to expect. So the appointment system will remain. I like (and I am sure my doctor does too) phone call appointments for prescription renewal. I LOVE curbside pickup. I never want that to leave.

I have been back at the office one or two times a week for short periods to review things and send in invoices. It has been so nice to see people in person rather that on the video screen. I cannot image how hard it has been for new staff to start work on our team from home. It is a strange new world. But I like it.

This new world has shown me that boundaries are excellent for my mental health. Small groups make me feel safe. I can’t trust everyone so limiting that group has been excellent for my mental health. I expect travel to be very different once I begin to head out into the world next year. My first trip will be a road trip – I don’t know if air travel will be easy for me ever again. I am excited to explore my country and go places I have never been.

I want to visit an amethyst mine in northern Ontario. I want to eat poutine in Montreal. I want to dip my toes in the ocean while standing on a red beach in PEI. I want to walk around Niagara on the Lake and see what the fuss is about. I want to see an iceberg float by while they still exist. I want to walk on the cobbled streets of Quebec City.

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The second trip I want to take is also a road trip, but it will be to the USA. I feel uncomfortable about that, but I can do hard things. I want to drive to Sedona and explore energy vortexes. I want to go to the Hot Air Balloon Festival. I want to spend some time at the Gulf of Mexico and I really want to see the Florida Keys and go to Judy Blume’s book store. I want to go to Vero Beach and watch turtles.

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The third trip will be back to Tofino, BC to say hello to my friend Ocean at Chesterman Beach, visit Feather George and sleep in a room while listening to the ocean gently lulling me to sleep. Visit Zoe and eat her grape pizza and stop on the way home to pick up sugar pumpkins and maybe a case of Macintosh apples.

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Stage three can’t come soon enough. But also it can wait.

Stay healthy friends!

Edmonton Tourist: Muttart Conservatory

I am getting braver. I still won’t go inside public buildings, except for grocery and pharmacy. But I am visiting lesser visited outdoor public spaces. This week I went to a few spots in Edmonton’s beautiful river valley.

September is sunflower season here. I was starting to see sunflowers pop up on my Instagram feed. I thought I would go and see if the Horticultural Society was still maintaining the gardens at the Muttart. The Muttart Conservatory is closed this year and next for extensive renovations. Hindsight tells them, it was good timing, the same goes for Fort Edmonton. Timing is everything! The new LRT line is under construction and quite frankly the roads are a mess.

But…

This scares people off and I’m for it.

The parking lot at the Muttart was surprisingly full but I learned that was for the construction. I found a spot in the north section and parked. A few masks were tossed on the ground. Your mom doesn’t work here so clean up after yourself. You should be ashamed. Clip those loops and toss in the trash. Better yet, purchase a pile of reusables and wash them. At least you are wearing a mask…

Captain and I walked south towards the cute little foot bridge at the path entrance.

There were a few people walking around but only two small families. My first thought was this would be a lovely spot for a wedding. I knew an Egyptian family who immigrated here years ago. They held their daughter’s wedding photos here because of the pyramids. They were beautiful photos.

I had forgotten there was a gazebo too.

This park is really charming. Cap was pulling me onward towards the gardens. I instantly spied the sunflower bed. So we headed towards it.

It shared space with zinnias, or at least I think they are zinnias. Fun fact, they were Lois Holes favourite flower – or at least she said they were in her annuals book.

You can’t tell from this photo but the space between the gardens and the cityscape is the LRT construction. Crouch low so you get the best vantage point.

The bees were busy gathering pollen for winter. I found a few hives mounted on trees to support bee life here in Edmonton, SAVE OUR POLLINATORS!

I took a pile of photos of just sunflowers. You can check those out on Instagram, some even star bees.

We wandered around the flower beds and found the afternoon to be relaxing. I missed this. I miss Edmonton’s parks. But I am reluctant to go to many places. Usually the colder weather reduces the number of people in the parks, so I am going to check more out this fall. I am not afraid of cold and snow, and it keeps people inside. All the better for me.

My plan was to climb up on top of the conservatory. The conservatory is built into the ground with the centre courtyard a flat space for walking around and looking into the greenhouse pyramids. I climbed up the steep bank only to find the walkway closed. Sad sigh on my part.

We climbed back down and walked around the south side of the conservatory. This area was ankle deep grass. It wasn’t mowed all season.

I knew the community gardens were around the west side of the conservatory so we headed there. These gardens are overrun with weeds but we found strawberries, peppers, green tomatoes, chard and milkweed.

I turned around an saw a tiny path that let to Dove of Peace Park, but I will save that for next week.

Have you been to the Muttart Gardens? It is a perfect place to sit and meditate or wander around and smell the flowers. It is worth a visit.

November

October went by in a blink and I did participate and experience some cool things like looking at street art in St. Albert. Tell me this isn’t the coolest bench you have ever seen?

I checked out more Provincial Parks and went to Pembina River with my pal Cap.

I had warm cookies and milk at Confections Cake Company  – the best cookies I ever had that I didn’t bake.

I went to Soul Speak in St. Albert and met wonderful people, joined a meditation circle and won a book! YAY, I love winning things!

Now I am looking to November and thinking about the possibilities as winter begins to set it. I am not wanting to feel like I am housebound so I have made some plans and am going to see The Waitress at the Jubilee, but I also hope to get to see the Six before it goes to Broadway.  I am looking forward to exploring Edmonton as the mood hits me. As usual, I have listed some fun free things to do in Edmonton and the surrounding area as well as keep you posted on the festivals that are happening around our city.

  1. Gotta Minute film festival. November 4-10, 2019 Explore Edmonton hasn’t listed this but you should take part anyways. One minute silent shorts will be shown on LRT platforms and the Stanley Milner Library. This is a great opportunity for me to get to the new library and see it’s weirdness in person. You can watch the films via the web page but in person is better for the true experience. Plus – free festivals ARE THE BEST!
  2. All is Bright! November 16, 6:00 PM Helen Nolan Park will have a light ceremony all apart of the All is Bright Festival down at 124 street. I have never been to this festival but I have plans this year to attend. Plus I have a feeling we are in for a mild winter – so it will feel great to be outside! Or at least fingers crossed about the milder winter.
  3. Winter Whyte Light Up, Nove 30, 4:00- 7:00 at Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park
    8331 104 St NW, Edmonton. Lights, Farmers MArket and other seasonal offerings happening courtesy of the Old Strathcona Business Association.
  4. The Downtown City market is now open at the old GWG building. Located on 97 street.

Festivals

November is packed with festivals to participate in, the problem is finding time to do them all. Not all of them are free and actually, not very many are free. Here is a quick list of happenings around our community:

  1. Festival of Trees 
  2. Edmonton Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Festival
  3. All is Bright Festival
  4. Festival of Carols
  5. Conservatory Fall Music Festival
  6. Dickens Fest
  7. Zoominescence: A Festival of Light at the Valley Zoo
  8. St. Albert Snowflake Festival
  9. Enchanted Forest Fort Saskatchewan 
  10. Festival of Trees Sherwood Park
  11. Festival of Trees Leduc
  12. Christmas in Central Park Spruce Grove

 

Get out and explore your community Edmonton!