Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sam gets Photos of His Brain

Our sweet Sam got his second EEG yesterday at Children's hospital. He needed to be sleep-deprived, and the neurologiest suggested that video games were a great way to keep a child awake and stimulated. Well, straight from the Doctor's mouth! Say no more.

So, lucky Sam got to stay up two hours past his bed time with his old pal, banjo tooie. Plus, get up at 5 am and enjoy a couple of hours of club penguin on the computer! believe me, he was not suffering. Nor was I, since Brian so graciously offered to do all the staying up with him and I got to go to bed.

Heading off to the city at 7 am, he got his third screen- his sister's gameboy. Ah, life is sweet.

An EEG is completely non-invasive. The child lays on an examination table, flat on his back, with a pillow underneath his head. Little blobs of jelly are applied to specific areas of his scalp, and then tiny cables (cameras) are placed there which then monitor the electrical activity of the brain. If the child seizes during the test, the increased activitiy will show on the print-out. (well, that's my limited understanding of an EEG. Any medical professionals reading this; don't hesitate to flesh that out) I hear that there is a joke amongst neurologists that goes like this:
"How do you get a child to stop seizing?"
"Give him an EEG".

I'm grateful for our medical system, as flawed as it may be. But I am a little bit doubtful of the usefulness of Sam's testing. (again, limited understanding) His seizure disorder is very mild, from what I understand. The seizures occur only in his sleep, and we have witnessed 5 in about two years. That's nothing like what some parents and children have to deal with, and these are not the type of seizures that will really affect his quality of life. He takes his pills without a fuss, we have a neurologist who has an amazing "bedside manner"; and what seizures Sam has had have been in his sleep. This is reassuring to me, because we don't (thus far) have to think of action plans for school, worry about his safety on a bike or walk, or be concerned that he won't get a driver licence at the typical time.

Sure, its sobering when your little one is diagnosed with something significant and you feel like his little world has lost its innocence. But in light of the scope of problems a kid could have, Sam's got it pretty good.

What other condition prescribes video games as a prerequisate for testing?!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends...

Writing about the dream, having a couple of really great conversations, and I betcha people talking to God on my behalf all resulted in a break in the clouds that occured on or about Thursday, I believe. And somehow it stimulated the pleasure center neurons in my grey matter causing them to beseech my friend Cheri to take me and a few kids on a treasure hunting road trip to Morris thrift.

It was so worth the effort. The kids entertained themselves on annoying battery operated musical toys and road trip snacks while I happily perused the aisles of discarded excess.

Recently inspired by Judy's blog committed entirely to treasure hunting, I decided to make myself entirely vulnerable by sharing my loot with y'all. (I think Candians should say "y'all" about once in six months, just because it sounds so awkward when we say it. Much like an American trying to say "eh")

Cheri thought that most of what I bought was hideous, but she has no taste. And I was merely using her since I have no vehicle during the work week. So, I think of it as a bit of a ministry- take the gal out, let her be useful, and maybe learn her a thing or two about eclectia.

Now, I'm sure all my true friend readers have stellar taste in castoffs. So, here's some of the inventory:
*awesome retro fabric bits, velvet trim (gorgeous porgeous), bright trim, loverly hanky, some odds and ends for future bags, and a t-shirt that I can't wait to play with in my sewing space. it's going to add some true funk to a bag one day.

*glassware. A pink platter, a white platter with pink bits along the edges, a cool retro candy dish, and a truely awesome find-- the pink pyrex bowl. I love that find. I have two blue ones, a green one, one in turqoise, and now a pale pink.

*books. A Herman book for my boy Micah. Some colouring books for the kiddies- I love paying 25 cents for stuff that's going to have a very short lifespan before hitting the recycle bin.

*for me boy: Two pairs of jeans and a spidey man towel! Need I say more?

And a little bit more.... That bee jar just called out to me. I had to give it a home. And that little wee bow tie and the gloves. Those aren't just any gloves- they are child sized. And one day when I have time, time, time, I am going to make amazing memory frames with bits and pieces of history in them. That's why I have old, old needle packets, some old photos, old quilts, old scissors, and some old women's leather gloves. You'll see. I'll so show you. One day.

