Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Homemaking Tip -- To Be To Do

When I jog I listen to This American Life or Legacy pod-casts, biographies, conference talks, or the scriptures.  I have tried music, but music doesn't out-beat the misery.  People's voices about real life things do.  It doesn't make sense to me either, you'd think a good drum could push me further than the word, but it doesn't.  

One of the talks I listened to this week was Lynn Robbins', "What Manner of Men Ought Ye to Be?"  He said, "Many of us create to do lists to remind us of things we want to accomplish.  But people rarely have to be lists.  Why?  To do's are activities or events that can be checked off the list when done.  To be, however, is never done.  You can't earn checkmarks with to be's."  Elder Robbins emphasized we must do then be, be then do.  He's right.  He's so right.  Faith without works is dead; likewise, works without faith is fruitless.  To be's would be a great addition to my to do list.

For the sake of this blog post, here is a combined to-be-do (sounds like a do-wop chorus doesn't it?) list.  I made it after the fact from the events of the past week.  

Make a blanket for the crib.

It’s not much, just two pieces of flannel with some warm and natural batting tied in between with cotton binding around the edge, but it works.  We were plumb out of baby quilts and you can’t have babies come to visit if you don’t have a blanket for them.   
Make tamales.

It’s been a couple of years since we’ve made them, but Calvin and I made a couple dozen the other night.  We tried a new method.  They weren’t very good.  You can’t shortcut a tamale.  It just doesn’t work.  Good thing we didn't make eleven dozen -- that would be expensive chicken feed.

Go to a baby shower for Levin.

Betty Lybbert.  Betty goes to each bridal and baby shower.  Each one.  She makes an apron
for the brides and a blanket for the babies.  She does beautiful work.

Good friends held a baby shower for Cali and Levin.  I never cease to be amazed and humbled at how generously women support new wives and mothers who are beginning their journey.

Shelly organized a fun game of Concentration using labor, delivery, and mothering terms.  Each match had a candy bar attached to it.  For the life of me all I can remember now is the candy bar that went with engorgement.  No, it wasn’t Milky Way.  Everybody guessed that and they were wrong.  It was Whoppers.  Oh wait.  I remember another one:  The prize for toddler was Runts. 

Figure out how to wrap an unwrap-able gift.

When I saw this little rocking moose a year ago, I thought, “If Ray and Cali ever have a baby that is the gift for them.”  (Ray loves to hunt moose in Alaska.)  But how do you wrap a rocking moose when there is not a big enough gift bag in town?  Well, I'll tell you.  You buy a plastic tablecloth and sew it up the sides and make your own gift bag.  (Next time I would make the bag smaller though.)

– Be nice.

I think I mean be kind, not be nice.  People can be nice, but still not be kind.  Nice can be surface only, while kind is from the heart.  I'm still working on this one, this will be on my list till the day I die.  Can’t measure it, but I did swallow a couple of zingers.  They tasted awful but felt good.  

Go on a picnic.

Cascade Park

KFC chicken and mashed potatoes

I called Calvin one afternoon and said, “Bacon and tomato sandwiches or a picnic for supper?”  He chose a picnic.  We picked up some chicken and went to a park by the lake.  We were gone for less than an hour, but it was such a nice evening.

Pick beans and broccoli.

Tin foil dinner made with a chicken breast and baked in the oven.

The garden is going full steam.  The sunflowers are starting to head, the flowers are beginning to bloom, the potato vines are wilting, the tomatoes are ripening, and the weeds are still growing.  I do love a garden in the back yard.  It makes cooking so simple.

Read, read, read.

