The small things make all the difference

I moved to the Alberta Avenue neighbourhood in 2006. I didn’t move here to be its savior. I moved here because I could afford it. The neighbourhood wasn’t even on my radar initially, but my then boyfriend (now husband) suggested I look here as he had previously lived in the area. My realtor said she wasn’t willing to show a single woman houses in this area so I got a new realtor and a new house. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome! I love living here!

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Improving neighbourhood connections Elmwood Park is a tiny league making a big impact on the surrounding community

Travel north from 118 Avenue on 75 Street and you will come across the Elmwood Park Community League. Situated by the Trans-Canada Highway to the north and surrounded by parkland, it’s an easy building to overlook.  As league president Melanie Spitzer said, “we’re so tucked in, even the community hall is tucked into a corner of the community.”  

Despite the location, league board members are making a difference in their community. “At our last few events, the awareness and participation has gone up,” said Spitzer, whose quiet enthusiasm for her task as president is obvious.

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Opening the door to change Pursuing your passion with measured, thoughtful steps

Sitting across from me at the Carrot, Alex shares a slideshow on his iPad. A year ago, he left a well-paying job to become a writer and photographer. It’s clear he’s still excited by his choice.

Okay, Alex didn’t exactly leave his job. His employers laid him off when the economy sunk. This cold shower awakening helped him hear his dreams shouting for attention.

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Explore mindfulness meditation Parkdale-Cromdale Community League offers free meditation classes on Tuesdays

A mindfulness meditation class is held every Tuesday between 7 and 8:30 pm at Parkdale-Cromdale Community League (11335 85 Street). This free class gives neighbourhood residents an opportunity to explore how sitting meditation practice can help you become more calm. Over time, meditation helps develop serenity not only during class, but also in everyday life. People practicing mindfulness meditation use a relaxed yet upright posture and pay attention to the natural flow of breath. All are invited to attend.

Looking for butterflies This year, let’s resolve to help others

Have you ever been in a room when someone walks in and everyone is immediately drawn to that person? That individual exudes easiness, openness, and genuine warmth, making them approachable. That person has a healthy self-image and is a soaring butterfly.

In order to experience happy human relations, we must consider self-image. Depending on the way we perceive ourselves, self-image dictates how we behave.

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Sowing seeds for savings Growing sustainable food from seed to table

Urban agriculture is on the rise in Edmonton. With tough economic times ahead and food prices steadily increasing, it’s a good time to turn that overgrown patch of lawn into a garden.

Gardening can seem overwhelming, but it is simpler than it sounds. All you need is a few square feet of the great outdoors along with water and time. Even if you don’t have a yard, you can still grow food. Consider container gardening if you have a sunny balcony or patio, or even a herb garden on a bright windowsill. It’s amazing how many tomatoes or peppers can grow out of one pot. Another option is to take advantage of a community garden.

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The surprises of life lessons What I’ve learned on my journey in motherhood

Katherine Noreen arrived on a sunny July morning with a wide-eyed, questioning glare, as if to say, “ Why was I just pulled out of my warm comfy place?” Those words have been the metaphor for the last six months of my life.

At 42 years old, I had nine months to contemplate what my life had become. Three years prior I was a pediatrician working in rural Bethel, Alaska. My parents were deceased and I was so engrossed in my work that I had no intentions of getting married or having children. Everything changed when I met my now-husband Justin while on vacation in Mexico and he showed me that life could be different. I took a leap of faith, moved to Edmonton and now I am a mother.

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Everyone can be a little bit Irish The Serca Festival of Irish Theatre showcases celtic culture on Alberta Ave

For many people, St. Patrick’s Day is an opportunity to wear green and celebrate Irish culture, but organizers of Serca Festival are hoping to engage Edmontonians in Irish theatre.

Mark Henderson, the creative director and founder of Serca, explained the festival goes beyond a literal definition of Irish theatre. The plays featured at the festival could be about Ireland or by Irish playwrights, or they could be translations of non-Irish plays by Irish playwrights. They could also, as festival producer Michael Clark said, “be about the Irish experience.”

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The sound and story of The Secretaries The decade-old Edmonton band is playing at SkirtsAfire

The Secretaries are having brunch in Amy van Keeken’s kitchen on a Sunday afternoon, before rehearsal. Happy dogs lie at their feet. It’s a cozy domestic scene, but don’t be mistaken—this band isn’t made up of shrinking violets.

Colleen Brown, Natasha Fryzuk and Amy van Keeken work hard for the money (so hard for it, honey).

“We just wanted to jam,” said guitarist van Keeken. Six people showed up at their first session, but by the second, the band was distilled to its core members.

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