Saturday, May 21, 2011

What to do

The end of the world didn't happen this evening, like it was supposed to.  Well, that's buggered up my weekend.

I'd better take some chicken out of the freezer after all, and I suppose I have to tidy up the basement now, in readiness for visitors. Damn, thought I had got out of housey work this weekend.

Typical - you can't rely on anything these days.

Mind you, 2012 is when it's going to happen. True.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Scenic Sunday - Big Weather

I completed several journeys last weekend back and forth to Banff, which is about an hour and a quarter from my hometown -  it's a horrible, boring journey - not much to see! 

The Spring weather was fabulously diverse - half-hour downfalls of wet snowflakes the size of Toonies 
(large two dollar coins), which had all melted and disappeared an hour later.
Brilliant sunshine and snow on the peaks, with rolling shadows.
Sunshine and rain.
Proper rain moving in.

A huge mix, in a huge landscape.

T'was a gorgeous Scenic Sunday.
Have a good one yourself.

Boys who dance

Last weekend I took my girls to their final dance competition of this year.  I sat through dozens of routines, cheered and waved appropriately and then the exhausted mother and daughters headed home, proudly carrying their various awards.  And without pointing one toe, I felt I had earned them too.
A happy and successful weekend all round, all bar the twenty minutes that Daughter Number Two went into nervous-tummy-melt-down mode (don't cry dear, you'll ruin your mascara).  I was the picture of serenity - a calm and soothing mother, who shuffled her be-smudged child to one side, talked to her while licking a cotton-bud - then gently pushed her forward into the group of sparkly purple-clad dancers, telling her she should at least try and do the routine.  She was, of course, absolutely great.  By this time, I had been reduced to a nervous-tummy, nail-biting wreck on the sidelines.

I witnessed literally hundreds and hundreds of girls shake, wiggle and smile for the adjudicators.  And only about 9 boys.

Dancing is not cool for boys.  It's "gay" - said with such derision by the hockey and football jocks.  I hugely admire any young lad who maintains his dance classes after about the age of 8.  Figure skating is the same.  It's the occasional need to wear sparkly buttons - that's the killer for guys, isn't it?  But really, who didn't enjoy Billy Elliot?
Brandon Bryant (SYTYCD (USA) Series 5)

But dancing IS sooooo cool.  Like, seriously, cool.  A guy who can dance will have any other guy or girl entranced.  He is buff and strong, he is very co-ordinated and talented, and he would put most athletes' fitness levels to shame.  He is sexy!

So my question is, where do guys learn to dance, because it does not seem to be in the traditional dance studios up and down the country?  Our own dance school has one serious teenage male dancer, two younger 10-year old boys who do a variety of classes, and then a smaller group who only turn up once a week for Hip Hop classes (because that is just about cool enough to fend off bullies at school perhaps). Alberta is still way more conservative than a more multi-cultural and diverse city and perhaps I'm getting an unbalanced view?  Are city-centre dance school over-run with boys learning to dance?
(I won't add the direct YouTube link to my blog 'cos it takes too long to load, 
but if you've got a few minutes to spare, click here!  
Just remember that Alex Wong is a classically trained ballet dancer.)

And yet when programmes on the TV ask for dancers to audition (So You Think You Can Dance, for example, or [insert country]'s Got Talent, Pop Idol, X-Factor), or even the hugely popular High School Musical movies, there are thousands of young male dancer wannabes.  Where did they learn to dance?  "John has been dancing since he was 9 years old".  Where??  In his bedroom watching a video?  Actually, yes.  Real talent goes unspotted and wasted.

Many of the reasons behind lack of visible numbers is down to parents.  Some mums, but more especially the dads are not so open to their son dancing as they thought they might be.  When push comes to shove, c'mon buddy - hockey/soccer is the one for you. 

So the stereotype in fact becomes true, and those that stick it out - well a large proportion happen to be gay anyway.  But then they have to hide that!?  My request to all dance producers is to keep plugging away, keep the diversity of dance coming and let the fee-paying audiences show you they want to watch ALL dancers.
C'mon guys, shake that booty and show us your stuff. Please!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger Problems?

My SkyWatch Friday post seems to have disappeared.

I will try to resurrect it later.

EDIT: and even more weird - my link to SkyWatch Friday has also disappeared.  And I know it was published because I had received comments.

Hey Blogger - what's goin on?!

EDIT NUMBER 2: The SkyWatch post has re-appeared - good stuff!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

SkyWatch Friday - Dusky skies

Whilst filling up the car up the other evening - with the choking fumes of petrol in my nostrils - Mother Nature bid me goodnight...

To see more skies from around the world, please visit SkyWatch Friday.

Monday, May 9, 2011

My World Tuesday - Dare to plant it

Time to splash some cash at the garden centre
and be brave, with regards to our weather.
I am now finally convinced that Spring is officially here, and there's nothing anyone can do about it!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Noisiest Cat

My favourite Friday headline, seen here on the BBC website:

Guinness World Records announced Smokey, 12, who is a British short-hair cat, achieved the loudest purr by a domestic cat, peaking at 67.7 dB.

He can purr as loud as a vacuum cleaner apparently!

And my favourite: 

Guinness World Records is a veritable catalogue of fantastic felines, and Smokey is a welcome addition to the family.

Way to go Smokey!  Puuuurrrrrrrr.

Anyone else think he looks like a cat that would kick ass anyway? He's a No-messing kind of moggie.  He was going to get that award, come hell or high water.

That's a Paddington Hard Stare if ever I saw one!

(And for those of you not familiar with Paddington Bear, he was a famous story-book bear, with a fearsome stare when he disapproved of something or someone!)

Animal Magic

While we were out in the back end of beyond at the weekend (visiting our "rural" friends as I like to call them), 
I spied a big tall lump on top of a fence post.
As I focussed better, the big tall lump grew feathers 
and then swivelled it's enormous head 
and peered at me with stunning yellow eyes.
My handy wildlife-for-amateurs book tells me this is a 
Great Grey Owl. Isn't he gorgeous? 
And he was huge, probably about 30 inches high.
Can you see anything in this picture?  We were also lucky enough to hear a couple of these fellas whooping and hollering through the woodland - they sounded like monkeys.   Well, they sounded like monkeys before they hit their stride with a traditional knock-on-wood session.  
These are Pileated Woodpeckers, I believe.
And of course, spring time in the country has to involve pictures of a cute calf or three.
(Hasn't this wee fella (the brown and white one) got great markings on his face?)

And since we last visited, ten new chickens have arrived.  
So soft.  No shortage of eggs here soon.  As long as the bears don't get them again!

Another fun day out in the wilds of Alberta.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spot the Difference

This is what I like ...

And this is what I've got...

OK - let's play again.

This is what I like...

And this is what we've got...

Worked it out yet?
Yes, ladies and gentlemen - "Green" is M.I.A.

When I lived in the UK, January and February were the longggggeeesttt months.  
We've all got those, wherever we live in the world, I am sure.  
Mine was the I'm-skint-and-need-a-holiday-and-some-flowers-and-where-is the-bloody-sun kinda feeling.

Now I live in Alberta, I have lots more sunshine - but I still get moments of

But it's happening, slowly.  
Reporting live from just outside Calgary, I can confirm the recent sighting of not one, but several blades of green grass - it's finally happening folks - god, it's so exciting!

And my tulips have re-surfaced again - carefully sticking their little noses out of the soil - and not seeing any snow for at least four days now, they are going for it!  Yay - c'mon my brave little soldiers!
I am CRAVING a riot of colour.