I admit, though, I drove to work that morning. March in Saskatoon is completely unpredictable. It might be thirty below with a wicked arctic wind one day, then plus two the next, only to have the snow drop again later in the week. Today had been one of those days with a wicked wind chill making it feel like January again. So, even though I only live a few blocks from the university I drove my car. Sue me. In my defense, it’s very small and fuel efficient … and cute. With the car in the garage I brace myself for the trek across my backyard. I avoided half-melted piles of snow, sure to deposit freezing slush into the tops of my boots, and doggie landmines. My pooch, Lucky, is a huge mutt I adopted from a rescue society. His ears are two different shapes, his fur cannot decide on a colour, he’s about six feet tall and is the biggest suck you’ve ever met. [this is important] He greeted me at the door in his usual way – putting his paws on my shoulders and licking me in the face. A quirk I share with Dorothy Parker – I love a badly behaved dog. Once unburdened of my winter clothes and my bag, I set about finding dinner for the two of us. Lucky gets kibble in the morning and half a container of fancy, simmered dog-food stew in the evening. I get cereal and coffee in the morning and some kind of people-food stew in the evening. I’m not the best cook, but I can wield a slow-cooker like a pro. I put on a big pot of stew or chili on Sundays. That usually gets me through to Friday and I eat out on Saturday. I’m so classy it hurts. I’m also terribly shy and introverted. If it weren’t for my friend and colleague, Debby Smythe, I wouldn’t ever go out socially. I met Debbie at a conference about teaching in higher education. Isn’t’ that the way – I had to go to a conference in Texas to meet a friend from Saskatoon. Well, technically Debbie lives and works in Saskatoon, she’s from New Orleans [note-this story starts in March 2005]. Many of the stereotypes of African-American women from the South apply to Debbie. She has a big laugh, she’s incredibly hospitable, she can cook up an amazing Southern meal (collard greens and all) and she is a practitioner of Vodoun. She’s also got a Ph.D in human and cultural geography from Northwestern and is the butchest lesbian I’ve ever met. Her partner, Sylvie Daoust, a tiny Quebecoise woman, is the pastry chef at Decadence, the hippest restaurant on Broadway Avenue. I don’t eat at Debbie and Sylvie’s too often, but when I do I add an extra walk to my routine the next week. I’d put Lucky’s dish down and was putting my bowl in the microwave when I noticed the message light flashing onmy phone. Caller ID told me either my mom or dad had called from Victoria, British Columbia. The message was from my mother telling me it was nothing important but, could I please call as soon as possible. Which meant that it was definitely something important. Mom is the kind of really nice lady who would never bother you even if you had a bucket of water and she was on fire. I called after dinner. Turns out Dad had fallen off a ladder while cleaning the eaves troughs. He would be in hospital overnight for observation. It looked as though he’d only fractured his lower left leg and cracked a rib or two. I let her get back to the hospital and called my brother, James. He is currently living in Halifax, Nova Scotia and working as a playwright and dramaturge for a small theatre company. I thought they were the same thing, but the dramaturge is the person who knows about plays, their history, the playwrights who wrote them, and other items of theatre history. In this small company the dramaturge also acts as the artistic director. Who knew? All was well in Halifax. My sister-in-law, Jen, and six-year-old niece, Alice, were adjusting well. I told James I’d call if I heard anything new from the folks on the west coast. With nothing pressing tomorrow I read about a quarter of a book I was to review for the American Historical Review. Then, I put on my fuzziest, pinkest pyjamas and crawled into bed. Right now I’m reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. With the sixth book’s release set for July I’m filling the next few months with the previous five. Lucky snuggled down across the foot of my bed and was soon snoring like an old man. I turned out the light, punched my pillows and promptly fell into a dead sleep myself.
The next day was a standard Wednesday [check the timeline]. I led my graduate seminar, “Crime and Punishment in America before 1941” in the morning. I had meetings with my research assistant, then with a Master’s student I’m supervising before lunch. Ate a sandwich in my office with my friend Dr. Kate Moskowitz, a professor of Canadian history. Then hit the road to the police station to meet with Lisa and Dave about the new old case.