Tuesday, December 29, 2009


"The trick is to realize that the shit that falls on you is fertilizer."
~Ron Mangravite as quoted in The Not So Big Life

Quite the quote isn't it? This is one of the books I received as a Christmas present. It has end of the chapter exercises but, true to form, I have been skipping those to simply read the book. Even if I never do the exercises it's helped me gain some perspective about my current job situation. I am filling in for a maternity leave. I signed a one year contract. I have no idea if the person I am filling in for is coming back but everyone at work knows that I hope she doesn't. I love my job. I feel like it's been tailor made for me. This morning though, as I read along in the above book, I grasped that if the contract does indeed come to an end that there is a world of possibilities waiting for me. A real good reminder that I don't know what's best for me and there is Someone who does whom I can trust. Of course, I will feel disappointed if my job ends. I will cry. I will miss those I work with, too. But for this morning at least, I know even if it feels like it, that it won't be the end of the world.

I'd lost sight of that for a good long while.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Litany of Cooks

"We're going to be 9 people and Auntie is going to have 20."

It sounds like a litany every time a holiday comes around. My mom lists the number of people she will be cooking for and how many her sisters will cook for as well. I assume this is interesting for her although sometimes I've wondered if it's a competition, too. I find it a bit irritating although I couldn't tell you why.

Yesterday we spent part of the day with dearest one's family. We are over 50 people if everyone shows up. I always think of my mom at these gatherings. How she would be cooking up twice as much food as my in laws do. I have often admired how there aren't many left overs when my husband's family gets together. Food seems to be secondary to visiting. As long as there is enough to go around then all is good.

When I talk to my mom later today she will want to know what was served and all the details. I guess the difference between us is that I am not a cook and she is. I threw out my old and forgotten spice rack a few months ago and have only replaced a few since then. My mom has a cupboard that houses only spices. All 100 of them. Darn. The more I type the clearer it's becoming that I have many unresolved issues when it comes to my mom and food. Typed myself right into a corner again.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wonderful Counselor

"Because without you I am nothing."

I'm praying this as I made my way up to the lectern last night at Mass. I always talk to God as I do this, aware it is not about me, it is about proclaiming God's word, asking God to work through me as I speak. As I took a breath, right after proclaiming these prophetic words of Isaiah, "And he shall be called a heat caught me totally off guard. It started at the top of my head and went all the way through my body. By the time I breathed in and out the heat came and went. Then I read
"Wonderful Counselor,Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace..."
Christmas happened for me right in that moment.

I wish you all a joyous, peace filled Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Last Minute Surprises

"You're going to be one of those people?"

Why yes, my dear, we are.

Only daughter sounds a little shocked. She's worked in a big mall for most of the past year and shakes her head at the people who leave their shopping until the last minute. She deals with them every day. Turns out, dearest one and I have a few unexpected presents to buy, so tomorrow will be the day.

Dearest one, who told me a few days ago that everything on the sideboard was fair game, has some last minute shopping to do for me, too. I finally got around to clearing away all the paper tidbits yesterday and happened upon a receipt for something he bought me for Christmas. I thought about playing dumb but I'd never win a prize for pretending to be surprised when I'm not. Finding that receipt did explain the beautiful long stemmed roses he gave me on Saturday. Turns out he got a dozen roses for free when he bought me that gift.

So yes, tomorrow we will be one of those last minute shoppers.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Giving My Head A Shake

I have a friend who I haven't heard from since I emailed her half a dozen group updates I had sent out this past summer when unbloggable things were happening in my life. She had been there in the beginning and then we lost contact until today.

I've had an occasional poor me moment over the fact that she never responded to my baring my soul to her. I wondered if she was judging me for my brutal honesty, wondered if she was shocked by what I had written, wondered if she had stepped back from me on purpose. I didn't think these things all the time but occasionally I wondered why she wasn't getting back to me.

Because it's all about me, you know.

Lord have mercy.

I phoned her this morning and found out that since we last spoke she had emergency surgery after an accident and is still recuperating, her husband had his own emergency trip to the hospital and has since been diagnosed with heart disease, her mother died unexpectedly across the ocean and her son who was in recovery has relapsed.

It's so not about me.
What a reminder, eh?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Paper Tidbits

I love little pieces of paper. I have them all over the place. This morning dearest one had a garbage bag in hand and started cleaning off the side board. I started squawking at him to please not do that...there might be something on one of those scraps of paper that was important. He refrained from rolling his eyes but did tell me the side board was in such rough shape that everything on it was fair game. To prove his point he picked up the first piece of paper he saw. It was folded up like a note you'd pass in math class. He unfolded it, read it and as he passed it to me, said, "you might want to keep this." On it was scribbled an idea youngest son had given me for a gift for dearest one for Christmas. Luckily it was something I decided not to buy. The side board remains a disaster area as I type.

