Five Year Engagement -Thank You

Disclaimer-I wanted to apologize if my repeated use of the word fuck in my blog post the other day offended anyone. I am not apologizing for using the versatile, emotion conveying term, I am actually just sorry for you if you are offended. I think we spend way too much time being offended and though I try to keep things very upbeat and positive here (that is the whole purpose), the truth is life really sucks sometimes and that deserves to be acknowledged as well! Sometimes you are handed a bag of shit and expected to make shit pie. We do the best we can at any given moment.

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The Marshall Islands are a sprawling chain of volcanic islands and coral atolls in the central Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and the Philippines. Someone there has read my blog!

Happy five year anniversary to me

Today is the fifth year anniversary of my first blog post. Thanks to everyone who ever popped by, even if you found yourself here by accident. This is a pretty big deal to me!!! Five years. Besides marriage and motherhood; which I hide from both occasionally,  I am not really good with long engagements. I have worked at my job for over five years but I did take a two year break in between so I am not sure if that counts. I did have a diet that lasted for five years but I only did it in one day increments. It led to a lot of other issues such as headache, lethargy and bitchiness.

Blogging has been fun and I have appreciated all of the conversations that I have had with people, and the friendships that I have formed. Writing authentically requires a great deal of vulnerability; allowing people into your life and your heart can sometimes be difficuly but my experiences over the last five years have been exceptionally positive. From the bottom of my heart I thank you!

My blog has been viewed in 108 countries

I decided to go through my google analytics today and it was pretty interesting. I found out that my blog has been viewed in 108 countries. That is an interesting statistic. I have 739 friends on Facebook, many of whom have never viewed my blog at all. That means that strangers in 55% of the countries in the entire world give a shit about what is going on with me more than the people who actually know me. This is not a dig at those friends at all, I know that lives are busy and some of you cannot read and I know that you wouldn’t even have the time to follow my blog even if I won a billion dollars or wrote a bestselling novel. So seriously, there is no offense taken whatsoever. People in the Marshall Islands and Kyrgyzstan are very interested in what I am doing and that is enough for me.

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Kyrgyzstan is a rugged Central Asian country along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean. The Tian Shan mountains, which surround the old caravan route and dominate the country, are home to snow leopards, lynx and sheep. Someone is Kyrgyzstan has read my blog.

Thousand Acre Heart Part 8 is my top viewed post

Of those 108 Countries who have read my blog; my most read blog post in 5 years was Thousand Acre Heart Part 8. Thousand Acre Heart is my account of being a pregnant sixteen year old girl in a small town who gave her baby boy up for adoption and years later searched for him. I had to peel back some layers of skin on old wounds to write about it but it was gave me a certain amount of freedom from the past. If you have not read it but you are curious (it has a happy ending) , it is on the menu bar at the top of the page, start at part one.

Strangers care about what I am doing at least as much as the people I know

Facebook and search engines were equal referrers in the past several years, so that means that strangers care about what I am doing at least as much as the people I know; if not more. Twitter was a big referrer over the years but was right in line with Storied mind, which is a support blog based out of the U.K. for spouses whose partners suffer depression. I found the blog at a time that I was in desperate need of support and because of that blog I started sharing my own stories and struggles surrounding my battles with my partners depression. I am humbled by the kindness people have shown me and the stories that have emerged from others who have a genuine desire to help me find my way when darkness falls. I sincerely hope that those that visited my blog from Storied Mind have found a bit of comfort in the knowing that they are not alone.

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Kazakhstan, a Central Asian country and former Soviet republic, extends from the Caspian Sea in the west to the Altai Mountains at its eastern border with China and Russia. Someone in  Kazakhstan has read my blog!

The top six countries that view my blog

The top six countries that view my blog are Canada, U.S., United Kingdom, Brazil, Australia and Germany, this is not really a surprise but those following closely behind like United Arab Emrites, India and South Africa are very intriguing to me as well.

There are a handful of countries that have only visited once, smaller less important countries of course. I assume that their google search led them astray and that is funny in its own right because some of the search terms they were interested in, that led them to my blog, are very facinating. In no particular order I have compiled some of my favorite search terms that lead readers to my blog, they are copied directly so I am not responsible for grammatical errors (I don’t even take responsibility for my own).

