Wednesday, December 26, 2007

We're Not in Kansas Anymore Toto.

Well, it's 12:11 am so it's officially Boxing Day.

It's all over.

And a great day it was.

Everyone was happy and bright, stuffed and satisfied.

I think we all deserve a pat on the back.

Today at noon I delivered my daughter to her father and his family to celebrate Christmas with them. Stick with me, it's going to get confusing. So my mother, my father, my daughter and husband/step-father go to have a Christmas visit with my daughter's father, his mother and father (who are divorced), his two sisters (one who is living with a man who is divorced and has a daughter, and one who is married to a man who has been divorced twice already). Then the mother of/former wife and the daughter of the man who lives with sister #1 came to have a Christmas visit and they brought a grandfather. I think there were five divorces, two re-marriages, three sets of grandparents, two step-parents, and two children.

We're not in Kansas anymore Toto.

You would never had known any of the family histories by watching us. We had a wonderful time. Exchanging and opening gifts, visiting and catching up, spoiling the girls. I marveled at it all and apparently so did others although we didn't say it out loud. Was it easy? It's getting better. Was it hard? Sometimes. Would we have rather done something else? Probably.

Why? Why do we do it? Why do we sit together at school concerts instead of at opposite ends of the school gym (like other families I know)? Why are we polite, kind, considerate and even glad to see each other? The answer is sooooooo easy.

For two little of which is my own.

It can be done. It should be done. Families aren't perfect, even the perfect ones.

I always say it comes down to how much you love your kids (providing no one is in any danger, etc.).

Grown-ups need to be the grown-ups so the kids can be the kids.

Mercy, time, forgiveness (??), perspective, resolution, peace of mind and heart are all good things.

I'm glad it's over, but I'm glad we do it.

And the best part is that my daughter thinks it's absolutely normal to have blended, extended family...because she has a family. And families stick together - somehow, some way, it will work out.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Christmas Re-organization of the Tupperware Drawer

It's kind of scary and I'll whisper this, in case I jinx it. But I think I'm ready...for Christmas that is :)

I did all my wrapping last week and that always makes me feel better and more organized. Some gifts are even delivered. The Christmas Eve and Day menus are planned and grocery list started. I even got on a bit of a roll and bought the birthday cards for the friends' birthdays in January that if I don't remember now, I will totally forget. And I even bought and wrapped my niece's February birthday gift because I was on a major roll for her and she is going to be 10 and is so easy to buy for as she is a real girly-girl.

Yesterday was a storm day and Marly and I had a great day. Not only did I get the Christmas changing of the beds done and the Christmas re-organizing of the tupperware drawer, but we were able to play (reindeer) games and finish her Christmas wrapping. This year she saved her money and bought a multitude of gifts for family and friends. She has truly discovered the gift of giving. She took her friends' gifts today to school, in case there is another storm day later on in the week, but she had to take them in an over-size birthday bag since I had given away all the Christmas gift bags to my know...because I didn't need them. The birthday gift bag looked a little off and I tried to lighten the mood saying, actually since it's Jesus birthday...but I don't know if that's going to cut the mustard in the eighth grade.

Unless my husband starts dropping hints, he'll be getting a goat for Christmas thanks to World Vision.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

100th Post

This is my 100th post. And I haven't much to say.

I find this time of year is a roller coaster ride. First you are riding high with decorations, light, music and anticipation, then you start to go down fast when you think about the wrapping and sorting and grocery shopping yet to be done and then you sink when you hear about hard times and struggles that just seem to be "more" because it's Christmastime.

I drive my husband to work everyday so that I can keep our one car at home with me. It works out very well. Not only does it get me up and dressed (I use that word lightly) and coffee-ed, but we only have one car insurance bill and maintenance and less pollution emitted on behalf of my family , etc.

On the way back this morning the radio station that I listen to faithfully was broadcasting from their annual toy-drive in conjunction with the movie theatre who was hosting them and the Salvation Army. Heartwarming. Then I heard about a concert hosted by a local celebrity that will be purchasing cows, goats, chickens, etc. with the proceeds via World Vision. Warm fuzzy feeling. Last night my daughter and I attended the Penitential service at our church and participated in the sacrament of Reconciliation. Good for our souls.

Then I come in to read my blogs and see in Especially Heather about her friend Kate who is undergoing brain surgery and needs prayers for her and her family. Now brain surgery is scary enough - but it just seems magnified happening at Christmastime. My city's homeless citizens are that much colder as the temperatures have dropped. It isn't funny. There is serious tragedy out there and it seems even more serious in light of December 25th.

Many time I pray/wish/hope that my God would just override free will and make it right for these people. I know He won't. That we are to do it through and for Him. To glorify Him and His Kingdom on Earth. How I feel that we are failing Him. How sorry I am to be a part of that failure. But I won't dwell in my failings. I will make myself go on - to continue to pray and do what I can. I know that Christmas Day is a reminder of God's love for us.

Dear Lord, I pray for Kate and her family. For the doctors and nurses. For wisdom and patience and encouragement and good results. Reveal Yourself to them in some way that they will recognize so they will be assured of Your Presence. Amen

Sunday, December 02, 2007

We Did It

We did it, we did it, I can't believe we did it but we really did.

We are ready for Christmas. Outdoor lights are up with an addition of two new reindeer. Tree up, lit and decorated. House regaled with ornaments and knick-knacks and memories of years past. And the gingerbread house was even built and the 3-D puzzle village constructed and in place. The only things left is the real village in the front window and the clean-up of now empty storage bins.

And the best part - the dusting and cleaning of places we don't normally see. The re-arranging of electronic cords and computer desk. And the purging - how I love the purging.

So I think we are ready for the calendar of events staring us in the face. Every night this week is booked and more to come. But with the house ready and most hand-made gifts completed, I can embrace the season (instead of running away).

Fa la la la la la la la la!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Same Same Same

Same Same Same.

It's all the same.

Sore back.

Sore foot.

More leaves fall, more to rake, more to compost, more to bag.

More sore back.

More sore foot.

Were there this many leaves last year?

Yes. But I feel compelled to ask that question.

Same Same Same.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

It's Definitely Fall

Oh it's Fall alright!! Do you know how I know that? Do you want me to tell you how I know? Do you want me to let you in on the secret? The secret of knowing whether or not we are in the Autumn Season? The one, clear, unavoidable, undeniable tell-tale sign that we are in the middle of Fall? Do you want to know? Do you? Do you?


We spent all morning raking and bagging and mowing and raking again, bags and bags of leaves and filling compost carts and now...12 hours cannot tell that AT ALL. The ground is completely covered with lovely autumn foliage. I have to actually go out and look at the bags otherwise this morning seems like a dream, the kind of dream that leaves (no pun intended) you with a sore back and you are OUT of tylonel.

Oh, and the one other reason that assures me that YES, it is Fall...the knowledge that we will be repeating this morning's exercise at least two more times this season.

There must be a silver lining...there bugs. That's all I've got :o)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Brunch That Goes Until Suppertime

About four times a year I have Sunday lunch with four good friends. Three of these girls I used to work with and one is the wife of a guy I used to work with, all from the same office.

I love these girls. These are MY friends. We all met when we were just ourselves. Not wives or moms or church committee members or neighbors. We were work-mates who chose to become friends and even though no one still works at that organization anymore, we have chosen to remain friends. We have gotten married, divorced, had children, changed houses and jobs. But we stayed friends. It's hard to stay in touch even though we live relatively close to each other. Lives are so busy and we all have families but we still carve out the time.

When I visit with these women, they want to know about me. Oh yes, they are very interested in my husband and child, our lives, the day to day activity, etc. but if we spent the whole time talking about just ME, that would be fine too. I am the connection to these women, and them to me. Not school or commitments or bible studies or jobs or choir or neighbourhoods. Just me.

It's nice to have a group like that. We talk about parenting and careers and books and being married, being divorced, traveling and whatever we want. We are just there to enjoy each other. We just want to be with each other because we like each other for our girl-selves. We became a part of each others lives when our lives and choices were only our own.

I love them very much.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Braces Are On

Yes, that's right. Today is Saturday and it's been five days since my 13 year-old got her braces put on. I feel we've started a new right-of-passage.

"Moderate Space Management Issues"

That is the technical term for too many teeth, not enough room. So the braces have gone on. Generally though, I think her problems are pretty common and should be dealt with quite easily (in 18-24 months for a cost of half a good second-hand car), except for one 12 year molar that has "gone awry" and that's another story altogether.

