Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day 6, Last Day in Calgary

Today is my last day in Calgary and the last day of work on this expedition.

About the purse. I had left it behind that evening so I was pretty sure I had left it in the Courthouse. I wasn't too worried because one can't get much more secure than that. But then it wasn't there. Mary rallied the troops and took me to security while I called my office. As we were about to run out of options, our Grande Cache receptionist confirmed I had left my purse in the file room.

For the faint at heart, I assure you, this is a lifetime disability that I manage well most of the time. I have built in small routines and habits to help keep track of my stuff. I credit this need for order for my success in my chosen profession. I have decided to take Mary's suggestion, however, and trim down to a knapsack.

Art caught up on the laundry. I checked in online, putting my boarding pass on my iPhone, and we will print his at the airport. After my last disastrous attempt at paperless boarding, he insists on carrying his paper. I'll give it another shot, seeing as I am representing the bridging generation of records people who are supervising the death of paper. I want to see if this works.

What happened last time, you ask? I loaded both e-mails on my iPhone, and fumbled to find them for unacceptable seconds in front of airport security. I was dryly advised not to put two passes on a single phone again. Art simplified the arrangement even further, declaring that never, never again will he board with a paperless pass.

Kathy cooked us barbecue chicken with a Waldorf salad. Refreshing!

Tomorrow, we fly to Nanaimo!

Did I mention that I have been wearing hiking boots the whole trip?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Days 4-5, Working in Calgary

I spend the next two days working out of the Calgary office, downtown. The weather is brisk, cloudy, with spits of rain and lazy bursts of sun. The office is on the sixteenth floor, which gives us pleasant glimpses of the Bow River and a hazy horizon cloaking the mountains. No crisp, clean profile of the Rockies on this visit.

Art and I trade time between my friends' house, Brock and Kathy, and Art's sister, Mary. Both offer their own unique brand of hospitality; Mary and Dan's famous garage that defies descripiton.
And then Brock and Kathy's home, the other half of the "odd couple", their home a study of simplicity and order.

On Tuesday I take a walk at lunchtime, and enjoy a crispy Panini at a local coffee shop. The spring air, warm provolone, and occassional waft of cinnamon from my Chai delight my senses.

A quick anecdote for my UK friend; Brock and Kathy are descended from the Sheffields, the knife-making Sheffields. Kathy agrees that the Canadian croissants are awful, but she assures me that there are proper French bakeries in Calgary.

Did I mention I lost my purse? Art was not surprised, but it shook Mary up enough that she checked that I had all my stuff ever after.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Day 3, Edmonton to Calgary

My students wrap up their final assignments, and Art and I hit the road for Calgary. We pass straight through the city, crossing the North Saskatchewan on the high level bridge. More fields and cattle. These herds are mixed, like rainbow peppercorns sprinkled over the hills.

I nap, but rest eludes me. Inexpicably, my blood sugar rises all day. I will take care to take my lunchtime pill and exercise after eating, and see if that makes a difference.

We take the time to cruise through Art's old neighbourhood. The home he lived in for tweny years is renovated and up for sale again.

We set up the cots we brought with us in Mary's (Art's sister) living room. Mary's heart lives large. Her door is always open.

Day 2, Edmonton Training

This weekend I am wrapping up the second half of a continuing education course for more than a dozen participants. The course is Managing Electronic Records Management at NAIT. The profile of participants has changed over the last couple years. Over half are either looking for work or a promotion from their existing position. It is gratifying watching them supporting each other in their learning.

This evening dad and Dawn treated us to dinner at Runway 29. The pub has a wavy wall, too. Dawn took complete pleasure in watching the game between the Jays and the Rangers. We caught up on all the news. Dawn is worried about dad's health. They are taking full pleasure from life, as long as their bodies let them.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 1, Grande Prairie to Hinton

We are about to drive in to Hinton on our way to Edmonton. The weather is mild, with a sprinkling of rain. We got our picture taken leaving Grande Cache by a pair of tourists from Kentucky on their way to Alaska.

