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.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


All dressed up, and no place to go.

I went to bed early last night. Nine-thirty. That's early, and I was asnooze before the radio turned itself off an hour later. But then I was up at 4:30, too hungry to fall back asleep, so I made toast and coffee and sat reading by the light of a table lamp in the living room.

Scott's parents are going north this morning for a medical appointment, and I'm to accompany them and do some driving, I imagine. Only I thought we'd be leaving at 8:30, and was ready to go out the door for the day, only to be informed that 9:30 was more suitable. Which is fine with me. An hour to putz around is always welcome.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Song for Sharon

Written and sung by the great Joni Mitchell, illustrated beautifully by Nathaniel Barlam.