Friday, October 28, 2005

My body's sitting up, but my brain's still in bed

Yes, I've been wiped out by some kind of virus this week - wickedly sore throat, congested head, drippy nose, all that fun stuff. I've missed 2 and a half days of work. I'm back at my desk this morning, but still feel like I should be in bed. I tried to blog at home, but our computer has decided it doesn't like me lately - maybe it's scared I'll share my virus :-).

Here's one of the things I meant to blog about... Nikki and Julie came home from school on Wednesday so excited they were practically jumping out of their skin. They'd won the grand prize for the chocolate-selling fundraising campaign. (No, they're not marketing wizards - they didn't have to sell the most, just sell more than 2 boxes to get entered into the draw.) And the grand prize? A portable DVD player! Not something we need or would necessarily choose to buy, but it sure was fun to see how excited they were. And next time we take a road trip... well, maybe there'll be a little less fighting in the back seat.

And I just gotta ask - why is there so much CRAP on daytime TV? Are the scheduling wizards at all those TV stations assuming their entire daytime audience is brain-addled? I only flicked it on a couple of times while I was home, but MAN there was nothing there to even TEMPT me to leave it on.

Oh, and here's another thing I would have blogged about, had our computer cooperated. It's another "Bathtime with Maddie" story (that's Maddie's and my best bonding time - in the tub).

Maddie: (picking up a small bowl) Mom, you pretend you're a doctor. (scoops water from between her legs) I'll pee in the bowl and you pretend you're checking my pee to see if I have an infection.

I think I prefer the stethescope version of "playing doctor"!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Sleepless in Winnipeg

It's 2:09 a.m. I should be curled up in bed sleeping my beauty sleep. But here I am at the computer trying to distract myself from the pain attacking my throat. Oy veh.

In the meantime, if you need something to distract YOU, do what I did - go visit www.catiecurtis.com and on the right side, scroll down to "Featured track - People look around" and click on "Listen". There are worse ways to kill a few minutes in the middle of the night than to listen to a good protest song! (It's a post-Katrina song, and Catie Curtis is a kick-ass folk singer who knows how to make a protest song sound enchanting.)

Oh - and on another topic, I'm pretty sure all of my siblings and some of my siblings-in-law read yesterday's post, and yet NOT ONE COMMENT! What's up with THAT? Are you HEARTLESS? Yes, even those of you who LURK could have come out of the closet for THIS ONE! Yeesh.

It's 2:19, and the extra strength Tylenol is starting to kick in. I'm going back to bed. To sleep? Perchance to dream. (Though I certainly don't want a repeat of yesterday's dream! I'll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say that it had something to do with soiled underwear and an embarrassing situation.)

Monday, October 24, 2005

This one's mostly for my siblings

(But you can read it too :-)

I think I got only 2 letters from Dad in my lifetime. He was a rare and contemplative communicator - which means he was a man of a few words but he made most of those words count.

This week, while I was sorting through yet another box of clutter in my basement, I came across one of those two letters. The "backstory", for those readers not related to me, is this... I was nineteen and living in Banff at the time. I was miserable in the worst job I've ever had - cleaning hotel rooms for the summer. My Dad was a farmer, and also had an off-farm job at the Auction Mart. At the time this was written, my brother Dwight was working with Dad on the farm. Dad had nicknames for all of his children and grandchildren - mine was "H".

Here's what he wrote:

June about 7, or so

Dear Heather
I'm fine + you are probably better than when I last heard from you. - just came in from getting pump fixed - (want to get to Auction Mart again) - going to drink coffe just now - Jarvis's here to put in last field of grain - (Sun is shining)

Read 2 letters by H, - don't get to write letters to daughters and sons often - you might guess why this one is written - read letters with shiny eyes. One of best paragraphs, - you almost offered Dwight work, - sounded sensible by a sensible daughter. Feel close to you - you're only one with work similar to mine - I have to clean out quarters with last night's occupants still in them too - One of them kicked me - must have splintered my leg - said leg quite swollen - cheer up - g by


Thank you for material for Cindy's dress - when I - we were in Banf I carried family up mountain - should try it again sometime. (I saw the Gondolas when I was there) - we rode on them.
Someday I think I'll frame letter you sent me on my birthday - get lots of letters from people with completely different thoughts of me - some would prob-ly rather see me in jail? - Dwight wants me to come help him with pump.

