Thursday, March 31, 2016

Spring Temper Tantrums

Mother Nature is a the fickle cow she always is this time of year. The early morning promise of sunshine and warmth can be reneged upon in the blink of an eye. Snow rapidly follows bright blue skies and taunts "Not yet. Not just yet."

The Husband and I spent last week in Southern Alberta, attending to some small business and then visiting family and friends. It's always both delightful and a wee bit melancholic. Returning to a home town and community that is changed all out of recognition for me is difficult, and much as I've tried to let it go, it's hard, even after all these years.

The true joy was knowing I had all the time in the world to spend with those lovely people, should I choose to. That, my friends, is real freedom.

But back to Mother Nature. We drove through three snow squalls on route through the mountain passes. The Husband had thought to ride his motorcycle this trip, and I cocked an eyebrow at him.''

"Really? In March, in the mountains and in Alberta?"

Turned out the Weather Network had a sobering effect on him, which was just as well. The mini-snowstorm that fluttered down on us Thursday evening (whilst ensconced in a hot tub - now that is luxury!) added a little "So there!" to the thought.

The weather did improve over the Easter weekend, perfect for family time. And in the process of clearing up the skies, MN did satisfy my love of cloudscapes.


Prairie skies really are the most dramatic. Growing up in big sky country leaves a mark on one's soul.


I close with a lovely quote I read recently from a book called 'The Real McCoy' by Darin Strauss:

"He listened for a moment to the flapping of wings that was his worry leaving him."

Ah.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Accounting Issues and The Best LTE Ever

As a newly retired/unemployed person, I haven't had much time for things like blogging.

Go figure.

It's March, which in Canada means tax time ... probably does other places as well. In this particular geographical location of Canada, it means the bookkeeper (a.k.a me) has to buckle down, get the numbers herded in and sorted into a resemblance of order so that our long-suffering accountant (Bless you! Bless you! Bless you!) can compose our tax return. That's how I spent far too much of my first week as a retired/unemployed person.

The job is now done. The reports are printed and everything seems to balance. You'd think after 30+ years of this I'd be (a) more on top of my game, and (b) more relaxed about it.

Nope.

Now, you want to hear the most ironic part of this saga? I volunteered - VOLUNTEERED - to be the treasurer for the Community Association. VOLUNTEERED. They recently went through a tumultuous time as most volunteer and/or community organizations do from time to time, and the current executive thought it might be beneficial to have someone without a horse in that particular race, so to speak, to take on the job.

"Sure," I said. I must have been drinking that day.

Actually, I don't think I was. And I thought I'd be OK with it. And I was until a few hours ago when I learned that the job also comes with the position of Head Cashier for the annual rodeo.

Oops.

This is a big deal. A BIG deal. Our little burg hosts a 3 day professional rodeo that includes all the performers plus a beer garden, merchandising and two nightly dances.

I'm sure I'll have lots of qualified help. Yes, I'm sure.

Let's move on to something else that I'm really sure about, and that is the following transcription of what I think is the best Letter to the Editor I've read in a long time. It was published a few weeks ago, and I've been holding on to it both because I like it so much and because I eventually wanted to share it with you.

Title: An entire generation dismissed.

"I want to congratulate M. Stangward on their very funny letter to the editor. [Was in an issue of the previous week.] I still am not sure if it was intended as a parody or genuine, but I think it is a perfect template for all future letters to the editor as it is full of baseless blame, name calling, a lack of facts, and no solution. In other words, it has all the components of my favourite kind of letter to the editor.

"M. Stangward managed to dismiss nearly seven million Canadians as 'uninformed and disengaged' for voting for what he called 'a privileged, immature drama teacher.' As a privileged, immature drama teacher, I can acknowledge name calling but I have to ask, 'What was your motivation?'

"M. Stangward also dismissed the Liberal party's stance as 'pervasive rhetoric that is divorced from reality' while ignoring the fact that you could say that about any political party. In fact, if M. Stangward really wanted to know why people would rather have a privileged, immature drama teacher over the kind-hearted, panda-cuddling former prime minister (my apologies to kind-hearted panda cuddlers), they only need to read their own letter and know that many people felt that exact same way about the former government. I mean exact!

"M. Stangward also manages to blame the media because, you know, there is always a media conspiracy. That Richard Rolke, I never did trust him. [Richard is senior political writer on staff.]

"The letter then rejects an entire generation, I assume 'kids these days,' as 'casualties of a me-centred education' which does not foster 'true maturity or build strong moral character.' As you can tell by this letter, maturity isn't my strong suit, yet complaining about the younger generation's lack of maturity while resorting to name calling and dismissive generalizations is not mature and, I would argue, morally shaky.

"Finally, the letter concludes with a 'hell in a hand basket' dismissal of how horrible the world is today, forgetting - oh, I don't know - the entire history of the world which is filled with horrible acts and behaviours. OK, it used to be great for privileged white men, and it still is, but now it is better for so many more people who may not have had the good fortune to be accidentally born into this world of privilege.

"If the letter was a parody, then it was brilliant. If it wasn't a parody, it was still great. I think all future writers to the editor should use the letter and just adjust the first paragraph to complain about whatever they want: perhaps the mayor, buskers or people who eat cheese in public.

"I realize the world is complicated, that there are intelligent, caring people on all sides of every argument, and there are facts to consider, but that is no fun. It's best just to vent some spleen. Keep up the good work."

G. Newman

Friday, March 4, 2016



I haven't been as present here on the blog as I would like. Work has interfered too much with having fun.

There have been dramatic changes at work, which have translated to dramatic changes in my life.

I quit.

As of next Saturday, a new chapter opens in my life.

I can hardly wait to read the story.