Sunday, March 23rd and apart from the sunshine you wouldn’t know it’s Spring

I know that I tend to gripe about the cold.  I can’t help it.  Despite having lived my entire life in places where winter is the longest season, I just can’t get over it.

Friday was the first official day of Spring, and the forecast for next week?  Expect January-like temperatures.  The projected high for Tuesday is supposed to be a balmy -18 degrees Celsius.  Yay.  Can hardly wait.

I’ve been keeping my bedroom window open at night in the misguided belief that it’s NOT THAT COLD, and THE FRESH AIR WILL DO US GOOD.  What I got for my troubles was a sore throat and a sinus cold.  Yay, Again.

We had a good lot of snow this winter and last week most of it melted.  Creating lovely, goopy, slimy mud pits everywhere.  The street I live on in my idyllic little rural community are not paved.  They are gravelled.  But, I was happy that the snow was gone out of my driveway, and that at least I could see the gravel again.  But, then, the local idiots decided that tearing up and down our side street and four-wheel driving through the muck in their Mazda hatch-back and sore-excuse for a sports-truck would be fun.  They made a grand mess of the road and the boulevard.

Yet another sign that Spring has arrived.  And, here’s another. . .

The husband took matters into his own hands and went after one of them.  Talked to a dad of one of the boys and told him the police would be called next time it happened.  Barricades went up the next day.  Hope the two are related.  The traffic has been a lot more sedate since, however.

Now things are frozen again.  I guess we’ll see what happens when Spring decides to stick around.

I can’t wait for Spring to really arrive.  I’m thinking it might be for real somewhere around Easter.  Until then I’ve got Pinterest.

 

A beautiful morning. Trees heavy with frost, glimmering in the early morning sunshine. Made me smile. Believe. Spring it’s just around the corner.

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Monday evening — the end of the Family Day weekend

It’s 9 o’clock Monday night — should be making a lunch for tomorrow, but screw it. I’ll do it in the morning.  I’m just not ready to accept that it’s time to go back to work tomorrow.

We had a great FD weekend.  Went and watched our grandson, Timothy, play hockey yesterday.  He scored a hat-trick!  He’s six years old.  It was just too much fun.

On Saturday night I gave my love a red rare steak with scallops and mushroom risotto.  A Valentine’s Day meal, because the day before (actual Valentine’s Day) we had a crappy lunch at Ricky’s All Day Grill in St. Albert.  And, he kind of deserved it for the beautiful roses and the pink toolbox he got me!  I’ve always wanted my own toolbox — now I can go around fixin’ things to my hearts content. Like that’ll happen!

On Sunday we took our three grandkids swimming at Servus Place.  Always fun until some little stinker vomits in the kiddie pool.  Eeew!  We swam and splashed and soaked and steamed until I deemed it was time to get out and have a snack.  So, that we did and then the kids went to play in the jungle gym area for a bit.  A fun afternoon.  Home again, I got to fixin’ fajitas for supper. Mmmm, love fajitas.  Made me wish Tim and I were back in Puerto Vallarta.   Landon and Jenn arrived, and we had a nice family visit.  By the time they left around eight o’clock I was done.  Managed to stay up for another hour or so and then it was lights out.

Today, I just sort of putzed about the place.  Read a few more chapters of book five of Game of Thrones (I don’t want it to end — I’m trying to pace myself, but so bloody much is happening I can’t stop myself from reading on).  I cleaned off my dresser (unbelievable the amount of dust under all the crap I dump on there!)  Thinned out some of my hair care products (when did I become so obsessed with my hair?) and corralled the dozens of different tubes and jars of hand creams and oils I’ve collected to try to prevent my hands from getting any drier.  That’s a pointless battle.  The dresser looks great, though!

And now, it’s time to get ready for bed. I’ll check in on the Olympics one more time — so proud of our athletes!

Thinking about the future. . .

Today I did a bunch of work related to my position as president of my Local.  The support staff of Sturgeon School Division, where I work, belong to CUPE — Canadian Union of Public Employees.

We all work in a fairly high-stress environment dealing with kids all day, some of whom do not come from the best of circumstances, and, as a result are burdened with all kinds of ‘special’ little problems.

But, that’s not what this is about.  We work the school calendar — which, if you are a school-based employee means you work 200 days a year — the basic instructional calendar, and most of us work less than eight hours a day.  It’s not a traditional full-time job, by any means.  For those who depend on the job as their sole source of income it can be a tough making ends meet.  Even as a second income, it’s not on par with other careers as far as earning power goes.

