Tuesday, December 31, 2013

time to stop

I've been watching errr... bingeing on netflix again.
My boss decided I needed some time off, after the ice storm and Christmas I was heading into my 10th day of working straight and the stress levels weren't going down by much... So, day one of my two day vacation consisted of nearly an entire season of Dawson's Creek.

So much teen angst.

I'm talking in circles in my own head now. Using the biggest words and worst clich├ęs to narrate my life.

It's time to stop.

Time instead to gather up materials for the 6th annual collage party.

Dear 2014, what will you be? 

Monday, December 30, 2013

slip stich

I couldn't tell you how many pairs of socks I've knit in the past 4 years. It's an addiction that comes in waves, the need to feel the wool in my hands, the flick of my fingers the glide and click of the needles.

I own 4 pairs of knit socks. I should have more- I bought my last pair of boots just a little too big so I'd be forced to wear pretty hand knits with them. Most of the time my feet just slide around in the boots... boots which I need to replace, they've finally worn out. Maybe this next pair will fit right, I'll admit to myself that even though I say I'm not a gifter- it's not my love language- I love to do things like knit socks for other people... I'm never going to have a drawer full of my own.

All that to say... I got sad this morning when I put on my socks. I've got a hole in one, up on the leg part- the heels and toes are well felted and won't wear. It's cold and I don't want to take off my sock. Not even to mend it.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Home

It's that time of year..
Getting ready to start "the basement diaries".

This season? Install the insulation in the floor of the addition and build that freakin' wall that I keep talking about. Bonus round will include a curtain that will hide the laundry corner.

Classy.

I know.

Yeah.

I've become the single most boring person on the planet. Someone please rescue me?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Found in the draft folder, but just as relevant today as it was 3 years ago.

we play different roles with different people sometimes... have you ever tried to not play the role when it's become ingrained, or even- when your ability to converse and function is reliant on that role?

is it a game? the rules? does anyone win? have I killed this analogy yet?

I'm stepping away from the roles in a few parts of my life. I'm not happy with the bending to make it fit.  But I'm not really sure what it means. A backing away from past relationships, making space for others to grow too, I think.

How now do I find myself in the greater world around me? Where do I step up?




**edit Dec 2013** phhhhhh, I still don't know.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Really?

Sometimes I'm too close to something to see it for what it is.
It takes someone else seeing the thing with fresh eyes, to really see where I am.

Take Rueben.
He's a nutty pup. He wears me out and drives me around the bend, he has near to zero impulse control. But really... really... where are we?

I had a group of friends here today, and over and over again I heard reactions to my dog. He was polite, he didn't jump up (much- until the baby voices started and people leaned over inviting him), he listened and sat or got into a down when asked. He was gentle and respectful of a visiting smaller dog that doesn't like to play. And he was mostly quiet.

 We don't have to do the 12kms every day anymore just to make it through the day. He's sleeping on the bed right now.. letting me type and watch a movie.

We have come SUCH.A.LONG.WAY.

I'm thankful for the perspective of others today.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Always hoped that I'd be an apostle

Digging through my parents' record collection was a thing I'd do pretty regularly growing up.
Raised on a solid foundation of Roy Orbison, The Beatles, and Abba, I can bust out some good tunes when it comes time for karaoke.

There were a few in the collection that I didn't really take the time to listen to... and now I regret it.

The Director called me up a few weeks ago and said she was desperate for a few more voices for her show... could I please try to fit it in?

I think I'm the only one in the cast who can't sing every line, every part, without their book.

Jesus Christ Superstar.




This would be the part where I admit I've never even watched the show the whole way through without falling asleep.
To be fair though, I've never tried watching the show BEFORE midnight.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

It Does a Body Good

I have this thing for milk.
I pray I never become lactose intolerant.

There are days when the only thing that is going to quell the urge to shovel things down my gullet is milk. Cold Cold milk.

I'm pretty sure it's hormonal, but I haven't figured out which part of the cycle is craving it... I'll have like a week where I'll drink nearly a litre a day, then a week where I don't even think of it, then a day of OH MY GOSH I NEED MILK... and it'll never be enough milk, and I'm sloshing inside.

This is one of those weeks where the milk is going fast in the house, except I've been at work a lot so I've been drinking it there. Early this morning I was getting ready to head to Breakfast Club and needed to have a first breakfast. Breakfast Club doesn't start till 10.  I was hit with a wave of Finish.All.The.Milk. When this sort of thing happens, it's like I'm trying to win a chugging contest. My mouth opens and things go in and... well... it's almost embarrassing.

This morning there was only a quarter of the bag of milk left, so I indulged myself in a guilty childhood pleasure.

Drinking right from the bag.

I can almost hear my mother yelling at me.

I opened and greedily poured the bag into my throat... In the first second I knew there was something wrong. by the time I could start to react I'd already gulped twice... three times... the bag was nearly empty as I was able to pull it away...

pull it away before the biggest of the chunks from the bottom of the bag fell in my mouth.

yeah.

that happened.

Shudder.

I think I can probably make it the rest of the day without another drink of milk.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

First breakfast

A million years ago,  or according to my archives- 3 years ago,  we folded our "BELLS" group.

Blessing, Eat, Listen, Learn, Sentness

Sort of a liturgy for us hobbits.
Something to use to gather with other likeminded folk and give direction and intention to our togetherness. 

Sentness has always been my favourite to reflect on. Where have I been sent?  Where have I seen God's hand in my life this week?  As someone who has decided to consciously seek joy, this is an activity I can really sink my teeth into.

I miss our old BELLS group. Life got too busy, and some people felt they were carrying the lion's share of the effort to keep it running. We all were burnt out. And it started to feel like a burden. Funny,  because we all came because we were burnt out... or had been burned and needed a safe place to figure out our own faith.

Before BELLS we were doing church at GTI, before that we had a home church... before that ...  most of our group just didnt "fit" in.

Tomorrow a group of those hobbots are getting together again. We haven't got any plans for anything other than breakfast. No books to study,  no video series to learn from, no expectations, no ... anything. Just breakfast,  breaking bread. So of course we're calling it "the breakfast club".

I'm excited to be in community again.
F you 2013.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The best Christmas Carols

I have two students right now taking uke lessons.
Two young girls, 9ish... funniest age ever.

Christmas is still a little ways off, but it's a refreshing change to have a series of songs where the generation gap hasn't left a giant rift. Honestly... what do kids listen to? I'm lost every week trying to find songs that we all know!

My second student is still quite new to the ukulele. She had a cognative growth spurt over the summer and is suddenly catching on really quickly- the music is starting to make sense and her fingers are "listening" to what she wants them to do. This year we're actually playing full Christmas songs without either of us ending up in pain.

There's still a generation gap... even in the classic Christmas tunes.

We were learning Roudolph last week. An easy tune, it means we can belt out the words without having to think too much... We had a little talk before we started...

Me: I want you to sing as loud as you can and do all the echos

Student: At my school the kids always sing the part about going down in history like Justin Bebier. I don't want to sing that.

Me: You don't have to sing that... sing about someone famous who will be famous forever- for all of history.

Student: ummmmm.

Me: Well, when I was growing up we said "like Christopher Colombus"... He's written about in a lot of history books.

Student: ummmmm.

Me: How about "like Oprah"?

Student: Who's Oprah?

