Thursday, November 23

Don't Be A Turkey

Another Thanksgiving soon to be neatly tucked away for reference. By that, I mean the giggles, guffaws and war stories that accompany a day with the relatives.

This year I am sans my girls. I'll be spending Thanksgiving with the in-laws, just as I have for the past five years since I returned to Virginia. I should be tickled that I have not had to cook since I moved back--other than a side dish and my West Texas Fair prize-winning crescent rolls--but I like to cook and I miss the family time. But that's a different memory.

I've read that you can't fully enjoy the present, if you dwell on the past. The present is staring me in the face, so I've put the butter on the counter to soften in preparation for making crescent rolls before going to my mother-in-law's for breakfast.

I've had to really push to be able to bring anything. I think she still views me as that 15 year old girl that dated her youngest son... How could I possibly know how to cook anything?? Never mind the fact, that I spent 20 some odd years out of her view, raised two children and such! Funny how our perceptions are clouded sometimes. We see what we want to see.

Being fully aware of this little human flaw, I vow to make this dinner a genuine pleasure by taking the time to drop all preconceived notions of everyone and look at them all with a fresh perspective. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 20

Traditional Threads

The days are running together at a much faster rate with the holidays staring me right in the face. Nonetheless, I'm proud to say, a large portion of my holiday shopping is done. All that is left is my Christmas sewing. (Okay... and a few packages to wrap. A few more to buy. And the baking.) But I'm focusing on the sewing this week.

I've been collecting fabric all year so that each person on my sewing list will have the most appropriately wild pajamas.

I started making pajamas for the girls several years ago. In fact, when they were little, I made most of what they wore. As time went by, they'd accompany me to the fabric store and pick out their own patterns and fabric. Once they hit high school, however, about the only thing I sewed for them was pajamas and the occasional bathrobe.

But I think they'll have to agree that their "homemade" items were always one of a kind. I'd also like to think these unique fashions helped build their individualism... and encouraged them to not be like everyone else.

These days, I'm noticing they are a lot more like me. I told my Jenifer just the other day, that I hear my words coming out of her mouth (and her sister's) more often as of late. She thought it funny when I admitted sometimes I am proud, other times horrified.

It makes me think of something my other half often says: "Throw enough shit out there and something's bound to stick."

Tuesday, November 14

Almost Five

We're 48 hours or so "post apple butter" and my other half is still playing catch-up on his rest. Yes, the weekend was tiring and after all, he did spend more than his share of 15-plus hours stirring the kettle, as well as over-seeing the entire operation. I'm really pretty moved by his sense of commitment and respect for the "the old ways" of doing things. But then again, he is a country boy.

Spending time--so much time-- with two other couples this weekend, has afforded me the opportunity to realize, and really count my blessings.

My house is far from being remodeled, but its come a very long way. Judging from the reaction from my visitors this weekend, it must be looking a great deal better than I realize. I'm lucky that the other half is a quite accomplished finish carpenter and does--upon occasion--have the time to put in a few finishing touches.

When a few married women get together and start discussing all the quirky little details of daily living, one either agrees or is totally shocked. In some instances, I was surprised--but overall, very thankful that my other half and I communicate. We talk. Hell, we usually don't agree--except on the fact that we are in this together and the other person's feelings DO matter.
I'll share the story of how we ended up together sometime... I understand from those who have heard it that it is a classic tale of romance spanning some 30 years--and we'll be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary this December. This is my third marriage (yes, third) and I might be getting better at this...

My oldest sister says "her picker is broke." She's married and divorced three times now. I feel sad for her. Not only because things haven't worked out for her... but because she has no one close, to share the good and the bad.

When I divorced my husband of 18 years, I was so sure I was through... No want, need or desire for another man in my life. I am thankful now that husband number 3 was persistent... that he convinced me that most things worth anything, are worth much more if you have someone to willing to share them with you.

Monday, November 13

109 Quarts Later...

The last jar was sealed and tucked under the thickest towels I could find at just before 10pm last night.

The "morning after" in this particular instance is all about rings, lids and sticky stuff. Although I must admit, the men were much neater that I had originally feared. And much more willing to do whatever was necessary to guarantee the success of this venture.

Actually, everyone was very even-tempered and helpful. Almost like they were all on valium or something. Okay, there was an occasional glass of wine... but really no more than a glass or two. And that was only after the work was done.

I was very impressed with the clean up efforts by the men. When I looked out into the backyard this morning, I wasn't horrified as I expected to be. The kettle had been rinsed and there weren't 85 million coffee cups or a hundred plates on the table under the awning.

The weekend went well. We re-connected with old friends, made some new ones, and have a lot of apple butter.

Friday, November 10

Apple Butter Anxiety

Tomorrow is the big day. Four eager workers and 12 bushels of apples will make war stories and 27 gallons of apple butter at my house this weekend.

My other half had made apple butter with his father over 25 years ago. His fond memories are what sparked this two-day event... that, and the fact that he inherited the old copper kettle and a "still in the box" peeler.

Seems making apple butter was an annual event at the church he attended as a child as well. He phoned several of the older women from the church this week to compare the recipe, as well as to gather some additional tips and techniques. Needless to say, he was more than a bit disappointed when he learned that nowadays they used apple sauce rather than go to the trouble of peeling apples. Wonder how many years they peeled before that decision was made?

