If you guild it, they will come

I have always wanted to be part of a guild. Not a club or an association. I want to be a guild member. It just sounds so awesome.

A Guild is an association of craftsmen in a particular trade. I am not a craftsmen, nor am I skilled in any particular trade. This is a problem. What guild would have me?

There is then only one answer. I must create my own guild and become skilled enough to contribute to the guild in a meaningful way. A guild must also have members so please read my proposal and let me know if you would like join my guild. There will be t-shirts.

In honor of my Great Grandma Ostrom who went to be with her Creator yesterday, I hereby establish The Guild of Grandchildren. In keeping with modern times, all Guild Members will be referred to as “G’s”.

All members will be required to actively hone the skills handed down to them by their Grandparents so that said skills may be entrusted to the generations that follow.

Skills may include:

Embroidery

Cross Stitch

Culinary Preparation and Presentation

Canning

Pickling

Whittling

Quilting

Wood Chopping

Future Guild Events May Include:

Summer Canning Festival

Doily Making Conference

Swedish Pancake Eating Competition (I am the current world champion of this event)

Apron Design Tutorial

How To Survive An Economic Downturn Utilizing the Art of Pickling Workshop

Elma Slug Festival – This festival includes a high stakes slug race. With some good

recruiting and training, I think our Guild sztands a chance to win.

Please be on the lookout for prospects.

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19920517&slug=1492292

I hope you decide to join the Guild. There will be buttons.

Advertisements

Man v. Wild

We were in search of Beach Access. We thought we had found it…

It had to be right. Sure there was a locked gate and no beach access sign, but according to the map it was the correct spot and there was clearly a trail. The rickety old gate was probably just a relic of some kind. An artifact the caravan park felt some affection for and was unwilling to part with. After all, if it was intended to keep out the general public it wouldn’t have the attractive grassy knoll beside it luring tourists onto the mildly overgrown path it guarded.

As we set out, we could hear the roar of the ocean on our right. Sure it was girded by gum trees and thick brush but, we knew it was there; Emerald Beach, the final destination on our Dubbo to Byron Bay Caravan of Courage. We trudged along through the occasional puddle of mud and stagnant water in our summer flip flops eagerly anticipating the imminent waves that would refresh them.

We walked and walked and walked…and walked…and yet the droning sound of waves was abating making the path we chose increasingly questionable. The quality of the trail was diminishing as well, making the beach seem less and less accessible with each step. Wildlife also started to emerge as a concern.

In the distance Mike spotted a striking and vaguely menacing wild kangaroo blocking our path. It glared at us as if to say, “You shall not pass!” before jumping into the bush. He was big. Not like the kangaroos at the zoo. He was clearly eating more than Koala Park cheerios.

We felt like we were on the discovery channel. Not in a good way. The kangaroo was a reminder of sorts. A warning that we were in a notoriously wild and dangerous land. He was a symbol of what could go wrong. Like a gazelle on the discovery channel. They don’t do specials on gazelles. They do specials on the lions that eat the gazelles.

“You know, this is probably the wrong country in which to take the road less traveled,” I said. Mike laughed in agreement, having been skeptical of our judgment from the start.

We turned around and begin our hike back to camp, this time motivated by a quiet fear rather than the spirit of adventure and anticipation we had set out with. It was a good thing we headed back too because Chaylee no longer wanted to walk on her own. Even when I held her she complained that her feet were bothering her. I hadn’t realized how far we had actually trekked into the bush until I was forced to carry the complaining toddler. We were approaching “the gate”. The gate which no longer seemed like a mere monument but a well placed deterrent.

As we emerged from the “the trail” Kenna called out curiously,”Mom? Dad? What’s on the back of my leg? It looks like a worm?” Mike had his hands full having relieved me from kid courier duty. It would be up to me to handle the worm, or dirt, or whatever it was.

I approached her sun kissed calf and batted at the culprit gently, assuming it would submit without a fight. But it did not come off. I begin to slap at it wildly this time with vocals. It wouldn’t come off. Kenna started to panic as I relentlessly beat her leg silly. I just wanted it off!!! I wailed and swatted at the little bastard like I was in a cat fight. If it had hair, I would have pulled it! Anything to get it off my girl. It finally succumbed and fell to the ground, leaving a trail of blood behind. Her blood.

A better woman would have consoled her daughter. A better mother would have offered her a hug. Instead I just stared blankly at the lifeblood trickling down her little leg and cried out in horror, “THEY”RE BLOOD SUCKING LEEEEEECHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“What? Blood? I’m bleeding? What? Blood Sucking? What?” Kenna’s eyes begin to fill with tears. She was looking to me for comfort and found only hysteria. I was no use to her or any of us.

