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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Just a little reminder...

Okay, so maybe it's just me

For years now, I've tried hard not to plan anything on Monday nights. "The kids need transition time," I say. "It's the first day back into the routine, so they're often a little out of sorts."

Tuesday is fine, Wednesday is fine - any other night of the week is okay, but don't mess with Monday. We barely venture out of the house.

Well, last night, the kids were all happy and having fun with each other, and it occurred to me, as I barked at them for completely harmless behaviour, that maybe it's just ME! I'M the one who's grumpy on Monday nights and needs the transition time! Not THEM! They're adjusting fine, and often complain of boredom on Monday nights because "Mommy won't do anything."

Gulp. Guess I'd better stop blaming them!

Anyone want to do stuff with my kids on Monday nights? I need a little time to myself... :-)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Weekend stuff

The (almost) last frontier
The last room in the battle against clutter has been conquered. A couple of weeks ago, after I’d finished the laundry room makeover, we had an unfortunate event that required a plumber to need access to the main drain hole in the basement. It just so happens that the main drain hole is in the floor of the tucked-away corner of the basement where old things go to die. It was full to overflowing with all kinds of things - baby stuff we don’t need anymore but wanted to keep for ccap and her boy, a toilet that we thought we’d eventually use if we turned that room into a bathroom, scrap pieces of wood, our christmas tree, the guitar Marcel dreams of learning to use, etc., etc.

It’s taken me about 2 weeks, but I finally finished sorting through it all this weekend. Now there’s only one small, neatly piled, stack of stuff I can’t bear to part with (I can’t ENTIRELY let go of all things sentimental, so I saved one box of old letters, playbills from some of the plays I’ve been involved in, etc. After all, some day I might be famous, and they’ll need SOMETHING to dig through to write my memoirs), one stack of things that ccap and her boy don’t have room to store at their house, the christmas tree, the guitar (maybe when he’s finished school, Marcel will have time to learn :-), and a bit of sporting equipment.

Now there are only a few more areas of my house that require attention: the hall closet, the drawers in the armoire in the living room, the drawers of my night stand, the top shelves of Julie and Maddie’s closets, the bookshelf beside the computer, and a few places that need a bit of a second go-round – wow the list is getting pretty short! By Christmas time, I’ll be able to celebrate a renewed house! My GOSH, I had no idea how good this would feel!

­­No more toys
Perhaps because she’s been watching me get rid of so much stuff, Maddie decided to join the parade. On Saturday she pointed to her toy box and said “Mom, I’m THREE years old now. I don’t NEED toys anymore.” She was quite determined I haul them out of the house, but I put her off for awhile because I wasn’t sure she’d feel the same by Sunday. Sure enough, on Sunday, she was back in the toy box, playing with her toys.

Room of many colours
I’ve been promising to paint Nikki’s room for quite some time now. She has a vision of walls of 4 different colours – lime green, blue, yellow, and orange. Some people would think I’m crazy, but I’m quite willing to go for it – once I can find the time. I’ve always liked a bit of colour, and I like to encourage creativity in my kids. I was worried about finding the right shades that would work together. I was quite excited this weekend, though, when I found the duvet covers I’d made when her and Julie lived in the sky blue room with hot air balloons on the wall (that’s now Maddie’s) – all four of the colours she wants are in the stripes of these duvet covers. Yay! They’ve still got plenty of use in them, and I think I still have enough leftover fabric to make a curtain and possibly a cushion cover. Ooohhh… I’m getting that old familiar “decorate the house” vibe that shows up every six months or so!

And they're not even teenagers yet!
This weekend seemed to be the weekend for heartache. Not mine, but my two oldest daughters. First it was Julie – crying herself to sleep because she HATES being the middle child. She gets picked on by her older sister, she gets hand-me-down clothes, she gets overlooked by her parents, she gets less attention than her little sister, etc. Sadly, I have to admit that she’s not all wrong. She’s a fast learner, so we don’t have to spend as much time with her, and she doesn’t require as much emotional energy as either of her sisters do. She’s the one who craves the most attention, so because I need a little more space than she provides me, I often push her away. Yeah, sometimes she gets a bum rap. In an effort to make her feel special, I baked cookies with her on Sunday – she LOVES to bake, and almost always ends up being the only one in the kitchen when there’s baking going on.

