Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Weekend in the Queen City

Just home from a couple days spent in Regina with Cathy (left) at the Ramada Inn. We visited with Jo Ann (right), another Luther "dormie," and were fortunate enough to be invited to her place for brunch one morning. Besides her fine cooking, I particularly appreciated this cow pitcher containing, of course, cream for our coffee:

We also went out for meals and coffee, and spent one evening at the Freehouse restaurant, which had a restful atmosphere and great food at good prices:

To my disappointment, no one played the piano.
I sat at the "fish" table:

Every time I go to Regina, I like it more.
One pictures it as a low-to-the-ground, square-shaped city, and perhaps it is, but it has a vibrant feel to it and a lot of very pretty architecture.

Also, the Freehouse has truly fabulous food and makes the best caesars I have ever tasted.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Days before Christmas

Leftovers from Wednesday night "supper"
Alison and I have been running into each other in stores and on the street for years, saying "Let's get together and crack a bottle of wine!"

Finally, we did. Two of them.


The news office is closed now till Jan. 2nd.
Emil is home for a few days. I've got him busy in the kitchen, de-greening a couple packs of rinsed strawberries for me to make freezer jam.
Otherwise I intend to be completely lazy.
No sugar cookies, no whipped shortbread, no caramel corn (I've OD'd on the making of it), no almond rocha, no nuts 'n' bolts, no lefse.
No Christmas tree, no lights, no ornaments brought from storage, though my Wise Men beeswax candles are within easy reach in the china cabinet. Maybe I'll find a place to set them out. It's the least I could do as a nod to the season.

Unlike last year at this time, when I dug for YouTube videos of the earworm I had, O Beautiful Star, and collected them.

Here you go; there's a buttload to listen to (and watch) on this page:


As a matter of fact, I may give them a spin myself; maybe some Christmas spirit will rub off on me.

I did hear, thanks to my friend Julie who posted the video on the Stubblejumpers Café webpage, Andrea Bocelli singing I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas. It made me cry and miss my mother.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Workaday World

Dark office. Light outside in hallway. Scott frying something on the stove, talking to dog, talking on phone; TV on. Coffee mug beside me on table, almost empty. Wet hair; housecoat; complainy neck. Gotta go out the door in a half-hour and put in a long day at work.

Went for lunch with my sister Karen yesterday, and my aunt Shirley.
"How do you like getting up early and heading off to town?" Karen asked me.
And I, surprising myself, replied, "I like it!"

All those mornings getting up to drive Everett to his job in town must have been paving the way.

And now: Butter toast. Dress. Move!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Resting Up

Always so satisfying to see the Wadena News pages laid out at the end of production day. 

It's my mid-week day off.
It's 11:22 a.m.
I'm still in my housecoat.

This is the life.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Home for the Weekend

A cast-iron moose has been erected alongside the road between here and Kelvington. Of course some asshole has already taken shots at it. D'uh. Brainless idiots abound.

Whoa! That was what I said when I first caught sight of this moose, while reaching for my camera. It looked huge and real. Up close, it's only half the height of a real moose. But from a wee distance it had me fooled.

More than a week has zipped by. Zip zip zip. Oh well. Isn't that life after 40?

I got a lift into town Monday morning with Scott, and then spent the week at Everett's. Just six blocks to walk to or from work, and the freedom to arrive and leave the office when I choose. Clearly it's time to order new tires for my old car so I don't have to rely on someone else or adjust to their schedule. Or we could just put a set of bunk-beds into the office for us die-hards.

I am wondering ... if I'm in town most of the day, what's the point of living out here? Except for non-winter evenings and weekends, I'll be indoors anyway. If you're between four walls a lot, what does it matter where they are?


Got another 10 episodes of Dr Who under my belt. Everett laughs when some sudden surprise onscreen makes me jump. Little bugger.

Friday night was Moonlight Madness shopping in Wadena. I got a couple gifts purchased and stopped at the drugstore to pick up a new prescription for my neck migraines. There was a migraine coming on; I had only brought a couple pills to town with me Monday and had used them. It was 30- or 40-below, and I had no plans to go home before the next day. The doctor had not returned the pharmacist's afternoon call to request an extension of the prescription, so I was shit out of luck.

