Saturday, October 31, 2015

What We Do in the Shadows

We may have been out of the office by 5:30, but it was 6:30 by the time I picked up $50 worth of groceries and got home. I was finishing a nice glass of chilled wine and talking to Cathy on the phone when Scott arrived and told me we were invited for supper at his mom's. Going out again was the last thing I felt like doing, but I put my pants back on and did my bra up and went anyway.

His sister Lynn's been out from Calgary and she'd cooked up a delicious chili (she called it spaghetti sauce) that I liked so much I ate two servings of. They'd been to the farmer's market and bought lefse, so even though I was already stuffed I had to roll one up with butter and sugar. And then there was rhubarb pie. Well, I had to have a thin slice of that too, just for the taste. Scott and I were both stuffed and yawning by the time we came home.

Why didn't we go straight to bed? That would have been the sensible, natural thing to do. But no. He put the TV on and I happened to go into the living room just as a movie was beginning. And it was the best thing! I laughed and laughed and laughed some more.

What We Do In The Shadows, it's called. It's a New Zealand "documentary" about the lives of four vampires sharing a home. If you haven't seen it, by all means CHECK IT OUT. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

And Milk

You'd have to add milk, wouldn't you?

Posted on FB
I probably wouldn't need the vodka.

Who's in?

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Not only do I leave my sister Joan's with new-to-me items of clothing, but she has recently bought herself a pair of handknit slippers at the place she takes her drycleaning, and she is determined to buy both me and our sister Karen a pair on the way to the airport.
What kind of sizing is it when 10R is actually a ladies' 6?

Scott's mom Pat and his sister Lynn have just returned from three weeks touring the Maritimes. (Mary, they didn't want to get too far outside of St. John's when they were in Newfoundland so decided not to go to your place.)

One of the things Pat brought back has ended up on my kitchen table. It's a small, flat dish.

"What's it for?" I ask, due to the fact that it comes with a little wooden paddle.
Apparently it's for serving slightly warmed and softened cream cheese.

The little paddle reminds me of the carved tools that Grandma Benson's grandfather made for her when she was a wee girl, so I get them out of the china cabinet:

He even put the hand grip in the shovel handle.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Winter Wanders In

I'm slow to get going this morning. Still getting my second cup of coffee down, and it's 9:30 already. I should be dressing and leaving for town. On days like this I'm particularly glad to have the kind of job and employer I do — as long as I get the work done in good time, nobody's breathing down my neck to be there at a certain hour.

My sister Joan has already left me a comment this morning and so now, after just being at her place, I can picture her at her computer with her own cup of coffee.

This time when I went to Kelowna, I packed very lightly and left space for the hand-me-downs she always sends back with me. (I rarely buy new clothes; between Joan and Cathy, I am well stocked and don't have to shop often.) Among the loot were two tight, stretchy dresses made of T-shirt material; I am using one of them for a nightie. It's perfect: short enough not to wrap around my thighs and irritate me; long enough to keep my ass warm.

Too pretty to be just a nightgown, but ... .
My shoulders were cold in bed this morning, though. Time to throw another blanket on, I guess. Wouldn't you think that the thermostat, set at 68F for the night, would keep a girl warm enough under five layers of covers (including the sheet)? Apparently not.

And now ... will I take my ski pants off the hangar and start wearing them today? Is it too soon? Also, I need new ones. Bought the ones I have from the Sears catalogue last year and they were too big for me then -- yes, even the small size -- but I kept them because it was more convenient to, and wore them too, just rolled up the cuffs -- but I wouldn't mind finding a pair that actually fits and giving these away. Alas it would mean I have to go shopping ... which means I'll probably forget all about it before that ever happens.

Oh the trials and tribulations of Kate, eh?!

From this blog five years ago:
from an old handwritten journal, when Everett was five years old:
Still in bed. Have to get up and help Emil dress in eight minutes. Everett’s beside me, pissed off because he can’t get married yet and have a wedding. And he asked me how babies are made (and I gave him an introductory explanation) because he is definite about wanting to be a poppa when he grows up… He got his 8”x10” school picture yesterday and was excited enough to show it around the class (the aide told me) and then all around the café where I took the boys for lunch. “I’m handsome, right?”
What a laugh this is now!
But a perfect example of a reason I can't just throw these old journals in the garbage.

I'd like to say that the landscape still looks like these pictures, but the rain we had yesterday turned to snow and this morning there is a white layer of it on the ground. Unless the snow melts, the photo above is already old news.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Can't Go Back and Don't Wanna

Trying to keep ekeing away at the old journals written when I was in my teens. I don’t much want to, but there’s no other way except either storing them or chucking them without keeping sakes worth keeping.
Inside cover

For instance, I won't part with this letter from Mom, written in March 1978. Little sister Joan’s letter is printed on the other side; I’m sure I’ve posted it before. 

