Thursday, January 28, 2016

Take Time to Write

I love this book.
This man wrote an essay for the Sunday Omaha World Herald every week for over 30 years from the 1940s to the 1970s.
He was a great reader and his commentary on books, life, and his own history ring true even today.
This is the kind of book I love to read and the kind I'd love to write.  
It's just vignettes of his own life. He writes about his family, social issues, his memories, his books.  

Some things I enjoyed:
"Gentlemen, babble not to me about the 'weaker sex'. ....Follow your wife around some day if you would know the meaning of work."
"The 'perfect reader'--if there be such a person--is the reader that strikes the balance between the old and the new." 

"I reflected that no place on earth has the magnetic pull of home. Here, surely, is where the heart is. Here are family, warmth, shelter, tranquility, food, drink, restoration, ease, comfort, and the assurance of security."

"For me at least, home is the touchstone, the spring to which you cannot go too many times to drink and be refreshed. It is a refuge, and haven, a retreat from mankind's bloody follies, a calm harbor in a disordered world."

"'When,' another woman asked my wife the other day, 'are you going to use your university education?' Gladie was shocked, 'Use it!" she exclaimed, 'I have used it every waking moment for 31 years!'"

"...a university-educated woman is not wasting that education by remaining a housewife. It is evident in everything about her, from the raising of her children to the decorating of her home to her very personality."

From the 70s
"The sociologists keep yattering that we no longer are communicating as between the young and the old."

"... the home is the heart of any society."

"Nothing that the President can say, or the Pentagon's generals or the business magnates..., has a fraction of importance of what a father and a mother can say in the privacy of the home they have made for themselves and their children."

"How old fashioned I sound! Yet I believe it is true that previous generations worked at being parents. They begot children and had this quaint notion that they were then responsible for them. They provided food and shelter and clothing, they loved their children without being showy about it, they expected discipline and got it, and along with it they got honor and respect."

"Among the disciplines was the dinner table. .... It was the time when all the members of the family sat down--as a family!--belonging to each other."

"What we seem to have lost track of is the dignity of labor and of the fact that college is not the only place in which a person can acquire an education."

"Families are what nations are made of."

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Some Days

Some days it just doesn't pay to get up.  I try to get my errands done with as few visits to town as possible.  You know, just do it all in one trip.  There are a couple of reasons why I like to do this.  One is that I like to stay home instead of run around and the other one is the gas-wasting issue.
I wanted to get my groceries and banking done in the same trip that took me to my knitting group in the afternoon, but it was predicted to be warm enough that it wasn't a good option unless I rooted out a cooler and I didn't want to do that.  So, I went to the grocery store in the morning.  
The first thing I didn't do was grab my water bottle.  
The next thing I didn't do was think about going to the bank to get grocery money until I was parked in the very nearest spot to the door.  Sigh.
I went back to the store, and parked near a cart corral which is the next strategy if I can't get a close space, grabbed my stuff and....I forgot my list.  
So I went back home.
Got the list.
Got the same parking spot, and went in.  

We did lots of things this week.  We bought the carpet for the basement bedroom Jim is working on and a mattress for the full sized metal bed that belonged to his folks.  That was all well and good until we put the mattress and box spring on the bed.  We got more mattress than we planned, but those mattresses looked a lot smaller on the racks at Menards than they did on the bed.  
I can't climb onto it.  Of course, the bed rails are taller than modern ones, the casters add a couple of inches as well.  I looked into a smaller box spring today.  They make them that way.  They're called "low-profile".

It snowed three times this week and I scooped the driveway twice.  The third time the sun took care of it for me. 

Outside the front door.  (From inside.)

We had a lovely little visitor to our feeder. 

And frost blowing off the trees.

And I spent part of the time sitting on the couch reading, knitting, and drinking cocoa.  I wear a scarf most of the time to keep me warm.  This scarf is from a few decades ago when scarves were in before.  

