Saturday, December 29, 2007

Chapters gift card - half used

I love the store "Chapters".
I think its my favourite.
Nothing but books and mostly book-related items.
I especially love making the trip when its on someone else's dime!
Gift cards are fine things.
I think i scoured the entire store tonight -- and found all of my purchases in the bargain sections. Nice!

Two gorgeous 200-photo albums - 75% off $3.25 each!
The Complete Poems of John Keats $6.29
Selected Works of Virginia Woolf $11.69 *8 of her most famous*

I'm always looking at the cookbooks and I have my favourite chefs.
I have a pretty complete library at home, there's not much more i feel i must put my hands on.
There was one though. . . Ina Garten "Family Style". . . some gorgeous recipes in that one.
I had it in my cart with the intention of asking the clerk whether indeed it was still $50!! *The American price was $35!!!!! and our dollars are pretty much on par with each other. . . so this is definitely NOT fair. *
I asked her and she tried to smoke me with : "Well, ma'am all our hardcovers are 30% off." p.s. i hate the term 'ma'am'. . . its musty and old.
I said back: "30% off the American price or 30% off the Cdn price?"
At this point she was honest and said it was off the exorbitant Cdn price.
I told her i had lost my desire to buy it.
"I know its not your fault, said i, but that's crappy."
She just glumly nodded, as did the clerk next to her.

Other than that bit of silliness harshing my Chapters mellow mood. . i was very happy when i left with half of my gift card value remaining for a future visit and my trusty "Irewards" 10% off membership card back in its holster, i mean wallet slot.
Using that card on already discounted stuff feels GREAT!

I don't know which book i'll start with first. . though maybe i should finish off one of the books i have here - still have in various states of 'almost finished'.
I suppose i should complete my Garcia-Marquez (100 years of Solitude) first.
KK will soon want to 'borrow/keep' it when she finishes her "Love in the Time of Cholera".
"100 years" is infinitely marvellous, so i don't know why its taking me so long to read it?
I can't believe that man's way with words, his imagination isn't like a typical adult's.
If i could possess just a fraction of his magic, i'd be happy.
Although if he had made a Robert Johnson 'crossroads at midnight' deal for his talent. . i take back what i said!! eek!
I didn't pick up anything of his (G-M's) tonight. . . my brain wasn't in gear.
But now I know what i'll get with the remainder of my card!
Forget the over-priced American cookbooks. . . there are tastier offerings.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

can i stand?

in my post-"Christmas" whatever that 'thing' is that we all do. . was that Christmas?
in my unwinding, my grief, my gladness, my feeling of emptiness that comes when i lose focus on the one my heart loves and so easily forgets, i asked Rob to get his guitar out.
He obliged. . and he played and we sang.
In the course of our singing we came across this one again.
I remained quiet and listened as Rob played and sang it. I love the tune he gave these words - so beautiful. I wish you could hear it.
And it hit me all over again. . . its not about me, not about my feelings, not about my anything.

I remember writing the words. . . almost 8 years ago. I remember how i felt then --upset by circumstances, sitting down by the shore of Lake Erie, writing, working through my feelings. This is what came out. I felt my focus shift from me to God. . and that was a good, necessary shift then and again tonight. . .sorely needed.

can i stand in the light that exposes my sin?
can my tainted soul take your glory in?
can i understand how you made it all right?
can i thank you enough?

can my childish self know the cost of my gain?
can this selfish child feel the depth of your pain?
can i grasp how you suffered, so i could go free
can i thank you enough?

can i thank you enough
can i thank you enough
can i grasp how you suffered so i could go free?
can i thank you enough?

can i really believe that you love who i am?
can i see that my name is engraved on your hand?
can my soul really fathom the depth of your love?
can i thank you enough?

can i thank you enough
can i thank you enough, Jesus
can my soul really fathom the depth of your love?
can i thank you enough?

k&r aug 2000

Friday, December 21, 2007

my heart

". . . my heart was broken. my heart was broken. . sorrow, sorrow, sorrow, sorrow. .."

Saturday, December 08, 2007

thinking about the need

lately i have been very emotional, thinking about the reason we need Christmas.
i'm glad to be feeling, because i was starting to worry about grinchiness. This year i'm a complete flop at getting ready for "Christmas" the way it is gotten ready for in North America.
I am so loathe to be at rat in the race this year. . . i've made some reluctant forays into the retail maze. . . blech. . i don't even like the 'cheese' at the end, it stinks.

Yes, the world's a mess, we all know it and Christmas has this way of sensitizing people to need, which seems extremely appropriate, given that dire need is exactly what Christmas is about.
but its not even about taking such a large view to highlight the problem and need for a lasting solution, the need is seen within

in me, it shows up every day.
i can't be good
i can't stay good
i try, i can't sustain
its not in me
i have lots of illusions of goodness in what i do and say and think. . .
but what's that taintedness at the bottom?

me, me, me, me. . . how is this affecting me? how do i feel ? what's in it for me? how can i be happy? what about me?

Of course this is paring it down to the core, but isn't that the only thing to do when trying to get to the truth?

i'm not saying i'm a spoiled brat 24/7, but i often am on the inside, in my heart, in my thinking. i feel very J&Hyde most days. If i was to remove all the social filtering i've learned through the decades, i doubt that anyone would want to have anything to do with my black-hearted self. I'm not saying all this to seem particularly insightful or bracingly candid. i'm just saying it like it is.

the true me is not a good me. this world is populated with billions of "me's" and there is not a single good one. all dark of heart. . with variations of shading . . but dark, without exception. every 'me' hides, every 'me' is selfish, every 'me' is identically damaged, every 'me' is in dire need of resuscitation.

when i was 30 i got to my breaking point. i realized finally that i hadn't learned from what i'd experienced. I couldn't make sense of a lot of it.
i felt bleak inside.
i gave myself over to this 'why bother' attitude.
why bother trying? why not just be . . . . only human, independent, proud, blatant, nasty as i wanna be - when i wanna be, angry without temperance, faithless, cynical, jaded
"Christmas" felt as hollow as a glass ornament and so did i.

now in my mid 40s and several Christmases later, i have been allowed a decade and a half of some more things i'm positive you wouldn't want to experience. i sure didn't want to. It wasn't all angst and gloom, there were amazing things as well in this time - but it seems to have been in the shadows that i've experienced the most change and growth, as painful as it might have been . Joy and rain, sunshine and pain.

i've learned some things that radically changed my heart.
i 've learned that sometimes what seems the worst can actually turn out to be for the best.
i 've learned to be grateful, i'm still learning this way of living.
i've learned to live from all parts of myself - body, mind, spirit and i've still got a long way to go with this, but i'm practicing.
i've learned to exercise -- even haltingly and losing ground sometimes - faith. .
elusive, mysterious, even for some, mockable faith.
not faith in myself because i am by nature faithless,
not in other humans, because they're in the same boat with the faithless nature thing,
but in Him. . in the one full of faith -- Christ, the one who saw our need and came down here with a heart for meeting it. I really believe that this is how it was and is and this is what really happened.
I have to tell you. . .
He is the reason i no longer feel hollow
He is the light in my eyes and in my smile
He is the one who sparks my heart to care
He is the one who 'speaks' into my spirit and brings it increasingly to life
He is the one who gives me the ability to be good, though that ability is all his and never has originated within myself
He is the one who sees my 'rotten core' and doesn't pull away in disgust. .
no one else has such love capacity
no one else has such love purity. . there's not even a sliver of darkness, not a pinpoint
How can i not respond to love like this? sometimes i get so emotional thinking about the only love in my life that has the power to redeem my darkness and i can never, with my words, thank him enough, but i use words and i thank him with my life.
He isn't 'seeable' to my eyes, but He is felt by me and while for the longest time i ignored his love, i always knew it was there, even as i piled offensive things up and up on top of it,
his stubborn love was not smothered by my attempts to bury it.
until the day i stopped piling. . . i can't forget this day, soaked in despair, crisis was a normal state. . and i remember lying on the bed, crying. .busy with the crying and the feelings of why i was crying and being wrapped up in my weeping. . which of course ran its course and after a while settled and i became quiet. Then came the moment when i 'heard' these words deep within myself, in the silence . . . . ..............."i love you, Kathy"

they weren't my own words in my mind, because i did feel like saying such a thing to myself. They were unmistakable. My heart knew it was him. I was 'resuscitated' by four beautiful words. I was still in the crisis, but i was remarkably changed right there in the mess of it. . i no longer felt alone, i never was, but now i didn't feel that way and i was different after that.
I looked the same in the mirror, but i was not me any more. . i was me plus him forever.
Not 'stereotypically Christian' if that phrase brings overtly fanatic or negative thoughts to mind.
The degree to which the difference is obvious is the degree to which i surrender my heart daily.
I have to tell you its not easy. Surrender is not easy. Some days you might see me and dare me to prove there even is a difference. . and those would always be the days i'm unsurrendered and i can feel the difference.
But easy isn't promised.
I have to tell you i make mistakes.
But i am completely encircled by Christmas every day of my life,
not baby in a manger, that was only the wrapping of the gift, which opened into life for the spiritually dead, which means the whole lot of us.
I am encircled by light, when i was dark
I am encircled by good, when i was bad
I gave up my illusions of independence to be dependent on him for life with meaning.
What a gift. .
i'm so emotional.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

i love mincemeat

yeah, i love mincemeat
all by itself,
no pastry
a little bit heated in a bowl
little scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt
spicy and jammy. . with that clean vanilla flavour mellowing in

i love fruitcake with marzipan
same flavour hits with this treat
dark, rich cake with delicious dried fruit
almond flowery-tasting marzipan bringing that
clovey cake into perfect balance.
i could write a whole post about marzipan. . its that wonderful
the combination of these two elements, .... magic

