Looking Back on Fall Date Nights in YYC:Dome Dining Edition..Down The Rabbit Hole We Went

Date nights are always a fun opportunity for me to get dressed up a, throw on a Burgundy Jewel Toned Lipstick and venture out to a new eating establishment we haven’t been to yet. I get nostalgic thinking of when my mom and dad used to go out for dinner which was often saved for special occasions like a birthdays or anniversaries. My mother always had a flair for rich vibrant colors, and would accessorize her long royal blue coat with a ruby or emerald broach pinning her silk scarf against the lapel. Her cheeks freshly rouged as she shuffled me into my black patent dress shoes smelling of Shalimar and Oil of Olay.

It’s only to be expected that I’ve followed a similar pattern of pomp and circumstance on date nights. My boyfriend Tony is well programmed in his responses to my questions around appropriate dress attire where he’ll simply say:

“Wear whatever it is you’d like to wear!”-Smart Boy

It should also come as no surprise that I’ve been extremely overdressed on multiple occasions, but chalked it up to sometimes Truck Stop Diners with world famous pie deserve the opulence.

According to its Website:

We’ve had a couple of mentionable dinner dates in the last several weeks. We finally had made it out to Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant, located in a historical site in Fish Creek Park, Calgary Alberta.

According to its Website:

“The story of the Bow Valley Ranche is nearly twelve decades long. Throughout its many years, the house has always had a reputation for holding unforgettable parties. It began with a few characters who were critical to the development of Alberta’s cattle industry, the Big Four. In fact, the idea of the Calgary Stampede may very well have been conceived within the walls of the house.

In 1896, cattle rancher and businessman William Roper Hull purchased property along the Bow River and built a sprawling ranch house. The ranch became a centre for refined social activities, as he entertained many local and foreign visitors there. Among the activities popular with the guests, tennis and the outdoor pool were crowd favourites, as you can see from the pictures below.

Hull owned the house and property until 1902, when it was purchased by Patrick Burns, a successful cattle rancher who eventually became a senator. Almost a century later, local residents Mitzie and Larry Wasyliw created the Fish Creek Restoration Society in 1995 for the purpose of restoring the Hull residence. In the summer of 1999, the ranch house was opened as a fine dining restaurant.”

Bow Valley Ranche is a fine dining resteraunt and we were celebrating our common-law anniversary, which is a thing for some of us fearful of marriage!

September 28, 2020 gave us an abnormally warm evening and looked forward to clutching on to the last few days, hours and minutes of outdoor dining we could. We had also been aware that they were hosting the Foodies in the Park Series : Wonderland Dome Dining which we will return to experience on October 23rd, 2020. Stay tuned for that!

We strolled along the pathway leading up to the impressive farmhouse, lined with old fashioned street lanterns. It reminded me of the scene in Mary Poppins, Bert and the children went to the park and broke into song singing:

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious !

Amazon.com: Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary Edition: Julie Andrews, Dick Van  Dyke, David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns

A quaint little fountain in the middle of the Ranch House’s garden marked its way before we arrived at the steps leading us onto a porch that wrapped its way around the house. I knew that was where I wanted to sit for dinner, and we were led to a discreetly placed table

We started our dining experience with a hearty helping of Oysters on the half shell, fresh grated horseradish, lemon and mignonette du jour. On our first date, we had worked our way down 17th Ave, Bar and resteraunt hopping with our last stop being Market. There we drank cognac and ate Oysters until we ended up taking the party back to my place *wink *wink- So it only made sense to indulge.

For dinner I had the Smoked Gouda & Wild Mushroom Stuffed Chicken with macaire potatoes, asparagus, tomato confit and roasted peppers. Tony had the Rougie Duck a L’Orange, with Russian Blue mashed potatoes, green beans, baby carrot vichy. Both entrees were delicious, however we had a little giggle over the plating of his food, specifically his Russian Blue Mashed Potatoes.

No description available.
No description available.

We ended our evening of with a dessert of truffles that were on the house. Our waiter was so excellent and quite charming, ensuring our glasses remained full or if we needed anything in the most cordial of ways.

It was a beautiful way to finish up a gorgeous September.

Last night we ventured North of the bow River to SS106 Aperitivo Bar, and Italian Kitchen nestled in the heart of Crescent Heights on Edmonton Trail.

According to their Website:

“SS106’s name derives from the SS106 which is a 491-kilometre highway on the Ionian coast in southern Italy, stretching between the towns of Reggio Calabria in the west to Taranto in the east. While the highway offers incredibly scenic views of beaches, ancient coastal towns and the sea, it is also known as one of Italy’s most dangerous roads, due to tight turns. However, Domenico (the owner) wanted to change the highway’s reputation right here in their hometown of Calgary.

