Friday, 26 December 2014

Parentverse - behind the scenes of fanfiction

Warning for teases about my next big Parentverse story, "Branching Out". I wouldn't really call them spoilers, your mileage may vary.

One of my hobbies is writing fanfiction. Specifically, Cristina/Owen "Crowen" from Grey's Anatomy.

I just loved this pairing so much that I started writing to fill in the gaps. If they were butting heads onscreen or not communication clearly, I could write a story where they work things out.

I had some little vignettes in my first story "Six Times That Owen Says Thank You to Cristina" and people told me that they wanted to know about what happened in between. Specifically, how did they become parents to the unnamed daughter at the end?

So I wrote "The Twenty-Four Months Before" to explain what happened in the twenty-four months before their daughter, Chloe, was born.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Noro waves scarf in progress

#knitting #noro #wool

A photo posted by Angelamermaid (@angelamermaid) on

Monday, 1 December 2014

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Monday, 24 November 2014

Work in progress

#work in progress #knitting #mice #drawing

A photo posted by Angelamermaid (@angelamermaid) on

Friday, 24 October 2014

Honouring the Fallen

Veterans lining the Highway of Heroes.

This has been a difficult week in Canada. My dad was in the Canadian Armed Forces, I grew up around soldiers. To have two killed in one week because of who they were and the uniforms they wore is a terrible thing.

We remain strong and unified.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Light the Night

I'm having a "Damn, I took that?" moment.

Light the Night

It was an honour to be asked to photograph "Light the Night", a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada.

I wanted to share the most meaningful photo to me. An older woman was holding the little girl up, and she said to the little girl, "Write your name on his shirt, because he's walking to support you."

Light the Night

Friday, 3 October 2014

It's like 2010 all over again.

Because I'm finally using Instagram.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

My contribution to Wikimedia

I couldn't help but notice the Wikipedia Loves Monuments contest happening this month. I looked at it, and discovered that there was an unphotographed monument very close to my house. So I went for a walk recently and ...

now Wikimedia has a photo of the Bow Valley Ranch House, aka the William Roper Hull Ranche House.
William Roper Hull Ranche House

Friday, 12 September 2014

Being someone's little sister

One of the best parts of having a long-lost sister is learning what it's like to have a big sister. I called mine last night, in some frustration over my job search.

She was sad that she couldn't get her Skype to work because she couldn't see me.

I told her I looked like crap. She told me that she wanted to see me anyways.

Long-lost sisters are the best. Everyone should have one. ;-)

Monday, 8 September 2014

Lake Agnes hike

My first fitness goal of 2014 was going to San Diego and walking a 5K Mermaid Marathon in February. Done.

My second fitness goal was the Colour Me Rad 5K. More challenging because part of it involved walking up Canada Olympic Park. The gain was 131m.

My third fitness goal was to hike to the Lake Agnes Teahouse, by Lake Lousie in Banff National Park. Now, a 3.5 km hike may seem easy, until you realize that it's uphill all the way.


I tried to hike it once, on a whim, in 2009. I wasn't prepared for how hard it was and I only made it halfway. Back then, I knew there was something wrong inside of my neck with a pinched nerve, so when the back of my neck throbbed hard, I knew it was time to turn around (in 2010 a MRI revealed that I had a herniated disc, that had ruptured against my spinal cord. All better now thanks to surgery).

It was one of those things that had been marked "incomplete" in my mind. And so, I decided that on August 24, 2014, I would do it. My first two fitness goals were part of the training, I started adding more hillwork and bought trekking poles.

I asked friends and family to join me, and we ended up a brave group of 4. My dream was fixed in my mind. We would get to the top and celebrate with a nice cup of tea in the famous teahouse.

My friend Susan, me, brother-in-law Tim, sister Mary-Anne. All optimistic that we could do it!
Lake Agnes hike 2014

We laid down some expectations first. This was not going to be a race. The goal was to get to the top no matter how long it took. We could stop for as many breaks as needed to catch our breath.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Postcard blog

Rather that turn this into a postcard blog - I made a separate postcard blog. :-) --> Mermaid's Postcards.

