Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Poppy and Tata

I love having a photographer in the family. This is another photo shot by my niece, Mindi. Her lovely subjects are my brother Michael, my sister-in-law Lawana and all their grandbabies; Ezra, Juju, Bella, and Jocelyn.

I love these people!!

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My Dad

My niece Mindi is a photographer extraordinaire. She took this picture of my dad last weekend. My dad is an eccentric who collects license plates (and a whole lot of other things too). He puts his collected license plates on his well-house. Tippy is the Jack Russell Terrier that goes everywhere with my dad. You see one, you see the other.

Mindi, I love the picture and I think you are super talented.


Hallmark Cards

1. I always wanted to have someone to hold, someone to love. And now that you've come into my life...(Inside card) - I've changed my mind.

2. I must admit, you brought religion into my life...(Inside card) - I never believed in Hell until I met you.

3. As the days go by, I think how lucky I am...(Inside card) - That you're not here to ruin it for me.

4. Someday I hope to marry...(Inside card) - Someone other than you.

5. When we were together, you said you'd die for me...(Inside card) - Now that we've broken up, I think it's time to keep your promise.

6. We've been friends for a very long time...(Inside card) - What do you say we stop?

7. I'm so miserable without you...(Inside card) - It's almost like you're still here.

8. Congratulations on your new bundle of joy...(Inside card) - Did you ever find out who the father is?

9. You are such a good friend. If we were on a sinking ship and there was only one life jacket...(Inside card) - I'd miss you terribly and think of you often.

10. Looking back over the years we've been together, I can help but wonder...(Inside card) - What was I thinking?

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Leonardo, Soul Brother

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" --Leonardo da Vinci


Friday, February 23, 2007

Photos from a Pro

Check out this site belonging to my niece. You'll be impressed -- especially if you know these people.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Tonight my girls and a couple of their friends are going to a Jars of Clay concert. Doesn't that sound fun?

Thursday Thirteen is a bunch of trivia that I found interesting.

1. The names of the continents all end with the same letter with which they start.

2. The word "listen" contains the same letters as the word "silent".

3. "Almost" is the longest word in the English language with all the letters in alphabetical order.

4. 55 per cent of people yawn within 5 minutes of seeing someone else yawn. Reading about yawning makes most people yawn. Did you yawn when you read that?

5. The term "devil's advocate" comes from the Roman Catholic Church. When deciding if someone should be sainted, a devil's advocate is always appointed to give an alternative view.

6. The word 'news' did not come about because it was the plural of 'new.' It came from the first letters of the words North, East, West and South. This was because information was being gathered from all different directions.

7. Alma mater means bountiful mother.

8. The most common name in the world is Mohammad.

9. The term, "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye" is from Ancient Rome. The only rule during wrestling matches was, "No eye gouging." Everything else was allowed, but the only way to be disqualified was to poke some one's eye out.

10. The average person falls asleep in seven minutes.

11. Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.

12. A survey of people's greatest fears had the following results: a.) Heights, b.) Snakes, c.) Spiders, d.) Public speaking.

13. Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of where they grew up.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hairy Heartburn


A Johns Hopkins University study found a correlation between babies born with lots of hair and their mothers having heartburn while they were pregnant. Evidently, a hormone that relaxes the bottom of the esophagus - thereby causes heartburn - is also influential in fetal hair growth.

I love snippets of information like this.

My heartburn pregnancy was Stephanie. She had a good amount of hair.


Baby Amellia

This is Amellia. She was born at less than 22-weeks gestation weighing 10 ounces and was 9 1/2 inches long. Can you believe someone so small and fragile can survive outside the womb? But she's 4 months old now and about to leave the hospital. Currently she weighs 4 1/2 pounds and is 15 1/2 inches long.

Notice how she compares to the ball-point pen for size. This picture was taken when she was a newborn.

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What Sorry Looks Like

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Monday, February 19, 2007

18 years ago today.

February 20, 1989

I have humbly observed that every mother thinks her pregnancy, labor and delivery is the only one the world has ever known. Logically, women know otherwise, but when it comes down to the bare bones, yes, she alone has experienced true labor and delivery.

