Friday, April 22, 2011

Life in My World – An A-Z Post Should Catch Me Up

Mr. Yarbro, the auctioneer, broadcasting Cortney's
voice to the audience.

Austin’s Auction.  What a success.  We saw the widow cast in her mite and the wealthy cast in his riches.  It was an electrifying evening and great to be a part of it.  Thousands and thousands of dollars were collected from this little community.  At the end of the evening, the auctioneer put the phone to the microphone so that Cortney could thank everyone for their help.  Calvin said on the way home, “Did you know that there wasn’t one woman in the room that didn’t have tears in their eyes the minute they heard Cortney’s voice?”  I did not know that, but it did not surprise me.  Everybody in that room was pulling for a little three year old boy that most had never even seen before.

Blink.  I’ve been listening to Blink by Malcolm Gladwell this week as I’ve been working in the yard. Hmmmmmm.  If I just thin-slice it and don’t analyze it, I doubt some of his information.  If I analyze it, I think he may be right.  He encourages us to thin-slice.  I’m in a quandary.   

Croaks.  The frogs are back, which is to say that spring may finally be coming.  Frogs are realists.  They don't croak in the winter.  Our hydrangea bush, on the other hand, is an optimist.  Three times she's sent out green shoots only to be bit back by the frost.  I'm banking the frogs know the weather better than the plants.

Dan.  He’s an Anne Geddes wannabe.  This is his favorite pose.  He’ll only like it better once sunflowers bloom around him.  Dan loves to go jogging and walking with me (and he makes me feel like a million bucks because after we’ve finished he comes home and sprawls out on the grass and just lays there for an hour recuperating).  While we jog, he stays right next to me until we get over to the machinery pile and then he trots off to find a rabbit to chase.  While walking, he periodically trots up to my fingers, licks them, and then drops back in stride.  He does not like it when the farmers or ditch-riders stop to visit.  When one stops, he jumps up and puts his feet on my chest, and looks at the man and just barks, and barks, and barks.  It’s pretty hard to compete for air waves with a barking dog.  One ditch-rider said, “He’s a bit protective of the little mama, isn’t he?”  That he is.  He’s never obnoxious until they stop and after they drive away, he chases their vehicle barking like he’s the alpha-male that drove them off.  Calvin hurt Dan’s feelings Saturday really, really bad and Dan moped the whole day.  Truly.  It was the funniest thing.  He kept his tail between his legs and just stayed right next to us all day long while we worked.  He kept it up for so long we worried he was sick.  Nope.  He just had his feelings hurt.

Easter.  Best holiday of the year in the big picture of things.  That is one of the things I appreciate most about the Savior, He never lost sight of the big picture.  Even when things were ugly.  Even when He was being scourged and whipped and derided.  Even when He was all alone in the garden carrying such a magnificent weight.  Even when He hung nailed to the cross.  He never lost sight that we were depending on Him to make an atonement in our behalf.  He never lost sight of the big picture. 

Food storage.  Last fall Calvin and Trevor added a storage room onto the house and this past weekend we transferred a ton of grain to it from the garage – one fifty pound bucket at a time.  I felt positively primate by the time the last bucket was carried; my shoulders were hunched and my arms stretched so long that my knuckles could have dragged along the cement.  I do love the feeling of being self-sufficient and am grateful we have the skills of how to cook with the food we store . . . and like it.    

(This is a Calvinism -- sometimes he uses words that don't fit.  Bonsai is one of them.  He
says it at random.  However, at least this time there were trees around when he said it.)

Grafted Tree.  We planted an apple tree last week with four different varieties on it:  Gala, Fuji, Golden Delicious, and Honeycrisp.  Calvin dug the hole.  I watered it.  By the time I got back with the camera, he'd already stuck it in the ground and filled it in.  I do hope it grows well—especially the honeycrisp branch.

Husband.  I’ve got a great one.  It was a sad day each time one of the kids left our home to go to college.  We missed them.  We were quite attached to them.  I suppose much like a dog is to his tail.  I imagine if we cut a dog's tail off an inch at a time, it would be quite painful for them, too.  But, now that the kids are completely gone and thriving in their own new worlds, Calvin and I are enjoying the time and freedom we have to spend with each other.  I don't think twice when he comes in and asks if I want to go with him, like a dog, I just jump in the pickup and go.

Ice.  Every morning this week.  But the frogs say spring is soon, remember.

