Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wedding Countdown #3: Four Weeks

Yesterday I got a lot of wedding-related stuff done.

We finally came to a consensus about what the boys are wearing, since all three of them are groomsmen (and also the musicians for the wedding) and I GOT IT ALL ORDERED!

Would you like to see what they're wearing? Okay.

This shirt:

Click here to view larger image

With this vest:
Mens Brown Side Lace Vest

With these jeans:
Men's PBR slim fit Wrangler jeans - long inseam
As you can see, the guys are wearing brown and black. The girls are going to be wearing brown and pink. We threatened to have the guys wear pink, too, but we had mercy on them...

And that reminds me, since last week we had a breakthrough on the dresses for the bridesmaids. Plan C turned into Plan D, and here's what we're doing: LovelyDaughter found a pattern and fabric, and we're having a friend sew three dresses for us. Like this:

Fortunately, the three bridesmaids are built similar, so when the maid of honor said the pattern LovelyDaughter picked would look great on her, we figured it will look good on all three girls. The dresses will be made of brown fabric with sheer pink overlays on the skirt.

Also yesterday, I ordered the strings of lights we want to decorate with. Supplies for the reception have been bought as well, so we are on the cook.

On the cook, meaning "getting things done," as well as "cooking in the heat." Next week's break in Colorado will be very welcome.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Pause That Refreshes

Last week on Thursday Swede called up and said, "I have a hankering to GO somewhere this weekend. You guys wanna come along?"

The idea was to take a quick(?) buzz out to Denver, to take a break from the heat and humidity and the summer work. (Well, it wasn't any cooler in Denver than here, but it sure felt better.)

Believe it or not, Hubby actually said Yes, so Saturday morning the three of us took off.

I am so glad we went. We drove most of the day and arrived in Denver, and the first thing we did was take a nap in a hotel, which, for the record, had THE Most Comfortable Mattress I have ever slept on. I asked Swede if he thought anyone would notice if we took a mattress home on top of his car. He thought someone might object, so I settled for tearing the bed apart to find the brand and model on the label.

(No model name, but the brand was Denver Mattress, and there's an outlet in BigCity!)

I was even tempted to bring home a pillow-- THE Most Comfy Pillow I've ever slept on.

Either that, or I was just RE-ALLY tired.

The first thing I noticed after our nap was the AIR. When you are in Denver, you aren't actually IN the mountains, but you can see them, and you can SMELL them. At that moment I was ready to put down roots in Colorado. (Sorry, Nebraska.)

I wish I could have at least brought home a jar of Colorado Mountain Air. You know, just a little whiff of vacation.


We all went to a meeting with a special speaker Saturday night, and then to church on Sunday morning. Both were just awesome and spiritually refreshing.

When Hubby and I arrived home we found the family wilted and a little cranky in the humidity. We decided they all need a break too, so--don't tell anyone--but if everything works, we're going to surprise the family and pack them all up next Monday for a week of camping in Colorado.

And now I'll be busy. Gotta wrap up as many wedding details as possible, and plan food, and do laundry, and send bills (the kind where people pay US-- so there will be money in the mailbox when we get back), and clean a little so we don't come home to a pigsty.

The getting ready is gonna be a killer, but the "joy set before me" (mountain air, low humidity, a break from the summer race and the wedding plans) is totally worth it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Wedding Countdown #2: Five Weeks

Yes, yesterday marked FIVE weeks till LovelyDaughter's marriage to JD.

I'm almost as excited as LovelyDaughter, sometimes in a good way and sometimes in a bad way.

As in, How Wonderful! My Daughter is Getting Married!

And then, smack on the heels of that sentiment: AACK! My Only Daughter is LEAVING HOME FOREVER in Five Weeks!

Talk about your roller coaster.

We celebrated (well, not on purpose; it just worked out that way--but it sounds good) the five week mark by going shopping for more things for the wedding. We got necessities like LovelyDaughter's jewelry to wear with her dress, and a necklace and shoes for me, to go with my dress.

