Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Life Here is Short. Make it Happy.

Jane made this plate of cookies for her grade six party tomorrow. She first made one ENTIRE batch thinking that baking soda was the same as baking powder. (Woops, I think we've all tried THAT one). Those went in the garbage. Even Sammy wouldn't eat those....) Then, whilst baby-sitting her brothers so her father and I could go buy more groceries to stuff into them.... She mixed, shaped, and baked her second batch. And my, oh, my. Were we impressed to see what lengths she went to to have fun making these treats. (The spider took eleven minutes to bake, she tells me.) And in case you are a bit slow, the letters read "Happy Halloween". There. Shove that in your pipe and smoke it. Happy.
Gosh. Its hard to say who's handsome-er.
And I wasn't talking about Jane and Eve's pumpkins, either. (A little too much candy indulgence, perhaps?)
Cast your cares aside for one day. Eat some candy with your kids. Or your neighbors kids. Or your cat. Or, even all by yourself.

But if you want to share with a spider..... wait eleven minutes, and come to Niverville.
Spider Capital of the World.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Language Barriers

Brian and I did not go to work today. It was Sam's appointment with the pediatric neurologist, and coincidently, Brian damaged his finger on the weekend and needed to tend to that as well. So we headed off to the city first thing in the morning, just the three of us. After navigating the children's hospital and getting Sam through another appointment with no "pokes", we were off to the Pan Am Sports Injury Clinic. In two and a half hours of moving from waiting area to waiting area, Sam made a lot of new friends. By our third waiting room (the one after x-ray, but before splints) we came around the corner to a chuckle and a "Hi Sam!" from a cheery man with a heavy accent who we'd been periodically sharing spaces with for a few hours. He reminisced about his three sons, grown up now, and how he imagined that Sam was a bright and happy boy, since he was actively asking question after question throughout the morning waits. We smiled and easily understood one another.

The long awaited reward for all that doctoring was a midday meal at McDonald's. We noted pessimistically that it was precisely lunch time, and we were located directly across from a high school. Should be reminiscient of field trips, we speculated. Brian graciously gave me the best "people-watching" position at the table, and I noticed all the unspoken languages amongst the teenaged patrons. The ones with skateboards wore their hoods, slouched, and let their pants drag behind them. Certain girls seemed to understand that language. A lone boy sat behind us, avoiding eye contact and concentrating on his soft drink. I wondered whether he didn't understand the language? or didn't want to? Was he new to the school? How did kids manage life some days, I wondered.

An energetic and friendly McDonald's employee, way beyond the age of "earning a couple of extra bucks" scooted around graciously picking up garbage that the kids literally crunched up and threw onto the floor around them. Not only was he quick, he was genuinely friendly. I tried to imagine having such a good attitude after bussing tables at a fast food store, serving snotty nosed teens, and not earning a whole lot for the effort. I knew for sure that I'd want to throw myself off of Abe's hill if I had to trade places with him.

Then, as we licked the last of our hot fudge off our fingers, it happened.
Surly-mc-surls'a'lot beside us got up to get a refill. Simultaneously, energetic clean-up boy- turned-man came around the corner and scooped up the paper wrappers and ketchups and deposited them into the trash. Surly I-hate-my-life guy came back from the counter and began the language. "HEY! Did you just F*%#@'in take away my F*%#@'n Food?!"

And here's the thing. Clean up guy stayed nice. Even though he could have been the brat's dad. Maybe even Grandfather.

But Surly wasn't done.
Nope, he stormed to the counter to complain to the manager, to demand a replacement meal, to snatch a comment card and make great show of filling it in in view of all the staff.

I was mad at him, and felt sorry for clean up guy. I noticed that clean up guy was looking more worried than annoyed, and that annoyed me even more because of the man's age, and the position he was in, having to take F&%*'s from some snotty nosed overgrown kid.

