Erm. . . .

So, the posts are pre-set to run over the next few days, as I will be off to Jasper, to knit and drink wine and generally enjoy myself. I'm at a knitting retreat with a friend.

I thought you might be interested in my to do list.

I will attempt to update it through the day.
  1. Wake up (I'm not expecting this to be a problem. . .)
  2. Paint Sewing Room - 1st and 2nd coats of second colour. Decide if roller is the problem, or if it is paint. Be cross either way, that the paint is not going on smoothly.
  3. Go and buy PJ's for sake of roommate's sensibility on knitting retreat. (I do wear night shirts, but, believe in, ahem, airing things out. So, because I like Kuri, and I want her to stay friends with me. . . )
  4. Dig up carrots. Finally. Also, consider the problem of the fridge again.
  5. Remove evidence of dead mums, possibly by burying them in the compost heap.
  6. Determine if the knitting classes have homework. Do homework if required. Also, figure out where I have to be when, so that I can actually catch the train on time.
  7. Pack knitting projects, also, clean underpinnings. (Honestly, the knitting is more important than the clean underpinnings. Underpinnings can be swished out and hung over the shower rod to dry. Knitting on the other hand, must be brought)
  8. Think about what sorts of things Mr. Spit could cook while gone. Possibly purchase something for him. Also, remind him, that he might be feeding his Mother in Law's cat.
  9. Find pumpkins for front door.
  10. Mail things to Alicia and Jen and Martha.

Finally, as they walk through a valley, would you keep Jenell and Rob and their wee twins in your heart? She's one of ours, and could use all the love they can get.

Silent Communion

She's been struggling with infertility for 6 years. The latest cycle failed. Again. Still. Always.

I didn't bring my son to work for others to ooh and ahh over. I can't even bring his photo to the office.

And I walked over to see the new baby, to ohhh and ahh, and coo. To tell his mum that he is the most beautiful baby ever. To rub his cheek and clasp his finger, and wish that my son had been like him.

I looked in her eyes. She looked in mine. My hand rested on her shoulder, for just a second.

No false promises that this time next year we will have children, no promises that things will get better, no stupid exhortions to buck up little camper.

Simply an acknowledgement that this was hard. Gut wrenching, heart breaking, head bowing, hard.

The pain in my heart, mirrored in her eyes.

Silent communion. Abiding. Strenght for the journey in what places we can find it.

You Just Don't do That

" You just don't do that, you just don't.
You have no idea who I am, or what I could have done to your child."

I was sitting, in the midst of my study group, when I watched this mother. She walked around the corner, had a hissy fit, put her 9 month old baby on the floor, walked away and left. She was all the way around the corner, way out of sight of this wee one.

This, in a busy downtown office building, on the mezzanine floor. A concourse, with the office towers above, and the entrance to the subway 200 feet away. With the street people and the homeless, and the odd drug addict, and busy office workers in suits. And no one looking down on the filthy floor, for a 9 month baby.

And I leaped out my chair. I stood there in my suit and heels and not even debating, I walked over to this baby. Who was sitting and crying on the floor. I knelt down and picked her up. Snuggled her up against my hip.

Began walking the 100 feet to where her mother was.

And her mother was heading towards me.

"That's my baby", she said.

"You don't know who I am. I could have grabbed her and run, and you would have never seen that. You just don't leave them like that. You just don't."

"But I had to get my son." I'm watching her. She put her daughter down out of sight, in the middle of a busy concourse, in an office tower, to go and get her son, from the same place she picked her daughter up.

"You just don't leave them. Children are precious. You never put them down and walk away. Never." I thrust the baby at her, and walked away. Back into my real world.

I wanted to say "His name was Gabriel, and when the time came, I had to put him down. Dressed and washed and loved. Rocked and sang to, I had to lay him down. And every morning I remember. And my heart breaks again. Please, for the love of all that's holy and true and real in this world, please, she's a beautiful little girl, and you just don't leave her. Ever."

Tonight is one of those nights that I'm screaming "Why me, and not her?"

Thank you

One of the challenges about being a dead baby mum is that you can't put your baby's photo up at work.

Or, more accurately you can, but it's going to cause problems. And while I'm always up for a fight, the fact is, that would be my son that someone is finding repellent, and I'm sorry, but I don't have that much of a fight in me. I don't want my beautiful and sweet son to be a fight.

But, as I look at desks with pictures of children on them, I am, again, still, always, left out.

Thanks to these guys, I can have Gabriel with me at work. There are no words to say how much this means. To both Mr. Spit and I.

Monday Miscellany

Ok, we have to break this into sections:

Ok, I admit it. I have flunked domesticity 101, 201, 301, and 401. I'm hopeless. I don't iron my pillow cases, there are still carrots in the garden, and if I don't find the time to dig them up soon, they are going to rot. I had beautiful mum's for fall, but I forgot to water them, and they died.

But, my fridge, it still smells. And I CANNOT get rid of the smell. Someone please help. I swear, I am going to go and buy a new fridge. Honest. And my thrifty and ecologically sane mind cannot countenance getting rid of my fridge, just because it smells. But I can't handle it.

