23 November, 2010

Nesting November

Let's see... thus far I've baked bread and muffins, made borsch and chili, and have hidden in doors because the wind chill has been a lovely -36. What on earth kind of winter is this going to be?

Oh, I've also bought local, because November is Buy Local Month. It's hard not to when you're surrounded by craft fairs. The Make It touring festival came through Calgary, and is hitting Edmonton this weekend. The Royal Bison sale is in Edmonton this weekend too. Plus the Handmade Mafia booked a bigger space last weekend. If I have a chance, I also want to get out to the Alberta College of Art and Design annual sale. What more could a person want than some amazing local art? ... or a new dress or calendar, or bibs for all her friends' babies? There's much insanity going on here craft-wise. It's great fun.

23 October, 2010

I once knew a man...

"Five years later, I still think of you as one of my biggest regrets. I wish I'd had the courage to have made more than just memories of casual friendship with you."

Ah, regrets. They're such funny things. ... and they can grow to haunt us if we're not careful.

13 October, 2010

Do I live here yet?

I haven't decided if I'm a Calgary person or not. It seems like I ought to be, since I'm living here and all... but I just can't quite bring myself to admit that I do indeed live here. People say "Welcome to ____" and I want to fill in my home town, not this place. I feel like I am a stranger in a strange land, and I only come from the other major city here... It is not as though I crossed an ocean to move to this place.

But the differences are still night and day. The mountains are so close here, and as a result, community is a lot harder to find. (that is not an excuse, I realise, community exists, it just hides better, and that is no reason not to try to find it) While people in Edmonton stick around and do things in the city, people in Calgary run to the mountains. And then you have the politics. There's a reason they call my home city "REDmonton". You wouldn't know it for looking, but Edmonton is far more liberal than Calgary, which, when you step back, is a scary discovery. If Edmonton is the "red" commie-liberal-socialist city, Calgary is so far right wing as to be abortion-protesting, fiscal-policy-slashing, separationists. That's right, separationists. There's a reason the Wild Rose Party was formed in and around Calgary, it's a hotbed of anti-Canada, anti-federal thought, governed by foreign (mostly American)-owned head offices and run with money, that mostly comes from and goes to America. So OF COURSE they want out of Canada, OF COURSE they're anti-tax, anti-social system. ... and then you add to that the fact that the provincial capital is in Edmonton, and they're anti-government as well, because, well, they dislike Edmonton.

Moving here is like showing up at the opposing team's stadium, dressed head-to-toe in your team's colours.

I don't tell people I'm from Edmonton, but it invariably gets out, because I'm clearly far more left-wing than the majority of the people I work with (how I got the job, I don't know). I'm an environmentalist... still a minor role here, where money talks, and you listen to the money (so if environmentalism means more money, they'll do it, but only then). I'm a social-service-supporter. ... and I'm a big fan of THE MORTAL ENEMY of all Calgarians: the Edmonton sports teams. Yes, there is a pretty entertaining inter-city rivalry going on. In Edmonton, it's fun and games, we cheer for the good guys, the green and gold and the copper and blue, and the red and silver and red and gold (ironic, yes? ... the anti-red city has all-red sports teams, even the Calgary Cannons were red, as are their replacements) get nary a clap from us. ... BUT here, it's so much more than sports team versus sports team. If the rivalry stayed on the football field and the hockey rink, I'd be okay. I wouldn't talk football, and I wouldn't pull out my vintage Oilers jersey, but it doesn't stop there.

... and it doesn't stop with the true-born-and-bred Calgarians, either. The rivalry is adopted by all the new-to-the-fold out-of-towners striving to belong in this corporate city. The people so vehemently critical about Edmonton haven't actually been Calgarians, they've been Torontonians, or Vancouverites; people who moved here for work. ... and perhaps they're just missing their own metropolitan paradises where cultures can intermingle and the red of everyone's necks doesn't have to be hidden with shirt collars. I don't understand it. People who have no past history of the inter-city provincial rivalry continually scoff at the "City of Champions" monicker adopted by Edmonton because of the tornado that came through in 1987. It's cited in blogs rather frequently and was actually announced by our then-mayor Laurence Decore in 1987 (more here and in Wikipedia... so it MUST be true! ) ha! ... but do Calgarians believe me? Absolutely not, most particularly not the non-Calgary-born Calgarians who have no idea about the tornado.

