06 December 2014

The Nutcracker

Lochlan and Sorcha post performance.

I attended the matinee performance of the Jeunesse Classique Ballet's production of The Nutcracker at the University of Calgary. I was there to see my niece and nephew perform. I was happy to see my very first production of the Nutcracker with them. Honestly, how I have lived in this city and until now had never seen A Christmas Carol (finally last year) and The Nutcracker I don't understand but I am happy to have started with this production.

Before the doors opened, there was an opportunity to shop for a nutcracker to take home or meet a costumed Nutcracker for pictures. I came home with a couple of new little friends but I'll save that for the end of the post.

Sorcha was the first ballerina to move - taking the role of the miniature Chinese doll in this performance. She looked great and did such a good job in all her dances. The cute factor was off the chart many times in the first act. The tiniest little dancers would come in and there were audible "aahs" from the audience. Lochlan was a party guest, escorting his dance partner in a couple of numbers and providing an audience on stage when the focus was on the children.

Now, although it was my first time to see this live, I have seen it many times in recordings and knew the music and numbers well. But those mice - live on stage and with my particular personal war with the ones that have again found a refuge in my basement, well, they were slightly unnerving. And when they were lurking behind the little soldier ballerinas, I imagined all the children would be going home with nightmares.

The sugar plum fairies, and all the different dolls were so fun to watch dance and the young girl who played Clara was amazing - such control!

The performance ended and Santa appeared from the back of the theatre to hand out candy canes to all the children.

It was a fun Christmas activity and if you have a chance, it is playing again next weekend at the Vertigo Theatre.

And coming home with me -- my attempt to make friends with the Mouse King.

(Or have a nutcracker near by to defend me).

To end this post, something more magical and better to end the evening on - The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Sweet dreams!

05 December 2014

Bing and Bowie

I'm too tired tonight to write a full post. I'll be better tomorrow. So instead, I share a picture of my tremendously cool Uncle David with my Great Grandmother  (no context for this picture - any help mom? My questions - where and when was this taken and what colour is that sweater?) and another favourite Christmas carol that we heard on the radio we had playing in the background at work today.

04 December 2014

Still, Still, Still

Christmas at the Richmond Road Diagnostic Centre

Today's post is a short one. If you live in Alberta (or in one of the other provinces in Canada participating) and you aren't already part of The Tomorrow Project, please consider it. I've completed the surveys over the years and was at the Richmond Road Diagnostic Centre today to give blood etc. for this long term cancer study. I know my family has been through this terrible disease too many times (even once is too much!). And it is so easy to participate in this - with a survey every couple of years and an optional study centre visit. They still need people who are willing to participate - just follow this link http://in4tomorrow.ca/  or call 1-877-919-9292 and join to participate by mail (and your survey will arrive in the mail) or by visiting a research centre. 

Here's what it says on the website. 

1 in 2 Albertans will get cancer and 1 in 4 will die from it. Being part of the Tomorrow Project now is a chance to make a difference in the future.

Designed to discover more about what causes cancer, the Tomorrow Project is the largest research study ever undertaken in Alberta. The Tomorrow Project will look for connections between cancer and lifestyle, environment and inherited (genetic) factors.

We need 50,000 Albertans between the ages of 35-69, who have never had cancer to join this study. To join, we need you to answer questions about health and lifestyle and consider visiting a Study Centre.

Every person can make a difference in finding out why some people get cancer and others do not.

And the musical selection for today is one of my favourites.

03 December 2014

Being Festive

Wreath decorating at #mru bookstore. Silent auction with $ for students Season of Caring wish tree.

Today and tomorrow at Mount Royal University, you can see the decorated wreaths set up in front of the Bookstore. They have been decorated by individuals or departments in the University and a silent auction is held to raise money for the student association's Season of Caring Wish Tree.  You can also bid on the best wreath. Some have a theme - such as the wreath on the lower left covered with different polished rocks, geodes, etc, and one not shown with small portraits of rescued moon bears (flip the portrait over and you can see the terrible conditions they were saved from). The wreaths made a very festive display on the campus main street.

It reminded me I haven't even put up my wreath on my front door yet and that would only take a few minutes to do (I even know where it is!) so my door will be seasonally fashionable tonight.

Speaking of being fashionable and festive, how about this Christmas classic from 1973! (Another one from across the pond.)

Oh and one more if we are being truly fashionable in the 70s!

