Sunday, May 31, 2015

rain-sun-rain-sun

It is hard to believe we will soon be in June like a knife in a pie. I am expectant. But why? The pie isn't yet baked.

The Catalpa tree looks awful and June is usually the month where she delivers the money.
Hopefully she is not going bankrupt.

I can see a few ant-like shapes on the playground equipment. Since the boys are no longer playground candidates it has been a long time since the days where I wrote on playground benches while they tried to jump off various pieces of equipment to test their boyhood courage for near death experiences.

The room without hours is now hot as hell.  I have shut the curtains against the paralysing brilliance of the sun that has popped out of the mouth of the storm. It is odd weather. Rain. Sun. Rain. Sun.

The clouds have retreated to the downtown skyline Which is good.

The book that I am reading is of course the same one I have been reading now for weeks.
It is as if I am caught in a trap and can't get out. I am reading "Bite Down Little Whisper" by Don Domanski.

It is best to just accept that I am submerged.  I also have "Emily Dickinson: The Gorgeous Nothings" beside me.
From one inscrutable poet to another.
It's delightful.
Who can ask for more than this in life?
Asking for anything else is impossible and probably too extravagant.


The ecstatic life is found in a garden, in a room without hours and in a book of poetry. You only have to forget the rules of the society and inhabit your real mind. The real mind is one that has to sit marinating in the void for years before you start to lose that outer epithelium of what has been put like plaster over your brain walls.  The enjoyment of the words is very deep inside you and if you are able to go to this place of enjoyment it's hard to get enthusiastic of all the other wonders of the world because you will  be perched like a rigid bent wire over the lapping ocean of words.  I feel that I am posed here like that stiff wire right now. All parts of me are hardening and become fossilized wire.


And I am still on page 10.
As you get older it is hard for the mind to stay on one line, and elongate it to the next line. The zigzagging mind wants to go here and there like those flights of waxwings in full custody of the ash tree fruit. The waxwings soar out of the ash tree of interest. They float like a shadowy amoebic flow of gigantic proportions and then they all suddenly flow back to the tree like an arrow of motion. It feels like this when I read poetry that forms fruit.  I am darting here and there and yet, I eventually succumb back to the lure of the original sin fruit.


Because this is my blog I can do this sort of waxwing flight in a post or really between posts or even over years. It is terribly frustrating for a reader who wants to know what happened in post 2 of a series but usually when there is no post 2 of a series it is because I have lost interest or found better fruit to feast on. This is often the reason why other blogs I am working on take many years before they go public.  Yes, there are other blogs I work on. There are many ways to the fruit and I want to try all ways.


In the past writers had to do the formal writing business which is try to publish and this is probably the way that most writers do this sort of stuff but I am too lazy to do this work. I write here every day. I read poetry and other books. I am very promiscuous with print. I write what I want to write about. I work on multiple blogs. I investigate problems. I think about the junk I see in politics. I try to get better at thinking about writing but usually I just write.


Don Domanski is interesting -- because he reminds me of Emily Dickinson.




Magpies patrol the soccer field. The rubbishing noise of the dog down the street concludes.
The robin is delighted with the after-rain spoils and commentary flows forth. Earlier there was a scrambled singing from the red winged blackbirds that is now absent. The geese no longer do their early morning honking or if they do I am oblivious to them. The robin is singing sweetly of how the rain has provided a harvest of earthworms enough to satisfy his hunger and surely there is a need for praise?

I like Don Domanski because he is not afraid to praise. Emily Dickinson praised. But both of them do this praise in unusual ways that make me feel that praise is very elegant when it is done oddly.

The hard tips of the fir tree by the side of the garden fence are pointed towards the sky like missiles.
The shadows are long now. I can see that the garden has enough moisture because the plants look as if they are basking.  Only the Catalpa in her rags is looking fairly threadbare and downtrodden so maybe the voles are starting on her now.



When you get too much poetry at one sitting you should switch to writing.  Poetry can be very damaging to old brain cells.
But also poetry is ways out of the rigid of the present stasis of brain cells in their architecture of denial and futility. If I read enough poetry I can expect renovation of the brain interior. If only a window is replaced that is enough.  The entire brain will take centuries to refurbish in the way I want it. Right now I pull up the floor boards and tack the small lines of a poem on the gaping abyss below.