P.M. Work waiting for you when you come home - approx 3 ft manure in 2 barns - you could maybe work with Dwight - pay 2 1/2 meals per day (above partly serious)

Love you

Unscramble above as best you can

And because no letter from Dad would be complete without his unmistakeable handwriting, here's a scanned version.

As much as I'm happy to get rid of clutter in my house, this is one thing I WON'T be throwing away.

I have tea!

Our house guest from Kenya just left and before he left, HE GAVE ME TEA! Not just ANY tea, but the exact same kind of Kenyan tea I'd fallen in love with and was lamenting the fact that I'd almost run out of. Now I have a whole new box of it and I'm happy, happy, happy. He didn't even know I'd developed a love affair with that exact kind of tea - just thought it would make a nice hostess gift.

Truth is, I enjoyed his visit for other reasons than just the tea. It was a treat having him here. He's a like-minded soul, an easy house guest, and an all-around likeable guy. I spent about 3 hours with him and his wife and son over breakfast in Kenya last February and we made a connection fairly quickly. Sometimes friendships happen that way - almost serendipitously. When he asked about stopping in Winnipeg on a cross-Canada tour, it seemed only natural to have him over at our house.

And let me just say, it's been so wonderful having a relatively clutter-free home lately. It makes it SO much easier to have weekend guests, when you don't have to fly into a frenzy, hiding things in closets and back bedrooms to prepare for them. And on Sunday, we had seven extra people here for lunch, and the whole thing was pretty relaxed because I didn't have to worry that they'd peek into the wrong door and expose all our hidden messes. This house is not perfect yet, but it's a whole lot closer than it was a few months ago. Now let's hope we can KEEP it that way. (I gotta say, coming home Friday night after a long week at work, it sure was a treat to see that Marcel had washed the floor, cleaned the entranceway, and scrubbed our rather disgusting ensuite bathroom. He rocks!)

Friday, October 21, 2005


The first impression was the polished reception room. Corporate. Christian. Corporate Christian. That’s what it screamed – from the pleasant receptionist behind the desk to the pictures of happy traditional families on the wall. To be honest, I half expected the receptionist to have big blonde hair and the slightest hint of a southern-Christian accent – something like Gwen Shamblin from Weigh Down. She was a little more “normal” than that, but still had the look of a white-bred/suburban Christian. I didn’t look too closely, but someone pointed out later that one of the posters, just under the “Christian Media” sign said “we support traditional family values”. Of course they do. That’s what corporate Christianity does.

The board room was comfortable. The seats were nice and squishy – a step up from most boardrooms. I hadn’t been in the room long when the three Bobs swooped in on me. I don’t think any of them was really named Bob, but that’s what they’ve become in my mind. Three thirty-something men cut from the same Corporate Christian cloth. Dressed in suits of various shades of grey-blue-green complimented with ties with just a hint of colour. Short gelled hair. Clean-shaven faces. Not a hint of dirt under their closely-cropped fingernails. Cell-phones and palm pilots hooked onto their belts. The perfect look for someone whose job it is to market Christianity. Approachable, professional, conservative but with a touch of fun.

In a room full of Christian communicators, set in a backdrop of the local Christian radio station/television/media conglomerate, I felt a little like the kid trying to pass herself off as one of the popular kids when she knows she belongs at the misfit table. Did it show on my face that I didn’t really fit in? Did the fact that I’m an “often-backslidden-always-questioning-nontraditional” follower of Christ shine from my face? If I opened my mouth, would I be noticed for not spewing forth the requisite “Christianese”? Or were there other people just like me in the room, searching for a genuine faith, hoping to build a world where the word “Christianity” doesn’t come with so much baggage?