And that scarf thingy on the back of my couch. That one just stopped my heart in its tracks, I love it so entirely.

So, that outing totally inspired me to take some pleasure in lovely-ify-ing my home for friday night tapas. See that great, retro pheasant dresser scarf thingy on my coffee table? Ruthie-roo gifted that to me. How unselfish is she?! I know she meant it to go into a bag. But she will never, never know how long it will take me to quite get to it....

Finding my quiet happy after a period of grey is particularly rewarding. Not unlike a shower after a day in the field. (not me so much as what I remember my dad looking like in spring before the days of covered tractor cabs....)
That's the way it goes. And comes. And goes..
And what does your break in the clouds look like?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Humanitarious Depressi-carious

Also known as homo-I-want-to-escape-ien.
It sucks, as many of my familial cohorts, neighbors, blogger buddies, and a bare minimum of 10% of the Canadian population can attest to.

I myself am navigating week three. Now, its certainly a mild case, because I do find my joy section, silly section, and creative section fairly regularly. But hopefully soon I'll come back to re-read this post and feel sorry for that poor sap who felt like she had an elephant napping on her chest. Hopefully soon, all those sections won't be buried beneath that elephant and requiring rigorous extraction to be brought out into the light of day.

But here are some of the symptoms of elephantitis.
I glance up to check the time on my wall clock and recognize for the fiftieth time that it is slow by at least ten minutes. This affects my ability to get the kids up on time for school. All it would take is for me to climb up on the counter top, take down the clock, and turn the dial on the back for about 2 seconds. Oh. Man. Does that sound like a ridiculous amount of effort. *sigh*

I get up and saunter over to the bathroom, past the kids sweaters tossed on the floor, the "IF You Give A Pig A Pancake" story that's been languishing on the bathroom floor for many hours, the damp quilt drying over top the door, and nearly trip over the preschooler's potty stepstool.

Can't quite imagine doing that stuff all over again. I just did it every four or five hours for the past 14 years or more...

So, I sit down. Raise my knuckle to my face and press the skin of my lip to my teeth for a mediational chew. My eyes lock on nothing and stare hypnotically. They kind of burn, even though I went to bed at 9:10 the night before. I do look forward to getting to bed again this evening. It will be my favourite thing to do, and if the kids call me from their bedrooms for additional tuck-ins, I may implore them to come and tuck me in instead. There is nothing more delicious than my pillow and blankie and my dark, warm room.

However. All night long I dream dreams. Anxious dreams of packing, moving, rearranging, squatting in abandoned cabins with refridgerators full of rotting food. Must vacate. Young children left at home alone and unattended. An attic, full to the eaves of boxes full of things. They must be moved, we don't live here anymore. I have no car, I have no time. A rear bedroom, tucked under the eaves. Forgotten. The roof has been leaking and the ceiling has fallen in on the bed. Antique bed, lovely dresser. How will I get them down the stairs? And what about the roof? I should have thought of that- shouldn't have forgotten about that bedroom, shouldn't have allowed it to get to this degree of disrepair.

Go down two levels. A lovely big room- perfect for daycare play. Slanting.... Could it be because of the large sections of attic that have fallen from rot? Long couches. Long, long couches. Are they mine? Should I move them? Is the floor safe? No time.... I've got all those boxes up in the attic. Must get there. There are some incredible tapestries. The colours and patterns are vivid- not at all dream-like. They rest in an amazing cupboard that must not be mine, because I don't live here?

Outdoors it is windswept, treed, lonely.
nothing in sight, yet I know that I am in an unfamiliar city, and that it is not safe here.
I must move. I must find the children, must get back under the eaves.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Sometimes I wonder if I am run by machines.
In the morning, a clock awakes me.
The first thing I like to do is grind some coffee beans in the grinder; put the grounds into the coffee machine and set her on her first run of the day.

From there I'm off to either the sewing machine or the laptop. Either way, they are kissing cousins because no matter which one I begin on, I'll be headed to the other immediately following.

