Sunday, December 31, 2006

One Last Christmas Card

When I was a child, I took all that you told me and built a fantasy village. In the snobby part of town are castles. The castles of Cinderella and her Prince, Scrooge’s elaborate dwelling, and the home of the wicked Queen (who thinks she is fairest of them all), with more mirror tiles than West Edmonton Mall.

Nursery rhyme characters live in the middle-class part of town. Jack Sprat and his plump wife are only a hop down the street from Jack be Nimble. Mother Goose runs a kind of animal drop-in center on the corner next to the Woman on social assistance overrun with children whose house was built by a shoemaker with raw hides rather than wood. The residents in this part of town worry little about street lighting as they are forced to retire early. Every night Bill Winkie runs up and down the streets in dressing-gown-drag demanding that they all go to bed.

There are parks as well. The park where the Queen and a bunch of flimsy and foolish cards gather often to play Croquet. And where rabbits in vests scurry about checking their watches while vision impaired mice fumble and feel their way around. The swans in the pond are so beautiful. But always with them I see an ugly duck with a tuff of hair fluffed across it’s head that is as close a copy to Donald Trump’s as Rosie’s is. (Oops, shouldn’t have done that but I just couldn’t resist.)

But across the tracks, there is another part of town where things are pretty dire. This is where you will find the Lamplighter, and the Little Match Girl, and the hollow gaunt faces of Tiny Tim and his family. But there is still a beauty to that slum part of town. Characterized by the street lamps. In winter as shadows gather and snowflakes fall, the old Lamp Lighter limps down those streets and with a long torch lights each lamp. Magically, the falling snow flakes catch the reflection of each tiny light and surround them with great globes of orange-yellow warmth and color. And therein is the beauty.

Why am I telling you all this? Because you need to understand it to know how thrilled I was to find that ED (eldest daughter) gave me something connected to my fantasy village for Christmas. I never told her. I don’t know how she knew. But she gave me a tall old-fashioned street lamp with three globes with Baroque tops and curved supports under those globes mounted on a tall ornate pillar.

Our old-fashioned house has extra-high ceilings in the livingroom so Christmas Day Hub stood it up there and turned on the lights. I looked at it and slipped from reality into an old-fashioned Christmas card where carolers with fur muffs and large music sheets stood in falling snow under a street lamp singing “Joy to the World”. I began to wonder if I really wanted it mounted by a sidewalk outside.

And then a few days later, the little twins came over from next door to walk the dogs. They stood for some time admiring the street light. Boy twin is always thinking. Always creating in his mind another collage. And always those collages are a thing of beauty with mechanical intrigue.

Suddenly, he grabbed at my sleeve. “It’s beautiful, Roberta,” he said. "Let’s use it to make a Christmas float. Let’s mount it on big truck flat-deck with a battery pack. And then with the lamps burning, we’ll get Mr. Smith to drive us through town while we bunch around the lamp and sing Christmas carols.”

Well you could have knocked me over with a feather. Sometimes I swear, though not blood related, that boy and I have uncanny imaginative connections. Obviously when he gazed at that street lamp he skipped off to that same imaginary village that I love to frolic in.

So now we’re off to a New Year in a few short hours. We’ll be leaving all the old stuff behind but don’t forget to pack your imagination. I’m no ‘snake-oil saleman’ when I tell you that a vivid imagination is the wondrous salve that so quickly heals the dreary wounds of everyday life. So pack it up and take it along. In the meantime...

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! (hugs, all 'round)

Friday, December 29, 2006

No Obligation

My Christmas will be chaotic no more. Thanks to wise words from (YD) Youngest Daughter. I’ll tell you later what she told me.

But the chaos? You know all about it. Even within tight-knit families there is a high level of diplomacy involved in choosing the right gifts and communicating plans for the Christmas venue.

So like everyone else I fret a great deal about Christmas. We have taken early traditions, modified them, remolded them, and shook them up to find the right mix for us. My childhood Christmases were all the relatives gathered together Christmas Eve after a huge supper. Then out came the accordion, the mandolin, the sax, the mouth organ, the song books, and for the younger ones the tambourine, some kitchen spoons and metal pots. Or a comb and piece of tissue paper. Then we played and sang our hearts out.

