Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Six Things, part 3

Being an enlisted family, we've never vacationed much, but, being an enlisted family, we've moved around every few years, and have taken advantage of the moves by visiting fun and interesting places along the way, and by making short side-trips when we've lived in exotic locations, like Upstate New York. ;-)

Fort Stanwix

Baseball Hall of Fame

Niagara Falls

Fort William Henry

USS Constitution and the USS Constitution Museum

Plimouth Plantation and the Mayflower II

Fort Toulouse, where we saw a mock battle modeled after the battles of the French and Indian War

King's Mountain National Military Park

Shot Tower Historical State Park

Hm. An awful lot of those are military history places. Imagine that.

My favorite place to visit, and one I'd love to go back to, was the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia, which we first visited while moving from Valdosta, GA, to Rome, NY, in the summer of 1994. "The Museum currently features six permanent, outdoor exhibits comprised of original farm buildings from Britain, Germany, and Virginia. These buildings have been carefully documented, dismantled, transported to Virginia, and restored." Pictured here is a farmhouse from Ulster, Ireland. When we visited, a kind woman was sitting by the front door of this cottage doing her needle work. She showed us the lace she was knitting on tiny wooden needles that had been carved by her husband, and she asked our eldest daughter, who was five at the time, how old she was. On hearing her age, the woman told her that if she'd been living on this farm two hundred years before, by five years of age she would have been responsible for knitting all the family socks. Fascinated by this, Elai wanted to learn how to knit. Looking back on it, the most useful thing I learned from the trip is how little meaningful work there is for small children to do when you buy everything you need ready-made. We're finally (mercy, it's been twelve years now!) learning to knit and crochet some things, most notably hats and dishrags, but I'd like to add socks to our repertoire.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Six Things, part 2
The truth is, I'm having trouble coming up with six things that folks would find interesting about me. :-p But here are two things today that might fit the bill.

I'm always in the middle of reading too many books. Not nearly as many as Kelly M, mind you, who generally has a score or more books she's in the middle of, but too many for me to read through and still be able to remember the beginning by the time I get to the end, or be able to remember in which particular book I read a certain interesting thing.

Currently, I'm reading:
Cheryl Mendelson's Home Comforts
Rod Dreher's Crunchy Cons
Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility
Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin's So Much More
J.R. Miller's Home-Making
Lynne Truss's Eats, Shoots and Leaves
R.C. Sproul Jr.'s Biblical Economics

My mother was a school teacher and her mother was too, and from the time I was a little girl I wanted to be a mommy and have lots of babies, and be a school teacher. I had always figured I'd teach school until I married and then start raising babies instead, but back in the 80s when I was in high school, a family with three adorable little girls whom I babysat, began homeschooling. That's when the lightbulb went on - I could do both at the same time! at home! with my own children! How fun that sounded. And it was fun in the early days, but then it got hard and we had to reevaluate why we were homeschooling. Well, there are still plenty of fun days, but nowadays it's a matter of conviction, and quite often it's that conviction that sustains me. But I'm finding that as I get older and more secure in what I'm doing and why, it's becoming easier and funner again.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Little red Xs
All my photos are hosted at Xanga, which is down supposedly until 2pm today. We'll see.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

This is the first time I've ever encountered peonies in the flesh. Their heady frangrance and lavish beauty have me struggling to find the right word to describe them, and I can't find the one that's just right.

sublime    sumptuous    superb    triumphant    wonderful

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Cindy's Six Things
Since brevity is not one of my virtues, this meme is going to be posted in several parts. Tonight's Interesting Thing About Me is so long I decided to do only one.

My hair first started going grey when I was thirteen years old. My maternal great-grandmother was completely grey by the time she was sixteen, and my mother had a cool grey streak that curved back from her forehead by the time she was in her early 30s, so early grey just runs in my family. But when I was sixteen I started coloring it. Not precisely to cover the grey, though - all the kids in my Sunday School class thought it was cool - but because I wanted to look like Anne Shirley. Heck, I wanted to be Anne Shirley, so I started using henna. After about two years of this, my daddy told me it was starting to look brassy, so I switched to something else, but stuck with the dark auburn color.

I was nineteen when Mike and I first met and he really thought I was a redhead. I told him before we married that I wasn't, but I don't think he believed me. Apparantly my temper matched my hair color. Around the time I was in my late 20s, I decided to let it grow out so I could see what it looked like. I'd been coloring it for more than ten years by then and really couldn't quite remember my natural color. It was surprising to see how my original small grey streak right on the top of my head and grown - there was an area on my scalp about the diameter of a golf ball that grew silver hair. Before too long I started coloring it again, only more of a golden brown instead of dark auburn, trying to make the color closer to my natural color.

Now, my paternal grandmother had very dark brown hair, and she kept it colored up until she was about 80 years old. It was shocking to see her with dark brown hair one visit and snowy white the next. When I first started coloring it, I'd decided that I would stop coloring it long before I was that grey, so the change wouldn't be so shocking. I stopped the second time when I was mid-thirties, but started again when a woman at the mall asked me if I wanted to sign up for a special discount for Senior Citizens. :-p

The last time I colored my hair was in August, two summers ago. It is simply amazing how grey my hair has gotten in the past few years. That spot on the top of my head has grown a bit, but now I also have a grey streak at the right temple, and grey sprinkles throughout the top and front. The funny thing is, I always wear my hair up and it doesn't look grey from the front, except for that vague streak at the temple. And the underneath is still very dark, but the top is so very grey that it just... Well, I'll show you.

