I get my grace from my mother…

I have my parents from Manitoba visiting this week. I love when they come! They remind me of who I am and where I have come from. I feel like I fit in.  There is the “dance” around our tiny kitchen seeing how we can avoid or bump into each other preparing meals and setting the table. We usually smack into each other a few times a day. I see how much I have learned from my mom in her cooking and in her patience with my kids. I hear the corny jokes my dad repeats and find myself smiling, hoping that he keeps on telling them every year so that the tradition is not broken. My oldest Daughter loves to regale us with similar jokes and I am thrilled to have the humor torch passing down to the next generation, even if it is corny or a bit (a lot) off color. My 12 year old appreciates the bodily noises that my family is keen to make. It keeps him in no end to stitches. You know that when your 79 year old dad, The Reverend and your 12 year old have the same humor, they ALL have a 12 year old sense of humor!

I see myself in my mom during the moments when I get up from the couch at the same time as my mom, and we are BOTH all hunched over, with a creak and a groan. I realize just how much I’m aging like my mother. We waddle ourselves into the upright position with a crank or two from an imaginary lever. In the end, we both get off the couch and eventually can move like cats (HA) but we can MOVE.

There have been times that I’ve walked into walls as if they’ve stepped out in front of me. “Who put that wall there?” I have been known to mumble to myself. My dad has been known to veer off into the direction of the wall or wherever his attention has him going.  His balance has been off since his stroke a couple of years ago. I walk into a wall and I realize, wow! I’m just like my dad. With these traits I’m sure that I’m an Aging Early Bloomer. At least I am an Early Bloomer at something?

My mom and I were walking yesterday morning, in the glorious sunshine, and feeling GREAT about getting 3kms under our shoes, when WHAM! She slid on a piece of gravel the size of an egg and all of the sudden she decided that the sidewalk was not close enough, and that it should be inspected at high velocity, with a structural test of her slamming her nose and forehead into it. I was wondering what the hurry was to inspect the concrete, when I saw the blood. I looked around to see what I could do to stem the flow when I spied the brown leaf on the grass beside us. Nope, that is not going to help. I thought about taking off my shirt to stop the bleeding but I think it would have just stopped traffic. A small town rep is something to consider!  She was off that ground so quickly I had to keep up with her to make sure she was ok. When we got home, and her hands and face were covered in blood, I knew that we had to take a trip to our lovely ER. Taking four kids to the Emergency Room could be considered a Field Trip so they came along for the ride. After a warmed blanket and a soothing face cloth she felt almost as good as if she had she gone to a spa. Oh, you know I’m exaggerating! But she did look well rested…what with the black eyes and red nose and gash across her nose. They cleaned her up, took an x-ray and told her to go home. We did what we were told. We got coffee and donuts at Timmies. Isn’t that the orders the Dr gave us?

We thought all was fine, until a call from the Dr. the next day. She needed to come in for a cast. She had broken a small bone in her wrist and needed it stabilized. So now, she has a great story about that time when she came to her daughter’s place and the gravel tried to do her in. Dangerous gravel!  We should just not be such an exciting family! We’ve broken two Grandmas in the last couple of years. Our other grandma put a bike pedal through her calf that required stitches in the very same room of the hospital. Poor Grandmas…they should come with body armor.

Even if my dad doesn’t get around the way he used to, he still dares to come and stay with us. My mom will now bring face guards and shin pads, I”m sure. It’s not that we’re trying to hurt them…it’s just that we are a busy family. I have a tough momma though, and she bounced right back and did 2km with me the next day. Truth be told, with the size of the gravel in this town, I am surprised that I haven’t bitten the dust a time or two with my interval training. It is something I am very wary of. With the graceful genes that I’ve been dealt it is bound to happen. Thanks for inspecting that sidewalk for me Mom!

They are a funny pair, my parents. When I was younger and more stupid I said “I’m never going to be like them.” Hasn’t every teenager said that? Well, here I am doing just the same things. I’m glad I was taught that humor is a good response to many things…but maybe not a funeral. So, Laugh on! So far no funeral!!

 

 

Nothin’ Funny

**Disclaimer – you may find this too crude if you don’t like potty humor**

 

Don’t you find that sometimes you just can’t find anything funny about life because life has sucked the funny right out? Yah, me too.

