Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Candles Old and New

Power went out here yesterday at noon due to the heavy hoarfrost we have had for days.
Sure reminds you how dependent you are on electricity, for what can you do indoors without it?
Read and sleep.
Can't do dishes, cook, bath, laundry.
No computer, no internet, no tv.

Estimated time of restoration was 8pm. By 9 o'clock I had added to my regular ensemble a pair of ski pants, two sweaters and a tuque.

Scott and his brother had gotten a generator going, heated up the big old house in the other farmyard (a mile down the road, where his mother lives, also his brother's family), then wired our furnace up to the generator long enough to heat up our house and once more return the generator to the other house to heat it again for the night.

Scott made a trip to town to bring Everett out here; the lad had left work at 2 o'clock when all the businesses shut down because none of the debit machines worked without power. He lives in an old storey-and-a-half and had been in bed to keep warm.

Emil complained all day: "I sure wish the power would come on."

It came on about midnight after being out all over the province, or at least in a very long list of places.

I was impressed watching Scott do all that re-wiring, or whatever it was he did with those plugs and wires in order to hook the furnace up to the generator. "Is there anything that man cannot do?" I was certainly thinking that, as I wondered how other people— those without Scotts, woodstoves, fireplaces, generators— were faring around the countryside and in the towns.

Candles were our heat for some 10 or 11 hours yesterday, until we all went to bed.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Walking Weather - Depending on Your Direction

Sure it's 30-below or so, but if you are walking into the sun it's actually warm on your face. When you turn back and walk into the little wind—that's a different ball game.

I went for a beautiful stroll yesterday afternoon. It was so bright and glittering I could've stayed out there forever.

There is still a lot of hoar frost and it is still causing power outages. We have been fortunate in that power's gone off several times and come back on within minutes.

Heading out the driveway...

Sign and machine that came with the place

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

No Hoarfrost Photo Today

Our area is gorgeous; the trees have been laden with heavy hoarfrost that lasts all day. I can say it's gorgeous because my house has not been without electricity. Many others have been, due to the weight of the hoarfrost on power lines. We can be thankful it's not 30-below out there.

We are heading for town to do our last-minute shopping and pick up our two youngest boys, who will spend the night out here; the eldest, with his fiancée, arrives tomorrow afternoon. It will be a treat to have them all with us at the same time for a few hours.

And now I must take my credit card, and away!

Little Grace, patterned on my mother, moves around the house. Here she rides the flying pig, sidesaddle.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Just Some B.S.

On the afternoon of one of my days off, Scott asked “Have you looked in the mirror today?”
It’s the hair, you see.
I don’t always soak it down if I’m not going anywhere.
It gets rowdy during the night and is hungover all the next day.

Occasionally he will raise an eyebrow and grin at what I am wearing (my "get-up"), but say nothing. (He is slowly catching on to the "good husband" rules.)
That's usually when I'm wearing bright multi-coloured leggings with thick socks, a short polka-dotted skirt, and three layers of tops; something perfectly comfortable for home wear.

On the other hand, he still doesn't tell me if there is something green stuck in my teeth before we leave the house. Hee! So he has a way to go before he gets a Good Hubby Award.

Faye the Fantastic turned this into a nice little arrangement for me before Xmas last year. I can't make a goodlooking bouquet no-how. It's good to have friends with skills.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Digging Out the Christmas Decs

I only have two of the wise men. And Saint Nicholas. Oh well. These are made from pure beeswax and smell lovely; I don't want to burn them. As they are they give a very pleasant scent to the bathroom, just every once in a while. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Window Tour

Mom used to say that she liked their house on the old Johnson farm because there was a window to look out in every direction.

I like to be able to walk up to a window. There's a single bed in front of the office window, so I have to climb up.

Scott can't figure out why the hinges and plate on the wooden toilet seat are loose. Perhaps it's because I stand on it to look out the window in the bathroom while brushing my teeth. 
Through the window of the guest room, home of the roomba. Note: Scott threw a pole lamp out onto the back step last week. We have a lamp shortage now, alas. It is not easy to find a good lamp.

Porch window
Window in porch door

Window at kitchen sink

Dining room window. Will these deer-demolished cedars ever fill back in? I am tired of waiting.

Window in front door.  Don't step out in the dark or you will break your chin on the concrete step, which was moved away from the door when weeping tile was placed around the foundation.

From the living room, which now has—TaDa!—curtains. It has taken about four years to get around to that.

And finally our bedroom window, and the circle is complete. 

There is a blind spot where there is no east window.
Mom would like their farmhouse better.
An east window would please me, too.

The World Before Us

The latest book I've brought home from the library: The World Before Us, by Aislinn Hunter.

Page 33, and I'm not drawn in yet, I'm even a little bored, and I'm wondering whether to read a bit further, give the author more of a chance to pique my interest.

