Friday, January 28, 2011

Give a Little Love- Caution, Wide Load, I Mean Long Post

I think in my circle of friend-girls, I'm the oddball. I don't love shoes. I think purses are a nuisance. I have a wee saphire and a gold band on my left hand and rings for my kids on my right. Except for pins, that's about sums up my jewels. Metal things clanging around on me make me feel anxious. If my hair had turned a pretty silver like my sisters, instead of a blah grey, it would never have seen color. I wear lipstick, oh maybe six times a year. My nails are just some nails and I ignore them. I cannot abide television. I would rather see a movie I love six times than risk seeing one I don't at all. I love books and I read like crazy. I don't think my husband can live without home cooked meals.
My dear old mama always said, "Birds of a feather, flock together." In this techno age, I can do just that. I love hooking up with folks, via the Internet, who love grandbabies, and chickens, knitting, and gnomes and wee folk and fairies and such.
I found a site called Natural Suburbia where people from all over share whatever interesting crafty thing their working on. I found Anna's website and fell in love with her little pocket gnomes.
My gramerlings love for me to tell them stories. I was trying to think of what to give them for Valentine's Day. All of that rolled into the idea of making a Pocket Lovey with a story. I wanted them to feel like they could carry my love around with them. Here is Miss Bugg's, and her story, hence the reason for such a long post. Yeah, my big thrills come from knitting tiniest winter caps.
Pocket Lovey story for Bugg

Once upon a time, in Gramerly Woods, in a humble Tumbledown Cottage, lived a fair and precocious princess named Lillian. This princess had bluest round eyes, rosey red cheeks, bounciest strawberry blonde curls with glints of gold that would reflect the warm sunshine, and a button nose.

Though more fit for a fine castle, she chose her humble Tumbledown Cottage so she could do what she loved best, spending time with friends and family, befriending all creatures great and small in Gramerly Woods. To those who loved her she was known as Lilli-Bugg, and she was much loved.

Her Gramerly loved the woods too, and would often accompany Princess Lilli-Bugg, but frequently reminded the wee child, that Gramerly Woods was no place for a princess without a grown-up close by.

The princess grew and by the fourth celebration of her birth day, felt old and wise in the ways of the woods.

One day, while being entertained by a dainty Lady Bug on a beautiful sunflower, her cousin Oliver strolled by. Lilli-bugg was surprised to see Oliver alone, as she was expecting her dearest friend and cousin, Annabelle, to accompany him.

“Oliver, Where is Annabelle?”

“Oh, she’s not feeling good today and my mom said she couldn’t come.”

What distressing news for the princess. Suddenly, she had an idea. She’d take the beautiful sunflower to Annabelle. Surely its sunny face would make Annabelle feel all better.

Carefully Lilli picked the sunflower, scooting Miss Lady Bug to another plant hosting tasty aphids for her Lady Bug lunch. She carefully wrapped the lovely flower in wet leaves to keep it moist and struck out for Annabelle’s, forgetting the wise Gramerly’s sage advice.

Though to some, the woods can be a frightening place, especially where the trees grow close, causing the sunlight to play hide and seek, to Lilii-Bugg it was an endless world of discovery. She noticed bark, and moss, and patterns and light. She remembered all the fun and exciting adventures she had here with her cousins and her friends. She wasn’t expecting to hear an unfriendly growl in the midst of her woods. She stopped short, thinking that surely she’d imagined it. Then a louder growl and swiftly turning in the direction of the noise found herself mere feet from the biggest black bear she’d ever seen.

She opened her mouth to scream when a tiny voice said, “Jump through this brush.” Now the princess knew she was crazy. Why would you jump into that prickly brush? But having no other good alternative, jump she did, and though scratched up a bit , she could see a small hole, just her size in the side of the hill and quickly backed herself into it. The bear was now growling fiercely, but she was able to back out of harm’s reach. Trembling she waited, not knowing how to convince that bear to move on. Peering from her little earthen hole, she noticed the bear losing interest in her. Ahh, there was the reason for the bear’s angst, a baby bear. Once the mama found her little one, she lumbered away.

“Whew, that was a close call,” came the tiny voice again. Lilli-Bugg looked around, but saw no one. She scampered out of the hidey-hole and rocked her head for side to side, to clear it, she hoped.

“Oh my, is there something in your ear?”

