Monday, December 31, 2012

Another Exciting NY's Eve at GG Farm

I purchased a vacuum robot; its test run is in the master bedroom.

Emil can relax; he's been saying all day, "I'm glad you're back to normal, Mom."

And so I am! Almost. Close enough to be singing and dancing around the house and celebrating the fact that oh my goodness, when your body feels right, it is great to be alive. I feel fabulous! (Is it possible I needed all that sleep?)

This is what he's been saying to me during my down days:

"Mom. Are you ever going to get dressed again?"


"Mom. I can't wait till you're better so you can keep me company."

I haven't been the best companion today, because I've been slogging away at my desk here in the office, trying to rack up work hours I wasn't able to tackle while under the weather. We can be thankful he was here because, without him, our kitchen counters would be a filthy bacteria soup. He's done all the dishes by himself the whole time I was down, and if you know Emil, you might guess that each round of dishwashing took him a much longer chunk of time than it would have taken you or me.

I didn't manage to get in all the work hours I hoped today, but to hell with it. It's New Year's Eve, it's 9 at night, and money isn't everything.

Here comes 2013 ....

Check out Kathleen Winter's blog entry about visiting Chief Theresa's Spence's tipi:
click here. I am behind this woman all the way.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Flu Day 3

Still down with the flu.

It's not that I feel so bad; I've had worse. Just that I'm weak and nauseated, with no appetite.
This too shall pass, and the sooner the better. What a bunch of wasted days. I could've been working like a dog and earning money! I could've been doing things with my boy, who is home all week again and is getting pretty worried about me. I keep assuring him I'll be fine tomorrow, and then I'm not. I could've visited with my school buddy Bev this afternoon, since she's home visiting family in the area. Rick and Faye were going to come over tonight. Alas, none of it was to be.

Anyhoo, must get this fruit and spinach and buttermilk smoothie (couldn't even stand at the counter to cut fruit, had to make my way, panting, to the kitchen table and sit to do it) down my neck, and keep it there, and go back to bed.

Boy am I glad I don't get sick very often. And it's a good reminder that when someone else in the household is sick, take care of them! Feed them, water them, and cuddle them up. They don't have the energy or ambition to do any of it themselves. It's hard to realize that when you're on the outside looking in, and feeling good yourself.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Santa Brought the Flu

Still covered with hoarfrost

Quite often I gleefully agree with Mr Rick Mercer when he rants on his TV show. But this time, no. He was saying that those who refuse to get flu shots are being selfish, inconsiderate and foolish because, although they may not believe they need the shot themselves, there are many others who don't survive it and those who haven't had the shot may be passing the flu virus on to them.

These people who feel they are at risk from the flu: have they not got their flu shot? You would think it is their responsibility to do so.

And if they have gotten their flu shot because they believe it works so well, what have they got to fear from people who haven't had the shot? Do they not feel they are protected? And if they don't believe that, what is the point of getting the shot?

Around here, we got the flu for Christmas. Thanks so much, Santa. Gunnar arrived with it on Christmas day, Scott came down with it on Boxing Day, and I spent yesterday aching, fevered and unable to eat much. Which means that I also got a migraine. Double whammy! However I'm back on my feet today, a little weak and slow but a far sight better.

Until I got a flu shot at Mom's request in 2004, when she had cancer and was afraid we might pass the flu on to her in her weakened state, I hadn't had a flu for 30 years. Three days after the shot, I got the flu and was down for a couple days, and the following year I got it too. I haven't had a flu since then -- till this week.

Being sick is depressing. It makes me think about people with chronic or longterm illness, and wonder how on earth they do it. It's not possible to avoid fear or to keep one's spirits up (is it?). All I want to do is bow out till I'm feeling better.

Monday, December 24, 2012


front cover
When Cathy met me in Regina last week, she came bearing gifts. 
One of them was a notebook made entirely from recycled material. 

Each page is a one-side-printed sheet of paper folded in half — and you can peek inside and sometimes see handwritten corrections in ink where the former user, perhaps a student, had proofread typewritten notes.
The back cover

Emil and I have just returned from town, where I did the bulk of my Christmas shopping in less than an hour. The drugstore was busy and one of its tills was out of order, so there was a lineup at the checkout. It's nearly 30-below today, so I was comfortable in the street but indoors got a little sweaty, standing there with half a dozen boxes of chocolates and a T-shirt in my arms. Those are Emil's gifts; he had no Christmas list, but advised that he wouldn't mind some chocolates.

 Across the street at the dress store, I was the only customer and it took all of 5 minutes to pick out Scott's presents. The clerk wrapped 'em up all pretty, so I won't have much to do tonight.

