Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dear Home Consultant

I am writing to voluntarily withdraw myself from any and all future home parties.
Direct sales ventures contain a toxic quality which inadvertently and uncontrollably render me incapable of basic party etiquette.

For example.
When you tell me that your products are bought by celebrities (!), you've actually triggered my defense against this culturally accepted obsession of imitating starving Hollywood women.

After that, I just need you to pass me the cheese tray.
I definitely don't want your bangles; your charms.

When you tell me that your product is electroplated seven times (!) I want to pressure you into admitting that the fancy rhetoric is supposed to make me feel like I'm buying Lady Di's jewels. I smell a rat. Electrocuted.

Pushing these themes further, you've indicated that purchasing jewellery in the kitchen of my cousin is actually investing in my future. If I were less irritable, this may have captured my full attention. I worry about the future. With words like "rhodium"; "top-selling"; and "exciting"; I wish I was ready to become the next hostess; nay, the next consultant!! This just might be that investment into the future that will pay my children's tuition; their travels to the four corners of the world; my retirement; his retirement; the roof on the house!

But, alas. Cynicism rears her bullish head.
I could never be a team player.
Quitting my gritty day job to peddle rhodiums in strangers living rooms while sipping their sangria. Insidious.
Promoting a lifetime of hoarding semi-costume jewels.

I should be happy that you're able to give up your monotonous day job performing laser eye surgery in order to loaf about balancing grapes and wine on tiny cocktail napkins in the homes of unsuspecting strangers.

Instead I offer you a simple truce: ban me from your parties; your wares; your catchy ice breaker games and your free prizes (with the purchase of twenty four earrings, bracelets, and hangy bits that you don't really like) and I promise not to become a consultant. I won't rise to unit leader. I won't rob you of potential sales. And just to prove to you my sincerity, I won't even buy a single bangle out of your glossy catalogue.

I guess I'm just gracious that way.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sometimes I Get Peed On

And sometimes I get really tired of my house being a chronic mess.
of crumbs and kids and marker lids.
crusty bits and missing
that used to hold things
on the fridge.
broken chairs from
too much climbing

But I got peed on because some sweet soul
missing her mama
climbed on my lap.

And while I stroked her angelic hair
she drifted off
and warmed

Sometimes the kids will call me
They've forgotten
where they were.

and I'm happy.
To think
I could have such
and drippy

Even on my couch


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tante Marie

She left in the middle
of living

Flour dusting her sifter
because she was not yet done

We who were left
met together for faspa
with her jelly
her cookies
her platters and

While sifting through a lifetime of her buttons
and planning
more life
for them all.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Passage of Time

On the night before my 44th birthday, Brian wanted to take me out for dinner. To a quaint, sophisticated Italian restaurant right downtown Winnipeg called Tres Visi. It's beautiful and yummy- we've been there before.

I told him that I really love food courts.
I love the sociology, the diversity, the many faces and paces of humanity, and the sense that I can get up and wander around at any moment that I so choose. I'm not trapped in my pretty seat with a heavy expectation that I'd better be having a really good time.

So, Brian enjoyed pad thai under the sparkling, newly hung Christmas lights, while I ate colourful food from Cultures. The cutlery was plastic. The place was packed with potentially fascinating people.

And all that for under twenty bucks.

Afterward we wandered around Chapters indulging ourselves in possible reading material, and considering overspending on coffees from Starbucks. Instead I found a small set of playmobil and bemoaned the fact that our children had never loved the toys as much as I'd wanted them to.

Brian bought them for me.

for my birthday.

He'd already bought me gifts the previous weekend when we'd travelled up to Lac du Bonnet for a volleyball tournament. Stumbling upon an antiques shop, we spotted two gorgeous old clocks that we both knew I badly needed. Previously, I only nineteen alarm clocks, none of which tell the accurate or actual time of day. That's what the microwave is for.

The pink and silver clocks round out my collection nicely; bringing the total up to a paltry twenty-one clocks.

Well, there's always Christmas.

My birthday this year was so much about the passage of time. I anticipated it to be a significant birthday, since I'd been thinking of my brother on and off the entire year that I'd spent being 43. What must it have felt like for him to know he'd be leaving?! At this age? With so much living yet to do- with so much left to ponder, to struggle with, to learn? And so I knew that when I reached my 44th, I'd think of him a great deal. And have that strange, inexplicable feeling of having outlived him; my bigger brother.

I thought of how I'd like to celebrate. I considered many scenarios, but settled on a simple one that didn't require any of the costuming or hilarity of past celebrations. I was craving wisdom. I invited some women friends over for a dinner entitled; "Wine, Women, and Wisdom". It was just what I'd been hungry for.

It didn't turn out the way I'd hoped; although it certainly fit thematically with my yearlong preoccupation with the passage of time, and fragility of living.

Before we'd quite raised our forks, my mother phoned with the sad news that her last sibling had died that day in a traffic accident.

In the days that have followed this strange birthdate, I've had some meaningful moments. I've spent more time than usual with my family- both immediate and extended. I've observed some wonderful wisdom. I've watched my mother. My auntie's children. Their children. I've listened to stories about tante from grandchildren, cousins, sisters.

And here's the wisdom I'd hoped might come from my party:

There isn't a moment in this life that the choices between

kindness and impatience;

love and indifference;

investing or complacency

don't matter.

It always matters.

Kindness adds up, and up, and up. It pours into people- this resource in our lifetimes that is most worthy to invest in. Every time we choose to be kinder than necessary, our life becomes softer. Lovelier. Richer.

This year on my birthday I was craving wisdom, and it came in the strangest of ways.

I hope that I make the kinds of choices that tante Marie made in her life years of nearly ninety four. I hope I strive to have the energy for the extra mile, the cheerful smile, the generosity of busy hands.

And I hope to have another dinner party.
A festive one, next time.
Wanna come?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Posts I Meant To / Dreamt of Writing This Week

  • 44 Thoughts On My Birthday

  • What I Learned From Burger Night

  • Hell Hath No Fury As a Pacifist Spurned

  • Why Sometimes a Trip to the Thrift Store is all I Really Need

I didn't have a chance to write any of those.

And I really miss you, my online friends.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


This morning there's no big white car across the street from my house.

My auntie has been roaring around town in that car for years- picking up the elderly and depositing them at the church door before parking at the far end of the parking lot to leave the close spots for the infirm.

She's ninety-three.

Two days ago she and her elderly friend left an event early, in order to get home before dark.

Instead, they met with a cement truck.

My tante lived the most anyone could imagine. She never got old.

And its strange- no white car across the street.

xo Tante Marie, you'll be missed.