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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Roper

This post is dedicated to domestic CEO's celebrating New Years Eve in the warmth and comfort of their very own toasty warm laundry rooms. Ah, yes. The fully functioning, brand new, Roper brand washing machine; freshly delivered less than twenty-four hours hence; its delivery made all the sweeter with three weeks of anticipation marked by undies and sundries providing wall to wall carpeting while children run wild and uninhibited in their recycled delicates.


Furthermore.... Let it be known that today we found it possible to find two pairs of pants for a mature women at fifteen minutes to closing time, while the staff finds it necessary to remind me every four minutes that the store is closing soon, and that the tills will close promptly at 6:00 pm. Well, okay, not exactly every four minutes. Imagine what can be accomplished in FIVE hours of shopping with my femal offspring?! Well, now that you've asked; I'll tell you.


  1. two pairs of pants for yours truly
  2. four pairs of pants for a ten year old boy with excessively high standards for comfort and waistband specifics.
  3. one pair of boots for a 14 year old diva
  4. one pair of red hot converse diva runners. These have beens sought after for some time now; this find is no small patata.
  5. bottle of champagne with which to ring in my new roper the new year with my loving family, regardless of the lack of express lanes in the LC and the little issue of everyone in Winnipeg and surrounding areas forgetting once again that new years would fall on exactly the same evening as last year, and that we would all rush out for bubblies on the day of.
  6. yoga pants for diva #2.
  7. And. Pizza for supper.

You know what else? I'm super warm, and I don't have to stay up late and feel like gravelpiteyeball tomorrow. Because I'm already home and warm and celebratory.

I love my roper New Years Eve.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christ-de-Brand '08



Jolliest dog in Blunderview, shown here with XL bacon chewing treat.

Kid-friendliest brunch. What'll it be? Fat? or syrup?

First time ever- Sam buys all his own gifts at the school's Secret Santa Shop. Mama gets dangley earrings.

Sweetest vintage tablecloth- donated for the Darfur Project. Used with permission as an actual tablecloth for an indefinite period of time. Goes well with Sweetest Oranges- miniature honey mandarines.

Best way to listen to Christmas oldies- usb turntable from The Source.

Rudest reaction to a gift: me, myself, I.

Zen and the Art of Motercycle Maintenance?! I had to read that many years ago in Intro Psych and I've still got scars....

Sweetest gift ever. Thread, needles, and new shears from my loving man.
And a Starbucks mug that looks like a cozy cableknit sweater. mmmmmmmmmm.

Most Nearly a "Best Buy" reaction to a That's-The-Best-Gift-EVER! goes to Arianna, who got the digital camera of her most REM-ist dreams.

Most creative gift giver. Jane makes femo buttons, a superboy cape for her brother, some wire stars, shape cookies, and some fabulous femo nativity pieces.

Most surprised family members? Meow! Brian, aka, the world's meanest cat hater, buys two kitties some CATMILK?!

Most mesmerized, delerious happy boys?
Wii thinks it be me boys.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Little Something To Set The Mood...


Oh, my gosh. Thank you, Artist One for the most fabulous link to the ugliest site known to sweaterkind. Check out We Hate Sheep, We Love Holiday Sweaters and design your own ghastly sweater concoction online!! This is by far the best way to waste away your day at the desk, just hours before a Christmas break.


And thank you, holiday sweater attending friend for sending me these fantastic photos. I know for sure that triangles really bring out the robust glow in my cheeks and emphasize the fullness of my arms and chins. Most flattering.
Now, go on and design yourself a festive sweater.
I know what our craft of the day is going to be...... :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Family News

Well, its that special, magical time of year once again. So many perspectives to consider when sending out that Happy Holiday Newsletter that everyone awaits with baited breath.
Consider the following possible Hildebrand Christmas Newsletters:

The Victem's Newsletter
Well, I really don't have time to put much effort into a newsletter this year, what with running my daughter to physio and all after her pedestrian accident early in the year. People just don't seem to care where they drive anymore, and they always seem to drive into my daugher. I guess we just have a huge, flashing sign above us that says: CRASH HERE! or something.

The other half of the time I'm shoving pills down my son's throat to treat him for this lovely seizure disorder that the doctors have stuck him with. I guess someone in the family had to get it, and surprise, surprise.... of course it had to be us.

Yeah.
So, I'm really, really tired from all the hard work I have to do, looking after my disabled children and all. The welfare system totally isn't coming through for us either, and we spend all our time standing in line-ups at food kitchens and form-filling-out line-ups, me pushing a wheelchair and a walker for the kids in case they get hit by a car or throw a fit or something on our way to another line that somebody is going to make us go into next.

