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Thursday, June 30, 2011

ICEL 2011 Banquet: Kelowna, BC

On far right: Rambe Patient (a fellow facebook researcher).
Conference organizer Peter and I (presenter)
On right: Keynote David Kaufman and his partner Alice.
 On left: Conference organizer Phil Balcean with his partner and my friend Armelle

* all photos taken by Sue Nugus of ICEL 2011
Tomorrow I leave for Barcelona, Spain. Stay tuned for blogs from Catalonia very soon.
Thought I'd post a few conference banquet pics.
BTW, I saw one of the best movies I have ever seen last night: The Return. It is Russian and stars two little boys aged about 14 and 12. The acting is outstanding and the writing superb. The two boys deserve Academy Awards. Though, maybe not, as I think the Academy Awards are pathetic--I mean, Johnny Depp won for Pirates of the Caribbean--enough said.
Espana alla voy!

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

NUTANA BAKERY Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

"Those chocolate longjohns with sprinkles from Nutana Bakery are so good."
-Uncle Bruce sent this pic of Pip today along with the quote. I am posting it for all of my readers who used to live in or visit Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. No one forgets the yummy treats from Nutana Bakery!
The bismarks were my favourite--real raspberry jam with seeds inside. Peter's fave were the cream longjohns and I believe Miranda had a thing for the double chocolate glazed donuts :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

So Much Fun!

Me, apres the conference banquet. The dress is Max Studio and the shoes Ralph Lauren--I confess, I own 8 Max Studio dresses as they are designed perfectly to fit my body type.
I had a wonderful time at the banquet--we sat outside over looking the lake. It was held at the Hotel Elderado. I talked with so many interesting and fun people. The food was delicious also.
I recently have felt very disillusioned with academia and my thesis process. But this conference was just what I needed to feel good about my career path again. I received some compliments last evening at the banquet from several people. In general, they were thrilled with my presentation. One particular woman told me that I am a very skilled presenter and my presentation was very interesting and that she sees really exciting things ahead for me in my career--I can't beat that comment! It felt so good to be with academics and to be treated with respect and as a person of interest and knowledge. And my paper was published in the conference proceedings so now I am published! :) Peter and Phil did a fab job planning the conference.
I feel good about the path I am on. My goal to get my MFA next and teach and research Fine Arts at a University is just what I want.
The only down side of the conference is that I lost my note book and one of the presenters from UBC kept reiterating in her speech that Canada is a British colony!  We are a part of the British Commonwealth of Nations but we are NOT a colony nor have we been in a very long time. We became an independent nation in 1867!

And double more fun! I am for sure teaching 2 ZumbAtomics classes this fall at the rec centre. M & F 1h classes--so excited to be teaching again!

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Monday, June 27, 2011

International Conference on E-Learning 2011

Me, just before I left to present at the conference. The dress is Anne Klein.
Ready to go. Note my bracelet--it's actually a thumb drive that holds my powerpoint presentation.

 SO relieved my conference presentation is behind me. I was tres nervous as I am a grad student and the rest of the presenters are prof's from around the globe. 37 countries are represented at the conference. I ate lunch with Saudi Arabians and Australians. And I had a nice chat with a fellow facebook researcher from S. Africa.
But I feel good about it all. I had a lot of questions after my presentation and several comments on how good the presentation was :) And I feel extra chuffed that this was tweeted about me:

Interesting session by M. Hart, using Facebook for "covert" real time, collaborative storytelling 

I am so tired from the day. We must go to the banquet tonight--at a restaurant on the lake front.
Tabs was ill last night with throwing up (she spent the day at a party on the lake). But this morning she was better and spent the day at the waterslides in Vernon. Mist looked after Pip and the two had a fun day together.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Little Lydia Hume

