Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pretty window

I think, by now, I have made my love of old things very apparent. This little window definetly fits the bill. It was removed from a heritage home somewhere in this city, and looks . . . much loved. It was actually the very last of thirty windows that were brought in. I got the runt of the litter. The frame is banged up, the fixtures are rusting, and one of the panes are cracked. It's perfect. You don't find many lead camed windows around anymore. They let in all the cold. And this is in such rough shape, it would probably let in wildlife too. But it's still pretty, so I'm hanging it inside. It will end it's days streaming light in from our mudroom to the hallway. Old, yes. But not too old to do what it was meant to: let in light, and do it beautifully.

Photo Journal

We had a bit of a scare yesterdayday. Aidan woke up with a jolt this morning. After playing back his previous day spent at the lot, he realized, with a jolt, that the men framing the roof had omitted a very important step. Without getting into the details, the mistake would have set us back BADLY. I sent him off early to try and resolve the situation, but got a welcome phone call shortly thereafter. It turns out that the head of the work team had made an executive decision regarding the method of construction that has both saved us time, and will likely prove to better insulate the house!

Phew. Aidan left this morning with visions of our house being on the next episode of Holmes on Homes, and instead, found that we are in very capable hands.

Monday, September 25, 2006

God in the middle

Psalm 71
17 Since my youth, O God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.

Me: "What a beautiful picture! What did you paint?"
Cae: "God."
Me: "Really? Where is He?"
Cae: "He's in the middle. Can't you see Him?"
Me: "Oh, there He is. Did you explain your painting to the teacher?"
Cae: "No, I didn't have to. She knows."

It was all so matter-of-fact. God has been ever-present in Caelah's life. She has been hearing His name, reading about the things He has done, and hearing about the love her family has for Him from her earliest days. To Caelah, God is at the middle of things. At the middle of her young existence, and in the middle of her painting.

Why was I so struck by her bold display? And so curious about it's reception? Because I was both proud of her youthful inhibitions, while at the same time uncomfortably aware of how unlikely it is that I would ever so boldly hang up my own God-art, so to speak, for the world to see. My God-art comes out when I am comfortable. It is put on display in a private studio that is open only to those who come along at the right time for me. I am not an exhibitionist. No twenty-foot canvases. No loud colours.

What kind of artist does that make me? A poor one. Relatively unknown. With few commissions.

If God is at the middle of my life, my love for Him should be displayed as vividly as a splash of purple paint on paper. Some will not find it to their taste. In fact, most will find it entirely unattractive. But the few who do look upon it and see beauty; who take it for their own, and who place in at the center of their homes-- they will see God in then middle, and be blessed because of it. And the artist? She will be payed richly, for having been a small part of the greatest Commission of all.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

"Mobility"--resistance is futile

Just signed our ears away to Telus, (or joined the Telus menagerie--see advertisements.) After years of passive resistance, followed, more recently, by months of more active resistance, our wills have been broken. How can a man spurn a technology that allows him to be accessed at all times when that is precisely what is expected, nay, required, of him by the countless contractors vying for his time and money? And how can the wife of a man spurn the all-too-convenient "family plan" that offers a blue his-phone and a red her-phone for a tidy sum?

In short, lack of spurning has landed us with two cell phones.

For furthur details, (ie. our mobile digits), please contact us at home, by phone, by post, by e-mail, or by fax . . . because apparently those options are insufficient.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

What's up with the house?

Our house has not been terribly photogenic lately.
Kitchen. (He's pretending to flip pancakes.)

Living room.

Eating Nook.
See what I mean? Not much to see.
Now, here's something to see:Yes, that was dirt all over his tongue. We actually watched him drop a piece of pizza face-down in the dirt, pick it up, and resume eating it without batting an eye. And the clothes---These clothes do not get clean in the washing machine. They need to be pre-washed before being washed.

