You are hereMonthly archive / October 2008

October 2008

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Miserable Judge of Time!

Like usual, I'm a poor judge of time. I always think I'll get through something faster than I do. It all seems so doable when I'm finishing projects in my head! Truth be told, I'm spending tons of time on Wee Folk Art. I'm really enjoying it, but it seems to be taking all my free time. It is hard to believe but I've been writing One Gen for a year now! I was afraid I wouldn't find enough things to write about but my list of topics grows with each passing day, but my free time does not! Oh well, there is a season for everything. Don't give up on me altogether, and please, stop by occasionally to see if I've learned how to balance 2 blogs! In the mean time, stop by Wee Folk Art!

Unhurrying

I love to bake. As a matter of fact I like cooking in general. Whenever I hear someone say they find the task of making dinner an unsavory experience, I get this idiot look on my face, my brow wrinkles, I turn my head sideways like our dog Scully when she's trying to process "STAY". To me cooking and baking is anything but mundane. It's creative...it's rejuvenating...why, it's downright fun.

So, today, when I burnt a batch of Oatmeal Scotchies, I knew that something was amiss in my day. I've got a million things going on right now. The parent situation has calmed down, but in its wake are all the neglected tasks that normally get done weekly. So I'm trying to catch up, but at the same time, ready my house for next week's 18TH ANNUAL PUMPKIN CARVING PARTY and the weekend visitors that come with it. I've got the party down to a science, but it still involves plenty of time. So, here I am, trying to get some cookies made before the grandbabies show up for lunch, finishing up a craft project for Wee Folk Art, doing a couple loads of laundry, and slowly piling party necessities.

Normal multi-tasking, right? The thing is, I was allowing myself to stress. Running from room to room, picking up, sorting, baking, folding, and all the while not enjoying a single thing I was doing! Life's too short not to enjoy what you're doing. Restating...I love to bake. Instead of taking a few minutes, to truly relish the experience, to drink in the sites and smells, the task got heaped into my pile of "to dos". WRONG!!! How much time would I have lost from my day, if I chose to sit while my cookies baked? 10 minutes? Let's say I decided to make 2 batches...what...half an hour? If I had savored the experience, and sat at the dining room table, waiting for the cookies to bake, while guilt free flipping through one of the new crafting books I got this week and still haven't been able to crack open, the world as I know it would not have ended, and my disposition for the rest of the day could have been enhanced instead of frazzled!

So, I feed my garbage disposal the inedible confection...btw...not even my dogs would eat them...scooped up a new batch...and picked up one of the books. True, there were a few things I could have accomplished during that time, but the time was not wasted. When the perfect batch of cookies was taken from the oven, and put on cooling racks to, well, cool, I felt good, even revitalized. I am now ready to move on to the next task, which turned out to be writing this blog, but I managed to UNHURRY my day. UNHURRYING your days is about embracing everything you do and giving it attention and appreciation. It is a choice, and given the emotional well being it provides, well worth putting it at the top of your "to do" list!

OAT MEAL SCOTTISHIES

Ingredients:

2 c. unsifted flour

2 t. baking powder

1 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

1 c. butter, softened

1 1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 T. water

1 1/2 c. quick oats, uncooked

1 12 oz. package (2 c.) butterscotch morsels

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside, in large bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, eggs and water; beat until creamy. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in oats and butterscotch morsels. Drop by slightly rounded tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.

To make a pan cookie: Preheat oven to 375. Spread dough into greased 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan. Bake for 18 - 22 minutes or until very lightly browned. Cool completely. Cut into thirty-five 2 inch squares.

Pause for the Cause

It was about a year ago now that I wrote a blog on Chicken Soup. I said that chicken soup was a ubiquitous feature of my kitchen especially during the fall and winter. Truth be told, I often have a pot going all year long. When one of the grandbabies does not like what we're having for lunch or dinner, they'll often ask for a bowl of chicken soup in lieu of the offensive gastronomic offering. Nine times out of ten if there's not a pot going on the stove, I'll have left over chicken soup in the fridge that just needs a quick zapping.

The past few weeks have been very trying for our family. Illness and death has momentarily robbed our family of normal routine.  We focused our attention where it was needed most while trying not to neglect everyone else's needs. It's as it should be. But none of us can do it all, and sometimes, trade offs are made. In my case, over the past few weeks, the soup kitchen has been closed.

It seemed a small price to pay for the additional time that we were able to spend with family members that sorely needed our support. But in the eyes of a 5, 4 and 2 year old, it was a heavy price to pay. Routine means dependability, dependability means security, and security means peace. Although they will certainly recover from the past few weeks, their loss is understandable and justifiable. I really knew that routine had digressed to a critical state when, given her choice of any food, the 4 year old requested chicken soup for her birthday dinner! Has it really been that long since I cooked a pot?

Tim lost his father last week and my mother is nicely recovering from her surgery. There has been a hiccup in our routine, but life has a way of going on. We get through the tough times...do we have a choice? But fingers crossed, life will be quiet for a while, and the wonderful wafting smell of chicken soup will fill our home, without interruption, for a respectable amount of time!

A Few Good Men

This week Tim’s father died. I feel privileged to have known him these past 7 years. Here is the eulogy Tim read at his father’s service. You will be sorely missed, Fred.

In our country, we glamorize greatness which is often gauged by how much money you have, how many people are affected by each decision you make, and your ability to be remembered by posterity. When we set those people and their accomplishments up as a standard, it is not hard to understand why most of us see ourselves as falling short of our potential.

