Sunday, June 18, 2017

lessons in mortality

today was stake conference.  as usual i am in the choir.  this morning we had an early morning practice which was great because there were parts of the song that i hadn't practiced yet.  i wore my new peachy dress with turquoise and teal accents.  it's fake wrap around style and the v cuts low so i've only worn it once since i bought it and that was at sarah's because she had a banditty bandeau of the perfect colour that i borrowed and stretched out and therefore she should have just given it to me, otherwise why go to the trouble of stretching out people's things?  i mean if i go to all that effort and inconvenience then i should be rewarded nes pas? sarah sees things differently.  "oh i'll just wash it and see if it shrinks back" she shrugs.  that's what she says outwardly but behind the words is the message "keep your grubby grubs off my banditty bandeau!".  so anyways i found a lacy tank top of the perfect teal colour so i was free to wear the dress!  i love this dress right now.  and i got ready everything seemed perfect, the lips the eyes, the earrings, the  shoes...those turquoise high heel wedges i got to be an officiant in john and mary's unwedding.  i've only worn them a handful of times since that day 3 years ago, because let's face it, i'm not a heels kind of girl.  i'm a barefoot kind of girl, with curly toes and cracked heels.  that's the real me.  but since barefeet is not socially acceptable in church one must wear shoes.  so anyways today i felt like, yes, it's a special day, i will pop these babies on and i will shine like the star i am.

this is all to say i felt like all that and a bag of chips.  really, i should have taken the warning last night when i was belting out the verses in because i have been given much with all my heart and feeling good about it, when all of the sudden in mid strains of melodic ferver my throat contracted and my tongue jerked back and i started hacking out a lung. this is bad enough when in the congregation but is so much more conspicuous when one is on the stand for all to see.  this always happens when i am feeling too good about myself.  something happens to take me down a notch preeeetty quickly and often severely.  like watch out little icarus the sun is not your play ground.  your feet belong in the clay.  but no, i did not take the warning.  after practice, i waltzed down the stairs from the stand and out the doors.  i walked down the hall like i was walking the runway, all confidence, all breezy "sometimes you got a little finesse, sometimes you got a lot!", all rico suave, all maybe it's maybalene, all "this girl is on fiiiiiiiiiiiiiire, this girl is on fiiiiiiireyeeuuhuhuh", all big strides, and big smiles,  all oh i'll just grab the bulletin on that side table without even stopping, just whisk it up with a little twirly flair, all hello, hi, smile, nod,....and all wobble, tumble splat.  before i knew it my ankle betrayed me and i went down like a sack of potatoes right in front of a very surprised scott cresine.  ahhhh humbled again.  i can't stop laughing about it every time i think of that moment.  scott, who i don't know, was all concern and gentlemanly-ness and helped me up "are you sure you're ok?" "yep, i'm fine i say" out loud but to myself i'm saying "it's jut my pride that got an elbow to the guttocks.".  a goddess walked off the stage, but a mortal walked into the relief society room for extra alto practice trailing clumps of mud behind her.

Monday, April 03, 2017

dear spring, you came so late, but i won't hold a grudge.  so glad to see you.  *hearty hugs, breathless kisses,  gleeful whoops and twirls, and a satisfied grunt".

ps. thanks for the ladybug family you sent to my house.  i lurvs them.

Monday, March 27, 2017

girls weekend march 16-19 2017

it had been a long time since our last girl's weekend.  the last official girl's weekend i believe was in march 2009. at least that is the last one i have documented on this blog. (you can read about it here. i found the comments by madelaine and rhiannon at the end quite amusing)  so what i'm saying is, that it was time for a new one, and thank goodness katie and michealah had the bravery to take on the challenge.  (mom included me in the credits for putting it on but this is a mistake.  all i ever did was a few back room consultations which basically consisted of yeah, and good idea, and mmhmm, yess.)  and yes it does take bravery to take on the monumental task of organizing a clarke family gathering. if we look deep into our hearts we know this is true.

this girls weekend began for me, with a ferry pick up.  the bonus of living closest to the ferry is getting to be the go to ferry picker upper, which i don't mind at all.  sarah was child free.  we shoved her things in my trunk which was already quite full thanks to my camping cot and bedding and shoes and whatnot.  "what are we eating?" asked sarah cutting right through to the urgent matters.  we had to pick up mom,and maria and jane, whom we named marane, we decided to hold off for food until then.  i asked sarah to drive because my wrists were sore.  i have a case of double carpel tunnel and it irks me.

i messed up on finding jord and tracy's house.  it had been a long time and i felt like i would remember when we got close enough but the fact is i got confused because we were coming from nordel way not 72nd.  this will cause andrea to say "see you aren't good with directions!"  then she'll cackle evilly while clutching a lamb close to her bosom and petting it with a far off look in her eye.  

when we asked jordon on fb messenger for the actual address to his house, this is the conversation we had:
me: what's your address
jord: i don't have one
me: dyub.*
      : we need to know
jord: ok but you have to promise to ask maria about "bellingham sue". she is a beehive from the bellingham stake who is beating maria in accomplishing her young women's Pavilion.
      :and it infuriates maria
      : belingham sue has become a thorn in maria's side.

meanwhile we are driving in circles. we leave a voice message saying 
me: we need your address RIGHT NOW
sarah: whatever, we'll ask her about bellingham sue!  just TELL US
so finally he sent his address and...
jord: eediot.
*definition of dyub/doob/dyoob:   a doob is a dud, generally is male, prone to idiocy, has buffoon mannerisms, portrays clumsy and lackadaisical attitudes, and it is quite possible a doob will give you a blank stare while drooling when you ask him an urgent question.  if you ask a doob for help he might lift an arm weakly and then let it fall heavily to his side, like meh--i tried.  a doob is easily distracted by stupid topics introduced by other doobs. this can bring on a 'doob fest'.

so after that we found our way and when we arrived at tracy's we said to each other, maybe tracy will have food!  and she did.  we had some yummy chicken and potatoes and a good slaw.  just before sitting down to the table at the dining room dad was sitting in the kitchen doing his meds and kate was beside him standing on a chair.  dad told us that she just kissed him on his ear and then asked him "did you like that?"  dad said "yes i did." and she replied "i did too."