*sigh* Sure sucks to be us.
Anyway, I'm sure way more bad stuff is going to happen to us this year, so even though I was totally going to send you a Christmas card this year, I just couldn't because I was too busy being targeted and abused by everyone.

Sincerely hoping that you'll feel really, really sorry for us;
The Hindenbergs.

The "Everything Could Not Be More Perfect" Newsletter
Another Fantastic year is nearly behind us! time does fly when one has four children involved in so very, very many extracirricular activities!
Our eldest daughter is just a balm to the eye- she has sprouted to an inpressive five feet, seven inches and is kept busy, busy with basketball and soccer, playing her flute and spending time with her many, many attractive and enviably talented friends.

Not to be outdone; or pegged as a middle child in any way; second born is quite an achiever. Jane has joined the drama team, picked up clarinet in band, played volleyball, basketball, and soccer, taken up voice lessons, and joined youth group. She baby-sits frequently and children follow her through town like the pied piper.

Micah received a glowing report card from his grade five teacher this year. Academics come easy to him, as do manners, ettiquette, big brother relations, and quantum physics.

Our Sammy turned six this year! What a little ray of sunshine he is. Just a little rainbow, that special little man. Sam enjoys swimming, origami, and interpretive dance.

Our family is so healthy, happy and well balanced that we like to play board games six nights a week. Our home is always filled with music. Many neighbourhood children congregate here to soak in the overabundance of love and grace and eat handfuls of homemade popcorn and apple juice that we hand squeeze from our very own orchard in the warm days of autumn.

What a blessing to be us! We all know that you all wish you were more like us, so we have enclosed photos of ourselves engaged in a variety of healthy and enviable activities.

Happy, Happy!!!!!!
The Happybergs.

The Pessimist's Newsletter
Well, I don't know why I bother pounding out these dry, dull meaningless renditions of another useless year. Its unlikely that I'll actually get them to the mail on time anyway.

So, things are pretty bad with the American economy, and its just a matter of time before it'll start affecting our family as well. The kids aren't likely to get much work with baby-sitting or anything, because I'm pretty sure people in this lousey little town just gossip about us anyway, and so they're not likely to call and trust my kids with their babies. May as well just move to the shelter now. Its just a matter of time anyhow. It's not like the kids are going to help us out or anything. Miserable lot.

The house is kind of falling apart, and probably our family is next to go then.

Well, there's other stuff that I could write, but you're probably bored anyway, and stopped paying much attention words and words ago.

May as well just go and eat worms.
Frozen worms. It's so cold here; I don't think spring will ever ever come again.

Reluctantly, and dreading the new year;
the Hellenbergs.

And finally; I'll leave you with some stuff I actually mean.

The Real Schtick
Do you ever have one of those moments that sneaks up on you totally unplanned and hits you square in the choker with its poignancy? Well, I do.

It gets me in weird moments- like when I dropped off my daughter at practice earlier this evening. I watched her; this woman child.... strolling confidently and independently away from me and into her own world. Her own school, gym, social structure.

Something froze in that moment, and it felt like some of the combined moments of this past year roared up and culminated in that one point. We've navigated some stuff, the kids and us; this year. Stuff that stays primarily between us. Not like in the days of vomit-spraying pre-school where we moms would cluster over coffee mugs and compare consistencies of thier offsprings' fluids to amazing proportions. These children of mine are real people now. Individuals in their own rights, with needs, and questions, and convictions, and concerns.

I am so very pleased to be a part of their lives; even if I'm incapable of writing a really good and honest and honouring Christmas letter about them.
I'm not much good at doing a year in review, in any case. I have a deplorable memory and seem to go more on smells, or swirls, or sensations. So, if you want to experience what 2008 has been like in the Hildebrand family- go get yourself a bowl of ice cream. Top it with chocolate sauce, crushed nuts, a sprinkle of sunflower seeds, and a few shards of broken glass. Those are the swirls and smells and sensations that come to me when I reflect on '08.

Here's what I do know:
Time passes by. I would advise that people ought to do some stuff without thinking it through too hard. And by that I don't mean making payments on a condo in Honolulu. I mean- take some chances relationally. Risk people not liking you. Risk not liking someone else. Love them anyway; because you can actually love people without liking them all that much. But do spend intentional time with people you do like. Make some of them the types of people who embrace their greying hair, enjoy their food, and leave the house even though they haven't located their tweezers since the fall of 2002.

