Sunday, August 4, 2013

Brandon to Fredericton: MB to NB: Our Epic Road Trip

Since I'll be moving the 3500km from Brandon, Manitoba to Fredericton, New Brunswick at the end of this month, Cowboy Tex (formerly known as Farmer Joe) and I planned our holidays around taking a road trip there so that I could get a feel for the place! It was lovely and I'll try my best to create a mostly-pictures-few-words blog post all about it.

I've always known Canada is a beautiful country. I've driven all the way to the West Coast and taken the ferry to Vancouver Island, but I hadn't, until this trip, driven East. (Manitoba is in the centre - kind of - of the country, for those not up to snuff on their Canadian geography).

Northern Ontario is majestic, almost as much so as Western Alberta and British Columbia. It makes up the southern portion of the Canadian Shield and it is wonderously rocky and full of coniferous forests covering rolling hills and valleys.

Lake Superior, living up to its name.

Quebec is a bit more like the prairies that I am familiar with, very much an agricultural province. Quebec intimated the heck out of me because its official language is French. Despite the fact that I wish, more than many things, that I spoke French, I do not. I feel very guilty about that. Perhaps after I complete my Master's, learning French will be the next thing on my list.

I spent a lovely, albeit swelteringly hot, day and two nights
in Montreal with a dear friend of mine. 

The city is brilliant in its historic nature and vibrant culture.
I've been told by many people that I would love Montreal and they were not wrong! 
It would have been wonderful to have taken
actual engagement photos here, but it was so
hot that I just couldn't bring myself to change
into something engagement-photo worthy.

New Brunswick was breath-taking! After a rather flat Quebec, our most eastern destination presented us with rolling hills and vibrant greenery. The St. John River runs right through Fredericton creating a consistently cool breeze to blow throughout the city. 

Fredericton, as a city, is wonderful. It is a small city (60,000 people). It is a city full of art and culture. It is a city with a strong government and military presence.
It is an old city.
It is a city with a strong university presence. 

 I felt at home there. 

Celebrate the Small Things (Aug 2 - a couple days late)

One of these days I'll actually post my weekly celebrations for VikLit's blog hop hosted over at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author on time...

On Monday I handed in my completed creative writing thesis! I am celebrating No More Edits! This coming Friday is my defence. I am excited and terrified - a very strange feeling.

This is actually a chicken egg,
but just imagine a more intricate
design on a much larger egg!
I had lunch and played catch-up with my best friend on Wednesday and got the invitations to her Bachelorette Party sent out on Thursday. Another check mark on my To-Do List!

Friday, I headed out for one more visit with my Baba before I head out East at the end of this month. During that visit she approved of the ostrich eggs I ordered on eBay which means that I can order more for her to decorate to serve as centre pieces for my wedding. She has two years to do 15...hopefully!

While I have your attention, I'd also like to add the beginning of Blogust, an initiative by Shot@Life, a United Nations Foundation. Every day in August a designated blogger posts as part of Blogust and for every comment on his or her blog a donation is made to purchase a life-saving vaccine for children around the world. Last year I visited and commented every day and this year I am doing the same. I hope you'll consider joining me!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Let's Play Catch Up - Awards Theme

Eons ago, June 4 to be exact, M.J. over at M.J. Joachim's Writing Tips passed on a beautiful award to me, Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! Lovely, right?! M.J. runs all kinds of cool blog challenges and then showcases the winners on her Blog Hopper Marathon Wall of Fame. You should really check her out. I've won two "events" and they've been super fun! M.J. is one of five sisters - wow - and so she passed this award on to five blogging sisters. I only have one sister, a younger sister, but since I've always been the older sister, I am going to take this opportunity to pass this award along to my older sister in the blogging world, Zoe from rewritten. She's brilliant. She's zany. She's everything I could want in a real flesh and blood older sister. Lucky for me, I at least get to have an e-relationship with her!

Speaking of Zoe, she nominated me for a different award on June 12 (yes, eons ago as well), Best Moment Award. All you have to do for this award is write or record and post an acceptance speech and then pass it along to someone(s) that you feel worthy of the award. I was going to make my first attempt at a vlog for this one, but I just have to admit that I can't bring myself to make the time. So without further ado, here is my very short acceptance "speech" - Zoe, you are a beautiful soul and I love you. I hope some day we will grace each others presences in person. Thank you for this award! Some of my best blog moments come when I read your comments. Now, I am passing this along to Me from Scribblings, another beautiful soul that brightens my blog world.

