Friday, November 30, 2007

Holiday Newsletter

With the approaching onslaught of another Christmas season, she realized that she had never been happier.

Her eldest daughter applied herself diligently to facebook and was acqiring the necessary skills of well-applied mascara. Her mother's nearly retired dream of entering her into pagaents seemed once again within reach.

Second born had recently been observed staring longingly at Avril Lavigne's album cover, twirling her hair wistfully, and reaching for a darker shade of eye liner.

The boy had been so easy to care for. He'd spent hours in his bedroom, entertaining himself and saving his allowance for a couple of more challenging video games. His wrists showed promising ripples of strength from the dedication and commitment to acquiring new levels.

The little one, indulge-ed wonder child never ceased to charm all with his crescendoing whine and demands to all possessions of all persons entering his territory. He showed tremedous potential for politics and was sure to appeal to a wide population with his spiderman slippers in one hand and the pink tutu in the other.

And Mr Perfect Family member had never looked better in workboots; slicing and dicing in the kitchen, never ceasing to entice more and more members into his Moosewood pyramid scheme cult.

Nope, things could hardly look better, she mused, studying herself in the mirror. She'd grown into forty with so much grace, and no signs whatsoever of impending crisis.

Their mortgage was practically untouched, so engaged had they been in the various celebrations of life, and learning to love their neighbors. And the echoeing spaces of their now baby-free home was soon to be filled with the piddling and whining of a perfect little puppy. The cat couldn't be more excited.

No, it could not be denied.
They were practically perfect in every way.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

We Are soooooooooo NOT a bed AND breakfast

Last Saturday night, a window or two got opened to accomodate the many thick, heat containing sweaters. And as they say, when a door closes, a window opens, and the next thing you know, you're overrun with cats. Well, maybe that's not exactly what they say, but it is just what happened. I thought it was our neighbor's cat- hearing the hilarity and wanting to get her a piece of the action. But when Jane the cat lady came home, she set me straight on the cat facts. Well, that cat figured she owned the place and just kept coming around. The girls brought food out for her, which she appreciated, but she would still jump up onto the windowsill and do the paw version of the happy dance on the window staring plaintively, frantically, into our dining room.

A gal like me has got only so much strength.

That poor puss was freezing and I couldn't stand it. So, I found room in the inn, and managed to contain her to the bathroom for the first 24 hours or so. She already knew she owned the place, so within 48 hours, she had taken over the beds, the heat-spewing vents, the food dish, the basement, and well..... the house.

She said we could stay.
If we wanted.

Then she discovered the best reality game EVER.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Nobody is Happy All The Time

The bed I need for a napping child is covered in clothes to be put away.
The bathroom smells funny.

I'm sickened by the brutality of Darfur's women and I'm sickened by my thighs.
This sickens me.

Papa's blood is slowing. Clogging.

I dream disturbing dreams of rats and spirits.
I feel

The cat needs
as do the

Guilt, widening.
Thighs, spreading.

Cat stares at me through the window.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Christmas in Darfur

In the last little while I have spent a lot of time researching Darfur for the purposes of a five minute blurb in church this evening. I thought I would test run it here.

In October of 2006, I came across a post linking to a CNN report on the crises in Darfur, Sudan. Reading about the horrific realities that our sisters survive prompted me and a number of other bloggers to plan a website dedicated to the support of these hungry and hurting people. While waiting for my partners, who are working on web design and fund-raising plans, I have begun a small project named: Bags for Darfur. These bags are made from reclaimed fabrics and are useful for book carrying, grocery shopping, making a fashion statement, or for carrying bags of money to donate to our cause.

I imagine that Christmas in Sudan will be much like any other day. For most, there will be nothing to look forward to.

Listen, as I share the stories of two Sudanese women who were brave enough to tell the truth of what life is like in Darfur.

“I am 16 years old. One day, in, I was collecting firewood for my family when three armed men on camels came and surrounded me. They hold me down, tied my hands and raped me one after the other. When I arrive home, I told my family what happened. They threw me out of home and I had to build my own hut away from them. I was engaged to a man and I was so much looking forward to getting married. After I got raped, he did not want to marry me and broke off the engagement because he said that I was now disgraced and spoilt. It is the worst thing for me.

