Vacation 2022

Well, it has been more than a hot minute since I last wrote. Where the heck did this summer go? One morning, I woke up and looked out the window and spring had left and summer was peeking in the windows. I blinked and summer was gone!

Fortunately, I have had the wherewithal to take lots of pictures.

Earlier this year, Alex and I discussed what we were going to do about a vacation. We decided that Europe was not an option yet. Nor was heading south. So, we felt that it was time to head back to the Maritimes.

First was to find flights. Both National airlines were stupidly expensive. Flights started at around $1,400 / person with a 3 – 5 hour layover in either Montreal or Toronto. *shudder

So, I started looking at regional airlines. Swoop (a discount airline) had flights from Abbotsford to Edmonton and then direct flights from Edmonton to Halifax – PERFECT! The best part was, even with paying to choose our seats and baggage fees, our bill was just under $1,200 for the two of us – RETURN. Hooray!

Next, was booking hotels and car rentals – we decided that we were going to make our own way around and not stay with anyone – a wise decision on our part. Car rentals have gotten crazy since the pandemic started. Fortunately, I was able to secure a 9 day car rental in Halifax for just under $930 (unlimited mileage).

Not so fortunately, I was not as lucky in Edmonton for the first part of our trip – The rental agency I used for the first (and last time) was very disappointing. I reserved a mid-sized car online – used a code that I got from an organization I recently joined was denied at the agency location in the airport. So, I was forced to take what they gave me – a 2022 Dodge Ram 1500 pick up with all the bells and whistles. The rate went from $111 for the day to a whopping $378 for the day! Word of caution to anyone reading this –

DO NOT RENT FROM A RENTAL AGENCY WHOSE NAME IN LATIN MEANS “BIRD”!

Back to the trip – September 7 – we arrived in Edmonton just after Midnight. Picked up the rental behemoth and made our way to our hotel – Radisson in Leduc – short trip from the airport. We went straight to bed.

September 8th – We got up reasonably early. I went for a quick 4 km walk. Alex and I then went to St. Albert to visit my parents’ and sister’s graves. Fortunately for me, Alex has a good memory. I knew where the cemetery was but wasn’t sure of where they were resting.

Alex remembered where they were. We dropped off flowers.

Visiting this site still makes my heart ache but, they are all together and that gives me some comfort.

From there, we went and met up with my best friend from High School – Sharon. Sharon and were inseparable in High School. We did everything together. So, it was so much fun to meet up with her, her husband (Scott) and her parents – Phil and Irma.

Phil and Irma are originally from the Maritimes and so there is a possibility that Alex is related to them somewhere down the line. One day, we will have to explore that.

From there, we made our way over to my niece and her fiancee’s place.

September 9 – We said adios to Edmonton at noon on the 9th and headed off to Halifax. We arrived at around 9:00 local time and made our way to our hotel. When we entered the hotel, we were greeted by Alex’s best friend Angela and her beau, Glen. What a great surprise! We sat and had drinks with them for a couple of hours and then it was time for bed.

September 10 – After a wonderful breakfast with Angela and Glen at their house, we were off to Moncton. We arrived in Moncton mid afternoon. We made our way to our hotel – checked in and then were off to visit Alex’s sister, Anna.

We had a thoroughly entertaining visit with Anna for a few hours – then back to Moncton for dinner and a good night’s rest.

Dinner was at a great Brew Pub on Main Street in Moncton.

September 11 – The day was spent with Anna, her son, Mark and his son, Tyler and Anna’s husband Larry. We had a great time at their place. Sadly, none of Alex’s other brothers and sisters were able to make the trip to see us.

September 12 – Today was the day to head off to the Bay of Fundy where Alex and I spent the day wandering around. But, first we made a stop back in Sackville, NB where we were able to find one of Alex’s aunts living in a nursing home. She was so overjoyed to see Alex after so many years. Needless to say, lots of tears were shed.

