Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Souvenirs. John Prine and Steve Goodman

We heard this song on CBC Radio 2 this morning. It's one of my favourite John Prine songs (okay lets face it, I have a lot of favourite John Prine songs). Which compells me to write several things. 1) B and I are, in case you hadn't noticed, passionate about music. We have several favourite radio stations. Alberta's own public radio station, CKUA (about which I have written much elsewhere) used to be our absolute favourite, but recently we've been really disappointed with their programming. Brother-in-law E introduced us to Radio Paradise a couple of years ago, and it has also become a great favourite, although technically it is a rock station and at times it's a bit too rocky for me. Still, we've learning a LOT about music from RP, and I love that you can vote on the songs and comment about them. Finally, in the last little while we've become CBCers more and more. I like the classical programming (B's not such a big fan) and the morning announcer, Tom Allen, is both informative and funny and he plays a good mix. Which brings me back to John Prine. 2) Growing up, John Prine was an artist that my Dad loved and we kids all loved to hate. But as we grew older, we all discovered how much we actually really do like him. His music has a way of touching you right where you're at. And this song, Souvenirs, is one of those. I often feel like though I am very young (a fact of which I am continually reminded by various social groups in my acquaintance) I feel much older in my soul. "I hate reading old love letters, for they always bring me tears. Can't forgive the way they rob me of my sweetheart, souvenirs." For some reason this line really touches me. Here's a live clip of John Prine and Steve Goodman singing the song back in the day (love John's mustache...he looks like our neighbour) The song gets cut off, so if you like it, you'll just have to go out and buy the album.
ARTIST: John Prine
TITLE: Souvenirs
Lyrics and Chords

All the snow has turned to water
Christmas day has come and gone
Broken toys and faded colors
Are all that's left to linger on
I hate graveyards and old pawnshops
For they always bring me tears
Can't forgive the way they rob me
Of my childhood souvenirs

Memories, they can't be bought'n
They can't be won at carnivals for free
It took me years, to get those souvenirs
And I don't know how they slipped away from me

Broken hearts and dirty windows
Make life difficult to see
That's why last night and this morning
Always look the same to me
I hate reading old love letters
For they always bring me tears
Can't forgive the way they rob me
Of my sweetheart souvenirs

Monday, September 29, 2008

Harvest 2008

Last weekend B and I drove up to Lacombe so B could work in the office for a couple of days...and it also worked out that we were able to be around for the weekend, just as my Dad's new combine arrived. Dad got it operational on Friday and then Saturday was combining day. Saturday morning was still too wet to start, so we ran an errand over to our longtime friends H&I, who own a dairyfarm nearby, and we put a big stack of straw bales up in the loft of the barn. At around noon Dad and T and B did some sample combining and then we took a sample across town to the elevator, where we were informed that the barley was just dry enough. So Dad and T and B spent the rest of the day out on the tractor and combine and in the grain truck. Meanwhile, I caught the close-to-last window for harvesting apples and consequently made some sauce and delicious crab-apple jelly. It was an absolutely delightful weekend.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Non-working blogger...

Bah! I was all excited about sharing a whole forest of interesting tree pictures today, but the upload feature on blogger is most definitely not working properly today. Grrr. Patience has never been a virtue I have been in great excess of... So please stay tuned and check back on the "Montanan Trees" blog...there's more to come!