The cacophony of voices that greet me each time I go to the Riverbend Library is sufficient to derail me from my purpose. There is only one purpose when I go to the library --it is to pick up the requested books that wait for me there. If I do not immediately go and pick up these books and then check them out there will be the temptation to look at the recorded books, then the music and finally the poetry stacks where the legions of poets who wish to be read will drag me into their brains without compunction; I will be seduced. I will take home more books than I can read in the period of time I have. I will sit guilty with the books while still trying to get through Emily Dickinson and Don Domanski. I will sip the half filled cups of each book and wonder why I just didn't stopper my brain.


While it is fun to go back and forth from one book to another, I think it is good to do what I am doing which is writing my way through a book.  Writing a book is like bringing up a child -difficult and ecstatic all in one; in the end the result may not be what you planned. To write through another poet's book gives me the understanding of that gestation experience but of course not of its original genesis.  I still get to work through each word and line and think what these selections mean to the end product. I am not going to be able to tell myself how Don Domanski did the work but I can feel my way through the language he used and simply imitate to a small extent some of the flavour and music of the lines.
It's all delusion of course. Poets don't know (I believe) how they make a poem. The poem is spontaneous or not. It is a line thrown from the other side that you have to work at to drag to shore. The only way to poetry is to work at writing every day until something inside you gels. The something that gels may be pudding but that's the risk.

Far away the boulevard trees are very fluffy and splash their green waves everywhere. It seems like the rain-sun-rain-sun cycle suits them just fine.  There is a pulled umbilical cord of a cloud overhead but the baby's afterbirth has dried up. Where the baby of the storm has been taken is mysterious.

The playground is empty. I am on page 11 of the book. I have Emily right next to me. It is a fine evening.

























and it is already too late

the rain storm placid
in the sodden grasses
marinating the marsh cat-tails
with twenty lashes

the heaped up mash
of clouds on sky
the plate itself broken
and castaway lies

drunken frolics
of frogs and waves
they skip and wash
while the wind shaves

smacking aspens
against buttocks of air
the flippant leaves
whistle admiration there

column of blue clematis
rising over the gate
the sea froth of seeds
and it is already too late 

the skirmish

robust interaction
of ant and caterpillar
one pulls
the other retreats

the skirmish
at the level of grass
shadows passing overhead
like small whirring clouds

the ant holds fast
to the rearing victim
sullen monstrosity of
competition

saving money for a shed

Because hubby has the shed delusion I have to save money for a shed. It is not a good thing to save for but it will make him feel as if he has a place for the tools he doesn't use.

I will think in this post of ways other people have found to save money.
I can't save large sums of cash so I will think of ways to save small bits of cash.

Let us look at how we can save small bits of cash.

1) We do not eat out ever again.
2) I stop buying bakery treats at the Artistic Bakery Place and downtown at the Italian Bakery.
3) I go for a walk instead of joining a gym or driving to the mall to walk.
4) I don't shop for food more than twice a week.
5) I don't waste the food I buy.
6) I eat the leftovers.
7) I put the clothes on the line and unplug the appliances not in use.
8) I check the toilets to make sure the water loss isn't a problem.
9) I try to pool tasks--eg. drop younger boy and grocery shop in one trip.
10) I stay positive (being negative has a health cost). Best way to do this is to go to the library (walk there).


So that was a few ways that I could save small amounts of cash. They don't hurt me. They are ways to be frugal without being in pain.
Now how do other folks do this business?
There are good tips here:

http://freeintenyears.com/frugal-tips/82-money-saving-tips/

82 Money Saving Tips – Ideas to help fatten your wallet


27. Use the library: Learn to love it. They have more than just books. Modern libraries have computer games, DVDs, CDs and magazines. They will often be able to source items from other libraries as well if you ask. 


There are always ways to save cash. I love tip 27 about the library use. I go to the library for all my "wants"-books and music. Anything I could possibly desire is at the library.


Another good tip is to buy a second hand car.

http://freeintenyears.com/frugal-tips/82-money-saving-tips/

40. Never buy a new car: This is the undisputed king of car related money saving tips. If you buy a new car and drive it out of the car lot, you lose about 20% of the value of the car immediately. Buy a car that is about three years old instead of a new car, and save up to 50% of the new car price. Sure, you might not get a warranty, but with all the money you save, you’ll be ahead 
even if the car breaks down in the first few years.

I have to say we paid a ton of cash for Helva (the Ford Edge) but we will not be doing this new business again.
It is wasteful.
I think if we find a reputable second hand car dealership we will go second hand for future cars.


http://freeintenyears.com/frugal-tips/82-money-saving-tips/

50. Bake your own bread: Check out a simple recipe here.

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/20074/step+by+step+basic+bread+dough+recipe


We have tried to make bread with no sort of success. But it might be time to start again.



