27 April 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #38: Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

My parents when they were first married!
We just returned from a short trip to Florida to see my parents renew their wedding vows on the occasion of their 35th wedding anniversary!  Congratulations, Mom and Dad!

We had a fantastic time in Orlando -- spending time with my sister and her family, catching up with my godmother and grandmother, and seeing my parents express their love over and over throughout our visit.  My dad proposed to my mom again while we toured the grounds of Epcot and then my mom surprised my dad by dropping on her knee and doing the same in the Magic Kingdom. Yup...they are ridiculously in love!

My parents are amazing at a lot of things...one of them being their ability to demonstrate to others how a good marriage is meant to work.  Things I've learned from them along the way...

  • First and foremost, respect one another.  Respect the commitment you've made to one another and never forget where your priorities are. 
  • Family, at least for us, is there to support, nurture, guide, and cheer you on.
  • Laughter is a must-have ingredient for any relationship.
  • Never stop exploring...there is too much to see and do.
  • Have fun along the journey...yes, sometimes things will get hard and tricky, but you should come out on the other side with a grin on your face.
  • Never hold back on saying "I love you."
  • Hold hands, embrace often, and demonstrate to the world that love is an awesome thing.
  • Be cheesy.  Really, really cheesy.  It makes things a bit more worthwhile!

It was so good to be there for the experience.  I count myself incredibly lucky to have the family I do...they are all incredible people.

I'll put up more pics from the trip in another post.  For now, Happy Anniversary to my parents!   Here's to 35+ years more!

17 April 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #37: The Rising Tide

I just wanted to share some additional photos of the flooding.  We did get some good news that the waters are now slowly starting to recede and it never actually crested to the height everyone feared.  Still, it has been a sight to see!

The running path is on the other side of the shore...under water, just like those trees!

The "Lipstick Bridge" on the way from Moose Jaw to the base.

Another view.  The water is usually pretty far below the bridge.

Trees in a bath.

This is as you enter Wakamow Valley -- the water is never this high!

High tide.

This view is of part of the running path.  It would be a soggy jog!

Note:  This is NOT a boat launch!

Have some BBQ with your water?


16 April 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #36: A dose of Moose Jaw with a side of Chicago

It is spring in Moose Jaw and with that, Mother Nature is having a field day!  Over the past week and a half, the snow has melted, the ice on the lakes and rivers have cracked, and as a result, our little town is flooding.  Last week, as the ice popped and ripped apart, it caused a huge blockage in the river through Wakamow Valley which runs straight through the center of town.  HUGE slabs of ice were pushed up and out of the river, onto paths and over roads, into yards and over walking trails.  The rivers swelled and my running path was consumed by the rushing water while folks in the valley began sand-bagging to keep their homes dry.  The first time the waters receded (yes, I said first), the entire town seemed to come out to witness what happened.  Wakamow was filled with people climbing over the not-so-small islands of ice that came to rest in the valley and on the roads.  Pictures were taken and fingers pointed to the massive frozen blocks that reveled layers of ice and snow on that sunny afternoon.  It was fun to be out and about that day, feeling like the community was coming together to witness something special.

That was last Saturday...the next day I was once again off to Chicago for work.  I flew from a chilly Moose Jaw and landed in a Chicago that was basking in the warmth of an early spring day.  The temps had risen into the 80s and I took the opportunity to take the El downtown and walk around the city...soaking in the sun, catching glimpses of the architecture in the sunlight, and enjoying the energy that a warm day brings to the concrete jungle.  It was a great start to a week that included catching up with friends, productive meetings, and lakeside runs -- one of the things I miss most about being in the city.

I ran with my close friend Christin watching the sun rise over Lake Michigan as we caught up on life and love.  I shared an awesome meal with my friend Kerry who had visited Chicago's Green City Market and picked up goods to make homemade chickpea crepes, sauteed kale, and heirloom oranges for dessert.  I got to spend quality time with Sarah, who was kind enough to put me up for the week in her comfy/homey apartment.  We chilled out and shared stories and laughed.  My best friend Katie and I had the chance to try out a place I have been wanting to go to called Green Zebra and it did not disappoint.  We walked away feeling sated -- not only because of the amazing food, but also due to the conversation and good company. I had a great lunch with my friend, Mark at the sushi place around the corner from where I work.  Matilda's bar did not leave my friends and I hanging on Thursday night as Emily, Dorrie, Sarah and I huddled around the corner fire (the week started warm and turned chilly) to swap stories and celebrate our recent success in work and life.  

I returned last night and as we flew over the province, it was clear that more had melted and the water was rising.  As Dave and I drove home from Regina, I could make out lakes that used to be fields and saw trees wading branch-deep in pools.  Nearing Moose Jaw, you could see that the water level was inching dangerously close to the roads.  My running path is now completely underwater and the location where we had our winter picnic not too long ago is now part of the river.  There are sandbags to be seen everywhere and the local government is letting everyone know that things might get a bit more damp with the rivers expected to rise at least two more feet!  Dave and I are going to drive around a bit tomorrow to catch more photos, but I am including some below from last weekend along with some pics from my trip.

I hope you all had an amazing week -- stay dry, embrace spring, and I'll post some more once we get out and about!

Dave on the ice

You can see all of the ice and how it was pushed up onto the far shore

Dumpster on ice!

Park is flooded...much worse now.

Me and Kerry

Sunrise on Lake Michigan


Dorrie and I sharing a good laugh

Emily and I cozy by the fire

Sarah and I...she is the hostess with the mostest!