Please let me know in the comments if you have a postcard blog you'd like me to check out.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Postcards in the mail, week of August 18

Another great week of postcards in my mail box!

August 18
A private swap from within Canada!
Received postcard

This adorable critter was an official Postcrossing postcard from Finland.
Received postcard

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


Brooks Medieval Faire, August 1, 2014.

Brooks Medieval Faire

Monday, 18 August 2014


Someone did not enjoy her visit to the vet for a check-up. :-)


Friday, 15 August 2014

Postcards in the mail, week of August 11

At this point last week, I was a little sad because I'd only received three postcards through Postcrossing, and I'd been signed up for over two months. I had sent 16 postcards and my first card still hasn't been registered, it was sent to Russia and is now marked as expired.

One week later, I have zero complaints! Because this was the week that things started to balance out.

On Monday, I received this lovely card from the US:
Received postcard

AND - what turned out to be the first card mailed to me. It took 41 days to arrive from Chile!
Received postcard

On Tuesday, I received from Germany:
Received postcard

On Wednesday, from New Zealand:
Received postcard

And on Thursday - this beautiful card came from Russia:
Received postcard

And I received this through a private swap:
Received postcard

Each card is beautiful and I appreciate the care that went into the selection. I am also impressed that the one from New Zealand arrived in 10 days, only one day slower than the German one. Germany is famous for having a speedy postal service.

This was a stressful week, taking the cats to a new vet, to catch up on needles and have some issues investigated. To have colourful postcards arrive from many different countries made me happy, and I'm really glad that I've caught the Postcrossing bug now. I have seven Postcrossing cards in transit to six different countries at the moment, plus about seven in private swaps.

If you're into stats and pie charts (they're cool!), you can see my Postcrossing stats so far.

Mormons and Google

The Mormons are interfering with my job search. Type "Calgary Employment Resource Centre" into Google, and the first hit is, which is not the government resource I was looking for.

I thought I could circumnavigate them while using Google Maps to navigate to the closest government Calgary employment resource centre near me today ... nope. I ended up outside an LDS church.

I'd say it was quite deliberate on their part - they list themselves as "Calgary Alberta Canada Employment Resource Centre" on Google without mentioning the religious affiliation. Those darn Mormons!

... I don't think I've blogged about it publicly but yes, I'm job hunting. I was laid off in June when my company laid off 400 people. And yes, I'm grouchy about being misdirected to the wrong place. :-)

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Postcrossing postcards for swap

I've started a new blog for postcards. My postcards for swap are now at

Trail along the water

If you are in the neighbourhood of Moraine Lake, and want to hike, the trail along the lake is a good one. No hills! You will need to walk on gravel and dirt and around trees.

And there is the occasional footbridge.

And it's beautiful!

Robin Williams

This death was like a punch to the gut. I've been sad about other beloved actors passing, like James Garner recently. But Robin Williams dying is just so hard to comprehend.

My family lived in Moscow from 1977-79 - the one in the USSR. We heard about this brilliant new comic and when we got back to Canada, one of the first TV shows we watched in the hotel room was Mork and Mindy. He lit up the screen and was so wonderful and electric - but you knew that.

I hold no judgement on how he died - depression is an awful and terrible disease and my heart breaks for him. I post this with love - an international list of suicide crisis hotlines.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Water level

Moraine Lake, July 30, 2014.


Friday, 8 August 2014

Rockpile at Moraine Lake

Rockpile at Moraine Lake

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Elk in Banff National Park

No drive along the Bow Valley Parkway is complete without spotting at least one wild animal. Like this handsome fella.


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Moraine Lake again

Last week I went back to Moraine Lake, this time with a couple of friends. The lake was higher, thanks to melted snow, and oh so beautiful.

Moraine Lake

Friday, 1 August 2014

Kitties and the heat

After the unusually long winter we had, I vowed that I would not complain about the heat this summer. So all I have to say is "Wowzers, this week has been a scorcher". :-)

The kitties are tolerating the heat. Here are a few shots from today.

