Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dear Tucker...

It's true what they say-- you just don't know what you got til it's gone.
There I was, with the very salt of the earth- all this goodness at my fingertips.
And then I made that long drive home...
To that oversized dumpster-esque beast in my driveway...
And the impossible thousands of concrete stones in my cellar.
I ached with the memory of your furry, bacony goodness.
The way you grinned at me.
All the mini excursions to examine Fisher's crab trap.... the school of baby fishies...the new old bicycle coasting down the valley hill.
It's all gone now and I alone am afronted by the impossibility of emptying a mammoth sandbox grain by concretey grain.
How I long for the days of spacious grass sitting rooms ,a cozy boler for six, ice clinking in my glass, and time enough to commiserate until dawn.
Tucker, I love you.
Your people are good.
And courageous.
All the thoughts of your brownness will sustain me through the torturous days that await me here
below the earth.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

July 17

Today is the day.
The eighteen year anniversary of the day that Brian, in his unwavering persuasiveness, convinced me to sing a duet with him in front of 300+ people. In a church.

A song that we'd practiced while sitting on the gentle slope of a roof just outside the most adorable balcony, Brian with the guitar and me holding my cat Betty. We'd sung; "you can cry on my shoulder, and when the mirror tells us we're older, I will hold you and I will be here" until it had very quickly deteriorated into "crying on my boulder"... and more variations of the same.

But on the particular day, in the particular church, with the guitar grasped with some sincerity and no kitty in sight.... the pressure to sing strictly of shoulders, commitment and eternity made me squirm in my bustier.

Then Brian's voice, strong, beautiful, irrisistable- carrying bravely on:

And I will be here
To watch you grow in beauty
And tell you all the things you are to me
I will be here

That same beautiful voice has been with me all these years. All the nights when I cried on his shoulder. And the nights when I curled away from him- impossible miles away in a double bed. The voice that talked me into much riskier things than two minute duets. The voice that for times fell silent, discouraged, buried, exhausted.

At times we've entered back into that duet.
We've lost sight of love
turned the laughter into crying
and watched the sun disappear.

But Brian's voice has always grounded me.
Has always brought me home.

And the duet has carried us back the other verses of
being together, being here, and being true.

(Happy 18th Anniversary, cutie pie. Your voice has been my home for all these years. And if you need to, you can cry on my boulder any time.)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Why I MUST Work From Home

(Or: Optional Post Title: Why Townspeople Ought Never Consort With Non- Townspeople)

When residing in the windswept, wide open prairies, one must rely on modes of transportation to ever, really leave town. When one's residence is, literally, a town, this is further complicated by the fact that there is no public transportation to rely on and townspeople have two choices: A)Live on social assistance and never hope to leave town, or B) work yer ass off to afford your vehicle which constantly deteriorates as you continuously leave town.

I've got a thing for leaving town, so I carefully chose option B.
But I must reconsider.

The first thing to concede is that my boundaries in friendship had expanded to include the Big City. This was an obvious, colossal risk, complicated by the fact that People of the City have broad notions which include moving to even Bigger Cities far, far away. This entails certain farewell rituals which must occur within a set time period of said worldly friend's departure to Places Yet Unknown.

At 10:00 am I backed out of the driveway and optimistically headed off down the highway. The air conditioner had long since exhaled its last humid sigh, and the open windows masked the mysterious sounds of fans and belts, fluids and functions. The dashboard warnings had blinked insistently since some electronic malfunction, constantly urging us to change the oil, check the engine, fasten our seat belt. It never paused to check our receipts from tasks already accomplished.

Suddenly, a new warning appeared.

"Engine Coolant Hot"

In red.

The dial on the other end of the panel concurred.

Now, I haven't gained the reputation for being stupid by not being stupid in the past. Fortunately, I am teachable. So, I turned the van around (slowly) to point back towards Hoo-Ville, gathered up my belongings and stepped out onto the highway. I was glad I'd chosen a little white sundress, so that at an oncoming speed of 90 km/hour, I would create the image of a young, sweet, helpless damsel in distress. (not an aged hag in her daughter's hand-me-downs)

It worked. With my thumb extended, I was soon rescued by a charming English couple on their way to pick up fresh curds from our local world renown cheese factory. After an enchanting conversation, they dropped me off near home so that I could race towards my alternate mode of transport: the infamous farm truck. Like I mentioned, having friends out of town is a risky venture. I wouldn't recommend it.

Although I am stupid, and have been referred to in the past as the biggest loser who ever walked planet earth, I was shrewd enough to run inside and grab a roll of packing tape before I ventured out on the highway once again. The side view mirror had a way of falling off, and what with the particle board box built around the truck's box, checking for traffic, pedestrians, and small pets behind me already proved near impossible. If I backed over a city bus on my way over to Karla's, I'd never get to have that farewell breakfast at Stella's. Better wrap some packing tape around the mirrors to ensure the safety of all out of town Manitobans.

Only thirty-seven minutes behind schedule, I roared up to Karla's respectable bungalow in a respectable city neighbourhood. Not wanting to have her run out of town by a lethal exposure to public humility, I parked a little ways down the block. For reasons mysterious to me, Karla insisted on driving her fancy uptown vehicle so that we could commemorate our tearful good byes over breakfast burritos at Stella's.

I didn't mind. Too many parkades, pedestrian crosswalks, and other urban landmines to traverse. I still had the Montana carcass and the packing taped GMC in my wake. Best not to tempt fate.

