Tag Archives: Edmonton

The DapperDame gets a little Folky (2013)

I haven’t been blogging. The end. There is little explanation other than laziness and the fact that I have been so busy I haven’t really owned groceries in weeks. Thanks, Tim Hortons, for your hearty vegetable soup. What kept me so busy from Thurs-Sunday of last week was a very special event indeed: Edmonton Folk Festival 2013. 4 days of music that was (mostly) new to me. Plus it was Edmonton’s only second real scorcher all summer.  That is until the haunting Loreena McKennitt summoned the thunder and the rain in the last half hour. Thousands of people huddled on the hill with lightning flashes in the orange sky behind us with her playing the storm in like the band on the deck of the Titanic. The whole event ended rather abruptly with an announcement to “get thee off the hill!” as, within minutes, we were all drenched and running through a lightning storm across a bridge to the car. A glorious evening, even for someone who gets a little jittery around electricity stabbing down from the sky.

Here are a few of musical highlights from the festival. I’m sorry you couldn’t all be there to watch some of the mash-up sessions but I’ll link to some of my new favourite songs and artists.

LP – the big star of the main stage that was one of the most anticipated and easily delivered. Her hair didn’t disappoint, either.

John Smith – a deep-voiced ginger crooner from the UK (Edited to add: this song feels like the perfect soundtrack to the novel Away by Jane Urquhart)

Lisa Hannigan – best line of the day: Irish people spontaneously combust at 29 degrees. Thankfully she didn’t catch on fire.

David Francey – I was missing out on this folky-goodness – he wrote this diddy for his new step-daughter who was entering high school

Carolina Chocolate Drops – insane bluegrass and the first black band to play at the Grand Ole Opry (in 2010…great and sad). Plus one of the members plays these awesome sticks.  Also recommended: Your Baby Ain’t Sweet Like Mine

Cold Specks – this is an artist I had already listened to and was very much looking forward to her concert. She has an incredibly powerful voice and is a bit of a quirky person/performer.

Bonus: I now see what all the fuss surrounding the Avett Brothers is about.

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Cheese and a Cheat

I cheated.  A small stain on my month of veganhood.  But you know what?  Who cares.  Besides, it wasn’t out of inability to resist cheese or bacon – formidable tempters though they are – but in celebration.  Last night we stayed out until 530am celebrating the dietish’s 30th birthday.  The dietish is one of two other people I share a small broom closet with at work and it has been great to have her to commiserate and collaborate with, to do some gossiping with and to occasionally drink good coffee with.  A big group hit up The Common (the local hipster dance bar) for some drinks and tunes after an uproarious dinner at MRKT.  The time called for shots and, not knowing any good ones I asked the bartender to recommend something good but forgetting to specify “no creamy/dairy booze”.  The result was jagermeister with Bailey’s.  And it took me about 2.5 seconds to decide that living a little is more important than meeting a goal to the exact letter.  It hasn’t changed anything, today I continued with my plant-based diet.

Meals for the week:

Breakfast:  oatmeal (unless I sleep in this will pretty much always be the plan)

Lunch:  the yam and peanut stew is cooling on the stove now.

Supper: salad fixings (including baby kale!), pita, hummus

Treats:  a new dark roast decaf coffee from Ethical Bean.  It is YUMMY!  I always avoided dark roasts assuming it would create a bitter brew however it isn’t.  It is smooth and nutty and rich.  Plus a chocolatey treat that I’ll post about later.

NEW FIND OF THE WEEK:  Fake cheese.  Daiya mozarella to be more precise.  This is one substitute I had been avoiding because it is a bit pricey and my expectations were low.  It turns out that I shouldn’t have waited so long!  Or that I waited precisely the right amount of time to allow my taste buds to forget what real cheese is like.  This is perhaps more realistic.  Regardless of the reason it passes.  Maybe not as a cheese but as a suitable alternative.  I think a pizza is in order!

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The DapperDame does a winter carnival

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Father and daughter

In an effort to challenge ourselves to take more photos S-Club and I moseyed down to the Silver Skate Festival in Hawreluk Park yesterday.  Not really sure what to expect we weren’t prepared for offerings of free cross country ski rentals, snowshoes and speed skates.  Free was apparently the theme of the day and we stood in line to cook up some bannock and roll some maple syrup on snow.  That’s right, two essential Canadian food ‘speriences in one shot – too bad I wasn’t hosting any surfers at the time.  The festival ended with a magical winter fairy land.

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Preparing for the jingle dress dance

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Plus there were some old school metal workers.  The festival was a bit of a mishmash but an entertaining and interesting one.

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Plus some secret little hanging eggs.  Fun lights to light the path at night?  Perhaps…

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Or surprise little fantasy worlds

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The DapperDame Hosts (Again)

Since I started with couchsurfing I have been off-and-on active.  Now that I have my own place I’ve been able to participate more (although I get much fewer requests in Edmonton than in Toronto).  So far I have hosted people from:

Belgium
Canada
Germany
Japan
South Africa
Taiwan
United States

Using 196 as the number of countries in the world then I have hosted people from 3.6% of the world’s countries.  I love collecting!

