Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Eve of a New Year

I am
petty, forgetful, insecure, resourceful
kind, resentful, worried, and afraid.
Introspective, anxious, easy-going,
Generous, shrewd, selfish, stubborn.
funny, sullen, irritable, friendly.
gifted, stupid, brave, and terrified.
fat and thin and fine and exhausted.
rested, read, curious, and compelled.
Intelligent, inspired, complacent, passionate.
Assertive, apologetic, timid, bull-headed.

And this year,
I am thinking of doing something pretty drastic.
I'm thinking of accepting
the way
I am.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Life in Pictures

I took the camera everywhere with me this Christmas.
I love looking at life in review through photographs- it helps me recognize all the goodness that is so constantly and readily available to us.

But did I take any pictures?!
I can't find them.
And that makes it feel as though none of it really happened.

But I'm pretty sure that my sister decorated the entire tree at our parents, as she does every year. We always go to mom's for supper halfway through December and call it "tree decorating night at mom and dad's". We all eat. Mom always brings out her puzzle, which my other sister always works on. The kids always make too much noise. I read all the flyers, the local paper, and a Readers Digest.

And Kathy always decorates the entire tree, while we MEAN to get up and help her.
I thought I took pictures.

I'm sure the boys and I went out skating on Christmas Eve after Brian had gone off to bed.
I felt like a voyageur, mother-of-the-year, and an Olympian. I wish there were pictures.

We celebrated Christmas with Brian's family in the Land of Wink.
It was raining, and snowing, and mild, and green.
His mom made all the stuff that makes me weak at the knees- spicy papanate (pfeffernussen), chocolate covered peanut butter treats, chocolate pie, and lemon buns. The kids cousins played some instrumentals for the grandparents. The littlest cousin showed up looking a lot like a growing up boy, and there was no nappers or whiners or cry-ers. It was a moment of realizing how everything keeps changing and growing. We celebrated for the first time "in town" since Brian's folks had moved off the acreage that they'd raised their kids on.

Some photos would be nice.

The kids got way too many electronics for Christmas.
I'm glad there aren't any photos. They wouldn't fit with my preferred self-image as green and tree-hugging, and peace-lovin'.

My Christmas trees are absolute perfection this year.
In fact, they so defy Christmas Past, that I ought to find the camera and record them from every single angle. That would bolster my fledgling image of organic wholesomeness.

I won't be taking too many photos of how the kids are spending the holidays, unless I drug and drag them back out to the ice rink. Photos of the kids engaging in virtual quests is something I prefer to indulge my expertise of denial in.

Tomorrow is New Years Eve, and we're going to throw a party of epic proportion. The kids will be away at parties of their own, since they're practically adults now.

I'm planning to take some pictures.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Back To The Brian

Brian's birthday is in the middle of December, so he's always kind of gotten the shaft when it comes to properly celebrating the man who so many of us love.

This time was going to be different. I couldn't let this birthday slip by underwhelmingly as it had been an epic year for my spouse. He'd gotten his determined and stubborn hat on last January and decided to get fit, lose weight, and ignore the liquor cabinet for an entire year.

His birthday; December 16, marked the end of that self-imposed fast. He strode in 45 lb lighter, pleased as a cheshire cat that all of his goals had been well achieved.

We are all so proud of him (if disgusted and envious).
Champagne never tasted so good.
Friends. You make the music and colour in our lives. Your laughter punctuates our conversations. Our lives have well-worn pathways throughout one another's.
And we are so grateful.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Grinchy Boy

I like to say that Sam is our only planned child.

Our first daughter came along five years premature- just one month into Brian's return to school to begin and complete his education degree. She was welcome and adored and somehow we even managed to feed her.

And once we found ourselves in the bliss and delirium of parenthood in all its glamour, we kind of took on a whatthehell attitude and allowed the mysteries of love and biology have their way with our destiny.

Along came Jane.
And by the time I was pregnant with Micah, Brian had graduated and entered a jobless education market. I was exhausted beyond what I thought was durable or life sustaining and while I dragged my two preschooler daughters through the tasks of daily living I made my friends promise to hit me as hard as they could if I ever so much as spoke of bearing another child.

Life was...well...

Yet, there was a lot of love in our dysfunctional family.

When Micah was three, the cravings began.
I wanted to have just one more wee baby.

I fought these urges valiantly. I told myself that I'd forgotten how difficult the whole venture could be and that I was just having some early onset midlife crisis. Besides. With three kids we could still fit in the car and goodness knew we couldn't exactly afford to buy a van.

