It’s been a busy month. I’m finally getting around to the next few achievements in my life thus far. It’s tough thinking about your life — what you have and have not done with it. I re-read my previous posts to get an idea of what I’d already written about and I was pleasantly surprised. My life has been a good one.
Here goes with some more of what sticks out for me:
36. Taking a road trip to Arizona with Tim, and my brother and sister-in-law Rick and Connie. We drove to Vegas, then to Sedona. The scenery was breathtaking. We stopped at the Grand Canyon — truly as beautiful as the postcards make it. I can see why Canadians flock there in the winter.
37. Going by motorcycle from our home in Bon Accord, AB to Dartmouth, NS. We were gone for three absolutely incredible weeks. We drove through every major city along the way, followed the Loyalist route and King’s Highway through Ontario and Quebec, had a lobster roll in Shediac, NB, walked the ocean floor at the Bay of Fundy, saw Stephen King’s house in Bangor, Maine, ate deep dish pizza in Chicago, drove by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cincinnati, slept like the dead in Toledo, and along the way we met some of the nicest and best people – on both sides of the border.
38. Taking our son to Disney World for his 10th birthday. This was the only flying holiday we ever had as a family. We had so much fun on that trip — we also took in Universal Studios — Ghostbusters, The Jetsons, Indiana Jones; went to Sea World — hand fed sting rays, pet sea urchins, got splashed by Namu; and went to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Science center – Tim and Landon were completely in awe of all the space craft and the simulation command center.
39. Being elected President of our Local Union — SSD#24 Local 4625. I held this position for 7 years and it was one of the most rewarding and personal growth opportunities I’ve ever had. I learned so much about people during that time — and how important it is to be involved and knowledgeable about how work works.
40. Summer holidays spent in the back of a station wagon when mom and dad would take us home to Ontario. No air conditioning, eight kids — one in front with mom and dad, two in the back and five in the middle. My sister and I would be on the floor with pillows behind the front seat and the other three would share the seat. Dad telling stories about the Indian braves Falling Rock and Sharp Shoulders. Black flies, no-seeums and mosquitoes. Dad teaching us to skip rocks. The sound of loons in Northern Ontario when we were camped for the night. Mom making baloney sandwiches while dad drove — soft white bread, a slice of baloney and mustard — the best sandwiches ever.
It’s been a little while — but I’ve been thinking about writing every day, so I’m thinking that counts towards my inner goal to do something every day.
The ideas churn around in my little ol’ brain and while I’m doing stuff I don’t necessarily want to be doing — I visualize myself composing an article or crafting a story a poem, and, though I don’t seem to ever get to the point of actually doing the writing I fantasize about, it at least helps to think about it. I scribble bits of ideas, or snippets of conversation on pieces of paper, (sadly, I generally lose them) but in those tiny, brief moments I feel like a writer, instead of an EA, or a CUPE president, or a grocery shopper or a. . . Sound silly? Maybe, but for me it helps.
Yesterday was my birthday — and although I don’t relish the idea of getting older, I have come to the point of being grateful for being granted another year of life. The time to be with family, to celebrate all the little things that makes life worthwhile.
Things like my daughter-in-law calling to have the kids sing happy birthday to me. That was wonderful (although my damn fax machine cut them off just as they were getting to the big finish!) Still, it gave me a great big smile to finish off my day with.
Things like the kids I work with being genuinely excited about wishing me a happy birthday and sharing the cupcakes they and Mrs. Baker made for me on Tuesday while I was away.
Things like my husband’s birthday surprise of the little road runner fetish carved in stone that I admired while we were on holiday in Sedona. It is a lovely small thing — exactly the type of thing I love to collect.
So, all in all I really enjoyed my birthday — thank you everyone who contributed to making it special.
The weather here in Alberta has finally turned warm — but with the higher temps comes wind — of course. Yesterday I thought the roof was going to come off the house a couple of times, and today is not supposed to be much better. I am thankful, however, that I am not living in Manitoba or Quebec where they are fighting massive floodwaters right now.
In Portage la Prairie, the town where I spent the formative years of my teens, some areas surrounding the town may have to be deliberately flooded in order to prevent catastrophic damage by flooding. They’re saying this is the ‘flood of the century’, but then they say that every year. It is, however, a scary situation and I hope they don’t have to resort to breaching the dikes. As of the news report this morning there are currently 1100 soldiers deployed in Manitoba in an effort to stave off the waters. I wish them all the luck in the world.
I guess it’s now time for me to get ready for work. I’ve got a meeting to attend first thing this morning and then it’s back to the school to finish out my day. Hopefully, there’ll be time this evening for me to pursue my fantasies.
