Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Having spent the evening enjoying soccer with my daughter in a civil-looking town (with its own interesting twists and turns, I'm sure), I remembered a more memorable soccer experience from the season before. Maybe Blunderview has been "on the air" for long enough to warrant a re-run?
Having two girls in soccer in a league that encompasses most small towns east of the Pacific Ocean and slightly west of the Atlantic has forced me to drive to some unlikely destinations. On a recent road trip, I knew that we'd be in for a real cultural treat when, just past the green sign that heralded our destination I spotted the local drinking hole: The Cat Sass Tavern.
The host town had sprouted up out of the scrubby bush like a bad weed gone wild. The individual in charge of zoning must not have seen the outside of his trailer since 1971, judging from the haphazard layout of yards, swamps, the odd ball diamond, a school set way too close to the main street, and a boarded up church with the plastic off the windows flapping into the Holy Mother's face.We drove around the windy gravel streets for some time, hoping to locate some soccer fields. There were plenty of mobile homes, windows opaque with dog snot and bug smears, set back towards the bush, to leave plenty of running space for two or three large dogs, a camper laying on its side, and large quantities of trucks and cars in varying stages of disassembly. Auto wrecking and dog breeding appeared to be the main industries of the town.
After several dead end "streets" that ended in either bush, or another abandoned camper, we found what must be the Mayor's home. A large, brick bungalow sprawled across grassy prairie. A large, manicured lawn flanked the front and west side of the dwelling.But wait- are these soccer nets I see? Ah ha!! The mayor must love watching children run and play- these are not manicured grounds I see, but soccer fields! (could the town planner possibly live in the bungalow, and not the trailer down the dirt road? Imagine his shock, when he emerges from his basement one summer to find it invaded by ten year old girls chasing a soccer ball!) A cluster of lawn chairs stood on each side of the lawn turned soccer field, with parents nervously chewing and spitting sunflower seeds and bellowing encouragements to their jersey clad youngsters.
The coach had a face the colour of month old pea soup, and stumbled up and down the sidelines in his rumpled jeans and dress shoes mumbling things like: "blimey", and taking swigs from a two litre of 7-Up whose contents I had to question. I feared he'd spent too much time inhaling some bad smoke in his basement, while tending to some mysterious leafy plant under a heat lamp. Most of the young players suffered from smoke-induced asthma, but nervously raced up and down the field, sneaking glances at a big, burley fellow on the sidelines waving his arms and flapping his lips (cigarette intact) with "helpful advice" for the athletes.
When our girls won five to one, I felt it prudent to walk quickly and confidently back to the van before the coyote hunting parent pack chased us down and beat us to a bloody pulp in their jealous rage. Walk quickly past the rusty cargo vans and the trucks weighted down with fridges and ranges who had seen better days. Wind back down the road past the windows that held foaming insulation where glass once had been, youth in black hoodies hunched over their nicotine candy sticks, and staight(-ish) north back to the highway -and home.
Next week we will be the host team and have a chance to welcome this town to our fields.
If they find their way.
But then again, what good would it do?
Sammy gets to play captain Up-chuck this time. He doesn't look very powerful though, and he doesn't much want to play.
I guess when you look after kids, and you leave some of your favourite things out, like lets say..... some miniature lustre ware plates.... you should expect to find things broken from time to time. Poo.
Especially in light of the fact that its done nothing but rain or threaten to rain for about fifty-seven straight days and nights now. (Not that I'm counting or anything, because I love being stuck inside with seven pre-schoolers. I mean, I just did it all winter, so its not like I need a break or a change of scenery or anything).
And I suppose that one can't expect all children to be adjusted as quickly as one might like. Especially not speaking children who want to talk about their mother, cry about their mother, and stare out the windows for their mother for eight consecutive hours.
