Friday, February 27, 2009

Reading Stacks

There is a stack of books on my bedside table. A stack of books on the footstool beside the lounge chair. Books overflow on the bookshelves. None of this comes as any surprise to those who know me personally and have seen our home over the years.

On the bedside table at the moment are the following:

Spelling Mississippi by Marie Woodrow
Any Other Woman by Monica Kidd
My Wife by Edward Burke (written in 1917, a bargain at $1.5o last month in Vernon)
The Kingdom: Arabia and the House of Sa'ud by Robert Lacey
National Geographic January 2009 issue
The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry
Simply Genius by David Baldacci
The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty
Sisters in Two Worlds by Micheal Peterman

Just finished the first two. Both excellent, both recommended.

Good line from Any Other Woman - nonfiction story about an Alberta woman looking for her great-grandparents' history in Slovakia (Slovakia, like Poland, was frequently overrun and overtaken by other nations and cultures):
"Poor Slovakia, with ornery houseguests coming and going throughout the centuries, and never enough time to mop up between them."

I always love a well-turned sentence.

We won our curling game last night; some excellent shots made by all team members at times throughout the game. Back-to-back draws next Tuesday and Wednesday, then the playdowns the following week. Which is good, because the ice is going all to shit and will soon be melting.

Joys of natural ice: listening to the skip and third trying to guess which way the ice will fall. We've mastered the fine are of negative ice, requiring one to throw the rock counter-intuitive to where you want it to go. Mike (second) and I were laughing, saying that the superstars playing in the women's Tournament of Heart this week in Victoria have probably never heard the term 'negative ice'.

I have a new toy, a universal card reader with a USB cable. Finally I can download images from my digital camera directly to this computer. Also upgraded my Creative Suite Program (don't ask the $$$ - makes chills go down my spine) but haven't had time to browse through it yes. Fingers are tingling with anticipation!

The sun is shining but the wind is brisk and chilly. I'm home for most of the day; intend to spend part of it curled up like a cat in the sunlight shining through the window, reading from the stacks and drinking tea.

I hope you have an equally blissful day.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Baby Abby and Stomping Spiders

OK, those two topics have nothing in common, except they've both been in my week and I wanted to post latest photos of Abigail. All together now - "Awwww!" She IS cute, isn't she. Taken by my boy Chad last Saturday, at 7 weeks of age (Abigail, not Chad).

Abby's mom and dad, auntie and uncle all went to the movies for Valentine's Day. How romantic. They saw the new 'Friday the 13th' movie. Um, hum. Can't believe I gave birth to two of those people.

On to spiders. Which have been overrunning this house recently.

I'm not afraid of spiders. I'm annoyed by them. Yes, I know they have a role in creation. That does not include the kitchen ceiling. Lately they've been breeding and multiplying indiscriminately, are the size (but not the girth) of star anise, and have a propensity to make webs in the light fixture hanging over the kitchen table and in one of the hibiscus plants.

Brian and Cheryl were fit to be tied when I brought in the straw broom to sweep down the little beggars and then stomp them. Lest you be siding with the spiders, I'll tell you that they're pretty quick on the run once they hit the floor, so it's a fair fight. And they don't feel a thing when I get 'em.

I was reminded of Garfield, cuz we're both kinda fluffy and stomp spiders.

Been awhile since I've written. Been busy. Been silly. First weekend for a month without company in the house or curling events. I love my family and friends, I really do. But they all came at about the same time.

We have played a lot of old fashioned board games these past few weeks with our visitors, which we both really enjoy. It's one of the benefits of not having the television hooked up - you find other ways to entertain yourself. We've played crokinole (of course, if you know us), triominoes, Nerts (yeah, Team Valleyview!!) and Chinese checkers.

I am ready for spring and life outside in the garden again, though. Winter has been long and tiresome.