These two are becoming friendlier and friendlier, when Charlie isn't swatting Chloe for some kitty reason.
The big cats

Little Miss Hermione had some hygiene issues last night, ones that long-haired cats are prone to. I insisted on taking her into the bathroom to clean her up. She hasn't quite forgiven me yet. :-)
The little one - sleepy

The little one - annoyed

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Truly a stargazing mermaid

I don't make resolutions. But after I started photographing the Northern Lights, I realized that it has been a long time since I saw the Milky Way with my own eyes. What with living in a city and all. I decided that I was going to see and photograph the Milky Way at some point in 2014.

I've actually made camping plans for later this year to address that. But that wasn't my only plan.

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada - Calgary chapter held "Milky Way Nights" last week during the new moon. It was at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory. I went there as part of a meetup, but due to circumstances, only met one other person. It's okay. Because the event itself was awesome. There were astronomers at all three big telescopes, plus lots of others at smaller telescopes, and a guy with a laser pointer pointing out constellations and planets and stars. I saw Saturn. And a double star that's part of the Big Dipper. And globular clusters. It was fun and I would totally do it again.

And I saw the Milky Way.

Milky Way over Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

Milky Way

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

My long-lost sister

This story was a long time in the making. When I first found out that I had a half-sister, in 2009, I didn't have all of the pieces of the story. There are probably still pieces yet to be revealed, and there is a huge chunk that can never be known because our father has passed away, taking his point of view with him. But on the fifth anniversary of discovering her, our "sisterversary", I thought I would share what I have. Many people have heard the story in person, but there are many more from school and previous jobs that have never heard it. And heck, it is a story with a very happy ending. :-)

My sister, Mary-Anne, is on the left and I am on the right. This was taken at our first meeting.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Test knitting

My friend Susan from Crescent Moon Collective is now selling patterns on Ravelry. For the last couple of months, I watched her knit a new scarf and loved it - I wanted to be notified as soon as she'd written out the pattern.

And that's how I ended up as a test knitter. :-)

I've gone from this:

To this:

Row 2 was the worst - I had to redo it 5 times because I kept getting tripped up on how the instructions were written out. But I finally got it done and am still on speaking terms with Susan. ;-)

Now I'm in a groove and am loving how quickly this is knitting up. The call for testers is still flagged as open, if anyone wants to sign up.

A dish so nice I made it twice

I like to bake and try new recipes. Last week, I tried a a brownie recipe and brought it to lunch with friends. It was a smashing success. So I made it again yesterday, for a girls' gaming night, and it also got rave reviews.

gluten-free turtle brownies

Betty Crocker's Gluten-Free Turtle Brownies
This is super easy with minimal ingredients. Don't let the gluten-free label scare you away - it's moist and delicious.

I made two changes to the recipe:
  • I couldn't find the GF brownie mix, so I used Betty Crocker's GF cake mix instead
  • I added 1/8 cup milk because I worried that the cake mix might be too dry

Recipe link. For those who can tolerate gluten, you might prefer the Ultimate Turtle Brownie recipe instead.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014


Congratulations to David B, who won my giveaway! He chose this as his art print!

Sell Art Online

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

How to become a famous blogger, in the bad way

I'd never even heard of the blog Halfway to Fearless until the author created a thread about it at Get Off My Internets, intending to increasing her web presence. She achieved her goal, but in ways she probably never expected.

Get Off My Internets is a snark site. The forum posters are highly trained to sniff out BS. So they glommed on fairly quickly that the person who started the thread, was actually the author, Beverly Stevens Peevyhouse. They called her on it. Beverly created some sockpuppet accounts* to cover her trail, and even created one for her husband claiming that Beverly died. Yes, she faked her own death when her lies were exposed. In the meantime, forum posters discovered that Beverly had been stealing recipes and photos from other blogs and posting them as her own. She even watermarked the stolen photos.

