This should tide you over…

So today was our mini trip to France! Of course this post isn’t going to be about that because I actually wrote it yesterday. Instead I’m going to search out a couple of YouTube videos and put them on here. Stay tuned later in the week/weekend for extended posts about Bruges/Ypres and Vimy!

Below is one of the 2 versions of the poem set to music In Flanders Fields by John McCrae (1915) that I sang in high school. It’s my favourite version of the 4 or 5 I’ve heard so far. This isn’t very good video quality and it’s a duet, not 4 parts, but it gets the point across and is better than the one choir I heard. I don’t know the arranger so I just had to listen to as many videos of In Flanders Fields that I could find.

This is another version I found which is so beautiful. Especially the beginning. Like I mentioned above the poem was written (in the trenches, or near them) in 1915 by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)Canadian Army.

                                                                                                                    

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Pay it forward…

About 10 days ago I was very honoured to have a 2nd ‘Versatile Blogger’ Award bestowed upon me by the illustrious (at least to us CC’s ;)) Lafemmeroar. Being nominated for 4 of them herself – at the same time – she found herself in an interesting position. Instead of nominating 60 blogs and writing 29 personal details, she decided to alter the rules a bit. Instead of 15, or even 10 as some others have done, she nominated 2. And I was surprised, pleased, literally tickled pink at being chosen as one of the 2. I’ve mentioned this before, but Lafemmeroar has done quite a wonderful job at bringing together bloggers from all around and helping us connect through our ‘craziness’. Her goal is to make us laugh and laugh we do. Whether it’s by reading posts about her misfortunes in dating, her short Lafemmeroarisms about how the world works, her interesting and entertaining definitions for words not found in any dictionary but they should be, or her unique versions of common – or not so common – acronyms, you’re bound to find something to make you laugh, smile, and maybe even ponder.

Thank you Lafemmeroar & Aurora Morealist.

The Rules:

1.  Thank the person who shared the award with you by linking back to them in your post. 

2.  Pass this award to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know that you included them in your blog post. 

3.  List 7 things about yourself. (end of post.)

In the past couple of weeks I have been in the process of discovering new blogs, new people to share common interests and opinions with. In that time – since my 1st award – I’ve connected with 1 blog in particular. And so I have decided that I am going to nominate 1 single blog this time around.

music.unrenowned. 

Brandon is a guy who loves music. I guess it’s no surprise then that I should have stumbled across his blog. And while he states his taste as being “pop-punk alternative metal”, he includes on his blog much more than that. In fact, he is also open to suggestions. His main objective is to bring attention to bands that don’t get much attention, bands that are not necessarily known outside of the people who listen to their genre. For all the bands/singers/musicians that are universally known – whether you listen to/like them or not – there are so many more that remain in relative obscurity because people don’t always go searching for music outside of their specific tastes. This makes sense. I am one of those people. This is why I decided to give Brandon and his blog a chance, because I thought it would be good to expand my horizons a bit.

He is versatile in his choices. He includes anything from Rascal Flatts and Brad Paisley to Hedley. From up-and-coming singer Lights (that I’d actually heard of somewhere else) to bands I’ve never heard of like Icon for Hire. Yes, some of these bands/people are more well-known then others, but not for everyone. If you never listened to a country song in your life would you know who Brad Paisley is? Probably not. I like how Brandon tries to include something for everyone in his blog.

For me, music isn’t all about genres. Sure, there are some I like better than others, some that I will appreciate more music than not, but sometimes it’s simply one song. One song that happens to be in a genre or by an artist/band I don’t normally listen to. As a rule I dislike rap music (but that goes back to my high school days and my ‘music snobbery’ which is another story, for another day), but there is the odd rap song or two that I like. It’s not all about labels, it’s about finding what makes you happy, what makes you sad, what makes you get up and go, what makes you clear your head. It’s about finding the right music to fit your mood – every mood – and having fun while you do it. Forget genres and artists – you might write off a song before you’ve even heard it (totally guilty [*cough*Justin Beiber*cough*]) just because you think you won’t like it or because all your friends think said performer(s) is not worth listening to. You won’t like everything, but it’s important not to write something off without giving it a try. This goes for more than just music. Maybe I should try taking my own advice some time…

