16 September 2011

Blind Date

You never know what you will see if you attend Rebecca Northan's Blind Date.  Because her date does not appear, her character "Mimi" selects a man from the audience to participate in this improvisational play. And anything can happen. It certainly seemed so last Saturday when I attended. Mimi had been out mingling in the crowd before the play - sizing up her potential partners. She had one all picked out when Trevor volunteered. She was cautious - "you're not one of those University Drama students, are you?" But Trevor - a microbiology student - possibly even from MRU (he was in front of us in line and we commented on the campus card he was carrying) was so eager that after a few screening questions, Rebecca followed the first rule of improv - accept what comes - and invited him up on stage for a date. 
 Her word to describe Trevor was "adorable" - he really didn't have a clue sometimes on how to act but considering he is trying to have a date in front of a studio audience, he did well.  At least, he provided lots of opportunities for Rebecca to play off of and there were plenty of laugh out loud moments.  She used the "Time Out" stool to step out of the scene and reflect on how things were going in the play - and even to school Trevor somewhat on what would be a more appropriate response to "I love this song" than "Oh, really , is this jazz?  Why don't you tell me why you love this song."  

So much fun!! Very happy a friend clued me in and invited me along to the show. We hit Gorilla Theatre beforehand and I was reminded of how much I enjoyed a night at Loose Moose theatre in the past.  Definitely need to make a point to visit once in a while.

Blind Date is now setting off on a tour and if you ever get a chance to see it, don't let it pass!

Flickr Friday: Chatsworth - The Veiled Vestal Virgin

In an attempt to blog more frequently and to revisit some of my favourite photos, Friday will now be known as Flickr Friday. And to start us off, my number one viewed photo on Flickr, the marble sculpture "The Veiled Vestal Virgin" by Raffaelle Monti.

If you saw the Keira Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice, you may recognize this as a sculpture in Pemberly but in reality it stands in Chatsworth, a grand home in Derbyshire that may have inspired Jane Austen to write about Darcy's ancestral home.

It is a truly spectacular piece of art - you want to reach out and brush the veil away to see her face, it is so beautifully sculpted.

Someday, I hope to visit this amazing estate in Derbyshire again.

Note:  I just had a thought - Have I posted this picture before and YES - this is a repeat post. so now I need to add something fresh to the post. A few more views of the same sculpture gallery in Chatsworth!

Chatsworth 297

Chatsworth 295

Chatsworth 308

Chatsworth 299

02 September 2011


Boredom , originally uploaded by hopkins.sam.

This is a face I potentially will be seeing this weekend. Madi is hanging out with me while her mom and dad are in California, rocking out to the B-52s and Human League. (so jealous!) My challenge is to not be as miserably dull as I know I am to a 16 year old. When we went out last week, I failed - due to the fact I didn't want to go bridge jumping or to climb into some subterranean world of grafitti and ne'er-do-wells under the Stony Trail Bridge. I'll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck.

A play that will be at Theatre Calgary this fall - in fact - very soon.  Anyone interested?

Museum Of Everything.

Museum Of Everything., originally uploaded by glumpire.

Jo - you said my blog was boring. This is true. I apologize. Here is a picture of a place I would like to go.

10 April 2011

Four Years on Twitter
I've been tweeting for four years (and actually one day - first tweet was April 9, 2007) now and it has really become the best source of professional development around. When I started, I posted random things about my day - mostly related to tasks I was working on at the University (still a college then) and sometimes questions - but questions don't work until you have followers.  I identified myself as part of the ESL community and began following every ESL "rock star" I could find who had a channel.  I made a list of the great educators I was watching and eventually began to be followed back.  I'm now a part of other people's lists - part of the ESL Twibes, and beginning to feel like I have a Personal Learning Network developed that I can participate in and contribute to.  I still probably retweet other's messages more than contributing my own content but that is more about time than intention. My favourite tweets are ones that inform me of upcoming conference sessions that are being streamed online.  I've been able to participate in sessions around the world and learn about some amazing people and projects this way.  The fact that Twitter just turned 5 a few weeks back and I have been around for four of those years amazes me - something I find so essential in my work day is still so new! 

The other favourite activity that I have on twitter is following along during an event.  If you don't want to know results of awards shows or winners of reality series, stay away but if you want to know what is happening during a session of conference that you are away from the screen for - just watch the tweets roll in.  There was a huge community of LDS tweeting about each speaker, every hymn and the hashtag #ldsconf was trending worldwide during the sessions! I couldn't get video to work for some of the sessions so I listened to the audio and watched the tweet stream instead. 

