THURSDAY: Positive Side Effect

20180707_114000 I’ve had some work this week, and one of the best things about it (besides loot) is that the floor gets swept.

I’m proofreading, and errors can be costly (like thousands of books reprinted), so sharp attention is necessary. There is repetitive detail, making it easy to find yourself on auto-pilot, not really noticing or thinking about what you’re seeing.

One thing I’m doing to keep alert is proofing in 20-minute increments with five-minute breaks in between. I set the timer on my phone and when it’s break time — out to the kitchen I go, re-set the timer and grab the broom.

For the past month I had no files to work on. Please don’t embarrass me by picturing the state of our floors.

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WEDNESDAY: The Traveller Returns

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My sugar is home, and you know what THAT means … I can watch TV again instead of staring out the window after dark!

I was out watering the vegetable garden yesterday morning and had squatted to pull a few weeds from the plant stems. When I rose, ouch! There went my lower back. For no good reason, as I was mindful of how I was bending and all that.

So the day was spent walking sideways like the letter C and there was a lot of moaning and groaning. It was a reminder of why I should be much more sympathetic when poor old Scott is suffering with back pain.

Late in the afternoon I made a trip to town, for several reasons: it was Everett’s day off and an opportunity to see him; I had a feeling Scott was on his way home and wanted to make sure there was something here for him to eat if he arrived at suppertime; and I wanted to see how my back would fare in public, for I was invited to a surprise 65th birthday supper for my brother-in-law. His large family would be there and I figured if there was a possibility of me screaming in pain, perhaps I’d best stay home.

And that’s how it turned out. I got back from town, dug in the bathroom cabinet for drugs, took a Robaxacet, carried pillows and a book out to the swing, and waited for relief. Which came, mostly, but not in time to make it to the supper.

This is one of the things, besides my sister Karen’s excellent cooking, that I missed:

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Ha! I’d say it looks delicious, but … you know.

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At suppertime I was still alone here, so didn’t cook up the sausages and potatoes I had bought for Scott’s happiness. (See how good I am to that man?) and instead ate a bowl of Mexican Soup I’d made at lunchtime.

But sure enough, he came driving into the yard about 7:30, so my intuition was right on the mark.

He never did get around to making the TV work so I could watch the news. The power went out and we went to bed instead. About 1 a.m. he took a drive and, seeing lights down the road, went to investigate. He discovered a SaskPower crew changing a transformer.

I’m remote-control challenged or something, when it comes to this damn TV.

TUESDAY: Can You Identify These White Flowers?

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Along with a few gazanias, I threw a package of wildflower seeds into one of my half-barrel wooden planters. Evening-scented stock had volunteered from last year, and I was pleased to see some bachelor’s buttons and calendula come up. But what are these small white flowers? See, Lorna: I don’t know everything about flowers. I’ll guess: baby’s breath?

I suppose I could just ask them. I do talk to my flowers. But do I listen to them? That be the question.

What a perfect day yesterday was. Sleeping with the window open all night, I hear the birds start up around 3 a.m. The cool air is divine when I’m toasty in my blankets. Alas, no sweetpeas are blooming beneath the bedroom window … but you can’t have everything. Next year I’ll put some there.

Today promises to be equally gorgeous: sunny, neither too hot nor too cold. Watering is required though, so I’ve gone out in my slippers to start the sprinkler running on the front lawn.

A certain someone is back in the land of the Great Spirit and anxious to get home. Perhaps I’ll be pleasantly surprised later, although the text that came in at 6:30 this morning should lead me to believe it won’t be today. He says he’s off on a tour and will call me when it’s over. My response: LOL Haven’t you had your fill of touring yet? You nut.

His holiday is over and in a way, then, so is mine. It’s been a good break from each other; lots of space in which to think and feel, and no confusion, irritation or distraction. My hermit soul has been fed. I may be fortified well enough to put up with him again. Ha! That sounds bad. It’s tongue-in-cheek. What I really mean is: I’ll be glad to see him.

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Another kitten has disappeared. Now there are five.

There are two litters of kittens at the front of the barn. The two litters are combined. One mother, returning from a hunt, entered the back of the barn and came trotting up between the stalls with a rodent in her mouth. The other mother met her halfway. The hunter gave her the rodent and watched her eat it, then came and nursed all the kittens.

Cat colony culture. Who knew?

SUNDAY: Swingin’ Saskie-Style

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le swing

The CBC in its online news articles has a habit that drives me to distraction: instead of writing captions for their photographs, they lift them word-for-word from the text of the article.

GRRRRRRRRRRRRR

I am sick and tired of reading those twice. I’ve a mind to write a letter of complaint.  Meanwhile I’ll just bitch here on my blog.

The CBC, of all news publishers, should know better.

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Enough complaining. I spent the first three hours of yesterday sitting on the step with my coffee, texting back and forth with some friends, and finishing Zara’s Dead. 

It was a beautiful morning, warm in the shade, threatening another day of severe heat. That’s not how things turned out though. Shortly after I had the pleasure of watching a black-capped night heron land in a tree next to our dugout, big ol’ clouds blew in from the west and the air turned cold. I vamoosed indoors.

I’m so all about comfort, right down to the perfectly moderate temperatures insisted upon by Goldilocks.

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That fire thing on the front lawn has been there since last summer if not the year before, and yet every time I see it, I start — because it looks like it’s a man with a hat. I could remove the upside-down pot but it keeps the rain out so that when we can have a fire, the wood inside is dry. We haven’t been able to have one yet this year; a downpour is first required. 

Emil was getting out of bed after a late lie-in, so I made pancakes and since the afternoon promised to be cool, cooked up two dozen muffins and took butter out of the fridge to soften for a batch of cookies. Not exactly making hay while the sun shines, but baking goodies when it doesn’t.

