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2004 A year for balance, art, and harmony



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Friday, May 30, 2003

  Construction Junction, What’s My Function?

If you were to come to my house today, I would not let you in.
The house is being turned into a “Construction Junction”.

What is it that makes me want to find hidden space? When I was younger, I always imagined that I would make a secret room in my house. A place to hide away from the bad guys. A space to hide someone else who is hiding away from the bad guys. Maybe an attic-type place to store my most cherished treasures so that I could one day sit with my grandchildren and share my “antiques” or make it into a fun hiding place for them.

I thrive these days on finding hidden space. Our house was built in the west coast contemporary style. Rather boxy at best, but set up with wonderful angles and edges. Within those degrees of space, I see wasted space. Space to be filled. Space to hide things away? What is it that drives me to fill these spaces?

Today I will be sanding and priming. Then I will be de-clogging and priming. Then I will be reloading and priming. Hopefully soon I will be finding another spot to tear into, construct and then prime. Primarily I will be priming.

What genes have I been given to prefer to turn to a saw then to sew? What things am I searching for in the hidden spaces of my home? Why am I always on the quest to declutter, give away and hide my “things”?

I have some wonderful things that I have been given or bought in all parts of the world. Each one has its own separate memory…but it is too cluttered…too messy…too much to dust. So, in an effort to hold onto those items, I need to store them. Maybe, someday, someone will want to see what I was given when I spoke at the Caledonia Rotary Club, Veracruz Rotary Club, Cordoba Rotary Club, Fergus Rotary Club or the Calcahualco Rotary Club? Maybe someone will want to see my Grandparent’s 50th anniversary plate, my 1952 China place, my Grandmother’s “John the Baptist with Jesus” plate? Maybe I should cherish Alex’s handprint in clay, handprint with magnet, hand-printed first letters in a safe space away from dust? Then where would I store these cherished items. When I die, will someone look at these and say…ah, why didn’t she have these out on display? Ah, why did she keep that old thing? Ah, I could have used that in my talk at the Rotary Club.

Anyway, for now I am imagining a space. A space with angles. A space behind the angles conveniently storing my “things”. A clutter-free zone. That’s the function.

posted by wendy at 12:51 p.m.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

  A Long Time Ago, In a Place Far, Far Away…

I know it has been so long since I last blogged. To those who care to read my blog, I apologize.

I have been very busy this past while. Actually, I don’t really remember times when I haven’t been busy (except maybe while on a holiday). I find that when I say that to people who know me as a “domestic engineer”, they find that rather odd. I do not sit at home watching soaps and eating bon bons.