Finally, there is Deanie from Thoughts and Ideas from Deanie Humphrys-Dunne who recently (yes, July 25 is recently) awarded me with a Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. Recipients are supposed to name 14 nominees over 7 days or all at once. I really haven't been blogging much of late so I think for this one, I will just go through and list the last 14 bloggers who commented on (a.k.a read and acknowledged) my blog.
T. Drecker from Kidbits
Zoe Byrd from rewritten
Viklit from Scribblings of an Aspiring Author
Rebeccah Giltrow from Rebeccah Writes
Lara Lacombe
Kate Larkindale from Fiction and Film
Me from Scribblings
Suzanne Lucas from Times Squared
Nancy LaRonda Johnson from Writer's Mark
Mei from Diary of a Fair Weather Diver
A month of....Blog
Diana Wilder from ...about myself, by myself
Sandy from Traveling Suitcase
Vidya Sury from Coffee With Mi
Thank you all for reading my blog!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Canadian Reading Challenge Review: Several Women Dancing by Paul Dutton

When the lovely and talented author/blogger Marie Landry from Ramblings of a Daydreamer did a call out to see if people were interested in a second annual Canadian Reading Challenge, I told her that I would commit to reading and reviewing at least one book that met the criteria for the challenge. I'm a fellow Canuck after all and us igloo inhabiting, dog-sled driving (I joke, I joke, I kid, I kid) northerners have to stick together! Here it is, the last day to link up a review, and it's Brandy just under the wire.

I met author and sound poet (seriously, take a minute and check that out) Paul Dutton in 2010 when my creative writing professor invited him to do a reading as part of literary series at our university. The man is a genius, maybe a little crazy, but they say there is a fine line between genius and insanity! After hearing a very short excerpt from his novel, Several Women Dancing, I had to have it, had to read it and one cannot simply purchase a book directly from an author and not have him or her sign it. The inscription reads: "For Brandy in Brandon, Drink it in sips or gulp it down. Paul Dutton," and now for a brief review.

Move over E L James with your unrealistic virgin girl-child turned doormat nymphomaniac and abusive dictator/borderline misogynist (if you haven't guessed it yet, I hated Fifty Shades of Grey, well, the 6 chapters I actually forced myself through, anyway), and make room for some real Erotica. Several Women Dancing is not for everyone. It is raw. It is highly sexual, some might say vulgar, others might say inappropriate, but I am not one of those people. I loved it.

The novel is told in first person narrative through a male voice who frequents strip clubs and inevitably becomes obsessed with one of the dancers, Black Satin. Dutton takes the reader through fantasy after sexual fantasy and does this in such a way that the reader is never really sure if the encounters described are real or fictional. The days, cities, even seasons become muddled in the man's mind as he lives his life from one experience involving Black Satin to the next. The novel is just so honest and I think that is why I enjoyed it. I think that honesty is what makes it so believable and such a great piece of literature. It is disturbing and uncomfortable at times especially when Spencer engages in fantasies of an Oedipal nature, but it is all part of the raw honesty that I appreciated so much in this novel.

Here's my favorite passage (don't worry, it's rather tame in the grand scheme of the novel): "I blame the candles (so long since I'd had a candlelit meal); I blame the meal (thick cream soup, a subtly spiced casserole, a bottle of wine); I blame the wine (a vintage Burgundy, the last of which we sipped on the living-room couch); I blame the couch (plush and comfortable, inducing a lassitude augmented by the classical guitar playing on the stereo); I blame the stereo (at the end of the record the room filled with silence); I blame the silence (breathing a faint sigh, she leaned her head on the back of the couch, where I'd stretched out my arm); I blame my arm (lifting it a little as a prelude to moving it, I caused her head to roll slightly towards me and saw her smile); I blame her smile (it increased the flutter in my stomach, the trembling in my hands, the shortness of my breath, the dryness of my mouth, the pounding of my heart); I blame my heart." Beautiful, right?!

Overall, Several Women Dancing is riveting and fresh! If I use Marie's rating scale: I loved it! So, if you can keep an open mind, pick it up and enjoy some real literary erotica - Canadian style!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things - July 26 (3 week back log)

Yikes, folks! I haven't written a blog post since July 5th when I Celebrate[d] the Small Things with VikLit and the other blog hoppers over at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author. That means I have three weeks of celebrations to catch up on, but I'll try to keep them brief.

On July 6, the last day at my sister's in Leduc, Alberta, she and I, and a friend of hers did the Colour Run in Edmonton. I did it for fun and to raise a few more funds for the Student Refugee Program. It's an ongoing effort of mine, so if I can twist your rubber HERE!

