Friday 31 January 2020

Practice Makes Perfect

Every weekday morning from 8:00 to 10:00, the tai chi group with which I practice meets in the large hallway of a big local mall before the stores open. Members include men and women in their 20s to their 80s, although most are retirees in the 60+ range (like me). Most members are Asian but there's a fair-sized non-Asian group as well. We practice both tai chi and qi gong over the course of our two hours.

I call this group the best kept secret in Edmonton, because it is absolutely free! There is no cost to participate or learn. The group's founder, his wife and the other group leaders are dedicated to making tai chi and qi gong freely available to all for improved mental and physical health. And they have no other agenda, which is refreshing.

There is a teaching element to the group as well. Lessons usually run for about half an hour. In the past year and a half, I've learned Wu style tai chi, several Yang style routines, a sword routine and a fan routine.

And believe me, none of it came easily! I am not a physically adept person, not an athlete, not a dancer. As Jenn from Coffee on the Porch with Me said in a previous comment, tai chi is like "learning a dance routine for weeks and weeks, bit by bit and then it all coming together." Very true! My initial challenge when I first started was telling my left hand/foot from my right. D'oh!

My next tai chi post will be about the fan routine. It nearly killed me, but I learned it! And it only took five months!

Wednesday 29 January 2020

Marvel Universe of Superheroes Exhibit, Part 2

It was nice and quiet at the exhibit hall on the day we visited. The exhibit had already been running for about 3 months so the big initial crowds were gone. Plus we went on a weekday afternoon when kids were in school.

Here are the costumes for Thor and his sister Hela the Goddess of Death. Also the movie prop hammer, Mjolnir, which they both wielded at different periods of time.

A lot of plastic died to make Thor's costume. I'm surprised it looks as good on screen as it does, because it looks more than a little cheesy in real life!

Mjolnir is a worthy movie prop, though.

So is Loki's helmet. That's my hand and camera reflected in the glass, LOL!

Captain America's uniform is the one worn in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Bucky's costume is the post-Winter Soldier uniform worn in Avengers: Infinity War. Both outfits look like they've had a few miles put on them. The MCU gots its money's worth out of them, I guess! Still, very cool to see the movie artefacts in person.

Cap's battle-scarred movie-prop shield is also part of the display.

All in all, this exhibit was a good way to spend a snowy winter's afternoon when it was -30ºC outside!

[All photos © Debra She Who Seeks/My Rare One, 2020]

Monday 27 January 2020

Marvel Universe of Superheroes Exhibit, Part 1

Earlier this month, My Rare One and I went to see the Marvel Universe of Superheroes exhibit currently running here in Edmonton. The exhibit marks the 80th anniversary of Marvel Comics and the 10th anniversary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It includes original comics, original art, movie costumes, props and memorabilia.

Thor flies on guard high above the admission desk so there's no danger of anyone trying to sneak in without paying.

Inside the exhibit hall are a number of "selfie station photo op" statues of such popular characters as Black Panther, Hulk and Spider-Man.

But what I was there to see were the movie costumes and props! They are not easy to photograph in the dimly-lit exhibit hall since they are behind glass that catches a lot of reflections, but here's some of my favourites --

Doctor Strange's iconic costume is displayed in a multi-mirrored case that shows it off from several directions. I especially liked seeing the back of his red Cloak of Levitation.

And here are the costumes of my favourite female superheroes! The Black Widow's uniform chosen for this display is not, alas, her black leather catsuit but one that looks like it is made out of stretchy athletic fabricwear.

The fierce warrior garb of General Okoye of Wakanda did not disappoint, however. (This photo's for you, Cal!)

And here's Gamora's costume from Guardians of the Galaxy (also Star Lord's).

The exhibit features brief glimpses and memorabilia of many, many comic book characters beyond the Avengers, including X-Men, the Inhumans and more.

But I am posting here only about my MCU faves. Accordingly, Part 2 of this post will feature the costumes and props relating to Thor, Loki, Captain America and the Winter Soldier. Squeeeeee!

[First photo from the internet. All other photos © Debra She Who Seeks/My Rare One, 2020]

Saturday 25 January 2020

Gung Hey Fat Choy!

Today is the Lunar New Year, so welcome to the Year of the Rat, everyone! Gung hey fat choy!

What can we expect in a Rat Year? According to Susan Levitt and Jean Tang in Taoist Astrology, the Year of the Rat is:

. . . a time of plenty, bringing abundance and good fortune. In this auspicious year, some of Rat's prosperity can influence everyone, regardless of one's birth animal. Expect a powerful year, when people are firm about their goals, passions and aspirations. Although there may be fluctuation in world economies, it is an excellent time to start a business, buy property, invest in long-term plans, or accumulate wealth. But it is not a time for foolish risks . . . . Rat loves the pack, so it is also a time for socializing, entertaining, and enjoying ourselves.

Okay, then! Sounds good!

Here's a fun little traditional ritual to encourage prosperity and abundance for the upcoming year. Exchange a coin with another person while wishing them Gung Hey Fat Choy (Happy New Year)! Make sure each of you brings your own coin of equal value to give to one another -- don't just pass the same coin back and forth. You don't want prosperity to simply swirl or circle around -- you want it to come and stay with you!

Thursday 23 January 2020

A Weird Fish Stew -- Enjoy!

There's no commentary in today's blog post
because, really, what could I say?

These images and cartoons speak for themselves!

Monday 20 January 2020


Hello, everyone. Her Royal Highness the Cat here.

