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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

And the Sun Insists on Rising and Shining

Yesterday was my brother's forty-second birthday. I imagine he had plans to celebrate with his many friends, his true love , and his too-cute-to-be-true daughters.

Yesterday, my brother was hospitalized and diagnosed with a rare cancer.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Blogger Bonuses

Today I had an unexpected pleasure. A brown paper package tied up with pretty pink ribbon, containing...... (wait for it, wait for it!) A NEW TOWEL!!! I won't have to get remarried after all.

Blogging has brought with it some unexpected pleasures. The first was Brian and I thoroughly enjoying reading each others' writing. ( Makes sense, in retrospect. That's how we first fell in love- they were called letters in the olden days. ) That has blossomed into a friendly rivalry ie: "How many comments did YOU get?!", or "Yeah? Well, I'm being read by a PUBLISHER!" or, "My friends started reading my blog, but they found yours and like it better!"

Second pleasure was additional human contact, since I work at home with approximately 62 pre-schoolers. Along those same lines, come pleasures numbered three, four, and five.
3. Esther: a sweet gal who logged on, and also lives in my town. What fun to meet, then discover she has actually been having coffee with me for months, unbeknownst to me!
4. Janice: My sis-in-law of 14 years. What a flattery to discover she enjoys the twisted honesty of my "private" (bah, ha, ha) cyber space gab spot. What a privelege to get to know each other better.
5. "towel lady" aka Ruth: another hometown gem. Turns out she stumbled upon my blog- and darn it, she too knows all my irregularities and arythmias. Still, she brought me the gift of a towel, having not only read the NEEDS (see prior post) but CARING ENOUGH to MAKE A DIFFERENCE!! Now, should my children go naked, Ruth will have clothed them. Should they become hungry... I don't know, but I'm sure Ruth has something to do with it. Should they become imprisoned.... (Okay, Joyce, we get the point.....)

These are all unexpected pleasures. I accept them with joy and gratitude.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Why its Time to Get Re-married

The bath towels are wearing out, and quickly being recycled into bum-wipe rags.

I never did get a toaster or one of those pop up garbage cans.

I think a few hundred extra people snuck in the first time. There is no possible way that we could actually be related to so many people. (many of which I don't know if I've seen since.....)

Now that all the awkwardness is out of the way, I can really see the value in taking a honeymoon.

And, boy oh boy, could I ever use that presentation money now!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I am, I want, I wish, etc.

I am bored and incredibly content, all at the same time.

I want to spend a lot of someone else's money ordering really neat organizing stuff from IKEA or Lee Valley and organize the garage, the garden shed, the basement, the inside of my head....

I wish for all people to learn to be less petty, more gracious, less judgemental, less afraid. (including myself)

I love vintage. I love finding an old dish, linen, card with a meaningful message in it in someone's handwriting. I love the fur on a cat's face, right up to its funny little mouth, and all around the eyes. I love toddlers when they learn words, and start to stick them together in unique ways. I love old wood, old picket, old buckets, old pots. I love enamel, china, quilts. I love people. I love the prairies.

I miss Rosa, Pam, and Lory so much that it physically hurts. This is joyfully painful because even three years after moving, I can't believe or forget how much they mean to me, and how I want to be in their presence, how I want to watch them raise their children, tend their gardens, hear them laugh, learn their wisdom.

I wonder why I feel confused much of the time. I wonder why I was chosen to have such a blessed life- decent parents and siblings, a secure childhood, a safe country, a loving husband, beautiful, talented, and whole children.

I regret all the time I've squandored believing lies. Lies about who culture says I should be, what I should look like. I regret all the energy I have spent either trying to become the lies, or trying to talk myself out of wanting to become the lies.

I am not book smart. After a grade 12 education majoring in the humanities, and a history minor at University, I only remember that there were a couple of big wars that killed a lot of people. And I still don't understand it at all.

I dance so badly, that I no longer pretend that its something I could learn to do. It all got repressed out of me at a very young age, and the only sort of dancing I aspire to do for the rest of my life is some lovely romantic ballroom with my very graceful and coordinated husband. That way I can just follow his lead, blame him with things go badly, and enjoy that earthy smell of skin and Hugo Boss on his neck.

I sing with great enthusiasm. When I sing in community I am whole. It gives me hope for humanity.

