Thursday, December 31, 2009

Questions To Ask While Preparing To Drive To The Cabin In December

  1. I have a dvd player at home. Why am I packing my favourite movies to watch in a cold cabin two hours away from here?
  2. I have a furnace at home. Why am I......
  3. Why does preparing for cabin drive me to clean the litter box which should have been cleaned many days ago? Why does cats' pee smell like ammonia? Why does this remind me of cookies that someone's grandma used to make?
  4. Why are we packing up everything to take up to the cabin when the point of going to a cabin is apparently to "get away from it all"?
  5. Why do we have pets?
  6. Why do we have kids?
  7. Why do they all look so annoyingly happy and relaxed?
  8. Why is it -30?
  9. Why pack everything we own; destroying any semblance of order the house may have had; knowing that upon coming home two days from now, cold and tired.... there's going to be a lot of cleaning up to do. In addition to the ninety four bags of necessities to bring back inside from the van.
  10. Why am I always so positive and bubbly? Do I never have an off day? Why do I not plan seminars to teach this approach to living fully, joyfully, and always, always happy?
  11. Should I pack a kayak?
  12. Piano?
  13. Why; no matter how vigilent I will attempt to be.... will any food that we bring multiply like loaves and fishes and find me unpacking a squashed version thereof back into my house two days from now?
  14. Why don't more people try the power of positive thinking?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Snapshots

Best pendant. Best tree(s).
Best time had taking family pictures. I didn't know it was possible to have fun taking fam pics; but with Arianna behind the tripod doing what she's great at, and everyone else being hilarious and freezing but trying to look relaxed.... well, it was a grand family time.
Fave eccentric tradition: The television fireplace. A must-have for first-born and me.
Alternately: the scariest christmas gift. "The Devil Came on Horseback"- a documentary film of violence in Sudan.

Most blown-away kid/ happiest gamer.
(she never saw that coming!)

The "Hey!~ I didn't know I wanted that, but I sooo wanted that!" gift.
And the- wah-hoo extravagant gift.

The prettiest way to drink coffee.

The most rapidly re-gifted gifts ever. Fingerless mitts that I totally could tell Arianna was faking happiness over. I quickly took those as my own. Great way to keep the wrists warm when you might need to take your for real mitts off to deal with kids or keys or whatever. The USB cup warmer? One of Brian's teacher gifts. Belongs with my laptop. It just does.
Best gift to myself. Saw those socks at Joe and wanted them in my stocking; so I put them there.

Jane. Sweet Jane.
She knows.

It is Jane after all, who gets the award for making mama cry at Christmas.
She stitched together a reversible bag full of hand embroidered pictures of what I love.
Sometimes, there are no words.

Then there's the category that as far as I know; has never been mentioned before at Christmas time. (except maybe at some indiscriminate office parties.....)
The Throw-your-arms-around-someone-else's-husband gifts.
You daycare people. What makes you think that I have a gin and tonic on Friday at 5:30 anyway?! sheesh. And here I've always been soooooo subtle.... (well, ok. There was that parent meeting that involved mojitos on the deck.....And the sharp scent of lemons that herald the start of the end of the week....)
(look out Jenn. I might come after you and Paul with the bear hugs yet...)
And what else to do with the weekend? A dinner out, of course!!
(might have scared him with the affection as well.)

And the champion Throw-Your-Arms-- gift? An alligator skin handbag dating back to 1909. Big surprise, that one. However, I may have equally surprised a certain community member when I barrelled him over with my award winning bear hug at the local gas station.
Watch yerselves at the pumps, fellas.

Best newsletter. I always want to read what Karla is reading.
I'd like to parent more like her too. (kudos to you people) (wanna watch Devil with me?)

Best greeting card/Christmas photo/family picture: Some of my favourite people. Another "kudo" family.
And in the same breath: best reminder of another life in another city. Amazing yoyos, Ginny. Wowzers.

Cutest, most heart-warming surprise under the tree:
Thank you Sammy Jane. You're one of my favourite four year old artists.
(found this rolled up under the tree this morning. One of my daycare cherubs left it there for me. :)
Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Twas The Night Before Christmas Eve...

And all through the house; not a creature was stirring, not even a .................penguin...
The penguins were warming themselves by the fire, and skating a fishing with nary a care.........
When out in the real world, there arose such a clatter.... One would think that those penguins should worry -- what is the matter?!

