January 31, 2009

civilization and the joys of indoor plumbing

As some of you may know I'm contemplating a trip out west this coming spring/summer. To that end I've been researching destinations, gear, activities, etc, and I've come across multiple outfitters offering canoe and pack trips into the Yellowstone Wilderness and immediately I start thinking about getting off the asphalt and seeing what few people have ever seen -clear waters, high peaks, and gorgeous meadows. Then I make the mistake of clicking on the rates page. Apparently getting away from it all and pretending to live like a wandering cowboy requires a thorough knowledge of Wall Street. The mind attempts to seize alternatives. Rental? We could rent a canoe, stash our tent in it, and do a little meandering of our own. Except I read here that if you flip your boat over you have approximately 28min to get out of the water before you die of hypothermia. Also the water can go from smooth as glass to 4ft waves in a remarkably short space of time. Did I mention that if you fall out of the boat you have under 30min to get out of the water? 4ft waves notwithstanding? Hmmmm....I'm thinking that might be a little beyond our skill level. Combine all the previous with the fact that I believe indoor plumbing was a great advancement in civilization, and I'm starting to appreciate the glowing lights of civilization. In fact I'm beginning to suspect that I'm really just a very tame house cat who like to fluff out my fur and preen whenever I see a real lion on tv. I have a certain admiration for people who get their thrills standing on a peak in the Cascades, but snuggling up comfortably on the couch with a book as it's comforts as well.

January 29, 2009

moderate desire

A few weeks back I had a friend asking me if working for my friend taking care of her kids didn't give me baby fever -especially considering how I'd go on about the cute baby. The short answer is yes and no. I will free admit that I adore the baby I get to keep and really enjoy the two older kids as well. I would love to have kids someday. Yet, I'm also seeing how much I simply get to walk away from that I wouldn't as a mom. At most we're talking 6 hours and that not with all three at once and that not even every day. I don't have to make sure school uniforms are clean, lunches are packed, rooms are cleans, hair is washed, etc. If the kids are having a fractious day I know that in a few more hours I'll be able to come home, put on a cup of tea, and pick up my book. In other words, there are distinct advantages to not having kids. There are just some things that are easier for me to do. On the other hand, the more time I spend with those kids the more I enjoy them. The oldest wants to come help me cook, the boy wants to climb on my back and show me his trains, and the baby is as cute and snuggly as a rosy cheeked girl can be. Some days are longer than other, but on the whole I love my job. I finally feel like I'm doing the sort of thing I'd want to do even if I didn't get paid for it, and for a girl who'd like to have kids that's really encouraging. That's why I say yes and no when people ask me about baby fever. Yes I want kids, but I also realize that I have an opportunity now to soak up some of the health, strength, discipline, and resourcefulness that would be sorely lacking if I was trying to juggle a couple of my own right now. That's all.

January 28, 2009

Things I want to do:

So I've been mulling over a possible list of to dos for this year (or at least the foreseeable future), and I've come up with rather a short one.

1. Knit with friends -I'm part of the way there as I've actually started something, and several of my friends knit and/or crochet.

2. Visit Yellowstone -still in the planning stages, as of the current financial situation somewhat iffy, but definitely something I want to make happen.

3. Fall in love with my mountain dulcimer -Although I love folksy music and instruments (and own several) I've been a long time really learning to play them. After you've played "Boil them Cabbage Down" (or whatever it's called) for the fiftieth time I get sort of bored. Therefore I want to explore music that I would like to play specifically I want to learn how to play our church's music.

4. Find a cheaper apartment -this would have to be done sometime in the next 4-6 weeks. Basically Allen and I could be paying less and living in a more fun location. Suburbia is ok accessibility-wise, but there's more to life that being able to get to Target in under 15min.

5. Recover my rocking chair cushions -this has been in the works for months. I have the material. At one point I even started cutting them out. But alas I haven't made any significant strides towards getting this done.

So there's my list short as it may be for now. At any rate this should get me through the spring. At which time I just may start a summer list.