Here are 7 more things you don’t need to know about me ;):

1. My main interest when it comes to music is – in no particular order – musical theatre, country, classic rock, ‘classical’* – and everything that encompasses, epic film scores (like Lord of the Rings, or Pirates of the Caribbean to name but two), big band, and well, I could go on. But I don’t just like this stuff. I like other stuff too, other stuff that I don’t even know where to begin to place because when it comes to genres of music, when you start getting down to all the sub-categories and the like I’m totally lost. Except in the case of ‘classical’* music, then it’s just a case of me losing my memory ;).

2. I love my privacy and ‘me’ time – and yet I tend to constantly talk about myself with other people. Like in blog comments I always include way to much information as if everyone wants to know… What’s up with that?

3. I don’t like wide open spaces. I could never live on the prairies. I need trees and cover. Hills, rocky outcrops, interesting scenery. Right now my dream home would be somewhere lakeside in Ontario, in the middle of the woods, where getting snowed in for half the winter is a guarantee. Of course, a job would be an issue in that case.

4. In May 2006 we had a house fire. My room was the second most damaged room in the house. I thought the melted plastic that was my TV, DVD player, and other plastic bins looked pretty awesome and made for some wicked cool modern art. It wasn’t so cool that all my graduation stuff and music awards were ruined/gone. But the thing I miss the most? Christmas time in the living/dining room. More specifically, the lights for our Christmas tree. They weren’t harsh, white, or coloured LED lights – they were soft, warm, and yellow with a glow that made the exposed logs look so homey and inviting, away from the biting December wind. And the red bows dotting the branches. Oh boy, now I’m sad…

5. I lived with my Grandma (my Mom’s Mom) while I went to university. We developed quite a bond and I was sad to go because she lives all by herself. She grew up speaking English and Pennsylvania Dutch. My last two years at school I took German and we had some interesting discussions on vocabulary. ‘No Grandma, *that* is not a scarf, *this* is a scarf!’ I always thought PD was a German dialect, in fact, I’m pretty sure I was told/led to believe that. It might even be true, but since coming here I’m of the opinion that it’s more of a Dutch dialect (Pennsylvania Dutch anyone?), or at least a Dutch/German combo of some sort. Based on a book of poems I saw in PD and the Dutch I see here everyday on things like milk and orange juice cartons, that’s what I believe. Even more proof of this is the word (and I’ll probably spell it wrong) jammer – said with a ‘y’ sound, not a ‘j’. At best in English it’s kind of like ‘oh shoot/shucks’ or something like that. My Grandma says it all the time. Bastien said a word in French and I asked Adeline to translate it. She couldn’t tell me in English, but she knew the Dutch word for it: jammer. So thanks to my Grandma I was able to discover the meaning of a French word by way of Dutch.

6. I do my best to see the silver lining in every situation (ie. ‘Oh well Mom, now you’ll get your new kitchen!’ – see #4). I don’t always manage, but it makes life a lot more bearable.

7. If I ever have a date/boyfriend/husband on Valentine’s Day I’d much rather get a single rose than a bouquet. In fact, I think in any situation less is more. Sure they’re beautiful, but they die. And roses are expensive! Plus, each flower has a meaning and even though I don’t know them anymore (I knew a few in high school) I would rather have one flower that is specific to what they’re feeling at the time (I would look it up!) than a whole bunch of random flowers that don’t mean anything. Not good with words? Bring me one flower that tells me what you’re trying to say. I also think that way too much pressure is put on guys for Valentine’s Day. And anniversaries. I think so many forget because they’re trying so hard not to forget. I don’t need jewellery or other gifts – just a simple ‘I love you’ or ‘You make me so happy’ or something like that and a nice cuddle, maybe a movie you would never normally watch (and normally I wouldn’t make you), and that would be fine. Save your money for the important stuff, like vacations!

So if you have a chance, go on over and give Brandon a visit. And while you’re at it maybe you could let him know what you like to listen to and maybe he’ll mention it in a post some time. Who knows….

