Monday, April 28, 2008

Check out the new eye candy over at the Darfur blog.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Dirt on Appliances

Without question, I may have some questionable habits when it comes to furniture and appliances. I don't like furniture stores, or those ridiculous never-pay-until-you-wear-dentures-and-diapers schemes. I don't like the idea of being the original owner of something new, and knowing that I am soley to blame for every scratch and stain that it wears. And I don't like spending large sums of money. Now, I have no trouble spending money. Its just that I would rather spend $200 two hundred times- one dollar at a time. That way I can deceive myself into thinking that I am thrifty and enjoy a simplistic, earthy lifestyle.

When mt husband and I first got married, we lived in a portion of an old house that came without washer and dryer. I employed the laundromat down the Italian strip, enjoyed watching interesting people doing the same, and smelling the pizza joint right next door. But more often than not, I went and mooched off my sister's generosity. I'd show up at her house with a tonne of laundry, use her soap, washing machine, and dryer, and drink her diet coke. Gee, I was a real treat back in the day.

Then we moved to another city, back to University, back to apartment living, and had a baby five years prematurely. Sure, there was a coin-op laundry room down the hall, but we needed that money for other stuff. Like macaroni. So, I got my dad to find me one of those small spinner washers from the thrift shop and I did my own laundry right in the kitchen. That worked great, except for the times when I forgot and left the water running and the tenant in the bedroom beneath our aparment got rained on. It was just fine. Except for those couple of times. That I won't mention.

After a couple of years, we moved up in the world. We moved to a house that came with appliances. And a washline. I couldn't have been happier. (well, I could have, but I didn't know it at the time.) That washing machine worked fine for a while, but the fateful day came when we had to go without macaroni or clean underwear for a while because I had to call the repair guy. He swaggered down the stairs with his giant toolbelt and mullet, then swaggered back up the stairs to slap us with a bill for $50.00 to let us know that "she's toast". I remember it like it was yesterday.

That's when my next door neighbor introduced me to a local auction mart.
It was at the auction mart that I got a washing machine for $7.00. Or maybe it was $25.00. That all escapes me now. I knew better than to involve the husband in this, as he was under a lot of pressure with studying full time, and working at night, and feeding us all, and keeping us alive and all. And actually he was kinda scarey, so I really wanted to do the washing machine thing without him.

That's when its handy to have a neighbor like mine, and be a regular church attender. My neighbor had a big old van, and a lot of determination, so she and I managed to get the machine from the auction, into her van, and over to my house. We even managed to get it out of the van without killing ourselves entirely, but the idea of getting it down a narrow set of stairs into a musty basement frightened us. If we got crushed, who would tend the children or cook the macaroni? So, I called the church. They were good people, and couldn't say no. I made sure that they came when the husband was at work, and those saintly people smiled the entire time they moved that 46,000 lb piece of work down those four inch wide basement stairs. (I should have increased my donations. I should have.)

Well, for seven or twenty-five dollars, that machine worked just fine. It did smell like a dairy barn, and it leaked all the time, but then again, you never saw how ugly the basement was in that place. The cow washer actually brought up the value of that basement. And we had clean undies again.

But then the husband got in his head to fix up that deep damp hole called a basement. And the leaking dairy barn washing machine had to go.

That's when he got in his head that buying broken old appliances was a bad idea, and that since we'd be living there in that house for at least another five years, we should do one of those never-pay-until-you-can schemes. It was his idea, not mine.

What he couldn't have known, was that we would be moving about six months later. Moving into an area with a higher cost of living. A higher mortgage. And that bill that we still had to get around to paying.

Sure, those appliances worked just fine- they washed and dried stuff. But they provoked me endlessly. The dryer had the most annoying buzzer that went on for about thirty-four minutes, unendingly insistent. And loud. Every time that buzzer sounded, I was annoyed all over again that my brilliant $7 to $25 appliance plan had been aborted for this imperfect arrangement. And then, the transmission on the washer went kaput. ON A NEW MACHINE!! which just cemented my theory that new stuff is garbage and that manufacturing techniques of our day and age are designed simply to break so that we go out and buy more stuff and keep the factory workers employed, and the dumps overflowing. If I'm going to spend money fixing a machine, I'd rather spend it on a machine that cost me very little, than on a machine that cost me a whole bunch, and just keeps on costing me. And I'd rather have the dairy barn one, because its funnier.