Then from my perspective, I will spend the next 12 plus hours repeating the same triangular formation. Oh, there will be some other machinery thrown in for sure. Most definately the Mighty Five: microwave, dishwasher, stove, washer, and dryer. Occasional dips downstairs for the deep freeze, or to empty the water resovior on the dehumidifier. Oh! Let's not forget those evils that I love to hate: the televisions- switching cords for this system or that player, this vhs and then maybe a dvd, just for the joy of figuring out where the red, yellow, and green bits go.

Sometimes, my body itself feels like a machine.
Is there a button on my upper right quadrant that says "refresh"?
Do I need softening salt or deionizer?
A flush and fill? Fine grind? Filter and lube? Seratonin Reuptake Inhibiter?

ah, well. There goes the buzzer on the dryer, and it's time to set the alarm for tomorrow morning. Maybe after a good, hot cup of java in the morning we'll be off and running like a well-oiled machine...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The "NIKE: Just Do It" Faith Mentality

Many years ago I sat in a church service in which the "minister" actually used the analogy of Nike's slogan "Just Do It" to refer to how to live out the christian faith. Just balls-to-the-walls, get up early, make yourself read your Bible, pray to God, volunteer at church, Be A Christian. I found it very offensive then, as I do now.

If faith is real, then it is spiritual, and originates waaaaay outside of what I will myself to do out of my human strength. My faith teaches that strength is born of weakness. That my "righteousness is as filthy rags". (read: self-righteousness). Naturally, when one loves Jesus, his radical love for dirty and diseased down and outers, his disdain for the religious leaders with all their correct answers and snobbery, and his upside-down example of loving through serving others; it does infinitely affect the way a person chooses to live their life. But the moment that this becomes requirement, and law, and some "proof" of your "commitment", something has gone horribly wrong in the presentation of Jesus and his message. Guilting people into volunteering in the church building because its all about Jesus is just limiting him in a ridiculous way. Do you read about Jesus spending exhorbitant amounts of energy raising funds for buildings and recruiting volunteers for programs? Or was it more about Love in Action? Did he not create everybody with entirely unique giftings and abilities, some of which function in the church building, and some of which the "ministerial" may never know that its people are involved in? What makes it "count"?

Not everybody ought to volunteer in kids church. There are some pretty crappy teachers who are trying to win jewels in their mythical heavenly crown by spending Sunday after dry Sunday cranking out legalisms to children in the rear rooms of our sanctuaries. I would prefer the people who are authentically drawn to that position than people who are guilted into spending their Sundays with our kids when they are actually worn out, dried out, and not getting any fruitier by legalistically doing their duty by the church.

I would prefer the illusion that people are "wasting space" in the church building by not volunteering if their commitment to volunteer has not been a God-driven incentive in the first place. Haven't we all met the self-righteous burn-out victems who raise their hand for every oppurtunity in the church, only to learn to whine about the people who don't do enough? Maybe we should just think "people"; not "programs". Maybe we should take the chance that there are zero programs. Just messy, tired people who slump into the chairs, get watered by the liberating words of God, then come to the place of giving to others through authentic revival. I think only God can revive. Guilt never worked in the olden days and its not likely to start being a great tool today.

My hairdresser years ago gave me one of the most liberating messages I have ever heard. She was talking about living out her love for God every day that she lived and breathed. She told me about *gasp* stepping away from a whole bunch of to-do lists at the church she attended. She told me how her minister probably didn't even know what she was doing in her off time, and that likely to the blind eye, she would have appeared to be a bench warmer.

And I say SO WHAT?!

Are we man pleasers, or God pleasers? Who is it that I want to be a servant to?
Suzanne's message set me free.
It began to turn the tide of what it meant for me to live for Christ.

Dear God-
Set us free from the prisons of religion.
You promised us freedom, and in freedom we live.

And give us grace to forgive.

And I will still not Just Do It.

