Monday, November 19, 2007
Similar to the rule I instituted for my birthday of nothing unless it was handmade, less than $2, or a charitable donation, I have taken the handmade pledge. I might as well knit for Christmas since knitting for my sanity hasn't done anything. :)
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Farmer Geb and the Boys
Well, I am sad to say that the cows have gone out on their last, long truck ride to the auction. However they made the most of their last week on the farm by managing to escape once again and send Farmer Geb out searching for them in the truck. And again they ended up back at Lester's with all their friends, so at least they had a good visit with all their buddies before they all went to the big auction house.
Farmer Geb's feelings on the cows going away: "Good riddance! They cost me time and money for gas driving all over looking for them..... got my tractor stuck..... hurt my farmer pride..... I've ordered a truckload of hamburger buns!"
He's threatening to make "meatloaf surprise" for Christmas dinner instead of turkey. I suggested we could have a "tofurkey" instead so that we aren't in danger of eating anyone we may have known.
Not So Home-on-the-Range
I'm going to have to start referring to Farmer Geb as plain ol' "Dad" again as he and Kathy are moving to Rosthern as Kathy got a new job with Yanke Properties in Saskatoon and it's just too much for her to be driving two hours each way to work every day. They bought a house in Rosthern last year as an investment property/possible other house in case Kathy kept working with the other company in 'Toon, so now they're painting and getting it in shape for moving in next month. So my first Saskatchewan Christmas will not be on the farm, but there's still 5 bedrooms and Dad still has a quarter acre to justify keeping the ride-on mower, but no room for cows. I'm also curious how he's going to get his "free" Christmas tree this year.
Thesis (yes it's still there!)
I'm waiting to find out if I am going to be shortlisted for a fellowship offered by the IMPART program. Their program coordinator has emailed me several times to ensure that all my required documents for the application package are received on time, even saying that my references can email their letters directly as long as they send hard copies to follow up. The fellowship is worth $18,000 at the MA level and you can either do your own research project (such as my thesis project) or they can get you onto a project if you don't have one already. They also provide you with training in an area of the field of women's and girls' addictions issues, whether that's in policy, one-on-one work, or anything you think you need more training about. I indicated that I would like greater training on drug and alcohol counselling in order to work more effectively with females who are entering or maintaining their recovery as well as how to recognize addiction and withdrawal symptoms of our popular street drugs.
The committee meets on Tuesday, so fingers crossed that I have everything in on time.
The Yarn Stash
It's growing. I know it is, and I'm enabling it. Part of it is not my fault since I have yarn to make the slippers that my mom needs for Christmas presents for the grandkids and for my other friends. Okay yes, I have a lot of yarn that I've bought just for me, but it's not a given that I'm keeping everything I make out of it. Yes, I like yarn, it's more that I want to work with the yarn than just make more things for myself. It's the process as opposed to the end result.
However I'm obsessed with knitting fingerless gloves right now, in various designs and using different stitch patterns. I've made three pairs in a cable stitch and quite like them, one pair in a lace pattern for my sister-in-law, and currently have another pair in a tencel yarn using a faux-cable pattern called a Spiral Column. I'm also in love with the new cowl-style shawls that I've seen on Etsy by a couple of sellers and am making one for myself to see how I like making them. There's no fancy stitches or lace patterns, the shapes themselves are easy, it comes down to choosing your yarn and using a large enough needle to knit them up quickly.
I'm also waiting patiently for my Ravelry invite. I signed up at the beginning of the month and at the time there were over 10,000 people ahead of me. Today there are just over 4,000 people ahead of me. Why do you have to wait to be invited to Ravelry? Because the site is still in beta and under construction and they don't want to let it go live and let people suffer through de-bugging. If you're a crafter and are looking for something a little less teeny-bopper-ish than Facebook, sign up for an invite and take the video tour; this site is going to be AMAZING.
That's about all I have for today, I need to get back to laundry, my lit review reading list, and my stash. Will send out more info after I hear back from the IMPART people. Fingers crossed for me!!
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Kathy has a new job with Yanke property management doing commercial properties out of Saskatoon so they will be moving to the house in Rosthern (about a half hour outside of 'Toon) in November. This means that I won't be spending Christmas at the farmhouse, but the Rosthern house is still huge, a two-storey plus basement on a quarter-acre lot big enough so Dad can keep his ride-on mower, but not big enough for Dad to keep Chuck, Winston, and Ralphie.
