Saturday, August 11, 2012

easy target

Sometimes I wonder if my life was written by the Greeks. An ironic tragedy yet to come to it`s pinnacle of ultimate demise. Other days I think they`ve painted me a comedy for their own amusement.

Either way, at least I`m entertaining.

I haven`t done research on this, no in-depth studies, not even a poll but I think I that on average with the general populous I have been a victim of theft at an unnaturally high [nigh unfathomably high] rate. This past week I went to take my recycling out to the back curb and upon opening the garage door find a gaping empty space where I had left two bikes and MEC trailer the day before. I have been met with this scene of life before. Different picture but similar theme. It always seems to happen when you're just going about your life, you walk into a home, a workplace, a parking spot or [as in this case] a garage and are greeted with that sinking sickening feeling that something`s not right. Then your brain puts the pieces together. Before you can think to yourself that having your stuff stolen is unfortunate but perhaps not on the level with Grecians sense of drama I should expand upon the circumstances.

We don't make a lot of money. I'm ok with that. We also have a lot of student debts which I'm not so excited about. It wouldn't be far off to say we're poor. If fact we are by the very definition in poverty. However,with money gifted to us we bought a $400 stroller/bike trailer. The one thing I heard from experienced mothers trying to get by on a tight budget was that they wished they had just put out money for a good stroller right at the beginning because in the end they spent just as much or more on a multiple of strollers that not only broke but didn't work well while in use. So we bought a good stroller and we bought it brand new so that we would be covered by a warranty [too bad warranties don't cover theft]. So we had done our due diligence and bought invested wisely. When summer was coming we began dreaming of getting bikes and being able to tow Kalam around the city in our versatile stroller/trailer getting exercise fresh air and adventure. Money was tight so we were stuck with searching Kijiji for used items. Again, I'm ok with that. It took a little time but we got a bike for me that worked well and a few weeks later we got a bike for free for Nolan. The trailer was on and I took Kalam out for the first time. With my phone in my pocket. In my shallow little summer shorts pocket [though they weren't hoochie mama or anything it's just that shorts pockets aren't really very deep]. We had biked a lazy indirect course for the splash park and sometime later I went to check the time [on my phone... I lost too many watches. hmph.] The phone of course was lost and despite my best efforts to retrace my route I could not find it. I wasn't terribly upset, I hated that piece of junk. It was a cheap pay-as-you go type phone Rogers gave me because it was the only free option that wouldn't extend my contract after I broke my last phone [also hmph...]. Someone at Rogers told Nolan just a few days before that that I was eligible to replace my phone. So no big deal maybe I'll even be able get something fancy. Except Rogers got it mixed up. Nolan was eligible, and his phone is on the fritz [so he needs it]. I would have to pay $160 to replace my phone. To replace my crappy bottom of the heap junk phone. My c'est la vie attitude was quickly dissipating. The real kicker is however that while I was busy looking for my phone I forgot to flip the latches that lock our garage door. So later on the lovely neighbourhood kids who frequent the back alley just rolled open the garage door [because they just walk around checking to see who might have forgot to lock up] and took our bikes and trailer.

Since Nolan and I have come to Winnipeg  five years ago we have been the victims of theft once per year. We've had our car broken into twice, broken into and stolen on another occasion, our home broken into and now our garage. The first few times people who are acquainted with our ministry in Winnipeg tell us that we must be doing something very good for the kingdom of God to make Satan mad enough to try and hurt us. Lately it just feels like Satan thinks I'm an easy target. Like those bullies  on the bus who told me I was fat everyday of my life because they knew it would make me cry.

At first I was angry just because this just keeps happening to us. It just seemed so dammed unfair that despite all your best efforts you're shafted at every opportunity. Then you start to wonder if it's not just annomaly, maybe there's something that makes you an easy target. It's not like I have loads more than other people or that what I have is better. Most of what we have is hand outs and second hand. Perhaps there's just an aura around our belongings that says 'These people are suckers. Take their crap'.

Then there's the guilt.
The guilt that I left the door unlocked.
The guilt that I insisted on buying new instead of used
[not that I would have any extra money to buy another trailer if we had though].
Guilt that losing material objects can make you so very upset. 
At a certain point all the emotions and thoughts cripple you and leave you with a kind of defeat that makes you cry out like David. Wondering why if this is what you are supposed to be doing why doesn't God just give you a little relief.

Nolan had driven around the neighbourhood for a long time looking for some indication of where our things might have gone and talked to people who usually are keenly aware of happenings in the area, but he didn't find anything. Some people never know what happened. And I felt like that would be the case for us. However, when I drove to the grocery store later that day that I noticed a group of kids hanging around on bikes by the little convenience store a few doors down.  On an off chance I drove slowly by scanning each bike and picked out one we had just bought for me second hand. Sans the trailer. I raced around the block, ran to the house to get my big intimidating husband and sent him off down the street. We found the kid who took our things and when he took off on my bike we still had his friends and witnesses. The convenience store owner knew where he lived, one of the kids told us his name. We went to his house and spoke to his mother. Pleaded with her to help us. We found the other missing bike but nothing else. Some days later we fond the other bike just laying around the yard, but it wasn't until  weeks later that the mother stopped Nolan on the street to tell him what happened to the trailer. The boy had taken it to the sister's house where her boyfriend took it to the pawn shop. We're hoping it will still be returned. A detective is following up and hopes that since we won't press charges we just want our trailer that they will be more willing to return it to us. Either that or we figure out the guys name and go to the pawn shop ourselves. Every pawn shop takes detailed information with everything they buy for situations just as these. If we know who brought our trailer in the Pawn Shop will have to return it to us [I guess after that it is up to them to persecute the person for the losses]. Also we've been told by his friends that the boy is feeling remorseful. I hope the feeling lasts long enough to have a favourable outcome.