I love the traditional, steamed Christmas pudding with real whipping cream
mmm. . mmmmmm -- moist, studded with fruit and nuts and permeated by those full, earthy spices - cloves, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
i love to make these glorious things, but they're a bit labour intensive
so i've given up
i'm sad that its come to this.
they remind me of my Nana, who made fantastic ones -- in fact, she made fantastic everything (except perhaps gravy)

This declaration of my admiration for fine, beautiful and fruity flavours is brought to you by me, food enthusiast and connoisseur of the three most generally unpopular Christmas time flavours. So, here's to marzipan fruit cake, Christmas pudding and mincemeat! hip hip, hooray!! 'Hip hip' all right if i don't watch my portions!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

so bad, what's my problem?

i have found myself unable to write anything lately.
i'm in a kind of apathetic fog
i don't blog about current events because i don't keep current with the events.
are there events beyond MSN's home page coverage of Brangelina and Britney and the dollar levels?
my newspapers pile up, waiting for me to read them.
my household paper work does the same.
am i living out of country?
nah. . just a procrastinator.
work has me in a spin these days.
of course its busy in there
i know everyone's in that boat -- *the 'busy' boat* (i'm starting to hate the word 'busy' - and i've been entertaining the notion of striking it from my vocab and subbing something less annoying. . . like 'active' or 'industrious')
i wish i could jump ship and go over to the 'lazy' boat
work =
actual job stuff and lots of it
chocolate breaks *groups of women at work? say no more.*
come home with Rob
vent all the way home to each other (we work in the same place - different departments)
figure out what to make for supper
make supper
clean up
flop in the chair
think about working out, but don't cuz i'm too tired
doze off. .
think about all the Christmas shopping i must do. . .
and don't do it cuz i don't feel like it
get up
do laundry
retrieve phone messages
retrieve emails
catch up on both
get mail and papers from outside - add them to growing piles inside
read (not the stuff in the piles)
watch a show/movie
wonder how our girls are doing
wonder how the grandkids are doing
wonder how my Scrabulous games are doing on FB
play a turn or two. . .
make lunches for next day
choose outfit for next day
put out breakfast
put out toiletries to make it faster in the a.m.
fall into bed
up at 6:45
let dog out
check her food/water dishes
feel guilty for leaving her home alone all day
get ready
drive in to work
repeat daily drill until its the weekend
then a brief crash before 'the cram' (trying to do everything you want to do all week in the span of 48 hours)

i'm such a whiner
my apologies. . .
this is the 'empty nester' life/workstyle - younger moms have all the 'active' stuff with their young kids to deal with.
garsh. . . i'm already getting in practice for my 'grumpy old woman' years,
complaining about everything

it is hard though to go from working at home *which i've done for years* to working in the office.
working at home means rolling out of bed 10 minutes before you start your shift
putting on yoga pants and sweater, slippers
go downstairs - get cereal
splash face with water
no make up
no doing of the hair
go to computer
no drama
no stuff
no chocolate breaks
no conversations
no lunchtime banter with the girls.

you know what?
the daily routine ain't so bad
i'll shut up now.
i took out some butter earlier
maybe i'll get a start on my Christmas baking?
yes, i know lots of people think baked goods are 'no nos'
but i like 'no nos', anything i shouldn't have or do. . i'm gonna!!
anything i should ?. . you guessed it. . . can't help myself.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

i'm not ready for all this

it started right after Halloween.
the 'lite rock' station was on in the office *shudder*. . that's a whole other blog topic.
i'm not a fan of any radio station - whose play lists daily expose me to gems like: "Shake Your Booty", "Rhythm of My Heart" and "Live Like You Were Dying". . geez, i can't bear the cheese.
After every couple of insipid songs, they began airing these 'holiday' commercials.
I felt so unprepared to hear these things.
Rapid-fire voiceovers superimposed on jingle bellish, string-heavy muzak tracks
I thought i might hurl.
I mentioned to this to one of my co workers, who seemed unfazed.
Maybe she was better able to tune it all out?
The more hours went by listening to all that crap,
the more angry i became.
Angry with the propagandish pressure on us to buy things.
Angry with society's interpretation of 'holiday'
Angry with the misdirection of it all.

I can't even pick up the newspapers lately. . they weigh half a ton - full of
gift-buying guides
wish books
countdown to savings
Christmas countdown
holiday baking editions
holiday magic
festive recipes
holiday home improvement guide

I don't really like being guided in this way.
I don't think its the right way.
I feel under so much pressure.
Pressure to choose and shop and spend and clean and bake and organize and cook and wrap and decorate and look great at all the soirees -- then there's the small matter of working full time and cramming all that extra stuff in there somewhere.
Is it just women who feel like this?

I've pretty much stopped with the Christmas cards.
They were just one more thing - sending cards to people i see all the time. .
I'm trying to keep myself together mentally
and spiritually.
Not easy at holiday time,
which i find pretty ironic

Holiday: O.E. halingdoeg -- 'holy day'
holy: of God, his works, dwelling place, attributes, etc.
living a life of spiritual purity, dedicated, set apart for sacred use O.E. halig

I don't want to seem grinchy
I love Christmas trees
I love candles
I love music
I love the traditional meal, cookies, mincemeat, egg nog
I even love fruitcake (which is a brave confession, i know)
I love feasting with people i love
I love giving to help others
I love to celebrate
I love the way people 'feel the Christmas spirit' -- beautiful
I love the love story of Christ - the Messiah, the Redeemer
I need redemption, i need love

I guess i just worry that we've lost our collective way
I worry that we've lost the essence of holy days
I worry that we buckle under the intense pressure of the 'holiday culture' -- 'Ho, ho, ho!', Frosty and Rudolph and "Buy yourself a merry little Christmas". .
keeping it lite and avoiding the light
drinking, feasting, jockeying for parking spots at the mall
drowning in a sea of desperately-seeking shoppers
feeling tinsel covered yet empty
donating a little something to assuage our feelings of guilt with this overboard overabundance
eating shortbread while wondering if we're still sane
wondering if this is how it will always feel
wondering how to feel

All the streets are filled with laughter and light and the music of the season
and the merchant's windows are all bright with the faces of the children
and the families hurrying to their homes as the sky darkens and freezes
they'll be gathering around their hearths and tales, giving thanks for all God's graces
and the birth of the rebel Jesus

Well they call him by the Prince of Peace and they call him by the Saviour
and they pray to him upon the seas and in every bold endeavour
as they fill his churches with their pride and gold and their faith in him increases
but they've turned the nature that i worship in from a temple to a robber's den,

in the words of the rebel Jesus

well we guard our world with locks and guns and we guard our fine possessions
and once a year when Christmas comes, we give to our relations
and perhaps we give a little to the poor if the generosity should seize us
but if any one of us should interefere in the business of why they're poor
they get the same as the rebel Jesus

So please forgive me if i seem to take the tone of judgement
for i've no wish to come between this day and your enjoyment
in this life of hardship and of earthly toil we have need for anything that frees us
so i bid you pleasure and i bid your cheer from a heathen and a pagan
on the side of the rebel Jesus

Jackson Browne

Sunday, November 04, 2007

leaving things

Today i was cooking and thinking, to music.
I was making a meal for my family --
every meal leaves a memory
such a simple thing,
a small way to show love.

I started to think about so many people i know, i've known.
I was thinking about what they've left.
I don't really mean physical departure leaving, though some have physically departed in a locational way and some in an eternal way.
I'm thinking along emotional, soul lines you know?
the things people leave every day.

i know people who travel the world.
They leave home to do more leaving,
leaving music in the air of countless gyms, halls, arenas and venues around the globe.
leaving well-spoken words of encouragement, challenge.
leaving behind smiles and photographs, autographs

i know people who don't go anywhere.
they stay but they leave --

some people leave big things. . things that people who don't even know them would know about.
sure, lots of people have left big things -big things can be good or bad.
most of us don't leave 'big', but even the small can take on big proportions.

i know someone who paid tribute to his departed wife by describing all that she left.
not 'things', not big. .
moments --
he loved her for them all.
i loved her too.
she left me memories,
good ones

i know people who brought so much with them and left even more
when they departed. . changed lives, thoughts, perspectives
Things left will always remain. .
this can be really good.

i knew people i thought would never die.
my child's mind could not accept this kind of leaving.
by the time they did, they had left so much
i feel like i am 'me' because of the accumulation of all the
things they might not have thought much about.
things i might not have really appreciated at the time -but do now.

i want to be more intentional about what i leave.
yes, i'm ashamed of all the bad stuff i've left. .
angry words
bad responses
knee-jerk reactions
selfish choices
things i can't change
*only human? yes.
still, there's a higher calling.*

i can't leave what isn't fit to leave
no matter if someone else did.
i can't allow this to colour what i leave.
its hard to break cycles like this,
but not impossible.

i want to live my days being conscious of what i leave for others
i can't leave what i don't have.
love is the only thing that makes everything all right.
its not often easy to receive,
or give. . .
but its the only thing worth leaving.

in your love, my salvation lies in your love
my salvation lies in your love . . - Alexi Murdoch "Orange Sky"

Lets stop just saying we love each other, lets really show it by our actions- its by our actions that we know we are living in the Truth. portions of 1 John 3: 18 - 19

Sunday, October 21, 2007


i'm sensing the presence of the sacred now in my mind, my heart.
i'm thinking about what sacred means, feels like, looks like.

i just watched a beautiful reminding video of the very sacredness i too often skirt around, inch back from -- maybe because its so intense i don't know if i can handle its unsettling purity? i need reminders, i'm so forgetful and blithe.

i'm so profane.

i don't choose to be that way. its just programmed - i'm fallen and i can't get up.
really though this kind of falling isn't a joke.
i know, i always know - i live with the intimate knowledge of what it is to be fallen. . selfish, bad.
I despise this core nature of mine.

