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Monday, May 26, 2014

Reading:)

Clearly I need to post more often on what I'm reading because I haven't in so long and now I'm struggling to remember!!

The last book post had me reading Cress. Which was fantastic and depressing as the book was wonderful, but the 4th one, Winter, is not out yet!


And it won't be out till THE END OF FU&%ING 2015!!


After my days of fury depicted on the right here by my buddy Tom, I have accepted the terms of torture given to me by Ms. Meyer and am trying not to think about how friggin' long this wait will be. Argh.


After Cress, I read Splintered by A.G. Howard. I really enjoyed the darkness and unique spin on my beloved Wonderland tale. It was a quick read, and a fun story. There is a sequel, but since I have the first one in trade PB, I'd like the second to match. Should be out sometime this year, so thankfully the wait will not be too brutal;)


Following this, I read Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. I was really intrigued by the plot-line in this, but had a hard time enjoying the author's writing style. Normally, I wouldn't have finished a book in which I found a style so abrasive, but her story kept me hooked, and I got through it.

Somewhere in this time I read The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. My brain is so awesome that I don't remember the order, but I try to genre-jump a bit so it was likely after Cress and before Cruel Beauty. Probably.

This one was excellent and I send a heartfelt thanks and virtual high-five to my girl
Chris for gifting it to me:-D
It was an excellent story, well-written and researched, and just all-around wonderful. Left me feeling positive and that my time was spend well. I HATE when I finish a book and feel the time I invested into it was a waste. Not the case here, and I recommend picking it up!

I believe next was the first book in the super-fun, urban, Celtic fantasy series by Jodi McIsaac. Through the Door was a great read and made even better when I got to meet the lovely Ms. McIsaac at the Calgary Expo. I always find it so interesting to meet fantasy authors, to see where these worlds came from.
Needless to say, once I finished Through the Door, I jumped right into her 2nd book, Into the Fire, which was a fine sequel and even better than the first, I think. What I liked most was that each of these books wrapped up nicely, not leaving you with an author-loathing sense of unfinished business. (RIGHT, Ms. Meyer?) Ms. McIsaac's third book came out a few days ago and is on the way to my mailbox as we speak! Woot!

As I mentioned, I like to genre-jump, but I'll also just simultaneously read 2 genres. Before I finished Into the Fire, I began A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard, which I knew was a stupid move but I did it anyway!
In no way was the stunning memoir stupid, I just knew it would upset me, and it did. I ended up getting no sleep the night I began it, as I had to put it down halfway through and go lay with my daughter. I cried and held her and my heart hurt for the terrible atrocities this brave girl had to endure as a child. Zero sleep that night.
The next day I made the hubby reinforce all the windows and he and I gave the kids a refresher on The Stranger Talk. That'll be a whole post in itself, coming soon. Stay tuned;)
But back to the book, it was moving and horrifying, and all the things that a memoir from a woman who had been abducted when she was 11 by two pedophiles and raped and held hostage for 18 years would be. Definitely worth reading if you can stomach it. I hope you get more sleep than I have! (PS: Please head here to learn about the wonderful charity Ms. Dugard has gone on to begin.)

Currently, I've begun The Time Keeper by Mitch Album. I'm barely into it at this point, but I've read a couple of his other books in the past and enjoyed them. So far, this one seems completely different, but absolutely intriguing. I'll try to post about my reading adventures more often so I can actually remember the book when I write about it, lol.

Hope you're all finding happiness between the pages!

Cheers,
Kel

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sum Mum Fun

So, my last few posts were super nerderific. As a result, this post is all Mommy.

