December 21, 2008

Snow Wonderful Snow!

Are you a snow lover?
Do you smile when you look outside and see the floating flakes fall under the glowing streetlights? Do you sigh with contentment as you venture outside into the cold, white world all bundled up tight with boots and mitts and scarf?
Do you cringe at that squeaking crunch the packed snow makes under your boot, but joyfully kick up balls of snow as you trudge down a covered snowy sidewalk?
Do you love how the blanket of snow brightens up the dark winter, almost causing daylight at night as the white is reflected all around?
Are you, like me, in love with snow?

True, there are, many annoyances and drawbacks from s big or small snowfall.
There is the problem of driving, getting from A to B to C and back again, travelling somewhere for the holidays or even just to the mall to pick up those last-minute Christmas gifts. There is all the shovelling and clearing of walkways and sidewalks and driveways and windshields.

And yet some of the best experiences are snow days off from school or work, the crisp air on your face and the warmth of your home when you dis-bundle yourself and dry off and my favourite thing of Christmas lights look under or covered by or surrounded by white snow. They seem to glow brighter, reflecting the reds and blues and greens on the clumps of white that coxy in next to the bulbs. Every light display seems to be enhanced or revved up because of the snow that adds that extra Christmasy touch to their show.

As you can tell, I love snow. I love it when I'm inside, and I love it when I'm outside. I may not like it all year around, but for what we get here in Victoria, I love every moment!
Thanks, snow, for falling this year!

December 18, 2008

British Movie Fix

If you like British movies, or Masterpiece Theatre (not the famous Monsterpiece Theatre I remember as a child from Seasme Street) or Jane Austin or if you simply like an interesting story, here are two more movies to seek out.

"My Family and Other Animals" tells the innocent and humourous story set before WW2 of a British family who are sick of the cold rainy summer weather in England and decide to pack up and move to the Greek Island of Corfu for some time.
The sweet and slightly dotty widowed mother goes along with her spoiled children's wishes and the family finds themselves loving the heat and the people and their new surroundings in a villa on Corfu.
The eldest son is a bohemian writer who invites his wild and weird friends to stay. The daughter is a sunbathing, bikini-wearing flirt who has the island boys crawling to sneak a peek at her. The next son is obsessed with hunting and shooting and continuously brings home all manner of game for supper.
The youngest of the family is the enthusiastic, nature-loving 12 year old boy Gerald. He makes himself right at home exploring, collecting animals and bugs to fill his menagerie of a room.
The film is a delightful romp with a strange but lovable family as they enjoy each other and their new home. The movie is based on Gerald Terrell's writings, which is close to the truth as seen through the young boys' eyes. 

Another wonderful story is Jane Austin's "Northanger Abbey".
In typical Austin way, this film touches on the subjects of love, money, parental rule vs child desires and much more. 
I found the characters engaging and likable and the plot had just enough mystery and turns for you not to know what might happen.
The male lead Henry reminded me of Jude Law and the female lead Catherine of a cuter Kate Beckinsale and both played their roles well.
The story follows a lower-state imaginative young woman who is escorted to Bath in the society of some wealthy family friends. There Catherine meets new people;  a social climbing woman with a slightly creepy brother, and a teasing but genteel young man with an endearing sister who could become an excellent best friend. There is also romance in the air but will the kind-hearted Catherine be able to stand up for what she wants, or will she be too polite to overcome the obstacles thrown in her way?

If you are wondering how  find all these interesting and off-the-beaten-track movies, then wanter over to DVD4U on Fairfield by Thrifty's. They are a small DVD rental store, but they have a huge British section and many wonderful titles to choose from!

December 16, 2008

Two New Movie Favourites...

I rented two movies this weekend and both were worth a quick mention.

The first was a UK film based on and starring the cast from a play called "History Boys".
A witty, intelligent and fast-banter movie, with a great cast and emotional twists. We follow a handful of senior-level boys from non-privileged backgrounds who are bright enough to study hard and possibly get in to some of the top universities in the UK - notably Oxford and Cambridge. Their public school has devised a schedule with special classes totally geared towards helping them ace their entrance exams and interviews. However, the headmaster is bent on the simple task of getting them in, mostly to improve his school's reputation, while some of the teachers argue that their learning should be more than a fixation on an exam, but more life learning, and lessons they will draw from throughout their lives instead of for one test.

