Saturday, October 04, 2003

Of Rummage Sales and Fall Delights...

I had forgotten just how much fun a rummage sale could be when you are a child! As adults, we tend to love the bargains that are available, as well as the possibilities of finding treasures in someone else’s junk... but we tend to look things over with a critical eye. Erin and Bethany were in their element at our church rummage sale... poking through the piles with a five dollar bill clutched tightly in their fists.

Bethany found a giant ziplock bag of assorted plastic farm animals and equipment (though there was also a hippo, a cactus, a palm tree, a stop light, two construction workers and a few road signs... so that sounds like a pretty neat farm to me!) Erin had seen a small plush kitten last Sunday in the piles of stuff waiting to be sorted for the rummage sale. When I brought my own boxes of stuff in to donate (does it ever feel good to clean out some closets!) and told them that Erin had her eye on that kitten, the plush toy disappeared into the kitchen to keep it safe for her. Erin also found a rose pin and a small wooden chest with 3 drawers that is also a music box... and her eyes just shone as she brought everything to the cash. Bethany has still not grasped the concept of how much “monnies” really are, but Erin was just thrilled when the lady at the cash told her that the prices of things depended on your age!! She charged a dollar and a quarter for all of Erin’s treasures and so Erin was thrilled with the amount of change she was able to keep.... then she turned to Nick and I and announced “Well, you’ll have to pay a lot more because you are both so OLD!” (Hmmmmph!)

After all our workouts, swimming lessons and gymnastics this morning, we got the laundry on the line in the crisp fall breeze and I made myself a big mug of tea to stave off the urge to have a LONG afternoon nap. I have finished all of the English layouts for the School Milk pieces and the teacher’s newsletter, but it was time to squash and squeeze all of the French translations into place. While the basic layout remains the same, you often have to really play with the type sizes and move things around to get the longer sentences to fit in the same amount of space and still look nice.

Erin has been studying apples in her French Immersion class and had a recipe for microwaved apples to make, so I tried to find that fine line between letting her do it all and helping her learn how to do stuff like cream margarine and brown sugar together without sending the sugar everywhere. I must call my Mom tonight and thank her for all her patience in teaching ME how to cook.

Now that the girls are down for the night, it is time to assemble the 300 chartpacks, whose covers printed out in batches on the other computer while I worked on the Milk stuff this afternoon, while we watch a DVD.

Friday, October 03, 2003

On the Mend...

Our family is on the mend at last.. though I am still VERY tired. Nick went back to work today having spent most of yesterday sleeping or taking it easy like I tried to do. It is a struggle... when you know there are things that are supposed to get done and you just don’t have the strength to do them. Today, I feel at least 75 percent back to being myself, but I can tell it will still be an early night... and my shortest blog yet.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

I Can’t Even Have the FLU in Peace...

I know why I felt so awful trying to work last night. This morning I woke up feeling like dog’s chew toy that has been shaken a bit too hard. Luckily, though I feel pretty queasy and have little or no interest in food, I haven’t been sick to my tummy. That would mean a trip to the hospital and several hours on an IV with a drug called Maxoran. One of the leftovers from gallbladder attacks during my pregnancy with Erin and over 6 months of medicated morning sickness with Bethany, is that my stomach can’t stop once it starts being sick- that nerve that acts as the OFF switch is just not working properly.

Erin has been fighting an ear infection and Bethany a sinus infection, so I kept them both home to give the antibiotics time to kick in. They were angels about playing as quietly as they could at 8 and 4 while I grabbed a few more hours of sleep once Nick got off to work... but then he called at lunch time to say that he felt about 12 hours behind me and was coming home!

So the cave is full of sooky feeling dragons and this is about all I have the strength to blog right now. Thank goodness this is hitting now, even if it is in the middle of cows and kitting for CSNF... I’d hate to have something like this hit when I had to be traveling or away from home!

It could be worse.... I could be sick in Halifax where they still have no power after Hurricane Juan!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Up To My Armpits in Cows and Eating Elephants...

