Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Moving, I Do Not Like

Next week our office moves to new quarters within our building. I have had a chance to see our new digs, and they are looking quite alright.

Regardless of the situation, my own or as a group, I do not like to move. From deep within I get a chilly feeling; I procrastinate, and look at those moving crates as if they were the plague. Do you ever feel that way?

I think I can link how I feel to my history that as an orphan who was relocated many times within thefamilies of my relatives I always dreaded where I might end up. Now, some people may look at moving positively as a new opportunity. In my maturity I can see how that can be. Moving can lead to a new job, new set of people to meet and know, and happy times to follow.

As a child I never understood that. It was suddenly being in the house of this aunt and uncle and tomorrow finding myself somewhere else. Then there came the newbrothers and sisters I had to share the house with (cousins, really); a new school; a new way of doing things. This wasnt all bad, oh no. I still count the members of one family as my sisters, and their brother, as my own. Some good memories have travelled with me, like feeding the cows with my Uncle Vern on a real cold winter morning. We made our way down to the creek in the hollow to chop ice so the cattle could drink. I can still hear the crinkle and the shatter of the ice as I stepped on it. Oddly enough I can still feel the coldness on my cheeks even though that was some thirty or more years ago. The there were the trips with my cousins Brent, Scott and Sharla from Angel Drive to the library on 33rd Street North in Saskatoon, passing the old A-frame United Church and crossing the expanse of park near Henry Kelsey School. These were mini-adventures to a kid who was only seven or eight years old.

As an adult I have moved myself many times since. However, it seems the unsettledness that comes with moving at a young age has stuck with me the unknown around the corner. The older I get the more I wish I could abdicate the responsibilities of moving to someone else, take a vacation while it’s getting done. Come this week, that wont happen. I am in the centre of it; the right hand of the boss. I will be the one seeing that all is done, including the pieces someone will not want to do. So I have to resign quickly any foreboding that comes with moving and have the courage to press on. Lord preserve me with all that I have to do.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson

As tragic as it is that Michael Jackson is dead let us not forget that his was only one of very many yesterday.

Each one was just as important as Jacksons. Dont get me wrong I liked his music. I dont know how many times I have watched the videoThriller with delight. No matter who copied or parodied him, none were his equal. He was born into this world, one might think, for the express purposes of innovating music and dance. He did his piece, albeit at the end things got weird, and now he is gone. Where, I dont care to judge. Lets leave it at that.

Once again, he was not the only person that died yesterday. Yes, Farrah Fawcett died yesterday too. Her cancer story might even be regarded as far more tragic. Somehow her death has been pushed aside by the spotlight that now shines on Jackson. How about all those people who have never achieved celebrity or hero status (except in the hearts and minds of their family)? I bet if we were to open the obits in the local paper there would be a number of people whose lives lived should be celebrated; whose achievements improved their communities and professions. Wheres their spotlight?

Wheres the limelight for the many that are dispossessed, hungry, poor and persecuted? CNN reported that Jackson’s death almost caused the Internet to crash yesterday. Youll never hear of calamity caused because some nobody was cold and hungry. I never understand what causes such outpouring of adoration that we give to celebrities. Apparently last night Larry King, the talk show host, said if you were astounded by the media coverage and gossip given to Anna Nicole Smith's death, you aint seen anything yet. Oh, I have to admit I did turn to CBC and CNN to confirm the Jackson tragedy when I first heard about it. Well, short of learning why he died lets give him back to his family. End of story, literally and please.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Took a Fall

At lunchtime a group of guys from the office and I were going for some Indian food.

Due to a sidewalk closure on 1st Street SE we cut through the Telus building and exited on 5th Avenue SE.

There is a small plaza area in front of the building with a two-step staircase that goes around the whole thing.

I was leaning in to talk to my colleague Amin when I took a misstep and tumbled to the sidewalk.

Theres no thinking when you do these stunts. Theres no,oh, I remember how to do this from watching some stunt guy on TV. No, you fall. That sidewalk hurt. My round body absorbed the shock and I rolled. I dont recall how many times, but in the end I came back up onto my feet.

Everyone asked me if I was okay. I sustained some scrapes and I will have a terrific bruise on my left leg tomorrow. Luckily, my noggin didnt come in contact with the cement. My wristwatch, a recent birthday gift, was slightly damaged. However, it was my ego that probably took the greatest injury. At least I regained my composure quite quickly, and it was like nothing had happened, thank you very much.

This, kids, is how we roll.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

To Ride a Bike

The past two days have brought some real nice weather. Maybe, now that is past June 21, that summer really is here.

The cold of the past forty-five days deterred me from riding my bike. Today I am going to take it out.

