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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Oh, the Kisses, the Kisses...









Pippi and Mommy

Can't resist posting this photo series of the Pip and I. I love them all. They capture us perfectly as we are today.

Off to Mirror, Mirror with my littlest girls in half an hour. A lazy day for me. That leg massage yesterday was very painful and wiped me right out. Last night we had a wonderful first BBQ of the season at my sister Miranda and John's.

Mist has spent today over at a friends while the rest of the family has done nothing but hang around the home this lazy Saturday. Most unusual. I made spelt cream-cheese brownies. Very decadent.

The dog boys have freaked me for life. Found them in the back yard eating a dead baby bird. There is something about a dead bird that I find horrifying. I am not usually like that. If I find a dead cat on the road, I carry to the edge out of respect. I also dispose of dead mice. Of course it is difficult and heart breaking but I can do it, out of respect for the animal. But the dead bird was so upsetting to me today. I could not deal with it. I asked Peter to dispose of it. I think it was because it horrified me that my dogs were eating it.

I am not one to sit around the city filling out job applications. I am a woman of adventure and action. I have to be busy doing what I love, each and everyday. I cannot wait around. So, this in mind, I have booked myself a pretty busy spring. A freelance journalism course at UBC starting soon [must take online as I will be away the week it is offered in the summer :( ] and a digital photo course as well (just a weekend course at the college) as well, starting my free online French course. And most importantly my eBook publishing house--will publish 2 novels right away.
I cannot attend my 4 day meditation retreat this spring as it happens the same weekend I will be in Vancouver with Tabs at her Next Star audition. However, finally I am not teaching Monday night for awhile so I get to try meditation night at the Yoga House. I love finding group meditations that I enjoy attending weekly. Keeping up my meditation practices is very important to me. I love studying Buddhism.
 I'm still teaching Zumba 3x a week until mid June--still adore it! I will never stop dancing--it fuels my soul.
-Will find out in a few weeks if BC gives me my Teaching Certificate or makes me jump through any more hoops. I have my Saskatchewan Teaching Certificate but BC wants a lot of money and hoop-dancing to switch me over.

Trips planned each month until August:
April-Victoria for 5 days.
May-Vancouver weekend.
June-Montreal for a week.
July-New Orleans for 2 weeks.
August- Bella Coola weekend to photograph wild grizzlies.

I have to explore and have adventure to satisfy my soul. So, I am happy I have a plan. And an even bigger plan that I won't reveal, I do like to keep some thing secret ;)
 Hopefully the money will come as the writings are published...

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Friday, March 30, 2012

UBC and Me

Me right now at UBC Okanagan. Pic taken with my computer--not recommended. I look terrible but not hideous so I'll leave it. Not much to say but I haven't blogged in a few days so I thought I'd stop by.

A difficult week. Change is always difficult. Good and bad changes are hard. It is the unknown fears of what is ahead that shake one. Regular evening UBC ZUmba is over for the term, my thesis is over. Now it is the unknown ahead for me. I have plans, projects, but how it will all come together and give me a good income is yet to be revealed.

I want my cells to vibrate to the frequency of love and happiness--and then magic--I shall be. (A little Buddhism and physics to keep me focused.)

For me, I am uploading my thesis right now--after struggles with copyright, I am finally uploading it and sending it back to Graduate Studies for a final formatting check. Next--in 45 minutes I teach Zumba here in the ballroom. Gotta go upload--write later.

OK, back from teaching noon Zumba. It was HOT in the ball room and a few of my students dropped like flies. Not really, but they left 1/2 way through class--they were over dressed and not in great shape so they packed it in early. I hate when that happens but some people think Zumba is a walk in the park which, it isn't. It's a hard cardio dance work out that one has to dress very lightly for. Zumba Gold is designed for those persons not able to handle hard cardio. I feel bad that these people drop out but I don't teach Zumba Gold--especially on Campus I have to cater to the average fairly fit person.And I encourage everyone to go at their own pace. I did have a couple of students verbalize what a great class it was today so I felt they were letting me know it wasn't too hard and the drop outs were just out of shape.

Haven't heard yet if my PDF thesis is perfect and ready for the final upload--hope he gets to it before the weekend.

Leaving campus. Left my dogs boys in the kennel all day :( Off to receive my first leg massage of the year. It has been a long time coming. Ideally I should have a leg massage weekly--my legs take a beating teaching so many hours of Zumba each week. But I don't have the time for a weekly massage. So my once a year will have to be it.

The weekend is a mystery. But a night out at the movie Mirror Mirror with my darling daughters just might happen tonight.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hart-Fart Brothers Free Concert

Who Would Have Imagined He'd Be The Next Michael BublĂ©?

We Might Have Guessed He'd Be The Next Sid Vicious.

