Thursday, July 31, 2008
After the morning's anesthesia I was under orders not to drive for twenty-four hours, but Don drove me over to meet up with the other ladies so we could all pile into one vehicle for our evening's entertainments. Our driver took every opportunity to make left turns--- and even swung a u-turn after hearing that I have a teensy idiosyncrasy where I refuse to turn left without the benefit of a stop light or stop signs to offer some semblance of right-of-way. My response to such obvious provocation? "Whoo-Hoo! It's an adventure! We're cruisin' around the world to the left!!!" I wonder if our evening was really as much fun as I think it was, or if I am just very easily entertained?
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
I was initially, and am still, tickled by the invitation to join in this team committed to preparing the bride and groom through prayer for the challenges that inevitably come over the course of planning a wedding and in the days and years of marriage to follow. I can imagine no greater gift that we can offer, and the idea of documenting the prayers for the couple in scrapbook form will create a precious testimony of the days leading up to their wedding, and of the unique blessings desired for the pair by the prayer team God has inspired the MOB to form.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Two hours later:
As I head for the hall restroom what do I spy with my little eyes? Granddad's hanging bag full of his clothes for the remainder of the trip. Uh-oh. I call him immediately, but the travellin' man and his herd of followers are ninety miles into their trip. There will be a revolt should that truck make a u-turn in order to head back here now. I'm off to ship the bag to the hotel in Branson where it will await their arrival tomorrow...
Forty-five minutes later...
Or not. UPS charges $16 for the size box needed to hold the folded-up garment bag. The shipping for overnight would be $98, or for the next day $62. Apparently the bag only held shirts. Since Dad had everything else from medications to shorts in another bag, the hanging bag will be hanging in my closet when he returns for it later.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I explained to Ab that the dishes do not always align. They usually align. Things get messy in between my bouts of crazed cabinet organization. As I spoke those words, I realized that the cabinets failed to receive the usual right-before-school-lets-out cleaning to help minimize the disaster of children-home-for-summer reorganization. "Reorganization" is not necessarily used according to Mr. Webster's precise definition in this instance, but the goodies in the cabinets most certainly do see a shift during the summer months and Christmas Break as well as to a lesser degree during Spring Break since the children do not share my passion for ridiculous details. Sure enough, our surprise visitor last week was treated to the ugliness of a cabinet door open to expose the chaos within... Ahhh, motivation.
Besides the kids are leaving, and I will avoid the compelling need to organize the cabinets while they are gone by completing the task before they leave. I think there is probably some mental or emotional disorder here. It cannot be Obsessive Compulsive Disorder because it comes and goes. I am not nesting because I will never be pregnant again outside of a regenerative miracle. It's just a deep desire to have one small measure of order. I'm striking out at the craziness of the Universe and the busy-ness of daily life by having ridiculously well-ordered cabinets. It might be a sickness, but I am entirely okay with that.
So. Despite my vehemence regarding not posting photos of the inside of my fridge, or a close-up of my "office"... I offer for your perusal the interior of my kitchen cabinets:
Sunday, July 20, 2008
On the other hand, there is joy. Joy is an outflow of the Holy Spirit--- a sometimes indefinable "something different" about a person. I'm not interested in being happy. It does happen, but "happy" is an emotion--- not a goal. Joy is more difficult because it is not a result of anything I can do, but of what has been done for me. It requires me to submit all my own will to the Will of an omniscient God who is fully in charge, but who chooses to allow me free will. (No, Alice, we're not going down that rabbit hole.) I'm not going to "pull one over on God", or likely to find Him waiting to smite me at the first sign of my disobedience. Choosing my way any time it departs from His way, I am going to miss out on a measure of the relationship He offers by choosing my own wants and desires over His commands.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
This post is not for the neatnick. That soul would not last long here. Our house is organized, and the kitchen is clean, but my floors are not a place where one would ever want to apply the five second rule. (If you never apply the five-second rule, you should go to Hints from Heloise now... this post is not for you.) There are some things that I choose to ignore in the interest of doing things that are more meaningful in the greater scope of the universe. The household chores are always available, and while they they will be more time-consuming if left for later, the tasks will still be at hand tomorrow while I might miss out on something important if those chores become too much of a priority.
