Tuesday, November 30, 2010

O Christmas Tree O Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree O Christmas Tree O Christmas Tree...

How I love you. You make me so happy. Your twinkling little lights dancing across the room. Warm happy cozy loveliness.

We have a Christmas tree. It's small-big one, ...it's one of those 6 foot skinny trees that you have to fluff and fluff until there is nothing left to fluff. I fill it with shinny little red and silver ornaments that dangle and twinkle when the lights are plugged in. A few Christmas decorations decorate the rest of the house and it sings of cheer and delight.

This year, we don't get to enjoy the happiness of that wonderful Christmas tree. No. We don't. We weren't going to have Christmas here. Even though I love it so and it makes me terribly happy. We were just going to enjoy it when we went to the hubs' house for Christmas. Except, we don't have to do that any more.... we have ourselves a little tree. A 24 inch tree (it sounds bigger to say 24 inches than 2 feet : ) The hubs' mumsy got it for us when we saw her at Thanksgiving. It has little white snowflakes on it and it is fiber optic so it lights up the whole room, it changes from white to red to green to purple and it is simply wonderful. It makes me so happy I just sit on the couch right next to it and daze into the sparkly lights. I could stay and stare at it for hours and hours, it really makes me so wonderfully happy. There is just something about the pretty lights and snowflakes. And the angels that hang from it sweetly.

In my quest for making it Christmas here I went and got some stuffs that I wouldn't usually get. Christmas paper napkins, Christmas paper towels, and even ... Christmas plastic cups. They all have super cute Christmas trees and little penguins and snowflakes. I love them all. They all just jumped into my shopping cart the other night, and I get to enjoy their cheer : ) How happy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

thanks thanks

In honor of Thanksgiving (a week ago) I thought I would make up a little list of things I am thankful for. They are in no particular order...

1. I have spices. Three whole spices. Salt, pepper and garlic salt. I know it's no basil or cardamom (not that I typically use cardamom) or any of the other usual spices I sprinkle and dash in my dinners, but they are spices just the same. Some flava for my foods : ) It really is amazing how much more you appreciate a little salt and pepper after going a month without them. But I didn't want to buy a little thing of salt and pepper when we have a huge container of them at home, and we when we have little shakers full of them that would be put to perfect use for us.

2. We have the cutest puppy in the whole wide world. I would post a picture at this point, but since I can't hook the camera up to this computer I can't upload my pictures, and thus can't post pictures to the blog.

3. We got to see family and friends for almost a whole long week.

4. I get to sleep in. It's very nice. I've been a little sad about not having anything to keep me busy (like a job) but after weeks and weeks of not having a job I've decided to just sleep. While I have the chance. And it's nice. So I have taken on the job of keeping up our little home more seriously than before. Sometimes I will even vacuum. It is nice. It's also nice because I know that I will not be able to enjoy this for much longer. ...cause you know I will be student teaching in the spring.

5. I have a yummy smelling house. It smells like pumpkins and cookies and cider and everything wonderfully delightful. I keep the candles lit all day long and it smells like home. I love it.

And there are lots of other things, but those are the top five. for now. Maybe later I will think of some more. Or maybe not. either way... there they are.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

pumpkin patch

Today I decided I would make some pumpkin cupcakes. So I did. Since we are going to the hub's family for Thanksgiving I thought I would bring a contribution this year. Actually, this will be the first time for me to spend Thanksgiving with the hubs' family. Some how every year since I've known him I've always been somewhere far away or gone to other far off and exoticly frozen lands to spend the holiday. Then in the morning my sis and I go shopping... it's nice and I like it a lot. I wish I could go visit her again this year, but it's really just not possible, which is really sad.

Anyhow, I thought I would bring a gift to share, and since I Love to bake (love love love) I thought I would bake something to take. I also had a whole day all to myself (well, not really, but almost) and had all of my wonderful baking goods handy, I had to make the most of it. So I did and it was Wonderful! ah, the joys of baking yummies and the sweet wonderful smell that fills the house when you do...

I thought I would document this particular baking day since I've never tried to make these particular cupcakes before. I decided if they turned out I would post a few pictures, and if they didn't I wouldn't. I guess I think they turned out pretty well since I am posting pictures of my baking day. And so it goes...

First, I got all of the ingredients together. obviously.

Then I mixed 'em all up and baked the little suckers. The recipe said it would make 24... Apparently it was wrong.

