My Town

My Town
My Town ~ Edmonton, AB

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Young Love

My great niece ... wow it just hit me, my great niece is now engaged to be married.  I'm so happy for her and this young love, well there's nothing like it.  Remember your first love?  I remember mine, it was my dog! lol 

Anyways, my how I digress... My great niece asked me to do a photo shoot for her and her fiancee for their Set The Date announcements, naturally I said yes and felt honored she would want me to do their photos.  

We did the photo shoot two days ago (more of my fun, re last post!), and although it had been raining all day, it came time to leave and by the time I got to the park the sun was shining.  I love when life happens this way, mind you I would have shot in the rain as well, there's nothing like dancing in the rain! 

Here's a couple of the shots, a few of my favs, and yes it's extremely difficult to pick just a few shots as there's so many fantastic photos! 


I personally don't think that a person can take a 'bad' shot of young love.  


The following photo is definitely one of my top ones, my great niece is into swing dancing and this, well it just suits her personality and doesn't this just scream young love? :-)


Now down to my top choice, this is the one I'm going to suggest they use for their announcements, mind you who knows which one they might use, they're going to have a tough time choosing... there's at least 50 to pick from! 


Three little words can change lives; these three words make this Great Auntie's heart extremely happy for the young couple.  How cool is that, I'm a Great Auntie, and I come by this title honestly! lol 


Congratulations David and Ashley! Wishing you both a life filled with joy, love, peace, prosperity and always remember why you fell in love, no matter what transpires in life, always keep your love young!  Love and hugs from the Greatest Auntie ever (pushing it a wee bit here...'cause I can!) 

Fun

We all have our own ideas of fun, I've been busy doing nothing more than,
but nothing less than,  plain out having fun.  

We had our family picnic last week, now this was fun!

 Two of my gorgeous nieces, Cheryl who is on the left, lived with me for quite some time and it was awesome to reconnect. Her sister Amy, well I don't see nearly often enough. 


More of my fun is definitely spending time with my family.  This is my favorite daughter and my favorite oldest son!  They were teasing me about my middle son being my favorite, they all know they're all my favorites... or at least I hope they do! :-)


And this is my larger family unit, those who could make it to our annual picnic in the park.  This year our park was my nephews back yard and a short jaunt away there are these HUGE pumpkins.  It was so funny, my remote for my camera wasn't working so I 'photo-shopped' myself into this photo right on top of the pumpkin where my two nieces sat. Now how they got up there, guess I'll have to pay more attention next time! 


Right after the picnic, which was two hours away, I drove back into the city and went the other direction, this time 3/4 hour from my home, to listen to one of my all time favorite entertainers.... Sarah Smith and her band were in the city! 
                             

A few days later I was off again, this time to a neighboring town about two hours away, opposite from the previous trip out of the city.  I was going to visit with Sarah and spend some time at the beach.  I ended up going to the show, spending the night with a very welcoming friend of Sarah's and traveled home the following day. 

Sarah is not only an amazing, talented singer/song-writer, she has become a near and dear friend whom I enjoy spending time with! I love her to bits!


And one last photo for now, this is the band once again.  I shot this photo in Olds, Alberta on Tuesday evening, about 3/4 hour drive from where we were staying.  The weather was insane and it looked like tornado weather.  The town we stayed in got pelted with hail the size of golf balls five minutes after we left for Olds.  Thankfully the only tornado was Sarah and her dynamic voice!


So as you can see some of my fun is taking photos, listening to music and spending time with amazing people, family and friends.  How do you have fun in your world? 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

My Story

I know it's been a while since I've shared anything here, I'll update real soon
but in the interim I'll share with you my story which I sat and wrote in one night
and submitted it to an online site called The Real Edition. 

Those of you who have been following my blog for some time now 
have had glimpses into my life, some of you know my story, while others
don't and it's with no shame I'm sharing my story, it's made me who I am today. 

