Sunday, March 25, 2007

out from under

I have been sick with the flu.
Not fun.
I had a fever of painful proportions and was out for a couple of days.
Thank goodness life appears to have reasserted itself and I think I am on the mend.
I just watched Gypsy's video and it has helped rescue me from the abyss!
Thanks to all my cyber friends for your get-well wishes!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

this business of retirement...

Two weeks ago I received the unexpected - although not entirely surprising - news that the long-time family-owned Ford dealership where I have worked for the past thirteen years will be closing down.
My position is in Administration where I do the accounting, as well as working closely with the service department and processing warranty claims.
It is a tiny dealership in a small community, therefore it has been difficult over the past several years dealing with a large corporation where the stress is on volume of sales and the resulting bottom line.

Presently the business is owned and operated by three siblings, each of whom I consider good friends as well as employers.
Their parents opened the business some forty-odd years ago and the trio took over the dealership during the nineteen eighties.
This family business has contributed to the economy of the valley in a great and unique way - we will All miss them!

As I wish my three friends good luck in wherever their new endeavours take them, I too, have to look at a change in my own career.
Living in a small town does have its advantages and I have already had several offers of employment.
These circumstances did lead to an excellent example of irony - and luck as the case may be - as I was looking to speak with a certain individual regarding work, he approached me asking me to work for him!

In the interim, I have tentatively decided what I want to do, although there are a couple of different options in the wings.
I would like to work at mowing lawns in the summer - and do the books for said lawn maintenance company - and I'd love to teach skiing in the winter.
The ski school at the hill has, over the years, encouraged me to take my Level I Instructor course so I can teach for them, but I was never in a position to be able to commit - now I can!
In the fall I plan to take my Level I and teach all winter, then I would like to continue on to take my Level II course next spring.
Hopefully, I should be able to complete those couple of levels without too much difficulty.
My challenge to myself then will be to attempt the completion of the much tougher Level III Instructor course...

I am very exited about the possiblities!

...working outdoors in the sun, wind and rain.
...and snow.
...getting into decent physical shape.
...I hear a change is as good as a holiday.
...starting my own bookkeeping business.
...the opportunity to earn more money.

A door closes and a window opens!

Maybe I should begin with my own yard...

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I chuckled when I read Val's current post about the traditional windmills of Holland, as I had just saved these photos for an upcoming post of my own!

These windmills are located in southern Alberta, where the wind blows and blows...and blows...
A couple of weeks ago, as I was driving through the area, I found myself smitten by these curious structures dancing and spinning their ballet against the skyline.

I was so impressed - and curious - that I approached a lone dancer in order to photograph it.
The shed at the foot of this wind-catcher gives some perspective as to the immense size of these ingenious power-generators.

Windmills - Canadian style?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Crossover Season

Daylight savings time is traditionally the date when we bring out the mountain bikes. It's rather early this year and there is still snow on the tracks and trails. The roads are clear for now, but it could dump again at any time - March is known as the month of large snowfalls around here...
So, for the next six weeks we'll be wheeling in the valleys while still sliding on the slopes.
It's the season of wet trails and corn snow, of pedaling and puffing up steep grades and sitting back in the sun and drinking beer on the resort patio.
It's a mix of two entirely different sports that wind up complimenting each other in the end.
It's time to welcome Spring!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Tree Huggers

This photo gives a decent perspective as to how demanding the terrain is in the back bowl.
It's steep and it's deep!

I took this pic with my skis on - eeeks.

In here, the last place one wants to end up is hugging a tree...

Friday, March 09, 2007

Meatloaf for Dinner

Last night we went to the Meatloaf Concert in Calgary. It was a great show and that man can sing!

It all started approximately thirty years ago when I was living on the prairies of Saskatchewan. The album Bat Out Of Hell was at the top of the charts and my best friend, Colleen, and I settled into the thick of it. Many of our party nights consisted of belting out the words and gyrating to Paradise by the Dashboard Light and swaying to the bittersweet melodies of Two Out of Three Ain't Bad.