Then my ever-lovin’ “low flow” toilet backs up again for the GA-zillionth time and there it is staring me in the face. When life gives me crap that I just can’t flush…I just laugh!

Seriously, whoever invented low flow toilets may have been thinking about the environment in the abstract but they have NOT met the bowels of my family. Any money we may have saved having the dastardly dumpsters of water, are being flushed down the toilet again and again and again…half the water and twice the flushing.

We should have thought it all through, before we bought, what we considered would be an economical and environmentally friendly toilet. Our family was not born to use low flow. We were not made to be environmentally friendly when it comes to flushing down what we got goin’ on.

that’s all.

So every time we have a “surprise”, every-other day occurrence, where the toilet is refusing the load, we laugh. We get out the tools of the trade, the disinfectant and laugh.

There may be nothin’ funny about a clogged toilet, but we’re going to laugh anyways. In fact, one of our children (who will remain nameless) has been dubbed the royal title as the “Crap Master”. Do not fear, it is taken with a great deal of pomp and circumstance. Or is it poop and circumstance? Ah well…

So when life is serious and you just can’t laugh. Just think of our chronically challenged toilet. If you think you got problems then just flush and plunge. Eventually the problem clears up.

Things could be worse. Or they could be funny. It just depends on the perspective.

 

Quirky family

animal_muppetI’ve known about it for a long time. I’ve known that I have a quirky family. Let’s be honest, you don’t want to know the quirks of your Spiritual Leaders do you? The Reverend and his family have quirks. Some. Yes, we have embraced our inner weird. We’ve accepted it long ago. Do you want to know and put a face to someone who cleans out their nose a certain way? No? Well, then this post is not for you.

My family will remain nameless, but extended family is welcome to take credit for some of the quirks, if they feel so bold as to do so.

I have outed some of my more mundane quirks. Today I out the Reverend’s Family and those in the extended sides. I think I’ve probably terrified a few by that little statement. Well, I couldn’t be alone now, could I? You can rebuke me later…I won’t name names if that helps.

In no particular order with no particular gender assumption I give you the weird side of the Reverend’s much-loved, mostly acceptable bunch.

1. Someone just can’t help sniffing every single candy before it is ingested. Can. NOT. Help. It.

2. Prays with a conversational voice while walking around so we never know if they are actually talking to us or Him. Scheduled events have gone unwritten on the calendar because of this inside voice. Sometimes they are talking to us.

3. Has to touch and possibly move every item in the house. If I left something in one place it likely will have moved to a place only known to one person…and that person ain’t talkin’.

4. Thinks we all chew/swallow too loud. Apparently, it is annoying.

5. Cannot watch a sports game without loud volume and then complains when we try to communicate (talk) whilst the loud crowd cheers over something.

6. Thinks her cat bowl is prey and must play with it. In her mind it is acceptable to bat it all around the kitchen and slop the water all over while she decides whether to eat it or not.155

7. Hates water on the floor, because when it gets cold, and she steps on this cold water it makes her loo loo. Crazy cakes!  Said water on the floor is thanks to the one who hunts her cat food.

8. Thinks child noise is wonderful yet feels like it’s tearing her ears out at the loudest of times.

9. Thinks smelling farts is a must. Inhale deeply to get it all.

10. Saying “Fart” is funny EVERY time. Has pet names for farts like “tart” or “park”…tries to hide the word fart in normal conversation.

11. Has to adjust themselves (you guys know what I mean) ALL the time. Do you need that much adjustment? I’m thinking new underwear.

12. Loud scraping of a knife on a plate can send one into an internal (or external) shiver and a loud “Ahhhh!!”

13. Hates it when someone is reading over his shoulder. He can’t read while someone is lurking. Can’t do it.

14. Types so loud the neighbors can hear it. I don’t know why the letters must be pounded with such enthusiasm but they are. They must be writing something terribly exciting all the time!

15. LOVES to be tickled. I think it’s crazy but what can you do? Just tickle.

16. HATES to be tickled. Tickle me and DIE. Not really, but to come out of it severely injured, is a possibility.

17. Is the most patient and loving person until you make her plan something and time is running out. Getting in the vehicle with you can be a lesson in hysteria as she lurches from one stop sign to the next. RRrrreeeev. ERCH. RRRrrrrev. ERCH. Fun times!

