Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekend Recap: Sept. 27-28

Saturday morning found me scurrying about getting equipment and food ready for a hike with God’s Green Earth Hikers. Our destination was Larch Valley-Sentinel Pass west of Lake Louise in the Banff National Park. While the weather was mild in Calgary, and the Banff forecast was broken cloud and mid-teen temperatures, by the time we arrived at the Moraine Lake parking lot, it was a different story. A cold gray sky with traces of snow whipped around by a brisk wind was how we were greeted when we stepped out of the van. Unpleasant as it was we were not deterred. Being that this was the last weekend of September, and probably the best time of the year to see the golden colours of the larches at the higher elevations, we were a few in a throng of many who were there for the same reason. We hit the trail.

I felt good for the first part of the trail. Yet slowly, as the memory of the many switchbacks from our Eiffel Lake hike came back to me, I started to tucker out. I had hoped to stay with the group to go right to the top of Sentinel Pass. The strain of the Thursday evening workout that was still with me, and the disagreeable weather, seemed to work against me, both physically and psychologically. By the time we reached the apex of the Larch Valley I was done. A few others were too. I sort of expected that more might be agreeable to enjoy where we were and turn around. Some of us stayed for pictures and take in the beauty; two of us went back, and the rest continued up the pass. Ruby, Emily and I eventually turned back and went down the mountain. We fully expected that with the others going upward we wouldn’t see them in the parking lot for another hour-and-a-half. We misjudged. They were at the car in forty minutes.

Before leaving the area we detoured to Lake Louise. One of our members had not been there before. We stayed close to the Chalet and posed for a number of pictures. We then travelled down to the Lake Louise village for some coffee and pastries at Laggan’s. After that we headed for home.

Sunday, September 28, was like many other Sundays. Church in the morning: a good worship service followed by the delivery of an excellent sermon by Pastor Curtis Korver. “Delight is taken in many trails of a foolish man, but a straight path is the way of a wise man.” What road are you travelling on? W Immediately after service and fellowship I joined the Veenstras (sans Edith) and the Harkemas for some repose at Starbucks. I went home briefly; picked up some lumber for Linda, and then took n the last hour of Heritage Park with it Train Days concluding that afternoon. Had supper at KFC (there goes the benefit of the workout), and followed that with a prayer service at church.


Weekend Recap - Sept. 25-26

Here is a recap of this past weekend’s events starting with Thursday evening.

I started a fitness class called Adventure Bootcamp that is offered through Calgary Recreation. I had taken this class a couple of years ago and found it to deliver results. It was a vigorous event on Thursday evening led by the same instructor as before. I tried my best. My coordination was off from hers many times. But, in the end I felt that I had worked my whole body. I went home had a soak before retiring for bed

I had Friday off from work. So in the morning I got up later, watched the TV while having breakfast. Boy was I tired from the day before. The workout on Thursday evening left me feeling quite sore in many places. Here I made the mistake of resting. I should have gone for a walk. Later, as my muscles tightened and became increasingly sore I regretted this error.

Friday afternoon found me driving my sister, Linda on a number of errands. She first had an appointment at a Community Health Clinic. It should have been an in-and-out event, but the nurse who regularly attends to my sister had an unusual case ahead of her, which caused her to be delayed. This did set us back. We followed this appointment by having to return to Linda’s home because she had forgotten her wallet. After retrieving it we headed to the northeast Superstore for groceries. Linda and I have taken to splitting her shopping list in two: one for me to get due to being more able (I combine this list with my own), and the other for Sister. I usually take the far side of the store, and we somehow meet in the middle. Shopping at the Canadian Superstore on a Friday afternoon is far easier than on a Saturday at any time. We were able to get home and unload the groceries by four o’clock.

I attended a lecture given by Dr. Stephen Lewis on Friday evening. It was a good talk, and even somewhat entertaining; I am still processing what I learned in combination with reading his book Race Against Time. Hopefully, I will have more to write about later.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Little More Backbone Please

On Sunday Stephen Harper paid a visit to Rideau Hall to receive the Governor-General’s permission to dissolve Parliament and call an election.