I have not hauled from the china cabinet my tiny but beautiful origami Christmas tree yet. I have not strung one light onto a houseplant. I have done no seasonal baking. I haven't sent a card. Nothin. I'm not even planning to take the entire day off, tomorrow.

And fortunately for you, dear friends, I am not looking for more video performances of Beautiful Star of Bethlehem. It seems the spell has been broken.

I did get a treat this morning when, after he'd done his work in the basement, our electrician joined us for coffee. Leonard and I were in the same grade at school in our home town, Margo, so I was happy to have a chance to sit and visit a bit with him.

Emil and I went to Karen's yesterday for a delicious potluck dinner and spent the afternoon with her family and our uncle Neil and his family, so there were lots of grandchildren about and one incessant fire siren on a brand-new riding toy. The food and fine company were worth it, though. We don't see our cousins nearly often enough. Family gatherings have changed a lot since we were all kids.

Poor old Scottie fed and watered cattle and then worked in the basement and perhaps at his aunt's as well. He's preparing to hook the new well up to the house and so on ... there is no rest for the wicked, as the saying goes. Or is that for the weary? Well, he's both, so I'm still right. Right?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland

The birds flock to the maple tree.
I'm heading out for my walk.
My trusty companions.
Looks like some kind of weird moonscape
Across the fields
It's cold; Ducky's gone ahead into the yard but Jenna waits for me.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Had Enough of Regina Yet?

Ice bar at La Bodega, where we met an old friend for drinks and "appys." Inside the restaurant of course.
Regina was oh so pretty.

Artsy Fartsy

Lots to see, that's for sure.
Beautiful inside and out.
We only had 45 minutes to run through the Natural History Museum. I'm going to drag Scott back there with me:

It was fabulous, and we only saw half of it.

There are scads of old buildings (my pics of those didn't turn out) mixed in with new ones. And then cover it all with the thickest snow that won't stop coming.

Gerry: I got the bar, but no pic of you. Shoot! Next time.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Inside the Saskatchewan Legislative Building

 A bust of Tommy Douglas, revered by the people of Saskatchewan for fighting the fear and ignorance that opposed universal healthcare and bringing it, in spite of furious objection by fools, to the province. The federal government followed suit not long after, and the rest is history: medical care is now provided to every citizen of Canada, and not just to those who can afford it.

I had dropped my camera in the snow just minutes before; note the fuzzy blobs on some photos. They wouldn't have been great pics anyway, but let me tell you, that place is awe-inspiring, as I suppose it was meant to be.

The Feedjit gadget at the bottom of this page is kept because occasionally it brings a link to a wonderful new blog, and because you never know what kind of Google search will bring people to you. Here's one from the last 24 hours:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania arrived from on "Back at Golden Grain Farm: July 2009" by searching for dads buttcrack always showing.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Queen City

Sundogs near Wadena
We were on the way to town on Sunday to take Emil back to Aylesbury House, and I had to stop at the highway and try to get a photo of these sundogs. I had never before seen them touching the ground, or so tall. This isn't a great pic, but ...

The next morning I hopped on a Saskatchewan Transportation Company bus and headed off to Regina.     Road reports in the winter often stress that highways around that city are in bad shape due to blowing snow and poor visibility and ice, and come with warnings not to drive there if you have a choice. The forecast was for quite a bit of snow and a dip in temperature, so I avoided the anxiety that comes with all that, plus city traffic that I'm no longer accustomed to driving in.

The three-and-a-half hour trip turned out to be quite pleasant. There were only a few of us on the bus, the landscape viewed through its large windows was lovely, and I had a book along. What's not to love? Except maybe the extremely out-of-shape gentleman a few rows behind me who sounded like he might cough up a lung or two at any moment, along with the garlic sausage he apparently ate for breakfast. I prayed I wouldn't be called upon to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

When we pulled into the bus depot  in Regina I decided to walk to the hotel where I was to meet my friend Cathy. It was only two or three miles, and since I'd be missing my exercise for several days this seemed like a perfect opportunity to fit it in. And it was — there were some lovely old buildings along the route, and it wasn't all that cold out — but as the traffic was heavy, the sidewalks were icy, and my backpack began to weigh a ton after the first mile, I was beat by the time I got there. Nevertheless it meant I'd spend the next couple days without feeling I "should" get out walking. I could just focus on spending time with Cathy, and that's exactly what I did.