And, as much as we tried to be prepared and anticipate/dread the new experience, we/she/me weren't exactly ready for the first couple of days of PAIN. I went through a series of retainers when I was a kid/teenager and I know about mouth/teeth pain, but I think this is much worse. Oh the swollen lips - just a sad, sad sight. The appetite has finally come back but not enough to actually chew a whole lot. It'll come, I know. The bonus is that the braces are purple and match her glasses and Ipod case, so if you have to have a mouth full of metal, at least be colour-coordinated with the rest of your look.

I, of course, being the mother of only one child, see this time in our lives a bit more sadly than painfully.

She is 13. I won't see her teeth again until she is 15. That is hard. When they come off, she will be a real teenager and contacts won't be far behind I'm sure. This year's school picture is beautiful and I especially like it because it is the last picture with her teeth all her own, as nature placed them. Eventually they'll be beautifully straight and lined up, but they will have been forced to move (for her own health I know).

I know I tend to be a bit dramatic. But I never planned on only having one child. So every "event" that comes along, I try to squeeze every last drop out of (the good, the bad and the ugly) because I won't have the opportunity to do it again. I try to see it from all angles so I don't miss anything. Everything is a one-shot deal. The hardest part is not being able to do it better/more relaxed the second time around, with the first as the practice time, since there is no second time. I can't practice what I've learned on the next kid. Everything is always happening to me, the Mom, the first time too, and no one gets any benefits of experience.

All that was the wave that past over me a couple of nights ago in between doses of tylonel and yogurt/applesauce/chocolate pudding. You just can't beat chocolate pudding.

I'm OK now. I just feel I spend most of my time at the end of a dock waving good-bye to someone heading out towards the horizon. "We had a lovely time but when will I see you again?" Never really. Always she is growing into the person she is and will be. A miracle to witness and be a part of. I'm loving every second, but I'm feeling that good parenting is a bit bitter-sweet. A child is to grow and evolve and mature and that is good. It's just hard when you miss who they were as well because you really liked them then too.

Monday, October 15, 2007

It's Getting Hallowe'enie Out There

Ooooh it's been chilly the last few days. Cool and windy. Sunny and crisp. The leaves are starting to fall. Jackets are being searched for, hats actually worn waiting for the school bus early in the morning.

Apple-crisp for dessert and chili for supper.

And we had to turn the heat on...Sigh.

Hallowe'en is right around the corner. You can feel it in the air.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Overwhelmed With Life In General

I am overwhelmed. Since I tend to be emotional, I try very hard to keep my life in balance, keep the stress in check and work to keep life and all that happens in perspective.

I think I am done with that. At least for now.

Last week, my daughter's junior high school had the fire alarm pulled and standard procedure (fire department, police, etc.) followed three times in one day by "pranksters" and then the school had 4 bombs threats and two school evacuations (but important to note: no school closures) in 3 days. Six arrests so far but little-to-no hope that any real action will be taken.

I called the school, talked to the principal and vice-principal, the Student Advisory Council, the Guidance office, several parents and any piece of furniture in the house that would listen to me. General response - "keep our fingers crossed" - that's a direct quote from the principal and "appeal to the students' sense of common decency" - that's the school board quote. No hard-balling it, no nothing but a notice too late. I'm exhausted just thinking about all over again and again, to no avail.

And then last night, when I was at Alpha of all places, my daughter was beaten up.

I am stunned.

She was playing outside and two kids wanted to wrestle and she said no, she doesn't play that way and kept trying to say no. The sister started to kick her and punch her (in the face) and the brother kicked her (and left bruises) and finally, my girl decked the boy and punched him in the face. The brother was encouraging his sister to "bitch-slap her" and Marly basically punched him, in self-defense, to distract him. And then THEY cried and my girl apologized. I asked why she didn't walk away but she said it happened too fast and she didn't really realize what was happening and, after all, she has to be able to stand up for herself at some point.

Oh My God.

My child is devastated, mortified and terrified. She has never been hit and has never hit anyone. She is so confused. "How can it feel so good to hit him and me be so sorry at the same time?" And she is terrified of "the older brother coming after her" because that has happened in her school before with other kids and the school goes into lock down and I can't believe this is happening and these are now the conversations that we have in our house. We live in a very peaceful school and home environment and this year, new kids move in and pow! we are on a different planet.

And I said to my husband, how do I talk to these parents (which I am going to do even though I afraid of them) about this unacceptable behaviour when obviously it is OK in their house since their kids didn't bat an eye?

I am overwhelmed by the evil in this world. The uncaring, the disrespect, the meanness, the intent to harm. I want to grab my child and stay in the house. Go nowhere, do nothing, be a total hermit. I know that's the wrong response. But I'm too tired to care about other people anymore.

I'm even too tired to pray.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Being At Home

I love being at home.

Today is nothing special. Just washing and ironing and straightening up after Thanksgiving dinner. Putting things away and tidying up the house.

I'm trying not to have the TV on as much. I usually do for the company it offers. If I play music, I love it so loud so I can sing and dance, but then I can't hear the phone. So I'm trying to be quiet.

I was putting the big potato pot away in the very back of the cupboard and my sweater got caught in my earring. I could not get it loose! I was desperate. So I went to the neighbor's across the street, praying that she was home and not on her daily walk. She was and freed me and we had a little chat and exchanged apple crisp recipes.

Then I walked home - which is across the street, second house over. A crisp, cool, fall day. Very quiet and still. I was the only person on the street and no one in sight. Everyone is either gone (to work, to school) or tucked up tight inside.

I love being home. Marly is 13 and in grade 8. I don't know how long me being at home will last. My goal is until she graduates from grade 12 (and my personal goal is to stay home forever. It certainly is better for my health).

But I'm loving every minute of while I can :)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

Today is Thanksgiving day.

This past summer we went to Plymouth Rock and Plymouth Plantation during our vacation to Cape Cod. I talked to my Aunt a lot about the American Thanksgiving. I know about the pilgrims, the harvest, etc. but it seems to be such a MAJOR holiday, which is a bit funny to me because as soon as it is over, it's full steam ahead for Christmas.

She told me, that in her opinion, many people almost like Thanksgiving more than Christmas because it's all about family being together, eating of course, but not the pressures of gifts, decorations, trees, outdoor lights, etc. It's just a great day.

In Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving in October. The celebration of the harvest. It's all on it's own, no where near Christmas and a few weeks before Hallowe'en. Sometimes it's almost easy to overlook (for me anyway).

After our summer holiday, I decided that I liked the idea of day together with no commercial pressures. I wanted to go all out for this year's Thanksgiving.

So I hosted a Thanksgiving like I had never done before. It was TOTALLY from scratch. My husband was the chef and cooked an outstanding turkey, stuffing and all the fixin's, including regular and gluten-free gravy - what a treat! I was chief house-cleaner and then dressed my table in it's holiday best. We even sang "The Turkey Song" - a tradition for grace that has been in my family for five generations, originating with my Great-Grandmother in Boothbay Harbour.

And we celebrated with friends - not family. That was new for me.

I love my family. We have celebrated practically every holiday together my entire life - extended family included. We have driven, taken the train and plane, made every effort to be together. It's very important to everyone.

But this year I wanted to host Thanksgiving and I (meaning my husband and I) wanted to "do" it our way. My mother is a bit of a control freak. OK, she's a big control freak. My husband, who does an amazing turkey - his way mind you, has tried to lessen the turkey-roasting burden and as much as she professes to want to, she just can't let go. She hovers, tsk-tsks, "offers" suggestions, etc, etc. In fact, two Easters ago, my sister couldn't even entertain the thoughts of Mom "not doing the turkey", and we had Easter Salmon on the BBQ instead (my Mom doesn't bbq).

So I didn't invite my parents. That was hard - especially because I knew my Dad would have loved it. My husband and my father like "turkey dinner" the same way. In the beginning, I honestly thought my Mom was going to be visiting my sister and her family over the holiday and I knew Dad wouldn't come in on his own, so that was fine. Then I found out that my Mom was going to visit over Hallowe'en and that they were home alone. By then I had invited another family to share our table and I decided to keep it at that. It was hard. My Mom was happy for us, that we were going to be having a fun time in our own home. But I know she would have come. She even asked if it was because of "comments" she had made the last time Frank tried to cook the turkey and I didn't have the heart to say it was a factor. I probably should have told the truth, but I just couldn't do it.

But we had an amazing evening. Frank even made an awesome pumpkin cheesecake for dessert (gluten-free no less and yummy for all). My friends brought chocolate fondue with fruit, a sweet potato casserole and candied carrots. It was truly an evening shared and enjoyed. I felt very thankful. And even though the evening was with friends and not family this year, it felt right.

Happy Thanksgiving - although for many I may seem to be a bit early :)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Viewer Discretion Is Advised

Why is there so much sex on TV?

I just don't get it.

Now I realize that I am part of the problem since I was watching the TV show that prompted this post. But shows with gratuitous sex and nudity are not part of my regular TV viewing habits. It was a new show to me - I had no idea.