After sobbing over homemade hash browns and boring Karla over every detail of my fascinating out of town existence, it was time to head back towards the suburbs. Karla, ever being the mission-minded philanthropist; offered to walk me to my ride.

It was around this time that I remembered the last time I'd been forced into the GMC. Brian was off at the Folk Fest in the Montana and I was at home trying to find my shoes and undergarments to transition into the real world and take in a family wedding. I wasn't confident enough to actually show up at the celebration in a rusted half ton, so ploughed out to my sister's estate (sans side view mirror) to catch a ride with her. After the nuptuals (an event worth a post or two, no.... possibly an entirely new blogspot......) we reconvened at her house for some cider and tears. (laughter induced).

Realizing that the regular world had to be back at the office the next morning, I grasped that it was probably high time I took my truck and me back home.

But I couldn't find the keys anywhere. (biggest loser.... blahdy blah....)

Lucky for me, the relatives had a spare key and hustled me out the door, into the night, and towards the country roads that would take me home.

Fast forward to suburban Winnipeg. When I rumbled into town, I wanted to be all savvy and metropolitan and lock that enviable ride up safe and sound against potential joy-riders.

Except that the spare key that my sister gave me was for the ignition and not for the locked door. Which left me up the proverbial creek without a paddle. Or conversely, on the suburban street without a key. Shy of busting off the rusty side panel, or slipping through the rusting floorboards, I was at the mercy of my munificent friend, who charitibly offered to drive me back to Hoo-Ville for that other magical key. Sort of like the key to the city, but way different.

It was around about this time that it dawned on me with some resounding finality that I was always going to work from home. That it would be in my best interest, and in the best interest of most people I love that I never, ever leave home again.

Meanwhile, Karla brought me to my sister's office so that I could get the proper set of keys and set the world back to rights. I thanked her profusely, leaned over to give her a good-bye hug and usher her into the new life that awaited her in another city far, far away.

Which is when she patiently reminded me that she would still need to drive me back to the city, with the key, to get back into my packing taped truck and return home again.


And I wonder why I never finished my University degree.

I further wondered why, and how I had friends. Except that people like to be made to feel useful. And benevolent. Which is what I do for people. By quick comparison, I make them look smart, and useful, and capable. Furthermore, I am willing to stay at home most of the time, and look after their children. Without a vehicle on the driveway.

So. If you know anyone who needs childcare, please don't forward them this post. I imagine that I'll be spending a lot of time at home this next year, having never finished my degree, and fulfilling the needs of people around me to feel useful and needed.

Furthermore, I will be alienating any vestiges of friendships that I have remaining in geographical locations outside of town limits.

Call it a preemptive strike. I'd prefer they not find out firsthand just what a commitment it is to have long distance relationships with the likes of me. Besides, I'll be busy working from home. Got some mechanical bills to pay.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


All the anticipation for time off left me restless and agitated when those days actually arrived. I wanted to keep going at top speed- get those closets cleaned out, that deck repaired and painted, the doors and trim painted, and some dumpster projects transformed, like they do it on the blogs that make it look so easy.
But wandering from clutter to laundry to to-do list left me frustrated, lethargic, and unmotivated.
I found Brian in the yard. He was sitting on his "Ken bench", sipping a Moosehead, and listening to a complilation of tunes from Folk Fest 2010.
It seemed like the right thing to do.
As we sat, and listened, and looked; I noticed how ravishingly beautiful the yard was. How all that labour and busyness had blossomed into green, yellow, poppy, and daisy.
Away from the lists and the internal dialogue, I thought of my one-time neighbour Ginny. Her children went to bed with sand between their toes and dandelion wreaths in their hair. Their clothes lay twisted and soiled, kicked in corners and under beds. They lived in swimwear with traces of ketchup on their faces. Outdoors, the table on the stone deck held their dinner dishes while the splash pool waited for tomorrow.
Ginny would be watering perennials, and exchanging the outdoor dinner dishes for a potted begonia. While the evening sounds came alive she'd sip her amaretto on ice and chat with the neighbours over the fence.
Summer was for summer.
The rest would rest
for other seasons.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

More Summer: Winnipeg Folk Fest 2010

Our beautiful firstborn daughter turned sweet sixteen!

Lots of places for the eyes to roam.

Chop, chop, chop.
With two daughters in the apprenticeship program, we got to spend time with them in La Cuisine! A big highlight for me.

Most people come for the music...
I'm more about the bag fashion, footwear, textiles, and other folky awesomeness.

So much to take in... I love the diversity.
Around here-- everyone is normal.

And I met God in the most unexpected places.
More on that another post.

Good food.
Great people.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Summer in a Snap; Part I

Armed with little more than the essentials.... nutella and chips..... we headed off to Kenora, Ontario to celebrate Canada's birthday. After the fun of over nighting in a hotel, eating out, swimming, and lazing around, we headed for one of our favourite lakes.

(Doesn't hurt that my bro has a cabin upon it, and shares oh-so generously....)

That walking cast thrilled and amazed us all over again. No missing out on summer fun for our sweet water bug.

Sure, we totally bombed on finding the fireworks in Kenora; but no matter.
Some thoughtful cabin dweller around the bend gave us a fabulous show!

Seriously, my most favourite summer moments.
We never grow tired of people who so kindly share their boats.... and tubes..... and cabins....

My kids made me grin ear to ear.
How'd we get so lucky to have this gracious, fun-loving, hilarious, big hearted family?