Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I YAM what I YAM...



This month I was one of the featured alumni in my alma mater’s Home Bulletin.

Yes – my alma mater is a high school…never did the college thing.

Anyway, I had to submit a picture…which I took with my phone, and expected to be just a wee little rectangle next to the survey I filled out.

It turned out to be bigger than I envisioned…and less attractive. To add to that, one of my answers was edited in a way that this word snob/grammar nazi would never have written. “Mrs. Libolt’s third grade Bible class; it was a favorite…”

If you seek humility, you will find it…Usually first, in the form of humiliation.

It reminds me of the time that we were scheduled for Church Directory pictures. The Farmer got the bright idea to go skiing that day, and I exhorted him to be back on time. He, of course, took “on time” to mean “in time” – and he was, but barely.

Meanwhile, I had to ready (and keep tidy) a 4 year old, 3 year old and 1 year old until we flew out the door.

When the picture came back, my kids looked adorable, my husband – handsome, and I looked like a clown had done my hair. Unruly poufs of permed blonde hair were sticking out of the sides of my head just in front of my ears.

Considering what had gone before, I should have been thankful that I was appropriately clothed, and smiling. But I wasn’t. Of course, this lovely portrait was going to be distributed to every member of our church family. They would all have a copy in their home…because everyone’s phone number was in that pictorial directory, and it would be used regularly.

That picture wasn’t small enough either.

When I read the Home Bulletin yesterday, I felt like Mary Richards in that Mary Tyler Moore episode where she has a hair bump that won’t go away; her dress gets wrecked at the cleaners and she has to borrow Rhoda’s too short one; she has a cold, and of course, this is the time she actually wins an award at the fancy dinner for broadcasters.

Her acceptance speech consists of one phrase: “I usually look so much better than this!”

Which is what I wanted to say when I saw the Home Bulletin yesterday…

But, let’s face it, I don’t…on the outside. Inside my head, I think I do. And I pride myself on using good grammar, and I didn’t make this mistake – but sometimes I do.

IYAM what IYAM…and often, not what I want to be.

But it’s not a bad thing to be reminded of this, and it’s a good thing to be humble – even if sometimes you must be shoved into it.

I’m working on it…accepting that who I am, is different than who I think I should be. It takes time and reflection to identify my expectations, evaluate what is realistic and proper – and then jettison the rest. It takes the Big Gulp of humility to let your reality show and not apologize for it…

It’s going to take this proud Dutch girl a while…

A motivating side benefit is that your expectations of others soften. As you learn to extend grace to yourself, it’s easier to do so for others as well.

We are what we are…we need grace; we give grace; we accept grace…

The accepting thing is the hardest part for me…Hopefully, the next time my reality is on display, I will not try to declare “I usually look so much better than this”.

Even better, I hope the next time I detect a grammatical mistake, I will not be compelled to point it out…

Unless it’s in the paper…if the pros do it -- fair game!

I think I just heard God sigh…
As I said, I’m working on it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Blah, blah, blah...Waa, waa, waa...


It’s Monday…and it feels like it…

Wait a minute! It isn’t Monday…It’s Tuesday! The Holiday has thrown me off schedule. I should have written it on my fridge white board: “Today is Tuesday!” but now it’s already almost 3pm, so it is too late anyway.

I probably better write: “Today is Wednesday” on it tomorrow. I actually have some appointments to keep on Wednesday…It would be bad to be thinking it’s Tuesday and get a call from my boy saying, “Why aren’t you here to bring us to the airport??”

They get to go on vacation for a week…God bless ‘em; they need it!

Anyway, this Pseudo-Monday feels like the real thing. I’ve been wondering for the past couple of days whether I have a wimpy cold, or severe allergies. Today I have chills, and an unhappy stomach, so I’m thinking virus, not allergies. Time to switch drug regimens…bag the antihistamines!

And I confess that I’m getting a bit blue with the weather…

I knew I shouldn’t have said we were having a normal spring because it turned rainy after that, and has pretty much stayed that way. My poor little container plants are turning purple from the wet and the cold. I finally broke down and brought all the pots undercover so that they could dry out.

