Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It doesn't grow on trees?

"Sweetie, you know how I've been searching for a new purse?"

"Have you?"

"Yes, we've talked about my hunt for a well made purse with a long shoulder strap and lots of compartments."

"Hmmm, if you say so."

"Well I found the perfect one."

What I am not saying yet is that I found it months ago at Roots Canada, but refused then to pay the outrageous price. Yesterday I saw it was on sale by 30 percent, which took the price down from in-orbit to only sky high.

"That's good" replies B, soaping up my back. I have deliberately begun this conversation while we are in the shower, where B is usually a little, um, distracted.

"I have a confession though, it was a mite expensive." (Massive understatement)

"Hmmm, whatever."

Good, he is distracted

"Well actually, it was more than a little expensive", I admit.

B is hardly even listening to me now, as he mumbles, "It wasn't over $500 was it?"

"Hell no!" I am relieved that he would calmly imagine I could have spent that much.

"Over $300?."

"No." Phew!

"Well it couldn't have been that expensive then."

B nuzzles my neck, and this is the perfect time for me to say "It was only $210."

"WHAT!!!! TWO HUNDRED AND TEN DOLLARS! FOR A PURSE? I didn't know a purse could cost that much!" B shrieks.

"But, but, you said..."

"I was kidding."

And paying way more attention than I thought.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Overdue housekeeping

I got back from the Great White North a week ago. After my last post from Yellowknife I went on to the town of Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, on the edge of Wood Buffalo National Park. Besides Buffaloes, there is an amazing wildlife fact about Fort Smith, but I'm going to only tease you with it for now. I will wait until I return in June and hope to actually get a photo of this phenomenon before reporting about it here. Stay tuned.

One of the reasons I love my work in the North is the opportunity to get into small communities, work with, and meet the people there. I am always impressed by people in these communities who work so hard to combat the demons of social, economic and historical problems that too often plague remote northern, mostly First Nations communities.

On the charter flight back to Yellowknife, we were served coffee from a thermos, and cranberry bread baked by the co-pilot's wife. Now that's great airline food service!

On arriving home, B and I immediately headed for our refuge. Our escape to a little piece of Heaven. Our cabin. This is the view from our deck on Easter Sunday.

And now for some overdue housekeeping. I was recently given awards by both Ian and David. I am especially honoured because I must be one of the most unsatisfying people to bestow a blogging reward upon. I am often shamefully late in acknowledging them, and I never follow the awards rules. Instead of passing on the awards, I invite you to read Ian's and David's fine writing. (See, I told you I don't follow rules well.) Thank you Ian and David.


Friday, April 03, 2009

Through the rabbit hole

As you can see by this photo from my hotel room, I am back in Yellowknife for work, after less than a week home in Vancouver. Yesterday evening here was surreal. First of all, it was still light at 8:15 at night. Not just light, but sunny. At this time of year the days lengthen by about 10 minutes per day.

As I walked to a restaurant for dinner, a man came running toward me from the legion hall. "Can you give me a ride to the airport?" he shouts. "I hafta get to the airport."

"No," I reply, "I, um, don't have a car."

"Bullshit, all you cops got cars."

"I'm not a cop."

"Yes you are, I can tell by your clothes. And I seen you in your cop car before."

I looked down at my clothes: A red Mountain Equipment Co-op jacket, boots, blue fleece hat, mittens,and jeans. Jeans with bright embroidery around one leg. (Yes, I still embroider my jeans. You can take the girl out of the '70s but.....)

I just shrugged and walked on as he continued to implore me for a ride to the airport in my cop car. Incredulous, a block later I pulled out the little camera I carry in my pocket, and pointed it at my foot. Does this look like the leg of RCMP-issued trousers to you?

I opened the door to the restaurant, having found it easily. My northern colleague, who was meeting me there, had explained "You can't miss Thornton's, it is in the same building as the bowling alley". I expected bowling alley ambiance. What I saw was this:

A maitre de whisked my jacket away, seated me, and gave me food and wine menus. This was no Bullock's Bistro.

But what happened next truly set the world spinning upside down. The waiter asked me for I.D. when I ordered a beer. He carded me??!!?? I looked for his white cane or seeing-eye-dog. None. At my age, this is not flattering, or funny, it's just plain wrong. Bizarre. The last time I got asked for I.D. was 16 years ago at a bar in Whistler. I had been wearing ski clothes, a hat, and sun glasses when I went in. A bouncer came up behind me, tapped me on the shoulder and said "Miss, I need to see your I.D." I turned to him, took off my hat and sunglasses, and began fumbling in my pocket for my wallet. The tactless punk then looked at me and said "Never mind Ma'am, that's O.K."

The only explanation I could think of this time was this establishment must have a policy of checking every patron, no matter how decrepit, for I.D. Or the waiter was bucking for one helluva tip. But when my much younger colleague arrived a few minutes later, she ordered her wine without incident.

I commented to my dinner companion that the restaurant was not very busy. There were only two occupied tables, although she had told me earlier that Thornton's was very popular. "Restaurants around here are all slow right now," she replied. "It's the start of home barbecue season, a spring ritual." WTF? BARBECUE SEASON? Granted, the day had warmed up somewhat from the -24 chill I walked to work in that morning. But Barbecue season? This is what the start of the barbecue season looks like here:

After a delicious (and crazy expensive) dinner of shared tapas, I walked back to my hotel. A couple of the local Franken-Ravens, (bigger, cleverer creatures compared to their southern cousins) followed me, hoping I had saved some crumbs from dinner for them. I have been followed from a restaurant by ravens before up here.

It was a strange, enchanting evening. The north always surprises me. I love that.