Thursday, March 26, 2015

Having a grieving day

Haven't had one in a while. Today I was very low-energy and full of mourning. So I'm going to put the kids to bed early after we eat the nice takeout pizza and I can have wine and leftover chocolate cake and feel sad and read Tamar Adler about delicious homemade food. I did bake bread and make granola bars today, and say a few small angry prayers. I didn't do any school, but I took the boys to the playground and we talked about gravity and pendulums and inertia while they were on the swings. Keep circling back to the physicality of illness and death, and the specific details- Mum's angularity as she slowly dehydrated, the way she started bending over at the waist even before she went into the home. The way her eyes faded, going from green to gray. And the very final way her mouth hung open at the end, very different from the way it did while we were waiting. Tiny snapshots, small intense physical memories.

This week so far

We visited Alicia and Richard, for Alicia and Thomas's mutual birthday on Sunday.

A slice of wonderbread makes a very special fake cake

Went on a hike with them and didn't lose any of the children, which is always a big deal. 

We had Nat's clinic visit, and he's doing absolutely fine. I asked about the blood-free glucose monitors, and found out they're $1600 each, and only guaranteed for six months. Hah. So those are a no. But overall Nat's blood glucose is terrific and his doctor is really pleased. So that's awesome. While we were there (it's at eight on Monday mornings) we had breakfast. Actually, I had breakfast. Nat had three separate breakfasts. I think he's about to go through another huge growth spurt.

On Tuesday I made paper with the kidlets, and I think we did some other stuff. Schoolwork. Lots and lots of cooking. Something like that. Right, I made granola and pot roast and cheese biscuits and rearranged books.

Yesterday I fed everyone a pretty awful but appreciated Annunciation dinner, Nat read to himself, I got everyone to do copywork, and at bed time when I was trying to nail the boys into bed I read a bunch of poetry to them. Thomas protested a little, but he still listened, and Nat and I forged gamely on. I always feel like I've won hugely when I read Hillaire Belloc and Ogden Nash and Christina Rossetti and Emily Dickinson to them. I feel like I'm providing a tiny counterweight to the huge amount of Spiderman/Minecraft/The Hulk that is the boys' true love and most formative influence. Might not have a huge effect, but by gum I keep at it. It'll give them something to tell their therapists in thirty years ("I was only FIVE, and she read me Milton!").

Today I'm baking bread, because I want bread, and thinking about scrubbing the truly horrific floors after breakfast. Lo, I have discovered the secret to Less Resentful Cleaning, and it is to put on my headphones, listen to loud angry music, and clean everything extremely fast. If it works again today I will make it something I do every day- pick up the damn livingroom with the aid of Assemblage 23.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Feast of the Annunciation

Happy Feast of the Annunciation! I am waiting for the boys to wake up and googling "Traditions Feast Annunication", because I'm very organized and I have no idea what to do. Surely someone has something non-cutesy to do besides do the readings for the day? I keep coming up with waffles. Why on earth are waffles traditional? Is it someone's family tradition? I dunno.

I guess I could make blue food, or something. Cake with blue icing. And work on the Hail Mary with the kids. Sweet Fancy Moses, there is a reason for waffles. Okay, fine. Waffles it is. And bacon and sausage and fruit or something.

Before I am cruelly forced, I mean go joyfully to make waffles for a solid hour this evening, I should clean the house. It seems that spending the whole day cooking and hanging pictures yesterday didn't result in a nice clean tidy organized house. I'm not sure why. And try to read some actual books to the children instead of Thomas making me read the Lego instruction manual over and over.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


It's been a crazy few days here, but last night I put myself to bed at nine thirty and woke up full of CLEAN ALL THE THING and HANG ALL THE PICTURES, I ground through a tiny bit of school with Nat and then ran around organizing the pantry and hanging pictures and my new icon (which I love), and random pictures cut out of the art books that I get at the thrift store and then destroy.

