Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Yellow Roses

Yesterday while driving someone home from somewhere (isn't that how I spend most of my evening, anyway?) I stopped mid conversation to admire some beautiful yellow roses cascading over someone's high fence. They were just so glorious.

Then last night while getting ANOTHER wheel barrow full of soil from the neighbours, I discovered these wonderful yellow roses IN MY OWN YARD! How lucky is that? I continue to be delighted and surprised as I discover what is growing in my yard...

And this one if for you, Laura, because you love peonies. (I hate them. They need fussing and I don't like fussing.) But wherever I go, there are peonies in the garden. I have to admit, this one is rather pretty.

What will I write about when Kaetlyn takes her camera back?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Tall enough to loose a small child...

Now after 3 days of rain (what is this, the freakin coast?!) I resume my task and the grass is tall enough to loose a not-so-small child and a dog. Can you see the dog? I rest my case.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Ear Candling

So, Rhiannon, amongst other things, has been slowly going deaf. It has been noticeable in the number of times she says 'what?' It can be an annoying number of times.... And it became noticeable in the volume of the TV as she watched videos and how she immediately turned it up when I turned it down - to ear splitting levels. Any program she watched could be heard throughout the entire house. Not always a pleasurable experience when she was watching Caillou's Holiday Movie in May....

So I began to suspect that she was having a hearing problem... No ear infection or any sign of one so I began to suspect that she had a build up of wax. I often had that problem as a child. So I started putting drops of olive oil with mullein in her ears to soften the wax. Mullein is supposed to be good for ear aches but that is not why I used it. I simply used it because it was in the only olive oil I had.... (can you use canola oil in ears?...) Then, as I was contemplating making a Dr's appointment to have her ears cleaned out, I remembered how much it hurt as the Dr squirted high pressure water into my tender ears.... There had to be a better way besides the bobby pin trick I learned from my dad... I remembered that I had heard about ear candling although I had never tried it. Friends of mine had raved about the experience and all the gunk that came out of their ears.

So I arranged with a friend of mine who does cranialsacral stuff to come and do it. She was AWESOME!!! You can check her out at www.sheilasnow.com. And you would be amazed at how much ear wax those candles pulled out of her little, tiny ears. We did 3 candles in each ear. Rhiannon fell asleep during the first candle on her left ear. I have to buy some more candles to finish on her left side. Rhiannon had improved hearing right away with her right ear but says that she can hear better with her right ear than her left. We were all amazed, Dean, Kaetlyn Drew and I - staring at the blobs of orangish-brown ear wax. Like staring at a car accident... Gross! We all want to do it now! What's in my ears?

Kids have such tiny, tiny little ear canals, I am not surprised that she had a build up of wax. Sheila aslo did a cranialsacral treatment on her and we have another scheduled for next Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Quail Stew

Two posts in one day... Can you keep up? Rhiannon and I are at war with the quails. The precious plants we nurtured from tiny seeds and moved and watered compulsively are being devoured mercilessly by the heartless quail. We've caught them at it. We know it is them. They have now eaten every single blossom off of my zucchini plant. I love zucchini! And Rhiannon has been reduced to tears about the state of her once bushy and thriving marigold. Below is the evidence. Look what they did. Can you see the marigold - completely denuded of all foilage.... only one flower head flopped over, already severed. The other is our cauliflower. See the leaves so carelessly left behind in the gorgeing feast.... Through her tears Rhiannon insisted that we buy quail food right now! That we put out real quail food for them. I tried to explain to her that perhaps this was quail food....

So I did a search on the internet for what to do about a quail problem. Guess what, there is nothing that I could find, only site after site about how wonderful quails are and how their habitat was being destroyed. Well, I tell you, they are thriving in my yard. Every time I checked my garden, they had eaten more of it... When I come out to the garden, they fly up in a tree and stare at me accusingly for interupting their eating. I am getting more and more in the mood to eat quail, myself. I am starting to feel bloodthirsty...

Finally a friend told me that she uses netting over her garden until the plants are established. So we went to Canadian Tire and got some netting.