This link will take you to my story, 

Please feel free to share this story if you know anyone it may 
benefit reading, I wrote this from my heart and hope that it reaches
whomever needs an ounce of hope in their life, change is possible,
we just have to believe in it. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Powwows

Here I sit looking at my blog and realize yet another week has slipped on by since I've posted anything, how does this happen?  I keep myself busy, it's the season of festivals in my city and I'm taking in as much as I can this year before I take the plunge and enter the workforce.  I feel I deserve this summer off, after all of the studies, 7 years of them, I've worked hard to earn this down time.

Not only is it festival season in Edmonton, it's also Powwow time in Alberta.  I love going to the powwows, listening to the drum beat, watching the dancers, seeing folks I haven't seen in ages and meeting new people... I also take way too many photos and was going to contain myself this time but from the first click I knew I was on a run away once again.  

I'm going to share only a few photos with you, all 800 would take far too long to load! :-)

The regalia is absolutely amazing, the endless hours put into one outfit in the beading alone is extremely admirable.  


The next few photos are of what is known as the Chicken Dance.  There's a story behind the chicken dance which you can read by clicking on this link... Prairie Chicken Dancer



Another young man doing the Chicken Dance. 


The children are also included in the powwow, those who take an interest are taught from a young age and to watch the young ones dance, well it makes my heart dance as I know tradition will carry forward.   


One final photo, this one talks to me...


I absolutely love going to the powwows, not only does my heart dance, my blood comes alive and I feel right in my element. I just realized I haven't shared much on the female dancers, I've just edited the photos I'd taken of the Chicken Dancers and next powwow I'll share more on the female dancers. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Dance Like Nobody is Watching

My month has started off with music, music, and more music
 and I'm loving this!  

July 1st, Canada Day, a park not too far from my home 
puts on an amazing display of fireworks and there's entertainment 
all day long. I went later in the day and the band 
I listened to was Souljah Fyah and what a band they are!  
 The lead singers daughter, as you can see in the top left 
 photo, knows all of their songs and sings right along... 
 soooo precious and adorable! 


Saturday night it was the Dirt Road Angels, I didn't bring
 my camera, just my cell phone, hence the blurry shot.  
These ladies are amazing, I've blogged about them 
before and it was fantastic reuniting with these ladies 
and the friends I've made who also appreciate these talented 
 musicians. 


And the next band I've been looking forward to listening to again since
 I went with my children to Canmore for my pre-grad celebration.  I enjoy 
 this band so much I went both nights I was in Canmore and when I found  
out they were going to be playing at the Takin' it to the Streets Festival  
yesterday,you bet I grabbed my camera, invited two of my nephews  
 and away we went. 

The Johnny McCuaig Band


This band is in our city for a full week, you bet I'll be going 
 back to Whyte ave., and this time I'm going to dance like 
 nobody is watching!  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sleeping Beauty

I had the pleasure of doing a young ladies grad photo shoot and
 we spent about 2 1/2 hours in sweltering heat doing this shoot. 
 Thankfully the first few hours weren't done in her gown, she would
 have melted!  I'll share a few of my favorite shots...


As I mentioned to this young lady,
 she made my photos look good! She's 
 so photogenic and was a blast to work with! 


I've discovered this amazing park to shoot 
 photos at, it's not only free to park there, the
 scenery is stunning! 


Not the 'typical' grad photos, but then again I'm not the 
 'typical' photographer! ;-)


Time for a break! 


And this photo I call Sleeping Beauty. 


We never actually melted but talk about hot, the  
 temperatures I later learned hit 33c, way too hot to 
 be dressed in a formal gown... thankfully I'm the  
 photographer and she is young enough to tolerate the heat! 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Day with Grammy

A had my precious wee girl for the evening on Saturday night
  so it was time to get out and have us some fun!  We went to the
 local splash park and fun we had... less the skinned knees this is. 


Ideal photo opportunity! 


An afternoon with my girl would not be complete
 without a few selfies! 

Hmmm, should we go home or back through the 
 water one more time?  Water won! 

(I think it's so adorable she wants to wear my sunglasses, I had to 
 buy another pair but it's totally worth it!) 

