Friday, July 31, 2009

Big Sister Tries Her Hand at Matchmaking

Dog the Bounty Hunter in my kitchen.

Some years ago a little six-string guitar showed up in my household. I never did find out where it came from, but this morning my brother Cameron tuned it up and provided musical accompaniment to my breakfast-making.

When he and the boys met me in town yesterday afternoon, I couldn't keep the grin off my face. Not because I was so happy to see my kids (which I was) but because I hadn't yet seen Cameron with the long hair and he did, approaching from a slight distance, look just like Dog.

If there are any single ladies out there who might find a 43-year-old Dog type appealing, my brother could use a tune-up by a good woman. He's free and unencumbered and lives and works out of Edmonton. The hair came along after he bought himself a big pig of a motorbike; apparently he wanted to look the part. He appears big and tough, but really he's soft and sweet ... deep down. You might have to be willing to dig a little to see it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Old Barn

The barn in its third incarnation.

Scott tells me that it was first the livery barn in Wadena and was more than 100 feet long (now it is about 52). It was taken apart and moved to a farm north of town, and later dismantled again and moved out to GG Farm.

Its roof, the loft floor, and various other spots are in need of repair. However, it must wait its turn. For now, the house comes first. Yesterday Scott cut out and reframed the dining room wall to prepare for the new window. He thinks he bought too large a window. "It will be like having a picture window in the kitchen," he said, "and I should have bought it only four feet deep, not five. The kitchen table will be visible from the front yard."

Oh well. He may not be happy with it, but I am thrilled with the hole in the wall alone!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cat n Dog

Why, oh why, don't you want to play with me, kitty? Puhleeez?

But Leah the cat is having none of it. She is bristling and hissing and swatting and growling and all-around pissed off. I'm only surprised she hasn't taken a chunk out of Chloe's nose or scratched an eye out. Yet.

Email from Gord:
Cameron has a load going out Wed. He will be leaving about 9 a.m. So you should have the boys by supper.

4:45pm Tues
Emil just called. Sounds like he’s excited about traveling in Cameron’s big truck tomorrow. Gord called afterwards, saying he hasn’t been able to find cargo pants (elastic waists required) for Emil, and that he is not happy to see the boys leave; the month has flown by and he’ll miss them. I’ll be glad to see the little buggers.
Emil told me they’d been to the dentist, Dr Tomita. As always, I pronounced his name incorrectly on purpose.
“Oh! Dr Tomato must be getting old by now,” I said.
“Dr Tomita.”
“That’s what I said. Dr Tomato must be getting pretty old!”
He pauses, then says “Yeah, I think he’s in his fifties.”

Quintin helped Scott around the outside of the house again yesterday.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fuschia Peony

My favourite peony.

Alas, the poor baby didn't bloom this year. What chance did it have? The back step, by which it grew, was to be torn out so that the porch could be lifted and worked on, so my friend made a valiant effort this spring to dig up the peony. It would not budge, as its roots were so firmly embedded into the ground.

The next day, unexpectedly, a digging machine as large and rumbly as a dinosaur showed up and the next thing I knew, the step was gone and the peony sat torn up by the roots, in three pieces, on the grass near the gaping hole left by the cement step. I quickly dug some holes in the garden and planted the roots, and the plants are alive and well in two spots, but didn't bloom. Oh, one of them tried valiantly; it formed little round buds and everything, but they shrivelled and dried up instead of opening. I'm not sure why, as the half-dozen undisturbed peonies in the yard are doing their thing right at this moment. They are light pinks and whites though, not this brilliant pink that I love.

Ah well, there is always next year, says the hopeful farmdweller.


Brought Aunt Reta home from Saskatoon last night; she'd flown in from Phoenix on Wednesday and had been staying with her friend Janet till I picked her up yesterday. She'll be here till Aug.19th.

And Gord has emailed me that Cameron has a load coming out here tomorrow (he's a trucker) and so I will have my boys home tomorrow night. If I listen carefully, I believe I can hear them wailing all the way from Edmonton. They are never ready to come home.


House update: when I got home at 11 o'clock, there were windows installed in the master bedroom and the office. Today Scott's got his nephew helping him so, as I've just finished my work for the day, I'm about to go over there and see what they've accomplished. They were here for lunch but didn't give me a report.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday with Clouds

The back of the house with new insulation, housewrap, and no windows. Yes, the hollyhock blooms are black.