Learned 2 new songs this week. Perhaps it is the new songs that have made this weeks Zumba so rewarding. Each class has been much fun to teach. Will post new choreography soon.
 I said good-bye to my regulars at UBC on Monday night. Must not forget! I promised to send one of my favorite students a song list so he can practice all summer. Must do that soon! University term is ending so no more evening Zumba until next September. Though, by popular demand, I have been asked to stay on and teach a noon hour class until the end of June ( this class is filled with graduate students, faculty and staff at UBC who will still be on campus all through the summer).

My darling daughters are all back at school. They all enjoy school but Tabs has already caught some stomach bug so perhaps she will be at home tomorrow.
And those darling dog boys (the Hart-Fart brothers) are exhausting. Pablo jumps onto counters and tables! And the other night, I was up late in the evening, writing in the living room by the fire. My dog boys were in the back yard, doing their thing, just before bed time. Then they started up their incessant singing: Pablo does a high pitched bark and bites Fernando's ears and Fernando literally sings a long mournful, high howl. This can go on and on for half an hour if I let them. Mistaya calls it their "throat singing." It actually does sound a little like Inuit throat singing.
I was just about to let them in the back door when I heard someone across the street yell out into the dark night: WOULD SOMEONE SHUT THOSE FUCKING DOGS UP!

Well, that did not feel good to hear from a neighbor. I let the bad-boys in and turned off the living room light so the neighbors could not view me writing (our entire living room is a wall of windows and we are up rather high above most neighbors so it is easy to see into our house at night). About 20 minutes later the door bell rang. Peter was down stairs watching a movie and answered it. I heard Peter say, "No, I didn't hear a thing." --it was true, only the dogs and I heard the verbal assault--it actually shut them up!
When Peter came upstairs he told me the neighbor apologized and had said that he was referring to some other dogs.
--ya right--
But at least he apologized because one should never yell at neighbors like that. I mean, we have to live across the street from one another and our neighbor hood is very quiet, friendly and low key.
And yes, I know my boys can be annoying. I don't let them sing for very long when they are outside.

And guess what? More craziness for me and that blasted thesis. Copyright. Facebook own everything ever posted on their pages and good luck ever receiving permission to publish screenshots for research purposes (even when any and all identifying symbols are erased). You get the freeze out. I'll be 100 before I hear back from them. I'm up against a giant that refuses to play fair. I guess UBC doesn't want to be sued by Facebook--go figure. Bye-bye screenshots for the final publishing...

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

After the Fire: Bear Creek

A favorite hiking area decimated by fire last summer. It was the first time I'd seen the damage.

The Canyon and water fall at Bear Creek

Deep in the canyon a couple of Canadian Geese set up home away from all possible predators except perhaps a giant eagle. I zoomed in with my camera--they were way down, near the bottom of the very tall canyon. 

Mistaya and a burnt, young ponderosa pine.

My lovelies: Tabs, Mist and Pip

Beautiful Tabs

Pip and Tabs 

Peter managing the water break

Picnic time. I made a French style baget, based on a sandwich I had last summer in Cucugnon, France: baget, cheese, lettuce, tomato and pickles. But alas, it just didn't taste the same outside of France. In France it was the most delicious sandwich I'd ever eaten. In Canada, it was so-so. Perhaps I forgot something... 

Peter in his anti-hiking shoes. He insists on wearing them!

My daughters and I hike through the burnt out forest. The fire jumped the creek and burnt both sides of the canyon.

After the fire.

Rebirth: after the fire and spring

Peter, Pip and Mist over looking the city across the lake.

Kelowna, BC across Lake Okanagan 

A hill (missing its trees after the fire), above a log-jam on Okanagan Lake.

A beautiful Ponderosa Pine with holes (made by some creature) all over its bark.

Hiked with my family at Bear Creek, Okanagan Valley today. We live in an arid mountain region and each year the forests surrounding our home and city are on fire. I knew Bear Creek was closed last summer due to a close fire but it wasn't until today that I realized it had actually been ravaged by flames. The thick ponderosa forest (as thick as a ponderosa forest ever gets--the trees need space and sunshine to thrive) was decimated. Ponderosas may just be my very favorite trees ever. Their bark is very textured and colourful and it smells of warm vanilla in the sun. 

I taught a Zumba class at World Gym (across the lake from my home) this morning and decided to meet my family afterward for a hike. Thus, I am in Zumba gear rather than hiking apparel in the pics. It was nice to get out and explore Bear Creek again--it is one of our favorite family hiking spots.
Zumba can be stressful at times. Little things can make me loose focus and screw up a dance. Case in point: I was introducing a new song I'd just learned this morning. The gym floor was laminated (plastic wood). It was too slippery for my dancing sneakers-- I had to dance in bare feet. And of course, some odd person left the class before it even started! One thought about the bare feet or why the person left, and bam--I forgot the next step. That's life.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Baby's Ears Bounce Back!

