Friday, July 31, 2015

Broadway Café

I hadn't seen Cathy's eldest daughter Caitlin, except for photos on Facebook, for several years. So while I was in the city, getting a close-up glimpse of her was my one request when asked if there was anything in particular I'd like to do. She waits on tables at the ever popular Broadway Café, so Cathy and I went in, split a plate of fries and gravy, and waited till Cait managed to join us for a few minutes when there was a slow-down in the action.

Cait, hard at work

Cathy and Caitlin
It's good to see our kids all grown up and smiling.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tree Swallows

"Are you up, Kathy?" he calls from near the picture window where he sits in the mornings with his coffee and his laptop, perusing the farm machinery, truck, and vintage-car ads on Kijiji. From his corner on the couch he has a good view of the yard and sees quite a lot of activity: sometimes a rabbit, sometimes the prairie chicken, sometimes a deer; the timid beasts are brave in the early hours. "Come and see these birds!"

So out I go to the living room and join him to watch at least four or five dozen TREE SWALLOWS swooping through the air and reconnoitring at the tops of our tall spruce trees. It's quite a show, as these fancy flyers are catching insects on the wing for their breakfast.

They've also been smacking into the windows the last few days, since I washed the insides. The outsides are still dirty as I haven't found a ladder or a long-handled squeegee (nor have I poked around the quonset looking for these things; it's hot in there during the day, which is when I think of it), and I'm reluctant to clean the windows properly for fear of even more collisions. So far they hit the glass and manage to fly off; I haven't found a dead or injured bird on the grass yet this summer. Knock on wood.

Most years we have had an abundance of tree swallows only right before a big rainstorm. This year they've obviously moved in around our yard so we see them more often, and they are very welcome.

I'm out walking, and the driver of this truck is probably a farmer coming home for supper.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Just Breathe

A lot of people consider Facebook a time-waster, and they are absolutely correct. It is, just like television. So are a lot of movies, and so is most commercial radio with all its repetition and advertising, and so is Twitter.

That is, if you let them waste your time. You don't have to, you know. You are in control. You can limit the amount of time you spend on these social media sites, and I'd advise it: setting a timer and changing your focus when the buzzer goes. It's all too easy to think you've spent 15 minutes there and discover you've just lost an entire hour. That's the way it is with any kind of reading, don't you find?

You can also switch off your television, find a channel without advertising cutting in every five minutes, or read during the commercials. You don't have to watch a movie till the end, just because you gave it 15 minutes of your attention to start with. Turn it off and move on.

You can listen to podcasts and recorded music; you can turn to a public radio station that doesn't advertise but offers fascinating, informative programming. There are a million ways around the time-wasting aspects of these things we do to find out what's going on with our friends and in the world.

On Facebook, I've very little interest in people's political statements, or in puppies, kittens and cute children, or in the inspirational quotes, the recipes, and so on. Most of it has already been seen 15 times, or if I am interested in a subject I can easily search it out myself online; I don't need Facebook to bring it to my attention. And that's the main reason I scroll on by a lot of what is posted in people's FB feeds. For me, a lot of that stuff is a time-waster. What interests me is what my friends and acquaintances are up to, and photos of them and their families.

Very rarely — but it does happen — there is a message that is a perfect reminder of something important to me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Travel Time

Washing sheets, remaking beds, taking a bath, packing for two nights away, hoping there is no stormy weather between here and Saskatoon before I'm home again on Thursday afternoon.

The huge tornado that went through southern Manitoba last night did so without hurting anyone, but I guess it was quite the thing, about a kilometre wide and lasting for hours.

We did have lightning, thunder and rain during the night, and a phone call has just informed me that one of the three group homes was struck by lightning in the wee hours and there was a fire. I've seen a photo on Facebook and it wasn't the house that Emil lives in. As my aunt Shirley says, had it been, Emil would have had something to talk about for a long time.

Well, I had best get back at my preparations. They always take longer than I expect and I want to be out the door in a couple hours so I'm not too late arriving at Cathy's.

