Follow by Email

Search This Blog

Sunday, December 30, 2012

I hope to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am.
Unknown Author

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Christmas Greeting

As I finished breakfast on the last day of a trip away from home,  my cell phone beeped an incoming text message.  It was a number I didn't recognize. 

Wheres the keys

Aside from the number being unfamiliar, my daughter, who lives with me and is the only person likely to need my keys, was on the same trip, and sitting across the table from me, so I wondered who thought they needed my keys.... and which keys they wanted..... youngest son was expected to come for Christmas in a week or so, but he knows where the 'emergency' key is kept. He was the only person I could think might be asking, but it seemed unlikely that he would be.  I replied: 

Who's asking?
The immediate answer was:

What you mean whose asking? Wheres my f**n keys

The censoring is mine..... this didn't sound like my son. I wondered if I should even reply to a pretty obvious - and obnoxious-  wrong number.  Surely they'd figure it out.  While I was ruminating on this, I received:

Well where r they

Hmmmm.... persistent. 

And have the nerve to say whose asking? Probly not even for me

Not sure what that means, but it doesn't sound good.  It might be a good idea to let them know that they haven't got the person they intended to call. So I replied, I confess, a bit grumpily:

Please check the number you're calling.  And learn some courtesy. 

I was surprised how quickly the response came back.

R u f**n serious! F*k off n dont come bak here

....eep!  now they're REALLY angry.  I began to worry for the safety of the party I was unknowingly impersonating.  I had to make it clear that there had been a mistake. I sent:

You have the wrong number.

There. That aught to do it.

Yea yea. Doors will be locked n u can get the f*k outta lifes

For crying out loud! How plainly can I tell them this isn't the person who can tell them where their blasted keys are!  Now I was really worried that someone was going to get thrown out of their home or maybe even seriously hurt over a silly misunderstanding.  Direct, straightforward language doesn't seem to work, so I'll have to try something that makes it clear that this is someone they don't know.  I've been reading a lot of flowery old literature.... was in the middle of  Wilkie Collins' Woman in White at the time..... and I was more than a little grumpy by now about the whole conversation, so I sent the following: 

If i had any idea who you are I would cherish the moment I complied with your request. The person you think you're conversing will be fortunate indeed to be done with you.  

That should do it. 

..... long pause...... happy sigh..... good, they've realized it was a mistake, checked the number, and are now calling the person they really wanted to talk to...... oh, stink!  another text from that number....

Lmao! Yea yea u think i gaf about him. I jus realized i am one number off. Stupid iphones. If u only knew the whole story im sure u woodnt be saying f**k all. But just like any white person ur s**t dont stink n u think ur something Special! 

WHAT!!! How does any part of this conversation have anything to do with anybody's race?! ....  I'm tempted to reply that I'm Ethiopian, just out of spite.... they said 'him'.... so is this a woman? Some guy whose phone number you don't even know has the keys to your house? .... no, thanks.... I don't think I want to know the whole story.  Just go away.....   another long pause..... take a long, deep breath. Relax.  She's gone.   Oh, bloody hell.... it's another text from her.  Why am I even reading this?!  

U think any man who hides kesy on 6 month pregnant woman n steals her chikdrens money for crack is a f***ing joke! Im supposed to be nice n ask politely n be courteous when asking for my f***ing keys! U can go f**k yourself n have a merry f**n christmas a**hole

Okay.  That's enough.  I'm not opening the next one.  I feel very sorry for you and your children (how many poor kids are living in this place with these people, I wonder) but I didn't put you there - you put yourself there. Besides, I don't even know where 'there' is.  Please, please, please learn something from this, and don't mess around with guys like that anymore.  Should I tell her that? I wrestle with this for a few minutes, then tell myself, NO.  I'm not an addictions counselor or a psychologist.  I don't have a clue how to help her, and she's not going to take any advice from some white person (?!) whose s**t don't stink.  I will definitely not reply.  I will turn my phone off.   

For a little while.  

I'm expecting to hear from the son who's coming for Christmas, so I won't turn it off for long

I'll turn it back on now.  

I hope she doesn't text me again.

When I got home there were a couple of more conventional Christmas greetings in my mailbox. There were no more profane Christmas Greeting text messages.  I must be getting very old and boring.  I liked the conventional ones so much better.  

