2020 goal review

Welp 2020, you sure threw a few wrenches at us. I always like looking back at my resolutions and goals I set for the previous year to reflect on things I did and didn’t accomplish. It always a good little laugh when I realize how ambitious I initially am. I actually didn’t do too bad on 2020.

Here were my EASY goals:

  1. Take guitar lessons – Nope, thanks COVID, however I did manage to teach myself the first few chords of Waste by Phish for a little bday surprise for my other half.
  2. Learn/memorize 3 ukulele songs – NOPE
  3. Read for at least 15 minutes a day – again, NOPE
  4. Complete photobooks for all trips – No, but I did get some done, so this will have to carry over to 2021
  5. Reboot Etsy shop and make 12 sales – YES Thanks to COVID. I started making masks and selling them on Etsy over the summer. It was a fun hobby
  6. Run 3 5K races – I ran 2: Forest City Road Races & Run for Ovarian Cancer
  7. Pay off debt – Yes ma’am
  8. Redefine personal style – unless yoga pants and hoodies count (thanks COVID), I’m not done this yet
  9. Drink more water – never enough
  10. Stick to naturopath plan – again, nope

Here were my STRETCH goals:

  1. Read 20 books: I read 15 and listened to a couple of audiobooks
  2. Do yoga 300 times in the year – NOPE
  3. Walk Neva each day – NOPE. I’m a bad dog mom
  4. Quit drinking. I did this. I quit just after Thanksgiving and have only had 2 glasses of wine since. A victory in my eyes
  5. Give up gluten, sugar and dairy – in spurts but not permanently. 2021 is looking hopeful tho
  6. Go to the gym at least 2x/wk – again, NOPE thanks to COVID
  7. Complete the #100dayproject – I NEVER do this
  8. Journal daily – NOPE
  9. Beef up handmade wardrobe – I add a few pieces
  10. Support family and friends with LOVE and COMPASSION. Ok, 2020 was a TOUGH year. So I’m guessing I wasn’t an all star at this. However, this isn’t a one time goal, I’m going more for a Lifetime Achievement Award on this one.

There you have it. A review of my 20 goals for 2020. I don’t think I did too bad considering the global pandemic, lockdowns and months of working from home.

Hello 2021!

Phew! We finally made it out of 2020! I’m sure there was a collective cry at midnight this year full of hope of what 2021 will hold.

2020 was a rough year full of so much devastation, loss and despair, but also taught us strength, resiliency and perseverance. I just watched Death to 2020 on Netflix yesterday and oh man, it is amazing how many world events got cast aside under the pandemic and Trump’s shadow. I recommend giving it a watch if you want a good snapshot of the year and some good chuckles.

Anyway, with all 2020 brought us, we are hopeful for a way through the pandemic this year and a return to somewhat of a norm again. We are under lockdown in my province again until the end of the month, but it doesn’t appear to be slowly cases at this point. At least the vaccine has started roll out.

So most new year’s bring a wealth of self-promises and expectations with resolutions. I never deliver on my resolutions, so I started setting goals. And while I still don’t achieve all of my goals, it gives me something to focus on for the year.

2020 was a clusterfuck of getting used to working at home and trying to find a way to find some separation between work and home life. I tried to get in shape, eat healthy and watch less tv, but had no success with any of that.

“2021 is my year”, I thought. The year I finally pull myself together and realize the productivity I aspire to. Then…on Jan 1, I ended up putting a knife through three of my fingers (while making breakfast) and having to get 16 stitches.

Welp.

As I sat in the Emergency Room waiting to see a doctor, I got to thinking about my goals I was setting. I came across something on Instagram about picking a word for your theme and all of a sudden it hit me “slow down”.

I spend a lot of my life over planning and stressing about details, often cramming so much into my days that I get frazzled and anxious. So while I have a list of goals I’d like to achieve this year, I’m going to stick to my theme of SLOW DOWN and really set reasonable goals that I can achieve without stress and anxiety.

What is your focus for 2021?

2021 Reads

Well, I set a goal of 20 books in 2020. I don’t think I reached that. I did listen to a lot of audiobooks this year, but didn’t keep track of them all. I don’t feel like I read enough, so I’m going to try for 21 books this year. Here’s my preliminary list. Let me know if you have any more must-reads I need to add.