(I'm dieing laughing): Really? Oh dear! Seriously?? Am I that old? Are you that young? Sheesh. ummm... How about "like Leonard Cohan"?

Student: Well, that makes more sense.

(This time I'm dieing laughing and due to overwhelming joy): ok.

Student: I'll probably just go with Justin Bebier.

 Me: sigh.

A little later we're talking about favourite drama games...

Student: Well, what about "fluff"?

Me: Fluff? Never heard of it.

Student: (dieing laughing) Really? Oh dear! Seriously?? Are you THAT old?


The lesson is nearly over, so we give Rudolph one more go... and get to the last line... Sweet student sings with gusto...

Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, you'll go down in hiiiissssss-tooooooooorr-eeeeeeeeeeee
But not like Oprah!


Thursday, November 07, 2013

a lesson in patience

This morning I was excited.
I woke up early ready to go get my new car... I woke up early and discovered I'd forgotten to buy dog food too.

My appointment at the bank- for the car- wasn't scheduled till noon but my dog demanded food, so I wandered my way downtown. Too early for the bank. Too early for even the dog food.
I reached into my wallet and discovered my secret stash.

I've been making sure I always carry two bucks for the bus. Just in case. Somehow I've gone 8 months without a vehicle and haven't taken the bus once. I mean, I've tried to take the bus. I've gone to stand at a bus stop only to be picked up by a friend along the way. So my two dollars in coin has sat in my pocket/change purse for months... I decided to bid it farewell.

I bought myself a fancy coffee and waited for the pet food store to open.

And it started to rain.

And I thanked my lucky stars that I was picking up my new car today so I wasn't going to get wet in that rain.

And I got my dog food.

And later I went to the bank.

And my car wasn't ready... so I rode my bike in the rain.

Again.

 At least the coffee was worth it.

drip drip

I think that tonight was my last wet ride home from work.

After 8 months of being a cyclist, I'm headed to the bank tomorrow for my bank note made out to tune of a new (to me) vehicle's cost.

Part of me is sad that I'm caving and getting a car. I  mean, at one point I'd toyed with the idea of going a year without replacing the sunfire. Going 8 months is still a huge thing... really. In a small town with a terrible transit system, it's nearly unheard of. Our transit would get me to work 5 mins late - if I took the first bus- and I'd have to walk 3 blocks to get the bus... it takes me less time to ride the 3.5 km to work. The last bus of the night finishes nearly an hour before the end of my evening shifts..

I tried to take a taxi one morning. It went to the wrong address, so even though I'd woken up 2 hours early in order to call and reserve a ride on a terribly rainy day, I ended up being 10 mins late for work.

I'm pretty excited to pick up my new car. Road trips and visits to the forrest with the pooch... ug. the freedom to go to a different grocery store!

The new vehicle doesn't have a name yet.

It's pretty much the exact opposite of the two door sunfire... I feel like it's the car I'm always suppose to have had. Yay for my Honda CRV!

Monday, October 21, 2013

The mountains have deep valleys.

I have never been tossed about like this.

This weekend I returned to the weird and wonderful world of the conference formerly known as OCFF. The newly renamed FMO (Folk Music Ontario) is likely one of my favourite places to be. Each time you turn around there's people I haven't seen in a while, musicians I've long admired, sea shanties sung in stairwells, new contacts, new friends, new crushes, new loves, new thoughts, new music, new collaborations,  new discussions, old discussions and long running jokes.

This was likely my favourite conference so far. I knew my jobs well and was able to help them run efficiently. I'm more comfortable in my skin with each passing year and not afraid to speak up and engage people. I was part of a really well attended panel that was fun and informative and it felt awesome to be able to contribute back to the community. And I've developed friendships that are comfortable even if they only happen in real life once a year.

Things in my day to day life have been stressful on and off for quite some time. Nothing huge that stands alone, but cumulatively it's enough that I've been weighed down emotionally. And didn't really notice it...  Until I started to laugh this weekend.

Like really laugh.
Deep belly laughs that left me gasping
crying
coughing.
Multiple times.

When did I last laugh like that?
The fact that I had to stop and really ask myself that question hurt.

When I finally fell into bed each morning (there's no sleep at OCFF/FMO) I fell into deep sleeps- filled with dreams of joy. No nightmares, no stresses... I probably could have slept without my mouthgaurd. When I woke up, I was smiling.

That is the way to spend a weekend.
Shedding everything else.

And then I came home.
I sat on my couch and readied myself to go back to work.

And I fell over the cliff into the valley with a single phone call.

"are you at home? we lost the baby"




Thursday, October 17, 2013

And I quote

There's a little too much in my head right now. It's been a hard week at work.

But I just heard myself say out loud "today I rode in a car and I rode on a train".

I'm either 3 years old or a hillbilly. You decide.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

My ding a ling.

The town clock has been under renovation all summer. I've been confused about the time since they pulled the hands off in June.
This Friday they turned the switch and put it back to work....

I'm more confused.

The faces say the right time, but the bells are ringing the wrong things... It's 9pm and it just rang 4 times... at 4pm it rang 6 times.. at 10pm yesterday it rang 5 times....

Ding dong song.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

weeping with laughter, joy, and a longing.

I stayed up way past my bedtime last night.
I made the mistake of clicking to read all posts with the label "GTI" and relived years of frustration and joy... then I headed over to "the figurehead's" blog and read the entire thing.
The ENTIRE thing.

"The Figurehead" was a part-joking title one of our team members received in the early years at GTI, back when we were still just GTI.

A quick recap- "GTI" was a group of people that became friends and put on a dinner weekly at the local residential hotel (made up of those who lived there and those who don't.... not "us" and "them"). We had church. We had breakfasts. We walked beside eachother. I learned so so so much about people and relationships there.

Things have changed over the years. Not for the worse. Just changed. And big parts of it are better- more streamlined... heading somewhere Big. But in the move to that somewhere Big, and because of other forces... a portion of what GTI was has been lost. And again... it's not bad that it's been lost. It's a different incarnation. And more people are being reached by more services.

And I don't miss being strapped for cash and spending my grocery money trying to help feed 45 people. I don't miss the days when I was working 80+ hours and trying to fit in time to make 10lbs of scalloped potatoes. I don't miss my car smelling a little like puke and smoke and cats. I don't miss sitting in a freezing room with no bathroom for hours.

But I miss my friends at the motel.
I miss the raccoons, the euchre, the mice, the conversations, the adventures, the laughter, the trying to make it work, the smelly carpet, the long buffet table, the long eating tables, the chairs that fell over on their own, the fuses that burnt out, the draft, the warmth, and the friendships that came from dealing with those weird bits.

Click here to read some bits and pieces I wrote...

Click here to read the Figurehead's blog (I hope some day she publishes it)


I've got to go do some thinking.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Did you know this?

I feel like the bionic woman.
No really... This week's highlights included CUTTING A BAR OF STEEL WITH MY BARE HANDS.

Not kidding.
I've been prepping to build a chainlink fence in the backyard to keep the non-wonder dog secure. One of my tasks was to find a way to make a top rail shorter. What the heck do you use to cut large bars of metal?
Turns out I use my little hack saw.
Thank you google.

While I was doing it I had to keep stopping to laugh. I was CUTTING metal.
Ok, I know it's not something funny... but like... here I am, a girl in her backyard cutting a piece of metal to build herself a fence... it's kind of funny. And.. did I mention it was a BAR OF STEEL?
Ok, maybe it was some random mix of metals...but. whatever.

