Monday, 30 December 2013


A Sears repairman came today with the correct part to fix my dishwasher.

Hermione was startled to hear a different voice in the kitchen. She stood by, wide-eyed and nervous.

Then she retreated to the top of the stiars to make sure he was really leaving, after fixing the appliance. He waved. "Goodbye kitty!"

Friday, 20 December 2013


Hug! by angelamermaid
Hug!, a photo by angelamermaid on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
My team lead was told to hug me for a job well done. So he did.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Cuddling up on a cold night

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Training walk

I'm going to do a Mermaid Marathon in San Diego next year. Mermaid Marathons are women only. I'm doing it because I work out better when I have a goal like this, I'll get to meet many online friends in person in San Diego, and it will be a nice break from winter in Calgary.

I went for my first training walk today.

Sunny  day

I go to work in the dark, and I come home in the dark. This much sun hurt my eyes. But it was a good walk.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Advent Meme - Music

My friend Shanna suggested, "How about on December 13, you write about the role that music has played in your life? :-)?

And I forgot yesterday. Sorry!

So. Music. I love music, actually. I'm one of those people who can be captivated by a song and listen to it over and over. Here is a screencap of my Top 25 Most Played in iTunes:

 photo itunes_zps0bafd621.jpg

A few notes:

  • It's not just that "More Than A Feeling" is a classic rock song. It's got that killer glory note in it. And in my Walter-Mitty daydreams, I can nail that note to great applause. When in real life, I'm tone deaf and karaoke is not for me.
  • My love for ABBA is no secret. During the dark and rough years of living in Moscow, ABBA was something that made me happy. And still does.
  • Most of these songs are on my "Magic Beans" playlist. I turn to this playlist when I need a pick me up or just want to rock out.
  • Some of these songs have very specific meanings. I find "May It Be" to be a good song when I'm in a meditative or contemplative mood. I interpret it to be a song about letting go and having faith that you are on the journey you were meant to take.
  • During a rough bit of turbulence on a flight, "Orinoco Flow" popped up on my iPod, and I was able to visualize a ship breaking through the waves, much like the plane was breaking through air streams, and it calmed me.
  • This version of "Raggle Taggle Gypsy" has a great drum battle in it. I was thrilled to hear it in person when I saw Celtic Thunder in concert.

Sometimes I associate certain memories with the music playing at the time. I can not listen to "Caribbean Queen" because it was playing on the radio when I had an automobile accident. When my university boyfriend was coming over because we "had to talk", I turned off my music because I didn't want to associate Corey Hart with being dumped. And yes, he broke up with me.

Despite being tone deaf, I was in two musicals in university. In the chorus, because I can manage to sing in tune when singing with others. I was in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat" and "Godspell". "Godspell" wasn't written with a chorus, but there were a lot of people who wanted to be in the show so artistic license was used. Both experiences were fantastic.

I listen to music on public transit when I want to drown out the people around me having TMI conversations.

My favourite era for music is the 1980's, when I was a teenager. My two favourite radio stations both feature '80s music.

Concerts I have attended:

  • Kris Kistofferson
  • Gowan/Supertramp
  • Gowan
  • Corey Hart
  • Platinum Blonde
  • Doug and the Slugs
  • Celtic Thunder
  • Star Wars in Concert
  • Straight No Chaser
  • Paul McCartney

So that is a brief look into how music has influenced me. I could write posts on my different iTunes playlists alone. :-)

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

What I did tonight

I meant to draw. I got out my Wacom tablet and started futzing around in Photoshop, and then I started to Google tutorials.

This is not a drawing. This is a Photoshopped picture from a photograph I took this summer. This isn't what I intended to create, but it was what I was meant to create. I love it.

Young Fiddler photo vshop03r_zps3af1d34b.png

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Wonder Woman Garden Gnome

On my LiveJournal, I asked people to pick a day in December and topic for me to post about.

So far:

  • Dec 10 - "What do you paint, and do you have favorite painters?"
  • Dec 13 - "The role that music has played in your life."
  • My choice of dates - "Canada"

Feel free to suggest more!


So. Painting. Well, the sad thing is that I don't paint much anymore. In another life, I painted Barbie dolls.