*When I say ‘classical’ I’m referring to everything that I studied in university and what is commonly lumped under that title – Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic. I studied 20th Century as well, but that’s another whole ball of wax all together…

                                                                                                                  

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Red sky night….

You know that saying ‘red sky morning sailor’s warning, red sky night sailor’s delight’? Well, if it hold true tomorrow should be beautiful! Not that it hasn’t been beautiful for days, but the sun tonight as it was setting was so bright red/orange and full. The sky around it was redish-pink and absolutely breathtaking. What a nice sight to drive home to. And then I got stuck behind a very slow-moving tractor and couldn’t pass because the road was very curvy. I ended up taking an alternative route when I was able to turn off and I beat the tractor! Go me.

Today was spent preparing for my presentation. Well, not the whole day. I wrote out the lyrics to two French songs from the L’orthographe en chansons CD that Adeline lent me. That’s basically ‘spelling in song’. It uses different dance beats/songs (mambo, rock, polka, march, cha-cha, conga, etc.) and each one highlights a different area of rules and spelling in French. Who ever put it together recognizes that French is horrendously difficult to spell and to remember all the rules so they put those rules and exceptions (because for every rule that might make life easier there are a whole list of exceptions that you have to remember) to music to help in remembering them. They’re so fun. I might have already mentioned them, it’s been a while that I’ve had access to this CD. I used the ‘Rock de la cédille’ and ‘Marche des Noms Féminins’ for my presentation. In the ‘Marche’ they have sections where a ‘kid’ (or what sound like one) is saying things like  ‘oh la la! How am I going to remember all of this? My head is full like the belly of a Buddha, and it’s going to explode!’. I find parts of these songs hilarious and highly entertaining. In my speaking part I introduced the songs and mentioned how using them could help with learning French (spelling and pronunciation), but you have to be careful when learning through song because the pronunciation for somethings may be different from when you’re actually speaking. You know, making words and rhythms match up and all that. Plus all the songs are fast so it takes many listenings to be able to sing along with parts of the songs. My teacher liked the CD so much she wants a copy. I think I put more effort (writing out the lyrics and colour coding the words) than was warranted for the presentation, but it was fun. What everyone else has to do (and I could have done) is pick an event from the pamphlet put out by the Cultural Centre in Hannut, give the details of said event and what you like about it/why you chose it. I totally did more work than necessary!

I didn’t have much interaction with the kids today. Bastien ate all his breakfast with minimal prompting. He even had seconds! He was very pleasant after school. Today his class made little green mice. I asked him if they sang ‘The Green Mouse’ song and he said yes. ‘Une souris verte’. Basically, as well as I can translate it, it goes like this”

A green mouse who is running through the grass. I trap it by the tail and show the men. The men tell me to dip it in oil. To dip it in water. It will be a snail, all hot! Then there is just a speaking in rhythm section. I put it in a drawer and it tells me it’s too dark. I put it in my hat and it tells me it’s too hot. I put it in my underwear (umm…) and it makes 3 little poops. 

It’s such a cute little song, but it doesn’t make much sense to me. Maybe I’m missing something….. When I got home from class Bastien was already upstairs; he didn’t want to eat/didn’t like his food. Sylvain was just sitting in his high chair being his cute little self. Then Adeline got a banana and gave him some. He loved it. So did his hair. ^_^

So that’s it for today. I almost forgot! On the radio I heard ‘A Whole New World’. What stuck out at me was hearing Disney in French. It was just odd. For me. Of course if you grew up with that it wouldn’t be odd, but it was an odd experience today.

Adeline just brought me in a little bowl of mango. Oh how I love mango. Mango, mango, mango. Thank you Grandma Jean for introducing me to the wonder that is mango. It was a treat and something I only had at your house. I LOVE MANGO!

                                                                                                                      

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Rural life and Folk Dancing? I totally didn’t plan that.