All three kadiddlehoppers and their significant others are coming home for Christmas. For the first time in three years we will wake up together on December 25th. I am looking forward to that immensely. We went grocery shopping several times this week to stock up the pantry. It's been interesting to see how oodles of food is synonymous with Christmas in my mind. That bothers me. Maybe one day I'll write about that. Or not.

A few days ago we were leaving work, too tired to feel like buy groceries, when an air ambulance helicopter flew overhead. I looked at dearest one and said, "Someone's day has just gone to shit." Instant perspective. We found the energy to go grocery shopping and saw it as a privilege.

Dearest one has been giving me a hard time because I told youngest son last night that the one thing I couldn't handle when all of them come home is to have the TV on all the time. We live in a very small place and there is no where, except the bathroom, to get away from the noise of the TV. In the next breath I told youngest son that I had a movie I was really looking forward to watching with him. Today I bought another. I may have to eat my words yet. Or hide the remote.

Due to the cold weather and furnaces being on the blink, there hasn't been a church service for most of Advent in my little neck of the woods. Tomorrow it looks like we will get to gather together for the first time in weeks. Our little church will be full of people Christmas Eve, too. Without being together for most of Advent it feels like we are jumping in near the end.

We are down to a scarce seven and a half hours of daylight here. This week the postal service should be bringing us a SAD light box. We're hoping it will make a difference in the next little while. While I am grateful for perspective, gratitude and the ability to choose my attitude, motivation has been a little tough to come by lately.

Monday, December 14, 2009

All That I Was Meant To Be

"You couldn't pay me to tell you what I think."

That's what I thought when I was in grade 12 English class and we were dissecting poetry. The teacher had a way of snorting his disgust when we gave the wrong answer and I was not about be his target for the day. Inevitably the answer he was looking for and what the poem said to me were at opposite ends of the spectrum. I was always glad I kept my mouth shut.

It's been nearly 30 years since then and I still don't like dissecting poetry.

I've never been too good at reading between lines or getting the nuances of something. I admire people to whom that comes easily. Black and white has always felt safer to me. That probably has something to do with being raised in a home with ridiculous rules that if I kept, I stayed safe. Well, except when the rules changed depending on my mom's mood. At any rate, following rules has always felt safer than using my noggin' to figure things out. Too many variables in thinking for myself.

Well, let me clarify that. When it came to having opinions of others, whether that be what they thought or what they did,hands down, I was an expert and I wasn't quiet about it. When it came to letting you into that place within me where I came to conclusions about my own thoughts, I wasn't about to let you have a chance to become an expert on my those, so I kept them to myself. Over time I've learned that I am no expert on anyone else's life. I still have my opinions but most of the time they've shrunk down to being my opinions, not God's. Big difference.

Because of my tendency to be a rule follower I have long admired dearest one's ability to see the spirit of something. He can hone in on what's really important while I am often still hung up on the technicalities. I'm learning, but it doesn't come naturally, nor is it where my head goes first. I honestly think there's still a part of me that is expecting to get in trouble for having the wrong answer.

About ten years ago this guy came to the church I was attending back then. I had never heard of the show Intervention nor him. He was just some author that friends of ours admired greatly. I remember sitting in the congregation as he taught; him asking us questions. We were a silent bunch, too scared of one another to speak our mind. At least that's the conclusion I came to. I had answers on the tip of my tongue but I was pretty sure my answers wouldn't match up to anyone else's so I kept my mouth shut. I remember Jeff chiding us a bit for our hesitancy. The answer that was on the tip of my tongue matched up to what he was going to say just about 100% of the time. In those kind of situations I still feel like I am a school kid though, and if I had opened my mouth, I would have expected some kind of gold star recognition for being so smart.

Lord have mercy.

All that to say that I know that this song is not about our relationship with God.It sounds more like a love song about a relationship that is about to end. However, every time I hear the following bit in the song, I feel more like it's the Psalmist talking to God, than a jilted lover talking to their beloved.

What about now?
What about today?
What if you're making me all that I was meant to be?

Redneck No Brainer

"The brakes are freezing up."

That's what dearest one said to me this morning as we stopped to fill up my car with gas. Then when he started up the car again the fan made a wretched whiny noise. This was quickly becoming a no brainer. We turned back towards home and are staying put for the day. It was -45C (-49F)this morning. There was a moment when it hit me how scary it would be to have car trouble in this weather and how stupid it was to think we were somehow immune. Even with all the blankets, candles etc. I had in the car, we would be cold in such a hurry. While I do live in redneck country I'd like to think I rarely act like one. This morning that was debatable. Oh, that word debatable looks weird. I'm squinting at the screen in the hopes it will somehow morph into a more acceptable looking word. No luck.