I find it so easy to dip my toe in the pool of God's mercy, walk around the periphery of his grace, afraid, afraid to commit to the plunge. . for that would demand my surrender, giving up the damaging ways i've grown accustomed to, the world's bent is my bent. . humanity's crookedness is my own. I don't need to stay there. . in fact i should not.

my feelings seem to govern me. one moment i feel a wellspring of love within, love for God, love for people. . .

the next i feel removed from this love, deaf to its voice, somehow beyond its reach, yet i'm not really.

my spirit gasps, i fade and faint
so i live in the shallows of myself, afraid of the depth of the sacred, of him.

feeling too shabby for his perfection.

when will i understand his heart? why do i try to humanize him? he's beyond parameters, he bursts them wide open.
i'm learning how to live with him.
relationships are never easy.

some might think that i'm not in my right mind with this talk of God, of sacred. .

some might think i'm weak, in need of a crutch, an opiate, a 'false' system of belief to prop up or medicate myself. .
I know this isn't the case. I can't tell you how i know.

How i can believe in someone invisible, mysterious?
I'm no flake.
I'm not deluded.

I just do.
I have felt within myself the sacred imprint of his spirit on mine.

I have 'heard' within my heart, his voice.
I have felt the power of all that he is, restoring my spirit's wounds.
I am flawed.
I am unworthy, but his willing-to-die love gives me worth, though this does baffle me and does make me feel unable to thank him properly.
tends to make me want to avert my eyes.
too bright, this light.
Still i am drawn by and to this love which is beyond my capacity to understand.
I am drawn.

I have felt and i do feel what it is to be in the presence of someone from whom nothing about me is hidden or covered up. .

from whom i can lay down the burden of the risk of such transparency and not count it as risk, with no guarding --knowing i am safe from rejection and disdain.

How can such absolute acceptance not attract me?
but why do i still shrink back?
i don't understand myself.

I cling to this faith i have and i don't want to let go.

Dawkins would scoff and bandy points, pierce my 'ignorance' expose my irrationality to the world. Hitchens would have a similar field day with my 'pathetic' state.
sacred? what does that even mean if i won't risk knowing what it means?
if i don't feel it, don't see it.
I can't measure it.
There are no pie charts.
No proof.

I do feel it.
I risk it, this intangible, beautiful force hooks my heart and pulls me in.
In to the mystery of the sacred.
In to the love unique. In to life.
In to relationship.
In to the sacred, to stay. . . . . .

to live

Thursday, October 18, 2007

brain-off, men v. women

i've always been fascinated by the brain.
i wanted to be a neurosurgeon waaaay back in the day. . . . it wasn't meant to be, though my interest has never waned.
Several years back, Rob and i watched a docu on the human brain. I watched with rapt attention, Rob's eyes often struggled to remain open and he occasionally dozed off. *he does that during documentaries - i guess cuz there aren't any car chases or commercials?* (don't tell him i told you!)

During this documentary they showed thermal imaging scans of two brains. 1 female, 1 male.
The female brain at rest was lit up twice as much as the man's active brain!!! WOOT! I love that moment in medical documentary history. I'll remember it always. Its like a mental trophy i like to take off the shelf, with which to periodically tease Rob *whisper voice - i don't think he likes it!*

Anyway, here are some brainy facts: --taken from "The Female Brain - How It Really Works" in November 07 issue of Canadian Living (abridgements and paraphrasings, my own) This is kind of unusual for me to blog like this. .i'm usually on about my feelings and i don't usually go 'factoid' on you. . but you have to change it up sometimes, eh?!

*the hippocampus (hub of emotion and memory formation) is larger in the female brain. The brain circuitry for language and observing emotions is more highly developed in females.

According to a 2004 Cdn study, a 3 month-old girl 's ability to read facial expressions jumps 400% above that of a boy's. . thanks to the amygdala, hippocampus and insula - which rule memory and gut feelings. Men are guided by testosterone which means they can instantly read anger, threat or extremes like crying, but are less capable of interpreting subtleties.

*females have 11% more neurons governing language and hearing than men do.

*the brain is divided into 2 hemispheres. Males use specialized regions in one side or the other to complete tasks sequentially. Females use both hemispheres equally to complete multiple jobs simulatneously. Females have an 8-lane super highway for processing emotion, males have a small country road. Males have an "O'Hare Intnl Airport" as a hub for processing their thoughts about sex. Women have a small airfield nearby that lands small and private planes.

*intelligence remains the same between the sexes, however there are gender-related variations.

*females possess a great number of 'mirror' neurons, which have been linked to the female's ability to empathize strongly. A British study had researchers adminstering weak & strong electric shocks to female subjects, using MRI to measure the brain's response to pain. Later their male partners received the same treatment. The women were told how strong the men's shocks were. MRI results showed the women's reactions to this knowledge of their partner's pain as strong as if the pain was their own. (i think that's almost mystical if you ask me. .)

*female "talk fests" *men say 'gossiping', women call it 'connecting'* release dopamine (the feel good hormone) and oxytocin (the 'bonding' hormone). A 20-second hug floods the female brain with oxytocin. Oxytocin is released in males through affection and tenderness, but the male brain is more apt to link this to sex.

*the amygdala and hypothalmus in the female brain are 50% smaller than the male brain. (these portions of the brain govern sexual pursuit)

*spatial awareness - testosterone is linked to increased spatial ability - directional tasks , map reading. Female brains navigate using landmarks, women have better visual memory and verbal skills and fine motor coordination.

*aggression - threatening situations ? men react with aggression because their hormones take a short, direct pathway through the brain. Women respond with fear and feelings about protection

*stress - men's heart rate and blood pressure skyrocket, with a strong fight or flight response. women feel the same stresses with the exception of the high-hormone phase of their cycle.. . in stress, women 'tend and befriend'. . become protective or talk through issues with their friends, which releases oxytocin and lowers blood pressure and stress hormone levels - making them less susceptible to hypertension and cardiac disease.

I find these clinical facts interesting but i do think that lists of such things can seem a bit arid. When i'm not annoyed by the differences between me and my husband, i can try to bust my thoughts out of stereotype and appreciate what i don't understand. I think men will always think that women are "a riddle, wrapped in mystery, inside an enigma' and women will always think that men are from Mars. Can't see this changing. No matter how many studies the ubiquitous 'they' do, no matter how many self'-help books promise to guide us through the intricacies of the each other's beings, i think we'll always be on this parallel, yet entwined journey together. . never quite understanding but always intersecting in love, respect and even awe.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

life without stories?

who would we be without stories?
has there ever been a time without them?
in the beginning. . .
once upon a time. . . .

act one
scene one
page one
chapter one

someone's always telling a story.
someone's always listening.

and nothing is new under the sun --


time is a portal
step through, drop in, go back, advance
you will find yourself no matter where you stop
written. . nothing changes
we don't change.
all this telling does not diminish our
infinite appetite for more
new ones are always joining
they need to hear
they need to tell

'the end' is a ruse
there is none.
if the story ends,
we do.

Monday, October 08, 2007


pumpkins in the patch are so cute, i can't describe how happy i feel when i see them lying there in the earth, like they're napping. . adorable. I know this isn't quite 'normal'. . . but what constitutes 'normality' anyway? Nor can i resist gushing over cattle. I love to watch them. They seem so calm. * i don't eat beef, so i really do love them just for the way they look* Their big eyes. In the green fields, chewing slowly, so serene. I like that about them.

i made 2 pumpkin pies today. also roasted some squash with maple syrup and a bit of butter and s&p. . lots of beta carotene - yum.

feeling very thanksgivingy and fallish, despite my puzzlement with this strangely hot weather. I prefer my falls crisp and cool, thanx very much. . i want to wear corduroy. I want to bundle up. I want to walk and have rosy cheeks, see my breath turn to little clouds. I want to smell bonfires.

It is nice though not to turn on the furnace!

