I really should not be blogging right now. I should be in bed. But we arrived home late this afternoon, after a week’s holiday, and I want to write. Need to write. There are many things on my mind, but I haven’t got the capacity to synthesize them all, just now, even if they belonged together, which I suspect they do not.
So here they are, in no particular order.
We uglified the backyard, but it’s nothing compared to what happened to the front today: our falling-down porch got ripped off, with a little bit left, stairs and such, so we can get to the door. As we drove up to the house, I got a glance, no more, and I just felt sick. The house looked so strange, so faceless. I couldn’t take another look. But after a few hours, and before it got dark, I went out on my own with my camera and it looked … okay, really. I could imagine what would be there in the future. Even a little office for me, out that side door.
So, we just went a week without doing laundry … I can’t even describe the pile in the basement. Being obsessive compulsive about tasks, I’ve been running the machine non-stop.
Oh, and on the drive home, we stopped for a bathroom break and discovered an awesome farmer’s market. So Kevin made room in our already packed truck for a bushel of romas and a bushel of red peppers. The red peppers are already roasted and in our freezer. The canner is ready to go tomorrow.
But I am overwhelmed and exhausted and daunted by the tasks ahead this week. There seems too much. This is VBS week, assuming the children agree to go (CJ is the wild card; he spent large portions of today in fits over non-existent catastrophes … nothing like a good half hour of crying in the car to make you feel like a holiday is really and truly over; even better if no good reason for crying can be identified by cry-er or his attentive family).
Lessons, schedules, organizing. Confirming manuscript ready to send, and sending. That’s the week ahead.
But the thing on my mind most of all tonight is the passing of Jack Layton. What to say? There’s no one like him in Canadian politics. And it seemed his optimism might carry him over yet another obstacle; after all, he made all kinds of seemingly impossible things happen. Cancer. The language we use to talk about it is the language of battle; but I’ve never liked that language because it implies that those who cannot fight it off somehow didn’t fight hard enough, weren’t strong enough, succumbed. A word that implies defeat. I really hate that. I don’t know how to talk about it differently, though. Anyone’s who’s lost a loved one to cancer knows that it feels like they’ve been stolen, sometimes slowly, and sometimes suddenly, by an opponent. I don’t know why we personify cancer like that. I’m trying to think if we personify other diseases in the same way, and it doesn’t seem like it. Cancer seems personal. It seems crafty and sneaky and it doesn’t fight fair. And this morning, it stole from Canada a real fighter, a tough and bright and incredibly energetic person who can’t be replaced. Goodbye from us. We’ll miss you, Jack.
No summing this mess of a post up, I’m afraid. Photos from holiday to come at some later time. Maybe when the tomatoes are good and canned.
By Fooey. Sing repeatedly round and round and round, with great feeling. Don’t let your mother sing along. She will only irritate you.
O Canada, we stand on God for thee, true save our land, glorious and free, from far and wide, O Canada, we stand on God for thee, God feed our land, glorious and free, O Canada, we stand on God for thee, true save our land, got fee-ba laaah, glorious and free, O Canada, we stand on God for zeeee!
Conversation (paraphrased) with children on way home from school today re Barack Obama’s inauguration:
Apple-Apple: We cheered for Barack Obama. The lunch-room helpers did a poll about who was glad George Bush got hit in the head with a shoe, and everyone was glad. [note: No teachers were present; the lunch-room helpers are in grade four or five.]
Me: What was this poll?
Apple-Apple: repeats above, approximately.
Me: Huh. Well, no one has thrown a shoe at Barack Obama yet.
Albus: That’s okay. He would stop the shoe with his magical forcefield.
Me: Umm … Barack Obama doesn’t have actual magical powers.
Albus and Apple-Apple: Yes, he does! He has lots of powers. Super-powers.
Me: Well, you’re right, he does have lots of power. But no super-powers. He’s not magical.
Fooey, piping up: That’s because he isn’t real.
Me: Well, he actually is real.
Fooey: No he’s not. He’s on tv!
So Stephane Dion is on his way out. A CBC commentator had a great line about his political career. She said that cats have nine lives, but Dion seems to have nine deaths–political deaths. I’d heard his address to the nation via radio, and it sounded a bit stumbling, but okay; only seeing a clip the next day on the television did I realize how truly awful it was. Poor man. What an ignominious image to have define your political career: his face was out of focus. It was like he’d already been condemned to political purgatory, ghost-like, blurry, trying desperately to communicate his good message.