here is a picture of dad.  all pictures in this post are provided by tracy who documented the weekend with her phone.  she said dad wanted to play games with them but then they looked over and he was like this:
after our bellies were filled it was time to hit the road.  mom being herself had a lot of stuff and of course marane had their bags and sleeping bags etc.  mom who in a previous phone conversation on the topic, when she informed me that i would be picking her and marane up, had said "people would just have to hold things on their laps", was now feeling anxious.  but me, being myself, was undaunted.  i set forth to pack the people and their things into the car using every available space.  jane and maria were literally lodged in the back with all their stuff and mom placed beside them with some of her stuff and my food and contributions and some other things with me in the front.  a beturbanned friendly neighbour with a long flowing white beard stopped on his evening walk to enjoy our antics.  he seemed very amused.

we arrived at katie's with very little fuss.  when we got in all was a bustle.  natalie and mary were setting up the stackable camping cots.  maria joined them.  sarah and i were given the bunkbeds in the corner and we made up our beds.  andrea and delanie were sleeping in the stacked camping cots across from us.

i wanted to go to walmart to get carpel tunnel splints for my wrists and some dish soap, and sarah needed tomatoes.  katie decided to get bubble wrap and dish soap for delanie and mom called to say she wanted some cheesewhiz.  mikaykay drove us.  in the store a man had the nerve to ask us to move out of his way as we were standing in front of the aisle with dumb looks on our faces.  still.  the nerve of him to be annoyed by US.  

back at katie's, our food group got ready making our sauces of yum for our shawermas the next day.  michealah had already made the most amazing looking chocolate peanutbutter oreo cheesecake.  she downplayed its looks but in my eyes it looked pretty glorious.  like when you looked at it choirs of angels started singing and a light from heaven shone down on it.  that's what kind of creation this was ok?  anyways we worked together and made the hummus,  and the garlic mayo, and started the tzatziki.  i also had to add 7spice to my chicken marinade because i forgot to before, so that was done, and don't be shy about thanking me about adding 7spice.  i will receive your thanks with the graciousness of a queen.  by the way katie has blown my mind.  she makes her own tahini.  you just blend up sesame seeds! yeah why haven't i ever thought of doing that?  it's so simple, and her sesames were toasted so the hummus had a nice toasted flavour.   when we were done with our smug preparations we joined the others in the living room who were chit chatting.  we chit chatted also.

i don't now when this picture was taken but this seems like a good time to put it in.

meanwhile andrea, rhiannon and caleb were on a late night journey. the tricky thing was caleb.  did we have a boy interloper sleeping on the upstairs couch that night?  not a big deal, but that would mean delanie would have to leave and drive home in the morning and so miss stuff.  so michealah agreed to drive him home that night.  i agreed to go with her. 

andrea et al arrived right at 12:30. and not long after that we left.  we took my car  but michealah drove.  i was very tired.  i was really impressed how kind michealah was to caleb throughout the journey.  they talked about him getting his license and she gave him a lot of tips and empathy and even told him about her driving instructor who is a member and gives lessons for cheaper.  caleb told us a sad story about how he dropped his phone in some water...apparently it was not the first time he has done that to his phone.  i suggested a water proof phone for the future.  i'm helpful that way.  

anyways i noticed when we were on the highway that i was very very empty on gas.  so we stopped for gas and that's when both michealah and i realized that we didn't bring our wallets, which is worse for her because she was driving, but luckily caleb had his and he put 20.00 in.  michealah got out and showed him how to pump gas.  

so i feel like we got back to katie's around 2.most people in the great room were asleep except andrea who was on the top bunk of the camping cots with her headlamp on, reading.  she and the cousins i shall call 'mid teens' (natalie, maria and mary) were just settling in.  andrea, true to her nature talked to me in a loud voice and let her head lamp roam.  in this way andrea is a direct replica of douglas arnold.  just sayin. 😏

"are you going to turn that thing on?" says andrea in her normal conversational tone, meaning my cpap machine. "yes," i whispered almost inaudibly, (that's how quiet i was) "i have to". i mean sleeping will not happen without it.  andrea was worried, a little ironically, as i know see it, about the noise.   "it is very quiet" i reassured her, but andrea was all "i'm just used to it being so silent." her voice boomed out over the sleeping room. "well, it's better than my snoring" i whispered.  

in the morning, which came too soon, she conceded that she didn't hear my machine.  but she said she heard me and natalie snoring.  i'm not surprised although i think what snoring i do do, is very tame in comparison to my natural state snorts and roars.

my group was doing breakfast.  we got started on our crepes and fruit and whipped cream around 9 and people fed people around 10:30.  it was a late morning that led to a late lunch that led to a late dinner paradigm that we couldn't get away from the whole weekend.  basically we stayed up way too late every night and that was the fault of everything.  

natalie and michealah made the crepes and then i took over for michealah, and thanks to her expert tips on how to tilt the pan when applying batter to it, i did quite well.  the crepes were yummy and everyone seemed to enjoy them.

i named my red cup "auntie awesome".

after breakfast andrea started pulling out her magical bags of dyed wool. i helped.  besides these, there were two chairs full of wool.  one being the turquoise chair and the other being the purple chair. turquoise reigned supreme in the felting weekend.

katie had to go see her ladies about a problem and stopped to buy all of our beauty and the beast tickets.  i made myself  the distributor of andreas instructions  and started facilitating for the people who were making slippers.  tracing feet, cutting out the 'form' for the slippers. i took special care of madelaine whom i named madelaine the undead for obvious lack of sleep reasons.  she was my special handicapped girl who i nudged into participation by supplying her with her needs at various times until she was un-undead enough to take care of herself again.  after the forms it was bubble wrap cutting and sizing and after the bubble wrap it was finding a gauzy fabric for yourself.  

