Tag Archives: musings

Remembering Summer

Happy New Year! 🙂

Right now we are surviving temperatures that are about -35 C. That’s pretty cold although I have experienced colder. When it’s this cold, it’s hard to remember that summer existed. It’s just a dim memory.  

I pass this bush every day on my way to work.

And yup, I walk to work. Driving is not worth the trouble it would cause to start a vehicle.

It’s so cold that they have to be plugged in. And then there’s the scraping of windshields, the running of engines and the effort to get them out of the latest layer of new snow, even if I do have a 4×4. Needless to say, I don’t have a garage, which ironically, is something I’ve always had in the south. Up here, there aren’t many of them. For them to be of any real use you would have to heat them, and that makes them very expensive.

So, I walk to work. It takes seven minutes to get my gear on, seven minutes to walk there, it’s dark, and every bit of me is covered except my eyes. I peer under my big hat and over my balaclava. I’m under the time limit for frostbite to exposed skin in -35C, although a little wind can rapidly change that formula. A few days ago, I thought I had frostbite on my cheek, but no, it was just rather cold.

Everything is slower and takes longer. It’s life in the north. 🙂

How’s your winter?

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Meltdown

I first published this post in 2012, not long after I started this blog. I was particularly annoyed about how pushed I felt to participate in the buying of stuff and produced this rant. I’ve made a few changes to it but otherwise, here it is again, in all its grinchy glory.

Ahhh … Christmas. That time of the year when people bolt madly about the mall, foaming at the mouth, their eyeballs rolled back in their heads; I sometimes wonder if we’ve mixed up the seasons and I’m seeing a replay of last Halloween’s midnight showing of Night of the Living Dead.  

There’s been a couple of different versions of this movie with slightly different names, but you know. The one where the good guys are all trapped in a mall and their numbers gradually dwindle until there’s only two or three of them left, and they’ve run out of ammunition and water and toilet paper and they have to decide which one of them is going to dash out among the monsters to get to the only working vehicle that’s left in a radius of 100 km. Why didn’t they think of that before they trapped themselves in the mall?

I think that the Night of the Living Dead was here. (Glenbow Museum, Calgary)

Anyway, I’m digressing. Or maybe not. I don’t think that glancing around at the mall decorations would be any indication of what month it is anyway. Back in October I found myself tripping over the jingle bells while hunting for the Halloween pumpkins.

Or maybe that was Peter Rabbit.

Cupid?

I can’t tell any more. The so-called special occasions are all starting to morph into each other. The only thing I do notice is the surge in mania that accompanies this time of year.

It starts with Christmas music that’s supposed to put us in a seasonal frame of mind and get us to start parting with our cash as early as possible. The earlier we start, the more we’ll spend! Or some such reasoning. All it does for me is to get me going on my seasonal vocabulary, as in “Oh fudge, it’s ‘deck the halls’ again.”

Really, you say? Well, not really. My language tends to be rather … er … spicier. The fact is, if I hear those piped in carollers fa la la-ing one more time I’m going to hunt them down and strangle them with their own holly out  in the parking lot. Shouldn’t they be done with that whole decking the halls thing by now anyway? They’ve been at it since they chased the headless horseman out of town months ago.

Then we’re supposed to decorate anything that stands still for longer than two seconds. Since the stores start this at the end of September, the passive-aggressive suggestion to the rest of us is that if we don’t buy our lights and holly and tinsel and get them up soon, we’re all really the worst kind of  lazy procrastinators who probably don’t even separate our whites and our colours when we do the laundry, if we do the laundry.

We’re supposed to have a theme, and mulled wine stewing on the stove, and our houses are supposed to reek of pine needles and fresh cookies.

At my house, it’s more like this: theme – getting the laundry done this week without having a nervous collapse; baking – finding that pair of dirty socks that has been baking under the bed for so long that they’ve started growling; Christmasy smells – getting out the PineSol and cleaning the bathroom; mulling – trying to remember all the stuff I have to do this week and why it is that I’m doing it; wine – falling upon any wine that I can find and drinking it straight from the bottle before collapsing into the recliner and falling asleep and snoring in front of the news.

Wine for the whiner.

The next step in this nightmare on Mistletoe Street is the shopping. I hate shopping at the best of times but during December it’s demented. People don’t even know what they’re doing. All they know is that they have to buy twenty presents and get them wrapped up or there’s going to be hell to pay.

Living dead, indeed.

One pair of silver-plated, self-cleaning, automatic nose hair pluckers. Just what Auntie Jo always wanted.

If you can lift it, get it. Drag it over to the till and wait for an hour in the line. Find out what it is when you get home. Cover it in two hundred dollars of paper and stick it under the tree.

Then there’s jolly old Saint Nickle Ass. Ho, ho, ho. Sitting there cringing, his knees covered in a sheet of clear plastic, hearing the supplications of the tiny teenagers toddlers, an example for sociologists everywhere of how greed can outweigh sheer terror.