Then off to Amherst where we stayed at the Wandlyn Inn. A very cute older hotel. We had a stop at Mel’s diner where we have eaten every time we were in the Maritimes. Sadly, Mel’s did not survive the pandemic.

Then off to Amherst where we spent the evening at the Wandlyn Inn

Hopewell Cape – Bay of Fundy

September 13 – Off to Peggy ‘s Cove

September 14 – Back in Halifax

We arrived at our hotel in Halifax and the manager on duty was so nice. He upgraded our room at no charge and put us in a suite. Hooray!

We then went and had dinner at Angela and Glen’s to round out the week.

September 15 – Back to Edmonton. We got into Edmonton at around 9:00 pm – made out way to our hotel.

September 16 – We spent the day visiting friends and family.

September 17 – Home Sweet Home

2 Performances Left!

This week is bringing the close to one of my favourite production: Over the River and Through the Woods. This show has been a real labour of love for me. It has brought together an incredibly talented cast and crew. I am so happy to have worked with this group:

Don Briard – playing Frank

My only shot of him – he had been exposed to Covid-19 and was exercising an abundance of caution

Not only did Don take on the role of Frank, Nick’s Maternal Grandfather, he also directed the entire production. Don is a multitasker par excellence. He designed the set, built the set, and created the “essence” of the entire production. I learned so much from him.

Joan Koebel – playing Emma

I have worked with Joan on a number of projects in the past including Calendar Girls and Crossing Delancey. This production, however, allowed Joan to really stretch her acting. Not only did she perfect the “Italian-American” Grandmother schtick, but, she also got to do a little singing and dancing. She definitely brought Emma, Nick’s paternal grandmother to life.

Daniele Methner – playing Caitlin

What a treat to work with Daniele. She made Caitlin her own. She brought a gentle humour and a joyful essence to her character. Her line about calling Nick an “asshole” always brings me such joy and laughter!

Mike Parker – Playing Nunzio

I have never had the pleasure of working with Mike before and I really hope that this show isn’t the last time. Mike’s ability to channel Nunzio, Nick’s paternal grandfather, a curmudgeonly gentle soul makes this production!

Sheila Keating – playing Emma

Sheila brings such empathy and joy to her portrayal of Emma, Nick’s maternal grandmother. Her ability to make everything a reason to eat embodies what a grandmother should be…

Adam Arki as Nick

You would never know that Adam has never worked in theatre before. His portrayal of Nick, a driven corporate executive in marketing, shows us all that we need to take a little time to explore the world we live in and seize opportunity when it is presented, even if that opportunity is given to us by our grandparents.

I urge you to try and see this show before it closes tomorrow.

Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival – 2022!

The Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival is back! I am so proud to be able to work with this incredible organization.

I am stage managing the 102.7 Peak Main Stage performances on Saturday, June 25 and Sunday June 26

Performers take to the stage starting at 11:00 am

  • Qing Yun Music Ensemble: 11:00 AM
  • Eagle Song Dancers: 12:00 PM
  • AHSIA: 1:00 PM
  • Ludic: 2:00 PM
  • Dacey: 3:00 PM
  • Children of Takaya: 4:00 PM
  • Mauvey: 5:00 PM
  • Hotel Mira: 6:00 PM
  • The Zolas: 7:00 PM

Performers take to the stage 11:30

  • Coastal Wolf Pack: 11:30 AM
  • Desiree Dawson: 1:00 PM
  • Tonye Aganaba: 2:00 PM
  • Best Night Ever: 3:00 PM
  • COCO JAFRO: 4:00 PM
  • Niña Mendoza: 5:00 PM

Saturday, June 11 saw the opening ceremonies for the Festival. The Taoist Society of Canada was there in their full regalia to do the blessing ceremony for the new boats that the society was able to get. Local artists were commissioned to design and decorate a number of these boats. They are, indeed, works of art.

The ceremony was well attended by local dignitaries, dragon boaters and local residents. I am so looking forward to seeing these boats in action as well as watching and listening to a fantastic lineup of performers. Hope to see you there.

