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Monday, November 28, 2005

Bast's Best ....Products! Volume 1

I really do love to shop. No, I mean really love it. If I could do it for a living, that would be fine by me. And once in awhile when I am on my little shopping escapades, I come across some pretty neat things. I don't always buy them, but nevertheless, they're fun.

So I thought I would start a little mini-blog (what is a blog within a blog called?) on fun items I have come across. And I thought I'd start with a real find in the grocery store the other day. Yes, the grocery store. The product is chocolate-flavoured cream cheese, by Lactantia. You heard me right - chocolate flavoured cream cheese!!!!! They say it's good to make chocolate cheesecake with, but I can attest that it's equally good if you simply slather it over a cracker (preferably an oatcake) and devour. And it's low in those nasty carbs that I keep trying to avoid.

Yum, yum - it's all good. Go to the dairy aisle yourself and try it out. Now, where are my strawberries....?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Future Imperfect

Well, I made a somewhat monumental decision today. I'm going to become a futurist. I like the fact that futurists can never be wrong, at least in the present when they are talking about the future. That appeals to me, never being wrong. Plus, I love thinking about the future, and the past, and I think that might make me a good futurist. On the other hand, I do tend towards believing conspiracy theories and being a bit naive (read gullible) so that might me a bad futurist. No matter! Onwards and upwards ... or maybe forwards, in this case.

So I'm joining the World Future Society ( and will do some self-study. There are a handful of universities offering degrees in this area, but to be truthful, I don't have the appetite to be a student ever again (kudos to my friends who are!). So self-study it is. Then maybe I'll do up some business cards, with something pithy like "Bast, Futurist-at-large" on them. Then maybe get my own radio program and build up a huge (or not so much) following. Then retire to a cave-house in Spain and build my mystique as a semi-hermit futurist. Kind of like the Stylite saints, but different. What a plan. I love it. It's bound to work, no?

So anyway, I'll keep you posted. You just never know what the future will hold ... but maybe I do.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I'm Baaa-aack! From Winterpeg ...

My goodness, but Canadian autumns can be weird. I went to Winnipeg last week on business (many thanks to Aunt S., who looked after Bast's Beastly Cat while away! And BTW, she's ever so sorry for the scratching ...)

It's November - perhaps I should expect a light dusting of snow. Maybe even take the boots to be extra sure. What I flew into was a full-blown wintery-type blizzard, complete with snow up the ying-yang and temperatures hovering around the -25 degree level. Sigh. Three days of this. Groan. It warmed up to maybe -5 by the time we left. My Winnipeg colleagues seemed to take it all in stride. We even had a reception at the Lieutenant Governor's residence which went off on schedule, much to my surprise given the weather. These Winnipeggers are hardy folk, there's no doubt about it. My theory is that nobody actually leaves Winnipeg and so they don't know anything of the outside world.

Back on the plane, I knew Calgary would be warmer, due the chinook winds. Chinook means "snow eater" and they blow even when there is no snow to eat. So I came home to a balmy 15 degrees, and it will be going up to near 20 degrees later in the week. Double sigh. My poor body doesn't know whether it's coming or going.

But I'm pretty sure wherever's it's going, it won't be to Winnipeg in the near future.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Off My Game

I hate feeling ill. Or rather, I hate feeling a little bit ill. Full-blown sick is easier to deal with, as you can just lie on the couch, mope and feel sorry for yourself. Feeling slightly off your game is bothersome. You're lying on the couch, but you're feeling guilty while you're doing it.

I started feeling dizzy and really tired last night, and before I knew it, had convinced myself it was either a female heart attack or avian flu. Decided not to stay for the concert I was at as I had a full morning meeting the next day. I got through the meeting and came home, feeling really tired once again. Hit the couch. Napped. Got up and made something to eat. That's the other thing about feeling ill and living alone - no one to pamper you, or alternately tell you to suck it up and get over it. There's no moral barometer at your side, so you just slide ever-more gently downwards to a state of blissful self-indulgence.

Almost ordered a pizza - a sure sign of feeling sorry for myself. But in the end sucked it up and made dinner. Perhaps you can be your own moral barometer after all?

Oh, and is anyone else out there sick to death of the fear-mongering going on about the avian flu? I heard today that it will strike those with a healthy immune system the worst, as it did in 1918. If that's the case, I'm really very safe - and am available to pass this whatever it is on to you at your convenience. I am so very civic-minded.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Ovary Tower

I had lunch with a friend who always makes me laugh, and today was no exception. Thank goodness, because I think we both needed it, and laughter can be such therapy. So there we were, two women verging on mid-life, discussing what to do with the rest of our lives, and whether or not the "third sector" was all it is cracked up to be. That's the non-profit sector.

There is a building here in Calgary that a local foundation bought, renovated and rented out at a reasonable rate to other local non-profits. And since many of the workers in said tower are women, they have taken to calling it the Ovary Tower. Well, I just about laughed my pants off! And then when we discovered that I was actually straddling the Ovary and the Ivory Towers in my career, well, let's just say the waitress was on her way over to see if we were going to be ok or if we needed 911 assistance.

I think the Ovary Tower is a wonderful metaphor for the non-profit sector. The vast majority of the employees and volunteers are female, and when you get that many women in one place, hormones are bound to fly. I wonder if there are other such buildings around the country, and if anyone has studied the phenomenom. Probably not. But if could get some Ovary/Ivory tower funding, it might just make a damn good research project!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Wanted: One Patron

Having studied the Middle Ages for a long time, one of the things that resonated most with me was the concept of patronage. Not the Ottawa-type patronage we see regularly on the CBC (Dingwall et al.) but real, honest to goodness patronage. The type where you show yourself to have some artistic talent (writing, scuplture, etc.) and some wealthy and generous soul comes along and financially adopts you so you can concentrate solely on your craft.

Now don't get me wrong - I don't mind a hard day's graft. But as I age I am finding that as life speeds by, I need to do the things I want to do now, or it may be too late. The problem, as always, is money. Now I don't exactly live high on the hog. I like my luxuries, to be sure, but I keep my expenses within my means. Comes with the territory of having been a student until I was 30. So I would be a very frugal investment for any potential patron out there.

I think about $36k/year would do it. Yes, that's frugal in Calgary. Sorry - I can't tax receipt you, but could offer certain perks (no, not those kinds of perks ...). I'm good company, and could promise witty conversation and laughter at the vagaries of our 21st life. I cook a mean Spanish tortilla, and I own two llamas that are excellent therapy pets. What more could you ask? Oh yes, and of course, a lengthy and meaningful dedication in the first book published.

So if you fit the bill - literally - leave a comment and I'll get back to you. It might just be kismet.