The Home Reno Front:
- Another weekend spent painting. Well, actually, it was spent napping, with brief spurts of painting.
-I went to the woodworker's show (With Mr. Spit, face it, can you actually see me using power tools?!).
- I have shower taps. They came in the mail. I am beyond excited. Now, I just have to book in the tub re-glazing guys, to get them to come and do the tub. It may be, perchance, that in a few weeks, I can have my first shower in 8 months!
- I should be done my sewing room by next week.
- The dining room should be done in about 3-4 weeks. We are almost at the painting stage.
- Which means, by the end of November, we should be home reno project free. We could actually spend our weekends without power tools and paint brushes, doing whatever it is that normal people do on weekends (Quick: someone tell us what normal people do, please!)

So, what were we talking about at dinner last night? Yes, that's right, what we wanted to do to the kitchen. Someone, for the love of hammers, take away our tools and paintbrushes. We promised ourselves, no more home reno projects. None. Not for an entire year. Maybe even two.
(But we could do the kitchen in stages, and it's so ugly and dysfunctional and we need to insulate the back entry and put a heating vent and a proper window in there, so that we can remove the door, so it looks better. . . . )

The Pet Front
Delta wants you to know that the dog in the picture on Friday Was. Not. Her. She's an apricot brindle, and that was a fawn, and she's MUCH PRETTIER. But the cats still don't like her.
The Bling Front
I got awards. Thanks so much to Busted and Nikki!

Saturday's are For Quotes

There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.

~Alexis de Tocqueville

A gentle reminder from the mists of history.


I'm here. My Internet was down and I got home and, yeah, I didn't write a blog. (To be honest, I had no original thoughts either. Macro's. Cell formatting. Concatenate formulas, VLookup)

I thought I'd share a pictorial representation of how it's going with Delta and the cats.


I am having a moment, you know from the movie. Tom Cruise? No, maybe Tom Hanks. Anyway, I think he finally figures out how to make fire. Anyway, I have this vague and hazy memory of him running up and down a beach screaming "Fire".

So that was me at 3pm. I got excel to work (with the exception of 1 cell, and I don't know why).

And I have a couple of lovely macro's and some snifty formuals.

Excel likes me again. It really, really likes me. fickle despot

Now, I have had my dinner, I have had a few some cookies. And I'm going upstairs with a book, to sit in the bath.

5 hours of sleep in the last 36 is not enough. . . .

Wednesday's are Not For Grammar

At least not this Wednesday.

I'm working on a thing in excel. A very large, very important thing. For my grumpy, bitchy miserable boss. A large form thing with validation and formatting, that should transfer data all over the place, in excel. Which is behaving badly. And usually excel behaves very, very nicely for me. I love it. Except today, when it is giving me a formula error, for something that really isn't a formula. And it's doing it randomly. Very randomly. And I need this document for a meeting in 8.5 hours, and I have no freaking idea why it isn't playing nicely.

I'm coming very close to losing it.

So, I present a lovely meme from LoriBeth.

31 questions - one word answers.

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2. Where is your significant other? In Bed, asleep. Where I'd like to be.
3. Your hair color? dyed.
4. Your mother? Odd
5. Your father? Dead.
6. Your favorite thing? Not Excel
7. Your dream last night? I don't remember dreams.
8. Your dream/goal? getting excel to work.
9. The room you’re in? kitchen
10. Your hobby? knitting.
11. Your fear? Bitterness
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Victoria
13. Where were you last night? Shopping
14. What you’re not? Good at excel?
15. One of your wish list items? Travel
16. Where you grew up? Alberta
17. The last thing you did? Swore
18. What are you wearing? Scowl
19. Your T.V.? Amazing Race
20. Your pet? Furry
21. Your computer? About to be broken
22. Your mood? Frustrated.
23. Missing someone? Gabriel
24. Your car? VW Jetta
25. Something you’re not wearing? Excel Wizard Hat
26. Favorite store? Yarn
27. Your Summer? Short
28.Love someone? Mr. Spit
29. Your favorite color? Blue
30. When is the last time you laughed? Dinner
31. Last time you cried? 15 minutes ago

Happy Birthday, Mr. Spit

Today is Mr. Spit's birthday. Which seems, to me at least, as good a time as any to tell you why I love him.

I love him because of inside jokes. Things that make both of us laugh. I love him because of how we can make a not very funny line from a movie make us laugh for weeks. (or, in the case of Office Space, years.)

I love him because his smile lights up his face, and he can find humour in anything. He makes me give over my serious and pensive moods, and laugh at the insanity of the world around me.

I love him because he's virtuous. Virtuous - is an oft mocked word. Put simply it means a sort of goodness. I watch my husband go above and beyond, be honest and good, even when it would be easier not too. I watch him take the hard path, even when no one notices.

I love him because he's kind and decent. I realize that kindness and decency, much like virtue are considered to be a boring sort of character trait. Not so say I. Mr. Spit is truly kind. He's truly gifted at looking at things from other's points of view. He's truly fair.

I love him because he takes joy in the world around him. From his love of astronomy to technical gadetry and literature, he finds so much to be excited about. In a world of cynism and bleah-attitudes, I find his wonder amazing and inspiring.