These days are fine and golden. So many reasons to have a full heart.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

don't phunk with my heart

we listened to "Elephunk" on the way home tonight. We dropped KK off back in the Hammer and we listened to all the tracks on this B.E.P. CD that the ride home allowed. Hours later, now as i comb my hair and my thoughts settle,* maybe i'm combing them out? *
i think of this plea: "Oh no, no, no, don't phunk with my heart."

isn't this what everyone wants to say to everyone else? really. . .

don't hurt me
handle with care
love me

Sunday, September 16, 2007

a distressing invitation. . .

the envelope arrived in the mail on Friday past. . .

GO GIRL - the magazine for women over 40!

It was addressed to ME!
Oh yes. . . i am now being included in the silver-haired demographic and i'm indignant (not to mention hypocritical as i keep covering my ever whitening hair).

The jazzy picture on the flyer showed a fitness-clothed woman with her mouth opened wide in a triumphant shout of "YES! I'M AGING AND I'M ECSTATIC, _________!" (expletive thoughtfully deleted)

I waved the offensive thing in front of Rob, "How can I be getting stuff like this?! I can't believe it!! Why do they call it 'Go Girl?' Why did i get this??!!!" The Master of Understatement said: "Because you're over 40."

pffffftttt. . . . (balloon deflating noise)

yeah. . i've got nothin' - he's absolutely right. I am. But that's not old. 45 is the new 35! *sigh* nothing is the new anything. . . its 21st century age-phobic propaganda. . so why am i wanting to buy into it?!

Today as i sat in the parking lot, waiting for Robbie to come out with our 'we're too lazy to cook' take-out meal, i caught myself watching elderly customers walking to and from their vehicles. They didn't look like the "Go Girl" magazine woman. That didn't make me feel so great. Why is this starting to bother me??? Maybe its my arthritis? Maybe its my grandmotherly status? maybe its because i feel like i'm turning into a "Grandpa Simpson" shaking my fist and yelling out "Shut up!" when loud vehicles pass my house? I felt odd as i contemplated my over reaction to a simple bulk mailing. But it all hit again when i got back home and picked up the local "Activities Guide" and noticed spanish classes. . sounded great, i might take them! I looked up the venue, it was one of the local seniors' centres!!!

it gets worse. . .

for ages 50 and up.
I thought to myself: "In 5 years i'll be able to join !!!!!!!!"

ay carumba!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

church - life without it?

what do i really want to say about this? about church?
how can i say anything without it coming out wrong?
can i say anything without the fear of being misunderstood, judged?
can i say anything without further turning people off who are already feeling that way?
that's not my intention. .
so respectfully i simply say that i'm confused and lost.
i can't seem to find my way.
i can say i am afraid to 'sign up' with any church.
i am afraid to trust.
once i had passion for the potential of a true church,
the love of God shared between everyone. . covering over all the imperfections and radiating and attracting people who were lonely, hungry for more that all the 'isms' life could offer.
but i didn't find this.
or maybe i wasn't living this myself?
too harsh on others?
not giving God the key to my heart, but locking it up on my own. .
shooting from the lip after taking the hits. . .
was i able to forgive where forgiveness was not offered?
that's hard. no i haven't let myself.

i bristle when i even think of routines, rituals, tradition for traditions' sake, 'packaging', regulations - the kinds of things people seem to want to impose on other people.
i was born into 'church' and i have left 'church'.
i'm furious with church but i'm empty for church
i want church , i don't want it
i've looked at church from both sides now. . .i really don't like church at all.
*liberties with Joni Mitchell lyric noted*

am i saying i don't like God?
am i saying i don't like other people?
am i saying i don't like myself?

well. . .
maybe this is it?

what gives me this jaundiced view of church?



now what?
and so what?
suck it up, buttercup. . get over yourself .. DO something

can i wear his grace like a garment and know the love of Christ as my foundation?
i want to.
its so simple and so difficult
i don't shun God, but i shun an institution, that whether i like it or not, represents him on this earth?
isn't that the same thing?
But the institution isn't doing a very good job!
But how can i say this if i'm not doing any better?
I am confused and lost.

help me

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

the other night

the last few days i've been having trouble with a disc in my lower back on top of the disc issues in my neck. . so yeah, fun. . i've been walking like Quasimodo. . (is that how you spell his name?) It makes me feel old and delicate - hate that.
I can't work out till it it settles down. . . :( waaaaah!
When i don't work out, i can't sleep well.
My mind - i can't seem to shut it off.
Why can men close their eyes and fall into sleep mode right away?
this may not be true of all men. . but i've only ever slept with one. . and he's got this light switch sleep pattern - eyes closed = sleeping in 30 seconds
hmmmpf! i'm madly jealous of his ability!

so the other night, i was lying in bed after taking some Robaxacet. . which is a bit too wussy for me, i think. . . just doesn't seem to do much. *note to self - don't take that stuff any more*
I lie on one side, my back hurts.
i gingerly move to the other side -- hurts.
i decide to lie flat on my back - not good. . ouch.
so i lie there distracted by pain, thoughts going all over the place, listening to Rob sleep. .
glad he wasn't snoring.
A motorcycle drove up the hill. . did it even HAVE a muffler? grrrrr!!!!
My street is NOT every idiot motorcycle owner's personal nocturnal drag strip!!!

I saw the red numbers on the clock radio. . . . 1:40. . . 2:40. . i did lose count eventually but not for long.
4:00 a.m. i'm awake. . . i hear voices -- loud ones.
grrrrrrr. . .
a man and a woman were arguing. I was trying to get a mental fix on where they were.
At first i thought of my neighbours across the street , whose oldest daughter often puts on 'shows' in the dead of night for our benefit. . . nah, it was farther away.
The more i woke up, the more alarmed i became.
I couldn't hear their words, but their rage was scaring me. He seemed to be the aggressor, she seemed to be on the defense.
I really expected to hear a gunshot - it was that heated.
i'm laying there thinking: "What should i do? call the cops? should i? wake up Rob?. . . i don't know which house."
i started to pray for them. . . i didn't know what else to do. I was hoping they would settle down.
Soon the gaps in between the yelling jags got bigger. . . big enough for me to get back to sleep.
6 a.m. . . i'm awake again. . the same woman's voice is now coming closer and closer.
I got out of bed and looked out the window - she was walking briskly down the street, past my house - talking on her cell, her voice high and shaky as she described her ordeal.
I was mad - why couldn't she keep her voice down? People are trying to sleep!
but i felt bad as i heard the emotion in her voice as she described being interrogated by her boyfriend. She was so loud, now Rob was awake, wondering what was all the racket? I told him but I don't even remember what more we said about it - maybe nothing - too sleepy. .

ah, you just don't know, do you? what are people going through? You might hear the odd battle, see one, but mostly we all stay sealed in our individual units. . keeping to ourselves until we become suddenly aware of the presence and plight of others.

Friday, August 03, 2007

thinking of struggle

i've been thinking lately about what struggle means in life. sometimes i write myself notes if i want to capture an idea to write about later. i've had the 'struggle note' on my bedside table for over a month now. I pick it up and look at it and put it down again. I haven't felt able to talk about it for some reason. I still don't, but i feel compelled.

About a week ago Rob and I gave our friend Moni a ride in to work. As she walked to the van, we noticed that she carried with her a couple of containers in which hung 3 Monarch butterflies in their chrysalis/cocoons (one was transparent - it was ready to emerge- the other 2 were turquoise jewels suspended from the top of their plastic container). As we drove, Moni explained that with it being so close to their time, she wanted to share them with everyone in the office. She talked of the process of raising these insects from pin-point eggs on the back of a milkweed leaf to greedy caterpillars to glorious winged creatures. I tell Monika that she missed her calling and that she really should be either a botanist or entomologist - or maybe both!! She knows just about every plant in existence and she knows everything about butterflies! After we parked the van, in the time it took the three of us to walk from the staff lot to the building and to our office, the butterfly was born!!! It happened so fast, Moni was the only witness. I had gone back to my desk when i heard her excited screams from the front of the office: "Everyone! the butterfly!!! COME ON!!!" We all came running to see this exquisite creature hanging there. He was all rumpled, like a shirt that had been left in the dryer overnight. . He remained upside down -- he would remain there for the whole day, stretching and fanning his stained glass wings. As i watched him, i remembered this story i had once read about someone who had felt bad for a butterfly struggling to free itself, so they 'helped' it along by ripping open its casing to make its entry 'painless' and easy. The poor thing didn't gain the wing strength that comes from the struggle of emerging and it soon died as a result. What a story. I don't usually retain many of the stories i read in great detail, but i've always remembered that one. Monika didn't know that this living object lesson of struggle and emergence (of which she personally knows PLENTY) would help to catalyze my resolve to write about it. I didn't want to tell her about my thoughts because i knew that she was lost in her own -- a couple of days after this gorgeous thing and its companions broke free, they were released to commemorate the 5-year mark of the sudden and heart-breaking departure from this earth of Moni and Henri's only child, Nicole. Their struggle has been incredible. Its ongoing and i know always will be. I'm amazed at the extraordinary strength and compassion i see in them. Struggle in the extreme. Pressure makes diamonds.

What in this world isn't borne of struggle? Who isn't? We ourselves struggle to push our way into world and we struggle against leaving it. . . and everything in between those two marking events is variations on that theme and the theme is so big to talk about. . . life's a big thing and its hard to take the weighty matters of living and reduce them into words.