(sure. It was all his fault. We sent Micah out at the elementary school Christmas concert to purchase raffle tickets and distribute them into the various baskets/projects/mammoth gingerbread houses that they had collected in this ingenious fundraiser. The Hildebrands "won" the mansion. Can you call it winning when you've put down roughly a month's salary in tickets?!)Oh. But she was a beaut. We had to send Brian home for the van so we could get it home- the plywood base made for a pretty heavy Christmas decoration. But that was the least of my sorrows. The thing was huge!-- taking up over half the dining room table with its opulence of penguin-itis. Penguins in the hot tub. Penguins on the hill. Penguins ice-fishing. This simply had to stop. Time to take it outside, fellas.
Have a little family togetherness.

Sure. We'd heard of families who went carrolling on the eve of Christmas eve. We'd heard of game nights, egg nog in punch bowls, Christmas tree trimming, and last minute gift wrapping. There was some mention of Scrabble. The notion of playing old albums on our USB turntable. There was that pesky community ice rink right in our own backyard. There were twenty-three pieces of Lego from the boys Advent calendars, (okay. 46, if you want to get all technical and mathematical. sheesh.) There were pots of gold, butter toffees, and Lindor chocolates.
But nothing.No nothing could bring a family together like a good, old-fashioned Red Ryder 200-shot Carbine Action Air Rifle. (or a pellet gun as the case may be). Time to show those invasive, self-entitled, overbearing penguins who's boss.

Those penguins learned whose boss in these parts.
Their cozy ice shack pumped fulla lead.
Nope. these kids aren't growing up all traditional like.

We've never had a ping pong tournament in our basement.

Never done a decent road trip.

Don't agree on everything.

But when we all put our heads together- boy, oh boy. Can we create a memory.

(Let there be Peace on Earth. And let it begin with me. well, maybe you.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

An Excellent Source of Fibroids

if you are at all squeamish or embarrassed about things of a female nature, or feel that there are things in the secret world of females that you prefer to remain ignorant in; Do Not Read On. Or, if you just think that you'll never be able to look me in the eye after you know the intimates of what my Doctor drags me through; Do Not Read On.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Ahhh, that annual physical is the gift that just keeps giving.

First, there was the very enlightening experience of the internal ultrasound. I learned about gadgets and gizmos and procedures that I am fairly confident I could have happily lived out the remainder of my days not knowing. Still, there's nothing to keep things fresh like constantly learning new things. Now, with that behind me, all that remained of the required annual physical tests was the mammogram- and who hasn't accidentally backed an SUV up over one's own breast at least once before in their lifetime? That's old news. I'm an old pro at the mammogram machine, and already know lots of creative ways to roll and tuck flattened tissues and still look fabulous in a gown.
I'd had plenty of training.
So, I wasn't too worried about the mammothflat.

Mostly it became a practical matter of booking the time off of work and seeing what other birds could get shot on the same day.

Sam's follow-up neurology appointment.

He could sit in the open-the-gown-to-the-front cubicle and play on Micah's gameboy while I got my breasts anvilled. Shouldn't take too long. Then we could hustle over to Children's Hospital to get his noggin examined. A foolproof plan.

We got through the first waiting room, and into the changing waiting room. Sam did great while I shivered in my drafty greens and got through the squashy vicegripping procedure of radiology. The technologist asked me to wait in my changing room for a few minutes before changing so she could be sure that she was pleased with the images. I heard her excuse several other women hiding behind their drafty curtains in their own cropped gowns.

I waited for my cue for departure.

"Joyce? We'll want to take just a few more pictures..."

So we did. I was getting kind of intimate with the machinery by now; but I hoped that my tissues wouldn't explode all over the floor and walls, they looked awfully clean.

Back to my fitting room; feeling a little deflated.

Some more waiting; some more women given the green light to get back into the safety and security of their undergarments.
"Joyce? Just a couple more pictures...................."
"This is going to get a little tight. I need to get in and get a good, close picture."

oh. goodie. Those other pictures felt so far away.
more like landscape photos.
Aerial photography; really.
Time to get in nice and close.

And back to the curtain room. (Sam has tired of the gameboy. He's moved on to drawing pictures of weird faces and creatures with three mouths. Probably trying to process the trauma he senses all around him...) I wait. I begin to suspect that my radiologist wanted to be a wedding photographer and is living vicariously through my breasts. I wonder if I'll ever know the security of underwire again or if I'll be asked to live out the remainder of my days dashing between the curtain closet and the compression chamber.

I hear more women being excused.
I hear my name being called.

"Joyce? We'd like to run an ultrasound. We can fit you in in half an hour."