Most of my 2013 creativity has gone into rediscovering a love of knitting. The good thing is that my inner voice is screaming at me to produce more artwork. I picked up a pencil and started sketching over the weekend. Part of the reason I'm clearing out a corner of my basement is that I can have a creative space.

Background information - in 2009 I discovered that I have a half-sister, Mary-Anne. She is now one of my best friends.

But I did paint something in 2013. My sister once said that she'd like to have a garden gnome painted like Wonder Woman. I kept that filed away in the back of my mind. In 2013, Mary-Anne turned (a number I won't make public). We usually make our birthday presents for each other, and I knew that I needed to really go big this year.

So I loaded pictures of Wonder Woman on my iPad, went to a Colour Me Mine shop, and with the help of one of the extremely enthusiastic employees who LOVED the idea:

Wonder Woman garden gnome

(Posing in my garden)

Her cuffs are painted silver to represent Wonder Woman's bracelets. The flowers are red and yellow as the best representation of the eagle on her leotard. (The only other female garden gnome in the shop was carrying a basket).
Wonder Woman garden gnome

Naturally she needed red boots with a white stripe, just like Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman garden gnome

And her braids are tied with yellow. And she has a yellow belt, of course.
Wonder Woman garden gnome

The skirt could have used a couple more coats of blue, but after four coats on two visits, I was done. The extremely enthusiastic employee added another coat (with my permission) and it still isn't perfect.

But that doesn't matter. Because when I put the gnome in a Wonder Woman shopping bag and handed it to Mary-Anne for her birthday, she knew from the weight what I had done. She knew that I'd remembered what she had once said, and I made that wish a reality. She loved it.

There's a new Colour Me Mine one neighbourhood over. I'm planning on certain Star Wars garden gnomes for my 2014 garden.

As for the second part of the question - I'm fond of Da Vinci, Van Gogh. I have a Matt Busch Lost poster that I really like. My late grandmother gave me a painting she'd done of one of my cats, and I treasure that.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Calgary is freaking cold

-40 wind chill advisory. If you value our friendship, you will be kind if you share the current temperature in your area. ;-)

I haven't driven my car since last Saturday and with the -40 advisory, I knew I had to plug in the block heater tonight. I speak from experience that if you don't plug in a car in -50 wind chill, the compressor can freeze and it will take a mechanic to get your car to start again.

First, I started Lily to make sure that I could. She protested a bit in the beginning, but started without any coaxing. I let the engine run while I did everything I needed to.

I also haven't brushed the snow off of Lily since last Saturday. The snow on the hood was over a foot thick. I brushed off the hood so I could open it to pull out the plug for the block heater.

It is freaking cold

It is freaking cold

So now Lily is plugged in and I have the assurance that she can run when needed. I hope I won't need to go out into this cold again.

Lily is a 2007 Saturn Ion with standard transmission. I used to have a Nissan Micra with standard transmission that needed coolant antifreeze below -10C, I'm happy that Lily is much hardier.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

The best of friends

The best of friends by angelamermaid
The best of friends, a photo by angelamermaid on Flickr.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

I'm not sure what's funnier - God having a Twitter account or Him following @JustinBieber.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Paleo Breakfast cookies

Paleo Breakfast cookies by angelamermaid
Paleo Breakfast cookies, a photo by angelamermaid on Flickr.

The recipe came from Gluten-Free On A Shoestring. Gluten-free and dairy-free!

Out of necessity, I made some substitutions. The weather was cold and the roads a bit icy yesterday, so I chose to go to local supermarkets rather than a health food store. I couldn't find coconut palm sugar so used regular sugar. I couldn't find pumpkin seeds so I substituted unsalted sunflower seeds. I forgot to put vegetable shortening on my list, so I used coconut oil.

And I should've checked to see if I had honey - I don't! I only discovered that halfway through baking tonight. I used maple syrup with a squirt of molasses and two squirts of corn syrup.

I tried one tonight - yummy!

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day by angelamermaid
Remembrance Day, a photo by angelamermaid on Flickr.
Via Flickr:
A picture of a picture I found in my files. I was looking for pictures of my father in uniform and found this. I think this would be 1971 or 1972.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Post-op life. With silly gifs.