This weekend I had the good fortune of hosting “N” from Japan.  She accompanied me to the Human Library, we went climbing (twice!), to the Duchess (d’uh), to China town for some bubble tea and general perusing and a quick trip to the West Edmonton Mall**.  She cooked me a lovely meal of noodles and dumplings, left me the cutest card and introduced me to a new band that I’m totally digging right now.  Watch Shugo Tokumaru’s fun video:

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Pay close attention to the first ingredient.

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*A debated figure – there are 193 countries in the UN, plus Vatican City, Kosovo (not yet members) and Taiwan

**I have been instructed multiple times by ShanWow that I am not to refer to the West Edmonton Mall by its full name in the company of Edmontonians.  It is to be “the mall” or “west ed”.

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Human Library

On a whim while browsing the internets Thursday night I signed reserved a human at the library.  It was an event put on by CBC (we all know how much I love CBC) and the Edmonton Public Library – they found a variety of people with interesting life experiences and allowed people to reserve a 45 minute time slot with a “book”.  By the time I discovered this event there was only one space available so that left no time to ponder the potential for awkwardness and I decided to just go for it.  Besides, last week Mr. E at work commented on my bravery for usually being pretty willing to put myself into awkward situations.  What can I say, it’s a gift.

So, Saturday afternoon Nastuki (a couchsurfer staying with me with weekend) and I spent 3/4 of a hour chatting with Mark Connolly, news anchor for CBC Edmonton news and frequent correspondent for cycling and bobsleigh at the Olympics.  (Check out the other participants here).  We opted out of having it filmed.  He was a nice and engaging guy and we chatted about travel – the time he reserved equipment while covering the Olympics in Nagano only to return to find some confused girls who had just given it to another white guy who they thought was him.  We talked about heroes – I took Gretzky off the table but he was going to choose Clara Hughes anyway.  It was great to have someone, especially a man, single out a female athlete as a hero before any others.  We discussed switching jobs with anyone at the CBC for a day – he decided he would be take Peter Mansbridge’s place and host the National for the evening; I opted for Sook-Yin Lee’s job on Definitely Not the Opera.

He also graciously allowed a photo-op (blog time!) and introduced us to the producers from CBC that were milling about.  It was a great event with a great atmosphere.  I just wish they would offer it every week!

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The DapperDame finds a a treasure

My day started with checking on Ida-the-cat.  The next stop was the ever-changing Strathcona Antiques Mall.  While browsing through antique bed pans, 60s retro lamps and Depression-era glass I received a text from the lovely ShanWoww to invite me to…the Strathcona Antiques Mall!  What are the odds?  After waxing nostalgic for a while we headed to Block 1912, a new-to-me cafe on trendy Whyte Ave.  Go for the atmosphere, not so much for the prices.  Expect to pay high prices for mediocre offerings but a lovely place to sit and enjoy it.

Trying this new place I was rewarded with a surprise.  Reading on a comfy couch I noticed that the coffee table holding my latte was actually a chest with a drawer.  Being the nosy person that I am I opened the drawer.  Apparently that is a natural reaction because this is what I found:

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For at least the last 5 years people have been creating this little time capsule of poems, jokes, memories, messages and sketches.  I could have spent the whole afternoon in there but I’ll save something for my next visit.  It felt like I had found something sacred and secret.  Every few minutes I would glance around the room – “Had anyone noticed what I was doing?” – the napkins are in a public space but felt private somehow, like I was snooping.

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Someone didn’t appreciate Bryce’s contribution.

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I don’t have a dog. Whew.

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I’m glad Jen Sipi found what she was looking for.

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Maybe this person should grow some balls him/herself and do the asking. I wonder if they ever got their date…

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Forest girl – so many possible connotations. A fairy? Survivorwoman? Someone who graduated from forestry studies? A mystery.

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People, zombies are over. In fact, it doesn’t matter when you wrote this – they were so over then, too.

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Not exactly how I would want to be remembered in a time capsule.

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Some advice. Advice I can attest to being all too true.

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A love story. Sometimes it does work out.

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“I want to see more French (or less)” – am I an expert translator? English definitely dominated the drawer.

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A napkin update from a Trekkie.

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The end. But they’ll be there waiting for you.

What would you write?

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The DapperDame Hosts

As I have mentioned previously, I’m a member of the couchsurfing site.  You welcome strangers into your home and let them sleep on your couch.  This weekend a Taiwanese gal living in Calgary came to Edmonton for the first time and we went exploring.

First stop:  Whyte Ave to check out the young and funky part of the city.  Actually, first stop was supposed to be the Strathcona Farmer’s Market which was quietly closed today.  I don’t have anything wrong with ya’ll taking a holiday but there were plenty of surprised people outside the market so it wasn’t that well publicized.  We rallied and did some exploring in the cute shops.  Since TaiChar (not her real name) had never tried Cajun food we grabbed the last two seats at the bar and settled down for a hearty meal of po’boys and sweet-tater fries at Da-De-Os.  One of the regular servers was waiting on us; the laid back, rock type guy who opens his mouth and this intense bass comes out.  TaiChar tried the shrimp and I had the blackened tuna steak on a po’boy and I never looked back.