January 26, 2009

A quick confession

I have issues with money. For as long as I can remember my family has been careful with its pennies. Although by some standard we did have a lot, a lot of planning went into almost everything we bought, and thankfully the years brought their rewards. I remember one summer as a child when the family voted to do without air conditioning for a month so we could have enough money to go on vacation. I remember my dad driving an old truck he didn't like, and spending endless hours going back to school so he could get a better job. And I did indeed marry a man capable of supporting me in the manner to which I'd been accustomed. Let me assure you I mean that as no slight. In this day and age marrying a man without debt is no small blessing. We might not have much, but everything we have is freehold. And yet I must confess that somewhere in the inner recesses of my soul is the desire to spend money like water (in which I think I'm hardly unique). At first the list doesn't seem too long -a house with a decent sized yard, maybe a new Honda, perhaps a modest ski boat, two or three days horseback riding in Yellowstone. That's hardly the lifestyle of a multimillionaire. But even as I say that I can see my list getting longer -tickets to Broadway revivals in NYC, a home on several acres, a cabin on Lake Martin, pretty dishes, more traveling, nicer clothes, jewelry -the bigger my budget the longer my list. In the long run, it doesn't matter how big or small my budget is. There are just times when I want to reach out my hands and grasp, and I hate it because I know that impulse is futile and destructive. When you start grasping do you ever find a place where you can stop and be content? I don't think so. Ultimately I think I want to grab because I want to be secure. I want to have so much stuff that nothing can hurt me. Hearing talk about economic downturn scares me because I don't want to suffer and give up things. I get angry at the thought of giving up my little indulgences when I see other people routinely incurring expenses I couldn't manage in a month of Sundays. And then I feel bad because somewhere out there a mother of three or four who has to feed her family for a month on what I spend in a week or two at Whole Foods. It's hard for me to know how I should think about these things. I know that grasping doesn't lead anywhere, and hopefully I'm too good a Christian and a capitalist to begrudge my neighbors their good fortune. I just want to be safe. I want to know that I'll always be able to go on making soup in the years ahead and that if I never rise above shopping clearance racks then at least I'll never fall below them. As often as I may struggle with our need to save and plan I can all too easily imagine a time when even the opportunity to save would be a luxury. At those times I want to grasp onto everything I can. I suppose there's really no way to get around it that in such cases I need God more than ever. Then I remember that when God sent Israel into exile it wasn't only the evil who went, and I have a hard time dealing with God when I'm seeing that side of His face. Those are the times I want to just eat -to physically fill myself with all that may one day be lacking. Fortunately I don't tend to keep anything around that's worse than spaghetti or beef and vegetable soup, but even that it bad enough. I don't like feeling empty, and I don't like getting a second helping of ziti or soup because I'm feeling insecure about the future. I suppose that means I'd better come to terms with God and the righteous exiles.

January 23, 2009

Peer Pressure

Allen was teasing me about giving into peer pressure because not too long after coming back from our church's women's retreat I pulled out my knitting needles and started working up some of my stash yarn into a wrap. It's fun though, and using stash yarn means I get a thrifty wrap in the bargain. Speaking of thrifty, I found this oh so cute wrap pattern on Ravelry. It's $7.99 for one pattern, but I really love it's simplicity. It's this one pictured. I'll probably end up buying the pattern (even though I rarely spend that much on a single pattern of any kind) just so I won't have to try and jury rig it. The yarn though in another matter. 120 dollars the kit costs. As Allen remarked "and that's for something you have to assemble." I used to think of knitting as thrifty. Apparently that's not always the case. Apparently. At any rate it's nice to pick up my needles again.

January 17, 2009

There are 15 Ninjas in this header

Not really but I was having fun playing around with a picture I took this past fall at the beach. If you look carefully you can see that I've inserted a number of figures. Look fast though 'cause I think I'm going to be playing around with my blog fairly regularly. I'm just glad I never tried graphic design. I cannot make the elements come together for me in a way that I enjoy. I'll give it a few more goes though before I call it quits and fall back on minima.

January 13, 2009

Blogger and blahs

Cutest blog on the block is down/sporadic right now, and I really don't want to go back to any of the blogger templates right now. That's why my blog is still stuck on Christmas. I was going to pull out my digi scraps and put something together, but my brain is being a little bonkers right now. It's annoying when I'm mentally alert and physically asleep on the couch. Since I know that anything other than complete knockdown drag-out flu symptoms wouldn't be an acceptable reason for not going to work tomorrow I'm taking it easy today hoping to make tomorrow easier. Just another reason to love working with my friend. When I called her up this morning letting her know of my "not sick in bed, but not really up to par" self she came up with one thing I could do to help her. I did it. I got back home, and I'm not exhausted from being on my feet for three hours when I'd rather be on the couch sipper ginger tea. I'm still feeling a little antsy though. Staying on the couch for too many hours puts me in a funk. Maybe I'll haul around some light furniture for about 15 minutes and call it good.

January 6, 2009

Goodbye Christmas

As Epiphany draws to a close I want to close the season out with a few pictures from our Christmas.

Favorite ornaments since childhood.

Dirty Santa with family down at the farm.

This year's ornament from Granny.

Simple favorites -light on glass balls.

Christmas cookies decorated on Christmas Eve into to wee sma's.

An angel from my mantel.

Tomorrow the tree comes down. The lights outside go back in their boxes. Christmas is over for another year. I only hope I can learn to celebrate it better as the years pass.

Until next year...Merry Christmas everyone!

Jill of all trades

Life as a server's assistant at a cafe has rapidly gotten old and uninspiring. Fortunately, my desire for new employment happened to coincide with my friend's desire for more help around the house. Although in some ways I'll miss the camaraderie I've shared with some of the folks at work, I'm really looking forward to working more with/for my friend. Basically I'm something of a mother's helper. On any given day over there I might: pick up the kids from school, mind the baby so she can go out, cook supper, play hide-n-seek, run errands, get the kids lunch, take approximately 1 million lights off their Christmas tree, or possibly just read a book or play the Wii while baby takes a nap. Some days are definitely longer/harder than others, but I find the work much more to my tastes than carrying plates around. There is of course the added benefit that she and I are free to work around our schedules. That means she'll get the help she needs to keep her home running smoothly, and I'll get the time I've been craving to be more domestic for myself. I really think it's going to be a win-win situation. Plus, I really like the fact that it gives my friend and I the chance to help each other.

Thank you, Jennifer!

January 1, 2009

Hope everyone had a very good New Year

As per custom Allen and I stayed up rather too late and spent the next day with family. It all ended up being a lot of fun, but I'm glad that there's really only one night a year when getting together at 1am for biscuits, fried ham, and champagne seems like a good idea. Hopefully I can get my head enough in gear to run plates around for approximately three hours.