I forget where I first heard the expression “Eat your elephant one bite at a time”... but being a visual person, I loved the idea that something so huge could be tackled one little bit at a time. Notice that it doesn’t say “in one sitting”. With our deadline conscious world and frantic pace, it is often easy to think that we must accomplish everything on our “to do” list each day... then we beat ourselves up if we don’t get through it all!

I am up to my armpits in cows... but luckily not cow patties. A few years ago, I was one of a few artists to submit a mascot for the Elementary School Milk program that the Dairy Farmers of Canada - Maritimes promotes throughout the schools. My “pikacow” (I told them that short, cute and pudgy à la Pokémon style was in...) called Moo-Moo got the best reviews from the panel of test kids and I have been drawing cows for school posters and newsletters ever since. Due to some TV campaigns and other marketing things this year, the information was a bit late coming my way, but we still have press deadlines to meet... so the cows and I have been spending more quality time together than I would like on evenings and weekends. The English layouts are now completed and waiting to be proofed and approved. Once the translations are complete, I just have to take the same layouts and squeeze the French text into the appropriate places. French is usually longer, so you have to play with the spacing a bit... but essentially, once the layout and design is done, creating the French version is relatively easy.

So I feel as if my elephant is getting eaten.. but with the CSNF show in Toronto just 19 days away, the two projects have overlapped WAY closer than I’ve liked!! The only wonderful things is that, in the middle of the chaos, I am able to go outside and hang a load of laundry or save a brown and black fuzzy caterpillar from being sunburned on our deck or look out at the sweep of trees finally changing colours in the park at the end of the street. Remembering to take those pauses... those moments between bites... is SO essential -
otherwise you choke!

Monday, September 29, 2003

Explaining Needlework to Strangers....

Well, Hurricane Juan walloped Halifax, but Moncton got off with only a bit of rain and wind. The storm tracked further East than expected, for which we are grateful, especially as we watch news footage of the stately trees in Halifax that have toppled onto houses and cars.

I had some time to sit today in a waiting room to get my blood pressure checked (I’d been feeling a little off, but the doctor thinks it might just be the start of a flu because everything checked out OK) and took out some Illustrative Blackwork to stitch on. It is quite funny to watch how people try to look at what you are doing without it being obvious that they are trying to look. Finally, one of the ladies spoke up. “That’s not cross stitch is it... there’s no colour!”

I began to explain about how it worked and suddenly the woman’s face light up. “It’s all backstitch!” she smiled. “I like that effect!”

We are such a more insular society these days... far fewer quilting bees and community gatherings where people would bring out their whittling, knitting, piecework or needlework. There are far fewer opportunities for people to see others doing something that they enjoy outside the sanctuary of their own home.

I think I will make a point of always taking some needlework along with me to meetings or to wait at sports meets now that Erin is getting into stuff at school. Who knows how many people may ask me what I am doing with those pieces of string!

Sunday, September 28, 2003

There’s A Hurricane A Comin’...

Juan is on its way to the Maritimes tonight... and even though we know it won’t be anything like what Virginia and other states experienced with Isabelle, we are still battening down the hatches and putting the lawn furniture in the shed.

Today I could tell from the way my kids behaved that there was something afoot barometrically.... when I owned cats, I always knew when there was a storm coming because they would get the “kitty wilds”.

The winds of a storm can be both a wonderful and terrifying thing. I remember the summer we visited my mom and stepfather in Sherbrooke during a “micro-burst” that ripped huge trees out by their roots, demolished buildings and knocked out the power for several days. (back when I depended on that Barney video to give me one half an hour sanity break now and then...)

Storms, both weather related and the kind that happen in our daily lives, are often something that we’d prefer not to experience... but we cannot always control where and when and to whom they may happen. I still remember a poster that was on my wall throughout University: “Faith can either calm the storm or give you the strength to endure it.”
This has been said many ways and probably in many faiths... but I know that tonight if the winds pick up and wake me from my slumber, I will think about this until the winds die down and the storm has passed.