Thursday, April 29, 2010

Things I Ought To Consider Before Participating in Today

It's raining. That's going to mean another indoor day, after becoming accustomed to the freedom and happiness of moving outdoors into wind and sunshine, sandbox and trampoline. More specifically, it means absorbing the shock of volume bouncing off of four walls, toys strewn across the basement floor, and nagging the kids to stay off the stairs.

Yesterday we attempted happiness indoors, and it was quickly apparent that we'd all become addicted to the "pediatric runner's high".

We needed our exercise.

So, with a slight drizzle not dampening our spirits, we headed out. Now, the kids I care for are pretty special little people. They know the drill. They know that they can run ahead of me, but never go around the corner because we need to see each other. So off they ran. They stopped at the corner and waited for me and the stragglers. We reconvened at the corner and off the ran again.

But yesterday something happened for the first time.
They decided they knew it all, and after noting that there were no cars, they proceeded to cross the street. While it should be noted that we live in a very quiet neighbourhood with not a lot going on; this still made me freak out in many, many levels. This is brand new fodder for award- winning nightmares for years to come. Anxiety spikes as I think of what might have been. Gears whirl, imagining how to adequately communicate the gravity of this to my poppets.

Even though we spent the rest of our scamper lecturing, lecturing, I fear that they didn't really get it. Any more than they've recently mastered my insistence that whacking friends on the head with chalkboard erasers is unacceptable social etiquette.

So, maybe rain today isn't such a bad idea. Gives me time to breathe again.
Besides, I need to buzz around the place and declutter before Brian's pallette teasing tapas this evening.

I've still got a pack 'n' play full of vomit to deal with.
And the damn dog peed in the house again. On the foamy that I just washed, last week, out in the sun. That kids sleep on. Yuck.
There's soccer equipment a'plenty all over the porch.
I have to phone U of Winnipeg lost and found. Daughter left her new spring jacket in their gym last night. (She was playing basketball, I was meanwhile driving all over the west end looking for 211 Spruce Street. Turns out that it was 211 BRUCE street. neat how that rhymes.)
And I feel crabby.

I'll try to look on the bright side, even though negativity seems readily available to me of late.
Coffee is officially a legume. Vital to my health.
Brian is making me breakfast- fruit smoothies this morning.
Tapas is tonight. Good drinks. Better food. Funny people.
The grass is turning brilliantly green.
Cheri will come for coffee this morning. We'll spur one another on.
I joined a book club. (wow. I'm so current.)

There are no basketball tournaments this weekend, no weddings, no obligations.
Might give me the time I need to find that happy place again.
(ahhh. happy place. buttons that Brian found for me at the thrifty stop last Tuesday)
(Post Script:)
(Wow! This looks like a classy place to leave my kid!!)
(Oh yeah? Well. You should have been here last week when it was all fresh and clean and dry again. After the OTHER TIME the DAMN DOG urinated on it.)
That's what we are.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

She Is Forced To Examine The Possibility That She Is Completely Daft

I have very fibrous breasts. Just ask any mammographer near you.

Years ago, my Doctor referred me to a gynecologist so that I could talk to her about my lumps. And my psychotic reactions to birth control. (She wrapped that one up right quick.
"How many chillren You have?
Tube tie.
How many you wann?
You tie tubes.")
(I may be paraphrasing ever so slightly)
I think I replied that if I wanted to have thirteen children and raise them naked in my garden, then that would be my choice and not hers, thankyouverymuch.
She also aggressively felt up my lumps.
And announced that caffeine was a contributing culprit.
I couldn't very well get snippy about that. My babies had been raised on cappuccino-a-la-breast milk. Coffee was my best friend, my confidant, my lover. My calorie free, guilt free, rich and ever ready comfort.
But the crazy, scarey Doc had a point.
Guess what?
I haven't changed.
Oh, I try.
This morning, I've sipped delicately on steaming mugs of green tea. Whose stupid idea was that stuff anyway? Camel piss. With honey. hmmmph.
I can't wait til the daughter wakes up and insists on coffee.
Then I can blame my mountainous masses on her.
Speaking of lumps and masses.
I have a very dysfunctional relationship with my body, although this is no shocking revelation. I don't want to be this way, make no mistake about it. I get all creepy and crawly when women go on and on and on about this wee imperfection, and that little crumpet they shouldn't have eaten, and blahdy blah, blah. But that's because I'm a hypocrite and I spent waaaaay to many years of my life worrying about little else. And I don't want to get sucked down into that miry pit ever again.
At times when the serotonin dips, and the uterus sloughs, my mind begins to circle. Closing in for the killing thoughts. About lumps and bumps and flacid limbs.
And I've seen enough pop-ups and books and videos and magazines and charasmatic speakers to know that one has to work aggressively to develop something akin to muscle mass.
But I'm daft that way.
And I don't really do it.
I just sit on my fadass and sip a great big mug of coffee.
And worry.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I'm Not...