Not that I'm counting or anything.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
On the night before the now infamous wedding party, I volunteered my services for a celebrity scavenger night planned by my daughter's youth group. For nearly two hours, I perused the hallways of a well-populated mall in a pink panther suit designed for a person roughly one hundred and seven pounds heavier than I. I scanned the crowds through coin sized spaces that richoted randomly between my lips and eyebrows. I waved and nodded. I crouched and cuddled. I swished my big pink tail. I hugged beautiful children. And I learned a thing or two.
We all hide behind masks. Now that's not a big headline shocker, but what was interesting to me was that an obvious mask actually seemed to lift more subtle disguises on others. A Holdemon man, whisking his gowned and head-covered wife and baby through the wide and sinful hallways of the mall towards the more godly diapers and dishcloths of Walmart let go of his fear of worldliness for just a moment, and as they passed by me, he let out a loud "MEOW!" Children, sensibly told by their parents to avoid strangers, were now being photographed in my arms. Teenagers ran up for free hugs. A young boy who started off with a hug, ended off punching in pinky's nose and reaching round for a spiteful tail yank. Three skateboarders peppered me with questions about my identity, just before adding; "I'd really like to hit you, but I want to know what I'm hitting."
I found it easy to engage the kids from the youth group as not-my-self. I noticed that my daughter completely avoided eye contact, until her more observant friend noticed pinky's shoes and suggested that quite possibly the kitty in pink was actually Arianna's mother. As she gave chase and lifted a corner of my mask we suddenly went from zero eye contact to mommy and baby in a nano second. The awkwardly confident young men who tried desparately to guess my identity quickly looked away when I made my great reveal. (GASP! Somebody's MOTHER! How uncomfortable!)
"I have feelings too!", I shouted, three quarters pink, one part mother.
But that's how it is. I too preferred the mask. We speak different languages, live in different worlds. Without the mask, social norms would have guarded against interacting with the angry, the religious, the young, the playful. I'd like to relearn the language of my daughter's world, but the role of mommy always takes over. But for two hours as the pink panther, I was no one's wallet, kleenex, band-aid, or old has-been. Through my pin-hole vantage point the openness and potential in all those half kids/half adults was completely obvious to me.
And maybe my potential was more obvious to them too.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Today is the day! Its going to be so special! I just know that I was made for a time such as this. Will the pumps match perfectly? Will the hairspray hold? Oh, and I just know that its gonna rain. I had the car all pretty with kleenex flowers and all and I soooooooo wanted to throw my garter and bouquet outdoors. And all the china! They were hand-picked with the outdoors in mind! But I mustn't dwell on things I cannot control. How could I be happily married if I fuss and fret? I must practise being led by a MAN. For I am about to become a WIFE. I'm sure its going to be JUST like all the storybooks. I just can't wait!
Oh, I feel like I could just burst into tears, I'm sooooooooooooooooooooooooo HAPPY!
You'll always be my bestest friend forever, dear diary. I'll tell you all about it but I've got some carnations to go arrange. And I want to steam every ruffle on that dashing baby blue tuxedo so that it'll be perfect. Just perfect. The day of my dreams. My special day. Yup, I'm really, really happy. Really. Really I am. I never really wanted to go to college anyway. I feel really good about living in my darling's parents grainery. And the baby? Well, who wouldn't want a soft cuddly baby to hold while my man is out training the rotweiler pups?
Happy. very, very happy.
Friday, May 25, 2007
I can cry to "Littlest Hobo" if you give me a chance. "Little Bear" could make me cry because when the kids were little, I wished I could just be as patient and pleasant as her....
(2) What's your favourite childhood memory?
Favourite? I'm not sure, but I'll mention a few.
Finding the kittens in the walls of the old barn every spring.
Bike riding to the bridge to watch the spring flow.
Harvest, seeing my dad pumped full of joy and energy on the grain fields.
Mom saying "schlope schein" every single night.
(3) Do you have a collection of anything?
Oh, dear Louise. If you thought of these questions yourself, how could you know?
