Friday, February 28, 2014

Why We Left the Prairies - A Visual

The Husband and I are both prairie kids - he from southern Manitoba, me from southern Alberta.

We love the prairies … in the spring when the crocuses are in bloom in the native grass; in summer when red-tail hawks circle high, keening in the still, hot air; in the fall when the big orange harvest moon swallows up the eastern horizon.

But .. and this is a BIG but … we do not like prairie winters. And this has been a winter to top them all, or at least the past 40 years.

These are screen shots from today's Weather Network.

Lots of purple. Purple is bad.

This is for Regina SK. This is close to where Brother James lives.
That's where Brother James and Wife Lynda are freezing their tender parts.
It's nowhere close to us.
For a reason. Click on the photo to bring it up on your screen and read
the small print - the temperature with windchill

And this is today's info for Winnipeg MB, where The Husband once lived long, long ago.

Here in the sunny Okanagan, it's currently -1 with a windchill temp of -5.

Nuf said.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Olympic Cure

I hope this isn't an indication of winters to come.

Once again, despite all efforts, I succumbed to the viral soup at work and came down with a bad chest cold. I had great fear of it getting deep into my lungs like happened last year and so was more proactive this time. I stayed home.

I was fortunate to have an extended rest period as my sick time overlapped into a holiday long weekend here in BC. The Husband was sick as well, so it was pretty quiet in the house (between the sneezes and hacking coughs, that is.)

We don't have television in our house, by choice. We do watch DVDs but not regular broadcasts. Most of the time that's OK but we do miss major sporting events.

Thank goodness CBC has come through with excellent webcast coverage of the Olympics.  We kind of blissed out in front of the computer to watch whatever caught our attention. Especially curling.

To say that we are curling fans is a bit of a misnomer. 'Addicts' would probably be a better description.

Jennifer Jones and her ladies have been exceptional this week. It's been a joy to watch them play. Their game today against the Russians was very good.

Unfortunately I'll probably miss live coverage of the men's and women's finals because I'm competing in our annual Tuff Spiel. Thanks again to CBC and the beauty of webcasting, I'll be able to enjoy every shot at my leisure.

And then spring can come on in any time after that, because I am so done with winter.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Diversified, Eclectic or Schizophrenic?

past tense: diversified; past participle: diversified
make or become more diverse or varied.
"the trilobites diversified into a great number of species"
Yesterday I sang a song about the glories of motorcycles ... or perhaps not the machines but what they are to me, which is excitement and thrill and one of the only ways I'll be a daredevil (because I'm terrified of jumping out of a plane or off a cliff, and I can't swim).
Last night The Husband and I watched episodes of 'Justified' on DVD while I worked on the current baby quilt that I'm hand-quilting.

I suppose know that sport bike riding and hand-quilting are not incompatible activities. Sometimes it seems odd, though.

adjective: eclectic; adjective: Eclectic
 deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.
   "her musical tastes are eclectic"
   synonyms: wide-ranging, broad-based, extensive, comprehensive, encyclopedic
noun: eclectic; plural noun: eclectics
 1. a person who derives ideas, style or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources
This morning, I am (was and will continue to, once I've had my coffee break) working on a book manuscript for a friend. It's the memoirs/musings of an elderly man, a Swiss immigrant who's been in Canada for many years and wants to leave a legacy for his family and friends. This is the type of book I commonly produce for clients.

The old gentleman is a born-again Christian and that credo pretty much defines the book. The Husband laughed at me as he went out the door this morning (he has an interesting project of his own, helping a friend rebuild a 1936 Hart-Parr tractor). I was once again thumbing through one of my much-worn bibles, looking for an unreferenced scripture passage. I was a Sunday School teacher for many years up north (our mom was one, too) but I'm really out of practice. 

"There's something rather contradictory about swearing under your breath while you're digging through a bible." was his observation.
Thankfully I have access to on-line concordances or it would get much uglier.


I know I'm not schizophrenic or have disassociated personalities because I have a few dear friends who have one or the other. Truly. And there comes a point when there is some humour in it; as the bumper sticker says, 'I used to be schizophrenic but we're all right now.' So when I'm off on one of my tangents, they tell me not to be schizo - I can't get it right.

I was watching a TEDx Talk a few weeks ago, a speech delivered by Lizzie Velasquez. She asks the question, "How do you define yourself?" And I'm not sure. Kinda hard to nail down.

A homebody who likes to travel.
A thrill seeker who's afraid of heights.
A wool spinner (ancient craft) who makes a living working on a computer (space-age craft).
A Christian who loves speculative fiction.
A strong proponent of Plain English who has a propensity for speaking/writing in parentheses.
A person with German heritage who hates caraway (OK, that's a stretch, but I really, really, REALLY hate caraway).

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Window Shopping

Much as I love the North Okanagan, it is nice to blow out of the valley for a few days in the winter. Our annual excuse for a break is the Vancouver Motorcycle Show in Abbotsford (I know, technically not Vancouver. Go figure).

The drive to the Lower Mainland takes us through some favourite countryside, the vast stunning ranchland of the Nicola Valley.

Nicola Lake, looking northwest
 It perhaps doesn't look its best in winter … or maybe, if you are a cattleman, it does because the region is also known as The Sea of Grass for the enormous grasslands. This was an overcast, gloomy day, but it is what it is.

Hwy 5A, heading east-ish, where we came from
Highway 5A travels along the south shore of Nicola Lake. As the 'A' designation shows, this is no longer part of the main route. In 1984, the current Highway 5 route was built, known as the Coquihalla Highway.  Can you imagine that volume of traffic occupying this narrow 2-lane road? 

Hwy 5A heading west, towards the clear skies and the Lower Mainland
The old route provides some respite from the heavy frenetic traffic on what is the main road connecting the southern end of this province to the rest of Canada.

See - a hole in the clouds and the promise of sunshine

For that reason, as well as the scenic value, it's one of our favourite motorcycle roads.

Highway 5A 'The Old Highway' is our favorite route, a way to avoid
 the Death Race that is the Coquihalla on a weekend

You can see how the mountains restrict the travelling options

First thing Sunday morning, we were at the January motorcycle mecca.

Lots of eye candy at the Vancouver Motorcycle show - I'm talking about the bikes

The crowds were not too bad at that time of day. Lots more grey hair in this crowd than you'll see Friday and Saturday, especially later in the day. These folks, however, are the serious lookers, the ones (mostly) with disposable income to actually buy some of new stuff.

One of two huge exhibition halls at the Abbotsford Trade & Exhibition Centre

SO many new toys to oogle, to dream over, perchance to budget for.

There were more tempting ride this year than I can remember in the last 6 years
I think there's room in my budget for a new pair of gloves.