Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Award Ceremony

To hasten the departure of its members, and present incentive to return in the fall, the local school presents awards to its most brilliant members at the close of the academic year. I wouldn't know this, except that this year, I got a phonecall suggesting that I might want to be present for the ceremony, since our daughter Jane was to become a recipient.

We were all very proud, since this would be a first for all of us.

Not that we hadn't deserved many an award in the weeks preceding.
If life rewarded people for their true areas of giftedness; our high-achieving lastborn would most certainly won Most Valuable Player Of The Year Of Ever and Ever and Forever. I didn't see any of the other players rise nearly to Sam's capacity to: create dandelion chains; climb the goalpost, pretend to be a superhero, or try to make shadow puppets with his hands in the scorching midday heat.

And as I pondered these themes, many other uncelebrated awards came to mind.

Take for example the Best Upcycled Tobacco Product Award
This year discovered at an undervalued thrift shop near you.

The Best In Sharing Award.
Is presented to Wilber Wilberforce Kehler for allowing three humans to fully occupy no less than half the couch space. He certainly didn't need to do that.
The Prettiest Boy Award.
This is a category that doesn't get filled in every academic year. It's a rare boy who will indulge his sister in a whim to straighten and spray his hair, and attend a full day of school in all his beautiful splendor. It was hard to make the final decision.

We're an entire family of lookers.

It's just that effortless for all of us.

The final award represents the category named Most Random Stuff Found in Laptop Files.

I'm thinking it might solve my recurring summertime issue, which is What The #@% do children want to eat on hot summer days?? problem. Sparkly unicorn meat, that's what. Shame about the postal strike, I think this can only be found online.

But I digress.

This year, I had reason to attend an authentic, actual, real-life award ceremony. It was all ceremonial, and legitimate, and serious. They had round things on ribbons that they hung on actual fleshy necks of real live people. There were speeches, applause, cameras, dignitaries.

I fidgeted anxiously in my plastic chair.

Finally, after nearly an hour of holding my breath, my daughter's name was called. She received a Certificate of Merit for the Most Improvement and Diligence for Grade 9! A tear rose to my eye.

My hands gripped the turquoise handlebars of my dumpster Road King just a little more tightly as I proudly rode home through town, humbly accepting the nods and salutes from townspeople in their window fronts, places of business, and farm style gardens.

I knew that Jane must be very proud, and anticipated a rapidly updated facebook account status. I was not to be disappointed.

Jane Margaret
‎; I got the "Hey, you used to be stupid!" award, nbd

Friday, June 24, 2011

My Life So Far

"the world is not respectable: it is mortal,
tormented, confused, deluded forever;
but it is shot through with beauty,
with love, with glints of courage and laughter;
and in these, the Spirit blooms."

(George Santayana)

Wherever possible, and to the extent that you are able- live with your heart wide open to the possibilities of love and redemption.

Where life is painful and difficult, it is tempting to judge relationships as unworthy of their labour. We learn to guard ourselves against their inevitable disappointment, vulnerability and risks of rejection. But as these sadnesses and bruises fall, by our refusal to build them into cages, they compost into regenerative possibility.

The wide brush with which we paint people (and thereby reject them) leaves us too small a canvas to then adequately create our lives. It is people- our relationships with each other, our willingness or unwillingness to engage and give, and the risks we take in flowing and in out of each others' worlds that make our lives wealthy, beautiful, and worthwhile.

"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow-men;
along those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes,
and they come back to us as effects."
... Herman Melville

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Some Things That Make Me Happy(er)

Perennials. Daisies that just come up year after year and never let me down with their wide-eyed beauty. Garlic chives. who knew that they were so LOVELY?!

Irises and peonies always bring me warm memories of life in Brandon.

The full, mature peonies came with the house, and thus began a lifelong love affair with their anty, heady scents and gorgeous full blooms. The irises were transplanted from my first true Brandon friend. Every spring when they come up, I think of her.

Pansies, dill, and these purple thingies.

They make me so happy.

These tiny bean sproutlings will grow and climb and bloom in the prettiest shades of red.

And the hens and chicks? Just picked them up at a yard sale. they're "little old lady hens and chicks". My favourite kind.

Cilantro and rhubarb just grace my yard over and over and over again.

I never tire of the miracle of that.

Guinea pigs playing in the foliage of hosta and daisy.

Such good little piggies, they don't wander away.

