Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fog, a Fortieth, the Fairmount and Finally ... Frost

Nothing like an awesome alliteration for a snappy start to a blog post, eh?

Last week, the insomniac  took a break from packing and flew to Vancouver to attend Salmagundi's fortieth birthday celebration. Vancouver was shrouded in fog for much of the three-day visit. Which Was Also Awesome. Here is her attempt to capture a few artistic fog shots, aptly entitled “Things in Fog”.

Sylvia Hotel ... in fog.

Pacific Ocean ... in fog.

Ornamental Grasses ... in fog.

Canada Geese ... in fog.

Granville Street Bridge ... in fog.

Gazebo ... in fog.

Bizarre Sunlight Effect ... in fog.

Large Leaves ... in fog.

Not that you can tell from this picture.

Knowing how much the insomniac  dislikes having to walk into a party by herself, Mme.  Polaire agreed to accompany her, as she has been shopping at Salmagundi since she was an infant. She arrived at the hotel in the morning, dropping off bags and suitcases full of clothes, makeup and accessories suitable for the party's theme, which was Flapper Day of the Dead, and for which the insomniac  had absolutely nothing to wear. Before leaving the hotel for a bit of shopping, Mme. Polaire presented the insomniac  with an abundance of goodies; the insomniac  again making out like a bandit and Mme. Polaire ending up with one lilac petticoat. Although she put it on under the eyeball dress she was wearing, and it did look pretty terrific.

Obviously, the chocolate bar never made it
to the photo shoot again this time ...

We went to Dressew, where the insomniac  (who has been so very, very good since January and hasn't bought any new fabric due to the whole downsizing thing) finally caved and purchased six metres of 100% thick black cotton jersey, which had to be forced into a carry-on bag and stuffed in the overhead bin on the return flight. To date, the bag is still sitting in the closet, as it has not yet been determined whether it should accompany the insomniac  to the rental and be made into something suitable for wearing during long moonlit walks in the Spooky Forest, or whether it should just be put into storage with the rest of the fabric.

We stopped in at Salmagundi later in the afternoon for a quick look before returning to the hotel to ready ourselves for the party. And because the insomniac  has been so very, very good and hasn't purchased any many new things for Ten Whole Months, she caved again and bought a little red leather pen case, a tooled leather notebook holder, and a Victorian cake cooler.

All safely packed away in their storage box. Short-lived enjoyment.

Since she was obviously on a roll this trip and felt the need to accumulate just a teensy bit more, and as a sort of reward for having done so well with the downsizing, she also purchased one last item; not quite small enough to cram into the overhead bin on the aircraft but requiring truck shipping to Calgary, where it will arrive at the Gothic Mansion just in time to be hustled onto another truck and sent away to the storage facility for six months. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

Mme. Polaire kindly did the insomniac's  hair and makeup for the party, but unfortunately NONE of the pictures turned out. Isn't that right, Mme. Polaire? NOT ONE SINGLE PICTURE TURNED OUT. She looks amazing though, doesn't she?

Mme. Polaire in the lobby of the Sylvia ...

Very Flapper ...

Very Día de los Muertos ...

Anne, the Proprietress, lighting the birthday candles ...

As with all good parties, it eventually spilled out into the street ...

The insomniac  returned to Calgary Friday afternoon, threw everything from her suitcase onto the floor, chucked in some clean clothes, and headed off to Banff an hour later with her family. As the cake pans have already been packed away, we decided to celebrate our birthdays, all of which occur during October and November, at the Fairmount Banff Springs Hotel. We hadn't been there since they quit offering that really good deal in the slow season for three days, two nights, plus the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet.

And although this is not the insomniac's  picture of the hotel (which is glaringly obvious because it's such a good picture, and also because in order to get this shot you'd have to walk halfway up a mountain), this is probably what it would have looked like by Sunday afternoon - after the blizzard.

It would have been the perfect hotel for The Shining ...

We stopped at the Trading Post in Banff to visit the merman ...

Seeing him just never gets old ...

The Legend of the Merman ...

