Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sentinel Pass med vores familie

This summer, like all, it seems, is filled with events and occasions and trips. One of these, which we were really looking forward to, was the visit from my family from Denmark, and the hiking trip that we took with them. It was really neat to be able to share our beautiful mountains with them and to get to know them better--seeing as we're going to visit them again in October!

I should say that these pictures are not straight off the camera--Brent has done some post-processing to make them look like this.
Moraine Lake in the morning (before most of the tourists)

Signage: no groups smaller than four to protect against bears...not that bears would come anywhere near all these people

Our route up the pass

Snow! In July! An unexpected surprise

Our lovely Rocky Mountain scenery

Lovely meadows above the larch trees

Alpine Buttercups

Eating lunch at the pass

There's nothing quite like a nap at the top

We've not had much experience hiking with kids; but my cousin Eskil was so much fun. Lots of energy and funny antics. When I grow up I want to be just like him. ;)

Ponderous music to accompany my pondering

On Saturday, Brent and I went to Folk Fest with my brother and his girlfriend. More on that later, but I thought I would share with you the best artist of the day, the highlight of the day for me, and my new favourite artist. In addition to the intimate concert on a hot and sunny Saturday morning, we got his autograph and a chance to talk to him. A very kind empathetic and interesting individual. And so, here is a song by Martyn Joseph.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another fun summer treat

I really like farmers' markets. So much fresh and homemade goods. Friendly vendors and so much colour. And as cheap or expensive as you make it.

Last night Brent and I went to the Northlands Farmers' Market, which we only recently learned about. It's considerably smaller than the Market at the the Currie Army Barracks, but almost certainly also cheaper (not a yuppified) and still with a large variety of goods sold. We bought some ground beef to try--chemical and hormone free--and some potatoes and onions. And we'll definitely be back.

An auspicious day

The top of Sentinel Pass, Banff National Park, July 19, 2008

Three years ago today we got married! Time has flown by and we feel like in these newlywed years our lives have grown together quite seamlessly--although I'm sure we've had just as many fights as your average couple. ;)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Goals for the summer

I have been inspired from a variety of sources to make some long term goals for the summer and the year to come. This will be the first fall in EIGHTEEN years that I won't be in "back to school" mode and I am so excited about it. Thesis-writing can be more or less an eight hours a day kind of job and I can have HOBBIES and a life! (The whole "job after school is done" issue also looms in the distance, but that requires much more thought yet...) #1 Less TV, more books. We really don't watch much to begin with, but I am constantly reminded how much more I get out of reading than I do out of television. I want to read more good fiction, more about plants and nature in general, more devotional Bible reading, more instructional reading on living simply and eco-friendly and healthily. We just renewed our library membership (for a paltry 12 dollars) and I want to make good use of it. #2 Eat more fruit and vegetables. There's so much fresh produce around during the summer, that I sorely miss during the winter, and I want to eat more raw seasonal fruits and veggies and learn to incorporate more into our daily meals. #3 Work on my Danish skills. We're off to Denmark for my research in October, and as a recent visit with my Danish cousins has made clear, I have much to learn yet before I'll be able to talk or read with any ease. #4 Work on my thesis, obviously. That's really my primary work; my day job. Working on Danish is part of this, but also reading more secondary research (like the local history books) and spending lots of time in the archives (this will be my biggest task of August and September). #5 Be outside. Walking or running or biking or hiking or just being. We crave outside so much in the winter when we're cooped up. The sunshine feels so good, being active also feels good and God gave us limbs that move so we can use them! #6 Take up sewing again. I learned to sew in junior high and LOVED it. But I don't have a sewing machine now and have had no opportunity to sew. But I want to gather things together so that I can indulge this creative desire more again. #7 Play more flute. I played with a friend of mine in church a couple of weeks ago and as I was practicing for it, I remember how much I enjoy playing. And music is a gift that I can give to the people in our church, something that God has allowed me to do that I can share. So I want to play more. #8 Phone people more...or just generally be in better contact with people. All last year I was in such a deep hole of stress and worry and single-minded intellectual effort that a lot of people who are important to me got left on the wayside, at least in my mind. In addition, I've never been very good about talking on the phone. But I want to talk more and learn more from hearing about others' experiences. That's all for now, but I may add more as I see fit. Thanks for reading. :)

Friday, July 18, 2008

How do you solve a problem like Maria?

I was really looking forward to watching the CBC summer reality series casting the role of Maria Von Trapp for a Canadian production of the Sound of Music. I love the story of the Sound of Music and have spent many hours listening to my mum's old LP record of the music. Plus, I love singing and music and I know a lot of the songs they perform.

The show is actually based on a British version of the same and a similar concept, only using Oliver Twist instead of the Sound of Music, was on TV while we were in England.

The show website, which the average Canadian can vote on!

But. And there's a lot of buts, I'm afraid.

There's a LOT I don't like about the show.

#1 The objectification of the women competing for the role. From the beginning of the show, the girls were assigned a colour, and each week their dresses are made of fabric this colour. So much for originality of dress; instead it's all very cutesy. The one girl who was given hot pink as her given colour, was eliminated because she was too bubble-gum pop sounding. Well it sure doesn't help that she had to wear pink every week!

In addition, the announcer insists on not describing the women as the contestants, or the singers, or as individuals but instead continaully and consistently as "your Marias." Gag. They are INDIVIDUALS and in many cases professional singers. So treat them with the respect and credit they deserve.

#2 Of the three judges, one, Simon Lee the conductor, is honest and believable and endearing. The acting judge, John Barrowman, thinks he's hot stuff and keeps referring to "back when I did that play in the West End." We don't CARE that you were in it, just give us some feedback. He's supposed to be so dreamy and wonderful, but I think he's just a jerk. And some of his comments, like "that was fantastic, fantastic, fantastic" or "you're hot hot hot." LAME.