Added to the list of things I learned to do this week- cut metal, change the blade in my hack saw, what a hack saw is, how to dig post holes around tree roots, how to make chain link not so saggy.
This is a great list.

edit: add to the list, I learned that my dog has zero impulse control. The fence is nearly finished, I showed the dog the fence- walked him it's length several times, tapped on it- made him look at it. The dog ran full face into the fence at the first squirrel he saw. Gave himself a bloody nose and a big welt across the forehead.
My dog is going to break his neck or get hit by a car... I know it.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tisk Tisk.

Dear self,
You must avert your eyes when passing those groups of teen boys, least you see the geeky one in the trench coat and bow tie... because there's always one, and falling in love with teenaged boys is pervy.
With love and concern,
A wiser version of me.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

dream land babies

Every dream I've had for years and years and years has happened in the same location. Sure, it looks a little different each time, but I KNOW that it's on the Ranch property. The Ranch being my place of employment for 9 years between the ages of 14 and 23. Those are pretty formative years... but it's still weird that every dream is set there.

Last night I had a stress filled dream. I was with a dear friend who is pregnant (also pregnant in real life and due in like 3 weeks)... And it was winter... and I took her horseback riding... and the horse fell, and she fell... and I spent the rest of the dream trying to figure out if she was ok, if the baby was ok... and trying to convince her that she was fine and that she didn't really fall... she um... went down with the horse.

Today 2 of my friends had babies.

Not my friend from the dream.

Yet.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

unfinished thoughts

So- that happened. 
The thing with the skunk.

Which ment The Dog and I have been showering... a lot. Which means the bathroom has been too humid to paint. So, let's just scratch that off the to-do list.

And the thing with the coons happened.
I rebuilt the coop so the coons couldn't get in. It's actually really nice now- and I don't think the chicken's aid will take my poorly homed hens away. But I rebuilt the coop so I could tear down what remained of the rotted wall in the shed (the coons tore most of it down after I plugged up their original access) without fear of an invasion.

This is what I discovered.... (note: this is the wall that is adjacent to the neighbour's fence, at the front of the shed it's a foot and a half away from the fence, and at the back it's half a foot from the fence... because in the 80's and 90's... the 1880's 1890's- the townspeople didn't bother to check where property lines were before they put in their drive sheds/stables and then in the 60's and 70's... 1960's and 1970's people rebuilt on top of the old foundations using the worst methods they could come up with. This is a fairly shitty design flaw when it comes to trying to renovate.)

The wall was rotted.

The wall was rotted because the gutter was rusted.

The gutter was rusted because it was full of debris.

The debris came from the completely rotted shingles  (um, I'd never noticed how bad they were- the side of the shed that faces my yard has great shingles. The other side faces the fence. I didn't notice the shingles till I retrieved the broom) (the broom that I used as a javelin the night the coons came for a visit)

And because the gutter and shingles and wall were all rotted... the frame/support beams of the shed were rotted.

Let me just say, I've never been so glad of the hours and hours and hours of "this old house" I watched in the 80's and 90's. (the 1980's and 1990's).

The shed is no longer in danger of falling on that side.

Let's not talk about the state of the other three sides of the shed.

everyone likes an update

Back to that time I lost my shit.

I took a vacation this week- There were a few things I needed to do around the house...like paint the bathroom, build the fence, coon-proof the coop, and rebuild the rotted wall of the shed.

I've got three days left of my vacation... and it's raining.

Truth is, one of the projects ended up being so much bigger than I thought it would be, and without a vehicle... I spent a lot of my week in "hurry up and wait" mode.

Last sunday night the dog and I found a skunk sitting on my back step.

 It's been living under my neighbour's shed all summer, and hanging out down the street at the construction site for weeks. Sunday night, it decided to cut through my yard on it's way home just as we were headed out for Rueben's last walk. I didn't turn on the light. I was walking with my eyes nearly shut- I cracked the back door open, and Rueben SHOT OUT OF IT and ripped the leash right out of my hand. So I stumbled down the stairs yelling at him... in time to see him PIN a skunk to the ground... in time to watch him let it go... get sprayed, chase it under the trailer... and, as any good herding dog would do... HERD THE SKUNK BACK AT ME. I opened my umbrella to use as a shield. Rue then chased it under the trailer... then back to me.. then under the trailer... then back to me. At one point I went into the house to escape it all... but the stupid dog was barking and pinning the skunk to the ground over and over, I knew I needed to pull him off the skunk if it was ever going to end.

The thing about skunk spray? It doesn't smell like skunk.

I kept wondering if maybe it was a young skunk who hadn't figured out how to spray right yet... because all I could smell was this terrible petrol-like smell... not gas, like heavy oil products.

The thing about skunk spray? It smells like skunk AFTER you start washing it off.

I dumped the dog and myself in the tub... Rueben's first bath since I got him... (note: he hates baths)
And started rinsing us off with baking soda and peroxide. My hands were covered in the stink (from grabbing the dog- and his saturated leash), my feet were covered in the stink (from running around trying to grab the dog in freshly sprayed grass and gravel)... and my nose was full of it. Meanwhile, the dog looked like a cartoon rabies victim with all the foaming at the mouth and drooling he was doing (his reaction to the skunk spray in his mouth) and kept trying to wipe his face on everything.

I'm so thankful I locked him in the back room of the house after that first bath... it's now just the bathroom and back room that have a skunky after smell to them.

Best thing I learned from this experience- have baking soda, peroxide, and a mild dish soap on hand. These are your friends. The dog only smells of skunk right around his mouth and eyes where I couldn't get too close with my cleaning mixture. The rest of him just smells like normal dog. I'm sure there are measurements that you can use, google it ... I just dumped the bottle of peroxide, half a box of baking soda, and a squirt of dish soap into a cup and mixed it together.
As a plus, it's a great exfoliant for yourself.

It took me two showers to pass the sniff test by friends.
Sniff tests took place inside closed vehicles to ensure the results would be true.

That's what friends are for.

(remind me not to wear those flip flops in your car though)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sometimes they write themselves.


Three things:
 1) I have a great friend named Kevin who can always make me laugh. He's 
happily married to his partner of 12million years, but if he ever decides to try the straight side- I know I get first dibs.

2) I have a ukulele student who likes to "spontaneously song". She opens her mouth and she's written a new song. This week's gems included chickens learning to swim, "the flippers helped them greatly" was one fantastic line. And yes, it all rhymed. But the best line hands down was from a song about a quilting otter, "cross stitch isn't a skill you often use"... I nearly fell off my chair.

3) My friends often make fun of the fact that I remember so much random (mostly) useless information from the articles I read. They also make fun of the fact that I read articles about these things at all.
The following is what happens on facebook when Kevin and I are online. 


Status update:
I will NOT read the article on tanning deer hides using natural materials. There is no reason for me to learn this.

L.Bo- especially since I already read the article on using soldier fly larva to consume waste and create animal feed protein.. Why do I read and retain this stuff? Why can't I remember my seven times tables?



Kevin- Seven times seven equals an awesome pair of fringed suede buckskin boots. Eight times seven makes them thigh-high.

Nine times seven? I'm not even going there.



L.Bo- chaps... a matched set.

The worst part of this is... next time I'm trying to remember 8x7 .. I'm going to start laughing uncontrollably.