SS106 Aperitivo Bar was opened to create the Italian lifestyle here in Calgary. The Italian lifestyle is very social and every Italian visits their local bar daily even if it’s just for a quick espresso. Many people who have not traveled to Italy have a perception that Italian restaurants are only quiet and candle lit. In Italy many Italian restaurants & bars are very social, happy and louder. SS106 Aperitivo Bar has brought a piece of Italy to YYC.”-Website

And loud it was! It made me long for my girl gang and a time during pre-pandemic days where we’d sit for hours, drinking, laughing and taking no particular notice of the other diners around us regardless of how racey the topic was.I could see the owners vision at work as small groups of diners grazed over plates of Charctuterie, Olives and Pasta.

SS106 makes all their pasta in house and lived up to its charm of not trying to be anything else but just that. A perfect spot to drop in, fill your belly, and try one of their craft cocktails. I enjoyed an Apertivo called the Busted Negroni-Cinzano | Campari | Prosecco | Soda.

We ordered the TAGLIERE (BOARDS) Fromaggio and Calamari to start which were pretty standard and tasty. For our entree’s I had ordered the Gnocchi ai Funghi which is their House-made gnocchi served in a gorgonzola cheese fondue with seared mushrooms. Tony ordered the Fusilli Calabresi pasta served in a tomato sauce with parmesan cheese, which I ended up wishing I had ordered with its nicely spiced, well balanced sauce.Alternatively they have pizza’s as well that perhaps I will try next time. It was a nice time and I was happy Tony had come across this place for our date night. The service was awesome and quick, and very Italian!

Stay tuned for our next date nights in YYC : FoodiesintheparkWonderland Edition

Don’t forget to follow my Instagram @BPEYYC & my Facebook Page:@shegotthatBPE

You Gotta Know When To Fold’Em: Breaking Free, and Finding Happiness after Divorce

I’m not one to talk about the past too often unless it brings fond memories, which for the most part I have many. The topic is not that far in the past that it doesn’t still give me residual pangs of hurt that feel as recent as yesterday at times. But I wouldn’t be willing to discuss it openly if it didn’t offer some level of experiential wisdom for anyone who may be facing similar circumstances.

You see it would be approximately 5 years ago that I made the decision to leave my marriage. The marriage was a result of a very long relationship in which it seemed just natural and right to transition to the next step. There is no real love story behind it, rather quite the opposite. In fact if you were to have only had the experience of knowing me more recently, the idea that I would have consorted with the mundane would seem absurd. However, let us return to the Cece of Christmas’s past. Proposals, marriage and the filling of new homes with children is what everyone was doing at that time. It’s what everyone was doing around us. I’m unclear why my mother’s voice wasn’t piping in at this time saying “If all your friends were jumping off a bridge, would you?” But in the case of marriage and settling down, the world around you is giving you a life jacket and pushing you off the ledge. I admit its easy to blame societal pressures to conform; I don’t deny that at that time I was all in. And when I say “all in,” I mean I wasn’t able to foresee my life being anything different than what it was. My vision was exceptionally narrow and reinforced by the baggage I had brought with me from my previous abusive relationship.

Often when marriages and relationships dissolve its only natural in many instances to look at the other person and place the blame on them and their shortcomings. That’s not to say that many partners are 100% to blame and do terribly selfish and hurtful things in which the other played no role other than love someone who didn’t deserve them. And in my case, it went both ways, however its never fair to dive into the details without the other’s ability to share their perspective. And I’d be open to that but he hasn’t answered my calls in three years.

I’m sorry to disappoint you and advise this post is not about my shitty marriage that didn’t work out. In all likelihood, I may devote a whole wine fuelled podcast on the subject, but until then I’ll uphold some integrity. I’m grateful that I am alive and well today living my life in the most authentic and honest way. What a difference 5 years can do for you when you make the best decision of your life.

Which leads me to the topic of how I reclaimed my life when it began to gain momentum in a direction that wasn’t a genuine path for who I am as a person. I believe for many people there are “tells” just like in a game of poker. You see just like the game of poker we often bluff when we aren’t holding a good hand; getting caught up in the risk taking and potentially losing it all. Often when the momentum has us pulled in, there is no consideration for the long game. The more we begin to lose, the more our “tells” come out as the anxiety and desperation begins to build. You see, when you keep seeking the rush of winning and ignore the consequences of losing, we’re left in the emotional poor house. At the tail end of my losing streak, I admittedly had lots of tells, but I also gave the illusion that I had lots of chips in my pocket.