Lilli Bugg realized the sound was coming out of her dress pocket. Slowly she reached in and pulled out a tiny creature only three inches tall. A round face, with no features, a cotton candy pink hat and scarf, held together with a tiniest Lady Bug, in the palest green ovie alls.

“Well, hello there. Who are you?”

“My name is Mintberry.”

“My name is Lilli-Bugg.”

“Oh, I know your name, I’ve always known it.”

“You have? “ “ How in the world did you come to be in my dress pocket and how did you know about that hidey-hole?”

“Oh, the hidey-hole is easy, I know everything your Gramerly knows about these woods.” “ How I came to be in your pocket, is harder to explain.” “ I’m not sure I understand it all myself.”

Intrigued, Lilli- Bugg exclaimed, “ I’m listening.”

“Well, so I’m told, when you human folk have a little baby, you love it fiercely. So much so as a matter of fact, you don’t think you could ever love anything more. Then those babies grow up and have a baby. That’s how your Gramerly got you right?”

Lilli-Bugg nodded. “Well, your Gramerly found out that maybe, if it’s possible, she loved you even more.” “ She surely doesn’t want a drop of that big love to go to waste, so she squeezes some of it into a little pocket lovey like me. That way, that big love can slip right into your pocket. Anytime your afraid, sad or lonely, you can hold me close and all that love will fill up your heart.” “Though I still don’t think it’s such a great idea to be in these woods by yourself.

Lilli-Bugg laughed. “ I guess I’m not quite as grown-up as I thought.

Mintberry said, “ I think your Gramerly would say to be patient, it will come soon enough.”

“Thank you, Mintberry, for saving me from that bear.”

“Well, I’d like to take the credit, but the thoughts were really your Gramerly’s and a memory you had of when she showed that hiding place last winter before the summer vines took it over.”

“Still,” said Lilli-Bugg softly, as she gently placed Mintberry in her pocket, “ I think you are a perfect friend for times like these.” “ I can’t wait to show you to Annabelle, but I’ll return home and find someone to accompany me.”

“Your Gramerly was right,” came the voice from her pocket, “ you are bright and beautiful!

This post is part of the February blog carnival hosted by the Parenting/Family Channel on If you have a blog, you are invited to join in. For details, see the blog carnival invitation posted by Katherine Lee, Guide to Child Parenting, our host.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Gate

Isn't this a pretty gate? I had various ones of those plastic models, and they drove me to drink. Instead of always opening them, I'd try to step over them sometimes, to you know, save time. Except one time, I failed badly in my attempt and went sailing over and landed on the floor. There's a lot of me to land, and it wasn't pretty. So I pleaded with Handy Man to come up with something that was altogether lovelier and not so deadly. He did an awesome job, huh? That piece on the top just slides over to open, and back to shut. They lift off when you need to move it.
I need to move it.
I have a gate because at some point Addie-girl decided that leaving the kitchen/familyroom to go into another area of the house amounted to same thing as going outside. Then, little treasures were found in various places about the house. Handy Man, not being an inside dog man, was not amused.
It was so strange to come in Wednesday and close the gate behind me, only to realize there is no longer a need. Ahh, more tears. I feel like my eyeballs have been rolled in sand.
Why did I love you Addie-girl? Well, the one and only thing you ever wanted was to be where ever I was at. You never got tired of me, even when you really knew me. Even if I wasn't patient, or kind, or willing to play. I didn't even have to hold you, just be present. I'm amazed you never veered from that in fourteen years. You always loved to lay beside me, you never really liked snuggling. Even still you let me hold you like a baby for over an hour on Tuesday.
You were devoted, you kept me company and I wonder how long will I wake up and wonder about you, how long will I walk in and look for you, how many times will I go to check your water? Just wondering.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Just Mourning Today

I guess I'm a no good, terrible dog owner, because I couldn't do it. I couldn't even make the appointment. I called Handy Man at lunch and said, " I can't do this." He said he'd take care of it and made the appointment for 4:00.
Little Addie-girl had other plans and when he came home she was already gone, curled up in her bed.
Thank you Jesus for blessings great and small. I am so relieved that if it had to happen, it happened that way. At the same time, well, broken hearted.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Happy Dance /Mourning Song

Yes, a Happy Dance this morning when I was able to accompany my daughter to her 28 week ultrasound. The last time I attended an ultrasound was Jakee's and he's nineteen. Together we learned that we are expecting a boy. He will be named Gideon. Ol' Mother Hubbard was ready with a beautiful crib set- for a girl. Rae-rae is looking at this set for Gideon. I love the little forest animals. It will be fun and dangerous to now know what we're expecting. Too much cuteness out there for baby boys.
My faithful friend Gardener E, took over my classroom this morning so I could go.

