Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Final weeks of the semster!

I had a big post all queued up full of photos of Trevor and me - today is the 13th anniversary of when he asked me out - but Blogger seems to have eaten the photos, and I don't have time to re-sort and re-upload, because I have SO MUCH HOMEWORK.  So you probably won't see a blog post from me now until December 11th, unless something earth-shattering happens between now and then!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Favourite Food in Calgary

The are in no particular order - just food things I really like in Calgary!

Edelweiss Imports
This is a German import shop/bakery/deli/cafe. Schnitzel, spaetzle, gravy, potatoes and Black Forest cake, oh my! I especially love going there at Christmas - it's very festive!

Kingsland Farmer's Market
The Kingland Farmer's Market has two of my favourite vendors - the Jammery and Hoven Farms. I now only eat jam from the Jammery (except for imported British marmalade, because that makes me feel closer to my UK roots...) and whenever we want special occasion beef or steaks, I go to Hoven Farms. It's also usually the only place where I can find heirloom tomatoes in the summer.

This is a small western-Canadian chain of Italian restaurants. They have cheap pasta, bread with oil and vinegar, excellent cheesecake, and the one near our house has this waiter who sings incoherent snatches of songs that sound very Italian, which is always exciting. :)

Moroccan Castle
They do not have their own website, which is a shame. I've only been there twice, and not in years now, but I LOVE it. It's like eating in a tent with plushy pillows and ALL THE ATMOSPHERE. It's down in Kensington area, and it's amazing.

Myknonos Greek Restaurant
The owners of this place not only know how to serve food that feels homey, they also are big supporters of local charity, which is a great plus! It doesn't look like much from the outside, and the decor is a bit dated, but they have beautiful photos of Greece, and did I mention the food? It's amazing! I like it way better then the other popular major Greek restaurant in Calgary...

Fionn MacCool's pub
This gem of a place is on the main floor of the Sheraton Eau Claire, and I love it. It's very pub-y, and they have the best gravy ever. And excellent lamb. Sooo good. I used to work very near it, and Dad and I had lunch there often.

Kilkenny Irish Pub
The great thing about the Kilk (and the other pubs in this local chain) is cheap ribs Wednesday. Cheap ribs Wednesday. Check it out...and let us know if you're going so we can join you. :)

Joey's Seafood
This is a small Canadian chain that you could compare to Red Lobster, but I think it's better. It's got a bit more charm, and the prices are a bit lower. And they have great tartar sauce. When I crave a bit of Nova Scotia, this is where I go!

White Spot
Great milkshakes and burgers! A western-Canadian chain, there are a couple locations in Calgary. One of the things I like about it is that it reminds me of being a teenager in BC. They also have a summer blueberry pie special which blows my taste buds. But I'm all about their burgers...

Marble Slab
An ice cream place of deliciousness - their milkshakes are the best ever. It probably has something to do with the ice cream that goes into them...and I currently have a MS gift card burning a hole in my wallet...

Crave Cupcakes
Each Crave cupcake has enough calories in it to feed a small country for a week. But oh, you'll die happy! I love any of them with cream cheese icing, and also the chocolate one with peppermint icing. And the chocolate one with the pink icing. And the chocolate one with the chocolate icing. And...you get the idea. :)

Bakery at Heritage Park
Don't miss the bakery if you go to the park - it's perfect for a snack to perk you up! Tarts and buns and cookies...made all the more delicious by the appetite you work up from all the walking.

Simple Simon Pies
These cute little single-serve pies are available at a couple farmer's markets around town - they come frozen for a quick comfort food dinner. They have meat, fruit and quiche ones. I LOOOVE their cheddar bacon quiche, but since my egg allergy got worse I had to give quiche up, which makes me very sad!

Coco Brooks
A local chain with single serve pizzas - you can eat in or take out. Well, they say they're single servings, but with a salad I usually only eat half of one in a sitting... They're environmentally friendly and are involved in the community. And they make GREAT pizza!

