Getting Grounded; Raison D’etre and Forthcoming Defined: Frigid Temperatures Return; Goodness Gracious Great Balls of Fire: Text Conversation with a Guy in Ghana; Andy Borowitz Brings Humor to a Sad Situation; Photo of Fine Winter Finery 

Getting grounded describes my present psychological state and my goal for the days leading  to Ramadan. I am planning to become secular, taking a slight (and probably inconsistent)  respite from religion. Instead, delving into all things Canadian. For example, I am planning to go to Pub Night at the University of Alberta. (I shall drink non alcoholic beer. This proviso to any and all critical Muslim folk that just might be reading). Been back in Edmonton for over nine months – venturing over the bridge  to my Alma Mater only once. I had originally planned to make it the center of my existence, my raison d’être.

Raison d’être /ˌreɪzɒ̃ ˈdɛtrə/ is a French expression commonly used in English, meaning “reason for being” or “reason to be”. 

When I was planning for my return, from the UAE to Canada, my preliminary goal was to make the University of Alberta and the Edmonton Al Rashid Mosque my reason to b, my reason for being. Neither were forthcoming. 

The definition of forthcoming applicable is this instance: (of something required) ready or made available when wanted or needed. Synonyms for that definition are: made available, accessible, at someone’s disposal, up for grabs, on tap. 

My embryonic plans were funding scholarships for Metis and Muslim women at the U of A. But, for many reasons, that proved neither practicable nor desirable. Dreamed of going back to school (yet again), at St. Stephen’s College. This would be supplemented by Muslim studies. But again, neither practicable nor desirable. (These are my self described secular days so I shan’t speak of the Edmonton Al Rashid Mosque, at this time.)

My life now is totally different than ever I could have imagined. Altogether different, but satisfying, fun and most meaningful. Ended up living next door to the Alberta Legislative Building, learning the plaster work was done by my Great Uncle, William Dryburgh in 1910 onwards. The building is so handy, as you shall soon see. It is my ‘go to’  breakfast and library spot. Many hard working, friendly, cooperative and conscientious people work there. (The Legislature seems never to be in session so there are few pesky politicians around and about). Hahahaha ???. 

I dod forget about one important element – the frigid temperatures. I so looked forward to seeing snow on the ground, forgetting that it had to be cold to make rain turn into snow. (Again, my Homer Simpson imitation, DUH. Snow (with the compulsory cold) was rather late in coming this year. Although I promised to remain throughout one winter, not flying off like some snow bird, I did fly off, for most of December. (A snow bird is a North American informal description of a northerner who moves to a warmer state (or country) in the winter. Vividly recall a day in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

Me: My goodness it is 10 Celsius today and this is the Middle East. That is cold! 

Alter Ego: Look to see what the temperature is in Edmonton. 

Me: Goodness Gracious Great Balls of Fire. It is minus 38 Celsius. Oh no! I am going back there?!?!

Great balls of fire is an exclamation of surprise or amazement. It is actually “an old Southern saying meaning “OMG” or “Holy cow, Batman!” in modern terms.” It was the title of a song. 

“Great Balls of Fire” is a 1957 popular song recorded by American rock and roll musician Jerry Lee Lewis on Sun Records[2] and featured in the 1957 movie Jamboree. It was written by Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer. The Jerry Lee Lewis 1957 recording was ranked as the 96th greatest song ever by Rolling Stone. The song is in AABA form.[The song sold one million copies in its first 10 days of release in the United States making it one of the best-selling singles in the United States at that time.” That is probably more than you ever wanted to know, but, you can listen to the song on YouTube. It is fun, I am listening as I write. I remember Jerry Lee lost his popularity when it was revealed that he married his 13 year old cousin. 

I am currently totally off topic, in case you have not noticed.  I am back on track. Returned to Edmonton (by air not train, Hahaha??) on December 24, 2022. I was so proud of myself, because I kept telling people that I brought the good weather with me. 

Then along came Monday, February 22, 2023. It was minus 27 Celsius. I do have the clothes for this occasion, bought them in anticipation and then, after leaving my winter coat in Riyadh bought myself a replacement. I bravely set out – off to the Legislative Building for breakfast and a visit to the Legislative Library. But I will tell the story through an Instagram text – a young man in Ghana and I were conversing. 