Then it was Nikki’s turn. She was having trouble with her multiplication homework and it makes her feel stupid, so the tears started to flow. She was particularly troubled because Julie finds schoolwork so easy. It’s tough being the oldest child when your younger sister can whiz through school work (and piano) with barely an effort. She gets tired of hearing Julie brag that she’s read ALL of the Harry Potter books, and hearing people proclaim how impressed they are. So I sat through the second set of tears, trying to think of the right words to ensure my daughters they are special, talented, and loved.

Sunday lunch
We had friends over for lunch on Sunday, and I made some very yummy soup (if I do say so myself) – corn and bean chowder, and peanut tomato vegetable. Yum, yum, yum. We’ve done this a few times now - made a couple of pots of soup on Saturday night, and then invited friends for lunch after church. I think we’ll do it more often. It reminds me of growing up – we almost always had people over for lunch when we were growing up. We went to a small country church, and there were often visiting speakers (we went for years without a pastor). Since my dad was primary leader (deacon) it usually fell to him and mom to entertain.

The best way to do Christmas shopping
I have successfully convinced my daughters that the BEST STORE IN THE WORLD is Ten Thousand Villages, an international fair trade store that sells interesting stuff from all over the world. It’s not far from our house, so it’s a favourite Saturday afternoon destination. Last year, they each got to pick an international Christmas ornament from there, and now they’ve convinced me it’s a “tradition”. So we went there Saturday, and, in addition to picking their ornaments, they pointed out what they wanted for Christmas. Yay! I think I can do ALL of my Christmas shopping in one store – and it’s a funky fair trade store to boot! (Marcel – hope you don’t mind getting a bag of fair trade coffee for Christmas :-) I have to say - it's kinda fun shopping with the girls and having interesting conversations about why it's better to buy stuff THERE than at Wal-mart!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

My apologies to 49 people

Fifty resum├ęs sit on my desk waiting to be reviewed. Fifty hopeful people are waiting for my call.

I sit here staring at them, knowing full well that I will disappoint forty-nine people. Only one person will get the job, forty-nine will not. Some of them (maybe 10 or so) will get their hopes raised even further when they're invited for an interview. But then 9 or so will have those hopes dashed.

They're probably all wonderful people, those 49 - with skills, abilities, and personalities. Several of them could probably do the job equally well. But in the end, only one will get the chance. Only one will rise to the top. It may not be the best one - it may only be the one who's managed to impress us the most. That's the way it goes, though, you can only make choices based on your own impressions.

That's alot of weight on my shoulders. It's why it's not always fun to be a manager.

To those 49 people - I apologize in advance. Try not to take it personally.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Just so you don't start thinking it's all about death...

There's a whole lot of LIVIN' going on too! If my blog is starting to depress you, well then hop on over to ccap's blog for some awesome pictures of my cutie-pie niece! She's photogenic already - which is a good thing, because her mother was born with a camera attached to her face, and she's not the only shutterbug in the family!

No really... run along. I won't take it personally if you leave me. But come back soon - I promise I'll stop posting about dead people soon.

Passages

Something strange happened to me today. Recently, when Peanut was born, Marcel hauled the cradle out of storage thinking Peanut could be its next occupant. Partly because CCAP and her boy didn’t need it, and partly because I felt obligated to return it to its rightful owner, it stayed in our house.

Ten years ago, the cradle made its way into our home. It was leant to us by Ed, a man I worked with at the time. “You can use it as long as you need it,” he’d said, with a twinkle in his eye, “but I may want it back some day if I have grandchildren.” His sons were in high school and university at the time – they weren’t even CLOSE to thinking about children.

Last night, I tried to phone Ed. I looked up his name in the phone book, and tried the number I thought might be his. I got a recorded announcement. Today, I phoned Suzanne, a friend of mine who still works in the place Ed and I worked ten years ago (he’s since retired), thinking she might be able to help me track him down.

“Strange you should call now,” said Suzanne. “I was just at Ed’s funeral. He died last month. He had a heart attack and died on his kitchen floor.”

Odd. I’ve had that cradle for 10 years, and for nearly 3 it has sat in our basement waiting to be returned. Why would I suddenly try to get in touch with Ed, after years of being out of touch with him, only a few weeks after he died?

I don’t think Ed even made it to sixty. I wonder if he ever had grandchildren.