Scott would have driven into town to bring the pills, but I didn't want him out on the road so I gambled on being okay for the night. By morning I wasn't, and by the time he got in with the pills, it took the medication a while to catch up to the discomfort. So yesterday was a fairly wasted day. As was this morning.

However, while begging the pharmacist unsuccessfully to advance me a couple pills to get me through till the next day, I learned that if my condition was marked "chronic" I wouldn't have to keep running back to the doc's office to get the prescription renewed. After 25 years of the same symptoms, wouldn't you call that chronic? I don't see why not.

Why go to the doctor when all you need is a prescription renewal? Well, we shall see what can be arranged. Wish me luck. I'm always very careful not to run out of my medication, but this time had mistaken some empty packages for actual pills. I hate to think what shape I'd've been in all weekend if I hadn't still had some at home. Oof. It's been a while since I've experienced that kind of suffering, which I hope never to deal with again.

By the way, the T and T Café makes the best burgers in town. And they serve Pilsner beer.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Last Day of November

The annual Noel Bazaar was held in Kelvington today so I drove north this morning to join my brother-out-law Walter at his table, where he was selling my sister-in-law's wild rice and wild rice products (dried soup mixes, flour, pancake mix).

There are only two farmers' markets left in Wadena this year so I will make sure there is "jimikrakcorn" there for those who look for it. But I am definitely getting lazy, and not feeling much like baking during the evenings or weekends. (I hear all my friends and relatives: "getting" lazy?)

Last Saturday, Scott and I drove cross-country to Faye and Rick's for supper. As always, we ate a stellar meal and enjoyed their fine company. Today they were taking Faye's mom to the bazaar and then out for lunch at the Kelvington bar. I was fortunate enough to be invited along. Here's Faye with her mom:

Back at the bazaar afterward, I had planned to do some Christmas shopping. But somehow I'd run out of steam. I did grab my wallet and make a perfunctory tour of the tables, but only picked up some of Aunt Marj's lefse and one of her apple pies. She threw in a bag of cookies (she is a generous lady and always good to me and everyone else).

I had a cookie when I got home. Delicious! Thanks, Marj! I'm having lefse for supper and apple pie for dessert. And wine for the beverage portion. I've been unable to entice Alison (my walking companion at work as well as my newspaper-mind mentor and employer; when I ran into her this afternoon she was heading to the office) over for wine and grub, alas, so am imbibing on my lonesome own. 

Scott's on top of a roof north of town, I hear. He will be cold and starving when he gets home and so I've browned some meaty ribs and thrown them into a pot on the stove with onions, cabbage and tomatoes. Not for me! No thank you. But he'll be happy. Maybe.

If not ... he knows where the lefse and apple pie are. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pyjama Day

Towing the truck 

Days! It's been days since I've posted an entry! The time, she flies.

See that red and white half-ton? It's been sat in the middle of our farmyard for the past year. Finally yesterday Mr Man decided to move it out of sight, probably so he doesn't have to move snow around it all winter. Now it can go kill the grass underneath it, somewhere else.

That was yesterday. You know, Sunday, when many people in this country take the day off and laze about. Not farmboys though. Mine was out with his little brother taking care of cattle for several hours, then in town shovelling snow at the current construction site, before cleaning up in the late afternoon and heading to his sister's in Kelvington to watch the Grey Cup game. (Does anyone in Saskatchewan not know that the Roughriders won? Didn't think so.)

I stayed home for what our friend Faye aptly described as a "pyjama day." After Friday night and most of Saturday at Everett's, watching Dr Who (two more seasons to watch before the new season begins, and a number of Christmas and other specials; but now that the kid doesn't live in the same house as me, it's not so convenient), I stood looking out the windows late yesterday afternoon and had to talk myself into going for a walk. It was melty out and so I definitely should've (I'd been a lazyass since my last day off, Wednesday), and nearly let myself off the hook yet again. But I took an inward listen after asking my body the question: What do you want to do? The answer was a firm Get Out and Walk.

So I left the kitchen-cleaning and halted the baking of caramel corn, and cooperated. The way I see it, if I want my body to be healthy and fit (i.e., to do what I want and expect it to do), I have to do my part. I can't keep making demands of it, and not keep up my end of the bargain. And out I went.