In the end you can't go insane trying to save money.
You have to have a life.
The boys have low tolerance for a hermit life full of mum's bad cooking.
But we can do this sort of junk for periods of time because they had terrible childhoods (according to them) where I made them do flyer routes in subzero temperatures for a few dollars to ensure that they understood that money means time out of life.
The poor boys now understand that any money they spend represents time spent (figuratively speaking) delivering flyers in freezing weather. The association is important for them. They are now both very tight.


I am not motivated to save money for the shed.
I figure it is not a fun object for me.
But hubby wants it so I will try to put some money in a shed fund.

I haven't yet done any sort of investigation of the investments business.
With the entire world collapsing in terms of debt it feels very speculative to invest in any sort of stocks or mutual funds.
It may be that I will have to go read other blogs to get some information before I invest money.



I haven't yet got older boy a credit card.
The reason for this is that as soon as you have one you spend more money.
It's also hard to keep track of the payment dates. I have been paying off the credit cards (2) every week since I am not sure when the money is due.
This sort of junk may be easier for others but it is confusing for me.  I don't think older boy is mature enough for a credit card. So I have simply not got him one. I mean he could go get one himself but I don't think he will.

When you have credit cards, it is easier to buy junk.
Because of the ease of credit cards, it is best not to tempt yourself with the possibility of junk. I just go to food stores and stay out of malls.

The entire purpose of malls is to waste money and time.
When you are old you don't want to waste either money or time--it has to be a significant want--in order for me to make an effort to go mall shopping.

Since I pretty much have everything I want I have only hubby's want to consider which is the shed.
Again, the shed is not an attractive money pit but I will focus on it.

What other ways can I save money?
I could grow some vegetables in the garden but it is full of ants and I do not want to plant in these ant infested territories.


I could put the vegetables in pots but the deck is finally tidy and I do not want to clutter it up with pots of tomatoes. Also the garden path has been cleared of ten million dandelions and I do not want to add tomatoes in pots to make an eyesore of the tidy paved area.

So I could save money by decreasing the major amounts of chicken we buy for the family but then the older boy would be starving.  This is probably not the place to cut.

I can't think of any other areas.  The laundry that was washed is wet on the dryer outside. The rain has rewashed it. There is a fine blue sky outside. I will try to be frugal for the next month and see if the shed fund has any cash in it for the hubby.




























compost heap peonies

Because it is now raining, I have left the idea of going out on the shelf.  It is pleasant in the room without hours. I can look out at the shivering aspens in their public wash. The long row of Swedish aspens that are present in most new subdivisions is very boring but I have compensated for them by planting every variety of tree I could in my own garden. The Evans cherry tree that cost me big bucks died under the determined tree-cide efforts of the voles but at least the mortally wounded by hares apple tree is staggering along. The mountain ash tree is not doing well and the Catalpa is very anaemic with just baby growth of leaves but if they die I will find other trees to put in their places.

 Because we live in an area run over by Snowshoe hares, coyotes, voles, mice and moose (well at least one moose) it hard to keep some trees alive. The Russian Olive tree has been nibbled  by the hares but is able to fend them off with the rapiers he wields of the pernicious thorns that can take out an eye if you aren't looking where you are going. The lilac bushes are also subject to hare attacks.  There is one of the triplet that is very broken down right now and I think it will probably kick the bucket. The lilacs are usually impossible to kill but then we have some major hare infestations. The hares aren't the brightest creatures and yet they know there is  a buffet in the garden when they want it.  For some reason they never eat the ten million onion starts that are like a contagion in the back garden.
The ten million onion starts have all got grenades of seedheads ready to throw and we have decided we have to be proactive about this guerilla warfare business. We have to remove them. I don't want to kill them indiscriminately so I will put them in pots and hope they will succumb by themselves thereby depriving me of any feelings of remorse. The ones that aren't taken home by various strangers that I will accost asking them if they need onions, will end up on the compost heap.
The onions --once excised from the area where the Evans cherry tree used to hold court, will allow us to plant the compost heap peonies in the back bed. They will be full citizens of the country that they were previously forbidden from entering since I had no idea what we were going to do with this back garden. Right now it is still a bit of a mess. But I see that hubby has the shed delusion again and so I am forced to put my refugee peonies in the onion start country.
The shed delusion is one that most men seem to have. It is either a shed or a man cave. The man cave in the basement is still not done so I suspect this is the reason why we have the shed delusion active.
Why men have to have places to store tools and gadgets is beyond me. A book case with books is so much more productive but men haven't this feeling for books -at least none of the males in my family care beans for books but will spend their time with electronic gadgets as if they were female flesh. It is disgusting.