I really need to get my body moving again. I have put on weight since Christmas; almost thirty-five pounds. It concerns me not just for appearance sake, but that our family history includes diabetes and respiratory disease. I also find that my weight compounds a lower back injury I have.

This isnt just about fitness. When I was a kid, and even into my early adult years, I used to ride a bike everywhere. I really enjoyed it. I want to feel that excitement again: the sensation of wind rushing past my face; they rhythmic pumping of the pedals; the whirring sound of the tires on pavement. I used to ride fast. As kids we would have races around the block or who could get to and from the old Idlywyld power plant first. More times than I wish to recall did I wipe-out and bruised my knees. I now attribute some of my arthritis to such folly. So, I am not looking for spills or thrills, although the lure of the racer lies shallow.

I see a number of people commuting on their bikes everyday. Man, they sport expensive bikes and the gear to go with it. I am not going to knockem. Its their gig. But whatever happened to putting that spring clip around your pant leg and hopping on? You know I cant even find a spring clip for sale in any of the bike shops in Calgary. Do you have one? Can I buy it? My bike is not very expensive. I wish I had something better only to be able to add some fenders and bags. I think my bike was built especially for a retailer and those items werent a big consideration. Oh well.

Hey, what am I doing here typing? I gotta ride.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sibbald Flats and the Grand Valley Road

I had this past Friday, June 19, off from work. My girlfriend and I had planned a day where we would go have a picnic. It didn't quite work out that way as we got off on a late start, and the weather wasn't all that great either. We headed out on Hwy 1 to go to Cochrane, AB to pick up some supplies before going up the Grand Valley Road. However I had a moment of spontaneity and suggested we go to Sibbald Flats first. My argument was the wildflowers should be blooming about now, and be in abundance. Off we went.

I have hiked Sibbald Flats area before. There is a day-use and group camping feature of the provincial park. so it was my expectation that we could park our car and strolll not too far to find our subjects. Unfortunately, the car access areas were locked up. We did find a forestry demonstation area with an interpative centre instead, and nearby were able to find some flowers to photograph.
There were tall bluebells and the classic Indian Paintbrush. There were others had it not been for my friend I might not and still don't know.

We were turning around to go back to cochrane when we received a phone call that caused us to return to Calgary. But afterwards we resumed our day and headed up the Grand Valley Road. We came to the junction of GVR and Wildcat Hills Road and headed west. I should add this is all northwest of Cochrane. We did see a Great Heron in a creek. But being jittery birds that they are it flew off as soon as I applied the brakes. So we didn't get a photograph.

This is ranchland. some of the oldest ranches in North America still raise cattle out here. We drove past the Simpson Ranching Company homestead and the Beaupre Ranch. The district we were in is actually named Beaupre. The area consists of rolling hills; one after another like waves they go until they crash like breakers into the Rockies. You could imagine cougar and bear live here too. But, you'd never see them. We did see plaenty of deer along the ditches and the fringes of scrub brush.

My girlfriend and I had time to talk about life and present events. She is normally a happy person, but some things right now are causing her a lot of tears. I have joked that I should buy shares in Kleenex for the amount we use these days. I spoke to her of how life will improve in time and came up with a little ditty, parts of which I borrowed from Hank Snow, which i sang to her.

There's a bluebird at my window
He sings a song to me
He tells me of all his blessings
And then he flys away
I often think of my little friend
During my day
Especially when things aren't so swell
His songs reminds me to smile.

The weather was full of small showers. Soon we reached a junction with the Forestry Road where we knew we needed to turn back. We traced our route back and back at the junction of GVR and WHR we came across a big ol' Hereford bull. with all authority he stood there taking a whiz. We were opportunistic and snapped off several pictures of him. Isn't he grand?

We also came across tow calves that somehow got under a fence. they were grazing near the road. We got down the highway a bit when we came to a ranchhand residence. Driving in I reported the strays to the young woman who answered the door. Her dogs were inside and quite eager to get to know me, and she struggled to get them to quiet down. She thanked us for the news and said she'd get some cowboys on horses to go herd the ccalves to safety.

We headed back to Cochrane where we had a beautiful supper at the old hotel (one of the first in the town back in the 1890's). After eating I attempted to pay the bill. Feeling the service given to us along with the food being great I calculated a tip and went at the debit card machine. Being stubborn and not wanting to wear my glasses I entered my amount and concluded the transaction. Initially, when the server mentioned the final amount I thought that it was kind of low. Only the next day did I realize why. Because I couldn't see I had failed to add an extra zero. So, what should have been $6.60 became $0.66. I looked at my discovery in horror. I have never been so cheap with wait help. I dashed off a thank you note to explain what occurred and mailed it promptly. I expressed how I felt and that I wanted to make it up to them the next time we returned.

We travelled back to Calgary satisfied that we had seen much and made good of our plans.