I didn't mention shopping for shoes for LovelyDaughter, because her lifelong dream has been to be barefoot at her wedding. (Thank goodness; that's one less item we have to chase down.)

I will also mention that we are in dire straits in regard to the bridesmaid dresses. I say this at the risk of opening ourselves up to criticism: No bridesmaids' dresses YET, with the wedding THIS CLOSE?!

Believe me, it's not for lack of trying!

We thought we had it all figured out, but unavoidable circumstances (the bridesmaids are scattered all across the globe), and idiotic dress designers (can't they design clothes to fit ordinary girls, not just beanpoles?), and changing fashion seasons (most of the dresses we pre-shopped for online are no longer available anywhere, or only in super tiny or super large), have all conspired together to obsolesce Plans A and B, and put us up a crik with only one paddle instead of two. And that, if you're not careful, is a recipe for going in circles!

On the positive side, we do have Plan C ready to implement, and, by odd coincidence, Hubby's new suit coat/sports jacket/blazer arrived yesterday via UPS.

More news next week!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It Gives New Meaning to "Diss-ing" Someone

It's disconcerting to me to have someone who

~dislikes me
~disapproves of me
~disagrees with me most of the time
~is discomfortable around me
~finds me distasteful.

It makes me feel


and even


Even though I try to be


I'm still rather discombobulated.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Wish This Were True....

This is in response to Ornery's Wife, who posted her super hero super power today.

Your Superpower Should Be Mind Reading

You are brilliant, insightful, and intuitive.

You understand people better than they would like to be understood.

Highly sensitive, you are good at putting together seemingly irrelevant details.

You figure out what's going on before anyone knows that anything is going on!

Why you would be a good superhero: You don't care what people think, and you'd do whatever needed to be done

Your biggest problem as a superhero: Feeling even more isolated than you do now

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Wedding Countdown #1

As of this past Thursday, it is six weeks till LovelyDaughter's wedding. SIX WEEKS, y'all.

And today-- today we brought home The Wedding Dress.

Oh, is it pretty.

I'd sort of forgotten already, while the dress languished in Layaway; and the pictures we took when LovelyDaughter tried it on at the store just don't do it justice. In person, it's lovely; and of course, lovelier still when it's ON LovelyDaughter.

But no pictures for you yet. JD is being kept strictly in the dark on this until THE DAY, and this is the INTERNET after all.

So for now, we'll just smile and rub our hands together gleefully.

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's Childishly Simple-- Or Is It?

From Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis:

"...Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary, He told us to be not only "as harmless as doves," but also "as wise as serpents." He wants a child's heart, but a grown-up's head.

He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first class fighting trim."

I like that: a child's heart, but a grown-up's head.

Loving, forgiving, trusting; smart, confident, mature.

Being someone who knows to plan ahead, but also be spontaneous.

Knowing how to get along with others, without letting others negatively influence you.

Transparent and honest, but also tactful and wise.

Hmm. Good thing God promised us help with that.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cooking Up A Storm

Once again, I have been in the kitchen all day today, this time working on the 10 gallons of apricots someone gave us. (These are new and different, not the ones we got from Swede.)

So now we have even MORE apricot jam, and I forgot to count how many jars, and by now they're all on their nice shelf in the pantry.

In addition, we canned several quarts of whole apricots and some of apricot puree.

Also, we took care of the gallon of cherries in the fridge, turning it into jam.

And now, as I wait for supper to come out of the oven, it is pouring rain outside.

Like this:

What a blessing-- after a beastly hot day in the kitchen, the cool air this storm is bringing is a great relief. And even though the wind is blowing sprays of rain in the window over the sink I leave the window open while I do dishes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Just Doing The Next Thing

I made up my mind the other day that I was going to stop worrying so far in advance about stuff, but rather just put my mind to doing whatever the "next" thing is.

So yesterday I began.

Instead of trying to think about "all the stuff I have to do in the next six weeks," I just thought about what I should do Today, Right Now. Which meant we sent off bills-- the kind where other people need to pay US, which is nice.

And we ran errands, and bought groceries.

