Saturday, January 22, 2011

And Another Thing!

Raise your mouse if you remember what this blog started out as. No one? Well, it has been awhile. I started this blog to share with the world my "exciting" and "effective" decluttering process. But so far, there's been more "clutter" than "de."

However, I was working in the basement this morning and guess what I found. My copy of "Soonerette's Country Pride Cookbook." This used to belong to my grandmother and her contributions have her first married name on them, which she had up until 1981. Wow, does this bring back memories. And the names of the contributors! Ora Lee, Treva, Pearl, Hallie, Midge, Lena -- most of whom I knew.

Put together with a typewriter by hand, this is the real deal. And my grandmother made notes by some of the recipes "Too rich;" "Don't try this;" "Very good."

Sweet thoughts at the bottom of the pages:

"Take time to help and enjoy friends -- it is the source of happiness."
"Take time to laugh -- it is the singing that helps with life's load."

4 cups of Love
2 cups of Loyalty
3 cups of Forgiveness
1 cup of Friendship
5 spoons of Hope
2 spoons of Tenderness
4 Quarts of Faith
1 Barrel of Laughter

Take love and loyalty, mix it thoroughly with faith. Blend it with tenderness, kindness, and understanding. Add friendship and hope, sprinkle abundantly with laughter. Bake it with sunshine. Serve daily with generous helpings."

What a treasure this is to me. I will probably try a few of these recipes, and probably not try a few of them. But I will place it in my cookbook cabinet and treasure it. It's not clutter. At all.

Friday, January 21, 2011

There's No Place Like Home, or: That's Why I Love Kansas

Just LOOK at those nice straight streets. For this easily over-stimulated brain, those straight streets are a breath of fresh air.

Did you know that I decided as a teenager that I would be marrying someone from the midwest? Especially Oklahoma or Kansas? The adolescent me felt a deep connection with the normal life and environment of the farmer, familiar with fields of wheat and other grains. So, when I was falling right in love with Greg at Wheaton, I noticed with satisfaction that he was from that part of the country, and figured that had to be at least part of why I was so attracted to him.

Our recent trip to Wichita was a huge undertaking, and I wasn't sure how all those hours in the van were going to be. As it turned out, we spent much of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday on the road, since it is 900 miles out there and back. "Why didn't you fly???" we got asked. Because for a family of seven, sometimes flying is not the best way to travel, especially in light of potential weather delays.

We tried to rent a 12- or 15- passenger van, and were assured "We have PLENTY available," at the point of actually renting, we found out they had NONE available. Instead, we were blessed with only having a conversion van available to rent. The Magical Van, I call it, since the kids traveled beautifully, including Kepler. Nothing like a long car trip to make everyone either hate each other, or give everyone some pretty good family time. Of course, it helps to have a driver such as Greg, who rivals any standup comedian, especially early in the morning or late at night. For instance, Thursday morning as we waited in the Starbucks drive-through, he finished up his, what did he call that Fairfield Inn coffee, "blackened, crusty stew-water." Valerie seems to be very good at remembering things and being able to act them out, so she treated us to plenty of Brian Regan routines as well. Basically, my family is good at turning everyday life into hilarity, which makes for a good trip.

The visitation and funeral were done the old-fashioned way, and there was a family lunch at the church afterwards, prepared by one of the Sunday school classes of older folks. Ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans, bread, and church dinner salads. Iced tea, coffee, cake. It was the same dinner we had for the family lunch after Greg's mother's funeral. I guess I'm just an old-fashioned kind of a girl, because I felt comfortable there in the church. Loved hearing the hymns sung, and deeply appreciated that lunch lovingly prepared by people who see this as their ministry.

All in all, strangely enough, the trip energized me and helped me out of a funk I had fallen into of late. Our ties to Wichita are mostly over, but I will always love the town, the people there, and that part of the country.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Kicking against the goads

Have you noticed how many times you are asked to verify your "information" these days?

When call the doctor to make an appointment, I am asked to verify address and telephone. I am asked again at check-in. I am asked whenever I call to ask a question. Multiply this by the pediatrician, ENT specialist, eye doctor, allergist, primary care physician, insurance company, Verizon customer service (i might be making that up) by seven people and six phone lines. I know they are going to ask me to verify this information every single time, and while I am sure there must be scads of people who move between the time they make a doctor's appointment for this afternoon and the appointment itself, but really. It really bugs me that I must spew this information out over and over and over. I suppose it is the impersonal nature of it that gets to me. When I call my sister, or send a message on Facebook, she is able to respond to me without needing to make sure I have the same address and phone number because we have a relationship and people I have relationships with would presumably know if Greg and I moved to a new home. So, even though we have been with the same doctors/practices/health insurance company/phone service provider for a minimum of 5 years and in many cases 10 years with absolutely no change in our "information" we must verify it every single time.