#3 The host, Gavin Crawford, while downright hilarious at times, and certainly capable of being funny as seen on This Hour has 22 Minutes, is often cheesily over the top in his transitional comments and summaries.

#4 For being a CBC and therefore supposedly nation-wide show, why were the majority of the finalists from Ontario. There was not a single one from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, PEI, or the territories. Are we non-Ontarians simply devoid of talent?? Or just can't be bothered with a reality show?

#5 The is more just a comment than a complaint: the production of the show is at times down right awful. The crew forget to turn mikes on (which was at least part of the reason one poor contestant was eliminated when she was--they didn't fix her mike problem until almost half way through her song!) or they forget to turn mikes off, so that viewers get to hear little snuffly noises while we're hearing someone else sing or speak. The camera angles are often odd, or awkward, or poorly timed.

That said, the women performing are incredibly talented. They have amazing versatile voices and have performed really well under pressure. I've also really enjoyed seeing how the judges determine who goes and who stays. Thankfully, Simon Lee, Andrew Lloyd Webber's conductor, has final say on who goes and who stays, because he is the most thoughtful, and I really am enjoying his reasoning for his decisions.

Anyone else watching?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Changes in Lacombe: Pay Attention

This probably shouldn't concern me so much since we don't live in or near Lacombe anymore and may never do so again, but I just hate to see such matters addressed so hastily. Because someone once said "you don't get no where when you're too hasty." So, if there are any concerned Lacombeians out there, particularly if you're a crunchy greenie like me, you should read this letter from the Lacombe Globe: Residents need to be informed about Area Structure Plan. And this one: Area Structure Plan equals life sentence. You should also know about this: Lacombe Lake Spoiled. I find this statement in the plan proposal completely laughable with the present state of Lacombe Lake in mind: In preparation of this ASP, the following objectives were identified by Lacombe County in the terms of reference: 3.1 (e) Safeguard the environmental integrity of Lacombe Lake and protect and enhance the other natural areas and features of this plan area. Ha! If the Lake is already dead, due to failings in the due diligence if the Lacombe County, how can the county be further counted upon to "safeguard" the environmental integrity??? A bit late perhaps?? And here's the whole Proposal, if you're interested. So, Lacombe readers, if we have any, maybe it would be worth your while to go to the meeting tomorrow night at seven at the Lacombe Memorial Center

Stampede Parade

The Calgary Stampede is notorious. And famous, internationally so. We met people in England who knew Canada for three things: 1) the Rockies and the Rocky Mountaineer Train trip (which starts in Calgary 2) the 1988 Olympics which were held in, you guessed it, Calgary) and the famous Eddy the Eagle (Britain's first and only ski jumper) and 3) the Calgary Stampede (it even has its own Wikipedia page).

Personally, the closest I've ever gotten to the Calgary Stampede previously is last year, when myself and my fellow MEC coworkers watched bits of the parade during our morning staff meeting. I've never owned a cowboy hat or cowboy boots, and I doubt that I would buy either simply to wear for a ten day party.

BUT, growing up, the Ponoka Stampede parade was one of the great events that followed on the heels of school being over for the summer. So, when we were, for the first time since we moved to Calgary, able to go to the parade this year, I was very excited. Not to mention, it's another FREE summertime event in the city.

We left our house at twenty after six in the morning, drove to E&B's where we walked with them to the bus stop to catch the bus downtown. When we got down to 6th Ave at seven, there were many people already lining the streets in anticipation of the parade, which was still another two hours away.

Early morning sun on the Calgary Tower

A little cowboy, and the vendors on Stephen Avenue.

The calm before the storm, still at around seven thirty.

Everyone wears cowboy hats, even the Australian tourists.

Never fear, we can handle all early hours and masquerading cowboy crowds with the help of a grande extra hot latte.

The city workers set up camp in the back of their trucks in the intersection across the street from us.

There were something like 21 marching bands in the parade, not one but TWO from Denmark (yay team Denmark!!). This one was in the parade prelude, and came marching through at around eight thirty.

These guys were AWESOME. They are a group of Star Wars impersonators called the Badlands Regiment. We saw Storm Troopers, Darth Vader, and of course this Tuskan Warrior.

Crowds were growing.

We were across the street from the CPR office, and down from the Palliser Hotel.

The Stampede Marching Band

Many many people on horseback, including our wonderful mayor, Dave Bronconnier. There were also some horse riders who we wondered were just in the parade for the opportunity to ride in a parade in downtown Calgary. Heck, if I got the chance, I would take it.

Let me hear some of that sousaphone

Our Member of Parliament, Jim Prentice. We also saw our MLA and good old Ralph Klein (we cheered for him).

The Mounties

One of several pipe bands

The CNR float, which we have to say, was better than the CPR float

Hurray for the Danish Canadian Club!

We Support Our Troops:
their contingent included these marching soldiers, a marching band, one small tank and not one but two full size tanks, squeaking down the street. We cheered for them, and I choked up, thinking of Nathan.

It was a bit unsettling, watching the tanks roll through downtown Calgary and thinking about how different it would be to see tanks in the city in the Middle East or elsewhere.

A big old steam engine from Camrose,
no studded tires to make work for city workers though.

Decorated street cleaner cleaning up behind the horses; they went by several times.

Cute little horses

A little boy at the beginning of a random Christian float: we weren't sure who or what they represented.

Gives you a bit of a sense of how many people there were watching: when we arrived and set up our lawn chairs, we were the only ones. By the end, we had a row of people sitting on the curb in front of us and at least three layers of people behind us.