Thursday, September 30, 2010

Four Years Old and Edu-Fa-Cated

"Did you know Terry Fox?


He was sick, and he ran around
the whole wide world

but he was too late
because he gotted dead.

..... I hope We don't run around the whole world. That would take for days."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Isn't Home Making Just the BEST?

I cleaned the toilet today.

And washed the bathroom floor. On hands and knees, real proper like.


Oh, the frantic pace of repetitive boredom.

It's making me consider throwing myself all ThelmaandLouise into some sort of manic mid-life crisis. But, I'm too worried that no one would have clean clothes to wear, or batteries for the remote.
Who would.... change the furnace filter? Put twenty-four pairs of shoes backontheshelfinthecloset fifty times a day and still trip over the other thirty pairs? Who would sort the mail, pay the bills on time, and make boring Monday to Friday suppers? Who would remind boys to shower, read the myriad of papers that come home from school, find the winter mitts, book the campsites? Cut the grass, pull the weeds, pick the tomatoes, defrost the meat, dust the surfaces, unclog the vacuum cleaner hose, replace the toothbrushes, de-rust the bathtub, buy the shampoo, scrub the fly poop off the siding, bleach teacups, or de-tangle computer cords?

There's plenty of research to indicate that I'm not the only woman who gets caught up in the insane speed of boredom. There's so much to do. It's never caught up. It's mostly dull.

But then again...Maybe it's better I perpetuate the myth that we just have bad attitudes. From now on, I'm going to be like Velma-Pink-Dress up there and just Be Happy!

Yay! I'm so thin and happy and my counter is never cluttered! We never get fruit flies and I have baseboards! My bangs are just so super, and I love nail polish! Sometimes if I get all my chores done on time, I whip up a pretty new apron for myself!

I'm just so darned glad, I think I'll go and whip up some yummy soybean brownies for the kids! They must be exhausted from all those season premieres! Poor little dears!

(don't you just love excessive exclamation marks? I feel so happy when people put a lot of those pretty marks at the end of all their sentences. And now, I'm making you so happy too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

*this is a cry for help.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fairies. Crafty Little Beasts.

I'm not what you'd call "highly structured" when it comes to opening up my home to caring for other people's kids. What I like to do is make kids feel loved, welcomed, safe, fed, and happy.

I encourage them to run around (downstairs, outside, but not so much around the DR table, or circles around my couch), play creatively, use their imaginations, and get familiar with scissors, paper, markers, and colours.

Not that I have a daily craft plan or anything remotely "type A" like that.
But every now and again, I feel sort of convicted to raise the bar a little and do an actual, Planned Craft Event. (which I think should add big points to my reputation)

So, I engage in another guilty pleasure of mine- Dollarama. Now I know that because of my ethics and convictions, I'm not supposed to like Dollarama. I'm not supposed to shop there. I certainly shouldn't promote it on my blogspot, or really admit to sinning in all of the above ways.
I know the stuff is produced by someone who is not getting paid what they ought to. How else could they ship it to our continent, staff a store, and still make a profit on a buck a thingie?

But I'm sorry to let you down. I'm no saint. I am, in fact, a hypocrite and I'm not opposed to telling the whole world about it. So, today's well intentioned Planned Craft Event is brought to you by Dollarama, where I got a kit of six fairy parts and pieces for a whopping $2.00. That sort of deal floods my synapses with seratonin- and for the price of prozac, that's saying something.

We (and I say "we" loosely here. Keep in mind that the maximum age is four. That leaves room for two and three years olds. I'm the only one with actual years of scissor and glue and eyeball placement experience within miles of this establishment)So, anyway. We began with the glueing on of the hair and googley eyes.
That went remarkably well. Well, okay. So it took me a while to "help" glue on five sets of pony tails and blinky eyes, but what of it?

On second thought, putting out the stickers and coloured pencils seemed like a better attempt at group participation. After all, there's not much glory in going home to mommy and saying; "Look what Joycie made for craft today!"
I guess there might have been some scissors in amongst those pencil crayons and stickers. Someone's not looking too happy....Well, she is a fairy for goodness sakes. Kind of show-offy to go around with wings AND legs.
And eyes. That's just excessive.
Besides, she's still got those hands, with the magical wand and all.

