Thursday, June 29, 2006

Upcoming Around Town

Almost forgot to do this post this week. Too much upcoming around home. Don't expect to see me out much, but here's what I've heard is happening:


Oh, yes.
Canada Day Celebration at Ed Hanna Park - cake and ice cream (check the posters for the time, or call the Town Office), and then fireworks at dusk.

Other than that, if there's something happening, I don't know about it. Drop a note in the comments if you're better informed than I am. Church (United Church, that is) is out until September. School is out, too.

So, keep cool, enjoy the sun if you like that sort of thing, happy gardening, and if you have to work, well - is it worth it?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Wrigglers in the Rain Barrel

I was filling up my cordless hose* by dipping it in the as-yet lidless rain barrel, when I noticed the wrigglers. I'd been watching for them. Time to water the whole garden, instead of just the new seedlings, and empty the barrel.

As I got down to the last few inches of water, I noticed some red flakes swirling on the bottom of the barrel. It took me a moment to realized that these were bits of paint from the 50-year-old wooden shingles above. I don't know how old the paint is, but I'm hoping it's not old enough to have a lot of lead in it. I'm sure the roof has been shedding paint for many years, but lately it's been shedding shingles too; just single narrow ones so far, but enough to get me thinking renovations again.

Back and forth I go with the watering can, and round and round go my thoughts. Are we staying here? Moving to a farm? If we're moving, do we try to leave this place a little better than we found it? Or just fix the worst things and get on with our own lives?

And here I am with the first garden I've ever cherished. Must I give it up already?


*cordless hose: a watering can - much more convenient than being tethered to a faucet

Monday, June 26, 2006

Kids in the Labyrinth

Sorry, no picture.

James's class from school came to see the yin-yang garden today. They all tramped through in single file behind me, and several of the boys seemed to think it was cool. Then they continued on their tour with Arcola's area historian, Adrian Paton. They paused at the end of the yard and I listened in while he told them about the brick ponds. Apparently there were drying sheds just south of our place, and kilns beyond that, close by the tracks so the finished bricks could be loaded onto rail cars. I wonder how far they went.

I may have mentioned this before, but if you know of some old Arcola bricks that could be had, fairly close to here, please let me know. I only need about a thousand . . .

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Tai Chi Labyrinth Update #2

If you're following the development of my Tai Chi Labyrinth garden, you might want to check my latest post at the Daily Bed.

Contrary Goddess has dubbed it a "yin yang garden," and I'm thinking that's a much more comfortable name for it. Thanks, CG.

Driving Stories

A vital piece of news, from the Kidman-Urban wedding in Australia:
Australian movie star Hugh Jackman was the first guest to arrive, though his black European sedan almost missed the entrance. The car stopped and reversed back to enter the venue.
Aren't you glad we have such diligent reporters on the scene?

Here's an equally vital vignette from my own past.

It was early winter of my Grade 12 year. Our class and the Grade 11s went to Regina to see a Shakespeare play at the Globe Theatre. I don't remember what play it was, but I can still see in my mind several short pieces of the journey home.

I was driving my mom's K-car, with my friend Twila on the passenger side. In the back seat were Grade 11 student Gord, and our English teacher Mr. Burland.

Somewhere in those mind-numbing miles of straight flat highway between Regina and Stoughton, we noticed a car pulled off on the shoulder. Thinking it was another carload of Arcola students, we decided that I should pull in behind to see what was wrong. When my headlights illuminated the student standing partway down the ditch, we decided I should just pull back into the driving lane and keep going.

The resulting bit of levity shortened the miles remaining before Stoughton. At the second turn there, where we would finally reach our homeward Highway 13, that other carload caught up to us.

As I pulled out through the left turn, I looked down and noticed the engine light glowing red. With an inexperienced driver's rather grinding thought processes, it took me a moment to decide that I should stop and check what might be wrong. Meanwhile I had gathered a bit of speed.

I signalled right, and pulled onto the shoulder. A little too sharply and too far, it turned out; my wheels caught in the snow on the roadside and pulled toward the ditch. I'm sure if it happened today, I would just hold the wheel steady and stop, but at that time, with my head full of all the cautionary tales about how easily one can roll a car at the edge of the road surface, I played it by the book. I drove down the ditch.

