This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours

Ramblings and photographs of one Sarah O. Swenson

I interviewed a local pilot this past week about some flying that he did for the UN in Côte d’Ivoire last year and he surprised me by offering to take me up for a quick flight around the city.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I’m not a huge fan of flying but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. It was ridiculously fun and I even got to steer for a bit :D

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about my first ski experience. Unfortunately, due to ad space, the piece got chopped by about 400 words, so I’ve decided to share it in it’s entirety here.

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Sarah O. Swenson (Staff writer/Wetaskiwin Times)

I once had a karate instructor that told me “when you stop learning, you die.”

I’ve mentioned this in my column before, but for those of you that aren’t regular readers, I figured it best to share it again.

It’s a bit extreme when you think about it but I’ve always liked the idea behind it. When you stop learning, you stagnate. It’s like your brain starts to atrophy.

It’s something that has encouraged me to learn new things, try new experiences, and occasionally step out of my comfort zone.

When I moved to Alberta, I promised myself I would try my hand at more winter sports, something that (as a proud Canadian) I am embarrassed to say I’ve never really put any effort into learning.

Despite how much I love watching the game, I’ve never played hockey. Floor hockey and street hockey, yes, but not proper ice hockey.

When I was little, my mum bought me figure skates. Not wanting to hurt her feelings, I took them out once and swore never again. 

Many years later, I bought myself hockey skates. On the occasional day off from work, I went over to the rink across from our house and tried to teach myself to skate.

It didn’t go so well. I could get up to a decent speed and do a few laps around the rink, but coming to a stop usually ended with me in a heap on the ice or crashed into the boards.

It was all cartoonishly comical.

That being said, my hockey skates are currently being held hostage in a storage unit in Toronto.

So with no skates, I figured skiing or snowboarding would be the ticket for my self-imposed winter sports challenge and I was fortunate enough to receive a ski lesson at the Gwynne Valley Ski Hill this past weekend.

I’m ashamed to say that I went into my lesson a bit cocky. I was a decent athlete back in my day. I enjoyed basketball, soccer, and karate. Especially karate; I was quite good at watching, learning, and mimicking proper technique.

With a good instructor to guide me, how hard could this be?

As it turns out, quite a lot harder than anticipated.

I’d conveniently forgotten how long it has been since I’ve actually participated in the aforementioned sports (read: a long time). 

Also conveniently forgotten: a set of bum knees that ruined my glorious military career before it even started (that’s a tale for another time) and weak ankles that have endured torn ligaments more times that I care to count.

Now, my ankles survived. They were firmly encased in those modern torture devices known as ski boots. Seriously, ski boots are just atrocious. And they change the way you walk. It took a while for me to stop feeling like one of those wobbly baby giraffes that you always see on nature programs, struggling to stand up and keep their feet underneath.

Embarrassingly, about twenty minutes into the lesson, after mastering walking a la duck and pigeon toed (with and without skis), my calf started to cramp painfully.

The cramping came and went throughout the lesson but I was quite determined to be going down the hill at least once before my hour was up.

Which brings me to the next obstacle: the t-bar lift.

I viewed the lift the same way I view carnival rides: I am immediately leery of anything that can propel me to speeds that are faster than I prefer to go and/or potentially lift my feet from the ground.

Well, neither of those things happened and I managed to glide down the hill (albeit the beginners bunny hill and guided by my eternally patient instructor) without any Loony Tunes style mishaps.

It was a little taste of success.

A few Advil and a hot bath later, muscles that have been dormant for years are still aching. But that little sampling of success has me wanting more.

My next weekend off will be involving a trip back to Gwynne. More lessons are definitely needed because I won’t be conquering the Alps anytime soon.

Maybe by next year.

did locker room portraits after the game of all the Wetaskiwin Icemen all-stars … check the Jan. 16 Wetaskiwin Times for more all-star and minor hockey coverage :) View high resolution

did locker room portraits after the game of all the Wetaskiwin Icemen all-stars … check the Jan. 16 Wetaskiwin Times for more all-star and minor hockey coverage :)

day trip to Camrose … what my friend calls the ‘Classic Canadian Landscape’ View high resolution

day trip to Camrose … what my friend calls the ‘Classic Canadian Landscape’

a few local parks round town have been flooded to make skating ponds View high resolution

a few local parks round town have been flooded to make skating ponds

*le sigh* it’s days like this that I wish I had something a little longer than a 200mm lens View high resolution

*le sigh* it’s days like this that I wish I had something a little longer than a 200mm lens

a new year

Exactly like I predicted at the start of this blog, I’ve totally forgotten/ignored/abandoned it. However, it lives on in the cellars of cyberspace and I’ve decided to resurrect it a bit … No, this is not a resolution to blog more. I don’t believe in new year resolutions anyway. But I’ve got a few photos laying around and have a bit of time on my hands, so I figured why not?

Speaking of the new year, 2012 was pretty good to me, probably one of my best years ever, if I’m being totally honest. Last year, I made new friends, reconnected with old friends, finished school, bought a car, moved provinces twice, and got a job in my chosen field. It’s hard to see how 2013 will top it, but I’ll try.

Anyways, watch this space for more.

first few days

I’m almost done the first week of my internship with the Winnipeg Free Press. It’s been amazing to finally be home after all these years, to catch up with old friends and see how much the city has grown. The photo crew at WFP is amazing; my lack of car has meant a lot of ride-alongs and job shadowing, but I’ve thouroughly enjoyed it. I managed to get a picture from the Blue Bombers jersey reveal published. As a Bomber fan, I was beyond excited to attend that. I also edited a few clips together for a short video from what was being called a 'suspicious deal.' That experience was a bit weird, as it was my first ever visit to a crime scene and thus had never seen a body bag. It’s still a little weird to wrap my head around it.

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