…When I was eight months pregnant from the rape, the police came to my hut and forced me with their guns to go to the police station. They asked me questions, so I told them that I had been raped. They told me that as I was not married, I will deliver this baby illegally. They beat me with a whip on the chest and back and put me in jail. There were other women in jail, who had the same story. During the day, we had to walk to the well four times a day to get the policemen water, clean and cook for them. At night, I was in a small cell with 23 other women. I had no other food than what I could find during my work during the day. And the only water was what I drank at the well. I stayed 10 days in jail and now I still have to pay the fine, 20,000 Sudanese Dinars (65 USD) they asked me. My child is now 2 months old.” Woman, 16, February 2005, West Darfur.

Halima Bashir was born into the
remote western deserts of Sudan. She grew up in a wonderfully rich environment and later went on to study medicine. At age twenty-four she returned to her tribe to begin practising as their first ever qualified doctor. But then a dark cloud descended upon her people...
Janjaweed Arab militias began savagely assaulting her people, invariably with the backing of the Sudan army and air force.
At first, Halima tried not to get involved. But in January 2004 they attacked her area, gang-raping 42 schoolgirls. Halima treated the traumatised victims and sickened by what she had seen, she decided to speak out in a Sudanese newspaper and to the UN charities.
Then the secret police came for her. For days Halima was interrogated, subjected to unspeakable torture and gang-raped.

Her crime was to tell people that a group of Janjaweed militia and Government soldiers had attacked the primary school for girls, raping pupils as young as 8. She paid a terrible personal price. "They were aged between 8 and 13," she said. "They were in shock, bleeding, screaming and crying. "It was horrific. Because I told people what happened, the authorities arrested me. "They said, 'We will show you what rape is'. "They beat me severely. At night, three men raped me. "The following day the same thing, different men. Torture and rape, every day, torture and rape." tens of thousands of women and girls have been subjected to rape and other extreme sexual violence since the crisis erupted in 2003. The Islamist Government in Khartoum has given the Janjaweed militia a free hand in putting down a rebellion by African tribes in the region, and there has not been a single conviction in Darfur for rape against displaced women and girls.

Please join me as I share with you :
Desmond Tutu’s Prayer for Darfur
“We pray for the people of Darfur who have been terrorised and forced from their homes; for those who have fled to refugee camps, and who still live in fear;
We pray for those who have died, and for their families;
We pray for the women in Darfur who face danger every day as they leave their camps for firewood – may You watch over Your daughters;
We pray for the children of Darfur, especially those who face a frightening world without one or both of their parents – may they be protected and comforted;
We pray for the safety of the humanitarian aid workers as they feed and care for the people of Darfur;
We pray for the safety of the African Union's Mission in Darfur as they work in difficult circumstances;
We pray for the safety of the United Nations' Peacekeepers when they begin their duties in Darfur;
We pray that the world's leaders will be guided by You in their quest for justice and safety for Darfur's people – may they be inspired by Your humanity;
Remind us that we are all Your children, and teach us to listen;
We pray that those who are causing death and misery in Darfur will turn away from racism and violence – may they be forgiven when they turn to You for guidance instead;
Teach us to rejoice in all the things we have in common and respect each others’ differences;
We pray that people everywhere will strive to live in peace, tolerance, and respect, no matter what their faith or race – may we gain the wisdom, grace, and generosity of spirit to overcome our differences and live as one.”

Thank you.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A God Thing

Something as irreverent as an Ugly Sweater Party brings me back to the same simple statement- It just had to be a God Thing.

There was a lot of neat stuff that transpired beween the knits and the purls. The schtick with the press was fabulous. These people blended right in, it was completely effortless. I learned a lot of interesting information from Sanderson, including the unbelievable fact that the Vancouvar chapter of Ugliness is H.U.G.E. We're talking Commodore Ballroom and a thousand attendees! I found a list of guidelines for people seeking information on ugly sweater party etiquette. This is freaking me out all over again, because once again I'm wondering about this whole fear of success thingie. I mean- I could fail at what I believed I had thought of ?? Now, there's etiquette, lists of what types of sweaters to look for, how to designate categories for the contests and prizes for the best/worst appearance.

