Sunday, December 26, 2010

Photo-A-Day Week #16

December 20, 2010: There was a big lunar eclipse tonight. I didn't stay up to watch it, but the moon at night was pretty awesome anyways. This picture really doesn't do it justice.

December 21, 2010: The first morning of winter - cold, but beautiful.

December 22, 2010: Servers went down at work for a bit, so I took the opportunity to take a photo of the cool ice formation on the window by the 'garden'. It's hard to take photos of glass.

December 23, 2010: Who says I don't do Christmas decorations!

December 24, 2010: Remember how I lost my watch in a snowbank last week? Well, as I was taking a load of pants out of the washing machine, guess what fell out after a round in the suds? Yep, that would be my beloved 17 year old watch. It wasn't working, and I felt like an idiot because it was my fault it was broken. If it had died in a snowbank, so be it, it couldn't be helped. But now I had drowned my watch. I dunked it in a container of rice, as I'd heard that fixed water logged cellphones - and sure enough an hour later it was ticking away! So now I have two watches the new slightly annoyingly larger replacement on the left, and the old, broken in somewhat tarnished and shabby old one on the right. Which one do I wear? Merry Christmas to me.

December 25, 2010: This is what is should be about, not money or presents or awkward family moments. Actually my Christmas was alright but I'm glad the next one is a year away.

December 26, 2010: A wind gust shaped this snow overhang at my parent's house. We've lived there for 25 years and this has never happened before. It was seriously huge, halfway to the ground from the roof. Crazy. Nature is cool.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Photo Walk: The Alberta Legislature Grounds

Way back on December 6, 2010, I met a friend during our lunch breaks and we walked around the Legislature grounds taking photos. He gave me a whole bunch of tips, which I promptly forgot, so I think this is going to have to be a semi-regular occurrence!

As we were walking through downtown to the Leg, all of a sudden he stopped in an alley to take this photo, and I was all confused because it's just a door. He said "It's a cool shot because it's all symmetrical" and I was still confused because it's just a door, but I took the shot anyways. He was right though. It is a cool shot. I have so much to learn.

I still have a lot to learn about my camera (perhaps I should finally read the manual?) and I figure after a few lessons from my friend I might actually be able to finally take decent photos. Next time I need to take notes! This was only my second lunch out since I started working downtown in August and my first photo walk ever - it was super fun so I hope we do it again soon! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Music Monday: Christmas Carol Parodies

Time for my annual Christmas carol post. This year, how about two high-larious 12 Days of Christmas parodies...

The Bob and Doug McKenzie Canadian version:

The Ukrainian version - Metro's 11 Days From Christmas:

Check out my previous Christmas Carol posts:
Christmas Song of The Year (2009)
My Top 10 Christmas Songs (2008)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Photo-A-Day Week #15

December 13, 2010: I was trying to remember some tips from last week's photo walk. This was going to be the first in a series of Christmas decorations in my house. But then I it started snowing...

December 14, 2010: My Continental Cup of Curling uniform. Only twenty five days away!

December 15, 2010: View of Snowmaggedon 2010 from my friend's apartment. Looks pretty from up here - the roads however were not so pretty.

December 16, 2010: That is how deep the snow was that I shovelled off my driveway last night after Snowmaggedon 2010. It took me 75mins (usually only takes 15) and somehow I lost my watch in a snowbank. 

December 17, 2010: My replacement watch, same as my old one, just 17 years newer. Actually, I think the face is a bit bigger, but it's an acceptable replacement.

December 18, 2010: This is what the wind has done to the snow on my roof. One of these mornings it's going to fall on the journal delivery guy. I can't knock it down because I still can't lift my arms up after all that shovelling I did a couple days ago. To the left of the tree is the snowbank I think my watch is in. 

December 19, 2010: Still snowing...pretty though.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2011 Continental Cup of #Curling: Volunteer Rally #2

Last night was the second Continental Cup of Curling volunteer rally (catch up on the first rally here). Once again the format mirrored the Roar Rally, except on a smaller scale. Clearly the Canadian Curling Association is a well oiled machine.

