Thursday, February 26, 2009

Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday

Tuesday was Shrove Tuesday aka International Day of Pancakes aka Mardi Gras. So we had skinny pancakes with whipped cream and strawberries. And it was good. Very very good. (You may remember our last years' pancaking adventures here, or here) And as of Wednesday aka Ash Wednesday aka the start of Lent, I have given up Facebook until Easter. It may not sound like much, but it is far too good of a time-waster, and already I've had to stop myself from automatically going to the site when I'm sick of translating. Check out Brent's photoblog to read about what he's giving up.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thoughts on the 'West'

"The image [of a single western region] has spread from journalism to youth culture. This is not the old square-dance-and-string-tie image of the stampede and the farm, but a new version featuring baseball caps and snowboards. One hears now of distinctions between a "west style" and and an "Ont style" (for Ontario)--meaning that in the West one encounters greater informality in dress and pastime, but also a superior, outdoors-and-exercise youth culture. The West has come to be defined by Calgary and Vancouver, by the Mountain Equipment Co-op and Kananaskis and Whistler, by Starbucks and Second Cups." From "Why the Prairies Don't Exist" by Gerald Friesen. Thoughts? Does this define your "West"? Or mine? Not the mythical West of the past, but the West that we live today? I would say it comes pretty close to what we live right now. Outdoor activity; the social and environmental values taken up by M.E.C.; by designer coffee (for better or worse). Slightly consumerist, but not entirely. It seems particularly fitting with the upcoming Olympics and the past Olympics that still at least partly define Calgary. But there is the crux. I can say that this fits, but I live in Calgary. Somehow I doubt that someone living in, say Alix, Alberta, or Neilburgh Saskatchewan, or for that matter, For MacMurray, would agree with this ideal at all. So, it defines MY West at present but I'm afraid Dr. Friesen, you've far from outlined the West of 2009 of the majority of Albertans or Western Canadians.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Home again

It's snowing outside, and do you know how I know that? Because I can look out the window from my desk and watch the snow fall. We're moved, thanks largely to the help of my parents and brother T who, in exchange for only a couple of meals and some beer, helped us haul everything up on Saturday. T put away our kitchen, which was really neat seeing as he was very sensible in where things should go, and we giggle every time we go looking for something--"now, where would T put this?" We have some SERIOUS cleaning to do yet in the basement, but we're fairly settled now here, and that makes for a happy Kirstin. When things are cluttered, I'm grumpy. But things aren't cluttered (holy smokes we have cupboard and closet space!) and I am content. And now, back to translation...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A song for my brother

Today is my brother's birthday. This song is in honour of him because he's as big a fan of Josh Ritter as me...although we were both really choked that he didn't show up for the autograph signing session at Calgary Folk Fest last year. "All the other girls are the stars, you are the northern lights." How's that for a good pick-up line?? Happy Birthday, brother!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Valentines Day involved two separate projects for us this year.
I've been reading 1 John lately, and he talks an awful lot about love. So this year I wanted to make Valentine's Day not a selfish thing, where as a young single person I used to mope when I didn't get to do anything and where now, there are certain expectations of what spouses will do for each other. Rather, I wanted to SHARE love. So we made peppermint-topped double chocolate cookies and gave them to our next door neighbours and to some friends. We just dropped over and delivered them and smiled and wished them a lovely day. It felt really good and I hope it was a blessing. Because that was the point. Secondly, we also did a couple-ish thing. We went on a date to a place that was on my list of places to go before I die. The Olympic Oval.
AKA The fastest ice in the world.
Because it was the family day weekend, it was pretty busy. Lots of kids and teens out skating for the first time, on wobbly ankles, using a prop to hold them up.
But the trick is, that we had SPEED SKATES. So we could go SUPERFAST. And we did.
It took Brent a little longer to get used to them than me, because speed skates are a lot closer to figure skates than they are to hockey skates. We were amazed how fast we could glide around the track. Maybe even give Catriona Lemay Doan a run for her money?? Speed skating on the oval was everything it was cracked up to be.
And then we went for coffee.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

First item moved

We went upstairs for the first time since the last tenants left. We looked the place over and started making plans about where things will go and whatnot. We're so excited for the possibilities. And this morning we went up again and the sunshine streaming in the front window was lovely. So we moved our first item up; a plant stool that Brent's parents gave us. The next two weeks are going to be busy and fun!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love Today

Happy Valentine's Day! Post to come on how we decided to love our neighbours; to fulfill "but the greatest of these is love."

Friday, February 13, 2009


Today is Leslie Feist's birthday, so I thought the song of the day should a be Feist song. I know there's some kind of significance to the word "mushaboom" but I can't remember it right now. I really like the lyrics though. Quite fitting to our situation at present. Mushaboom Helping the kids out of their coats But wait the babies haven't been born oh Unpacking the bags and setting up And planting lilacs and buttercups oh But in the meantime we've got it hard Second floor living without a yard It may be years until the day My dreams will match up with my pay Old dirt road, (mushaboom, mushaboom) knee deep snow (mushaboom, mushaboom) Watching the fire as we grow (mushaboom, mushaboom) o-o-o-o-old I got a man to stick it out And make a home from a rented house oh And we'll collect the moments one by one I guess that's how the future's done oh How many acres, how much light Tucked in the woods and out of sight Talk to the neighbours and tip my cap On a little road barely on the map Old dirt road, mushaboom, mushaboom) knee deep snow mushaboom, mushaboom) Watching the fire as we grow, mushaboom, mushaboom) o-o-o-o-old (mushaboom, mushaboom) Old dirt road rambling rose (mushaboom, mushaboom) Watching the fire as we grow (mushaboom, mushaboom) Well I'm Sold...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Enroute to the Glenbow