I liked Ed. He was one of those affable people who’s fun to have around. He always had a joke up his sleeve, and usually, a smile on his face. For a short while, about 13 years ago, he was my boss. Later he became my colleague – my equal. I’m not sure why, but he used to call me “Heather-bell”. He was kind and generous. Life hadn’t always been kind to him – he’d lost his wife a few years before and had to raise his 2 sons alone. Early in our friendship, however, we shared a common experience - he was getting married around the same time I was.

In a strange way, Ed played a rather pivotal role in my life. It was from his lips that I first heard the term “World Wide Web”. His son was in university at the time, and he’d come home raving about something called the world wide web, where you could go onto a computer and look up stuff from all over the world. Ed had seen it with his own eyes. The university students at the time were dreaming about all that this might mean for the future – their future and the world’s.

Funny how this conversation stands out in my mind. I must have looked at him in disbelief. World Wide Web? What in the world was that? How could computers communicate with each other? And even if they could, what good would it do? Even as I asked the questions, though, I sensed that this was something important - which is probably why I remember the conversation.

Now here I am, only about 12 years later, and the world wide web has indeed changed our lives. This blog attests to that. Who’d have thought, when we first heard of the wonders of the internet, that just a few short years would see us all posting journal entries, shopping, researching, sharing pictures, and chatting online? Only 10 years ago, our first baby was born and made her way into that cradle. The only way we could share pictures with loved ones was through the mail. Now, a few short hours after my niece was born, I could e-mail her picture all over the world.

The cradle that Ed leant me now sits in my bedroom, reminding me of the passages of time. Two of Ed’s babies and three of mine have rested their little heads on its cushion. And now, its original owner has gone to meet his maker. The cradle hasn’t changed much in that time, but the world has. Those five babies who slept in that cradle face a different reality than we did when we were their age. I don't know if it's better or worse - just different.

When I watch my children fearlessly surf the world wide web, with the assumption of youth - that this is the only way it's ever been, I wonder what kind of passages their lives will see.

Addendum: I just found Ed’s obituary on-line. It turns out he was sixty-two. It doesn’t look like he had any grandchildren yet. Too bad. He would have been an awesome Grandpa.

Monday, November 21, 2005

He's gone

Marcel called this afternoon. "He's gone," he said. Just those 2 simple words. How could 2 simple words mean so much? Shouldn't it take more that 2 words to communicate such a weighted message?

Uncle Lionel is gone. His life has ended. Seventy-eight (I think) years of living, loving, working, playing, parenting, grandparenting, sleeping, eating, crying, talking, driving a school bus, singing, smiling - over. Just like that. One last breath, and then it's over.

Another family has lost their dad. Another woman has lost her husband. Another group of children have lost their grandfather. My mother-in-law has lost her brother. It happens every day. People die. It's almost routine - each week the newspaper is full of death notifications. But for this family, it only happens once - today. No other day will be like today. No other feeling in their lives will come close to preparing them for what they will feel today.

I sit in silence and think of them - this family who is suffering loss. I think of them, and the tears form in my eyes and the lump forms in my throat. I know what it's like to say good-bye to the man called "Dad". I know what it's like to lose someone who has a unique set of memories, a unique perspective, and unique wisdom that you can never turn to again. I know the tears that form on your pillow when you long for just one more chance to touch his age-worn hand, or see the twinkle in his eye, or hear his voice. I know the gasp of pain when you see other children in a supermarket call out to their Grandpa and then run to grasp his hand. I don't know what this family has suffered, watching their father deteriorate like he has, but I know what it feels like when he's gone.

Good-bye Uncle Lionel. You will be missed.

Anyone in the market for ugly pink venetian blinds?

More stuff left my house this weekend. Marcel hauled away a trailer load of garbage – old curtain rods and the ugly pink venetian blinds that were in our house when we moved in, an old crib mattress, an old cooler that no longer cooled much due to the cut left by a stray saw blade, part of a computer desk, the broken doll crib I’d salvaged when my parents moved off the family farm, and lots and lots of old paper and other garbage. I also have another couple of boxes and bags ready for the next trip to goodwill.

By now, we’ve probably gotten rid of enough stuff to fill a small home. Where did it all come from? WHY do we have so much STUFF? We don’t think of ourselves as overly materialistic, and it’s not like either of us are shopaholics. So why do we have it?

Truth is, most of what got junked yesterday was either hand-me-downs or stuff we inherited with the house. We hadn’t bought much of it, but somehow, at some point in time, we inherited it – or it inherited us. And now it no longer has a use in our home (and some of it never did).