I’ve got a menagerie going right now.  I just finished a novel about a girl in China.  I read it years ago, but it didn’t stick.  I didn’t even remember where the treasure was hidden.  I’m also reading Jehovah and the World of the Old Testament, a book Ande and Joe gave to me.  It reads like a good college text book.  I’m enjoying it very much.  I finished Mark Twain’s Joan of Arc not long ago.  Oh, I love what that book made me think about and feel.  Joan of Arc's history reminds me of pieces of the stories from the great Bible women Deborah, Esther, Mary, and Ruth.  I started The Nine this afternoon.  It’s a book about the justices on the Supreme Court.  I’m not sure whether or not to finish it.  I’ll give it another 50 pages.  (Haley, do they ever quit slamming the justices' conservative votes?)  I hate to quit it; I already quit A Severed Wasp after 200 pages last week.  Do you think it's worse to quit a book and not give it a chance to redeem itself, or finish a book and then be disappointed you wasted your time on it?

Be Alyson’s assistant in Levin’s photo shoot.

Ray, Cali, and Levin came over last weekend for the baby shower and so that Alyson could take their family pictures.  She is one talented photographer.  She is creative and captures emotion.  I followed her with props.  She got some great shots.

After Alyson had finished taking pictures and while she and Cali were visiting in the kitchen, Ray quietly picked up Levin in the basket and took him outside saying, “Alyson just trained her competition.”  Ray put him in some of the funniest poses -- under a potted plant, swinging in the tire swing, with a rifle, with the dog.  

Ray titled this picture, "But I wasn't finished eating yet." (or something like that)

My friend Denise came to visit for a few hours and I served yogurt pie garnished with cherries.  Another time I garnished fresh tomatoes and cottage cheese with a basil leaf and chopped chives for supper.  Both were pretty simple . . . but still pretty.

 Get jogging done early and learn to enjoy it before the last lap

One of the things I love about summer is being able to exercise in the morning rather than in the afternoon.  Every morning at 7:00, Dan barks letting me know it’s time to go.  He moves from window to window trying to find which room I’m in, and doesn't stop until I go.  I don’t know why he loves it so, it’s not that exciting, especially without headphones.  I love the last lap of walking, and feel so rewarded and exhilarated at what I've learned when I'm finished, but I'm still trying to imagine what a runner’s high must feel like.  I think I need to quit expecting easy and be grateful for rewarding.

Do something unplanned.

This is a little office building that the men made out of a granary.  They insulated it and it's quite
comfortable.  It's the funniest thing:  they've found old discarded chairs, a ceiling fan, a window, an air conditioner,
even a sink to put in it.  I enjoyed the tour and was impressed with their ingenuity and pride in their clubhouse. 

Calvin stopped by this afternoon to make a sandwich.  He said he was headed down to the church farm – about ninety minutes away – and wondered if I wanted to ride along.  I weighed my options – work on my to-do list or go and hope for an ice cream cone along the way.  I packed a bag of books and a small tag-making project and joined him.  Calvin visited with the farmer for a couple of hours while I read by the wheat field and browned the backs of my legs.  It felt like a little-kid summer afternoon of watching the clouds.  I enjoyed the sun, the time with Calvin, the books, the leisure . . . all of it.  And, Calvin finished so late we stopped for supper on the way home.  There was ice cream for dessert.   

Tea towels.

I made more.  I’m going to have to keep the beehive tea towel because I ironed it on crooked.  It will look at home in our kitchen.  Ande didn’t like the burlap pillow so gave it to me.  I ironed the fruit images on it.  It looks good, not necessarily photogenic, but really cute.

 Be happy some more.

Oh I know, "be happy some more" is one of those to be goals that can't really be checked off and stamped "finished."  It's a continuation and, like to be kind, I'll need to work on optimism until I die, but if anything from the past few days could give me a check mark on the to be happy list, this picture would be it.  Calvin is completely serious in this  picture.  He isn't trying to be funny.  He was quietly and carefully looking through old coins.  I called his name so he would look up, then snapped the picture.  Oh ho.  It still makes me laugh.  He found a 1920 penny with that magnified eye.  That penny is 91 years old.  I wish we knew it's history.  I wonder where it has been.  Oh, I do wish money could talk, I do, I do.  I wonder whose pockets it was in during the Roaring Twenties and The Depression and World War II.  I wonder if it's ever gone overseas.  And how did it ever make it through the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, and 2000's?  