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Winter Dreaming

As my world is blanketed in white, and the sun grows daily weaker, the gardening books are searched out, carefully dusted off, and take up residence on coffee tables, kitchen counters and bedside tables.  Though I've ruthlessly culled my 'library', these are never at risk.  Winter would be bleak indeed without them.  They're the only living green I see for many months, with the poor exception of indoor potted plants - pathetic shadows of their wild cousins in warmer climes. Think of the huge and sprawling groves of rubber trees in the tropics, then of the sad, gangly thing Aunt Bertha in Calgary proudly calls her potted rubber tree.  Even evergreens look less green than grey or even black, in the dim light and deep cold of a northern winter.  

One of my favorites is Really Small Gardens by Jill Billington.
This color sketch was done on the iPad, from a photo in it of a stone garden fountain.

I did the one below last night after taking the dog out for his bedtime trot.  We'd had ice fog for the past couple of days, with extreme cold. Everything was crusted with glittering magic.  There was just enough light from the street lamp at the end of the alley to make things sparkle in the biting cold. I'd laid a fire in the fireplace before going out, and turned the kettle on.  
I suppose the warm fire, hot cuppa and the dog curled up on my feet as I cozied up to doodle wouldn't feel nearly so delicious if i hadn't just come in from that brutal cold.  Perhaps we need contrasts to teach us the worth of what we have... despair to learn joy; darkness to realize light; loneliness to cherish love;  adversaries to value friends; dearth to savor abundance; hardship to be grateful for comfort; and cold to remind us that we cannot live without warmth.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Still playing with the Paper 53 app on my iPad.  
This was an experiment in color and texture, learning which 'strokes' are transparent and which are opaque, and how they interact together.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

IPad - Paper 53

one of the fascinating aps available on ipad is 'paper 53'

with it you can do pencil sketches and ink washes

watercolor and colored ink or felt pen (wide or narrow) - with a 'resist'.

and any mix of them all that you choose 

 the main difference between them is the texture and density   of the 'stroke', and that some are transparent and some are not.  the watercolor brush will also 'lift color in a way similar to a dry brush on wet paper, but it's much more (disappointingly) controlled and uniform than the real thing

the ap doesn't have the subtlety of real artists' washes and pen / pencil strokes, or the precision, or any of the lovely  and miraculous surprises, but it does have one very attractive feature, which they call 'rewind'.  with this you can remove the last stroke(s) or wash(es) or erasures you've done, without altering the picture. you just get what you had before you put the new bit in... then, if you decide you liked them better than you thought, you can change your mind again and put them back.  there's no damage to the 'paper' no matter how many times you go over things, and it's very hard to make things muddy. no worries about whether the paper is wet or dry - which also, sadly, means there's no way (that i've discovered so far, at least) to paint wet-on-wet. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

what's an 'ap'?

i have a lot of time on my hands lately.  sleeping seems to take up a fair chunk of it.  i guess i must need it.   i happened to hear Rick Mercer do a Remembrance Day rant about the Canadian Government's treatment of our war veterans.  he's a very funny man; a brilliant satirist.  in his rant, he mentions that veterans of 80+ years are told they can download an ap for their iphones, to help them contact the gov't Veteran's Affairs branch for various reasons.  how many folks of 80+ do you know, who have an iphone and are all over the 'aps' thing?  

But when i'd stopped howling with laughter, i got thinking.... i do have an ipad.... a Mother's Day gift from the kids....  and so far the only aps i've used are email and ibooks.... a calculator, the weather network and skype.... i've taken a few pictures and learned how to enter people in the contacts ap..... downloaded a few maps....  so, as i couldn't sleep last night, i went to the ap store.    i found all sorts of lovely things that are free!  of course, they just have enough contained in them to get you wanting more, but what fun!  i now have a real time piano i can play by touch-screen (Real Piano HD), a build in microphone and recording software (MicPro), a touch screen drum kid (BeatPad), acres of on-screen sheet music (VSheetMusic) and the coolest set of finger paints ever(BambooPaper)           

here's a sample of what Bamboo Paper doodled up for me.. all done with my fingers on the ipad screen
way too much fun
i may have to learn some self restraint though.  @ 3 a.m. (just as i was beginning to really get the hang of BeatPad) my granddaughter told me to be quiet and go to sleep

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What do these three things have in common?