  1. American Dirt – Jeanine Cummings (AUDIOBOOK)
  2. The Happiness Project – Gretchin Rubin
  3. Untamed – Glennon Doyle
  4. What the Dog Saw – Malcolm Gladwell
  5. Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari
  6. Daring Greatly – Brené Brown
  7. I am Malala – Malala Yousafazi
  8. The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg
  9. Anxious People – Fredrik Backman
  10. The Midnight Librarian – Matt Haig
  11. The Skin We’re In – Desmond Cole
  12. The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett
  13. The Guest List – Lucy Foley
  14. The Innocents – Michael Crummey
  15. This One Wild and Precious Life – Sarah Wilson
  16. Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
  17. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
  18. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  19. The Invisibile Lide of Addie LaRue – V.E Schwab
  20. Hold Me Tight – Sue Johnson
  21. TBD….

I am hoping to read more than 20 books, but it’s a good start. I probably have over 50 on my shelf that need to be read still.

What are you reading this year?

-e.

An afternoon in Almonte

Really in need of some sort of vacation this past summer, I took a drive up to Ottawa to visit my little sister. Her and her boyfriend had just moved into a new house and I just needed to get away.

We took a day and did a little road trip out to Almonte. After having lived in Ottawa for four years, I had never been so it was nice to see something new.

We stopped in at Almonte Vintage, which hosts a variety of fantastic vintage clothing and goodies, on our way there and then spent a lovely afternoon just wandering around the boutiques. A former mill town, it is so peaceful and quaint and perfect for a short little getaway from the big city. Isn’t that just the prettiest power mill you’ve ever seen?

A few interesting facts about Almonte:

  • James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, grew up here
  • It hosts an annual VW bus festival (BusFusion, in June!)
  • You can visit a textile museum – which should not be a shocker for a mill town. We tried to go, but it was closed when we were there. I think because of COVID. I was very bummed
  • They host a needlework and textile festival, Fibrefest, each September
  • You can take a food walking tour, Good Food Tour
  • It was named after a Mexican general, Juan Nepomucene Almonte. I guess he was a popular dude because back in the 1850s he had a not so great relationship with America and we wanted to make sure America didn’t expand into our land

We wrapped up our day with an amazing late lunch at Cafe Postino. Housed in the old Post Office building, they offer Italian fusion cuisine and a fabulous wine list.

Almonte was an excellent and quick day trip from Ottawa and I can’t wait to go back to really explore and perhaps attend the FibreFest. Because I’m a nerd for fibre.

My thoughts on COVID-19

First of all, what the fuck?!

I apologies for the obscenity, but seriously 2020? What are you doing to us?

The last couple of weeks have been an absolute blur. Each day melding into the one before. I have been at home since last Monday. Practicing something, which is now the new norm, called “social distancing”. I feel like we are all living out a movie. And not in a good way.

When I first heard about COVID-19, a student here in London, ON had tested positive on her return from Wuhan. A few days later a friend, who used to live in Wuhan, posted a photo on Instagram of the deserted town. I recall thinking how bad that was, that the entire town was empty. Not once did the thought cross my mind that we too would be living out that same nightmare.

Fast forward five weeks and we are all at home social distancing. Or living out an introvert’s dream. Canada has now surpassed the 1,000 confirmed cases mark and has 19 deaths nation-wide. Though still horrible, that does not sound like a huge number, but it is haunting to know where we are headed. We have seen it play out in China and Italy so far and we aren’t far behind.

Ontario has 377 confirmed cases, and three deaths. We are in a state of emergency, provincially and municipally. The government has ordered Canadians to stay home at all costs and only venture out for necessities. As each day progresses, I feel more and more like we are living out the early episodes of The Walking Dead.

I am trying to stay away from reading so much about it as it is creating more and more anxiety in my life, however I am compelled. I keep checking the stats and reading article after article about how bad this could get and how long we are going to live like this.

I went to our local market today. At the door, I was asked a series of screening questions and my temperature was taken by a paramedic. There were only a handful of cars in what is normally a packed parking lot. Somehow it felt like there were even less people inside.

It’s hard not to focus on all of the negatives of our current situation. I know what we are going through is the necessary evil, whether it is the best way to deal with this public health crisis is still yet to be seen. I think it is the best given the tools we have to work with.

On the plus side, it has been amazing to see communities, cities and countries come together to support one another. The federal government has released almost $95 billion in support to help Canadians cope. Each day, our situation changes and I am thankful we have a level-headed Prime Minister to lead us.