Now that doesn’t work for our own family because although we have a couple of guitars and some of us like that kind of thing, there are the one’s that don’t. And any hope the non-musicians might have for a joyful Christmas is ruined by the raucous behavior of the rest of us with our sour notes and clashing pots and spoons. So we scrapped that.

Then, for a few years we did the high-end gift exchanges until we all felt a credit-card pain that literally wiped out any joy until mid-July. Then we exchanged names for a few years but somehow that too began to lose favor. Eventually we let the pendulum swing the other way. No gifts for anyone except the grand-kids. This too, seemed a bit unfair and bleak for the ones with no children. So somehow we have drifted back to a gift exchange of a simpler kind.

This year I promised not to let it all get me down. But how could it not? Hating shopping the way I do. Hating the dreaded trip to town the way I do. And the kids are all doing well enough that it is really difficult to find that special gift that will be both useful and appreciated. Furthermore, this year I was bound to Hub’s agenda because until I get eye surgery I am unable to drive. So although there were a few mornings where I was motivated to go shopping, Hub’s motivation didn’t come until late afternoon and by then mine had packed up and left.

So rather than taking my early morning motivation into town, I took it downstairs to my treasure room of cloth scraps, lace, leather, and string. I’m always happy here. It’s more fun than any mall. And soon I came back upstairs with a selection of Christmas gift materials. I made double fleece mitts for the boys out of some lovely faun-colored material and decorated them with blanket stitch around the cuffs. I used an excess piece of flannelette originally bought for a baby quilt to make a soft pale blue nightgown profuse with lace trim for Middle Daughter. Granddaughter had no night wear in her bag last time she stayed here so I gave her an old thread-bare cotton one to wear that was in my stash. She said it was beautiful, that she felt like an angel in it. So I pulled out some new cotton from my stash and using the old rag nightgown as a pattern made her a new angel-gown.

When I wrapped the gifts, I supplemented the boy’s mitts with boxes of chocolates. The girl’s gifts with small bath kits. Simple gifts all.

Then Christmas day came. The three girls and their hubby’s streamed in the front door with boxes and boxes of gifts. Huge boxes that they struggled with to push them through the door frame. The tree was soon buried with only the top half visible. I watched in bewilderment and with a sinking heart. Feeling scared, sad, inadequate, guilty – you name it, I was feeling it. And what I was feeling was not good.

As soon as the last package was precariously balanced on top of all the rest, I said to YD, “YD, why did you do this? Why did any of you do this? You all make me feel so obligated.”

YD’s reply was quick. “Obligated, why should you be? Did you shirk on dinner? Are we getting store-bought buns or canned cranberries? What did you do with dinner to make you feel obligated?”

I immediately swapped miserable feelings of obligation for a wonderful feeling of peace and joy. I DID NOT shirk on dinner. The buns were homemade. The pumpkin pie filling and cranberry sauce did not come out of a tin. I made the extra stuffing that is always in high demand. I had an impressive array of cookies, sweets, and dainties. And the Ceasar dressing was home made as well. The house was prepared as if the Queen, herself, was coming for dinner.

No obligation to be felt. I did my share and they did theirs.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Matador

It’s bloody ridiculous how often we get sucked into the values and beliefs of the throngs. For quite a few years now, I’ve been following along, believing that ‘Christmas is for children’. But oh no, it’s not. Four-year-old grandson didn’t have one more iota of fun this year than I had and this is why.

YD (youngest daughter) bought me a gift that I immediately christened ‘The Matador’. She helped me take the Matador out of his box, turned him on and immediately he began sweeping strides on the floor while waving a little broom flag to first one side and then the other. And so, it seemed appropriate to call him "The Matador".

Matador is a performer. He roams about a room pacing out the arena. Setting a context. Getting a feel for it. And then he just gets busy. Matador is a robot vacuum cleaner.

How fascinating is that? How funny is that? How cute is that? So while grandson roared around Christmas guests with his remote control truck, I was close behind, roaming about with the Matador. Grandson was a little envious when his truck got stuck between chair legs, but Matador just backed his way expertly out of tough situations. Meanwhile, Hub was getting annoyed. He wanted me to sit down and socialize and let Matador mix and mingle on his own. But of course I couldn’t do that. Some fool would probably let him fall down the stairs, and I wasn’t going to let that happen.

As I followed him around I even had an urge to stage a smash up derby with Grandson’s new remote Big Wheels but thought better of it. I’m quite certain Matador would have come out on top in that contest. I did hear him tauntingly whisper to Big Wheels as he sailed by the truck that was stuck between a chair and the wall. “Ah, quit whining. Just suck it up!”

