Sunday, August 29, 2010

Back from Vacation

Oh well, I'm finally back from vacation at my favorite Little Red Cottage.

It was, as usual, beautiful & restful. We had such  a good time that I'm a little sad to be home. (we got home before the weekend and I have some nice posts from this past weekend as well)

It's hard to get back into the swing of things after a nice vacation, blogging is no exception.

My teeth are all still with me, my car works and I even found my cell phone. Ah life is good. It's amazing what a little R & R can do for you. Up there I always feel like I can breathe. And relax. I swear some mornings, having coffee on that little porch is like a good massage. We picked blackberries in the field one morning that we had for breakfast with blackberry peach french toast. You know I was in heaven! That little town holds such a nice feeling for me.

However, I'm left with the same questions I always have after vacation.

1) Why do I live where I live? (I do, in fact, have a house that I love, but I have a few issues with the locale)
2) Do I need to live in such a big house? (my house is 2200 sq ft, certainly not a behemouth.)
3) Why on earth do I have so many dishes?
4) Is my happiness at the little red cottage based on the fact that life is simple there (after all, I AM on vacation) or does it have something to do with the surroundings? The smaller living space? Wide open fields and breezes off the water?
5) How small is too small? At what point does the size of your home start to impede on happy family life? My last home was somewhere around 1700 sq ft-That was also a fine size. My daughter was also a baby. Is 1700 Sq ft a nice size for a teenager?
6) What impact does moving out to the country have on your child's sociability? I will tell you that the family that we rent the cottage from have 3 lovely lovely children. However, there are 3 of them. My child is an only child and we have no plans to change that.

While I have no plans to move to northern New York I do feel so much better with some wide open fields around me and a big sky above me. 

I need to find that here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Teeth Are Important

This is never quite so obvious as when you are standing there holding one of your own in your palm.

And  made worse when it's your top right front tooth.

I have had a crown on that front tooth since I knocked it out playing catch when I was 10. I had a new one done in college, and really, have given it little thought since.

Last night I had corn on the cob. I took a drink before bed and it fell right off...  It was just like those dreams where you are spitting your teeth into you hands, except I was awake.

What a nightmare.

I'll be honest, I've actually had a week full of mishaps. Lost my cell phone, the car needed fixing, missed my cheese making experience and now this. I took most of them in stride; I'll enjoy the silence of no cell phone until I replace it next week, at least we had the money to fix the car, and my pioneer Deanna will probably let me make cheese another day... But this, this was the final straw. Looking at my smile with my front tooth missing is not a sight I ever want to see again.


As if my entry into the last year of my 30's hasn't been traumatic enough, now I have teeth falling out of my head. 

This morning I would not show anyone (not even my family) and spoke with my hand over my mouth. I wasn't even able to call in sick to work because I was lisping so badly. I had to email my boss instead. I cried this morning over my new look. This didn't make me feel any better because once my brother told me that I look "really ugly" when I cry. This is the same brother, who when finding out about my predicament today called me a Christine O'Lantern.....

Crying with a missing tooth=not a good look for me.

I went to a different dentist (long story) and so I was unprepared for the younger beautiful man who walked in as  my new dentist. I was holding my nook because they squeezed me in and said I might have a little wait while in the chair.

He said hello. I didn't even catch his name, distracted as I was at his beauty.

Actually I was distracted by trying not to burst out in tears again over my new backwoods momma look.

I looked up at him with my puffy-red-from-crying-over-my-tooth-eyes and gave him a mona lisa smile.

"How do you like that?" he asked, gesturing to the nook.

"Iths awesthome. I said

"How about the books? Do they cost as much as a normal book?"

"Oh they aren't as expenthive as regular bookths at all."

At this point I told him I was "weally having trowble sptheeking."

We both retreated into silence. Him to examine the damage and me to ponder how my entry into cougarhood was not going at all well.

Tonight I have all my teeth back in my head, instructions not to bite directly into anything with my front teeth and an appointment to begin the process of getting a new crown.

And I really need a vacation.

Which is lucky because I have one scheduled to start tomorrow. I went to the library today and took out some trashy books to read.

