Friday, December 29, 2006

A Week At the Gym

...a story many of my readers, I'm sure, can relate to - whether they go to the gym or not... enjoy!

Dear Diary,

For my fortieth birthday this year, my wife (the dear) purchased a week of personal training at the local health club for me. Although I am still in great shape since playing on my college football team 25 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try. I called the club and made my reservation with a personal trainer named Belinda, who identified herself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swimwear. My wife seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started!

The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress…

Started my day at 6 AM. Tough to get out of bed, but it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Belinda waiting for me. She was something of a Greek goddess – with blonde hair, dancing eyes and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!!!!! She took my pulse after five minutes on the treadmill. She was alarmed that my pulse was so fast, but I attributed it to standing next to her in her Lycra aerobics outfit. I enjoyed watching the skilful way in which she conducted her aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring. Belinda was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time she was around.

This is going to be a fantastic week!

I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Belinda made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air, and then she put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made a full mile. Belinda’s rewarding smile made it all worthwhile.

I feel GREAT!! It’s a whole new life for me.

The only way I can brush my teeth is by lying on the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was okay as long as I didn’t try to steer or stop. Belinda was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered the other club members. Her voice is a little too perky for early in the morning and when she scolds she gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying. My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Belinda put me on the stair monster. Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators?

Belinda told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. She said some other shit too.

Belinda was waiting for me with her vampire-like teeth exposed as her thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn’t help being a half hour late; it took me that long to tie my shoes. Belinda took me to work out with dumbbells. When she was not looking, I ran and hid in the men’s room.

She sent Lars to find me, then, as punishment, put me on the rowing machine – which I promptly sank.


I hate that bitch Belinda more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anaemic little cheerleading bitch. If there were a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat her with it. Belinda wanted me to work on my triceps. I don’t have any triceps! And of you don’t want dents in the floor, don’t hand me the *&%# barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich. The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher.

Why couldn’t it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?

Belinda left a message on my answering machine in her grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing her made me want to smash the machine with my planner.

However, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel.


I’m having the church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over.

I will also pray that next year my wife (the other bitch), will choose a gift for me that is fun – like a root canal or a vasectomy, (without the anaesthetic).

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Oh yah... there's this small matter of a birthday...

On the fly... have to service a client in Okotoks this morning - long stroy, will update later, but before I forget, today is my company's birthday. Monarch Music turns 20 today.

Some accomplishment, eh?

Just thought I'd share that... no fancy fanfare, horns, streamers...

Maybe I'll have a rum and coke. Why? This too, I must update you on.

Right now, it's time to be good to a loyal client.

I needed that!

To address my short, but rather cryptic previous post on what "S" might stand for, let me say it has everything to do with visiting the chiropractor.

For the last number of weeks I just haven't felt "right".

I started feeling like I did when I took up chiropractic about 10 years ago. Back then I was working a multitude of jobs including cleaning a dental office after hours. One night I limped out of the office because I was so crippled up I could hardly stand. After several visits to the chiropractor (who was, at that time right next door to the dental office) and a podiatrist, orthodics and regular chiropractic adjustments made me "right" with the world again.

About a year ago I was feeling so fantastic, I stopped visiting the chiropractor and massage therapist. About a month ago I regreted it. In the last two weeks I returned to both a massage therapy school and a new chiropractor.

When I called the chiropractor, on referral from... "S", I asked the receptionist if the doctor was accepting new patients. The answer was yes, and the next question was "How did you hear about us?".

Only after a number of questons did she say,

"Oh, I should get your name..."

I told her.

Brief pause...



"You have no idea who you're talking to, do you?"

"Um... no, you're right, I don't!"

"It's T-L Y."

Brief pause...
(this time from me!)

"You're kidding!"

If you look on my sidebar, you'll notice a link to Eggnog Open House. My high school friend R. holds this party every year for film industry folks and other people he knows.

T-L is R.'s sister.

I've known her for ages, but rarely speak with her, so I didn't clue in on the telephone!

R. & T-L making egg nog for the party

I remember when I was about five years old, going shopping at the mall on Friday nights with my family. My parents would always come home yammering on about all the poeple they'd met that evening. I remember spouting,

"Mom, Dad, I never meet ANYONE I know at the mall!",

to which they replied,

"Just wait until you're our age, dear."

Moms and Dads are so smart!

So, as a result of my first and second consultations which included reviewing a set of x rays, I am now on a six-month programme to correct all the subluxations and weirdnesses in my neck and back.

$1600.00 sounds like a lot of money, but really, I've spent more on things far less important than my body. The urge to sign up for another job is there simply because this new financial commitment seems to be just one more thing to have to pay! Having said that, I think I've found the money simply by revamping the budget. There are always things we spend money on that we don't notice or need.

Three adjustments in and two massage therapy sessions later, I have far more mobility and range of motion. I'm far from "cured", but there is forward motion, and that pleases me!

So with respect to "S" and the chirpractor, let me just say thank you. I needed that!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

S is for...


. Shape.

. Subluxations.

. Sixteen Hundred.

.Second Job.

Monday, December 11, 2006

A word of recognition

Every so often someone sends you a thank-you, a word of recognition and appreciation. This email arrived today from the Millarville Ride for STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society). It's a fund-raising event held every year in support of Calgary's air-ambulance service. These words brightened my otherwise very average afternoon:

Hi Dave:

Seems a long time since that VERY warm day in September when we had the STARS Ride, right?? And I have been VERY slow in writing to thank you once again for your help and contribution to the cause. I don’t know if you heard or not, but we ended up grossing $74,000, which is a record for us. I was so pleased with those results. It makes me believe that we will indeed be able to reach our target of $1 million accumulated proceeds by the time we have our 20th anniversary in 2012.

I have truly appreciated your involvement over the years. It just definitely would not be the same if we couldn’t count on you. Even the one year you sent your associate, it was great, but not terrific!! So thanks so much from me on a personal note for coming out year after year to provide the music and the sound system. It is absolutely a critical part of our delivery.

I wish you a very enjoyable and meaningful holiday season and the best in the new year...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I'm #1, and that isn't arrogant, but it's a great feeling!

I woke up this morning feeling rotten. I had inadvertently conducted a dietary test over the last couple days. For the most part, I eat pretty well, and I tend not to pack on the pounds - as is the case with lots of people - but rather, I have quite the opposite problem.

I don't consume ENOUGH calories.

Now before anyone says,

"Gee, Dave, I'd love to have YOUR problem!"

let me ask you this: Do you "power out" part way though the day? I do. Unless I keep my calorie intake up over the course of the day, I'm sunk. I might bulldoze through, but don't think I won't pay for it later.

This week two things happened to me causing a big "heads up!"

1 - For some reason I've been snaking on sugary things lately, and in the later evening, shortly before bed. This has translated to a disrupted sleep pattern: awake around 5AM or, a power-sleep of 11 hours or so.

2 - My body hurts. I'm feeling like I used to years ago when all I did was "go-go-go". I then started going to a chiropractor (I think I was about 26 at the time) and over the course of time really started feeling better. As of late I haven't been to a chiropractor nor a massage therapist: both I prefer over popping a pain killer.

I called a massage therapy school today to see if I could get in for some relief. To my surprise they did in fact have an opening, and this afternoon no less! This worked out great as their latest slot on Thursday is 5:15PM. Pottery starts at 7:00, and wouldn't you know it, the school is on the way! Sign me up!