18. Needs to end on an even number…I don’t know why…but that would be ME.

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I love my family. I love that they love me as I am and I love them as they are. Let’s face it, we all have our “things” that people either get irritated about or get over it and accept who we are.

Around here we call some things “Doing a Marcy”.

Doing time in the nursery

This time it's green tea.

This time it’s green tea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As an active volunteer and member of our small church, I do time  in the Nursery Program we run for the little ones during the sermon part of the service. I love me some toddlers and preschoolers and yet feel that sometimes I come across as scary and slightly crazy as “Animal” from the Muppets does. I can act a mite nutty  so it actually works for me in the Nursery Program we have in the church. They think I’m nuts and they are crawling all over me…except the shy girl with the soother. Poor thing. Think I may have scared her.

It was my turn today, and I must admit my arthritic pain was making me feel more like a grandma. Stiff, old and a little snarly, If I am going to be totally honest.

There was an absolute darling amount of children in that Nursery and I pulled some of my kids in just to help with keeping some of them entertained. I also did not want my children having a brawl out front while The Reverend was preaching and I would not be there to stop it. They were big helps! I’m glad I “recruited” them.

In the meantime, I was having a particularly silly pretend tea party with a young lady (3) who usually doesn’t really like me. Today she was hugging me, and telling me she “really liked” me. She would NOT let me go! So we had a good time scarfing down pretend food and tea and kept party going while the silly faces and sounds abounded. She handed me a “pot of tea” right to my face like here drink it “NOW”. I almost tossed it back until I saw there was something moving in the “tea pot”. This something startled me so I ….

a) Screamed and ran out of the room crying, upsetting The Reverend so much during his sermon that he had to stop

b) Drank the definitely alive spider in one terrific gulp and belched loudly afterward, like a good pirate. I was pretending to be a pirate at the “Tea Party”.

c) Screamed, threw the spider onto the floor and crushed it in front of 10 toddler/preschool witnesses.

Tell me which one you think it was and win the reward of being the smarty pants.

I’m still trembling a little it whilst singing in my head, “There was an old lady who swallowed a spider, it wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her…perhaps she’ll die.”

English: Unknown spider

For the record, the little hostess did not tell me she was serving live food to the guests…

Someone, OPEN THE WINDOW!!

Glowing Bowling Alley

Glowing Bowling Alley (Photo credit: atmtx)

Last night, I went along with the Youth Group. We haven’t had one at our church for a few years because of population issues, meaning, there are only so many that go to our church. We are officially starting it up again and last night’s activity was a short road trip to join another youth group for Glow Bowling. The Disco ball and fluorescent colors of the girls clothing took me back a few decades. They didn’t even have electric score keepers so it was old school big time!

We were lucky enough to get the boys for the forty minute trip. Woo hoo!  I love pubescent boys. That may sound weird, but I mean it in the most hilarious sense. They make absolutely no sense at all! None. Even their fart talk goes off on some sort of rabbit trail that leaves adults (except the men) wondering “Huh?” Everyone was getting along and giggling like school girls, so it was all good. I am immune to fart talk and it doesn’t even phase me until they start trying to give real examples. That’s where I draw the line in a small vehicle. A Grand Caravan is not big enough for those kind of competitions. Good news, they are still afraid of me because they are just getting taller than me but not quite far ahead of my height to know whether they could take me down. When I said “Change the topic!” they actually did.

I heard one of them say about one of the girls “I think she likes me. She was looking at me. Pretty sure she has a crush on me.” It could be that the look the pretty gal had given him was akin to “What kind of alien is he?” and “How do I not get in the same vehicle for this trip?” but then again, I could be wrong. I was an adolescent girl once. I do know how their minds work with all the drama, crying and manipulation. I get them. They are weird in their adolescence too but I get it. I am  certain her excited and hyper fluttering about was not flirting with him. She is just an excitable person. I did not burst his bubble as I listened to the other boys speculate. They didn’t seem to know what a girl looks like when they have a crush on someone so they were no use. “She acts kind of flirty around me.” He continued. Before getting into van, a few minutes before,  he had pretended to be invisible. The logic would go that if he was trying to be invisible then how would he know it was him she was flirting with? I’m not completely sure why he was trying to be invisible before getting in the van…??

