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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lists:for the Saturday before Labor Day

Some of the author's recent work...

My list for this Saturday before the Labor Day holiday is way too long. There just are not enough hours in this day to complete it.

It looks like this:

1. Clean all of the bathrooms (again)
2. Read one of the books that is languishing on my night table (only 750 pages)
3. Can some more tomatoes. (It is that time of year, after all)
4. Walk dear old Clementine (she is staring at me while I type, am attempting to ignore her)
5. Go to a movie tonight (if we can all agree, that story is much too long to go into here...)
6. Start the laundry so on Monday, Labor Day, will not labor (most likely a pipe dream, got to dream)
7. Catch up on ironing (this is just not ever going to be possible)
Some of the authors's soon to be work...

The reality is, like the proverbial eyes bigger than stomach, my list once again surpasses my ability to complete it. Which, maybe is not so bad.

Or to quote my friend Robert Browning:
But what if I fail of my purpose here? It is but to keep the nerves at strain, to dry one's eyes and laugh at a fall, and baffled, get up and begin again.*








*Gotta love Robert Browning! Read more at:  http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/r/robert_browning.html#g8ZTUbcYk1u46Rrf.99 


Monday, August 26, 2013

Laundry will wait; these words will not

"Et tu, Brute?"

The Laundry will wait.
(all lies.)
But, does not.

It piles higher,
higher,
and higher

Multiplying
in the dark basement,
(like rabbits, wild with delight)
as I write these words.

Just as;
socks scurry
from the washer
to far away lands
leaving their mates...
behind.

The ironing is:
wrinkling and waltzing
around the ironing board
while I write.

I can sense
revolution brewing.
Bearings going bad in the washer,
sit ins from supporting
appliances,
irons, stoves,
and
garbage disposals.
(I think the mixer is in on it too.)
No easy fixes here.

Détente?











Saturday, August 24, 2013

House work:glad I learned how to do it.

Peach Pie, from another day, thought it looked lovely.
All day today, as I accomplished the tasks set before me, I thought of: the person who taught me how, and the times I learned them as a child.

As I scrubbed the numerous bathtubs in my home, I recollected how that was my chore growing up. Unlike now, there was only one bathroom which we all used.  God forbid you missed your time slot in the morning, (mine was 7:15 am) because you might not get another opportunity until someone took pity on you. Every Saturday morning I would carry the bucket filled with rags and supplies and begin at the tub and clean everything from there to the door, knowing there would be an inspection by my mother.

Washing the stairs I was reminded of all of the times I did this task.   I did not want to dust stairs, as I was sick of having the job.  I was: "short, and therefore closer to the ground, so it would easier for me then my siblings". Trumped up reason or so I thought at the time.

Or cleaning up the dishes and wiping down all of the counters, table, chairs and moldings to prepare for the peaches I was going to can after lunch. I assisted with the canning as a child and "did" the dishes too.

All the while I was working on these things, my family worked on dusting and vacuuming, washing floors, sweeping of the deck and front porch, mowing grass, and tending to the garden.
Some shots of the garden.

When I was young, I mistakenly once said to my mother: "you only had children so you would never have to do dishes again!" Not a politic thing to say to your mother, I realized then and even now the audacity of saying that still stings my conscious. My mother worked harder then all us put together, though  I never heard her complain or slack off, just silently do the work that needed to be done.

I hope that was what I did today. Silently (and I hope happily) did all that needed to be done, while those around me did the same.

It is a good feeling to have home and hearth clean and tidy, and while I did not enjoy the process while I was a child, I did learn the process. Which has served me well and interestingly, has become something I do enjoy doing and am grateful my mother took the time to teach me. Though at the time, to be totally truthful, I did not seem to want to learn.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Baking Cakes Late at Night

Cake, waiting for the
whipped cream frosting.


It seems I always do my best work late at night. Or maybe it just takes me so long to get to it, it is late at  night.

I generally "save" the thing or task I most want to do until all of the other chores are accomplished.

This is because:

A. I love having a "carrot" to work towards.
B. I think: if I like doing it, my not so favorite work, must be done first.
   (I think of it as eating the rutabagas before dessert is allowed.)
C. Many detours pop-up as the day unfolds.
    (It is amazing I accomplish any task early or late!)