I keep thinking about ego and vanity. I've had a lot of ego stroking in the last few months- people being very impressed at things I can do. On Sunday I got to give two people a short discourse on the history of the t-tunic while I made one, first out of kleenex to demonstrate, and then made one as a doll's dress. Apparently it was totally magical. And I've been increasingly grateful for all the weird things that I do know how to do, some of them.... pretty weird. And that makes me wonder about vanity, and humility, and to what degree it's okay to think "Wow, I really am SO COOL." Which is, not really. But it's a good and difficult thing to objectively assess skills, and be neither too humble nor too proud about those skills. Difficult for me, anyway, as I veer between vainglory and unnecessary self-abnegation. Because I have a lot of weird things I can do or make, and lots of little areas of very highly specialized knowledge. But I also know that in almost every area I am somewhere between enthusiastic amateur and dilettante, and that leashes my pride. What I have to not let it do is make me assume I can't achieve mastery, because my stupid Gifted Complex whines softly, "There will always be someone better than you. Why should you bother if it's hard?"

The solution is generally prayer, detachment from emotionalism, and shouting at the stupid Gifted Complex. Still, it's a tricky emotional area for me, as I slowly crawl towards adulthood. I'm hoping to arrive there just about when I turn sixty.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Good party

Happy birthday, Thomas!

It was a great party. Thank you to everyone who came and helped us to celebrate our very big little five year old!

Friday, March 20, 2015

My gosh, guys

I made an actual Tardis console out of cardboard for Thomas's party. With stuff for the kids to play with glued on. I did. Holy moly. Pictures coming after Geoff has built a base for it.

Mourning and weeping from Elizabeth

She has been given orange juice, for which she longed, but now her sister has chocolate milk, and the answer that yes, she may have chocolate milk after she finishes her orange juice displeases the Elizabeth, and she wails mightily, and then goes away weeping for the hardness of the world and the cruelty of her mother.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


I went over to my Dad's yesterday to pick up some mail for Mum (must remind the Ontario Government that she's dead and doesn't need Trillium anymore) and while i was there I asked if he had any gears or springs that we could use for making sonic screwdrivers at Thomas's party.
Walking into Dad's workshop
Dad was a jeweller and a watch repairman- he got the jeweller certification second and didn't ever do jewelry making in a big way. His job and his hobby was watch repair. This room was next to my bedroom.

I haven't been in his workroom proper for many years. Because of the Parkinson's, he hasn't done any watch repair in a very long time. But I notice everything is still set up and looks like he'll be starting again any minute.

This room was magic when I was little. So many tiny drawers full off... stuff. Things. Things I don't understand and don't know what to do with. But I would come in and pry rhinestones out of discarded costume jewellery, or get some of the fine, long drill bit thingys down and use them for doll swords and things. 

 Dad had things I could use. I have a bag full of gears and clocks faces and tiny bits and pieces.

I spend a lot of time thinking about my mother's influence on my life, and practically none about my father's, because I know, even though I haven't thought about it in years, what the largest part of him in me is.We both putter and fix and make. We both have desks full of all sorts of oddments which to us seem normal, but when you look through them, you realize they're a compendium of fascinating bits and pieces. I didn't know that most people's Dad's didn't have a room full of the best kind of tiny things to play with. I guess my kids will be equally used to the fabric, paint, wool, bits of metal, seed beads, wire pieces everywhere. I tinker with things because of Dad. 

I can probably blame and praise him for the pemmican experiments, dolls' dresses, candle-making, attempts to bake clay over a flame (it doesn't work), and all the other things that filled my childhood. And now I look back and am so, so grateful to him for a life spent full of the drive to muck about with things. And now I watch his oldest grandson focusing on Lego and gears and inventions with a ferocity and single-mindedness that matched my own, and I am glad.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


At about eight last night Nat started having abdominal pain. By eleven it was severe and Geoff took him to Emerg. They came home three hours later. They think it's a gut infection. He's okay and we're keeping an eye on him and giving him painkiller. Today will be brought to everyone by the words 'Blurry' and 'Caffeine'. Plus 'I don't Want to Clean the Bathroom', and 'Let's Focus on Small Inconsequential Tasks'. Sleep deprivation makes me kind of OCD. So I will make tea and go clean the front hall, because it is full of little tasks.