Saturday’s reluctance on Christmas frou-frou

There’s a semblance of Christmas at our place Saturday as my partner goaded on me to put together the tree.

“You’ll feel better, you love decorating,” he said, as if such penchant for something can replace the void I’m feeling lately.

Decorating for the season this year is such an impractical thing if we’re going to be in Manitoba most of Christmas time anyway, I insisted. It’d be a pain to take down the decorations later.

Taking down the decorations is always a pain regardless of the situation, he said.

But you do it anyway because it makes you happy, it’s not just for others to see, it’s also for us, he said.

I agreed with him.

So on we decorated the place.

We took out some of the Christmas ornaments we’ve accumulated over the years.

Some of the Christmas decor are about eight years old, others are fairly new. We really don’t have a lot, they’re mostly for the tree.

We don’t have a wreath to hang in our front door, just like our neighbours.

We don’t have a lot that will make a display of Christmas frou-frou and I’m not keen on spending money on something that comes out once a year.

But I’m the kind of guy who swings both extremes, from nothingness to everythingness.

When my partner convinced me we have to have some reminder it’s Christmas, I decided I wanted every room in the condo must have something.

Nope. We didn’t splurge on decorations.

We picked up some craft materials, I made a Christmas wreath and the rest of the decor, poinsettias.

It’s still difficult to get into the mood of the season. Or maybe this is the mood for me this year.

However, it’s good to be reminded of the blessing and gift of friendships we’ve made over the years.

Seriously, folks your comforting words mean a lot to both of us.

Dec. 11, 2010


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Friday’s death talks

My partner talks casually about the impending death of his dad, who’s been in a coma-like state for several days now.

There’s sadness in his voice, although he’s trying to shroud it with a stance that he has accepted his father is dying. It’s much more imminent now, since all the medications his dad used to take and the procedures he used to get have been withdrawn.

The only remaining medical intervention is pain reliever.

I have been feeling down myself. I know it’s related to the impending death in the family.

“I permit you to be happy, it’s Christmas,” he told me.

This was after I told him, perhaps we didn’t need to have a Christmas tree this year.

I really don’t feel any semblance of joyfulness that Christmas used to bring.

It’s not that I’m facing the big 4-0 next month, but maybe that’s part of it.

I just generally feel down these days and I can’t quite stick my finger as to why exactly.

Even doing laundry and pressing shirts don’t stimulate me. Yeah I’m that “deep,” house chores inspire me and keep me going.

There’s been a tentative date for the funeral, my partner told me.

I really didn’t want to talk about it.

But since he’s telling me what the plans are, I felt obliged to listen.

For the sake of practicality, I need to discuss this with him.

But I know there’s more than being practical when you’re talking about death.

There are metaphysical realities that inevitably make the subject matter much more affecting and perhaps depressing.

I didn’t want to talk about death, not because I’m afraid of my own.

It’s not the first death that’s personally affecting me.

I’ve lost people important to me.

Some of them died of cancer and others simply of old age.

Some of the deaths were life-changing for me, and others life-enriching.

I’m convinced that death is something so personal that you experience it alone. You can’t share it with others, because you can’t say “I will die in your stead” or “Can you die for me?”

There will be a funeral and it looks like it’s going to be soon.

Dec. 10, 2010

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Thursday’s procrastination

I found a new book to read Thursday and that’s why I’ve been procrastinating to write my notes.

Here’s what happened today:

I worked.

I came home.

I waited for my partner to come home from Edmonton.

I worried while he’s driving in a snowstorm.

I made dinner while I was worrying.

When shared a meal when he got home.

And then I went back reading my book and continued procrastinating on my notes.

Dec. 9, 2010



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Wednesday’s waste

Wednesday marked another busy day at city hall, when a committee meeting that usually ends at noon finished at 4:30 p.m.

Some fans of two city-owned historical aircraft packed the meeting, as they pleaded their case for the umpteenth time.

They wanted to restore and keep a Mosquito and a Hurricane airplanes in Calgary, but it’s going to cost money.

A group of enthusiasts are willing to volunteer their talent, time and money to the project, all they were asking was for the city to allow them to do it.