I cry ever so easily, whenever I feel passionately about anything, or anyone.

I am not coordinated. No one with any sense wants me on their team.

I make with my hands: lots of peanut butter and nutella sandwhiches, pillows and quilts, children's clothing, ecclectic backpacks and handbags,and great, sweeping motions.

I write because I am. It clears my mind. It makes me laugh.

I confuse most things. I get confused about theology, about human nature, mathematics- any numbers, in fact.

I should be more anal. I should set the table for breakfast, know what the after school snack will be, know where my keys and wallet are. I should be running again. What little muscle mass I had acquired below the belt has sagged back into ripples and dips. I should accept myself anyway, just the way I am and be a little less cruel to myself.

I finish my son's drippy ice cream cones instead of ordering one for myself.

How about you?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Running Myself Ragged So I Can Go Relax

This is the weekend of the Manitoba Marathon. Now, judging from the title, one would think that I am preparing to go and run myself silly on the streets of Winnipeg. No, leave that to my husband who had to fill his free time with SOMEthing, so has been hard at work training. I, on the other hand, run out of necessity- usually from the fridge to the table, from the washing machine to the clothesline, and at night, from bed to bed (I'd hate to lose my momentum, and then notice that I'm so tired I can't run anymore, then people around me would begin to drop dead, and it would be my fault since I stopped running their lives for them).

So, husband's running partner's wife and I (do you follow?) decided that since they'd be having so much joy skipping through the city's streets, that we should be supportive by making their weekend as stress free as possible so as to avoid possible distraction from their goal. What better, more relaxing idea than heading out to the campground? I mean, we are two adults, and there are a mere eight (delightful) children between the two of us.

We plan on crossing the border into North Dakota. I realize that we may look like terrorists, so set myself running about the house locating something resembling birth certificates for my four clones. Apparently they've never been born. I know this because I spent three days overturning every shred of paper in this squalid place. I eventually located three carbon copies of "registration of birth" that we must have signed in order for them to kick us out of the hospital. Someone is going to have to tell Sam though-- HE HAS NEVER BEEN BORN! Although he looks exactly like his father, and versions of his siblings, he may actually be a figment of our imaginations. There is no legal documentation of his entry into this world.

I did find a picture of his sonogram. There is clearly a few round sections in there, and a few sweepy, grey parts. On the top, it succinctly says "Baby #4" in black ink. That's good. Right above the swoops and blobs it says "joyce kehler-hildebra" which is obviously someone sort of like me, although my name is not actually hyphenated, and has a few more letters trailing on the end of it. Still, this looks convincingly official, it is a sheet of paper, (officials like that sort of thing), and the blobby bits look quite a lot like the back of my leg.

I hope the guy at the border crossing is not frightened by my harried appearance. I hope he forgot his glasses at home. I hope he is impressed with my collection of carbon copies and sonograms. I hope we have an incredibly relaxing time watching eight kids in a pool.....

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Just Crazy

"I don't know why the most we can hope for on some days is to end up a little less crazy than before, less down on ourselves."
(Anne Lamott; Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith)

Is feeling down on oneself a close cousin to the Biblical idea of "confessing our faults to one another"? Is this a good time to just come clean on some things like:

I don't always wash my hands after taking the kids to the bathroom because I just don't feel like it, its boring.
Sometimes when I drop off stuff at the thrift shop, I'll "trade" for something someone else has left.
On the outside, I look like a pretty average woman, but on the inside I'm morbidly obese. I just dress cleverly and hide it.

What's supposed to happen now? Does confessing some of my faults to cyberspace count? Do you think there are any people in the world who just wake up consistently knowing their place in the world, do it well, (without feeling crazy) and don't have as one of their top three goals to just effectively move through the motions of life without landing up in a straightjacket screaming obscenities and insults at themself? (while methodically bashing their head into a 2 by 4?)

As for today, all I can hope for is to maintain or decrease this level of craziness, and possibly within the next millenium, be a little less down on myself.

Maybe Anne Lamott will have the answers for me, but somehow an aging rastifarian in shitty sandals doesn't look much like an angel of mercy to me.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Sometimes, I Amaze Me.

I may be getting a little cocky, and quite possibly developing a slight swagger. I am tempted to suggest that I am just a few degrees shy of the "who-needs-a-man club". (Except that I'm really not into the washing machine on the agitation cycle idea).

