Friday, June 25, 2010

My Room of Six

My room of six holds more than six.
My more than six don't actually believe that if you forward an e-mail chain letter, you will be "blessed" on the fourth day. They don't believe in forwards. And they don't need the luck.

Compelling thought, to gather 6 women who have touched my life; put them in a room together, and test the notion that nothing would then be impossible.

How would we start? Would they hate each other? Squirm in their chair and wonder why on earth the others were there? Would they have an impossibly awful fight? Would they seem outrageous to each other? Opinionated? Extreme? Excessive? Repressive?

My room of six would not make a wish before reading a quotation or forwarding to their own rooms of six. They would look at the forward suspiciously, study it, examine its source, snort a little at its assertions, then disobey each and every commandment within.

They'd be too busy with horticultural pursuits, artfully piecing fabrics, assimilating refugees, creating beauty, ignoring banality for the greater good, mindfully reading, meeting their neighbours, pursuing their children, sharing, laughing, considering how to live with less, hiking, biking, advising, protecting, truth-telling, feeding, feet washing, world changing, and ass kicking to bother with following e-mail rules. And a bunch of other rules, for that matter.

They would never believe that by forwarding an e-mail, something magical will happen on the fourth day. They won't worry one bit about breaking any type of chain whatsoever. And when they break it, as they will... they won't worry one second about what sort of evil will stalk them, their menfolk, their animals, sheep, goats, or their chin hair tweezers.

They might make a wish, but they know there is no magic in an e-mail.
But they might send it anyway. Because they are not the sort of women who gain their pleasure by cutting down people around them. They are the sort who cheer when you succeed, and cry when you're hurting. They are the sort who boldly swim upstream.

They could send a blessing, and mean it.

May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.

They are unlikely to send this to 6 women or more within the next 5 minutes. They won't count four days ahead and anticipate something spectacular.
In my room of more than six, spectacular is what they can do.
Without counting.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I Want To Make

Jewellery from discarded watch pieces.
And buttons.

Skirts that employ the graphics of an old table's dress.

Drapes out of a hundred old curtains.

Burlap pillows. With old embroidery.

Framed, dressed corkboards.

Floral arrangements in old collanders.

Wall garland in triangular fabric love.


I want to use the word "patina".

I wish I'd rescued an ancient dress maker's form that I once sighted in a dumpster.

And an old cupboard I found discarded in an empty lot.

I wish I owned a primordial chandelier.

A turquoise alarm clock that doesn't work.

A front door that opens into a hospitable veranda.

Feather tree.

I wish I wanted nothing.
I wish I wouldn't wish.

Then, scratching the itch of wanting, I happened upon the thoughts of Alice W:

There is something profoundly beautiful in simplicity. But all too often, I forget this.

I start to feel that the "more" I have in every aspect and area of my life...the better it will be.

The better I will be.

More things, more money, more time, more blog comments and followers, more sales, more career opportunities, more creativity, more skills as an artist, photographer, designer, etc. And what would all of these things equal?

SUCCESS of course!

I would be on top of the world.

I would be content and satisfied.

I would want for nothing.

Everything would be...perfect.

Or...would it?

Would it only leave me wanting...more?

But I'll never know, will I. Not until I sit in that
floral skirt
with watch face jewellery
before a keyboard
full of time
and possibility.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Back in the day when my teens were wee little; I used to lose myself in fashioning clothes for them. I stitched and snipped to the extent that a fleet of little girls could remain well dressed, even at the speed of an outfit an hour.
So, I sold the excess.
Recently, I've had a severe case of the "spring cleaning fever".
This little outfit has been hanging around the house for years now, and it was time.
Ruth's fundraising garage sale was the self imposed deadline that I needed to those years- delayed buttonholes sewn in.
And just look at the wee angel.
(and I'm just as sure she'll grow to become the sweet angel that her mother is...)
(sorry Ruth. That doesn't come in your size...)

Friday, June 18, 2010

That's No Fair!

