Black Friday Update


English: Front of black iPad 2.

English: Front of black iPad 2. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mom’s visit shot the whole NaBloMoPo to hell. We put her in the office because Rob was worried about her going up and down stairs from the yoga/guest room. He didn’t want her to fall and break a hip or something.

Mom, it should go without saying, found this a highly annoying assumption because “I can go up and down stairs just fine”. I mollified her somewhat with,

“It’s warmer on the main floor, Mom.”

Which is true and so Rob’s status as adored son-in-law is in no danger, but she gets cranky when it appears that we are factoring her age into any decisions or plans we make regarding her visits. This despite the fact that she readily admits to not really enjoying going out after dark or walking long distances.

Her presence in the office curtailed my blogging simply because she stands behind me, noting and reading. I hate that. Only Rob can get away with reading over my shoulder when I am at the computer and even he is pushing it a bit by doing so.

Do not hover while I am at the keyboard and definitely don’t read over my shoulder. I am uncertain as to why this even needs to be said as it should just be a given.

After Mom left, however, I have no excuse beyond just not feeling well.

Same old aging female shit but wearyingly so this past week. Moved me to even make an appointment with my Family Doc, who is so unhelpful she actually said,

“So what do you think we should do?”

Yes, it has come to that. I must Google and then decide my treatment and she will simply facilitate. Universal care at its finest.

But that’s a tmi post for another day – really.

Today marks the mid way point toward gearing up for Rob’s mother’s extended visit with us and Christmas.

The two things will overlap at some point.

Sometime before they do, we have a wall bed to install in the office, a hardwood floor to lay in the living room, hallway and dining room, the latter-most needing to be gutted and dry-walled first, and a fair bit of stuff shuffling and purging to accomplish. This in between our regularly hectic schedule of yoga, Girl Guides, soccer and general daily maintenance.

No biggie.

Mom’s visit coincided with Dee’s Fall Break. I normally scale back that week by cancelling my community yoga classes and since Dee’s Guides don’t meet – we have a “slow” schedule.

More than once, Mom commented on the “slower pace” of our lives. She is used to her own out and about-ness, and the never-ceasing movement of my sister, DNOS’s, life as a working/hockey mom.

Part of the issue is that we live rurally and now that it’s winter, we don’t drive around needlessly. Trips anyway take long enough with good roads.

Mom is not used to be so still and in such quiet conditions though I would say that when Rob and Dee are at work and school during the week, the silence around me rivals that of a monastery. And I like it that way.

Without the constant background noise of tv and “city” life and the ability to jump in her car and toddle out to the grocery or visit friends, Mom was a bit bored.

Facebook helped. Now that Mom has an iPad (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d type), she is fast becoming addicted to virtual life. She facebooks, pins and goodreads. Heaven help us if she discovers Twitter. It’s gonna be “shit my mom types”.

The iPad isn’t all bad. With the Facetime feature, she has pretty much given up phoning us and it’s been good for her and for Dee to be able to talk face to face. Mom loves it so much, she is giving DNOS an iPad for Christmas even though they see each other in person nearly every day.

She is even talking about needing a smart phone because she was quite impressed with my ability to take and post pictures to my FB feed using my Android.

Not a sign of the apocalypse but certainly a seismic shift.

With the blackness of Friday encroaching on us here in Canada, I contributed to the Canadian economy yesterday with a few more Christmas purchases. I have a few more yet to make and then I am done but for wrapping.

It’s a scaled back year though that is relative. For us, scaled back means something different from what it does for people in the US for whom money is more of an issue.

I have issued a “please don’t buy me anything” edict again this year. I even turned down the offer of a new iPod from my mom. I have a wish list and I have a want list, but I have no real needs and so can’t justify requesting gifts.

Even Dee, when queried about Christmas, said,

“I don’t really need anything. Isn’t that sad?”

The American holiday spillover feels odd. Thanksgiving is a warmer weather holiday for us. More harvest oriented. Once Halloween is past, it is time for winter preparation and all that that entails. Our early snow this year drove that point home with a bit of force as well.

