Apparently, David Suzuki wants us all to pledge to accept the challenge of spending at least 30 minutes outdoors (“in nature”) every day for 30 days.
Rather embarrassingly, up until this morning I had no idea who David Suzuki is. (a.: an environmentalist). Jess kindly informed me. Equally baffling is why people see spending half an hour outdoors as “challenging”. I do get that the locals really don’t want to be outside in January when its -40ish and you get frostbite in under ten minutes and so on, but surely you must have to at some point? I was outside during the months of utterly stupid temperatures for at least 40 minutes every day, if not longer. I had no choice: I don’t drive and my work was a 20 minute walk there and another 20 minutes back. And then I had to go collect Miranda, and walking the two blocks back from her daycare at Miri-speed usually took longer than 15 minutes again! Now it’s sunny and spring-like finally, I can’t imagine I’m alone in wanting to escape the house, especially after such a ridiculously long winter. It would be a struggle to restrict myself to just 30 minutes now…
Another consequence of the six month long winter was that my beloved trike, Twyla has stayed wrapped in bubblewrap and packing tape since she arrived here from the UK in November. I may have to walk in January temperatures, but I am not daft enough to try and cycle through that much snow!! April was of course, 30 Days of Biking. I eventually unwrapped Twyla on 29th April, so I missed the whole month! Waa!
So, to this end, I am going to take up Mr Suzuki’s challenge AND invent my own belated 30 days of Biking challenge, (because it’s rare that I would cycle indoors anyway!). Here’s some sunny, spring inspired photos of my progress:
I have my computer back!! It is still sadly lacking in a space bar and it has no memory of its former life, but at least I can function again. Many many thanks to CBAS computers for reanimating the “toast” that was my hard disk!
I am still ridiculously tired because the computer-wrecking beastling is still refusing to go to bed in the evenings, meaning I inevitably don’t have any time to myself. And then she wakes up at stupid o’clock, thrashes and kicks and wails, then goes back to sleep approximately 10 minutes before my alarm goes off. GRRR.
I cannot wait for Carl to arrive so I can off-load the babysitting duties!!! heehee. The grand reunion is less than a month away now, which is very exciting, but 26 night’s worth of sleep deprivation still sounds an awfully long time to me!.
Despite all Miri’s Beastlingness, we enjoyed our first Canada Day. I will happily celebrate this country: we are very lucky to be here. There were lots of celebratory events down at the park, but typically the first thing we stumbled upon was a bunch of tents in Victoria Park. Now, Miranda likes tents and gets to play in one at the daycare, and she insisted on going to investigate. It turned out to be a bunch of anarchists, (group? gang? what is the collective noun for anarchists? ‘An Oxymoron of Anarchists’ maybe?) protesting about Canada Day with a banner claiming that “Government is Tyranny!”. Well, quite. The little I know of Harper’s style of government here makes me inclined to agree, but despite them complimenting me on my blue hair, I didn’t think it wise to get into serious debates about the alternatives at that point in time. I also assume they didn’t spot my maple leaf tattoo.
Wascana Park had plenty more patriotic goings on though: an enormous turn out and the usual ubiquitous doughnuts and hotdog vans and beer tents, (no coffee!!! HOWL!) people handing out flags, loads of free balloons for Miri, the local radio stations ‘live at the event’, facepainting, an area where kids could draw things that reminded them of Wascana Park on big easels (guess who loved that!), and so on. The Science Museum had a tent containing large blocks made of foam rubber, supposedly teaching kids about balance and structure, but actually great fun to push over and jump on -which Miranda did with great glee. There were also fireworks later in the evening which I wouldn’t let Miri sit up for, but they were severely upstaged by the fantastic lightning storm that night anyway!
The highlight for us though was the Plywood Cup. Apparently this happens every year, teams get 90 mins or so to build a boat out of plywood and gaffa tape and precious-little else. Then they have to get in the boat and row/paddle/somehow propel themselves across the lake and back in a race! It was BRILLIANT!! I was amazed how many of the boats actually made it across, I think there were only three that sank and had to be rescued. One poor guy broke his paddle halfway across and was half hand-paddling, half bailing water at the same time, but he still made it! As did a boat named “Piece of Ship” The Mountie team came in third or fourth I think, but they were very pleased to beat the Navy crew.
After all, what better way to celebrate the birth of the Canadian Nation than by falling into a lake from a home-made plywood canoe???
I have been here a month today!!
I don’t know what is more weird, that we left Darlington a month ago, or that it has only been a month….
I feel like I am settling in. I met a friendly bloke today – or at least, Miranda met his daughter, so we had to chat while theydug holes in the sandpit. He (Jeff) was originally from Brisbane, but spent a long time in south west London, and has now been in Regina nine years. When I said I’d only been here a month, he said “God, you’re SO NEW!!” I liked that!
I am meeting a great many more ex-pats that I expected though. Saskatchewan is definitely not as remote as the stereotype dictates and Regina really is boom-town at the moment. I met a woman in the cafe originally from Surrey but now working in the school down the road; another from Bournemouth now working in the baby shop here, a bloke from Nottingham, the pest-control guy from Manchester, and another customer whose husband is from Redcar – I kid ye not!!! This morning I went to the first outdoor Farmer’s Market of the year (it hides indoors over the winter and I never noticed it). I bought some Proper Meat there for dinner tomorrow to make up for the vegetarianism at work, and the bloke on the stall turned out to be from Cumbria, complete with a flat cap!