So, what's your point, you ask? Well, for the past two days, there has been an alarming puddle of water forming beneath that crazy washing machine. Which means I should probably find myself a toolbelt wearing, mullet-toting fixer guy to swagger in and ask for a pile or two of cash to tell me that its a piece of garbage. or that the transmission is no good. or that he'd like fifty dollars please, for the privelege of walking into my home.

Anybody know of a good auction, and a helpful church? That operates while husbands with bright ideas are at work?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Irritated and Immobile

Looking like Walter's Mall (but less organized or interesting), and apparently powered by the high-pitched whir and whine of a thousand provoke-ed pre-schoolers, Joyce's Happy Home Family Daycare provided a flimsey facade for the irritated and immobile haus frau within. Her eyes wandered from Ken and Barbie partially clad and awkwardly twisted beneath the $25.00 davenport (plus shipping) to the naked-shorn pup munching contraband baby num nums beneath the crusty highchair. Partially painted and filthy furniture reeked of nutella sandwhiches and a thousand runny noses. Green painting tape held together the remote control too often thrown by an innocent looking lad of just 14 wee months. (What a future in that arm!) A potted plant waited wiltingly in the kitchen sink, competing for space with bowls of Dora the Explora soup, petrified oatmeal, and too many coffee cups for just one operater of the grounds. The bedrooms spilled into one another, laundry upon laundry multiplying itself like so many rabbits. Lego beings, beanie babies, and playmobil pirates all seemed to have excelled in the procreation portion of their adolescent educations.

And so she sat in their midst. Dusty herself. Old pinkie tried to keep her company, perched apologetically on the kitchen counter, competing with training panties, cheap teething biscuits, a misplaced threaded needle, girl-gets-hit-by-car paperwork to be dealt with, and a Mastercard bill so cluttered with numbers, it was most certainly wrongly addressed.

And as though perfectly in tune with their surroundings, the wee ones began early on to bicker, provoke, irritate, and prod one another mercilessly.

"What must I do to be sane?!" she lamented to absolutely nobody.

Then it came to her. There must be some sort of horrible mistake at the Bernina Hospital. They had misplaced her number, and were waiting for her to make an inquiry. With the return of Old Faithful, everything would be set to rights. Balance would return. The day's hours would multiply themselves, her creative juices would bring joy and exhuberence back to her life, and all that nasty cleaning up, organizing, wiping, washing, vacuuming, folding, sorting and other sundry horrers would take care of themselves in her wild enthusiasm for space to spread her fabulous fabrics, scissors, and ideas.

Bolstered by her revelation, she approached her old nemesis- the telephone.

Hello? Yes? the bernina?

Not three weeks!!

And with her only hopes dashed,
Everything old became old (and dusty) again.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Come on In, Stay a While

Sitting with the uncomfortable, offering her a chair, recognizing and validating her existence, and not insisting with strong words and body language that she evict- and now..... has its rewards. The times that she exerts herself with almost vulgar insistance- following me to the bathroom, shadowing me in my workplace, embarrassing me in my social networks, staring at me intently, her arms crossed, and thin-lipped can be aggravating, to say the least. Still, there is little value in rushing the process, and so the chair is offered. Sometimes a cot and meal plan as well.

And somehow, in the very act of embracing that uncomfortable companion, She becomes less the master. She no longer has the ability to threaten to own me and I no longer feel the same urgency for methods to control her. Then, with the absence of urgency, something wonderful happens. She recedes and there is ample room for joy to infuse the spaces. Not on the very day you offered her clemency, but in its own time, when your newly accepted companion of discomfort has absorbed her new role and the defenses have lowered.

Her reappearance is inevitable and yet less feared or defended against. She is the companion who teaches with high expectations, strong demands, and appears intimidating, almost militant in her approach.

But at the end of the day (or the week, the month, or the first forty years...), a certain peace treaty has been signed and honoured. We war less often, but offer one another seats and lend an ear. We may sigh and slump from time to time, or flirt with the habits of picking up self-protective arms and reclaiming our original, rigid boundary lines.