Me: Today it is minus 27. Saudi Arabia is looking real good. (Hahahaha??)

He: Minus 27? Stay indoors. 

Me: Nope. Going to the Legislative Cafeteria for breakfast but there are underground tunnels for part of the way. I have long underwear, thick socks, a toque, hood and boots. I am ready!! 

He: You are truly ready. ?

Me: That is me. Ready Alexis 

He: Alexis McBride (The Wo(man), The Myth, The Legend. 

Me: Love that. It is going on the blog. 

He: Yayyy?

Me: My face is almost better and I had a blow dry so my hair is most cute. 

He: Alhamdulillah for that. I did pray for your fast recovery although I didn’t tell you.

Me: It worked!! Thanks! Well I did too and did what Allah (SWT) wanted me to do. 

He: Mashaa Allah 

Me: I stayed in and let my immune system work by sleeping for days. 

He: I remember telling you get some rest. Glad you did. 

Me: I knew to do that but thanks. Did I give you a nickname yet? Are you beginning to see that giving e advice is a waste of time??? I am saying this gently. The tunnels, knew about rest etc. etc. etc. 

He: You have not given me a nickname. I ain’t see that yet. 

Me: I will give you one and let you knw. MUSAG 

He: Any idea what that means. 

Me: Mister Unsolicited Advice Giver 

He: Hahaha 

Me: Do not give me advice unless I ask you for it. Told you that before. 

He: Do not do this to me! 

I had the cafeteria staff take a photo of me in all of my cold weather finery and sent it. 

He: Done reading. 

Me: Reading what? 

He: The recent blog. I’m glad you called out the Use for their handling of the Grand Mosque.  

Me: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you saying that about the Grand Mosque. I was appalled when I first went there. It did get better later. But, it seemed to me,  the President of the UAE let his father’s mosque be desecrated by the Ruler of Dubai wanting to have ‘his’ Expo 2020 tourists have a place to visit comfortably.  In my eyes, it was wrong. It became strict again as you can tell by the sideways sign. 

He: Also glad you called out some Muslims for seemingly turning Islam into an ‘organized religion. 

Me: The profit motive is all over Instagram. That is what it is all about for most people. 

Me: We totally agree on things. PHEW Hahaha 

He: Hahaha 

Me: I appreciate your feedback. It must be late there. Not even Maghrib here. 

He: You are right, it’s almost half past midnight here in Ghana. 

Me: Go to bed and be happy you are not here. Hahaha?

As usual my ordinary Canadian secular life became something else. Communicating with MUSAG in Ghana, speaking of many things. “The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—Of cabbages—and kings—And why the sea is boiling hot—And whether pigs have wings.” That from a poem by Lewis Carroll. “The story of ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’ is, in one sense, the story of encroachment and entitlement: the sun upon the moon’s territory or time, the walrus and the carpenters upon the oysters, which they presume to eat – because they can.” 

Alas and alack, encroachment and entitlement seems to be the story of the world today. The ridiculousness of the shooting down of UFOs and/or Chinese weather balloons in an example. We again rely upon Andy Borowitz to help us find humor in this sad world. 

“OUTER SPACE (The Borowitz Report)—Extraterrestrial beings have admitted surveilling the United States with high-altitude objects, but claimed that they did so only to monitor the weather. The revelation appeared in an official statement released to the American media by an organization calling itself the Intergalactic Command Force.

“The I.C.F. has, over the past several years, launched a series of surveillance craft that have hovered over the United States,” the statement read. “We can assure you that we did this only to advance our understanding of weather conditions in your country.”

The aliens admitted that they were “surprised” that their high-altitude objects had gone undetected for so long.

“Given that the Pentagon has an annual budget of eight hundred billion dollars, we never dreamed it would take them years to notice us,” the statement read.

That is funny, but also pauses one to wonder – why suddenly is the United States seeing, recognizing and frightening folks with sightings of UFOs. Could they be hiding something by diverting attention and making their people frightened, depending on them for protection? Hmmm. 

On that note I shall conclude. Photo is of Alexis McBride’s cold winter finery. It and me are staying in tonight. It is too cold cold for Pub Night.