Hopefully this gave you some ideas for different food to check out around Calgary! Let me know if you have any suggestions of places we should try!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

These are a Few of my Favourite Things about Calgary

I'm not really sure what inspired this...but I've come along way from loathing Calgary the way I did when I first moved here. I've come to find the prairies beautiful, and I've gotten used to sunny winters. I'm not quite used to the cold, but I'm dealing. :)

So, in not really any particular order, here are some of the things I love most about Calgary:
My church, Foothills Lutheran. I've been going here since November of 1999, a few months after I moved to Calgary, and a month after I met Trevor. And then we got married here in 2002. And I don't really mean I love the building (although after working there for four years, spending weekends sleeping on the floors with the youth, spending hours in the kitchen putting on meals, etc, I do feel a certain fondness for it...) it's the people who make up the church that I love! Whenever we talk about moving back to BC, the first 'con' I think of is that it would be so hard to leave our church family.

The view of snow-covered mountains never fails to make me 'awe', especially when the sun is setting behind them. Although I've yet to take a photo of a Rocky Mountain sunset that actually does it justice!
Heritage Park, from my trip this summer with Shelli.
Heritage Park, from my friend Teresa's wedding a few years ago. If Trevor and I ever get married again, we're doing it at Heritage Park. :) I'd spend way more time there if I could - I just love it. For a history geek like me, it's heavenly.
The Gibson Collection at the University of Calgary library is SUCH a gem. Bob Gibson was a Calgary man who spent his entire life collecting books. Most of them are of the speculative fiction variety, and if anyone thinks I have a lot of books...he had over 35,000 pieces that were donated to the UofC in 2002, after he died. That was 10 years ago, and they're still cataloguing! I had a tour of some of the stuff that's still not catalogued, and there are years and years more of work to do on the collection. The real crown jewel in the collection are Gibson's 500-ish hand-bound anthologies that he put together himself of stories from magazines. He bound each one in paper with a hand-written cover, and kept meticulous records in a card catalogue system. I wish I could have met him!

When Words Collide is a Calgary convention for people interested in reading, writing and publishing fiction. 2013 will be the third annual con, and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm always too busy to take pictures - this one is from 2011, with my friends Brittni and Anita at the EDGE party. It's small, and SO well run, and there are always too many interesting panels to see - I'd need a time-turner to do everything I'd like to. :)

Riker, Troi and Worf at the 2012 Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo.
A Darth Vader cosplayer at the 2011 Comic Expo.
Brent Spiner (Data) at the 2010 Calgary Comic Expo - this was my first con ever, and it was amazing. It opened my eyes to a strange new world of geekery and fandom! They've already announced Michael Shanks for 2013, and I SWEAR by my pretty floral bonnet that I will have my steampunk cosplay ready by then. :)

The Calgary Military Museum is fantastic. Again, as a history geek it's one of the best museums I've been to, but also for their annual Remembrance Day service. We decided to go to a different one this year because I wasn't feeling well and wasn't up for all the walking and standing involved, but I do regret it a bit. In a world that's increasingly secular, it's lovely to go to a service with all of the military pomp and circumstance, as well as prayers and hymns. If you've never been, I highly recommend it!

Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park is my newest favourite thing. It's only about 20 minutes from our house, but it's outside town enough that it makes me feel like I've been out to the country. The view of the mountains is beautiful, and the prairie scenery is unparalleled. It has lots of different walking paths, so you can go for a long walk, a short stroll, or just a picnic. Beautiful!

Heather and me at the Calgary Philharmonic's sci fi tribute, narrated by Robert Picardo (The Doctor) and John DiLancie (Q), a few years ago.
Me, Anne (with Bethany the baby bump) and Heather going to a Christmas performance of the Messiah at the CPO in 2007. I think if had to pick just one favourite thing about Calgary it might very well be the CPO. The most recent concert I've been to was last week - it was Songs of the War Years, with the orchestra and a singing group, and it was fabulous. I've only been to one concert that disappointed, and in that case it was the imported group rather than the orchestra who were disappointing. They are so amazing - as a non-musician, it's magical to hear the disparate parts of the orchestra warming up in controlled chaos, and then to hear the harmony when the maestro lifts her baton. Just...just...GO see them, ok?

Calgary is home to some fabulous heritage architecture. When I first moved here, while I was struggling with hating this cold, beige city, one of the things that distracted me was the heritage buildings everywhere downtown. I have a list of them saved, and it's still one of my goals to visit every one of them. Maybe there's some way to turn that into a history paper....

The red pandas at the zoo are the cutest things ever. I'm not really a fan of zoos, although I've been to it a few times. But the red pandas...they're worth the price of admission, right there! My little brother took this photo last Christmas when he was here. Lookit the cute little red panda TONGUE!

