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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Photo Shoot with Photographer Ryan Murphy

For a Christmas present, Theresa booked the children and I for a portrait photo shoot with THE Canadian portrait photographer Ryan Murphy. These are my photos of us at the shoot which took place in the attic studio of Hart Hall in Nelson, BC. Hart Hall (the historic building my sister recently purchased) is an amazing old three story stone building in down town Historical Nelson. Last evening I used the spacious hall to practice dancing to some new songs. The little girls accompanied me--they found old costumes, dressed up and had a blast running through the hall playing while I danced. Last evening we had a wonderful vegetarian kamut lasagna meal cooked by chef Theresa. It was a most enjoyable evening with all seven of us Kelowna people and Theresa, Kyran, Joop, Paul and Kim.
Today I will head over to Hart Hall this morning for more dance and then we are all off to the Anisworth Hotsprings. Tonight, I believe it is a festive New Year's Eve house party with games and appies here at Hart House.

Happy New Year's Eve My Dear Readers!

cousins in waiting
me and the kids 
me holding Pip with Mist, Kyran and Artemisia
Anemone (model) and Ryan
Kyran threatening to throw Artemisia out the window and Tabs quite thrilled at the prospect ;)
Kyran relaxing on Pip's knee 
Artemisia thrilled to be holding her big cuz
Speak No Evil: Girls went exploring in Hart Hall and returned like this
Mistaya styling Peter's hair
Model Kyran 

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Boys and I

Me and my dogs. (top) Wee little Pablo, our Old Boston Bulldog puppy and (bottom) Fernando our pug. Mistaya practiced her theatre makeup skills on me last week and then we took these pics. I think they are just festive enough for the pending New Years Eve Celebrations!

Our home is a little inside out at the moment. Our stairs are half covered in oak (thanks to Peter and all of his hard work). We will have to leave them for a few days as we are going to Nelson, BC to celebrate the New Year with my sister and her family and we are bringing our girls, dogs and my two darling little nieces with us for the journey through the mountains. It is very warm in BC this season, thus big avalanche warnings. Our route is clear so far. Driving in any direction out of Kelowna in the winter is always a challenge--highways are extremely high mountain passes in all directions and they are often closed due to blizzards or in warm winter weather--avalanches.

My lungs are still infected with a virus which I am nursing as I start teaching full out (3 classes of ZumbAtomics at Ecole Glenmore) on Wednesday. I'll be trying to learn my 2 newest songs all weekend while we are away. I wonder if I can dance in the new Hart Hall? My sister recently purchased a beautiful historical building in Nelson. Inside she has a large theatre/hall like room perfect for both my dance classes and painting exhibitions. Not to mention great studio spaces. Sigh...I need to live in Nelson to take advantage of such a wondrous and perfect space for me and my passions.

I'm feeling a little freaked by January and my commitments. Also we have many house duties to fulfil when we return: finish the hardwood stairs, purchase a new hot water heater. Thank-goodness a repair man was able to fix our furnace and a fireplace yesterday. Signing off until I  arrive in the Kootneys...
Watch out Nelson, here we come with 2 crazy beasts and 5 crazy young girls, one serious dude and one most distinguished woman (in top hat) ;)

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mistaya Ballerina

I took these lovely portraits of Mistaya wearing her theatre makeup for her dance performance.  I missed the actual performance night as I was out of the country but her Auntie M and sister Tabs and cousin Nem attended. Miranda told me Mist was an amazing dancer. I did see a video of her dances at least!

Christmas 2011 is over, Boxing Day too. The season is a stressful one: both healthy and unhealthy stresses. And here I am, left with the most nasty head cold which includes fever. If I stop dancing, I get sick. I kept rehearsing each day but not hard core (1h dance until I drop) workouts daily. When I am teaching without breaks I NEVER get sick because I think my body temp gets so high for an hour that it kills any viruses that may be lurking. The key to not getting a bug is too substitute my teaching classes for attending at least 3 killer classes every week I have off. It's hard because sometimes I am exhausted and need a break but I guess it is not possible. Breaks mean viruses take hold. Colds are not simple for me. I have asthma and thus I battle the threat of bronchitis and pneumonia every time I catch a cold.

Peter is finishing our hardwood staircase the next few days. My girls are keeping themselves amused with their new Christmas videos, games and toys. If I were well, we would be skating and hiking. January will be the start of this family's ski season. A low key season this year as my life is crazy this January!  No one can possibly imagine the relief I will feel to have my M.A. done. My thesis process has been something that I cannot properly expand on at this time.

