No, Im not that 1%…


 

 

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Love This Life

Life…is about celebrating the moment and that we’re not guaranteed or owed another day and how cool it is that what we hide can actually be the fuel towards our glory and that it’s not so bad to be proven wrong.

Life…is about welcoming the blind turn and the probability that there’s no such thing as coincidence and that empathy is incredibly sexy and that its never too late to pick up a guitar or a paintbrush or to make an amend or to make a new friend.

Life…could be about rekindling a past flame or igniting a new one or shapeshifting from a dreamer to a doer or savouring the caress of a love long gone.

Life…means whatever it is you want to it mean because life is a celebration of your path.

Love this Life…because it could go at any second.

Okotoks Light Up

Whether it’s the sound of crunching snow under my feet that I love or the white winter-wonderland look that the snow brings, the cold weather undeniably brings beauty. Aside from winter’s beauty, I also love Christmas and just about everything festive that comes around Christmas time–which is exactly why I took to the outdoors this evening to check out the Okotoks Light Up.

Having never been to the Light Up before, I really had no idea what to expect. I knew that lights would be there (hence the name…) and well, that’s about it. What I didn’t know was that reindeer, wagon rides, ice sculptures, carolers, fires, hot chocolate and of course Santa would be there. It sure is starting to look a lot like Christmas!

Beauty in the Breakdown

As I sit on the bench listening to the screeches of non existent birds and the wheezing of lungs, I see a man. I imagine his sixty some years of life to have been long and taxing but the wrinkles on his cheeks and his kind eyes tell me different. He is a sad man and a kind man—this much I know. With the Times in one hand and his mittens in the other, I watch him shuffle his feet over squares of concrete and cigarette butts until his bowlegs and weak knees bend around the bench onto which he takes a seat. It is mighty cold and with every exhaled breath, he shuffles his hands of front of his mouth as if he were warming his hands over a flame. I imagine him to have children, and perhaps grandchildren who crowd around him for countless hours and beg to hear of stories of all sorts. He is the type I would trust—the kind of gentlemen who would always keep his word. He is a man who would make a great friend and I am certain that he is a valiant man. In this Darwinian day and age, I take comfort in running my eyes over his story that seems genuine and authentic—no façade, no show, no lies.

It is here I realize my fault. For these rose colored glasses upon my face see only the best in existence. The ugliest, most foul creatures are beautiful in these eyes. Everyone is deserving of love and of kind thoughts, and this man—who seems most deserving of kind thoughts—may be one of these foul, ugly creatures who, for all I know, could have killed a man, stolen from his own mother and robbed his lover of her ability to love. I say I trust, but the truth is that the only being that can be trusted is a corpse—for this I am certain. For if it is true that neither love nor joy can be attained in the absence of trust, then I too will eternally fail to live a life with either. I, like this man, am a canvas bled of color.

Steve Jobs: How to Live Before You Die

“You cannot connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to somehow trust that the dots will connect in the future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path.”

-Steve Jobs, Stanford University Graduation speech

Compliments of TED How to live before you die

Layered Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

In my mind, the greatest gifts of all are ones that come from the heart. I believe that taking the time to make something or putting something together for someone is better than any store bought surprise—and I just love this making and putting-together process. Although I am not the most patient person on earth, I can (ironically enough…) spend hours creating, building or baking something for a special someone. These sorts of creations are the special gifts I am talking about.

With my mom’s birthday fast approaching, I decided to surprise her in a way that I never have before. Although I did buy her something she has been admiring for months, I decided that making her something would be the icing on top of the cake—literally! This year, I am going to make her a birthday cake. Not just any birthday cake but a triple layer cream cheese carrot cake (which hopefully turns out like the one that the lovely people at Yum Bakery make). Wishful thinking on my part…

Since I need not worry about my mom reading this post (since she is only learning how to Google) I thought I would ambitiously post the recipe:

For the cake
1 cup canola, corn, or vegetable oil; more for the pans
2 cups (9 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pans
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. table salt
4 large eggs
2-1/2 cups (8-3/4 oz.) lightly packed, finely grated carrots
2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup raisins
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
For the frosting
1 lb. cream cheese, softened
12 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
1 lb. (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. table salt

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil and flour the sides of two 9×2-inch round cake pans, tapping out any excess flour. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the oil, eggs, carrots, brown sugar, walnuts, raisins, and vanilla on medium speed until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just blended, about 30 seconds. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

Bake until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed and a cake tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, 28 to 30 minutes.

Let cool in the pans on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pans to loosen the cakes, invert them onto the rack, remove the pans, and carefully peel away the parchment. Set the cakes aside to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter with the mixer on medium speed until very smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat on medium high until blended and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Cover the frosting and set aside at room temperature until the layers are completely cool.

Assemble the cake
Carefully set one cake upside down on a large, flat serving plate. Using a metal spatula, evenly spread about 1-1/2 cups of the frosting over the top of the cake. Top with the remaining cake layer, upside down. Spread a thin layer (about 1/3 cup) of frosting over the entire cake to seal in any crumbs and fill in any gaps between layers. Refrigerate until the frosting is cold and firm, about 20 minutes. Spread the entire cake with the remaining frosting.Refrigerate the cake for at least 4 hours and serve!

Wish me luck!

Galatea Lakes Trail

Lose yourself in the delicious intoxication, in the immensity of that splendid system with which you find yourself. And then all particular things escape you and you feel whole” – Rousseau

In the woods we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life–no disgrace, no calamity, which nature cannot repair” – Emerson

 

If I could pick one place to be all the time, it would be outside. Give me a trail to hike, a road to run on, or an arena to ride in and there I will be–and the father away from Calgary, the better. After spending so much time in class and in the library lately, is was truly a treat to escape to Kananaskis last weekend. After deciding on a trail to hike, I drove out to the Galatea trails and was beyond pleased with the hike.

Although I don’t actually know which trail at Galatea I took last weekend, I do know that it was one of the best hikes I have done in quite some time. Upon my arrival to Galatea Trail, I took a right after heading over the second bridge, made my way up the mountain (with great effort), then headed back down to go back up the Galatea Lower trail.  Both trails were very different, but equally as amazing. If you aren’t sure which trail to take, you can take your pick—trails range from 2 km in length to 14.2 km. Although the shorter trails are typically more difficult, they are well worth the climb.

The start of the trail…

The trail has 8 (or so) bridges on the lower trail. The trail constantly weaves, inclines and descends so you never get bored.

On the way up (took approx 1.5 hours to top)

Made it! From the top…

Although I wish I had enough time to continue on the lower trail to Galatea and Lillian Lakes, I did not. The lakes are approximately three and a half hours from the start of the trail. This is what I could have seen, but sadly didn’t (Next time!). Thanks to Hiking with Barry: