Monday, 31 May 2010

betcha I forget this, and soon

How do I manage to get absolutely nothing done and still be busy as a bee? A question for the ages.

Last weekend was fun, albeit boy-less - Saturday he had a sleepover and Sunday, the kids went with their auntie to see Peter Pan in the theatre (Mama! They flew!!) and a good time was had by all...

except me, who had so many plans for the weekend and finished NONE of them.

Along the same lines, I'm starting to suspect that there isn't a decorating bone in my body. See, I'm not interested in having a show-place home (and woe to me if I did, what with busy kid feet and pet fur everywhere, plus a plethora of tiny plastic toys) but something that matched would be nice.

And I have next-to-NO idea how to do that.

I'm not stupid. I can dress myself, thank you, and I've a decent eye for colour, but I watch decorating shows and am just all agog. How on earth do they know putting that with that would look good?? And why do those look good together, when separately they look like tag-sale cast offs?

It's enough to drive a girl to drink.

And it's time for a drink. Time to start making iced tea, people! Mmm, with fresh mint.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

worming right along

Cass did NOT want to do this. Last year the Worm Race had happened right after his Papa died, so he sat that one out, and this year....this year he had no interest in competing.

But it was so neat, you see. So absolutely small-town and rural and quaint, and exciting for the kids. When else can you take a small container of dirt to school and not have your teacher yell at you?

My son's school has had an annual Worm Race for over forty years. It's exactly what it sounds like - long stripes of wet dirt across the gym floor, a worm at one end, the finish line at the other. Lots of hooting and hollering, clapping and cheering.

Rosey was right out there in the yard, dragging a shovel and her father out, plotting where the fastest worms might hide, deciding where to dig. Cass dragged his heels a bit, but his interest perked up when he held two in his hand.

(Both went with two worms - one to use and a spare, in case someone else's special worm didn't want to run.)

So off they went.


that's a third place medal right there.

He's marked the spot where we let the worms go, planning to re-capture his Wormy next year....

Friday, 21 May 2010

mr bunny man

We have a rabbit living in the side yard.

Now, this is a new experience for me. While we have deer (in abundance) and the occasional blue jay or woodpecker wander through, we generally don't have bunnies. But I live far enough out of the city in a rural enough setting that if someone decided to dump get rid of a pet to think we'd (or someone) would take care of their bunny.
Or cat. Or dog.

Note to anyone who has ever dropped off a pet near a farmhouse or on a quiet road: Your pet does NOT get adopted and live out its' remaining days in comfort. Nine times out of ten, it gets HIT BY A CAR. And that last remaining time? It STARVES, because it doesn't trust humans anymore - well, would you? - and won't eat any food it finds.

Ahem! /end rant

Anyhoo, the bunny. He's cute. All white and black, like a chocolate chip cookie, and a good size. He first appeared in my neighbors yard about two weeks ago (setting off a chain of phone calls where we had to figure out what to do with the poor thing. We found it a home with other bunnies but it won't be caught [see paragraph above] and now is apparently the neighborhood rabbit.) and has now migrated to mine. The kids looove having the bunn-ya appear in the yard and have left him carrots and treats, hoping to convince him that they're not bad guys and mayyybe, just maaayyybe, they'd like to give him a pat or two.

Mr. Rabbit? Is NOT HAVING IT. [See two paragraphs above]

Last night I was relaxing on the couch, finishing a book and dawdling in that happy hallowed time when the house is quiet and I don't have to go to bed yet. I was all ready for bed - still towel drying my hair! -
and there was a SHRIEK from upstairs.

Rosey was still up and reading (the minx!) in the last bit of sunshine coming through her window. She looked down into the golden glow of the side yard and noticed: a cat.

Not my cat. A strange cat. And it was stalking The Bun. Bunny was eating a dandelion, ignoring the treats and carrots and parsnips the kids had sprinkled around, ignoring the cat.

Visions of rabbit carcasses and the sad faces of my children ran through my head. I jumped for my shoes and flew out the door, waving my arms and hollering and generally making a huge racket.

The cat went streaking off one way, the bunny the other. I'm not really sure who I scared the most.

I am sure, however, that I scared everyone gathered in the full parking lot of the fire hall.


Thursday, 20 May 2010


Yesterday we went to the graveyard.

I brought home flowers. Tulips, actually. Because they were pretty.  And it was pouring, pouring hard and windy but we didn't want to wait so we clutched umbrellas and stood there in drumming-down rain, listening to the roaring river and staring at the two smooth stones that are all that's left of the last generation. The children were quiet and stood close so I said a few things: Remember how Papa would laugh and laugh at jokes? I miss his laugh and Rosey's floodgates opened and she told the quiet rock how the last year has been, what she's been doing and how she's a big girl in school now and that she misses her Papa, misses him all the time. And that she wishes she'd known her Nanny May but she'd meet her someday. When she's old. In heaven. But not now.

I looked at her, expecting to see tears, but instead saw my growing-up-straight-and-tall girl in dark jeans and a pink coat, a red umbrella over her head and a sheaf of white tulips clutched to her chest, big eyed and smiling at her memories.  My boy rocked back into me and burbled a bit before giving a mighty sucking-back sniff and saying  'I miss you, Papa' and a 'Hi, Nanny' while laying a sheaf of ruffly yellow parrot tulips on her grave.

