Wednesday, September 24, 2008

When Life Gives You Apples

Monday, my domestic diva friend and I decided to tackle making applesauce. Well, I asked her if she'd like to come over and we'd make it "together." The lovely apple tree in our front yard produces an amazing amount of apples for being a "dwarf" tree. So we took our boys all the way to the front of my yard and picked nearly a bushel of apples. Well, I don't know how I came to a comclusion of a bushel of apples, but we picked enough to cook three pots of applesauce. 
Please note that I am using the term "we" loosely. 
Most of the time, I methodically cored/sliced/peeled the apples. My friend had done the same with the apples, but with her coring/slicing/peeling 10 apples to my 1. Granted, if one knows me well, they know I am easily distracted, so I would assume she knew what she was getting into (If I say her name everyone will want to go to her house and eat applesauce{she left most of it here for us}).(By the way, I just made that whole parenthesis thing up). She was busy cooking and smooshing, and then I decided it was time to make a video for my Facebook page. I must say my friend seemed very tolerant with the distractions.
About the apple tree...
When I was growing up, my folks had a couple with whom they spent much of their free time. While he passed away a few years ago, she is still living in the Portland area. Six years ago, we invited her to our celebratory open house, yet she was unable to attend, and sent us a housewarming gift. I can't remember if she specified to buy a tree or not, yet I felt compelled to do so with the gift she had given. She always kept a beautiful garden in only about a third of the space I have in my yard. So with the check, I ended up purchasing an espalier pear tree, and then later, a dwarf apple tree. 
I can't say I've taken great care of either tree, and the espalier is a mess right now, but the apple tree was so heavy with fruit this summer, it leaned over near the ground. 
As busy as our family is, and with school up and running, I began to ignore this tree, in that, I knew that collecting it's fruit meant work on my part. I couldn't figure out how I was to do our schedule and actually do something with the apples. So, as the apples began falling off the tree, I decided I better not let anymore go to waste.
I have given much thought this summer to the responsibility of abundance. The tree is a gift from a friend, the fruit is a gift from God that I have to decide to make good choices with it's fruit. I can use them, share them or not do so, and let them rot. 
To me, the latter is a waste, yet in all my busyness I watch them rot. It's a choice to live in this Internet speedy culture, but when I stop long enough to enjoy such moments with friends to use the gift, it is time well spent. 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Seventeen Days

In seventeen days I go in for a surgery, an excisional biopsy of a couple of fibroadenomas in my breast. There I said it. I don't do a very good job of keeping secrets. I'm too much of an extrovert. I just spit the quiet part out loud much of the time. Although, the older I've gotten my filter is better. Really. I think I used to say it like it is(or how I thought it was), but then could feel the shock people experienced from my "honesty". Not so much anymore. OK, not as much anymore.
As I tend to be a realist, I realized that I have seventeen days to do all those things I'm suppose to do before I die. OK, I don't plan on dying, and I'm sure my surgeon would reassure me that it's more than likely not going to happen, and I'm probably going to freak my kids out by writing such a thing (and a few other people), but it's a possibility.
On the way back from Disney World, we watched, "The Bucket List" on the plane. I was due to go get a mammogram that week, in which two fibroadenomas were found in my left breast. 
After watching "The Bucket List," I didn't make a list, per se, but this kind of stuff has been mulling around in my head since at least then. 
So I'm making a list, sort of. Let me think.
I started by eating steak. Steak is a good start. 
I don't feel like I have to do an Ironman. I've done enough running here and there to satisfy that sort of desire.
I think I'll pick up my fiddle and play it. First I have to tune it. I guess it's back to, "Boil the Cabbages." Maybe they'll let me play at "Hardly Strictly Bluegrass" if they let people who can hardly play bluegrass on stage. 
I'm working on "Love Casserole" again, remember the book I said I was writing? This will add drama to the book, maybe a whole chapter. 
I went through this whole biopsy thing a few years ago, and then re accounted my life during my 39th year so, hmm. What is left on the list?
It's a list mostly about being of good character, remembering to be kind and loving to people. If only I could spend seventeen days really loving people. Showing them my gratitude. Telling them thank you for their kindnesses to me.
But my pride can get in the way of this. My hurt can get in the way of this. 
I believe that I am inherently sinful, lost without the sacrifice of Christ, in my place. So I know I can't meet the standard I wish to achieve. Doesn't that mean I shouldn't try? No way. 
So I'm to go around and be nice for seventeen days.  We'll I guess that simplifies it. But there must be more than that? 
Yes, living this life, which is a gift. Believing it's a gift from God, and that He is in control of the good and bad of it. 
So do I have seventeen days to preach? Perhaps. But perhaps it's to be seventeen days of listening. 