This is me from the front, taken last weekend when were at the Highlands Study Center Conference:

And this is me from the back, that same night:

Pretty wild, huh?

Monday, May 8, 2006

In 1905, Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech to the National Congress of Mothers, On American Motherhood, in which he stated that "the primary duty of the husband is to be the home-maker, the breadwinner for his wife and children, and that the primary duty of the woman is to be the helpmate, the housewife, and mother."

It's interesting that we modern keepers-at-home have generally spurned that word, "housewife" since it seems inevitably to be preceded by the phrase "just a," and so, in the effort to give ourselves a title that sounds better, we've taken over what used to be the man's title.

Calling the man the home-maker is certainly a Biblical idea. Jesus said to his disciples, "In my Father's house there are many mansions.... I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)" Christ makes a home for his Bride, and earthly husbands, who are to imitate the Saviour, should see their priority to be to make a home for their brides.

Then, the bride, as her husband's helpmate, keeps the home and rules it - she is the woman of the house, the housewife. I think we should reclaim this word and restore it to dignity.
Tagged Twice!
Back when I was on hiatus, my Mosey tagged me with the Four Things meme, and now Cindy has tagged me asking for six interesting things about myself. Cindy thinks I should blog more often, so in order to oblige her, I'm doing Mosey's meme today, and I'll do Cindy's... oh, tomorrow or sometime.

Four Jobs I Have Had
- babyitter, beginning when I was about twelve
- I don't think I ever had a title, but I worked for my daddy in his lab several summers during junior and senior high, doing everything from janitorial to secretarial to testing - testing was definitely the most interesting!
- short order cook working fountain and grill at Swenson's Ice Cream Parlor, for three months when I was sixteen
- secretary for four investors at a securities firm, the year after I graduated from high school

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over
- Emma (the one with Gwyneth Paltrow)
- North by Northwest
- Sahara
- Babe

Four Books I Could Read Over and Over
- all of Jane Austen's books
- all of the Lord Peter books
- Creating a Family Garden
- Surprised by Joy

Four Places I Have Lived
- Biloxi, MS
- Valdosta, GA
- Rome, NY
- Montgomery, AL

Four CDs I've Listened to Recently
- Take a Dance
- English Country Dances
- Phantom of the Opera
- Christina Fuller

Four Places I Have Been On Vacation
- Nassau, Bahamas - my Sunday School classes's senior trip was a cruise, the only one I've ever been on
- St. Augustine, FL - when we lived in Valdosta, we used to go to St. Augustine with Mike's parents every summer
- King Salmon, AK - Mike had a remote assignment to King Salmon from June 1993 to June 1994; in the spring of 1994 he flew me up there to spend ten days with him
- Fredericksburg, TX - when we lived in San Angelo my wonderful sister stayed with the six oldest children (Lilian was only two or three months old) so Mike and I could spend a weekend alone

Four Websites I Visit Daily
- Highlands Study Center, my home page
- A Better Country
- the first five blogs in my blogroll
- Google

Four Favorite Foods
- anything Mexicany with lots of salsa, sour cream, and cheese
- homemade guacamole, which is my current favorite snack and side dish and sometimes main dish
- a chicken-pepper-pasta dish I make with Alfredo sauce and lots of bell peppers and jalapenos
- pumpkin pie

Four Places I'd Like To Be Right Now
- in my dream home
- in my rocking chair, curled up with a book and cup of coffee on this chilly, rainy morning
- living in a village like Highbury or Hollingford
- visiting Mike's grandmother

Sunday, May 7, 2006

Flora and Fauna
Since I had my camera handy, I took a few shots around the farm ;-) in spite of the mizzle.

Peonies and roses:

Chanticleer, whose tail is droopy on account of the weather, but isn't he a beauty? Also pictured are a guinea, a couple of bantam Araucana hens, and two standard chicks in the foreground which I think are also Araucanas. We also have six standard Shaver Reds which I somehow failed to photograph.

Queenie, Blue, and Eleanor:

Mike milking Eleanor (note the nascent patriarchal beard):

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

I like this woman
Having grown up washing dishes, I am surprised to find that so many people have not been initiated into the mysteries of this ancient and ritual-laden art. My husband, an orderly, logical person who actually enjoys washing dishes, hadn't a clue about ordinary dishwashing procedures when I married him. He stacked dirty dishes and pots on both sides of the sink; he put washed ones down among the unwashed, rinsed ones among the unrinsed. He did not set dishes to drain; to this day he tends to let water pool in them. He still follows no particular order of washing; a glass might be washed after a skillet and before a plate, then another glass, then the paring knives, then a cup. He is not bothered by food particles that are hard to see or those that are on the outside of a bowl or pot. He tends to walk away from the job midway and return a couple of hours later, seeing no reason not to break it up. To me, this all seems like heresy or insanity or the end of civilization.

Cheryl Mendelson, Home Comforts

I completely agree with her. Now I just wish I was able to impress all this upon my family. :-p