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Friday, January 07, 2005

Thank You, Lois

My employer, Lieutenant Governor Lois E. Hole, died yesterday.

I wouldn't presume to call myself a friend of Her Honour, but I had tremendous respect, admiration, and affection for her, and I hope that she felt the same way about me.

Unlike many Albertans, I was barely aware of Lois' existence before I started working for her. But I quickly discovered what a genuinely warm and caring person she was, and I appreciated her willingness to allow a stranger to work on her autobiography. Lois always gave everyone the benefit of the doubt, even when they'd wronged her.

Lois was unfailingly kind and generous to me during the years I spent writing in her voice; even when I made a mistake, she rebuked me so gently that I was doubly motivated to do a better job next time. She met Sylvia twice, and treated her with incredible solicitude. She made her feel welcome, and I think Lois was genuinely happy that I had a girlfriend.

I am not emotionally devastated by Lois' death. I was not a family member; I was an employee. To indulge myself in an overabundance of grief would be, I think, disrespectful to those who have far more cause to mourn: her loved ones.

But I am sad. I'm sad that she didn't have the chance to meet the Queen again, nor to participate in Alberta's centennial celebrations. I knew that she was really looking forward to the big events of 2005, and she really deserved to be there. And I think the people of Alberta would have enjoyed the centennial all the more if she had lived to take part.

Moreover, I am deeply saddened that this most conservative of provinces has lost a great liberal voice. She was making a difference in our political culture, a positive one from my point of view, and I wish that she'd had that extra twelve months to get her simple message out: care for each other. All the speeches about libraries, about schools, about multiculturalism, the arts and health care boiled down to that simple point. We're here for each other.

Or we should be.

The really hard thing about death is that life goes on. Someone important vanishes, and yet we who live on still have to drive home, wash the dishes, pay the bills, get our homework done, go back to work the next morning. Life doesn't stop to mourn.

Lois, thank you for giving me the chance to realize a dream. Thanks for helping me help others, thanks for caring, and thanks for speaking out. You make me wish I believed in an afterlife.

Earl, Her Honour and Sylvia at the 2003 L.G. staff Christmas party.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Visitors from Abroad

Andrea took this shot of Sylvia and I in our dining room. It was a great visit, and I'm glad that Andrea and Greg took the time out of a tremendously busy schedule to pop in.

Visitors from Abroad

Here, Sylvia poses with Greg, a hunky bloke from Australia. Strewth!

Visitors from Abroad

Here's the happy couple, posing in front of our recently-completed (well, almost) feature wall. Mirror tile is so groovy.

Visitors from Abroad

My friend Andrea MacLeod is in Canada right now, visiting from Germany, where she's lived for the past 11 years. Andi and I were in the U of A Star Trek club together, but she's far less geeky than I. She and her fiance came over last night.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Sylvia in Leather

For some reason I can post pictures again, so here' s a gratuitous shot of my sexy, leather-clad girlfiend.

Spock and the Vending Machine

So here's the photo I was talking about - the one that inspired that dreadful story. I suppose I could write something about Evil Spock and his attempts to purchase a refreshing beverage, but it's past my bedtime...

High Stakes Gamble

Sylvia rides her scooter on a desolate, dangerous street in Las Vegas.

High Stakes Gamble

Sylvia rides her scooter in Las Vegas.

The Brotherhood of Blogs

 Just a note to say that my brother Sean has started a blog of his own, the Sean Woods All-Night Disco Blogorama!

Check it out!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Hello, 2005

Last night I dreamed that I'd been appointed Prime Minister. But I was only 19 or 20 years old, and I didn't understand any of the day-to-day procedures of the office, including where to sit in Parliament. I waved down a helicopter at the wrong time and felt foolish, and went on a tour of the official residence with a bunch of teenagers. Anne McLellan was constantly shepherding me, but she wasn't getting frustrated, thank goodness.

But before that, I dreamed that I was in a metropolis. I leapt into the air, and landed atop a skyscraper. I had no way to get down. It was an angled roof, and I had to hang on to a protruding slap of roofing material to keep myself from sliding off.

I thought of jumping off and using a parachute to slow my fall, but I was too scared to make the attempt. Then I started to think about the nature of fear, and I was gearing myself up to make the jump when a window on the roof opened and a blonde-haired accountant helped me into the building.

I used the stairs to reach ground level.