Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Running Of The Balls

Saturday night my husband and I sat out on the balcony of our Calgary condo, waiting to watch white balls wend their way woozily by on the water. Weally!

A couple of weeks ago, we were riding our bikes through Prince's Island Park when we passed a bunch of people blowing up these big white balls. Once they were inflated, they were tossed into the river. Didn't think much about it.

But walking home from dinner this weekend, we passed a lot of people standing by the water with cameras. My husband asked what was going on. A woman told us five hundred of those white balls were about to be released into the river. Two balls were out in front of us, hung up on some rocks. But looking up river, we saw nothing. We decided to go home, pour some wine and watch from the balcony.

More people gathered below by the water's edge. We drank our wine as daylight slowly faded. "Those balls are blinking," my husband said. I looked and dog-gone it if he wasn't right. The two balls hung up on the rocks were blinking. It was kind of creepy if you want to know the truth. Being a NYer, of course I assumed it was somehow connected to Al-Qaeda. But they just continued innocently blinking down there in the dark water.

 About an hour later, The Running of the Balls began! Glowing orbs of different colors drifted by. I can't say that it was a spectacular sight from our elevated perch, but it was interesting. When the last ball floated by, onlookers followed along the bank. Occasionally we'd see a person walking along carrying one of them. Next day I did a google search and found some stunning pictures:

Photograph by: Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald

Photograph by: Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald

I also read that the event was given a far more poetic name than my "The Running of the Balls":



This Saturday night at 9:30 p.m., 500 illuminated spheres will be launched by local volunteers along the Bow River... create a large-scale dynamic lighting installation. The artist of this installation is U.K-based Creatmosphere, founded by artist Laurent Louder. They are using geographic, geological and environmental observation, public participation and technology to achieve a spectacular and memorable experience on the Bow River.

Photograph by: Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald

I took a stroll Sunday afternoon down to the river to see if perhaps all the balls were corralled somewhere for one last look. But all I found was one lonely ball still hung up on the rocks:

Photo by Caryl Zimmerman

Our apartment building is in the back there, looking down on this poor pathetic, malfunctioning ball (It blinked, remember? Wasn't supposed to). Perhaps with a bit of persuasion (and a lot more wine) I can convince my husband to swim out and get it for me. I mean, if it doesn't explode first.

More gorgeous photos here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rod Stewart "Losing You"

I forgot what a great song this is until my Mom took me to see a Rod Stewart Tribute band (in photo above). By the way, that sounds lame, but it was really entertaining.

Monday, August 16, 2010

And The House Cried

A couple of weeks ago, while I was still on Long Island, I got a phone call, interrupting lunch with Mom, my sister and my friend. It was Greg.

"Hi. Listen to this..."

I listened but heard only silence.

"Did you hear that?" he asked me.

"It's quiet," I told him.

"The moving van just pulled away. I thought maybe you could hear it. Today's a sad day."

I thought he was joking. Greg's been looking forward to being done with that house in Texas for a long time. We had some tough times there. When we were looking to buy a house, the schools in that area had high rankings. But as new neighborhoods spread out around us and families from New Orleans moved in after Hurricane Katrina, our schools became overcrowded. Rankings declined. Chaos increased. It took its toll on our sons.

"Are you being sarcastic?"I asked him.

"No! 14 years here, lots of memories. Now all the rooms are empty."

That was sweet. Though we always knew we wouldn't live there forever, there are many things we'll miss about the neighborhood. The people, of course. The pond where Greg and boys fished. The soccer fields. Lots and lots of time spent on those soccer fields where many lifetime friendships were created.

We talked a little more and I asked him to take a few pictures before he left the house for good. After we hung up and I shared our conversation with Mom, Cathy and Ileana, we were all surprised that he was feeling so nostalgic.

"Well, in Texas they say that Greg's heart grew three sizes that day!"

Next morning, I was awakened by my phone ringing. Greg again.

"I don't even know why I'm calling," he said, "except that I just need someone to talk to."

He explained that on a whim, he decided to walk through the house one last time that morning before catching a plane to Canada. When he opened the door, it took him a moment to process what he was seeing. The hardwood floor in the living room was a puddle. Water rained down from the second floor through a hole in the ceiling.

He ran upstairs and found the tank to the master bathroom toilet cracked. He shut off the water and ran next door to borrow a mop. All of our cleaning supplies were on a highway somewhere in the moving van. Then he cancelled his flight.

"I can't wait til this mother @#$% house is sold and behind us!!" he said to me. "It's like it's cursed!!"

What a difference a day makes. Well, the house is sold now. Despite the fact that our realtor walked into the house with a client in tow and found a gaping hole in the living room ceiling (shoulda called us first-ha!), we were able to sell the house to someone else for a reasonable price.

Good memories intertwined with bad memories. If the walls could talk. Hm! They'd probably say, "So long, suckers!"

God help the new owners.