Tabs posing as Lydia, complete with her hotel front desk props: service ringing bell, room register  and antique hotel room keys.
Tabs best friend peeks from behind as Princess Diana.
Note the button on the floor one steps on to make Lydia Hume come to life.
A serious Lydia moment.
Tabs as Lydia telling her story to interested audience.
This is my Tabs at Wax Works. Her school hosts an afternoon where 5th graders dress up and become famous people past or present. When one steps on the button in front of the Wax Person, they come to life, telling all about the life story of the individual they are portraying. Lydia Hume is a historical character from the town of Nelson BC. She  and her husband built the famous Hume Hotel in the city and the Hume house--Tab's auntie now owns and resides in the historical Hume house, set high on a hill over looking down town Nelson. Tabs wanted to be Lydia as her middle name is Lydia and she often stays at the Hume house and has stayed in the Hume hotel.
I must unbiasedly as possible report that little Lydia Hume was the most precious Wax Works girl I have ever witnessed. And from the pictures, you must agree. She melts my heart. 
She is at a friend's all day party at the lake today.

Yesterday was a full day. Tabs had soccer in the morning, then I took my gang out for coffee as I owed Tabs a drink of her choice from Starbucks for scoring a goal. Then we shopped for a gift for her friends Birthday party. I raced up Dilworth mountain to attend an afternoon garden party for Pip and preschool friends and their families. 
Later, Mist and Pip went over to auntie's for a supper party as another auntie was also in town visiting. Tabs went to a sleep over party and Peter and I picked up the conference keynote and his wife from their hotel  and took them for supper at Summerhill Winery. It was a beautiful night and we dined on the deck over looking the vineyards and lake. Our guests were wonderful, very friendly and interesting: world travellers and Buddhists!
Today I prepare for the conference--I present Monday morning--a little nervous! I will also hike up the mountain. Also a tea party at my sisters and tonight the conference starts with cocktails on campus. Mist has a friend coming over later.
Must make sure I do nothing but prepare my power point from 1 until 5!
I am getting better from the bronchitis, however, it doesn't take much to wind me now as my lungs are still full :(

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Press Photos

This pic captures both of their personalities perfectly: Pip is happy and playful and Peter quite serious.
Peter and Pip. Peter is wearing his 20 year old Italian suit. He's chuffed that it still fits. Today he is being photographed for being on the Education prof's honour roll.

A busy day. Dropped Pip and niece Artemisia off at  the EnergyPlex for their year end field trip. Mist and I went out for a quick coffee and then I dropped off Mist for the day at a friend's. Next I purchased a year end gift for Pip's teacher Tracy. Mrs. Tracy from Precious Gift's is the absolute best teacher and Pip has adored her 2 years of preschool.

I will next go to Tab's school to photograph 'Wax Works.' The students in fifth grade dress up like a famous person (no longer living) and communicate with everyone as though they are the person. Tabs chose Lydia Hume. She may seem unknown to most but she is special to Tabs as Tabs' middle name is Lydia (after my paternal German grandmother). As well Lydia Hume and hubby Fred built the first house in Nelson (the first or nearly the first?) and the Hume hotel. My sister Theresa now owns and resides in the impressive Hume house.

It seems to be a press day for this family. The school called this morning to say Tabs is receiving a school wide Geography award and the press will be there and will we allow her to be photographed? The award must be a surprise as this is the first we've heard about it. She is a wizz at geography though.

Feeling better each day. Though my lungs are still full thus dancing is going to be slow going and no running until they are clear. Have finished a basic Spain plan: Barcelona, the coast near Begur and then onto the most beautiful town in Spain (Lonely Planet quote) called Albaracin (ancient Islamic, Christian and Roman architecture).