Anyway, apparently I do live here, and I kind-of hate it. I'm hoping the hate disappears as I find people who actually don't mind being friends with an Edmontonian. ... Surprisingly, more of my friends FROM Edmonton and from university are moving TO Calgary. The thesis of the observations I've heard is that the greatest thing about Calgary is how close it is to the mountains. ouch. If I've traded a city of community and volunteers for a city of weekend warriors who'd rather ski than build connections, I think I want out. But we'll see. There are options coming up in this work I do, and I've got a refreshed resume and new outlook to match. Fun times.

Clearly, in my lamenting of my relocation, I have neglected to lament just how much work I've been doing, and how that has cut into my experience of this city. I too have fallen prey to the "but the mountains are so close!" logic, and I've spent a good number of my weekends visiting with people outside of my new city's boundaries. My weekdays, well, let's just say they're more "workdays" than "weekdays" and the idea of going out to explore, on my own, in a new city after 9pm on a Tuesday just doesn't appeal to me. We shall see. In the meantime, I'm trying my best to turn my apartment into an oasis. Progress is slow, but promising.

The living room, looking out to a north-facing balcony and dumpster view. Yes, that is a "vintage" late 70's/early 80's couch and chair. The laz-y-boy is from 1974 (I have the brochure/warranty). The only 'new' thing in the space is the set of nesting tables, and they don't look new at all.

My "workspace" when I work from home, and my bookshelf, overflowing with things to read, when I have time. The print on the walls is from an Edmonton artist, and it's a print of Calgary, go figure.

The couch. The art on the wall is: 2 prints of said close-by mountains, a sketch I did in highschool of the tree behind my workstation when it was much shorter, and a metal cut-out forest done by Little Monkey Metalworks.

My dining area, with red chairs I'm dying to repaint, vintage linen tablecloth and a painting I bought in Paris.

The rest of my space is not photogenic enough just yet. ;)

16 September, 2010

Jovanotti Love

Alright, so I suffer from a slight adoration *cough* of the musician whose lovely song I posted last time. He's just so scruffy-sweet and perfect. And the fact that he's a politically-minded pacifist, vegetarian, charmingly bearded and super tall ... not to mention that his music is constantly evolving... well, what more could a person ask for?

One of his more recent ones is this: Come Musica

There's just something so endearingly lovely about a sweet love song and choreographed excavators, don't you think?

And this one: oh so lovely, by an Italian director, and I think part of a movie. Baciami Ancora. Kiss me again. ... this one is less than a year old.

... and this one, just for fun... from 1997. He's so cute and effervescent. But you have to watch it on You Tube: Bella.

Ha, apparently I've written about him before... probably more than once... I am developing a Jovanotti tag category. whee!

... I just wish I could find his cds over here!

15 September, 2010


I don't hardly ever post here. This one will be short. I moved cities. I changed jobs. And change has happened again. August was the month things got shaken upside down. September, things are starting to settle anew, and I am left with questions. My questions are, of course, things like "Do I want to do this?" and "What am I doing here?"

So... as a result of the turmoil and my thoughts, I'm coming to some, shall we say, interesting conclusions about my career direction. Namely that the path I am currently on is likely not the one I want to stick with. It will do for the meantime. I am finding it interesting. BUT it is not making me happy. I don't feel like I am contributing in any sort of meaningful way, or using my abilities in a way that works for me. I don't know what's going to work for me, though. So part of my current strategy is to stick with this for a while and see how it goes. As my father said back in April, when I was packing to move: if it all falls apart in a year, at least I'll have had the experience. And I agree. There's too much interesting stuff going on to not want to see what happens. BUT there's also a fair bit of detachment. I haven't had time to get involved in this community. I haven't had the energy or availability to build my friendships in this city either. There is a large void, it is frustrating.

My job has gone from small cog in small clock to one of two cogs in a tiny clock. ... which is fine, except that I don't necessarily want to build an empire. My goal has never been to build someone's personal wealth and influence. (which is definitely something I'll have to look at when it comes to my own personal financial plans!) I want to build community. I don't have time to build community, and my job isn't fulfilling that desire. ... which leaves me with hardly anything at all to go on in the meantime, since I am currently without connections.

Anyway, all this thinking led me to my favourite Italian song. ... as often happens. (and one would expect no less when one understands that the lyrics include phrases like "vertigo is not a fear of falling, but a wanting to fly") I think I'm getting ready to take that leap. ... or at least I am more ready that I have been in a long time.

Anyway, my favourite Italian song: Mi Fido Di Te by Lorenzo "Jovanotti" Cherubini (with lyrics and Google translation following)

Sadly, embedding has been disabled... you will have to visit YouTube, but I promise, it is a beautiful song.

