Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Gift that I Didn't Deserve that Finally Arrived

Micah has been making his way to the post office in the days past Christmas. Sadly, one of his gifts has not yet arrived.

Today, however, he darted home to tell me that there was a package for me to sign for.

I wasn't expecting any packages.....

And I don't remember doing anything kind to deserve a lovely, mysterious, anonymous gift.

Exhibit A
But you'd be amazed at how much time I can spend sleuthing around doing comparative handwriting analyses.

Exhibit B

Are there any really great detectives out there who are willing to donate their skills to this cause?
Reading "Life's Too Short to Fold Fitted Sheets" only increased the seratonin flooding my synapses. Turns out- I'm not a perfectionist!! And I pretty much already live the way that Lisa Quinn suggests in her book.
(fold fitted sheets?! Where's the chapter on- Oh Yeah- Sheets Ought To Be Laundered More Than Twice Per Annum. ?)
Or: When You Have Dinner Parties, It's Better To Not Fall Asleep On The Couch Until After Your Guests Have Let Themselves Out.
Or: Kids Like Treatie Bags At Birthday Parties. Even If You Don't. Kids Will Think You Hate Them If They Go Home Without A Bag Full of Crap. It Is a Crime In Kid-Dom To Send A Kid Home Without A Treatie Bag. Believe Me. Really. So Not Worth It.
Coulda writ that book myself.
Then I would be somebody and I could send anonymous packages to other people.
But here I am- a compulsive, lackadaisical, non-perfectionist, wondering who sent Quinn to me.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Defining Success

To simplify my life, I wish I defined success by words that fit on a sepia coloured canvas just inside the front door.
  • Live Laugh Love
  • The best things in life are not things
  • The greatest of these is Love
  • Be the change you want to see
  • To your own self be true
  • Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt and dance like no one is watching
  • blah
  • blah, blah
  • blah

Plus a couple of lines about how loving your family is the greatest measure of success, how money isn't important, and how pouring yourself into your kids and learning how to can preserves will elevate you to some form of sainthood.

I wish I really felt that living a quiet life of laundry, salami slicing, and charitable giving was entirely fulfilling and all the success a gal could (should) ever wish for.

And on some level I really do believe some of that stuff.

But strip away all the ways I wish I felt, and how I suspect I ought to feel; or how so-and-so will think I'm evil for having these thoughts, and there's a whole different beast beneath. I figure that if I'm lucky, I'm already half dead. I still don't know geography or my times tables. I write everything down and then forget where I filed it. I built up a great charity and then got tired and bone dry.

I can't remember my cell phone number, what I said last week, whose mom has passed away, or your birthday. I don't remember how I made "that really great chicken we had last week", the bag I made for you, or if the bank closes at 12:00 or 1:00 on a Saturday.

I'm not describing some sort of memory decline that hit me in my forties. No, I am just a bear of very little brain.

If I'm completely honest, I'd have to admit that my idea of success includes a functioning bit of grey matter. That it's pretty hard to succeed in anything if you can barely remember your own name, your own medical conditions, or whether you're "left or right brained". It's hard to serve your children very well when you can't remember what the physiotherapist said about the girl's back, or why the boy needs braces? What the heck was it that the orthodontist said again?

I have a cell phone (for which I don't remember the number) which also has some handy functions like a list maker, a calculator, and a calendar. I don't know how to use them, and I can't find my phone.

I have a laptop with which at the click of a mouse, I can access hundreds of pretty and reassuring sayings about happiness and success. I've got plenty of love, lots of laughs, and believe me- you'd better hope no one is watching if I decide to dance. Even though I really love things - especially old, coloured, scraped and dented things- the greatest things in life are not the things. (they are the pursuit of those things- the hunt, the find, the thrill, the history. And of course I'm being ridiculous. I know I'm supposed to say that all i need is my family and that I wouldn't mind a bit if my house with all it's bits of ancient history went down in smoke tonight. But I'd be lying.)

To your own self be true- pfffffft. Self, shmelf. My main problem in life lies in being too introspective. Do any of us really want me to be more true to my own self? eeeeewwwww!!!