So, I find myself, this evening, making chocolate cakes. Two of them. One is never enough. No, actually, I am making one for a friend, (a labor of love, really) and know that my family will be very sad if that one cake goes out the door and there is "none" cake for them inside the door. So to speak.

The house is quiet, Clementine is NOT barking, (which may or may not have something to do with being dark, not seeing if people are walking past our home), I hear my two adult children upstairs preparing for bed, and my husband is away on business. (Which means, I am staying up way too late, and reading way too much. Is that even possible? To read too much?)
Favorite Chair, note: dog laying despondently
 on the floor as she sees her favorite spot being taken.

Soon, I will go and frost the cakes and clean up the loose ends in the kitchen.

I will go through the steps of putting this house to sleep for the night:
Start the dishwasher, (normal wash)
Lock all of the doors, (front, back, patio doors times two)
Put the footstool on my husband's favorite chair,
(or Clementine feels it is fair game to be her favorite chair)
Tun off all of the lights, (basement, garage, and so on...)
Check and see if there are any messages on voicemail,
(three: two that will require responses and one for window washing, which I will not respond to)

Go into my room close the door, prepare for bed.

This late night, this peaceful moment, allows me the space to gather my thoughts, thank my creator and slide into sleep, at last.





Tuesday, August 20, 2013

School Days Over or maybe not so fast.

There are no more buses stopping at my driveway. Or for that matter trains or cars transporting anyone from my home off to school. 
Buses just like this
 picked my children up.

Up until last year, since 1987, my husband and I have had at least one if not all of our four children in school. All different kinds and ways of schooling. Nursery school, public school, private school, home-schooled, community college, private college, state universities, and graduate schools. Some times it has been a rough ride and others, smoother than anticipated.  

When not walking, this is where Clementine hangs out.

So this fall, as I walk Clementine, and see the school bus drivers practicing their routes, I am transported back to those days. 

Bittersweet. 

The kindergarten bus stopping for my eldest child, watching him climb up those steps, almost too far apart for him to manage, while his three younger siblings watched in awe. 

I watched in awe too. That he was going, that I was watching him go and that it was the beginning of the many times I would watch all of them "go" one way or another.

What I know now, which I did not know then, was that while they were the ones heading off to learn new and sometimes very unhelpful things, I was the one really learning. 

I was/am learning that if one does this parenting job well, these individuals we give birth to, love, teach, provide for, and guide, will not need us, but will want us. 





Friday, August 16, 2013

Plum Jam or is that jelly?

Such lovely peaches, don't you think?


This morning, along with a friend and my eighteen month grand niece, I picked a half bushel of peaches, a half bushel of yellow plums, and a half bushel of  apples. All of which grew in my aforementioned friend's yard.



It was a glorious morning, blue sky, scattered clouds and just enough heat to make one feel like summer is golden.


Once the fruit was washed and quartered, it was put in a large pan and cooked till it was soft enough to go through a sieve and begin the real work; becoming apple-butter and plum jam.

The peaches were not quite ready for prime time, maybe tomorrow.

Plums cooking away.  


Through a series of events, the sweet, hot, rosy liquids become, what I like to say, nectar for the gods. Or maybe just everyday regular people that enjoy jam on their toast. Or eating it with a spoon out of the jar. One never knows what way one will eat this delightful taste of summer in winter.

Apples!



Working side by side with a friend, eating the fruit of the earth, with the added bonus of  watching a small child's enchantment of being able to  pick food off a tree, is a pretty wonderful thing.

 All in all it was a lovely day's work.

Voila!

 Albeit, (perhaps), a little sticky.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The County Fair: no silent judging here

Loved walking around the fair
 looking at the livestock. This one really
 caught my eye.

This last July, I was a judge for the Lake County Fair. My category:  4-H sewing projects, level one.  I was delighted to be asked and I was even more delighted to meet the young people that submitted their projects.

There were boys and girls ranging from the age of six to the age of sixteen. Pretty broad spectrum in which to find a common platform to determine the winners. Luckily for me the 4-H coordinator hosted a seminar for the judges, she provided helpful information and guidance on how to accomplish this equitably.
I would not have challenged
this beauty. Very fierce!

The process was to evaluate the work; craftsmanship, how well they followed the criteria, documentation of the project,  and  interview the entrant.

