Thursday, December 22, 2005

So last week was the Christmas concert

Last week was the concert for the elementary school my two younger sons go to. I had to have them there half an hour before the concert started, so there was nothing to do but go to the gym and get a seat, along with the rest of the crowd of bored, impatient parents.

So I had a bit of time to reflect. I remember so many Christmas concerts as a kid. That moment before the curtain went up, when we could hear the buzz of the crowd out there, and knowing that my parents were there waiting. The sounds and smells are still the same, only now I am out in the crowd waiting. Many of the parents around me had small children. When my oldest son was in the early grades I was often at the concert with one or two toddlers. They would get totally bored because they couldn't really see anything, and I would always hope they wouldn't get too noisy and I wouldn't have to take them out and miss the concert myself. Thankfully, I never had to. But it wasn't that long ago for me that I didn't sympathize with the young parents trying every trick at their disposal to settle down their restless toddlers, glancing around to detect signs of annoyance in their neighbors, hoping they could stay for the duration of the concert.

It really makes me think how time has marched on. My first school Christmas concert as a parent was when my oldest was in preschool - my second son was a babe in arms and the third was an unimagined blip in the future. A few years later, I had two kids to watch on stage and only one toddler. One year all three of them were in the concert. And now the oldest has passed on to junior high, so I only have two to watch. My youngest is in grade 3, so as hard as it may be to believe, I will only have three more years of Christmas concerts. This familiar school gym that I have already been coming to for nine years will become a memory, a place of nostalgia, a place I may visit occasionally at election time if the polling station happens to be there.

The music starts and the kids start filing into their places. Matthew, in grade 5, is in there somewhere but I can't see him at first. Then I find him, and he is peering out looking for me. When he's looking in my direction I stand up and wave, but I'm almost at the back of the gym so I know he can't see me. I do the same thing when the younger kids come out, and Jacob, in grade 3, is looking for me. Neither of them ever see me, but they know that I'm there, and I guess that's what counts.

It makes me think of the concerts in Mannville, where usually both of my parents and my paternal grandparents would be there. It just felt good knowing that someone cared enough to be there to watch me. In addition to the school concert, we usually were in a play at the rural community hall, which used to be a one-room schoolhouse. One of the local ladies was a schoolteacher and she would press into service all the kids from our district. For a couple of weeks we had to spend our school lunch hours rehearsing. It was always some corny play for which I had to wear a ridiculous costume, and memorize a few lines which I hated, but it was worth it because when the play ended it was party time. Santa would come and hand out gifts, and there would be, of course, treats to eat. One year my grandpa was Santa, and I was old enough to know that it was him, but mature enough to know that I shouldn't ruin it for the little kids. When it was my turn to go and get my gift from him, he was grinning at me with twinkling blue eyes, and I don't think I said anything to him except "thank you," an unspoken understanding passing between us. I really miss my grandparents at this time of year.

When the party was almost over, the dads would go out and start the vehicles, then bit by bit we would all go out into the cold night, to drive down the dark country roads to our homes. The chores would have to be done early the next morning as usual, so nobody lingered too late.

I don't think they have those parties down there any more, but if they did I would like to take my kids. They are always baffled when we go to my hometown, trying to figure out how I can know so many people who are strangers to them, and how they can be related to so many strangers too. But although they are city born and raised, it is part of their heritage because it is part of what has made me what I am, for better or for worse, although I think it is mostly for the better.

Well, this is a very long post. To any who read it, have a wonderful holiday season and super new year.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Wow, was it windy this morning!

Nothing like coming outside and finding the neighbor's garbage bags in my driveway.

It feels like a cleansing wind, though - it will strip all the remaining leaves from the trees, and clear away the detritus of summer and fall. I wish it would wash my car too though.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

So yesterday was sort of an anniversary for me

October 1, 1990 was the day I found out I was to be a mom. We had been trying for a while so I was pretty happy. I remember feeling so special, and so awed that something tiny was growing inside me and was my child. Now that the tiny cluster of cells is an obnoxious 14-year-old, I try to remember that feeling, and how precious he is. I was happy when I found out I was pregnant with the other two, but there's nothing like that first time, the day your life changes forever. It was never going to be just me again. I was now a MOTHER.

