The Poor Little Looseleaf

June 30, 2011

Once upon a time there was a little looseleaf. He was a good little looseleaf who’s favorite thing to do was hang around in a green knapsack from the Yukon where all the other cool looseleaves hung out.

Then one day a girl came along and took him out. The girl herself was wonderful – sweet, kind, beautiful and smart – but she was carrying a pencil that was very, very bad.

Suddenly, before the looseleaf knew what had happened the pencil had tricked the girl into writing a little story all over him.

The little looseleaf was very worried. he had heard about other looseleaves who got written on. He knew that soon he would be crumpled up and thrown into a garbage can with banana peels and old socks. He had heard about recycling and that seemed even worse. The poor little looseleaf was very sad. He felt like crying – but looseleaves don’t cry.

His only hope was that Heather – who owned the green knapsack from the Yukon would keep him forever, even if he had a dumb story all over him.

The end

An original Newfoundland fairytale by: Leslie Cheeseman!



*Sorry looseleaf, we’ve been together for 16 years, and I’ve taken you all the way to California, but it’s time to be recycled. See you in your next life, and thanks for the memories!


unedited from my teenaged self: 5/4/1995

June 30, 2011

Living in the Yukon has provided me with some very interesting stories, for no one else experiences life as us.

Achitecturally we are very advanced with our three-story igloos, but we have no electricity, and we still have outhouses. We take our snowmobiles, or dog sleds, to school each day. I remember one day my dogs got sick, and the snowmobile wouldn’t start. The mechanic — who is also the vet, among other things — had been renovating his igloo that previous weekend and while cutting the ice, he fell in. We had to wait until the one week of spring thaw for him to shed his block of ice and serve the community. Every weekend we go out to the river and harpoon fish, and every second Saturday we hike up into the mountains and skin cariboo with our teeth; and although it’s illegal, we eat walrus blubber for candy.

The mosquitos (the season for which goes from May to October) are large enough to carry me away; one of them did one time. I got a free flight to Anchorage, Alaska, without bathrooms, in-flight service, and cabin pressurization.

unedited from my teenaged self: 2/24/1996

June 30, 2011

Seminary. Not just any seminary, but early morning seminary. the name, in itself, causes our teenage minds to quake at the thought. The thought of what? Well, of rolling our over-worked, under-rested bodies out of the comfort and security of a warm bed, of stumbling across the cold floor as we methodically prepare ourselves for another day.

I remember my first day of seminary. It was cold and dark, although only September. Matt T. said good morning and my mumbled reply was synonymous with it being too early. “Don’t worry,” his sister Katrina said, “you’ve only got four years left!” Four years seems too devastatingly long to be getting up on cold dark mornings for more school. But from the eternal perspective, four years is hardly enough time to learn the basics of one’s religion.

As time went on I set up a régime to help myself be awake enough to learn something. For me, I practice piano for an hour before I’m even dressed so that by the time seminary starts I’ve been awake for 2 1/2 hours. Others require a deep slumber up to 20 minutes before they’re out the door, the mad rush to be ready in time being enough to wake them up. The latter is more common among early morning seminary students, although students from both groups can be found dozing on their Bibles from time to time. I firmly believe in the power of osmosis, for from this position we have been known to answer correctly a great may questions.

I learned a lot over the past four years. This knowledge ranges from learning that the answer to everything is not always “LOVE” (sorry Dan,) to great divine truths that will assist me in my goal of exaltation.

Summer Jobs & Activities (uneditied and written by my teenaged self in 1994)

June 30, 2011

“Professional Bum — terrible pay, great hours”
To me that displays perfectly a summer without a job. In the trade of Professional Bum some of us are luckier than others. We have showers, couches, and, most importantly, remote control televisions.

Every morning I would raise myself from the world of the dead to have a shower, then stumble over the chords connected to the Super Nintendo controllers mumbling a feeble “mornin'” to my Nintendo fanatic brothers who noticed my presence merely because for one aggravatingly nerve-raking moment I blocked their view of the screen. ‘What little life they have’ I would often think ironically. Like I was really one to talk. Geesh.

Yogurt in hand I could now settle into my new surroundings. The living room. Without thinking I automatically turn to Rogers’ Cable TV Listings and thus spend the next couple of hours immobile.

Lunch was always an ordeal. The exertion of raising myself from the couch requires amazing quantities of will-power. A sandwich or Kraft Dinner? Kraft Dinner was generally favoured by the brothers so out with the pot and in with the macaroni.

The p.m. tv schedule was rigorous before 3 as I have no interest in soap operas. Those were the times I craved everything. Being a Bum isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; it’s hard to remain sitting there when you could be actually doing something.

5:30 was the approximate time my paternal unit enters the house. I suppose now that I think of it, ‘mentor’ or ‘paternal bum’ are more appropriate titles. Sitting in a chair he’ll watch whatever I am. His wife will return home in a few hours after doing overtime at the office and working-out at the gym. She has yet to be our apprentice as she has a difficult time grasping the Bum Mottos and Standards. She’ll make up a vegetable concoction that’s — dare I mention it? — healthy. Then to end an exhausting day we’d all relax and watch tv and eat popcorn.