Meanwhile, Mike began frantically searching for the sinister little suckers. Having remembered Chaylee’s declared discomfort, he took off her shoe. At least four leeches had attached themselves to her fleshy little appendage. I broke down. All I could hear was her sweet little voice…”Mommy, my foot is boddering me. Mommy, my foot is boddering me.”

I was out of the running for Mother of the Year.

They were everywhere. On our legs, in between our toes, feeding on us like we were the other white meat. Mike was bent in nervous, uncontrollable laughter frantically searching for foes as his wife, his partner, spun the children into a frenzy. The other campers did not appear moved by our plight. Or perhaps they were afraid of the crazy lady who was tossing shoes and expendable apparel into the air with abandon in search of black vampire worms.

We finally made it back to Maui (our camper) where more carnage ensued. Mike, God Bless Him, had the presence of mind to methodically search each one of us we before entered the camper so as not to let the leeches into our lair. Unfortunately, one particularly persistent leech made it through the blockade by hiding out on the bottom of my foot. Upon discovering the stow away I, as is customary, began to flail and swipe at my foot recklessly and with no regard for where the flying leech would land. Mike gently chastised me like a 911 operator trying to calm a panicked caller. I took a deep breath and attempted to recapture my maternal instincts. But, my confidence as a caregiver was dismantled once again when we found another leech on the back of Chaylee’s knee. I recognized this one. He was the the free loading sycophant that used my ped to pry his way into our caravan. That means it was me and my savage fear that led to her discomfort. I embraced her and whispered apologies and affection in her ear. Somehow, she held no grudge.

When it was all said and done, we sat on at the caravan kitchen table, emotionally drained, half naked and covered in band-aids. Finally…it had gotten funny.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

WORDS OF THE DAY

# sponger

noun:- a free loader, or one who lives of the good graces of another.

# she’ll be apples

misc:- everything will be OK, there is no need to worry.

# clod hoppers

noun:- your feet

“Once we get the spongers off our clod hoppers she’ll be apples.”

AUSSIE TRIVIA/LEECH FACTS

http://www.wettropics.gov.au/st/rainforest_explorer/Resources/Documents/factsheets/Leeches.pdf

POLL: How would you respond to a leech situation?

SHOUT OUT: My hilarious friend CK pointed out that living in Australia is like being in a video game. Level 1- Driving on the wrong side of the road.

Level 2- Huntsmen Spiders

Level 3- Blue Bottle Jellyfish

Level 4- Rip tides

Level 5- Blood sucking leeches

Chaylee post leech attack

FAMILY FUN FACT: A leech wasn’t the only sponger I picked up on our journey. Shortly after arriving home, I discovered that I was hosting yet another free loader. That’s right. In a surprise twist we are expecting our third Pasley offspring.

FAQ’S-

Was this planned? No

How far along? I am fifteen weeks

Where will the baby be born- Sydney

Are you going to find out if it is a boy or a girl? Yes

Do I need a hug? Yes

Kenna the Enchanted One — and Chaylee the Brain!

“You know what is so cool about me?I am magic in my dreams. I can sprinkle my fingers when I want things to happen and I can say like, “cow” and a cow will appear. I can be a fairy or anything. I can even fly. Sometimes I have trouble flying though. I can’t always fly, but sometimes I can. I am so magical in my dreams.”

That’s rad!

Shout out to the Chay Bay: She officially counts to ten and says her abc’s. As you know she says B instead of V and P instead of F…even when she is saying them. It is very endearing. Love that girl.

Kenna Quotation

“I love the words “lunch” and “much” because I love the sound of “CH”. It just makes me so happy to say that sound. I like other words too, but just parts of them, like “stupid”. I don’t like that word and I don’t say it to people, but I like parts of it. And I think about other things too that you might not know about mom. Like, I think about if I were other people and they were me. And, what if I were the coolest person in the world. What if I were perfect and the world were perfect. Like, what if I was God and what would that be like. Or what the world is like and what other people are like…just what everything is and who I am and…I just think about those things. I can talk to you more about what I like to think about in the morning. ”

WOAH.

Removing the Blog Block

I am having some blogging blockage. I seem to only feel inspired when something goes comically wrong, or is light heartedly moving. Why can’t I write about pain and loss? Do I have an aversion to putting tragedy in writing? Maybe I am afraid of making it official.

It seems as of late that every time I take my place in front of the PC to share an anecdote or a warm memory, my hands go limp. I am not short on joyous and humorous reflections or stories.  In fact, my Dad and Lucy’s trip to the Taronga Zoo on the hottest day of the year was tempting to write about.   I had them sit in the baking sun for a half an hour so they could see a bird show, which was cut short due to animal heat exhaustion.  Or perhaps I could have chronicled our spontaneous journey to the Hunter Valley where the sun ebbed and the wine flowed. It was delicious fun.