I love him because he listens. When I say something like "You know, I've been thinking . . . " and what I've been thinking about includes ripping out walls or buying a new car or digging up more of the back yard, he never tells me to stop thinking. And he never runs away. He's always willing to hear other's out.

I love him because he's a gentleman. He holds the door open for ladies, gives up his seat, doesn't wear a ball cap indoors, treats women with kindness and respect.

I love him because he gives back to his community - he routinely volunteers with the large item pick up, schlepping heavy stuff to the dump. He shows up to my volunteer commitments, and takes pictures, or helps organize, or runs chips at a casino.

I love him because he believes in me. He knows I can kick ass in a skirt and high heels, and he knows that I can do just about anything I make up my mind to do. And when I forget it, he reminds me. And more than believing in me, he believes in us.

And so, for these reasons, and many others, ladies and gentlemen, if you would join me in raising your (virtual glass),

To Mr. Spit, on his 36th birthday. Wishing him many more.

Cheers my love.

Monday Miscellany

Monday Miscellany - On Monday. Hey, would you look at that. . .
  • We are still noshing on Chocolate from Martha. Martha is our new best friend. It used to be Sam, but we are fickle that way.
  • Maggie's dental surgery on Friday went really well.. She's pain free from bad teeth. Our bank account, on the other hand, is very pained. Everyone - go get pet insurance now!
  • I'm mostly over my cold. My nose is very sore from all the blowing. . .
  • The putty-tat's are bullies. They sit on the stairs and won't let the dogs up. The dogs wander around the main floor, looking pathetic. So, let's see, We have 40 pounds of cat managing to terrorize 200 pounds of dogs.
  • Saturday night, Delta woke Mr. Spit up barking. She wanted to come upstairs, but the cats wouldn't let her. She had to wake up daddy to give her safe passage! (Which I thought was hilarious, and Mr. Spit did not.)
  • But then they snuggle up and purr, and well, we tell the dogs that they outweigh the cats 5:1 and they really should get over it. . .
  • Marriage Encounter went really well.

Weekend Are For Quotes

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.

Freidrich Nietzsche

Mr. Spit and I are again volunteering with World Wide Marriage Encounter, supporting a couple as they go through their Marriage Encounter weekend.

Today was going to be . . .

Finished project Friday.

No, not Becky's baby sweater, I'm not that fast. Not even close to that fast. I haven't even wound the skeins. I haven't even figured out the basics of what gauge I'm knitting at, and what gauge the baby sweater purports to be knitting at, and how to make my gauge equal that gauge, so I get a sweater suitable for a baby, not an elephant that happens to be cold and likes pink.

And when I figure that I out, I have to decide whether I need to to do it for Antigone first, because I think she is likely to come first at this whole having a baby thing, because she got started earlier (But if you would both speak up in the comments about relative dates, that would be absolutely brilliant.)

No, actually I finished socks for a birthday present, for a stand up, bang up friend, who kindly has sent me a birthday present last month, even though hers was exactly 6 months before mine, and she would have been quite justified in sending me my birthday present somewhere around her next birthday, because hers is well over 6 months late. And instead, she sent me a lovely candle and a bunch of truffles and she did not include a reminder that her birthday present consisted (at that time) one entire sock, and a sock to the heel for the other foot. Nor did she remind me that she, rather like most humans, has two feet, and would find it most useful to have two socks.

So, I finished them up earlier today, and they are all done, with the ends woven in, and ready to go, but I must confess, I feel like hell today, and possibly tomorrow, and I'm not sure where the camera is, and I feel crappy, and whiny, so pictures tomorrow, which means, Banana - your socks will be in the mail on Monday. Oh and Alicia, your scarf too. I still have to weave the ends in.

I really am that sad and pathetic these days. I'm sick. . . .

Now, I'm going back to bed.

(And on the subject of stand up, bang up women - could we all bow to the Amazing Martha, who blessedly sent chocolate and pet treats. I saved it to share with Mr. Spit (well, mostly). Did you all know that chocolates are called candy in the US? When ever I read books and the hero bought candy to the heroine, I always imagined some sort of bucket of hard candies, and I thought this was a bit odd, but anyway. So, I opened up the box of See's candy and they were the most amazing chocolates in the universe. I am sorry that Mr. Spit won't get to share them. But there's lots of other stuff)

Monday Miscellany

Yes, I know, it's Thursday.

Candles for wee ones last night.

Thank you for remembering our sweet and missed Gabe.

Gratuitous cat pictures. Yes, they really are this cute. Snuggly too.

I think we are in love. They tolerate Maggie - Barely. We aren't talking about what happens with Delta. . . .

And can we say Aunt Becky is having a girl? I went into the yarn store and asked about wool, and the only stipulation? Pink! It had to be pink . . . .

And that's all for me. I'm feeling a wee bit off. My throat is scratchy and my head is achy. . .

SITS Posting.

Wow, you all have overwhelmed enfolded me in your care and concern. I'm loving it. . . .

And hey I found you on the web.

For any of my usual commentators who are confused, the blog is here, and in honour of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day, they are featuring:

Serenity Joy's Mum (Ya Chun)
Katie's Mum (Lori Beth at the Road Less Travelled)
Glow in the Woods
and another blog that I hadn't seen - Dr. Joanne.