when it came to my own project my personal nature caused me to see the huge wide bubble wrap andrea brought for me, and to envision a huge canvas for myself.  laura of the giant projects strikes again.  we all settled into our different areas and began fluffing our wool and placing it like so on on our various forms.  at this point we were all blissfully unaware of the all consuming intensity of felting fever that would consume us.
 here's jane who made a bag, with her fluffs of the ubiquitous turquoise.
mom sarah and i nabbed the dining room table.  natalie  perched on the kitchen counter.  she is seen here helping me do some fluffing.  the navy woolies are the inside of mom's slippers and sarah is seen here fluffing out the reds of her inside slippers.  so naive... actually by this time i was starting to have the fever.  you can see it in my eye.  i wanted none else but to finish my canvas.  sarah took her pent up felting agression and gave people severe hair dos.
 tracy and maria both made bags.  tracy waltzed in late and just whipped up her bag with ease.  causing us all to start bitterly naming all the things tracy can do with ease and perfection.  you can see here how the wool took over the whole house.  it was everywere.  actually this pic is not from the first afternoon because when tracy and katie who arrived last finally got there there was no room upstairs and they were downstairs.  katie brought nancy one of the ladies who needed a pick me up.  she sat and helped katie fluff.  it wasn't until that night that we brought the downstairs table upstairs.

it wasn't that long after katie got back that we neeeded to leave our projects--and the felting fever made this difficult to do--and go to beauty and the beast.  i thought it was going to be crazy busy because it was opening weekend, but i was wrong.  i was in chiliwack.  i drove sarah and andrea and rhiannon in my car and sarah and andrea offended me by telling me a parking spot when i already knew it.  just let that be known.  in the theatre people spread out according to their social groups (ie teen groups) and tastes in where to sit in a theatre.  i have my favourite spot that i got from lisa, which is to sit on the front row of the back section where you can put your feet up on the bars.  katie and andrea and malachi sat with me.  so did michealah and natalie until they found/grouped up with their respective age groups.  i really liked the movie and was able to really enjoy it even with the loud busy malachi climbing over me back and forth back and forth.  my feet were up on the bars and sometimes i would take my feet down for him to go past me.  but he would put my feet back on the bars and then climb up over them.  haha.  eventually andrea took him out and had adventures with him in the lobby.  a fun time and i'm glad i didn't let my felting fever ruin it for me.
 katie and i dropped off our respective car loads and went in search of pita and mojos. we were going to serve mojos as a side to our shawermas, but when neither of the save on foods that we went to had any good amount of good mojos we decided to skip it.  but we did get pita and we did get dill to add to our tzattziki.  then we headed home and started to put together our shawermas.  after the chicken was cooked and the tomatoes, onions and parseley were chopped and the pitas were ripped open we started an assembly line.  katie was on hummus and garlic mayo, natalie was on chicken, elizabeth was on tomato onion duty and michealah did pickled turnips and parsely.  i wrapped up the finished project.

everyone loved our shawermas and a good feasting ensued.  sarah and rhianon sat on the kitchen floor by eatiing theirs.  i was perched on a stool at the counter and every once in a while i'd see sarah's hand drift up to grab this item or that from the counter.  we decided to have the cheese cake right away so that we wouldn't have to clean up twice.

back to felting fever.  the group in the living room watched age of adelaide.  katie did art like me.  but unlike me she did an appropriate size.  andrea didn't do one project she helped everyone do their projects.  everyone was always calling her name and she was a consultant to everyone.  mom was particularily needy for andrea's approval.  any time andrea would say someone else' was good or would help someone else, mom would say "she wouldn't say that to me..."  and anytime andrea gave her stamp of approval was a little nugget of blessing for mom.
it was some time late that night after i had sudsed and swirlied my finally finished piece that i found out i had to do a back side.  this is when i wanted to cry.  i literally had a lump in my throat.  also katie did me wrong by taking my already fluffed white wool that i had discarded not knowing a backside was needed.  andrea was helping her, and they got to the hot and cold dunking stage and got it all shrunk up. then they turned their attentions on me.  everyone else had gone to bed.  but i couldn't quit before my backside was done.  i had a burning desire to get it done and along with the burning desire a sinking feeling of hopelessness that my task was too big and my burden too heavy.  but my sisters took pity on me.  

with ease and speed they helped me fluff and finish the back side.  then we did the soap and gauzy scrubbing  and that's when we realized that that stage went so much faster and was way more fun with 3 people doing it together.  then we rolled it up in the bubble wrap and we squeezed and rubbed and unrolled it and rolled it up in another direction and squeezed and rubbed and then we began karate chopping it and punching it. one time i energetically chopped it right near the end of the roll and a big plop of blue suds flew out and landed on the front of katie's jeans.  we were laughing and giggling.  we were all tired and i bet their eyes were burning like mine, but they really turned my moment of felting despair around.  we dunked the hot and the cold in tubs in the bathtub and opened it and looked at it and dunked it some more.  actually andrea took over dunking for me when she saw that it was making me aspirate on my own acids.  by 3am we were finished.  we mopped up all the blue suds and i washed all the bubble wrap and we dropped into our beds.   to me this is one of my favourite memories of girl's weekend.  sisters help us carry our burdens and they make things light and we make each other laugh.  that's one things i love about all my sisters. my sisters always make me feel like i'm not alone in my struggles.

this was the night that delanie heard me 'peeling plastic' for a long time.  in reality i was struggling to put on my wrist splints. haha.

saturday morning we had bagels and cream cheese and a yummy fruit salad made by none other than mudsy and a helpful serving person who got up early and helped her.  felting continued.  after being the recipient of such kindness from my sisters i tried to pay it forward.  katie left her art (she thinks it loos like a hundson bay blanket but i don't)and took on the challenge of queen elizabeth's slippers.  we tried to help everyone in their agitation stages.  on this day the palm sander came out.

 i almost forgot the poking rounds.  katie and i and sarah were all needle felting.  well sarah stopped to give andrea a severe braid. mom was working on her slippers, i think.  katie andrea and i began to sing different rounds using only poke and variations of the work poke such as pokity or pokey as the words.  mom joined in too.  later i started singing this song about shrunken duncan and sarah added hilarity to it.  too bad we forget how it goes.  these were more  of my favourite moments.

