When you live with a musician…

I love having a partner who is a musician!

You get to hear awesome music being played on a regular basis.

You sometimes get serenaded by a mandolin or a fiddle while you prep dinner.

And you find instruments in odd places.


Calgary Stampede 100th Anniversary: Horses, Cow Vaginas & Surfing!

I had no idea this entry would get so long! ¬†So fair warning…there are lots of pictures from my Stampede visit! ūüėČ

I spent my first day in Calgary visiting the Calgary Stampede! Not a destination I would’ve chosen for myself but Sarah has much experience attending with her family and told me she’d take me to the fun stuff. ¬†When I continued to balk, she also suggested that I view the Stampede as an anthropological experiment, studying the cowboy culture in all its glory. ¬†I could work with that, so I said “sure!” after I clarified that under no conditions would I be wearing cowboy boots ūüėČ

The Stampede wasn’t remotely what I expected! There was SO much going on, so much to see, it was fun!…in many ways it reminded me of the Toronto Royal Winter Agricultural Fair,¬†only¬†bigger.

Scroll down for pics and commentary on:

Working Cow Horse Classic competition
Interesting People on site
Artistic Endeavours on site
Native Village
Fake Cow Vagina! (Yep, you read that right)
Stampede Food

My day actually started with an interesting wake-up.  At first, around 5:30AM, I woke up to chattering birds.  Turns out they were magpies.  Really cool looking black & white birds that sound sort of like a cross between a quack and a cat being stepped on.

About a dozen of them were having a grand ‘ol time gossiping outside my bedroom window. ¬†I tried for pictures, failed, decided “Screw it! It’s my first vacation morning and 6am can bite me!” and went back to sleep. Turns out, ¬†I DID get a nice picture of my first Calgary sunrise ūüôā

So yes, back to sleep I went! For about an hour.

At that point, Miss Maggie decided that my toes were awesome morning prey and I woke up to this:

Com’on toes! Move! I dares ya!

 And like any feline, once Maggie realized I was awake, it was cuddle time!

I’m cute. Pet me! Or I’ll cut you!

So, yeah, I was up pretty early my first day of vacation. But that’s okay because it allowed us to prepare for STAMPEDE!!

My first five minutes in Calgary, I got carded!! Talk about making a girls day! ¬†Both Sarah and I decided to pee in the Cowboys Casino. ¬†Because that’s what you do.
You see a casino, you think “pee!”

(Those of you who were around years ago for the Halifax Casino/Depends news story can just keep that to yourself! Blech!)

And of course, being carded required a picture!

Look at us two young’uns!

After a much-needed pee, we headed to a Stampede event, the only actual horse-riding event we watched, the Working Cow Horse Classic competition.  This involved a horse and rider chasing down a rogue calf and directing it where they wanted it to go.

Although I know little about horsemanship and cutting cattle, I admit I found the event somewhat enthralling.  After the first few competitors, I began to see the differences in approach and skill.  I began to really notice when rider and horse were completely in synch, riding as one, and it was pretty incredible. It was as though they knew exactly what that calf was going to do before he did, and they were able to share those thoughts and move in complete harmony.

Beautiful horse!

Those calves were wily!

A sudden stop!

As I mentioned, there was lots of cool stuff to see around the Stampede beyond the ¬†horse and cattle competitions, including some interesting people….

My camera settings were off…but I couldn’t let this outfit go!

Awesome living statue in the Oasis area of the Stampede!

Another living statue…

There were a few living statues in the Oasis section of the Stampede, a beautiful indoor arts market and wine bar with water fountains and soft lighting surrounding the area: it was the complete opposite of the chaos taking place outside!

The statues were great! A couple of times, they reacted to cameras by glancing at the lens for your shot, but otherwise, they did…well, what statues do. The male statue kept a straight face even though there were about a dozen people, including myself, hovering around him taking pics…not to mention, the two kids who were in his space, checking him out. I couldn’t help but wonder what he was thinking about to keep himself so still.

So, cool people on site and some cool artistic endeavours too….

Love the old coach with the trunk on the back!

Awesome sand castle!