Under the three oaks

Monday, July 27, 2015

Grey Sky Day

Cool rainy days are my favourites now. Not windy cold miserable ones, but the calm ones with a gentle rainfall, the kind that don't turn your house into a cooker if you use the oven. The ones that let you keep your windows open, and you can walk around outside without feeling like passing out from the heat and humidity.

There are serious storm warnings for parts of the province slightly south of us, but so far here it's been a perfect day. I've spent it baking bread and muffins and granola; fast food for a week or three if it gets hot again. Except that I'm getting company and will have to feed her a decent meal once in a while, won't I?

After today's hard labour, it's six o'clock and I'm about to pour myself a glass of red wine and go outside to admire the flowers and let the birds admire me. Maybe my fella will be home soon and keep me company.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

What Day Is It, Again? During Holidays, I Lose Track

In less than a week it will be time to put together my monthly newsletter. (If you haven't yet signed up to receive these five fabulous factoids, what are you waiting for? See the link above.)

For the first newsletter, I picked through my notebooks and easily found tidbits I hadn't included in the blog. But in recent weeks I haven't been writing in the notebooks, having recently filled one, looked at the stacks on my dresser in the bedroom, and thought maybe I will stop adding to them. It wouldn't be the end of the world, now would it?

Perennial yellow daisies are compact, long-lasting and don't spread like crazy.
Scott came in from the field late this morning when I was outside in my pyjamas, pulling weeds from the flowerbed. I watched him go into the house and thought I'd finish what I was doing and go inside to see how his day'd been going and what else he had planned. After 5 minutes or so I stood up, turned around, and got a jolt — as you do when you see something unexpected. Or at least, I do. There he was, standing a few feet behind me, munching on a meatloaf sandwich and looking ever so pleased with himself for sneaking up on me.

Aunt Reta flies into Saskatoon today, woo hoo! I'll drive into the city to spend a couple days with Cathy and then bring Reta home with me. I don't find Reta and Mom to be very alike, but it's still the next best thing to actually getting a visit from Mom.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Bra Free

Bountifully bosomed broads wear bras less for support than to avoid unwanted attention.
One of the best parts of being home on holidays is leaving the girls free and unencumbered.

And no, there's no photo to illustrate.

The dragonflies were on the move so they are just a blur, but here's an idea how many there are!
Oh, and Everett has SOMETHING NEW on his page.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Where Emil Lives

Emil doesn't come out here every weekend. For instance, tonight he has decided to stay in town at the group home. He'll come here next weekend or go to Everett's place; I can never keep track of his plans, really, though he probably has some sort of rotational pattern in mind.

He often asks me, though, "Do you miss me when I don't come to your house on the weekend?"

I tell him I don't miss him because he lives so close by and I can see him anytime I like, and how fortunate I feel to have him and his brother both living nearby so we can get together often.

I may never understand why he'd rather stay at the group home on the weekend than come out here, but I sure don't mind. The only time I do get a little jolt of "missing" him is when he's been here for a couple days, I've driven him back to town Sunday evening, and I wake up the following morning and remember he's not in the house. It's a fleeting moment of empty nest syndrome all over again.

The group home's main floor has one kitchen and dining room, two bathrooms, two living rooms, a bedroom suite for the house supervisor, and six bedrooms for the residents. Whenever you come or go, the residents are at the door to welcome you or see you off.

This is Sherry with a big smile and a whole bunch of sweetness:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Saskatchewan Jungle

Quite the light show late last night!

In the far distant south, the entire sky was lit up by lightning, continuously (and I mean continuously, not continually!), for a long, long time. I'm waiting to hear on the news where that was. Even from here, it was something to see. Apocalyptic. Far enough away that we couldn't hear the thunder, but incredible enough that you almost hated to go to bed and miss any of it.

Scott threw on some clothes and lit out down the road in hopes of a better view and some photos. I stood in my pyjamas and watched from the back step, rubbing my bare arms, until the cool night air forced me back in.

