Birds of Prey Centre, Coaldale, Alberta

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August 3 & 4th

Day 216 and 217 — Tim and I hit the road for Lethbridge and a visit with Rick and Connie.  we’re going to spend a few days with them before the family reunion next weekend.  We’re going to go up to Beauvais with them for a few days.  Ah, to relax in the mountains by a lake!  Can’t wait.  Then, we’ll come back to their place and get ready for everyone else to descend.  Looking forward to a fantastic time with family.

Yesterday, we went to Coaldale and visited the Alberta Birds of Prey centre there.  (Will post pictures separately)  What a great place!  Loved how they had the birds displayed — some are in large enclosures, but they tether the big birds on perches in the open (under shade, of course) and it is wonderful to be able to see them up close.  We were lucky enough to hit the place at the time they were going to be exercising one of the bald eagles.  His name was Lincoln, and he was magnificent.  The handler — a volunteer — as I believe everyone working at the centre is was very engaging.  He invited kids to give a couple of the eagles a shower after Lincoln was done flying, and then told us about Spirit, a golden eagle.  Spirit was blinded by a shotgun pellet.  Brought into the shelter as a young bird he’s been there for 13 years.  I would have to say that he is probably the centre’s mascot.  He picked Spirit up and invited everyone to get their picture with him.  He is so tame and gentle that you are able to put your face right up to his.  Of course, I had to do that! 

I highly recommend that if you’re in southern Alberta you stop in Coaldale and take in the birds of prey facility.   Just watch out for the circling flocks of seagulls — I left with a not-to-nice souvenier on my white t-shirt! 

 

July 4th – July 17th

Day 186 – 199 — Wowza!  199 days blogged about.  NOT — to clarify — 199 blogs, but 199 days recounted in my blog.

I’ve been busy with summer and holidays, hence the break in writing.  I left on July 7th to go have a little mini-holiday with two of my sisters.  We went to my one sister, Lori, and her husband’s cottage in Northern Ontario.  Near Kenora.  I may have written about it in the past.  It’s a lovely place.  We spent the better part of a week just sitting on the dock, drinking various cocktails and beers, playing Scrabble, and jumping in the lake when it got too hot.  I am proud to say I got a tan.  Some have even said:  “you look great — all tanned and relaxed” so that made me feel pretty darned good.

Prior to leaving for my little holiday I had spent time trying to get my house in order.  Cleaning, gardening, making sure the bills were paid, etc.  Boring, but necessary stuff.

I had high hopes that Tim would have the pergola finished when I got back, but alas, it was not to be.  He has got the main beams up, so now I’m just praying that he gets it done before the end of summer.  If we have a nice autumn I’ll still be able to enjoy it for a bit.  In Tim’s defence, I have to say that it rained a lot the week I was gone.  It rained only once while I was at the lake, and only for a little it one afternoon.  And it was warm rain.  Not like the cold rains of Alberta, at all.

When I arrived in Calgary Monday night for my connecting flight I was very disheartened when the pilot came on to tell us that the temp was 15 degrees.  I nearly gasped.  For the past week I had been enjoying temps in the high 20’s and low 30’s.  Talk about a shock.  Still, when I stepped off the plane in Edmonton, where it was a wonderful 2 degrees warmer, it felt good to be home.

As much as I always dream of getting away, I’m always grateful and happy to get back home.

With so much of summer still stretched out before me I’ve got lots of plans and lots to do.  I’m going to make the most of every moment and be joyful in the moment.

A few shots of my sister’s place in Ontario:

June 28th – July 1st

Days 180 – 183 — These past four days were spent with our grandkids.  First weekend of summer — what a way to kick it off!  My youngest sister and her two youngun’s came and spent most of the weekend with us, too.  The joy of watching cousins play and get reacquainted.

We had a ton of fun — swimming at the outdoor pool, bbq’s, ice-cream, popsicles, staying up really late and then last night, fireworks to celebrate Canada Day.

Now, it’s time for Grandma to get the house cleaned up and start planning for my own time away.  I just absolutely love summer!

April 22nd

Day 113 – I was dragging my butt around all day because I had such an awesome weekend.  The mind thinks it’s 25 years old still, but the body is sayin’ it just ain’t so.  Ah well, I had fun and that’s what matters.

April 19th

Day 110 — Finally, the end to what felt like a really long week.  Had a great time having dinner with some great friends — it felt good to laugh so much!  And, Nello’s, if you’re really all that high-end — learn to spell Crème Brûlée. Please.  Then I won’t feel quite so snippy about paying an extra $4 for my pasta sidedish.  Just sayin’.

April 6th

Day 97 — A quiet day inside away from the snow.  In the evening I went on a ‘date’ with Landon.  The last time he and I did anything together, just the two of us, was probably before he moved out of home.  It was nice.  We had a bite to eat at Boston Pizza (love those bacon-wrapped steak skewers!) and then went to the Rush game.  First time watching a lacrosse game.  Loads of fun!  It’s a loud, rowdy crowd and a great sport to watch.  Will definitely do it again.  Spending time with my grown-up boy was a delight.  Hopefully, we don’t wait 20 years to do it again.

