Saturday, April 21, 2012

Potatoes, Compassion and Music Legends


I've been on a "Keeping Up Appearances" jag lately. Todd got the complete boxed set for Mom a few years ago. I brought them home and since Bryan's gone up north, they've been my evening companion.



Outside the series, I've come to admire Patricia Routledge, who became famous in North America as Hyacinth Bucket ("pronounced 'Bouquet' "). I love her as Kitty

An absolutely favorite sketch by the comic queen:  "What would the Queen Mum do?" Indeed.


If you like Kitty 3, take a gander at the Kitty 1 and keep on watching.

And then find her video of The Beggar's Opera - she was a wonderful singer in her day. 



Early morning contemplation

So, on the way to work this morning, I see erratic wheel markings on the road just past Cedar Hill. They veered off to the left side ditch, and then much dirt and scuff marking on the pavement just past the ditch entry point. Maybe trying to avoid a deer? No blood and guts on the road so no hit. Or maybe some hanky-panky? Amazing how much speculation one can derive from random rubber on the road.



Weather has been very conducive to spring garden work. Once we returned from the spring snows of Alberta (shudder) I got to work with a vengeance, fully repentant of my earlier whining about the weather here!

The vegetable garden is completely dug over, the weeds removed and ready for planting. The new moon is tonight, Apr 21, perfect timing for planting potatoes, which I'll be doing this afternoon. I bought a few each of some heritage and unusual varieties: Mozart (red skin, yellow flesh), Russian Blue (inside and out - used to have them in High Prairie), Banana (ditto in Valleyview), German Butterball and another one I can't recall at the time.


Compassion 101

Buying seed potatoes led to the last in a series of interesting personal exchanges.

The heritage varieties are quite expensive - but if all goes well, they're a good investment as you can (hopefully) have some left the next spring for replanting (unless someone eats every single one in the bin and then you have no more Russian Blue .... but I digress). 


Banana potoes, Russian Blues and Russian Reds


I selected my veg seeds as well and went to the till. The woman at the check-out looked at my small bag of potatoes and then at me with a hint of anxiety.

"I'll weight these for you first and let you see the cost, shall I?"

"Of course," I said.

She weighed them, I looked at the cost and then said, "Yes."

"Yes, you'll take them?"

"Well if I didn't want them, I wouldn't have bagged them."

The woman almost started to cry.

"Let me hug you! People have been yelling at me all day when I tell them how much their bag of potatoes will cost." And then she went on to tell me a bit about how miserable the customers have been. And how much stress she's already dealing with, including her adult daughter who has Stage 4 colon cancer.

"You're the first person who's just calmly said yes."  

And I thought to myself, I'm glad I'm her last customer of the day. At least she can end this day on a good note.

Thursday had been particularly difficult at work, and attitude (both co-workers and clients) exacerbated rather than alleviated the situation. I had my moment of pique at 2 pm when a full page ad without copy or graphics - or the sales person present in the building at the time - was put on my already very busy desk, to be done for 4 pm deadline.

At 4:30 pm, I was the one calming down the hyperventilating sales person, telling her to breathe, I wasn't going anywhere and we'd get it done and to the paginator. Which we did. What point was there in yelling? Everyone was already unhappy. Might as well just get the blessed thing done.

It takes so very little to lighten a bad situation. Compassion costs nothing but time and effort. The older I get, the better I understand this and have the tools to make it work.

There has to be an up side to getting old!

The day the music died ....

Levon Helm died this week and fans of The Band are sad. 

Levon Helm


If you know who The Band is/were/are, Levon was the lead singer. Four of the five original members are Canadian, and so for that reason if no other, co-worker Roger Knox and I were amazed and somewhat disgusted when no one else around here knew them. Come on! 

Robbie Robertson!!! 

"Up on Cripple Creek." 

"The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"  

"Ophelia"

Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks.

Of course, I shouldn't be all that surprised. No one around here except Lynne and Roger knows the McGarrigle sisters or Kate's children Rufus and Martha Wainwright; Susan Aglukark; Long John Baldry; Jill Barber; Amos Garrett; Matthew Good; Sarah Harmer; Ronnie Hawkins; Paul Horn; Mendelson Joe: Oscar Lopez; Nancy White;  Blackie and the Rodeo Kings; The McDades and Shannon Johnson; Bill Bourne (Bourne and McLeod), Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans,  Kashtin ...... 

Deep, deep sigh. At least look them up on You Tube.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VShpcqd3zE, The Band, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down ('The Last Waltz')

www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsZYq-51Njg Robbie Robertson, Broken Arrow

www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6N0sNMKFO4 Rufus Wainwright, Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk

www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_NpxTWbovE kd lang, Hallelujah (written by, of course, Leonard Cohen)





I'll just plant my potatoes and pull weeds. That will restore my equilibrium.

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