Monday, March 29, 2010

the Rachel Whisperer

Talking to Rachel today. She was feeling a bit intense. I suggested she needed a "Rachel Whisperer." I wondered aloud if that was Curtis in her life. She said "No, It is Vincent. In two sentences he can reframe all I am thinking and even make me laugh."

Can I say that as a mom I love that my son Vincent is his sister's Whisperer?

safe blogging

So I just read my friend's blog and she had this picture on it. I love this picture, for some reason. It makes me laugh - so I stole it and posted it here... to make you laugh. Isn't this what we would all like to do with our enemies? The sunflower is a nice touch.

And I put this picture on because I had one more thing to say about health care and I was afraid. (Picture my face in terror.) Because if I didn't offend you before I am going to now.

I just wanted to say that it seems to me that if you are pro life, it would be immoral not to be pro health care. We cannot fight for the baby before she is born and let her languish after. Pro life has to be pro LIFE. The whole long life. And maybe a life that is, and I put it in quotes, 'a burden to society.' Not all, but many women aborting babies have very limited resources.

I wasn't actually going to say this but on Friday I watched Precious, and it has been haunting me.

If this is over the top, just go back and look at the picture and read the first half of this blog.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

hair here, hair there, growing, flowing, long as I can grow it, my hair! (can you hear the music?)

I stand at the sink in my bathroom preparing to leave for the day. I hold a pair of tweezers and peer seriously into my magnifying mirror attached to the wall. I am wondering if I should have bought that cream at the salon that promises my brows would thicken and curl if I used it regularly. I am on a seek and destroy mission for eyebrow stragglers, independent aggressive blonds bursting forth from various moles, dark mustache hairs (a recent addition to my garden of hair anomalies.) I have one charming hair that grows out of a follicle two inches below my (first) chin (hah!) and can actually be an inch long when I find it. I swear that hair grows half an inch a night.

I do this every morning. Even one day without vigilance poses the possibility of a Trojan horse take over. So I gaze into my mirror and seek out the interlopers like a sniper with a cause.

This after I have shaved my legs and creamed them carefully.

Now I pick up my whirling wind machine and attack the hair on my head. Much rides on this task. Will this be a good hair day? A good hair day means a spring in my step, a sense of bliss oozing in joyful confidence, possibly a compliment or flirtatious greeting on the greens. Maybe a promotion. A bad hair day means avoiding chapel, missing meetings, failing to complete assignments and possibly being called in the principle's office to hear about a wage reduction. SIGH

I cannot help but ponder the importance of hair to our well being, self esteem, beauty and status in the culture. I bet 80% of our grooming (more?) is about hair. Taking it off, coloring and styling it, trying to get it to grow or trying to make it disappear. Hair it seems, is powerful. It makes us who we are. It determines where we are in the pecking order of life.

And yet - there is a variety of person who intentionally removes their hair, and it is a sign of strength. Maybe these men look strong to us because they can live above our hair slavery, and simply check out of the game.

And perhaps similarly, this is why the man with the notorious comb over is so easily mocked. Perhaps a comb over is the ultimate slavery to hair addiction and the reason they are viewed as being somehow weak.

My conclusion is this. All we are, really, is a canvas for hair. What we are depends on how we manage that hair. Like a cosmic test ... will you trim it? curl it? bail it? remove it? All this says so much about who you are. And whether we should love you. I understand so much more now.

Ladies, start your tweezers!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Health Care... just saying

Okay. I have tried hard to NOT be political on my blog. That is why I sometimes talk about birds, or flowers. I know there are all kinds of SERIOUS opinions on politics, and not being an American I know I am not invested in a party or an ideology like some who read this. So I will try to be tender. I will try to just say what I see.

First of all, health care is not a sign of end times. It horrifies me to hear the kind of rhetoric being used to damn and condemn people and plans. Even leaders who have the ear of people are being unwise - Sarah Palin's blog - "time to reload" ...with gun site points on a map of America pointing out those who should be targeted.

Canada has had a socialist approach to health care for all of my life and we are not tipping into apocalypse. I know many people disparage health care in Canada, telling horror stories about waits and poor treatment. Those are the exception. Granted, our doctors don't have unlimited ability to inflate their incomes. Some go to the States because the income is more lucrative. I am not judging that - just saying I know it is a factor.

The reality is that universal health care (which the US is still FAR from having) gives us this:
- Every pregnant woman has the chance to have doctor's care
- No one is forced to suffer with a treatable disease
- A sick kid can be taken to a doctor without hesitation
- An injury does not need to go untreated
- The poorest sickest least contributing member of our society is treated with dignity and care equal to the most important person
- no Canadian has gone into bankruptcy because someone in their family became ill
- There is no such thing as 'previously diagnosed illness' preventing treatment

You might want to note that while American citizens are spitting at each other over providing some level of care to everyone, the biggest debate in Canada is over relaxing the laws that prohibit private health care that enables a rich person to 'buy' better more privileged health care. The prime minister uses the same health care as the unemployed farmer who lost his farm in the recession.

Here are my questions:
?Why do arguments about health care involve God? I understand health care as a public humanity concern - not a religious one.
?Why is it that people who share (relatively) similar views as mine on faith are some of the meanest, vilest, most fearful participants in this argument?
?Why do the Republicans and Democrats not both work together for the country they say they love? It seems to me that both parties would rather see the country die than lose their position of pride. Just saying.
?Why is it that some of the most vocal opponents of health care are the poor who need it? Who is feeding them such fear - lots of it is religious I hate to say - and making them the spokespersons for those who are protecting wealth and privilege? This is confusing to me.

We are haters. Very big haters. I am just saying what I see.