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hedwig's Theme

Pip in audience. Note: she's folded up with the seat :)
Tabs' duet with her teacher Marla
A little bow after her performance
Mist. This is only her 2nd year of piano but she has advanced very quickly. Her teacher says she's a whizz at theory.
A quick  bow
Marla and her students
After recital reception
The title is a title from one of the pieces my daughters played at their year end piano recital.
I love the piano. It was a good recital. Beautiful music.
I am finally feeling a little better. Bronchitis is a slow recovery.
My Mac computer is really acting up. it is as though someone is changing everything I type as I type it and when I google a website it goes to some weird one I didn't choose. It says I have no viruses but what is going on? It also refuses to load my photos on my blog--it cancels my command just after I've made it.
I will gradually get back to work: thesis revisions (PMGO!) For those of you that don't understand the lingo: puke my guts out--Mist is famous for using this acronym.
Then I must prepare for my conference presentation on Monday. I also must get my Zumba choreography completed asap and as well finish planning Spain.
ZumbAtomics will be amazing to teach as Tabs and Nemi (daughter and niece) will be in my class and will be my designated assistants.
Once my thesis is finished, I move on to painting and publishing my existing novels and staring my MFA in painting at UBC this fall. That involves a lot of painting prior to starting.
I am happy--another date. I met this woman through the piano recitals and I've always liked her and found her interesting (she's a fashionista like me). We have a coffee date when I get back from Spain.
***will up load pics as soon as it lets me :P

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Monday, June 20, 2011

My Babies are Back!

My computer is really F'd up. It won't print what I type. So I will try to finish this before it goes in for repairs.
The pics are from a few weeks ago. I took little Pip and Artemis to Doe-Doe park and we played that I was the Queen and they were a neighboring Prince and Princess whose own castle was in disrepair and I invited them to stay with me. It was  then that they announced that they'd be bringing along their 6 kids to stay too! It was very cute and so fun to play along with them and their imaginations. I remember I was called Queen Mix.
My famille arrived home safe and sound last evening. They all had the most amazing week on the Prairies. My girls were spoiled by all of their Arthur relatives. Their Uncle Bruce and Auntie Marina sending them off with a take home gift: a wii--My girls are in heaven!

My computer will not let me type more. I will publish this and try again later.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Moose on the Loose!

A very Freaky Friday. I met a friend of mine at a new pub in town MooseHead's. I thought for sure it would be a quiet night as I met my friend Anna through Vipassana. And for those of you who don't know, Vipassana is very old school: no alcohol consumption allowed. But apparently that is flexible. The night started out rather quiet, aside from the entire pub donning ridiculous paper moose antlers.
 I had taken bronchitis medication but I allowed myself one wine spritzer. Never mix bronchitis meds with wine. I did not know this until it was too late, hence the above photo. 
I will say that we met some lovely fire fighters at the pub though. And no, I didn't get into trouble. Not really. I only drove around the parking lot and didn't hit anything :D!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Myra Canyon/Kettle Valley Railway: Ground Squirrel, Chipmunk & Black Bear

Ground Squirrels are curious creatures.
This little chipmunk had it all. I discovered it early in the morning, nestled on a rock face in a cluster of gorgeous flowers, munching away on its breakfast.
Hope you enjoy the photos. I enjoy my bike rides up in Myra Canyon so very much. When I am up there, I never want to leave. I encounter much wild life. The creatures are overly friendly too: chipmunks will come right up and take food from one's hand. I have felt the presence of a cougar in the area once but so far my only big mammal sighting has been a lone black bear--very slick, black and healthy looking (above). With cougars, they are so secretive, you never see one unless they are on top of you, so I rely on my instincts, I can feel it when one is watching. Twice in my life, while hiking, I knew I was being seriously watched. 