The pressure.

Which brings me back to wanting to dwell on the God Thing.
I believe that people come to these darn events for a reason. I may or may not know what those reasons may be. But I no longer categorize my life by "churchy/faithlife events" and "regular day-to-day life". I live. I am loved. I believe there's a reason. There are seasons, and boy, oh boy, I'm in a fun one right now. And we are made for a reason. Quirkiness is no curse- its part of the obvious creativity of a loving God.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sweatering With The Oldies

Last year, it was my 39th birthday that prompted the madness. This year it is the paparazzi.

I've had no time to get my pullovers in a knot about it. Its been that kind of a week.

But some really crucially important stuff got taken care of.
I took a good , hard look at the couch. Well, what I could see of it through clouds of dust and flying straw. Yes, that's right. Straw.
I pushed, pulled, and dragged that monstrosity through the kitchen, out the entry way, and over the edge of the deck. I saw it laying there covered in leaves, torn, abandoned.... And I just knew that Brian would kill me if I left it there for more than fourteen seconds. So, I went after that beast, and hurled it continuously, ass over tea kettle, til I could slide that motherload into the garage.
(and hey, if we need an overflow area at the party on Saturday, November 24 at 7:00 pm at my house, bring your own nummie, dwinkie, and sweater.... that couch in the garage may come in really, really handy.....)
I meant to recover the remaining worn furniture in old sweaters, but GEE! Where'd the time go?!
So, you're fresh out of excuses. In fact, you badly NEED a party. I've got two spare nasty sweaters upstairs in my closet, Brian has just done a big party run in the stadt, and the now infamous couch has been replaced.
Did you ever stop to wonder what kind of parties the next generation is likely to throw? Well, repeated bending-over in my line of work, combined with the utter lack of tact and discretion in the preschooler population, has led me to believe that the next generation will be scouring thrift shops for slacks to wear to the Butt-Crack-Pants parties that they are most likely to host.
Aren't you glad you only have to find a sweater?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Navitity Scene

Tis the season. That trusty old nativity scene came out of hiding this afternoon. The one where at least one of the shepherds isn't snowy white. Its old and the paint is faded and kind of weird looking in a wonderful sort of way.

And of course, my son Micah appreciates that sort of thing. Well, okay... not exactly. What he actually appreciates is the oppurtunity to torture these righteous plastic individuals in varied and creative ways.

"I'm not a sheep!
Mary exclaims, her arms thrown up in the air- aghast at this THING which lays in the manger before her.

Somebody! Get this sheep out of my baby's manger!


Get That Child Off That Filthy LAMB! Do you know where that thing has been?


I Wish; I Want; I Wonder

I wish it were possible to do everything well. To think of everything. To not be brought face to face with my dark side.
Defensiveness. Self-pity. Negativity.

I wish I wouldn't run out of ideas for cooking and baking edibles that children will actually consume and don't have sugar as their first ingredient and syrup as the second. I wish children would stop commenting about the inadequasy of whats set before them.

I wish I would stop chewing the skin around my fingernails. Its been about thirty years now.
I hate it. I keep doing it.

I wish the day would lengthen to being 36 hours long, without exhaustion setting in. Then I could e-mail cougar attendees some great pictures, bake some pies, get through my paper stacks, maybe even find my way back into my sewing room and make something.

And that brings me to what I want. Time to create. Which is ironic, because a month ago I wanted my daycare numbers back up to what they were before. Which I now have. And now, by evening I'm so tired, and so busy putting the house back together in time for the next day, that there's no time for creating.

So I want to be content. Enjoy the moment.

I want to get involved in my daughter's youth group. Sort of. Teen-agers intimidate me, and I'm not sure I have the language to relate to them. Plus, there's the whole thing about waiting for the 36 hour day. And the whole exhaustion thing. But I want to get to know her world better. I want to observe her friends in their own element. I want to enjoy my daughter by entering her reality.