... I've been thinking I need to start cutting out sugar again. I did it once, years ago, but it crept back in. Because sugar is magical and sparkly.

 photo 9a928o.gif

Now, in my post-op life without ovaries ... I'm starting to see a correlation between eating too much chocolate and getting a migraine.

 photo 51yiph.gif

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

A true story told with silly gifs

Tonight a very perky young lady rang my doorbell. She said something about making sure I got my green benefit on my energy bill, I seem to have been skipped?

I was right in the middle of playing a game on my iPad and I was cooking supper. So I made her repeat herself and she kept speaking really quickly and throwing out words like "green" and "discount" and saying things "Have you heard about _____?"

 photo ax08z8.gif

My hackles raised because she was talking fast and not making sense, while trying to make it seem that she knew all about something that I should know about.

Impatient cat photo CatTap_zps1bb3ccfd.gif

I asked her who she was and she said was from "Green SomethingSheSaidReallyFast Energy" and they supply energy to my gas company. And then she asked to see my last bill to see if I got the discount.

No no no cat photo post-25055-NOPE-cat-gif-OzfF_zps00bad46e.gif

So from her point of view, it was okay for her to see my Enmax bill, because her company supplies power to Enmax. She said, "Haven't you seen the wind farm near Lethbridge?" and I'm all dazed and I say, "I don't drive down there."

Girls Aloud Kimberly photo 6320_900_zps13c351d5.gif

Anyways I refused to show her my bill (with my name on it...) and she said I could check it myself to see if I got the rebate and I asked what she was selling and she said she wasn't selling anything and I had enough.

 photo x0v59y.jpg

So I told her that I wasn't showing her anything and I was sure she was trying to sell me something that I didn't want and as I shut the door, she shouted out that she wasn't trying to sell me something!

Nope ponies photo 49436-nope-gif-pandawhale-jegy_zpsada9fc77.gif

I briefly wondered if I was turning into the neighbourhood cranky old fart.

Tinfoil hat conspiracy cat photo tin-foil-hat_zps1137f527.jpg

And then I started to eat my supper and was cruising around some favourite sites when I saw this headline: Complaints roll in about door-to-door energy marketers.

 photo 2i0qbm0.gif

Angry Sandy photo giphy_zpsdc3912d2.gif

I was right to shut my door in her deceptive little face!!!

Girls Aloud fabulous Nadine photo tumblr_inline_mpqqx8edzK1qz4rgp_zps8691aa85.gif

 photo 1448ftx.gif

And now I'm getting sleepy and should probably go to bed. The cats are demanding their nightly bedtime treats.

Sheldon and cats photo anigif_enhanced-buzz-27619-1375801508-0_zpsfaa7c618.gif

Monday, 21 October 2013

Model shoot - October 20

Yesterday I went to a photography meetup - it was a bit of a mess. And I underestimated how much walking there would be and how much it would affect me almost 7 weeks post-op. I was exhausted yesterday and today. But it was a good learning experience for trying different locations and about photographing people. We were split into different groups of photographers and rotated models.


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Moon photography

From a park in the neighbourhood.
The moon in Calgary

From my backyard, with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Friday, 18 October 2013

House plans

I love crown moulding but realize that may be out of my DIY league and frankly, more work than I want to put into it. So I was thinking it would be nice to find a white or pale wallpaper border to put up instead - turns out that there are wallpaper borders made to look like crown moulding. Hmmm.

I also need to figure out a way to cover up the exposed wall behind my new thermostat - don't be shy, suggest something. :-)


I really like the thermostat. It has three programs - weekdays, Saturday, Sunday. The Nest looks super cool and appealed to my geek heart - but I couldn't justify spending $250 on a thermostat when the whole point was to save money on my utilities bill.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Six weeks post-op

And I'm feeling groovy! Okay, I was tired after work today. But I'm getting stronger.

So far, no issues. I have my post-op appointment with Dr Perky next week.

TMI after the cut ...

Tuesday, 8 October 2013


I had a long post composed in my head ... but it's late, I'm sweaty and need time for a Lush-full shower before bed.

"You can't park there!"
Today was my first day back at work, post-surgery. I drove to a little side street, where I can legally park all day and is relatively close to the train station. As I parked and got my bag out of my car, I saw a man in a nearby driveway looking at me with a hard face. He was helping his kids into his SUV but he kept looking over at me like I'd done something to piss him off.

