Wednesday, October 20, 2004

It's Winter in Saskatchewan

In the last three days, we've had around 10 inches of snow. Suddenly it's winter. I keep hearing Christmas carols in my head, when I should really be thinking about Hallowe'en costumes for the Bobo. The other Gwen (my office mate) is digging up a clown costume for Sprout, so he should be cute. If it fits under his snowsuit.

Sprout had a slight fever the other night, and was up for two hours at 1:00 a.m. At one point, he started singing "Spiderman", and kept it up for about 1/2 hour straight. Unfortunately, he only knows a few catch phrases, so it sounds like this:

'Spiderman! Spiderman!
Spiderman! Spiderman!
Spinawep! Any size!
Spiderman! Spiderman!
Spiderman! Spiderman!

It was very funny (for the first 15 minutes or so). We were both cracking up, though half-asleep. Babies are so hilarious. If someone had told me this earlier, I might have more of them by now.

Speaking of the Sprout, this week there was a potty-training experiment at daycare. The woman (let's call her Sue) who takes care of Sprout potty-trains all her charges, and decided that she'd see if Sprout is ready to learn. It went pretty well for a while, but all came crashing down later in the day when all the big kids came back from school. He has just recently become proficient at stair-climbing, and is now allowed to go to the 3rd floor to play like the bigger kids. Potty training means that you have to stay on the main floor until you learn (else you might pee on the floor upstairs). This pissed (pun) Sprout off to no end, and at one point he simply held his pee for a whole nerve-wracking hour while she sat him on the potty every 10 minutes to see if he had to go. At some point the repeated potty-sitting was interpreted by Sprout as punishment too, since he wanted to a) go upstairs, and b) run around with the big kids. By the end of it, he was confused, crying, and calling for me; I'm glad that she's putting the experiment off for a few more months.

I hosted my first lecture-style computer program Monday night here at the Library. I came up with this idea for a program series on 'emerging technologies', where people can come and learn about the latest technological advances. I only have 3 programs in my series this time, but if they fly, then I might run another set in the Spring. Monday's program was 'Web Design Using Flash', and I wanted the speaker to show us examples of Flash being used well. She did an awesome job. Try out the Nike Skateboarding site (pick a rider); it's too much fun. I'm a non-techie, and it was enjoyable even for me. The excessive and sudden snow killed my crowd numbers, though; only 4 people made it - though effusively thankful that the Library hosted such a topic. Next week, Peter Scott is going to come and lecture on blogging. That should be really great, since he's always on the cutting edge of trends like this and is supposed to be a very funny lecturer.

That's the funny thing about Saskatoon. It's a small Prairie city, but it has lots of famous and semi-famous connections. We have librarians on the cutting edge like Peter Scott and Darlene Fichter. Guy Vanderhaeghe (fabulous writer) lives here. Yann Martel was our Writer in Residence at the Library last year, just after winning the Booker Prize for Literature. Joanie Mitchell grew up here. Catriona LeMay Doan (Olympic speed skating champion) is from here. They just launched the opening of the Synchrotron here this week - a huge scientific research centre, the only one in North America, decades in the making. The Province of Saskatchewan is the birthplace of Medicare. All these cool things come out of this little place. It seems like because we have a sparse population where people need to cooperate to survive, brilliance comes out of it.

Not that it's all good, of course. We still have a huge racial divide between aboriginal people and everyone else, because no one seems to understand exactly what a treaty is. This racism extends to ugliness like city police dropping off aboriginal people miles from the city, to walk back in -40 C weather or freeze to death. It's hard to understand these two ends of the spectrum together - I guess it's a place of extremes.

My husband lived for years in Vancouver, and is so happy to be back here. One of his main reasons for saying this? "Things die here." Something about having distinct seasons, and all the realities that go with that. Or maybe today I should say two distinct seasons, Summer and Winter (with maybe a day of Spring and a day of Autumn in between).

Tomorrow I'm off to the Netspeed conference in Calgary for three days. I'm excited about learning new things, but I'm such a tech-loser that I think I'll be hiding behind my big bushy tail and letting the tech squirrels do their thing. On a personal note, I get to stay in a hotel room all by myself, and may get the first real full night's sleep I've had in months. Jimbo will be at home with Sprout, and may not be so lucky...


Blogger Eileen said...

JOANIE Mitchell??? tsk tsk tsk, Ms. Libarian

At least our premier doesn't get pissing drunk and visit homeless shelters in the middle of the night, telling them all to get jobs. Possibly my favourite Alberta sad-but-true story. Have fun in Calgary! The squirrels are its only saving grace, as far as I'm concerned. Say hi from me. chip chip chrrrrrrrrrr!!!

1:09 pm  
Blogger Gwen said...

Aaaaggghhhhh. I stared at 'joanie' for at least 3 seconds, trying to decide if it looked funny or not, and then obviously fell under the bewitching spell of my own voice...

1:39 pm  

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