I was attracted to this kind due to the angry looking birds with red eyes. I want the quails to be angry. Rhiannon and I immediately put out the netting, staked it and put rocks around the edges to hold it down. While we were doing it we called out to the quail who were actually in the garden when we drove up, "good-bye, quails! You've had your last meal here, quails! Go eat somewhere else, quails!"

Here is sad Rhiannon posing with the netting. We like the name Bird d-fence!

Ride-A-Mower.... Not

Remember how our landlord was going to provide a ride-a-mower for mowing our park-like lawns? Hmmm, well, yes.... that didn't exactly turn out. The lawn mower they were going to leave for our use turned out to be un-fix-able. But they neglected to tell us this. In the meantime the grass got longer and longer. Finally on Sunday, we put the lawn mower on the highest possible position and we began the lawn mowing. It took the better part of that day to mow about 1/3 of the lawn. I spent yesterday mowing the rest of the lawn until the lawnmower died and finding rocks for my raised bed while it cooled down. Then mowing again. It wasn't too bad under the trees but in the sun.... it was higher than my knees. Don't I have an amazing lawnmower do do all that? Here's to Briggs and Stratton! And here is where the lawn mower rests - its last point of stalling. Its raining again today. And here where the ground is generally thirsty for moisture, that means all grasses will be growing as fast as they darn-well can! Sigh!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I got Kaetlyn's camera today so here are some pictures....

First my garden. You can see in the second picture where I am clearing weeds for the next raised bed. And around that you can see what it was like before i started.... Can you see the little zucchini plant in the corner? Beside it is a marigold and then the cauliflower. I have to figure out a way to keep the quails out of it or there won't be much left by tomorrow...

Here are some beautiful trees at the beginning of my driveway

Another beautiful tree in my driveway - a slippery elm?

And here is where we eat outside beneath the maple, birch and willow trees...

See what I mean? I live in a park!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I Am Amazed!

We spent the day today working on our yard as a family. That is the most time we have spent outside like that. And I've got to say, I live in a park! My yard is just so naturally beautiful - huge maple, willow and elm trees, lilac bushes, grass, swings. Its really beautiful. I love it. I love being outside.

Today we worked on creating a vegetable garden. Dean and I were trying to figure out how we could best accomplish this. You can't just dig up the dirt here because it is all clay. I've tried that before and all the root vegetables just grew above the ground... and not so well, either. It takes a roto-tiller and a lot of mulch and work to turn this dirt into soil. We don't have that kind of time or the inclination. And we didn't want to use gardening ties treated with arsenic or pesticides, either. So Dean came up with the idea that a friend of mine had suggested to me as well. We gathered huge rocks from around the yard and made a raised bed from them. Then we went to our neighbours (who is also our landlord) and brought loads of top soil to fill it up. It is such a pretty raised bed. Then Rhiannon and I transplanted some of those plants that we planted in February. Some marigolds, cauliflower and zucchini. And we planted some lettuce, spinach, beets and carrots. And I am amazed at what we did. I keep looking over to where we put the garden and instead of scrubby ground with weeds and clumps of crab grass, I see my lovely raised bed with my vegetables. Wow. We created something. I am sure I sound silly but I am truly amazed. I just couldn't stop looking at my creation...

I think I discovered stinging nettle today.... didn't know what it was before....

Rainy Long Week End

I have to laugh. With the heat we had coming into the long week end, many people were so sure that it would be hot and sunny for the week end. It always rains on the May long weekend. It is tradition. If you go camping, you stand the chance of making it onto the news as rains drips off of your tarp.... And so it rained and rained and rained yesterday.... but you all are probably not reading my blog for a weather update. There is the weather network for that or environment canada....

I spent the day yesterday unpacking and arranging the 'last room'. The room where all the boxes were piled before being sorted to other rooms. I had an idea in my head of how I thought the room could be arranged. This room has outside walls on 3 sides and each of these outside walls is dominated by large old fashioned windows - they start low and go almost to the high ceiling. Nothing fit where I thought it would fit. I spent the day moving piles of boxes of books and trying furniture in different places. I even got out the tape measure.... I finally came up with a configuration and got most of the books unpacked. Then I realized that the entire day had gone by and it was now supper time and I was still wearing my pj's with an apron over top. I was babysitting a friend of Rhiannon's. Her dad dropped her off at 10:30 and I greeted him in said outfit with the smells of fresh made bread and cinnamon buns wafting through the house. Now it was 7:30, the smells were gone, the room still looked like a mess and I was still wearing my apron and pj's.... How could that happen? Ah well, what can one do except to make a joke at ones own expense....?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dog Familial Bonds