Ha ha, he'll be SO embarrassed if he reads this.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


I really think that shopping for school supplies is one of the most stressful things you have to do as a parent! Not only is it bloody expensive, when you've got three kids, but some things are almost impossible to find! I thought I had it all licked because I managed to order most of the things from Staples, but even then I still had to go to four different stores to get everything else. Zellers had most of the other things, but they didn't have any duotangs left! I was looking all over the aisle to see if there was a hidden stash, and parent after parent came, stared blankly at the empty shelf and left. So I was forced to go to Superstore, which I dislike intensely, to get duotangs and luckily they had some of the more elusive exercise books that I needed. Some of those things are so specific! "80-page Hilroy Redi-Tab exercise book (not coiled), interlined, (not half and half), 27 cm x 21 cm." And there were thesaurii galore, but not the Roget's one that was specifically needed for Matthew's list. I ended up driving to a Chapter's store just for that one item. And do you think I could find oil pastels anywhere? Noooo, I had to go to a craft store to find that elusive holy grail.

And to top it all off, I miscalculated the number of duotangs so I have to go out and find more.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Does this mean I'm a folkie?

I bought a ticket just for last night because I wanted to see Loreena McKennitt. I had never heard of any of the other announced acts, but one of them did a reggae, trumpeting version of Led Zeppelin's Black Dog, if you can imagine that.

Loreena came on stage when it was almost completely dark, with a new moon. There was definitely magic in the air. Along with the usual whiffs of cigarette and pot smoke, someone near me was burning incense.

Friday, July 15, 2005

well, we did it

We got Grandma's house somewhat cleaned out. I came home with three boxes of stuff, including some things I'll actually use and others that are purely sentimental.

I think my favorite thing is the horseshoe that's been hanging above the door for as long as I can remember. It is now hanging above my door. Watching my dad get it down, I could visualize my grandpa as a young man hanging it in his brand new house. I think he would be glad that somebody was using it now.

A horseshoe is supposed to bring good luck to the house. I hope that is true. My grandparents weren't wealthy, but they made a good living, raised a family which isn't perfect but is mostly made up of nice people, and they had an ease and comfort with each other that very few couples can match.

They would sit and play Scrabble every evening and argue endlessly about the validity of words. There was a small dictionary which resided in the box with the game and it was constantly being consulted. "That's not a word!" Then the other person would frantically ruffle the pages trying to prove that it was indeed a word. The arguments were fierce but loving.

Of course, if I played I could put whatever word I wanted and neither of them would challenge me. Such is the privilege of the grandchild.

My grandparents were packrats and kept everything. We found endless caches of letters and birthday cards. We found old recipes. We found yellowed newspaper clippings with addresses to send away for embroidery patterns, dated 1965. I think it's safe to throw those out now.

One poignant find was a box of floral arrangements which were received over 50 years ago after a stillborn child.

There were no fights over who was to have what. There were only seven people there out of a possible 30 who could have been involved, so that probably helped.

I am to have an old bureau which is supposed to have come west with my great-great-grandparents and is about 150 years old.

In other news, we went to Drumheller for a few days. We went to Reptile World and this time I let them drape Brittany the boa constrictor over my shoulders, more to prove to my kids that I would do it than anything else. It was surprisingly heavy, but felt cool and smooth. I had one hand under its head and one under its tail. I could feel the reptilian pulse on my back and in each hand. That was kind of neat.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Grandma's House

So in a couple of weeks we're supposed to all get together to clear out my grandma's house on the farm. In a way I suppose it will provide some closure (she passed in December just days before her 90th birthday) and it will be nice to have a couple of small remembrances of her.

But at the same time I'm not looking forward to the finality of it. You see, she moved into a seniors' apartment over 10 years ago, but left most of her stuff behind because originally the plan was that she was only going to live in town in the winter, and still come back out to the farm in summer. Grandpa passed in 1992 and although my aunt and uncle live next door, she was often alone in the winter because they had four family members who played hockey or ringette. Once she found out that she actually enjoyed living in town and being close to everything the plan never materialized and her house sort of became a guesthouse for my aunt and uncle.

