C is for Canadian

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As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, one day about four years ago, I woke up Canadian.  In the comments, a person asked me about how that happened.

It is not quite as interesting a story as it sounds, I’m afraid.  What that means is that the Canadian citizenship laws were changed on that day and, as a result, thousands of people (including Americans) who were not Canadian before that day became Canadian.

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I was one of them!

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My mother was born in Canada but emigrated to the U.S. with her parents as a teenager.  Due to the new laws, all of her children are recognized as Canadian citizens and are granted duel citizenship.  But the U.S. doesn’t recognize duel citizens so I’m a bit of an anomaly. (shhh!!)

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Some of my favorite Canadian stereotypes: Canadians are uber polite, even when upset and apologize about everything.

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Another stereotype: Canadians say “eh” a lot at the end of their sentences.
so-youre-canadian-eh-nah-i-dont-care-about-anything-you-could-say-reallyAnd lastly: Americans don’t give a crap about Canadians (more or less true, unfortunately!)

I’ll leave you with the link to the fun video that the Canadian Immigration put out to help spread the word about the change in the law and the many new Canadian citizens who are “secret Canadians!”  (LOL!)

It’s full of many more fun stereotypes.  Keep your eyes peeled for the Mountie!

B is for the British Monarchy

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Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the second monarch of that name to reign, after her predecessor, Elizabeth Tudor (Elizabeth I), another great monarch who ruled for many years and surveyed over what is now called “The Golden Age” of English history.

Queen Elizabeth is the second longest reigning monarch (after her great great grandmother, Queen Victoria) and ascended the throne in 1952 at the age of 25 due to the untimely death of her father to lung cancer.  She had never expected to become queen.  Her uncle was first in line to the throne as a child and when her grandfather died, he ascended as Edward VIII.  However, her father went from Heir Presumptive to King of England practically overnight when Edward the VIiI abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Simpson.  Princess Elizabeth then became Heiress Presumptive and subsequently queen.

Elizabeth II’s official seal “E II R” stands for Elizabeth Regina (Latin for queen) and the Roman numerals for being the second monarch of that name.

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Did you know that the British Monarchy has a website and has had some for quite some time?  I discovered this by accident while doing research and found that it is a veritable wealth of information for all things British.  And Royal.

Some interesting things you’ll learn from the website:

The British State Opening of Parliament, amongst all kinds of pomp and ceremony with centuries of history behind it.  This year, it will occur on May 8, 2013 and will likely be televised in many countries (almost certainly if you live in a Commonwealth country).  If you get a chance, I suggest you check it out.  It’s a fascinating lesson in history, tradition and the continuity of one of the most important monarchies of Great Britain.

Royal Events and Ceremonies, including State Funerals, Coronations, Investitures and the Changing of the Guard.

History of the Monarchy provides a timeline of all the British Monarchs and biographies of each using a wonderful visual graphic to illustrate the passage of time over the milenia.

The Royal Household is explained with a wonderful overview video and also delineates the specific divisions within the household.

Resources Elsewhere:

The BBC did a very in-depth set of documentaries about five years ago entitled “A Year With The Queen.”  The DVDs are still available and I highly recommend them.  Here’s a trailer of the documentary.

To go along with it, is this visually stunning and detailed hardback book (and part of my personal research library):

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Her Majesty has a sense of humor, despite her austere façade.  The world had a chance to witness it at the London Olympic Games last year.  Because it’s such a fun clip, I’m including it here!

On April 17, 2009 (almost 4 years ago, now!) I woke up a Canadian citizen.  As such, I am now a subject of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.  Believe me, when you are trying to catch up with a lifetime of culture and history, resources like these are very useful!

My Favorites: Blogs

Historical Blogs

Regency Redingote

The Regency Encyclopedia

History Undressed

Historical Tapestry

The Beau Monde

Hearts Through History

Natalie Garbett–Historical Clothing

The Dear Surprise (no longer being updated, but a wealth of information!)

Jane Austen Blogs

Austenprose

Indie Jane

Jane Austen’s World

Austenblog

Writing Blogs

Miss Snark’s First Victim

Romance University

Writer Unboxed

TERRIBLEMINDS (Chuck Wendig’s blog)

Pretentious Title (Rachel Aaron’s blog)

Book Review Blogs

Dear Author

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

Book Rat

Karen Knows Best

Smexy Books

Agent Blogs

Agent Courtney

Pub Rants

Query Shark

Rachelle Gardner

Video: Elegance and Decadance

I found these treasures on Youtube and thought I’d share.  Part of a series of episodes featuring the history, customs and culture of The Regency Era.

Elegance and Decadence: Portrait of a Prince

Follow the playlist for 2 more episodes after this one. (“Developing a Regency Brand” and “A Divided Decade”)

Celebrating Creativity

“Maybe, at the base of it… what creativity really is [is] just falling in love with the world” –Dewitt Jones

Some useful lessons to be learned about creativity:

  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  Learn from them but also turn them to your advantage.

  • There is never just one right answer.  Find the one (or several) that works best for you

  • Break out of your self-imposed ruts and patterns.  Learn how to switch it up by straying from your comfort zone.

  • Take your problems and turn them into opportunities.

  • Find and hone your technique.  “Vision without technique is blind”

  • Care deeply about what you are working on and put everything into it

  • Be willing to look beyond the ordinary and see something special.

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A while back, I was in a large group professional development class put on by our school district.  Like most any profession, corporate training (what we teachers call professional development) is a tedious but necessary part of the job.  Teachers are also lifelong learners.

Fortunately, this corporate trainer knew when to pull out the big guns and attract everyone’s attention with a discussion about creativity and looking at problems and situations from a different angle.  The training video he showed us was “Celebrate What’s Right With The World,” featuring National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones.

To say my socks were blown off was an understatement.  In the video, Dewitt talks about focusing on the positive in the world and in every situation, using that positivity to work around obstacles and begin to see them as opportunities.

Dewitt shared his amazing photographs taken during his time with National Geographic and afterwords, relaying the stories behind them and  truisms about how creativity is summoned from within, even when we think that well has run dry.

In “Everyday Creativity,” another one of his training films, he talks about seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary.  The bullet list above is from my notes from watching this film.  Key concepts are blow:

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View Dewitt Jones and his amazing photographs on Pinterest.

http://www.celebratewhatsright.com

http://www.celebratewhatsright.com

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