In an effort to get some better nutrition in me I decided to made a green smoothie.  I generally want a pick-me-up in the afternoon and this should be a good one.  It is pleasant to eat which means the texture and coolness overrides my "no-taste" issue. I won't eat very much at a time so I looked for my ice cube trays to make smaller portions but I couldn't find them so I had to buy another one.  
This is a double batch.  

I also made a batch of buns, poured the fire-starter pine cones into a basket, cooked up neck bones for a lovely BBQ beef over mashed potatoes casserole, and cleaned the house.  
And laundry. 

And about those resolutions.  
Walking--6 out of 7
Blogging--you see it.
Piano--15 minutes per day. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Life Happens on the Weekend

Resolution Checkup
Blogging on Tuesday.
I walked 5 out of the last 7 days.  (I was gone for a funeral one day)
Five letters done last week. 
All office work was done in the office except the estimate I did with Jim on the kitchen table this morning. 
I forgot the resolution that is making all this possible.  I am not spending all my time on facebook.  I check it every couple of days, especially my daughter's page since there might be photos of my grandchildren.  

I've discovered that my weeks fall into a pattern most of the time.  I get up, get dressed, make breakfast, have a quiet time, clean the kitchen, check the laundry, play the piano, tidy up a bit, go into the office.  
Then the fun begins.  I have second breakfast, put the laundry in the dryer and on it goes.
Lunch, more laundry, and either tidy up or say forget it all and knit for the rest of the afternoon until time to make supper.  

The weekends are more exciting.  Last weekend when we were up visiting my friend who started chemo and radiation last week, she gave me this cute little rooster dishcloth which makes a nice companion for the scrubby cloths I am making these days. 

A week isn't complete without a visit from some boys.  This was supposed to be a short visit.  But, like all kids, they dived into the toy room and when Mama was making noises about leaving they brought puzzles out, dumped them and then it's "We can't go until these are done!"
The table shows a little picture of my life: a plastic bag the puzzle lives in, my shawl pin, my felted potholder,  a letter started, a plastic jar to go to the recycle bin in the garage.

I was gone for a funeral Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon, in my own stomping grounds.  When I got home Zane was there to stay over to Sunday.  What will go down in the annals at Gramma's house is Zane trying to walk on the ice on the pond and finding out what it is like to land in icy water waist deep.  I wasn't there, but after a warm bath, Zane was back in full form.
I came home to Zane in his pjs, and both of them all ready to make pancakes for supper.  At least they would have been all ready, except Jim didn't know where my mix (homemade) lives.  So, I said, "Zane, can you find the mix?"  He went right to it.  I have the directions on the container so those two mixed up the pancakes. Zane broke eggs and mixed them for scrambles.  Then, Jim cooked the eggs, while Zane poured and flipped pancakes and I microwaved some bacon.  
And we had supper. 

I had promised Zane that "next time" he could roast a marshmallow in the fireplace. 

We woke Sunday to a skiff of snow and single digit temps.  The clouds are rolling away.  

And since I'm not posting on facebook at the moment.  I'm posting this here.

"I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day."

I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.
The eye is a better pupil, more willing than the ear;
Fine counsel is confusing, but example is always clear,
And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,
For to see a good put in action is what everybody needs.
I can soon learn how to do it if you will let me see it done;
I can watch your hand in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lectures you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lesson by observing what you do.
For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
But there is no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.
When I see a deed of kindness, I am eager to be kind.
When a weaker brother stumbles, and a strong man stands behind
Just to see if he can help him, then the wish grows strong in me
To become as big and thoughtful as I know that friend to be.
And all travelers can witness that the best of guides today
Is not the one who tells them, but the one who shows the way.
One good man teaches many; men believe what they behold;
One deed of kindness noted is worth forty that are told.
Who stands with men of honor learns to hold his honor dear,
For right living speaks a language which to everyone is clear.
Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence, I say,
I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day.
-- Edgar A. Guest

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Week 2--2016

It's Tuesday, and I'm blogging--check.
I walked 5 out of the last six days--check.
My office work was done in the office all last week--check.
I've written two letters--could have done better.