I can't help thinking it's going to be sad to see the house emptied of all her stuff. Over the years I've stayed there a number of times when my aunt and uncle were having a family gathering, and it was comforting to still see all the things I saw when I was growing up even though my grandparents no longer lived in the house. Most of the same furniture, the pictures on the wall, even memos stuck on the bulletin board.

That house is sort of a stable influence for me because it is the only house I've been going to my whole life. We moved a lot, my other grandparents moved a lot, and so did my other relatives. It is the only house I have known since I was born, and it won't be the same without Grandma's stuff in it. I will not walk into that house and know that when I turn the corner I will see that wall of photos, that sewing machine and that bookshelf.

I know it will be sad, but these things have to be done. It is part of life. She had to do it for her parents, one day I will have to do it for my parents, and my children for me. The wheel of time stops for nobody.

Friday, June 17, 2005

you know, some quotes just beg to be quoted

Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.
~Anais Nin

Monday, June 13, 2005

So was that summer or what?

Today felt like a fall day. It was chilly and wet...

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Rabbits everywhere!!!

What's with the rabbits all of a sudden... I go for months without seeing any and I saw three just this morning - was there a disease that killed all the coyotes or something?


I think the most courageous people are those who don't worry about what other people do or think, for everyone must find happiness on their own path.

And if that's a cliche, what more do you want at 1:19 am.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

call me eccentric if you will, but...

Maybe I'm just turning into one of those curmudgeonly old ladies. But lately I really like wearing black. It seems to attract, and radiate, the right energy for me.

(cackle, cackle)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Just to serve notice to y'all

I am not crumbling... and when I do crumble it will be because I want to, not because someone else wants me to...

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

today was a good day

I felt like I was a cat. I felt like I was invisible.

I know, that's just weird.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

what could have been

It's a beautiful May evening on the prairie
As I sit by your grave
It reminds me of a May evening so long ago
When they told me you were gone

When you're 13 you think everything will last forever
And it's never true
But this was really cruel
As your stone says, "We never had a chance to say goodbye"

What could have been...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

the cool of the night

Night time is soft and soothing
Cool and sleepy
Until I remember your eyes
Scalding and piercing

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

gloom and doom...

Today I feel sad for some reason... I don't really know why.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Tuesday's gone like the wind

Going back to work after a long weekend has always seemed curiously disorienting. People come up and ask me about an ad I did on Friday and it seems like a lifetime ago.

Monday, May 23, 2005

I've been to the Stadium to see the Queen!

Yesterday I was offered two tickets to the Alberta Centennial kick-off celebration at the Commonwealth Stadium. Due to the rain I was unable to get anyone to come with me but I enjoyed myself. It was cold and wet and they had to shorten the concert - and what was with the so-called covered stage? It must have been pretty leaky - it was obvious the stage was practically flooded, and a few members of the otherwise spectacular White Buffalo Dancers took spills.

But I must say I am impressed with my Canon PowerShot S1 IS, which got its first long-distance shooting workout today. With a 32X maximum zoom and image stabilization, it did the job shooting from the sixth row of the Stadium to the centre of the turf.
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There was a big screen to see the proceedings.
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Co-master of ceremonies, CBC's Colin McLean.
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there were lots of soldiers and marching bands.
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The Alberta Strutters.
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Some people representing Alberta's various cultures - the Queen did a walkabout with them and with war veterans.
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I thought this little guy was cute with one of the pipe and drum bands.
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Premier and Dr. Klein (his wife) arrived in a 1928 Model T.
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The vehicle containing the royal couple.
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The Queen being escorted from the car.
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The Duke of Edinburgh standing with Premier and Dr. Klein.
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The Queen reviewing her honour guard.
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Every once in a while the drummers had to turn their drums upside down to drain.
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All the performers singing "Four Strong Winds" together.
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The Queen, as usual, was gracious and smiling and the Duke seemed to be enjoying himself too.

hello all

Well, for a first post this is probably rather lame.

It's raining and for most people that would be considered gloomy, but I love rain. I find it refreshing and nourishing. I hate bright sun and it hates me too - I sunburn, and get sunstroke, very easily.