The time home has been enjoyable and afforded me a little more time to do things like clean and bake and tidy up around the house. I miss hanging out with family, but we are managing. We had an 8 person Facebook chat on Friday night that, I think, helped relieve some anxiety. We are going a little squirrelly in the house not being able to just go and do what we normally do, but on the plus side, as an introvert, being one of 50 shoppers in a store comes as somewhat of a relief. Everything is so still and so quiet and I have so much personal space. We will get through this. It will take time, but it will happen. We will never be the same society as before, but I believe that we were in need of a change.

It is crazy to be living in a world that is shocked and stunned and just trying to wrap their head around what kind of mess we are currently dealing with…and trying to find effing toilet paper!

Tacos and Texan Hospitality

I ended up landing in Austin, TX for a work conference, so I took advantage and booked a couple of days before the conference to check out a new city – San Antonio. I’ve only ever driven through Texas before, so I was really excited to actually delve into the culture a bit.

After landing at Austin-Bergstrom, I had a little time to kill and decided to take a little adventure to the bus station, so I got on public transport to the city centre and then hiked up to the bus station. With my luggage. Sometimes, nothing I do makes sense!

L-R: Inside the airport, the bus stop at the airpot, first Taco stop, first taco, downtown Austin, Capitol building and Megabus station

I took a cheap ($7) MegaBus to San Antonio. The ride was just under 2 hours and was a hell of a deal. Because I’m cheap, and wanted to stay near the Riverwalk in San Antonio, I booked into a Days Inn. It actually wasn’t bad accommodations for the price. They had just done renovations and the room was quite funky.

I got in around dinner time, so I headed out to see the sights. I decided to start with the Riverwalk. I have a friend who grew up in San Antonio and told me that I couldn’t miss this. I managed to catch the sunset on my walk, and oh man it did not disappoint!

Naturally I managed to find an artisan market down by the river and picked up a couple of unique little souvenirs to take home. I stopped at Casa Rio (the first restaurant to open on the Riverwalk) for some tacos, fuelling what became a slight addiction on my Texas travels.

For anyone who hasn’t been to San Antonio, you need to get there now. This city was so magical! Along the Riverwalk, all of the restaurants have patios on the edge of the river and the shops all have entrances down there too so you don’t actually even need to deal with traffic. There are so many amazing restaurants, gardens and things to see that you get a little lost every time you are down there. I was so enthralled by how beautiful and scenic it was, I cannot wait to go back.

Check out this sunset!

The next day, I set out to the Alamo, which was around the corner from my hotel. One of the first things I noticed about San Antonio, was the scooters everywhere. I mean everywhere! First thing in the morning, they are abandoned in the middle of sidewalks all over the city. After doing a little more research, I found out that it was actually a scooter rental system! You just downloaded an app and picked up a scooter nearby and then left it where you got off. It was a pretty affordable way to get around. I found them in Austin too, so maybe it’s a Texan thing?

Anyway, the Alamo did not disappoint. I’m not a huge history buff, but Dad, you would have been proud of me! I learned all sorts of things about the Alamo, however, given that I’m blogging about this almost a year later, I cannot relay much. Other than Davy Crockett was there.

After I was done at The Alamo, I carried on around town (on foot, not scooter, cause I’m a big scaredy cat), and saw the United States Postal Office, the Emily Morgan Hotel, the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum and the Majestic Theatre. All tourist destinations that I just walked by. I often don’t have the attention span to investigate further! I walked all the way to the Historic Market Square that held loads of cool little curio shops full of souvenirs

My next destination for the day was one I had been looking forward to a lot! A little area of town called La Villita, a historic Artisan village – which has two of my favourite things – handmade stuff and old houses!

I decided that night that I would take a little evening (booze) cruise along the river with a guide to get a little more insight into the buildings that were along the Riverwalk. I had to do a little research to jog my memory about the history of the Riverwalk, so here you go. The idea of the Riverwalk began in 1929 by an architect who wanted to improve the city’s aesthetic along the river. It took 10 years to get the funding and was eventually funded by the Works Progress Administration for $430,000, with the idea that it would help pull America out of the Great Depression.