My cousins - Mike and Kelly - yes that is Donny and Marie
 (I may have shared this picture before but it is just too good not to share again.)
That is the tree from my childhood home. How do I know for sure? Because of the amazing styrofoam-ball-and-toothpick-covered-in-silver-glitter orbs hanging from the ceiling around the tree.  They must have made quite a glittery mess but I remember them well. Was it a craft she did at Relief Society? Or some brainstorm she had on her own? I don't know (I'm sure she will tell us). And I'm sure we used them multiple years so they must have had to be stored away from year to year.

I also know this picture is at my house because those glass ornaments on our tree then are the same ones I still use on my tree! A lot have not survived but many did and I love how they sparkle when the lights reflect off of them.

I'm throwing this post together a bit haphazardly because I'm off to see the Corner Gas movie. It may not be a very Christmasy thing to do tonight but it feels festive.

02 December 2014

A Very Retro Christmas

My mom decorating the tree with her youngest sister, DaVeeda. 

Isn't this a great picture. I wish there were more pictures like this. I had forgotten about the metal light reflectors. When Mom sees this, she can share more about what decorations were put on the tree. I'd love to hear about the decorations she had in her family home.

And from 1955 - the classic "Never do a Tango with an Eskimo" sung by the English singer, Alma Cogan. I was listening to a YouTube video of two British girls (women) playing a Christmas "Name that Tune" with a 10 second clip. I hadn't heard about half of the songs they played but found a few new favourites in the mix. This is just the first one I'll share.  If you are going to play this clip, adjust your speakers - the first few notes will wake up your neighbours!

For some fantastic vintage and retro Christmas decor, check out my cousin's Instagram feed. She has an amazing sense of style and her photos are so much fun. I love the way she has decorated her home for the holidays.

A photo posted by @cgedlaman on

I haven't had a chance to decorate yet, so I'll just have to enjoy the lights outside and everyone else's photos for now. I love the few vintage decorations I have, but I have some pretty new ones too. I'm anxious to get at it!

01 December 2014

A Very Dickens Christmas

Image from the Calgary Herald

December 1 - a look at Christmas past (by one year).

One of the ways I wanted to celebrate Christmas last year was to enjoy as many versions of "A Christmas Carol" as I could. I'm a native Calgarian but somehow in the past 27 years that Theatre Calgary had staged this Christmas class, I had never attended. I inevitably left it too late and couldn't find 3 seats together on any night, any where but then I remembered that the University of Calgary alumni association buys a block of tickets that I was able to take advantage of and secure my seat. Buying this way also included a pre-performance reception with a Q&A with a couple of actors from the cast.

Loose Moose

I followed this up with another Calgary classic, A Christmoose Carol performed by the Loose Moose Theatre Company.  Same story but a very different take on it. This one had a "1950s" television approach and was frequently interrupted by a few words from the sponsors. Super fun!

A Christmoose Carol  (img from the Calgary Sun)


The fun now continued at home with some DVD classics. Blackadder's Christmas Carol is a backwards telling of the tale in which a very very good man who is constantly being taken advantage of is visited by the ghost who shows him the opposite ways but thinks how much better off his life would be if he were to be selfish instead of charitable. Okay - maybe not the right message for Christmas but so funny.  And he doesn't realize that his change of heart has cost him greater rewards in the end.

He refuses to go to the door and has his servant Baldrick send away the person knocking, thinking it to be another person begging for a hand out, knowing of his typically charitable nature. But it was really Queen Victoria!

What would the Queen be doing here?

She come to visit you to reward you
for being the nicest man in England
by giving you 50,000 pounds
and the title ofBaron Blackadder.
It couldn't have been the Queen
because when she visits people,
she leaves her Royal Seal.
- What? Like this one?
- Yes, just like that...

I also watched Mickey's Christmas Carol, the Muppets' Christmas Carol (love this one too!), and managed to get through most of  Disney's 2009 movie with Jim Carrey.

So if you are inspired to revisit this classic for yourself, here is a dramatization of the original story in full. Curl up with a cup of cocoa and warm throw and listen to the tale of Mr. Scrooge and his evening visitors.  http://www.mormonchannel.org/a-christmas-carol

Here's a musical selection for the season! Silver Bells


And here is a Christmas photo of the day:

Miss Madi at Zoo lights. Super cute, right? I love Christmas lights - it is that time of the year!

Come back every day as I count down to Christmas! 25 sleeps to go!

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