I want to do a "Yahnt zeed" thrift shopping tour. Morris. Winkler. Morden. Altona.
Yes, I do. It's been years.

I want to get out walking every day. Its an excellent mental health enhancer. I was doing really well there for a bit, until the whole exhaustion thing set in. Still, I strive for the goal.

I wonder what awaits us? What inconcievable bends in the road are yet to come?
What will my kids say about growing up here? with us?

I wonder how many more old quilts and chenille spreads I can fit into a modest house? when I'll be able to get to those other towns to find out?

I wonder if the ache in my heart for significance will ever be answered on this side of forever?

I wonder who's reading all this rubbish?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Sweater Segue

dear diary;
I've been so busy learning how to deal with conflict that I nearly forgot that our big party is in four sleeps! But Dave Sanderson of the Winnipeg Free Press hasn't forgotten! He keeps sending these e-mails talking about his big fancy photo spreads in the Detour section, and then whispers "front page" in my ticklish ear. ooooh! I must confess I've always wanted to be somebody.... I can just feel it-- This is my big moment!!

Here's how I bet it will go.... We'll start out chatting about knitted garments- about sleeve length, cowell as opposed to v-necked; the benefits of broomstick knit versus traditional knit and purl.... and that will effortlessly segue into a piece about my various and many skills and accomplishments to this point in life. Forty will never look so good! After I get published and my name gets networked around the city, around the surrounding communities, and then.... well... worldwide...Well, after that I just know that I'll really be SOMEBODY! Then the calls will start pouring in. I'll do seminars. Weekend retreats. Do those signing thingies at Chapters, with a fancy Starbucks coffee in one hand. I'LL BE ABLE TO AFFORD STARBUCKS! I'll spend so much time running from signing to signing that I'll develop long, luxurious, muscular thighs. Then I'll have to write more books about how I got over compulsive eating, started running from reporter to reporter, and how I henceforth and forever more look really good on the photo on the backs of all the books I'm publishing. Then, because my life is full and rich, and I've become wildly successful, I won't have any problems ever again. I'll not have to deal with conflict. Disappointment. Security issues.

And that's only the good that I expect will come through Dave Sanderson and the Winnipeg Free Press.

Now, the blurb on Shaw TV with Joanne Kelly..... Well, there's just no telling where that could go!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Dealing With Conflict

The temptation:
Bite back. Locate a weakness in your opponant.


Locate as many weaknesses as possible in your opponant. Exaggerate if necessary. Round up. Look for questionable motives. Theorize on psychiatric maladies. Begin as many sentences as possible with the word YOU. Other valuable words are: Always, and Never. Ask as many people as possible for "advice" on how to deal with the conflict. Mention names. Stay local.


Be prepared for the same kind of set-up when you're in the need of grace. Don't count on getting off easy. Prepare for legalities. Heated exchanges. Mention of lawyers and paybacks and name-smearing.


I've been reminded again of God's burden being easy and His yoke being light. There's good reason behind the precepts of loving our enemies and praying for those who despitefully use us. It goes against the grain, but there's such freedom in it. The small voice inside is easily drowned out, but doesn't go away. Doesn't stop whispering. Doesn't limit itself to three chances.

Its another reason that I love to work at home. There's a certain stillness in all this noise. I'm not tempted to pull up all the mental filters and blab away about others in the staff room on my coffee break. Its good to work with narcissistic kids. If I tried to pick their brains about how to deal with conflict, they'd just shout for snacks 'n water a little more forcefully.

Relationships worth their salt involve some conflict.
And pouring salt on wounds is not part of the recipe.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Oh, Brother

Sam has not had many "real" haircuts in his short lifetime. Usually, I notice him peering out from underneath a mass of blonde bangs, stick him in front of the tv , and hack away at his hair until his eyes become visible once again. Today, however, I had time to stop in at the local hairdressing shop and book him in for a haircut that doesn't look like he's been put under the lawn mower. It became immediately apparent that Sam equated the hairddresser's chair with the dentist and the medical laboratory. He cried and cried and tried to curl up into a ball to escape the scissors and electric razor. We pulled our best tricks out of our bags- me, the victem hair-cutter, and the stylist behind her. We chatted about the interesting figures on his plastic cape, the candy we would feed him if he sat nicely, and the little children across the street on thier way to the park. Outside, his big brother zoomed left and right past the window wearing his ski mask against the November chill; reaching new speeds on the scooter thanks to the accelerating effects of the wheelchair ramp. Even our efforts to point out his favourite big brother's antics refused to stop Sam's river of tears.