Okay, there's a fabulous set of teacups that we take out from time to time. (all different)
Vintage fabric. Toys, toys, toys.
Old quilts, chenille.
All right, this is getting tiresome, isn't it? There's a basic theme, which even the faintest of brains amongst you should be able to pick up on.
(4) What's the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
Again, I couldn't possibly pick one. I've had an awful lot of really good people in my life. The memories that come to me are when people came to me when I wasn't at my prettiest.
(5) What do you want your friends to think about you?
Oooh, another tough one.
I would want them to feel the freedom to be fully themselves around me. I would want them to feel that they could ((GENTLY)) correct me. (Now, don't all come at once!)
There's other stuff, but really its kind of embarrassing, and shows me to be the insecure child that I really am. I'm going to try to sound impressive, instead.
Oh, and I want them to think that I have the form of my prior sixteen year old self. That my breasts are plump and that the right side is the same size as the left. I want them to think that my legs are long and muscular. That cellulite doesn't run in the family. I want them to think that I shower every day, never forget to bath my children. I would want them to know that I have my PhD, but out of humility and love for the future generation of our crumbling world, I have decided to sacrifice my intelligence for the greater good of the children in our community.
Wanna play? Go see Louise.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Not to be outdone, our second baby in command, (recently elevated to Kid Status), boarded a Rescue Hero spaceship, took over full command of the controls, and navigated spaces previously unknown to childkind.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
How was I to know that the giant party tent wasn't waterproof?!
The rare Italian lace? Ruined. The punch? Full of tree floaties and earth worms. The giant canopy? Reduced to compost. And we shan't speak of the feather pen!
Does anyone have a tent?
Actually, maybe something a touch larger would be better.
Mean, selfish, vindictive Sylvia K.. Doesn't she know that all she had to do to be invited was to simply read about the party on the blog?
But Nooooooooooooooooooooo. She had to go and order rain.
*its time to start posting details on a daily basis, just to be sure that I haven't left out vital information about the special celebration on May 26. Come around 7:00 pm, although before that or after that is fine too. Come in character. Remember that this is not one of those sentimental reminicient events where you squish into your wedding gown and talk about how if you had it to do again, you'd choose the same prince because you're happier than in your wildest dreams. Some of you have already taken razors to your first wedding gown. You can come in that, if you so choose. But, feel free to improvise. The local thrift shop has some lovely overpriced mother of the bride outfits, as well as wedding gowns for a mere $35.00. Don't let me get started!! We all know that there are many lesser thought of roles in a wedding. There is the wedding planner, the flowergirl, the weeping auntie.... Well, you get the shtick.
And don't forget to BYOP. That's bring your own party. A chair might be wise. Something consumable in liquid and solid form will make things feel more festive. Bring a friend if you like, as long as she's female.
presentation preferred..... JUST KIDDING!
I, and my world, are forever changed. I want to navigate all this "properly", deal with stress appropriately, remember and rely on the one word that God impressed upon me some two years ago: REST. And so in ways I feel strong and determined.
But in other ways, I'm a stupid little kid in water wings, trying to swim upstream.
Monday, May 21, 2007
I did have a very good sense to know what to do with babies. I naturally was attracted to them, felt comfortable with the breast-feeding, the diapering, the cuddling and the cooing. It was exhausting, but fairly black and white. Then they turned into children, and all the books and classes suggested that good parents would not parent by gut feeling or conviction, but through advise and education. Lest we screw them up for good. I sensed my gpa slipping fast. But by the time I had my fourth, I felt like I had a pretty good handle on the whole "preschooler" thing. I knew what I felt was important. I knew what worked, and what didn't work. Too late for the first three guinea pigs who were now dragging me through bigger kid boot camp.
But that's how life is. When we were kids, we knew our parents were mean and horrible at times, but we always assumed that they knew what they were doing. We assumed that they didn't torture themselves at night, wondering if they were "enough". If we were naughty, it was because we were rebellious, fleshly little brats who should obey their parents if we wanted our lives to go on at all.
