Saturday 29 June 2013

Winnipeg Pride

I'm afraid that my blog's annual June celebration called Translesbigayapalooza got lost this year in a whirl of vacation plans, War of 1812 posts and my Chocolate Stanley Cup giveaway. So instead, I will periodically post individual translesbigay-themed posts throughout the upcoming months.

As long-time readers of this blog know, I came out in Winnipeg 25 years ago and lived in that city until 1998 when I moved here to Edmonton. I spent many years being active in Winnipeg's GLBTQ community and participated in a lot of Pride Marches which always culminated in front of the Manitoba Legislature. I blogged about my very first Pride March here, if you want to read about it.

Last year marked the 25th anniversary of Winnipeg Pride. Nowadays, the annual Pride March is a huge festival in Winnipeg, attended by thousands of people. Quite a contrast to the early years, LOL! To mark the 25th anniversary, the Manitoba Legislature celebrated with a spectacular night-time light display of rainbow flag colours --

Who would have thought, 25 years ago, that such a thing would ever occur? In those days, the Manitoba Legislature was not our friend. The Canadian Parliament was even less so.

It just goes to show that years of peaceful protest and patiently-conducted education of both politicians and the populace can ultimately pay off. Social change IS possible. It came to Manitoba and it came to Canada.

Once that crucial tipping point of support is reached, virtually EVERYONE wants to get on the bandwagon and change happens. No one could believe in the old days that the tipping point would ever come, but it did.

Take heart, all of you who are waiting for it to come in your own countries.

Like everyone, I was thrilled by the United States Supreme Court decision this week overturning Proposition 8, restoring same-sex marriage in California and striking down the unequal benefits provisions in the Defense of Marriage Act. The tipping point in America is getting very close. Very close!

[Photos © Bryan Scott 2012. Used by permission. Thanks, Bryan! See more of his fabulous Winnipeg photos at Winnipeg Love Hate]

Thursday 27 June 2013

New Neighbours

So after we got home from holidays, My Rare One was puttering around the yard when she noticed something odd, very odd, under a tree . . . WTF?

She ran to get me from the house and warily, we approached the scene a little closer. Is that a . . .  a . . . door? With a welcome mat and a broom beside it? Jeez, it looks like someone's living there. Do we have . . . new neighbours? YES! Wee faeries have decided to move into our tree and set up housekeeping.

We haven't actually laid eyes on the faeries yet, but clearly they enjoy gardening and bird watching. Isn't that little wheelbarrow with the hedge clippers and watering can adorable? And the little birdhouse with the bluebird of happiness on top -- squeeee! 

So welcome, neighbours! We hope you enjoy living here!

[In actual fact, this gorgeous faery door and accessories were made by the extremely talented artist, Jeanne Gripp of The Candy Corn Chronicles. I've enjoyed reading her blog for several years now and decided to surprise My Rare One by custom-ordering this magical installation for our yard. And My Rare One was indeed very surprised and very delighted with it! Click here to go to Jeanne's blog and here to go to her Etsy shop.]

[All photos by Debra She Who Seeks]

Tuesday 25 June 2013

TWO Stanley Cup Winners!

Okay now lissen up, everybody -- Don Cherry here with Ron Maclean on Coach's Corner. First of all, congrats to dis year's Stanley Cup winner, the Chicago Blackhawks. Da series wasn't as rock'em sock'em as I woulda liked to see, but whaddya expect these days when the NHL is run by a buncha sissies?

Now here's da thing -- I been paid, and paid good, to draw da winner's name today for dis here Chocolate Stanley Cup. What the hell is dis world comin' to, you know? I useta coach in the NHL, fer jeezly's sake, and now I'm stuck doin' gigs like dis?

Okay, whatever, it's a done deal. I've picked da winner. Congrats to:

Suzanne of One Happy Hippy

Now I'm outta here. Kids, always remember when you're on da ice to keep your heads up and support our military. I gotta go, don't try to stop me -- I have an appointment at my tailor's.

Sunday 23 June 2013

Laura Secord Chocolates

So many of you commented about Laura Secord Chocolates on yesterday's post, I thought I'd expand a bit on this cultural phenomenon for the benefit of non-Canadian readers.

