Sunday, February 28, 2010

With glowing hearts

For some strange reason [*cough - Olympics - cough*], I'm feeling ridiculously patriotic.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

They didn't just say it, they made it be

Last night I hunkered down with a blanket and a bowl of popcorn and watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. I certainly hadn't intended to. The Olympics hold little interest for me, but I was in Edmonton staying with a friend and she wanted to watch them.

I was amazed by how much I enjoyed the production. The music selections were fabulous. I loved the inclusion of First Nations and Inuit people and cultures. I teared up at the beautiful segment about my home, the prairies. I even felt a swell of pride seeing the Canadian athletes.

There were two highlights for me. The first was k.d. lang singing "Hallelujah." A. Mazing.

I wish the International Olympic Committee was allowing the sharing of videos because, although this is great, it doesn't come close to her performance in Vancouver.

The second highlight was Shane Koyczan performing "We Are More."

Again, there isn't the same energy in this recording as there was in BC Place, but you can maybe understand why by the end of the poem I had tears in my eyes.

Mostly? It was great seeing two people who don't look like Megan Fox or Brad Pitt completely fucking rock. Score one for the lesbians and one for the big people!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Still lives

The days and nights are still. It's cold outside. Really damn cold. People do not go outside if they can help it. Cats sleep pressed up against the radiator. Orange extension cords snake from car to electrical outlet.

What do I do? I grab my camera, a white table cloth, and a bunch of things from around my apartment.

Still Life with Elephant

Sea Dog Matches

Still Life on Mars

Two Solitudes

My Grandpa's Cameras

Camera Detail 1

Camera Detail 2

The final photo I took was of two precious objects, both given to me recently for finishing all my cancer treatments. A friend gave me the figure and my mom had the pendant made for me. I'm DONE!

Still Celebration

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mama always said

This morning I was lounging around in my PJs, playing on the internet, when my step-sister called to see if I wanted to meet her for lunch. Of course her lunch was in 1/2 an hour, so I had to race around to get ready before she picked me up. I'll spare you the details but there are three important points to note:
  • I decided not to wear my long underwear even though it was -25ºC
  • I'm not completely silly, though, and wore my warm winter coat
  • In all the rush, I left the house without going to the bathroom even though I had to pee

We had a lovely lunch with much chatting and eating of Vietnamese noodles. After we were done, I decided to take the bus to a nearby Extra Foods. I needed to pick up ingredients for a dinner party I'm attending on Saturday. (I'm making 2 things - prosciutto-wrapped stuffed shrimp and tiramisu - that I've never made before. Eep!) I wanted to run to the washroom before I left the restaurant, but a quick glance at the schedule told me there was not enough time.

I went to the grocery store, picked up what I needed plus a few extras, and then rushed back to the bus stop with seconds to spare. I did NOT want to have to hang around another half an hour for the next bus. The ride home was uneventful, if a bit awkward as I struggled to keep the bags from spilling their contents on the bus floor. I gathered all my things, got off at my stop, and started the 2 block walk to my apartment.

Well, I gathered most of my things. When I was half a block away from my door I discovered I didn't have my purse with me. My stomach sank as I realized I had left it on the bus.

Instinct #1: I have to call the transit office and ask if the driver found a purse.

Oops. Cell phone is in my purse.

Instinct #2: Okay, I'll go home, drop off my increasingly heavy groceries, and call from there.

Oops. Keys are in my purse.

Instinct #3: I'll wait around until another bus comes my way, ride it downtown to the transit office, and sort things out there.

Oops. Bus pas and wallet are in my purse.

I decided that contacting the transit office should come first, so I walked back to the 7-11 that is near the bus stop. I told the woman behind the counter what had happened and asked if I could use their phone. She said that was not a problem, but she had to dial for me. That's when the following conversation took place:

Woman: What is the number.
Me: It's 777-RIDE.
Woman: 7...7...7...what?
Me: R-I-D-E.
Woman: What?
Me: I don't remember the actual numbers but it spells out R-I-D-E.
Woman: (eying me suspiciously) Is this long distance?

Despite the communication failure, I managed to contact the transit office and receive the good news that the driver had found my purse. They had it in their office, which was a 15 minute walk away. No problem.

I realized, however, that my groceries had quadrupled in weight since I got off the bus and I needed to do something with them. I remembered that the front door to my building hadn't been closing properly lately and that I should be able to open it without my key. To my immense relief that proved true. I left the dry goods hanging off my apartment door and stuck the perishables out on the shared balcony. I was pretty sure no one in my building would take my groceries.

As I was leaving I discovered another problem. The trip home had tricked my bladder into thinking that relief was forthcoming. I had needed to go to the bathroom since before lunch and there was no way I was going to make even the short walk downtown to the transit office. There was no other option but to go across the back alley to the hospital and use the washroom there. I felt a bit goofy walking in, using the facilities, and then leaving, but I was desperate.

Thusly relieved, I walked downtown. I was thankful for my good sense to wear my warm coat but wished I had also worn my long underwear. The reunion with my purse was a joyful one and I discovered that, thanks to the good people that take Regina Transit, nothing was missing. Not my over-the-limit credit card, nor my six-year-old cell phone with the almost-dead battery, nor my favourite ballpoint pen. Treasures, all of them! And no one took a thing.