  • ... a perfectionist. At least not when it comes to sewing.
  • a fast learner. It takes me a while to catch on, and I find that embarrassing.
  • a runner. I wish I were. I admire people who run, it looks like an art to me.
  • thin
  • or fat
  • (I am awfully tired of thinking/worrying/stressing about it)
  • good with teen-agers, except my own. They intimidate me. I wish I were.
  • Not sure I'll ever resolve some of my core issues.
  • good at keeping up with people's blogs and facebook stuff.

I Am...

  • pretty happy
  • going to get a great couch some day.
  • pretty efficient
  • grateful for the way my family and marriage has morphed into positive directions.
  • a chronic collector. Of all sorts of eccentric things.
  • in love with old neckties, neck scarfs, buttons, and great textiles.
  • living outdoors with my daycare kids; happy not to have to "work for a living".

And YOU?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What I Learned At Joycie's House Today

Honey nut cheerios: Yucky.
Raisins: Very, very yucky.
Clods of garden dirt: YUM!
Random decrepit bits of grossness dug out of the slats of a rotting deck: YUM YUM!!
Matters of Evacuation:
Poopy diaper on child other than self: Stinky. Yucky. Ewwwwwwwwwwww.
Diaper on self: Mmmm. Warm. Comfy.
The Alphabet:
a b c d e f g h i j k

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sure Am Glad To Have My Girls Back

I've looked at over a thousand pictures.
I've seen a lot of gorgeous history, amazing buildings, famous art.

But how do I edit? What am I drawn to record?
Pictures of the ones I love.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Job Market

I hear one of the daycare ladies in town quit.
She's making sandwiches at Subway now.


I bet she's glad no one plays Nascar on her antique rocking chair any more.
I'm guessing she doesn't miss that unmistakable odour of excrement a-la acid; a specialty of the teething toddler.
I'll go ahead and assume she doesn't mop her floor every day any more, nor shop for stain-guarded couches every fourteen days or so; leaving her stained- sproinged- spring sectionals on the curb for rodents to nest in. Probably no one leaves gifts of head lice and/or pee pee on her bed springs either.


Having wet my feet in the market place with the cushion of youthful stupidity, I managed to figure out a number of ventures for which I am ill suited.

  • Anything involving public manipulation of numerical figures. For example. When I was a young University student, I took a job at Cultures Restaurant in the Portage Place mall. It was perfect for me. I was a preppy girl prep girl. They put me in a completely deserted portion of the mall; up an elevator, down a hallway, and behind a door. I had a radio, a walk-in cooler, and a binder full of recipes. All I did was flip through those instructions and make up all those mixes. Muffin mix. Biscuit mix. Salad dressing mix. It was perfect.
  • I messed it up. I must have smiled and given the impression that I was good with the public. Besides. My boss had a crush on me, and I guess he didn't like me tucked up in a second floor closet, singing along to the radio with nothing but the cranberry muffin mix to accompany me.
  • I did okay behind the salad counter, dishing up leafy greens. I got really good at saying; "Would you like avacadoanddilldressingandpinenutswiththat?" Which must have led google-eyed boss man to believe that I could operate a cash register.
  • Here's where it all went terribly, terribly wrong. Imagine a line up, ever growing longer. A large woman wielding a spinach salad snapping and cracking at me because of whatever I had erroneously punched into that blessed machine. Which only made my nervous fingers flail ever so much more vigorously at the number pad before me.
  • I should have been re-delegated to the cranberry closet, but I suppose lusty eyes wanted me within his range of vision, so I got planted safely behind the spinach once again. Reacquainting myself with the pine nuts. The avacado. And the dill dressing.