Well, dogs don't have familial bonds, right? Hmmm after today I am not so sure. Jodi (shown at left), Rhiannon and I went for a walk today. We walked along the railroad tracks and then down a road and around. Just as were coming to the spot where we were going to leave the tracks, we spotted a dog. I thought, "Gee, that really looks like one of Jodi's pups..." and I knew that I had seen one of the people who took her pups getting off the Coldstream bus in this vicinity. Hmmm Could it be? For those of you who don't know, Jodi had pups 2.5 years ago. The father was a mutt, just like Jodi is. But the ears on that dog, boy, they sure looked like Jodi's little ears. Hmmm.

And then Jodi and the dog saw each other. They froze. Their tails stuck straight out behind them. They stared at each other (or were they smelling each other?) Then they ran at each other like long lost loves and circled each other and immediately started playing. Rather unusual behaviour for Jodi who is not especially social to other dogs and usually has to do a great deal of sniffing butts and growling to establish a rapport. Not with this dog.

I went to the door of the house and rang the bell. The lady came to the door and I told her I was wondering if this was one of our dog's pups - that we used to live on Mission Hill, etc. She was so glad to see me again. Indeed it was Jodi's pup - once called Sam and beloved of Kaetlyn and now called Tarkus. And a year ago she had driven around Mission Hill trying to find me to tell me that this is the best dog she has ever had! It was so good to see this once-pup and see how happy and well adjusted he was and how happy the people were to have him. And Jodi loved to see him again.

So I thought animals are not supposed to have memories like that - especially to remember another dog like that? Those two knew each other and were so happy to see each other again! What gives?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

My THIRD brother

It seems I am into telling stories lately. Today is the story of my brother's arrival. I can't remember Doug or John being born. My earliest memories include them. I can remember John being a baby who ate paper but I don't remember his arrival into our family. I do remember Mom's pregnancy with Layne. I prayed and prayed and prayed and PRAYED that he would be a girl. I wanted a sister soooo badly! I was overrun by boys! We were living in North Vancouver and when Mom's time drew near, I was sent to stay with Grandma Clarke in Powell River. She had an 'old folks' home as they were called then in Wildwood just outside of Powell River. I can remember clearly staying there. Some of the old people were nice to me and enjoyed having me. Some were senile and didn't like having a kid around so much and I was too young to understand that they didn't know what they were saying to me. One old lady I will never forget. Her name was Mrs. Jolly and she was really crabby. There was an East Indian family who lived next door with a girl my age that I liked to play with. But old Mrs. Jolly was rather prejudiced and she didn't lose this quality in her senility. When my friend came to the door and came in, Mrs. Jolly yelled at me (she was incapacitated and couldn't have forced me but her yelling was force enough...) and threw me out of the house in my socks.... I can remember helping Grandma in the kitchen and sitting on a stool at the counter which I thought was really cool.

Then came the phone call. It was a boy. I was so angry. I stormed to my room and slammed the door. Another brother. No one else knows what that is like to have the next 3 siblings by of the opposite sex. Evan might be close - he's surrounded by 4 girls but at least he had Jordan... But my heart quickly softened. I can remember running into the house when I got home in search of him in his bassinet. "Hi Eddy!" Only to find out that they were going to call him Layne. I did finally get my sister just over 2 years later (look for tales of her birth in August;-)). This picture was taken when grandma and grandpa McLean came to visit after his birth. He must be asleep in the house but here is the rest of us. Doesn't Mom look chic for just having her 4th child? And isn't that yard great? I loved that yard in North Van! There is a creek that runs through the trees behind us in the picture. It had 2 apple trees, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries.

