Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sharing the Fun

You all get those forwarded emails from friends..... yes you do, and you and I have both on occasion be guilty of forwarding the joy. This one was just too funny for emails, though, so I put it here for the entire world to share.

Peace In Our Time, at last

Ottawa announced today the formation of a new 500-man elite fighting unit called the Saskatchewan Redneck Special Forces (SRSF).

These all-Saskatchewan boys will be dropped off into Afghanistan, and will be given only the following facts about the Taliban and terrorists:

1. The season opened today.
2. There is no limit.
3. They taste just like chicken.
4. They don't like beer, pickups, country music
or Jesus.
5. They are directly responsible for the
13th man on the field on Grey Cup day.

Ottawa expects the problem in Afghanistan to be over by Friday.

Wear your Roughies shirt proudly, Dianna!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Grass Widow Thoughts

Brenda (lead) and Gary "Fearless Leader" Ritchie (skip) opening night of the mixed spiel.

Curling has come to a conclusion for the season. Final event was the Salmon Arm Mixed Bonspiel last weekend and it was a lot of fun. However, Gary, for something that was going to be just a lot of fun, there were an awful lot of stop watches and intense calls.

No matter. Gary patched together an ad hoc team and the plan was to lose the first game so we'd be in the B event.


After a few throws to get the weight down (my first rock was 'Falkland weight' - a rock through the house that on my home ice would have barely made the hog line) I played a pretty good game. We all did. We won. And then it was work.

Six games and Sunday afternoon later, we finished second in the C event, winning four games, losing two. All in all, a good excuse for beer, some laughs and good exercise.

The Crew on Friday night after our first game. Bryan (cheerleader), Brenda (lead), Lori (third), Gary (skip/slave driver) and Larry(second). Photo taken by Phyllis/Flip/PK/She-of-many-names and head cheerleader.

Bonus feature: after our third game Saturday, we watched some of the television coverage of the Crashed Ice finals in Quebec City on the club room TV's. If you've never seen this great sport (we voted that the IOC pull Ice Dancing and replace it with this), go to the following site (copy and paste):


Tuesday night after work, I commenced AquaFit classes - 45 minutes of intense workout twice a week. I'm very glad I set into that right after curling all winter, because I don't think I would have returned to the second class. I was exhausted. Pictures and my mirror to the contrary, I'm in better shape than I'd hoped.

Of course, shopping for a swimsuit was a humbling experience. My old suit was less than suitable (sorry). I found one at Zellers that (a) covers what needs to be covered, (b) keeps in what needs to be contained (lots of jumping around involved, you can imagine the potential faux pas) and (c) didn't cost a ridiculous amount of money. I don't know a living woman, no matter her weight, size or age, who isn't intimidated by swimsuit shopping. For someone like me who doesn't have good body self-image to begin with, it's terrifying (and ironic considering said purchase is need in pursuit of activity to improve the body shape and ultimately improve the low self-esteem quotient).

So, still tired from curling all weekend plus two night of intense aquatic aerobics plus more brick work on Wednesday (I'm no longer a few bricks short a load - I have spare bricks now!) didn't leave me much reserve to deal with the latest upheaval at work.

Once again there has been a major overhaul in our work process, part of an bigger longterm change. My work assignments have been changed, my work location changed (the sixth of both in less than two years) but my reduced hours haven't been reinstated nor has there been any change in pay. My net take-home is less now than when I started. Isn't that counter-productive? I fail to see the incentive for putting out (you should pardon the inference), so I'm afraid I was a bit long in the lip when I got home that night.

Bryan, bless his heart, looked at my distraught visage and suggested a trip down to the pub to watch the Women's World Curling match of Canada against Scotland. That and a few whiskeys got me through the evening.

Friday was marginally better. Bryan, still worried about my mental state, took me out for lunch. Next week will be interesting as the whole process shakes down.

Bryan got the service truck loaded, the trailer hitched up (bringing home the Triumph and the farm bike) and made an early start for the north country this morning. I haven't heard from him yet, but he should have arrived a few hours ago. He has a few business errands to attend to, will be able to spend Easter weekend with Marlon, Krista and Abby; then come back via Airdrie to collect irrigation drip line from the farm and a squeeze in a visit with David.

All in all, a busy schedule.

I'm always restless the first day he leaves, prefer it if it's a workday rather than an at-home day. I needed some busy work and it was provided in a mid-morning phone call from my mother-in-law.

