Friday, January 29, 2010

The Voices Are Back

I was doing really well. I got that awful medication out of my system and the subsequent parody of irritable bowel syndrome went away with it. I sailed through November, December, and part of January without wanting to send the snow and cold to Vancouver for their stupid games. (they are currently trucking snow down from the peaks. This is hard for me to fathom, as other people don't have water, clothing, houses... plus our entire main street and my driveway is clogged up with the stuff......... But I digress) I was pretty much coasting, and even had a pretty good attitude.

I kept checking the sky and the sidelines for those nasty twins; depression and anxiety. But they seemed to be pretty much taken up with other matters.

But right around the time that I questioned the Unquestionable Medical Guy, I started hearing the voices. (not literally- just to be clear) The voices whispered things like...

"you're not very bright, you know. And did you notice that you're getting less bright?"

I recognized the voices right away- they germinate from shame, guilt, inadequacy, inferiority, and a whole legion of other evil forces. I shushed them. I reasoned with them.

But they seemed to germinate and multiply in the very heat of my resistance.

Pretty soon they bantered me about everything. I don't read to the kids enough. I don't make their appointments fast enough (girl child and her run-in with the car. That never ends, especially when basketball season comes up and she runs and runs and runs) I haven't taught my children to do enough housework and I do way too much for them. (true.... true...) The boys spend too much time on electronics. We should be out sledding. They don't eat vegetables. (Or most everything I cook). Have I donated that money to WFP or did I not? Must check the website, should remember this. Can't remember this. Must be stupid.

Yup, once those twins get a hold of me, they are relentless.

I should stop chewing my hangnails, my fingers hurt. We're out of lettuce. The dog needs grooming. Van should have had an oil change a millenium ago. Is there rye bread? I must clean out my closet; I can't find any pants that I like. The boys room-- oy.

The mind is a curious organ. While it is yelling mercilessly; it can remain aware of the charade of it all. It can know that it is lying to itself. Exaggerating. Bullying. Simultaneously, the mind becomes the call center for its own advocacy- arguing against the lies, buffering them with positives, allowing in the beauty of the low orange moon to flood the synapses with seratonin.

And the mind knows the seasons of the nasty twins. That they won't stick around, they won't define their host. They don't become her. And even when the mind laughs off its forgetfulness, flightiness, lack of lettuce-i-ness, there will still be chewed hangnails, unmade appointments, and a shaggy dog. It's just going to feel less significant than life and death.

(thrill me... chill me... anyone willing to throw a bone on their own personal coping mechanisms with the whole brain going sour syndrome?)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Now You Know

Ever wonder why people can be so cruel?
Why horrible things happen?
Why mothers hurt children, serve them snakes instead of bread, and poison random strangers?

Alarm clocks.
That's why.
And now, you know.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Why You Really ALL Must Go Thrifting

Because whether you're willing to admit it or not; you're going to need six white vases and an old metal lunchbox soon. You know you are.

And that dear friend of yours who got a lame Christmas gift from you this year? Well, you know how she feels about those Ideals books. So, you have a chance to redeem that friendship in just a couple of weeks.

Unlike YOU, I am prepared for the prairie storm that is blasting through these parts as we speak. With my handknit socks and a new old tablecloth to turn into something besides a footrest for the man, I'm seeing clear skies ahead.

And did I mention the mother load? Oh Baby! The aprons!
There's no end to the potential upcycling that's about to happen in these parts.
So, you really must go.
Just don't go looking for the stuff that I like, ok?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Goin' to.... Winnipeg!

It starts to happen when you get comfortable. Even before the kids ever came along. You're at home, and you're cozy, and the remote is so beautiful.

You stop taking the time and effort to get out and enjoy all the great places right within your reach.

But while you're watching "Say Yes To The Dress" and munching on frozen shortbread leftover from Christmas; other people have remembered a little place called The Forks.

The river trail is only the world's longest skating rink, after all. Nine kilometers of delicious outdoor skating along our city's own rivers.

It was magical. Unseasonably warm for January, I breathed a silent thanks to God for not making me endure another winter like last year's. (let's just be clear- I don't actually think that God sits around manipulating weather systems for fun and kicks. But the way I see it is this- God is good. He made all this great stuff, and when I notice how good it is, I like to try and say so.)

The lost little bootie hung up on a recycled pine tree that lined the skateway was tangible evidence of the spirit this place creates- comradary, joy, and goodwill.
Lost mitts in these parts won't find themselves ground into salty filth until they become part of the messy spring clean-up that is Winnipeg.