The power of a shed is that it is a reason for moving the peonies which were doing fine on the compost heap. They were enjoying all the meals that the boys never ate. Now I have had to put the compost elsewhere as I prepare for the ceremony of liberation. The compost heap proper will be flattened after the peonies are taken into custody. The good compost will be spread over the main beds. The ground will be prepared for the shed maker.

We haven't found a shed maker yet. I have to save the money for the shed first. Then the shed maker has to be found.

When all of this work is done we will have a place for tools.
This is not a productive business but it is best not to argue with men who have these delusions.
Meanwhile at least the refugee peonies will be full citizens of a country they aspired to.
Welcome to Canada --I will tell them.
You are all now home.

The compost heap peonies will leave their refugee camp.
They will be able to spread their skirts and loosen up.
They will never think of the hard years on top of coffee grounds, bits of toast, milk drippings, tangerine peels, mice and ants. They will be in the dark warm dirt by the pale blue iris congregation, the Oriental poppies that have miraculously found their hands and feet and the apple trees that is split and split and split again. There will be other refugees that I will find in garden centres in years to come. Except they won't be found this year.
This year, I have to make the compost heap purified for the ceremony of citizenship.






as they follow sorrow

the velocity of feeling
the brake applied
the vehicle spun out
the journey tried

outside the wind lashes
at the aspen trees
the hillock of the peonies
is on its begging knees

the swaying of the aspens
as they follow sorrow
the laid down tipple of the rain
that makes a draught for tomorrow

grey clouds mass their frowns
in wide swathes of dark
there is a drench impending
that will flood the eager park

the early sun has tripped
now comes the hard smash
the cymbals sound their music
and the rain people make their dash

the pine cones tumble down
the lilac blues fade away
the spent iris hats are torn out
this cold murmuring rainy day





disappointment

I have shaved the detritus in the bed under the laundry line where only the Bergenia and the bleeding hearts are able to survive. The Hosta that were planted there withered and won't come back so I have given up on them. There are some gardeners who do not do well with Hosta and I am one of them.
I have chopped and trimmed the Mock Orange bush as I do not want her everywhere flaunting her white chest. I have torched the lilac in the front that was attacking everyone there with pink swords.

I have done a small part of the garden clean up. The heat was tremendous and I am berry burnished. The garden is still in process. I will dig up the peonies that have been in the refugee camp of the compost heap for two years now. I will have to sacrifice the delphiniums that have the fungus. It is too bad but there is no way to save them.

The ants have taken over the world. It is impossible to move any plant without disturbing their habitations.

The many bitter things about motherhood can be sublimated in garden work and poetry. I trim the bushes and hope for new growth stampeding out the failed shoots of a lilac bush. What I can't say to anyone I can mutter to the sullen stalks of the bleeding heart that cries over her own children. It's doubtful that any mother has harsh things to say about her children to strangers or family but I whisper my disappointments which are all about the things never achieved to the lilac bush that is dying.

A mother is a matter of decision. You become one by deciding to have a child and when the child does not measure up to your ideas of accomplishment it is best to plant a garden rather than riddle the child with obscure references to skill sets that the child has no interest in.

In the garden I can push around the ant colonies with my spade and dig out the encircled Sedums which I shake free of dirt and plant in ant free areas. When you write the horrible comes out with the good.

I have wasted my life I think among the hedges of golden raspberries. I have wasted my life. I have put the fork and knife by the plate of family and hoped for a meal that would satisfy and it has not satisfied me. There is no sense of danger in family life other than the boredom of rituals, habits and duties.  There is no sense of accomplishment or even a faint pride in the work of growing children.

At the tail end of my flu episode I sit in the house ignoring the trampling of the horses in my head, the clogged up sinuses and the need to fall asleep. I think about the sons. I wonder if I could have done things differently so that both would be different men.  I wonder if I could have engaged them in the horror of team sports and benefited myself from the immersion into the constellation of warriors that lurk in every hockey, football and soccer group.

The boys are odd creatures and yet they seem to get along.  I am disappointed in them but they are equally as disappointed in me as a mother.  The disappointment comes from expectations I have that are unrealistic for the sons since they did not grow up in a Third World country, have no notion of poverty and would not work hard for grades even if their lives depended on these grades.

I have had the notion that good grades validate me as a good mother and that poor performance at school indicates that I haven't been as diligent in my parenting as I should have been.
Otherwise how is it that other mothers raise academic geniuses while still working outside the home, volunteering and running a business as a side enterprise?