"Case di pane, riunioni di rane
vecchie che ballano nelle chadillac
muscoli d'oro, corone d'alloro
canzoni d'amore per bimbi col frack
musica seria, luce che varia
pioggia che cade, vita che scorre
cani randagi, cammelli e re magi

forse fa male eppure mi va
di stare collegato
di vivere di un fiato
di stendermi sopra al burrone
di guardare giù
la vertigine non è
paura di cadere
ma voglia di volare

mi fido di te
mi fido di te
mi fido di te
mi fido di te
io mi fido di te
ehi mi fido di te
cosa sei disposto a perdere

Lampi di luce, al collo una croce
la dea dell'amore si muove nei jeans
culi e catene, assassini per bene
la radio si accende su un pezzo funky
teste fasciate, ferite curate
l'affitto del sole si paga in anticipo prego
arcobaleno, più per meno meno

mi fido di te
mi fido di te
mi fido di te
cosa sei disposto a perdere
mi fido di te
mi fido di te
io mi fido di te
cosa sei disposto a perdere

rabbia stupore la parte l'attore
dottore che sintomi ha la felicità
evoluzione il cielo in prigione
questa non è un'esercitazione
forza e coraggio
la sete il miraggio
la luna nell'altra metà
lupi in agguato il peggio è passato

mi fido di te
mi fido di te
mi fido di te
cosa sei disposto a perdere
eh mi fido di te
mi fido di te
mi fido di te
mi fido di te
cosa sei disposto a perdere

"Bread houses, meetings of frogs
old people dancing in chadillac
muscles gold wreaths
Love songs for children with tails
serious music, light varies
rain falls, life goes on
stray dogs, camels and wise men

maybe it hurts and yet I must
to stay connected
to live in one breath
to lie above the ravine
looking down
dizziness is not
fear of falling
but want to fly

I trust you
I trust you
I trust you
I trust you
I trust you
hey I trust you
What are you willing to lose

Flashes of light, a cross around his neck
the goddess of love moves in jeans
asses and chains, murder for good
the radio turns on a piece funky
bandaged head wounds treated
the rent is paid in advance of the sun please
rainbow, more for less less

I trust you
I trust you
I trust you
What are you willing to lose
I trust you
I trust you
I trust you
What are you willing to lose

anger surprise part actor
doctor who has symptoms happiness
evolution of the sky in prison
this is not an exercise
strength and courage
thirst the mirage
the moon in the other half
wolves lurking the worst is over

I trust you
I trust you
I trust you
What are you willing to lose
eh I trust you
I trust you
I trust you
I trust you
What are you willing to lose"

11 August, 2010

Whirlwind summer

I am... spending this summer in the strangest of ways: hiding in my apartment, begging for cool air during the week days, and running like a mad, wanderer towards the sun in the hopes that it'll slake my thirst during the weekends. I don't know what this is. Perhaps I am feeling the crazed cabin fever of working in the city full time. Perhaps I am falling victim to the apparent truism of living in cowtown: the best part of city living is just how close it is to everywhere else. ... except I'm not really taking full advantage of that. I have gotten out to the mountains less than a handfull of times this summer. And I'm only recently starting to discover the outlying (but fantastic) communities and areas. I desperately want to travel the Cowboy Trail.

What have I done this summer? Attended the Calgary Stampede rodeo, Hiked to the Plain of Six Glaciers, visited the Millarville Farmers' Market, attended two folk festivals, and spent a weekend throwing horse shoes and enjoying a family reunion.

... all the while, I'm starting to be called a *gasp!* Calgarian. ... and have ended up vehemently denying that fact. It will take a vast many years for me to adopt that label. ... just as it is taking me forever and a day to remember that "home" is now here instead of there; though really, home has always been there.

My apartment is slowly becoming somewhere I actually like... but I need to address the last few remaining boxes, and actually lay claim to my storage space in the basement. Getting rid of all the suit cases and some of my rubbermaids of field gear and camping supplies would be a good thing.