Elderly Canadians proudly wearing the red maple leaf as they enjoy a winter holiday

Royal Canadian Air Force 
touring the world and performing death defying maneuvers as they roar overhead close to the speed of sound

A cute little Dark - eyed Junco with a white tummy and dark uppers - fluffed against the cold

Friday, November 9, 2012

"making something magical takes time as well as fearlessness. I have to allow myself to make mistakes  and  be willing to start over from a blank page. With so many things in life we don't have that luxury but at least we could work on the theory the best course of action is to begin again from wherever we are right now - considering lessons learned of course."  ... from Susan @ Phantasythat

to begin again from where i am.... to recognize mistakes and start again from a blank page... 
it's been a very long day, fraught with highs and lows.... mainly lows. it's been a many kleenex day, if the truth be told.  when starting from a low place, any direction is uphill, and very hard, discouraging work.  
... but the view from the top just might be a big improvement over the one down below, if we can just get there.  
Sometimes magic is the result of really hard work.  perhaps more often than not.  certainly, it's difficult, if not impossible to make joy without it.

recognize this guy? 
......  the governator back in his Terminator days.  just before lunch today, my boss played the role of Terminator. i was the 
yep, they fired me
there was this incident.... a new employee was hired.  a very highly paid, and, if logic applies, therefore a very highly skilled employee.  i know this stuff because i do payroll.  i only suspected the high pay rate at the time because he's a senior engineer.  pay rate was, in fact the issue in question.  it's problematic for the person doing payroll to pay an employee if they don't know what that employee's rate of pay is.  so... with cutoff past and hours tallied, everything was ready to send off for processing and payment.... everything except the precise rate of pay for this new, quite likely highly paid employee.  
the company hires out human resources stuff to an HR contractor. a 'specialist', also very highly paid. i know this because i also did payables. to complicate things further,  it wasn't just matter of asking someone in the office how much to pay him.  the HR 'specialist' and the employee in question both work in a branch office,  half the length of the province from the main office, where i work .... um, worked.  after trying, unsuccessfully,  for a week or so, to contact this HR  person - after leaving voice messages and sending emails to her and her staff requesting the info,  with not so much as a reply from her, and only  'i'll get the info to you as soon as i have it' from her staff, it was after 2 pm  on friday. i had till 5 pm that day to get this done and i still hadn't heard anything.  So i called the branch manager, asking if perhaps he could forward the info. he didn't have it, but he must have contacted the HR contractor, because, magically, she called me only minutes after i spoke to him....  she was more than a bit huffy because she's a very busy, very important person who can't be chasing stuff like this around.  she cancelled a client meeting  in order to get the info to me in time.   so everybody got paid .  
But we had to have a phone meeting to discuss this issue, and find out what the problem was.   so she scheduled  a conference call.  in the course of the ensuing discussion, i explained to her and her employee, the problem was that the payroll clerk didn't have the payroll info that someone had been sitting on for 2 weeks,  and the person who had the info wouldn't answer my calls or emails.  there followed a long explanation about how blameless she was, and how terribly busy, and how inappropriate it was for me to have bothered the branch manager about this.  so, what, i wondered aloud, would have been appropriate?  perhaps not paying the employee would have been appropriate?  no sooner  had i finished the sentence, than there was the sound of her vehicle making its 'open door' reminder sound.  "excuse me", she said, i'm just filling up the car on the way to taking my sweetie to the airport".   
(that's appropriate)
there followed more self-important explanations of how she didn't have time for this sort of thing and how it wasn't even really her job - she was just doing the boss (my employer, and, incidentally, hers) a favour.  what then, i wondered (with my inside voice this time) WAS her job? the 'busy' thing rankled. i was impertinent enough to suggest that we were all very busy, and there wouldn't have been a problem if the info had been sent to me in the first place.  it was a stalemate. though she was adamant that she wasn't trying to blame anyone, she was extremely  displeased that i wouldn't concede that i was the party in the wrong. 
so, early this week, when my immediate supervisor called (also the boss' wife), and wanted to discuss the issue, i knew i'd  been 'reported'.  i could only explain that  the person i was told to get the info from,  after numerous attempts to make contact, would not so much as reply. it had, at the time, seemed imperative to look elsewhere for the info if the new employee was to receive a paycheck.  my supervisor clearly did not believe me. "well, i never have any trouble getting in touch with her," i was told.  "that," my mouth replied before my brain had a chance to edit, "is because you're not a minion".  i could tell by the long, pregnant pause the words invoked on the other end or the line, that this was not well received. 