So the real me, the true one, without the albatross on her back, will appear once again very soon. Watch out world, she is so ready to fly!
My dedication to my art will see me through. I recently read that artists are happiest when they live for their art. This is an easy statement for the famous artists throughout history to make. None of them were mothers! The few internationally successful North American women artists (painters) from the past 100 years were not mothers: Emily Carr, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O'Keefe. This is because the art world is patriarchal. Though, I believe a new breed of internationally successful women artists will emerge this century: mothers. Of course, this means the patriarchal art world must undergo a revolution. Let the revolution begin!
I will start it this coming year 2012. To turn a patriarchal art world upside down and inside out will not be an easy task. But it does sound like fun :D
As for writing, I am happy to report the revolution is in full swing (my thesis is about this very topic!) and I will jump on board as both a publisher and writer in 2012.
I am grooming my wings now...

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Best Family Pictures from Christmas 2011

A quick glimpse at what our family got up to this Christmas:
My children: L-R Pippi, Fernando, Mist, Pablo and Tabs
Pippi and Artemisia singing carols on Christmas Eve
Mist, Tabs and Nem playing The Game of Life
Artemisia and Pablo
Pippi and Artemis tracking Santa on the computer 
Miranda and Peter tracking Santa--JK they were trying to find Miranda's site at UBC to show my dad
My dad Luke (formerly known as John) demonstrating his winning Pictionary skills (electric blanket)
Nem and her cuddle bunny named Fernando
Tabs at Pictionary
Miranda (demonstrating the pug nose) and Pablo 
Iced Tea for the little ones, Pippi and Artemis
Peter and Luke Hart
My dad (Luke) with his granddaughters Pippi and Artemis
Pippi starting off the fashion show
John watching Pippi model in the Christmas Day fashion show
My mom, Me and Mist 
John, demonstrating his human physiology skills during Pictionary (the thyroid protrusion is supposed to be a heart)
Me and my Pippi
Granny trying to create a French chignon with Mist's lovely hair

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Puppy Love for Pablo

Merry Christmas world!
I send love to all my fellow sisters and brothers of every species on this sacred day.

My present to all who read my blog are these photos of our Christmas baby: puppy Pablo. A little dose of puppy love for all. These pictures were taken on Christmas Eve (last evening) while Pablo slept in Tabs' arms.
He is the definition of Cuddle Bunny. I never imagined I would adopt such a cuddle boy. He is happiest snuggled in my arms. 


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Just Another Day at the Office

At the "office" with my little darlings Tabs and Pippi. The girls love to go to Starbucks and work on their computers. Tabs is writing a novel about Christmas Elves and Pippi uses my computer to play Club Penguin. She told me, "Mom! I told two penguins that I loved them today!"
I said, "What did they say back to you?"
Pippi, "I don't know but I think they said, 'I don't care.'"
Mom (me) gets to write old school while we're there (in my hard covered book style journal). It is worth it to get s few moments to listen to my ipod and jot down some ideas while the girls are amused.

Tonight is a traditional Christmas Eve fondue at my house. Miranda (sister) and her family and my parents will be joining us.
This morning we will go skating on the pond down the hill from our home.
Felt unusually exhausted yesterday and thus didn't do too much. Walked Fernando, read books with Pippi, sang a few carols with Pippi, built a Barbie Christmas house with Pippi--we decorated a little Christmas tree for her Barbie family.
Must limit Tabs' computer time. She has had deep scratches on her face for months and we figured she was doing it in her sleep--but yesterday I caught her scratching her skin on her nose until it bled (unconsciously) while she was playing some game on her computer!
Mist had a quiet day which was OK as she had two busy days with friends just before.
Peter is home for 3 days so I guess that means he is coming skating with us once he returns from the  gym !
Merry Christmas Eve my Friends

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Spelt Gingerbread Cookies

The finished and decorated Gingerbread cookies (made by my 3 daughters)
Gingerbread cookies prior to decorating

Spelt Gingerbread Cookies
1 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups light spelt flour
1 1/2 cups whole grain spelt flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves

In large bowl beat butter and sugar at high speed until fluffy.
Add molasses  keep beating.
Add egg and then the remaining ingredients. Beat at low speed until dough sticks together.
Wrap dough in parchment paper and chill in fridge for several hours.
Preheat oven to 350 o F.
On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 1/4 inch thickness.
Cut out cookies with cookie cutters.
Use spatula to transfer to cookie sheets (not greased)
bake for 10-12 minutes until edges turn slightly darker.
Cool, ice and decorate!