The first night without windows, their openings were covered by a somewhat translucent plastic. When I put the bedside reading lamp on that night, the moths and mosquitoes beat themselves against it, making so much noise I feared they'd succeed at getting through. The moment the light switched off, they stopped.

The next day the men fastened up the housewrap instead. It looks like heavy white plastic, so less light gets through. The insects were less attracted to my bedside lamp, but still they took a lickin' as the wrap stopped them from getting in while I lay contentedly on my bed, eating Rolo ice cream and skimming through a Ruth Rendell novel.

Yesterday was pretty much a layabout day, as two pills were required, and some sleeping, to vanquish the neck migraine. Unfortunately I awoke with it again this morning. After eating some granola with buttermilk (food sometimes helps) and coming over to the old house in hopes of catching Scott for some huggin' before he headed to town to do some painting for a customer, I was still feeling crappy but unwilling to take more medication. Instead I sat at the computer and did some online reading for about an hour, and voila! the aching neck has vanished and is now just a neck. A happy little pencil neck. A skinny long neck holding up my big head, as Scott has occasionally pointed out (thank you my dear, you make me feel so attractive).

The pup, Chloe, provided some entertainment last night when she discovered the water jetting from the sprinkler could be played with. Lord luv 'er, she's sweet. A pain in the ass she can be—dragging things onto the lawn, dragging things out from under the oak trees (where I've been putting stuff I have no place in the house for, like vases and jugs and pottery wine goblets), pestering the cats and the old dog nonstop—but she is still sweet as can be and worth putting up with. The pupness will pass. She may decimate my flowers, which pains me, but this too shall pass. She may dig in my garden to bury a treat, which pisses me off, but I still give them to her for the pure pleasure of making her happy. She is clumsy and goofy, worth a smile many times a day.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Moving Slowly in the Heat of the Day

The old printing press outside the news office.

It's hot, and I guess I have to stop drinking merlot. Darn it. Two glasses did it to me. That's not fair. Next time I'll restrict myself to one and see what happens.

There was a gathering of women last night so I didn't get home till midnight, but slept like a baby. Nevertheless, not long enough. Need a nap. And to help out at the construction site if required. What I'd really like is to stay in where it's cool and nap all afternoon.

Friday, July 24, 2009

An Evening Visit

Bill and Nell's climbing roses.

I'd like to get over and see Bill and Nell one of these days, he said.

Okay. How 'bout tonight?

Yeah. I'll phone.

He did, and off we went. We made a couple quick stops before knocking on their front door in town: one for sale flyers so Scott can keep his finger on the pulse of the retail market, and one to take a photo of the old printing press in front of the newspaper office. Even so, Bill was still beautifying himself when we got there. Nell was dealing with the cleanup after supper.

My garden has one rose bush for every summer since Mom died (man, that word still doesn't seem right), and one of those roses is a climber. It was planted that first summer, but never given a trellis. My highest hope was that it'd latch onto the downward waterspout at the corner of the house and manage that way. But it never did. It does splash out in fragrant roses though, and last week I found a suitable trellis. (There are five rose bushes in Mom's memory so far, and every time I see one in bloom I think of her. Not because she had a thing for roses, but there you have it.)

Bill and Nell's back yard.

Nell's hair wasn't done or something, so her hands started flying around her head the moment the camera came out. We were at the door to leave at 9:30 and she was trying to feed us. We let her give us a sample of her excellent salsa on cheddar and a cracker, which we munched down in the entryway. But we had to bolt. Scott needed his beauty rest.

Bill was freshly coiffed.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oh the Mess That Is My Front Yard

Leonard and his trusty trencher get down to business.

One of the unpleasant and costly surprises that came with the GG Farm property was that the electrical setup wasn't safe or right, as we discovered over the past winter when a breaker went off and all the meat in the deep freeze thawed out. According to my old classmate Leonard, a main breaker was a necessity, which meant trenching from the power pole across the front lawn to the house. The job was done in a matter of hours, as Leonard somehow managed to put us up high on his list of priorities and get to us in a matter of days from the time the decision was made to go ahead.

Kate, a reader from the northeastern US, commented several days ago about workmen and the unwelcome sight of their buttcracks. So from the safety of my kitchen window I snapped this photo for her sake. The gentleman has gone the extra mile to avoid the buttcrack exposé by wearing suspenders and tucking in his long shirt, but alas it has not helped.

And here is the aftermath. It ain't pretty. All those rocks were dug up from underground. I found a few flat ones to use in the garden, should I decide to make a footpath. And I can't say as I miss the electrical wire that was strung from the power pole, across the lawn, to the top of the porch. Visually it's an improvement. It's coming up with the $2000 to pay for it that hurts.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On the Rooftop

Some of our wondrous wetland.