 when they called me in to the boss' office this morning to fire me, i asked if this had anything to do with this HR person's displeasure with me. the boss pretended not to know anything about it, but his eyes got very shifty and nervous - he couldn't look at me - when he said that no, he didn't know what i was referring to; i reasonably certain he was lying.  "it just doesn't seem to be a good fit," he said.  
it was the word of a minion against the word of someone much more important. i must be a trouble maker, so i had to go.  

after i got home and had a good cry, i couldn't help but notice that the sky hadn't fallen in, and the world was much the same as it had been before this calamity happened, so i had to concede that, surprisingly, it isn't the end of the world.  when my daughter come home to find me there hours before i should have got off work, i swallowed my humiliation and told her i'd been fired.  her look of disbelief was worth the humiliation it cost to speak the awful words.  when i told her i thought it was about the payroll thing (which i'd ranted to her about the day it happened) she said, "that wasn't the right job for you anyway".  

and she's right. the structure and hierarchy of big biz is not a good place for me.  they were right.  it wasn't a good fit,  for reasons they didn't even comprehend.  with 2 mortgages to pay, being unemployed scares the hell out of me; i've already applied for unemployment insurance.  i'm doing my best to believe that this is the beginning of something better.   when i began this job i was very close to a complete mental breakdown from the previous job. i went from one very stressful job to another very stressful job. i don't think i deserved to be fired, but, on some weird level, it feels a bit like a blessing.  i CAN do a 9 - 5 desk job, but it takes a very big toll on me. perhaps this isn't a crisis at all, but an opportunity.  with any luck i'll be able to get unemployment insurance long enough to have a bit of a rest (while looking for another job).... a rest that already was badly needed 6 months ago, when there was no opportunity to take it.  

" I have to allow myself to make mistakes  and  be willing to start over from a blank page. With so many things in life we don't have that luxury but at least we could work on the theory the best course of action is to begin again from wherever we are right now - considering lessons learned of course."

there has been very little joy on the dipstick of my life for a very long time.... lately, just barely enough to get a reading..... i'm reminded of the importance of magic, and that magic is closely linked to joy. i'm pulling up to the pumps now.  fill 'er up! 

many thanks, Susan

would you let me know if you hear of any job openings for a smart-mouthed fiddle player?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

autumn is a time for rest

reflected shadows flicker across the screen of my laptop as i sit curled against the warm, comfy arm of the couch, sipping my favorite tea. there are cedar waxwings outside the window at my back

they're feasting on the berries of the huge mountain ash scratching against a bright pewter sky, in the front yard at Miramichi House.  
this morning, we woke to find everything covered with a fresh, thick layer of immaculate snow.  
i'm imagining how lovely it will be to build a fire in the big brick fireplace 
this evening when a friend comes to play violin duets with me 

i had hoped to do some yard work this weekend, but it's october, and there's snow on the ground.  it's early for snow, even in northern alberta, and this snowfall may melt away before it finally comes to stay awhile, but this time of year, temperatures near the freezing mark feel very cold, and i'm not inclined to be stoic.  even the enclosed front porch feels too cold to enjoy today.

in several months, the same temperatures will feel mild, and it will be a treat to sit in the sunny porch with a cup of tea and the dog curled at my feet, but today it's a comfort to be inside, quiet and still, enjoying the gracious beauty of my future home for a few quiet minutes before i transform into a white tornado and clean the place for my renters.   

next year at this time, i'll have spent the summer developing a garden plot here, cleaning out the overgrown flower borders, pruning and finalizing the final plans for landscape improvements.  i'll have made jams and jellies, canned and frozen food grown right here, and perhaps painted the exterior of the house.  i'll have found a permanent spot in the house for my loom, bundled, stored and idle now for a couple of years. perhaps i'll begin then to make plans for improvements, preparatory to operating the house as a Bed and Breakfast.  

but for now, at least for a few more minutes
i will rest

Monday, August 13, 2012

Some days you just can't come out on top

After a weekend of slogging away in chaos (aka home renovations) I went to bed sunday night exhausted, but satisfied with what was accomplished. The last of the three bedrooms floored in lovely  'click' bamboo. Goes in much like laminate flooring, but 3/8" thick and made of laminated strips of bamboo. Walls of the room all freshly painted and lovely new baseboards and trim around the door.