The merchants are rubbing their hands with glee …er … delight, warmed through and through with the spirit of Christmas cash … er … past.

The kids are wound up so tight their eyeballs are bulging. The list of what they want is terrifying and you better hop to it because they’ve got Granny held hostage up in the attic. Who says that this generation suffers from entitlement?

Anyway, I’ve got to go. I’ve got to carve my jingle pumpkin and deck the halls with zombies. Fa la la la la la la la la la.

What is it about the season that makes you want to channel your inner Grinch?

Twisted Seasonal Songs

And now … the moment that no one has been waiting for! It’s Twisted Seasonal Sing-Song Time!!!

Good King Donnie T (to the tune of Good King Wenceslas; arr. L. d’Arty-Cross)

Good king Donnie T looked out

On the Feast of Stealing,

When the snow lay round about,

Deep and crisp and even.

Brightly shone Till’s head that night,

Though ole Don was cru-el,

When poor Comey came in sight,

Gathering cabinet fu-u-el.

It’s a seasonal landscape!

Jingle Coins  (arr. L. d’Arty-Cross)

Jingle coins, jingle coins,

Jingling all the way,

Oh what fun it is to see the money stacked like hay – yay!

Jingle coins, jingle coins,

Jingling all the way,

Buy it all for Donnie dear

And sign your life away!

Happy Winter!

Donnie the Red-Handed Conman (arr. L. d’Arty-Cross)

Donnie the red-handed conman,

Had a very tiny dick,

But if you ever saw it, you would need to have a drink

All of the other presidents, used to bow and scrape and wink

They wouldn’t bar ole Donnie, from a little pressy dink

Then one smoggy Christmas day, Mueller came to say, Donnie with your hand so bright, won’t you join my cell tonight?

Then all the presidents dropped him, they went and checked their banks with care. They couldn’t believe he’d had them, even though they took their share!

And many other old favourites … 😉

My apologies (condolences?) to my American brethren for my references to your president. However, I just couldn’t help myself … 😉

 

Northern Sunset

A recent flight to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories produced this airport photo of the setting sun.

Fabulous colours.

In this northern clime, the position of the Earth relative to the sun produces these spectacular, angled sunsets.

A few days ago, I took this photo as part of a series of shots.

Muted winter light.

I love the light here, especially at this time of year when it is scattered in the most arresting way. And it is now also becoming very precious as we move into the shortest days of the year.

The light dispersal as it bounces off ice crystals gives this picture a slightly pink tone.

I hope to take many more pictures as I explore this land of light.

What are your favourite views at this time of year?

Winter Skies

Here on the edge of Great Skave Lake, where I am north of 60 degrees N latitude, I feel like I am living inside a winter post card.

The light here is diffused by the sun’s angle.

We are only getting about six – seven hours of daylight now but the landscape that comes into view is spectacular.

The sun peeking through a layer of cirrus cloud.

At night, there is also a light show.

The Aurora Borealis.

At two in the afternoon, the sun is getting ready to go down.

Frosty trees, warm light.

The light and colours are here are almost monochromatic, and very restful.

What does your winter look like?

 

The Narcissist’s Piano, and Other Foolishness

I found this in my search terms: narcissist piano. I did the mental equivalent of shifting from one foot to the other while I mulled that over. What does it mean??? Is it a typo? Is the searcher wondering if pianists are narcissists? Is that an actual type of piano?

I mean, this is the sort of thing that keeps me up at night.

So I did what anyone would do and googled it. At first, google stared stupidly at me. Then it coughed up narcissistic jazz, narcissistic piano bench and Ryan O’Neal.

Who knew?

Does Ryan O’Neal play narcissistic jazz while sitting on a narcissistic piano bench? Is Ryan O’Neal a narcissist? Or is it just his piano? Nope. I think that might be Billy Joel. (Get it? Nudge nudge. Just me and my old piano?)

This is so confusing. Is it an alien piano? It grew up on Mars eating Matt Damon’s poop potatoes?

Oh – I know! It’s a zombie piano. The lid opens and it takes a big drooly bite out of your sheet music.

And I couldn’t find my blog on that google search either so I have no idea why the narcissistic piano wound up in my terms.

Justin Trudeau, our PM. I just thought I would throw him in. Better than a narcissist piano and better looking, too. I think. Because I have no idea what a narcissist piano looks like.

The word piano means soft.

And narcissists aren’t soft. Not unless it gets them something. And then they’re hard.

Could the searcher have been looking for something like “narcissists who are soft” and since his first language is Italian, and he’s just learning English, it came out as narcissist piano?

Maybe I’m going a little far with that one …

My ex-narcissist played the piano.

Apparently he would have been Mozart’s doppelganger if he’d had the right breaks in life.

Or something pretentious like that.