Whenever we have a sleepover I know  
 it's blueberry pancakes not only for breakfast,  
 but for lunch as well.  Lunch we jazzed it up a bit  
 and had not only blueberry pancakes, we added 
 blueberry cheesecake ice cream... cause that's how 
 we roll at Grammy's house!  :-)


You just never know when you're creating a memory,  
 thank you my precious girl for the amazing memories! 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Another Grad in the Family

Today was a very special day, I attended another grad ceremony and
it was an amazing event.  I helped the grad get into her dress, and I was 
able to take a few pre-grad photos...


This ceremony today has touched my heart, in what seems to be the blink
of an eye my granddaughter is growing up, she graduated from daycare and
will start kindergarten in the fall.  


Congratulations Elyssa, 
Grammy is so proud of you
and all you do! 


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Life is Good

Let me think here, what have I all been up to? 

Ah right, I was at my final volunteer commitment last week. 
The entertainment was phenomenal, they are a family of 3 who
are known as Young Medicine and their music and dance... 
phenomenal! 


They've won awards, traveled extensively and are amazing! 


After this event I wondered around the park, happy
to have my camera in my hands once again and just
shooting whatever my heart desired. I took a lot of
amazing shots, this one is one of my favs. 


Saturday was National Aboriginal Day, I spent the 
afternoon with friends in one of our city parks where 
there was a celebration going on and was having a fantastic
afternoon... til we got poured on. 


After I left this park I took a drive with another friend
out to a place called Elk Island National Park, I'm not too 
sure why they don't call it Buffalo Island National Park as
there's literally hundreds of buffalo out there, never spotted
one single elk though. :-) 


Yup, when there's something this big on the road you wait until 
it decides you can move. 


And what else... Sunday out for dinner, I finally submitted the research
project I was hired to do and ya, just chilling out, enjoying life and
finding things to do, things I wouldn't normally do this is. 

AND my princess is home from Disney World now, I can't wait til she
spends the night with me on Saturday so I can hear all about her
adventures. 

 (I borrowed this photo from my son, 
thanks Shayne!) 


You bet life is good, I'm blessed to no end! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

University of Calgary Aboriginal Grad Celebration 2015

Each year the university I studied through holds a celebration to honor 
students whom have self identified as being Aboriginal.  In Canada we have
three major classifications of Indigenous peoples; First Nations, Inquit,
 and Metis. I am Metis which loosely translated means of 
mixed blood.  I went to this celebration and what an honor it truly was.  
Each grad receives and Eagle Feather, a Pendleton blanket and 
being Metis I also received a Metis sash. 

My ancestry is from the Cree Nation, our neighbors to the 
south are Blackfoot and even though the regalia might
be a bit different, and some of their cultural ways are not the same, 
I still felt like I was with extended family.  I went to this event by
myself and never felt like I was alone. I love this
aspect of our cultural, we have a saying "All my relations"
and I felt as though I was with relations. 

I am the only one in this photo wearing the red Metis sash.  We were lined
up in order of doctorate, graduate degrees then bachelors, the lady
in the regalia (next to the lady in the black and white jacket) received
her doctorate! Well done!  Now the ideas are dancing in my head,
but they can stay as thoughts for now.   

We were lined up to take part and be honored in 
a powwow, the grand entry starts with the Chiefs, Faculty then
us grads... what an experience this was! 


After the grand entry and presentations
the powwow was back in full swing.  I'll share a few of
the photos I shot during this event. 


The energy and vibrancy put into the traditional dance is astounding! 


This is one of my personal favorite photos I shot. 



They say a picture says a 1000 words and
this next one speaks volumes to me. 


I was flying high, a life's high and I felt totally honored. I'm 
still elated and I hope this feeling sticks around for some 
time to come!  The University of Calgary Native Centre 
did an amazing job hosting this celebration once again.


The celebrations are over, the books are mostly tidied up and I've
been asked by many people, what's next?  I have no idea, this is a part
of the joy of life, trusting in the process and living in the moment,
what is meant to be will be. 


Onward and upward...
  my journey of 1000 essays is now
COMPLETE!