Monday, June 29, 2009

Update on a Weekend of Writing, Music, Photos

Yesterday was a rare day for me. I actually relaxed and took some time for myself. I headed to a nearby cafe (on foot - it was too windy to ride) with a book I have been meaning to finish, and actually got through it. No marches, rallies, meetings, or events. Just me, a cup of chai, and The Shack.

My latest article for the Phoenix Multi-Faith Society is "A House of Understanding and Cooperation: The EMCN's Trinity Manor". I also wrote one about the Genocide Memorial Garden dedication ceremony I attended last week, but it hasn't been posted yet.

The Spring issue of Prairie Books Now is online and available to download. On Friday, we put the July/August issue of Boyle McCauley News to bed. The July issue of the SPURR has been delayed by a couple of weeks due to circumstances beyond our control. I spent part of yesterday doing some editing to make sure everything is fresh and timely when we hit print.

On Friday evening I took part in Critical Mass. June is Bike Month, so it's the biggest Critical Mass of the year. The weather held out until we started to ride at 5:30 in front of City Hall. Then, the sun went away and the wind kicked up. Fortunately, we made it through without anyone getting blown away. Here are some pictures. Afterwards, a knight in shining armour picked me up in his van, and we went to Edmonton's only Chinese drive-through at Panda Hut Express.

On Saturday I went back to the congregation for the first time in around two months. I gave the Torah homily, which was also featured on the UMJC's Torah study list and on their website. I also ended up playing guitar with worship, as apparently things have been a cappella as of late. I managed to tune my guitar to the piano.

What was especially thrilling about the service was that I met Sarah, Phil and Trish's new baby who was just born on Tuesday. I'm definitely getting to be more of a "kid" person. In fact, on Friday afternoon before Critical Mass, I helped a friend babysit a few of his grandkids - two girls under the age of five and a six month old baby. And apparently, there is a name for women like me: PANK. Professional Auntie, No Kids.

For lunch, I went to a new pho restaurant called Pho Hoang Pasteur. Then, it was off to Louise McKinney Park for Jazz in the Park, a free afternoon concert as part of Jazz City. In addition to the bands (which included local favourites Bomba and Alfie Zappacosta), there was food, a beer tent, and an instrument petting zoo where kids could check out and try the instruments. Needless to say, there were some interesting sounds coming from the pagoda. Here is a look. The act I came to see, and was not disappointed by, was Ndidi Onukwulu who is a female vocalist from B.C. performing a mix of jazz, blues, rock, soul, and worldbeat. I really enjoyed the variety in her sound.

As I approached the festival area, I was taken by an installation of an office cubicle sitting right there in the park. It was part of The Works visual arts festival, and certainly made me think about workplaces and office space.

So that is pretty much a summary of the past few days, if you add in a few coffees with friends, guitar playing, housecleaning, and learning to throw a football.

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