So what has been happening:
-May and June are tennis, fastball and soccer months in this family. The older of “the boys” is involved in tennis and fastball. Fastball happens anywhere from 2 to 4+ times a week. This eve is a night out with the team. Although it is socially the acceptable thing to do, I detest trying to talk to other people in a crowded and loud bar….but one must be “social”. Tennis play for Jerry is weekly. He is involved with a men’s league that will run well into the summer. Xdr is also into tennis. I wish I could, but at this time I am the “bus driver” as the boys’ sporting event times clash. Xdr is taking lessons and seems to enjoy it a lot. He isn’t doing any tournament play at this point, but the summer will fill up that time. Xdr is also quite involved with soccer. His practices each week are a great deal of fun for him, but he is way too serious with the game play. His games are every Saturday at 1 p.m. Luckily we will have a rest spell from soccer over the summer as the league breaks then due to the extreme heat. We will start up with that series in September.
-CPP, a sole contributor to my income for a while, has decided to audit our books. Ya right, books!! I worked last year for 3 months and made too much money without telling them. Stupid me, I thought by making the effort to attempt a return to work, they would be pleased. Anyway, I failed to go the proper channels and now I am being tested. I won’t be receiving CPP after this audit, but they now want to know all of my info. Every doctor’s app’t since Mar 1, 1997. Every diagnosis, every prescription, every chiropractic, every acupuncture every thing that I think I did, know I did, am pretty sure I did. I don’t know about you, but I am now starting a health log where each appt, specialist referral, prescription is kept and “auditable”. I feel though like I am a spy who is divulging all of her sources secrets. I realize with all of the info they have on me, they will know exactly who has billed for which services; they will know statistical info about another “average” Canadian; they will assess and figure out exactly when I should have not received CPP and will send me a fat, official bill to repay them what they are owed back. UGHHHH!!! For those of you who know what I was doing the whole month of February (which has had to be left incomplete due to other pressing projects), you will know that this news comes with a great deal of trepidation. To make matters worse…CPP originally called me in January saying this was going to happen. I waited for their forms…nothing arrived (I called them twice to remind them and twice I was told to be patient…THE computer said that the package had been sent out). Then in April, I received a letter dated back to early March saying that I had purposely not filled out their forms, etc, etc. I called them again with the news that the said forms had not yet arrived….they sent the forms with a very tight end date…. beginning of June. I am under the gun, under the pressure and feeling like a mouse on one of those wheels that they run on for hours (knowing?) that they aren’t getting any further than when they started.
-health-wise though I have had many ups and some downs. February I was in a weekly group session where I learned some new things. Mostly redundant, but social. The arthritis is creating quite a problem, but I am not getting much help via the usual routes. I have been having problems with my system being able to handle the pain when it is quite severe and prolonged (nausea, etc), but I am simply continuing to monitor and journal in the hopes that something will become clearer. In the meantime, I continue to search and use some non-conventional forms of pain relief, exercise attempts and meditation in an effort to manage my daily routines
-March was filled with research regarding the Palestinians and Israeli’s. Spurred on, in part, by a friend’s visit to the middle east, I have now become rather involved with the unjust and violent happenings there, in Tibet / China, Central Africa, Central and South America. My focus, though not purely centred, is more with regard to women and children (education and health) issues. I have been involved for some time with various groups that are helping in Central and South America, but it seems that I may be doing some real “hands-on” work for the Palestinian groups. I recently received a letter from a nun in the states who has requested my volunteer help via Internet mostly. The cost of the trip down to meet with her personally is not an option, but we may make some headways via this modern medium.
-last week’s barrage of inventory of medical info was side-lined for a couple of very long days (and very late nights) into compiling a huge dossier (over 50 pages of document copies, the diocese’s official application and my resume) for a position that was newly posted for the Catholic high school. I would really welcome the chance to get this position (full-time teacher History/Geography [Humanities], English and Phys Ed). My life has been preparing through experience and studies for a position like this one for years!! Unfortunately I am not well known here and experience has also taught me that these positions are usually “assigned” prior to the postings…but one can still dream, right? Of course I am also scared to death that I will get it. What if I feel too sick?…gotta get better, gonna get better. What if I can’t handle the stress again. What if … ah, if it happens, it is meant to be.
-in the March, Xdr and I had the opportunity to visit my dad and step-mom’s new place in Canmore, Alberta. What an absolutely magnificent area. Geologically speaking I could sit in those hills for hours. Aesthetically speaking I could sit and write, dream, photograph and stare into those hills forever. They have followed a dream that I think is absolutely magnificent.
