Monday, January 28, 2013

International Week 2013

Today begins a week of busyness at the University. It's I-Week and there is so much going on. This year the theme is: Conscious Culture: Finding Paths to a Better World. There are over 70 free events, some which even include childcare, happening every day this week. I'm pretty excited about the sessions I've picked so far. There are tonnes more I'd like to attend, but we'll see how that goes - while also trying to stay on top of school work. 

Some of the speakers include, Dr. Gabor Maté, speaking about Toxic Culture - issues about health, that should be great. Raj Patel, talking about food security (there's even a free reception with local sustainably grown food!), and Sheryl WuDunn (author of Half the Sky) talking about women in Development. There are loads of other presenters, a drama presentation, dance, music... you  name it.
If you're in Edmonton you should try to make an effort to come out.

Hope to see you here!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Another first!

Another first happened this weekend. I curled in my first Bonspiel (which for some reason I keep wanting to call a bon-shpeel, instead of bon-speel). It was lots of fun. My team tapped into their quirky selves, so there was dancing and singing, along with rock slinging, sweeping, and sliding.

I am still quite new to team sports. (This feels like the first team I've ever been on, even though I know that as a child I was on a t-ball/softball team for quite a few years, it doesn't seem to count, because I think I have blocked it from my memory. All I remember of that time is my Dad telling me to keep my "eye on the ball", the time when even though I thought I had my eyes on the ball I caught the ball with my face after it bounced off a rock or something, and doing handstands or cartwheels in the field much to my father's frustration because really... being an out fielder in any children's sport is just boring.) This weekend was lots of fun, and I would recommend finding yourself a curling team and having a go. Did you note that craziness there? I just recommended joining a team!

This photo is a bit of out of context... it's from an earlier game this year.
BUT my rock got game point, and I am still excited. 
That's my team at the far end, watching the other team throw their rock.
Everyone curling up a storm! 
This is Carly's team during the C-level finals. It was a close game, but unfortunately they lost... 
This little dude (James) was pretty cute.
Giggling and exclaiming over watching his Dad (aka Uh-oh) on the ice below.

Anyway - I hope you're finding your own ways to enjoy winter.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Deep Freeze? Winter delights!

This past weekend, we went to the Deep Freeze Festival on 118Ave. Have you been? So much fun! My nephew was cleaning up on the ice during minor hockey week (two games, three goals! Go Josh! Woo!) so Lillian got an Aunty based date on her own. However, there were new people there, so the amazingness of that was perhaps over shone. Cheryl was there with her little dudes (she's more prompt blogger - so her pics are already up), as well as our friends Hannah and Jon. We had a blast.

As we arrived we encountered the cabane à sucre. We got our popsicle sticks and hopped into line. I had my camera there, but was too busy helping roll. However, good fortune ensued and the guy pouring the syrup said, "photo op" and the Edmonton Journal man appeared. There are loads of other pictures up too on the Edmonton Journal website... but this one's my favourite. 

Following this we moved onto checking out some ice sculptures that were still in process and trying to track down Cheryl and company before heading off to find the activities. 

We found the curling rink! 
An attempt
Supported delivery - ice is slippery!
 There were lots of fun things to go and do - and lots of people doing them. Thankfully, everything was moving quite smoothly and so lines just didn't seem to be an issue.

The theme this year was "the Wild West" which is a fun thing to watch in a winter festival. Snowy wagon anyone?

We eventually went inside to listen to some music, thaw out (although I think that was an older person, not a small person desire), and have some hot chocolate and popcorn.

Fiona pondering the festival
Smiley Cedric
Snack-time Cuddles
After the snack our smallest friends, and Cheryl and to head home. Nap time is not something to be messed with. On our way back out Hannah and Jon decided to test out the ice-gun with their hot chocolate. Yep - that's baileys coming through the barrel. I can't think of any other way that a gun is a good idea.

it does WHAT??
On our way home we stopped to check out the entries for the warming stations. So many of them were so neat. I liked this one with doors and lanterns.

It's an awesome little festival - actually all the things put on by Arts on the Ave are. If you didn't go this year, you should next year. It's delightful.

I hope that your new year has begun delighting in the people and spaces around you.
Peace to you!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Beginnings of a new year

I used to be more organized. I would send Christmas cards to friends, heck - I used to even make them. As a result, I used to also get them in the mail. (I love getting post!) Perhaps fewer people are sending them now... perhaps I haven't been organized enough to send people my new address, so no post. Hard to really know the cause and effect. That said, I did get a few digital letters this year sharing the going ons of peoples lives this past year and I enjoyed them immensely. So - I thought I would do one too.

This year has been so full. I have had lots to celebrate and enjoy. Just after midnight on new years (day? night? how does that work? I hadn't slept yet...), as a small group of us were still musing the year after the fireworks, the question was posed about the top 3 things that happened this year, that either made you happy, or were big things... or made your top 3. What would you pick?

I chose:

1. Getting married. 
As of now, this is the BEST decision of my life. I have married someone kind and funny. Someone who challenges me and supports me. Someone who I look forward to being with every day. It's great. The "day" itself was perfect, the weather cooperated and we were surrounded by people who love us - and the journey together since then just gets better and better.

I think a few people snuck out of the picture... but this is most everyone.

2. Choosing a new career. 
Technically this is a multi-year event, but the decision was made in 2012 and the beginning of the process was also in 2012. I have started an after-degree in Elementary Education. I did my first round of student teaching this last semester, co-learning with a class of grade one's in Northside Edmonton. I head back to the classroom for courses for me for two more semesters before I am back in the land of teaching, but I am excited by this new beginning. I am fairly certain it will be a good choice for me - and hopefully it'll be good for the small people I will be teaching. I need to find some kind of income in the meantime though... so if you have a lead - do let me know.

3. Getting a puppy
For those who know me well, they know this was a somewhat odd decision for me to be making. We've only had her a few months - and she has stolen a chunk of my heart. Can't say I would consider myself a 'dog person' yet, but I am smitten with mine - so perhaps that's a good start.

This is her brand new and just too cute for words. 
First snow - she loved it!
Getting big, really really fast.
 I am starting to feel like one of those mythical great aunts who think you've grown every time they see you, whether the time is in hours, days, months or years. I swear she grows every time I leave the house...

Anyway - those were my three. I think, given more time to think about it - I could make a very long list. Lots of other things have happened this year. I feel blessed by the closeness and health of my family and I have incredible friends who I am eternally thankful for. Life is pretty darn good, there are of courses ups and downs, but overall - it's been a pretty great year.

I hope that the new year brings you joy and that the world treats everyone a bit more kindly this year - as we try to build a bit more peace, justice, and compassion.

Peace to you~