Devon thought the view from the roof was worth a photo, so up he went. They'd finished shingling one side of the roof by 4 o'clock and were tearing shingles off the other side at 6 this morning. No complaints from me! I am thrilled that it's getting done.

I was less thrilled to see our electrician friend arrive with two of his workers and a digging machine, and start trenching from the power pole in the outer yard to the house. Thank goodness they're nowhere near my garden, which is mostly in the back yard.

Time to get back to work; it's the first chance I've had to sit down since breakfast this morning. Tomato sauce is bubbling away on top of the stove and hungry boys will be here in an hour. They'll be hot and sweaty and won't eat the half of what I make. But leftovers are always better, don't you think?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Horny Ranch

The sign says "Morley's Horny Ranch."

I did a double take when we drove past it on the way to Yorkton, and determined to get a photo on the way back. Unfortunately, we were running late to get to Scott's chiropractor appointment and it was raining, so there was no stopping. Fastened to the top of the sign are several sets of deer antlers.

Scott has a good number of Pilsner beer t-shirts, which came for free in boxes of Pil. Good beer, if I who know nada about beer may say so. However, since Pilsner is no longer Saskatchewan-owned, my beer-swilling spouse now buys only Great Western, which is Saskatchewan-owned. We like to support our local businesses; it's a Saskatchewan tradition.

The fellas are shingling the roof today and I have my fingers crossed that Scott will also get a chance to put in the new, larger dining room window. I doubt it, but you never know. However, he's moved the kitchen table out of his way so I know the new window is imminent. I am more excited by that than anything.

The news today is sad. The remains of a child found in Ontario yesterday are confirmed to be eight-year-old Tori Stafford. I knew she was probably dead, but since there was no body there was still a glimmer of hope, even though the kidnappers claimed to have killed her. It's beyond understanding.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Kittenfish

Two of the cats (Ralph and Michu) keep cool on top of the doghouse, beneath the lilacs.

From moist heat to grey wind, here in Saskatchewan we are experiencing our usual unpredictable weather.

I went to bed, thrilled that as I lay there I could see the stars through my window. At about 3 a.m. the wind started blowing and tore a chunk of tarpaper loose from the wall outside the bedroom. That frigging thing pounded on the wall all night, as if a man with two hammers was standing out there trying to make my life miserable. I, always lazy, tried to sleep through the noise. Instead I was awake half the night, until about 6 a.m. when I finally found the gumption to get dressed, search for the staple gun, go outside and climb a ladder. It took all of two minutes before I was able to return indoors, chuck off my clothing, crawl under the covers again and sleep till about 8:30, when real men with hammers started beating on the other side of the house.

I'm told they got the porch reshingled this morning. I came over here at 9 a.m. to do last night's kitchen cleanup (it was too hot and muggy after supper), drive to town for a couple cheap toasters and a few more groceries to make lunch with, and to work. And now, I must wash the dishes after the noon meal, and then go over there and see how the hollyhocks are standing up to this wind. I got some of them staked up last night, so can rest easier.

See? The bad hair, the yapping ... I am a lousy photo subject. Shelly was thirsty and waiting for rain.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Two of my manservants on the roof of the porch.

The other one was on the ground, presumably doing the sawing, when I went out to inspect their progress. I was unable to get any of them to work without their shirts on. Hmph. Good help is hard to come by these days.

In the past week they have put a new beam under the porch and jacked the thing up. Even I can see the difference between how the porch sits now and how crooked it was before.

Here the other outlaw, Devon, and Scott's nephew Quintin are insulating and putting soffit up. It was pretty hot yesterday so they were all beat by the time they called it quits.

Today the farmerboys are moving the bulls out to the three different pastures with the cows, so the burly beasts can do their duty. There is talk of continuing to work on the house this afternoon after a trip to Kelvington to visit the grandmothers and haul construction materials (picked up yesterday by the outlaw Walter because the lumber yard isn't open Sundays) home. We shall see. There's some wind today so conditions might be slightly better for lifting and pounding.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


When I was at Shelly's I took pictures, as you've seen, around her house and yard. She wanted to take a few of her own. Her son Greg had hauled rocks and built a gorgeous rock garden/pond just off the back deck, and photos of that would be essential.

