Category Archives: Calgary

Summer fades into Fall



Have given fleeting thoughts to a new journal post but oh so hard to be motivated most days …. summer warmth has faded into fall’s golden hues …. my thoughts slowly shift to thoughts of further global explorations …. but most days, a quiet zen like peace invades in it’s place and I am quite content to push wanderlust to the back burner … I simply savour this precious time with my granddaughter, Aliana …. being in her midst, seeing life through her two year old innocence … such brilliant simplicity and honesty …. it is enough. />















Spring 2013 rolls along ….


As a young child, I kept a rather sporadic diary for a number of years …. scribbling down random thoughts here and there ….. that pattern reappears with my adult blog/journal/diary …. realizing it is over two months since my last attempt at arranging my thoughts into some form of written/typed order …. time! ….. sometimes the words, much like thoughts, amble and ramble along, helter skelter, like the ebb and flow of life itself 🙂 Young Aliana continues to draw my attention and presence to Calgary …. any contemplations for dusting off my wanderlust wings has certainly taken a back seat. Being a grandparent is a whole new journey, presenting a myriad of daily delights. It has been a surprisingly easy focal shift from my global volunteering and travels. I have, quite simply, moved into the zen of grand parenting ….. a rather easy slip back into the world of the young exploring mind …. playing in snow drifts …. watching Aliana eating her first handfuls of newly fallen snow was sweet as I watched her little face break out with surprise and delight at the texture and taste …. we play almost daily in neighborhood parks ….. I am revisiting the experience of life through the eyes of a child! Never an indoor sort, I indulge and introduce my love of nature and the outdoors to Aliana. We walk the neighbourhood turf of her home, identifying birds, trees, buses, cars, trucks, planes and helicopters, playing in parks, pointing out the seasonal progression of nature …. trees with their delicate little buds, waiting for the warmth of spring to unfurl and unfold …. all these observations continue growing her vocabulary …. so quick, this progression of human development ….. sigh …… with a smile :).

Many years ago, a tradition was born, or more appropriately, it grew into a tradition, of a yearly ‘girl’s week’ with Sarah …. one year to Vancouver, a few times on high school trips to Thailand and Malaysia, where I was parent volunteer with a hundred grade 11 and 12 students (quite possible a touch of insanity surfaced volunteering for that post :)!!) or visits to my family in Kelowna and Vernon, a summer jaunt to Puerto Vallarta, where we hiked in the jungle …. another year, a heavenly Hawaiian spa week, many trips exploring Banff’s hiking trails, or Victoria’s tidal pools, or often, if money and time were a restraint, as they frequently were over the years, a day hike and picnic in our own beautiful back yard of Bragg Creek or Kananaskis! …. Brian, took our Tim on ‘guy adventures’ of their own in the same time period …. creating a bank of memories and experiences for our children.

So with that in mind, and with Sarah’s husband Rob working part time in Vancouver for the last few weeks, we catch a flight to the coast! …. Sarah and Aliana to enjoy quality time with the other leg of their little family, yet allowing us to also enjoy some ‘girl time’ during the days as Rob worked. Leaving behind a snow laden Calgary to breathe the moist west coast air was sheer heaven …. the contrast is always so striking in spring …. Vancouver is but a short hour or so flight from Calgary yet worlds away …. the greenery is everywhere!! …… trees and flowers in bloom, warm sunshine, moist air and the sea, the glorious sea!! We walk the beach along Stanley Park, the marina pathway, the eclectic and interesting downtown scenes and streets of Vancouver ….. squeezing in a birthday spa day for both Sarah and I, (I will be away for her birthday next month) at the new Fairmont Pacific Rim Willow Stream, a delicious birthday brunch at Hotel Georgia …. we make our way to Stanley Park, play on the beach with Aliana, refuel at the Tea House Cafe, savour a chilled sauvignon blanc, feast on a tasty array of appetizers ….. a fine West Coast afternoon!! ….. we lingered long, with Aliana cooperating beautifully!

Of course, a visit to the coast is never complete without a a drive to Mickey and Gordon’s home near Crescent Beach …. A quick stop and we are off to the beach, a few miles away, where Mickey, Sarah, Aliana and I stop for a delicious seaside lunch of fish and chips (we left Gordon happily tending his garden) … Mickey of course, being one of the best grandparents ever, and always prepared with fun surprises, brings along some beach toys (tupperware dishes, cookie cutters, spoons 🙂 allowing for Aliana to explore the beach, digging up sand, shells and rocks! Love love love the West Coast!! A most refreshing respite from Calgary’s seemingly never ending wintry vistas …….


















Beautiful Alberta Skies


What a glorious sunset as I drove home yesterday! … There is nothing quite like our Alberta skies, whether fully lit in the warm hues of a yellow, pink and orange blanket at sunset or the wide open crisp clear blue of a winter morning sky … takes my breath away and one reason why I continue to be drawn to live here for just a little bit longer 🙂 before wanderlust nudges, seducing me back on the road ….




Four Days in the Life of Me ….


