Sunday, January 28, 2007

I've posted this picture before, but I have to again. Note that evey person looks completely natural but me. Actually this is the only picture ever taken where I don't look like a zombie.
I don't know why the general public goes out of there way to be nice to me. One of the unanswerable questions that I will never get. When I got back to work to work last Tuesday, one of the supervisors said: "it's nice to have Don back". I'm so quiet I didn't think they noticed. As angst-ridden as I am, I guess I'm okay.
And I just impressed a writer for the New York Times completely. I do have my moments. I can write, oh I can write. But I have yet to figure out how to come up with an original thought. That is why I only read sci-fi, those guys have so much imagination and good writing skills too. That is the challenge for me in the years ahead. It's all up there in my brain, I just have to figure out how to unscramble it. Sorry, but everyone has underestimated me for a long time. Everyone. Actually I'm pleased with that. I don't mind that at all, I prefer that. Maybe I need B.C., perhaps. There is a clog in my brain right now and Toronto isn't doing it. Maybe when I'm surrounded by family it will be better. Creativity is an elusive thing. It doesn't just happen.
If anyone expects a normal uncle to arrive in June, you'd better stop me at the B.C./Alberta border. It's not going to happen. Probably the only thing I will have is my guitar and clothes. I think that is good thing, many others wouldn't.
As you know, I love you all. That is the most important thing in the history of mankind.

Karri sent me this picture a long time ago and the words pretty well sum me up. Completely. I don't suffer fools gladly. So far my family is within the boundary, but that could change at any moment. Will anyone notice when Kevin is missing? I'm sure Comforts Welding won't. Anita might but not for long. I'm thinking of burying his body under the pot plant, at least his nutrients will do some good. If he looks at me with raised eyebrow as I've hit the wall with my dart one more time his life is in jeopardy.


All my family is going to be normal this week as usual. I talked to Gail and she is even normal. A wee bit I was encouraged by Kevin going to the seven-eleven in Cranbrook and leaving me high and dry: 'where is he going? he doesn't care if I live or die" Most of my family would at least see me off. A wave, perhaps even a hug. A little something. Not Kevin. And do you know what his last words were? "I'll make sure you are on the bus before I leave". I'm encouraged and feel somewhat positive about the whole thing. I'm the one who has to get on the bus and planes for eighteen hours and I feel sorry for him? Kevin doesn't cope well with life. I'm going to kill him. If his death upsets you, too bad, get over it. So I'm freezing to death, waiting perphaps to get a ticket and guess who drives by at 100 miles an hour. No hug, not even a handshake? Kevin. Ger and Jim would have waited with me. I hate long goodbyes but I didn't even get a short one with Kevin, which was fine with me.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I felt a little renewed this week. I'm pretty sure it wasn't because I was with family for a week, I think it was the Budweiser. Oh I imagine it was being with family if one insists.
Spending time with Bob and Lorraine is so enjoyable. They make me feel so comfortable instantly even though I don't see them often. Travelling up to Bob and Lorraine's 'summer estate' and back was amazing for me because I saw the country roads again that I used to travel over so much when I worked for HBOG. This may be over-dramatizing it a bit, but after all, the Storm family has a lot of history in Saskatchewan and Lorraine grew up in Saskatchewan, so the lure of the prairies can running pretty deep. It certainly does with me. Bob and Lorraine have got it exactly right, a condo just outside of Calgary, spend a lot of time by the lake in the summer and travel wherever they want to in their motor home. And Bob is getting the travel bug. And not just within Canada. My heart warms.

And Jim wasn't bad. I had a pretty good time at Jim's upon my arrival in Cranbrook. Ignore the fact that he offered me licorice after I opened my first beer when I arrived at his and Brenda's abode. no canapes? crackers and cheese? a peanut butter and jam sandwich? licorice. I wasn't hungry actually, I'd eaten twelve or thirteen hours before so I was okay. And of course I suggested this: let's eat on the road, that didn't work out, I won't go into the gory details, suffice to say we had a great meal at Grannies. Before I went to bathroom I said to Jim: "I'll have whatever you have". He ordered one egg with the bacon and eggs. I'm so hungry I could eat my utensils and he orders one egg? But spending those hours with Jim when I arrived in Cranbrook was special. You know that the oldest nephew and me are going to have a good time talking about just about everything in the history of mankind (we've been through it). In my little brain, I was thinking, well Jim expect's to go to bed at 4am. I'll let him go to bed at 4:05am, as long as he knows I rule in my humble way.