Gord immediately took command from the backseat, urging me to keep it moving, pick up some speed along the bottom of the ditch and drive out again. There wasn't very much snow, and I accomplished that task without difficulty.

Back on the pavement, rolling along, I checked the dashboard. The engine light was off.

I signalled left, pulled into the driving lane, and carried on.

It must have looked pretty funny to the carload of students behind us.

It wouldn't have been funny if we'd got into trouble on that bitterly cold night. Back in Arcola, I stayed overnight with Twila. The next morning I found a blistered spot on my arm, where I must have frozen it against some cold steel while reaching under the car to plug in the block heater. It wasn't a bad wound, and yet the scar lasted for many years.

The story has stayed with me longer. At my graduation the next year, Mr. Crump introduced me with words something like this: "With all her practice driving up in the hills, Laura has become an excellent driver. I hear that she even signals to go into the ditch."

Friday, June 23, 2006

Climate and Energy News Coming Thick and Fast

Here is a report (pdf) released Wednesday by Canada's National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, about "one way that Canada can reduce energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 60 percent by 2050."

My mom is pretty excited. I'm still in my fey mood, not nearly so eager to be positive about new directions as I was a few days ago. Maybe when I get a chance to read it, I'll be swayed again.

The Turning of the Tide

I wrote this song one week ago.

Today I was able to get through it. It's still a little raw, and you may need to turn up the volume, because I didn't try any correction on the levels.

The Turning of the Tide
© Laura Herman 2006

There's a ship
and she waits out in the bay.
Where she goes,
no-one knows,
and they don't come back to say.
You and I, we never talked about the sea.
I never thought about
you rowing out
and leaving without me.
But there's a knowing
here inside.
I see you yearning
for the turning
of a tide...

There's a stoop in your shoulders
like you're rushing to get older.
Oh, I wish that I could hold you
from this down-hill slide;
take your hand, and still the tremor;
still the rush of time - remember -
oh, remember me
and don't you be
in a hurry
until the turning
of the tide.

Oh, they talk
of a sunrise far away;
of a dawn
far beyond
all the griefs of our brief day.
And you know I'd never want to hold you here.
Still, I wish that you
could hold me through
my loneliness and fear...
I know you're leavin'
as you bide.
I see you yearning
for the turning
of a tide...

There's a stoop in your shoulders
like you're rushing to get older.
Oh, I wish that I could hold you
from this down-hill slide;
take your hand, and still the tremor;
still the rush of time - remember -
oh, remember me
and don't you be
in a hurry

until the turning

of the tide.

A Fey Mood


I hadn't thought about the consequences coming on so fast.

(found at A Payne Hollow Visit)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

James has been admiring and praising my garden. Just wandering through to chat with me about something, and then he drifts off with a comment or two about how cool it is, or how it's the best garden in Arcola. Here I stifle something between a giggle and a snort. I know of a few gardens he must not have seen yet.

Still, praise from my kids is heady stuff.

Today he declared that he liked the carrots best, because they're so perfect, or orderly, or something like that. They're like a field, he said, and the onions are like shelterbelts.

It took me a moment to come up with a response that wouldn't knock his enthusiasm. I don't remember how I said it - something about tidiness not necessarily making it the best garden.

He assured me that the plants would like it. "They like a clean and tidy home."

I thought about a garden that would suggest otherwise, but he was wandering away, so I left it at that.

An Enormous Step Forward

Here is an interesting read. Canada's Environment Minister, Rona Ambrose, is saying much the same things that I have been thinking about the way the climate change debate has been paralysed over Kyoto, and "polarized by skepticism and political ideology." What's missing from her speech, of course, is an acknowledgement of what real action on climate change would mean in the lifestyle of individual Canadians. I can't blame her - she has votes to keep. But there are hints in her speech that it is up to all of us.

More importantly, by presenting climate change as an urgent challenge requiring a global solution, she and her government have taken an enormous step forward: they have moved beyond discussions of the science (whether it be skepticism or cheerleading) and focussed on what we are going to do about it. If the debate now focusses on what is being done and how much (or little) difference it will make, the challenge to us as individuals will become increasingly clear.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Upcoming Around Town

Thursday June 22nd evening - lawnbowling at the Curling Rink (as far as I know).

Friday June 23rd - rehearsal CANCELLED for Arcola Community Band.