(Nothing surprises me at this point. I remember thinking I was going for a normal ultrasound last time and landed up feeling like I'd just had a tryst with hospital machinery. I wonder how they will manage to make the seemingly innocent ultrasound machine invasive this time. Oh, but I have great faith that they will.)

Back we go to the original waiting room. I consider forming relationships with the other occupants because my life in the real world, what with its closed shirts and undies; is beginning to fade from my memory. Besides. I wonder if I shouldn't warn them?

A short wait and then off to a brand new fitting room. Nice to know that they do their best to keep things fresh and interesting. Sam has moved well beyond the three mouthed faces by now. He is doing remarkably well for a young boy who has been shuffled from cubicle to cubicle with nothing but a paper and pen to entertain him. He hasn't had nearly as much stimulation as his mother.

Not that I had any idea that all that anvil pounding was only a warm-up for our real exercise in radiology. The ultrasound. Did I mention why we were going to such great lengths for these has-been symbols of my femininity? Something about a mass. and not the type with liturgy and candles. Did I mention just where that thicker area was located? Just behind the right nipper. yup, that's what she said.

Let's do a thorough, thorough exam on that particular area(la) now, shall we? Let's get that ultrasound gadget working on those parts. Examine. Re-examine. And examine. And one more time..... a little to the left........ little to the right.... higher......lower.......And one more time. Enough to make a grown woman want to cry. (or giggle uncontrollably). I'm now feeling so intimate with ultrasound that I'm thinking of bringing back polygamy. Conversely, I'm thinking of never visiting my Doctor again. I'm thinking that I've got a sign on my back that says: "ULTRASOUND ME" and I want to get it removed. Who do I see for that?

Probably not neurology at Children's.

(When I do figure it out; I'm thinking of replacing "ULTRASOUND ME" with "Wait! Come back! There's a part of me you haven't violated yet!")

***just to get a little serious for a sec- everything is cool. It's just another case of the fibrous thing that I seem to be so good at. Fibroids in the uterus. Fibrous breasts. The ultrasound confirmed that the mass was simply an area of thickened tissues. Now, you really didn't want to know all of this but seriously. THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU!! And at least you'll have been warned.

We've got to laugh about this stuff, sistas.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It Would Be Nice...........

....... If people would keep their pants on.

It would take the sting and pain out of some work complications. It would allow people to feel free to continue to do valuable work in their chosen fields. It would make for less stress and misery in marriages. It wouldn't hurt the workplace image if people would keep their pants on.

But when the pants come off.... all sorts of things go off the road. I think this is what anonymous commenter #2 was talking about a few posts ago when he/she/it expressed a frustration about the actions of "Christians" being generalized to reflect all people who refer to themself as "Christian". (I say this because the mission to Winnipeg's downtown is under the heading of a Christian organisation.)

My immediate concern is that out of disappointment in John Mohan and Linda Warkentin's decisions to "lose their pants"; people will back away from supporting Siloam Mission.

This affair is no fault of the poor, the addicted, the homeless, the down and outers.

I hope they won't be in a default position of paying for this careless (un)dress code.

Makes a gal feel a little heartsick. For everyone.
And sick in another way- sick of all this indiscriminate sex that seems so rampant in churches, charities, parishes, music teams.....


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Trade Secrets

There's no sweeter words for the daycare hag's ears than:
"I don't know how you do it."
We swoon.
We bare our teeth in shameless grins.
We sigh.
We have been validated, recognized, honoured.

What we don't tell just anybody that there are plenty of jobs that we are incapable of navigating. Or maybe that we are just too afraid of leaving our houses. Of relying on cars during bone-crushing temperatures.

We also don't tell you all our coping secrets. Oh.

Sure- to the naked eye, we are busily preparing grilled cheese for our hungry little flock.
Handy how the fridge is sidled up so close to the range like that....

Blasted offspring.
This is beyond unfair.

Still too early to launch into fridayatfivefifteen; I suppose?
Will have to settle for licks at the lid to get me through....

Back to the kids, and some pointers on how to do it.


Must contain ketchup.
And whenever possible; cheese.

If you run out of ketchup, jam comes in at a very close second.
And I mean for everything.
Ketchup. Or jam.

You must laugh at your own jokes.
All of them.
Dry humour works well- keeps them a little confused, a bit on the edge- gives you the advantage.

That's all I can think of right now to enlighten you with. I'm suffering from a massive nutrient deficiency because of the whole ice cream fiasco.
Must try cheese.
With ketchup.....

....or jam.