Poker-playing AI threatens to unseat a raft of Texas Hold'em champions -  ExtremeTech

So its no surprise that when I landed on my ass, my emotional poor house was located on the corner of Despair avenue and Hopeless Street. I found myself in a deep, destructive depression that I could not for the life of me dig myself out of. I was erratic in my choices and behavior, and admittedly had considered running my car into bridge barrier one evening as I was screaming at the top of my lungs at the universe in anger. That event haunts me until this day because while it was over 5 years ago, the emotions, my surroundings, what I was wearing, the car indicator lights are as clear as if I was there right now in this moment.

Bridge Underpass Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

You ask what could have brought me to such a place of despair?

I can trace it all the way to the beginning when I first met my ex-husband. I was a single mother at that time with a one and a half year old. I was fresh out of an extremely horrifically abusive relationship with her biological father that left me in ruins emotionally, physically and psychologically. I was 22 years old and I was not equipped with the self awareness and emotional maturity to tackle the damage- in fact I was oblivious to it. I ended up settling after a year with the first real boyfriend I had since leaving my abusive relationship. When I say anyone that was nice to me and wasn’t physically abusive towards me was my standard at that time. The relationship brought many good things regardless of my basic standards whereby I returned to University and got my Social Work Degree from the University of Victoria. My daughter grew a close and loving relationship with a man who accepted her as his daughter whereby they remain very close. I couldn’t have asked for a better father for her and for that I will be forever grateful. He provided us with an extended family and sense of belonging that I had not experienced coming from such a small family myself. He remained committed to our little family and moved to where I got my first Social Work Job in Northern Alberta, leaving his family behind and beginning a life as a unit in a strange small town. Life was looking up as it was during the Alberta Oil Boom and Fort McMurray promised wealth and stability for us as a family. The momentum of my life appeared to be moving in the right direction. I was adequately distracted by my own ambitions and self actualizing a life that was ultimately the way it’s supposed to be in the naively idealistic sense.

Then one day his vision began to blur which quickly turned into vertigo, precipitating what we thought was a stomach flu. We went weeks attending the hospital and trying to treat his stomach flu. I knew something was terribly wrong, and finally demanded he be admitted to hospital otherwise I was approaching the media. Through further testing he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 25. He left Fort McMurray to recover with his family thousands of miles away, where I ultimately decided that I would help him get through this and we would make it work.

It was a devastating blow in every aspect.

This wasn’t part of the plan. In fact it shattered all our plans, and dreams which were left in pieces at our feet. Despite my rage and the unfairness of it all, I quickly resorted back to what I knew best. I had been here before and did what I thought was best in crisis; which was to ignore the emotional impact and take care of those who weren’t as seemingly strong as I.

And there you have it. Mistake #1-Believing others don’t possess strength without you.

Poor Self-Esteem and Confidence can make the human spirit rely on others to validate importance and purpose where others who are in pain can fulfill these voids for us. The experiences/traumas responsible for planting those weeds of doubt in ourselves can be vast and complex. In my circumstances, it would be the trauma from domestic violence, the psychological and verbal abuse. I strongly believe that there is a strong sense of co-dependency created within these dynamics, whereby one enables the other. When done improperly, assuming the role as the “rock” can also perpetuate maladaptive inferiority roles for those who feel powerless with their diagnosis. And in regards to my marriage- I take accountability for succumbing to depending on being needed then feeling stifled years later by creating the culture of dependency.

How do we remedy this? Well I can’t say I was successful in doing it in my marriage otherwise I wouldn’t be speaking about a husband that is now an ex. But over the last 5 years since starting over, I have successfully committed to putting my physical and emotional health ahead of others. This often means, setting firm boundaries and expectations with loved ones and communicating my bottom line. At times it can appear intolerant, or lack empathy, however when our reasonings are given context it can be the most admirable lesson ever. Not everyone will understand this- but know it is for us as individuals to actualize our strengths, and I see no better way than to demonstrate it by walking the walk.

So this leads me to my second mistake.

Mistake #2- Using others crisis as a distraction to avoid my own shit.

I feel like I take the cake with this one, because I could have picked a more appropriate career as a social worker to enable me in doing this. Nonetheless, do you ever find yourself immersed in others lives, being over involved in problems that aren’t your own, and coming to the rescue of some damsel in distress. I was this person, and counted on filling my world with a plethora of noise to avoid the loneliness and pain I was feeling. My bucket continued to run empty as the fruits of my perceived “strength” went unacknowledged or appreciated by my partner, and overutilized by others. I had created the norm and the illusion that I was the “Rock,” someone who had their shit in a pile. That was my doing, because if I eluded to otherwise people would stop running to me with their noise and I’d really be alone. You see, he was increasingly declining in health and struggling with the neurological complications of Multiple Sclerosis. He was angrier, moodier, and more depressed. Intimacy or signs of romantic connection were not reciprocated and I found other ways to appease my needs to feel a connection and needed.