Treasure trunk made of sand

Next up was the Native Village…there were some lovely performances taking place, not to mention some beautiful wares for sale and a village of amazing tepees constructed just for the Stampede! ¬†A couple of them were open to visitors, which was very kind considering each teepee was functioning as a home for a family while they were on site, so they were effectively allowing us into their private space.

tepees, huge and beautiful!

Inside one of the tepees

Nom nom nom

How did that get on my head?

Native jingle dance

Moving on…

The fake cow vagina!

I didn’t necessarily want to stick my arm in there. ¬†It was strange enough walking around a corner to suddenly see the holes of two fake cows, well technically half-cows as they were missing the front end, without a woman who was standing next to them asking if I’d like to stick my arm in there.

Initial reaction? “Stick my arm in a cow vagina? No freakin’ way!”

But she countered my argument with, “One is pregnant and one isn’t AND I have powder for your hand and arm. It’s all rubber.”

Um. Not convincing!

But eventually, Sarah and I agreed to both do it! ¬†We looked at each other said, “When will we ever have the chance to stick our arm up a cow’s vagina again? Never!”

And besides, this is my vacation and I am fearless, damnit! ūüėõ

It’s a fake vagina! Honest!

What the hell is THAT? Someone’s watch?

Wheeee! Sarah enjoyed the vagina too!


Yep, I do not lie. ¬†Calgary’s Stampede had surfing on site!

There were about a dozen people taking part and the current was strong enough to eject the bodies upwards after a wipeout!

And now I understand why people watch surfing. ¬†Wipeouts are funny when they aren’t happening to you! ūüėČ

And finally, what does one eat at the Calgary Stampede?  

Alberta Beef and Deep Fried Oreos of course!!

So first off, I had to have an authentic Albertan beef sandwich. I let Sarah choose the place and we ordered.

The beef was damn good!! Sadly, too big for me to finish!  (Sorry, B! You missed out on half of an awesome sandwich!)

No, we weren’t hungry. Not at all. ūüėČ

And for dessert?  Deep fried OREOS!!

Sarah said she’d order them so I could try one. ¬†I’ve historically avoided the deep-fried weirdness that you find at such large-scale events.
Best example? The Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.

Deep-fried cola,¬† deep-fried fudge, deep-fried kool-aid, even deep-fried butter! And that doesn’t even cover the weirdness of a Krispy Kreme Burger!

But this was a day of firsts and us being fearless (I put my ARM in a cow’s vagina for gods’ sake!) so deep-fried Oreos were a YES!

Wheee! Battered and oiled up Oreo cookies! ūüėČ

I DID go into the experience with a mild bit of hesitation….

This is my WTF? face.

But with a little bit of encouragement….I bit into…

…savoury goodness!

¬†I wouldn’t eat these all the time…probably wouldn’t order them myself, but they were pretty darn good…a warm, soft Oreo cookie! ¬†All that was missing was ice cream!

So, that doesn’t actually sum up our Stampede experience…the Department of National Defense was on site and let’s just say that handguns and tanks are FUN! ¬†But that’ll be for another entry. *wink*

Chilling out with Macy ūüôā

Crocheted Cthulu goes International!

During my recent obsession with crocheting, I have found myself making little amigurumi dolls for fun. I’ve purchased a number of books for inspiration…no one told me how addictive this would be!!

I’ve made friend with a lil Death

I also created a little scythe out of Sculpey and painted it…but have yet to figure out how to attach to my lil no-armed Deathly friend.

I have also become acquainted with a little Devil…who, like Death, is missing something…but in this case it is his goatee that I forgot to add before taking the pic! ¬†Poor naked faced Devil!


ADDITION: April 20, 2012

I finally got around to goatee-ing my Devil and scythe-ing Death!! ūüôā

Devil and Death...great friends. Who would've thought??? ūüėČ


You put Death and Devilish Evil together and what do you get next?


Evil Cthulu is EVIL!!!-.....Nah, actually he's kinda cute!