I noticed that you usually feature 3 posts, and I wondered, as I know that many of you don't completely understand what baby loss is like, I thought I would pick a few, to save you all the hassle of wading through 200 posts (Not that I would complain, I like it when other's read what I write. . . .)

Accordingly, my 4 favourite posts

An Open Letter to Matt Kaufman

A Lesson In Knitting

His Name is Gabriel

The Last Kick

And finally, my husband wrote about what it was like to lose your first born son, in the midst of what is largely perceived to be a woman's problem. Infant loss is extraordinarily painful for men too.

Lastly, if you are looking to support someone who has lost a baby, please be aware that it is different than a miscarriage, different than when your grandmother died. It's not more or less painful, but different. It's painful for the grieving when you liken one person's pain to another. Glow in the woods has some excellent suggestions on supporting those who are hurting.

Baby Born Still

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

I know lots of American voters have been pushing for the passage of H.R. 5979 - Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act. I wish them luck. Like so many things with baby loss, it is astounding that so many babies are lost and so little is said.

I will remember the broken hearts and shattered dreams of the broken. I will remember mother's and father's with empty arms. I will remember only children that aren't supposed to be. I will remember siblings who miss the other half of their family.

I will remember grandparents that longed to rock and sing to the next generation. The death of our children is the death of our future.

Memento Mori.

When the Saints go Marching In

My thoughts began with Julia's eloquent post. I have been thinking for 3 months, while this post has resided in my drafts folder. It came up again today as I spoke to a friend. These are not the sum total of answers. This isn't theology. If you are looking for a neat package, I'd suggest that you consult Aquinas and Anselm. But, a few weeks ago, Becky declared the need for honesty. And I have been asking why babies die. So, with those provisos. . . . .

God did not save my son.

God, who raised Lazarus, who raised Jarius' daughter, who saved his Son, did not spare mine. I believe he could have. I believe in miracles. Then, and now. I cannot conceive of a God who used to raise people from the dead, and then suddenly, arbitrarily stopped. And if God could have stretched out his hand, if he could have and did not - what answer can I possibly have, other than to say God killed my son. Not murder, no. But I bet I could make a good case for negligent homicide.

I've spoken of it before: as I was in a tiny room, learning that my son would die, as Mr. Spit was hearing that I might die, there was a woman in the next bed.

She was 34 weeks pregnant, or around that, the perinatologist thought. She wasn't actually sure when she got pregnant. Given that she had no pre-natal care, no pre-natal vitamins, it was hard to tell. She was arguing with the nurse - she wanted to stop the NST so that she could go have a cigarette. She'd had a couple of beers the night before. She wasn't married, she had 4 children already, by four different fathers. She was on social assistance. She wasn't going to breast feed, and couldn't they just section her now? She was tired of being pregnant.


Mr. Spit and I. University educated. Good jobs. Own a house and a car. Financially stable. Regular church attendees. Educated about pregnancy and child birth. We pay our taxes. More than our share probably. We volunteer, in our community, in the inner city. We donate of our own blood. We are caring. Good friends. Bake casseroles for those in need. We show compassion and mercy. We would have raised our child in the church. We are good people. We do our best. Our child would have wanted for nothing. Braces, soccer, ballet, tutoring, enrichment, university, we would have been able to afford it. There would have been presents under the tree at Christmas. Discipline, love, prayers, stories read and hugs given. We are not monsters, we would have cherished this child we waited 5 years for. He would have been the joy of our lives, the apple of our eye. Loved beyond all comprehension.

She went home with a baby, and I, in the horrific way of tragedies, went home with empty arms.
We seek for answers when tragedy strikes. Why her, and not me? We look for nice and simple packages. An explanation. A thing that says: this - this is why tragedy happened. And perhaps, I think, if we decide we know why, we think we have regained a little bit of control over our world. Tragedy is tragedy because it turns what we know, what we believe, the bedrock of our life, inside out and upside down.

I think of the prayers offered for us. The hundreds of people who prayed. At church, in our lives. Friends who do not pray, who offered up their fervent desire that we would escape this tragedy. I think of a friend who told me of kneeling by her bed. Past any sense of decorum, propriety. Sobbing. Begging, imploring, pleading.

I think of my own prayers on Sunday night. Of sobbing, wailing. Cries to let God know my heart was rent in two. Cries that were not coherent words, thoughts. Cries that bartered. If God would save my son, I would do anything he asked of me. Anything. There was nothing he could not take from me, nothing he could do to me, nothing I would not bear, only please, I begged, from the bottom of a life-carriers heart, please, spare my son.

24 hours later, my tiny, frail son, was born. With an Apgar of 1. An apgar he received because he was breathing, in flimsy, feeble gasps. One every minute or so. Then every five minutes. And then he was gone. Life that Mr. Spit and I had bred into his body joyfully, exuberantly, with promises and celebration. Life that didn't even open his eyes, to see his mother's tears. Life that was gone.

I think of those prayers, and I think of a room filled to the brim with sorrow and gall. And I know, from the bottom of my heart, I did not receive what I deserved. For my son, I will stand up and say that he deserved life. Even if I was so terrible that I could not be permitted to bear a child, the soul that was Gabriel, he deserved life.