Boy, was I a mess. My student-therapist took one look at my back and said,

"I can SEE how tight you are, I don't even have to touch you!"

We addressed all of my concerns and covered most bases fairly thoroughly. I was given some stretching exercises to do at home - my biggest problem being my right shoulder. It's dropped and forward. I've also strained a muscle group right above my right elbow. If I sleep on my right side, I tend to wake up with numbness in my third and fourth fingers.

This is bad.

I appear to have signed up on the "long-term" massage therapy plan. I could almost feel the excitement in the office between my student-therapist and the supervising teacher.

"Look, Igor!! We're going to have fun with this one!"

I return next Thursday for my second treatment.

On Monday I'll seek out a chiropractor.

All of this, as I see it, is part of what's making up my year of self-awareness. I'm feeling really good about all these things because for the first time in a very long time I'm actively doing good things for myself and my being. I remember years ago - shortly out of high school - working like a mad-man just to earn money. My very personal well-being wasn't of great concern. I remember feeling burnt out, run down, unhealthy and not really, truly happy. I remember believing a massage was a luxury, not a necessity. I remember believing chiropractic treatment was reserved for those who had experienced a trauma of some sort. I didn't think of it as regular maintenance for a generally healthy body.

A sports-guy and gym-freak I will never be - mostly because I'm not out to become "Mr. Jock". I must say, however that paying more attention to my body's well-being is translating into success and happiness in many other areas of life.

So, at the risk of sounding vain, it really is all about me. Number one on my list is my well-being. Everything else will follow in its place and time.

This is a great feeling!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Where the rubber meets the road (long post... just consider it catchup for weeks of M.I.A.)

It's a balancing act, really; life is a great big balancing act.

This week has presented me with a test… or two, or three.

Front and centre was my mid term exam in English at the U. For as much as I've been yammering on and on about how the "education is more important than the grade", I found myself - for the first time this semester - concerning myself with the eventual outcome of my course... in terms of a letter grade.

What changed?

Why am I all of a sudden concerned with "how well am I going to do... on someone's preconceived scale of good and bad"?

Here's my answer:

It had everything to do with the timed nature of our exam. You see I suffer from test anxiety. I even know where it comes from. School, for as long as I've known it, has determined a student's worth on the academic scale by how well he or she can learn a prescribed amount of material in a given amount of time. If you don't learn the material in x amount of time, or regurgitate it within the allotted time in an exam, you're grade reflects THAT, rather than how well you may do long-term.

As an aside, the example I like to use is typing. I took Typing 10 in grade 10. That same year I broke my arm in phys. ed. As a result, I ended up with a half-semester spare and was required to take the typing course again in grade 11 to meet the prerequisite for the computer courses I wanted to take. Upon completing the course in grade 11, my instructor granted me a "conditional pass". I would receive a 50% grade. The notation on my transcript would then read "not recommended to proceed to next level".

Typing 20 was out.

So much for my career as a receptionist.

Little did they know, I'd show them! Just to spite them, I started my own business and said,

"I'll do my OWN typing, and answer my OWN damn phone! ...and maybe throw in a little DJing to liven things up a bit..."

Over time, my typing has improved. I don't feel the least bit uncomfortable running a keyboard. I'm not all that quick on a number pad, but I can type fairly accurately with all ten fingers, fairly quickly. The skills I posses now are the skills I was expected to posses in grade 11. I got them. Finally. But because I didn't get them "right away", I was deemed "not good enough".

So here I am, a number of days prior to my mid term exam. Things are moving along nicely. Then, it happened. Fear struck. I'm not talking any normal kind of fear. I'm talking paralysing fear to the point I indeed froze. For two days I didn't study. I didn't crack a single book. In the time perfectly suited to reviewing - neither so close to the day to be considered cramming, nor too far away to allow for the damaging effects of forgetfulness - I did nothing. It took several people encouraging me by way of

"take it as it comes",

"do what you can do",

"this is your time to shine"...

to get me back on track. You know who you are, and thank you, all!

As if test anxiety alone isn't enough, Sunday night brought with it some trauma. I won't go into the details, except to say... remember when I broke my arm in grade 10? That was in 1986. Sunday night, as a result of said trauma, I met up with Ken - the man who casted my arm back in grade 10. I KNEW he looked familiar!

So, as ill-prepared as I felt, and shaking like a leaf from head to toe, palms sweaty and mind racing a mile-a-minute, I entered the class. Armed sans-caffeine with a bottle of water, two pens, a pencil and a quarter-ream of paper, I was set.

Second aside: I was joking with a friend earlier who said,

"Hey man, maybe you should just relax about the whole thing. Take a bevy with you to class... hell, take the whole bottle, make some friends!"

The exam consisted of three short-essay questions. We were instructed, "No more than two paragraphs, each essay".

I have a queasy feeling in my gizzard.

It seemed too easy.

I must have missed something.

But... it's done.

All the semester’s assignments have been thrown off-track as a result of our prof. taking medical leave until January. Between now and January 9 I have the rewrite of my first essay to complete. (I see M. on Monday to consult on that.) Essay #2 is also due at that time. This worked out to my benefit in that I receive the consultation on Essay #1 BEFORE having to write Essay #2. Huge benefit to lowly English fledgling!!

So... I suppose in the end I've really accomplished (so far) what I set out to do: get an education, learn something new. Where the rubber meets the road in this case is all about forward motion. Grades be damned, what did I learn, and how will it make me a better person?


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

To a poetic close...

This week is a full and rich one. Essay assignment #2 is due next week, and I have a consultation with my prof. regarding the re-write of my first essay, now due January 7. Our mid-term and final class of the semester is also scheduled for Tuesday.


To My Excellent Lucasia, on Our Friendship
Katherine Philips

I did not live until this time
Crowned my felicity,
When I could say without a crime,
I am not thine, but thee.
This carcass breathed, and walked, and slept,
So that the world believed
There was a soul the motions kept;
But they were all deceived.
For as a watch by art is wound
To motion, such was mine:
But never had Orinda found
A soul till she found thine.
Which now inspires, cures and supplies,
And guides my darkened breast:
For thou art all that I can prize,
My joy, my life, my rest.
Nor bridegroom's nor crowned conqueror's mirth
To mine compared can be:
They have but pieces of this earth,
I've all the world in thee.
Then let our flame still light and shine,
(And no bold fear control)
As innocent as our design,
Immortal as our soul.

The Broadview Anthology of British Literature
The Renaissance and the Early Seventeenth Century

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Drives me crazy!

If you’ve been reading any blogs from Calgary, you’ve likely heard reference to the “bitter cold” we’ve experienced as of late.

Yesterday found yours truly in traffic.

At rush hour.


For those of you from Calgary, you know what I drove yesterday! It took me an hour to drive from our MacLeod Trail to 14th. Street via 6th Avenue. Essentially this is the East / West length of our downtown core. It took me an hour to drive what normally – outside of rush hour and the weather – would have been a 10-minute run… if you in fact hit a few red lights along the way. What struck me as odd was that the road conditions did not appear to be the culprit. It was the sheer volume of traffic. As I sat in my van listening to local radio, inching forward… and I mean INCHING forward, I began to think of the endless number of souls around me who drive this route EVERY DAY. I began to wonder,

“Is it by CHOICE that these people do this?”

We’re insane, truly we are. I know of no one who LOVES driving rush hour traffic. And since the volume of traffic has increased dramatically over the last number of months, it seems all the more ludicrous.