I protest on many levels.

First as a feminist. Why are there tits and ass and runways and everything all over the tube but not a male dicks in sight? I am an equal-opportunist. Why do the men not have to flaunt it but you can't hide from the women?

Is it really that exciting? I mean it is the year 2007 and we have seen EVERYTHING. Must we keep on seeing everything. I could understand that in the 50s and 60s this would be scandalous and titillating and new, but it is 60 years later...this is old hat. Who cares already?!

What really gets this what we, the viewing public, really want? I mean, is that what the big boys in the corporate, leather furniture-filled offices of the network executives really think of us - that is what today's society wants to see...over and over? Do we want to see it? We must - otherwise, why would more and more shows like this be developed?

As I took communion today in church, I watched the people slowly, reverently walking up to the alter...hands poised...ready to receive God himself. Do they watch those TV shows?

I am not a prude. But does it have to be in my face all the time? Can't the writers write a plot that doesn't need so many visual aides? Couldn't there be clever plots, awesome writing and...dare I say it...acting? You know, when they PRETEND something so well that we believe it without having it all laid (no pun intended) out for me. It's getting so you can't even watch some commercials.

We don't have cable - ask my 13 daughter what a tragedy this is - and I really like TV but I can't have that in my house. I can't risk being de-sensitized to that subject matter. I can't have sex, the act of sex, the reasons for sex be reduced to prime-time porn without a thought or serious relationship close by to explain it.

It is so sad to me that we as a society have been reduced to this. I retreat back into my old-fashioned bubble...and read.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A New Dress

My blog has a new dress. Not a designer one. Just off the rack, like hundreds of others I'm sure. But I did get to pick the size and colour. So that's fun. A bit more me.

Facebook is all the rage. My friends do it. My daughter and husband do it. They even made a page for me. So I surfed around a bit. Did some looking to see who I could find. But you know, even when I did find people, Facebook tells you nothing like blogging does. It's quick and easy. There is no soul. Not like in blogging. In blogging you can actually get to know a person - what they like, what's important to them, what's going on in their day-to-day life...and recipes...and cleaning tips. I think I'll stick to the bloggosphere - I like it there.

Today I made Vietnamese Salad Rolls. I have loved them for years but was intimidated by them. Isn't that stupid...being intimidated by food?? They looked so complicated to make. But then last week I just decided I would make them. I went to the asian grocery store and had a lovely chat with the lady there. She gave me some really good tips. So this afternoon Frank and I got very organized and made them. Just like that. And they were really good. Just "this close" from being as good as in the restaurant. Imagine, I could have been making them and enjoying them all this time instead of wasting my time being afraid of trying something new...wondering if I could do it. Lesson learned! Life is too short! I think this fall I'm going to be a bit more empowered - to "just do it" and stop thinking so much.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

20 Bucks

Once, when I was a kid, our church had a fund-raiser. Now I am sure that there were many fund-raisers, but since I was a child, I was blissfully unaware of them.

But this year was different.

This year, our church gave a $20.00 bill to everyone in our church (who wanted to participate I assume) and challenged them to use their (God-given) talents to multiply it as many times over as they could - sound familiar?

My father took his $20.00 and bought ingredients to make fudge and sold the delicious treat. He was a master fudge maker and made it over and over until one day he lost the touch :( He hasn't made fudge since. However, he multiplied his $20.00 over and over and my sister and I had a wonderful time licking the bowls of his success.

My mother took her $20.00 and pooled it with two of her best girl-friends and wrote a cookbook. Can you imagine?! "The Lunch Box Cookbook - packed by Carolyn, Judith and Cherie". It was a cookbook for moms with recipes for a kid-friendly school lunch: sandwiches, muffins, cookies, cakes, brownies, trail mix, etc, etc. It was a huge success, actually had a few printings and was sold as far as Manitoba and into the United States (relatives of course). My mother, ever the long-term planner, immediately tucked away two copies for her girls when they grew up.

So this afternoon I made chocolate chip/oatmeal cookies from The Lunch Box Cookbook - my all-time favorite cookie recipe. And I put the chocolate chips in last, regardless of what the recipe says, because that's what my mom does. And they are stored in one of her old cookie cans with wax paper to seal because that's what my mom does. And I listened to songs from Carousel and Guys and Dolls just as if I were at home. I had a great time.

This week I'm also pretending I'm Caroline Ingalls since our dryer has decided to take a vacation. While we are waiting for a part, I am drying my clothes on my grandmother's drying rack, the one my mom used for years and she gave it to me when I started out in my first apartment.

Talk about connecting with the women in my family tree!


Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Decent Tan

Aside from the memories and the first, decent tan I've had in years (I'm a true red-head), summer vacation is the distant past. We're back at it.

And so far, with great success.

The first day of school went very well. The home-ade, blueberry muffins for breakfast were tasty, the custom-made roast beef sandwich was a hit at lunch, all 500 lbs of school supplies were lugged on the bus and now safely tucked away in the clean-I've-only-had-it-for-one-day-locker, the new clothes met the junior high standards and the new hair-straightener-from-the August-birthday was surprisingly easy to use.

Best of all, the best friend is in the the class and the boy-we-hate-the-most (he's-just-a-huge-pain-in-the-neck) is not. Well done!

I had breakfast with two girlfriends to celebrate/mourn the first day of school (their kids are gone) and we had a lovely catch-up visit. I love going out for breakfast. Nothing fancy, just bacon and eggs. But I think it's one of my most favorite meals.

Went to the first "meeting" of the fall last night. They're starting up Alpha in the fall and asked me to be a small-group leader. I was very keen at first and now not so much. Over the summer I had forgotten about the "politics and red tape" of church. There are no meetings in the summer, just mass. Just God I should say... Anyway, I forgot how frustrated certain conversations leave me and I almost canned the whole thing. Then I decided to keep this commitment, not for what I could offer them, but for what the experience of service could do for me and the Lord, and vowed to think very carefully about future opportunities and to speak softly and slowly (low and slow) and not jump in. My first instinct is to say YES because everything sounds like such a good idea. I need to think first. That doesn't mean I'm less enthusiastic or keen, perhaps it's just a bit more, dare-I-say...mature...approach.

The weather has been fabulous. Sunny and clear and warm. The leaves are just starting to turn. Thank goodness they become so beautiful otherwise there would be nothing good about this change of season.

The bloggers have been very inspiring lately. Getting grips on homelife and all the different challenges. Scrapbooking is my big focus this fall. I have cleaned off and readied my "area" and I have also downloaded the pictures from the summer into various albums. Now I just need to sort and print and I'll be good to go. I'm feeling quite optimistic about the whole thing and I am actually looking forward to it and not dreading the chore/task.

Well, I'm off to my orthodics appointment. Yah - orthodics, not exactly good news for someone who loves shoes. At least I'm having coffee with a friend first.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Yard Work

I love yard work. The mowing, raking, pruning, etc. Now don't get me wrong. Yard work is definitely a "chore" in every sense of the word around here, but I love the way it makes me feel a team with my husband. I love it when we are working together in taking care of our family home, preparing it for the fall and winter months.

I will have a sore back and arms tomorrow, and my ankle and foot will hurt later on today. But my heart and mind are full and satisfied and now I will enjoy the goofing-off part of the afternoon so much more :)

Happy Labour Day Weekend. Hah - we laboured on labour day weekend - that's funny.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

All Signed Up

Since I'm still in denial that the summer is ending...I mean, it is August 32nd isn't it?...I am finding it hard to get know...for life.

But, I'm all signed up. I managed to register for daughter's swimming and synchronized swimming, religious education classes, piano lessons (she's skipping a grade level people!), bought all the necessary materials, informed other moms of times to look out for and already made plans for when she's back at school.

I even ordered glasses for myself so I would look smarter when I led my Alpha group - OK, they needed to be ordered anyway but good timing I thought.

I think I'm ready. Bring it on!


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

One Week Left

Well, we have one week left of summer vacation.

It's been quite a ride. Every summer seems to be great and I think they can't get any better...but they do.

A few days ago, we got home from visiting relatives in Cape Cod. Now, coming from Canada, Cape Cod seems so exotic...what with the Kennedy Compound and all. We had an awesome time and the Cape was nothing like I was expecting. First of all, it was much bigger than I thought. There were a lot more towns and commercialism than I thought. And there were many more people than I thought, loads in fact. We went to Chatham, Eastham, Provincetown and Sandwich. I loved it all. My husband has ancestors from the Mayflower and era, and we found two 1600s cemeteries with his relatives in them. The next day we went to Plymouth Rock, The Mayflower and Plymouth Plantation (where we found more "living" relatives). It was great. And we were visiting my real-life family in Mattepoisett, Mass. at their summer home which I had heard about for years, and now finally had a chance to visit. They have kayaks, a dingy and cruiser-type boat, so we had a lot of fun.