Eventually he started calling over to me. In essence, he feels the space in front of his house is part of his area and I can't park there.

Well, yes I can - I've carefully looked for signs saying I can't and they don't exist. There are restricted zones and no parking zones around - but not where I was parked. And I'm not the only person who parks there and walks to the station. And there is still plenty of space to park on that street.

However, I chose not to engage in a discussion - he'd clearly worked himself up to be quite angry and irate over what he considered to be a trespass, and me, I wanted to get to work on time.

So I said I was sorry, I hadn't thought I was blocking anyone, but I would move my car. He continued to yell about all the "train parking" and how it had to stop as I put my bag back into my car and I moved. I parked across the street from him and placed a very firm mental image of his house in my mind, complete with the lovely blue spruce in his yard. So that I won't park there again.

I mulled it over on my way to work. He made the choice to be quite angry and I made the choice that I wasn't going to join the fight.

I did get to work on time and many, many people welcomed me back.

"You can do it!"
Last spring, I decided I should buy a programmable thermostat to save on heating expenses (natural gas). But the thought of installing one was very intimidating. A coworker offered to install one for me when I bought one.

I bought one recently but said coworker is getting ready for a fantastic well-earned vacation so I didn't ask him. When I inquired about assistance on Facebook, I was told that it would be so easy to install. I thought it would be so easy to electrocute myself.

Bit by bit, my friends and family talked me through it (and my brother offered to do it in two weeks time when he'll be in Calgary). First I had to figure out which breaker the thermostat was on. Only one of the switches was labelled. I spent one evening turning off breakers, then going upstairs to see which lights went out. I labelled them as I went, for future reference. And eventually I figured it out.

Last night was the first night I attempted to install the thermostat. I took off the cover and unscrewed the bolts going into the wall. The baseplate of the existing thermostat was seemingly glued to the wall. Everyone told me it was just paint. Today, some of my coworkers said to score along the baseplate with a knife and pry it off. So on my way home, I bought a bad ass box cutter and a flat scraper.

By this point, I'd lost my intimidation and was determined to get that thermostat installed damn it!

It turns out that I didn't need the cutter or the scraper. The baseplate just popped off. Huh.

So I kept going. One of my brother's tips was to photograph the wiring before I disturbed anything. So I did, and put the pictures on Facebook. I'm handy enough that I was able to mount the new baseplate and level it without asking for help.

It got a little trickier with the wires - from the Googling I did last night, I was expecting a white wire and a red wire with my ancient analog thermostat. I found a white wire and a black wire. I sensed that the black should be treated as the red wire, but needed some confirmation.

My cool aunt called and put her husband on the phone. He confirmed that black=red and asked about the terminals. I wasn't able to describe them over the phone, so I took another picture and uploaded it to Facebook. He also had some tips for me about trimming the wires.

I almost had to go to Wal-Mart for a teeny tiny screwdriver for the teeny tiny screws on the terminal. When I went upstairs to change, I spotted a nail file. That was teeny and tiny enough for the job.

improvised screwdriver

And eventually, it was all put together. I turned the breaker back on, cranked up the heat ... and it worked.


After I posted about it on Facebook, I read the manuals and figured out how to switch it to Celsius. :-)

So I went from "I can't install that" to "heck yeah, I installed that!" Felt good.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Three weeks, two days post-op

I'm slowly getting stronger, but tonight I'm feeling like I have so much more to go. It could be that seasonal allergies are bringing me down, and all of the antihistamines aren't helping me feel energetic.

I have one incision that is still sore and not healed. Hopefully that will heal over soon.

The doctor's office hasn't called with a pathology report, which I take as a positive sign.

This week, I started working from home. I really appreciate that I can do it, because I know I don't have the stamina to deal with my commute. I could only do it with a handicapped sticker so I could park at the station and not walk two blocks, and also I'd need a guaranteed seat on the train, which will never happen. But at this point, I'm not even allowed to drive. I can start driving next week.

