Friday, June 30, 2006


Oh, those short people.

I took Sprout to Auntie's house (daycare) this morning on my way to work, and at some point we had ground to a halt - over dandelions. As in, he wanted to stay there all day and pick dandelions, and I wanted to get to work on time. He picked one and got back on his bike. He picked two and got back on his bike. When I ixnayed the third stop absolutely, I knew it was going to be ugly.

The conversation disintegrated after a few negotiations, and at some point I found myself hauling two backpacks, a squalling three-year-old, and a tricycle for a half-block until another daycare parent came to my rescue.

The Sprout and I generally get along pretty good, but occasionally there's a standoff. What always amazes me is how the short person's brain can, in an instant, stop being mad and start being happy or amused. Wow. I had to carry Sprout up the stairs to Auntie's apartment too, and mid-staircase, he started pulling himself up with the handrail. In zero to sixty, we went from "I'm not going up to Auntie's house!" mad to "Hey, Mama, this is fun!!" happy.

And then he kissed me goodbye with a big smile on his face, and I shrugged off my own grumpies and headed off to the world of work. Whew.

The Friendliest Corner

Yesterday morning I took the bus to work, and waiting for the bus I found myself on what seemed the friendliest corner on earth.

Every stranger who passed me greeted me with "Good morning!", or "It's a beautiful day, isn't it?", or at least a genuine smile. This doesn't always happen in Saskatoon, so I did start to wonder if I had jam on my face or something. But indeed, I think it was just the glorious weather. City Park can be so very beautiful on a sunny day in the Summer.

The only person who didn't greet me all-friendly-like was the bus driver. Huh.

His loss.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Vignettes from the Lead.r High School Reunion

My 20-year high school reunion a few weeks ago went surprisingly well. The people who were really cruel in high school did not come, and the people who did come had turned into really nice, interesting people.

My sister came with me to the reunion, and we left Jim and the Sprout at home to batch it. This was a very good decision. Partners at reunions really don't have a good time. It's not about them at all.


...A high school reunion is a lot like speed dating. Every conversation was at top speed and jam-packed with important data, along with an urge to connect. Whew.

...We spent a great amount of time talking about playing together as little kids. It was not the high school years that we wanted to remember together, but stories of sibling rivalry, smoky weiner roasts (what is more fun than running around with a burning stick??), and the hazy evenings of playing kick the can behind old man so-and-so's garage. It was gooood nostalgia.

...People seem to think that they know what librarians do, so no one had any questions about my job - a mildly annoying feature of most social occasions, when you're a librarian.

...A boy that my sister dated in high school was there, and even old boyfriends improve with age.

...For the first time ever, the Schmidt girls got stopped by the cops on the way home from the dance. Beans was in the police car for ages, blowing into a breathalizer, as I quietly had a meltdown in the truck at our stupidity. After all, the dance hall - like all places in Lead.r - was only 8 blocks from our house! But hey, no one walks in small-town Saskatchewan when they can drive. Beans did not get a ticket since she drank responsibly, but it was a tense moment.

...No one in the class had a job that was completely out of character. It was a surprise. I thought there would be more shocking stories than there were.

...Lead.r has just added yet another giant fibreglass wildlife sculpture to the town landscape this year: a bobcat. A bobcat?? There haven't been any bobcats around there for decades!! And I'm not convinced that the burrowing owls, giant kangaroo rats, and the bobcat are drawing tourists to the extent that they are meant to.

...Sunday morning breakfast at the Lead.r Hotel was as good as ever. Pancakes. Coffee. Bacon. Mmmm.

...Ooh, almost forgot the giant goose! Beans and I had the truck, and so we brought the giant goose blind decoy back to Saskatoon with us - a giant fibreglass decoy of our dad's that you can hide in with your rifle when hunting. We brought it back to install in someone's yard as a joke - and it was a great success.

All in all, a great weekend and a good way to heal some of the bad feelings that one gets about high school. I'd recommend it.

And I'm as surprised as anyone to hear me say that.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Last Day of Hollerdays

So here's me, on the last day of my holidays. Sprout and I are going to wander around today being intrepid, hanging out at the spray park, and what not.

How was the holiday? It was a holiday without focus. I did the exterior house painting. We removed the garage in fits and starts. There were many rainy days where I wasn't sure what I should be doing with myself. We hung out with Sprout for a bunch of days doing little things. It was a good holiday, but if people ask me what I did I don't think I will be able to tell them anything coherent.

It was definitely a non-computer holiday, since I haven't blogged since forever. And going non-computer is kind of nice once in a while.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Hack, keff... and sploosh!

Earlier today...

It is a bright and shiny morning here in Saskatoon, and my dear husband is up in the filthy, dusty attic crawl space of our house de-electrifying the garage. I can slowly feel the house filling with dust.

I have a - I was going to say 'unnatural fear', but I think it's justified to say - a very healthy fear of electricity and electrical wiring. And so I sit in the house, calling up to the crawl space every so many minutes, to make sure my life partner hasn't fried himself quietly.