We hit Target in Bangor on the way home and found the greatest sales ever on kids' jeans, etc. - I can see why Target is so addictive. We also went to LL Bean and Harry & David's in Freeport.

We took my Mom with me as she always complains that she never gets to go anywhere. As we talked the 14 hours to Mass. I realized that she has been to lots of places - on this continent and others - and there is no need for me to feel sorry for her and that she just has a selective memory (or as I like to call it: Creative Memory Recall, CMR).

Now we have one week left. One week to squeeze out fun in the sun. At the same time I am trying to get ready for school and the fall routines without feeling like everything is over.

My husband is in his third and final week of vacation. I am so pleased for him, he seems to be having a great break from work. Time for family and time for on his own. Time to be productive around the house and time to goof off. We've even had dinner and pool time with a friend of mine and her husband. I have been loving that. My husband is a homebody and we don't do couple things too often. He goes back to work after Labour Day.

I am very grateful for this summer and the free time I have had. My health seems to be quite good - although I don't want to jinx it. I haven't gained the "Summer Seven" (the traditional summer weight gain). My husband and daughter have had a good time. My daughter turned 13 and I didn't have too bad of a meltdown :) She even saved up half the cost of an Ipod, which she REALLY wanted for her birthday, and we were very pleased with her efforts. She's such a good kid. I really have to relax and relinquish some control this fall. She's definitely earned it. How to stay close emotionally/spiritually and let go physically - that is the question.

I have decided to not shop this fall until Christmas - except for if I find a bathing suit on end-of-season sale and a pair of waistband-free jeans that I saw in the Land's End catalogue. Even books - that's what libraries are for, right?

I was asked again to be a Team Leader for the Alpha program this year and this time I said yes. I can't believe I did. Thank goodness my womens' morning group will be studying prayer this fall as I will need to be much more disciplined as I beg for help from our Lord :)

I am pledging to be a better housekeeper and cook this fall, to complete my scrapbooking projects, be more thrifty/frugal, and to keep the basement from looking like a bomb has set off. I think generally to make the most of my few years left at home as I am sure that as soon as Marly graduates from high school I will be expected to go back out to the real world. Sigh - I like it at home. It's more peaceful and safe-feeling and much less stressful - which is very good for my physical and mental and emotional health.

However, summer has been good to me and my family. And I am ready to embrace the fall with a smile and enthusiasm.

Peace out!


Sunday, August 05, 2007

I'm home...again.

It's August and I'm almost done. The frantic, on-the-go part of summer vacation. I think I have been gone on and off all of July - without husband for all of it and without child some of the time.

Marly's band camp, PEI with my mom, sister and all the kids, Freeport shopping with my sister, the 65th birthday weekend with my sister for my mom, surprise 40th birthday party for my best friend, and just being at my parent's house...not necessarily in that order. Made it to church twice and met the new priest AND I think I'm going to like him AND I think we will get along :) The Pastoral Associate/Assistant - the jury's still out on that.

Tomorrow I am hosting a small girls' get-together here with friends I haven't seen forever and although I am beat, I am really looking forward to it. Except the grocery shopping that needs to be done pronto!

And then I am home. Oh, there are dentist and doctor appts, and a couple more extended- family visits and hopefully a short, long-weekend-type family get-away, but I should be sleeping in my own bed on a full-time basis and seeing my husband and child quite regularly. And the eagerly awaited school supply shopping trip is in the very near future - school we can wait for, but new school supplies are exciting!

And of course, my girl's 13th birthday! Sigh - where did that come from???

Speaking of my husband, a big shout-out to my techno-geek. He has been on his own for most of the month and this past weekend has done all the parenting and also mowed the lawn and cleaned the house for my girlfriends. What a guy! I'm starting to feel quite guilty and a bit spoiled. I think he likes the quiet of being on his own for a bit, but I think he misses the chaos in life I tend to bring :)

I am looking forward to August being a bit slower, and more restful. I don't want summer to be over before I know it, so I'm glad of the time to enjoy it more peacefully.

I really am very fortunate. The summer is the time I can really visit with my sister and niece and nephew and really re-connect with them and my husband is so great in giving me the time to do that, even if it means leaving him on his own as I bounce around and drag my girl with me. We definitely make the most of summer vacation and I generally feel quite satisfied at the end of it, when we are staring school in the face, that we have embraced our summer months with all the vim and vigour I can muster.

Here's to one more month!!


Monday, July 23, 2007

Before I Wake

I am a voracious reader. It borderlines on obsessive and at times can be downright inconvenient. I'm the type of person who will put off practically anything to read a good book.

I grew up surrounded by books and people reading books - old, new, used, borrowed, from the library, school, Oprah's Book Club, it doesn't matter the source. My entire family reads and shares. My closest friends read and share.

I'm a very fast reader. I need at least 300-400 pages or I get frustrated because the story doesn't last long enough. I'm a very good reader, from a very early age. But I love books. I love paper. The feel of the pages, soft and cool, words ready to engage you and make you forget about everything else.

I'm pretty flexible about the topic. I just like a good read. I'm not that good with non-fiction. I lose patience and tend to skim or flip or use as a resource. I did read every word of Love and Respect and I'm proud of myself for that. I do like those detective-type stories and generational stories about families. I think Harry Potter is amazing. The mind of that woman, the imagination, the attention to detail, to carry us through and hold our attention, craving more for seven books...I was crushed for days when James Frey admitted to "not telling the truth" in A Million Little Pieces - I felt personally offended. I laughed my head off reading The Devil Wears Prada and wanted to move to Mitford when I read that series. I seem to get attached to the people in the books, they seem so real to me.

I'm not good at author's names which is a shame. I have loved so many of them but can't remember them to give them credit. I have loved Maeve Binchy and ALL of her books (I can't ready her short ones, they end too soon and that makes me sad). She leaves me wanting more of her characters. I am loving Jodi Picoult and her books. Such good stories. The Shell Seekers, whoever wrote that. The Glass Castle - true memoirs and an unbelieveable tale of growing up. I could go on forever.

Yesterday I finished Before I Wake by Robert J. Wiersema. What a book. You know when you cry at the end it is GOOD. The story about a toddler who is the victim of a hit and run, survives but is comatose. She seems to have healing powers for those around her. It is the story of her and her parents, those around her and the investigation into her gifts. I am so surprised it is written by a man. It just felt like the author was a woman. A Canadian author (yah), written up in the Globe and Mail on their Best Book List.

If you are ready to start a new book or are compiling a list of books to read, give this a try. Reading is so personal, but I liked this one enough to dare to recommend :)


Saturday, July 21, 2007

We're Back

Well, summer vacation has started with a bang!

My daughter and I have just returned home after being away for three weeks. We had visiting and surprise birthday-partying to do, she had a week of band camp (bass clarinet) and then we went to Prince Edward Island for four days with my mom, sister, niece and nephew.

We had so much fun on the island. Took the kids to see Anne of Green Gables (the musical), which is always heart-wrenching and awesome. Did the antique photo picture. Visited Avonlea Village (where "Anne grew up"), hit Cow's Ice-Cream four days straight and of course, went to a lobster supper and ate ourselves silly. PEI is such a treasure in our own back yard.

So now I'm up late reading the blogs because I'm so tired I can't sleep. Everyone seems to be having a nice summer so far. There are good vibes coming from the bloggysphere.

I'm off to Maine in four days for a quick shopping trip with my sister (she'll shop and I'll watch) with no kids or husbands. Just us. I don't think we've ever done that before. I'm sure we will be fine. We have quite a volatile history behind us but we have worked hard on "us" for several years, so I'm sure we'll have a ball. My nephew is going to the National Scouting Jamboree for a week back home in Quebec and will be gone for a total of two weeks. That will be hard for mother and son (age 12), so I hope our getaway will be a distraction for her since I know he'll be distracted with tents and hiking and the like.

Then the summer weeks should quiet down and not rush by so fast. Frank has his vacation the last three weeks of August, into Labour Day weekend. He never wants to do much, he just enjoys not going into work. The three of us may poke around somewhere for a few days, or maybe just day trips from home.

I've been missing my friends at home and I hope to catch up with them soon. I know one of my friends has been off work for a week after she was bitten by a dog! Can you imagine! Scary! That's a scoop I need to get.

My husband keeps wanted me to do Face-Book, but I think I'm going to remain loyal to bloggyville - any thoughts on Facebook?

The weather here has been pretty crappy - rainy and cloudy. I hope August brings more sunshine! El Nino is wreaking havoc on our summers although global-warming is great on our winters so I guess it's all a trade-off. Too wet to mow, so I'll take the breaks when given.