Sunday September 25, 2011 I went to the House of Rural Life and then that evening went to Louvain-la-Neuve to see some folk dancing. It wasn’t until Saturday that I even considered doing anything ‘touristy’. It wasn’t until Adeline asked me if I was doing anything that I realized I could, should, and had the time to. First I managed to drag my butt out of bed at a decent enough hour to shower and get ready for the day before making a trip to the market in Eghezée. Lisa and I both got a pair of these light, comfy pants this summer and there were also short versions that we didn’t get, but Lisa left me some money to grab her a pair later. I kept forgetting/sleeping in/not knowing what colour she wanted until by the time I went Sunday they didn’t have them anymore. It makes sense…it’s not summer anymore. Although right now we’re enjoying Indian Summer – we actually got a little background on that yesterday in class…

After the market – which wasn’t a total waste…I got two nice scarves for the price of one! – I drove to Han-sur-Lesse to visit the House of Rural Life. It was just under an hour away. It’s a really pretty place and I’m glad I went. The town is pretty. The museum was cool, but at the same time creepy. I was (again) the only one there. At the beginning there are a few rooms with manikins – a kitchen, a bakery, something else I’m forgetting – and after that it’s just sort of big open space with sectioned off areas with different manikins representing different jobs; cobbler, cooper, plumber, barber, etc. They were all really detailed and it was interesting. Except that sometimes I would catch something out of the corner of my eye and whip around all startled like, only to discover it was just in fact a manikin. Creepy I tell you, creepy. There was a second floor I went up to and they had a lot of paintings depicting rural life, and displays of knives (that you could buy) and other tools and trinkets (that you could also buy). Oh, and more manikins. Many times I wanted to put Freddy on one of said manikins for pictures, but at the last second I remembered I was being watched….security cams and the like. There was an outside section with old wagons and farm equipment. Some of which reminded me of antique items my Mom has collected over the years. All in all it was an interesting visit, but not something I would highly recommend (unless you’re really into that sort of thing). Coming from a rural area myself, not everything was completely foreign to me. I mainly chose it because a) it was close and b) it was something different that I hadn’t done yet.

Then it was back home and a little while later on to LLN to see some traditional Belgian folk dancing. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. I think I thought it would be something like at Oktoberfest in Kitchener when groups from the Transylvania Club (um, that’s what it’s called right? :P) will showcase traditional German dances in traditional German dress. It wasn’t like that. They had a stage for the band and a dance leader who gathered regular citizens mulling around (or there specifically to dance) and led them through the steps before turning up the music and hopping to it! I got clips of, I think, 4 different dances. One of them being a gig, but the others I have no idea. I’m planning on trying to make a video montage of these and put them on YouTube. I don’t know how well that will work or when that will happen. Adeline went to dance the gig with Greg, but Bastien was in a bit of a mood that night and wanted to be with Adeline. Now, it’s really hard to dance this gig with a child at your feet or in your arms. Apart from this both boys danced to the music every once in a while. When Sylvain dances usually he’s sitting down and he just sort of bounces up and down and from side to side. It’s adorable. Bastien got really into it as well, just dancing around wherever the music took him.

We finished off the night at an Italian restaurant. Bastien likes pasta. He’ll eat pasta and cheese. Italian is a safe bet. Sylvain wanted to pull everything off the table. By the end of dinner he had almost managed to pull a wine glass off the table beside us. That would have been two broken glasses in a week. Oh boy. I saved it just in time. He had his hand on it and had managed to knock it over so it was on its side. We were all distracted by the fact that Bastien had just ripped a page in a book that wasn’t his. Oh kids.

Today was the first day since Sept.1 that both kids were out of the house for the day. It was a school holiday so both were at the babysitter’s. I had the entire day to do whatever I wanted! I sat down on my bed – my couch is covered with clean laundry – to input my walk on the Nike+ website (yeah, I walked this morning!) and felt my eyelids droop. I kind of leaned over and rested on my pillow. Then I shifted to get more comfortable and the next thing I know it’s after 12. After that I spent some time online, doing what I usually do (blog stuff, Facebook, email), and I also watched Sweet Home Alabama (Reese Witherspoon). Then I picked Sylvain up at 5 (Adeline picked Bastien up at 4 to go to the doctor). After that it was bath time, supper, then bed for the boys.