Say some stuff out loud, and shut up about some other things.
Ever notice a woman who is lovely to the eyes? Most women do, and then immediately criticize themselves for their own real and perceived flaws. Try this: Approach said woman and compliment her authentically. Its a great gift to give.

In other cases, keep your mouth shut. Bite your tongue till it bleeds. Sit on your hands. Start smoking Cuban cigars if it keeps your gums from flapping regrettably.

That's all I'm going to say about that.

I'm going to his publish even though this isn't wrapped up like a nice gift under the tree. I have to go pick up my overachieving, good looking, nearly perfect offspring from basketball now.

Oh. And one more thing.
God.
Because that's pretty much what all of everything good and decent goes back to. And its the only place to rest when panic starts setting in. Or any other time, for that matter.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

You Don't Know What You Missed!

Even though things got kind of ugly for some people on Saturday night, I have very few regrets of an evening well wasted. First regret......there were about one hundred lurkers who failed to show up. Hmmmm.... I know you're out there....!! (but didn't we have alovely group of people? Just right to be cozy and all in one circle. I didn't have to suffer with the feeling that I was missing out on mini parties all throughout the house and garage
Second... Could someone please answer a burning question for me? How come some people who came to Party Numero Uno never came back for #2 and #3? You can't imagine what you've been missing. And that's all I'm going to say about that.
And third. I was waaaay to preoccupied with having fun and laughing to remember to take enough photos. There isn't a single flattering photo of me in my teeny tiny sweater.
Darn.
And oddly enough, there seems to be a number of outfit swap photos. I can't imagine how that happened. Such a polite, well-mannered group of church ladies. Odd that there are photos of several people in the green polyester leisure suit. Now, that outfit did not itch.
One Size Fits All took on entirely new proportions.
Truly versatile.
And the Dove Campaign could really have taken some lessons from the variety of flattering and useful articles that came into the light on that cold and frosty night. There were minimizers, and maximizers, spanx, shoulder enhancers, pomegranites, and cranberries.
Oh, if only there were photos enough to truly share the experience....
(you know.... they could be e-mailed to re-joyce@mts.net.........)
This year in a truly charitable effort, the event was made multi-cultural. A few Dutch immigrants were invited to occupy "the empty chair". A sort of evangalistic effort; you might
say.
And its a good thing. They came bearing gold, frankenstein, and blur. Three lovely pots in which to float candles, and a lovely maniacal sleighing pillar to shed its glow amongst them.
There were other pots glowing, but one was left to discover this true lavitorial illumination once the Arbor Mist had travelled through the gastronomical tract, past the hummous and artichoke dips, through the maze that is one's digestive system.....
In short, one was left wanting for a pot to pee in when the only true throne in the house had been found functioning as a floating candelabra.

The versatility of fashion was something to behold. I don't know if anybody actually went home in the piece they had quite arrived in. Oddly, I found a number of holiday sweaters in my sewing room when things quite settled back to ordinary.

The heat and commitment to breathing really did get the better of some members, even after ventilation was provided with the aid of the Henckel sheers.
At the end of the day, even the animals got into the sweater swapping. And it must be said that as far as flattery is concerned; it may just be true that most of these fashionista choices were better suited to the delegation of pet hair collecter.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Today Happens To Be Internationally Ugly Saturday ...(more and more details)

*A few more things... I kind of depend on Brian to be the host. He's the one who notices if there are no forks put out or its really time for coffee. So, I'm glad that Alice is coming because she notices those sorts of things as well. But how about we ease the pressure on Alice a little, shall we?
I'll fill you in online, because when you get here, I'll be so silly and hysterical that I'll forget everything until after you're gone.
  1. The bathroom is just inside the back door. It wasn't our idea. Really.
  2. People hate our toilet. When you sit down, the seat kind of slides. So, sit down gingerly. Delicately even.
  3. The other thing you don't want is for your sweater to fall into the toilet water during your stay. For that I suggest a size 6 boys sweater.
  4. If I forget to tell you where the wine glasses are; they are either on the china cabinet under the dining room window, or in the cupboard. Please open up any and all cupboards if you are looking for something. I'm totally cool with that.
  5. Notice that the bannister has been painted. It was one of my goals before my third annual ugly sweater party. Also, please don't notice that the wall behind the bannister still hasn't been painted. I'll likely crumble. Then there's that whole blog post issue, and none of us want that. (the one where I get all melancholy and you have to read my navel gazing for many days and nights)
  6. Also, it wasn't my idea to have a tv in the living room. So, try not to notice that either.
  7. if you've never been to my palatial palace before, please come to the back door.
And now back to our previously scheduled programming.

