Saturday, April 29, 2006

Garage Sale Season

This weekend was the season opener of garage sale season. The Catholic, Anglican and United churches all had rummage sales (ie: whole church garage sale) and there were about a dozen garage sales happening around town, as well. Now, I'm new to the whole garage sale curcuit, so I don't know if this is normal, but the competition for cheap crap is fierce in this town. There are three open air bulletin boards for people to post their garage sale notices on. On late Friday afternoon and early Saturday morning you can see people lurking around these boards with little notebooks. I am sure they then sit in their car with a map of the city and strategically plan their route. Then as soon as a site opens and the balloons are placed on the street corner it is swamped with cars -- seriously, cars down the street. If the sign says "4 pm", and you want to get anything good, you'd better be there at 3:30. Otherwise its stained baby clothes, musty sweaters, well used footwear of every description and tacky housewares for you.

I did have one woman set aside some Fisher Price Little People stuff for us, which Andrew has been playing with all weekend. And I got a bunch of farm animals and a wooden pounding set for .50 cents. My best score of the weekend: an ochre cannister and bread box set, circa 196?. After I finish scrubbing years of kitchen grease off them, they will be beautiful.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Adventures Bowling in Saskatchewan

I decided to organize an afternoon of bowling for the people in our church. I phoned the bowling alley several weeks in advance to check when they were open, and the owner said they were open from 2 - 4 for non-leauge bowling. When only about 10 people were talking about coming, I didn't worry too much about making reservations. I called once on Saturday, but no one answered, so I just let it be. I figured there would surely be two lanes open.

When I got to the bowling alley at 2 pm on Sunday, everyone from the church was sitting in their cars outside the bowling alley. This was because the bowling alley was LOCKED. After a few moments, one of the women who knew the owner phoned him up to see what was happening. He said that he would be there in about 15 min. or so. I thought I must have got the time confused and was feeling a bit anxious. No one else seemed worried.

At about 2:30 the owner arrived to open up the bowling alley. He told us he was busy putting a roast on the barbeque. He didn't seem to worried. Neither did anyone else. One man said, "oh, you know how it is. It happens". To which I responded (before my internal censor kicked in) "Around here it does".

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Quilt Top

Here it is, my finished quilt top. I still have to get the backing and filling and quilt it, but that has to wait until Dave's next paycheque. As you can see, it looks kind of cool. I'm pretty happy with the final product when I see it in a picture, even though its sort of a weird colour combination. I think I'm going to call in "Saskatchewan Gothic".

Friday, April 21, 2006

Don't blink or you'll miss spring

In some parts of Canada, spring slowly, sensuously unfolds over the months of March to May. The West Coast of British Columbia is one of these places. The temperatures gradually increase, the rain slows, the days become a little bit more sunny and bright. The forsythias and crocuses bloom, then the cherry blossoms and the rhodedendrons, and the tulips and so on and so on for months at a time. The leaves langourously stretch themselves open. You can actually watch the leaves uncurl from day to day. It is a long, beautiful process.
Not so Central Saskatchewan. One day there is snow. A week later there is none. A week later people are wearing shorts, cutting their grass and getting bitten by mosquitos. April 4: Notice the snow.
Today, two weeks later, Andrew and I went walking in shorts, because it was 22 degrees C. We saw a ladybug and a butterfly. Tonight I got my first mosquito bite. Summer is here.

Well, okay, until we get a surprise snowstorm.

Happy Canadian Novels?

I recently finished reading The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields. I read it because i was looking for something interesting and well written that might sweep me up into a different world. Well, it did sweep me up into the life of Daisy Goodwill, orphan, whose tragic first marriage ends on the honeymoon, whose second marriage is to a man 20 years older than her who was sort of her uncle, and who ends her days realizing no one has ever told her that they love her. It was not a good time for me to read such a novel. I have felt achingly depressed and lonely all week, and it is in part because this novel was so well written and so sad.