How is it that I can barely handle motherhood, the parents, the handicapped sister, the rental house in Calgary that I still have to get the lease agreement for?

In the circus of modern life, I put aside all the disappointments in both the sons and the mother and putter in the garden outside for a brief bit of calming solace. The potted geranium that was in the house is being burnt to a crisp. The dishrags of the iris are all limp. There is a group of peonies that will soon dance. The stage is set for a ball. There is comfort there in that splendid display that another mother--Earth has grown that I can depend on year after year. Even if the sons disappoint with their utter lack of interest in school work, even if they have no lively fondness for books, print, stories, words--the language of the garden compensates. There are books being written by the ant colonies with the print underground in the eggs that are scratched into place in the pages of dirt. There are stories of moths and butterflies that traffic the bogs and the puddles. The dragonflies spin their planes in dazzling mimicry of the shadows they fling in the water of the marsh. Disappointment is one thing. Happiness is another thing. They cancel out.  In the garden there is a balance, an equilibrium that restores one's perspective. At least the boys are somewhat healthy (except for their current flu). At least the boys have all their brains (even if they don't use them).  At least the boys are kind and decent. At least they aren't psychopaths.  At least the boys love and are loved.

I put away the whining chatter about failures and motherhood. I don't look at the long rows of immaculate success stories by Asian mothers who have got their infant sons through Harvard. I ponder the meaning of life. Perhaps the boys are just ordinary. Perhaps the mother is very ordinary. Perhaps ordinary is not a bad thing. Perhaps the Asian mother stereotype should be retired in my head.  Perhaps I could simply be.

The idea of just being is a good one. I sit in the room without hours getting used to the idea of having ordinary sons who do not like to do schoolwork. I ponder the work of motherhood which doesn't seem to end with these ordinary sons who aren't inclined to be independent, are fairly spoiled and will loaf around being the blobs of tissue and bone that seem very sessile for the most part.  I think about the gift of not having sons who are drug users or alcoholics. I think about the fact that both sons are frugal with money, don't ask me interminably for junk that I would not buy for them and that at least older boy has a summer job that keeps him in funds.

Eventually both boys will do what they want with their lives. I will be compost in some forest after I kick the bucket. There will be difficulties getting to the forest as it seems that every old person goes through the failures of the body but eventually it will be a done deal. The present is all I have and rather than being maudlin over the boys not going to Harvard it is best to breathe in and out; it is best to mutter the evil thoughts of motherhood to the dying lilac; it is best to focus on the horror of my own ambition for the boys rather than myself. Why don't I focus on the ambition of writing a book? Or for that matter a poem?  Why not collapse the tent of ambitions for the boys and make a small umbrella of ambition under which I can stand in the pouring rain of disappointment?

Who am I really disappointed with?  And in the world full of terror and sorrow why stick around in this storm too long? It is best for me to push through this self pity and go forward to the next stage of the story.  It is all story. The disappointment. The joy. The anger. The fear. The rain storm.





the crumbs of thought fall continually

I put a door
in the room without hours
and I shut all the windows
so that there is no competition

I walk through the door
and I make a new place
in the sunlight where I write
time vanishes    and death is something 

that cracks as it falls off the mantel
the fragments are at my feet
but I am busy with the present poem
and nothing interferes with the buzzing

the solitude of writing
is a delight
like making love
to the singular soul

that sits within waiting
nothing matters now
the words are rising up like blackbirds
from the even plain of the marsh where

the robins are pinpricks of red
the geese are hampers on the table there
the ducks nose about  and the muskrat
finds the maze of roots below the surface

of cattails    the grasses clock the time
in the seasons     there the mind shifts from here
to the unreasonable requirements of the imagination
that is stale    the crumbs of thought fall continually 

the loitering about is all part of the work
I make thousands of lines so that I might know
my own path        the markers on the road betray
and I am again lost


but I know this too is part of the process
I sit in the room without hours like a stone
while the other self sits confused in the other place
which is a blur of motion    I could never do this I thought 


and yet I
ignored everyone
and wrote what I wanted
this is to say     the line caught me

and the words groped for me
I settled in that grip
and waited
for what came


make often

write many
make often
set them out
like butter pats to soften

rush about merry
sicken if you must
but if you wish for endurance
in poetry trust 

something to hide the real?

is there something for your sorrow?
something to hide the real?
something to shake you free
of memory   so that you don't feel?

is there a part of you that wonders
why feeling is so rare
that you must bottle it in poems
and send the feeling out there?