 

Fred never strove for greatness. Instead, he embraced his “ordinary” life with gusto, and seemed oblivious to the social yardstick that measures success. But Fred was more than great. He was good. He was a good man. He never took for granted his good fortune in marrying the love of his life. He instantly fell in love with his Mary, and stayed in love with her even after God called her home after 54 years of marriage. He loved his 10 children, 34 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren and was proud of their accomplishments, both large and small. Fred didn’t expect greatness from his children, but he did expect goodness. He was seldom disappointed.

 

Fred was a leader, but not for the glory that leadership imparts, but because when he took on a job, any job, he felt compelled to do it right and to see it through to fruition.  He did not seek praise or gratitude for the things he did, as a matter of fact he was usually surprised and touched when accolades were bestowed upon him. All he expected when he finished one job was a new assignment!

 

Typically eulogies include anecdotes. Over the past few days I heard a multitude of stories about Fred; enough to fill a book. There were stories that made me chuckle, stories that made me cry and stories that filled me with renewed awe. These stories were overflowing with love, admiration and respect for a man that bestowed love, kindness and reverence for others with nonchalant ease. Everyone had a story, I have my own. But instead of sharing a handful of individual accounts, I want to share the last line in every story I heard. "He was a good man and will sorely be missed."

 

Fred was not a great man by the world’s standards, but he was a good man that touched the lives of everyone he met. And I would take a few good men over one great man any day. Fred was NOT a great man, but he IS the yardstick by which I measure my life.

Might As Well Face It, I'm Addicted To Blog

Okay, my hiatus was more like a weekend away! Couple of weeks without blogging, and I’m stockpiling things I want to write about! I do plan to change things a bit, tho. First off, I thought it was imperative that I set up a schedule for myself. Blog every Tuesday…come rain or shine! It has occurred to me that no one is paying me to write, I don’t have an editor breathing down my neck, and my only deadlines are self imposed! Phooey to that! I’m going to write when I feel like writing…sometimes more, sometimes less, whenever those ol’ creative juices are flowing.

Next, I don’t want to limit myself to the format I’ve been using. I’ve been writing the blog as if my elementary school teacher doled out an assignment. “Today, children, I’d like you to write a 750 word essay on what you did over Thanksgiving break.” Looking back, my blogs all seemed to fit neatly on a page and a half, and could easily slip into a weekly column at a very small, and undoubtedly disreputable, local newspaper! I want to be free to post a three line commentary and not feel guilt for failing to produce a worthy blog. Again, all standards imposed by myself, for myself, and completely unnecessary!

Then, there’s the whole great big internet out there that I want to tap into. There are often times when I come across blogs or sites that I find filled with ideas I’d like to share or just document. I will be including more links and snippets of other people’s scathingly brilliant ideas, memorabilia from my past, or contemporary happenings that speak to me.

Not as direly important, but inevitable, I want to change the look. When my daughter originally designed the blog, I said “Make it look like me”, and she did. However, going back to an old blog, The Living House, my home is constantly evolving…I get bored if things remain the same for too long. So, I will once again wave my programming ignorance in my daughter’s face, and ask her to spend some time revamping the site. I’ve spent my life living in redecorating chaos, so I suppose there is no point in “closing up shop” while the work is being done. So, in advance, forgive the mess when the process starts, and know this is what happens to Living Blogs! 

Finally, I want to get back to my original blog ethos…this blog is primarily a legacy of love for my children and grandchildren. I’m not out to be the most popular blog on the block, and I don’t need a massive readership. Don’t get me wrong….I LOVE having new and old friends join in. I like sharing with others and “handing down more than the silverware”! I think each generation is like a snowball rolling down a hill…it picks up more and more snow on its journey, until, at the bottom, it is massive. Just think of me as a giant snowball! I am hopeful, that on my journey downhill, I’ve managed to pick up some valuable ideas, and if I’m able to share a bit with others, then it will have made the ride, not only fun, but worthwhile.

So, I’m back, although I’ve hardly been gone long enough to be missed, but long enough to address a few issues that I have been wrestling with! Please continue to post, share the blog with anyone you think might enjoy it, and know you are welcome!

Sigh…looks like my elementary teacher would be proud of me…I’ve managed to turn out a cookie cutter blog! Ah, well, change takes time, right? Anyway, just to prove that my desire to change is in earnest, I’ve included a little musical interlude, the inspiration for my blog’s title!


About

A Brief Summation of Me

I am a mother, a grandmother, a sister, a daughter, a betrothed, and a friend. I have raised three children, numerous pets, ran a home based preschool, and met my soul mate at the ripe age of 47… they do exist! Through him I acquired two more “children” that I have grown to love. When you hear me speak of “my children” it is usually referring to my three biological offspring. When I talk about “our children”, I’m speaking about Tim’s and my collective brood. I received a degree in home economics, later returning to school to get my elementary education degree. I’m at the tail end of the baby boomers and was in my teens during the turbulent sixties. I have lines upon my face from a lifetime of smiles…I count my blessings daily.

I loved, or more accurately, love my life. I enjoy raising my children, befriending my house, and spending time with my gardens. I came from a home rich with traditions, many of which I continued, and added many more to our family’s life.

And “Why the blog?”

This blog is a gift of love to my children and grandchildren. It is, in part, my legacy to them. But, it is also my way, hopefully, of sharing with others the things that worked, and sometimes monumentally failed, on my quest to turn our house into a home. It is a cozy chat amongst friends, and it is meant to span the generations. Although often didactic in nature, I hope you find it lighthearted and amusing in tone.

Finally, The Invitation!

In this blog I share stories about children, homes, gardens, friends, observations on life and, well, whatever suits my fancy on any given day! Over the next several months I expect the blog to grow and evolve. I hope to develop an active on-line community committed to sharing and encouraging family lore. I hope you become a regular contributor to the comment section. This blog is intended to amalgamate generations, allowing us all to benefit from different perspectives and points of view. So, welcome, return frequently, share with others, but most importantly… enjoy!