As for Canadians though, I am meeting plenty, but I feel like I don’t get much of a chance to get to know them! Customers in the coffee house are fleeting as ever and known only by their drinks. There are the usual suspects: Dry-Capp woman, Steam-Cream Girl, Muffin-man, the Burrito Boys, and the woman who phones in her order and who I epically misheard on the phone the first time she rang, and shall now and forever be known as Miss Beaver. It is not the sort of place where I can use the name “Mrs Soya Milk” though (sorry Vicky!!!) because it doesn’t really narrow it down!!
The other staff are all a lot of fun and it would be great to go out with them and chat outside of a work environment because work is tiring and we all get grouchy ythere at some point. However, they are all younger than me, and only one has a kid, and even though I know they do go out together occasionally after work, I cannot join them for as long as I am on my own with Miri. Basically I am destined to have no social life here until Carl comes out here to babysit!!
That said, I am trying my hardest to Go Exploring and Socialising whenever I can. They are starting to recognise me in the pub now – if only because Miranda has made herself rather infamous there by painting her face with guacamole, dropping a pint glass and pulling her brick wagon around the place. I’ve also been down to the coffee house when I am not working to meet people on the other side of the bar! (sad I know, but also lazy since some visits have been prompted by my lack of incentive to cook my own dinner!). Today we went to “Tea Party with Tickle” at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. Tickle is a metre-high very cute baby triceretops that kids can ride on, and she moves her head about and makes cute baby dinosaur noises. It was a fundraising do to help re-house a real dinosaur skeleton called Scotty. Miranda hated Tickle, but enjoyed everything else so it was good! We also went to Free Comic Day in the comic store, picked up some stuff and resisted the urge to buy cuddly Cthulus. Last week we went to the Zombie Awareness night, which was brilliant, tomorrow we’re off to a “vintage letter writing” group at the library and there is a Steampunk Art workshop coming up too. I do love that there are all these sort of very Annabelish events happening around here – and it does give me reasons to get out and about.
Just wandering around Regina still makes me very happy though. It’s pretty even when it is not sunny, I feel safe here, and like I can be myself much more easily. It is a very Canadian custom to be seen walking around town with a keep-cup – as in, your own reusuable coffee cup with a lid so you don’t have to waste the cardboard ones all the time. I applaud the idea, but despite my colossal coffee-drinking habits, I’ve never really needed to walk round with my coffee. I just drink it before I go out! But anyway, in an attempt to blend in, I bought this.
But “leg”, it transpires, is short for Legislative Building. And it is very pretty indeed, next to the massive lake in Wascana Park. I wandered round here back in July briefly, but now it looks totally different with the lake frozen and snow everywhere.
I walked the 5km round the edge of the lake which took far longer than I expected, mainly, I think because I was stopping every few minutes to take photos or stalk geese. Beautiful place, and it was so sunny today I could have done with sunglasses!
This fortnight (that means: TWO WEEKS, peoples! Tamara asked me about the word last night, didn’t realise it wasn’t in common use over here) – anyway, the last two weeks have been utterly insane. But, I think I can finally breathe out again, I *think* I have got myself sorted. 13th Avenue Coffee House are posting lovely things on the internet about Doctor Coffee joining their team and welcoming Ugly Cakes to their menu. Roca Jacks have a sign outside with their weekly special: “The Dragon – 24 shots of espresso served in a bucket”. Just wondering if that had anything to do with my somewhat sarcastic comments about the Canadian drink sizes….ahem! And, fingers crossed and again thanks to the amazing kindness of strangers, I may even have somewhere to live after the Big Move in January.
Of course there are still massive decisions to agonize over, like whether I’ll have to come over on my own in January with Carl and Miri following me later – which makes financial sense but no emotional sense whatsoever. I can’t leave my baby!!! Waaaaaa! Let alone what we’ll do with our house, the ferrets and so on.
But for now, I may just let myself relax. Yesterday I did a huge amount of nothing, just writing, ranting, and eating!! I met up with Tamara again to go watch the game (well, we were supposed to be going coffee cupping, but it got cancelled cos The Game takes over everything!). We went to her friend’s house, met some others, and all the men were growing moustaches for Movember, some serious 70s porn taches happening there, very surreal! Our host was a chef and owns a fish shop, so the snacks he’d made us to watch football with were in a different league (geddit?) to ‘potayto chips n dips’! Deep fried oysters anyone?
I didn’t understand Canadian football. When they said “the game” I thought it would be hockey. But no, it’s big blokes in lycra and shoulder pads and helmets, kinda wrestling and falling over, and very rarely kicking the ball. Meh. I still don’t get football, even the British version, but I’ve come to view this experience as some sort of initiation ritual…..
And today, I am going to visit 13th Avenue Coffee House again this afternoon, but for now, I am going for a Stomp in the snow. Weeee!