A new semester has started and my daughter is fortifying herself for the days ahead when she's working and can't eat at the cafeteria.  Eggs were cheap this week, (our chickens have gone on strike) and she mixed eggs, spinach, peppers and tomatoes and ended up with some very nice looking egg cups, ready for the freezer and ready for school.

Speaking of food, we like gravy.  I bought a bunch of pork chops a while back and put them frozen separately in the freezer, so I can pull out one chop for supper.  It doesn't look like much swimming in a 12" pan of gravy, but I don't eat much meat and there is more than the "pack of cards" three ounces that is considered a serving. 

We got some more snow this week.  We actually got enough to cover the grass, instead of just enough to keep our roads icy.  I've been walking around our subdivision.  Once around is a half mile and I get pretty puffed with just that.  Saturday I decided scooping snow off the driveway should equal a half mile walk so I began, planning to go until I got puffed.  
Obviously, pushing an inch and a half of very light snow, back and forth off the driveway wasn't as hard as I thought.
I finished it in two takes.

We went to visit some old friends in the northeastern part of the state this weekend.  (Old in that we've known them forever.) We were expecting the coldest weather so far and the weather lived up to the weatherman's predictions.  It was -11 F.  Jack Frost visited during the night.  

My friend lives in a lovely old house that she has decorated charmingly.  
I love this little nook, a perfect little spot to curl up with a book.

Our bedroom.  

I took special care with my hair anticipating this photo.  We didn't take the photo until after dinner and by then my hard work was permanently damaged, aided by the hat I wore when we went out to eat it. It's a hopeless case.  Frizzes we shall always have with us.  

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Birthdays Make Good Celebrations

It's the NEW YEAR! 
People everywhere are marking the days with resolutions, or wishes, or nothing. 
I often start a new year with the great desire to make great changes in my life, to be a better person, a more efficient home and office manager, less of a time waster, an exerciser.  
Most of any of those ideas last until the first of February.
I started my life changing events the middle of December, reminding myself that the time to make changes is now, not at any future date no matter what the calendar says.  
I plan to make my changes one at a time, a little bit at a time, with more reasonable expectations.  
In the middle of December I modified my wish of writing a letter everyday (snail or e-mail) to three or four times a week.
The last week of December I decided to spend less time on the computer, and that includes facebook.
The first of the year I decided I was going to treat my business work as--well, a business--and do all the work in the office instead of at the kitchen table or the couch.
A few days later, I took the trash out, discovered it wasn't too bad outside with leggings, winter coat, hat and mittens and walked a half mile.  Then I did it the next day.  I think I can do this.  
The last resolution is to blog on Tuesdays.  I really enjoyed that year that I did a picture a day.  This year I would like to think in weeks.  
It will be a challenge.  

We nearly always start out a new year in our family with birthday parties celebrating Zane's on the 31st and Lorene's on the 3rd.  Zane wanted his party 'on his day', so we did.  He and Lorene unanimously chose angel food as the cake of the day so I made two.  My mom was here and helping get things in order for the party supper with the cakes.  I misread the measuring cup and put too much water in the first cake.  I took part of that batter to put in a doll sized angel food cake pan for Zane (which I overcooked in the excitement).  When the finished products were displayed the cake with too much water was half as tall as the other one.  Zane's small cake having been cooked as long as the large ones, was tough.  I dressed it up with whipped topping, gel candy minions and 7 candles.  He manfully ate his way through it all.  I saved two minion candies for the other boys, and it's a good thing I did, since Zane didn't seem inclined to share his. 

I suppose we only really need one photo of Zane with his cake, but I have a hard time leaving out all his different expressions going on. Not to mention Christian hovering in the background.   

Then, we have a party...

...and a very nice party it was.  
Part of my 'resolutions for 2016' is to have more photos of myself.  
Too bad I look like such a goon in this one.