Monday, August 31, 2009
"Hi! This is mama. We just thought we'd come up and go camping. We'd love to have you join us. You don't need to bring anything but your pillows, we have all the food and everything. Just appear like a vapor if you want. We won't be able to call you again, we're having trouble with the cell phones and the credit card, but we sure hope you'll come see us and spend some time with us. We love you and hope to see you and your kids."
So whoever might have a mama that would blow in like the wind and beg you to bring your pillow and come see her . . . well, she's in camp spot # 7 and she is waiting for you.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Last week’s comments to 52 Blessings—Ande made me laugh. Cali started the family interchange with, “And mom, I'm going to be your blessing next week, huh. I'll e-mail you a picture to put up” which then lead Grace to write, “I'll be finding a picture so I can be your blessing after Cali for the next week!” which then prompted Abe to write, “when do i get to be the blessing? i love you” and ended with Calvin saying . . . well . . . you’ll have to go see what he wrote . . .
So not only is Cali one of my favorite blessings, she is the source of so many others as well. Appropriately, one Christmas Calvin gave her some drink-stirring-sticks in her socking because as he says, “Cali you are the straw that stirs the drink in our family.” She puts an incredible amount of effort in developing and maintaining family relationships and we all benefit from her camaraderie, skill and wit.
I have learned much at Cali’s expense and so appreciate not only what she has taught me, but what she prepared me to teach the others. She is definitely one of my favorite blessings and I thank God for her.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
1. We canned peaches for Cali and Grace and then the two of them made peach pies. Ande, who was away working, felt a bit of a threat to her pie-queen throne when she saw the beautiful crusts. She just may have to share the chair as the pies were flaky, flavorful and beautiful. Thank you Betty Crocker, Grace and Cali.
2. This was a first. The other night we knelt down for family prayers before going to bed and guess who was in the circle? Just Calvin, me, Ray and Grace.
4. I served Ray a piece of pie last night and he pointed his hands together to the ceiling and bowed his head towards me. I said, “Hey! I just read about that religion this week. It’s called (pause) . . . Jane-ism.” Oh ho. I do love a good pun. (Truly, I did read about Jainism. It is a non-violent belief and when practiced in its extreme, believers don’t wear clothes because it shows a connection to worldly things and takes the life of plants [cotton, silk].)
5. Grace and I went to see a friend this week and came home with more than we took. It always happens that way.
6. Today we went to three weddings. We got up early and drove 120 miles for wedding number one. In fact, we were even early so we stopped at JoAnn Fabrics to kill time. Unheard of. After the wedding, Calvin did the very sweet and kind thing of choosing a food buffet restaurant. (Much to my family’s chagrin, I love cafeteria food—the blandness of it all, the funny combinations, the one-price-includes-it-all-even-a-pop.) Then we returned home just in time for wedding number two. After congratulating the couple, we came home and Calvin took off his suit and tie and changed into slacks just in time to go to wedding number three. It was great seeing three new families formed in one day.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Now today's post may just seem like a little common sense, but it might have helped Abraham Lincoln's hosts 150 years ago. You see, Abe seldom fit in any bed they tried to give him. Once, when he was floating down to see the troops on the front line, the captain offered his berth to help protect the President from would-be assassins. It was one long night for President Lincoln curled up in the bunk, so the next day the captain determined to cut out the wall to give him enough room to stretch his legs. Mr. Lincoln, obviously used to discomfort, refused.
President Lincoln was 2-3 inches shorter than our son-in-law, Ray. When Ray called last night saying he was in the area on business and could come see us, he said he would only spend the night if he could sleep on the floor. Now I know he said it with the intent that he did not want to kick anybody out of a bed, but I’m also not going to put an adult guest on the floor if it can be helped. Since none of our beds are long enough for Ray as it is, I could answer honestly and tell him he could sleep on the floor. Then we took the mattress off a bed and put it on the floor so his extra six inches that don’t fit on the mattress don’t have to fall far. It’s a fit . . . for now.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Remember when Pa would get itchy feet and want to go west in Little House on the Prairie? Each fall I suffer the same malady, except I’m about as far west as I can go so they must be itching to go another direction.
This morning the girls and I were out walking and we were talking about fall fashions and shopping, and what lies ahead of them, and pretty soon my feet started remembering how fun it was to get to where I am . . . and wondering where they have yet to go. Fall makes my feet itch. Especially when I wear shoes.
