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Friday, December 29, 2006

Holiday Melancholy

I've written and deleted three posts.
Its not the holidays that makes me melancholy.

There's this red, gaping ugliness inside of me that I can't seem to file. Don't know what to do with it, can't make it nice. A nice glass of wine doesn't help me forget it. Internal lectures and pep talks don't touch it. The children seem to exacerbate it, magnify it, poke sticks at it. Old coping tools seem to irritate it. Smooth, or chocolatey textures on the tongue slide past it. Saggy roles encase it.

Geneen Roth would say to simply Feel it. But I seem to be in a foreign country and I haven't learned the language.

I seem to have misplaced my manuel. Or missed that lecture. Or just don't get it.

Anne Lamott's favourite prayer may coincide with it.
("HELP!")

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

How to Succeed at a Stress free Christmas



Tuesday. Do you get that? Do you love saying that OUT LOUD because by the rules of all the other weeks that contain that word, we should be at work right now? We should have been woken by the alarm clock, instead of by the natural rhythms of our own bodies. We should have stumbled down the stairs mumbling quick, unintelligable prayers for mercy. We would have packed lunches, felt stabs of guilt at unfinished homework, and grimaced at the mess left on the table from the night before. And all that without the time to enjoy two whole pots of good, rich Tim Hortons coffee.

Monday. Was just as good. Because I am a good mother, I filled the day with traditional "good mother"ly things. I cooked nothing at all. Everyone sustained themselves remarkably well on Pot of Gold, triple power pushpops, ring pops, double bubbles, and reindeer poop. There were traces of canned vegetable soup and some toast crumbs in the kitchen. (I noticed that as I furtively made myself a salad and snuck to the basement to read my book in peace. ) So, it appears that I have raised them extremely well.

And now if you'll excuse me, I smell coffee and biscotti, and I think there may be some candy bowls to refill.

Ahhh, Christmas.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Bowling Shoes


Sammy loves bowling. And he has resented everyone who has told him to have a happy birthday, since he was told that we'd be going bowling for his birthday. He turned four on December the fourth, but according to Sam, his birthday was the day we went to the bowling alley.
Did I say "bowling"? I meant to say "Bow Ling". Two words. Enunciated.



Oh, and did I mention that there is a large, round growth where my face used to be? That's me gripping it, just then.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Gifts

My oldest daughter has always been quite persistent. And for the past few weeks she has been nagging me about the stockings which are hung on the bannister every year. (we don't currently own a mantle). I told her to quit bugging me, since in some families, stockings are not filled until Christmas Eve.

And this made me think about how I love unexpected gifts. Not only the gifts one might see bulging in stockings, or wrapped under (the most beautiful, gangly) tree. In the past 48 hours, I have received gifts such as these and I'd like to pass some of them along to you. Because beauty and pain coexist, and yes, I cry a great deal, but I still experience beauty.

Every comment is a gift.
Every private and sincere e-mail is a gift.
I don't deserve them, but I accept.
Every time I read a blog that dares be honest, I am the recipient.

This morning I received a Christmas card from daycare parents who sometimes cause me pain, the sort of pain that comes of caring deeply. And the hand-written note says: "Thank you for everything you do for us. We wouldn't know what to do without you.
Brian, Arianna, Jane, Micah, and Sam: Thank you for sharing Joyce with us".
It is a true gift to be appreciated, and I believe that they really mean it.

Yesterday when I took the (five) pre-schoolers out for a walk, I received two lovely gifts. We stopped at the pharmacy for a prescription, and the pharmacist said the most sincere "Merry Christmas" to me. Maybe I'm reading into things way too much, but I just felt like he was reaching across the counter at us, and wrapping me in a warm and sincere hug of well wishes. I asked him if he celebrated Christmas, not knowing what faith he practises. "Oh, yes", he said with a smile. Maybe it sounds corny, but it felt like a gift to me.

Then we traipsed on down the sidewalk, me pulling the baby in the sleigh and the boys climbing every single mound of snow along the way. An older woman passed us on the sidewalk with a big grin on her face, obviously amused at the youthful gang. She made it all the way to the bank, in and out, then passed us again on her way by. We'd only made it half a block.

She reached her hand out to me, and with the warmest smile said;
"God bless you in what you do".

