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Lost in Motion

I found this while looking on the National Ballet of Canada’s site for tickets. I love it.

Last fall, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera reached a milestone birthday. Sold-out performances of the show on October 1st and 2nd at Royal Albert Hall celebrated the 25th anniversary of the musical’s London premiere and were filmed for viewing by fans worldwide. The special presentation features a cast and orchestra of over 200 and stars Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom, Hadley Fraser as Raoul and Sierra Boggess as Christine. Canadian Karimloo (read interview here) is a veteran of the London Phantom, and starred, with Boggess, in Lloyd Webber’s Phantom sequel Love Never Dies in London in 2010/11.

I had not seen Phantom for many years before attending the anniversary performance when it showed in theatres across Canada last October 3rd and I enjoyed it very much; I had forgotten how moving this musical is. All of the performers are excellent, with Sierra Boggess really outstanding as Christine.

Phantom has been airing on PBS this week as part of its Great Performances series. If you haven’t caught it yet, you can still do so on Saturday evening, March 10th. And if you miss it there, the DVD is now available. I highly recommend catching this show. It will remind you of why Phantom, which recently celebrated its 10,000th performance in New York, is the longest-running show in Broadway history.

Maui, Hawaii

Ontario, Canada

On Lake Ontario yesterday the ducks were experiencing the result of a few days of very high winds, riding uuuuuuup and down, uuuuuuup and down on the waves. I was too lazy to get out of the car in the cold winds to try to capture their rides in a photo, but then I noticed a lone swan at the mouth to the harbour. I took a few photos from the car as it bobbed around in the waves and I wondered, do water birds enjoy playing in some good-sized waves at much as people do? Do you suppose any of them ever get seasick?

Animal hats of almost any kind you desire (and monsters and Sesame Street characters) have been very popular here for the last several years. Last Christmas I was tickled to receive a leopard hat as a gift from my sister. It’s made of cozy lined plush with long paws/scarves that you can use either to warm your hands or your neck.

After an unusually warm and snow-free winter to date, this weekend we finally got some snow and cold weather … really cold. It was definitely leopard hat-wearing weather this morning at -13 degrees celsius (8.6°F) when I headed out to shovel snow, -23 celsius with the wind chill. Fortunately, my cat hat kept me toasty warm while provoking smiles from passers-by.

To show how the hat works as a scarf and hand warmer too, I needed a volunteer and found one in the form of a doll. My daughter received the cute fashion model in the photos below, handmade especially for her by her nana, when she was just a little girl.

Read, Read, Read

That’s what I did during my spare time in January, I read lots of books. I had completed eight novels by January 31st (nine by February 2nd, so I’ll sneak it in here). January is an excellent month for reading. After the shopping and baking and general busyness in December, I don’t have any need or desire to rush out to the mall. The weather is grey and uninspiring, so why not just relax with a good book?

The year got off to a great start with The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina. I always enjoy Mina’s books. This murder mystery is the second to feature Glasgow Detective Sergeant Alex Morrow.

Two for Sorrow is the third fiction novel in a series that features real Scottish writer Josephine Tey, which I followed with Black Fish, a maritime mystery by Sam Llewellyn.

I really like Kate Atkinson’s books about private investigator Jackson Brodie. The latest (the 4th) is Started Early, Took My Dog.

I found fantasy/science fiction novel The Map of Time, by Felix J. Palma, quite a weird read. It took me the first hundred pages to get into it, but then it got quite interesting for a while when the author brought H.G. Wells into the story. The second part of the book I found quite silly, but then it got interesting again, and so on. I don’t remember ever reading another book that was, for me, so up and down. Still, I made it through the 609 pages of this novel in good time.

I very much enjoyed A Small Death in the Great Glen and A Double Death on the Black Isle, by A.D. Scott, which feature the staff of a small newspaper in the highlands of 1950s Scotland.

If you’ve read the first 17 books in Janet Evanovich’s series about Stephanie Plum, you’ll understand when I say that Explosive Eighteen is just more of the same.

The book that stayed with me the longest is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I didn’t expect to like this teen novel, the first in a hugely popular trilogy, nearly as much as I did. Its theme of children fighting to the death in a post-apocalyptic world is certainly dark, yet it doesn’t focus on the violence. As the story unfolds through the eyes of the 16-year-old heroine, it is about survival strategies and skills, emotions and personalities, and toward the end of the book, first romance. The movie version of this story is due out next month and I imagine its premiere will be a very big event. It will be interesting to see how it compares to the book.

We’ve had a remarkably snow-free winter here to date (not that that couldn’t change any day). So in lieu of any new photos of snow scenes, here’s one I took from my office window in February of 2008 of the company parking lot.

The Iron Lady

I went to see The Iron Lady yesterday. I haven’t read any of the film’s reviews so I had no expectations other than that Meryl Streep’s performance as Margaret Thatcher would be excellent. And so it is; she is really marvelous in the role. I enjoyed the movie but, surprisingly to me, found it as much a study of the onset of dementia as the story of Maggie’s years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. It is quite moving from that respect, as well as an interesting look back at British Parliament in the 80s. I recommend it.


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