It was reported that his reasoning for such a move was that Parliament had become dysfunctional, and legislation was not getting passed. The real truth was more like he knew the poll numbers were in his favour, and his intelligence told him the Liberals were a lesser threat now than at any other time. He may want us to believe that he cannot get a majority government, but I am certain he knows that he could; especially when the Bloc Quebecois are not getting all the warmth and adulation from the people of Belle Province. If these be the facts, then his violation of the Fixed Date Election Law (Harper’s own law tied to the Accountability Act) has been undertaken strictly for strategic motives. In which case, suggests that some subterfuge has been done to get the GeeGee’s nod.

I have no doubt that Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaƫlle Jean is a smart woman. As a former television reporter I am sure she has seen much politicking to know a rat when she sees one (I am not calling the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister a rat). For that reason, given that she had the option to inform Mr. Harper to go back and try again, I think she did our country a disservice. Elections are expensive and distracting. Few people really want one right now. Farmers are harvesting right now; if you are a farmer and a candidate too, then something is going to be sacrificed. These are just a few of the reasons I can think of for not holding one right now. Therefore I conclude that Her Excellency the Governor-General could have employed some backbone in refusing Stephen Harper to proceed any further.

Of course, as they say in baseball, “It’s too late but for the bellyache.”



I forgot to mention that I caught Shantel's garter. Lyle took it off her leg with his teeth. Oh, there wasn't much competition. Only a few other single guys and some boys trying get at it.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Wedding in Regina

It’s been several days since I returned from attending the wedding in Regina. It was a good trip; quite long and I am still tired. But, on the emotional level it was worth it. My cousin Darlene, whose daughter Shantel got married, and I are almost like sister and brother. I lived with her family when I was 5 or 6, and regarded her then as a big sister. It’s a relationship that we continue to foster since reconnecting several years ago. Her parents, due to their age and declining health, were not able to attend. Her younger siblings chose not to attend, leaving outside her immediate family, her younger sister-in-law and older sister as the only family at the wedding. So she said that my coming all the way was really meaningful. That’s enough for me.

In addition to the grooms’ family and friends, there were friends and some distant relations from around the Smiley district at the wedding, I met some of them and had no difficulty fitting in. Actually, more people at the wedding knew me than I knew them. So it was fun to receive some attention.

One couple and I stayed at the same hotel. I met them over breakfast on Saturday morning. As they sat down next to me I felt prompted to converse with them. I cannot say it was a Holy Spirit moment. But they just seemed to be people whom it was reasonable to expect to be attending a wedding. Indeed, that what I asked, “Here for a wedding?” To which they positively answered, and I probed if it was the same wedding. Their faces lit up and the mention of Shantel and Lyle’s name. Carl, Cathy and I hit it off pretty well. We ended up sharing a table at the reception later that evening. As Carl and I talked I learned that we probably shared the same school bus on those trips to Marengo, Sask. He didn’t remember me, but we were able to share a lot in common.

The wedding ceremony was completed in a Ukrainian Orthodox church. It was steeped in ritual that dates back almost 1,500 years. The priest’s approach included a mixture of informal and formality that made being involved a pleasure. The sacrament of marriage in this faith requires the prayers and rites to be repeated three times for the benefit of each person of the Holy Trinity. It makes for a rich, but a tad long ceremony.

The reception was held three hours later. Each guest was received with bright, festive music and introduced to each member of the wedding party through the reception line. The speeches before the meal were kept short. Each person was given generous helping of Ukrainian food and prime rib. The refreshments came from an open bar (a rarity these days).

I didn’t dance, except once with Darlene; but watching it was quite fun. The music was great. I think I want to get some dance lessons because it looks like a fun environment to be involved.


Friday, September 05, 2008

This Weekend

The sun is just rising as I write, and it looks like it going to be a fine day. However, the folks over at the weather department say its going to be a day marked with rain. Well, I am not sticking around to find out. I am hitting the Trans-Canada in a couple of hours to head down to Regina.