Search term favorites:

can i have a margarita while on vitamin d (ummm Cheryl Paris was this you?)

does bon jovi have eyebrows

turning 40 life ideas (not birthday but life lol)

“baby first” “marriage later”

الفيس بريسلي و بريسيلا (I translated this it means Elvis and Pricilla Presely)

was honey boo boo mom on jerry springer

what is the writing address for honey boo boo

“in his car” “had to pee”

stinky heidi shit gusts (poor Heidi)

diane lane nipple (go big or go home…just the nipple?)

card games if you lose you get a wedgie

masturbation snowsuit- (I am going to google this one myself)

is there a song about a whiny bitch

bit me nose of to spite me face (Say with a Newfie accent )

why you act like your shit don’t stink meme

so dance fucker dance

really dirty truth or dare questions (this sounds like something I would google but it was likely my Aunt Terri)

ed kowalczyk wife (please copy, paste and google this on google images)

Thanks so much for your visits, I write for myself but also for you and stats are fun!!

Have a great Wednesday!

Desperately Seeking…W.I.S.E. Project 2017/Tenacious Tuesday

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I heard an interesting phrase this weekend, “What you are seeking is seeking you!”

It is interesting on so many levels. Saturday night I was seeking low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt mixed with strawberries and shredded coconut and a couple of blocks away at Marble Slab Creamery there was a tall, disinterested teenage boy waiting to scoop and mix  yogurt and “fixins” in his sluggish and non-hurried manner. In a way, what I was seeking in that moment was also lazily seeking me.

A better example might be the night that I had just finished Deepak Chopra’s Quantum Healing on Audible and came across an advertisement on Facebook for an Evening with Deepak close by. He was the speaking guest for Edmonton’s Autism Services this year and they were seeking to fill all the seats to raise money for their charity and clearly, I was seeking wisdom and enlightenment. What I was seeking was also seeking me.

Moments like this happen all the time, sometimes they speak very loudly in the form of a 35% off coupon for your favorite online shop while you are late night internet surfing, but often they are subtle and you need to follow the trail of breadcrumbs.

Sometimes we are heartbroken about community or Global issues and struggles and seeking answers to make sense in times of despair and uncertainty. Those same issues are seeking someone like us to be a part of the conversation, to advocate for a group or cause or to play a role in positive change.

We talk a lot about change and how badly it is needed but we fail to see that we are being sought daily. Collectively we can speak up, support, educate, make a lot of noise and help break the unrelenting cycles such as abuse, violence and sexual assault that can lead to the endless pain and stigma surrounding mental health and trauma.

When author and activist Glennon Melton Doyle started the Compassion Collective in response the Syrian Refugee crisis she wrote a simple but touching narrative that merely stated, “There is no such thing as other people’s children. The idea that we can see people in pain, and just look away and not be affected by it, to keep telling ourselves that our silence will not hurt us; is easily one of the biggest lies we will ever tell ourselves.

Friday night I was dropping my daughter off to be with her friends and there were several cop cars and media parked at the Good Shepherd Church next door in our Edmonton community. Forensics was on sight and I knew immediately that something incredibly horrible had happened. I slowed my truck to a crawl and I saw a man carrying a white sheet. I pulled into a parking lot up the road and dug out my cell phone and learned that it was the body of a toddler and that the police were investigating a suspicious death. I was shaken.

Police did not know who the child was and reached out to the public to assist in identifying the child through his clothing. At that point details were very sketchy but this child automatically became the child of the community. There were no such thing as other people’s children, this baby, belonged to all of us as the hours ticked away.

As I lay awake in the still of the night refreshing my internet browser and trying to make sense of a poorly detailed story, my heart ached for the unnamed baby.

An excerpt from my Facebook post on the weekend summed up my feelings well.

“Even in those quiet moments in the middle of the night when the neighborhood is still I couldn’t shake off the extreme heaviness that had fallen across me and wrapped around me like a blanket. I do not know the beautiful soul that met such a terrible fate, I do not know his family or their circumstances, but somehow, he is not just a child of the world, he is every child. He is my child!”