What I experienced was a taste of aggression – not quite road rage, but awfully close! Something really interesting happened, too. I allowed a fellow to change lanes in front of me. I looked left, straight at him, gave him a wave as if to say,

“I’ll let you go ahead of me…”,

and the look on his face was that of a man who must’ve just won the lotto! He smiled, waved frantically back – his passenger doing the same. I thought to myself,

“Wow… I only let you in, it’s not like I handed you a wad of money!”

I was soon to discover, however, that under these driving conditions, I may as well have handed him money. The value of an unencumbered lane change is that of precious metals!

I’m truly out of the loop – working at home and driving to events in non-rush-hour conditions. As I was sitting there, watching the world not go by, I remembered driving roads like this once. It was in Seattle in 2002. I found myself in absolute grid-lock in the middle of the evening drive home. Anyone who’s driven Seattle at any time will tell you that there is no place worse for a stand-still. Oh, and they have drawbridges in Seattle too. You think waiting for a C-Train slows you down? NUH-UH!!!
I now understand, having experienced first-hand the effects of traffic jam, why my friend N. calls me up on occasion around 8:00 AM to meet him for a coffee. He’d rather sit with a java and wait the traffic out than sit IN the traffic.

I heard a rumour that Wednesday is to bring us balmy conditions of around –2C.

Happy motoring.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Pottery update

I'm having my own little party here inside my shell. It's a monumental day in my history.

It took me close to an hour to get to class as a result of our recent snowfall translating to a prolonged rush hour "drive home".

On arrival I got right on the wheel - no messing about. I discovered, to my amazement, my first ball of clay centered REALLY well! I thought to myself,

"This must just be a fluke... it couldn't honestly be that I've... 'got it'?"

I centered another.

And yet another.

Well, I was impressed! Apparently I HAVE "got it"! According to our instructor, it takes the average student 12 weeks to master centering. Of course, if the clay is not centered, you really have nothing because... well, I think that's obvious!

What I discovered after doing my little happy-dance of clay cetering was that I have yet to master the art of one of the next steps. I can "open" a piece (put a hole in it), but apparently I have yet to grasp (literally) the art of "raising". This is where you give your piece some height by drawing the sides up between your fingers. Applying just the right pressure is a matter of feel and experience.

I've learned how to centre a ball of clay - in about 4 weeks longer than "average", so I'm happy. You see, with anything new, my learning curve is such that I don't gradually do better and better and better. I appear to fumble horribly forever and ever, then one day it just "clicks" and I have it. And I have it for life.

Pottery is apparently no different.


I had a rather disturbing conversation with a friend yesterday. We talked of relationships. All kinds, but specifically human relationships.

We discussed the different dynamics that occur among family, friends and so on. The disturbing part came about when we began to discuss romantic and partnership relations, in particular: commitment.

My friend said she was undergoing a "rethink" on the subject of her views of right-and-wrong in terms of marital commitment. Having had many friends - both male and female - who have experienced troubled, even broken marriages, she said it's very difficult for her to believe that one party - namely the "cheating" one - is entirely to blame when it comes to "stepping outside the marriage". In her mind, the "cheater" isn't always simply a "cheater". The point she made very clear was this: What if the "cheater" is simply looking for that one thing that their partner isn't providing? What if they HAVE communicated clearly and it's the PARTNER who isn't holding up their end of the deal? Perhaps at that point the "cheater" has no choice but to find fulfilment elsewhere in order to achieve balance?

I'm of the mind - and always have been - that if you choose your partner wisely and understand that the road is not always smooth, wide and straight, there really isn't anything you can't work through... if your committed. The problem we addressed primarily is that not always are both parties committed.

What I found disturbing about this conversation I had is the endless number of arguments surrounding commitment. It's almost philosophical in nature in that there really isn't a "right" and a "wrong" answer - only opinion. Funny thing is... for as much as I adore a philosophical discussion, this kind of "disturbing" I feel is the same as that which I felt earlier in the year when I went about changing my views on money, higher education and personal growth.

Was this conversation disturbing because I've had my eyes shut?

Monday, November 20, 2006

A quick social post

November is a unique month on my calendar every year. For good or bad, I'm afforded one or two weeks of little to no contracts. It's traditionally been "nail-biting" time, but this year somehow, something's changed.

I welcomed the break.

Over this last weekend I've taken in a great deal of social activity. On Friday I ventured down to an Irish pub for a quick 1/2-pint of Stout.

Saturday saw me doing much of what I love to do. I spent a few hours during the day playing with music. In the afternoon I accompanied my Mom to a Christmas Craft sale. Now... I'm not a "crafty" type, but I took the opportunity to be social. When asked why I didn't settle myself at a table, I replied,

"I could sit and chat with two or three people or I could wander and talk to EVERYBODY!",

which I'm sure I must have in the two and a half hours we were there! I didn't "work" this event, but somehow I got roped into sitting in at the raffle ticket table. I'm still scratching my head on that one. Someone got the idea that "hey, Dave's good at this selling thing! Grammas just LOVE him! Leave him there - he's good for sales!" Well, so much for wandering around being social...

As evening drew near, I trundled across town to the next event, birthday party one of two. A brief visit with some friends over... oh, look, another pint of Stout!

Sunday evening found me at the Vertigo Theatre for LORD ARTHUR SAVILE'S CRIME
by Constance Cox, based on the story by Oscar Wilde.

What a weekend! Perhaps I'll go back to work to get some rest! On today's agenda? Some... home repair brought about by a not-so-bright idea. Tomorrow, back to school.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

MUSIC MONDAY: A Calgary boy takes folk music to a spiritual realm

OK, so it's Tuesday... but wait till you hear this!

It's been on my calendar for months. Calgary folk music - dare I say - icon, James Keelaghan returned home for a single show on Remembrance Day.

With his new album, "A Few Simple Verses", James explores and shares with us some traditional folk music tunes, including some Keelaghan originals.

The stage was set: The sanctuary at Grace Presbyterian Church, four microphones, five instruments, a big wooden chair and a baptismal fount! Keelaghan is known for his unique choice of venues and simplistic stage design. The backdrop to centre "stage" was the gorgeous pipe organ.

And don't think for a minute that someone like James wouldn't utilize this wonderful instrument! With James and his guitar were two very talented musicians, Hugh McMillan on Mandolin and Bass and Jaime KT on Viola, Piano and of course... Pipe Organ!

To our estimation there were approximately 500 in attendance. The floor was full. I have to say though, I'm not sure if it was simply the venue or a combination of place and people, but I haven't known a quieter audience at a Keelo show... ever!

Several years ago I caught James at the University Theatre here and it was quite a different animal. He did a solo show, all requests. Centre stage sported a rug, chair and stool, side table and a lamp. He opened the show with "Thanks for coming out this evening, and... welcome to my living room." Behind him was a screen backdrop on which they projected slides of photos he'd taken on tour. Understated and very cool.

I quickly threw together Turtle's Traditional Sampler: A collection of tunes from "A Few Simple Verses". It's a little choppy, but a taste of four tunes:

Jack Haggerty/Le Tourment
Harvest Train
My Blood
Sweet Thames Flow Softly

Buy this album - it's good food for your soul.

Friday, November 10, 2006

My first ash tray

Well, after four months at pottery, last night I finally made my first ash tray!

Um... it's not supposed to work that way, is it? Ash trays are supposed to come before fine dining pieces.

Well, truth be known, my first piece which turned out rather well is far from high-end stoneware!