I feel a bit that way myself. Not the good message part; the out of focus part. Exhaustion’s blur. There are entire days when I feel too interior, like I need to be shaken, woken from this dream. But, then, it’s a pretty sweet dream. Yesterday’s reveries: Rolling out cookie dough, flour-covered children, Fooey piling pink icing on top of a tree-shaped cookie, slowly devouring it, licking icing off the counter; snow falling, fat flakes; pushing the stroller through uncharted sidewalk snow; pretzels in the church basement; Kevin home by naptime; rolling out stretchy pizza dough; utter chaos just before supper’s served, hungry children weeping, fighting, and pretending to explode various inanimate objects; Fooey eating two bananas instead of pizza; washing dishes in hot water; nursing a baby to sleep in front of the television; So You Think You Can Dance, Canada; tea with honey. If I weren’t writing this down right away, the whole of yesterday would disappear utterly. That’s the blurry bit. That’s the part I can’t reconcile myself to. How fast it’s passing.
Trying to write this afternoon. Not getting much accomplished. Can’t blame Stephen Harper for everything, can I?? I’m so thoroughly caught up in today’s news that instead of polishing metaphors in this story, I’m composing letters to members of parliament. This morning, Stephen Harper visited the Governor-General and asked for and received a prorogue, which means the operations of the House of Parliament are suspended for seven or eight weeks, at which point, the Conservatives will likely have to face a vote of confidence on the budget they say they’ll introduce at that time. In the meantime, they’re planning a full-on, well-financed publicity campaign, and lots of polling. (Haven’t heard a peep in that plan about reconciling with the opposition). Apparently, that’s how you get the pulse of the people: you poll them. Guess what–I’ve never once been polled; but I do vote. That’s how you actually go to the people. You hold an election.
Nobody wants one.
Brrr. It’s cold out there today, bits of snow falling, icy sidewalks, dim skies. CJ screamed all the way to school in the stroller. He plays strange, now, with adults who are not related to him. The pout and hesitation, the crumpled face and widened eyes, the whimper, the yowl and crocodile tears flowing picturesquely down his cheeks. As soon as he’s back in my arms again, he ceases crying, then quickly turns to check on that Other Person, to see whether they’re still there. Yup. Then back to Mommy, burying his head in my shoulder. Then checking again. He’s a tightly wound little fellow, all kicking legs and flinging limbs and excited energy. He’s going to need a lot of outdoor time as he grows. Sports. I love how he’s drawn to children about Fooey’s size. He approaches them quite differently than he does strange adults. I think it speaks well of his relationship with his big siblings. Fooey sang to him the whole way to school, to try to calm him down; and sometimes it seemed to be working. She loves to make up topical songs.
Maybe she can make up one for me with the word “prorogue” in it. A verse with, “Calm down, Mommy, and stop yelling at the radio,” would hit the spot too.
Well, not much has changed. Parliamentary crisis, I mean. Just waiting. Stephen Harper was on TV tonight addressing the nation and sounding not one teeny tiny bit willing to change his tone to conciliation. He probably thinks he IS being conciliatory, for heaven’s sake. Stephane Dion had his usual trouble with English, but I still like this guy. Cooperation over conflict. Listen, if someone’s willing to try that mode of operation, let’s go with that.
At our house, we like to strive for cooperation over conflict. I get that it’s hard. I get that sometimes even three-year-olds cannot bring themselves to say those really powerful words: “I’m sorry.” I get that sometimes six-year-olds are “just so mad, I couldn’t help myself, Mommy!” I get that sometimes seven-year-olds “don’t know why” they did what they did. I get that these emotions belong to all of us, even as we grow older and attempt to grow wiser. Sometimes sorry really sticks in my throat, too. But you’ll never even inch toward cooperation if you can’t take responsibility for at least part of the trouble you find yourself in. That’s been my mantra around the house these past two days: yes, I get that you’re upset with (fill in the blank) because it’s not fair … but let’s think a little harder here. (I am now thinking of a specific incident, walking to school, and having to share the sidewalk with a lot more snow, and therefore the kids plus stroller plus me are getting squeezed; Apple-Apple was infuriated because things had changed and she didn’t like it). Let’s find a plan that will work for everyone. It won’t be perfect. You might not get to do everything you want. But you have the power to make changes, even small ones, to better your lot. And hitting doesn’t count as power.
Babe’s awake. I’m outta here.