Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Coffee Chat - April Showers and Sunshine
Come in, come in. So glad to see you stop by. I'd thought we'd have our chat on the back porch today but alas, all this pollen only makes me itchy and sneezy and hoarse. But before you rush in, do look at that heart shaped puddle... It's still there, showing up each time we have rain.
An uneventful weekend just behind us, and for one, I am deeply glad. I needed to rest up since we've run pretty hard lately on our weekends. Saturday we mostly just relaxed, rested and ate. I worked on Sunday, but intermittently. It was a relaxing day overall. I looked at genealogy stuff until I felt light headed and cross-eyed to boot. Even with breaks to actually do some real work, I was at the history stuff entirely too long. But it was worthwhile with more bits of information to add here and there. I've found it to be true that if I look for something else, nine times out of ten I stumble upon information related to my own ancestors. If I actively seek information, it's like walking about in the dark. The moment I look for information related to someone else or the history of a town, boom! There's a fairly big piece of information.
Genealogy is not only a fun occupation to me, like a jigsaw puzzle or Sudoku, but it's a nice way to retreat into another world, like a book. It's also a wonderful way to spend your time chasing along rabbit trails. I don't know if you're a country girl or not, but to say you're chasing along a rabbit trail means that you are off course, not doing what you'd meant to do. That's genealogy. Even if you eventually recall what you sat down to research, you'll surely find yet another reason to go dashing down another obscure path that has nothing at all to do with your intent. Lovely way to waste time.
I wish I were more prone to adventure in other areas of my life. I've said before I'm a rutty sort of person. Menus may seem variable to you all but just spend a bit of time reading back over menus from a year or three back in the same month and lo and behold, I've cooked those same dishes before and in pretty much the same menu. Go to a restaurant, and I tend to order the same foods again and again. Go on vacation and go to the same place over and over again and do pretty much the same thing each time.
Well that's the problem. It's time to consider going on vacation and I'm having a hard time finding a place to go. John's asked we change away from our usual plan. Oh there's plenty of places to go, and funding isn't a difficulty since we've set aside money since the first of the year for this. It's getting my head out of the "Vacation : St. Augustine" rut. It's so easy to just click over to our usual spot, purchase a room, no thought involved other than making sure I get one that has had no pets, is no smoking and has an ocean view. Our hardest decision is determining what route to take down.
But now....shall we do beach but go north? Go southwest to the Gulf? Mountains? Big mountains or foothills? Cruise?(ha!) Historical site or not? Shall it be a resting vacation or a sightseeing one or some of both? Near trip? Far trip? Decisions, decisions. And all the while I'm thinking of St. Augustine and how easy it is to just click on the dates I want, hit send and know that vacation is done. But what am I missing? That's the question I keep asking myself. What am I missing? What adventure is awaiting me on those new roads we might travel? Who might we meet? What sights might we see? What if I find a new love out there in the world at large and determine that St. Augustine truly has become just a habit? And would it be such an awful thing to discover that St. Augustine is a real true love and the only place I'd like to be? But how should I ever know if I don't venture out a bit? Sooo...hard decisions ahead.
I've been cleaning house, specifically cabinets and pantry and freezers, looking for products in my home that have yeast, or yeast extract or powdered yeast listed in the ingredients. Not too many items were found which is good. It's interesting to note that yeast is not just in breads as you might think. It's also used as a seasoning in more foods than you might imagine. This cleaning is due to the upcoming Pesach, or Passover, which is followed immediately by the Feast of Unleavened Bread. I do this cleaning because the Old Testament instructs us to remove yeast products from our home and property for a period of 8 days. When Passover occurred, men and women were instructed to leave their homes before they were able to set bread to rise. They ate unleavened bread as they marched out of Egypt.
But the implications are deeper in so many ways and on so many levels. A little white lie. An unkind remark, a complaint. Sin is sometimes so subtle that we fail to recognize it as itself. It disguises itself well. It's like yeast. It's in places where you don't always think to look. And in this season, while I'm cleaning and seeking yeast, I'm doing a self-exam of myself, looking at my heart and mind and trying to route out the things that don't belong. I'd love to tell you that I had a clean exam but oh dear! I so don't...There are so many things I feel I must tend to, that must be mended or fixed or washed and started fresh right here inside my own heart and mind. Everything I find is one more thing between God and I, that keeps me from drawing nearer to Him. So that is why I do this each year, not just because I became Messianic and it was understood that I would do this, nor even because the Bible instructs us to do so, but because it has a spiritual benefit for me that makes it worthwhile.