I asked Dad today what happens with the cows since they're moving in November, and he said that they'll all be going to auction. Actually, the answer I got was "Burgerfest!" but after some discussion we agreed that we would not want to sit down for dinner and have "roast Ralphie," we'd rather have anonymous beef than remember the face it came from. Turkeys, however, are a different matter since a) turkeys are stupid and b) they're mean bastards.
This also means that Dad's Christmas-tree expedition will be drastically different. I don't imagine it'll go over very well to be driving through the suburbs to cut down a Christmas tree out of someone's yard, they're more likely to see us and call the police.
But Christmas will be a new adventure... new house, lots of bedrooms (apparently I get to decorate the one I'll be staying in), and something new for Dad..... neighbours.
This should be interesting.
Monday, September 17, 2007
PUT THE DAMN BOOK DOWN AND
WATCH THE F*CKING ROAD!!!
And now back to your regularly-scheduled ranting.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Now don't get me wrong, I am perfectly capable of going to the store to pick up milk and bread - I like skim & soy milk and multigrain bread anyhow - and anything else I may want or need. The odd part came about when I read on their note that they packed the dishwashing soap from upstairs but that there was more in the cupboard in the garage.
Oh sure, a six-litre refill bottle from Costco. Ever try to get one little drip of soap out so you can wash one coffee mug from a six-litre bottle? Not so handy.
I didn't even have a little squirt bottle in which to pour some of that six litres into! So I bought dishwashing liquid. But then the question becomes which brand to buy? Palmolive is on sale but comes in overly-fruity scents of orange, pear-violet (as far as I know violets don't have a scent), and the ubiquitous "you're-soaking-in-it" original green. Method the biodegradeable brand only had two scents available, mango tangerine (too fruity) and french lavender. I have the french lavender biodegradeable cleanser cloths, but the interpretation of lavender in the dishwashing liquid was still too floral somehow. So I bought Sunlight in grapefruit scent, which was both on sale, a bonus 18% more (woohoo me!), and it smells very clean and bright. Interesting how one can have this much choice just for dish soap!
But the best part of being home has to have been my first night back home in my own bed, hearing the sounds I haven't heard in over three weeks like the white noise of traffic, the faded whistle of the freight train, and the giant SUV slowly roaring through my neighbourhood with the drunk guy yelling out the window, "DAAAAAVE! DAAAAAVE! WHAT HOUSE ARE YOU AT??? DAAAAAAVE!"
I got up, knocked the cat off the windowsill (YEOW!), and yelled, "SHUT THE F*CK UP AND GO HOME!!"
God I love Surrey.
Friday, August 31, 2007
2. The sign "garage sale" does not necessarily mean that there is a garage.
3. As well, "farmer's market" does not necessarily mean that anyone there is a farmer.
4. The tractor is still stuck in the bog. The farmer who owns that field has threshed around it.
5. There are entire towns that do not have ATM machines.
6. There are about a zillion different varieties and interpretations of the genus "perogy".
7. All interpretations of perogies are yummy.
8. It takes about an hour to get anywhere with a good farmer's market and an ATM machine.
9. The Red Bull restaurant in Radisson has great perogies.
10. The best chinese food is in Cudworth.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
So here goes.... imagine the Wayne's World dissolve to indicate a flashback.....
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
We spent most of yesterday in Saskatoon, Kathy had some appointments then she was flying out to Vancouver for a week for some unfinished BC business. Saskatoon is a nice little city; yes there's a Starbucks, it's on the Saskatchewan River, the University campus is really nice, and many of the houses on the University side are heritage-style homes. But there are also a lot of what are called "prairie bungalows" in the semi-urban stretches. Those are ranchers with basements, apparently, but they're not called ranchers with basements. Whatever.