But then I started wondering about surly-McQ's language. Did he get taught at home that the only way to get what you need is by being aggressive? Mean? F%#@$-ish?

And that's the thing. Most of us only know our own language very well and so we interpret everyone around us through that filter.

There's no feel-good conclusion here. I still think it stinks that decent people have to (microwave) burgers and push brooms after stink-faced customers. But maybe it stinks just as bad that this kid never learned better conflict management.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Don't Say I Never Told You

(Scroll down for more posts)

Just in case I'm not being entirely clear, and the dates draweth near, here are the details:

November 10, 2007
Women's Night
Cougar party to celebrate Joyce's fortieth birthday
7:00 pm
BYO... drink, appetizer to share, and cougar outfit
The basics will be provided. Toilet. Glass. Possibly a plate.
Soft drinks, coffee, H2O, and box'0'wine will be flowing.
If I'm feeling particularily generous, I may throw in a bag of generic potato chips.
This blogspot is your invitation.
oh, and. Your presents is your presence.
I mean, your presence is all my heart desires. Well, that, and a laptop.....
November 24, 2007
Second Annual Ugly Sweater Party
Come celebrate ugliness, friendship, and the ridiculous side of life.
7:00 pm, at our house
Please bring stuff to share. Maybe an addition, we may run short on room...
This blogspot is your invitation.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I Am Woman Hear Me Roar... no. I Am hypocrite. Hear me Whine.

I don't buy fashion magazines. I avoid full-length mirrors when I can. I work hard at not engaging in guilty whispers with other women about how fat we are and how we should be exercising more and we should be eating less. I eat anything and everything. I avoid food rules. I abhor the culture that glorifies skinny while ignoring actual skinny people who are that way because they can't afford food. I work at not judging my value by the numbers on the scale, or by the number of indents in my thigh. Inner and outer. I put (Brian's) scale up high so I won't be tempted to climb onto it and so that my daughters won't fall into the trap that I did at their age.

But I have times when I am fat. Embarrassingly fat. Encumbered by fat. Obsessed with fat. And I search my mind for ways to lose weight. To return to that weight where things fit better. Felt better. I dream about it. Conscious and asleep.

And this is a trap, decorated in numerous red flags. I've learned too much to diet. I know its unwise, and a seemingly innocent "first step" to falling down the rest of the stairs, broken and bruised, down into the hell of obsession and possession.

But I hate my weight. And then because I am frustrated, and "too evolved" to diet it off, I just turn it inward and hate myself. Which I hate. And when I hate myself, I want to improve, and to improve, I want to lose weight. But I can't because I won't diet.

Couple that with the fact that my disorder is closely enmeshed with my emotional health. Stress me out, embarrass or frighten me, or throw life into overdrive, and my brain goes straight to default: must control. Must manipulate body.

Sometimes if the stress level gets high enough, it all sort of works itself out in a dysfunctional way. I get upset enough to feel nauseated and I can't eat. I feel myself begin to lose weight. I rejoice in my stress. But here's where things get weird. (er)

I feel frightened.

The looser feeling in the rear of my jeans scares me. As much as I've been craving it and dreaming it and desiring it, I'm scared. And my appetite returns. My ass returns. And I hate it.

(Anyone still with me?)
What I really need is peace in my head and in my heart. The irony is that when I have that peace, the fat falls off without me becoming obsessed with it. My recovery was largely thanks to Geneen Roth, author and speaker whose sensible, rule-free approach to making peace with food and body resonated with me like nothing else. So, many times over the past nine years, I have picked up her books, determined that I will once again find my way. But her words fall on rocky ground. I continue to eat mindlessly. I continue to abhor my body. I go back to considering desparate measures like the cabbage soup diet or something equally revolting.

I need a gifted surgeon to separate all the entangled stuff in my brain so that I can think/behave straight again.