Saturday June 24th - Arcola Fair - the 100th anniversary of this fair. Parade at 11 a.m. - and if you want to be in the parade, right up near the front, come join the band! Call me or Don Stewart or Brian Herman for more info. We meet at 10:30 at the south end of Main Street, on the east side by those trees (near where the kids assemble with their decorated bikes). I hear that there is also a pancake breakfast, a lunch, a fashion show, kids games, a heavy horse pull, a light horse show, trade booths, exhibits, musical entertainment, a dance...

Sunday June 25th - St. Andrew's United Church is holding an outdoor service of communion, its last service before a two-month summer break. The service is at 10:45 in the backyard of the manse (next to the church), weather permitting. A potluck dinner will follow. All are welcome.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

"No Wrong Notes"

Today I got to play - a Strumstick.

I'd never heard of one before. And just like that, I played it.

Literally, just took a hold of it and strummed a couple of times, put my fingers in a few spots on one of the three strings, and a tune came out.

And it's tiny. And it makes a big, likeable sound.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Not for Gore's Sake, but for Your Sake (Updated)

Kate has quoted Tom Harris's critique of Al Gore's movie (An Incovenient Truth). Not having seen the movie, I can't say whether this critique presents Gore's arguments fairly, but I'm not concerned about defending Gore. I'm concerned about defending climate change science from the skeptical bias that builds up when people read only the critiques - only the articles that point out various apparent problems with climate change science - and not the science itself.

"Defending climate change science" sounds too grand and dramatic. I don't mean it that way. I have no delusions about saving the world, but I do have a sense of responsibility to speak up when the discussion comes around to me, and to stand up for the priorities that I have come to believe in after much thought and consideration of the range of arguments.

I say "the range of arguments" because I don't like to think of this topic in terms of two sides. Harris presents it as a choice between extremes: ". . . either the end of civilization, if you believe Gore, or a waste of billions of dollars, if you believe his opponents . . ." Statements like this create the illusion that there are two and only two theories about the planet's future, each one clearly defined, and each one totally incompatible with the other. This illusion can harden into a belief that there are actually two well-defined models of the planet's future, both models strongly supported by a body of science, but one model containing some fatal flaw and the other (quite naturally) being true.

If you come to this topic in search of evidence to help you choose a side, you may find exactly what you are looking for: a lot of information that seems to pull strongly one way. You may also find a lot that seems to pull strongly the other way. You may get frustrated, or cynical; you may simply choose whichever side makes you feel better; or you may just go back to what you believed in the first place.

There is another alternative.

Instead of looking at each piece of information as evidence to be assigned to a side, try looking at it as a jigsaw puzzle piece to be fitted into a picture of a landscape.

Your picture. Your map, with paths for you to choose (or forge alone) across it.

Take the pieces of information that Harris mentions in his "small sample of the side of the debate we almost never hear." These are not nuggets held by one side and unknown to the other. They are pieces of information seen differently by different people. One by one, then, let's have a look.

Harris quotes Tim Patterson saying that "when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years."

This piece of information is new to me. I will keep an eye out for direct comments on it from people who know more than I do. However, I did try a Google search of "450 million years ago" together with "CO2," and the first result was intriguing. This date is given as the approximate time when the ozone layer had developed enough to allow the beginning of terrestrial life. Clearly, we are talking about a time when the influences on Earth's climate were vastly different than they are today. Why should I assume that CO2 would have played the same role at that time as in more recent climate cycles which included feedbacks with terrestrial plant cover? If it didn't play the same role, then why should it show the same relationship with temperature? Just because there wasn't a relationship under those circumstances doesn't mean there can't be a relationship under current circumstances.

While looking for a place to fit this first piece into my jigsaw puzzle, I read an article at Spencer Weart's website on the Discovery of Global Warming, which gives a historical overview of the development of climate change science. I happened upon some information that addresses Harris's next point. Harris mentions Patterson's further testimony that "on all time scales, there is very good correlation between Earth's temperature and natural celestial phenomena such changes in the brightness of the Sun." Weart's article discussed these same correlations, which involve tiny cyclical changes in solar radiation reaching the Earth. I was surprised to discover that much of early climate change science had focussed on a perceived problem with these correlations. How could these tiny changes be translated into large changes in climate? When scientists hit on the idea of CO2 acting as a greenhouse gas, amplifying small changes in climate due to solar radiation, it was the missing piece they were searching for. It made Patterson's preferred explanation plausible. Isn't that interesting? We are not looking at competing theories at all, but rather at complementary explanations of the workings of different parts of a single system.