I could write for pages on Kenna’s kindergarten adventure thus far, or about how proud I felt today when she was able to read the note I put in her lunch box this morning.

I could write about the Jones’ journey down under. I could tell the world about how great it felt to hug one of my oldest friends. How comforting it was to have home come to me.

But, I need to, for once, write down a feeling that is not light. It isn’t funny. It is almost as if  I can’t bring myself to blog again until I face the wave that is coming for me.  I don’t want to fight the rip,

My family has been eternally altered. With the passing of my cousin Kyle, the shape of us has changed.  Learning of his death brought a sharp pain.  It was an accident, a surprise.  A survivor and casualty of war. We don’t realize what balance a family has until a weight is lifted from one side of the scale. How important and valuable we each are…

My Uncle Gordy left the earth  shortly after Kyle’s departure. The man who taught me the importance of using a wooden spoon when making a sauce, the one who lectured me endlessly about the power of poetry and exercising the mind. Then man who loved family with an unsurpassed passion. With his passing, he passed a torch to a new generation of matriarchs and patriarchs. Leslie, Kenny, Nancy, and my Momma, Carolee.

I feel a strange guilt not throwing in a story about me humiliating myself publicly, but I just knew I couldn’t continue this blogging nonsense until I had said their names.

I love you Kyle Marshall Farr.

I love you Gordon Lee Creighton.

 

License to Ill

I think Australia might be trying to kill me. I am not sure yet. Sometimes, it seems like Australia loves me and never wants me to leave. Like when the sun shines, and the waves crash and the guy at the counter calls me Sheila (that hasn’t actually happened but I trust that it will at some point). But much of the time I think Australia wants me dead.

Why? Because She has waged a campaign of biological warfare against me and my kin. Over the last two weeks, my girls and I have been ravaged by a flu/cold from hell. Fortunately, Mike has been spared. Good thing too. He works for an investment group. Not sure he would survive a physical assault as well. This is cold/flu number 15 since we have arrived.

My theory may be wrong. Maybe Australia is just trying to bolster my wimpy immune system, because it cares; like a drill Sargent trying to beat the weakness out of me. If this is the case, the World Youth Day Pilgrimage to Sydney was like the boot camp finale. The Pilgrims brought with them love, prayers, and germs from around the world. So it could be that this hellish flu is not Australian at all. Maybe this humdinger is Latvian. Hard to say at this point. It is more likely an Asian flu, because it has brought out Chaylee’s legendary kung fu skills.

You see, when Chaylee weaned (see Suddenly Seymour) she may have stopped suckling, but her fascination with the human mouth did not cease. She continues to rely upon sticking her hand in my mouth when she is in need of comfort or rest.

Therefore: Chaylee + Illness = root canal for mommy.

Example: Last night I was up from 2am till 4am being worked on. She used some of her traditional moves like the inner cheek scratch and gum claw. I used some of my own defense techniques like the lullaby method and snuggle hold. When these defenses faltered I attempted to hold a pillow in my mouth in hopes that she could not enter . The pillow was no match for her misery and immense need for comfort. She pulled a side maneuver and entered through the gap between fabric and cheek. Exhaustion and empathy prevailed.

It was like negotiating with a little terrorist. Okay, okay, you can put your hand in my mouth, just stay away from my frenulum…and no scratching.

Now that my hair is longer, she has incorporated some new comfort seeking techniques. Namely, twirling my hair and then jamming it into my mouth. This is a favorite of mine. Another meditative strategy she now employs involves a flat hand and a swift jabbing motion aimed directly at the uvula. Any attempts to thwart said strategy is met with rivers of tears and agonizing cries of “momma”, cough, cough, sneeze, cough, “momma”. How can you say no to a sickly baby dentist. I can’t. Especially one as lovely as she.

Word of the Day: Oldies: Parents.

I refuse to use this in a sentence.

Poll: Does anyone else have a child or know of a child that is comforted by the inside of his/her mother’s mouth?

Family Fun Fact: Chaylee Pasley DDS is an amazing little girl…it would take ten blogs…even more…to capture her loveliness. She is a delight not just a dentist. Just wanted to let the world know.

Surgeon General Notice: By the time guests arrive in Sydney once again, our family should be completely immune to germs worldwide.

Wenlocks and Grandma Down Under Part 2

“Living without you, living alone
This empty house seems so cold” 

Oh Journey…you haunt me.

My beloved family has departed…leaving me to fend for myself on this massive remote island. I am closer in proximity to the Malaysian Prime Minister than my own relatives now. Best not to think about that too much.