The dandelion war is not over, by far. 
This morning I awoke, as always in summertime when we sleep with the window open, to the jungle-like cacophony of a variety of birds: the red-winged blackbirds, of course, which seem to be the largest population at the dugout behind the house; the sora's high-pitched exuberance; the song sparrow's pretty trilling; the tree swallows that have moved in lately by the dozens; the odd crow; magpies sometimes; robins; goldfinches; doves or pigeons; mudhens; the snipe's wings winnowing through the air; others whose sound I can't identify. I could lie there for an hour and listen to them, but I don't dare; they'll put me back to sleep.

Out on the step, where I always take my coffee to see what kind of day it is, I see many more birds that have been quiet: the brown-headed cowbirds poking around the back yard soil; the hummingbirds chasing each other; the barn swallows. If I park myself in a chair for a while, some of them flit past my head so close and so fast I think they're teasing me. Up higher, hawks soar, and pelicans circle by, and gulls swing through, and turkey vultures sometimes take a reconnaisance tour above the yard.

Lounging out there is as good as sitting in a busy airport, people-watching. It's a neverending parade. And the longer you sit, the more brave and curious the birds become, and they will come closer and closer to check you out.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Staycation for Katie

Amazingly, astoundingly, the windblown delphiniums look fine since I stood them up again. A few were broken but even they don't seem worse for wear.  The shasta daisies are in full bloom and my hollyhocks (among the favourites) are just getting started. The pink speedwells are starting to turn colour and the purple coneflowers are beginning to blossom, too. Alas, the weeds ... I need to spend a good hour out there with my horseshoe hoe, and the clippers to cut back the seven-foot-tall caragana hedge that is the windbreak.

So, I'm on vacation. Two weeks of holiday time. And what do I do? I stay home. My only plans are to clean the fridge (one shelf per day; let's not overdo this shit), organize the office (a few minutes per day), wash the windows (not all at once), and keep on top of the dishes, for a change.

Oh I am so ambitious.

But there are some big expenses coming up, so I can't hit the highway if I'm going to be practical and not run up credit card bills that add up and empty my savings account. I am two years overdue for an eye checkup and will need new glasses, probably bi-focals or even progressives; my car registration and insurance have to be renewed next month; and stepson Gunnar is getting married in Calgary in early September, so there's time off work, travel accommodations and food to pay for, and so on. Just the usual stuff of life, but a bunch of it in a short time.

I'm happy enough to stay home though, and am not complaining, not by a long shot. There's the odd trip I can't afford to take if I insist upon living within my means, which I do, but there are other things I can enjoy during the work break, like taking the 20-minute drive to visit my sister Karen and pedalling around Margo Lake with her on her fun little paddle-boat. Also Aunt Reta is flying in from Phoenix for a few weeks — something to look forward to — and I've offered to pick her up in the city, so will be able to spend a couple nights there with my dear friend Cathy before coming back out here. And Cathy Bell, another friend from high school days in the dorm at Luther College in Regina, is going to drive out for an afternoon, since I didn't feel I could wisely incur the expense of driving into the city to spend a couple days with her, even though she always, generously, foots the bill for a hotel room when she is there. With the cost of a few restaurant meals and even the most minor of entertainments plus the fuel to get there and back, it's not an expensive trip on its own but it is still too much when combined with the other things I need cash for very soon. So I'm being frugal and staying put.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dragonfly Companions

It's been a while since I turned the radio on in the morning, simply because the news always sucks so much.
Today I made the mistake of turning it on; of course the first thing I hear is that some other idiot has blown herself up and taken 30 people with her.
I just about turned the damn thing off immediately. But since it had been a while, I persevered. Soon it was announced that an upcoming guest would be talking about dragonflies, so I left the radio on.

On my walk last night there were so many big blue dragonflies (called darners; according to the guest, their tail ends resemble darning needles) that I was quite amazed. The air was full of them! It's a good year for dragonflies, the guest said, because we've had so much heat.

A few weeks ago, before the ditches were cut, I noticed hordes of them flying along just over the long grasses beside me as I walked along the road you see above. The interesting thing was that when I would stop, so would they; they'd alight on top of the long grass. And when I'd start again, so would they. I did it a few times just to make sure I wasn't imagining things.