this matter of detachment
and being inside the head
is foreign to a poet
who is always is out of bed

a pill might deaden catastrophe
but heal it never
but a poem makes the evil
endurable forever

all the things you wanted

all the things you wanted
how far did they go?
were they what you needed
or only for the show?

the small pieces of paper
how they made you feel
as if you were no longer donkey
but something real

now it is the last part
the ghosts begin to call
the images are blurry
but at least you have them all

when you arrive here
the odd matter of the heart
is not that it is broken
but that you kept every part

at last the body wearies
the soul stumbles in its walk
the head is full of measles
and the poem is dandelion stalk

but still you have the singer
that sits inside the room
the room without the hours
she amuses with her gloom


but the string is straight briefly

nothing can be done
but the attempt is good
put down the history
of all the " shoulds"

stumble often
frequent fast the place
where it was interesting
and leave your own trace

of course there is competition
time gets tied into ribbons and bows
but the string is straight briefly
and how the poem glows!


sometimes it is Emily

put pen to paper
and think
watch the sun drop a ball
and the marsh wink

lift the word up high
like a crystal spark
hurtle the line far
into the dark

sometimes it is Emily
who tells me
it is best to write taut
and universes see 

in plush and living brick

blackbirds made their way
to where the marsh was thick
the sponge of cat tails welcomed them
in plush and living brick

the silver grass was sullen
shook by the working fly
that caught the blade as he
went hammering by

all about the desert
the trees began to bloom
the rotten tomb of winter
is now the summer room

the olive tree is flocked
a sparrow says the plan
today is all about inspection
of spine and cane and fan

if you wish for riches
obtain a third eye
place it in the forehead
and don't forget to sigh


Saturday, May 30, 2015

-In particular we, as a couple, have worked hard for a Long-Term Care facility in our region. We hoped that we could effect change from within the party and we were wrong. The politics of the PC government have delayed, postponed, relocated and stalled the construction of a Long Term Care facility at every turn in the place we still call home.------We have to spend our time at a Long-Term Care within an aging place community in Edmonton because my husband did not want to end up on the 3rd floor of the Fort McMurray Hospital waiting for years for a long-term care facility to be built.-------My mom died on Sept 1st, 2013 from a preventable fall waiting for a long term care bed. We moved Dave to Edmonton on Sept 15th to ensure he would not have to endure years of waiting on that same floor------------Nothing has changed locally with long term care despite having 2 PC MLAs since 2012. Many of our friends are still waiting on the 3rd floor. There is also no aging in place option in Fort McMurray. This is the sad reality. If you drive up to Parsons Creek, you will not even see a hole in the ground for the promised long term care. Willow Square is a whole separate story. What we do know is that the seniors minister, health minister, infrastructure minister and PC Premier have not supported either project as a priority in our community. Yesterday, those in long-term care received a 3% fee increase, effective July 1st. This is unacceptable to be increasing fees on those most vulnerable who are on a fixed income. We need a new government with a new approach, who values elders

It seems pretty sure that we are entering into recession territory in Alberta. This should not be a surprise to anyone. We have been through this sort of boom and bust cycle for as long as I can remember. The only way you can go through this cycle with equanimity is to have money socked away in the bank. But how to save money?

One way to save money is to give up on illusions. It is best to face facts. Here is one family that has faced facts and chosen another reality. But before we go to that family's story what the heck is happening with Willow Square?



You might want to ask why there's no smiling seniors in this picture - actually no seniors at all.
These people threw the seniors under the bus in order to pursue a purely Wood Buffalo Housing agenda that has been in the works since 2006 according to their own comments in council and they know it. Shame on them. We're fed up with the whole mess.
It's too bad nobody in this town actually cares.


Lets see, Federal, Provincial and Municipal support, all thumbs up, but wait Mr. Jean hasn't approved, better cancel the whole thing I guess....