Bev keeps popping into the thread under different accounts, not realizing that the site administrator was tracking the IP addresses, and the email addresses used to create each account. Partypants, the site admin, had little patience for this BS and went public with the story, thus guaranteeing lots of publicity for Beverly. The bad kind.

As of this writing, Beverly has deleted the blog, her Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts, and is now back on the thread as yet another sockpuppet.

So - this is how become a famous blogger, in the bad way:
  1. Steal recipes and photos from other bloggers and post them as your own.
  2. Create an account on a snark site using an email address easily linked to your blog.
  3. Start a thread about yourself on a snark site.
  4. When creating sockpuppet accounts, don't change your IP address or email address.
  5. Repeatedly threaten to leave when your lies are exposed but don't.
  6. Fake your death.
  7. Finally admit you started the thread but deny the sockpuppet accounts.
  8. Post in a thread where people have discovered your plagiarism and have no problem calling you on it.
  9. Don't know when to stop.

* Sockpuppet accounts are accounts created to be deceptive. Typically, they're created to praise or defend another account or to carry out a hoax. It was determined that Emily Dirr of the Warrior Eli hoax created 71 sockpuppet accounts on Facebook.

Update - congratulations Beverly Peevyhouse, for winning "Best Flounce" in the 2015 GOMI Awards!

Figure Drawing

I was supposed to go to figure drawing Friday night, but after the Eye Drama, felt that I should really just rest.

(The eye is feeling better and the blurry spot has faded to the point where I just notice blurriness when looking at high-contrast lines. I haven't heard from the retinal specialist's office yet.)

ANYWAYS. There was a photographer at the last event I went to. He blogged about the experience - link is very much NSFW.

You may find the post interesting - I know I did! You'll see what the models look like, see different interpretations, photos of the band. There's even a photo of me sketching away with others.

Friday, 11 July 2014

One of these things is not like the other

I noticed some strange blurriness Wednesday and chalked it up to extra knitting this week. Last night, while driving home, I noticed that traffic lights were blurry - and I'm farsighted, with excellent long-distance vision.

I went home and realized that my left eye has a blurry spot. I Googled and the Internet said "Get thee to an emergency room". So I went to the one at Rockyview, because that hospital has an eye clinic and an ophthalmologist on call.

I didn't see an ophthalmologist but I got an appointment at the eye clinic this morning, after ruling out glaucoma and cornea damage and checking to see that my eyeballs have the same pressure.

3:30 am is not a good time to be scrounging for cash and driving around a parkade looking for a pay station, by the way. I finally got myself free of the parkade. As soon as I got home, I put a credit card in my wallet.

I wasn't told to have someone drive me in case my pupils were going to be dilated at the clinic so ... only the left one was dilated, so I could drive myself home after:

One of these things is not like the other

After being examined and scanned and having a lot of bright lights shone into my eyes ... in my left eye I have vitreomacular traction. And the blurry spot is a little bubble. I'm being referred to a retinal specialist to decide if we should wait and see, try medication, or go the surgical route. I have decided that the tissues in the back of my eyeball are going to separate on their own without surgical intervention.

The good news is that they also scanned my right eye for comparison, and it is exactly as it should be. The posterior vitreous detachment is complete

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Grief and heavy appliances

Day 127

I bought an air conditioner today because of an OMG heat wave and I thought it would be good for my allergies. There was nothing on the box that said it had to be installed in a window and I have never bought an air conditioner before. I hauled it home, hauled it upstairs, unpacked it, and then I discovered that it had to be installed in a window. It has to vent the hot air outside.

In some ways, I was reminded of what happened the day before the first anniversary of my father's death. A little early for Throwback Thursday, this is what I wrote on July 28, 2007:

I came home to a London's Drug flyer. Advertising countertop dishwashers. I have wanted one for a while. So I thought to myself that I would get one. Even though I'm planning on buying a condo, hopefully one with a built-in, or room for a built-in. I wanted a dishwasher.

I got up this morning and sprayed Raid on some ants on my living room carpet. Then I used the SpotBot to clean up. I played LOTRO (Lord of the Rings Online). I went to Wal-Mart first for comparison shopping. They don't have any.