I'm so old I remember playing vinyl '78's, and I remember when 8-track tapes we're cutting - edge technology.  And I remember when baseboards and door trim were nailed on. Not so anymore. Glue is the way it's done now.  Really stinky glue with ghastly, noxious fumes. After working with the stuff all day Sunday and sleeping in a house reeking of it (though, I assure you, ALL of the windows were wide open) I woke this morning with a mother of a migraine. Nothing good drugs and sleep can't cure, but it means a day off work at a time when I need to be there... And my brain feels so bruised after one of these that it's not good for anything strenuous for a day or 2 afterwards. But we learn to cope.

Towards the end a day of drugs and sleep,feeling nearly human again, I took the dog for a short walk. He was over the moon. Migraine days are not fun for him.   So he  did his happy dance, then bounced into the bushes with serious business on his mind.  He's a funny guy - he likes his privacy in moments like these, going as far out of sight as the leash will allow, and turning his back to me. I try to be respectful and turn my back as well.

He came bounding back with his usual joi de vivre, and it wasn't till he began rolling about on the lawn, rubbing at his face and chasing his tail that I suspected something amiss.  When he held still long enough to get a good look at him, my drug and pain dulled brain didn't at first comprehend what the little yellow bits in his long, thick, curly hair were.  Pain, however, is a very good learning tool,

so as soon as the first ons stung me, I figured it out right away. Yellow jackets! And lots of them. The pooe dog was writhing on the ground in panic, and all I could think of was to beat them off of him.    It seemed to work somewhat. A number of them left him alone and concentrated on me. Somehow we ran the rest of the way home, with me beating at both of us, till, standing on the doorstep, I did my best to slap the ones off of me and brush them away from him, and we made as quick an entry  through a minimally opened doorway as possible. inside the house I concentrated on pulling angry   wasps from his thick, curly hair. I did successfully extricate a number without getting my hands  stung, but they managed to find some other juicy bits of me to bite. I don't know how many times   either of us got stung, but I'm certain he got the worst of it, poor boy.                                                         

Once I was fairly certain the dog had no more hitch hikers I noticed one or 2 still entangled in my own hair and clothing, who had no interest in parting ways. I'd no sooner disentangle on, tha another would alight with murder on his mind. In a flash of divinely inspired brilliance, it occurred to me that, like flies, they might head for the window if the room was darkened... So I turned out the lights and patrolled the windows with a fly shatter.. Even so, it was some time and many insectile corpses before I felt safe in my own home.

Back to the dog, who was pacing and panting in a panic, to find that he still had a few entrapped in his hair. He seemed to believe I was doing something to improve the situation, though, as he came immediately when I called him, standing, all a-tremble, for me to tug and tear at the terrifying things in his hair. I had tostop  periodically to swat at the odd one who preferred me to the window. I haven't counted the corpses on the floor.  Something in the neighborhood of 20, I think.

Then I had to settle the dog enough that I could run a brush through his curls, making sure we really had got them all. He was wide eyed and trembling, panting so hard I was afraid he'd hyperventilate.... Can dogs hyperventilate? He had that wacant, staring look animals get when they're in pain, so I got the children's Advil from the cupboard, and gave him the dosage recommended foe his weight.  It seemed to take a long time for the trembling to stop, and even longer for his breathing to return to normal, and he was glued to my side as I prepared for bed.

Only then did it occur to me to google 'dog stung by wasps'. Turnd out I should have given him antihistamines

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Miramichi House

She's a grand old prairie lady with maritime roots.  76 years old, lived in by the family who built her all that time, she's in pristine condition, with hardwood floors, 2 fireplaces, 4 spacious bedrooms, 10 foot ceilings, art deco sconces in the living room and a crystal chandelier in the dining room, which is still furnished with the dining suite purchased when she was a young 'un.  

