Saturday, June 04, 2011

...the full value of joy

To get the full value of joy
You must have someone to divide it with.

~ Mark Twain~

 2011 Year of the Rabbit Stamp
from Taiwan

Love has no desire but to fulfill itself.  
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.  
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and
give thanks
for another day of loving.
~ Kahlil Gibran ~

Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.
Everything is, everything exists, only because I love.
Everything is united by it alone.
Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source.

~ Leo Tolstoy

by ppdigital^, at Morguefile^

Happy Sunday!


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

A Simple Woman...

Every month, I remind myself to participate in the thought provoking Simple Woman's Daybook^. It's a series of questions to answer on your blog or journal. Reading the answers other women have given written always gives me a sense of who they are and what is important to them.

But every month, I don't. I don't know why I don't, because the questions are great and I do want to. Sometimes I start, but I never finish. I'm odd like that.

So this month, I forced myself. I' m so happy that I did. It didn't hurt a bit, and I like my answers, which is unusual, and I normally don't like much of anything I write.

Here they are...

Outside my window...

a ruggedly handsome man. From here, he looks to be grilling carmelized onion-chicken burgers.

I am thinking...
about a conversation I had with a friend a few days ago about (other) friends who believe in improbable, often wacky conspiracy-theories. I once read that people who believe such things are usually brighter than normal, which may be what allows them to discern and latch onto what seem to be patterns and coincidences (but which aren't really there). Once ensnared, confirmation bias carries them over the it's-a-conspiracy goal-line.
Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said: "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
(Through the Looking Glass, Chapter 5)
So, I wonder why I haven't ever fallen for anything like this.

Maybe I'm not as smart as I think I am.

Maybe we don't always know when we have a blip on the ol' logic detector and I have fallen for something unawares. This is my least faorite possible scenario. 

Maybe I've just been very lucky (so far).
“In fact, one thing that I have noticed . . . is that all of these conspiracy theories depend on the perpetrators being endlessly clever. I think you'll find the facts also work if you assume everyone is endlessly stupid.”
Brian E. Moore
Maybe there is no good reason at all.

More things in politics happen by accident or exhaustion than happen by conspiracy.
Jeff Greenfield

Also, I am thinking...
about having grilled caramelized onion-chicken burgers.

With a ruggedly handsome man.

I am thankful for...
ruggedly handsome men who love to cook, having my dog home again (he was at doggie daycare for the last week while Dan was gone), my family, my friends, my home, and being able to enumerate simple pleasures.

I am blessed.

We are blessed.

From the learning rooms...
I have promised myself that I will re-learn how to cable knit if it kills me. Hoping it doesn't, but I'm prepared for the worst.

From the kitchen...
grilled caramelized onion-chicken burgers with mango-Serrano salsa, fresh corn on the cob, melon, and s'mores (with GF graham crackers) for dessert.

I am wearing...
a black cotton knit shirt, a tan skirt with blue and yellow flowers, and the silver bracelet I always wear. It was a gift from Dan, and I cherish it.

I am creating...
the finishing touches on a long languishing, soon-to-be-felted knit handbag. I started it last year. It's in autumn-y colors, which made sense at the time, because it was early autumn. I hope to have it done before the middle of the month so that I can start one in summer colors. I hope to have it finished while we're still in summer, but recognize that the blues and greens will probably go well in winter, when it is most likely to actually be finished. Also, I'm working on a a handbag made from vintage bark cloth. It's handbag week here, I guess.

I am going...
to be quilting later this week. I finally have enough vintage bedsheets in the right colors to start (and finish) a quilt in oranges, yellows, pinks, and reds.

I am reading...
Living Crafts magazine, which came in the mail today, and which I so look forward to. The editors and staff are able to capture and showcase the work of so many talented individuals, and the writing perfectly captures the mood in the photos (which are always gorgeous). Also, Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis. It's one of my favorite books, and I read it from time to time to gain clarity.

I am hoping...
to get my nose pierced this week. It used to be, then it grew over. My face looks empty without it. Go figure.

I am hearing...
that Sarah Palin is considering running for President and has asked Donald Trump to consider running, too. They could run together and call it the You're Fire/I Quit ticket.

I have very little respect for Donald Trump and very little for anyone who would publicly bolster him by lending him any sort of respectability. So, phooey.

Around the house...
I have some laundry to do, and a schedule to make before I go to bed tonight. I want to re-do the spare room downstairs to use as a craft room/study, and want it to be as complete as possible before the first of August when I hope to put new shelving on the larges expanse of wall. So, it's time to schedule all that. I love schedules. And lists. Make them all the time. Sometimes, I even follow them.

Also, I'll be making laundry detergent tomorrow. I make it from scratch. It's easy and quick to make, it works at least as well as the store bought kind, and a batch lasts about a year and a half. And it smells better.

The best part: it costs about seven dollars for the entire batch. Seven dollars for a year-and-a-half.

The cheapest detergent at the grocery store does about 32 loads for $7.99. I was using one of the ones which was perfume and dye-free, so it cost more because they left stuff out.