They probably do it because wherever there is a warmblooded body, the mosquitoes are drawn. But I prefer to think the dragonflies are my little companions because they enjoy my company. As my sister Joan would say: "Hehe."

Monday, July 20, 2015

No Berries for Me

Nope. I have taken no interest whatsoever this year in these highly prized wild berries, neither in their picking, preparing nor eating.

Scott picked a couple pailsful of saskatoons yesterday along the driveway of his old home. Lots of good ones around the district this year.

Emil cleaned them later in the afternoon while I did dishes and made supper, and this morning Scott sent the saskatoons with his mom to the nursing home where his dad lives, assuming they will be a treat for the residents.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Movie Endings

Movie endings are usually somewhat disappointing to me. I prefer them to be happy but, even when they are, they seem to come too soon. Maybe I just don't want to let go of the characters yet.

Last night I watched Saving Mr Banks for the second time and, when the ending came at about one in the morning, it still wasn't welcome.

Which made me wonder, has there ever been a movie with an ending that was perfect?

Why yes, there has. Just one that I can think of because of its pure exuberant sweetness.

It's the musical ending of The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

It brought me complete and perfect joy.

In case you haven't seen it, our hero, played by Steve Carell, finally falls in love and gets laid for the first time at age 40, and he and all his friends rejoice:

Saturday, July 18, 2015


The ends of cut green onions were in a small bowl with water, rooting (Why? Scott reminds me, they already had roots), when one day I came home to find them covered in small flies.

The onions went outside immediately, but the flies are still here and they are driving me right around the bend. Every day I pick up the flyswatter and hunt them in every room, killing dozens upon dozens. But still they appear walking on the windows, the walls, the cupboards; they flutter up from the garbage, the recycling, the toilet, the sink; they tickle my nose when I'm reading in bed. I have developed a hate.

Scott has fashioned a couple traps with bottles and paper cones and apple cider vinegar, and the liquid is now a disgusting soup of dead insects.

They are drawn to the scent of the vinegar, but most aren't smart enough to find their way out.
They drown.
Yet it seems to make hardly a dint. Apparently they are laying eggs somewhere. He thinks maybe in my houseplants, and maybe we should move the plants outside. I don't agree; those would be fungus gnats, usually, which are smaller than these, and it is moving them outside that would attract fungus gnats to lay eggs in their soil.

Dad suggests buying Raid, spraying it in all the rooms, and leaving for the day.
Scott suggests moving the recycling outside (what a pain in the ass that will be), keeping the sink drains dry and blocked, the sink and countertops immaculate, and no fruit or vegetables except in the fridge.
We will have to try everything because I am sick of flies in my face.

And flyswatters. Why is it that I see the swatter has missed a fly on the wall, yet the insect falls down to the floor, dead? Why is it that I see I have hit it dead-on, yet it flies away free? So weird.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Soaked Down

Things were looking pretty good out in the flower bed on Wednesday evening. The delphiniums were standing tall and elegant; the shasta daisies had just come into bloom; the maltese crosses were making an orange splash throughout.

But then we had a storm last night, the kind that sent us down into the basement for a while after I spotted a swirling grey-black cloud just to the southwest. It wasn't a tornado forming, but we got sheets of hard rain and loud wind and a bit of hail.

I didn't do a close inspection this morning before leaving for work, but tonight, coming home, am a little disheartened.

Oh well. That's the way she be! I'll get out there tomorrow and see what I can straighten up.

Lessons learned:

1) Cutting old, stained clothes into strips to stake flowers up doesn't help in a deadly wind because the fabric stretches. Darn. I thought I'd found a perfect use for that old stuff!
2) I need to buy more arbours. The delphiniums tied to them did not blow over.

This happens every summer. I don't know why I cross my fingers every year in hopes it won't. It always does! I must be one of those eternal optimists. Or it's just the generations (and I mean generations; I've discovered agricultural and gardening ancestry back to the 1400s) of farmer blood somewhere in me. "Maybe next year will be better."

We needed the rain, though, so can't complain, and the downpour was widespread enough to provide some relief to those fighting wildfires up north. Thank goodness. It was starting to look like that battle might never end. On the news today they're saying that all the evacuated residents can return to their communities.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Most little towns out here have at least one of these old buildings left.