June 8 – Celebration follow up

In my last post, I talked about my Paternal Grandparents being commemorated by Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Centre. I got a few photos to post below:

My Cousin Wout holding the medal from Yad Vashem

Roughly translated: My grandparents received the medal and award posthumously. My paternal grandfather, a cattle merchant, was also a resistance fighter was shot and killed. He and his wife were hiding three young Jewish girls on their farm.

The “Righteous Among Nations” award that my grandparents received from the Israeli embassy was presented to my cousin, Wout.

I just received these photos from the event

June 8 – A Very Special Day

June 8, 1949 – My parents were married

June 8, 2022

Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Centre has issued an Invitation to celebrate my Paternal Grandparents

Translated: Presentation of the award Righteous Among the Nations

Translation is below:

Alex and I really wanted to be there for this monuments event but alas, Covid-19, uncertainty of war in Europe and my theatre commitments prevented us from going. I was advised by my cousin that they will be streaming the ceremony. Once I get that, I will post it on my site.

So, this days fills me with pride and a touch of sadness. I am so proud of my grandparents for doing what was right and just. I am sad that my parents aren’t around to see this.

OPENING NIGHT!!!

It has been an incredible journey but, tonight is Preview Night for my latest play: Over The River And Through The Woods! I am so proud of this production for a variety of reasons:

  1. I got to work with a couple of actors who I have worked with in the past: Joan Koebel and Sheila Keating. Both women bring such flair and panache to their respective roles as Emma and Aida.
  2. I got to work with some new faces: Adam Arki – who plays Nick, Daniele Methner – who plays Caitlin and Mike Parker – who plays Nunzio
  3. I got to work with one of my favourite directors – Don Briard. He is a very talented man with an incredible gift for making a play come to life.
  4. I got to work with a great crew who run the lights, sound and special effects. A special thanks to Rosemary, our props person who has gone above and beyond to create the food for the various scenes
The crew for Over the River and Through the Woods
My amazing Cast

The show runs from June 1 – 18 – Tickets range in price from $15 for Wednesdays and Thursdays to $25 for Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday Matinees.

Showtimes are Wednesday – Saturday – 8:00 pm, Sunday Matinees – 2:30 pm

Hope to see you there!

Over The River & Through the Woods

My newest Stage Managing Gig!!! Running at the White Rock Players Theatre, June 1 – 18. Order tickets here

My newest production is just in the initial stages of rehearsals and it is shaping up to be one of my favourite productions:

Act 1 Synopsis

Nick is a young, carefree bachelor in New Jersey who spends nearly every Sunday afternoon visiting and dining with either of his two sets of grandparents, who are ethnic Italians. One Thursday he makes an unscheduled visit to announce that his corporate employer will be promoting and relocating him to Seattle, Washington in a few months. His grandparents are shocked, and dedicate themselves to making Nick stay. Without telling him, they invite a young Irish woman named Catlin to join them at the next dinner, hoping the two will bond and Nick will remain in the area. Instead, they embarrass Nick in front of her, causing Nick to repeatedly snap at them. This disgusts Catlin, and following her departure Nick yells at his grandparents, berating them at their attempts to control his life. The scene climaxes with Nick having a panic attack at the result of the stress.

Act 2 Synopsis

Two days later, Nick is resting at his grandparents house recovering from the stress of his panic attack. His grandparents try a variety of methods to cheer him up, first by playing Trivial Pursuit, then by Nunzio telling a thoroughly exaggerated story of how he and Emma met. Later, when the two of them are alone, Frank recalls to Nick a story of his own father back in Italy, and Nick meditates on the complexity of his grandparents’ lives. Later, Catlin comes to visit Nick and apologizes for snapping at him. She tells him that if he stays in New Jersey, she’d be willing to go on another date with him.

The next Sunday, Nick returns to his grandparents house for dinner. He announces that he’s accepted the promotion, much to the dismay and grief of everyone. Nunzio goes to tell Nick about his terminal cancer, only to refrain at the last second, realizing that Nick needs to find himself without the help of his family.

