Friday, 10 July 2020

It's that time of the year again!


It's that time of year again! No, not Halloween or Christmas or back to school (who knows what that will look like in the fall?!), but CANOLA time. That's right, the fields across the province are starting to bloom with those beautiful yellow flowers.

Canola fields are the perfect backdrop for pictures. No seriously, Google Alberta canola fields and you'll see thousands of images. We have many pictures of canola fields in our house. Some with sunshine. One with a storm. A couple with interesting clouds or sunrises and sunsets. It's a picture we never grow tired of.

And sure, I'm lucky because I have access to a canola field any time I want—my grandparents are canola farmers.  But I realize not everyone has a canola farmer in the family, and so I thought this would be a great time to remind you that as amazing as those fields look...you can't just go IN them to take a picture. At least, not without permission.

Traipsing through those fields can ruin the crop, plus, it's trespassing. You wouldn't want someone rummaging through your bedroom just to take a picture of your prized Star Wars Lego, or something, right? (But if you have a prized Star Wars Lego you should send me a picture.)

Anyway, I can't wait to strap on my camera bag and head out with my dad to take some canola field pictures—we always give Grandpa one that he can frame for the house too. An entire wall in the living room is dedicated to pictures of the canola farm over the years. It's pretty cool to see how much the farm has grown.

Have you taken a good picture of a canola field? Put it on Instagram and tag @SupermanDuffy — or email it to me at chase.superman.duffy@gmail.com. Maybe I’ll publish it on my blog!

Gotta jet! Have a great weekend—and stay safe!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 3 July 2020

Help! I need more H2O!


I’ve been having trouble drinking my water, lately. It might be all the rain—who can think of drinking water when there's so much falling from the sky.

But I know it’s super important for everyone to drink water—especially athletes—and normally I don’t have any problem getting in my eight daily glasses over the summer. But the weather has been so strange this season that I’m not hot enough to crave it. Even when I run. (And I haven't been doing as much of that either, because running in the rain isn't my favourite.)

The thing is, I can see a difference in my performance—and not in a good way. I’m a bit sluggish, and I think I may have lost some muscle tone. I know, sounds strange, right? I thought so too, so I did some research—and I learned a LOT more about water than even Coach Taylor told me about.

Like, did you know that your brain is 75% water?

Water actually carries nutrients and oxygen to your brain and throughout your body—which of course, can help with a number of health concerns like making sure your kidneys are working properly, kick-starting your metabolism, and of course, curing dehydration.

Interesting, for sure, but I’m still concerned about how to do it. I mean, it’s summer, so I’m naturally drawn to juice, pop, lemonade and freezies. Mom says those are not good options for water intake (she keeps me on a strict freezie regiment)—not even watermelon counts, and it’s mostly water!

I’m just going to have to work harder at it.  So I've started adding flavour—cucumber slices, strawberry wedges, and lemon—to my cold water and that's a nice change.

Do YOU have any ideas on how to increase my water? How do you get in your eight glasses?
Gotta jet! Have a great weekend.

~ Chase Superman Duffy

P.S. Have your read the Superman Duffy graphic novel TRANSPIRATION? That adventure definitely talks about the importance of water—and what can happen when you have too much, or even too little.

You can order it FREE from the Alberta Canola Producers' Commission.

Friday, 26 June 2020

School's Out! (For Summer)


I love school—honest I do—but the last three months have been rough. Learning online isn't quite the  same as being in the classroom with my teacher and friends. I'm pretty sure I passed everything (even Math), but homework sure took on new meaning. <heh>

So, for the next two months, I’m not even going to think about homework, or studying, or worrying about whether my internet will work during a lesson. It’s finally summer! Yay!

And boy, do I ever have a lot of great things planned.

Of course I’ll be training for track and field. This is my favourite time of year to start running around Grandpa’s canola field. By mid July, the bright yellow blooms will be out in full force, creating the perfect backdrop for my morning runs. As long as I can outrun some of the bees—but Grandpa says they won’t bother me since they’re busy pollinating his canola flowers.

I’m also go to catch up on my reading. I know, I say that every year and you'd think with the pandemic going on, I would be reading all the time. The truth is, I've been doing more binge watching than reading. Now that the libraries and bookstores are open again, I'm excited to start working my way through my TBR.

The campgrounds are also open, so Dad and I are planning a “guys only” trip to go fishing. Maybe Grandpa will come too! (I mean, if he's not too busy on the farm.)

The rest of the summer will probably be spent hanging out with my friends (from a distance) and family. And I probably have a list of chores Mom needs help with, like mowing the lawn and weeding the garden. I don’t mind, though—Mom lets me eat her peas.

Sounds like a busy summer, right? How about you? What are your summer plans? Whatever they are, make it one where a part of every day is doing something you enjoy—even 10 minutes of reading or writing or practicing hoops can create good feelings about summer. Even if it is a bit different than what you're used to.

Gotta jet! Have a great weekend.

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 19 June 2020

A global celebration for Dad

Dad says he’s my biggest blog fan, which may be true since he always brings up the topics of my writing at the dinner table on Friday nights. Mom says she even shares my posts on her social meeting, which was a surprise to me.

