Monthly Archives: November 2010

Herman the Worm Goes to the Zoo

This is the story about the time that Herman the Worm went to the zoo.

Herman was really excited to go to the zoo. He was looking forward to seeing all of the animals. He wanted to chat with the monkeys, take a dip with the fish, and swing from the elephant’s trunk.

He hoped to yell with the Gorilla’s and spit with the Llamas. I’d rather not talk about that part!

It did take a while to get to the zoo, and Herman did kind of want to eat the yummy dirt snack that his mom had made but she wouldn’t let him.

When they got there they slathered on the sun-screen and put on their hats.

Herman and his younger sister quickly went to look at the first animal which happened to be the Llama. Only the Llama didn’t look too happy.

So they went to the next animal, which happened to be the fish. But they were not really swimming around. They just kind of floated.

The tiger, well he was curled up in a small ball. The kangaroo seemed to have lost his bounce and the bear just sat there and stared.

Herman wondered what was going on. His trip to the zoo was turning out to be pretty rotten.

Just then his little sister said… where are all the baby animals?

Hmm, this was a case for Herman the Worm Detective!

As Herman the worm looked around, he saw some marks on the ground.

He noticed a tiny hoof print over there, and the trees up there were missing some leaves.

To his ears he heard a soft sound, “Music!” He said.

So Herman and his sister followed the paw tracks and the sound got louder, and louder, and louder.

It sounded a lot like circus music! As they wandered down the great big hill side, they saw the baby giraffe’s head poking out of the circus tent all covered in Leaf Cotton Candy.

There was the clown being chased by a baby Cheetah who wanted to ride in the clown car. And boy was that clown screaming!

So Herman the worm and his sister blew on their whistles real loud!

The baby animals came running!

Herman explained how sad the Mom and Dad animals were because they didn’t know where their children had gone.

While the baby animals didn’t want to go, they agreed it would be lots of fun to have a parade back to the zoo. And so Herman the worm and his sister lead a great parade of animals up that hill and returned all of the babies to their Moms and Dads.

That night Herman the worm lay in his bed of dirt all happy and thought,

“Worm, that was the best trip to the zoo, EVER!”

Note: Herman the worm stories are something that I frequently tell my children. They are spontaneous stories but some of them have been requested again and again. I start by asking them what is happening to Herman today and usually weave something that has been happening to us into the story. Believe it or not but this story was first told to my kids and my niece and nephews while we were at the photo studio trying to get a family picture. The kids wouldn’t settle and so Herman the Worm Goes to the Zoo came into story.

This is probably the most popular Herman story, although Herman Wrecks the Birthday Party is pretty WORM! too.


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Capacity is a word that appears in my vocabulary repeatedly. Perhaps its because I’m getting a bit more introspective as I get older. Perhaps due to the limitations placed on my productivity by my seemingly reduced emotional capacity which have caused me to be aware of my ‘new normal.’

Writing that down makes me realize that I talk about capacity because of my reduced accomplishments. Which is interesting because there was a point where I was actually did far less activities and volunteering than I do today. But today I am not pleased with my current personal state because a few years ago I was in a much more societally acceptable level of behaviour and function.

Hmm, sounding cryptic even to me!

Okay. So… hmm… In high-school I was the kid who had the door removed from her bedroom door because my parents were attempting to shame me into cleaning up my room.

Moved to University, and I was a neat freak. However I was still slovenly in my course work. Then I had to start to work to pay for my food and rent in university and… the apartment went slovenly but I routinely won awards for at my employment. The course-work stayed slovenly. In fact that was the point that I wished to quit and work because I didn’t know what I wanted from my university education but due to, what I consider not well thought advice, I continued on with my slovenly approach to higher learning.

Then I got married. We lived in a teeny tiny apartment. Then I got pregnant despite doing every single thing we could to prevent it! At which point… every thing went down hill.

From there we moved to a big farm house that was in poor condition but the space and country air and having my job on the property meant that for the most part the house and work were doing well again. Incidentally ditched the university education at this point.

Sticking with me here?

Then comes the second child. Major complications with her birth, near death on my part. It took 11 months to get my red blood count back into a normal range…

But I couldn’t understand why I was so slovenly with my work and house again. It wasn’t until I switched doctor’s and he sat me down and had a really long talk about what a horrible thing had really happened to me that I could give myself the grace to realize, I actually did miraculously given the circumstances.

Just prior to learning that… it was fear that a call to Children’s Aid Society might be made by some concerned neighbour and they’d seize my precious babies that prompted a change from within.

About a year after the start of my inner changes and I met the Flylady program. That was the crowning touch and I changed things around.

For the first time I was able to shine at work, at home, and in my volunteer work which is very much part of my identity. I did everything and I did it so well.

For about 5 years.

Then… crash! This time I could see how many of the factors were kind of out of my control *and* I could see how external factors affected me and reduced what I could do (ie. capacity!).

I was starting to come out of this slump and a move to the city and and a second opportunity to do a massive purge of our excess weight meant that I was gaining back my abilities once more.

Then there was last year… This time I knew precisely what factors were affecting me but darn it… there was just no way but to live through. The focus was, literally, getting through the day. My capacity for life was very limited.

But this time I had many external pressures on me and I kept giving to them even though I should not have done so. I can see that now. I thought that helping them would help me. In some ways it did but I think it has prolonged my journey through the valley this time.

Today I would say that I am functioning at the level that I did before my second child’s birth. At that time I knew I could do better but for the most part I was happy.

Today, I’m not mostly happy. Because I look back and I can remember a time when I did it all.

So I have to remind myself. Live to my capacity today! I’m just going to trust that as I heal there will be a time when I can do more than I can today.


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Mom, my hands look like yours

Today, while I was making the dough for our dinner, I looked down and I saw my mother’s hands.

Mom, my hands look like yours.

I remember, as a child, standing beside you as you kneaded bread dough for the family. Your strong hands moving in rhythmic motions while you talked to me.

When we would be out, walking somewhere and your hand would rest on my shoulder. I’d glance over and see your hand there and feel safe and secure.

Coming to you in righteous indignation over some wrong my brother had committed and you’d stand there folding laundry. The crisp even lines emerging from chaos as each neat shirt was ironed, the towels were folded, and the sheets snapped.

I’d watch you pulling dead foliage off the plants, using your thumb to test if they needed a water; using your hands to grow some of the most beautiful plants.

At the table I’d watch as you picked up a simple pencil and drew amazing drawings, although infrequently. I remember squirrelling away a few of those drawings.

When I was sick, it was reassuring to feel your cold hands touch my forehead. A sign that things were going to get better soon. I felt safe.

Your hands got dirty.

Then your hands were clean.

Your hands were firm.

Then your hands were soft.

Sometimes I wished a little less firm.

Yet as I remembered back in that moment today what I saw was your hands. Then I glanced back at my hands, grateful for the blessing that now my hands look like yours. I just pray I can bless my children with my hands the way you blessed me with yours.

I love you Mom.

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