I can tell you this with absolute certainty. Boys talk more than girls. I have been around boys quite often in my lifetime and almost every one of them can talk the hind end off a deaf donkey. I am pretty sure that when men get married, there is a grand conspiracy among them to make us women think that they can’t talk. Ha! I know it ain’t true, Y’all! Even the “professionals” and all the stats say men talk less than women. I have found the answer…They don’t seem to be able to talk much because they talk it all out before they turn twenty!  It’s true!  Boys talk so much when they are young/pubescent/trying to impress girls that they simply run out of their allotted amount of words when they get married.

All that to say, it was a fun evening. Being in the van with the boys took me back to my earlier days in Youth work and it was a fun flashback. Even the Reverend acted a lot like a pubescent boy last night. Middle-aged boys…maybe they never truly grow out of it. Good thing us girls grow up and don’t have any more fun.

Ha.

The Longest 5km EVER!

I’m a prairie gal. Sure, I grew up in the mountains, but to recall that time of my life takes a scratch of the chin and a shake of my head. It was good to grow up where the winter was short. I’ve been known to belly ache about living on the prairies a time or two, but truth be told, I love it here.

I especially love that when I run (or walk) five kilometres it’s flat both coming and going. There may be a hill somewhere around here but I surely haven’t seen it. In fact, I’ve been told that I live on the hill here in my town but it took me about five years to see what they were talking about.

I was very excited to sign myself up for the Canmore Rocky Mountain 5/10km/half Marathon Run/Walk set to go for September 8th. It gave me a good long time to train and it was going to be in the MOUNTAINS!! I couldn’t wait to see my beloved mountains again. Then, I remembered that it was probably a lot higher there, as in, the air is thinner.

Less oxygen. More hills.

I didn’t check to find out just how much difference there was between my current prairie elevation and that of the mountains I was set to run in. Ignorance is bliss until you Google the heck out of it. I should have stayed ignorant.

When I arrived in the mountains the truth of the matter became quite clear. We were not in harvest country anymore. No sir! The exact difference in elevation between the two has not been calculated by yours truly, but the estimate based on my, then panicky state of mind, would be about 1400 feet. That’s a lot of feet! When I looked it up a  few days before my “race” I tried not to think about what that would do to my barely trained body. I went back to ignorant bliss.

Reality was a kicker.

It was a relief to see a variety of people lining up for the 5km. There were beautiful lean muscled people, young kids, plump people (hand up), thin people, old people, tall people, short people… I had NO idea where I would fit into the scheme of the real race and how fast everyone else was in comparison to myself. Growing up, I was the last person every single time we had to sprint/long distance run. I would try to convince friends to run/walk with me so I wouldn’t be the last lame excuse in the gym class. I hated running. Running and I have had a history. A short and painful history.

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There I was, close to the beginning of the start-up line. The horn blew and I was off. It was clear, from the get-go, that I was going to be passed by a few hundred people. I didn’t count. I was not that obsessed with how many were ahead of me. The lean-muscled, evidently well trained crowd hustled passed me. Soon the middle-agers were kicking my butt. Then, it happened. Right around the 3km mark. The old guy behind me pulled out whatever juice he had and limped past me. I kept running though. I’m not sure you can call it running because there were these walkers that were reluctant to have me pass them. They would run past me then slow to a walk. They did this several times until I let them keep ahead of me. I couldn’t have those tall walkers feel bad, what with all that leg length and everything they had going for them. Truth was, I didn’t have the energy to look behind me to see if I was actually last, for another pass…

Right around the 4km mark the 10km and Half Marathon runners converged with the 5km run/walkers. Then EVERYONE was passing me. Thanks, organizers, for helping me feel better about myself!

I blame it on the elevation and not because I didn’t run very much at all the last week before the race. Training took a kick to the gut when a migraine of scientifically impossible proportions took my head and threw it into the tree grinder. My migraine passed just as we entered the mountain paradise. No, it wasn’t a migraine that took me down in the end.

As I ran, my legs felt heavier and heavier. I looked enviously at the walkers, seemingly oblivious to my pain and enjoying the chat with one another. I thought to myself that I could probably walk faster than I was running so why not just enjoy the rest of the race and the beautiful scenery and walk? It beckoned to me. The sweet song of walking surrender.

