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One Year

I'll preface this blog by saying that I wrote it almost 3 years ago about one year in my life of significant change! I don't know why I chose not to publish it at the time - maybe I felt it wasn't public-worthy for various reasons - a lot of it might sound like gobbledy-gook to the general populous. That said, I thought I would share it because I am sure there are parts that will make you laugh or smile and perhaps even inspire you. So here goes:

I was searching for a photo that I wanted to sketch and as I scrolled through the plethora of photos that I take, I was struck by how much has happened in my life in just one year.

Today is March 10, 2017. On March 10, 2016 I was on the upside of recovering from a broken heart. I had been exercising consistently for several months and lost 22 lbs at that point. I was still overwhelmed by and cleaning up the mess that was left after he moved out so I could sell my house and move to Pelee Island. I attended Shelly’s surprise party and celebrated John’s birthday at the Bull n Barrel where I ran into my dear friend Kellie! I scraped and painted and cleaned around my work schedule and other responsibilities. I babysat my sweet little nephew. I went out for St. Patrick’s Day for the first time in my life with Shelly and Therese and Christina and Therese sat on the counter at McDonald’s and some young guy chased me outside at Thompson House to ask for my number and Shelly said “hold on guys, Stella’s getting her groove back!” and I thought that was wildly hilarious. I went dancing with Cheryl and Mags at Average Joe’s and my cousin Tammy was there and it was so much fun! I met Jacques at a seminar and we became good friends and I attended his birthday celebration and met some interesting people. I had dinner with my lovely friend Sue Pindus and she gifted me a beautiful little angel. I attended an elegant dinner party at my soul sister Annette’s house and laughed my head off with a group of awesome people, not to mention the amazing food that she prepared for us!! Tina, Leo, Mike, John, Andy, Darcy, Annette and Chad - love y’all!! I celebrated Easter at my mom’s with my family and we all got a kick out of Adam singing on the karaoke microphone. I may have taught him to make rude noises hehehehe… I joined the MasterMind group and my life began to change in the direction of my choosing and at a much faster pace! I attended a seminar at Pelee Island Winery in Kingsville and met Susie Q Rice - an amazing lady - as well as many other amazing ladies! I visited my dear friend Anna in Aurora and we got mani/pedi’s, shopped and ate some great food. We got photo bombed by some bald guy giving the thumb’s up. I received a lovely butterfly birthday card from my beautiful Aunt Barbara - she’s such a sweet and thoughtful lady who never forgets a birthday! Me and Casey bought some orchids with high hopes of not killing them….Zeus thought they were a snack. I had some bubble baths...ok lots of bubble baths. I love bubble baths! I sang karaoke - lots. I love singing!! I ran my first 5K race in Leamington by the water on a day that was freezing, windy and was coming down ice rain. But I did it in 38 min and was thrilled...after I thawed! I had breakfast with my babies at Deb’s Diner. I love my babies - a lot. I ditched work to support my friend Sue and attend the wake for her friend, but we ended up just having drinks when she couldn’t bear to go. I love you Sue. I got a funny video of Casey shaking her booty and putting a memory in our memory jar - she will kill me if I show it to anyone though!! I spent time at my cottage to open it up. My brother came to help and thankfully he had a migraine when we arrived and I couldn’t turn the water on because in the morning we found that the pipes had burst!! I was so upset I went to the beach and cried and talked to my LuLa who happened to call at just that moment. She reversed our roles for a moment and bolstered my courage to go back and face the problem. Rick and Donny Nielson, Chris Watson and my brother Jeff all stepped up to help and I am forever grateful for their love and kindness!! Jeff did so much work to clean up the stuff that was left undone from the one who was supposed to have got things done and we had fun spending time together!! Our hillbilly campfire was hysterical! And he looked so “pretty” sitting on my pink bicycle LOL! I witnessed amazing sunsets and countless beautiful occurrences of nature on the island, it takes my breath away. I took long, reflective walks