On the way back from Manitou Beach, Emil and I took a drive around the wee village of Guernsey — or what is left of it.

I am 56 years old, and I remember when buildings very like these were still in use in my home town. Whenever and wherever I see these or buildings like them, I'm taken back to those slower, carefree days when the two-month summer vacation felt like an entire year. When there were no woodticks around here. When I had a bike-riding buddy. When my grandparents were alive.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

And He's Home Again

Lake Manitou has flooded the low road leading into the small resort village of Manitou Beach, where the famous DANCELAND hall resides.

This year, there are ugly bag-barricades all along the beach, on top of a recently built earth barricade.
I park in the curved laneway in front of the main building at Camp Easter Seal, behind vans loading wheelchairs and luggage.
I visit the ladies' room and then go looking for my boy.
I hear his crutches clicking on the floor before I see him, accompanied by two of his camp counsellors. These are always sweet, open-hearted kids whom Emil adores and does not want to leave. He introduces them with great excitement.
Emil is in no hurry to get down this hairpin-turn ramp and out to my car, which can now be moved ahead. I've left the keys in it and permission for anyone to move it when necessary, and a young man does so before we reach it.
We drive away from Camp Easter Seal for another year. From the road along the shore there is no more view of the salt lake and the low hills across the water.
I need to write a letter of appreciation to whoever it is that sponsors these camp trips for Emil. They are the highlight of his year, and of the lives of all the campers, I'm sure, and it is very much appreciated. If the five days weren't paid for, I'd find a way to finance them but it would require a year of saving. So I'm very grateful that there are donors who make the camp possible without creating hardship on the part of the families. As it is, getting him there (paying someone to take him so I didn't have to take the day off) cost $132; because I was able to pick him up myself yesterday, there was only the cost of half a tank of gas. The camp itself would cost more than $1000, I believe, and campers who need a special van to take them there from the city pay about $450 for the transportation.

Emil's report:

They went to the drive-in one night. They went swimming. They had a banquet and dance. He didn't ride horses this year. They rode all over the place on the open-air cart, which reminds me of a houseboat but has wheels and goes on land. They had a talent show with singing. One of the counsellors asked for his phone number so she can call him sometime, and "Maybe she will!"

Before he left home last Thursday, he told us that he might see about getting himself a girlfriend at camp this year. This did not come up during his report. When asked whether he made any new friends among the campers, he mentioned the name of one young man he met and liked. Normally he is completely focused on the counsellors and takes no interest in the other campers. I ask whether he thinks everyone had a good time. Were the counsellors nice to you? Were the other campers nice? Did anyone seem not to be having a good time? Just one, he says, who was crying as they got ready to leave. She probably didn't want to go home, he said.

On the ride back to Wadena, he reached across the front seat and took my hand.

"I like driving with you, Mom."

"I like it too," I replied. "You're an excellent travelling companion."

"When I was a little boy," he recalled, "we went lots of places."

"Yep. We were always driving from Saskatoon to Margo and from Margo to Flin Flon and from Saskatoon to Edmonton or from Margo to Oakburn. If you'd been a baby or kid who fussed all the time in the car, we wouldn't have been able to take those trips. But you liked to go."

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Highway Day

It's time for the annual drive to Manitou Beach.
Most summers, I take Emil to Camp Easter Seal and pick him up five days later.
On Thursday, one of the workers at the group home drove him, since it began on one of my working days.
But I'm on the chauffeuring job this morning. Hitting the dusty trail ...

We've had a bit of rain, lots of thunder, but it's still warm and muggy with high humidity. How much headway they're making with the wildfires up north, I don't know. Not enough.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Phone Company

My cellphone was purchased outright last summer, and each month I buy 20 bucks worth of pre-paid minutes to cover my texting ($13/month) and the very few phone calls I make or receive on my cell.