She couldn't have known that the gift I badly need right now is a Blessing from God.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I'd like to Apologize

It is fun to pretend to be "side show Joycie", always full of humour, energy, grace, and easy to get along with. And I believe all those things about myself. But I feel like apologizing, or knifing myself, when less "show case-y" aspects of real life become apparent and demand to be dealt with.

I considered doing what a lot of other people do. Lay low, write nothing, then bounce back when all of my proverbial ducks realign themselves. Then yesterday I wandered over to
spin me I pulsate, and later at night, I had the most vivid and horrifying dream. All that to say that I will not shroud myself and then emerge victorious at some later date. I will not align myself with all the bullshit messages, all the trite and formulaic answers we are subjected to in the media, and sometimes in well-meaning spiritual settings. The truth is, life is messy. It's not easily answered. Its not easily categorized. And so, I will lay myself down, right here, and simply be honest.

That's what I love about spin me I pulsate. No teary, embarrassed confessions about life lived with mental illness, but a refreshingly ordinary day to day delivery of the facts. No simple answers. And as much as I admire her courage for being so honest, I have to ask myself: why should it take courage to speak out about topics such as these? Is it scarey not to have simple answers? Do people think these are like viral infections, and are afraid of contracting them? And what am I afraid to "say out loud"?

The truth is, I've been having a lousey time.

And as many times as I write and rewrite this post, I continue to delete what I've written because I'm really not willing yet, to be completely buck-naked honest about whats going on. I don't want to admit it, but I am afraid of what people would think. I am afraid that they would use my weaknesses and ugliness against me. I feel raw and vulnerable that I have no answers. I'd be more comfortable with the thought of you clicking away to the next blog, and taking with you some solice in the idea that I appear to know what I'm doing, and that I know how to get the universe to spin on its axis again.

So, although I can't leave you with anything simple and cozy feeling, I'll leave you with this. It's just the truth.

I am in the midst of dealing with loss. Some of them are current. Some of them stem back
20-some years. Some are actual physical deaths, some are symbolic deaths.

I feel physically and psychologically ill. Sometimes I feel so nauseous, I throw up. At times, I feel wonderful and think that I've imagined the magnitude of these losses, and the affect they have had on my life. Then something, or someone, or a dream will make me remember again and the nausea returns.

And sometimes that feeling is the only hint I have that the earth is still spinning.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Things that Make you Say, Hmmmmm



Sometimes you just get the distinct feeling that if you had the right eqipment and/or resources, things would move along just a little bit more smoothly for everyone.

Here's to looking around for some round wheels.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Party

My Brian is forty.

If his party was a reflection of his life and character, then here is what we toast to:

pleasure in rich and exquisate flavours,

enjoyment of beauty, relationships, the diversity of human-kind.

jazzy melodies, candle light, ..... ambiance. Thought given to the details.

Enjoying the lighter side of life. Respect for others, no matter the current direction of their lives.

Brian's choice of friends reflects his growing character.
There was the;
-living-out-loud-and-loving-it character.
-I'm-not-afraid-to-ask-questions-and-I-won't-apologize-for-it characteristic
-I-grow-more-gentle-with-age-and-understanding was present.
-I'm-just-a-genuinely-nice-guy sat beside him.
-I'm-wise-and-intelligent-but-humble-and-easy-be-with sat amongst us.

The setting was just gorgeous, if I say so myself.
What a gift, to be able to be fully and completely adults and share our love and home with others who made time in this manic season to recognize and celebrate Brian. I don't regret one moment of preparing this while spinning a whole lot of other plates. So often its the ones we love the most who get over looked when they should instead be celebrated. This is one time when we can hold hands, look back, and say, "well done. That was fun."

I am truly excited to see who he will grow into during our next forty years together.

Friday, December 15, 2006

My Loves

I was getting right sick of seeing my ugly face on the screen with all those horrific blotches on it. Let's change things up a little, shall we?
Whenever I sit down at the computer, my cat Mindy settles in on my lap. She's the perfect cat.
Which reminds me-- tomorrow is Brian's fortieth birthday.
The cats remind me of how well Brian is aging. He is a cat-hater, but has become remarkably tolerant in recent years. Yesterday in fact, Flo jumped up into his lap and he actually let her stay there for a nap. I pretended not to notice, so as not to jynx things, but inside I was doing a little happy dance.

I love that he keeps changing. I love his greying blonde hair, his clear blue eyes, his strong legs, his broad shoulders.