The primary reason for staying at the Banff Springs was to celebrate birthdays (unlike Salmagundi, it is NOT the insomniac's 40th), but also provided much-needed inspiration to try to get back on track with her decorating plans for the Little Gothic Cottage, which started out with visions of crudely plastered white-washed walls, dark timbers and minimal furnishings, but keeps reverting back to dark wallpapers, tin ceilings and other Victorian overabundance. White walls? Minimal furnishings? You're not fooling anyone, insomniac ...

Mount Stephen Hall

We need us one of these ...

We also need these chairs ...

This suit of armour ...

And that owl.

Minimal does not come easily to the insomniac ...

And now that the all-too-brief holiday is over and one has returned to her seemingly endless packing (due to her having not yet embraced a minimalist lifestyle), life in the Gothic Mansion is back to what passes for normal these days. Because there was no Hallowe'en decorating this year, the insomniac thought to share pictures of last year's decorations - taken the day after Hallowe'en and a hard frost. That cheap imitation spiderweb looks much better after a good frost, doesn't it?

The House Gargoyle is now in the Spooky Forest.

Buried somewhere under all that snow ...

This year, even though the veranda is bare and empty of Hallowe'en decor, there are plenty of toys and candy waiting inside. And hopefully our six faithful trick-or-treater's will make one last trip down that dark alley and long unlit driveway to the Gothic Mansion, so we can say a proper farewell.

Excuse our bubble-wrapped mess ...

Happy Hallowe'en everyone!

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.

IA

42 comments:

  1. What a delightful blanket she gave you!
    And all those fog shots? They're priceless... especially their captions =P

    What a joy it must be to trick or treat at the ol' mansion. I would've loved to have seen it just once in its full glory.

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    1. Isn't it beautiful, Madame MM? It's so soft and cozy, the insomniac  just wants to hug it and pet it and squeeze it and call it George.

      What do you think - send the fog shots off to a Pretentious Art Gallery and see if they'd like to do a show? ;o)

      Kinda sad to think this is probably the last time for Hallowe'en decorations in this ol' insomniac's life. If the kids don't like coming down a dark alley and long unlit driveway, there's no way they're coming down the one in the Spooky Forest! But just think of the possibilities - glowing eyes in the marsh, skeletons hanging in the trees, bears creeping out of the forest ... yeah, we won't get any kids out there. :D

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  2. Oh, so much goodness for me to soak in on this All Hallows Eve! :D Love your foggy pics. They're helping me in my quest to imagine that it's not still bright and sunny outside at 7.30PM on Halloween. ;) Your purchases are filling me with envy and the party looks lovely! My parents stayed at the Fairmount Banff Springs Hotel when they visited Canada a couple of years ago. What a stunning building... inside and out!

    And I adore a little alliteration, so that was just the perfect cherry on top! ;D

    Happy Halloween to you and yours, Insomniac's Attic! xo

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    1. LOL, why thank you, Little Gothic Horrors! That's so hard when it stays light until 7:30 - by that time all the really little kids are ready for bed! We just got our first lion at the door - hopefully, there'll be a few more tonight. He was so adorable - came right upstairs to say hi to the spouse!

      I think the Banff Springs is a must-see (just like the merman!). Even if a person doesn't stay there and only walks through the building, it's worth it to see such an amazing piece of architecture. The only bad part about the hotel is all the pretentious poops who frequent it. :P

      We both like a good alliteration, don't we? ;o)

      Happy Hallow'en to you and your family too, Emma! ♥

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  3. Well, first of all, Happy Halloween and Happy Birthday to all of you! That flapper Day of the Dead party looks like fun and the Banff Springs hotel is just dreamy. I would trade a lot to live in such a mansion.

    Your fog shots are great, the hotel looks amazing and so movie - like with all the ivy, but my personal favorite is the Canada Geese shot, it's terrific, really! :)

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    1. Thank you, Lynoire! And a Happy Hallowe'en to you as well!

      It was an awesome idea for a party, but other than the couple whose picture I took plus myself and Mme. Polaire, nobody else did the DOTD makeup. Which I thought was the most interesting part!

