30 June 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #48: Happy Canada Day and Fourth of July!

Hello, everyone! I returned from a trip back to Chicago last Friday to discover Moose Jaw was bracing for more flooding. Yes, the river was running high and my beloved path that I use for my daily runs was once again under water. Luckily for us, the water subsided quickly and while the levels are still high, we did not experience the same levels as before. The source of all of this water comes from a very late snow pack melt up north...all of which is making their way through the southern parts of Saskatchewan and affecting our immediate neighbors to the south in North Dakota in much bigger and destructive ways.
Despite the water running high, we are gearing up to get out of town to celebrate my very first Canada Day in my new home country. We will be spending a lot of time outdoors...soaking in the warm weather and enjoying the never-ending sunlight (the sun rises around 4 am and sets around 10 pm).

Canada Day always falls on July 1 and is much like our Fourth of July complete with barbecues, fireworks, and a day off work. While the patriotism seems much more low-key here, there is no lack of Canada-themed apparel, paper plates, and small Canadian flags on the store shelves to get you into the spirit of things! The day is designed to commemorate what was originally called Dominion Day. According to the Canada Government website:

"On June 20, 1868, a proclamation signed by the Governor General, Lord Monck, called upon all Her Majesty's loving subjects throughout Canada to join in the celebration of the anniversary of the formation of the union of the British North America provinces in a federation under the name of Canada on July 1st.

The July 1 holiday was established by statute in 1879, under the name Dominion Day."

Up until 1927, there was no consistent celebratory recognition of the day.  Since then, Canadians (in all their humble glory) have slowly begun the process of ramping up their partying to include concerts, fireworks, and cookouts.  In fact, in the 1980s, Canada encouraged such celebrating by providing local organizations and governments with money to entice people to get into the partying spirit. 

Ahem...compare that with the United States where, as early as July 1776, John Adams wrote a note to his wife Abigail saying that we Americans should always remember July the 4th with celebrations, games, festivities, and the like.  Yup, we Americans sure do know that nothing beats a good party where we can reminisce about our former allegiance to the monarchy and subsequent violent detachment from it!   

In the meantime, we've had a great week with warm weather, super-blue big skies, and lots of time with good friends. It's been one of those summer-y weeks that I wish would never end...

And, stay tuned...Dave and I will be featured in a local newspaper in regards to our thoughts and feelings about celebrating Canada Day and Independence Day in the same household!  I'll be sure to share it with you!

ps.  Super-congrats to Amanda and Jaclyn for completing the See Jane Tri triathlon in Regina!  You rock!  Also, congrats to my awesome friends Constance, Matt and their little one, Nola...so excited for your news and can't wait to welcome the newest member of the family!

A rainy day in Regina.

Gorgeous "Living Skies"

At our favourite coffee shop in Moose Jaw.

And...the rising tide...again.

Yummy strawberry-rhubarb pie!

The above pics are taken of the fields outside our home.

A lovely evening walk.

Making a wish...

18 June 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #47: Happy Father's Day

Photo credit:  James Moes
Happy Father's Day to all of you out there...a special shout-out to my very one and only.  My dad is awesome.  Pure and simple.  He is smart, funny, loves Calvin and Hobbes, is strong without being unemotional, and provided my sister and I an excellent example of what a father and husband should be.  In short, my dad rocks and I am a very lucky gal to have him as a father.

I love you dad!  Happy Father's Day and thank you for all of your love and support throughout the years!

09 June 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #46: "Around the World in 3 Days"

What do you get when you mix food, drink, friends, 22 different nations represented in one town, and unlimited amounts of time on a Saturday that started with snow (yes, snow people...in Saskatchewan...in June)?  You get MOSAIC, Regina's three-day festival celebrating the various people and cultures that reside in and around the area.  MOSAIC is sponsored through the Regina Multicultural Association and invites various groups to put on a showcase that represents the best of their culture throughout a variety of venues in the city.

It was such a good time and out of 22 pavilions, we managed to get to 11 of them.  You get a passport (the photo at left) and at each pavilion they stamp it for you so you can track your progress as you make your way to each site.  We started at the Polish site where we feasted on homemade perogies and watched traditional dancers kick up their heels.  Next, it was off to Germany where we sampled pretzels and I reminisced about my time living in Kaiserslautern as a teen.  There was singing and dancing and general good cheer -- as was the case when I lived there!  At the Chilean pavilion we ate an veggie empanada drenched in hot sauce and admired the men and women kicking up their heels as they showed traditional dances that were developed in response to the dictatorship of Pinochet.  Next, it was off to the pavilion hosted by the Aboriginal Peoples.  There, we once again saw traditional dances take center stage as a huge crowd of onlookers cheered them on.  The clothing was so beautiful, intricate, and colorful while the headdresses were amazing to look at.

