Hear it again, dear sister, from Maya Angelou. It's softer. Just close your eyes and listen to Truth (the slide show kind of wrecks it for me).
What did your father do for a living?
My father rose before the sun, ironed his grey dress shirt (meticulously pressing first the collar followed by a perfect crease down each sleeve - Dad taught me how to iron a mean shirt), searched wildly for his keys, grumbled bitterly how he was late and hurriedly left on his 45 minute commute to Edmonton. He worked 12 hour shifts (some days more). He was a city bus driver. He was a union man. He did that for over 30 years - he's still doing it. And no, he doesn't love it.
What he loves is his yearly Bowron Lake commute - a week long canoe trip in the BC mountains (He's been doing that for maybe 10 - 12 years). That is his true love; out in the solitude of the wild away from the hoards of people dropping their coins in the bus box or wanting a clip on their transfers; out where there are no schedules to keep - just leisure and silence. Leisure and silence are two luxuries a bus driver does not have in the big city.
I went with him once many years ago. I remember vividly paddling in the front of the canoe while dad sang Irish Rover songs in the back - the gentle lapping of the icy lake waters his only percussion.
Okay, this song makes me happy - Jason Mraz makes me happy. What is it about his face that makes me want to rollerblade while eating a bubblegum ice cream cone? Is it just me? Probably.
I know I shouldn't write this but...did you know I made it through winter without catching a cold?! That is amazing! I hope I don't eat my words.
The other day Tansy and Emma spent some quality time together doing each other's nails and makeup. I thought I'd share some of their "after" pictures...
I don't think I was ever a big sister like this...you know, one you could look up to because she was so cool. Gosh, moments like these make me count my blessings...Life is wonderful (insert trombone solo here).
What are your earliest memories of church?
I remember singing time in Primary, wishing I could follow along in a song book. Many of the teachers had song book but the children were not permitted them for practical reasons. I didn't understand those reasons at the time (Actually, I still can't decipher those practical reasons to this day). I was expected to know the songs by heart but I didn't and so I didn't sing and coincidently singing times became a slow and tedious torture (hmmm ... is this where my aversion of musicals stems from?)
Eventually I discovered that we had a children's hymn book at home. I took it to my room and sang sang sang to a "standing room only" audience of angels and stuffed animals. I liked singing time much better in my room than I did in the Primary room. Truth is, that preference has stuck. I try to avoid most hymns at church and have been know to come in late to a few classes just to avert the opening hymn. I prefer to sing when I am alone and only God can hear me. When I am taking road trips on my own it is my favorite thing to do.
Don't get me wrong, I have many fond memories of going to church. Especially in my youth. There were many inspirational lessons and mentors at church. When I turned 12 I got to go to Young Women's class. This meant I wasn't "a baby" anymore. I remember one Sabbath afternoon, Amber (my best friend) and I attended our first Young Women's class. There we sat with the "big girls" in a tiny box room shoulder to shoulder against the wall. We were carefully dressed in our best Sunday skirts which hung prettily past our knees - the acceptable attire for maturing young ladies in our church (Amber & I were very good girls and modesty was our speciality).
However modest our attire, the Leader, Sister Orr (bless her heart) could no long overlook the scathing demeanor of our legs. "Stacy and Amber! Please put your knees together! Young ladies spread their knees to noone." Well! I must say, I've kept my knees together ever since!
Is that Mozart hair? Uncanny. Comfort accompanies our great composer who is using a new arrangement for her concert. Being somewhat of a virtuoso, she renounces the choking confines of sheet music. Instead, Emma places her favorite storybook on the stand and with silver-tongue, weaves a musical masterpiece. Her lyrics seldom rhyme and the harmony is wobbly at best but her cadenza has heart. I can't think of a better ensemble - Mozart pales in comparison and if he were alive I am sure he'd agree ( and ask her who her hairdresser is).
Proof that spring is coming. Maybe not soon but still, she is coming.
Nope. If I keep saying so it doesn't make it true.
This has been a tough winter, hasn't it? So many people have admitted how hard the season has been on their psyche. I've felt a touch of the cold pricklies myself. In winter's defence, we had been notified she was going to be a long cold one (I suppose I didn't really believe it).
My toes have been awfully cold all winter. That is a horrible horrible happening. I've not had such prolonged frigid feet like this. Cold feet make me grouchy - a new discovery. One evening I had a bit of a tantrum about it. I now appreciate warm socks more than ever before.