I couldn’t do it though. My stubborn streak beat the siren of temptation and held it in a head lock while I put one foot in front of the other. I kept misreading the markers and mistakenly thought I had gone 3kms when I had actually gone only 2kms. From that point on the race only got longer. When the FINISH line appeared after what seemed like an eternity I sobbed. I cried and ran. Onlookers probably assumed I had run the Half Marathon and had accomplished some amazing feat. I had a  “Keep on going!” and a “It’s only 500 meters left!” shouted to me. I blithered and kept on running, holding  the FINISH line with my eyes and heart.

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I figured I should probably get myself together for the cameras that were surely going to capture my finish. I plastered on a smile as I passed my enthusiastic cheering squad and put a jig in my step. As soon as I had passed, I resumed weeping as I crossed that finish line.

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Five kilometers doesn’t sound like a lot, but it was a marathon in the making. I can tell you that it felt a lot longer than my usual prairie 5km. As I crossed that finish line I knew that God had done a miracle! As the man on the mat who had been healed by Jesus, leaped up and ran, so did I…without the leaping. The joy over the visible, if not instantaneous, healing is similar.

I’ve had a few “fit” people ask me “So, what’s your next goal?” Are they crazy? I just ran in the mountains. It’s time to hibernate! I’m kidding!! I’m going to tell you a secret… I’ve set another goal but I’m just not telling yet. Let’s just say, I am more informed about what elevation does to a body this time around.

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The (Almost) Empty Nest

Lettuce

Lettuce (Photo credit: photofarmer)

The Reverend left me.

My kids ran away.

My friends are all gone…

That is not just some sappy country song gone wrong!  It is my life tonight. Before you get all shocked and bothered and spread the word around the small town that the Reverend’s family has done gone and falled apart…

The Reverend left on a day trip to go and visit some church people way down south. He’s coming back, don’t you worry!

Three of my kids went off to camp, leaving my middle daughter to wonder what to do with her somewhat lame mom for the one night where everyone else is gone. We ended up eating pizza, watching a chick flick, painting nails, eating chocolate and beef jerky…typical girl’s stuff that got me labelled “cool mom” for the night.

My friends seem to have all gone on holidays or aren’t answering their phones… The latter is not a good sign.

Truth be told, I am not that lonely or bored. If I were to be completely honest, like any good Reverend’s Wife, then I would have to say that I am CHILLED OUT and loving life just a tad. I admit, I was a little nervous about sending my oldest to camp. Being on the Autism Spectrum, I know just how anxious new situations can make him. And yet, I knew that the right thing to do was to drop him off with a bunch of strangers in a place he’s never been before for five days. I know, I am such a good mom! To keep myself from calling the camp 1000 times, like I want to do, I have been consciously blocking thoughts of what I know he is going through. I did warn the counsellor (named Spike) that my son was known to make strange noises and inappropriate comments, especially when he is nervous or excited. I didn’t tell them that red dye (or any artificial dye) is wicked bad for him…it would be pointless because pretty much everything that is made in mass production has some sort of artificial dye and he would go straight for it because I tell him that he shouldn’t. He would need someone watching him all. the. time. On the first night there, while I was still with him, he had 4 cups of electric blue juice. I am not sure how that all went for everyone. I told him to go for it because I wasn’t putting him to bed that night.

Then there was my littlest tykes. They aren’t so little anymore, but at ages six and seven, I didn’t know if sending them to camp would look like we were being ultra-spiritual with the kids by sending them so young or that I just wanted to have a couple of days without items being stolen from my purse and placed under pillows. Whatever my reasons actually were, my two youngest couldn’t get rid of me fast enough, once they got into their cabins. My daughter waved me out with both hands, shooing me with a “Good-BYE MOM!”  She emphasized her impatience with me with a blunt “Ahhgghha” and a hands-on-hips move. As I left my son’s cabin, he glanced my way as I said “Don’t I get a hug???” He sighed as he clambered down the ladder and gave me a quick sideways hug before climbing back up. “Yah-bye-mom”

Ok, I guess that nixes getting all emotional.

So here I sit, regretting the pizza I ate (supposed to be off of wheat, dairy and tomatoes for health reasons…I love pizza) and wondering which show I should watch. My back aches and I have lettuce to wash, a lot of lettuce. I am going to ignore some of the lettuce.

I’m glad it won’t last long, but I kind of like this (almost) empty nest.