suburban siberia

transitioning from Los Angeles back to Edmonton

Category: Leisure

roasted marshmallows

Levi and I went camping at Pembina this weekend and it was pretty great. It’s one of my favourite things to do in the summer in Alberta because you can float down the Pembina River for a couple of hours in a massive gorge. It really is one of the more simpler, beautiful ways to spend an afternoon with friends. Eleisha, Diane, Julia, a friend from work, came camping and Diane showed us how to make marshmallow shot glasses with Baileys. It took a while to perfect so below I have a few images to demonstrate the process.

1. roast your marshmallow, without puncturing the end of it (so that it doesn’t leak out of the bottom)
2. dig out the middle to make a reservoir for the liquid.
3. pour the baileys into the newly created cup and consume

It really is worth the effort. If you are too lazy (like I was after a while) you can also just dip the roasted marshmallows in the baileys and it’s also very tasty. On this trip we also had time to play with bubbles. Originally I bought the bubble set for my nieces and nephews from the dollar store but I thought we would “test”them out to make sure they 1photo 2photo 3photo 4photo 5bubble1bubble3

baby steps

I live a bit far from downtown. Distance is different for everyone but I usually like to live within 15 min of my work place. Currently my daily commute is about 30 – 45 min to work. Since I bought a bike a few weeks ago I’ve hoped to ride it to work. In theory it is a great idea but it’s going to take some commitment since it’s an hour or so bike ride each way and at work we are nearing a deadline so I don’t think biking home at midnight is an ideal situation. So I’ve been taking baby steps. Last week and this week I was able to park my car near Whyte Ave and then ride across the High Level bridge, past the Legislature grounds to my humble downtown work place at Manasc Issac.

It’s still about a 45 min commute but I get free parking and a wee bit of exercise. Hopefully I can park farther away from work and ride longer distances till I can commit to the full bike route. Below are a few pictures of my morning ride last week and my evening return on the impressive High Level Bridge and Leg grounds when it was a balmy 26 degrees (78 degrees Fahrenheit) yesterday.

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first bike ride of the season!

So I bought a bike! It’s beautiful, lovely and a delight, For those who care it’s a Gary Fisher Trek bike with hydraulic disc brakes and shocks that I can turn on or off for city and trail riding. While I often complaint about my neighbourhood I have to confess that I am nearby the river valley which has peaked my interest to explore the city. While I enjoyed biking in the LA heat (mostly around the LA River), Edmonton’s river valley trails are full of adventures. Not only is the air incredibly fresh, the ravines have perfectly time pockets of cool air to help keep you going in an up hill battle or during the down hill glory.

My first ride was awesome! I wasn’t really sure where I was going but in the end I found myself at my mom’s place. I find it strange that my first ride of the season was to go home. Below are a few images of the pedestrian bridge under the Anthony Henday, suburban construction in Cameron Heights, and some river valley greenery – which looks better in person as you can imagine.

Temperature: 15 – 17 degrees Celsius (59 – 63 Fahrenheit).
Route: Terwillegar Towne (my house) to Thorncliff (moms house)
Time: 1.5 Hrs (About 2 hours if you include my stop at the Callingwood Dairy Queen for a chocolate dipped cone)






-that’s right! You too can live in a Manhattan or a Brooklyn.

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the perfect croissant

Things have been crazy busy with work lately so my personal life has been a bit of a blur. Tonight I was fortunate to have dinner with one of my oldest friends, Ryanne.  I don’t see her often but the time we spend with each other is always rich. It’s like finding the perfect croissant at a beautiful bakery – the experience is limited in time but it’s delightful and soulful. Not only is she one fine lady, she also makes me laugh the entire night. So much so that my stomach is always sore at the end of the evening. It’s not much of a blog post I guess but sometimes it’s exciting to be reminded of how wonderful and beautiful my friends are. It makes me happy about life and the people who I get to spend time with. It’s been over 20 years of friendship and she still inspires me. After dinner I was driving home in the country through drizzly rain in the darkness. Edmonton was a glow in the distance with pockets of fog and blurriness which made it feel like a dream as I listened to french CBC. The landscape here is subtle but once you are in tune with it, it is a beautiful and awe-inspiring thing.  No matter how many times I live away from this city, the landscape and my dear friends and family always calls me back.


month of cake!