With Festival du Voyageur right around the corner, the ice sculptures have begun to appear in our frozen city of optimism and talent. The ice castle makes me happy just to look at it- as do the faces of my beautiful Jane and her silly, fun loving companions.
Yep, it's nice to be comfortable. And I'm not opposed to shortbread in any form.
But they only grow sweeter when you get out outdoors to enjoy these other treats.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tough Day At The Office

Wish there was someone that I could blame.
Office manager? oh. that's me.
Secretary? cook? laundress? business manager?

nope, nope, nope. All me.

I could say that I didn't get the memo. Which I didn't.
Not the 5:45 am one beside my bed that's supposed to make loud noises and wake me up.
Not the phone call from the mommy on the deck with the little girl who had to go pee.
Or the seven phone calls after that.
Or the barking dog.

I didn't get any of those memos.

Blech. I stunk really, really, putridly badly. I slept in. Through the alarm that never went off, the phone calls, the dog. All of it. Of course, our bedroom phone was laying on the floor a room or two over, dead as a sleeping bag. Can I blame the dead phone? I didn't think so.

You'd think that after a start like that, the three runny poops, the one puking child, and the partridge in the pear tree would be no big deal. Which they weren't.

But somewhere around the time that my kids came home from school; the three children jumped on the red couch AGAIN after being told NO fifty four times, and the girl bit the boy.... well.... a little something went PING inside my head. Audibly. That was just after getting the credit card bill in the mail, listening to puking kid asking for cookies for the fifth time, and me remembering that tonight was my turn to provide snacks for 30 kids at Jane's youth group.

I delivered a rant of memorable proportions.

Something about having TWO arms and not EIGHT.

Meanwhile, it seems clear that what is really needed is a minimum of EIGHT alarm clocks. Or a new dog.

Or a much more reliable staff.
Oh right.

(One of the Ways In Which) I know I Am Insane

I was on a new med for a while that made me: exhausted, nauseous, bloated, irritable, and sick with heartburn much of the time.

I was either hungry, or sick to my stomach.
I might have lost an ounce or two.

I went off the med, and now I can easily digest all of my meals and snacks.

And guess what.
I'm sad because I'm not going to get skinny.

I guess I'll never ever ever grow up.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Looking For Inspiration

Certainly not finding it in these places.

And as much as I love to stumble; sometimes it just brings out the devil in me. Makes it look like everyone else is living perfectly serene green lives. (And I mean the kind that doesn't require kleenex...)

There's nothing quite like getting outdoors in the Real World to set one's happyometer to rights
once again. The outdoors around here lately have been un-January-ously mild and breathtaking.

The kids explore every bump and ridge from here to the thrift shop, while Shadow the dog diligently pees on Every Thing with inspiring levels of commitment. She's sure I don't mind constantly untangleing her leash from the wheels of the stroller.

We bump into other "people in the trade"; out for some fresh air and fresh perspective. We jump around and wave happily.

The thrift shop doesn't let us down. A purple plastic Bratz guitar sets an instant stage for the kids to want to stay and play for ever. Joycie finds The Perfect Pillow. (one can rarely have too many). And a vintage tea towel, perfect for a future grocery tote at Bags 4 Darfur.

Home in time for lunch.
The place looks lovelier than it did when we left. The fresh winter air has blown some "bored and grumpied" out of us, and maybe if we look a little more closely, we'll find that inspiration that we so need on these January days.

Monday, January 18, 2010


I love stumbleupon.
And you will too, after you see what I found today.
This one-- not so much.

But.... Oh. My. Goodness.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Then Again

... even Goliath can have a change of heart.

"Doing the right thing" can be subjective- and it's not fun or easy. I'm grateful in this case that what began badly and went worse; ended up well.

(how's that for a post with no details?!)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Taking On Goliath

Do you know why most people don't "do the right thing"? Because it sucks, that's why. Do you know why we all prefer to talk to our friends about what so-and-so did that deeply wounded and offended us? Because-- they'll understand and sympathize. They won't suggest that our perceptions are faulty; our memories poor; and our intentions purely, insidiously evil. (can you have pure evil? another good question, Kehler).

Ah, yes. The big Kahuna. The face to face. The Kon Fron Tay Shun.

And as we limp away from the scene, do you know what the brain is already busy with? The conscise summaries-- profiles; if you will.

As in. Subject A is arrogant and can never be wrong- too much at stake. And subject B? oh, that bitchy, forgetful, blood-thirsty man-killer? She's just bitter. And wrong.

Doing the right thing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chairperson Of The Board

Doing my best imitation of a seasoned executive, I slid into position in the lunchroom turned boardroom , my sheath of columned numerical sheets in hand. Jars of dusty, second-hand cookies and duct-taped vinyl chairs swathed in scents of familiarity seemed obviously staged to lull and romance naive recruits into the lair of the inevitable.

The Review of The Budget.