Monday, July 02, 2007


First of all - Happy 140th Canada Day, July 1, 2007

Just as a brief update to my Harsh Words post.

How interesting my response has been. I wrote about it and three people commented with very consistent thoughts and opinions. I also sent my post as an email to a friend that I often turn to for advice. She is a very thoughtful and prayerful person, so I tend to listen to her a lot. Her response was very much the same as the others.

I love consistency. Especially with regard to the Word of God and how to be a Christian. Sometimes (well, most times) I just want a straight answer. Depending on the people, if all arrows point in the same direction, than that usually means that's the way to go.

Generally, out of love, I have a duty to my friend to share my concerns. That the experiences of my past may help others as well as myself.

I think I knew this. But I think I needed a nudge.

Then GUESS WHAT happened? My friend started coming to these realizations on her own, out of the blue. I couldn't believe it. She was sharing and I was confirming, that yes, these were valid concerns worth exploring. Man! Not everything, but enough to get started. I'm hoping there will be more conversations this summer that I may be able to "point out or mention" and she won't shoot the messenger.

Guess God had His own agenda (imagine that) and although He and I were on the same wave-length, I needed to wait for His time-line :)


Saturday, June 30, 2007

It started out a good idea...

So for the last few days, Sarah over at In the Midst Of It has been posting about the everyday life and how happy and content it makes her. I love it when people are content. That's my number one personal goal for my own life. So I took that as a sign to do a quick re-evaluate about my own life. It came out pretty good. The summer weather has finally kicked in. My husband was doing some necessary yard work and it was breezy for him. My daughter has very happily and very successfully finished grade 7. My sister and family were home for most of the summer. My health lately has been good. I just had a doctor appt (** this will become a significant note to my day) and we were working on a plan. I got through my priest leaving and I am ready for the changes. All pretty good. So in the spirit of contentment and happiness and wanting to participate in my own life and in my married life, I decided to mow the lawn, so I could contribute to the home maintenance plan.

In the spring we bought a push-mower. Very environmental. I can't push the gas mower and our yard is very manageable so I wanted to try it for the summer. The thought being I would do the yard a few times and then Frank would give everything a good going over, then me, then him. You get the point. I must say I'm getting pretty good at it. I had a lot of new songs I just put on my Ipod, it was breezy and not too hot, so no problem. A good hour of exercise.

When I was done, I was sitting on the front step with my water and started looking at the neighbor's yard. They have been gone all week and I don't know when they will be back. They are very nice - they have a snow blower and sometimes do our driveway for us. So I thought, wouldn't it be nice for them to come home to a mowed lawn. We saw the movie "Evan Almighty" which I loved and one of the themes was doing random acts of kindness. So, I thought. I can do it. I can work this machine. I'm not too tired, etc, etc. Frank was still busy painting the oil tank and it was turning out to be a much bigger job than expected, so he wasn't going to be free anytime soon, so why not.

Off I go. Let me tell you, their grass is MUCH LONGER and MUCH THICKER than ours. Remember that I have a small push mower. And their yard is BIGGER, although it didn't look that way at the time. But I can do this, right? It's a random act of kindness. OH MY WORD! It was awful!! I didn't think I would make it - SERIOUSLY! I stopped twice to go over to Frank to beg that he finish the lawn, but everytime I went over he was way too involved with his project that I couldn't even ask. So I would rest and then try and start again. I almost passed out twice. I kept praying on and on for help. I couldn't leave the lawn not completely finished. Two people were out doing their yards and I wanted to ask them for help, but I just couldn't. On and on I tried to mow. And I got about 90% finished. The I couldn't take it anymore. Another guy across the street was mowing. He had a small yard and was almost done. I didn't know him, but at that point, I didn't care. Maybe God kept trying to send me help, these other mowers and I was trying to do it all myself. So when he was done, I sucked up and swallowed my pride and foolishness and I went over and explained to him I was trying to mow my neighbor's yard as a surprise but it was just too much for my push mower and would he please finish the small part left. It was hot by now and he was sweaty himself. He said, no problem. He knew who I was and that he would take care of it. I was SO grateful. Lickity-split for him with the gas mower. Although I was a bit panicked that my neighbor would pick that minute to return and wonder why a stranger was mowing his lawn. Finally it was done.

Random act of kindness taken care of - end of story...right? Wrong.

I went inside and directly got in the shower. I was feeling so funny. When I asked the man to mow the lawn, my throat was feeling like it was closing over and my chest hurt and I was having trouble breathing and talking. I thought I just needed some water and a cool shower. Did that, although I had a terrible time washing my hair because I could hardly lift my arms up. I thought it was just the mowing that were making my arms weak. I got out and was feeling SO WEIRD.

I took my blood pressure. Remember that doctor's appt - well, I have high blood pressure and I recently went on fluid pills to try and help the blood pressure meds. At my appt on Wed she upped the dosage of the fluid pills. She told me to that I would have to have my electrolytes checked in a few weeks to make sure everything was in line. My blood pressure was SO LOW. I couldn't believe it. But my ears weren't ringing, so I went to the computer (wouldn't you?) to try and find symptoms and treatment of low blood pressure. I couldn't even read. Frank came in as I was trying to make it to the couch. I laid down and we took my pressure over a short period of time. It went down. So he went on the computer and did some checking, including my new fluid pills. Guess what - fluid pills, unusually heavy exercise (3 hours of hard mowing in the sun) and dehydration cause very low blood pressure. SIGH! So I have spent the afternoon on the couch watching Seinfield re-runs and drinking Gatorade and slowly the pressure is coming up. I think I'm OK. I'll keep checking and drinking and hopefully avoid emerg. tonight.

The worst part is that I won't make it to church tonight to help welcome the new priest. I really wanted to be there because so many people are making this change difficult and I really wanted to help with the welcome. I don't want him to think I'm one of the negative cranky-pants people.

Moral of the story - don't usually over-exercise, in the sun with no water with a new dose of fluid pill. The jury is still out on random acts of kindness :) (Just teasing).


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Harsh Words

Harsh words spoken in love are still harsh words.

What kind of duty or responsibility does a friend have toward another?

I have been best friends with A. for over 25 years. We have had amazing times and gone through difficult ones. We have become a part of each others family, and extended family. Our history together has become inter-twined with our own individual histories. We are each others sister, supporter, cheering section, Barnabus and each others "person" (ref: Gray's Anatomy).

So when your best friend is going through the (probably) most difficult time in her life, I know that I must love, not judge and support unconditionally, but do I mention the "other point of view" and bring up things that may not want to be looked at.

My friend wants to leave her husband. Her marriage is not what she wants for a marriage. They have a son. She will probably leave him too. The marriage is not abusive or horrible, it's just not what she wants. She feels the husband is not trying how she wants him to try. He is not being married "her way" and she doesn't accept "his efforts". Somehow she doesn't see them as valid. She has stopped trying, on purpose. She is waiting "for the right time". I think she is planning her "exit strategy".

Divorce doesn't get rid of the problems. It just trades in the old ones for new ones. They will be forever connected as parents of their son. The husband will not be out of her life. He will still have a presence, especially if the son lives with him.

They say in today's society we have unrealistic expectations of love and marriage and family and how to be with and treat each other. That through movies, books and movies, etc. we see only romance and flowers and if that isn't there or has gone missing, it is time to move on. That no one portrays the sacramental marriage. But if you ask any couple married over 50 years what the secret is, they always say things like "tolerance" and "patience" - never gooey love references.

My friend is a self-confessed control freak. The men in her life respond in one of two ways. They pay lip-service to her control and lie and cheat and she is unhappy. Or, they give in to her control and let her do it her way, because she insists on it, and she is unhappy. This is a pattern of many years. It will only change if she changes. She is the constant variable. She doesn't want to change.

If she is not going to change, why wreck the boy's life? Not that divorce automatically wrecks a child's life. It's just that for a successful divorce, you need two flexible, non control-freak people to co-parent and in this situation, that is doubtful. If the only thing that changes are the players in the game, but the game itself is the same, is the change worth it?

So, do I say that? Is it part of my responsibility as a good friend, wanting the best for her and her son, to mention this as food for thought? Or do I say nothing and keep my opinions to myself? Will she say years later, that I should have said something? Even though we are friends, is it really any of my business?

Is saying something being judgmental? Must support be silent?

How can I be friends with a mother who leaves her child? How can I love her and not judge that? I don't know if I have the ability to separate that.

I, more than anyone, know that marriage is hard. That divorce is hard. That starting over is hard, because of all the baggage that never leaves your side. I know this. Do I have a duty to share this information or do I just let her figure it out for herself? Would my choices have been different if someone had really told me? Would I have listened?