Turns out there WERE people just like me in the room, and I sat next to one of them. I suspect others at our table were also cut from a similar cloth. The person next to me was Aiden Enns, publisher and managing editor of a new magazine called Geez. Read the first line of their mission statement, and you know he’s a like-minded soul. “Geez magazine has set up camp on the fringes of faith. It is a refuge and inspiration for people of restless faith and blessed instinct.” And their byline on their ad campaign – “Chicken poop for the soul”. We didn’t get to talk much, but it didn’t take long to find some common ground. He also used to be an editor for Adbusters, a fascinating anti-consumerism magazine that loves to poke fun at corporate culture.

After lunch, the three Bobs got up to speak. For the next 15 minutes, we were subjected to all the polished corporate Christian marketing lingo they could muster. “We’re here to build relationships.” “Our radio station is here to help you reach your goals and expand your ministry.” Blah, blah, blah, blah. It was painful. I suppose it’s necessary, some of this marketing stuff, and ironically, I have to do some of it in my own work. But it just smacks so much of artificiality. If nothing else, when I serve as “marketer” in my work, I want to be authentic. I want to be real, human, and honest. I don’t want to look like a “Bob” in corporate attire with corporate literature and a corporate powerpoint presentation. I want to be Heather the ordinary, flawed human with passion, ideas, and perhaps a bit of a message to share. If I start turning into a “Bob” someone please slap me.

During the presentation, I scribbled a note to my seatmate. “Pretty much goes against anything you represent, eh?” He nodded and smiled. “But,” he said, “I can’t alienate myself from this. I have to be open to the people within Corporate Christianity that want to hear a different message.” He’s right, I suppose. We can’t just paint them all with the same brush and dismiss them, even though it’s tempting.

It’s weird, this Christianity thing. I still cling to it, because it matters to me. I still feel the need to have God in my life. But when I see this version of Christianity that screams of exclusionism and little narrow boxes, a part of me wants to run screaming from the room.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Random list

I’m suffering from brain drain these days. My brain seems incapable of focusing on anything for longer than a few seconds. I’ve tried to write a few posts, but abandoned them when I couldn’t get anywhere. So here are a few random thoughts to fill up the spaces while I attempt to re-ignite my brain.

1. Finally, after all these years of having mis-matched dishes and cups, our cupboard is full of dishes that MATCH! All those mugs that say “Q-94 FM” or “Friends Forever” and all those odd glasses from sets we used to own have finally left the building! When I get paid for something I write, I usually consider it “development money” and buy myself something that helps my development as a writer/artist. This time, when the cheque came through from Winnipeg Free Press, I decided to use it to “develop” my kitchen, and instead of books, I bought dishes. It’s the first time we’ve EVER had a decent set of dishes.

2. Let me just say this – it really, really sucks when you have to fire someone. Really. Makes me wonder if I should re-consider my career choice of becoming a manager. Next job, I don’t want to be this accountable for people.

3. Seems I’m on a bit of a sewing kick. Last night, I sewed ponchos for the girls. Well, technically “sewing” is a bit of a stretch, since mostly what I did was cut them out of fleece and cut fringes around the edge.

4. Maddie, being the social butterfly that she is, seems to be attracting a lot of attention these days. Her “phone” never stops ringing, and most evenings, she can be found in the living room entertaining a long procession of guests. The other night, she welcomed Elmo, Big Bird, Mickey Mouse, The Grouch, someone named Gumpa, her friend/doll Misty, and several other celebrities and non-celebrities to our home, and all of them decided to stay for a sleepover. Apparently though, they ALL wanted to sleep in her bed, so at about 10:30, she was in our room complaining that all of her friends were crowding her and she’d have to sleep in OUR bed. It also appears that some of her houseguests have been less-than-gracious. She worked hard to make a tent for Elmo, and in the end he complained that he didn’t like it. Sheesh.