Monday, August 24, 2009
I’m no Dr. Doolittle, that would be Cali or my niece, Jesse, but I do enjoy watching animals. Growing up on a large farm and ranch, every summer we moved the cows up to the hills to pasture and I enjoyed watching them interact. Mile after mile we trailed behind them on our horses, so there was plenty of time to observe the same old cows. Before long, I couldn’t help but name them after the women in our community/church: Susie, Elsie, ErmaLee, Claudia, Josie, Ruth, Norma, Vera, Margarite—there was a cow for each. There was always one that thought she should be in charge, and another that was timid and glad to follow. There was one who was constantly in every other cow’s business and one who liked to hang back with the calves. There was the slow, fleshy one and the wiry, fast one. There was the one who walked ten yards to the side of everyone else and the one who was always stuck in the middle. There were some with distinguishing body marks and some who just blended in with everyone else. There was the messy one and the one who kept her tail moving. There were the nervous ones and the ones that couldn’t be hurried.
Have you ever known an animal that was kin to the devil?
What animal were you the saddest to lose?
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I knew before I asked what she would say and I was right. When I said, “Ande, what is one of my blessings that I can write about today?” She didn’t even stutter when she said, “Me.”
She’s right. She is one of my blessings. A big one. From the time she was born. Rocking her was like applying a poultice of Balm of Gilead. When she crawled she kept her forehead on the ground until she bumped into the couch, chair, toy or refrigerator and then she’d look up and smile. She still has that attitude, “Keep your nose to the ground and hurry because there is a party . . . or book . . . or trip . . . or gelato at the end.” Ande is companionable—every sibling always wants her along because she's witty, encouraging, and happy. Ande is one of my favorite blessings and I will sorely miss her daily companionship in a week or so when she heads back to school.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Ande and Grace are in the throes of scrapbooking. I'm just dabbling around the edges, but it is fun to see their pages progress.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
It occurred to me then that I was the parent I had warned the kids about becoming. I had seen parents who might have been monetarily deprived in their childhood lavish products on their own kids past the point of wisdom: if they were embarrassed of their shoes as a child, they made sure their kids wore the most expensive shoes; if they had wished for a bigger Christmas as a child, their children were inundated with gifts; if they were embarrassed of their car as a teenager their kids had a new one—that type of parenting. And it wasn’t limited to money issues but also cropped up in discipline. Without looking at the pros and cons of spanking, time-out or grounding, some parents followed a preconception or fad. I told the kids that rather than seeing what their children needed, some parents tried to fulfill their own unfulfilled wants through them and so “we shouldn’t make the same mistakes, now should we?” We had this discussion more than once through their adolescent years because our kids grew up on hand-me-downs, modest Christmases, old cars, as well as spankings and no grounding. I thought it our responsibility to warn the kids to be prepared to meet the needs and teach the truths to their children rather than living up to a preconceived or popular view.
So, that day Cali told me she needed more than what I gave I realized I was doing the exact same thing to her that I had warned the kids about. Not in a physical way, not in a disciplinary way, but in an emotional way. Instead of parenting her like she needed to be parented I was parenting her like I wished I had been parented.
In this same conversation with my sister, I also said that I wished I hadn’t used the distraction technique so much as a parent, for though it created temporary harmony it had the potential to create bigger problems down the road. I said that I now recognized that sometimes you just had to work through the un-comfortableness rather than constantly trying to get the kids to avoid or forget about it.
Then we changed the subject and my sister and I talked about the price of rice in China and other important things.
It may be an “I’m sorry” bouquet to her, but to me it’s a “remember what you learned in parenting and don’t keep making the same mistakes” bouquet.
If I'd only realized earlier that less distracting might have led to more bouquets.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Remember the nursery rhyme, “Good night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite”? And if you knew the extended version: “And if they do then take your shoe and beat ‘em ‘til they’re black and blue.” Were you really afraid of bed bugs? I wasn’t . . . until I talked to my sister-in-law who is a head housekeeper.
She said bedbugs are every hotel’s nightmare. They
1. eat blood
2. come out at night, usually just before dawn while their hosts are in their deepest sleep
3. are averse to sunlight
4. eat every five to ten days but can live a year without food
5. are drawn to carbon dioxide emissions and warm body heat
6. have been infesting American hotels since the US outlawed the pesticide DPT and international travel increased
However, she also taught us how to spot them. She said to look for a smattering of small black dots, like a fine sharpie marker would give, on the headboards of your bed, or a splattering on the wall that looks like someone opened an exploding can of Coke. (This gave me the willies, because I have seen that in motels and wondered why they didn’t clean up the spill.) My sister-in-law told us that if we do see the signs of bedbugs to tell the hotel clerk and we would promptly get a new room—evidently cooties are bad publicity. She also said to keep our suitcases off the bed, couch or floor so bedbugs wouldn’t hitch a ride home with us.
Have you got any more info or experience to add? I do hope Lelly weighs in on this subject.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
I'll think of a fresh memory for next Monday . . .