Many of us working in the education system as classroom or therapy assistants chose the job because we love kids, we believe in the power of education, we want to help make a difference, we wanted to be on the same schedule as our school-aged children and having the summers off to be with our families was worth the sacrifice in income.

One of the things that helps make up for that lack of earnings potential is the benefit of being able to contribute to LAPP – the Local Authorities Pension Plan.  LAPP, as it is commonly known, is a defined benefit pension plan, that sees employees and employers contributing more or less the same amount into a pension fund. The fund provides for a steady, half-way decent monthly benefit once an employee retires, if they’ve worked long enough — say 35 years — and contributed that entire time.

Now, our provincial government, the Conservatives led by Allison Redford, wants to change the rules regarding our pension.  They want to do away with things like early retirement — which, if you opt for you also opt for a reduced monthly benefit, and they want to get rid of yearly cost of living increases — because apparently once you retire you can live on the same fixed amount of money for the rest of your life — even though utilities, food and gas will continue to rise, and you’ll have to pay exorbitant health care costs because you no longer have the benefit of belonging to a group plan.

The government is saying that the pension fund in its current form is not sustainable.  They say it’s costing tax-payers, employers and government too much, and that employees must be prepared to shoulder a larger portion of the cost.  They want to take away our future security. They want to take away our right to live with dignity as we grow older and more dependent on the government services we helped pay for with the wages we earned while in the workforce.

The message we kept being given is that it is our responsibility to plan for and save for retirement.

Our answer should be:  We did!  We paid into a pension plan with the goal of having  a secure monthly income after we retired.  And for all those people out there who would say that we don’t pay nearly enough into the plan and that it is gold-plated?  Well, I can tell you that I pay approximately 10% of my gross monthly wage into the plan every month, and when I retire, after working for approximately 15 years in this job, I will be lucky to see a pension of about $200 a month.

Thank God my husband worked at his job for more than 35 years.  He’s a member of LAPP as well.  His pension will be less than half of what he presently earns.

And the government and pension critics have the nerve to call that gold-plated.  Easy for them to say when the pensions they earn are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and they only have to work a handful of years to qualify for them.

Unions across the province and the country have banded together to push back against the changes the government wants to make to public sector pensions.  On March 2nd a rally has been planned to show the Redford government that their proposed changes are not acceptable, and that working people in this province deserve better than what they’re getting .  The rally is going to take place at Churchill Square in downtown Edmonton at 2 p.m.

Myself, and presidents from neighbouring locals are working together to try to get as many of our members as we can out to this rally.  But we need others to stand up and add their voices to this fight.  It doesn’t matter if you belong to our union, or any union — if you believe that our government should keep its grubby mitts off pensions and that they should protect the rights of working people rather than trample all over them, then please come out and join us.

If we don’t stand up to this attack on our pensions, if we lose this fight, then we have lost not only our own future security we have lost our children’s futures,  too.

If I Were a Bear — a poem for a winter morning

klrs09:

I’m reposting this poem because:

1. I like it, it makes me smile

2. It’s so friggin’ cold here right now, I’d like nothing more than to be a bear all snug in a cave somewhere

3. I’m trying to remind myself that Spring is just around the corner.

There.

Originally posted on January 22, 2012

Originally posted on All That Matters:

If I Were A Bear

If I were a bear
I would pay no never-mind
to the rolls of fat around my middle,
to the graying, un-ruly hairs upon my head
or the wiry, scratchy ones sprouting
on my legs and beneath my arms.

No, if I were a bear
I’d snuffle out a place
warm and cozy, full of all the smells
that bring me joy and comfort,
and then I’d wrap my heart in pictures
of those I cherish so that my dreams
would be nothing but sweet.

And, if I were a bear
I’d stay snuggled down
inside my little cocoon until
the green smells of Spring tickled
my nose and my winter-claws
could no longer scratch through the matted
fur on my sun-starved hide.

If I were a bear
I’d emerge, blinking
into the bright sunlight of promise
and I’d go snorting and snuffing
looking for…

View original 30 more words

Hello, again.

I took a little — well, more than a little — break from blogging, but I think I’m back.  

I’ve been thinking more and more about how good it sometimes felt to write and share on this platform and that maybe it’s time to give it another shot.