And in the midst of the aftermath a friend called me up to say that a Rogers store called them up to tell them they had my phone and could they get me to call them. My crappy bottom of the heap junk phone somehow made it to a very different part of the city with barely any scratches.

I feel like there might have been a point to all this. There usually is with Greek tragedies. I can't put a finger on the moral of this story. Then again morals are usually meant for the audience.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

grow op in the ghetto


Well I'm not rich enough to afford a hyrdoponic setup in my basement, but I also don't need to hide my greenage from the cops. For the first spring in five years I have a place to have a garden even if it's not like a traditional garden. You know the kind, in the ground. forest Since we didn't have time to landscape before winter hit and then we were gone until spring was well under way our yard looks like a jungle [well maybe to a mouse]. I decided that the only way I was going to get a garden this year was if I did a little container gardening. In the last five years we haven't had a yard, no balcony, not even a fire escape. I had tried to fill the green spot in my heart with plants on the window sill but climate control was always a difficulty since we had 80 year old radiators controlled by someone else. Sure, blame radiators you think, perhaps you just don't have a green thumb. Perhaps it is the desperate reasoning of a girl who misses the contryside. My husband has been teasing me about all the plants I have tried to grow and have withered to their death and I had been puzzled by it. I descend from farmers, avid gardeners and dutchmen. Well, a farmer who was a dutch man, and my mother who was a very good gardner. I used to grow things. I used to grow them when I lived in Ontario. But perhaps it is as a friend from the praries used to decry; maybe Ontario is the promised land with milk and honey flowing and my plants grew of their own accord. However I think the farmers would argue that point. So would my mother [who managed to grow her garden with hard work in thick clay soil]. Whatever the case, I am forging forward once again and this time I'm documenting my success. Or lack there of.

Peppers, parsley, basil, mint, sage, tomatoes.
Also added a cucumber plant to the mix but it didn't make it into the photo shoot.

Now that I have the space to garden I have discovered, and I have not missed the irony of it, that I could have been growing a garden on my contertop with little risk of death. This past winter I finally gave in to doing my own sprouting [growing bean sprouts, alfalfa and the like at home with none of the nasty chemical fertilizers]. I had committed halfheartedly a few times in the past. I bought a packet of various sprouts here and there and grew them at home. And then didn't eat them. One kind I tried was a spicy blend and I have discovered there's just something unnatural about my green leafy salad having punch to it. Ikept thinking that I shold just try it on a sandwich, but I don't eat that many sandwiches so it was thrown out before the spicy blend was given a second chance. Also my bean sprouts turned out rather green and very untasty. But rather than give up, I do what I do best. Obsess and analyze until I have figured the problem out. Or to put it more kindly, I researched. I discovered lots of great tips [such as Mung beans need to be grown in the dark to prevent a bitter taste], sprouting equipment and companies that sold higher quality seeds, but none of them sourced in Canada. This meant that either they wouldn't ship to me or they would for more money than this penniless housewife feels is worth paying. Then my mother pointed out Mumm's sprouting; a Canadian based, organic sprouting seed company, with a [these words are always music to my ears] free shipping offer.

Mung Beans and Alfalfa sprouts

As I was reading theirs and other websites I came across micro greens. One of those terms I've heard here and there but didn't stop to look into. Turns out I'd had already had experience with growing micro greens and wasn't aware. When I was in highschool and for a few summers through college I worked in a hydroponic greenhouse. For the most part we grew lettuce. Rows and rows of lettuce. There were times I couldn't eat salad because I was sick of looking at lettuce. However we also grew Argula and Cress and I also remember experimenting with Corn shoots. They taste just like kernels of corn. In any case I think we just called them garnishes which is maybe why I wouldn't have thought to grow them at home. They don't take up a lot of space [unless you want to grow a lot of them], they don't take long to grow [most crops are done in a week]. The greatest thing about micro greens, however,  is that you don't need a lot to grow them. From the websites that I read and youtube videos I watched I saw different ways of doing it, [sprouting was easy, the standard method everyone does is that you need a jar, some netting and an elastic] some demonstrated with supplies specific to growing micro greens, others used other more generic equipment but the supplies were still specific to the gardening world and not often found at home. I really wanted to boil the process down to a bare minimum. Some people showed using sprouting trays [which look so nice and handy, maybe if I keep this up I someday splurge on], others 'just' use the common seeding tray. At the basic level what you need is a tray with drainage holes, and the one thing that most people have at home that fit this description is those plastic clam shells. You know the ones that berries come in. 
The other supply you need [besides the essential seeds] is a growing medium, the more humble of tutorials will tell you to use dirt. So why use the fancy terminology? Because fancy micro gardeners don't like the mess. There are several dirt-less options on the market, a type of growing mat that you cut to size and just plop into your tray. Dirt was out of the question. Having to pull out the potting soil every week to week and half [if I did this on a regular basis] spilling it on the counter and floor in the process just to have little trays of loose dirt sitting around. I'd knock it over in a minute, I'm a target for disaster. Add in that I have a toddler and there's no way those micro greens are living to see their first leaves. However I don't feel like investing in a whole roll of 'Baby Blanket' if this turns out to be a bad idea. A thought sprouted in my brain as I investigated,  why not just a layer of paper towel? The seeds really just need something to keep them hydrated. Since the plants are only alive for a week they don't need the space that a plant in a pot needs and they're also not alive long enough to need nutrients from the soil. So I scouted and 'googled' trying to find someone who had tried it out and I finally found a tiny little tidbit in the midst of a larger article [although if I hadn't found it I probably would've just tried it out], commenting that really you could just use a piece of paper towel. So there it is down to the everyman's level. Clamshell packaging and paper towel. That and a corner of counter space or a window sill is all I needed all these years.