I have tried my darndest not to be that kind of person. Not that I'm not that kind of person, I actually am. I clearly believe that MY pregnancies, labors and deliveries are really much more significant and colorful, than anyone else's. However I have tried not to act like that is what I believe. When women sit around and talk about dilation, mucous membranes, episiotomies, stitches, ripping and tearing, I have, for the most part, let them have their moment of fame, pretending that I actually believe that their's, not mine, was the more interesting. Today all of that changes. This is my blog.

18 years ago today, I had a baby. We named him Christopher Michael. (Stephanie wanted to name him Christopher Robin after the boy in Winnie the Pooh).

It was one of those dreadfully long pregnancies -- 14 or 15 months, depending on my mood. He was due on February 12. On the 13th I cooked up a plan to make him come on my birthday (14th). I went to WalMart and bought a bottle of castor oil. That choice was one of my many poor choices in life. All evening and into the next day I heaved and poohed, heaved and poohed. I vowed if anyone suggested castor oil ever again that I'd slug 'em.

I threw up enough to recycle the castor oil 17 times. The slime that I projected out of my being was, as you may have guessed, very oily. I threw up in the living room, several times, hence the stain right in the middle of the living room carpet. We never got it out. Oil does not extract nicely from carpet.

I was committed to Bible memorization throughout my pregnancy. I laid in the bathtub every night reciting and/or practicing long passages of Scripture. I worked on Deuteronomy 28, but never mastered it. I mastered Psalm 23 and Psalm 121.

Stephanie's labor had been long, laborious, and unpleasant. Being the wise woman of 23 that I was, I contrived a plan to outwit the system. I planned to stay home until it was time for him to come. I had not enjoyed the prolonged naked exposure the first time around and thought I'd circumvent a lot of that this time.

I went to great lengths to make sure things went just right. I pre-admitted myself. (Does that hospital still have that idiotic system of making a woman in labor sit there in admitting filling out insurance documents?) Well, they were only going to abuse me like that once. Second time around, I was wiser. I was totally prepared.

It was a Monday morning and I was scheduled to be induced at 7:00. At 5:00 I woke with a bang -- a big contraction. Being a reasonable woman, I went and showered, rolled my hair, put on makeup, barely able to stand for the pain.

Since I was supposed to be induced at 7:00, my mom phoned to check on me. When she learned I was in labor she came over. The contractions were very powerful and about a nano-second apart, yet I was committed to not be at the hospital before 7:00. Humbly, Mama suggested several times that I re-think my plan and head to the hospital.

Kent showed up at 6:50 and I laid down in the backseat of my little station wagon and away we sped. The pain seemed unbearable. I began quoting my Bible passages for comfort, getting louder and louder during contractions. "I look up to the mountains--does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth? He will not let you stumble and fall; the one who watches over you will not sleep. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never tires and never sleeps...."

When we got to the hospital I told Kent to go in and tell them I was pre-admitted and I wasn't coming in till my bed was ready. (Yes, I really said that.) Kent knew enough not to argue with a woman growling Bible verses. He left me there in the car screaming Psalms 23. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.Yeah, though I walk through the valley, thank you Jesus..."

Inside the hospital, Kent told them what I'd told him to: I was pre-admitted and I wasn't coming in until there was a bed ready for me. The nurse said to Kent, "Mr Rose, that's not how we do things."

Wisely, Kent said, "then you go tell her." The nurse came to the car with a wheelchair and away we sped again. Within 7 minutes I had a boy.

Without contest that delivery was my fastest. It was intense, but there's a lot to be said for brevity.

When Christopher was placed in my arms in the delivery room, all I could say was,"oh my son, my son." I was so happy. My thoughts weren't coherent though. I said the same thing over and over. I felt silly saying it, but it was all that would come out. When I opened my mouth, it would pour out again, "my son, oh my son."

Christopher was a picture of contentedness. I loved showing him off; he made a good impression every where he went. He smiled, cooed, laughed and delighted people wherever he was.

He had the chunkiest, roundest little body making him heavenly to hold. Oh how I loved him.

Oh how I still love him. He's 18 today. Soon he'll finish high school and be moving on to college. He's a good worker, a kind person, still gentle just like he's always been. A perfect gentleman. Now instead of a chunky round baby, he's a long and lean man.

