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February 25, 2010

Writers' Union and Canadian Mennonite University

The Writers' Union of Canada (TWUC) is offering Secure Footing in a Changing Literary Landscape, a Professional Development Symposium for writers in all phases of their careers.

Authors Betsy Warland and Ross Laird will outline the current changes in the industry; explore innovative digital opportunities; and discuss the creativity and economics of a writer's life.

TWUC Executive Director Deborah Windsor will discuss authors' contracts in the digital age.


This full-day event is designed to address the creative and financial questions that arise as writers navigate print-based and digital landscapes. The symposium also explores the importance of and need for writers to develop their own writing community.

Date: Monday, March 1
Location: University of Winnipeg
491 Portage Avenue, 3rd Floor, Room 3R40
Cost: $45 (includes lunch)
Space is limited
Details/Registration: http://writersunion.ca/ww_prodevelopment.asp



The School of Writing at Canadian Mennonite University is offering courses for writers of many skill and experience levels in a supportive and challenging environment.

Instructors:
Margaret Sweatman (fiction)
Barbara Nickel (poetry)
Joanne Klassen (life writing)
Anita Daher (writing for children & young adults)


Dates: May 10-14, 2010
Application deadline: March 1
Cost: $520 (includes some meals)
Bursaries are available.
Details: www.cmu.ca/schoolofwriting or email schoolofwriting@cmu.ca


Have a great weekend. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

February 24, 2010

Who's Got the Metres? - Winnipeg & Garbage, 2010 (by Margaret Ullrich)

They had their long term plans. Long term plans work, right?

They said it would work.

People who share a back lane have to place their garbage carts along one side of the lane. Same for the recycling cart. Oh, and if you have a large family you can get a second cart for your garbage.


Okay... let's picture a worse case scenario. Two large families back each other on the back lane. Three carts each house. Six carts.


The cart is about a metre wide. We're supposed to leave one metre clearance on both sides of the cart.

Okay...
That's 6 carts, .59 metre each = 3.54 metres
one metre on the end sides = 2 metres
one metre in between the carts = 5 metres
______________
total 10.54 metres


Our lots are 35 feet wide
35 feet x 12 = 420 inches
420 inches / 39 = 10 3/4 metres

By the way, we get snow. Lots of snow. We have to put it somewhere from roughly November to March. That takes up a few metres, too.

Hmmm...


Just to add to the fun, our garages or parking pads face the back lane. These garages or parking pads hold cars. That's right, there can be more than one driver per household.

Now, about the time we've been told to put the carts out, folks are a little busy. Driving out to get to work or to take the kids to school. Some folks do shift work and come home at odd hours.

In other words, the back lane isn't exactly just sitting there, unused, waiting for the new garbage trucks.

Hell, no. It's damn busy.

And, maybe, just maybe, folks are a little too busy to move a half dozen carts - that can't all fit to block one homeowner's garage or parking pad anyway - around to get in and out of their garages or parking pads. Any suggestions where they can put the carts, without blocking traffic, while they are coming and going?


The brochure says Now you're ready to roll!


Yeah, right.


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

February 23, 2010

Video Pool Presents Escape

Video Pool Media Arts Centre presents Escape, a one-night-only screening of experimental shorts, on Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at The Museum of Clear Ideas, 290 McDermot Avenue, 5th Floor.

The Escape screening is approximately 75 minutes in length
plus introduction and reception to follow

After one year on the run from coast to coast, curator J.J. Kegan McFadden brings his collection of experimental videos home for one last screening in the Escape tour.


There has always been more than one way to escape. The term itself carries with it several connotations: to flee, to transcend, to avoid. In our ever-evolving digital realm, to escape means something different altogether.

When online, we escape through various quasi-anonymous discourses (blogs, games, chat rooms). The button located at the top left of the computer keyboard provides the user a means to get out of certain messy situations; to begin anew.

Here, I am interested in an escape narrative, one informed by the medium, by the history of story telling, and the Hero’s Journey.

This escape attempt is for us all.

Various metaphors for escape are alluded to in the 15 videos collected here: disguise, travel, dance, sex, and meditation each become important elements on this Escape route. Thus, the sequential ordering of the videos in Escape is important.


