Sunday, March 31, 2013

The End of the Sabbatical Year

Spring time blossoms in Victoria
Here it is, the Easter long weekend, and I am only now starting to feel that the sabbatical year is well and truly over, and that we are settled back into life on the island.  Thus, time for a new year of blogging.  If you feel like following the adventures of the Carter-Johnsons (including Kiwi the wonderdog) back on Vancouver Island, you can find us here!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wandering further down the beach at Noosa

I don't know that I have much more to add to the post above, other than to say Noosa is hard on someone with a camera... you just keep wanting to take pictures!   (or at least I kept snapping away... i think i have 50 pictures of waves, and i can't pick a favourite)

kite surfers riding the waves
I just wasn't sure where to be pointing, or when: it was all quite beautiful.

At one point, i thought I was looking at birds in the sky, til the penny dropped and i realized i was looking at a bunch of kite-surfers out in the water.  I coudn't figure out how they managed to ride the waves in a big clump without having their kite strings tangle with eachother.

path along the cliff edge
I wandered the other direction too... and headed into the Noosa park, where a boardwalk led you through the trees, and around the point to a series of beaches and bays the kept drawing your eyes forward to the distance.

On the Noosa beach (in Australia)

waves on the beach at Noosa
Never thought I would get to Australia.  

I was tempted there by the prospect of a most fabulous workshop/symposium on "Representational Legality" (aka cultural legal studies). 

a gentle breeze in the palm trees
The workshoop was held on the Sunshine Coast at Noosa.  That is to say, a double-whammy of sorts: a feast for the brain, and a feast for the eyes. 

While i am not known to be a morning girl, it was worth getting up early to take a walk down by the beach before the intellectual work of the day started.

Some sea-foam for the feet
There was a boardwalk you could stick to if you wanted a 'sand-free walking experience', or you could kick off the sandals and plunge your toes into the warm white sand. 


shadows from behind
Even though it was 'winter' there, temperatures in the 25degree range left me appreciative of the gentle breeze blowing off the water.

The only way you could 'really' tell it was winter was by watching the light:  the days were short, and by 6pm, it was dark out. 

There was a moment there, before the sun plunged into the water, that it cast long shadows down the beach.

Catching the sun in the waves...
Since it is usually too hard to take a picture of ones own self, i was pleased to catch my shadow (proving to myself that I was actually there!)

Those short days did feel a bit wierd. 

The Canadian in me had a hard time coming to terms with the notion that a day could be both short and warm (rather than my own assumption that a winter day must be short and cold).

trying to take my own picture?!  :-)
I could get used to this! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Duncan's "Top 5" from a year of theatre

Duncan's grandmother asked him to say what his favourite 5 theatre experiences were this year.

After some reflection, he said that for 'musicals, it was Rock of Ages (followed by Wicked and Legally Blonde). For 'plays', his favourite wewas One  Man Two Guvnors (followed by Noises Off)

It was a bit tricky coming up with a top 5 list.

 First, we needed to figure out how many things he has seen altogether. The list was large, not only because him mother dragged him to so many things, but also because his grandmother and aunt wyona came to visit so frequently during the year, and the two of them are west end junkies. They, determined to expand his horizons, and expose him to the best that live theatre has to offer, took him along with them on their excursions.

Thus, in addition to his top 5, this year duncan saw the following:

Matilda, Billy Elliot, Wizard of Oz, Singing in the Rain, Sunshine Boys, Betty Blue Eyes, The Railway Children, Britain's Got Bhangra, Cool Hand Luke - The Musical, Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka (in Russian with surtitles!?), Slave - A Question of Freedom, Comedy of Errors, Shrek, The Lion King, Chicago, Crazy for You, Masterclass, Soul Sister....

 Hmmm..... when i type it out, even i have to admit that the list is long... hahaha

Family Cruise

June was a month of travel for our family.   Along with Arta, we headed off to Southhampton to board the Independence of the Seas for a 14 day cruise through the mediterranean. If there were only time, each of us would be doing 14 different posts, capturing 5 different experiences of each day.  The days were full, full, full!  Hard to even know WHERE to start with the reports, since there was so much to see.