It was an immediate hit, but went seedy in the 50s. It was then revitalized by Disney engineers – that’s where the idea for the shop/restaurant entrances of the Riverwalk came from. The first hotel on the Riverwalk opened in 1962 and they started hosting high-profile events and festivals. Now, it’s all tourists, cruises and river taxis! The archways were actually designed so that gondolas could pass underneath. Anyway, enough boring history…on to the photos, which aren’t great, because I just had my phone.

After my river cruise, I went back to the Alamo to get some haunting evening pics.

The next day, I had to head to Austin for the work conference that actually brought me to Texas, so I killed some time in the morning heading back down to the Riverwalk and La Villita – and of course eating more tacos.

I got to Austin in the event and met up with some people I had been in touch with who were attending the conference. We decided to grab dinner at Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden, which I did not regret! I finally got up the courage to take a scooter back to my accomodations, and I didn’t die! I was saying on South Congress, which is a great little area for trendy hipsters. On my way home I decided to pop in to The Continental Club to check out a live jazz band before heading to bed. I was staying at a Sonder apartment, which was a first for me and I must say, I was thoroughly impressed! It was basically an apartment and the booking and check in process was absolutely seamless. Not to mention the location was awesome and the quality of the apartment was luxurious. I wanted to move in.

The next day, I had some time to kill before our sessions at the conference started, so I wandered along South Congress checking out all the shops and had breakfast (tacos of course) at Magnolia Cafe. Holy Hannah! You need to eat here!

Because I am a glutton for punishment, I signed myself up for an early morning 5K run around the city with some of my conference peeps. It did not start out as fun after having a few glasses of wine with dinner the night before, but turned out to be an awesome start to the day! I got to see downtown, Willy Nelson and the Capitol building on a guided running tour. Post run, I grabbed some tacos (as you do) and a few more pics of the neighbourhood around where I was staying.

So bat-watching is thing in Austin. It is known for the Mexican Free-Tailed Bats that congregate under the Congress Avenue Bridge and then, en masse, head out all at the same time for a dinner of bugs. It sounds wacky, but what’s wackier is this is a tourist sight. Hundreds of people gather around the bridge to see it happen. We were there in late February and they don’t usually start this until March, but we decided to check it out anyway. So we headed to the bridge and waited. And waited. We did see a couple of bats, but nothing like how it reportedly is. This is something I will definitely make sure I catch when I head back to Austin. Because there is no way I am not going back! Anyway, a few pics from our failed attempt at bat-watching.

That just about wraps up my trip to Texas. Wait, unless of course you were concerned I ate nothing but tacos. I did. Well I also ate bbq meat twice, but otherwise it was all tacos. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. I ate something like 19 tacos in total (I was only away for 6 days!). Anyway, enjoy the tacos! (well not all tacos)

20 for 2020

Resolutions are so tough. It’s almost the end of January and I haven’t really stuck to any ‘resolutions’ but am doing better than almost every other year of my life. Woo hoo!

I’ve been trying to re-look at the way the new year is approached this year. I wanted to focus more on habit changes – introducing better habits into my life – as opposed to strict resolutions.

I spent this month taking stock of things and evaluating what changes might be possible for the new year and I came across the concept of #20for2020. There are a number of different ways to go about setting goals for this approach so I have decided to focus on 10 easy goals and 10 stretch goals. Here is what I am going to be working on for 2020:

EASY

  1. Take guitar lessons
  2. Learn/memorize 3 ukulele songs
  3. Read for at least 15 minutes a day
  4. Complete photobooks for all trips
  5. Reboot Etsy shop and make 12 sales
  6. Run 3 5K races
  7. Pay off debt √
  8. Redefine personal style
  9. Drink more water
  10. Stick to naturopath plan

STRETCH

  1. Read 20 books
  2. Do yoga 300 times in the year
  3. Walk Neva each day
  4. Quit drinking 😮
  5. Give up gluten, sugar and dairy
  6. Go to the gym at least 2x/wk
  7. Complete the #100dayproject
  8. Journal daily
  9. Beef up handmade wardrobe
  10. Support family and friends with LOVE and COMPASSION

There you have it. My 20 goals for 2020. Some of them have been on the list for multiple years. I am going to make a conscious effort this year to complete at least 75% of these goals! Stay tuned for updates…

2020 – New Decade, New Me…

Or something like that.