But we remember that even Jesus, who we used to believe stood beside his Father with a large hammer, encouraged us to not run from suffering but to embrace it. Maybe he wasn't the sadist we feared, but maybe he suggested this embrace because he understood the wisdom of what these tight-lipped companions could teach us.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

doggone days of spring

Ah, spring. Time to take out the double stroller, fill it up with kids, make a train of pre-schoolers behind the stroller, and grab the dog leash with the spare hand. May as well do a few errands along the way- combine business with pleasure. There's that form at the medical clinic that the receptionist keeps calling about. It needs a signiture, so that all the paperwork from Arianna's accident can get processed. Only three blocks from the house, it's in perfect walk/errand area. There are heads to count and reminders to issue. There are logistics for who will press the buttons for the elevater, who will press the wheelchair access buttons, and who will wait until we get to the bank and have their turn at button pressing somewhat deferred. There is street crossing to navigate, heads to recount, safety routes to plan out. There are dogs barking, children playing, moms out walking aerobically.

We get through the paper signing without incident, half the children happy that they have had a turn at pressing buttons. Back to the elevaters, more buttons to navigate- two for the elevater, two for the automated doors. Back into the sunshine, navigating safety, heading off to the bank. It's so great to listen to the children, genuinely exhuberant about the ordinary. The dogs behind fences, the dogs on people with leashes. There is plenty of oppurtunity to discuss barking and pet ownership. Four blocks down, safety intact, and more dog talk.

"Where doggie go? where doggie go?!"

A sudden horrifying realization settles down on me, and my determined stride suddenly halts mid-arch. The recognition of gaps in our communication descends upon me with a terrible gravity. We are not discussing theoretical dogs, or dogs behind fences, or dogs on leashes. WE ARE TRING TO ASK JOYCE THE BABYSITTER AND JOYCE THE DOG OWNER WHERE THE HECK THE DOG IS.

Doggie is in fact, back at the clinic.
Tied up to the post outside of the east entrance.
The entrance due east from the westerly exit that we decided to make.

Yes, she is.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


A few years ago, I got pretty darn faithful at doing my pilates DVD. I figured that longer and leaner were concepts that I could live with, and that I could avoid peeing into snow drifts by lengthening and strengthening within the privacy of my own home.

After a year, I still had gravel pits for legs, so I told Mari-whats-her-name a thing or two and returned to the more comfortable role of simply hating myself. She clearly didn't give-a-care and just kept grinning like a long, lean cheshire cat and claiming emphatically: "YOU'RE GONNA LOVE IT WHEN YOU SEE THE RESULTS!" (dvds are so unfair. I can hear her, but she never acknowledges me).

The thing that happened after I told off Mari Windsor was that my self still didn't get longer or leaner or more stream-lined, and my back started hurting all over again. I realized then, some of the error of my ways, and got the pilates mat back out of hiding. Maybe the point wasn't so much to land up looking like a magazine spread, but to prevent some of the achey inconveniences of living in a tent made of depreciating skin.

So, like I said. I got the pilates mat back out of hiding.

And we can all see what amazing benefits can come of pilates.
(I wonder how much more good could come of finding the dvd, loading it, getting down on the floor, and doing whatever lean-and-lying Mari Windsor says I should do?)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Unlike Some Bloggers, Her Life Is Not a Pretty Picture

Sure, it was easy to wax poetic about the fabulously retro pink sewing machine when all was right with my world. It was easy to let partial pretty lies roll off my tongue; to lead you all to believe that I had my choice of whatever machine to sit and spin gold at. It was indulgent of me to paint a glorious picture of my romantic life of kissing babies, wrapping myself in vintage gold fibers, filling my hours with song and productivity. But that was before my precious bernina got ferried off to the sewing machine hospital and I was left alone and vulnerable, hanging onto hope that she would soon be released and returned to her loving family. I had brought her in myself, set her down gently, gave her a hug, and asked her to be brave.

There were other things that I could do, I reminded myself. I could gather all my tax papers, for example. Something that I eagerly anticipate every spring. Nothing like piles of papers, filled with numbers, to get the creative juices flowing. Yup, sure could.

OR... I could cut out a number of bags, so that when Miss Bernina returns, all oiled up slick and surgically corrected, I could get straight to work on putting them all together.

That got me through the first evening. Sort of. By 8:30, there were five bags ready to go into production and what I really wanted to do was to see how they would actually turn out. So, I pulled out old pinkie. I had given her a trial run, and knew that her tension was good. She didn't have a foot control, because she used to be mounted to a cupboard and was powered by pressing the controls with one's knee. Well, without the cupboard, one simply had a control mechanism ridiculously close to the actual machine which required one to hold and maneuver the fabric with one or two hands while simultaneously using one of the same hands to operate the controls. That worked moderately well, right up to the time that I needed a second or third or fourth hand to work the control for reverse. Right about that time, the thread usually ripped and sent the spool flying across the counter and into the kitchen.

