Thursday, November 23, 2006

new beginnings

today they passed out the new daytimers at the office. we all get a complimentary one, to help keep us organized. it's a nice novel-sized, fat book that rests comfortably in the hand. i love new books - especially blank ones. they whisper seductively to me of things that might come to pass... in the imaginary world, in the future... they fill the present with the potential of the future till its seams burst, and it explodes right into that longed-for future. a blank page is a siren call to me, yearning for the text or lines and colors that will shape its existence and give it meaning.

at the end of 2007 this blank appointment book will be dog-eared and tired. it will have recorded the conception, development and birth of all the year's ideas, plans and appointments. it will have remembered my grocery lists and the names of books, authors, musicians and aritsts i hear about and must find out more about. it will have faithfully recorded cost estimates, recipes, story ideas (for all those books percolating in my head that i've yet to find time to write) it will be where the names and phone numbers of people wanting to sign up for violin lessons will be recorded for future reference. the margins of some pages will be crowded with scrawled reminders, starred and underlined, clamoring for attention in their smudged and rumpled surroundings, spilling across the centre onto the opposite page. there will be pages missing before long, where a day was left blank, and, some time after that date i needed a piece of scrap paper... perhaps to give a future student my phone number and info about lessons. somewhere in there, will probably be a note to myself to have business cards made, so i'm not tearing pages out of my daytimer to give people my phone number.

but the really powerful thing about this invitation from the future is that it makes the days to come tangible to me. they're counted off already, and named, one by one. Each comes to me with its own identity. this gives me an unshakeable sense of responsibility for those days, to see that they're not squandered, that they are honored. perhaps it's living a lifetime of never being allowed to take things or people for granted that gives time a kind of urgent value for me. the new appointment book intensifies the urgency. i learned of my own mortality at a young age, and have never been able to take the knowledge that each day could be my last lightly.

so, God willing, some things i want to see in that book by the end of 2007 are: the purchase of my very own harp (the current one is a rental) ; more playing engagements for the bands i play with; the final 3 levels of the #&%*!! production accounting program completed and graduated from; plans for a shared 50th birthday party with several friends who also hit the half century mark this year; kayak shopping info; research into installing solar and wind power, and a wood burning heater in my home; ideas and notes to myself for a book that i'm actually working on; organizing notes for my jobs on the home the local Habitat for Humanity chapter is building this summer; and, last, but far from least, many, many reminders of weekends, meals, special events and trips planned with my children, grandchild, and friends.

because no matter how long i'm lucky enough to live, the life i have left to live gets shorter every day.

Friday, November 10, 2006

november is not my favorite month

.... november is probably second only to February as my least favorite month. it's cold, dark most of the time, and there's a good 3 months or more of full-blown, unrelenting, rotten winter staring me in the face. and the snow came early this year. the local kids were trick-or-treating in snowsuits. that 'true albertan' stuff sounds hilarious to a southerner, but it's not at all strange to a northerner.

the office where i work is in an industrial area, with a welding business across the street. often as i sit at my desk in the morning, there's a welder working across the street, in the dark, with the snow blowing around him. a wretched job that i wouldn't wish even on my ex-husband. but it's 'excruciatin' lovely', as Kipling might have said, to watch him. the hot blue light of the welding torch illuminates one side of all around him, with the rest in stark shadow, and the golden sparks shoot 10 or 20 feet away from him as he grinds the rough edges off the metal. i think of him as my morning wizard, conjuring up a light show and fireworks, and he takes some of the edge off the long, dark winter mornings for me.

Remembrance Day is this Saturday... Veteran's Day in the States. It was -30 degrees yesterday morning. it's warmed up more than 10 degrees, so we're thinking it'll be just balmy for the parade tomorrow. my dad served in the miltiary - voluntarily, as there's no conscription in Canada. so i always try to go to the service and parade, out of respect for him, even when the whole world doesn't seem to be at war.

lunch break over... must return to the paper mountain. keep warm, all.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Jeff Foxworthy on Alberta

a friend sent me this

Jeff Foxworthy on Alberta:

If you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 36 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by, you may live in Alberta.

If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May, you may live in Alberta.

If you instinctively walk like a penguin for six months out of the year, you may live in Alberta.

If your dad's suntan stops at a line curving around the middle of his forehead, you may live in Alberta.

If you have worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you may live in Alberta.

If you have had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you may live in Alberta.

You Know You Are A TRUE Albertan When:

1. "Vacation" means going south past Calgary for the weekend.

2. You measure distance in hours.

3. You know several people who have hit a deer more than once.

4. You often switch from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day and then back again.

5. You can drive 110 kph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard, without flinching.

6. You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.

7. Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.

8. You know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction.

9. Your idea of creative landscaping is a statue of a deer next to your blue spruce.

10. "Down south" to you means Calgary...

11. Your 1st of July picnic was moved indoors due to frost.

12. You have more miles on your snow blower than your car.

13. You find 0 degrees "a little chilly."

14. You actually understand these jokes, and you forward them to all your Alberta friends