-J.J. Kegan McFadden, curator


ARTISTS

Lori Weidenhammer + Donna Lewis
Sylvia Matas
Ho Tam
Hope Peterson
Tim Raffey
Leslie Supnet
Dominique Rey
Lisa Graves + Deborah Van Slet
Victoria Prince
Doug Melnyk
Anne Borden + Gail Mentlik
Jeremy Drummond
Divya Mehra
Collin Zipp
Ken Gregory


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

February 21, 2010

One Man's Garbage - Winnipeg & Garbage, 2010 (by Margaret Ullrich)

Last Thursday, Garbage Day, a friend and I took a walk in our neighborhood. We've lived here almost 22 years, raised our kids, made perogies at church. The usual stuff.

We noticed the new garbage carts. They did look tidy, lined up like black fence posts. There wasn't anything near them. We didn't have a clue about what anybody was throwing out.

We started reminiscing about garbage finds.


One of the nice things about the old garbage system was that it gave you a choice about how private you wanted to be. The smelly, real garbage that for sure nobody would want was safely packed away in bags.

But then there were items that fell into a gray area.

The person who was tossing them knew they were still usable. But they'd been outgrown or were being replaced by a gift or an upgrade. At any rate, the original owner didn't want them any more. They were garage sale quality.

But, who'd go to the trouble of holding a garage sale for a couple of items?

It wasn't worth the bother of making cardboard signs and sitting outside a whole day to get rid of a small bookcase or filing cabinet. And who has the space to waste to let enough crap pile up until it was worth having a garage sale? I mean, we're not talking about hoarders here.

The gray area stuff was usually placed neatly next to the garbage bags a day or two before collection day. Time to give neighbors a chance to browse and return with a baba buggy or red wagon if the item was heavy.

The original owner didn't worry about losing a couple of bucks. He figured it would all even out eventually. Today someone would take his bookcase. Next month he'd take someone's table lamp. No point counting pennies. It was just being neighborly.

Now the simple trading system is gone. An item that might have found a new home is going to be hauled away along with the really trashy stuff. Things that could have been recycled in someone else's home are going to the land fill site.


We also watched the monster truck line up to empty a cart. It's quite an operation. We live on the north side of Burrows. Our back lanes are too narrow for the more efficient huge dumpsters they have on the south side. Here the truck has to do a few wiggles to get lined up for each and every individual house's garbage cart.

We remembered how we used to see the fellows toss bags while the truck went at a very slow crawl along the back lanes. True, by putting some people out of work the new system is saving on salaries. But we wondered how much fuel the truck would be using to do all that forward/backward wiggling to get into position to do the deed.

In the new system there isn't anyone to line up a cart that isn't exactly in position to be emptied. We'd heard some folks complain that their carts had been left full with the previous week's garbage. God knows where they put another week's garbage.


This is progress?


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

February 18, 2010

See the Award Winning The Bicycle Lesson by Paul Ullrich

Paul Ullrich's The Bicycle Lesson has been chosen to receive the Award of Excellence in Filmmaking at ' The 2010 Canada International Film Festival'. The Festival will take place March 19 to 21, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.


Although Paul's film is not being screened, it was judged to be among the very best of the hundreds of films submitted from over 30 countries and deserving of special recognition. Only a maximum of 10 films per competition category are selected to be honored with this prestigious award.

This year they will be screening 27 films at the festival. The film screenings will take place at the Stadium Club Theater in the beautiful Edgewater Casino in downtown Vancouver.


Really want to see The Bicycle Lesson? Like right now. No problem. Grab some popcorn, clickhere and enjoy.


What's The Bicycle Lesson about? It's based on Paul's childhood friend's disastrous first bicycle lesson, given by Carl's older siblings.

The lesson begins on top of a hill. Without preparing the bike properly - the seat is too high and a training wheel is loose - Willy places five-year-old Carl on the bike. Their sister points out the problems. The pair argue while Carl rolls down the hill. Carl can't reach the pedals to stop the bike as it careens wildly towards a lobster fisherman and the harbour.


The Bicycle Lesson has been screened at:

'South Beach International Animation Festival' | Miami, Florida | March 2009

'Danville International Children's Film Festival' | Danville, California | May 2009

Black Women's Festival of Art and Culture / Kids' shorts program | Winnipeg, MB | May 2009

Out of My Head | Winnipeg, MB | June 2009

'International Bike Shorts' as part of 'Bike Shorts Film Festival' | Winnipeg, MB | October 2009

The Get Animated Film Festival | Winnipeg, MB | October 2009

'The 2009 Silver Wave Film Festival' | Fredericton, NB | November 2009

'The Sharp Cuts Indie Film and Music Festival' | Guelph, ON | November 2009

'Giggleshorts International Comedy Short Film Festival' | Toronto, ON | November 2009


Also, check out 'The Canadian International Annual Film and Video Festival' awards page. Paul got one star for The Bicycle Lesson.


