Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Winter Loves Us Here in Saskatchewan

It is some six degrees below freezing, out there, with high winds. I haven't ventured out all day. Been indoors feeling chilled, then migrainey and sleepy, and now all that's passed due to a bath, a pill, and a nap and I'm fine, but still staying in. No need to freeze my buns off, is there? Nah. There's always tomorrow for fresh air and, May 1st or not, my ski pants still aren't packed away for the summer and I'm not afraid to wear them!

The root canal yesterday was a piece of cake, really, if you don't consider how much it cost (that was the biggest ouch)(you might weep if I gave you the figure but I'm thankful for the  extra work I've had since January that allowed me to pay cash for it). I've been unenergetic for several months and now suspect, after seeing in an x-ray that there was infection around the root, that my body has been working hard to keep it controlled. No wonder I've been tired and lazy. I'm fortunate it didn't abscess while I waited months for my appointment with the specialist, and that the intermittent aching in my jaw was relieved admirably by a whole clove held between gums and lower lip. That clove thing ... it really works.

There are areas in Saskatchewan that are flooding and being pronounced disasters today, and there are road closures, and many highways are glare ice. Emil and the rest of his Disneyland crew are expected back in Wadena at 3 a.m. tomorrow morning, so my fingers are crossed that they can travel safely when they leave the city after their flight arrives. The news I received via text a couple days ago was that he was having a wonderful time and didn't want to come home, but was looking forward to telling me all about it. So it sounds as if he's had plenty of fun. I'll probably go into town tomorrow afternoon to see him and hear of his adventures. They'll be getting quite the shock, coming from California temperatures to winter!

Monday, April 29, 2013

"Shite," you say?

Yes, indeedy!
We had a visit with Scott's cousin Alex (in England) via Skype ("Skype-ee," as he calls it) yesterday, and he told me in no uncertain terms: "That thing you've got on your blog now is SHITE!"
Well! I never!
Which was just the kick in the pants I needed to do something about it instead of just threatening to.
So there's a quick change, Alex, just for you.
Still no time to deal with it properly, as I've gotta be out the door in about half an hour.
Off to Saskatoon for a root canal. Yay! I have the most fun life, ever.
And this is how things look from our front window this morning:

Fortunately my driver is a travelling pro, and won't be the least fazed by this weather. It takes more than a little snow to keep a Saskatchewan girl off the roads anyway.

Yesterday the snow was almost gone:

Saw this last evening on our way to take some food to the home of a friend who lost her husband— only in his forties — late last week due, I believe, to complications from a new medication. (What can I say about that? It is a horrible shocking thing, and a lot of people are hurting, and it makes you put your hand to your heart and think that sometimes life is nothing but a great big mean betrayer.)

The moose seemed confused and trotted toward us on the highway, then turned and went another way, then came back again, several times. We were told later that the white patch is not from ticks, as we'd thought. Tick infestations happen later in the season. Right now it's normal for moose to be losing their winter fur.

Sigh. And I have to get out the door. Don't wanna! But watch me go from housecoat to bluejeans and wet hair in 10 minutes. Bye for now.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Emdot: Meandering Streamies

Marya appears to live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. 

And man, does that woman have an eye for a photo.

If you didn't follow the link I left in my last entry, do it now. You won't be sorry.

Oh Where Oh Where Have the Comments All Gone

There's water. It IS spring.
Oh where oh where can they be?

This friggin' template ... hm ... much as it's fun, who wants to have to search for things? Rzzzl Frzzzl Grrr, as the Divine Marya has said.

I'll get around to changing the template. You know I will. That's half the pleasure of blogging: rearranging things. Heh. Designer wanna-be.

Icy and Snowy and Slushy, Oh MY

Our yard is still full of snow and slush and water, but the road I walk on is dry.
I had to wear my ski pants and winter jacket, and mitts! yesterday to walk. And Sorels to get past the driveway without wet feet. The wind was icy mean and cut glass shards into my fingers when they nakedly operated the camera.

According to outlaw-sis Laurel, up near Flin Flon they got six inches of snow the night before last.

The snow and cold and late spring is on everyone's lips. It's on the local radio programs. It's probably on the tv news.

