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Sunday, November 29, 2009

I LOVE this job!

Brian went out to the store last night to buy some fancy frozen pizza for our gourmet Saturday evening family dinner. When he came back; nutrients in hand- look what he found sitting on our rotting deck! A wonderful buffet of upholstery samples for my insatiable palette. "A" is for "angel" is all I can say.I wondered who my upholstery angel was, so I sniffed around for clues. Oddly enough; just two days ago I had walked past Wiens Furniture and noticed their rows of fabric samples. I wondered why they did with them after they expired?
Pizza? What pizza. I got straight to work disengaging these goodies from their paper hangers.
And landed up with a delicious looking stack of inspiration. While I've got your attention; Laz-E-Boy; I wonder if I may be so bold as to make a suggestion or two? If we're going to pursue this partnership, I would really appreciate it if you continued on with this method of stitching fabric onto paper instead of the inferior notion of using super glue?

So inconvenient; these stuck-together bits.
This on the other hand;
So perfect.
Slick like butter.
~
Thank you, A. I had so much fun.
(and I will have so much fun).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

.... Coming Out....

I just can't stand it any more.
I cannot remain silent.
I cannot remain humble.

I simply must come out and admit who I really am.















(okay. Not really. But ever wonder who your alter ego might be? Maybe in your reality it is like my reality-- someone who has already accomplished something that are only dreams and wishes to you and me.....)

May our namesakes be our inspirations.......

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Different Strokes For Different Folks

It's easy enough to make decisions for other people- to assume that we know what their problem is and how best to handle it. It's easy to be decisive and clear when it's about somebody else. But try imposing your own emotionality into an otherwise obvious situation, and suddenly a whole lot of lines begin to blur.

A very small case in point: I operate a home/family daycare by day and parent my own children by evening, night, and weekend. During the day, I have very clear boundaries about what is acceptable and unacceptable. For example: No wrestling. No somersaults on the living room couch. No running circles around the kitchen table.

These are clear to me because I know that I don't want someone else's child bashing their head on the corner of my table, falling off the back of my couch (I learned that one the hard way...), or getting punched and crushed in an innocent match of WWF. I have these children for 8 - 10 hours a day, and it's clear to me that they can live without these particular aerobic activities for that length of time.

But.
If I were to consider parenting, there would be a whole other cookie to crumble. Isn't it normal for children to tumble around together, sit on one another, occasionally get carried away with a smack or two? Isn't a living room for living in? Isn't running around the table better than rotting away in front of a television?

And so it's not nearly as clear because my heart is chopped in teeny pieces and I'm thinking about their personal, spiritual, physical, and emotional development for.... well.... the rest of their lives.

I know plenty of parents who are very decisive most of the time and don't torture themselves with every nuance and possibility. And I admire that skill. But I have also grown to appreciate the way my own brain and heart work. By looking for the motivation behind my children's actions for the past 7-15 years, I think I have a pretty good line of communication going. They're not afraid to come to me with weird and difficult questions. With confessions. With fears. I don't think they've ever lied to cover up for something they felt they might get caught for doing. I've never been particularly punitive.

Now, I still torture myself. All the time. I know I'm getting it wrong all over the place, and could really expect more from my children. I know that I'm a big pushover mushpot at times.

If you were looking over your fence at my family, it would probably be pretty clear to you where we are going "wrong"; just as when I look over other fences I think I can see some obvious tune-ups that need to be taken care of.

It's a potential alligator pit though. Yes, we all learn from one another. No, we are not all the same, nor will be parent the same. There is a place for a trusted friend to peel some blinders off in this race. It's a risky place to wade into, this plucking out of other's logs and splinters.

It's why it is so much easier to gossip- get all that great advice out of your body, but avoid the potential conflict and tension of being the messenger. Which makes us all more paranoid. What is so-and-so saying to so-and-so about what she notices in me? Do I really want to know? Would it devastate me? Ruin a relationship?

I wonder if the decisive people have it easier. Decide on your life program and stick with it come what may. Blame the other guy.

This whole human thing can get plenty confusing. We tend to flock together, form relationships, lean on one another, and disagree. Build up quiet defenses. Feel wounded and betrayed.

And see with perfect clarity what the other guy ought to change.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Toasts: To Some Wonderful Women.....

Allow me to take this opportunity to propose a toast to some of the strong, independent, tender, feisty, interesting, funny, compassionate, loving, and fabulous women who I am pleased to have in my life. (and in my home. And in my yard; tossing goblets into my tub).Well, maybe it's best to do a few toasts.... to the best dressed....
... I think...
... to she who runs with scissors...
... to the best decorated bathtub...
... to the best attitude...
And although it appears that we have run plumb out of glasses with which to propose toasts; I simply must insist on a few more.