But Layne turned out to be a pretty good brother. He was my cute kid brother who tagged along with me and my friends. I used to take him to movies with my friends (when the Saturday matinee was only $.75). I remember seeing Pete's Dragon with him in Cranbrook. He was sweet and funny and he didn't bug me as much as John and Doug did (or should I say Doug and John as Doug was deffinitely the bigger bug!) He always had such a goofy sense of humour. I can remember Mom trying to punish him for something while he rolled around on the floor laughing and being silly and finally she gave up and started laughing! That's just the kind of boy he was. Hard to stay mad at.

Here he is in his soccer uniform. I liked watching him play soccer. I have other pictures of Gram watching this game, too.

And here he is a couple of years ago when he came to visit - jamming with Erin and Dean.

Truly I am so grateful for my little brother who has been so kind to me. I really appreciate the effort he puts into having a relationship with me! Happy birthday, Layne!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Window Washing Week 2

Well, Dean is back but he is soooo sick, I have been out washing windows again... And it was really, really hot today -- 32 degrees. I am sticky all over with the aftermath of sweatiness. I did pretty good, though. And it is amazing how much my arm strength has improved just in this short time of exercise...

Here is what I was thinking about today:

As I was climbing up a step ladder that I borrowed from the people's house (we don't have one - just an extension), I remembered a tall wodden step ladder that Dad built long ago - must have been our first or second summer in Terrace. I remembered the sunny afternoon as Gram, Katie and I picked cherries in the backyard. Katie who would have been 5 or 6 climbed to the very top of the ladder. I think Gram did warn her about climbing to the very top. How brave she was to be up so high and not afraid at all and working so hard on picking cherries. Then I remember the slow motion as she fell right over the top - arms spread eagle. In my memory she almost floats down like a feather in slow motion. Then everything speeds up and Gram is there giving her mouth to mouth. How scary. I remember the terror of that moment... Of course we have teased Katie about that eversince and she was called superman for sometime but I was there and I can remember how scared I was.

Anyways, there's my memory for the day

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

Well, I had ideas about writing profound insights into parenting to commemorate Mother's Day. But.... I changed my mind. I had a wonderful Mother's Day. Kaetlyn has been playing in a fastball tournament here in Vernon so I got to watch her play at 10am. She was pitching and she did awesome! They won that game against Penticton easily and were in 4th place to advance to the play-offs. I had to miss the beginning of the play-off game to take Drew to a soccer game. For some reason the woman who does the schedule thought we would like an extra game on Mother's Day so the mom's could watch. Where does she think we are the rest of the games?! And I couldn't watch because I had to rush back to Kaetlyn's tournament. I caught the last inning of her game. They lost by 1 run and so were out of the play offs. We didn't mind, actually, as we wanted to do something together. So we went back to Drew's soccer game and caught the last half of that. They smashed the other team 14 - 2. sheesh. Not that Drew scored any of those goals but he had fun.

Thankfully all the rushing around was over. It was a beautiful sunny day (highs forcasted for 31). The kids were planning on taking me out to a buffet dinner but they changed the plans with the weather and packed a picnic lunch and we went to my favourite beach. It was really nice. We all ate together and then I sat and crocheted on the beach, Rhiannon played in the water, finding pretty rocks. Then they all started building a sand castle together. I listened as they playfully argued with each other and made fun of each other as they built this castle complex. I marvelled to look at them. These 4 children. Made from my flesh. Birth is such a miraculous thing. From my own body I brought 4 lives into this world - each of them their own person and they have grown and grown. Apart of me and yet separate. I reminisced about how our family has grown and changed with the addition of each of them. Everytime you have a child it changes everything. This is my family. They have been my greatest joy and my greatest frustration. And I have felt the greatest sorrow for my own failings because of them. I would that their lives would be easy and bright and it pains me to see how I have caused some of the struggle. Even so, I wouldn't trade it for anything. The happiness and depth they have brought into my life is immeasurable. Thank you, all 4 of you for making me your mom!