For there's a wedding to attend. My cousin Darlene's youngest daughter is getting married. I feel it's a privilege to attend as I don't know Shantelle all that well. A couple of Christmases ago I travelled to Smiley, Sask. where Darlene and husband, Rodney, live. They're home is just down the road from where Darlene's parents had farmed, and from where I spent nearly a year or more growing up alongside her when I was six years old. Darlene always felt like an older sister to me. So coming back to spend Christmas with her family several years ago was really special to me. It is where I got to meet the grown-up Shantelle for the first time. As I reflect upon it, there was probably a little more drinking on my part that went on than what i would consider normal. However, I remember the time with some fondness.

This trip is a bit of a first. I have been to Regina many times in the past (was there just in January). Yet, I have never driven the Trans-Canada from Calgary to there before. Have never been through Swift Current or Moose Jaw either. I figure the time on the road should be six to seven hours.

While it's a delight to be going to Regina for this wedding, I sure wish I was going there for a football game (i.e., Saskatchewan Roughriders). But, from what I have heard, because they lead the CFL in wins, you cannot even buy a ticket to a home game at Taylor Field (they remaned it MOSAIC Field for a Credit Union, but it will always be Taylor Field to me and the legion of older die-hard Rider fans). Hopefully, I will ahve time to slip by the hallowed grounds and maybe pick up a new t-shirt or some memorbilia to bring home.

Y'all take care. Back on Monday.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Hard to believe how early 5:30 came this morning. The real shocker was waking up to darkness. Gone are the summer days when the sun is up before you are. It was also a bit chilly during my walk to the train this morning.

Getting off the LRT at the Centre Street station I overheard something that was just rude. Its true people tend to crowd around the train doors on the platform. It does make exiting a bit of a challenge. But, there is no situation insurmountable that politeness cannot smooth out. However, as I was making my way onto the platform I overheard a female voice say “Get out of the way!” Then a woman younger and taller passed me on my right. The statement was intended for me; this I was clear in understanding. However, the shock of her rudeness caused me to comment, and I said, “That was rude.” It didn’t even register with her. I was ignored. I have to say I was surprised. I was ready for feedback. I moved onto her right and about ten feet away. She just kept walking. She was wearing blue flip-flops. As I observed her from the other side of the street (we were heading in the same direction) it became apparent she was plugged in to her iPod and tuned out to the world. How sad.


Monday, September 01, 2008

Theresa Andersson

If you haven't heard of Theresa Andersson then i encourage you to check out this New Orleans folk/indie artist. I discovered her music by serendipity when i wnt to the public library to borrow some CDs. I am starting to throw a random artist into the mix just so i get exposed to some new stuff.

Her album Shine was just great. i certainly will look at making a purchase of it in the future. Because of it I wanted to learn some more about her. her website is on Myspace, and it tells a great story about the making of her new album, Hummingbird, Go! in her kitchen. Find out more about her and listen to some of her new music here

Labour Day

Hello September.

Spent the first part of the day around the house dong some cleaning and organizing. I started a couple of weeks ago trying to de-clutter my study. Its amazing what you consider valuable a year ago only to find ts not really needed. I also cleaned the kitchen up a bit.

In the afternoon I took some recyclables -- mostly paper and milk containers -- to the depot. That took about a half an hour. I also went to the library. I borrowed another a Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child on Thursday. This one was called The Killing Floor. You may recall I wrote about an earlier read called The Hard Way. As much as I agree these are good reads I do have some difficulty with amount of violence that are contained in each book. Child does follow a pattern with his main character. There certainly will be a woman whom Reacher will bed and draw in as an assistant. There will be characters who are evil and who will be killed by him. Reacher will ultimately leave the place and the people to whom the story was central. He moves on to another location and scenario.

It is how easy that Reacher dispatches his victims and how he can justify doing so that is questionable. If he wasn't the hero I would wonder if he wasn't a psychopath. After visiting the library I went for a walk in the nearby neighbourhood.

I spent some time photographing King Edward School, originally built in 1912. It is reminiscent of my old elementary school back home in Saskatoon. I enjoyed the hour to photograph this building because it got me to see something new, and it was sunny and relaxing.