5. How can a three year old POSSIBLY take up more space in a bed than two adults? With those flailing arms and legs, it’s like sleeping with a restless OCTOPUS!

6. Why did I insist on buying that super-duper wind-em-up Pampered Chef cheese grater, only to abandon it when it got forever clogged and return to using my old-fashioned run-of-the-mill $5 version? Past experience should have proved that most of the time, “slice-em-dice-em” kitchen gadgets are a WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY. Anyone want a high end cheese grater? Speak now, or it gets added to the goodwill bag.

7. It’s amazing what you can do in 5 minutes when the pressure’s on. I just wrote a press release in less time than it took me to write this random list. Not that I wish there were always pressure, but sometimes that’s just the impetus I need to re-ignite my brain.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

In which the children grow up and move away from home

Okay, okay, so I'm exagerating a little. But they DID learn to sew today - isn't independent living the next logical step?

Nikki was first up.

Then Julie took her turn.

Their creations - pajama pants! I just had to help with the tough parts - like the crotch and elastic. :-)

Maddie was convinced that she had enough to make a pair of pants for Peanut out of the scraps. :-)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

This is what a great evening looks like

On Monday night, we had our third Thanksgiving meal at our friends' Yvonne and George's new home in the country. There were TWENTY NINE people there for supper! It was such a great evening! No, they're not technically our family, but they sure FEEL like family. The three Wikkerink sisters (Yvonne, Linda, and Michele) are the next best thing to my own sister (or perhaps I should say "sisters", since I also have 2 pretty great sisters-in-law).

Here are a few photos of a great night with great people.

Delicious and bountiful food in a beautiful, welcoming home.

An awesome bonfire!

Julie and Maddie - warming their buns by the fire :-)

This is what family is for :-) Nikki with her auntie and uncle and almost-cousin.

Maddie, Yvonne and George hangin' with Buddy

Me, Michele, Linda, Maddie, and Micah. If you want to read the story of the quilt, you can find it on Linda's blog. (Michele, I ALMOST posted the other picture, but decided to be kind :-)

There you have it - a few more reasons to be thankful :-)

The play's the thing

Last night I got to go to the THEATRE! Yay! It's been a long time (way too long) since I've been to the theatre. I used to go much more regularly - especially when I was studying theatre at university. Now it just seems to be one of those rare luxuries that I just can't find time and money for.

But yesterday I got to go for FREE! A co-worker was planning to go with her husband, but he baled out at the last minute, so she asked me.

What did we see? A delightfully delicious play called Copenhagen at the Prairie Theatre Exchange. Wow! What a feast for the literary and intellectual senses! Here's what the playbill says:

In 1941, the German physicist Werner Heisenberg made a strange, clandestine trip to Copenhagen to see his Danish counterpart, Niels Bohr. Their work together on quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle had revolutionized atomic physics. But now the world had changed and the two men were on opposite sides in a world war. Why Heisenberg went to Copenhagen and what he wanted to say to Bohr are questions that have vexed historians ever since, but Michael Frayn's fiercely intelligent and daring play poses some possible answers.

At first I thought I might get lost in the complexity of quantum physics, and there was a fair bit of that, but it was brilliantly intertwined with relationships, ethics, the tricks of memory, the complexity of war, the pain of losing someone, etc., etc., ETC. There were so many layers to it, as it shifted from narrative to the re-enactment of memories and back again, that you were never sure if you were catching everything, but you never wanted to let your mind wander. It was so well-crafted and well-written that you always felt like you were getting fed delectable morsels of a bittersweet treat.