It was held in the banquet room of a casino. I disagree with casinos on principle, but it was a couple blocks away from the event venue (a large recreation centre) so I guess it made sense. There were three blocks of time for different volunteer groups, but luckily I was in the first group so got first dibbs on parking! I registered and was given a playing card ripped in half for the door prize draw. I declined a free ticket to the volunteer appreciation party too. Technically I can't go because I have a volunteer shift, but I wouldn't go anyways. It's fine volunteering for the event solo, it's another thing partying with strangers solo.

Next up: uniform pick up. The uniform is three pieces: a blue short sleeve v-neck, a black long sleeve mock neck and a beige jacket (all to be worn with black pants). I'm quite pleased with all the pieces, especially the tshirt which will be great to run in if I ever take that up again, and the jacket which will be great to curl in or go for walks etc. Yay uniform! Also in the bag was a pin and our accreditation badge. The photo super sucks again, but proved to spark humourous conversations at the Olympic Trials last year and I'll be able to get more autographs on the back so it's all good. I wonder if it would be ok if I got the front autographed too?

After picking up my stuff I was encouraged to take a seat at one of the four long tables for dinner. This is always a bit tricky as I am always solo and didn't know anyone volunteering this year (last year I just sat with a coach from my curling club). I picked a random friendly looking woman and asked if the seat next to her was taken, and voila, a new friend. We got dinner from the buffet (roast beef sandwiches, appetizers, veg and cookies) and had a nice conversation. Coincidently, she was Amy Nixon's mom! (Nixon plays third for team Kleibrink for you non-curlers still reading.) She was quite lovely, and told me how Amy got into curling (she was a ballerina until age 10, her dad's a curler/coach) and a bunch of stories from the events she went to from juniors till now (um, 2006 Olympics!) and how involved Amy is with young curlers. Fascinating conversation! I told her that team Kleibrink is my favourite Alberta women's team, and that I thought Amy had the best curling shoes ever (they're so cute, like teal blue sneakers, I wants some!). My new friend will be working medical, so maybe I'll bump into her during the event. I always meet the awesomest people at these curling volunteering things!

We also got to chatting with two couples who had sat across from us. One of the guys was on the board of the St. Albert Curling Club, and one lady was in charge of the Junior Stars  (kids age 11-19 who help out during the event, walk on with the curlers etc.). One of the organizers gave a speech, we watched a promo video, and then the volunteer coordinator gave a talk and drew for some door prizes. Amazingly, not only did I win a door prize, but so did the board member guy sitting across from me! Lucky end of the table I guess. My prize was CTV branded baseball cap, mens XL shirt, golf tee and pad of paper. CTV is my favourite, but I have a sneaky feeling most of the stuff will end up being a door prize at my curling league's Christmas social next weekend! To bad, because the shirt is really nice. Huge, but really nice.

Following all that, I said good bye to my new friends and met with my volunteer crew leader. Before we got to talking, the volunteer coordinator told us to go chat in the lounge so they could set up for the next group. I actually know the volunteer coordinator from the 2011 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship committee that I'm on too. I chatted to her briefly while people began moving locations. We walked past the actual Continental Cup that was on display and I asked her if it would be ok if I took a picture of it. She said of course and offered to take a picture of me with it. Now, normally I wouldn't ask to have my photo taken with trophies etc, but I took her up on the offer and am glad I did because I got a couple of super neat photos. I'll never be that close to the Continental Cup again, so yeah, it was cool.

Finally we had a crew meeting. I'm on the hosting team and there's four main positions: sponsorship lounge host, media lounge host, early/late set up, and check up. The lounge hosts basically stay in the lounges and make sure it's tidy and all the food/drinks are filled up. The set up people transport food/drinks from the loading area to the lounges, and the check up runners refill supplies during the day. There are more lounges too: volunteer, dispatch, officials, tv techs, and athlete/open - but those don't require full time staff, just fill ups. 

I have five shifts: Weds/Thurs/Fri/Sat 6-10pm late set up and Sun 3-8 check up. This means two things:
  1. I will be on my feet, running around a lot, carting and wheeling around supplies in all the different areas.
  2. I will miss all the mens events.

Well, you can't win them all - and thank goodness for my PVR! I'm sure I'll get to watch some of the mens events during lulls or while I'm walking around with my box of granola bars or cases of pop. Though it would be nice to have a post in a lounge where I could watch the tv the whole time, I'm quite happy to do some heavy lifting and running around.  I'm young and able and like being busy and I'll get to sleep in so it's a stellar situation anyways. 