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

If Wishes Were Fields

Cousins and best friends: Artemis and Pip
Pics taken a few weeks ago.
This cold virus turned into something more: throwing up is involved too :(
I took today off to just recuperate.
I did take Fernando on a walk around the block, went to Chapters to buy a Lonely Planet travel magazine yet still I remain bored out of my Friggen mind!
I hate recuperating. I get so bloody bored. My head is full and my stomach dodgy so I can't concentrate enough to do real work (writing, dancing even serious reading). Thus, I am terribly bored. So I am blogging for lack of a better thing to do today.
I believe tomorrow I will be well enough to at least work, probably not work out though. That is the killer. I organize my day around my workouts so to not be well enough to do them leaves me feeling lost. Perhaps meditation is in order today--I have slacked off this week.
Sigh....my nightly Mexican dining must be shelved for now too.
Onto more interesting topics: the Rec centre called to say they have me teaching at least one ZumbAtomics class this fall and perhaps an adult Zumba too.  I am excited about this. All my choreography is not in vain. I may teach on campus as well.  Wish I felt well enough to keep up the choreography this week!
The summer is rushing upon me. The week after next, I present and attend the ICEL (International Conference on E-Learning) and then on Friday we're off to Barcelona! YIKES, so soon! I still haven't decided weather to stay in Catalonia for the entire 2 weeks or spend the 6 days in Barcelona and then fly or train down to Andalucia for a week. One can't do all of Spain in 2 weeks so I must choose. It is so difficult because there is so much to experience in every region. At least I've narrowed it down to two choices. I love travel, it makes the earth seem like an endless magical adventure.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hello, You Fools, I Love You

Single woman with dog. Note: Fernando waving his paw at his sisters and dad.
Doesn't Fernando look like the most precious pup ever in this pic?
These pics are of me and Fernando and intended for Mist, Tabs, Pip and Peter--knowing they are missing us so... Fernando is the cutest dog in the universe in the above pic. Don't you just want to cuddle and kiss him?

When I kissed my darling girls goodbye, as they headed out on their road trip east, Tabs forgot to mention she'd just caught a nasty cold. I kissed the little darling on her lips. Guess what? I am struggling with the virus now. It leaves one with an overall sick feeling and sore throat. It is putting a huge damper on my dance choreography plans. I have no energy and my legs and feet feel like cement :(

I finally went to my massage therapist about my leg. She is a genius. As usual, my IT band is way too tight and has wrecked both my right knee and hip joints (pulled out of alignment). She really helped me but stressed that I have to cut back on my running and do way more stretches.
 It really is Zumba. I was fine with the amount of running I do until I added all this dance on top of it. But I love the dance and don't want to cut back--I can't if I want to try and teach. So, I have decided to take out one run a week. I hope that is enough.

Really enjoying Dirty Radio--their music makes me want to dance!
Writing and dancing all week. I won't talk about the writing aspect of my life because it is so dull.

What to do with this blog? Lately I feel that the blog makes me feel too vulnerable--my life is too public to feel good about. Although I do edit my life considerably for this blog. However, I am addicted to writing about my life--a continuing photo essay of my life with my family. It is a 21st C blogging dilemma. I want to retreat sometimes and close the curtain on my life yet one cannot let a blog just go...all that work, all the writing and photos. How to make my work a physical authority(a text that can be passed down from one generation to another)? I write about this in my thesis. How online authors of online works feel the fragility of their work's lack of physical authority--how to save it all?

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

The Priest's House
The Drake's
The Hart-Cunningham
The 7th Street
A few houses in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan that hold memories for me and my family. Peter sent these via iPhone this morning.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Single Woman and Dog