It wasn’t until I left my marriage that I truly felt what it was like to be alone as my home was loaded up and squished into a small 2 bedroom condo. You see at that time I had nothing available to give therefore the noise stopped and the distractions saw no value in what I had to offer during this period. There were few calls or invitations to reach out and help me move or keep me company. It was then that I saw the value in standing alone in the deafening silence and appreciating the space required in order to redirect all my focus inwards. Often we look at isolation or being seemingly forgotten as a reflection of not being worthy or loved- when in fact its Solitude that is being given to us. So the next time you are feeling lonely or overlooked, take the silence as an opportunity to give your soul some good advice and leave the unnecessary distractions at the door.

Mistake #3-Believing that others opinions mattered

I was completely debilitated by what I thought people would think if I made the decision to leave. Never mind that the circumstance were making me suicidal, but with no success in reaching out for extended family support, I was still left with an enormous amount of guilt. What kind of wife was I leaving her husband when he had MS. The only thing worse than me was the husband who left his dying wife with cancer for the cute blonde nurse that was hired to do the home care. I was worried about what they would say about me and how I would be perceived by choosing a chance at life again. What would my daughter think of me, who couldn’t even begin to understand what I was feeling. And why would she, I had managed to shield her from the majority of my unravelling. I was terrified by all the hurt that I would be placing on everyone around me.

Do you see Mistake #1 weaseling its way in here again?

What I realized in this process is that not one person who’s opinion I was worried about ever took the time to listen or ask if I needed support. I can’t believe I was worried about what this would mean for them and concerned that they would have to take over the responsibility of his care. I was actually worried that this would burden them and they would be angry with me that I had not tried hard enough or just endured longer. In the end it all worked itself out, which is a testament that when we walk away people have the ability to find a solution with or without us.

In hindsight, I wish I had been more kind to myself during this time. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that the challenges we were facing could be tackled in isolation yet we were left with no other option. The marriage counseling along with the long list of personal coping strategies and personal sacrifice at the expense of my mental health had fallen flat. The fact that I’m explaining this further is my lingering “tell” that perhaps I still have some feelings of guilt to work through.

What awaited me on the other side of it all was the overwhelming support from my own family and close friends who knew there was a life out there for me. You see they had boundaries with regards to where they were willing to rejoin me again and even my daughter stood by my decision and me throughout it all.

Mistake #4- Not Doing it Sooner

I wish I had conjured the courage and wisdom it took to commence the decision to move ahead quicker that had been overdue. My days of bluffing no longer held a strategic purpose in my life and with a sense of relief, happily folded the cards I was dealt. Perhaps that ominous bridge barrier that originally symbolized an end for me, alternatively was the beacon of hope that life was worth living if I just changed the direction of my wheel.

Amen to that.

And while I don’t intend on stewing to much more on the mistakes of the past, I hope that in sharing them provoked some fruitful “What if’s” for you if you are facing a need for change. Whether you are facing a decision to get sober, ending a toxic friendship or leaving an abusive relationship-know that you always have choice to change the direction.

Begin to free yourself at once by doing all that is possible with the means you have, and as you proceed in this spirit the way will open for you to do more.
~ Robert Collier

Please go follow my Instagram @cece_a_broadtalez

Curating Creative Passive Aggressive Notes in a Time of Covid-19: New Ways to Drive Each Other Crazy.

We are 8 months into a pandemic that seems like its overstayed its welcome ten times over. They had predicted back in May, that the Pandemic would likely be here for the next 2 years. And in keeping with our theme today I’d like to tell Covid-19 a big old “Thanks in Advance for all your dedicated hard work, you really know how to kill it out there.”

I’m over talking about the C-word and perhaps we can find some unity in a world that has become more divided in a time where it no longer is just Donald Trump’s fault. I’m sure we have all had the opportunity to get to know our partners, room-mates, kids and family far more intimately since being home more. Up to this point my partner and I have exhausted every possible petty argument imaginable that we have no choice but to get along now. I think we may have single handedly invented a new method on how to save a marriage in 8 months…wait for the book! It was encouraging to come across this post “73 Ridiculously Stupid Things Couples Fight About,” and check off every single one of them. Needless to say that the serenity has bored me, and I’m left wondering how can I be a next level pain in his ass.