searching my soul and asking for answers from the wind and waited patiently to receive some guidance. I collected many pebbles, beach glass and lucky stones. I found numerous heart shaped rocks and wondered if I should waste my time hoping. I surrendered that hope to the wind and was at peace with that. I felt free and unencumbered and happy. I spent my birthday at my cottage alone and was completely content, then my friend Lisa came and I convinced her to drink wine in the cool wind with me on the beach and to call in sick to work and stay the night!! I gave my notice at work and was terrifyingly thrilled!! We had our girls weekend at the cottage and well...what happens at the cottage stays at the cottage LMAO!! Dianne painted me a lovely picture of the sunset view from my beach! Me and Casey worked at the spring song banquet and I got to see Margaret Atwood in person and it was so much fun! We all cuddled under the blanket and drove to the beach in the convertible singing to Magic. Me and Casey had dinner at Snack BBQ. My heart was shattered into a million pieces by an early morning call that took me out at the knees. I discovered that I have the strength of a lioness. I spent an amazing long weekend at the cottage and “missed” the ferry due to a “flat tire” aka got drunk at the winery and went to the beach instead.... OMG Got some great pix of Christine working it for the camera!! My baby celebrated her 20th birthday and I bought her a giant fish balloon cuz I knew she would like it. I rode a 30 man bicycle with Tom and then had a girls night with Shelly, Therese, Christine, Copper…..and Tom LOL Did the winery tour on the island a few times.. Played football at Fish Point in the water and caught the ball every time with my eyes closed! Soaked up the sun. Got flowers from someone that I gave a ride to on the island a couple weeks prior! Got my house up for sale finally! Attended my son’s graduation!! One proud mumma here!! I love that kid so freaking much!! Went to karaoke some more! Lance gave me a pretty little bracelet just because he’s a sweetie. Casey started working on Pelee Island and her house mate Tom gave me a painting of a frog because I liked it. Helped Watson out with a wine pairing dinner at Vin Villa - was amazing to see that place. Met the owner and he walked us to our car at the end of the night because it was so dark out!! He gave us a commemorative coin! I made jewelry. Sold my furniture. Babysat my nephew some more. Helped out with the Lobster function at the Legion and got to meet Margaret Atwood again. Spent time with my lovely friend Lorena! Packed up my house. Made the sale. Couldn’t reach an agreement to purchase the bakery so applied to work in Jasper. Attended my cousin’s wedding. Ended up with the worst hangover in years. Had a yard sale. Had dinner with Tim at the Willistead. Spent the night in Leamington with Casey when she missed the ferry and we made the most of it by just spending time together. Retired from Cardinal. Had dinner with Casey at the Anchor and Wheel - we could not finish the pitcher of margaritas and shared it with some locals. Took a photo of a heart on a rock then randomly met the artist later in the week. Spent some quality time with Christine and we took turns chasing her puppy around. Worked at Scudders and had a blast doing so!! Love my friends - Rich and Laurie! Sang with the band! Got a job offer to work in Jasper. Most friends were happy for me. One was angry with me and broke my heart in public. Not sure if he’ll still hate me when I visit in April. This makes me sad. Sold some jewelry at the Island Unplugged music festival. Met some wonderful people and my friend Scotty came to visit! Sold, donated and gave away most of my possessions. Packed up the remainder in a U-Haul and stored them at my cottage and mom’s house. Couldn’t have done it without my son’s tireless help and that of some of his friends. Thank you Tim for being the man you are and stepping up to help your mumma. I know I drive you crazy sometimes but I love you to the moon and back. Said good-bye to my house of 10 years. Said a teary good-bye to my kitties and left them in the good hands of people who would take good care of them. Cried with my son all the way home as we vented our broken hearts. Spent time with my mom. Visited my sister. Visited Casey one last time on the island. We rented electric bikes and had a blast. Had dinner with my son before I left town. Bought a new car. Said good-bye to all my friends old and new. My mom decided at the last minute to come for the ride!! We got all packed up and got on the road for the 3,500 Km trip. Two hours later we were at a garage. Had to spend the night in Ann Arbour - made the most of it. $1300 a new radiator and water pump and a day later we were back on the road. Mom got the giggles every time I said Regina. My roof blew open cresting a hill in South Dakota. Bungeed it open cuz it was beautiful out anyway. 