speckled peas, black snflowers, and corn

And now some growing pictures:

Sunday, August 07, 2011


Faye and Spike from Cowboy Bebop


Nolan and I have been discussing how close together we should have our kids, or discussing again now that we have involuntarily  begun, and Nolan told me that he's hoping for a girl next. When he told me this I looked at him curiously, but before I could formulate any theories he explained that then the pressure is off.
I didn't look at him any less curiously... Apparently, since we already have a boy, if we had a girl next the gender score would be even. So if and when it came to considering a third we are free of the pressure to fill a void that may exist on our list of genders to have. Got to at least have one of everything. Teasing aside, it's a valid point.
So if we were to have a girl next I'd have to work a little harder at finding some options as to names. I noticed the last time around I had particular difficulty with finding anything I liked. Sure there are names that if I know someone by that name I'm not going to like you less because I wouldn't want to grace my child with that name. Although if you are a terrible person you may well have ruined some good names before it was time to consider them. I have always liked Eva, but for the life of me couldn't find a middle name I would allow to be paired with it. I'm kind of particular like that. The names have to flow together. Even if no one ever says their full name I want to know that if my child is ever faced with a situation where he does it won't sound ridiculous. Granted my child may still hate their name, like other children before have hated theirs, but they will have to admit that at the very least it has a good flow to it.
And now I've set a middle name precedent. The first one's got one, I can't not give the next one one. Otherwise someday I'll be buying her a pony out of guilt for not looking hard enough for a middle name we could all live with. I can't find a name in those name databases or books. Besides that 50% of those names haven't been used since the middle ages (although Bathilda does have a nice ring to it) If the name has no context or meaning to me it just falls flat. I'm not one of those people who pick a name solely based on it's meaning (Bathilda once again makes the exception with "Commanding battle maiden") but, nor do I feel the need to name my children after acquaintances, authors, cab drivers who have made a monumental difference in my life. I'm just can't pick a name out of a list never having heard (or read) it used before.
One name combination that continuously pops into my head is Faye Valentine, it borders on the line of possible and your relatives having an intervention on behalf of your unborn child. An additional difficulty is I already have to explain to my son that we named him after a fictitious assassin and that by no means we condone killing others a viable occupation. If I name a girl Faye Valentine then I'd have to explain that I named her after a lying, cheating, slothful gambler. Because with a name like that you know someday she's going to ask.
We're creating a great legacy for the Giesbrecht line. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

So for some time now I have been contemplating the idea of writing short stories based on nothing but a word and it's underlying definition. I have had daily emails for years now, where they send you a word a day with it's definition and examples of it's use and often there are some amusing ones. I thought the exercise would not only get me writing (if I'd actually do it) but it would also help solidifying new words into my vocabulary.

So I've finally committed to at least one attempt.

gangster bytwizzyizzy

1. To represent fictitiously; put on an appearance of.
2. To invent fictitiously or deceptively, as a story or an excuse.
3. To make believe; pretend.

