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.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Joanne's LeaveTaking

Went to Joanne’s funeral at the RC Church in Wadena with full intentions of attending the lunch at Margo Hall afterward. Something came up and we came home instead. Scott went back to work and I lit a candle for Joanne, then drew a tarot card: Ace of Swords. I can’t help smiling. It’s perfect: A Problem Has Been Overcome. She has been released.

The rest of today will be about Joanne. I am going to bake her recipe for chocolate cake and open a new bottle of red wine and say … goodbye? … to her. Not sure. If there is an afterlife, then … we shall commune. In my imagination we will anyway.

I don't know why all of us Johnson kids didn't call her Auntie Joanne, because in a way that's what she was to us. 

I've said before how good she was to Mom during Mom's last year ("She must spend every moment of her day thinking about nice things to do for me!" Mom said. They had a special friendship, those two) and how, after Mom passed, Joanne took special care of Mom's grown children by remembering her with such sweet appreciation.  What a lovely thing that was, for her to do. So kind, so welcome, and so healing and supportive and thoughtful.

Her obituary and some photos have been posted to Joanne's blog. See them HERE.

Joanne had a one-of-a-kind sense of humour. She loved her Wadena News and looked forward to the crossword every week. She had a sweet tooth and enjoyed baking fabulous treats. Her husband Gerald and my dad Don have been mistaken for each other upon occasion. Our families did a lot of visiting together when all us kids were kids, and our parents and our parents' parents were all friends. Between Joanne and Mom, you'd get a run for your money at the game of Trivial Pursuit. They were real buddies; more like sisters.

When Joanne and Gerald visited Mom and Dad in Osoyoos, B.C. 

Here's Joanne's chocolate cake recipe: CLICK HERE.

Here's to you, Joanne. Don't be a stranger.

Left to right: Julius Bohl (Joanne's father-in-law), Elmer Braaten, Marion Otterdahl (Joanne's mom), Evelyn Bohl (Joanne's mother-in-law), not sure who the next two are, then Edna and John Johnson, my dad's parents.  So ... our families have been friends for a long time. Reta, is that Irvin beside Evelyn? And who is the lady beside Irvin (if Irvin is behind the camera, then who is that man?). Here they are all out at Pavillion Beach south of Kuroki. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Agnes's World

Secret Door in Closet. The artistic imagination of Agnes Laczo gives me so much pleasure. 
To go to Agnes's webpage, click HERE.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sister Time, Pa, Airports, Sightings and Planes

On the 7th I left for Kelowna without taking my notebook, and didn’t update my blog while away either. It was enough just to focus on all that was going on around me—the driving, the airports and flying, the people, being with Joan and Dad, meeting with some of Joan and Gary’s neighbours, shopping. Slept like a baby in the bed in Jordan’s room; better than I do here at home.
It was short and sweet until the way home when the Calgary to Saskatoon connection left without waiting for our plane from Kelowna to arrive. Karen and I with gritted teeth “enjoyed” airport life for some 12 hours, finally getting to Saskatoon after 1 in the morning. There winter and my sainted friend Cathy were waiting for us.
At least my sister and I had each other’s company and, as Dad remarked, “You two had a good visit then.” No kidding. Fortunately Karen is a doll. We played a game of Scrabble on her iPad, ate two excellent meals (paid for by WestJet, the airline that disappointed me for the first time), checked out the airport stores and watched people.
Didn’t see a lot of lookalikes but when both of us could see someone in a stranger’s face, it was always good for a grin. The first was actor Beau Bridges.
A fellow flyer on my plane out of Edmonton (Karen was already in Kelowna) was travelling minstrel STEPHEN FEARING, who seems to be a lovely person although we only said hello to each other and that probably isn't enough to make any judgment with, is it?  On the plane I coveted the daily newspaper he was reading several rows ahead of me. Instead of finding out what was going on in the world, I read my borrowed murder mystery Night Film by Marisha Pessl. 

Mom’s closest friend Joanne passed away this week, and so did Grandma’s (Mom's mom's) closest friend Pearl. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

When Pigs Fly

When my sisters gave me this iron pig with wings, I took it as a compliment.
Because I'm an optimist.
I'm an idealist.
Is there such a thing as a practical idealist? That would be me.

I can also be quite cynical. But isn't that how we all are—an ever-changing mixture of traits and perspectives.