(Although a great film, there is a teensy bit of slightly shocking content...ask me about it if you are concerned.)

The second movie I just fell in love with and I can bravely call it the "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" of 2008 - a movie called, "Charlie Bartlett".
Charlie is a teen from a wealthy family who has been kicked out from dozens of private schools and finally has to try public school. His drugged up, ditsy mother stays home playing tennis with their chauffeur, while Charlie tries to fit in to this new group of drama nuts, drug dealers, and popular jocks. He uses his ingenuity and quickly finds a way to give the students what they need - a listening ear...and a few prescriptions along the way.

I won't ruin the movie for you, because I think you should all give "Charlie Bartlett" a try!!

I will say that the character of Charlie is played brilliantly with the perfect drop of naivety and humbleness that makes us just want to be his friend, too!

Find it. Rent it. And someone, please, find me a copy?

November 27, 2008

Twilight: from the page-turning written word to the (un)living cinematic flesh...

Two weeks before the premiere of the new teen vampire flick "Twilight" opened, I was scouring the local movie theatre website every day to see when tickets would go on sale.
Sure enough, one morning I barely contained my shriek of joy when I stumbled on pre-screening tickets for sale for Thursday, November 20th, which also happened to be the night of my birthday. I quickly whipped through the online process of ordering as many of these sought after tickets as I was permitted and sent a message out to a few friends to see if they would join me for the exciting event.  
The week before, on Halloween night, I had purchased my copy of the first book in the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer on the BC Ferries while traveling to the mainland to visit my sister. By Sunday afternoon, I was half way through the second novel, New Moon and by the next weekend, after a few very late nights of reading, I was finished Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. 
The series, geared for young adult readers (which I assume means older teens, not my version of young adults in which I would be included) was an easy read; the pages practically turned themselves as I poured over every scene of teenage romance mixed with supernatural angst. I honestly found it physically difficult to put any of the books down, reading way too far into the night, with my mind never really resting but racing with the images of Edward and the struggles he and pathetic Bella faced.
Yes, I said it, the character of Bella is very pathetic. As the reader, you are told the story mainly from Bella's perspective and many times I found myself frustrated with her and her total lack of decent common sense or communication skills. True, she is only 17 when we first meet her, but she is mature for her age and had to be the 'mom' and look out for her scatter-brained mother from a young age. Yet time after time Bella continuously misinterprets or miscommunicates with those around her to the point of ridiculousness where their lives are even put in danger. The very theme of miscommunications threads it's way through all four of the books beginning with the twist that Edward can hear everyone's thoughts except Bella's. So Edward is constantly trying to figure out what she is thinking, and looking back, if he had known, a lot of the mistakes or hurt would never have happened if Bella's mind was not blocked by some mysterious wall. Bella, too, needed not only to voice her concerns and opinions but she needed to simply talk to her new friend Edward instead of getting defensive or angry or assuming the worst.
Enough of a rant about Bella and her faults, of which there are many more...
The written form of Twilight would, in my mind, easily translate to the big screen not only because it is at it's most basic, a romance, but because even the gimmicks of being a 'vampire movie' were subtle and seemingly not too difficult to show with a few scenes of wire work, coloured contact lenses and tricky editing. 
So on the night of my birthday, after a delightful supper with a few friends, we headed off to the movie theatre only to be greeted by a super long line up (inside, thankfully) of girls and women from the ages of 10-50. A large number wore shirts either homemade or ordered sporting slogans such as "Team Edward" or "Bite Me". The youngest of the Twilight groupies were high-spirited, shrieking, excited preteens, or teens and the older cross-section, their mothers, who I found to be just as loud and obnoxious as their offspring. Once the line moved into the theatre and we snagged a row of seats, the waiting game began anew, this time with a whole new crowd of noisy, annoying and uber-hyper Twi-hards all around us.
Now maybe it was because I aged over a large milestone that evening, or maybe because I, too was so excited to see this movie become real, but I was one of the few who ardently 'shushed' the crow when gasps became shrieks and shrieks became scream as both previews then intro music then the actors appeared onscreen. I honestly can say I need to see the movie again, not just because I'd like to see Robert Pattinson, who plays the golden-eyed vampire Edward, stare at me from across the room, but because of many missed lines and nuances of the film due to the crazy cacophony of the crowd!! 

