2016: A Year of Reaping


Happy 2016, everyone! I just know in my heart that this is the Year of Krista, and I am looking forward to making the most of it.

We could call last year “The Road to High Readiness”, in true army fashion. It saw a lot of ups and downs, for me and our little family.

We all started the year off with terrible colds, and I managed to get lice, an eye infection, and a lung infection on top of that over the holidays. Grunt decided he would start furniture walking as soon as I got sick, too, and became much more mobile while I attempted to get better. The constant barrage of demands from the condo board and MiniSir’s trip to Europe in March nearly did me in as I tried to be a mum, a home owner, and run the condo board all by myself.

But… we celebrated Easter in Walt Disney World and had a wonderful underwater-themed first birthday party for Grunt when we arrived back home.

We put the house on the market right as the price of oil collapsed, and nearly sold it twice only to have the buyer unable to get financing. I hired a management company for our condos, and struggled through our piece-meal finances with their accountant to get our books in order.

But… MiniSir got promoted, and we celebrated with the champagne he brought back from France. We had family visiting us in June, July, and August, and in between we had a whirlwind trip to Ontario.

MiniSir went to fight fires in Saskatchewan, but then we visited Banff and Lake Louise for the first time on an epic road trip, and it seemed like maybe we were finally getting ready to relax into fall.

And then my PTSD, depression, and anxiety all made a comeback and I’m back on medication to help me cope.

But… MiniSir completed an amazing “rugged” marathon called Mountain Man, a result of his hard work, training, and the loss of 50 pounds. He also got great career news and now we know we will be here in Edmonton for at least another 4 years.Grunt started walking and talking. The condo board took on new members and it now feels like we are a team instead of a one-woman show. I have lost nearly 40 pounds, with just a couple stubborn ones left to reach my goal weight. And we celebrated Christmas here, together: our little family with matching pjs in our little house.

Honestly, looking back, I can see the ups and see the downs, see the curveballs life has thrown at us and see the gifts. I wish for nothing more in the new year than for 2016 to hold more gifts than disappointments. I sowed many seeds last year, and I’m ready to reap the rewards. If I close my eyes and dream, I can see them all lying out on the path ahead of me. I know this year will be mine, and I’m ready for it.

From our home to yours: Happy New Year, and may your unexpected gifts be numerous!


Ivy, The Kindness Fairy

We started an experiment over here at the House of Whimsy. We thought, why not see if we could get a fairy to move in. It couldn’t be alIMG_4593l that hard: fairies just need a space of their own, and some faith and trust that they would appear.

In September Grunt and I picked out what we wanted to use for our fairy garden, and I assembled it one week while MiniSir was away. We wanted to make sure whatever fairy picked us as their people was comfortable and reminded of home. We included a little mail box too, because fairies are big fans of getting and receiving letters.

IMG_4717Then we waited. And a few weeks later, something magical happened! We came downstairs in the morning to discover our new fairy was a girl, and she was beautiful. We called her Ivy because her name was unpronounceable in English. She was wearing fairy armour and carrying a Bag of Holding, denoting she was a warrior fairy, so we knew right away she would fit in perfectly here in our army household.

Since she’s come to live wIMG_4829ith us, Ivy has not let us down. She reminded us around Thanksgiving that we should be generous with our thanks, and we invited 25 people to our home to celebrate the holiday with us.

On Hallowe’en, she reminded us that sometimes those who don’t ask for
treats need it the most, and the Whimsy family packed up a huge bag for the food bank, making sure to add all the ingredients for a few healthy meals, some juice boxes, and baby food for little tummies.

IMG_5023Once November 1 dawned, however, her Hallowe’en decorations were down, and she joined us in a period of solemnity leading up to Remembrance Day. We were surprised but pleased to see her poppy in the garden displayed in what looked like an old tin lunch box. She wanted us to know her thoughts were with us and our community. This in turn reminded us that we should make sure others knew of the importance of remembering, not just on November 11 but every day of the year, and I worked hard to make that happen through my Military History Twitter Essay.