I tried posting photos, but "blasted Blogger" was being uncooperative. I'll get some pics up as soon as I am able.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

About getting the "A"

One of my life observations as of late is that of those who focus on "making the grade".

I returned to school this year after having spent a lot of my life believing that if you couldn't "make the grade" there was really no point in pursuing a higher education.

What bunk.

How do you GET the higher grade if you don't first GET the education?

Comments left at my last post seemed to, in general, prod me on the grade I received on my first University essay.

Who cares?

I have the opportunity for a re-write and will take it to learn how to write an "A" paper. I'm taking this course to learn - not to get a grade.

It blows my mind how many of the students in my class have been programmed through the system of things that "grades" are the ultimate objective.

I say again, what bunk.

To paraphrase my prof.:

"If I had my way, the grading system would not exist. At the end of my course you would receive 'fulfilled requirement' or 'did not fulfill requirement'. Grades are the best way to demotivate students - especially those in the beginning stages of higher learning."

She also said,

"You may have heard our school referred to as the 'U-of-C-plus-averages'. If it's within my power, I will NOT allow you good people to achieve a C+ degree! My standards are pretty high."

The grade I received on my paper is quite passable. I choose to upgrade it simply because I can. Regardless of this opportunity I still would have asked,

"What can I do to make this an 'A' paper?"

simply because I want to know the stuff, and demonstrate that I do.

Truth be known, what I'd like to learn most of all is how to read my prof.'s handwriting... then again, she is a Doctor!


POST SCRIPT - The grades ranged from A- to F and to that M. encouraged,

"Even to those who received an F grade, this does not mean you're stupid. From what I read, an F grade - in this case - simply meant you did not follow or understand the assignment."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cookie Monster

We received our essays in class tonight.

Most of the class was shocked with their grades.

Mind you, most of the class is fresh out of High School.

M. has offered us the opportunity of a re-write. I'm going to accept - not because I'm hell-bent on getting an "A", but I'm fascinated to learn what it takes to get one.

Monday, November 06, 2006

CAT TAILS 5: This one's trouble!

As I made my way to the bathroom, as is my customary morning ritual, I came on this sight. Nothing unusual, right? Except to say that the TP is usually rolled up.

Who could be responsible??

It appears the culprit's been busted!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday Dear Blo-og... Happy Birthday to you!

OK, that was a cheesy title, but it's true! Today is my blog's first birthday. As most do, I'm sure, my space here started small with this post.

Thank you to Sarah for the inspiration and to Ann who was my first visitor. (Ann and I had a chat on the phone a while back, and it was delightful!)

At the time of posting, this site has seen 1518 visits - an average of 4 visits per day. I've posted 185 times and when you consider each post sees an average of 5 comments, that's a lot of response! (almost 1000!)

Thank you all for sharing in a wonderful year of reading, reflection and contemplation!


The Original Turtle

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Good-bye, Dear Friend

D.J.: June 1990 - October 31, 2006

I said farewell to DJ tonight.

I returned from meetings this afternoon to discover his nasal infection had progressed to bleeding from his nose. There was blood thoughout the house, and lots of it.

I immediately phoned the vet.

They scheduled us for a consult at 5:15 this afternoon. I was hopeful that on consulting the doctors they would suggest we continue with the new anti-biotic, since it had been only three days. Although a veterinary doctor is obligated to suggest all possible options for treatment, we both understood what we were so carefully not saying.

It was time to say good-bye.

The biggest question that ran through my mind was

"How the hell can I in good conscience, play God!?"

Who was to say that he wouldn't bounce back? After all, the treatment was scheduled for 28 days, not 3.

As DJ was sedated, he tried to crawl back into the kennel. He lifted his head as if to say,

"I'm strong, I will make it!"

I stayed with him until he was under the anesthetic. I wonder if it makes me a coward that I didn't stay until the end.

I went to class tonight, probably a good thing too.

I think now is a good time to find comfort in tears.

DJ and Family

Monday, October 30, 2006

Hump Day

I've hit "hump day" in the cycle of things. I noticed it most at school, but over this last weekend I've seen it at work and at home too.

Last week I found myself, for the first time, behind in my assigned reading. The excitement and the high I've felt for school just aren't there.

Work has been status quo on the surface. It takes stepping back to consciously observe the progress. On the up side, I sold off a substantial amount of old, beat up, "it-doesn't-owe-me-a-dime" equipment. The space in the shop is a luxury!

Last night I walked in to a house that needed some TLC. For some reason I just felt really adjetated over the presence of some clutter and a few dishes set to the side of the sink.

It may also have something to do with the fact I had to make an appointment to have some warranty work done on my new washing machine. At the same time I think the dryer needs a heating element. To top that, the furnace is making strange noises and seems to come on at odd intervals - sometimes only minutes between cycles.

On Friday I took DJ to the vet. He's been on numerous batches of anti-biotics to fight a nasal infection. Nothing's working. The vet prescribed a children's antibiotic he says he's had fabulous results with. It's basically Azythromycin. I've been on it. It seems to work well on Turtles, we'll see what success we can achieve with Cats. Sadly, "trying a new drug" is pretty normal in DJ's world these days.

Finally, my body hurts. I had a massage that just about sent me through the roof in pain. I'm locked up in several places from head to toe, and I attribute it to the pace of my life these days. I seem to be paying a lot of attention to "achieving", but keeping my body in order seems to have slipped under the radar... or under the front porch mat. Yes, that must be it. You're welcome to come for a visit, just be mindful of the lump that is me as you step over the sill.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Phon-with-words and breakfast too!

I was babysitting my nieces the other day. The one housekeeping item before lights-out was to give N. a spelling test for school.

Right up my alley! (S'long as it wasn't a Spanish or French spelling test, and it wasn't!)

We ran down the list of a dozen words or so, I corrected the two she misspelled. (She's very bright and not nearly as slow as her Uncle Turtle!)

I noticed the one word was spelled... as it sounded. Most kids I know spell words that way all the time, but this gave me an idea.

T - "You know what we call it when you spell a word like it sounds?"

N - "Ummm... no, I don't know, Uncle T."

T - "We call it phonetically. Can you say 'phonetically'?"

N - "Phon... etically."

T - "Excellent! Now, spell it!"

(do you see what's coming?)

She hands me a scrap of paper:


T - "Excellent! You know what you just did?"

N. - "What?"

T - "You just spelt 'phonetically' - phonetically!"

N. - "Yah, I guess I did!"

I have a word for YOU as well. I'll spell it, you define it:


No Googling!



I made this for breakfast today, thought I'd share...

In the blender..

1 Banana
2 cups (or so) milk
Cocoa powder till it turns dark…or to taste
Brown sugar to taste
2 teaspoons (or so) instant coffee (preferably full-lead, no decaf!)
2 Squares Wheat-a-bix cereal
1-2 Dolops of Peanut butter
Blend till smooth

…and no, it’s not gross!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Thinking twice about Timmy's

This last Tuesday was special. Not only was my first-ever University essay due, it also happened to be my prof.'s birthday.

Seeing as receiving 30-odd first-year essays to mark didn't seem to be much of a "birthday present", we needed something else.

How about snacks?

We regularly have a 15 minute break in the almost-three-hour class, so what better than to have something to munch on?

On my way to class then, I detoured via Tim Horton’s located in the food court on Campus.

The time: approaching 5:00 PM

Upon reaching the order counter I asked if I could please have 4-dozen doughnuts. The poor girl on the till (not more than 17, I'm sure...) paused, looked at me in disbelief and said,

"Um... just a sec... I have to check with my manager."