So Happy Anniversary to my Twitter account.

By the way, if you want a couple of fun "people" to follow on Twitter, try HalfPintIngalls and big_ben_clock.

03 April 2011

Picture from http://calgarytemple.blogspot.com/
President Monson spoke on the importance of temples in his Sunday morning address at General Conference.  He asked us to make whatever sacrifices necessary to have the temple as our goal, in our hearts and in our homes. " Each temple stands as a beacon, an expression of testimony that God lives, that He desires to bless us and all generations." I'm looking forward to attending the temple in two weeks as Tanner goes through for the first time in preparation for his mission.  On the same weekend, I'll be with our youth as they do baptisms and will be doing some for my family.  And just around the corner  - in 2012 - this structure up on the hill of Royal Oak with the majestic mountains beyond it will be dedicated as a House of the Lord for us to serve within. It was announced at the Saturday morning session of the October 2009 conference as I sat in the congregation in the Conference Center and completely missed the announcement of the Rome Italy temple becuase we were too busy reacting to the announcement of the Calgary, Alberta temple.   I love the temples of the Lord and am excited for the opportunity to serve more often and have the temple within our city.

Calgary, Alberta Temple - 2012

02 April 2011

LDS Conference Center, originally uploaded by whistlepunch.
It's Conference weekend again. I miss being able to watch it on TV and my computer doesn't like streaming video these days, so I've only been able to listen so far. This year, in addition to Twitter being a great resource of quotes and thoughts throughout the sessions, there is a shared note-taking document on Google docs. So in addition to listening, I am keeping watch using these collaborative means. Easy to just stop and listen when I want to or to review what was just said - think about the quote a bit more. Just like Elder Richard Scott's advice in October 2009 conference, I have a notepad and pen close so that when inspiration comes, I can follow the ideas further and be open to specific guidance and inspiration meant just for me. I don't even mind such a wintery day when I can be warmed by the great messages and music of General Conference.

26 March 2011

Brigham's Table 2.egg on Aviary.

Made this while playing around with an image/effects editing tool on the web - Aviary.

20 March 2011

Super Moon and Mow Cop, originally uploaded by peterjbailey.

Here's what Super Moon looked like in Staffordshire. Did anyone see it here? I missed seeing it when it was near the horizon - it's up over my house now and looking somewhat less than super at the moment. Although I do feel like having cheese and crackers right now... Wensleydale anyone?

Cirque de la Symphonie

An amazing show and wonderful concert tonight. Music from Dvorak, Bizet, Saint-Saens, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and even a John Williams piece from Star Wars: Episode II. The final number of the evening was Ravel's Bolero with an act of strength and balance with two men from Poland. Stunning! Loved the beauty and grace of the gymnast, "Lady in White" and fantastic work by both female and male aerialists. The mime/juggler added some whimsy to the night. So glad to have gone and enjoyed this treat with my friend Jill.

17 March 2011

Because of St. Patrick's Day... a post from my family history blog with pics of the Irish relatives

Rhodes Family History: Sam and Jenny Muirhead: "Until now, I'd only seen one picture of Sam and Jenny Muirhead. Sam 'the butcher' - with his wife Jane sitting in front of their home..."

16 March 2011

When life gets you down...
"It's okay if your shoes aren't doing it"
Advice to remember

14 March 2011

Do you know how many days old you are?  I do - and it just hit a certain number in the thousands. I know thanks to that unexpected call from a certain "rainman" that keeps track of this and other auspicious numbers in the lives of those he knows. 

And to think I get to celebrate on Pi Day! 

Okay - just found this and he is in Lethbridge in April. I feel a road trip coming on.

13 March 2011

Just set up a blog for my nephew's two years of service in the Guatemala City Central Mission. He will be reporting to the MTC on April 25. The blog is still in development - I will be seeing Tanner tomorrow and I'm sure he'll want some input on the look and content of the blog but the address will remain the same in case anyone wants to follow along.

Elder Tanner Hopkins: Saying Goodbye: "Hola! As some of you may know, I have been called to serve a mission in Guatemala for 2 years. I will be giving my farewell talk on April 1..."

07 March 2011

a little look, originally uploaded by uppercaseyyc.

This little 'plan for future happiness' is scheduled to arrive in my mailbox sometime in April.

14 February 2011

What are you celebrating?  Maybe it is Valentine's Day, but I am choosing to celebrate the anniversary of the B-52's first gig in 1977.   Rock Lobster! Down, Down, Down, .....

