Friday, March 31, 2006

Can we say juxtaposition of incongruities?

Then lets! Because it is so fun to say!

Okay maybe not.

Anyway, what brought that on was I am, reading A Hat Full of Sky, with Bruce Cockburn's "All The Ways I Want You" running through my head.

Maybe I should go watch the other half of last night's episode of Lost, just to make things really clear ...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Can't put anything past that one

I told A the other day that people who read my blog often comment on what great kids I have.

A stared at me in disbelief.

"Well you're only telling half the story, then."

Nah. I'm telling at least three quarters of it :)

Why I Love Terry Pratchett

(subtitled "I am SO writing, what makes you think I'm not?")

From A Hat Full Of Sky

"Miss Tick sighed. It was difficult to talk to someone who paid attention all the time. It put you off."

"[They] hated writing for all kinds of reasons, but the biggest one was this: writing stays. It fastens words down."

"None of the Feegles laughed. They liked their humour to be a bit, well, funnier."

And I'm only on page 42!

Quote of the Day

"I have a kitchen because it came with the house."

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


After a completely gob-smacking chance encounter Sunday, which left me reeling with many-layered emotions in almost all possible directions, this post at Wittingshire could not have come at a better time.

Your motives are not entirely pure in wanting to see other people perfected for God's glory: People's faults bother you because you are too fussy and hard to please.

You can help others more by correcting your own faults than theirs. Remember--and you should, because of your own experience--allowing God to correct your faults is not easy. Be patient with people--wait for God to work with them as He wills.

You need to be more tenderhearted and compassionate toward the faults of others. Let everything that bothers you flow like water under a bridge. Live in the presence of God.

--Francois Fenelon, The Seeking Heart


Many of you who know and love us will want to know what happened on Sunday, and in deference to A, all I can say is we bumped into Z. In almost all ways, this was a very good thing. As always, Z was a grown up when it counted. The post above is God gently rebuking me for my internal reaction to the one clang in an otherwise much-needed experience.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Go read this

I could not possibly post something better to read on this lovely spring day than the post entitled "Winning" at this blog.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Pick One

a) hunger pangs half an hour after lunch for a few weeks/months

b) an early death because you're so freaking unhealthy

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Maybe it's just me ...

...but I find even READING this sentence alarming to a noticeable degree.

If your eyeballs fall out of their sockets repeatedly,

Yes, I'd say that's something you might want to have dealt with.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Adventures with B

For some reason, when B and I are in the van together, he will often talk his head off at me. Those of you who have met the boy will realize what a treat this is. Today he had a toy from McDonald's.

"This is not a very good toy", he informed me.

"Why not?"

"First of all, they are trying to trick you with these outside wheels, when the real wheels are underneath."

I made an appropriate noise.

"And do you know what ELSE?"

I didn't.

"There's no such THING as eyes on trains. This is a toy for a LITTLE kid."

(ccap - I think it's in the Abby pile :)

We stopped at home for a few things, then back into the van we went. He hopped all the way from the house to the van on one foot, carrying his shoe.

"We're not in that big a hurry", I told him. "You could stop to put your shoe on."

"Oh, I know", he said, "but I was challenging myself." He paused, and grinned.

"And I DID it."

Monday, March 13, 2006

Another anniversary, also seven years ago

Note: A poem I wrote about this experience, Michaela's Song, is pending publication at - they've accepted it for their August issue.


I'd managed to forget the exact dates, but last week I was looking for e-mail someone sent just after my Dad died, and found e-mail that placed the memory in time.

We adopted three children - A and B are the ones we were privileged to be able to raise. In March of 1999, we had a tiny newborn girl in our house for just over 14 hours before her mother called, heartbroken, to tell us she just couldn't go through with it.

The thing about losing an adopted baby - it's a grief you're not supposed to feel. If a child dies, or you have a miscarriage or a still-birth, you're allowed to grieve that. Other women who have lost a child commiserate with you. I've read this poem about Michaela in public a few times, at Open Mikes, and other places, and I always get the same response. Someone who has had a miscarriage or a stillbirth or lost a young child will come to me, oozing compassion, and when I tell them my story, they shut down. "Oh", they say, shaking their heads, "so it's not like ..." and they trail off, not knowing where to end it, but the words hang in the air between us. It's not like she was really yours. It's not like you lost your own child. It's not like you were really her mother. And no, it's not like that, completely, but it's still a loss. For one long night, and one too-short morning, I was her mother. I fed her and changed her and rocked her and sang to her and begged her to sleep for more than half an hour at a time :) And when she did sleep, I sat in the rocking chair holding her, enthralled by her beauty. I unwrapped her to kiss her toes, and I slipped my forefinger into her fist and I inhaled the scent of her head. I know I didn't give birth to her, but surely some of that counts for something?

Friday, March 10, 2006

How it feels now, seven years later

paraphrase of what I wrote in my journal, a few years ago:

What you don't realize when someone that close to you dies is how much less gone they are than you expected them to be, once the initial agony wears off. (and it will wear off) I can still hear him singing in church, I can still see the face he made when he hadn't put enough sugar in his coffee. I can still remember him reading to my daughter, holding my nephew up to look out window.