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Skating on a Sunshiny Day

Tabs, Rachel, Nem, Mist
Rachel, Tabs, Mist and Nem
Nem and Miranda 
Nem, Pippi, Tabs (looking at the ice?), Artemis and Miranda-

Pippi and Mist
Had fun on my first skate of the season. We were down town at the lake front rink. Such a sunshiny warm December day.  I always have land legs for the first while until my ice legs adjust. One little tip: never wear a too small helmet and chew gum at the same time--brutal headache. Tabs borrowed my helmet and left me with hers. After my brutal experience I switched to Miranda's helmet (pictured above).

An easy going holiday this year. I will never travel for Christmas. Packing presents and clothing and ski equipment is too crazy for any mortal. We'll be going away to Nelson, BC for New year's Eve though.
Baby Pablo is keeping me busy with his potty breaks and the odd crying jag (to sit on my knee while I type at the computer i.e. NOW!) Pip is busy making hand made gifts for her sisters as I type this.

Off to dance for an hour ( learning a Samba and Tango to add to my Zumba line up) and then some last minute Christmas shopping with my little girls. Tabs is demanding "office time" with me. That means that she and I go to Starbucks together with our laptops for a couple of hours and write on our novels. Haven't had time to do the "office break" thus far but will try to make room this afternoon as Tabs is really adamant. Though I'd like to skate again today so we will see what we can fit in.

The thing I love about Canada (one of many) is that it doesn't matter what your spiritual beliefs are, in general, we Canadians love to celebrate Christmas. Christmas for Canadians means celebration time, even if one is not a Christian. We love Santa Clause in Canada, because, of course, he is Canadian after all :) 

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2 Dogs and a Girl

I came home the other morning to discover my Pip had nestled herself in the kennel with the boys, Pablo and Fernando. Fernando the pug and Pablo the Boston Bull dog. Pip was raised as a tiny tot with Fernando as a new puppy. They are inseparable and each one thinks Pip is a dog. So, it is natural that my "pups" hang together. They make my heart sing :)

A snow storm last night made it impossible for Peter to drive to our mountain top. I rescued him in our 4 wheel drive. And then drove him down early this morning to fetch his car once again. Peter drives an old Mazda near its last days. We really should have brought him home the sports car we found in Portland but he couldn't imagine driving the soft top through the Coquihalla in December! A new car for Peter will be one of our next purchases.

Off to skate on the outdoor rink down town with the girls this morning. Won't ski until Jan--if I can get the girls and I out a few times this year, I'll feel like I made an effort. Next year I'll buy us season passes. Pip and Mist need skis and boots and Tabs needs new boots. Tabs needs new skates this year also. I bought her new ones last year but wow, her feet have really grown.

Have a few errands to run. Oh how I dislike errands because they never end! I've especially decided that I shouldn't order clothing online anymore. I only have to return them to switch sizes which means extra postal charges and new delivery charges for the right size--adding on an extra 15-20 dollars from my original order :( PUMA only gives free postal service if you return it within the USA. I do like my new PUMA winter boots though. Super comfy with a boingy arch support in just the right place.

The new Zumba DVD has great choreography. Now I feel the pressure to learn all the songs I love. Once I see new routines, the old stuff never seems as exciting to me and I want to learn at least 3 or 4 new songs right away. 

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Concerts and Parties Gallore!

Last Night Pip announced she was hosting a Christmas party around the Christmas tree. We all followed her downstairs to the Rumpus Room and she instructed us to sing "Deck the Halls." After a few carol's, Pip and Mist decided it was time for dancing. They turned on the Wii Just Dance and everyone had a turn. Next, Tab's decided a family Game of Life was in order. We all played Life. Peter fell asleep on the sofa during the game. Pip, his partner, continued on. I came in second in fortune. Pip won. My life was a little hectic with 2 husbands (Enrique Iglesais and Daniel Craig plus 2 sets of twins and a baby boy!) ;) The evening ended with a family movie The Duplex--a comedy (Peter continued to sleep through the party.) It was rather a funny movie--Mist had suggested it. Our littlest boys (the pups) slept on our laps through the movie. I teased the girls that it must by the XY chromosome. All the XX family members were up, ready for the party while the two dog boys and the human male slept!
We made gingerbread cookies yesterday. I invented a spelt variety and they turned out! My next blog post shall be the recipe. I was going to take the girls to a movie out tonight The Sitter. But it is rated 14A and Mist thinks it will be inappropriate for little Pip. Rats, sometimes my girls are so conscientious ;) May have to settle on a more kid friendly movie out tonight :P

Kelowna Youth Choir (Tabs is in back row in red T)
Tabs in Centre 
My niece Anemone on violin
Nem, a serious and adorable violinist
Nem's String Orchestra
Tabs Loves to Sing. She Always Has an Adorable Smile When She Sings :)
After the Concert: Anemone, Sandra (the girl's Granny and my Mom) and Tabitha

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