Where is the house at? Don't know. Too tired to even speculate. Here's Aidan on the subject:
The house is going.
The garage is farther. We got the stairs in the Garage last week, and wiring is done, so we are setting our sights on a framing inspection this week. That means we can move on with plumbing, and insulation...
The house is a different story. I finally realized that I didn't have the time to finish it up all myself. I've hired a framing crew to help me out and get the 2nd floor and roof on quicker. The carpenter is expecting to be done by early next week (25th/26th). So, if an experienced crew that specializes in roofs (he'll have up to 6 people when the roof is going) is going to take a full week, guess how long it would have taken me to get that roof on and all the dormers framed in and tied back... But that means that we'll hopefully be closed in towards the end of next week. That leaves us in good shape for getting our basement floor poured (after the infloor radiant heating tubing is installed) before it's too cold, and gives us the ability to make sure we keep the gound our footings are in (which is almost at the water table) from freezing.

So there you go. That will have to do for now.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

One of the special people

You know that story about the poor kid who gets left behind at school because their parent didn't show up to get them? (Oh, how I wish I didn't have to verify what you are now certainly anticipating.) I am guilty. Stories like this: Women walks out in public with her skirt tucked into her underwear, or; At a very pivotal life-moment, girl trips and falls on her face, or; On her daughters first day of school, frazzled parent fails to pick child up. Those stories always seem to be about me. I believe that people like me are special. We are built differently by God. In His mercy, He looks upon our fuzzy minds, and takes care to give us an extra measure of resilience-- an extraordinary ability to recover from our endless embrassmments. He gives us the gift of self-directed laughter.

This morning, my first child, my only girl, went to her first day of Junior Kindergarden. She insisted on a pink skirt. I insisted on a ponytail. A ridiculously large knapsack was placed on her little back, and with two other kids in tow, at 8:00 a.m. I made the first of countless trecks to Elgin Street Public.

For weeks I have been predicting how this day would unfold. My daughter is a boldly independent child. I assumed she would take one look at the yard full of shrieking children and feel like a queen bee in a busy hive. As it turns out, I know my daughter well. She immediately shed her burdensome pack, and headed straight for the "big kids" structure where I actually witnessed her stare down a 10-year old who was trying to beat her up the ladder. That'a girl.

"You can go now mom," she said. While I was relieved not to have to part with a tearfully resistant child, my heart began to ache a little when she said that. I thought; If she doesn't need me now, when will she need me?

The bell rang, and the jittering queue of post-toddlerhood disappeared into a warm and colourful classroom. I didn't cry. I wouldn't. I refused. But the ache in me persisted until I completely disengaged my mind from the reality of the situation. I took my two boys to a park nearby and remained disengaged. Which probably accounts for the embarassing situation I later found myself in. At 11:30, the time at which I had written down as pick-up time in my agenda, I did not join a group of eager parents in the schoolyard. Instead, with a quickening pace, I sped through a deserted school year, my stomach dropping, to find my little girl sitting alone at a desk in the principles office colouring. I was 30 minutes late.

If I had struggled against tears before, this time I had to wage war on my tear ducts. I had made my girl wait alone in the office while all the other kids got picked up by their parents. You hear about parents like that-- you shake your head at parents like that . . .

I studied her very closely for the rest of the afternoon to see if I had caused her any psycological damage. As of yet, I have been unable to see any signs of trauma. In fact, she seems to remained completely unaware that anything was ever amiss. She might tomorrow, when she is NOT escorted to a desk in the office. But, I am optimistic the entire episode, while temporarily painful to me, will be a source of laughter for her someday.

Notes on the day: I found a note in her backpack. It read:
She seems to be a very confident little girl,
I look forward to getting to know her this year. Mrs. B.W

And when asked how her day went, Caelah happily reported: "I was being too loud. I kept talking when I was supposed to be quiet." Thus reads the opening chapter of my daughter's journey through the education system. God, equip me.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


It turns out, after waxing poetical about coffee, that I will, infact, be working at a tea shop. While several coffees are offered, the store is decidedly weighted in favour of tea. Thirty loose teas are displayed in glass containers on the counter, behind the counter, in front of the counter. . . When drinking in-store, a customer is served the tea of their choice in their own individual tea pot with a teensy tiny milk pitcher beside.

