A Dubious Saturday

Was over at my sister’s place on Saturday to take Stella for a walk. The original intention was to drive us to the Whitemud trail head in Westbrook and hit the ravine under blue skies (wishful thinking), but the meteorological gods had different plans, presenting us with life-sucking rain-snow, grey skies and low visibility. Actually, the whole day kind of sucked. I was supposed to take delivery of my beautiful new sofa in the morning, but it was too big for the elevator and the stairs too narrow, so I had to switch it out for a love seat, which will arrive (hopefully) next Saturday. In any case, with my sister away for the weekend, I thought a walk with the doggie, who I miss terribly, would turn the day around but within three minutes I wiped out on the ice. Seconds later, Stella wiped out in front of me. I hadn’t even managed to haul myself off the ground yet. I landed on my elbow and my cell phone went flying. Luckily, no broken bones, but it hurt like hell. (The bruise is turning out quite nicely, however.) Poor Stella, she limped for a bit, but managed to walk it off within a few minutes. The next day, Sharon and I noticed that she had also cut herself under her chin!

This winter gets a D-. Do you hear that winter? Multiple freeze-thaw cycles, icy sidewalks and long stretches of frigid weather. You could say that’s a typical winter, but not really. The ice has been particularly treacherous this year, and long-lasting.  I, along with every Edmontonian, will be so fucking glad when this winter shuffles off to whence it came.

After the fall, the rest of the walk was OK. Stella had fun running after the ball, and at one point, she just dropped to the ground and starting rolling around, luxuriating in her snow bath. During her month-long vacay in Scottsdale with Sharon in February, her daily routine involved a play n’ splash in a local public fountain. She LOVES water, but she also loves snow. Burying her ball, leaping into the snowbanks. She’s an outdoorsy girl.

I haven’t quite returned to my daily walking commutes. There have been after-work things to do, so in the nine work-days I have had in my new place thus far, I’ve only walked home about three. Bad Donna. When I do start walking in the river valley this week, it will be with spikes.

-1C/one hour

Oliver!

Shoescape from my very first blog post in April, 2010

Well, I finally launched myself out of my sister’s basement (hoisted might be a better word) and moved back into a walkable neighbourhood. It took six years, most of them very happy but largely unwalkable (from a commuter standpoint). I’m not going to belly gaze too much on that one. I already know I’m prone to inertia when it comes to major life changes, and the location in south Edmonton with my family – furry and non-furry alike – was just comfortable enough, and my career, at times, too precarious to make any sudden moves.

And so, six years later…

Instead of moving back into my familiar haunt in Old Strathcona, however, I’ve opted for downtown, in Oliver. It’s even more walkable, but alas, it is not two blocks from my beloved Mill Creek Ravine or ten minutes from my (also beloved) Whitemud Ravine. But, what it lacks in immediate ravine access it more than makes up for in walkability to work, amenities and the river valley. I just moved in last week, so between a spare room half-filled with boxes (mostly books), and building new bookcases for said books, I’ve not had much time to explore the ‘hood, although I am vaguely familiar with it.

I walked home once last week, and it was great. Not through the river valley, but across the High Level Bridge and then along the path that snakes around the edge of downtown above the river. It took about 45 minutes. Eventually, I will take the various river valley routes home, but it’s just been too busy. I don’t feel that relaxed at the moment. Far from it. There’s always a thousand things to do, in the evening, at work, and especially at home. I need a week off to get everything sorted.

It’s strange to be on my own again, which sounds crazy coming from a person who has done just that for most of my adult life. I am only about a 20 minute walk (or five minute drive) from Tom, and my sisters are short(ish) drives away, but when I come home, it’s just me. No Molly. No Maggie, or Stella, or Wanda. I might have to cat up. It’s awfully quiet.