If you look really closely, and squint, our fairies look a lot like the one on the front of that expensive craft pack that I so ethically bought.
Next week maybe I'll just put out the markers and scissors again.....

Saturday, September 18, 2010


In June, I found myself purchasing Debra Adelaide's "The Household Guide to Dying" while racing up and down aisles of foodstuffs to ensure my own sustainability. I wanted to read someone else's story. A work of fiction where no actual bodies lay in its wake.

In August, I rhythmically chopped piles of tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers into pot after pot of simmering, fragrant salsa.

I hadn't really had the stomach to cook salsa since that summer four years ago when I chopped and chopped to put a rhythmn to my bottomless grief, fear, and inadequacy.

The summer that Ken was dying.
The kitchen always smelled of salsa. I chopped up so many vegetables that summer, I thought we'd float away on taco chips. I canned and canned and chopped and chopped, and Ken just kept dying.

Other deaths came in the wake of his horrible departure; along with some life-threatening gashes and slashes of the internal, immeasurable variety. Still, minutes and hours, months and years have ambled by.

I'll be forty-three this November. The very too few number of years that my brother reached. I try to imagine what that might have felt like- to look at my own beautiful children and know that I'm not long for this world. I can't. It rips me up inside.

Still, he had no choice, and he had to go.

There's no way of knowing how much time we have left. There's no good reason to stop kissing your children at bedtime, laughing at their jokes, studying their artwork. Fighting with them, pursuing them, praying over them. I wish Ken could come back and do those things for another fifty years.

I've been thinking about turning forty-three since my brother's sudden decline into death at that age. I hope this year will be a shifting one for me. A year of resolution, of moving purposely forward. I hope my disappointments, griefs, and fears will be the very things that offer healing and health instead of harsh, dead living. I hope I can put to death some of the shadows that hang on the cuffs of my jeans- dragging me down and rendering me ineffective. I hope I keep myself company instead of busying myself into distraction from my own internal racket. I hope I have the guts to stare my fears in the eye- with compassion and understanding.

I trust I'll be surrounded by wisdom.
I trust I'll surround myself with wisdom.

And if I'm extra brave, I'll ask you to come along and keep me company in this, my (almost)forty-fourth year.

When Ken was 43, he was really proud of his backyard tomatoes. His family would bring them in to the hospital to show him how beautifully they were ripening, and then they'd be shared with his favourite nurses. I always think of Ken when my tomatoes begin to turn gloriously red. I think of his amused, lop-sided grin. The way he laughed, his cynical sense of humour, and the beautiful life he carved out for himself. I think of where he came from, how he blossomed, and where he might have been headed.

And this year, until the next August's red tomatoes, I'll hold all those thoughts a little tighter to my heart.

(sorry, Ken. You shouldn't have died.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

You Never Know What You Might Find

It felt like an impossible situation.

  1. Winnipeg free cycle? Just imagine driving around in dad's old truck, up and down streets for hours, laughing hysterically and picking up any manner of free junk. Why? Because, I just have spent hours cleaning up the garage and making millions of trips to the thrift shop and dumpster to ditch stuff- leaving the poor garage looking lonely. And in need of Stuff.

  2. Manitoba's longest/ townwide yard sales? Hey- I believe in the one hundred mile diet when it comes to accumulating cool stuff. And town wide is pretty much in my back yard. Very ethical. Sort of righteous, really.

  3. Or. Go with the Mennonites. To Morris. Yep, that eagerly anticipated annual auction sale fundraiser. Tables upon tables of weird stuff. Machine shops floating in borscht. Lardy farmer sausage floating in schmont fat with perogies three ways-- yum, yummy, and yummier.

Slow down. Breeeeeeeeeeeeeathe. Think of the needs of others.
Like-- your parents for example!
Friends will wait, and yard sales abound. But a ma and a pa in their eighties is hardly something to be trifled with. Besides, it might be just the place to browse for spare body parts that might tip the scales in "favoured daughter point" status. Nothing says "hero" like an impromptu organ transplant in a quanset, surrounded by long skirted silent types.