And we went to Swede's house to pick apricots, because they were READY.

And that meant that today we made apricot jam. All Day.

I remember now why I got burned out on home canning and preserving. Trying to manage an enormous fruit project and make meals at the same time, with several people in the kitchen at once, is just a little nerve-wracking.

And there must have been other people feeling on THEIR mettle today, because I'm pretty sure the phone rang every half hour most of the day. In fact, there it goes again...

Okay, I'm back.

Where was I?

Oh-- making jam. Yes, we now have 27 pints of apricot jam on the island, and two gallon buckets of pitted apricots in the freezer for another day.

Also, a gallon of un-pitted cherries, but that's another project

And now, while I wait for my pans of tweiback to raise so I can bake them, I want to leave you with some recipe ideas I found in an old cookbook I picked up at the thrift store.

First, this:

Please don't tell me those are green beans on those sloppy joes.

Oh, they are. Because those are "Barbecue Green Bean Bunwiches".


Okay, how about this one:

The cookbook calls this "Please-a-Teen Pizza Burger", but I don't think it would please any of my teens.

There is a very fine line between Gourmet and Garbage.

Just had to share the wholesome goodness.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Note To Self: ONE Thing At A Time

Okay, this is getting really old.

I'm still tired, and I still have a Large, Annoying Headache.

However, there are a few things I can be glad about.

One, on Friday when I felt a rising panic because my head hurt So Bad, LovelyDaughter took one look at me and rose to the occasion to help me. It felt so good to be mothered I almost cried.

Two, last night I asked Hubby to pray for me, and when he did, the agitation and anxiety I'd felt for over a week finally lifted, and I slept like a baby.

Three,... um, ... my breakfast of chocolate milk and toast was very satisfying.

On the negative side, I've been fighting with WORRY WORRY WORRY. It's better, now that Hubby prayed for me, but still.

That reminds me--

I read a little something by Steve Chandler recently. He insisted that much of our worry comes from trying to do too much.

Most people don't create great things in their day. They are too busy doing too many things at once. Most of the people I coach start each day with too many things to do.

I started coaching Renata by asking her how her life was. And she said too many things to get done and not enough time. That's a formula, I said, for a very miserable, frustrating life. She asked why and I said it was because she was trying to live in the future.

Like a fly bouncing against the window pane trying to get into the house. Did you ever see the horror film "The Fly?" That's how most people live. Buzzing and pounding against the glass trying to get into their own future. They think it's a better place. Peace and quiet and open air. Wait for them, somewhere.

But now? Now is a mess. Now is chaos. Now is a million things to do as Renata fumbles with her cell phone in her car not noticing the light had changed. She blew her mind out in a car! All from having too much to do. And not enough time to do it.

But true mastery (not to mention happiness) comes from not having too much to do. It comes from only having one thing to do. Just this one thing.

I think MY worry comes from WORRYING TOO MUCH.

It's not even that I personally have that much to do. I just find myself worrying about what EVERYONE ELSE is supposed to do. *SIGH*

So, I think my job today is to find ONE thing to worry about DO today, and concentrate on that.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hello, My Name Is...

Grumpy Dwarf - Button
And that's all I'd better say....

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Thank You Note

Thank you, Jane, for bringing over supper last night. Your care and generosity is very much appreciated.

Especially since it gave me the chance to SLEEP all afternoon, without worrying about what to fix for supper, and having to go shop for groceries.

And your generosity was such that there are enough leftovers to eat ALL DAY TODAY without me having to think.

I can't help but feel on my way to recovery.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Maybe After A Good Night's Sleep....

I'm so, so tired.

At worship team practice this evening, someone told me that when they prayed for me they saw a picture in their mind of a bouquet of dried flowers being restored to life and scent.

That feels like me alright. All my faith and courage and hope have dried up over the last couple of days, replaced by anxiety and stress.

I should be glad they saw the flowers being renewed and revived. But all I can think is how dried-up I feel.

I guess tonight I'm too tired to be glad.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Still Recovering

As you may remember, my Brother and his girls left Friday after an extended visit.

