“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

― Albert Einstein

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Number Three - Festival!

On the same weekend we went skating at the Forks we went to Festival du Voaguer! Another regional right of passage I had somehow bypassed until now. I don't know if it was the name, the costumes, the hosts or all the music and snow sculptures, but it felt festive!! And it felt surreal. Stepping into a world of costumed people, speaking French and surrounded by these huge snow sculptures really felt like I was removed from my usual "Ground-Hog Day" repetitive existence.

The kids loved it! They just ran from place to place! And sadly could only peek into the music venue tents. They loved to see every part of the Fort too. Erik took over the photographer duties to compile his own collection of photos of the sculptures.

They had so much fun climbing the "mountain" of snow and going through the snow maze!

And of course, we had to go down the toboggan run! And while I am no faint hearted person, it was kind of nerve racking to go down the toboggan run....the beginning of it is ice. ICE! I think it was kind of luge like. We waited in line for several minutes, the kids anxious and raring to go. Ellie insisted that she go alone. Aggghh! And then Cole said he did - no way! I'll admit I was nervous as I stood at the top and watched Erik go first, by himself. And then I went down with Cole. It was fast!! And bumpy! When we got to the bottom, I only got to feel a flash of relief for our safe end, to turn around and see my baby girl getting on her fast sled. Oh my!! To say I was terrified for her is an understatement and there is nothing like watching your progyny come speeding and bouncing down an ice hill. In my mind I was pleading "hold on to the sled for the bump", "keep your arms in", "don't tip", "please don't break a bone". Ellie is my totally fearless one. At 6 years she did all the roller coasters and rides at Disney World - so the Festival du Voageur toboggan ice run was no big deal to her. However, we didn't stand in line again.

While the event is over now - here's the link - http://festivalvoyageur.mb.ca/wp/.

And remember there is always next year!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Number Two - Skating on the Red River

I am kind of ashamed to admit that this right of passage is a new thing for me. Even though I have skated on out door rinks and on Lake of the Woods a couple times, I have never made the trip up to the Forks in Winnipeg. The Forks is a place where the Red River and the Assiniboine River meet. Every year they make skating trails on the rivers and on the land. It all connects together. I had no idea how big the whole set up was, until the kids and I went there on Valentine's Day.

Erik, Ellie and I skated down this ice trail and then gingerly walked, in skates, down to the river. On the day we were there they had free hot chocolate, there were story tellers and musicians. They were giving away ice hearts that they would carve your name into and then decorate for you, they had coloured ice blocks out for kids to build with and for some reason they had suspended this huge orange ball from a bridge. The kids and I sat inside for a ride.

I was a proud, rugged feeling Canadian that day. Not only had I gotten to sling my skates over my shoulder as I walked to and from the park bench and skate way down the Red River and back, I also got to brave the cold, reminding myself that I have Viking blood in my veins. The funny thing was, knowing that I was going to be outside for most of the day I had dressed really warm. Wore my thickest socks. Which were so thick I couldn't fit my feet into my skates. I ended up skating barefoot that day - another first. The blisters were worth it though! (ha!)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Number One - changing taste buds

This first new thing is a little lame. But back in January we at work all went out for a birthday lunch at the Plaza. For those of you not familiar the Plaza is a great family owned and run Greek restaurant. It's really good. I got lemon soup, gyros and half order fries and half order of Greek salad. All of it was fabulous! As I got to the end of my meal. I looked down at the green olive I had been pushing around my plate and contemplated what to do with it.

I have never liked olives. While I have eaten the black ones chopped up, disguised and hidden under a load of cheese, they aren't something I seek out. Certainly not something I would eat straight up all on it's own, like a pickle or something. But I never want to be that kind of person who turns their nose up at food. And passed down to me through the generations I have a practical, frugal and non-wasting mindset, likely inherited from my grandmothers who struggled through the Great Depression with very young families. So not wanting to be a food snob or be wasteful, what to do with the lone green olive on my plate?

Every few years I have given them a second shot, thinking it's only fair and maybe my taste buds have changed? So, I looked at this olive and thought, "Well, this would be a new thing. But I'm not just going to eat it, I'm going to savor it!" And you know what, I did! And at first I'll be honest, it tasted beyond sour, but after a few minutes it was actually tasty! So a chewed, savored and sucked the pit, thinking that it wasn't that bad. A first, actually eating a whole olive all on it's own.

(Incidentally, just last week I was at Boston Pizza and was again confronted with an olive on my plate. I decided to give that one a go and it was promptly and discretely rejected into my napkin. I guess my taste buds haven't changed. Or maybe all the Greek food, had prepped my palate for the olive I liked. Or maybe Plaza's olives are just better. And since then I have browsed Safeway's bulk olives wondering if I could take a sample of each kind and figure out once and for all which olives I like, if any at all. But I think I need an olive sherpa to guide me on that journey.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Rules to the Challenge

I figure that if I'm going to attempt to experience 39 NEW things before I turn 39 (May 21st) I should document it - hence the blog. And I should set some parameters that I will follow. Also, IF anyone happens to read this then you will know the "rules" too and if you should feel inclined to suggest something you'll know my limits. They are:

1. It has to be something I have never done before.

2. It can be something simple and free or it can be something more complex and costly.

3. I won't do anything involving drinking, smoking, trying drugs, having anyone see me naked (eww!) or anything that will permanently alter my physical appearance.

So there you go, them's the rules.

I have about a dozen or so new experiences in mind - but please, I need some suggestions!!


Friday, March 19, 2010


Hmmm... my first ever blog. I feel the pressure to write something impressive.

First, I should say what has brought me here. While I always liked the idea of having a forum to share ideas and experiences, I am finally doing it because of my upcoming 39th birthday.

A new unease set in just after ringing in 2010 and I began to not like the idea of turning 39. Not because 39 is awful, but because it's the last of the 30's. Now let me be clear, it's not that I mind aging - I actually think there are stories to be told in wrinkles and I find grey hair very sexy. I see beauty in people of all ages. And I've never been overly attached to my appearance as a definer of who I am, so losing my youthful beauty really doesn't shake my sense of self. And it's not that I'm afraid to die. I'm actually okay with life's impermanence. One of my favourite quotes is "none of us are getting out of here alive". But with the recent death of a cousin of mine - I am reminded that time could be very short here.

It took me some reflection to realize what was underlying my chagrin of the number soon to be attached to me. It is the feeling that I hadn't done enough, hadn't lived enough, hadn't gotten everything out of this ride! And I realized that if I wanted to be "okay" with 39, so that I could be "okay" with 40 I needed to not just accept the inevitable, but I need to embrace it and celebrate it.

How to do that? There were many draft plans I concocted. But what I decided a couple months ago was that I would attempt to do 39 things I have never done before. Next year's celebration may be a 40 day countdown, or finishing 40 things I have started, who knows!

I'm getting a slow start, with a self imposed deadline fast approaching. Starting this blog is only #5. So, over the weekend - I am going to catch up the blog entries. One per new thing.

Wish me luck!!