Confessions of an Old Boston Bull Dog Mother:
If you remember back to a previous post, I mentioned taping Pablo's puppy ears upright because the tips flipped over backwards. I read that sometimes this is necessary to help them develop. Well, it wasn't. After 3 days he'd chewed them all off and I decided to forget it. I thought his backward tipped ears were cute and left them. And then suddenly, just a few days ago, I noticed his ears no longer tipped back at the top. On their own they straightened upright. So there you have it. At 4 months, while teething, they flip back and at five months, straighten upright. A waste of tape I dare say. At least I only taped them for 3 days.
And doesn't my boy look handsome with his big-boy ears? He and his brother Fernando are so excitable. They sing together all of the time and terrify the neighborhood. Pablo will start this high pitched bark and Fernando then starts this mournful high-pitched howl along with him and they'll sing for hours! People living over a block away thought is was a woman screaming. They sound like wild banshees. Also, Pablo is lean and spry--can and will climb anything! He is a little ape.

Confessions of a Dance Fitness Instructor:
Treating my aching legs with my sister's advice. I have upped calcium by drinking the calcium orange juice and taking those chocolate chew supplements. Also, have switched to only wearing my 5 Finger Vibrams unless I am dancing (so-long stylish, cool boots). When I dance, I've gone back to wearing my professional dancing sneakers only. My ankle can occasionally go over in them but they save my knees and thighs from constant pain.
Went to a show last night: A Separation. An Iranian film. Very well done. Disturbing but it felt like a glimpse into a foreign culture. I teach many Iranian students Zumba so it was interesting for me to visit Iran virtually (in a way).

Confessions of a Canadian Mom:
I used to be the Queen of weekends. Always had a major plan--a wilderness hike or trip lined up. This year I am the weekend flop. I teach Zumba Sundays now and Saturdays I like to rest my legs (the only day I get all week). This has left me rather bored on weekends. My children are busy often too--at sleepovers, play dates, parties. But today, I want to do something interesting. I'd love to drive down to Keremeoes for a hike in the mountains and a visit to the old mill. I love that area because of its contrasts in beauty: the rolling Okanagan dry, Ponderosa Pine covered mountains meet the high, Craggie alpine mountains. So very beautiful. Also, it is the location of the only horse/foot trail linking the rest of Canada with the BC interior and the coast for hundreds of years before there were any railroads and roads--a lot of wild west history there. You'll know what I decide--next blog!

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

In Defense of the Cyberstuffy



Missy Fuzzy-Buzzy and her husband Keith Enchilada

Walter Macaroni reading to old Uncle Horace Hippoworth

The residents of Hippoworth Estate:R-L
Missy Fuzzy-Buzzy, Walter, Yatta, Horace, Keith Shigami and Sam (on stool).

Thanksgiving

Hawaiian Vacation

 These are some of the colourful cyberstuffy characters that I studied during my Master Thesis. An entire world exists covertly telling story online. This particular story can be read in installments on Facebook. The Facebook Fan Page titled Hippoworth Estates

Off to a meeting in a few minutes to upload my thesis onto UBC's library of research. It has been a crazy March up here on the mountain. It seems once or twice a week I wake to snow. And wouldn't you know it, this was the winter I decided not to ski because I found myself too booked teaching Zumba. BTW, I must go and purchase new dance shoes--they wear out in a month--stretch to become too wide and fail to support my feet. Also they need to be almost flat otherwise  my ankle can slip over during all the turns I do. Need to go to a professional physio or massage as my legs have ached for 2 weeks and wake me all night long and I must change positions. Will go to meeting, return home to pick up my babes and we'll do something fun perhaps a trip to the H2o Centre to swim (either today or tomorrow). 
Below are a few pics of my defense in action:





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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pippi's SInging Contest

Pip and I and our duet to David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel"-Pip's choice. Don't judge my outfit- I literally just walked in the door from teaching Zumba and was handed an invite to the singing contest that commenced immediately.
Mist and Marley the judges.
Tabs sang "SOS" by ABBA
Contest Creator  Pip takes it easy, enjoying the other acts.
Busy week thus far. My babies are all home. Final thesis formatting hell--Macs are not computers to format a thesis on. They F-up and there is no correcting the mess that ensues. But it is done--today.
Celebrated by picking up many French pastries from Sandrines. Teaching  Zumba daily enables me to eat these delights with no consequences.

Today purchased a microphone stand for Tabs as she is singing and playing piano for the up coming The Next Star auditions in Vancouver. A whole lot of belting out the tunes going on in this house.

Tomorrow I upload my thesis and then finally I can truly wash my hands of it. I have to register to graduate (I am late) but honesty I am so sick to death of all of UBC's forms, deadlines and applications that at this point I don't give a flying F.