IMG_5306Finally, it was time for Grunt’s Christmas letter to Santa. We wrote down the item he wished for most, and folded it up to send via fairy mail to the North Pole.

And when we came down the next morning, both the letter and Ivy were gone! She was delivering to Santa herself, apparently.

We sure miss her around here right now, but we decorated her home for her when we put up our tree in hopes that she will approve of the new decorations when she returns for the Advent. Stay tuned to Flat-Out Whimsy’s Facebook page to see what virtues Ivy will bring to our family over the holidays!



Wrong Way to Do It

All right: it’s time for me to weigh in on a growing social media trend here in Edmonton. You may have heard of it – public shaming of bad parking in local places, particularly of the “he’s clearly over the line! *finger point*” variety. I don’t care one way or the other about the agenda – my husband has submitted photos, and there are some really bad parking jobs out there – but last night one of the founders used his new fame to rant about a parking situation he feels is continuously appalling. Namely, the set curfew for parking along Whyte Ave, one of the busiest pub and nightclub streets in town.

Don’t get me wrong. All this is still fine, if a small abuse of social justice warrior power. My beef is how he chose to go about posting it, and his comparisons and wording choices involved. (Read the tweets in each image bottom first, then top.)20140802-082653-30413927

He starts off with a little public shaming of the police force. Sure, that’s tasteless, and he doesn’t use the actual police force twitter account to tag them, but so far we are just venting about a frustrating situation. And I’d like to point out something about the “jaywalkers hit” comment – the reason parking on Whyte Ave is restricted and not allowed after midnight is precisely for this reason: drunken jaywalkers deciding to cross the street erratically from between parked cars, making it extremely difficult to see them. The reason for the curfew is to make the sight lines of drivers using the avenue less cluttered when the likelihood of said drunken jaywalking will occur.



Now he makes a bit of an intuitive leap. Apparently emergency vehicles parked in the street on a busy Friday night of a long weekend immediately means someone died. Oh, and there’s the police twitter account popping up now. Better late than never. He does also mention in another post his it’s a really busy night for the police as there is a riot at some concert in town. Truly, this is then the night to go all righteous anger social media warrior on their asses.



I’d like to point out here that NO ONE EVER DIED FROM AN IMPROPERLY PARKED CAR. Sure, lots of people have died as a result of being idiots around parked cars, but never has the parked car itself caused the event. Having been the victim of a near death experience thanks to careless drivers while I was properly using a lighted intersection to cross a street, I can tell you that all it takes is one inattentive person behind the wheel of a moving vehicle to take a life. An inattentive person with a parked vehicle usually just results in getting tickets for or, at worst, towing of said vehicle.


And here’s the Mayor’s take on all this. I’m sorry, but I’m with him. This is not the way to gain sympathy for your cause. If you want to make a difference in the parking situation around your place of business, particularly where the situation may adversely affect you and your customers, the proper course of action is to for a group of like-minded concerned business owners in the area, create a petition for your customers all to sign, and head directly to City Hall with petition in hand to personally address the council and plead your case. Even better if it’s a petition to create more parking in the Whyte Ave area rather than redefining the parking situation of the avenue itself. This? This is not the way.

As I also follow the Mayor’s twitter account I can assure you that he gets more than enough tweets regarding parking, potholes, snow clearance and neighbourhood nuisances to make any sane person cringe. A situation like this where civic duty could be actioned with the proper steps taken probably gets his goat. It would certainly get mine. A student frustrated at the amount of homework he’s been given wouldn’t tweet to the teacher and call them out in front of all their other students about how unfair it was, and just expect the teacher to tell him it’s suddenly not due. That’s not how social justice works.

Do your due diligence. If you want change, be the change. Make the time to make it important to you. Do not whine about it on a social media site and expect dramatic results. And don’t ever, EVER diminish the pain and suffering of others to elevate your cause. That’s not doing it right at all. That’s just making yourself look like a complete jerk.

Week in Review: Back to… Darn, I’m Old

Hands up if you feel like you’ve been run over by a truck this morning!