I was sitting here last night with so many things percolating in my mind. It all seemed to settle into flashes, a movie montage in my brain, details, faces, names, circumstances. Very powerful moment. The more i thought of them - their battles and their trials as well as their joys and triumphs (and those were only the things i knew about) - the more i became filled with respect for them with all they'd been through and by how their life experiences had shaped and uniquely marked them. Some of you reading this went through my mind. Sometimes it all seems so brutal, pain, trouble, burden, anxiety, uncertainty . . .but from this kind of stress can come such strength. If life is nothing else, its a paradox. . and because i know God, i know first hand how he is able to work and move in paradox to redeem even oppressive and arduous things and have them turn to yield uncommon perseverence and character in those who will trust him with their lives. He is a mystery. We are. Life is. I like mystery, it gives me something to wonder about. It helps me to know that i can't always know.

I can think of so many strife analogies, but i do get tired of trying to work these sometimes clunky things. I get tired of similes and alliteration and all those devices. I want to go beyond those tricks. I want to be honest, so i'll bring it down to my own thoughts to avoid overgeneralizing or preaching.

Struggle has been a teacher in my life. Because i'm me, i have made a struggle of things which i never should have. I have spent all of my energy and lost any chance to gain endurance. When genuine struggle then came to me, i've unable to respond to it because i'd become all used up in false struggle. I haven't always gotten over the 'its not fair' syndrome. There have been things in my life, relationships, circumstances which have not been easy - they were difficult, up hill, hard things, still are. I have made the mistake of looking at others who had no such strife in these areas, in fact seemed to glide and float and the sun shone upon them and made them golden. .*or so i thought* i turned green. . my heart hardened, my spirit shriveled. I chose all wrong. . my focus was all wrong, my vision too. I compared what i should not have compared. I glanced sideways when i should have looked up. I had not learned. I kicked and raled against learning. I did not rise up above as struggle can help you to do, i sunk down below as misuse of struggle can make you do. Real issues of social justice, equality, righteousness seemed unreal to me. I couldn't seem to care about reality and i fixated on non issues. I'm still working on this. I am now so touched by others, but my actions don't always come forth as easily as my tears. My heart is changing and i am more motivated to struggle with purpose. I feel like i'm now light years from who i used to be. God is with me and always has been. I was just too often too selfish to know this. I have been learning from my mistakes. Struggle can refine or crush. I've had both happen to me so far. Struggle always costs. I don't want to go through anything difficult in vain. I don't want to resent the price of anything that can help me to learn. I've tended to try to protect myself from further damage. . i've tried to make things painless and easy with avoidance and denial. . i've shunned painful situations thinking i would gain strength and i have since learned those situations were serving to strengthen me and by removing myself i have removed my own ability to persevere. I have done to myself what that well-meaning person did to that butterfly.

yeah. . its like that. .

i'm sure i'll think much more about all of this. It still feels too large to tackle all in one go. oh, i want to keep learning. . i want to have perspective and maturity and all the things that only struggle can help me to see!! How can i appreciate the beauty of resting and peace if i have never been opposed? How will i be strong unless i have had resistance to increase my strength?

We are pressed down on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed but we don't give up and quit. We are hunted down but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

wingin' it. . .

i'm not really sure what will come to me as i sit here and type . . . dirty plates are all that remain of supper (i guess i should get washing). Its hot out there so i've been staying indoors. I'll have to make this quick - i need to get to the drug store to get my puffer before they close - hot and/or humid weather is not my friend (hard to breathe).

I'm hoping to do some reading tonight - Rob's working some o/t so that will be nice to actually sit and open a book.

My oldest daughter had an ultrasound today - they think the baby is a girl!!!! *but they have to do another one because the little monkey was moving around too much and they didn't get all the views that they needed* So, yay for the possibility of another granddaughter! Though i'd be just as thrilled either way - so i'll try not to think too much of 'girl' and stay open to hear the news at the next scan.

I'm happy that i'm able to exercise again, after a LONG time when even sitting upright caused pain. Actually i'm not merely happy about that. . i'm ecstatic. I do have to be really careful - but if that's price i pay to be able to move again, i'm careful with a capital C . Its not like i have a choice though. . hmmm. . . what do i choose? relapse back to the dark side of my pain or stay as far away from it as i possibly can?! Stay away!!!!! I'll do anything and everything in my power to avoid going to that place again. I can do my kickboxing again. . i can dance, i can work my muscles again!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Until you can't do something, you will never know how important it was to you.

I'm home, working again. I miss everyone at work. It was a great privilege to be part of their daily lives and i miss that. I miss saying good morning to the girls. I miss going to break with them. I miss laughing at their crazy jokes. I even miss getting dressed up - though i have to say that working barefoot in yoga pants and a t-shirt is pretty awesome!!!

i have to go. . . this was kinda lame, i do hope my thought drought ends soon. I cannot seem to feel any sort of inspiration -- these things happen, i know. . i do feel hopeful for the 'rain' . . .

Friday, July 27, 2007

i've been an unfaithful blogger, its true

Blogger. . i have left you for someone more exciting. . but i've felt bad about it and i'm really sorry. Please forgive me. Facebook dazzled and enticed me away with the free gifts, the graffiti wall, the gardens, the ease of use, the excitement, the drinks, the sheep being thrown -- i'm sorry but you'd be hard pressed to compete. Still, you wait faithfully for my return. I feel terrible. . . . . . NOT!!! Oh, i joke. . but i don't.

I haven't been inspired to write anything. I guess i have enough on my plate being back at work full time - its kinda sucked the creativity out of me. . maybe as I adjust i will feel more like saying something. I hope so. In the meantime, the flash and fun of Facebook has been a nice way to communicate with others. . . a lot more rewarding way, more immediate, more gratifying. It never feels like i'm alone on Facebook like i feel here on Blogger. When i write something in Facebook i feel like it might be and often is read. When i write anything here. . its like i'm sending all my words into a vacuum. Comments may appear, or not. . its frustrating and a little demoralizing.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

jiffy post. .

i don't think i've ever posted anything in 5 minutes? here goes. . .

my lawn looks like straw. its full of chipmunk holes. i have neglected my gardens, the perennials are doing their thing and i have planted no annuals. yes, i am ashamed.

I am working once more. i'm so glad to be back at it. . i feel like i have my life back. i'm a productive member of society again. i enjoy the interaction in the office, though its been a bit tough re-acclimating to the physical demands of work, of working out, of doing more in general. I wish someone would wave a magic wand over my spine and fix it all the way. i hate having this condition. . it sux. the simplest things are still challenging. I always have to be so careful about how i move, or how i position myself, how long i do something, i always have to think of ways to minimize aggravation, all my physio instructions, my occupational therapy instructions. . . I have to keep my posture and alignment just so, or i feel jabby reminders. i may be fooling myself in thinking i will be productive for another 20 years. But i can only live in the present and for the present i can do this. i don't want to get thrown into the 'unuseful pile'.

my granddaughter wants to be a princess till the day she dies. she loves my sparkly powder. she always wants to read stories. my grandson is still divergent in his interests, such a cool kid! his love for Elvis does not diminish. They both have cast their spell over me. . Nana is such a sucker for her grandchildren. LOVE THEM! In a blink i will have another grandchild to love. Already i love the idea of this little person. . and i can see the little 'bump' now!

i can't believe my daughters are adults -- both in their 20s. . . both such awesome women. Wow. . . . . . turn around and they're tiny. . . turn around and they're grown. . its not just a cliche, its truth. parenthood changes and the way you view yourself as a parent changes as your children grow.

we had an intense, little storm earlier this evening. storms are amazing. . . fascinating to watch. not so great to drive in!!!

i love spending time with my husband. . 30 years together, this month!!! can it really be that long????!!! how have 3 decades gone by already??!!!!! I'm so glad i went to camp that summer. To think, i had no intention of going!!!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

i like the night

the blackness is so calming. . well, in the city its more like the blue/black/light pollution haloness. Its never completely dark, but i love the night. I don't know if i'd love it so much if it was all i had to experience. . but then i wouldn't know anything else and couldn't make any contrasts. The sun is great for what it is and does. It gives energy, power, life -- but sometimes its just a bit too much for me. The sun fries my retinas if i try to look at it. It damages my skin, it makes me feel faint if i'm out in its full intensity. The sun is a friend who just comes on too strong.

Everyone acts different in the daytime. Its interesting. . . daytime = chaos, night time = relaxation. i love to drive at night, its just easier on the blood pressure. Night brings this melow vibe, whether you're cruisin' for ice cream, going out for a walk, swimming, roasting marshmallows. . .The street lights glow, the air smells fresh and damp. Sometimes you get those sultry nights where everything's so close and humid, clouds of insects around the lights, crickets squeaking, sticky air, hard to sleep. Don't like those so much, but there's also something kinda nice about them. Maybe its the sheer joy of bare feet and arms? I try not to complain about heat because its a welcome change from brrrrrrrr. . . winter. . . . . .