Lots of things going on in terms of career and future, but today is for updating only.

Happy Black Friday. May you find true bargains and not be trampled, accosted or shot should you find yourself in a Wal-Mart.

Pitfalls of Email, Snowpocalypse and the Fiscal Cliff


Red winter coat

Red winter coat (Photo credit: chlywhite)

Had hoped to avoid all US election related updates until at least this evening, but I was foiled by my gmail account of all things. It contained a less than subdued gloat headline from the Huffpo.

I hate Huffpo but I foolishly linked to it via Facebook once and now it spams my mailbox with its tripe. Not consistently though, so I don’t know if I am actually on its mailing list or if my sporadic following of links back to its equally vacuous Canadian version remind it that I exist now and again, and it feels obligated to send me a missive.

Anyway, four more years. Rah. Rah. Whatever. Nothing has changed. My course is set and at some point next year that course and the United States of America will part ways.

I did chuckle a bit when I read a post at ZeroHedge that noted the stock market reacted to the Obama win by promptly dropping.

Not because of Obama but because the odds of a fiscal cliff nightmare showdown went up and the odds of resolution went down quite a bit. Best advice I saw regarding the personal finance health of all US taxable persons came from Simon Black at Sovereign Man who said,

after December 31st,

- Income tax rates are going up
– Capital gains rates are going up
– Rates on dividends are going up
– Estate and gift tax exclusions are going down. Dramatically.

If you are a US taxpayer, you now have 53 days to get your tax affairs in order.

53 days left! It’s like the anti-Christmas.

Meanwhile, a snowstorm blasts it’s way through our neck of Canada. What began as “possibly 5 to 10 cms” has morphed into probably 25cms with a bit of freezing rain, blowing, drifting and shit for visibility.

Had I not desperately needed the massage I was scheduled for early this morning, I wouldn’t have ventured forth at all. But between allergies and hormonally driven semi-migraines, I was left with no choice.

Once in town, it seemed foolish not to stop at the fitness centre for a brisk walk. Here I found a semi pulling an empty flatbed jacked neatly between the curb and a lamppost and nicely impeding inflowing traffic.

It only got better.

At the Safeway, a young blond woman nearly smashed me flat in the pedestrian cross walk because I nearly slipped and she was driving far too fast for the condition of the pavement.

On the way back to our hamlet, I passed one semi in the ditch to next encounter an oversize cube van blocking the entire road. How he managed to get his back half dangling over the banked ditch and his front half at a diagonal cutting off the oncoming traffic almost completely, I still can’t work out in my mind’s eye. Some people are just very talented winter drivers.

At this point, as I was slowly turning myself around, I realized that Dee’s bus would have to travel this road home plus quite a few other back country roads that weren’t nearly as wide or snow cleared. I headed back into town, swung by school for her and took the very long way back home. Long because it involved using the highways and because the blowing made visibility even worse as town receded and was replaced by fields and little else.

Remarkably I am still maintaining a fair bit of zen about this early winter thing. I have considerably less zen about the gloating on my FB feed and I might need to hide more people. While my conservative friends have kept their disappoint largely under control, some liberal friends have been smug fucks for the most part, but I feel bad for people who are now having to resign themselves to another four years under the boot heel (their perspective) of a guy they loathe. I lived under Reagan, Bush I and Bush II, so I get that. Knowing also that there really is no difference in what now happens as opposed to what would have happened under a Romney win, I see little reason for happiness or sadness but I am inclined to be more tolerant of the sad. For now. I believe in a statue of limitations. A reasonable time frame but one that definitely is finite.

And nobody gloats as cattily or with as much “in your face assholes who disagreed with me!!” as a liberal does. Except maybe O’Reilly, Hannity and Rush – and they are entertainers who are paid to do it. My FB friends are just being mean girls for the mean girls in the choir.