I'm at the mid-point of my life now, if I live to be reasonably old. I know some stuff now. I know that parents are actually made up of two separate people with two separate brains. I know that parents are actually people. I know that most of us bumble along to some degree, mixing what we've learned with what we hope is true.
There are other parts to my adulthood that have come at me by surprise. All was not as it appeared. And I'm left with the sense that surely there had been a lecture on this stuff, and I must have daydreamed through it because I'm just not sure of the right way to navigate. It smacks of my grade 11 geography teacher who used to teach material from notes he had compiled years back, but then tended to hand out a test on materials from an entirely different stack. The kids who were smart and remembered all the geography they had ever taken in their eleven years tended to do fine. I tended to fail.
And we're not in grade eleven geography any more.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Allow me to introduce the Food Rectangle.
So simple that even the most unteachable amongst of it shouldn't have any trouble understanding how to implement its practicalities. The more straightforward, rectangular shape is designed to debunk any mysteries that the previous, more complex pyramid shape brought about.
Allow me to pontificate.
The entire rectangular form represents the central and crucial food group: Carbohydrates. Carbs come in many edible shapes and sizes. Cookies, cakes, biscuits, bread products, noodles, cereal, and brownies are just a few of the available choices.
The letters "A", "B", and "O" represent all other food forms. The basic premise is that all other foods were created to complement the carbohydrate. I'll provide some examples, just to make sure I'm being absolutely clear.
ice cream+ peanuts+ chunks of cookie dough= Complete Food Rectangle.
wine(carb)+ cheese+ grapes= Complete Food Rectangle.
Now, because I don't anticipate living forever, I'll need your cooperation in spreading this truth around the world in the shortest possible time. This blog is being tracked. If you read it and delete it, you are a heartless, selfish, unhealthy, unattractive excuse for a human being. If you want to be a part of something bigger, you will make the time to spread this new, TRUE publication of the Food Rectangle. Send it to everyone on your e-mail list. You will become happier, healthier, and more fulfilled.
Its time to make a change, people! Let's unite, and right some wrongs in this deceitful, wicked, vegetable-obsessed world! Balance! Simple, simple balance.
Start with the rectangle, and add the spread of your choice.
Lets change our lifestyles, one rectangle at a time.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I was tagged by ME to do a meme with seven things about myself. Now, this blog is already embarrassingly introspective, verging on narcistic. Its not that there aren't seven more idiocyncracies that I'd love to bore you all to tears with, its just that I like breaking rules.
So, I'm gonna do my own thang.
Its called: Seven Reasons Why Today I'd Rather Be The Woman In This Magazine Spread. (much simpler, don't you think?)
1. I've always wanted a true attic room. I've had several bedrooms with sloped ceilings, but never a truly triangular ceiling.
2. She gets an actual closet. I've never had a decent closet. We've always lived in old places which either have NO closets, or SUCKY closets carved out of some old mouse hole in the wall.
3. She has a really small television. I never dreamed I'd become an adult with a large television. I won't be all pious and liar-ous and pretend that I'm way above all that and don't love to go brain dead in front of the idiot box but..... a little tv looks way more evolved and hippy to me. I'd be downright proud if all I had was that little tv.
4. I like that filmy blouse hanging on her closet door. And she probably has actual breasts to put into it. Not remnants.
5. If I was her, I could rip down that floral wallpaper.
6. If I was her, all my old favourites would still fit me.
7. If I was her, I would have time to lay around on the floor, barefoot, without my belly skin preceding me, and I would have time to read a book. Not collect books. READ books.
So? Who else wants to break some rules? Do a meme and make it up. You could loosely use the number "seven"as a guideline. Truth is, I don't have the time or attention span to read much further than that.
I'm writing this in a hurry because "quiet time" is never as long as I'd like. I tag... Gong Show, Lettuce, Tess and four more people who I refuse to mention. You know who you are...... Well, ok, identify yourself and let me know. There's a baby grabbing my keyboard.