Saturday, May 13, 2006


5 years ago, May 13 was a Sunday - Mother's Day. Rhiannon was 8 months old, Kaetlyn had just turned 10, Andrew was 7 and Erin was 14. I had made plans with a friend of mine to go horseback riding on Mother's Day - in the morning at 11am. Dean made me a wonderfully delicious omlette for my Mother's Day breakfast. I had gone horse back riding many times with my friend on her two horses. But it had been awhile due to my pregnancy. I was really looking forward to it. It was a beautiful morning, it was warm, the apple trees were all in full blossom. We were riding through an orchard together along with a friend of my friend. We were just walking the horses, chatting and enjoying the sunshine. I was in the rear. My horse stopped to eat by a sprinkler that was spraying weirdly. I pulled on her head up with the reins. She didn't like it. She gave a little buck and trotted off. I was completely unprepared. I went up in the air because I wasn't hanging on to the horse properly. I went up in the air and the horse trotted off. I remember seeing the horse's behind in front of me and thinking 'uh oh, this isn't supposed to be like this'. Then I hit the ground on my knees. And I knew that I couldn't get up.

I heard a nurse in the hallway talkling about me saying 'she'll never run again'. I was terrified. Never run again? Just that week I had been teaching Kaetlyn and Drew the finer points of sprinting on our front lawn. I thought of sprinting shoeless through the grass in Fort George Park, or in my socks around the track at Skeena Jr. Secondary. Never run again?

When I went to physio the physio therapist told me that my injury was considered a 'life changing' injury. Truly it was. My recovery lasted 3 years. In fact I am still rebuilding the muscle in my right leg. And it is true, I haven't run since. But I can dance. And one day, I will run again. I will. But there was more to the change than the purely physical. This injury went to the very core of me.

What stood out the most to me was the lack of support I had in my life at the time. The women from work brought in some dinners for my family. And then there was no one. In fact, my friendship with the horse owner fell apart. She couldn't stand visiting me. I think she felt guilty but there was no need. I never blamed her for one second... I was alone. And I coped. I learned how to cook from a wheelchair. And I drove my family crazy. For Mother's Day they got to find out exactly how much I really do do and not just for 1 day - but 6 weeks.

I really started to think about community. When I was a mormon, I had an automatic community where ever I went. People I automaticaly trusted and welcomed into my life. I had left the church when Drew was born - just before moving to Vernon. I didn't know how to create community for myself. I started to open my closed heart. I started to let people in. I started to share myself. These are pastel drawings I did at the time. This one says (in case you can't read it) AND THE BURNING BUSH SAID: Walk on your new legs
This has been my task in the last 5 years. To learn how to walk on my new legs, spiritual as well as physical.

Here are some other pastel drawings I did at the time. I think they are self explanatory.

Now, 5 years after that awful accident that changed my life, what a difference I see. Just this last week, a relatively minor crisis - Dean gone for 10 days with only 3 days notice and me having to wash windows. I had many friends around me. Rhiannon had no shortage of places to go and play while I worked. My friends surrounded me and supported me. My heart is full of gratitude. I am so grateful for my life; for the people in it. My heart is full. I am not alone. Thank you!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

May 10, 1991 - 2006

I always wanted to be a mother. It was one of those things that I thought about and planned for from the time I was very young. One could think that having so many younger siblings could have jaded me on the idea. But it didn't. I was happy for each of their arrivals and I looked forward to the day when I would have my own children. After having Erin when I was 21, I looked forward to having another. Of course, my life took a bit of a detour for a few years... I can remember standing in line with Erin at the grocery store. I was single at the time and her proclaiming loudly that I would have baby, soon, right? She often told me she wanted to go live with other families that had more children...

I became pregnant in August of 1990. I knew the second she implanted in my womb. I started my last year at UVic just days after. I can remember how nauseous the smell of the outdoor grill at the Student Union Building made me feel - and that smell seemed to waft over the entire campus for most of the day! Erin was thrilled. Daily she would put her hands on my belly and say, "you're a girl! You're a girl!" We gleefully prepared together for the arrival of her sibling. She learned how to quilt - we made blankets. We painted and gather baby clothes. We were so excited! The room was a beautiful pale lemon yellow with pink and blue inside the cupboards and drawers. It couldn't have been prettier.

I had a 3 week break between the end of the winter semesterand the start of the spring semester. I had 2 courses in the spring semester and 2 in the summer semester and then I was done my psych degree. This 3 week break was the time for her to be born. Spring and summer courses are very condensed. Missing even one day is the same as missing a week - almost impossible to make up! Classes started May 13. I was due May 5. The days crept by. Pretty soon it was Thursday, May 9 and no sign of a baby other than my bulging belly... I bought a bottle of castor oil. I drank the recommended 2 tablespoons. Labour started and we went to the hospital. And came home with her still inside. I drank the whole bottle. Labour started about 5pm.