My children attend an excellent charter school here in Edmonton that utilizes the Suzuki music method and applies it to academics. All the children from K-6 each play an instrument, and attend group music classes during school, as well as choral classes. The academics are pushed on them a little more-so than at a public school, therefore there is a lot more pressure on these kids, but (for my family, at least) it seems to be the right way to go. The majority of kids at this school are intelligent, responsible, globally-aware, and immensely talented.
Every spring, the school hosts a massive concert at Edmonton's most prestigious orchestra venue - The Winspear Centre - where the entire school performs in a 3-hour concert. It's an exhausting few days for the kids and teachers, as they rehearse at the school the 2 mornings prior, then attend a full rehearsal at the venue the morning of (7 busloads there and back), before heading back to school for the afternoon, then participating in the actual concert that evening. And there's always school the next day.
This year, Ella is in kindergarten so it was the first year we had both children participating in the concert. And our first year of being able to just sit and enjoy without a young child to run to the washroom every 10 minutes/entertain/feed/keep quiet. :-D
Here are some of the pictures of that day/evening for us:
Ella wanted Elsa's coronation
hair from Frozen.
Evan was pretty excited.
Ready for the concert!
The concert itself is always a remarkable spectacle. An entire school of talented kids!
Suzuki Charter School 2014 Winspear Concert
We were lucky enough to get seats where we had a decent view of our kids among the masses.
My sweet girl was a royal stinker up in the balcony,
causing trouble with her friends. You can tell by the bird
she's flipping in this pic:)
Evan was super exhausted by the end of the concert, but
I still caught him gazing about, clearly awed by the
spectacle around him.
 It is always so wonderful to hear and see the fruition of months of practice and effort. And the looks on the kids' faces as they experience the entire event is always incredible. Not to mention seeing which kindergartner falls asleep on stage, tee hee. (It is a loooooong day for them.)  This year, my nephew in grade one was up front and looked as though he was fighting off sleep like a champ:)
Aside from the pride I felt, I was moved by the effort the school staff went to in order to pay tribute to the former music director (who passed away last year after battling cancer) through an emotional cello performance by her son, a surprisingly stunning duet by members of the staff, and the establishment of a scholarship in her name.
The evening wrapped up with the usual camaraderie of a live auction (to match the silent auction that went on through the night) that featured big ticket items, including the coveted parking stall closest to the school doors:) I always find it remarkable to see how people with money live, lol. I think that stall went for $1200 this year. Crazy, right?!

All in all it was a fantastic evening, and one I always look forward to, despite the exhausted, and therefore miserable children I have to drive home after and deal with the next day. It's a lovely celebration of the work we do all year with our kids, and always memorable.

Next post? Well, instead of resting the day after the Winspear concert, we left the city for several days to take Evan to Calgary for a guitar event! No rest for the wicked;-)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Calgary Expo Day 3: Good to Go

By the third day of heading to the expo, it felt like I was going to visit old friends.
We began our day there by catching the Capoeira Camara Performance, which was super cool.
Here is a one-minute video I took of these amazing guys and gals:
After that I caught a panel called "Aliens and Beowulf" that drew links between the two. Was quite interesting! Chris and Sherene were at another panel so I wandered around for a bit. We all met up and shopped for some art!
Th day before, Christal had spoken to immensely talented local artist/author Mike Boldt about drawing up a pic of the three of us in our steampunk costumes. The result was fantastic!!
How awesome is this?!?!

I also bought a piece (a SWEET pic of Yoda) from Mr. Boldt, as well as some amazing work by Brian Hoang, Ann Crowe, and Molly Nemecek aka Jakface. I collected business cards from a small army of booths too, and have finally tracked them all down on their various sites and liked/followed, etc.
We also made use of the TapSnap booth again and did a Harry Potter themed picture together. Yeah!
Hogwarts is burning!! Nooooooo!!

We then caught a panel put on by The Harry Potter Alliance members from EPIC about How Fandom is Changing the World. It was interesting to see how people are taking their mutual love for things and using it to make the work a better place:)
Also finally ran into some other friends, including the stunning Vampire Nomad in her incredible CSI cosplay, made custom by Dark Knits Boutique:-)

We also ran into Benny, Batman and Emmet, as well as a great Darth Maul paint job!


We finished the day off at the How to Write (Quality) Fantasy panel given by Calgary author Jodi McIsaac, who was informative and charming. I always love hearing about how other authors organize their thoughts and work. 
This marked the end of the con, and the building was certainly empty. We were definitely ready to go too. It had been an incredible 3 days, but we were truly exhausted. I'm guessing we walked for around 20-24 hours over the 3 days, not to mention the occasional *squee* jump.
I know Edmonton has expanded its con this year to 3-days, and I'm really hoping to go. I think I'll enjoy a smaller con, with less people, but I know that means it won't draw the celebrities a larger con would.
Ah, we'll see, I guess.
Overall feeling on the weekend: Aces!