Stupid Things Couples Fight About
This is about right….

One may ask why would I engage in pure flagrant behavior, and risk severing the life and limbs of my relationship? Well you see I’m diagnosed with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, and I get bored very easily if I do not have new ways of interacting with the world or engaging in meaningful and productive activities. Also, this asshole never puts the empty toilet paper rolls into the garbage- he leaves them on the floor next to the toilet. If you are not on my level of petty then you can see your way out- we are not the same people.

Ways To Reuse Toilet Paper Rolls and Other Cardboard Tubes - Reuse Grow  Enjoy

This is a new concept for me as I’m not subtle in my communication styles, which is surprising since my mother was queen of passive aggressive communication and punishment. I will be using her as my guest consultant as I proceed with my devious plan. Seeing as my partner pretends to read my blog I don’t anticipate he will know what’s up until I use this post in an argument down the road. I can visualize it now, I’ll store it away in the brain compartment labelled “Ammunition” to prove he doesn’t support my success and dreams in life when it seems fitting. I’ve already won the hypothetical argument and he doesn’t even know it.

So I have begun researching how I may address his toilet paper roll oversights in new ways that will perhaps keep our love fresh by tipping the scales of risk. I feel like the scales may tip in my favor at least in regards to some really great make-up sex if it blows up in my face. Below is a few ways that I will be adopting over the next month or so.

They Just Don't
Somehow dishes are not his nor hers nor anyone’s as claims are made that they weren’t even in the kitchen the make the mess. Yet here they lay.
Here Are The 20 Most Passive Aggressive Notes Ever Left. #6 Is Much  Deserved... LOL. - ViralServ
passive-agressive-toilet-paper-home
passive-agressive-clean-the-fridge
This seems like a great way to suggest that Fridge Cleaning is open to other days outside of the days he needs space for beer storage.
Leaving communal kitchens untidy is a common office gripe with one person using Post Its to express their dissatisfaction with their co-workers
I’ll take 500 of these please.
When sales promotions go wrong: One shopper became enraged by a supermarket's promotional deals
Swears up and down he only had one.
i tolerate you cake wife prank
Finally a Cake I can make-Nailed it.
wife makes passive agressive flow chart for hunger
Robbie’s Wife can feel my pain.
When things are getting a little boring in your relationship, the best way to spice things up is with a sexy dress-up session..
When a husband asks for something, what does a good wife do?
There are two ways to handle an argument: draw it out for ages and ignore each other until someone relents, or make a slightly funny retort and forget the whole thing.

I should have probably began this post with a disclaimer that I am not a licensed relationship counselor. I could probably be described more appropriately as the antagonist villain in regards to all things relationship related. I like to keep things dangerous, teetering on the ledge, holding a match over a barrel of gasoline. You may be wondering how can you find success in a relationship with this kind of attitude.

I’m so busy coming up with new ways to challenge and test our relationship through laughter, humor, and being unapologetically myself that I don’t have much use for the real relationship killers. When playfully researching ways to get under my boo’s skin I came across How to Annoy Your Boyfriend and it mentioned common habits that are real killers. It mentions things like being on your Phone all the time, or abusing it as a means to be over controlling. Mind Games was another point and it breaks down many identifiable habits couples engage in. Playing up Insecurities by acting jealous, or limiting their time with friends, running their phone down. Being a Diva, and that’s not confined to just women! This includes Demanding things that are not financially realistic, always making a fuss over little things, chronically prioritizing your needs above theirs to name a few.

As I conclude I hope you can appreciate my tongue and cheek approach to the obvious challenges we are all facing. Whether it be in our romantic or within our platonic relationships as we continue to hunker down in our social bubbles. Try not to burst yours because unlike the pandemic relationships can be here forever.

Now go and get busy messing with your significant other. Give them a Big Ol’ Wet Willy and tell them Cece told you too!

Follow my Instagram for daily videos of me annoying my boyfriend.

Happy Pestering!

Friends Off: Diving into Polarizing Impact of Covid-19 and Pandemic Beliefs

Broken Friendship Pictures, Photos, and Images for Facebook, Tumblr,  Pinterest, and Twitter

As the year 2020 unfolded it started with the bushfires raging across Australia, burning 18.6M hectares and killing 1B animals. Then, the US drone hit Baghdad International Airport and took down Iranian major general. With war breathing over the shoulder, and racial tensions over police brutality reaching a boiling point, we got dealt with the worst pandemic in recent history that killed 1.4 million people so far. I’ll spare you the rest.