In the good news department: Aunt Shirley phoned yesterday and said Joanne B will be moving back to the lodge in Invermay. This will put her back in home territory, where she will be happier and it will be easier for family and friends to go see her.

Oh, and my son prepared for my overnight visit by stocking up on a variety of treats (damn pretzels! I may have OD'ed on them) and making something delicious for supper Friday night. I couldn't eat the half of it but did taste everything he served up, at least.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Uff Da

For years I've been purchasing shampoos from health food stores in the hope that they have fewer harmful chemical additives than the products that come off grocery- or drug-store shelves. I've perused their ingredients lists and thought, Hm ... this doesn't look much better. What am I actually buying, here? What am I absorbing through my scalp over and over again? Just because the manufacturer claims this stuff is free of poisons,  and I'm paying a premium price for it, doesn't mean I'm getting the natural product that I want.

At the Christmas market in town several weeks ago there was a lady from Norquay, Sask., with a table selling her homemade personal care products. I bought all her shampoo bars the moment I read their ingredients list:

- olive oil
- water
- coconut oil
- sunflower oil
- sweet almond oil
- soybean oil
- castor oils

Excuse me? No disodium sulfosuccinates? No olefin sulfonate? No decyl polyglucose? No sodium lauroyl sarcosinate? No sodium benzoate? No — ?

Well, you get the drift.

Just plain ingredients whose names I actually recognize. Woo hoo!

The shampoo suds up and does a great job. And it's inexpensive, too, compared to the big-batch commercial so-called healthy shampoos I've been using till now.

Check it out for yourself at her website: Uff da.

I will be ordering more when these are gone, and trying her other products, too.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


a nice white wine for your evening glass
Not too dry, not too sweet. So perfect, it's hard to stop at one glass.
But yay, me! I have been doing it.

Thank you to the clerk at the Wadena liquor store for recommending this wine to Scott. He has been spoiling me with it.

Speaking of perfection brings to mind the discomfort of imperfection. 

Newspapers have what we call "production day," and on that long busy day I read most every printed page, determined to catch errors of spelling, punctuation, phrasing, design … anything that may have been missed during the first proofreading or inadvertently changed during the transfer of a file's content to the page.

On "publication day," which follows, I scour the issue that has been mailed out to subscribers, almost holding my breath in dread of spotting an error.

And usually I do find at least one imperfection, and shake my head, and grit my teeth. How could I have looked right at this and not seen it? My “eagle eye” is not perfect. Sigh.

Readers "out there" are every bit as critical; no matter how minuscule the oversight, they note it with some measure of glee or annoyance.

They don't know how many imperfections were corrected before the text ever got into print, and how much rewriting was done, and how much factchecking there was, and how much headscratching, and how many small decisions had to be made. They would be surprised and perhaps even impressed, if they knew, at the level of attention to detail in the news office. Instead, some hold any mistake up to the light and almost seem to scoff; they have caught us falling short of perfection!

They have no way of knowing how much sifting, sorting and repair has been done before the newspaper went to press. They see a finished product that has been sweated over behind the scenes, under the pressure of a looming weekly deadline. They never see the work in progress or realize how much fine-tuning was required. 

Maybe that’s because, like successful recording artists, we make it look effortless. “I could do that!” the audience thinks. "That's easy!"

I wonder if I will ever accept errors and oversights with a glad heart, or at least a balanced one. Mistakes are a cost of living, and they are to be expected; we have to continue doing our best in spite of them. That’s what human fortitude is all about: not letting failure, or imperfection, get you down or keep you there. If you learn something every time, your game should only improve.

Besides, if we were perfect our heads would swell and we would become top-heavy and tip over. It never hurts to stay humble.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Red Dress Project

There are some 600 missing and murdered women in Canada.

Oh wait. Six hundred missing and murdered First Nations and Metis women. Their numbers are by far the highest, when it comes to counting up missing and murdered women in this country.

It's hard to believe, when you don't know any of them or their families personally. It's all too easy to think "These things don't happen to me or the women I know." Consider yourself fortunate, then, that you haven't lost a friend or a sister this way, or your mother or daughter.

The Red Dress Project attempts to make the public aware of the extremely high incidence of violence against Aboriginal women here. The artist collects donated red dresses and hangs them in public places.