Not only am I adept with the drill, and so have managed to spruce up the exterior of the home with the powerful beast in hand..... I now have another achievement to share with you, my viewing audience. Yesterday, I got out the extension ladder ( that Brian picked up for a song at an auction- mind you, he sings rather well.......but I digress.) As I was saying, I had noted a tree growing in the eavestroughs, and though I was fascinated by the determination and resiliency of the thing, I had to question how well the rain water would make it to the downspout whilst flowing through a miniature forest.

My plan was thorough. Position the ladder, scoot up, (don't look down), grab sloppy hands full of composting leaves and tree seeds and raunchy rain water, hurl it down to the ground, all the while minding that no children or small animals become the inadvertent target.

By the time my man came home that afternoon, I was gloating.

He's just lucky that he's so cute and sexy, and that although I may not NEED a man, its no fun without him.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Why I will Quite Possibly Drive a Fork through my Heart

There is a child who has come into my care every day, monday through friday for nearly a year now. EVERY SINGLE MORNING he tells me (the very moment his eyes open) that he is a little hungry, and what he would like for breakfast. EVERY SINGLE MORNING for almost a year now, I have explained that first, Joyce makes coffee, then Joyce makes breakfast, and there is no possible way that you will spend the morning WITHOUT breakfast; that its not very good manners to TELL your babysitter WHAT to make for breakfast, and that it's good manners to wait until you are presented with your breakfast, at which time, you are to say, "thank you."

This is brand new information for him, EVERY SINGLE MORNING.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Bigger and Better

The other night, four people showed up at my back door weilding an upright vacuum cleaner. "Oh, no!" , I thought- "they've got to be those desparate door to door sales people who manipulate their way into the home, then subject their victems to hours of "free" vacuuming, and so much irritating propoganda that you actually purchase the darn thing, just to make them go away." My second thought was- "Should I try to be polite, so that I don't have to deal with my own guilt later? Or, should I pretend that I didn't actually see them through the six foot window beside the back door?"

I knew that we had obviously seen one another, so I got my sorry, resentful butt off the couch and made my way to the door. Maybe this would be one of those trials designed to hone my character.

Their pitch was an unexpected pleasure. "We're from 4th Avenue Bible Church Youth Group, and we're playing a game called: Bigger is Better. We started at the church with a paper clip and have been going door to door around town, trading for something bigger and better. We now have an upright Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner. Do you have anything bigger and better that you would like to trade for?"

My heart skipped a little beat. I had just closed the garage door on a very minimally successful garage sale that the kids and I had set up to make some money for our upcoming town fair. I had (once again) attempted to sell an oven that had followed us from our prior home, but had sat in the garage and collected dust for some three years. But would they think that was better?

Their faces lit up like July first fireworks at The Forks.

There were four happy campers romping down the street, stove in borrowed wheelbarrow as I clutched my beloved vaccuum and ran down to the basement to try the thing out.

The scavenger in me grinned. I had cleared a large, heavy, unwanted item from the garage without having to pay anyone to haul it away. I also had in my possession a perfectly good vacuum cleaner.

Maybe next year I could sell it at a yard sale, and make a fortune!!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Let's Talk About our FEELINGS.

Sometimes I really "hate" feelings.

Wouldn't it be tidy to just be able to carry out the necessary functions of daily life without constantly evaluating, identifying emotions, analyzing the origins of sadness, happiness, melancholy, anger,.... (and the list goes on).

As a woman, I've got a multitude of factors to deal with. There is the inevitable cycle, with its teary and irritable dips and then peaks of "normal" happiness. There is the manic nature of life, with the mommy-nurterer in me running around, ensuring everyone's life is running relatively smoothly. There are the cultural pressures and lies, suggesting that if you only looked a certain way, drank enough water, and "put yourself first", you would find everlasting happiness and contentment.There are the genetic factors: an olympic size gene pool swimming with a variety of interesting diagnoses of depression, anxiety, manias, obsessive compulsive disorders, and quite possibly the odd psychoses thrown in for variety.

How's a gal to know up from down, and be aware of how to compartmentalize the range of emotions she feels in her mind and heart, morning, noon, and night?!

Some days I just hate it. And that makes me mad.