Dad has been hinting for some time now that he'd like a new pair of legs- ones that would work like his younger ones once did.

Too bad it wasn't a problem with the plumbing. Could have done a bowel transplant right then and there, what with the antique tools and organs sitting around on silent auction tables. Man, I wish I could get me one of them pretty bowels. Wouldn't have to worry about being vain, with all that gorgeous bowel buried deep in my insides.

And for just a dollar.

Might have even found a little something to take the edge off the pain of major surgery without anesthetic.

But, sadly, I'd been mistaken.
It only looked like a scotch bottle with a matching set of shot glasses.
Nope, those Mennonites were onto something- that was a fancy Candle Holder.
Do you know anyone who sells that fancy party lite? Do they have a line of candles that go by the name of "scotch"? Or should I look in the Yellow Pages for somebody Scottish? The Mennonites didn't seem to sell the coordinating candle set.
Well, I never did find a spare set of legs either. Most of them were hidden under flowing denim, wide legged coveralls, or hidden behind buffet tables groaning under apple pie and rhubarb sauce.
Maybe I'll just scoop up that nice set of candle holders for some Mennonites I know.
Might come in handy for sipping that non-alcoholic grape juice that I hear they like to enjoy with their busted up saltines crackers.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

That's So Weird!

Saturday morning and no time to clone.
What would it be? Town wide garage sales? Winnipeg free-cycle with Cheri? Or the annual Morris MCC auction sale with my folks?

Undecided, I dialed Cheri's phone number.

"Hello, Cheri?"
"well! You're up early!"
"Who am I speaking to?"
"Oh.... just an old friend you haven't seen in a while. Like... since last night...!"
"But... I didn't go anywhere last night..."

Around about this time, I start wondering what on earth is going on. Has my friend developed advanced dementia since she left my house at midnight? Am I losing my mind?

Then I remember Cheri telling me that her namesake niece came into town the day before! Lightbulb moment for moi! Bravely, I soldier on;

"Is this Cheri-the-niece-Cheri?"
"My name is Cheri. And I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about."
"oh. well. I'm really sorry....... I must have the wrong number."

No frikkin' kidding.
That's really what happened.

Possible explantion? Was I thinking about my mother, and dialed 326-**** when I meant to dial 388-****? Or is there a secret Cheri hiding out in my friend Cheri's house, just hanging around by the phone so that she can blow my already fragile mind? Am I hallucinating?

Monday, September 06, 2010

The Blog Post of Random Questions

  1. Have you ever been in a church service (or any other type of conference) where you began to glance around nervously, half expecting the Jonestown Kool-Aid to begin making its rounds?
  2. Have you ever been told that peeing or poo-ing in your dreams will surely mean that you'll wake up kakked? Have you ever had the dreams and known firsthand that this is actually an urban myth?
  3. Ever bought a set of four phones and lost at least two, somewhere in your house?
  4. Bought stuff at the grocery or department store, and then walked away, leaving your newly purchased stuff behind?
  5. Offered to drive one of your kids' sport teams to an obscure town somewhere-or-other. The town that you swore you knew where it was. Only, you were wrong. And now you're around thirty kilometers east of the actual soccer field?
  6. Cut your own hair?
  7. Bought a beautiful old china teacup and saucer and then forgot to put it away before the house filled up with small, destructive children?
  8. Had a dream about driving where half the road keeps disappearing, and you can't see where you're going?

I'm not going to tell you whether I've ever been guilty of any of these unless you tell me first.

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Day That I Read Ruthie's Blog

I used to check up on favourite blogs quite frequently. But then life piled up around me, google fascinated me, and stumble hostaged me.

But this morning, I got an e-mail from Ruth, and it reminded me that it's been way too long since I visited her bits of wisdom.

The woman has a beautiful heart. And she's very human on the outside.
She even busts china, and engages in other ungraceful behaviors that I can strongly relate to.

(has anyone else in the world twisted a tap so far that it actually busts off and sends water shooting gyser-like up into the air? I dare you to answer that.)

A grand, creative, inspirational idea.
Thanks, God. Great stuff.