Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas in Song

A few days after Christmas I did receive
Three wonderful Christmas CDs
Christmas Songs by Diana Krall featuring the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra
Included are:  Jingle Bells
Let It Snow
The Christmas Song
Winter Wonderland
I'll Be Home for Christmas
Christmas Time
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
White Christmas
What Are You Doing New Year's Eve
Sleigh Ride
Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep

This is my favourite new Christmas CD!  I've been a fan of Diana Krall for a long time and this CD doesn't disappoint.  If you like Jazz, the wonderful crooner tone and/or Diana Krall this is one you;ll want to hear!

Let it Snow! by Michael Buble
Another Jazzy type album, Let it Snow features some old favourites:
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow
The Christmas Song
Grown-up Christmas List
I'll Be Home for Christmas
White Christmas
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it snow (Live)

Attention all Michael Buble fans, your collection is incomplete without this CD!  Michael's wonderful smooth voice romanticizes these Christmas tunes.  Sure to continue to be a best-selling album!
 I'll Be Home for Christmas featuring artists such as Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Burl Ives, The Andrews Sisters and Peggy Lee and more.  This CD includes the following favourites:
I'll Be Home for Christmas by Bing Crosby with John Scott Trotter and His Orchestra
Jingle Bells by Brenda Lee
Let It Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! by Ella Fitzgerald
Silver Bells by Burl Ives
Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt
Winter Wonderland by The Andrew Sisters
Here Comes Santa Claus by Wayne Newton
White Christmas by Pat Boone
Baby, It's Cold Outside by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan
Ole Santa by Dinah Washington
Ring Those Christmas Bells by Peggy Lee
The Christmas Song by Mel Torme

For a little variety, there's nothing like the classics sung by classics!  A great CD for dinner listening, background for a party or to jazz up your listening pleasure while driving.  Sure to bring out the Christmas spirit in everyone!

Monday, December 20, 2010

TheStar Catch a glimpse of a rare lunar eclipse early Tuesday

TheStar Catch a glimpse of a rare lunar eclipse early Tuesday

Christmas Carol - An Evening on the Town


Churchill Square, Edmonton, as seen from the Citadel Theatre, all lit up for Christmas.
  A night on the town, eating at East Bound Bistro and attending The Christmas Carol, was ours to enjoy Saturday evening thanks to Global Television Edmonton and sponsors.
Citadel Theatre set for Christmas Carol, December 18, 2010 (taken before the production began)
 I entered a Christmas Traditions contest with Global Television and was one of five luck recipients of this wonderful prize pack!  My family and I began the evening with supper at East Bound Bistro.  We enjoyed superb service.  Our waitress went out of her way to be sure we were happy with our meal, giving well-informed advice on selecting the level of doneness for the lamb dish.  She did have a bit of an attitude, though she did offer excellent service, but we didn't let it deter us from enjoying a lovely meal. 

We began with appetizers including Vegetable Tempura, tempura battered vegetables (peppers, yam and zucchini) which was very good, cooked tender to the fork, with a delectable dipping sauce (traditional tentsuyu); and boneless dry ribs (Not Very Dry Ribs) that were very tasty morsels. 

My husband selected the 9 oz NY steak with baby potatoes, young carrots, and asparagus.  Don't select your steak medium well here if you don't want it well done!  Hubby's was a little dry and too well done for his liking but the potatoes were delicious, cooked until just the right point of tenderness without being mushy or too firm.  

One son had Mojito Chops (lamb chops) which, evidently, must be cooked to the point of medium well at a minimum as the flavour is intensified with further cooking and yet is not dry nor tough.  He loved his dish, exclaiming just how fantastic the lamb was.  His meal also came with asparagus, done to perfection, and potatoes and young carrots.

My daughter had Penne Athens (the penne dish) with lemon-pepper chicken, peppers, onion, sundried tomatoes in olive oil accented with feta cheese and black olives, and a slice of garlic bread on the side.  It was flavourful, a bit oily and very filling.  It smelled divine. Bring an appetite for this dish!

My other son and I each had the Ciabatta Club sandwich with grilled chicken breast, back bacon and Provolone cheese slice, lettuce and tomato.  I substituted my fries, which come with the dish, for a house salad with an apple/vinaigrette dressing while my son chose to keep his fries.  The sandwich was ok, not spectacular but was pretty good.  I expected more flavour.  This sandwich is quite filling on its own so I was happily satisfied with the meal. 
 Also part of this prize package was this candle lit floral centerpiece from Bunches (Namao location).  So festive and fragrant with sprigs of cedar, pine and fir as the base and carnations and berries accented the piece.  A couple sprigs of holly leaves and another succulent broad evergreen leafy plant were dotted here and there, adding a nice bit of shine to the arrangement.  A few Christmas ornamental balls, two white candles and a bow made from sparkling red ribbon finished off the piece.  Just beautiful.
At East Bound Bistro, making meal selections.