For those who don’t know (I forgot!) right now in New Zealand it’s the Rugby World Cup. I played rugby in grade 9, woot! I was totally lazy, but somehow managed to lose 20 pounds after gaining a lot of muscle. My calves were awesome! Actually, I’ll admit they’re awesome again because of all my walking. Any who, I prefer rugby over America football. Maybe this is because I actually – used to – understand it. It’s sort of a thing of pride at my high school, or it was anyway, the girls rugby team. Waterloo-Oxford D. S. S. had a girls rugby team before there were girls rugby teams in the area. Heck, they used to play boys rugby teams and the city boys were afraid to play the country girls. Wussies. I was definitely nervous when I started because for the first month everyone practices together – girls, boys, seniors, freshmen, everybody. We’re taught how to tackle and the main coach likes to tell the girls that even a skinny little girl can tackle a wall of a young man if she does it right. Case in point; my coach was a tiny women. Compact. Lean. Fit. Everything I think a women’s rugby coach should be. I wasn’t much taller than her, but I was ‘thicker’. Anyway, one day we were practising tackles and she wanted to correct me or show me something or something. So she tackles me. She literally lifted me off the ground before slamming me down. Ouch! But it was effective. I also once got caught at the bottom of a dog pile in a practice match against the junior boys. I got stepped on (the back of my leg just above the knee….) and had a cleat mark for a year or two after that. I wore it with pride. When I broke my nose at a softball practice all I could think of was how I wish I was wearing my rugby jersey – if you bleed on the field you have to come off, but having a blood stain on your jersey is a mark of honour. I didn’t actually play much, lol. Maybe I also like it better because there are no pads or helmets and I feel sometimes things get crazier and more dangerous, but you’re tougher for it.

Wow. I’ve really gone off on a tangent here. I just meant to say that Canada has had 1 loss (France 46-19),  1 win (Tonga 25-20), and 1 tie (Japan 23-23). They play New Zealand on October 2nd. Against the All Blacks they are going to lose. I mean, that’s my prediction. I don’t know much about the Canucks (tee hee hee), or rugby outside of high school for that matter, I just know that it’s an awesome game! And the New Zealand All Blacks are an awesome, fierce team. Now I’m going to go watch Forever Strong. You guessed it, it’s a rugby movie. We really need more of those. One more thing; when I went to Chicago in grade 9 on our music tour we went to this pretty well-funded high school. They had carpeted halls (I have no idea why one would want carpeted halls in a high school…) and among other things, their own brand of water. When a couple of us asked our tour guide (a music student) if they had a rugby team – he was talking football at the time – he looked at us like we were, I don’t know, aliens or something and basically said that they didn’t like rugby/have a team. Or something like that. I can’t remember what he said, I just know it was said forcefully and made rugby seem like the game of the devil or something. Pfsh. Shows what he knows.

Now that I’m traversing memory lane, I feel the need to mention something else that, while it does not pertain to rugby, it does pertain to…well, language, sort of. I was standing in line in the cafeteria (and what a cafeteria it was) with a few of my music mates in our choir/band uniform of black dress pants/skirt, white collard blouse/shirt, and amazing, lovely, so-wish-I-still-had-mine green W-O Music vest. Being a shy, self-conscious, 15-year-old girl, when a couple of older (or at least taller) boys (ahh! boys!) butted in front of us I didn’t say anything. The woman serving out the food did though! She saw it and stated quite loudly that ‘those girls are here from Canada, don’t butt!’ (something like that….it was 10 years ago). ‘You’re from Canada?’ ‘Yes…’. I don’t remember anything else that was said, just that they looked upon us as if we were another species, like they had never seen someone from another country before. Or that they thought the distance from the Great White North was much to far to travel for them to ever come across one of ‘us’. Later, as we were eating, on of the grade 11 girls asked if I would take a picture of her with a friend and a table of boys. I was merely an observer in this next exchange, but I wish I would have had the guts to say something:

[All dialogue is paraphrased because of lack of memory] ‘You’re from Canada?’

‘Yes.’

‘Do you speak English?’

‘…um, yes.’

