Puffed sleeves and the depths of despair {pretty, happy, funny, real}

6

{pretty}

There is a type of egg decorating that is not for the faint of heart: Pysanky. I was introduced to this art by the lovely ladies of Mary House. This is an ancient Ukrainian tradition. Eastern Christians have generally tackled this fine art during the reflective time of Lent.

IMG_0419I have read that the tradition has been passed down from mother to daughter. No kidding! My daughter, even at three, has some instinct to treat the egg preciously. There may be some careful boys out there but they don’t live in my house. My egg already has a crack in it from one young man.  That’s OK.  At the time of Lent – and as these are meant to symbolize the gift of life – the crack is also is a reminder of my own flaws and how these are part of each beautiful and unique person.

Historically, as part of the decorating process, the dyes, wax and stylus were brought out at night. I am guessing because precision is near impossible with kids around and the chance to work in quietness was probably a blessing – but I can imagine the difficulty of working on something as delicate at this by candlelight. Apparently, many eggs were made over the course of Lent. One site says enough were made for “ten or twenty for God children”. Ha! I have have two God children so I guess I am going to have to figure out how to make one more…maybe next year.

The process is sort of a reverse-painting. Hard to explain. The candle is used to burn away the wax that is put on at the beginning to preserve the lovely white lines you see here.

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I am always disappointed (thought not surprised) at how often these days, chain franchises and even new businesses are opened without a thought given to aesthetics. I wish there was a beauty inspector who had to sign off on a certain level of aesthetic sense. I know it can beauty can cost but other times it can be easily achieved. A new grocer specializing in locally grown and crafted (baked goods) food has opened here called “Farmer Roberts”.

It is truly delightful and makes shopping an enjoyable experience (and not much more pricey).

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{happy}

We don’t have many hard and fast rules in the house; I tend to make them up as I go along. But Ian and I are in strong agreement that pets are not part of our near future. For many reasons.

Ethan is mourning the loss of a potential pet badge at cubs, so I promised to bring him to the animal shelter to walk an animal now and then.

This is Sweetie. Yes, she is sweet – even I will admit. I enjoyed looking at my children through a glass window while they fed the little puppy. I asked the volunteer on duty if we could take a dog for a walk.

IMG_0405She took one look at me with my unruly 3 year old, my distracted 10 year old, and my baby with no socks on – clinging to me in distinct fear of the little baby animals all around us -and questioned whether we could really handle a “dog that pulls”. Point taken. She gave us Sophia who was actually really lovely and helped to ease us into the art of dog-walking. She was easy, compared to the bipeds in our group.

The accommodating volunteer had attached a second leash to Sophia after Ysabeau lost it when she saw that Ethan was given the main leash. I have a feeling Sophia was shaking her head inside, knowing this isn’t the greatest idea.

Nonetheless, I still categorize this outing as generally “happy”.

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When Ethan arrived to live with us he had difficulty reading for more than 10 minutes (which I think is often common for 10 year old boys). He would became visibly depressed. My heart soars because today he is reading quite easily for 45 minutes and he just completed a read-a-thon at school which asked for 10 consecutive days of reading for more than 30 min per day.

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We just finished reading some books from the fantastic New York best-selling series for kids. Check out the Who Was/ Who Is series. They are the answer to what I have been looking for. The classics are great but Ethan can only handle the Queen’s English for so long. And I simply must limit the graphic novel intake. These lovely little novelettes combine interesting and understandable prose with some lovely illustrations, and (speaking to my heart) a good deal of history.

He loves to read in this chair that leans so far back he almost hits the floor. I get a laugh out of seeing him here many evenings in his “old man” robe that he insists on wearing before bed.

{Funny}

Each winter, a big snow removal truck comes and pushes all the snow from the surrounding roads into a giant hill in the middle of our cul-de-sac. And I mean GIANT. You can get a sense of the size from the house on the right side of the photo. It is a essentially a homing beacon for most kids in the neighbourhood. The kid who has extreme-sport parents on the other street brought his dirt bike to ride down.  My kids and the neighbour’s kids are fairly normal snow recreationalists.