Kevin-No, the worst part is that I'm going to be awake all night envisioning variations of unmatched chaps.

And that won't be the worst way I've spent a night. 

This week


L.Bo-I love you.


Kevin- That's only because you bring out the worst in me. I was a contender for Pope before I met you.Assuming pink smoke would be recognized for the miracle it would be.


L.Bo- So. um. I was just trying to picture the pope in chaps and then realized how very wrong that was.


Kevin- Totally cackled. Totally love you. Totally blamed you for waking up the dog and making him bark, which woke up Jer, who was "watching a movie".

If any one of them was wearing unmatched pink suede chaps, I'd simply die of joy.


L.Bo-  " I simply died of joy" I want that on my gravestone.


Kevin- Cross-stitched. In granite.


L.Bo- Obviously

"cross stitching isn't a skill you often use" ... said by a quilting otter.


Kevin- Cross stitching is no more a skill than ballroom dancing, or making venison jerky. It's an art you're born with. Or buy at church bazaars.

L.Bo- I was born with so.much.art.


Kevin- And I was born with silk floss, patent leather shoes and deer meat. I complete you.


L.Bo- See? I just died of too much joy.


Kevin- Let's make a pact: No dying until the pope wears unmatched pink suede chaps. (Which, in light of recent comments, isn't as far-fetched as one might first presume.) My guess is that it could happen in celebration of the first anniversary of Saint Liberace Day.

Or did you mean "la petite mort", which would cause me to avert my eyes, shuffle my feet and blush.



It was at this point my computer had a temper-tantrum and started acting like I was leaning on the enter key... after some rather embarrassing/ odd posts, I decided it was time to take my leave.... but not before my computer tried to link each line I wrote to "what the poo dude" . So random!



Kevin- sleep well and fully chapped


L.Bo- half chapped= 7x3





Thursday, September 19, 2013

Turn on the lights

Then there was that time that the dog and I got sprayed by a skunk.
Yeah, that happened.

I think I'm almost at the point where I can write about it without KILLING the dog.

I mean, I'm at the point now where I can be in the house without gagging... so that's something..


right?

Monday, September 09, 2013

adventures in urban homesteading. (or) the time I lost my shit.

(apologies for my language...I drop the f-bomb a lot when I'm mad)

I'm going into my 3rd winter with Chickens in town.
I could go on and on about ideas around building the perfect chicken coop- VENTILATION, basic chicken care, and about how frickin' fantastic watching those bumbling featherbutts can be... but I won't... come and ask me questions some time.
My coop is the most hobo-built-redneck creation out there. It's built out of spare pieces of wood and parts off an old rabbit cage (Norty's old cage). It's been great- located inside my shed it's been mostly preditor proof- last fall a set of raccoon prints appeared on the lower side of the coop inside the shed, but the little guy never returned.
And there was the run-in with the fox this summer that made off with 2 of my meat birds, but that was a small run out in the yard, not the coop...

Last night I went to bed early- I've done a string of day shifts, and I find that getting things done and out the door before 7am is hard work... I fell asleep by 9:30 and was sound asleep in my own bed by 10.... at midnight I heard the chickens screaming.

I fumbled around and found a house coat in the dark (because I still haven't bothered to plug the lamp back in under my bed!) and went running out... three of the girls were in the run... Darlene was screaming bloody murder...The girls are never in the run at night- unless the coop door has blown shut and locked them out. So I run into the shed... and come face to face with 4 young raccoons! one took off right away and I never saw it again... one was in the coop eating an egg, and two others climbed up ontop of the coop.

I did what any chicken farmer would do.

I grabbed my broom and started playing raccoon baseball. I whacked the heck outta them- I shoved them, I hissed at them. I yelled (several times) "you mother fuckers get out of my fucking chicken coop!'

What did they do? They took it! One just sort of rolled his eyes at me while I swung at him. Oh, I made contact- once or twice the broom was bitten. Eventually I chased them out of the shed- they ended up on the roof. I could hear them pacing above me, so I went outside and started beating them again- one climbed into the run- where the girls started pecking at him.

This is likely where someone might have called the SPCA on me, because I grabbed the wooden pole that I use to prop open the run door and took a few swings at the beastie. In frustration (because I couldn't reach the jerks on the roof) I had thrown the broom at the coons while I spat out every swear word I've ever learned, so the pole made a great replacement.

It's still on the roof (the broom I mean).

The wooden pole was heavy- I couldn't swing it at the coons on the roof, and it was only 3 feet long. So I switched to the bamboo poles from the garden, at 5 feet long they make an amazing switch... and I could reach the peak of shed roof from the ground.

For the next half hour I ran from one side to the other of the shed, whipping raccoons. I was not gentle... but they seemed to think it was a joke.... till I climbed on the roof of the run and got on the roof of the shed and tried to play raccoon golf.

Finally I'd hit them in the head often enough that the decided to (slowly) leave.
They climbed down onto the fence... where I hit them some more.
Then they climbed over the side of the fence into the neighbour's side- still hanging onto the lattice of the fence.  I spent some time jabbing them in the stomach with my bamboo pole. That pissed them off and they fell off the fence- one fell off the fence and got stuck, that was pretty much the best moment of the night... I may have been laughing manicly at that point. I only stopped when I heard myself loudly say "take that mother fuckers!"

I also realized at that point that my housecoat wasn't done up, and that I was still wearing my mouth guard.

Awesome. Thank goodness I live on a quiet street.





epilogue: I chased the coons again around 3am. No chickens were (seriously) harmed. Tonight I built a cage inside the coop to house the girls till I can do some serious repairs to the side of my delapitated old shed. Vacation/shed repairs start next Monday if anyone would care to join me.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Nuttafied

Peanuts are fricken' fantastic.

Like, not in the "I've got to eat them by the bottle load" (which I do), but in the "seriously? what the what now?" kinda way.

This year's garden challenge has been a little different than last. Last year it was all about the idea of intensive urban farming in a small plot. I was able to average 1lb of produce per square foot growing mostly leafy greens- This year, while my yeild is nearly half that again in weight (1.5lbs and growing season isn't over)- I've gone with more variety. This year's challenge was to try growing some produce that my zone isn't known to support well.

The two biggest garden weirdos this year are the quinoa and peanuts.
I'm not going to attempt pictures. Both cameras are shot and the camera in my phone is nearing the end of it's life too (honestly doesn't anything last anymore?! ug.).
Let me tell you about the peanuts.
They had a rough start. They like the soil to be well draining, not too packed- so the raised beds were the way to go- They started in one bed and ended up moving- which I think has slowed the way down... It's easy to see why they're a legume when they're in flower- the tiny yellow petals look like mini pea flowers, and aside from the way the leaves are grouped, the leaf shape is similar.... but here's where it gets weird... the flower gets pollinated above the ground, then... it grows this crazy "peg" down into the ground... buries itself and then develops the peanuts underground.
No. really... it's weird.. and weird looking.

So, that got me to thinking.
And looking.
When you leave a pea on the plant too long, the pod started to dry up and gets all veiny looking... somewhat similar to the peanut shell... what then would happen if I started roasting peas? Like, in the same way I'm roasting my ground nuts?
I don't have any peas to try this with at this point... hopefully I remember next season.

Adventures in quinoa coming up later....
weirdo plants.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

there and back again

What a perfect festival.
My fears about not putting myself fully into the prep of the festival being a threat to my full enjoyment of the festival were put aside.