Instead, I shall dwell on all the wonderful times we shared …once we got the nose situation under control, that is. We frolicked on the steps of the Opera House, danced to the didgeridoo at Circular Quay, played in the sparkling sands of Balmoral Beach and hid from a rainstorm under the bridge. We even ate Aussie food at an Irish Pub where Mick, the ball-busting waiter shared his displeasure with our Olympians…

“Tired of hearing your bloody anthem mate!”

Okay, now that’s just awesome.

Mom’s arrival brought even more bliss. We flew kites on the crystal shores of Bondi, caressed kangaroos at Taronga Zoo and attempted to enjoy the clowns and carnival of Luna Park.

Our first attempt was met with alluring lights, celebratory music, and a closed sign. Our second effort was thwarted by a recently revised ticket policy. No longer are visitors to Luna Park allowed to purchase individual tickets, only a pricey “ticket package”. We had to take a stand. It wasn’t easy convincing the little ones that our boycott was justified, so we bribed them with fairy floss (cotton candy) and festive clown encounters.
Lesson: Never trust an establishment that uses a creepy clown to welcome you.

There was also good grown-up fun. Mom and Kirsten and I had one heck of a night out on the town. Mom was a champ. She was willing to enjoy the nightlife even though the excursion would commence at 1am Pacific Standard Time.

We decided to take the train from Chatswood to Darling Harbour where we would locate an eatery worth eating at. On our way there we were fortunate to happen upon an Asian festival where a Celtic band was playing an obscure song called “Orphan Girl” that my mom recorded with my sister and I for her latest album. It was a surreal “Small World” sort of feeling as we Americans sang along with Irishmen at an Asian festival in Australia. All that were missing were some an African goat drums and a couple sombreros.

Once we arrived at Darling Harbour, we scoured the promenade with purpose, in an effort to find the perfect spot to imbibe and nibble on the finer things. We finally found what we thought was an ideal location; a seafood joint with outdoor dining and a water view. It was beautiful, crowded, festive and fricken freezing. The heat lamps were no match for the mighty winter winds that lapped up against our hungry cheeks. (That was my lame attempt at a more poetic writing style). Although we were pleased with our culinary options and our waiter, we did not feel like having frigid fun. So we took our drinks and headed inside.

Our indoor accommodations were sparse. No jovial neighbors surrounded us, the wait staff was disorganized and disinterested, and the table was cold and barren. We had made a poor decision. We scanned the room and found a more alluring option. A booth, with a decorative bamboo backdrop and a better view…sort of. At least we could see something blue at the bar. Unfortunately, it was also home to a run away AC unit. It was like trying to have a drink in a wind tunnel. Since no one cared to feed us at that point anyway, we paid the bill and departed.

Then, it happened.

We found what we were looking for. We found Nick’s. Nick had it goin on; outdoor seating, effective heating elements, a magnificent menu and a friendly staff that seemed more than happy to take in customers on the rebound.

There was a minor martini incident…but other than that…

(The following clip contains some profanity. My apologies. It was my alter ego Delores…not me.)

The evening ended with the singing of a popular folk song called, “We Are Australians.” The song recently gained popularity in mainstream media due to a moving Olympic inspired commercial. We performed the song in three-part harmony on the streets of Sydney in hopes that somehow our melodious effort would ignite an impromptu Sydney sing-a-long, in the tradition of Fame or High School Musical. It didn’t.

Mike and James also had a night out on the town. They walked the Harbour Bridge and hit some of the famous Sydney Pubs. I hear much of the night was spent trying to feed Big James in a town that doesn’t believe in serving anything edible after 10pm. I believe the adventure ended with beer and pancakes. ???

There was more, much more, but since I am into the whole brevity thing we will fast forward to the airport…

I did what I could to not weep openly as they headed to the concourse that would lead them home. I am not an attractive crier. My nose and lips tend to swell and my skin gets very red and blotchy. Needless to say, I left that day in the aforementioned state.

In the somewhat altered words of Journey,
“Now that [they had] come back and
Turned night in to day
I needed [them] to stay”

Fortunately Mom and Mike were there with Open Arms.

We decided to head out to our favorite pizza joint to lessen the sense of loss and continue the fun. It was a good night. There was a minor incident involving mom, food aversion and a fever of 101, but over all…

Random Trivia: Aussie’s shorten everything…to an irritating degree. It’s not breakfast, it’s brekkie. It’s not lipstick, it’s lippie. It’s not flight attendant or air hostess, it’s hostee. I mean, Come on guys. Are you being a little ridiculous, or should I say, rickee!

Poll: Is Delores too vulgar?

Fun Family Fact: Mom and I discovered some incredible local hangs that we would like to take future guests to, including: Palm Beach, Whale Beach, Serpentine Beach and the Royal Botanical Gardens. What a grand time we had Momma!

Phrase of the Day: Choof Off: To leave or depart.
Why did they have to choof off?

Homework: Learn “We are Australians”