Or maybe a lobotomy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

With All These Planks and Splinters Piling Up, Brian Just May Get That Addition Yet

Recently, any spare brain space has been dominated by thoughts of hidden forms of judgementalism and how unnatural the practise of grace can be. Lessons learned at the thrift shop, coupled with an amazing series on total forgiveness at church right now has brought about a desire for greater freedom in this whole area of grace.

What I really want is for people who bug me to change, but the other thing the preacher-guy said that stuck long and fast in my head is that the common denominator in all our problems is the "me" factor. I'm in all of my problems, every single one. So it seemed sensible to try and redirect my telepathic messages from the thrift shop legalists back to "me" and see what I could do to contribute in a more positive way. Enter: Pumpkin loaf. I thought I'd bake an extra loaf, slice it up and put it on a plate left over from my bridal party (a plate I really don't need back, and I'm tired of seeing kids eat toast off of: "Happy 25th Anniversary!"...). I wrote a little note for the thrift shop volunteers and tucked it in with the loaf. With two kids filling the double stroller, I balanced the plate of loaf and my handbag up top of the sun shade that we clearly wouldn't be needing that day. We strolled through 80 mile an hour winds past the church, over the crooked sidewalk, past the other church, through the parking lot, over the footbridge, and into the parking lot of the thrift shop.

That's when the plate fell.

Pumpkin loaf with shards. Didn't seem all that gracious. I considered stealing a 25 cent plate and transferring the loaf over... but there was still the risk of razory bits of "Happy 25th Anniversary!" clinging to the underside of the bread so I thought better of it. It also struck me as pretty ironic to go snitching things in the thrift store when what I wished they would do is stop treating their customers with such suspicion. Well, I'd have to try to behave graciously instead and in this case, that appeared to include keeping the pumpkin loaf to myself.

I did a quick scour of the place for vintage bits of this and that for my sewing projects. Then the kids and I went to pay. As I approached the cash out, the woman made a comment about my bag; something to the tune of, "Oh! She's got a bag like that too!"

"Bag like what?" , I had to know.

That's when it came out about the volunteer who had come in, toting one of my roomy bags-for-Darfur and was asked to leave her "backpack" at the front, lest she should go about stealing their precious, dented donations. Well, it seemed like an oppurtunity to me. So I launched into how disappointed I had been to hear this tale, how sure I was that neither of the two of them would ever treat a customer so suspiciously, how this was a place all about God and his love, and that if people chose to sin by stealing, wasn't that between them and God? Wasn't it wonderful that they donated their time, and could spend the day making people feel welcome and happy to be in such a place of good service?

The women half-nodded in sort-of-confused, token agreement. Then with a toss of the head, pointed out a customer from a different religious perspective, and leaned closer to me. "You have to watch those people"; she shared with me conspiritively, "I once saw a woman leave the store with things in her hand that she never paid for. Why would people come into a place like this, that's for missions, and steal things when the prices are already so low?"

Her partner nodded vigorously.
"Yes, you sure have to watch those kind of people."

And with that, I gathered up my planks and splinters, my shards, crumbs and the kids.
With my addiction to thrift shopping, I imagine that God will have many more oppurtunities to try and help me work my way through this whole grace thing.
So far, I mostly have stuff to haul around.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Splinters Hurt, but Planks Can Really Get In The Way

Yes, I'm well aware of the irony.

I'm judging people for being judgemental. And legalistic. I'd prefer if they followed my "rules for life". But that's the pickle. If grace were so easy and natural, people who walk in suspicion and fear wouldn't make me angry. They would make compassion rise in me, and I'd want to contribute to their lives in such a way to show how much easier JOY is to walk in. Instead, my base nature wants to turn their very tools against them and throw defiance and rebellion at them. But isn't that what they are afraid of? Isn't that fulfilling their prophesies that people are not to be trusted and that stringent guidelines and avoidance of punishment is our only hope? How comfortable am I to give respect to people who I don't believe deserve it?