In 1913 on the centennial of Laura Secord's historic walk, Frank P. O'Connor established a chocolate store in Toronto and named it in her honour. The popular business expanded and today there are 120 stores across Canada. The Laura Secord line of products includes fine chocolates and rich ice cream. Now in 2013, the company is celebrating its own centennial. If you want to check out its website, click here.

Laura Secord Chocolates has probably done more to keep Laura Secord's name alive in the minds of Canadians than any other thing. Sad but true, LOL! Canadians tend to ignore our own history on the mistaken assumption that it is boring. I beg to differ, but that's another subject.

When I first decided to write this series on the War of 1812, I thought I'd do a giveaway for the Laura Secord post of . . . you guessed it . . . a box of Laura Secord chocolates. But then I discovered that Edmonton no longer has a Laura Secord store -- too much competition here in Alberta from Purdy's of British Columbia, I guess.

Oh well, if you're craving chocolate, you'll just have to enter my Chocolate Stanley Cup giveaway instead (even though it's Hershey's) but hurry! The Chicago Blackhawks could win the Stanley Cup tomorrow night and then the contest will close. Click here!

A LATE-BREAKING POST SCRIPT -- Hey everyone! Be sure to check out today's fun blog post from Francie of a North End Journal -- she participated in the Bicentennial Laura Secord Walk yesterday and has great photos to share! Click here!

Saturday 22 June 2013

All Hail Laura Secord!

When I was a girl growing up in pre-feminist times, female heroines and role models were hard to come by in school. Usually, teachers could only dredge up a standard handful like Joan of Arc, Good Queen Bess, Marie Curie or Helen Keller. But here in Canada the biggest name of all was Laura Secord, heroine of the War of 1812!

Laura Secord was a Queenston farm woman whose husband was in the militia defending Upper Canada. In October 1812 after the Battle of Queenston Heights, she went out to search the battlefield, found her seriously wounded husband among the dead and dying, got him home and nursed him back to health. That's the kinda gal she was.

In June 1813, the lower Niagara peninsula was occupied by American troops. Their northern progress had recently been thwarted at the Battle of Stoney Creek but they were planning another offensive.

Like other locals, the Secords were forced to billet American officers in their home. While serving them dinner on the evening of June 22, 1813, Laura Secord overheard them discussing plans for a surprise attack in 2 days' time. So that night she sneaked away to warn the British commander, Lieutenant James FitzGibbon. She "walked alone nearly 20 miles by a circuitous, difficult and perilous route, through woods and swamps and over miry roads" to reach the British camp the next morning. Because of her timely warning, the dramatically outnumbered British and Mohawk warriors were able to repel the Americans at the Battle of Beaver Dams on June 24, 1813. Huzzah!

Tradition says Laura Secord took a cow with her in order to get past American sentries without raising suspicion. Today the cow's presence is doubted by many historians but I remain a true believer. The story's just not the same without the cow! Current historians also say Laura Secord got hopelessly lost and had to be rescued by the Mohawks who took her to FitzGibbon.

Some historians, however, go so far as to say that the British had already got wind of the Americans' plans and so Laura Secord's warning didn't really save the day after all. Heresy! Blasphemy! I will never believe such revisionist lies. Laura Secord will always be a heroine in my heart. Two hundred years ago tonight, she saved Canada. That's what I was taught in school.

[Illustration #1 by Lorne Kidd Smith, 1920. Illustration #2 by J.R. Skelton, 1908. Illustration #3 by Henry Sandham, 1910.]

[And don't forget to enter my Chocolate Stanley Cup giveaway, if you haven't already -- click here. The contest is open to Americans too. We're all friends now.]

Friday 21 June 2013

Brunching Bloggers

When My Rare One and I were in Hamilton, we had the great pleasure of meeting a couple of local bloggin' buddies: Francie of a North End Journal and Lois of Mid Life Fibres! I've read both their blogs for quite a while now so it was a special treat to meet them in person! We got together for brunch at a lovely little artisan coffee shop called The Cannon and had a wonderful time.

Here's Francie (in pink) and Lois (in plaid) helping me decipher a map of Hamilton. Figuring out how to drive up and down that darn Niagara Escarpment really confused us poor prairie flatlanders . . . .