Six weeks ago I received a phone call from Colleen and she told me she had tickets to the upcoming Meatloaf concert in Calgary. Needless to say, I jumped on the bandwagon - and dragged George along with me. In reality, I was more excited about a reunion with Colleen than I was about attending the concert...

On Thursday I rose early and moved through my regular routine with a touch more alacrity than usual. I had to plan ahead for the trip to Calgary and the possibility of not making it home by Friday morning to send the kids off to school. Our older daughter, Beth, was looking after her younger siblings, as well as the running of the household, while we were gone.

I had to work, but only for a couple of hours, so that gave me time to get things ready for the three-hour trip through the mountains. I packed a light lunch consisting of a baguette, some bruschetta - from a jar, garlic sausage, cheese, fruit and baby carrots. Finger food is great while on the road. The bottle of wine I packed is now sitting in my fridge - unconsumed.

George and I hit the road shortly after one o'clock in the afternoon. The highway through Kootenay National Park (KNP) had been closed overnight because of black ice and poor driving conditions, but was re-opened by the time we left. Unfortunately, the Trans Canada Highway between Lake Louise and Golden was closed indefinitely due to a dangerous mud slide and all traffic had been rerouted through KNP. The entrance to the highway into the park is through a narrow canyon and the number of semi trailer trucks that were traveling that road was astounding. We had to wait in a scary spot while the huge trucks attempted to negotiate a tight turn, from both directions, between the high rock walls - they were literally getting stuck!! It was nuts, but we made it.

We arrived in Calgary and met Colleen and her partner, Greg, at their hotel. The drive from Saskatchewan is longer than it is from our valley and Colleen's kids are grown, so they spent the night there. We had to be home in order to get our own children off to school and George off to work.

After a beer in the pub and a light dinner, we drove to the concert venue. I was reliving the last concert we saw there, and it was no comparison... The Who vs Meatloaf/second row centre vs semi nose-bleed seats high above the stage?

The show itself was great. Meatloaf has such an amazing voice and he puts his heart and soul into his performance. His band is very good and the two girls who were singing backup were fabulous. The lighting was well done and the audience had fun singing to all his old favourites, as well as to some new material. There is some good music and I would like to get his new album.

I did catch myself yawning through the performance, but only due to the fact it was my own bedtime. The show ended about eleven o'clock and we still had a long drive ahead of us. After dropping Colleen and Greg off at the hotel and joining them for a drink, which consisted of a glass of water, we were on the road again. George drove and he made it as far as Lac des Arcs near Exshaw in the mountains. I could hardly hold my own eyes open, so we had a forty-five minute nap at a roadside pullout. The stars were bright and the wind whistled and rocked about the van as we caught a few winks.

After resting, we continued on with George driving and I still dozing until Castle Junction where George had to stop. I took over the driving and we wended our way back through KNP. I had to stay on my toes, because the main highway was still closed and the park road was overly busy with trucking traffic. We made it to our valley where I had to stop because I simply could not keep my eyes open. George drove the final ten kilometres and we arrived home just after four o'clock in the morning. We literally dropped into bed - entirely exhausted!

The kids woke me up at seven thirty this morning and I saw them out the door - after they had readied themselves on their own. I was quite impressed! I guess there is a good thing about regular routine. Once everyone was gone, I fell back into bed and slept for another four hours.

George is still at work and I expect we'll have an early night this evening!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

I haven't been tagged, but here goes - just in case Gypsy can't make it...

Book: The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights.

Author: John Steinbeck

(Taken from the Winchester Manuscripts of Thomas Malory and re-written in today's English).

Page 123 - 5th Sentence :
"Lastly, tell him I can do much more than that and I will prove it to him when the time comes."
She went to her lands in the country of Gore, and she strengthened her castles and towns, and armed and provisioned them, because in spite of her brave message she lived in fear of King Arthur.

I used only two sentences, because it was the end of the chapter...

It was a bit of a stretch when it comes to arms length, because the book nearest to me was my recent print-out of Pete Townshend's "Who He", which has yet to contain more than seven pages!