Me age 2 (with Barbie) and my sister Theresa
More baby shots of me as my own babies are out of town.
They are having a blast on the prairies. Peter keeps emailing me his iphone photos of their adventures and I must say, they are leaving no prairie stone unturned! Quite jealous at some of the photos of all of them at my favourite restaurant ever: Amigos Cantina and the Mendel Art Gallery and the best carousel ride ever at Rotary Park!
Back to life as a single woman with a dog...
I went down town yesterday to walk Fernando along the lake front. But alas, the Fat Cat Children's Festival was in full swing and the lake front was closed and we ended up caught in the middle of the parade. An odd experience watching a children's parade without kids. I found myself waving Fernando's little paw at all of the parade people as they passed and waved at us. I actually laughed out loud--it was fun acting stupid by myself.
Picked up a bottle of wine from the wine museum to take to a party I attended last night (the museum staff took to Fernando and invited him in with me as I shopped). Made a lovely card and attached it to the bottle--only to discover I'd left it at home 1/2 way to the party. Instead of driving back up the mountain, I stopped at the nearest beer & wine store and bought my hosts a new bottle. The party was across the lake up yet another mountain off of Bear Creek road. The party was located at a home way up the mountain and the view of the valley was breath taking. As dusk approached, the lights surrounding the lake reminded me of Monte Carlo at night. I felt very blessed to live in the Okanagan Valley--one of the most beautiful spots on earth to live, I believe.
 The party was at my friends Armelle & Phil (we chummed around together in Malaysia). They had so many birds on their property and such beautiful ones. Some of the most stunning were a pair of Evening Grosbeak. Their beaks were florescent yellow and parrot like and their feathers yellow, black and white. I had a lovely time at the party, chatting with many interesting people. Armelle is from France and thus so are some of her friends. I was particularly thrilled that the owners of Sandrine were there (a French patisserie in town) and they brought dessert. YUM! Anyone who knows me knows I have a weakness for French pastries.
Last afternoon I played a little tennis with Miranda and her darling girls. Nemi is a natural. She loved tennis and is determined to start lessons immediately. Artemi tried her best but like my Pip, she found hitting the ball a little tough (they are too young for tennis). And Miranda? Well let's just say she and I are pretty evenly matched...
I have been dancing for 3 hours a day and sometimes my legs are so tired and sore I cannot sleep and must rise at midnight for a bath.
Walked my darling Fernando up the mountain this morning and passed a local "dog whisperer" and his giant posse of naughty dogs and their owners. He has a show on TV about dog training. I am proud to say, my darling Fernando was a perfect gentleman as we passed them all (can you tell he is being spoiled rotten as all of my human babies are out of town and I am missing them so?).
Tonight I have been invited to dine at Miranda and John's. Enjoy your Sunday!


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tabitha's road trip:

My darling daughter is blogging about her road trip check it out:



Celebrate You!

There are a few things I want to say. I think they are important.
First, I just want to mention that if one lives their life outside "their box"they take a lot of hits--punches. And what I know for sure, what I feel good about is that I, for one, have been rolling with the punches. But while I roll, my stomach still hurts from the punch. Rolling doesn't stop the initial hurt it just gets you away from the prolonged pain faster!
And speaking about taking hits, I have taken many on this next topic. I am blessed that I learned a valuable lesson a long time ago. It became apparent to me that I needed to celebrate myself and my life. If I didn't do it, no one would. Women need to learn this. We have been programed to believe that celebrating oneself is wrong: conceited, selfish, narcissistic. Women are allowed to celebrate their "man" or partner and their children but not themselves. I take umbrage with this age-old, never talked about societal message. To celebrate oneself liberates one to celebrate the beauty in everyone.
So when people say I think I'm all that and more....well, yes I do, as a matter of fact. I am all that and more and proud of it!
Me, age 2, Vancouver, BC
So, to all of my sisters in the world, celebrate You, show your beauty to the world, you're worth it. If you don't do it, no one will.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Dance Studio

My family pulled out early today on their road trip east.
I will seriously miss them all yet somehow I have managed quite a morning for myself already: biked up Knox Mountain, lifted weights, a few office errands, a trip to my favourite thrift store ( I had yet to visit this year due to lack of time) to the vet to pick up dog food and now a minute at Starbucks with my venti black iced tea, one pump classic, light ice. The barrista almost remembered my order as I am a regular at this particular Starbucks.
I have 2 meeting at UBC starting at 2 this afternoon.
 I am dancing the week away--3h practices each day. 
I cleared all the furniture out of our dining room (except the piano) and turned it into a dance studio. I LOVE it! I purchased a giant wall mirror from Homesense.
I teased my girls that they were going to come home to a new chubby-mummy as I threatened to go for daily DQ blizzard runs while they are gone. However, as much as the idea appeals to me, alas I cannot as I have Spain's beaches to think of...
Decided I'm going to take a Flamenco dance class while in Spain (can add the moves to my Zumba class).
My week is filled with dancing, painting, writing, meditation and hikes with my little Nando (Fernando). I guess all the things I love to do. Also I'm eating Mexican--every single night a burrito! 
Pip, Fernando and I in my new dance studio!