And I am left with a sense of bewilderment. How could God not hear our prayers? There were thousands. Hundreds of thousands. I imagine that many prayers bombarding God. A series of phones that do not stop ringing. Emails, faxes, telegrams, carrier pigeons. Was God not looking during all that space? Was He busy? Playing chess? Caught up in the human rights abuses in China? Was He too busy answering prayers for parking stalls in Christmas-crowded parking lots? What happened that He was too pressed to spend the millisecond it would have taken to save Gabriel.

And I wonder, who prayed for the baby of the woman next to me? Anyone? I did. I prayed that in the midst of my sorrow, that baby would arrive safely. Not out of spirit of love and compassion, but selfishness. I could not bear for another baby to die. How could it be that my voice was the only one beseeching for this child to live, and that God would hear my single prayer, offered for selfish reasons, but not hear the bounty of prayers for Gabriel?

This reflection does not answer any question, much less the terrible, awful, heart rending question. How could God deal so brutally, so unfairly with his children. How could he strip the life we created from us, when He, created us? How in the face of horrible tragedy, could I, could anyone maintain that God is intimately involved in the world?

Tragedy, entered into, grappled with, as we struggle to understand it, changes how we understand ourselves and how we understand God. The process is messy, full of pain and raw human emotion. Tragedy, grappled with, leaves us different people. We are no longer Jacob, we become Israel, with a different set of questions, and a hip that reminds us of the power of God.

I have only a moment of clarity. Of walking out of a downtown office tower, into a warm summer day. I can see a bright blue prairie sky, a blue so impossibly blue it takes your breath away. I can smell lilacs. And I can hear a singer, on the street corner. Playing a saxophone. When the Saints Go Marching In. And he is dancing around. He is playing with pure distilled joy.

Thou only art immortal, the creator and maker of mankind; and we are mortal, formed of the earth, and unto earth shall we return. For so thou didst ordain when thou createdst me, saying, Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.. All we go down to the dust; yet even at the grave we make our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Into thy hands, O merciful Savior, we commend thy servant Gabriel. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech thee, a sheep of thine own fold, a lamb of thine own flock, a sinner of thine own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of thy mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light.


There was another world that I lived in, a while ago. Suddenly, on December 2, 2007, I was bundled into a plane, destination unknown. I didn't get a chance to pack. I wouldn't have known what to pack. What do you bring when the destination is terror and chaos? What do you bring when the medical world is screaming at you to get on the plane and do your seat belt up and be quiet? I can tell you what you do. You get on the plane, and you do up your seat belt, and you stop asking questions, if only because you know that you don't want the answers.

On December 10, 2007, our plane landed. And we joined a new world. This world called dead baby land. This world where we didn't speak the language. We had no home, no clothes, no nothing. We landed in an airport in the dead of winter, with no idea of where we were. There was no tourist bureau, no maps, no destination signs, no place to catch a taxi cab, no place to rest our weary bodies and broken souls.

And I have lived in this place for the last 10 months. 10 months and 2 days to be accurate. And this place has become more familiar, more recognizable. I know my way around. I can find the essentials, the grocery store for Kleenex, the clothing store for more mourning garments. I can speak the language: fetal demise, perinatal loss, Doppler's with no heart beats, screaming, sobbing. I can speak the language of memory loss and pain and sorrow. I have found fellow immigrants here. You can always recognize them - the lost and broken look around the eyes. The hands that are never still, always waiting to hold a baby that isn't. The heart that is in a million pieces, and the mind that has spoken of never coming round.

But, slowly, I have learned to cope in this world. To accept this as my home. Not my home for now, but my forever home. A place that is far from perfect, a place that is not where I want to be. But it is where I am. And I have made what peace I can. What I once described as an anguish so deep and wide that there are no words, has slowly faded. It is merely anguish. The ever present reminder that I am here, and Gabriel is not. That Mr. Spit and I are two, not three. We are a stronger two, and we are more thankful than ever for each other, but we are aware of the child who is within us, not with us.

Every so often though, there are echo's. Echo's from another world. Echo's that remind me I wasn't always here, I didn't always live and breath and move in pain and sorrow. Echo's that remind me I believed in the essential fairness of the world once, I did not know of the terrible power that evil has to destroy our lives. Echo's that remind me I was once whole and strong and brave.

I am cleaning out what would have been the nursery. Turning it for now, into a craft room, and eventually, perhaps, if God smiles upon me, into a nursery again. I have pulled out the detritus of the last 10 months. I have pulled out the things hastily shoved in that room, as if removing them from our sight could so easily mend the rips and tears in our hearts. I have come across the hidden away things. Tonight it was the books we read to Gabriel. Robert Munch. I'll Love You Forever. Mortimer. Wait and See.

And it was that terrible nexus of what was and what could have been and what is. That terrible place where you are left gasping, breathless by yet another round of pain. And while I can and will tell you that they come less frequently, and they do not last as long, they are no less bewildering and perplexing and painful when they do happen. Hurriedly thrown in a dresser that was mine as a child and should have been Gabriel's, was a reminder of the world I used to live in.