I feel like I am swimming around and against a whirlpool.

What should I do?

I pray about it all the time...

Love On Another...

Do Unto Others...

Harsh words spoken in love are still harsh words.


June 17, 2007, 2nd reading

Reading II
Gal 2:16, 19-21

Brothers and sisters:
We who know that a person is not justified by works of the law
but through faith in Jesus Christ,
even we have believed in Christ Jesus
that we may be justified by faith in Christ
and not by works of the law,
because by works of the law no one will be justified.
For through the law I died to the law,
that I might live for God.
I have been crucified with Christ;
yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me;
insofar as I now live in the flesh,
I live by faith in the Son of God
who has loved me and given himself up for me.
I do not nullify the grace of God;
for if justification comes through the law,
then Christ died for nothing.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

This Sunday's mass, 2nd reading

Romans 5: 1 - 5
1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Another Paula Deen Convert

So, in my efforts to embrace all things southern, I bought a copy of Paula Deen's Quick and Easy Meals magazine and I have poured through it over and over (as has my daughter).

And last night I made my first recipe, a chicken and pasta dish. I think it goes without saying that it was delicious but HOLY SMOKES PAULA DEENERS, ARE YOUR ARTERIES STILL OPEN???

Now I realize that the southern diet is quite different from my northern one...but I'm only in Canada and on the East Coast - that just means more seafood. I have never cooked a recipe that has lots of butter, bacon and heavy cream in it all at the same time. I mean who fries their bacon in butter? And the heavy cream that I could find wasn't as heavy as what she was calling for. Even my husband, who was drooling, wondered what that was and how much was I going to put in.

Since I could hear my arteries clogging over, I had to make a few alterations to the recipe. I just couldn't not. Or else I thought I'd have a heart attack right at the table. Even with my changes, the meal was SOOOOO good and very impressive and easy. I even thought I could make it for company it was so good (and I'm quite shy about entertaining) but since my Red Cross First Aid has expired I wondered if I should dare :).

However, awesome leftovers for lunch. There are many more recipes I'm going to try and I just have to make sure I schedule in a walk after supper.

She's my new hero!


Sunday, May 27, 2007


Do you ever think about heaven?

I was thinking about it the other night.

I had always imagined Heaven as a glorious, English garden on a spectacularly sunny, summer day and everyone is wearing white, like in the 1920s. Everyone is there and there is music and in the centre of the garden is Jesus and God on park benches patiently answering all our questions. Sort of like an outdoor garden party/picnic and I'm on the blanket at the foot of God, finally starting to figure it all out.

Then I started thinking about when people die and we say they are in heaven looking down on us. But if I was in heaven looking down on the people I left behind, wouldn't I feel sad because I knew all the answers and they would still be struggling and that would be hard for me to watch? So I would be sad. But you can't be sad because it's heaven.

Then I thought of how it was just God in heaven alone before anything. Before the universe was created, the planets and stars and eventually earth and the Seven Days. Now I think God was alone in heaven because there wasn't anyone else to be there and when there were people, they couldn't go because Jesus hadn't died yet.

But, it was still heaven.

God is in heaven. God is of heaven. God is heaven.

Being with God is heaven. That's it. That's all.

I may still be able to see everyone at the garden party and I may be able to look down on those still living, but I guess those things are only perks.

Some kind of super-natural, connecting at a higher level, non-earthly existence.

I was just thinking about it.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Finally, the heat has arrived!

Finally some heat!! Some real, honest-to-goodness heat. I'm mean hot. Yes Sir, it was hot today in my backyard.

We had about 8 days of cool, rainy, drizzly, cloudy, enough-already weather. On the upside, the grass sure is green!

But today. Positively hot and sweaty. And of course this afternoon is the time I decided to try out the new lawnmower for the first time. My face got so red it looked like my head was going to pop off my neck.

I went to a Magnificat Breakfast this morning. It was my first time. These breakfasts are held twice a year with the theme being a special devotion to Mary, the mother of our Lord.

Very interesting. As much as I love and honour Mary, I'm not one who has a special connection to her. That's fine. I'd heard about the breakfasts for a long time and I really wanted to "go and see". At these things I have to make myself not get so over-sensitive over the little things. You know, when someone says something that rubs you the wrong way (mostly because of where you are in your own life). I tend to "show them" and shut down and not listen when I get annoyed or frustrated, but I soldiered on and it really was a lovely morning. We sang, prayed and a lady witnessed to us with her conversion story. It is so interesting and inspiring hearing the journeys of others.

One lady there had 10 kids and 30 grandkids, and expecting the 31st in the fall. And that mom-to-be was there and that 31st grandbaby was going to be that mom's seventh child. HOLY SMOKE! And she looked like she was 15. Honestly, tiny and very happy with her basketball bump in her tummy. Amazing!

Well, I'm off to a movie in air-conditioning comfort. With a friend who's highly stressed because she thinks she wants to leave her husband :( I hope the movie's good.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Those Southern United States

Being from the north and all (Canada), I have always been fascinated by those southern United States.

I have been to Florida twice and the airport in Georgia (on the way to Florida), but since both vacations centered around Disney World and all forms of Mickey Mouse, I feel I haven't really been "to the south".

I love Steel Magnolias - I have seen the movie over and over and actually just bought the DVD. I loved Designing Women! I wanted to BE a Shugarbaker (sp?). I used think Savannah was my dream vacation location. But now my itinerary has grown and grown.

And the food - all things I know NOTHING about: collard greens, catfish, grits (I mean really, what is a grit and you eat it??). Mint Julips, magnolia trees, sweet tea - WHAT IS SWEET TEA!

The accent - the drawl, how I love it.

And BooMama. I need to go to the place where the things she writes about are true. The comments people make are amazing and I need to be there for myself, to see it and taste it and live it.

Now I know there is no place like home. And I'm a Maritimer through and through. But before I die, I need to get to those southern United States!

Y'all :)


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Busy Doing Nothing

You know when you have those weeks when you've been busy, but when someone asks you what you've been doing, you say "nothin'". It's been like that around here.

The main culprit seems to be the viral lung infection my daughter is living with.

She has this cough. You know, the "hack-up-a-lung, the make-yourself-vomit-in-school cough". Very uncool for the seventh grade :( So, she had it for seven days. And let me say, never in her entire life, has she ever had a real cough.

So finally after a week I thought I should take her to the doc for the "check-up", assuming it was the never-ending cold going around school since grade primary and all would be well.

Wrong. First she was wheezing so hard the doc couldn't even listen to her lungs. So they put her on a mask for 10 minutes and re-checked. Then they sent us to emergency to get a chest x-ray because they suspected pneumonia (which I have since learned my daughter has been exposed to) or whooping cough (with out local outbreak of the mumps, immunizations are in question). In the end, no sign of pneumonia so far and seems to be a viral lung infection (no antibiotics) that will have to work itself out. We have now joined the ranks of thousands and had to get the "puffer". She has a follow-up appt in two weeks and hopefully all will be well. So she is sleeping MUCH better and her head, chest and throat are MUCH less sore.

So that's what I've been doing.

And, oh yeah, 2 weeks ago she went on her 4-day class class trip and we totally re-did her bedroom as a surprise. Very purple!

And then yesterday, we learned that out priest has been assigned a new parish and will be leaving the end of June. Even though we knew it was coming, it is VERY SAD. So I made an appt with him today and we just chatted like old times for about 45 minutes. Now I feel like I've had my time with him and it will help me not feel so bad (I hope) when he leaves. I told him I was going to write him a letter to "say good-bye" because if I did it in person, it wouldn't be fun for anyone - what with all the sobbing and clinging and what-have-you. We know who the new priest will be. He seems nice. I even went to him for confession at Easter and he was great. Very helpful and personable, so I have high hopes - although the negativity is already out there from people who "know him from before..." Why can't people be positive and assume the best until proved wrong?

Oh, and did I mention that it was Mother's Day, the day we spent in emergency. It was a beautiful day though - I could see it from the hospital window :)

Life marching on...


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Random Seven Meme

I've been tagged Bev to do a Random 7 meme...hmmm, 7 random facts/habits:

1. I still check on my daughter every night before I go to bed - to make sure she's still breathing :). And yes, she will be 13 this August. But I'm sure if I went to bed without checking, I'd get up, so I may as well do it anyway.

2. I think I'm really addicted to sugar. I came by it honestly, but it's reached a whole new level - complete with withdrawal symptoms when I try to cut back. And I like the cheap, little-kids penny candy and only milk chocolate, none of that dark stuff.

3. I am honestly surprised how much I am still growing (and although "wider" counts, I was thinking more along the lines of "maturing"). I really thought that by 40 I'd have it all figured out and I'd would just "live-out" the rest of my years. However, now that I've made this discovery, the pressure is off to know what I am doing and I feel a great sense of freedom.

