So THIS is what happens when women try to do it all…

June 7, 2010

It seemed like such a great idea at the time… A quick toilet scrub while running out the door to my full-time job. In pursuit of maximum efficiency, I squirted some cleaner in the bowl and went at it with a vengeance (quite literally). I attacked the chore with such violence, I must have looked like I was plunging some horrible clog. Until…

Exploring the delicious, pine-scented back woods of Quebec, one quickly learns to walk a few paces behind a partner. No, our dear French Canadians do not subscribe to some antiquated religious diktat – although the prevalence of front yard Virgin Mary ceramics do make one wonder. The gap is simply to prevent one of those prickly, dew laden, boughs from clocking you in the nose when it whips back across the path.

We lose so much in the time-clogged rush of being a modern woman; so many of life’s most beautiful lessons are forgotten in the mania of “having to do it all.” As the brush caught on the rim, and a heavy spray of yellowish, mucky, bleachy, ‘water’ splashed up into my face, I grabbed hold of the gentle quiet of those pine-lined trails to stop from screaming. No, life is not fair (especially before 7am), but it’s nice to know there’s still enough justice, somewhere out there, to make sure I was wearing my glasses!

(image source)


Oh Calgary! Couldn’t you have waited till Tuesday to break my heart?

May 17, 2010

“Is this a stop?” I called out politely after an unsuccessful battle with the bus’ back doors. No one answered. I was sure I’d seen my bus # on the sign right outside the window – and the bus had bloody well stopped, hadn’t it!?

Maybe I was just asking too much from a Monday… for one (just one) of my fellow ‘civilized’ public transit customers to come forward with a word of help for one of their own. I know this is the start of the week; and I know Mondays come with their own set of rules, but…

As the bus pulled away from the curb, a man, two shoulders down, finally spoke. “Looks like you missed your stop,” he said.

Be proud of me, dear readers… I let him live.

But just like Calgary’s weather, its people are prone to Chinooks. My faith in humanity was restored five city blocks later when a woman opened a door for me, then held it for that extra glorious ½ second that takes a gesture straight from courtesy to comfort.

Yes, all was peaches and cream until I came face to face with The Sun’s Front Page. Why, Calgary, why? Can’t a girl make it to her desk without being forced to stare into the soul-dead eyes of a man tortured, beaten, and starved almost to death by his trusted roommate? Or should I simply appreciate the fact that his abuser – with a generosity similar to my own – ‘let him live’?


Every writer’s dream…

March 25, 2010

Card's inside caption reads: ...And Live The Dream!

It’s every writer’s dream… a free-wheeling roadtrip across Canada with nothing but your wits and words to get you from A to B to N (Alberta to B.C. to Newfoundland). As I type this, Patricia O’Neill – one of Calgary’s best storytellers – is busy whittling down her life to fit in the back of a car. She’ll be blogging her way across the country (web address coming soon!) as she winds her way through the stories, people, and places along the road. It is rare in this life to be offered a chance at true freedom, and there are too few people brave enough to grab hold of the opportunity. We’re proud of you Patricia! Go forth woman… and live the dream!

Update: You can follow Patricia’s incredible journey on her blog – Moving in the Write Direction


OK, so it was a bit of a rough morning…

February 18, 2010

When was the last time you had one of these mornings? You know, the kind where someone else sets the alarm for 5:30am when this is the one morning you don’t have to be up till 7:00am – the kind where that someone sleeps through 6 snooze alarms, then somehow expects to be cajoled gently into wakefulness by a sweetly saccharine wife.

Yes, t’was the kind of morning where you take the bus – rather than walking – to work because you know it would be cruel and inhumane to force anyone to spend 45 minutes trapped alone with such unabashed hostility, let alone your own self! T’was the kind where you make yourself even later by waiting in the lobby for the coast to clear, so you don’t have to share an elevator and risk an awful reaction to some poor hapless coworker’s “Good Morning.”

I thought I was doing quite a good job handling the situation in a mature and dignified manner. We all get into Grumps sometimes – no need to spread the toxicity. On the crowded bus, I kept my Klingon Death Stare fixed on a piece of black lint stuck to the fellow in front of me’s jacket, rather than on the twerp beside me – one of those lovely souls bereft of any concept of personal space. I didn’t avert my eyes from the (exactly 3.4mm diameter) fluff even when the bus lurched round a corner and I (lacking any extra footspace) had the uniquely excruciating experience of feeling my wrist bruising in real-time as one square inch of skin was crushed between my full weight and a metal pole.

I covered the few short blocks between the bus stop and my office with my brim pulled low down over my eyes. It was a public service, really, preventing my Medusa glare from laying waste to any number of unsuspecting commuters on the streets of downtown Calgary. But, on the last street corner, my conscientiousness backfired.

Out of nowhere, a trio of thin blue ribbons caught me around the neck. I was doing so well too, but when something tries to strangle you on the way to work (with or without warning!), some fine line of universal decency is crossed. I broke – my stride, my composure, at least one of the ribbons…

There I was, at 8am on a busy Calgary street corner, thrashing madly at three innocent helium balloons tethered to a “don’t you wish you lived here” folding sign. “AAAAAAARGH!” I let it all out. It was a brief, all too public, display of what it really means to be human. That, or just some crazy chick going psycho on modern marketing. I’m not proud of my little spectacle, and I can assure you there isn’t the least bit of satisfaction in railing on anything that’s essentially lighter than air, but I don’t regret it. Better three balloons than one alarm clock setter’s nose~wink.


To those who face what we cannot…

November 11, 2009

poppy*

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*            …Thank You!

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(image source)


Somewhere out there a Vogue editor is crying…

October 14, 2009

I woke up to winter in Calgary today. Sure, there were heaps of snow on the ground yesterday, and the bow river was slate grey and seething, but there was still something missing. The season change became official at 7am this morning, when Mother Nature overheard me trying to describe my outfit over the phone:

“Um, ok, so picture me as a Christmas elf at the mall, but all they could find for me was some old man’s wrinkled elf costume from who knows when. Oh, and my lumberjack socks are pulled up over my pants, almost to my knees.”

I’d like to say I went straight back to my room to change, but I didn’t. I tied on my damp sneakers (boots are for sissies, not real Canadians) and trudged out into the wilderness. When the weather works its way this deep into your bones, this early, there’s not a whole lot you can do. Except maybe, and I suppose I’m right on time here, channel it for Halloween?


Perfect picture of Canadian diversity for Canada Day

July 1, 2009

Three Canadian families watching three, equally diverse, families of waterfowl in Calgary's Prince's Island Park

Three Canadian families enjoying three, equally diverse, families of waterfowl in Calgary's Prince's Island Park- Happy Canada Day from SavingCymbria!