I guess the image is a little fuzzy but you get the idea. Yes, I have been to amazon.ca and I want to warn other Luddites who have been avoiding Cyber Monday and On-line shopping and consumerism in general. It's way too easy. Once you have an account on amazon, they remember you, they remember your shipping address and your credit card number. Unless you need to change those two things, all it takes is a couple of mouse clicks and yes! your order's on its way. Sure, they show the balance of your order and offer free shipping on a lot of things and on orders over $25. Too easy.
Nor are you limited to such mundane and boring devices as traditional books, you can buy Kitchen Aide mixers and cordless drills at big discounts. (Even if you haven't baked anything since 1972 and your skill with wood working is nil, it's tempting.) You can get DVD's for great movies and for any season of your favourite tv show. There are toys for the kids and electronic gadgets. A Kindle, maybe? A plethora of choices all at the click of a mouse. Now I have a new possible diversion to control. It could turn out to be expensive.
And it's kind of fun. It's not like the old catalogue shopping. I ordered my gift books three days or so ago. This morning my even more Luddite husband comes in holding a plain brown box. "Here," he says. "They delivered this yesterday and it was leaning on the front door." What????F!!!! Of course I tore it open immediately and there they were! The books I'd ordered for Christmas gifts. Too easy.
And just in case my family or friends actually read this. NO...the new book by Ken Follett is not something I chose for you. It's for ME. I saw it while doing a little Christmas shopping Cyber Monday. Way, way too easy.
I wish I could write a book like Oryx and Crake. An intelligent book, an engaging book and one that warns of the folly of our ways. Margaret Atwood is, of course, one of Canada's literary geniuses and I admire her work a lot. It is her birthday today and after the celebrations, I hope she dashes off a chapter or two of Maddadam. I am eagerly waiting its release which will end the trilogy that began with Oryx and Crake.
I am also a writer of much humbler talent and ambition. All the same, now that I've said it, I've let the door of the closet creak open and people know that I like to write. It's not something you just drop into the conversation at a party unless, of course, you're very bored and are ready for the fun to end.
Invariably, someone will ask, trying to look interested, "What have you published?" There's a question. They mean what books have you published and the last book I read was the The Da Vinci Code and it is as good as that? Then I have to confess that I haven't published much other than the odd short story and article in things like the ATA news. Now they don't even try to look interested.
The other reaction you get is the kind of prurient interest that someone has when you announce that you are interested in entymology. "Isn't that, like, bugs?" It's a short-lived fascination with someone who has a completely outlandish hobby. Then their eyes glaze and that's it.
Fair enough, perhaps. There are many other amature artists- painters. People will admire their work and don't ask, "Which of the national galleries would carry more of your work?" Musicians. People applaud and admire their talent. Usually they don't ask which label features their latest album. I am jealous but trying to be adult about it. After all, I am now, out of the closet.
My friends roared with laughter when I announced one evening that I was a closet feminist. They didn't think I'd ever bothered with a closet. I didn't think it was that funny. I am no Gloria Steinem and I'm certainly not politically active, unless you consider wearing a Liberal campaign button in Alberta in the '70's radical. (Thinking back on it, in rural Alberta, maybe it was...)
I worked my entire career as a high school biology teacher. Throughout my 33 years in the classroom, especially when I was younger and more idealistic, I fanatsized that I might influence young women to consider their potential. To strive for something beyond the small town and marriage to a local lad. (Not that there is something wrong with that ambition. It was just that if someone had the talent, I wanted them to spread their wings and give the big, wide world a try.)
I admit it. With a few exceptions, I was an utter and complete failure. At that age you can't combat hormones. There were the serious and hard working girls but they still craved the attention of their male counterparts and would have traded their academic excellence for popularity and a chance to date the football quarterback in a heartbeat.
If I failed, then society has failed more spectacularly. Even though women are depicted in television dramas and movies as doctors, lawyers, crime scene investicators and any number of high powered positions, they are still dressed like Barbies. Low cut tops, short skirts, spike heels. And long perfectly coiffed manes swirl in the wind as they intercept a runaway criminal in those high heels.
