Happy April Fools Day ♫♪♫♪

Wordpress logoApril Fools Day: a time for light-hearted trickery celebrated in various countries on April 1. This day of fools is marked by perpetrators playing practical jokes and pranks on those gullible enough to be duped. I thought that Facebook would provide the greatest audience for my little stunt announcing in an update that I was ‘single, footloose and fancy free’ while also changing my surname to Google. Speaking of Google, today they played an awesome joke stating that the company would be changing it’s name to ‘Topeka‘ (as in Topeka, Kansas — the city which temporarily changed it’s name to Google). Quite a funny article if you get the chance to read! Anyway, it seemed that I managed to pull the wool over several peoples’ eyes before they realized the nature of the day. However, before the Facebook godS could return the favour in due form (thanks Sandra for declaring that I was pregnant with triplets!), I was quick to return to my happily married unpregnant status before any more chaos was created.  Happy April Fools ♫♪♫♪ !!

In an unexpected turn of events, Mother Nature fooled us all today (or should I say the weather man did?) by revealing a gorgeous blue-skied day, right from the get-go. We were expecting severe thunderstorms and gusting winds. Neither evolved, which made for an absolutely gorgeous spring summer-like day. What better way to leave Skydive Elsinore than to make our last jump at the DZ (on this visit) a tremendous tracking dive?! 4 people in total exited on our jump in an attempt to flock across the sky. However, slaDE~ and I were the only ones present throughout the entire skydive (from my perspective anyway) while Mike and the visiting Brit flailed in the outer regions of our vision. And to top the morning off, Laurie Reynolds from Trinity Wellness Network gave me the best aromatherapy massage ever. A fabulous day spent prepping for our trek to Eloy tomorrow and relaxing in the home of our dreams doing what we love most, together, happily married. 🙂

Folk Festival Inspired

Folk Buddies at the CFMFWhat a FABULOUS weekend. 16 hours spread out of over 4 days of volunteering, in return for the ultimate in enjoyable volunteering pleasure + excellent healthy (often) organic food + immaculate HOT weather + meeting new-to-me artists of incredible talent = the Calgary Folk Music Festival. Folk you say? Well, in my own opinion, to label the artists that performed here as liberally or generally Folk would be a disservice. The artists crossed all boundaries of musical genres, from Pop to Rap to Reggae to Blues to Country to Bluegrass to Folk. And beyond. Any and all expectations. Exceeded. Multi-dimensional. Beautiful workshops of collaborative and spontaneous inspiration. Now that’s what I call musically inclined and inspired to the max. I still shiver at the excellent and brilliant meetings of spirit, soul and music. Lovemaking in the purest form.

New-to-me artists that totally changed my world and expanded my musical tastings? Harriston-born Estheros, Emily Wells, finger banging Chad Van Gaalen, Pacifika, Arrested Development, Steven Page (former lead singer and founder of the Bare Naked Ladies), Mirah, Iron and Wine and Luluc. Just to name a few. Wow. Glad I pushed the envelope of my schedule and busy-ness. It was indeed worth the investment of time and energy. New friends, enchanted surprise rendezvouses and spontaneous eruption of dance and song (on my part!). Check the artists out if you get the chance. They may rawk your world as well.


Airstream a-go-go

The reality of an impending marriage — that being my own — was finally sinking in. WoW! And the excitement growing within me was beyond anything I have ever experienced!

Stage two of rapid-fire adrenalin overload. Nonchalantly, on Tuesday evening, slaDE~ presented me with another possible option for an Airstream trailer. Over the past 2 years, he has been diligently hunting for and researching our future home and dream … a silver bullet-like trailer, preferably an Airstream. Not only have we consolidated our bank accounts but most importantly, we have encompassed our dreams into an actual visualization. Now that’s what I call a melody! From day one, our dream of a life on the road has resoundingly been in tune.

