Book One – 78mph

Rita, Ruth, Maureen and Adele at Glenmore Park, Calgary

Rita, Ruth, Maureen and Adele at Glenmore Park, Calgary

It’s Rita’s birthday! Here in Calgary, the skies are blue and the day was looking great so Ruth, Adele and I were going to help Rita celebrate by having a picnic in the park, followed by a game of bridge.

Ruth and I left our condos at 11:45 am to head up to the Old Banff Coach Road area to rendezvous with Rita and Adele and, from there, we were headed for a picnic in Bowness Park.

Once we got to Bowness Park, we quickly discovered it wasn’t a place that we could really use for our picnic. We hadn’t realized that the flood of 2013 had resulted in so much damage to this side of the Bow River, so we started to think about an alternative location. In fact, if we’d taken a look at the City of Calgary’s website before venturing out, we would have learned that the East side of the park won’t be completely re-opened until the fall.

We could see what looked like a very nice park across the river from the Bowness Park and were considering going there – until we saw the traffic. The cars and trucks were backed up for two kilometres at the place where we needed to go to get across to the other side of the river. It looked like making the crossing would take forever, but for our next picnic we’ll consider going to Baker Park – which is a popular photo shoot location for weddings.

So we thought and discussed alternative plan number three and we agreed to another destination: North Glenmore Park. Back in the cars we got and, believe it or not, with the road construction detours throughout the city, we ended up being back to where we had rendezvoused earlier! After another 6 kms we were at the park.

The picnic table will soon have good food to eat.

The picnic table will soon have good food to eat.

The parking lots were quite full, but we did find spaces. I’d guess that we weren’t the only ones thinking about having a picnic in the park! But we were lucky to spot a vacant picnic table, so out with the tablecloths and napkins! We were all hungry and ready for our picnic!

Rita had done a great job in bringing all the plates, glasses, cutlery and liquid refreshments. The picnic lunch was a joint effort and on the menu was prosciutto-wrapped asparagus with a yummy sauce, fresh baked bread, roasted peppers, fresh garden tomatoes, devilled eggs, potato salad and fruit. OH what a delicious spread it was!


Rita and Adele setting up our picnic feast.

There was a even a beautiful bench on the edge of the Glanmore Reservoir that we could use for picture taking before we got back into the cars back to Ruth’s condo for an afternoon game of bridge.

We played bridge for a couple of hours. Adele and Rita promptly scored the first rubber and Ruth and I finally (and I mean finally) managed to

Maureen and Ruth at the picnic.

Maureen and Ruth at the picnic.

tie them with a rubber of our own. It took a lot of dealing and throwing in of cards as in most cases nothing seemed to fit.

But what a great way to Celebrate Rita’s birthday.

Happy Birthday, Rita! Hip Hip Hooray!

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Renee and Gaetan in Florida

Renee and Gaetan in Florida

My daughter, Colleen, lives in the Canadian province of Quebec. And so does her mother-in-law.  Renee says she is going to live to be 100, and Colleen is convinced that she will because she takes great care of herself. This is a story about an #ActiveSenior and it’s part of my series to help convince seniors to get off the couch and get active!

Renee is 72. You know how I say that 78 is the new 65, well, with Renee’s 72 it’s definitely the new 60 – maybe 58. She’s someone who, like me, likes to get up in the morning and have breakfast, watches what she eats and drinks, takes care of herself, likes to do things,, and isn’t scared to try new things. For example: she was 60 when she first got her driver’s licence.


For any of you who don’t know about the Snowbird lifestyle of many Canadians and Quebecers in particular, let me fill you in. Renee is Gaetan’s “Blonde” and he is her “Chum”, – that’s the Quebec way of saying girlfriend and boyfriend. This retired couple spends around four of the winter months in Florida. They head south around the first week of November, and head back at the beginning of April.

They used to have a fifth-wheel trailer which they towed down the I-75 behind a Ford F-150 to camp in Homestead, Florida, just south of Miami. They did that until the land got sold and the campground became a condo project, around six years ago.

Then they tried another campground on Florida’s west coast, near Tampa, but found it wasn’t really their thing. Tampa weather wasn’t quite as nice as it had been around Miami, although the campground was chocker-block full of Quebecois and had a lot of great activities.

They then decided to get rid of the fifth wheel and the truck and try out renting for a season and they found that they love it. Now, they return each year to a one-bedroom apartment just north of Miami and enjoy their modified snowbird lifestyle. Close to the beach and shops, they’re able to keep active by walking nearly everywhere they go. On their daily “To-Do” list are daily walks on the beach, meeting up with friends along the way and enjoying the sunshine.

They have a home outside of Montreal, but from the middle of May to the middle of September, you’ll mostly find them in a campground just outside of Granby, Quebec, where they and a couple hundred others have a trailer parked permanently on the site. Some of the campground’s residents take advantage of their summer retreats by building decks, gazeboes, fire pits and water displays on their properties, and everyone keeps their area clean and tidy.

Campground Life

Campground life has its own rhythm. There’s Bingo every Friday night which Renee volunteers to work at (while Gaetan sometimes plays), a 50/50 draw on Saturdays that can net you a nice paycheque if you’re lucky – but it’s the fitness activities she really loves.

The campground’s swimming pool was just renovated, and there is aqua fitness lead by a volunteer when it’s sunny and warm outside. But what Renee is really excited about is the low-impact aerobic class held in the campground’s main hall.

It’s the first time this class has been offered and, like the aqua fitness, it’s run by a volunteer, twice a week. Since May 15th, she’s lost 10 pounds, lost an inch around her middle, toned her arms to lose some of her chicken wings, and has even more energy than ever before. Someone in the class has a pedometer and the men and women who participate move the equivalent of 5 kilometres each class.

Colleen asked Renee if she would video a portion of the class for the blog, and Renee did. The class is attended by both women and men, and when Colleen asked her where there are so few seniors participating, Renee shakes her head.

“I don’t know. I don’t understand why people don’t give it a try. They can go at their own pace, and it’s really fun.”

Hooray for Renee. She’s a great example of an #ActiveSenior who is a great role model, who realizes that you really need to take care of yourself as you get older, and she does.

Are you an #ActiveSenior? Let me know, tell me your story.

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