To MD: the award for "best toast"- which went something like this: "Here's to never being hungry again in order to become a lesser size."

To AS: The award for "most reliable hostess" (and photographer). These parties would be embarrassing failures without your impeccable grace.

To J, H, M, K, and B. The award for "not leaving with the masses"- I so enjoyed talking and listening until the candles burned themselves out.

To LE: The award for being "the best surprise in my neighborhood". Thanks for your warmth, your smile, and your presence.

To LL: The award for frequent and faithful attendance, and a bright and lovely smile.

MKG: The award for "longest distance travelled"- wow! that meant a lot; I'm so glad you came.

And the inaugural award goes out to: B, D, and K. May this be the beginning of many more Ugly Sweater Parties to be graced by your attendance.


(K- you really must have an additional toast: Here's to being comfortable in slacks.




Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What You See..

An adorable garden shed.

What You See A vintage clawfoot bathtub. ..

A badly neglected outdoor planter?...

A poorly designed outhouse.
~
~
~
What I See...
.
Hmmmm... a convenient backdrop.
...... potential.
A target.
An ice-breaking party game.
A need for tarps, petro Canada wine glasses, and pleasant weather.
A great "drinking game" to rid yourself of any unresolved conflicts and aggressions.
An excellent reason to clear your schedule for the fourth annual ugly sweater party.
~
Be there or be un-square.

Particulars..

You are hereto and forever more
Invited to attend
The Fourth Annual
Ugly Sweater Party
To Be held on
November 14, 2009
At My House, In The 'Niv
From 7:00 pm or thereabouts
Until 7:00 am or thereabouts
For Directions please contact re-joyce@mts.net
Feel free to bring a friend
As long is she is female, or at least poses as female
(convincingly)
Also, please bring an appetizer
And a beverage
I'm more about the activites and less about the kitchen stuff
If you read this here, you are invited
If you hear of someone who has read this here
you are invited
No Sweater
No Snacky
No Sippy
No Service
See you on Saturday!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Ruined For The Ordinary World

Most people go to restaurants to get a memorable culinary experience.
I prefer to wait around until my kitchen gets transformed from the family office/ short order cook station into this feast for every available sense.

It happens every other friday, and taste buds never go away disappointed.

So, last Friday when it was not tapas week; Brian and I went out for dinner to redeem a gift certificate that had gotten buried in my wallet.

Sure, it was nice to go into an environment that someone else had cleaned and prepared. It was nice to have someone bring things to our table. But all it really did was to confirm my suspicions that I have been ruined for the ordinary world, and my taste buds have become spoiled little emporer brats.

Besides, when I eat out at home; I also get to cuddle with the chef...

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Church Decorating Committee

After an overwhelming response to my pulpit cry for help on the Christmas decorating; I am more than pleased to announce that the committee now consists of.... well..... me. And Lisa. (thanks, Lisa. you're probably the only servant in that church. pfffft)


Determined not to let the constraints of time and lack of cloning technology to get the better of me and my lavish plans for decor, I figured that I'd go to my best and only true friend- Google.

Google never lets me down.
I found a few things that even the Sunday School children could get involved with.

And while I'm in the garage collecting craft supplies anyway; I may as well pick up a few odds and ends to make my own tree. Should save the church decor budget some.

Then again, it's always nice to get a few little things done at home- maybe involve the husband and kids? I don't mind sacrificing some glittery bits and ribbon for a truly remarkable cause. It's so nice to get credit for hard work done with a spirit of humility and a total lack of pretense. The best plan may be to simply be the decor. Cut out the middle man. Forget about hauling that heavy box of tree parts down a flight of stairs and through a narrow hallway and up a stage.
This is way more practical. And pretty too.

But there are those large windows to dress.....
I suppose the foyer won't miss several hundred plastic hangers?
The Sunday School department ought to have red string of some sort...
And there's always the thrift shop for some golden baubles.
You know, I'm starting to think this whole committee thing fell apart for good reason. If I'm going to say that I believe in recycling and reusing; well... then there's no excuse for not using what's right in front of my fully capable nose.
Thank you, Google.
You've been ever so helpful, once again.











Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Ugly Sweater Party 2009!!

I'd like to do a proper post, and promise on my acrylics that I will. However, it is pertinent that you all know that Saturday, November 14 is LADY'S NIGHT!!