In true Alberta fashion the temperature dropped 15 degrees in 24 hours. This morning when I went out to jump in my car it was actually snowing. Not much, mind you, but it was snow. The awful, styrofoam pellety kind.
Along with the colder temps has come wind. Lovely while I was on supervision at lunch today. The sun was shining, but the air was cold. Still, I enjoyed being out in the fresh air.
This province can make you crazy. So, what I’m doing is thinking about my recent vacation to Sedona, Arizona.
Once upon a time Sedona was a little western town in the desert. People raised cattle and horses, tried to grow peaches and apples, and generally eked out a living in desert-like conditions the best way they could.
Then, along came Hollywood and the place got famous. Now, it’s a major tourist destination. The town is full of hotels and shops. In fact, you could say it’s the world’s largest outdoor mall.
But what’s really special about Sedona is the red dirt that it’s built on and the red rock formations that surround it. It is an absolutely beautiful little spot. We spent four days there in the warmth and sunshine, wearing shorts and sandals and swimming in the outdoor pool. I loved telling people we met that ‘back home’ there was still four feet of snow lining our driveways and sidewalks.
Of course, because this was a holiday, we did tourist-y things. We took a Pink Jeep tour into the canyons — what a blast! The scenery was gorgeous and the view from on top of some of the formations was spectacular. We checked out Boynton Canyon and the vortex there — I didn’t feel anything — my husband says he did. All I felt was silly for thinking that when I stood where the vortex is supposedly strongest I would somehow be magically imbued with health, strength and positive-ness. Hmmm.
We went at sunset to take pictures of Cathedral Rock; we were just four of many dozens doing the same thing. There was a really snooty professional (?) photographer there as well. He hogged the best spot — or, so he thought! My intrepid husband had scouted out a great location further on up the creek and from there I was able to get some phenomenal pics. I think they’re rather good, anyway. Don’t know about mister-look-at-me-in-my-photographer’s hat-and-matching vest, but I don’t really care, either.
Then, the highlight of my trip — a hot-air balloon ride over the red rocks at sunrise. It was truly wonderful. We floated alongside the rock walls and then drifted ever higher until the rocks were quite far away beneath us. We saw deer running through the scrub and birds soaring on the thermals. It was quiet — except for the occasional really bad joke from our pilot and the constant clicking and whirring of digital cameras as we tried to capture the essence of a perfect morning aloft in early morning sunshine.
Our time in Sedona had to come to an end — there were jobs that two of us had to return to. We set out back home via I15 North through Page, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.
I thought Sedona’s landscape was beautiful! Zion National Park is unbelievable in its beauty. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to stay and explore, but we’re decided we’re returning. How could we not, when we know the beauty that is there?
Another highlight of our trip was the couple of stops we made at the Grand Canyon. The Canyon can reduce me to tears simply from the vastness of the place — it’s just so hard to grasp that such a place exists. I can never look out upon it without thinking about the pioneers who came across this chasm in the wilderness as they searched for safety and new homes and can’t help but wonder what they thought when they saw it. Were they awestruck by its beauty, majesty and power, or were they disheartened by loneliness or despair when confronted by the immense challenge before them?
Our other stop at the GC was along the South Rim, called the Watch Tower. It is a replica of the towers built by native indians as lookouts for danger or wandering herds of buffalo, deer, elk. It serves as a way station and (what else?) a gift shop, but it is a lovely structure. Made of stone, built like a small lighthouse, it is decorated inside with Native Indian art and motifs. There is a very narrow and steep staircase that winds up along the wall to the top. Unfortunately, it is not open at the top you have to look out through smoky, scratched glass, so it’s a bit of let down after you manage to huff and puff yourself all the way up there. But, the art and hand-made furniture and carvings is worth it. Really.
Half way up there is a door that leads to a viewing platform and from there we got some amazing pictures of the canyon. If you ever are lucky enough to get to the GC make sure you go to the Watch Tower, it’s well worth the visit.
My husband and his brother, Rick, did the ultimate tourist adventure — they took a helicopter ride over the canyon. They both said it is something they will remember always. One moment they were over land and trees and the next the earth just dropped away and there was nothing but canyon walls and a canyon floor far, far below them. It took their breath away.
When I go to the GC next time, my plan is to take mule ride down to the bottom and then take a river raft ride through the canyon.
But right now, I’ve got to contend with a forecast that includes below zero temps for this weekend and possibly lots of snow. Oh yeah, Springtime in Alberta.