Next, Harris explains how "Dr. Boris Winterhalter . . . takes apart Gore's dramatic display of Antarctic glaciers collapsing into the sea." Was Gore trying to pass off footage of a natural, millenia-old process as evidence of global warming? I don't know. Whether he was or not, his tactics are not the topic of discussion here. The fact that glaciers have been calving icebergs for millenia is not news to global warming theorists, and it doesn't present a challenge to their theories.

Staying on the topic of glaciers in Antarctica, Harris refers to Dr. Wibjörn Karlén's assertion that "the 'mass balance' of Antarctica is positive - more snow is accumulating than melting off." An extremely detailed recent feature in Physics World gives a much more uncertain picture of the mass balance, with different techniques of measurement giving results that range from positive to negative. The uncertainty discussed in this article is in sharp contrast to the figure given in Harris's article, which, although qualified with the word "possibly," nevertheless gives the reader the impression that mass balance is well understood.

In his next point, Harris alludes to this uncertainty. He calls Gore's assertion about "a precipitous drop-off in the amount and extent and thickness of the Arctic ice cap," "misleading." I would have to agree. Harris then quotes Tim Ball, discussing a difference in methodology between two surveys of Antarctic ice. Without more context, it is impossible to use this little bit of commentary as evidence for or against global warming theories. It may be evidence against getting your science from Al Gore. So?

Harris moves on to a discussion of temperature changes in the Arctic. He cites Karlén citing another scientist, Igor Polyakov, to argue that there is "no overall temperature rise" threatening polar bears in the Arctic. I read the article by Polyakov and got a very different impression. Polyakov wasn't questioning whether there was warming. He was questioning whether there was "polar amplification of global warming." In the scattered and incomplete temperature records available for the Arctic, he did not find evidence that the Arctic is warming more than the rest of the planet. One thing he did find, though, was "a general warming tendency over the entire record."

Harris also quotes Dr. Dick Morgan discussing ice thickness in the Canadian Arctic. Notice that, while Morgan says there is "no melt down," he still acknowledges "some decrease in ice thickness." If you're still trying to take sides, where will you slot this piece of information?

Harris gives another quote from Morgan, claiming that the IPCC's use of the Mercator projection to calculate global average temperature "doubled the area of warming in Alaska, Siberia and the Antarctic Ocean." I haven't heard this argument before, and I find it very hard to believe that in all the fine tuning of temperature calculations to compensate for things like urban heat-island effects, scientists would unanimously overlook something so simple as this. I spent some considerable time combing through Google search results for more information, but got tired of finding only repetitions of Morgan's claim and no discussions of its validity. I'll keep my eyes open.

UPDATE: Like I thought: of course the global average temperature calculation allows for differences in area between grid squares at higher versus lower latitudes. From the FAQ's regarding temperature datasets available from the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK:

Why do global and hemispheric temperature anomalies differ from those quoted in the IPCC assessment and the media?

We have areally averaged grid-box temperature anomalies (using the HadCRUT2v dataset), with weighting according to the area of each 5° x 5° grid box, into hemispheric values; we then averaged these two values to create the global-average anomaly. However, the global and hemispheric anomalies used by IPCC and in the World Meteorological Organization and Met Office news releases were calculated using optimal averaging. This technique uses information on how temperatures at each location co-vary, to weight the data to take best account of areas where there are no observations at a given time. The method uses the same basic information (i.e. in future HadCRUT2v and subsequent improvements), along with the data-coverage and the measurement and sampling errors, to estimate uncertainties on the global and hemispheric average anomalies. The more elementary technique (used here) produces no estimates of uncertainties, but our results generally lie within the ranges estimated by optimum averaging.
Emphasis mine. Note that although the IPCC technique is different, it uses the same basic information, and gives results similar to those of this "more elementary technique." [End of update.]

Finally, Harris says that Gore made a misleading point, "that 200 cities and towns in the American West set all time high temperature records." I don't know if Gore gave any context for that point; if he did not, I'll agree that it is misleading. If he was using it as an example of things to come, I might give him some latitude, but generally, discussions of local or regional high temperature records are a distraction. There will always be regional fluctuations. More convincing evidence for global warming is in the fact that overall average temperatures show warming, in spite of these fluctuations.