I've been missing Granny fiercely here the past couple of weeks. I think it's the season. After winter, when the flowers began to bloom once again, I'd often arrive to find Granny had fresh bouquets in her home and as often, she'd have a glass of water on the table filled with blooms for me as well. "You have to have flowers indoors," she'd say. Mama has never liked flowers indoors. She prefers them in the yard. I don't recall Big Mama ever cutting flowers, either. But Granny did. She had early blooming shrubs that flowered towards the end of winter and she had late blooming flowers that went strongly into autumn before the cold came about. I'd speculate she had some sort of flowers in her home for nine months of the year. I recall Christmases when she'd have Granddaddy shoot mistletoe from the treetops in the church yard, and send him to gather cedar and pine. Anything to have a bit of life and greenery and fragrance indoors.
I wonder what's blooming in the yard at Granny's now? I keep telling myself I should go look, gather a few things to bring home and plant. I've ridden by the house a couple of times over the past few weeks but I can't quite make myself go up to the gate, unlock it and go into the yard. It's hard to look at the house, which Granny kept so neat and nice, looking ragged, with shrubs and trees growing up around it and the tin roof gone all rusty red. I'm afraid, once I go and see the ruins of it all up close that I'll lose her entirely...In my mind, you see, she's still there. I expect any time I'm in the yard here to hear her whistling away while she works in hers. I see her sitting on the front porch admiring the views. I think of her coming to the door to greet me, and 'testing' the weather while she's there, to see what the day will bring.
But I will go. I will. Before the flowers are lost and there's no one to remember that Mrs. Butler (whom I met as a child) gave her these and Mrs. English (who died many years before I was born) gave her those and that she herself once gave a portion of her much coveted thrift to the house over on the back highway where it grows in a blaze of Spring time glory in a huge mound next to the pump house.
The Strawberry Festival is to be held at the end of this month. I was in the Flea Market on Friday morning. I was not in the best shape. My knee hurt terribly that day and nothing seemed to dull the pain. I hadn't been in the shop in nearly two weeks and it was beginning of a new month. I knew my booth needed some sort of attention. I placed a few items and before I left I'd sold two right away. Not enough to make rent for the month, but on my way. I picked up a small check for earnings. $8 more and I'd have broken even for the month for the cost of rent plus my new purchases. Despite my knee, I shopped around a bit. I needed a pick me up, a little shot of treasure. I found it in the cutest little china cup. It's English china with fluffy yellow ducklings painted on the side and it cost me a whole 25 cents. It made me smile when I saw it sitting on the shelf, it made me smile when I put it on the counter to pay for it and it makes me smile every time I look at it on the kitchen window sill. Pain might not flee at a smile but it's more bearable.
My point was, that the Strawberry Festival will be held the last of the month. I was told by the store owner to make sure my booth was well stocked. So I've been sorting out the things I've been holding onto for a while now, meaning to put in the booth at a later date. I guess now is a good time to set them up and arrange them in a pretty way. So I've got a messy sort of organized clutter going on in the guest room once more. I do love looking over these things and determining which should go into the booth now, and which should wait for a while longer.
While I've been working I've noted that I really must increase storage in my craft/guest room. I've got an overflow in the room at the moment and I'm so crowded I can barely find space to work at the table. I've long felt that two tall bookcases, one either side of my work table would be ideal and I am still of that opinion. I'd like deep shelves that would accommodate baskets so I could hide the smaller clutter from sight. I went ahead and did that job this afternoon, clearing off the table, sorting out a small lot of things to put in the booth this week. Then I worked on these wreaths for the doors.
I've come to the point where I have a very, very long list of things to do and a great deal of 'I-don't-wanna" being whined about it. I would not consider myself a slacker, but I'm no work horse, either. However, it's evident if I'm to tackle any of the things on my growing list I shall have to resolve to work a bit longer each day and forgo a bit of computer time, albeit, I curtail that a good bit nowadays. I've gotten pretty good about not going online in the mornings and staying on until dinnertime. Nowadays I allot myself a half hour to scan emails and Facebook for any possible prayer concerns, family messages, etc, and then I get off and stay off until around 3 pm when I go to work on blog, answer emails, etc. I may have to postpone this until around 5 pm each day. That additional two hours could net me quite a wallop on that list and shorten it considerably.
I did just that one day this week and made this from some leftover material:
Her Mama brought the material and asked if I'd make a dress. We both measured and I cut and sewed it up and woe is us, that little dress (which was much longer, I've done some alterations on this piece) didn't fit at all. My gracious! Fortunately the 2nd piece of fabric (leftover after first cut) fit perfectly once I sewed the two edges together.
The top part of the first dress (the elasticized part) fit just fine. It was the middle portion that was too too snug. I'd noted as I began to sew that the store cutting on that first piece was very wonky. So this week I took the first little dress, cut out the middle bit from the bottom of the elastic to the top of the border and then I measured the border three times and decided that it ought to make a right cute peplum bottom for the elasticized piece. I made straps from some of the middle portion of fabric. This is one of the items I mailed off yesterday. Fingers crossed that it fits the Little Miss. I think it will be cute with leggings or capris or shorts.