Finally the hair was cut. I made my rounds apologizing to all the customers who"d had to put up with the wailing and drama, and made my way to jackets and home. By this point, big brother Micah had come into the shop and was guiding Sammy's hand to turn the wheel of the tantalizing candy dispenser that mommy always refused to feed quarters into.

Micah had observed that his brother was not exactly getting the whole "spa thing". That all Micah's efforts to distract him with speedy scooter-ing had been in vain. So, he'd raced home, gone upstairs to get into his allowance stash for some quarters, then speeded back to the salon on his bicycle. He'd been sure to hurry so as to get back in time to reward his little brother for surviving the haircut. Sammy quickly changed his tune, stuffing yellow and green peanut M&M's into his mouth, and with a friendly "Whaddya say?" from Micah, even remembered to shout a grateful "Thank you!"

I'm sure Sammy thinks of his big brother as a bit of a hero, but I think it will be many years before he remembers and becomes fullly aware of just what a hero his brother really is.

And I've got to say, I'm feeling a little starry-eyed myself.

Psychiatric Help

Last night I dreamed that I checked myself into a treatment centre. It was late at night, after my fortieth birthday party, I had lost a couple of kids and it was too dark to find my way home. So I found my way back into the building, picking up birthday gifts and dirty socks along the way and stood in line for a brain scan. I was unclear on exactly why I needed to check out of life for a time, but felt somewhat confident that the scan would pick it up. My daughter was in line behind me, but she decided to lock herself into the bathroom for the night, and I was not sure why she needed the scan either.

Although I seem to thrive on a certain amount of chaos and insanity, I hate being confronted on things, details, or important perspectives that I have neglected to consider. I want to react with defensiveness, counter attack, self-protectiveness. Or alternately, its tempting to accept every bit of the criticism without editing for accuracy- to go the other extreme and kick your own self while youère down. Whenever someone rips off a strip, there is value in hearing it out and noting what hurts, what resonates, what you can challenge yourself to be more aware of in the future.

Its great to be appreciated and to get strokes, especially when it about something you value and want to be good at. But I suppose there is an equal and opposite that goes along with accepting compliments and apreciativeness. It hurts to have them pointed out and I can not pretend to like it, but dang-it-all, maturity is a noble goal........ plus defensiveness is only going to go so far, since I wonèt be able to pretend to have it all together for more than a few minutes at a time anyhow.

Its either that, or line up for a brain scan.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Want Ads

This morning while hoping to discover an old-fashioned chiropractor on a local online classifieds, I came across the following advertisement.

I ---- ---- along with my Husbend are kooking for Cleaning Job
Offices Banks Churches
we are Christians and will do a good Job

My first reaction was decidedly prickley. I hmmmph-ed, imagining that a Hindu or Sikh or Wicca must be a horribly dirty, lazy thief, never to be trusted with a broom inside the house of God, or in the hallowed halls of money handling.

But then I got thinking about christian culture. How the only real difference between this unpolished appeal and what we accept as normal is a little pinache. Do you ever flip through flyers from faith-y book stores and feel incredulous at all the big problems and challenges you could overcome just by buying a couple of shiney new books and reading seven or fewer tips and steps and exercises and commitments ?
And I imagined the submitter of the ad. How she has probably never been exposed to other cultures, never shared a cleaning cart shoulder to shoulder with a coworker of an entirely different persuasion. How frightening she would likely imagine such an experience to be. How easy it would be to assume that a cleaning person not sharing her faith ( and possibly skin colour, manner of dress, and first language) must be untrustworthy, deceived, threatening.
She probably just really needs a job and is drawing on her mental bank of what a stellar employee looks like. I hope she gets a great paying job at one of those churches that prays with the prostitutes before they head out onto the street,and serve soup and munchies to the crack addicts. Or maybe a really scarey office building filled with NON-Christians. Its sure to be filthy dirty and in serious need of a good, honest cleaning.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gift of the Day

