New beginnings

Friday, December 15, 2006


It's been fascinating for me to experience the active desire to write, to post and to explore the genre of blogging. I find I have much to say, a lot to learn and a real thirst to continue to push my own envelope. That being said, I have discovered that there are greener pastures to support my fledgling venture elsewhere, with technology that doesn't seem so dense and impenetrable. I have a feeling I will be figuring it out as I go, continually improving the look and options. Please join me there.

As of right this minute, I am moving this relatively new blog to a new location HERE.

Be well and come on by!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Birthday Blog

To hold the same views at 40 as we held at 20 is to have been stupefied for a score of years, and take rank, not as a prophet, but as an unteachable brat, well birched and none the wiser.

-Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday morning FIRST THING her time, my dear friend NF called from Vegas to wish me a happy birthday. This lovely lady and I have been friends since, well, for over 25 years. We survived high school together ( 7th grade roller-skating party!!) , overcame some adolescent angst, and served as ladies in waiting for each other; even though life has put us in vastly different places, we remain vital support staff to the other. It was so lovely to hear her voice, particularly as it's been a hard enough year that she has the right to be more than a little discombobulated.

I have had many amazing friends over the years and although some have gone on different paths and the friendships ended, I have been affected by all of them. I had a friend for many years; we introduced the other to such diverse music, books, travel, ideologies that we evolved under the care of the other. I look back at that friendship and although I still mourn its necessary passing, I am grateful for all that it was, positive and negative.

At 40, I have attained a place in my own life where I know what serves me, what I need to sustain my spirit and psyche, and what I do not. I used to think that friendships persist - particularly the intense and long-term ones - but I have come to realize that although we may travel the same road as beloved companions for a time, there are no guarantees. We all change and grow or we stultify and get stuck. I am not the same person I was when I lived with my parents at 20 - thank GOD! - I am a more congruent, self-aware and happier soul. How many times do we need to be hit over the head with the same two by four to learn the lessons? Pitfalls and missteps have helped shape me and I am a much more attentive student to the lessons around me!

I feel as though I am well-equipped by lessons learned. I have tremendous friends both near and far who challenge and support me, who respect me, share chocolate martinis with me and make me laugh.

I spent my day with a true friend and kindred spirit. She spoiled me, gave me hysterical books and chocolate and took me out to lunch. Later, my kids gave me cards, and my husband took me to one of our favorite restaurants where we all chatted about ritual and how important it is to acknowledge significant moments to better understand ourselves. Then they threw cake at me. Forty feels great.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

More about ME

It's an interesting proposal, to examine your life and list things you think are interesting. Narcissism is us, eh? Well, when I listed these things (in my head, while riding a yellow bus on the way to a field trip), I found myself giggling. To myself. About myself. Do I need to be medicated or am I already?

11. I am pretty good at accents and used to teach my freshmen last year in a smorgasbord of voices including Scots (my personal favorite), plummy British and French Canadian. I have held a London accent for an entire day once and will soon attempt it with a Scottish one. May read Outlander again, first.

12. Used to be a mental case for the Beatles and, while I was in 8th grade, had to hear at least one song a day or the world would have ended. Did it end? Clearly I heard enough Beatles' songs.

13. I have held onto a box of baby clothes (in the basement) for 8 years as birth control.

14. I was a newscaster in University (Canadian for College) for the radio station and once laughed hysterically for an entire minute on air while I was supposed to be reading about the Cold War. I had to pinch myself to stop laughing.

15. I think that puns are laudable examples of linguistic and intellectual dexterity. Especially if they make me wince.

16. I have entire Monty Python routines memorized and have had for over 20 years. Surely there is better use for this valuable harddrive space; how do I download it???

17. My family celebrates Chanukah but also Sinterklaas, a Dutch holiday (my mom's from Amsterdam); every present my family gives must have a poem that goes with it! I have 23 poems to write before our gift orgy on the 16th.

18. At some point, I think I will go for my Ph.D. in education.

19. I had both my babies ( they are now 11 1/2 and 9) at home.

20. Shakespeare in Love makes me cry every time I watch it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

100 Things About ME

Inspired by Mrs. Chili , I am going to attempt to list 100 things about me in no obvious order of relevance, except number 1.
  1. My darling husband of nearly 13 years cracks me up every single day.
  2. My two amazing daughters are die-hard fans of Calvin & Hobbes, Monty Python and the Far Side because of my husband and me.
  3. I am going to be 40 on Monday and I am thrilled. More on this later!
  4. I am 4 minutes older than my sister.
  5. If I sneeze enough times in a row, I lose my voice entirely.
  6. I love to travel, have been to England and bits of Europe 5 times, but haven't been off this continent in 16 years.
  7. My friendships with a variety of extraordinary, funny and inspiring women sustain me and help me remember who I am.
  8. Since leaving a large Canadian city in '92, I have lived in urbanly in Washington State and Arizona and now live more happily than I lthought possible out in the New England countryside.
  9. I love being an English teacher.
  10. I think Buffy the Vampire Slayer is utterly brilliant and eminently teachable. DH and I bought the entire run of the series for our twelfth anniversary.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Getting it Done