If I worked like I didn't need the money, I wouldn't have any money. Then, how would I deal with that whole thing about the orthodontist, the physiotherapist, and a hundred million things in between?!

Come on.

That would be about as dumb as living every day as though it were your last. I'd never pay my phone bill or have a shower at that rate.

How then shall we measure success? I have mental images right now of some people thinking right proper Biblical thoughts, and I'm sorry to have been such a disappointment to you. Just assume that the whole Jesus equasion is part of what I'm talking about but that I'm feeling too honest to just write down something trite and comforting right now. I figure God can tolerate honesty. Other people assume that I mean success in business, career, and/or finances. I say- kind of, but not really. I know that it's more of a mental, heart issue that's at stake here. To be dull and predictable, you might call it a sort of mid-life crisis. Others no doubt wonder why I'm so ungrateful- incredibly blessed with a gorgeous family, a home, a marriage, a fun job that fits with my lifestyle, a passion or two. What more could I possibly want?

But if you hear my heart just a tiny bit, and maybe even resonate- I thank you. Maybe we can ask some of these questions aloud this year? Explore them, arrest them, pursue them?


Monday, December 27, 2010


Christmas at my mom and dad's means that I land up in a chenille bed jacket that my sister apprehended off the head nurse in the Sanikiluaq hospital; a pair of broken reading/sun glasses; a horrer movie (that I'll never watch, since I'm still traumatized from commercials of The Changeling that I inadvertently subjected myself to while baby-sitting at the Reimers....back in 1979 or so...)
I'll get that homemade bottle of wine that Walter re-gifts from his condo neighbour; a book still greasy from late-night snacking, and a portable ashtray.
And that's only part of what happens when I land up with my brother's contribution to the White Elephant Christmas gift exchange game.

For a Christmas that started out with: your mom and dad have the flu so keep your children QUIET in the basement.... your brother is going through a hard time..... the turkey already got cooked last week, it's been waiting in the freezer....your relatives aren't coming.... And for heaven's sake Don't Breathe a Word About So-and-So-and-such-and-such-we-cannot-mustnot-have-a-scene.................................

We actually had a beautiful, marvelous, joyous Christmas.

Which was great, because the day before, we'd enjoyed the most glorious day at home with our own brood.
Nobody got locked into the basement, there were no outbursts of "That's NOT the coolest gift!!" And I don't think anybody fought at all.
All day.

They had better freaking not have.
There was so much to be happy about.

There were some parts that were so happy that they made me cry.
Weep, actually.

And some parts that just had to be done.

Many parts that just thrilled, pleased, and amazed me.

And a number of people for whom spots in my heart grew three sizes that day.
I'm thinking that if Christmas required an evaluation-
This one would score off the charts.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Oh, Christmas Tree

So, just around about the time that moderate people put up their Christmas trees.....
Ours has already undergone a major transformation.
Once vibrant, and yea- the very epitaph of the season's arrival....
Now, mere rubble cluttering up this uptown, upscale neighbourhood.
Oh, the pressures.
The bitter disappointments.
My intial reaction was one of serenity.... What's the word they use now? Yin? Yan? Shwin fooey?
Well, I admit- the simplicity of an empty, swept up corner made me feel strangely peaceful.
And I honestly questioned: What's so bad about a Christmas Bench?!
But then I remembered how my children had spent hours shopping, wrapping, decorating, counting sleeps.
A Christmas bench somehow didn't seem quite adequate.
Exquisate, yes. Adequate? no.
So, we did it all over again.
Impossible offspring- they said it wasn't good enough. hmmmph.

Ah well. My daytime kids were in the holiday spirit, and more than a little enthusiastic about starting all over again. So, we untangled a wad of lights, hung up some different baubles than experiment #1, and resplendant in festive footwear, we had at 'er again.

Ah, perfection.

For a time.
Until then, please allow me to wish you a
Mele kalikimaka
feliz navidad
Merry Christmas.
It's been another grand year.