It’s the end of February, the coldest month of winter. Also, the snowiest month.
Today, we have a “warm” day. It’s only minus 5 Celsius (23 F). However, tomorrow we are back to minus 17 Celsius (1 F) and more snow, so March will come in like a lion.
I had not realized how much I use skiing for getting outside in the winter. This winter, I have not been able to ski and I’m feeling very cooped up.
For a long time, I’ve noticed this pain in my hip and I’ve written it off as a pulled muscle. But, last summer, while walking up a hill at Whistler, I was having major difficulty.
After vacation, my doctor sent me for an X-ray, and it turns out I have osteoarthritis. In fact, I have a lot of it. So much so, that I will need a new hip. It’s amazing what they can fix.
Here I am hobbling around in the mountain town of Canmore, Alberta.
By the way, this is where THE THURSTON HEIRLOOM is set.
I can still drive and I have one of those parking passes so I can park in the handicap spots. In the house, I get around with just a cane, but outside in the snow, I feel more secure with crutches.
These past few months, I’ve been amazed by how kind people are. They are always holding doors open for me. I go to Starbucks for a latte and people ask if they can carry my drink to my table. One barista even offered to bring my drink out to my car.
At the bank, I’ve had an employee offer to bring me a chair while I waited in line, and I’ve had a customer send me ahead of him in the line.
While Christmas shopping, I was carrying my bags out to the parking lot when a lady offered her help. She carried all my stuff to my car for me.
So, thank you, world. You’ve been a great help!
There’s a fairly long wait to get this operation and in the meantime, I need to stay active. That means walking in the water and doing Aquafit. I also do yoga. And yesterday, I tried a stationary bike for the first time. I think I’ll like that exercise.
In other news…
Fortunately, my arms still work because I am a grandmother again.
Isn’t she sweet?
She makes me count my blessings.
Calendar from bigstockphoto.com #275300788
So it’s already the second week of January, and I remain resolution-less.
I could be making a list and I know all the usual suspects: write more, read more, eat healthy food, drink lots of water. The exercise component has shifted to yoga and floor exercises since I can’t do walking/skiing/line dancing now. Turns out my hip has severe osteoarthritis. I’d really like a new hip but time will tell.
Since I started this blog, I’ve had various approaches to the New Year’s Resolution:
- In the beginning, 2012, I simply listed my resolutions and hoped for the best. New Year’s Resolutions.
- In 2013, I talked about what Smart Goals are, and I made an “Un-Resolution List”.
- For 2014, it was Setting Intentions.
- And then in 2015, although it was not specifically about Resolutions, I looked up the Stages of Exercise.
- I listed some . . . things to do in the New Year . . . for 2016. It was a pretty laissez-faire approach but it seemed to work as well as anything specific.
- The next year, I think I gave up.
- By 2018, I had found A different take on Goal Setting which is to simply not talk about it. The idea is that by stating your goal to the world, you actually decrease your chances of achieving it. The STATING gives you all kinds of approbation before you actually do anything. So, go ahead and make that goal, but don’t announce it. Not until you’ve achieved it.
This year, I’ve found a new approach. Instead of simply making that list, you talk to yourself about what you’d like to do in this new year. Then answer yourself at a later date. At that time, you might get a nudge from your Future Self to try again, or, you might see progress. Often we do make progress, but we don’t notice it because the progression is glacially slow.
Incidentally, my school of nursing motto was Persistent in Progress.
Hamilton and District School of Nursing crest
One way to talk to yourself is to journal.
That’s an ongoing thing and sometimes we don’t take the time to go back and see what we wrote. The progress, if there is any, does not stand out.
Another way to talk to yourself is to write yourself a letter.
And have it delivered to you next January. Or maybe on June 30 at that halfway point of the year. Or maybe even on this date next month.
Of course, there is an app for this. It’s called future me.
You can sign up for free. There’s also a premium option for $3 per year if you don’t want to see ads.
I think I wrote a letter to Me sometime in December. I’m pretty sure I scheduled it to send sometime in January. I wonder what I will be telling Me?
Are you a resolution maker? Do you start off with new optimism each January? Or, do you prefer to remain resolution-less? Do you think a letter from You to You might be motivating, reassuring or even slightly interesting? Will you give it a try?
little girl writing a letter to her future self from Depositphotos #59092059
Calgary is welcoming October with periods of snow and temperatures at freezing.
It should only be for a couple of days, and then we can get back to Autumn.