Now I have been blessed with a relatively easy labour. My labour pains are not very painful and the pain doesn't really increase. Of course this has it advantages but the disadvantage is that I really couldn't tell where I was at in my labour. There is video footage of me brushing my teeth at 10:30 at home. Then the next thing you see, it is 11:10 and I am holding Kaetlyn in the delivery room... We lived in Sidney and she was born in the Victoria General Hospital which is a 20 minute drive away. As we sped there through the night with Erin tucked into the back seat, I knew I was having the urge to push but I denied it. Iwas NOT giving birth in a 1972 Toyota! When we got to the hospital, I didn't wait for the wheel chair. I dashed up to the maternity floor. While walking down the hall, I got the urge to push again - I called out "It's coming" and collapsed as the nurses grabbed me. See, they tell you to stay home until you can't walk through the contractions. I can walk unless I am actually pushing. Kaetlyn was born just 15 minutes after we arrived at the hospital - I was still wearing my own clothes... Erin was right there between my legs, beside the Dr, watching her sister be born. She was the one to declare, "Its a girl!" I also have it on video Erin sitting in the easy chair in the hospital room singing, "This is the way the baby rides" to her much anticipated sister. And so she was named Kaetlyn Marie after my two sisters on May 10, 1991. 7lbs, 13 oz. Today she is 15.

And what an honour it has been to be her mother these last 15 years. She was a blonde, chubby little drop of sunshine - always friendly and outgoing. I remember her hanging in her jolly jumper and laughing hysterically as Erin did stunts to make her laugh. Anytime Erin dropped something, Kaetlyn giggled uncontrollably. So Erin dropped things over and over. She has grown into an amazing young woman. Her friends' parents always love her. She is gracious and kind and very thoughtful. She was my best Mother's Day present ever! How could I possible top that?!

People have always commented on how much she looks like me. I can see it sometimes in the expression of her face and in her eyes. Mostly she looks like her own person. I have felt sorry for her when almost every place we go together, people comment because I know it can be frustrating to be compared to someone else all the time. And certainly she is like me in many ways. Sometimes I have been afraid that she has all my worst character faults. She is bossy and she has a hard time letting go when she has been hurt and has a hard time accepting gifts. But she also has amazing qualities that are nothing like me. Like she is very talented at Math. She got 90% in grade 9 Math on her last report card. And it was EASY for her! And she has a great ability to see through people and not put up with crap. And she is disciplined - she studies and does her homework. She knows how to apply herself. She is fantastic help for washing windows because she knows how to take care and do the job well. Sometimes we clash because we are both stubborn and she sees through my crap. But that is not what is real. What is real is that I have been in-love with her since before she was conceived. She was wanted and is cherished and I am so proud of her and grateful for this opportunity to be her mom! Happy Birthday Kaetlyn!

And here is my photo essay on the last 15 years...

Here is Kaet and Erin goofing around

This is my all time favourite picture of Kaetlyn taken on her 4th birthday in the clothes that I bought her for her birthday outside our home on Silver Star Road.

Umpiring her first game at age 12. Isn't she brave?

with dramatic make up

At the beach in White Rock 2 weeks ago and last week end with her friend who had just dyed her hair pink....

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Hmmm, I thought I would never be one of those people who called history, herstory. But I just read a wonderful novel about Katherine of Aragon (or Catalina, Infanta of Spain). It is called the Constant Princess by Phillippa Gregory. It is a fictionalized account of history but based on an amazing amount of research. Katherine of Aragon was the first wife of Henry VIII and had been the wife of his older brother, Arthur who died after 5 months of marriage. I have studied quite a bit of British history, both at University and through my own research. I am facinated by the land of my heritage.

