Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Parent/Teen relationships

This quote is just too weird. "Parents and teens can live together fairly harmoniously if parents know what to expect and are willing to make some adjustments in the way they think and act."
Isn't this a little backwards?
When the kids were little all of their friends knew to the second how long to give me space after ticking me off. Kids are smart that way. They've got lots of time to observe you, test out your reactions, figure out exactly how much they can torment you until you make that first small movement toward stopping what you're doing to chase them all outside.
Kids looked like a bunch of bear cubs to me and I looked like an old mother bear to everyone. They knew I'd defend them with my life but I was more like a piece of geography - more like a mountain than something that would change to accommodate them. The mountain does not run to the child. The child runs to the mountain.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Alternative uses for a digital camera
I'm sure there are many other uses for digital cameras, but this list of 10 useful things to photograph gets you off to a good start.
Back when the internet was young, I belonged to a creativity group that had brainstorming sessions about finding 100 uses for various and sundry things.
As I have an aversion to shopping, the more uses I can find for stuff already lying around the house the better. Don't you think everything should have at least as many uses as a Swiss army knife?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Victorian Communities

Peter and I went to the town rejuvenation meeting last night. The stores in the downtown area and many of the houses are considered Victorian. An example of a community that has played up its Victorian image is Petrolia
It's a case of after Wal-Mart and after people have left for the city jobs and educational opportunites, how do you re-create yourself. So now I'm looking at all things Victorian. My beloved grandmother was born in 1880 so there never was much of a separation between me and the Victorian age. There weren't babysitters when I was a kid. When grandmother and my mom went to their women's meetings, they had to bring the baby along. I was raised amidst tea cups and parlours and the womenly arts.

Facebook & Rectories

So why does an aging clergy wife have sexy Santa photos on her facebook? It's both very complex and very simple. Next time you are passing through a small community, notice the neighbourhood around the churches. For the past 25 years, I've looked out my rectory window and the view has been the church. They like having the clergy family close enough to provide surveillance of the church property. And where are the churches? They tend to be in the old section of the town - the area that most of the parishioners have moved away from. My yard always had children in it. I didn't ask why they were there. I figured they needed space - space away from something - a stress free zone. Sexy Santa girl wasn't one of those kids but once upon a time she dated one. We see each other at weddings. She wants to be a friend on facebook. I don't want to lose track of her. I'd like something better for her - I'd like something better for all the kids who crossed my path. The only path out of anything that I know is through education but that makes me a carpenter with only a hammer in my toolkit. Sometimes a hammer is the solution to a problem and in many cases it's not.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Struggle Revisited

I was in university during the international year of the woman. It was a heady time. We'd grown up with sexist textbooks from Dick & Jane onwards. The one day, we were told that our textbooks were biased and once that emperor is revealed to have no clothes, well you see things more clearly.
We fought for equality. We fought to have equal opportunity. We fought for a chance to complete on equal footing.
My son's Organizational Behaviour textbook is sexist. It says that women are better than men - that if there is a problem in the workplace, the atmosphere has been poisoned by male attitudes, male methods of leadership, etc.
I want to fight again. I want to fight for both my sons and my daughter to be treated like human beings with a mixed bag of talents and weaknesses. I don't want any textbook to tell my sons that they are better than my daughter or any textbook telling my daughter that she is better than my sons.
Why won't the world let people just be people? Why does some group always have to be better than some other group? We're all pieces of the puzzle, threads in the tapestry. There's so much work that needs doing - we have to collaborate, be a team, be a network, dance in the circle of life.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Isaac Mao has written an essay "Sharism - A Mind Revolution". His theory is based on neuro-biology and the working of the synapses within the human brain. One of the big questions of our day is whether information should be guarded, copyrighted and sold or accessible to all and freely shared. If you want a web source for the advantages both spiritually and creatively of sharing information, the above link is a good place to begin.
Look around any traditional, hierarchial institution and a major status indicator is who has access to what information. It's an illusion of course because someone somewhere in the world has put it on a website or blogged about it. It's hard to imagine the J. Edgar Hoover's of the world will graciously accept that their secret files aren't secret and the power now lies in sharism. We're more likely to get a return of McCarthyism with the fear of Communism being replaced by the fear of those with unauthorized ways of accessing information.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Creativity Space