      We used to love going up to the Banff Springs every February with the kids. But when the hotel got bought out by a large corporation, they quit having those mid-winter specials and we had to stop going because it got so expensive. We all loved Mount Stephen's Hall - there are so many little corridors and staircases, it made for an excellent place for hide-and-seek!

      Jeez, coming from such an excellent photographer as yourself, your praise of the Canada Goose shot is high praise indeed, Lynoire! Thank you so much! :D

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  4. Happy Halloween Ms Insomniac!

    Those foggy pictures are just divine. They make me feel calm just looking at them.

    The party looks like a hit - so many beautiful costumes! What is 'The Sylvia', a hotel? Cause I just wanted to live in that picture of the lobby (?). The other Shining looking hotel is obviously majestic, but the Sylvia looks cozy too.

    I am just embarking on this year's Halloween celebrations, with Trick-or-Treating kids coming around in a bout an hour or so :)

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    1. And a Happy Hallowe'en to you, Ms. Misantropia! Sounds like your party was a huge hit - I'm so thrilled for you!

      There's just something about fog, isn't there? The only time I didn't like it was when I was walking back to the hotel in the evening and couldn't see two feet in front of me. Gave me the creeps - damn, all those old horror movies! The Banff Springs is majestic, but I'll always have a soft spot for the Sylvia Hotel ... especially the lobby, with its griffin-handled chairs (which you couldn't see because the picture's too dark). I even like the old and musty smell in the bathrooms! :o)

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  5. One of these days you might get over your camera phobia. In the meantime, as always you rock behind it. I felt rather sad, thinking about your last Halloween at the mansion, bereft of decor. I don't suppose you'll see much for trick or treaters at Dave, unless Bigfoot, the zombie hordes and the odd porcupine decide to try their luck.

    Happy Halloween
    Ali

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    1. Actually, I was a little disappointed at how few of the party pictures turned out. I still haven't got the hang of taking pictures at night without them being all blurry. But thank you for your kind words! :o)

      I'm a little sad tonight too, Ali. We've had two of the regulars so far, and I got a little choked when the last one said, “I come here every year!” and I said this would be our last year here. The little gaffer choked up, too. Good thing we both managed to hold it together, or it could have gotten embarassing. :o)

      Doubt we'll get anybody out at Dave either, but there is a kid's Hallowe'en party in Water Valley that I could always volunteer at. If I get real desperate. Cause I don't love most adults all that much. LOL

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    2. Except for you, obviously. Happy Hallowe'en, Ali!

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  6. I love the hotel shots and that notebook holder is gorgeous. Happy Halloween!

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    1. Thank you, Variations on Light! It's funny, but when I first started collecting antiques so very, VERY many years ago, I always looked for items in perfect condition. Now I find I'm drawn to things like that notebook holder that are showing their age - just like me! LOL

      And a very Happy Hallowe'en to you! :o)

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  7. It looks like you had a blast here, too bad I missed you since we were away! Yes it has been very foggy here and quite beautiful, as your photos show, perfectly suited to the season.

    The Banff Hotel really is something, I saw it a few years ago and was astounded at this gorgeous hotel plunked in the mountains like that, very much in keeping with The Shining.

    That cobwebbing from last year looks great! Although you won't be able to decorate this year, I wish you a very Happy Hallowe'en! :)

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    1. I actually debated about mentioning to you that I was coming out, but I knew you were going away and thought you might feel obligated to fit me in, when you were probably already stressed about your upcoming trip! Which I hope was most awesome and everything you'd hoped for? :o)

      Did you know they never kept the Banff Springs open in the winter until 1969? Can you imagine being the lonely caretaker in that big hotel in the winter? Couldn't pay me enough money to do that job. LOL

      The frost vastly improved the looks of that cheap black cobweb - too bad it's not something you can replicate on your own! A very Happy Hallowe'en to you, blackhrtgurl!

