04 December 2013

Goodbye Ghost Tree

Christmas 2008 at home
The Ghost Tree
Before I unveil my 2013 Christmas decor, I thought we could have one last look at my white "ghost" tree. I call it that because if I entered the living room with the lights off, it seemed to haunt the corner of the room  - the only thing visible in the dark. This picture is from 2008 when it still had most of your needles and I wasn't quite as frustrated with the process of trying to put it together and wind the green-corded lights around it.  Since that time,  the tree didn't live in this corner but on the opposite wall.  I've returned to decorating in this corner but now it looks quite different. I am still on the hunt for some of my decorating bins in the basement. I haven't located my tree skirt yet so no pictures can be posted until then. I will have Santa back under the tree. He is looking his age (he was our Santa when I was a little girl so that is some old Santa - it is amazing he still has a beard attached to his jolly face) .

Christmas 2008 at home

So --so long to the ghost tree. You will live on in our memories and lots of photos in front of you but thankfully I won't have to live with the dropped white plastic needles for the rest of the year anymore. Your days of shedding all over my home are done.

Disclosure - I now have a baby white tree that lives in my upstairs office. I still do love a white tree.

23 November 2013

More Seurat

I wrote my Friday November 22 post about the Seurat painting I took a photo of at the Art Institute of Chicago and the puzzle we did of it during our vacation.  Then today November 23, I updated my calendar from Thursday. Here was Friday's entry. A study done by Seurat for the same painting. Synchronicity. 

22 November 2013

Flickr Friday: Our Puzzle's Origins

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte (1884 by Georges Seurat)
Art Institute of Chicago
Maybe this is why I chose this puzzle to buy for our week in Arizona. I had forgotten that I saw the original work when we visited Chicago in 2010.

I am much more familiar with the details now than I was at the time.  But I only completed a small fragment compared to Ingrid and Jill - the true puzzle masters of the trip. And Jo-Ann's very very late night efforts also outweigh my contribution. Having the puzzle always set up over the course of the week meant that anyone could sit down and stare and squint and try to see how this green piece was really green, yellow, and blue while this other green piece was really green,  blue and red. It was a lot of that. And having the very last piece actually lost on the carpet until there was nothing else to do but give up or look further afield than directly under our feet didn't help.

1000 pieces -the puzzle completed!

I took one additional photo of the painting in Chicago - this part of the painting was actually part of what I worked on in the puzzle.

I think this young girl is the only one in the painting who is gazing out at the artist. 

For the Whovians out there.... (and in honour of the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who with the special episode this weekend - so exciting!!!) here is the same scene with a bit of a difference.


Daleks are not the scariest of monsters to me anymore. ( I blame Steven Moffat for that).   I am much more freaked out when I turn my back on one of these. I now believe they do come to life if no one is looking. At least this one is missing its fingers so it would be easier to evade its grip as it tried to send you back in time!

Marble statue in the Pergamon
While not truly a Weeping Angel, I couldn't help but try not to blink when I saw it!

21 November 2013

Christmas Countdown

Surprise I came home to. #momhasakeyagain #itsbeginningtolookalotlikeChristmas

I've been thinking that I want to plan to enjoy this Christmas season - try as much as possible to experience the season and not let the busy-ness of my life distract me to the point that I only realize the holiday is here when I am madly attempting to do all of my shopping the day before Christmas Eve. (You think I joke, but I do not.)

Okay - so this all comes because my mother finished her cards before the middle of November and has already had all of her nativities set up. A while ago.  And then on Monday she stopped by my place while I was at work and added the first bit of Christmas decor to my home. (Isn't it pretty?)

And now she has the tree up. The official "time to put the tree up" date has come in the form of my little brother's birthday (Happy Birthday Kevin!) so she is right on schedule. (It will all be down on Boxing day so she needs to get it up early enough to enjoy it.)

The next reminder also came in the form of my first Christmas card of the season.

First Christmas Card of the season. Another treasure from Dianne's mom!

My friend has her mom busy early creating different crocheted ornaments for her cards each year. This year is holly - so pretty!  Thanks!

So I suppose I might be ready to start to think about what I may try to pencil in to my calendar to lead up to Christmas. That's a solid commitment - to begin to think about what I may ...

I have good intentions to send Christmas cards. Or something... something to connect with friends and family and wish them well. Maybe it will be a card. That is something I'll have to think about.