-sad news recently has caused me some consternation. My best friend (in Burlington) and her husband have separated. It is really sad, but her phone call was mixed with logic and strength. I hope that this is a positive thing for all who are involved. Separation, divorces and getting “back into the single life” is very difficult. Being a child of divorced parents, a friend of many divorced friends and having lived in this relationship (with a husband who was married before and had children from that marriage) has kept my eyes open to the life of divorced families and the constant effect it has on future loves and families. It truly is a life of happiness and greatly uncomfortable difficulties. Life isn’t easy (married or single; with children or without)
-On the brighter side (literally), I have started a stained glass class once a week. I receive private instruction from a rather talented lady at her shop…called “Foiling Around”. I really enjoy the genuine art of the project and I foresee this as a life-long project. Again, the joint pain has caused some cancelled classes, but I am hoping to finish my first project before I head east to Granny’s 90th birthday party
-I am very involved as well in the renovation of our place. We have a lovely place that we have lived in for nearly 2 years…but it isn’t home. It has the tastes and décor of several earlier residents…but we needed to make it our own. Landscaping has been a very slow process, but we are starting to make some headway with some more sensible inside storage problem solving. Colours and ideas abound, so we hopefully will have a serene scene at some point in the summer. Originally I wanted to get the painting and design work all done before the hot summer weather hit. However, reality-checked, I realize that the process will be in very small baby steps.
A failed attempt by me to construct a functional master bedroom closet has turned into a major affair (and big bucks). We contracted a person to make a fitted closet organizer. In the name of aesthetics and value we opted for a rather complex design that would be incorporated into the uncluttered west-coast contemporary design of our space. Our armoire would become a TV/entertainment centre for our living room. Without the armoire our bedroom space would prove functional and almost Zen. Then one day, after all of the plans were put in motion, I tried to fit our early 1980s TV into the armoire…the TV was too deep. With further footwork, I found out that all conventional TVs (not including the ultra expensive, ultra slim new TVs) are all too deep to fit into the armoire. So, now our bedroom consists of a uncluttered, west-coast contemporary designed closet organizer; a cluttery, though beautiful armoire; a well loved antique dresser from my Grandmother’s place; a lovely (albeit large) hope chest and our massive bed. Pathways between all areas are being well defined in the old carpet….but, anyway….
To add a bit of drama to the mix when the closet unit was nearly complete, the doors wouldn’t fit. Miss-measured, the decision was made that it wasn’t the cabinet maker’s fault but the fact that our closet was poorly constructed and off-centre when measured with a bubble level. The solution: simple…remove the J-trim, sand the drywall to plum, re-plaster on the J-trim. I went to work. While removing the J-trim the wall behind revealed a complete mess. The J-trim was un-reusable and further structural problems ensued. Last week (and nearly $500 later) we had a wonderful man named “Jim” come and reconstruct the closet faults. The cabinetmaker hasn’t returned with the cabinet doors, but hopefully that project will be complete soon.
-next project….prime the whole house. With the new construction, priming needs to be done (a.s.a.p). I have sanded the old bi-fold doors to prepare them for primer as well. A trip to a local store and one huge (industrial size) tub of primer has been purchased. This job is all needed even before any colours are decided. The construction man “Jim” helped me to identify which walls were still only covered in the original (1981), construction-white, builder's primer (which needs to be reprimed). I have a massive project ahead!! Jim also showed me how to do some basic plumbing jobs that need to be addressed. Those will be done as project numbers 6 and 7. Finally, I have to get climbing our waterfall outside and repair a large number of falling rocks that have worked loose over the years. The pond (at the bottom of the waterfall) needs to be emptied again (I did this in the fall…dumb moi), cleaned, repaired and repainted. As well we need a new pump for the waterfall (as per last year’s electric bill). And, I now know that the waterfall feature is to be kept on all season. We used to turn it off and on depending on our mood….but, that lead to obscene creatures growing in the pond. Busy days ahead!!
-since last blogged, my step-brother has moved into town. I can’t tell you how absolutely wonderful that has been, particularly for my son and myself. Sunday last we went through the house trying to find items that we could “share” for his new place. I still have some spices to divide and a whole lot of other things to peruse and see if he can use. His help was most wonderful on Sunday when he, my husband and I moved a huge china cabinet from the crowded family room into the living room (which is four stairs removed from the dining area). Now to re-load the unit!!! Aubin and I have taken on the park at Fintry. He has taken on the hills, cliffs and lakes of the area. He, and his other refugees from the Erin High School, are all fitting in famously. Next week we may go out to the KVR (Kettle Valley Railway trail) with Aubin if the weather plays our way

Well, that brings you up to date with many of the events and happenings. I must go now and carry on with some of these tasks. Until next time…keep in touch when you can and I will try to do the same.

posted by wendy at 11:15 a.m.


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