What's something on your to-do-be list?


michelle said...

Wow, what a post!

I write chores on my list after the fact, too. I do enjoy crossing things off my list.

I'm so impressed that you make tamales! I've never tried it, but I love tamales.

I love your thoughts about bridal/baby showers. I don't tend to enjoy shower games, but that one looks fun! A rocking moose - there's something I've never seen before. Perfect.

Now I'm curious: what's the difference between being kind and being nice?

I'm cracking up over Ray being the new competition for the photographer. Sounds like he came up with some very original poses.

Love the granary turned office. If I had a clubhouse, I would want an air conditioner in it, too!

Do something unplanned. I've never put that on my list, but probably should.

Marcia McManus said...

Uuuuhhhhhh.... Hang in there on The Nine. If you were liberal, you'd think it was unfair to liberals. I've heard Alito speak. (Trust me, the author is being kind.) I loved the book and the scenes behind the scenes. I'm surprised you aren't enjoying it.

Ryan and Haley Krumblis said...

Aunt Jane,

Oh, keep going! Keep going! It is fascinating to see how the Court works and what goes into decisions. Get past the beginning and he talks about all decisions and what goes into them. Don't judge it just yet (ha ha, get it, don't judge:)).


Cali said...

I still get a hard laugh out of Ray's competition comment... especially when you see the pictures he took ( good and VERY original). Another hard laugh at dad's giant eye. I loved this

katles said...

Oh Jane, I also prefer listening to words than music while I walk/jog too (have you tried TedTalks? I recommend...), and I write completed things on my to-do list just so I can check them off, and I totally see the distinction between being kind and being nice. You speak my language!

And I can't wait to read Mark Twain's Joan of Arc. Thanks for the recommendation!

tina said...

I have lots of things on "the list"! I loved the looks of your tin foil dinners!

Ande Payne said...

I loved this blog! I loved it. All of it. I always save yours for the end, and I'm so glad.

Becky said...

I love lists--making them, reading them, checking them off, throwing them away, whatever :)

I chuckled at the last picture...and after a very emotional week (it is *hard* to be stake president's wife when truly terrible, awful things happen to people), it was just what I needed! Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

Wish I could frame some of those pictures. I just gave an RS lesson on "to be" instead of "to do". Finny that we synced that one. Tell Cyclops hello. I need to know how to make those tea towels. Can you email me and explain?

Derek-Jenny-Kaitlynd-Ethan-Dylan said...

I like the idea of adding fun things I want to do to my list.
I phase in and out of making lists...I wish I were better about it.

I think I will add make treats for new neighbors to my list. It is something I am nervous about doing but I really want to do it all the same! Wish me luck.

Deanna/Mimi said...

What is on my "to do" list???? Easy answer. It is a "must" for me to do this every day. I get great satisfaction and am always fulfilled. It is a highlight of my day. What is it that I do? I check my blog to see if my friend Jane has posted a new message on HER blog (I have it listed on my blog page). Sure enough, I hit the jackpot today! Wow! I am informed, enlightened, taught, fulfilled, encouragement, envious of Jane's energy, ideas, delight...oh I could go on and on. Love your blog!!!!!!!!

Jill said...

How do you plan out posts like this?? Amazing.

I enjoy making to-do lists when I've got a lot going on, but I haven't made a to-be list...I think I need a meeting with myself.

I am the same way when I'm out walking, I never listen to music I always listen to This American Life, Conference Talks or an audio book. I like to feel like I'm learning something while I'm out there, it helps make it more enjoyable. I really loved this line of yours, "I think I need to quit expecting easy and be grateful for rewarding." That could be my life's motto!

I'd really like to see Ray's shots of Levin.