My verse for him is Proverbs 22:23,24 "He who has a wise son delights in him. May you father and mother be glad. May she who gave you birth rejoice." I'm still praying that he'll always be wise and I know that the one who gave him birth does rejoice in who he is.

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Holy Aspiration

My purpose in life is growing. In life, I want to grow and change. I want to be different tomorrow than I am today. I want to grow as a wife — to be more in love with my husband, to hold hands more often, to enjoy long talks late into the night and to share our hopes and dreams. I want to grow as a mother — to watch my children mature into their own destinies. I want to grow as a spiritual person — to become kinder, wiser, more hopeful and more understanding. I want to work at my job with joy and honesty and integrity. I want each day to be filled with fun and excitement and challenge. And I want to help others bring about meaningful changes in their own lives, by sharing my discoveries and ideas. My purpose in life is fulfilled by giving and through helping others grow.” - Allyson Lewis


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Kipp and Kim

As you may have guessed, I've discovered youtube. The problem is, there are lots of funny things but they seem to all have something crude in it. I don't do crude, well, not usually. But I wanted to share this one because there is someone this guy reminds me of. Can any of my family members (who know my family members) identify who this guy reminds me of. Now, mind you, my family member is much smarter, he just has a similar sense of humor. Humor me. Tell me who this guy reminds me of.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Birthday Photo

Anyone who knows me knows how self-conscious I am about having my picture taken. But someone wanted to see a birthday picture. Gordon took me out for a nice dinner tonight and then we went dancing. I guess that explains the stringy hair. It's not very flattering, I know. In person I'm much better, really I am. It really embarrasses me to post such a blurry, unflattering picture. Beggars can't be choosers, eh?

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Happy Birthday to Me

With much second guessing and trepidation, I am posting my favorite birthday greeting of the day. If you want to say something nice and send me your greeting, please know you have my blessing in the comment section. If you wish to be mean to me, go to There you can leave all the rude stuff. This birthday wish is from my sister Stacie.

Happy Birthday, Valerie.

You always write such eloquent birthday tributes to those you love and this simple greeting seems so pale in comparison.

What do I love about you: You have the most wonderful humor. You can make me laugh like no other and you laugh with me so whole heartedly. You writing is so fun to read because it can make me laugh though you are so subtle in the effort. I'm so impressed.

You are a great listener. Truly. You don't interrupt (like me) and I always feel like you really hear. Poor souls that have no one to listen. You listen to me blab on about what I made for dinner, what I wore to work, all the places I went, blah, blah, blah. Wonderful.

You are a willing learner. I mean, you've learned to sew, candle make, quilt make, cake decorate, geneology sleuth, write, etc? You do it with gusto and competently. I stop before I start because I know I can't be an "expert".....

You are humble. Yes, you are and no, you haven't always been.

You share freely and graciously your mistakes, misjudgements, hurts, pain, embarrassments, social errors, mis-steps, etc. There is something "freeing" about it when you share your confessions so honestly. God bless this trait.

I think I may be out of room, but you are a wonderful sister. I love you so much and I am so blessed to have such a dear dear friend and confidant. You are important to me and I miss you ever so much. Post this if you like and maybe others will add their love. If they don't, I know you will humbly learn from it :)!

Happy birthday, stacie

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Fruitcake Lady

This site is hilarious, but admittedly it has some language and attitude. But it's funny. I hope you enjoy. If you do, leave me a note.

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My grandson Roman doesn't exist. Who we thought was Roman is actually a she and her name is Avery Grace. If the ultrasound reader says something different between now and the delivery date, I will refrain from updating you. Something is weird about going back and forth between girl and boy. At birth, the results are 100% conclusive and at that point I will feel no trepidation with the findings.

Please join me in praying for the health and safety of Baby Avery and her mommy Stephanie.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Rachael and the Flute

There is an emotion that mothers have that as far as I know has never been named. It's a mixture of pride, pity, protection and maybe a few other vague emotions. It happens when we see our children do something in innocence that is so sweet, yet for reasons I don't understand, it hurts us. I remembered one of those today.

When Rachael was three, a new couple started coming to our church. The lady played the flute and quickly became a member of the worship team. One night we were at the church during worship practice. Rachael, who had never seen a flute before, sat on the front row, totally mesmerized. She stared at our new friend throughout the practice.

