Wednesday, July 1, 2015

For Your Listening Pleasure

Here. Have some Saskatchewan music:

This is Belle Plaine (Melanie Hankewich). She grew up at tiny Fosston, which is just north of Wadena.

Here's another up-and-comer:

A voice and style that made me sit up and take notice; my ears are smitten:

And here is one of my favourite singers, a class act:

The first time I heard Alexis, I was in bed listening to the radio. I jumped up to reach for a pen and write down her name, so I wouldn't forget it.
Months later the quartette Rosie and the Riveters played a house concert in Wadena, and after the show Alexis was sitting at our table in the church basement. It wasn't till I saw her name written on something that I realized it was she of the accomplished vocals I had so admired.

Then there is Rosie & the Riveters, going great guns; I'd trade a boob for the opportunity to be singing like this with others. Instead I pop in their CD and warble along, alone in my house; even that is immensely satisfying when the songs are good ones:

This is an original song written by Farideh, on the far left, who has been writing really fine stuff. And next to her is a little gal whose mother grew up at Wadena; Melissa is also an excellent songwriter.

Also, I sent out my first Five Things newsletter this morning. To SUBSCRIBE, SEE THIS.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Smoke Lifts

The smoke abated enough during the night that Scott felt he could open the bedroom window wide while I was still asleep this morning and turn the overhead fan on above the bed, before leaving for work. This cooled the air, making it difficult to continue snoozing, but I managed it for about an hour! I'm good at sleeping.

It's cooler today but the sky is still grey and some smoke remains. I feel for all those people — mostly women, children and those with health conditions — who are out of their homes and moved to shelters in Saskatchewan cities. The men of their communities have stayed to fight the fires.

I'm also thinking about all the very young wildlife that won't have made it out of the flames and smoke. Many will have perished.

Here, Dad's coming over for lunch so I have to come up with something to eat. It will be my breakfast, so ... eggs and toast? He's probably already had that today. Hm.

Also, see EVERETT FINDS A THING. For what he finds humorous or entertaining.
And sometimes, so do I.
Today it's not workplace-friendly.

Monday, June 29, 2015

100 Fires

No walk for Ms Kate today.
My eyes were stinging before I got to the end of the driveway.

Looking south down the road.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

This is what I wish it looked like outside but due to wildfires up north, practically the entire province is under a smoke advisory. The sky is a weird grey and we must keep the windows closed so the air in the house doesn't fill with smoke too.

The beautiful wild grasses. I can't help it, I love them.
After the good rain we had last weekend, everything is super green.
Even the old girl, Jenna Doodle, made it this far. Lately she has been stopping and waiting in the driveway for us to return. She has a pronounced limp now and is starting to look her age, getting grey on her snout. She's 13 or maybe 14.

The sun had already set but there was still light in the northwest when I went for a walk last night after the day had cooled down. It's not a good idea to be on the road with a dog when visibility is poor, in case a vehicle comes along, but there wasn't a one so I didn't have to pick up my little hound and take to the ditch. And did I ever enjoy that walk. Everything looks, smells and sounds different in the semi-dark.

I was up late last night, watching TV after Scott went to bed around 11. We had watched something together — what was it now? Lord, my memory ... oh yeah, Last Tango in Halifax, another British series Mom also would've liked. That Detroit PBS channel has some fabulous programming; if we were ever to lose that station, I'd find a way to get it back — it's that good, if you like the kinds of shows I do — shows with interesting characters, no violence or gore, and no commercials. Yay! I did my yoga while watching the first part of the new series Poldark and soon abandoned it in favour of Father Brown, the crime-solving clergyman. And finally the new True Detective came on and, because RACHEL MCADAMS, a Canadian gal, is in a role quite different from her usual, I stayed up, actually dozing through most of it and finally getting off the couch at 2 a.m.

Why is it that once in bed it takes a while to get to sleep, while on the couch it is quick? Then I slept in till 10 this morning so am feeling like a lazy lout. This is the first morning in three or four days that I haven't been forced out of bed too early due to the "neck thing." There probably was some catching up to do.

It's past 11:30 and I'm still in Mom's housecoat. All I've done so far is have toast with my coffee and go out and turn on the sprinkler and move it once or twice. Most Mondays I'd be baking bread, but with the kitchen still in a bit of an uproar I can't be bothered. Fortunately I froze many loaves while sticking to the Monday routine.

Scott installed the last cabinet yesterday and did some drywalling but the handles will take three weeks to arrive and I haven't put everything away yet. Maybe today I'll get a jump on that.