March is my favourite month of the year. It’s almost like christmas. As most people know I am crazy about birthdays. I’m not sure why, but I’ve come to finally realize that I am that person who cares about something most people try to avoid. I’m sure it’s annoying but I can’t stop myself.  Half of my family are Pieces and I love meeting others who are born in the same month as I secretly believe we are instantly connected because of it. Crazy talk!

Here is a breakdown of the family birthdays:

Levi (husband):  Feb 28
Dakota (nephew):  March 1
Dad: March 3
Riley (nephew): March 4
Chandra (niece): March 10
Crystal (amazing cousin): March 11
Myself: March 12
Matthew and Arnie (my youngest and oldest brother): March 16

This year was my dad’s 75th birthday party and my family was able to rally together again for a surprise birthday party (we did one for his 70th as well). It went off without a hitch, he was completely surprised and it was nice to see some of my brothers who live around Vancouver. My dad was recently in the hospital for some time so it was a great for us all to see him in better health.

The day before the surprise party my nieces and nephews along with a few friends  and I went to Launch Pad. It’s this amazing place with wall to floor trampolines. I’m going to try to go there as much as possible because I’m pretty sure it’s going to be shut down soon. When we went on Friday night it was over capacity and rules were hardly adhered to. It was amazing and liberating as an adult – basically it’s my happy place.

The trampoline pictures are mostly blurry – but they are kind of awesome that way.






benefit of the doubt

After a week of killer back pain I finally carved out some time to see my chiropractor this morning. I got an adjustment, had a great massage and then at lunch time I went to yoga (my awesome job has yoga twice a week during the lunch hour). The instructor did Yin Yoga (a stretching class) but I was looking for something a bit more intense so after work I called Eleisha and she invited me to Moksha.

My roommates, Anna and Eleisha, often tried to convince me in LA to go with them to Moksha or Bikram (Hot Yoga) but I never perceived sweating in a hot room with 40 strangers as a good thing.  Well I suppose when your trusted friends tell you that something is awesome, give them the benefit of the doubt. I felt so relaxed afterwards and I didn’t even mind the cold outside. That’s a first! The room temperature was 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) and so it felt like being back in LA with the summer heat and then you add the deep stretching. It was a perfect winter getaway!

In Los Angeles I usually defaulted to aquasize (water aerobics) at the Pasadena Rose Bowl pool to decompress because yoga never really did the trick (and it was cheaper) when I needed a break from my studies. I’m not even really a big fan of yoga because my hip flexors and glutes are always to tight and generally I spend most of my time trying not to think about going into child’s pose – which I nicknamed ‘quitters pose’.

The Rose Rowl Aquatic Centre is an amazing outdoor pool where you can mingle with seniors who teach at JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory – contractors to NASA) or maybe hang with an Olympic athlete in training. It was always an incredible feeling swimming outside (especially in January/February) exercising in the water. One time Eleisha and I met a real rocket scientist in the hot tub!….no joke.

Hopefully Moksha will be my refuge from the winter blues. Can’t wait for my next visit to a tropical stretching paradise!

Pasadena Rose Bowl Aquatics Centre


This past Saturday was nearly a bust. Once I convinced myself to leave the house (as it was -25 with the windchill) I ventured out to try the x country ski trails at Terwillegar Park. I’ve never been there and surprisingly it’s only 5 min from my house….(another bonus my husband would say). I checked the Edmonton website to see when the trial was last groomed and it reported Jan 11. Great!….Except not so great. There were no trails! It was just a huge dog park without signage indicating where to ski. It even says on the city’s website that it has classical and skating styles but there were no tracks. So I ventured around the park for 10 min and I found a faded ‘difficult’ sign that indicated the hilly part of the trail but still no traces of ski tracks. So I sucked it up and skied as best I could.

