Thursday, August 28, 2014

Odd Coincidence

This morning I posted a recipe at Stubblejumpers Café, one that was given to me by my friend Carolyn. It’s been years since we’ve spoken on the phone and I don’t see much from her on Facebook, so before leaving for work I sent her a message just to say her recipe was up. Just a little shout-out, for fun.

 When I got home, I saw my cousin Karla’s number on the call display and rang her back. “What’s up?”

She is a lab tech assistant up north and was taking a man’s blood today when he said, You’re not from around here, are you. You remind me of someone I used to know. A girl from, where was it now ... Margo. 
By cracky. Karla is from Margo!
No kidding! What was that girl's name, now? He described her to Karla, who said “That sounds like Kathy.”
And sure as shit, he is someone Carolyn and I used to know up north and I, at least, haven’t thought of often for 30 years. And the funny thing is, he is Carolyn’s ex.  
And funnier still – no, stranger – is that he couldn’t explain what reminded him of me. It was the way Karla moves, talks ... He didn’t know why either really. The memory just came into his head, he said, as if he was quite baffled. 
That’s the first I’ve heard of anyone seeing a family resemblance between Karla and me. We are both surprised and amused. But it is kind of nice too.
I said I hope she isn’t too insulted by the comparison, considering I’m 15 or 20 years older than she is. Woot! as they say in blogland.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Well, the sun is out again.
In the summer, the first thing I do is take my cup of coffee and go see if it's warm (and dry: the dew settles on the chairs) enough to sit out there and bask.
Not today. Not quite. Almost.
Were I dressed . . . it might make all the difference.

One morning last week, I literally skipped down the driveway, just happy to be here.
The child has not gone from me. Oh no, she hasn't. 

Speaking of the child, here I was at age four I think, as the flower girl for Mom's cousin Beryl. 

Beside the bride, of course.
One thing I remember from the wedding day is that I wore this thing under the skirt to make it stick out like that. And was there a hoop? Well it was pleasing to me at that age, at any rate. The fabric of the dress was silky-lovely, and I was feeling pretty fancy. Did Mom make the dress, Reta?

And at the dance, a tall man (or was everyone tall to me, then?) plucked me from someone's knee and held me in his arms, prancing away with me. I was both thrilled and terrified, and laughed so hard that I cried at the same time.

I might still do that when I'm frightfully scared in moments of danger. Fortunately it happens rarely.

The last of a set of stationery cards on my bookshelf.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Furnace in August

Yesterday it was 67F in the hallway. I cranked the furnace up to 72 and stayed indoors all day, except for my trip to town to visit Emil for an hour in one of his two livingrooms.
I wore my swanky new leggings (thanks Joan) under my jeans and thought, well, aren't these much slicker than long underwear! No extra bulk, and nice and warm.
Emil insisted that we sit, not in his bedroom or in the living room that was quiet, but in the one with the TV on. 
Conversation was somewhat occasional, and I was often distracted by the television, but we sat there for an hour. And then he heard the house supervisor tell someone it was time to wash up for supper. He was up and out of his chair before I could lift my chin. I don't ever doze off while sitting up, but may have rested my eyes for a moment, a break from the four splashy women chattering on the TV screen.
"WoopWoop! I guess I'd better go wash my hands! It's supper time. Thanks for coming, Mom."
And he was off, and I was of no more interest to him than a gnat.