That heaviness continued throughout the weekend as arrests were made in the death of 19-month-old Anthony Rain; and accounts of his horrific last days and the abuse he suffered that ultimately led to his death were revealed. The Edmonton Police said the young boy lived a terrible life of violence. His father and his father’s girlfriend have been charged with second degree murder, failing to provide the necessities of life, criminal negligence causing death and the father has also been charged with assault causing bodily harm. Social media played a large role in the arrest of the accused but whether Anthony will get justice remains to be seen.

On Saturday morning, I had felt unusually connected to this case, I felt like there was a reason that I was there at the exact moment that the lifeless body of young Anthony was being removed. At that point, he remained unnamed and I felt that I was needed in some way. A lot of community members felt that same need, that something drew them to the church yard to be there for the nameless child they felt an un-explainable obligation to. This baby that laid in the cold since early Tuesday, before being discovered by a passerby on Friday. He was strangely unaccounted for and not reported missing during that time.

Sadness, disbelief and heartbreak will surround this case for a while and then sadly as new events emerge that require our attention the memory of little Anthony will begin to fade from our incessant thought.

Unfortunately, there will be other tragedies, other lives lost, other grieving families struggling to find answers while members of the community mourn the losses of people they never met. The perpetual wheel of misfortune will continue to spin.

The last couple of days when I was glued to the computer seeking answers to the myriad of questions that arose surrounding the tragic death of little Anthony Rain, I thought what if this is one of those times that what I am seeking is also seeking me?

I visited his memorial at the church twice, left flowers, placed a teddy bear, said prayers, shared social media posts, but what if I was called upon to do something more? Certainly little Anthony deserves more than a snowy memorial of toys and flowers and Facebook condolences. His life mattered, yet somehow he was failed. What would it take to write myself into this story, and to help affect change so that another young mother doesn’t receive that dreaded knock on her door in the dark of night?

I don’t have any answers; but every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. The story of Anthony’s life ended in unimaginable tragedy but maybe the story of how his young life impacted others and influenced change is just at the beginning and maybe my community that adopted him as their own, can help tell it.

I wrote a letter to Mayor Don Iveson this morning and I am hoping that the anger and sadness that we are all feeling can in some way be redirected to help create change in our communities.

Are you actively passionate about a cause at the moment?

Do you feel drawn towards a global or community issues that break your heart?

How do you write yourself into the stories that are close to your heart and help affect positive change?

 

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
― Dr. SeussThe Lorax

 

Fire in the Sky

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My Grampy Miller used to say
Pink sky at night ‘sailors delight’
Pink sky in the morning ‘sailors heed warning’

It’s a crisp morning in the Capital city currently sitting at -11. The good news is that we are expecting sunshine and +4 and the morning sky looks incredible!

My youngest daughter and I just burst out into song singing Trooper “We’re here for a good time! ”

Sending them to school with a belly full of bacon and eggs and a smile.

My coffee is ready…it’s a good morning! !

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If You think you can you’re right, If you think you can’t you’re right too!!

image courtesy of http://www.oprah.com

I used to work with a woman who used every single thing that happened in her life, directly related to her or not as an excuse to be miserable. She had been divorced for several years, so she used being single as a reason for her extreme unhappiness. She was a single mom to a daughter and she held onto her so tight that she sucked the life out of that relationship. Her daughter decided to start a new life in another Canadian city with her boyfriend and her Mother threw an absolute fit, even going as far as trying to guilt her daughter into staying. I silently cheered for the daughter as she told her Mom that it was her life and she was ready to spread her wings. Her mother called her several times a day and complained to her about her pathetic existence. It was sad really. One day I gently told her that she should take this as an opportunity to make changes to make herself happy. Get a hobby, meet people, better herself. She had a reason (very valid to herself) as to why all of those things were impossible. I find that a lot of people who are unhappy make excuses so they can stay that way. I have been guilty in the past of doing it myself.

