Lately I’ve been reading about the need to define the audience for your family history or memoir. Kathy Pooler and Mandee Sears cover this topic, and other writers surely do as well.
Naturally, I also think about my potential readership, its demographic, and how best to reach it. Yet Kathy and Mandee both allude to one type of audience I’ve never considered at all—the private audience. Continue reading
I was down in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago for another round of spelunking in the family archives. My explorations were extremely successful. I found scads of old letters, notebooks, calendars, and greeting cards. My grandmother was a terrific archivist, and my mother has preserved everything. Continue reading
Last Christmas Eve., my son and I visited a pet shop and brought home two female guinea pigs. The woman at the store told us they were siblings, about two months old. Skeptic that I am, I scarcely believed her pronouncement—the creatures trembling before us bore little resemblance to one another. But apparently it’s not unusual for litter mates to look completely unrelated. Continue reading
Making eye contact is something most of us do without much thought. It’s a standard part of our social repertoire, so casual and intuitive that we manage it with hardly any cognitive exertion, which is how we generally like things. Continue reading
Like many northern cities, Calgary has made provisions for residents who wish to avoid its harsh winter climate. Montreal has its underground city. Toronto and Minneapolis have their skyways. Calgary has a similar network of elevated bridges, the Plus 15s.
Calgary’s +15 walkway system has the distinction of being the largest network of elevated skyways in the world—over 16 kilometers, or 9.9 miles, of enclosed bridges connecting the towers of its downtown core. There are 59 of these bridges, all at a nominal height of 15 feet above the pavement. You can locate a +15 walkway just by looking for the man with the white cowboy hat:
The white cowboy hat is a big deal around here, but that’s another story. Continue reading
Calgary, Alberta at dawn looking south from Crescent Road. Photo by Chuck Szmurlo. Wikimedia Commons.
My hiatus after being laid off in June didn’t last long. As soon as the old job ended, I landed a small contract, editing reports for a structural engineering company. It was only part-time, and I worked from home.
Then I picked up a new contract in downtown Calgary, editing reports for a major energy company. This job naturally brought about my return to officeland. Continue reading
Last summer I had an experience that millions have had these last few years—I got laid off. I was working at the time for the Technical Publications department of a software company based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Word got out that the director of our department, a woman I’d never met, was coming to Calgary to visit our little outpost.
Liquor bottles. Scott Feldstein, Wikimedia Commons.
I was at the bottle depot one Sunday, recycling my empties, when I noticed the man. At first glance, there was nothing distinctive about him. He was middle aged, of medium build, dressed in unremarkable clothing. A trim, brown moustache divided his face. His voice had a raspy edge.