I thought I would be celebrating handing in the final version to the committee on Friday, July 12. I was wrong. My advisor had other plans for me the likes of a third extensive edit. Those edits along with packing for my trip on July 13 are the reasons I didn't post that week. I can celebrate, however, the completion and handing in of my third massive edit!

Friday, July 12 was also my last day of work before heading out on two weeks of holidays! Now that is really something to celebrate!

Sometime in that week between July 6 and 12, we welcomed Memphis into our home. He's an adopted 5-year old Chihuahua from a local animal rescue organisation in our city.

The whole next week, July 13 to 19, was just one massive celebration. Farmer Joe, who I have now taken to calling Cowboy Tex since we moved from the farm into the city, and I started out on a massive 3500km road trip from Brandon, Manitoba where we live, to Fredericton, New Brunswick where I will be starting my Master of Arts in English this fall. I even enjoyed the driving. The main points of smaller celebrations within this major celebration are:
-Spending two nights and a full day in Montreal with my beautifully brilliant friend, Haley.

-Spending three nights and two full days in Fredericton familiarising myself with the university and the city.

-Getting a tour of the campus (especially the library) and meeting my grad school advisor.

Other celebrations that occurred from July 13-19 include:
-finding out that I got into the mature student residence for the fall and connecting with my roommate to start planning our living arrangements.
-finding a UNB Mom t-shirt at the campus book store to bring home for my Mom.
-being offered (and, of course, accepting) a position as a Regional Coordinator for WUSC starting in September. This volunteer position comes along with two trips to Ottawa, Ontario! I am really excited about taking on this leadership role with an organisation that means so much to me.

We started the trip home from Fredericton on July 20. The biggest celebration on the return trip, short of actually getting home, snuggling with my dogs, and sleeping in my own bed, was staying in Kingston, Ontario with another brilliant friend of mine. After 5 days staying places without air conditioning when the temperatures were 35 degrees Celsius above, Yvonne had central air and provided me with my first excuse to have a hot shower. It was heaven.

All of that brings me to one more celebration for this week, July 20-26. On Wednesday, I met with my thesis advisor again and despite a few, ok a lot, more edits, she did say that this time (the fourth time) she didn't need to see the entire document again, only a few short pieces! That, my friends, is celebration worthy indeed!

Cheers, everyone! Now, to try and catch up on visits and comments! See you and your blog soon!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things - July 5 (I'm on Holidays!)

I’ve been on holidays this last week so what better reason is there to celebrate with VikLit and the other Celebrate the Small Things blog hoppers than that?

From Friday night to Monday afternoon, I was with one of my brilliant best friends in Calgary, Alberta and that is something definitely worth celebrating!  Calgary was just hit by one of the worst flash floods that the city has ever seen. There is literally billions of dollars of damage. Some houses were completely washed away, some “only” had eleven feet of water in them. Thankfully, where my girlfriend was living was unaffected – that is something to celebrate. I think something else worth celebrating is how, in the face of disaster, an entire city can come together to help one another. Across the city, people were opening their homes to the masses of people who were forced to evacuate. Across the city, people were coming together to shovel mud and sewage from strangers’ homes. Across the city, people were coming together for the sake of helping each other, receiving nothing in return. It is altruism at its finest and I am celebrating my renewed faith in humanity.

On Monday afternoon, I took the bus from Calgary to Leduc, Alberta to visit my baby (25-year old) sister. The free wifi on the bus was definitely celebration worthy as it made the four hour bus ride fly by.

Monday was also Canada Day! Fireworks and patriotism – enough said!

I’ve been at my sister’s since Monday, relaxing, sunbathing, drinking beer, watching satellite tv, and really just vegging! My Mom got here Tuesday morning so we’ve just been having some good ol’ family time for the last week. Mom and I are doing the twelve hour drive back on Sunday which I don’t look forward to, but at least we’ll be doing it together.

Despite the fact that I am, indeed, on holidays, I did have to finish the second edit of my Creative Writing Thesis. I handed it in (electronically, of course) to my professor on Wednesday. Celebrations are in order for having accomplished that. Next Friday, when I actually hand in the finished product to the Thesis committee, will be cause for a much bigger celebration!

My final celebration for this week is the supper that I just ate: steak, crab legs, shrimp skewers, garlic toast, seasoned mashed potatoes, and Caesar salad. Yum!

Hope everyone had a wonderfully celebratable week!