Once they were gone, we all discovered we were pretty tired, and we ended up doing nothing for the Fourth. That's right. NOTHING. About ten at night we said, Oh yeah, we could do something....

Saturday I was up bright and early to go shopping with JD's mother, "Jane", who came from out of state for a visit to meet all of us. She and I had a wonderful time shopping and talking. I really enjoyed it.

PLUS... I found my dress for the wedding, which is great cause for celebration. I'm really excited to have found it, and to have found it ON SALE.

In the evening, Jane came over for supper, which JD and LovelyDaughter made for us. It was very good; and for dessert we had an incredible, rich, dark CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE, which Jane had made. After we had tasted it, we adopted her on the spot.

Which hopefully made up for the fact that she broke three vertebrae falling off of our cable swing. Oops. Not the best way to welcome the new in-laws into the family, huh?

Sunday was worship team Sunday, and after church we went to JD's grandparents for dinner, and they had the BEST steaks I've had in a long time. Even better than the one we had at Lazlo's with MandoNut last weekend.

But all good things come to an end. The headache that had been following me around since Friday caught up to me-- a large, looming, threatening, migraine-- and Hubby took me home early where I promptly passed out slept for over an hour, and then went to bed early.

Today, I have spent most of the day either sleeping or reading. I've got supper on the cook now, but afterwards, I think I go to bed early again.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day

Today my Brother, and K and A, left to go home after their annual two-week visit.

After they left, I took the two extra leaves out of the table and the rest of us sat down for dinner.

In the middle of the meal, suddenly, unexpectedly-- even to myself-- I burst into tears. I think I was more tired than I realized, from having three extra people here, and at least one of them a non-kindred spirit.

Tonight, we set off fireworks.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

If I Can Make It Till Tomorrow I'll Be Fine

I can-- just barely-- understand an eleven-year old who has to sleep in Depends every night.

I can understand a certain measure of rudeness and social ineptness in children who have a less than desirable background.

I am beginning to understand a picky palate. (sort of.)

But I cannot understand an eleven-year-old who would rather wet her pants than interrupt her activity to go to the bathroom. Every. Single. Day.

A four-year-old, maybe. An eleven-year-old, no.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

It's like Jack Sprat and his wife, only different

I've mentioned my prodigious cooking chores lately, I know. The idea of cooking for ten people is daunting to some of you, and others of you are laughing at me, as you gleefully set the table for you and your husband and your eight or ten or twelve children.

Just keep in mind it's all relative.

And even there you can snicker at me. Those of you cooking for three, you recognize the proportionate difference. If YOU were suddenly to find yourself cooking for ten, you'd panic and call Martha Stewart.

However, I am USED to cooking for six-- including two teenage boys, which everyone knows is a mammoth task not to be taken lightly.

As one of my favorite cooking quotes says:

"One more troubling thing for cookbook writers is explaining how many people a recipe will serve. Actually, of course, who knows? It depends on the people and the menu. So I've pussy-footed by saying 'servings,' which means that four servings could serve four people once or two people twice or one high-school boy for an afternoon snack."

So since I am used to it already, a few more shouldn't matter. Right?

Especially when you consider that often on weekends we have guests for meals and I often cook for eight or ten people.

Just not every day.

For two weeks.

It feels like cooking and meal planning and kitchen cleanup are my whole LIFE.

And yet... you know, I actually enjoy it.

Especially when I think I must have the best boys to cook for anywhere. They are so appreciative and say things like,

"Thanks, mom, you just ruined a perfectly good appetite."

Not like my niece's sister, who is eleven, and has been given to picky-ness over the years. Every year during their annual two week visit, we spend most meal times squabbling about the food.

I have never seen such horrible faces as that girl makes. You would think I had offered her last week's garbage a la dead raccoon.

But I've been reading some of your blogs, and learning about other children besides mine, and I think I've discovered something. This girl, K, is a DRAMA QUEEN.

Ah ha. The horrible faces, the rude questions ("What IS this?") the stubborn refusals-- it's all DRAMA.

