Friday, June 29, 2007

The Difference Between Girls and Boys

Girls: Borrow elements from every board game ever invented, a few dishes from the kitchen centre, little people (but at least one or two from each and every set) , a few plastic alligators, the family's only nail clippers, tape and a ball of string, a fistful of wooden blocks from the top shelf, and small containers of cheerios.

Set up elaborate play areas and compose complex story lines.

Boys: One stick or other phallic symbol.

Feet for running.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

June 27: Take Two

It was going to be a quiet day and I looked forward to sneaking in some tasks like going through the growing piles of stuff that kept depositing themselves in my sewing room. The kids were tired from many late June nights and I left them all in bed, with the exception of Micah who had a field trip to look forward to. I got up early, and wrote a post about my brother since it was not only his birthday, but the first anniversary of his diagnosis. I was relieved that the writing of it made me cry, as I sometimes questioned my grieving process.
At 10:00 oclock I heard Sammy fussing and moaning in his bed. We'd had him at the doctor a few weeks back, discussing the possibility of him having a seizure disorder; so his moaning made me wonder if it had been that kind of a night for him. His bed was wet and he was holding his stomach, crying and moaning. He threw up once but his stomach was empty. He'd been fine the day before and this nausea made me wonder again about some elevated liver enzymes that were discovered accidentally during the investigation of his seizure activity. It was best checked out, I decided and the paper trail would be beneficial as I was sure I could not be counted on to rely on my memory.

Its very unsettling to hear one's physician say... "This is beyond the scope of a family physician, I would advise you to go to children's hospital emergency as soon as possible."

But on this first anniverary of the liver-that-killed-my-brother; that's where we celebrated our family line of dysfunctional livers. (Actually, it was bile ducts for Ken, but that's details).
Sam's repeat blood tests came back in the normal range, so he may not actually have been given that family torch to carry. Three doctors and a nurse or two breezed in and out during our five hour visit but then released us with a shrug and the usual warnings.

I bet it was the liver fairy come to visit. Just a reminder that we best not forget the way to the Health Science Centre. Just a very thoughtful visit to remind us that the summer sun does shine on William Avenue the same as it does at Caribou Lake.

Maybe its even some sort of bundle package: Two livers, one stroke, and a seizure for a family rate?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Avoiding Writing About What I'm Really Thinking About

Right now I am wrestling with some big gigantic things and even I in all my non-privateness am not yet willing to write about it. Its so unprocessed that I may spew forth half thoughts that will later produce regrets. I hate regrets. I hate trying to regather feathers once I've ripped open a big old german pillow and shaken it out of a two storey window whilst screaming obscenties from the top of my voice.

So, paradoxically, I will reproduce what Danielle lied ever so kindly over at the Bipolar Diaries.

Sometimes when life bogs you down so completely that you find yourself taking your son through the McDonald's drive-through for fries and all you order yourself is a black coffee..... you just need to indulge yourself in someone else's graces. So, here's what Danielle said today to get me to lift my head off the pillow and give another kick at the can today.

5. Joyce at Chronicles of Blunderview. Joyce is amazing. There are many times when I feel as though we share the same brain...although she is much more prolific than I. She often takes my perspective of looking at life through a kaleidescope....there is no one correct interpretation of any event....and the view changes with every turn.

I love msn encarta dictionary, so I had to take this word prolific over there just to make sure that I fully understood its meaning.

pro·lif·ic [ prə líffik ]

1. highly productive: producing ideas or works frequently and in large quantities

2. fruitful: producing a lot of fruit or many offspring

3. abundant or abounding: present in large numbers, or containing large numbers of quantities of something, especially animal life

*a period prolific of creative achievement

Gosh, what a great word! Let's just review...
producing ideas or works frequently and in large quantities........ Well, YAH! That would be accurage. I used to produce large quantities of hand sewn garments to the point at which my mother ( a workhorse) would shake her head and say... "How does she do it..."

producing lots of fruit or many offspring... HELLO! four kids and a daycare and lots of fruit in the fridge. I've got that one covered.

abundant or abounding.....large quantities of something..... animal life... OH YES! We abound! Large quantities of STUFF, and let's see about animal life... two cats, one hamster, and a dog on the way. And that's not counting what lives in the couch.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Stuff I Hate

I hate it when people chew with their mouths wide open, displaying the wonders of digestion.

I hate it when people try to sell me something when it wasn't MY idea first. Particularily phone calls, or that psycho guy who tries to sell us meat off the back of his truck. Who came up with that and thought it was a good idea?! And why is some guy driving around with a freezer on the back of his truck? Even us Canadians way out here in the wild have grocery stores and butchers. Its probably people parts and he's selling it like its steak or pork or something....