Blog is a little on the short and dull side but I am burnt out. I am sick of being on a computer and typing so I will take a break now and come back in a few days with some exciting events to discuss.

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

So Long Cyber World!

Ready to go, bright and early (7:30 a.m.) off to UBC to defend my thesis (Pablo looking on):
 I passed my thesis defense. Happy, relieved. The biggest surprise was that I passed with a #1 recommendation. That means all I have to do is correct a few typos. I was prepared for major revisions. I had the most sound sleep I've had in a month. Today I am correcting the typos so it can be published for the Thursday meeting I have at UBC.

I defended my thesis, changed my outfit and taught my noon Zumba class in the UBC ballroom. A crazy way to come down from the defense stress. I was so dead tired by evening that my celebrations included supper out at Joey's ( Haute cuisine is wasted on me. I eat what ever my stomach desires in the moment and last night it was Joey's fries and gravy. That was it). Peter and I then caught a stupid movie. I had a few laughs so it was all good. I will throw a big dance party in the future though--rent a hall and dance the night away.

Today, Peter has driven to Kamloops to collect our youngest daughters and their cousins from my parents'. I am correcting the typos so I might be free.

So many thank-yous needed. So very many. I thank every single real and cyber identity that helped me accomplish this huge (it sure felt huge at times when asked to totally rewrite entire chapters of my thesis for the 3rd time) goal. I think I shall post a few pics of the cyberidentities that created the magical world of Hippoworth Estates. It is these bigger than life characters that have absorbed my intellect for the past few years--next blog. Let me tell you, this world is so hilarious, I almost cracked up at some of the slides during my defense. The narrative is very witty, bordering on ridiculous.

Time was the most difficult thing to manage with this M.A. degree. Time was out of my control--when I accepted that, I relaxed a little. Yes, the delays cost me thousands of dollars in useless tuition payments. But there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Are We There Yet?

My darling dog boys: Pablo and Fernando on a recent car ride. Fernando's (little black dude in back) expression cracks me up!

This blog post is a little lesson in procrastination. I have the entire day to prepare for my thesis defense tomorrow. I made 9 am my start time. So, this post is a little over the mark. But so much more fun to do than try to cram everything into my stubborn brain today. I do not teach any dance today--so good. My babies are all visiting relatives, Peter works all day so I have a full day to cram. I shall sign off now and leave you with a picture I could not resist posting of my dogs in the back of our Rav4. Here I go...into brain cramming bliss.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Beautiful KiKi






The above pics are of my beautiful daughter, our dogs and me. My daughter's nickname is KiKi because when my youngest daughter Pippi was learning to talk she couldn't pronounce Misty. It is funny, Misty is a nickname too--Mistaya is her real name. It is a Canadian Aboriginal name: In Cree it means slow running water and in West Coast Salish it means grizzly bear. She is both: deep and wise of mind, yet strong, feisty and independent like a bear.

My youngest daughters Tabs and Pippi (nicknames) are at their grandparents for the week. KiKi and I are spending some time together before she leaves tomorrow for the Kootneys. My Kiki is so much fun to be around. We go for lunch, shop a little, listen to music, she came to my Zumba class at UBC. All we've eaten for days is sushi for lunch and Mexican burritos for supper--only she and I are happy eating those same items day after day :) She is extremely wise, intelligent, musically gifted, humorous, kind, calm and fun. Also, taller than her Mum by 3 inches--she's 5'10" and still growing.

I have been in brain lock-down this week. Cramming my thesis down my own throat. I have to defend it on Friday. It is a brain drain. I concentrate so completely when I reread it that it exhausts me after a few hours. Will be doing more of the same with breaks only to teach Zumba and walk my dogs.
I'll be relieved when the MA is history.
 I am actually suddenly sick of all of my Zumba songs and want to learn about 6 new ones asap. I need a really good salsa. I cannot find a salsa dance that I love. All of the Zumba ones are too much fusion. I just want pure salsa. Salsa is one dance I prefer to be pure.  But that will have to wait. No more dance thoughts--only thesis thoughts until I pass this blasted defense. But rereading my thesis, I must say, good on me--much fascinating info and well written. Well, at least I'm my own fan. One needs to be one's own fan--who else will be there for you?

And I just have to report--all those women that actually have surgery to enhance their booties. SAVE your money! Or give it to me and take dance with me 5x a week for 6 weeks. I swear--I've always had a small bottom--I'm an ectomorph--long and lean. Yet, I tired on jeans I have not worn since before I started teaching Zumba and whoa! My butt has new muscles. I have a much bigger booty, in a good way. It's all just new muscle. I know I wax on about the benefits of Zumba but honestly it can totally reshape your body in all the right places.

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