Of all my crocheted friends, Cthulu I is the only to have left me and gone international! *sniff*

Ah well! ¬†I’ll just make ANOTHER Cthulu friend (Cthulu II) and *HIS* tentacles will be even bigger…because, you know, in the measuring of Cthulu evilness, size matters. ūüėČ

Cthulu I travelled overseas with B during his most recent two week tour to England. He, that’s Cthulu, was headed to a new British home, via B’s suitcase and he was lucky enough to make some stops along the way, take some shots, and send them back to me as a reminder that he was in England and I was not. *shakes fist in the general direction of England*

I can only imagine the fun he must be having, hanging out with his new bud Kevin and sucking the souls from the British population!  

In memory of my little friend Cthulu I, I present to you his travelling pictures.  All  I can assume is that those who took these pictures for him were threatened with torturous soul suckage and a impossible-to-win staring contest if they refused.

The terror begins before he even gets on the plane.  As you can see by the following picture, he has obviously forced B and H to pose with him for a picture. You can see the fear in their eyes as they try to mask it behind shaky smiles. Cthulu looks as stone faced and authoritarian as he always does.

It doesn’t stop there. ¬†H is then forced to smuggle him overseas! ¬†That’s Cthulu for you…always doing things the hard way. ¬†Bring on the chaos! ¬†(And then take a picture of it so he can gloat after the fact!)

Upon arriving in England, Cthulu I makes his way to the coast, which is likely what I too would do. ¬†You can see the sky clouding over and I can’t help but wonder if he didn’t have something to do with that…dragging lovely storms and hurricanes behind him is one of his favourite hobbies. ¬†There were other pictures of his coastal visit but the hand holding him was shaking so much that they were completely blurry. ¬†That poor terrified photographer…I can only hope they survived their encounter with “Cthulu at the Beach”!!

Salty air makes a tentacle-y beast hungry so next up….grocery store! I don’t think they sold souls…else they were much too expensive. ¬†A hungry Cthulu is a cranky Cthulu so it scares me to imagine what took place when Cthulu trudged to the front of the store, empty-handed.

When no souls are to be purchased, then they shall be taken!

Cthulu I was always so charismatic. ¬†He could get anyone to drop their guard in minutes with simple conversation. ¬†His favourite topic? Music. Opinions, especially ones revolving around favourite bands and music, want to be shared. ¬†It would take him only minutes to identify someone passionate about their favourite bands. ¬†A couple questions later, some spirited debate, followed by agreement that their favourite bands were, yes, absolutely awesome…and then-…


Soul suckage!

Even simian fans of Heather Dale cannot escape the charisma of Cthulu!

Cthulu I was (and I assume, still is) always hungry. Sometimes, there are souls aplenty. ¬†Other times, they are rare…or those in the vicinity have all been eaten. ¬†It is in these rare cases that Cthulu I pulls out his secret weapon.

He will stare up at the closest human with an innocent, wide-eyed expression and say something endearing and ingenious such as “Feed me.” (Most times this will be followed by a threat of severe bodily harm if they do not acquiesce.) ¬†Such events are *never* caught on camera, but one brave soul managed to capture this moment on film. ¬†How, I will never know!

As a sidenote, and just to irk my tentacle-y now-British friend (Who is too far away to suck my soul!!! Nyah nyah!!) I would like to submit that Cthulu I and Puss in Boots are somehow related. ¬†Compare the wide-eyed innocent faces….of the above….and the below….

There is a similarity there that just cannot be ignored!  Same fathers perhaps?  I leave that for your consideration.

The final two pictures are the most distressing as we get to see our lil Cthulu choosing the person he plans to enslave-….I mean live with!

His name is (or was?) Kevin and the manner in which Cthulu seemingly appears out of thin air onto Kevin’s shoulder, which is a Cthulic behaviour showing ownership, is utterly disturbing.

Although B claims that Kevin is also disturbing so hey, what do I know?

Friends Forever! (Yeah, as if Kevin ever really had a choice!)

Fineprint: Although I was Cthulu I’s creator, I accept no responsibility for any chaos and destruction he may leave in his wake. ¬†The moment he left the confines of my crochet bag and crossed international borders, he was his own perso-…creature and is subject to any and all laws of his chosen country…assuming anyone can get close enough to him to enforce such laws. ¬†Good luck with that!