One of my great ideas was to get a legless photo so that it would look like there was a mermaid lounging on the rocks. Alas, no one's buying a mermaid wearing bluejeans and with short hair. Also, since I am always yapping or making faces (according to Shelly; who but good old friends will say these things to you and get away with it?), I rarely look half-decent in a photo. Thus you're seeing the back side of me.

Unfortunately the light wasn't right to do the rock garden justice, so this is all you get.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Construction Zone

The birch laminate flooring that will eventually go into the kitchen, dining room and hallway.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I've Never Ridden in One of These

Mustabin a vintage car show in the area, or Ken Jones was just out for a drive down Main Street.

It is f-f-f-freezing here today.
The wind yesterday blew down a caragana branch at GG Farm, and branches of a maple tree back at the old place.
But my hollyhocks are still standing, out in the garden. Go, flowers!
I should be baking in this weather, but I am too lazy. I mean, I'm working, and baking takes me away from it when I have to measure, mix and then clean up afterward. To hell with food; who needs it. Besides, it's begun to bore me.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mountains of Saskatchewan

Who says Saskatchewan doesn't have mountains? See those white ones in the distance?

The dogs and I walked on the road north of our place one evening last week. There are fewer trees along the edges of the fields in that direction, so one can see for miles. I should be able to tell you what is growing in this photo, and probably could if I could see the field again, close up. But otherwise I'd be guessing. Might be wheat, rye, canola, barley, oats ... all common crops in this area. I'll need to take a second look.

We've had the rain we need; next we have heat on order. It's cool and grey today though and the forecast is for another inch of moisture. Scott and Devon got new insulation and soffits up on a gable end of the house yesterday; two sides done, two to go. I ended up missing the Re-mains concert because it was necessary to take a stronger pill and relax so that it could do its job. I was able to putz in the garden a bit but drive anywhere or sit in company, no, it couldn't be done—not when nausea is hovering above one's consciousness. I was on my feet again in time to make a bare-bones supper for the hungry workers but that was the extent of my accomplishments for the day. I'm not moving too quickly today either.

The three cats that we took over to the new place spend almost all their time hunting in the long grass outside the farmyard. The two young ones, which were skinny, now walk towards you with their bellies bulging. The rodent population must be taking a beating. One night the pup, Chloe, had a dead mouse in her mouth and played with it for hours, tossing it into the air and chewing on it. We figure one of the cats must have left it for her so that she'd stop trying to play with them, for a change.

Three bulls were unloaded into the pasture a couple weeks ago and when Chloe caught sight of them for the first time, she took off at full bore in the opposite direction. She made it to the front step and then sat there craning her neck, pretty worried. Scott's got names for all three of them: Bennet, Knut, and Eugene. He may find them friendly pets, but their presence keeps me out of the pasture. I only go as far as leaning on the fence to chat with them when they're up by the barn.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Visiting the Grandmothers

The evening light as we left town about 8:30.

We went to see our grandmothers yesterday and when we came home Scott wasn't feeling well, so wanted me to spend the night here, which I did. Thus I am still in my pyjamas and have been eating puffed wheat cake, which I'll blame for the headache I'm starting to get, though I did have oatmeal for breakfast. I made a double batch of puffed wheat cake, which is disappearing fast.

It's been cold and rainy for several days, thus cold at the other house, since the new oil tank was leaking and so the furnace has also been shut off. Imagine needing the furnace in July! Ridiculous.

There is a house concert this afternoon, The Re-mains, from Australia. If this headache doesn't go the other way I'll have to miss this one as I did the last one, and Don (the super organizer) will have my head. Apparently it's warmed up outside, at least that will make it pleasant if we're outside. This one is at someone's farm.

Before seeing our grandmothers, Scott was getting a headache because he needed to eat, so, because no nearby restaurant was open, we nipped into a bakery to see if they'd serve a small meal. The kitchen was closed but we noticed the clerk's tight orange blouse had a couple buttons open and a boob was exposed. We left and looked at each other and I said, "I wonder if I should tell her or if she'd just be mortified." If I was in her place I'd want to be told, so I decided to go back, buy coffee and a muffin, and I'd try to let her know without drawing attention from the three men at two tables who obviously hadn't informed her of the state of her blouse, though Scott was certain they would have noticed and appreciated it.

Scott got the coffees while I paid for them and the muffin and caught her eye, pointed surreptitiously to the front of my shirt, and then to hers. She looked down, gave a horrified gasp, and ran into the back to fix it. When she came out, redfaced, she thanked me for telling her and hoped the buttons hadn't been open for too long! I told her that at least her flesh looked good and she had nothing to be embarrassed about. When wearing this new blouse in future, she said, she'd know enough to put a couple pins in it.