Funny how we think we MUST get to town because it's exam week and we have final exams to supervise and students to see. There are appointments to keep. With a few phone calls appointments are rescheduled, someone else is supervising exams. It doesn't have to be complicated. We both wanted to be at work today but wanting to be at work and needing to be at work are two different things.

We'll try again tomorrow.
I am so glad our furnace is working and that there is food in the cupboards.
We are blessed.

I'm grateful for perspective - even if it takes brakes freezing up to gain it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Brain Freeze

We woke up to -50C at our place this morning. That is 58 below on the Fahrenheit scale. Aren't you just plain envious? The radio man said it was -53C with windchill in the middle of the night. We are colder here than in town so who knows how cold it got.

Dearest one told Yoga Pup he was going to freeze his patooties off when he went outside until he remembered Yoga Pup doesn't have patooties anymore.

Days like today it is incredibly easy to be grateful for a warm house, food in the cupboards and no reason to get in a vehicle and go anywhere. I am also grateful we aren't getting 3 feet of snow in two days like some places in Eastern Canada. I will take the cold over the snow any day.

Our trailer has ice on all the windows from top to bottom except for the bay window in the living room. Yoga Pup has a strange love affair with water in weird places. If I leave the door open on the tub he will lick up the excess water after I've had a shower. He will try to lick the water off my feet while I dry off. This morning he stood on our bed and licked the ice off the window frame. I had visions of his tiny pink tongue getting stuck to the metal but it didn't.

It doesn't take much to amuse me. I'd like to blame that on cabin fever. Isn't that the strangest term? Too cold to go anywhere and you get a fever? Wikipedia says cabin fever is an idiomatic term for a claustrophobic reaction. At first glance I thought it said an "idiotic" term and I was getting ready to agree with them.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Breathing Healing

Three years ago I wrote this post on my blog anniversary. I missed marking my anniversary earlier this week. I'm re posting here what I wrote three years ago. Still holds true.

"Today is my blog anniversary.....two years ago today I started writing this blog.
What can I say?
I am a writer.
I have a voice.
I am truly on a journey.
I need to journey with others.
Exposing my humanity to you will not get me stoned.
It might make me wish to get stoned :)
but even if I did
I am loved even in the midst of much sin.
Confessing my sin will not diminish my worth.
Failing is not the end of the story.
Having an audience watch
Christ peel back
the layers of my woundedness
and breathe healing on them
will not kill me.
Healing is possible.
There is hope.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Kissing The Ground

Of course I'd think of something to say in the middle of the night.

Dearest one is happily sleeping with the puglies curled around him. They are warm bits of comfort on a cold night. They like to curl up behind our knees or wiggle their way right in between the two of us as we sleep.

Yesterday morning, as I was putting my backpack into the car, my ankle kissed the ground and I heard a popping sound. I'm sure the noise I made could be heard right up to the stars. Ouch. By the time we got to town part of my foot was feeling numb, but when I got out of the car I could walk without pain, so I went to work instead of going to the health clinic that is next door to my office.

Dearest one called me about lunch time and chided me somewhat about not getting my ankle checked out. I said something along the lines of "oh, all right" and walked without nary a limp, over to the clinic. My thoughts were along the lines of "what a waste of my lunch hour this was going to be". To his credit, dearest one did not gloat when the doctor told me I'd damaged one of the ligaments and should take a few days off of work.

Having this connective tissue disorder means my tissues take much longer to heal. The doctor gave me the option of visiting the cast room at the hospital for either a removeable boot for stability, or a cast. Off I went for a removeable boot. The cast room is right next to the day surgery and the outpatient department. I sat there keenly aware that my minor injury was really just a blip on the radar screen, while other people were going to get wretched, wretched news today about the state of their health.

The pain caught up to me by the time we got home so I was in bed before 8:30 tonight, totally exhausted. You know I am tired when I turn off the TV and miss the rest of this sport during the Olympic pre-trials.I apologized to the women on the screen and went to bed.

I've been awake for a few hours now. Writing here in the middle of the night is akin to deleting the cache on the computer. For me, it makes room for sleep.

Good night.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Yada, Yada, Yada

Every time I sit down to write lately,
my words sound like rubbish to my ears
so I delete them before I get too far.
I have a friend who protests loudly
whenever I use the phrase, "blah, blah, blah"
in conversation with her.
Thankfully she doesn't have my blog address.