Ants…….with wings

(Originally posted in my column ‘From the Desk of the Green Eyed Girl’ in the Alaska Highway News)

I would like a gold star, applause, and perhaps flowers sent to my home for a recent accomplishment. Why? Well….when I was young, I was afraid of many things, but I was especially horrified when it was ‘flying ant day’ (that one day where God said to the ants – you have a crappy life so I am going to give you one day to experience the freedom of flight, perhaps mate once or twice and then your wings will fall off. But……..although we are taking away the superhero power miracle of flight, we will allow you to retain superhero strength and you will be able to lift objects ten to fifty times your size).

We recently experienced ‘flying ant day’ in the Peace region and our Grandson Dylan came over during the height (is that a pun?) of the flying ant activity. Dylan is very much like his Grandma, in that he is terrified of the flying ants. I wrestled with how I could reassure him that the creepy crawlies would not hurt him so he could enjoy his time outside. So…. I did the unthinkable….the unimaginable….the ‘that grandma lifted a car up all by herself with no help to save her grandchild’ scenario: I picked up a flying ant in my HAND and placed it in a jar with a lid so that Dylan could get a good look at it and know that it wasn’t scary.

Excuse me while I stop a minute…….even writing the words make me a wee bit verklempt as it brings me back to the feeling *gag* of that ant *gag* CRAWLING on my hand.

I then tried to get Dylan to hold the jar in his hand and get a good look at the ant who was now angry and no doubt thinking, “Sure……I get only a few hours with wings and some stupid human decides to use me as a prop to teach her grandchild a life lesson”. Dylan demonstrated unequivocal resolve – he would not actually touch the jar to get a closer look. If I set the jar down on the sundeck, he would lower himself into a crouching position and watch the ant, but there was no way he was getting any closer.

I don’t blame him. Honestly……if we had something called ‘flying spider’ day…..a day in which the spiders received wings, I would not leave the house. You think I am kidding but I am not. So, while I was uber impressed that I had picked up the bug, I KNEW that if it had been a spider, Dylan was on his own.

When I picked up that ant and its wings fluttered in my hand, I was terrified – sweaty with terror, but I saw Dylan’s face and I knew that I couldn’t show my fear or else he would end up just like me. He watched me closely, looking for some sign that I was afraid, but I was unflinching (paralyzed with fear but at least I didn’t show it).

Now that the ants are no longer flying, Dylan has become something of an ant assassin. He spies them with his fantastic 2 year old vision and runs up to squish them into the sidewalk and says [clapping], “No more bug”. The pendulum has swung from terror to delight and Dylan is dispatching the ant population one by one with no thought for his karmic account balance.

Sigh……I wish there was something between the two extremes. I wish there was something in between the tears resulting from the paralyzing fear of the ants and the bravado exhibited after their untimely death. It is really one of life’s lessons….isn’t it? Instead of learning tolerance and acceptance, we find comfort in destroying what we fear the most.

Or maybe it was just about squishing ants……

Quilted Memories

Previously published in the Alaska Highway News February 4, 2015

I went to Value Village on the weekend. We (our family) refers to it as “Valooooo Villllaage” with a French accent – yes we are weird.

I love second hand stores… many cool things you can find and for someone who loves shoes, it is a great place to buy shoes guilt free. Oh and let’s not forget clothes and jackets and books and…. “my name is Judy and I have a problem with second hand stores”.

This trip I decided to take a gander at the baby stuff (you know…..for the upcoming Grand-Baby Boy Kucharuk coming soon to a maternity ward ….eek!). Most baby things are given away while they still are in remarkable shape and I was prepared to find some good stuff!

As I roamed the aisles, I spy something out of the corner of my eye. I see an item that looks like a baby quilt hanging amongst the myriad of sheets, comforters and duvet covers. As I run my hand over it and pull it out to take a better look, I can feel the softness of the flannelette material and the intricate stitching design.

It was beautiful.

I grabbed it and excitedly showed my mom and sister, “isn’t this beautiful?” I said.

Immediately I spotted another quilt hanging a few metres away and once again I pulled it out to take a better look. “Handmade just for you by……” was stitched into the corner.quiltpic It was also beautiful.

At first I was happy.

Then I was sad.

And now….I am a bit angry.


Who GIVES AWAY A HANDMADE QUILT!!!!!!! (please note that my irritation is escalating to the first level of Canadian anger: capitalization in a strongly worded letter). There is no scenario where a quilt should be for sale at a second hand store. Note: Even if the quilt was handcrafted by the meanest, most horrible person in the world – there is an unwritten law… simply have to keep it and only put it on the bed when people you hate come over to stay. The rest of the time you can keep it in the linen closet, but you CANNOT GET RID OF IT!

I am a child of a quilter and I am a friend of a quilter and I know how much work goes into these fabulous creations, not to mention the thought and love that is clearly evident in each stitch! (You know how in the last paragraph I spoke about getting a quilt from a mean and horrible person? Well, it is impossible……mean and horrible people do not quilt – it doesn’t happen).

Random pieces of material do not magically come together – it takes a quilter to thoughtfully choose each piece, carefully thinking of the unique pattern and colour.

Hours and hours are spent cutting and pinning and sewing the squares together into larger squares to finally become a cover for a crib, a single bed or even a full size bed.

My mom recently gave my daughter and her new husband a full sized (I think Queen sized) quilt that she handcrafted for many months as a wedding present. It was beautiful and my daughter loved it. She will cherish it and I am confident that it would never, ever find its way into a second hand store.

The thought would never cross her mind.


A quilt is to be loved and used and kept forever. It is meant to wear thin from age and frequent washings. The cotton is meant to become faded over time. It is to be passed along in the family: Forever.

Lucky for me, those baby quilts have now found a new home; one that will love and cherish them forever.

Grand-Baby Boy Kucharuk will sleep under them and crawl over them and probably puke on them…..and I don’t care. They are now my quilts, they have found their forever home.