We also went to the local furniture store and ordered a set of microfibre-covered stuff: couch, loveseat, recliner. The set contains five reclining seats, so when all three of our boys are home there will be one for each of us if we want to watch a movie together. The display set in the store was a light almost-white beige, but we ordered a darker set, a sage green, from the catalogue. Scott figures the living room walls are too light so we need something dark for contrast, and I let him have his way as he may well be right and I am, believe it or not, not that fussy as long as the upholstery is solid and not patterned, and not leather, which I find too cold to sit on and never really do like the look of. We decided against the sectional containing the hide-a-bed we'd been considering, because our options for changing things around in the living room would have been severely limited with a hunk of furniture that size. Although, Scott said, in his opinion furniture is meant to be put in one place and left there. Hee! It must drive him nuts, living with me. What am I saying; I know it does. The number and variety of my shoe pairs alone make his head spin 360 degrees.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Me and Miss Helen

An evening with Helen in St. Albert.

While I'm showing off my dearest friends, here's another photo taken during my trip to Alberta.

I've written about Helen before. When my former husband and I moved to the small francophone village of Legal (pronounced leGAL), just a half-hour north of St. Albert (a small city bordering the northwest edge of Edmonton), we were soon fortunate enough to strike up a conversation from the back yard of our new home, with a lovely couple strolling down the alley one evening. That was Helen and her husband, Joe, who lived two doors down.

To my young children, they became Auntie Helen and Uncle Joe. They were there whenever we needed them and, as Helen likes to say, their door was "always open." Joe was a handyman carpenter who could build and fix anything, and since the boys' dad was a city boy who didn't know the right side of a hammer (sorry Gord! you have many other fine qualities!), we called on Joe pretty often. He built a small ramp to make it easier for Emil to get into the front door with his walker, which he used outdoors in winter. He built dividers for our kitchen drawers. He rigged up a system of lights for me to plant my seedlings in the basement in early spring. He built a shelf for the window above the kitchen sink, for my houseplants. Oh, he spoiled me. Even said once that if I got a little bit of land in the bush, he'd build me a cabin. I mean it: spoiled!

Joe's gone on to that great workshop in the sky, but Helen is looking better than ever and spoils me just as well as Joe ever did, in her own way. We have lots of laughs together.


Gotta bolt. Another batch of bread dough is sitting on the counter waiting to be shaped into loaves ... got busy writing and forgot about it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Dear Dear Dear Dear Dear Dear Friend

Catherine the Beautiful, inside and out.

We were just leaving her place in Saskatoon, both of us in the driver's seat of our vehicles, when we pulled up together at a red light. It reminded me of a time many many years ago in Regina, when she'd been a passenger in my olive green Toyota Corona and we'd stopped behind another vehicle waiting at a light. A young gentleman slowing to a stop alongside us was staring so admiringly at Cathy, his head swiveled our way, that he bumped into the rear of the car in front of him. There was no damage, but the man looked pretty embarrassed.

Cathy and I have known each other for more than 35 years. Whoa. We went from neighbours in the girls' dormitory at Luther College high school in Regina, to roommates in two small apartments in Saskatoon, and then never shared a dwelling again but she has always made me welcome in her home. I even have my own key.

One of our few disagreements— this was in our younger and more silly days— was over the correct way to cut up leftover boiled potatoes for frying. Our mothers each had a different method. We chuckle over it now, but I read in a book that this is the exact argument that monks sharing quarters often have in the kitchen. Imagine that.

Our little spats never lasted long because one of us —probably Cathy, the more sensible of we two— would simply open her arms to the other, and any hard feelings would disappear. That simple act has been an important lesson to me and I thank her for it: we can get past a good number of our problems with others if we drop our attack stances and defences and allow ourselves to be vulnerable and approachable instead. We don't have to be tough and hard, and actually, I don't think any of us really are. We just pretend to be.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Good Grub

Fresh oatmeal bread for supper.

Yes indeedy. Hot buttered crust, and a soft inside slice with strawberry jam that He Whose Name Must Not Be Mentioned made in foods class at school. Delicious. I took this photo to send my boy, to tease him, because he loves the homemade bread so and won't be getting any till he gets home at the end of the month.