I’m not sure what was going on in the head of those boys, but what kind of question is that? Yes, yes I know that our 2nd official language is French so it’s an understandable question if they hadn’t just been having a conversation with us. I’m pretty sure that when the girls asked if they could take a picture they were speaking in English. How else would the boys have been able to understand? *shakes head* I was astonished, and actually still am. It was funnier then. I’m sorry I stick so bad at telling stories!

                                                                                                                      

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Disappearing spots.

First off, Sylvain is getting much better. The spots on his face are disappearing nicely. The spots on the rest of him are being clingy, but they’re also reaching the end of their visiting hours. Today while we were cleaning up from lunch Bastien was drawing on his white board he got for his birthday. He drew something (I didn’t really see it) and told us it said Bastien  T—-. Then Adeline actually wrote his name out. Somehow they started going through all the names (I wasn’t paying close attention) and he said Mamma T—, Papa T—, Sylvain T—, and Holly T—. Again, he was corrected. My last name is in fact not T—, but Brenneman. Then he said something about Sylvain Brenneman. Kids really do say the darndest things!

I’m not sure what else to mention…I mostly just played with Sylvain when he was awake. Bastien went to get a haircut with Adeline. He also went to Little Gym this afternoon. Sick or not he really needs to burn off a lot of energy.

*Attention: tiny Glee spoiler alert. Just as far as a certain song goes.*

For all you Glee fans out there I did catch the first episode of season 3 today. I will not get into what I really thought about it or we’d be here forever and it would just be a big rant. I will say that in some ways I’m on the fence as to my allegiance to the show…it was ok, but it’s really the same stuff over, and over, and over again. Just with different music. The one thing that really stood out to me as being something I hated strongly disliked was when they did ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat’ from Hairspray. Once they got past the slow part it was decent, but very little of Hairspray is meant to be slow. It was one things when they slowed down Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’ to a turtle’s pace (I did not plan on rhyming there…), but this song? No. It’s just plain wrong! I love Lea Michele and how she puts everything into her performances, but I wish I could forget this ever happened. Not right, not right at all. Of course, this is just my opinion. If you happened to like it that’s great! We can discuss if you want, I won’t get angry if anyone is a fan of the Glee version. I just didn’t like it.

*Spoiler over 😉 *

That’s it for today. Man, I really need to clean my room….

                                                                                                                      

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Where did my slipper go?

Today was a normal day. The sun was shining, it was lovely! I was going to go on another long walk, but I got busy organizing my music folders on my computer! And I ran out of time. It’s so great because Bastien is really starting to warm up to me. Now the only problem is his age where everything is ‘no’. Or at least the opposite of what you say.

For Christmas he got this backpack-on-wheels deal (you know, with the handle, where it’s like luggage and school bag…) from his Grandparents for when he goes to school. The thing is, it’s too big for him right now, so they’ve been conditioning him into thinking it’s for vacations so that he won’t want to take it to school. So whenever he starts playing with it they say ‘bonne vacances!’. It’s working, which is a good thing.

Now on to something completely different (but related, I promise!). Greg wanted to see my room because he hadn’t seen it since I changed it, so we all went inside. Since my suitcase isn’t as hidden anymore, Bastien saw it right away. He had his bag with him and he asked me (very nicely and with ‘please’) if I would go on a vacation with him, with my suitcase. It was the cutest thing ever!! So cute (si mignon)! So basically we spent the next half hour or so walking between the living room and the library/office with our suitcases. We would be in the living room and he would say we’re landing now (and make some airplane noises). Then I was showing him my lock, but he got tired of that and decided he wanted to take one of my slippers…I have no idea why. I didn’t make it easy on him, he had to work for it! I said I was sad and that my foot was cold and eventually he went and brought it back for me (he had put it in his toy room). Then he took it a second time, but didn’t get it until I had taken one of his and Adeline came to put him to bed. It was fun playing with him, I laughed a lot. He gives good hugs. And he still has that great smile! Yesterday he even posed with his train set for a picture! He doesn’t like getting his picture taken very much anymore (since Sylvain was born).

So don’t worry, all is well I have both my slippers and my feet are warm (thanks Grandma Doris!!!). Hope the start to everyone’s weekend is as great as mine. ^_^ This pictures makes my feet look really small…

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