Right now the project is at the University of Regina.

Read more: http://www.ammsa.com/publications/windspeaker/red-dresses-there-just-not-there

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReginawelcomesREDressProject

Monday, November 11, 2013

Only Able to Imagine

Left on the kitchen table with carnations and napkins

Darn! Guess this means there will be no cellphone call late this afternoon, saying "Is there anything you need from town?" to which I might reply "I am craving potato chips. How 'bout it?"

The sun is shining and the snow is sparkling. I went to bed last night and snuggled into my pillow, aware how fortunate I was to be tucked up all safe and warm in my own bed, with all my family and friends safe, while people in the Philippines are cold, hungry, grief-stricken, fearful and in shock.

It's Remembrance Day here in Canada, and I'm thinking of my great-great uncle, who died when the SS Caribou was torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Newfoundland in 1942. I'm thinking of my great-great aunt Alma, who was a nurse overseas during one of the world wars and must have seen some terrible suffering. I'm also imagining what it must have been like to be mothers and sisters and wives in those days when so many men and boys left for the battlefields. How sick at heart they all must have been as they watched their loved ones go, then waited at home, praying for good news, which all too often never came. I can't bear thinking much about it, or the fact that war and killing and rape and violence are still common around the planet.

So I focus on my own little life, reminded how lucky I am to have it where it is, how it is. I can spend the morning in my fluffy green housecoat (first time in 10 years I've had a paid holiday, by the way; that alone is something to do a jig about), worrying about no one dear to me. I can spend an hour getting the Wadena News (follow @wadenanewsed) set up on Twitter; I can plunge my hands into warm sudsy water in the kitchen sink, and look out the window at the birds flitting to and from the feeders in the trees. I can slide a roaster into the oven with a homegrown chicken, for supper. I can pour chilled white wine into a crystal goblet, and make brownies for dessert tonight. My sons haven't had to go to war.

Life is good.
I wish it was this good for everybody.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What's the matter with you? It's Winter

It's another cool and snowy day, but I have ski pants so you'll hear no complaints from me if I get out there before dark.

I'm not one of those who whines about the cold, then goes out dressed like a teenager or a fashion plate. I've learned my lessons: frozen ears, fingers, toes; misery in vehicles that hadn't been warmed up yet; impatient while my son Emil, on crutches or with walker, took longer getting into a building than is necessary for the more able-bodied.

And why?

When I was a teenager, looking unstylish mattered to me. Meh. To hell with that. Now I value comfort more than appearance. It took long enough. Some of us learn everything the hard way.

And when I was a bit older, it was only that I didn't know about the magic of ski pants. For warmth, they beat long underwear, hands down. And they aren't worn indoors, so your jeans don't feel tight (thus convincing you of weight gain or the need to slim down) like they do with long underwear beneath.

Sure ski pants are a pain in the butt to pull on every time you step out the door, and to peel off each time you come in again. That's also the case with the jacket, the lined boots, the scarf, the tuque and/or hood, the mitts. You feel buried alive sometimes. But these essentials are the cost of living in a country where cold weather is the norm for a good part of the year. Quit bitching, and dress for it. It's the only way to enjoy winter instead of suffering it. Because when you're warm, winter is beautiful.

This has been my annual holier-than-thou public health announcement. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

It Was a Rodeo

Darkness was beginning to fill the cool, moist air, and these three young calves couldn't figure out where the boys wanted them to go. It's not that they wouldn't comply. It's that they were confused; their mothers had already been herded to a pasture closer to home, and these three had gotten separated from the rest.

Here Bruce and Scott are trying to get them to step between the fenceposts to cross through the ditch, over the road, and to a stubble field on the other side. Half the battle was that the calves are accustomed to an electric wire between those posts, and they weren't too anxious to take a chance of getting shocked. You could almost hear their brains: "What? What? Why are they trying to get us to touch the fence? I'm not doing it!"

I was enlisted to help, but am not too adept at chasing cattle so the most I could really do was bring the truck up to where the boys had had to gallop on foot after the beasts, which can run pretty darn fast when they decide to throw their heads up and bolt.

In other news, we got snow during the night. About 15 miles north of us, they got six to eight inches of it. I wore my ski pants and Sorels to work today.

