Saturday, January 14, 2012

Life in Our World – The Week


one of the girls wasn't wearing make-up so I promised to just show their hands

Some of our young women came here Wednesday night to learn how to bake bread.  They're all getting ready to go to college next year and cooking is a big concern for them.  Desperation can make for an eager student.  Shelly, our young women’s president, has already taught them how to make cinnamon rolls, caramel, and pizza and they still want to learn more.

This week we made Miracle Bread (the bread that takes an hour from start to finish).  I gave them five homemaking tips while we baked:

  1. Learn how to bake bread.  It improves the value of your home.  No lie.  I remember one appraiser told me, “I’m appraising your house higher than I should because of what I feel when I’m in your home.”   Baking bread.  It’s subtle, but it works.
  2. Eat supper together.  It has amazing effects on a family.  When you’re figuring out what to cook, think of topics you can discuss at the table.  (Setting a Table is an article I wrote on that topic.) 
  3. Set the table when you start to cook breakfast or dinner.  If the family sees the table is set they think food will soon follow and it’ll buy you time to get dinner on the table.
  4. Keep cookies in the cookie jar.  A full cookie jar is the most magical appliance in the kitchen.  If the cookie jar is full no one complains if dinner isn’t ready or if dinner is bad; if the cookie jar is full company feels like you were expecting them.
  5. If you can only keep two rooms clean in your house at a time, try the kitchen and bathroom.  The rest of the house will seem much, much cleaner than it is if those two rooms are really clean.
I love making a home.  I really do.  I don’t love all the tasks, but I do love the effects of having those tasks done.  That result motivates me to work at the tasks and try to get better at them.  It felt good to "pass it on" to the next generation of homemakers, just like others passed it on to me.


12 on 12 of ’12 – the rest of the story. You know how I post pictures once a month of what our family is doing on a given day?  Well, what you haven’t known or appreciated is the hyperventilating that has gone on behind the project.  Abe and Grace did it first.  They sent photos that were not . . . were not . . . well, they just weren’t what I was expecting.  They acted like those two photos were their submission for the month and didn’t say anything.  I was sick I hadn’t set more clear and definite boundaries when I enlisted everyone’s participation, and didn’t know how to tell them I wouldn't be posting them.  A few hours later another e-mail came in from them with two more pictures and that’s when I knew the joke was on me.  

It happened again this month.  This time it was Ray.  He sent his picture with the caption, “Not sure what kind of photos you were looking for. I'll scrounge a few and send a couple your way - if you insist...”  Oh gee.  I didn’t even open it bigger than the thumbnail size because it . . . because it . . . well, because it looked like it was one of those pictures where you don’t push back, you don’t push refresh, you just KILL the computer switch.  And then Ray sent another one and it said, “Guess who and what this is.”  Once again I was really wishing I had set more clear and definite boundaries, creativity and honesty be hanged.  I didn’t know what to do.  I try to be cognizant that Ray and Joe don't like their pictures posted on the blog much as it is, but here was Ray participating with great enthusiasm and I was going to have to squelch it.

After fretting and wondering for several hours about what exactly to say to Ray when he saw his pictures didn't make the post,  Cali called laughing and said, “Did you guess what Ray's picture was?”  Indeed I had made the obvious guess.  She said, "Nooooo, it's Ray's elbow.  We both got to laughing as he took the picture and wondered what you'd do with his elbow crease."   

Well I'll be, gutter mind and all.  Who knew that so many parts of our body resembled other parts?  

I can't believe I fell for it twice.


Calvin bought a few cords of wood this week and the man dumped it across the driveway.  We stack a little each night until it gets too dark.  One night as we were stacking and talking we decided that we ought to go see the kids in Seattle this weekend while they still live so close.    