It was a perfect evening out on the town.  I leave the best for last here.  The theatrical production of Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol was absolutely marvellous!!  The acting was superb, including the English accents, props were professional with great attention to detail and authenticity, and one could not have selected a better lead actor for the role of Ebenezer Scrooge!!  His performance was incredible!!  A true scrooge, yet funny at times, Richard McMillan shines in his role as Ebenezer! 

If you can see but one theatrical production this holiday season, make it Christmas Carol!!  10/10!!!!!

My heartfelt gratitude to all those who sponsored this contest.  Oh, what a night!!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mosaic Monday- The Trees of the Festival

 Welcome to the Festival of Trees, an annual breathtaking event that serves as a fundraiser for the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta.  The above photo is the entrance to the festival at the Shaw Conference Center.  The fundraiser began Wednesday, December 1 with a "by-invitation" black-tie silent auction which saw nearly 100 trees and numerous wreaths and artistic endeavours sold. 
The Festival concluded December 5. The trees and items were then delivered to their new owners.  Also included was a stage of choral and dance displays, Children's Village, gingerbread and cake event and a store from which Christmas items could be purchased.
 Above and below is the outer entrance hall.

 Above, a display from an Eaton's store window.  Below, one of a few mantles on display.

 Above, a beautiful wreath and below, the new light fixtures installed this year.

 Above, one of the ornaments on the Picasso tree.  Below, floral arrangement and wreath in copper.

 Above, polar bears "play" in the store window display.  Below, a unique work of art, this purple dress won several prizes including the Designer Competition and Personal Choice.

 Sails, above.  All images may be clicked on to enlarge.  This was so unique I just had to photograph it!
 Modern art, above.  Below, a "stylized dove" in tribute to Picasso's daughter, Paloma who has designed jewellery for Tiffany's.

My daughter, A, loved this table and chairs on display in one of the "pods".
  Above, a display in green and below, the three Kings.

 Tablescaping in copper, above.  Below, keeping with the copper theme but adding blue for the Oilers, this wreath took a prize!! 
My daughter A and I volunteered for two shifts over two days, assisting with the guarding of the trees.  The Festival of Trees is a great fundraiser and a superb start to the Christmas season.  Merry Christmas everyone!!

Thank you Mary for hosting the Mosaic Monday meme which I am joining in today.  Here's her addie to see more http://dearlittleredhouse.blogspot.com/.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

City of Edmonton Celebrates Christmas - Upcoming Events


John Walter Museum Candlelight Christmas


This wonderful evening offers Christmas enchantment with Celtic music and live performances by the award-winning McDade Family in a historical setting. Experience two 45 minute musical performances in a pioneer home. During intermission, enjoy hot apple cider or hot chocolate and try some fresh home baking. A complete schedule and information about the children’s program is available on-line.

Dates: December 10 - 26
Time: 2 – 4 pm matinee, 7:30 – 9:30 pm evenings
Cost: $23/general; $14/child (age 2 – 14)
Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available by calling 311 or online at ereg.edmonton.ca



Crystal Christmas Sundays at the Muttart

Take in the sights and sounds of Muttart Conservatory this Christmas. Enjoy the Feature Pyramid show Polar Bear Express and the Ice Crystal concerts in the Centre Court. Children can play in the Snowflake Room where a festive wonderland of games, crafts and music awaits.

Dates: December 12 & 19
Time: 1 – 4 pm
Cost: regular admission rates apply



Christmas Reflections at Fort Edmonton Park

Fort Edmonton Park is a beautiful Christmas locale – and the Christmas Reflections evening program is a popular way to celebrate the holidays with family and friends!

Dates: December 10 - 23
Time: 6 - 10 pm
Cost: $16/general, children under 2 are free
To check ticket availability and to purchase tickets, visit fortedmontonpark.ca

The Knight is Young – A Medieval New Year’s at the Muttart

Celebrate the New Year Medieval style! Come out and partake in an evening of music and live performances at this warm, family event. Create a unique New Year’s noise-maker, have your face painted, tour the pyramids and enjoy activities designed for families with children 7 to 12 years old. Space is limited so register early.

Date: December 31
Time: 7 - 10 pm
Cost: $45/family, $16/general, $11/child (2 – 12 years)
Tickets available by calling 311


New Year’s Eve at Churchill Square

Head downtown to ring in the New Year at this free, fun-filled, non-alcoholic event. A variety of indoor and outdoor activities will keep partygoers entertained until midnight when a spectacular fireworks show will bring in 2011.

Date: December 31
Time: 7 pm – the end of the fireworks show

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Grey Cup Celebration

This is not exactly new news, since the Grey Cup football match was Sunday, November 28th, 2010.  Due to technical difficulties on this end, I haven't been able to post but the problem is now rectified. 

