What is the Happy Balance?

There is still a little girl in me who doesn’t want to face anger and disapproval, who will consider not doing something she wants to do, or doing something she doesn’t want to do, if it means avoiding criticism or unpleasantness or even disappointing another person.

birdsaver 2 r

Since we hung the homemade birdsaver on the living room window, only one bird has hit the glass. Before that, there could be as many as three a day! I’ve made another birdsaver for the dining room window and have clipped it out of the way with clothespins till Scott gets out his stapler and climbs a ladder outside.

There is also a big girl in me who doesn’t let the little girl get away with that, who doesn’t set her choices and convictions aside, even when doing so might help her dodge a browbeating or the negative judgment of others.

It’s so much easier, in the short run, just to go along with things and people. There is less conflict; others get what they want, so they think the little girl is just as she ought to be. She in turn is relieved not to stand up for herself. No one is giving her any grief, so she doesn’t have to.

In the long run, though I might retrain myself to cooperate with hopes or expectations that please others but are not mine, it’s myself I have to live with. It’s my own counsel I need to keep, often even after considering the perspectives of others. It’s my own sense of right and wrong, of natural and unnatural, of desired and undesired, that it is up to me to be aware of. I am every bit as important as the person standing beside me, and my inclinations deserve to be respected just as much … even if I’m the only one who believes that.

Simple acquiescence is less difficult, but it can leave you feeling weak if you do it too often. Perhaps the approval of others is worth it. After all, who wants to be seen as stubborn, selfish or self-serving, immature, fearful, and so on — there are many common labels pasted on those who insist on being their own director. Sometimes these labels are correct, too; they shouldn’t be dismissed without honest consideration. Even so, it’s the task of each individual to decide what’s true and what’s important, and whether to strive for the same things as others or pursue one’s own goals.

Camper Season

Bev and I are camper-lovin’ gals. Give us a camper to sit in and we’ll be there. I have an old camper that is parked in the trees, and come warm weather I give it a sweep and wipe its surfaces and carry my “scrapbookin'” stuff out there for the summer. I’m not a serious scrapbooker but I do love images of every sort and tend to collect them. This way I don’t have to gather everything up when we need the surface in the house. It’s all there for me on the camper table when I have a minute or two to spend out there.

These photos were taken from my bench seat as we chatted in the camper the other evening:

The two lemon pies I made yesterday were dismal. The crusts had to be rolled out twice because they tore, so that would make them tough, I imagine, although there was no way to tell because the filling didn’t thicken. We had bowlsful of “puddin’ pie” last night and they tasted okay, but the dog is getting a treat today. Not a healthy one, but … she’s a dog, she’ll love it. I think.

Tomorrow she’ll get the other one.

It turns out the fillings were quite old, so that may have been the problem. Also, I need a lot more practice if I want to be a pie-gal. Do I really? Nope.


Leetle Seesta

I was in Grade 3 and my sister Karen was in Grade 1. Our brother Cameron would have been a toddler of two, and we lived in the teacherage in our small village, as Dad taught at the high school a block away.

In May that year, our little sister was born. Karen and I went to the stores and to the homes of neighbours, announcing that Mom had had a baby. We hoped she would be named Suzie, but were destined to be disappointed; for some reason, they called her Joan. We still don’t really know why, as there was no one in the family with that name and it was not one of the girls’ names that was popular at the time. Our parents had a friend named Joan but that didn’t seem to be the reason. In recent years we learned that one of our 4X great-grandmothers had been called Joan, and with an interest in numerology it occurred to me that perhaps this had been an unconscious influence upon our mother’s choice of names for this last addition to our family.

And what a sweetheart our baby was. She seemed to smile all the time, from the day they brought her home. She was a pink-complexioned gift from heaven, cuter than any button, a darling from the get-go. Nine years my junior, she was never a pest to her older sisters and she was the delight of our mother; she was a kind of creamy whipped topping on the cake of our family. As an infant Joan was a bit afraid of Dad and would cry when he picked her up, but this passed. She and Mom had a relationship that was close and trusting till the day Mom died; they were good friends as well as mother and daughter.

I left home years before Joan did, but when I was there she’d often follow me around, sleep in the same bed, and pick through my belongings laid out on the dresser. “I’m nosy,” she told me, holding some item up for a closer look.

“She just wants you to like her,” Mom said one time when I was home from boarding school for a weekend and had no idea why Joan’s feelings seemed to be hurt. She was only about six years old then.

And I do like her. She is the best: a kind, generous, funny and fun-loving, smart, fair, energetic bundle of joy. Still. And today’s her birthday.

Have a good one, Joanie! Keep on clownin’ around …


Your Big Sis