I Miss TV

When I was growing up I watched TV every day.  I think. I must have. Well, I'm watching TV and blogging. Why? I don't know for sure. It's the Emmys. People get awards for being on television shows, producing them, writing them. When I watched the montage with Josh Groban singing, the TV theme songs I knew most of them. What's this about? 
Now I'm laughing at the Laugh In people, because it's nostalgic, yet so out of context now. I remember watching some shows when I was a kid. I thought it was funny, but I was under five. I've watched the re-runs at times, and see much more of the innuendo, if you know what I mean.
Some guy just said, "Love TV, and fear the Internet." Huh.
Then Tiny Fey was on. I like her. As far as I know. I don't want to know bad things about her. Then I won't like her. 
I realize I'm writing this like I would on Facebook. Choppy, short and to the point.? I'll try not to do that on a blog post. A different time.
I like to save the blog for important things. 
So in conclusion, I hold much of my worldview based on those fundamental educational beginnings watching TV. It's no wonder I'm so ADD.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Keeping Up with Myself

Here are some of the mamas with whom I spent the day "educating" my children. 
My Thursday for the next school year, will be as Mrs. Teague's parent/tutor helping with the "Journeyman" group at Classical Conversations.  If I recall, about seventeen families have joined in the endeavour of "classically" educating our children. I'm still trying to figure out what exactly is the definition of a classical education. I just know Mrs. T is beyond being a great teacher. I'm not saying that just because she's one of my closest friends.
Last post, I wrote about my "Facebook Frenzy." I'm already tired of the competition with Paul on acquiring friends. It's almost dizzing keeping up with all those friends daily happenings. Also, I generally don't keep an account of my friends-except for inviting others to big parties and speculating who would show up for my funeral. 
At the park today, I found myself scanning for potential Facebook friends. It was like, "What's your name?Do you use Facebook?"
I am curious to see how this sort of "social" networking will pan-out. I wonder if it just is a forum for smarty pants like me.
One of my FB friends commented that FB was narcissistic. Hmm? Is blogging much different?
I also wonder if these are moments I choose to occupy my time while I'm waiting for Jesus. Perhaps it's an inner conflict I'm having with making the most of every moment, and enjoying "the humor of the situation."
I've also had a little boy share with me his angst with his mother spending so much time on the computer. I've let the little boy know that I'll use the computer when he's in bed. He'll be going to be at 6PM from here on out.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Facebook Frenzy

When my dear friend from Portland came down to spend the Labor Day weekend with our family, she introduced me to the world of "Facebook." Frankly, I'm not completely sure I know just exactly what it is, but I must say I'm a bit hooked. I abandoned my first Internet love, writing on my blog, for a competition with my husband to find friends on Facebook. I stopped watering the garden. I stopped cleaning the house. The "Dinner Fairy" doesn't even come to my house anymore. 
I can quit any time. 
Obsession is a strong word, but I don't believe I have even watched any television since I discovered this social phenomenon. Searching for old friends is such a blast from the past. All the names, and faces pop back into my memory. It's like this ongoing reunion of sorts, seeming to share, somewhat peering, somewhat observing. Wow!
So about this competition with Paul. It began entirely as a joke. He's mostly stolen all of my friends. I gladly share them in real life, but he's just over the top in stealing them from my Facebook page. 
I decided I will stop trying to find friends at 100 friends. That sounds like a good, round number. I haven't ignored any friends. I don't do that too much in real life.
 I do it though. I told myself, it was purely subconscious. I realized after church last week, that I had sought out a Facebook friend, and literally forgot the name of the person she was talking to, and interrupted them, as I wanted to greet my Facebook friend. 
I gave it some thought, and realized that it was very wrong of me to have ignored the other woman. Not only was it impolite to interrupt, I didn't go out of my way to be kind enough to her, as she was just as easily worth my attention even though she wasn't a Facebook friend. 
I've mentioned that I'm writing a book called, "Love Casserole" and I believe the Facebook phenomenon with be a part of the book, in that, this is something that is, and will affect our circle of friends, those who run in "Christian" circles, past, present, and as I'm recounting the past with others-may affect our relationships in the future.

Friday, September 05, 2008

"Did They Change the Capitals?"

Seriously. I was in Evander's Classical Conversations class, and the class was working on  memorizing the east coast states and capitals. I had seriously forgotten the true names of the majority of them, as if my brain had made up it's own capitals. You know, Portland, ME, Providence, RI, cities that should be capitals just because I'm familiar with their names.
I guess it's back to elementary school.
Good thing I'm the teacher.
Van started his Classical Conversations classes yesterday. He absolutely loved being in the classes. He asked, "Next time are you going to drop me off, then come back at lunch?" He didn't understand that I was suppose to be there and helping him learn.
He also said it was perfect, except for one thing, "Logan." Logan is probably one of the only other close friends that is not in his classes.
Overall, I'm am thrilled with CC, yet I was not as prepared as needed for the English class.  The work that needs to go into the studying before next Thursday, may be lacking, in that, it may take much more time to get the work done, than my busy little schedule will allow. I'm guessing this will be the norm. So I guess, I need to do some pre-planning. Hmmm, isn't there something about "Easier said than done?".
After CC, Evander and I drove to Harrisburg to get his haircut. He had a surprise waiting for him. As we pulled up, he yelled, in surprise, "It's Jodi!" Van knows that where there's a Jodi, there's a Cooper! Sure enough, they arrived in town on Thursday, and drove up to Harrisburg from Coburg to surprise the kids.
I wish I'd taken a photo of the group hug the boys were giving each other when they were inside the salon. Unbiasedly, I must say, Cooper, Carver and Evander are so darn cute together. All the boys look so big now! (I think big is a banned word in Evander's writing class) OK, they are ginormous!
Emma was to have had her haircut by Brenda as well, but I made a mistake in the schedule, and double booked Ems. Payton seemed disappointed when Emma wasn't there also. Payton's family is busy over the week, so she may not see her for a week or so.  
I'm always thrilled to see Jodi, but our conversation was brief, but hopefully we'll have longer talks while she's here on her visit.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Tumblin' Along With the Tumblin' Tumbleweeds

