snapshots from the canadian prairie

Snapshot 1: Daily Plow Report

Nicholas: “The plow folks came this morning.”

Sandi: “Yup. I saw.”

N: “You were up? What time were they here?”

S: “Oh, 4:30 or so.”

N: “You were up at 4:30? Ow.”

S: “At least I saw them plow, so I knew they’d been here.”

N: “Yeah, because it doesn’t actually look like anyone plowed. So the only way we really know they came is that you saw them.”

S: “Look at it this way. At least we know it was really OUR plow guys, and not some zombie plow guys. I mean, zombie plow guys might have actually done something.”

N: “You mean…like plow the driveway?”

S: “Yeah, exactly like that. This way, we know we’re safe from zombie plow dudes and the horrors of a clear driveway. It’s all good.”

Snapshot 2: Honourable Discharge

And oh by the way? Winter, you may go now. You are excused.

Please gather up all your belongings and leave the premises immediately. (Don’t forget the snow on the ground, and those killer icicles hanging from our eaves. Take it all with you. Thanks.)

Snapshot 3: The Wall That is January

I have hit a wall. Is this what January is always like in grey, cold climates? It’s as though my mind and body are simply refusing to function. They want to find a nice cozy cave somewhere, one with central heating and a nice fluffy comforter, and curl up and hibernate until spring. This is ridiculous. How does the human race continue to function when something as mind-numbing as January exists? All those stolid Canadian pioneers, struggling to survive without furnaces and down jackets. All those Mongolian tribes up there on the steppes, without electric blankets or long underwear. This is just Not Acceptable. I put on silk sock liners, and wool handknit socks, and leggings and long johns and woollies and boots rated to minus Hell, and yet, I still have lost communication with my toes.

This is my third Canadian winter, and I’m REALLY not amused anymore.

The thing about walls, though, is it really doesn’t do any good to just push and push and push. It’s a wall. It’s there for some reason, and pushing against it will only get you some truly colourful bruises and scrapes. Pushing against the wall just makes the whole thing hurt worse, because you start to feel frustrated, and then grumpy, and then helpless, and then hopeless, and then angry, and somewhere in there, depressed and rotten, too.

But I’m not the sort of person who can just stand there and give up and stare at the wall, waiting for it to crumble at the end of time or whatever it’s going to do. I need to feel as though I’m Coping, as though I’m Fighting Back, as though I have some say in this little life of mine, even when it’s the formidable forces of January bleakitude which are in question.

I’m thinking about the advice you get when you encounter a maze. You’re supposed to reach out one hand–doesn’t matter which one, as long as you use the same hand throughout–and walk forward, keeping the fingers of that hand in contact with the wall on that side at all times.

You don’t walk THROUGH the walls of a maze to get through the maze, you see. You walk alongside the walls, with the walls, if you will, going the way they go, following the course they set for you. Eventually, if you keep your hand in contact with the wall at all times, you’ll find the exit.

That’s what “they” say, anyway. “They,” the eternal prophets of unassigned, but eminently quotable, wisdom.

Still: Going forward. Reaching out to touch the wall, so I stay connected to What Is, while desperately hoping that somewhere ahead is a bright green EXIT sign.

Snapshot 4: Q-Dar

So, if “gaydar” is the inherent ability to sense if someone grooves on persons of their own gender, then Q-Dar is the inherent ability to sense if a locale has a restaurant grooving on BBQ ribs. I know this, because Our Man Nicholas has exquisite Q-Dar, and has found BBQ establishments in the oddest places.

Like Woodbridge, Ontario. We were out and about in Woodbridge this morning on an errand, when Nicholas goes left on a street instead of where we ought to be going, which is to the right.

He grins wickedly, and announces, “Lunch!”

He’d spotted this:

That’s Elvis. He’s a pig, and he’s also the mascot of Memphis BBQ & Wicked Wings.

Kind of weird to see ol’ Elvis Porker here in Canada, but there he was. Nicholas goes in, and comes out with a bag of (hopefully) goodies for us to eat at home.