When our eldest boy brought his English bulldog here, the dog saw this pig on the coffee table and was worked up about it.
Wonder what that dog was thinking.
It was a tiny bulldog?
A strange animal?
He barked and growled at it till I put it away.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Joanne Takes the Next Step

Now where did I—which closet—put my ski pants and parka?
Because it's time to stand out yet again as the most overdressed (but toasty warm) woman in town.
They laugh at me, but I am not the one shivering while the car warms up. Nope, not me. No teeth-chattering for this girl!

It was Mom's best friend Joanne who left us last night.
Her daughter reminded me that the two of them will be having one very joyful reunion, which is a lovely and comforting thought.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sing Me to Sleep

Can you believe that?
I just spent four days with my sweet sisters and didn't take the camera out of the pocket of my purse once.
They kept me too busy for that.

Karen and I got back here at noon, and tonight it is definitely winter on the streets of Wadena.
I am very tired due to a missed flight connection (Damn you, Westjet; one more reason to eschew air travel) and have just received news of the passing of a very dear family friend.

There is nothing to do for all of it but sleep.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

That's it, I'm off into the wild blue yonder for a few days.

You'll have to converse amongst yourselves.

Talk at ya later,


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Meditation on Green & Yellow & Light

If you enlarge this photo and sit looking at it casually for five minutes, you will release a layer of tension.

Click image to enlarge.

After another five minutes, you will release another layer.
You'll feel it when your body takes a deep breath and then exhales.
Check it out.
It's what happens to me, anyway.
I plan to use it as a desktop wallpaper, but I haven't been able to let go of the Zen Things list that's on there right now. I need those reminders.

Gazing at this picture works as well as sitting watching fish swim around an aquarium, or looking out the window at birds flitting about in nearby trees. You will relax.

When it happened to me—when the deep sigh came—it made me realize my body is tense, even when I'm unaware of it. No wonder I get migraines caused by muscle knots.

Jesus Murphy it's almost one in the morning. What the hell am I doing up?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sunflower Sesame

The thermometer took a dive last week, snow came down, and this ol' gal pulled out her breadmaking supplies. There was whole wheat flour to use up before buying fresh flour. There was frozen vegetable water to thaw for the liquid portion of the recipe. There was yeast to bring to room temperature, as well as sesame and sunflower seeds.

I cannot exactly say I am back in the breadbaking saddle of doing it once a week. We shall see when and if the urge strikes again. I am not committing myself to anything on my days off besides getting the dishes done. Even that takes me three days sometimes.

But having my favourite bread again was sure a treat.

On my way to work on Wednesday I used my key to get into Everett's house and leave a loaf of bread on the kitchen table in front of his laptop so he'd see it when he went home for lunch.

When I stopped in after work the next day, he said he'd polished off the entire loaf before going to bed that night.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Parking Lot Rescue

This big ol' boy made himself at home on my desk for a couple hours this week before his owner heard he'd been found.

He has six toes on each paw, which is the size of a child's ballglove.
It was no surprise to learn that his name is Boots.

Emil is here for the weekend. He came home with me Friday after work and remarked, as soon as we walked in the door, that the dishes really should get done so the kitchen will look nice.

I have trouble staying "on top of" the dishes, probably because they are lower on my list of priorities than my freedom to enjoy life or at least to nurture myself (with rest, or with doing something I prefer to do) before attending to household chores.

So there are times, like this week, when the dishes pile up on the counter until there is no more space and we run short of clean cutlery and I think with some longing and admiration for the ambition of those women who have the self-discipline to do the damn dishes after every meal whether they are tired or not. Those women were my mother and grandmothers, from whom I did not inherit the "stay on top of the housework" gene.

Yesterday afternoon Emil washed a few dishes before complaining that he was tired of standing at the sink, and I washed a sinkful of silverware and coffee mugs, but the counter this morning remains full of dirty dishes to be dealt with.

Oh well. If piled-up dishes are my biggest hurdle in daily life, I should consider myself fortunate. And actually, I do.

And I don't mean to complain.  We have dishes and cutlery so nice (what kind of person says that about dishes and cutlery? i'm scaring myself here) that they're actually a pleasure to handle. (Sandy: different strokes for different folks; and they grew on me over time.)

Where I'm having difficulty is keeping them clean. They're no pleasure to look at when they're dirty.