Tonight my baby, you sleep with Jesus.
You don't need my stories.
But I'll read you a story still.
My heart wants to remember.

I'll love you forever.
I'll like you for always.
As long as I'm living,
My baby you'll be.

Happy Thanksgiving

In a year filled with sorrow and sadness, I have to stop to remind myself to be thankful. That there is much to be thankful for. That gratitude is a discipline.

I am thankful for a strong marriage, with a wonderful man that I adore. I am thankful that I have never known anything other than his love and concern and care.

I am thankful for 16 critter legs, that show me love and give me snuffles. In a world that is so demanding, I count it pure joy to simply make their day by coming home each night. Truly, there are few other people that I make this happy by my presence. I am thankful for pure love, that does not require anything of me to deserve it.

I am thankful for a job that pays me well.

I am thankful that I have a home. A home that is safe and comfortable and warm. A home that is filled with love and concern, and is free from violence.

I am thankful that I have more food in the fridge than I need, and more clothes than I can wear. I am thankful that I have clean water from my taps, and medical insurance that is free.

I am thankful for a garden, that gave me peace and tranquility as I worked in it. That gave me vegetables for my table and freezer, and that gave me flowers for my soul.

I am thankful for friends, both real and virtual, that have provided both solace and succour. Who have listened and been willing to abide with me. Held my hand and waited with me.

I am thankful for a Lord who waits. Who listens to me. Who promises that Gabriel is safe and warm and cared for, and that I will know him when I see him again. Who promises me strength for today, and eternal life for tomorrow.

And I am thankful for you, dear readers. You who stop in and share your thoughts and care and concern. You who abide and celebrate. Who are with me in sorrow, and joy. Who share in the multitude and whimsy of every day life.

I am thankful.

Wishing you a happy and blessed thanksgiving,

Mr and Mrs. Spit, Delta, Maggie, Toby and Koda.

PS: American's who are confused, Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving this Sunday.

One Act Critter Play

The Scene: The kitchen.

The Players:
Delta the extremely large and not very smart female English mastiff.

Maggie the much smaller but far too smart for her own good generic brown mutt.

Toby the very large and very shy cat that intensely dislikes dogs. All dogs. Any kind of dogs. Anything with a whiff of Canine about them.

Koda the smaller black cat that has the widest range of vocalizations in any cat known to man. He's also curious.

[Cat enters Stage left. Saunters in the door way. Looks for dogs. Lays down centre stage and begins grooming self in intimate place.]

Koda: La la la. Trill trill trill. I am as happy as a cat can be. There is a human in the room. She is talking to me.

[Koda gets up and brushes against the human's leg, purring]

Koda: Life is very good for a cat.
Oh, Toby.
You should come in here. This is a really great place to be.

Toby: Are you sure? Really sure? I'm not sure. It's not always safe. There are
[cue ominous sounding music]
dogs sometimes.

Koda: No, it's safe. You are such a scaredy cat.

[Cut ominous music. Toby wanders in the kitchen]

Toby: Oh yes, this is such a nice place to be. Warm and comfortable, with lots of food, especially wet food. This is a bountiful house. Why, they didn't even mind when I peed on her suits in the closet.

[human looks surprised and makes note to go and check closet.]

Koda and Toby: Oh, we love you human. See. Purr, purr, purr.

[Sound from distance, rather like dog kennel being unlatched]

Human 2 Voice: Hon, I'm letting the girls out. . . .

[Sound of dog feet pounding down the stairs. Dogs skid to a stop at the entrance to the kitchen]

Maggie and Delta: Oh no, not the cats! They don't like us. We want to go in the kitchen. We want to be with mummy. Oh no, not the cats. They don't like us.

Koda and Toby: Oh no, not the dogs. We don't like the dogs. They want to come in the kitchen. We like the kitchen with just the human in it. Oh no, not the dogs. We don't like them.

[Stand off. Maggie inches forward. Toby inches back. Maggie inches forward. SUDDENLY Delta lunges. Cats move in 15 directions at once. Dogs lunge forward. Dogs move in 20 directions at once.]

Toby and Koda: Craaaaaaap

Maggie and Delta: Chaaaaarge

[Sounds of growling, hissing, spitting, barking and crashing. Curtain drops on scene]

Human 2: Wow hon, they really seem to be making friends, don't they. Why, any day now they'll be sleeping together. I can see it.

Human 1: Be quiet and help me detach this cat from my body.

[Cat growl fades into distance]

Wednesday's are for Grammar

Your Homework, such as it was, was to tell us all what is wrong with this sentence.

One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I'll never know."(Groucho Marx)

Those Who get the Coveted Grammar Button

Lisa DG
Sweet Camden Lass

The Shiny Red Pencil for Keeners

Now, I will grant class, that this was a hard button to assign. Only JamieD got the answer correct, and correctly identified the grammatical issue, using grammar words; however, she got the button last week. So, Jamie, you get to keep your button for an extra week, and Sweet Camden Lass, because you were both funny, and came very close to identifying the issue, you can have the keener button for this week.