He wants to go to Uncle Neil’s. I want to mow a bit of grass and hoe some weeds out of the vegetable garden while the weather cooperates. We could go to Margo tomorrow. Emil reminds me that it’s supposed to be the same tomorrow (he heard me say so earlier, when I checked the forecast); also that he has to go home tomorrow evening so today might be better for going somewhere.

“But I’m not going to pester about it,” he has said — about three times.

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That grassy hill behind the swing is a pile of dirt left by a guy who delivered soil to fill in around the foundation after Scott put in rebar and insulation. “Scott will find something to do with it,” he said before driving out of the yard. That was 100 years ago and I’ve given up trying to keep the weeds and quackgrass from growing all over it. You try hoeing on a hill. 

I swear kittens throw their voices like ventriloquists. There are six in the barn at present, and should be seven. Every once in a while I think I hear some teeny mews coming from a rarely frequented stall, and go on a search, with no results whatsoever.

The other six all come out to see me and they love to be petted and stroked. They’re big enough to play so I sit on the low concrete ledge at the sliding doors and watch them for a few minutes. Sweet little buggers. One joined the adults at the feast voraciously but the rest didn’t seem to realize it was edible.

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My friend Secret Agent Woman has written an absolutely stellar post following her mastectomy. Twice she has posted such updates and both times without permitting comments (for a while anyway), so I am making mine here.

First: That is fabulous writing, girlfriend.

Second: Your pain pains me. I wish I could alleviate your pain.

Third: Your husband is a prince; you knew that already. It made me tearous*.

Four: I’m one of those people who has said something insensitive to a friend facing a mastectomy. I thought I was letting her know that I was willing to talk about anything if she wanted to. I gasped at some of the conversations she recounted having with people saying stupid things to her. How could they not know better? I didn’t see that I’d been an idiot till she informed me much later; then I was shocked and sorry and also reminded that I’m not as smart as I think I am. God those reminders are a killer, aren’t they?

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I can make up words* if I want to. How do you think we got words in the first place? Someone had to make them up.

And don’t anyone tell me that a woman I’ve never met is not a real friend. I care about her. What she’s going through matters to me.

Also, by the time you read this she may be permitting comments again. I wasn’t lying to ya.

SATURDAY: From Somewhere in Sweden

My first stop is always the library, then the post office across the street. For a change there was something for me besides bills. Yay!

Lasse (Scott’s cousin) and his sweetheart Marit had sent a postcard.

Photo: Goat Mountain. I’m guessing it’s where they live now or where their clan lived at the time Scott’s grandfather emigrated to Canada. It looks (inset) like some of the flooded farm properties in this area with the overflowing of lakes and waterways in recent years.

The Canadian travellers stayed for several days with Lasse and Marit. One morning or was it evening? I don’t remember; it was morning here and evening there, or vice versa — anyway we had a videocall when they were all lounging about the kitchen. It was almost as good as being there.

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Nice! To be thought of so kindly even when I’m not there.

FRIDAY: Mario Makes My Day

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It’s Bev’s birthday! Hers is one of maybe a dozen that I always remember; in her case, since we were teenagers. When she was here I didn’t get a photo of her, but I did take one of her pants!

I finished Grade 12 in January 1977 and got a full-time job right away in a steak & pizza joint in Regina. By fall, Mom and Dad were suggesting I go to university; might as well be working toward something, they figured.

Moving to Saskatoon with a roommate, who is still there, I started classes at the University of Saskatchewan while she pounded the pavement looking for a job. She got one that she stayed at for quite a few years. I was an immature git who didn’t attend a lot of classes because she was awake all night, either due to insomnia (probably caused by coffee and chocolate fudge overdoses) and partying into the wee hours after her part-time job (serving tables in a restaurant). When classes were done for the year, I volunteered for Katimavik. In July I got on a plane and, later that day, found myself in Kedgwick, New Brunswick.

Katimavik groups were made up of 30 kids between 17 and 21. We were immediately divided into 3 households of 10. Food and living quarters were provided. My group was dropped off at a house four miles from the town; we became the Quatre-Mille group. Those who stayed in a big old warehouse in Kedgwick were the Chateau group, and the third group, whose digs were an old farmhouse by the Restigouche River 12 miles from town, were the Farm group. We still place each other in those groups when mentioning Katimavik.

Each smaller group took a rotation at each of these residences for one month; the group as a whole stayed in each community (from Kedgwick we went on to Carlyle, Sask., and then Gold Bridge, BC) for three months. All three groups met daily and worked together at various projects in the community and for meetings and social functions, but every night we all went “home” to our own place, where we made supper and hung around together or with local people we met. Lifelong friendships were formed.

The boys shared a bedroom, and the girls shared a bedroom. Each smaller group also had a group leader who stayed in the house, and the large group as a whole had a project coordinator from the community, one who liased between the Katimavikers and the non-profits we were toiling for. (Toiling! Ha Ha. I don’t recall doing an honest day’s work the whole time.)

Anyway, in the Quatre-Mille group were two girls, Cathy and Shelly, who would become sisters to me. To us the boys are like brothers. And one of those boys, out of touch for the past 11 years, joined Facebook Messenger this morning and made my day.

Somewhere I have photos of that boy back in the day, and next time I run across them … but for now you’ll have to settle for this, which some of you will have seen before:

Shelly, Kathy, Cathy

Joan this is the hat I lost and do I ever miss it!

Shelly on the left, Cathy on the right. This was taken as Shelly and I were leaving Cathy’s last time we girls were together.

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WiseWebWoman: Anything for you, dear. Ask and ye shall receive! I went out and took some pictures of the swing area. Now just have to get them off my phone.