Check out THIS PRETTY GARDEN on this WONDERFUL WEBPAGE for admirers of Virginia Woolf.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

When Dogs Imitate People

"Ducky," he said to the small beast tucked in beside him, "are you making fun of me?"

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Rabbit that Lives in Our Yard

The day didn't start out too well. Migrainey, nauseated. Didn't get to the office till 11:30.

But on my way to the car, I saw the rabbit that's been eating our dandelions, and heaven knows we've got plenty of those and it's welcome to them.

Nibbling on a leaf for its midmorning snack.
At least it hasn't broken my heart yet by eating my flowers.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hanging It Out

Today's draw of a TAROT CARD brings to mind something my friend J has been saying about not drawing attention to your flaws or weaknesses. She has been attending a Toastmasters group and picking up pointers about how to present oneself and get one's message across.

While they have been telling her not to point out possible drawbacks in her own presentations, my card today advises not to waste energy trying to hide them.

A couple months ago I wrote an editorial about the inevitable errors and oversights made in publishing a newspaper. So many words go past your desk that by the end of a day, you're seeing what isn't there. It doesn't matter how capable you are, how fussy, even how intelligent; mistakes will be made, they'll be in print for all to see, and you'd better get over it and get on with the next task. I wrote that when I began working at the paper, I was a bit hoity-toity about sloppiness in published productions, but before long I came to understand that we are all probably as bad as each other. Shit happens.

Under the oak trees

I was surprised to hear how different readers interpreted it.
One thought I was apologizing for imperfections. I sure as hell wasn't. I was saying they're inevitable, period.
One thought the editorial was too personal; I should write about more important subjects, like politics. (When I know something about politics, maybe I will. What I do know about? Published typos and other errors that make me grit my teeth and struggle to maintain my healthy self-esteem.)
Another thought the piece was a bit too long.
We don't get a lot of feedback on anything we put into the paper, but one reader responded that she understood what I was talking about and that we do pretty well as far as she is concerned.

For the benefit of new readers, HERE'S THE ARTICLE. Originally I wrote it for this blog, then thought it might fit well on the editorials page, where we sadly lack input from local readers (and writers).

Where I agree with the Toastmasters: when you're trying to make a point, focus on that point. Don't be self-effacing; don't say "It's only my opinion" and "I think." It's already obvious that it's your opinion and you're saying what you think.

Where I disagree: I believe it's okay to admit you aren't perfect, that you're nervous and uncertain. A little humanity goes a long way with your listeners, who can relate to you more easily when they can see that you are more like them than not. Don't work too hard to present a polished image; let your human self show. Maybe this isn't the best approach on a speaking stage, but in life? It's the only way to go.

In the oak trees.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Among His Pets

Our house sits on 32 acres, so every spring Scott and Bruce bring a few cattle over to chew the grass down. Sometimes it's only bulls they move here, to keep them away from the heifers and cows till the fall breeding season; other times it's cows and calves. 

This year it's cows and calves.

They always seem a bit shy, but usually like to have their ears scratched.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Perfect Summer Day

Not too hot, not too cold. I lack only a friend to sip with. And a patio.

It's 7 o'clock and my mate is still out working somewhere (so that I can enjoy this luxurious lifestyle, he'd be sure to say). It's just me, the dogs, the cattle and the wine.

I didn't wait supper though. I've had steamed potatoes and broccoli, and marinated sirloin tip steak. The kitchen's smoky; I'm frying a second helping of steak.

A bike ride might be beckoning. I haven't seen the baby teals today; they were nowhere in sight when I walked north, earlier.

Emil's Big Day

Emil was drying and I was washing dishes when through the window I saw Jenna Doodle take her wagging tail toward the driveway. She lay down on the grass instead of meeting the new arrival, so I knew it wasn't Scott.

When we spotted Rose come walking under the maple tree, we were both excited. A surprise visit from Uncle Neil and his lovelier half! Emil had just been wishing aloud that he could arrange a visit with Neil and was going to phone him.

The coffee pot went on and we jibbered and jabbered for an hour and Rose and I looked at the flowers and then it was time to go.

Emil is quite fond of Uncle Neil. 
Neil was getting a goodbye kiss.
Rose gave me strict orders not to put a picture of her on Facebook.

She went home with half a dozen oriental poppies, and later I dropped off the same number — delphiniums this time — at Rita's.
I asked Everett to take some pictures on the way to her place.
Rita lives in an old train station.

Next: Emil gets his chicken dinner.
Then the double-layer cake; the two of them knocked off half of it at first sit-down.

Emil wishes his dad a happy Father's Day.