jane and her bag...

this day's outing was a short visit to see eryn at a near by craft fair.  some people bought some things.  sarah, delanie and tracy all got super cute girl's weekend earrings.  

i ate a leftover shawerma.  everyone made croissant sandwiches.  brent took malachi on a date to the pool.  after i finished needle felting all my edges, i started felting my jellyfish on.  this was the fun part.  and i liked it because anyone who wanted to could come by and add a jellyfish tentacle so it became a group project.  elizabeth's slippers, which you can also see in this pic. did some weird things. i  wish there was a pic of them.  once they finally got to the hot cold stage they only shrunk down not in width.  so they ended up looking like these long purple submarines.  but katie's fabled determination kicked in and she did not give up on those slippers.
 that night we had a late fun-due.  there was cheese, meat AND chocolate.  it was an ambitious meal.  i tip my hat to this group, which was sarah, tracy and andrea. we had to rotate every once in a while so everyone could reach the different pots and at first this was chaos but we got it down to a science after a while.  tatiana joined us for this part of the weekend.  one funny fun-du moment was when katie had piece of chewed up meat in front of her on the table.  we counted back the chairs and realized jane had been there before katie.  when asked if she had done it, jane matter of factly admitted to it.  yeah, i did that. shrug.  lol.  jane and elizabeth really enjoyed the fun-do.

thank you tracy for this flattering picture of myself just about to stuff a cheese fondued pepper into my gob.

my feet were hot and swollen so i took a break downstairs before chocolate fundo time.  this is where the queen elizabeth found me and i finally made her dreams come true and played stinky pinky with her and jane, which she had been wanting me to do all weekend.  this is when i discovered the sweet things her and jane had been up to, also.  i was laying on my stomach on my pillow and elizabeth was like "where's your pillow?" and i was like "i'm laying on it..."  and then the subtlety ended.  she showed me the note they left me on my pillow and then the notes that they had left on everyone's pillows.  notes thanking people for different things... and they had left little colourful postit tags with nice messages on people's head boards saying things like "you-are-nice-and-cool-and-neat".  the day before elizabeth had been sticking those messages on people's hair and backs and arms.  in the middle of the chaos it was easy to ignore the little sunshines that they were being. but i noticed and i appreciated.

 delanie went home that night and got a good sleep in her own bed.  unfortunately her van broke down before she could leave so doug had to come get her just as she was about to fashia blast my arms.

 that night we stayed up late because that's what we do.  people were washing their projects and cutting them and stretching them etc.  i lay on the couch and andrea massaged my swollen feets, which actually cooled them off.  then someone, i don't remember who, suggested we put our bums against the wall and our feet up the wall.  this quickly turned into hilarity.  it's harder than it looks to get your bum flush to the wall ok.  in this super flattering pic i was grabbing andrea's jeans to propel myself down while katie was shoving herself down using the over the head method.  andrea and i were very close together and she kept resting her elbow on my ribs.  any time i would complain about this she would laugh and cry out "i have arms!" like a strange manefesto.  this naturally led to some discussion on length of legs and length of torso.  i won the torso height competition.

i had to break the pose first but that didn't stop me from suggesting a synchronized leg dance with everyone adding a move, which everyone readily agreed to starting with sarah and ending with tracy on the far end.  sarah believes it was her idea that each person add a move, and who knows? maybe she did! each person's move ended up having different sounds or words to it.  at the end we tried to do it to our girl's weekend theme song which was girls have power  to the tune of scripture power, but we forgot all the words, so we basically just hummed it.  tracy filmed it.

katie is amost completely hidden by my girth.  luckily she popped her little head up.
 after the synchronized leg dance, we talked and laughed a while longer and tracy fell asleep which we all teased her about, because the truth is she acts like she's drunk when she's tired.  and the teens wandered in and we showed them our video and i don't remember much else.  oh sarah braided most of the girl's wet hair.  natalie was already in bed though.  i think she was miffed because i wasn't ready to give her back her elastic yet, but i still needed it.  and she didn't need it she was just worried i wouldn't give it back to her.  andrea and i traded beds because she found her cot bunk quite uncomfy.  i don't know if i was just too exhausted to notice but it seemed better to me than the bunk bed so it was a good trade.

 the next morning came too soon and i woke up early to have a shower before church. when i was nekkid i heard a creepy voice through the door.  like a ghoulish whisper "laaaaaura!"  "yes?" i answered back, a little unsure.  "can i come in when you are in the shower?"asked the ghoul.  i was nervous but i answered in the affirmative.  once i was behind the curtain, in waltzed sarah, the person behind the ghoulish voice.  providential because i forgot my towel and she got it for me.

  i laid natalie's elastic gently on her pillow by her slumbering cheek.

we had waffles!

later sarah and i were both in the bathroom doing our hair and make ups and tracy came in.  she wanted to shower but was waiting for us, and we eventually told her to just get in the shower so she did.  but she felt weird about it, not being used to sharing bathrooms with other girls like us.  i think she enjoyed it. 

i uesed sarah's gold foil eye shadow and her salmon lip stuffs.  enjoyable.

sarah and mom came with me in my car to church.  we were last because i couldn't get my boots on. too bad for mom who gambled that i would be the first to leave, and lost.  once we got there katie's row was full, so we sat in a side pew paralell to theirs.

i was so tired that i did not listen very well to the talks.  instead sarah and i looked at pictures on my phone and typed people according to energy types.  i'm sure it was not mom's proudest moment.  suddenly all i could think of was energy types.  in sundsay school sarah and i started 'flash typing' people.  our teacher was a one.  the basketball hoop had all the types....  yes it became a sickness.  in rs i decided katie's counsellor was a one and i took it as a compliment to me.  the lesson was good.  it was on prayer.  there was a cute super chubby baby of round face and full cheeks.

after church we had something weird to eat.  what was it. i can't think.  all i know is that we also made mom's famous cheesewhiz popcorn and watched queen of katwe which was very good and we agreed it was very appropriate for girl's weekend.