At the end of the practice session as the musicians started putting their instruments away, Rachael looked admiringly at the new lady and said, "I like your whistle."


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Buttons and Shoes

Our little Bear Dog has made a tasty discovery. Gordon leaves his shirts on the bedpost, (drives me crazy, but that's another story), and Bear has discovered that each shirt sports buttons. Last week Gordon had 3 shirts hanging there when Bear learned the joy of chewing buttons off, one by one. Gordon put one shirt on to discover it no longer had buttons. Frustrated, he sighed and grabbed the next shirt on the post. Alas, it had no buttons either. He huffed and puffed about the sorry dog and grabbed the third shirt. I cringed as I saw buttons missing before him. He was not happy pet owner. (He's not exactly a happy pet owner on the best of days.)

Today he went out to buy new shirts.

I remembered the first time we left Lucy unattended. We had always left her in one of the bedrooms and puppy-proofed it before we left. She seemed to have outgrown the need to damage things, so I thought she was big enough to be left to roam the house.

When we came home, it was not a pretty sight. She had chewed 3 of Gordon's shoes -- one mate from 3 pairs. Gordon uttered all kinds of threats and I feared he would send Lucy to the place where bad doggies go. He was so mad.

Later, that same day, Lucy chewed the heel off one of the shoes he had had on while we were out that morning. Gordon went as ballistic as he ever goes. He gave me, the kids, and the dog the silent treatment par excellence once he had regained his composure from ballistic-hood.

The next morning he got ready to go buy himself some new shoes. Once his jacket was on, he realized his predicament. Standing in our bedroom doorway he said, "Valerie, what do you propose I put on my feet to go out and buy shoes." I couldn't contain my laughter and even he saw the humour at that point.

A couple days later he saw I had put a good pair of my black shoes in a bag to send to Goodwill. He tried to get me to keep them. I reasoned that I didn't need them and never wore them. He said, "The way we're going, give it 24 hours and you will need them."

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

a strong man

After my post called A Clueless Man, my Aunt Jill left a comment regarding feminine hygiene products and strong men that buy them. Gordon is indeed a strong man, and I even have a story about that. (For the record, I've grown up a bit and Gordon's ways don't send me reeling like they use to).

In 1998 I had a miscarriage. It was a bloody affair which I have to confess if I want to tell this story (which I never felt inclined to do until my aunt left her comment).

Anyway we went to the store on a crowded Sunday afternoon. I was feeling sad and blue and generally unhappy. Gordon volunteered to go in and get products one needs when having a miscarriage in the 12th week of pregnancy. (The 12th week thing is why it was so bloody and why I include that detail.)

(Are you still with me? Sometimes I even surprise myself with the things I will put on this blog. This conversation is so not me, but I guess that is where the virtual reality thing plays out.)

When he came out the doors of the store and started walking toward the van, my mouth fell open. Sounds of emotional agony escaped from deep within me as he walked toward me with 2 huge -- I'm positive they don't make anything bigger -- bags of sanitary napkins under both arms. They weren't even in shopping bags. I contemplated lying down in the seat before he got to the van to escape notice. He looked as cool as a cucumber, no inhibitions whatsoever as he opened the door and started throwing bags of sanitary napkins in the van.

I said, "Gordon why didn't you put them in a bag and why on earth did you buy so much?"

He bought so much to give me options. Wasn't that sweet? Bless his heart, he knew he was dealing with a fragile, emotional wreck. And he didn't put them in bags because bags cost 3 cents each and he thought it was a waste of money. (Yes it's true, at that store you pay for the bags you use.)

That's my "strong male" story.


Deep Thoughts

I have some memories that have been sparked by things in the news over the past few days. Seldom do I hear the expression "gold-digger" but that isn't to say I've not known a few. I use to know a lady who had that reputation. Stephanie knew her too and heard her called that name on occasion.

Several years ago Stephanie told me that she always thought that "gold-digger" meant nose-picker. I guess she used to watch the lady hoping to catch her in the act of diggin' for gold - in her nose of course. Smiles.

