Monday, July 26, 2010

A Taste of Shakespeare

Two of our "festival city" wonders spread the city this past weekend, in celebration of the one week per year of deliciously hot weather. Free Will Shakespeare's production of Much Ado About Nothing was a hilarious rendition of the Shakespearean comedy. Beatrice and Benedict's banter about their individual inhibitions towards "love" fuel deceit, tragedy and mischief in a play about weddings,family, friendship and the limitless boundary of love. Messina, Italy, was brought to life in lively entertainment at the annual Shakespeare in the Park festival.

Benedict's (John Ullyatt) personal touch took the 1599 play and embellished it for an audience 500 years its senior. He sneaks around the set with creative hiding techniques as he strains to overhear Hero's assertion that Beatrice (Belinda Cornish), an independent woman, has fallen in love. Beatrice, too, is shocked to overhear the (sneakily planned) conversation between Hero and her gentlewomen, assuring them that Benedict, a ladies' man, has one true love.

*Facebook users scroll down to click View Original Post on the bottom right corner, to see a better view of the "Glog" collage I created below interactively. Facebook won't even let the pictures show up! C'mon, it's easy, just one small click away from your beloved facebook...or just click here:

For a glimpse at Shakespeare's first theatre, the Globe, in London UK, click here. Perhaps one day I'll move to rainy England and see performances where they were originally held.

A Taste of Edmonton was the perfect end to my weekend (of working, freelancing, and trying to catch a few stressful sleeps). Stephanie and Darrel met me downtown for a sampling of Padmanadi's veggie cuisine and That's Aroma's way too garlicy salad. The venues are there every year - but every year it's fun to check them out anyway! A Taste of Wines boasted a sampling of Sangria, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon for $2 to $6 a glass.

Leave Capital Ex for the kids - apparently they got rid of their best venue, Edfest Stage, this year anyway - and go on downtown for a Taste of Shakespeare and Wine!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Goin' to Winnipeg!

My first ever visit to the flatter prairie provinces, Winnipeg, Manitoba was a whirlwind trip to attend a couple of biz meetings and snap scenic photos with my SLR. With two hours from the time my plane landed to my first meeting, I jetted to Viscount Gort hotel, dropped off my bags and proceeded to walk into what I was told should be the way to the beautiful "Forks" area, where Red River and Saskatchewan River meet.

As I started to take what I thought was the right turn, I started noticing a little less artsy appearance and a little more roughed up looking patrons at local outlets. Right next to the cultural centre and a giant poster proclaiming Manitoba's cultural diversity, straggly wanderers stumbled past. Assuming the Forks must be further on, I kept walking, until a bus driver told me to get on his bus, to take me away from the "rif raff". Well, it wasn't THAT rough around there, but I guess even mini cities like e-town and the 'peg have their sketchy parts.

Given the time it took to wander down Main St. the wrong way, I had barely forty-five minutes in the Forks to check out my shutter speed and aperture settings, adjusting white balance and hoping a few turned out.

While the buildings are more historic, and the river more rocky, I think I prefer e-town's slightly bigger downtown to here, at least with the revitalization plans in place (what, another 10 years to the next development, City of Edmonton?) Next time I'll take the time to pursue the city's museums, learn more about Louis Riel and take more walks along the river. A night view would also have been picturesque, but the tight business schedule did not allow for night perusing!

One stop I would recommend would be Fude Cuisine, a great restaurant on Osbourne Street, which likens itself to the Whyte Ave, Kensington or Kitsilano areas of Edmonton, Calgary or Vancouver. Just a random find when the consultants and I were in a bit of a rush to attend a focus group, it turned out to be the perfect vegan restaurant for my diet!

Air Canada, taken ONLY because of the free points "bleh" turned out to be the tiniest Air Canada Jazz flight I have ever taken, with the worst service. They charge you for seat selections now! However, a generous gift from a colleague of Maple Leaf Lounge passes changed my perception of the quality they can provide. The free pass almost made up for the airline - Irish cream lattes, salad, soup, bread (which I couldn't eat), free alcohol, Baileys, tv, magazines, sofas, private rooms, and personalized service. Steph and I may have to look into this for Peru!
Look at the pics below to see what the "elite" pay for:

Back home with puppy - I am so happy to have time to work on my e-town projects, freelancing and tutoring again. Less than 4 more weeks till I get a real trip!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sabor Divino and Hotel Mac: A High Class Weekend

In the heart of Edmonton's tiny downtown district, Steph, Darrel, Sean and I found a high class dining experience. From the live piano players and vocals to the exquisite meal presentation to the smooth red wine with a hint of oak, Sabor Divino was both the Italian "savor", flavour of wine, and the Spanish, "divine taste". After this third, 6 week drought of alcohol, tiramisu, chocolate and pasta from my nutritional plan, my body welcomed the relief of a well-prepared, caloric ecstasy. While the toned, lighter body is worth every second I work on it, so is the monthly diet dupe, complete with heavenly food and philosophical conversation. I suppose this is where the rich people dine; a 21st birthday host announced to her guests that they were free to have a good time; she would cover their drinks, meals and cabs home! The evening concluded with plans to attend this week's Shakespeare in the Park festival.

Dad's 60th birthday

Dad's 60th birthday was another high class meal (much more calorie friendly) the next day. A portobello mushroom "burger" (made from solely portobello mushrooms, interestingly enough, not tofu), mixed salad with a touch of goat cheese, sans dressing or Kaiser bun, was my adaptable meal. The perfect skim latte was delectable and Dad enjoyed the day, I think. We found a local art gallery called CopyCat, that sell oil paintings on canvas, copies of famous works, for a gift. I may have to return there and brighten my own place soon, seeing as Kiara has either eaten and destroyed or shed all over the area rugs!