Don't ask me how that Harlequin romance about the dentist got in there because I'm sure I don't know.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Luxury Of Time

A few months ago I was talking to a friend whom I've known since the 5th grade about friendships and how he no longer makes the kind of friends that he did when he was younger. You know, those super close friendships where you feel the person really knows you and gets you. The ones where you can look at the other person and just crack up or feel it in your bones when something is up with that person. Friendship at a soul level. While you may still have those friendships with those people, it's hard to find new ones like that.

The difference, I think, is the sheer volume of time you are able to devote to fostering friendships as you get older. Between family and job responsibilities, no longer can you (or should you) spend an entire evening talking on the phone (very often) or chatting until sunrise. My friend and I used to live across the street from each other, and in High School shine flash lights at each other while talking on the phone for hours on end. We would drive around in his parents car all over the city. He took me to the prom when I didn't have a date and I was in his 1st wedding.

Those things don't happen overnight. Time takes time and who has that kind of time  anymore? Time has become the luxury that many of us are longing for while chasing other things.

A few weeks ago I had a birthday (you may have heard me mention it.) Anyway, through a blissful coincidence my husband and daughter both had plans the Saturday before. That left me home alone with the kitty (something I rarely get to experience). To my delight Leighanne visited me and we ate leftover pizza and drank iced tea and talked for 3 hours while sitting on the porch. And yes, even though Leighanne did contribute to the nook fund (don't worry if you want to as well, I'll put up a donation link soon ;-) Those 3 delicious hours were the best present ever. Having the time to connect felt rich and indulgent and so satisfying.

As I get older (yes, this seems to be a theme with me lately. I told you I'm in a contemplative mood) but as I get older, I find that some of the very best times that I have involve connecting with people who know me well (and like me in spite of that.) While I've always been very lucky to have a bunch of close friends, it is only now that I am realizing exactly what a true gift that is. 

Tragedy Strikes The Farm Wife

Sadly I was unable to go and make cheese and lunch on a cast iron stove today. I woke up with a migraine that sent me right back to bed.... I feel like I can't catch a break on this 19th century life thing.....Hopefully we'll be able to reschedule sometime...

Tomorrow I Go To Summer Camp

So tomorrow I'm going to my own version of summer camp! I have a day off from the museum but I'm going to to make cheese with my Pioneer Deanna at the Jones Farm. 

I have a petticoat, dress & apron to wear as well as a house cap. I don't even have to bring lunch tomorrow because we'll be making our noon meal at the farm. The last time I went back in time I was a pioneer and cooked over an open hearth. Tomorrow I get to try the cast iron stove. Yipee!!! (and I mean that Yipee!)

Jones Farm is one of my favorite buildings for some reason and whenever I'm on my lunch wandering the village I usually stop in and say hello.

I will of course, be blogging this for the museum as well as for this blog! (Shucks! I had a video I was uploading that didn't work and now I'm off to bed. The life of a farm wife awaits me tomorrow.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Good Life

Do you like my new look?

A long time ago when I started this blog I was all about frugal living. I still am but how many times can you say "I don't spend a lot of money?"

Many of the frugal things I do because I like them. Not because I have to. (And perhaps doing them has enabled me not to "have" to if you know what I mean.) I like sitting by the lake or growing my own food.

Since I started working this summer some of these things have fallen by the wayside and I miss them. Not because I'm working too much, but because I'm using the days that I'm home to go and do family things. Baking bread falls down the list a little.  I'm moving it back up the list for my own well being though.

I also spend a lot of time thinking about how to have a "good" life. Not THE Good Life (Though I am a creature of comfort.)  Lately I've been having a midlife crisis of sorts (I haven't bought a sports car yet don't worry.) I spent most of 38 pondering my fear of 40 and beyond and that pretty much sucked.  Thus, I've spent a lot of time thinking about what constitutes a good life. I mean that's all it really boils down to isn't it? Living a good, happy life. There are a million ways to do that. Your ways probably differ from mine. Sometimes they probably cross over.

I intend to spend most of 39 pondering the design of my good life. 

My new banner has 4 things that I consider essential to a good life.