It was hot. The whole day has been hot. The whole week has has been hot.

My inner voice questioned whether I really wanted to do this. Was this a way of not thinking about July 28, 2006? The day my father was removed from life support? The day I thought he would die, not knowing it would take him 18 hours to die?

I went to London Drugs and picked out the dishwasher. First I had to go to the camera section to get someone to come out with a cart to get it. Then we went to the cashier.

My Mastercard, the one with a $3,000 increase in my credit limit, popped up "Call for authorization". The cashier was flummoxed. She called someone. The someone said to ask me if I have another card, because otherwise I'll probably have to call Mastercard and it will take about 10 minutes. I do not have another card - well, a Sears card, but London Drugs does not take those.

My inner voice asked if I really wanted to buy a dishwasher. I have no clean spoons. I wanted a dishwasher.

The cashier called Mastercard - first she had to find their merchant number. Then she didn't know the actual physical address of the store that she works in. While she was waiting for the stock clerk to find it, I pointed out that it is printed on a sticker on her phone.

Mastercard said I had to call. They pointed me to a phone - which does not permit long-distance calls, not even 1-800 numbers. I used my cell phone.

I've been using my card more than usual. Well duh. You gave me an increase in my credit limit. Yes, the charge yesterday at Michael's was a purchase that I made. And the online fee to LOTRO. And iTunes purchases ($1!) We went through my last ten purchases. And then my purchase was approved. I do appreciate that Mastercard wanted to make sure my card wasn't stolen or compromised. I do.

The dishwasher wouldn't fit in my trunk. The stock clerk went and got someone to help her load it into the back seat.

It was very very hot by then. I drove home, struggled with the box up the five stairs to the apartment building door (and Lightly Swarthy Guy held the door. Didn't offer to help with the heavy box. Pig). I struggled to get into my apartment. I cleaned off a counter, struggled to get the dishwasher out of the box and onto the counter. I dug out the instructions and doodads.

The stupid thing doesn't work with my faucet. I dismantled the spray nozzle to see if it would fit. No.

The sweat was pouring off my face as I tried to Make It Work. My inner voice said I should have a cool drink and go play some LOTRO. So I did.

I did and I didn't want to go see my father as he lay dying. I was very squicked out at the thought of seeing him. But there was an amends I had forgotten to make the night before, when I thought I was seeing him for the last time. So I went. And I gave him my amends. I don't know if he heard. He was on morphine. And his body was fighting for life. His body was making horrible sucking sounds. On July 28, 2006, I was supposed to be in Calgary. Registering for the Weekend to End Breast Cancer, an event I'd trained for and raised $2,000 for. I wasn't supposed to be standing in the ICU at the Dr Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton. Watching my father's body struggle.

I decided to see if there was an attachment I could buy, to make the dishwasher work with the faucet. I took a picture of the faucet. I put the doohickey from the dishwasher in my purse. I went to Home Depot. The clerks told me I needed to buy a wrench and remove the bottom part of the faucet.

I rent. I had looked at that bottom part of the faucet, and it looks like someone glued it in there. I went and looked at the wrenches anyways. The cheapest is $39.

I realized then, that I was trying very hard to pound a square peg into a round hole. I started to tear up, so I got the heck out of Home Depot and went home. And had more cool liquids and played more LOTRO.

It's going to be a pain in the ass to put that dishwasher back in the box, take it to my car, and take it back to London Drugs, but it has to be done. Maybe I'll borrow Amy's boyfriend for that. Their house is a mess, so he can't say anything about the state of my place.

I was thinking of going to Johnston Canyon tomorrow. My inner voice says I can drive all over Alberta if I want, but I can't hide from the fact that tomorrow marks the first anniversary of my father's death. So I have no idea of what I'm really going to do.

