Tag Archives: yeg

Sidewalk Flowers

Guess who’s baaaaaack! On a long and gorgeous walk on Sunday, I found a few dandelions poking their friendly little yellow faces out of some brown grass and a few cracks in the cement sidewalks. It’s no secret that I love dandelions, and it was very cheering to see this lovely andfor bees, very important first flower of spring.

In 2015, I wrote about dandelions in one of my favourite children’s picture books of all time, Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson, with illustrations by Sydney Smith. Read the review here.

On my two-hour walk a butterfly passed amiably by, as did some sort of buzzing insect. A bee? Hope so. My 12,000+ step walk took me into the river valley, Rossdale, over the beautiful Walt Jr Bridge, and then back again. I may have picked up a bit of a wind or sun burn. By the end of it, I felt like me. I felt like this is exactly what I should be doing on a sunny Sunday. Having said that, it was tiring, and so I took a short nap under a sun beam on my couch after I got home. All in all, a fantastic afternoon.

Bridge in Rossdale

View of the river just past the bridge in Rossdale

I can’t stress enough how wonderful this walk was, simply because this time last April, there was still a lot of snow and being new to the neighbourhood, I had yet to discover some the of paths I took today. This year, the river is far more open, and yesterday, the trails were packed with people biking, walking, and even skateboarding. We deserve this after the winter we had, especially February.

Walterdale Bridge, also fondly known as Walt Jr

1:15-3:00 pm/15C.

Stick Day!

Went for a walk in Whitemud Ravine with Stella and Sharon on Sunday. There is still snow in spots, but the path down the power line is clear, and the creek is running very high and very fast. Stella found a series of giant sticks and amused herself (and us) trying to haul them away.

 

It was overcast, but warm. Saturday was beautiful with a bright blue sky (like today, Monday) but I was mostly running errands so I didn’t go for a walk.

A gushing Whitemud Creek

I’ve been walking most work days home, and that will pick up now that the hockey season is almost over (thank god). One more home game, and then we are freeeee! I wish the Oilers were in the playoffs, but the regular season is such a time commitment already, so I’m not sad about gaining some more time in my life. More time, that is, to frolic in the woods after work and on the weekends.

8C (yesterday). 

What is this…warmth?

Emily Murphy Park

March came in like a lamb. A big, gentle, blue-sky lamb. There were a few lionesque days to start, but since then, it’s been above zero every day, and this week, it’s all double digits. I don’t recall what the sidewalks were like in Oliver last year at this time, but this year, holy cow. In the morning they are lakes of ice. In the afternoon, just lakes. I’ve been walking down the street to avoid slips and soakers. Both pairs of boots have cracks, which has become glaringly apparent. Out they go at the end of this season. I expect we will have a few more dumps of snow, but with 14C today, and 17C tomorrow, the snow we have now should have well and truly fucked off by the weekend.

Yesterday (Monday), I walked home for the first time in months. Bad Donna. Not bad because I walked home but bad because it’s way too long! My route was down Emily Murphy Park road, over the Groat Bridge, and then up Victoria Park Road. It was beautiful but I was filthy by the time I got home. The sidewalk down to the river valley was covered in gravel, and even though there were no huge puddles on the road, they were still wet, which meant I was lightly misted with dirty water all the way home. And I was hot. I brought my leggings, but I should have changed into a t-shirt. It’s that time of year when it is hard to know what to wear, although it was wonderful to have running shoes on my feet and not boots. I had a taste of that in Scottsdale, but since my return it’s been all boots all the time.

You’re a dirty, dirty city, Edmonton.

In total, I walked about 14,000 steps, and to make my way home without crowded buses or trains in the equation was simply wonderful. That bus down Jasper is the worst. Now, without the frigid temperatures, I can at least walk home from the train, which is about 14 blocks. I will be glad when the sidewalks are dry, which shouldn’t be too much longer. I will be especially glad when the river valley trails are clear of snow, ice and water, but that will take a month, maybe less…

12C (yesterday)

The Coldest Day in a Decade

Sunny and deadly! The view outside my office in Humanities

It was -33C this morning when I went to work, the coldest day in Edmonton in a decade. Just three blocks to the bus, but that was enough. I had double socks, double mitts, two sweaters, plus leggings under pants. And then a snood for my neck, a hood (pulled tight) over my head, and a scarf wrapped around the whole mess. I could still feel the frigid air slice through every layer like a hot knife through butter, but it was OK for the short walk.

I hate this. The weather has been below -25C since Thursday last week (it’s now Tuesday). The previous weekend, it was 7C above! And we’ve had about 20 cm of snow.

Snow. Every. Dammed. Day.

It used to be that if the temperature was this cold, it would be under blue, snowless skies, but today is the first day we’ve seen the sun. It’s been truly miserable. I haven’t seen Tom for days. Usually we get together on Friday and the weekend, but neither one of us budged from our respective homes.