I do plan on hanging around during the day to watch the other events. Womens games are in the morning and mixed doubles/singles are in the afternoon and I'm super stoked to watch the mixed doubles/singles! We are allowed to watch on the action on tvs in the volunteer lounge and The Patch (the beer gardens set up next door), or from the standing room viewing gallery if there's room. We can also strategically occupy empty seats as long as we're courteous if the ticketholders come late and all that. 

This whole post summarizes why I pay $100 to be a curling event volunteer: I get cool clothes, I meet awesome people, and I get to watch world's best curlers for free. The best part is the meeting awesome people part, and I'm certainly off to a good start!

So exciting! There's only 29 days until the Continental Cup - it's going to be so awesome! Forget Christmas, bring on the curling!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

#Curling on TV: The National

Curling-on-tv time again! So soon?!

The National Grand Slam men's event is in Vernon, BC this year. Teams include: Appelman, Edin, Martin, Montgomery, Park, Stoughton, Epping, Ferland, Geall, Howard, McEwen, Ursel, Bawel, Ferbey, Koe, Middaugh, Simmons, Walchuk. Quite the lineup!

It starts Wednesday but CBC will only be showing 3 games on the weekend so follow along online and set your PVRs! The following schedule is in Mountain timezone...

Saturday Dec. 18
1:00pm Quarter Finals: CBC/
7:00pm Semi Finals:

Sunday Dec. 19
11:00am Final: CBC/

Predictions? Another tough one. While I love a Martin/Howard final just as much as the next person, I'm kinda hoping it'll be another pair on Sunday, for a change. Let's go with McEwen/Koe.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Music Monday: Rankin Sisters Maritime Christmas

A couple week ago I went to The Barra MacNeil's Celtic Christmas concert. I waited ten years to see that show live and it was super excellent.

Last week I went to see The Rankin Sisters' Maritime Christmas concert - a show I've been waiting thirteen years to see! And it was fantastic! Who knew I'd get to see both within two weeks?!

Like The Barra MacNeil's Christmas CDs, I really love The Rankin Sisters Christmas CD, which came out in 1997. This was during the reign of The Rankin Family, right around the time celtic/east coast music became really popular. I was already a huge fan, thanks to this song:

Yeah, so I took a lot of teasing for my fantastic taste in music back in high school, good thing I'm a rock. Anyways, The Rankin Sisters rolled into town with their Christmas show and I sure wasn't going to miss it!

It was a great concert. They sang all my favourite Christmas songs from the CD, a bunch of new ones (new CD please!), and some classic Rankin Family ones. Joining the ladies was a pianist who also played the piano accordion, a bass and guitar player, drummer and two fiddlers. I recognized the fiddlers right away - Mairi Rankin (a cousin) and Wendy MacIssac (who also played banjo and mandolin). I'd seen these two back in the day at Folk Fest when they had a band called Beolach with Patrick Gillis and Mac Morin. They also had three local girls doing proper Irish step dancing with their fancy costumes, and all the ladies on stage step danced as well.

I'm not usually a fan of female singers, but I do love the Rankin's harmonies! The sisters also took turns talking to the crowd, telling stories, and generally make us laugh. It was such a lovely atmosphere. People were clapping and tapping their feet. Of course I was doing my usual chair dancing bit. And the girl sitting beside my friend was having a good ol'time singing and clapping. I love seeing people enjoy music!

These are my favourite two Rankin Sisters Christmas songs from the CD, and performed for a tv special back in the day:

The Rankins and Natalie MacMaster, good times. I hope the Rankin Sisters come back soon, with their Christmas show or with their brother Jimmy for another Rankin reunion. One can only hope, right?

You can find the Rankin Family at:
Rankins official
Rankins wikipedia
Rankins myspace

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Photo-A-Day Week #14

December 6, 2010: Taken on my way back from a photo walk with a friend - the beautiful entrance to the building where I work.

December 7, 2010: A vase in my house. I tried to use camera tips my friend taught me yesterday on our photo walk. Not sure it worked?

December 8, 2010: This is Goldi, a friend's dog, finally staying still for a second so I could snap a photo.

December 9, 2010: It's that time of year again.