32 loads for $7.99 comes to about .25 per load. We wash at least 1.5 loads a day, times 365 days a year. That comes to 547.5 loads a year, 821.25 loads in a year and a half. Minimum. $205.31 dollars every 18 months.

Versus $7.00.

And the neat thing is that without artificial perfumes, I can add natural essential oils. I added Frankincense and Myrrh (the real things) the last time. I already had it to scent some soap, so the carrier oils (what the teensy scented bits float around in) are safe for the skin and non-irritating.

And it smells wonderful. I will post photos and my recipe later this week.

One of my favorite things...
sitting outside in the summer as the sun sets over Pikes Peak, grilling on the back deck, eating on the patio table outside with family and/or friends. We did that tonight for the first time this year. It was lovely.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
working on our bedroom this weekend. I'd like to sort through some stuff for donation, to make it easier to repaint this summer, which is my goal. I should probably share my goal with Dan. Hi, Honey! I want to paint our room!

Here is picture I am sharing...
actually three.

First, one of our three beautiful daughters, 
on Dan's family's farm

Second, one of Clementine petting a horse on the farm. 
She loves horses more than almost everything else, 
so you can only imagine how wonderful it was 
for her to be able to pet 
and snuggle with a real horse.

Third, this is a brick path on the farm that Dan, 
his cousin, and grandfather (who has since passed) 
built about 30 years ago. 
And those are Clementine's feet on the very same path. 
So precious. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

I think it is fitting that Memorial Day marks the start of summer. Summer is a time of freedom, a time to enjoy all of the best things about our nation. Spending time in nature, spending time with friends and family, traveling, visiting beautiful places throughout our nation. 

Remember all the things we have to be thankful for, and remember all of the men and women who came before us, giving everything to secure our freedom. 
Have a happy, peaceful, and safe Memorial Day.

And welcome, summer.

Perform, then, this one act of remembrance before this Day passes - Remember there is an army of defense and advance that never dies and never surrenders, but is increasingly recruited from the eternal sources of the American spirit and from the generations of American youth.  
~ W.J. Cameron
antique image

They hover as a cloud of witnesses above this Nation.  
~ Henry Ward Beecher

Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 antique image

All we have of freedom, all we use or know -
This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.

~ Rudyard Kipling

I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day.  I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it.  We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did.  
~ Benjamin Harrison

antique image

Cover them over with beautiful flowers,
Deck them with garlands, those brothers of ours,
Lying so silent by night and by day
Sleeping the years of their manhood away.
Give them the meed they have won in the past;
Give them the honors their future forecast;
Give them the chaplets they won in the strife;
Give them the laurels they lost with their life.

~ Will Carleton

The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.  
~ Benjamin Disraeli

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Our babies take flight

In the past week, so many things have changed.

Our oldest daughter has moved, and will be attending graduate school, our youngest has graduated from preschool, and as of tonight, our middle daughter has graduated from high school.

How's that for a busy week? 
I always say that I could not possibly have more wonderful children. It's true.

They are all beautiful, smart, funny, clever, kind, sharp, witty and talented.

For the week preceding graduation, Clementine told me in solemn, quiet  tones that  she did not want to graduate and leave her friends. She loves her teachers, and didn't want to leave them either. She insisted that she didn't want to leave the goldfish or the butterflies, or the ladybugs, or anything at her school.

We tried to reason with her.

But your new school with have those things and so many more, and you loved it when we visited. She did not want to hear this.  

Your teacher is retiring this year, so even if you were there next year, she wouldn't be. Clementine did not want to hear this, either. No thanks.

from here

So we told her that we knew that moving was scary and that leaving was scary. But that if we never moved, we'd never see or do anything new. That she couldn't read well at the beginning of the year, but she could now, and she needed to move to a new school to get a new teacher who could teach her even more. And that we'd make sure she saw her friends and got to make new ones.

That seemed to help, at least a bit. But she still didn't want to go, and the night before, told me that she was afraid to go. I held her and we hugged. Dan held her and they hugged. She decided she would try to go after all.

The next day, she went to school and bravely walked across to get her diploma. She was happy to see her teachers and her friends. She was happy to have graduated.

We were so proud. She is so brave.

As we were proud last night when Caroline graduated from high school. She was accepted into the college of her choice, and will be attending in the fall. It requires a little bit of travel, and this is the first time she'll be living away from home for any period of time. We could not be prouder or happier that she is getting this opportunity. She has always been our sunniest child, and I hope that the students and faculty at her new school know just how lucky they are to get to see her every day.

And we are so proud of our oldest. She is going to be going to graduate school and has a job working with children, the most important sort of work there is. She has always been my toughest-yet-most-tender, always helpful, pragmatic, and sensible in the best way possible. She is funny, wry, and loyal.

I consider myself the luckiest mommy in the world, because anything I can say about any one of my daughters I can proudly say about all of them.

Our daughters are the never-ending joys of our lives and we are so proud and happy and blessed to be their parents.