My friend (you know who you are) told me a story tonight about how she felt bad because everyone in her peer group was getting married and because she was still single it made her feel very down on herself. We have had similar discussions in the past and I have given her some advice, not all ill received but there is always a “But”

I am not single so who am I to say but I am without my spouse a great deal of the time. My husband’s job keeps him away for weeks at a time so I know what it is like to not be a part of a couple all of the time. Our children keep me extremely busy and I dedicate a fair bit of time to ensuring they will be well-rounded, confident individuals. I also try to teach them a lot about independence because I believe very strongly that another person cannot make you happy. Happiness is an inside job. If you are not happy (and it’s not due to medical reasons) then you are the only one who can change it. There are a great deal of people who bring joy to my life, my husband and children included (most days) but none of them are responsible for my happiness. There was a time that I relied heavily on my husband for my happiness and believed that I was responsible for his. A relationship should definitely enhance you, make you better in ways but you do not become half of a person when you become half of a couple so therefore you are not half of a person when you are single. Nobody can make you feel small or insignificant without your permission.

I have a very wise friend whose favorite saying was “You are the architect of your own life, if you are not happy it is time to draw up new plans!” She did so in a very big way. She left a marriage that even though she would probably always hold a little love in her heart for him it wasn’t a relationship that brought her joy. She became a single Mom and a very important role model for her impressionable daughter. She went to school, worked long hours and sacrificed. She had a goal and she knew excuses were not going to pave a golden bridge for her. A job that she once loved took its toll on her. Though it was advantageous to her employer to have her take on the workload of three people for the price of one it was a situation that was not great for her physical or mental health but as a Mom it was easier for her to stay then rock the boat. It was EASIER but she didn’t stay, she researched and she sought out opportunities and now she wakes up everyday to oceans and palm trees and a job that has personal and professional rewards. She broke down barriers, fought stereotypes and became the exception not the rule. She is furthering her education and broadening her horizons. She is still single and it certainly doesn’t make her less of a person, she realizes that her happiness and her life are her own and that is a great thing! She just sent her baby girl off to University, in another country. She had the same initial meltdown and late night tears as I am sure every mother experiences when their nest is emptied but she also got to experience a great deal of pride because she raised a wonderfully bright young woman who loves and respects her mother and because of that she is unafraid to face the world and have her own experiences and seek her own happiness. She has raised a daughter that will not measure her self-worth by physical beauty or whether she is in a relationship or not. She will struggle and make mistakes but they won’t define her, they will present opportunities for her to learn from.

So when I hear someone who is single with no children tell me all the reasons they can’t I want shake them. You can. You are your biggest obstacle!!

There are non-single, parents every where that would LOVE to have your problems. You have the freedom to think of yourself, put your own needs first, have hobbies, explore interesting things! Opportunities don’t always fall out of the sky, sometimes we need to make them. Anything that requires effort has the potential for a great reward!

I think we need to stop short-changing ourselves, we need to believe that we are worthy of everything life has to offer. See the beauty in every day, see the bright side of things and take a couple of big steps outside of our comfort zone (often) and realize that life happens outside of the walls we have built around ourselves. See opportunities, see potential. Say yes more. Stomp on negativity and eliminate negative influences. Choose happiness. Seek reasons to feel good about yourself.

You do not need anyone to save you, but maybe you will find someone to laugh and share with while you are saving yourself!

BE FABULOUS!!!

“Your life is the fruit of your own doing, you have nobody to blame but yourself!” Joseph Carter”

P.S. No excuses Edmonton singles (cough cough)

http://singles.meetup.com/cities/ca/ab/edmonton/

Enthusiasm plus new skills is a powerful combination for new skaters GEJRDA Boot Camp Review

Summer is winding down for most but at Greater Edmonton Junior Roller Derby the fun is just beginning. After a short summer break from regular practices GEJRDA hosted their third annual junior roller derby boot camp this past weekend featuring Camp Pivotstar out of Vancouver. Trainers Luludemon and 8mean Wheeler of Camp Pivotstar flew into the capitol city to assist in the training of approximately 60 skaters from all across western Canada.

  8Mean Wheeler (aka. Kim MacKenzie) has been playing roller derby since she joined TCRG in 2006.

8mean is a two-time Team Canada player. In 2008 she captained the team that traveled to the UK and in 2011; she helped her team bring home the silver medal at the Roller Derby World Cup.

In 2010, 8mean was the recipient of the Iron Pivot award and has made the North West Roller Derby All Stars team two years in a row. She was also voted on BC Roller Derby’s All Star starting line up in December 2012.