At the Romanian site, we located Dracula's castle on the map and watched an incredible "stick dance" unfold on stage.  Our next stop was one of my favorites...the Ethiopian pavilion.  Dave and I ate a full plate of vegetarian goodness with some injera on the side while we sat and listened to an amazing performer drum, sing, and dance his way to a rhythm that got everyone pumped up.  The energy didn't stop there but only continued as we made our way next door to the Caribbean pavilion.  The dancers were hot and we cooled off by eating some of their desserts and sipping on a cold beverage.

Next up was Scotland!  We took time to soak in the bagpipes, enjoy some traditional dancing, and hear the "Toast to the Haggis" (remember Burns night, anyone?!).  From there we made our way to the Italian pavilion where we listened to a crooner belt out some classics, let the smells of pasta and garlic tempt us, and sampled some of the great desserts they had including tiramisu and pastries.  At the Korean pavilion, we didn't stop eating!  We continued to fill our bellies with Pajeon -- a Korean vegetable pancake.  YUM!  The best part of the pavilion was when a huge group of teenagers stormed the stage for a flash mob dance to a Korean pop song...awesome!  We closed out the evening in Ireland.  Thought we were done eating?  Think again!  We downed four bags of chips while we listened to a great band play and then marvelled at the dancers who took the stage.

None of this can really do it justice...and, well, the pictures don't either.  Guess you will just have to come and experience MOSAIC for yourself.  Dave and I are looking forward to the day when MOSAIC  won't take us just to Regina, but literally around the world...happy travels...

At the Polish Pavilion

Ah, Germany!

Yummy food at the Chilean pavilion

Romanian "stick dance"



Toast to the Haggis

Dave and I at the Scotland pavilion

03 June 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #45: The Saskatchewan Marathon

Hello and thanks to everyone who gave us support as we trained and slogged/shuffled/jogged/ran our way through the Saskatchewan Marathon!  The event was held last Sunday in Saskatoon and I am proud to say that we crossed the finish line!

We arrived in Saskatoon on Saturday, checked into our hotel and then met up with our good friends Becci and Si for a lovely lunch at the Pacific Gallery Fine Art Cafe.  We tucked into yummy paninis and a salad surrounded by one-of-a-kind paintings from local artists.  After that, we walked along Broadway street, poking our heads into gear shops, an amazing tea and coffee shop, and wondering how the weather would hold up for tomorrow.  It was alternating between sunny periods and blustery rain as we made our way back to the hotel.  That evening, we ate dinner at The Barking Fish and chatted about previous races, shared stories about our training, and then headed off for some early shut-eye.

The next morning dawned...cold!  It was in the low 40s when we arrived at the queue for the start.  Everyone around us was shivering and jumping to stay warm.  It was going to be a chilly 26.2 miles.  We lined up with everyone else and at 7 am, the gun was fired and we were off!  Everyone started at the same time, regardless of if you were running the 10K, the half marathon, or the full marathon.  The course is a bit hilly and we would alternate between periods of having the cool wind at our backs helping us along and it hitting us right in our face as we made our way along the river.  We cheered our friend, Si, on when we saw him pass us not once, but twice!  Ultimately, he came in seventh and we are so proud!  He rocked the course!  Our friend Becci had an awesome 10K time as she completed her first ever race!

Meanwhile, the running crowd was thinning out and Dave and I were bringing up the rear of the pack.  We yelled out to every runner we passed, shouting words of encouragement and lifting our own spirits as Dave's knee started talking back and I began to feel everything tightening up from the cold.  The crews along the course were fantastic and encouraging as they handed out Gu, gatorade, and water.  Kudos to them for hanging in there!  The last few kilometres of the race consist of a nice, slow climb and then a steep little hill to get you to the end.  We alternated between walking and jogging...knowing we were so close!  Dave was going to complete his first marathon!!!  We got to the finish, but before we crossed, we took hands, Dave gave me a spin, we kissed, and then we walked across the line together.  I am so proud of him for muscling through and getting that medal!

In all, I learned a lot along the course and I'm so glad we did this race together.  As many of you  know, I am running all of my races this year for the Run for Congo Women program sponsored by Women for Women International.  Running for a cause is incredibly important to me and I am so inspired by the work that Women for Women International does to help survivors of war in the Congo.  If you are interested in learning more, I encourage you to visit their website.  If you are interested in supporting me on my running journey, you can make a donation on my personal page here!  Thanks to those that have already made donations...I ran those miles for you and YOU kept me motivated...I am incredibly grateful for your support!

Big, cloudy skies along the drive

Saskatoon....as seen from our hotel window...that is the river we ran along

Dave...playing up the knee pain!  Check out that medal...finisher!!!

Yeah...I'm tired in this one...and aching for a good soy latte.

Along the drive we came across Craik..."The Friendliest Place by a Dam Site"

Buffalo Pound