Two months after Nick moves to Seattle, Nunzio dies of prostate cancer. Nick states in an aside that had he known, he would have stayed in New Jersey without question. Two years later, Frank and Emma have also died, and Nick is engaged. While visiting Aida, Nick offers to move her to Washington so they’ll be able to see each other more often, but Aida refuses, stating she’d never be able to live in a house other than the one Frank built for her. In the final scene, Nick takes a few mementos of his grandparents (Nunzio’s camera, Emma’s prayer cards, and Frank’s car keys), finally appreciating how much they loved and looked out for him.

I am thrilled to be working with one of the best directors around, Don Briard, who is also reprising his role as Frank, one of Nick’s grandfathers. Adding to this cast are Sheila Keating playing Aida, who I had the pleasure or working with on a previous play, Joan Koebel, who is reprising her role as Emma. I worked with Joan on a few productions, so it is always fun to work with people I have had the pleasure of collaborating with in the past. The new faces that I am thrilled to be working with are Adam Arki as Nick, Danielle Methner as Caitlin and Mike Parker as Nunzio.

Meet my cast:

Casting Notice

Over the River and Through the Woods by Tony winning playwright Joe DiPietro

Company: White Rock Players’ Club
Production Dates: 
June 1-18, 2022
Production Venue: White Rock Players’ Club, 1532 Johnston Road, White Rock 

Director: Don Briard (dbriard@telus.net)
Producer: Charles Buettner (buettnerboyz@shaw.ca)

Audition Date:    April 10 at 7:00 pm     
Audition Venue: White Rock Players’ Club, 1532 Johnston Road, White Rock

About the Play:

“Over the River and Through the Woods” is a play about the relationship between a grandson and his four grandparents.  It is a wonderful mixture of comedy and pathos, exploring the changing dynamics of family life and, by extension, the erosion of family ties as children and grandchildren scatter across the country.  The grandparents struggle to come to terms with the departure of their grandson who announces he has been offered a promotion that will take him to Seattle.  The wily grandparents try guilt, matchmaking and food in a hilarious series of attempts to persuade him to stay in New Jersey.


Characters needed: 1 

Nick Cristano               a rising PR executive in his mid 20’s to late 30’s.

Ideally the cast will be able to approximate New York accents, but this is not critical to the production.  Rehearsal days will be Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, but this may be adjusted to meet the needs of the cast.  All of the characters are in almost every scene..


Audition Process:

Interested performers please send expressions of interest (ideally including resumes and photos) to the director (dbriard@telus.net).  Audition material may be made available on request.

Notes:

It is requested that all members of the cast and crew be fully vaccinated to ensure the safety of all concerned. All provincial Public Health Orders will be strictly adhered to. This is a non-Equity production (all participation is on a voluntary basis), but we are open to casting Equity actors. It is up to the individual to apply to Equity and obtain an exemption.

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From Mage Mind

When a mage is sharing what's on his mind. Positivity, Motivation, Life, Success, Love, Friend, Smile, Marketing, Writing, Creativity and Good Ideas.

Lapis and Layers

Freshness has no expiry date

Dooryards and Kitchens

Food and stories from from a girl with memories of Maritime dooryards + kitchens.

Which me am I today?

One person's experience of living with dementia

The Old Lady in my Bones

A Living With Arthritis Blog

Level Up Stud

Physique, Mindset, Money & More

Building The Love Shack

This is the story of building a cottage , the people and the place. Its a reminder of hope and love.

1dashingdiva's Blog

personal journey to myself

Elaine Miller

randomly created blog, oops

anitadionnereimer

Adventures in 2011!

Original Organic Garden's Blog

*** Organic Soil Management *** ____ *** Mother Nature's Way! ***

Renade Imports - Magic Argan Oil

Discover the magical, all natural and organic benefits of Moroccan Argan Oil. Wholesale and retail, imported directly from the growers in Morocco.

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An opportunity to follow my train of thought without derailing....

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The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.