Sunday, December 19, 2010

A New Blog

Beth has just started a blog of her own!

If you would like to check it out, go here:
http://dontlaughyoullmeltlikeabanana.blogspot.com

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Big Things and Little Things

As I head into the busiest time of my year, I find that writing and playing on the computer is so low on my list of priorites that I cannot see it through the haze.
I have been very busy at work. Inventory is an important item during the shoulder season, and I have found myself running from room to room, counting and replenishing. It is a rather fun, but time-consuming activity. With all that, and keeping up with the paperwork, I am virtually breathless.
On top of all that, I have attended the resort orientation for the most part of the week. The snow school is now under the umbrella of Panorama Resort, so it is compulsory that all employees attend the official orientation sessions. In past years it has been a simple e-mail to Don or Heather - and I'm in. Not so this season.
It is quite exciting to be involved with a fledgling snow school! We all have a say in how the manual for future years will read and new ideas on how we think the entire operation might run smoothly. There were forty eager, newbie and veteran/young and old, instructors in one big room. It was fun tossing ideas about and voting-in those which we think will stand up and voting-out those we think might flounder. We got to know each other and are now a united front - slightly different from the relaxed ski school of years past.
This is no slur to Don and Heather whatsoever, who ran one of the best ski schools in North America! They were ready for retirement and the ski school had become slightly faded and jaded, as will anything after many years. There is now a renewed energy that we all feel.
Yesterday morning (in the falling snow) we experienced our first on-snow session of the season and, with it, the opportunity to take the new-to-the-mountain instructors on a tour. It was not only to familiarise them with the hill, but to show them the best teaching terrain - a very important aspect of instructing on the slopes.
As the session came to a close, I simply skied off to my office...
I have today off from work, but not resting by any stretch of the imagination. Getting caught up is more like it - but there is more!
We have a two-bedroom condo reserved for three nights - one of the perks of my job. Once I leave this keyboard, I will be spending the remainder of the day cleaning, doing laundry, organising food, supplies and clothing, then packing the food, clothing and outerwear, as well as skis, boots, poles, helmets, etc. The pets need to be looked after, as well. I've left them in the care of Hillory, who lives in the downstairs suite of the house. She is a kindred spirit when it comes to animals!
Bobby and Jenny have their bags packed and ski clothing and equipment ready and waiting. Both of them are pumped for opening weekend. Bobby is bringing a buddy, but unfortunately, Jenny's friend was not able to come along. Beth will be meeting us there later this evening after work, so the girls can ski and hang out together.
If anyone is wondering, we have declared opening Friday at the ski hill an official Statutory Holiday...
On that note, I will abandon my computer and begin my long weekend - and wish you all a good weekend, too!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Waraz Baldy aka "Red"
May 11, 1979 - November 24, 2010
Funeral service 10:00 am at Fiddler on the Hoof Farm.
In lieu of flowers, donations to your local SPCA will be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In His Own Time

.
I see you leaping the Rainbow Bridge - head and tail held high as you gallop with the wind.

I will miss you, my old Friend.

.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Eleventh Hour

We went to visit my horse on Saturday.
I had previously informed the owners of the farm that we were going to see him for one last time and, after that, the rest was in their hands.

I admit, I hadn't visited Red for some time, but he really did look quite well. He had a twinkle in his eye, his winter coat is growing in thick and full, and he had no trouble enjoying the treats we bestowed upon him - the kids and I had assembled a cornucopia of apples, carrots and guinea pig food... After he'd been fed, coddled, crooned-over and scratched in all the right places, we bid our farewells and watched him trot down the hill to the watering hole. His stride was sure, albeit slightly uneven, but it was sure, nonetheless.

During his last supper, as the kids were wont to call it, and during the photo session, I kept looking for something wrong with Red. He does have a new small lump on his neck, but he's got lumps everywhere - nothing out of the ordinary for a horse - and the ends of the hair on his sides are slightly sun-bleached. He wasn't as able to dig into the apple with his past, youthful gusto, but he was still able to bite it in half with a couple of solid crunches. In retrospect, I should have brought his favourite - a can of Kokanee beer.