Its trendier now for people of faith to be gracious to people on the "fringe". Maybe those with a different sexual orientation. Maybe with a shadey past; a recovering drug addict; or a prostitute. But its waaaay harder to be kind and gracious to people who think they have all the answers for me, and view my parenting, my lifestyle, and my faith with squinted eyes. Who want to correct me. Who want to condemn me.

Its ironic to recognize how badly I want to correct them.

I may be wrong, but it seems that Jesus had some of the same struggles. It was the religious leaders who really got his goat and seemed to make him crazy. I never heard Jesus call a prostitute or a robber a "brood of vipers", but he reserved that for the religious men, the money changers in the temple, and the self-righteous who seem to surface in every time, in every culture. Not that it would be wise to use that as justification for my disdain for that small number of cross volunteers who parol our local thrift shop. And its important to clarify that there are at least as many sunny, helpful, joyful volunteers in the very same facility.

But if I've learned anything in my first forty years, its that you can change no one.
Well, except for yourself. And that only by the power of the Maker. So, I guess I'll sign up for some changes. The angry judgementalism in me is what annoys me in others, so back to the workshop to learn more of planks and splinters.

Care to join me?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sorry, but its Hard to See With This Plank In My Eye

How deeply lines rivet the faces of those whose role in life is that of keeping other people from sinning. How precious and valuable used, unwanted, chipped, sweat-stained, and skin follicle speckled junk is. What great responsibility to protect it, to ensure it is securely and diligently locked up so that only the keeper of the key can unlock the bounty of those one dollar and fifty cent broaches and belly rings. How critical to maintain the integrety of these objects so that good may be done. This good which will be bestowed upon the great and blessed field far, far away. Visited by few, the field is vaguely known by the glossy pictures carefully fastened to white walls- gleaming pictures of cleansed field dwellers whose lives have been eternally changed from dusty monotony to ceaseless gratitude.

How tremendously rewarding and exciting it must be to deliver this good news to that land far far away. Surely it would not be as complex as being the keeper of the keys here in the Land of the Plank. It takes a great deal of commitment to confiscate backpacks and large handbags at the door, lest untrustworthy locals should be found allowing merchandise to fall into their greedy folds. Its no small task to sleuth about the place, scowling down at children and sticky-fingered mothers who are surely in this place to take and take and take, never once thinking of the good that could be done to those in the field far, far away. Or what of the responsibility to ensure that no one should fondle an item yet unpriced!! Or slip an item with a pink tag into their satchel on bag sale day when the signs clearly read blue tags; priced $5.00 and under! (no fabric, no tea towels, no pretty things, no vintage things, no laughing, no smiling, and certainly, no dancing, drinking, or loitering). No, nor shall we support the hedonistic pleasures of campers, seeking to purchase a cooling receptable whose exterior clearly depicts bottles of Coors, or Labatts, or Kokanee. Woe to the fingers of the fallen pricer who brought such an abominable thing of shame onto the floor.

These are the thankless, unrecognized duties of those who were left behind. Their pictures will never smile from a brochure that promises tax deductable receipts to support the efforts of those lucky messengers of good in that land far away. In that place, surely the good is always well received and its recipients never fall into traps of greed and carelessness like the lowly, base thrift shoppers from the land of plenty. Surely their men marry women without question. Surely their mothers teach children to be seen and not heard. Surely all its people have learned the value of not asking questions; not challenging the status quo.

But someone must stay behind to ensure that the cracked and faded donated things don't get all dirtied up by some local before the proceeds can be used for some good. Somebody must ensure that some local doesn't carry off the merchandise improperly priced, or taken from behind a staff only sign, or that backpacks and large handbags don't get stuffed with eight tracks and cd games from the cheerio boxes seven years ago. Somebody has got to stay behind to make sure there are no toys in the area that the kids are allowed to play in. They might carelessly damage one, and what good would that do?