I like the aspect of middle age that has reduced my appetite. An orange was my dessert. 'Course, I'd been sitting on my ass most of the day, maybe that explains it.
Still, I eat more at a sitting than either of my girlfriends Shelly or Cathy. Can't imagine how those two stay alive. I feel positively gluttonish when sharing a meal with one or the other of those birds.

But geez, what's with my neck in the picture? That must be the side of my hand. Just sayin' -- I haven't turned into a monster yet.
And I am getting really grey! Or silver. But I like that all right, too.

We got plenty of rain. The garden is soaked. I wore my little red rubber boots to hand-weed in it this morning.

It's time to get back to work.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fart Saskatchewan

The water tower at Fort Saskatchewan.

On the way to Shelly's the boys and I drive through Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. I make a point of calling it "Fart" Saskatchewan, for Emil's amusement.
He'll giggle and say, "Not Fart Saskatchewan. Fort Saskatchewan."
I'll reply, "That's what I said: Fart Saskatchewan."
He'll giggle again, and on it goes.

Dear Boychiks,
1. Got a couple strawberries from patch the day I arrived home, and every day since. Delicious! Merci to the weeder-man. Ate two with my granola this morning.
2. Chloe chewing and digging up flowers. Brat.
3. Met a kid from your math class, Everett. Shane Something? He got a recommend in it too.
4. Doing the turd tour. Casper left a nice pile right by the passenger door near the maple tree, for when I was unloading grocery bags. I need to believe she and Muttsky will figure it out eventually.
5. Doing the trash tour. Someone said buy chew toys and your puppy will learn to play with those and not your flowers, trees, etc. So I bought two today. A ball that holds water and a bone-ish thing with a treat in it. She was thrilled.
Another person advised me to tire the pup out by playing with her, walking with her, etc.
Thought I had more to say but can't think of it now.
Oh! I knew there was a reason I sat down to write. I ordered satellite internet today and we'll get it sometime in August. Woo hoo, eh?


We've got a light rain today so I am putting a batch of oatmeal bread together and washing my clothes next door (at the inlaws') and intend to get started my work a.s.a.p.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

God Always Gets Ya

Had to make a run to the chiropractor this morning for Scott's back.

I always tell him, when he has pain of any sort, that God is getting him for something or other he's done wrong. It's BS of course, but I say it anyway.

All the poor lad did this time was push a lawnmower whose handle was about a foot shorter than it should have been for someone his height. He's paying, bigtime. Suffering considerably. Wailing, gnashing his teeth, whining. You know what men are like when they don't feel well.

I'm joking (well, sorta). I feel sorry for him. Back pain is something that keeps you from getting comfortable, even to sleep. My personal experiences of it have been rare and long ago, but I remember them well. It wasn't pretty.

In the van, I listened to a talking book (The Lie) in front of the building for an hour-and-a-half before walking to a yard three blocks away where a gentleman, presumably retired, builds and sells willow lawn furniture, flower planters, birdhouses, etc. Will have to have a second look next week, when I drive Scott for another appointment if he still needs it.

We stopped in Margo for lunch on the way home, as there'd been a voice message that brother Buttski would be travelling through from Edmonton. But we missed him; he'd been and gone, apparently with Bruce and Shirley. (That's my uncle and aunt, for those of you who aren't from home. I nicknamed my brother Cameroni Bumboni and taught my kids to call him Uncle Bum. Which he claims to hate, particularly in crowded restaurants where single women might be within earshot.)

And now, since my morning and half the afternoon's been spent roaring down the highway, I had best go earn some moolah.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Shelly's World

Shelly's zinnia.

Shelly's landscaping:

Shelly's slave... er, I mean husband. (who needs a cabana boy when you've got beefcake at home?)

Shelly's pad:

And last but not least, Shelly!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Think I'll Go Out to Alberta

Weather's fine there ... etc (thank you Ian and Sylvia)

Got the boys to Shelly's, north of Edmonton, and their dad picked them up. The next day she and I took a tour of the local sights (actually a reconnaissance for free perennials left behind by a greenthumb who moved; highly successful) and in the evening we went to see my old neighbour and friend Helen in the city. We spent the following morning in coffee and chat, and then I headed for home again.

It was an eight-hour drive each way, smoothed by listening to John Grisham's novels: The Firm, The Client, and A Time to Kill. Before the last leg of the journey I stopped and spent one short night with Cathy in Saskatoon. With luck I'll be seeing her again in a couple weeks when we go back into the city to meet with friends coming out from Kelowna.

Finally it feels like summer. There's heat and at least a hint of rain. Mom's roses have begun to bloom.