A ha! I see Mom sometimes did exactly what she wanted instead of what she thought she "should," too. Good.

There are a few things amusing to see, but destined for Dumpsville or the fire I plan to build. Not today, maybe, as it’s been raining since I got up.

We girls often went "for coffee" when I was in Grade 12, and someone sketched us:

Barry, the first beau with whom I began vigorous calisthenics at age 18.
When Cathy and I were roommates.
And finally, for those who don't connect with me on Facebook, here's a flyer from the drive-in from around the time I lived in Saskatoon and went to university:
Click to enlarge.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Not Too Terribly Far Back Machine

Surely can't complain about still having green grass and live foliage on some of the flowers!

Five years ago, we had this:

And HERE'S WHAT I WAS BLOGGING ABOUT on this day in 2010.

The Mountains of Saskatchewan

This morning I don't feel like doing what I should do — bake bread — but for a change I do feel like washing the few dishes that are in the sink.

What if I do what I feel like doing? Will the world come to an end?

I think not.

The mountains of Saskatchewan
Eugene Stickland put me onto this:


It was created by a man who set up a booth in a busy place so that people could interview each other and it would be recorded and archived for posterity.

Eugene's blog is HERE.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Stoned Outta My Mind

First coffee.
I have ground a bunch of beans so there won’t be a mess every morning for the next few days.
Ducky wanted to go out, but didn’t come when I went to let him back in after only a few minutes. They must be out exploring around the barn and outbuildings. Oh well, I think: let him be a dog. It makes him happy to sniff around out there. I’ll call again in a few minutes. It’s a cool, frosty morning so he won’t want to stay out long.
Our worry about a coyote or fox getting him makes us keep him on a short leash.

Scott’s gone to haul bales or something. Emil’s still asleep. It’s my day to write in the Sister Lines blog; when Karen and I were in Kelowna the three of us discussed ways to keep it going and thought we’d try each taking one day per week. Mine’s Saturday. I wish I could write an entry that was dazzling but that would be a tall order. I’ve just turned the roomba on and closed the office door to keep the noise out.

The amethyst crystal is the only one that isn't from here.

I have never been a rock collector, but in the past few months have begun picking up stones that draw my attention. It started with flat ones when I decided to build a tiny fairy or elf house under the three oak trees; the construction would require walls. I haven't assembled all the pieces yet but in the meantime I have ended up with these stones I'm not willing to part with. 

It occurred to me that maybe one of the flat ones might make a good soap holder, and boy does it ever. You know how you are constantly wiping out soap dishes? How they get watery and sludgy? Not this rock. It actually seems to absorb the moisture from the soap immediately and there is no mess whatsoever. I'm surprised and delighted. Oh the simple solutions to wee daily details!

Alison brought this soap back from her Mediterranean cruise last fall.

There is a new entry over at SISTERLINES.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Skones and Skons

Thursday, 8 pm

Text from Everett at 5:49pm: “I am not feeling up to a visit tonight.”
He wanted me to drop off his mail though, so I did that and stood in his porch chatting for a couple minutes before driving to the store and picking up several bags of groceries. It doesn’t look like Scott’s been home and I’ve got the place to myself. What a beautiful night it is; you don’t want to come inside. Half a shiny moon — just dress warm and there are stars and white clouds floating about — it’s quite lovely.
I brought the three bags of groceries in and then took two loaves of storebought bread out to the freezer and returned empty cloth grocery bags to the car. I walked down the dark driveway and admired the stars and listened to distant traffic.
Came back in, tidied the kitchen in preparation for washing dishes, washed myself an apple and some carrots to eat with celery ready-to-eat in the fridge, poured a glass of chilled white wine, and came to the computer.
            About five o’clock I had been peckish at work and slapped a slice of ham on a plain brown bun as I often do these past weeks for my lunch, and so am not big-empty-belly hungry, just the kind where you are happy to nibble. I do want a second glass of wine though. I don’t know what happened to that first one.

Instead of having more wine and sitting longer at this desk, I should get ready for bed and do my yoga and read a book before turning out the light and listening to CBC radio till I fall asleep. I know what to do, what I would be glad I had done, but will I do it tonight?