And what do I want to do to make it more like Christmas.  I could have participated in the Nativity Pageant at Heritage Park in some way but that is a commitment that I just didn't think I could make this year. I could have joined the choir - another multiple day commitment. I need to get rid of some of the other commitments I've made before I start adding more. I can however plan to go and see the pageant and hear the choir.

I will put up my advent calendar. It is a definite must for me to know that Christmas is on its way.

Christmas 2008 at home

It hung in my home growing up, made by my Grandma Puzey but it is missing some of the ornaments so I've improvised in the past. I finally bought felt and the sparkly bits last year but never got around to the maintenance task I had planned.  Last year I had my Dad and step-mom living with me so my Christmas was a busy one. There was a lot of de-cluttering and projects going on taking advantage of the help I had at hand. But this wasn't one of them. It will be this year, but this goes back to the idea that started this blog post. I read about some advent calendar ideas on another blog and one click led to another and I found this link.


I like the idea of adding not just the ornament to each pocket on the calendar but also a small card with a Christmas activity on each one. It may be as simple as a Christmas carol or one of my Christmas books. Or it might be an idea of service or some way to connect with someone during the holidays. Do you have some suggestions of what I could write on the cards? What would be on your cards?

Tis the season...all signs point to it!

**Bonus picture: Here is my little brother and sister possibly ready to fire upon Santa should he appear down the chimney. Definitely not in the Christmas spirit kids!

16 November 2013

Jamieson Place Winter Garden, Calgary

After an appointment downtown, I took the opportunity to visit Jamieson Place and their Winter Garden on the +15 level in order to see the Chihuly art glass installation.  I left Phoenix a few weeks back knowing we were leaving just before a full exhibition of his work at the Desert Botanical Gardens and although I still hope to find my way back down by May 2014 before the installation is complete, I was excited to learn that we had some of his work available to view in a public space in Calgary.  The Winter Garden is designed with the Prairie Style of Frank Lloyd Wright as inspiration (another favourite) and includes lush green plants and a living wall on the West side across from the Chihuly piece.  Under the glass is an infinity pool which unfortunately was dry at the time. 

Jamieson Place Winter Garden, Calgary

The glass is all the more amazing knowing a bit about the installation process.  The inner framework of metal spikes and the individual glass pieces of snakey arms and globules arrive disassembled and then from a picture only, Chihuly's minions put together the art pieces. No "put glass tube A on spike A" instruction manual for these pieces.  And so fascinating to see up close.

Jamieson Place Winter Garden, Calgary

Jamieson Place Winter Garden, Calgary

Jamieson Place Winter Garden, Calgary

After visiting here, I headed over to the Glenbow Museum to check out the current exhibits "Transformations: Otto Dix and A.Y. Jackson" and "Made in Calgary: The 80s". Both were great. I found a few new favourite pieces and was able to revisit some familiar pieces I have enjoyed in the past.

Art in YYC

On my way out, I passed through the Epcor Center to see the art in the public spaces there.  I was able to experience the sound installation by Kyle Whitehead as part of Soundasaurus, which is this weekend in Calgary . I made a quick Vine of it - look away if you don't like flashing lights!

There are some art spaces I still have on my "to visit" list here in the city.  We may not have anything to rival the grand art museums of other cities, but if you pay attention and take the time to visit - there is still a lot going on right here in YYC.

July 3: Summer Begins

I found a few pictures in a draft post I never got around to publishing to the blog this summer.  Enjoy!

A spontaneous party with my nephews and neice after work! Yum!

Preparing to welcome the Summer International Students in Stampede fashion!

Students listening for their ticket numbers in the prize draws. I think some were VERY successful at the games.

This was just the beginning of a fun filled summer. Maybe I'll update on this with another "Look back at Summer" post. 

15 November 2013

Flickr Friday: Stained Glass

Israel, originally uploaded by whistlepunch.

I told myself I would start blogging again when I was no longer President of ATESL. Actually, I told myself I would do a lot of things once I had finished my term as President. So far, I haven't quite got there but I am working on it. I've been at my computer and determined to upload photos I've had in the queue to add to Flickr so a handful have been going up each night as I was working on other things.