If it comes to your town, go see it. Or, better yet, pay a visit to Winnipeg and see it here! I think you'll be glad you did. I liked it so much, I'd see it again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


1. airplanes
2. blogging
3. pumpkins
4. Nikki, Julie, Matthew, Maddie
5. Marcel
6. my siblings
7. the fact that my siblings were smart enough to marry three of the best people in the world
8. my nieces and nephews
9. my Mom
10. three more bags of clutter ready to leave my house
11. my friends
12. my job
13. GNF
14. the dishwasher
15. the comforter my mom made from the wool of my dad's sheep
16. the memory of my Dad
17. books
18. tea
19. raw sugar from Tanzania (I wanna go back for some MORE!)
20. my children's friends
21. my bicycle
22. crunchy leaves
23. my sister
24. the baby growing in her tummy
25. my boss (he's not perfect, but he shows humility and respect)
26. city transit
27. libraries
28. feet
29. orthotics for my feet
30. my wedding and engagement rings (still like them after all these years)
31. my oldest friend Julie in Alberta
32. the memory of the way my dad used to sing "His eye is on the sparrow"
33. my almost-new bathroom
34. sleep (I only wish I'd had more of it last night)
35. hot baths (even when Maddie and Julie join me)
36. that today's task never has to be replicated
37. potlucks
38. big soft towels
39. cheese
40. hand lotion
41. the Wikkerink sisters - all three of them
42. seasons
43. Thanksgiving
44. bonfires
45. cameras
46. kettle chips (stole that one from Linda, but I couldn't resist)
47. music
48. a concert to look forward to
49. Folk Festival
50. camping
51. that I won't have to deal with a certain challenging person after today
52. home
53. trips with my family
54. an almost-clean house
55. trees
56. Thai food
57. a husband who cleans the freezer
58. my African jewellery
59. a grocery store within walking distance
60. that I don't have to live in a cookie-cutter house in a cookie-cutter neighbourhood
61. second-hand clothes
62. jeans that fit
63. cards from friends
64. grapes
65. God
66. no more diapers (well, except maybe Peanut, and he/she goes home at the end of the day)
67. that I'm not as bad as the eleven e-mails (from one person) I got this morning say I am
68. conversations with interesting people
69. Marcel's favourite number (oops! TMI!)
70. that I can enjoy other people's gardens
71. art
72. bridges
73. deer
74. warm clothes
75. Nikki's questions
76. Julie's love for baking
77. Maddie's stories
78. going for Slurpees with the girls (don't tell them I like them - I have to act like it's THEIR idea and a rare treat!)
79. honesty
80. supportive friends
81. toast with peanut butter and honey
82. my new cookbook
83. Marcel's family
84. lie-with-me night
85. containers
86. my orange purse
87. my orange backpack
88. yeah, I like the colour orange, but not EVERYTHING I own is orange. I'm also rather fond of turquoise and purple
89. that I don't have to carry a diaper bag anymore
90. the growing independence of my children
91. that Maddie doesn't wake up EVERY night anymore and that the 3 times last night were exceptions to the rule
92. chai latte
93. the mentors I've had in my life. Gisele, for one.
94. windows
95. friends who invite me for great meals
96. community
97. growing up in the country
98. learning
99. sunshine
100. giggling with my daughters

Sunday, October 09, 2005

No rain today

For some reason, the words of this Martyn Joseph song have been going through my head today.

Strange kind of friend
If you ain't got no questions
And you ain't on the ride
Maybe you're fine where you are
No mystery no magic
No pain in your eyes
Maybe you stepped out of the car

And the rain is a strange kind of friend of mine
The rain is a strange kind of friend
Lost my soul in the sound of the rain again
My strange friend

Engines are running
On a highway of tears
There's not many answers to steal
You can ride down this road of great mystery
Or fall asleep at the wheel

I know where I've got to go
The only thing that I know
It's calling me
I know the sun's got to rise
Over these merciless skies

No, it didn't rain today. In fact, it was a beautiful sunny day. A perfect Autumn day. Crunchy leaves, cool breeze, warm sun. It was a day of Thanksgiving here in Canada. A day for family, a day for relaxation and leisure. A day when the sun was shining not only literally but figuratively.