How he finds these places is a mystery to me. Elvis the Pig. Supposedly the folks really ARE from Memphis, although one I tasted the pulled pork sandwich, I did delicately inquire as to whether it was say, Memphis, Pakistan rather than Memphis, Tennessee. (To be fair: BBQ is a religion where Nicholas comes from, and he’s taught me The Ways of Sauce, so now I have Opinions. This place in Woodbridge specializes in one particular form of BBQ, and they’ve won awards, so if you’re into smoked ribs, no sweet, no sour, just smoke, they’re your people.)

(Tim, however, gives the pulled pork his highest rating. He crept up so he could sniff at the table edge, then, quick as any tiger, he snatches a piece of pork right out of my sandwich and runs off with it to his lair. He’s never done anything like that before. “Finally,” he’s thinking, “the human slaves bring home something decent for dinner.”)

Anyone like to point out that we’re vegetarians? What? You mean ribs aren’t a vegetable? Oooooh. Don’t tell Nicholas that. He’ll be crushed.


Doctor Enting's Ravatar


Naomi (enting on Ravelry) passed her dissertation defense an hour or so ago. WHOOO-HOOOO!!! Congratulations, Dr. Enting, on all your hard work! We’re proud of your brainy self.

Random Good, Random Sillies

…you be the judge of which is which.

The 2011 Puppy Bowl VII line-up has been announced.

(If you are unfamiliar with the joy that is Puppy Bowl, behold.)

This is a seasonal favourite at our house. It was my cat Sparrow‘s favourite TV program (Sparrow was Dusty and Zoe’s littermate; he died from lymphoma 3 weeks before we moved to Canada). Last year, Tim sat entranced throughout the entire show. He was, however, quite bored during the Kitten Half-Time Show, and wandered off for a bit. But he was back the minute the puppies were back in the arena.

The Fourth Deep Winter Kindness & Wacky Llama Giveaway will commence tomorrow. I’m waffling on whether to do a knitterly goodie or a spinnerly goodie this time. Hmmmm….

Oh, wait. I’m not giving away a llama, though. Just to be clear. The Llama does the giving. Whew. Almost got myself into hot water there, promising a llama to y’all.

About sandi

Knitter. Spinner. Quilter. UFO Wrangler. Sometime bead artist and weaver. Two toddler-age kittens, 1 permakitten, 2 grownup cats, 1 beloved dog angel, 1 spouse, 1 crazy life. I suppose that the 5 cats make me 1 crazy cat lady; OTOH, apparently, yes, I do need that much feline supervision.
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21 Responses to snapshots from the canadian prairie

  1. april says:

    I’m sorry you’re stuck smack dab in the middle of winter. I won’t tell you the temp here today in Oklahoma City, but I guess we’re never satisfied because I wish we would have gotten a little winter this year. Its no fun making little wooly things to wear when its not really cold enough for them. Now that I’ve said that I hope I didn’t jinx us into getting a blizzard or anything, but you know what I mean…I just want a happy medium for everybody!
    I’m still very sorry its so cold where you are. I’ve been watching the weather for everywhere up north and after awhile, I imagine it does get rather old.
    Just 54 days to Spring!

  2. janet says:


    Hugs, Sandi. January is never Easy for me either – even when I lived in warmer climes and didn’t know (or need to) the wonders of wool socks and long johns, the dark and chill takes its toll. I’m hoping for the Exit to winter to appear, too.

  3. Pat says:

    ahhhhhhhhh, come on Sandi, I’d give the llama a good home!

  4. Ann Williams says:

    I feel exactly the same about cold weather, Sandi. It has been brutal here this winter, especially for the South. We have had more snow than usual. I just keep knitting and knitting and knitting.

  5. Lynn says:

    I think I have more snow here, and we’re supposed to get another 8-12 inches tomorrow night. Does that make you feel any better?

    January is hard no matter what. It is also the month when you are SUPPOSED to be really nice to yourself. Chocolates. Hot tubs. Hereby-declared-vegetarian BBQ ribs. You get the idea. We want a Sandi Sparkly Post about how to be nice to yourself in January, OK?