I've added photos from the ATESL conference, photos from my mission experiences in Korea and finally got around to posting just a selection of the photos from each country on my Mediterranean cruise back in 2011. The stained glass detail at the top of this blog post is from our day in Nazareth and our visit to the Basilica of the Annunciation. I loved the saturated colours of the window panes. Click on the picture to go to the collection and view more! I still need to add Egypt and my last free day in Rome and that trip will be posted. More activity as well as sharing the links has meant many more views of my online albums. What typically was averaging 400-500 views a day has jumped to a record day of 7,261 views and a weekly total of 21,239! Wow. And they aren't that great. I really want to take a photography course and get a decent camera before my next trip. But since there are no solid plans for that yet, I will wait.

My cousin Heidi shared a link on Facebook about a film that is being included in the Calgary Underground Film Festival: Documentaries next Thursday. It is the story of Vivian Maier, a New York nanny who enjoyed taking pictures when she was out in the city. She was what is now called a 'hoarder' but I see it as an intense collector of life. In 2007 someone found her immense collection of the negatives from her street photography when a storage locker she didn't keep up payments for was finally sold at auction and these are now being catalogued and shared as a significant look at life in the second half of the 20th century America. I'm so glad Heidi posted the link!  I had heard about this collection and Vivian shortly after the find and have looked forward to seeing this documentary but had no idea when I might get the chance.  Tickets can be purchased in advance here.  Let me know if you want me to save you a seat!


(Me in 2007 in Cambridge)
We both took self portraits in mirrors before everyone else started taking "selfies". 

01 July 2013

July 1: O Canada

First Sight! The return of our missionary from Guatemala City Central Mission was a highlight for all of us.
I dropped offline for the past 7 weeks but I'm back. May and June had lots of highs and lows both personally and for my family and community. Rather than dwell too much I thought I would add some pictures to capture some of it and move forward instead.

The 35th anniversary concert of Voix Des Rocheuses.

A happy family - glad to have their boy back.

My beautiful Aunt. Found this great picture as I spent much of this month scanning old photo albums. 
Said goodbye with a pink lemonade milkshake at Dave's Drive-in in Cardston.

A stop along the way that provided laughs throughout the weekend. 

The Conrad Mansion in Kalispell. An amazing old home that you can tour.
Took a recommendation from the helpful couple at Herberger's for a Mexican restaurant. A yummy lunch. 

Farmer's Market in Kalispell. Now up by the college.

Flowers at the Farmer's Market.

"The Bungalow" in Whitefish. Gorgeous shop.

A relaxing afternoon in Whitefish.

Last night in Whitefish. An amazing meal sitting at the Chef's table at Latitude 48. 

Sharing a laugh with my sweet niece during a visit at the hospital. She was the undeniable Yahtzee champ.

A pass from the hospital allowed for a walk across the stage as a graduate.

A delightful visit with "Roy" and "Hayley" from Coronation Street.  Fun stories and wonderful to share with my cousin.
Good to reminisce about the shared tradition we have. 

A full day of training at the Family History Library. Worth every minute!

More research in the library. Met (in records) my grandfather's cousin, Clara Rhodes. 

Saw some art, including a piece by Ike Bushman.

Ate from some food trucks.
Managed to pull together a grand meal from 3 different vendors - Waki Paki, Chow Truck and  Rubadue's Saucy Skillet.

Utah Governor's Mansion - we took a tour of this beautiful home.
The girls at the Governor's Mansion. They made the trip so much fun.

First time to Antelope Island.

Enjoyed the Ranch.

...where the buffalo roam.

...and the antelope play.

Saved from the sandblasting from the windstorm inside the Island Buffalo Grill.  

Another buffalo on Antelope Island.

Watched the sunset from the rookery at the end of Ladyfinger Point.

Enjoyed a night of Brazilian Barbeque.

Explored the shops at Gardner's Village. 

Bought funky jewelry at the farmer's market at Gardner's Village.

Got this reaction when he realized I was there!

An action shot.

With the coach.

Being silly and celebrating the end of the soccer season with blizzards and two of my favourite guys as the rains began to fall.

Calgary Alberta, Flood of 2013
And they didn't stop.  Flood in Calgary (photo by Flickr user, Wayne Stadler)

Calgary Flood of 2013
Flood near the Stampede grounds (photo by Flickr user, Wayne Stadler)

Canada Day Eve wiener roast and folk concert at my sister's. 

Each picture has a much longer story with it but for now, it is a taste of the last two months. Starting fresh for July. Happy Canada Day!

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