  Luludemon has been skating with the Terminal City Rollergirls since it formed in 2006 and has traveled widely across North America playing with the TCRG All Stars. A member of Team Canada, she was part of the roster that brought home silver at the first roller derby World Cup in December 2011.

Luludemon has coached all skill levels and is a Coaching Association of Canada Level 2 Certified Coach. Past coaching experiences include Blood and Thunder Training Camps, TCRG All Stars Rookie Revolution, RollerCon and Pivotstar’s UK Tour 2011. Luludemon also owns Pivotstar, her very own Roller Derby clothing line.

The boot camp was attended by benchmarked skaters of all levels and this year GEJRDA added a one day Try Derby Camp for new and aspiring roller derby skaters. The newcomers received support and basic skills from trainers of area adult leagues St. Albert Roller Derby, E-Ville Roller Derby, Hwy 14 RDA and Oil City Derby Girls.  

The sport of Roller Derby is continually growing, with leagues in 40 countries worldwide (including Egypt and Dubai) and Roller sports is being considered by the International Olympic Committee for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics. Twelve sports were initially considered with eight retained that will go to vote at the IOC session this September in Buenos Airies.

Roller Derby enthusiasts worldwide are counting on the growth and widespread appeal as an engaging, edge of your seat spectator sport with youthful appeal to tip the scales on the side of their favorite contact sport. Primarily women dominated, the fastest growing sport on eight wheels is gaining popularity amongst men, with male and co-ed leagues popping onto the grid quickly

JRDA recently announced the addition of regional and national junior roller derby tournaments as well as the anticipated 2015 Junior Roller Derby World Cup. If you have been considering becoming a Junior Roller Derby Girl, what are you waiting for? There couldn’t be a better time to get involved!

Roller Derby is a full contact competitive sport between two teams on Roller skates played moving counter clockwise on an oval track. Each game (called a Bout) consists of two 20 or 30 minute periods which are divided into two minute “Jams” Jams consist of five girls from each team on the track, one jammer (points scorer) one pivot and two blockers. That is the short version, but if you ask a Junior Derby girl what Roller Derby is she will describe it much differently. They describe it as a family, as empowerment, as testing their own strength and most often their way of life!

As important as the relationships are on the track there is always a lot going on off the track as well. Roller Derby is an extraordinary spectator sport that prides itself on having the best and loudest fans in the word. They arrive carrying thunderous cow bells and carrying wild signs and they always have some money for Merchandise!

 

“These young skaters are so passionate about their sport and the camaraderie amongst Roller Derby skaters is a culture all on its own,” explains Michelle DeBay, Media & Public Relations Director for Greater Edmonton Junior Roller Derby, “That is what makes it an excellent sport for all youth, from the bookworm to the Prom Queen. It is a big family that applauds your individuality so you should never be afraid to be yourself! The camp is a lot of work and our Athletic Director Kerri Doyle (IBad OCDG) volunteered a great deal of time to make sure that the enthusiastic skaters that travelled here for the first time or for the third year in a row had the very best experience possible. The feedback was positive”

The Sportsdome in South Edmonton was filled with junior skaters absorbed in a fast paced, strategy based weekend that was encouraging, challenging and fun.  A lunch and learn was  held both days, one with roller derby coach, player and Certified Dietician  Leanne Johnson of Soulfull Nutrition Counselling (Cherry-oto-Fire STAHR) as well as a safety session with Craig Brososky of We Physio (Dr. Sting)

GEJRDA All Stars Jennasaurus Wrex, Morgan Mayhem, Shelly Helly and Hailstorm all guested on adult teams this past Saturday night. Boot Camp ran till four p.m. so a couple of them spent over 12 hours on skates and were back on them bright and early the next day for training and scrimmages. Junior Roller Derby is a fun and exciting sport but the girls who work to play at a higher level take it very seriously. At such a young age their dedication and willingness to learn is inspiring. They are also very lucky to have had and continue to have the very best training and support available in Junior Roller Derby.