Lesson learned? never, ever attempt a profession that involves manipulating those mysterious numerical symbols while the general public looks on. Never.

I wasn't much good at office work either. I'm afraid of the telephone, and I'd tell them anything at all, just to get off that evil thing.

  • You want the Doc to call you? At home? No problem. I'll get him on that, just as soon as he's through with that double penectomy in the back room. He won't mind a bit.
  • What's that you say? You've been sitting in the waiting room for two hours now? gosh. Must have gotten distracted by the design that blood spatter was forming as it crept across your abdomen. Such a great concept for a quilt project..... Sorry... I'll see if I can locate your chart here.....

Yeah... maybe a good idea to seek employment away from medical liabilities and the phone. Never did get the hang of that "hold" button anyway...

The nursing home worked out pretty good. Minimal paperwork. Zero telephones. (except when I stealthed behind the nurse's station to sneak in a phone call home. We lowly health care aides were banned from the wonders of communication unless we'd stuffed our pockets with quarters to use on the pay phone on our too-short, too-infrequent breaks...)

Problem is, I was too happy for the place. You had to be hard. Bitter. Angry.

And every single break, you had to scowl into your weak coffee and count the days, hours, and minutes until your "Magic Eighty". (Numerical. Confusing.)

But. I did get that this was the day that these women had given themselves permission to become happy. To quit working, lose that pesky 99 pounds, start smiling, and get to living.

I wasn't much good at remaining miserable for another twenty odd years. I didn't really get the point of complaining about every aspect of the job, living for coffee breaks, and then spending coffee break living for the day when you wouldn't have to take coffee breaks any more.

Then I re-met my muse. Munchkins. I noticed that it involved all the stuff I'm good at, and pretty much none of the stuff that gives me hives. I didn't have to put up with any old biddies whining about their jobs and their unfulfilled lives. I didn't have a nurse superior breathing over my neck and suggesting that I go scrub urinals when my leathery residents were done being bathed. No creeper boss checking out my behind while I'm ladling avocados and dill. No sitting indoors writing up blood test requisitions while the sun and wind danced outdoors in my absence.

We spend a lot of time outdoors, here at Joycie's house. We never use cash registers or medical charts. One of our favourite things to do is going for a walk around the neighbourhood. There's nothing particularly special about it; just an ordinary walkabout. But we love it.

Today we skirted around a large truck, and a group of men with a long hose. Another man was donning a body suit and lowering himself into a hole in the ground. An unmistakable odour wafted over to us where we watched from the safety of the opposite sidewalk. It reminded me of my dad cleaning out the sewage pit in the hog barn and hauling the waste away in the "honey wagon". (Hunny wagon? Hunn-E wagon?!) It was clear that the men were pumping waste out of an underground sewage storage.

On our return from walking to nowhere in particular, we passed by the men again. Everyone loves seeing a bunch of kids walking around. It seems to make people happy and disarmed. I commented to the big guy in the coveralls that the kids had thought it was pretty cool- seeing a man drop beneath the surface of the earth like that. What he said made me glad all over again that I'm not shutting down to make sandwiches, return to the nursing home, or face my fear of cash boxes.

"Kids. This is why they say "Stay In School"! Did you see how dirty that guy got? Stay in school or you might land up in a big truck pumping poop when you're a grown-up!"

Yup, the job market can be a harsh pill. Wonder what those guys did before they figured out what they were good at?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How Not To Be a Board Member

While dignitaries and the Mennonite equivalents of Pope and High Priest solemnly discuss plans for a summer volunteer appreciation barbeque, the question of providing entertainment might be raised.

It is ill advised to blast forth;
"Karaoke would be fun!"

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Oh Brandon; How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways...

Sadly, the city shows evidence of my seven year desertion.
Count 'em, four of my precious thrift shops have closed their doors since I moved away.
Incredible, that I single handedly supported all that thrifting for my ten year stay in Brandon.
Well, okay. I give myself a wee bit too much credit. I would be amiss not to mention that my equally compulsive side-kicks have also left the city of our young adulthood, no doubt to graze greener junk shops elsewhere.
So, with one faithful scrounger beside me, I hit the two remaining downtown junk shops.
With glee.

But good things come to she who does or doesn't wait. The thrifting came to me.