Two months ago I noticed some charges that didn't make sense, and called the company about them. I was told that when someone attaches an image (which I only receive when I am near wi-fi, as I don't pay for a data plan) to a text message, I am not charged for it. But when I reply to that text without deleting the image first, or to any text in that particular "thread" in future without deleting the image that was sent to me, I am charged 75 cents each time.

Who knew? They certainly don't tell you these things upfront, do they?

That's when I tucked a piece of paper into the case with my phone and began assiduously keeping track of calls sent and received. That was two months ago. It wasn't a big job, as I virtually only use the cellphone for texting. This morning I went online to have a look at charges, and discovered another half-dozen I couldn't account for. They were 75-cent charges for "multi-media" sends, which I had not made. So, what could they have been?

Well, it turns out that if I send a text that is more than 160 characters long, they charge me 75 cents for it — multimedia rate. Now, 160 characters is pretty short; a Twitter message can only be 140 characters. It's good to know there is this cap on the length of text messages that are covered in my monthly "unlimited texting" plan.

How come they don't tell you these things to start with? Are they that friggin' dishonest? It appears to be a money-grab the phone company is happy to make.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Summer Storm

After all that, a mere two-tenths of an inch?
Whatthehell! It didn't amount to much, at least not in our yard.

Fabulous lightning storm, but not nearly enough to show for it.
Oh well, better than nothing.

The north sky through the living room window about 10 o'clock last night .

It's still grey today, so we can hope for more. We need a downpour.

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Sweltering day ahead.
Still no rain.
Fires continue to burn up north.
Drought conditions over much of the province.

The unknowledgeable eye cannot tell how serious the problem is. If I understand correctly, no moisture means the seed pods don't fill out.

Everett found THREE CHICKS in a nest at work. Have a look at his page.

Friday, July 10, 2015

What is this Plant?

It is fairly common; it is hearty as hell; and I used to know its name, and now don't remember.

Can anyone remind me?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Pulling a Boner

Guess who watered her flowers in pots before leaving for work yesterday morning, and forgot to turn the tap off?

Yeah. Even after saying to myself, "I must remember to turn off that tap."

Fortunately we have a working sump pump in the basement and it was running when Scott arrived home after supper, before I did. We haven't had any rain that counted for quite a while so he wondered why it was running, and investigated.

D'uh. Some days.

But these made me feel better:

Wool, hand-knit by KNITTERME, these are my new "warm toes in the office" socks.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Hodge Podge

We got only a few drops of rain, but 15 miles away they got a half-inch.

The power went off moments after the stove timer warned me it was about to ding because my bread dough had been kneaded almost 15 minutes. Whew! Perfect timing. And it only stayed off half an hour, so there was no problem baking the six lovely loaves by the time they were risen and ready nearly three hours later.

The wind was cold. I felt sorry for the flowers and didn't spend much time outside, myself. Indoors, I did unpack and put away several more boxes of kitchen stuff. Shouldn't be long before the door and drawer handles arrive and I can function in there without being so careful where my fingers go (so as not to damage the finish on the wood).

Still smoky. The sun appeared pink-red later, but this doesn't show with my camera.

Out walking anyway.

The neighbours' kids
And back to the office I go; the work week begins.

But first: oatmeal porridge and a second mug of coffee, a TAROT CARD draw, some tooth-brushing, and oh — clothes. Clothing is always good. Then to the car I must haul a stack of books to return to the library, two empty water jugs to refill, a sleeping bag for Emil (who is off to Camp Easter Seal tomorrow morning so tonight after work I'll help him pack), five loaves of bread for Everett (who pays me for them, by the way) and my purse that is goddamn heavy no matter what I take out of it to lighten the load. And last but not least, a title for this entry. Hm. What shall it be?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Life Raft for Frog or Dragonfly

There is thunder! Yay! and lots of it, and close, and loud!
Which brings me, after letting the chickenshit dogs into the porch, to the office to shut down my computer.
Whence I realize I have not posted anything here today except a tarot card. Tsk, me.

It took me long enough to employ this simple provision of something to climb on so there will be no more dead creatures in the water barrel.

And now I must shut down. It's so exciting! I might go stand out on the step.
We need rain here, and it is needed all over the province. It seems less smoky today but probably I'm just getting used to it and noticing it less.

