Fighting February

February 28, 2006

Although I’ve never set foot in Quebec, I’ve celebrated Carnaval in one way or another for most of my formative years. I still sing “Chanson du Carnaval” and taught “Bonhomme, bonhomme” to my French students.

Of course now that I live in the states, and especially in this post-Katrina world, Mardi Gras is a big deal. Not for me so much, but for the general population. Now it means something more than it did before, it’s a way of showing nature that we are resiliant, like when we continued our lives after 9/11. We’ll show nature, just like we showed those terrorists.

I’d like to say that I’m above Mardi Gras because I’m above such a riotous debacle, but Rendezvous is in my blood.

Rendezvous is the pinnacle of fighting-cabin-fever entertainment, in fact, it is dubbed “the only legal cure for cabin fever”. I can’t go into depth with this; to me the experience defies retelling and the memories are not distinct but one big glom – and I don’t drink! The whole town is mobilized, schoolchildren make costumes and learn history, keystone cops “arrest” any man who hasn’t grown a decent beard…

Shevaun wrote a little about her experience this. I don’t think it’ll help the uninitiated understand, but my words just aren’t coming together today.

Anyway, today is the last day of February, and it made me think of all the different ways people try to survive the shortest month of the year. I know, I know, the day before the beginning of Lent is a big deal, but really, it’s really about survival.


Death to the Basil

February 26, 2006

Two weeks ago I had Esme help me repot some of my basil which had grown too large for my windowsill and my 50cent pots from IKEA. We talked about plants and faith and how to make the two grow.

Mine grew, flourished.

But it appears this week that my neighbours mangy cat has squashed my basil. And my week has squashed my faith.

The good thing about me is that I bounce back quickly, and I’m already back to my perky-but-meditative self.

I wish my basil was as resiliant as my soul. (And I wish that mangy cats and nasty weeks kept to themselves.)

I See a Red Door and I Want It Painted Black

February 25, 2006

One of the things I really like about fabric stores is that everyone there is making something. Our local JoAnn store is great: the employees are all in love with my son and the other customers are friendly.

Last weekend as Little Red and I were purchasing skeins of black yarn for my latest project another customer curiously asked me what I was making.

“A baby sweater.” I replied.

She was surprised.

“Oh, like with a skull and crossbones?” she asked thinking I was being wild and going all out.

“No, a lovely black cardigan with pink trim.”

I left her still speechless when we exited the store.

The Problem with Hockey (as described by my husband)

February 25, 2006

It all started with Wayne Gretsky, yes, the consommate hero.

He moved to Los Angeles to save the fledgling Kings. Hockey clubs across the US and Canada were blue collar teams and the Hollywood superstars glitzed across the ice smoother than a zamboni.

Instead of the other clubs realizing that it was the talent of Gretsky they started to capitalize on glitz and marketing. Teams like Pitsburg caricatured their mascots.

Then came the San Jose Sharks, emerging from a reasonable hockey fanbase with their cartoon-like mascot and their teal uniforms. Parents saw hockey players as rich and encouraged their children to play; children saw the cartoons and bright colours and were drawn in. Families = more money for the team.

And then there was Disney (the evil empire) that wanted a piece of the pie. They made a movie about a children’s hockey team without showing hockey. What little skating was a part of the movie was more figure skating than hockey in hopes of appealing to a broader audience. And they made an NHL team with the sissiest name possible based on the children’s movies.

Last year when the hockey lock-out went almost the entire season most of America didn’t care. Hockey was no longer what it used to be anyway.

The international players went back to Europe and competed in the hockey leagues over there. The Canadians and Americans stayed home and hoped to work soon. It’s no wonder neither country did as well as they should have in Olympic hockey this year: all of our guys are out of practice.

Bad Parenting

February 24, 2006

Today during post-story playtime at the library I was sitting with my friends and watching Little Red play. Then he was gone.

“Where’s Little Red?” I asked.

“He’s in the toybox,” Karma replied.

“Oh.” I replied. Then, “that’s Seamus!”

“Where’s Little Red?” I asked again, louder.

Allysa said, “there’s a baby going down the stairs.” She had been casually watching, wondering when the mother who must surely be watching would follow the baby down the stairs.

Sure enough, at the other end of the library and already down to the landing, was Little Red. I called his name. He looked up at me, laughed, and scurried down faster. I chased him, scooped him up, and sheepishly returned to the other side of the library. Now more attentive, I spent the next half hour chasing him and returning him to the toys and friends. There are three coppertops in our library group, I can no longer simply rely on looking for the hair.

Weekly Anamnesis #12

February 24, 2006

Weekly Anamnesis is a cyber writing project hosted by Natalie. The rules can be found here.


My step-sister lived in a different world than I; even when she stayed with us her rules were different. It never bothered me, I understood the double standard and prefered my life. I didn’t want to be in rehab in grade seven, I didn’t want to be in an alternative education program in grade nine.

Despite her sordid past/present as we were growing up, she was reasonably tolerant of me, her younger step-sister. She was honest with me about where she had been the night before and the lessons she learned (riding a bike home at 3 am when you’re stoned is tough, but less stupid than letting your stoned friend drive you.)

I would go into her make-shift room with no doors, the room between the laundry room and the pantry, a room with a waterbed and her suitcases, and her boombox, and I would visit with her.

I was so young, twelve at most but fairly naive in the ways of the world and certainly not accepted by most of my peers for lack of my worldliness. She was more worldly than them all, and she accepted me. She never pressured me and usually told me the darker side of her life to keep me from experimenting. She treated me with respect, and as an equal. I felt mature without being bad. And I felt like the only person in the house with whom she didn’t fight.

Before I had musical tastes of my own (other than the Sonatinas I was learning to play,) I listened to music with her; I consider myself to have been raised on Motley Crue and Skid Row. We analyzed the meanings behind Toy Soldiers and The Needle Lies between talk of boys and school.

We listened to a lot of music, but I don’t think we ever listened to Warrant, that was after our time. Still, I credit her for keeping me from ever being tempted to smoke, drink, or do drugs. (And when I read this week’s prompt for the Anamnesis, this is what came to mind first.)

This made me smile

February 15, 2006

This is for you, Hazel and Karen:

I was chatting with my friend this morning, and she said, “someday I’ll have to tell you my secret about keeping the house clean.”

“Tell me now,” I asked.

“Well,” she started, “start by going to…”

(For the rest of you to understand this, you need to read this.)