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mist and Monty

Mist and Monty 
Peter and Pip in audience

Mistaya's band concert was phenomenal. They are a really talented band. Of course we heard glowing stories from various teachers about how they were received at recent competitions and the band tour to Vancouver. Apparently they are an award winning, outstanding grade nine band. I agree of course, not only because Mist is in it, but because they were awesome to listen to! They've been playing together for three years--all of the students picked up their instrument for the first time three years ago--they are now playing Mozart beautifully.
The hard part was that because the band teacher is retiring this year, the concert was 2 solid hours long with no breaks. Pip was ready to cry. I would have left her at home with the Tabs but she really wanted to come with us.
Applied to teach at 2 locations this fall (ZUMBA that is). I must teach simply because all of the Kelowna teachers are high impact and Zumba is not supposed to be high impact. Zumba is all about Latin dance and Latin dance is NOT high impact. My classes will be hard-core cardio but medium to low impact. So I will teach simply so I can dance and not blow out my knees.
Tabs is so cute. When we leave her home alone (if we're out on errands), we inevitably get a phone call on the cell from her. Either the hall light flickered on suddenly by itself or the stove is making a weird sound and vibrating. It seems we have possessed appliances that come to life once we leave.
The girls and their dad leave Friday early morning for their road trip East: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan or bust!
 My week "alone" has already filled up with appointments. I will take no more as I so want to choreograph my final dances and start painting.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Stroll Along the Promenade

Pictures taken this past weekend along the "promenade" walk downtown on the lake front.

Life is so much work. I am always in the building phase of everything it seems--I long to be established at something!

I revisited my novel as I am sending it away to publishers again...I dreaded it as there is nothing more dreadful than sending one's work away to publishers: the paper work, fiddly snail-mail stuff, covering letters, queries and outlines and not to mention long waits and rejections. Anyway, despite all of that, on opening my novel and reading the first chapter, it was as though I'd come home. It was a delight to work on it again and makes the whole process more bearable.

Last night, Peter and I returned from picking Mist up from drama practice across the lake. We arrived home at about 8:30 p.m. We'd left Tabs babysitting the Pip. As soon as I walked in the door I heard a firm, authoritative voice barking out orders and music blaring. I peeked through the glass studio door to witness the most adorable scene: Tabs teaching Pip how to ballroom dance.
Tabs was the most stern, serious teacher I've witnessed and her pupil Pip was adorable (dressed only in underpants with her little butt crack showing as Tabs flung her about the room). Tabs kept instructing Pip to stand up straighter and take the dance more "seriously." The couple of dancers stopped in abrupt shock during a dramatic spin when they discovered me observing them through the door.

Tonight is Mist's final band concert. She plays the base clarinet and is very talented at playing "him." She named the instrument Monty.

Tabs choir concert was delightful on Sunday. I find myself with a huge grin on my face the entire time I watch her sing. It is such a joyous treat for me--listening to her choir and watching them sing lifts my spirit such that if I could sell the feeling, I would be rich. All of the little singers are adorable. And my darling Tabs always has a smile.

Tried out another Zumba class. Trying to find a way to teach on UBC campus. Campus Rec acts like I must apply to teach for them, I thought I could just rent a room, advertise and go for it. Perhaps there are several ways to teach on campus...

A friend of mine and I want to get together for open meditation meetings (any form of meditation welcome--my friend doesn't like Vipassana) so perhaps we shall organize that and leave the Vipassana for a time when the serious meditators contact me out if genuine interest.

So little time to learn Spanish. I may just have to wing it while in Spain. 

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