I loved watching Matador do his thing. Without hesitation he went from rug to lino and back to rug. While in the kitchen, he shifted down and mounted the thick mat in front of the door and cleaned it thoroughly. Mischievous, he is though. Didn’t he just scoot under the low cupboard in the kitchen and thoroughly clean that small space that is so awkward for me to clean? It wasn’t till later that we found out while playing under there, he had secretly unplugged the coffee pot and the water dispenser.

Later, I took him to the master bedroom. The bedskirts? No problem. He just sailed under the bed and roamed around until every single dust bunny was gone. I told him to be sure and do behind the dresser and left. Later I came back to check on his progress. I could barely hear him. His voice seemed muffled. I looked under the bedskirts. He was not there. I checked other small spaces, but he was not there. Panic was rising in my throat when I discovered him in the corner, behind the dresser, sweeping crevices with his little flag broom and sucking up the debris. I was so impressed. How much better is this than the hernia-effort it takes me to move the dresser and the annoyance of having to fold myself into a twisted pretzel in order to vacuum under those bloody beds?

I moved him to the next bedroom. Told him to clean that room too. But when I came back a few minutes later to check, he was gone! Dissolved into thin air. No purring motor. No little broom waving ‘I’m over here’.

So now everyone scrambled to search for Matador. And where did we find him? Under the bed, in another room at the far end of the house practicing for a smash-up derby performance with one of Grandson’s old fire trucks from another day that was waylaid there.

Hub is not as thrilled as I am. I heard him complaining on the phone the other day that he can’t even watch the Lone Star Channel anymore. Always there’s Matador buzzing around his feet with me following along. Criss-crossing in front of the screen. Laughing and chatting gaily with Matador.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Long Way Back

What could possibly be worse then the rush, the crush, the worry and scurry of getting ready for Christmas? Well, I’ll tell you what can be worse. Getting un-ready after Christmas. That, I think, is even worse.

Of course there is the ritual part of it. Taking the tree and decorations down, all the while glumly thinking that if you had known it was going to be this much work, you wouldn’t have put so much up. Realizing that if you miss one porcelain angel or one miniature caroler, that oversight will scream to the whole world how careless and lazy you are. “For cryin’ out loud, Christmas was month’s ago, and did you notice that lazy old bag still has mistletoe over the kitchen sink and a caroler on the mantle?”

The judgement for this sort of thing is harsh. Every bit as harsh as leaving laundry on the clothes line for a fortnight.

But the hardest part of moving from ready to un-ready, the recovery so to speak, is bringing back to the forefront those knitting, sewing, and other projects that were so neatly packed and stored for the holiday season. And getting back into one’s soul the same intent and purpose that made them so much fun before they were packed away. Getting back to normalcy. Getting back to writing and reading and the solace that one was so cozily wrapped in before Christmas hit like a thunderbolt out of the blue.

Oh this year was so scary for me. With so many social engagements back to back I came so close to slipping from preferred reclusiveness into that other mindset that demands regular and frequent socializing, interaction, excitement, and outside stimulation. Gad, what was I thinking?

I don’t want to go there. How could I have come so close to that slippery precipice? Good thing I regained my footing or tonight I’d be off playing Bingo or at a church supper instead of sitting here happily rattling these keys. I don’t want to ever get that close again. It was too scary.

Next Christmas I better be a lot more cautious about how many events I attend. Though the experts say it takes 21 repetitions for habits to form, there are bound to be exceptions to the rule. So even though my festive events were far less than that, I could still feel the draw. Yet I remain uncertain if it was interaction with others or the exotic food at these events that caused the unsettling of my mind for a day or two.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Meme Tags

Ample Sanity tagged me for a meme (see previous post)...
And now, I am tagging Dick who I know for sure has some secrets he would prefer to leave as patterns of leaves and sticks along some trail.

And Matty, who I think can easily provide some things we don’t know about her as well.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Meme and the Challenge

I’m so technically challenged that when Ample Sanity tagged me for a meme, I couldn’t find the original reference. But the clues lead me to think that to participate I can simply tell you 5 things about me that you don’t know. (this techy point doesn’t count, cause you already knew that).