The 'vibe' of opening night or pre-screening night was, I'll admit, exciting and built up my expectations for the movie. However, for the same reasons, my view of the f ilm was very jaded and I even chuckled with slight disgust at a few of the more cheesy and totally over done moments.
Overall, I did enjoy the film. Of course, sadly they had to alter or add or remove some situations or conversations for the sake of time or money or length of the movie, but I always find it so rewarding to see characters you've come to know breathed into life and scenes you've only seen in your own mind acted out for you. 
I think most of the actors were splendid and fit well, with the exception of Bella. I did not like the choice of Kristen Stewart and I thought I would have to wait and see how she worked in the movie, but now that I've seen it, I stick to my initial feeling that she does not work. Yes, Bella is pathetic and dreary and, as we said in the 80s, " cruisin' for  a bruisin' ", Stewart has way too much attitude and a chip on her shoulder to play the part correctly. Bella's actor needed to be a little more sad and selfless. There are a few other actors out there that I think would have been a better choice.

Some of my favourite parts were brutally butchered, like the meadow scene and even Bella's travels with Alice and Jasper, where we get to know that duo a bit better. Yet some scenes surpassed my expectations, such as the baseball game and the embellished fight scene at the end.
The books are marketed and geared towards teens so why should I be surprised that this film was full of noisy teens? The marketing for the movie was a little off, though. Even my own brother thought the movie was more horror than teen romance just from the previews alone.  But the media did a great job of immortalizing the main actors even before the film was released, since when has that happened lately? I can see why Robert Pattinson is so troubled by the hordes of child and teen girls mobbing him anytime he goes anywhere. Who wouldn't be weirded out by that?
There is so much more I could say, about either the books or the movie, but anytime anyone wants to chat about them, just ask and I will be happy to discuss.
My final advice concerning this series and movie, is: read the books - you will enjoy them, the writing is great! and go see the movie, preferably on a week night and with an open mind that it does not accurately depict the book but it does a good job of making the world of Twilight come to the real life version of Edward Cullen is nice to look at!!

November 16, 2008

Twilight and ME

I know, I know, I'm a weirdo...but I love it!

The Twilight series of four books was the best week and a half of reading I've had in a long time!!! They are an easy read and centre around a high school girl and her romantic interest who just happens to be an odd type of vampire... Yes, I know, vampires = bad....whatever. It's just a story; good verses evil, love for family and friends and finding someone who loves you for you.

And besides, Edward is an excellent character! I'm not sold on Bella, she always seems so pathetic and uninteresting and totally BAD at communicating...ironic, since I am the same way when it comes to communication.

If you need a good, easy read that has action, adventure, love, passion, difficult choices, and a bit of the Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn.
AND go see the movie adaptation of Twilight coming out next week!! I'll be there!

November 6, 2008

Countdown to Awesomeness!

October 15, 2008

Weddings and Giving Thanks

Well, a month and a half have past since I last posted, shame on me, I know. However a few fun events have happened in that space of time.

One of the most relaxing and fun times was my extended weekend trip over to visit my sister and her husband in Langley, followed by attending a huge concert event at GM Place. I also quite excited to visit the Vancouver Aquarium on my own before the concert. 

Our weekend was excellent! We shopped a bit here and there, I purchased a brand new white swirly bed at Ikea, and a few new bits of clothing. We also saw the movie "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist", funny in parts but it could have done without the gross bits. 

The Vancouver Aquarium was amazing! Anyone who is close to me already knows that I love fish and aquariums in general, so a place with almost every kind and type of fish and tank along with dolphins sea otters and a baby beluga, is like Disneyland and winning the lottery all rolled into one.....okay, so maybe not quite *that* amazing!  But I did have a great day! I took tons of photos, and no, I won't bore you with them too much, all here but you can go view them in my album on Facebook.

Most recently, my dear friend Crystal had her wedding this past Saturday, in which I was a bridesmaid all decked out in a red dress and fancy hair and shoes.