If it were "I'd like a doughnut, please." would you in fact have to check with the manager? It's the same thing, really - I just want one doughnut... 48 times.

Can you believe, the reply to my request was "No."???


"Sorry, the bakery counter is closed. The stock we have has to last us until we close the service counter."

OK, let me get this straight. You sell doughnuts. It's what you do. I came to you wanting to BUY doughnuts. Now you tell me you won't sell me doughnuts? You're just going to hoard them until close? What time is "close"?

"We close at 8:00."

OK. There are TONS of doughnuts here... in fact, there's cookies, pastries, muffins and so forth... I'm dumbfounded. I don't get it.

So, I asked if she could do a combination of cookies, muffins, doughnuts... so as not to deplete the stock of any one given product.


"Three dozen?"



"OK, thank you." (not really, but...)

I decided to wander the food court to see if there were any other options. Low and behold, here we have another bakery stand! Their counter had far less product than Tim's. So, I began by asking if I could get THREE DOZEN of any combination. With a look of sheer delight, the lady behind the till set about loading me up. We started with cookies and moved to muffins. They had no doughnuts, but who cares??

I paid for the items and proceeded to load myself up, backpack, bags of muffins and cookies...

"Here... Have some of these too...", she says, handing me a bag of mini-cookies and a lemon pastry... free. "Thank you, very much!"

Well... I was impressed. Sadly, I’ve forgotten the name of the snack stand! I will confirm and post later! I may just write them a letter, too.

One girl brought a birthday candle. So, after M. chose her muffin, we stuffed the candle in it and lit it.

So... what's with Tim Horton’s? I have to admit, I’m going to think twice before patronising them… seems they don’t really need our business.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Silent Anniversary

On occasion someone will cross your path who profoundly affects your life by awakening your senses and challenging you to take on new and different opportunities.

Today I'm reflecting on a dear friend whom I met one year ago today.

Is there anyone like this in your life?

Enjoy them - they're rare.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


It's done.

It's printed.

It's assembled.

There's no turning back now...

...with 2 hours to spare...


Monday, October 16, 2006

The wall of concentration-frustration

This feels really weird. I'm on the brink of my first project deadline for school. The deadline looms dangerously close. Under normal circumstances, this would cause me to flip into a panic and instantly become super-motivated and focused on getting through it.

I find the opposite is true. I'm becoming increasingly distracted and my level of concentration seems to be diminishing. These distractions include but are not limited to:

I'm tired
I'm hungry
Oh yes, the long list of things OTHER than this that require my attention

I truly thought that I would become so engrossed in the paper that the outside world would just fade into the distance. Not true. The outside world is serving as an annoyance - frustrating me because... when I hit that brick wall of writer's block, my mind zips to something else I'd SOONER be doing than being in writer's block. I'd really rather be slamming words to the page, yammering on and on defending my thesis statement.

Alas, no... I'm just trying to avoid the feeling of writer's limbo by stuffing a distraction in the way.

Chatted with my friend M. yesterday - or was it the day before - about a 5000 word essay he wrote years ago that caused him to stay up all night, drink copious amounts of rye, and meet daylight and his Dad at the breakfast table with a completed work in Canadian History that earned him an 85% grade.

Maybe that's it. I think it was Sare who said "Remember, Turtle... 4AM is the new 1AM..."

So, to Sare's Uncle J. (AKA Anvilcloud) I know I promised a draft by yesterday, and you've been more than kind to offer your experienced quil of guidance, but alas... I'm stuck. I'm going to have a nap and see where it takes me. Then, maybe 4AM will bring with it some inspiration.

And to Jeremiah and Susie too... thanks for the offer... I've hit my wall and need to regroup.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Turtle speaks out

Turtle's First Audio Post

Be forewarned... this piece is not scripted. Today's blogcaster tends to ramble and bump into things like microphone stands.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Turtle Nerd.

I have a confession to make.

I've turned into a nerd.

"A nerd?”, you say...

Yes. Quite.

You see, over the past number of weeks I've taken much delight in school... in English. Delight to the point that... well... I'm afraid to say it... well... OK.

I had work in Olds - a town about an hour north of Calgary - on Saturday night. As I went through the motions of what appeared to be quite a routine event, a wedding reception at the Olds College, I began to feel an itch.

It was an itch to crack the books.

So, once set up, I parked myself in Tim Hortons. I sat myself down with a long john, a blueberry apple fritter and a cup of coffee, double cream.

Here it comes... the nerd part:

I began to read - not in the fashion of the reference text it was, (looking up only that which was important) but rather, beginning at the first page as one would read a novel - the Broadview Handbook to Writing.

Yes, folks. I'm reading reference texts... for fun.

I say again...

I'm reading reference texts for fun.

I didn't make it "cover-to-cover" in the hour and a half I had at my disposal, probably because I was savouring each and every tasty morsal of "this is our idea of good and proper sentence structure".

I won't go into the disappointment I felt when I got home to discover my Speech text from the Radio course (1993) was not where I expected it to be!


Yes, I crave a re-visit to the days of thinking about WHAT one is going to say and HOW one is going to say it - BEFORE one opens one's mouth.

Turtle Nerd out.

Friday, October 06, 2006

"Happy Anniversary, what would you like?" .... "I think I'll take a new washing machine, please."

I'm attempting a short post here, so please excuse the point form.

-Last week my washing machine died.

-What repair guy in his right mind EVER says "You're best to buy a new washer, dude."?

-Turns out October 2006 is my 13th. anniversary here in this particular Turtle Shell.

-Is that why the washer crapped out? Maybe.

-I decided to buy new - this being my... FIFTH washer in the same 13 years.

-Time to go shopping... washing machines are $600 to $2500 CDN Ouch.

-Top load, start, stop... I'm good. $600.00. (I need not fly to the moon with a full-sized window to watch the planets go by!)

-New washers are light. This, too, pleased me. I guess having met with success lightening Hide-A-Bed sofas, why not try it with washing machines too?

After getting it downstairs, the rest was a piece of cake...

...doesn't match, but who cares?

I read the instruction on the peel-away plastic, but felt so warm and fuzzy over a NEW washing machine, I've left it in place, just for now.

...and just for the record, this is the inaugural load.

I love that word, inaugural

[in-aw-gyer-uhl, -ger-uhl]


1. of or pertaining to an inauguration: Harding's inaugural address.
2. marking the beginning of a new venture, series, etc.: the inaugural run of the pony express.


3. an address, as of a president, at the beginning of a term of office.
4. an inaugural ceremony: to attend the presidential inaugural.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Is this a University class or a Literature Club?

Yesterday's class was cool. We spent much of it bantering amongst ourselves in open discussion. Quite literally, it felt like I was a member of a book club, not a student in a formal classroom.

With the exception of a mini-lecture on Chaucer, the bulk of the class was dedicated to discussing what we'd been assigned to read:

The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales
The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale

There's something about my prof. that I absolutely love. She makes me laugh. She's a stickler for all things good like grammar, spelling and proper pronunciation. Also, you'd be best in her class to choose your words carefully BEFORE you open your mouth. She's forever stopping a student, drawing attention to what they've just said and asking them point blank if there's a better way to say it.

This kills me.

I get such a charge out of it!

Call me crazy, but I'm quite literally entertained by that!

The many examples from last night's class escape me except for one... because it was mine. At the beginning of the class, dear Professor M. asked if we all felt we were in the "right" class.

