Tag Archives: peace

I still believe in Santa


pollyanna-5I read recently of a idea for parents where, when your child is starting to wonder about “things”, you take them out for a special time all by themselves and tell them Santa is about giving and now that they were grown up enough, they could be part of the giving, be a part of Santa. Then help them pick out a present for someone  (a neighbour or a sibling’s friend or whatever) and help them give it to that person.

I like the idea. I wish I’d thought of it. Somehow my kids have all figured out that the joy is in the giving, not necessarily the receiving (years of lame presents (socks, underwear) help this learning), but we didn’t have a tradition about it.

And I’m still wearing the blame for lying to them about Santa and the Easter Bunny and tooth fairies and so forth.

images-2I’m not hugely religious anymore – more spiritual, I’d say, with weird blobs of belief in various directions. But somehow (though it’s getting harder these days), I’ve always believed in the innate goodness of people, that somewhere in the depths of the most ignorant reprobate (#realDonaldTrump) there is a tiny flickering candle of goodness or kindness or hope.

I feel like a Pollyanna when I say it, but I can’t help but cling to that belief. Otherwise, where would we be?

Well, probably right where we are now…(sigh), but I have hope still that people will figure out a way to do good, to help each other, to choose the unselfish route. To favour giving over receiving.

Like Santa.

I’ve been on the receiving end of this giving more times than I can count, and I feel so fortunate to have friends around who care about me. It’s lovely. I try to pass on their goodness to others, to share it around. I’m not always good at it, but it’s one of those things I am always trying.

So I know we’re all overspent and overfed and all that, but maybe we could take time to give to someone else, someone we don’t know, that cold guy out on the street, the food banks, the shelters. I’d give for Syria, but I have honestly no idea who to trust to be the giver for me. I’ll be making my donation to Feed Nova Scotia. They share the goodness all over the province, and I know they’ll be low after providing Christmas meals to everyone.

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As Tiny Tim would say, “God bless us, every one!”, or as I prefer, “We help each other, every one!”

Happy Christmas and Merry Hanukkah and Blessed New Year (with no mistakes in it, as Anne of Green Gables would say)! Let’s channel our internal Pollyannas and dig in for the oncoming trials.

Being hopeful doesn’t mean you have to give up fighting for others…

On the joys of domesticity and/or ironed sheets


28347248-Woman-Ironing-Stock-VectorI had a friend named Peg, who I teased because she always ironed her sheets, especially for her guests. “Why iron them? They’re only going to get all wrinkly right away…”

She looked at me sadly. “Don’t you iron your sheets? It makes them feel nice.” I thought she was borderline mad and/or OCD. She probably thought I was an ignoramus. Or at least uncultured. What can I say? My mum did minimal housework. I don’t think she ever ironed a sheet. Or much of anything.

iron-sheetsI was thinking of Peg today, as I ironed my new-to-me curtains from the thrift store for my new apartment, and then hauled out my sheets and started ironing them. I wanted them to feel special for my first night in the new place.  As I pressed them I thought about my new apartment, how much I’m looking forward to living downtown, how my image of “life in a garret” is finally coming true (though only at the second floor level).  And then, because ironing cotton sheets takes a long time, I thought of Peg, and our breakfasts at Denny’s where we’d ask for extra hash browns, and all the laughs we shared. I thought of my cousin Marie-Danielle who taught me about lavender and linen ironing spray and made my work ironing so gorgeous-smelling. And I thought of our shopping trips to Merrickville and how we found so many fun things to gaze at and dream about.

And then I thought of the people I’d ironed sheets for, those who visited me. I ironed them for my sons (sometimes). I ironed them for my sister. And I ironed them for others…

Ah, I thought, this is the reason for the ironing. It gives you time to think about friends and family while you are creating order from chaos. My sheets, imperfectly ironed as they are, are waiting for my first night home, smooth and clean and special.

And the simple domestic act of ironing soothed my heart and my soul.

I’m not a complete convert, though. I didn’t iron the fitted bottom sheet. What do you think I am, crazy?

Maybe I should try this…

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Somehow, somewhere, something is right with the world


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/10/world/europe/10hamsters.html

Some of you may have seen this news item about France having its knuckles rapped for neglecting one of its endangered animals – the Great Hamster of Alsace? If not, check the link. It’s a fascinating story.

I am enchanted. First, that there is such an animal and that it’s “greatness” means ii grows a whopping 10 inches long. It is terribly cute, with its black tummy and all, but it’s one of those running about little food varmints that hawks tend to pay more attention to than we do. Surprisingly, the cause of this wee endangered creature has made it all the way to the hallowed halls of the European Court of Justice, the highest court in Europe, a place normally reserved for testing of  serious treaty violations.

This wee hammie ruled there. It warms the cockles, so it does. The image of a group of quarrelsome European countries, speaking all sorts of languages, having all sorts of belief systems and theories of life, working together to save a hamster – well, it gives me hope.

It’ something about caring for the smallest things.  The things we don’t often spare a thought for. Looking after the edges, as it were. Always, when I am mopping the floor, I find myself hearing a voice that tells me to “look after the edges and the middle will take care of itself”.  Anyone who has ever had dust rhinos (or searched for hamsters that have escaped, as a rather appropriate example) knows the truth of this statement. The dust (or hamster) tends to leave the centre of the room, the place where everyone else lives. A careful housekeeper (or so the voice in my head says) knows to look after the less popular spaces first, as the centre of the room gets attention anyway. This theory applies to a lot of things in life – look after the hidden bits, and the big bits will be okay.

Alright, I’m sounding a bit muddled here, but my point is that if the European Court of Justice can argue and hold people to account for the fate of a small hammie with a splendid name, perhaps it is looking after the bigger, centre of the room items as well.

That gives me hope. And a smile at the thought of all the less grandiose hamsters that shared our lives.  They are wonderful creatures, and the world is richer for them. Let’s hope the Great Hamster of Alsace succeeds at reproducing, and that the French step up to their responsibility to supply it with habitat.