“Boot Camp was a fun and rewarding experience for skaters, trainers and volunteers. The skills, friendships and memories that the junior skaters took with them this weekend will be invaluable to them in the sport of Roller Derby and in life, ” explains Michelle DeBay,” A lot of the skaters are entering their preteens or smack in the middle of the difficult teen years. Junior Roller Derby gives them the strength and courage to weather difficult times and make better decisions. It gives them a place to belong and a sense of community that they may be struggling with in other areas of their young lives. I applaud everyone who selflessly dedicates their time to making this sport a reality for junior skaters.”

Juniors between the ages of 7-17 wishing to join the sport of roller derby can contact GEJRDA through their website @ http://www.juniorderby.ca or Media & Public Relations Director Michelle DeBay HERE

NEW SKATER PACKAGES AVAILABLE FROM BAD GIRLFRIEND SKATES

 

 

Under the light of the moon-Movies on the Square

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I love Sir Winston Churchill Square in the summer. The city organizes all sorts of family events and festivals to bring people to this downtown meeting place. Last night the offering was Movies on the Square, a free screening of Despicable Me on a huge blow up screen.

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The fun commenced long before dusk fell. A D.J. lit up the popular downtown mecca with the sounds of summer, Polynesian dancers delighted young and old alike, even giving mini dance lessons to those willing to shake their groove thing in front of strangers. Free hoola hoops, beach balls and sunglasses were a hot accompaniment to a summer evening that’s weather could only be described as “close to perfect”.

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Families delighted in face painting, balloon making, outdoor chess, table tennis, a bouncy house slide and some cooled off in the city hall wading pool. Food trucks offered tasty delights such as pulled pork, hot dogs, pizza, mini donuts and no movie night would be complete without hot, fresh popcorn.

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In addition to the Amphitheater seating families brought fold up chairs and blankets to ensure a comfy and cozy movie experience under the stars. It was a wonderful night, even long before the movie started my teenager told me how much fun she and her friends were having and the youngest loved the beachy atmosphere.

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A crowd favorite was Spider Man who talked and posed for pictures with all the children. Lots of prizes were given out, I won glow in the dark bubbles 🙂 The movie commenced around 9:45 when nature struggled to dim the lights on a magnificant summer day.

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Movies on the Square will be back on August 30-31. Tips for first time movie goers with young children, It is a long night, the movie does not start till dusk falls. Bring cold drinks and snacks if you are looking for an inexpensive evening. Weather can change quickly, pack cozy blankets and sweaters. Looking for more info about movies on the Square and other city events see HERE

Cheers. Happy Sunday!!

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A Week In July -Edmonton

Edmonton is a beautiful city in the summer. Festival City comes alive with food, music,  culture and fun for the whole family. There is no better way to connect with your family and your city then to immerse yourself into middle of it all. So that is what we did.

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Haley and I took in one of our favorite Edmonton Summer Events, Taste of Edmonton featuring live folk and jazz music on Sir Winston Churchill Square, along with favorite culinary delights from local restaurants. Our tastes vary slightly as Haley has a major sweet tooth and I tend to gravitate towards the main dishes. Haley enjoyed the sweet sensations of deep fried mars bars, chocolate lava cake with raspberry sorbet, chocolate covered strawberries and ice cream, just to name a few. I savored the flavors of bacon wrapped scallops, green onion cakes, Alberta beef with Yorkshire pudding and my fave jerk chicken. It was a beautiful YEG evening with the sun tickling the noses of those anxiously waiting in lines to try their favorite treats. The Art Gallery gleamed proudly in the background,  as a big brother would, proudly overlooking the Square and the diversity of people gathered to celebrate and enjoy the tastes of their fair city. This years slogan “Putting Picnics to shame for 29 years” speaks of the  longtime community involvement,  the loyal downtown food enthusiasts and the vibrant framework and heart of our city.

2013 KDAYS

For the second year in a row we kicked off KDAYS with the parade. Our group Greater Edmonton Junior Roller Derby, along with local adult leagues E-Ville Roller Derby and Oil City Derby Girls won a trophy for best crowd engagement. My youngest skater Haley was participating for her first year on wheels but unfortunately missed out due to a fever brought on by illness that led us on a golf cart adventure in the heart of downtown.  Never a dull moment! If you know a youth between the ages of 7-17 who may want to join the fastest growing sport on 8 wheels visit http://www.juniorderby.ca

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Kirk and I also took the girls to KDays for food and fun. Neither of us like the rides anymore but we both appreciate the smiles it brings to them. I love the food, the lights, the smells, the laughter.  The exhibition was a summer staple in my childhood and I am happy to share that with our girls. I never cease to be amazed by how many things can be deep fried or put on a stick.