Brian's, that is; Not Mindy's.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ho, Ho, Hives



Remember the hives? That was in July of this past summer when my list of stressors apparently spilled into all of my cells and caused these lovely, unpredictable eruptions. (It actually looks remarkably like my thighs, except that in that case, the lumps are NOT temporary eruptions. )

Well, we're at December 14, and so far I don't have hives.

Stressors? yup. Sometimes it feels like I need to justify why I feel mildly insane. I'm sorry that its going to be right here, which feels like "my place" but I'm aware that I'm sharing the space with many others. Perhaps you will relate? Perhaps at the end, we can simultaneously breathe deeply, and find something undenidably good to medicate on. I meant to say meditate....

December contains three significant birthdays: our youngest son, my husband-who-will-be-forty-on-saturday, and of course the big one: Jesus Christ. We've yet to fit in an outing to the bowling alley for Sammy's celebration, Brian's birthday party is well under way, three out of eight Christmas parties are behind us, and all of that without any head lice. (Dec '05)

But life is full, even without these necessary celebratory pauses. I still have a heavy heart over the whole food thing. I still struggle with my own fears that I am one Christmas party away from "mu-mu" status myself. It seems my "alert and annointed" lesson is going to be a painful one. Alertness recently, has made me aware of a relative struggling to ridiculous proportions with a mental illness which his mother has been "praying away" for about 20 years now. Apparently in her little bubble, its a choice between God and medication. I wonder what they would do if he chopped his leg off? Bandage it? Wear a prosthetic? Or shut their eyes a little tighter in prayer?

Daycare has been very full, with some eleven hour days. Couple that with short staffing at the support home that I work at "once a week", and you've got a lot of hours spent working. That is leaving limited time for: Christmas shopping, fortieth birthday party hunting and gathering, teaching the kids about s8x (yes, that one came up this week... ), replacing ice skates that the kids have outgrown, mending their favourite pants, doing Jane's skin care, (badly, BADLY neglected lately...), encouraging good homework habits, helping Arianna plan a big Christmas party with fourteen other kids that also falls on the same weekend as Brian's party, collecting the appropriately coloured pants and shirts for three kids in Christmas concerts, locating a tutor for my daughter, mowing the lawn (just checking if you're still listening...), wanting to be mindful of my sis-in-law, who will have to navigate the season without my brother, and feeling utterly useless in that regard, then remembering that mom is due for a hysterectomy in early January, dad has specialist appointments nearly every week now for his spinal stenosis and blocked arteries, and that my brother is probably having an extra shitty time now that its Christmas and his life is a roadwreck.

My arms are getting itchy.

I picked up a book on my way home from the chiropractor last night (did I mention that my back has been killing me?) Its "Travelling Mercies" by Anne Lamott. The quote on the bottom says it all: "Anne Lamott is walking proof that a person can be both reverent and irreverent in the same lifetime. Sometimes even in the same breath."

I'm going to take a deep breath, ignore the pb and jam on the counters, haul the kiddies to the basement (undeniably, a disgustingly over-toyed, under-lighted space that children love). I'm going to SIT on that ugly grey couch and see what Anne has to say. I may even leave the phone upstairs.

Its snowing beautifully outside right now. The sort of snowfall that people who don't have to travel or shovel, think is romantic and beautiful. So that's what I'll go with. I get to work at home, and celebrate the snow, and I've got a new book. Wish me God speed.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My window

At the start of the Christmas season, my creatively genius friend Rosa sent me an e-mail entitled: What's in Your window?

It sounded catchy and reminded me of that commercial "hands in your pocket" since the kids love singing that. Okay, so now you think we watch too much tv. Well, get over it.

Some of my Christmas stuff I just love way too much to hang on the tree and be subject to all that comparison that is probably as rampant among beautiful, shapely Christmas bulbs as it is on some fashion runway in Paris. So, I set some aside, and hang them in my windows.

Brian built such a beautiful garden shed last summer, that I often fantacize about running away, and simply moving into the back yard. There's no glass in the windows though, so my sensibilities usually kick in.




My tree, which has actually been called "ugly" graces the front window.

Its adorable. And I wish it would stop dropping needles.

Trees, and house plants, and gardens, and all flowers hate me.

So? What's in YOUR window?

ticks me off

There have been brilliant comments written, then gobbled by cyberspace, in all her apparent wisdom. So, Daphne, Michelle, Bobita, Judy, and whoever I tried to comment on yesterday, I had something to say. Apparently it was so inappropriate, that even this crazy, perverse, and aggravating invisible world had some board of directors rejecting it.

grrrrrrr.....