I arranged for the piano tuner to come by and spiff up my piano so that the narcissist could play it. It had been in storage but I got it out for him because naturally, the narcissist didn’t have a piano of his own. Most doppelganger Mozarts don’t have their own pianos. True. It’s a fact.

When I came home from work, the narcissist told me that the piano was done. As in finished. Kaput. Toast. Ready for the big dirt nap.

The tuner had told him that the sound board was crumbling to bits. The carpenter ants were coming to take it away.

Then, a few months later, the narcissist asked me for a new piano. I briefly considered it but then decided not to. My financials were feeling the strain of being married to a doppelganger Mozart.

Later, after I had divorced him, I checked the piano myself. It has some little cracks, but everything I’ve read says that this is not a big issue. It sounds okay.

Hummm. I think the narcissist just wanted a new piano.

So there you have it. If someone else googles narcissist piano, there will be an answer.

And a cute picture of Justin Trudeau.

What do you think it means?

A Few of the Blogs I Follow

Happy New Year! 🙂 I hope 2017 is off to a good start for you!

To begin the year with the right winter flavour (Yup. I know. Some of you are in much warmer climes, and yes, I’m jealous), here’s a seasonal winter picture that I took in my former hometown:

A Canadian Winter Scene - Ice Fog on the Prairies A Canadian Winter Scene – Ice Fog on the Prairies

Since becoming a pilot many years ago, I have (obviously) had a big interest in weather and have developed a serious appreciation for its nuances. In this picture, I love the muted, gauzy, exaggerated light of the sun trying to break through a temperature inversion. Later that day, the sun did break through and the frost quickly disappeared.

But that’s not what I want to write about. Really.

I’ve lately been thinking that in blog years, I’ve been around WP for quite some time – four years! – and have been following and reading some of the same blogs for about that long. So today, I thought I would pass on the names of a few of those blogs. They are fascinating and interesting and have stood the test of time. In blog terms, that is. 🙂

So, to those who have stuck to it and kept blogging, despite all kinds of life stuff and no doubt the occasional temptation to just stop, you have my most sincere appreciation.

There’s no award involved and no questions to answer.

I just want to say thank you.

I just want wish you good luck and continued happy posting:

  • Ursula at anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com. Ursula is a fantastic writer who will make you think, laugh and cry. She’s had a big impact on how I look at the narcissistic interactions I’ve had in my life, but her writing is about so much more than that. I’ve also learned as much, if not more, from the comment sections of her posts. Drop by for a visit.
  • Jenny at http://charactersfromthekitchen.wordpress.com. I love Jenny’s museum visits and travels and her witty humour and great photos. She’s taken me along on some really wonderful day trips. Stop and say hi.
  • Nelson at http://oneoldsage.wordpress.com. Right now, my neighbour Nelson (he lives close-by in the Okanagan) is working on a novel-length piece of fiction, but he has shared trips to Europe and his thoughts about surviving cancer, among many other things. He really is “one old sage.”
  • Jenny at http://ramblingsfromamum.wordpress.com. Jenny doesn’t publish as much as she used to because she’s been very busy with her elderly parents and she’s also just become a grandmother! 🙂 Her heartfelt poetry is touching and genuine – have a little browse.
  • Jill at http://jillweatherholt.com. Jill has just published a book! 🙂 For a long time now I have enjoyed her kind, thoughtful, compassionate posts and comments.
  • Caitlin at http://broadsideblog.wordpress.com. Caitlyn is a journalist, traveller, teacher, liver of life and fellow Canadian who lives and works in the US. She writes about many and varied topics and they are always interesting, well researched and well done. Take a look through her archives.
  • Ross at http://rossmurray1.wordpress.com. Another fellow Canadian, Ross is a humourist who lives in Quebec. Until recently, he was a regular contributor to CBC’s Breakaway (http://www.cbc.ca/breakaway). Like Caitlyn, he writes about many topics, and he’s always enjoyable, acerbic and witty. He’s also published a book!
  • Ned at http://nedhickson.com Ned lives in Oregon and is a very busy man. Take a look at his blog and you will see what I mean, but you will also enjoy his gentle and self-deprecating humour and commentary. Ned was also one of the very first bloggers I followed.
  • Mark at http://exileonpainstreet.com. Mark’s posts are eclectic, varied and genuine. He shares his visits to New York’s museums along with journal entries from his callow youth and other observations about life and such. He’s always a fantastic read.
  • Christopher Martin at http://christophermartinphotography.com. Christopher is a truly gifted photographer whose nature and wildlife pictures are amazing. He takes many of his photos in the Alberta foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  Right now he’s doing a series on the snowy owl; last spring I spotted one of his photographs (it shows an elk being hunted by wolves) in The Globe and Mail (http://www.theglobeandmail.com). You can find the wolf series of photos on his blog, but be aware that they also show wolves doing what wolves do best.

So, if you aren’t already familiar with these blogs, go by for a little visit – you won’t be disappointed.

Do you have some long-time follows that you would like to share?