Mom Giesbrecht wants to plant shade perennials in her back yard this spring, so I made a run to Vernon for astilbe, bleeding heart and hosta rootstock. Came home and potted them up - they should have some good growth by next weekend. Also repotted some houseplants and the sweet pea seedlings I started by mistake. Mulched the baby fir trees in the back yard and did some clean up in the front yard.

Kelly next door phoned this evening. She wants help with her yard - she's not a gardener, our Kelly - and through family connections, landed us some primo compost at a fantastic price. We have an early morning date with a front-end loader tomorrow.

And then before you know it, it will be Monday and I'll have adjusted again to being a grass widow.

Life's just an endless list of shits and giggles, ain't it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday, the Leap Forward Edition

Welcome to daylight savings time... yeah, right. At what point exactly will the clocks of North America (except Saskatchewan, the BC Peace region and the BC Kootenay region) be permanently set one hour ahead of the time Sir Sanford Fleming decreed? Utter twaddle in my opinion: 8 months of weird time, 4 months of regular time.

It's been a busy time here at world weirdness headquarters. We've been out and about almost every night the past week. Curling on both Tuesday and Thursday evenings, end of our regular season. Water board meeting Tuesday night and fire department meeting Wednesday night for Bryan. A lovely date on Wednesday night for me with a boob-squishing (or as Grandma June would'a said: "squorshing") machine a.k.a. a mammogram in Vernon. And a REAL date on Friday night, to the movies to watch the new 'Alice in Wonderland' with Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter (three of my fav actors).

Saturday was a day to get back to the outdoor work that keeps me sane the rest of the week. After some brief snow flurries earlier this week, nature decided to try another attempt at spring. It was still to cold for me to go biking with Bryan (10C isn't my ideal of balmy) but perfect for gardening (!!!).

A quick trip to Meier's Building Salvage yard yielded 8 dozen red bricks. As the nice tall man with the white handle-bar mustache slowed drawled, "You jist bought yoself a truckload o' work, ma'am."

Yes indeed.

The "truck-load o' work" was for the vegetable garden. I replaced (or am replacing because.... wait for it .... I was a few bricks short of a load....yes. I need another three dozen bricks to complete the job.

Pathway work in progress, and....

...pathway work done to date, with new compost added, last year's trash removed and the beds looking spiffy. Also found some fenceposts for the tomato support stringers I want to use this year, enough as well for corn. Bryan wants to grow Peaches & Cream corn, so I advised him to use support lines due to the strong winds that periodically whip through our valley. They wreaked havoc with last summer's sunflowers and hollyhocks. I'll plant some Italian runner beans with the corn, like I used to do up north.

You can't have garden work without a fire, or at least not in our yard in the spring and fall. There's always something to burn, like the ongoing clean up of Kelly's corner, and it's a place to warm up as well when the clouds roll in.

Bryan became the self-appointed Guardian of the Fire. Later on, when I finished the brick work, the lawn chairs came out. Stumps were set up for sidetables (don't want the beer tipping over onto the ground) and we added some of the fir he bucked and split this winter. Had us a nice toasty fire to finish the afternoon with.

More spring yard pictures, including the heather which made it through this mild weather in much better condition than the previous year, also due in part to me heavily mulching the poor wee things.

It's blooming like crazy right now, but I've still kept the main body of the plant buried in shavings until it gets properly warm.

For the cocky gardeners in the crowd, tell me if you can identify the spring growth in these pictures.

No cheating, now.

Check your answers. If you said bleeding heart, hollyhock, bearded iris and delphinium in that order, you're a winner. I won't deduct points if you only wrote 'iris' for the third one.

This is the promise of the summer to come:

Seedling trays taking in the sun in the livingroom.

I don't know if this works on your computer, but if you hold the shift key down and double-click on the image, it should open up as a full screen view. That's what you'll need to do so see the little sprouts in the photo, but I assure you they are there.


Spring notwithstanding, I have a week of curling frenzy coming up. Falkland playdowns begin tomorrow night (not Tuesday as scheduled, but I don't know why just yet), continuing on Thursday and perhaps Friday depending on how we do. But that's a moot point for me because I already committed to play in the Salmon Arm mixed spiel the 19th to 21st. Talk about ending the season in style with five, maybe six days of play.

If you are Canadian, this song has been playing in your head for the past several days. And how can it not? It's great! A great remix of a great song, with an amazing ensemble of singers. Check it out.