A year ago I was blissfully ignorant to the deep rooted belief systems within my peer network. Those were simpler times when the pre-requisites for relationships with one another were based on whether they made us laugh and offered companionship. The interactions with one another grew with safe and respectful dialogue whereby the intimate bonds and connections over shared experiences and emotions were validated through the feelings of acceptance and belonging.

But as we enter another year in the same predicament, new conversations are occurring as we look back and reflect on the changes in our lives. The biggest change I think many people can attest to is the breakdown of many friendships and relationships that at one time held significant space in our lives. It’s evident that people’s perceptions of others within their peer network vary within their own position amidst the pandemic and how they’ve chose to operate within it. I’m 100% guilty of unfollowing, filtering and overtly ignoring my exposure to opinions whereby I feel I may be experience judgment about their character as a result of their beliefs. I’m sure it goes both ways as well.

For the purpose of this conversation it’s important for me to identify where my beliefs lie in the grand scheme of things.

I believe there is a pandemic and I believe that the stats being provided are vastly minimized as a result of our 3rd world countries not having the ability to provide testing in addition the ability report accurate death tolls. I believe the vulnerable and disenfranchised voices have been silenced by those who carry the privilege of youthfulness, good health, and access to health care and mental health benefits. I believe in the recommendations that are being provided by the health organizations and I’ve chosen to listen to them. I believe the circumstances of mistrust and convoluted information sharing has polluted minds as opposed to “Awaken” their ability to think independently. I believe in the right to exercise ones rights as long as it is not at the detriment of public health. I believe it is necessary to be considerate of the varying ways people are choosing to navigate within these trying times. I believe I should be sensitive and cautious about what I choose to share as it may be triggering or upsetting to others on a public platform.

“Geography divides people only if the people allow it – faith divides people only if the people allow it – intellect divides people only if the people allow it – politics divides people only if the people allow it. So, unless the people allow it, nothing can tear our world apart. Unless you allow it, nothing can tear our society apart.”

― Abhijit Naskar, Aşkanjali: The Sufi Sermon

In addition I am coming from the place if a person who was infected with Covid-19 in July 2020 and do not believe it is “just a flu” for everyone as a result of my own experience with it. Read More Here

I am fine with wearing masks and I’m fine with getting a vaccine as I’m a frontline worker within vulnerable communities. Everyday I face the risk of exposing my elderly mother who lives with us to Covid-19. I don’t care about what others choose- to each their own. I’ve oscillated between being hyper vigilant to neglectful with regards to adhering to the gathering rules and I have hugged friends and entertained a select few in the basement of my home on occasions. I struggle between my own selfish needs for company and the need to protect the health and wellbeing of others who could die from Covid. One could say I am a hypocrite- I choose a kinder term- I’m only human.

Many friends and acquaintances in my network managed to adopt passionate voices for Human Rights; but not when the racial inequality reached its boiling point this year, but rather when they were told to wear a mask. Many used their voice to fight and support causes that in my opinion outed their ignorance and bigoted attitudes. I admittedly chose to fall back from these people when I realized how self serving they were and that they no longer had a place in my bubble. So as you can see I’m no stranger to the divide and recognize that my tolerance for stupidity is less than forgiving. As harsh as my disclosure may sound, I thinks it’s important to highlight my own biases for the purposes of recognizing that intolerance exists at both ends of the spectrums. My own ability to engage in dialogue that perhaps could facilitate understanding seems to require far too much energy that I simply do not have. We are all placed in difficult positions of having to navigate how to simultaneously process and make sense of our own heightened feelings of vulnerability and anxiety, while also staying attuned to our friends and family’s needs and creating a “holding space” for their anxieties.  This weighs on our patience and ability to feel empathetic, and we cannot always be expected to respond 100% of the time with our best foot forward. But try telling that though to the friend or family member who feels like you are not doing enough- or just do what I do-Not Give a Fuck.

So this in a nutshell is the lens I am coming from. And while some may align themselves with what I’ve shared, I’m sure 50% also disagree. Which leads me to believe we are more prone than ever to show people the door and give them the boot. We becoming more polarized within our once treasured friendships which are dissolving at an alarming rate.

The Grumpy Introvert's Advice on Friend Breakups

There are probably many reasons. Could social media be driving polarization? Many people think so—and, indeed, Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter have all become sites of ferocious political argument. Social media, it seems, amp up moral and emotional messages while organizing people into digital communities based on tribal conflicts. The recent Trump incited riots and storming of the capital is a good representation as to how social media has provided a platform for similar minded communities to unite and organize. There was a common assumption that radicalism only existed within the Islamic extremists, focusing on how these groups were used to groom and recruit supporters. Needless to say, the predominantly white extremists who prefer the term “Patriots” continue to be given Oxygen via their online platforms, feeding on the vulnerable, and for a better term, the Gullible. Domestic terrorism has been vastly overlooked as White nationalists are now the #1 threat facing the United States in regards to terrorism. Nationalist Chapters in Canada continue to grow at rapid rates as well, capitalizing on those seeking to find refuge among seemingly like-minded people.