10 or so hours later when we approached Hinton the rain clouds became ominous so I bungeed it shut as best I could to our seat rails. Mom got rained on a bit as we entered Jasper National Park in the dark and pouring rain and we laughed our asses off. I started driving up a golf cart path when an employee found and re-directed me. Got settled into my room and mom spent a couple days living the dorm life with me. She took the bus to Edmonton to fly home and I tried not to cry when she left, but I couldn’t help it. I love my mom so much and I was so happy that we got to take that trip together. She left me a beautiful journal with a loving note inside it that I cherish. I had my orientation. It was weird to be trained on how to survive an elk or bear attack. I spent about a week sleeping as I adjusted to the time change and recovered from the chaos that was the past couple months of my life! I had forged ahead with a will and determination that was fierce but now that I was homeless, careerless and very far from all that I ever knew...it was a bit disconcerting!! I met people but didn’t have any real friends yet and most people were about 20 yrs old. I wandered into town and aimlessly perused the shops. I bought a moose shirt. I LOVE MOOSE. And a moose mug. I watched The Hip’s last performance. I took a tour to Maligne canyon and met a lovely lady and her husband who were guests at the hotel. She gave me a lace cross bookmark that she made and it makes my heart smile every time I think of it. Bob and Karen. They were such a lovely couple! I had dinner by myself on a patio overlooking the mountains and it was peaceful and relaxing. I learned what a pine marten is and why it’s called code crazy if they happen to get into a room! I discovered mosses and lichens and fell in love with them! I went horseback riding for the first time in 15 or so years! I went to get my jeep roof repaired, spent a day at the tiniest mall I’ve ever seen, made a friend - Zabrina - at Mr. Mike’s, had a giant bellini and went home with a duct taped roof!! I found out that those were not baby squirrels but ground squirrels that will throw pine cones at you if you piss them off. I explored my surroundings, hiked some trails, jogged around the lake, took (and still taking) a zillion photos, went up the sky tram, hiked to the summit in the snow in September, saw countless rainbows and met new friends. I went camping, discovered Athabasca Falls, Punch Bowl Falls, Pyramid Lake, Miette Hot Springs, saw some elk and some bears! Met my new room mate, Tammy and had some dinners together. Saw so many rainbows it was like living in a dream! Discovered Lake Edith and Lake Annette. Went sunbathing at Lake Annette with my friend Alicia and was fortunate to listen to a young man playing his guitar and singing nearby. I went rafting and volunteered to be in front and got properly dunked and laughed my ass off! Hiked up Old Fort Point and went Live on facebook to show the beauty that surrounded me - it was amazing! Had sushi in town at this quaint little place with traditional tables that you sit on the floor at. Hiked up Mt. Edith Cavell to see the angel glacier and also saw Marmots and Picas. Made a new friend, Katie who likes to hike like I do. Went paddle boarding with Alicia and I didn’t fall in!! Had dinner with Alicia and Jo and drank wine at the edge of the Athabasca river in the sunshine. Got a job at the Planetarium just because I thought it was cool. Met Andrew. He was uninvited and unexpected. I didn’t know that I had taken someone else’s seat that he had been watching the ballgame with. And when he returned from the bathroom he saw me. I was tired and hungry and not wanting to meet men and tried to ignore him, but I couldn’t ignore his friendly hello and it wasn’t long before I realized how incredibly interesting and cool and down to earth he was. And then it was a couple of hours later and I had delayed him in his work and he went to leave, then asked if I might like to go see some elk with him. Would I!!! I was geeked! So we went to see some elk and got chased by one and I was terrified and he protected me and kissed me on the bench. And for the better part