                                                                    More here.

She's a stunner

and she's mine

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A short holiday on Lesser Slave Lake

How the time flies..... especially in summer.   Several weeks into the new job, which I think is going well, and i happened across the pictures of my brief holiday @ Lesser Slave Lake, taken just before I began the new job.  

This is the inside of  my lovely lakeside carriage house / cottage.  It's a historic old building, with 3 generations of local history.  It's attached to the 'big house', but entirely self contained and private, with its own small lawn, barbeque and fire pit.  these windows look out on the lake.  I brought my harp along, as I had several upcoming playing engagements, and was badly out of practice.  What i didn't think to bring, in my rush to leave home, was my tuning tools, so it was so badly out of tune with the change in humidity and the warm weather we had, that it was virtually impossible to play.  .... but still highly ornamental.  

And here's Maestro, feeling very sorry for himself on a kayak paddle along the shoreline.  He'd much rather be leaping through the waves than sitting quietly in the boat watching them.

                                                                He discovered that the window ledges were perfectly sized for a large-ish dog to sit on and gaze wistfully out at the lake any time a thoughtless human ignored his pleas to go exploring.  (the lake is the blue you can see beyond the lawn and shrubs)

The beach was so private, I took to walking him along it late in the evenings, just before bed, in my pyjamas.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Time for Change

I think life may find some sort of balance soon.  I have a little more than a week left at my present job, then I just over a week off, afterwards beginning a new position with an engineering firm.  The job title, no kidding, is 'Office Catalyst'..... which puzzles me somewhat, but also has me really looking forward to discovering how it will play out. 'Catalyst' appears to be the latest buzz word for gender equality in the workplace....  this is from 

For years, Catalyst and others have been demonstrating a correlation between companies with more women on top and higher profits. Organizations are taking notice. Pax World Global Women’s Equality Fund is a US mutual fund that invests in companies that promote gender equality. “When women are at the table, the discussion is richer, the decision-making process is better, management is more innovative and collaborative and the organization is stronger,” said Joe Keefe, President and Chief Executive of Pax World Management and Pax World Funds. “It’s not just me saying this, it’s research saying this.”

Whether this is the idea behind my job title remains to be seen. The fact that there are a good proportion of women there, in engineering and other positions, suggests that this may be the case. Mine is a newly created position, assuming some duties of an office manager, but seemingly with expectation for creative thought and original  ideas.  Writing and editing skills were also high on the list of criteria, as was integration into the existing office culture, and some background in financial reporting.

                                                                                         summer will be spent learning the new job, and puttering in my little yard when the weather is good, finishing up renovation odds 'n ends inside when the weather isn't good. Perhaps a few jaunts with the dog and the kayak to nearby lakes on long weekends  .....a toast to new beginnings. this isn't a picture of Maestro, but it looks so much like him I couldn't resist including it.  

Monday, April 30, 2012

What I've been up to

We've just celebrated Earth day, here in Grande Prairie.

The sculpture students at the local college collaborate with our Habitat for Humanity ReStore to provide items for auciton at this event.  We give them materials from the ReStore for one of their assignments, and they donate the finished work to our Earth Day fundraiser.  I'll post pictures of the students' work soon.  They're delightful. 

    What you see here are my contributtions to the art sale.  I'd saved some bases from pedestal sinks whose tops had broken, and odd bits of other things to make basins for the tops... and hey! voila!  birdbaths!            The theme being Earth day, we focus on the idea of spring, and the outdoors.  Gardening items are popular. 
This first one started with an unique base whose top had got knocked over in the store and broken.  The new basin is made from the glass shade from a large overhead light whose electrical bits didn't work, and some cobbelestone marble tile.  the perches are copper cabinet hardware, and a curtain finial. 


Birdbath #2  has a colonial styled white porcelain base.  The basin for this one is also the glass from a ceiling light, with a leaf design mosiaic made from glazed ceramic tile. The top image shows a closeup of the mosaic lining of the basin.
                                                            The last image is of a birdbath made from a very plain porcelain base and a satellite dish basin.  As there was no interesting detail on the base, I covered it entirely with pebbles  and broken marble tile.  The basin has a channel of pebbles something like the curving line on the base, for a bit of subtle contrast and design interest.  It was a treat to make some time for creative things.... it's been far too long.