sarah observed some funny interactions between elizabeth and jane in their popcorn eating.  elizabeth was  let's say the boss of the popcorn and jane was her laid back self.  like yeah ok.  the best quote of that interaction is "that's going to be your last popcorn in a looooong time."  haha.  

after the movie mom, tracy and her girls left and that left me and sarah and the schofields. we had one last task.  do some promised school photos.  sarah was my stylist and she did a good job.  we decided to style each child according to their type.  sarah believes michealah is a two so she put her in muted pink with a flowy scarf (i don't know she has strong 4 tendencies too so... 4 might just be her strong secondary, i don't know) and a loverly side bun.  natalie got her hair curled and fluffed out and she looked like a BABE. she had on her little edgy black plether jacket and she just looked gorgeous. i  hope she keeps up her type 3 styles because it works for her.  katie and i consulted on elizabeth's attire. i realized this weekend with her buyoant free light ways, and high energy, and not wanting to do things once they didn't seem fun, and her sunshiney uplifting messages to people that elizabeth is very much a one.  her bossiness makes sarah wonder about that, but i think it's very clear.  anyways katie found a shirt that was brown and pin and gold with a crown on it that said "let them eat cupcakes" and that seemed very queen elizabeth to me.  she was wearing purple jeans and had her hair in the side braid.  malachi was in his cute little vest with a bow tie.   we went to cultus lake and at first i was discouraged because the light was too harsh by the water.  but then katie and i took a walk towards the trees and found some good light and ended up using the light glinting off the lake through the trees as a lovely background, which worked so well.

that night i got home went to sleep and woke up with hay fever.  the END.

ps. this is tracy with her bag. she's using it only for lady's events.  i wish we had more pics of people's finished products.  natalie made a super cute hat which at first we worried was super weird--but it just needed some trimming and shaping.  she put a cute black bow on it.  many a cute slipper and bag...

this is my jelly.  it's not done.  do you think it's too much??

ps. i'm so glad katie and michealah took on the messy job of hosting us.  i know hosting us can be chaotic and things rarely go as planned but it was a special blessing for us to be together and i really felt that.  in the end it doesn't matter so much what we do but that we bond together and i really felt that amongst all the generations.  you did a good thing.  loveies to you.

Sunday, March 26, 2017


i have a lot to say.  i have a lot to write.  i hope i remember it all.  you may have different hopes on the matter but i advise you to  keep that to yourself.

first of all, i find it necessary to note something about brother gurney.  brother gurney is a kindly gentleman with a cane and a hearing aid and a sweet fatherly disposition.  when i first moved the richmond he was in the bishopric and the first thing i noticed about him was  the long gaps of silence between his words as he conducted.  but i soon came to know him by his kind thoughtful friendliness.  anywhatsohaveyou, i was singing in choir today and i kept hearing a whistle.  at first i thought it might be my phone's notification. we all know how a'tuned one can be to one's particular notification sound on one's particular device, don't we.  but then i realized it was coming from brother gurney who was singing behind me.  he suddnely has a whistle in his singing and for some reason it reminded me of the sherriff of nottingham in disney's robin hood animation. and so while we were singing very earnestly i had my private enjoyments.

today melissa and i found ourselves in the hall during sunday school. we were both late because of various reasons, mine most likely less legit than hers, but late enough that we didn't know if we should go in.  so we chit chatted in whispers. = whisp whispped.  she just got back from maui and i happen to know she loves snorkeling with about the same amount and passion as i do, so i was asking he about it.  she said she doesn't get cold and she can stay in the water all day long.  i know someone like that.  she winked at me in the mirror this morning.  haha, i should start a self winking practice!   anyways so then that led into scuba diving which she has never tried, and so i told her a little of my experience and yadda yadda and hey maybe we'll take the padi course together!  i also told her about felting and she of course has needle felted animals and told me how she did it.

let it be known that a pair of mallards were waddling in front of my drive way as i was turning hot lips hoolihan into the drive way.  i slowly slowly edged towards them and they waddled incrementally forward until they suddenly could be pushed no longer and  shot up into the air and flew into the park shooting me looks of resentment. but the girl in the mirror just winked merrily at them. it's duck time of year in the park. that reminds me of when i first moved to this house.  that was also duck time of year.

i'm feeling good now, but let's be real for a moment.  i had a bad week.  i'm not sure why.  just a darkness and a dingy grey shrouded me.  i had exploding nose syndrome which others sometimes call fever, which is another way to go, no judgement from the girl in the mirror if you know what i mean.  but that just made me feel not well. i felt nose sniggerly. i felt woozy headed and i felt sorry for myself.  i was exhausted and i had no joy in my work.  i snapped and was short with my staff.  i felt weighed down by what was coming in the future.  i felt like everything was unfair and i felt betrayed.  i lost my happiness in creating my felt 'art piece' and suddenly all the colours seemed  a combination of dab and garish.  i spent so many exhausting hours trying to find something to do, somewhere to go for my week vacation during my birthday.  i knew i needed adventure, and fun and also not to be alone.  i searched and searched and searched.  i wracked my brain.  i pondered many possibilities but none of them seemed right or worked out.  i began to feel very lonely.  i felt like crying all the time, and sometimes i did.  i was worried that i was being sucked under into a depression like i experienced in 2014-2015ish.

on friday things started to change.  i talked to una about some things that are bothering me at work. not that it changed anything but just talking about it relieved some of the heaviness.  but anytime i thought about my aloneness, not that i don't have friends and family and good people in my life, but a single is still a single and sometimes there is just loneliness and it can't always be when when wants to have a fund adventure but there is no one to adventure with. anyflitherflather, when i thought about that i would tear up.  lolo was sad.  but on the other hand i stayed a little later at work just to talk with lindsay, paskee and yaz.  i was telling them stories and they were an appreciateve audience.

then sawsaw texted me and asked me out on a date.  her and the dougndels and mary and rhianononononon were stopping to eat at a yummy japanese niku jaga place on broadway.  their reservation was at 4:30 so i basically just had time to go home and change into the clothes of the day before which included thick purple eyeliner wings.