People disregarded the "no gift policy". And since they came up with incredible, thoughtful, creative, awe-inspiring tidbits; I'm so glad they chose not to listen to me.
This piece is from my dear friend Rosa. I was not expecting her, or her vanful of Brandon-area accompanyists. Their arrival surprised me to the point of jumping up and down repeatedly, wearing blue plastic high heels, and screaming: I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!
Rose has an amazing gift of putting things together with buttons. This little piece showcases bathing suits made of coloured buttons. I say its an excellent momento of the kind of night we enjoyed together, baring all. Literally and figuratively.
And all the figures owned their beauty and mystique.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Some Party Thoughts

The abundance of hilarity poses as the baseline of all these wonky parties. But there is another thing that goes on, that a person could miss if they chose not to tune in. There's something a lot deeper than the acrylic nails, cheap nylons, and under-elastized snakeskin minis.

Somehow in shedding our typical wrappings, we lose something else - our safety in whatever packaging we've grown accustomed to. We're given the gift of making new friends without the distraction of superficial judgements based on what "life grouping" we may assume that people belong to. As "cougars", we shared an imaginary identity that opened gateways for exploration that we may not have uncovered at an epicure party in our Sunday best. (not that I have any issue with eating dips for hours on end, dripping mayo on my Sunday School blouse and rayon skirt...)

And one of my favourite things was the joy and beauty we found in each others bared midriffs, lycra-ed thighs, rounded bellies, and plungeing necklines. It was a bold embracing of our femininity. A recognition of our God-given beauty as women without the shame and confusion of inappropriate or unwanted sexual attentiveness. Women too often react in fear to their own bodies, and the bodies of their fellow women. We envy. We covet. We criticize, torture ourselves, condescend to one another.

But on November the tenth, we celebrated. And it reminds me of one of my favourite passages in Geneen Roth's beautiful book: Feeding The Hungry Heart.

"...I have a fantasy that I repeat to myself, instead of turning to food, when I need comfort and nurturing. I am at a celebration with hundreds of other women. It is a summer evening, about dusk, when fireflies begin to play. It is warm and the smell of honeysuckle is strong. We build a fire and set tables around it covered with lovely embroidered cloths. We bring out a glorious array of foods: roast chicken, turkey, potatoes, yams, large colorful salads, nuts, hot wheat breads, platters filled with fruit- pineapple, papaya, mangoes, apples, bananas, figs, dates- whipped dream, cakes and pies, wine and rich coffee. A feast for women, not one where the food is prepared for men to enjoy- or one of those horrible parties where the women gather guiltily around the food table and pick furtively. We eat and enjoy every bite. I add various pleasures, depending on my mood; sometimes we pile all the Cosmopolitans, Vogues, Seventeens, and Playboys on the fire and sing as they crackle and spew. Always we dance and sing, and finally I lie back on the cool fragrant grass. (on a great vintage quilt, I would add) The fire warms the night air. Staring at the stars, I know that this world is mine. I feel the food in my belly, feel it nourishing my body, feel the laughter and strength in my bones; and I am completely and overwhelmingly satisfied." (Rachel Lawrence)
Thank you, my friends. Thank you who came, and you who I thought of. You have enriched my life. You have taught me so much. You have expanded the table that is my life, and piled it high with sumptuous, guilt-free indulgences. Not the sort that leave you feeling light-headed, full, and hungry. But the sort with substance, subtleties, bold spices, and life-giving nourishments.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Yeah, About Those Nails