And to wrap up on a 'few bricks short of a load' note:

Meaner than a sack full of rattlesnakes.

Busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.

Slicker than deer guts on a skinning knife.

Shaking like a little dog pooping peach pits.

Well, cut of my legs and call me Shorty!

Feel free to use any and all whenever appropriate.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Favorite Cologne

I had a perfectly glorious day yesterday, and nothing on my 'To Do' list got done.

It was a sunny, warmish spring day and I spent almost the entire time outside. For a former farm girl like me, working 8:30-5 in an office, and one with no windows that I can easily access, is a form of purgatory. I'm not about to impose the same sentence on myself at home!

It started out harmless enough, a stroll through the yard with coffee in one hand and a camera in the other. One of Bryan's flickers has been advertising for a girlfriend, using the furnace chimney as his sounding board - nice loud resonance to that metal pipe - at 7am every morning this week. First time he was at it, I had a fuzzy, not-quite-awake thought: who's using an air wrench at this time of the morning?

Plants are bustin' out everywhere, not as early as the Island and lower mainland, I know, but far earlier than my almost-30 years in the north country has conditioned me to expect!

Curly leaf parsley is coming along nicely.

Likewise, the garlic patch is doing very well indeed.

These little narcissus surprised me. They and the tulips below came from a gift basket of forced spring bulbs that partner Val receive when her husband George died. She gave them to me long after they'd flowered and I just popped them into the end of the vegetable patch.

And the tulips, with a light feathering of frost. Deer snackies.

The bleeding heart, delphinium, hollyhock, iris, columbine, hens & chicks, Jacob's ladder and sedum are also showing new sprouts.

My little seed order arrived on Friday, so I did get to one item on The List. I have three seed trays on the coffee table moved to the front window, sown with salpiglossis ('Painted Tongue'), clarkia, larkspur, marigold, amaranthus ('Love-Lies-Bleeding') and lupin.

Straying from my predetermined path of action yesterday didn't take long. Long enough for one of Bryan's nummy breakfast BLT sandwiches (he's a good cook but a great breakfast cook), more coffee and a few chapters of the current read (I'm on a Maeve Binchy kick these days - there was a whole whack of them at Value Village for 1.99 a copy) before I was back outside.

I raked up all the fir boughs and dead material from the beds. I moved the rocks (more rocks) removed from the veggie patch last week whilst digging it up and made more mini-retaining walls in the bed along the west side of the house.

Then I started moving big rocks. BIG rocks. One at least that required both Bryan and I and the two-wheel truck cart and a strong tie-down strap, some serious muscle work and perhaps a brain cell or two to move. Up hill of course, but not from that far away (ignore Bryan's version of the story).

There's a spot on the retaining wall in front of the house, right adjoining the house, where a rock protrudes enough that Bryan's taken to using it as a short-cut to the lower level of the yard, right in front of the basement patio door. My stubby legs have trouble reaching it going down, although I can clamber up that route.

Yesterday I began action on an idea from last year to build a more accessible set of 'steps' there. I literally carved steps into the wall around on the southeast side two summers ago. How hard could this be?

Ask my back and shoulder muscles this morning. I'm not crippled up by any means, but I ache in places I haven't ached in a long time, with apologies to Leonard Cohen.

It's coming along very well, not finished but showing great promise.

I was at least smart enough to know when to quit, not wanting to be completely incapacitated by pain today. Instead, I took on one of my favorite pastimes: burning stuff in the firepit.

I had the garden trash piled in there, ready for the match. As the fir boughs popped and smoked, I added branches and such from the corner of Kelly's lot that Becca piled up last September. It's not our property, but it's immediately adjacent to our house, and I'm not wanting fire tinder so close. Becca did a fabulous job of piling the material and I've been working away at it everytime I build a fire. Most of the little stuff is now consumed. I have to get at the bigger stuff with the draw saw.

Bryan went for a motorcycle ride to Armstrong. When he arrived back, the sight of me hovering over my fire like some dirt-covered demented crone made him laugh out loud. He's as bad a pyromaniac as me, though. Wasn't long before he was hauling material to feed the flames, snatching the Official Fire Poking Stick from me to prod the thing himself and generally honing in on my party.

That's OK. He snuggled up to me in bed, nose in my hair, inhaled deeply and said, "Ah, Fresh Air and Campfire No. 5, my favorite cologne."