After the cupcakes cooled and the icing was mixed up, I frosted them, all 48 cupcakes.
After the frosting I dipped them in sugar, but I forgot to take a picture of that step ...

So this is what it looked like with the sugar and the stem. They make me happy.

My little pumpkin patch. wa. la.

Happy Thanksgiving! I wish I could share my pumpkin patch with you and enjoy your company... sadly, not this year (unless of course I will be spending the day with you in which case that doesn't apply to you). so yes, yes.
Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Home Sweet Home

What is it that makes home home sweet home? Is it the smell? The memories? The familiarity? Comfort? I have been trying to pin point this for some time now and I just can't seem to do it. But it is true, for me at least, that home is a sweet sweet place.

This was especially clear to me after I was gone for a little while. The moment I walked through the front door I was greeted by a sweet cozy aroma that hugged me ... I was home. For the rest of the day I loved being able to close my eyes and sniff the sweet familiar scent that was home.

They make a candle that is Home Sweet Home. Yes. I'm pretty certain that's what they call it. I've burned it a few times at our home, but that's not the smell that does it. No. Because I've burned that same calm candle here and it doesn't fill the apartment, there are no warm fuzzies tingling from my head to my toes. So I have burned other candles, for hours and hours. But nothing happens. There is no homey smell that hugs the whole apartment. That welcomes you when you walk through the front door.

So then I think, well, maybe it's not the smell. Maybe home is the memories. But regardless of where you live you always have to have a first memory there. You are constantly making new ones. Memories like, the time my wonderful baking stone broke in two while a pizza was baking on it (really? really? ...yes. it did. oo... and I still do not have my replacement one). Or the time we hung a coat hook rack by the door. Or the time we brought a puppy home with us .... lots of memories. But I don't think it's that.

It could be that it's just familiar. All of your precious belongings are there and you know exactly where to find everything and how everything works. But I don't think it's that either. I've been to some complete strangers houses and I've felt like I was at home. It was warm and cozy, bright and cheery .... it was welcoming. Which I hope is what our home is like to others and not just us. How can something completely new be completely familiar?

I think it's the smells that get me. The smells make me think fondly of a place. Or not so fondly, like if it was a truly nasty smell, then I try to cover it up and when I do smell it again I automatically associate the smell with that one experience.... So I've tried to make our little temporary home a sweet smelling warm hugging place to be. It has yet to happen. This is a little bit some what worry-some to me as it is almost time to put out the Christmas Tree and all of the decorations that make it feel like Christmas. Again, it's that feeling that I just can't put my finger on. So that is why it has become my goal to do whatever it takes (within reason of course) to make our little temporary situation as homey and Christmasy and sweet smelling as I possibly can. yes yes. that's what I'll do.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Big Quilt

I was flying the other day, cause you know it's what I like to do ... for fun. Not really. In fact I really don't care for flying. It's boring and I'm always terrified I am going to plum-it to my death when I am on one. Which is why I make myself sleep whether or not I am sleepy when I fly some where. So anyhow, like I said, I was flying. For some reason on this particular trip I was looking out the window and thinking. Which I normally do when I fly. Both of them, look out the window and think that is. Although sometimes I just read, which doesn't really make me think very much, but I am using my brain a little bit so that's got to count for something.

When I fly my favorite seat is one next to a window for lots of different reasons.
1. You don't have to lean over five other people just to get a tiny glimpse of what you are flying over.
2. You have the perfect spot to rest your head with out worrying about waking up with your check smashed against the stranger man in the seat next to you and a little bit of drool sneaking from your lips.
3. It's a window seat.
4. People aren't climbing over you to get out to use the restroom (if you really want to call it that on an airplane...) and then climbing back over you to get back to their seat.
5. If you just can't hold it any longer you will be the one climbing over the other people (much better arrangement I think).
6. You can glue your face to the little window and watch the world pass by underneath you.
7. It's a better view of take of and landing.
8. It's a window seat. Obviously the best kind there is.

Thankfully when I was flying the other day I was able to sit next to the window - for all of my flights. It really does make time pass so much quicker, and it makes it not quite so boring. Well, I suppose there are other things that can make time pass quickly when you're flying: listening to music, watch a movie, read a book, play cards, play solitaire (also known as cards but hey...), color, crochet, sleep, pray your plane doesn't crash, eat, drink, and be merry ... ha. I couldn't resist that last bit : ) Anyhow, as I was saying, looking out the window is some of my favorite entertainment when I'm sitting by the window. That while listening to some sweet tunes.