"Is there anyone here who doesn't recognize this room? Are you in the right class?"

She'd realized that there were a couple faces unfamiliar to her - hence the question.

I put up my hand.

She looked puzzled.

"David, you're in the right class, you've been here from the beginning."

"Yes," I said, "but I have a better word."

"A better word?", she inquired.

"Than 'right'", I said. "How about... 'correct'?"

Oh boy. Did I start a discussion!

"Is David right? Is David correct? Which is better?", she queried the class.

She looks to me, "Explain, please."

"Well, 'Are you in the correct classroom?', to my way of thinking is more... precise because 'right' could also be confused with direction." , I said, rather proud of my quick response - which I really didn't have enough time to comfortably formulate before spitting it out! (Once a Turtle, always a Turtle...)

After much debate (and I seriously didn't intend to open a Pandora's Tool Box of Speech) we came to the conclusion that 'right' was perfectly correct as she had used it.

The arguments were flying left, right and centre, and I was a little foggy when the dust had finally settled. From what I remember, the reason she was correct in using the word 'right' is that there is a hair to be split here. Could I remember? Nope.

This morning, I emailed M. to get the straight goods.

DAVID: "...I was reflecting on our discussion from last night regarding the use of the words 'right' and 'correct'. I was trying to sort through by memory all the different arguments that floated about over the course of this discussion. I can't for the life of me remember accurately the conclusion we came to on the difference between 'right' and 'correct' (in the context of "Are you in the 'right' (or 'correct') room?".) Could you jog my memory for me, please? I seem to recall something of "societal" VS.. "permission"? Perhaps I'm still in a fog. I need tea..."

PROF. M.: "...'Right' has, in addition to the usage which is synonymous with 'correct', a moral connotation that 'correct' lacks.

Correctness is about facts, it seems to me, whereas rightness is about being properly (another synonym!) located, morally & ethically.

All this, of course, is semantics!"

So there you have it: one of the things that makes the English language unique and far from dead. Also a fine motivator for all things good... like tea and coffee.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

ALL IN A DAY'S WORK - I saw the light! (long post with lots of pictures!)

Two weeks ago I was presented with a project. The problem to be solved was this: The church had bought a used organ from another church nearby. When the organ tech hooked everything up, he placed the speakers along the windows.

The problem with this is that now the first three rows of people get blown out!

Meanwhile, the organist is situated behind a structural pillar. As he or she cannot hear properly, the volume goes up.

Do you see the problem?

Now, don't get me wrong... there are times when I love to wear my music as much as the next fellow, but please... Granny's already half-deaf and it just wouldn't do to finish her off!

I had suggested, when they first bought the organ, that the speakers be placed in the loft at the back of the church. Not only would the cabinets be "out of the way", the coverage would be much, much more even.

So, on with the project!

In order to place the speakers at the back of the room, effectively 60 feet away from the organ, a cable had to be run down through the floor, across the ceiling of the basement and up through the floor again and up to the loft. It would be simple enough to hardwire everything in place, but if you ever went to change something it would be a bear!! So I decided to put plugs on either end of this cable so that the organ could be unplugged if necessary, likewise with the speakers in the loft.

Connectors placed on the speaker and organ cable ends.

Preparing the multi-conductor line for soldering to the plugs

Plugs attached to the face plate

My make-shift vice: A C-clamp I had in my tool box. Crude, but effective.

As I was doing all this, there just happened to be a meeting downstairs. Lucky for me, it was the annual Ladies Group Pot Luck! One of the ladies came upstiars to see what all the fuss was about and said, "Well, David... you MUST come down and have a bite! ...Have some dessert at least!" SCORE!!

Once the ladies had gone home, I was free to work on the downstairs portion of the project. The first order of business was to drill a hole through the floor to run the cable.

I popped a ceiling tile so I could see the hole I actually drilled... only... it was dark! Very dark! I had forgotten my flashlight, so I searched the building high and low - not a flashlight to be found.

Now, Turtle shells are pretty dark inside and we Turtles generally get along just fine. This, however presented a problem.

I started to think. (My fourth cousin, twice removed was an elephant, so thinking comes naturally to me as well...)

Surely there was SOMETHING I could use... a lamp... anything!


Nothing here.

This struck me as very odd. Thinking back to one of my favourite movies, "The Blues Brothers", I recalled Jake and Elwood were sent to church to "see the light"... and they did! Why, then, could I not find one!!??

Then it hit me. You might say, "I saw the light".

In the storage room I discovered some lightbulbs. I also found an old extension cord. I thought to myself,

"If Edison could invent the lightbulb, surely Turtle can reinvent the flashlight!"

So I set about building my very own, one of a kind, guaranteed no one has one like it - flashlight!

I removed the recepticle end of the extension, carefully placing the positive and negative wires to the appropriate places on the lightbulb. Using copious amounts of electrical tape I secured the line directly to the bulb.

Two questions came to mind.

(1) Would it pass electrical code?

After all, the lightbulb was CSA approved, the wire was rated to 10 amps or so, the plug on the end of the wire was CSA approved, and the electrical tape was rated to 6000 volts. I was merely dealing with 110!

Something told me... no. It would not pass.

However, the immediate question was indeed,

(2) Would it WORK?

There really WAS only one way to find out: Plug it in and see what happens.

Would you look at that, it worked!

Now, before you get all excited, freaked out and so on... I'll let you in on a little secret. I've done this before! I do not, however, recommend that you try this at home... unless you're Jeremiah. I'm pretty sure he could pull it off without burning down the house!

It was time for more COFFEE!!

I preped the wire for fishing through the hole I could now see, thank to my TurtleLite.
Strung the wire along the ceiling and up through the floor again - this time through the kitchen ceiling.
This was the end result. Organ speakers safely stowed in the loft (yes, I fastened them down so as not to allow them to slide off the shelf!)

Monday, September 25, 2006

what "busy" means... to me.

I noticed it's been about a week since my last post and that I haven't been around to visit everyone on "as regular" a basis as I'd like.

Life outside of the Armchair is full and rich right now. School, Pottery, Work and social time seem to be in balance.

I do, however find myself missing the blogosphere on occasion. This, too is part of my social balance.

I have so many ideas for posts BECAUSE of life's richness... I wish I had time to post about it all.

Perhaps I'll list just a few of my thoughts for upcoming posts...

-Was going to post about being sick over the weekend, but who has the time?? I survived and feeling almost back to normal.

-My parent's 40th Wedding Anniversary and the marathon session I put in to build a slide show for the occasion

-English Literature Class (of course I'm posting about THAT because it's on my brain when I get in the door that night!)

-Pottery... yes, must post more about pottery!

-Yesterday's charity event for STARS (our local Air Ambulance Service) Had a blast, got some sun, ate and drank lots and socialized with generous, giving folks.

-Cat Tails... I think there should be another post about DJ and Bob.

-Babysitting... confirmed to be a contact sport after all!

This picture has something to do with another thing that's been keeping me busy these days... can you guess?

There you have it, a few of the things that are keeping me busy that really do deserve their own post... but WHEN???!!!


As an aside, for feline lovers, this post at Morning Martini is so very cute!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Turtle humbled... now where's that shell!??

The reality of "school" has set in. I've discovered my mortality where learning is concerned.

I said "Bring it on!"

And so it was done.

I was faced with a whole bunch of feelings I thought I'd left behind 18 years ago. All the excitement aside, I really felt kinda... scared tonight.