I'm probably in the best shape emotionally coming out of this festival. I didn't overdo it before or during, so I'm not a wasted lump crying my face off grieving the passing of another festival. But, I'm still pretty sadfaced- I don't like it when it ends.
I hate going from true community and constant togetherness  back to my single gal life in my single gal house. On one hand I'm so glad to be away from people- I just want to stare at the wall for a few days and not talk to anyone- and on the other hand, I just need someone to hang onto me.

I don't really have a way to pull together all my thoughts from the festival... so this might be a little rambley.

Sure the weather was weird and rainy at first, but pardon the pun, it didn't put a damper on it.

I went out to the site on Thursday and helped with some kitchen prep- I didn't realize how much I missed the pre-festival kitchen till I was in the middle of creating a VAT of hummus surrounded by other cheery cooks chopping carrots and grilling ground chicken.  Happy people, singing and cooking and visiting.

I went home Thursday night- which was hard, Thursday and Sunday night are generally my favorite campfires- but I knew the pooch needed some attention before I dragged him off to the doggie daycare. (Doggie daycare is a whole other story)

Friday arrived. Artists arrived, set up happened without a hitch. People created pretty things, looked at pretty things. The village worked really well. I feel a little bad that after Saturday lunch I pretty much abandoned the village- each time I was there, there was nothing for me to do- so eventually I stopped checking in. oops.

The music all weekend was fantastic.
Camping in the trailer with Manda was lovely.
Campfires were... healing to the soul.

I did discover something though- I'm not really there for the music. I'm there for the community. I'm there for the conversations. I'm there for the intimacy between friends and loves. I'm there for the special moments. I'm there for the teamwork overcoming challenges.

The shared.
That's what I'm there for.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

the other side

This.
Sitting on the couch.
Not worrying.

What is this?

This is the moment where I realize that in my 9 years of involvement I've given a lot. This is the moment that I realize that I am entering into the 10th Shelter Valley Folk Festival and my stress level is at zero for the first time.

Imagine that. 10 festivals. 9 years I've been involved. 8 years of stomach wrenching, teeth grinding... sometimes vomit inducing- stress. And now, 1 year of going to a festival and not having a care in the world. I cried the night before my first festival. I was so tired. I'd given so much of me. And then I went on to have a magical weekend. I was hooked.

So now my only worry.
Going into something without an emotional investment... will it mean that I am more-or will I be less emotionally open to the experience? Do I need to be raw to accept the gifts that community brings?

I hope not.
I'm going to try to be present in every moment.


Sitting on the hill.
Helping with workshops.
seeing old friends and loves.
meeting new friends and loves.
hearing music fully.

That's my hope.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Right.

It's been awhile since a day off with no commitments whatsoever.

... at the end of it I turned to the dog and tried to make him promise me that if I died alone in this house, he'd have the decency to not eat my face off.
He didn't answer.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

really?

I remember the date that I was first allowed to use a pen in class to write with. September 6th 1985... It was a friday. It was a big deal. I think I've written here before about how it was my "default date" for a long time... the date I'd write at the top of the page if I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing.

Big kids got to use pens.
Big kids in grade three.
Pencils were for babies

I'm in my 30's now... and I cant find a freakin' pencil in my house for the life of me... I need a pencil! How else am I suppose to do this puzzle book?

Jeepers

Monday, August 19, 2013

My dog is an American

Sir Rueben OnWry with Mustard

a little follow up, now that I've got a working keyboard! Don't worry, this isn't going to become a dog blog... seriously, I've had him for 3 months and I'm only just getting around to writing about him.

So the poor boy was living on the streets... in Ohio. Weird right? My dog is an American. He was picked up by a kill shelter and spent the next week or two there- the shelter said his time was up there and thankfully Collie Rescue stepped in. They brought him up into Ontario where he was only in his foster home a week before my application was accepted... he moved in with me a little less than a month later.

I think the thing that is the strangest is how good he is... like really- other than the puppy antics and the crazy barking (I've won the fight against the bark 2 days in a row now!) He's so well behaved. He learns quickly. He wants to please me. He's had one accident (when he was sick) in the house- and even then he did everything he could to NOT have an accident in the house. He LOVES little people... and is mostly gentle with them- yesterday he wanted to run over a small child with excitement, but he sat, then flopped over on his back for a belly rub. He doesn't offer his belly to adults when he meets them... but little kids... he's in LOVE with little people.... he lets them do weird little kid things to him... like tie stuffed animals to his head- and then he prances around following them, licking them.... with stuffed animals still tied to his head.

What sort of state are you in when you let a family pet go out on the streets? Is it a matter of not caring that it's gone - and so not following up by calling the shelter? Is it a matter of not noticing your pet is missing? Is it a family that is so strapped for cash, letting their pet fend for themselves is the only financial option they think they have? 

Blows me away.

He's a good boy... I'm a lucky duck.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

sheesh

Sometimes I just need to shake my head at myself!

Seriously.

So I've been living in frustration with the broken keyboard (remind3er, th6is2 is2 wh6a1t h6a1pens2 wh6en I us2e it). It's kept me from spending much time online. No, that's a lie, it's kept me a lurker. The act of even responding with one line would make me want to poke my eyes out... deleting all those extra numbers.

Sure, I posted a few blog posts, I wrote a few emails where I had to... but for the most part stayed "silent" online.

Today I was deleting numbers- trying to write a two sentence response to someone about how to build a fruit fly trap like the one I was using (dear.GOD. I have a lot of fruit flies in the house right now)... when a thought came to me.

Did I?
Was that a dream?
No... I really did.

I marched into my bedroom, reached down into the dark corner of my closet, and closed my fingers around something thin and metal.

Guess who forgot that she had purchased a spare mac keyboard 3 or 4 years ago while at the bluebox? um.
yeah...
I (now) remember the exact conversation I had with a friend when I bought it "I'm buying the keyboard in case I ever spill a beer or something on my computer... it's good to have a back up plan".
(it's good to review your back up plans every once in awhile)

all that glitters is not fully gold though, the return button doesn't work- but the one on the number pad of the keyboard does...

I am stupidly happy right now.

Monday, August 12, 2013

better late than never.

I fully intended to write a post about my new pooch back months ago when I got him... but then we started walking together and it seemed every free second was given to him.

 (with this face, wouldn't you give every second?)



2 pairs of shoes and nearly 3 pant sizes later, we've settled into a routine that works for the 2 of us. One that still leaves me some down time for reading and writing...  And netfix.




He's a sweet boy, and I shouldn't complain about his shelter dog quirks- we're working through them. He loves everyone and works really hard to be a good boy.


Rueben Onwry With Mustard- because every dog needs a distinguished name

I'd been so lonely since I had to put down Jelly, I started looking on petfinder.com to see if I found anything that looked appealing... Two friends posted his link to me on facebook... and I fell in love.
And that's that! He's here to stay.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

it's the feet... and the claw thingies

I'm standing in my bathtub having a shower.. and trying desperately not to cry.

When it's summer, I treat my hair like it's curly, when it's winter I treat it like it's straight. What does that mean?  Winter is filled with combing and brushing and washing my hair nearly daily- zero humidity calls for it. But in the glorious summer? ah yes, my hair goes free. I only brush it when I wash it, if I wash it. curls like to be free.

Today was a hair washing day.