But, what you probably didn’t know, and what I vowed to never confess is that ‘makin’ it up works’. I know it does. That is how I write when all I draw is a ‘blank’. That is how I got passing grades on school exams when I had no idea what the question was referring to. So I can do this meme, even though I didn’t find the protocol.

I like to think about simple, basic stuff. So now let’s go to something really basic about me that you probably didn’t know. I love potatoes, must have potatoes. At least every second day. I have not eaten, don’t call it a meal, it was just a snack without potatoes – baked potatoes, fried potatoes, big fluffy mashed, garlic, cajun, dilled, creamed or gravied. Please pass the potatoes. Now granted, maybe you already knew that, but what you didn’t know is that sometimes Hub calls me ‘Potato Head’ because I love potatoes.

Continuing…I sincerely believe I have told you everything about me you could possibly ever know because I have been blogging for four years in March. And, whatever I have failed to tell you, you no doubt picked up somewhere along the way between the lines. Because writing is like a fine rack of ribs. There’s more meat between the ribs than on the lines. Scantily buried emotions stagger between the lines, rather than on them. So what you don’t know, that I didn’t tell you, is how much I know about you, that you never told me.

And what you didn’t know is like Ample Sanity, I can’t tie a bow either. But that is no shame. Cause, I can do something better than tying a bow. I can wrap a boxed gift without taping the starting edge of the wrap to the gift.

But lastly, and most importantly, what you don’t know, and I know you don’t know, and I am so anxious to tell you is this.

“Season’s Greetings! __________ (insert significant Other spirit) bless you. Everyone!”

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Loving One's Self

You know it. Of course you do. How often have we been told, that the key to happiness is ‘loving ourselves’.

But how, just how, can I love someone who blogs so close to Christmas when they are so not ready? How do I love someone who goes to the computer just to have a quick look then deceitfully leaves off Christmas baking, sewing, decorating, and wrapping to write? And yet she knows full well that all the great multitude of other citizens of cyber space are not shirking their responsibilities. They’re certainly not engaging in these kinds of diversions so close to Christmas.

And not only that, the person I am trying to love has no sense of trustworthiness despite her age of maturity. Instead of doing what needs to be done, she hangs out at the computer. Reveling in some kind of sick nostalgia. Convinced that the rattling of the keyboard is as soothing as a kettle humming on a wood-burning stove. Wiggling her toes with delight as she sips coffee and listens to traditional songs of Christmas in the background. Thinking she needs to be sitting at her window admiring the soft flakes falling. But most extreme of all, she has herself convinced that reading other’s blogs about parenting, children’s antics, unexpected happenings, and Christmas musings, is as much fun as opening gifts on Christmas morn. Maybe even more so because they are woven around real lives.

And furthermore, how can I love someone who insists on writing words without a plan? And then, because of that, where she is going with them is such a mystery to herself, she is tempted throughout the day, every day to leave off vital chores to write more in order to find out what is coming next. What’s worse, is when she is writing and reading blogs, she feels blessed and appreciative and content and all that stuff. The stuff she’s supposed to feel when I love her, which I don’t.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Conversations & Sharing

This year I thought I might detour around Christmas. I couldn’t help thinking maybe gifts aren’t as important as I think they are. And conversation and sharing doesn’t seem that important either. Seems to me the only important things are the things we sock down deeper in our guts. Don’t look at me with such a questioning look? You know what they are?

Homemade pumpkin pies, golden turkey, spicy stuffing, Ceasar salad, butter tarts, etc. And you thought Christmas was about conversation and sharing. Nah. It’s not that. Can’t be. Because we come from a long tribe that don’t really share. Or even converse.

We don’t converse, cause when we talk, it’s a regular free for all. We all talk at the same time. (Hub’s family is not like this, they speak in turn, so even, after all these years, Hub finds the rabble of our conversations truly amazing). Amazing how we all huddle into an affectionate little pack, pick independent topics, and talk and talk.

And although, none lend an ear to the other’s rants, we still end up convinced we had a really special time and well satisfied that we got to ‘say’ our piece without being forced to truncate it. When, in reality, the only part of the conversation that was shared was the odd bit of wit that was too funny to be missed and so it was reiterated from one to another, like a special password, while once again handing round the chocolate truffles.

And as much as we are aware that being a good listener is a gracious act, we are an impatient lot and we know that if we listen intently to everything that anyone says, they will tell you any damn thing. Even a blow-by-blow description of a dripping tap. Just to sustain the moment and the fixation on them.