I am tired of hearing about people’s vaginas though. And I don’t want to hear about the prepubescent vaginas of my friends’ daughters. Ewww.

Snow continues to pile as I type. Did we have a storm this bad last winter? Once possibly. I think it might be the norm this winter. Damn my sister and her prescient knees.

The winter that Rob and I met, it began snowing here in early November and just snowed like a bastard all winter long. Shoveled snow piled alongside roads and sidewalks until it was like going through tunnels.

I don’t recall what it was like in Iowa that winter. Not that bad because I was teaching at Hoover High in Des Moines, I am fairly certain I walked outdoors at lunch nearly everyday. It was an icy fucker of a winter though and led to a Noah’s Ark spring that nearly did me in with a basement flooding while I was trying to sell in a housing market with the bubble about to burst.

Memories of fun times. Sigh.

However, I am two for two on the “suck it up and drive; it’s just winter” meter. If a little snowstorm stops you in Alberta, you might as well just make like a bear.

Snowing Like a Bastard


Winter of 2007-2008 in Ottawa, Canada.

Winter of 2007-2008 in Ottawa, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

When we visited Iowa over the summer, my sister, DNOS, maintained it would be an early fall and winter.

 

“My knees know,” she proclaimed with the authority of one of those grande dames you always see in the movies.

 

Rob tends to dismiss anything not based in actual science, which includes not only the Farmer’s Almanac but DNOS’s knees.

 

“How can her knees in Iowa predict the weather for us 1500 miles away in Western Canada?” he said, and it’s a fair question, but it doesn’t discount the fact that it snowed last week a few times. Just light flurries here and there. Enough to dust lawn and foliage.

 

And then the day before Halloween, snow began to pile up. Not alarmingly so until a blustery snow moved in Halloween night just as the kids were beginning to make the rounds for Trick or Treat and then transformed into a determined snowstorm.

 

“It’s snowing like a bastard,” I informed my husband when Dee and I returned from making our rather solitary rounds to collect candy with a side trip to the bookmobile.

 

“You are sounding more Canadian all the time,” he marveled.

 

Yesterday I took to the road and trekked into The Park. Travel was not being advised but when one lives in a winter prone area, one cannot always count of advisable travel in the face of shit that needs to be done.

 

The ladies at the yoga studio, while admiring my fortitude, told me that next time I should just call and tell them I will be a day late. I needed to drop off applications for a training program and pay fees. The deadline was the 1st and even though I’d talked to the program’s instructor and she knew I was registering, I still like to make deadlines.

 

Adam the radio host was rambling about 5 to 10 centimeters expected when I left the studio and headed for the mall, but clearly that mark was off already. It must be disheartening to be a meteorologist because the margin for error is high and near instantly noticeable. Unlike say, the POTUS, you can’t magic statistics around to hide when you are a bit, or a lot, off.

 

I needed to pick up a dressy outfit for Dee at the mall. Grade Five hosts the Remembrance Day assembly.

 

“I need black earrings,” she said.

 

Even her earrings need to be somber to the point of mournful.

 

I love the lead up to┬áRemembrance Day. Everyone sports a poppy on their lapels and Dee runs around the house singing “Flanders Field”, a depressing dirge but oddly inspiring.

 

“It’s funny that for Canadians the big war is World War I but for the Americans, it is the Second World War,” I mentioned to Rob later in the shower.

 

Rob snorted a bit, “That’s because the Americans barely showed up for the first war.”

 

Indeed, their appearance wasn’t as noteworthy as the share of credit they give themselves for that particular engagement.

 

Aside from bum windshield wipers, the arrival of winter hasn’t been remarkable. Earlier than it has even been since I have lived here, but Rob assures me I just haven’t lived here long enough. In Alberta there really is no norm for the timing of snow.

 

Last year the warm weather hung around until nearly Halloween and snow took it’s time arriving and buggered off early in the spring. I don’t think that will be the case this year. But we had a decent warm summer for a change, so I will find contentment in that and just give in to the change of seasons. It’s the yoga thing to do.