Calvin, Ande, Cali

Ande and Joe had given Calvin “a dining experience” for his birthday in November and so Friday night they took us to a tapas-style restaurant to redeem it.  Ray, Cali, and Levin also joined us.  Oh my.  The dining experience was beautiful, and fun, and good.  We had things I’d never had before – like octopi sitting on little roasted red potatoes and duck liver.  We also had venison, pork, fish, and several different vegetable dishes that were presented in a way I’d never tasted.  I think we had ten or twelve dishes in all.  It was fun to see each new plate delivered and the garnish presentation.  The colors were so vivid and bright.  It kept the eating experience fresh the whole hour.  I’m excited to read Joe’s review of it on foodbibber – my guess is it’s going to get a “5.”

Calvin woke up this morning (Saturday) early and fried some bacon and sausage that he’d made for the kids.  After we ate, we unloaded the wood that we’d brought for Ray and Cali, played with Levin, and drove home while listening to a really good talk on tape.  We were only in Seattle a little over twelve hours, but it was well worth the drive and we had a great time.


Betty Lou (photo courtesy of Emily/Ken)

We didn’t stay in Seattle long because my friend Betty Lou was having her 90th birthday party and I didn’t want to miss it.  Betty Lou was my visiting teacher.  For months she faithfully came to visit.  Many times I was busy driving the kids to their lawn-mowing, weed-pulling, filing-insurance-claims jobs, and hard to catch at home.  Betty Lou told me, “You’re a hard dog to keep under the porch.” We’ve been good friends ever since.  

One of the things that I love about Betty Lou is that she is a great story-teller and laughs easily.  It's very fun to visit with her.  We have discussions about all kinds of things -- politics, the brain, the community, voting, our experiences, faith.  I remember one time she told me, "Let go and let God." It was timely advice.

A few years ago after a major health set-back, she had to go to a nursing home for several months.  It was plain depressing; however Betty Lou was always upbeat when I stopped to see her.  Once she said, “I just pretend this place is a spa – they feed me, they bathe me, they exercise me.  I just keep telling myself it’s my spa experience in life.”  Now that is an imagination, because Betty Lou is not only a lady she’s a well-traveled lady, and knows what a spa should be.  

Betty Lou is also very generous.  She's been very kind to our kids as well as me, in gifts as well as kindness.  One time I hurt an older woman’s feelings in the ward by referring to her as an older woman.  Betty Lou smoothed everything over.  The older woman brought me a peace rose from her garden to apologize for being mad at me (and I wasn’t even aware of it until she brought the rose!).  

Betty Lou has given me some great examples on how to be a grandmother.  Both her granddaughters and grandsons remember her spending lots of time with them.  One granddaughter liked to play Cinderella.  She liked to be the wicked step-mother and tell Betty Lou (Cinderella) to do the chores.  Cinderella did just what the wicked step-mother said to do.  Betty Lou has lots of beautiful things in her home and when someone asked her how she never got upset when the grandchildren broke things she said, "Because they're grandchildren.  That's the difference."  

We've been lucky to have Betty Lou and her family in our world.


Becky said...

Thank you for yet another wonderful post! I love your homemaking tips and I regularly use the one about setting the table a bit early :)

I laughed through the middle and smiled at the end because everybody needs a Betty Lou.

michelle said...

I remember well the desperation after I left home that led me to learn to cook! Those young women are lucky girls.

I laughed so hard about the photo submissions! So funny.

"You're a hard dog to keep under the porch." I've never heard that one before. Certainly no one would say that about me!!

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

Love it.

Ande....cute boots!

Cali....your legs go on for days!

Tiffany Fackrell said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVED playing cinderella at Grandma Goodrich's house!! one of my favorite childhood memories. as soon as I saw the picture you posted I immediatel remembered playing cinderella there!

Jill said...

It's funny to think of the YW suddenly being such motivated students! I don't remember learning how to cook before I went to BYU. There are a lot of things my mom could have taught me, but I don't think I was in a willing-to-learn state of mind at the time. It kills me that I never really learned how to sew, because she is a fantastic seamstress...I take comfort that she's teaching Whitney!

Betty Lou does NOT look like she's 90!!

Ande Payne said...

I just love Betty Lou.

Cali said...

Good Grief! I think the secret to LOOKING like you have long legs is to squat down in pictures. I appear to be 6 feet tall in there. I love that picture of Betty Lou and the story about the Spa.