Mrs. Chili came over this foggy and grey afternoon to help me/make me take care of the travesty that was once my desk and bookshelf, and that now is again. I had avoided it for so long that I no longer saw the precarious piles of random books, the inbox bursting with files full of unrelated and mostly recyclable items and the three boxes brimming full of miscellaneous I've-had-it-forever-and-I-can't possible-part-with-it CRAP. Guess what? I parted with so much today and although I'm not entirely finished - I've got a hot file and some odds and ends that need homes - my wonderful friend facilitated me moving out of rut of selective blindness and inertia. She attacked piles and made me decide, then and there, whether I was dumping, filing or recycling. She was ruthless and bossy and I needed just that!

I have walked into my office, sat at the computer and aggressively ignored all the mess and chaos around me for so long; I didn't realize how much energy I was expending pretending the mess wasn't there. I breathe easy as I look around. Sometime soon I am going to help her with a project she's been avoiding - don't we all have those? - and I am looking forward to it. What are friends for anyway?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


This past Friday I received a fat envelope from the citizenship-processing centre (notice the Canadian spelling?) in Nova Scotia. As I had been told that my wait for my daughters' citizenship cards could take up to a year, I was thrilled to get them after only 4 months.

My kids were born in the US so they are American but are entitled to Canadian citizenship because DH and I are Canadian. After weeks of document wrangling, I put together the application packets; I gathered birth certificates, our marriage certificate and carefully labeled photos of the girls (mug shots: NO SMILING!!) and sent them off. I should mention the fairly embarrassing impetus for the application: I recently entered Canada with absolutely no identification for the children. When I pulled up to the window, I engaged in the standard series of questions. No, I didn't have any drugs or alcohol. No, I didn't have a GUN! Yes, I have my passport. And then, a difficult question: Um, nooooo, I don't have any identification for my daughters...

"Are you certain, Madame, that you have nothing to show that these are your daughters?" asked the exceedingly polite immigration officer.

Chagrined and flabbergasted, I simply shook my head. I offered to call my genealogist father and have their birth certificates faxed to them within minutes, but he politely declined. I had had my daughters' birth certificates in my car but had cleaned them out in some frenzy months before. The nice official did let us in that day, with strict instructions to never show up without proper ID again. As I drove off squirming, my eldest said, “I can’t believe you didn’t have ID for us!!!"

That folks, was what I call a moron manoevre.

So back to the envelope: the thing was galvanized with fibre tape - impenetrable! and required me to hack it open from the front with a pair of scissors. Inside I found official documents and TA DA... the identity cards that proclaim, finally, my kids' dual identities. But then I notice that they bollixed it up!! They put the WRONG face on the wrong card!! These cards were as useful as tits on the proverbial bull. Did the officials fail to notice the careful labeling on the backs of the photos? Perhaps they decided they didn’t agree with the way I named my daughters - perhaps my matching of names and faces offended their aesthetic sense and they corrected the problem? I am an identical twin, so I am used to having my face confused for my sister’s. These kids, however, do not look that much alike; people have actually inquired whether they have the same father!

The cards are now on their way back to the nearest consulate, where they will be reprocessed, free of charge. Shit happens, the nice consular lady told me in oh-so-polite other words, but we would be happy to take care of that for you. Have a nice day, eh?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Covering Naked Walls

Do you have naked walls? Do they bother you? I have been heartily sick of looking at my vast expanses of paint (albeit colors I chose) where lovely things should be. I have dithered these three years since I moved into this house and although we do have some lovely things adorning the plaster, there are lot of spaces just crying out for, well, SOMETHING. Over the last few years, my husband and I have planted hundreds of perennials, annuals, trees, etc., and I have been taking photos. Looking through thse shots, I realized I had grown my very own gallery.

Last year I grew my very first sunflower and after it was initially amputated by dining deer, it grew back into THIS!

This past summer I though I planted giant zinnias (packaging error) but instead got amazing giant red sunflowers. Aren't they glorious? I have now framed each of these photos to cover some of the nakedness and to console myself over the coming bleak winter. Honestly, I don't know what has taken me so long - these shots make me stupid happy and elevate my walls from bored blah to oases of color.