When we drove away, I bit back tears as I watched him fade into the distance in my rear view mirror. Could this really be the last time I see him?
I resigned myself to it.
But, something was niggling - not sitting quite right. I just know, that I know... that I know...

Later in the evening, when Gene and I were sitting in the hot tub under the half-moon, I asked him how he thought Red looked. Not being a horseman, but an attentive observer, Gene said that he thought Red looked quite well, given the horse's age. I agreed and it was then that I decided to make one, last phone call. Actually, two.

I had to tell the farm-owner to not go ahead until further notice. I also called my long-time friend, Sam, who's farm had originally been the place where I would take Red to spend his retirement days.
Unfortunately, Sam was recently involved in a car accident and, suffering from the after-effects, had been unable to take on the responsibility. I also know she is very connected with the local horsey community and I thought that one last plea might avail and she could pull something out of her hat. Red might not be so near to death's door if he had a place to stay that could offer some good old fashioned TLC.
As it turns out, after some plan B's, plan C's and plan D's, Sam can keep Red at her place, after all!

Red will continue on to be nursemaid for Sam's two weanling fillies. He will live out his golden years in comfort while resting in the quiet pasture outside Sam's front window. He might not be looking out over the lake, but the vista across the valley is equally as magnificent.
My old soldier will no longer have to compete with the rest of the herd for food, nor battle the cold winter winds that howl and swoop down from the icy peaks. Furthermore, he will have a pair of admiring young maids to keep him company.
As Sam puts it, he will be King of the hill and I'm good with that. Red will be, too!

We didn't ask for more, but we got it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

November

The time between

When our world lies back

And heaves a great sigh

Preparing to ease beneath

Its icy blanket of snow

Monday, November 08, 2010

Reality.

I find myself now having to make the ultimate decision.
My old horse's health is failing rapidly and, by all measures, it is apparent he will not make it through the winter. I am loathe to play God, as it were and, aside from the fact that Red has long been my faithful companion, this is also matter that I am wrestling with. Who am I to make the decision as to whether another being lives or dies? That is a tough one, and I could debate it forever.
Red has been with me for the past twenty-two years, and my children have never known life without him. If summer were upon us, and Red was failing as he is now, I would allow him lie down and fall peacefully back into the earth in his own time. But our winters are cruel. An old soldier such as he does not deserve to suffer.
Next weekend Beth, Bobby, Jenny, Eugene and I are going to say our last farewell to our beloved Red.
I have not specified a time, nor will I be there - I could not bear it. The owner of the farm will let me know when he is gone.
His final resting place will be in the shade of a pine grove in his sweeping green pasture on the shores of the lake.
I could not ask for any more.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Dreaming...

Discovering my newly-inherited, antique school bell in the hands of another...
Being late, due to a series of unfortunate events, for my first day of teaching on the mountain...
Skiing on lost skis, while wearing an ill-fitting ski suit, across a dwindling snowpack melting into asphalt...
Injuring my thumb when breaking a speedboat in half as we load it onto a yacht sailing upon a non-existent lake at the resort...
And making a stop, while on board, at the bar for a Guiness during the search for my son who had apparently been playing truant...

Waking up.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Crash

My computer has gone boom.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Birthdays and Beaches

The main purpose of our holiday was to surprise our friend, David, on his 60th birthday, then spend the weekend visiting with him and his family. We hadn't seen David since the banquet in Banff almost a year ago, when he was inducted into the Canadian Ski Instructor's Alliance Hall of Fame. His wife, Jane, had been in touch with us for a couple of months, making plans for our surprise arrival.
Above are the remains of the fabulous food dishes brought by all the guests. I packed my own "famous" potato salad all the way in a cooler. The name tags on our backs were not only our way of introducing us to others, but a way of saying how we know David. Apparently, the fellow in the Hawaiian shirt is David's lover...

The two Grandma's. Jane's mom, Catherine, and David's mom, Ruth. Such sweet ladies - they were the life of the party!

Eugene toward the end of the evening, with a glass of deliciously decadent Grand Marnier for dessert.

