Saturday, December 06, 2003

Of Snowstorms and Pageants...

An early Saturday morning (I know... SOMEDAY my kids will sleep in and so will I) and I am down on the computer sending over the next Sample Chart to share with stitchers for the holidays. I head out to teach an aerobics class in an hour, so Nick has already headed off to the gym to get his workout in. When the girls are both in their swimming and gymnastics, we just spend Saturday mornings there from 8 am until noon and everyone in the family gets at least an hour or two of exercise. (An important way to keep this dragon’s rump from getting bigger since I sit to work at the computer, draw or stitch...)

This morning, the news is filled with details about the first big storm to blow down on us of the season... and I can tell my girls are barometrical challenged already!! What is it with pets and kids acting squirrley before a storm?? We don’t know how the storm will track, but it could dump up to 30 cm of white stuff on us overnight, so we’ll run out and get our errands done this afternoon in case.

My only worry for the morning is that tomorrow is supposed to be the Christmas pageant at church. The kids are leading most of the service and Erin is SO excited that the angels get to wear wings with REAL feathers at this church! (Our family recently made the painful and prayerful decision to switch United Churches within the city when the Sunday School at the church we’d been attending for 15 years dwindled down to less than 6 children on a regular basis.) I am sure that they will figure out a “snow date” if needs be... but I am dying of curiosity to see how a sombrero, a cat in the hat hat, Celine Dion CDs and crazy socks fit into the Christmas play!! (I was in charge of hunting for some props... but they wouldn’t let me in on the secrets!)

The magical thing about pageants is that somehow, despite the chaos of kids lifting skirts or picking noses in the background, the message still manages to come through. It is kind of like stitching when you think about it... we make all these tiny Xs with different colours of thread on fabric, but when you put them all together and step back, a wonderful image appears to be enjoyed and treasured.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Remembering To Count My Blessings...

I was in the middle of having one of those “poor me” pity parties this morning. It was cold... VERY cold. I know why all the smart creatures sleep through winter or fly South. Not that I hate the white stuff... I just wish it didn’t have to get quite so cold at the same time. Give me a milder winter with a ton of snow to shovel than the drifting of snow and -18 degrees Celsius wind chill this morning. Now that I am a skinnier dragon, that kind of cold goes right through me!

The sudden shift in temperature caused the lock on my self-store door to freeze up again, just when I needed a few more leaflets to glue and ship to Hoffman. There I was at 8:30 am, having gotten Erin back to school and Bethany off to daycare by myself, trying to jimmy a frozen lock down near the marsh with a very raw wind blowing off the Petitcodiac river (also known as the Chocolate River for its brown colour). I finally broke down and got the nice men with the blow torch to heat up the lock for me when the cigarette lighter in the van wouldn’t do diddly.

So now cold and somewhat grumpy, I began to lift box after box to find the 2 titles that I needed amid the 60 or so boxes of leaflets in the dimly lit self-store ( it gets afternoon light...) and thinking about all of the money that I have tied up in these leaflets waiting for them to sell. I am almost out of My Sister- My Friend leaflets after reprinting them a few years ago... and they’ve been paid for ever since then.

So there I was, doing the groceries afterwards.... muttering to myself about press runs and printing on demand... hardly even hearing the lovely Carols that were playing in the background. I’m still not sure what jolted me out of that in the middle of the cereal aisle. Had I heard someone discussing prices or telling a child to put that back on the shelf? Was it the senior that I passed clutching all the coupons and peering at her list? Or was it one of those still, small voice moments that suddenly made me realize how LUCKY I was to be doing my groceries without a panic that I couldn’t afford them (not that I don’t still keep to a weekly budget!) How LUCKY I was that the shelves were full of items to choose from... How LUCKY I was to be able to make healthy choices for my family...

Even though Nick and I have had to make some lifestyle choices to be able to cope with the ups and downs of a freelance income like mine and the costs of investing in your own company and dream, we are still very blessed in so many ways. I need to remember to count those blessings and what I DO have instead of grumping about what I DON’T!

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Nick’s Turn To Be Away...

It was Nick’s turn to be away and stay in a hotel bed tonight. He and some other Vice-Principals from Moncton were invited to Fredericton for some training in how to do a Principal’s Walkabout. (The term always make me think of the Australian native tradition rather than walking around a school...) This is two days full of lots of theory, practical evaluation, self-evaluation and from the sounds of it tonight on the phone, a very interesting if somewhat tiring learning experience.

It’s funny how well I understand the need to occasionally be reminded that you are an individual first. While you never sleep quite as well away from your own bed (except maybe on vacation) it is good to have some time in your own head space. I know that as busy as I am when I go away to Toronto, I like the time to be by myself on the airplane or in the hotel room at night. Nashville and Charlotte have always been different, because those aren’t shows I can do by myself.

Sometimes we keep busy so that we don’t have to spend that time being quiet and still... it is easier to just keep running at an impossible pace and then fall into bed each night only to rise and race again in the morning. You just get caught up in the movement instead of really being in the moment. I think we all need to take time to sit in silence now and then... some of my best ideas are born in those moments of quiet.

I am looking forward to a quiet house to work in tomorrow as well. Erin seems on the mend after 2 days at home with very little voice. She and Bethany were funny to watch today with the first dusting of snow outside... when we walked up to mail our letters to Santa, Bethany kept making up little snow songs that usually had lirics like “Snow... I missed you all summer.... you are back for the first time and I love you....Snow, wonderful snow!”

The first snowfall IS magical... We’ll see how I feel after the 50th! LOL!

Monday, December 01, 2003

Of Advent Beginnings and Sniffles...

Yesterday being the first Sunday in Advent, we had the fun of rooting through the shed after church to find all the boxes of ornaments and garlands so that we could begin to decorate the house for the holidays.

I love getting out my Christmas CD collection and having that on in the background as I get the tree ready. The girls each have their own little 3 foot high tree for their rooms where they can put all their homemade ornaments and the tiniest ones that friends or family have begun to get for them... but when it comes to the family tree, I get to be the boss! I like having a “base” underneath to help tie all the various ornaments together, so the white lights and white bead garland go on first. Luckily this year all the lights worked (except for one minor panic when the middle strands of the 200 light set suddenly blinked off when I bumped one bulb!) and I even remembered which way to “chain” the lights thanks to Nick! Then the silver balls go on, nestled deep in the gaps that are bound to happen with an artificial tree, even when you fluff it out carefully. These reflect the light and colours of the other ornaments back outwards, but still sway and shimmer nicely. Finally, I add on a selection of bows in the colours of choice. I am staying with the deep burgundy and sparkly plaid from last year because it goes so well with our decor.

I’d planned to start putting up the special ornaments tonight. Those take a bit longer because the girls like to help and hear the story behind each one. Some have been with me since MY childhood trees and others are gifts to them from their first few Christmases, so they like to hear all the details.

But instead, I am driving Erin up to the nearby clinic to get her throat checked. She called home about 40 minutes before school finished, in tears, because her head hurt so much... but Mondays Nick has the car, so I had to ask her to hang in there just a little longer. (Boy... do you ever feel rotten when you have to do that. Blood or something broken, I’d take a cab for... but this was one of those “be brave” things) I walked up to the bus stop and kept her company in the rainy drizzle as we walked home. Warm homemade turkey and rice soup for supper hasn’t really helped much, but at least she could swallow it. Her tonsils look pretty red and swollen, and she’s running a fever, so off we go.

Sigh! I had SO hoped to enjoy a few weeks of healthy kids!!