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  • You might want to look more closely at that dated photo op featured in the article. Two of the six posing with thumbs up apparently received a resounding "thumbs down" from voters earlier this month. One can only guess what support from seniors they may have lost because of their position on this one.
  • As for the federal representative, he wouldn't be facing re-election this fall, would he? I hope he's made good use of his time to hone his public speaking and debating skills and is preparing for questions on this file. One shouldn't take every vote out there for granted.
  • Rather than giving this process a thumbs up and going with the flow, I'd say Mr. Jean has taken an accurate pulse of those who were promised something by other politicians, only to see those commitments about to come down around them like a house of cards...
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    • With the bottom about to drop out of the economy, Mr Jean sitting on the other side of the house, and the province saying that if this project doesn't proceed as it was proposed, there will be no land transfer, I would suggest that if this plan does not go forward it won't for a very long time, no matter what Mr Jean's intentions and some of the community may wish.
    • Your opinions on the players who were at that table mean little to this debate, but it was their hard work that got the land on Willow Square where it is today, that cannot be debated. WBHC have consulted and studied this as they were mandated to do and I guess we will see in the next few weeks where this project is headed.
    • Bottom line, no one saw the Big Orange wave coming, but we will all have to live with these results for many months to come and Fort McMurray is now on the outside looking in, our wishes will not carry much weight with no voice no longer in government, much less cabinet....
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      • You give "the players" far too much credit. What some originally promised isn't what they, through their consultant, now want to deliver.
      • As for that "Big Orange wave" you speak of, the honeymoon will soon be over once they provide their plan to Albertans on how they plan to deliver on all those promises they made - and how they want us to pay for them.
      • Sitting on the outside might be a good thing for Mr. Jean and his party. They probably have the best seat in the house...

Development of former Willow Square site progressing, Wood Buffalo Housing and Development Corp. to present data to council 5

By Andrew Bates, Today staff
Friday, May 29, 2015 12:21:38 MDT PM
Fort McMurray-Athabasca MP David Yurdiga, Randy Stefanizyn and Bryan Lutes of the Wood Buffalo Housing and Development Corporation, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Mayor Melissa Blake and MLAs Don Scott and Mike Allen give the thumbs up after the province announced in November it had purchased the federal government stake in the Willow Square land and will transfer it to the RMWB for seniors' long term housing. ANDREW BATES/Today File Photo
Fort McMurray-Athabasca MP David Yurdiga, Randy Stefanizyn and Bryan Lutes of the Wood Buffalo Housing and Development Corporation, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Mayor Melissa Blake and MLAs Don Scott and Mike Allen give the thumbs up after the province announced in November it had purchased the federal government stake in the Willow Square land and will transfer it to the RMWB for seniors' long term housing. ANDREW BATES/Today File Photo
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With public consultations complete and two studies nearly ready, the Wood Buffalo Housing and Development Corp. says it's waiting to show its work to council before progressing to the next stage of the seniors and mixed housing development at the former Willow Square site.
Mike Evans, a consultant in charge of the public consultation for Wood Buffalo Housing's Franklin and Hospital development, said that the corporation has collected data from public consultation, a traffic impact assessment and a needs assessment. Now it's waiting to show the documents to council to progress with the project. The plan is necessary to complete the transfer of the former Willow Square lands.
"We're now in a point where we can take quantifiable data ... and begin to shape the project according to the needs and the interests of the community," Evans said. "(But) that's where you begin to spend real money, so Wood Buffalo Housing won't be moving forward on it until it gets direction from council and title to the property."
Evans said Wood Buffalo Housing, which is wholly owned by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, has completed 12 engagement sessions and an online survey. The traffic impact assessment is in its second draft and the assessment of the needs and type of seniors housing and healthcare is complete.
"Now what we'd like to do is come back and report to the public what we've learned and how it's likely to influence the project," Evans said. "This information does need to be shared with them first, but we did promise residents of the regional municipality that we will share this information as soon as we've given it to council."
Evans said they hope to present the information to council at their meeting June 9, first privately and then at a public meeting.
One hurdle that still needs to be crossed is the transfer of land from the province, some of which it purchased in November of last year. Trent Bancarz, spokesperson for the Alberta seniors ministry, said the province has been waiting for two things: the contract for the Parsons Creek continuing care facility, which was awarded May 13, and a chance to see the updated plan from Wood Buffalo Housing to make sure that the development has public uses such as seniors or affordable housing.
"Our intention is that anything that's developed there is a public purpose," Bancarz said. "If whatever plan they come up with is acceptable to the province, then we'll transfer the land."
"Awarding the tender for the Parson’s Creek facility and transferring the downtown Willow Square site to WBHDC under the current plan flies in the face of years of community consultation," Jean wrote in the letter. "It is not too late to find a solution that works for WBHDC, our seniors and our community."
Other requirements for the next stage of development at the former Willow Square site include rezoning some land currently designated public utility and a bylaw to close a defunct road on the property, which passed first reading at RMWB council Tuesday and is also scheduled to return June 9.
With notes from Garret Barry



While this issue is surrounded with sensitivity. I don't see how the WRP will be better for LTC, they have no plan for funding but make all the promises they can. Of course I would love to have a LTC facility downtown or anywhere in Fort McMurray but I don't see that getting done with the WR's lack of a budget and plan to not raise any taxes.