Maybe that's why the song was going through my head today. Not all days are sunny like today. Not all days are are full of warmth and leisure. Some days the rains come. Some days are lonely, painful and cold. But those days are part of what makes us whole. Those days bring growth despite the pain. It's all part of the mystery and magic of life. Those days, the rain is a strange kind of friend of mine.

I remember the rain as I gaze up into the sunshine.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

It's been a Slow kind of day

These days, many of us live in fast forward – and pay a heavy price for it. Our work, health and relationships suffer. Over-stimulated, over-scheduled and overwrought, we struggle to relax, to enjoy things properly, to spend time with family and friends. The Slow movement offers a lifeline. It is not a Luddite plot to abolish all things modern. You don’t have to shun technology, live in the wilderness or do everything at a snail’s pace. Being “Slow” means living better in the hectic modern world by striking a balance between fast and slow.

That's a little bit about what In Praise of Slow is all about. I read it a couple of weeks ago in airports, airplanes, and hotel rooms. My favourite moment was curled up in bed in a hotel room that was a throw-back to the seventies, listening to the rain outside my window, and ignoring everything else but my book.

Part way through the day today, I realized that it was indeed a Slow kind of day. There was nothing "over-stimulated, over-scheduled or overwrought" about it. It was just plain old Slow. And it was a delight.

In the book, the author (Carl Honoré) explores several different Slow movements that have popped up around the world. Here's how my day was a representation of a few of them.

1. Slow Food - The Slow Food movement is all about taking pleasure in the preparation of food, honouring the history of food, enjoying the sharing of food, and using natural local foods as a way of getting closer to the source of our food. Today, I did Slow Food proud. I started my day by making chicken broth out of yesterday's chicken bones. For lunch, I cooked chicken noodle soup with the leftover chicken and some good old fashioned Mennonite noodles, just like my Grandma used to make. (No, I didn't make the noodles, like Grandma used to do, but I did buy them from a genuine Mennonite source.) Then I made another large pot of creamy carrot soup with locally grown carrots, and of course, a little ginger. The second pot of soup will end up in the freezer. After the soup was all cooked, I gutted, chopped, cooked, mashed, bagged, and froze 4 pumpkins from my father-in-law's garden. I even cleaned the pumpkin seeds and laid them out to dry - we'll roast them another day. We'll be eating lots of pumpkin pie, muffins, loaf, etc. this winter. Anyone have any good pumpkin recipes? :-)

2. Slow Cities - No, I don't live in one of the neighbourhoods Honoré describes in his book, where traffic is slowed down, there's lots of space for pedestrians, local shops are easily accessible by foot, and houses have front verandas instead of backyard decks. In fact, we live on a fairly busy street. Too busy. But that doesn't mean we can't do our part to slow down, stay out of our cars, and value what's accessible. The girls and I set out on foot twice to local shops. First it was to 7-11 for Slurpees (their favourite drink that they're only allowed on weekends), then later it was off to the local grocery store for supper ingredients. It's not the cheapest place around, but it's locally owned and within walking distance, so I support it whenever I can. I don't want it to disappear and end up trampled by the long line of megastores that keep popping up.

3. Raising an Unhurried Child - I think my mood wore off on the kids today, because they were pretty relaxed. Julie spent lots of time reading and Maddie spent nearly 2 hours on the floor building lego creatures with her dolly propped up next to her (she's rather attached to dolly these days - she even made the trips to the stores with dolly on her back.) (Nikki was at a friend's place.) When I was cleaning out one of the kitchen cupboards, Julie discovered the cookie press we hadn't used in a long time, and so we made cookies. Flower cookies, star cookies, and cookies that look suspiciously like hotdogs. We took our time, and of course, they got to lick the beaters. :-)

4. Slow Work - I got lots done today, but I definitely didn't work at a frenzied pace. I took breaks to make cookies, walk to the store, and help the girls find markers to draw on the big paper I found while cleaning up. I fairly successfully avoided all thoughts of work, and chased the stress away every time it tempted to creep in. Of course, good music always helps the mood, so we cranked a little Jann Arden, Martyn Joseph, and then some Proclaimers to get us going.