Friday, November 1, 2013

No Alice

It  happens to everyone, they say, sooner or later.
I got this book home and, before even cracking the cover, remembered I'd tried reading it before and not gotten very far. I was bored with it.

That's not to say it isn't a good book; it may be. Just that it didn't speak to me then, and it didn't speak to me last night, and it's going back to the library without my giving it another thought.

Too many books, too little time, that's what I say. Too many books that do speak to me, to waste my time ploughing through books that don't, just for the sake of saying I gave them every chance to engage me.

One book that did engage me, though it didn't satisfy, was the memoir Joan Didion wrote about coping with the sudden death of her husband. I read it in the year following Mom's passing. The loss of a husband is surely a different thing than bereavement after a mother's dying, but also Didion's husband's death came as a sudden shock, while Mom's — although the diagnosis of terminal illness was earthshaking — was a death that gave us time to say our goodbyes and express our depth of caring for each other. There wasn't unfinished business, unless a sense of being robbed counts as that.

Didion's book was a disappointment only because it didn't help me put anything into perspective or give me ideas for coping, as I'd hoped it might. Her struggle to balance again wasn't similar to mine in any way I could see. Didion wasn't "wrong" by any means; she just wasn't speaking to me at the time.

And that's what it's all about with books, isn't it? One day a book seems so dull you have to force yourself to turn to the next page; a couple years later it moves you like a dance tune. It all depends on where the reader is, in her own story.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Too Many Sweets

We devour the caramel corn byproduct; waste not, want not! 
Caramel corn is still baking in the oven, so I can't go to bed yet, or I would. Not that I'd sleep before 10 or 11, but I'd give it a college try. Have to be up around 5 tomorrow to leave here at 7 for a trip into the city. Alison (our "fearless leader" at the Wadena News) and I are attending a website seminar at the Sheraton Hotel in Saskatoon, and it starts at 10, so we've got to be on the road early.

Did someone say Halloween? It has practically passed me unawares, this year. A few costumed kidlets stopped into the office today for treats, but I heard rather than saw them. The librarian, when I walked over to pick up some books, was sporting bright orange hair. Someone at Canada Post was selling fancy Halloween-themed frosted cupcakes for a fundraiser. We had a bag of miniature chocolate-candy boxes in the office. Oh all right, I knew it was Halloween. I'm sugared right up to the tits.

Happy Birthday, Gord! You monster, you.
Happy Belated Birthday, Luanne! You missed being a monster, by one day.

What am I talking about? Of course I can go to bed. I just can't go to sleep. And who'd want to? I have two new books from the library: Still Alice, and The Teleportation Accident. Best brush the sugarbugs off my teeth and stretch out under the covers.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

He Is a Letter - Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

Someone who goes with half a loaf of bread
to a small place that fits like a nest around him,
someone who wants no more,
who is not himself longed for
by anyone else.

He is a letter to everyone. You open it.
It says, Live.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Doc Makes a House Call

This morning Scott made a man-sized breakfast and Doc was digging in.
Tuesday already, wow.
I thought time was flying when I worked 30 hours a week, and even 20.
These few extra hours would seem crazier, except that I've had Wednesdays off, which gives me a day in the middle of the week to catch up and get ahead, both. Then Tuesday feels like Friday (Already???), and when the weekend actually does arrive on Friday, it's as if — Already??? !!! Feels like hardly working at all.
To be honest, the work doesn't seem like work. Right now, it's play.

Before starting at the news office, I committed to filling half a table at the Xmas farmers' market this weekend. So I'm making caramel corn every night this week in order to be ready. But just tonight I realized that I don't want to run myself ragged by always having something I have to do. I'll prepare for and attend the market this weekend, and that's the end of it for me. I need my down time.

And now, off to bed for some reading. You'd think I'd've had enough reading for one day, wouldn't you? after another production day at the newspaper. But no. There is never too much reading. As a matter of fact, I'm looking forward to reading about newspaper-making, tonight: how to edit for smalltown newspapers, write good headlines, come up with catchy leads, that sort of thing. Lots to learn, and all interesting.