There are more women in positions of power, more who have a choice. Some of them opt to be homemakers and raise children. Some are political leaders and some are doctors and lawyers. They just aren't in the same proportions as the men and they still aren't paid equally. I'm in favour of choice and of taking advantage of the best brains and finest minds we have. I just want us to look at women and use their potential.
I guess that now I'm out of the closet, I'll stay out for a while and if I'm not a roaring success, I'll just keep trying.
Gary and I were married November 4, 1972. Some parts of the day were a mistake. The next time I get married it's going to be a June wedding. There are so many more honeymoon possibilites. That being said, we decided to mark our 40th anniversary with a little get away.
You might guess Hawaii but you'd be wrong. We headed out through heavy fog and the threat of freezing rain for Moose Jaw. If it was good enough for Al Capone...
It's not such an odd destination. Temple Gardens in Moose Jaw is a hotel with amenties like a mineral pool and on-site massages. The rooms are pleasant and the price, reasonable. There's the Moose Jaw Casino right across the street. It's a pretty easy place to navigate so it did suit a "mature" couple. The arch in the photo leads into a park but with the twisted trees in the background, I thought it looked "deliciously creepy" It has a forboding feel to it, a kind of 'enter at your own risk' warning. It could lead to a cemetary or be a portal into an alternate reality.
And back to reality- when you follow the walking trails through the park, the most sinister sights are more twisted trees. And really big squirrels. The squirrels are pretty tame and one giant even poked his head around a tree trunk next to me. Another photo op.
The 'deliciously creepy" gate is, in fact, all that remains of one of the first schools in Moose Jaw. The arch was saved and now graces the entrance to Crescent Place. Still, I think it might be the inspiration for some fiction later on.
And forty years? They have gone by pretty fast. Like Moose Jaw, they weren't perfect. There were rough patches and unexpected delights. So - would I do it again? Yes- to both the forty years and Moose Jaw.
I left home with overcast skies threatening snow. It was the end of January and I had a two and a half hour drive to reach my daughter’s house in Edmonton. The longer I drove, the stormier it grew. Soon the wind was sweeping snow across the highway and piling it into drifts in the ditches.
By the time I was on Whyte Avenue, the snow had covered the lines marking lanes
and it was being polished into ice by stormy gusts. The driving conditions were deteriorating by the minute. My biggest scare came as I slid around the corner onto 99th
Despite the storm, my daughter, Andrea and I decided to go out to eat. If we were careful, we’d be fine. The house my daughter rents is old and borders the Mill Creek Ravine. She can almost step from her front door and into a fir and pine forest. The down side is that to
get back onto 99th Street, you have to drive around and up a steep incline. In the winter, you have to speed up the grade to avoid coming to a spinning stop.
We turned the corner and my daughter said, “Give it some gas, Mom.”
As we approached the crest of the hill, the wheels started losing their grip. I wasn’t going to make it.
“Back down and try again,” said Andrea. “This time go faster.”
I had neglected to clean my back window properly and while we were in the house enough snow had accumulated to interfere with my vision as I backed down. With my view limited, I
didn’t turn the corner sharply enough.
I stopped as I realized that we were on our way into the ravine. My new car! It was stuck in snow past my knees and had nestled next to a stand of poplars.
I straightened the wheels. My daughter gave me advice about “rocking”the car to free us. It didn’t work and with the storm I knew that getting a tow truck tonight would be impossible. "I'll
I almost laughed. Andrea was 115 pounds but she got out anyway and we tried again. Of
course, nothing happened.
Just as we were about to abandon the car, two men appeared out of the
swirling snow. They walked down the
hill and without a word, they put their shoulders to the back of the car. I was
immediately free and I gunned the engine to the top of the hill, leaving Andrea
I stopped and was about to go to speak to the men when Andrea arrived.
"Did you thank them?” I asked.
“I tried. They just kept walking.”
Our Samaritans didn’t worry about thanks and their help was routine. It was winter and they had come out of the blizzard, rescued us and disappeared as they had come, back into the
I've been married a long time and often write about everyday events.