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    2. Oh no worries, I think I was away right at the time you were here by the look of things anyways... next time! We had an amazing time, it was my first time there and it was everything I hoped it would be and more, but it was also pretty exhausting as we walked everywhere and my feet and legs were killing me! Well worth it though, so definitely no complaints... I'll probably do a little post about it with some pics soon :)

      Actually I can imagine being the caretaker there in the winter, lol! Call me crazy, but I love that idea... I thrive on the creep factor of things like that, hehe!

      xo

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    3. I'm so glad you had a good time over there, blackhrtgurl! Although I read somewhere you had a rather sketchy landing in Amsterdam, I think. Still, now you know you need to go back and spend more time in that lovely city - it's on our re-do list! That's the only trouble with travelling - the flying, which I'm not fond of, and the aches and pains from so much walking! But as you say, so worth it.

      I'd probably have a nervous breakdown in the first week, imagining all sorts of things lurking behind pillars in Mount Stephen Hall. You're far braver than I am! :D

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    4. Oh yeah you must have read about the flight over at Ms. Misantropias page where I mentioned it... good gawd that was sketchy! There was quite a bad wind storm as we were flying in and the plane was all over the place, it dropped a couple of times and was swaying quite a bit... I never want to go through that again, eek! Not fond of the idea of flying again either, not only due to turbulence, but it just makes me feel really run down, like I have a cold or something, at least after those long flights... all that recycled air and the air pressure I guess, ugh!

      Yeah I guess I just find the whole idea of the other side and things that go bump in the night more fascinating than scary, hehe... I've had some strange experiences over the years and always find myself less afraid and more interested than anything... not that I haven't been scared a bit by a few things here and there, lol, but I think thats part of the *fun* for me ;)

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  8. Happy Halloween and Happy Birthday! That hotel is awesome. Have you sold the mansion?

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    1. Thank you, Rhonda! It is an amazing hotel - if you ever get up to Canada, you definitely need to put it on your list of things to see! And yes, we have. Gonna rent for six months while we wait for the new house to be finished. :o)

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  9. Thanks SO much for the fog pic, I really needed them!!! I was born and raised in San Francisco, and I LOVE the fog, but we hardly ever get any out here in Hayward... :-( I've always wanted to stay at The Banff Hotel... maybe someday.

    Hope you had a lovely Halloween!!!

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    1. You're so welcome, Lucretia! I bet you miss the fog - there's just something so wonderful about it. Except at night when you're out on the street in a bad neighbourhood alone. Muahahaha. ;o)

      I hope you get to stay there some day, too. We managed to get a really good deal on Expedia - that's the only reason we could afford it! LOL

      It's 8:08 and we've had two children so far. I'm guessing that's it for this year. Kinda sad. :o(

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  10. A Flapper Day of the Dead? What a great idea! It looks like you got to attend a very unique event--and a stylish one too!

    I loved the fog photos. I guess Vancouver had just gotten into Halloween mode before you arrived. And that Ivy on the Sylvia Hotel that has turned color? That's amazing! It seems to me last week was one well spent.

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    1. It was a very unique idea, Nightwind! Thank goodness Mme. Polaire did my Day of the Dead makeup, 'cause I gotta tell you, my “costume” really sucked. Big time. :P

      I was so excited to have the fog for three whole days! I can't remember the last time I was lucky enough to visit when it was foggy. I was also anxious to see if the ivy really did change colour, because I've never been out there in the autumn before. It really was pretty, and it was a lovely week away visiting friends - Tyrel included. :o)

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  11. Those are some seriously fine photos of your trip...and shame on you for not posting your costume Bet it was awesome. Happy Haunting.

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    1. Thank you, Fran! And no, the costume wasn't awesome - it was pretty awful. The makeup was great though! LOL

      Happy Haunting to you! :o)

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  12. Happy Halloween & Almost Birthday! You're lucky to get 6 trick or treaters, I got none.
    Don't worry - that fog must have screwed up all my photos...