Instead of trying to ACCOMPLISH something with my space, I’m simply going to write what I feel like writing — good, bad, mundane, maudlin, pointless, fraught with emotion, full of despair — whatever it is at the moment is what will make it onto my cyber-page. 

It’s not going to be about how many hits I’ve got, or who’s checking in on me.  It’s just going to be about me and my need for words. 

So, there it is in black and white.  

Word.

LOL

Birds of Prey Centre, Coaldale, Alberta

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August 3 & 4th

Day 216 and 217 — Tim and I hit the road for Lethbridge and a visit with Rick and Connie.  we’re going to spend a few days with them before the family reunion next weekend.  We’re going to go up to Beauvais with them for a few days.  Ah, to relax in the mountains by a lake!  Can’t wait.  Then, we’ll come back to their place and get ready for everyone else to descend.  Looking forward to a fantastic time with family.

Yesterday, we went to Coaldale and visited the Alberta Birds of Prey centre there.  (Will post pictures separately)  What a great place!  Loved how they had the birds displayed — some are in large enclosures, but they tether the big birds on perches in the open (under shade, of course) and it is wonderful to be able to see them up close.  We were lucky enough to hit the place at the time they were going to be exercising one of the bald eagles.  His name was Lincoln, and he was magnificent.  The handler — a volunteer — as I believe everyone working at the centre is was very engaging.  He invited kids to give a couple of the eagles a shower after Lincoln was done flying, and then told us about Spirit, a golden eagle.  Spirit was blinded by a shotgun pellet.  Brought into the shelter as a young bird he’s been there for 13 years.  I would have to say that he is probably the centre’s mascot.  He picked Spirit up and invited everyone to get their picture with him.  He is so tame and gentle that you are able to put your face right up to his.  Of course, I had to do that! 

I highly recommend that if you’re in southern Alberta you stop in Coaldale and take in the birds of prey facility.   Just watch out for the circling flocks of seagulls — I left with a not-to-nice souvenier on my white t-shirt! 

 

July 31st – August 2nd

Day 213 – 215 — We’ve had a few very lovely days here in Bon Accord.  And it looks like the long weekend is shaping up to be a gorgeous one.

I managed, finally, to get all the weeding done.  Yay! Yay! Yay!  I sat under my lovely pergola for the first time last night and enjoyed the fading rays of the sun after a late dinner.  I made the most delicious spinach salad I’ve ever had.  Don’t want to boast — well, that’s a lie! — but, damn, that salad was good.

On Wednesday I decided to pick up my grandkids and spend the day with them — to take a break from the monotony of chores and day-to-day.  We went to the spray park in St. Albert where they had a grand time.  Ethan was enthralled with the skateboard park next to us and I have fears that as soon as he’s big enough he’s going to want to try what he saw.  Gives me fits.  Afterwards we had popsicles and ice-cream as we sat in the sun waiting for them to dry off.

Then, home where I made them tacos for supper.  We were having fish tacos. None of them have ever had fish, so Grandma decided to try it on them.  I LOVE fish tacos — my new favorite food.  Has been for about a year now.  Anyway, they loved the fish, just not on tacos.  They’ll get there, eventually.  But I’m glad I was able to introduce them to something new.

On Thursday I went and got my haircut.  Quite a bit shorter than I have had, and I love it.  Something new for the new me.  LOL.  Followed my plan to find a little coffee shop and sit and write for a couple of hours.  Tried out a place called JAX coffee on 50th street.  Very nice.  Excellent food and service.  I would recommend the wonton soup if you decide to give it a try.  Got some good writing done.  Fleshed out a poem, which I think is going to get entered into a contest when it’s done.

I am feeling full of positive vibes.  I know it has mostly to do with the summer and the removal of work stress, but I’m determined to hang on to them.

Oh, yeah — I’ve registered for courses at Concordia again.  Marching ever forward.

July 30th

Day 212 — A better day weather wise.  Not hot, but at least warm.  I spent the morning doing — what else? — housework.  Then, in the afternoon I did this:

My Ford Edge -- all cleaned and shiny!

My Ford Edge — all cleaned and shiny!

 

It took me about 5 hours but that baby is nearly show-room clean!  Inside and out.  Although I enjoyed the process of cleaning it (I’m wierd like that) I have to say that I’ll never do it again.  It took much to much time and my back and shoulders were killing me when I was done.  Next time, I’m taking it in and paying the $100 to have it done.

So, yeah.  That was my Tuesday.

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