11 February 2011

Latest post on my Book Blog - Follow the link to read the entire post.

Page Turners II: Canada Reads Winner: The Best Laid Plans by Terry...: "The Winner for 2011 I just finished listening to the final session of debate for Canada Reads online. This is a great series that ..."

08 February 2011

Valentine's Tulips, originally uploaded by whistlepunch.

Triple Treat!

Just wanted to express how grateful I was today for three happy surprises. A Mavis Staples CD in my mailbox at work, a shared ticket to Theatre Calgary's upcoming show "Much Ado about Nothing" and a beautiful bouquet of pink and purple tulips. All three for very different reasons but all appreciated so much! Another day with unexpected smiles.
Dinner and a show with a sitting ovation

Okay - not dinner, it was lunch but I've never heard "lunch and a show". A bunch of us from work went out for lunch on Monday ...through the very deep snow. I drove and barely made it into the parking lot of the restaurant on 17th Ave after snow plows built up a barrier in the driveway. Luckily, made it through after gunning it.  Lunch was delicious - Vietnamese - yum!  The restaurant is called Cochichine if you want to try it out.  Halfway through lunch another group was seated on our side of the restaurant. My back was to them but after a few minutes, this is what I turned around to see.

(Thanks to Audrey for discreetly getting this picture for me!)  After lunch, as we drove back to the office, we turned up a side road and in front of us was a city van stopped in the middle of the road and six people out behind a truck pushing it away from the curb.  It took a bit of effort but the good Samaritans managed to finally get him over the ruts and on his way.  As they turned around to climb back in the van, our carload were all applauding with our mittens on. One saw us, pointed it out to the others and they curtsied and bowed as we continued to show our appreciation.  A good laugh and smiles all around on a very wintery day!  Hope everyone made it out and about safely!

07 February 2011

I love Flickr. I really wish my photos were more deserving of an audience but someday I hope to rectify that with some instruction. Until then, I am a very happy amateur just taking snapshots of things I find interesting to look at. Last week my photos had very nearly 4000 views - in one week. And this is by far my most "popular" photo in the collection. If you saw the Keira Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice, you saw this statue at Mr. Darcy's house. I saw it at Chatsworth - the home that could have been the inspiration for Jane Austen when writing about Pemberley. It truly is a magnificent work of art - you want to pull back the veil and even standing next to it you can't believe it is made of marble and not a thin fabric covering her face.

If you click on the photo, you can go to its page on Flickr and find a closeup as well on the right side of the page. And if you were one of the 4000 views, thanks for stopping by.
Calgary, Alberta Temple Construction: February 5, 2011

I follow this blog with pictures of the construction going on in Calgary's north west. Check out the progress!

Page Turners II: The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson: "The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America  World's Columbian Exposition: Court of Honor, ..."

Did you know I have another blog just for books? The link above will take you to the latest post.  I have neglected it for a long time but decided to start it up again so that all my reading/book related activity is in one blog. No longer in the bookclub that it was started for but I still love a good book!

Okay - I have other blogs as well - one for ESL students and one for ESL teachers... but they aren't ones that I'd ever update on Facebook. Twitter? sure - that I use for ESL and Edtech mostly. And then the wikis. And now I'm playing with other things like Prezis and Voicethreads. Is it too much? Should I turn off the computer once in a while? Well, I do and then I read a BOOK!!

04 February 2011

Happy Year of the Rabbit!, originally uploaded by maralina!.
Okay - a day late - we celebrated some of the Korean students returning home with a cake decorated with a rabbit - but it wasn't a "Year of the Rabbit" cake as much as it was a map of Korea shaped like a rabbit cake. Our manager did a great job making it - tasted great and so moist - a carrot cake but with pineapple as well. From Canadian Living.  You can find the recipe here.
Canada's Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing recipe - Food - Canadian Living

The students enjoyed it and I was called on to wish them Happy New Year Korean style:

새해 복 많이 받으세요

(seh heh bok mahn ee bahd euh sae yo)

 - they applauded - it was funny. My Korean is sadly lacking. I found myself pulling out my language books later to look up words I couldn't remember. Like delicious and what to say when you serve food or accept food.  I have great Korean language books.  I could make that a project when all my other many projects are ticked off.
I felt like I was in a fishbowl though because of my temporary lenses, new lenses have come in twice with flaws so I'm still waiting to be able to see at all distances. I'll be so glad to get the correct ones. I hope so. Cross your fingers for me.
I topped the night off by breaking a tooth on popcorn. You know the crunch that doesn't feel like a popcorn kernel and you stop mid bite to feel around - well  - I found a big hole where half of my tooth used to be.  Happy Lunar New Years to me!
By the way,  now that we've had the Lunar New Year does that mean my Christmas tree should come down now??