The flowers lay there on the sodden gravestones, looking tropical and summer-sweet and cheerful against all that gray and wet and rainy grass. We stood there for a few minutes while Miss Rosey told her Nanny about her friends and her dog and her Lucy-cat and Cass leaned back into me for comfort and looked around at the cornerstones of the family plot.

I was suddenly and rudely aware that my umbrella was sending a cold river down my back into my skirt.

The wind picked up and blew R's cherry red umbrella inside out, and I took that as an excuse to herd everyone back to the car.

Driving away, Cass looked back  and exclaimed that he could see the tulips from the road. 
'Did Nanny like yellow?'

Sorry, sweetheart. I never met Nanny May. But she liked pretty things. And I know she loves those flowers, because they're from you.

'Okay, then,' he said, shaking off any sadness and swinging effortlessly back to his normal happy self.
'What's for supper?'

And I swear I heard Free chuckle.....

(My car still smelt high and sweet from those yellow tulips this morning! It was lovely.)

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

and the sky looked like the sky in books

Yesterday was gorgeous. The kids were out on their bikes, testing the wind, and the sunlight sparkled everywhere and the sky was an unbelievable blue

Really, a blue you'd think was re-touched or photoshopped or coloured in or something from a dream
(it's not)

And even the last few apple blossoms winked in the sunlight.

Spring is here. And all the colour is back. Finally.

Monday, 17 May 2010

twitter isn't good for blogging

Blogging is another way of telling stories.

Or at least that's how I always thought of it. My stories, like I'd tell you in a letter or a phone call or a conversation. Stuff maybe you didn't even really need to read, but things you might enjoy hearing if you wanted to know how I am - how my life is - better. If you wanted to know me.

Blogging is taking big bites. Whole stories, setting a tone, giving your readers a feeling so they can peek through this door you've opened into your home and sigh in recognition. Letting them get to know you.

Twitter and Facebook, with their status statements and character limits, don't allow whole bites. They only give you a taste, a nibble of who the whole person is. How can you get a feeling for how someone writes, for how someone is in a sentence or two?  Too often twitter messages are about plebeian things like eating out and diapers and traffic jams - if I wouldn't write about these things in a blog post, why would I think you'd be interested in my tweets about them?  And why on earth would you be? Are we so starved for automatic content that we need to tell each other about our laundry?

I've grown weary of status messages and the like pointing the way to blog posts. It smacks of self-aggrandizement. The way Twitter is structured now, the people that see that tweet are friends with you already - chances are they know you have a new post out, via feedreaders and bloglines and their ilk. The number of new readers you can pick up that way is very low.

I think the most obvious way Twitter and Facebook harms blogging is by erasing the storyteller in all of us. If I report, via status message and What's Happening?  the 140 character bare-bones of my day, what's left? What do I post? Where is my story?

I belong to both Twitter and Facebook, and I'm sorry to say I've been gleaning more information about how my favorite authors - my blogging authors - are doing on those two programs versus their own blogs.

Where are the stories? Where are the peeks into your life?
Stop telling me about your laundry and whether your husband got home on time.

Tell me a story. Write a post.

Monday, 10 May 2010


I've been listening to books-on-tape (books-on-CD, actually, but it seems wrong to call them that) in the car on my way to work, and have been enjoying being caught up in something else rather than the usual Am I late? Am I going to be late? How fast am I going? Shouldn't I have been at that intersection three minutes ago? etc.... The story takes me out of all the clutter going 'round my head, in other words.

Today, though, I tried to listen to The Shawl and  realized that I can't read stories about concentration camps. I just....can't.

It was a mistake, grabbing that audio CD in the library - I was ready to go and my hand gripped the wrong one, and when I got home and discovered it I just thought I'd give it a try - and now I'm perched at my desk at work, trying to look busy but seeing the faces of my great-grandparents and remembering how soft Grandma Gebhardt's hands were.

Some things are just unsuitable for consumption, no matter how many generations gone they may be.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

a banner weekend

The weekend started with a bang and has just been getting better.

Yesterday was the Spring Fair at the kids' school, and it was a huge, rip-roaring success. Families came from all over and played games, won prizes, ate home-made pie and cake, looked at displays, bid on items at the silent auction, and cheerfully put each other in the mock jail.

I am always astounded at the overwhelming love this community has for the school. We need this school, need this heart of the area, need the bright spot it puts in our town.

We raised over $4,000. That's a LOT of hamburgers and hot dogs sold at the BBQ, a LOT of .50 cent chances bought on vacation raffles and bubble gum guesses, a LOT of goodwill and stuffing an extra buck or two in the donations jar.

That is a darn good definition of family, in my book.

Happy Mothers Day, everyone. Now I'm off to take my children to the library and the playground, so they can play in the sun.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

shared heritage

I've done posts about graveyards before.

Rosey asked today if we could stop and see Papa. She misses him, and my girl likes to go and see the grave, to put her hands to the cool, carved stone, talk to him about her day and who she played with, and say hello to her Nanny May. Then after a few moments, she wants to explore the hills

and ask questions about the other people who are buried here. 'Were they friends of Papa's? Did they live here too? Do their grandchildren come to visit them here?'

Before I can formulate an answer more articulate than I have no idea, honey, she spins and stares down at the river, watching three ducks paddling by.

'This is a good place, Mama.'

I think I may have found a companion to walk the stones with.

Yarn over and over

Someone, an old babysitter maybe, taught me to crochet when I was six. I remember making long braided loops of yarn and thinking how pretty ...