I am taking the turmeric test.
Dad found that a capsule of turmeric eased his neck pain.
Karen thought it made a difference herself.
I’m hoping it will fix my left arm; figure I must’ve pulled a muscle or else it’s the way I sleep on it. I want to sleep on it and can’t because it’s sore when I do.
Have only taken the turmeric for three days. The arm’s let me know from time to time for many weeks that it was there; only lately did I actually start really noticing that it would pain me if I move it a certain way.
Worth a try. 

Friday 8:17 a.m.
I did have that second glass of wine. And some MsVickie's potato chips. And no yoga. And no reading. 
Bad girl. (As in Not Doing What's Good for Me.) But I was in bed well before 11. Good girl. (As in "smart" one.)

My favourite discussion list for some reason was talking about the different ways the word "scone" is pronounced. I would read it "skone" ... and was never sure what it actually meant. Some kind of pastry, I thought. But Mom, when she made bread, would often take a hunk of the dough, stretch it, and deep-fry it; but she called it a "skon" and we found it a real treat. You'd put butter on it while it was hot, as I recall. Apparently these "skones" are the same thing. 
Anyway, I was baking bread that day so figured I'd make one, and did. Made with dough that contains no white flour, my scone was heavier and didn't taste like the ones Mom used to make. But you can't go far wrong with deep-fried bread no matter what, can you?

Thursday, October 22, 2015


We were shuttled to and from the Saskatoon airport by Ms Catherine, who lives only a few minutes away and always goes above and beyond the duties of friendship in order to make my travels easier than they have any right to be. When we returned from Kelowna, she put us up at her place for the night with every comfort, and took us downtown for a late supper with Karen's daughter Danielle at the Bon Temps restaurant,  where my niece works.

I always sing the praises of Cathy, and there are good reasons. Among them are that she always sees the best in me, she likes me in spite of whatever my flaws are, and she is an understanding, empathetic and supportive person. How many of us can say we have even one friend to whom we can tell anything — anything at all — and still feel that we are seen with the most loving and kind eyes? I feel very fortunate to have known Cathy for the past four decades, since I was 15 years old.

Plus she's smart and funny.

Here's what I wrote in my journal when I was in Grade 12 at Luther College in Regina and Cathy popped in for a visit. She was in the grade ahead of me so had already finished high school and was living and working in Edmonton.

"Cathy ... showed up around 9:30 to surprise us, and does she ever look fantastic! I haven't seen her for so long. She's just beautiful. So we went for coffee, skipped chapel, and I got Mr. Stark to excuse me geo-trig. to be with Cath so I haven't been to any classes yet. She's staying till Sat., and flying back to Edmonton. It was really good to see her."

At Bon Temps

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Back to Your Regular Programming

We made it home by six o'clock last night so I got my evening to unpack and then have a good night's sleep. I'm fit as a fiddle this morning and perfectly ready to return to work (as opposed to run down and exhausted by arriving at the last possible moment).

The view from the guest room at Joan's when I wake up ... second floor, overlooking Lake Okanagan to the hilly mountainy things on the other side.

Joan's giving my nephew Ben his breakfast. He has a healthy appetite, but at 8 years old weighs only 36 pounds.

My sweet little sisters, Karen and Joan. Joan dropped us off at the airport in Kelowna on Monday in time to catch our one o'clock flight. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Gifts from Afar

When Cathy B came visiting this summer, she was bearing gifts of fabric.
One was a square meant to make a bag or wrap a present. I'll probably tack it to a wall.
The red one I've got on the kitchen table.

Monday, October 19, 2015


I have set aside three – count ‘em, three! — books that I was reading. Usually I don’t feel too bad doing this to one book, but three! That feels almost disrespectful. Nevertheless, when I’ve read a few chapters, taking plenty of time to get into the story, and don't much care what happens to any of the characters, there is no reason to feel guilty.

I did finish A Bad Time for Sorry, but only by skimming through to the end. It started out well, with a protagonist who “tuned in” violently abusive men in a hired vigilante way, a different premise than any I’ve ever read, but before the end it was overwritten or something. There was too much description of weaponry and feminine pulchritude and lusting after a certain male character, and I lost interest.

Made my way through quite a bit of The Orchardist, but … lost interest. Jumped to the last chapter to satisfy my curiosity. It never happened. I might well have missed what I was looking for somewhere in the middle, so just might take one last look.

The Devil You Know … had to force myself to read past the second chapter. Skimmed a bit more, but … nah. Its author was interviewed on The Next Chapter on CBC radio, and this show always manages to make every book sound interesting (that's what it's all about, right?), but half the time when I get the books they've discussed, I'm sorely disappointed. 

Wild Rose? Well, I won’t return it to the library just yet. We shall see.