So, we were all at the Old Time Country Fair, doing assorted fair-type activities.
As a committed, contributing member of my community, I had just completed wowing the masses with my motocross skills watching motocross and pitying the poor mothers of those death-defying tricksters on two wheels.
Brian and Sam were in line for the annual BBQ chicken dinner, and I was in position to skillfully rip tickets and hand out dinner plates to the first one thousand lucky digestive tracts.
Brian, employing his super sleuthing skills, noticed a kerfuffle across the street in the school grounds. Selflessly abandoning his post in the chicken line, he rushed over to find our Jane with all the bounce bounced out of her.
She had jumped down from the bouncey ladder, onto the bouncey floor, landing on the side of her right foot. She heard them make unnatural sounds.

Fortunately, the motocross event was very nearly ramping over the giant chicken barbeque pits, so mama and papa had been easy for her friends to locate. Meanwhile, some very lovely EMS persons showed up in gators, armed to the teeth with splints and soothing voices. The guy who owns the Evil Castle of Bounce backed his half tonne truck up behind us and we pitched Jane right up on the back of that handy stretcher on wheels.
Brian was meanwhile greasing the sides of the van with hog fat, trying to wiggle it out of the garage and past the caravan of friend's vehicles that always occupy our driveway on fair days. (I think we're all grateful to have missed that epic event, and I'm glad that the Inappropriate Language Police was otherwise occupied....)

And off we motored to the Emergency department.
Diagnosis? Probable fracture.
Splinted up to the knee and armed with crutches, Jane was advised to bear no weight on her right foot and come back in a week.
We made it back to Hoo-Ville in plenty of time to take in more of the festivities. Jane hobbled straight back to main street.
When I checked on her a half hour later, it was clear that the novelty of crutches had worn off within roughly 1.5 seconds. She was soon begging for a wheelchair, a cold drink, and a maid servant.
I started having dry heaves and tremors imagining six weeks of non swimming, non camping, and a fourteen year old with carpal tunnel syndrome from 42 days and nights of non-stop facebook-ing.
Jane spent a week developing crutch-type bruises, training her peers to play "Go Fetch for Jane", riding the auntie-taxi to school, and learning to sleep with an itchy ten tonne leg.

Yesterday we headed back to the x-ray department for the final sentencing.
Bad news: Broken fifth metatarsal.

Good news? This freaking brilliant medical moon boot style walking cast!
Bring on the swimming, showering, and sleeping au natural. Then when it's time to get all serious and studious, just strap the cast back on and commence with the healing process!
It looks like we're going on all the rides, after all.
Next year? Motocross.
Those guys in their fancy helmets and steel toed boots never wasted any fair time whatsoever fussing with EMS or emergency departments.
And that's just no fair.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Employee Review

Joyce: "Are you going to be a baby-sitter when you grow up?"

5-year-old: "Yup. But I'm not going to be so mean."

Joyce: "Is Joyce mean?"

5-year-old: "You don't let us watch every movie every day."


Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer Kick-Off-- Fair Days!!

Master of the ladybug ride, fun house, and Dragon Wagon.
Unbelievably, we discovered this year that his ladybug days are behind him. Turns out all that nutella and PB on brown turned into added inches. And inches.
Sure made him tall enough to get entered into the awesome-est watermelon eating contest this side of Texas!

Yup, bashing out the center with his big square head landed him second place!
One whole XL pixie stick.
Which helped to balance out the nutritional deficits in the mini donut indulgences.

Every year at fair time, I get all giddy with happiness about my amazing little town.
Thank you to all the Hoos in Hoo-Ville where everyone's a Hoo's Hoo.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Position Vacancy

chief ex·ec·u·tive of·fi·cer (plural chief ex·ec·u·tive of·fi·cers)

noun (person, place, or THING)


managing director: the highest-ranking executive officer within a company or corporation, who has responsibility for overall management of its day-to-day affairs under the supervision of a board of directors

Responsibilities include: the processing of all paperwork pertaining to the entire organisation, including all board members, their dog, their cat, and the horse they rode in on. The paying of all bills, the signing of all permission slips, the writing of all cheques. The filing of all of the above; whether processed, or in process.