It's not that he's gone - it's more like the spot labelled "Father" is complete. The biggest thing that's gone is his ability to surprise me.


Also, it must be said: I am much closer to my mother than I ever was, and my father needed to be gone in order for that to happen. I will hurt more, for better reasons, when it's my mother's turn to go. I would never have chosen for things to happen the way they have, and that's one of the reasons I'm so glad I'm not in charge of the choice.

Not really blogging about work

Note to smooth-cheeked man on the elevator:

One three inch long chin hair is not a beard, and gives you an embarrassingly intriguing profile.

Can we say learning curve?

Driving home from grocery shopping, I ask the children:

"Can you two work out who is carrying the groceries from the car to the house, and who is carrying them from the door to the kitchen?" (outside job requiring boots, inside job requiring removal of boots)

Long pause. Finally one of them says "Well fine if you're not going to say anything, Sibling, I'll just carry them from the door to the kitchen."

The other one replies "NO FAIR. YOU ALWAYS GET TO DO THAT JOB!!!!"

Me: whatever I said in response was covered up by the rhythmic sound of my head hitting the steering wheel. It was oddly soothing.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Joy in the Small Things

Whichever friend of mine it was that pointed out that meatballs will keep their shape if you cook them on a cookie sheet under the broiler - thank you. I am currently sitting in my kitchen beaming at two dozen marvelously round meatballs, feeling like Anything Is Possible.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Good news!

The Laundry Fairy exists! The suitcases are no longer safe, the children's dresser drawers are once more stuffed to overflowing (apparently some people rotate seasonal clothing - who knew? and no, I don't need a show of hands!) and I didn't do any of it, because I was helping the kids clean their rooms, and I decided it was Time to Cull, and ALSO - the Christmas tree is packed up!

The laundry, though - that feels like some kind of miracle. Of course, now that I've called him a fairy, it'll never happen again ...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Even though it's the pot calling the kettle black ...

conversation with A:

Me: "A this is no way to keep a room. You don't just look at things and think 'I have no idea where that goes' and cover them with a blanket!"

A: "Uh, Mom? Actually that's what I do do."

Also I am pretending I can't see her Tower of Previously Chewed Bubblegum, which is the size of a baseball and all the colours of the rainbow, because I told her if I ever had to lay eyes on it again, I was throwing it out. She protested "but if I keep it in a container, it gets all moldy!"

Friday, March 03, 2006

Good News and Bad News

She dropped the English accent.

She switched to an Italian one. And she was having so much fun with it she talked for half an hour straight.

and more on the Seven Years Ago theme

I cringe when I read my journal from that time. The only thing I wrote the day Dad actually died was nothing to cringe at - the words to a Twila Paris song.

"Sometimes my little heart can't understand
What's in Your will, what's in Your plan
So many times I'm tempted to ask You why ..."

The rest of it isn't so pretty. My mother and I have always had a prickly relationship - this was never more apparent than it was those first few days after my father died. When I look back on it, though, there's nothing to complain about. She'd just lost a husband, I'd just lost a father. Neither one of us was in any space to think about other people. The good news is that we're all still talking to each other. My brother was the glue that held us together, those horrible days between the death and the funeral.

It wasn't all horrible - it was like all emotions were hyperactive. We laughed uproariously over small things - we cried at the drop of a hat. People coming to give condolences might find us despondent, or my mother and I in fits of giggles. And as inappropriate as we often feared we were being, there was nothing we could have done about it.

The Sunday between his death and his funeral, the pastor at their church based his sermon on the verse that speaks about "the good and faithful servant", and he used my dad as an example. Many people got a great deal of comfort out of that sermon - and that infuriated me. It was no news to me that my dad was a good man, a hard worker, a dedicated volunteer. And all the pretty words in the world didn't bring him back to us.

One night when there was a housefull of company, my mother turned to ask my brother something, and accidentally called him by my father's name. For one searing instant, I was overcome with relief - Dad was actually here, and this had all been some kind of macabre test, and we'd gotten through it, and now we could all wake up and go home. (The switch labelled "Logic" had not flipped itself back to the "on" position yet)

There was a viewing before the funeral, and my husband and I and A were the only ones from my family who wanted to go. I don't fault anybody for their choices - I had to be there, and they didn't, and that's okay. We all get through things differently. My mother voiced her concerns the night before (at some middle of the night hour - we weren't sleeping much. One night both Mom and I went to sit in easy chairs in the living room, where my brother was sleeping. We sat there watching him breathe until he woke up with a start, muttered a hello, and went back to sleep) She asked me how I would feel if the body didn't look like Dad. I told her - I have to see him empty. I have to know he's gone.

I walked into the back of the sanctuary, and Dad's coffin was open, and the first thing I saw was his profile, and instead of breaking down and crying, I took the first deep breath I'd taken in five days. I can't explain it, but I know now that I needed to see him. If I had known how badly I needed to see him, I might have made an issue of it much sooner than I did. And standing beside his coffin, hugging people who filed past, felt like one last thing I could do for him. There was an immeasurable comfort in doing that, and doing it well.

she's not really doing anything wrong ...

but if my daughter does not soon drop the false English accent she's been affecting for the last two hours, there's a chance my head will explode.