I have been giving myself a crash course on all things tea-related. I have uncovered some interesting tidbits:
  • Orange Pekoe is not even a tea. It is a term for grading, (categorizing), black teas.
  • "Chai" means tea. So if you ask for a "Chai Tea" you are asking for a "tea tea."
  • The two most expensive teas in the world are Darjeeling, from India, and White tea from China. The former tastes of almonds and wildflowers. The latter is thought to hold the highest amount of beneficial medicinal qualities of all the teas, including keeping the skin taut and youthful.
  • Herbal "teas" are not actually teas. They do not contain any tea leaf at all. They are simply blends of fruit, spices and herbs. If you want a true tea that is infused with fruit or herb flavours, ask for a "flavoured tea" instead.
This evening I made myself a pot of Lapsang Souchong; a black tea from China that smells like smoke. I loved it. Campfire-in-a-cup. At this rate, I can see myself developing a whole new form of snobbery.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I can't sleep. This has never been a problem for me. Not really. I have had bouts of accute panic, or excitement, over something that have kept me from falling asleep. But this is different. I get to sleep well. But I dream wild dream after wild dream. I wake up at 1:00 every night. Only partially. (You know when you have flashes of being in your bed, but aren't awake enough to control your body?) Then I toss and turn for an hour until fully waking up. I then spend an hour thinking about all the wierd dreams I've just had, and eventually I fall asleep again and dream some more.

In this cycle, there is no time for deep sleep. The nourishing, sustaining type. So, I've been a bit of a wreck. Too emotional. Too introspective. Unnaturally sad. And I can't figure out what has landed me in this state? For all the women who have been reading. . . I'M NOT PREGNANT. That would be an easy diagnosis. We are, however, building a house. And I have just gotten a new job. But during the day, I have no sense of anxiety over either of these things. Do they hover back in my subconscious only to creep into the forefront of my mind as I sleep. If that is the case, what power do I have to change anything? (Other than to heavily sedate myself).

My mantra:

He gives His loved ones sleep. He gives His loved ones sleep. He gives His loved ones sleep.
Psalms 127

If He says so, then it must be true.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Photo Journal: Day ???

Yes, there has been a lull in the output of house-related posts. Skunks and new jobs are partly to blame. But there has, also, been little reason for us to be out at the lot the past while. Progress was temporarily out of our hands, and in the hands of the contractors. The foundation and porch footings had to be poured, and a shipment of floor joists delivered. There was also an obstacle to surmount along the way: A 700-pound beam had to be lifted up over the foundation, and fitted across the span of the house before we could continue any work. Aidan spent awhile trying to coordinate a 6-man lift. (120 lbs each-- no sweat!) But upon arriving at the lot earlier this week, he found that the afore-mentioned obstacle had been literally lifted out of his way. The heavy beam was resting neatly in place. "Oh, we thought we'd just get it out of your way for you. Hope you don't mind," said one of the contractors. Nice.

Now the race is on. The house has to be framed and wrapped before the first frost, or our precious foundation will be warped and ruined by the cold. For the next few weekends, Aidan will be camping out in the loft with any who care to join him. Last night, we had a BBQ and campfire. I am looking forward to many more.

Before & After photos of the house foundation. Dump trucks have been coming and going for three days, and they are not done yet. That's a lot of dirt!

Elijah has always been sensitive to noise. He has a love/hate relationship with the tractors and trucks that have been occupying his space. Once I popped a winter hat on him, and pulled it over his ears, he ventured a bit closer to the action. It did nothing to cut the noise at all, but it was enough to make my little mouse feel a bit more brave. (That, and a protective uncle):