Patience, I told myself. Rome was not built in one day. It was quite possible that I wasn't threading her quite right.

After several hundred more oppurtunities at threading the blasted excuse for a machine properly, my patience did not seem to have paid off in huge dividends. By this point, I had driven repeatedly into a straight pin with the sewing machine and dulled the needle so badly that it screamed THUMP THUMP THUMP with its every insertion. The machine felt hot and frustrated to the point where the functioning light that I had been so proud of, simply turned off in exhaustion. That made the multiple re-threading experiments that much more intense and challenging.

Eventally, when my temperature rose to the point of my own light expiring, I retired from old pinkie. The sensible thing to do would be to wait for my other machine, or invest in a new needle, and some really high quality thread that won't break so easily. The even more sensible thing to do would be to get to those income tax papers. Really. Today.

I'm thinking that by about 6:00 pm tonight, the combination of an appalling memory and a borderline clinical obsession with sewing will align themselves to my benefit. By 6:00, I'll believe that it really wasn't so bad. That the pink machine is not only pretty, and unique, but incredibly practical. I'll get excited all over again at the prospect of turning out another Darfur bag.

Or maybe I'll just channel all that pent up frustration and energy into staging a hunger strike over at the sewing machine hospital so they'll hurry up and return my bernina to me. My plain, white, reliable Bernina.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Jones's

Transition brings with it a sense of sadness that one no longer fits comfortably with any particular set of Jones's. Yet I find myself unwilling and undesirous of retreating back to the familiar, the predictable, the comfortable. Ironically, this is somewhat uncomfortable; a sensation we've been trained to do our utmost to alleviate, and as quickly as possible, at that. I mean- who wants to feel sad and uncomfortable?

I like what Judy said in a recent post.

"I could tell you exactly where and when it was, over a year ago, that I realized I was falling head first into that deep abyss called depression.
I could tell you, but I won't.
Like with a migraine, there are several variables that must align just right and WHAM, there I am.
Oh, yes. I dug out my paper with the list of ten things to do to ward it off and dig myself out of it (i'm not knocking this. it's a good list.)
But I thought differently about it.
Quite a bit differently than usual.
I thought that maybe it wasn't something to be avoided. Maybe, just maybe (and i am still not sure about this, so do not try this at home) I should just 'go' with it.

Quite a bit of life IS depressing. I don't intend to wallow in it. But, when it does happen, if all I can do is float along on top of it for a while, I think I shall. If I feel I'm starting to sink into it, I can always link arms with a fellow floater.
.........sometimes just the simple act of embracing something awful brings greater reward than concentrating on eliminating it."

I WANT to rush figuring out "where I fit" in this world and what I really believe the center of my life looks like. Well, I'm partway done that- I know for sure that Jesus is gonna be God in my life, and that I would like to get more proficient at imitating Him. Exactly how that is going to look is cloudy to me. I don't seem to fit the "Christian Women/ Women Alive/ Christian Woman's Club/3D/Happy Clappy" category. A lot of the Christian-ese words confuse me now. In fact, I remember getting dragged into a 3D group once (Diet, Discipline, and Discipleship-- Why, oh WHy did I not see through that within one second?!) After a few weeks of leaving my three preschoolers at home crying with a baby-sitter whom I really could not afford to pay, and dragging myself over to the pastor's wife house to listen to the thin church women talk about how they were learning to munch on flax seeds at movies instead of popcorn.... Well, I was pretty sure it was a poor fit. But to magnify my feeling of aligning myself with Joneses-of-a-poor-fit; the leader took the oppurtunity one week of telling me what tremendous growth she had noted in me since the start of the study. "Hmmmmm, I thought to myself. "This woman didn't really know me when we started. She doesn't really know me now. Yet, this is the appropriate thing to say to a tired mother who has agreed to attend a study that she doesn't actually agree with. It is what the proper Mrs Jones would be pleased to hear."

I absolutely don't mean to knock women's groups. Nor growth. It just seems mysterious to me that someone whom I don't actually know would be able to evaluate whether I had gotten to know Jesus better, or had some sort of change of heart that would make my life less confusing and more in tune with the Spirit. These things make sense to people within a particular context. It is a specific language within a specific thread of life. At that particular time in my life, I really wish the pastor's wife had asked me what I needed. I wish someone would have told me that I could "grow" by staying home and tucking my own kids into bed, and not worry too much about all the "commitment" propoganda I was hearing week after week at church.