Its a diry job, but someone's got to make sure that nobody is doing anything wrong. No good could come of it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

All That Glitters Befits a Cougar

Cougars, prepare the way for the alpha Cougar, the Great Alluring One. Her time in the chambers is nearly complete, for her ladies in waiting have bestowed upon her many gifts from afar.

Thus far, her fingers are well adorned, but her cheeks are found lacking.

The request has been made that any prospective apprentices might at this time present their case before council. Alpha Cougar is ready to receive considerations for three women who would henceforth be formally invited to the third party of November: The Party Before The Party.

This is an exclusive event, closed to the public. Only the three chosen ones will join our Lady of Forty to share in the great ceremony of the Glueing-On-Of-The-Nails about which generations of cougars before us have woven their legends.

Ceremony is to commence on November 10, an hour before the previously announced event: The Great Cougar Party to celebrate the first forty years of our esteemed one.

State your case in the comments, and they will be presented for consideration.

Words to study before November 10, 7:00 pm.

*muffin top
* fishnet
*stiletto heel

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Stuff That Makes Me Crazy

when I'm kissing toddlers, listening to Hillsongs, and furtively ripping strips of plaid flannel out of my husband's shirts to use in table runners, I don't like to hear the phone ring. If its my friend Cheri offering to come over and bring me chocolate, or take me to some distant village thrift shop, I soon get over my sense of intrusion and loss of privacy. But when I run to the phone and hear that tell-tale click and pause, I begin to brace myself. If I'm feeling particularily brash and crusty, I will generally tell the telemarketer that Mrs Hildebrand has just thrown herself off a Manitoba hill and is unable to come to the phone. Or that she's lost in the corn maze is won't be found until spring. Or that our phone is for pleasure only, and does not cover the extra privelege of her/him wasting my time with dull surveys or pleas for money.

Unfortunately, my moral barometer has been rising, plus there are people who actually, mistakenly name me "Mrs Hildebrand". I always glance over my shoulder, expecting to see my mother in law approaching, as I am known only as "Joyce" or "Kehler", or a variety of endearing nicknames that I won't burden you with. So now when someone on the phone asks for my mother in law, I fear it may be someone at the church or school asking me to bake brownies or to chide me for my naughty child, or beg explanation for why some agendas rarely get signed. So, today I was stuck in that no-man's land as the gentle voice on the phone started in on me. She launched into a spiel about predators hunting down our children as they ride their bikes, meander to school, or play in their yards. She tried to convince me that its the school's responsibility to educate children about dangers and that for $100.00, I could rest assured that four Manitoba children would find their safety and redemption in a new educational supplement.

I say for a hundred dollars, we could go to the pool for a swim, have a treat at McDonalds, buy a new nest for the budgie, and tell our kids how precious they are to us. We could tell them what we want for them, how much they are valued, and how glad we are they picked us. We could spend a few hours enjoying the good in life and revelling in the knowledge that so far, we are unbelievably fortunate. We are a whole family. We love one another.

And if I have my way, none of my children will grow up to be a telemarketer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Glad this, Glad that....

After the previous post, it seemed prudent to write about something responsible, dull, deep and ordinary. One would hate to give the impression that life is good, that there were no large bills in the mail, or that we're doing the PollyAnna dance twenty-four-seven over here. Still..... Sunday was really good! (I'll say it quietly so that its not too annoying) Just about as good as that glowing Friday and Saturday report that got spillt over here.

After a darned good cup of Sunday morning coffee, I wandered across the street, through the Mennonite parking lot, over main street, and into my church. Its a church even though it looks like a barn connected to a box connected to an office. And, hey, I'd go to church in a barn if it meant that getting there was as easy as this is. Long gone are the days of stuffing three or four miserable, cranky little brats (Godly brats, I'm sure) into the car, screaming all the way to Sunday School for the love of the Lord. Now they pretty much wander through parking lots in their own good time, and go home when they've had enough. I can stay behind and talk the ear off every croney and baby in the place to my heart's content.