It seemed only fair to make something extra from that fabric. Because when the kids came in to visit a couple of weekends ago, they brought me this:
As my daughter in law pointed out, it will also be a nice spot to set the Christmas tree this next year. Ha. Very good idea. I had requested it be made sturdy enough and a little taller so it could be used as extra seating if need be. I am already thinking it might be handy to pull up to the dining table on one side. I love double and triple duty items!
Those are some of the things I've done, but there's still the list...And what is on my list? Well there are yard chores: clean and paint front porch, paint my shed, touch up John's shed, spruce up furniture, plant pots for spring/summer/autumn blooms, decorate back porch, determine my plans for flower beds about house. The shed needs to be sorted out (that's why it keeps popping up on my list of work to do each week!) but that's more organization than cleaning. And we won't mention that desire to go to Granny's yard and gather plants which must then be replanted, so soil must be prepared here first, etc.
My closet needs tweaking, cleaning and just a good going over. A couple of kitchen cupboards require some attention. There's a pantry/freezer inventory to work upon and a running shopping list to start so that I can add items to my grocery list each pay period until I've stocked up once more. John made note that his music room seems to be awfully stacked up with things that aren't his the other day and the truth told the closet in that room might well need to be sorted out a bit so he can move some of the things that aren't his into it.
There's stacks and stacks of books, magazines and other such stuff that I ought to be listing on eBay or in an Etsy shop and then there's three months worth of magazines waiting to be looked at by my chair. I'm trying to tackle those 1 each day until I have read them all.
I have several furniture refinishing projects to finish or start. There's some deeper cleaning needed in a few areas, some sewing that should be done, and some that I'd simply like to do. Ditto for a few decorating projects for which I have materials, but have yet to begin the process.
There are copious amounts of paperwork to be sorted through and shredded. I've not even mentioned the yard sale season is here so now's the time to get out and look for well priced items that might work well in booth. And still I haven't mentioned the blog and the posts I long to write for it...Oh the list goes on and on, mind you. That's just what I can think of off top of my head at moment. I wonder at times, I do truly, how I ever spent a full day 5 days a week working away from home. I stay so busy here all the time now I can't imagine how I'd balance it all if I worked outside of home as well!
I've been trying of late to institute a new way of work. Daily basics get done every day except on Saturday, which is Shabat for us. On the days that I am home, I try to do at least two more tasks besides basic housework. This week I cleaned and cleared yeast items from freezers and pantry and am tackling my closet a little at a time each day. Last week I sorted out the pots and pans and appliance cupboards. It's not much doing things that way but it's what I can manage of late. I cut the valances after the fabric dried the other day. Now I shall try to get them sewn before the week is done in another bit of time. On the day's when John works and I'm home alone (3 out of his four days working each two weeks), I've been trying to do one large project or cleaning task in addition to the basics plus two. I suppose that it's 'eating an elephant' all over again: a bite at a time.
I do still have certain routine tasks I try to do certain days. Sunday's are kitchen days, meant for really cleaning that room nicely. Mondays are pretty much kitchen days, too, but more on the baking and prep work side of things. Wednesdays I change and wash sheets and towels. Friday is almost always Shabat cleaning and weekend food prep. Tuesday and Thursdays are my most variable days for planning and/or shopping, errands, time with Mama and booth work. Not all of that every week but some of it each week.
For all that I have all this stuff to be done, it feels I've accomplishes very little today. And yet, I can say sincerely that I have been busy all day long. Aside from chatting along to you all, there's been basic housework done, and the booth items pulled and tagged, dinner made (leftovers transformed into another dish...and I didn't think to do a Leftover Makeover feature of it!), crafting, writing, culling, and looking through a practically new recipe book for inspiration for next week's meals.
But you know what else I've done? I've sat and listened to the lovely quietness of the countryside. I opened windows about noon today, on the east side of the house. There's a pretty stiff breeze from the northwest that's kept it plenty cool today. No need to open the windows on the breezy side of the house either because there's acres and acres of pine trees just beyond the field on that side of the house and pollen galore too. I've heard what I haven't heard, a sound that startled me and made me go to the window to look: the sound of leaves rustling in the breeze. Some of the trees have tiny new leaves, but a few have a much heavier growth. I've stood and just mused at the quiet around me because just like on Sunday, I haven't had a TV nor radio on all day long. It's particularly restful to have these sort of 'free' days no matter how hard you might work. A peacefulness just sort of soaks into your soul as you go about the house.
I think I've just talked myself into rising up and working once more...I have so enjoyed our visit. Come again in a week or so!