I guess I could first mention the fun parties we had for Crystal before her wedding. We had a lovely bridal shower held at GT, with lots of ladies in attendance. Crystal received so many wonderful gifts and we had a great spread of treats, too. We then had a lingerie party at Meghan's house where we spoiled Crystal with lots of pretty undergarments to make her feel special and sexy!

The final event was a staggette/bachelorette DAY where we started by going on a horseback ride through the woods. I led the way on my horse, Starbucks, since he would have nipped all the girl horses' butts if he was in behind. We had a few near upsets with Katie's horse spooking in the barn then Meghan's freaking out and charging into the bushes. Everyone was kept safe, though, and we had a great time. 

We then heading a few directions to get all fancied up for a night on the town. We had created a scavenger hunt of sorts for Crystal and we followed her as she tried to answer all the questions by asking strangers on the street for their best in-law joke or bachelors for their marriage advice (we even had a few bachelors try and goad us into partying with them later!). Crystal soon finished the quiz (wow!) and figured out from the final riddle where we were headed for a fancy dinner at Vista 18 at the top of the Chateau Victoria Hotel. I had never been up there before and the view and the food were top notch!!

All of these events finally culminated in one of the most fun and beautiful weddings I have ever been a part of! 
The day was cool but not rainy and all the girls spent a relaxing morning getting ready at Crystal's house with hair and make-up provided by wonderful stylists. After a scenic ride to the Olympic View Golf Course in our white limo, the ceremony went swimmingly!! The room was so pretty and full of light from the huge windows and full of love from all the close family and friends gathered!! I loved our floral arrangements and all the red/burgundy decorations! We then had a few photos taken outside near a fountain while guests snacked on a few refreshments in the ballroom. The air was certainly chilly but everyone gave such warm hugs and kind congratulatory words that we all felt rosy! 

The reception was full of touching, funny and uplifting toasts and speeches, along with deeee-licious food and lots of laughter and tears. We finally bade the newly wed Crystal and Derek farewell (after I caught the bouquet, of course!) and all headed home for the night.

I do love weddings, and this is only the second wedding I've ever been a part of. They are so full of love and cheer and warm feelings that you can't help but be uplifted and feel light-hearted. 

Click HERE to view all my wedding photos posted on Facebook.

This past weekend was also our church's 85th Anniversary with a bit of a celebration including plenty of cake and a commemorative video/slideshow that I put together last week. I always think I could do so much better, but i do feel the project turned out okay, after many very late nights getting it ready on a weekend where my Friday and Saturday was already taken up by wedding rehearsals and ceremonies.

We also gathered together with family and a few friends to take part in a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner on Monday. 

I love, love, loooove turkey dinner with my mom's stuffing and veggies and pumpkin pie! So good! We had a great evening around our table chatting and enjoying a great dinner! 
Thanks Mom!!

September 2, 2008

Tofino is my favourite place!

Campfire, ocean waves, good friends, beans and smores....mmmmm! What more could you want from a weekend away?!

This past Labour Day weekend a few friends and I headed up island to Tofino, my new favourite place, for a weekend of camping and relaxing. Jared picked up up in his big truck, Rommy chatted with Jared in the front and Meghan and I squished into the back with homemade muffins and cookies to keep us company. The drive was long but the company fun and entertaining. 

We set up our two tents in the dark with the sounds of the ocean rolling below on the beach. Luckily, no rain fell that first night, so in the morning, after I got up an went for a gorgeous walk on the beach, we ate some muffins and rigged up our tarps, just in case.

That day we explored the beach, played a little Bocce and enjoyed the afternoon sun on the beach. Supper around a campfire is the best! Hot dogs, chili and beans....with an encore of Smores! Mmm! And hot chocolate at every meal. 

We slept okay, wrapped tightly in our tents and sleeping bags and extra blankets....with the exception of the guys hearing a few bear-like noises in the night near the girls tent....ya...ahem.
Sunday we let the guys make breakfast of bacon and eggs and hash browns over the fire. 
There is nothing better than eating outside! 

The rain still stayed away and we enjoyed most of the sunny, warm day on the beach, chatting and napping and reading.

Monday we packed up and headed for home. The long drive went by quickly with the beautiful scenery and friendly chatter.

Camping, anywhere but especially in Tofino, is my new favourite thing! I'd go anytime!