Earlier I had stopped at the Red Apple store, needing pillowcases. Okay, not "needing." Just "wanting." 
You've heard me pontificate about "discount" or cheap-as-dirt stores, saying that everything you purchase there is sub-standard and will start falling apart in the first washing, if it gets that far. But I had two sets of brand new feather pillows that needed pillowcases —Where have all the pillowcases gone? I guess they don't last forever, and the house elf hid ours for our own good — and there is no place else in town to buy them— or is there? shoulda held off till a weekday and checked the hardware store— and I didn't want to wait till I get to the city because heaven knows when that will happen.
And then, given my druthers, fabric containing polyester is avoided. But that's more when it comes to clothing, because the fabric doesn't breathe; perhaps it doesn't matter as much with a pillow case. Anyway, every bit of bedding at the Red Apple had polyester in it. I threw up my hands and grabbed two sets of pillowcases that were available without matching sheets, thinking at least these will keep the pillows clean till I find some better quality sheet-sets in my travels.
I washed and dried the pillowcases after arriving home and sure enough, while slipping them over the pillows, found a one-inch tear in the seam of one of them. 
And sure I could package them back up and exchange them for a new set, but screw it: it would take less time to stitch up the hole myself (and that's saying something, because I'm all thumbs with a needle after not touching one for perhaps years) than to stand at the counter while they fill out the paperwork. 
This frilly thing is far from my favourite type of poppy, but I'm partial to anything in the red colour spectrum. 

I really must go spend a weekend with Shirley, my industrious gardening, quilting aunt who lives in Margo, and finish the quilt Mom and I started during the year from heaven/hell, her last. Nine years ago. Lordy!
Hell because Mom was dying and that just friggin kills anyone who loves her. Heaven because it was nine months living in the same city with her and my sisters. We spent lots of time together, and not just ordinary time— though there was lots of that— but precious time because for those months we were all wide awake.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Virginia Woolf woodcutter

My literary loves are diaries, biographies, autobiographies, memoirs and letters.
I made my first forays into the mind of Virginia Woolf by reading her diaries.
I then read a biography and, at the same time, some of her novels and essays.
Think I’m due to have a look at a collection of her correspondence.
Definitely I’d like to watch The Hours again!

Received this link today in a digest for a Virginia Woolf list:
It’s a great introduction to Virginia Woolf and a pleasing read when she’s an old friend. The writer is also a woodcutter, and has included Virginia Woolf’s likeness.
“Nicely done,” as the man says.
The man being Jian Ghomeshi, host of CBC Radio’s weekday-morning flagship. He has used the words so often after a musical guest’s performance that I feel positively plagiaristic saying them myself.

On that same list was a link to this excellent article with photos:

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Singalong Saturday

Is there anything not to love about sleeping in on Saturday morning, drinking freshly ground and brewed black coffee, reading and writing at your computer and listening to CBC Radio's weekend programming?
I say not.
Unless it's an early morning walk on a mild day.
I did go out on the step and deadhead a few nicotianas, but it's cold out there. Me and my fluffy green housecoat came back in.
"What are your plans?" Scott asked last night.
"None," said I, "except Emil would like me to go visit him at the group home, so I'll do that. You?"
He'll be in the field all day. Was gone before I got up, and may rush through the house to stuff food down his neck once or twice, but basically is trying to get things done ahead of portended rain.
I admire farmers, but I sure don't want to be one. Too much pressure.

A couple of my favourite CBC radio shows:

Quirks and Quarks

Randy's Vinyl Tap
-A couple hours early Saturday evening, listening to this show together, is my idea of a pretty much perfect date.

And here's Peter Gabriel's lovely song, covered by Pink and John Legend:

Friday, August 22, 2014

I love Fridays

It's turned cold.
Can't say as I don't welcome it.
Though I won't be saying that if my flowers freeze one of these nights.
They are looking splendid just now. In their prime, I suppose.
And they like cooler weather. They perk right up.
Which I need to do this minute. I've only been out of bed half an hour and am not dressed yet, when really I should be walking into the office to get down to business.
It's production day for the paper, which is due at the press by three or four o'clock. We've never managed that since I started the job, but lately we've shaved off the last two hours from the end of the workday, so maybe we'll get there yet.
This week I've put in a few hours practising pagination; that's putting text and photos onto the pages and requires attention to detail as well as a cordial acquaintance with the tools. I need a lot more practice.
I've read through articles and polished 'em up. I've written captions for photos. I've cobbled together a column of bits and bobs. I've written up stickynotes and used them to make a plan for the layout of this week's issue. Fitting the ads, stories and pictures onto each page is like doing a puzzle. And today, once each page is finished and printed, I'll read everything again and try to catch anything that isn't quite right.
And finally, I'll load pictures and text onto a thumb drive to bring home with me for Monday, when I'll add them to the webpage.
So I'd better get a move on. It's the busiest day.
Where I'll sit and sip my wine at the end of the day, if it warms up.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Some may think it's macabre to have a little doll around that is patterned on my mother, who has passed on. But I'm here to tell you that if I clasp Little Grace to my heart and think of Mom ... well, it is a moving experience and quite lovely. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cellphone Racket

The step is wet this morning and that's okay with me.
I like a change.
Summer isn't summer until it's warm enough to sit outside in the evening after dark. We've had a few of those nights now, where not only could I sit on the step and admire the stars, but could leave the bedroom window open all night and wear nothing to bed. That's summer.
But so is rain and the sweet, fresh scent of it.
And the Newfoundlanders have it right; their "old wives" calendar considers Aug. 15 to be the first day of fall. It seems early, but we've already seen sandhill cranes here in recent weeks, which means they're on their migratory path back south. Crows are gathering into murders and yesterday on my way home from work a large flock of Canada geese flew over the road and landed in a farmer's field.
And when I sat out on the step last night, I was overwhelmed by the size of a flock of barn swallows that swooped and dove expertly around me and over the water of the dugout, and held a noisy planning session in the trees. Our own yard/barn has only been home to half a dozen of them this year, so these others have obviously come in from elsewhere. And soon they will all be leaving, together.
I don't mind fall— as a matter of fact, I love it— though I'll be sorry to see summer go. It seems it's just got started.

If you are texting me and getting no reply, this is why. My cellphone, barely two years old, not only has a dead, swollen battery that is not replaceable locally, but has fallen from a car seat onto concrete and had its screen shattered. It still works when plugged into the charger, but I'm told that dropped phones are in danger of exploding and should not be used. Whether it's true, I don't know, but I'm leaving the thing off anyway.
Meanwhile I am struggling with my inclination toward frugality and having trouble with the idea of laying out the kind of cash they want for these apparently throw-away items.
Maybe a few days without using the thing will break me of the habit, and I won't miss it at all. Though texting is a handy tool, which is basically what I use my phone for, it does seem like a bit of a racket when you look at what the phone companies are charging for these bits of circuitry and plastic and how they make them obsolete within a year or two. Maybe I'll opt out completely.
Because dammit, if I'm paying $750 for a new toy, I'd like to believe it might last me for more than two years. And don't get me started on their contract "freebies." You end up paying an extra $250 for your phone over the two years your contract extends. Why don't I just withdraw a couple hundred bucks from my savings account and set a match to it right now?
I'm cheap that way. And I know I'll drop the thing sometimes; it's inevitable. The one above hit the dirt several times; it was the concrete driveway that did it in, and I'm to blame for being careless. Still, less than two years old and the place that sold it to me can't find me a new battery to purchase? Something is wrong with this picture.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mr. Gonna-Get-the-Work-Done

Waiting for Scott to get out of the tractor. This field is about 5 miles northeast of our place and he needs a ride home.

Maybe every field is my favourite, because I love being out at this one, too. Want a ride there or back? Need a meal brought out? I'm your gal. 

Last year I spent a mere hour driving the bale truck around this field on a warm, sunny day in the fall. The cab of the truck is about 10 feet off the ground (OK just feels that way) and you drive super-slow and you bounce all over the seat as you do, and the steering wheel is the size of a tire.

One hour is about right. If only farming were that easy for everyone! These guys put up with a lot of physical discomfort: long hours; heat and no air conditioning; biting horseflies ... I admire their stamina. 
Mr. Gonna-Get-the-Work-Done