Once again I must take up my duties as a
member of the Royal Family in order
to render service to my tribe.

I come to you today, dear friends and admirers, with an


on behalf of my beloved Prince Harry 
and his unfairly maligned wife Meghan.

As you've undoubtedly heard, the Duke and Duchess
of Sussex are retiring from all Royal Duties, giving up
their royal HRH status, and moving to Canada for
six months of each year.

More to the point, they will 
no longer be receiving public
taxpayer support from Britain.

They intend to become financially independent,
but will they REALLY be able to keep themselves
in the manner to which they are accustomed?

They can only rely on their personal fortune
of $40 million in the bank,
plus private support of $5 million
every year from Harry's Dad, Prince Charles.

So I fear for them, I do, the poor darlings.


It is unclear at this moment whether the
Canadian government will chip in with
major tax dollars to provide security for the couple.

My skinflint human had the UNUTTERABLE GALL to
email the Prime Minister of Canada and 
his Minister of Finance to protest any such
use of our tax money.

"No welfare for the wealthy!" she told them.

My gawd, is BOLSHEVISM next on her agenda?

So I must turn to


and beseech you to donate
something, ANYTHING,
to help these poor urchins!

All donations may be sent to:

Her Royal Highness the Cat
c/o She Who Seeks blog
Edmonton, Alberta


Friday 17 January 2020

The Truth About Tai Chi

I've been doing tai chi for a year and half now. It's been an eye-opening experience, I must say.

When I started, I was under the naive impression that tai chi was a meditative experience promoting love, peace and zen. Who knows where that idea came from? Probably from watching tai chi's slow and deliberate movements.

This view was reinforced by the charming and seemingly spiritual names for some of tai chi's forms (movements) -- "White crane spreads its wings" -- "Part the wild horse's mane" -- "Fair lady works at shuttle" -- "Step back, ride the tiger" -- "Wave hands like clouds" -- "Playing the lute."

Imagine my surprise to learn that tai chi is nothing of the sort. It is firmly rooted in martial arts. Every form is a fighting move, either defensive or offensive in nature. Like other Asian martial arts, the weapons used are hands and feet. Swords are also used in some tai chi routines. Fans, too. Weaponized fans.

This unexpectedly violent truth was brought home to me when I was learning a tai chi sword routine. I wasn't lifting my sword high enough in one particular form. The teacher grabbed my wrist and forcefully thrust my sword upwards.

"Higher, higher!" she said. "This is a throat slash!"


Now I know why gentle and meditative tai chi is sometimes called "how to kill someone in slow motion."

Tuesday 14 January 2020

Llama Llove

Following the Llamakah card sent by my sister,
My Rare One also gave me a card featuring llamas!

Isn't it cute?

Hey, how'd that guy sneak in?

Okay, that's all the bad puns I've got on this topic.

See you later --

Friday 10 January 2020


YES! It's time for the
as promised!

And I, Her Royal Highness the Cat,

All rise! Court is now in session,
JUDGE JUDY presiding.

Debra She Who Seeks: Oh oh.

Judge Judy: Are the members of the jury
ready to hear the evidence?

Jury Members: Yes, Your Honour, we're ready.

Debra She Who Seeks: Oh oh.

Prosecuting Cattorney: Your Honour, today I will prove
beyond a reasonable doubt the actual reasons
why the accused, Debra She Who Seeks, is
scarcely reading any real books anymore!

Jury: (audible gasp)

Prosecuting Cattorney: Debra She Who Seeks,
you say your reading of books has diminished
because life and other legitimate obligations 
simply get in the way.

Debra She Who Seeks: Yes, I am a very busy woman
despite being retired. I go to tai chi, I take art lessons
and bridge lessons too! I just don't have
any TIME to read!

Prosecuting Cattorney (pointing an accusatory paw):
But do you not spend hours on the internet every day

Debra She Who Seeks: Well, yes, but . . . but . . . .

Prosecuting Cattorney (whirling to face the jury):
And what about the time you waste on
(visibly shudderingCOMIC BOOKS?

Debra She Who Seeks: Now just wait a minute here!
I only read one collected edition all year long --
Captain America Vol.1: Winter in America! 

Prosecuting Cattorney: But you intend to read
all the subsequent volume(s) too, don't you!

Debra She Who Seeks (hanging head): Yes.

Prosecuting Cattorney (purring dangerously):
But now we come to the most EGREGIOUS
TIME WASTER of all, don't we?

Debra She Who Seeks (primly): I'm sure I have
no idea what you're alluding to.

Prosecuting Cattorney: One word!
And that word is FANFICTION!

Debra She Who Seeks (visibly shaking): No, no!

Prosecuting Cattorney (triumphantly): 
Yes, yes! ENDLESS HOURS spent on
the internet reading FANFICTION SMUT
about Captain America and the Winter Soldier!

Prosecuting Cattorney (mockingly):
"Oh, Steve!" "Oh, Bucky!"
"Smooch, smooch, smooch!"

Debra She Who Seeks (sobbing hysterically):
Yes, yes, it's all true!
I can't . . . I can't help myself!
I just love those kinky boys too much!

Judge Judy: Well, I think we all know what this means.

Judge Judy: And now, ladies and gentlemen of the jury,
it is up to you to decide whether Debra She Who Seeks
should be acquitted or convicted of the
crime of not reading enough real books.
And, if convicted, what should her sentence be?

Debra She Who Seeks: I fling myself
on your mercy, oh wise and compassionate jury!

So what's your verdict?