I understand canning and making jelly. I remember shelling endless bags of peas with my mother and Granny. We'd all set up on the screen porch at Granny's and snap or shell until our thumps were sore. Pretty soon, the adults would become so engrossed in their conversation, they'd forget the children were even there. That's when the conversation would get interesting and my sisters and I would become quieter and more attentive. Ah, the gossip... I heard a lot on that porch that I didn't fully understand until much later in my life.

When I was living in Texas, I planted two pear trees when the girls were toddlers so I could make my own pear honey.
Once the tress began to bear fruit, my two daughters were drafted for the canning experience, as well as any unsuspecting friends. The first few years, everyone eagerly anticipated the event... eventually, helping with the pear honey was used as a bargaining tool for teenage girls. Soon thereafter, even neigborhood friends became suspiciously nonexistent the weekends we peeled pears and made pear honey.

One of the couples involved in our apple butter project actually hosted the last event over 25 years ago at their home. It's good to have some seasoned veterans.

Saturday, November 4

And the Wheels Go "Round...

It's almost 8 pm and the other half is snoozing on the couch. I have had my second shower of the day-- having sanded myself into drywall hell. I did manage to get the second--and final!--coat on the ceiling in the hall.

I've finished the second round on three walls in the living room. I love this spackling--I think I've mentioned it before--it goes on bubblegum pink and dries white. Great for a menopausal woman such as I--prone to forgetfulness.

I fell into bed yesterday with a book and the phone woke me up at just about midnight. I 'm so damn lazy, I have programmed rings for certain callers so I don't have to get up--I just listen to see if the phone call is worth my while. I have "no place like home" for my eldest and "fur elise" for my youngest. My stepson is "let me call you sweetheart" but that's a whole other can of worms...

Well, Miss Jessica called and we talked for about an hour and a half. Iwent to sleep with wonderful thoughts, but had the weirdest dreams. I dreamt my purse was stolen and I was really upset at having to replace all the important stuff--you know, social security card, credit cards and driver's license. I was a bit dismayed since I have goten pretty good at keeping a "stash" of money hidden in my wallet and it was gone too. I'm not sure what that all means and it bothered me for sometime this morning...

I jumped right into my remodeling... I have three walls done in the living room and the final wall I have left has one hole I have to patch. I think my other half is feeling a bit neglected... seems to me he would jump in and help to make it go faster, but hey, what do I know, right?

I will be so tickled when it is done and I can rest. But that's just a silly thought. When this project is done, there will be another...

Friday, November 3

A Multitasking Wiz?

I really meant to post yesterday, but my day ended wrapped in a polar fleece blanket on the sofa. I didn't sleep there--it's my other half's favorite place to snooze--I was awakened close to midnight and went on to bed. Just before I nodded off again, I thought of my blog.

I've been working to find a balance bewteen my website and my blog. I got this tip via email from Realage:
Think you're a multitasking wiz? That may be why your memory's "slipping."

The more things you do at once, the less likely you are to remember any of them. Sometimes that's no biggie -- if you're flipping through a catalog and watching a sitcom, who cares? But if you're hunting for flights on the Internet while talking on the phone and listening to the radio, well, good luck -- both the flight info and the conversation will probably be a blur. The solution's obvious: When something is important, be single-minded.
Hmmm... that might just be my problem.

I spent the better part of the day comparing flight times and prices for my daughters' Christmas flight. I searched the internet for the most inexpensive (of course!) fares and ended up with my old standby, Travelocity.
I looked at the other sites that advertised the guaranteed lowest fares, but after much research, found that their low price was before adding up to $96 in taxes and fees per ticket!!
I know many of you will be traveling or securing tickets for someone else, so pay attention to those low fares that aren't really lower after the fact. The sites I am referencing are travelation, ultimatefares, smartfares and cheapoair. The only site I found that lists the actual price with taxes and fees is Travelocity. It really is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get price.

Wednesday, November 1

Having A Plan Can Be Dangerous

I read an interesting quote: "Plans are useless, but planning is invaluable."- Winston Churchill

During one of the lowest points in my life, I remember Kim Basinger saying something along the same lines during an interview on "Inside the Actor's Studio." When asked if she had any final thoughts for the audience, she mentioned something her father had told her when she was very young: "When you want to make God laugh, tell him you have plans".

Essentially, we have no control over the outcome of so many things. But nonetheless, we constantly--on a daily basis--fail to realize this simple truth. So much time and effort is spent in the worry of people and events which are going to play out the way they are going to play out.

I'm not a Bible thumper, by any stretch of the imagination, but I think I finally understand "Let go and let God." It's really kind of freeing. God (or your higher power) has much more expertise in the lives of others than you or I will ever hope to possess.

I flip out occasionally, worrying over this family member or the other. I fret, overeat, nibble at my fingernails--and in spite of all that effort--can't seem to do a damn thing to change the outcome of events.

Doctors aren't the only ones who seem to think they can play God. Looks like us common folks make a fine attempt at times.

I don't know about you, but I am really very tired from all this worry. (I also understand from TV commercials, that worry causes stubborn belly fat.) I am planning on worrying less. And to quote Martha, "it's a good thing."