Bleeding hearts. (my heart bleeds too. But is it lovely? Doesn't feel so.)

and our dining room window draped in grape vines. There's no amount of home decor that can rival this annual beauty.

my deck is old and rotting. But we have so much fun and activity on it. These two little old chairs are a happy spot for me. They've gotten a lot of mileage through the years.

This bike is the happiest spot of my spring and summer thus far.

She's beautiful in every way.

When I ride her around town; I know I'm royalty.

So do the townspeople.

This teacup and saucer.

Discovered at a downtown antiques market while shopping with my long lost friend Donna.

The colour!!

The sheer perfection!

(I don't expect you to understand, but just try to feel the joy vibes through your web connection)

This tomato shaped cup.

I found it at one of those garage sales where some frazzled daughter-in-law is trying to move her mother-in-law's "junk" in a hurry.

Lucky for me.

I got a 1962 Holt Howard for a whopping ten cents.

There are a few things that are making me really sad too.

But I don't have pretty pictures for those things.

Life is beautiful.

And broken.

Be nice to each other.

Ask questions.

Speak your mind.

And always make LOVE your greatest aim.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Sample Of Things That Make Me Crazy(er)

Ridiculous things that masquerade as breakfast cereals. REALLY??

I actually have a physical visceral reaction in the cereal aisle at superstore.

But no, I'm not a purist. Even though I know that honey nut cheerios probably are not the best choice of breakfast foods, I buy them. Always have. Always will till my kids are grown up. As for my own early morning choices? Bread and butter make me deleriously happy every single day.

It is wrong on innumerable levels to advertise weight loss schemes on children's television.

That's enough to make me completely crazy any day of the week.

But there's another aspect that absolutely drives me wild. Most mornings while Sam is eating his pb and nutella sandwhich to the melodious tunes of Patrick and Squidword, we get interrupted by this woman who tells us her weight loss story. Then she goes into a whole shpiel about how "diets don't work but blah-dy blah, herbal magic, blahdy-blah lifestyle change".

I nearly choke on my cocoa pebbles every time.

So- how about we teach our children at as early an age as possible that they're all wrong and need to change so that they can become happy, outspoken, popular and successful like their adult role models who don't diet but switch to lifestyles where they swallow pills and record their food choices so that they can finally get it together??


Oh- and don't let me forget the mention the other morning commercial- the one where the giddy young mom swoons over her fancy plastic dial on a fancy little storage container that reminds her what day of the week she put the puree carrots into the fridge.

Ever heard of green painter's tape??

Here's the other thing that fills me with amazement every morning.

If you buy this product; any old piece of fermenting vegetation that you grind through it instantly becomes organic, nutrient rich baby food.

Really. The television says so.

It's just that miraculous.

And finally.

When you see these commercials for Charmin bath tissue- what images are conjured up in your mind??

Like... Fewer pieces of WHAT, exactly?!

Coming soon: Things That Make Me Happy(er)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

How do you turn a heap of rubble into a cozy shop in a matter of hours?You commission the farm truck of epic awesome-ness, call on your loved ones, and tell your kid to skip out of school for the afternoon, of course!Then you find your 10 x 10 foot space on what is typically main street, and you get to work- fiddling, pruning, rearranging, and primping.A few hours later, you'll have a cozy little shop, ready for business in the glorious summer sun- and well after it fades into night.They'll come in droves. The buzz will be palpable. The energy will be wonderful.

Thanks, Niverville.

I really like you.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Confessions of a Day Time Mommy

I'm very patient.

But sometimes when five preschool girls all decide to play "babies" and they all want to be the baby....

I want to rip my hair out from the roots.

All that crawling and ba-bahing and wa-wah-whining makes me want to morph into Miss Hanigan the likes of which even little orphan Annie hasn't seen.

So I turn on CBC radio and hope that I can hear just a little bit of an interesting interview.

Or even just the distant sounds of an adult voice.

Or the chiming of any faraway clock signalling the hope of the passage of time.

While I chew my cuticles to smithereens and try not to burst into a tantrum that would leave any wanna be baby in awe.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Finally Finished

My B.A.

........Now I just have to work on the gs4darfur.

(just four sleeps until the fair!!)

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Beausejour Know Your Place

I never played sports.
I never expected my parents to cart me all over God's green earth and back on any Tuesday/Wednesday/AnyDay of the week.
And I suspect that they wouldn't have; which is why I never asked.