Yes, Marcel and I both have some packrat tendencies. We have trouble parting with something that is either a) of some remote sentimental value (like do we REALLY want to throw away the heart-shaped box I made and then filled with homemade candy when Marcel and I were dating and I was a poor student who couldn’t afford a valentine gift?) or b) might be used some day (what if we own a cabin some day and we’ll be looking for an ugly set of pink venetian blinds – THEN we’ll be sorry we threw these away).

If you came to my house, you’d look around and wonder “where did they FIT all of that stuff?” Because it doesn’t exactly look sparse yet, even AFTER we purged and culled. And, even though it was a little cluttered before, it wasn’t like we were living in one of those houses where you have to blaze a trail through piles and piles of assorted collections (my siblings will remember Tommy and Sarah). (What’s the name of that show? Clean Sweep? Well, every ONE of those homes looks a whole lot worse than mine EVER did.) But over the years, we stuffed the closets, cupboards, and storage spaces full of all those things we couldn’t bear to part with, and somewhere along the line, the clutter seemed to multiply. (I could never confirm it, but sometimes I suspected there were naughty things going on in those closets – leading unfortunately to litters of baby clutter being reproduced.)

Some day, I’ll write a long post about WHY I’ve been on a fierce quest to rid myself of so much clutter. There are so many reasons. It’s been a bit of a spiritual journey, actually, in an odd way. Part of it relates to our quest for more simplicity that I wrote about a few months ago. But more about that later. I’m still mulling it all over in my mind, and don’t feel quite prepared to put it into words yet.

This past week, after a very unfortunate incident (involving a sewer, a plumber, a big snaky machine, and a messy floor - blech) forced me to tear apart the last remaining stronghold in the battle against clutter – the corner of the basement where old things go to die – it’s been on my mind a lot. I even used the experience during church – to share how cleaning junk out of your basement is not unlike a journey God wants each of us to take. Intrigued?

Yes, you’ll hear more about it soon. But first, I have to figure out what to do with the old hockey equipment, the baby back-pack I bought at a garage sale that none of my kids fit into any more, and all the craft supplies I never get around to using… Want to decorate a willow wreath for Christmas, anyone? I’ve got bags full of them – cheap!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A film worth seeing

I saw a movie on the weekend that will stick with me for quite a while. It’s called Water. It’s based in India (with English sub-titles), and at the core of the movie is a group of widows who have become disenfranchised from their communities because of their widowhood. When their husbands die, they are kicked out of their homes and families, and forced to live a sparse life in a cold and desolate home for widows. One of the central characters is a seven-year-old girl who, before she’s even had a chance to experience life in its fullness, has become widowed and consequently must be banished to this cruel and unjust world, without any of the comforts of home or family. Forced to beg and prostitute themselves for their survival, these women’s lives seem void of any joy. Even colour is taken away from them – to ensure that they are recognizable as widows and so that other people won’t risk contaminating themselves by touching them or even letting their shadows fall upon them, they are dressed in white saris with no hint of colour.

This is a powerful film. Not only is there a strong and moving plotline, the cinematography is brave and captivating. I love a director who will risk keeping the focus on something as simple as an overturned umbrella floating down the river for a little longer than might be acceptable in Hollywood’s rush to entertain. The other thing that really captivated me is the sparse dialogue. She (Deepa Mehta) tells a powerful story without wasting a lot of words. So much of the story is communicated by visuals and the viewer’s own response and imagination. Striking.

One of the themes throughout the movie is the theme of “desire”. These widows have almost no access to any of the desires of their hearts. Some of them have found surreptitious ways of indulging (eg. one hides a puppy in the attic, one has regular rendezvous’ at her window with a drug provider), but mostly they are denied what they long for. The oldest member of the group rambles on and on about her wedding day, when she was a mere child of seven – her recounting of it always centres around the abundance of sweets that day. She dreams of being able to eat sweets again – something she has been denied for many years. At one point, Chuyia sneaks out with some of the money she’s collected from begging and buys a ladoo (some sweet local treat) for this old woman. Her delight in indulging in it is almost orgasmic.

There is a tension throughout the movie about whether people are better off denying or indulging in desire. When one of the central characters becomes involved in an illicit romance, you can’t help but celebrate her courage and the near satisfaction of her desires. On the other hand, you wish the lascivious men who indulge in their own desires and thus reduce the widows to lowly prostitutes had been denied their desires because of the way it destroys the dignity and power of the widows.