"Paternity-suit" is the other expression that rekindled some memories. When I was a young girl from a small town, there was young lady who got impregnated by someone she shouldn't have been impregnated by. What I mean is, she was married to someone else. Now I've never really understood how these things become "common-knowledge" but irrespective, I'm just telling the story as I remember it to be.

Unfortunately there was much gossip around this situation. Once as it was being discussed in front of my dad, he sat quiet and pensive. Remember this was before the days of DNA testing. After a few seconds of silence, Daddy said slowly and thoughtfully, "I've never understood how you can throw a rabbit in a brier patch and then claim to know exactly which brier stuck her."

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Friday, February 09, 2007

dancing retriever

I've shared this before, but I saw it again today and smiled all over. Check it out for loads of smiles.

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a clueless man

When Gordon and I were newly married and living in Cranbrook, we always struggled financially. It was there that I started learning to stretch the dollar. I learned how to buy in bulk, capitalize on sales, and read the flyers religiously. My shopping list was usually broken up into 3 or 4 places; Safeway, Overweightea, KMart, Canadian Tire, Shoppers Drug Mart, or Zellers. Between them, there were usually 3 or 4 stops for each pay period.

New to this expensive country, I found household items and toiletries painfully expensive and would look diligently for the least expensive razors, shampoo, toilet paper, dish soap, and the like by scouring the flyers every Thursday.

One time I saw Shoppers had their 24-roll Charmin on sale for $6.99. This was a very good price and I was quite excited. I asked Gordon to go and get some, which he was happy to do. A while later he returned with not one package, but two. 48 rolls of toilet paper. I was happy.

The next day, my friend Glady mentioned she'd seen Gordon the day before. Her expression told me there was something she wasn't saying. I didn't pursue it, but I certainly noticed.

That evening I asked Gordon about it. He couldn't think of anything unusual -- they just waved at each other as they passed when he went out for toilet paper. I was puzzled. I was sure Glady had more to say about it. I persisted, "You mean you only waved, you never spoke? You just passed on the road?," I asked.

"Yeah, she passed me going home," he replied, not understanding this interrogation.

I meditated on this a while. From the mall, Gordon and Glady both would have to head up Victoria Hill to get home. Glady wasn't exactly Cruella deVille behind the steering wheel, so I couldn't picture her zooming past Gordon on Victoria Hill. It just wasn't adding up. I was absolutely certain there was something in Glady's voice and expression that said there was something more. I was beginning to imagine horrible things Gordon may have been doing when he got "caught" by Glady. I entertained thoughts that Glady wanted to talk "woman to woman" and tell me something that would devastate me. As I pondered these irrational thoughts, I worked up a good amount of suspicion.

Smugly, I approached the subject again. "You expect me to believe that you and Glady were driving up Victoria Hill when she blew past you like you were standing still?"

Totally puzzled, he looked at me with a you're weird scowl. "I wasn't driving, Valerie. I was on my bike," he said.

Still in my interrogation mode, I said, "You went to buy 24 rolls, (pause), oh my gosh, you got 48 rolls of toilet paper on your bike? You went and bought 48 rolls of toilet paper on your bike? Oh Gordon, I am so embarrassed. How did you get them home?"

"It was no big deal. When I was leaving I decided to take the bike. I got some bungee cords to strap the toilet paper on with," he explained with no presence of guile.

Slowly the story was unfolding before me and it rang true for who I was discovering my new husband to be. I pictured him pedaling up Victoria Hill being invigorated by nature, waving cheerfully as he saw people he knew. There was nothing wrong with this, except the 48 rolls of toilet paper strapped on the bike.

I groaned with shame and wondered who saw him. How could anyone be so unconcerned about the opinions of others that they would not even recognize the possibility that 48 rolls of tp strapped on back of a mountain bike was a bit over-the-top?

I fretted and ranted something to the tune of why didn't you take the car? for five minutes. I raged, "Do you know what we do with that stuff?"

With mock cowardice he replied, "Well yeah, actually I do."

I yelled, "Well now all of Cranbrook knows and they're probably wandering why you and I need 48 rolls badly enough for you to bungee cord them to your bike."

Gordon has always maintained I care too much what others think. I realized he was sitting there proud of himself for not caring and really liking me letting out guttural groans of embarrassment. All I could think was, he's clueless! I married a clueless man!