I miss seeing my coworkers, and being able to talk face to face. They've been very kind about reaching out to me and the situation is as good as it can be. I know I'll feel stronger soon and then I can back into my normal routine. Hopefully I'll remember how to put on make-up when I do finally get back to the office. ;-)

Friday, 20 September 2013

I finished a knitting project!

Finally, I can show you a knitting project that is finished - because the recipient is me! So I won't be spoiling myself by posting the photos. ;-)

This is Megan Goodacre's Montgomery Scarf pattern. A good one for beginners - it has a variety of textures without being complicated. The yarn is Bernat Roving.



This project on Ravelry.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The kitty intruder returns

Charlie growled at the back door again tonight. I turned on the backyard light - the intruder was back, standing by the door and looking very friendly. She has a very sweet face, very clean and fluffy fur, and a collar. She's also smaller than Hermione and I just wanted to pick her up and snuggle her.

BUT. That's not how things work when you already have three cats. Especially one that is doing his duty as Alpha Cat and telling the intruder to buzz off. So I opened the door a bit and she ran to the back of the yard. I opened the door some more, because I realized I'd left my clippers outside, and she left the yard entirely.

One minute later, she was back by the door so I had to scare her away again. I patted Charlie and told him what a good guard cat he is and gave him treats. He was on duty so he didn't eat the treats.

Part of me is worried about the other cat, because the temperature is dipping low tonight. But she really looks like she has a home. And putting out a cat bed for her, one that she could climb into for shelter and that my cats don't use, would probably be the wrong thing to do in the long-term.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Keep your religion out of my business

When I open an eagerly anticipated package, the first thing I want to see is not:

Unwanted Christian propaganda while ordering lego

So I'm posting about this and have left a note on their Facebook page that I won't be ordering from them in the future. I ordered a Lego set, not a Bible.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Backyard intruder

I've suspected for a while that animals have been visiting the backyard. There was that one night where Charlie got growly at the back door, and I found flattened grass between a trellis and the fence the next morning. The water in my fairy garden pond keeps disappearing, even after a good rainfall. My pepper plants look nibbled on. There are no peppers.

Tonight I was in the backyard playing with the Google Star Maps app on my phone. I felt something soft brush against my left ankle, like a breeze. I continued with the app a little bit, then looked towards the house.

Outlined against the light of the kitchen, I saw a cat sitting on my steps, up against the patio door. Looked like a young Hermione with grey fluffy fur from behind. Inside the kitchen, I could see Hermione slowly approaching the door, crouched to the floor.

I called out to Mom, who came to the door and clapped her hands, scaring away the cat. The intruder ran away, squeezing between the gap between a fence post and the neighbour's fence. She thought the cat was pretty, and well-cared for, her fur looked clean and fluffy.

Charlie yowled and patrolled the patio door until we closed it. We told all of the cats how brave they were, defending the house. :-)

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Home again

I spent one night in the hospital and came home last night. I'm sore but okay. Today I rest!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Quick update

Surgery went well. I'm resting .

Monday, 2 September 2013

Steps for future health

Tomorrow (Sept 3), I'm having laparoscopic surgery. This isn't urgent or life-threatening, it's something that needs to be done sooner than later.

Warning - this post is about women's health, what's going on with my health, and discussion of lady parts. I won't get explicitly detailed unless necessary.

In the last few years, there has been an alarming increase in cancer amongst the women on my mother's side of the family.

In 1986, my mother's identical twin passed away from breast cancer. A few years ago, another of my mother's sisters was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. At the same time, I was having some post-menopausal irregularities. I went to my family doctor and he referred me to an OB/GYN. I had an ultrasound which showed ovarian cysts. My following ultrasounds showed that the cysts shrunk. I also had an endometrial biopsy that found a benign polyp.

Last year, another of my aunts was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. One of the oncologists suggested that the women of the family start looking into genetic screening. I wrote up the family history of cancer, took it to my doctor, who immediately agreed to refer me.

Here in Calgary, I was referred to the genetics clinic at the Children's Hospital. If I were a character on a TV show, I would've been tested and had my results already.

In the real world, genetic testing is like looking for a needle in a haystack. The clinic needs to know what to test for - so one of my aunts with cancer would have to be tested first. Then I could be tested. Both of my aunts signed consent forms to share their records with the Calgary clinic. Aunt A had already agreed to be tested.