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    1. Thanks, Mme. Polaire! It was great fun hanging with you in Vancouver! Thanks for all the lovely presents - that comforter is pretty darn cozy. :o)

      Yeah - those photos. When did those bags under the eyes and those jowls happen? Or have they been there for a while and I've just never noticed. Must have been the makeup ... ;o)

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  13. I enjoyed coming along Virtually... what an Amazing Time you've had! And you have shown far more restraint than I when it comes to acquisitions, but I must say that your Edited Eye did 'Score' some marvelous ones. I'm TRYING to resist adding and attempting to edit and purge my Collections, but I'm still a Work in Progress. Loved the Dia de los Muertos Calavera Make-Up on your Friends, we'll be Celebrating Dia de los Muertos today thru Sunday. And I'd LOVE to see your Spider Web Orb Shot!

    Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed your Virtual Vacation, Dawn!

      It's easier to be restrained when you know whatever you buy has to be immediately packed up. Normally, I'm not that good at restraint myself! I think us “collectors” will always be Works in Progress, although this move has definitely forced me to start editing more than I would have otherwise! ;o)

      I'll see if I can't work that spiderweb orb shot into a blog post somehow!

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  14. BTW: I really miss Fog... don't get too much of that in the Desert... except in Agricultural Areas sometimes, it's always so Beautifully Surreal to be emmersed in a foggy mist! Dawn... The Bohemian

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    1. Fog is my favourite thing - it makes everything look so mysterious, doesn't it? Only time I don't like it so much is when I'm walking at night. Watched too many bad old horror movies when I was a child, obviously. It still creeps me out. :o)

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  15. I do like the things in the fog, especially how the Canada geese are framed! I also love the bizarre sunlight effect in fog!

    I love the cake cooler! And I want to get to hang out with the two of you one day! Jealous! I am not surprised you two broke the camera with your combined awesomeness!

    I also want the red flower embroidered black shawl in that picture! Just remembered I have something a bit like it but without the red flowers! Yay!

    the hotel looks amazing! I have no idea where Banff is although it does sound a lot like the sound Nightcrawler makes when he travels! :P

    I too need those chairs and sofa! And possibly the squirrel and owl, should I find a big enough place!

    Your description of a Halloween in the spooky forest sounds wonderful! Maybe you could run an event!

    I am not sure about that mermaid though. I feel he might sneak out and eat people's faces!



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    1. The Canada goose shot was a lucky one - I walked by and then walked back and thought “that would make an excellent picture!” I took quite a few pictures of the sunlight and was desperately hoping at least one of them would turn out. It's so hard to tell on those teeny tiny little camera screens whether they've worked or not!

      Isn't the cake cooler beautiful? And wouldn't it be great if you could come to Canada one day and hang out? Although Mme. Polaire may have broken the camera with her awesomeness, I probably broke it for different reasons. ;P

      Banff is only about an hour away from Calgary in the Rocky Mountains. The hotel is absolutely full of the most amazing Medieval/Gothic furniture. I'd like to own every bit of it, except I wouldn't have anywhere to put it! And I don't know who the Nightcrawler is, so now I have to go Google that. He makes a sound that sounds like Banff? That sounds very interesting!

      You know, that's a really good idea to run my own Hallowe'en event, Laura. I think I need to give that some serious thought!

      That merman is the stuff of nightmares. ;o)

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  16. Oooh that clock! I don't need to say how jealous I am do i?

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    1. Because it's lacking its clockwork innards, I'm thinking of making it into a liquor cabinet... what do you think? LOL

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  17. WOW! Great Pictures... The Party looks very funny!... and oooohh.... The Fog! I love Fog... but: Fog always has something creepy in itself...

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    1. Thanks, Madame Kismet!

      Yes, there is ALWAYS something evil lurking in the fog, isn't there? ;o)

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  18. Beautiful beautiful pictures. Eerie and cozy all at once.

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    1. Thank you, Vanessa! Eerie and cozy sounds like the perfect decorating style, doesn't it? ;o)

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  19. Haven't been to. Canada since. I was a kid but after seeing your photos. I think I need to prioritize it in my travel plans! Breathtaking photos!

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    1. Thank you, Mark! But come in the winter ... it's so much prettier. And colder! :D

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