Nearly every time I fly I do all of the above mentioned ways of entertaining myself. And there is always a significant amount of staring out the window. This past trip a new thought came to me. At least, one that I don't remember ever having before. It's possible I've had it before and just forgotten about it, but I can't really say that for certain and I didn't find it written down any where, so who knows... But I just got to thinking about how crazy creative God is. I mean really. The land changes so much and so vastly as you fly over it (especially certain parts, like from the green south to the brown north, blue blue ocean and blindingly bright white snow even further north. It's really pretty amazing. But that's just the big picture. I saw all of the farms and the trees that created a natural border between two different fields. Streams and rivers flowing straight through and then curving and swiveling every which way resembling a long blue like snake. The mountains that pop up towards you and the valleys that sink far below.

And this is what I thought. What a quilt that would be. I mean, I know that probably sounds really crafty and all and maybe a little bit nerdy. But I can't help it, I'm a crafty (somewhat at least) person. I thought about how quilts are so intricate and already require so much attention to detail and are sewn with great care. Then I wondered if it would be possible to make a quilt of the earth, or at least a portion of it, like what you see from a plane. Different shades of fabric could be stitched together to show how the land changes. The rivers and the streams could be blue silk ribbon and dance across the quilt. Little towns and houses would be tiny buttons that are significantly smaller than the trees and the fleece that would be gathered and tucked would be make mountains stand out next to the smooth farm land.

It would be a beautiful quilt. And maybe there is one already like it. Who knows, but o it would be something to look at on your bed each and every night. To sleep beneath the strength of the world. What would be an awesome pair it would be to paint clouds on your ceiling (though I'm afraid I might be a bit too old to paint fluffy clouds above my bed). Then it would be a great reminder that you are just one little person but that you are still so important and that there is a reason for your being and living. Because, if all of the mountains, peeks, valleys, flat lands, waters, trees, clouds, and land that is so big and important looking are here, and you are here too, well then, it is because you are here with thought and purpose. There is a Creator who is so amazingly creative that I can't even begin to draw a picture that would capture of the beauty I saw looking out that window (granted I'm a Terrible artist, but still...). Words can't even paint the picture I saw. Oh, I can (and did) try, but it will never be justified. No. My flowing silk rivers and seas, my fluffy white cotton peeks, my red orange and brown yarn trees will never be as beautiful as the ones I saw.

The world is an incredible quilt, sewn and crafted with such detail that it goes beyond what can be seen from thousands of miles up, to what can't be seen under the dirt that gives life to all of the trees, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. What a great gift it is to be able to enjoy living in a real live touchable breathing quilt. I love it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Evil Test Round II

Today I am scared spitless. Or breathless. Either way, I'm scared. You see, in the morning I have to take another evil test. The one I thought was all over and done with. The one they lied to me about. Well, it's here now. And guess who has to take it? That's right, you guessed it. Me. o brother.

What's especially terrible about it is that I have been studying for it. And now that I have taken the whole practice test, I am even more terrified than ever before. I mean honestly. They really expect me to remember everything about every developmental phase about kids for every smart person there ever was. While yes, I have done well in my classes, it doesn't mean I will do well on the Evil Test PLT. No. Not one bit. Why? Because here is the difference: for my classes, I got to use my books and there was no time limit or pressure of having to make a certain score and pass it tomorrow because if you don't you're pretty much screwed. It's true.

My brain is jello. My heart is a bomb ready to explode. I would much rather stay home and make scones or something else equally yummy and enjoyable. But I can't. And this Evil-ness is all I can think about. And I want to study more (and I'm sure I will) but I don't. Because I wonder how much good it will even do me. None I am sure.

I talked to my advisor lady at school and she said I would pass it, that I would do a great job. Some lady in one of my classes said she didn't even finish the test and she passed it. Everyone is nice and encouraging (which I suppose I would much rather hear encouraging lies than the truth: you are not going to pass) and all. Which I really truly appreciate. But I can't help but be scared. And I just don't want to take it and I'm sick of reading and studying for it and reviewing and trying to remember who thought up the eight developmental stages and that you aren't supposed to slap a child if they exasperate you. I just don't know. I just don't want to.

It might not be so bad if I knew I had the luxury of taking it again, but I don't have that luxury. It might not be so bad if I didn't have to wait a whole month to find out my scores.
It might not be so bad if I didn't have to take it at all. Well, then it would just be really quite wonderful. But it's not.

