Saturday, June 30, 2007

Word Play

Aargh, me hearties--my mind is wanderin' today, about words and such. One pair is "hearty" and "hardy." I've seen both used with the word "appetite," though I would probably only use "hearty." The dictionary says that Hardy means "capable of enduring fatigue, hardship, exposure; sturdy." Like a having a Hardy Constitution, or favorite late-summer Hardy Mums. As well as, of course, the Hardy Boys, who enjoyed both Hearty Appetites *and* Hearty Laughter....

There are several definitions for the word "hearty:"
--physically vigorous; strong and well (as in Hale and Hearty)
--substantial, abundant, nourishing (as in a Hearty Meal, tho' if you use the meaning of "abundant," you might get away with Hardy Appetite!)
--warm-hearted, affectionate, cordial, jovial (as in a Hearty Welcome)
--genuine, sincere, heartfelt (as in Hearty Approval or Hearty Dislike)
--exuberant, unrestrained (as in Hearty Laughter)

Then there is the definition--a sailor (aargh, me hearties!)

After thinking about Hearty/Hardy for awhile, my mind wandered to the word Mum (probably because it is time to buy Hardy Mums).

We have the term of endearment for "mother," from the Brits--how much do I love visiting blogs where the description is "mum to four," or whatever.

Mum can also mean silent, as in Keep Mum--remember Loose Lips Sink Ships! She was mum on the subject--is this word a noun, verb, or adjective? Maybe all of them?

The flower--of course, *mum* is an abbreviation for the word Chrysanthemum--always a biggie at spelling bees. Isn't the royal Japanese throne called Chrysanthemum? So cool.

Chrysanthemum reminded me of one of Joe Hardy's classmates in school--a girl of Greek extraction named Xrisanthi (pronounced Chris-on-thee). The *X*, pronounced "chris" is the same X as in the Chi Rho symbol for Christ. See an image of the Chi Rho here.

When I was little, I called the Chi Rho the P-X, probably because my sister married an Air Force guy, and she shopped at the B-X. Then I thought that the P-X was also a symbol for Pax, the Latin word for Peace (they still had Latin Mass when I was little). Certainly any symbol that meant "Christ" would also mean "peace."

So now, at nine a.m. on a Saturday (now I'm thinking of the Billy Joel song "Piano Man--"it's nine o'clock on a Saturday"--only he meant nine P.M.) and I'm totally confused about Words and such. And the front porch is calling--a gorgeous, gorgeous morning. So I will follow its Siren Song, with my hearty/hardy appetite, and maybe go get some hearty/hardy mums as well!

And Try to stop Thinking.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Check Out This Fun Contest!

Mrs. U over at Making a House a Home is celebrating her Blog Anniversary by giving away some very cool prizes!

Go on over and check her out!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Week in Review

Grands getting cool in the pool:
Pretty thrift store plates:
Two more "state" plates. Charming is from Michigan. I don't have any connection to Arkansas, but the old-timey green pattern goes with my vintage dinnerware, so I had to have it:
Pretty blue dish to hold three yellow candles:
Finished quilt top with NYC theme:
Here is a close-up of some New York squares. The observant among you will notice the IU square--yes, IU is still in Indiana! The recipient of this quilt is an IU alum:
Another close-up. I just love the Fireworks fabric in the outside triangles:
I am moving right along with quilting Number One of Five quilts in my two-year project. This finished quilt top is Number Five of Five. Yippee! All since January 1st.
This morning I *found* the public rooms of the house under a Hansel and Gretel trail of toys that the grandbabies hid from me throughout the week. I think I saw all four everyday--now *That* is a great week!!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

My Daddy turns 85 today.

His birthday was always the first "full" day of summer, and every year, when we greeted him in the morning, he would say, "Winter's comin': the days are getting shorter!" (very funny in the days pre-air-conditioning...) His birthday also always fell the same week as Father's Day. That's why you didn't see a post on Sunday about How Fabulous He Is.

The story goes that his mother went to the circus the day before he was born; then went home and went directly into labor with him. "Loved the monkeys so much, she wanted one of her own," Daddy says. He was born in a little country house in Huntington County, Indiana. My grandma told me that, in the 20's, you never left the church sanctuary to nurse your baby; neither did you bother covering up. She told me you just "whipped it out, nobody paid no mind."

Daddy had the reputation as a wild boy. My favorite story is how he and a friend put an outhouse on top of the bank building downtown. My question was always, Why? but then, I'm a girl, so I guess I'd never understand, anyway.