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
I’ve written about the shoes before. When Cali lived at home we had a matching pair of shoes a half size apart. Mine wore out first and Cali got tired of hers so she asked me if I wanted her pair. I did, but a half size too small is a half size too small no matter how optimistic you may try to be, so after one day of wearing them I said, “Never mind, but thank you anyway” and put them in her closet. She said they were my responsibility to dispose of because she gave them to me. She would not take them back. I kept putting the shoes in her closet and she kept putting them back in mine. Since that debate, we’ve had at least a dozen trips to drop stuff off at Goodwill, but the shoes never go. Why? Because it would dam our game, or more likely the better answer is that one of us would have to give in. You see, I quietly hide the pair of shoes in her belongings and then when she finds them she quietly hides them somewhere in mine. One day I opened my temple bag and there were the shoes, right and proper and out of place. Another time when she unpacked her sleeping bag, there were the shoes stuffed in the bottom. Back and forth, back and forth the shoes have gone. We lost track of them a few months ago and couldn’t remember who hid them last or where. But last week when company came I had to add extra leaves to the table and there were the shoes, hidden under my bed between the table leaves. When I told Cali that I had finally found them and planned to bring them over to her house next time, she wailed into the phone, “Nooooo faaaiiiir. I’ll never find them in this house; there are too many places to hide them.” Exactly.
In other news, I have to take a class to graduate that I already teach. Oh ho. I’ve never felt as smart in my life as I do on the days I take the tests. It is a stupid requirement really and I begged them to waive the class, but they wouldn’t so I feel faux intelligent.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
You're going to have to imagine with me on this tip because I didn't have the camera close by:
Last weekend my niece got married and had an outdoor reception. Here, outdoors means the flies are invited, too. To keep the bugs off the refreshments, someone draped lavender tulle (fabric netting) over the top of the trays. I don't know who did it (we all wanted to take credit), all I know is it looked nice and it worked! The next time I go to the fabric store and see tulle on sale I'm picking up several yards of it for future picnics because it sure beats fighting plastic wrap or someone trying to be an inconspicuous shoo-er.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
We’ve had an incredible year with unthought-of opportunities. Sometimes I wonder if we have already used up all of our fun for the year . . .
Calvin keeps saying he’s aged. I remember his dad this age . . .
Summer is winding down, the potato vines are dying and schedules are picking up . . .
With that line of thinking, today I was extra glad to read: “We can’t predict all the struggles and storms in life, not even the ones just around the next corner, but as persons of faith and hope, we know . . . the best is yet to come.” (L. Tom Perry) Robert Browning was right, “The best is yet to be” and I should know that's true because we’re having slow-roasted brisket, homemade rolls, french fries and corn on the cob tonight and last night we only had hot dogs. But still, somehow, I needed to hear that today . . .
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I saw a stitchery pattern several years ago of a beehive in a garden of flowers with bees buzzing. The caption underneath said, “Leave Room in Your Garden for the Bees to Dance.” I came home and drew a pattern that fit my limited abilities, traced it onto muslin and primitive stitched it, later making the muslin squares into decorative pillows.
I really like the saying, it politely says: one, recreation is important to the sanity of the soul; two, don’t underestimate the quiet guy, he is often what makes things happen; and three, it’s all about having balance in life.
I’ve given away all the pillows now but a couple of days ago I saw a gigantic bumble bee sitting on a pink flower in the garden—he needed a big space to do his dance—and so I dragged out the pattern. I think it's time to stitch it again--maybe on a kitchen towel or the hem of a table runner this time.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
creamed peas and red potatoes
corn on the cob
fresh salsa (made from tomatoes, peppers, onions and cilantro)
cucumber and tomato sandwiches
Monday, August 3, 2009
One of my favorite pretend games that Rachel and Ande played was when they were orphans and would only refer to my sister as Miss Hannigan (from Annie). “Yes, Miss Hannigan” they’d whine obnoxiously when she’d tell them to run to the basement for a jar of green beans or to pick up the toys. And Calvin used to get so mad at Ande and Rachel because they’d drag his tools out of the shop to their forts. In fact, whenever we were missing anything we’d holler, “Ande and Rachel! Where’s the ______?” and one of them would run to their fort and retrieve it. But, one thing they seldom did together was take naps. We had quiet time every day, but that's where the kids parted ways.
Even though we moved 500 miles away, the kids’ friendships have remained strong. Cousin Rachel (not to be confused with Aunt Rachel) is staying with us this week. I went to check on her and Ande a few minutes ago and found . . .
And a few years ago when we went shopping and I couldn’t find them, I eventually found them sound asleep . . .