Jelly beans.  Pear Jelly Belly beans, and regular, ole, cheap, black licorice jelly beans are my two favorite flavors.  Cinnamon jelly beans come in third.  I’m glad the two holidays that celebrate the Savior are surrounded by candy.  It makes them even better. 

Kind.  I appreciate the kindnesses shown this week.  One friend lives 70 miles away but asked if we could get together when she came to town.  I appreciate that she instigates visits and makes time for them.  Another friend called and asked if I’d like a couple plates of mint brownies and when I stopped by to pick them up she invited me in to visit.  Still another bought me a milkshake and gave me a ride home.  Kind people are just the best kind in the world. 

Learned a new song on the piano this week and accompanied the sister missionaries when they sang that song at a baptism.  I had to quietly count out loud so as not to get us all off beat.  I wish music came more naturally to me, but not enough to practice more to make it natural.

Mother-of-the-groom dress.  It came in the mail.  I ordered it on-line.  It does not fit.  They expected me to be bigger on the top and smaller on the bottom.  I always expected me to be that way, too. 

New sandals.  Ordered them with the mother-of-the-groom dress so they would match.  They expected my toes to be lean and long.  They are neither. 

Organized.  I decorated two file folders – a black one for personal documents and a red one for scrapbook items.  I told you I run a good idea into the ground.         

Pecking Hens.  Grandma and Grandpa Hoops used to have some pecking hens similar to this.  It was the best toy in their house.  My sister, Rachel, brought me one home from Europe.  She wrote, “This was my favorite thing in G&G Hoops’ house.  I did not realize how German they were.  So, this is to remind you of your heritage. (We are part German, right?)” Right you are, Rachel.  Grandpa was just barely born on American soil and was named Wilhelm, but we only knew him as William.  Rachel also brought Calvin home a shell from Normandy beach.  She wrote, “I was struck again by the courage and perseverance of the D-Day soldiers in the face of adversity.  This shell is for your pocket to help remind you when times get tough.”  He put it right in his pocket.  Aren’t those the best gifts?

Question.  Do you know why we serve ham for Easter?  Where did we get that tradition?  Is it an intentional stab to the Jews because they don’t eat pork?  One source suggested ham became an Easter tradition because back when our great-great grandparents butchered and cured their own hogs in the fall, the hams weren’t ready until spring and Easter was the first holiday after they were ready.  Do you know why we serve ham? 

Roycroft Brass from Sherwin Williams.  That’s the new color of paint we just got for our home.  We planned to paint it ourselves until we found the paint on sale, and met an experienced painter who was also in the store buying paint for one of her customers.  (She even wore painter paints.  I wore those in junior high/high school.  They came in every color – green, red, blue, brown).  When the painter could see the salesman was struggling to answer Calvin’s questions, she piped in with her two cents.  Before long she’d given us several dollars worth of advice.  She gave Calvin her business card and said she’d be glad to answer any other questions he might have when he started painting.  After we left the store Calvin and I started figuring.  The cost of buying the paint supplies, added to the price we’d saved by getting the paint on sale would nearly pay for the woman and her husband to come and paint the house for us.  They’ll start painting in another week or so. 

Stuff.  I made a scrapbook and sewing stuff room out of our water heater closet.  Years ago, Hilda, a sewing legend, turned her family room closet into a sewing room.  She has made hundreds of dresses out of that closet and altered hundreds more.  She has quite a business.  I’ve always been so impressed that she took such a small space and made it so efficient and workable.  This last week I turned the water-heater closet into a craft room.  All I had to do was absorb the stuff that was already in the closet into other places in the house and put a red, antique, drop-leaf table in under the existing shelves to have a cute little work space.  Cali helped me organize my scrapbooking supplies into some cute jars a few weeks ago, so I put them on the shelves above the table.  Right after I got the room put together, I sat down and sewed a couple of hooded baby bath towels just to make sure it feels right and works well.  It does.  You’d think I drafted, sawed, built, painted, and wallpapered the room myself with how pleased I am with it.  You can come craft with me if you’d like.  We’ll take turns sitting in it because it’s only a one-seater.

Tumbleweeds.  If I don’t hurry our bushes will have tumbleweeds as filler in the lilac bouquets.  Our weather has been so poor this spring I haven’t been able to burn and rake leaves until this week.  It’s a 40 hour job.  I need to hurry.

Michelle bought Ty a Uof M sweatshirt to celebrate

University of Maryland.  Ty got accepted to grad school and will begin this fall.  Pilot training will now come after grad school instead of before.  He also got some medical test results back:  mono.  Compared to what my imagination worried it could be, mono is welcome news. 