In one of the most powerful moments of the movie, one of the widows is talking to a spiritual advisor. He asks her if she has attained enlightenment. She answers “if that means ridding my body of human desires, than no. I have not.”

Is that what “enlightenment” should be – ridding oneself of human desires? Or should we only rid ourselves of those desires that hurt other people? Are some desires permissible and others not? It’s hard to say. The desire that results in children being prostituted or abused, for example, can have no merit in it. The desire for a good meal or (as in my last post) a tasty dessert now and then, seems harmless.

I think God made us with longings and desires. This is not inherently evil. We long for comfort, beauty, and joy. This longing is what makes some us of us paint great masterpieces, craft beautiful songs and poems, build awe-inspiring churches, or cook great meals.

Sometimes, however, desire leads us down dangerous pathways. Where is that line in the sand that leads to destruction?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Maddie-ism #26

(What's a "Maddie-ism"? Little bits of humour and sideways truths from my 3 year old daughter.)

Maddie (watching me cook supper): What are we having for dessert?
Me: Why are you worried about dessert before we've even had supper?
Maddie: The whole WORLD was made for dessert, Mom!

Winter wonderland

Winter made a dramatic entrance in our part of the world this week. On Sunday, it was a beautiful Fall day. On Monday, winter came. On Tuesday, we could barely leave our homes.

You have two choices around here when it comes to winter - you can whine and complain about it for months, or you can embrace it. I do a little bit of both. By the end of 4 or 5 long cold months, I get a little whiny. But at the beginning, when a blanket of fresh sparkly snow turns this place into a winter wonderland, I love it. Yesterday, as I trudged through a foot of snow in my heavy duty winter boots, down sidewalks that had yet to be cleared, I couldn't help but marvel at the beauty all around me - drooping branches tipped with white, fire hydrants with fluffy white hats, bundled children - showing nothing but their eyes - tossing snowballs at each other and laughing - it was all good. The girls and I spent about an hour outside last night, having a snowball fight, clearing snow off ccap's car (it's parked in our driveway), playing, and taking pictures. Julie tried to make a snowman, but it's not really the right kind of snow (yes, for those uninitiated southerners, there ARE different KINDS of snow).

Yes, we have 4 distinct seasons here - aren't we lucky?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Home

I'm home. Home is good. Yesterday was one of the longest and most painful days I've had in a long time. But it's over now and I'm home. At the end of the day, though faced with challenges, confrontation, and downright awkward moments, I went to sleep knowing that I had, as much as possible, acted with integrity and grace, and that's the best I can do.

And now I will spend the evening loving my family, hearing my children's stories, holding my niece, and life will be good again.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Road trip over

Back in Calgary.
Road trip is over.
I survived enemy territory.
There were several awkward moments, like when the person-who-shall-remain-nameless introduced herself to the person next to me (who had travelled here from Kenya) as "the person who used to work for XXX until HEATHER fired me."
People were friendly, though guarded.
There was a giant "elephant" in the room that everyone saw and no-one mentioned.
The road trip was fun - I love miles and miles of open road with nothing and no-one in the car but me and my thoughts.
Found a great radio station - alternative/indie with lots of fun music and no commercials.
Called a good friend for moral support as I sat in the car trying to mentally prepare myself - she came through for me. Thank God for friends.
I'm only in Calgary for a few moments and then I rush out to pick up my boss at the airport and head to Red Deer - next leg of the road trip.
Thanks for joining me on my road trip :-) Your presence gave me strength.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Wish I could take you with me

Tonight I leave for Alberta - a trip I'm not looking forward to. Not only do I NOT want to leave my kids and husband and my new niece, I feel a little like I'm heading into enemy territory. As I've mentioned before, for reasons I won't go into, we had to fire our Alberta coordinator, and because she managed to convince at least some of our many supporters and volunteers in Alberta that we are the bad guys, out to destroy her life, the thought of coming face to face with some of these people (not to mention the person we fired) does not leave me jumping for joy.

So I'm thinking... it sure would be nice to bring along some friendly reinforcement as I head out into the "war zone". Doesn't every soldier face the battlefront with reinforcements? Who wants to come along? It could make for an interesting trip. Tomorrow, after staying with my brother and sister-in-law and hanging out with my other brother and sister-in-law and all the kids (thank GOD for family), I have to drive 4 hours into the war zone. Just imagine the trip, if we rented a bus and you all came along to "shore me up".