6. Mind - Yes, it was a "Slow Thinking" kind of day. No, I didn't find the time for yoga or meditation, but I stayed away from sources of over-stimulation (eg. television), and let my mind wander as I cooked and cleaned and pressed cookies. I love the places the mind finds to visit when it isn't pre-occupied with too much work or stimulation. Do you know, for example, how much like a row of gondolas docked along a canal in Venice a row of pumpkin wedges can look?

7. Bodies - Our brains weren't the only things functioning on slow mode. Our bodies were pretty relaxed too. Even our walk to the store was slow. Julie commented, "Mom, I don't think we've ever walked to the store this slowly before." :-)

5. Leisure - At the end of the day, when I could gaze with pride at all that I had done, and all that was ready to go in the freezer, I sat down with a cup of tea in my favourite mug and a couple of cookies. Aaaahhh!

Now it's almost time to crawl into bed. After the week I've had, it will be a treat to lie down with a relaxed mind after a unhurried day. Besides all that cooking, I mustered up the energy to clean out some of our clutter collections (top of the microwave and fridge). Of course, after all that work (even if it WAS slow work), I'm a little tired by now. As much as I enjoyed it, I can't help but hope that tomorrow is a little slower than Slow.

(Before I go to bed though, I may stop to gaze admiringly upon my handiwork on the freezer shelves. Thanks to Marcel, the freezer is newly clean, so all that pumpkin, soup and chicken stock looks all the better on clutter-free ice-free shelves.)

Friday, October 07, 2005

This is why I love Jann Arden...

Someone mentioned something about my weight a while ago...about image...the endless comments about image. Didn't I feel the pressure to be thin? I said that no, I didn't feel the pressure, because I am exceptional at what I do. I am leaving my music behind me eternally, not my tits or my ass or my head. When we are all gone in 5oty years, only the music will remain and a few pictures of another time. No one will care what I weighed. It's so ludicrous...what we buy into. I will not, I never have. I see who I am. It doesn't matter what anyone else sees. - Jann Arden

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The tigger lies down with the lamb

I just couldn't resist :-)

Forget about my whining...

Instead of indulging me in my self-pity, you should all wander over to my sister-in-law's blog and read about how, 10 years ago, my niece joined our family. It's better than anything you'll read HERE right now, so go ahead, run away. (But thanks for stopping by :-)

Start 4 posts ago. And grab a kleenex.


I know better than to divulge too much information about work on my blog, but let me just say IF I HAVE ONE MORE CLOSED DOOR MEETING, I WILL RUN SCREAMING FROM THE BUILDING!

More than one really tricky human resource issue has been bubbling lately, so this has been a challenging place to be this week. It's days like this that make me wonder about my sanity when I chose to become a manager. Today, I want to be unemployed, or perhaps a self-employed consultant. At least if I'm self-employed, I only have myself to yell at when the work's not getting done or I'm pissing off the clients!

I rarely work with my office door closed, but this week, almost everyone who enters closes the door on their way in (or I do the same when I enter my boss' office, or I have to close the door when I get or have to make an ugly phone call). Blech. I NEED AIR! I need an open door, with no secrets, no whispering, no confidential issues to deal with, no nasty e-mails or phone calls, no one blaming me or anyone else for anything. Just a little fresh air, friendly voices, and kindness.

There - I just had to vent a little. I knew you'd listen. Thanks.

Nope, I'm NOT gonna share!

Gotta wonder how something like this can possibly be healthy for all parties involved. But what do I know?

(Marcel, don't even THINK about it!)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Just let me say

Martyn Joseph is the most AMAZING musician to walk the face of God's green earth! (Or at least that's what I think right now - until the next concert I see. :-)

I love the buzz you get after a good concert, play, art show, poetry reading - almost any kind of artistic endeavour. It's a feeling of being inspired, uplifted, and yes, almost a little invincible. It's two feelings at once - a feeling that you could never be worthy of creating such perfection as you've just witnessed, while at the same time a feeling that you have no choice but to answer your own call to creativity after inspiration like that.