Friday, October 17, 2008


This week was going to be refreshing. A week off from the bag blog.
I don't know what I was thinking, as what I've learned this week is that I don't have any time to do the bag blog. I didn't want to find that out, because I'm completely sure that I'll continue to do it anyway.

Take today for example. (tgif) My littlest boy has a bit of a problem with bed wetting. No big deal, its just the way it is. And besides, I have this fancy mattress protector with plastic on one side to prevent any accidents from going from inconvenient to plain nasty.

This morning something told me that if he had indeed had an incident in the bed, then his blanket should be a whole lot wetter than what it was. My clever spidey senses tingling, I looked very closely at the mattress cover. Right at waist level was a break or two in the oh-so-helpful vinyl cover.

(no. It wasn't as bad as it looks in the picture. It was this bad AFTER I put it through the washing machine.)

But the end result was that it was going to take more than a set of sheets going through the washer to get that room back to health codes. Coulda been worse. He could have an actual mattress, but he actually has a thick foamy. Just perfect for a steamy shower with a dash or seven of Mr Clean. I was just hauling that foam away from the stairs and over to the laundry/bathroom when my eyes fell on this abomination.
The darn dog didn't make it through the night any better than my little monkey-boy.
Off to the bathroom to give the mattress a shower.

Seemed like a good time to discover that after washing up Sam's quilt, the washing machine's drainage hose had slipped and the entire contents of the drum had just drained itself out onto the bathroom floor.

Good thing there were lots of sheets and things to sop of the first 47 litres.

What is it about fridays and pee?
It was a Friday that a certain young lady drained her bladder on my armchair.
A Friday that another find young lady relieved herself beside the slide at the playground, without the inconvenience of shedding any clothing.

It's friday again, and this time the washer, the dog, and the kid are all in on the fray.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Nothing exhausts me more than the lack of authenticity. Living by appearances. Having all the answers. Summing up the failures of others by pointing out what went wrong when and how. It must be simple living to go with that mentality. Maybe then your heart doesn't break when someone's kid gets pregnant, or drunk, or high, or cuts at their own skin. It's simple to drum up a bit of a tsk, tsk, and then figure they had it coming because they did this or didn't do that, or followed entirely the wrong parenting philosophy. Or didn't say the right prayer at the right time.

Must be tidy not to get your hands dirty or your heart ripped out, or only-give-to-the-church so that your formula can remain intact and you don't have to be responsible for whether or not that whatever you gave away will be misused, wasted, squandered, or be unworthy of a tax receipt.

Must be exhausting to sweep things underneath the carpet. Keep careful track of what's been swept, what needs to stay there, what never-to-say. Not engage in dangerous dialogue in which differences of opinion may exist or people may be challenged in their ways of thinking.

Must be comfortable to live such a homogenous existence.

Must be tidy to look after your own appearances. Never make yourself vulnerable to others' judgements by simply staying insular. Private. Stoic.

Say the right words or say nothing at all. Make your children mind. Leave the controversial for the sloppy and the worldly. Talk about nothing.

I wonder what would happen if people woke up. If they worked less on the right answers and more on putting what they apparently know into actual actions. Made eye contact. Let their eyes be the window to the soul. Lay it out. Cry a little.

Protect themselves less.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Giving Thanks

I know the Sunday school answers are: my house. My mom. My dad...

But seriously- I love my house. Every crooked little bit, all the noises it is full of- such life.

I love my kids. I love it when they make noise; even when I hate it with every fiber in my body. Lately Micah has been bringing his recorder home from school and teaching Sam each song as he learns it in grade five music class. I figure that to simplify... we'll just bump both boys up to junior high in two years and they can enter band together.

Sam drew the picture above on Jane's white board. I love it when kids go from stage to stage of drawing people. I notice that he thought of fingers this time. More lovely than that, he added a heart between the portraits of himself and his sister. Jane has drawn lines around the picture, and does not erase it. It stays in her room and warms her at bedtime.

