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  1. Well, I have FINALLY gotten into the Christmas spirit. It's only taken me two weeks longer than usual. I've been feeling under the weather lately, plus Ian hasn't been around (we always put up the tree together) so we didn't get a chance to put the tree up last night. If you follow me on Instagram and Facebook you'll know that we recently adopted a new kitty - or, he adopted us. So we've only put up with lights and tree without the decorations to see if he's going to be nice or not.

    Saturday morning before Ian goes to work we'll put up the rest of the decorations and whatnot. I'm excited to get our home back into the Kitschmas spirit!

    Low of my week: Honestly, this has been a grand week. I suppose the low would be how exhausted I was on Wednesday, but that was due to a positive - swimming 750m & then doing a 45 minute deep-water fitness class. Maybe it was Archie's little accident last night - we put him in the bathroom so he wouldn't attack the tree, but I would have rather cleaned up a down tree compared to what I did have to clean up :( poor little guy...

    High of my week: I've had a damn good week, so there's going to be a few here.
    Entertainment: going to the Vinyl Cafe Christmas show with Ian. We went last year and loved it, so we decided to make it an annual tradition. We got much better seats, and one of my favourite bands The Good Lovelies were the musical guests. It really got me into the Christmas spirit.

    Financal: Well this is more of a month-so-far versus week, but I was elated when I  realized that I put a HUUUUGE dent into my  financial plan, and I'm only halfway through the month. I worked a 12-hour day in November, meaning that I got a pretty big bonus, plus I (finally) cashed a cheque from a freelance project I did. Both of those meant I was able to put $1,200 on my credit card after paying bills, tucking away $600 for Christmas shopping & the wedding. Putting away $1,200 versus the $400 I had budgeted for meant I jumped all the way to my April goal for paying off my credit card debt. Merry Christmas to me!
    I'll let my chart speak for itself here. Check out that last column and compare December to November! 

    I just noticed that the Chequing Balance for December is wrong. Oops.

    A blog post I loved:  Well this is YouTube versus a blog post, but it's how to do vintage curls with a hot iron by PinUpDollAshleyMarie. I don't use heat well (I have lots of burn scars to prove it) but I can't believe how gorgeous her set turned out! 

    Best money I spent:  $70 on getting my hair cut! I love my salon, Mousy Browns - they always treat me so nicely, my stylist Paige is great (friendly without being too nosey) and can cut a great middy! Plus it's close to home and they always send me packing with a few goodies to tide me over the next 6 weeks. 

    Weekend Plans: Finishing up my Christmas shopping, giving my bestie Heather a vintage makeover and taking her to the Jivin' Belles concert

    Hope y'all have a good weekend and a fabulous December! 

  2. Meet the Jivin' Belles!

    Friday, December 6, 2013

    A week and a bit ago, I was delighted to discover that there is a 1940s close harmony group in Edmonton called The Jivin' Belles - and I was even more delighted to meet up with them for a quick chat about their upcoming benefit concert for the Edmonton Humane Society.

    The trio - Emily, Kate and Mallory - have known each other for the past three years, as students at Grant MacEwan University's music program, but have only been singing as the Jivin' Belles for a few weeks. They're accompanied by a piano, stand-up bass, guitar and drums, played by fellow MacEwan students.

    All three say they have an appreciation of close harmony and music of days gone by, and their Christmas repertoire is heavily influenced by Bing Crosby's tunes with the Andrews Sisters from the White Christmas album.

    "I grew up listening to 'White Christmas', and as a vocalist especially I think we're drawn to that tight,synchronized harmony. It's funny, because I'll show that record to some people and they're just like 'meh.' How do you not love this?!" said Mallory.
    "I think there is more precision in having to be in sync with two other people. It's that much more of a challenge, because it is completely synchronized to the millisecond. It's so admirable of the Andrews Sisters, that they were able to get it so exact."

    If you're heading to the December 15th concert, expect a wide open dance floor - the ladies hope that all attendees take advantage of the swinging tunes and get the dance floor hopping. And YES, a 1940s dress code is strictly encouraged (if you need to go shopping, you know who to call).

    The concert is December 15 at 7 pm at the Sawmill Banquet Hall. Check out details, including ticket information, here.

  3. This weekend marked the end of an era in one of the biggest industries in Edmonton's history when the City Centre Airport (aka the Municipal Airport aka Blatchford Field) saw its last takeoff.

    The once thriving airport has been closed to make way for a commercial and residential development (one that I am actually very eager to see), but its passing was marked with several ceremonies and events this week. Sadly I only got to visit one lecture as I was under the weather all week, but I wanted to share some WWII history of this airport, as I think it's largely unknown - both in Edmonton and around the world!

    A small city in northern Canada seems an unlikely player in World War II, but my now-hometown of Edmonton, Alberta was the busiest in the world, with 840 aircraft movements in one day. The airport grew so big that the army moved to build a new airfield north of the city, where CFB Edmonton/Steele Barracks is still located and operates today. During WWII, Edmonton's population grew by 22,000 people!

    Edmonton was the start of the Northwest Staging Route, a number of air strips heading north to Alaska created in autumn 1940. The route was chosen for several reasons, mostly to ensure American communication with Alaska wasn’t cut off, and the route was invulnerable to attack. The route also provided safe travel for diplomats travelling between the US and Russia. At the same time, the Americans were building the Alaskan Highway to connect the airports, starting in Edmonton.

    Edmonton’s airport Blatchford Field was the first licensed airport in Canada, and during the war it (then operating as RCAF Station Edmonton, and would later become our smaller commercial airport) was also home to the Air Force Base and training schools. As you can imagine, this brought a lot of airmen to Edmonton from across the prairies.

    (In fact, if it weren’t for the RCAF Edmonton base, I wouldn’t be alive. My grandmother grew up in Edmonton and was a secretary for the Americans while they built the Alaskan Highway. My grandfather joined the RCAF and was stationed in Edmonton. They met at a dance, and the rest is history! In the 1950s, the dairy where my grandma spent her youth was sold to the government and became CFB Namao, and is now a fancy suburb.)

    The Americans delivered fighter and bomber aircraft to Russia via the North West Staging Route, with about 8,000 passing through the Edmonton airport. Many planes crashed, either due to weather, pilot error or mechanical failure, and Edmonton WWI hero Wop May created his own civilian para-rescue team to save men from needless death. Long-range air traffic control was also developed in Edmonton, by having a number of landline phones connected to the Edmonton airfield - crews would call in to Edmonton to see what was happening in their destination.

    Blatchford Field was taken over by the city in 1946 and became a small commercial airport for several decades until our International Airport opened in 1960, but is officially closed and will become a new city development. I look forward to see how the city will preserve an important but overlooked part of our heritage - luckily, the Alberta Aviation Museum will remain open, with a focus on Edmonton's aviation history.

    I've been lucky to visit the aviation museum for a few assignments (here and here), and Ian and I actually had our second date there (and the rest is history!)

    All photos from Alberta Aviation Museum Archives.