Time to get working on your ensembles.
Remember, here's all you need: An ugly sweater. On your body. (which can; but is not required to be; ugly)
An appetizer to share.
A liquid treat to share.

It all began back in November, 2006. That first innocent Ugly Sweater Party when I thought I was being original. pshaw.

Then I was made aware of how old this idea was. But I moved forward in my itchy polyester, and planned the second annual. Oh, it went to my head all right. All that delicious media!
We even allowed the men to join us- couldn't very well hoard that paparazzi now, could we?

Year three found us back with our girlfriends- and wow! there was some ugly stuff going on.

Which brings us to... well... Year Four.
Only you know how this year is going to go down!

There are no excuses- if you were here in year one, or two, or three... well, I'm going to assume that you're coming again. And if you were not? Well, that's totally unacceptable. You'll have to come this year.

Just leave your men at home, will ya?
sheesh.
It's hard to really let loose and start trading sweaters with all those sweaty men around.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Things You Lose Along The Way

I used to teach Sunday School with my husband.
Sing in a worship team.
Belong to a small group.
Lead a small group.
I once went to a large small group conference in a huge Calgary church. Well, that's what they called it. It ought to have been entitled: Business Management Proposals For Growing Church Numbers.
I used to go to a mom's group.
Sing solo.

Now, I don't really fit church culture that well. And although I miss that, in a "family/community" type of way; I will never strive to fit that culture again. I won't try to iron out my theology so as not to offend or disappoint members. I won't jump on any bandwagons. I won't advocate for the survival of church programs that will further tire an exhausted group of well-intentioned parishioners. I probably won't stand when told to; unless of course my body wants to stand. I won't participate in church politics- trying to decide who is "right" and who is "wrong".

The point and the heart of what's been lost along the way is not a taste for rebellion or a desire for an anti-establishment attitude. It's a quiet thirst for the real thing.

So, when I sense that people in church feel sorry for me, it's sort of funny in a sad kind of way. I go to church because I want to be there. Because I believe in the flawed, troubling, bumbling concept of a group of people coming together and potlucking on their shared love for God. Because I believe that tolerance and patience with and for people begins there- even though it's one of the brutally hardest places not to judge or despise others. (I find my nasty little inner voice carrying on from time to time; but my forward thinking heart wants to practise tolerance).

I used to love church in a busy, bustley, belonging kind of a way. A blowing and blasting in with toddlers and babies kind of a way. A common ground for support in life's teary potholes.

Now I find that I am off the radar for being called to participate in groups and committees and teams and all that hustle bustle. Don't get me wrong- I'm not offended. I'd probably say "no" anyway, remembering how I don't prioritize bonified church-ified "ministries" to exercise my love for God.

But there is just this realization of the changes that have come down the pike for this little church lady. It's sort of a vulnerable feeling to know that I've trusted my spiritual health to a much "narrower" source- just the real thing. The real Spirit who can show up or not show up regardless of my church status. It's like moving forward in a walkathon without the safety of a group around me.

Now, for anyone who reads Blunderview with much regularity, I think it's clear that I'm not a great Christian by traditional standards. Few of my blog posts wrap up with a pertinent Bible passage. Few of my rambles conclude with a revelation of my true identity in Christ. Most of my posts look splashy, fiesty, morose, and multi-hued. A clear message of life-giving theology may never be pinned down here. Nor will the four spiritual laws.

But my heart is for God. For authenticity. For change, humility, and miracles. The miracles that come of hopelessly selfish and troubled humans reaching out to one another with the non-human strength of God.

I've lost some stuff along the way. But I'm sure that with that loss comes a greater capacity for actual transformation, less distraction by church culture, and more personal vulnerability.

I stand more alone in my stubborn faith than I ever have in my short life. But somehow in losing that comforting safety net around me, I know that living real is inevitable. And that's totally going to depend on the only source that isn't influenced by some person's opinion- the actual Spirit.

(I hope I don't lose much more time as a human stewing around in my own hurt feelings and petty grievances, and keep stretching towards a higher plain. As big a fan I am of the Holy Spirit, and as much as I do believe in miracles; I know that I am standing in my way a lot of the time. I don't much care what people think of my beliefs and unbeliefs. It would be nice if we could all get along, and stop spending so much time arguing about our own rightness. It's just a big, stupid, useless distraction. Just try to spend one hour practising the greatest commandment: Love the Lord your God with your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbour as yourself. You'll quickly discover that you don't have time to figure out if the other guy is right or wrong or otherwise. That whole loving thing is pretty much going to eat up all your time. That's the direction I'd like to be transformed along.)