Don't forget that when you are priveleged enough to receive an invitation to an event as prestigious as this.... there are a few unspoken expectations. Here they are again, just in case your etiquette is left wanting.


  • This is a BYOB/W/G/S/S/A* (bring your own beer/wine/gin/snack/sweater/appetizer. Real glasses will be provided, as will toiletting facilities. Seating is limited, but will be provided nonetheless. And yes, I'm referring to the fact that I have only one bathroom.
  • Brian is going to make some sort of wonderful appetizer for us. He's good at that sort of thing. And of course, I'll have wine and some other sorts of fluid type things. (sure, we host a lot of dinners and things at our house; but he's the chef department, and I'm housekeeping.... And he's not invited; being male and all) All that to say-- Don't expect Groaning Board standards or anything.
  • if its not too cold on Saturday (hah!), I happen to have a fifteen foot long church pew in my garage, and about three boxes of petro canada wine glasses that would make excellent sound effects when we empty them, then throw them at a target. If you have any unspent hostility, you are welcome to bring along photos or symbols of the object of your disgust. We will center them on the target and rain glass shard terror upon it.
  • Re-reading that.... it appears that I am suggesting that we would throw the glasses at the pew. I so didn't mean that. I was thinking more along the lines of sitting on the pew in our toasty sweaters, sipping wine, then casually tossing emptied glasses at a target.
  • My husband is not allowed to bring the kids home at all, so that means that there won't be any of that perceived awkwardness when the children come home and go upstairs to bed. People sometimes mistake that as a cue that the party is winding down and that they should go home. I hate that. So, this year we are calling it an all nighter.
  • Not that I'm calling anyone geriatric or anything... but for any of you peri of totally menopausal types... Yes, I'll turn down the heat. Besides, we've got that whole cool down activity planned for the garage, so don't get your ovaries in a knot.
  • You can check in any time you like (provided that its 7:00 pm-ish or later) but you can never leave.
  • We don't have to be best of friends for you to consider yourself invited. That means all you local woomen who aren't sure if you are invited? you are. Less local? Invited too. I like all sorts of people, and I like people meeting people.
  • You have to have a funny bone though, because these parties always get silly. The time always passes too quickly. Always.
  • I'm already dreading that part.....


So, I might have been shopping at my local re-wash, re-use, regurgitate for an ugly sweater for my party which is coming up on Saturday the 13th at 7 pm at my house. I had my hopes set on a badly coloured acrylic find for this year's event- and preferably one that was undersized. Today in the boys "department", I found my gem. Picture the itchy, badly coloured sweater that your brother was forced to wear to the candlelight service in '72. The one that he scratched and snivveled through, just to get his bag of candy at the end; a just reward for memorizing that rhythmic piece of prose that made absolutely no sense to him whatsoever. It made no sense to the moms and grandparents in the stifling audience either, because he either whispered it into his turtleneck, or breathed it into the sound system at disturbing volumes.



In any case, I had a whale of a time stretching it over my head in the changeroom and discovering to my delight that it was several inches too short in the sleeves and midriff. Perfect for showcasing my tight, home of four fetuses belly. (not NOW, silly. I'm not pregnant with fourtuptables. I'm talking about back in the day... growing babies.... four times.)
The woman running the cash register was very, very pleased with my find. Not in the way that you and I are thinking. But in the "It's still 1972 in my brain, and you must be the best mother in the world to be buying that for your little boy".
I was sort of horrified.
But I kept my mouth shut.
Except for laughing, really, really loudly.
I'm sure she thought I was feeling joyful about the Christmas concerts that I would soon sit through, enjoying my precious son in his priceless sweater.
See you on the 13th!
(anyone need to know where I live? E-mail me at re-joyce@mts.net

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ugly: An Unlikely Claim to Fame?

Yeah, so I might not be Paris Hilton's BFF (yet).

But I just might have my own claim to fame- just ask Misty Harris of CanWest News Service. Her unlikely choice of quote might not earn me any brownie points with the fashion conscious locals, but I betcha Paris Hilton would be all over that.

I bet she'll be texting me right away to ask for a backstage pass to my now infamous annual
Ugly Sweater Party on December 13, 2008.

Here's the thing. You have to be female. You have to have read this post to consider yourself invited. (or at the very least heard of someone who has heard of someone who read this post)
And you have to wear an ugly sweater.

I know that the who's who have long lists of legalisms of what constitutes as a ugly sweater at this time of year. But let me reassure you that I trust your own intuitions when it comes to ugly.

Huxtable was definitely onto something. So were the Griswolds and Eddie, the enviable relative.

But, hey. Like I said.... Rural is the way to go.