This left me asking that age old question: Are there any happy Canadian novels out there? Was the first half of this century really THAT depressing? Did everyone, especially women, really live lives that were as terrible, depressing and soul killing as all that? I don't think I have ever read a happy novel written by a Canadian woman. Seriously. The Handmaid's Tale? No, I don't think so. Stone Angel? Apparently Hagar finds some redemption at the end, but happy is not a word I would use for it. Fugitive Pieces? The haulocaust was not a particularly happy subject, so no. Concubine's Children? Nope.

I suppose there are a few happy novels out there. Robinson Davies' satires are pretty funny. And there is this B.C. author . . . Jack Hodgins, whose book The Macken Charm was happy, but also had a suicide in it. And Will Fergeson's Happiness. But all of those books are written by MEN.

I am a Candian woman, and my life is not that bad. I have a sense of humour. Why don't the rest of the women living in Canada share this with me? Why are we all so busy feeling sorry for ourselves? Its like a bad hangover from the early feminist movement or something. That's it. I have decided that it is my patriotic duty to start writing a happy, uplifting novel about a woman in Canada. I'll let you know how its coming as soon as I get out of this funk and think of something happy to write about . . .

Sunday, April 16, 2006

My Latest Harebrained Scheme

As I spelled, rather than said "harebrained" scheme, I wondered: Does that refer to it being an idea that a rabbit would think was clever? If not, what exactly DOES it mean?

That, however, was not my scheme. So, this is my new idea: I have now met a number of stay at home type moms who have young kids. It seems to me that a lot of these women are in the same situation as me -- they spend a lot of time by themselves at home with their infant / toddler being bored. But I am really terrible at actually phoning people up and inviting them over. I especially hate the pressure of having to think of a "fun" thing to do with them, or a reason to invite them over.

What if, instead, I just had a drop in morning. I just told everyone that I would love to have them come over and visit on, say Friday morning between 9:30 and noonish. I will have coffee on, and if they hit me on a good week, I might even bake something. Then people can stop by when they have the chance, and I have made a general invite. I think it might be a fun way for me to get to know people, and for other people to get to know each other, too.

But it seems like a kind of odd thing to do, you know? Like I'm trying to start some sort of club or organization, but I'm not actually associated with any club or organization. Will people think I'm crazy? Will it work?

So, I actually expect some responses. Especially from all you local Saskatchewan lurkers (I know you're out there -- I have sitemeter). Make it anonymous. Just tell me if you think its a good idea or not.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Death's Sandbox

Those of you who are familliar with Terry Pratchett will know that in his books the anthropomorphized figurehead "Death" has a house, a yard, and a garden. He also has a grandaughter (by adoption) who has inherited some of his skill set. When regular humans come to his house they see it in a scale that makes sense to them, and they think that everything is "human" sized. But Susan (death's grandaughter) sees that there are actually vast, empty voids around the edges of all the rooms becuase try as he might, Death doesn't really understand human things like dimensions.

Our sandbox is like this. When our parishoners (who own the house I live in) put up the fence, they also decided to build a sandbox. The sandbox is 10' X 10'. It is a vast and measureless void of sand. It is Dune in minature (minus, I hope, the large carnivorous worms). I placed my 19 month old toddler in it today, about a foot from the corner. He sat with his little shovel and pail and dug up all the sand around him. He put it in the bucket. When the bucket was "too full", he stopped, and asked to be removed from the sandbox. In his own little world, he had fully experienced the sandbox. In reality, he hardly left a footprint in the savannah.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


On "As it Happens" tonight they interviewed an evolutionary who stated many times that the theory of evolution was science, but the theory of intelligent design was pseudoscience. His rock-solid evidence included the fact that there are chairs in evolution at universities (thus it must be scientific), that there are no supernatural assumptions made in evolution (thus making it scientific) and that a judge in the US has declared the theory of intelligent design to be a pseudo science.