The trees have changed colour. Here in Alberta, the colours are mainly shades of yellow and orange. One of these years, I want to fly east in the autumn to see the fiery red maples. At any rate, even though the leaves are yellow, they have yet to fall. Hopefully, we can look forward to some mild days later in the month for leaf raking. October is for leaf raking.
October is also for ripening berries. Our mountain ash out front is loaded with berries. They will stay for much of the winter providing lots of food for the visiting Bohemian Waxwings.
Mountain ash berries for a centrepiece.
Of course, October is the time for pumpkins and pumpkin spice lattes.
October is for pumpkin spice lattes.
October is also time for apples. My friend’s daughter harvested local apples and made this apple cake and apple juice. It’s amazing how good freshly picked ingredients taste.
apple cake and apple juice – made from freshly harvested local apples
October is also the setting for my latest novel, WEDDING BELL BLUES. Actually, it starts in September and ends in October. A couple of days ago, the book got its first review:
I know, small print. You can read the review here. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. 🙂
WEDDING BELL BLUES is available in Print and Ebook at Amazon. It’s also available in Print at ChaptersIndigo in Canada. (Hmmm, I wonder if Chapters has put up an image for the book yet . . .)
As the cold weather approaches, I’m thinking about winter. The long, cold Calgary winter. And I’m thinking about maybe heading south this winter for a short break. I’m saving for that trip.
Here’s my Cinderella Castle piggy bank.
Cinderella’s piggy bank
Canadian Thanksgiving is next Monday. Always the second Monday of October. Most people do Thanksgiving dinner on the Sunday and then have leftovers on the Monday. I’m not quite sure what we are doing, but I can guarantee there will be pumpkin pie. And probably whipped cream.
What’s your favourite part of October? Are you having turkey next Sunday or Monday? Is it snowing where you are?
pumpkin pie from Bigstockphoto #159829412
I needed to step away from the keyboard and Rolf wanted to attend the annual Three Hills Cruise Weekend, so we booked a motel and headed to the little town last Friday.
The Three Hills Cruise started in 1981. The event was organized by three locals for the first Saturday of June. That year, 35 cars showed up.
The event continues to be held on the first Saturday of June and also includes the Friday and Sunday.
Show ’n’ Shine
On Friday, there’s the Meet, Greet and Cruise. Saturday has the Show ’n’ Shine. Cars start lining Main Street at 8 o’clock in the morning. Later on Saturday, starting about 5 pm, the Three Hills Airport hosts the 1/8 mile bracket racing. And on Sunday, the racing continues.
This year marks the 37th year of the event. More than 1000 classic cars and trucks registered and Main Street filled with people, young and old. There were also classic motorcycles and I even saw one Tesla.
Local eateries fill up. Church groups and service organizations sell hot dogs, burgers, ribs and beans as well as soft drinks and ice cream. It’s like being at the fair.
Apparently, Mother Nature always cooperates and the day is hot and sunny. Many visitors bring folding chairs to sit in the shade.
Is this Margi’s Thunderbird?
The Town of Three Hills was incorporated as a Village in 1912. Now the town has a population of about 3300, numerous parks and walking trails, and many community events throughout the year. The Cruise is the biggest. At this event, money is raised and donated to worthwhile causes. Classic vehicles are showcased and appreciated. Visitors and locals kick back and enjoy a hot summer’s day.
Although I am not a car aficionado, I couldn’t help but get into the spirit and I’ve already decided I’ll be there next year.
Main Street, Three Hills
Have you attended the Three Hills Cruise?
A month ago, spring officially arrived in the northern hemisphere. It didn’t quite make it to Calgary.
A couple of weeks ago, I saw my first robins, but they’ve been hiding ever since.
Eight days ago, the city crews cleared the storm sewer by our driveway. With the heavy snowfall, the storm drain blocked and needed to be steamed out. For three weeks, our driveway was either a lake or an ice rink. At one point, I had a delivery and the driver crossed the lake to park on our driveway in order to reach the house. But with the snowpack, she had trouble backing out. I stood on the road to watch for traffic so she could back up quickly and get over the ridge of ice and back on the road.
Earlier in the day, a truck got stuck between the ruts on the road. It wasn’t a four-wheel drive truck. Don’t come to visit unless you are driving a four-wheel drive vehicle.
Three days ago I drove to an appointment at eight in the morning in the snow and the sleet. Headlights on. Windshield wipers on. Poor visibility. But good traction because I have good snow tires.