I don't get out enough at night. I don't sit out under the sky and feel the air on my skin. I resolve to change that. I do love to gaze at the moon for extended periods. I love to admire the stars. It feels energizing, at half speed. Daytime is energizing at warp speed -- waking, working, doing, going, Daytime feels frenetic and hyper. Nighttime feels tranquil and soothing. I've always preferred the night. Its the time i feel most like me. I need its quietness. The way it falls softly on everything, i can almost hear it. It has a lovely presence, so restorative. I have such a propensity to absorb energy into myself and feel the stresses that come with that; i absorb other people's energy and when it combines with my own, i can easily feel overloaded. Night time is the best time to sigh away the tension, think, relax, be still, unload, breathe -- ahhhhhhh.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

silver is not my favourite colour

I like to live with certain illusions, eating dessert often is okay, the clothes in the 'ironing pile' will be taken care of by the chore fairies, our debts will some day be gone, i still have shiny, dark hair. I'm firmly in touch with reality.

Yes, my hair is dark right now, but give it another month and you'd be pulling me aside and saying "Hey, Cruella, don't you think you should see someone about that white stripe?" *BIG SIGH* George Clooney and Richard Gere are very secure with becoming silver foxes. Oh, i wish i could share their bliss. Am i vain? I don't think so, i'm too insecure for that!!! Is this superficial? Of course it is and i chastise myself mentally for fixating on such a nothing deal, yet to me it has 'something' status. Since my greying journey began i've used different, desperate methods to deal with the issue. I've turned to purchasing 'youth assistance' from WalMart -- L'Oreal was good for a while, though i always felt like it looked one dimensional. I gave Garnier a whirl -- BIG mistake. . i purchased some mahoganyish shade -- ended up with purple hair. It was plain embarrassing. I felt like my head was a giant eggplant. It made my skin look sallow. Horrible. I eventually got tired of the self-help colourization and decided to leap into streaks, chunks and went a bit wild with them . . . . ash blonde, caramel, purple, blackish brown -- not all at the same time!!! Funny, i hated having the Garnier purple hair, but fast forward a few years and i'm paying someone to streak some of my hair what colour? Barney purple. Hypocrite! Really though, it was cool! Jenny is my pro and she does a great job of hiding my silver hair, though she actually thinks the silver is cool and that i should just let it shine. BAH!!! As if!!!! I really hate it. It makes me feel different about myself and its not a good different.

When i first started to go grey i was 20 years old. I have a sneaking suspicion that the area of my head in which i first started to have these horrible white strands was the actual area on which had dropped several large tins of frozen juice from my Nana's freezer, as i crawled under there when things were being loaded/unloaded? This was unfortunate and may account for not only prematurely white hair but perhaps for any sort of mental state i'd like to assign to the incident?! But where could i begin?! I used to pull the greys out. Kinda hurt!!! Eventually i had to stop . It reminded me of trying to deal with dandelions on my lawn. . losing battle.

I wasn't ready to resign. I'm still not. I more recently got rid of the streaky look and went with a nice, warm brown. Wow, what a difference!!! People asked me if i'd had a makeover?! I guess so!!! They said i looked 10 years younger (yeah, yeah, that's good. . .) My eyes looked different, they're actually almost greenish gold and i always thought they were just 'brown'. My skin looked different, better different. I didn't want this to change, i wanted to keep the illusion, but nothing ever stays the same and i happen to have very fast growing hair. . so now the silver is re-emerging in a 'halo' around my temples, at the crown. I read Proverbs 16:31 Grey hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life. and i think: 'Geez. . . i must be the most glorious chick around, cuz i'm so crowned!!!' Why do i fight this trivial thing? Shouldn't i be natural? go grey gracefully? embrace my Grandmotherhood (well i do, but i still can't bring myself to embrace the grey) What's my problem? Its good enough for George Glooney. . . but he's a guy! Guys. . this is one of those double standards; greying men look 'distinguished', greying women look 'old'!! I want to reject this and say "Poppycock!" or "Balderdash!" but you know what? its true. I have no grounds for dispute.

So, yeah, i'm developing a skunk stripe and its making me depressed. Time to call 1-800-Jenny!!! I have talks with myself that go like this: "When i'm in my 50s or 60s i'll be okay with it." Yeah, right!!!

Friday, June 15, 2007

whatever pops into my mind

Yesterday i saw pictures of my preborn grandchild! The resolution in ultrasonography has improved so much from the 80s, you just can't compare those greyish/white 'blobs' with today's intricate, any- 'joe'- can- see- the -details. Its amazing the way we can peek into the inner sanctum and see a forming life.

Work is going well, 2 hours shifts, who can complain about that??! I'm getting back into getting up early and being out the door with a purpose. It does wonders for the psyche. Its too easy to feel aimless when every day is wide open with no structure. . its hard to stay motivated. Physio is ongoing and my physical progress is astounding when i think of how it felt when i was deep in the pit and how liberated i now feel -- free of strong narcotics, free of near-total inability, free of mind-addling, spirit sapping pain. I sleep, i have begun to exercise, i feel like i'm able to pick up my life again and take it back. I have turned the corner! I am no longer despair's prisoner. I feel possibility and hope for full living.

My dog weighs 9 pounds, 2 ounces and has a clean bill of health. She had her hair cut and bath last night. She has yet, after all the groomings Rob has given her, learned to relax and let him get rid of that excess fur. She jerks and moves constantly, resistant to the end, panting crazily, uncooperative in the extreme. Its an exhausting process both of them! I usually get drafted to help when it comes to trimming her underbelly. I'm pretty strong and she's pretty tiny - but trying to pry her hind legs apart is surprisingly difficult. I sometimes wonder if her tendons are made of high-tensile steel wire? She's looking very adorable and her fur, which feels like half her weight, is in the compost bin and all is forgiven.

I don't have a name for this colour, hard to describe, but today i discovered another blue to wear besides pale blue. . its very saturated, a cross between turqouise and teal. Looks good with my hair and my skin. It also makes me feel happy. Colour has this way with the brain. . . interesting.

Learning is one of those things that helps with humility. I hope i never get to the point where i think i know a lot, because i think that's the point at which i couldn't be taught and that's the point at which i would begin to harden and seal off. I want to say more but i don't know how to order the thoughts or assign them words. Its been a time of plumbing the depths and being just unable to sound them -- as if they could be. . .

Its little joys that make things so swell -- having more gas in your tank than you realized, catching up on the household paperwork/bills, meeting up with someone you've missed, cooking the rice perfectly, sleeping in a freshly-made bed, feeling at home, finding beauty where you least suspect and feeling the potential of who you aren't yet but one day will be.

Monday, June 04, 2007

is blogging on the way out?

i don't know, what do you guys think? is blogging starting to drop off? Are the interactive cyberactivities that much more fulfilling? Facebook, Myspace, MSN, whatever else there is out there? I find FB easy to use and kinda fun, certainly more instant and more about back and forth 'talking'. There is something about sitting down to write something. I don't think i could ever give that up and yes it is a solitary thing to do but it brings its own reward - letting things come from your heart, your mind, your spirit and giving them shape, choosing the words, seeing what you feel in writing. Its a thrill that 'wall writing' can't even touch. Though you do put yourself 'out there' having phrased your vulnerabilities or vanities, hoping that what you say will resonate with somebody? anybody? help them? give them a smile? and with blogging you always wonder. . .your ego wonders! and i do hear this in other bloggers' posts. . "Does anybody actually read this?"!!! Its even tempting to keep score of how many people visit your site (though this is something i've never done, because i really don't want to know). All things considered, i still enjoy blogging and checking people's blogs. i like to read what they're thinking , what inspires them, what irks them, amuses, all kinds of other things. i love communication but i notice the effect remote closeness has on me. I sit to write, i read other people's writings - feeling connected, yet oddly disconnected. Keeping the world at arm's length, but at my fingertips. Sure its great for keeping in touch with geographically-distant friends/family, but its bizarre that i have more cyber than actual contact with people who live in my own city!!

Why don't people call? visit? These things take precious time. I think the pace of life has almost dictated such innovation. Virtual contact brings control, choice - to read or not, to make comment or not, how to block/inspect comments prior to allowing them, how to keep away the spam, control how much personal information you divulge, choose what time of day or night to access, its very convenient - customizable but relationally stifling at the same time. Do you feel more free to express yourself here and perhaps more inhibited in face to face encounters? Everyone searches out their own methods to make communication technology work for them, this has always been true. I don't know though, there is a different feel in the 21st century. Fewer boundaries? More danger? Is it too much for us? Can we handle it? Technology races headlong and consequences trail in its wake.

We're all in this, i'm not grousing, just making observations. i'm thinking about the implications of computerization as it relates to our lifestyles, our friendships, our ways of informing, sharing, bonding, distancing. . it is interesting. . . .

Sunday, June 03, 2007

what did we see????

The day started off calmly - i was the first one up, which i always like. I headed down to the basement where its cool! Ate my bran, did some reading, prayed for a while, then Linds and the kiddies came by for a visit. Its always great when they come over, the energy level in the house rises crazily!!! *good crazy!* The toys come out, the requests for ice cream and drinks, Auntie KK's high heels come out for Eri to walk around in. . . Maggie (puppy dog) never knows which way to play it (hide upstairs where its quieter, or venture downstairs hoping to enjoy some 'floor food' little kids are doggie's BF!) Rob got called in to work cuz something broke down - he was gone for a while, which kind of set our whole day back. It happens!

