Bits and Bytes

One week in Calgary

Have been traveling for a bit–since May 15th actually. My friend from Yellowknife came down on her motorcycle and helped me pack up my studio in Healdsburg and we hoofed it all the way back to Alberta in my tiny car. Nothing really interesting along the way except , well…I liked Oregon. I particularly liked Oregon. I just liked the landscape and the lushness. It was inviting.

We saw a landscape of windmills. Absolutely huge windmills. Along the tops of a ravine too. I was impressed and thought about researching more, but we had no time to stop. I wanted to be in Alberta by Monday.

Along the way, quite randomly, there was shoe tree. That is, there was an entire tree filled with pairs of shoes, so that they looked like droopy leaves. There was a much sadder tree, or semblance of a tree next to it with various underwear thrown upon it. It didn’t have the same effect as the shoe tree.

We arrived in Spokane Washington, where Mitch had just finished his seventeenth marathon. We had diner and visited. That weekend in the hotel, however, was ALL FUR FUN. It was an all fun fur weekend. Apparently, people dress up in various forms of mascots. Various forms of animals. AND THERE IS AN ENTIRE CONFERENCE ABOUT IT.

I looked them up later on the internet. You can read about ALL FUR FUN here. OR you can look at my pics in Flickr. I HAD TO TAKE pics of that. It was just so bizarre.

Quotes from that evening:

“He’s cute.”  Pause as he passes by.

“And he has NO TAIL.”

Obviously a normal person, just walking by our view. There were people who would approach you come from the opposite direction and you might think: Hmmm cute. And he would pass by and you would look….for a tail! We saw an oreo skunk once. That is, someone who had a horizontal stripe on his tail, not a vertical one.

“They are cute. They were even cute without the fur.”

In reference to a couple of mascots who were obviously a couple who my friend has seen b y the poolside earlier.

The next morning, we had brunch at a local diner: Donna’s Diner. The waitress could have been related to the Soup Nazi from that Seinfeld episode. She wouldn’t allow ANY modifications on the menu or specials. NONE. “They are what we are known for.” She explained–without apology. There were also various reading glasses on each table—as part of the condiment collection. I thought it very useful to provide various reading glasses so your clients can see the menu.

We carried up from Spokane to the Kootenay Valley in BC. When I arrived just across the border, I jumped out of my car to have a drink from the stream. Ahhhh..Canadian water. We stayed in Cranbrook that evening. As we were walking to get diner, I saw this service:

And I laughed my head off. THE GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE!

THE GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE? Why is there anything great about an oil change? AND specifically, what makes it so great?

Being Canadian I guess—ha ha.

We arrived in Calgary on Monday evening and stayed with my sister and her FULL TO THE BRIM house. My nephew was graduating from high school that weekend. His friend was in from Ontario. And my sister somehow managed around seven…COUNT THEM: SEVEN! teenage boys in her house. I don’t think my 16-year-old niece minds.

Here’s a pic of them at their grad:

Juno Beach Academy. Grad 2009 (EXACTLY 20 years after mine)

I was going to stay only a night or two. Drop my friend off at the airport and boot it on up to Red Deer to prepare for my cousin’s wedding and for my Europe trip. But I stayed until after Jorden’s grad on Friday night. We got all dolled up and went to dinner and the dance.

My niece left me on the dance floor. Apparently, I am embarrassing. No surprise to me. I’ve been compared to a frog in a blender while dancing. I just like space. I like space on the dance floor. It doesn’t usually bother me, but this time it did—just a little bit. What bothered me was her comment on my age: “ It’s ok to dance with you at family weddings Auntie Jennie. BUT when my friends are around, I want to dance like we do.” Insinuating of course, that I am now officially an old fart.

Welcome to old fart land (which can become an entirely different category on my blog I think).

Ah well. There’s nothing I can do about it. I feel I’ve earned these wrinkles.

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