Daddy was a fly-boy in WWII (dubya-dubya Two--The Big One), so I've heard a lot of stories. He came home to his wife and two babies, and made a good life. I was born eighth in the family--he was 33. He was a cutting-edge technology kinda guy--we all had great stereos in the 70's--he would "upgrade" and give us the "last year's model." He bought a video camera (black and white) when the camera was not the "recorder": you also had to carry a vcr in a sling on your shoulder. The cheapest place to buy a blank vcr tape was at the GE employee store--$35.00 Apiece. He bought a calculator when they were the New Thing: four-function (add, subtract, multiply, divide): $100.00. My brother has it; I have the next model, adding a square-root feature.

So many, many things I could tell you about him; so many ways in which I am grateful for the Man He Is. He taught me about my heavenly Father by his example. He proved a perfect model for me, when it came time to choose a husband. As a Grandpa, there is none better. As a Daddy, he is the Absolute Best.

Happy Birthday, Daddy. I'll always be your Barbie Doll.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Pieces of a Day

I've been at the sewing machine for weeks now, doing quilt tops and a few other sundry things. My neck and lower back are beginning to scream at me, begging for relief. So last night, I put an ice pack on my neck, leaned back on the sofa, and began to quilt this project: Oh, OH, I love quilting!! The in, out, in, out of the needle; then pulling the thread through--what a rush!

I keep a long-running list in my head of things I want, but don't want to pay full price for. I have been able to get two of them in the last few days! At a garage sale on Saturday, I picked up another set of Tupperware popsicle makers. I have other, cheaper ones, but the "stems" break from time to time. The Tupperware ones are much better. Right now in the freezer I have one set doing duty as popsicles, and another as pudding pops. *That* is a great deal--29 cent instant pudding from Aldi's and 2 cups of milk make nine pops.

Another thing on my "list" was the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. This is an 850-page paperback, and every year I think I'm going to buy it, but other curriculum needs cry out more urgently. But yesterday at the Used Curriculum Sale, I found it for $4.00:

Not only that, but the owner had had it spiral-bound in two volumes--much nicer to handle!

Today is Okay-a-week-of-summer-break-is-over-and-we-need-a-LITTLE-routine-here Day. We I went over again Daily Chores, Reading Plans, and, midst groans of disappointment, declared the house a No-Media Zone for the day. So, I'd better get off, before they catch me....

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Fun Times

Saturday evening was fun. Charming was working, and Alvin Fernald was on a campout, leaving Blackeyed Susan and me alone. Johnny Tremain was in Chicago at bachelor-party digs for a college friend, leaving Lily and the children alone. The obvious answer was to spend the evening together at Lily's!

I had leftover barbeque chicken, mashed 'taters and corn for Susan and me, and Lily cooked for her crew. Once supper was finished, our project for the evening was Laying Out Quilts, because there isn't enough room anywhere at my house to do this.

I had four tops done, and only one backing put together. We were able to sew those, and to lay out three of them to pin. Lily and Susan crawled around, pinning the "sandwiches" together, because my knees are unwilling to do it. They Joked about me paying them for their work--ha. My mother said that Work Well Done Is Its Own Reward. I know they think so, too!

We left the last top undone, becuase Lily and Susan had to do the first one twice--large, large wrinkles appeared as they took it up from the floor. They got a little grouchy, and I don't understand why--work well done being its own reward, and all. But since I have the squares done for two more tops, we (they) will pin them with the undone one when I get the other tops finished.

I spent Sunday and Monday basting two of the quilts, so they are ready to quilt. My a/c at home is Feast or Famine--of course it is least effective in my own bedroom, but seems to work Very Well in the Den, with the vent right behind the couch, so the frigid air comes rushing out over your feet as you watch tv. So doing some quilting, with the bulk of the quilt hanging over my feet sounds like a Great Summertime Activity.

This morning Lily and I are going to the Used Curriculum Sale put on by our homeschool association. I have gotten some dynamic dealies there before, and hope to again. I need to stay away from the Boxes and Boxes of Books for 10 and 25 cents. I Simply Don't Have Room For Them.

Or maybe I'll buy another bookcase today at Wal-mart...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I'm a Winner!!!

Wow! I'm a winner over at Life is Like a Lunchbox's Apronpalooza!! If you click on the link, you'll see the dreamy apron I won.

Here is ztoamom, who made the apron I won. You can find her "artsy" blog here.