But I'm a whole generation removed from that now, and now I sit in the driver's seat.
I'm the mom.
And my children do expect. Assume.
Actually, I quite want to drive my kids to their events. It makes me feel like I'm accumulating "good mommy points" which I might be able to redeem some day. (in La La Land) Besides, I love spending money on gas. This gives me more excuses to indulge in my local Co-op gas station. Some girls like to get their nails done,drink lattes, or go for a massage. Not me. I prefer petrol.

Soccer and basketball have taken me to many interesting locations and truly broadened my horizons. In fact,, there may be times when I've literally driven from horizon to horizon in a single weekday evening. And none of it is my fault. Whatsoever. I'm very organized, smart, and am blessed with an entirely orderly mind. I have an extraordinary memory for all sorts of facts.

So, it's not my fault that last year, Beausejour was up highway number one right close to Hadashville. I knew this because roughly a million years ago when my sister was in high school, she got hired by a music store in Steinbach to teach piano lessons to students in the Beausejour and Hadashville areas. Ever since then, I've thought about Beausejour every time I pass by the Hadashville sign along the highway on my way to the cabin on a carefree, rain free, pre-schooler free summer's day. So, it's not my fault that Beausejour had melded in my brain as a sort of suburb of Hadashville. It's the fault of my sister for having taken that job. And the fault of carefree summer days. And the fault of the forefathers of Manitoba for not having planned it that way all along. It really would have helped me last year when I had a van full of soccer players heading east east east east when meanwhile the brotherhood of geographical Manitoba held onto the silly idea of Beausejour being NORTH. Not EAST.

A year ago, after way too many minutes of heading east for soccer, I was beginning to wonder if I should simply take the whole shin-padded lot to the cabin and feed them hallucinogenic jello so they'd forget all about my awkward geography. I was at this point beginning to suspect that they'd moved Beausejour without asking my opinion first.

A text or two confirmed that I was waaaaaay east. That I needed to connect to a different highway, head back west for a really long time, then head north like I should have in the first place to the place where Beausejour had been relocated to.

We drove through many, many pretty towns that I'd never heard of before. I began to feel profoundly grateful for my all inclusive trip. It was including neat things I'd never heard of before. A town named "Vivian". How pretty is that? another named "Saint Rita"- I'd like to meet her- I bet she'd have sainted me on the spot for my patience with Manitoba geography. I held no ill will towards Contour or Nourse for their sudden appearance in my province. I had my sainthood to consider.

What the province planners hadn't considered when they just went ahead and reorganized everything that way was that it was going to be pret-near impossible to get the girls to their soccer game. But I did it because I'm just savvy that way. I got them there well in time for the second half. Which included a stop at the local filling station for some bladder unloading. Girls these days. Can't hold their water for a tiny little million hour cross continent van drive.

This year when the soccer schedule said Beausejour, I was prepared. I remembered that Beausejour was north of Winnipeg. It wasn't east of Winnipeg like it had been in the olden days. I was nobody's fool.

So, I headed up highway 59 with the world at my fingertips. I was nearly at the perimeter of the city when my daughter spoke up- why had I chosen to take this route? Silly girl. She didn't know how tricky our province could be. I patiently explained that we needed to get to B which was north and no longer east of the city.

Not quite so; she thought to mention.
First east.
Then North.

Slippery roads. They so wouldn't be the boss of me.

We headed east for a really long time.
Turned north at the appropriate time and place.
The sign said so.

We drove for another really long time. The sign said that Beausejour was fifty km away. Just before approaching the turn off, we received a text that maybe the game was actually in another town named Tyndall?

I felt my halo slipping dangerously. My internal GPS began seizing up. My gas needle sighed audibly. The girls had to pee.

Coach texted- not to worry. Simply drive through Beausejour. Turn left immediately after. Turn left again. Stop at Tyndall.

Beausejour was ten kilometers east off the highway.
Turn left one mile.
Turn left for eleven kilometers.

And that, folks, was not my idea.
It wasn't my idea to rearrange geography- to ever move Beausejour in the first place. I thought it was just fine up by Hadashville where it belonged. Furthermore, it wasn't my idea to do a giant figure eight prairie style to land up in small town anywhere, five hundred thousand dollars in gas later.

Next year I'm so gonna use google maps.
That'll show 'em.