Montanan Trees

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Trip to Montana

On the weekend B and I took a roadtrip with J&M down to Montana; mostly for the fun of it, but also to see Molly's family, do some shopping and experience the landscape that is Montana. We had bright sunshiney weather when we needed it, which made the trip that much more enjoyable, and a big thunder and rainstorm, which made the air cooler and less dusty. We stayed in the small town of Dutton, where Molly's mum grew up and in fact stayed in the house that Molly's mum grew up in! Molly's grandparents were incredibly friendly and hospitable--expecially considering B and I were just strangers. They went out of their way to make us feel welcome and were interested in our lives and willing to share about theirs--something unfamiliar and welcome to me, who has never really had deep grandparent relationships. We drove into Great Falls Friday night to do some shopping, each of us coming away with some interesting and cheaper-than-in-Canada purchase (I got to visit a Victoria's Secret store for the first time ever!). Grandma Marci expected a fashion show when we got home, and we were glad to do so (well, except for my VS purchases). ;) Saturday we had breakfast with Grandma Marci and then drove out to the mountains over what really could be called the equivalent of a Forestry Trunk Road--it was clay-y and wet and full of potholes. Thankfully, we took Grandma's Jeep rather than attempting the road with our little Matrix. We visted the grandparents' cabin and the outfitting lodge where both Grandma and Grandpa have worked over the years--Grandma as a head cook and Grandpa as an outfitter and wrangler, which he was out doing when we arrived there. We climbed up to the top of cliff across the valley from the cabin--a hike Molly had done before and wanted to share with us. It was absolutely beautiful there--dry like Kootenay Plains but also clearly further south, with the danger of rattlesnakes, with cacti growing along the way and with the sweet smell of sage. Sunday we drove home again, stopping several times to do geocaches along the way, and making it back across the border completely painlessly. It was a most memorable trip!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Where I'm From

I found the template for this poem/musing/list on a friend's blog and I just love the exercise. So here's a little insight into me. Thanks Shannon. :) Where I'm From I am from sweaters with thumb holes; From blogspot.com and Coffee and S'Cream I am from the grey house with the purple door except that our door is around back where the door bell doesn't work; where the neighbour kids laugh and play and smile shyly through the fence at us. I am from masses of thriving shasta daisies and blossomless poppies and sunflowers, from learning how to grow in Calgary's soil and climate and waking up each morning to disvover how our garden has changed. I'm from cuddling under the heavy wool comforter on the morning of the first snow. I am from freckles and bad knees; From Bedstemor and Beppe, whose legacies reach far beyond arthritis. I'm from all kinds of music played all the time and insecurity and a tendency towards bitterness; From "don't take any wooden nickels" and whuppins. I am from precarious Baptistness with a touch of Lutheran symbolism and a lack of Christian Reformity and a desire to drop the denominations and gain the relationship. I am from Frieslanders and Danes, from frikadellers and Johnny's skinny pancakes. From late night Pink Panther and Marx Brothers movies borrowed from the library and watched forwards and backwards, sped up and slowed down to the point where me and the boys could all quote all the words; From Jane Austen movies and folk concerts, music and geocaches and hikes and runs, From getting married young and learning who I am while learning who Brent is, and sharing these experiences of growth and change. From all the pictures stored up on Brent's computer that I am in and Brent isn't--because he's the one taking the pictures. From being surprised how normal I look in the pictures--more than normal: being surprised that I might not actually be as awkward and frumpy as I feel inside. From being amazed and proud at how talented Brent is at photography and from visiting interesting places knowing that he will unlock previously unknown beauty from them through the lens of his camera. From being frightened and excited about all the places we will go where photographs are waiting to be discovered. And hoping that these images will need my words to accompany and complete them. Edited to Add: Thanks George Ella Lyon, for stopping by and claiming credit for the original poem. :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Today's Links

Just some websites we've seen in the past couple of days that might be of interest.
 First, I have to endorse the very cool site for avid readers: www. goodreads.com And if you decide to join, please add me as a friend...I'm always interested in learning about other books I should read. Also, see my goodreads widget on the right hand side of our blog.
An interesting solar community in Okotoks. How much would we like to move there... http://www.dlsc.ca/how.htm
Brent's famous!!! Or at least his photographs are. :) A blog about photoblogs: http://www.blogonphotoblogs.com/ And where Brent is featured: http://www.blogonphotoblogs.com/image-of-the-week-9
 Food for thought about births, deaths and carbon emissions. Look how much faster people are born than they die. It's almost enough to decide not to have kids. Almost, but not quite. :) http://www.breathingearth.net/