2015 was a big year for me. I wrote like 3 blog posts! I wrote this post full of comical goals for the year, in which I actually call out my procrastination skills. Wanna know how many of those goals I actually achieved? Mmmm about 15%. Let’s review:

  • Finish all current projects. I can 100% guarantee this DID NOT happen. In fact, I’m sure I started like 12 more. However, I did finish my Icelandic sweater and the African shorts. That cross-stitch piece? yeah, going on 15 years now. One day…
  • Utilize all my yarn and fabric….hahah I can’t even finish typing that. I’ve definitely amassed even more since then. Maybe this is the year I get through it, or maybe when I turn 80.
  • Read 26 books. Sadly, I’m not sure I have read 26 books since 2015, let alone in that year.
  • Pay off debt. Hmm well. I’m sure I paid off some of it. But in happier news, I will have that accomplished this year.
  • Run 5 races. Well I’ve run 5 since 2015. So that counts for something
  • Stick to my diet. Hahaha I should just eternalize this list and use it as a running “Goals” list each year

Anyway, I feel like it might be time for a little update. Instead of making huge promises to myself, that I know I won’t follow through on, here’s a bit of an update on what I’ve done in the last five years:

  • Adopted an adorable pup
  • Had ankle surgery
  • Switched jobs
  • Moved
  • Bought a house
  • Moved
  • Renovated my kitchen
  • Started playing slo-pitch
  • Went to Scandinavia
  • Lost my dad (no, not in a store or something)
  • Gained two new roomies, plus a cat
  • Renovated the basement
  • Went to Vegas
  • Got a concussion playing dodgeball
  • Took up ukulele
  • Went out West (Canada)
  • Switched jobs
  • Got in two car accidents – 2nd concussion and whiplash

Just making that list exhausts me. So it’s no wonder I haven’t been on here since 2015. It has been a big few years. This year I am looking forward to things settling down a bit and maybe teaching myself how to not take on so many things at once. Riiight. At the very least, this will be comical to look at in another 5 years.

Dear Dad

Today marks two years since you left us. To say it has been difficult would be an understatement. I expected as time passed, the grief to get easier but two years in I can see that is not the way this works. I still think about you everyday and there are a lot of moments when I just break down. Losing someone so close is a devastating experience and often times it does not feel fair. Nothing or no one can justify the loss and we just kind of have to keep moving. Life Goes On. 

I was scrolling through photos on my phone to see if I could find one of you and I to post along with this. At first it made me sad to realize that I don’t have many recent pictures of you and then I realized why. As I scrolled through my memories over the last decade or so, there was a little piece of you in every photo. From the stories you told me about whatever new location I found myself in, the words of praise or pride you had in big moments in my life or the or just simply the conversations we had around daily happenings, there are memories of you everywhere. 

I am so grateful to be able to have these memories but it also makes the grief process so much tougher. 

For a number of years, we spoke almost daily. You were the first person I called when I had news, had a question or simply just wanted to chat. We would call each other when driving ‘just because’. We would call each other to check in if it had been a couple of days. Even though separated by distance, we still shared so much of our lives together.

It has been shocking to me the activities that have become emotionally difficult since you’ve been gone. Sometimes, I struggle with driving long distances. You loved to drive, so much so I questioned many times whether I’d make it out alive. I have a lot of memories of either being in cars with you or sharing stories over the phone while we were driving. At first it was just being in my car that was difficult. Now, it is mostly while I am driving longer distances. Through the silence and serenity of driving, which I ultimately enjoy, I find myself thinking of you a lot and the grief sets in. 

Travelling, something that was for so long a key part of my life, has become tougher. Through all of my travels, while not physically there, you were right there beside me on every trip. You were always so interested in where I was going, what I was doing and who I was seeing. When I travel now, it makes me sad to know that you will not be there to share my stories with or to educate me on the history of somewhere I am going or have just been. You loved travelling and while you did your fair share of it, I know it wasn’t enough for you. I miss your curiosity about the world.

At first, the absence of phone calls felt like you were on a long vacation. I remember about three months later feeling like it was about time you came home because I missed you and just wanted to hear your voice again. Since then it has been hard to let go of the instinct to call you when something happens in my life. I still often find myself thinking “what would Dad say” or “Dad would love this”. It still feels very surreal to me that you are gone. I am not sure that will ever disappear. 

You were taken way too early and there is still so much of my life left that I want to be able to share with you. Some days it makes me mad, but mostly I’m just sad. There is, and I am guessing forever will be, a hole in my heart with the absence of you. The irony is that while this hole is so big, you are still so ingrained in everything I do.

