Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Tribute to the Ozmonds!

Upon the conclusion of my conference in Toronto my good pal, Sarah, came and picked me up from "The Castle" and whisked me a way to luxurious Cambridge. The sights, the sounds, the smells of this whimsical place lie vivid in my memory. Notable attractions such as the "Putt Hutt" and "Giant Tiger" quickly captured me. But even with all these features it is arguably the Ozmond family that is one of the finest things about Cambridge...if not Ontario. Mr. and Mrs. O have been faithful readers of this publication while I was in Zambia without us ever meeting. They welcomed me warmly into their home. And when I say "warmly" I'm pretty sure they cranked the heat from what it normally would be for my wimpy BC bones. And so Sarah and I did what we do best...reek havoc in malls...just like the good ol' days at the portrait studio! We don't follow direction all that well. The sign on the glass says to stay back and off the ledge. We were too captivated by the ice and the Zamboni. And of course we had to take the opportunity to pose with our Ontario Olympic heroes. Obviously. And while Sarah had to work I enjoyed the retirement lifestyle with her parents. I came to quite enjoy it. The Ozmonds were all far too good to me...and so here is my tribute to you! Thank you!!

Here is a photo captured of my time with them.

Canadian Youth Workers Conference

If there is one place I love in the bleak mid-winter it is Ontario! Two years ago I spent 5 glorious days in the Greater Toronto Area in February on my way to Zambia. On December 4th (I know it's not actually winter...but it felt like it!) I found myself on a Westjet flight to Toronto for a Youth Workers Conference. I really do love Westjet but flight attendant Ashley was very cold to me. I tried to be as perky as possible to try and crack her but to no avail. I watched her the whole flight. She didn't crack for at least I know it wasn't just me. Poor Ashley. Rough day in the skies.

My conference was at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel which, by the way (BTW as the young people say), is NOT actually a don't bother bringing your tiara and'll just feel out of me.
A lot of good seminars and sessions that kept me busy. My favorite moment may have been when the 65 year old lady next to me started "raising the roof" during a performance by a hip hop group called "Manifest".

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Christmas Storey

Click here to read "Shannon's Christmas Address"

(It's all very regal. I did just spent some time in a "castle"...details of which will be posted shortly)

Life is Better in the Sweater: Day 8

It's finally here, Day 8 of "The 8 Days of Christmas Sweaters." The culmination of expectation over the last 8 days finds its fulfillment in this Christmas Day sweater. This sweater holds a special place in my heart as I had it custom made last year while I lived in Zambia. I minibused it down to City Market where my sweater making lady and I came up with this! I told her I wanted a Christmas tree...she proceeded to draw a leafy deciduous tree. We quickly worked that out. I love what she came up the tree seems to have arms and legs. Beauty! The ribbing bears the colours of Zambia's national flag, green, black, red, and gold. Under the tree reads "Merry Christmas" and above it says, "Canada," that was her idea. It was supposed to have "Zambia" written opposite "Canada" but that got lost in the mix. This sweater has a lot of heart and represents a place where I left a huge chunk of mine.

Click here for Sweater Sisters '08 photos

I led the family in a little "Sweatercize" workout this morning to classic Boney M hits.

And so concludes the first annual "8 Days of Christmas Sweaters"!! Thanks for following and all your lovely comments. Be sure to check back soon for an opportunity to cast your vote on your favorite at "Sweater Election '08"! Merry Christmas to you!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Life is Better in the Sweater: Day 7

And so Christmas eve has found an over-sized snowman sweater! The glitz, the glam, the glitter...and why put one snowman on when you could have four! And all wrapped up in a giant ribbon bow. This one is new to the collection. Why anyone would let this one go is beyond me.

Snow has also found it's way all the way to the west coast and so me and my "men of the snow" took to the white wilderness.

Snow and a snowman seems it's almost too much to take in.
The morning started off well as the Storey ladies three had to trek out and push Dad's car out of the parking lot in our pajamas (except for Mumsie Storey...she of course was dressed and in her finest boots)

Day 7 is dedicated to the memory of my Grandpa who passed away one year ago today.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Life is Better in the Sweater: Day 6

See my vest, see my vest, put it's magic to the test! Today's festive feature is indeed another vest that rings proudly with bells and bows. It's decorative composition makes it perfect for more formal occasions as it is sure to jazz up any holiday simply can't go wrong with this one.It's important to know how to accesorize your outfits appropriately and so this subtle and tasteful Santa pin fits the bill just fine. It doesn't overbear the outfit but is just enough to add that extra pizazz.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Life is Better in the Sweater: Day 5