My daughter for -Friends & Family
A house at the museum for -Meaningful Things To Do
A column from my house for-The Comforts of Home
One of my Hydrangea for-Nature

Mostly a good life for me constitutes of these things. So does responsible financial decisions and (I'm adding this one since I need to work on it) good health. Because thus far I have been blessed with good health, I rarely pay attention to it  (& I really need to work on getting some sleep, I'm way too much of a night owl.) I also don't take vitamins and need to pay real attention in order to get my allotted fruits & veggies in. That's my new project.

But I digress. My blog is about my personal search for a good life.

Please note, the danger of blogging (or blog reading) is that you see only one side of a person, the side they want you to see. A few years back in the bloggy world there was a trend of people having a "real life" day and showing you their unmade face in the morning or their dirty kitchens or their kid's scruffy shoes, just to keep it real. I don't want to write about those things, show you myself without makeup or ask you to look at a dirty toilet. But it's all there. I'm not all self actualized, I don't have all of the answers, I'm not always happy. If I go some time without blogging its usually because I have nothing nice to say.(and it's probably better not to get myself started saying not nice things.)   This is just the little piece of myself that I choose to share with the world.

Homemade Mayonaise

You might notice that a lot of my definition of a Good Life involves food.

This either means I have food issues or I'm a sensual person. We're just gonna go with that second one Ok?

I like real food. I eat real butter, half & half in my regular coffee and I'm not afraid of eggs. I also eat real mayonnaise.  Usually Hellmans, sometimes Wegman's if I'm feeling cheap.

We didn't do the grocery shopping today because we went to Honeoye Falls instead.

This evening I found myself musing about what to bring for lunch tomorrow. All I came up with is egg salad. Fortunately I like egg salad. Then I remembered I used all the mayo on potato salad for a family picnic yesterday (See, we really DO need to go shopping.)

This gave me a good excuse to make my own mayonnaise which I have been wanting to do for some time.
I used this recipe.   I used 3/4 cup Canola Oil and 1/4 Cup of Olive Oil because I like the taste and think it's good for me. I didn't use a hand blender I used a food processor and it came out fine.

It's delicious!!! Really delicious and I can't wait to make potato salad or something else with this.  I don't know how much it cost to make because I really didn't figure out the cost of the oils but I am betting it's cheaper than a similar amount of Hellmans. I also made it with stuff I already had which eliminated a trip to the store tonight or to buy lunch tomorrow. (I'm really trying to avoid too many lunches out-I find myself getting lazy on work days lately if I don't feel like making a lunch, we've been really busy and it's just been easier to purchase something.)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Parenting Woes, Cat Gender & A New Look for The Blog

Camp News
So my daughter didn't like camp this week.
Look at those droopy shoulders.....

That's ok, no one is going to like everything. I know that. She has her reasons, I understand them and respect them.

Tomorrow is the day that they get ready for a party and the parents come for the last 1/2 hour of class to show what they have done. She's been busy working on craft items all week long and told me today she doesn't want any of them. (That's ok, I know what some of them are and I'll be happy to keep them!)

 At the end of the day today she cried and asked that she not have to go tomorrow.

And I have no idea what to do about that.

On one hand, we want to raise her not to be a quitter. To finish what she starts. To show up when she's supposed to. To fulfill her responsibilities.

On the other hand, If I were taking a class of some kind and it didn't agree with me (For the same reasons she's given me) I would stop going.  I wouldn't force it. Life is too darn short and busy to spend it doing things that don't resonate with you. I feel like my leisure activities are mine alone and I get the right to decide if they nurture me or not. (This class is not nurturing her. Don't get me wrong, it's not harming her at all.)But as an adult in her position, I would stop going. In my eyes this does not make me a quitter. It means I know myself and what's good for me.

Does letting her decide to skip the last day empower her to make decisions for herself about her own happiness or does it mean she's going to throw up her hands every time she doesn't like what she's doing. Sometimes we all have to do things we don't want to do. Is it better to get her to understand that now or is the world a harsh place that she's going to have to deal with anyway and so what if she wants to skip the last class of a camp she doesn't like?!?!? I have no good answer for myself on this.

We're leaning towards having her go anyway in case you are wondering. But it does kind of make me feel like a hypocrite.

Cat News

We've officially welcomed our GIRL kitty Amelia into the family. Ameila, after Amelia Earheart because the cat was lost without a trace for HOURS the other day. We finally concluded that our daughter must have let her out after searching the entire house MANY times. Just when I was done crying she sauntered into the kitchen and was all "Here I am." about it. Bitch.