According to Harris, Gore is predicting "the end of civilization" on the basis of "junk science." Maybe so. But the existence of a bad argument for an extreme scenario does not in any way weaken the good arguments for reasonable - and still serious - scenarios of global warming.

It doesn't weaken the arguments, but it can certainly weaken their influence. Just look at all the bloggers linking and quoting Harris's piece.

Harris says:
We should listen most to scientists who use real data to try to understand what nature is actually telling us about the causes and extent of global climate change.
I could not agree more.

The Daily Bed

This is an invitation to visit my new blog, The Daily Bed.

I can hear you giggling.

Go on, check it out. It's family friendly. Jim, you've been waiting for the garden pictures - you'll find them there. You might want to start with the introductory post.

Walk with me down the garden path . . .

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Finally Green

At last. The land south of our place looks green this week, instead of the patches of green mixed with large areas of pale brown where last year's grass still stood tall.

The dull brown time seemed to drag on, this spring, and I couldn't figure out why. I thought maybe it was just that I was impatient, since I was seeing so many pictures of lush growth and flowers on southern blogs. Finally I realized what had happened: there wasn't enough snow last winter to knock down the grass. Usually the colour change goes quite quickly from white through a muddy black-and-brown phase to green, but this year the brown lingered. In the brick ponds, it hung on for months.

Ah, green. I feel better now.

Look at those Wings!

I'm not even going to venture a guess as to what this creature is. (Okay, it's an insect.) It was on my kitchen window yesterday afternoon. Please pardon the lack of scale and the surrounding grime. If I remember correctly, it was about 2 cm long.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Lottery

Two years ago, I had one of those days. On that day, someone met me for the first time. As I recall, we weren't even introduced, just placed close together in a room by chance. To this day, I don't think I would recognize that person on the street. But they formed a judgement about me, a judgement I knew nothing about until today.

Today I learned that my child's daily life is being affected by a single unremarkable encounter in my life from two years ago.

Today, I suddenly realized: I know what Shirley Jackson was talking about.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Meaning, Meaning, Meaning!

I may have known this before, but this morning I knew it all over again with the fierce hot glow of a live coal. (Isaiah 6:1-8)

The Spirit is not a spirit of timidity but a Spirit of Strength. It does not need to be coddled in a vessel of perfectionist purity. It has its own strength and it speaks its own words on whatever tongue it chooses. (Romans 8:12-17)

When that wind blows, you may not be able to say how it blew into your life, or where it may be taking you, but still, you cannot deny that it is blowing. (John 3:1-17)

And so I say... oh dear. This is where I get timid.

But somehow this is connected with what I've been thinking this week. Yes, I say, those who demand that environmentalists first "walk the walk" may be hiding a smirk. They know that "walking the walk" means forfeiting a good deal of the power and influence that they themselves boldly use to trumpet their technoptomist message.

The truth, spoken by one who does not yet live the truth, is still the truth.


Updated with another thought:

The truth can condemn its own speaker.

And still, it is the truth.

Upcoming Around Town

Monday, June 12th, 7:30 p.m. at Moose Mountain Hall: Monthly meeting of the Moose Mountain Wildlife Federation. (The hall is the old Oddfellows' Hall, on the east side of Main, about a block north of FoodTown; above the Jubilee Drop-In Centre.)

Thursday evenings at the Curling Rink: Lawn bowling. (I won't be there, sorry.)

Friday, June 16th, 7:30 p.m. at the school: Arcola Community Band practice. This will probably be our last practice before we march in the parade at the fair on June 24th (Arcola Fair's 100th Anniversary). If you'd like to make some noise with us, or just see what it's like and think about it for another time, come on out. We always have a cookie break, too.

Saturday, June 17th, 11:00 a.m. at the Legion: Household auction sale for Mary Legge.

I'm sure I've missed some, so if you know of an upcoming event, add it in the comments.

Mostly Vegetative

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

You have a shy personality. You tend to hesitate before trying new things or meeting new people. But once people get to know you, you open up and show the world what you are really all about.

