Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Anniversary

It's Rob and Melissa's anniversary today. Al and Nancy's was just over a week ago; Walter and Faye's around this time too. November is a good month for anniversaries in my family (the harvest is either in by that time or there's no point counting on it). It was my anniversary last Thursday. I remembered several times in the days preceeding it, and then didn't think of it until late Saturday. Lloyd and I were married 21 years ago, and have been separated for just over two years. For the first time, I didn't spend a lot of time arguing with myself in my head; maybe if I had said this, or done that... It felt really good to not have to do that.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Resume procrastination now

Report card marks are due in Monday morning by 9 am. I have several hours to spend finishing up marking. Yesterday I took my van in to get new tires. It meant that I spent five hours at Walmart! If I had had a laptop, I could have spent those five hours marking! (This is the only time that I have wished that I had a laptop). As it was, because I'm still recouperating from a really bad cold, I came home afterwards and went to bed. Then picked up Rose when she got off work, and came back to bed. Today I don't have that luxury - must finish marking! However would love to be back in bed right now. I still have a bad cough, it hurts to breathe and no energy. Aside from that, I'm doing fine.

Took my parents to the airport yesterday. They're off to Florida with Walter & Ruth for a few days in a time share followed by a cruise. They're back in Saskatchewan December 12. I hope they all have a wonderful time. Dad's finished my front hall closet. I'll paint it in January when Rose isn't around, as she's so sensitive to chemicals. Rose is thinking she'll go up to YK for part of January as she'll be done her university classes and she's upgrading her Grade 12 for the next semester and that won't start until Feb 1.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

More mice

I opened the dishwasher this morning to put a dirty cup in and a mouse greeted me. I slammed the door shut and started it, but when my mom checked later, there was no sign of it. However later today mom also saw a mouse in the dishwasher. So Dad's stuffed the air vent with stainless steel wool and hopefully they can't get in there any longer. So far this week, there's been a mouse a day caught in a trap. I'd like to be done with mice!

The Dance

You’ve seen them in movies,
the long line of girls in leotards
working at the barré, as their teacher
walks along, adjusting their positions;
changing the angle of a wrist here, a foot there,
until they know the positions with their bodies.
When I play piano, I want my fingers to dance on the keys.
My teacher therefore helps me to adjust the angle of my wrist,
the position of my foot. She reminds me to not tense my shoulders and
adjusts my hand and body posture until my body knows the positioning.
Then the dance can resume.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Key troubles

Rose has been missing her main set of keys for about two weeks. I supplied her with a second house key and she promptly lost it too. And a third. I was now out of keys, so I went and got three more cut. However, yesterday Rose cleaned her room and found all but the first main set. Last night she found that set in the van.

Now, to be honest, Rose hadn't been able to clean her room because the light burned out and it took a great deal of doing to get it changed. I was finally able to figure out how to unscrew the globe, but not how to put it back. My parents are supposed to be up to visit today, so I'm sure Dad can do that for us. In addition, the armoir in her room tipped over and it took two of us to set it back. Once we had done that, she was able to clean up her room and find all the missing keys.

Ruth suggests that we change to a pushbutton front door lock. She really loves hers. However, our front door lock is strange in that the knob not set the standard distance from the edge that most knobs are; so we're locking the door with a deadbolt, because we can't replace the knob without replacing the front door.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


It’s a love/hate relationship.
The regular tick sounds so comforting;
a steady rate, a steady pace.
Tick, tick, tick.
However, when I try to match it,
it seems to dance around –
I can never quite catch the rhythm.
Too fast... no, too slow – arrgh!
The metronome – my enemy.
Tick, tick, tick.
When I finally do go in time with it
my playing improves so much.
The missed and wrong notes
seem to vanish with the effort spent
matching its steady pulse.
The metronome – my friend.

The good news is

I was able to get someone to come out to see the boiler It ended up being after hours. It was also a very easy fix; a wire had come loose. Ten minutes on his part. Half an hour at after hours billing on my part. Oh well; my tenants have heat and we're all happy. He taped down the wire so it shouldn't happen again. (Last time I had it serviced - just this fall, the wire also came loose too easily).