If that doesn’t bring out the sun, I don’t know what will.

On the upside, it’s been easy to keep up with the watering. I need to remember this in August.

I hope you all had a good Memorial Day weekend. My mom and I were reflecting on Memorial Days past…how that was the weekend they would open the pool, and we’d have a barbecue after attending the memorial service at the cemetery.  For the last few years, the weather has been cold and rainy and not pool weather at all – which is probably easier for my folks because the pool was retired a few years ago. But anyway, Memorial Day Weekends have been kind of depressing.

We stay home so we can get some farming done, but then the weather stays bad, so we sit in the house, feeling like we should be doing something, but can’t work or play because of the weather.

Waa, waa, waa…what a whiner…

I think I have a problem with expectations. A lot of other weekends are rainy and cool, and if I was depressed every time it was that way, I wouldn’t spend a lot of time being happy here in the PNW… But now, I’m thinking about summer, and outdoor activities, and nothing less will do. Even my old reliable, food, didn’t provide the kind of fun that will usually suffice…the sore throat and stuffed up nose probably had something to do with that.

If I want the rest of this week to be profitable, I better work on an attitude adjustment -- and a nap wouldn’t hurt either.

Realizing that it isn’t really Monday would be a step in the right direction too. By the time I get the day right, this week will almost be over!

And by then, the sun may be shining.

MAY be…

Thursday, May 23, 2013

An Update on Angus...

He's growing like a weed...

For about one day, he had one upright ear, and one floppy one...SOOOOO cute!
 
Now, he fills up your lap, and his ears are upright and HUGE!
 
 
He's pretty laid back, and as happy-go-lucky as ever!
If Sister does it, Angus does it too...

...and that includes wrestling...LOTS of wrestling.
 
He likes to get cozy...
 
 
 
...wherever he might be!
 
Everybody loves him...
 
...and he loves everybody!
 
He is a great foil for Olive's intense personality and ever-present agenda. His presence is making her a better dog. All that pent up energy gets spent, and we can actually make headway in getting her to obey and listen. And Angus follows along. Just by observing, he has learned that you must sit to get a treat. It's so cute!
 
Daisie is very intrigued with him because he has posed no threat, and is obviously in awe of her! That never happened with Olive! Daisie tries to play, and likes to herd him around, and he obliging flops belly up to let her know that he respects her. Daisie can't believe it, and doesn't know whether to take advantage of his submission, or just play...They are pretty funny together.
 
He's reached a lanky and gangly stage lately. His ears and feet are still out of proportion to the rest of him which indicates that he will be bigger than his sis. Olive has her solid miniature draft horse rump, and Angus has a skinny bony one...so far! It's gonna be fun to see what happens when he is full-grown.
 
For all his sweetness, and good cheer, he is a puppy, and lately he has a thing for socks...We can't leave the laundry baskets on the floor because he will find the socks (and only the socks) and take off with them. This always ends with Big Sis saying, "You can't have that!" And she tries to take it away from him -- which of course results in a protracted and noisy tug-of-war.
 
And my socks end up looking like this...
 
Oh well, makes for cheap dog toys...although if he doesn't grow out of this fond affection, it does not bode well for our sock drawers...
He's easy to bring along on excursions, and Cait loves to do it. He always gets a lot of attention...The Little Charmer knows how to get inside your heart.
 
And don't feel badly for Olive. She gets to go running with Girl, so Angus' excursions are equal time.
 
So that's the latest and greatest with little Angus. He's a wonderful little guy...
 
...and a great addition to the family!
 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The International Plowing Match...


On Saturday, Tiffany, Caitlin, Angus & I went to the International Plowing Match. Cait’s friends, Courtney & Heidi, were competing with Jock & Tucker, two of The Big Boys that she loves so much.