I met up with BBNM and her sister; who gave me the world's most gorgeous chenille. It is thick. And luxurious. And smells faintly of liniment, reminicient of the backwoods Low German chiropractor of my youth. I regret to inform you. I cannot cut it. Not yet. I was too busy sleeping beneath it, about five seconds after arriving back home to my plastic house in Hoo-Ville, happy and feeling complete with all my chicks roosted again beneath my wings.
I also had the marvelous privelege of finally meeting Fancy. Who some of you will "recognize" from comments over at Bags4. Even lovelier in person. And ever so helpful. And did I mention adorable?
And Krista. An acquaintence from back in the day. We had some pretty deep stuff in common back then. And now? Now we share a passion. For women who survive against impossible odds.
Between performances of "Sanctuary; Hope For Darfur" at the Centennial Auditorium, hob-nobbing with old friends, new friends, and fellow Darfur impassioned citizens, I had the joy of driving to Rosa-the-pioneer-woman's rural abode. All that chenille, thrifting, hob-nobbiing, and Starbucking had energized me to romp a little with their latest family member: Rambo the Baby Steer.
I'm thinking of gettin' me one of them.

Meanwhile, it was easy to work up an appetite for MB's horse poop cake.
Well, I don't think she actually called it that, I may be paraphrasing a little.
What a joy it is to feel that Life is a package brimming with (non-consumer) wealth and possibility. That there couldn't be enough time to take in all the people who live with authenticity, vulnerability, risk, and generosity. That there is no end to living creatively. That all the garbage we get decieved into culturally is not what is valued in the people whom I love.
Grateful am I.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Happy Spring!

Today, I saw a fly in my house, and I swept up a virtual tonne of sand from underneath the table.

Ahhhhh, Spring!

Monday, April 05, 2010

The Crazy Tourists Have Arrived!

The train station in Rome, Italy.
My: three sisters, one sister-in-law, two nieces, and two daughters.
(nice purse, Yanni)

Friday, April 02, 2010

Decorating Eggs: Boy Style

We don't need those fancy drugstore egg decorating sets with the sparkles and stickers.
We're waaaaaaaaaaaay greener than that.
Besides. These are gonna last for like; ever.

We're not the only ones around here feeling a little green.

I don't feel so good.

Don't believe me? Well.

Indulge your senses in this totally boy Easter egg video.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

I Probably Should Have Worried More

After all.
Auntie C. did give Arianna numerous tutorials on what not to do, and these lessons were based entirely on airport/airplane/air travel no-no's that she herself had performed. So. Why exactly was I entrusting offspring #2 to her? Do I love pain? Anxiety? Suspense? Uncertainty?

It should have been stupidly straightforward. Three adults, one teen-aged daughter of mine. Fly to Toronto. Go through customs. Continue on to Munich.

One of the aunties had booked her flights herself. And having gotten caught up in the excitement and group dynamic of flying with her gene pool, she kind of forgot that the flight she booked to Toronto kind of left a few hours earlier than 3:30. Which is the flight that Jane, her cousin, and her other auntie were booked on.

It went something like this:
Jane proceeds to baggage check with her world travelling auntie.
We watch from the eaves; unconcerned. Nonplussed. Jane-jane is, after all, travelling with three competent adults, none of whom are exactly wet behind the ears. We chit chat, shoot the breeze, and imagine life at home with only two kids.
It's taking kind of long.

"Kath-" she calls out, all casual like.
"Did you happen to print out my itinerary? They can't find me in the system".

I start to pay attention.

A few minutes later, it all becomes clear.
Her flight left hours ago.
This particular flight is full.
There are not all that many daily flights that travel to Munich out of Toronto.
She's sort of looking up-the-creek-esque. Without a paddle.

Around about this time, I remember who it was that we trusted to escort offspring #1 home from Europe. Yup. A certain fifteen year old who is having way too many mature experiences as of late. If she has to fly internationally alone again, I will be looking for blood.
Well, that sister of mine didn't have a horseshoe surgically implanted for nothing.
At literally the last minute, she got on the flight stand-by.
Which means she could make her next flight.
And all the flights home with our kid. (I hope she doesn't misplace her or anything...)

So, we got to kiss our sweetheart good-bye and good luck.
Hasta La Vista all over again.
I of course, have committed in my mind to lock up my remaining children in the basement until they are at least 31 years old. It's going to take me at least that long to look through my entire family history.
Looking for a long lost relative by the name of