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Monday, November 22, 2010

it's back


the bloody awful stinking cold is back. already. a couple of weeks ago i was walking along the creekside trails with the dog, shuffling lovely fallen leaves in the autumn sunshine and loving life. but winter has returned suddenly and without preamble. there's already 6 or 8 inches of snow. we're expecting -30 tonight, and it's only November. i was out crawling around under the radiator of my truck in the dark last night, hunting for the cord to the block heater. how does it always manage to disappear over summer, and why is always it black as an oil company CEO's heart outside the first winter's eve when i realize that i have to plug in the truck? i think i plugged it in twice last winter, it was that mild. and certainly not before late in December. my heart quails at the thought of what it will be like in February, after a start like this. and what my utility bills will be like if it's this danged cold all winter.

i hate winter. as my joints get older and creakier i hate it more and more. if we were meant to live in cold we'd have lovely thick pelts.

which brings me to one of life's pleasant diversions. the lovely dog. he's turning in to a very nice boy. he now weighs 35 lb (@6 months old, so some growing to do yet), and had his first trip to the groomer's today, in order to excavate for eyes. as he's a 'non-shedding' breed, his hair grows continually, so he needs regular haircuts. he's so wiggly and friendly, i don't dare go anywhere near his face with a pair of scissors. i can manage to trim his main parts, but i'm fearful of blinding him if i attempt facial hair. so, off he went, and made a whole bunch of new friends there. the down side of the lovely dog, which i should have twigged on long before i did, is that he needs to be walked. several times a day. which has been most pleasant so far. but the thing i didn't foresee, and really should have, was the walking him in the bloody awful cold. i hate the cold. he, however, seems to love it. if i were more like him, and had several inches of thick, curly R40 fluff all over my body, and webbed feet that appear to serve as excellent snowshoes, i might be less grumpy about it, but, no matter how long i go without shaving my various body parts that are inclined to sprout fur, i'll never have an R factor of more than .05, and my matronly physique sinks through, straight to bedrock the minute i place a foot on the wretched white stuff. "think positively", i tell myself. spring is only 5 or 6 months away.... maybe 150 or 200 sleeps. oh god, that's forever. if i don't freeze to death, i'll die of old age before it warms up.

another hopeful diversion was a Canadian Home Builders' Association jury i was asked to sit on, to determine the winners of the annual awards for excellence in home building. i was really excited about this, thinking there would be some innovative, imaginative, exciting homes. well, there might be..... i didn't actually get to see the homes. i got to spend 4 hours wading through several dozen binders full of pictures of homes, in a room in a high rise with a wall of glass that bled every BTU that may have originated in my proximity to the sub arctic outside. kept my coat on the whole time and wished i'd worn my hoody, snow packs and long johns instead of 'official personage' garb. i guess the photos are meant to streamline the process, which used to take most of a week to actually visit every entry. but i couldn't make out anything really exciting from the photos.... and the real disappointment was that the judging criteria made no mention of innovative building techniques, materials or designs. nor any suggestion that there may be value in environmentally sustainable materials or methods. zero mention. in bloody NORTHERN ALBERTA where it's regularly THIRTY OR FORTY BELOW ZERO for grueling months on end, and there's real value in building with energy savings in mind. some builders made mention of energy conscious features they'd built in, but there was no criteria for giving credit for doing it. and, most disappointing of all, they were pretty much all the same. 'higher' categories were just bigger, with more expensive materials. pretty much the same styles, very little variation in floorplan. it was very clear what's 'in' these days, cuz they all had it. my little bitty low budget condo done in discounted and recycled materials is more interesting than any one of them. builders in this town are just plain boring. it's all about the status quo, which is mediocre and conservative at best. certainly not cheap, with granite countertops and exotic woods, but everything looked the same. builders seem to think everyone WANTS their homes to look the same, and i suppose they're right.... they build what sells. blah.

but this isn't just a rant. there's good news too. i've convinced my board (with winter budget control in mind) to reduce my hours to 4 days a week for Dec, Jan & Feb, which is very exciting. i've nearly got all the bits and odds (how can one person possibly have so much STUFF?! i downsized before i moved!!) sorted into their appropriate rooms (except the basement, but we wont go there.... unless laundry needs URGENTLY to be done) and am working on final trim and lights, etc to finish things up. the creative juices begin to flow. will post a shot of windows i painted white-on-white for a sort of frosted glass look, in lieu of draperies when i took the hideous clattering vinyl vertical blinds down in the living room.

once i get the trim all done, and ugly 'boob' lights replaced, i see quilts, watercolor painting and calligraphy in my future. i've already started my first batch of home made soap.

if you tell anyone i said this, i'll swear you're lying, but.... there's a possibility i might even start cooking real food again.