Saturday, 31 December 2011

Auld Lang Syne

Just a few hours of 2011 remaining for me, but somewhere in the world it's already 2012 and people are joining hands and singing Auld Lang Syne.

Another 12 months gone by and I'm still "above ground", that's good news isn't it? It's been a good year for me. I've lived a full year in my new home and I don't miss the old one at all. I've enjoyed good health (fingers crossed, knock on wood, it will continue). I've had a great trip to Disney with my family. My sons and daughters-in-law are happy and employed. My grandboys are thriving and just as cheeky as ever. And sweet twin babies joined the family safely in the summer.
But not everyone has had such a good year. My heart goes out to the people who lost homes and family in the terrible Japanese earthquake and tsunami  in March, the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the riots and demonstrations in the Middle East. And I feel for the families of Canadian and American servicemen and women who lost their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Tradition says it's time to make some New Year Resolutions. Resolutions are easy to make and just as easy to break, so I'm making New Year Possibilities instead.

  • I'll try to blog every couple of days through January. I don't think I'll manage every day. I may not even manage every couple of days. But I'll try.
  • Walk more. It's so easy to jump in the car and drive.
  • No more junk food (unless absolutely necessary).
  • Get out and meet more people.
  • More volunteering at the local theatre and possibly the local radio station.
  • Aquafit classes at the pool. I used to go then I stopped.... I need to start again. 
Meanwhile..... I'm wishing everyone a Happy Hogmanay and a Happy New Year. May good health, comfort and happiness, warmth and shelter be with you throughout 2012. See you next year!

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Friday, 23 December 2011

The Wizard of OZ

Growing up in England, the best Christmas treat was going with my mum and dad to the Christmas Pantomime. We went on Lovering's Coaches to the Theatre Royal in Exeter.... it was a 50 mile trip on narrow twisting roads each way so we had to get up very early and got home very late.... Oh it was marvellous! Every year a different children's story... I remember Mother Goose, Dick Whittington and his Cat, Babes in the Wood, Cinderella and Aladdin.

And the panto always followed the same traditional format. There was always a man in a dress and horribly ugly makeup playing the Dame. The Principal Girl was played by a girl, and the Principal Boy was also played by a girl. And of course there was an evil witch/giant/sherriff/megalomaniac bad guy, take your pick, who was constantly trying to trick the good guys and get away with murder/kidnapping/dognapping/taking over the world, again, take your pick. But he never succeeded. The good guys always won.

Lots of music, singing, dancing, outrageous costumes, slightly off colour jokes to keep the mums and dads happy, and loads of loud audience participation along the lines of "Behind you... behind you" when the bad guy creeps up behind the good guys, and lots of "Boo! Hiss" and "Oh no you won't" "Oh yes I will" ad infinitum.

And every show ended up with a fabulous wedding when the handsome Prince marries the beautiful Princess, and the bad guy often puts his evil ways behind him and marries the ugly Dame.

Good fun.

So we took Callum and Isaac to the Toronto version of the Pantomime. This year it was The Wizard of OZ. Ross Petty has been staging these seasonal shows for quite a while.... last year we took Callum to see Beauty and the Beast.
But this Wizard of OZ wasn't anything like the movie... and nobody sang "Over the Rainbow". And the Yellow Brick Road led to "Funky Town"!

The Wicked Witch of the West (Ross Petty) was plotting to steal Dorothy's magic ruby slippers. He got ear-splitting BOOs every time he appeared on stage. Isaac and Callum were really into the BOOing. My ears are still hurting.

 All pictures have been stolen borrowed from various internet reviews of the show.
 All the usual characters from the original story were there. The Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man (who mysteriously started out as a miner called Donny and ended up as Dorothy's love interest), Dorothy and her dog Toto, with the addition of Dorothy's lovely Auntie Plumbum von Botox (shown here wearing a delightful pink ensemble), the Wizard, and the Good Witch Splenda.
 I wish I had taken pictures of Callum and Isaac. They absolutely loved it. They clapped, sang along, danced in their seats and BOOed the bad guys with all their might. And ate their way through large amounts of Smarties, yogurt raisins, cookies and cheesey crackers.

A trip to the Pantomime is definitely becoming a family Christmas Tradition.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Chair Update

If you missed the start of this sad chair story, scroll down to the previous post.

Phone call from the UPS Store this morning: We have a package containing two chairs for you. It's been here a while. Sears wants us to ship it back, do you want to pick it up?

Me: Yes! Yes! Yes! I'll pick it up this afternoon. I didn't pick it up before as UPS didn't answer my phone messages and neither Sears nor UPS told me it had been delivered.

UPS Man: Sears is supposed to let you know that information, not UPS.