  6. Pat says:

    Wow! It is neither Monday, Wednesday, nor Friday, and there is a winter blah busting post. Thanks! In Michigan, we were excited that it was warmer, 30 degrees vs the 9 degrees of yesterday. No sunshine just gray coldness. Yep, January is a bummer, which is one of the reasons that it takes me so long to put away the Christmas decorations. The good news is that the days are getting longer!!
    BTW: that cookie is too easy!! I am going to have to give away my iron skillet. I’ve already passed the recipe on…

  7. molly says:

    as a resident of the canadian prairies (saskatoon to be exact – really the flat, flat prairies!) i feel perfectly qualified to offer advice on how to cope with canadian winters: ahem: silk sock liners, woolly socks, leggings, long underwear, shirts, sweaters, vests…
    soups, stews, vegetarian ribs, macaroni and cheese…
    down-filled duvets, warm kittikidz, nap-times…
    good reading, good writing….
    knitting, spinning (if you’re so inclined)…lots of luvverly fibres…
    repeat daily until spring arrives…
    oh – and chocolate, liberally consumed…

  8. melanie says:

    Hooray Dr. Enting!!

  9. Patricia says:

    Check out a white light source for possible SAD – Seasonal Affect Disorder. I have one and it is helpful when I remember to use it for awhile each day. Don’t know that I actually have SAD, but I do feel more alive and alert after using the light.

  10. Donna says:

    Thank you for the link to the skillet cookie. We’re still enjoying it.

  11. Laura says:

    I’m currently drinking orange juice as my own at January.

    And a big congrats to Dr. Enting! (I’m in the throes of trying to finish my own dissertation this year. I can guess exactly how much this means!!)

  12. Laura says:

    Apparently I put in some funny code without knowing it. That comment above should say “my own ‘shaking fist’ at January.” Sorry about that!

  13. Wendy says:

    So, having a rough day Sandi? This too shall pass. Thanks for being real. How about curling up under a nice warm blanket (a hot water bottle for the feet) with a good book you can get lost in for a while.

  14. Mary says:

    I feel like such a weather wimp, Sandi, after reading your post and seeing your photos. I have been a bit blue about enduring dark, cloudy Northwest days, but we haven’t had much snow. Take care of yourself. I am glad you can vent and don’t feel you have to be upbeat all the time.

  15. Heather says:

    January is always brutal and the urge to hibernate grows stronger each year. Instead of banging against that wall, I just knit stuff. Lots of stuff.

  16. Susan says:

    At least there are no bugs in January.

    Susan in Saskatchewan, where we need to cling to the (rare) advantages of winter. (Actually, the weather was spring-like here today after being in the -40 windchills a few days ago. It gives us hope that winter will end some day.)

  17. Naomi says:

    Awwwww, thanks, Sandi!

    And I’m going to keep pondering that wall thing. And admiring that adorable puppeh.

  18. Kate says:

    Go Dr. Enting. Many congrats!

    Dear Sandi — I had a very rough winter in NH; so rough that the spring was also a total loss. Then I got my Vit D checked and found out that it was in the basement. Vit D gel tabs are easy to swallow, fairly cheap, and now I feel great. GREAT, as in super-duper, love-winter, why-must-the-snow-melt-?, send-the-those-zombie-plower-dudes-to-me. Disclaimer: I’m an electron dr., not a medical dr.

  19. georg says:

    I find the kitten half time show to be overwhelming to the cats. They fill it with sparkle things and flashing lights and then are surprised that the cats are too stimulated to do anything. I think clear tubes and cubes for climbing through and in would have been more effective, and real people manipulated streamer toys would work okay. The puppy bowl itself is darling.

  20. Dorothy says:

    January is rough. I find it best to embrace the blahs. In other words, if the laundry or dishes don’t get done today because I’m unmotivated to do anything, that’s okay, as long as I knit something, read something, or napped. Also, a short walk every day (even if it’s cold), does seem to help the blahs a bit. Oh, and going to the movies can help too! Especially if it’s followed by a nice glass of wine and some dessert!

  21. donna lee says:

    I’ve never wished winter away as early as I am this year. I am tired of being cold and having snow everywhere. I am tired of driving in the ice/snow and I want to feel some sun warmth on my face.

    I know it’s two more months until Spring but I’m ready. I just need someone to remind me in August how much I hated the cold.

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