Rose and I went out last night to W - we needed socks. I swear they vanish into black holes. The rule is... they never sell the same kind you bought last time, so you can't have a whole bunch of matching ones. Ah well, we do have socks again.

While we were there we also bought groceries (it still seems really weird to me to buy groceries at W) and a variety of different mouse traps. At Superstore they only sell the traditional wooden ones (2 for 69 cents) - which may be cheap, but the smarter mice figure out how to get the bait without getting caught. W sells a much wider variety. I got glue traps (which we used all the time in New Guinea), two different types of plastic ones that snap down like the wooden ones do and ones that they go inside of so you don't have to see the mice after they're caught. We set them all last night - I want no more mice! Found one little tiny mouse this morning in a glue trap. Lying there, still alive, quivering. I'm sorry, but I have a hard time feeling sorry for vermin. I set the trap outside so it can freeze to death. It was caught right by the very edge. I wonder if I can use a drywall cutter and cut off that part of the trap and reuse the rest of it? (Am I being too cheap here?)

Monday, November 22, 2010

This weekend

There was a quiz meet this weekend in Regina. Western had two teams competing; one in the B division and one in the C division. The C team was in third place going into the elimination rounds, but was then eliminated. The B team was in fifth place going into the elimination round, and ended up in third place overall! All of the quizzers did very well and can be commended. Three of our quizzers ended up in 2nd, 11th and 13th place overall in their respective divisions. That's a very satisfactory result.

I had a phone call this morning at 5:45 saying there's no heat in my four-plex. I'm waiting until 8 am so I can call a plumber. Of course it's bitterly cold out and I'm feeling very badly for my tenants. I hope it's something fairly minor.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Mom Thiessen has been transferred to Moose Jaw hospital. I'm glad for her; it will be much easier for the family to get there to visit her. Darlene's surgery went well and Kalina and Graham are back from Mexico. They apparently were out snorkeling when the hotel blew up.

This weekend is a quiz meet here in Regina. It's also the regional playoffs for volleyball. I have two quizzers that are in both volleyball and quizzing. However, because they've got a really good chance of getting to provincials in volleyball, I may not see them at all for quizzing. We'll have to see.

Leslie, Loopie and Bayley are back from PNG. They came over for supper last night. It was good to see them and visit with them, but they were still pretty exhausted from the flights. I hear on the radio that it's -25 this morning - what a welcome back to Canada!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More poetry

I remember the poems from my childhoood,
"I think mice are rather nice" - and Bobby Burns'
"Week, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,"
but it's different when they're in my kitchen,
In my food, running across my floor.
Mice aren't the least bit nice -
I want no mouse in my house.

The far north is known for cold and snow,
But Regina beats Yellowknife for wind.
Wind-whipped snow, making it hard to see;
Check the road conditions before you head out.
Drifts in the driveway, swirling snow on the highways
Winter conditions exist. Drive with care.

Piano Frustration
Thursdays are my weekly humility lesson.
It keeps me young (at times, I feel like I'm six again,)
"Count the beat", "Pay attention to the notes", "listen!"
Things go much better when I practice more -
there's no way to hide what I have or haven't been working on.
This past week, what with going up to the hospital to visit,
And the rest of the demands on my time, my practice time suffered.
I could tell. Sorry Lore. Next week will be better.

That incredible sinking feeling
My chair behind the circulation desk
Sits higher than most office chairs –
Which is a good thing because
The circ desk is higher than most desks.
However high I may start out,
I gradually sink, until I end up typing
With my hands near my shoulders.
It allows me to go on a short trip
Without ever moving from my chair.
It also forces me to get out of my chair
Regularly, because I can only get it to
The top again by standing up.
Well, they recommend that you move
Around and stretch regularly if you’re working
In a sedentary occupation.
My chair ensures that I follow recommended