4. I am a LONG TERM PLANNER. My family long-term plans and I had a job for 7 years that was planning 3-24 months in advance at all times. So I have to work really hard to live in the present and enjoy it without knowing what's going on in the next few months.

5. Surprising to all, especially me, I'm becoming a decent cook. I have a love/hate relationship with food (I have IBS and Celiac Disease) and I can't smell, which affects the whole tasting/aroma thing. But thanks to bloggers and the inter-web I must say sometimes I even surprise myself :)

6. I am a speed-reading readaholic. It's my favorite thing ever. Books need to be at least 300 - 400 pages or they probably won't get read. I need at least 2-3 waiting at all times or I get antsy. I mostly read fiction, it's my escape. If I could be anything when I grow up, it would be a best-selling author. Some people are amazing story-tellers!

7. I love to sleep in - I mean seriously sleep-in. When I was a teenager my goal was to sleep in longer than my Dad (he only had one day a week to sleep-in). So I can stay in my bed, dozing off and on, sleeping or just lying there for hours. But I don't get to do that too often. And I am always amazed at how much can get done when you get up early on the weekends - not enough to get me up, but enough to keep me occasionally amazed :)

I'll tag seven people who's blogs I read: Sarah at In The Midst Of It, Carolyn at A Prairie View, Everyday Mommy, Rocking Chairs and Rainbows, A Chelsea Morning, Rocks in my Dryer and Welcome to Granny's House.


PS Don't forgot to keep praying for Heather and Kelli

Thursday, May 03, 2007

For Heather


Dear Heavenly Father,

Today we lift up your daughter Heather to you. Keep her safe and not afraid. Comfort her family as they wait. Guide the doctors and nurses. Have all the machinery working properly. Let there be a feeling of recovery and optimism surrounding her. She has taught us to praise You through all, to see everything as Your gift and to not be frightened as You are always with us.

Give peace especially to her children. They are young. They want her and need her. Send them others to comfort and reassure them until their mother and father and grandparents return to them.

We give thanks always for You, our creator, the one who loves us more than we can comprehend.

Dearest Heather. I pray that You do not leave her side, not even for a second.

In Jesus name I pray,


ps: Kelli - I couldn't commit to a time, I knew I'd be praying all day long :)

Monday, April 30, 2007


Kelli will be having a prayer chain for Heather's upcoming surgery and recovery.

Heather's story is remarkable. Faced with so many challenges, she remains steadfast and firm in her faith, despite her fears and vunerability.

I follow Heather's story very closely. I don't know her personally and she lives a country away but her situation is very similar to one I have just gone through.

I had a friend Melissa. She had three children like Heather. Two girls and a boy, like Heather. Her youngest has autism, like Heather's. She was diagnosed with in-operable, terminal brain cancer, like Heather.

Melissa lived years past her diagnosis and was an inspiration to many. She didn't start her journey with a faith like Heather's, but was very open to and grateful for prayer and God, and in the end, regularly met with a minister.

She spent her last year in the hospital and the nurses and everyone loved her. She stayed positive to the end.

Last week I attended her funeral. It was very sad. But she left such a legacy. I could see it on the faces of people.

These things happen. I am coming to terms with that. As I follow Heather's story I remember Melissa's. Heather helps me remember Melissa's spirit and positivity and fight and resoluteness - to the end.

Melissa always said that she was glad it was happening to her - she didn't want it to happen to any of her family and friends. It was like she took on that burden for us. I could never understand that - how could she be so strong and willing and accepting? So selfless?

I think about Heather and her family and friends a lot. I pray that through their suffering, they are united with Christ and receive God's graces in such a special way.

Please take part in the prayer chain for Heather.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Peace and Contentment

This past weekend I attended the 1st Annual Catholic Womens' Weekend of Grace (Atlantic provinces).

It was amazing. 300 women in one or two rooms. We had an awesome keynote speaker who spoke four times and other ladies sharing as well, there was Praise and Worship, Adoration, Mass, Healing/Reconciliation, the Rosary, Gifts of the Spirit Discernment workshop, and just time - time together, time with the Lord, just time to stop and be.

As I write this I realize that I will never really be able to articulately capture what happened on paper since it is a jumble of feelings and experiences and sentences will be thoroughly lacking.

It was a first in our area. A scary, unpredictable first. The response was inspiring. All these Catholic women praising, and singing and sharing and loving (even some speaking in tongues - no small event in a traditional Catholic setting), young to old, each in a different spot in their journeys. No men can make a difference and I mean that in the most respectful and loving way. The priests were their for mass and reconciliation but they were well aware they were on "our" turf.

My sister came. She hasn't been in a church environment for four years and has a couple of difficult years ahead of her and she needed "her tank filled". She's not Catholic. So it wasn't "the same" for her and intense for me (trying to answer all the "whys" and "how comes"). However the speakers were marvelous as well as the gifts workshop, so she got filled. How could you not with the Holy Spirit everywhere? I know now that I was distracted by my sister, more than I thought I would be, so worried about how she would take everything. I wasn't looking for acceptance, just no judgement. That ended up so-so. But I was there with very good friends and loved the speakers and I just loved being a part of it. Lessons learned. A couple of "A HA" moments.

Women "know", you know. Women have been through it. Whatever "it" may be, someone can relate. Christian women are in a league all their own. I love that.

We are daughters of God. He is the King and we are His princesses. We are so special to him as women and he loves that we are women. He wants us to be women. He made us different from men on purpose, for His purpose(s). Very freeing.

The speaker spoke a lot about obedience. To be obedient. To not justify or figure out or plan or organize. To do. We are not responsible for the results - that is God's job. We are obey Him and what He wants of us. He will take care of the rest. How freeing.

That He is to be our first thought, first priority. If we do that, the rest will fall into place. How freeing.

Like Heather - she is keeping Him and His will so uppermost in her mind and heart, and she is rolling along, having options revealed, support provided and being comforted and strengthened in her journey. She is not stopping. She is moving forward, following Him, even in all this stress.

My friend Ann was just here, sharing what she got out of the weekend. Lives will be changed. Thought processes, priorities, personal goals will be shifted.

"Wherever two or more are gathered in my name..."

A privilege for me. A lesson, a time of hope and renewal, peace.

How I long for peace and contentment. It doesn't seem like such a foreign concept anymore. The actuality of peace and contentment is becoming less fuzzy and less vague. Seemingly more attainable. Not a day-dream or fantasy. But a reality that I could concieveably live in.

Now that's a nice thought.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Dear Heavenly Father

Dear Heavenly Father, My King, the Creator of all,

Thank you.

Thank you for Heather, BooMama and all the internets who have come together to forge a Christian sisterhood. A network of women to care for each other, pray for each other and support each other. For providing opportunities to unite our suffering with Yours. To help us help carry the burdens of others. To provide ministering to those in need. A chance to see the face of Jesus Christ in one of our own, right next to us or over the bloggy airwaves.

Thank you for the sun shining bright in the sky, warming the air in my face. I have longed for springtime all week. It has been long, cold, windy, rainy wait. But as usual, in your time and your wisdom, you have brought out the sun the day my sister is coming and that will make her happy.

Thank you that my sister is coming for the Weekend of Grace retreat. Thank you for telling Doug, her husband, that she needed to come and making it possible. Please bless her with graces and mercies and focus. I worried she may become distracted in a room full of (awesome) Catholic women. Please don't let the Catholicism overshadow the Christianity and the opportunity to spend some real, uninterrupted quality time with you. Please put women in her path who will encourage her, befriend her and love her.

Please be with our husbands and children as they survive the weekend without us. I ask for patience and enthusiasm for the husbands and cooperation and patience for the children. Bless their time together to know they are a family on their own.

Be with my Marly. It was a hard night last night.

Be with Virginia Tech. Please bless them with your peace. I am worried about the soul of that young man. His eternity may be a very long time.

Please bless all the internets. These amazing women and families who are living the lives you gave them. With their own struggles, victories, choices to make. How I long to touch all of them. To see their faces. They are all now a part of my personal framework and terms of reference. You have taught me so much through them. Most of all, that the world is a small place. That "geography" is just a word. That we can have relationships with people far away. That we can love them as you love us. That we can spread your love and your word. That we can witness, minister, support and laugh with people we may never meet. And it's just like they are in our own backyards.

Please keep everyone that I know and love, safe and sound. And grant them Your peace.

I love you.

In Jesus name I pray,


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Good News

Good news is getting two bills in the mail, checking on them on the computer and finding out you've already paid them.

That's Good News :)


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

So I Think I May Quit

So, I've been thinking about leaving bloggetyville. No great loss since the blog is only for me.