To learn more about Paul Ullrich, click here.
You can also read more about The Bicycle Lesson, as well as Paul's other animatedcartoons.



Have a great weekend. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

February 17, 2010

Kim Reimer

Just got an e mail from local musician Kim Reimer.

Hey everybody. Myself and bandmates are playing at Forbidden Flavours (851 Cavalier Drive) this Saturday, February 20 at 8:00 p.m. It will be our final gig at Forbidden Flavours as they will be closing their doors.
My husband Ron has returned from Afganistan and will be there, as will our baby Reid, born Dec. 13, 2009.
Look forward to seeing you there!



If you listened to our show Better Than Chocolate on CKUW, you'll remember Kim Reimer. We often played her songs and once she guested on Better Than Chocolate.


If you missed her appearance, here's a bit of info:

Singer-songwriter Kim Reimer taught herself to play guitar at the age of 21. While music has always been a part of her life, Kim's decision to buy a used guitar set her on the road that would eventually lead to the release of her album Let's get away. Influenced by Fleetwood Mac, Jewel, the Dixie Chicks and Sheryl Crow, Kim's passion for strong lyrics and melody is evident in her songwriting.


After studying at the University of Manitoba, Kim moved to a small Alberta town. To alleviate her homesickness, she began writing songs. Kim soon realized that she wanted to pursue a career in music. Kim says, "There is nothing I love to do more than to sing and play guitar. It's a natural high for me when all the instruments and voices come together to make a beautiful sound. I like to express myself through my songs and love when others connect to my lyrics."


For Kim Reimer, finding a balance between personal experience and things that others can easily relate to is a crucial part of songwriting. "Usually I write songs either about myself or something I've been through, or sometimes they are about someone I know, or a situation that someone I know has been through. In this case, I try to put myself in their shoes and think about how I would feel if I went through that experience."


After performing in Edmonton, Kim returned to Winnipeg, where she met Jim Stoeber of Tegancat Music. They collaborated on a few songs for Listen, a various artists' album released in the spring of 2007.

They continued writing for Kim's solo project Let's get away. When asked about the collaborative process, Kim says, "The collaboration is what makes the songs. When each person brings their life experience and musical experience to the table to inject into the song, it makes for higher quality songs that are more relatable to the listener. It also leads each person to challenge themselves to work and think in ways they maybe wouldn't have on their own, thus making them grow as a songwriter."


The name of Kim's band, the 62 Impalas, comes from her song 62 Impala 409 which she describes as a "song with attitude... about a guy who is more in love with his car than with his girlfriend". But in the end, the girl has the upper hand, as she admits that the car "may be one of a kind, but so am I". With Kim's passion for strong lyrics and melody, and her versatility and drive as a performer, it's a claim that promises a bright road ahead.


Kim says that one of the most challenging, but also most fun, songs to write was the swamp music tale of Kalena. Though it is a story set in the bayou, the personal element is present in the name of the song itself. Kalena comes from a combination of Kim's name and that of one of her best friends, Lena Hozaima, who also plays mandolin and sings in her band. Other band members/vocalists are Jim Stoeber (guitar, bass), Janice Baris (keyboards, percussion), and Ron Torpey (drums, percussion).


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

February 16, 2010

Aqua Books' Robert Kroetsch Festival and Freedom to Read

Beginning today, February 16, Kelly Hughes and the folks at Aqua Books are inviting you to a party.

From February 16 to 20 Aqua Books will be hosting a weeklong celebration of the life of master poet Robert Kroetsch. And what a week they've planned!!

Tuesday, February 16, 7:00 p.m. - Soapbox Open Mic featuring Susie Moloney, Kerry Ryan, Rosie Chard, Leif Norman and many more.

Wednesday, February 17, 7:00 p.m. - The Words of My Roaring: The Lost Play Reborn with Tim Higgins, Kelly Hughes and Carolyn Gray.

Thursday, February 18: 7:00 p.m. - Kelly Hughes Live! Host Kelly Hughes interviews Jake MacDonald, Neil Besner and Robert Enright, with music by DJ Mama Cutsworth.