Mom's favourite food is: borscht and bread
Her favourite toys are: computer and sewing machine.
She spends most of her time doing: computer, work, daycare, and going outside.
I think my mom knows how to: blog better than anyone in the whole world.
IN YOUR FACE, Best of Blog Awards!
Sunday, May 13, 2007
We eat rice pilaf and pork for supper the following day, our stomachs clenched at the change in our dad, and hoping he'll rest well in the bed he's been given. We're grateful that the stroke was "not really a stroke", but more of a foreshadow of what's to come. We hope that the staff will notice when he wanders off the ward, goes outdoors, or laughs in a manner never heard before by us. We note that he's had trouble finding the washroom, though he'd used it the night before to brush his teeth, and its a mere four feet from his bed. We wrap ourselves around our strong and determined mother.
Papa insists that he is fine, and indeed his physical body supports the theory. For Mother's day, he is at home and able to enjoy dinner with his offspring and theirs. He laughs too loud , too often. Mama looks lovingly concerned and steals little shakes of her head for us when she is sure he isn't looking. We whisper to one another, wondering if the changes we see could be our imagination? Should we spend another night?
The dinner has become more familiar now, but the rice is wild and delicious, and somehow difficult for us to swallow.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
If my hair is annoying me, I take out the thinning sheers and go a little crazy. Its to fulfill my latent, unfulfilled, longtime dream of being a beautician. (is that even a word any more?)
I love the smell of Johnsons baby wash. That's the real reason that I run a home daycare. I don't even like kids.
I don't mind housework. I just hate it when I can't get it done. And these days, I never can.
Although my legs are long, I LACK COORDINATION. Badly. I was the one who got picked third last for all the teams in elementary gym sports. And the only reason that I wasn't chosen dead last was because people liked me and would offer a "mercy-choose".
I pick. My fingers have been scabby, calloused messes since I was about ten because I can not leave skin tags alone. I used to bite them, but now I find myself picking and scratching away completely unconsciously. I was never a face picker, but since Ken's illness, I find that my nasty habit has not been satisfied with ten fingers. I now scratch away at many body parts. Well, I don't scratch my bum. At least not in public.
I have been known to take items from the kids' dress-up trunk, alter them, and wear them as my finest.
I like to throw ridiculous parties. Very not Martha Stewart. This is an arena where I get to be almost entirely myself. I get to meet new people, laugh a lot, buy everything but the food from thrift shops, (the guests have to bring the food. Like I said, this is not the sort of party where the hostess becomes the envy of the town...) I get to play dress-up. I don't stress about what people might think of my house. If they think its really ugly and bizarre, then they will be impressed at the great lengths I went to for an ugly party.
And here's a tidbit that I can't for the life of me understand. Although I am very easy-going.... to the point of frightening people, I struggle with anxiety. I think and analyze and wrestle. But if my life is too manageable, I have to add more to it. If there's one thing I cannot tolerate, its boredom. I have to be busy (but not toooooo busy), and I have to multi-task. Otherwise my blood turns to sludge and there is no adrenaline in me anywhere.
What about you? And if you are rich and famous, don't patronize me...
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Actually, it wasn't brilliant at all. It was a bit lame. Who can blame me though? Its July in May around here, the sprinkler has been christened, I'm busy surgically attaching a vacuum hose to the end of my arm to keep up with the sand, grass, cheerios..... Oh, and did I mention that my boy got the flu, my girl got strep throat, AND I got a new baby this week? Well, not ME personally, but my daycare. He's a little dolly, lucky me. Aside from those small distractions, I've been thinking about my upcoming bridal show, hoping it won't rain..... And Brian is throwing a bit 'o a bash this friday night as well. Yes, some people take individual vacations, and we throw our own parties.
I better go take down that holly that I hung in the front window in December for the last dinner party....