But the sun is shining and I've got warm clothes and no water in the basement. You'll hear no complaints from me about the weather. It is what it is.

Aunt Reta:  Tell Carl I will be getting back to his manuscript shortly so he had best polish up his spectacles and prepare for Incoming! mail.

Yesterday I finished my 10-year stint with TCE and now intend to put some time into other projects that have been on the back burner. Like my uncle's memoir; he's a pretty good storyteller. Like cleaning up the office; papers have been piling up. I have another job too; check out Straight Goods News. I've been doing their social media outreach for several months and saying "Paid to read the news? Can't beat that!"

There are other irons in the fire, too, that please the heck out of me, but mostly what I'm looking forward to is the frog spring chorus. You know, if the snow melts. I mean, when.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bird Sightings

Seen from the back step today. 
First glimpses of the season:

• dark-eyed junco
• robin!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Event at Margo Hall

My sister Karen, left, with Heather at Margo Hall on Friday night
Karen had given me (belated birthday) tickets to the church fundraising event she and friends had organized, so off we went to Margo. The hall was packed and we had a table right at the front.

I had wisely declined Karen and Heather's invitation to sing with them. They sounded great; certainly didn't need me up there. I would've enjoyed the practising, but that is all. As it turned out the hired entertainer, a comic/magician, called me onstage to help with a trick, so I got to be self-conscious and embarrassed anyway. Lesson Learned: Always Sit at the Back of the Hall.

I enjoyed seeing all the Margo faces there, though we were squeezed in so tight I didn't get much actual visiting done. Nevertheless the gals served up a fine meal and since Scott bought a shitload of tickets when we came in the door, we came home with a potted calla lily and a Roughriders T-shirt. And a long-stemmed yellow rose given to me by the magician as I left the stage. Yellow roses always remind me of Mom, now, because someone gave a plant to her when she was sick and she often commented appreciatively on the sweet scent of its blooms.

Both Scott and I were fighting off head colds so we didn't have a drink all evening, which turned out to be lucky because the police stopped us just before we turned off the highway onto the Kylemore grid. From behind, the officer had noticed our vehicle swerve to the right when Scott drove into the turning lane, so I guess he thought it was a drunk driver. God knows there are far too many of those around here. People are still stupid enough to drink and drive.

It was past midnight when we got home and I've been blowing my nose and lying about, ever since. Have had far worse colds than this, it's true, but still yesterday was a wasted day and today doesn't look much more promising. Not sure yet whether I'll get out of my pyjamas.

Just three more days of work for the encyclopedia, and I am looking forward to the change and wishing it was done already.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Lytton Strachey at Tidmarsh

This is what I've been reading for several weeks, in the evenings after I've crawled into bed. The British biographer Lytton Strachey was a bit of a character and formed an unusual domestic partnership with a woman (painter Dora Carrington; see the film Carrington) who loved him, and the man he loved, who loved her. Or something like that. There were enough love affairs to confuse anyone. But hey: whatever works, more power to ya.

A friend of mine celebrated his birthday the other day and I thought the following poem suited his lifestyle, as well as my own. Except that he and I have no interest in fame, and we are both well past 40:


Suppose the kind gods said, ‘Today
You’re forty. True: But still rejoice!
Gifts we have got will smooth away
The ills of age. Come, take your choice!

What should I answer? Well, you know
I’m modest — very. So no shower
Of endless gold I’d beg, nor show
Of proud-faced pomp, nor regal power.

No; ordinary things and good
I’d choose: friends, wise and kind and few;
A country house, a pretty wood
To walk in; books both old and new

To read; a life retired, apart,
Where leisure and repose might dwell
With industry; a little art;
Perhaps a little fame as well.

(Lytton Strachey, 1 March 1920)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Snow is Going

There is a layer of ice on top of the snow, since we had rain one night. 
There are these wild "ice flakes" laying across the rotting snow in the ditches.
Scott has been pointing out how quickly snow melts as soon as a spot of dirt or anything dark appears. This dry brown leaf has absorbed enough heat to sink a deep hole into a tire track.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Everett Was Our Popcorn Man

After Everett moved out to go to NAIT, popcorn-making had to be negotiated. Scott thought I should do it. I figured if I held out long enough, he would. Heh. No. I explained what is daunting  enough to stop me from making popcorn of an evening. I suggested a division of duties that would be encouraging. I measure the oil and popcorn into the popper and plug it into the wall. Scott melts the butter and doctors up the popcorn. Works like a darn. Bet we eat popcorn at least twice a week. If I was the only one making it, once a month would be the most.