But in our huddles, where all are talking and no one is listening, the speaker has to shine. He/she has to create a special gem of conversation that is really compelling. Something that is too unique, intriguing, funny, witty, to be ignored. Participants in a group that are talking as fast as they can soon realize that only stories of the highest standard will be published. So if we share anything, the things we share are unforgettable. I think that’s why we converse the way we do. Works for us.

So ultimately, more often than not, it is the abundance of food and pleasure-releasing seratonin that give us Christmas joy. And the special opportunities we have at Christmas to eat, and laugh, and…share convers…chocolate truffles.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

In the Crease

I know nothing about hockey, but occasionally I sit through a game just to pander to Hub. And because I have so little interest in the game I tend to ignore the action while only half-listening in a distracted way to the announcer. Listening to credits for a ‘hat-trick’, and who’s ‘saving’, ‘scoring’, or ‘breaking-away’, Neat phrases, all of them. But I also hear the phrase, that a player or a puck is ‘in the crease’, and when I hear that, the words sound musical, rhythmical. It is a phrase that really appeals in a special unexplainable way to my literary/word/phrase sense. (Hub tells me that ‘the crease’ is that small blue area in front of the net, right there, right adjacent to the net.)

To me, ‘in the crease’ is a phrase dignified by hockey and hockey is dignified by the phrase. Hockey makes the phrase sound impressive. And alternatively, the phrase seems to soften the aggressive nature of the game. Making it as much art as sport. These words are words that Shakespeare might have written. There is no doubt about it. It is a lovely phrase.

And that is a term of reference that really appeals to me as a description of who I am and what I write. I live in the crease and I write in the crease.

“In the crease”. Close to a goal, but yet not a goal. Liberal in one sense, conservative in another. Writing stuff that might be fact or might be fiction. Sometimes forming conclusions intuitively, other times deductively. This is my space of habitation and comfort.

So, you see, I haven’t lived life outside the box, I have lived life in the crease. Descriptive of a place that dignifies the shame of failure by allowing me to be that close to the net, and erasing the unfortunate realities I may wish to whine about that impeded my progress. Cause like professional hockey players, those who live life in the crease don’t whine. And when you live in the crease, you never know. Any minute someone might give you the little push you need to make a goal.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

The Christmas Crunch

Some of the reasons I like to write:

I can’t think on my feet. I hate ‘pop’ quizzes. I have no quick answers. Everything I want to discuss requires time for reflection. And in one-on-one conversations, people are too impatient to give me time to wander around in seemingly irrelevant thoughts in order to clarify and rationalize my flat, yet angular, unexpected Picasso-perspectives.

Writing is a lazy craft. No mess to clean up afterwards. I tried painting. What a mess? Always brushes to clean, and waiting for paint to dry, or misting it so it wouldn’t dry too quick. Writing, on the other hand, happens inside a little box (my laptop), and when I’m done I just click the lid shut.

Writing allows me to be the creator of some unique thing that cannot be duplicated or compared to other’s. My presentation of something as simple as a ‘man’, or complex as a ‘woman’ does not have to look like others expect it to look.

Writing is similar to painting. Through writing, I am able to create my own picture. A digital camera cannot capture an exact likeness of it. You won’t find it cloned by slave labor in third-world countries for bargain prices as you might with sewing, quilting, painting, knitting, or any of the other things I like to do. Duplications so similar in every respect that they rub out a creator’s pride and pleasure and transform that good feeling into guilt about wasting time. That’s how I feel about the socks I’ve been knitting when I saw socks in a flyer for $3.99 a pair. That doesn’t happen with writing, and when I’m done, I don’t have to box and sort out the heap of nouns, verbs, and adjectives and painstakingly put them all back in their rightful place. I just twitch my nose over my writing table, and ‘Poof’, all my materials are tidily back in place.

Recording one’s thoughts is such good therapy for irresolution of the mind. Writing forces me to revel in the special gifts of life. Or to examine the irony. It’s a work of pride and prejudices. And through writing-participaction, I plan to delay the aging process by keeping my imagination toned and in reasonably good health. After all it is as much a part of my wellness as cholesterol-free arteries.

But writing is so unlike other crafts like knitting and quilting that are conducive to sharing. Writing is not a group activity. Writing requires solitude. And because solitude is not happening with Christmas just around the corner, not much writing is happening as well.