Leaving Grande Cache
They agreed we live in beautiful country. I am grieving the loss of altitude, the wild sharing of verdant spring with wintry heights. I noticed Lone Teepee Creek, winding it's way alongside the road, rushing with the revitalizing waters of spring.

Hinton to Edmonton
The second half of our trip is fairly uneventful, cruising through farmland. I see the beef herds have recovered from the mad cow scare a few years ago. I saw a large herd of Black Angus. Check-in was smooth. I had a pleasant visit with my son at the hospital. He showed me Lois Hole's garden; very soothing. I was also taken by a wavy interest wall in the chapel.

Dinner was at my daughter's. Hubby, Art, opened with, "Pasta Again?", depending on the generosity of others to recognize his peculiar brand of humour. It took a good part of the evening for him to return to Crystal's favour. I enjoyed watching Crystal and Naomi working together in the kitchen, preparing the sphagetti and salad, one on either side of the galley kitchen. Naomi has but an inch to go to catch up with her mother. She turns twelve this month.

After dinner Crystal and I walked the dog through our old neighbourhood. I peeked over the fence at my old garden; the perennials are filling in nicely.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Field Trip Day 0

Hubby and I are off on an expedition of epic proportions, crossing Provincial boundaries, flying puddle jumpers, and clocking hundreds of kilometers on our intrepid Honda. Some have questioned if I am able to separate myself from work to take the time to enjoy myself in the next two weeks.

To prove my capacity for leisure, I will blog our trip daily. Tomorrow morning we pack and set on the road for Edmonton. In Edmonton I will be wrapping up instruction on a Continuing Education course at NAIT, RIM 103 - Managing Electronic Records Management Systems.

Today we rose to a solid bank of fog (cloud), mountains cloaked in foamy spring growth, topped with a fresh icing of snow. I feel like we are living in the shadow of Shangri-La.

I am reading Bob Schacochis' "Swimming in the Volcano". Besides the terrific use of language in this book, it gives a vivid picture of a modern third-world society. The descriptions summarize so well what I've read of the modern history of Africa. "...[would be first-world entrepreneurs act] as courtiers trying to win the attention of a harridan widow, a mauled-over bitch who had inherited the broken kingdoms of her ancestors. Either way, you could hardly call it romance." (p. 109)

Oh, and the book is a fantastic adventure read. Be prepared for a bemused, rollicking ride that overtakes our current collection of best-selling authors.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Stone Diaries

Having run out of pulp fiction this weekend, I dived in to my collection of classics I had picked up the last time I visited Never Without a Book. (This little second-hand bookstore in Northeast Edmonton is a treasure all in itself. Local bibliophiles owe it to themselves a visit.) The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields, weaves tale of woman in a most fantastical interior shape, a carrot grown in a rocky bed. The story also carries me through the modern history of a corner of Canada; also real in it's taste and sounds.

Very much like my family this one, volumes told by all that is left unsaid.

This worthy book has a few quotes I must keep. Here they are:

Of siblings reminiscing, "They shudder with the heat of their own dramas, awestruck by the doubleness of memory, the hold it has on them, as mysterious as telephone wires or the halo around the head of the baby Jesus. Memory could be poked with a stick, savoured in the mouth like a popsicle, you could never get enough of it." (Motherhood, page 175)

Of a father in the twilight of his life, choosing a new path, "...jubilant, anethetized against tomorrow's faint heart and second thoughts, uncertain whether he was moving close to the center of his life or selling off some valuable part of himself. But immediately, with a shudder of joy, he knew what might be done, could be done. Happiness coursed through him in that instant, decision's homely music." (Ease, page 277)

The same father's regret, "...there are chambers, he knows, in the most ordinary lives that are never entered; let alone advertised, and yet they lie pressed againsts the consciousness like leave specimens in an old book." (Ease, page 279)