And the kicker. I hate it when parents mess around with food and turn it into a control issue. Like the kid who gets a portion of something he doesn't like every day for breakfast, and no drink so that the loving parents can stay within their grocery budget. The said portion must be eaten quickly. No dawdling or there will be some food related punishment to go along with it. Then said child comes to daycare sniffing the air and hinting about food. Almost always. Almost all day.

And so I feed him breakfast all over again.
Every day.
While he smacks away with his mouth wide open.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I'm starting to feel pretty self-conscious about all this highly personal stuff that has been at the toppiest top of my bloggity blog for the past few days.

So, I'll indulge myself in a bit'o a tale.

Superstore is clearly the place to hang out at if you are an aspiring writer. Last winter I was bagging groceries, (many, many groceries....) when a beautiful young woman came up alongside me. I didn't know her, but she said;
"Don't stop writing."

Yesterday I was bagging groceries at Superstore when I overheard a mommy-person in line behind me being ever-so-kind and patient with her two year old son. It always warms my heart when I witness that, because as we all know, parenting is not for idealists or weaklings. Our carts landed up getting re-loaded at the same time, and she made a comment to her little boy that perhaps I needed their cart as well. (theme here: many, many groceries). From there it morphed into the "You look familiar" conversation and we did the typical reviews. I discovered (it always shocks me) that she was at least ten years younger than me and wasn't sure how to play "The Mennonite Game" from there since she actually didn't look remotely familiar to me.

She figured it out. It was the blog.

I'm a freaking celebrity.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Fat Rant.

A Better Role Model

Ruth's Garage Sale

Its true that Ruth had an amazing twenty five cents sale that raised money for some kids in Israel. But they won't be the only happy kids coming out of this bonanza.

Friday, June 15, 2007

What's a Girl To Do?

There are at least two separate and complete people living inside my head. And I'm not sure which parts of which one to try and kill off, nor am I sure of what weapon to engage. They have both been with me for at least thirty years and so we've become close and familiar, and we depend on each other a great deal. They have both grown and evolved over time and yet they can't functionally continue to co-exist as the space in my head is crowded and neither is truly willing to move out.

One of me is very nearly forty, and more than "okay" about that. I like laugh lines, I like that I'm not dating any more, I like being a mom, I like my job. I like where things are going for me in terms of life quality. I'm not preoccupied with skin care products, sagging boobs, enlarged pores, or wrinkled hands. I quite like the air of maturity that they project. I'm drawn to people who live like they don't care what others think. People full of compassion, and love for their fellow persons, but not trying to keep up with the Jones's (or the Friesens, as the case may be). I like the idea of learning all the time, at my own rate (which isn't the speediest) and finding people both like- and unlike-minded to learn from and appreciate. I like to think of myself as non-judgemental, patient, and genuinely caring.

I'm good with all that.

But, somewhere around grade six, this other embryo began to grow and develop. It was fueled by fear and insecurity, and a desire for some kind of control; a tangible "thing" that I could be responsible for, something that I could excel in and not fail at as I did with so much else, at least in my eleven year old opinion. And so I began to f* around with my body and its intake of food. Or not. I managed to play my game quite well, and stay away from any diagnoses outlined in the DSM right on through the remainder of my public school career. That's six years of flirting. Six years of feeding jekyl and hyde before they in turn began to eat me alive.

Things didn't go well from there, but that's another post or twelve. Suffice to say that I've provided enough background to explain where my alter ego came from, and how long she's been a part of me.

Fast forward to now. Thirty-nine-and-a-half. Pissed off at North American commercialism built on women hating themselves. Annoyed at consumerism that depicts happiness as thin. Disgusted by diet groups dangling carrots on sticks so that women will empty their wallets and fridges to reach out for that elusive, thin happy place. Bored by the idea of women guiltily hunching over low fat dips and berating their hungers.

But I want to be thinner.

I'm up twenty pounds from who I think of as "me". I don't like the way my clothes fit. I don't like going to my closet and being constantly reminded that I have put on weight. I know that losing twenty pounds is too much for my age, and my time and place in this life. But I could really stand to drop ten or fifteen. I've been working on setting my brain right for far too many years to go and join a weight loss scheme. I happen to know that those are poison for me. I hate aerobics and I know that I'll never sustain and activity that I don't enjoy. I'm not willing to give up wine or cheese or ice cream.

I feel like for the past eight years, I've been back at the initial flirting stage. And believe me, I had years and years after my very hard earned recovery period where I experienced total peace and maintained a body weight that I was happy with. That's when something yucky and traumatic happened in my life and I lost an awful lot of ground with my alter ego.

But I'm going to be forty soon. If I'm lucky like my parents, I could have another entire lifetime before I die. I don't want to spend forty years, forty months even, wishing I were a different size and not knowing how to get there without landing up nuttier than a hot fudge sundae. But I don't either want to be this size for another forty months or forty weeks or forty minutes.