Airports Confuse the Hell out of Me

Is it really just me or does the protocol at airports confuse the hell out of everyone else too? I'm not a frequent flyer by any means, but I'd say I fly between two and four times a year on average. If you read the My Life: In Countdowns post, you'll know that I was recently in Calgary. I flew in from Winnipeg.

Despite the fact that the machine required one of the airport employees to hold my passport under the scanner in order for me to get my baggage tags, at least I knew that I only need my i.d. at that point. Once that step was finished, the confusion began. Does the airport staff member at the check-in desk require just my i.d. or does she need my boarding pass too? Boarding pass, yes, i.d., no. Speaking of boarding passes, this was the first time I've traveled with an electronic boarding pass in my phone. When they manage to create something so that government issued i.d. can be contained within my smart phone, I will be in heaven. Both things, one place, no confusion.

So after check in it’s time for security and everything goes in the buckets. Then they ask for your passport and your boarding pass? So I dig through the bucket to find my passport and I dig through the bucket to find my phone a.k.a. boarding pass. After the dreaded walk through the scanners comes the worst part of the whole process (that is unless you’re one of the lucky ones who gets taken to one of those little rooms), collecting all of your stuff and putting it all back in order in a timely enough fashion to not hold up the whole line.

Next up, a bit of a wait in the incredibly uncomfortable airport chairs and then it’s time to board. Enter another scene that absolutely baffles me. Everyone except for people like me lines up in a colossal line to … stand in line and then sit in their assigned airplane seat for more time than they absolutely need to. If the seats in the airport are uncomfortable, the seats in the airplane are the epitome of discomfort. Why people rush to first, stand in a long ass line and second, sit in awfully cramped, discomfort, will never cease to baffle me.
Once the line is all but the length of about ten people, I get up and prepare to be confused once again. Boarding pass and passport, right? 

Now it’s time to head down the enclosed, somewhat claustrophobic, walk way to the last place of confusion where I have to figure out if the flight attendant needs to see my i.d. and/or my boarding pass. And the answer is…boarding pass.

Done. Finally. Passport away. Phone on airplane mode. Sit back and … relax? Not really.

What baffles you most about airports? Do you have any crazy airport/airplane stories to share?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things: June 28 (Let "My Life: A Whirlwind" Begin)

I've been Celebrating the Small Things with VikLit and the other awesome bloggers linkup up on the hop for a month now! I've even recruited a few people too. You could be next, just add your link and start celebrating every Friday!

First, a little fun - I am celebrating the fact that I have a spare deodorant in my office because I sure forgot to put some on at home this morning! (I was starting to smell myself.)

Moving on...

Speaking of moving, we did. We're done. We're not totally unpacked, but yay anyway!

My bestie's bridal shower was a success! I have yet to get her to send me the photo of the absolutely ridiculous outfit that I put together for her to wear. That'll teach me for not taking a photo with my own camera. She got a lot of swag, she had a lot of fun, and the guests enjoyed the games and prizes I came up with. Next up, the bachelorette party! Can't wait!

The faculty I work for at Brandon University is hiring another office assistant so I will have less running up and down between department floors. Yay for a little more organisation around here for my final two months of employment.

Today marks the beginning of one heck of a whirlwind that is otherwise known as my life and that is worthy of the biggest celebration for this week. First stop, Calgary and one of my beautiful best friends! There are more details on My Life: In Countdowns and even that post doesn't include the fact that my best friend (the same one that I had the bridal shower for) is getting married at the end of September. I'm moving to New Brunswick at the end of August. She gets married here, in Manitoba, at the end of September. That means I have to fly back before I even really even get settled in. Totally insane! Totally worth it!

Cheers to you and your celebrations this week!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Life: In Countdowns

Sadly, I have given up on the June: Photo-A-Day challenge. I kind of sort of made it to Day 17 and then my life just caught up to me and something had to give. You'll understand in a minute. Fat Mum Slim just posted her July: Photo-A-Day challenge if any one is interested. I'm not even going to attempt to take part for the month of July because my life is even crazier this upcoming month than it was this last month. Now to the understanding part and the title of this post...

My Life: In Countdowns

In 2...Calgary, Alberta and a long weekend (Monday, July 1st is Canada Day) with one of my brilliant besties. It will include wine, Sex and the City re-runs, and endless hours of catching up. It has been too long!