once on the oak street bridge in the middle of traffic sarah texted me saying they wouldn't make it because of the teen dates.  so they changed the reservation to five fifteen, but what was i to do, so i kept driving.  once in the area i parked behind the scotia bank on oak and broadway.  if you are curious, they have a 3 tiered parking lot but you can only pay in the middle tier, so that's a bit of a bug.  i sat in my car and had some conversations with karey until the time to go meet at the restaurant came.

it was wet and rainy but i jay walked successfully.  thanks.

i was the first one there.

when being seated sarah and i wanted to know, should dates sit across from each other or beside each other.  this is very important.  delanie said across from each other, so that's what we did, but the other dates sat side by side.  this was a decision delanie came to regret.  we got a meal for 6 people and sometimes that means they bring out 2 of one dish.  this is what happened with the sukiyaki bibimbap.  we decided that sarah me and delanie would share one and doug and the girls would share the other.  meanwhile i was picking up my dish with the 3 different sauces in it (the doug sauce, the sesame sauce and the red sauce).  i had just filled up the red sauce.  i was moving it out of the way to make room for bibimbap sharing.  rhiannon, confused, asked if she was part of our group and sarah said yeah.  "no", i corrected.  "this is our group" drawing the triangle of sarah and delanie and i with my plate full of sauces high in the air, not looking as i sloshed it towards delanie.  in my mind it was my flat dry plate.  but it wasn't.  it was the one full of sauces.  then delanie shrieked and i looked at her.  i had flung my sauces onto her head.  her forehead was splattered with sauces and her hair was 'soaking in it'.  oh my goodness.  i felt so bad for my misdeeds but at the same time it was so funny. sarah was across from me losing it, which did not help me to keep it together.  it was some time before we could stop laughing.  luckily we had had the hot towels previously, so those came in handy.  delanie handled it very well and cleaned herself up remarkable well too.  when we were leaving i looked at her and she still looked fab.

i told them about rain or shine ice cream so we went there and all were delighted.  then we went to the gem show to take rhianonononon to eryn and see eryn's booth and take a lookiloo at all the others.

there was an awkward moment when coming up to a booth i said "where have you been all my life" to no one in particular and the guy at the booth smiled and said "hey" but he was looking behind me so i assumed it was to sarah and didn't respond.  sarah was like "that guy liked you."  and i was like "no he didn't!"  and she was all "yes he did!  he said hey to you!"  "he said hey to YOU!"  "no to YOU!"  insisted sarah. we never could agree on it.  then there was that awkward moment where i butted into  a converstation that a booth lady was having with a friend and customer.  in my mind we were all kind of joking and talking but it wasn't until i commented or laughed or something and everything got quiet and awkward that i realized i was an interloper.

the show closed at 9 which didn't give us much time, but it was still fun.  and then i drove home and i knew i felt considerably lighter just from having some fun times with ma fam.

but the next day i still felt low and icky.  i stayed in bed until twoish. but i decided if i was feeling so dark and glumish, i needed some scripture study time and i did that and eventually i forced myself out to buy conditioner (which i left at katie's) and few other sundries at walmart, but i looked hideous.

after i got home it was almost time for the women's broadcast.  i watched it on the phone so i could work on photos at the same time as watching it.  it was so so so good.  one of the speakers said something directly about darkness.  and i wrote it down.  it was good stuff.  i realized that by focusing on my feel sorry for myself thing, i was shrouding myself in darkness.  it's best to look out and to help other people and that will bring light into my life.  after the broadcast i felt so much better and i listened to inspiring things the rest of the night while editing photos.

i had ward council in the morning so i tried to go to bed early but i couldn't get to sleep unit after 2am.  i thought, you know you have been sick with allergies and you are getting no sleep, it would be ok to miss church.  but then i thought, it's always after a dark dreary week that i get good pick me ups at church, so i'm going to go anyways.  and i did.  and i did get good pick me ups.  and the light is back.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

spring forward sounds deceptively positive

lindsay sent me a snapchat today of her looking tired and text written across it that said "day light savings can suck it".  i feel her. there have been years that daylight savings has booted me in the proverbial basketballs, but this year i tried to be ready for it.  and what i mean by being ready for it, is i tried to go to bed early.  this was especially important because i had ward council at 7:15 am which was really 6:15 if the world would just tell the truth and stop messing with our minds.  going to bed early for me on a saturday, is like 11 instead of 1 or 2, so let's keep things in perspective.  

i had to get up extra early because i wanted to prepare my yw lesson before ward council.  also i had to give the spiritual thought.  so i only got around five hours of sleep but that is becoming my new normal because i want, need and crave dark circles and heavy bags under my eyes.  also i wake up every night after about five hours of sleep with both my hands asleep.  it's a phenomenon i've been chipping away on.  i know it has something to do with my neck because by moving my neck in certain ways i can un-sleep my hands (except now my left hand requires me to sit up fully in bed and curve myself forward in a lovely middle of the night tuck).   so at first i thought it was probably my pillows because my pillows have been a blight on my bed for quite some time.  so i bought new pillows recently at winners, and they're lovely.  they are marshmallows.  they are poofy squooshy puffy wuffy.  they are fat pockets of delight.  but the hands thing remains.  it didn't happen to me in tofino, so tonight i'm going to sleep on the floor to test if it's my bed.  i dread it being my bed.  love to my bed.  my bed that d2 and d3 lost on the highway but then found it again miraculously (mostly) unscathed.  my bed that's so soft and comfy.  my bed.  my friend.  my refuge when life got too painful and too hard to handle.  please let it not be the bed.

anyway, i went to ward council and said my scripture then other things i said were "yeah" and "yes" and "in my sister's ward they had sealing nights at the temple."  i like to really get in there and contribute.  i also like to sit there with glazed eyes and pretend to be a statue.  shrug.  everyone's diff'rent mkay?