So we went to see them – and all the other draft horses there. Jock & Tucker are show horses, and looked so handsome & fancy, but there were also teams of work horses of mixed breed, and quite plain. Both kinds are the old faithful that helped turn the land from forest to farms, fields to crops.
When you watch the contestants wrestle the plow, and coax their horses to a straight furrow, you can’t help but think about how things used to be. Feeding the nation was an arduous task, taking all of your strength and stamina, with no guarantee of success.

It’s not so physical today, but the risks are still the same. But today you have tractors that go exactly where you point them, don’t get tired, moody, or lame.

When you watch these plowmen working with their horses, you are reminded how valuable a good horse was to your life, back in the day. Now the plowing match is a novelty, but back when your life depended on it, there was great effort put into training your horses, and keeping them healthy & strong. The plowman was practiced, and took pride in the furrows he and his team could create. It all went toward growing a better crop, for a better return, for a better life for his family.

It’s good to be reminded of the old ways…to see again the link between work and life. In the clutter of 21st century gadgets, activities, luxuries, it’s easy to forget the fundamentals, and get too caught up in things that are trivial and peripheral.

A man, his team, his hands and the land…and an expectation of making a better life.

That’s the American Dream.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A little project I done did...


I’ve had a little hutch in my entry way for some years now. I like it, but I’ve been hoping for a little more shelf space for displaying some of my collections. I thought it would be easy to find a nice little hutch to replace it.
 

And it WAS easy to find hutches – but not little ones. Because of the curve of my staircase, and its rise, I had not a few limitations.

After a couple of years of looking, and finding, and measuring, only to discover one was too long, too high, or too deep, I FINALLY FOUND THE RIGHT ONE!

It was right in town at Keepsakes Antique Mall…and only $150! It was maple -- like Tell City maple, the kind of furniture that my mom loved, and was pleased to acquire back in the 70’s. It was cute in its wooden state, but didn’t look quite old enough…Retro, but not vintage – and I definitely wanted vintage.

So I decided to paint it.

I’m too much an optimist sometimes…or not very smart.

Or both…

I’ve gained skills enough to paint walls, but furniture is stretching it. So of course, I bought the reportedly easy to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, and learned that even easy-to-use paint is difficult for me.

I had planned to distress the finish, but as I got going on the project it became clear that I would NEED to distress the finish. It was pretty distressed, and distressing, even when I wasn’t trying to make it that way.

Chalk paint is thick, and fast-drying, and it stays where you put it…If you aren’t careful with your brush strokes, it can get pretty ugly…and fast.

By the 3rd coat, I had reduced the number of anomalies to a level at which I could distress the heck out of the hutch and they might seem intentional…

So the hutch and I both got distressed, but fortunately, it looks better on the hutch than me. I’m quite happy with the result!

I found these funky knobs at Anthropologie, and had to have them as a finishing touch on the project. Aren’t they cute?

While I didn’t gain a lot more storage space, I did gain display space. My tea cup collection can now come out and be seen, instead of hiding in a cabinet. And I can use the cabinet for other things.

All in all, a successful project! Of course that means that, once the painting memories fade, I will likely find some piece of furniture to do again…

No doubt, both it and I will be distressed again.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dare I say it?

We are having a fairly normal Springtime! And time is flitting by…
Already we have bees out in the field – not my favorite month of the year – and that usually means we will be harvesting in about 5 weeks!
Six would be nicer…
But, we are just going to be happy with normal spring weather, even if it means we are starting a little early.
The berry bushes look quite lovely right now…probably my favorite stage of growth…big green walls of bush extending for a quarter-mile.
And – keepin’ it real – the older bushes aren’t so much green walls as green lattice…Still pretty!
Here’s what’s keeping the bees busy…and more to come!
The Farmer is busy in the field whenever he can be in it. Predicted rain this week will likely keep him out of it for a few days, but there is much to get ready in the shop as well.
When the bees go in the field, I feel a bit like we are on the edge of a vortex that will soon suck us in…That vortex being harvest time. We’re trying to be ready, and proactive, and in charge – but the craziness always comes, and suddenly we’re whirling about waiting for it to end and drop us out on earth again, dazed, but alive.
And after this many years of survival, we don’t fear it, as much as resign ourselves to the ride…

Monday, May 13, 2013

A very pleasant Mothers' Day...