I dunked my hair under the spray of the water and the smell of a campfire from 2 nights ago was recharged and released ... I love that. I grabbed the brush and fought the good fight (and won). I threw the dead cat's worth of hair that I'd combed out into the trash... and looked down... and that's when I saw it circling the drain...

an earwig.

there had been a freakin' dead earwig in my HAIR.
oh.
dear.
God.
Save.
Me.

So. I'm standing in my bathtub having a shower... and trying desperately not to cry.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

run forrest

So, Rueben and I have taken his training with the bike cart a step further... he had so much fun running beside the cart in training that he's now running for 5/10 mins a day beside the bike. I want to make this as safe as possible, so I need to rig something up that can attach to the rack on the back of the bike and hold the leash out a foot from the side of the bike. I'm sure I can ask a welding friend. 

He's tied in a quick release knot to the rack at the back now -to keep him out of the path of the bike and because he can't throw the bike off when he decides it's time to bark at another dog. We travel at "fast trot" speed and the second he has to break into a lope we slow down- because of where he's tied, he runs right beside my right knee so I can see him without the danger of him getting under the wheels. So far so good. We go on the quietest streets after the evening walkers are laying on their couches with their dogs.... and he's SO so happy!
My feet are so happy too.


I'm going to have to learn how to weld... I have visions of a collie cart bike hybrid!

Friday, August 09, 2013

...

th6e k8eyboa1rd3 is2 much6 wors2e...
I wa1nt to write, but it's2 a1 l9ittl9e a1nnoying5 rig5h6t now. L(ook8ed3 a1t purch6a1s2ing5 a1 new k8eyboa1rd3, a1nd3 ma1c compa1tibl9e a1re s2tupid3 expens2ive... s2o f4or now, I'l9l9 l9ive with6 it a1nd3 continue to s2a1ve f4or a1 new computer.

s2omeone wa1nt to g5ive me l9es2s2ons2 on h6ow to us2e a1 PC a1g5a1in?

Friday, August 02, 2013

bases covered

A few months ago I caved.
"A gift to myself" I said.

I hired a cleaning lady.

Seriously? In your tiny house? It seems like such a waste of money!
No, no it's not.

See, I've mentioned before- I'm an "outty" organizer, raised by a family of "inny" organizers. Things need to be tidy in their place out of sight so I don't suffer from guilt. My deceased mother's voice "don't you care about the things you own?" rings in my ears when I look at my cluttered dresser... my father's actual voice "your mother would have had a fit if she saw your counter" as he walks through my kitchen.

I feel bad when things are a mess. But, I don't know where stuff is if it's out of sight.

Enter the cleaning lady. (A coworker who has a passion for cleaning). My house makes me giggle when I walk in the door... it's that clean.

But I have a dirty (messy) secret. My bedroom has been an embarrassing mess/disaster for months. To the point that I told the cleaning lady that I didn't want her to do my room.... So I've kept my door closed when anyone enters the house... I pile things in the corners... on top of the dresser. Clothing lays in a pile beside the bed. Not quite to the point of looking like a hoarder's home... but close.

When I go out of town I get a twinge of "I'd better not die in a car accident or end up in hospital- someone will see my room".

This week the cleaning lady came... and decided to clean my room. I had a few moments of  panic "what will she think of me"... but mostly it's been relief.

At least now if I die, it won't be from embarrassment. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Please no.

I've just come back from a fantastic weekend at Hillside Festival... what an amazing space.  Maybe I'll write more about my experiences there... but first, a moment that has me all mixed up in how to respond.

I ran into a friend and her partner one afternoon. They were with a few other friends and we struck up a conversation.

At one point I found myself speaking with a handsome young man. It wasn't flirtatious, just very comfortable and so completely unguarded that it stood out in a space where everyone was gathered with the purpose of watching a well rehearsed "show".  It must have struck others as something unusual, because my friend's partner turned to young handsome and in a manner not so discreet,  false whispered "What's going on? Are you interested in her?" Embarrassed with his obvious disapproval, we both turned away and young handsome stammered a response of "um, I'm just a friendly guy". I tried hard to keep my composure and eventually found an excuse to leave the circle.


A few things struck me... friend's partner is bit of an awkward douche or maybe he's just a bit of a douche when he drinks.  I don't know.

The other is more troubling, and bothered me for most of the weekend.  This lovely young guy is likely going to think twice before he allows himself to fully be present in a conversation with someone who might not fit his peers' expectations of conformity to the "cool club".

I wanted to find him in the crowd and tell him to never let go of being beautifully unguarded, tell him that he is going to find the most amazing things if he can be present with people.... that being an aloof hot shot gets old quick... and then hand him a book of Shane Coyzan's poetry...

There were some real moments of beauty this weekend.

Monday, July 15, 2013

some days aka soymedayys

Some days, it's too hot to do anything after work but lay on the couch with a beer and watch too many episodes of "Orange is the New Black" on Netflix. (Side note... DEAR GLORY ME... THAT is a great show... a little graphic nudity, but who isn't desensitized already these days?)

Some days, your dog bumps into the table and knocks your beer onto the laptop.

Sometimes, when you're really lucky, the next morning... only a few keys are a little sticky and the touch pad isn't your best friend, and your computer smells like a dirty bar.... but you're happy anyway because you didn't get the blue screen of death when you turned your computer on that morning.

Let's all think warm loving thoughts for my computer shall we?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

friend failure

The last half hour of work at the group home is generally spent watching old TV shows on DVD. Lots of I love Lucy, Bonanza, John Wayne, and tonight's choice- The Andy Griffth Show.

I came in partway through the episode... Andy's house is slowly filling with women, some sort of hen party that he didn't know about. I ask Jen what I've missed....

"I think that Barney is trying to help him find a new wife."

Sure enough, Barney enters the house and peers through the kitchen door at the ladies gathered in the living room. He asks Andy if he's seen anything he likes... Andy demands to know what's going on, then insists that the ladies are told to leave once Barney tells him that his future wife might be in the room.

Andy: Why would you do something like that?
Barney: As your best friend I'm just trying to look out for you.

Involuntarily my head sloooooooowly turns toward Jen.. I can't stop it. I look directly at her.

I look away... but it's too late.

Jen starts to kill herself laughing and apologizes for not having done the same for me.


Friday, June 14, 2013

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

NO
Seriously?
really?


9 years?

This blog holds 9 years of my thoughts?





(I'm writing this in March 2013, knowing that this is coming and not wanting to wait to write this post... if I've accidently died since setting this to auto post in the future... um... sorry for creeping you out... and.. um.. I love you.)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

they're baaaa-aack

It took two crunches before I realized what was happening.

It was so familiar, but so strange. A forgotten memory.

I was out for a walk down to the beach with my new lovely pup (story about the pup later) when I heard a crunch... felt a crunch. One more step and I felt and heard another.
It was the second crunch that did it.
I looked down immediately, knowing I'd have to tread carefully.

Mass snail exodus.

Snails... everywhere.

I counted eleven more in the four yards before the beach.
So gross.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

that sticky noise when you step in a puddle

I started running again last week.
I've been hurting all over anyway, so I figured if I started running now.. the pain would all get lumped together and it wouldn't matter.

I forgot how much I love it. And hate it.

Anyway, walking is too slow. I get frustrated. But my body isn't back in shape enough to run at the speed that I want/need.