02 February 2011

Happy Groundhog Day!, originally uploaded by Boy_Wonder.
It's that time of year again. Based on the Scottish couplet "If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, there'll be two winters in the year" we are all anxiously awaiting to know if spring is right around the corner or not. I always forget whether seeing a shadow is good or not but I guess if a bright and clear day means double the winter then shadows are bad.  It seems like we have a few winters and springs here in Calgary due to the chinooks, so I don't put much stock into Punxsatawny Phil or Balzac Billy's predictions but it's fun to hear what the celebrity groundhog's shadow report tells us.  I always enjoyed sharing this cultural tidbit with my ESL students - learning that we look to a rodent for a weather prediction.  The movie "Groundhog Day" was a particular favourite to view - with all the repetition, even the lower levels could pick up what was happening and it was always a hit.

You can check out our local groundhog at the Balzac Billy website here and find out about the official celebrations but be warned - there is a soundtrack to this site! 

And here's to an overcast day - which I don't think we are expecting to get or to at least a few more chinooks to balance it all out.

31 January 2011

Looking for a Theme

The beginning - a very young group of wizards and witches

It started with a party that was all things Harry Potter.  I loved the books and the first movie had just come out.  I borrowed some kids so it wasn't just a party for me but in actual fact, I think that is how it started.  I turned my living room into the Great Hall with a long dining table  and a roaring fire - wizardy decorations and a list of activities for the night. We decorated our personal wands (out of chopsticks with glitter glue and paint) and the children were sorted by the sorting hat.  We had a charms lesson and levitated our animals (stuffies), potions class where we mixed coloured ice cubes into our clear seven-up. Herbology was planting magical looking 99cent plants into Harry Potter cups of potting soil. We dipped some gummy frogs into chocolate and had Bertie Botts every flavoured bean. We walked down to the dungeons (the basement) where the picture frames had living art behind them - a mirror of erised to look into and a few other surprises. The last activity was a game of quidditch (looking for golden ping pong balls hidden around the house). I had a lot of fun planning the night and I think we made some great memories.

My very elegant guests

I didn't at first plan for this to be a reoccuring event but there have been a few other special parties (Barbie get together, a Nancy Drew detective party)  that followed. Initially a plan to get my neice Madi together with my cousin's Vi's girls (as we all lived in the northwest but rarely got together) it became quite a bit more formal this past year with a girls tea party. - not quite Mad Hatters and much more Victorian. The plan now is to get the "girl's tent" occupants together before the reunion to renew friendships and make more memories. I know it is even more important as it took a bit of time for the girls to warm up to each other at the tea party but by the end - they were all playing twister together and had lost all the initial awkwardness. That day was about the food, the costumes and photo session and stories and photos of ancestors. And again - it was probably more of an opportunity for me to pull out all the tea cups I could gather, share the stories and photos I had been collecting and justify the dress-up tub of old fashioned dresses in my basement.

In order to save a Saturday, I need to start thinking now of my theme and invitations. It is harder with the age range of girls increasing - I would so love to invite the little ones but it makes the theme and activities that much harder. It was so easy when they were all within a few years of each other.  But I'm sure a theme exists that will make this work. So ideas are certainly welcome!

28 January 2011

ART at MRU...
Art at MRU, originally uploaded by whistlepunch.
After watching a video tour of art on campus yesterday, I planned to visit a few of the pieces I didn't realize we had today at lunch. I've been at this campus for 8 years and I don't think I've ever been in the O wing corridor before today. My goal was to see the work of Chris Cran and Wendy Toogood - favourite artists of mine and until now I had no idea we had their work on display at MRU.
The Chris Cran piece, Grey Green Crowd #2, is quite large (the picture above doesn't give you a sense of the size) and is placed outside of Communication Studies in O.

Just a ways down the hall - across the outside patio and into the upper level of T wing, you can see the work by Wendy Toogood.  It is applique textile and very vibrant. It is located in my favourite study room on campus - with windows looking out onto the Arts Courtyard. From the second level you can look over into the study room and see the art or you can go down the staircase there and see it in the room.

I'm glad to see Mount Royal is including some great art pieces on campus. Bissett School of Business has begun featuring different artists in their 2nd floor gallery in the hallway.  I'll be paying attention to what they do there - the current exhibition is finishing on Feb 4.