1994 60th Anniversary 34 foot AirstreamAnd here it was, a beautiful trailer, with EVERYTHING that we could have dreamed of, plus more. The only ‘hurdle’ …. it was put up for bid on eBay. Neither of us have ever made a purchase greater than $300. The thought of entering into this bidding war on a trailer, sight unseen, was a huge risk, but we were willing to take the chance on our dream. And lept we did, like lemmings. For the first time in 2 years, I did not hesitate at slaDE~s suggestion; I urged him to make an eBay bid on the Ontario-residing trailer … and from that we learned a WHOLE bunch about how an automatic bidder works!

If you bid above the reserve price (which is an invisible-to-the-buyer price tag), it will immediately go straight for the kill and bottom out just above the hidden reserve bid. When we entered our bid, it leapt from $12000 to $20000, instantaneously. Shazaam! Our hearts vaulted straight to our throats, with both of us uttering a GASP! Before we could say ‘eBay’, as it stood, the Airstream was momentarily ours! However, with eBay, the sale isn’t complete until the fat lady sings. For three vivid days, we watched our bid lead the pack. Our anticipation and excitement was rising. Would we earn the rights to this home?? With fingers, toes, eyes and legs crossed, the end of the week came and we huddled around our MACs and watched the race begin, 20 minutes before the sale was fait-de-complet. Turns out several buyers also had their eye on this pristine jewel (described as a Miami Yacht inside — totally gutted and refinished). Watching the time click slowly by was like watching a competitive horse race in slow motion. The action was tremendous as it unfolded. Lots of whooping and hollering went on as the final stretch came into sight whilst another bidder was trying to outbid our set reserve price.

A gamble it was, for both of us, but in the end we won. By a nice comfortable margin, I must say. The final second elapsed and slaDE~ looked over at me, a look of surprised disbelief on his face (shame I didn’t have my camera turned out — that was indeed a precious expression), as the reality sunk in that we were proud owners of a pimped out anniversary edition Airstream, catapulting us to the next level of our dreams …. the sKY & slaDE~ travelling roadshow. More pictures to come.

7 years and holding

Celebrating 7 years of anything. Now that in itself is a huge feat in my life! To honour that time with slaDE~, now that is something I truly treasure.
In honour of our 7 years together, I wanted to celebrate this momentous occasion with the fullest and most entertaining experience possible (for a Wednesday night that is). Something truly special for my beloved. In this case, using the tickets that I won to the Theatre Calgary play ‘Skydive’ seemed appropo and enthusiastically fun! Racing home on my bike (yes, I’m still cycling every day to work, despite the minus temperatures in the morning), I arrived breathlerss and in desparate need of a shower, however quick that might be. In true fashion, I was ready and raring to go in 10 minutes; remarkably on time for our 5:15 reservation at the fine dining restaurant ‘Cilantro’. We’ve been wanting to go here for ages, but being as spendy as it is, we wanted to hold out for a special occasion, such as tonight. The dining extravaganza didn’t let us down. The seafood was divine and cooked to perfection. After luxuriously savouring our meal, we strolled down to the theatre hand in hand and, upon arriving, settled in to our seats, with full bellies and satisfied smiles.

my HusbandThe play was outstanding (and involved no standing!). Many corny references to the 80s era and 80s music were made. Two actors managed to fill the stage and 90 minutes with high flying acrobatic-like maneuvers. How they did this was incredible …. it involved a cantilever see saw of sort that had the actor attached by a harness around the pelvis to a hoist that was maneuvered by 4 men on the other weighted end. I wish that I had taken a photo of this remarkably simple but efficient ballast system that had a steering wheel on one end to twist and turn the actor on the other. What truly was remarkable is that one of the actors was a paraplegic! The system had molded legs that helped the actor stand and fly and rotate in every possible direction. What an incredible gift. Needless to say, we were enthralled by the whole experience, loving every moment of this incredibly engaging and witty story.