I read the two pieces we were assigned on Tuesday last. Checking the online blackboard, I discovered yet a third reading by one of the same authors, due today as well.

I am a frightfully slow reader - in keeping with Turtle nature. So I blow the better part of the afternoon on this "third" reading, a short story of only about 13 pages if you'd believe that. Dangerously close to class time I finally print out my thoughtfully formulated answers to the black-board-posted questions.

I arrive at class with 15 minutes to spare.

Where are my notes?


So now I feel like Johnny whose dog apparently ate his homework assignment.

I had also checked my notes from last Tuesday to confirm that I did indeed read the correct passages.

"Munro, P. 835" which in fact is "The View from Castle Rock".

This one had me curious because this mysteriously added "third reading" was also a Munro piece.

"Make sure when copying an assignment from the chalkboard here that you get the NAME of the literary piece because often I will mis-quote a page number here or there, but I'm always extremely accurate with the title and author.", says my dear prof.

I've started second-guessing myself too. I just about answered a question tonight but hesitated so as not to boldly open my mouth when I wasn't "quite" sure my answer was indeed correct.

The question was "What parts of speech should you take down when making notes?"

I'm thinking to myself that if I were to break it down THAT literally, nouns and verbs would be pretty safe bets.

Sure enough, that was exactly the answer she was looking for. I couldn't believe an entire class of English students stared at the prof. with a "deer-in-the-headlights" glare! ...myself included! (but out of fear that my simple answer was just too stupidly simple!)

Then, of course full of all kinds of confidence, I proceed to actually answer a question:

"When writing an essay, how do you present your facts?"

I'm thinking this is pretty easy, but I'd better be aware that there's a very stong Philosophical side to this course, so it could be this, but it might be that. So, here's my answer:

"I see two possibilities. I could either state my strongest point first, then my lesser supportive points OR I could start with my weaker points, working up to my strongest, leading into a solid conclusion"

Of course, not thinking ahead to "you must be able to support what you say", I was left hanging when she asked,

"You think you could use both then? Interesting. Give me an example of where you'd use each of these. I'll be back to you in a moment."

It was only after some careful reflection that I hadn't kept my examples to the purely essay-based discussion at hand. Sure, in an essay you want to get right into it - no beating around the bush, state your point and support it, then get the hell out!

My second example, once I gave it some careful thought was the structure for a novel, not an essay. In a novel, let's say fiction for example, you want to build the story so as the reader nears the end of the book you've brought them to the pinnacle, then you can gently (or not) push them over the edge of the denouement... looks much like a ski jump into nowheresville when you draw it out like a graph.

Somewhere along the line the class discussion was shifted and I was not required to support my statement. I will, however send an email to the prof. as a matter of courtesy. I tried staying after class, but close to 8 people were vying for the prof's attention.

So I'm feeling awefully new at the whole "critical thinking" component of the course. I read these pieces, made my comments, but discovered that if I were truly "into" the texts, I might have researched some history on them. Some of the details that were pointed out to us were foreign to me, and I've lived a fairly healthy chunk of life. Up until now, I considered myself fairly well acquainted with English and its bits and pieces.

When it comes to "You might have asked the question..." it makes me wonder why I didn't.

Am I not thinking critically?

Essay writing scares me, to be honest. We have a handout on Essay Form and I'm paranoid. So many little bits and pieces to remember - spacing, column margins... not to mention the content and its layout.

It reminds me of the time I took a study skills class at SAIT. The instructor would dock a third of a grade if the staple in the upper corner wasn't at a 45 degree angle. He did indeed measure it too.

I came away from tonight's class a bit on the deflated side, to be honest. I'm feeling a touch overwhelmed and wondering how a full time student manages 5 or 7 of these courses.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Am I in the right class?

O.K. Blogger Lesson 245.5... in reference to the previous post, one might check to see if one's post was posted to the correct blog! Believed to be lost and gone, my post from Wednesday - on my first English class - survived! It somehow was posted to one of my other blogs.

So... read on... (and pretend it's Wednesday!)

Yesterday marked my first official day as a University student. Class is in, and so am I.

What an experience!

It just wouldn't do to be tardy on the first day, so I left the house in plenty of time to make my 6:00. I literally walked into the classroom weak-kneed, I was that excited. Or was it nervousness? After all, I haven't been in an English class for... 20 years? 18 anyway...

Turns out, despite my apparent "teacher's pet" status (which I'm sure has more to do with my age than it does my academic standing - and I'm sure the status resides mostly in my head, not in the sphere most know to be reality) I was not the first body in the room.

O.K., I was the third.

So essentially I was able to watch most of the class arrive, one by one.

Approaching class start time, in walks the first person to appear anywhere CLOSE to my age. This lady walked in, sat herself down in the first seat in the room. I'm thinking to myself,

"Ah, good. I'm not the only grey-hair here!"

Boy, was I wrong.

In walks our dear prof., M. - whom I adore, by the way.

As is the custom in most "first classes", we run down the attendance list - "face-to-a-name time". This lady turned out NOT to be on the list of registered students!

Turns out she was from Career Services and was present to... present!

So here I am, "Dad" to a room full of... yung-uns. Seriously, I'm old enough to be everyone's Dad!

It didn't help that I'd had lunch that afternoon with my friend N. who - when I was complaining about the pain in my knee - said,

"Um, Dave... you're almost 40, ain't ya?" 26 years in to our friendship, he calls me old. what's with that??

Anyhow, I digress...

I knew I was going to enjoy this course, I didn't realize, however, that I would be on the floor in stiches within minutes of the class commencement:

On with the presentation from Career Services. This lady whoes name I've forgotten, described their purpose, progamming etc. and said,

"We would appreciate your input. We're trying to grow the programme."

At which point our dear prof., M. literally interrupts to say

"To what?"

"To... grow the programme?"

"Pardon me?"

"To... what?"

"You said "grow the programme"?"


Looking rather red in the face, our presenter from Career Services had wheels turning in her head faster than I've seen anyone in a long, long time.

"We're expanding the programme... (pause)"

"Much better, carry on..."

And so she did.

Little was I or anyone else to know what we were in for last night. But I loved every minute of it! Among all the lessons we learned, we were gently drilled on the selection of "a better word for that". It started with the banning of the word "just". A number of times it was said "Oh, I'm just an English Major."

Oops. You don't say THAT in M.'s class.

"Why shouldn't we use the word "just"?", she asks us.

I knew the answer. And I got an affirming nod. It was cool!

We are English students. Not "Just English students". "Just" limits us. "Just" minimizes us.

This was not the only word she drilled us on, but one of many which (or is it that?) was followed by "Assert yourselves!"

I liked her already, but this woman has now attained "language goddess" status in my books. Every time she opens her mouth, wise, golden educated words spill out - by nature, not rehearsed, not phoney. Our prof. is genuinely educated and worldly wise.

Through the various exercises, I began to wonder if I wasn't in the wrong class. Is this an English class, a Philosophy class or a Logics course?

I could go on and on about the first class, but I'll try to break these stories up a bit. Long blog posts get to be much like "family slide shows".

More later on this same station.

Blogger Lesson 245.4

When writing a long post, always, always, always create it in something other than the web-based popup window supplied by Blogger.


I had a beautiful piece composed to walk you through my first English class on Tuesday.


I clicked "PUBLISH POST" and it may as well have read "DELETE ME".

I'll wait for the frustration to pass, write again and practice my "cut and paste" technique!