December 10, 2010: Voila Poussiere, a friend's cat by candlelight during Law Girls Dinner.

December 11, 2010: My cool gift from yesterday's Law Girls Dinner. Very fitting my mini Munny has glasses, eh?

December 12, 2010: I went to a friend's church to watch her son in the Christmas Play. This is Jerusalem - they did a great job on the set - and the kids rocked the play too!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Jam Can #Curling In #YEG / St. Albert Dec. 21!!

The 2011 World Financial Group Continental Cup of Curling is hosting Jam Can Curling* on the Sturgeon River near St. Albert Place in St. Albert on Tuesday, December 21 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

They will be giving away free Tim Horton's coffee, and providing 'entertainment' and prizes.

And Marc Kennedy and Blake MacDonald will be hanging out! Gold medals aplenty.

To bad I have to work! Please someone go and take photos for me. And get autographs too. Thanks!

* I don't really even know what Jam Can Curling is. Improvised rocks from jars/cans I suppose. Gosh I wish I had taken that day off!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Photo-A-Day Week #13

For week lucky number 13, the theme unintentionally became 'in and around my kitchen'...

November 29, 2010: My most favourite lunch ever, and I do have it almost every day!

November 30, 2010: Ever seen a Kleenex box like this? Only in my aunt's house!

December 1, 2010: Curling clothes, ready to take into work so I don't show up to tonight's game in my dress pants.

December 2, 2010: The only habit I picked up and kept from the London years - having a nice and toasty warm hot water bottle at the end of my bed.

December 3, 2010: Potato-man vegetable scrubber and his friend the Santa-egg wisk, keeping watch from on top the stove.

December 4, 2010: View from my kitchen.

December 5, 2010: The best daily accompaniment to my morning breakfast.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Exciting Alberta #Curling News

In case you're new to this blog, let me tell you my dream: I want to be on the organizing committee of a Brier.*

I'm working my way up the curling volunteer ladder, having done some bonspiels at my club, and the Roar of the Rings Olympic Curling Trials last December. I'll be volunteering for the Continental Cup this January, and the Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championships in March. So far I just do piddley jobs (except I'm doing social media in March, and that's super cool), so the only way to go from here is up!

And I might not have to wait that long. Check out some event news from Al Cameron's On The Rocks blog:

... there's going to be a doubleheader of major women’s curling events next season, with Red Deer hosting the Scotties in 2012, and Lethbridge hosting the women’s worlds a few weeks later. An announcement on the latter is expected as soon as next week.
And with Calgary now out of the mix for hosting the 2013 Olympic Trials — a bid was considered, but ultimately ruled out — don’t be surprised if the CCA awards the 2013 world men’s championship to Calgary, an event that would either be played at the Saddledome or, possibly (based on the CCA’s hosting requirements for such an event — “6,000 (minimum), 10,000 (maximum) seat arena,” it says on the CCA website — the Corral (which hosted the 1964 world championship).
That world championship could conceivably complete another Alberta double, as Edmonton is a leading candidate to host the 2013 Brier; look for an announcement soon on Saskatoon hosting the 2012 Brier, by the way.

So exciting. And you know what, if Calgary gets a big event soon, I'm going to try to get on the volunteer force for that too. I considered volunteering for Saskatoon, but I don't know anyone there who would lend me their couch for the event. I might go watch some games in Red Deer, but unfortunately Lethbridge is too far, as is Medicine Hat where the current Canada Cup of Curling is happening, and I'm kinda choked the next few men's provincials are really far too. Oh, and too bad I can't go to Regina for this year's men's worlds.

I might not figure out how to get on the organizing committees for the Edmonton and Calgary events, but if I keep at it I might make a move up for the next round. Honestly, I have no idea how to get on the organizing committee, but I am currently on the @11Wheelies committee with one of the volunteer coordinators, so, well, yeah. Fingers crossed.

It's been an great curling week!

* Some librarians want to do research and get PhDs, but no, not me, I want to organize curling events. I'm a weird one. In case my supervisor is reading this, I do have libraryland dreams: I want to be world's best reference and instruction librarian, the liaison for all the Business diploma programs, the student desk assistants' supervisor, and in 10-15 years I want to be an instructor for the Library Technician diploma program at my university. It's not aways about curling (just usually...).