As Morgan tells his brother Daniel in the play “When you free-fall, you don’t feel the fall, only the free”.

The Globe and Mail desrcibes the system as such

Technically, Skydive is a fascinating and unique show. Frazer and Sanders are each strapped to an ES Dance Instrument, a device invented by the show’s “aerial choreographer” (and former Arctic explorer) Sven Johansson in the 1980s. The actors are attached to long steel poles and manoeuvred like puppets up and down, side to side and in spiralling circles by black-clad operators.

Sven also pioneered dance for the disabled in 1994. “The ES Dance Instrument compensates for lack of balance, blindness and muscular inability,” he says, “giving freedom of movement to persons who would not otherwise be able to dance for enjoyment or artistic expression.”

A wonderful anniversary to say the least!

Fallen angel

Wanting to enjoy the most of this summer’s day, I set out on my bike, soaking up the sun, celebrating in the purity of the clear blue sky. It was divine and indulgent. Perhaps a bit too indulgent? After visiting with my friends Sara and Michael, I hopped on my mountain bike and started the uphill journey to my friend Susan’s foreign exchange / end-of-Stampede barbeque. Perhaps daydreaming a bit too much, I somehow caught my u-Lock on my handlebars and quickly locked up any steering capabilities. When trying to steer around a corner, the bike refused my cornering input and henceforth sent me flying off, landing abruptly on my right wrist, sending shockwaves through my injured shoulder and cre8ting instant pain and swelling. My first reaction was to find an immediate source of ice and elevation. I gently hopped on my bike and carefully, but quickly, ‘hobbled’ home, there encasing my injured arm in ice for an hour. Realizing that the pain was persistently complex, I gingerly made my way to the new Urgent Care centre (luckily only a few blocks away) and silently awaited my turn in Triage, the waiting room and finally was granted a visit with the on-duty Orthopedic Assistant Surgeon. After several xRays and an anxious turn in the waiting room, I was given an uncertain answer as to the extent of my injury. Neither a break nor a fracture could be visualized; however, precaution was taken with the ‘gifting’ of a partial plaster cast, encased from thumb to elbow. The pain I was experiencing was characteristic of a scaphoid fracture, and an appointment for 10 days back here at the Urgent Care would be needed. How convenient that this would fall on the day before slaDE~ and I were to leave for our trip to Nelson, BC for our Level 2 Teacher Training. Ack!!!! How this would change things was yet to be established.

Yippee, yahoo. The end of the Calgary Stampede. Not quite the ‘bang’ I was anticipating ::>{o

Friends = angels

I’m feeling uninspired lately … that and oh so weary. I’m finding myself completely exhausted, utterly busy and often dragging around a sore aching body. I have neglected my Flickr project 366, my blog, my friends, my cre8tivity, my healthful diet. At times I feel negligent and unworthy. BUT, daily and with purpose, I remind myself that I am very worthy … and very blessed. Just really really tired.
Friends are angels

How To Survive The Year

Harold's Planet
I just HAD to post this wonderful ‘Harold’s Planet‘ cartoon … after picking myself off the floor, laughing hysterically!

Just last week I clocked in my one year anniversary working for the Calgary Health Region. Prior to my full-time job here in Calgary, I’d been freelancing as a Web Designer / Videographer / Parachute Packer for the past 14 some odd years and living a life full of personal whim at my own pace, my own hours, and with no one to tell me when to take vacation. This comic TRULY hit home! I miss my old life of the perpetual holiday …. Soon enough, though, we’ll be on the road, guiding and directing our own path through life, Airstream in tow. I’m excited and can’t wait 🙂

Volunteering and the Calgary Folk Festival

CFMFIn my experience, I find that volunteering has always been an incredibly rewarding gift of one’s time. Unfailingly, an adventure with unexpected rewards far greater than ever imagined. Such was the case of my weekend on ‘plate recycling’ duty at the Calgary Folk Festival. Although I tweaked my back in lifting and counting the mountain of buckets thrown our way both mornings, I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend of musical delight and celebration on downtown Calgary’s Prince’s Island Park.