The Lesson:

Martha, Lisa and Heidi suggested there were not enough commas in the sentence, which is a great start to solving the problem. It shows me you are thinking about how sentences read, which is an important part of figuring out if they are grammatically correct or not.

This sentence is actually my favourite form of mangling the English language. If you have to mangle a sentence, a misplaced modifier is the best way to do it. We can, at least, all laugh at the strange concoction that has come out of your mouth or pen.

So, if you will remember back into the recesses of earlier grammar lessons: when I talked about the roles of adverbs and adjectives, I said that an adjective modifies the noun, providing more information about the noun. An adverb on the other hand, provides more information about the verb. As a multipurpose word, it can also modify another phrase or clause.

Remembering 2 weeks ago, when I told you that sentences that aren't complete sentences are sentence fragments - we could also call them phrases or clauses.

In a sentence with a misplaced modifier, the adjective, the adverb, or the prepositional phrase is modifying the wrong part of the sentence or clause.

There are 3 types of misplaced modifiers:

1. Ambiguous placement
In this case, the modifying adjective, adverb or preposition is placed in such a way that it is not clear what it is modifying. Ambiguous placement very often involves words like: only, just, almost, hardly, nearly, merely, simply, even, scarcely, exactly.

Consider the following example, and how changing the word only affects the entire meaning of the sentence.

Only knitters say that good quality wool matters in the quality of the finished garment.

Knitters say only that good quality wool matters in the quality of the finished garment.

Knitters say that only good quality wool matters in the quality of the finished garment.

Knitters say that good quality wool only matters in the quality of the finished garment.

When a modifier is placed in such a way that it could cause a person to question whether or not the it modifies the information before or after the modifier, that is called a Squinting modifier.

2. Wrong Placement

In this case, the modifying adverbs, adjectives or prepositions are misplaced in the sentence, resulting in utter gibberish. Which is what happened to Mr. Marx, who suddenly, by grammatical accident, found himself shooting an elephant; likely after discovering that the elephant had stolen his PJ's.

3. Awkward Placement

Split Infinitives

An infinitive is a verb that requires the form "to verb". Examples include to convince, to create. When you split the to and the verb, confusion ensues.

Knitters managed to, on June 13, 2008, convene on the world, for World Wide Knit in public day.

Now, this isn't a hard and fast rule. Anyone here remember Star Trek? To boldly go? Now, how should that be written - that's right, it should be "to go boldly", which doesn't have quite the same ring to it. . .

Splitting Verb Phrases or Compounds

I have to put this in, because it's a rule. People get very worked up about this. So, here we go: a verb phrase is a group of words that function as a verb. Examples include things like "was kissed", "had been kissed". When you split these phrases up, it's hard to make sense of the sentence. As my grammar book phrases it, the sentence lurches forward.

Mrs. Spit had, in a most delightful way, been kissed. (This sentence is wrong. I had to look at three times to determine that I was splitting my verb compound. It's wrong. It still looks fine, doesn't it?) Correctly, it is written:

Mrs. Spit had been kissed in a most delightful way. (Because that looks so much better, doesn't it?Pbfft)

Your Homework:
A prominent public person has read this sentence in a speech. Clearly, he has not read my grammar column. (Or, possibly any other grammar column). See if you can fix the sentence and help a politician out.

"We're concerned about AIDS inside our White House - make no mistake about it."*

*You can also send your responses to: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20500

I'll think of a reason later

It may be my family's a redneck nature (1) Rubbin' off, bringin' out unlady like behavior. It sure ain't Christian to judge a stranger, but I don't like her. She may be an angel who spends all winter, bringin' the homeless blankets and dinner. A regular Nobel Peace Prize winner, But I really hate her, I'll think of a reason later
(Leanne Womack)

I heard this song for the first time, about 10 years ago. It was the first Christmas after the break-up. You know, that break up. The one that you thought you'd marry, and have the white picket fence and 2.5 children and a dog with. (2). Anyway, he was already dating, and I didn't like his girlfriend. For rather obvious reasons. At any rate, I was sitting in my Aunt's kitchen, it was Christmas, and I heard this on her radio, and I thought, yep, I'll think of a reason later.

Hate: 1. To dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward, detest. 2. To be unwilling, dislike. (Dictonary.Com)

So, two Friday's ago, I was sitting in my hair dressers chair(3). And I was talking about someone in my life. And I wasn't being nice. I'm not proud of myself. I sinned. I was unkind and cruel and not at all loving. The funny thing about not liking someone is that every single thing they do offends your sensibilities. And in all honesty, in my small and petty way, I'd like to tell you everything I don't like about her. I sent a list yesterday afternoon to a friend. It listed 12 things, and I didn't even have to think. Those were the things at the top of my head. And it really felt good to stand up and say "I really dislike you, here's why".

My hairdresser looked at me and said, "Face it Mrs. Spit, you just don't like her."

And I let out this very deep sigh, and I said "yes." Because the truth is, I just don't like her. I suppose I could break it down to say I hate the things she stands for, but frankly, I can't think of many things that are good about her. I've tried. I doubt that I despise her, but I can't, off the top of my head, think why I might want to speak to her, be in her company, interact with her.