Considering how much attention my parents pay to my blog, I won’t tell you how *I* am celebrating Father’s Day this year, because I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

So I thought instead, I would research how Father’s Day is celebrated around the world. And I learned that it isn’t the same across the globe—in some cases, it’s not even on the same day! In Australia, for instance, the day for honouring Dad occurs on the first Sunday in September. Same with New Zealand.

In Thailand, Father’s Day is celebrated on the birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (that’s a mouthful) on Dec 5. The King gives a speech and many people in the country wear pink to honour him. Canna Lilies are a popular gift.

Men—not just fathers—are celebrated in Russia. The Feb. 23 holiday started as a military commemoration, and soldiers are still honoured in parades throughout the country.

Mexico honours Father’s day with a 21K Father’s Day race—thought maybe not this year given the coronavirus situation—and people in Brazil celebrate St. Joachim on Aug. 2. St. Joachim is the patron saint of fathers and grandfathers.

Interesting, right?

I’m always fascinated by how different cultures celebrate the various holidays, especially since Canada is such a culturally diverse country. What traditions do you have?

Gotta jet! Happy Father’s Day everyone—I hope it’s a special one!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 12 June 2020

Stopping to smell the...science?

My grandma has a garden full of roses (and I mean, full)—red, yellow, pink, even orange (actually, I think the technical term is apricot). Grandma could probably open her own flower business with the number of different coloured roses in her garden.

I'm teasing, but the truth is Grandma's rose garden is exceptionally pretty with all the different colours. Except...Grandma doesn't grow any of her favourite-coloured roses.

Grandma loves ROYAL BLUE ROSES. I concur—they are beautiful. But…you won’t see many of those growing in a typical garden.

That’s because blue roses are grown using biotechnology—which is a scientific process that’s pretty hard to explain but essentially means the plant’s DNA is naturally altered to create a specific trait—in this case, its royal blue colour. Sound complicated?

It is!

Which is why even though scientists have been growing royal blue roses for the last six years or so, my grandpa has to order them in for special occasions—like Grandma’s birthday, Mother’s Day, and June 12 (that's today!)—which is ironically, Red Rose Day. (Who makes these days up?!)

Biotechnology is pretty fascinating science, and of course like all science, it’s evolving all of the time.

We talk about biotechnology in the Superman Duffy educational graphic novel 5-7-5 ERRAND BOY. If you've read it, you know that biotechnology affects our daily lives more than we think. If you don't have a copy, you can get a free copy by visiting the Alberta Canola Producers Commission website.

Gotta jet! Have a great weekend—and don't forget to stop to smell the roses....

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 5 June 2020

Gone fishing!

I've been thinking a lot about all the things I haven't been able to do this spring because of the pandemic—like swimming, hanging out with friends, or spending a few hours at the library. But I realized something this morning—that's "stinking thinking."

It's true, this has been a strange year. A tough year. An emotional year.

But instead of focussing on all of that, I want to start turning my thinking around. Like remembering how much time I've been able to spend with my family. Or how Mom's yard is looking pretty awesome because she's had time to take care of it.

And instead of focussing on the things I can't do, I'm going to turn the spotlight on things I can—like fishing!

This afternoon, Mom is taking me and Amelia to get our fishing licenses. This afternoon, we're going to bike ride to a fishing hole I know about.

I’ve been digging through Mom’s garden soil for worms (you wouldn’t believe how many of those slimy things are in a shovel’s worth of good soil!) and I already have a big jar of them, perfect for trout fishing. Amelia is in charge of packing snacks.

It doesn't even matter if Amelia and I catch fish—Mom says we need to just enjoy the experience. I plan to! What experiences will you enjoy this weekend?

Gotta jet! See you next week.

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 29 May 2020

A Berry Delicious (and Nutritious) Reminder

A few years ago, I discovered the secret to Track and Field success! Well, to be more accurate, my grandma told me about it. I've talked about it before, but when Mom went to the grocery store this week, she brought back a ton of berries. And of course, that got me thinking about smoothies...

And that reminded me about my conversation with Grandma a few years back. 

We'd just finished a heart-to-heart, where I'd told her I was cutting out sweets, and all fats. She seemed okay with it, until I suggested (carefully) that she use less canola oil.

Whoops! My bad.

I know now that canola oil is one of the healthiest oils out there. It’s low in saturated fat and has NO trans fat or cholesterol. I know, I should have known this—my grandparents are canola farmers.

And then, Grandma told me that adding just two teaspoons of canola oil to something as simple as a breakfast smoothie can boost its vitamin E and omega-3 fat content—the stuff I need to run faster, like Superman. Grandma found a recipe from a former Olympic champion – Janet Evans – for a Berry Smoothie that is OUT OF THIS WORLD. I dug it out again, and starting today, it's back to smoothies for me. 

Grandmas are so smart, aren't they?

Gotta jet! I’m slamming my smoothie and then heading out for my morning run—even if the rain is trickling down. It's supposed to be a gorgeous weekend!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

P.S. I’ve included that recipe I was talking about below. If you’re Gordon “Lightening” Smith, or any of my other competitors, close your eyes!


BERRY DELICIOUS SMOOTHIE

Ingredients
1 medium banana
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup green tea, cooled
1/2 cup cranberry juice,
4 ice cubes
2 teaspoons canola oil

Blend it all until it's smooth.