Monday, December 11, 2006

Me and Charlie Brown

I happen to know what I like.
And my family thinks that I have very, VERY poor taste when it comes to Christmas trees. Which is exactly why I have to function in very manipulative, self-centered ways if we're to have even a shot at a Merry Christmas around here.

Several days before the festive, fun-filled, family-lovin' tree decorating day, I layered up seven preschoolers for a very special wintery walk to our local scenic tree lot, just a mere two blocks from our estate. (Okay, so its the gas station, okay? ) We perused the selection carefully, finally settling on a $16.94 gem of a tree, just covered in those adorable little nubby things. I was pleased that they offered free delivery. Not that I minded pulling two baby sleds to get there, but I wasn't too confident on which toddler to give the boot to so that I could haul little Charlie Brown home with us. Wouldn't my family be pleased.

Wouldn't they though.
With a great deal of gentleness and care for my tender feelings, they announced that I had brought home the ugliest tree that they had ever seen. I mulled that over for a while, pointing out to their inexperienced eyes how perfect the distant but evenly placed branches would be for displaying my collection of vintage ornaments. (which if they were to smash.... OOoooooooh, so help me. ) I reasoned that they were simply acclimatized to unreasonably large, and well-endowed evergreens that graced the empty lot behind our house. If they wanted a ridiculously perfect tree, I told myself, they could just go outside for some fresh air, and go gaze at those beauties.

But then mother guilt smit me.
"They are only children", she pleaded, "only one chance at happy childhood Christmas memories", she whined on.
"Don't you know that you have absolutely no right to have opinions? Have you forgotten that you are MOTHER, woman whose entire personality and personal taste, needs, and desires got shoved down that giant hospital garburator with your placenta(s)?"

I hung my head in shame.
BUT at least I had the van that day! And only two children to care for! There was nothing that I couldn't do.

So off we merrily carrolled back to the tree lot. I tried. I really tried to look at those fifty dollar, perfectly dome shaped thingies that they call trees. But my feet had minds of their own and I soon found myself gazing longingly at the gangly, lonely orphans in the north corner of the lot. AHA!! Leaning near the back, right up against the fence, was the perfect, perfect compromise. Yes, it was a spruce, and not a pine (which my tasteless offspring preferred). But it was a big pine!

There was no time for delivery.

I thought my plan through briefly. Very briefly.
Then, I waited til the gas attendents and customers all looked pretty busy and distracted, and I dragged that big beauty up alongside of the van. The rear hatch was frozen shut, but I was not to be deterred. It would be a MERRY CHRISTMAS, and it was gonna start tonight, even if it very nearly killed me. The rear of the gas station opened into the back lane, which was very under-used, and quite possibly the only alley in the whole town that does not require mowing in the summer. At the end of the half block of back lane, I would be able to see my house, just across the church lot on the corner.

I hopped into the drivers seat, the trunk of that big tree resting on my thigh. Singing lullabies and "God rest you merry gentlemen", I eased into the lane and headed towards home. I happened to pass two men in half ton trucks who looked themselves to be very full of the Christmas spirit themselves, grinning ear to ear as they were. I don't suppose it had much to do with ten feet of spruce dragging along the snowy street beside me. I smiled and waved, acting very nonchalant. (And that's no simple thing to do- waving whilst hanging onto a tree, and driving, and working consciously on not thinking too much about what I was doing.)

Safely home again, with my prize tree intact, I hurriedly pulled Mr Big straight into the house. All eleven feet of it.
We have eight foot ceilings.

After sawing off the bottom three feet, Mr Big looked exactly like Exhibit A.
It looks like its gonna be a Merry Christmas after all.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Beauty and the Beast

Whenever a lightbulb moment comes along, I usually get hit with cruel and unusual torments shortly thereafter. My patience-ometer plummets. My I-live-to-clean-and-serve-you gene gets suddenly unexplicably altered. The level of dissent and ugliness in the home over he/she-touched-me-itis reaches unprecedented levels. The four year old suddenly misses the days of his youth, and engages in full scale two year old behaviors. My urge to move to a small, isolated island regains large territories in my imaginations.