After Grannies me and Jim stopped at Comforts. To see Gerald. That was rather a nice thing. Not to see Ger, but to experience the whole welding experience. I've always thought I was as one with a welding torch and I love those helmets welders wear. Although it was nice to see Ger. Looking at the array of Ger's creations at the shop, I was thinking to myself: maybe I should be nicer to Ger, he's going to be famous. But after a quick calculation I realized that is not a prob. I loved him the most when he a very large baby, other than Roy and Anna. Everyone loved Ger, he was a little cranky too. Oh probably, aye, aye, aye. He was special. And at Ger and Karri's, sitting with Roy and Justin and Shayna (with a baby on the way) was a delight to me.

Now you have to remember I'm sixty-one. That is old, elderly, past my prime by several years. So I get to Roys' place and Julie, Logan, and Shaun (and Tyler) along with Miles (who I didn't know) are there. No one can tell me I wasn't pleased to see Logan, who I hadn't seen for quite a while and Shaun, who I'd never seen in my lifetime. It was good.

When I was around the table at Kevin's watching Ger (be funny) do his thing and with Robin and Karen on each side of me, I was fairly happy. Probably in my glory. It's not me, it's nothing to do with me, you guys are the special ones, I just observe. Hello: I observe, I don't get involved.

I really miss Donna and Gail. Other than Roy and Leo, I guess I'm the last one left who has seen you all in diapers (actually I think Bob has too). It wasn't a pretty sight. I talked to Gail last night, I'm a writer and she charmed me. Not easy to do. Of course I remember Gail in a different light: She's pooped again? Marlene you just changed her diapers, will you survive? Laurie and Robin and Neil are running around, perhaps I could change Gail's diapers. Marlene was the greatest Mother in the history of mankind in my opinion.

Anna was there too. I guarantee you they no idea at the time though on raising a family. None, nil. I could have given them directions on motherhood at that time and I was twelve. Mom somehow put up with Roy and Anna and Marlene and Leo, of which she should be awarded a medal: "mom, I"m tired, I'm going to bed" "good Donny, me too" Oops its saturday night, here come the kids from Porthill. I loved it. And then you guys arrived on the scene. Wow, it was nice. Mom loved every moment of it.

Weekend weather forecast

This morning in Toronto it's -16, but with the windchill it's -92. I'm not looking to see what the forecast is for the weekend, I'll get depressed.
For the wimps in Calgary, today is getting up to -6 and on Sunday the high will be -1, without a cloud in the sky all weekend. Isn't this supposed to be January? Hello. And for my fair-weather friends in B.C., Cranbrook will get up to 0 today and up to -5 both Saturday and Sunday, also with sunny weather. And Creston: plus 2 today and all the way down to -1 on Saturday and Sunday with sunny skies of course. Why couldn't it have been like this when I was there? Even the weather gods are against me.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Northern Norway

Here are two of six pictures Arne Ulriksen sent me yesterday of Northern Norway. I met him at the airport in Toronto when I was flying to Calgary and he was coming from Saskatoon and going back home to Norway. I can see why.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I'm back in Toronto, yippee (hello). That was an enjoyable week seeing everyone. It was fairly uneventful which is a good thing (although I'll probably be able to come up with a few highlights this friday). Lorraine, Bob and I had a snack and a beer at Cheers Pub at the airport in Calgary before I left for Toronto. Wow it felt good to crawl into bed at 2am Monday morning. The subway was working at that time of the day, although I did have to walk home from the subway.


The baby and friends

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I've got the greatest family in the history of mankind. Some of them may be odd, strange and/or wierd but they are great. Of course I'm thinking about the nine nieces and nephews I have and the two brothers. And wives. And kids. Kinda special every one of them.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

I was crabby last week at work. It felt good. I don't think anyone noticed which made me even more crabby. I expect the world to notice when I'm crabby, but normally it doesn't. But, in the remote chance I live in Creston, I'll know Ger is crabby twelve miles away: 'Ger's crabby' 'how do you know that uncle don' 'I can tell' 'how?' 'think about virgos: 9999999.99% of the time we are either thinking about being crabby, are crabby, or are just getting over being crabby. Do the math, he's crabby'