But you just wait until January. That’s when the marathon will start.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Trashed Love

Every one of us has an obsessive-compulsive disorder. The need for romantic love. But it's not our fault. After all, every bit of television and literature we are daily exposed to, insidiously weaves into its plot, connotations about the sweetness of sexual love and the cataclysm of life without it. And Researchers are busy, busy, busy, uncovering all the biological and hormonal stuff that cause us to yearn and yen for sexual completion. To make us understand why we must have it.

But I don’t see anyone doing the work to find out the biological and hormonal stuff that makes two friends the very best of friends. Or what part of the brain lights up or what role endorphins play in the warm ecstasy ignited when we see that special friend we grew up with, and shared all our pains and sorrows with, coming up the walk. I’m not talking about the bland emotional charge of ‘fondness’ here, I’m talking about a highly-emotionally-charged-feeling of complete adoration. (I don’t even see anyone investigating the unique affection we have for grandchildren or that special niece or even our own offspring).

No one is pursuing this kind of stuff. To understand why it happens or doesn’t happen. My fear is that maybe, just maybe, we have forgotten it exists. You know, the sweet-adoring-platonic-friendship-love of two of the same gender. (See all the hyphenated words. These are characteristics of a phenomenon so out of the mainstream that there are no simple nouns to adequately name it).

Do the purveyors of all that sexual wisdom invading our schools fully know and have the ability to understand the non-sexual love of true comrades, good buddies, kindred spirits, two school-girl friends, or two school-boy friends bound together by heart and soul? Or do they, in their inability to understand how emotionally deep-seated such affection can be, simply guide our young people into punctuating that kind of relationship with a ‘question mark’ about gender preference? Is there that kind of bias going on here?

So where, amongst the self-help books/magazines are the articles on understanding the sensory stimuli and brain-synapses of pheromones that lead us into deep life-long loving friendships outside of romance? Where is the literature to help us understand the brain and body chemistry that makes the love of comrades, buddies, and kindred spirits, so unique and special? Where is the offer of understanding for future generations?

What have we done with this unique, one-of-a-kind love? Is it possible, like global warming, that we have so contaminated it with toxins, that friendship-love is extinct? And like our environment, we just don’t have a hope of ever returning it to its rightful place?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Solving the Matter of Creation

“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Genesis 1:31

Read that sentence again. Doesn’t it sound like the creator was just a bit surprised? And I think he was. And that is what I want to talk about today.

First I have to tell you that my head is no good at complex theories. So to set the context of a simplified approach, allow me to digress for just one moment.

A few years ago I was literally floundering in a university-level course on Administration. The assignment – to discuss the role of an Administrator. But where to start? It was so impossible to extract anything meaningful from my workplace environment. Too much stuff to sift through. So finally in desperation I turned my study to the limited details of running my own home. Here I found great examples of administration and resource management. Then, surprisingly, within those very simple limitations, I fleshed out a grand essay about Corporate Jungle Administration. Despite the difference in the size and arena, the application was still there. But simplifying the problem allowed me to back away from the forest enough to see the trees.

So I backed away from Administration in order to see how an Administrator works. And now I want to back away from Creation enough to see how the Creator works.

So first of all, can we simplify the definition of creation? When brought to its lowest common denominator it is a conversion of an inanimate thing into an animate thing. So when I think about it that way, the big question is not the one we have so long puzzled over. “Is there a God? Is there a creator?” But rather, “Could Creation, as we know it, happen without a Creator?”

And that is the question that came to mind while watching Hub creating his newest batch of rhubarb wine. It struck me, that here, for me to observe, was a simplified version of creation. So now I need to assess from this observation whether this creation is the work of a Creator or nothing more than a coincidental reaction of natural forces?

And so I watched as Hub took inanimate matter (rhubarb, sugar, water, etc), and put it in a big pail and stored it in a warm place. Without interference on his part the mix fermented. And then after a space of time, Hub drained and clarified the brew. We tasted it and, to the Creator’s surprise, “Behold, it was very good!” But yet, it was a creation that was not all hands-on. Some of what occurred happened without any direct influence by him. Yet, without him, all that happened would not have happened. So he is the Creator.