... field gear. Oh, how I long to be out in the bush. It is funny. I feel like that oft-used phrase "you can take the man out of the x, but you can never take the x out of the man"; except, well, obviously I'm a woman. ... and the x for me appears to be field work. More and more, I am finding myself wrapped in thoughts, particularly at the doldrum hours of the afternoon (2-4pm). Thoughts of what I'd be doing if I was out in the wilderness somewhere. A large portion of the time, I feel glad that I have found something positive like this job to keep me going, and to remove me from the death risk of surprise anaphylaxis in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes, however, I don't care. I'd take on all the wasps and hornets (and bears and cougars) in the world, just to spend another week outside. ... though I do remember just how exhausting the fear was. Bears and cougars are one thing. I carried a shovel, and bangers, and a knife and often bear spray. Wasps and hornets are a complete other. Being helplessly unable to do anything, not even breathe, and also hundreds of kilometers from a hospital (or tens of kilometers from a reliable road), well, that's something else entirely, and I couldn't put my coworkers through that risk any more. There were too many close calls, and I don't want to be the epinephrine-fuelled burden I would be were things to go wrong.

But damned if I don't miss it. I'm going to have to find some way to get involved in winter or late spring outdoor work, as a volunteer, or as a casual weekend adventurer, just to slake my thirst. I miss it so much. In truth, I miss it enough that I am second-guessing my decision. It's not as though I'm an amputee, it's just an allergy, and it's just fear on the off-chance that I'll stumble upon a wasp/hornet nest and get stung somewhere important like my face or throat. No, forget it, it's too stupid, but can you see how one would get wrapped up in this sort of thinking? Being OUTSIDE! ALL DAY! Oh, how I long for it. The urban, concrete jungle is just too depressing.

Anyway, those are my ramblings and musings. Here are some photos of the other ramblings I've done:

EFMF main stage view from the hill
The Edmonton Folk Music Festival main stage during the day. It is hosted on a ski hill in the heart of the city.

Family quilt
The massive, multigenerational quilt from my family reunion. It was assembled for our millennium reunion in 2000. Were we to do it today, there'd be more rows of squares to add.

Bull Rider (Rodeo day 8, Pool B final)
Bull riding at the Calgary Stampede

Mt. Victoria and the Victoria glacier.
The Plain of Six Glaciers hike near Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta.

forget me not
Forget-me-nots on the trail to the Plain of Six Glaciers

02 July, 2010

So... I moved... and disappeared from this space entirely

I moved. I left my home city and have re-settled (sort-of) 300-ish kilometres to the south. It has been a hectic couple of months. I moved at the end of April. I am now into my third month of living here... My apartment still has boxes that need to be unpacked! And I have a monumental list of to-do's that aren't being done.

I've also been monumentally lazy in the house-cleaning department. I don't know how or why I haven't had the initiative to get unpacked. I look at the boxes, and the mess that comes with not having things put away and just get frustrated, but damned if I don't want to sit down and watch a movie instead. What a lazy ass...

Then again, I spend all day at work, often late, trying to wrap my head around my new responsibilities. It's been a lot to take in lately. So often I end up sitting in my chair at the end of the day wishing I didn't have to walk home, didn't have to cook supper, didn't have to do anything. ... which explains why I've been SO lazy on the homefront, but I still dislike my laziness. Hopefully soon.

Hopefully soon I can stop travelling all the time and actually spend time HERE, in the city and in my apartment, figuring out where I want to hang my pictures, adn where I want all my stuff to go, and what I still need to buy and how to arrange a good cleaning schedule and all that fun stuff. What a life! ha.

I don't mean to say life isn't good. ... though it wouldn't hurt if I had someone as lovely as Lloyd Dobler in it. ha. John Cusack sure did good in his early career.

Who could say no to his earnest devotion? ... and the fact that it's not creepy either!

Anyway... I digress. I get home and watch movies occasionally. ... particularly smarmy love movies like Say Anything. Life is pretty good.

The job is pretty good. The people I work with are rather great. The people I work for have been treating me well. I have been learning a ton, working really hard, and feeling overwhelmed in a good way (there IS a difference). ... and getting whisked off to other climes from time to time to meet a bunch of talking heads and get in some serious work. I saw Davis California at night because the meetings took all the daylight hours. I saw what one can see of San Francisco from the Bay Bridge... I saw cornfields in Ames Iowa, but did not manage to see the record-breaking 15 foot tall garden gnome. And I have yet to walk or bike to the river in my new, adoptive city.

These things will come, in time, I'm sure.

Anyway... some photos, and a Peter Gabriel song to leave you with... because Lloyd Dobler has stolen my heart (and he didn't give me a pen).

Moving day:
My life in a cube van

Iowa's corn:
The experimental mineral soil plot

Super tall corn!

And my favourite farm field photo:
Research plots in evening light

And my favourite Peter Gabriel song... if only Lloyd Dobler was here!