Happy 60th Dad!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Welcome to the Gaybourhood" House Party!

Ryan and James' event "Welcome to the Gaybourhood" was a fantastic part of my weekend. Having never been to St. Albert (other than last year's failed attempt to find the company golf tournament, I had never visited the town with perfectly trimmed trees and too many traffic lights. What a beautiful home - haha I suppose two realtors would find the perfect match. (Ok, that picture is just istock, but really, it's kinda close!

What a great night of meeting new people, drinking wine (only a glass or two on this diet!) and enjoying the brief summer e-town gets on a patio on a warm evening. The rooms in the house - including the kitchen - are amazing and they seem to have picked the perfect furniture. Thanks for the invite to your great home, James and Ryan!

From left: Josh, Kent, Leonard, George, Sean, Next pic: James, Bonnie, Darrett

It's a subtle (but prominent) reminder that summer houseparty season is halfway through its peak - and I'd better start planning if I want to use my house to its fullest potential this year. Haha, perhaps we should build a fence for puppy first!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Snap Happy with My Digital SLR!

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Finally - one of my two long term postponed purchases made me a happy gal and snap happy this weekend! The other, fabulous, $1300 Silviano Rancilio espresso machine, tamper and grinder package may wait until my European adventures begin. For now, the digital SLR is an incredible edition to my blogging mission. So, I promise you, readers, more snap happy, crystal clear, pics and videos on The Singapore Lizard! Once I learn to use it, of course...

Just six and a half weeks until we get a visitor from the best continent in the world! Biased statement, I know, seeing as I've yet to see three of the world's landmasses. Kristin G, who we met in Singapore arrives in Canada in August, giving me the chance to take an entire month off work, including Peru and California. The Lizard will document every day with my new Canon Rebel TS1i in Edmonton, Banff, Jasper, Canada. Not to mention every day pics of my beautiful black lab. (Haha, can you tell I may be trying some search engine optimization there, modeling after some freelance writing I've done? Go SEO!")

Take a look at my first amateur pics of my puppy on my new SLR (well the best of the first 150 clicks). Although she normally pounces on any toy, she has left my camera alone. I can't wait to take pics of her and the neighbour's puppy, 5 month old black lab Watson. She's my only subject so far - but can you get a more fascinating model? We took Kiara to Terwillegar dog park for the first time - and she LOVED hanging out off leash with the other pups, including a 140 lb Rottweiler. She even chases the older dogs who clearly tell her to bugger off and get her puppy excitement out elsewhere!

"Ahhh...I could LIVE outside"
Ahh, where's Watson? He's normally here for our dog park run by now!

"Hey...I wanna get some of that stick!"

"Play with with with me....c'mon!"

Janice, Sean, Kiara with some athletic Riverbend neighbours who are the active rugged hiker type.
"Oh wow..I LOVE this! How come my mom hasn't taken me here before??"

"What? I'm not lost! I'm right around the corner!

"I'll never get tired of this!" (10:00pm)

"Zzz....Zzzz...Zzzzzzz" (6:00 am)
There's nothing more peaceful than puppy cuddled up in a ball.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Canada Day Fireworks & My First White Wedding!

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Four days off for Canada long weekend was relaxing break to catch up errands, see friends and shop! Meghan, Tegan, Tess and I had a few cocktails and headed out to On the Rocks. We enjoyed a few drinks, a walk in treacherous heels to view the fireworks, and a few drinks at the bar. I have to admit I enjoyed the house party better than the bar. We hung out in summer dresses, enjoying the weather and the company of Tegan's little pug puppy, Vince.

I'll have to have a house party or two of my own this summer - can't believe October's housewarming party was the most recent one! It's so refreshing though, to see the mid-20's crowd I love - perhaps love, perhaps marriage - but leave that baby carriage for our mid 30's!

Ryan, Sapna, Declan, Tess Meghan & Vince Fireworks!

Dennis' Wedding!

My first all-white wedding! Skip the five hour brown religious ceremonies, numerous tardy events and screeching music. Don't get me wrong, a mixed wedding is beautiful - but it was a great cultural experience to see the original Western wedding. That's right, Dennis and Naomi's wedding was elegant and rustic, lighthearted yet religious, cozy but big - paradoxical statements but true nonetheless. The church was simply decorated, but the Pioneer cabin venue was cozy and lit up like Christmas. The speeches were short, but touching. Thanks, Dennis for throwing such a gorgeous wedding - and inviting your Singapore traveller friends!

As can be seen from the one black and white pic, my five year old point and shoot does not do the wedding justice. The ceremony itself was religious, with church hymns and and music. Interestingly enough, what looked like an African drum was in the mix at the church. That's actually the first time I've been in a church, other than to take the tourist photos in Europe! If I get married, it will be in a castle in the UK or France, with Kiara as a ringbearer or flower girl. That's right, I'll be saving up dough for awhile!

Seated at a traveler's table for the reception, we discussed Cambodia, parts of Laos, Europe, Australia and Montreal. I love how this entire weekend has confirmed my choice not to get involved in the baby-rearing circle I see all around me. It's inspiring, really, to look at them and think of the road ahead of me and the travels I have planned.

While Kiara's dog house and fence are no where close to completed (or started), and my tedious lawn mowing chore stopped by spurts of rain, the house is clean, the fridge is full and tutor plans will be organized soon. In fact, all this free time has made me realize how much I love to spend money, shop, and blog!