Here are more photos from the weekend:

Road Trip from BC to Alberta and Back

On August 13th I headed out on a road trip with my mom, Dorinda Driver, and my Great Aunt Shirley "The Early Riser", from BC through the Rockies to Edmonton for my cousin, Joel's wedding.
He had a great time! Yummy picnics and stopped at a few pretty spots for a photo or two.
Edmonton was HOT! So hot, I vowed never to live there even with the possibility of getting that hot!
But we had a great time catching up with cousins and aunties and uncles and Grandma. The wedding was so beautiful and the reception lovely! Our hotel room was spectacular, too! 
I cherish that weekend where I spent lots of fun moments with cousins I rarely get to see. We went bowling, had a group supper at good old Pizza Hut, hit the West Ed Mall for some laser tag and hang out time, ate a huuuge take-out Chinese dinner and reminisced about our favourite times spent in the past in Terrace at our grandparents house. 
I was so sad to say good-bye and longed for a few more days to spend with everyone. But alas, we packed up the car and headed back home again, ready for our next adventure.
We started home and ended up braving torrential rain, hail, lightning and saw 3 forest fires start in a crazy storm on the way to our next stop, 3 Valley Gap Chateau, near Revelstoke. The Chateau was neat in a kooky way, with the feel of an old chalet in the mountains that needs a bit of a makeover, but is homey and relaxed and very interesting. We toured their Ghost Town and saw some fabulous log cabins, original to the area, artifacts and recreations. 

I took many photos, too many to post here, but here are the links to my albums on facebook. Anyone can view them, even if you're not addicted to facebook yet. 

July 30, 2008

Luminara 2008

Have you ever wanted an excuse to put on a costume or a mask or even just some sparkly make-up and walk through a park on a magical evening? Where children can become faeries or unicorns or ladybugs and adults can become their favourite medieval character or an imaginary creature from some other world....all the while you are transported to an etherial glowing woodland with ponds and trees and floating globes and glowing figures....the Luminara Lantern Festival held in Victoria once a year in July is such an evening!

This year I took up the opportunity and donned my green elvish-looking cape, gilded with golden stars and hood, made up my eyes with green, blue and pink sparkles and even splashed a few purple streaks in my hair to enjoy Luminara a little more.
The evening was full of colourful characters, fantastic entertainment, and wonderful creative lanterns both on the grounds of St. Anne's Academy and all over Beacon Hill Park.

Here are just a few interesting shots from the evening.

(even if you are not on Facebook)

July 22, 2008

July Fun - Moss Street, Beacon Hill, Camp Friends

This past week has been a full one! 
I met my Mom and some friends at the Moss Street Market and Paint In on Saturday, then again in Sunday afternoon at Beacon Hill Park to watch and listen to some Hawaiian dancers and musicians (and to run around having fun with my dog, Sophie!), then Mom and I drove up to Nanoose Bay Teen Camp for Monday afternoon to visit friends and check out what was happening so far.

Jamie and Liam playing before heading to the Moss Street Market

Painting by donation to help...Africa something or other....

At the Moss Street Paint In... 
watching some artists demonstrate their talent.

The next few photos are of a few artists and their work that caught my eye.....

There were many young artists showing a more cartoon, or comic book style of art....I liked this one a lot!

This artist displayed some of his art in his fancy old Mercedes.

Everyone knows I like fish!

Awesome 3D wall art...neat houses, the artists was making one on the street.

This fellow hand-painted cards with scenes from around Oak Bay. Lovely!

A potter at work making small wavy bowls, you cans see some finished ones below.

Crazy characters!!

I am a sucker for the bright and interesting!

This guy cornered the market on 'guy art' - hockey stars, baseball players and all sorts of cool man-type art. Even his business cards were hockey can see them in the front right.

Then a lovely afternoon in Beacon Hill Park.

Jamie and Liam quickly found out Sophie likes to run...and that she's easy to run with!

I love this one..."Sit!"

After a beautiful drive upisland to Nanoose, we ran into some old is pretty little Ava.

Ethan... hungrily waiting for supper.

And Isaac, being silly and trying to make funny faces for the camera.

I'm sure I'll have more July photos to come as more friends come into town. Thanks for reading and browsing through my blog!! I always appreciate comments!