Will sulked through the back alley sticking to the shadows. He hunched his shoulders and kept his hooded head drooped down. He kept visually and auditorally quiet but he failed to keep out of detection.
"Trying to hide Will?" Like a shock wave through his spinal cord Will's posture straightened from root to tip. His head flicked up and turned to look behind him.
"Hide? Never!" Will said this with a tint of mockery and flashed a sardonic smile.
"Don't act so confident Will" his rival stepped closer, "Jer's not here to protect your sorry ass this time and we've got you ournumbered five to one."
"My ass is my sorry indeed" Will craned his head and pretended to look at his backside, "it's my mother's genetics, no asses to speak of on her side"
"You think you can talk your way out of this? You think you're so smart. We're going to beat you senseless, but if you give it to me we might leave you breathing."
"Give you what now?"
"Oh you'd like to play stupid wouldn't you. Shawn here saw you take it. So cough it up smartass" He took a step closer and the others began to fan out around Will.
"Ok, ok. Whoa, take it easy." Will threw his hands up infront up him and stepped backwards. "So I took it, but I got to tell you I don't have it."
"Oh you'd better be lyin' Will. You had better have it on you."
"I'm serious I don't have it" Will continued to hold the throng back with a gesture of his hands. "It's kind of a funny story, but I think I can get it back." Will could see the rage rising in the face that stood in front of him."Hear me out, I promise it'll worth your while."
"How is you explaining that you lost something you stole from me gonna be worth my while you little terd?"
"I'm serious, just listen. So I stole it, that's true. And I'll be honest I was taking it downtown to sell it. It was gonna be my ticket out of here. Was gonna go someplace better, warmer, with lots of pretty ladies. Maybe Californa, buy a little place close to the beach. Maybe get a dog"
"I don't give a damn what you were going to do with it, tell me what happened" Fingers curled into a fist.
"Sorry, sorry. Just can't help it, I got big dreams. Ok so, I'm heading downtown- I was almost there too, ­­­­­three blocks away from the place, you know the one that's downtown. On my way there this huge brawl broke out, right outside of King's Tavern I got stuck right in the middle of it there was no way out. It was serious too, couple of guys knocked out right in the middle of the street. One guy lost a tooth. Me I got punched in the gut, landed me on my ass. So of course someone calls the cops and I'm trying to get out the situation as quick as-"
"You're telling me you got picked up by the pigs and they just let you slide, now I know you're full of-"
"Whoa, whoa, just let me tell you like it is. Yes they picked me up I was trying to sneak on through the crowd but this one copper, he just came from nowhere I swear.  But this is thing, the cop was dirty" Will threw out his hands even wider  "I'm not lying here, the guy was dirty as they come. He and his partner they grabbed the goods and threw me in the back. Only I didn't know they were dirty then. They get in the front and they start talking about what's gonna happen to punks like me. But then it switched, they just start laughing at me, and then tell me that they're gonnna take it, and let me off in the middle of nowhere. They tell me they're gonna do it cause they can, cause no one would believe a little shit like me." Will shrugged "And they're right, no one does. But this is the good part, I swear, they tell me they've got more and they told me right where is was. They did it cause they don't think I can do anything about it, like they were just throwing it in my face. But we can go get it, we could all make a ton of money."
"You think were gonna go against coppers Will? You think we're gonna walk into some kinda stupid trap?"
"No it's easy I swear, let me tell you"
"You've told me enough Will. You want to know what? I think you're a liar, I think you're just trying to buy yourself time with this bull-shit story hoping someone comes to your rescue." He reached out and grabbed Will by the front of his shirt and slammed him against a dumpster.
"Shawn, check him. I don't want to mess up my merchandise."
Shawn lanked forward and patted Will's pockets carelessly with the back of his hand feeling for the package. Nothing. Shawn blinked, and went in again this time with full palms patting Will up and down. He looked up blankly and shrugged, "It ain't there".
"Ok Will, I'm gonna beat you til you can't feel anymore, but before I leave you in this dumpster bleeding you're gonna tell me what you really did with it."
Just then someone came running down the alley, yelling.
"I just saw it, Jer and VInce just walked it across the Concord park"
The fury hit the top, Will's opponent pulled his arm back to get a good swing.
"Right across my own turf you little..." he went aimed for the right side of Will's head.
Will grinned, ducked under the oncoming arm with speed, then  kicked Shawn in the back of the knee and in the confusion ran out into the street.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

rhythm of the heart by tms696

I sometimes find myself overwhelmed with the busyness of life.
There are some people who thrive on it. One of my professors crammed every moment of his life with teaching, speaking engagements, meetings, leading extracurricular groups. He always had time for students knocking at his door, made time for family, relaxation and friends. And it between it all he wrote books, guides for others in his field.  Unlike that overdone message we see in movies of people who are successful at their career always sacrifice everything personal this man managed it all. I once looked at this through my own limited understanding thinking someday that man is going to drop dead of stress until I realized to him it was stress at all. I would have crashed and burned after a week of his schedule, but everyone has their own momentum.
I think I'm still trying to find mine. Instead of finding that rhythm to which my life lives and breathes to I feel as though my beat jumps all over place speeding up and, more rarely, dragging through. Unlike my professor a normal amount activity (such as a 'regular' full time job) seems to be more than I handle. Although I am habitually hard too critical of myself. Even though it has been years since a friend first made this personal defect clear to me  I have barely improved on allowing myself not to be perfect. What I mean by saying this here is that a regular full time job in the past 4 years has meant incredibly demanding and stressful work while outside of my job I have gotten married, moved 3 times, lived through a lengthy renovation in a small condo, had a baby, and all the while battling exhaustion from a physical condition. And yet deep in my heart I berate myself for not accomplishing more.
Honestly I fear that if I free myself from my own personal condemnation I'll never rise above merely wishing and dreaming. It is a tragedy that this condemnation is actually what keeps me from finding my rhythm.
I often crave a disciplined life. I envy those who can regulate themselves to wake up early and dedicate themselves to accomplishing what they want to, like my father. He got up early every morning during his working life, he always took time to sit down and eat breakfast. On weekdays he went in early, earlier than most other teachers, on weekends he'd take time to read the newspaper or (in the summertime) hit all the garage sales. When I was a child I remember father often woke me early and invited me to go with him, we'd have hit all the garage sales in Strathroy and gone for breakfast at McDonalds before others had woken up. Sadly I eventually got older and decided I'd rather sleep in than look for treasures amongst strangers junk.
And despite my cravings there is a part of me that just goes with the flow. The easily distracted part of me that  flits where my fancy goes however trivial or useless it may be.  To a degree I like this part of me, but I also appreciate structure. We all experience this, we all say it to ourselves it's just about finding the balance. It's about finding what works for us and then we find our momentum.
Some never find a momentum. Some never try. Some of us live life as a chaotic existence. So I guess I should consider myself at least one step ahead since I'm willing to pursue a life that has meaning.