On one hand I considered it a loss but on the other hand I was able to get out and exercise in the bitter cold for 1.5 hrs…..And I even felt pretty great afterwards. I guess it’s one of those adversity stories you tell children as a way to bore them into succeeding. While I don’t have much experience with x country skiing, I would rate Terwillegar Park 0 out of 5.  It’s a nice place to go though if you have a dog.

After my ski attempt I went to pick up some fresh pizza dough for dinner that night. I did a google search (my first mistake as Edmonton is terrible for its online resources) and saw that the Italian Centre carries it. Great! But when I got there I found out they only had frozen pizza dough. Another fail as I was expecting my nieces and nephews for dinner in 1 hour. I agonized as I waited in the deli line up as to whether I should put everything back and order Boston Pizza but somehow I convinced myself to wait out the long line and order fresh toppings. I ran home, defrosted the pizza in a warm water bath (which apparently is controversial due to bacteria growth), we successfully made the pizzas and they didn’t throw up. Yay! My nieces and nephews even loved the meat I bought (Thank Heavens!). I thought the quality would be lost on them but they surprised me. So I suppose the day turned into a win. Even one of the pizzas magically turned into a heart. Those little cuddle monsters really know how to turn a day around.

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photo 5killing water spirit – AGA Inuit Exhibition

I’m starting to feel guilty about not posting too much about the neighbourhood I live in like I hoped but it’s bloody cold outside. While I have dreams of venturing around the ‘hood’, it’s always from my couch with leggings, a cbc t-shirt and a cosy bathrobe. Oh well. Hopefully next week. Attached are a few photos from this weekend and some pants I wore today with flamingos. I was trying to trick myself into thinking about warmer weather. It didn’t work and no one at the office noticed my attempts to lift the winter vibe. Sometimes the cold drains you from caring I suppose. The good news though is that the sun sets around 6 pm now!

office attire

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family brunch

photo 1family brunch

brenda draney – AGA

brenda draney -AGA Exhibition

lulu telling me what to do

lulu telling me what to do

morning commute

morning commute


Here are a few shots from my bedroom window this morning. Both exposures are about 45 seconds. I’ll be updating every now and then with a few images around the city as I take them.



um…ok…..sort of

This evening I drove my 13-year-old niece around the entire city. I love spending time with her but I’ve noticed lately that as she gets older the more she throws her diction out the window. Her vocabulary consists entirely of ‘um’ ‘ok’ ‘sorta’ ‘not really’ and ‘i don’t know’s. I WAS LOSING MY MIND. Not only because I couldn’t get a legible sentence out of her, but also because she needed a certain amount of things done in the evening that she never planned for or alluded to the day before. And I was the lucky person to drive her around to several places based on her whims as she remembered them. I planned to pick her up at 6:30 pm, drop her off at her place and then go home. That changed when I called to confirm the pick up time at 5:30 pm.

niece: I need to go to my friend’s house to put my hair up in curlers after practice.

tiffany: why do you need your hair done tonight?

niece: it’s for the competition tomorrow.

tiffany: where does she live?

niece: ummmmmm

tiffany: what time is your friend expecting you and how long will it take?

niece: i don’t know

tiffany: what time should I pick you up from practice then?

niece: I’m not really sure. I could stay till 6:30.

tiffany: should I come pick you up now?

niece: um….maybe?

tiffany: so you don’t know her address?

niece: somewhere in forest…… (trials off into an inaudible tone)

tiffany: so you know where it is?

niece: sort of

-that is basically how the entire evening went.

Parents must have a super powers once their children are born in regards to patience.