All this just to say that I may write about what I'm reading, but these are not necessarily recommendations.


Joan is about to head out the door to take Ben to his school, and my niece Jordan is soon ready to catch her bus, and Karen and I are still in our pyjamas, drinking coffee. We have a couple hours before we have to drive across the city to the airport. We'll be back in Saskatoon at suppertime and plan to take Cathy with us to have a meal at the restaurant where Karen's daughter works. She's got the night off and will join us. We'll spend the night at Cathy's, not have any reason to hurry in the morning, Karen will have time to do a little shopping before we leave the city, and with luck we'll be back home before dark, before moose and deer become a danger on the roads, and with an evening to unwind before the routines start up the next day.

There has been some goodnatured "complaining" (isn't it nice to be wanted?) about the trip being so short -- only two nights. When I booked the tickets I chose the most leisurely hours of departure that were reasonable so that there would be no 6 a.m. morning flights or midnight arrivals, and no getting home late the night before we have to get up and go to work the next day. For once I'd like to not feel exhausted when I get home after a trip. So we shall see.

It's a lot of money to spend for only two nights but it's just as much to spend for four nights, y'know? Somehow I don't feel that more time is necessarily better. We've had a good visit and two mornings when we haven't had to rush around to get out the door. For me, quality is far more important than quantity. It will still be hard to part with Joan when she drops us at the airport this morning, knowing we may not see her for another year; I sure hated to see Dad walk out the door last night after supper. But it wouldn't be any easier after four nights either.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Airports and Destinations

The first leg of the journey is the two-hour drive to Saskatoon. Then we fly from Saskatoon to Calgary, and change planes to Kelowna after a two-hour layover.

Seen in the Saskatoon airport:

"Celebrity" sighting: Manitoba actor, Hollywood movie star (yes he is!) and youth activist ADAM BEACH
 Dad (who paid for our flights, bless his heart; very generous) picked us up at the airport in Kelowna and took us over to our sister Joan's, where we had beer and pizza and a nice evening together:

Dad and Karen
It's Sunday morning and we are coffeeing and chatting and coffeeing and chatting some more.

Grade Eleven

So I'm reading through journal two.
At 17, I am deciding to do less complaining in the journal. (Never succeeded.)
I am 5'4" and 125 pounds, and think I am "fat."
Oh, and "ugly" and possibly "shallow."
I have "zits." My friends give me perms.

Some of the girls are getting married or having babies while still in high school. I note now, looking back at the couples, that many of these are still together four decades later.

Wonder where this corduroy shirt is now. And ha! ha! that flip! Oh the hours I spent with a curling iron ... 

Tucked among the pages were these pics of my friend Kim at the high school:

Ms Cool
After having the flu for 10 days, I weighed 115 pounds and thought that was just fine and hoped I'd stay that way.
After Grade 11, I joined the militia for a summer job of "basic training."

Saturday, October 17, 2015


While I am away, here are two corners back home that will miss me.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Road Upkeep

Dump leather purse that weighs "a couple pounds," keep what I need to carry around the airport, and find lighter bag.
Catching the metal bird to Kelowna tomorrow.

The grader came by.
Chauffeur Karen will be at my door at 7am.
Which means, packing done, 11:16pm is well past this little girl's bedtime.
I'm tired, too; maybe I'll actually fall asleep before the wee hours. Wish me luck.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Freedom Now

When the kitchen is spic and span, I like being there.
This week baking bread wasn't on my to-do list ... or okay it was, but I crossed it off. That is the beauty of being the Boss of Me!

My friends are still processing vegetables from their gardens. I am thinking "Good for you; delicious," but am relieved not to be doing the same thing. When I have days off, I want them to really be days OFF — not days where there are a bunch more chores that must be done on top of the usual tasks, as is the way with garden veggies. I guard my free time; I want to be free to make choices in the present, rather than making them in the spring and now having no practical choice but to deal with the result.

So when I've got the dishes done, that's good enough for me. Usually it's enough to inspire me to prepare a favourite recipe or try something new. This week I made omelette muffins one night for supper, following directions found online. That's a recipe I'll keep. Another day I made a tried and true standby, SPANISH BEANS, and a pan of JOHNNYCAKE to go with it, and even some oatmeal squares to satisfy my sweettooth cravings.

Getting the laundry done and tidying up the house and going for a walk or two, and maybe sitting down with a nice cup of tea in the afternoon, make for a perfect day off.  I don't require any more excitement or novelty than that.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

New to Me

There is a tendency to work eight hours straight when I'm at my desk and focussed on finishing what I've started. I try to get up and walk around whenever possible; for instance, I probably use the dictionary and the Canadian Press stylebook five times a day, but I like that it's across the room so I have to march over there. I stroll the first time reading a printed text. And in the middle of the day I go over to the store or the library or run some small errand, just to give my brain and body a break from the screen and the chair and get some fresh air.