Friday, June 17, 2011

(Continuing to share unfinished thoughts)
royal wedding day by woofwoof1996

enjoy it for what it is

After watching bits of the Royal wedding on both Canadian and American stations, it seemed as though the difference between Americans and Canadians-or Americans and the rest of the world-is that they can`t just enjoy something for what it is, they have to have it too.
It is the negative side of the American dream. people getting married in between footage of the wedding. The commentary goes immediately to how the wedding makes the commentator feel. The shows surrounding the footage, such as "Say yes to the dress" where girls find the dress for their own "Royal Wedding". And although there are many people who just want to drink tea, eat crumpets and revel in unique moment, there are also many of us who have difficulty accepting that we are not all Kings and Queens. Instead of being satisfied with celebrating with a cup of Earl Grey they try to find ways to share the spotlight. Granted Canadians do not escape the "American Dream" mindset, the only real difference is that Canada doesn't have a TLC channel of their own. We too fall susceptible to the trap of wanting it all.
The reason why this is such a big event is precisely because we are not. My sister was born on Valentine's Day and all through my childhood I agonized that she got lots of heart themed gifts on her birthday (however if you buy me something heart themed or shaped now I will be less than excited). I had a hard time accepting that I was not special in the same way my sister was. On a larger scale society has become like the jealous sibling who doesn't like that they don't have the same things their brother or sister do. It reminds me of the award ceremonies that celebrate everybody... It's one thing to be Daddy's little princess, but can't we let a real princess actually have her day without needing to crowd in the spotlight?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

what else is there by finvara

Sometimes I write and don't have time to finish my thought, so leave what I have written in blogger limbo, aka. a draft. More and more lately I have felt unsatisfied with the things that I have written, often struck with the notion that it is not worthy to be read or think that it is written in a feeling of the moment and tomorrow will no longer be true. The dissatisfaction with the things that I have written begins a spiral where either I write and don't like it, or don't write because I haven't liked what I've written. Perhaps I can break the spiral by posting even the incomplete and thoughts of a moment. The incomplete may be more likely to be completed if brought out from the dusty archives to see the light of day and the thoughts of a moment may yet have lasting truth if it can be mulled over in our minds. So here we go.

I think I am too emotional to work with people who cannot submit to reason.
Too personal to struggle with those who refuse to listen and think.
It is strange to think of an emotional connection with the power of reason. We often talk about them separately, as distinctive a difference as characters like Vulcans to teenage girls. Often in media we see this separation of heart and mind in the characters who play out the human drama. In fact it is spelt out for us that the struggle to balance between the two is the definition of what it means to be human. Sometimes I would like to think that it is due to an inability in our artists, authors and playwrights to capture a character who can capture the delicate balance between the two as so often the characters lean one way and/or then the other. However, they have unfortunately captured humanity only too well since we have not yet learned to use the two simultaneously.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