 This is the dome and entrance to the activities held at Churchill Square in Edmonton prior to and during the Grey Cup Playoff.  I was walking by on Jasper Avenue and luckily had my camera with me.  These photos were taken the first day of the celebrations, November 24th.
The store where football related items were sold.  Everything from jerseys, to caps, to scarves.

Calgary hosted the Grey Cup playoffs last year.  "Alberta is proud to be home to this national treasure two years in a row,” said Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach.



“The Grey Cup is a tradition that attracts fans from across Canada for a week of fun and excitement, topped by a world class sporting event. And I can guarantee our friends across Canada that the spirit of Alberta will be on full display, along with the legendary warmth of the people of Calgary and Edmonton.”


Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel said the “City of Champions” is ready to host one of the great sporting events in its storied history.


“We’re thrilled to welcome back the Grey Cup, and all that it delivers for a host city: hours of attention on national television, thousands of visitors, and tens of millions of dollars in economic activity,” he added.


“And then there’s that magical component that you can’t measure with a clock or a calculator, because the Grey Cup is such a special part of being Canadian, and hosting it connects Edmontonians to our fellow Canadians in a very unique way.”


The co-chairs of Edmonton Grey Cup 2010 – Eskimos President and CEO Rick LeLacheur and Eskimos Chairman Doug Goss – said this Grey Cup will be special for another reason.


“Edmonton’s football side was renamed the Eskimos in 1910, so 2010 will mark 100 years of Eskimo football here in northern Alberta,” Goss said.


“Hosting the Grey Cup is the ultimate way to cap off what should be a year of celebrating the deep bond between our game, our team and our city.”

LeLacheur added: “The people of Edmonton, and Eskimo fans in particular, have always held a special place in their hearts for the Grey Cup, so we’re very excited about 2010, and welcoming Canada to Edmonton for what we know will be a tremendous event.”  (from the official Grey Cup 2010 site)
See http://bing.search.sympatico.ca/?q=Grey%20Cup%202010&mkt=en-ca&setLang=en-CA for the full article and more.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Grease



Here's a little precursor to the musical Grease.  If you have the opportunity to see it live, go for it and then follow up with the DVD version of the 1978 movie.  It's just that good!!

What is the Word? Grease is the Word!!!

"Grease is the word....
It's got mood, it's got meaning!!!
Grease is the time, is the place, is the motion
Grease is the way we are feeling"


Front page of our program

My daughter received tickets to the musical "Grease" for her 18th birthday and I was thrilled to accompany her.  I asked if she wanted to go with a friend but she said, no, she preferred to go with me because I "knew" Grease.  I was, after all, the one who gave her the DVD version of the 1978 film starring Olivia Newton John as Sandy and John Travolta as Danny Zuko.  "A" was quite impressed with it.  John Travolta looked quite "hot", I think is the word she used.

So off to the Jubilee she and I went Saturday night.  Excitement mounting as we ascended the stairs, passing ladies in poodle skirts and leather jackets.  True Grease fans for sure.  We found our seats and were entertained by Eddie Mekka, of Laverne and Shirley fame.  His opening line was "What is the word?"  And we all knew it.  "Grease is the word"  the audience heartily replied.  Thus began the momentous Broadway musical rendition "Grease".

Eddie entertained for 15 - 20 minutes, teaching the audience the hand-jive, I still get mixed up with that, and some "do wopping".  Did you know the words  "schlemiel" and "schlimazel", from the Laverne and Shirley theme song, mean "loser" and "bigger loser"?  Nor did I!
While the audience was taking their seats prior to the show, "A" took a couple photos of the theater.  There's not a bad seat in the house.  No photography was allowed during the performance, however.
Grease is the story of high school seniors, their loves and dreams, dating, and rock and roll.  Opening scene, first day of school, on bleachers the T-birds and at a table the Pink Ladies.  Sandy (Alyssa Herrera) is introduced as Frenchie's (Ashley Rubin) neighbour and "Summer Loving" is remembered by both the guys and girls.  The musical follows the movie roughly with a few new songs interspersed, scenes and situations were portrayed a bit different.  "Sandra Dee" sung by Rizzo was performed in Frenchie's bedroom but Sandy's response to the girls making fun came later. 

At times the music was louder than the performers' voices and oft times Sandra's voice was drowned out.  Other than these minor technicalities, the cast was superb.  The actresses who portrayed Marty (Alicia Kelly) and Rizzo (Lauren Elaine Taylor) were perfect while all the female characters were well defined.  However, the T-birds were less so.  Unless you really knew the characters, the audience might have troubles differentiating between them, especially Sonny (Patrick Joyce), Doody (Marc Winski) and Roger (Brad Lawson).  Their acting was great, just their individuality didn't come through.