There is one, teeney tiny part of my brain that remains sane. It whispers; "well? What did you expect? This is good, in a way... to redirect ones brainwaves, certain challenges and growing pains are inevitable. Remember about the Holy Spirit, and "just showing up"? You know that this won't kill you, nor will you kill them. Ride out this wave, remain aware, remain alert, and don't forget to forgive yourself. Don't waste energy on beating yourself up, on believing lies about how hypocritical you are. You are not, nor ever were a perfect picnic to live with. You will have days where you are an ugly beast. Do not set up a tent there. Notice how you hate being that beast. Notice that the real hypocracy is to act out of line with who you know yourself to be-- a loved creature, designed by God himself.

I believe the concept is known as grace.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Spiritual Leader: OUT. Defensive Miffed Human: IN.

Remember that post about not sweating the small stuff? I was real confident back then, wasn't I? I'm sure I gave the impression of being one of those people who knows who they are, doesn't apologize for it, and because of this rich self acceptance, is always completely accepting of all other people, no matter their views or opinions.

Ahem.

Just don't get me riled up about power struggles over food, or how damaged my children will become if I don't force feed them their veggies and leafy greens. I am an eating disorder survivor, and right, wrong, or otherwise, I cannot and will not engage in a struggle over food with my children. I choose to spend my energy on their mental health, on enjoying mealtimes as a family, and on simply teaching them about nutrients and food choices in order for their bodies to run the way God intended. I may be a little unbalanced on this, and there may be a better way to go about the process, but for now it is what it is.

But I also care for other people's children.

Today I am internally freaking out about a family who engages in CRAZY struggles over food. To the point of waking children up at 4:00 am to eat whats been prepared for them, so that they can't "be rewarded" at my house by being allowed honey nut cheerios for breakfast. Can you spell potential eating disorder here? Or am I just so influenced by my own history that I automatically fear this outcome? North American statistics are pretty strong indicators of our propensity for getting the whole food pyramid thingy dead wrong and landing up with conditions that require professional intervention, so I have a feeling that its not just my own issues that are cropping up here.

If I were in their position, where would I want to send my children for care? A place where they feel comfortable, not afraid of what they'll be made to eat? Or a place where they'll learn to "mind" and eat whats been set before them? Do I approach them and tell them that I think their parenting choices may be dangerous?

I'm not willing to change the way that I serve breakfast at my house.
I think when I dig to the absolute bottom of why I'm hot and bothered about this, I have to identify two things. 1. I feel badly for these children. I think its a stupid battlefield for their parents to waste their energy on. 2. I feel like I'm being criticized. And I hate that. Its embarrassing for me to admit, but maybe by admitting it, I can get a little more mature about it, and a hopefully little less defensive.

Maybe after all of that, I can crawl back to yesterday's epiphany about God's annointing, prayer for alertness, and all that stuff that was so crystal clear about 12 hours ago. I still believe all of it.
I'm just not dumb enough to think that circumstances or people won't ever TICK me off.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Annointed and Alert. Warning: May contain the Occasional Churchy Word

I have the incredible privelege of having teachers in my life. Real people who I am lucky enough to call friends, who speak words of wisdom and life into my heart and my mind.

Recently the image of "snap-shots" has been playing in my mind. It's not an original thought, I'm quite sure, but its profundity impacts me. Life is a series of pictures, moments frozen in time, never to be rewound. Its as beautiful as it is bizarre. I walked past a woman nursing her infant the other day, and I realized with a sort of jarring sensation that it was a snapshot. Not long ago, I was nursing babies nearly every other year. That's over now. I don't pine for it, but I'm aware of its time and place in my life, and the profound meaning that it had, and that it has as one of those snapshots in my mind.

It struck me recently that I am a snap-shot. For some people, I will be "the daycare lady". Or, "the lady who shaved her head", or "the lady who could sew me anything I asked for" (my friend's daughter once pointed to a pair of shoes on a McCall's pattern and asked me to make them for her.... ). I began to feel a weighty sense of responsibility at the thought of taking up space in someone's mental photo album. What if I missed some oppurtunity when someone was hurting, and "daycare lady" was busy and distracted with snacks, or poo, or really wanting a shower, and missed that moment? What if I got so preoccupied with enjoying myself telling stories of head-shavings, or shot glass smashings that the quiet, sad member of the listening end got drowned out by my silliness?

What if I don't notice?