I remember the great art we had everywhere at the University of Lethbridge. We were so spoiled! There was even a Chagall hanging in one of the women's washrooms!

And remember the game Masterpiece? It was one of my favourite board games as a kid and I've been lucky to see some of these amazing works of art as I've visited museums and galleries both in touring exhibitions or on my travels.I still have the set of cards - I have my favourites and I'm sure they've influenced my love of art.

I also know my parents had an influence.  My mom was making her own modern art for our walls - attaching blocks of packing styrofoam and taking a blow torch to them to make a piece that hung in our living room.  My dad took art classes with me when I was in Junior High and enjoyed working with oils. And my favourite art in our house was a wild modern art piece with bright colours that hung above the ironing board and since that was my chore, I spent a lot of time looking at it.

My next art adventure is to get over to the Glenbow Museum to see the exhibit by Brian Eno, 77 Million Paintings. I have until March 20 - so if you are there on March 19 - you'll probably see me there!

27 January 2011

NEVERMORE: The Imaginary Life & Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe

Just got home from the performance of Nevermore at Vertigo Theatre in partnership with the High Performance Rodeo. Wow!! Okay as Jill said, it isn't necessarily for everyone, and Ingrid was still talking about how good the last show, The 39 Steps, was, but I loved it. If you are a fan of Tim Burton's work, and enjoy live performance and music... (all those things apply for me) then this is one to see. It's certainly dark - no quirky happy ending like Nightmare Before Christmas or calypso dancing to Harry Belafonte to lighten the mood, Edgar's life is quite tragic - although I think the number when he meets his first love - Elmira - was a sweet moment. The six members of the cast were amazing - strong singers all and it really proceeds at a breakneck pace - with pauses only occasionally and definitely for effect. Usually one sentence leads directly into the next - barely a chance to breathe. It was developed and debuted by Catalyst Theatre out of Edmonton as a commissioned work for the Magnetic North Theatre Festival in 2009. Since then it has gone on to performances in Vancouver, Toronto, London and just finished a run in New York. I was glad to find the videos below - no soundtrack available, so this way I can enjoy it again. It runs until February 6 so there is still a chance to catch it here.

Next show - Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None!!

Ran into a friend on the way out and was reminded that The Drowsy Chaperone (NOT Drowning as I misquoted - too much of the macabre still lingering?) is coming up at Theatre Calgary. Anyone want to catch that with me??

Edgar Allan Poe

Off to see Nevermore tonight, a play/musical at Vertigo Theatre about Edgar Allan Poe. So I checked out a Qwiki on him before going. Just testing out how the embedding code for this works.

Sunset under a chinook arch

Sunset under a chinook arch, originally uploaded by whistlepunch.

Don't the mountains look so close? This was the view Monday evening from the windows of our office at Mount Royal University. I was working a bit late and a coworker called me over saying that I had to see this. An amazing glow descended on the mountain peaks reflected off of a very welcome chinook arch.

01 January 2011

Happy New Year 2011!

A good start to the new year with a bit of a twist on my traditional New Year Day activities. Although I headed off to Inglewood thinking I could repeat my annual tradition for a few years now of starting with breakfast at EAT EAT and then a snowy walk around the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, we arrived at the cafe to find it closed.  So off we went to the Blackfoot Truck Stop Restaurant where breakfast was in full swing.  The place has been serving up its large portions and famous pies since 1956 but this was my first visit. The walls are very pink and the art is very eclectic - movie posters, trucker art and Native prints. The portions were trucker sized so we wished we had shared one but tasty and got me ready for a brisk walk around the lagoon.  If I make it back again, I will take coins so I can play the jukebox!

The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary is a favourite place of mine in Calgary. I love how you can be so close to the downtown and the busy Deerfoot but the only interruption to the sounds of  crunching snow, congregating ducks and playful chickadees was the occasional plane overhead. No owls, deer or coyotes this year but it was still a wonderful walk.

Now if you get a chance - I'd recommend going to see "The King's Speech". I met a friend for the matinee at Chinook. A great movie and sure to be up for Oscars this year! It made me want to head back across the ocean - so very British. I love the use of fog in some of the scenes and wanted to hear an actual clip of King George VI after hearing his address to the empire at the commencement of WWII. The clip is here on the BBC website in reference to the movie.  I also found this clip of his Christmas address in that same year on the CBC Digital Archives.  It is appropriate for a new year's post and ends with the lines of a poem.

"I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year, 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.' And he replied, 'Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be better than light, and safer than a known way.'"

nRelate - All Sections