It is true, our history is told from the male perspective. Katherine of Aragon was hardly a footnote in my studies of British history. Yet she was the youngest daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella who were incredibly powerful European monarchs. Her mother was a warrior and Catalina was born while her parents were 'on campaign' in a tent. She was raised to know what it was to be a warrior. She actually led the English to a decisive victory against the Scots when Henry and his best generals had left for France - a campaign that would fail. She rode in armour and led the troops and decided the strategy. Henry was not raised to be a king - his brother got all the training. Henry was indulged and spoiled. Katherine was the power of the throne and behind the changes that occured at that time - instituting a rule of law that was consistent throughout the kindom, etc. She was a very powerful monarch in her own right. Yet what do we learn of her in history? I learned almost nothing. Truly we learn of history from the perspective of men. Not that the perspective of women is better - but it is missing.

So here is my Herstory lesson for today and I challenge you all to think about that. What would be different if history was told from the perspective of women? What would be the voice that is missing?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Window Washing Day 1

Well, I have triceps, did you know? They even hurt from typing.... They didn't call me 'little arms' for nothing...

So here are your window washing tips for the day

1. Windex and any other commercial window washing solution be it blue, orange or clear is a rip off. Not only do they not work very well, they make it harder for a window washer to do a good job because they make the water bead up on the window because there is actually a glass wax or oil in them... We just use dish soap to wash windows - it works easier than vinager because it lets the squeegee slide across the window.

2. Don't plant cute little shrubs right next to your house underneath a window. They won't be cute and little for long...

3. If you have those white spots on the window that won't wash off (calcium deposits from the water), don't waste your money on CLR or any other expensive cleaner that makes claims to remove lime and calcium build-up. They are rather toxic and they don't work well. Just cut a lemon in half and rub it over the spots. Leave it on for a couple of minutes and they will wash right off. Vinager won't work as well because table vinager is too diluted. (Pickling vinager might work - haven't tried it but it is stronger). This is my greatest window washing secret. There are people who scrub and scrub trying to get those spots off and buy CLR and still they don't come off. Lemon. Works everytime. I even used it on a window that had been clouded over for more than 10 years - so cloudy that you couldn't see through it. I had to really get it juicy and I let it soak for about 1/2 an hour and then it wiped right off and the window was sparkling clean...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

She peeped! She piped! SHE POOPED!!!

Well, was it the discussion of the digestion, emphasizing the importance of elimination? Was it the threat of diapers? Was it the encouragement and acknowledgement of the perils and benefits of growing up? Was it explaining that bowel movements were so important that if she didn't manage to have one, I would have to take her to the Dr? Or was it the laxitive tea? Perhaps the last. But she pooped. Not, unfortunately, before messing her pants one last time. She pooped just as I was coming up the stairs with another cup of laxitive tea... I gave it to her anyways. There's gotta be more in there! We cheered and I carefully supervised the wiping of the bum but didn't do it - but gave her the support she needed to be successful. Whew! Thank God!

Growing Up

I think that Rhiannon is struggling with growing up - moving to her next stage. I read something awhile ago - mothers talking about the transition that their kids went through at the half year mark. I kind of dismissed it and didn't think that any of my kids had ever been like that. But here it is, Rhiannon is 5 1/2 and she is struggling with something.

She is struggling again to sleep in her own bed - ending up almost every night in my bed for the lasat couple of weeks. I awake and put her back in the early part of the night but she invariably sneaks in in the middle of my deep sleep and I don't wake up - until the morning when she is there beside me. She wants me to dress her and undress her and choose her clothes. She wants me to choose which movie she watches and put it on for her (she's known how to operate the VCR since she was 3). The most worrisome thing is that she wants me to wipe her bum for her. I did it a couple of times and then told her I wouldn't do it anymore (but I would be glad to help her do it). So guess what, she has stopped pooping. It has been more than 10 days since the last time she pooped. I think this pattern has been going on for awhile. She will hold it, hold it, hold it and then have a gigantic poop - big-enough-to-plug-the-toilet-poop. The last couple of times she holds it for soooooo long that little bits of poo start to escape in her panties. Gross. One day, after washing out 4 pairs of panties, I told her if she did it again, I was going to buy some diapers for her. So she pooped in the toilet and plugged it.... That was the last time. She is back at the same stage now where she has had some poop in her panties a couple of times, a little in the bath last night. Kaetlyn and I tried to tease her into it while in Vancouver - we chanted 'set the poo free' while marching back and forth in front of the bathroom at Grandma B's. No luck. Then I started to really notice how long it has been since she pooped.... I have been talking to her about it. I think it is all related to growing up - going to the next stage. I think she is having some kind of anxiety about it. She says she doesn't want to poop because I won't wipe her bum. Is this the definition of stubborn? Or what!?! So we have been talking about all the advantages of getting older and the things she will be able to do and how it is okay for her to grow up. And talking about how important it is for her to poop - the function that fills in her body... So far no luck. We each made ourselves some tea this afternoon. I slipped a laxitive tea into her little teapot. That was hours ago. Still no poop. That stuff makes me poop pretty darn quickly! What will happen? How can she hold it for so long? That must be such a gross feeling...