Is this about semantics then? Partially. It is likely that all sorts of people experience "growth" in their life and have different words for it, depending on their Joneses. Now, I actually believe in a lot of the concepts behind the Christianese words, so I don't mean to suggest that people just string a bunch of words together to make others feel better. (although that's true too). Sometimes I wish there was a set of words to explain things like: "Take it to the cross"; or "Rest in Jesus". Maybe I just think too much, but I just haven't really understood what it is that people mean when they use those words in attempt to fix a problem, or make the ugly feelings go away.

Yesterday on my walk, I passed by a number of large campers that were being taken out of winter storage. It made me think about those people's Joneses. Was their camper big enough? Fancy enough? Unaffordable? A fantastic way to have family memories? Maybe the husband's Jones was his wife- a wife who insisted on a camper and a husband who complied. Maybe all their friends had campers and they felt weird enough about it to go out and get one themselves. But none of that is really the point. It was just another example of a context. A specific reality. A possible Jones.

Church was another one. Sitting alone made me feel a little out of context as well, hearing husbands and wives throw out their simultaneous "amens". I was glad for them, glad for the security in that unity. But I realized at the same moment that what for me used to be predictable, comfortable, and secure had shifted considerably. I no longer fit the same context.

Other of life's circles that intersect mine come with a wide diversity of beliefs and unbeliefs. They sometimes grate on me, irritate, inspire, frighten, or encourage me.

And I think about Judy's words about "...embracing something awful bringing greater reward than concentrating on eliminating it". It's good exercise to sit with the uncomfortable. I think it allows for honest change. I sincerely want God's wisdom to be central to whatever changes continue to come my way. I don't know exactly what that means, or exactly how it will look . I expect that with the embracing of the less comfortable may come longer, more distinct periods of sharp discomfort.

It's a distinct sensation to recognize that I don't even know who my Joneses are any more.
Maybe that's a sign of growth.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

So It Comes Down To This.....

I am fast approaching status levels of Martha Stewart, Oprah, and Soule Mama. You know how these hotshots have gifts sent to them constantly, beyond any possibility of all these offerings finding use in the lives of these people of influence?
Well. Okay.... I'm finding excellent uses for the bounty of your generosity. There are two pristine, antique, glass light fixtures lying in wait in my upstairs closet. There are stacks of fabric donated by Darfur supporters. Ziploc baggies of buttons have been slipped my way during worship at Sunday service. And this week, after my raw confession of coffee snobbery, I not only got some excellent advice of what proper beans to brew.... I also got some bonified beans in my time of need.
Thank you, my friends and supporters. When I'm a wildly famous artist, I'll throw gifts and money around with great abandon. I'll make Oprah look like a tightwad, and Soule Mama will be jealously drooling over my blog, and my books about how to have a picture perfect life.
But for now, I'll enjoy my life of relative obscurity.
And my coffee.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Coffee Snob

There are a few truly great priveleges of being human, and good coffee ranks very high on that scale. Growing up on the farm, instant coffee was standard fare. No waste. Easy to prepare cup by cup, and available morning, noon, and night. At combining season, instant coffee was good to drink hot or cold in a dusty thermos on the field. Dad said that nothing quenched his thirst quite like coffee. (Hah! to those people who think coffee is evil and dehydrates. Dad is a ripe eighty-five. See how good coffee is?!) On Sundays if we had visitors for faspa, the actual coffee maker would come out and we'd have "drip" coffee. Special treat. That never got wasted either, and small children were often introduced to their first table food by being fed "kaffe brucke" by some toothless old relative. This is a delicacy made up of a thick piece of bread laid in a saucer and covered with hot coffee, thick cream, and white sugar. Mmmmmm. Yummy, nutricous baby food. Ah... the good old days.

With adulthood came the shunning of instant coffee, and the habitual employment of the coffee maker. One quickly learned the difference between the bargain stuff brewed at the office, the swamp water offered at church potlucks, the overly sweetened abominations whipped up at 7-11 or Robins Donuts, and a simply well brewed cup of java.