This played on the edges of my mind as I headed into the Christmas Tea at church this evening. One of the afore-mentioned wise women spoke up about her desire and concern for this Christmas season. Being the pastor's wife (and not one of those stuffy, churchy, over-smiled, under-sexed, lying, overly positive types), she mentioned the additional strain at holiday times where people's loneliness, neediness, and related issues often rise to the surface. Everyone knows that Christmas time is a brutally depressing time for many people who've suffered loss or disappointment in their relationships, in their families, in their faith, in their life. Being in the pastorate no doubt makes one hyper-aware of these situations and must carry with it a huge sense of responsibility and concern.

I recognized how many snapshots they must be in. I waited to see what she would say.

"Pray that we will be annointed and alert". Is what she said.
I nearly jumped out of my chair in excitement. That's it! The perfect antidote to being all things to all people! This is why I'm so relieved that I celebrate a God with amazing interpersonal skills. He'll set up the appointments. He'll even coach regarding what to say.

For those of you who've grown accustomed to a more numerically structured blog (thanks, Brian), it goes like this:
1. Move about as you were, the snapshots are normal.
2. Listen to that still, small voice. (Otherwise known as God, or Holy Spirit)
(This is particularily effective if you've asked to be alert, and annointed. That way, it takes off ALL the pressure to be brilliant, and its really God, and not YOU, and so you don't have to exhaust yourself later re-evaluating everything you said, or didn't say).

I want this genuine and authentic desire to colour the picture that's sure to form in the memory of a sweet child who comes to my home for daycare. I have a heavy heart for her, and yet often find myself distracted and often unattentive during her visits as they occur during INSANE-OH hour. (7:15 to 8:30 am). I am feeding, brushing, signing, wiping, sweeping, packing, and sometimes grumbling during that particular hour of the workday. I need to do all of those things. It would be weird, inappropriate, and just plain hunger-inducing if I were to drop all that manic activity in favour of sitting with children, holding their hands, gazing into their eyes, and telling them how deeply I care about their deepest needs and fears.

BUT. If I am simply annointed (a churchy word, sorry about that. It just means filled with God's spirit.) , and alert, then the moments will come up, will be recognized, will be orchestrated, and all I gotta do is show up.

That much I can do.

Yes, My Much Needed Vacation to Cancun Was Fabulous, Thank You

Taking a train with twenty-five cents, and at the end you have two cents left? Who the $#%^&% wrote that math-y post?!

Actually, I think its adorable that Mr Blunderview stuck his neck out like that and offered a verbal bone for us to gnaw on during that way-too-long intermission. (I didn't actually bother to READ that whole twenty-five/train/solve-this-thing-or-you're-truly-stupid-riddle). I'm with Judy; who said, its all "blah, blah, blah" to me. Still, I feel like I missed a really good party-- Brian messing with all your brains, and you all supportively whining for something, ANYTHING with some relational value to it. I also missed out on another closet door or two swinging open... someone named Chrystal, and another called Perspective Inc. If this were some sort of "coming out" blog, I'd be doing an extra little happy dance.

Well, we all know that we don't want to see Joyce dance at all. Sometimes it's wise and timely to recognize our areas of giftedness, and let all that other stuff go. But I digress.

There were hundreds, possibly thousands, of incredible, unbelievable, stupendous things that occured over the past number of days. However, I suffer from short term memory loss and can therefore not relay any of those here, at this time.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I can't see

Hello all blunderview readers. This is Mr. Blunderview writing on behalf of dear Joycie. Our computer's video card fried and is now under warranty repairs, which takes a little longer than simply putting out cash and getting prompt service. I am posting from my work.

We will hopefully have everything put back together after the coming weekend.

In the meantime, answer the following question if you can.

It's the case of the missing loonie (Canadian one dollar coin):

There are three ladies travelling together and find that they need to stop for the night. They come to a motel and find that the cost of the room is $30.00. They split the cost and pay $10.00 each. Later, the manager decides to give them a discount because of their positive attitudes. He decides to change the price to $25.00. He tells the bellboy to bring the $5.00 to their room. Before he arrives at the door he thinks to himself that he will make it easier on them by saving them the grief of splitting $5.00 three ways. So he decides to give them each $1.00 and keep two for himself. He gets to the door and gives them each $1.00 back, now commenting that they each spent $9.00 for the room instead of $10.00. He then thinks to himself, nine dollars per night per person. That makes 9x3=27. If they initially paid $30.00 and now after the discount only paid $27.00, I should have three dollars in my pocket, but I only have two. Where's the missing loonie?

Joyce will be back soon.