So now I know, and I don't take it personally. I shouldn't have, I know, but I have never dealt with K's brand of rudeness anywhere else.

Tonight at supper we had leftover soup.

K asked me for a "no-thank-you helping" (one bite)--at least she's finally learned that rule-- because "I've never eaten that before."

Hello? We just ate this same soup YESTERDAY. And you ate a small helping then, and said you LIKED it.

For dessert we had fresh homemade cookies. She took one and tore it up into tiny pieces on her plate. I asked her what was wrong, and she said she was looking for the raisins so she could eat them. I asked her if she was going to eat the rest of the cookie with her spoon. She said, no, it didn't taste like her mom's cookies. They had a "strange taste."

Do you know how many things I've made this week that taste "strange?" I never knew. So glad K is here to straighten out my cooking.

Thankfully, wonderfully, my own boys--and LovelyDaughter-- tell me every day, "Thanks, mom, that was WONDERFUL."

I think they learned it from their dad.

Thank you, family. You're WONDERFUL.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Still Busy, Still Cooking, Still Waiting for My Turn In The Bathroom

My title pretty much says it all.

Although, contrary to what it sounds like, I have actually made it in to the bathroom a few times.

Saturday we went to an auction where JD and LovelyDaughter bought a few miscellaneous household items for when they set up their honeymoon household.

At first, they were going to go by themselves, but before we knew it, Hubby and I, and DrummerDude, and MB3, all ended up going too. I'd forgotten how long it had been since the boys had been to an auction.

It was when they were still shorter than me, and that's been a while.

We had a great time, and MB3 even got to bid on a few things using my number and his money.

At one point he was bidding on a kerosene lamp and the bid hit his limit, so he quit. Immediately the auctioneer turned to me for the bid, which I thought was funny and heartwarming.

I love these small town events where everybody knows you. The auctioneer knew I was mom and had veto authority, and also had authority to go higher. That tickled me so much that I did actually bid again for MB3.

(I didn't win, because the bid kept climbing. As I recall, that particular lamp went for around $100-- way beyond both of our limits.)

After we'd been there a couple of hours, JD and LovelyDaughter and DrummerDude wanted to leave, and Hubby said he'd better go earn the money I was spending, so MB3 and I stayed and bid on everyone's stuff for them. I had a list of what to bid on and how much to bid.

And I ended up with quite a pile, and all for pretty good prices. The biggest steal of the day was the butchering table Hubby wanted. A butchering table consists of a set of sawhorses with two long, very wide boards to set on top. You just can't find wide pine boards like that anymore, and if you could, you couldn't afford them. Hubby told me to go up to $75 on it.

When the table came up, the auctioneer started the bid at $25. I waited a bit to see what the bidding would do before I jumped in. Nobody took the bait, so I decided it was time. I raised my hand at the same moment that the auctioneer dropped the opening bid to $10, so that was my bid. And then, NOBODY ELSE BID. So I got the thing for the grand total of TEN dollars!

Hubby was very happy.

And then, to top the day, JD and LovelyDaughter insisted on sending Hubby and me out for the evening. They said, "You guys look tired. You go take the evening off, and we'll make supper for everyone."

Aren't they just the BEST?

So we jumped in our little Z3 and drove to BigCity to meet MandoNut for supper, and after supper we went to a little coffee shop that has a cool courtyard where they have free live music most evenings.

It was a beautiful evening, and I really enjoyed sitting under the trees, with cobblestones underfoot, listening to the singer with his guitar. I got very mellow.

So mellow, that I slept the entire hour drive home.

So mellow, that we overslept Sunday morning.

Fortunately, we were not on the worship team, so arriving ten minutes after the service started was not the crisis it could have been.

We were still feeling mellow in the afternoon, in time for our Sunday afternoon nap, which has become a rare luxury in recent years.

I'm still feeling pretty mellow, even though it's Tuesday, and I'm still cooking for ten people, and now I need to go grocery shopping. AGAIN.

I'm off to make a grocery list.

Fortunately, Hubby and the boys are out earning money.