And you know, for all this state makes it teachers do the education of the students isn't nearly as great as you would think (but don't tell anyone I said that because then I might get in trouble that would just be dreadful). O brother.

So. If you are up tomorrow between the hours of 7 and 10 you should try to say a little prayer for me that I beat the test into the ground and can celebrate my passing it in a month. I'm serious though. Cause those are the hours I will be driving to my unfamiliar destination and taking the test. You could also pray that I don't get lost. Cause that would be really quite terrible.

Anyhow. That is my most dreadful news and story for today and the past few days and that is all I can think about. What's sad about it is that I know worrying does absolutely no good, but I can't help it! ah! I just need to calm down. I just need to remember to breathe. I just need to pass that Evil Test. I just need to...

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Library

I love the library. It is such a happy place. There are rows and rows of books and books. All kinds of books. History books, picture books, recipe books, how to books, even books on tape. I mean, really there is anything you could ever possibly want. And all at your fingertips. All for the taking... for a few weeks at least. After which you have to take the books back because they aren't really yours, no matter how much you want to keep them. Even if it's a really great book and you know you would put it to good use and read it a bazillion times or use the recipes in it all the time... you can't keep it. It's just not yours. shame. And of course you're not going to buy it. Because that's not free. huh. Still the library is a wonderful place and it's full of stories and knowledge and things you want to learn about and things you could care less about. Which is why I love it so.

So naturally when I finished reading all of my books I wanted to get another book. for free. at the library. Since the hubs was home we thought we would go to the library and then go over to the puppy park right after. It was going to be a splendid afternoon. Free of work, free of school, free from washing the pile of dishes in the sink, and free of everything else I didn't want to do. Loverly. Right? Wrong. It all started after we browsed through the aisles and rows of books and picked a few that we wanted to keep (for a few weeks).

With our books in hand we went to the check out lady at the check out desk to get a library card. I figured it would be no problem, getting the library card. Like every other single library I've been to all you do is fill out a little paper with your name and such and wa-la. A library card. No biggy. Right? Wrong. Turns out the librarians name was Ms. Krank. How fitting that her demeanor matched her name. You see, when we kindly asked Ms. Krank for a library card she just looked at us like we were crazy for asking to get a library card. Her shrill little voice said, "You want a library card?"

"Yes, please. What do we need to fill out to get one?"

"Well..." she screeched and gave us death stares.

"You know, a card we need to fill out, with our names and address and such."

"I see," as she placed her palms firmly on the desk in front of her. I'm glad a desk was between us.

"Can we get one?" I mean really, Ms. Krank is Not very helpful. You would think a librarian would be enthusiastic when a person wanted a library card. I mean, if I were a librarian I would be handing those out left and right.

"Well," again in her shrill voice, "yes. You can. I will need to see a photo id with your current and local address on it."

"O. Right. Well, we are just here for a little bit but really wanted to check out some books. We have our home address. Will that work?" All the while the hubs is talking I'm praying, 'please, o please, I just want to get a library card!'

"No," she screeches as she shakes her head and glares at us over top of the glasses that are slipping down her nose. "That won't do. You have to have a photo id with your address on it for here."

Great, she's helpful on top of being so nice.

"I've got my military id with me," the hubs chirps up. Will that work? I'm just here for work, like I said, we don't have a permanent address here."

"Let me see it," Ms. Krank screams as she snatches his id from his fingers. Her beady black eyes scrutinizes his picture from behind her glasses. "No. It won't do."

What?! Are you kidding me woman?! We've given you our ids, the hubs has given you his special id, we showed you a hundred different things with our names and address on it, and she's not taking any of them! And her voice! It's like fingernails scrapping a chalkboard. eeew! Also, can I just say, that I have had a gazillion library cards over the course of my life, and never have I ever had to show proof of who I was, a photo id, or any of that other garbage! ah! Obviously I am ranting and raving at this point.

Then Ms. Krank takes the hubs' id and walks off with it. Great. Super. Hubs could lose his job if he loses that. A few minutes later she returns, with his id in hand - thankfully. She says, "She said you can get a temporary library card if you bring in a copy of your lease."

Again, are you kidding me? A temporary library card? What the heck is that and ... what? Also, a copy of our lease? We don't even have one of those! although, now come to think of it, we probably should.

Even though her voice was murder and she had long shrively fingers and beady black eyes I still begged her to give us a library card. Dumb move. She just glared at me even more with her little beady black eyes. I mean, really, all I did was ask for a library card. I didn't realize it was such a big ordeal. seriously. Which of course by this point I have shut my mouth, squinted my eyes, and crossed my arms. I am fuming. All I wanted was a little tiny library card. Seriously.