I phoned Glady. She told me where they had seen Gordon and how the toilet paper was stacked precariously on the back of the bike; how he couldn't actually sit as he rode because the tp took up so much space. She told me she and Al had pulled up behind "some really sick person" on a bike and they howled with laughter at the poor person. Then they passed him and saw it was Gordon and he gave them a cheerful, un-self-conscious wave.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Houston, We Have A Problem

Poor Lisa Novak. It could've been me. I've done some really stupid things. I feel sorry for her and today thought repeatedly: Thank God I've never been in space. For if I'd ever been in space, my own foibles would have by now made international news. This, in and of itself, makes me very content to keep my feet on planet earth.

NASA plans to review their psychological screening program. Reading about that, I recalled a conversation I had with 2 pilots years ago. I was driving them from my hometown to catch a flight 90 minutes away. (This was a little job I did occasionally for my ex-husband's business).

Being in a car with 2 men you don't know can be a little strained, but these particular men were good conversationalist and funny too.

Evidently to fly for commercial airlines, one has to pass some pretty intense psychological screening. I do not remember all the details of their story, but I remember a few that tickled me and hopefully in the process of telling those, I won't totally screw up on the peripheral details.

These men told of psychological screening by a panel of persons that bordered on trying to make you insane. I guess the idea was if they succeeded in making you insane, you weren't fit for the job. One told of being screened for a couple days with grossly invasive questions. Have you ever had sex with your sister, mother, father, and other disgusting things like that. But this panel didn't just ask it once, they asked it over the course of days in varied ways. Can't you see why some folks (me) would break under the pressure of them trying to trap you in a lie. The panel had no sense of humor. In these screening times, humor was totally out of bounds. (Another reason I'd flunk).

After hours and hours of these questions, he started to crack, but the questions continued. "Have you ever had sex with an animal?," they asked. He said he stared at the panel and their stern faces and thought, what the hell. Then he answered, "Dead or alive?"

The panel was not impressed. "Have you had sex with an animal?," they repeated.

Sounding like a sheep, he replied, "That's baaaaa -d."

He did not get the job.

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Deborah and Hannah - Wild Ones

I just found another note to myself from May 2004. Hannah would have been 7 and Deborah 5. My note read:

Hannah and Deborah are in the kitchen playing like they're wild animals. Deborah is a leopard and Hannah is a cheetah. Hannah is running around "marking her territory" and Deborah isn't impressed that her cage just got "marked". (Of course the marking was only imaginary, we aren't real animals, ya know).

I'm straining to hear their game, but I think Hannah just claimed the bedroom closet as her cage and she's letting out a lot of vicious growls that are returned with ferocious roars from Deborah, the leopard.

"I'm the winner. I marked my territory on you first," Deborah asserts. "Should we mate?," she asks.

"No," answers Hannah. "Cheetahs and leopards can't mate." But just in case she's wrong, she double checks. "Mooommmm, can cheetahs and leopards mate?" I don't know the answer, but all my ideas aside, I quickly answer no, as I don't want them simulating wild cats - or domestic cats for that matter - mating. It seems the only safe answer.

The cat-girls are arguing like real sisters now. Deborah, in sensitive fashion just whined, "But it hurts my feelings when you won't let me in your cage." Hannah responds, " Too bad. In the circus cheetahs and leopards don't share cages."

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Rachael on Susanna Wesley

Yesterday I was looking for something in a box of writing stuff. I came across this note I'd written to myself dated August 2004 when Rachael was 8. It read:

Rachael has a new book about Susanna Wesley. She just said, "Mom I'm reading about a woman who had 19 children and 8 of them died. Freaky."

Trying to deepen her thought pattern a bit, I said, "That would be so sad."

She quickly responded with, "If I had 19 kids I don't think I'd be sad if 8 of them died. 19 kids couldn't even fit in our tree house."


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Just so I can say I posted something

Hello from way up here. By the way, do my readers know that Edmonton is the northernmost major center in North America? "Major" is debatable, as our population doesn't break 1,000,000. I don't know why I tell you that at this juncture, it just seems like an interesting bit trivia to share.