Today was a 12 hour shift. I had to cancel my Uke lesson (there goes my spending money) in order to stay at the group home when a coworker called in sick. Yes I make more money at the group home than with lessons, but only if I'm paid at my contract rate... I won't go into the details, but basically this just makes me want to go for a LONG run.

Except that I've been wearing those running shoes for more than 13 hours today and my feet smell like a swamp.

I'm going to bed instead.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

In pieces

This morning I staggered into the bathroom and sat down... Then looked at my legs in horror.

I'm covered in dime sized bruises from my knee to my thigh. My sleep crusted eyes and foggy brain couldn't process what I was seeing, so I just stared.

After a few seconds I woke up enough to realize what it was that I was seeing.

During the show last week there were so many funny moments, and so many touching moments... that I would forget why I was there. I'd be lost in the story lines of the other actors within the first few seconds that they'd take the stage. I'd roar with laughter over and over no matter how many how many times I heard their parts... and I'd tear up, and openly weep during others. Then I'd spend the first 15 seconds I was on stage trying to remember who my character was... trying to regroup from what I'd just watched.

When we actually started the show for an audience I realized that I needed to keep myself in check. I couldn't sit and cry through the touching piece before I went on stage, I needed to isolate myself... my character from the other story lines so I could fully be my own character. I needed a distraction that would bring me back to my seat- out of the story being played out in front of me....

I took to jamming my thumbs into my thigh muscle.

I should likely come up with some other method for the future.

Monday, May 13, 2013

More Work Than a Puppy

A few months ago my friend Heather came to my door.
It was a Wednesday night, 9:30ish. She had papers in her hands.

"You didn't come to the auditions"

"No, I decided that it wasn't something I was ready to do.. and I'm just really trying to protect my time, and I feel like I'm busy all the time. I want to be able to spend time with people... not commit to something else. And... it's a monologue. I've never done a monologue! I can't do one! That's scary stuff!"

I was totally making excuses.

"But I saved one just for you... it's the shortest one... and... I think that you're the right person to do it!"
She hands me the papers.

"but.. uh. oh. but. Well, come in... do you want some tea? I'll read it, but I'm not promising anything."


We sat down, sipped tea.. visited... and then Heather asked me to read it out loud.
I could barely read it out to her.... I started blushing on the first line.
The words on the pages were not words that I say out loud.... hardly ever.

And then she sucker punched me.

"if you do it, we'll get to hang out every week, just us... for a little bit each week, and we can make it fit with your schedule... so it's like the best of both worlds, you'll get to do a show, and have time with me!"


Sunday, May 12, 2013

deep down

I'm in a play that's wrapping up today.
A series of monologues called "More Work Than a Puppy".

I've tapped into an emotion (Anger) that I don't often use. Anger scares me. I've seen a lot of it around me, and in my teen years spent too much time on the receiving end to be comfortable with it. Not that anyone is ever comfortable with anger.. just that I've seen the rage and have been so terrified by it, that I fear who I'd be if I ever allowed myself to face it head on.

My character in this show loses her shit on a man... like... LOSES HER SHIT. Friends who've seen the show have come to me after and said they're a little afraid of me, that they've never seen me get mad at someone in the first place, so seeing this rage is almost too much. I have to remind them I'm acting.
Am I acting?
Does this live in me?

Pulling this from within me has felt So Good. After each show I can't stop laughing, I'm giddy, I'm ... probably ready to take on anything... I'm ... ready to lose my shit on whoever deserves it. Is that me?
And pulling this from within me has also made me so aware of each and every emotion on a ridiculous level. I'm already hypersensitive to emotions from other people, and now I'm hypersensitive to my own? This is messy.


Friday, April 05, 2013

pumpkins

I have GOT to stop watching strange programs/ reading about strange programs before going to bed.

Currently I'm suffering through "4400". The acting. oh... dear... the acting.... But, the story line is great.  It's kind of like watching a train wreck though... the acting. I can't look away.

Anyway last night's dream:

Somehow I was sucked back in time while shopping in Zellers,  into a Theatre where someone was attacking my male counterpart, we escaped through a series of doors that we choose from a rolladex type thing holding doors, and then set up our lives together, eventually falling in love.. having babies... all in sort of a 50's/medieval time period... because those exist.
Eventually we'd saved up enough Canadian Tire money that we could give a try on the good old time machine installed on the wall above a bench in the community centre. The idea was "if you put the right number of bills in the machine in the right order, gold lego bits will spew out. When that happens, collect them up because you'll need the money to restart your life back in your own time period. Then enter in the documents/letters of request into the machine and it'll decide wether to grant you access to the future." BUT. We were living undercover, so my date showed up and asked me what I was doing (while my husband and children and the towns people milled about).. because living undercover means you should be dating someone? Um.. side note: My date was a guy named Tom that I went to grade school with.
Anyway, I turned to my husband, rolled my eyes and said "I'm just going to tell them" and yelled at my date, "We're aliens from the future and we're trying to get back home". Obviously my date left. The towns people all faked shock and acted like they were going to get on their horses and stab us with their jousting poles ... but instead everything went foggy and the time machine thing transported us all outside.
Now the stupid thing was in a giant pumpkin that I had to crawl into to try to feed it the last of our documents, but at least you can cut open a pumpkin, so I used a scalpel and just cut into it to get a note that said "he is the key". We all turned and looked at the littlest baby.... he smiled... and WOOSH, we ended up in my dad's living room back in the future.

The rest of the dream was kind of boring... explaining to people why I was suddenly married with several children.


There was way more detail about the pumpkin that isn't worth sharing to make the story work... like how we had to re-cut the jock-o-lantern's smile larger so I could get my arm in, or the way I basically performed surgery on the pumpkin so no one would know I'd bypassed the system. And the strange things that were inside plugging up the machine.

I could use a real life nap.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

April

Ok, it's April.. I can get writing again now right?

When I started this blog, it was to save me from sending home bulk emails (which tended to bounce back and be annoying) while I was in Togo. This weekend I got to see my Togo family!

The Friesen's second daughter Beth got married in Niagara-on-the-lake... it was lovely.
And seeing the entire family (and some of the other girls from Kara) all grown up was just wonderful.

What else this weekend? Um, everything I own is broken... (it feels like) but there was an Easter miracle and my cousin is giving me his old car... I still don't even know what to do with that information, other than crying in a grateful puddle.

Last night, weird dreams about renting giant buildings with terrible carpets and strange passageways/doorways...  with too many people as room mates and kissing men I shouldn't be kissing. Just a normal night in dream land.

Friday, March 29, 2013

foot in mouth... if you have a foot

I was at Lula Lounge this week... and on a trip to the ladies' room I was hit with a memory that nearly made me wet myself.

But I was in the washroom already, so it wasn't a problem.


I don't know if you've ever experienced the stalls in the women's washroom at Lula... They're of the tiny variety, the sort where you have to straddle the toilet in order to open the door. We've all been in washrooms like that.

Last time I was at Lula, I was feeling good, I'd been dancing up a storm... so I was chatty. (note to future self: no one likes a chatty bathroom stranger/friend) Chatty self remarked as she was closing the stall door "hey, you could lose and appendage on these doors".

Chatty self became much less chatty on washing hands afterwards with her fellow washroom goer... fellow washroom goer had only one hand to wash.

True story.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Annnnnnnddddd

We're back.