Friday, May 05, 2006

How You Look at things

Well, last night my battery gave up the ghost. Just like that. All at once. And I am speaking here of the battery in my van. The van started perfectly all day long as Dean turned it off and on several times out washing windows. Then, when I took Kaetlyn to her umpiring, I thought I heard a little struggle when it started. Just very quick and I wasn't even sure I heard it. Then, after seeing a client at the Inner World School, it was a no go. Just ticking. Tick, tick, tick, tick...

When the BCAA guy came to get me started, he said it was the 4th battery to go like that today that he has attended to. He said that when it starts to get hot out, that batteries who are waiting to go, just go all at once. I had just had the van serviced 2 weeks ago so I was rather surprised. He told me that another lady that he helped had her car serviced 2 weeks ago, too.

So, how to react? I could moan. What a time for something ELSE to go wrong. I could beg for a moratorium on things going wrong in my life. I could feel alone. I could stress about another bill...

Or I could be grateful that instead of dying slowly, it held on to the last possible minute and then went ca-put. And isn't it lucky I can get it fixed today? And isn't it lucky that someone once gave me a battery recharger (thanks, Leanne, wherever you are) so that I can keep it plugged in and have enough juice to start it to drive to Canadian Tire? Really, aren't I lucky? Batteries do have to go sometime, don't they? And isn't it lucky that Dean was able to wash windows all day yesterday with no problems so I have the money to pay for a new battery? Really, aren't I lucky? I think I would rather be lucky than cursed. Its all matter of perspective, isn't it?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

One Month With Nothing To Do

I would love to have 1 month with nothing to do - nothing that I HAVE to do, anyways. I am discouraged. We have lived here more than a month now and the boxes are still piled up. I love this house and I love our yard. I would love it if everyday I had nothing to do but get up and arrange my house and my gardens and just putter and sew and make it the way I like. But there is always something going on. Even just having one thing that is only 1 hour long seems to take up so much of the day. Why is that? And the only things that are reasonable things I could cut out are the things that nourish ME - like our homeschooling playgroup.

And Dean is leaving tomorrow and he is going to be gone 10 days. He told me 2 days ago. I am pretty upset about it. And I can see how distressed he is to see how upset I am and I hate for him to leave when I am so upset at him. I know he didn't do it intentionally... But HOW can he NOT think of such a thing and make arrangements for the lack of income while he is gone, etc.?!? Really, how? I wish I could be like that and not always have the heavy mantle of responsiblity on my back. Sometimes I hate being strong and capable all the damn time! So I will wash windows next week. I've already got the week almost booked. Not that I should be climbing ladders... And not that I have the upper body strength to be using the extension pole for extended periods of time... But I am hoping that I will be able to do a few days worth of work. So my already busy schedule will be insanely busy. Hang on a minute... wasn't already insanely busy? What comes after insanely busy?

So how does one act like a grown-up in this situation. Part of me wants to be a grown up and part of me wants revenge - the stronger part. And I want him to suffer like I am suffering. But if something happened to him on his tour (to Saskatchewan) I would be devastated. And I feel sad to think of him feeling so alone and distressed on the road. Then that part of me that wants revenge says in a nasty little voice... "too bad he didn't have the same concern for you..." So really, I want to act like a grown up. How does a grown up act? Where is the line between being a door mat and being kind and compassionate. I thank god for my female friends and their love, concern and support. I'd never make it without them! Truly having a relationship is the hardest damn work there is.