My favorite part quickly became the interview portion of the program. Hearing each child's process of how they came to choose the fabric, pattern, complete the item and whether or not they enjoyed and/or would continue on sewing, was fascinating to me.

All of the entrants were very pleasant and lovely to spend time with. I have to admit there was one young man that really enchanted me.

Gotta love a goat!
When I was viewing his photos that showed his process of accomplishing his project, he stopped me to make sure I realized, his cape, was billowing in the wind. (He had assembled and sewn, entirely by hand, a red silken cape, which he was wearing the throughout the interview.)

"Do you see?!" The cape is blowing in the wind! I thought of that, using a fan to make it look like a real super hero's, isn't that great?! I mean, pretty good, right?",  looking at me with glee and expectation and hoping I "got it".

"Very nice! What a thoughtful touch." I said.

Waiting to enter the ring. 
I asked him if he would sew other projects in the future.

"I have got several planned for my friends so we can play Star-wars together, but my dad says that it is kind of creepy to sew clothes for other boys, so I'm not sure."

"Don't think of it as making clothes for other boys, think of it as making costumes or uniforms for games, maybe? Use to be men did all of the sewing and were known as "tailors", very sought after, even today some of the best designers/sewers are men." hoping to help alleviate his fear and reduce the stigma of his desires.

"Ohhh. I did not know that!" his face breaking into a broad smile.

As he walked back to his seat to await the awarding of the ribbons, I overheard him say to his mother, (his father was video taping the entire event):
"I can make as may costumes as I want and my last name doesn't even have to be Taylor!"




Friday, August 9, 2013

A Glance Across a Room: can change things

Does not look like much, but seldom do we expect life
changing moments to occur in  mundane events.

I was young, but receptive. Sometimes those two things do not go together, I am sure you have noticed this if you have any interaction with children. But all the same, at this time in my life, I was both.


"If your boss, the executive vice president, asks if you have work for his brother, you say yes, and hope he is not a problem" my mother said at dinner the day this request was made of her.

In turn, she said later, he was the best employee she ever had and was delighted the wunderkind ended up being her summer help, Christmas help, and any other time he could get away from school help.

"So funny, great sense of humor" she would say, as if this was hard to find in a twenty year old male.
"So smart, catches on quick, hardly have to show him once and he has got it" which was high praise as she is a women that hates waste, in time or supplies.

Having heard my mother speak of this red headed boy with delight, I was prepared to like this new member of her team. It was several years of hearing about him before we actually met.

I was still in high school and he was "older", in college, he had a very steady girlfriend, named Lisa, (I have never liked that name, petty, perhaps, but there you are.), my mother said he was devoted to her.

It was May, I was meeting my mother at her office, not something I had ever done before, to go shoe shopping together.  A friend dropped me off  at the front door.  I entered the building, without knowledge, walked down the stairs, as she had instructed me to do that morning at breakfast. There I found my mother waiting for me.

Before we left for the store, she walked me around the office, introducing me to all of her staff, (which while I had never met them previously, I felt like I knew).
And here he is now. 

Right now, as I type this, I feel frozen in time while I remember this moment. 

My mother led me into the next room, I saw for the first time, a redheaded young man sitting on a desk, laughing. It was a splendid laugh. The kind where you what to be included in the joke.  Friendly, kind, not hard or mean or cynical.

I do not remember any words spoken.
I only remember thinking:
I do not want this moment to end.

Ever.











Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Task at Hand

Nothing what so ever to do with any of the words on this page.
I just like the look of it.

As I write this, the laundry waits. As do the breakfast dishes and the other various and sundry tasks that fall into my lot this morning.

I was born and bred on accomplishing household tasks and while I bask in the glow of a washed an polished home, I still find myself, literally, aching to place these words upon the page. (I would have said paper in the days of my youth, but paper no longer captures my words before they fly off into nether regions of my mind, a computer screen is the vehicle at hand.)

I have begun stories, too numerous to keep track of, which never seem to have a ending. Perhaps it is because these stories are in progress. I am  waiting, watching, and wondering  along with everyone else, on how it will all work out. OR if it will all work out.

Which maybe exactly why I keep plodding along, attempting in between loads of laundry, to capture thoughts before they evaporate.