A friend gave a perfect example of this ideology: her family of six moved into a home, and there were boxes everywhere begging to be unpacked so they could see to the daily trivialities of sleeping on sheets, cooking in pans, and eating on dishes. Rather than unpack, and begin to turn the new house into their home, the family took the unusual opportunity of having a home decorated in "Cardboard Box" and "Maze" to play Hide & Seek. I believe they ate pizza off of paper plates. That's my kind of Mom.
Those types of opportunities come along, and I want to take them rather than being a slave to my housework. That said, I do know the chores must be done. So today we will play a little catch-up around here. The laundry, the dishes, the floors, the potties, and the dusting are all waiting... I guess I'll even flip off the fan while it is still relatively cool.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I run Kate to the market to pick up the odds and ends she needs to prepare her meal. Katie reads through her recipes to wrangle the items on the lists for her meal. An impromptu math lesson with someone from the meat department helps us figure out how much ham is in a cup. We total up the prices of Katie's purchases so she also knows what the meal costs. (She thinks food prices are too high for these "Do-it-yourself" items. Ain't it the truth?)
We go to visit friends, but dinner time is approaching. Don picks up Katie who goes home to make dinner while Evan, Erin, and I hang out a little longer. (How cool is that?!) We arrived home just as she reached a point where she needed a hand. Oven preheated to 400, water on the boil, ham cut into a zillion one inch cubes, and she was flummoxed as to which baking dish she should use. We decided to wait until we saw how much macaroni would result from her boxed mac & cheese dinner before zeroing on any particular dish.
I drained her macaroni because the pot was heavy and hot--- and I had visions of the steam or the water burning her hands or arms. She mixed in her cheese and ham cubes before we discovered that there were no peas in the freezer. Uh-oh. She spooned her mixture into an oval baking dish (Oval dishes prevent crunchy, dried-out corners.) and topped it with Mom's home-made bread crumbs and and shredded cheese which was then tucked into the oven for fifteen minutes to heat through.
We raced to wash a pound and a half of strawberries and slice them up. The strawberries joined ice, strawberry yogurt, and, um... cherry Kool-Aid in the blender for Katie's fruit smoothies to close out her meal. Once the slightly disturbing smoothie mixture was ready, Katie hurried to get her salad and macaroni onto a plate and individuals ramekins for serving while I poured the neon red stuff into footed glasses and topped each smoothie with a dollop of whipped cream and a slice of strawberry for a garnish. Enlisting Evan's help, Katie dressed her salads and served up individual plates of Macaroni & Cheese bake with green salad and a fresh Strawberry Smoothie.
It only took two loads of dishes to clean up and a full load of dish towels in the laundry to finish the clean-up. I am considering a strongly worded letter or e-mail to the people at Kraft foods who wrote the smoothie recipe. When your child prepares a dish, you have to eat it... or drink it. And you cannot complain even if the item is so tart that it makes your eyes cross and your lips writhe with contractions. It was a good opportunity to talk about why we try out new recipes before presenting them to other people.
Don informed me that it was time to pony up the cash for replacement of my poor, balky machine because there is not really any "fun" in dysfunctional. We have been in and out of the assorted electronic, office, and discount megamarts to compare options and prices as well as trawling on-line for a deal. Don has read on-line articles and explained stuff I don't really understand to me so we would both be reasonably educated consumers. I can spout off information about 32-bit processors and 3 Gig hard drives and 64-bit processors and 4 Gig hard drives as if I actually have a clue what that means. (Okay, so that info is not entirely lost on me, but I remain a content technophobe despite the need to garner sufficient information not to get snookered by a dishonest salesperson.) Don and I each walked into the store with our own ideas of what we would leave with, but equally resigned to the purchase.
The dream machine was $50 more than the best price we have found it for over the past weeks at the same store, and $60 more than our top price. The next model down by the same manufacturer serious downgrades the goodies, but only a offers a slight price cut. We cruise the aisles, read the little placards under the open box "specials", and discover that a brand that was totally outside our price range is on sale this week. That drops it into our top price range by $20. Ooooh, goody.