•••••   •••••

On the 25th, Emil is going to Disneyland with a group from his work.

Emil: "I'm really excited. I'm sure I'll have a good time."
Me: Yes you will. Absolutely.
Emil: "I'm sure I'll have a blast there."
Me: Yeah.
Emil: "Mom. What is a blast?"

I sat in the truck for a few minutes this morning waiting for Scott to come out of the service station in town. 

Monday, April 15, 2013


You KNOW I am going to have to change this blog's template again before long. Even I can't figure out what's where, half the time.

We went to our niece's Ukrainian dance festival yesterday afternoon. Two hours of brightly coloured costumes on the move, and lots of sprightly accordion music. Some of the toe and leg work reminded me of wee Grandma doing her Highland Fling all over the Margo countryside.

It's coming up to two years since she's been gone, and I miss her. She was one of a kind, and very occasionally she got on my last nerve and I told her so. But I'd put up with any of her cranky Bartleyness (all you Bartleys may kick my ass at the next family reunion) to have her back.

At the festival yesterday I talked with a friend about signs that our loved ones are still around us. She has had some convincing experiences. I've had one or two, myself. When they happen, you know absolutely who or what it was. It's afterward that you begin convincing yourself it was coincidence and wishful thinking. That there was a strange power surge that made your sound system start up loud in the middle of the day, by itself. That that warm, affectionate hand on the back of your neck was just your imagination.

Oops -- gotta bolt -- going to relocate a barn cat to the other farm.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Make It and Lie in It

Every morning when making our bed, I think of Mom. She made the quilt we use for a bedspread, and I helped some, and am so grateful to have it. I also think of her because she was fussy about how beds are made, and my bedmaking wasn't up to snuff. It still isn't to her standards. Nor does it have to be; it boasts a beautiful quilt.

Ducky is also fussy and goes to great lengths to get his blanket just so. I haven't quite figured out what he's aiming for, but it's a real production sometimes.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Ahhh... another week's work done. I'm a little behind with the dishes, but not too far. Will get caught up  tomorrow. Emil's coming tonight; looking forward to seeing him.

I have a hankerin' for chocolate chip bran muffins. Might/could make those this weekend. Should be getting this office sorted out instead, I suppose.

Hang in there, I'll find the office picture. 
Here it is. What a mess eh. I've been paper challenged for a month or two. 
Surely I'll do both.

It is definitely spring. Yes there's lots of snow, but it's melting from the inside out. There was water laying on top of the Rubbermaid birdseed container when I went for a walk this afternoon.

 I did the whole half hour quite briskly and my back didn't complain even once. Yay! That felt fantastic. And: not only sans ski pants... sans long underwear! I was doubtful there, for the first while, but warmed up soon enough. It's good to feel normal again.

Alas already I catch myself bending to do things in the house, instead of squatting and rising straight up and down. When your back feels right, these things aren't an issue (till they are). It still has to be rested several times a day after standing at the kitchen counter, but as long as it gets those few minutes of respite, all is well. I hate being limited but don't have a choice. Back is boss and will heal completely in its own good time.

Gotta start doing yoga again. Actually, I'm soon going to have time for it every morning — the best time for it, because you enjoy the benefits the rest of the day and night — since one of my jobs has been made defunct (or something), and I'll finish on the 25th.

If I'm smart I won't wait till then to get started. The bod does love its stretches.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

This Apparently is Spring

Still plenty of snow. This is the entry to our driveway.
It's so bright!
Patches of brown grass have begun appearing around the yard. I went out in the late afternoon and because of the wind didn't walk as far as I normally would.
There are now seven mule deer that come looking for something edible, every day. It won't be long before they won't bother with us and our oats, birdseed, or cedar trees. I hope. Thinking of my flower garden.
I've got another hour's work to do tonight, and it's time for my PJs and my reading in bed. Best get a move on.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Heather and Her Brood

My cousin Heather said she wanted to have a big baby, and that's exactly what she had. This one was half grownup already when she was born! What was it she weighed? Hey this smartphone is handy when you aren't in the habit of clearing out the texting logs. I texted the weight to Joan (my sister, for those who don't know everything; I always assume we're all old friends): 9 lbs 14 ounces. Oy.