The brewing of coffee.

The purchasing of all tickets, supplies, equipment, sustenance, musical instruments, clothing, toileting items. The filing and maintenance of the same. These responsibilities can be further broken down into subsections which will never be found in any manual, but may include the following: Nutrition. Cardiac health. Banking. Pharmaceuticals. Sanitation. Hazardous Material Handling. Multi- Culturalism. Pest extermination. Citizenship. Consumer Affairs. Bus trips. The Selection Of The Correct and under no circumstances INCORRECT deli meats. Vegetarian cooking. Dessert-atarian. Cooking that involves only and always Ground Beef. Lots of vegetables. No vegetables.

Extra-curricular program directing. Lessons, tutoring, volunteering, sports, parties, dinners out, dinners in. Group activity. Personal activity. Quality. Quantity.

The scrupulous cleanliness of undergarments.

Interior design. Exterior maintenance.
Vehicle maintenance. Small engine repair. Landscaping.

**The above information is partial and incomplete and subject to change without notice. The board meets frequently but informally, and has been known to be demanding and unwavering in their insistence on perfection. The board does not prefer delegation of tasks.

Absolutely no training will be provided.
This position is entirely unpaid, with no possibility of parole.

This position is available immediately.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Why It Is In Your Best Interest To Take Preschoolers Shopping

You don't have to be an overachieving mall hound to achieve this goal- a simple small town grocery store is more than adequate. But whatever you decide, allow me to assure you that this exercise is vital for the health and longevity of your laugh box.

Bouncing along the periphery of the shop, we slowed in front of the dairy, scanning for the best value in the cheese selections.

Behind and below me, I heard a loud, excited exclamation:

"A great big jar of Person Allergy?!"
"Person Allergy?" I question, following the line of direction that her finger points in.
Cheese Whiz!!
A great big jar of Cheese Whiz!
(personality, indeed....)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


I went downstairs to find a piece of purple fabric.
Not wet, purple fabric.
Not wet anything, actually.

All I really wanted was a perfect piece of purple fabric for a Darfur bag that I meant to finish up before hitting the road to HappyVain to celebrate my old pal's birthday. That sprawling fantastical home on the hill, complete with the frolicking goat, picturesque rooster, some baby chicks, a chocolate lab, (a chocolate slab too, if I'm lucky), a couple of fat cats, tree house, and a gutted lawn mower to ride down the hill on. That's not mentioning some great kids, a grand and inspired home, some fine wine, a boursin cheese, and some portabella mushrooms with olive oil, feta cheese, and sun dried tomato.

So when I went downstairs for purple fabric, and found that the National News worthy summer storm had leaked into my basement, I decided that it was extremely minor and that quickly mopping it up would mean that it hadn't really happened at all. That I'd soon be loading the offspring into the van and heading off in the direction of guaranteed joy and bliss and happiness. I decided that I didn't really have to move all the furniture and stuff that was piled up in that particular corner of the basement, but that by simply mopping up what I could see, the problem would be entirely and swiftly eradicated.

Oddly, that little patch of H2O just kept reappearing. Much like fabric, but not nearly as delightful.

I decided to move the coat rack of out -of -season jackets to the other side of the basement. Likely discover a lovely little water gnome or something back there. Someone who would wave and apologize and send me on my way.

Sadly, that isn't quite the way it went.
Moving the coats led to moving the rubber boots, runners, snowpants and mittens.
That led to moving the old computer monitor (that got moved straight to the thrift shop), a box of Leap Pads (same fate), and a large shelf unit of fabrics. (there ought to have been purple in there somewhere, but maybe we'll never know). That led to moving out some scrap pieces of wet carpet, and peeling back the scrap linoleum floor.

No gnomes whatsoever. But a few cracks in the concrete, which is what you'd expect from a 50+ house. Or pretty much any house that endures the temperature extremes that we enjoy in Manitoba. And more puddles.