Crazy, eh? Doesn't match up with my other person at all.
What's a girl to do?

Thursday, June 14, 2007


It all started out as a bit of a game. Splash some words on a screen and see what stranger in what country would add some colour to it. It was a nameless, faceless crowd and probably not a crowd at all. Then those names from the west coast and from the U.K. began to look familiar and friendly and a face or two in my imaginary crowd began to take some shape. Then some family members logged on, entirely out of pity and compassion and in my mind's eye the audience changed again. In time, we added a row or two of chairs to the blog auditorium as we like-minded bloggers discovered one another, checked out each others links, and lobbed opinions and encouragements back and forth.

Now I'm not entirely sure who is is my auditorium. I know of a number of faces though, and more important than that, my annonymous, mostly imaginary crowd has now taken on an entirely different dimension. Sometimes now when I think of squatting for a thought catharsis of a colonic proportion I have to contend with the rows of faces crowding into my locked stall. I prefer to bear down in privacy. Come on in after the sound of the flush and put up with the stink, but please give me a moment to myself.

Now that's where this analogy makes no sense. All this blogstipation and blogahrea is voluntary. I've got no stern lab-coated clinician pulling on a sterile glove to get things moving. (tired of the word pictures yet? I'm almost done....) I may be grossly overstating things here, but is this how a published author feels? I imagine that the first book is written when nobody cares, and author person is living on bruised bananas, all alone at home, typing away in long underwear. Then somebody wants to read it! Then they want more! But they are looking for something specific, something that got touched within them with the first, nearly accidental writing. Does the author go back to the bananas and sweaty undershirt and lose him/herself in the writing, or has the sanctuary of writing become a spectator sport of sorts? Is it possible to go back? Is it possible to not speak to the audience that one has become aware of? And if that is true, then is something of its uniqueness and usefulness lost to a sort of virtual self-consciousness?

Well, come on then. If you are in the audience, here's your chance. If you write, I want to know if you feel like your writing has changed since you've become more aware of your readers. If you read, I want to know why, and whether you've once read something and hoped that the conversation would eventually continue on, or whether it a daily ritual like peeing, or reading the funnies.

Then again, maybe none of you are real.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Assume The Stance

*Alternate Title: How to be True to your Heritage, But Look After Yourself At the Same Time.
*Alternate Title #2: How To Be Stingey So That According To Your Income Tax File, You Are considered one of The Most Generous People ever.
When you go to a parade, bring grocery bags. Even better, pack a pillow case.
Stand in an area of town that few other people will have the foresight to think of.
Encourage your children to RUN into the street, FASTER than any other children, then RUN back to yourself to make the deposit into said pillowcase.
Wear running shoes.
Wear really short shorts. Change into heels later. (What the -fneep- is with people wearing HEELS to a town fair?!)
Never, ever, consider small children toward the back of the crowd who might not be able to run as fast as your children.
Remember that if you accumulate a lot of candy, you may have enough to tide you over to Halloween, at which time you can hand out your leftover parade candy.
(If you are worldly enough to keep your lights on near the end of October)
Then, before the end of the calendar year, you will have the money (that you might have spent supporting your local gas station for your kids' candy), plus the money that you might have spent on halloween treats.
Then you can pack up that money, (along with any leftover hamburger casserole or kumst borscht that didn't get eaten by your ungrateful children) and send it to the other side of the world.
You'll might even be more than 10% a good Mennonite.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Why It Would Be Silly To Work Weekends

I was like a late-blooming groupy down at our own corner gas on that bright, bright Saturday morn. Here he was, a true Canadian celebrity.... in my town, talking to my kids, and looking human and everything. I gushed about family entertainment, great Canadian humour and his gift of hilarity. I didn't blush though. And I never threw myself at him. I have my reputation to withhold.
And for a moment (or considerably longer) it was the 80's again. With the backdrop of Michael Jackson stuttering and panting, and a few of my own unsolicited screams I survived the pirate ship with my dear old Red River Ex sidekick.
Then of course, it was high time to spend five or six hours on the two bestest rides ever, ever.

From ladybug #4 to the choo choo train bound for....
ladybug #4.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Lets Put on a Happy Face

Okay, enough with the depressing stuff already. YEEEESH! So people die and kids have to go for medical tests and needle pokes, but its not all grey and rainy and awful.

Take Ruth for example. You might read her blog and think that she's faking it because no one can be that lovely and that all-about-God and be real. Well, I'm here to say that she's the real thing. And its neat, because if I had to put my faith in my own faithfulness, my own commitment to "spending time with God" and "looking for His promises" then we'd all see in short order that I've acquired precious few points in the God club. But judging from Ruth, God apparently doesn't work that way.