(There is another way for me to be tested - if I were exhibiting clear symptoms of having cancer, I'd be tested. While I have irregularities, I don't show distinct signs of having cancer. So yay for that.)

Many of us in the family started sharing medical information. I found out that another aunt and a cousin had hysterectomies after pre-cancerous cells had been found.

My arrangement with my OB/GYN was that I would see her every time I had a period. I entered menopause fairly young, so it's been possible that there are a few eggs left. I have yet to go twelve months without a period - the record is eleven months.

(Blood tests since 2010 confirm that I am in menopause.)

So I diligently saw her each time, and she diligently sent me off for another ultrasound. I had another period in March, then followed up with my OB/GYN. It had been over a year since my last biopsy, so she did another biopsy in her office (ouch!).

The pathology report showed simple hyperplasia in my uterus - the beginning stage of pre-cancerous cells.

So my choices were - treat it with progesterone to try and reverse the hyperplasia and have frequent biopsies to monitor the situation. Or - have a hysterectomy, and remove my ovaries at the same time, given my family history. It didn't take too long to choose surgery.

This appointment took place during my lunch hour. I went to the nearest Starbucks, and while standing in line, started to wonder what had just happened. Had I really just agreed to surgery?

So I walked out, and around the block, and freaked out. Then I pulled myself together. I have been very diligent about getting checked out so that I can avoid cancer. Now that something had been found, it was time to eliminate it. My friends and family have been very supportive.

The only negativity I've experienced was at an energy sharing meetup. One woman told me at length at how her daughter also has pre-cancerous cells but has been holding off surgery. Then she lectured me at length about what I should be doing, including herbal cleanses and eliminating all sugar. It was really unpleasant. (As are herbal cleanses - I tried one once, and had to stop it, because my energy dropped dramatically.)

By the time Aunt A's test results came in, her grand-daughter had a hysterectomy. Cousin J's pathology reports show uterine and ovarian cancer and she is about to undergo treatment.

Aunt A's test results showed a mutated BRAC2 gene. I was worried, because while waiting for my surgery, I didn't want to have to consider a mastectomy too, if I had the gene.

My genetics counsellor spoke with her colleague in Halifax who did the testing - and reported that the mutation is not directly linked to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. (Whew!) It is a VUS (Variation of Unknown Significance).

So now the genetics team is waiting to see if Cousin J will undergo testing. They think Lynch Syndrome may be the genetic link between all the cases. Lynch Syndrome carries an increased risk of colon, uterine, and ovarian cancer at a younger age. Cousin J is about 10 years younger than I am. If she has it - then I'll be tested for the gene.

Right now ... I'm nesting. Preparing the house for me to just sit around and heal after the surgery. My sister will be with me at the hospital, and my mother is flying in to stay with me after. The cats will be happy to have me home, at least.

Tonight I read something on Cheryl Richardson's Facebook page that helped ease my anxiety. I commented about that, mentioning I was about to undergo surgery. She wrote back with this bit of loveliness:
Affirm: Every hand that touches me is a healing hand. I wake from surgery feeling peaceful & calm, I am cared for by a Divine Loving presence every moment of every day. I'm adding you to my prayer list. You are going to be fine.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Folklorama 2013 - Celtic Ireland Pavilion

Continuing on with my Winnipeg pictures - after the Ukrainian pavilion, we went to the Spirit of Ireland pavilion. This one was hosted by an Irish dancing school - all of the students perform at Folklorama as part of their course. The production standards were quite high, and very pleasing to the eye.

And the dancing was supreme.
Spirit of Ireland Pavilion

Celtic Ireland Pavilion

Celtic Ireland Pavilion

Friday, 23 August 2013


Moon by angelamermaid
Moon, a photo by angelamermaid on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
When I was younger, I asked my parents for a telescope. I envisioned a really cool telescope that I could closely examine the moon with, maybe spot a few planets. They got me a foldable telescope that you might see on a sailing ship.

So in 2013, it boggles my mind a bit that I can see the moon like this, with the telephoto lens on my camera.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Ukrainian pavillion - Folklorama 2013

Sir Paul McCartney was the reason I decided to go to Winnipeg. But he was far from being the only entertainer. Every year, Winnipeg hosts Folklorama. Different pavillions are staged throughout the city for two weeks, highlighting some of the different cultures of the residents. Basically, there's food, entertainment and information. I happened to arrive right in the middle. My brother and sister-in-law go every year, and it was really fun and rewarding.