“We can divide the river’s flow and subsequently channel its splintered force in any way that our selfish agendas might compel us. However, it all ends up in the sea, for although the river’s power might be diminished by such meddling, its destination is not. And on this mutual journey to the seas of freedom, might we as the human race remember the mighty river that we are. And in remembering that, may we soundly reject those who would selfishly divide our unity in order to prompt us to lesser seas”

― Craig D. Lounsbrough

Many have become complacent as they scurry to find a place to belong as their personal divides grow. Global events have evoked polarized public response whereby many have felt the responsibility to share their poorly sourced collection of “research.”  It has served to reinforce their personal beliefs in addition inadvertently push agenda’s that often people are innocently unaware of. There is a reason why a very small portion of us have  gone on to obtain PHD’s; to publish a factual article and science based study at this level requires almost half a human life span.  Meanwhile we have Facebook Franny spitting Wikipedia facts whereby Gullible Glenda spams her timeline and so on.

I fondly reflect back on March 2020, when we all clung to the novelty of Zoom hangouts and remote celebrations as the circumstances felt all so temporary. With the deepening of visible divisions in how people are handling the ongoing pandemic have become the source of growing tension resulting in a decreased desire to connect with those on the opposing side. As our lives have become quieter, many of us face difficulty finding something to talk about. In fact I struggle weekly to figure out what I’m going to write about that isn’t Covid-19 related. My desire to see people via zoom is not appealing as I spend the majority of my day staring at my double chin in a never ending series of WebEx meetings.

The escalating toxicity of the polarization within our friendships and relationships, I cannot avoid mentioning that there is another side to the story. Some have said their relationships have strengthened during this time, as they have prioritized whom they care about and how often they check in. This in actuality is healthy, and perhaps a practice many of us should have been practicing long ago. Ego’s will always be bruised in the process and feelings hurt; but consider the benefits of having more time to invest in yourself and your own growth having less baggage to worry about.

In Conclusion these are the facts:

  • For some, their values no longer align
  • For others, it’s not differences — but distance
  • Our relationships may have been forever altered
  • We are all Grieving the Losses

Ultimately, relationships may be affected forever after the pandemic and we will emerge not the same people we were a year ago. This will be one of the many traumas to come out of 2020/2021 that we don’t even fully know about yet.

“Each thinker will regard anything that clashes with his or her worldview to be insane and in conflict with reality. That’s because each thinker regards his or her worldview as reality itself and not as just an inner illusion. However, worldviews are just inner illusions. Making matters worse, people with similar worldviews tend to join with others who share major elements of their worldviews, and they tend to avoid those people who have worldviews that aren’t similar. This segregation results in confirmation bias among peers, making matters much worse.”


― Petros Scientia

Friday Dates YYC: Looking Back on A Summertime Memory- Picnic at Prince’s Island Park

The Best Picnic Baskets on the Market in 2020 | A Foodal Buying Guide

A proper late afternoon it was as I recall in late June. You see we were already in what felt like month 8 of wintertime, so when the warm weather hit, we took advantage of the good weather vibes. Nevertheless, these months can often feel like years. Weathering Calgary winters is a matter of psychological survival of the fittest. You can either fall into the winter doldrums and await the snow melt, or just carry on with life. Our ability to endure is massively under-estimated as many would assume we must be miserable during these months, but we make it work. Others tend to rub salt into our frigid wounds despite our resilience, but should be assured we make the most out of any outdoor time we can get. Located next to us is the Province of British Columbia, who’s residents continuously boast about their balmy year round weather, and it leaves us no choice but to talk about ours occasionally. Our conversations often worth mentioning which I learned is not a well known term among outsiders- The Chinook. They can be lovely and painful.

You see, just as my skull felt like it was going to rupture from the pressure, I realized it wasn’t from a Chinook but from a wicked mid week pandemic drinking hangover. Who knew there would something worse than the Chinook Migraines to consider… Alas there was the Covid-19 headaches lurking around each corner or on the surface of your delivered groceries. It seems that being an Albertan comes often with a lot of headaches no matter which way you go about life. We desperately needed a break from it all. And an early summer was delivered!