Quiet Please
The stereotype of a librarian
is a spinster with her hair in a bun,
horn rimmed glasses and a stern demeanor,
shhhing everyone who comes in.
Marion the Librarian.
I understand that depiction.
It's quite the balancing act between
being a welcoming space where
students can hang out and
having the space too loud
for students to study or work.
Some students seem to operate
with their personal volume
set to LOUD.
Some classes seem to operate
that way as well.
I do more shhhing than I care to.
On the other hand, I have students
who come to the library who would never
be there if all you could do
was sit quietly
and read a book.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Update on Mom Thiessen

Bram and I were up to see Mom between five and six pm. She's doing much, much better. She was just finishing up supper; it was a regular meal and she cleaned her plate, her head was elevated and she was very awake and "with it" although still in a fair bit of pain.

The doctor did one of his flying visits through as well. He said it would be at least three months before she was totally healed and that if we wanted, they could transfer her to Moose Jaw when a bed became available there. He warned, however, that it could take some time for a bed to become available in Moose Jaw.


I've been writing poetry because I teach creative writing this semester, and I don't want to require my students to do something that I don't try myself. Here's my latest efforts:

My mother-in-law broke her hip
this weekend, and travelled by
ambulance first to Moose Jaw, then
to Regina. She had surgery last night.

It hurts to see her hurt like that.
Lying there in the hospital bed, she
didn’t look like herself – white face
surrounded by white sheets.

Tremors from Parkinson’s and pain
shaking her arms and hands,
helpless, with little hope, wanting
the small comfort of having her hair
combed and arranged.

All we can provide is small comforts.
The touch of a hand, sharing a prayer,
our presence – such little things when
what we want is to remove the pain.

It’s painful to share with family; what
happens next? What plans should we
make? Do you need a place to stay?
Sharing the pain makes it more bearable.
Sharing our love with the pain.

Rider Pride

I had forgotten until I moved back
How all-important the Riders were.
Sunday was a playoff game.
People wore green everywhere;
In church, in stores, on the street.
Driving past the stadium, it was a sea of green.

Later, cleaning windows, we had regular
Updates by texting. They’re behind,
they’re ahead, 12 seconds left... game tied.
Even buying gas, allowed us to get an update
From another customer – they won
In double overtime!

That night checking facebook –
My niece in Korea was also following the game –
listening to internet radio.
I don’t own any “rider gear” –
And I’ve never been to a game.
Am I really from Saskatchewan?

Fog on Saturday
White tree limbs against gray sky
Ready for Christmas

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Grandma Thiessen

I was up earlier than usual for a Sunday morning - helping Al and Nancy do the windows at The Gap, when my cell phone rang. It was my nephew, Ben, stating that my mother-in-law had fallen and broken her hip. They had taken her by ambulance to Moose Jaw and then she was transferred to Regina General.

Rose went up right after service this afternoon and spent over two hours with her. I went up a little later. Mom was coherent at that time, but in a great deal of pain. We went up a little after 7 pm and the nurse told us that they had just taken her into OR. That's all I know for now, but I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Of mice and (wo)men

Well, although we got that big hole in the cupboard sealed up, I still have mice. We've searched through the house, and have found two more large holes - one around the pipes in the furnace room and one around the pipes behind the washer and dryer. These are not the small little holes you might find around normal plumbing stacks - say the size of a quarter - these are closer to being a foot square. My brother-in-law and I have a date this morning to see if we can seal up all the holes.

He was asking me whether I'd consider having a cat. Not unless it was the only possibility. I'm not a cat person, and I really don't want a pet. So we'll work on sealing up the holes first.

Friday, November 12, 2010


My grandfather fought

in the “war to end all wars”,

and celebrated the first armistice

as a prisoner of war.

This “solemn day of remembrance”

became years of remembering, as at the

end of his life, he relived his time in prison camp.

That first great war did not end all wars,

our young men and women still die overseas

in wars that we don’t understand. How many of

the survivors will live out their lives, unwillingly

remembering combat; comrades lost in battle, the fear,

loneliness and danger – trying to cope in times of peace

with skills honed for battle. As age wearies them, will they

be condemned to fight once again for peace in their own lives?