Friday, May 2, 2014

Calgary Expo Day 2: Whoa

SO!

Saturday was by far the most interesting day, albeit the most exhausting. Chris and I were up early to don our steampunk costumes. We did our hair and makeup and cinched ourselves into our corsets.
Chris was pretty excited
to get her hair all did:)
Excited to actually have
time to do my makeup for
a change, lol.


My corset and hat were made by the immensely talented Nikki at Dark Knits Boutique. (Side Note: Wearing my first costume at my first comic-con, I now know to carry extra business cards of who made my costume-soooo many people asked about it!)

I was pretty excited to get there and hook up with my other BFF Sherene! One of my favorite pics from the weekend is of the three of us all steampunked out<3
Ah, love this:-D
The weather was pretty crappy this day, snowing and blowing all over. As a result, I missed a few panels because it was just too cold for me to stand outside and wait in line. My teeth were chattering several times this day.
The first panel that I wanted to go to was called Being Hobbit and it featured Billy Boyd and Sean Astin. Chris and I were part of a crowd of about 500 that ended up getting cut off, so there were many that missed out.
 

It was a lot of fun, with Billy and Sean sharing memories and stories from their time filming LOTR 15 years ago. (I know, it makes me feel old too.) My favorite moment was when this was said:
Sean: My youngest daughter is 8.
Billy: Wait, wait, oh my God.
Sean: What.
Billy: So your daughter is 8. And my son turns 8 TODAY. (Audience "awwws") And in the books your daughter and my son get married! (Audience freaks out) Can you imagine?! How cool is that?!

The panel ended with Billy filming Sean and all of us singing Happy Birthday to his son, Jack. Super fun stuff:)

I intended to go to the Bruce Campbell panel next (alone, I might mention, as my friends bailed on me for Felicia Day, lol). The lineup was outside however, and I was without a jacket. When I went in to retrieve said jacket, I promptly failed to remember where our locker was. Awesome. The line outside was astronomical now, and I was pretty sure even if I joined the line and froze my ass off, I wouldn't get in anyways. Boo.
This thought process worked it's way through my mind as I stood in between a set of the doors in and out. Then a totally random thing happened: a man came up and literally shoved me over, saying, "Stand aside! Stand aside!" Rather shocked at his bold behavior, I did move over, when an entourage of about 12-15 people shuffled through the doors, all surrounding a befuddled and very artificial-looking Joan Rivers. She saw the trickling snow, gave an exclamation of alarm, and was herded outside. (Side Note: Joan Rivers was not scheduled for any event at the Expo. So really, WTF was she there for? So odd...)

I ended up wandering the booths for a couple hours, mentally noting all the stuff I wanted to get. (Side Note: I did pick myself up a pretty sweet She-Hulk shirt:) There was also such a huge volume of people, that I couldn't even really look at all the costumes people were wearing. I didn't take many pictures this day at all; I think I was in a bit of an overload.
Spaceballs!
I don't know what character this
guest is cosplaying, but I was
just so impressed with it!!

Skesis!
Spirited Away!


Apparently some guy ran
up and snapped a shot of
my breasts while I posed.
Classy.


Once I was reunited with ma girls, we got in at the last minute to the first panel we all actually wanted to see: Parasol Dueling in Steampunk Style. This was a super fun panel led by members of The Steampunk Arts and Science Society that explored the fictional history of the women's sport of parasol dueling.
Snub!
After that I zipped over to a panel called My Mother is an Alien: Lt. Ripley-From Virgin to Mother. This was a rather dull panel that explored the conversion of Weaver's character in each film. I ended up  leaving after they discussed the second film, as I've never seen the third or fourth.

The three of us shopped around and ended up totally losing track of time, thus missing the costume contest we wanted to watch. I had a few friends that were going to enter, so I'm bummed we missed it:-(

We went for Ramen after leaving the Expo, and it was delicious! I've been craving it ever since, and my instant noodles come nowhere near it! Need to find a place here that has them!

Somehow, I made it through the day, though I was dying to get the corset off. Almost 12 hours in my first corset left me bruised and exhausted. I practically fell into my bed at Christal's that night.
But still excited for one more day...