Walking it off the next morning in the rain forest. From left to right is David's sister, Linda, Larry, David, Eugene and Heather. I don't know where Jane went...
And Mocha! I mustn't forget Mocha!

The boom of the sea, such as I have never heard before, and the wash of the waves against the shore were all so foreign to me, the land-locked mountain dweller. As well as the gagging aroma of the kelp lining the rocky beach...
That is Jane, appearing again out of the blue, in blue.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Motherhood

Without a doubt, a test of our mettle.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

dragon slayers


The Fair - circa 2001.
That's Jenny riding shotgun with her best right hand friend, Courtney.
And, true to form, Bobby has the dragon by the tail.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Going West

The Trans Canada Highway - meeting construction head on in Salmon Arm. This city, located at the southern tip of Shuswap Lake, is considered to be the "houseboat capital of the world". Ahead of us are Gene's brother, Larry, and wife, Heather. On the first day, we convoyed to Whistler over the beautiful and remote Duffy Lake Road, then stayed in a finely appointed suite at the Club Intrawest Hotel for the night. After a delicious Italian meal at the popular Umberto Menghi's Il Caminetto, we were indeed ready to collapse into a soft, downy bed!

Day two saw us waving good-bye to the Mainland after traveling the newly-upgraded Sea to Sky Highway down the rocky coast of Howe Sound. We sailed from Horseshoe Bay and chugged our way across the Straight of Georgia to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. This is one of the largest and busiest ferry terminals in the province. Operated by BC Ferries as part of the public transit system, the ferry ride cost $75.00 for Gene and I to cross in my mini van.

Larry, Heather and Eugene on deck. The weather - cold and foggy, with misty rain and a spray of salt to top it off. The seas were relatively calm and the crossing was smooth.

This is myself squinting into the wind and, at the same time, leaving a fair-sized wake behind me. The ferry was large, therefore it was deceptively slow. I don't know at what land speed we traveled, but it was not at a snail's pace, to be sure!

Two ships passing in the fog - about fifteen minutes out of Nanaimo. The weather became steadily wetter as we approached The Island. The steward soon annouced that all those traveling via vehicle must go below to prepare for docking and disembarkment.

We were then on to the next stage of our travels.



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

For Gina

Castles in the sand... can be shaped again and again. xo

Thursday, September 09, 2010

my peace

hiroshima
nagasaki
new york

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lonely?
There's a dog under my coffee table.
And a cricket in my flower pot.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Neighbours

Do they not realise that the morning has barely unfolded?
They've been at it since before the sun chanced a peek over the treed horizon, but it now hides its face behind a smoky, leaden layer of clouds. Last night's rain has left puddles glinting on the deck that throw back the dawning grey, and there is a palpable dampness in the blue-tinged air.
The valley would be calm and still, but for the screaming and screeching emanating from the home next door. It seems they quarrel over the smallest of things.
I have duly made note of their names.
Eagle and Osprey.
Please, never let up the bickering!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Set fans at warp 8.
Lock in coordinates
50'28'03.6"N 115degrees59'34.88"W
Engage!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Honest!

I've been bad.
But I've been visiting.
Lurking but not commenting.
Really!
I will make time.

xo

Monday, July 05, 2010

.

Why do bad things happen to good people?
Is it reverse Karma? Or a void, perhaps? Is it a hole, left by someone else's bad Karma not yet fulfilled and lying in wait, into which some gentle, unsuspecting soul might fall?
Is it a momentary imbalance in the Universe? Conceivably, a split second where a tiny rift appears in the weave of the fabric binding the cosmos?
Could it be a trice, where light is superseded by dark and where shadow, let loose, greedily consumes the brightness?
How ever one might fathom it, terrible things can happen to those least deserving. In a breath, a person's world may change. No going back.
And with consequences beyond one's imagining.
Circumstances, bad or good, occur for a reason. Often enough, that particular purpose will not be immediately apparent, but instead, be slowly revealed across the span of time.
That being said, what if there is little time left? What if one is toiling toward the end of their course on earth, and simply looking ahead to a few comfortable years of quiet reflection? In such case, will there indeed be enough days remaining for all to be declared and understood?
My hope is that, when one comes of an age, we are somehow more suitably equipped to deal with horrific misfortune.
As for myself, I can merely send up my heartfelt love and prayers for these dear, kind and worthy friends of my family who may now be trapped in this conundrum. And I commit similar love and prayers to the family that bears the more direct consequence of this tragedy.
God be with you.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Distant booms
and staggered light
Exploding into sparkling orbs
scattering
and disintegrating
Silently tinkling down
into the dark that is the night horizon.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dreaming dreams of having to leave ... and, in those dreams, I am confused and ask myself "why?", as there is nothing I wish to do less ... maybe there is a message realised - the tenuous state that is life itself?