I'm so glad that aprons are making a comeback. I have been in the middle of a two-year, five-quilt project (6 months down and doin' *okay* so far...), but I am itchin' to get into the Apron Thing. I have collected some fabrics and patterns that are waiting for me to "do them up!"

I remember the beginnings of the Feminist movement in the late '60's. Aprons were considered chains that held women to the home, keeping them from their destinies. So for the most part, they went by the wayside.

Yet, we never "looked down on" gardeners who wore aprons, or chefs, (or husband-barbeque-types) or welders, or...whomever *else* wore aprons. Now, think about why these people wear aprons:

To keep their clothes clean.

So, we were "freed" from the apron strings, but chained to the washing machine?

I'm glad to see the return of the apron, more for the Femininity than anything else. I remember my Mother putting on her apron in the morning--that signalled that she was ready for her day. (She had at least seven. It was my job to iron them--back in the day (for you younger gals) young girls started by learning to iron "flat" things--hankies, aprons, pillowcases.) My grandmother made my Mom's aprons--I remember she went through a phase of Cross-Stitching On Gingham--easy to do, and it made it a little fancier.

I don't have any of my mother's or grandmother's aprons--they were thrown out of even the rag-bag long ago. I did make quite a haul at a thrift store a few years ago--I got 12 or 15 aprons for 25 cents apiece (the cashier didn't even know what to charge me!) that were starched and folded--looked like someone just dumped a drawerful of Grandma's treasures after she passed away. Each one is "fancied" up in one way or another--a shapely pocket, embroidery, bindings. Women in former days knew that making your "tools" a little prettier took away some of the drudgery.

If you want a "crash course" in Aprons, go visit Apronista and find your Apron Groove...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Addendum to Previous Post

Okay, so reading over the post below, I sound a little defensive. Okay, Quite A Bit defensive.

Charming (one of whose major jobs in this marriage is to Talk Me Down From Ledges) made me realize that most, if not all people who pose the question "describe yourself," are not trying to Degrade Motherhood and Marriage. Maybe *they* don't take the time to pose the question exactly as they want it answered.

How easy it would be, Charming says, if , when asked to describe myself, I reply, "what would you like to know?" That way, the questioner could say, "what kind of books do you like to read? what do you like to do when you have a day by yourself? what do you like to do on vacation?" and I would not intimate from their *tone,* "you loser, aren't you anything but a baby factory? do you just like to hide behind your husband, you mousey good-for-nothing?"

See. Talking Me Down From The Ledge Once Again.

That's why I love this man.

Who I Am, Really

I was interested by the thoughts posed by the Headmistress at the Common Room, who was commenting on the book
Seasons of a Family's Life by Wendy Wright. The Headmistress is talking about defining ourselves as Mothers, also as Wives.

I have been in the situation many times, where I am asked to "describe myself." When I begin, "I am a wife of 31 years, mother of eight..." I get no further when the person interrupts: "No. Tell me who YOU are, not whose "wife" you are, or whose "mother" you are."

This always frustrates me. So, so much of my identity is wrapped up in those relationships. I'm not "me" without them.

When I came to motherhood at nineteen (and marriage ten weeks later, at twenty), I was a certain person, a person with so-and-so personality, and so-and-so both interesting and irritating characteristics. I am in no way that person anymore (tho' maybe the Irritations are still there!). Now I can say, "I am a person with a certain amount of patience, for 'Tribulation worketh patience,' and being a wife and mother has cultivated that." I can say, "I am a person who has acquired some Wisdom, both from being married, raising eight children, and by "just getting up in the morning."" I can say, "I am a person with quite a store of Interpersonal Relationship Skills," by reason of the same.

The questioner retorts, "But, if you didn't *have* a husband or children, how would you describe yourself?"

What an unanswerable question. I cannot describe myself outside of these relationships. You can't close Pandora's box, neither can I ever separate Who I Am from those relationships.

When pressed, I could say, "I am a quilter," or "I am a reader," or, "I am a Non-Confrontational person, a Peace-maker,(or any other facets of my temperament)", but those monikers seem so absolutely empty for me. I have a high IQ, but really had very little Common Sense until my forties. I had "some college," but got married in the middle. Even if I had a degree (a thing for which to be proud, and which no one could take away from me), it would be just an Accomplishment, not really a description of "who I am."

Nope. I prefer to describe myself BY my relationships; daughter of my Father God, daughter, sister, wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandma, friend, good neighbor, and on and on. These, I think, are much more important that What I've Accomplished.

When all is said and done, I want people, not Accomplishments, to be standing beside me at the end of my life. These are who I am.