What I found odd - or enterprising, however you want to view it - were the number of these formerly residential properties that are used as commercial businesses, and the number of them which house two different businesses in the one space! For example, the "natural healing" clinic which also has "U-Haul Rentals" in the single-car garage. Not sure how that works. Or "Debbie's Dream Home Service" who also runs "Debbie's Diet Centre". I guess if you don't fit into your dream house Debbie will help you slim down to fit in there. Provided you're only using the U-Haul from the single-car-garage natural healing centre. Granted, these days we can find the mortgage broker, real estate agent, and conveyancer all in one office, but at least those things are related! I'm curious how someone decides they'll open their natural healing clinic and rent U-Hauls at the same time; what market is there that we haven't discovered?
Today is being spent at home, it's extremely windy out today and actually quite cold. It rained for most of the night so hopefully the clouds are just blowing past us today since it's supposed to get better for the weekend. Still have not gone a day without wearing a sweater or long sleeves, and have not yet worn my shorts. We heard the wolves howling last night in the rain and I went through the house and on the sun porch counting pets and kittens to make sure all the "urchins" - as Dad calls them - were all accounted for. Haven't gone out to check on the ones in the garage but the kittens on the porch are all fine.
Anyone want a kitten? I can take a pet on board WestJet in my carryon baggage.... :)
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Just when you think you have everything under control....
After this video, they got out a second time and all three of them were in the yard eating the grass. Dad was considering sleeping outside with his giant flashlight and is thinking of installing motion-sensor lights if they get past the pump house.
This is why farmers in the old days had cow bells.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Thanks to Doe for this picture, I love all the Gary Larson (the Far Side) comics involving cows.
Happily we still know where the cows are, they're in with Lester's gang. Lester and his wife Bev and youngest son Jesse had us over for dinner last night, so it's nice to see that Dad has some nice neighbours. Very nice people, Jesse is a fiddler, Lester plays guitar and jigs/clogs and they both perform at festivals and competitions and such. Unfortunately I think Jesse was hoping I was about 21 years younger, there's not too many prospects for 14-year-old boys in Canwood.
Lester is an organic farmer out here; the cattle are all raised without hormones and with organic feed & hay, he doesn't use pesticides on any of his crops, and is even experimenting with a heritage grain called red fife. It hasn't been cultivated for decades, but there is a weekend called "Seedy Saturday" in Prince Albert where folks can bring whatever seeds they've saved, heirloom and heritage varieties, seeds from giant sunflowers or pumpkins, unusual beets or potatoes or whatnot, and trade or sell them. Lester got his red fife seeds from an old farmer at one of these swaps who was just saving them in a cigar tin for years, and they've been growing well in his fields. He not only grows it, but he threshes and mills the grain himself into flour, and then even bakes the bread. It's a different grain, he uses it whole-grain, and the bread is a rich light brown but still very light, and has a sweet taste to it. He does ship some to just a couple of artisan bakeries on Vancouver Island, but nothing on the mainland yet. I might have to get the new artisan bakery in Langley to give him a call and try it out, I want some of that bread!
We're heading off to Saskatoon in about an hour, Kathy has a couple of appointments before her flight to Vancouver at 4pm, then it's me & Dad for a week. I better get him to stop at Canadian Tire so I can get some gumboots in case I have to help with the rounding up of the steers.
I'm picking up some postcards while I'm in town today, so if you want a postcard, please email me or leave a comment with your address so I can make sure to send enough out. Some may be typical touristy postcards, but some of you may be lucky enough to get some painted postcards.... provided I'm ambitious enough :)
BTW, it's windy and cold. I brought a pair of shorts to wear if it were warmer - like we always think it is in summer on the prairies - but it's COLD! I wish I'd brought a second sweater, it's a bit chilly in here! Even the cats are all cuddled up in blankets. I may have to buy some more yarn and knit myself another sweater! Hmm.... that could work..... :)
Monday, August 20, 2007
Thunderstorms, Lightning, Steers, and the Internet Goes Down and the Riders Game Called for Severe Weather
Even if Dad tried that they'd know he was lying. It's funny as hell because they stand all together, real still, looking at us like, "Oh crap there's that guy in the truck again! How'd he find us?"
After Jordan and Ethan left, Skyler (aged border collie/former flyball champion who doesn't know when to quit playing ball) had a half day to recuperate before my brother and his wife came for dinner with my nearly four-year-old nephew who loves to play ball with the dog. The cats weren't quite so trusting, they seemed to sense that "HE" was coming. Zack (nephew) loves cats but four-year-olds are a bit too excited for cats.
