The AGA via Bus

April 24, 2014

A few photos from the Alberta Art Gallery the other day! Before my camera battery died:(

If you don't go, you should! It's one of my favourite places in the city. 

Less Car More Go

April 23, 2014

I was thrilled when Sara Armstrong of Full Hands sent me this link! She has three children and three cargo bikes. This woman is in charge.


Long Weekender!

April 22, 2014

I've finally been taking photos again! I'm not sure what it was about the last week or so (busy, tired, generally not inclined), but I just didn't feel like taking out the phone and capturing anything. It means having very little fodder for the blog, though the time passes so quickly I barely notice I've gone without posting. 

We can't all feel 100% inspired all the time so I'm deciding that when this happens, I should roll with it and carry on.

This long weekend was a real treat because we did tons of normal things as a family! The only non-normal thing was getting recognized a lot more. More on that lower down in the post. 

We took the kids on a bus ride to Whyte Avenue so they could be treated to family lunch at A&W (root beer is a family favourite of ours), and then Dexter was off for a haircut at Barber Ha

Then we grabbed another bus from Whyte to downtown, which took no time at all. I knew that the Lyndal Osborne was closing this week at the AGA and really wanted Cory to see it, so we made a date. Turned out that Don was free that afternoon (this generally never happens anymore) and he came along as well. 

Back at home, the boys built some train tracks.

Alice furrows her brow when watching her shows.

 Then we were off to meet my parents for some take out dinner before attending Pro Coro Canada's Good Friday concert.

Alice did well in terms of appreciating being at the Winspear for a concert. She did not do as well appreciating the experience quietly. Shortly after the concert began we kicked her out to hang in the lobby.

 We were scheduled to take a photo for momentum magazine's summer issue... and as you can see from the first photo up there that we received quite a bit of spring SNOW the day before. Thankfully our photo shoot day was warmer, but I still froze wearing my summer dress while pedalling to Old Strathcona for a non-snowy-grass backdrop.

This is where it got a little weird. We were at the Old Strathcona Farmer's Market where it wouldn't be unusual for Don and I to be recognized even before all this Mayor stuff, so naturally we ran into a bunch of people. It started off great, with running into our neighbour riding his long tail with gigantic panniers, and we were chatting all about riding with kids. Then the wonderful Michael of Earth's General Store, who is one of the most delightful human beings you will ever meet (he was very knowledgeable and supportive back when I was looking at cloth diapers for the kids). The wonderful people at the stall, The Candyman, also ran out quickly to give us two chocolate bunnies for Dexter and Alice. How thoughtful and kind!

The small-town "Hey There, Neighbour!" public life is all and well in my books. It's this other, more entitled "Let me tell you something you don't know", "You work for me", "We have a mutual acquaintance", "You HAVE to come to my event" public life that rubs me the wrong way. Particularly when the person in question isn't listening to the words coming out of our mouths, like how you would submit certain grievances, invitations, and inquiries to Don's office or 311. Usually these sorts of people just go monologuing and I start to roll my eyes. It doesn't seem to bother Don since he is a wonderfully patient man, with a high tolerance for obnoxious beahviour. As a teacher, bad behaviour gone unaddressed drives me up the wall!

So we're hanging out on the bikes waiting for a cloud to move so we can get the light back. Our photographer is in position and likewise waiting. Then 1, then 2, then 3, then 4 people stop and take out their phones and cameras and just start snapping away. It wasn't like we were across the street and unaware, we were standing right there and when they kept taking more and more frames I actually said out loud, "This is pretty awkward, could somebody be courteous enough to ask our permission?"

I was answered with more cameras and phones pointed at us, the operators of these devices oblivious to my request. I found it incredibly awkward.

It's public life. I get that. It's the way things are going to be? Okay. I still don't think it's asking too much for people to say "hello", "nice to see you", "thank you", and "goodbye". I expect basic social graces. It doesn't matter who you are or who we are - People should endeavour to be good neighbours to one another.

Most of all I feel a bit powerless about it. At the Art Gallery three women wanted their photo with Don inside the exhibit, so I offered to take the phone and photograph all of them together (this cuts down on the amount of time this sort of thing takes). The woman spat at me that she would take the photo, and that they would do it with one person at a time with Don. So… now some stranger is allowed to dictate to us how we spend our time on our day off? There wasn't even a request, such as indicating that she would really prefer to have individual portraits. They were single-minded about the photo opportunity and I was shooed off while having an afternoon out with my husband. GREAT. 

Now, the people who act like jerks are so distasteful to me, that I sometimes make the mistake of forgetting about the wonderful people. Like meeting John and his daughter on our way out. They were friendly and lovely, and warmed my heart to hear about their connection to the Nina Haggerty. They said hello, and introduced themselves, and we actually had a real conversation. 

Okay, I think I'm ready to talk about the rest of the weekend without smoke coming out of my nostrils.

We unearthed all sorts of things from the garage and shed, like Dexter's little push bike that is now the perfect size for Alice!

My sister was the sweetest and arranged for a easter egg hunt for the kids. Got the eggs, baskets, and everything.

The kids loved it!

Speaking of neighbourly behaviour, you must know that we love our neighbours. We enjoyed some open air whiskey by the fire one evening, and it was fantastic like it always is. 

