Nenshi Said I’m “Anazibg!”

wscrca website

Earlier this year I pledged to do 3 Things for Calgary. One of them was cheering for the Flames. That’s not happening with the state of the NHL, so I have volunteered for my community association instead.

The Calgary municipal system is very different from Vancouver. Since it is one big super city instead of more than a dozen smaller municipalities, much of the micr decision making is passed down to local community associations.

I live in West Springs Cougar Ridge, an area of about 1000 homes. A volunteer group of people run the community association doing things like petitioning the city for traffic adjustments, dealing with developers on local interests, organizing activities like skating and soccer, and throwing Stampede breakfasts.

I attended my first meeting in September, and it was apparent right away that my timing was perfect. The community association had no social media presence, and the website had been injected with malware putting it in quarantine. Workarounds were in place, but a rebuild was needed. A contractor had bid $10 000 for the project, and while the association was debating the idea, I volunteered to rebuild the site.

Now, 3 months later, I am proud to unveil a completely rebuilt website for the West Springs Cougar Ridge Community Association. We also have an active Twitter account and a growing Facebook community.

Thanks to a Mayor that encourages people to get out, and use their skills to better the community where they live. I’ve long touted the co-operative community spirit of Calgary as one of the reasons why I love living here. Now that I’ve rolled up my sleeves and poured some of my own sweat into the fabric, my community means even more to me.

Even better when the Mayor acknowledges your efforts and says it is “Anazibg!”

Calgary Shows Canada How To Loosen Up And Have A Good Time

photo (1)Stampede Chucks From the Chute

I used to be uptight (some might say I still am).

This week, I celebrate the 3rd anniversary of moving to Calgary, and I think I’m loosening up a bit as I finally appreciate what Calgary is about. This is a friendly, sharing, good time place, and it’s time the rest of Canada came and got on board with the party.

You can make jokes about Calgary being Cowtown, about how the citizenry are a gang of rednecks, but there’s something that people from this city understand – being neighbourly.

From the Snow Angels campaign that encourages people to shovel each other’s driveway after a snowfall, to the dozens of pancake breakfasts held during the Calgary Stampede, there is a sense of community, camaraderie, and friendliness in this city.

The White Hat Ceremony is about welcoming visitors and treating them as a local and showering them with a welcoming warmth that makes them feel immediately a part of the community.

There’s a reason Calgary’s mascots for the 1988 were called Howdy and Hidy. Calgarians are friendly people and not afraid to say Howdy, Hi, or Hello to welcome a stranger.

This year the Grey Cup turns 100 and Calgarians are held responsible for showing Canada what the party should be about. In 1948 a gaggle of 250 fans boarded trains for Toronto and the big game. It took them 4 days to get there, and they stopped off across the prairies having parties and making friends the whole way.

The defining moment was a horse parading through the lobby of Royal York Hotel. Before there were tigers in Las Vegas penthouses in The Hangover, a rowdy bunch of cowpokes brought livestock in to one of the poshest hotels in the country. Just because.

Today Calgarians tried to recreate the moment, but the horse was stopped at the hotel’s front door. Health and safety concerns were cited, so the horse walked down the street and into a bank instead. Dozens of people flashed photos, laughed, and smiled the whole time at the strange spectacle of a horse in a bank.

Calgary Stampeder horse in a Toronto bank

And that’s what Calgary is about. A laugh, a smile, and a shared moment of spontaneity to loosen up the spirit.

This week Calgarians will descend upon Nathan Phillips Square and serve up pancakes for strangers for free as a way to say hello, hi, and howdy. New friends will be made, smiles will be shared, and a good time will be had.

Go ahead and cling to your stereotype of Calgarians as rednecks from Cowtown, but if you ever experience the hospitality first hand you will say it with a smile.

*update* Eventually Marty was invited back to the Royal York to parade through the lobby. Yahoo!

Calgary Stampeders Horse Marty in the Royal York Hotel

What Does It Feel Like To Have Diabetes?

November is Diabetes Awareness Month.

JDRF Type 1 For A DayI try to do all I can through radio and the web to bring awareness to Team Diabetes and the greater cause, but my friend Kerri at Six Until Me asked that I take it a step further this year.

She asked me to sign up for the JDRF’s T1D4ADAY initiative where you go through what it’s like to be a Type 1 Diabetic for a day. It’s a very simple thing, really. You text the service and they send you texts back throughout the day with incidents that diabetics have to deal with.

On the surface, being a diabetic doesn’t sound like a big deal. We say things like “manage your blood sugar” and “watch your diet” as if they are simple tasks. When you say it like that they are simple, but when you live like a diabetic you realize the greater scope of what those statements mean.

Going for a run? Make sure you bring some glucose tabs with you and calculate what’s going to happen to the carbs in your body on the run. Hit a low in the middle of the night? Call your emergency contact to make sure they can look after you. Missed a few markers throughout the day? Don’t beat yourself up about it, just keep going and try to hit the next one.

We (non-diabetics) go on and off diets all the time. We eat salads and drink water for a week, and then binge on pizza and beer. No big deal. When you’re a diabetic, if you fall off that wagon it is a big deal. Each day you need to bring supplies with you. Every meal needs to be calculated for carbs, and the insulin levels in your body. A healthy pancreas normally does all the balancing automatically, when you’re diabetic you become the pancreas.

Here’s a video I made walking you through my day with Type 1 Diabetes:

t1d4aday textEven though I ‘thought’ I was done when I shot that video, my ‘day’ with Type 1 Diabetes wasn’t done. In the middle of the night I received 2 more texts. My blood sugar had inexplicably dropped, and an emergency contact had needed to be called.

Kerri tells me this is something that diabetics constantly live in fear of. Even sleep is not a reprieve from the disease, which shouldn’t be too surprising.

I still remember being stunned when I first met Kerri 5 years ago and she told me that she had a diabetes pump sewn into her wedding dress. “Really?” I said. “Yes,” she responded. “Diabetes doesn’t take a day off because you’re getting married.” Diabetes doesn’t take time off when you need to sleep either.

Yes, you and I can binge and fall off the wagon when it comes to our health regimens, but a diabetic can’t. Missing those numbers, or ignoring the warning signs becomes a serious health risk.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Are you aware of what nearly 1/3 of Canadians are living with?

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