Love this room A local artist rented one of the empty downtown stores and created an amazing space for crafters but it was on Main Street and had big display windows. The town is full of people creating behind closed doors but if the artists came out of their basements and dining rooms and into a communal space, the response to how they used their time would have changed. Creating behind closed doors is what a proper Victorian lady does. Gathering on Main Street would have brought out Puritan comments about wasting time when there's good works and chores that need doing. Perhaps it would have worked if they had installed closed blinds like Curves does so women can exercise without being judged. Virginia Woolf was only partially correct about women needing a room of their own and a bit of money under their control in order to create. The old quilting bees and thrashing meals should have been expanded upon allowing everyone to maximize their creativity and share their ideas and resources. Great ideas happen at the crossroads where collaboration is possible.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Charity Auctions

'Tis the season of charity auctions, potluck suppers, bazaars, $5.00 gift exchanges and bake sales. I love it because it's so much more civilized that mall shopping and the things you get were made by people you know which makes them priceless. I'm more of an Advent/Lent personality type than a Christmas/Easter person - more into contemplating than celebrating. Christmas happens because of the commitment and organizational skills of the people around me. They draw me into the spirit of the season.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


My history on facebook has been being the passive recipient of friend requests. As most of my "friends" are as young as my kids, I'm mainly seeing people using facebook as a way of sharing their photo albums or making party announcements. What other ways is facebook being used? I'd be interested in seeing some facebook pages created by people over 30.
I'm finding facebook useful when trying to locate friends I've lost touch with. Seeing the facebook page reassures people that I'm actually an old classmate of theirs. As most women in my generation have married and changed their last name, googling doesn't work very well. My alumni directory cross-references the women by current and student last name but there's nothing like that available from the college where I studied nursing.
How is facebook useful in your life?

Monday, November 3, 2008

L.M. Montgomery

I received an Anne of Green Gables collector doll when Stephen's step-mother and his father moved from a house into an apartment. As a child, I was more of a Louisa May Alcott fan because my American Aunt who taught great books, introduced me to her works first. Lucy Maude Montgomery only became of interest to me after becoming a clergy spouse. Since her family revealed that she committed suicide, her works are being re-read to see what can be learned about how they coped in a household where both adults were severely depressed.
In our last parish, I faced a cemetery every time I exited my house and in this parish I live in a house where a woman committed suicide. I wonder about her and I pray for her and I feel incredibly sorry that she died alone. I'm sure she did many marvellous things in her life but all I know about her is the ending. Maybe some day her story will also be told.

Professors & Politics
This article suggests that the political views of Professors has little influence in student voting patterns. They certainly didn't influence my voting patterns. I will edit this post when I find the insightful quote from Anne of Green Gables that explains that Canadians inherit their political affiliation. However, Peter just bought three Monty Python dvd's and the more pressing priority is to do a marathon Python viewing. I'm so excited because I didn't use to get Python humor but now I do. Sometime, somewhere something changed. Ok, I've viewed some and I know what changed and it wasn't much. I've been watching clips on youtube. A youtube clip doesn't give you the parts that are offensive. I have an appreciation for short clips from Monty Python movies. The family has had a real run of buying dvd sets on sale at Wal-Mart where at least one movie in the set is defective. When it happens 3 purchases in a row, you have to wonder why there aren't warning labels on the packaging.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bucket List

On Halloween evening, Stephen and I watched The Bucket List. I think the most fun was watching Peter tear down the stairs every time a trick or treater came to the door. Each time it was a precious reminder of the benefit of still having a son living at home. One of these Halloweens, Stephen and I will be doing rock, scissors, papers to determine who's answering the doorbell.
I was surprised Stephen rented it because he's not into shows with dying leads. Maybe he was on a roll. We watched Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull earlier this week. I went through a phase when I liked the heroines older than myself so maybe he's going through the same phase with the heros. The movie was ok but the big debate afterwards was better. In the movie Morgan Freeman's oldest son and his very much younger daughter were both unplanned pregnancies. I could identify with that as my second brother and I, a much younger sister, were also unplanned. So we got to argue about whether or not men should just get over all that angst about how many years they are indentured to child rearing costs. We did a lot of reviewing of every scene involving Freeman's marriage. That led to a whole other debate about resentments over personal sacrifices over the course of a long-term marriage. Ok - so wives statistically outlive husbands and get to have their freedom to pursue their personal dreams after their husbands are dead and men statistically drop dead soon after retirement and don't get a big hunk of not being the provider years - what can I say - one more unfair thing in the life of a typical man. So why do men get annoyed with their wives over unplanned pregnancies and early death - they sound like acts of God to me - who knows, maybe even blessings.