The first one we went to was the "Spirit of Ukraine". Since we're half-Ukrainian. The food and entertainment was awesome.

Ukrainian pavillion

Ukrainian pavillion

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Paul McCartney Concert

When it came to purchase a seat, I decided to go with ergonomics. I chose a seat directly facing the stage, on the other side of the stadium. I figured there would be huge video screens and I was right. So it didn't matter that Paul was actually two inches tall. The video and audio were superb.

By the way, I had no idea that the concert would be in an outdoors stadium until a couple of days before. I'm not from Winnipeg, I flew in for the concert. Paul McCartney

 I chose not to bring my Jedi camera with me - I figured that with a removable lens, I wouldn't be allowed to use it. Good call - as my backpack was being searched by security, a woman who did bring a camera with a removable lens was told to take it back to her car (which wasn't with her) or leave it with security. She was arguing that point when I was allowed to enter.

 So I brought my Lumix - and I must say, it outperformed my expectations. I switched between the automatic setting or the "night scenery" mode.

As we entered the stadium, there were cover versions of Paul's work playing. At 8, when the show was scheduled to start, the video screens lit up with many photos of Paul's life, from a child all the way to present day. Without much ado, Sir Paul McCartney came out and started to play. There was no opening act, he didn't need one. This picture is of one of the giant video screens, and teeny tiny Paul. Paul McCartney

I stretched the limits of how much the Lumix can zoom in. Here's Paul. Through scaffolding, because of my seat. Paul McCartney

A shot of a video screen. He removed his jacket about three songs in and said that it would be the only wardrobe change of the night. A kind of cheeky way of saying he didn't need costume changes to put on a good show.
  Paul McCartney

 Paul spoke a bit about John Lennon and sang "Here Today" in tribute. I couldn't get a good photo of the digital waterfall behind him. This shot is zoomed in on actual Paul. Paul McCartney

And another shot from a video screen. Paul McCartney

 There were two giant video screens. Paul McCartney concert

This ukulele belonged to George Harrison, who gave it to Paul. He used it to start playing "Something In The Way She Moves", and then rocked out the rest of the song, as pictures of George appeared in tribute. Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney

The graphics and video clips were very good and enjoyable to watch. This is "Back in the USSR". Paul McCartney

Sitting at one of two pianos. (Video screen shot). Paul McCartney concert

As the tempo changed during "Live and Let Die", flames shot up on stage. As I readied my camera to photograph the flames. fireworks shot up. Well played. Sir Paul McCartney

This piano was for the more whimsical numbers. (video screen shot) Paul McCartney concert

 I went to the concert for many reasons - I love his music, I love Paul, I'd never seen a Beatle in concert, this may be my last opportunity to see Paul McCartney - and because I wanted to sing "Hey Jude" in the audience, like the audience does in the "Good Evening New York" CD. It happened and it was wonderful. I and a stadium full of happy people sang together with Paul and for Paul. I smiled the whole way through. Paul McCartney

For the first encore, Paul brought out a Canadian flag, and one of his bandmates carried the British flag. Paul McCartney

As part of the second encore, during "Mull of Kintyre", the Winnipeg Police Pipe Band marched onstage and accompanied Paul. Paul McCartney

Another shot of a video screen.

Paul McCartney

I believe this was the last song, "The End". Paul McCartney

Red and white fireworks exploded in the sky, as a nod to Canada. Paul McCartney

 And then red and white confetti. Paul McCartney

A few people have asked if Paul was showing his age (71). I would say "no". He moved around the stage comfortably, standing and playing guitar for long periods of time, and also playing on two different pianos. He rocked it with his bandmates, and put on every appearance of enjoying himself.

Early in the show, he took a minute to "take it all in", staring all around the crowded stadium. He was chatty, funny, and very friendly. I am so glad that I took this opportunity to see Paul in concert. I went in with hopes of hearing certain songs. He sang them all - except "Silly Love Songs". But that's okay, because what he did sing, he sang well. :-)