yw's was ok,  i think my lesson was underwhelming to them.  it is a miracle if i ever get some discussion going among them, and today was not a miracle day.  i just have to hope and have faith that a.) things are happening inside of them that their sometimes catatonic state belies and hopefully some light and truths are seeping in. b.) i will learn and be inspired better over time how to reach them more effectively.  c.) and in the meantime i hope love is enough.  because i can do that.

i also gave the spiritual thought and ended up telling them the WHOLE movie i watched last night, which was pele.  but it was so good and the message so good. i was thinking about it last night.  how we know--it's common sense--we know it's best to be ourselves.  to be ourselves is the best way to be.  God made us so unique and beautiful and gave us powerful gifts, but if we are too busy trying to be like someone else, or how we think we should be, if we are too busy doubting ourselves or being ashamed of who we are, we miss out on shining our amazing beautiful light on the world.  and like pele--he couldn't even play soccer like the european way which everyone was trying to emulate.  he failed at that. but he could totally shine with the way he knew how to play.  he was a genius at it and it was a beautiful art in him.  but no one knew that until he had the courage to put the doubt away and believe in himself.  we need to remember this and learn it over and over, it seems.  i often have to tell myself, ok put away your fears and be yourself and enjoy yourself.  forget the fears and doubts.  go scuba diving in a wet suit that shows all your blobs and rolls.  and when i succeed the rewards are great.... oh that movie was so so so good.  I LOVE MOVIES LIKE THAT.  let every movie be based on a true story of someone overcoming odds to shine in the world.  that is the best stuff.  i want to feed my soul that stuff all day long. 

girl's weekend is coming up and katie and i decided to make donairs.  and i decided to make the hot pink pickled turnips which are one of my favourite parts of my neighbourhood donair.  so i started them off yesterday.  it's supposed to take a week to pickle, but we will have to open them one day early.  they get their awesome hot pink colour from a stick or two of beets that you brine along side of the turnips.  it's a very simple recipe and i'll be super happy if they turn out.  all my pickled turnip dreams will have come true.

last week lindsay gathered up her courage and told me she applied to work a year in japan teaching english.  she wants to do it before she's done her masters (which she is doing by distance).  i know it was hard for her to tell me and she teared up because obv she loves working at pathways and loves working with me....  i took it all in stride and was happy for her.  i am happy for her and she is so young, she should be doing things like this while she has the chance.  i waited until i got home to allow myself to feel the loss.  we created such a nice little family in our unit and it seems that i will be losing them all.  pascale got changed to a different unit starting at our move to the new building, yaz is probably moving to toronto because of her boyfriend's work and lindsay is leaving too.  i cried a little and felt sad and lonely.  i think creating this tight knit group at work has helped ease the loss of lisa for me.  it's been special.  i'm thankful for these 3 years.  who knows what the future will hold.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

cosmic rose lover

this year, with lindsay and pascale in grad school, we didn't go hog wild about the hot chocolate festival like we did last year.  but there was one place i knew i had to go.  koko monk chocolates--when we went last year the owner who is turkish, talked to us about his hot chocolates like they were pieces of art and talked about starting and finishing notes, like you imagine might happen at a wine tasting.  and they were amazing and very creative.  this year i saw that one of the hot chocolates was called cosmic rose.  it had dark chocolate, coconut milk, rose, salted caramel and cardamom.  i knew i had to have it.  if you go there on the last week you can have 'flights' of 3 different flavours.  i told heather about it and we decided to meet on monday afternoon for some family day hot chocolate.

when i picked her up i was in the middle of drying my hair in the car so it was stifling hot like a sauna without the aromatic cedar.  heather heaved a desperate sigh of relief when i said she could crack open a window, ha ha.                             

for our flight we chose cosmic rose, sin and salvation, which is a white hot chocolate with lavender, chamomile and fig, and talking dirty with sun god, which had black olives, and chili.  cosmic rose was the kindred spirit i felt in my bones that it would be.  all of them were good though.  heather bonded deep with sin and salvation.  

we sat out on the sidewalk and basked in the sun with our hot chocolates. it was such a glorious sunny and mild day.
we decided to have sushi afterwards, and there just happened to be a sushi place a couple of businesses down from koko's.  i got a roll called west 1st and a roll called crunchy roll.  we shared some gomae and agadeshi tofu.  the crunchy roll was rolled in these little crispy crunchies that i was continually fishing out of my bra.  then i looked down and saw i had dripped soy sauce all down my shirt.  "oh great now what am i going to do?" i said in dismay.  heather said that it wasn't noticeable on my shirt because of all the birds.  but i noticed it a lot.  so it was decided that i would go into the washroom and turn my shirt backwards so the soy sauce drizzle would be hidden behind my cardigan.  "going back to my teenage tricks" i murmured to myself.  i also used to turn shirts inside out if i got a stain on it.                                                                                                                             

next we went for a walk at the beach.                                                                                                                                                                                 

notice the backwards shirt

we watched a tree full of noisy chirping birds and sat on logs, walked down paths and eventually found this outcropping of rocks that we climbed up and sat out on the edge watching the sunset.  it was charming night, as an egyptian might say.                                                                                                     

heather often says that she doesn't know how to explain to people back home in ontario about why she loves to live out here.  they need to come and see how beautiful it is, she says.  it's true.  it's such a beautiful land and i feel so blessed to be here.

so when i got home, i started working on photos.  i'm working on douglas' wedding pics, and i zoomed in on this group shot and what did i find.  i found amy.                                                         

so many shots like that. hahaha ha ahh...    

today i put on a valentine's dance at work.  i wore my new red jeggings, and a pink top with a hot pink lacy tank underneath, and my sweater of many colours.  we made them meatloaf muffins with spicy tomato hearts on top and cheese chunks inside, and mashed potatoes made pink by adding some roasted beets, and roasted cauliflower and broccoli.  we also made cheesecake. we had all these prizes and played games like paper airplane contest (i won for the farthest, because i rock paper airplanes), and freeze frame dance and stuffs.  but after i served the cheese cake everyone took off.  so we were done by 7.                                                                                                                                                                                