By the time we'd been married for a bit, we graduated past Maxwell House, and Edwards, and found ourselves devoted to the flavours of Folgers. This was good coffee, in our estimation. Then along came that fateful Christmas when a friend gifted Brian with a coffee bean grinder and we began the great bean hunt. Most of the time, we remained committed to our Folgers, but for the Sundays of our lives, we ground beans and brewed fresh coffee. The smell of those fresh ground beans granted us the same rush as that first whiff of YUM when the seal of a new can of Folgers got opened. We'd been known to mutually inhale and sigh into those cans of folgers.

Well, in time.... some honest friends of ours began to look down their noses at our mediocre, under-cultured ideas of ecstacy, and introduced us to a particular brand of espresso beans.

We've never looked back. We're spoiled for the common world now. Funerals, weddings, family gatherings, hotels, gas stations, and yes, even Tim Hortons have become sources for the condition of coffee snobbery to rear its ugly head. The delicacies of the bean are indiscernable. The flavours are too watered down. The mugs are all wrong.

And that is where I find myself on this sunny morning in April. Out of beans.
There's an elderly can of Folgers in the downstairs freezer and half a can of The Great Canadian Coffee languishing high up in the cupboard. It all tastes like mud to me. No delicacy, no distinguishing of rich bean flavour.

Having recently taken an entire week off of work, the plan was to ease off on the "unnecessary" grocery shopping to take some of the bite out of the trip to the Hat and a week without wages.

But I waver in my loyalties. I find myself grieving the reliable cup of rich java to comfort me in my 6:00 am attempts to start the day.

Maybe I'll go a week without toilet paper and food instead.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Walter's Mall

No, I've not fallen through a giant crevace into the bowels of the earth, never to return. (Though I have considered it.) Some days, some times, and some moments are just difficult and leave a mark. That's all I'm going to say about that, lest I dig a deeper pit.

Speaking of pits: When I had the privelege of spending time in Medicine Hat, Alberta with my amazing sister Laura and her prize husband Harry, I had the great honour of accompanying him to the local mall dump. "Walter's Mall" is what he called it.

I was really encouraged to see that that even the dump has decided to go "green" and provides greenboxes for your shopping ease.The place was hopping, what with spring break and all. There was plenty in season, ready for spring. A stroller with wide wheels, a perfectly good student desk, a sewing machine for the collection, and a bear without insides complete with cardboard packaging. Mattel made a great spring line as well. Ken and Barbie have finally dropped their facades and present themselves dirty and bare and vulnerable, just like real people. Croquet is making a comeback this spring. It's always great to see this legendary games get the credit they deserve.
Having a little trouble moving your bowels? what you need is a giant floor to ceiling bookshelf in your loo, and two el grande bottles of the hard stuff within reach. Soft music wafting from the back of the can doesn't hurt either Yup, sure is good for the soul to get a day of stress-free shopping in. .Makes a gal feel right about the world.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Wisdom of the Day

Spoken by Laura's husband Harry: Probably the best husband she ever chose. Actually... Definately the best husband she ever chose.

"Don't sweat the small stuff. Save your energy for the truly horrible stuff yet to befall you."

Him I like.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Storm Before The Calm

I posted some more pictures over on my Darfur blog. My back is screaming for me to quit it already, and no matter that I go to the chiropracter frequently now that my daughter walks into cars and breaks them with her head.... still the back hurts. Well, mostly the shoulder blade, neck, and right arm. So, maybe it's time to reconsider balance as an aspect of life? Crazy idea, I know. But every now and again I glance up, notice that Sam has been in his spider man pajamas for eleven months now, the kitchen is encrusted in crusty stuff, the bedroom apparently has a bed under all that unfolded laundry, and I'm falling out of the cultural norm, now that I have no time to watch American Idol or Rick Mercer report. I've nearly begun sewing whilst perched on a commode, just to buy myself some more time.

I've been trying to stockpile because I'll be driving past Briercrest tomorrow on my way to Medicine Hat to see my amazing sister Laura. I have a friend at Bridalquest who is going to sell every last one of my bags to her friends, neighbors, and relatives. What a gal.

I've decided to let my sisters come to Alberta with me. I thoughtfully let Mary take her car, just to make her feel useful. Then, I allowed Kathy and Carol to come so that they won't feel left out. I'll offer to let them all stop at every Tim Hortons between Headingley and Medicine Hat. I might even let them get out of the car, if they offer to pay for my coffee. Sometimes my depth of graciousness amazes me.

So, now that I've got most of my bags sorted out, I better snow blow my way upstairs and try to locate the dresser and closet so that I can pack some undies and shot glasses.

Au revoir.