When I returned home I discovered all of my groceries exactly where I had left them, and the perishables weren't even frozen yet. I let myself into my apartment and scolded my cat Lucy for being a very useless kind of housemate in situations like this. She barely opened her eyes, meowed, licked her paw, and resumed her nap.

The moral the whole story is this: Your mother was right. Always go to the bathroom before you leave the house, because otherwise you might end up in the hospital. Or something like that.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

There's no money in journalism

Clark Kent brings the bus to a stop and opens the door. A man dressed in rags steps up, his pungent aroma rushing in ahead of him.

"I, uh, lost my wallet," the man says, narrowing his eyes as if daring Clark to contradict him.

"Sorry, sir," replies Clark. "I can't let you ride for free."

"But I got no money!"

Clark resists the urge to correct his grammar and instead says, "I'm sorry, but you're going to have to get off the bus, sir." His resolve is already weakening.

"C'mon, man. It's minus thirty out there!" says the man.

Clark heaves a sympathetic sigh and motions the man onto the bus with an almost imperceptible nod of his head.

As he pulls the Regina Transit bus back into traffic, Clark tries to remember how he ended up here. It all started when Lois took the job with that bank. No. Earlier. It started when he got laid off from the Daily Planet. Times were tough and they were cutting back on "superfluous costs."

Is it ironic that Superman is superfluous? He thinks it might be, but can't quite remember the definition of irony.

Yes, that's where this all began. He got laid off and money was tight. Lois was still working at the Planet - she escaped the hatchet, probably because of her gender (not that he's bitter). But rent kept increasing and bills piled up. He would call it pathetic and cliché if it wasn't his life.

Lois thought Clark should use his abilities to get them some extra cash, but he felt awkward asking the police for money when he helped them with a case, and he refused to do anything illegal.

That's when Lois took the job with the bank. "There's more money in PR and communications than journalism," she had insisted. She was right - she usually is - but it still wasn't enough. He tried to get other work but, because of the recession, no one in Metropolis seemed to be hiring. He kept up with the crime-fighting thing, but mostly just to keep in shape. His heart wasn't in it any more, and he spent most of his days eating Doritos and watching Dr. Phil and Oprah.

When the bank bought a small Canadian credit card company with headquarters in the middle of the prairies, they needed someone to head up Canadian communications. Lois jumped at the opportunity.

"Think of how great it will be to go somewhere that hasn't been hit as hard by all this crap!" Lois had said. "Rent will be cheaper, businesses will be hiring - we'll finally be able to stop living like this!"

And, again, she was right. Things are a lot better. They have a huge apartment downtown and pay one third what they payed Metropolis. He tried to get a job with the local daily, the Leader Post, but they weren't hiring. He writes a column in the Prairie Dog, but it's just a bi-weekly so he had to find something else.

That's how it ended up that Superman (well really Clark Kent) drives the #3 bus route in Regina in the middle of the Canadian prairies. He doesn't mind it. The wide open spaces take him back to when he was a boy growing up in Kansas. The people have that same friendliness, something that was missing in Metropolis, and he doesn't seem to feel the cold like Lois does. Sure, his crime-fighting has suffered a bit. After all, Regina isn't exactly seething with murderers and evil masterminds. However, he has stopped a number of robberies and has recently started tackling the inner-city gang problem. Yes, he likes it here just fine.

"Hey driver!" a woman shouts from the back, yanking him out of his reverie. "You missed my stop!"

"Sorry about that, ma'am," Clark says, his cheeks hot. He stops the bus and lets her off. Looking around, he tries to get his bearings and determine where he is on his route. He realizes he had been driving on autopilot for several miles. Kilometres, he corrects himself.

He spots Tim Horton's a block ahead and a smile spreads on his face. That is his favourite stop. If he arrives early enough, he gets to run in, pee, and grab a double-double and maple glazed for the road.

Clark hums tunelessly, pulls back into traffic, and forges on ahead.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hey, Josh

Sometimes we all need a reminder that people are wonderful.

On January 3, 2010, Josh Wilson decided to make a security lockdown in an airport a little less stressful for everyone.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

My year

Forget 2009 being the Year of the Ox - for me it was the year of cancer. My first appointment with my first doctor was in April and the very last day of the year was my 12th radiation treatment. But it was not all doom and gloom! I went on a few fun trips, saw some great shows, discovered I look alright with no hair, and reaffirmed that I have the best friends and family I could ever hope for.

Thanks to Madame Meow for this photo idea!

January: A trip to Winnipeg with shopping, beer, and visiting.
February: Layoffs at work mean lots of empty cubicles.
March: A trip to Calgary included a delicious sushi supper.
April: Sitting and waiting - in doctors' offices, at home, in shoe racks.
May: My lumpectomy.
June: The Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life, this time as a survivor.
July: Far too much fun on a houseboat trip on Shuswap Lake, BC.
August: The Regina Folk Festival.
September: Losing my religion hair.
October: The first snowfall.
November: Done chemo!
December: Radiation. Every. Day.

I resolve to not get attacked by cancer in 2010.

Happy New Year, everyone!