The Cold Water Splash (Nov 1992)

As children on a farm with no running water, this was the way we washed our faces. Choosing this month’s cover photo taken by my Mom of brother Phillip helped me to put together a few more pieces of the puzzle understanding why I am the way I am.

I never thought much about it till my kids and husband left home and gave me some time to myself, but once in while I used to wonder why people did things in a certain way.

For example, I wonder why ... I still torture myself on cold winter mornings, filling my cupped hands with cold water to splash my face, the same way that Phillip is about to do in the photo. When it is really cold I use luke warm water and some years ago I smartened up and started running hot water over my hands to warm them up after the cold water splash. But after all these years, I still prefer a cold water splash in the morning. I figure it’s because I don’t drink coffee and the jolt is a substitute to get me feeling fully awake.

I wonder why as a Mom I resented society dictating that to be a good Mom you had to have a neat house, inside and out, and spanking clean kids. Thank goodness I was young enough to be a rebel and ignore my neighbours' and relatives' well-meaning advice. As my children grew into teenagers and our home became a place to hang out, my favorite quote became “I can trip over this stuff as well as you boys can.” I had promised myself never to become a nagging Mom and I refused to serve bondage to my house.There were so many more interesting and exciting things for us to do. I realized my children needed time to socialize and I knew it took time to learn sports or hobbies. Besides they were teaching me a lot about taking time to enjoy myself and I knew they wouldn’t be teenagers forever. So housework took second place ... and it still does.

A favorite quote of my Mom’s was “A place for everything and everything in its place.” She tried her best to make my brothers and me proper, tidy citizens. I remember as a eight-year-old having to rake the gravel to the outdoor biffy so that it would look nice and tidy. I also remember protesting to myself ... that this had gone too far. What a waste of time this was on a beautiful Saturday. I could think of twenty things I’d rather be doing. So why do I choose to continue the cold water splash and disregard her advice on neatness? It's a good question and I think I have discovered the answer! My Mom also taught me to think for myself and take responsibility for my actions.

Here is one of my favorite stories about why I am the way I am. When I was 10 years old, I was invited to Aunt Cathy’s birthday party. This was an honour because it was a late evening party and I was the only child invited. I loved to sew doll clothes and I decided I would make Aunt Cathy a stuffed elephant, like the ones in the catalogue. I found an old blue shirt that I could cut up, bought some yellow embroidery thread for five cents and went to work. I embroidered a smile and an eye in place and then stitched together the two pieces of fabric, stuffing as I went. As the gifts were opened and my elephant made the rounds, the gushes of praise at how talented I was made me feel like a heroine.

Many years later when Aunt Cathy was moving she asked me to help. Under the china cabinet, covered in dust, I found the blue elephant and I stared at it in amazement.Why had I chosen blue? Was that really an elephant? The stitching wasn’t even and it had big gaps in it. It was very lumpy looking and I discarded it quickly into the garbage bin for I was embarrassed at how ugly it looked. And me ... a sewing instructor at the local college! Today I would enjoy having the elephant around as a reminder of how far I have come and how a little praise encouraged me to keep sewing.

Perhaps that is why I have been able to publish ISSUES with no previous background or training. All I knew when I started was that the valley needed a full time networker and a magazine would help to spread the word. The encouragement I have received by everyone, every step of the way, certainly led me to believe that I was good at it. I am still amazed at all the hands-on help I have received from strangers to make my job easier. Today many of those strangers are my best friends and they are still helping me to be the best I can be.

Now that my basic training in publishing is over, I want to re- focus my energy. Starting with this edition, ISSUES will be published five times a year instead of six. Producing one winter edition to cover Nov/Dec/Jan will give me the extra time I need to do the scheduling for the Spring Festival of Awareness and avoid the Christmas rush. There will be two spring editions, Feb/March and April/May, published one month before and one month after the Festival of Awareness. Publishing the summer edition to cover the three months of June/July/August, will allow me to take a month off to review and renew myself. The Fall edition of Sept/Oct will be the same as always.

Both the Festival and ISSUES, are dear to me and I want to have the time to enjoy doing them. I want to thank everyone in advance for understanding my decision to publish only five editions a year. There will be reminders in each ISSUES when the next one will be available for pick-up at your favorite spot so please make note of the changes as I enjoy having you as a reader.

Perhaps one day when the valley is ready I will publish monthly but to do that I will need to have an office and a receptionist. My one year of grade eight typing has been a blessing but not something I enjoy doing.

Please remember that this is your networking magazine. The stories are submitted by local writers wanting to share ideas. If you have something to share, please write or phone me and we’ll let other folks know what you are doing.

I also do a TV Show entitled the Holistic Networker that airs on Shaw Cable 11 in Summerland and Penticton. If you are new to town or want to know what’s happening in the valley, watch the show or give me a call ... I am happy to share what I know.