I can’t believe it’s back to school time already. More importantly, I can’t believe that I have a niece starting kindergarten today that looked like this when I moved to Alberta:

Growing up should not be allowed. Look at those cheeks!

My stepchildren are starting grade 7 (GRADE 7!), grade 5, grade 2 and grade 1. I have a brother-in-law that’s starting a year-long college degree today, and I can’t even remember the last time I did anything academic. (Was it 2008? Maybe…) In conclusion, I am feeling my age this morning.

I am also feeling it because we have had such a busy week this past week. On Thursday we went to play trivia as we do every Thursday, and we WON! “The Del(ink)quents” are now in the trivia finals! It was a personal point of pride for us because we are the most heavily tattooed group in the bar (by far), and we managed to beat all of the groups that have been coming to trivia since the dawn of time. What a way to kick off the weekend!

MiniSir had Friday off, so he dropped me at my psychiatry appointment and went to run “some errands” (his exact words). I have begun my EMDR therapy now, and Friday was my first session. Basically what the doctor tells me to do is, after they hook me up to the incredibly non-complex machine, pull up in my mind the most vivid scene from the accident and hold it, experiencing it again. From there, I am just supposed to go where my mind takes me. Needless to say, the therapy is very powerful. You end up re-experiencing all the emotions and physical sensations associated with your memories. I told the doctor that next session I was wearing a bib because the front of my shirt was soaked with tears. He told me to never ever wear mascara to a session. Also sound advice. So in case you were wondering what happened to Flat-Out Friday last week, it did happen, at least for me. I got my chance to release anxieties and hurt over the accident – it was just in a private forum.

Friday afternoon MiniSir and I went to paint matching mugs at a pottery studio just off Whyte Ave as part of the celebration of our first anniversary weekend. We decided to do it this past weekend because he had four days off and we could properly celebrate. Our “Time Lord” and “Companion” mugs should be ready for pick up by the end of this week, and I can’t wait to start using them.

Saturday morning we took off for brunch and then it was off to Calgary for the night! We drove down and stayed in a hotel downtown. Our biggest plans were to visit the giant game store and eat at our favourite two restaurants. With a game store visit under our belt on Saturday afternoon, we headed out for supper. Halfway through supper, we connected with a good friend from Medicine Hat who also happened to be in Calgary that weekend, and so, plans for a quiet evening now only a dream, we met up with her. She brought along her old roomie, who we had known from our time in the Hat as well, and her roomie’s new beau. When he showed up wearing a Star Wars t-shirt, I knew we were in for a long night of nerdy conversation. Because if there’s one thing my love does best, it’s nerd out. We stayed out until 1:30am laughing, chatting, and catching up. The next morning’s checkout time came far too early. We had breakfast at our other favourite restaurant, caught some of the Pride Parade (it was Calgary Pride Weekend), and walked around the Eau Claire Market for a bit before hopping in the car and heading home.

I had a nap when we got home, slept all night, had a four-hour nap yesterday, and then last night’s sleep, and I STILL don’t feel like I’ve caught up. Oh, to be young and spry again, and not so very old and broken. Last night we went for supper at the home of another Strathcona officer and his wife. It was fabulous and we had a great time, and yes, stayed a lot longer than we intended because of that. Why does having a social life have to be so tiring?! A long, long time ago I was celebrating my Frosh Week on this day. I was a lot less tired then, and Frosh Week is hard work. But I guess I’ve got a few years and a second lease on life under my belt, so I should just take what I can get.

Now to drag my tired ass to my other psychiatry appointment today, so I can see my other other psychiatrist. Happy Back to School to all the moms, dads, sisters, brothers, kids, teachers, and folk of the periphery I’ve probably forgotten. You’ll have to forgive me: my memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be. It does that with age.

Week in Review: A Renewal

Well, howdy. It’s time again for another Week in Review, and let me say that it has been a topsy-turvy kind of a week. Hitting some low notes and peaking at some fantastic highs, it has been another week in keeping with the trend this summer has been setting.