But I'd always said that money was a lousy reason to not have kids.
So after a year of fighting with my thoughts, we decided to go ahead with our first Very Planned Parenthood.

And along came Sam.

Sam was different from our first three children from the moment he was born.
He slept. Ate. Smiled way more than he cried.
He was not afraid of people, or pets, or of trying new things.
He didn't cry about the seams in his socks and underwear, and never threw tantrums when church ladies smiled at him.

So why did it surprise me when at dinner one evening a few weeks ago, I commented to Sam that we'd need to find him a "who" costume for the upcoming Christmas production at his school.

Casually munching his dinner, he glanced up at me."No, mom. I'm not a Who.

"I'm The Grinch!"

Friday, December 16, 2011


Is my husband's birthday.
The first time I met him, he was seventeen.
He made me laugh while we worked the dish pit together
(posing as camp counsellors by day and night...)
Years later I would learn that I created a huge distraction to his role of canoe instructor
Looking the way I did in a bathing suit at sixteen....

We were twenty-two and twenty-three when we reunited.
I still looked pretty good in a bathing suit and he still had an appealing way about him.

He wanted to be a missionary and I was pretty much just messed up.
I didn't think it was gonna work out.
But I couldn't imagine my life
without him in it.

Brian is forty-five today. And I am forty-four.
He's not a missionary, and I'm a little less messed up.

This weekend we'll celebrate his life.
We'll ring it in with all manner of toasting and cheers beside all sort of people
we call friends.
And I'll be glad again
to have the sound of
in my life.

Happy birthday!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Things To Post on "Buy and Sell"

Bathroom carpet.
Just re-decorating after we potty trained the twins.

Melon baller.

Purchased at Dollarama only a few months ago.

Almost new but out of package.

Makes a great gift!

Used sports equipment.

Decided to switch back to badminton.

Beautiful sock.

Could be worn on left or right foot.

Please send me a private message, if interested.

Heel of rye bread. Left on counter overnight after long party the evening before.

Still has plenty of flavour.

Will throw in last teaspoon of granny's apricot jam for 25 cents.

In Churchill, but willing to deliver to Niverville.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Future Olympians

I never told the boys about Canada
and hockey.
Which kept us happily avoiding arenas for many a year.
The threat of their imminent or eventual deportation loomed in my imagination, so we laced up and limped our way to the community ice rink.
Which is located directly behind our house.
As it has been for several years.
We're under- achievers, and never wanted to appear to be too eager.
We were afraid of people who played with sticks and hard, flat, black thingies.

Which are not allowed in the pre-school learn to skate program.
I wonder if its too late to register?

Tuesday, December 06, 2011


December first is traditionally Hildebrand Christmas tree acquisition day. Now,since my family also has a tradition of hating the trees that I bring home, I was thoughtful enough this year to bring along a delegate from the offspring to represent his siblings.

He mostly embarrassed me by saying; "I like pie" when the lovely tree sellers asked him polite questions like; "How are you?". That's when I remembered why I don't let my children out of the house. But by then it was too late.

Next year I'm bringing the daytime kids. They never embarrass me.

Still, he looked remarkably handsome and DID love their hot apple cider. I think there's a community somewhere in the hills of Kentucky that consider that to be an exceptionally well developed personality trait. Feeling particularly generous this year, and always being a huge fan of the "Put Thineself Back Into The Equasion" cult, I purchased two trees- a proper bushy tree-like one for the kids, and a stick with needles for ME.

With Kenny and Dolly crooning on the turntable behind us, chinese take-out on the table, and boxes of vintage bulbs to unpack, another December is upon us.

And this year the stick tree is mine.

All mine.

Friday, December 02, 2011


Lately, the nicest, kindest, gentlest thing I can think of to do is just find a warm spot to bury my head into a quilt and kind of hope it just all goes away. While around me, the season is steadily shifting.
With the annual Lego advent calendar waiting patiently for December the first, Sam shoots out of bed, yawning and squinting, ready for the traditions to begin.
Always fond of Christmas, I feel green shoots of joy growing inside me as I rediscover the bulbs in teeny boxes, and the collection of family photos that I put out each December. (the wee baby is ME and I feel kind of teary, seeing as how she looks like my own daughter at her baby stage) Little vintage surprises begin to look comfortable on unexpected corners of my world. Vintage deer make me peek out from under my virtual quilt, and


In spite of myself.