Something that I don't have a photo for is the Morpheus Theater Group. They do four shows a year, and I never miss their Gilbert & Sullivan one in the new year. They perform in the Pumphouse Theatre, which is one of those great pieces of Calgary heritage architecture. They are definitely worth supporting, and their ticket prices are really affordable.
So there you have it; some great things about Calgary. If you live here and haven't experienced some of these things, well, what are you waiting for?! Get off the computer and out there ASAP! And if you're travelling to Calgary, make a list of things you want to do, let me know when you're coming, and I'll try to show you around! :)
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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Faith & Fangirling

(With credit to my friend Erin Erickson for somewhat inspiring the title of this post. :)
Well, this is coming a day late, which you may or may not have noticed. I did...but I had a German test this morning, so there wasn't much I could do about it. I tried to find a chart on line to show you how darn confusing possessive pronouns are, but I couldn't even! It's so confusing even Google can't help me. :P
So, last Sunday, October 28 (and that weekend we were in Red Deer at a conference, but that'll be its own post when I get organized!), was Reformation Sunday, the Sunday when we celebrate Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg. It's also Confirmation Sunday at our church, when the youth who are around 14 years old, and who've been taking confirmation classes for two years, publicly express their faith and what they've learned, by presenting papers and essentially making a vow.

I don't have any photos from this year, so here's one of Trevor getting confirmed. :)
I've seen a lot of confirmation classes come and go, and you can usually tell from their papers which of the kids actually 'get' it, and which of them are just jumping through the hoops so they can 'graduate'. There were 14 this year, and I only knew a couple of them well, but you can tell so much about them from their papers, and even the ones I don't really know I still care about whether or not they get it. I don't really know why - maybe it's just the burden/gift God has given me (?). Anyway, there may have been a few tears, and not because I was over-tired from being at a conference all weekend. :)
Then the first weekend in November was our annual fall youth retreat, which I seem to have somehow and totally accidentally ended up becoming chair of. I think it's because I'm kind of bossy and I just like organizing stuff and so I sort of took over organizing meetings, which then just evolved into 'chairing' them (which I use loosely because we've been doing this for so long that we all pretty much just know what to do and how to work together - it's a great team of people!), but I'm also the registrar, which is a TON of work. Add that to homework, two weeks of being sick, and an unusually tempestuous registration process, and by the time Thursday night rolled around I was seriously questioning why I was putting myself through the agony.
But by Friday morning, I was fatalistically calm. If anything else went wrong, there wasn't any way to prepare for it, so it would just have to happen as it happened. Then my friend Brittni arrived to help and the kids started coming, and I got excited again. It's so much fun having a church building filled with life and excitement. Things went really well - we had some scheduling issues Saturday night, but I kept calm and changed the schedule, and it worked out well. I was proud of myself for not freaking out...a couple of years ago I wouldn't have been able to function under my schedule not proceeding as planned, but I'm getting more flexible in my old age. :P Pretty sure it's a God Thing!
Some of the 75-ish people at the fall youth retreat
By the time everyone left on Sunday, I didn't want it to end, which is how I usually feel on the last day of a retreat. You get this sense of community in a small group, living in a building all together for a weekend like that, which you don't really find anywhere else. I always feel like it's a very imperfect but tantalizing glimpse of what heaven will be like - a giant youth retreat, only without all of the logistical work. :)
Then on Monday I had this parcel card, so I went to the post office to pick it up. I figured that I must have forgotten to decline last month's movie club offering, and I was still thinking about the youth retreat, so I wasn't really mentally present in the post office when the clerk handed me a large bubble envelope that didn't look anything like a DVD. I stepped away from the counter and looked at the return address, and got very intrigued when I saw that it was from Shelli.
I didn't waste any time ripping it open, and found a recycled inter-office mail envelope. Curiouser and curiouser...and then I opened that, and found THIS:
I definitely said "OH MY GOSH" out loud, because I'm pretty sure the lady standing nearby turned around to look at me, but I was to busy processing to care. (For the first time, I did wish I had a smartphone so I could take a photo and post it somewhere right then and there, because fangirling shared is definitely more fun!) When I got home I had to Google the indecipherable signatures to check whose they were, and it is signed by the entire main cast of Hell on Wheels. How awesome is that? It was totally the cherry on top of an already awesome day! Thanks Shelli! I'm definitely a receptive audience! :)

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