I've been up since Scott brought me the last coffee in the pot before he left the house. But not really up, as I've been lying abed, reading. Still in my fluffy green housecoat, which needs a wash but that can't be done here, as our iron- and sulphur-soaked hard water will stain it rust.

Page 89, and yes, I'll carry on a bit further now that I've come this far.

For more information about the story, CLICK HERE.

Monday, December 15, 2014

O Christmas Tree

The tree was made by my friend Cathy's parents, who created the Strathcona Model & Toy Museum in Edmonton. 
Setting the tree out has inspired me to dig up the other Christmas decorations. It's fun to see them again. Shelly, your Christmas letter is on the table so Scott can read it too. 

Ms Steinem: What a Woman

If I hear one more woman say she is not a feminist because feminists want to take something away from men, make men less masculine, put men down, be less domestic themselves, be more manly themselves ... I am going to puke.
Where do people get these cockamamie ideas?
And why, if they don't know what they are talking about, do they open their mouths?

It is particularly pathetic that women who now take for granted the right to work outside the home, the right to own property, the right to vote, the right to custody of their own children, and many other legal rights that women did not have even 100 years ago, do not recognize that it was feminists who fought for these rights. It was not women who were satisfied with the status quo and were happy to be the legal property of their fathers, husbands, or even brothers. It was women who had the guts to stand up and take the crap that was flung at them for insisting on being treated as full human beings under the law and not just chattel or, basically, domestic servants.

"If you are not a feminist, what the hell is wrong with you?"

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Off to Work. Then Overnight at Everett's. Talk among Yourselves.

You're tired, but do you go to bed before midnight?
Hell, no.
But it sure feels good when you do finally lie down.
And then you lie there awake, flipping from one side to the other, till it's five to one and you think, "Shit, I've already missed As It Happens," but you turn the radio on anyway and, right after the news—which is always horrible so why you bother listening to it is a good question—a show about cities comes on and puts you right to sleep.

These three photos were taken from the same spot (within five feet).
They were taken within minutes—no, seconds—of each other.
The snow looks sculpted, and sometimes it appears blue.
The Bohl girls are saying they can't believe their mother has been gone a month already. My immediate response—though I don't say it to them, as it is not a comfort—is "You will feel the same when she's been gone nine years."  Or, though I have yet to find out for myself, 20 or 30 years. You know your mom is not with you anymore, but it never will seem right or even really true.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Spring in December

News? You want news? I have none!
Talked to Aunt Shirley on the phone tonight. No new news from Margo.
Talked to Dad. Lots of Saskies down where he is near Palm Springs for the winter.

Tired, I think. Was working last night in my sleep. Knew better, too. Kept telling myself I could work all I wanted, but it wasn't actually getting done because I was home in bed, not at the office. Should've got up and had a pee, probably; might've had some restful sleep then. Those irritating stressy dreams are when my body is trying to tell me something. How about you?
Too much info?
Well YOU come up with something, then!

Sun shining on south windows as it sets, late afternoon walk yesterday.
Leaving for work at 9:30 this morning.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Letters from 1978 (When Ken Mitchell Came to Wadena Library)

There are leaning stacks of filled journals on my dresser.
What the hell am I going to do with them?
It's not as simple as "Burn'em."
Not when there are treasures inside.
This two-sided letter was sent to me when I lived in Saskatoon with Cathy as my roommate. I was 19, Karen was 17 and away at school, and Joan would have been 10. Mom was 36:

Things that Sparkle

Out the back door. 

Over to the dugout.

And down the road.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Fences I Have Known

If I want to be fit, I have to walk at least four times a week.

So what's with the slacker I've been lately?


Especially because it is beautiful out there.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I Love Winter

Me and my old girl went for a short (thanks to the wind) walk. The weather has been gorgeous for the last two days. Not gorgeous enough for wee Ducky Doodle though; he had already gone back indoors.

I'm back to work, so aiming for an early night. Like that ever happens. But sometimes!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Raggidy Rag

Yep, I love it:

Not Such a Silly Girl After All

Scott and Rick laughed at me—silly girl—when I wondered aloud if mice could get through the light-shows-through crack between our porch door and its frame.

“A mouse can’t get through that!” they said, grinning.
“I’ve heard they can get through a hole the width of a dime,” I said.
“You thought it meant the thickness of a dime?” they teased me, shaking their heads. “It meant the diameter of a dime.”

I didn’t argue with them. I laughed at myself. But I thought, I’ll check this out.
Eventually I did, and found this online:

“Mice are actually somewhat smaller than they appear and can squeeze their head through a hole only about 1/4-inch in diameter, about the same size as a wooden pencil. After getting its head through a hole, a mouse has no trouble getting the rest of its body through.”

A quarter-inch. That ain’t no diameter of a dime.