But I digress. The sermon was deadly good. One of those messages where you think; "Hey! don't stop now... carry on for another hour so we can get to the punchline. I've got a squashed banana in my purse, and a wrinkled up sandwhich baggie full of crushed triscuits.... please don't stop at noon! I'm sure those vomit-stained volunteers in the baby room would feel blessed to spend an extra hour with those little gifts of creation!" (I warned you that this post was sickeningly PollyAnna-ish...)

When I got home, the husband had cooked up a little lunch feast! Yum, yum. Too bad about the squashed banana. Tummy happy, I whirred and stitched the afternoon away in my fabric nest while Brian worked his way through the Moosewood Cookbook in the kitchen. At four oclock I emerged to vacuum up the threads and invite some friends to enjoy our dinner with us.

WHAT A TIME WE HAD! Enough hilarity to fill another post, I'm sure. But I'll nauseate you with that tomorrow, or another time. After I've thought of something melancholy and depressing to bring you down with in the mean time...

But there's MORE! I've recently received three gifts. THREE, I tell thee! Two in the mail, and one via Brian. And I was going to have a great time sharing them here tonight but the camera is not available, and what good is a tale of gifts without some photos?

So, for now.... Thank you Lettuce and Nancy and Alice! You wonderful silly geese!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Pinch me. Or not- Its the Weekend.

The smell of portabello mushrooms with red pesto and feta cheese steaming on the barbeque and wine waiting in my favourite cobalt blue goblet is the sweetest way to kiss good-bye to my last two daycare babes on the cusp of a glorious weekend. Excellent company, impassioned conversation, and the promise of hours with my textiles yet to come send me to bed early with a smile clung to the corners of my lips.

Saturday morning dawned with no dreaded alarm or glommy eyes begging for more rest. No sweet smelling babies to crawl across my favourite drafting table- the wide expanse of floor covered in colours, swirls, checks, and strips of delicious piecing potential. There is an hour or two of cutting and sewing before Jane lures me away to our favorite haunt- the local thrift shop whose windows boast promise of half price. We come away grinning- a perfect pair of skates for a dollar. Two large housecoats perfect for repurposing; one in swirls of old fashioned colour and the other a soft pink chennille. A bag of fabric scraps apparently hoarded since the 1970's, complete with vintage patterns of ladies underwear, bridal wear for dolls, and fashion clothes for those 21 inch fashion barbies we never had back in the day. No ugly sweaters or cougar accessories, but who can survive too much stimulation before noonday?

Time for a toasted tomatoe before loading the girls up for a day in the city. We begin at Value Village where new heights of joy are found in a pale purple chennille bedspread, a heavy green spread perfect for carpet bags, two vintage curtain panels, an old broach, and a packet of placemats perfect for Christmassy table runners. Then off to the real world- the mall for Arianna's skinny jeans, a soft sweatshirt for Jane, and even a little something new for mama.

We've spent much of the day, enjoyed each others company, and taken a break from the regular monotony of sibling rivalry, dishes, tidying, and homework. As though that were not already too much to hope for, peaceful ride home is followed by the surprise of an unsolicited meal of pork tenderloin, baby potatoes, and stuffed tomato whipped up by the sweet love of my life.

Sometimes life can have a storybook quality. Moments or hours that are too much to wish for, but are true and real. And now, off to church- where the music will fill me, beginning in my heart, radiating down my limbs, and ending in that happy lump in my throat.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Seasonal Winds

There's no denying that a different wind has been blowing in. Daycare walks have been few and far between with the wind and the wet to contend with. Still, along with that dreaded change another wind has come again- that irresistable urge to create!

Brian's sister is launching a "home store" (similar to home-schooling but completely unrelated) for the Christmas season. She'll be turning the front room of her lovely, well-fixed-up character home into a crafty vendor's paradise. I've taken the bait.