Arianna has picked up the guitar. Spending four weeks at summer camp has done her a world of good. As I type about lovely noises in a house full of love (even when its not...) Dianna Krall croons lazily. No Screens Sunday. Gotta love it. (please don't point out that I must be on a screen to be writing this post. Just believe me when I say that I'm typing it out on an old ink typewriter and its being bounced into cyberspace quite by magic...)

Speaking of screens. I'm very thankful for the laptop that Brian gave me for my fortieth birthday last year. It has meant the Darfur project, to a large extent. I can now maintain the site in any area of the house, while still being keeper of the grounds.

I truly love my laptop. Well, and Brian, of course.

Lory. And the stumble button.

That "accidental" two-hour-turned-48-hour stop-over at Lory's house this July was the highlight of my summer. I remembered a piece of me; spending those days sleeping in a musty old camper, wandering through a glorious meadow, breathing in her creativity, spending long hours connecting at the campfire.

Then Lory introduced me to StumbleUpon. Its a wee button- so innoculous looking... up in my toolbar. Much better than flipping through a tree hating over priced magazine, I can now simply browse the internet through my stumble button. Try it. You join, enter your interests by category, and the stumble tool finds amazing sites all in your interest categories. Many an hour has been gloriously wasted with invested in stumble.
The wonder that is snail mail.

People's generosity. I love the cheques for Darfur, the hand-me-down fabrics, and the handwritten notes of encouragement (I have a bit of a shrine in my sewing room). And if that weren't entirely enough, lately I have also received gifts. This humbles me completely because if there is one thing that I have zero, zilch, nada skills in-- its the art of gift-giving.

Missm sent me a pair of kotex panties for the dog during her special menstrual cycle. I had a long, long, satisfying laugh when I pulled those tempting dainties out of their wrapper. Oh, the entrepeneurial giftedness of some people! Thank you m, I so appreciate your kindness.

Remember that lovely wooly bag that went on the bag blog not long ago? Well, I auctioned it off instead of hiding it under my mattress like I wanted to. And guess what? That zewom paid for it, and sent me an e-mail indicating that she had bought it as a gift for me! ME! And I love it. It's a great size- makes me think of making a smaller Darfur bag. Now all I need is to clear my schedule so that I can spend twelve hours a day on that....

And then there's that vehicle I function through. Me, Myself, and I. My body and I.

Everyone should pursue turning forty. Or figure this stuff out early. My body is heavier than I would have ever believed that I would "let myself go" to. Yet, when I see a photo and a tummy creases over my waistband, I no longer feel overwhelmed with shame. You may not think that's a big deal. It isn't. Its a huge, massive, gargantuan, unquantifiable deal.

My body is a vehicle. It enables me to live my life. Its fingers work and love, clench and carress.

Those thighs- the bane of my existence- allow me to swing out of bed in the morning, feet hitting the floor filled with anticipation for all the joys and challenges within it. Those spidery veins spreading across them like some mass immigration brag of the babies that this body has nurtured, all the miles these legs have travelled, and the preparation my vehicle makes to enter into all the changes that has yet to grace her.


I'd have to go with the sunday school answers after all. We have food and shelter. Love and safety. Hope.

What are your first five?

Friday, October 10, 2008

be back soon-ish.....

Yup, you figured it out. This bag is posted on entirely the wrong blogspot.

And it wasn't a trick. I'm just a little unglued, is all.

Some lovely browns and oranges, with a necktie thrown in.
Thanks to Gloria, Roo, Morris, Niverville, my shorter-than-wise shorts pockets for volunteering to be harmed in this project.

Same schtick. Vote until 8 pm, cst. Next bag comes to you on Tuesday, October 14.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Small Town Living

Right now our town is going through some painful, painful stuff.

Information Released On Niverville School Lockdowns
Written by AM1250/Mix 96 News
Thursday, 09 October 2008

RCMP have released further information on why Niverville schools were locked down Tuesday. St.Pierre RCMP was contacted by Niverville Collegiate that a student had been threatened by her ex-boyfriend. The 17 year old male had also threatened the girl's family and indicated he had already shot someone earlier in the day. Police later located the teenager at his residence. He was very distraught and threatened to kill himself while in possession of an edged weapon. Police tasered the male and he was taken into custody without further incident. At this point, RCMP have been unable to establish the alleged shooting earlier in the day. The youth was taken to St.Pierre Hospital and later transferred to Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg for medical reasons. He is now in police custody and has been charged with uttering threats. Further charges are pending.