I had a very pleasant Mothers’ Day. It started with My Farmer delivering a latte and cinnamon roll for breakfast! Soon after, the grandpups came flying into the house, ribbons around their necks with cards with lovely sentiments attached!
 

Caitlin admonished them to “Go see Gram! Go see Gram!” but only Angus did. Olive is too much in love with The Boss to come to Gram first. But little Angus was full of enthusiasm and jumped up to put his paws on my leg, filling the air with kisses until I could get close enough for him to land one…or one hundred. Eventually, Olive was coaxed to come and deliver her card too.

It was just too cute.

I spent the rest of the morning sipping coffee, reading, relaxing and enjoying the fact that I did not need to prepare anything for our family gathering. My dear sis, Megan, had volunteered to do it all, despite that she, too, is a mother – and has a birthday this month too. What a treat! What a gift!

We had a lovely lunch there, with the usual laughter and good cheer. And my mother pulled her Mother’s Day Privilege Card to request that we watch the last of the Players Golf Tournament.

What?

As it came on, she was telling me that my aunt now likes to watch golf. “Can you believe that Aunt Milly watches golf?” she exclaimed. I replied, “No! Actually, I can’t believe that ANYONE watches golf!”

I will admit that watching golf isn’t too bad – when you tune in for the 17th and 18th holes and just see who wins. I can tolerate that much…and only that much. But good for Mom for pulling the Mom Card. It was her day, after all. And all the guys thought it was great.

Back home again, there was more relaxation – and greetings from my other kids, one who is away, and the couple who had been with their other family.

The Farmer even got me a gift…per my request, he replaced the hoses on my hose cart, and also upgraded the fittings. I’m quite excited about this upgrade! Last summer, hauling around some cracked and easily kinked hoses with leaking fittings was causing me to sin…too much mumblemumblegrumble kind of talking was going on, and a few kicks just might have been thrown as well. I know that many were contemplated.

But now, now I can irrigate in holiness!

That’s the theory anyway…

I quite enjoyed the day…though I must admit that I am somewhat a Mothers’ Day Rebel. It hit me quite a few years ago on a Mothers’ Day where the family had gathered to share a meal and “celebrate”.

I use the term loosely.

I noticed that this “celebration” had all the moms working in the kitchen…and all the menfolk sitting, visiting in the living room waiting for the food to be ready.

There’s something wrong with this picture…at least for the moms, that is. Caught in the Dutch/European tradition, the women did the kitchen work…The men did nothing! It would have been less work if we had not celebrated at all…so what was the point?! I want to honor my moms, but this was getting ridiculous!

Since then, we have cut back on the larger group gatherings, eschewing them for simpler celebrations. Desserts and coffee, or taking Mom out, or just making sure she has a big bouquet to enjoy – and more than that, making sure she hears the words that mean the most…That we love her; her sacrifice has been appreciated; she has done a good work…

For this Mothers’ Day Rebel, that is more than enough…

…and it was just what I got. Thanks for making my day, Farmer and kids!
 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Unfurled...

This makes me wonder what it means if something is furled...is this something like flammable and inflammable? They both mean the same thing even with the prefix??

Hmmm...

Is it a digression when you begin your blog post with a rabbit trail?

Hmmm...

Anyway, my purpose was to show you a little something that I enjoy every Spring time...

One day, my beloved beech trees look like this...
 
And the next day, they look like this...
 
 
They UNFURL!! 
 
Bam! None of this messing around with little leaves pushing out and having to grow...Full grown leaves appear overnight!
 
I just looked it up...FURL means "to wrap or roll close to or around something"...
 
So here it is again: FURLED...
 
 
UNFURLED!

 
Isn't it quite marvelous?!


 


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Detective Trotter...


 
Last weekend, we were privileged to watch our nephew, Nate, in an Agatha Christie play – The Mousetrap – at Judson Hall.

We were just SO proud of him!