I'm in the process of trying to finish up the last of my research so that I can focus completely on getting this thesis written, so I've spent the last couple of days on the 6th floor of the Glenbow conducting research. Yesterday at lunch I went for a walk and re-realized how beautiful downtown Calgary is. So today I took a camera with me and captured some shots. Of course, nothing so skillfully taken as Brent might, but I thought I'd share them nonetheless.
The "famous five" discussing women's rights in Alberta. I love the wise look on her face.
The archives, unfortunately very much a concrete structure. Nothing so lovely as in Denmark...
The old town hall, just down the street. I love to hear the bells.
The Jack Singer Concert Hall. We've heard all kinds of musical wonder here!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Ode to My 1977 Toyota Barbara Hamby [Could also read "Ode to my 1984 Volkwagen"] Engine like a Singer sewing machine, where have you not carried me--to dance class, grocery shopping, into the heart of darkness and back again? O the fruit you've transported--cherries, peaches, blueberries, watermelons, thousands of Fuji applies--books, and all my dark thoughts, the giddy ones, too, like bottles of champagne popped at the wedding of two people who will pass each other on the street as strangers in twenty years. Ronald Reagan was president when I walked into Big Chief Motors and saw you glimmering on the lot like a slice of broiled mahi mahi or sushi without its topknot of tuna. Remember the months I drove you to work singing "Some Enchanted Evening"? Those were scary times. All I thought about was getting on I-10 with you and not stopping. Would you have made it to New Orleans? What would our life have bee like there? I'd forgotten about poetry. Thank God, I remembered her. She saved us both. We were young together. Now we're not. College boys stop us at traffic lights and tell me how cool you are. Like an ice cube, I say, though you've never had air conditioning. Who needed it? I would have missed so many smells without you-- confederate jasmine, magnolia blossoms, the briny sigh of the Gulf of Mexico, rotting 'possums scattered along 319 between Sopchoppy and Panacea. How many holes are there in the ballet shoes in your back seat? How did that pair of men's white loafers end up in your trunk? Why do I have so many questions, and why are the answers like the animals that dart in front of your headlights as we drive home from the coast, the Milky Way strung across the black velvet bowl of the sky like the tiara of some impossibly fat empress who rules the universe but doesn't know if tomorrow is December or Tuesday or June first.

More Mittens

I like knitting mittens. They're very satisfying. These ones were for friend K. They remind me of Crave Cupcakes.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Winning the Grammy

We bought the album Raising Sand, by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss at least year ago, so it seems weird that it's just winning awards now. But it's a gorgeous recording. And it won five Grammys last night. So I thought I would blog a song from the album. Hard to choose which song, since there's so many good ones, but if you enter "Robert Plant and Alison Krauss" into a youtube search, you'll come up with lots more.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Way Over Yonder in The Minor Key

Song from Radio 2 Morning today, written by Woody Guthrie and sung by Billy Bragg. We're big fans. Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key I lived in a place called Okfuskee And I had a little girl in a holler tree I said, little girl, it's plain to see, There ain't nobody that can sing like me She said it's hard for me to see How one little boy got so ugly Yes, my luttle girly, that might be But there ain't nobody that can sing like me Ain't nobody that can sing like me Way over yonder in the minor key Way over yonder in the minor key There ain't nobody that can sing like me We walked down by the Buckeye Creek To see the frog eat the goggle eye bee To hear that west wind whistle to the east There ain't nobody that can sing like me Oh my little girly will you let me see Way over yonder where the wind blows free Nobody can see in our holler tree And there ain't nobody that can sing like me Her mama cut a switch from a cherry tree And laid it on the she and me It stung lots worse than a hive of bees But there ain't nobody that can sing like me Now I have walked a long long ways And I still look back to my tanglewood days I've led lots of girls since then to stray Saying, ain't nobody that can sing like me.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Out For A Walk

In my quest to be active every day, we've done a lot of walking lately. Here are some images from one such walk. (I took the first three, Brent took the last one). ;)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Hello February!

Funny news that makes me choke up. Parts of England got 25 cm of snow last night. As soon as we heard that, we rushed to find a live webcam in London to check it out. Above is a picture of Hyde Park. They're not used to getting snow in England...I know that because we asked when we there. Remember in my last post how I get strangely homesick for England? Definitely feeling homesick right now... (Here's another article about all the snow). Happy Groundhog Day! I read a remark today that you can't help but love February because it's just so short and sweet. It IS short and sweet. As a kid I used to love February because not only was there the Family Day holiday, but there was also two "Professional Development" Days for our teachers so we had THREE days off somewhere in February. February was also the best skating/tobogganing month when we were young. What February brings for us: - Moving upstairs at the end of the month. Three bedrooms; BIG WINDOWS; a bigger kitchen; Brent won't bump his head anymore; I'll be able to keep plants alive; a purple front door. - Valentine's Day! We've got GREAT plans in mind. ;) - J's 21st birthday. What should we get him? - Handing in Chapter #1 of my thesis for first advisor editing. Yikes. - Cinnamon hearts. Mmm. - A week of research at the Glenbow. - More running in prep for our half-marathon in June. - Church youth group meeting and event. We're really excited about helping out with youth. - All kinds of other unexpected daily "sparklings of joy." All right February, be short but be sweet too. I'm excited to see what you bring.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Winter in a small town

Last night Brent and I went to see a movie for the first time in a looooong time. But I saw the trailer for this and couldn't resist. As I expected, it wasn't really deep with grand cinematography, but it was sweet and there were lots of parts that felt like small-town Alberta in the winter. In short, I really liked it. So, for a fluffy make-you-smile chick-flick, filmed partly in Manitoba, and complete with ice-fishing, labour conflicts, small-town restaurants and bars and winter-driving, I recommend "New In Town." Now playing in a theatre near you.