Creatively speaking, I'm a little on the dry side. I've been expending energies in other areas and blogging hasn't taken priority as it should. A University of Calgary professor riled me recently by writing that bloggers are lonely people, preferring virtual reality over real, thinking by blogging they get a dose of fame and feel really "heard". Poor professor, must be really lonely being him. But just to clarify and free myself from his asinine judgements I will purge:

Firstly, I'm not lonely.
Secondly, I have two realities. The virtual and the real. I do not see why they must be mutually exclusive. I can think of many things worse. Generally speaking, the two cohabit quite nicely. :-)
Thirdly, fame, from blogging? Give me a break. Mom, the sibs, various family members, and a few stray readers hardly qualify as fame. (If you're one of the stray readers, please know I appreciate you. Stray is a term of endearment. I use to always bring home strays.)

I said all that to debunk the fine professor. On the other hand, have you ever clicked on "next blog" at the top of the blog page? I've done that a few times and let me tell you, bloggers appear lonely and like they have no lives. I've thought, I bet you're a danger to society, more than once when I've read random blogs.

Another piece of trivia: Did you know that 77% of email traffic is spam? Now in my email box, it's more like 90%. I don't know what I did, but I got on some hot mailing list and now get a deluge of spam everyday. Occasionally I go to my spam garbage to see who is frequenting me with their projections of what I need. Fortunately the penile rings don't rank on my "must have" list, nor Viagra, not even the "we'll loan you everything you need to get debt-free" el'creepos. I hate spam.

Well, I have spewed a little and now you know my mood. My mood is actually more jovial than this post appears. I just wanted to post something and this is what came out. Don't you just hate feeling like you need to say something, but not really having anything to say. That reminds me of a story I might like to share next time I post.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Deborah in Colorado

When my sister Stacie and her family lived in Colorado, my whole family met there for Thanksgiving. Deborah was 18 months old and it was her first time away from her daddy. She didn't have a huge vocabulary, but it was clear she missed him. She would say "Daddy? Daddy?" I knew she wondered where he was and could tell she was mildly troubled by his absence. It was kind of sad.

She obviously favored my nephew Jeff. She had a strange little system of getting him to hold her. Instead of walking directly to him and climbing into his lap, she would stand in front of him and back up against him thereby making it really clear that he was now supposed to pick her up. He'd pick her up and she'd sit there contentedly.

I noticed this happening several times and was curious about her methods and why she favored him so much above the other men. I looked around at all my relatives and realized that of all them, Jeff resembled her daddy the most. Now I'm not saying Gordon and Jeff look alike, I'm just saying that I think he was the closest thing to her daddy in that house and she was wanting her daddy.

I was very touched by her being so innocent, missing her daddy, and improvising.


Friday, February 02, 2007


Crazy people get a bad rap, ever notice? I like crazy people. I find them refreshingly transparent.

When my family was together in November there were all kinds of strange and unusual things that happened. I will say, to our credit, that none of us saw Elvis or any UFO's. But in other areas, we may seem pretty tilted.

During one particular crazy conversation in my mom's living room, my niece Misty said, "We don't relegate crazy people to institutions or basements. We bring them out in the open for family entertainment." It was a fitting observation.

There use to be a television show about four Southern ladies called Designing Women. I respected and wanted to be like Julia. She was cool-headed, grounded, intelligent, and the wisest of the four. My brother-in-law always accused me of being like Suzanne. (I think her name was Suzanne - years ago, can't be sure). Suzanne was petulant, snarky, shallow, and self-absorbed. I didn't particularly like her character. In my mind, I was Julia.

Once Julia got particularly perturbed with some one's discrimination of a less fortunate soul. With feisty conviction she rebuked, "Here in the south, we are per-roud of our crazy people." (That word was southern for "proud").

Since I'm talking about Designing Women, my favorite Suzanne scene went like this: She was up north and was at a social event with some proper, sophisticated, arrogant women. She was feeling a bit looked down upon, but was nervously trying to contribute to the conversation. She asked some of the ladies, "So where ya'll from?" One of the snotty women replied, "Do you realize you just ended that sentence with a preposition?" Suzanne quickly retorted, "I am so sorry. Let me try that again. Where ya'll from, Bitch?" I howled.