Along with that is the incessant paperwork, and signatures required, every single time for the same thing. I suppose again there are people out there whose situations change and can't or won't sign on the dotted line. I'm just not one of those people, I guess. Somehow, the professional establishments have decided that it is best practice to require this information over and over and over. And over. I suppose I would be somewhat mollified if I could just shorten it a bit. As a matter of fact, I am going to begin asking if it is enough to give them the street name, rather than house number, street, city, state, zip. Wouldn't you think that if the street name is the same the rest of it probably is, too? Why the high need to verify the info? What am I missing?

I believe I am going to begin to not be as compliant and see what happens. Well, aren't I the radical rebel?

And, yes, dear blog readers, my name, address, social, and telephone number are the same as they were the last time I posted, in case you were wondering.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Christmas Tree that Kept on Giving

OK, personally I find insects kind of revolting. I talk a good story about being kind to spiders for they are our friends (yes, I know they are not insects, but they are surely buglike). For the most part, I can let bugs live outside, and can even tolerate such things as crane flies inside. But some bugs are just simply not welcome in the Taylor casa. Mi casa ain't the bug's casa.

Our Christmas tree apparently did not get the memo. We bought a real tree this year, going to the special nursery to choose a good tree, and bring it home amongst much hilarity and jollity. Ah, how we enjoyed the lovely fragrance.

Christmas morning, we all chose our spots, and piled up the prezzies nearby. Anna-Jessie reached for one, and threw it down suddenly since it was covered with black bugs. Eek! Handily storing my vacuum in the living room, I put it together and vacuumed off the present. Then we noticed there were more, many more, of the bugs under the tree and on the floor. Between vacuuming the floor and the presents as people opened them, I pulled out my ipad and discovered that these bugs were harmless cinara aphids and wouldn't hurt our plants or our home or anything. But, STILL!

I kept that vacuum busy, and as soon as the last present was opened and oohed and ahed over, i ran the tree skirt outside, we ripped the lights and ornaments off the tree, and got it out of the house. Then I proceeded to vacuum every square inch of the room to make sure they were all quite dead and gone.

The tree lay in stark repose outside for several days. On a particularly warm late December day, another bunch of aphids hatched out, but this time they were outside.

Apparently, this is not strange or unusual, although it was the first time I had ever heard of it. I can tell you the kids may not remember every present they got this Christmas, but they will never forget the Christmas Tree that Kept on Giving!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Seven Lines of Text

The other night, we were doing our traditional family New Years Eve activity where we record memories from 2010 and hopes/goals for2011 on a big piece of posterboard. I went to look back through my blog to be reminded of all the events of 2010. Oops. Only 12 posts.

I love sharing my thoughts with my readers and so enjoy the responses from people. To experience that satisfaction, looks like I'm going to have to POST something on here.

Instead of setting goals like "I will post every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday," I decided that I would post seven lines of text today. It's always ok if I go beyond seven lines, but that's such a doable goal, I decided to go for it right now!

Seven lines of text goes along with the FlyLady's theme for 2011, which has something to do with seven. Seven tasks, seven things to give away, etc. She had been encouraging people to work for 15 minutes on tasks, 15 minutes of decluttering, but decided that "seven in 2011" made sense.

There have been 2 days in 2011 where my family were off doing their normal work and school things, and both days I have spent taking care of 7 things at a time. Counting the items reminded me of how much I enjoy jwalking when I am counting my steps (200 walking, 200 jogging). Mundane? Of course! But my brain seems to respond well to counting -- what can I say!

For me, putting away 7 things, clearing 7 things off the counter, removing 7 unneeded things from my sewing box, putting away 7 dishes, gets A LOT done; actually, it gets about 7 times as much done as trying to tackle everything at once.

A fellow blogger mentioned that many bloggers choose a word at the beginning of the year as a theme. I can't imagine any word that I could choose that would continue to have meaning throughout the year, besides love or grace. The best word I can think of right now as a theme is the number seven.

I've always loved the verses in Matthew where Peter asks how many times he should forgive people -- "Seven?" he asks. Jesus says not seven, but seventy times seven. Every time I think of seven, I remember how wonderful it is to forgive and be forgiven.

Happy New Year, everyone!