So of course Dad was excited to watch the Riders play Winnipeg on Saturday night. It was neck and neck, the Riders were coming back from a couple bad plays that cost them points to get ahead of the Bombers when...... BZZZOT!! Lightning, rain, the referee evacuated the teams from the field (the drunks in the stands didn't leave so quickly) and then CBC lost their feed as the power was lost at the stadium. I thought Dad was going to have a coronary. "18 minutes left! For the love of 18 minutes!"
At least Dad got to watch America's Got (No) Talent to keep him occupied and waiting, then we all decided we were too tired, we'd see if they played the remaining 18 minutes the next day. Nope, nothing on the tv channels that the 18 minutes were being played, and Dad kept missing all day the sports scores until the late news that explained they waited an hour, the weather calmed down, and they resumed the game around 12:30am. Just a bit late for some of us. But at least they won and are holding first place in the west.
Then we realize that we have no internet. No matter, it should be up by morning. So we think. Okay, one day without the internet, no big deal. Then Monday morning comes, still no internet, and I realize I have to get the Caucus minutes to Melissa somehow. I print them out and try faxing them, but the fax machine was busy. So what do you do when you can't send a fax? Go to the liquor store and buy wine. But that was fine, by the time we got back the internet was back up and running.
So things have settled down again, we had a quiet day with the wind and a little rain, getting our daily cow-watch report from various neighbours. Today it was Lester, he called to let Dad know that they are now penned up in his pasture and if he can manage to get them in his cow trailer he'll bring them home. So they might end up back in their pen here on the farm before I have to come home. Although it's not like I haven't seen them, we drive over and visit the cows.
I asked Dad if all three cows were charolais or if the brown two were simmental or limousin (my boss was a cattle rancher; knows the breeds by sight), he said they were "dead meat".
Which is, as I'm sure you all have surmised, how the cows will all end up.
Heading into Toon Town tomorrow!
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
This was all happening according to plan when some dipsh*t comes along and drives about 40 km/h up past the cows, spooking them enough to make them run back into the field, kitty cornering past me and Farmer Geb, and back into another field. We drove down in the car near them, and they wandered futher into the field, watching to see if we would really come in after them.
By this time Dad and Kathy have slogged through some boggy, marshy parts of the fields, got water and mud in their gumbies, and the tractor is now stuck in one of the boggy parts. Farmer Geb may have to resort to hiring a couple of real cowboys on horses to round up and return his wayward cattle - " 'Toopid cows!" - and get Lester (who may never sell him any more cows after this) to help pull the tractor out of the bog.
So yes, I have seen the cows, but from no closer than about 40 feet.
And no, we did not have corndogs for lunch.
This morning about a half hour ago one of the neighbours called to say they'd spotted the cows only a mile up the road and another part mile eastward, so Dad's headed off in the truck to see if he can lure them back home. He's thinking perhaps that cows weren't such a good idea. Maybe ducks and chickens next year instead. Yes, he's driving around in his "town slippers".
I have to explain the "town slippers" bit. Last year, Dad and I were out running errands when we stopped at his pharmacy and I realized he'd been wearing his slippers. "They're my town slippers," he said. The truth of the matter is that Dad has a) size 14 feet, which are difficult to find shoes for, even in Saskatchewan, and b) Dad has bad ankles and if they swell it makes shoes very uncomfortable to wear. So Dad goes around in his town slippers, and either nobody notices or out here nobody cares. I'm going with the latter.
If it makes it easier, he has a good pair for going to town in, and an everyday pair for herding cows in. :)
More farm news as it happens, I'm off to work on my textbook edits and find out if Dad's really making corn dogs for lunch.
Monday, August 13, 2007
My folks were worried about the traffic for the Abbotsford Airshow so I said they could leave early to drop me off. I arrived at the airport at 12:42pm. My flight was scheduled for 3:30pm.
Okay, so I'm early. I entertain myself with the iPod - thank goodness for video iPods! I never thought I'd appreciate it so much! - and wait patiently to be able to check my bags. Once I do, I move over to the waiting area and watch a bit of the airshow before security screening, which I pass easily. Even the egg roll wrappers didn't get a second look.
