Saturday, May 30, 2015

Have I Been 'Living In Sin' For 17 Years?

Have I been living in sin for 17 years? SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak

When I received notification that my ancient red and white health card was going to expire and I would forfeit my rights to free Ontario health coverage if I didn't re-register for a new 'fancy pants' version, I gathered up the required three forms of identification and left for work just a wee bit early so I'd have time to slip through the glass door of Saunder's Men's Wear.

It must be as old as the town itself - this shop with it's heavy door and jingling bell and rows of suit jackets and shoe polish - and in a corner with a little counter is where us small town folk go to do government business...from license photographs to new health cards.

I plopped my paperwork down along with my birth certificate, my drivers license, and my passport.  The trouble is, my health card - because it's the old version - still has my maiden name AND SO, unless I can prove my legal name change I CANNOT GET A NEW HEALTH CARD and, without a new health card I DO NOT HAVE OHIP COVERAGE.

"You need to bring in your marriage certificate," she told me.

Two days later, having found my marriage certificate from the archives that is our already many years together, I went back in with determination that I could take care of business.


"This isn't a marriage certificate."

I pointed to the top where it says, 'Certificate of Marriage'.

"This isn't a marriage certificate," she said again, turning to a little poster on the wall with a picture of a golden card that looked like a birth certificate.  "You need that."

I tried to argue.  "I've never had that.  Why would they let me change all my other information?  Isn't my license an official document?  My tax returns?"  What I really wanted to say was: please, please, please don't make me have to come back here for a third time to try and make this happen!

She was apologetic and kind and I sighed and repeated over and over in my own head, 'patience & grace, patience & grace'.  "It's not your fault," I told her, gathering my things again after she gave instruction as to how I would go about obtaining a legal marriage certificate.

And so I left - no closer to regaining my free health care.

And then I thought: what if I'm not actually married at all??!!??

Which, of course, is ridiculous BUT WHAT IF??!!  How great of a story would that be!?



So I've paid the fee and sent my request for a certificate.  Which won't get here for fifteen days.  Which means I'd better not get sick, or fall down a well, or stub my toe for at least a month until I find myself protected beneath that beautiful blanket of free health care (that they so ruthlessly snatched back).

And if, in some strange twist of affairs, it turns out we're not actually married {we were the first marriage ever performed by our officiant so it's not out of the question to think, perhaps, he forgot to send away the papers...} we shall elope to Vegas, honeymoon in New Orleans, and then run away to Europe for a year while the shame of our sin-living dims to a distant memory in the beautiful shadow of a Roman Coliseum.


June is GIVEAWAY month here at SelfBinding Retrospect.  You'll be challenged to take some time for yourself, share the ways you unplug and recharge, and enter for your chance to win a cute little gift pack I've put together with some of my own favorite 'Stolen Moments' tools.  I will start taking entries on June 1.  Check out the giveaway page if you want to know more!

Monday, May 25, 2015

How To Be A Bad Neighbor

How To Be a Bad Neighbor - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak
Our neighbors are lovely and their beautiful lawn is a true reflection of their loveliness.  Their mower works without complaint - sometimes twice a week - sometime thrice...

We are friendly, trading small-talk where our yards meet, making the appropriate yummy noises when we smell the others barbeque, waving at each other when we leave the driveway.  

There is, however, a great divide and it happens to be right on that borderline where their lawn - meticulously trimmed and fed - butts up against ours. 

We are to their grass what a hippie is to a business man.

And, true to that hippie image, I have no qualms about the dandelion farm we're running.  I mean, we have all this land and even though I've given up my dreams of a vegetable garden we really should be growing something...

So we are.  Dandelions and grass. 

And like I said, I don't mind the dandelions.  

I do mind the grass.

I mind when I'm writing at the table under the front yard arbor and it's tickling against my ankles.  I mind when I'm pushing the wheelbarrow back to the garden waste pile behind the barn and it gets stuck because the grass is too thick and long.  I mind when the dear neighbors are cutting theirs for the millionth time and ours just waves at them like a group of little green idiots.