of the next 10 days we spent every free moment chasing elk and talking and dining and he played his guitar and sang to me. He showed me the northern lights and I cried at how beautiful it was. He laughed when I chose to stay far back behind a tree while he filmed the elk up close. He introduced me to his friends and we spent some very lovely moments together. Ron made us laugh till we were almost in tears with his funny stories of remote photo shoots. His humble nature belies his incredible artistic talent. I gave up meat. We saw the weirdest mannequins in a Jasper store! I visited Tim in Lake Louise and we hiked up to the Tea House. It was a great day and I love my son so much! I hiked to the summit of Sulphur Skyline then soaked in the hot springs after we descended with Alicia! I discovered gray jays or whiskey jacks as they were so curious to see us as we hiked the mountain! I visited Andrew in Edmonton. He spoiled me with flowers and food and candles and bubble bath and we went to karaoke and met some fun people! He made me matcha and we shopped and discovered Saje! I walked Stanley the dog. I saw the Symphony Under the Stars while I volunteered to work for it. I worked at the Planetarium and saw the stars from the top of Whistlers Mountain. I got stuck in the Skytram and prayed I wasn’t going to hurtle to my death! I wandered off and discovered the 6 bridges along Maligne Canyon as well as the Overlook to the valley. Spent the day hobbling along on my injured knee taking fairy tale pictures! Kept going to Medicine Lake and took my favourite photos yet! Tim came to Jasper for a visit and we had dinner at Orso! Makes a mumma’s heart happy! Took a drive to Maligne Lake with Tammy in search of moose. Hiked the snowy trail and we found a snowman but there was no sign of moose!! Had dinner at Lobstick. It wasn’t so good. Saw the Lodge decorated for Christmas in November with the giant gingerbread house! Spent a day in Hinton with Tammy and saw some big horned sheep on the way home! I took matters into my own hands and gorilla glued my roof and then duct taped it to drive 10 hours to Whistler to visit Casey for 24 hours - she did the funniest dance in her Fairmont robe, then drove back and met with Timmy halfway as he was on his way to see his sister. I sobbed like a baby when I left her. Timmy said it felt like we were doing a drug deal when he hopped in my car for 5 minutes just so I could hug him, say hello and give him a phone charger. I love my babies. Also that drive was beautiful and terrifying!! I discovered what a runaway lane is for and that a 13 degree incline is very steep!! I also saw a sign that indicated that you should drive at your discretion - basically no speed limit or rules because if you are an idiot you will die! I now fully understand what a hairpin turn is all about. I babysat a dog in a dress that sat on my desk while I worked. I flew home for a few days for my grandmother’s funeral and visited family and friends and went to check on my cottage. I moved into my own room. I discovered what -32 degrees Celsius feels like. I walked on a frozen lake. I discovered Chinese hot pot. Kind of like a soup fondue. I tried lotus root and some weird mushrooms and fish and we played cards against humanity and just dance and I almost peed myself laughing. I made a crown for a princess and loaned a bride my shoes. Attended the Christmas Gala and introduced everyone to my son including the general manager! I took some ski lessons at Marmot hill and had so much fun. I fell getting off the chair lift and several times trying to ski down the schoolhouse hill. I took off my skis and walked the rest of the way down so I didn’t kill myself. I got to wear a chef’s uniform when I helped with the cake boss competition. I babysat Marty the dog and walked him for two hours around the property until he tired me out. I rang in the New Year with my sweetie who came to be with me because I had to work. We had dinner at Fiddle River and saw the bands at the Legion and danced our feet off! I almost saw West Edmonton Mall, but my jeep couldn’t be repaired and we had to take it to a dealership. I ended up buying a new one that actually has heat and a roof that is NOT duct taped. I got an Alberta driver’s license and plates and health card and an iphone. I went on an icewalk tour at Maligne Canyon. I went to hike valley of the five lakes 3.2 km but went the wrong way and hiked just the big lake which was 6.2 km !! It was beautiful and exhausting and I loved it!

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