At the office itself I've got my head down, getting things done; but I'm also listening to my co-workers as they talk, immersing myself in the existing sensibilities of the place. How do they decide what goes into the paper? How do they approach local events? How do they respond to questions from the public? I'm all ears, all eyes. Conversations in the office aren't a distraction for me, as they sometimes are for others; I thrive on the buzz of activity; it's warm and it helps me focus.

You might think that makes me a successful multi-tasker, but alas no.  Emil phoned while I was stirring sauce for caramel corn on top of the stove, and apparently I can't think and talk at the same time because when normally I'd set the timer for a five-minute boil, tonight I set it for 15 and nearly burnt the stuff before realizing my mistake. Cooking and visiting don't go together for me. You win some, you lose some, I guess.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Livin' for These Lazy Weekends

Little Green has to warm up in the mornings before I head into town for work.
Not today, though. It is past noon and I'm still sitting around in my pyjamas, not moving one iota faster than I absolutely have to. And I don't have to, so won't.

 Emil would like to be picked up and brought out to the farm sometime today so I will have to get dressed eventually. He and his comrades from Mallard Industries went to a Halloween party in Porcupine Plain last night, so he didn't want to come home with me yesterday.

He is excited about receiving a reply to his letter to Dennis Lakusta (a travelling minstrel who has stayed with us a couple times), so insisted on coming out today; he will phone me after he gets up, he said. We offered to take the letter to him as soon as it arrived in the mailbox more than a week ago, but he didn't want that. Is that not strange, when Emil has talked about his hopes for a letter ever since the day he wrote to Dennis? But that is Emil for you. We don't always understand his reasoning, and he can't always explain it; we just try to respect it whenever possible.

Tomorrow and Monday nights our house guest will be another travelling minstrel, Doc MacLean. He is performing in Kelvington on Monday night and we are putting him up in our spare room. It's no fancy hotel, but there are none around here, although Wadena does have a brand new bed and breakfast opening soon (watch your Wadena News) and I'm betting guests there will be spoiled rotten. I might be tempted to go spend a night there myself sometime.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bedtime for Bonzo

Here's a glimpse of part of this week's front page;  I've planted myself in the editor's chair at our community newspaper. Local readers of course are well acquainted with it, so this picture is for those of you who have never lived around here.

I left the office at 5:30, made a five-minute stop at a residence, went to the Co-op and picked up $45 worth of groceries, drove home to GGFarm, made two trips to the house to carry bags in, took a pail of water for the barn cats out to the heated bowl at the tractor shed, came in and washed dishes (had yesterday off but it came with a migraine, so to hell with dishes; I pulled off a miracle just getting a batch of raisin rye bread made), threw a pot of chili con carne on the stove, and finally sat down to eat supper at 8:15. Since I aim to have my head on my feather pillow at 9, this entry will be short and sweet. I tell you all this just to point out that outside of work, there is no life!

That's how it feels, and I suppose will until I get used to a more demanding routine. This is not a complaint, as I'm enjoying being at the office. It's nice to have other people around.

And now hippity-hop to bed ...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

One Week Down

Whole Wheat Pancakes
We didn't have pancakes for supper here at home, but if I don't get groceries soon ...

 The news staff sent this weeks' issue of the paper off to the printer tonight after a good long day's work, and tomorrow is going to be a day of "rest" for me. You know — bake bread, go to town for grub, and so on. Some serious organization is called for if we are going to eat decently instead of last-minute and late all the time.

Also required tomorrow:

• a nice long bath.
• a walk on the country road with my "Little Doggie Friends" (said like Al Pacino might say it, as if they are dangerous).

I have seen enough words for one day.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Furry Co-Workers

Jackson, chairwarmer extraordinaire
Pixie the Brat. Rita and Lee, background, are not particularly furry. 
Viggie, the big fella
Rueben pops in with his man now and then, just to chat.
Animules. Gotta love 'em.

It snowed all day here, but was perfect for walking at noon; reminded me of the west coast.
Then I had to scrape ice off the windshield of Little Green before driving home at suppertime, and the road was a bit slippery in places. Oh well. It's the season. Why mind?

We have lost a neighbour in a horrible accident. He was found in his burned-up truck, on a dirt road a few miles north. We don't know yet what happened. He leaves a wife and two young children. Scott has known him for many years, but I met him only once, and it was a memorable occasion because his goodheartedness was plain. The power steering belt had slipped off and brought my vehicle to a halt on the road in 20- to 30-below weather, and this gentleman stopped to help me out. He stood in the frigid cold with another neighbour who happened by, freezing their fingers under the hood of my van as they struggled to get the fan belt back on, for about an hour.