Friday, February 19: The Impossible Home: Robert Kroetsch and His German Roots (film).

Saturday, February 20: Class Reunion: Kroetsch's Students Roast the Master, with Jake MacDonald, Victor Enns, Brian MacKinnon, Margaret Shaw-MacKinnon and more.

Come and be a part of Mondo! Kroetsch Poetry Festival!!


Did you know Aqua Books also has workshops?

On Saturday, February 20, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Victor Enns will be conducting a workshop.

Making it Right is for those who have written more than a few poems, but have been afraid to show them to anyone except their closest friends, and understand that revision is an important part of the writing process.

Cost: $60. Phone 943-7555 or email ariel@aquabooks.ca to register.
Registration is limited to 12 people.


Aren't we lucky in Canada? We're free to read and write whatever we want.

As part of Freedom to Read Week, the Winnipeg Public Library and the Manitoba Writers' Guild are presenting a Reading Marathon of challenged and challenging literature on February 27, from 10:00 a.m. to 5;00 p.m. in the Millennium Library.

Exercise your freedom to read from your favourite banned or challenged book!

You only have to read for 10 minutes at the podium.

To sign up call 986-6779 or email dpilon@winnipeg.ca

Volunteers are also needed (in 2 or 3 hour shifts) to help the event run smoothly and answer questions from the public.

Contact info@mbwriter.mb.ca if you can help at the event.


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

February 14, 2010

Mayor Katz, do the Math - Winnipeg & Garbage, 2010 (by Margaret Ullrich)

We had our second pickup a la the New Garbage System last Wednesday.


It wasn't pretty.


Okay. Everybody in our bay had received the second copy of the Rolling out your garbage brochure and the note which said "Your property is an exception to what is noted in the guide."

Our neighbors across the lane, being good friendly Manitobans, cleared room for us and, for the most part, we bay folks followed the new rule. Our next-door neighbor, who'd been having a rough week, put his garbage by his driveway. More about him later.


We had a little extra company. During the morning, Shaw trucks - in pairs - were parked by and in every bay, and in front of driveways - right next to the new garbage carts - on the street. They were also zipping up and down streets. I didn't know Shaw had so many blue trucks. Apparently they were doing some maintenance work. Well, that was nice of them. I always thought Shaw provided quality service.


I just wish they had put their friendly rivalry with MTS aside and checked out the Recycling and Garbage Calendar in the back of the MTS phonebook.


That's right. Folks with back lanes were bracing to get visited by 2 Shaw trucks, the recycling truck and the new, huge garbage truck.

We were having our own problems. The lock on our gate was frozen shut. The Shaw fellow helped out by handing Paul his butane torch. Paul wondered if a fire truck would be joining the other trucks. Luckily the torch worked on the lock and didn't damage our wooden gate. The Shaw fellow was able to work on the box in our yard.


Paul and I poured coffee and sat to watch the show.


The Shaw fellows did their business and left by noon. In the good old days our garbage was picked up by 7:30 a.m. and our recycling was gone by lunch. Well, the recycling came by around 1:30 p.m. Maybe they'd been tipped off by Shaw to stay away.

The garbage truck lumbered in by 3:40 p.m.

I don't know why, but our next-door neighbor stepped outside to watch the modern monstrosity in action. The truck driver yelled - those trucks are noisy - at him to move his cart across the lane so it could be picked up. Our neighbor complied and progress progressed to the next cart.


The media has been showing some other garbage ideas being bandied about in City Hall. The politicians had done the Math. A 240 litre cart holds as much as 3 regular garbage cans. If that's not enough, someone suggested upgrading:

for $ 33 a year, a household can get a 360 litre cart
for $ 93 a year, a household can get a second 240 litre cart
for $116 a year, a household can get a second 360 litre cart

The upgrades were voted down. CTV ran a poll. "Would you be willing to pay for extra and larger carts." Big surprise - 1500 folks responded: 37% said yes, 63% said no.


Reporters, who hadn't been picked to cover the Olympics in Vancouver, went to Stonewall and to Brandon. Winnipeg's Mayor Katz was quoted as saying he favors pickup from both sides of the street. He also said he hopes there will be less garbage.


One tired north-end citizen was interviewed. She seemed to be concerned about the environment. She wasn't sucking down on any bottled water. She was having a problem with the new system. In her household there are 3 adults and 5 kids. She was having a problem cramming their crap into the new cart.