I wonder how long we will need snow tires this spring . . .
Yesterday, finally, there are some signs of spring.
My Secret Garden is waking up from a long winter’s nap.
It’s been a week since the last snowfall warning. The temperatures are rising and the snow is melting. We may have made it through the longest winter ever.
Things to do while waiting for spring
Buy some tulips.
Go to the terrarium at the zoo.
Wear a brightly colored shirt.
Don’t think about winter. Eat strawberry rhubarb pie and dream of spring.
Is it spring-like where you live?
Do you have any sprouts coming up?
Do you have a rhubarb patch?
Do you like strawberry rhubarb pie?
Falling snow from Depositphotos #35062887
Robin from Depositphotos #46951573_l-2015
Tulips from Depositphotos #38836931_l-2015
When I went to elementary school, I learned that the Earth’s axis is slightly tilted in relation to its orbit around the Sun. I also learned that because the Earth orbits the Sun at a slant, we have seasons. And I learned that the seasons change on the 21st of March, June, September and December.
I have since learned that the 21st is close to the astronomical calculation, but the 21st is not always the first day of the new season.
Today, March 20th, is the astronomical first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. It is known as the spring equinox or the vernal equinox. If you imagine a line above the equator, the spring equinox occurs when the sun crosses that line from south to north. That is the astronomical definition of Spring.
In Calgary, with snowbanks everywhere, it still looks like winter even though yesterday was the last official day of winter.
Yesterday, we drove to the mountains to ski at Sunshine Village. It’s not spring there either, although the temperatures are warmer than they were in January. The snow, however, is perfect winter snow—not the slushy stuff that will come with spring skiing.
Here we are leaving the gondola station at 1,660 metres (5,450 feet) looking out the frosty Plexiglas of the gondola.
Leaving the gondola base
That’s the parking lot below, only half full at ten in the morning. It’s a weekday so it will only fill to the end of the parking lot. On weekends, the cars are backed down the road and shuttle buses take you to the gondola station.
We always ski on weekdays.
Here we are arriving at the top gondola station in the Village, at 2,159 metres or 7,082 feet.
Arriving at the Village
There is another station below this where you can get off for Goat’s Eye Mountain, but in the mornings, it’s always icy over there. So if we do ski Goat’s Eye, we wait until the afternoon. By then the sun has softened the snow and it’s nicer skiing.
Yesterday’s forecast was for a mix of sun and cloud and the morning started off sunny.
sunny at Sunshine in the morning
Closer to lunch, we headed to the top of Divide.
On the Divide Chair
Now we are on the Divide chair. To the left are the Teepee Town and Angel chairs.
For a short time, the Divide chair crosses from Alberta into British Columbia. I didn’t get my camera out fast enough so I missed the sign that says “Welcome to Beautiful British Columbia” but I did get the sign welcoming us back to Alberta.
Welcome Back to Sunny Alberta
The joke is that sometimes you are riding this chair in a whiteout when the “sunny Alberta” sign comes into view.
Now we are at the top of Divide at an elevation of 2,730 metres or 8,960 feet, and the clouds are moving in.
Top of Divide
The light was flat, so we only did one run here and then skied all the way back down to the Village. We did one more run on Standish (where the light was better) and then we went to the Sunshine Mountain Lounge and the Chimney Corner for lunch . . .
Sunshine Mountain Lodge
. . . where I get to take off my boots (ahhhhh)
. . . and fuel up on that great Canadian delicacy, poutine.
After lunch, the light was still iffy, and Goat’s Eye looked socked in, so we stayed at the Village, and skied the Wawa Bowl.
Tin Can Alley
One of my favourite runs is here, Tin Can Alley.
Now we are riding down. Those are my skis on the outside of the gondola.
going down on the gondola
The temperature rose to 4 degrees Celsius (39 Fahrenheit) in the Village, with no wind, so the air was spring-like. But the snow was winter-like and perfect. So that was our last official day of astronomical winter.
The other way of determining the seasons is called the Meteorological Method. In this case, meteorologists base the seasons on annual temperature cycles.
- Spring is defined as March, April and May.
- Summer is June, July and August
- Fall is September, October and November.
- And Winter is December, January and February.
Kind of makes more sense. But I still think back to my elementary school days—and the 21st.
What is spring for you? Is it the beginning of March? Or not until the 21st? Is it snow melting? Or tulips and daffodils pushing up through the soil? Do you like spring skiing? Or would you prefer to start a garden?