But she's actually really my kitten somehow. (Seriously those of you who know me, who would think I'd be uttering those words.) and she's a doll-Exploring daredevil that she is.

Blog News

Look for a new blog theme next week! I'm getting tired of my current theme and haven't been sticking to it anyway. I'll still be doing the Adam posts but eveything else will be a little different.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Throwing Out The Last Airbender or Where I Am Pushed Over The Edge With Plastic Toys

Today I threw out The Last Airbender.

I've tried people. I really have. I try and save all of those horrible little plastic toys that make their way into my daughter's life-I don't even know where half of these things come from. Some are second hand. Some are from trips to McDonalds with the grandparents (hence weird arrow head guy). I'm not gonna lie, we have a lot of plastic dinosaurs and lately, silly bandz seem to be multiplying like rabbits. I'm partly to blame. But only partly. Half of this crap I don't even recall ever SEEING. They come from grandparents and garage sales and birthday parties and read-a-thons at the library and pre-school.  The list goes on. Why are we plying our kids with such temporary useless junk?

I stick them in the donation box for the Salvation Army whenever I can. I amass them to give away for free at garage sales. I pawn them off on others when I can.

And now I've just HAD IT. There are way too many. WAY TOO MANY. It's too much overhead. Too much mental energy I'm expending trying to determine how to dispose of all this little junk. Precious moments and brain cells that I will never get back because I've spent them managing PLASTIC SHIT. Hell, I'm even spending 30 more minutes writing a blog post about it.

And I'm pissed.

I'm pissed off that I have now resorted to just throwing things like this away. As I did it, it crossed my mind that in 100,000 years people are going to wonder what in the hell we were trying to convey with a plastic figure of a boy with a clear plastic arrow in his head because I'll tell you, that damn little toy will probably still be around.

I sure like to meet the person(s) who think that creating a gazillion small plastic pieces of crap out of the earth's resources is a good idea. Really... If you feel like it is, please come to my house because I'd like to punch you in the nose.

It just needs to stop. Currently there are enough plastic figurines to supply every child in the WORLD. (Ok, I haven't done a study or anything but I bet there are.) Just like Christmas ornaments, we have enough. We ALL HAVE ENOUGH. Nothing bad would happen if another plastic elmo was never produced in China. Really. The earth would probably take a deep breath and exhale.

(Sorry about the language folks, I tend to swear too much when I'm agitated....)

Monday, August 9, 2010

We're All About The 19th Century Right Now

Oh my goodness we are all about the 19th century this week!

Picking Vegetables

I have great cucumbers this year

 Saturday, Deanna came over and brought her girls and we prepped for Laura Ingalls Wilder Days at the museum Sunday. We churned butter, made cream biscuits and Johnny cakes and I made the girls do chores like picking beans and digging potatoes.

Churning Butter

Yesterday  we headed to the Museum for the actual event. Deanna had her camera, I didn't have mine with me.

Camp Today
While we were signing up the girls for the fashion show Dean Bulter walked up so I introduced myself. He was nice and told me he thought I did a good job on the interview for the blog. He was very friendly and very normal and very tall. I was frankly shocked how tall he seemed standing next to me. We talked for a few minutes and when we left I asked Deanna why she didn't take a picture. She had left her camera at her seat. It doesn't matter though because she's probably the only person who would think this is as neat as she does.

This morning I took my daughter to the museum's Summer Sampler class, Living A Long Time Ago. She's going all week and even got a costume to wear.  The little kid's class ends at noon so I took her out to lunch for a slice of pizza on the way home. I'm fairly certain the men at one of the tables thought she was Amish and wondered what a woman in work clothing was doing eating pizza with a small Amish girl. She did take the house cap off to eat though.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

July 11-15, 2010

July 11, 1910 

After supper I did some painting. Ma, Ray, Oscar, Riley & Kate to supper. Kate & Bess up to see Ethel & the baby. Gertie better. 

W. Cool Windy
 R 11:30

Well that's a big relief about Gertie...

July 12, 1910

Kate & Kathy went home. Bess not well. It rained in the afternoon & after supper. & I sat on the porch & I squeezed some currants for jelly.  Up at 2:30 am. It was pouring. 