Back to our little bay... There are 11 houses clustered around a bit of green. The houses aren't large - average about 1100 square feet. In one house lives a divorced fellow all alone. In another there's a family with five kids. The other houses fall in between, population-wise.


I wish the politicians would do the Math.


Houses don't make garbage. People do. How do 7 people - some in disposable diapers - cut down to the same amount of garbage as one middle-aged man? The single man isn't a hero for producing enough garbage for his 240 litre cart.


Disposable diapers are not recyclable. Disposable diapers can't be thrown into the compost. Disposable diapers aren't used only by infants on formulas. Disabled people and Seniors are using them, too.


Any hints for a family of 7?


Have a great Valentine's Day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

February 11, 2010

The Canadian National Institute of the Blind (CNIB)

I received the following from Muriel Aboul-Atta, a former volunteer in the Winnipeg branch of The Canadian National Institute of the Blind. The Winnipeg CNIB recording studio was closed last October due to lack of funds.


Reading is a right, not a privilege.

We read to learn, work and connect to the world. Everyone has the right to read. But if you are blind or partially sighted, that right could disappear.


Library services for blind and partially sighted Canadians are in jeopardy.


For more than 90 years, CNIB has struggled to fund these services with charitable dollars. But CNIB can't afford to go it alone any longer.

Government funding is needed now, or the consequences will be dire. Isolation and an unequal playing field for Canadians who deserve better.


Help protect their right to read. Visit http://www.cnib.ca/righttoread


Every day, Canadians who can’t read print because of vision loss must get by with just 5% of the written material they need to learn, work and participate in society.

The rest? Missing.

If we as Canadians do not address this injustice, only those who can read print will have access to publicly funded libraries that can fully meet their needs.

And the other Canadians – 800,000 people who are blind or partially sighted – will continue to be denied the right to read.


CNIB provides community-based support and knowledge and a national voice to ensure Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life.

With 900 employees and 10,000 volunteers working across the country, CNIB delivers programs and services that help people of all ages overcome the challenges of vision loss, increasing their independence and ability to achieve their goals.

Their advocacy efforts strive for equal access and a society inclusive of people who are blind or partially sighted. They also promote the effective prevention, diagnosis and treatment of eye disease.


For more information, please contact
Anna Bahlieda
Coordinator Volunteer Services and Development
CNIB
229 Camelot Street
Thunder Bay, ON P7A 4B2

T: (807) 345-3341 Ext. 5460
F: (807) 345-0786

Toll Free 1-888-675-2468

Email anna.bahlieda@cnib.ca


Have a great weekend. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

February 9, 2010

Prairie Fire Press & the Millenium Library

Sharpen your pencils!!!

It's time to start writing for the Prairie Fire Press & McNally Robinson Booksellers 2010 Writing Contests.


Bliss Carman Poetry Award
The poetry first prize is in part donated by the Banff Centre for the Arts, who will also award a jeweller-cast replica of poet Bliss Carman’s silver and turquoise ring to the first prize winner. (1-3 poems per entry, maximum 150 lines per entry)
Judge: Christian Bök

Short Fiction
(one story per entry, maximum 10,000 words)
Judge: Joan Thomas

Creative Non-Fiction
(one article per entry, maximum 5,000 words)
Judge: Hal Niedzviecki

1st prize $1,250, 2nd prize $500, 3rd prize $250 in all categories

Deadline for all contest entries: Postmarked November 30, 2010.

Contest Rules

∑ Entry fee is $32 (per category). This entitles you or your designate to a one-year (4 issues) subscription to Prairie Fire. Make cheque or money order payable to Prairie Fire and enclose with your entry. You may also use all major credit cards.

∑ Do not identify yourself on your entry. Please enclose a cover letter with your name, address, telephone number and/or e-mail address, the title(s) of your piece(s), and word count (prose), or line count (poetry) along with your entry fee.

∑ No faxed or e-mailed submissions, please.

∑ Your entry must be typed on 8 1/2 x 11-inch white paper and the pages clipped, not stapled. Prose must be double-spaced.

∑ Entries will not be returned. If you want to be informed of results, include a stamped, self-addressed envelope, or check our website.

∑ Each piece must be original, unpublished, not submitted elsewhere for publication or broadcast, nor entered simultaneously in any other contest or competition.

∑ You may enter as often as you like; only your first entry in each category will be eligible for a subscription.