gift for you by nhuthanh

I have been operating under an assumption and yet acting contrary to what I have believed.
Since the discussion of baby showers has come my way my thoughts and expectations have been shaped by the understanding that baby showers are for gathering around new parents and helping them prepare for the burden of new parenthood.
As with getting married, the occasion of starting a new household, bringing a new life into the world can be costly. Helping new parents to me, seemed like showers were meant to aid the upcoming financial burden. After having a few discussions on the topic I began to realize that my assumption was not the assumption for all.  I had heard from many mothers is that they are always given more clothing than the baby could possibly wear before they grow too large for them (and given some things they would never buy themselves, while the vast majority of baby clothes are adorable the truth of all baby clothes being cute is probably about as true as every baby is cute. When Nolan was born the nurse told his mother to not worry as all of the ugly babies grow up to be the best looking people. He wasn't an ugly baby, but it just proves that everyone has a different idea of what is good looking). I also had enough clothing handed down from siblings and really don't need clothing. I had made this known and  so I suggested to others that maybe people could group buy or contribute to those but as it got closer to my due date I realized that people were waiting until after the baby was born so they could buy gender specific clothing.  Since most of the big ticket items would need to be bought before the baby was born I then felt panicked about the fact that they would all have to be purchased by Nolan and I.
It began to seem to me that if the point of a shower is for a community to gather around new parents and bless them then the point is defeated when the community does not endeavour to find out what the new parents actually need. Instead new parents receive things that they have more of then they can use and are given additional pressure in pleasing gift givers since baby outfits are like the "ugly vase" wedding present you got from your grandma. You go into a panic to find and display it when you know they're coming over. Except now you have  a much shorter span of time to show that you appreciate their gift and a lot more of them to display. Instead of blessing them the new parents are handed guilt and extra stress. I began to wonder if might be better to cancel baby showers altogether so that, even though parents have to buy everything themselves, they are spared having to please grandma by making baby wear the frilly, lacy, baby pink knitted sweater-bonnet-bootie set like what her babies used to wear. I know I'm picking on poor sweet grandma, however she is the only age group I can guarantee won't read my blog thus the greatest chance of avoiding insult.
Ok so I am outrageously exaggerating the dilemma, one for the purpose of amusement, but also to get around to making the point. I realized early in these thoughts that I have been equally guilty in how I go about giving a shower gift and I will never go about getting a shower gift in the same way. Also I should note that since the time of the above conversation I have had a surprise shower in which someone did endeavour to find out what I already had and asked what I needed. I also had family members take us out to purchase a few more expensive items which was such a blessing in helping us prepare. They were also incredibly patient as I changed my mind a million times about what I felt was needed. And finally as it turns out there is less that really needs to be bought then the big bad capitalists would like you to think. Anyhow I shall move forward as a greater thought was birthed through all this satire.
As I thought about my disappointment following the illuminating discussion -and also panicking a little about how we were going to manage to find all the money for what we needed- I began  to realize how this situation fit in with growing thoughts I had about gift giving in North America. The thought that overtook my mind throughout all of this is that people only care about what excites them to give. I had begun to realize this over the years when people have inquired from Nolan what I want for christmas or birthday gifts. Once someone  admitted outright that they would rather buy me something else because what I want doesn't interest them or they could understand why I wanted it. Another time someone wanted to buy something for me and Nolan (being the most attentive husband ever knows my taste inside and out) tried to redirect them to something similar as befitting to my style. He did everything but tell them that he knew I didn't like that style at all and then was then told that he was wrong and that I would like the first one better.
Deep down people want to have a shared experience through the things that buy for another, something that they can both be excited about. It doesn't necessarily need to be something that they are both interested in doing, for example I have recieved many gift certificates for wool stores from people who do not knit themselves. Though they do not share my excitement for that particular craft their world view allows them to accept my excitement as a viable hobby. On the other hand finding people who can understand my excitement for anime and manga is much rarer (It helps if you open your mind to the fact that their stories stem from a different history of folktales than our own Anglo-Saxon frame of mind. Also I just find the Japanese to have a hilarious if a different sense of humour).
The problem of gift giving arises in places like that of manga and anime, when someone can't understand why this is likeable. The problem arises when a detail or a portion of a persons personality is known but perhaps taken out of context. The problem arises when we try to mash that one detail into our own worldview.Which gives rise to situations where gift giver buys the anime lover a season of Dragon Ball Z (which is like buying me organic onions just because you know I prefer my food without extra hormones and pesticides; onions are still nasty). Where dear sweet grandma buys you a sweatershirt with wolves howling at the moon because she heard you think wolves are awesome. And if grandma didn't notice that Johnny never wears nature themed clothing what a parent would or would not dress their child in can easily become obsolete. Even though there is this desire to share an experience either the gift becomes something loosely connected to a persons interest (as with the anime example) or quite often the gift becomes about what excites the giver or brings them happiness. Gifts become about the giver rather than the recipient.
Before you claim that I am being equally self focused by not appreciating the gesture of goodwill or accuse me of being materialistic because all that I care about is getting things that benefit me. Hopefully you have not read that message from what I have been saying, however if you are there are a few comments I would make and one heart of the issue that I`d like to leave you with. I will start with admittals. If my only concern was that the clothing my child will have to wear are not something that expresses my taste then yes, I am being selfish. I should consider that my child will be well clothed and not all mothers have that assurance. Also although these observations arose from giftings to me, I am not just wildly pointing my finger at everyone else. I am guilty of not endeavouring to find out another needs. While I have been in the habit of investigating desires for birthdays and Christmas, I have realized that when it comes to situations like showers I am equally guilty of giving what is convenient or pleasing to myself. I too am guilty of letting my desire to have a shared experience in gifting. This same desire pops up in my relationship with Nolan even outside of buyig him gifts. I often will become pouty because he was not as excited about an old favourite or new discovery as I am (usually food). 
If either complaint (of selfishness or materialistic) were to be more true selfishness would win out. However I could see someone who is a real smartass would try to point out that I am being more of the North American materialist than grandma with her cheesy sweater. However my observations are driven by an overly functional perspective. Why would I want grandma to spend her pension cheque on a sweater that I don't want to wear. I'd be happy just to see her, she doesn't need to give me anything. If I know that most people get more clothes than baby can wear and my baby has an endless supply of hand me downs, it's needless to buy more. So why not avoid superfluous stacks of baby outfits and supply someone with things they don't have.
Besides those cursory ponderings the one thing that made me sad throughout thoughts of gift giving and how I myself have been operating in regards to showers is that despite a desire to share an experience we lose the opportunity of knowing each other better. Givers, when only giving gifts they can understand, gifts they could only like themselves, miss out on deepening the relationship with the person they are giving that gift. There is a whole other problem of gift giving in North America where when it comes to gift associated celebrations they draw up a list of the things they desire and givers just add it to their shopping list next to the eggs and milk. This isn't the aim I have in mind when hoping that people could give something that characterizes the receipiant; this method equally loses the opportunity to understand a person better.
I began to write these thoughts while my ornery pregnancy hormones were raging. Since then I have not only relaxed (despite being inedated with more baby socks than 10 infants could wear), I have also been humbled by how many people actually are concerned with our needs. However the situation did bring together budding musings. While over the years I have been saddened by how little a person knows me through a gift I have not come to these conclusions, nor am sharing them, because I feel that I am an expert gift giver. On the contrary it is because I have been blessed by an overwhelming amount of thoughful gifts (perhaps even spoiled with them) that I have come to think these things. My only hope is that now I will live up to the blessings I have received.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

coming home byssilence


It has been a long time. I have been waiting, as I said a little earlier, and I'm hoping what I have been waiting for has come.

I am two weeks into sick leave and in a month and a half, with a new addition to my life, I will be on maternity leave. And while motherhood will be a joy on in its own right and I am appreciative for the extra time I have been granted to get ready for it I am hoping that this new pace of life is opening the path I have been waiting for.
There is more to come; with a little rest my brain has been revived. I remember my family used to have an commodore computer in our basement when I was a child. My brothers and I would curl up in blankets (it was cold down there!) and play the old classic games, but we always had to wait, what seemed like forever, while the computer started and then loaded the game. I feel like my brain is an old commodore starting up and the rest of me has been, impatiently, waiting.
However while I hope for an home coming of my own, there is another also waiting for theirs. And with only a little time I am rushing to prepare a place in our little condo. I have been researching all options like any nervous first parent and attempting to make the best choices. I have discovered one wonderful thing and those of you who know me will smile as it is once again a unique or 'different' item from the norm. A company (and there are a few other brands, but this one is the best I have seen) in New Zealand called Hushamok makes a hammock for babies. Besides just looking hip, it actually helps babies sleep better.
Since there is a contest on right now to win a free one (and I am fairly poor so free things are like gold to me) I'm putting in my first shameless plug. There is a link on the side to Dirty Diaper Laundry who is hosting the contest or  (if there are others interested ) you can go directly to the contest page here. 
Maybe if I get a baby hammock, a better rested baby will give me more time to write.