You are on a fixed income Iris? That is a laugh!!! You and your family own half of downtown with the Jeans owning the other half. Digging for a dollar you are not.

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  • Dave & I worked hard at trucking and are thankful for the money we earned by hard work. Other people in long term care are not so blessed and rely on those of us who can speak out , to do so. The people in long term care are extremely vulnerable and most are on fixed incomes with no earning capacity. I will always champion for those less fortunate. I have never relied on political favours Or lacked the courage to put my name on
  • my comments.
Nothing but sour grapes Iris. If you little friend Miss McKinnon had won the riding nomination in Wood Buffalo instead of Mike Allen you would be trumpeting the government. You are out, good to hear and please don't let the door hit you on the way out.

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  • This sort of personal attack doesn't represent the PC Party in a good light, if that is what you are trying to do.
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  • I am glad there are hard working nameless people like you still working in the PC Party & as a past president it can be demanding. Unlike you , Tracy & I both have courage to put our names out there and stand by our actions and words. If Tracy had won she would have been an awesome PC Candidate in your riding but the Conklin riding would still have a WildRose MLA in Brian Jean. My home is still in Conklin. Since Tracy did not win I will not be put to the test. Enjoy living in the city we helped build. When you walk in the Foodbank think of Dave. Or into the homeless shelter & think of me. Dave was also instrumental in getting the land & building for our newly opened Recovery Center. In fact take a picture for Dave as he will never see the fruits of his labours there. We rolled up our sleeves and helped fill the gaps and were blessed to work with so many good hearted selfless people like Tracy. Bless your day as you have reminded me of the blessings we have experienced by giving back to our community in deed and time. Have a good one.

Letter: Leaving the PCs for the Wildrose 10

Iris Kirschner
Thursday, April 30, 2015 3:30:51 MDT PM
Former municipal councillor Dave Kirschner poses with a Wildrose shirt at his long-term care facility in Edmonton. Supplied Image/Iris Kirschner
Former municipal councillor Dave Kirschner poses with a Wildrose shirt at his long-term care facility in Edmonton. Supplied Image/Iris Kirschner
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Dear Editor,
As you may have heard, I have resigned from the Board of Fort McMurray-Conklin PC Constituency Association as of April 13, 2015 and would like to let the Province & Region know that I can no longer support a party that did not support our family, other families of the region and what is important to us. We are tired of lip service, patronism and campaign promises that have not materialized. They are still asking us to donate blindly and trust them. I think not.
In particular we, as a couple, have worked hard for a Long-Term Care facility in our region. We hoped that we could effect change from within the party and we were wrong. The politics of the PC government have delayed, postponed, relocated and stalled the construction of a Long Term Care facility at every turn in the place we still call home.
We have to spend our time at a Long-Term Care within an aging place community in Edmonton because my husband did not want to end up on the 3rd floor of the Fort McMurray Hospital waiting for years for a long-term care facility to be built.
My mom died on Sept 1st, 2013 from a preventable fall waiting for a long term care bed. We moved Dave to Edmonton on Sept 15th to ensure he would not have to endure years of waiting on that same floor.
Although the staff is absolutely wonderful on the 3rd floor, there is only so much they can do with the resources and staff cuts that the government has imposed. We have also lobbied for needed change and support for the staff on the 3rd and 4th floors, but again, it has fallen on deaf PC government ears.
Nothing has changed locally with long term care despite having 2 PC MLAs since 2012. Many of our friends are still waiting on the 3rd floor. There is also no aging in place option in Fort McMurray. This is the sad reality. If you drive up to Parsons Creek, you will not even see a hole in the ground for the promised long term care. Willow Square is a whole separate story.
What we do know is that the seniors minister, health minister, infrastructure minister and PC Premier have not supported either project as a priority in our community.
Yesterday, those in long-term care received a 3% fee increase, effective July 1st. This is unacceptable to be increasing fees on those most vulnerable who are on a fixed income. We need a new government with a new approach, who values elders.
It is with great hope and renewed faith that we have decided to support Brian Jean and the Wildrose vision for our region. Besides being an astute businessman, visionary and hard worker, he has buried both his dad and son here in Fort McMurray and understands our struggles with health firsthand. He gets it.
They say it is hard for a prophet to be respected in his hometown, but Dave and I respect Brian and place our trust in him. He has his brothers, mom, sister, family members, teachers, friends, classmates, neighbours, pastor and fellow residents relying on him and he is accountable to all of us.
Others promise but we believe that Brian will deliver.
Sincerely,
Iris Kirschner