Nancy wasn't able to come out to the grand fortieth, but she very thoughtfully sent out six packets of plastic fingernails covered in leopard print. Last night during the party, Alice (with her servant heart) graciously applied nails to any finger or toenail that came within her grasp. I quite enjoyed the roleplay of claw-lady, even though my fingers audibly and literally moaned and begged for an oppurtunity to breathe and move.
In the morning, I awoke to find myself picking at those nails. My fingers were really gasping for breath by now. Remembering some less tolerant guests with zero etiquette who began soaking their high quality nail jobs in nail polish remover just minutes after their application, I sensed that the removal of this accessory may pose quite a challenge.
By mid-afternoon I received an e-mail from a guest whose alter-ego in the "RW" is that of elementary school teacher... and it was clear that the tenacity of our nails was a common bond. She had given up on authentic removal and had settled for trimming them down with hedge clippers and hoof trimmers, and applying several hundred coats of a more subtle tone of polish to cover the leopard print. The following day was, incidentally, parent and teacher school interviews. It seemed prudent that some manner of professionalism be applied, lest the parents have evidence of their son's downward spiral since being placed under the classroom tutelege of Ms. So-and-So.
By faspa time at ma and pa's, the conviction of the nails burned with shameful urgency. The nails had to come off. Mother refused to make eye contact with those little round leopardy bits on the ends of my hands. Her nose and lips curled in visible disdain and disgust at her daughter's obvious indiscretions and lack of proper training. I don't think she could have been less pleased if I'd shown up in an animal print thong and thrown a bottle of rye into the summa borscht.
So, I came up with a perfectly sensible solution. I gently worked the butter knife under the edge of the nail, grimaced a little, felt the dna in my fingers stretch and cry audibly and literally, then I popped those babies off.
Hopefully none of them landed in the schmondt faht.

Sorry You Missed It

Is is hard to type wearing really long plastic fingernails.....

These legs are all connected to human faces. Their true identities will never be revealed.
I don't think it was any bored, self-pitying has-been who coined the phrase "Life begins at forty"!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Passing Through Winkler?

My sister-in-law lives in Winkler, and has set up two rooms in her house as a Christmas store. If you live in the area, know someone who does, or are passing through, please check it out.

Everyone is Welcome to shop, browse, or just satisify your courisity at:

Under the Tree Gift Boutique

This boutique has crafts from 16 different people. Such things as:
-dip, cheeseball, coffee & cookie mixes
-frames (barnboard and painted wood)
-baby blankets
-hot and cold bags
-handbags (very unique and proceeds go to women in Darfur)
-pet beds and pet neckties
-eye spy bottles
-kids knitted sweaters
-wheat weaving
-advent calenders
-christmas art
-gift tins
-christmas ornaments
-table runners
-cheeseball trays
-denim blankets (proceeds go to MCC)
and more

I am located at 178 8th Street (north of Pembina Ave.) Winkler, Manitoba
Don't be shy about just walking in - it may be my home but it is also a store and I want you all to feel welcome here.
My hours are Wednesday 10-5, Thursday and Friday 1-8 and Saturday 10-3

Come and check us out we have some great Christmas ideas and Christmas decor.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Thursday... that's Two Days Before Saturday, Right?!

I blinked once or twice, spit out a cuticle or nine, and
SHA-ZAM! suddenly its The Thursday Before The Saturday That We've All Been Planning For. The pumpkins have gone the way of the compost, the nails have been counted, a snappin' pair of shoes have been purchased, and a fresh bouquet of flowers plucked. The seams in my lycra pants have been let out. aaaaaahh. But that only increases their appeal.

So what remains, you ask? Well, for you, my guests, I really wanted to get the curtains up in the front window just in case you have some reservations about local voyeurs parading past. Your comfort level may not include showing off your prowess to all those gossipy old farmers and spectis employees on their way serve up some dish at "The Chef".

Then there's the details, such as finding out what culinary delight Brian will stir up for us to enjoy. I may find the time to mop up the splotches of macaroni and curdled milk as well. Maybe hang up the mirrors that have been precariously leaned up against the entry wall for many days now.

OH! and I better not forget to touch up my roots!
I just have to decide whether I was blonde, and then went red, or whether I was mousey brown and then decided to go ash blonde. This whole colouring to let the roots look really bad might get complicated....

See you Saturday!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Why Its Probably Best That I Never Finished My Degree

.... because then I'd likely expect myself to keep track of all the stuff that comes with running a home daycare.