I have new favorite things.
  • My Roddy Hunter 'Pink Lady' fishing rod and reel with LED lights on the spinner. Isn't this the coolest thing ever?! Ready for the Babes and Big Bass Break-out this summer at Osoyoos!!

  • Cranberry glass vase that my mother-in-law found in Revelstoke. I buy her black amethyst, she buys me cranberry glass, and we're both happy.
  • Handlebar bell for my motorcycle. We were in Kamloops yesterday, and on one street a bicycle shop had retro cruiser bikes along the sideway. I rang the handlebar bell and it went 'ding dong'. !!! "How much for that bell on the bicycle?" $15. Sold. And now mounted on the handlebar of my Suzuki 800 motorcycle, right against the brake oil reservoir. "Ding-dong!" Bet it's the only motorcycle in BC (maybe in North America) sporting a bicycle bell.

We were looking for a violin case - mine is old and damaged. I figure we could score one at a second-hand shop but no such luck. We did go into a music shop on the North Shore and had a lovely visit with the proprietor. He didn't have a case in stock for a full size violin. Or at least, in the price range I was willing to pay.
He did have a lovely case worth more than my instrument! Was willing to make a very good deal on a new instrument, bow and case, even tuned up the violin and rosined the bow for me. I played my few songs on it and even Bryan was impressed - with both the instrument and my playing. "Sounds even better on a good violin." Yep, I know. That's why I used to spend a lot of money on my pianos.

There is a fellow from Chilliwack coming for his regular visit to the Vernon Community Music School this week, to do repair and maintenance on string instruments. I'm booked to take my violin to him on Thursday; the bridge is in desperate need of replacement and the strings should also be changed up. I'll ask him if it's worth the investment - he also sells instruments so maybe has a deal for me. It was so nice to play a good violin, the temptation was very great. I have intentions of also one day learning to play cello, so best to exercise some restraint. The violin is so portable, though (unlike pianos and cellos).

New favorite places.
  • Talkin' Donkey - for the fine selection of quality used books as much as for the coffee
  • The Cracked Pot - for execellent lunch items and their lovely table linens for sale in the boutique side of the shop
  • Illustrator Brushes website - where I spent a lot of time last week digging up new brush designs, graphic tutorials, and swapped some cool design techniques with young Wesley at work.
Thank you to everyone who sent birthday greetings. It was a very nice party, a very nice week. I'm not sure about the notoriety that comes with a desk in an open-office setting liberally festooned with helium balloons and gaudy '50th' streamers.

Updates from previous items:

Bryan is still fighting back problems. The chiropractor/massage therapist routine is slowly but surely getting him back into operational condition. In fact he has days when he thinks that he'll be able to make a trip back up north and get some jobs in. Two steps forward, one step back.

He needs to go to Valleyview come break-up anyway, to hook up the powerline that was installed (finally) last month,; decommission the gen-sets, sell them and the shack they're housed in; other sundry and related tasks.

The sauna cabinet is all put together, with thanks to Becca for assisting her dad on this and other projects around the house. Still not operational, however, because Bryan needs to trade in the heater we brought from up north for a smaller model. Two steps forward, one step back.

Appropos nothing other than I think this is screamingly funny, I leave you on this note:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Quick Update in a Busy Week

I had the most wonderful birthday! Right from 7am when I arrived at work to a desk fully decorated with helium balloons and streamers (even the computer monitor was ablaze with a bright Happy Birthday background - thanks, Moanna!) to a party at the house filled with good wine, good food, good friends and laughter.

The house was filled with flowers and balloons – kinda hard to tell if it was a birthday or a funeral. KIDDING. Bryan made baked salmon for supper. His mom Vi made cheesecake with blueberries. All nummy.

And Phyllis got me a new bass fishing rod! PINK! with lights on the spinner that blink when you work it!! Don't let the bling fool you – it is a very nice, very serious rod and we have a date with some fish down in Osoyoos Lake this summer. Osoyoos – where women are women and bass are scared. Yah.