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Windows In Edinburgh et al

Today's food for thought: Windows in Edinburgh. Good news for old windows, potentially. Oh to live in a house with old windows. Might sound like an odd thing, but after reading a blog about the joys and trials of counter-weighted windows, I've gained a great appreciation for them. Also, any intrepid blog readers out there want to offer advice on power adapters/converters for laptops? With Denmark looming up in the distance, we need to invest in something that will make European 220 volts into 110 volts that my lappy can use. Do we need an adapter? a converter? both? And where's the best place to get this doohickey? Having a frustrating and not-so-proactive afternoon, so we pulled out the album Camino by Oliver Schroer. Schroer came recommended to me by my cousin G, and he was just the thing for this afternoon. Thoughtful and provocative, introspective without lulling us to sleep. Just that much different from "normal" classical violin music to require us to lean in and listen more carefully. There's no real good videos on youtube or I would attach one, but you could listen to clips on Schroer's website, or order an album. Last night for supper we made Smoked Salmon Bisque. It was incredibly tasty. We didn't have Old Bay Seasoning, like it called for, but I looked it up on wikipedia and made my own version. Mustard, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, celery salt, bay leaf...what could be better? Finally, we went to Avenue Diner on Stephen Avenue this morning with E&B. If you haven't been there, I highly recommend it. Great food, great ambience, cheerful and kind staff. A great way to start off the day (with two of our favourite people!).

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

BBC and Jane Austen

BBC: One of our favourite things about our trip to England (and there were many!) was BBC television. It was so very different than American broadcasting and different still than CBC. Their news coverage is relayed in a far more friendly manner; the weather is divided up into reports on hourly changes; the everyday evening programming is more than just Law and Order and CSI (try gardening shows and cooking shows and history shows!). Back home here, we are rarely disappointed by BBC movies, and luckily for us, the Calgary Public Library has lots of selection! Jane Austen: I have loved Jane Austen's writing since I was a little girl (perhaps empire waisted dresses should come back in style?!). And the many film adaptations of her novels rarely disappoint. Except Northanger Abbey--the film adaptation of it is horrible. Incidentally, we never made it to Jane Austen's house while we were in England, which is really too bad. A good friend of mine did go, however, and she brought me back a book! Last night we borrowed the 2008 BBC production of Sense and Sensibility. The Emma Thompson-directed and Thompson and Kate Winslet-starring S&S is very lovely, but this new version, as a made-for-tv movie drawn out over three episodes, tells the story in much greater detail (at times embellishing beyond what the book includes). And it's lovely; I highly recommend it.

This morning's song

A song and a music video for you. I'd really like to see K-os live sometime. Which reminds me, Dougie Maclean is coming to Calgary again. If you can make it and enjoy folk-celtic music, I highly recommend you check out the Calgary Folk Club on Friday September 19th. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The end of one month and the beginning of another

On the weekend we had the privilege of taking care of E&B's pets, in particular their affectionate and enthusiastic dog Kiera. We had a wonderful time entertaining her--mostly because her need for walks became our outing to go geocaching (more on geocaching later.) On Sunday we decided to go for a geocaching/picture-taking/Kiera-outing trip to East Central Alberta. The day was drizzly and cool but we didn't care, we were going regardless. I did a total of three geocaches and would have done for if the Dalum Community Hall had not been playing host to an overnight wedding party. All in all, we travelled to Delacour, Rosebud, Wayne, Dalum and Standard in the course of the day, stopping often to stretch our collective eight legs, take pictures and find caches. It was a wonderful trip. And now it is September, and we must stay carefully on track in order to be ready for our trip to Denmark. Already I am feeling overwhelmed with things. I have to do more translation and more conversation practice. We need to build up some more funds and Brent needs to get some serious work done. We need to converse with our Danish family and ensure we're all on the same page as far as when we're there and what we're doing. It's so different than our England trip because in England we didn't know anyone, and could plan according to our whims. In Denmark we have tons of family and one family in particular we are going to spend time with, and we tread a fine balance between allowing them to be hospitable and taking too much advantage of their hospitality. I'm nervous about this. September is the time for back-to-schooling and this year it is a time of re -focusing and "New Year's Resolutions" for me. Setting some daily, weekly and monthly goals personally and for school. Getting reconnected and recommitted to our church family; figuring out how to work towards the ideals that I posted here earlier in the summer. I especially need to take further steps towards the sewing part. But one thing I have realized over the course of the past week is how truly blessed we are--what a good place we are in right now. We both have good jobs; we have hobbies that fulfill us and that keep our minds and bodies active; we have a wonderful church body by whom we are continually blessed and who nudge us continually to remain committed to serving in Christ; we lack for nothing to meet our physical needs. And especially, we have family and old and new friends who love us and challenge us. We are so blessed.