So many wonderful musicians were heard, a few of my favourites being: Rufus Wainwright; Neko Case; City And Colour; Crooked Jades; John Boutte; Ollabelle; Oh Susanna; The Sadies; Good Brothers; Jamaica to Toronto (and these were only the artists that I experienced … many more were not heard, unfortunately!).

PS The food was AMAZING!!!!

Volunteering locally is always a pleasure, but sometimes when one is looking for more adventure in distant lands, the opportunities abound, and finding the right organization can be a bit of a challenge. However, having worked, lived and volunteered abroad, I can tell you that with all of the trials and difficulties encountered along my journey came life-changing experiences and memories that will last several lifetimes!

Here’s an article with organizations and volunteer listings from the Green Guide to help get you started in an unforgettable journey of volunteer work beyond the borders of your current reality:

crossculturalsolutions.org: Offers volunteer programs in 12 countries, including Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Morocco, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania and Thailand.

i-to-i.com: Work to conserve Madagascar’s lemurs, care for endangered wallabies in Australia or help maintain biodiversity with indigenous peoples in Costa Rica.

idealist.org: An extensive volunteer database with environmental listings, connections to local nonprofits, financial aid information, internships and a kids and teens page. Current opportunities include teaching environmental awareness to Nepalese villagers and developing a fruit-drying program for Ghanan villagers, among many others.

maasaicentre.org: The Maasai Centre for Field Studies still takes volunteers as well as school and university groups. For details, contact Dr. Chris Southgate or Dr. Mark Toogood via the Web site.

volunteerabroad.com: Listings include opportunities to protect Australia’s environment and conservation projects in Costa Rica.

volunteerinternational.org: Conservation programs in Thailand, creating a Holocaust Memorial Park in Poland and making eco-friendly soap with disabled persons in Japan are just three of the unique opportunities you’ll find on this site.

Tip of the day for volunteering overseas:

Handling the Expenses
Costs can be a major drawback to volunteering overseas. Travelers with specific experience or academic expertise may be able to find an organization willing to pay their expenses and even provide a stipend. In most cases, however, volunteers will be responsible for air fare, in-country travel and living expenses. And some popular organizations charge added fees.

Yet there are options for the dedicated. If the main purpose of your visit is to volunteer, airlines may provide free or heavily discounted flights—albeit often on standby. Call the carrier and let them know you’re interested in a sponsorship for volunteer work. They may ask to see your volunteer visa or a letter from your volunteer organization.

My life’s soundtrack

How random can the music that you live and love for, depict who you are?
This is such an interesting experiment … mine’s rather interesting actually. And I must admit, it’s very fitting to who I am!

meaning of life guruSo, here’s how it works:

1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that’s playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don’t lie!

Opening Credits: Nobody Knows Me – Aya
Waking Up: Whow It’s Me – Adagio
First Day At School: In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins / 2 Pac Remix
Falling In Love: Me Myself and I – Beyoncé Knowles
Fight Song: Tong Poo – Ryuichi Sakamoto
Breaking Up: Standing Together – George Benson
Prom: Ain’t No Sunshine – Stryke
Life: When I Fall In Love – Diana Krall
Mental Breakdown: Every Time I Close My Eyes – Babyface
Driving: Flora’s Secret – Enya
Flashback: Track 09 – DJ Jetk
Getting Back Together: Enormous Trap – Rumi
Wedding: When Two Hearts Meet – Jessica
Birth of Child: Beautiful – Christina Aguilera
Final Battle: Song 2– Blur
Death Scene: Centre of the Sun– Incognito
Funeral Song: Gone With The Wind – Various Artists
End Credits: Do You Want To Know A Secret – The Beatles

life soundtrack