An ordinary life on an even more ordinary weekend … still managed some extraordinary moments …. a peaceful walk in wintry Griffith Woods, a pleasant drive to High River, which has grown into quite a charming little Alberta town, to meet the first grandchild of our friends Gay and Mike Morris. Their daughter Jaimie, (Sarah’s childhood friend) and her husband Wade welcomed Jayden Nelson into their fold December 13th …. it was lovely to cuddle a newborn again … A family Bon voyage dinner for Tim at his favourite restaurant, the Japanese Village followed that evening … he leaves Monday for two months of adventuring in Australia ….. followed by a Sunday pizza night at my sister Marg’s …. culminating in a family farewell hug scene at Calgary Airport …. Tim, although a rather mature 25, still gets ID’d every time we are out with him …. my ‘little boy’ !! I finally understand my mother, who never ceased to dispense the most mundane advice to me as an adult …. “Remember to wear a hat in winter weather” for instance …. Although annoying in my early adult years, never ceased to produce a chuckle in my later years …. (Hope my kids get to the chuckle stage earlier than I 🙂 Were she alive today, undoubtedly she would still remind a sixty year old me, to “wear that hat”!!! I suppose some part of every mom still sees a bit of the child, whose hand she once held in her own, in her adult children.
…… poignancy heavy in the air today …..


























An abundance of female energy ….


What a mixed bag the past ten days have been! Had little warning or prep time for all the family drama that would ensue … When I had invited my good friend Linda and niece Sandra to join me in La Quinta some months ago, it was with the idea that we would gather for a peaceful, quiet, restorative spa week, with perhaps some gentle yoga and meditation time! Hmmmm … or rather …. Ommmm. …. yes, a good reminder to continue on the flow journey 🙂

It has been my observation over the course of my life, (and I have been my own guinea pig in this regard) that the more appreciative, open hearted, loving, kind and grateful one is, the less likelihood there is for dysfunction and unhappiness to take residence in the human heart …. it is so easy to get mired in that negative space but with a shift in attitude into gratitude for whatever life brings, be it good or bad, an amazing transformation occurs. It is quite extraordinary, really! That attitude shift and my mother’s overly simplistic but ultimately wise solution to just about everything …. ‘good solid nutritious food, fresh air and lots of rest’ and health would be restored! All good … old fashioned advice that works wonders for most circumstances that ail the human spirit. Allowing others space for their own journey, no matter how I may see it as pointlessly thrashing around in a sea of pain and anger, is my lesson I suppose. All the love and support offered is but a bandaid for the bigger issues they must address.

Life has thrown many curve balls my way over the years and I know that what has helped me personally more times than I can count, is an unusual abundance of blind hope that ‘things will simply improve’ ….. that, and a strong sense of humour that has found me manoeuvring my way through some of life’s rougher mine fields with a lighter heart than one would suppose, given the many life challenges I have faced ….. laughter remains one of our most effective restorative tools … works most every time …. when laughter fails, tears try their hand …. and if those fail, well, time for a massage, which never fails :)!!!

So, doing the best we could, under the circumstances, while Pat and Sandra rested and swam, Linda and I put together good meals to fuel the body, particularly Sandra’s! … It is obvious Pat, Linda and I have enjoyed an abundance of many fine meals in our lives 🙂 … Sandra however, due to recent painful dental work, had not eaten much in weeks and was down to skin and bones …. we were on a mission and like three mother hens, clucked and thrilled as Sandra just about licked clean, every plate of food we served up! There was ample time for many quiet reflective moments, nestled here in the peaceful ambiance of the Santa Rosa Mountains! ….. all worked to sooth the soul, allowing for healing energy to circulate in Sandra’s body, mind and spirit …..

Pat and Sandra fly home, and Linda and I resume our annual spa week ….. Ommm



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Home … A refuge for the heart


Almost home a week but that spacey feeling from switching time zones lingers or perhaps it is something more profound than that ….. family grounds me somewhat … Sarah and Rob hosted a great welcome home barbeque last weekend … so good to reconnect after two months away. Aliana has turned into a sweet little lady in my absence! Great feeling, holding her in my arms … Stampede is well underway, reminding me why I normally escape the city for the ten days 🙂 I am just not much of a “hee haw” party animal anymore, if I ever was. 🙂

Oh, that Birlad, Romania was closer, so I could pay the little ones a visit every week! … emotionally, this was my hardest volunteer posting yet …. It broke my heart to leave these children behind, children who only have the stream of volunteers to give them a sense of love and belonging in the world …. they are all abandoned children and no matter how hard I try, I cannot wrap my head around anyone doing that to a child …. So yes, despite intense happiness to have my own family to hold, love and cherish, a part of me will always yearn to be of help to those most vulnerable, those requiring extra love, care and attention. I suppose I need to feel useful …. making me think, is altruism ultimately, at its core, really just selfishness in disguise? 🙂

My own children have been adults for a long time now …. raising them has been one of the true joys of my life. More than any job or career I had, being a mother was what I enjoyed the most of all. Both Sarah and Tim are happily entrenched in their own lives, no longer in need of the impediment of a doting mother intruding in their lives …. I feel I still have so much more to give and a typical Canadian retirement holds no appeal at this point in time. It would appear I am drawn to those in our world, who have so little …. I am happy in their midst without the distractionsi and accoutrements of our modern world in Canada, a country where we have so much of everything, an embarrassment of riches in every area of life, riches that many parts of our world have never, nor will ever know ….. I think of the penniless peaceful sadhus of India who have willingly renounced all worldly goods or my little ones in Birlad, who can light up a room with smiles in the midst of the harshest of living conditions! …. Not meaning to be too hard on my fellow Canadians, or myself for that matter, but it appears most of us need far too much of everything, thinking the road to happiness is paved with having ‘stuff’!! In recent years, I have noticed a movement afoot, a growing trend, to incorporate more simplicity into our lives, even here, in the land of plenty. It is not without irony, that I realize I enjoy writing thoughts down on my IPad 🙂 …. helps enormously to bring some form of clarity to my experiences of the past few years …. the mind attempts but somehow is failingly incapable of formulating adequate descriptives and reflections on perhaps the most inwardly transformative years of my life as an adult … my insides feel as though they have been rearranged and I am not quite sure how to adjust to the new configurations …..