We spent the first morning and half the afternoon just talking over a long, leisurely breakfast. Then we headed off in Cathy's car over the snowy roads of Regina, with two thoughts: visit the Natural History Museum, and follow our noses after that. The city was absolutely beautiful, with its many old buildings and variety of architectural features, all covered with a thick padding of fluffy white snow and hoarfrost. We missed the entryway to the museum, and turned into the legislature grounds to double back, but the impressive Legislature Building (the largest legislative building in the country, according to The Canadian Encyclopedia) drew us in.

A statue of Queen Elizabeth II and her horse is across from the entrance.

I hadn't been in the building since a school field trip. We couldn't resist.
But more later. It's time to get back to work here at my desk. I had a fine time, but it's good to be home, too.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Long Distance Log-In

Take a walk with Ralph.

So you thought you were rid of me for three days?
Bwa ha ha!
It occurred to me I could use the scheduling feature. Why not give it a try?
So here I am. Was. Whatever. I'm not really here. I'm prepping this Sunday night when I should be getting to bed. Tomorrow will be a long day.

The video above was taken by Ralph Goff at his farm somewhere in Saskatchewan. A link to his blog, Mindless Ramblings, is also in my blog list at the bottom of this page.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sing Amongst Yourselves

Made me sing along – another of my criteria for inclusion, apparently.

 These are the ones I watched all the way through. Many I'm not putting here are perfectly fine as far as the music goes, but the quality of the video is horrid in one way or another. Others just don't hold my interest. While all of these ... have something ... that keeps me. Or several things.  

I like this one of somebody's Aunt Donna and Uncle Harold:

It pays to be persistent! I've now explored 18 YouTube pages and tomorrow I'm buggering off to Regina for three days, so I leave you with these. I am so kind. You don't know how fortunate you are. Imagine if the only Beautiful Star of Bethlehem you heard was the Judds' version. Lovely as it is, we need variety.

I shall be lounging about the city with some friends from high school days. You know -- the good old ones. The ones you couldn't pay me to do over unless I could know then what I know now. Without having to experience pregnancy or childbirth again. Thank god that's over. 

See you back here on Thursday. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

If Only Winter in Saskatchewan Were Always Like This

Bet you thought you were getting away without the Christmas song, didn't ya?


This one I've kept for the bass run, which I might play on my bass guitar:

I guess it's obvious by now that I am partial to that old-time style. And the bluegrass. And the piano.
I did find three more Youtube videos for you too -- aren't you the luckiest, ever? But hold your horses, they'll follow in the days to come.

Friday, December 14, 2012

No Words Comfort

The radio wasn't on at my house today, but I heard the news when I drove to town to pick Emil up for the weekend.

It's been a fine day here ... the air's been soft, the snow sparkling, the chickadees, woodpeckers and nuthatch all came to see me close-up when I refilled the feeders, and the cats have been stretching their legs out in the snow.

There is so much beauty in this world in spite of the unbearable ugliness we so often hear of. The news was a ghastly reminder that violent insanity exists and so goddamn often has its sickening way with the innocent.

We arrived home after the sun set but not before a slim curve of shining moon had been pinned to a pink and blue sky.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Little Sweetheart

On your behalf, I have been through another half-dozen YouTube pages of Beautiful Star of Bethlehem performances, and been unable to find one I wanted to listen to until the end. Sometimes it's just poor recording quality. Other times, it's ... well ... what are people thinking? What I mean is, why do they want it filmed? And why do they want to do it in front of others?

I've just slogged through 5 hours of toil in the workaday world and it's nearly 3:30, well past time a girl needs to get some fresh air and Vitamin D. So out I go.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wadena Librarian

A lovely girl, but she wouldn't sing Beautiful Star of Bethlehem.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

That Darn Star Again

For two voices ... Karen! Oh, Karen! Get over here!

You people are so darn lucky to have me picking and choosing all the best Beautiful Star performances for you. Sure, go ahead: thank me. Send flowers. Whatever. I've already slogged through 10 pages of YouTube and show no sign of slowing down. And no I'm not going to put The Judds up; theirs is the first video that comes up if you go looking, so you don't need to see it here.

Actually that sister of mine won't sing with me unless I'll do it on stage, and I won't, but I keep telling her that if we sang together in our living rooms long enough perhaps one day I'd get all diva-fied and be willing to get up there.