When Saturday proved gorgeous that old Yard Pro was backed out of the barn and the summery sweet smell of fresh cut grass wafted through the air and the thirteen-year-old got his first lesson in how to run the tractor and the world was righting itself and I wasn't going to have to be embarrassed and shrug off the judgement that lurked just behind the friendly smiles of those darling neighbors...

thirteen-year-olds can cut the grass!

Then the belt came loose.

And all my dreams came crashing down.

You want to know how to be a bad neighbor?  Come sit with me on my deck right now and take a good look around.  You'll figure it out.


June is GIVEAWAY month here at SelfBinding Retrospect.  You'll be challenged to take some time for yourself, share the ways you unplug and recharge, and enter for your chance to win a cute little gift pack I've put together with some of my own favorite 'Stolen Moments' tools.  I will start taking entries on June 1.  Check out the giveaway page if you want to know more!
You know what I'm intentional and dedicated to?  Dandelions.  Little discs of sunshine.  Wee dollops of chaos.  Sweet lollipops of warm breeze joy.  And you know which house I live in?  THE ONE SURROUNDED IN DANDELIONS!  Let me take you down to dandelion fields.  Let me show you how to make a chain with their stems.  Let's make it long enough to string the whole house with garland.  Let's lay down amoung them and not care about staining our clothes.  Let's "Momma had a baby and her head popped off."  Let's blow the seeds onto the neighbours immaculate green and start pickets for the Yellow Party.  Let's play.  Let's not worry about what doesn't warrant worry.  Let's embrace them for what they are: Irish daisies, granters of wishes, healers of dullness...

Far and wide, hear the call:


Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Mother's Hands

~an edited post from the archives in honor of Mother's Day~
A Mother's Hands - mother's day - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak

There were nights when the darkness was too thick and the country silence too heavy and the comfort of my sister sleeping on the other side of our little paneled bedroom too far and so I would call out for her.

She would slip in without a sound, tiptoe across the ugly brown printed carpeting - distilling annoyances over scattered legos and baby dolls - and sit softly beside me on my little mattress under a wall covered in drawings I traced but claimed to have done freehand.  Sometimes she would sing. Mostly she would run a finger over my face.  Gently.  Tracing my features.  Soft touches over nose and forehead and eyelids.  Soft touches like sand paper, skin dried out from daily dishes and baths and gardening and mothering.  And somehow, in that roughness, there was more love.  The cracked skin.  The worn cuticles.  The short, unmanicured fingernails.  This was her heart.  Love worn on her hands as she brushed my hair to sleep and never had I known a woman more beautiful.

And now I have children of my own and as I hold them in those sweet end-of-day moments when they fight sleep I feel the way my calloused fingers catch in blond locks, the contrast of their youth against my day-weary touch, my roughness against their softness and I am immensely satisfied to see my own heart shinning there.  They are just like her's.  I have my mother's hands.  Wounded and scratchy and worn.

And breathtakingly beautiful.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Thrift Blitz Episode Four

Thrift Blitz - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak

When I started Thrift Blitz it was my intention to do it every month.  Silly me.  Apparently I don't do too well with intentions because, once again, it has been more than three months since my last episode.

So let's just say, from this point forward, Thrift Blitz will happen when it happens.

Okay?  Okay!

For Episode Three I was so happy to welcome a new participant who shared a post FULL of wonderful thrifted treasures.  {Go check her out here - really - go do it - she's got some amazing stuff!}  My favorite thing she shared was this gorgeous old bed frame:

It was sitting in someones yard outside a small town in Texas.  She asked if they were selling it and was able to snatch it up for a cool $100.  I love it's worn patina - it completely reminds me of the beds that used to be in my grandma's old farm house {though they were painted white} and I would love love love something like it in my own house!

Thrift Blitz Episode Four - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak

I've had much opportunity for thrifting over the last few months - helped largely by the fact that we took a road trip across the border and got to check out places we've never been before - including {but not limited to} Value Village, Saturday's Market, Six Mile Antique Mall, Rockford Flea Market, the dump {that's right!}, and Charleston City Market.  In fact, I have enough for two full episodes, though I won't share it all here...I know how precious your time is.