Cuppa would make us all thermoses of tea to keep us warm and cozy on the ride. Anvilcloud would take pictures of each of us, and switch our heads or edit out our blemishes. We'd upload pictures of the "enemy" and he'd photoshop them until they were unrecognizable and worthy of a good laugh. The Wikkerink sisters would bring baskets of delicious food and we'd stop to picnic at a roadside park. Linda would help me remember I'm stronger than I think I am, and Michele would make jokes about the-person-who-shall-remain-nameless. Yvonne would help us keep our minds off our troubles by engaging us all in some creative activity. Accidental Poet would keep us entertained with stories about carved candles we found in the glove compartment. CCAP (with whom I've taken more roadtrips than anyone) would bring great snacks and take a awesome group photo while we stopped for lunch. She'd sit by me without saying much, but she'd help me remember I could handle anything. We'd all take turns cuddling with little Abigail. Stephanie would tell us about her play and pass around a few good books to keep us entertained as we drove. We'd trust Dale behind the wheel of the bus, because of his many hours driving a train. He'd remind me to "step out of the boat" with courage. Colleen would bring her puppy and we'd all take turns playing with him. Eric and Micah would entertain us with some Mandolin and Fiddle pickin'. Others, like Mel and Suzanne would tell stories that would keep us on the edges of our seats.

Imagine - the blog bus out on the open road. By the time I reached my destination, I'd be invincible.

That is what I will think about those four hours in a car all alone tomorrow.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The baby arrived!

I have a new niece! Abigail Margaret arrived last night at 6:39 p.m. She is, of course, beautiful. She has a full head of dark hair, like her daddy. She weighs 7 lbs 13 oz.

I'm tempted to post pictures, but I don't want to steal all the thunder from ccap. I'll leave the first photos to her. She'll be in the hospital until tomorrow - check her blog some time after that for photo evidence.

It was a long and hard delivery, but in the end, the family is complete and happy. You know, after having a stillborn baby, a person never ever takes a live healthy baby for granted. There were moments during the long day of waiting, that I had mini panic attacks imagining the worst, because I know the worst CAN happen. But thank God, in the end, the very best happened and we are all celebrating.

Abigail's cousins are very, very happy. They can hardly think of anything else. They've been dancing around the house rejoicing. This baby will be very special to them.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Things like this just SHOULDN'T happen

Yesterday, when I got home from work, Nikki pulled me into my bedroom and closed the door behind me. "Mom, I need to talk to you," she said, with that distressed look on her face that I know too well.

It turns out that, on the bus ride home from school yesterday, meanboyC (one of 2 mean brothers that lives in the housing complex across the street - I've blogged about them before) asked her, in front of a bunch of other 4th and 5th grade boys, whether she was a virgin. Not knowing what it meant, and not wanting to be embarrassed, she said "no". Of course, it was the wrong answer, and the boys errupted in peals of laughter at her expense. Before the end of the bus ride, she knew what the word meant, and knew the cause of their laughter and her humiliation.

"Mom," she said, through her tears, "I pretended I was reading so they wouldn't notice that I was trying not to cry."

GRRRR!!!! I am just SO annoyed at these two pipsqueaks who continuously torment my children and other children at school and on the bus. It's been going on for a few years now - they are rotten little children who only know how to get attention through bad behaviour. Both Marcel and I have had opportunity in the past to yell at them at the bus stop for doing stupid things like dodging cars as they drive by, or throwing snowballs at passing motorists.

At supper time, we talked about it as a family, and we heard story after story of their bad behaviour. Julie reports meanboyM using the "F" word to her in the playground, and teasing her to make her feel stupid. And the stories go on and on.

I wish they'd get kicked out of school! I know they probably have a tough family life - their mother looks permanently frazzled trying to cope with her life - but I WISH they didn't have to take that out on MY KIDS!

This morning, Marcel drove the girls to school (Nikki was nervous of getting teased again on the bus) and he stopped to talk to the principal about it. Turns out there was another report of misbehaviour on the bus yesterday, so he may be suspended from bus use AGAIN. But these short term suspensions aren't doing any long term good. And in the meantime, so many kids, including my own, are getting subjected to idiotic bullying.

Somebody please tell me...

HOW is a person supposed to get a decent night's sleep when you get a call at 1:00 a.m. that your sister, soulmate, and very best girlfriend, has gone into labour and is on her way to the hospital? It's beyond me! 'Course I KNOW that I got a better night's sleep than SHE did, but I couldn't help lying awake thinking about what she's going through and wishing I could do something to help her.