All together, they brought in just under $500 for our next Habitat home build.... that'll buy a window or 2      :0)     

Saturday, March 17, 2012


I don’t like cold.

Though I’ve lived all of my 55 years in northern climes, I’ve never learned to like winter. And yet, the experience of walking on a blanket of freshly fallen snow moves me in a way I can neither explain nor understand. The fragility and softness of snow belies the ruthless, unforgiving climate that produces it.

The delicacy of little pockets of fluff precariously attached to small irregularities on the bark of a tree trunk fill me with fresh awe each time I see them.

The tender way the fork of a tree cups thousands of tiny crystals without injuring them is gentle as a lover’s first uncertain touch.

We’re expecting 10 centimeters overnight. There is only a slight breeze; white shreds of frozen lace dance languidly around the mercury street lights. They catch in my hair and eyelashes, kiss my face as they melt on my cheek or lips. The low hanging clouds reflect back a warm orange-gold as the city quiets in the darkness.

The dog is never happier than when he steps out the front door of the house onto an untouched world of soft white – unless perhaps it’s when he can punch through the crust made on the snow’s surface from a brief thaw. He’s like a cat in a field of catnip, leaping twirling, rolling, burrowing, bouncing. The personification of joy. Or, perhaps I should say the ‘anim’-ation of joy.

I’m just recovering from several days in bed with a nasty flu/cold bug. Being ill is always a reminder to me of how good ‘well’ feels. It reminds me to be grateful for good health.Tomorrow, in celebration and gratitude for the reminder, I’ll take the dog along the walking trails that follow the creek. They’re kept ploughed throughout the winter, but if I wake early there will still be a generous layer of pristine glory over my world.

The outlines of the trees along the trail will be softened, touched here and there by the same glory.

We may be the first to walk through it - pioneers in a way, going where none have gone before.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Paint Your Wagon

Way back in the summer of 2011, I was asked if I'd be musical director for a local amateur / volunteer production of Paint Your Wagon. It seemed a safe bet that it'd never come off, as the cast is almost all male.... a very hard thing to cast in our town, especially if the fellows all have to dance and sing. So I said, "Sure, I'd love to!" Well, you've already guessed that they pulled it off, and now here I am doing a minimum of 3 rehearsals a week until the end of April. Sometimes as many as 5 or 6.

There have been some very interesting studies on the possible connection of creativity to mental illness. I'm living proof, I guess. Life is crazy these days.

So, since I'm @ rehearsals anyway, and I know the play, when the person playing Cherry, the dancehall 'madame' withdrew, I guess I seemed like a good choice to replace her. It's not a big part, so I agreed, not taking time to have a close look at the script. And once again, you know already that that was a mistake. The costume mistress showed me the low-cut form fitting gown they plan to put me in. Then at the first reheasal of the opening scene, my (Cherry's) lover (Jake) approaches me before we begin the scene to tell me " We need to practice this". "Well, yes," I respond - "That's why I'm here." "No" he replies, "we have to pratice THIS" ....pointing to the page of the script in his hand. .... which describes Jake and Cherry engaging in a passionate kiss.

So later that evening, at home I described all of this to my daughter and granddaughter, saying "I've been set up." The grandgirl's response was, "eeeeewwwwww! Grandma kissing a boy?!" The daughter's was a huge grin and, "We are SO going to see this!"

No, I'm not a prude, but my experience on stage thus far has not included public necking and partial nudity. This will take some time to accustom myself to. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thank you for coming by Gfid. Please hold.

No.... I'm not setting out to offend
anyone.... just thought this sandwich board outside the Smart Mouth Cafe in Vancouver was amusing, so I thought I'd share it.

Sometimes life has a way of taking off on its own. With elder care for my father, a very demanding full time job , and an illogical belief that moonlighting in musical performance will will help keep me sane, (not to mention the need for the $ it brings in) there are no minutes left for a life in the blogosphere at present.

I will come by to visit old friends periodically, but any more than that means no sleep these days. Be well, blog friends. I'm looking forward to seeing your contributions to the think-tank in the ether.

May 2012 bring us all more of the things we need (as opposed to want) most.