It was around about this point that Micah sloshed into a wet carpet in another corner of the basement, so I peeled back the carpet there too. Optimism slipping quite severely, I plugged in the dehumidifier, and got back to mopping. I think I carried around ten mop pails up that first day.

I started to have dark thoughts about my husband at a cabin somewhere with his book, his scotch, and his buddies. Did I mention that he'd left that morning, before the water gnome appeared, anticipating two days of golf? I started to suspect that I'd be eating PB & J; and not the mushrooms I'd been salivating after. I launched full bore into self pity, reviewing each and every episode of the MOTHER left with all the kids and all the problems while the FATHER seemed blissfully unaware. I tried to remember that what I wanted to be was a loving and kind servant who used suffering as an oppurtunity to grow.

I felt horns growing.
Teeth elongating.
Irritation percolating.

I whined inwardly about my deep and painful losses involving playing with fabric and buttons, fun road trips with coffee and licorice, weekends without daycare mess, and the outrageous inequity of being the lone adult to bear all this injustice.

I just had to call my mother. Tell her to pity me.
At the spry age of eighty-four, she promptly offered to drive over and help me mop.
Which really made me feel like the biggest loser, and not in a nice television sense of the word.

I knew that I wasn't really suffering, and that I wasn't really even flooding. I was just in a manageable amount of moisture that a mop and some commitment could take care off.

So, I mopped.
And then it rained some more.
So then I mopped some more.

After I put the kids to bed (late) on saturday night after a delightful meal of store bought chicken strips and french fries, I decided to put in a little time mopping. I had by this time located the wicked, ugly, stinking gnome. I'd filled in a long wall crack that had been directly behind my fabric stacks, and with the new deluge of rain, the water began to bubble and froth into the basement at the very base of that delightful crack. (Plus in a few other nasty little drippy spots)

Finding something akin to positive thinking, I brought my laptop downstairs and set it up close to the mess. I'd been wanting to watch the movie "Precious" but since I am almost utterly incapable of sitting around and accomplishing nothing, this seemed like the perfect oppurtunity. Mopping time flew from that point on- nothing like a horrifying story of survival to put a little rain water into perspective.

At 3:00 AM, the little brook showed no signs of stopping, so I opted for the pile-of-towels-and-blankets solution and headed upstairs for a little snooze.

Husband arrived home in the early afternoon of day 3. He was sweet and kind and apologetic. I was pathetic and started snivelling about being tired and sore. He then inquired as to whether we now allowed our children to freely frolick on the rooftop of our humble home? I shot back that I'd just cleaned our eaves troughs; exiting out of the boys bedroom window and I thought it was utterly appropriate for the boys to join in on all the festivities, seeing as how we never got to Goat Hill as planned. In fact, the boy's visit to the rooftop had provided my deepest laugh thus far in this unplanned weekend of damp-osity. Wet from the knees down, I was leaning toward the edge of the roofline to point the hose at the clogged eavestrough when Micah called out-

"So, mom? I guess it's just you, and me, and Zach, Sam, the kitty cat out here on the roof-- oh. And your other friend- Butt Crack?"

So, yes. In the absence of any other contributing adults, it was absolutely a brilliant idea to extend the backyard play area to include the top of the house. Besides, all that suffering had promoted a lot of personal growth in me. Markedly in the areas of sarcasm, self-pity, and irritation. I had hoped it would cause my mathematical cell to grow, but after around 30 buckets of water hauled up to dump into the toilet, I'd lost count. I was much too busy committing energy to feeling sorry for myself, pounding nails into my martyred flesh, and walking around on my own face to spend much energy on anything mature or rational.

Yep, I certainly had grown as a person.

Which came in pretty handy five days later when I realized that the shelving unit full of fabric that I'd moved away from the crack in the wall had sufficiently soaked up the first ten or so buckets full of seepage. I had some laundry to do, before all that fabric grew cultures and life forms enough to make it destined not for darfur, but for the landfill.

Lucky me. I might find that absolutely perfect piece of purple, after all.