Friday, April 28, 2006

Last Poem

Oh, and the nostalgic sweetness of Watching the Graders.

Oh the Bliss, Oh the Bacon!

I adore librarians who take the time to hunt down obscure facts simply to amuse me.

Last night, the librarian here who has her finger on the historical pulse of Saskatoon was reading my blog and came across the bit about bacon used as a bookmark. 'But wait,' she cried, 'There is an article in the local paper about that very incident happening in the 1940s!' This fine urban myth HAPPENED HERE. HERE in my home city. Oh, it's too good.

In the article from October 27, 1947, J. S. Wood (the man, not the library branch named in his honour) was enraged at the things people would choose to use as bookmarks - and he specifically mentioned the 9-inch piece of raw bacon as a stunning example.

Wow. Saskatoon has it all, really.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Going Out with a Flourish

The '100 Poems' poetry project is wrapping up, and I have two new recent favourites: I really like Bill Robertson's Sprung, and I'm loving Sweet Revenge because it's hilarious. What a great project. And the end of the project party next week - they already have over 100 people confirmed coming! Wow. I love it.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Return of the Bean

Celine Bean, my furnyture-building sister, is coming home. First, she was just coming for the summer, and then maybe she was coming forever but leaving stuff behind to retrieve later, and now she's definitely coming for good. It's a happy time.

The Bean hasn't lived here for about six or seven years, and I miss her. She's my best sister. Okay, she's my only sister.

So the plan is that Beans will come and live with us (we are now kitty-free, remember), and start building Saskatcheeewan furniture and cabinets, and timberframes with our pal Johann. Last week the plan got all ramped up.

Now she's decided to build a workshop in our backyard as soon as she gets back.

Everyone knows that Jim and I love a project, and Spring is traditional project time around here. Funny thing is that this year we were going to take a break and spend our summer holidays lounging on the new deck that we built last year. Well that's a dream gone with the wind now, but at the same time Jim is positively vibrating with excitement. He's been dreaming about a shop in the backyard for years.

Not that you can actually get Jim to tell you what he'd be working on in the shop. Somehow that's never clear.

I know what I'd do if there were a shop: I'd start making stained glass again. I can't wait. And if there's not enough room out there for me, then I'll make my glass in the basement and traipse out to the shop occasionally to do the toxic soldering.

Now, we're excited about the advent of the Beans, and we're excited about the workshop too. Last week we were consulting about concrete pads, and today we've got someone investigating in-floor radiant heat. It's too much fun. Thanks for the project, Beans.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Lead.r, Ska-ska-chew-waaan

I LOVE how people from elsewhere say 'Saskatchewan'. It always falls away at the end alarmingly, like someone is falling off a cliff - 'Sask-a-chew-waaaaaaaaaaaaan...?!'

Okay, perhaps I'm exaggerating a little.

We went back to Lead.r for the first time in 6 years this weekend. Going there is so fraught with anxiety that I don't do it any more often than I dare to. I'm going again in June for the 20-year high school reunion - hopefully with my sister in tow for added hilarity - but somehow I needed to see my childhood home and the town beforehand, to mentally prepare.

When I was growing up there, Lead.r had 5 grain elevators along the main street. You could recognize it from miles away because of the string of prairie giants. Now all the elevators are gone save for one. It just seems all wrong to me, but I suppose you get used to it.

My childhood home never feels like home, because Aunt Frieda has packed it really full of boxes and crap. There are traces of my personal space there, but most of it is almost completely erased/buried. And so I don't really miss home. Furthermore, I left Lead.r over 20 years ago so I dont' really miss the people either, because I don't know them very well anymore. What I do miss is the landscape. I long for the olive green of the river hills, the white wind-blown clouds, the red orange gold pink sunsets, the dusty flat prairie yellow of harvested wheatfields.

Jim and Sprout came along with me for the weekend, and we spent some time Sunday afternoon in the park that I played in as a child. There is new playground equipment but it's the same place I remember. It was really windy while we were there - and a cold wind too - but it didn't bother me. I was actually quietly thrilled to sit for a while on a bench in the park watching the sky, getting blown frozen by the same wind that I used to play in. It smelled right, you know?