08 April 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #35: Spring!

There is something happening around us.  Something magical.  Something like...  The snow is melting!  The sun is shining through our windows earlier and disappearing into the horizon later!  The mud is deep!  I can walk outside without ten layers on and with no fear of frostbite!  The prairie dogs are out squeaking and once again playing Frogger with the cars on the road!  These things can only mean one thing, people...


It has been a glorious week here with temps hitting 7C (48F) yesterday.  I've been able to get out for runs in the fresh air under our big sky (sorry, treadmill...you know I love ya!  See you next winter!).  We've thrown open our windows to allow a cool breeze to waft through our home and lighten the staleness of the past five months.  Normally, I am not that excited about spring...I am much more of a fall and winter gal, but when you realize that you haven't opened your windows for months and that snow has been on the ground for the better part of the time I've been in Canada...well, a little warm sunshine and a walk outside sans winter coat can make anyone fall in love with the current season.

This month has not only brought spring, but, for me, an opportunity to host our book club.  Joining a book club is something I never thought I would do in my lifetime, but I have to say...it's been a great way for me to meet awesome people here in town.  We gathered to discuss my book pick, The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli, eat some yummy food, and chat about local Moose Jaw politics, travel, and family.  It was a great evening and I am grateful to my amazing friend Becci for inviting me in!  We've done some good reading and it has been nice for me to explore some fiction.  Anyone looking at my bookshelf knows in a half-second that non-fiction is my thing.  It's a good challenge for me to go outside my comfort zone of travel writing, politics, feminist, and leadership books and explore the lives of characters through an author's eyes.

So book club and spring...it's been a great start to the month.  We are itching for more trail runs, excited to get the canoe back on the roof and then into the water, pumped to find new camping sites, and eager to return to our almost-daily walks to main street and back again.  I'm excited for my first turn at this season in Canada...there is much to explore, and do, and see.  After the business of the last few months, I am grateful for the chance to step outside, take a long breath, and just pause...while reading a fiction book or two along the way.

ps.  Happy Birthday, Katie...you are one phenomenal woman and I am so lucky to know you!

03 April 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #34: Vegetarian and Vegan in the Jaw

As winter turns to spring (ahem...hear that Mother Nature?  PLEASE stop snowing!), my thoughts also turn to salads over stews, grilling outside instead of baking, and cool foods to fend off warm days instead of the other way around.  I gaze longingly into my cookbooks, searching for good green things to eat while I wait for the fresh produce to start popping up in the yet-to-be-reopened farmer's market in Regina.

Since moving to Moose Jaw, Dave and I have become acutely aware of food, our bodies, and our planet.  My journey into this awareness began before I moved north during a conversation with good friends of mine over a locally-sourced dinner.  I was encouraged to read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and I haven't looked back.  Since then, I've devoured Mark Bittman's articles and blog posts via The New York Times, read and re-read Michael Pollan, watched Food, Inc. and Earthlings, and have become a reader of Veg News and PETA online (all links are below).  While Dave and I used to eat the occasional meat-based meal (we were never really big on it) we have since turned our home into a vegan-friendly abode.

We are proud of our choice to eat a primarily plant-based diet and while we may throw in the occasional egg (sourced from a friend of ours who lets her chickens run free around their property just up the road), we do not purchase any meat, fish, or dairy items for our home (with the exception of the birthday dinner mussels).  Why?  Well, let's just say that by educating ourselves we know that this is a much better choice for the animals we share space with on this planet, our environment, and our bodies.

All this being said, being vegan/vegetarian in Moose Jaw is not that easy...we can't always get locally sourced items to cook with, but when we can buy local and/or organic, we do.  We will be making a much more conscious effort this spring and summer to engage with the farmers who sell their products at the market and are eager to cook with their vegetables, fruits, and flours.  Dave and I know that a half hour drive to Regina to get some tomatoes is a much better choice than grabbing some off the shelf that have been shipped all the way from Mexico.

If you've ever considered going vegetarian or vegan...I say give it a shot!  At least one day a week, go meatless and see what it feels like.  There are a ton of great sites out there to help out and while going completely vegan may not be for you, maybe one day a week would work out.  Dave and I are having a lot of fun experimenting in the kitchen, coming up with ways to adapt recipes, and -- the best part -- eating the really yummy stuff we make!

In fact, I am hosting a book club tomorrow night and will be making a vegan raspberry crumble-cake for everyone to enjoy (I made a test run last night and well, let's just say there isn't any left today!).  You can try out the recipe yourself by visiting the Post-Punk Kitchen (one of my favorite vegan recipe sites)...check it out and take on the challenge!

Some of my favorite cooking sites:

Post-Punk Kitchen - vegan cooking mecca
The Kind Life - vegan recipes, tips, and tricks from Alicia Silverstone
What Katie Ate - gorgeous photos and beautiful food (not vegetarian or vegan)
Smitten Kitchen - again, just beautiful to look at and the writing is hilarious...we adapt a lot of her stuff to make it vegan

Some great sites and good reads:

Mark Bittman - his site explores good, simple, whole, healthy food as well as the politics of food and his articles and blog posts from The New York Times
Michael Pollan - his books include The Omnivore's Dilemma, Food Rules, and In Defense of Food
Barbara Kingsolver - her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was the one to start my wheels turning
Veg News - good recipes and good reads
PETA - their site has access to a free Vegetarian Starter Kit

Great movies/clips to watch:

Food, Inc. - a must-watch for getting familiar with your food
Earthlings - a free streaming movie online that asks us some tough questions
Supersize Me - wow!
TED.com - there are some great TED talks regarding food...check out the one by Mark Bittman

Have fun, experiment, educate yourself, and enjoy the good food!