But then we are informed that our plane hasn't landed yet because it's circling, waiting for the current airshow performer to finish his bit so it can land, kick off the passengers, clean the plane, load us and our bags, and take off again before the stealth bomber takes off in 20 minutes. I've never seen a more orderly airport crowd.
We took off within that 20 minute window, and interestingly enough we passed by the Canadian Snowbirds all lined up, I got within 50 feet of the stealth bomber as it was making its way around the tarmac behind us. It was pretty cool, I have to admit.
Calgary Airport is pretty nice, I must say. I've been there four times now and it's very well laid-out, at least the domestic departures/arrivals area is pretty good. The food court isn't bad, it's always clean, and the "$15 Store" is my favourite place in the airport. I promised myself I wouldn't buy anything there on the way to 'Toon, but there was a cute cute cute baguette-style purse there for - you guessed it - $15. I did inquire if they had many left and would there be one left on September 2nd and the owner said there were only a few left, it was the end of that line for the season and likely not. I had to get it this time around. Let's see what excuse I come up with on my way home!
So then I go back to the WestJet gates to wait for my flight to Saskatoon. Checking the departures board I find my flight number with a big "TARD" label on it, which quickly changes to the English word, "LATE". The revised departure time? 21:18; 9:18pm for you 12-hour persons. I was originally scheduled to leave at 7:50pm which would put me in Saskatoon around 9, and now I wasn't departing until after 9!
Oh well. Free newspapers keep me occupied for a while, chatting with another lady also travelling to Saskatoon passed some time, a grande dulce de leche frappuccino with whipped cream at the Starbucks outlet - thanks Jen M!! - and we were soon on the way.
I lucked out by having a nice fella to talk to on the flight, so that's always better too. Jeff was flying home after a family Harley riding vacation in Sturgis to his girlfriend and their newly-purchased house. It was nice talking with you Jeff, and hope you had a happy birthday.
And then arriving at Saskatoon. The WestJet crews are always a lot of fun, makes your later-than-expected departure much more bearable, and entertaining at the same time. I spotted Dad and Kathy on my way into the terminal and lo and behold..... Dad came to pick me up in his "town slippers."
More to come, the cows got out and we haven't seen them yet!
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Being a criminologist-in-training I understand the need to study these types of extreme events and the circumstances surrounding them in order for professionals such as those whom I work with to be able to better recognize warning signs and be able to perform more accurate threat assessments (the new buzzword in crime prevention). But at the same time, I agree with those who question the necessity of publicizing the videos and photos sent to the media. Are we simply playing to his desire for fame through murder by airing these images? Is our need for gore so insatiable that we are willing to glorify one man's obvious mental health issues while ignoring those who were arbitrarily chosen for harm? We will remember the gunman's name, yet in three months will any of us be able to name even one of the victims?
And just as we have seen with such other high-profile incidents such as Columbine, Taber, and recently Dawson College, such incidents are splashed across our televisions (and now our computer monitors), which we know incites other desperate persons to engage in similar actions. Are we not simply providing easy solutions to complex problems? We show these people that they will be memorable for the number of victims they claim, without much discussion about how we can better address their needs that have gone ignored for so long.
These events are rare and shocking, and yet we find ourselves fascinated by them. Particularly in the field of Criminology we wish to understand what leads people to this point; why the feel they need to take others with them into their suffering and spread their fear, negative self-talk, and visions of violence. Yet these events seem to happen with greater frequency, and yet we are still shocked by them. We do not appear to be any closer to preventing these events, as we have seen in the Virginia Tech reports that faculty and students were concerned about the gunman's state of mind and behaviours for more than a year prior to this incident.
So what's the answer? Better resources for people in need of mental health care, better attention paid to those reportedly displaying mental health problems, and better interventions for those who may be a danger to themselves or to others. Awareness in society is also important; while we are concerned with large-scale events such as school campus shootings, persons with mental illness are most often a danger to their own safety rather than a danger to the public. Persons with mental illness are more likely to harm themselves through alcohol and drug use, risk-taking behaviours, self-harm behaviours, and suicide attempts than they are to turn their depression outward and harm other persons. We need to be aware of people with mental health issues, but not be so afraid of them that we can't try to help them.
Back to the hockey game, perhaps some good news will lift everyone's spirits.