Friday, May 14, 2010

still waiting by r3novatio

Waiting is hard.
Like actually waiting.
Where one can't really focus on anything else until it's actually here.
We wait for the weekend. Wait for summer. Wait for the things we look forward to.
But with these sorts of waiting in between we keep ourselves busy with our regular lives.
We wait at the doctors office. We wait in line. Wait for the things we need to get done.
These types of waiting can be closer to what I'm talking about, but even here we have magazines, games on our phones, things to intentionally distract us from our own impatience.
The waiting I felt today I have felt before and I think you might have felt it too. I waited for something I both looked forward to and felt anxious about. I tried to fill my regular day with little distractions. Little distractions that only work for short waitings. I watched the clock for an entire day. And when the waiting was finally over I felt a little like my day had really just begun. For about an hour, then I felt like going to bed.

Friday, April 09, 2010

just let it go by onixa

Why is it we respond to what others say without thinking through context?
We respond to how we hear the words. How they make us feel. How they might mean if we said it ourselves or, and maybe most likely, what we fear those words are supposed to mean. We respond back to the person with all sorts of personal attachment to their words and could have avoided the selfish misinterpretation if we had for just a moment stopped to think about who is saying these words.
At most you may need to ask them to explain further. While this may cause conversations to take more time and if the other person may become frustrated to have to explain, more likely they will feel honoured that you care enough to understand and listen to their perspective and they cannot become any more frustrated than if you had assumed incorrectly the intent of their words. But really most misunderstandings could be corrected with a pause. A pause to put together the words with the person standing across from you.

I guess this is the most frustrating thing about myself lately. And it occurs mostly with Nolan. For some reason, and I do not think that I am the only one who has experienced this, marriage has torn down the reservations I have with the general public that allow me to think through the words that I am hearing. It is like that filter has just evaporated. While the stress that I have been experiencing may cause me to be more irritable and impatient, it does not explain why when I get home I suddenly stop listening with my head. There are reasons like caring more what Nolan thinks of me than the general public or that I am possibly letting the negative effects of my stress loose on him and there may be some small truth to either. However I think that when you've stripped away all the personal boundaries and become 'one' those fears you've learned to control come forth from the sidelines because there is another who could shake up all the conclusions you have come to or who may confirm something you didn't want to believe. It is not the fear that they will do these things, more the fear that they have the power to.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

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I began thinking about ways to save money and I started to write with the idea of just jotting out a list of things to cut back on and instead I found myself dialoguing, with myself, about the matter, since I haven't written anything else lately blog readers this is all you're getting from me right now. Enjoy!

 I need to think of ways to save money. Up until now I have been trying to think to ways to make money, but I think unless I can also cut some corners then whatever I make maybe won't make a big enough diffrence if that extra money is going to be spent right away. 

In regards to food, I don't want to necessarily spend less for products. There are some items that I could purchase the no name brand of but I think I would rather buy better quality products. Where we could  save money however is on buying less prepackaged meals and more raw materials and making meals from scratch. 
Another food factor is eating out Nolan and I have already discussed eating out less. I think that fast food restaurants are probably our biggest problem. It isn't that we eat out at fast food restaurants a lot but they sneak their way in and it doesn't feel like we're going out to eat. Because it's not a fancy place I don't feel as though it should count as eating out, but despite how I feel it is still more expensive than eating at home. Much more expensive!
Then there is snacks. This is even more a useless area of spending than eating out, rather than spending more money than need be  on a necessesity we're spending lots of money onsomething completely unnessesary. Something unhealthy. By no means does this I condemn delicious snacks, I love chocolate too much. What I mean to do is reevaluate how often I need it. And if I ate it less I might just savour it more when I do have it.
I guess the next bigger thing I spend money on is clothes. I have actually cut back on my clothing budget in the last few years. How I use to shop is I'd hit all of the sale racks and buy lots of clothes at super discounted prices. I got got a lot of good deals, however I would end up still spending a lot on clothes and my super discounts would either wear out within a season or two or (more likely) I would quickly grow bored with them and they'd end up in the give away pile. So I have actually spending more on each individual price of clothing, but I have been buying less and more enduring clothing. Which may equal out now in regards of cost but n the ling run I believe ( I hope) will save me more. But this really is just growing up and thinking responsibly rather than just a method of saving money. This is a movement that has been slowly maturing in me since the time that ideas of where and how our clothes are made as well combating the attitudes of our disposable society's bad habits. However today I am writing about saving money, so I will resist running down a rabbit trail ( I'll save that for another day).
Besides that two other things that has occurred to me in regards of saving money on clothes is that I need to work harder to find clothes that I like at places like the Sally Anne and value village. I sometimes find it hard  at value village where they charge way too much for used clothing and hard everywhere else because the clothes are ugly. You often can find a gem but often I am too lazy to go treasure hunting.
Ok so this is as far as ibhave gotten and I am now bored of thinking about how to save money. Besides I think food and clothing are the largest areas of spending that I can change. I do spend a lot of money on wool and knitting accessories, but we all know that is just not going to change. In fact I'm hoping that I can spend more on those things in hopes of making money. I told you about the possibility of teaching knitting classes and I have also been thinking about trying to knit enough items to set up a table at the Vineyard's next art and craft show (which has quite the collection of talented artists and craftspeople, it is quite the elite affair ;D). The hope would be to make enogh of a profit to finance a knitting machine which would keep my knitting business rolling and really be the only way that I could continue to make a profit rather than just a hobbiest. 
On that note I've been trying to think of a good name for a knitting blog that I would use as a central hub on info for classes products and shows I'll be attending, suggestions are welcome.    