When Rob got back we all hung out for a bit, but we had groceries to buy, so we went to pick up Mom while Linds and KK continued their visited here with the kids. We went downtown to Food Basics - better prices but neither Rob nor Mom likes this place and they make their disdain for this 'ugly betty' store quite clear, which i simply block out cuz i like bargains!!! We left the store and headed to Mom's to drop her off. This is when it happened. . . .

A man, pushing a baby buggy, walked on the right-hand side of the street. His female partner walked behind him on the outside of the sidewalk, another child walked beside her. The man appeared angry - his features were indistinct at the speed we were driving, but there was an overall darkness around him. As we drove past, he stopped in his tracks, the woman had caught up with him. . . he belted her in the face and put his offending hand back on the buggy handle, continued walking at top speed, mouthing something. Surreal. . did we really see what we thought we saw? Such a short, sharp burst of violence - he struck with cobra-like speed, i've never seen anything like it. She just bowed her head and stared at her feet as she walked. That bothered me more than he did. Mom didn't see this and was talking about something, i don't know what. . . Rob was looking in his rear view as he drove, my head was still turned to see them quickly disappear from my sight line - i could only see her fuschia dress. We kept saying to each other? "Did you see that?" "Yes, i saw. . i can't believe it - if he would do that in public, imagine what he's like at home?"

I wonder if we should have stopped to confront him? What would have happened? Would he go 'postal'? Did he have a hidden weapon? Would he blame her for that too? Likely. . It was so strange. . we went on with our day -- Rob and KK headed out later to the driving range - i did some reading. . . and thinking about this afternoon scene. . . about this family . . . .

Monday, May 28, 2007

spring beauty

bleeding hearts from our garden. such beautifully interesting flowers, delicately suspended from tender vines - like fairy lanterns.
their leaves look lovely in the sunlight, shades of soothing green.

i was charmed by this saggy barn, so ramshackle and weathered. . .

this is the only covered bridge remaining in Ontario -West Montrose, heart of Mennonite farm country. Horse-drawn buggies are driven by calico dress/pinafored women & wide-brim hatted/suspendered men; giving you a nostalgically time-warped feeling.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Niagara Falls

Well, we finally got there. James has been wanting to see the falls in the worst way, so it was time! Stopped off in Welland to see the locks. A huge ship was going through when we got there - freighter, full of iron ore. Didn't get photos of the ship because we'd already done the 'going crazy taking pictures' a couple of years ago. This trip was all about the falls.
Getting through "Niagara-Vegas" was a bit traumatizing. . bumper to bumper, crawling through the gaudy, neon streets was a necessary evil. Lindsay, Rob and I were talking about the chaotic feel of this tourist trap. . . wax museums, criminal museums, fast food joints, junk souvenir stands, amusement rides. . . ugh. . Normally we wouldn't go this way to see the water. . . but the alternate entrance (which also happens to be a bridge to the U.S.) was a no go. . . back up forever.

Here are some pictures of us with Lindsay and the grandkiddies! We had LOTS of fun in spite of the coolness of the air and the intermittent drizzle. The kids were quite thrilled by the majesty of that huge, jade-green river and the thundering water fall emptying into the wide, watery pathway of the Niagara Gorge. Of course there were a few urgent 'i have to pee' moments!!! involving trees and ditches. The ride home was LONG and tedious. . . the 'back way' wasn't so lovely, just endless kilometers of cows, vineyards and nondescript houses. We were all hungry and a bit testy - 2 small kids, a pregnant woman, a sick with a sinus and chest infection woman and a longsuffering man -- recipe for disaster? Could have been, but it got to be almost hilarious and wel had some good laughs. Especially when James, who had his heart set on eating at "Montana's Cookhouse", had become worried that we would never find one . Acre after acre of farmland and tiny towns only served to heighten his restaurant anxiety. His desperation reached its peak when his mother suggested that perhaps we could eat somewhere else *i.e. Wendy's*. He wailed: "But I want fine service! I want special and relaxing service!" We laughed so hard! What a precocious kid. Erica kept mimicking "Fine service, fine service. . . " Hilarious!!! They were really so good though. . . little sweethearts!! We finally did end up at his precious Montana's. We had to leave Green Acres and get back onto the express route. I don't think i was ever so happy to see urban sprawl? Not that farmland isn't beautiful, but on an overcast day, in a van-full of moody, tired, hungry travelers, the appreciation of nature was lost on us. Pulling into the restaurant parking lot was such a relief! The kids (and the adults) wolfed down their food and enjoyed the fine service!!! ha ha! Its amazing how the mood shifts when everyone has had a proper meal. The rest of the way home was nicely peaceful - we had left the monotonous dullness of "Poo-land" *James!* and we occupied ourselves with reviewing digital pics, talking, reminiscing about our fun day! Well, that was another family trip completed. Safe, sound, had a great day, what more could you ask for? And now to plan the next outing!!!

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

how can i explain?

i don't know how to start. . . so much to say, too much. I feel more than i can see and touch, i hear more than my ears receive, i think past my superficial thoughts - i feel what waits beyond and i know that my life is lived in the shadow of more than i can understand. There is a longing i feel when i'm not preoccupied with myself, with others, with busy work. . with life. Its always there -- i'm just not always aware. When i am, i find it hard to describe. All the similes and analogies seem to have flaws, limitations. "God has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end." (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
There, that says it better.

Brian Houston is one of my favourite songwriters. "You Are Mystical" is a wonderful song. My mind goes to this one often. . . especially when i feel so 'unfinished'. The first line of the song has come to mind a surprising number of times. It helps me to understand that its okay if i don't understand. "You are mystical and deep, you take your rest but you never sleep. . ."
The second line comforts me. "You watch me like a mother does, every scar and every tear and fall." The chorus shows the mystery of God, and paradoxically the answer for my questions. "For you're everywhere, in every place, in every time and every space
and every breath that i take, you lend. You're the only one who satisfies, the only one who makes my life make sense." I love and embrace this longing and mystery. I am learning how faith works. "What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see." (Hebrews 11) I am learning to love this restlessness, because its been 'planted in my heart' to keep my spirit alive.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Maternal thoughts

First of all, my very best heartfelt wishes to all of you out there. . . mothers, motherly, nurturing women.

Next i would love to encourage those of you who need encouragement, for any and all reasons you need a boost. If you're a mom and you're busy and frazzled and sometimes feeling a bit like a runaway train in your life, take heart -- you're not alone! (i'm sure you don't need me to tell you that). Breathe, try to pace yourself and enjoy a day of celebration for YOU!!! If you're not a mom and you have had your hope to become one deferred, i hope that your desire will become reality. . and in the meantime i also hope that your maternal instincts are being put to good use --people need them. Maybe being a mom isn't for you, if not, i hope you can celebrate with your own mom, your mom in law, a woman who is like a mom for you, or maybe just feel that collective sisterhood and know your place there.

Some women may find Mother's Day difficult for reasons known only to them. If you're one of those women, i want to wish for you a day in which you can find some peace. For me, mothering is the thing that reminds me of the heart of God --the creative, compassionate, nurturing, loving, forgiving, selfless, protective, powerful heart, who made women to be like those beautiful facets of his being. For me, that gives depth of meaning to a day like this, bursting open the narrower framework of a day for mothers and opening it wide into the expanse of unconditional love, from its source, surrounding and encompassing all of us.

I'd like to share my granddaughter's book with you. . . the story isn't very long and its got a fabulous, affirming message for all mothers, all women, all those who love .

Little Miss Spider popped out of her egg. Swinging down from a thread, she hung on by one leg. Watching brothers and sisters all scooting for cover, she dangled there wondering, 'where is my mother?'. 'Did she squeeze down a hole? or dive underwater? Why won't she come out here and meet her new daughter?"

She decided to climb to the top of a tree. Gazing out on the world, she sobbed, 'Where could Mom be?' A beetle name Betty buzzed by this high perch. 'A child needs a mother. May i please help you search? I don't know for sure, but i'll offer this clue - if i were your mom, i'd be looking for you.'

They flew through the trees spying down from the sky, and asked all the butterflies fluttering by. But none of the insects they happened upon had any idea where her mother had gone. She then asked a small spider - as plump as a pig- 'Have you seen my mom? She's like me, only big.' The sly spider laughed as he gobbled his snack, 'Up there is a mother who's yellow and black.' With a heart full of joy she peered over the straw, but it wasn't her mother that Miss Spider saw. . . it was six hungry hatchlings and a goldfinch who cried, 'Your dinner's here darlings, so open up wide.'

Before she could blink she was whisked out of sight and brave beetle Betty was hugging her tight. In her warm cozy home in the bark of a tree, the kind beetle asked 'Won't you stay here with me?' Then Miss Spider smiled and held Betty fast. ' I looked for my mom and i found you at last!' For finding your mother there's one certain test. You must look for the creature who loves you the best.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

changed my mind!

Yesterday i was in a funny mood, so i wrote about not wanting to do all the every day life things that we all must do. I wrote about my desire to sit around in my yoga pants and eat Nutella from the jar all day. Today's a different day and i don't feel pouty and whiny, so i took my draft version of that sucky baby post and i deleted it. Note to self: Don't post self indulgent tripe!