W. Hot
R. 10

Oh, he's squeezing currants for jelly. How I LOVE that. I also feel honor bound to mention this reference to Kate & Kathy going home. It seems to me that they have been staying with Adam & Bess the entire length of their visit. It's  likely that the prior entries where I thought he was complaining about giving them his bed, was just an observation that he had regarding the out-of-town guests. Now I feel even more shameful that I was suggesting Adam was 1) Wanting sex. and 2) Was not being a gentleman. My money is on that he did want sex. (after all, he's a 26 year old man) but I know in my heart that he probably was too much of a gentleman to mention it in the diary. Besides, when Clara his sister sleeps over, he's made reference to the fact that she's slept on the settee.  Just like the phone assumption, I think I was wrong about this. 

July 13, 1910

After supper I did some painting & retired early. 

W. Cooler
R. 9:30

July 14, 1910

Did some painting before breakfast. Up to S.A.B.C. at Daves. & met Bess at Park & Ball st. 

W. Fine Cool
R. 11:45

July 15, 1910

Painted after supper. 

W. Fair
R. 10

I think he's really tired from all of the painting.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I Am Victorious!

Did you ever have a wish, a hope, a dream. Something you've been waiting for. Not quite sure if it's something you'll achieve. Something out of character for you?

I have.

Actually I have a lot of these kinds of things.

However, yesterday, one of them came true.

When I got home from work, there on my front porch was a box. I so LOVE getting boxes in the mail, even if it's something I ordered myself. This was not something I ordered myself.

It was a birthday gift from my loving friend Jacquie. And you know what was in this nicely wrapped gift shipped from North Carolina?!?!

DO YOU?!?!?!!?

You got it...


I love that girl!

Not only did she go to 8 (count em') 8 stores looking for the leopard print one, her search spanned 2 cities and included a trip to SuperTarget with her husband when they were supposed to be having a date night. Is that devotion or what??? Knowing that I would be embarrassed to purchase such an article and frankly, embarrassed FOR me about this post she decided she needed to get me this for my birthday. She finally had to purchase it online. Yes, the Wild Side Snuggie is mine. It even came with a book light.

I did have a momentary panic this was some kind of commentary from her about my quickly approaching 40's but she'll be 40 before me next year so I'm sure it was not. I think she just wants to make sure that I become a cougar with style. Well maybe "with style" is stretching it a bit. I mean it is a Snuggie. However, she does live in the south now.....

Did I mention I love that girl!

Monday, August 2, 2010

I Have A Cool Job

Because today I got to interview Dean Bulter. You know, ALMANZO WILDER from Little House on The Prairie!!!  COULD YOU JUST DIE!!!

You can read the interview here! 

Here is what I didn't write on the museum blog.

Dean Butler was super nice and even though I told him I would only take up 5 minutes of his time, he talked to me for 1/2 hour!

The kicker for me was that (and I know this sounds silly) HE SOUNDED JUST LIKE HIMSELF. I mean I think if he called me out of the blue I could have probably told you who it was. I almost asked him to call me Beth. Ok, not really, well maybe a little, not really....

And in addition to being on the show, his production company has made documentaries about the real Laura and Almanzo so he's also pretty knowledgeable about that part of Little House.

For someone who grew up watching this show this was really fun!

S/He Who Shall Not Be Named

Until we find out his/her gender for sure!!!

Yes folks, we thought it was a boy, but it looks like our new kitty just may be a girl. If you've never seen a kitty butt before, it's actually kind of hard to tell. Saturday I had both my husband and Leighanne studying illustrations from the internet and then gazing quizzically at the kitty's nether regions.

Whatever it is, it's a cutie and we're all settling in nicely together.

The first night it was pretty docile and I thought "Well isn't this just about the easiest thing, having a kitten." The next night it RAN ALL OVER ME. ALL NIGHT LONG.  And continues to do so. Why was I sleeping with it you ask? Well, the first night it decided it was not sleeping in it's new kitty bed AT ALL and as I was laying there it's started clawing it's self up the bedspread and landed up at my head. It thinks that is where it belongs. And I don't know how to convince it otherwise because it just keeps climbing back up.

It's actually smaller than it appears in these pictures.