Take for example; "Debbie". Typically known as a given name for a child of the female persuasion, this is a word, which when expressed by one particular two year old means some-word-which-I-don't-know-how-to-say. Hence, he calls it "debbie" and its up to me to figure out what the item in question may be. But. When its uttered by a particular three year old, and its enunciation is varied to that of "Debra"; it means: "Quick! I'm feeling emotional or tired or homesick and I need that tiny fabric doll that goes everywhere with me. If you don't find it NOW, you WILL have a full blown situation on your hands."

Then there's the child who says; "Me home" in response to most things. This can mean: I have that very same thing at my home ; or I'm planning to take this toy home; or I really wish I were at home right now. All other children interpret "me home" as: I'm going to take away your toy right now, and I will bring it home with me, and you will never see it again. Without appropriate interpretation, total chaos ensues.

No, if I had finished my degree, I'd probably be off doing some really important, world event type stuff. I would expect more from myself than getting through the workday retaining a cool head, and refraining from bashing said head against the kitchen center repeatedly.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

on Turning Forty

Many people come to the "mid-section" of their lives and experience some sort of crisis. They bemoan their lost dreams and ambitions. They fear that their life will leave no impact on this world. They view other forty-somethings with their career empires, or their svelt figures in an empire style tunic with grief and envy. They fear that they have lost their edge, or even the potential of every acquiring an edge. Or possibly that their edge has been well buried under pounds and pounds of Costco truffles, hint of lime chips and McDonalds hot fudge sundaes with nuts. They recognize that while they were off living young and reckless lives on extravagant cross country used-clothing and furniture shopping sprees that they forgot entirely to plan for their future. The not-so-distant future when they can no longer be gainfully employed, due to the fact that the middle-aged-spread has conquered and they can no longer tie their own shoes to get to work on time. This becomes so overwhelming that they find themselves sitting down in their polyester mumu for a nice warm snack of toast and almond butter and a box of halva to wash it down.

Then they do something crazy. Buy an expensive car. Get one of those fridges that dispense ice cubes. Have an affair. Buy something retail. Grow a curly moustache. (it becomes easier for women to acquire this goal right around this time.) Begin to dress in ways less becoming to a forty-something. (Hey! I hear there's a party for just that sort of woman on NOVEMBER TENTH! GEE, that would be in just six short days!!)

And for women, there's another twist. She may be entering that less-than-glamourous period of her existance known as the change of life. (A man must have thought up that watered down version of waking up sweating, feeling your head explode, and throwing yourself into a snowdrift to resume some semblance of normal temperature.) She begins to assume that her childbearing years are behind her. Another age of oppurtunity slamming her in the face, thank you very much. She stumbles through her grief of never again waking up to the demands of a ruddy faced squalling little bundle of selfishness. Never again will that splashy sound of vomit erupt from the back seat on the way to anal retentive Aunt Bertha's house for faspa. No, the days of pablum crusted high chairs, perma-snot on the right shoulder, the garbage can being pushed (scratched) across the hardwood (now distressed) floors and nights of awakening to that sweet baby smell plus mustard diaper and puckered expectant lips every fifteen minutes are sadly behind her.
And in her grief, she just might do something crazy.

Friday, November 02, 2007

So it IS true what they say....

That good things come in small packages! (thank you lettuce. When I first met you, it was your words about the agony of loss by cancer that gave me the shivers. Now we meet in more pleasant places, but will never forget the place from whence we've come.)
Have you ever received a gift that was so perfect, so delicious, so rare, so interesting, and so inspiring that you could hardly stand to look at it? Its November now. And far be it from me to remind you that in nine short days, I will no longer be in my thirties. And what better way to usher in a time of womanly blossoming than a sweet box full of incredible buttons?!
These rare bits of history and creativity travelled all the way from London, England. Thoughtful Lettuce was so selfless as to part with some of her babies and entrust them into my care. (I'm so sorry. I could never so good and generous a friend.) There are many in this box that I have never, ever laid eyes on before. There are a few glass ones. Some painted ones. Swirly ones. Flower-shaped and sparkly ones. Flashy ones, modest ones. They couldn't be more delicious if they really were coated in chocolate.