In 6...Leduc, Alberta and a week with my gorgeous sister. We're doing the Color Me Rad 5km in Edmonton on July 7th. It'll be, well, RAD! I'm raising funds for a charity that is near and dear to my heart if you're interested in contributing. I'll send you a ridiculous before and after photo of me at the race if you do! It'll be worth it; I promise!

In 12...A Skype interview with World University Service of Canada for a volunteer Regional Coordinator position.

In 14...My going away party at Brandon University (that's where I work). I've worked here for 9 years so it's going to be very strange not getting up every morning and following the same old routine. Strange, but fantastic!

In 16...Epic Road Trip (yes, it requires all caps) from Brandon, Manitoba to Fredericton, New Brunswick (3500 km a.k.a. 2175 miles) to check out my soon-to-be new home as I work my way through a Master of Arts in English. We're stopping in Montreal, Quebec and spending a day with another one of my beautiful besties and then coming back through Niagara Falls, Ontario. I absolutely hate driving, but I am actually really looking forward to this adventure across the Eastern "half" of Canada with my hunny (Farmer Joe)!

In 43...I defend my Creative Writing Thesis. I have so much work to get done on it at this point that I am kind of freaking out a lottle (it's like a little, but a lot).

In 50...Ottawa, Ontario/Gatineau, Quebec for the WUSC Leadership Meeting, but this one is dependent on the success of my interview (referred to above).

In 57...I will work my last day at BU.

In 65...Fredericton, New Brunswick for keeps! (and I still have to figure out what to pack)

In 72...Master of Arts in English begins!

Somewhere in all of that I have to plan a a bachelorette party for my best friend and a going away party for myself with all of my close friends. Those things will occur sometime after my Creative Writing Thesis defense and leaving for Fredericton for keeps!

Liebster #3

Because I have yet to acquire 200 followers, people are still finding me and bestowing these Liebsters on me and who am I to refuse an award (a.k.a. blog love) from a fellow blogger? So, thank you to the lovely Sunni from Surviving Life for this award. Sunni actually told me that I could choose either the Liebster or the Very Inspiring Blogger, but I'm going with the Liebster because I think the reason she picked me is for my lack of followers. I also enjoy answering the questions that people pose as part of the Liebster so that's another reason for my choice. I am, however, going to display this award logo as a way to kind of, sort of accept both awards. I'm a free spirit who lives by her own rules, so it's all ok!

So these are the typical Liebster rules:
1. List 11 facts about yourself. 2. Answer the 11 questions given to you. (Sunni said that I could do one or the other so I am ignoring Rule #1 and just moving on to #2) 3. Ask 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer. 4. Choose up to 11 up-and-coming blogs (with less than 200 followers) to nominate. 5 Go to each blogger's page and let them know about the award. 6. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.

So these are the questions that Kristen from Random Musings from the Kristenhead provided to Sunni. Sunni, in turn, has passed them on to me. 

1. What is your favorite video game (if any)? This can include mobile games and Facebook games. Well, I am currently fighting an addiction to Candy Crush. I have been stuck on level 347 for eons now to the point that I am quite annoyed at the game in general.
2. Do you like to sleep on a very soft surface, or a harder surface? I am definitely a feathery down-filled bed sleeper-on-er. 
3. What is the most unusual food you have tried? I'm going with cow intestine on this one. It's a delicacy in Botswana.
4. What is your favorite odd food or meal? Perogies with mayonnaise.
5. What is the first sense you turn to when describing something in your writing (taste, smell, touch, sight, sound)? I typically discuss how things make me feel which isn't technically one of the 5 senses. If I am going with one of the 5, it would be sight, I think.
6. What is one of the cutest things you have ever seen in your life? Hands down, baby elephants playing in the muddy banks of the Chobe River. Here's a video I took of it!
7. What is the ugliest thing you have ever seen or experienced (this can have to do with feelings, or inner ugliness, etc)? I honestly think that the ugliest thing I have seen in this world is the treatment of homeless people. I will openly admit that I am as guilty as the next person for simply walking by them and pretending they don't even exist.  
8. Do you prefer typing or writing with a pen or pencil and paper? The short answer is typing, BUT when I journal I use pen (what ever colour feels right) and paper.
9. What is your favourite thing to drink? Definitely soda, usually Diet Coke.
10. Do you prefer road trips, airline travel, train travel, or other (when going long distances)? It's air travel for me. I adore reaching my destination, but absolutely despise the time it takes to get there. With that said, I'm planning a 14-day road trip beginning mid-July...go figure!
11. What is your favourite way to watch TV, movies, and videos? For example, do you watch everything on your computer or sling it to a big TV? Do you use a Tivo, a DVR, or Netflix? What is your set-up? To be totally honest, I download everything off of the net, plug my laptop into my tv and watch it like that. I haven't used my dvd player in ages, in fact, I don't even know where it is and I have never, in my life, paid for cable or satellite tv.

