Posted by: Valerie | March 12, 2011


Spring is coming – they say. We have to turn the clocks forward tonight and lose an hour of sleep. Who are they kidding? I shall take my usual eight hours no matter what the clock says!

As we Canucks all know, spring in most parts of Canada can be at least as gruelling as full winter. But there is hope which makes a difference. Every year I look forward to hanging out my laundry for the first time – but we are very far from that right now. It rains in the daytime and freezes at night then a sugaring of snow on top in the early morning and you take your life in your hands to go over the doorstep. Our driveway is long and it is murder! Thick ice with puddles on top. Let us give thanks to the inventors of ice grippers. I have a cheap, tatty old pair that I wear constantly in this weather. I have not turned arse over teakettle – yet. Joe has two pairs of much nicer ones which he refuses to wear. Admittedly he has enormous feet (size 13) and the grippers don’t fit his wellies but I’m sure they would fit his town boots. I have to report however that Joe has not turned arse over teakettle either – yet.

It's like waiting for a new baby!

To complete the picture, our basement is extremely soggy. I had to go down there and plodge around to do the laundry this morning and it was quite unpleasant. Never mind – spring is coming! Daffodils are probably pushing their way up through the snow. I’m almost tempted to go out there and scrabble in the snowbanks to see if anything is happening. But that would be silly, wouldn’t it? So, I won’t.

Horrible, horrible news of the Japanese earthquake. The film that is coming out of there is almost unbelievable. I think it would be completely unimaginable if we didn’t have these images. One piece of film really did communicate to me the feeling of despair that must be affecting so many. Not the raging torrent of destruction of the tsunami, not the collapsing buildings. It is of people who are sitting on the ground in an underground station. The camera closes on the face of a young woman who is just staring down at her hands. She was likely on her way home from work. She cannot leave because there is no other available transportation. The people who expect her home now have no idea if she is alive or dead and she has no way of knowing if they are. Does she still have a home? Who knows? No matter what the scale of the disaster, it is the individual experience that I try to grasp.

Something else that really bothered me in the news today. It seems that the soldier who leaked secrets to Wikileaks is being held in jail at Quantico. He is stripped and searched at least once a day and is kept shackled. Shackled! What the hell for? This is utterly ridiculous. He is to be tried for treason as he disclosed secrets to the enemy. Enemy? Julian Assange is the enemy? Now I do agree that the US has the right to be severely pissed about this whole affair but their reaction is entirely out of proportion. Remove the shackles!

So much misery. Meanwhile I guess there will be no aid on its way to Japan from Libya as Gaddafi continues to murder his own people. I read on the BBC this morning a piece that suggests that the more westernized Middle-Eastern countries have a much easier time getting rid of their dictators than the more radical ones and that would seem to be about right. It’s all such an unholy mess everywhere. We are shocked! We say “How terrible for these poor people.” and then we pour a cup of tea or make the dinner. Maybe write a cheque.

We had our own drama this past week – at least Angela did. Deklin was really sick and she was advised to take him Emergency at the hospital. James was away in Montreal so she was all alone. The visit took 12 hours although they saw him immediately which is a miracle in itself! Poor wee guy was poked and prodded, smothered in masks for breathing tests, strapped into a cylinder for Xrays. Needless to say, both Mummy and wee one were bawling their eyes out throughout. Eventually they came up with a diagnosis of Respiratory Something-or-other Virus which is apparently common and most kids get it sometime but in D’s case was greatly exaggerated by asthma. He was sent home with anti-biotics, prednisone and another steroid plus a heavy-duty inhaler. To make matters worse, Angela was sick with the same thing. However all are improving rapidly now.

Angela remarked that although she had, in the course of her previous job as a crisis counsellor, been accustomed to carting kids off to CHEO, the experience of taking her own child was vastly different! Most of us parents already have experienced that. And it never really stops. Our kids are still our kids whether they are tiny or adults and we still worry. My first mother-in-law (aren’t I the lucky one to have had two?) once said to me when I was tearing my hair about one of the kids “It doesn’t get better, dear, it only gets different.” She was right!

On a brighter note – as long as “spring” doesn’t get in the way – I’m off to Ottawa on Tuesday. Yippee! I’ll do a little baby-sitting, visit some friends and spend some time with Jamie and Angela. Oh, and of course visit my good client, Robert, to catch up on some business. Not to forget a little shopping…

 And just so Pauline knows what we are eating tonight, we are having a yummy tray of roasted veggies – potato, parsnip, carrots, red pepper, garlic, onions, apple, tiny bits of lemon and ginger, mushrooms, sweet potato and some chopped up sausage, all anointed with a good EVOO and some mixed spice. Wanna come over?

Oh, and  in case you were wondering about the title, Whatamess was the name of an Afghan Hound puppy in a book much loved by one of my children. Was it you, Anna?


Anyway, it seems appropriate for this posting.


  1. I do so enjoy your pieces mum! I see were part of the brilliance trickles from!

    See you Tuesday!! With MUCH anticipation!!!


    • Me too! Me too!

  2. You had two mothers in law? You were lucky. I have never had any.
    Poor little Deklin, I am glad to know that they are better so I don’t have to worry about THEM too! Angus is on the mend. We are lucky about that, it was touch and go. So much on the news about concussions, etc. Or is it because we are in it and paying attention more?

    I checked out the Orkney chairs. Beauty! A bit expensive though to think of acquiring at this stage of my life! I spend too much time sitting as it is.

    All those mothers sons in jail. Way too many. Conrad agrees.

  3. They made an animated tv series about whatamess. It was cute.
    Makes me want a puppy. My neighbour just got a new chocolate Lab puppy and I have exercised GREAT restraint in not going over to bother her, but I think I’m going to cave on Monday. She works at home doing animation. And she has a 6 year old chocolate Lab too. I should go over more, I guess. I could offer to puppy-sit.

    Of course, any dogs in Spring are a mess after you take them for a walk.

    • I’d like to get a dog and would get a rescue or a pound pup but they won’t consider us for adoption as our property is not completely fenced. Fencing 7 acres would be a touch expensive!

      • I suppose you could just fence an area in the yard, like a walled garden!

  4. Another great blog, Valerie. Maybe an illustrated recipe book could be next? The dinner sounds delicious–meanwhile I am at home recovering from a URI–otherwise known as a cold. It is a stinker–7 days and counting.

    Have a great trip to see the grandbaby. It can help to take ones’ mind off the troubles of the world over which we have no control. A little disconcerting to hear an expert on temblors saying that an earthquake in the NW of the US would complete the “ring of fire’ of Chile, New Zealand and Japan. And with that knowledge we can do–what?

    Have a great and safe trip. We are going to have weather in the 80’s this week. I think we had two days of spring last week. My brother pointed out that plants in Arizona must be very confused–16 degrees F one week and 80 F the next. I have never seen so many cacti totally destroyed. I would love to see daffodils and croci in the ground–and maybe a snowdrop? I can get the daffs for a dollar a bunch at the grocery snow.

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