Come on, rain. Come on!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Pop and #1 Child

Dad came over yesterday for an hour or so on his way to have supper with friends, and is leaving this morning on a roundabout route (more folks to visit) back to Kelowna. He's been here about 10 days and is more than ready to return to his own home. I don't blame him. It's good to see people, but it's good to get home, too.

Still, I hate to see him go. I didn't shed a tear, but the old eyes did get a little moist around the edges.

Fortunately it is easy to keep in touch regularly nowadays, with email and texting and cheap long-distance calling. We talk at least once a week.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Joanne's Birthday

When Mom got sick, her close friend Joanne went above and beyond the call of duty to give Mom as many lifts as she could think of. She sent cards, she mailed gifts, she called ... Mom said, "Joanne must spend all her spare time thinking of nice things to do for me!" I've told you this before, here, and know I'm repeating myself; bear with me.

Next to singing, Mom's favourite thing to do was quilting. And when she was sick, quilting was one of the few things she had the energy to do. Aside from enlisting each of my sisters and me to make a quilt with her that we each would have after she was gone, she got busy making lap quilts for special friends of hers. Joanne was one of those friends and Mom was determined to get her quilt made before it was too late.

She managed it.

Joanne passed away not terribly long ago and her husband and children have given me the quilt that Mom made for Joanne. I have a number of quilts made by Mom and didn't feel it was at all necessary that I have this one too, but was touched to receive it as a reminder of a beautiful, loving friendship.

Dad has been here, visiting from Kelowna for the past 10 days or so, and has told the story (and oh how we laugh!) about the time he found a young owl, maybe a baby, one time while working in the field. Joanne was afraid of birds, and she was coming over. Mom set the tiny owl on a doily on the kitchen table, where it sat perfectly still. Joanne, at the table, thought nothing of it ... until it turned its head. She screamed and ran ... and was pissed off at Mom for a while (of course) ... but their friendship survived the prank.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Off to Margo

If it weren't for your eyes stinging and the heavy smoke in the distance, you'd hardly know there are more than 100 wildfires up north right now. Must be getting used to the odour of it.

I went to Karen's this afternoon to spend a few hours with her and Dad. She gave us a nice supper, I helped her clean up and she sent me home with several jars of goodies — among them a fresh strawberry jam made with honey instead of sugar and granny smith apple instead of pectin.

Dad watching the news on TV
Couldn't see the other side of the lake due to the smoke hanging over the water.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Nose to Grindstone

How disappointing it is to see that 18 comments have been left on the blog, but they are all from "Anonymous!" This has been going on for about a week; the 'bots have discovered me.

I'm going to enable the word-recognition thing for a while; it will help a little, but drive Lorna crazy. Sorry, Lorna — it's either you or me! I'll switch it back before long.

And now, I'm off to help get the newspaper to press. Oh; maybe I should eat and dress first. Yeah, that's not a bad idea.

Out in our pasture.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

For Your Listening Pleasure

Here. Have some Saskatchewan music:

This is Belle Plaine (Melanie Hankewich). She grew up at tiny Fosston, which is just north of Wadena.

Here's another up-and-comer:

A voice and style that made me sit up and take notice; my ears are smitten:

And here is one of my favourite singers, a class act:

The first time I heard Alexis, I was in bed listening to the radio. I jumped up to reach for a pen and write down her name, so I wouldn't forget it.
Months later the quartette Rosie and the Riveters played a house concert in Wadena, and after the show Alexis was sitting at our table in the church basement. It wasn't till I saw her name written on something that I realized it was she of the accomplished vocals I had so admired.

Then there is Rosie & the Riveters, going great guns; I'd trade a boob for the opportunity to be singing like this with others. Instead I pop in their CD and warble along, alone in my house; even that is immensely satisfying when the songs are good ones:

This is an original song written by Farideh, on the far left, who has been writing really fine stuff. And next to her is a little gal whose mother grew up at Wadena; Melissa is also an excellent songwriter.

Also, I sent out my first Five Things newsletter this morning. To SUBSCRIBE, SEE THIS.