I am no stranger to crazy people. They seem to really like me and want to be my friend. Gordon is no stranger to the less fortunate either. I could write a small book on encounters he or I have had. I love his stories about dealing with drunks, mentally challenged, disoriented, and crazy people. He is so kind to them and I respect him for it. The nature of his job seems to take him into all kinds of weird worlds. But even before this job, he seemed to always be there for those society looks down on.

Once we were at a live theatre. Sitting beside us was a downs-syndrome couple. They were close to 30 and were married, complete with brass wedding rings. During the performance there was a scary scene. It really wasn't scary at all, but to this downs-syndrome lady, it was. She jumped on Gordon's lap, buried her face in his neck and cried. Her husband stared blankly at her. Gordon patted her on the back and promised her she would be okay. She sat there until the intermission.

Occasionally we'd see them in town and they would always hug Gordon first. That is just the kind of person he is. People open up to him all the time.

Recently he had an experience that was so funny. Now I promise you, he gets this kind of thing often, but this particular scenario was a first.

He was called to a scene where there was trouble. The trouble is irrelevant to this story. But during his time at the scene he met a man who very matter-of-factly claimed to be Jesus Christ. In Gordon fashion, he engaged the fellow in conversation and even gave him a ride to a homeless shelter.

On the drive the man opened up about the hardships of being Jesus Christ. Being Jesus Christ in Edmonton in 2007 isn't an easy life. For one, no one respects you. Seems like everyone and their dog knows that part in the Bible about "turning the other cheek" and that is what he's always expected to do when someone tries to steal his bottle of whiskey.

Even his family treats him with hostility. His younger brother is so jealous of him and his being famous and all that he tried to sabotage the whole thing. His brother, in a fit of jealousy, started a rumor claiming to be the real Messiah. Gordon's new acquaintance was royally "pissed off" by his brother's claim.

Gordon listened with patience and amusement and interjected an occasional question. One question was what his brother calls him. He answered, "J.C. It's shorter that Jesus Christ and it doesn't call so much attention to me."

J.C. asked Gordon if he'd ever read the Bible and Gordon said he had. JC offered to explain things to him because "some people just don't get it."

Gordon asked him where he was born and his answer was Edmonton. Curious, Gordon gently asked JC why the Bible says Jesus's birthplace was Bethlehem. Without missing a beat, JC said that that part about Bethlehem wasn't precisely accurate. "I was born right here in Edmonton. That part about Bethlehem is to keep the whole world from flocking to Edmonton to see me."

Gordon dropped JC off at the shelter. As he swaggered in, JC swore at some "low-lifes".

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Fat is in the Air

This is Hercules. He was missing from his owner, but was found when he got himself stuck in a doggie door attempting to steal a snack. Isn't he huge?

These are 2 newborns in Cancun. The big guy weighed over 14 pounds and the other little fellow is of "average" weight. Can you believe this whopper? Can you believe someone's been carrying him around in her tummy? And you think you have stretch marks?

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Stray Bar


Thursday Thirteen

Things I smiled when I read today:

1) As I let go of my feelings of guilt, I can get in touch with my Inner Sociopath.
2) I have the power to channel my imagination into ever-soaring levels of suspicion and paranoia.
3) In some cultures what I do would be considered normal.
4) My intuition nearly makes up for my lack of good judgment.
5) I honor my personality flaws, for without them I would have no personality at all.
6) I need not suffer in silence while I can still moan, whimper and complain.
7) All of me is beautiful and valuable, even the ugly, stupid, and disgusting parts.
8) I am at one with my duality.
9) Only a lack of imagination saves me from immobilizing myself with imaginary fears.
10) The complete lack of evidence is the surest sign that the conspiracy is working.
11) Becoming aware of my character defects leads me to the next step -- blaming my parents.
12) I will find humor in my everyday life by looking for people I can laugh at.
13) To have a successful relationship I must learn to make it look like I'm giving as much as I'm getting.

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Flurries and Hannah

Yesterday, after a couple weeks of reprieve, the snow started flying again and the mercury dropped. Hannah phoned from her friend's house down the road and asked Gordon to come pick her up and spare her the little walk.

Gordon laughed and said, "This is normal Canadian weather. Why do you want me to pick you up? You're a Canadian."

Hannah replied, "Oh, but half of me is American and that's the half that's sensitive to cold."

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