One more thing. I am the daughter of a steel worker. We lived in a three bedroom house, all eight of us, with one small bathroom. Not unlike other families in our city, we ate porridge at the end of the week, recycled clothes and shared one bike between six kids. But we went to the doctor when we were sick. And we were born in a hospital.

I remember every month a dental clinic that was set up about ten blocks from our home. Street urchins (like me) took a quarter with the face of the queen on it (yes, .25 cents) and stood in line, waiting to see the dentist. One by one we would hand over the sweaty quarter and climb into the chair to have the dentist peer into our little mouths and fix cavities.

Thank God for Tommy Douglas (a Canadian Ted Kennedy type) and one of the greatest Canadian Prime Ministers, Lester Pearson, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, who brought in health care. Just saying.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Meg sent me the best letter including a poem she wrote, a framed picture of her (she framed it) and a little butterfly eraser that she said reminded her of me - "Your bright and happy"

Here is a poem I wrote for you
Put me on your bedroom shelf
Whare you can see me smiling,
No matter how many miles apart,
My smile is always close to your heart.

Monday, March 15, 2010

my people and love

I have just spent the weekend with my people - Rachel and Curtis and Vincent and most of all The Girls. It wasn't really a weekend, it was 8 hours of driving on Friday - then eight hours of driving on Sunday and between that, 40 hours of love.

From the outside it would seem I spent the whole time spending money. I went shopping with Kyra, 12, and we ended up buying three new books she needed badly. Then I went shopping with Megan whose birthday was the reason for the trip and we bought a fabulous new outfit for her from Justice. And a milkshake. And an earing holder. And then we bought some movie tickets to see Alice In Wonderland in 3D. After that I went shopping with Rachel and again, an outfit, and a pair of shoes for Vincent, and maybe we accidentally bought a couple new shirts for me. Then of course we had to have dinner out, Rae and me. We do that as a ritual of womanhood and friendship - a dinner with no dieting and no budget references. These are our best times - long luxurious conversations that have no hesitation or self protection garnished with laughter, self disclosure and a good sprinkling of hopes.

So. Really it was a bit of a shopping extravaganza. But mostly it was love. It was being together with each person in an intentional listening kind of way, sharing life and providing a bit of luxury. Love does not come in a shopping bag but it can fit inside one, if the people holding the bag are also holding hands.

A weekend like this might seem to be a bit of an effort for small gains, but if you think that you have no idea what it was to me. I smiled all the long drive home, quietly soaking in the joy of being in a family, of having people, of loving ridiculously and easily. Kyra and Meg sit ON me as easily as beside me. Rachel and I enjoy a fully open womanly friendship, the boys welcome me with hugs and happily eat my roast and pie.

When you can only be a gramma now and then you have to pack a lot into the minutes. I'd say we did that pretty well this weekend.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

priorities in Canada

Headline from todays Calgary Herald Business Section ...

"Air Canada Bumped For Hockey Gold"

CP: The country's largest airline has learned it sometimes has to take a back seat to hockey, the head of Air Canada said. The airline was forced to delay a flight from Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games because passengers watching the end of the gold medal game final on airport televisions ignored repeated calls to board.
"We incurred a flight delay for a reason Air Canada had not encountered in over 72 years of existance," chief executive Calin Rovinescu told a business gathering. The Canadian fans were rewarded for their delay, as the nail-biting end to the Olympics saw Canada beat archrival USA 3-2 in overtime.

Smile! Go Canada

Monday, March 8, 2010

Kyra's spelling bee

Kyra, top right, is fabulous! She was 13th in the spelling bee and always a great spirit, win or lose. I am going to see the whole tribe this weekend when I drive out there for Megan's tenth birthday.

Meg and I have to plan her 'mimi trip' - a solid commitment for the tenth year. We are leaning toward Disney. Other than that, she wants me to give her a shopping trip to Justice for her gift.
Other than that, my personal saga continues. The furnace we own is a lemon, endless trouble. Last night it refused to shut off the fan, even if I shut off the system. That means it blows cold air from the attic into the house. Very frustrating. So I climbed into the attic space and applied the process of restarting it - which works if you hold your tongue just right. I will replace the filter today, although it is not dirty. A very fussy furnace.

As well, two days in a row the coffee has been very poor. Tragically poor. Yesterday I poured it out and tried again. Today I just drank it like it was. I need a wife!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

three words

I just watched the best little news clip where Oscar nominees wrote their life, feelings, or whatever in THREE WORDS.

What would you write if you had just THREE WORDS to express yourself. Tell me!


love is everything

YOU are precious

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Monday, March 1, 2010

one day closer to spring

One time I was walking through a deep cut valley behind our house in Calgary - trudging in my own private deep cut valley of soul - iron sky above me, gravel under my feet and dead scraggly bushes scratching my coat - not even one bird singing. I saw the black shriveled berries on the branches of the bushes and thought, These are dead like me. I am just a black shriveled berry. I plucked a couple off and they broke off easily from the frozen dead branches. I rolled them in my hand - they were hard and dry.

So I threw them to the ground and crushed them under my foot. But when I removed my foot I saw a smear of the most brilliant florescent lime green on the ground. The only color in the entire landscape. It shone. The inside of the berry was totally alive with brightness. Not just life - brightness. I started to cry and collected a stem of berries, cupped it in my hand and nursed it home... and taped it to the front of my journal. I told my daughter (then 16) about what I had found. A moment of hope. A crocus moment.

A day or two later I realized the berries had been knocked off my journal. All that was left was the brown stem. I said to my daughter, fatalistically, See... these berries were my hope. My hope is gone. All that is left is the stem. This means I am as dead as I feel.

She said back to me .... No mom. That is not what it means. It means that you have to learn to secure the important parts. The stem is left because you secured it. But you didn't secure the berries.

From the mouths of babes, huh?