The sales person answers our questions about comparing two machines by regurgitating the information written on the little placards. I explain (nicely) that we can read, but that I would like to hear his opinion. This fellow manages not to try to up sell more gadgetry or techno-wizardry (A friend made the comment today that I agree with, "Quit trying to outfit me with a Ferrari when I just need a Honda!") which would have blown his sale immediately. He also avoids the bizarre technique of talking down to the Little Lady. He recommends one machine based on merits that can be clearly demonstrated, or at least sound good. I smile at the salesman because he has just given the correct answers on this morning's pop quiz, and he is to be rewarded with a sale.
My beaming face is quickly replaced by a wryly raised eyebrow as our young sales person then attempts to score bonus sales of additional stuff we do not want or need. I tell him that we would simply like to purchase the computer with no other services or external whatzits. He wisely rings up the purchase and thanks us. (Good call. Several salespeople have blown sales by misjudging the amount of baloney we will tolerate. One actually cussed in his presentation.)
So. Hopefully, Don will finish the data transfer from my ailing machine to the shiny new one tonight or tomorrow morning. Then I will be back on-line as usual.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I did get tickled because he was going a wee bit slow with the potato peeling. I buzzed threw peeling one potato. Evan was watching, and he made a comment about being pretty impressed with how quickly I peeled the potato with my left hand. In a moment of pride (uh-oh), I encouraged him to keep trying to peel the potatoes because it would get easier as he garnered a little more experience with the device like I had racked up over the years--- only to realize that my right-handed son had been doing a pretty great job with his left hand. Things went along quickly after he was told that he could use his right hand even though he had only seen me demonstrate with my left hand prior to that time. (Oh, you literal child!) We had a good laugh at how much slower I was with my right hand than he was with his left!
We made our first delivery eight minutes late, then we stood staring at the lovely newborn sleeping in that household for far more time than we really had... Evan and I both had to tear ourselves away from the side of the crib where the little one slept even though we both knew that we had two more dinners to go!
We hurried back home to put the finishing touches on the second dinner to be delivered. That one was due for delivery one minute after we left the house with it, so we were definitely late with that one. As we drove down the street, I explained to Evan that we were headed to the house wear we used to feed Stitches the cat after her person moved overseas and had to leave the ancient behemoth behind. Evan absolutely remembers that kitty as being foul-tempered even three years later, so he knew right where we were headed.
As we slowly drove up the street, I found it ironic that a car looking just like my friend Lisa's was parked outside what I thought was the house where we were headed. Well, duh! Lisa was at her Mom and Dad's house as we arrived to drop of the dinner, and we also had something for Lisa in the car, too. The couple with the new baby had dinner delivered by Lisa the night before, and they had her dish ready to go when we delivered. So I had Lisa's dish and her "Thank You" note that I could drop off making the dinner run a two-for... Bonus!
We headed back home to complete our final challenge... er, meal of the day. Evan and I were both very glad to sit down to the roast, potatoes, and carrots we had worked on all afternoon. The prepared "shortcut" additions to the meal fell flat (salad and rolls), but the dessert of fresh raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries totally made up for the dry rolls and ho-hum salad. Whew!
Monday, July 14, 2008
As I am contemplating the level of in-over-my-head that might be occurring, I help Evan prepare his frozen meatballs for lunch. Nuke the meatballs, thinly cut fresh basil and heat it on the stove, place slices of mozzarella cheese on leftover hot dog buns, and then place all of the above assembled into sandwich form back in the microwave to warm the buns and cheese. The boy was pretty impressed with Mom's version of a meatball and mozzarella Hot Pocket. (I was really thankful he did not put ketchup on it. Ew.)
As I continued to prepare a rosemary and basil oil for the potatoes, Evan informed me that he is willing to help me out with making the dinners for our friends. Heh? What's that you say? Hmmm. I am very interested to see how this will go. Evan usually does very well in the kitchen, but he is not typically interested in what goes on in there so much as what comes out. Much as I will miss working with the girls, I am excited about hanging out with Evan. Whoo-Hoo!