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But lo! One unassuming day while Ethan was at school, the dump truck and digger came – complicit in the city’s plan to eliminate any liability they may have in kids getting hurt on these mounds.

The picture below was taken from Ysabeau’s view from the window, who was excitably sending visible distress signals to the driver. She asked why it was being taken away. I explained that only in the Yukon do we enough snow that it is literally picked up by a dump truck and thrown away.

Toward the end of the snow removal process we got in the van to the rec centre and the driver of the digger pulled in close to us, rolled down his window, apologized to Ysabeau, and said that sometimes it is hard to do his job. Bless!

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I was inspired by a friend who mentioned that when she has to rush out of the house because otherwise she will simply never get out – just grab the jar of PB and crackers – and presto! -instant snack at your final destination. Thanks for inspiring me. I suggest slamming down can of raisins for instant snack sophistication:)

I am glad that libraries don’t outlaw the PB.

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Xav likes spaghetti.

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{real}

I am of the mind that there should be a book written called The Marilla Cuthburt Style of Parenting – for all us parents who are graced with child who is an “Anne of Green Gables kindred -spirit”. These kids neither hide their disgust, or elation, at opportunity.

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Ysabeau is most definitely an “Anne-girl”. As her daycare worker so aptly put it- “She has a flair for the dramatic”. I’ll say. I have endless amounts of “puffed-sleeves” and “depths of despair” moments in my future, and I take full genetic responsibility (well, half). I have no doubt I will find my daughter one day on the river reciting the Lady of Shalot in a shoddy old canoe.

For instance, what I thought was the time-old tradition of sharing the nativity story to Ysabeau at Christmas has turned into a multi-seasonal reenactment of Mary’s piety , head-covering and all (see below).

But I don’t think we give Marilla enough credit for her parenting wisdom. Her “stuff and nonsense” approach was perfect for a girl who struggled with self-control and perspective. In fact, despite their different personalities, they fall in love with one another. They change one another. Temper one one another.

So yes, I appreciate that times have changed and positive parenting styles are all the rage, but I think we can label Marilla’s style as positive (positive for children and teens prone to excessive drama and rashness) – and more importantly, one that suits her unique relationship with her foster child. I hope that Ysabeau and I were put together for a reason. I notice that I tend more toward Marilla’s style (as Anne did in some ways when she became a parent) and I hope there is some providence in that.

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(For my non-Catholic friends this photo may seem quite alarming, as though someone is forcing her to do this. Believe me, she hasn’t see me do this at home and it came on totally impromptu. My friend who is travelling around Europe has a 5 year old son who is a little similar to Ysabeau, and on their visits to old churches and monasteries, he kneels down and bows over one knee like a medieval knight every time he enters a a church built before 1800. The atmosphere compels a response. Love it!).

This post was a link-up with my favorite blog at Like Mother, Like Daughter – because it’s important to maintain the collective memory.

6 thoughts on “Puffed sleeves and the depths of despair {pretty, happy, funny, real}

    1. mpdavis Post author

      Thanks! He is passionate about his food! I checked out your blog- LOVE the quilt. Interested in the fireplace behind it as well. I am addicted to fireplaces and woodstoves. We installed one last year and it keeps me sane through the long winters:)

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  1. Jenny

    That is a lot of snow! What a delight it must be to have a girl like Anne in your life. Sugar and spice……

    How did you help your older boy with the reading? Did it just naturally evolve as he aged? I have a 10 year old who is really struggling with reading for a longer time.

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    1. mpdavis Post author

      She is a delight- most of the time! We basically had to eliminate any video game playing which he was used to before he came to live with us. It’s not that I want to deny him the things he likes but it really was preventing him from being able to enter into the world of books. He can’t quite crack the classics yet. We read the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe outloud to him but then and then had to take a good long break. There are some good segway books from graphic novel to complete prose that sort of help make the transition easier. Geronimo Stilton helped and he seems to be beyond those now. Perseverance and finding things that speak to where they are at.

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  2. Rosie

    That new store looks wonderful! I do wonder why nobody seems to have an eye for aesthetics when they design stores anymore… I’d pay a little more for products if the environment were beautiful!

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