All too easily, women believe that men know what they are talking about. Maybe it’s because men always seem so sure they know what they are talking about. It never seems to cross their minds that their way of seeing things might not be the way things are. Women seem more open to this fact of human life.

And this, for interest’s sake:
“Although rats are much larger animals than mice, they can squeeze through holes only 1/2-inch in diameter.”

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Getting There

Those first moments of waking up, some mornings, allow certain realities to become clearer than ever.

For instance, this week I accepted—finally—that my body will age and shrink as I become an old woman.

That this is inevitable if I live a long time.

That this is natural.
How it is.
And right.

I lay there, knowing it.

Have you seen this collection of photographs of four sisters?
The husband of one took a picture of the sisters together once a year for 40 years.
Here are the PHOTOS & ARTICLE.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Kathy has Crazy Hair

After an appointment first thing yesterday morning for a haircut, I walked into the news office, unfrocked (winter parka, wool scarf, gloves inside mitts, ski pants, and Sorel boots—we are enjoying 30-below, but I was prepared to walk to the office after Scott dropped me off for the haircut—however, he was having none of it, and took time out of his busy workday to come back an hour later and drive me the few blocks to work; totally unnecessary, but appreciated), turned on the computer at my desk, and started sneezing and blowing my nose.

This went on all day. By the time I got home around 6:30, I was ready for bed. By 9 o'clock I was in bed, trying to absorb the shocking news that Mom's cousin Randy Bartley has died suddenly after arriving in Phoenix for the winter, and hoping that a good night's sleep would set me back on my feet in time to return to the office this morning.

I'm still a bit under the weather, so will work from home for a couple hours and see if maybe by noon I feel well enough to go in.

Meanwhile, Sandy (my heroic hairstylist), this one's for you (but it's a message that perfectly suits me and my head of hair):

Also: phone scammers.
We've been receiving calls from real people trying to scam us, but here's a warning from Westjet about automated calls claiming to be from the company. CLICK HERE.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Birthday Ritual

Never let it be said that we never have any fun at the WADENA NEWS office.

One of my co-workers celebrated a milestone birthday last week, and a favourite customer came in as we were sipping coffee and eating cake. He hopped up onto a table to sing Happy Birthday to the birthday boy.

Terry, bless his heart.


We had friends over for supper last night. After they left, we threw the leftovers together in the casserole dish that held the meatballs; that will be supper tonight. There were even two slices of rum & eggnog cheesecake left on the table; perfect for dessert this evening.

Of course, these were my plans. Scott is an eating machine—hungry for life! I like to think— and if I didn't give him the heads-up, that casserole dish would have been half empty when I got out of bed this morning.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Brenda's Blog

Brenda is a POET IN NORTHERN SASKATCHEWAN. She is also a reader.
So out she goes with the books that come her way, and takes photos of them in the surrounding environment.
And there are some great pics of birds too.
Brenda lives up at Creighton, which is just over the border from Flin Flon.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Blizzard Warning

No matter what I say or think about it being a neverending everygoddamnday burden, I am pleased with myself when the kitchen is clean and something is in the oven.

Dishes are done, chicken is roasting, wild rice is simmering, groceries are brought home and put away, and it’s snowing and blowing so we are glad to be inside and not going anywhere.

From the living room window

Friday, November 21, 2014

My Little Piece of Agnes Laczo Art

I became acquainted with Pete when I read something he'd written (I think), which included the fact that he lived in a tipi. As I was quite interested in acquiring a tipi of my own at the time, I probably introduced myself via letter. He lived up in Canada's far north and we corresponded for a while; handwritten letters more than 20 years ago. His pages completely in fully capitalized letters. One thing I remember writing about was archetypes in the human experience. We were both readers. The frequency of letters dwindled to nothing after he fell in love and got married, and I didn't think about Pete again except when I saw the photograph he'd sent of his tipi. I included the picture on my wall collage when years later I finally tacked up my entire collection of images on paper.

And then some time after I began discovering many old friends on Facebook, I looked Pete up, and there he was! So we have reconnected. He is a frequent FB poster so it's a way to get to know him a little; at least, his interests. I know he is big into race horses and sled dogs and rustic cabins. And here's what he knows about me:

A painting by Agnes Laczo.  Click HERE to visit her webpage.
Or what made him think of of me. Anyway by posting the above image on my FB wall, he turned me onto Agnes Laczo. I spent a goodly amount of time scrolling through her webpage, looking at her paintings and artwork, and much of it Makes. Me. Happy because it is simply just plain delightful. What can I say.

So ... talk about making your short story long ... I purchased something from Agnes and this week it arrived in the mail from Budapest, Hungary:

That's the one I picked, but there are a whole bunch and they're lovely: CLICK HERE.

Check out her stuff. CLICK HERE.