Priding myself on normally being sort of wanna-be-ish practical, I have always thought of retail magazines of a luxury broaching on carnal sin. Lately though, if the hounds release me, my wallet and I are carried directly to the nearest glossy sleeved brothel and I scan and salavate for something different.

Well, this week I found it! Cloth, Paper, and Scissors is unique. Its subtitles are
collage, mixed media, artistic discovery. And it delivers! (not to my door, but in the artistic sense).

It was a short leap from there to deciding what my tags for the Christmas store would look like. I used the pages out of an old autograph book, then glued borrowed letters from a flyer to form the word "re joyce" which I thought went nicely with my basic addiction to repurposing anything that isn't glued down.

So, the blood is pumping happy pumps and the days feel too short again. But in a good way. The kind of short that at the end I can say- Hey! I still have five things I'm in the middle of, and I wanted to spend an hour or two reading my book! (The Red Tent, by Anita Diamont).

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

On The Go

1. Picnic blankets made from recycled denim pants. One completed, two on the go.

2. Table runners made from various recycled fabrics. Christmassy types of plaids and greens and off whites.

3. Wall quilts or throw pillows (dependent upon how I finish them up) made out of quilt scraps and embroidery thread. Several complete. Many more existing in my head.

4. button bouquets that I fashioned for the first time while at the cabin this weekend. The idea comes from ME. (not me, but ME from the links).

5. Bags. I did a short Bags for Darfur run last winter, and I've picked up the torch once again. I think I have thirteen bags now, but I keep coming across insides or outsides of bags in my fabric stacks, so its impossible to measure how many I am currently working on.

6. Sam's medical tests. An eeg tomorrow, thank God that Brian is going to take the day off since Sam has to go in sleep deprived and I wasn't sure how I'd keep him from falling asleep on the van ride in to Children's.

7. Life in my head. Somehow I don't know if that will ever conclude. Hopefully there comes a point in the future where its a little less confusing and painful.

8. Trying to keep this house from imploding. I keep hauling more vintage stuff into this over crowded space because I have so many ideas of what to do with them.

9. Keeping envy at bay. My wonderful, amazing, gracious, kind, smart, and supportive friend Cheri went to an auction on Saturday and came away with a mother load of quilts and enamel. I don't know if our friendship will survive. Like I said, my house may be imploding, but that doesn't satiate my greed.

10. Oh. And remembering that I'm happy to host two parties in November. Before that, I'd really like to get some form of curtain/drape up in my front window because the trash that's currently hanging up there is tattered from the cats hanging off of it, and there isn't a real curtain rod up, just some lame thing I hammered up when we first moved here. Then there's the old couch thingy. I'm caring less and less. They are ugly. The green one currently keeps its level of elevation with the help of several two by fours, 2 cans of corn, and a piece of plywood. It doesn't take much to improve on ugly. But the grey one. Oh, boy do I want to haul it outdoors at my cougar party and light a match to it.

So, in light of some of the stuff I need to be busy working right now, I sit here chewing my hangnails and typing on the computer.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Three Words Worth Thinking About

heart [ haart ] (plural hearts)

3. basis of emotional life: the source and center of emotional life, where the deepest and sincerest feelings are located and a person is most vulnerable to pain .

Quote from an old friend:
---the beauty, pain and ugliness of what is life and death and how it seems the harder you love the harder it hurts, but that's the preference nonetheless.
.......idyllic, broken, hopeful, real, loving, loud and soft all at the same time--

per·spec·tive [ pər spéktiv ] (plural per·spec·tives)

1. particular evaluation of something: a particular evaluation of a situation or facts, especially from one person's point of view.

con·text [ kón tèkst ] (plural con·texts)

1. text surrounding word or passage: the words, phrases, or passages that come before and after a particular word or passage in a speech or piece of writing and help to explain its full meaning.

2. surrounding conditions: the circumstances or events that form the environment within which something exists or takes place.

Becoming aware of new information requires an attention to that perspective and context. It is also true that one can not measure steps and choices indefinately preoccupied with what may exist in someone else's context or how one's intentions may be perceived.