We both had appointments this week, and so we worked around those in our social engagements. However, we managed to fit in a treat on Tuesday evening as we went to Famoso pizza for gelato, and was generously given our scoops for free! The manager, whom we speak to often when we are there (or even walking by), told us we were such great customers that it was on the house. My Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel gelato tasted even better because it was free!

We did help friends with the renovations of their business on Wednesday, to the extent that I made cookies and gave my opinion while Matt did all the helping. On Thursday, Matt’s dad arrived for a week-long visit, and we have been taking in the sights with him. Saturday was a rainy day, and we spent it walking around the West Edmonton Mall, getting some dry exercise – something Matt and I do quite regularly if it is a rainy weekend, since it’s a nice flat surface for me to walk on and it usually tires me out nicely.

On Sunday we had made an appointment at Fort Edmonton Park to take part in their “Weddings Through Time” celebrations with the renewal of our vows at St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church on 1905 St. It was an overcast day, cool and breezy, but that didn’t stop us from dressing up in period-inspired costume for the occasion. During the ceremony, we took advantage of the opportunity to get the officiant to work “even through Time And Relative Dimensions In Space” into the vows (which is epic, btw: we are now sealed to one another again by our vows and TARDIS).

It was a very nice ceremony, and Bob was eloquent and well-spoken, easy to speak to and easy-going. He made us feel as though we were celebrating much more than just being married 10 months ago (which of course we are although he didn’t know anything about that). Nonetheless, it was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. Wandering through the park afterward, we were able to see a 1920s era wedding re-enactment and partake in some homemade raspberry and coconut wedding cake after the 1900s era wedding celebration. Matt’s dad enjoyed the visit to the Park as well, and was happy to be a part of our small re-dedication ceremony.

Today I have a very important appointment in Calgary with a doctor specializing in occupational medicine. I have no idea what to expect when I’m there, so I’m nervous about the whole thing. I am just hoping that this will result in the definitive diagnosis that I have been missing in my ongoing lawsuit, and that it ends up being exactly what we need to get things moved along to the next stage.

You’ll notice I didn’t mention the “low periods”, but really, I don’t need to. There were tears, many many tears, but I’m working on it and through it and with the help of Matt, my mum, and my therapist, I’m learning things about myself I didn’t realize until now.

Week in Review: Head Spins

Week in Review: Tripping the Parks Fantastic

The last weekend with my mum and grandma visiting was an eventful one. We had a lovely trip to Fort Edmonton Park, did some shopping at the Strathcona Farmer’s Market, and visited the Muttart Conservatory.

Fort Edmonton Park was fantastic. Matt and I bought annual passes so we can visit frequently through the year. They are having a Canada Day celebration as well as a Hallowe’en costume extravaganza that we plan on attending. The Fort is laid out in separate sections, starting with a replica of the actual Fort that was built by the Hudson’s Bay Company to provide shelter for traders and to act as a meeting place for the Natives and the newly arrived Europeans. Next comes 1885 Street, the era where Edmonton became a proper town. There is a hotel, a saloon, an RCMP outpost and a millinery, where I tried on the hat.

There is also 1902 Street and 1920 Street, where you can see the changes that time brings about to the city. There is a midway with games, a ferris wheel, and a carousel. It was a lot to take in, and we will definitely go back just to see all the rest of the sights.

We also went to the Muttart Conservatory once more. It was my mum and grandma’s first visit to the Conservatory but we saw many new flowerings. The peach tree was bearing fruit. The Agave Americana had sprouted babies and they were selling the plantings. The feature pavillion was planted with hydrangeas and draped with muslin so that weddings could be hosted there. While they were very pretty, I preferred the beautiful tulip flowerings of the last visit.

Matt’s back to work today, but it’s a short day, and he has tomorrow off as well so we can take my mum and grandma to the airport. I’ll be sad to see them leave. It’s been a great visit though, and I can’t wait until Mum comes back so I can take her to even more fantastic places in this great city.