Outside my office in Humanities around 8:30 am

And, my furnace broke on Saturday. I decided to take public transit to my hair appointment that morning because I didn’t want to drive on the snow-covered streets, and when I got home there was a power failure just as I was walking through the door. The power was out for two hours in Oliver and surrounding area, and it got really cold in my place. When the power was restored, the furnace fan came back on but not the furnace. It took until Monday morning to identify and resolve it, and I’m not even sure if it is resolved. They did replace a broken part (the heat pump with the little propeller thingy which in the old pump had totally disappeared), but it’s so cold outside, and my windows are so big and plentiful and single-paned, it’s just not possible to keep the temperature up. That’s my theory anyway. This is the first February in my Oliver home, and the first real cold snap, so it’s all new.

So other than work, I’ve done nothing, and seen no one. It’s very isolating. I miss Tom. I miss not being afraid of my furnace. I miss driving. I miss being truly warm in my apartment. At least I have a roof over my head and multiple duvets.

The good news is that I am going to Scottsdale on Friday. I can’t believe how lucky I am. Sharon will be down there with Stella for the month, Joanne is there right now with Steve, my cousins Cathy and Larry will be there for a few days, and when Joanne and I leave, Vic will join his wife and dog for another week. That condo of theirs has been a real gift. This is the first time I’ve gone for a whole week. Last time I went, in February 2017, we packed a lot in in four days. One thing is for sure, it won’t be -33C! And I will be walking. A LOT.

Outside the corner office in Humanities, around 8 am.

Sunday in the Park with Stella (again)

It seems my only substantial walks these days are with Stella. I didn’t used to need a dog to go for a walk – but a walk is a walk and Stella is always good company.

Stella’s mom (my sister Sharon) and I wandered around Terwillegar with about a thousand other dogs. I’ve never seen so many dogs – tall dogs, short dogs, brown, black and blond dogs, racing dogs, ambling dogs, ball-dogs like Stella. Everybody getting along, everybody happy to be outdoors on a beautiful day.

In my estimation, we are having another crap winter, by which I mean a roller coaster of freeze and melt, and a lot of grey, overcast days which always leave me feeling blue and lazy. My memory could be faulty, but we’ve had more “warm” winter days in the last two or three years – where the melting snow leaves giant swaths of ice once the temperature falls (which is always does) – than we ever used to have. Maybe a bit of a melt in late January or February, but really only one or two episodes. Now, rain is a regular feature of our winters. On the surface, this would appear to be a good thing, but also on the surface is ice. Lots and lots of ice.

Sharon retrieving the ball that Stella lost down the hill.

My dream winter would be short and mild, and by mild I mean around -5C to -10C. Not too warm, not too cold, with just enough snow and lots of blue skies. Not what we get these days, which is black ice, grey skies, and annoyingly timed snow (like when I’m driving).

I also think that because I walk a lot less than what I used to, I’m not out finding ways to enjoy it. In 25 years of walking in the ravines and river valley of this city, I’m not sure I ever had one walk I regretted. I always found something beautiful, even on days when all colour seems sapped from the landscape. That’s what’s missing. I’m not out actively hunting for beauty.

Well, today was beautiful. Yes it was.

About 0C. 

Christmas Eve Day

Stella makes her case for a walk

I write this more than a week past my last ‘good’ walk and on my last day of work for the year. It’s Christmas Eve, and while I am here until noon, there is not much going on, so…

And also, this may prove to be my one and only post from December 2018, but I hope not. Surely there will be some walking opportunities over my week off? You see, that’s the difference between Donna pre and post 2011, when I moved over to the south side. Before, I would create the walking opportunities. It was very rare that I didn’t walk five or six times a week, even if it was just the short 25 minute commute home to Mill Creek. Now, I seem to wait for the perfect weather, or I don’t think about it at all. Sigh…

Stella and I in Whitemud Ravine

Funny how habits, ingrained habits, can vanish if the circumstances change. I moved out of my very walkable neighbourhood in 2011 to move in with Sharon’s family for a year, and I stayed for six. And now, back on my own for eight months, I’m still struggling to regain my old habit of making a daily walk my top priority.

In any case, last Friday, December 14, my office gifted us with a day off, a ‘shopping day’, and so while I did hit a mall at some point, I still managed to drive over to my sister’s place to take her dog, Stella, for a walk in a deserted Whitemud Ravine. It was almost creepy how deserted it was, and gloomy. It was book-ended by two beautiful blue sky days, but Friday was overcast and it felt very dark in the woods. Glad I had Stella with me for this reason, and a million more.

We had a good time. I wore my micro-spikes and they were extremely helpful. The trails are quite icy from the warm weather and occasional rain mixed with snow, which seems to be the norm these days. Stella, as usual, wore her naturally spiky nails.

A walk is a walk, though, and we had a good time.

I don’t remember what the temperature was, but not too cold. Probably around -2C.