We are all interconnected. My life circle will always enter the life circle of others. The lines will cross and intersect, and although the boundries are clear, its interpretation is largely dependent upon which circle one's focus begins on.

Its a comfort that the God who "knitted us together in our mothers womb" also knows the heart. More than I. More than others.

Its a good perspective.

Overheard at Thanksgiving

The children have some highly favoured friends from life in that other city who have come to spend Thanksgiving Day with them. They sat down to a lovingly prepared lunch of tuna and tomatoe slices and toast. Eldest daughter offered to pray.

"Dear Lord;

Micah! I'm trying to pray over here!
.... Thank you for this food and these friends...."

Friday, October 05, 2007

Family Traditions

(Thank you God, for my family)

"Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.” ~George Eliot

*thank you Brandy

Its a tradition that began long before any of us had children of our own. Every autumn, the family and all its counterparts make the trip to Riding Mountain National Park to celebrate Thanksgiving.

We always hike the marsh, and at the end of the weaving plank walkway is a gazebo where we have probably posed for a drillion or more family photos. Then there is the treasure hunt, another hike along the lake that is cleverly disguised as a candy hunt so that the children beg for it every year. Uncle Mel's trail mix has become another favourite legend. It was initiated the year he arrived with a rough tote filled with nuts, raisins, chocolate, and candy. Which works out well for my preferred weekend parenting style. Book in one hand, a magazine in the other, and the dimples of my cellulite holding coffee, dark chocolate truffles, four dozen vintage buttons, some scraps of unbleached cotton, and a gin and tonic. Whenever the children approach something relating to hunger I just glance up and scream at them... GO EAT THE FRIGGIN TRAIL MIX!! DO I LOOK LIKE A CARING, ENGAGED MOTHER RIGHT NOW?!

And then of course, it goes without saying that there are hours and hours of family bonding.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


(msn encarta dictionary)

kindness, kindliness, decency, favor, mercy, mercifulness, charity, benevolence, clemency, leniency, reprieve

act of mercy: an act that bestows or shows mercy toward another person.

I have a picture of grace that envelopes both "sides" of a loaded and charged situation. Its not that remarkable to rush to the defense of someone you call your friend and don't like to see hurting, but it is remarkable when the grace is so plentiful that both, diametrically opposed perspectives and the choices that flow from them can be viewed with decency, mercy, and clemency.

Its the kind of grace that allows plenty of room for differing viewpoints, and for the possibility of a new reality at some other time when wounds are not so weepy. Its the kind of grace that says; "We'll do this together." Instead of spending precious energy on choosing allegiances or nailing others firmly to their crosses, it speaks with tenderness of the hope for restoration. It shelters the weak and vulnerable from undue hurtfulness. It hopes against hope.

Paul says it best; "But for right now... we have three things to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.

And the best of the three is love.

Monday, October 01, 2007

My Son, the Prodigy

Ahhh, another prodigy in the Hildebrand line. Sammy has taken up drawing and does quite a remarkable Sponge Bob.

I suppose he'll draw like his sister Jane. Hopefully if Brian sets up an art blog for him like he did for Jane, he won't drop the pencil and run immediately for cover.


Today he moved into another medium. This always amazes me, when the drawing progresses towards having limbs protruding from the body and not the head, and the head holds eyes and a mouth. The fingers are new also.

While they were at it, I asked Jane to show him how to write his name with lower case "a" and "m". The brilliant little mind mastered it immediately.

Later as I was humming away at the sewing machine, I asked Sam to go all by himself and wash around his face. He came back so perfectly clean that I suggested he go out and get a job so I could spend all day on the couch reading, and maybe just playing with my sewing machine.

For the rest of the day, he just drew himself up a little taller, waved his arm towards the sagging couches and declared.... "I'm better at stuff now, so I can get a job and you can just sit on the couch ALL day, and read books!"