Poor Ruthie has been dreaming dreams of the Hildebrands. Ruth has sung songs for the Hildebrands, and prayed prayers for the Hildebrands. Bold and fearless Ruth has even been willing to sub for Joyce the baby juggler. Sweet, senseless thing.

People are terrific. They charge me up and make me happy and give me hope. They make me laugh, and make me cry, and teach me stuff you can't get from most books. But when I have the oppurtunity to see God in people, I just feel warm and optimistic and I just wanna get me somma dat.

So, although I'm hesitant to spend time telling God how he should make sure that my boy is in good health and will remain there.... I'm more intrigued with wanting to get to know a God who speaks to people in still small ways. That's the kind of God I want to spend more time hanging out with. The kind of God who basically has decided to trust people to carry out His good ideas to some degree or another. Maybe if we spent less time fussing and fretting over what prayers to pray, or what programs to introduce or eliminate, or whether we should have a church vote on coloured or white toilet paper...... And instead we kind of chilled out with our God head-sets on and dreamed more dreams; then maybe God's goodness would take less of our own pathetic attempts to prove and program.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Dying of a Thousand Cuts from June to June

Its not any one thing that has brought me to my hypothetical knees, fantasizing of repeatedly uttering (a choice word) without any regard for my "oughtas".

Its not any one thing that makes me wonder again if I misplaced some crucial bulletin about a "life preparedness course" that would make me well educated and well equipped to be an infallable spinner of plates, or perpetual changer of hats.

Its not gone unmentioned that absorbing the concept of cancer in the family, never mind Death by Cancer has been a steady theme. The simultaneous, but unrelated truth of my husband erecting huge "Under Re-Construction" signs along what was once our shared faith roadway also dances in the periphery of my stage, waiting for a paradigm to nest in. Then along came the death-by-mental-illness of our young cousin. Then papa had a stroke. Cousin dropped of a sudden heart attack. Somewhere in there was death-of-an-auntie. Oh, and let's not forget Brian's uncle who has just died of liver cancer.

Then there were the horrer tales of the three year old girl, mistakenly run over by her own mother. The bike-riding fifth grader who was run over by an elderly lady in a car just up the road from my house. The three moms who miscarried their babies.

But then, June came again. And we wondered how it would feel.

But this June, I am busy spinning new plates, and nursing new wounds.
There will be more trips to that big hospital in the bright summer sun.
Some for my dad, some for my baby boy.

A thousand cuts.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Utterly Useless Drivel. Remnants, Really. Its My Blog And I'll Be Lame If I Want To.

Its very trendy these days to get dead. So much so, in fact, that its getting tough to fit in the people who insist on living. Do I:
(a) go to daughter #2's soccer game?
(b) go to daughter #1's band recital? or
(c) go to cousin's husband very first viewing?

And how do I plan for
(c) husband's uncle's funeral , the date and time of which is yet unannounced?

Like most trends, it can get wearisome at times.

I've got nothing inspiring to say at all. Every now and again, the beginning of a thought will very nearly come to me, but right about that time, someone generally pees on the floor. Or they need a drink of water because they are having a difficult time with consistently peeing on the floor. Or some sweet baby is crawling through the pee on the floor.

Sometimes for variety, the cat pukes on the floor.

Perhaps its time to give away the floor.
Then I'd have more time to figure out how to schedule in all the dead and living stuff.

*yes, this is a disturbingly twisted post. The truth is that I have developed this disorder (yet undiagnosed) and one of the symptoms is to tell dry jokes that aren't remotely funny, but they have something to do with people dying left, right, and centre. Or flirting with dying. Or talking about someone else dying. Meanwhile, the urgency of living is eating ME alive.
(Clean toilet. Clean sink. Get toddler's hands out of toilet. Wash toddler's hands. Clean sink. Count heads. Count sinks. Slip in puddle of urine. Listen to ridiculous lies about how its not pee at all, but the drippings of an extremely large watermelon. MAKE CHILD CLEAN FLOOR. Wash child's hands. Clean sink. Count heads.......

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Dead, Dead, very very Dead

There's a line from the Thumbelina movie stuck in my head for the past year or so. Its a song with the line of this post's title in it. I prefer "dead" to "passed away"; "gone to a better place"; and "no longer with us". It is what it is. Death. Not pretty. Not politically correct or tidy or kind.

just dead.

Like my cousin's husband who died earlier today of a heart attack. Dead.

I mean no disrespect to his wife and children and grandchildren. There's just no better word to describe the craziness of being alive one minute, making plans to spend the summer camping at Bird's Hill and the next moment, simply not existing.

We're supposed to know what to do with the insides of our own dying bodies when people we love go ahead and DIE. But we go on, breathing in and out, our crushing chests aching with life.