Thankfully the hubs is more level headed than I am and not nearly as taken back with Ms. Krank and suavely asks her, "Can you just put our books on hold and we can come and get them tomorrow?"

"Well," again, with the shrieking, "I suppose we can do that." She turns, as s-l-o-w-l-y as is earthy possible and reaches for a rubber band. An hour later she has turned back around and stretched it around our stack of books.

The hubs leaves his name and I march out the library. Bookless. I was not to happy. I mean really...

Thankfully we had adorable little Boady with us and we walked over to the dog park and he ran free and played with every dog there (and there were a lot). Except, when the big dogs barked or ran really fast, he came and hid between my feet. It was pretty darn cute. Not really reassuring... but stinkin' cute. It was quite entertaining to watch him trot and jump with the other dogs. All bigger than him. After a while his cuteness won me over and I started smiling again. Thank goodness for Boady and his sideways run.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

pitter patter

This morning I woke up to the sound of the rain falling on the roof. Not really, I actually heard the hubs' alarm go off first. It was loud and beeping. A lot. He turned it off and that's when I heard the rain pitter pattering on the roof top and falling on the trees. The sweet soothing sound lulled me to sleep again. And the hubs' alarm went off, again. Thankfully he turned it off. For the reals this time and I was left to enjoy my sleepy rain.

The drip drip dripping and the pitter patter pattering have cast a spell over me. Quiet and melancholy. Most of my mornings are quiet, so I suppose that's nothing new, but melancholy is not so typical. So I sat on the couch, as I do most mornings, and I looked out the window. Fresh drops of rain dripping from the trees and leaves outside the window. Then the rain grew louder, and louder. I just sat and listened. Wishing I had a mug of hot something to drink, the only thing I have on hand is water, and I'm not a particular fan of hot water (I prefer mine cold, or at least room temperature). But since I didn't have anything to add to my hot water I sat and listened while I watched the rain fall.

And this is what I thought... I think I was born in the wrong century. I mean, really. Although, I suppose there is some reason I was born when I was and am where I am, right now. But spending the mornings alone, especially the rainy ones makes me feel like I should have been born hundreds of years ago. When everything was simple. When families had their own bit of land and grew carrots and squash and knew what herbs were good for you and what ones would kill you. When everything was fresh and untarnished. It was was it was. I feel like I would have been able to sit on the porch with my basket full of socks that needed darning (that's what all the books say... whatever darning is exactly I don't really know, I just know that I would have liked it) and pass the evening away working on them. Or with a basket full of green beans that needed stringing or corn that needed shucking (if that's a word) and I would have sat there with my legs dangling over the porch while stringing and and shucking my beans and corn.

Another thing I would have loved about it would be the fact that I could spend my days in the kitchen (some of them at least) cooking. And everything I cooked or baked would have been fresh and from scratch. I can and do try to do that now (although it seems to be especially difficult in this temporary house), but it's not the same as using what you grew or hunted (not that I hunt, I'd leave that to someone else) to make your meals with. But it just seems like it would have been so rewarding, working on the meal all afternoon and then enjoying it with friends and family. Yes, sure, you can still spend an afternoon working on a meal for you family to enjoy (and I do), but some how it seems a little bit different.

It just seems like it would have been a hearty time to be. Not that there's nothing to do these days or that there is too much to do, it just seems like it would have been more simple like way back then. And that's what I like. Simple. Even the cereal isle at the grocery store is a little too overwhelming for me.

I feel like it's the simple things in life that we miss out on. Or at least I do. I don't get to enjoy the rain falling so much, or watching the snow slowly cover the earth. I don't get to sit outside and see the stars hanging so bright and close in the sky. There are always "things" to do. Distractions. And while I'm sure there where things for people way back when to do, and there was probably a different set of distractions for them, I feel like it would still be a more simple, hearty time. When people had what they had and were happy with it. When they didn't need every new fancy toy or gadget that came along. They were just happy with a hook and some yarn or some other such thing and could spend the day crafting something beautiful and useful with their own two hands. And while they twisted their yarn and pulled it through with their hooks and needles, they would sit and listen to the rain falling, or the fire crackling, or the birds singing. And that would be ok. There would be no other agenda for them, it wouldn't be a hobby to pass the time, but a way of life.

So the pitter patter and drip drip dripping of the rain got me thinking...