Vat.  Vat of cinnamon.  Vat of flour.  Vat of sugar.  I had three dozen cinnamon rolls baked by 7:00 am this morning.  Every time I pull an early batch off, I think, "Now 'vat is quite an accomplishment."  (Yes.  Yes.  That is one very bad play on words, but I'm leaving it.  It is 'vat it is.) 

Maxine and me. When I was the relief society president, Maxine was my first counselor; when she was the
relief society president, I was her secretary.  She has been a grand example to me.  Some of the best
advice I've ever gotten has been from her.  She's a lady.  Every woman needs a sister like Maxine.

Women.  Marjorie Hinckley said, “It’s a sociological fact:  women need women.”  I love that quote of hers.  It’s true.  Tonight we had a stake relief society activity.  First we were served a supper of salad, homemade rolls, and strawberry shortcake.  Habitat for Humanity and the local crisis shelter gave short presentations of what their programs do in our community.  They offered ideas of how we can volunteer to help.  After our stake president said a few words and encouraged us to be happy – not some day when our dress size is what we want it to be, but today – we put together some hygiene kits for local use.  It was a great evening and I’m grateful to be a sister in this great society of women who work to do good things.

X – as in Generation X, or caught in the cross-hairs, either one.  I’m right between the Baby Boomers and Generation X so experts say I can join either age band.  I didn’t grow up on hard rock music;  however, I don’t identify with Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Al Gore, or Barrack Obama either.  But Paul Ryan?  I liked his budget proposal and can’t wait to see what he else he comes up with, so for today I’m an X’er.

Yellow.  New gardening gloves and daffodils for Clara's grave.  Yellow is such a happy color.

Zenith.  I was driving home tonight and the lights were on at the chocolate house (the place where Legacy chocolates are made).  Nesha and I are giving a bridal shower together, so I stopped to make a few plans with her.  I came home with a mother lode of chocolates – chocolate dipped caramels, toffee, cashew toffee dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with coconut, a couple chocolate truffles, a pretzel rod.  She also gave me the picture below – what a perfect way to end the week.

I am so grateful that Jesus Christ lives.  


Tyler - Danielle - Emree said...

I loved this whole post. It made me feel like I was a part of everything in your life. From Austin's auction to the chocolates. I am with the frogs... spring is here!

Deidra said...

Now that's some good middle of the night reading.

I hope the Honey crisp branches do you well. They were one of my favorite pregnancy treats this fall. Yum!

I love that you compare yourself to a dog jumping in the pickup to go with Calvin. What would we do without good husbands, whether just starting out with children or an empty nester?

Ben or Cortney said...

Jane! I am so glad that you could be apart of Austin's dinner. While everyone was crying there, we were all crying here. It was an emotional weekend, full of gratitude, relief, and pride for our wonderful town that we claim as home. Thank you for your help and support.

clarj perrins said...

jane you good today your bigger is

Becky said...

Beautiful post--I love all the little details that make up your life.

Marie said...

Your A-Z posts are such a treat. Twenty-six tidbits to fill us in on your life.

And I would love to hear some frogs croaking around here. Last week we had an over night storm that brought a full foot of snow by morning. It has all melted now, but who knows what this week will bring.

Happily, my tulips are poking out of the ground, and I've spotted a robin or two, so Spring is coming, if slowly!

I hope you had a Happy Easter today.

JJ said...

Thank you for sharing. It was great.

Lyle and Mary: said...

I love catching up on your blog. It makes me want to shout "Bonsai!"

Angie said...

such a great post...and now I am craving some delicious chocolates....

michelle said...

Wow. How long does it take you to put together a post like this, Jane??

I love the picture of Calvin and the fact that he says things that don't necessarily make sense. I get the feeling he says them with gusto. I am also gratified to hear that you are enjoying your time as empty-nesters. Sometimes I worry about the tail being cut off an inch at a time...

I'm definitely intrigued by your apple tree with four different types of branches. I would be rooting for Honeycrisp as well.

I love that you read and listen and think. And that you're in a quandary.

I'm cracking up over the holidays that celebrate the Savior being better because of all the candy involved. Hear, hear!

Dan in the pot is just hilarious. As is the fact that he got his feelings hurt.

Spring is finally, finally here!! Even though it's been cold and raining for two days.

Once again, I want to just step into your world, Jane. Thanks for sharing.