I don't like feeling helpless. In my own life I often feel helpless. Like there is nothing I can do. Friends and family are in trouble, in need of help. Lives are out of control. Life can be hard. It's hard watching those you love having a hard time. Watching the local news is hard. I decided long ago to be informed but not inundated with world events. I watch the evening news and listen to the radio in the car but I do not read the paper and we do not have the 24 hours news channels. I find I get very caught up in the whole thing. We were in Maine when Hurricane Katrina arrived and I became obsessed with Anderson Cooper.

It's very stressful. And my IBS does not like stress.

Then Heather announced her diagnosis. I couldn't believe it. Why her? Worse, I already have a friend here at home diagnosed with brain cancer who has 2 girls and a boy and the youngest child is autistic. I could not believe it was happening again.

And Sarah with Addison.

And so on.

It's so hard.

I can't escape my own life but the people in bloggetyville I have consciously invited into my life and I have learned from them and laughed with them...I never thought I'd get attached and cry for them at night.

It was supposed to be a fun hobby.

Then Virginia Tech.

I can cry at the drop of a hat. I rant in my kitchen "Where is the gun control?" "What about that boy's soul?"


Then I read the posts of Heather and Sarah and I feel bad and stupid because I am so inspired by what they write and how they live. Their perseverance and senses of humor and life lessons and faith lessons.

If they can get through these struggles (and the struggles are happening to them afterall), who am I to get so depressed and down and frustrated? It is their lives that are affected. I don't even know them. It's almost insulting for me to take it personally and, at the very least, it isn't helpful or useful at all. It is so lame of me that I learn from them. Don't they have enough to do without ministering to me as well? How selfish can I be?

So I pray and wish and hope and pray and donate and wish and hope and pray.

That's all I can do :(


Loving On Heather

Today is the day to love on Heather and her family. Click on the button to read her story.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Ukrainian Easter Eggs

I love a good craft. Especially one that comes together relatively quickly and looks amazing even when it's quite easy. Ta da...the Ukrainian Easter Egg!

Years ago I went to a little easter egg workshop with my sister and mother - and my egg's design was freehand and that of a child's freehand - if you get my meaning. Then a couple of years ago I tried again with some friends and I did a more complicated design but only managed one half of the egg - the front half (how convenient for displaying purposes). My Mom has both of the eggs in her Easter egg collection.

Since last summer, I have become quite good friends with a lady from my neighborhood and church. I love a new friend, all those fresh ideas, opinions, opportunities, etc. I love discovering new people and who they are.

Well, it turns out that my friend is an "egg-cellent" Ukrainian Easter egg crafter. And, the best part, she invited me over, updated my skills and I have made two eggs.

You know what it's like to go camping with an experienced and serious camper - they have ALL THE STUFF. Well she has all the stuff. All the dyes, patterns, hints, everything.

We had a great time, "cracking up" and laughing and crafting. I love these eggs - even if they are basic or have mistakes in them, they always look impressive. Even my daughter wanted to know "where I BOUGHT the egg"!

And we have decided to keep working on them after Easter and make Christmas tree ornament eggs. The patterns are intricate and have special meanings - Christian-based and nature-based.

You can make one in a couple of hours and you feel so accomplished :)

Now that I'm starting my own egg collection, the Easter Bunny will have to stick with chocolate eggs - it's a "win-win" situation.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Confession is good for my soul

As a child, and all through my growing up years in my home church (United Baptist), forgiveness was a big deal. As it should be. To talk directly to God, confess my sins to him, and be forgiven (and of course to pledge to try very hard not to do it again). Imagine. What a gift we have been given. I had no problem with asking for forgiveness. I have no problem saying I'm sorry. I don't mind facing myself and all my flaws. To ask for another chance. To try again to be the person that Christ would have me be. To live a life that would glorify God. I know that I am a sinner. I am grateful for any hope He might have for me.

When I was in my early 20s, I moved to Toronto (our nation's biggest city) to get a job. I was there for two years. For the second year there I lived with my boyfriend. I felt really bad about that. That wasn't the way it was supposed to be. He came to visit from NS and was supposed to get a job and find his own place. I didn't want to live with him. Anyway, the visit lasted for a year and we became an old married couple before our time. When we moved back, I told him to get his own place, I was moving in with a girlfriend - but I digress. I did a lot of traveling with my job and went through many towns, large and small. As I was working in one town I was compelled to go to the Catholic Church to confess my living arrangement. So I just walked in and spoke to the priest. He didn't seem to have a problem with hearing the confession of a Baptist girl, so I stayed and confessed and he understood and absolved. Of course, asking for forgiveness always makes me feel better.

I stayed five years too long in my first marriage, mostly because of the vows I made before God. I didn't want to break my promise to Him. I didn't want to be a failure. I didn't think He would ever forgive me.

I did divorce and years later, three days before my second marriage (I couldn't even get married in a church, we got married at the Law Courts) I had crisis of conscious. Although I had asked for forgiveness many times for the end of my first marriage, I just felt that it didn't "take". I called a minister from my home town. This lady was the mother of a childhood friend who had always given me sound, spiritual advice. I went to see her when my first marriage was failing. She is a gentle, soft-spoken lady who I can listen to. She became a minister. So I called her out of the blue, late at night, three days before my second marriage and talked and talked. She told me that I was forgiven, but sometimes, as humans, we need to hear it being said, out loud. So she told me that God forgave me.

When I became a Catholic in 2000, I embraced going to confession. I know there is great controversy over general absolution vs private confession. That there are scores of bad priests who have scarred generations of kids. That how could saying the Our Father ten times be penance? Confession has a troubled past, I get that. But none of it applies to me. I like to go. I believe that God is reaching me through that priest. And when that priest sees me outside of the Confessional, he is not seeing my sins AKA dirty laundry so I'm not worried about that. I like going and I want my daughter to not mind it so she will continue.

Last night, was the Reconciliation Service before Easter. We went. And I am going to tell you about it.

Had the service, stood in line and waited my turn.

This is a priest I don't know. I have seen him in meetings. He's the only priest I have ever heard curse and he calls our priest "Jimmy" (we call him Father Jim). So I'm waiting and wondering...and preparing what I'm going to say of course.

My turn.

The coolest thing ever about confession is I hardly ever end up talking about what I had planned to talk about - talk about God's plan.

Last week I was at church five nights in a row. Sat was mass, Sun/Mon/Tues was the Lenten Mission and Wed was a study on the catechism. The following weekend Marly had a cold and the weather was sunny and I just didn't want to go to mass. I didn't want to, that's my reason. I have lots of excuses of why that was OK, but I didn't want to so I didn't. And I felt bad about it until I confessed it.

The priest was really good. He talked about why he goes to mass. What he gets out of it. How he needs to go, not that God needs him to go. That he needs the eucharist (communion). That God wants us to be there, not out of blind obedience but because there are graces received through the eucharist that we cannot receive if we don't partake. And that I would miss something if I wasn't there. Something that God may have wanted to give me, but couldn't because I wasn't there, in His house, with His people. Then he talked about how God knows all this. That we aren't going to always go. God exposes our frailty, to help us grow. I said I can't hear Him. I listen and listen but I'm not hearing Him. He said sometimes you have to stop listening so hard and just BE. BE in the presence of God.

I cried...I always cry at confession. It's like God seeing me naked and we both know "this is it, this is all I have to show for myself". But relief follows. And new resolve. So that's good. It's especially good because my tears upset my daughter a little and I don't want her to worry about me. The mother crying in church. Just tears mind you, not sobbing or anything like that.

So for penance. The next morning when everyone was gone, I was to say my morning prayers, ask God to help me see when and where He is revealing Himself to me and then stop talking and just BE in the presence of God for ten minutes. What a great and merciful God. That he will forgive my sins and my penance for sinning against Him is to be in His presence for ten minutes.

It was hard. I get very distracted. It's like praying. I'm not a very good disciplined prayer. My mind wanders. I figure I'm going to have to try it many times today.

It's like at Weight Watchers when you re-learn what it's like to be hungry. We are hardly ever hungry so sometimes it is hard to remember what it feels like, what it sounds like, what the circumstances are, etc.

I need to re-learn (or maybe just learn AGAIN) what it feels like to be in the presence of God, what it sounds like, what the circumstances are, where do I find Him, what are the activities, who are the people, etc.

I spend a HUGE amount of time studying God, being with my Christian community, doing, doing, doing. Learning over and over because the lessons seem to come so slowly, piece by piece. An enormous jigsaw puzzle that I'm OK knowing I will never finish it.

I think that for the rest of Lent I will just try to BE with God. I know He is revealing Himself to me, maybe I will learn how to see and hear what he is trying to tell me.