Saturday, February 13, 2010

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for the love of knitting

since the time of my childhood I have loved to knit. And sporadically I have been able to make money doing it. But the contemplation of trying to make a living in the world of knitting never lasted long as it is an incredibly difficult endeavor. I would have to have the makings of Debbie Bliss or Suss Cousin (who knit all of the sweaters for 'The Grinch Who Stole Christmas'). While I may bot be of the knitting magnitude of these needle heroes I have been excited lately at the thought of making knitting my part time job.
I realized after my hippie church had a craft sale last November that I may have found the right community to market my skills, as not only do the people who frequent our neighbourhood love a good natural fibre-like a lucious alpaca yarn or a hardy lambs wool-but also they appreciate the quality (thus are willing to pay an appropiate price). I guess the other factor that I didn't realize years ago may have had something to do with my location is the sheer population. There is definately a larger market when you move from the Hamlet of Kerwood to the city of Winnipeg.
So. I had thought that I would perhaps start knitting some things and build up a collection of items for the next time we put on the craft sale. I wasn't in the mindset that I was going to make a lot of money, more like a Christmas bonus. That I'd give to myself. I'd knit some winter items like mittens and socks, some Christmas things (because everyone lives a hand knit Christmas stocking) and a lot of baby clothes (people really like hand knit baby things).
While I was getting exciting for this small venture, a friend of mine came along to nurture this inspiration into a much larger idea. I went out for tea and a trip to one of Winnipeg's fine wool shops with a fellow lover of the needle arts a few weeks ago and while we were browsing for wool we noticed a brochure advertising knitting classes. We faintly pondered upon taking a class together for fun as we left, but then she turned to me and proclaimed that I should be teaching classes instead of taking them. She began to get excited at the idea (which is one of the parts of her personality I absolutely adore, she gets just as excited at good ideas for other people as she would if they were for herself), she began to talk about how I could make money doing this and wouldn't be terribly stressful since it's just ladies (and maybe some men) getting together to do a leisurely activity. The idea latched itself inky brain and I began to feel nervous and excited; I've taught people to knit before but never a group, could I really make money at this?
I think I have to decided to give it a try. See if I can make this work.
I hope I can.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

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Having a two month old kitten is akin to a two year old child. I could list all kinds of cute analagies but it comes down to two things: energy and legs.
I work as a youth care worker and one morning I took my cat, Whiskey Jack, to work. It was a Sunday morning and as any normal teenager my client slept in as long as they could. It is in moments like those that I usually attempt to catch up on some educatonal reading and enjoy the peace and quiet. However - And you knew there would be a however- I spent the entire day chasing my cat out of places he wasn't supposed to be and defending myself from his energetic attacks. While your ordinary adult cat would thwart your attempts to read by climbing directly onto your book, my wonderful toddler would instead chomp on my hands.
By the end of my shift I was exhausted, and my client had been awake for less than two hours of my shift. Although I hope that biting is not how true toddlers choose to spend their energy.

Friday, January 29, 2010

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In a desperate effort to get myself back to the place I once was. To get back, as Paul McCartney once wrote, to where I once belonged. I have promised this so many times over the past years. Promised myself, promised others and constantly feel guilty over the fact that the physical setbacks I have been experiencing have kept me from this. My TMJ has slowly taken all of my energy and left me feeling that working fulltime takes everything out of me. No amount of sleep seems to be enough and leaves me sluggish and disorientated. Others may not notice it , except people like Nolan who sees me everyday and has known me since before this began, however I see it, I feel it. I have a hard enough time trying to remember all of the details of my job and life, I feel as though it is impossible to keep up with basic day to day things. Likewise the bigger picture parts of my life have become a muddling mess. While it use to be second nature to me to critically ponder all aspects of life- even to an infuriating degree- now my brain cannot be bothered to think beyond the immediate. And I am inflicted with an overwhelming feeling of insignificance that affects my ability to pour out whatever straggling thouhts remain in my sloth-ridden mind. Any time I begin to write I am immediately met with questions of why. Why I am I writing this, where are guess thoughts leading to and what makes me think that they are of any consequence. Nagging questions of worth halt any desperate attempts of moving forward with what once came a little more naturally to me. While I know that this too is a product of what my body is experiencing- lack of proper sleep wears down not only a persons immune system but also with a persons fortitude against personal issues, it creates the perfect opportunity for doubt.
Lately I have begun to fear that even when this long procedure of fixing my jaw is over some of these unwanted aspects that have become part of my life may not take their leave. I fear that though I legitimately suffer through the things I have just described I use it as an excuse for laziness. I fear that things I feel are out of my co trol now will nit change later when they are in my control. It leaves me feeling desperate to do something. The fighter in me doesn't want to let the things that I love slip away. Unfortunately I have had to learn that sometimes I must accept my circumstances do what I can to survive through the storm. And as this message made it's way from my head to my heart I finally accepted that perhaps at this point in my life I may have nothing to say, but I am going to say nothing anyhow.
I hope this time that my determination to keep writing will stick and that some my nothing will steer back into something. I hope my Determination will continue to look like it does right at this moment (I am currently plunking thus entire post out on my iPod touch since my computer has died due to the mysterious destruction of it's power cord).
And even though I only have one reader left( and even she has probably given up checking my blog regularily) I will continue to post away with nothing. So Char I hope you look forward to a lot of narrative a about my cat and complaints concerning Winnipeg winters.