Can't see it. There is no fun in that, and I'm all about the fun.
Now, in the living room is a different story.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Now Pretend You're in a Bar

While you're listening, if you haven't been here before, take a tour around the shack:
My favourite place on a sunny afternoon
You see we are "blanket rich," as Cathy said when she was here
The spare room, where Emil sleeps when he comes out, because ...
... he can't get onto the office bed; yes I have more putting-away to do, and still haven't set up the new printer.
To clear out a shelving cabinet for Scott's paperwork, I emptied it of all my journals. They start in 1975 and, where I've dipped in, contain teenage ranting, handwritten letters from Mom and others, thankyou notes, photos and more.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Pretend You're in Church

I like their simple CD cover.

Does this guy remind you of Mr Rogers?

I never watched Mr Rogers so maybe I'm imagining things.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

SSSomebody SSStop Me

Not out of bed yet, but already reading

You deserve a break from well digging and that Christmas carol that has been in the air around me all week.
You may deserve it, but what else have I got for you?
Quite a lineup of Beautiful Star videos from YouTube. You're welcome.
And a whole roster of photos of trenching between the house and the new well. They've already bored me.

Watching the birds at breakfast time

Well I just can't help myself. There's only so many days till Christmas, after all, if you're counting down:

Friday, December 7, 2012


This girl's got voice.

Since my "Star of Bethlehem" rampage — which continues — you'll have to put up with it, that's all — I do, much as I begin to wish it would go away. Anyhoo, I'm online listening to all kinds of performances of this song on YouTube, and let's face it, there are quite a few I'm not listening to for long. 

What is it about a performance that catches your attention and holds it all the way through? 

There are many that just don't do it. They are earnest enough and people can carry a tune, but ... I can live without 'em. Then there are these others that I can't click away from.

Like this one. Here is Theda Shirley in Clinton, Mississippi; she rocks it old-time style:

I have listened to this song dozens of times now and still couldn’t sing all the words.

When Eli Barsi and her band played it on Sunday afternoon, I thought "Oh Christ with the Christmas carols. Already!"

And now I can't stop singing this one. Oh, not the whole thing! Pfft. Just bits and parts from here and there. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

O Beautiful Star

The melody of this song wouldn't get out of my head this morning, but I had to phone Karen and sing a bit of it to find out what it was. We heard it at the Eli Barsi concert on Sunday afternoon.

I went looking for it on Youtube to hear the bass line, and after listening to The Judds sing it, I carried on. And have been stuck here at the computer. I can't stop!

This guy reminds me so much of Uncle Bob, seen seated in the photo above. Minus the philosophizing, of course; it's the voice. (Click on the link, Reta!)

Uncle Bob usually played his guitar after our family meals, and Mom (in the red sweater there) always sang and taught songs to the kids. Here she seems to have my cousins Gerald and Karla dancing.

Of course, I couldn't stop there. I found some other pretty good stuff.

The Greenes did a beautiful job of it at the Christian Heritage Church in Graniteville, SC, back in 2008:

BustedBenz shares his piano version:

And now, I really have to get my ass out of this chair and get dressed. But it's hard to drag myself away!
Here's a sweet little girl singing it:

Julia at Bluegrass Jam

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Here's What You Missed Yesterday, Dad

I would've liked your company at the beginning of my walk.
After listening to the well-drilling behind my office window for hours, I needed the break.
My walk is the best part of the day.
Even though I have to force myself out, sometimes.

The title:

Dad has driven from his home in Kelowna, BC, down to Phoenix, Ariz., where he has been basking in 80F weather and golfing every day. He doesn't like cold weather at all; I'm teasing him. He soldiered through enough Saskatchewan winters that you'd never convince him he's missing a thing.

Emil phones his grandpa fairly regularly and usually I hear him say "I wish you lived here so I could see you more often." Alas, he is bound to be disappointed.

So I tease Dad.
"When you are old and crotchety, you can come and live with me."

"That'll be the god damn day!"

We laugh, but we're both serious.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Well Well Well

Coffee was set on my bedside table at 7 a.m. with an announcement: "They'll be here at 8 to drill the new well." There was time to lie there in the quiet dark for an hour, texting back and forth with Shelly, Miss Early Riser If Ever There Was One.

Sure enough, by 8 o'clock this thing was parked outside the bedroom window:

Where it sat, running, for at least an hour before a guy brought out a torch and started thawing a spot to drill:

After a while, a couple more guys appeared and suddenly the question of what to make for lunch became a bigger challenge:

I only had 1 package of ground beef thawed, and we have no microwave, so what was it going to be? I decided on Cabbage Roll Casserole. It's in the oven now and won't be ready till half-past 12, and this is where they are at:

Fortunately my nephew Marc's lovely new wife sent Emil and me home from her restaurant last night with a plate of home baking, so at least I don't have to worry about coming up with dessert:
Thanks Michelle!