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

just home from young womens.  michealah and katie helped me figure out this activity.  i had 4 girls so i split them into 2 teams.  one made dessert and the other made a main course.  they had 10.00 to spend on ingredients and 10 minutes at the grocery store to find their ingredients.  before we started i had them tell me different adjectives.  i wrote them down and tore them up and each team had to pick two adjectives.  the dessert girls got crunchy and awkward.  the other girls got slimy and creamy.  uhhhh.....  i was mean because the dessert girls bill came to 10.44 and i wouldn't let them get away with it.  they had to put back something.  haha.  they made awkward crunchy milkshakes with smarties, chocolate ice cream and whipping cream.  the other group made a breakfast sandwich with ham and eggs. (not that slimy or creamy, but pretty tasty)  they were pretty hilarious to watch.

i've been blessed to not feel lousy from my cold during work hours.  maybe i'm too busy to.  but each evening i feel gross and that's when all the violent sneezing that sends cats scrambling out of rooms happens.  today after work i did some haphazard snow maintenance.  but my back was sore from the previous two days of shoveling and i couldn't get too into it.  i came inside and climbed into bed and started working on photos.  but suddenly i was so tired.  like overwhelmingly tired, with a headache and sniffles.  so i gave myself a 30 minute nap and imagined what it would be like if i called in sick tomorrow.  but i know i can't.  but it feels good to contemplate it.

last night i was editing photos and i suddenly realized that i was almost done!  well that made me so giddy that i stayed up late just to finish them off.  now i just have to do karey's reception on the coast and then it's OOOOOOOOOOVER---just like halloween.  it will be a relief to have that not hanging over me anymore.  then it'll just be tatiana and  douglas' october and november shoots to do.  oh and a family shoot for melissa in december.

i can't help it.  i'm boring.  just dig in and settle down for a good daily dose of boring!

yesterday a particularly kooky and lovable member showed up wear a large tan viser.  he had written police in a child like printing on top. he stood there waiting for us to notice him.  lindsay laughed and said "hi police clinton!"  "DON'T call me that!", quipped clinton, "call me constable!"

we had a manager's meeting today.  when we move to our new building in the summer, there will be changes with the units and changes with the staff.  i lose one of my girls.  it makes me sad because we are such a good team right now.  i love the way we are.  i would say it's about perfect.  in the new building i'll also be in charge of all social programs and weekend staff and programs too.  i was supposed to get on more staff but ended up with less than what i was supposed to get.  their first proposal to me was not very good.  i felt like it was a bad deal for us, and i spoke to una about it and she came back to me with at least a concession, so  that is what we are going forward  with.... this all sounds kind of cryptic but that's just on the off chance that someone from work reads this.  because the staff haven't been told yet. that happens next week.

i'll leave you with a few of my faves from karey's bridals.  and just to be clear, when i say 'a few' i mean 'a lot'  but not even close to 'ALL'.
karey wore purple converse with her weddin dress.

 karey had white tulips as her boquet.
karey had her mom with her.


 tammy did her hair and make-up

 vicki did everything.  but here she was helping kare with her buttons and jewelry and such.  but really she did everything.  vicki was the best.

 karey's friends see her...nat's face makes me laugh.
 karey's ceremony took place on a farm, on a hill overlooking the calgary skyline in the distance.
the farmer/hot tub nudist drove me and the jp up to the ceremony site in his handy golf cart

so we didn't know if the piper was going to be there or not, until we arrived there ourselves and saw him.

 this is al.  al is karey's love.  this is also me.  i'm in karey's love's sunglasses.  hi!

 karey and her dad are piped in.

they are married!  the jp likes what he sees.

karey's gorgeous niece tory is too cool and the photography takes time out to acknowledge this. roxy is witness.
 groom crows.  bride is victorious.  guests applaud.

photographer incites guests into jumping craziness.  piper is invited to join and piper does not disappoint.
 later when the photographer was editing these photos she notes a flying baby and is overcome with mirth.
 will the photographer ever stop making large and small groups of people jump? probably not.
 karey and her funny, loyal, hard working  best friends

 karey's love al has a love of hawaiian shirts.  she loves him anyways.  and maybe, just maybe in her heart of hearts she loves what her love loves because she loves her love.

 it was a windy bright day and karey's veil was dancing in the wind in perfect ways.

the photographer got dandilion on her dress and rolled on top of rabbit droppings to get these shots and my have flashed her fleshy white thighs more than once.  a short dress is not ideal for photography sessions. 
 this pic is so karey and al and must needs be included.
 photographer forces bride to risk life on highway for the sake of a shot.
thanks for popping by...
 mr. & mrs.
  i just thought addi and kris looked cute.
 during the toasts...
 first dance... if you enjoy the distribution of paper lanterns by colour and size, you're welcome.  i was in charge of that.

 there was some wild dancing and this is a blurry shot of it.  enjoy.
  this shot says so much.  make your own caption.
 photographer and bride. note that the bride is sunburned because the bride never once in her life has ever learned from sunburns of the past and the groom also forgot to sunscreen and so they were a crispy pair.  a married but a crispy pair.  photographer was not annoyingly condescending about this.
 heather lookin FINE. h, busted her butt helping with this wedding and i really appreciated her selfless example. h is a good pal to have in your corner.  bride has a lot of good friends in her corner on this day.  and aren't wedding celebrations all about surrounding our loved ones with our love on their special days?
woah. suddenly it's july and bride and groom are in a lush rain forest.

 let it be noted that sarah-lynn elizabeth stratton was bride's hair and make-up artist on the coast.

 ok bride and groom are tiny in this shot but photographer is in love with this tree, and this scene.
 photographer has same old tricks she always does. bride and groom each picked a shell that spoke to them, that represented them.  haha photographer enjoys her antics.  groom showed some resistance but buckled to pressures and obviously he inwardly enjoyed his barnacle encrusted, seaweed wisped shell.
 karey chose places meaningful to her.  this is one of her favourite views from her childhood and hometown.  one of photographer's favourite shots.

 love to see what eyes say when they behold their beloved.

and that's all i've got to share today.