Now my mother, on the other hand, made wine through the process of the ‘Big Bang Theory’. She canned fruit, often using recycled lids. And so some of that fruit became wine though that is not what it was meant to be. And “Behold, it was very good!” In this instance the Creator was both surprised and dismayed. But just because it was not her intent to make wine, does that mean she was not the creator of that wine? In the final analysis it wouldn’t have happened without her. So yes, she was the Creator. So even the ‘Big Bang Theory’ has a creator.

So now Hub, as a Creator, and my mother, as a Creator, cannot be dismissed because without their effort and involvement, there would be neither rhubarb wine or fruit wine. Yet in each of these processes things happened without their interference that were spontaneous reactions. And that spontaneous reaction thing, that thing that happened without their interference, does not mean that they are removed from the process. Or that creator-involvement can be denied.

No matter how much evolution, time, or space occurred in the beginning of Planet Earth, is not this simple proof that there was still, within that process, the involvement of a Creator? So what’s to debate about Creation and the Creator? Absolutely nothing.

Excuse me. Could I have more wine, please?

Friday, November 24, 2006

You Must Have Wrote it Down

It goes without saying, that all of us, at one time or another have done silly things. But not Hub. He prefers to think he is an exception to that rule. And so when I remind him of something foolish he did in the past, he usually says, “I don’t remember any such thing,” and truly he doesn’t. But when I start fleshing out the moment, he says, “How do you remember all that?” And then with a snort of disgust, “You must have wrote it down.”

But no, I didn’t. Still I understand why he thinks I did. He sees me writing all the time. But I share with him only a tiny segment of what I write. The odd bit that I think might pique his interest. But no point in telling him that. He’s totally convinced that all that I don’t share is about him.

And so I write and write. I also read. And in my reading, it took me long enough, but I finally realized that every book is about lives lived, whether fact or fiction. And in reading about literature what I also discovered is that for years Auto-Biographies were solidly shunned. They were branded, (and in many minds still are), as dull, self-centered, egotistical, bloody blither. And understandably, if all an Auto-Biography contains is a resume of occupations and acquisitions, it is definitely that. On the other hand, Biographies, (the story of a life told by another), were acceptable almost from the get go. Even the Bible is a Biography of sorts.

But why? If literature is about life experiences, and its appeal is the interpretation of those experiences, then who better to write about a life than the heart and liver (no pun intended)? And why should the interpretation of a life be scoffed at or penalized with non-compliance just because it cannot be woven from first person into a third person voice and moved to an exotic clime?

Now when I think about the things we enjoy most in life, I think we would agree that it is the social interaction between family, friends, and community. Relationships with family have never been smooth. But we’ll ignore that for now and consider the other interactions I mentioned. Unfortunately, what has happened, in a rather insidious way, is as our lives have become more transient, valued friendships are tattered. And community has become pretty much non-existent. An ideology, rather than a facet of life. Both seriously damaged by a pot forever stirred where nothing can gel. We move, change jobs, change locale so frequently that even as stalwart life-long residents in a small town, we find ourselves nodding more often to strangers on the street than familiar faces. And even bosom friends, when separated by space and an accumulation of time, drift apart. So the only way we can gel those life experiences that we used to share in unexpected places like a coffee shop or the post office, is to write them down.

I wonder if I should share this rant with Hub.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I Don't Want New Stuff!

I think I'll just hide out here for a time. At the old place I got so tired of the spam and then my blog host told me about the new system and warned me the old system might be unstable (scare tactics are so not cool). So I felt compelled to move along to the new system but didn't bother with transferring anything. It's kind of nice to have a new page in a new journal.

And meanwhile in normal life there used to be the occasional salesman come to the door or the odd telephone caller wanting to sell something. But now there is another species to add to the list. Those companies that I've dealt with without complaint for twenty years and now they want me to check out their new options, their new package. They want me to juggle everything around and redo my contract. Like enough already. If I've dealt with you for twenty years without bitching then don't start harassing me now. Just be glad I'm hanging in there, paying the bills, and keeping my mouth shut even when the phone is down, the power is down, and although I've had both hail and wind damage to my shingles, did you see any claims coming from me. No. I just patched them up and let you off the hook.

So do you mind? If I want a new package, I'll let you know. Otherwise I'm not interested. Because no matter how fancy you wrap it, one thing I do know. If it isn't going to make more profit for you in some oblique way (through hidden or artfully disguised fees), you wouldn't be offering it to me. Would you now?