∑ Winning pieces will be published in Prairie Fire magazine, with authors paid for publication.

Send entries to: Prairie Fire Press, 423-100 Arthur Street, Winnipeg, MB R3B 1H3


For more information
check out our website at www.prairiefire.ca
call (204) 943-9066
e-mail us at prfire@mts.net



The Millenium Library's next lecture and concert features:

Feb. 17 - Prof. Jane Barter Moulaison, UWinnipeg Theology, talking about "Christians in a Pluralistic Society: Are there resources in Christianity for engagement with other faiths?"

Feb. 18 - Chopin's 200th Birthday, celebrated by pianist Maximilian Fleischman


Feb. 24 - Prof. Melanie O'Gorman, UWinnipeg Economics: "The Missing Link? The Role of Farmers' Organizations in responsive African Democracies"

Feb. 25 - Tabla Quartet, with Amjad Sabir leading the fusion of the East with the West


It's all free, but seating is limited. The events are from 12:10 - 12:50 pm, so bring your lunch and come early to the Carol Shields Auditorium.

The schedule is subject to change without notice. To confirm, or learn about future events call the Reader Services at 986-8386 or dpilon@winnipeg.ca


Check out the Children's and Teen Programs at the Winnipeg Public Library. There's lots happening there, too.


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

February 7, 2010

Your Property is an Exception - Winnipeg & Garbage, 2010 (by Margaret Ullrich)

Last Tuesday everybody in the neighborhood was a little nervous. We were awaiting The New Garbage System - Day 2. We watched the news to see how it had gone for the folks in Garden City.

Not well.

One 87-year-old citizen said the new system "Stinks". The carts are large and awkward to move. People who needed help had been told to call 311. Fifty people in Garden City did just that.

There were also clearance problems. Well, even though it has been a milder winter than usual, it is February in Winnipeg. We seem to have more snow than the folks in Vancouver. Maybe the Olympics should be held here.

There had been a poll asking folks if they were in favor of the new automated service. Tuesday night the results were posted: 32% were in favor, 68% were not.

On Wednesday morning we listened to the CBC radio piece on the new garbage system. The city estimated that 1 house per block had had a problem on the first day. On February 2 9,500 homes were supposed to have been served. By the end of the day it was estimated that 2% - that's about 200 households - did not have their garbage removed. It also took longer than usual. The garbage on Leila wasn't picked up until 7:30 pm.

The spokesperson assumed that the homeowners had not read the brochure. He didn't explain why the collectors were so late. What hadn't they read?

Usually our garbage was picked up a little after 7:00 am. Folks had put out their carts a little before 7:00 am, as requested in the brochure. Hey, we can read. By night the carts in our neighborhood were still standing, snow covered and untouched.

The next day Paul and I took a walk. Many garbage carts were still standing. We took a peek. They were full. Uh, oh.

On Thursday night, after the news, I glanced out our window and saw something sticking out of our mail box.

It wasn't a Valentine's Day greeting.

Last week we had read that, regarding back lane collections, "There may be some exceptions to this. If so, we will contact you."

We had received another copy of the Rolling out your garbage brochure. It came with a green note which said "Your property is an exception to what is noted in the guide."

As I said last week, the brochure had said to "Place the cart on the hydro pole side of the back lane." They didn't seem to know that many back lanes don't have a hydro pole for our guidance.

Well, nobody cares where the hydro poll is anymore.

We're supposed to place our cart across the back lane from our property. The fellow who's garage faces our garage - along with a few hundred other folks - is going to be responsible for clearing enough snow so that both carts can be placed against his fence.

That's assuming they have the space to spare.

And now there's talk that the city wants to use the same system for recycling.


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

February 4, 2010

Use It - NOW! (by Margaret Ullrich)

According to the church calendar, the Christmas season is over. The boxing month sales are almost over. People are frantically trying to find some forgotten corner of their homes where they can stash away their great bargains.

Ah, holidays. Does anything else make us work this hard?


A few of weeks ago everyone was talking about resolutions. There were the usual plans to stop smoking, lose weight and get into shape. Fine. Health is important.

But, I didn't hear anyone mention a problem that cuts across all ethnic, socio-economic, age and national borders. A problem that causes hurt feelings in the closest of families. A problem that can haunt your family even after you've passed on and gone to that great bargain hunt in the sky.

The problem is saving.