Now, here are the 11 questions that my nominees can answer (or not). I tried to make them simple, but interesting and I like to theme my question sets so I'm going with "Summer" for this one since the first official day of summer was June 21 and summer is my favourite season.
1. What is your favourite outdoor summer activity?
2. What is your favourite thing to BBQ?
3. Do you enjoy camping? If yes, do you tent or do you have a camper?
4. Do you use a push lawn mower or a ride-on tractor?
5. What is your favourite fresh summer vegetable?
6. What is your favourite cold drink?
7. What level spf sunscreen do you use most often?
8. What water sports (if any) do you enjoy?
9. What is your favourite ice cream treat?
10. Finish this line: Sunshine, happiness, and _____.
11. What is your favourite thing about summer?

Finally, it's time to share the blog love so my nominees are:
Thoughts and Ideas from Deanie Humphrys-Dunne
Writer's Mark
Diana Wilder ...about myself, by myself...
Life, yoga and other adventures
The Literary Pig
Rossandra White
Life Cherries
The Speculative Salon
What I Learned Today
Deb's Writing Room
Cross Planes
I hope you'll pay them a visit and take a minute to comment and tell them I sent you!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things - June 21

I've had such an insane week that I almost forgot to post about my celebrations. Hop on over to VikLit's blog Scribblings of an Aspiring Author to get all of the details for this wonderful Friday theme.

I met with my Creative Writing professor on Monday and her feedback on my thesis doesn't require me to do nearly as much editing as I thought it would. I'm not off the hook and I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but it's well on its way.

On Wednesday, I said goodbye to some fantastic people as I served my final day as a member of the Board of Directors for The Marquis Project. Because I am moving away to Fredericton very soon, I can no longer volunteer here in Brandon on the board. While that may seem like a sad thing rather than something to celebrate, it's all part of moving on with my life and starting a new adventure. I am celebrating the fact that I have spent the last year volunteering with this organisation rather than the fact that I am saying goodbye to it and the people involved.

On Thursday, I celebrated the upcoming birth of my coworker's baby with a baby shower. It was a lovely afternoon during which the mommy-to-be was showered with practical and adorable gifts.

Throughout the week I have been running around getting everything together for my best friend's bridal shower on Sunday.I finally have it all set and I am excited to spend the day with her. She may murder me when she is presented with the bikini full of all of the ribbons and bows from the gifts that I am going to make her put on over her clothes, but that's what friends are for!

Today, I had the day off of work to pack my country home and prepare to move myself into the city. I am celebrating the fact that despite my feet being in a constant state of pain, I have almost my entire house packed and ready to move tomorrow.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Photo-a-Day - 15/16/17: from above / family / centred

Yep, so much for keeping up with June: Photo-A-Day. As you can clearly see by the fact that I am posting three photos today, I am not keeping up with the challenge. I could blame it on the fact that I spent the weekend at my Mom's, but I don't really fancy excuses because one can always make the time for things if one really wants to. So, without further ado, here are my shots:

I was going to go outside and play around with the 'from above' prompt by taking pictures while standing on my truck box or on my front step or on my deck, but the mosquitos are so awful out there that I decided to make my Winston be a model once more and I stood on a chair in my kitchen.

I'm breaking my own rule on the 'family' prompt and using a photo that I didn't take myself. This is a photo from last summer at my family reunion. Our entire family and I do mean everyone got together with my 85-year old Baba (grandmother). Her brother and sister and their families. Her four children, nine grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. At the time of this photo there was even a seventh great-grandchild waiting to make her entrance into the world! There are no words to describe that happiness that was embodied in this day.

I pressed down the 'T' key on my vintage Corona so that the type bar would raise up directly in the centre of the type guide. Pretty cool, right?!

Hopefully, I'll be back to posting daily now, but I'm not making any promises. My life just got all kinds of hectic and blogging is, unfortunately, taking a back seat.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Celebrate The Small Things - June 14 & Photo-a-Day - 14: texture

It's Friday, the end of the work week and the start of the weekend, those things alone are cause to celebrate! I do have a few more things to add to VikLit's Celebrate The Small Things blog hop. It's really quite lovely to make a point, every week, of reflecting on the reasons, no matter how small, that give me cause to celebrate.