It's the kind of thing the men out here will do, at their own extreme inconvenience, and not just for stranded women; for other men, too. It's not surprising; it's more surprising when a passerby doesn't go out of his way to help. Still, it's what I'll remember this young man for.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

End of the Work Week

Scott's cousin Bev came out for supper last night with her husband Paul (on the left).

Scott got his laptop out so she could show us some family pictures online. Well, sort of. She was actually showing us this huge wild boar shot by her nephew, who was very proud of his hunting success, but we figured it looks more like a domestic pig that escaped its confines, and were chuckling about that. To be fair, her nephew was in at least one of the photos.

After the bottle of wine was empty, we polished off the last of my delicious chokecherry liqueur before they headed back to Kuroki, where they are living in her late parents' house. Bev is teaching at the elementary school in Wadena and Paul is looking for work in the area. They've just moved here from Ontario.

There were a few funny stories about their experience coming to live in a small rural community from a more densely populated urban one. Things are definitely different out here. I thought (of course my brain is smokin' now that I'm working at the local newspaper) stories like that would make a hilarious newspaper column, but Bev pointed out that she was raised in a mining town not much bigger but definitely more isolated than our little agricultural villages here in Saskatchewan. She and her sister grew up at Snow Lake, Manitoba. "I am definitely not a city girl!" she said.

Bev's parents are Lily and Maurice Evans; Maurice's parents Lucy and Charlie lived in Margo when I was a wee girl. They ran the café before Bill and Gerda Eskowich turned it into Bill's Diner, the inspiration for the fictional Stubblejumpers Café.

Reta and I watched the Margo Centennial DVD when she was here, and on it there is  footage from a number of weddings in the 1950s. Bits of my parents' wedding is on it, and so is that of Bev's parents. Reta said she thought Bev's mom was the prettiest girl she ever saw.

I lent my DVD to Bev to see it for herself, but it has been stalling so she hasn't had the satisfaction yet.

Kim McLelland and I also appear for a few seconds. We are three years old, pulling the gift wagon at Joanne Otterdahl's (Bohl) wedding shower.

Friday, October 18, 2013

First Friday

View from desk, after toast and tea
And that, my friends, is all I have to offer after a couple full days at work. Girlysue here hasn't yet gotten on top of the time-management situation. But she will. She will!

My friend Linde (my last job, at the Canadian Encyclopedia, gave me wonderful new friends as well as a somewhat swanky-looking resumé) was a newspaper editor once upon a time, and tells me the machine in the photo in the last entry is a linotype machine.

This week Aunt Reta has my car, so I'm catching rides to and from work with Scott. This means getting out the door somewhat earlier than I would otherwise. Thus I must go begin the beautification process. For me, that means brushing my teeth, passing a soapy washcloth over my skin, and soaking my head so my hair doesn't look like a lopsided helmet for the rest of the day. Oh, and dressing. Being dressed definitely improves my appearance, notwithstanding my fondness for a certain fluffy green housecoat.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Old Workhorse Out to Pasture

This dusty old machine is one of my neighbours at the new work station. One day I'll find out what it is. 
There are several hunks of hefty old printing machinery in the news building, unused. Just curiosities now.

I spent most of the day at the computer, and enjoyed it thoroughly.
Even better, I had company for a noontime walk. My companion walks as fast I do, and even so, we damn near froze. It's gotta snow any day if this cold keeps up. Frigid.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

No More Lady of Leisure

Everett carries home groceries in  preparation for his dad's visit on the Thanksgiving long weekend.
Joanne Bohl is back to blogging: see here. I hope she keeps it up, as she should have a few stories to tell. She's been in and out of hospital for many months and is now back in the nursing home in Canora. Aunt Reta and I drove over there for a visit that lasted less than two hours, flew by, and was too short. We planned to get back again before Reta leaves for Phoenix, but now it's not looking like it will happen, for me anyway.

I've been perusing another friend's delightful webpage too.  A cancerous lump was found on her tongue and she has been handling the situation in her own unique way. Have a look. She is one inspiring and strong woman.