These are not flattering but they are warm and they don't make my feet itch. I call them the my "Russian Red's" ('cause Russia is cold - I've seen Dr. Zhivago). They've been good friends to me and I think I want to be buried in them.
Well, for starters, one should read Virgina Woolf...
I'm "in love" again. I know, it happens so often but the other day I stumbled (tripped even) into this critical essay written by her and now I eat, breath and bleed Woolf. She has such a way with words - everything she writes goes "tumbling in the misty depths (of my) mind".
I want to share a few words from the beginning and end of the essay in the hopes of enticing you to read everything else in the middle...
"The only advice, indeed, that one person can give another about reading is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusions."
"I have sometimes dreamt, at least, that when the Day of Judgment dawns and the great conquerors and lawyers and statesmen come to receive their rewards - their crowns, their laurels, their names carved indelibly upon imperishable marble - the Almighty will turn to Peter and will say, not without a certain envy when He sees us coming with our books under our arms, "Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them here. They have loved reading."
If anything, she has pursuaded me all the more to read and read and read. Not just fiction but memoirs, biographies and more poetry.
Her childhood education, because of illness, consisted of her father's library - where she had free range to read from the greatest minds. Her father had quite the literary mind and Virgina was well acquainted with many of his peers (all literary minds too). Wow! I envy her schooling and dream about my children spending hours amoung stacks of poetry and prose. I dream of saying, "Go dress for tea child, Mrs. Woolf is coming for a visit." (On second thought, that would be rather creepy as Mrs. Woolf has been dead for 7 decades - but you get my point, don't you?)
As I was reading about Mrs. Woolf I couldn't help but feel a small pang of sadness for my own daughter who is busting her butt to maintain a 94% average at school. As I sat in my own library, which has been carefully and thoughtfully gathered, I looked at all the classics sitting in the dust on my shelves. Tansy, who has a taste for good literature, has no time to read these lonely gems. She is too busy doing homework and for what? A 94% average? What is that, really?
It is a marvelous accomplishment and I am very proud of her dedication to her studies but why eat crumbs when the buffet is at your feet?
She said to me just the other day, "Mom, my friends were talking about how smart I am because I have the second highest average in grade 8. I don't want to be smart. I want to be wise."
I could have lost my eyeballs had they not been attached to my head - all I could reply, "If you read great books I'm sure you could learn some deep stuff..."
"I don't have the time, mom."
I know, sweet girl, I know.
I've pulled out some books and displayed them on the shelves - a subtle attempt to lour her to their pages and away from the drudgery of homework. Books like
What would you hope your children would read? I'm always looking to add to my list...
Describe the bedroom you had as a teenager. What was the view from your bedroom window?
My bedroom was painted pink save one wall which was papered in pastel rainbows. I loved to put up pictures, they affectionately cluttered my walls. I recall fondly three posters in particular - one of Mikhal Baryshnikov (who I was in love with), a poster of Disney's Beauty & the Beast and my most treasured poster of Vincent from the CBS television series (who I was also in love with - I was in love with someone every week - I haven't really changed have I?).
My window looked out onto the front lawn - not much of a view unless you like fields of alfalfa and back country roads (which I did). However, I do recall sitting in front of my window basking in the light of the full moon. As the moon moved in the night's sky I'd shift my position staying with her shine until she no longer streamed in. Sometimes I'd have to crouch uncomfortably in the corners of my room just to be her soft glow. I was a silly sappy romantic writing very truly horendously bad poetry by moonlight and dreaming of a lion-man knocking at my windowpane to "dance me to the end of love" (and yes, I was a Leonard Cohen fan too - only I didn't have his poster).
She came in the mail with all her butterflies. She has a curious edge to her, doesn't she? Kind of reminds me of the old fashioned photographs before people thought to "say cheese" and smile -those stoic figures who probably played a mean fiddle and threw their heads back and laughed merrily.
I like very much the raspy art of Julianna Swaney. Her delicate pen and watercolor makes me want to take a class at the local art store (I'm on the waiting list!). So I spoiled myself and got a print (before my birthday) and look what she sent in addition!
Months ago my sister and I got together to craft these adorable little sail boats. They are so simple to make and so rewarding I just had to share. You can get the template from Ann Wood - she has another charming paper mache pattern (check the rabbit hole to your right). I would love to make many more to happily hang in my girls room. I think it's time I formally invite you over to give it a try. Just leave a comment if next Thursday at 2:00 works for you.