I miss you. More than words will ever be able to say. I miss your sense of humour, your wit, your love for useless knowledge and your generosity. You had an energy for life that not many did. You lived first and asked questions later. You were fearless and brave. You were an amazing man and I am so proud to call you Dad.

I have been quite silent about your passing for the last two years as I am not comfortable sharing the pain and sorrow of my grief online. But as you were a man of many words and one of my most avid blog followers (there are only 4 of them), I thought this would be an appropriate place to leave you a note. I don’t know where you are or what you are doing, but I am certain you are still having a good time!

Calgary and beyond

On the tail end of a work trip out to Vancouver (and a joyride up Vancouver Island), I took a detour and laid over in Calgary to visit some family. My Aunt, cousin and step-dad were all in the Calgary area, so I figured I’d pop by and have a quick visit.

I stayed with my Aunt in Calgary, which was so nice because she has lived out there for as long as I can remember and I don’t get to see her very often. Let me tell you, I had some of the best tour guides!

I spent a day in Calgary checking things out. Below is a picture of the new Calgary library. The new design of the library was unveiled in 2014 and was a result of a design competition won by architects Snohetta. It is absolutely breathtaking. The wood inside the entrance is amazing too. This is a place I would want to go to read for sure!

Anyway, I wandered around downtown eventually making my way to Inglewood to meet my cousin for an afternoon of shopping and eats. It was so great to catch up with her and we had a great time! No pictures though 😦

The next day, my Aunt took me to Banff National Park for the day. I will never, ever get sick of the scenery, that’s for sure! We stopped at Lake Minnewanka, Bankhead, had lunch in Banff and then checked out Bow’s Falls.

The day before I flew out, my step-dad picked me up and took me for a road trip into Alberta’s badlands. We drove to Drumheller and then began our quest to find dinosaurs. Well, not really, but…dinosaurs were found.

Our first stop was at the Badlands Amphitheatre, which is apparently Canada’s largest outdoor stage. There was nothing going on that day, so we go to wander around and check everything out. It was really cool and had a very prehistoric vibe, which I guess is the point.

We carried on along Red Deer River on to Orkney Viewpoint and then crossed the river at Bleriot Ferry.

Looping back around the trail, we detoured a bit to check out Horsethief Canyon.

Our final stop on the Dinosaur trail was at Drumheller’s Little Church. The church, constructed by inmates of Drumheller Institution in 1991, was actually designed as a place of worship, not the cheesy tourist destination you would think. Small service though – it only seats 6 people at a time!


After we finished with the Dinosaur Trail, we decided to head on to Wayne and check out the 11 Bridges of Wayne on the way there. So the 11 Bridges of Wayne is actually in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most number of bridges in the shortest distance (6km), and they are all single lane metal bridges. Thankfully, there wasn’t a lot of traffic! I clearly got bored and only got pics of four of the eleven, but you get the picture.

Also, the town of Wayne was definitely an interesting stop. A town of 29 residents, it used to be home to 2500 people who lived and worked in underground coal mines. We had lunch at the Last Chance Saloon, which is borderline a mini-museum documenting the coal mining days of the early 1900’s. Notorious for the bar fights among miners, there are still some of the original bullet holes on display!

From Wayne, we made our way to Hoodoos Trail, with a visit first to the Star Mine Suspension Bridge – a 117 metre long pedestrian bridge across Red Deer River. The bridge was initially built in 1931 for the miners to be able to cross over. 117 metres is a long way to walk on a suspension bridge. Also, a storm was setting in, so it was super windy!

By the time we made it to Hoodoos Trail, we had just enough time to check it out and get some pictures before the largest sandstorm I have ever seen took over! I’m not even kidding, we had to wait it out in the truck before it was safe to drive anywhere!

My step-dad and I then headed back to Calgary and had a nice sushi dinner with my Aunt before I had to fly home the next day.

I didn’t get any pictures, but my step-dad also took me out to one of the Hutterite colonies he works at while he is in Alberta to meet some of his friends. I got a great tour of their facilities and learned a lot more about their way of life. They were so friendly and welcoming, it’s hard not to see why he enjoys working with them so much!

I had such a great vacation out West. It always amazes me how beautiful our country is and why we don’t travel internally more (cost aside of course!).