(the Royal "we")

Funny choice of words last week "I need to catch my breath". Two days later I was hit with what I thought were allergies, but had to concede it was the sick.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

wiped.

I want to be writing.
I miss writing.. but I just need a moment or two to catch my breath.


I'll be back super soon.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Rehash Wednesday

It is still Wednesday isn't it?

Let's have a long one to make up for my lack of posting this week:


                          THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2004

Round the Mountain we must go, OR, Under the Mango Tree

I think I was suppose to write about the trip up from Lome in this post, but then I went to church up North, and I’ve decided I’d rather tell you all about that. Besides, The trip up from Lome was mostly stories about the mountain pass that we travelled, and we had more mountains to travel over to get to church last Sunday.

Grab something to drink and settle in, this will be a long post!

Marv’s mom passed away last Saturday night. He was able to be there with his family, so that’s really good; He should be coming back to Togo next weekend (the 23rd?). I know the whole family will be glad to have him back; it’s been rough on all of them.
Edith came and told me on Sunday morning that she and the kids wouldn’t be going to church that morning (they were pretty upset from the news), so our previous plans for church on the mountain were going to be put on hold. Dave, the missionary that took Lisa and I out to the village last week, is quite involved in a church at the top of the mountain, and we were going to hike up as a group. Rather than go up on my own with Dave, I went to church with the Crocker family. The Crocker’s are Southern Baptist missionaries who are involved with some pretty serious church planting initiatives. God has really opened up some amazing doors for John and Susana and their 4 kids. SOOOO…. North we went, wow. Really, I can’t even begin to describe what this place looks like, the mountains… the villages, the people… life happening everywhere. I just hope that my pictures will do it some justice.

We drove for about an hour until we reached a point where we had to cross the mountains, (out of the bowl!) The cliffs on either side of us… we had to pull over once because a truck had passed so close and so fast it had knocked the chairs (tied to the roof rack) off balance. … Then came the part where we started to come DOWN the mountain.

Oh, better let you know about the traffic signals… turn your right blinker on if it’s not safe to pass, turn your left one on if it is… and if there’s clumps of dirt or branches on the road spaced evenly and slowly pushing you into the oncoming traffic, it means either there’s a broken truck around that blind corner/rise in front of you… or a wreck, and usually you can tell from the colour of the smoke. Wrecks happen CONSTANTLY; people overload their already dilapidated trucks WELL beyond the point of safe, seriously, I’m talking transport trucks loaded, then a second full load tied to the top… and not tied well. Anytime we take the main road out of town there’s a truck on it’s side, it’s load spilled and a crowd gathering trying to salvage the load. And that’s on the flat part of the road! On the mountain passes there’ll be part of a truck at the side of the road… the other part has fallen over the edge. Parts of the pass ride along the side of a rock face, this is BLACK from smoke, trucks and other unlucky vehicles that have crashed into it. And this is the two-lane section!!!!!!

Ok, down the mountain we must go, but first there’s this sign. Roughly translated it says “stop, look before you descend, 10% grade, drive slowly, sharp turn” THEN it had a picture of a truck out of control going down a hill, with the 10% under the truck and at the bottom of the hill a skull and crossbones! AS IF!

Along the road all the way down were chunks of trucks, too big to tow away, or too damaged to be of any use. We passed a slight turn in the road to the left (the road was pretty narrow at this point, edge of the cliff to the left, rock face to the right) and there were scars in the rock from cars and trucks bouncing off the rock and going around the corner. I thought, “well, that’s not too bad; the sign made it out to be way worse” THEN the road got really steep, and took a sharp turn again to the left. I remember looking at the rock-face, and the ground directly below it and thinking “whoa, there’s been a lot of accidents here… Thank you Jesus we made it down safely”. The corner was LITTERED with glass and scrap metal. We made it to the bottom of the mountain and drove out to the village for church. Susana said that there are accidents there all the time because so few people are able to maintain their vehicles and everyone is so overloaded.

On our way back from church we noticed a dark column of smoke near the mountain. As we got closer we saw that there were lines of trucks parked to the side of the road, and then saw where the smoke was coming from. We started off on a different route home. The road was closed for 7 hours to truck traffic; it was opened after 4 hours for small cars. Two ladies that were visiting the centre said they were some of the first through the pass, a tanker truck containing fuel had hit the corner at full speed, it’s brakes had failed, several people were killed with the explosion, they couldn’t be pulled from the fire. They said that when they were allowed to pass, the truck was still on fire, and they had to drive quickly because the pavement was so hot they were afraid the tires might melt.

The Togo Fire Department is only about 25 minutes from that spot, it’s built near the 2nd international airport.. not the one I came in at. No fire trucks came to the crash because there’s no money to buy any. I guess the fire chief sits in his new building during office hours and stares out at the empty truck bays… there’s room for 8 trucks.

We had a choice of two routes home; the first included a bridge that had been closed for the past two years… no one had heard if it was open yet, and the second included a one lane mountain pass… you go up or down, if you encounter someone coming from the other direction, the smaller vehicle goes backwards in the direction it came from. We decided we’d try the bridge. Thankfully it was all repaired, John said as we were getting near that if it looked “kinda” safe, we could all get out and walk across and he’d gun it across in the land rover…Thankfully it was a whole new bridge, so there wasn’t any racing. One hour and forty five mins to church… four and a half hours home.

OK, so that was all awesome, I loved seeing the countryside, watching the people, seeing the differences in the villages as we travelled from one area to another, but church was defiantly the highlight. We had church in a Ditammari village, under a giant mango tree! It was great, we sat in the roots of the tree, there was a nice breeze, people walked by, saw what was going on, some joined in… it was VERY cool. We started with 20 people and ended up with about 35.
True enough, I don’t have the foggiest idea what the sermon was about, and I didn’t know any of the songs… John spoke in French, (I think it might have been about being saved by grace.. not by works…. But yeah, my French is still lacking) and a Tammari man translated. But, it was neat, really neat. The Ditammari are probably the poorest people group in Togo, but they are also the most easily identified because of their homes, called Tatas… When you go to look up info on Togo, there’s usually a picture of one. It’s like a little castle made of mud! With turrets and everything! They are the only people group who make a two-story home.
I guess they started to build them like that because they were often targeted to be caught as slaves; The Ditammari are the smallest in stature in the area. By building their tatas with the high thick walls, it’s more difficult for intruders. They started to build their homes closer and closer together (round huts) then started to build walls between them, these developed into what they are today. They bring their livestock in at night to the main floor, and they sleep in the second part, this way the livestock can act as an alarm system too! The doorways are really narrow (to make it difficult for intruders) and there are small holes out the sides of the building on the top floor for arrows to be shot through. They sill have the central courtyard area, but it’s in front of the tata instead of inside. Until I can spend some real time online to get my photos on here, you’ll have to use your imagination as to what I mean. :)
Ok I could write another two pages worth of stuff from the village, on Idols and Fetishes and Family alters… The grain silos on top of the houses, The meat drying racks, the jewellery…. *sigh * but you’d stop reading because this is already long enough.
Meh Neh Ta Na, (Hey everyone, how’s it going?)
Meh Na Kay (it’s going great [with us])
Alafia (good!)
Deh Behng (see you later)
Alafia
YO
Ok, I don’t know how to type using the International Phonetic Alphabet on this computer, so just sound it out…. (I started Kabye lessons today)
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