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Beth Caldwell - The View From Here

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Here’s to another year of discovery

Who are you?

Can you answer this question without using a name title?

You are not a daughter or son, woman or man, a wife, a husband, a mother, a father, a single parent, or a grandparent.

You are not a supervisor, or a secretary, divorced, or a homemaker, a cashier, or a farmer, and you are not “retired.”

If you aren’t allowed to use these common identities as part of your response, then who are you?

A backward day is what you make of it

I’ve never been one to wake up on a Monday morning and lament that it is, indeed, Monday.

I never figured there was much point in that. I suppose it’s my “glass half-full” mentality.

I also would rather be caught eating a whole chocolate cake by myself than actually look for reasons why I should anticipate being crabby about the day—Monday or not.

My positivity, however, was challenged one recent Monday morning while hopping around trying to get my other foot into my underwear.

Warm thoughts on a cold night

As I wrote this column Monday evening, the thermostat outside read “deep freeze with a side order of wind chill,” just shy of minus-30 C.

Nothing is fun or heart-warming about that.

It is the kind of winter weather that demolishes my otherwise fervent outdoor spirit. The bullish cold drives me to over-eat and to sleep—two enemies of the seasonal slowing of metabolic body chemistry and two enemies I cannot afford to entertain if I’m to maintain the status quo on this pleasantly curvy Greek figure of mine.

Letters are real treasures

I don’t know what it is lately but I’m craving an old-fashioned life.

Maybe it’s the rabbit race and pace of working so much in order to make ends meet that is the red flag for me.

Perhaps it’s the impending materialistic-driven holiday season, and my sense of not wanting involvement in it, that is sending me backwards in time.

Or maybe it was a recent mid-November retreat to the bush living in a wall tent, where the only sound was the crackling fire in the wood stove and my whittling knife on cottonwood.

Simple pleasures.

No shelf life for rodents here

My finger tips throbbed as if I’d just plunged them into a bucket of ice, kept them there long enough to start hyper-ventilating, and then pulled them out and hit each one with a hammer.

That’s what I get for taking the gloves off on a frigid day.

And if it hadn’t been for my heat-of-the-moment temper that ignited my insides when I found my winter boot insoles shredded as ingredients for a squirrel’s nest, I think my ice-cold fingers would have broken off and fallen to the garage floor.

My life takes the cake

I just turned 53 years old. Where has the time gone? Where have I been all my life? How did I get here?

Turn around and I was 10. Turn around and I was 21. Turn around and I was 40. Turn around and here I am, not yet on the high side of 50 and yet feeling as if haven’t yet begun to know who I am.

That black cape is hard to ditch

I’ve been away from the page.

I’d love to say it was because I was in the places of my heart, like the Grand Canyon or the magnificent mountain territory of Wyoming, or on a long highway under the wild Montana skies.

Nope. Those away destinations remain in my shoebox full of dreams called a “bucket list.”

I’ve been away from the page because inner nemeses I haven’t seen or felt in my life in a long, long time sideswiped me. They showed up unannounced, and overstayed their unwelcome.

A salute to sailing—and connections

A year ago, I wrote a column about the Rendez-Vous Yacht Club’s annual fall cruise and ended it with “Hurry up Spring, 2013 so we can go sailing again.”

Here I am, fresh off the lake from the 2013 fall cruise and dumbfounded by the rushing river of time that has swept another season’s worth of sailing adventures—over a very short summer—into the history books.

On my way to the sailboat Friday afternoon, I had a skip in my step. I whistled a tune from “Great Big Sea” and synced my soon-to-be boat legs to the beat of the music.

Life is now a Fiesta

I own a brand new car—and I made that dream come true all on my own.

I wrote the above sentence with some reluctance because I didn’t want to toot my own horn. But what the heck.

I deserved, 110 percent, the shiny new wheels filled with nitrogen, the new car smell, the voice recognition software, and the lickety split zoom zoom!

Heaven knows I’ve had my share of things in life that I don’t think I deserved. And something tells me I’ll be working on accepting acceptance of those crummy things for a long time to come.

I am Beth the Brave

“Yes is for young people. Yes is for young people,” I chanted reassuringly to myself in the bathroom mirror as the hair dye oozed through my plastic-gloved fingertips.

A lumpy trail of Vaseline jelly was layered across my forehead at the hairline and down around my ears to save my skin from turning the colour of cinnamon sticks.

My hair looked like a science experiment and I prayed no one came knocking at the door.