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A little history with the menu

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You must try the jalapeno pepper jelly

Yes, the fries are breaded and you know you want them

Yes, the fries are breaded and you know you want them

Did I mention it was a lovely 50s diner?

Did I mention it was a lovely 50s diner?

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The Alberta Legislature grounds turns in to wonderfully gawdy Christmas display with every colour of lights.  It is a truly magical place – the cold air, twinkly lights, carols playing over the loudspeaker.  I love that crooked Tim-Burtonesque Christmas tree.

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And TaiChar gets extra points for actually taking me up on the offer to go climbing.  She had never tried it before and was a trooper.  She even took a few photos and, against my better judgment, I will share some of them with you.  We primarily bouldered (climbing low, without a rope).

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The I-hope-no-one-walks-out-that-door-into-my-crotch move

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The cave

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Lastly, I take everyone I ever meet to eat at The Duchess.  My very favourite cafe/place in Edmonton where one can sip on some latte art while eating tiny, perfect macarons in flavours such as gingerbread and eggnog.  The Duchess even supplied me with a mini-revelation today:  I might *like* fancy mustard.  GASP.  This is a major deal for me.  None of that nasty yellow junk but the fancy kind might have opened a whole new world to me.  Thank you, croque monsieur.

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Those macarons I was telling you about

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You don’t choose a dessert, it chooses you. If they had a dessert sorting-hat I would be in the macarons house.

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I call it: Croque Monsieur and a hipster.

The cafe owner took 300 hours of his own time to build this entirely edible 1:100 scale model of Chartres Cathedral from gingerbread.  Remarkable.

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My blogging fingers have been rejuvenated by an infusion of technology including iPhoto and my new Nikon V1.

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An Edmonton Christmas

Last year I had 4 days off in a row for Christmas but couldn’t really swing the $1700 to fly home for the holidays.  Not wanting to chill in Red Deer alone, I bussed it to Regina to hang out with aunt/uncle/cousins there.  This year will be the second Christmas in a row I won’t spend with my immediate fam or any family and the first without any family at all.  While the price tag was still steep it is the lack of vacation time keeping me Alberta bound.  Now I am trying to plan the ultimate Christmas day all to myself.  Well, mostly to myself.  I have received some very kind offers of yummy dinners on xmas eve and xmas day with other families.  In all likelihood I will accept one or more but it just feels awkward being the odd one out for Christmas.  As for my apartment, I’ll keep it nice and cozy but I am way too cheap to be spending money on holiday decorations.  Maybe I’ll spring for a christmas cactus.

1.  Open presents over skype with the family.  This one may be trickier than I first thought:  the sister works evenings all through the holidays and the mother works Christmas and boxing day – the only two days I’ll have off since I”ll be working xmas eve.

2.  A walk in the snow.  Or perhaps a cross country ski through Hawreluk park but I’ll have to find some skis.

3.  Christmas carols.  Preferably on the record player. Perhaps I should get my record player fixed.  Instead of decorations maybe that will be my gift to myself.

4.  A yummy breakfast with French toast and hot chocolate.  With CREAM in it.

5.  A new book to read and curl up on the couch with.

6.  The thought has also crossed my mind to seek out a way to volunteer or be of use on that day instead of focusing on myself.  Perhaps I’ll look into it.

Have you ever spent the holidays far from home?
Any suggestions?

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November: In Like a Lion

Unfortunately the second half of that saying is unlikely to apply to Nov’12.  It will be big, ferocious cats all month.  At least is has been lovely, even if the roads have been so bad I haven’t been climbing since Monday.  Did I mention that today was the 4th day of snow in a row?

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My First CFL Game

My plan last night was to hit the climbing gym right after work because it was closing at 1830 for a competition.  I had waited all week for this.  And then I got a surprise invite to an Edmonton Eskimos game because someone at work had an extra ticket.  I gave up climbing to watch a testosterone-laced sporting event and….I…don’t regret it.  Generally, sporting events have been like the opera for me:  glad to have tried it once, made it through (barely) with no real desire to do it again.  That said, if someone offers this gal a free ticket to something this gal will probably go.  Although nothing is truly free and I am paying for it in jean sizes after a bag of tiny timmy little donuts*.It was quickly clear why he was having such a difficult time giving this ticket away.  When the Commonwealth stadium was built in the 1970s Edmonton had the option to spring for a roof and they decided to tough it out instead.  It may only be the very beginning of November but the whole game was a consistent -5 Celsius.  Only about 1/3 of the seats were taken but the people who came were hardcore fans.  Just look at this hat:

People cheered, people booed, people commiserated with the strangers next to them about terrible plays and bad ref calls.  A community existed.  The basic rules weren’t too hard to follow and I soon found myself angered by an “incomplete pass” call that was clearly complete from the replay.  True to form whenever I attend a professional sports game the team I was rooting for managed to lose the game.  But it came down to a field goal by Calgary as the clock ran out.

The verdict:  Let’s go again!  Except that now won’t be until next season and I’ll have forgotten how much I actually enjoyed watching the game.

*What the heck are those called?

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