It was a perfect evening and the enthusiastic audience, older children and adults alike, appreciated the performance immensely.

“It’s a little like Laverne and Shirley. (Grease) is a family show. For 90 minutes you can forget all that news and stuff that is happening in the world. It’s gotta have a lot going to last that long. We got a whole third generation loving it now.”  said Eddie Mekka.

Grease, featuring Mekka (as DJ Vince Fontaine and as the lead singer in Beauty School Dropout), is a production of Broadway Across Canada.  It opened Nov. 9 and ran through Nov. 14 at the Jubilee Auditorium.  Watch for it on its country-wide tour.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekend Reflections at the Art Gallery

Becoming an art exhibit unto themselves, City Hall and the Clock Tower

for more pictures of this one of a kind gallery!

Reflections are all around us, in glass, in water, on chrome, and so much more.  There's a world wide group capturing alluring reflections from their corner of this vast globe.  Visit them here:  http://newtowndailyphoto.blogspot.com/



Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hot Air Balloons - Skywatch Friday

I was excited the day I saw this hot air balloon up close!  We were driving west on the Yellowhead freeway when this balloon was spotted.  It proceeded to lower itself and appeared to be about to land in the empty lot just to the right of us!

But then I saw these hot air balloons!  These photos were taken in Germany.  I won't include all of them, just enough to give you an idea of the extraordinary "air crafts" out there.

What do you think?  Not just full of hot air, these balloons are extraordinary!  Join some other high flyers and sky watchers here:  http://skyley.blogspot.com/


 

Imagine by John Lennon




(To listen to "Imagine" you will want to pause the playlist on the lower left-hand side of the screen.)

This day we remember those who fought for our country and our freedom.  A local radio station played this song of John Lennon's after observing two minutes of silence which was immediately preceded by the trumpet and reading of John McCrae's poem "In Flander's Fields".  Today and always may we remember with gratitude those choice men and women who fought for our country and those who still do.  I posted the poem and its history on The Gardening Life.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Edmonton Oilers

My family consists of many diehard Oilers fans.  We believe in the Oil!  
This year is a rebuilding year.  New coaching staff, new players, new energy. Sure, we have lost a few games, but we did BEAT the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks, on their home ice, TWICE!  We play them again next Wednesday here, at home, at Rexall Stadium.  Let's see if the Oil can blow away Chicago again!

Next Game:  November 11 on the road against the Detroit Red Wings.  If you listen to "Hallsy" on Global, you'll know the Red Wings are flying!  Chances of beating them, not so good.  The following game, November 12, will play against New Jersey Devils who are not doing so well.  This could be a good confidence builder for the Oilers.  Perhaps another win on the road.  It can be done. 

We might even make the playoffs, folks.  We have the talent...Eberle, Horcoff, Gagne, Hemsky, Hall, Cogliano, Penner, the "Wall" (Khabibulin)....., to name a few, and we have the ability.  Stanley Cup might not be in our grasp this year but dedicated fans don't expect that.  This is a rebuilding time.  A time to work out the kinks, master skills, build a team.  A team that grows stronger in time and yes, we have the potential.  Next year, perhaps, the Stanley Cup!  What do you say Oil fans?  Can we do it?  Can our team make the playoffs?  Can we go the distance?  The Oilers need our support.  They need to hear we believe.  We need to believe.  It can be done.  GO TEAM!!!

PS.  What do you think of the Oilers Cheer Team?  Do we need one?  Will it rev up the crowd, build momentum, create the spirit?  What's your opinion?



Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Toy Story 3 on DVD and Blu-Ray


A Disney-Pixar Production Rated G (general audience) with DTS, Dolby Digital, English, French and Spanish subtitle options

#1 Animated Film of the Year

"When Andy prepares to depart for college, Woody, Buzz, Jessie and the rest of Andy's faithful toys wonder what will become of them.  But, when a mix-up lands tham at Sunnyside Daycare, they meet a host of new toys and soon discover a wild new adventure is just beginning!"  (synopsis from cover)

One of the best, and to some arguably the best Toy Story, this story is exciting, funny, a veritable toy box of entertainment!  If you have children, this is a must-have!  Mine are all but grown up and we all loved it!  Well worth it! 

Rated 5/5

PS  Did you know you can now buy Blu-Ray players with 3D?  If you use a projector, ie. home theaters, you need one with 3D capability too. 


Saturday, October 23, 2010

In the Streets, Something is Stirring....




Halloween decorations abound
Ghosts, goblins and witches
Scattered around
The night is nigh
When young ones shall appear
And in chorus will cry
Trick or Treat! Fun time of year.

Shadowy figures galore at:  http://heyharriet.blogspot.com/