She looks exactly like her big sister, from what I can see.
Her granny says she is sweet and content, just like her mother was.

I babysat her mother when she was about six months old; best baby to look after, ever. Just a-smilin' the whole time. Here she is with my first-cousins-once-removed:

Heather is still smiling. Baby's name is Haley Jo, and that's her big sister Kendra looking on. A matched set, these little ones, that look like their dad. 

I'm sure glad to be done with the baby-havin'. What an ordeal that whole thing was. Every bit worth it.
But now it's all new little surprises coming into the family. Cousins once removed, great- nieces and nephews. Fun.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


At age 18 I was attending the university of Saskatchewan. Late one evening I was still in the university library, but instead of working I was writing in my journal.

"Concentration and immersion in studies might do me good but it's hard to settle down. I can make myself sit here, surprisingly enough, but one thing I cannot do is make myself constructive. These carrells have some earthy graffiti. I spend my 1st ten minutes in each one reading that. Here's a cute one, right here in front of me:

'Here's to that moment
Of sweet repose
With belly to belly,
Toes to toes,
And after that moment
Of sweet delight
It's back to back
The rest of the night!'

Someone else has replied 'Not so when a woman is with a woman. 652-0972. Marilyn.'

All kinds:




Then there's an epic poem on the rewards to the male species of clitoral stimulation during intercourse.






and the inevitable


I think that # is 'time' and I've been seeing it everywhere."

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Who Doesn't Love a Saturday?

For those who know Joanne, we have had an email from her today. (See the link under Pages.) I only had a few minutes with her on Thursday because the hours sitting jawing with Jolene had flown by, and when I thought I still had all the time in the world, Scott was phoning: "Meet me at the front door!"

As it was I lingered as long as I could get away with (not long enough,  Joanne) and met him on his way into the building to track me down.

Yes Jolene is doing great. She was just finishing a physio session in a walker when I arrived, and deigned to do it again so I could see. We had a nice afternoon together, or I did anyway. She was in pain sometimes but you could hardly tell. I probably shouldn't have stayed so long and maybe tired her out.

Emil is here. He is on a restricted diet now, since the naturopath did a live blood analysis and believes Emil has an overgrowth of yeast in his system. You know, that popular diagnosis these days. But we are giving it a try, since the alternative is living indefinitely with ears that feel plugged. So tonight's meal was romaine lettuce with a sprinkling of salt and pepper (which Emil announced was good), boiled carrots, and wild rice from the lakes of northern Saskatchewan with a few dabs of butter. This menu would never satisfy Scott as it has no dead animal in it, but he went to Kelvington to eat with his grandma, so everybody's happy.

Dessert will be made later: popcorn. We do love us some popcorn 'round here.
First glimpses of green
Walking north toward home this afternoon. I know it's really spring because I could do this without my ski pants.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Big Ring Circus

I've introduced you to a lady in the southern states (her webpage is Bless Our Hearts), who has introduced me to someone she likes, who says:

"I learned from the owner of that place, and my friends there, that it was not enough to refrain from persecuting gay people, but that an active role in the advocacy of their rights and protection was a moral obligation, and that choosing not to do so was persecution itself."

You can read the rest of that entry here: Big Ring Circus. And I am going to add that link to my blogroll. Thank you, Ms Moon!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How Wings Are Attached to the Backs of Angels

Found this in my internet travels for work today:

From the National Film Board of Canada.

The Canadian Encyclopedia's article about the NFB includes links:
click here to read it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Nature Isn't Always Kind

A few miles from here I saw this young moose. It has hardly any hair left and looks like it's suffering from too many ticks or some kind of parasite. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Home Decoration

An overnight trip to Saskatoon put us in a hotel near this house with its religious statuary. Normally I wouldn't take a photo of such a thing, but since it was Easter on the day we drove past it, I figured what the hell: blog fodder.