This week I'm celebrating the receipt of two more donations to the WUSC Student Refugee Program after re-launching my fundraising website. In connection to my fundraising efforts, I ran/walked 5km 4 times this week. I'm up to solidly jogging 2.5km which is somewhat disheartening considering I used to be able to run 17km with little issue, BUT, we're celebrating, right?! so I'll focus on the fact that I am slowly rebuilding my endurance.

I'm celebrating my contest win and associated feature blog post over on M.J. Joachim's Writing Tips.

I'm celebrating the honour of representing WUSC at the Manitoba Council of International Cooperation Annual General Meeting. In direct connection with that, I am celebrating that I am part of a generation of youth that is dedicated to making this world a better place. The youth panel included young men and women who have done volunteer work and/or research in Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Nicaragua (to name a few). Perhaps the most empowering statement that I took with me is the following: "The youth in developing nations know what they need; they just need to be asked." Brilliant!

Finally, I am celebrating the fact that I am sitting and writing this blog in the comfort of my Mom's living room. I got to eat her scrumptious chilli for dinner tonight and tomorrow I'll be spending time with some of my family at a cousin's wedding. I really needed this "break from reality" so I intend to cherish it!

Now for today's June: Photo-A-Day prompt:
The stitching on a dress that I purchased in Botswana - so delicate, so soft, so comfortable. 

Photo-a-Day - 12: 11 o'clock & Photo-a-Day - 13: kitchen

Well, I actually did take photos on Wednesday and Thursday for the June: Photo-A-Day challenge, but due to the fact that a) I had to travel 250 km to and from a meeting on Wednesday night and b) my internet access has been very intermittent at home of late, I am just now posting for Day 12 and Day 13. I am so far behind with everything - with life in general - that I think I actually might be first again!

As I said, I had to travel the 250 km (give or take) from Brandon, MB to Winnipeg, MB for a meeting on Wednesday. I missed my chance at 11 o'clock a.m. to snap a candid shot, but I diligently watched the clock on our truck as my fiance did the driving so that I would be ready when 11 o'clock p.m. rolled around. As you can see, in the lower left corner, this shot was taken at 11:01. I love the reflection of the dash in the window and the fact that you can see the highway's yellow line. The tail and headlights of other vehicles doing some late night traveling is a nice touch as well.

This one is pretty self-explanatory except for the fact that I used the "cartoonify" feature on my photo editing software to give it a slightly different look. The cookie jar (doll face) has been in my family for a few generations now. She isn't really usable because her seal is non-existent, but she sure is cute to look at!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Photo-a-Day - 11: something funny

I carried my camera around with me today in the hopes that something funny would happen and I'd be lucky enough to capture for today's June: Photo-A-Day prompt. Today was just a regular run of the mill day, though, and I got nothin'.

Then I remembered this photo that I took to incorporate into work-in-progress calendar for my family.

It was self-defence!

In other news, I've been featured over at M.J. Joachim's Writing Tips because I was the winner of one (well, two actually - the other post is coming soon) of her totally awesome Blog Hopper Marathons. Check me out!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Photo-a-Day - 10: You!

We're 1/3 of the way through June: Photo-A-Day and today's post is You! as in me as in I am supposed to post photos of myself.

In the age of facebook, I think it's safe to say that we are all more narcissistic than ever before. I'll admit, I often find myself thinking or even saying, "that will make a great profile pic." So for this prompt, I went back through my profile pictures and chose a few of my favourites!

This is the one I chose to showcase in the FMS Photo-a-Day facebook group because it's kind of abstract and I like that sort of thing. I also took this photo myself and that's something I'm trying to hold true to throughout this challenge.

Then there's this one. That's little me - in the fish net.

This one's me after I shaved my head in 2010 for the Stephen Lewis Foundation
Here's the video link too if you're interested.

This one is Me! or You! or whatever makes sense, in a nutshell. I took this one myself too!

If I had to choose one, just one photo, that is my absolute favourite of me, though, I would go with the photo that appears above every single blog post. Me and Africa - Africa and Me. That photo was taken as part of a photo shoot for the Women of Distinction Award in my community in 2010. The same day of the award banquet (which I didn't win, btw) I also found out that I was the successful candidate to do a volunteer placement in Botswana. That photo symbolises all of that and I'll cherish it forever.

Whore It Up Award: Guilty Pleasures

Starr over at The Insomniac's Dream created her own blog award (because she's cool like that) called the Whore It Up Award. During her second round of award presentations, yours truly made the cut!