One day last week, to kill time before returning to the office, I went into the used clothing store on mainstreet Wadena. I found two blue tops on a rack and snatched them up; one a royal blue bunnyhug and another a slightly stretched-out knit sweater. Good blues are not that easy to find!

And with secondhand clothes, one can afford to have plenty, and to have new (to me) items often. My favourite shirt came from the store on Main Street, and now this sweater that I’m enamoured with.

It has reminded me of Mom and Grandma; how they both loved new clothes and liked nothing better than to show you what they'd just purchased. I'm no different; sometimes I'll come home with a couple bags of stuff and lay it out on the bed just to admire it. My sisters are the same. Maybe all women are?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Rosemary and Red Meat

There's a mythbusting type of program I caught on TV sometime in the past couple weeks, where the host went to science to find out whether it's true that barbecued red meat is carcinogenic.

She found out that it is, unless it is marinated for at least two hours in a liquid (oil) that contains rosemary. There are other herbs that can have an effect, but rosemary is the one I remember because it's the one I've had growing in a pot on the step all summer. The marinating process cuts the likelihood of carcinogens being created by about 80%.

The rosemary is on the right; on the left is spearmint, which will be mixed with yarrow to make an immunity-boosting tea.

Monday, October 12, 2015


My brother Cameron is out from St. Albert this weekend, and stopped in here after a visit to the boys at Everett's.

He had spent the previous day on the dock in front of our sister Karen's house on the shore of Margo Lake, and was particularly proud of two photos he took with his phone-camera.

"What are you doing?" He's just realizing I'm taking a picture of the picture on his phone. 
The wind last night was so wild and loud that it was scary. It bowed our living room window inward, which is always a concern. Scott says he's going to change that window to one with smaller panes of glass.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

New Growth

An hour in the flower bed swathing the delphiniums and hollyhocks, and trucking them over to a bare spot behind the quonset. Just in time for hard whips of rain to start hitting me in the face.
Yesterday I clipped down the speedwells and the thyme.

Everything has new growth underneath.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Fall Day Off

What a perfect day! Heaven surely isn't better than this.

The wind was whispering in the poplars:

You couldn't stay indoors if you tried.
I pulled the tomato and the green pepper out of this planter, and scared two mice out from under it.

They, however, didn't shriek. They just bolted into the flowerbed where I was about to start pruning.
I had second thoughts, believe me, about continuing.

It's so nice out, I went for two strolls. Long, leisurely ones.
In the late afternoon, I put some wild rice (and beef) sausages into a frying pan to cook slowly for Scott. And me? Raisin rye bread with cheddar was my supper:

I've been eating a lot of raisin rye bread since baking eight loaves of it on Tuesday:

It's nearly seven and Scott is not home yet. He expected to be combining only till dark and thought we could go to Bev and Paul's, so that's what we'll do.

I went out to the shed and filled a cardboard box with chopped wood to take along. Then I was inspired to dig out our burning bowl so we can have a fire here one of these days. And I didn't get to a lake yet this summer either. What the hell! The things I like best, and I don't do them? It's foolish.

Out beyond the barn

Scott (?) had built a bale house in the barn, for the cat, and stuck the burning bowl behind it. I had to climb up and then down behind it and get all strawy, ew! But at least with Bob the BarnCat right there, master of his general vicinity, I didn't worry too much about disturbing any mice.

That last hour or two of daylight is always so pretty:

I don't want to go for a third walk at this time, but I go to the end of the driveway a couple times:

It's tempting, isn't it? I almost went again:

Looking Back Lessons

Why, in my journals, do I insist on putting date and time, rain or shine?
When reading back these things, I don’t even glance at the date.

What’s the next journal on the timeline?
Shoot, it’s only May. It’s still 1975 and I’m still at Luther College in Regina.

A lot of complaining, decent writing and what seems to be clear and intelligent though definitely teenage thought, and plenty of playfulness.

That playfulness is still around.

My mission, which I have chosen to accept.

I’ll work my way through the second journal over the next four days off. Most of it isn’t interesting; after all, been there, done that. But I find myself laughing out loud fairly often. Guffawing. Recognizing. Remembering. Gladly farewelling.
And anticipating burning, with some glee.

It’s gorgeous fall weather and Bev has invited us to Kuroki for a bonfire, but Scott is combining and we can commit to nought.