Packing for Banff

So today I started packing for my trip to Banff. What?! Yes indeed, I am off to Banff tomorrow morning on a 6am flight, which means I have to be awake by 3:30 and out at the airport by 4:30 . . . *groan*

I always seem to be the person who is “randomly” selected for a technology search or pat down every single time I travel so I like to get there early and plan for this: get in the security line ASAP and expect to be delayed, have my technology at the ready, and have my shoes already off and in-hand. 

Thanks to The Weather Network, my old fair and foul weather friend (pun intended), the weather in Banff for the coming week is as follows:

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To some of you out there from warmer climates, this weather might seem cold, dreary, and unappealing, but for a Canadian Spring, this weather is quite lovely. I am packing mostly jeans and sweaters, but a dress or two for the sunny days and for afternoon tea. 

As you can see, my cat, Valentine, is exhibiting some symptoms of Separation Anxiety . . .

IMG_6416 And now for a few nifty facts about the Town of Banff:

  1. The Town of Banff has a population of 7,500.
  2. The Town of Banff has an elevation of 4,537 feet (1,383 metres), making it the highest town in Canada.
  3. Banff National Park was established in 1885 as Canada’s first National Park (third in the world), starting Canada’s national parks system.
  4. Mountains in Banff National Park are 45 to 120 million years old
  5. Castleguard Caves in the Northwest of Banff are Canada’s longest cave system.

Have any of you been to Banff before??? Let me know of any must-see places in the comments!!!

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Blogmas Day 4: A Christmas Miracle

blogmasbannerGood morning everyone, and happy fourth day of Blogmas!!!

Today I wanted to do a bit of a different style of post, and talk about something that is really important to me: my family.

Earlier this year, my aunt was told that one of her kidneys was riddled with tumours that were thought to be cancerous. After seeing my grandmother through intense cancer surgery and recovery two years ago, my family was in pieces over this. The doctors believed that the tumours had formed inside her kidney and were pushing their way out, and it needed to be removed as soon as possible.

My aunt called to tell us this news, along with the harsh reality that 95% of cases seen like this involved cancerous tumours, and these tumours had a nasty way of spreading to other organs.

She was scheduled for surgery in January, but thanks to a last-minute cancellation, she was able to go back in November. She has now been at home recovering for several weeks, and last night we got the call that the hospital had tested the removed kidney and figured out what was wrong.

It turns out that my aunt was among the lucky 5% whose kidney was not overrun with cancerous tumours. Instead of pushing out from the inside, these benign tumours had formed around the outside and started pushing their way in. While the kidney still needed to be removed, this meant that my aunt never had cancer.

This is my Christmas miracle. Knowing that my aunt did not have cancer, and therefore would not have to worry about it spreading to other organs, is all that I needed for Christmas.

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So often I, like many other people, get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and forget what Christmas is truly about. In the words of Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch, “Maybe Christmas . . . doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

So while so many of us are out shopping for presents, decorating our homes, and stressing over what to make for Christmas dinner, I hope that we can pause for a moment and think about the things we are thankful for this year. Learning that my aunt did not have cancer is a Christmas miracle, and I am so grateful that she will be here this Christmas and hopefully many more Christmases to come.

Now it’s your turn: What is one of your Christmas miracles, from this year or previous years???

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