Category Archives: Through the Calendar

Observations engendered by different seasons, celebrations, and times of the year.

No Foolish Consistency

Even the palindromes are helping us celebrate Canada’s 150th.


Let’s start with some examples of palindromes, which are words that read the same forwards and backwards:

  • Kayak
  • Madam
  • Noon
  • The aforementioned “huh”

Similarly, a palindromic phrase or sentence reads – except for word breaks – the same forwards and backwards:

  • Some of these make sense – A man, a plan, a canal: Panama.
  • Some maybe not so much – Never odd or even.

Palindromic numbers are, of course, also the same fore and aft, a concept that applies regardless of the meaning of the digits:

  • 22
  • 141
  • 567,765
Two metal 8s on a brick wall.

Good feng shui, too.


Four metal 8s on a tile wall.

Great feng shui!

Palindromic dates are tricky to achieve, because they have three elements, and to agree on, because they depend on the format you use:

  • If you write your dates as m-dd-yyyy, then today – July 10, 2017 – is palindromic (7102017) but not tomorrow (7112017).
  • But if you write your dates as m-dd-yy, then you can enjoy palindromic dates from today (71017) to July 19th, 2017 (71917).

I have friends who use yyyy-mm-dd to align with the international standard based on computer time, where you can just keep specifying time to the right as long as you please (hours, minutes, seconds, and so on). I see no palindromic dates in this format for the foreseeable future.

In my former professional life I was focused on avoiding confusion, so I usually used formats with three letters for the month and four digits for the year:

  • dd-mmm-yyyy for certainty in proposal text (To clearly signal, “No, we didn’t miss a digit on the day.”)
  • yyyy-mmm-dd for quick comprehension of the schedule when a list of tasks extended across a calendar year-end

My father once told me that D-Day was scheduled for June 6 to avoid any confusion between the Allies on different date formats: It was 6-6, no matter what order you used.  True?  Dunno.

Not wanting to exhibit a foolish consistency, I’m good to set aside my usual practice where it seems worthwhile, and this is one such occasion.

So . . . may we have the drum roll, please . . .

Welcome to this year’s 10-day stretch of palindromic dates,
71017 to 71917
occurring in the same month as our national holiday,
no doubt as one of the first celebrations of Canada’s 151st year.


Read more here about palindromic dates.

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Filed under Through the Calendar

What 2017 Will Bring

I don’t like early January.  It’s not that the parties are over.  It’s that the entire coming year stretches ahead of me in my imagination, an obligation waiting to be met.  An obligation weighing me down.

Maybe it’s linked to too many years working on projects where someone else set the schedule.  I can’t work harder and get through the year faster: I really do have to take it one day at a time.

So for this first year of retirement (semi or full), I’m going to try a new way of looking at the year, by considering what it will bring.

365 Mornings

Sunrise backlighting driftwood on the beach at Bull Island.

Some Pretty Chilly Mornings

Black fowl, fluffed up against the cold

Opportunities for Reflection(s)

Reflection of black-necked stilt wading in still pond.

Chances to Stick My Neck Out

Snail on aggregate sidewalk

Chances to Draw Back

Turtle with necked pulled into shell

Times for Naps

Yellow-crowned night heron, eyes closed to a slit

Times to Stay Oh-so-Fully Alert

Yellow-crowned night heron sitting upright and alert.

Time with Old Friends

Gila woodpecker on saguaro cactus

Chances to Meet New Friends

Roseate spoobill on treetop, wings extended.

Uncomfortable Moments

Prairie dog looking at camera as if startled

Happily Oblivious Moments

Sloth hanging from tree branch

Doubts about Ever Making My Mark

Interstate exit sign for Gibson Boulevard

Times when I Forget about Myself Altogether

Whelk and shell scatter on sandy beach.

Chances to Stand on My Own

Prsirie dog upright, chewing on blade of grass

Chances to Sing with Another

Two grackles in leafless tree; marsh in background

Moments when Things Aren’t Clear at All

Snowy intertstate road in snow storm

Moments of Perfect Clarity

No Hunting sign that adds: Don't Ask

Moments when a Photographic Plan Comes Together

Viewpoint for Colorado River with sunlit shrub in foreground

Moments with Unplanned Bits of Blue Plastic

Sunset-lit prairie grass


Looked at like that, the year doesn’t seem so onerous, somehow.

Although I admit I could do without those pesky bits of blue plastic.


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Deja Vu Again

Leaning in to the mirror above the sink, Mom applies her lipstick carefully.  There’s hardly room for both of us in the half-bathroom of this duplex we’re renting until our new house is ready.  She’s all dressed up, though, so I’ve followed her in here to find out what’s up.

“Your father and I are going out for Christmas Eve.”

Huh?  We celebrated Christmas a week ago, just before we left our Edmonton house to move to Calgary.  It can’t be Christmas Eve again.  Can it?   Continue reading

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To Too Many Things, There is a Season

Ten days before its official onslaught, winter arrived (Wham!) on the Canadian Prairies.  I know, because I too, had just arrived on the Canadian Prairies.  Oh, hurray.

As so often in life, you now have a choice.  Do you want to share in my rant? Or do you want to Do Something About It? Continue reading

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Filed under New Perspectives, Through the Calendar

Day of the Dead

Before reading Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver, I’d always thought of the Day of the Dead as a tacky festival with jangly skeletons and sugar skulls.  Yuck.

Now I see it as an opportunity to remember the dead – my dead – and to continue to appreciate them:  Hugh, Isabel, Nels, Belle, Russel, Jessie, Tom, Bob, Betty, Ruth, Sheldon, and Anne, among them.

In looking for photos for this compilation, I was surprised to see how few I had, at least in digital format. Another thing to remember.  Photography may be a great hobby, even an art form, but it also has its place in recording the faces I love.



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