The thing that bothered me the most was not the CBC would never interview a Christian or Moslem who was equally certain of their belief system without accusing them of fundamentalism. The thing that bothered me the most was that the scientist was not showing all his cards. He was saying that intelligent design must be wrong because it incorporates elements of philosophy and faith as well as science into its theory. But that evolution was true, hard science because it only looks at natural phenomenon. But he never actually states that there are two assumptions underlying this assertion. The first is atheism. The second is naturalism. And these are, I hate to tell the man, philosophic stances -- they are belief systems. Thus, his evolutionary theory is based on certain philosophic assumptions, just as intelligent design is based on certain philosophic assumptions.

One of the things that aggravates me about much of modern thinking is that we have put science ahead of philosophy. The reason why Philosophy is the Queen of the Sciences and academic disciplines, is because all other disciplines rely on unspoken, mutually agreed upon philosophic assumptions. If these assumptions are not examined and understood, we take things for "truth" based on the narrow perspective of our own academic discipline or belief system without really knowing why we do so. This creates narrow thinking and aggressive fundamentalism of all kinds. Including the evolutionary kind that will neither listen to nor allow any theory that differs slightly from their own.

The thing I find most bizarre in all of this is that the theory of intelligent design does not claim to be a science, nor is it in particular conflict with evolutionary theory. It is simply a way of allowing what modern scientist have found to be evident to co-exist side by side with what thousands of years of humanity has found to be equally evident -- that something greater than ourselves exists somewhere within and/or outside of the universe, and may have been involved in the process of creating the universe. Perhaps if the evolutionist was less of an atheistic fundamentalist he would have been able to see this critical point.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Co-Op's Touchless Car Wash

I don't know if you're familiar with the touchless car wash. Well, its a drive through car wash where this big water gun/wand thing moves around your car and washes it without actually touching the car. This is to solve the problems of former mechanized car washes with fabric picking up rocks from one car and scraping them along the side of other cars. This is also to stop much older brothers (not mentioning any names, Derrick) from telling their tiny, overimaginative siblings that the long fabric things are actually tentacles and are trying to get into the car and eat any small girls they might come across.

Well, the Co-Op gas station in town has a touchless car wash. I think it must be the only one in about 30 min. drive, because its very popular. No matter when you go to get your car washed, you can be assured that there will be at least 2 - 3 cars ahead of you. Since the car wash takes about 10 min, this means you will wait about 30 min. to get your car washed.

Today, Andrew and I went to get the car washed. My husband suggested it as a fun activity that my toddler might enjoy. He thought he might like the big machines. So, off we went to line up in the car wash, armed only with a bag of chips (Andrew's latest thing is to get the "whole bag" of whatever we have, so any packaging with a few remnants of food is grand entertainment in his mind). And we sat in line. And sat. And ate the chips. And dumped the bag on the floor. And sat some more. And sang that old car wash song. And since Andrew liked the part where the song goes "OOOH!", we sang "oooh" back and forth to each other.

Finally, we got in the car wash. My son was afraid of the touchless car wash machine. "Too loud. Too loud." Apparently it exceeds his safe decibel tolerance level. So much for attempted fun toddler activity number 58. Failed again. I should have let him play with the legs off the baby swing again.

This got me thinking. I waited for a "convenient" car wash for 30 min. I could have poured a bucket of water, soaped my car down, and sprayed it with a hose in the amount of time it took me to sit in line for the car wash. I am such a North American.

Fear of Rubber Boots

Apparently, my son has a rubber boot phobia. I bought him the best pair of little blue, shiny boots with red soles. Every time I try to put them on his feet, he screams in shock and dismay and yells "no!no!no!" as he shakes them off his feet. I think I am going to have to slowly desensitize him to them. You know, mention them when we walk by the shoe rack. Put them next to his winter boots so he sees the old and new together. Serve him snacks out of them . . . well, okay, maybe not.

He doesn't like the new velco fastened runners I got him either. I can see that these probably just offend his fashion sense. They certainly offend mine, but in a town like this you get what you can find.