Me: But Sears said they didn't know where the chairs were!

So now I have a package containing two chairs that apparently I have not paid for as my Sears card has been credited with a refund, but now they have deactivated my account due to lack of information which I have not supplied as the local Sears outlet was closed when I went there!  And I was promised a $40.00 credit for my inconvenience..... so what's the next move, Sears?

I'll just sit tight on the chairs and see what happens.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

I Just Want to Sit Down...

Early last November, YoungerSon and The Bride acquired a large dining table and 6 chairs so they gave me their old Sears set. But I needed two more chairs.

So I went to Sears and Lo and Behold! the matching chairs were on sale. Yippee! So I ordered two, and put the cost on my Sears card. Delivery was free to my local UPS Store for me to pick up there.

2 weeks later.... no chairs had appeared.

I called Sears (3 times over the next ten days).... where are my chairs?

Sears: they were shipped but we don't know where they are. We will cancel your first order, credit your Sears card, and reorder, and deliver to the UPS Store.

Me: I've waited nearly a month, can't you deliver to my home, free?

Sears: I have to ask my supervisor about free home delivery, but we could deliver to the UPS Store and give you $30.00 discount.

Me: But I'd rather have home delivery now.

Sears: How about $40.00 discount?

Me: Thanks but I prefer home delivery.

Sears (later, after talking to the supervisor): OK, we can deliver to your home free, we can only deliver on Friday between 7am and 5pm.

They expect me to be waiting for them at home for TEN hours a couple of days before Christmas???? Am I being unreasonable here?

Me: But I have to be away from home most of the day Friday. How about Saturday?

Sears: No deliveries on Saturday.

Me: OK, we'll go back to delivery to the UPS Store with $40.00 discount.

Sears: I will let you know when the chairs can be picked up.

Sears (later): I have cancelled your first order, and credited your Sears card but I can't reorder as your Sears card has been deactivated.

Me: WHAT???? WHY?

Sears: We need more information.

Me: But you had enough information when I bought the first two chairs.

Sears: Not my problem, talk to the Chase Credit Card Company.

So I called Chase and told them the story, but the answer (from a lovely polite girl who plays the guitar and sings, so she told me) was still they need more information.

Me: I can provide that information over the phone.

Very polite Chase rep: I'm sorry, you have to go to a Sears store and provide the information in person.

GRRRR...... can you believe this? Do you think I'll ever get to sit on those chairs? I'll keep you posted.

UPDATE Monday 19 December: I went to our local Sears Catalogue Store today to update this infernal information that they need.... and it's CLOSED on Mondays!!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Break a Leg!

Has it really been almost two weeks since I posted? Bad me. But I have a legit excuse.... been busy. Up to my eyeballs busy.
Our third annual Christmas Variety Show is history.
We had a Dress Rehearsal last Monday. Let's just say that it didn't bode well for the show. It ran far too long, too many people didn't know what they were doing, we all looked stiff and nervous, it just didn't go so well.

The Director looked worried.

On Tuesday there were two shows for the public, one at 7:00pm and one at 8:45pm.

Will the chorus relax and look like they are having a good time?
Will the skit people remember their lines?
Will anyone turn up to watch us?

We needn't have worried. The first show was sold out... we even had to find more chairs. And what the second audience lacked in numbers, they made up for in enthusiasm.

The Blacklite crew staged a mini version of the "Nutcracker Sweet". I'm in front of the ladder with the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Mouse King.

The Blacklite Crew 2011
Two sets of eyes blinked and went to sleep, and dreamed about the Christmas tree growing up to the ceiling and "visions of sugar plums" while the army of mice and the soldiers engaged in a raging battle. Signs saying BOO! and HISS! accompanied the appearance of the evil Mouse King, who was eventually vanquished by the handsome Nutcracker Prince... HOORAY!
And all this had to be accomplished in total darkness (other than the actual blacklites) while wearing black clothing, black gloves and black net hoods over our heads. It was a challenge, but we did it!

Will there be a fourth annual Christmas Show next year? Wait and see.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Shameless Promo

We've been madly preparing for our annual Christmas show since October.... only another couple of weeks of crazy rehearsal schedules and it will be history and I can get back to planning for my own Christmas.
Meanwhile, we have to sell tickets.
And what better way to get the word out to the community than to participate in the town Santa Claus Parade?

The Intrepid Parade Walkers
So we hitched up the big sign, decorated it with some garlands, put on our festive promotional  teeshirts and Santa hats and marched along Main Street handing out 1000 flyers promoting the show.

Each flyer included a $5 off coupon.

Hmmmm... let's do the math....... If everyone who got a flyer decides to buy a ticket, I think we'll have to put on a whole week of shows instead of the two shows that are planned.