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Taste of Edmonton followed by the food of KDAYS. Wow. So much food, so litttle time.

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We also took in a concert at KDAYS. Colin James who I saw 18 years ago in Ontario is every bit as captivating as he was in his youth. An amazing guitarist and vocalist,  even the kids were blown away. Colin James we ♥ you.

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Friday we caught up with some friends which turned into an all night affair while Haley led the adults in dances and charades and Morgan tried her best to make us all think we were uncool when we all are very aware of just how cool we are.

Saturday we traveled to Holden, the home of Hwy 14 Roller Derby where Morgan Mayhem was participating in a scrimmage. It is always great to see how the Roller Derby Community pulls together to put on such events. The Junior scrimmage was followed by Coed scrimmage but sadly we had plans back in the big bad city. Below is Morgan Mayhem (jammer in middle) trying to make her way through the pack while being blocked by Minnie Meanie and hit by P.OD Pippy. Notice her feet are not touching the ground. Thanks to Anthony Canada for the fantastic shot.

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The girls had a sleepover and we  rushed to meet friends at Pampas downtown.  Pampas is an authentic Brazilian Steakhouse that offers a unique dining concept called “Rodizio” offering continuous table side service with every tempting cut of meat available.  Yes please to bacon wrapped chicken, orange marinated chicken, rib eye steak, top sirloin steak, beef tenderloin kabob, spiced lamb, lemon pepper pork. Yes more wine please!! Food service and company was fantastic. If you want to know more about Pampas click Here

We left Pampas and headed to Edmontons Whyte Ave to take in some live music at Blues on Whyte. I always have a great time at Blues on Whyte. I meet the craziest characters, see the best live bands and always leave talking about coming back.  I think it is the diversity of the people that keeping me coming back. One minute you are chatting with a biker, the next you are sharing a table with a lawyer and his wife or doing a shot with some college kids that are celebrating the fact that it is Saturday. Blues is one of those places where there are no strangers, just friends you haven’t met yet. To me Blues on Whyte is the best of nitty gritty Edmonton. Check it out for yourself Here

A couple of days were needed to regroup and Kirk headed back up North to work. I handled some teenage drama and decided my girls needed some one on one time with their Mom.

Devonian  Botanical Gardens

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The University of Alberta Devonian Botanic Garden is a magnificent 190-acre property located in Parkland county about 15 minutes southwest of Edmonton, with cultivated gardens and plant collections, indoor showhouses, and an intricate nature trail system.

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Must sees include the beautiful Kurimoto Japanese Garden; a Tropical Showhouse with exotic butterflies; Temperate and Arid Showhouses; alpine, herb, rose, peony, lilac and lily collections; a Heritage Garden; Native Peoples Garden; trial beds and more. The kids were gracious to let me take a thousand rose pictures with the promise of homemade lemonade to follow.

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The Garden is a University of Alberta research site and visitor attraction offering children’s programs, certificate programs, Thursday date nights and more. Love nature? Check it out Here

The girls and I zipped back to the city for dinner at Red Robin.The girls like the friendly upbeat atmosphere and service and the meals are yummy. You can see Here

After dinner we ran over to Movies 12.  I love the cheap theatre.  Three movies for under $10 means you can go more often. We saw The Internship with Vince Vaugh and Owen Wilson. I laughed lots and even clapped at the end. My girls told me that was inappropriate but when I clapped others followed. There was clapping in the movie, and in the theatre, it was a feel good moment.
Silly comedy,  quick whit and innuendo mixed with real life lessons. The story, by funny guy Vince Vaughn used the storyline of the 80s movie Flashdance to teach life lessons in perseverance, being yourself and trying your best. The characters were as diverse as they were lovable and I needed the laughs so if you are needing some too I recommend.  Check it out Here

Today my garden is calling for some attention and the girls want to go swimming.  This weekend a fave multicultural event Heritage Fest begins as well as Movies on the Square. As I said, never a dull moment!  I hope summer is heating up in your city. Cheers

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