Sunday, July 13, 2008
My mother-in-law has been given a view of some of our household meal times that is a bit off. While we were bustling around her kitchen last week, I commented to my mother-in-law that we have "Find it/Make it" nights when no one is in the mood to cook lunch or dinner. She looked at me as if this was the most bizarre idea she had ever heard, and sort of gave a little laugh that left me with the impression that she did not quite get the concept.
There are rules for the nights when our family rummages around the pantry and fridge to individually satisfy their belly rumblings:
- No cold cereal.
- No frozen waffles.
- Find It/Make It must include at least three food groups.
- Katie cannot make rice for a total of six months because she did not clean up her mess three times in a row.
Rather than ask me or Don about Find It/Make It, my MIL waited until later to explore this wacky new idea. Katie explained it to Gram saying that everyone just finds whatever they want, and makes their own meal from the assorted available foodstuffs. (So far, Kate's description holds water.) She gave examples, too. According to Kate, she told Gram that the kids "make a bowl of cereal, frozen waffles, or whatever..." (What?! Kate's description leaks like a sieve.)
This conversation between my mother-in-law and my daughter does explain why Don and I have to repeat the rules of Find It/Make It very time we go that route for lunch or dinner. Katie has not noticed that every time we have a FIMI meal, Mom and/or Dad offer some specific choices and suggestions from the types of fruit and veggies that are ready-to-eat to entree choices. (FIMI usually occurs when I have cooked several meals and have a variety of veggies and fruit prepared for easy snacking. At the very least, a previously frozen entree or sandwich must be included in the child's meal.) The idea behind FIMI is to encourage a certain level of independence in our offspring, provide opportunities for those who will eat leftovers to do so, and to have meals where everyone gets to choose exactly what he or she will most enjoy.
So. I am cringing because my mother-in-law has been painted a picture of her grandchildren foraging for carbs while their lazy parents fail to feed them properly. I'm irritated because the child who I typically can expect to "get it" in most situations, has so totally missed the point of our FIMI meals. Ahhh. Well. I will resist the temptation to e-mail this text to my mother-in-law in my defense.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
As I left my house I called the Daddy to let him know that I was running a few minutes behind, but that I was bringing the girls a simple lunch. He said that was perfect because the girls had just been asking for something to eat. (I told him how his awesome wife had covered this detail well in advance.) I arrived at the house and let myself in per the Daddy's instructions. I prepared the girls' plates without seeing or hearing anyone, so I called for the girl to come to the kitchen for lunch.
The little one gave a whoop and came tearing into the living room yelling "Mama! Mama! Mama!". Ooh. Whoops! Not the Mama. She was so dejected to see not her Mama, but just some imposter Mama with her lunch. Poor baby! I settled both girls at the table, and brought their plates and drinks to them feeling like a total heel. "Your Mama will be home very soon--- and she will be bringing your sister, too!" I promised.
Suddenly I had a light bulb go on in my head. My camera was in my shoulder bag, and I had taken photos of the girls' Mama and their new sister the night before at the hospital. I pulled out the camera and set it on the table. I picked out a photo of Mama and her newest wee one and set the camera with the photo on the LCD screen on the table across from the new big sisters. The two-year-old solemnly informed me and her big sister that she was wearing a shirt "like Mama's...", which her sister confirmed with , "Yes! They are both GREEN! The same green!" After that, everything was fine.
I exhausted the camera battery so the girls could have lunch with their Mama. I meant to take pictures of the proud parents entering their home with the newest addition for the first time. My best intentions were not what was needed today. I am sure that photos of the baby's trip home would be nice, but there is nothing as precious as those little girls who thoroughly enjoyed lunch with their Mama in the final hour of her absence.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
There's a TV show called something like "Man... Moment... Machine..." and I am thinking of it as I consider the last couple of days. While visiting Don's parents, we made a trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to check out the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit. Features included artwork, writings, sketches, and working models of some of da Vinci's whatzits. Don's cousins and uncle are big photography buffs, and it was almost as interesting to see what would catch their eyes and the camera lenses as it was to see the tangible genius of da Vinci.I am not an artist like Don's cousins when a camera is placed in my hands. I am more of a historian. The camera documents life and emotion, and I am intrigued by the option to look back over time and savor days that went too quickly and those that seemed to drag on for far too long.