So here's how the award works:
1. Upon receiving the award, you receive a prompt. You are to write about said prompt (whenever you feel like it).
2. Link back to who gave you this award and include the picture of the award in your post.
3. Pass it on to five bloggers (you can tag back if you want to read what your presenter has to say about the topic you come up with.)
4. Come up with a prompt for the five bloggers you chose.
5. When you finally do get around to writing the prompt you were given, let the blogger who presented you this award know so they can read it.

My prompt: Guilty Pleasures

I'll start with the most risqué and work my way down to the tamer pleasures.

I've already admitted that I enjoy watching porn and masturbating. I own a rabbit (yes, that's the one that Charlotte must be pried away from in SATC) and an egg (every woman should own one of these) and I enjoy spending time with them very much.

Moving on to a GP that is only slightly less inelegant, I have a thing for really raunchy music, played really loud, especially when I am running. Some examples would be most songs by DMX and Eminem and then there's "Shots" by LMFAO. It never fails; when one of these songs comes on, I can always kick up the energy a bit and run further faster.

Next is a GP that involves clothing - braless and brightly coloured fluffy socks; that's all that's really required there, I think.

And finally some GPs that involve food. Basically, any and all kinds of junk food fit the category for me. Yes, I am that girl that can devour an entire pizza or a large bag of potato chips and a whole container of dip, but here are some of the stranger things I insert through my mouth and into my stomach: perogies with mayonnaise, chicken fingers with corn syrup, Coke and chocolate. YUM!

Now to the pimping out of this award:

Julie from Julie You Jest
Suzanne from Times Squared
Zoe from rewritten
Kirsten from Black Coffee and Cigarettes
Laeli from Words To Live By

...your prompt should you choose to accept it:

The movie of your life: what is the genre? what is the setting? who plays you and why?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Photo-a-Day - 9: from down low

I'm still eye-ball deep in my Creative Writing Thesis so today's June: Photo-A-Day post is a short one again just like yesterday's. This is the view from down low on the restaurant outdoor patio where Joe and I enjoyed our dinner. Our city is full of old character buildings like this one. It was such a beautiful little spot. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Photo-a-Day - 8: animal

I kind of can't believe that one full of June has come and gone and it's already day 8 in the June: Photo-A-Day challenge.

I'm in the midst of finalising a first draft of my Creative Writing Thesis this weekend so I'm keeping today's post short and sweet.

Exotic vs. Domestic - which do you prefer?

An African Elephant in Kasane, Botswana, Africa

A German Shepherd in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada

Friday, June 7, 2013

Photo-a-Day - 7: bright

I didn't get the best photo for today's June: Photo-A-Day prompt, but I live by the understanding that every dark cloud has a bright silver lining so that's the shot I snapped.

With 'bright' in mind, I thought back to some of the shots in my photo archives and came up with two that quite worthy of today's theme. I've been on two memorable trips where bright lights meet big cities.

1. The City That Never Sleeps: New York

2. Sin City: Las Vegas

Which bright lights do you prefer? NY, NY or Vegas, baby?! Do you have a bright silver lining experience you're willing to share?

Celebrating The Small Things - June 7

Every Friday a bunch of us bloggers taking part in Celebrate The Small Things hosted over at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author post about the things that we have cause to celebrate throughout the week. Sometimes these things are big, sometimes even huge, but most times they are simple things that make us smile.

The sun is shining today and it shone yesterday making it finally finally finally (yes, 3 are necessary) feel like summer is going to make it to Brandon, Manitoba. THAT is definite cause for celebration.

I am moving into a small house in the city soon so I am celebrating no more flooded basements, no more yellowy brown water, fewer wood ticks, a cold water shower tap that will work properly, having a bathtub (gosh I miss having a bathtub), and high speed internet that doesn't crash every five minutes.

A friend of mine was accepted at her first choice articling position after she graduates Law School next spring. Friends doing spectacular things is one of my favourite reasons to celebrate.

I managed to get eighteen boxes of textbooks packed up and sent on their way to Africa. It's always so much work, but when that stack of boxes is all taped and labelled, it feels great. I've seen the results on the other end of the shipments; it's miraculous and so worth the effort.

Finally, I am celebrating the successful re-launch of my running blog: Running for Refugees, and associated fundraising efforts. Since the re-vamp and minor promotion yesterday, I've received two donations to WUSC's Student Refugee Program, a cause that will never leave my heart as long as I live.

Cheers to you and whatever you are celebrating this week!