If you EVER get a chance to hear Martyn Joseph perform, do not pass go, do not collect $200, just go directly to the ticket seller and GET YOUR TICKETS! You will thank me for it.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The good, the bad, and the ugly

These things I hate:
- when your staff member thinks that bad-mouthing you to anyone who will listen is an effective way of protecting her job
- when your daughter is reduced to tears while trying to do her homework because trying to remember French numbers makes her feel stupid, and tomorrow is Judgement Day when her teacher will test her and label her competent or incompetent
- when your other daughter comes home with reports of being bullied on the bus by mean-boy from across the street, and a bus driver who (apparently) turns a blind eye
- when your children fight ALL the way home, and you're stuck in bumper to bumper traffic so it takes twice as long to get home
- when you feel completely overwhelmed and perhaps even a little incompetent because your absence from the office for a week means that you are miles behind and your workload seems like an insurmountable mountain
- when it takes all evening for your kids to get through homework and piano practice and cleaning up after supper and packing their lunches, and you realize they have barely had a moment to JUST BE KIDS!
- when, after listening to demand after demand after demand, it occurs to you that your children see the world through self-centred lenses and the only communication out of their mouths seems to be some version of "Me, Me, Me"
- when you look at the diminishing pan of brownies and realize that, at the end of a long and stressful day, you've turned to food for comfort

These things I like:
- when your wonderful husband realizes you've had a stressful day and makes sure supper is waiting for you in the oven, even though he has an evening class and it's your night to cook supper
- when you emerge from a self-imposed timeout in your bedroom and find your daughters clearing the supper table even though they haven't been reminded, and you consider that possibly they DO have a shred of conscience after all
- when you realize that tomorrow night you get to go to a concert and that your ROCKIN' brother-in-law is willing to babysit
- when you watch your three-year-old daughter dance around naked waving a pom-pom just like a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader and you realize that a good laugh cures a lot of ills
- when you sit down to relax at the end of a LONG day and realize you can do it guilt free because the dishes are done, the laundry is clean and put away, the floor is swept and vacuumed (at least upstairs), the housework is basically caught up, and even your sink is shiny and clean.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

What's with all the pumpkins?

I thought I'd take a moment to answer Dale's question. About the pumpkins.

Why did I spend my Saturday morning picking pumpkins with about 40 other people? Well, the short answer is that they planted all those pumpkins to sell to raise money for Canadian Foodgrains Bank, a food aid and international development organization that I work for. The purpose of my trip was to visit churches and community groups who are supporting us through various efforts. The pumpkin project was one of those efforts.

The Foodgrains Bank is a christian-based organization that was originally started by a group of farmers that wanted to find some way of sending their surplus grain to hungry people overseas. Since then, it's grown, and we now receive about $7 million in donations from Canadians, as well as $16 million from the federal government. The unique thing that I love about this organization is that there are 13 different church organizations that are part of it - everything from Baptists to Presbyterians to Seventh Day Adventists (and including your United Church, Dale). All these churches that preach different doctrine from the pulpit, work together to help hungry people. On Sunday, while I was in Nova Scotia, I visited 3 different churches, belonging to different denominations but still serving the common purpose.

The pumpkin project is one of our community growing projects. Rural communities get together, set aside a portion of land, and grow a crop which they donate directly or sell and donate the proceeds. I love the pumpkin project, because it includes 6 or 7 local churches in the Annapolis Valley, and they get a wide range of people working together as a community to pick and sell a field full of pumpkins. It gives you warm fuzzies to see something like that.

So now you know why all those pumpkins. And since I took all this time to put in a good plug for the Foodgrains Bank, next time you want to support a great organization, check us out! (That's also why I was in Africa - to read more about it, feel free to peruse my February posts.)