I'm not talking about ordinary saving - things like GICs, RSPs, stocks and bonds. No. I'm talking about Christmas gift saving.


Remember Christmas? You unwrapped a gift while your loved ones watched with bated breath, eagerly awaiting your reaction. You didn't disappoint them. You oohed and aahed and said you loved it. You loved the color, the material, the cut, the fragrance, the thought and care that made your sweeties decide that you just had to have it.

Then you packed it away.


What does this mean? Are you saying that in the future you want to be given something you wouldn't be caught dead in. That you'd feel comfortable with something ugly and feel free to use it?


Oh... I know the excuses:
You're saving it for a special occasion.
You're saving it for when company comes over.
You don't want to ruin it.
You'll use it when you have a blouse, skirt, hat, coat, umbrella that'll really go great with it.
You'll use it when you've lost a few pounds.
You - as you are now, with what you own now - are not good enough to use the damn thing.


Repeat after me: I'm good enough for it... Say it again. I knew you could.


Trust me - they didn't take out a loan to buy it. They might've bought it at last year's Boxing Day Sales. They might be re-gifting. Feel better now?


Still can't bring yourself to use it?


Oh... I can hear you. You went through The Depression or The War. You know how to do without and save. Think about it. Even if there were another depression, we really won't go on a Jean Nate cologne barter system. The good old days of black markets are gone. Today a war means boom... total annihilation. Your Jean Nate will be vaporized.


Clothes do go out of style. Your grandchildren won't want them. Did you hear about the huge sale the Kennedy kids had after Jackie died? Caroline wasn't eager to wear those little pillbox hats her Mom had made so popular. Unless you have a relative working for the costume museum in Dugald, those mint condition scarves, blouses and purses will end up on a shelf at the Sally Ann.


You want them to remember you? Use the gift. They'll be fighting like cats and dogs to inherit your old purse because it'll remind them of you.

There... doesn't the image of an all out battle make you feel all warm and toasty.


After this posting, I'm going to shovel the snow that blew into the walkway. I'm going to wear those slacks my son got me. Of course I told him I loved them, but they're just not me, you know? Well, there's no point in saving them. I really thought he had better taste.

Hmmmm.....


Have a great weekend. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

February 2, 2010

Love is in the Air

Okay. The economy is in the toilet (Did you see the cover of the latest Maclean's?), the Christmas bills are coming in, and your bank balance is falling faster than Jay Leno's popularity.


And now it's February. Time to get ready for Valentine's Day.


Hey! We're Winnipeggers. Nothing stops us from getting a bit of romance. I wasn't the only one who walked - in a Winnipeg whiteout - to my local Shoppers' Drug Mart to get a VHS of My Big Fat Greek wedding when it was on sale. We can do this. And at a good price.


Theatre is classy, right. Soap Scum, Season 4: The Crown Royals is being performed at the Park Theatre on February 15 at 8:00 pm. Admission is $5. Throw in a dinner and you're set. Soap Scum is part of IF... The Winnipeg Improv Festival which will be running from February 15 to 20 at various venues. For more information phone 284-9477.


Want a touch of French for a bit of l'amour? You don't have to go far. The Festival du Voyageur is running from February 13 to 21. It has snow sculptures, music, food and sled dog rides. What more could you want?


Alway wanted to take in a bit of New Orleans Mardi Gras? Okay. It's too far for a bus ride, but drop on over to the Winnipeg Convention Centre for a Winnipeg Mardi Gras. It's running February 12 and 13, 6:00 pm to 2:00 am and is featuring Rockin' Dopsie, Jr & the Zydeco Twisters. The tickets are $16 and there's a 3 course dinner. Call 957-4535 or selected participating charities.


Prefer music? No problem. The 13th Annual Live Music Is Better Coffee House in Support of Winnipeg Harvest will be held at the St. James Anglican Church Hall, 195 Collegiate Street, on February 13 at 8:00 pm. Admission is $2 plus a tin for the bin. Come out and hear Baltimore Road, Still Standing, James Van Norman, Marcel Desilets and Prairie Jewel.


Want to help others? Hearts for Haiti at the Park Theatre on February 14 at 7:00 pm will be featuring Bush Wiebe, Mimi Vouk, Johnny Guitar, Rollin Penner and the Traveling Medicine Show. Find out more at info@thetravelingmedicineshow.com


See how easy that was? Rock - and love - on, Winnipeggers!!


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!