'when can we approach Ger to ask him for a donation to the Creston Library Charitable Fund for Aged Uncles (CLCFAU)?' 'he doesn't read' 'he doesn't read?' 'not that I've noticed' 'everyone reads' 'not Ger' 'we shouldn't go to his door for contributions?' 'I wouldn't' 'but he's the only one left in Creston to ask, we need another $16.96' 'that is a problem, we could hide behind his spa and talk about Shakepeare' 'he'd dump hot water on us' 'we could recite parts of the Da Vince Code to him while he's having a shower' no we can't, I hate that book, let's do Homer's Iliad' 'whom?' 'quiet, the CFCFAU is thinking' (Roy should we storm his place and just take the $16.96 or should we just kill him, I'm for the killing, but he's your son, your option). 'we've come up with a plan' 'give us $10,000 for the fund' 'huh?' 'you don't have to, but one our CLCFAU members (not mentioning any names) has volunteered to torture Ger for seventeen days. And after that he will be dipped in a fat free vat and be served at McDonald's as wholesome food' 'okay, okay here's the $16.96'.

Yay, Roy now we can read again.

Theo, Olivia and Zack

To everyone: Bob has got a great blog. It's my favourite. And where else will you see the cutest of kids.

Friday, January 05, 2007

I amended to the 'my first ski trip' below.

These are pics of Neil and Kara from a few years ago. Neil titled them 'high ropes'. Has anyone noticed but me that his pics tend towards the death defying? Hello. You can't tell in this pic that Neil is cute, but trust me his.

Egad, that was quite a day. Shouldn't life get easier, at least slightly? Stop this world I gotta get off. And I need protection from myself. How I managed to live this long I'll never know; pure, unadulterated luck. Today was more or less typical, although maybe a little worse. It didn't start out too good. I always measure out the coffee, pour water into the percolator and then push the start button just before I step into the shower. Unfortunately I didn't put the coffee pot under the spout. Thank good gawd I have a small coffee maker so it wasn't a terrible mess when I returned from the shower. At least I had something to do (clean up) while waiting for the next pot of coffee to finish percolating. Boy that's not a good way to start a day. I was skittish for the rest of the day, in fact my nerves were shot.

And the day didn't improve after that. The other big lowlight of the day was having two of those young men dressed in suits get on my subway car on the way home and one of them sitting next to me and asking me if I've seen the light: 'the whom?' 'the light that will shine on you if you take the right path' 'the only light I see is the one at the end of the tunnel and that is pretty dim at the moment' 'aha sir, well you can be saved' 'from what?' 'hell' 'I'm in hell right now, I'm talking to you and could you possibly just try to save someone else's soul today, I'm just not really in the mood, meet me here this upcoming Monday morning and we'll discuss Hell in detail' 'thank you sir, it's been nice talking to you sir, be well sir (they are polite)' 'thank you'.

The only small highlight of the day was talking to a woman in Vancouver: 'sorry Don I don't have time to talk to you, I'm doing year-end and it's snowing' 'you are in Vancouver it can't be snowing' 'what's the temperature in Toronto, ten above?' 'thirteen' 'what's going on Don, is the world coming to end?' "no, relax it's just evens out once in a while, Toronto always suffers, year after year, but this year Vancouver is suffering, remember the ice storm we had a couple of years ago?' 'but we've been hit bad this year Don, the trees in Stanley Park are flattened, I haven't been able to bike for weeks on end and my crocuses are wiped out' 'I'm in deep in sympathy, take care and I'll get back to you in a month or two'. Weather bonded two Canadians together for a few moments who were geographically far apart. I talk to persons every day, all day on the phone and it is amazing to me how much Canadians love this country, from coast-to-coast. It can be very subtle, or not. Of course during the World Cup soccer which is held every four years, it's obvious that all people love their country but Canadians, it seems to me, are more subtle but yet more compassionate in a way that others don't get.

We are completely unique, we have a lot of land and not so many people. We are the second largest country in the world after Russia by area, and the 36th largest by population. Russia has 142 million people, we have 33 million. Wherever we are in Canada, we should be pleased, from the mountains of B.C. to the prairies of Saskatchewan to the Canadian Shield and the Niagara Region of Ontario. From the Gatineau region of Quebec to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Think about it.

I don't know where that came from, but if one hasn't seen it, one should. It's an amazing country, to me at least.