And more from later this afternoon...

(Happy news - husband still breathes life after working with electrical.)

I am now ground-in-dirt filthy myself, from another four hours of heat stripping followed by sanding with the orbital sander. In addition, Jim went out and bought me a few pieces of siding from the cedar lumber store, and we replaced a few boards that really were at the end of their lives. I'm hating this job a lot, but Jim is being very supportive by cheering me on and bestowing on me many fine compliments. As squirrel-spouse says, "You are doing an exceptional job, as usual." Nothing works on me like a well-placed compliment.

Just got rained out 20 minutes before the end of the sanding. Hoping to finish that tomorrow morning and then I can move on to the caulking and crack-filling.

And this new twist on our holiday. The toilet flooded the bathroom twice today. The water is coming out of the water closet with the occasional flush, so at least it's a clean flood, but it's hard to pinpoint the problem. Am afraid to flush now. Jim thinks that he can fix the part that's occasionally not working, but I'm already thinking water-efficient toilet upgrade.

Perhaps tomorrow some toilet shopping, in between dreary house painting?? Squirrels love shopping of any kind.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Jim and I are both on holidays this week, and it's business as usual.

What does a typical hollerday look like around here, you might ask? Well, it's reno style. No, no, no. Get those images of fruity drinks by the pool and gambling all night out of your head. Not Reno, Nevada. Reno like RENOvation.

Jim, Beans, and I spent all day yesterday demolishing the old garage (getting only part-way there), and today I spent 6 hours heat-stripping the paint off the front corner of the house, complete with heat stripper, paint scraper, ladder, and monster ventilator to avoid the fumes. And bad radio. Gotta have bad radio. I managed to strip a 3 by 6 foot chunk in all that time. Yeah, too dull for words. Oh well, one more session tomorrow will probably do it and then I can move on to the sanding, priming, caulking, painting.... Sigh...

The weekend looms large, too, because this is the weekend of the Lead.r high school 20 year reunion. Jim and Sprout are staying home, and Beans is going to go with me. She remembers all those people too, after all. Should be fun. Or nightmarish. We shall see.

What do a cluster of 38-year-old rednecks look like? Voir et etre vu. That's all I gotta say.

Friday, June 09, 2006


I eat very oddly when I am on my own.

Wednesday I worked the night shift, and so I had to find my own lunch in the fridge at home. I did pretty good at scrounging, but I would never want to subject someone else to my ad hoc meals. What did I eat? Spinach with caesar salad dressing, and a leftover crepe rolled up with deli ham and sweet pickles. Jim shudders when I describe meals like this.

"Ham and cherries" is what he always says in response, while shaking his head.

When I first met Jim, I would occasionally let him in on my meal descriptions. The key to foraging, for me, is to hit all the food groups. I just stare into the fridge until I've touched on them all. Meat? Leftover ham. Veggie? Peel and eat a carrot. Dairy? Glass of milk or hunk of cheese. Grain? Piece of toast or leftover pancake. Dessert? Handful of cherries. Voila - supper!

Being the chef de cuisine that he is, this idea of a meal is horrifying for poor Jimbo.

And frankly, that's why I married him. Sure, he's cute n' all. But I probably married him mostly because the man can cook. He's the MacGyver of leftovers. When he stares in the fridge, he comes away with salmon salad seasoned with tarragon on toast points, and sliced cucumber in a vinaigrette.

No squirrel with sense would pass up a partner like that.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Babies Are So Smart

Someone was just talking about this photo on the lactation listserv that I read. It's good for a chuckle.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Corner Gas Did It First

I am designing a class to teach basic e-mail to beginners (like so many have done before me). In the past, we have spent up to 45 minutes of the class taking newbies through the registration process of getting their own accounts. It's frustrating for them and draining for us, and takes oodles of time and rushed explanations.

This time around, we are going to try using existing accounts that we make for the class beforehand, so that they spend more time learning about using e-mail and less time doing the once-only-ever registration process.

Yesterday, I was creating some training e-mail accounts in for this class, and I decided to have some fun: all the pretend people that I'm signing up have last names that are the names of towns in Saskatchewan, just like all the characters on Corner Gas. Wanda Humboldt, for example, is now one of my e-mail training alter-egos! It's too much fun.

This Morning's Cartoon

The 'Chickweed Lane' cartoon in this morning's paper could have been written about squirrels from Lead.r who go to university for nine years and get hoity-toity language skills:

Edda: "I see what you mean. ...It is hard to respect a man and chew on his ear simultaneously."

Sister Aramus: "I still marvel at your ability to be vulgar and employ six-syllable adverbs in the same sentence."

Edda: "I gotta be me."

Sound familiar?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Hiding in My Office

In the throes of mind-altering PMS, she discovered with relief that she and her various alternate personalities would not be on the public Desk for the rest of the afternoon.

Now where is the chocolate.