Friday, June 25, 2010

I am taking a deep breath, opening my eyes and searching for words that appear to have eluded me.

Monday, May 24, 2010

that's about as straight as the roads get...

This photo is of one of the most beautiful places I can remember.
A lovely valley nestled among the green folds of the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec.
Interestingly enough, when I go back to visit, I see nothing has changed at all!
Maybe a coat of paint here and there...

Photo courtesy of the world wide web.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Okay, okay!
I'm thinking...

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Happy Mother's Day, Mum!


You are the best!
Can't wait to see you!
xo

Now That's Art!


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Q?

Well, that's that... I'm joining Starfleet!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Erwin

We lost someone special on Monday.
He was a friend and colleague of mine for the past seventeen years and our extended families have grown close over that span of time.
Two years ago he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He and his family put up a brave battle and I have grown to admire their tanicity, closeness and ability to live every day to its fullest.
His entire family continues to be an inspiration for me.
Erwin, we miss you.

xo

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Blanket

This is not a happy story, but I feel compelled to write.
Yesterday, on the way home from Jenny's swim meet in Fernie, we came upon a tragic scene. The first thing I noticed was a red SUV nose down in the left ditch. In the next moment, a wave of horror washed over me as I saw a crumpled sheet laying across the centre line of the highway.
I knew instantly that it was not good.
There were people moving about in the ditch by the vehicle and several more on the other side of the road. Passersby had obviously arrived on the scene before us and were aiding those involved. I then recognised the single red crescent shape of a fender lying on the the pavement before detecting the remaining wreckage of a motorcycle several feet away. There were no police nor any rescue vehicles there yet, so it must have happened shortly before we rounded the curve.
We had pulled over onto the shoulder and were stopped as all traffic had come to a halt in the wake of the accident. A gentleman was speaking with the driver of the car in front of us before approaching our window. He asked if we had a blanket he could use. I told him that we did and retrieved my old, weathered car rug from the back of the van. He promptly carried it across the road and wrapped it gently around the shoulders of one of the victims beside the truck in the ditch.
To those unknown strangers who's lives were touched and taken, I wish you Godspeed.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wonderments and Theories

Have you ever wondered why it is that we are not permitted to spank our children, yet it is entirely acceptable to drug them?
Sadly enough, my theory is that there is no profit in spankings.

Have you ever wondered what happened to the H1N1 influenza pandemic?
My theory is it was discovered that Tiger Woods had several extramarital affairs.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I've been absent
So busy!
I try to keep up
yet fall farther behind
but remember folks
you are still on my mind!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

well I've seen clouds...


This song came to me as I looked out the window of my kitchen while preparing supper this evening.
The little peak of white snow in the middle is, what we call, the top of "Jesse's Monster".
It's way round back of Panorama on the far side of Taynton Bowl - a poached run, as it's out of bounds.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

an old friend ...

