I answered the phone yesterday and when the young woman asked for Robert I was fairly certain I was dealing with a telemarketer.

“He’s not available. Can I take a message?”

“Well is this Shelley?”

Now I am certain she’s a telemarketer.

“Shelley died.”

“Oh, I am so sorry. Perhaps you could help? I am calling on behalf of Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party.”

I refrained from asking her why that nob thinks the party is his alone and interrupt with,

“I’m an American. I don’t vote here.”

“Oh, I am terribly sorry. Have a good evening.”

It wasn’t quite three in the afternoon, so she must have been out East and I wondered if she knew something I didn’t, but a quick scan of the headlines at MSNBC revealed that the U.S. hadn’t completed its slow implosion, nor had the solar winds ripped away the atmosphere hovering above it so it was indeed still there.

An interesting punctuation mark at the end of my work day. I’d just gotten back from town where I set up my own checking account to deal with business expenses and hopefully payment someday soon. I felt like a 50’s sitcom wife, setting up her little hobby business. Except I am my business and I am not a hobby. It was odd, however, because I have had my own banking accounts since I was 15 or 16 years old and I still have accounts back in the old country.

Reminded me a bit of getting the credit account at the furniture store a few weeks ago, stepping back and seeing how different I am. I had refused to merge my accounts with my late husband’s because I was so worried about losing my identity to that of Mrs. My mother had beat it into our heads as young women that we should never be without money or credit in our names alone.  It was too dangerous in a world where women are still not quite equal.

With the continuing collapse of the financial world, I should be more militant but I have a feeling that in the end, things like credit histories and the like aren’t going to matter all that much.  I hope I am being too much of a pessimist, but American currency seems a dubious bet right now and joint or separate – it’s all the same, heading toward worthless.

On a brighter note, I will hit 70,000 words today or tomorrow and be done by Christmas. That is two weeks later than my original goal but I got tangled up a bit on my timeline and needed to go back and read some email and the like for clarification.

I was reminded by a woman in my Fort writing group about the Writer in Residence at the U of A only being available to critique manuscripts until the beginning of April, so I will have to get on reading and revision quickly in the New Year. Can’t let a free service like her go to waste.

Rob is chomping at the bit to read. Usually I let him read and edit things as I work, but I have been selfish with the memoir. I did read him a bit the other night and he liked it. Good sign.

My thwarted columnist ambitions are still on the hunt for other opportunities. I hesitate to seek out another blog contributer position because even with the exposure, it’s still working for free. I am keeping my eyes open. At this point anything I find is at least good practice. I plan to sign up for a course or two via Writer Mama. Perhaps define my area of expertise and work on short creative non-fiction?  Still deciding.  Kind of like the business cards.  I think I need one but haven’t decided on the wording or look. I am a WIP just like my memoir it seems.

BabyD’s Christmas concert was last evening. They call it “Christmas” here. None of that “winter holiday” stuff. Typical elementary performance. Mercifully short. I am a terrible person who really would prefer not to watch other people’s children sing badly, so I was fine with the abbreviated length.

Last day of freedom for me today, so Rob and I are eating in town. Our usual sub joint.

It’s cold. An old high school friend’s FaceBook update indicated that a woman knows it’s cold when she has cl*tcicles hanging from her lady cave*. It’s not that cold.  But the hairs in my nose freeze or thaw depending on the direction of the air flow and fingers are sandpaper from dishwashing these days. -31C yesterday morning and worse is to come for the new year.

And that’s the week, dear readers. Do stop by Monday. I’m having a book giveaway! Joshua Henkin will personally autograph and send a copy of his novel, Matrimony, to one of you – wherever you are in the world – and all you have to do is drop by and comment.

*I am paraphrasing somewhat. Disturbing vision though, eh?

Since I have been posting updates the last few weeks, I decided to again, but mainly because I am a little wrung out creatively speaking. I have written about four pieces over at 50 something Moms and adding pages to the memoir plus written the Christmas letter, a snarky little ditty that says nothing people who truly know us don’t already know and yet manages to remind others they could be keeping in better touch if they tried harder.

I am swamped with “to do’s” and find this amazing because I wasn’t this busy when I was gainfully employed. I have the Strathcona Writers website to try and log on to and update (not to mention create a blog and a Facebook group for) and the Fort writing group anthology is just taking off and is much more work than any of us thought it would be. And isn’t that usually the case?

My brother has been in touch several times this week too. There are things to worry about but not in print. Suffice to say, he is a long way from okay, but not in any danger that anyone in the family is aware of at this point.

Yesterday was my birthday. BabyD gave me a book called The Art of Column Writing that a writing friend and fellow blogger recommended. She is one who thinks I have the makings of a good columnist, one of my goals in the first quarter of the new year.

Yes, my year is now divided into frames of time as though I were a corporation. I am getting ready to map out the coming weeks and even meeting with someone at the bank on Monday to set up a “business account” because even though I have no inflow, I have expenses and, I think, a good business woman keeps those things separate from the household accounts for tax purposes – right?

Like a business card. I have gotten it into my head I need one. Now I just have to figure out what it should look like and say.

Rob gave me a digital voice recorder for my birthday. Instead of stopping in my tracks to pull out my notebook and a  pen (provided I can find them in my stuffed little purse – there is something else I need to “update”), I can whip out my recorder (yeah, definitely gonna need a new purse) and talk to myself. That will provide the locals something to give me “the look” about.

I got “the look” today from the spin instructor at the gym while I was snapping photos of the equipment for a piece I am going to write for 50something Moms.

“What are you doing?”

“Taking pictures for a column I am writing for a blog.”

And then comes the look. The one reserved for those of us who are a little bit off.

Tonight the Christmas Train is stopping here in Jo’berg. Country singers, sleigh rides and a bonfire with eats.

Later tonight the temps plummet and the weekend highs will be in the minus 20 c and colder range with minus 31c by Monday morning. Not cold enough for BabyD to need to be driven to school. Buses will run until minus 40. School, by the way, is never called off. Canadians are incredibly sensible about travel and road conditions. If they feel the roads are too bad to drive, they simply don’t. They don’t go to work. They don’t take their kids to school. There don’t seem to be repercussions for this because everyone from high up to lowest on the pole are of the same mind on the matter.

I am taking the elevation of my age by another year in stride. A thorough assessment reveals that I am not too fat, the skin under my chin is soft but not waddly and the white in my hair can still be camouflaged with minimal intervention. I do have crows feet. I am wearing progressive lens. But overall I appear to be maintaining.