I've been doing a lot of reading and as usual i juggle several books at a time, just to keep things interesting. Maybe its a bad habit. Maybe its just an eccentricity. I'm still working through Prayer and i've also added in Twinkie, Deconstructed, i'm finishing up Fast Food Nation and Speaking My Mind --all rather heavy readings in their own way, so i'm glad that i've been book juggling as FFN and Twinkie both make me so mad!!! *i need to cool down by switching to something different* Speaking My Mind has that tendency, depending on the chapter, but the current chapter is about quantum physics and science and God, so its mind bending, but in a good way. Prayer, I have really been digging in there with this book and as a result am almost finished. Wow, what a book! Its one of those that when you finish you will feel the need to go through it again.

Being off work really allows for lots of time to read, which is one of the ways in which i've been putting my time to good use.

Well, i see that there may be a down time in another minute or two, so i'd better post!

Talk to you later. . .

Monday, May 07, 2007

parking lot rage?

This afternoon i went out to pick up some things at my local grocery/home store. I parked far away so i would get some extra walk time and as i got to the next row of cars i hear this yelling. I witnessed a man in perhaps his late 30s, screaming at a younger man who sat in his idling car, taking this verbal abuse. Everyone was staring including me. We couldn't seem to help ourselves. At first i thought they'd had a bump with their vehicles, but the positioning was off. I don't really know what happened, maybe young, ball-cap wearing guy had cut the older man off or taken 'his' parking spot? The screamer was clearly in need of some serious anger management. His tirade included snippets like : "GOOD! LET THEM STARE!" and "I DON'T CARE IF THEY ALL HEAR! *we all did* 'I HAVE A KID IN THE CAR HERE!! AND YOU THINK YOU CAN HAVE ANY PARKING SPACE YOU WANT?!!' (at which point i thought: Get a grip man! You're gonna burst a blood vessel!). Not such a great example for his kid. I decided to keep walking and i merged with another group of gawkers who were also store bound. I looked at this one man and we rolled our eyes. I said: "I've heard of road rage, but i guess there's also parking lot rage?" He shook his head in agreement and said: "Its summer now." I think there's something to that. After winter, people get a little hyper and crazy. Girls walk around in giggling clutches, guys drive around the streets like idiots, fast and loud -- rumbling and whining motorcycles increase my hearing loss in yearly increments, people start with the tank tops, shorts and sandals when its still too cold! If full moon craziness is lunacy, what is fair weather craziness called?! . . . summer?! BAH!

Anyway, i hope young parking lot guy exercises a little more caution and consideration. Parking lots and streets do contain other people. (if inconsideration prompted that episode? i'm not even sure) and i really hope that older, yelling man learns to control his temper - whether or not his tantrum was justified. And they say that women are drama queens? nu-uh.

Friday, May 04, 2007

"bread" book?

There's fluffy white bread - italian loaf, farmhouse white, wonderbread - no appreciable nutrients, devoid of fibre, gluey, unhealthy junk bread. .

Then there's dense, stone-ground, 12 grain loaf - heavy, fibrous, filling, satisfying and vitamin rich.

Books can be just like bread. .

I'm reading a dense, whole-grain book right now on the subject of prayer. Its simply called "Prayer" . The author is Philip Yancey. I like Mr. Yancey's way with words. I like his doubts and questions. I like how he doesn't just blithely join the 'just believe' camp. He pulls up the log and lets all the creatures underneath crawl out and he examines them - not with disgust, but with a desire for honest learning. Ultimately he comes to the faith side. . . exercising it, living it, believing in the language of prayer and in its power. This is no literary wonderbread. It sticks with you. You can't eat too much at once. It takes time to digest. Prayer seems like a simple thing and to everyone it may bring a different association, reaction, opinion. Some aren't interested in prayer. Some think its okay, follow your own path. Some may be active pray-ers who love their relationship with God and maybe others find the notion of communicating with an invisible someone more than a little bizarre.

I'm in a relationship with God. I'm learning how to live. The world isn't always so good at teaching me. I need a better model. . . so, i'm a life-long apprentice. Though there are certain ways to learn about God and know him: Bible reading, praying, listening to 'sermons', reading "Christian" books, its surprising how many other ways there are to learn: talking to people, reading a billboard while you drive, helping others, watching movies, listening to music, working hard at something, experiencing hardship. I have a very creative teacher. Even so, its easy to get used to living a life of 'faith' and before i know it, i think i've learned plenty and i easily become teflon coated. . . valuable lessons slide right off me cuz i think i've already covered that. This is one of the reasons i bought this book. As i plod my way through it i find myself almost overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of my ignorance. I thought i knew so much. Shame on me. Sometimes being an apprentice means eating humble pie over and over and over again!!!

I'll leave you with a quote and with that i'll say goodnight.

" Prayer remains a struggle for me. On the other hand, so does forgiving someone who has wronged me. So does loving my neighbour. So does caring for the needy. I persist in prayer because i am fulfilling God's command and also because i believe i am doing what is best for me, whether or not i feel like it at the time. . . The great English preacher Leslie Weatherhead's experience echoes that of many others: 'I have always found prayer difficult. So often it seems like a fruitless game of hide and seek in which we seek and God hides. I know God is patient with me. Without that patience i should be lost. But frankly i have to be patient with him. With no other friend would i go on seeking with such scant, conscious response. Yet i cannot leave prayer alone for long. My need drives me to him. And I have a feeling that he has his own reasons for hiding himself, and that finally my seeking will prove infinitely worthwhile. . . i long for more satisfaction but I cannot cease from questing. Jesus sometimes found prayer difficult. Some of his most agonized prayers were not answered. But he did not give up his praying. I frankly have little to show for all my prayers, but i cannot give up, for my soul longs for Christ and i know that outside God there is nothing at all but death.'

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

26 years today

Us -- then and now. Wow, its hard to believe that i met this man in 1977, married him in 1981. Its hard to believe that we have adult children. Its even harder to believe that we have grandchildren!! This is my best friend. I knew the week i met him that i would marry him. I didn't tell him at the time *way to scare someone off!* My friends thought i was insane when i shared my intuition at lunch period, first day of school in grade 10!!!! Four years later, 3 months shy of my 19th birthday, we were married. Rob was 1 month away from 20. What were we thinking??!!!! While i wouldn't advise this, there's no disputing the fact that others we know who married much later are now no longer together. We pretty much grew up together and and now we're growing old together?! Bah! Okay, not old. . . we're growing hopefully wiser together!

The stories in all these years. . so many i can't tell them. It would be a novel. So many experiences, trials, joys -- everything together. He knows the real me and i know the real him. When i first met him, he made my heart skip. He still does. Robbie, i know you don't often read this, but if you do, this message is for you: "Happy anniversary. I LOVE YOU!!!Thank you for loving me."

*sigh!* you know what a sucker i am for romance. . . Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 29, 2007

kitchen fiasco

well i never thought i'd say this, but i did some baking the other day and i regretted it severely. Everything i made tasted like &^%$ Wow, was that ever a waste of time, ingredients and effort. I still feel slightly traumatized. I am trying to eat a more nutritious diet, Rob is doing this with me and everything was going really well until i decided to bake some of the recipes in this book:

While i absolutely recommend the methods and the food choices, etc. for this lifestyle plan, i cannot, in good conscience, recommend baking any of their snacks or desserts. The "peanut butter bars" tasted liked cardboard. The "apple bran muffins" had such a sickly sweet aftertaste, gag me. Oh, man. . . what to do? I have realized that i can't live without baking. . it is like a lifelong form of therapy for me. When i bake, i feel fabulous. I love my tools, my kitchen. . i love beating the butter and sugar together, cracking the eggs, melting the chocolate, assembling a cake, pulling a pan of cookies out of the oven, rolling out a pie crust, working with fruit, spices. The smells, the feel of kneading dough, the sight of shiny, darkly delicious ganache when it cascades in a chocolatey sheet over truffles, cakes. . such a thrill. When i was a little girl there was no food network, in fact there were very few cooking shows, but what few existed, i watched with fascination. The French Chef, The Galloping Gourmet, Ruth Fremes' show on CBC, even the Kraft commercials during the Carol Burnett Show, showing those adept, manicured hands, mixing ingredients in glass bowls *i don't know why they didn't show the whole person, but it was still cool* . . . i loved them all! So, you can see how this ridiculously depressing baking session seemed to threaten an entire lifetime of enjoyment, from my sandbox 'bakery' to mastering a genoise sponge cake. This made me feel like i used to feel when i was 9 years old and my pie crust turned out as tough as shoe leather, or my cookies melted into one thin, brittle mess on the cookie sheet. NOT COOL!!!

So, for 80% of the time I will be a good girl and i will eat well and stick to g.i. index, but when and if i bake anything, it MUST be without splenda, without 'liquid egg product', without enough fibre to choke a horse and i WILL use butter, chocolate, sugar, cream, real eggs and other luxurious goodies! Life is too short to pretend that fibrous gloop can pass for baking. Dear baking, let's never speak of that horrific episode again. . . we'll just have to see a bit less of each other, i love you just the way you are!!!