Thursday, December 02, 2010

New #Curling Adventures

This week was a turning point for this curling librarian.  On Monday I was just a once-a-week curler in the Sunday Beginner's League at my curling club. On Tuesday I became a twice a week curler. At two different clubs. On Wednesday I became a twice a week plus maybe sometimes spare a third time a week curler. At two different clubs.

Now, before you jump to any conclusions: I'm not leaving my old club! Technically I can't because I'm on the Board, but regardless I wasn't shopping for a new club or anything. I'm quite happy at SPCC, I quite like my team and I'm quite looking forward to slowly transitioning into the Program Coordinator position on the Board. Plus there's lot's of possibly exciting stuff happening in the next few years there and I want to be part of it.

Anyways, I just happened to mention to @1CathyC (who happens to be a curling club manager) at the last @11Wheelies meeting that I was maybe thinking of possibly trying to curl another night a week and bam! She's so efficient she put me on a team in the Tuesday Open League and added me to a team's spare list in the Wednesday Ladies League at JPCC!

I was a bit torn, because I didn't want to cheat on my team or SPCC, but someone else mentioned they curl at three different clubs and that it's totally ok. So there you have it. It still felt a bit adulterous, so I think I'll have to get on a spare list at SPCC to balance it out. And wouldn't you know it, these two clubs are on opposite ends of town. Eventually I might live in the middle, but for now at least I work in the middle and live on one end.

Honestly, I was super nervous Tuesday evening on my way to JPCC. This is my fourth year curling, and I've only just become confident with my minimal skill. I suck, but I don't suck as much as I used to. Still, it's hard to join a new team - I wasn't sure if they'd be easy going and fun or if I'd let them down with my sucky delivery. I needn't have worried though, the Tuesday team is friendly and not overly competitive, so it's going to be a fun rest of the season.

We totally got decimated by the wheelchair curling team that night. I love the concept of an open league, where there's no rules about the even number of men or women on a team, and a wheelchair team is totally welcome. I spent most of the evening admiring their technique. I asked one of the guys at the beginning if we had to do anything different and he just asked that we didn't sweep their stones past the t-line, since they couldn't sweep ours. Makes sense. It's amazing what they could accomplish with just a single arm movement. They are one of the teams that will be trying to get the Alberta provincial title so they can play at Nationals in March. Totally kicked our butts! Good times.

On Wednesday I spared for a team in the Ladies at JPCC, and again I was unnecessarily nervous because the team I was put on was super fun and chatty. This time we won, barely, so it was a good close game. I made some shots and I missed some shots, but I contributed enough to not be booed off the ice. It was the first time I played in a non-mixed league, and it was a bit intimidating because all the ladies had really good form. It definitely seemed to be a bit more competitive than the other mixed leagues I play in, but fortunately the team I played for was pretty relaxed. I might perhaps play for the team again if they need a spare, so again, good times were had by all.

This is the first time in my life that I a) have the time to curl more than once a week and b) can mostly afford to so I'm totally up for it! I love meeting all the new people and learning more about the sport from them. Plus if this continues next year, I totally have a good excuse to buy new curling shoes. And maybe a new broom with a swivel head...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

#Curling on TV: Canada Cup of Curling

Yay! It's curling-on-tv again!

The Canada Cup of Curling is a men's and women's event, and of course all the big names will be there. Teams include:

Men's: Koe, Martin, McEwen, Ferbey/Gushue, Howard, Reid, Stoughton, Fowler, Camm, and Bawel
Women's: Bernard, Holland, Kleibrink, Lawton, McCarville, Scott, Jones, Nicols, Carey, and Nedohin

It's in my own province and I'm missing it! So close yet so far. Too bad, the competition will be excellent, and I totally would've volunteered!

Even though it starts today, TSN will only be showing 3 games on the weekend so follow along online and set your PVRs! The following schedule is Mountain timezone...

Saturday, Dec 4
1:30pm - Women's Semi-Final
6:30pm - Men's Semi-Final

Sunday, Dec 5
11:00am - Women's and Men's Finals

Predictions? That's tough, there's too many favourites in the pack! Let's go Jones and Martin for old times sake, but I'll be cheering on Koe/Howard and Kleibrink/Nedohin.