The trade of Professional Bum isn’t an easy one, but I work hard at it and I enjoy it. And I guess that’s all that really matters anyhow.


June 30, 2011

in the summer
I get so caught up
with enjoying summer
and being free
that I forget to look at the calendar.

the fun doesn’t
assuage the guilt
of missing a lesson
or — worse —
standing up a friend.

A Cookie is a Sometimes Food

June 26, 2011

This isn’t rocket science.
Or brain surgery.
Or astrophysics.
This is basic. It’s as basic as it comes.
When you eat better, you feel better. When you eat junk, you feel like junk.

You know how it feels when you haven’t been eating well; you feel bloated, tired, a little depressed. It’s okay to have a treat every once in a while, but if your daily diet includes too much of that there will be consequences and your body will not hesitate to express its displeasure.

It’s the same with everything else in your life.

I notice it a lot with music. Sometimes I log into pandora and tell the website that what I want to listen to is solo piano music. I think I’m going to get a bunch of Bach and Beethoven and what I get is a bunch of new-agey stuff that all sounds the same: schmultzy and insipid. It isn’t too long before my brain feels mushy and my body feels the equivalent of a week of “travelling food.” If that music is junk food, I can usually fix it with some Bach, my plate of vegetables, and soon I feel like myself again.

Likewise, I see this with my spiritual self. I can fill my mind with all sorts of learning and leisure, and after a while I feel like I’m bloated, sun-bleached driftwood. It’s not hard to regain focus, purpose, and self-esteem, however. When I rededicate myself to real study of the scriptures, and I feast on those words of life, I come back to life.

Cookies, popular music, and leisure activities are all fine in moderation, but only as side dishes. Without the main course, we are malnourished and sick. Without taking care of our bodies, our minds, and our souls, we are nothing. Cookie monster has received a lot of flak for turning away from mindlessly consuming cookies and instead singing that cookies are a sometimes food. Personally, I appreciate the change and hope that my children will remember those words of moderation throughout their lives. I could use the reminder now and again, myself.

We’re All Changing, but not all change is good

June 10, 2011

It’s very possible that tonight or sometime tomorrow I feel be filled with remorse for what I’m about to do. It’s equally possible that I will feel no such guilt.  After all, it isn’t called self-medication for nothing, obviously there are some benefits to drowning one’s sorrow in ice cream.

It’s been five weeks of diligently watching what I eat, cutting out sweets, cutting down on white things (starches,) ramping up the produce and upping the water intake. It’s been two weeks of hard workouts five days a week.  It’s safe to say that I have boot-camped myself and shocked my body into changing.  I feel stronger, I stand up taller, and my clothing fits differently. The scale, however, hasn’t changed at all, if anything I’m very slowly gaining. I’m still fluctuating up and down the same two pounds. I’m trying not to get discouraged, and instead focus on all the reasons why I’m happy to be exercising. I feel good, I have more energy, I know my body is grateful that I’m taking better care. But I can’t escape the fact that my BMI still places me in the obese category. It doesn’t matter how healthy I’m getting, if I’m obese, I’m not healthy. I’m not willing to take those crazy pills and I’m not a crash diet kind of person, but not seeing any results is stressing me out tonight.

It’s not the only thing stressing me out. My four year old is really challenging what I thought I knew about myself as a parent. I used to think I was a slightly-above-average parent, doing a pretty good job. Recently I’ve had to come to grips with the fact that my sweet little baby has some real anger issues. I’m starting to put the pieces together but I’m far from finding an answer. Basically all of his friends are incredibly high-strung, moody, tantrumy children themselves (I don’t remember Little Red’s four- and five-year old friends being like this at all! Is it just perspective?) and I’ve seen and heard him practice the things modeled by his friends., This is more than just trying out his friends’ behaviours, however, (and as much as I’d like to blame this on the ubiquitous other people’s children, these bad behaviours are springboards for the underlying distress in his life, and his temper can turn on a hairpin.  Of course I blame myself, and of course I’m trying to come up with solutions to turn this around.  But there’s no denying that after an afternoon of me working really hard to keep everyone happy (and not letting them scream while the piano tuner worked on our piano in the same room) only to have our framed Jesus print broken, which also broke the shadowbox holding an art object Paul made as a young boy, and to receive notes from the older informing me that the younger would like to throw me in the trash … I’m just tired. 

Tonight I choose to fail at my diet because I need to soothe myself for failing as a parent.  Tonight, as soon as I can no longer hear the noises of the boys not sleeing in their beds, I’m going to march myself to the freezer.  Tonight, instead of readying our small, cluttered home for three guests (my aunt, uncle, and cousin) I’m going to eat junk, watch tv, cry a little, and go to bed.  Tomorrow is another day and it’s going to be a long one.  I know that the ice cream isn’t going to give me any useful energy, or anything helpful at all, but tonight I’m going to eat it anyway.