Sheets and sheets of tidy columns, notations, disbursements, and parituculars which predictably elicit an unparalled adrenalin rush for type A accountants and strike cold, hard fear into the heart of the artist. Not unlike a grade six math drill with brainy Barry breathing down my neck on one side and the six foot twins Lydia and Linda on the other, I nearly yearned for an extraordinary response to stress like, say, profuse sweating, or heightened mental alertness. Some antidote to the familiar dull panic instantly saturating the left cortexes, swelling my fingers into thumbs of unmanageable girth, slowing my cat-like reflexes to excrutiatingly slow motion. As if in chorus, personal pheromones began to multiply at dizzying rates, secreting the unmistakable odours of terror and mathematical uncertainty into the underventilated space. Its organic fear-omonal messages rapidly filling the sensory regions of the board's treasurer.

As I shuffled my papers, the odour of my mathematical malfunction hung heady in the air.

Sighly heavily; He began......."Financial statement for the month of December.......Joyce. Are you with us?........ column 1- current month...........describes the Current Month. Unlike column B: As you see..... YTD indicates Year To Date.... Are you with us?........... Have you located the correct sheet of notations and balances? Is this clear? It is imperitive to understand- we'll be doing comparative assessments of these columns in following months."

My stack of loose sheets in disarray formed a sharp contrast to the orderly binders around me. I'd been duped.
Romanced into a board with little idea of its gruelling expectations. No one had ever grilled me on multiplication tables or spreadsheets. There had been no request for back copies of early years report cards. It had all been shrouded in a mysterious cultural ceremony involving "firsting", "seconding", and something about motion or notions.

And it was the notions that really sealed my fate. Line twelve of disbursements; (Financial Statement for the Month of December, 2009): Fabrics.

Aha! (thought I) A dim light in this labyrinth of mathematics. There were questions to be asked about the purchase of fabrics, the long term projections for the store's craft corner, the life expectancy of the current member in charge of buttons. The possibility of discarding mcc's lifelong compulsion to painstakingly card every matching button onto carefully snipped swatches of recycled greeting cards? The possibility of placing jars of mixed buttons on the shelves for discerning consumers not unlike myself?

A palpable chill swept the facility.

Button Lady peered at me over her spectacles; profuse twitches developing rapidly.

The secretary's neck began to vibrate and pulsate.

The treasurer shuffled his unwavering, dependable vertical arrangements of figures.

It had been tried.
The jars had sat there.
And sat there.

Button Lady's eyes shot sparks from behind those low-slung specs and her body began to rise every so slightly out of her chair.

I feared a levitation.
I feared a personal board breach of Levitical proportions.

I'd been symbolically thrown off the button board before I'd quite begun. That one small oppurtunity to endear myself to this seasoned aristocracy of Thrift Politics had been sullied to extents well beyond the bounds of charity and redemption.

Button Lady, Treasurer, Director, and Secretary sat well protected behind their credentials and binders while I reached carefully for my $1.00 purple thrifted coat and blotched accounts receivables. Wary in the knowledge that The holy grail of Board Etiquette had been overthrown by this novice beurocratic illiterate, I edged toward the exit; visions of board member grandeur brutally, unceremoniously, permanently aborted forevermore.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Can I Have That Graded On The Curve; Please?

In some ways, "bagging" has replaced blogging.
What I mean is that spending my "slush time" at the sewing machine usually means there's no time left for writing. It's as though there is a certain daily amount of energy and time deposited into my creativity account and once its gone- its gone. I miss blogging. And I love sewing.
After taking a break from the computer over Christmas break, I tiptoed back into the Darfur project wondering if the fifteen minutes of airtime were over. Wondering if it would be discouraging to post bags in January after the excessiveness of December. Wondering if that dreaded inevitable day had dawned where the bags for Darfur were passe. Last year. Old news. Yesterday's passing fancy. Wondering if I ought to picture myself sincerely yelling into the wind-- hey! Looka here! Buy a bag! Hellooooooo?? And then feeling kind of alone and embarrassed.
(yes, I've heard of melodrama. Pride. Paranoia.
Just never quite figured how to rid myself of all those troubles)
Sometimes, on rare occasions; I love being wrong.
It was so good to be back!
I saw the familiar names and a few that might be new. I saw bids and little waves with the scent of love about them. And I even got a new bidder.
Happy, happy moments those are.
Turns out that the new bidder became a new bag owner.
I waited for the e-mail to arrive, indicating where to send the bag to.
Instead, my daughter came home from school with an envelope-
Our mystery bidder was no one from Alaska, New York, U.K., or Sweden.
Far out!
She was the sewing teacher at the local high school where my daughters attend.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Things I miss

Reading blogs.