Here's a little visual taste of some of my adventures <--

Now, on to the goods...

Thrift Blitz Episode Four - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak

1. Hardcover 'Black Beauty' Beauty {The Dump, $0 - free}

hardcover black beauty book - Thrift Blitz Episode Four - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak

It is not uncommon for my sister to text me on any given day with the simple message: dump lunch? To which I often reply: of course!  And so, on our lunch hour, we venture beyond town, down that bumpy, dusty road, to the open trailer near the big recycling bins, where they pile the stuff that nobody wants but is too good to destroy.  And it's all free.

I found this beautiful copy of Black Beauty on one such excursion.  I can't find a publishing date on it {though a handwritten inscription on the inside cover is dated 1964} and it has beautiful sketches throughout.  Not too shabby for a whole $0.

And to people who throw out books...WHY???!!! {Unless your book is like this one.}

2. I've Got The Blues Necklace {Value Village, 2.79}

long blue bead necklace - Thrift Blitz Episode Four - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak

It's simple.  It's pretty.  I shouldn't have to say anything else.

3. Dress Me Softly In Summertime Dress {Value Village, $7.49}

summer dress - Thrift Blitz Episode Four - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak

Like the necklace, this dress is simple and pretty and just screams of summertime tea parties in the garden!  I don't know exactly when I'll wear this - it's a little too precious for a regular day at work...unless maybe I pair it with a chunky belt...

leather purse - Thrift Blitz Episode Four - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak 
4. Don't Hyde Me Leather Handbag {Value Village, $3.50...$3.40 if you count the dime I found in one of the pockets!}

This purse is brilliant! It has so much room - it can hold my ipad, calendar, notebook, wallet, keys, phone, hand cream, etc...etc... - without looking bulky!  

5. Tea For Three Cups & Saucers {The Dump, $0 - free}

johnson bros ironstone tea cups and saucers - Thrift Blitz Episode Four - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak

Just a short while ago I didn't own one single tea cup.  Now look at me! I can put on my new dress, lay out my new china and have a party!  You bring the crumpets, I'll make the tea!!!  I found these beauties in the free-for-all dump trailer in among other less-than-lovely pieces.  The metallic trim is faded in some places but there is not one chip on any of them! 

mini gold sunburst mirror - Thrift Blitz Episode Four - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak
6. MiniMe Sunburst Mirror
{The Dump, $0 - free}

I found this strange little mirror sitting in a box, very close to the tea cups, some chipped coffee mugs and a yellow-paged cookbook.  It was so horribly ugly that I couldn't resist rescuing it from it's squalor.

It's quite small - fitting nicely on the wooden shelf in my writing room - and a positively terrible gold colour. 

My sister immediately asked if I was going to spray paint the ugly away but I'm not sure I will - I kind of like it's horribleness.

7. She Be Roman Gladiator Sandals {Value Village, $9.99}

gladiator sandals american eagle - Thrift Blitz Episode Four - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak
I love these sandals - though I think they're meant for someone with a much leaner foot.  {It doesn't seem to matter what size I try, my feet always spill over the edges.}

 I would have never made it as a gladiator.  I'm pretty sure I'd go down after the first blow.  Thank goodness for the 21st Century!

8. Not a Scratch - Slow Train Coming {Saturday's Market, $10}

slow train coming vinyl album - Thrift Blitz Episode Four - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak

When wandering through a MASSIVE market in Pennsylvania we found a booth with THOUSANDS of records.  I could have spent all afternoon digging through them.  We stopped there near the end of our March Break trip and so had very little cash left - which meant we could only allow ourselves one small purchase.  

We decided on Bob Dylan because:
    1. We had yet to own a Dylan album on vinyl and...
    2. Bob Dylan.

Now it's your turn. What great finds have you made recently?  Share them in the comments, link up your post using the inlinkz tool below, or tweet it with the hashtag #ThriftBlitz {be sure to add @alannarusnak to your tweet to make sure I see it, or just use the button below}.

Happy thrifting!

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