I am looking forward to some actual leisure time that’s not about opening boxes or frowning at the visible consequences of my acquisitive book habits. Wandering in the neighbourhood. Walking instead of driving to stores. Walking to Tom’s. Walking in the river valley. Discovering new routes and pathways. Being in nature every day. Watching the river. Watching the seasons. Ending my work days in the woods, not underground waiting for the train.

Of course, there have been hundreds of walks since I moved in with my sister, and many of them have been in the company of either Maggie, or Stella, which has been a wonderful gift. I’ve learned the intricacies and intimacies of Whitemud Ravine, a total joy. And even with Tom, I’ve “discovered” the beautiful trails in and around Glenora. What I haven’t done, and what I’ve missed terribly, is my commute at the end of the day, on foot. It’s taken a big toll on my life, mentally and physically. Yeah, I periodically managed to find a way, but nothing sustainable over six years.

Oliver is my doorway back into the thing that dramatically changed my life for the better almost 25 years ago. Walking.

Walking home.

Hello January

It’s been awhile. Little walking other than neighbourhood dog walks December and early January. It’s been too cold, too slippery, or too much effort. I’ve also been suffering from a series of colds. A head cold Christmas Eve day, lasting for about a week. And then, last week, a chest cold which may have been my head cold part II, which I still have. Lots of people seem to be getting two colds in a row, or one long and winding cold. It’s been a month of hacks, sneezing and phlegm. And rolls and rolls of Halls.

Anyway, a nice long walk at Terwilleger with Sharon and Stella. Frosty, a bit overcast, but nice to get out and stretch my atrophied everything.

Even though it was nicer and bluer out than the photographs might suggest, it was very wintery in the way the white, low sun spotlighted through the frost-covered branches. That eye-level sun is a dead giveway it’s winter. Still.

-4C/9-10:30ish.

 

So cold

Me in Mill Creek Ravine, a long time ago

No walks for me. No walks for a month. Probably more. Other than dog walks…

November was cold. December…December was very nice. Above zero most days. But, it rained. For the better part of December, I used micro-spikes to walk to the bus in the morning, and to walk the dog. Most of the snow melted, leaving black ice everywhere. And now, a few days after Christmas, the snow has returned and it’s bone-chillingly cold. Right now, it’s 2:00 in the afternoon, sunny, and -22C. Tomorrow, the high will be -29C. Thank God Tom’s son is going to the Oilers game with him on Friday. I also have a cold, so in combination with the frigid temperatures and my usual December sloth, I’ve barely been out of the house.

In other words, I have no walks to report. It looks beautiful outside. Blue sky. I remember once, a long time ago, back when it was very rare for me to go more than two days without a walk, I couldn’t take it any longer so I bundled up in multiple layers and braved the -25C afternoon. It was a walk in the most literal sense, but nothing more, and the constriction of so many clothes made it uncomfortable. Sharon and Vic are traveling to Scottsdale this afternoon, so I will have to take the dog out a couple of times a day, so my days as a shut-in are ending.

Remembrance Day

Two walks, two experiences.

This morning, around 8:30, I took Stella for a half hour walk around the ‘hood. It was frosty and cool. Nice though. We had fun.

This afternoon at about 2:30 I took her out again to the powerline and was treated to a bright, blue sky and 0C degrees. I guess I’m settling into winter. It hasn’t really been above zero since October 31st and some days have been very cold and miserable. Nevertheless, it’s time to stop mourning autumn and move on. Winter is (mostly) a beautiful season. Stella LOVES the snow. It’s all good.

Last week, on one of our evening walks, Stella was attacked by a neighbourhood dog, Rory, a Great Dane. She has hated Stella since since the day she arrived. Unfortunately, the son had let her off leash in the small park behind the house. When I turned the corner and saw Rory, I turned around as fast as I could, but Rory was on Stella in a second. It was very vicious. Super nice family, very bad mistake. Stella is OK, but it was scary. The son had to lay on top of Rory to pin her down. After it was over, Stella just carried on as if nothing happened, but we later discovered blood and a few minor punctures.

I prefer uneventful walks.