As we head into the second half of "The 8 Days of Christmas Sweaters" it brings us to this lovely! A new addition to the 2008 collection the textured, glitter paint takes this little number to the next level. This festive winter scape has a quality about it that simply leaves you at a loss for you can see. Dazed and amused like a reindeer in the Christmas lights!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Life is Better in the Sweater: Day 4

Now I hope you will not be upset with me...but I had to falsify some information as not to hurt you. As you can see Day 4 is not a sweater at all, but a vest! So because it includes less fabric I tried to jazz it up a bit with a bow tie and nutcracker doll. I find there are certain occasions when a sweater is simply not appropriate such as warmer climates and as a Walmart greeter. Sometimes you just want to class up your ensemble and this vest is the ideal choice. Also, if you find yourself at an impromptu caroling session and forget the words to "Winter Wonderland" you need look no further than down. And nothing is more classy than snowmen amidst a blood red sky.
I will warn you that one more vest is coming, I feel it only right to be honest with you.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Life is Better in the Sweater: Day 3

On the third day of Sweaters I truly have to pause...for a sweater filled with Santa Clause! And so this completes the trilogy of treasures from two years ago. It sure is a gem. The magical quality of this sweater simply radiates forth from it...when you get this many Santa's on a sweater it's bound to happen.

We took these photos earlier today and unfortunately the radiating magic of the sweater wasn't quite enough to keep one warm in Abbotsford's arctic conditions.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Life is Better in the Sweater: Day 2

Day 2 of "The 8 Days of Christmas Sweaters" finds this festive cardigan taking the spot. It was part of that original triune MCC sweater jackpot. The detailing on this piece is simply over the top. To see it in person is a magical experience as the fabric literally shimmers with red accent wool. But my favorite parts of this sweater are the prominent Scottish Terriers as well as the Christmas tree buttons adorning the front of this masterpiece. Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like Scottish Terriers. I don't know why Santa has reindeer when clearly these small dogs are the more appropriate choice.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Life is Better in the Sweater: Day 1

With 8 days until the fateful day that has driven all this holiday madness and my growing collection of festive wear I thought it only "fitting" to begin the First Annual "8 Days of Christmas Sweaters!"
And so we begin with one of my favorites. This sassy little number was one of my first finds two years ago at MCC when three beauties hung all in a row beckoning me to take them home. How could I resist??

You may recall this sweater from previous portraits from my days at the Sears Portrait Studio...Life sure is better in the Sweater for Sarah and Shannon!

Do you remember a time in November...

Here is a whirlwind tour of a time in November when hearts were young and voices merry...
'Twas a crazy month of retreats, conferences, and all things chaotic.

We start with the first weekend of the month. It was our Jr Youth Retreat at Manning Park. Oh what a jolly time we shared. No snow...but crazy fun none the less with no injuries!!
Notable highlights:
- bus ride with one student stringing together every obnoxious comment and question about our travels in a constant frenzy of chatter
- One boy, from Korea, who kept walking in around the chalet in just his boxers. He wrecked his pants on a hike later in the weekend so we forced him to wear a towel skirt! If anyone could make a fashion statement with a towel it was Sam...sometimes short, sometimes long, sometimes a-line, always trendy!
- a hike to the "Trappers Cabin" that involved no trail and a lot of bushwhacking and screaming
- mattress slides down the stairs
- dance parties
- forcing food down the children's throats..."What's a matter for you? You don't like it? EAT!! You're too skinny! You eat like a bird!"
click here for photos
and here again for more

The next weekend was the Christian Musicians Summit in Redmond, Washington. A bunch of us from Bakerview went down for the conference which included concerts, workshops and SWAG...stuff we all get!
Noteworthy highlights:
- Seeing Abe Laboriel rock out on the bass
- trying to jump during concerts in pews where the floor is slopped and there is a "Bible box" right at your knees so you have no knees and calves told the story of how that went!

Click here for more CMS photos

Third weekend: Sr Youth Retreat at Manning Park...second verse, same as the first...maybe not
We stay in a big three storey (I guess it's four when I'm there...muhahahah) chalet called "The Last Resort"...that Lincoln Park song runs through my head every time! We packed the bus full of 41 and went laughing all the way watching "Elf" on the way up.
Mentionable Highlights:
- snow, snow, snow!
- the mattress slide once again
- the delightful tunes of the really horrible sounding keyboard
- seeing Emmanuel -God with us- in a real and raw way and how he changed our students through one crazy night
- playing Skipbo in the middle of the night with Colby the Security Guard

click here for more photos

And that was November in a nutshell...stay tuned for tales of December including my wild winter adventure in Ontario, the Boars Head Feast, and two youth banquets...followed by a nervous breakdown and heavy sedatives!