Earrings from Bryan, ruby glass from Vi, salad spinner from Terry, mosquito zapper 'racquet' from Gary (for use in the bass boat, which we don't have.... yet). It was also Gary's birthday, and Eddie Shack's (if you aren't a Canadian, do a Wikipedia search; famous hockey player), so we hoisted a few for them as well.

My refrain for the balance of evening was, however, “No thank you, no more wine. I have to work tomorrow.” And I was a responsible girl because the morning does arrive far to soon on the mornings-after-the-night-before.

Back-pedalling a bit: Becca flew back north on Tuesday. She phoned to say it was a good trip. Went Air Canada this time, who use small planes for their northern runs than the larger craft that WestJet, and so the ascent/descents aren't so hard. Sure was nice to have her with us for the 10 days or so. We did a shopping/sightseeing day in Vernon on Friday including girl time in LaSenza (again, non-Canucks do your own on-line searching!). She and Dad travelled a ways on the Pinaus Lake road: “OMG, mom! You drove that?! It's nuts.” They only went a short way, to the pass but not around Tuk Mtn.

Becca came to watch my games in the Tuff Spiel. I was eliminated in my third game but what a lot of fun. Made some very good shots, even if I do say so myself. Of course, it didn't do much good for our regular game Tuesday night, when it seemed everything I learned about that ice became null and void. It was easy to tell who the spielers had been; they were the ones moving slow and cautiously down into the hack, all achy and creaky!

I've had many ideas and thoughts travel through my head these past few days but no opportunity to get them down on paper, never mind the computer. Tomorrow Brian and Cheryl are due in from Airdrie, to spend the weekend with us (Monday is a holiday in Alberta). I'm really looking forward to it. I do, however, need to find time to get year-end account books done and give the house more than a lick-&-wipe cleaning. There's deep need to get some writing done. And there's a bag of lovely new brocade fabric in the closet singing its siren song.

Things look to be slowing down in the coming weeks.

Bryan is still struggling with back pain. His good days are OK, his bad days very bad. This recovery has taken so much longer than any other he's endured; for the first time in forever, he's struggling with depression, thinking that perhaps he will not ever get fully healed. It isn't so much the damage to his back from the falls last December as a major flare-up of his A.S. I hope he'll be able to ride his bikes come spring – if he can't ride a motorcycle, all the fun will go out of his life.

He and Becca got the sauna cabinet fully assembled downstairs while she was here. Just need to get the electrician over to wire it. That will give him some relief and assist in the healing.

I would love to post new photos of wee Abigail but her daddy hasn't sent any to me!!! If you are anywhere close to Grande Prairie, take some photos, then smack Marlon on the side of the head for me. Errrg. Kids. Looking at the calendar, thinking I can sneak up for a few days in April.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Chiropractor's Delight

I've been taking treatments from a chiropractor in Vernon to hopefully alleviate restless leg syndrome. He's also concerned about a curvature in my neck common to people who spend a long time in front of a computer or keyboard (piano?!). Seems to be working. I notice less tension in my neck, better balance.

I have not told him about the Tuff Spiel which kicks off tonight. Somehow I can imagine him being thrilled with the concept. Will see if I can get daughter Rebecca to take some photos of the event. photo 2005 competition

It's also the kickoff weekend for Vernon's Winter Carnival. Bryan and Becca are thinking of taking in the ice sculpting at Polson Park on Saturday, perhaps the snow sculpting up at Silver Star on Sunday. I'm tied up with the spiel until Saturday night at least. Sunday depends on which event I end up in.

Our rink played wonderfully last night. We were up against one of the better teams in the league and I truly wasn't looking forward to getting whipped by them. By the 3rd end, when we had a good lead, I was afraid to say anything for fear of disturbing good ju-ju. The other skip conceded the game at the end of the 6th end when the score was 11-0 in our favor. Ours!! We were so on our game, it was something. Good omen for tonight? We'll see.