We did other stuff like cleaning the bungalow's windows, using the BBQ, pumping up bike tires, and taking some big things to the recycling depot. I know, so exciting! These days, this sort of normal stuff is actually increasingly rare for us. It was a real treat to spend the weekend together with the kids for our staycation, and I am already looking forward to the next long weekend!

Thank you for bearing with my frustrations. As life changes and we move forward, I know I'll learn to cope with pushy people in my own way. On the one hand I know it's easier to learn to let obnoxious incidents go and just chalk it up to another day. On the other, I think it's reasonable to hold people to a certain standard of acceptable behaviour. I don't let my partner, friends, family, or children speak to me a certain way. Why should it be acceptable for a stranger?

I'm pretty sure this won't be the last you hear of this sort of thing - I'm all ears if somebody has a magical solution! Until then, I'm hanging on to the many wonderful people that I am so grateful to share my life with. 


April 17, 2014

Some pictures from my little trip to Boston! 

It was really charming and quaint, with adorable accents. 

If you didn't already know, I love libraries.

Big fan of old buildings too. 

With the cutest window boxes!

Public Spaces

And little boutique shops with cute window displays.

Highlight for Don? The USS Constitution, which is still in service!

Lisa, Tom, and I are obviously doing our part to serve the naval fleet.

And then we represented on the destroyer too.

Walked all along the freedom trail, but really needed a pick me up in the afternoon. That's what caf├ęs in little Italy are for, right?

More shiny sights.

And a rare photo of Don and I together on vacation! Thanks, Lisa. 

We also ate lots and lots of oysters. 

It was a beautiful city that I would definitely go back to, perhaps in warmer months when things are a little greener? I imagine it's very photogenic in the late spring/early summer.

T'was a good time that I am missing already!

My Gang(s) of New York

April 15, 2014

With all my photo editing, I thought I'd share some non-phone photo snips of the big apple and Brooklyn with you. Really, it was just me going to visit Dan & Leanne, but, we were lucky to run into lots of friends and have them around for major league fun times. 

Jaimen and Nick!

And Claire & Lisa

The subway takes us to our adventure destinations!

Played lots of arcade games and used up all my friends' quarters.

Eating brunch

Hanging out at museums (in this case it was Leanne on the 4th floor of the New Museum). Later that day we also went to go see the Earth Room.

 Considered making custom muppets for Dexter and Alice.

It was too rainy and then windy for us to go sailing, which was our plan. But we made due one afternoon by taking rowboats out in Central Park.

Don was the most coordinated and powerful at rowing (he sails).

Leanne and I… didn't do quite as well.

There was lots of relaxing, too much food and wine, but much quality time all around.

Flashback Friday!

April 12, 2014

I've been so thrilled to be back with the kids this week! I keep grabbing them and making them hug and kiss me, ignoring their squirming to be free from my clutches. 

Even finding this face-down floor crying pretty humorous! 

I mean, it's tough facing life's disappointments, right?

Sometimes you just have to have a good cry.

Dex isn't crying, but is definitely getting dramatic about having his photo taken. I was pleased to see the shirt we picked out for him fits perfectly. He's such a handsome little dude.

Alice has been helping me out with catching up with friends. We had the pleasure of her trotting up and down 124 Street, getting extremely dusty and dirty, while we had our warm drinks and treats.

Just because of logistics, we were at city hall more than usual this week. Alice is really into tortilla chips and struts around like the boss of snacks.

 She also sandwiched herself between the front door and the screen door.

In non-child-related news, I was at the Pilgrims Hospice shooting some footage for one of my little videos. I'm honourary chair of their Walk in My Shoes Gala and wanted to create something for our guests to see the Pilgrims Hospice through my eyes. Here I am with Marion, the founder!

I didn't know much about hospices until recently. They're so underfunded, and provide essential services like supporting those with progressive life-threatening illnesses (and their families). So let's say you're a caretaker for someone in your family who has a progressive life-threatening illness. Pilgrims' day program gives clients a chance to gather and hang out over lunch and social activities while their caretakers take some rest, or run normal errands like... getting groceries. You name it.

It's also a place that provides counselling and assistance to the bereaved. It's not very vogue to talk about dying, but it's a reality for everybody and the families they leave behind. I really admire the work at Pilgrims Hospice, from their staff to their warm volunteers. And I'm really excited about helping promote their cause!

One of these evenings I was mountain biking to the opera.

I let my friend borrow the prettier bike. Although, my ugly Kona (mountain bike) is still my trusty friend and I love her.

However, once the snow is gone I'll take every Pashley ride I can get! Spring has started to timidly emerge for Edmonton, but it's still cool enough to need some tights or socks to get through the day.

I took the Pashley over to our neighbouring wine bar, and it was 10 minutes door to door. Can't wait to report this to my neighbours as we plan our summertime pilgrimages to Glass Monkey!

All and all super busy as usual, especially now that the snow is gone. Lots of things coming up with volunteer work, year-end for my students and general planning for the warmer months. I am now obsessed with getting our little trailer ready for camping fun times:) Hence my unearthing some things in the garage this weekend.

See you on the other side!

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