Seven years later, I know better than to try to Make It Work. The windows in my bedroom are casement style and it would cost a lot to seal in the air conditioner. I don't feel it's worth the bother to install it in the office, a room that doesn't need an air conditioner. I'm returning it tomorrow morning when it will be cooler.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Incoming storm

I caught this incoming storm yesterday - I put my camera in Sports mode, because I was actually a passenger in a moving car when i took the photo.
f/8 1/800 ISO 100


Sunday, 6 July 2014


I've been putting some postcards online for sale, and I ordered a bunch to check the print quality. In fact, I ordered extras to give away. Now, Rafflecopter will run the contest for a week, and I thought that postcards wasn't enough of a prize. So I will also throw in an art print of one my photos on FineArtAmerica, 24"x16".

The prize package includes:
  • An art print of one of my photographs, no larger than 24"x16"
  • Two sets of five postcards, for a total of 10. Featuring my youngest kitty, Hermione.


Here is an example of an art print that you could win:

Art Prints

Entry is super-easy - you get entries for liking my Facebook page, or leaving a comment on this post. This is my first contest, let's not over-complicate it. :-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Bad and good kitties

Charlie spends a lot of time running back and forth, monitoring the backyard and the front sidewalk for intruders. He'll get agitated and chatter, but normally I don't see anything.

Last night he was extra agitated - his tail sticking out from the curtains was three times its normal size. I turned on the light for the backyard, and spotted a cat by the back gate. I've seen it before - grey and white, always leaves when I spot it.

So this evening, I heard noises in the back yard and thought that the cat was back. I looked into the backyard and thought, "Oh there's a kitty. That kitty looks like Chloe. THAT KITTY IS CHLOE HOW DID SHE GET OUT?!?"

Perhaps I didn't close the screen door enough, perhaps Charlie figured out how to claw it open - but Charlie AND Chloe were in the backyard. She immediately came back in once she'd been sighted, Charlie was meowing about something so I scooped him up and brought him back. Fortunately Hermione was napping in the living room like a good kitty so ALL KITTIES PRESENT AND ACCOUNTED FOR.

Now I'm going to have to be extra careful with the screen door, and maybe close the patio door if I'm not in the immediate vicinity - which is not easy to say when we're in the middle of a heat wave. I could leave the kitchen window open for a cross-breeze if I have to.

Because this post needs a picture, here is Miss Hermione.
Adorable cat named Hermione

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Baby you're a

Yesterday I went to Heritage Park with a friend, for their Canada Day/50th anniversary celebrations. I stayed all the way to 11, for the fireworks show. It was a fantastic show to top off a great day. Here are three of the 770 pictures I took:

Canada Day fireworks at Heritage Park 2014

Canada Day fireworks at Heritage Park 2014

Canada Day fireworks at Heritage Park 2014

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Colour Us Rad

These are all of my photos, plus the one photo my sister sent me (the first). I didn't take any during the hike because I was in "walk" mode and not "photography" mode.

If you're curious, I recorded the walk with MapMyWalk and you can see the stats and route here.

ETA: MapMyWalk 3D video of the route:

Mary-Anne, my sister, made our tutus. With glittery fabric. I vacuumed lots of colour and glitter out of my car yesterday.

The before.

Taken before we started. This is how much powder was blowing off of each of the colour stations, where young people enthusiastically pelt the runners/walkers with coloured gluten-free cornstarch.

I tucked my eyeglasses safely away and wore mu sunglasses. This is me, happy to not be walking up a fucking ski hill any more, right after I took off my sunglasses.

With the sunglasses. I had no idea that the blue dot of powder was on my nose and Mary-Anne chose not to tell me. :-)

My best ballerina pose.

The parking lot. You could buy extra packets of colour and people were pelting each other pre- and post-race.

I told the young people at the purple station that purple is Mary-Anne's favourite colour, and they made sure to extra-pelt her.

I laughed when I started stripping to have a shower. My cleavage was a rainbow and no, I did not take a photo. I was ready to wash off the sweat-encrusted cornstarch!

According to the race website, the colour will wash out of all clothing. Yeah ... nope. My t-shirt and sports bra still have colour remnants, but that's okay.