(I tried hard to ignore that the bench I was sitting on claimed to be sponsored by 'D P COMPUTORS', which I guess is a local business that doesn't mind that it's sponsored bench sports an eternal spelling error.) (Perhaps their largesse on this point shows that they have a lot of heart.) (Or perhaps they really registered their business name as 'D P COMPUTORS', and there ain't no typo.) Heh.

The visit with Frieda was stressful for me and by association for Jim, but Sprout seemed oblivious. He had a good time digging up the dirt in her flower beds and blowing bubbles in the wind. And eating chocolate, which he doesn't get very often around here.

We came home last night, and spent a nice day at home together today. For the first time since Sprout was born three years ago, he let me dig in a flower bed until I was completely done my weeding job - this is the tiniest of victories, but very satisfying. I hate stopping a job mid-flow. Sprout entertained himself fabulously. He dug holes. He built dirt castles. He put out imaginary fires with his firehose (a stick). He covered worms. He theorized on bugs' lives. He helped me clear old leaves from the flower bed - "Now dat is so pretty, Mama!"

All in all, a very nice Easter.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Frontbottoms - The Continued Conversation

Today, more with the penis/vagina thing. Also today, 'bajima' is now 'fajima'. Closer, I guess.

Sprout: Mommy, do you have a fajima?
Me: Yes I do.
Sprout: Can a fajima be a 'pee-jima'?
Me: Umm... Do you mean that you think your penis is called a 'pee-nis' because you pee out of it?
Sprout: Yah.
Me: Well I do pee out of my vagina (kinda), but it's definitely called a 'vagina', not a 'pee-jina'.

Wow. The conversations you have with short people.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Three-year-old Sprout is going through a phase of human classification, where he is figuring out the differences between males and females. Here's a typical quote from this past week:

"Boys have penises and girls have bajimas."

Genetic Link to Aunt Frieda

I am definitely related to Aunt Frieda.

A neighbour down the block is having some flooring work done to his house. How do I know? The pile of splintered fir flooring with bent nails sticking out of it on his front lawn. Taking that flooring out to put in something more exotic, obviously.

And I want it. I have no immediate use for a pile of salvaged fir flooring that I'd have to spend two days removing nails from, but I want it as desperately as I wanted the big rocks that they dug out of the street last summer.

As a librarian, I am a great book weeder with a relatively spare office filing cabinet. At home, however, I fight the genetic urge to be a pack-rat. A pile of fir flooring! For free! Someone should use it! What an opportunity!

With sadness, I watched the garbage haulers take it all away this morning.

The sadness of the inner packrat. The hardy exterior resolve of the efficient librarian. Ah, the duplicity of the squirrel who lives in the world.

Blog Slag

I am a blog slacker, no question. Today's my day off, though, so maybe I can make up in content what I lack in daily dedication.

Damn, wasn't that rhubarb discussion fantabulous?!? You guys are very entertaining.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Rhubarb Survey

Lauveen and I have been talking about that classic prairie delicacy, rhubarb. The best part of talking about rhubarb is this whimsical discussion: "Rhubarb - Vegetable or Fruit??" It must be a fruit. It's tart. It's used to make desserts. But wait! It looks like celery. The edible portion is part of the plant itself, not something that grows off the plant. It must be a vegetable.

What do you think? Weigh in on this oh-so-serious survey.

Now I DON'T want you to run to the plant encyclopedia and look it up. That would spoil the whimsy.

Let me amend the question. What do you FEEL that rhubarb should be - fruit or veg?? And tell us why.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Disturbing Scene

Disturbing scene this morning, on my walk to work.

I always walk past the emergency department of the hospital in my neighbourhood - which has restricted hours. It opens at 9:00 a.m. daily.

This morning, at 8:54 a.m., outside the emerg, there was an older man clutching his heart, and a younger man with him pulling on all the locked doors and peering in the windows.

What a nightmare. What a choice to have to make: do you wait the six minutes for the doors to open, or do you get in your car, get into rush-hour traffic, and try to make it across the bridge to the emergency department that IS open?

There's something very wrong about a hospital emergency department with restricted hours.