While Good ol’ 2020 is the year we all hope to forget, it was forgiving enough to give us a bit of early nice weather for a change, no headaches attached. In fact, as we were all hunkered down at our homes, I worked on my patio most days soaking up the cool spring sunshine. By June the weather remained beautiful and the Province began to lift the pressure of isolation and extreme social distancing measures. After months of binge watching Game of Thrones & Vikings, a date with the outside world would be added to my empty agenda. Kudos to all those who got super creative and cute with their social bubbles…we aren’t that type at all. We were just focusing on finding Lysol wipes, toilet paper, and not murdering each other.

So to my surprise, my adorable boyfriend made a plan to take me on a picnic at Prince’s Island park.

The sun was out and I was dressed for the occasion, wearing an adorable little romper with white polka dots. In fact it was one of 20 I would buy throughout the months of online shopping that kept me busy during a pandemic lockdown. As the Pandemic marched on foiling my runway Covid release party, I’d send them all back in defeat. I kept 2 rompers in total to symbolize the 1 time I picnicked in the park, and then one in case we’d do it again. On this day I felt sort of normal. Our picnic basket that had been given as a gift years ago was filled with some champagne and pre-ordered Lebanese food from a store that was doing “pick-up only.” We were into supporting the small businesses in which many as a result of our Stage 1 shut down were on the brink of closing their doors for good. I assure you we single handedly did our best to keep them afloat with our hearty appetites and my lack of desire to cook.

As we strolled making our way through the park on the hunt for the perfect picnic spot we ensured the two meters apart protocol. I should mention when you are in a park, its really hard to avoid the floods of roller-bladers, skateboarders, cyclists, and people who just didn’t give a shit. This was probably the most stressful part of the date as we worked really hard to do our share of distancing, dodging, ducking, and all around avoiding passer-byers. This may seem ridiculous but remember this was in the early months when no one knew whether to wear a mask, or thought Covid was a 5G network conspiracy.

This anxiety inducing element made finding the “perfect picnic spot” got old real quick and we lowered our standards somewhat settling on a plot of grass that had the least amount of Canadian Goose Shit in or around it. We settled for a beautiful spot under a tree where my honey could sit in the shade and I could soak up the long awaited warm summer rays. Blankets were laid, food spread out, champagne poured and a good vibes playlist begun.

I vividly remember how amazing it felt to be out in the world again, watching new faces stroll by, all equally desiring the same need to reconnect with the world again. Colors seemed amplified, the flowers and grass more fragrant. The sounds of the birds and the fountain heightened against the rousing melodic music in the background. Even the face of my boyfriend looked fresh and new despite having stared at it non-stop for the previous couple months while in the pandemic lockdown. Perhaps I was going to recant my initial thoughts of smothering him in his sleep? The edges of his lips would begin to curl up and a smile peaking through…indeed I would not be smothering him.

I had only wished we had brought a frisbee, mitts and a ball. Maybe badminton rackets even, not that I can actually do any of these activities well. There is something about being in a park however that suggests that when in Rome, these activities could be enjoyable even for a gigantic accident prone clutz like myself. I imagine that during better times in the world you could probably catch a scene from Top Gun where all the boys are playing volleyball shirtless, dogtags stuck against their glistening sweaty skin. Silver framed Aviators perched perfectly on the bridge of their Adonis nose, complimenting a strongly chiseled jawline. If luck would have it, maybe a rogue volleyball would make it my way, rolling into my peripheral view. I’d glare at the broad shadowy figure above me, looking sheepishly irritated with the interruption as I adjust my bathing suit flush against my oiled and cellulite free bottom. I did say it was “better times” y’all, 20 years ago give or take.

Let me get back to reality here.

Our food was so delicious, and so was the company. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect late afternoon; dining Al Fresco on our little patch of heaven in the park. We found new things to talk about that left us freshly engaged as our conversation danced with ideas, ready to execute for when things returned back to normal. Careful to not get too hopeful, but enough as to not let the cynicism seep in and ruin the day. We’d talk about places we wanted to travel too in the next coming years, and what kind of adventure we were seeking from these travels. We would go through the list of what we had learned about ourselves during the isolation from friends and family and what good things came from these lessons. We’d acknowledge the fact that the pandemic was not going to be forever but here for now. Just like how the time we had together was going to model a similar outcome. We’d have each other now, and in this moment hoped it would last forever, but impossible.

We would not get the opportunity to picnic like this again during the summer, but would spend some time on the Bow river floating, snacking and sipping in the sunshine. It would be the simplicity of these afternoons that I hope we can repeat next summer as soon as the warmth returns to us. I suspect the world may still be in a similar state in 7 months whereby our gatherings stay small, our travel plans stay local, and expectations stay realistic. Picnic’s in the park for a Pandemic Date Win!