He had a lot of dialogue, and delivered it in the clipped English manner of his character. He inserted subtleties to his gestures and his words that we later recalled were of great import to the story.

He had told his family that, at the end of the play, his character would reveal the identity of the murderer but he wouldn’t tell them ahead of time who it was…

Imagine our surprise when Detective Trotter turned out to be, not an investigative genius, but the cunning murderer himself!!

He’s quite the actor!

All the kids in the play did well, and made us confused about who to suspect was the criminal. None of us saw it coming when Detective Trotter turned out to be crazy, revengeful George the murderer. I thought it was Miss Casewell…or the Mrs. Ralston, the innkeepers wife…

Great play!

And, admittedly, we are biased but Nate did the best job on the stage! There may even be some non-family members out there who would agree with that.

I hope we will get to see him in drama again. He did so well portraying the character, making us believe the deception. He had a ton of lines and missed nothing. He stayed in character when the unexpected happened, and even ad-libbed a little.

He’s always been a memorizing genius, and can be hilarious with his mimicry…When he was a little sprite, he would answer our questions with lines memorized from movies.

It was great fun to see his childhood propensities put to use in an adult way.

Great job, Nate…We’ll be happy to watch you “break a leg” again!


Proud big brother & sister with the star!

Monday, May 6, 2013

I thought I was turning 53, but when I did the math I found I was only 52! Score!


It’s like getting to re-live a year!
 
I had a grand birthday on Saturday…
 
First, the sun was shining and the temperature was summer-like!
With wonder, The Farmer said to me, “It feels like summer out there!” In typical skeptical PNW fashion, I replied, “I know – but I hope it’s not…”
Nothing like good weather to make a seasoned PNWesterner suspicious…will there be payback in June, July???? There have been years where we find out in August that our summer weather was but a brief period that happened in springtime…
We’re hoping that’s not the case this year, and we are enjoying this exceptional spate of summery weather despite our skepticism.
But I was telling you about my birthday…
As it was the first Saturday of the month, Big Breakfast was on the schedule. The kids come, and we enjoy pancakes, waffles, bacon, eggs…and catch up on the latest news. I decided that, since it was my birthday, we should go out.
And so my day began with Eggs Benedict…my favorite! My parents joined us, and we had the upstairs room at Dutch Mothers all to ourselves that busy morning. It seemed like a party! Sadly, Jess could not join us as his part-time job now requires that he referee Saturday soccer for 3 & 4 year olds…He says it is great entertainment! His main concern is keeping the swarm of ball hogs inside the boundary lines. What a hoot!
But I was telling you about my birthday…
After breakfast, The Farmer, Cait & I decided to go to Windy Meadows Nursery to peruse the plant sale there. Nephew Loren works there, and they always have some unique plants that I haven’t seen elsewhere.
The Farmer decided that Olive & Angus should come along…

And they were pretty excited about it…

Olive was all smiles…
 

Angus couldn’t hold still.

 

I walked into the nursery with a plan…and was soon overwhelmed by the choices available…In spite of my confusion, I did still manage to load up the van.


Olive & Angus got to socialize with a bunch of little girls who were waiting for their mom…Olive was reserved, but polite. Angus was a total schmooze, flopping onto their laps and giving kisses without ceasing…The Little Charmer!
Afterwards, they were exhausted…time for all of us to go to our respective homes…Where I spent the rest of the day reading in the sun, and napping in the shade…

 
{heavy, contented sigh}

Late in the day, The Farmer decided that we should finish the day with dinner at Everson’s Black Forest Steak House…Schnitzel Champignon here we come!
As I said on Facebook, when your day starts with hollandaise sauce on your breakfast, and ends with bĂ©arnaise sauce on your dinner, you know you’ve had a good birthday.
And then reading in the sunshine in between, and people making you feel loved and appreciated? Well, it just couldn’t be better…
I’m a grateful 52 year old…for a lot of reasons!

 

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life (leslieisverbose.blogspot.com) and one where I can vent. (leslievents.blogspot.com)