Our Crane Praire trip was a couple of weeks ago now, and I haven't taken the time to sincerely express what a wonderful trip we had. It was so easy camping with our longtime friends. I also realize that I really am in my element when I'm camping and out in the woods. I don't have to worry about make-up or hair. I just live in the moment of the woods.
So here's some quick notes on some of my favorite photos of the trip...
First, here is the hubby doing what he loves best-starting fires. This is what's called a bird's nest. Evander and Paul started this from flint and steel. This happens when you bang a piece of steel against a rock that makes a spark. Paul and Van used charcloth to start this one, it can be done without it but it's easier to catch the spark with the charcloth..I've never really made a fire this way, but I'm guessing I will have those duties as a Cub Scout leader eventually. 

Here's Cowgirl Lily, at the Cowboy Dinner Tree I loved this place! Middle of Nowhere. Chicken. Steak. Cowboy atmosphere. Matt and Rachel Wilson often play here, and live down the road.
Uncle T was on lifeguard duty on this windy afternoon at the reservoir
We seemed to have this section of the campground to ourselves, until I noticed that the tree had some very non-tree looking creature in it. With a little investigation, our crew discovered we had this eagle observing our happenings. 

Here's my good buddy, Bella, out doin' her thing. Baby on back. Middle of Nowhere with family and friends. This is the kind of friend that would agree to go to the Middle of Nowhere with Travellin' Nan. 

Here's Lily and Van breaking for a moment at Ft. Rock State Park. They ran most of this evening. So fun to watch.
They had a fantastic time together while camping: biking, climbing, running, lots of fun over these few camping days.
Emma's had a rough beginning this camping trip, as she started with a nasty cold. She felt better the last day or two, even though the accommodations weren't the four star hotels we have become accustomed to....

Monday, September 01, 2008

Time Flies in a Good Way

I have to say, I very much enjoy having folks stay at our home, and this Labor Day weekend, a family of friends from Hillsboro stayed with us for three nights, as their Papa Bear was competing in a bicycling event over the weekend. The Mama Bear hung out with me most of the time with the kids at our house (We did get out for some coffee breaks). Spending time with her is quite easy, as our friendship has been going strong for over twenty years now. We stay in touch, and seem to pick-up where we left off with ease. We may not live in the same town, but I am glad that we are on this parenting/wiving/life journey at the same time. 
Lest I forget, as it was so Friday, Mama Bear and I meet EK  at the spa for a pedicure. What fun! We brought in food, and EK was our servant girl for a good portion of the time. I must say I enjoyed the laughter with these two friends. 
We then moved on to dinner at Cafe Lucky Noodle. Yummy Noodle, as always. Again, lots of fun with deep and meaningful conversation as well.
Sweet Emma was our babysitter while we enjoyed the spa, but overall the kids occupied themselves with Pokemon most of the weekend. They did explore our tree fort as well.
 On Saturday, we joined EK's family for a bike ride to Riverplay Park. It was quite the little bike train we had going through town, nine bikes and a bike trailer. Fortunately, I am the only one who sustained bicycling injuries. But my pride will not let me tell this part of the story with any details.
We stayed at the park at least a couple of hours, as the kids seemed to have a blast playing with each other on the play structure. Emma did not join us, as it seems she may be a bit playgrounded out at thirteen. We ate a picnic lunch, and the adults acted like cats sitting in the sun just soaking it up.
Thoughout the weekend, I made so much food, and ate so much food. Yes, I can cook-to some degree. We are a group of fairly healthy eaters, so I have many leftovers of all the food I cooked-with hopes that the leftovers do not to mold in the fridge. Perhaps I won't have to cook for a couple of weeks. 
The biggest treat of all this weekend was that we were able to have a reunion of sorts. Mama Bear, with another gal, (I'll call her Swong) was part of a group I took up to Malibu College Prep Week this time of year twenty years ago. We met here with another Sheldon Young Life friend, EK, and both their families. We ladies chatted it up, while the men folk tried to stay up with us...
Sometimes I've wondered if I did the right thing spending so much of my time with Young Life activities in college etc., But as we laughed and caught up on Sunday, I had this confident joy in knowing that it was time well spent.  The benefit is that now, we not only have a connection of being "Sisters in Christ," we have a history and longevity of friendship that will always hold these "girls" close to my heart.