It's a long time since I posted. I had lots of ideas, but they all stirred up insecurities about who I am and what my life is about. It doesn't help that I had a big argument with Garth, in which he rather sensationally declared that my attitude had nearly torn our family apart. (He took that back, sort of). It doesn't help that I've been making arrangements to finalize the work of my discernment committee, after an interruption in the discernment process allowed me to discern that my call had nothing to do with formalized ministry. (For now at least. Unless I discerned that all wrong.) It doesn't help that most of my significant recent activities run counter to most of what we've been talking about here and on my favourite blogs. (Taking Ruth to band camp and both kids to Mosaic, for example: a lot of pageantry masquerading as culture, and a binge of driving.)

It also doesn't help that a cold has drained me of most of my energy, and the garden is greening up between the lovely little planted things, and even though the blessed rain is keeping me out of the garden most of the time, I am trying to make things better in a vague non-reasoned way by staying away from the computer.

Well, now, I think I'll get ready and walk to church in the rain, and see if I can get in on a carpool to "Women's Day at Camp" tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Hiding the Hospital

I know, it's not a hospital anymore, they call it a Health Centre now. But as of yesterday morning, it doesn't even offer emergency services.

The fine print above says:
If your condition is an emergency, such as chest pains, please call 911 for Ambulance Services.

Emergency Services are available at these locations:
St. Joseph's Hospital of Estevan - 100 km southwest
Redvers Health Centre - 60 km east
Kipling Health Centre - 91 km north
Weyburn General Hospital - 100 km west
The Health Centres are closer, but if your condition is that desperate, they'll probably just be stabilizing you and sending you on. If you call the ambulance, chances are it will be an hour before you see the inside of an emergency room.

The press release (which I didn't photograph, because I wrongly assumed that I could find it on the Health District website) says that a doctor who had been recruited to replace the one leaving Arcola/Carlyle was unable to provide documentation of his qualifications.
(UPDATE: the news release is on the website now.)

The situation reminds me of a comment I overheard, about the departure of Carlyle's funeral director: "Well, nobody has died since Darren left . . ."

Monday, June 05, 2006


Green Car Congress is reporting on progress toward genetically engineered bacteria that can produce ethanol directly from cellulose. Kate is warning about "head explosions" in response to this news.

Sorry, Kate. No head explosions here. This is not a breakthrough solution to our dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels. And since it isn't a breakthrough, it doesn't pose any dilemma for opponents of genetic engineering.

The cold hard truth: you still have to grow the cellulose.

There is a simple reason that fossil fuels are so valuable, and so fundamental to the explosive prosperity of society since the Industrial Revolution. Fossil fuels are a concentrated form of photosynthetically stored solar energy, concentrated from plant biomass produced over long stretches of time. By using up the bulk of the world's store of fossil fuels, industrialized society is using up millions of years' worth of biomass production in a span of only a few hundred years. There is no way to duplicate that kind of supply from annual biomass production, unless we acquire a few more planets and concentrate resources across space instead of time.

Eleutheros recently put the ethanol issue in perspective.

You want a renewable fuel for sustainable transportation? Grow something you can eat, and walk.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Remember Forget!

More details are up at the Forget Summer Arts Festival page. And don't forget this Sunday June 4th, 3 p.m., it's "Spring for Ananda," the annual benefit concert for the Ananda Arthouse, featuring Anthony Kelly, The Row-Taters (locals Lorri Solomon, Anthony Bzdell, Lane Easton, and Tom Richards, very fun and very fine), Manitoba Hal, and the Crossroads Community Chorus. Take the main road into Forget, and look for the big church off to your right.

A Clutter of Fives

"A clutter of . . ." - where did I get that? Sounds like some sort of herd/flock/pack/pod thing. I wonder what would be in a clutter? Most anything, I guess!

Madcap Mum has tagged all willing readers with a meme, so here goes.