Sometimes I wish that pain was a community burden thing - that you could lessen the load by divvying it out to people who were willing. I'd take a share of it for her today.

This morning we hear that she is 3 centimetres dilated. Still waiting...

Do you THINK I'll be able to concentrate at work today?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The post about the laundry room that my computer kept eating

Just for fun, let me invite you into a little-seen room in my home. It’s the room that only a select few intrepid souls have ever dared to enter. It’s the laundry room/storage room/pantry/furnace room/place where all the junk that has no other logical place gets dumped.

Sadly, this room represents the worst in me – my propensity for clutter, my inability to complete mundane tasks like laundry, my sloppiness, my procrastination, my avoidance of all things “housework” – I could go on and on, but the list is starting to depress me. I’m sure by now you’re getting the picture WHY so few people have ever been invited in.

I could wax allegorical about how this room represents the deep dark recesses of my soul – those ugly pieces of my personality that I hide from the world. But I’ll leave that to you to figure out. Suffice it to say that this room needed work – desperately.

Well, I’m happy to report that this room (like much of the rest of my house) has undergone a transformation. I decluttered, I scrubbed, I tossed, I tore out old musty carpeting, and I got down on my hands and knees and put in a new floor.

Without much further adieu, here are the before and after pictures.

Before






This is how it has looked for nearly all of the 7 years we’ve lived in this house. Disgusting, isn’t it? Junk everywhere, scraps of the world’s ugliest carpet on the floor (which, sadly, still covers the rest of the basement until we can afford to replace it), overflowing laundry baskets, you name it.

After






And this is what it looks like now. Everything in its place, laundry cleaned and put away (where it can FIT now that everyone’s dressers and closets are decluttered), and a clean and shiny new floor! Nothing fancy – I just bought those cheap peal-and-stick floor tiles – they may not last forever, but they sure look great now!

So there you have it. I’m hoping a room transformed will continue to inspire me to keep all those nasty bad habits in check (or at least SOME of them - can't expect perfection, after all).

This one's for Michele (and all my other adoring fans)

Michele over at the Laundromat, misses me, and so I will sneak a few moments to post.

Yes, I finally feel better, but when I finally shook off the virus, I found myself caught in a whirlwind of stuff that got left undone when I was out of commission for a week. Perhaps after today, I can catch my breath again.

I had a couple of posts ready to go... even typed up one and tried to post it about 5 times, but our computer's been acting finicky lately. Marcel downloaded some new stuff - cybersitter and new firewall stuff, and it doesn't seem to like Blogger. Nor does it like some of the blogs I normally visit. (NO - they're not nasty blogs - just ordinary ones like Anvilcloud's - nothing pornographic about THAT!)

So, here's a list of some of the things I was GOING to post:
- for Halloween, my kids dressed as a Princess (Maddie), a punk rocker (Julie), and the Pillsbury Doughboy (Nikki). I used to go to great lengths to dress them in costumes that had some relation to each other (and as some of you know - spent many hours on a sewing machine late at night on October 30th nearly every year), but the more they develop their own personalities, the more their costumes reflect their own creativity. I like the way their little minds work. I'll try to post pics some day.
- I have transformed my laundry room, and I have a great post about it, but that's the one that my computer won't cooperate with. I cleaned, I decluttered, I scrubbed, I tugged out old carpetting, and I got down on my hands and knees and applied floor tiles. Now I just go in there on a regular basis to gaze upon my work and smile.
- I've fallen behind at work and because I'm missing a staff person (the one that got fired), I'm having to pull double-duty on a bunch of stuff. I lay awake at nights sometimes stressing about the stuff I've forgotten to do and the people I've let down because I let things slip through the cracks. I hope it gets better soon.
- On Sunday I leave for Alberta for a trip I really dread (related to the above point). But on the up-side, I get to see some of my family in Calgary.
- I'm waiting almost as anxiously as CCAP for the baby that hasn't arrived yet. For nearly ten years, CCAP and her boy have been like second parents for my kids, and now I'll finally get to do the same for theirs. I get all teary-eyed just thinking about it. I'm not much of a "baby-holder" (I leave that up to Marcel, who can't get enough of it), but you can bet your bottom dollar that I'll fight for THIS baby.

That's enough for now. Gotta get back to work now.

Are ya happy now, Michele? ;-)