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Church leaders are subject to this every day, on and off the job. I've made a point of asking such people how they manage to deal with the weight of others' pain without collapsing under good intentions and brokenness. The only answer that has ever made sense to me was delivered by a man who seems to always have genuine joy at the forefront of his interpersonal dealings. He explained to me that the only areas he moved forward in were those where he felt compelled to by the Holy Spirit. Now, I'm a big fan of the Spirit, largely because he doesn't appear to work from a throne, or a rule book, or in guidelines that would be easily filed or categorized.
Faith is huge in this arena, since listening to that still small voice doesn't guarantee witnessing the positive outcome of those actions. And that's where pain comes in again. Some people are nearly impossible to love because all they know to do is to push people away. Even when reaching out to such a person, guided by the Spirit, its awfully painful to get that virtual shove.
That's where I'm grateful that He also speaks to others. Unlikely people who could only have become a portion of my circle through the goodness of God. People who speak the truth- relevant to the situation I'm struggling with ;but the bearer of good news is unaware of.
And now in less shrouded ways, I know that the e-mail I sent this week (which was sent back with a caustic reply) DID come to a positive end. I know that the relationship that pained me this week was injected with grace by someone who could not have known, but who understood as precious few do. I know that the visit I craved with my aging papa came to me this week when I was too slumped to go to them.
And I know again that God is love. And although there are unreliable road signs, I'm pretty confident in my navigation system.
Friday, May 04, 2007
I may be somewhat of a late bloomer, but I never seem to fully wrap my head around the fact that I cannot keep everyone happy. I admit, it doesn't help to have a chronic, self-inflicted case of thats-just-not-good-enough-itis to exacerbate the situation.
People told me that this was going to be hard. Those self-righteous, soother-grabbing, sadistic, clucking old biddies who chided me to enjoy them while they were little, for it was only going to get harder when they grew taller. Gloating, heartless, and inhuman old things.
I don't remember being warned about all the decisions that go along with this. I don't remember being told that I'd second-guess every single faltering decision that I did make. And what about this fantasy that mommy can make everything all better? Did we get any practise at that between the he-he and the hoo-hoo breathing at prenatal classes? I don't remember the lesson on "Every Wednesday, Someone Will Begin To Vomit Violently". Was I sick that day? And what about all this lip service I hear about equality? Who forgot to tell the children? When their daddy goes to bed, NO ONE EVER CALLS HIM. Mommy, on the other hand, is required to tuck, and re-tuck up to forty-two separate and complete times per nocturnal cycle. Times four.
I hear the other half of that chocolate bar calling out to be tucked in. And the wine is feeling lonely....
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
I wanted to offer something light, but my heart just isn't in it...
I find that I'm having an almost ridiculously difficult time making the simplest of decisions for the upcoming summer. Slow, or non-existent decision making is not uncommon for me, but this feels more loaded.
I guess because a year ago on the evening before the last day of school, we got handed the bombshell. My brother had terminal cancer.
From that moment, until September 20 when his tired body quit, every plan was subject to change with no notice. We lived with the tension of uncertainty, with cell phones at the ready, prepared to do or be anything that was asked of us if it were to help Ken in any way.
I'm not exactly afraid that if I make some plans, something horrible is going to happen to my family this year. That sounds silly and superstitious to me.
I still feel indeterminate about last summer's defining events. I've not yet built constructs for all that it encompasses. I'm not even ready to really explore what Ken's life and death meant/did to me personally.
And now its time to lay plans for another summer.
Although the photo gives the feel of a perfect summer night, it wasn't, and the blur in it is completely appropriate. I'd had a major meltdown that day, and not in a socially acceptable way. I called a friend I'd not seen in years who drove straight to the hospital to pick me up, fed me dinner, and served me drinks.
She knew without being told what had transpired in my mind and body on that day.
I still wear the scars, and I've got no idea where to go to find a dayplanner that won't rip off every scab.