Kim & Prue- thanks for the Kiwi Alphabet. It is funnier when you can 'hear' it in your head!
Barb - thanks for the 'garden'.

Clouds, blow away so the sun can shine!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ultimate Tailgate Party

Ice racing at Stake Lake.

I've been to many kinds of tailgate parties in my lifetime: meals in the field during fall harvest; mudbogs and tractor pulls; river parties; even a 'proper' tailgater at a football game. Yesterday was my ultimate tailgater, though. Bryan and I went to the ice races at Stake Lake for the afternoon.

It was the perfect day for such an event - bright sunny skies, -5C temps, slight breeze (although it picked up and we moved from the endgate to the cab during the afternoon). Should have thought to bring lawn chairs to set up in the truck box, or our recliner seats we use at the racetrack. No matter - we had good winter gear on and a wool blanket, a thermos of hot coffee and sun glorious sun on our faces. Rock 'n' roll music blasted over the loud speakers. Kids were tusseling in the snow, playing shinny hockey behind the line of spectators' trucks ringing the course. Babies peeked out from bunting bags. A 3/4 ton truck with a plow blade for a zamboni. Forget a hot asphalt parking lot outside some NFL stadium - this is how it should be. Dozens of people out on the ice having a great time.

I absolulely love ice racing. It's flat track with attitude. There was a good variety of classes at Stake Lake, from a youngest on a 80cc to the the ol' boys just happy to be playing out there. The young fellers riding pro stock were very competitive, very exciting. Four women had their own class and two were very, very good.

For my friends who love road trips, literally and virtually, you get to Stake Lake from Falkland by travelling up Hwy 97 to Kamloops, through the city onto Hwy 5 south; take exit 366 off the highway and follow the Lac Le Jeune Rd. Stake Lake is almost at the underpass to Logan Lake. There's a good set of crosscountry ski trails around the lake, many out on the trails while we were there.

Some of the Cheesecake Burlesque girls

And then because it was that kind of a day, we spent the evening at a completely different event, the Cheesecake Burlesque Revue. They're troupe of women from Victoria who love and maintain the grand old tradition of burlesque shows - not completely revealing but oh so naughty and absolutely hilarious vaudeville peep show material.

There were some people at the show who not only had never seen burlesque but had no idea what they were in for. I don't know that anyone left, but the two women to my left had prune faces throughout most of the show, and expressed the opinion that the hooting and hollering was too loud and raucous. Excuse me! When a good looking woman is pulling off her black gloves with her teeth, proper appreciation is to be expressed. I thought of many rude things to say to them but refrained like the lady I am (oh stop snickering).

Daughter Rebecca is down for a visit. She was to have a quick flight from GP to Kamloops via Calgary. No such luck. Freezing rain made life difficult for the GP airport people. The first leg of Becca's trip was on the Calgary backhaul, but the incoming flight couldn't land on the perilous airstrip and had to return to Calgary! Westjet eventually put the GP passengers on a milk run flight: Edmonton- Calgary-Kelowna, that arrived 7:40pm. Becca's not anxious to get on a plane again after that frog-hop.

She and her dad are off to Armstrong for groceries. It will be good for them to have some time together this week while I'm at work. Bryan is getting along MUCH better these days, has gone two days without any pain meds at all. He's still in pain, but that's been a constant state of being for him for the past 35 years. When he takes medication to control him, I know it's excruciating.

I started treatments with Bryan's chiropractor to hopefully alleviate my restless leg syndrome. TAKE NOTE ALL MCKINNON's!! Those not of the clan may be interested to know that dozens of us all suffer from RLS, going back to our Great Grandma Sarah; she's the one who called it the 'Scrannies' when none of us knew it had a label. Think it's a modern made-up condition? I think not. Just ask any spouse of a McKinnon (or Whitney, as Sarah was), who's most likely had to endure a bed partner who kicks and twitches all night.

Anyway, Dr. Kinakin says that spine adjustment will cure it. I'll keep you posted.