We all had The Cannon's specialty -- waffles! Here I'm about to enjoy a delicious ham-and-cheese waffle sandwich. Yes, those are my (*gasp*) naked hands. It's too hot in the summer to wear my purple fingerless knit gloves . . . .

Thank you, Lois and Francie, for giving us such a delightful Hamilton memory! Now, LOL, back to blogging, everyone!

[First photo comes from the internet; other photos are courtesy of Francie]

[P.S. Don't forget to enter my Chocolate Stanley Cup Giveaway while there's still time -- click here!]

Thursday 20 June 2013

Summer Solstice is here again!

You think I'm a day early with this post, don't you? Hee hee! Well, I'm not. *sticks out tongue*

Summer Solstice arrives on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 5:04 a.m. UTC (Coordinated Universal Time, the successor to what we used to call Greenwich Mean Time). Because of the time zone difference, it means that the Summer Solstice arrives here in Alberta on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 11:05 p.m. tonight. So we get a jump on the rest of youse guys. And of course, we really get a jump on those of you in the southern hemisphere welcoming the Winter Solstice today/tomorrow, LOL!

But no matter when you celebrate --

[And click here to enter my Chocolate Stanley Cup Giveaway, if you haven't done so yet!]

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Liebster Award and a Great Contest

While I was away, Leeanna of Can We Have a New Witch, Ours Melted passed on a Liebster Award to me! Thanks so much, Leeanna, I am honoured that you thought of me 'n mah blog.

And here's something you'll all be interested in -- Leeanna is having a fabulous contest over at her blog. Whoever writes Comment #5000 on her blog before the end of 2013 will receive a $100 Amazon Gift Card -- yowza! So get over there and start commenting, it could really pay off! Click here for all the details. Leeanna always posts great LOLs and other things that are fun to comment on, so it's worth your while to visit regularly.

[And speaking of contests, if you haven't yet entered my Chocolate Stanley Cup Giveaway, click here to do so!]

Monday 17 June 2013

Stanley Cup Giveaway!

The only thing better than winning the real Stanley Cup is winning a Stanley Cup made of CHOCOLATE! And that, my friends, is exactly what's at stake in this giveaway. And yes, HRH and I bought it at the Hershey's store on the moon that I mentioned in Friday's post.

Even though there are no Canadian teams left in the playoffs, at least the NHL Finals feature two of the "Original Six" teams. It's the first time since 1979 that we've seen such a matchup. So who are you cheering for -- the Boston Bruins or the Chicago Blackhawks?

If you'd like a chance to win this chocolate Stanley Cup and nom, nom, nom your way to hockey dominance, here are the rules as established by the Commissioner of the NHL, Gary "The Bastard" Bettman:

1. You must be an official Follower to enter. Old, new or just signed up in order to enter the contest, it's all good. And it doesn't matter where you're from in the world, the Cup will be mailed anywhere!

2. In addition to being a Follower, you must leave a comment on this post. If you leave a comment but don't want to be entered, just say so (and that's okay!)

3. Only one entry per person.

4. The winner will be chosen by random draw made right after this year's final Stanley Cup playoff game and will be announced the next day. So you can enter at any time until the real Stanley Cup is won by the 2013 championship team.

Sunday 16 June 2013

Happy Father's Day!

Thanks, Dad! Enjoy your special day, all you fathers out there!

Friday 14 June 2013

We're Back!

Her Royal Highness the cat and I had a GREAT time on the moon. Did you know that Hershey's has a store there? Strange but true. We brought back a BIG chocolate bar for My Rare One. (Plus another special chocolate treat that will be featured in a giveaway post on Monday!)

But despite the chocolate bar, My Rare One's nose was still out of joint because she didn't get to go on the moon trip with us. So she and I went on our OWN holiday after HRH and I returned.

In Hamilton, Ontario, we attended the Bicentennial Re-enactment of the Battle of Stoney Creek, one of several battles during the War of 1812 where British troops and Canadian locals prevented an attempted American invasion.

We also enjoyed meeting a couple of blogger friends for coffee and waffles at the Cannon Coffee Company, a funky Hamilton artisan coffee shop. Stay tuned for a special post to learn WHO we met!

And we also spent a few days in Quebec City to enjoy an even OLDER period of Canadian history when France was the colonial power before Britain took over in 1759.

I'll be posting more about these adventures in due course!