Friday, June 26, 2009

And.... cue summer!

Today was the last day of work for the summer. Well, last day of 'real' work. Similar to last year, I will be doing respite care throughout July and part of August, which is technically work cuz I'm getting paid. But it's much more laid back, and much more flexible hours. It's the perfect way to still have some income during the summer and be able to maximize the fun!

I have a packed summer ahead of me! When I tell people what I'm going to be up to, their brows furrow and they generally comment, "ooh--that sounds busy." But I don't see it that way. I think of each adventure I'm going to be engaging in, and I just see relaxation and fun; a change of pace! In the next eight weeks, I will be:

1. Backpacking up Mt. Robson, BC
2. Hanging out with C&Lorie in Nova Scotia
3. Cushy-camping in Kananaskis with part of my respite family.
4. Camping in Cadomin (near Jasper), which has turned into a stomping ground of sorts, as it will be the third year in a row at this wonderfully peaceful area.
5. Still pending--road tripping to Seattle.

And during the week, most of my afternoons will be open for lazy River Valley bike rides, naps in the sun, and other such peaceful activities. Ready or not, summer, here I come!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Perfect Saturday

I can't help reflecting upon how good this day has been. Saturdays rock; and summer rocks. And today has pretty much been the best of both worlds.

It started by waking up after 9 1/2 glorious hours of sleep, followed by a brief kitty cuddle. I spent the morning just puttering around my condo--tackling a bit of laundry, removing things from my balcony (they're painting next week), and prettying my toenails on said sunny balcony.

Lunch time brought the phone call that would determine details for the afternoon's activities which I had been anticipating from the day before. The bike trails and sunshine were calling; this could not be ignored! My friend JP and I hopped on the LRT down to meet JM, and to the River Valley on our bikes we went. Sunny and 25C (77F), barely a cloud in the sky--what a glorious day for a bike ride! We headed down into the valley near Kinsmen, and up onto one of my favourite roads in Edmonton--River Valley Road. A canopy of trees lines the entire stretch of bike trail that runs parallel with the river; it is so pretty (the photo--not mine--is taken in the fall, I know, but you get the point). We continued through a couple parks areas, reveling in the smells of summer that we passed, and affirming over and over that we must go camping, we must go camping, we must go camping!

We finished our journey at Hawrelak Park, one of Edmonton's biggest parks (that's not a golf course). The place was packed with people--BBQ, frisbee, soccer, biking, jogging; it was all happening. We snacked on cherries and enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells.

I was very impressed with my overall endurance. Still, I decided to take the train home, which allowed me some reading of Twilight; I am halfway through the first book, and plan on reading the series over the course of this summer. After arriving home, I continued to read as I soaked in a refreshingly warm bubble bath, and traded my salty, sticky, gritty self for a softer, vanilla-fragranced version. Post-soak, I got into some comfortable clothes, and lazily pinned back my hair (which is finally growing out enough to get away with being laissez-faire about it!).

As I prepared pork chops and corn on the cob for supper, I noticed on Facebook that JC's evening was as open as mine--come on over, I said; I've got corn on the cob! JC also had the fantastic idea to make smoothies. Strawberries, kiwis, ice, a bit of sugar, and a touch of Smirnoff Raspberry--it was SO good; I can't describe how it added so beautifully (and tastefully) to my summer day. JC and I decided to watch Now and Then to continue basking in the feeling of summer goodness.

Now that the sun has finally set, and my condo is starting to cool off for the night, I am getting ready to stretch out and delve into some more Twilight before bed.

Yes, this day has been pretty much perfect.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


So, when I was out getting groceries the other day, I picked up a bottle of melatonin (trying to get my sleep cycle back on track; see previous post). I have seen melatonin in pill, liquid, and thin strip form. Generally in little containers. And of course, when I bought a bottle of the pill kind, and it said 90 tablets, I didn't think twice about the size of the container. I never do. And while I know that pill containers are like potato chip bags--there's always more air than product--I really felt this one took the cake.

This picture still doesn't quite capture the discrepancy--there's only one more 'layer' of pills underneath when you see. It was ridiculous. The bottle could have been half the size and still accommodated just as many pills. What a waste of packaging. Hopefully I won't lose any sleep over it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Wow, I just realized that I haven't made a post in for-EV-er! ...Kinda went to Haiti. I then came back and pretty much hit the ground running, while still digesting the Haiti trip on the side.

Haiti was good. Really good. There were children, it was warm, I slept well, I ate well. Since I've been back, well, there are still children, but it's been cold, my sleep is off, and I have to cook for myself. Still, it has been really good to be home. It is interesting how we create new and different experiences for ourselves, only to crave what is familiar; what is 'home', in all senses of the word. Boy does a trip to a foreign country (that's not a resort) remind you of the things and people you appreciate most at home! And every little thing, too! I mean, there's the obvious stuff I missed, like having consistent and reliable internet access. But then there were things I didn't realize where such a salient part of my life. Like eating yogurt. At home I have yogurt almost daily, and halfway through my trip, we were taken to the grocery store, and there it was, and I was like, "yogurt!" because I realized I hadn't eaten it in a week!

I also realized how much I take my freedom for granted. If I am in the mood for a walk or bike ride, I just get my shoes on and go. Unless it's after dark, I don't generally think twice about it (I also don't purposefully walk or bike in sketchy areas of Edmonton). In Haiti, it's all sketchy. Especially because I was the minority. Therefore, we were not allowed to walk anywhere by ourselves, even if it was daylight. Understandable. But quite frustrating at times to not be able to just 'get away' from everything. The first Saturday I was home was actually really warm and sunny, so I got on my bike and meandered through the River Valley. It was SO nice.

My sleep patterns are definitely something I appreciated more in Haiti than here. The sun sets at around 6:15pm in Haiti. By 7pm it is completely dark. And DARK cuz there were no streetlights where we were. Our whole team was typically in bed between 8 and 8:30, and asleep by 9pm. I was no exception. And we were all up by 5:30, give or take. It was never a problem for me to rise at that hour (the sun was well up by then). I was never exhausted. Occasionally I would get up in the night to use the bathroom and it would take a little while for me to fall back asleep, and closer to the end of our trip, I noticed my body shifting to a slightly later and later sleep time, but overall, I slept excellently. Eight to nine hours every night. Several factors MAY have helped this. 1. It's dark and there's nothing else to do; might as well read a little and then go to sleep. 2. I wore ear plugs (which didn't eliminate the rooster and dog and gecko noises, but helped). 3. I took a melatonin before bed most nights to maintain the new rhythm. Still, it just seemed really easy to go to bed and to get up.

Here, it's all I can do to drag myself out of bed at 7am, and I'm not even in bed until 11pm. Generally not asleep till closer to midnight. Which isn't really all that different from before I went to Haiti, but now I don't like it so much. Yet, I don't exactly want to be in bed at 8:30 here, either. Life is still happening at 8:30, and not just because it's summer and therefore light out until 11pm now. I dunno. The expectations of my evening routine in a society that doesn't start to quiet down 'till at least 9pm, and the extended daylight (which I love) has been the only cultural readjustment I've had to deal with it, so I guess it could be worse. Mind you, it has been something I've pondered over off and on since my return. Do I like the way I prioritize my evenings? What do I want more of for myself with my free time and my sleep time? Can I balance my desire to slow down a bit earlier with the desire to be social and continue my extracurricular activities, which I love just as much? ...I'll let you know what I find out.

In the meantime, I should go take a melatonin.