And now, it's off to bed for this kid. I start my new job tomorrow morning at the Wadena News. It would be nice to be wide awake and sharp on my first day "learning the ropes."

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dinner at Neil and Rose's

Kendra is my cousin Heather's oldest daughter.
Aunt Rose with Kendra's little sister Haley
My cousin Jolene has graduated from walker to cane, six months after her accident.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Noisy Thing

The trip to Prince Albert for a medical appointment was made on a rainy day, and I waited in the parking lot for a while after my inlaws went into the building. Cool days invariably mean damp socks and cold feet, so I gave them a nice warming dry-job before heading inside, myself.

This building has the loudest flushing toilets in the ladies room, ever. I went in upon entering the office complex, and was washing my hands when the automatic flush kicked in and scared the bejesus out of me. So I knew how loud it was when, before leaving at the end of the day for the drive home, I used the facilities again and was for a second time startled right out of my skin. Even knowing it was just the toilet flushing, I still wanted to bolt out of that room as quickly as possible.

Wonder how many heart attacks or fainting fits that little technological wonder has spawned.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Thanksgiving Weekend

Brrr. It's been a cold and windy week. But that hasn't kept me from my walks, most days. I bundle up and head out, whether I want to or not.

This time of year is the best for walking across the fields. There are no mosquitoes, and no crop to trample on. And it's even more appealing because being off the road, even a little ways, is peaceful. There isn't a lot of traffic, but I still have to call the dogs and hang onto them when a vehicle approaches, or the fools will run right out in front of it at the very last moment. God knows what they're thinking, when they've been at my feet till then.

No turkey plans in our household, though relatives are coming into the area from all directions for the Thanksgiving long weekend, so we will see some family over the next day or two.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Afternoon in Margo

Aunt Shirley is ready for Halloween.
We picked Shirley up in Margo — she lives in what used to be Grandma and Grandpa's house — and went to Missy's restaurant for lunch, but Shirley had bread rising in pans so couldn't be enticed to accompany us to the seniors' centre afterward.

Where I got a refresher in the game of canasta:

Olga and Reta count up the points and Betty gathers the cards for shuffling.
And thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Is there any better way to spend an afternoon than with a gang of gals?

Lately I hear a lot about bullying and ostracization among young girls, and even among adult women in the workplace who have apparently never grown up and out of it. But I have never experienced it with a group of older women, who seem invariably kind and pleasant.

I guess it takes all kinds. Maybe I've just been fortunate. I certainly wasn't all sweetness and light myself, as a young girl; my younger siblings and their friends have lived to tell tales of my adolescent cruelty, which I now regret (not letting them live, ha ha; I mean being mean).

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Making His First Home

On Sunday afternoon, Aunt Reta and I drove to town and watched Everett unpack and wash his dishes and find places to put them.

I turned the furnace on for Reta, who sat at the kitchen table all bundled up even though the sun was streaming warmly into the window.

We joked about the enjoyment of watching Everett work. Then we hung curtains in the livingroom for him.

Today we're off to Margo for lunch, and then Reta wants to spend the afternoon playing cards at the seniors' centre. I think I'm up for that; something different, and it's always a pleasure to visit with the ladies.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Aunt Reta

For Aunt Reta, who is visiting from Phoenix and likes bread made with white flour, I made these buns for supper. They are giant! I guess you can't tell from the picture.

Here she is, trying to keep warm:

Friday, October 4, 2013

Last Day

No, it's not the end of the world.
It's just the dairy bar closing for the winter.

And now ... off to the market!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Kelvington Clubhouse

On some of those sweltering hot summer days when I went to work with Scott, we retreated to the Kelvington golf clubhouse for lunch. Air conditioning! And food is so much more delicious when you have been lugging construction material around a job site all morning, and are good and hungry. [On many other days, the homeowners gave us simple yet tasty lunches in their back yard under shady trees, and joined us for an hour's visit. Not necessary or expected, but much appreciated and really nice of them to go that extra mile.]

This week the boys are slugging away outside, framing a large new house and trying to get it closed in before the seriously cold weather descends upon us. I am relieved that my help has not been requested; I think I'd be miserable out there, shivering. It's already cold, as far as I'm concerned.