March 20th

Day 79 — First day of Spring–hah!  But, at least it’s here.  Days are longer, you can feel the change in the air.

A bit of a disappointment today — the kids couldn’t come for dinner as planned because they’re all sick.  But nice of them to stay away so Tim and I don’t catch it.  Not with the Break coming up.

Silver lining — my sister in law Michelle called with an offer of a free ticket to go see Billy Elliot.  Couldn’t refuse!  Have been wanting to see the show, and an evening with her was long overdue.  Unfortunately, neither of us was really impressed with the show — for some reason it comes off very flat and emotionless, for a story that’s supposed to be so full of the joy and spirit of life and following your dreams.  Ah, well, it was still worth it.

March 3rd

Day 62 — Our last day with the kids.  They were tired out — up too late the night before and then up too early in the morning.  I was pretty much bushed, too.   It was a great couple of days — we did a lot and had a wonderful time.

Yesterday was my 350th post!  How about that?

Gotta get back, gotta get back. . .

Some words borrowed from The Who.

That’s really dating me, I’m afraid.

I can just imagine some younger readers going The Who who?

But, I won’t be going there.  This is not a post about old rock and roll bands.

This is a post about old me.

Although, really, I’m not old.

But, man!  Was I ever starting to act like I was!

For a couple of years now I’ve been kind of free-wheeling in place, not really knowing what I was doing or where I was going.

Over the past 6 months or so I’ve really been doing some stock-taking, some re-evaluation, some soul-searching, some trying to figure out what the hell I’m going to do with what’s left of my life.

And, I’ve decided I need to get back.

Back to a place inside myself where creativity once reigned supreme.

I used to pride myself on my ability to creatively problem solve.  If we didn’t have the money for something (which was quite often) I could usually come up with some way to find it.  I thought outside the box.  It was normal.

As time progressed and money became less of an issue I began to find it easier to just buy whatever it was I/we needed.

Not creative.

Well, maybe a little.  Because, I always look to get the absolute best deal I possibly can — and that can require some small measure of creativity.

There’s another word for that, I know.  Cheap. I prefer frugal.

It sounds more creative.

However, I need to get back to what I was saying.  About getting back.  Getting back to a part of myself that I’d abandoned.

About a week ago I was talking with a friend and she mentioned how she sees herself doing something entirely different from what she is currently doing.

She envisions herself as being a motivator.  Talking to others, giving them inspiration.

And I know, that if anyone can do this, my friend can.  She inspires me.

And, after I got off the phone I started thinking:  where do I see myself in 20 years time?

Sitting in front of a TV?  With knitting or crocheting?  Waiting for a phone call from my son or my grandchildren?  Waiting for the community senior’s bus to pick me up so I can go play cards or do a jigsaw puzzle?

I was horrified.  This is not what I had ever imagined for myself.

No, the future I had imagined long ago, in the time before marriage and children and grandchildren was something entirely different.

I saw myself as an adventurer, a photographer, a writer.  I saw myself as living in a place that nurtured me and inspired me and fed me.

Somewhere along the way that vision was altered.

And, not for one minute do I regret the alteration.

I have had a wonderful life up to this point.

Marriage, family, grandchildren, love in abundance.

A beautiful home, a great job, money to pay my bills and afford a few luxuries.

But, now, as time seems to slip and slide around me and I become daily more aware of the preciousness of it, I’m beginning to wonder.

Shouldn’t I be doing more with my life?  Shouldn’t I be trying to live as creatively and beautifully as I possibly can in the years left before me?

Because, really, how many are there left?

As my favorite sister and brother-in-law pointed out to us this weekend it could all end in a moment.

You could step into the shower feeling strong and healthy and then, as you step out, have your heart falter and fail.

All chances to live better, live to your potential, live with creativity– gone.

And how you are going to be remembered is who you were when you stepped into that shower.

Maybe you wanted to be someone different.  Someone who ran marathons.  Someone who wrote poetry and read it aloud in small coffee shops.  Someone who painted.  Someone who took singing lessons. Or swimming lessons. Or bungee jumped.  Or sailed around the world.

We all have dreams.  We all dream that we can do and be so much more than who we really are.

Very few of us ever actually pursue those dreams.

Because doing that takes conviction and creativity.

And being creative takes work.  It means always thinking beyond what’s obvious.

It means being willing to take a chance.

It means choosing the road less travelled, risking failure, forsaking ‘normal’.

I don’t know yet what it is exactly I’m going to do, but I do know it’s going to be something great.

I don’t mean great as in President of the United States great (I am Canadian, after all).  I mean great in that it will make me feel great, make me feel as though each day I live has meaning and purpose.

It’s going to be fun and I’m going to do it with joyful abandon.

I’m going to get creative.

I’m going to inspire the people I love most in this life to live their lives the same way.

To their fullest, most creative potential.

That’s something I wouldn’t mind being remembered for.

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