Red and Me
Bow Valley Riding Club, Canmore, Alberta 1988

The trail to Carrot Creek between Canmore and Banff, Alberta

Carrot Creek Canyon

Carrot Creek trail

Red at home with his buddies, Earl Grey and Pheonix
The best paddock ever at the riding club!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

lac des trois freres - circa 1957


It is here I learned:

That a bee will sting if provoked.
That a garter snake sunning itself on rock is harmless.
That if I hide beneath the warm, green beach towel I can enjoy the soothing rock of the rowboat with Dad's every pull of the oars.
That a dragonfly and a blue bottle are of different species.
That mountain climbing does not involve crawling on hands and knees on top of the trees while silhouetted against the sky.
That one can have a picnic no matter what the weather.
That on a hot day the heat will permeate the carpet of pine needles that cushions my feet and will rise again to greet me with a warm, sweet aroma unmatched by any other.
That newly-mown dry grass is pokey on little bare feet.
That the buzz of cicadas heralds a sultry day and no matter how far and wide I search, I will never find that chainsaw bug.
That at nap time I can study the worn blinds darkening my window and imagine its pinprick holes are bright stars in a night sky.
That the inside of a canvas army surplus tent is hot in the sun.
That ice blocks won't melt when packed in sawdust during the wagon's delivery to replenish the ice-box.
That draught horses are big - and have poops to match.
That when helping Mum with the laundry I must never stick my hand in the ringer washer.
That Mad magazines are for reading in the hootnanny - but not for too long, as the smell will take over.
That the cuckoo bird in the clock behind the heavy log front door does not want to eat me.
That lightning comes in all shapes and sizes.
That a baby brother, who is still only at the crawling stage, is a good companion when exploring the outdoors.
That valuable flashlight batteries have a habit of rolling out of reach beneath the couch.
That fire can keep us warm as well as fed.
That even when I sleep in my parent's soft, downy bed I can still have unspeakable nightmares.
That I will never learn the secret of Stripe toothpaste.
That Pocahontas is always watching over me.
That a beautiful garden can be an overgrown riot of colour spilling out of control down the hillside.
That I can actually catch a fish with a stout stick, a piece of string and a bent pin.
That I have to be careful when stepping from the dock into the canoe.
That bushes can grow in the water.
That upon waking in the top bunk to not to sit up too quickly.
That my favourite portion of bacon is the rind.
That a potty in the bedroom at night is very handy and helps to avoid midnight treks down the dark path to the hootnanny.
That birds of all sorts will appear once the feeder has been refilled.
That my favourite flower is the tiger lily and geraniums smell funny.
That good neighbours come with a candy bowl.
That the comfiest chairs are the ones with the most pillows.
That woodpeckers can be quite annoying, especially when hammering for breakfast on the tin stovepipe.
That the cellar behind the old double doors is a fascinating and different world with its pleasant earthen aura.
That humming birds can fly backwards and up and down.
That on a misty morning when I skip a flat stone across the smooth surface of the lake the ripples will radiate forever.

Memories are what make up a lifetime...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fire and Ice



This pic was caught about ten minutes before the top photo was snapped. It is a view of the left sundog from above - the ice crystal layer was about half way down the mountain.
No fancy camera - I just pointed and shooted...


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A Good Morning to All


The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow...
I know, those words have been used before, but dawn today was beautiful and it put me in mind of the Christmas poem by Clement Clarke Moore - the words, dashing and dancing through my head, as I trudged through the snow with a pair of skis slung over my shoulder. Jenny is riding the mountain with her Grade Seven class this week and she needed help carrying her equipment to school - a miniature sleigh would have definitely come in handy.
The temperature dipped to minus twenty through the night - it was clear and the air had a particular zing to it. The sun was still well beneath the horizon and a bright half-moon hung high in the sky, giving a luster of daylight to the mountains below.
Tucker frolicked along with us in the waxing daybreak, running ahead and bounding back, only to dash away once more.
In the nearby woods, the deer watched with their soft, brown eyes - until they spied Tucker. Immediately, there arose a large clatter, and I could sense the prancing and pawing of each tiny hoof as the shy creatures took flight through the trees.
The cold air was refreshing and I was loathe to go indoors when I arrived home. So, I shoveled the rest of the snow from the drive before coming inside to stoke the fire and watch the woodsmoke rise up the chimney.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Earthenware

It is a difficult thing
to break the mould,
And all the while
remain intact.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Intent

Poetry clings to me
I must set it free

Saturday, January 02, 2010

2010

I will look forward with the innocence of a child, bringing with me the wisdom of the past.