But some council members decided they’d give the enthusiasts cash to follow their little hearts desire.

So these politicians voted to grant them $800,000.

I don’t get the logic of it all.

Just last week, the same politicians attempted to cut the city budget, now they’re putting back what they trimmed.

And to do what?

I don’t get it.

Yes, some historical pieces may actually be of benefit to Calgary because they can potentially bring tourists to the city.

But I still don’t get it.

It’s a wasteful spending, supported by only six members of council.

I don’t think these politicians get the fact that some of them barely got re-elected and they’re back to their wasteful ways.

Boy, there are days I think, these people don’t really think.

Dec. 8, 2010


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Tuesday’s it’s-just-a-job thought

It’s difficult to work when one’s ego blocks the way.

Tuesday, I allowed myself to be consumed by the tentacles of my own self-importance.

And I was alarmed that my old attitude of all or nothing was back.

At the end of the day, I was able to tell myself, it was only a job, not that I want to lose it.

But what happened or not happened at work can’t define my whole being.

After all I don’t spend 24 hours working.

Dec. 7, 2010

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Extremely busy Monday

I knew there were stories that must be written from the council meeting Monday, but it was quite late for I finally figured out what they were.

Council went over time, they didn’t finish meeting until 9:45 p.m.

It’s not unheard of, but it’s also unusual.

Whenever public hearings on land items are combined with the regular council meeting, there’s a chance it will go well into the night.

Sometimes the items I’m interested writing about, don’t get discussed until the very last hour.

When that happens, I usually write several versions of the story.

Filing stories when it’s getting close to the 9:30 p.m. deadline can be tricky.

That’s when simple mistakes happen and that’s when I need the help of my editors to make sure I haven’t put any confusing information in the story.

I can’t remember how many re-writes I did on one story Monday night.

But I’d rather do that than get the ire of some readers, who seem to have become more demanding these days, they don’t even buy the paper. Or at least I don’t think they do, because they read the news online.

While I was driving home, I was still making re-writes to my story with the help of my editor.

At one point, I had to pull over, so I could talk to my editor and think at the same time.

It’s confusing to think of a story fix when what you’re seeing in front of you are traffic lights and motorists rushing to get home.

I don’t remember how I got home that night nor how I put the story to bed.

All I could remember was the smell of home-cooked meal, my partner has prepared for us to share after a hectic, busy, and cruel day.

Dec. 6. 2010


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Sunday’s quiet wine tour

Osoyoos is so much different in the winter.

It’s eerily quieter even on a Sunday.

The first time we stayed in this town was summer and it was so much alive with people on summer holiday.

This time around there was hardly anyone by the beach, which was teeming with people when we first came here about four years ago.

There was hardly a vehicle on the streets, which was the opposite from that summer.

Even the orchards and vineyards signalled that the town takes a break from business.

There were some fruits that remained on lifeless trees and vines.

We went to a number of wineries.

There were hardly people in them, aside from a family in one that we came to check out.

A number of wineries we had hoped to see were even close.

If you’re not in a rush or not the driver, this means that you can sample all the wines that you wanted.

But since we only had several hours before our flight in Kelowna, we weren’t really drinking seriously.

My partner was only sipping wines, as opposed to seriously drinking.

He was the one driving, so I ended up drinking most of what the wines he sampled.

From time to time he’d ask me whether I liked the wine.

I really couldn’t tell the difference from one to another, except when it’s a dessert or ice wine.

Our last winery stop was in Summerland at the Sumac Ridge winery.

It was getting dark, although it was barely 4 p.m.

Most of the wineries were closing at 4 p.m. and although others remained open until 5 p.m. it would have been difficult to find them because the sun has set and we didn’t have a good map.

When we made it to Kelowna, it was dark and the temperature has gone down significantly.

For some reason I was craving bad Chinese food.

I gave in.

We went to a Chinese buffet and had a feast of a standard, flavourless and uninspired food.

By the time we finished dinner, it was time to head to the airport to catch our flight back to Cowtown.

I’d like to come back to Osoyoos and the Okanagan, but it has to be in the summer or at least in the fall.

Dec. 5, 2010



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