Until then, thanks everyone for your wonderfully supportive comments at the last post. It means a lot.


Turtle out. (for now)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A bit of a lull

We all know life is not fair.

It's a given.

I'd heard it said once that "Life is a series of ups and downs with brief interludes of happiness." I'm not sure I entirely agree with this statement. My life seems to be pretty good most days - more good than bad and there's something to be said for that.

This week my life, or at least my spirit, seems to be in a bit of a downward lull. I went back to re-read about Jeremiah's Job Search because it spoke to me about the feelings one can experience when one's ways and means are disrupted.

Several months ago I posted much on the role money plays in our lives and how not having enough of it tends to put me for one, into a bit of a depressed state.

So, I went out, worked my butt off and made a bunch of money.

It felt great.

The bills got paid, I got to eat, I even had a little fun along the way.

This week I'm broke.

Not just without money, I mean broke.

I couldn't understand it. I'd gone out and made all this money - I even feel the right kind of "warn out" as a result of working hard.

I have no money.


Well, when I asked myself THAT question, I started to dig for an answer, and an answer I did find!

There appear to be a great number of invoices due me, still outstanding. One even from a Stampede party done on the second week in July! The grand total of these invoices is equivalent to about one month's operational expenses. By that I mean one month of operating my business AND my house AND my personal expenses.

My little business is nothing really to brag about, but THAT is a lot of money! After all, I live in affluent Calgary. It's not cheap to live here. I had a friend move from Calgary to somewhere in nowheresville Saskatchewan because of the simple fact she couldn't afford to live and operate a business here.

Of course, this is going to be a short-term little thorn in my side and things will look better in a few days (hopefully) but it sure is unsettling.

Ah, the joys of being an entrepreneur!

Monday, September 11, 2006

My thoughts on 9/11

I wasn't going to post on this.

At all.

The day it happened, my friend N. was helping me manage my office. He kept me and two other people under my employ focused by literally turning off the TV, radio and any source of media that could be distracting to us.

"Let's not allow this to disrupt our day."

What he was getting at was that it happened, but don't allow it to do more damage than it already has. He kept us focused and our minds off the negativity.

This is precisely why I wasn't going to post.

But I read the poem over at Lady Jan's, left a comment and started to reflect.

My comment was this:

I often think of "rememberances" - World Wars, family losses and of course 9/11. It strikes me as odd that we focus on remembering the visciousness, the hatred, the loss of a loved one.

We, the living have so very much to be thankful for. I try to remember those who did what they could and are still here to tell the tale.

If ever I am a victim of such violence and hatred, I hope that those I leave behind spend more time being grateful for life than remembering death.

I really feel very strongly about this - that we do indeed spend far too little time focused on the beauty that is life.

Respecting it.

Enjoying it.

Getting everything we can from it.

I respect those who experienced the violence - lived or died. But when we remember them let's be mindful of the greatest gift we all share.

Don't worry 'bout the future - forget about the past.

Friday, September 08, 2006

You make me feel like a natural wo-man!

I just got back from a bike ride over to the University. As I rode through the pathways I came on a group of people gathered around a sound system... some live entertainment! To my dismay, it was Karaoke time at the U. As I slowed down to find a place to perch, the next fellow was up. And you guessed it, he belted out Aretha's classic hit.

Tell me - what am I in for as a newby University student???

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I miss Mollie.

When I first started blogging in November last year, one of the first blogs I was introduced to was that of Mollie.

By the handle Ipodmomma, Mollie would tell us about everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. From what happened in the garden that day to what was going on in the kitchen or inside her head, we heard it all.

Ever at a loss for words?

Not Mollie!

There were some days I'd have to simply skim her posts because they were so blasted long!

I pointed out on a few occasions that what I really enjoyed about reading her page was how she wrote about family. It's obvious that her family is very close and enjoys all the little things that make life truly wonderful.

Mollie has taken a break from blogging, but the pages remain for all to read, so I encourage you to stop by and browse.

Quite often it would be the photos she'd include that would catch my interest. I took a few moments to put some up here for you to see...

We must start with, of course, the iPod!

Mollie's husband Peter - a jolly fellow!

...unless of course he has yet to have his morning coffee...

...and if I remember correctly it's Spencer, Jocelyn and Ted on top.

And the photos she would take of places and things!

This is one of my absolute favourites!

Anyone with kids will appreciate this one for sure! Note to my sister...

If you browse through her blog, you'll find that on a fairly regular basis this fellow shows up... sometimes out of the blue... but DEFINITELY good for a laugh!

Now... don't think for a minute I've fogotten about all the food!


So you see... it doesn't matter. People, places and things intrigue Mollie, and she LOVES telling the world about her experiences, thoughts and feelings.

Even the attack of the waffle monster.

I do hope she is soon to return.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Photo Request and some Fast Furniture!

In response to repeated requests:

"this is all very well and good, but will any of the pictures have you in them?"

"Hey Dave, I agree....get some pics with you in them!"

I've decided to poke my head out of my shell... for a spell. In addition you can also visit
A photo from yesteryear and

Turtle with Mom and Dad

I don't often get in front of the camera, so "action shots" are hard to come by around here. Besides... with a slow-moving Turtle, "action" isn't always considered high-paced and exciting!

But speaking of fast...

Innovative marketing on behalf of Intel... have you ever been pulled over by the cops while driving an 87 MPH sofa??

...much, much faster than my progress with Chaucer. Middle English... *sigh* a humbling experience.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My prep day at the University

Today I rode over to the University to tie up some loose ends in preparation for my first class a week from today.

Task one was to visit the U. of C. Bookstore where I found - to my delight - all the materials in stock for my English 240 class. They include The Broadview Pocket Guide to Writing and Volumes 1 to 6 of the Broadview Anthology of British Literature.

They are:

Volume 1 The Medieval Period
Volume 2 The Renaissance and the Early Seventeenth Century
Volume 3 The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century
Volume 4 The Age of Romanticism
Volume 5 The Victorian Era
Volume 6 The Twentieth Century and Beyond

Several weeks ago I emailed my prof. to ask what might be my best bet if I wanted to do some "pre-reading".

Her response:

"Why not read the General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales as well as "The Wife of Bath's Tale"? I will be giving everyone a modern translation in a handout in September, but would like everyone to at least attempt a reading of the original."

I'm on it!

Task two was to attain my Student ID card. Now, with a University email address AND an ID card, books and a class to go to I'm definitely in the mode!

I never thought school would be so exciting. I think back to a time when all I could think about was FINISHING school... as if "learning" was something you simply crossed off a "to do" list.

An adventure lies ahead of me and I'm thrilled! It's been an exciting road to this point and I'm sure the journey is only going to become more intriguing!

Monday, September 04, 2006

ALL IN A DAY'S WORK - Part 3 of 3

...continued from ALL IN A DAY'S WORK - Part 2 of 3

Mixer patch bay and wireless lav. receivers

Mixer and wireless handheld mic receivers

The evening's M.C. Kelly Rhudey - Light-hearted, funny, knowledgeable and every bit the professional.
He even knows how to wear a lavalier microphone!

One of the reasons I LOVE this contract...
BBQ Prime rib and chicken
catered by S.A.I.T. students!

So, another year has come and gone - more money raised for the Tim Horton Childrens Camp, and I'm looking forward to next year already! This was year 10 for me and rumour has it next year we're in Calgary... which will likely bring with it its own fresh, new dynamics.

About Me

My photo
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.