I have tried to like her for five years. From the moment I met her, I expected to like her. It took me a few years to accept that I didn't like her. I so expected to like her, and be a part of her life and invite her into mine, and I was just perplexed, because she is, as my mother would say "her own worst enemy." She's hard to like. She's prickly. And it's a struggle to like her.

And because of the dynamics of relationships, I can't quite cut this person out of my life. But I have been reflecting on the absolute insanity of trying to like someone for 5 years. 5 years of trying to find the good. 5 years of stifling down your real and true thoughts. Five years of biting your tongue, and shaking your head, and trying to live and let live. 5 years of not being me, and not admitting what my gut was telling me. I just don't like her. I don't hate her, I'd even wish her well, but I'd sure prefer not having to deal with her.

At what point do you just stop? At what point do you call the game on account of rain, admit that there is a personality conflict and let go of 5 years of problems, and simply admit that you just don't like this person, and short of a personality transplant in someone, that you aren't ever going to like them? And at what point do you say that all the reconciliation in the world isn't going to change that you just don't like this person's attitude. And you just don't like them?

And this bothers me. I don't like the fact that I dislike someone. I suppose I dislike myself for disliking her. I keep trying to be kind, and to be nice, and to stifle all the thoughts of why I don't like her. I keep telling myself it's not Christian to dislike a child of God. She can't be all that bad.

I don't like her.

I give up.

It's ok.

I don't like her.

God loves her.

(1) My mother would probably like you to know, we aren't red necks. Even if we live in Y'Alberta.
(2) For what it's worth, 10 years later, after 7 years of marriage to Mr. Spit, who is the light of my life, with no children, 2 dogs, 2 cats and a chain link fence that is falling over, I'd take Mr. Spit, hands down. God knew what he was doing.
(3) Yes, I know. I go to my hairdresser, I get a blog post out of it. What can I say. She's incredibly wise.

Monday Miscellany

- I put something into the oven last night. I can't remember the last time I used the oven. I need to clean it. . .
- It has come to my attention that there are are two people in my blog roll category under "still trying to shoot down their stork", that have in fact managed to kill the darn creature! So, what blog roll category shall we give them? Leave your votes in the comments!
- The cats are adjusting. The dogs are adjusting. They just don't seem to be adjusting in the same room.
-For the love of all that's holy. . . Why can't my brother in law figure out what the time difference between CA and Alberta is? (No sense in asking my SIL, she's a potted plant.) Great, you figured out how to call us ('cause you know, we haven't spoken to you since March, when we saw you). What would it take for you to figure out how to call us at 7pm, not 10:45?
- Oh, here are the new cats, which have finally and reliably left the basement (which is now barricaded closed!)

This is Toby. Also called Tubby. He's 22 pounds of shy sweetness. He doesn't like the camera. Mr. Spit managed to snap this one after I had chased him all over the house. Really, he's very snuggly, if not at all camera friendly.

This is Coda (or Kota? Anyone who has watched Brother Bear want to jump in here and tell me how the name is spelled?) He's the smaller and curiouser and much more brave cat. He's smaller in that he weighs 16 pounds. He was the first to venture out of the basement, by about 3 hours. He was also the first to get chased and cornered by the dogs, wanting to know why he looked like Max, but sure didn't play like Max.

Two brother cats who like to get petted, they like to snuggle, they like to play. . . Really, it's very nice. Unless you are a dog locked in the living room.

Always better to sleep with your brother.

Look, we told you we aren't photogenic.

Holy Crumb. Did you see the size of those dogs?

Weekend Are For Quotes

Every dog should have a man of his own.
There is nothing like a well-behaved person around the house
to spread the dog's blanket for him,
or bring him his supper
when he comes home man-tired at night.
Corey Ford

The flatulent Mastiff is much better. Just in time for Daddy to come home. My sense of smell, on the other hand, may never be the same. . .

Pictures of the new cats, just as soon as they come out from wherever they are presently hiding.

PS - Mr. Spit wishes you all to know that it was his wife's abject stupidity to leave the dip on the counter, he wasn't in town, and can't be held at all responsible for what HIS dog does when HE is out of town. . .

7 Layer Dip

English Mastiff's that eat the entire bowl of 7 layer dip
digestive problems at 3 am.

I do not think it funny that Mr. Spit howled with laughter.

I'm not going to think it's funny if you lot laugh either.

Just saying. . .

Blogger ate my post

Blogger ate my post. The entire thing. There's no draft of it. It's not scheduled to publish. It's just gone. . . .


Wednesday's are for Grammar

Your Homework:
Was to create a sentence that wasn't a sentence, merely a fragment.

Those who Did their Homework:

- Heidi

- Antigone

- Martha

- Sweet Camden Lass

- Lisa DG

The Shiny Red Pencil Award

Goes to JamieD, who made me smile with her existential angst.

A reminder: The button is only good for a week. No homework, no button. Put the button up illegitimately, and your car will begin to make popcorn in the radiator, your sink will shriek your ex-boyfriend's name every time you brush your teeth, and your cauliflower will begin broadcasting, from your fridge, to Alpha Centauri.

The Lesson This Week

Is only composed of homework.

Can you tell me what is wrong with this sentence:

"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I'll never know."(Groucho Marx)