Long Weekend

Posted in What? on June 30th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: It’s Day Three of a four day long weekend. July 1st is a national holiday in Canada, and the outgoing provost of the University of Alberta closed the campus today as a gesture of goodwill after eight years on the job. My folks are still here, until the morning of July 3rd, and my mother is cooking up some spaghetti carbonera at the moment. I am most definitely eating too much food, feeling stuffed all the time, and I haven’t been exercising.

I know, none of the above is too interesting. Saw The Italian Job today, after suspending disbelief, it proves to be a rather fun, mindless summer movie. I’m looking forward to seeing Ahnold in Terminator 3, and will most likely indulge in Legally Blonde 2.


Posted in Observations on June 28th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: It is a few minute past midnight on June 28, 2003. I was born at 12:06 AM Mountain Time, on June 28, 1953, so the moment of turning 50 just passed by. No, I don’t feel any different. Earlier today I received wonderful birthday wishes from my colleagues. Tonight, I was picked up by Geoff and Kim, and driven to Kathryn’s for dinner. We arrived a bit late, and entered the house. Honestly, I thought we were meeting for dinner. Once in the house, I noticed bowls of chips and cheezies on the table rather than table settings and suspected something was up. I looked around the corner and saw two friends and colleagues, Pam (with her daughter, Rebecca), and Kathy, grinning at me. I turned around and saw more friends and colleagues descending the staircase, including Kenton, whom I learned afterwards had a hand in the organization of the evening (like e-mailing my Dad!). Kathryn then told me to check in the pantry for spices or something, so I opened the door, and saw my Mom and Dad, and my brother Chris and his girlfriend Debra, hiding inside.

I was sort of numb and stunned at that point, very happy to see everyone, and a bit shocked to see my family (although I did think they were “up to something” this week). Chris brought three Jeanne’s cakes from Calgary (which are flown in from Winnipeg, where they are baked the same day); in all, there were five cakes! I received a number of nice presents, cards, and good wishes from everyone. And all of this happening before my actual birthday, which began a few minutes ago!

We had a great evening, and I thank everyone who was there, and who took the time to organize the party, and for Kathryn for providing the locale, and for cooking me a quick but delicious asparagus and scallops appetizer!

So now I’m fifty. Sheesh. And there are so many reasons to be grateful. I am blessed with amazing, caring friends and family. Later today I will spend time with my parents and brother and his girlfriend, and enjoy the day. For now, thanks to all of you, with my love and appreciation.

The Day, So Far

Posted in Random Thoughts on June 27th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

Although my birthday isn’t for a few more hours (12:06 am MDT, June 28), I have received some generous birthday wishes from my fellow staff members here at the library. This included chocolates, an Irish beanie baby bear named Erin, a beautiful cake, a few silly gifts like an over-the-hill emergency medical bracelet, a few cards, and an office filled with balloons, banners and a poster. Geoff, using his PDA, recorded a few moments for posterity and for the archives, viewable in QuickTime.

The Five-O Cusp

Posted in Random Thoughts on June 26th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: Thanks for letting me self-indulge a bit in the previous entry. Already I’ve received some early birthday greetings from colleagues at work, who decorated a bit of my office with balloons, inflatable guitars, and a neat poster with pix and commentary. I think I’m feeling better about all of this. It is difficult to mope about a birthday when you blessed enough to be surrounded by so many people who care about you. For this I am always grateful.

Staring into the Abyss

Posted in Random Thoughts on June 26th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: It’s late, early in the morning on June 26. I’m sort of drifting through this week, I’m in a daze, basically. There are things about which I want to write, but I’m not feeling very coherent. Perhaps in a few days. But I turn 50 on June 28, actually at 12:06 am MDT (I was born in Winnipeg at 1:06 Central Time, way back then). I’ve been fighting this, a losing, pointless battle, yet it’s nothing I feel like celebrating. I don’t want to have to say the number. Turning 30 was nothing, 40 was more of an annoyance; 50? “Old man, look at my life…”

Leaving the Y tonight after a Pilates class, I passed a notice board with pictures of the “Fifty Plus” crowd, some of them easily in their 80s. Gee, I’ll get to join on Saturday. I wonder what the parties are like? “Turn on…the bubble a’machine…”

Frankly, I wish I felt better about this, but I don’t; not tonight, anyway. I know, I know all the reasons to feel good about it, but at the moment, those reasons have taken a sabbatical. I also accept that other factors make this birthday somewhat bittersweet. But on Saturday, and then Sunday, the sun will rise, regardless.

Despite the foregoing, it’s been a pretty good ride. I’m surrounded by the best of friends, a loving, extended family, am in good health, have a great job, to name but a few reasons for celebrating the other side of life.

NYC Redux

Posted in NYC on June 23rd 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: Overheard (many times) in NYC: “You don’t get HBO in Canada? Seriously?”

:: I was in the Strand, the best bookstore on the planet, inquiring about a book, can’t remember the title. Strand employee (young woman): “We have three copies, but they are on hold for other people. If you want, I can put a hold on the title for you.” Me: “That’s ok, I’m just visiting from Canada for a few days.” Strand Girl: “No problem, we ship overseas.”

:: At a bar on Avenue A: “I’ll have a Corona, please”. Bartender: “That’ll be four dollars”. I give her a five, and braindead, I keep the change. A number of us wait to go into the lounge to watch a comedian, where there is a two-drink minimum. Bartender to waitress: “Make sure that guy buys two drinks.” Me (incredulous, looking at her): “You mean me?” She ignores me. To the waitress: “The guy with the glasses, he doesn’t tip.” Realizing my faux pas, and feeling like scum from beneath the earth, I return and offer the bill to her, and she says, “Thank you.” Further words are exchanged as we enter the lounge, including mention that I’m from Canada.

After the show: I approach her and offer a fiver, saying, “My apologies again, and please don’t think less of Canadians.” She accepts the bill, and announces: “I LOVE Canadians.” Half an hour later we are still in the bar, milling about. She calls me over, and offers me a shot of something, maybe tequila, and she has one as well. We toast and laugh and make friends, and I thank her. On the way out she tells me her name is Nikki. I bid her farewell, and my friends and I head out into the night.

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