Five items in my fridge
  1. Leftover cherries from that pie I made last Saturday. Hmm.
  2. Leftover roast chicken. When the kids ask what we're having, I start the chant. "Well, there's roast chicken, chicken sandwiches, chicken jambalaya . . ." James adds, "chicken cherry pie . . ."
  3. Leftover spaghetti sauce.
  4. Leftover parsnips. Mom forgot to dig hers last fall, so she dug them this spring. They weren't even mulched.
  5. A green pepper that James actually requested. Huh? Perhaps it's significant that it's still in the fridge.
Five items in my closet
  1. My knitting project. It's a turtleneck poncho, and it was supposed to be a Christmas present for Ruth. She was just hopeful that it would be ready for spring. Well, maybe next spring . . .
  2. A stash of small items in case of sudden demands for gifts to take to birthday parties, school gift exchanges, etc. (See? I'm not entirely disorganized.) My favourites are a couple of decks of cards with pictures of Canadian birds and mammals on the playing faces.
  3. A sit-upon. Some years ago, I went on a Girl Guide trip with Ruth, and we had to bring a sit-upon, which consists of a flat wad of newspaper sealed up in a garbage bag with tape. I found it annoyingly junky, and wished I could squat well enough to ignore the requirement, but somehow I just haven't quite tossed it yet. Maybe after she's through with Guiding.
  4. Many cardboard boxes of stuff that hasn't found a home elsewhere. Mostly it's old paper that I'm never going to consult again, but there might be one sheet in there somewhere, and I just don't have time to find it right now.
  5. Many clothes that don't fit. I am rarely in this predicament, and I have almost no patience for it. I blame it on the gardening. The harder I work, the more I eat, and I don't have any time for biking anymore. But I can't buy more clothes - I've got bags of fabric in that closet, too, and no time right now to sew anything.
Five items in my van truck

Don't know. Garth took it. Let me think . . .
  1. A couple of pieces of baler twine.
  2. Some bits of wire from when I took apart the dog run last winter. A kid from Pheasant Rump caught a ride with me this spring, and asked me if I ever clean my truck. Then she wanted to throw the wire out. Literally, just out. Out the window. I was so shocked, I just said something about it poking somebody's tires, and didn't explore the literalist understanding of "throw it out."
  3. A battered box of Kleenex.
  4. A first aid kit and a flashlight, good ideas, but mainly holdovers from my working days when they were required.
  5. A road atlas of Saskatchewan. Love it. You know, there are far more roads than what they show on those grid road maps.
Five items in my purse

Last winter I was asked to be the fourth female body for a Ladies' Bonspiel, and as entertainment in the evening, they had "Outrageous Olympics." One of the events was a treasure hunt through the team members' purses. In spite of being a mom, I didn't have much to contribute.
  1. A built-in small ring binder, formerly used to hold daily planner pages, which generally went unused. Now empty.
  2. A Palm Zire data organizer, in the pocket designed for a cell phone, mostly unused. I bought it to collect local events info from the bulletin boards downtown, back when I planned to make this blog a source of timely local announcements (and thus draw an audience around my soapbox). Never quite got that happening.
  3. Hmm, haven't looked in this side for awhile. Two library cards that I don't use anymore (University of Regina and the Regina Public Library, both accessible through interlibrary loans on my other card), and two photocopier cards (University of Regina, and Westar across the street from the campus). I wonder if they would still work?
  4. Now for the main pocket where I put everything I use - the one with the broken zipper. There's the usual assortment of small bills and coins (these corralled in an inside pouch with a zipper that still works), some other money-related stuff, a driver's licence and a health card and my real library card.
  5. A concert ticket from the Mother's Day Concert in Carlyle, featuring Shamma Sabir and Ray Bell. Shamma did some spell-binding Celtic and old-tyme fiddlin', while Ray mostly played along on the guitar, but also took a delightful mouth-trumpet solo, complete with a little trombone-slide gesture at the appropriate point. These two will be among the many fun-loving instructors at the Kenosee Kitchen Party camp in August. See ya there!
Five items on my computer desk
  1. An outdated lyric sheet for one of my still-evolving songs.
  2. Packaging related to a replacement camera part that turned out to be the wrong part and the right part is on the way and the other one has to go . . . oh, never mind. The camera is there, too.
  3. A tin can decorated with popsicle sticks and paint, in honour of Father's Day last year (?), stuffed full of pens, markers, pencils, erasers, pencil crayons, and so on.
  4. Several CDs, including George Strait's "Greatest Hits," The Whistlepigs String Band - "unjugged," and my own (Fire Lily, "Where the Fire Lily Grows"). I almost never listen to it, since I can't stand to hear all the flaws, but a few days ago I was thinking of ripping "No Place" and posting the mp3. However, since that would involve getting permission from former band members, I settled on just the lyrics.
  5. A brochure about the upcoming publication of "Arcola/Kisbey Golden Heritage: Mountain Hills to Prairie Flats Vol. II." Let me know if you want more details.
Tag, anyone?