I love my town, and I love its people. I've been meaning to post this comment that I got a while back, and as an antibody to the sadness around us right now, I' ll post it right now. I think we can all use a little encouragement and good news.

This is in reply to “Perfect Autumn Weekend” and “Who Says Life In A Small Town Is Dull”

Living in a small town is the most awesome experience anyone, who is anyone, can have. People gather in small groups, in large groups, in whole community size groups, to do wonderful and unprecedented things! Let me explain…..Earlier this year we had bought shingles and we were going to re-shingle our roof, but when hubby had his heart attack we decided that we would wait until spring so that he would be able to help when the time came (so we got all the shingles delivered to our back shed - waaayyyy in the back yard). But of course some members of hubby’s hockey team decided that they would all love to do it (liars that they are!). So on Saturday, October 4th, my roof was inundated with a swarm, and I mean a swarm, of do-gooders!

Where can we get labour like this!!!!!!!!! All I had to contribute was food and beverages. They un-shingled and re-shingled the whole roof (along with some new vents) by 4:00 p.m.

Now that is what living in a small town is all about!!!!!!!!

So, if you share this town with us, or you live elsewhere, look around and do something useful for someone close to you.
Social issues and personal challenges exist no matter where you call home. So does the sense of isolation. But it doesn' t have to be that way.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Growing Pains

I really hate getting told.
And I hate that I hate it, because when someone points out what I need to tune up on, it's not like I didn't already know. So, I get automatically irritated that someone said it out loud when my conscience has already been yelling at me.

The other thing that happens is that a light gets thrown on one of my most basic fears.
The fear of getting found out. And isn't that why we humans naturally respond to criticism with defensiveness? Don't we want to create a buffer zone between ourself and the possibility that we are just a bundle of hypocritical good intention? That given enough stress, or disappointment, or thwarted goals, we would actually just be bitter, angry, nasty people?

One of the great challenges of being human is learning to hear criticism. Really hear it; take it in and sort it out, discard what is not true; and learn from what is. And I think that the people who actually practise that sort of humility continue to grow instead of folding down into themselves, hardened and defensive. I guess its a case of not fighting against something. Sort of like when a woman is labouring a baby and is encouraged to relax her muscles into the contraction instead of fighting against it.

I never was much good at that either.
But good did come out of it eventually.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Perfect Autumn Weekend

What a glorious Saturday I had; roaring around and stuffing the van with greenery and brownery that was found in the countryside. While cutting down these reedy bits in the ditch; I suddenly felt self-conscious. Watched. That's when I noticed the bison studying my progress.

Couldn't quite swing that door shut and hold it all in.....
Using cut pumpkins stuffed with greens and browns, centerpieces were created for the annual church Thanksgiving dinner. Photos were taken.

And deleted.

Mental note: If the five year old is going to become a film producer, he may need to learn whose photos not to delete....

In addition to all that funnery and foolery; I got to meet Cheri's new puppy- Pan. Oh, my. He's sugary sweet.

I scored some deals at the local thrift and gift- this fun-lovin' foot stool, and a gorgeous porgeous church pew.... For a Song! (or should that read: hymn?)

As if that weren't entirely enough, we then had a fan-tab-YOU-licious dinner with friends, some of whom include that rapscalian Donnnnnnnnn and his superior half, Alice. Ed and ede really outdid themselves with rack of pork, roasted root vegetables, roasted new potatoes, and salad.

I mean really, really outdid themselves. (thanks!!)

Additionally, this little shop on Highway 59 finally got a stop in. Been meaning to do that for ages. What a quaint building it is! Gorgeous pumpkins by the dozens were a fitting intro to the Christmas tree sparkling just inside the door.
If you are in the area, check out Sherilyn's shop.
Did you have a heavenly rustly weekend?