Botticelli's Birth of Venus
For one thing,the ship had an $8.5 million budget for art, and so arta and i spent tons of time wandering the stairwells exploring the (exceptionally well curated) collection. 

Robert Silvers' Birth of Venus

On the landing of the stairwell between each floor, you would find a smallish photo of a piece of 'classic' art.  

Occupying the rest of the space was a much larger piece of modern art 'in dialogue' with that classic.

For example, Botticelli's famous Birth of Venus was set along side a work of the same name by Robert Silvers

Silvers - close up detail
From a distance, it looks like it is just a close up of the botticelli original.
But when you look a closer look at Silvers' version, you could see that the piece was completely made up of smaller famous images of art...almost like 'pointilism', but with small computer generated images. (he is the inventor of photomosaic process).  Stunning. Anyways, there was something interesting to look at on each of the 12 levels in all 4 of the main staircases... like hanging out in an edgy art gallery with a good tour guide.

Duncan on the Flowrider
Duncan, meanwhile, was off learning how to master the flowrider.  Here is a photo, but it is tricky to describe.  Basically, water is rushing back UP hill at you, making a kind of thin layer of artificial wave you can surf on top of.
Steve signed Duncan up for lessons twice. It is WAY harder than it looks (and if you head out to youtube, you will see a ton of homevideos of people wiping out on it.Duncan reports that, while fun, you feel pretty much like you have been beat up after it is all over!  :-)

towel bunny lying in wait...
Steve and Alex spent lots of time in the Fitness Club on the top deck, with its astonishing views of the ocean.  They also spent time wondering how the cleaning staff could manage to turn seemingly innocuous towels into the most bizarre forms of animal art (ie., as the Wizard named Tim says in Monty Python's "Holy Grail", a creature "with sharp pointy teeth")

More posts on the cruise to follow.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Jungle in Gibralter (Duncan Reports on the Cruise)

up close and personal

Sorry for the delay. 

We went on a cruise for 2 weeks, but there was no time to report. 

so, here are some reports from the cruise.

For the first few days of the cruise, we were at sea.  The first stop was Gibralter. 

We took a cable car to the top of the rock to see the monkeys that live up there.
They warned us not to bring plastic bags, because monkeys think there is food in plastic bags, and will try to steal them from you. 

Someone wasn't listening to the guide very well.  They went into the cafeteria on top, but tried to bring a bag of chips out with them. 

who doesn't love chips?!

A monkey who had been sitting quietly watching everyone suddenly took off after the person and ripped the bag of chips out of their hand.  The monkey screamed at the woman and the woman screamed back.  it was hard not to laugh (but i don't think the woman was laughing too hard)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yellowknife: walking around Frame Lake

Frame Lake

My colleague Marie-Claire and I spent a week in Yellowknife for an amazing workshop called "Activating the Heart: Storytelling, Knowledge Sharing and Relationship"). 

(More later on the workshop, which was held at Detta in Chief Drygeese Territory). 

I got to town a day before the workshop started, and so took some time to explore Frame Lake, which is just a couple of minutes from the Explorer Hotel where we were staying.
There is a great path around the edge of the lake...perfect for strolling or biking. 

It is perhaps 9 kilometers around the perimetre, and gives you a whole variety of views.

Conversations for the birds...

bird on the rocks...
There were also a plethora of birds around. You could see them sitting in the trees, having conversations with eachother, splashing in the water (one bird seemingly 'on guard' out on a little rock).


Unfortunately, there was plenty of bird food around too (by bird food i mean 'mosquitos'). 

Everytime I stopped to take a photo, (particularly in shady areas) the little bloodsuckers caught up and tried to hitch a ride on a piece of exposed skin, so i took fewer photos than i otherwise might have!  :-)

Still, it was fun following the path around, and exploring the view from the different angles. 

Add caption
The water was wonderfully reflective, suggesting a landscape below the surface.