What do you see nestled in the back corner of this picture? My pooch, Galadriel, though we've always called her Addie. She's never been a lap dog, but has always been happiest wherever I am. She was fourteen in November and has become hard of hearing and seeing. Then she developed a cancerous tumor. Things have gotten progressively worse and today I put a call into the vet. Let's just suffice it to say that today has been awful, with worse symptoms then I anticipated. When we got home Handy Man dealt with the floor, while I bathed her and laundered her bed. I wrapped her in a towel and sat with her in front of the heater while her bed was drying. She has not eaten for had anything to drink today. My heartfelt prayer would be for her to go to sleep in that cozy bed and not wake-up. It's just awful.
I'm glad the week started with a good distraction, as the rest of this week appears to be going downhill fast.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Good Bye for Now

Sweet D's mama died peacefully in her sleep this morning. So sad for the loss, yet relieved that she is no longer hurting and confused. Prayers continue for all.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Where Were You?

Where were you this morning twenty-eight years ago?
Well, at this very moment ( 10 am) I was in transition and yelling at Handy Man that this was going to be a repeat of the no good, awful, terrible experience I had the last time. As the remaining color drained from his face, they ushered him out and my new BF (God's Gift to Women and Handy Men) in, the anesthesiologist. When Handy Man returned, I was sitting up in bed, smiling, ready to get the show on the road. Outside, conditions were more deplorable than they are today in Southern Indiana. Everything was coated in ice, trees were falling, electric was out, but by noon, 11:55 and 11:58 to be exact, all was right with my world when they put a little pink bundle in my right arm and blue bundle in my left. Drummer boy, 6.14 and Rae-rae 7.1.
I remember just staring at them, incredulous that my body produced them, that they fit in there. It was a miracle.
1st Lt. was not yet two and when people would ask what mommy had, his reply was always, "scissors(sisters)."
The next question, "What did she name them?"
"Well, what did she name the other one."
With a tone that indicated his frustration with their stupidity, he replied, "Waychel."
To me, they are still a miracle, still as beautiful and precious. I'm still incredulous.
How did those little pastel bundles already get so old with bundles or bundles to be of their own? Just a miracle I guess.
Happy Birthday Drummer Boy and Rae-rae!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lots of Sad

Isn't there a lot of sad in world?
My school kids and I adopted some folk enduring the rigors of cancer treatment this year. We send notes and cards and pray for them everyday. We started with four and now the list is six.
Ahh, heartbreaking. That's just cancer.
This past weekend I made my annual trek to Brown County with some girls. We call this group Bunco, though a die hasn't been cast in many a year, we've held tight to the name.
Someone was missing and we missed her.
Her husband I 've talked of before- Big D. Plans are underway for a stem cell transplant for him this spring. That in itself is huge and overwhelming, but her elderly mama has suffered a series of strokes and is not doing well. I've walked this walk, of life being moment to moment, crisis to crisis, crushing fears, hearts filled, broken, depleted. It is so awful and so huge.
Praise the Lord, He sends you a few people who saddle up for a long hard ride and make the effort to lift you up. It's hard to help people in this place, because when you're in it, you don't have enough brain cells to tell them what you need. I've found that there's a lot of people you consider friends, who, when not knowing what to do, do nothing. Ongoing illness can be a lonely place.
You can text, leave a message, send a card, drop a treat, go sit and hold a hand. Pray, pray, pray and let them know you are praying and that they aren't forgotten.
When someone you love life is in a compromised situation you carry that around like a hundred pound pack on your back and you can't take it off. Come along side and give some support to that person in your life.
I know your list is long too, but continued prayers for Big D's transplant, mama Lilly and Sweet D who is trying to keep all her plates spinning would be appreciated.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cough, Cough

Anyone coughing at your house. When Handy Man gets a cough, he seems to keep it most of the winter. I decided to try my hand at some homemade cough syrup. You layer onions and lemons in a big jar and pour some raw local honey over it. Then you pour in Peppermint Schnapps and Blackberry Brandy. Drink it up! It's helping- Pooray (Bean's toddler expression for anything lovely).

There wasn't room for all the liquor in the jug, so I gave the remains to the Handy Man, who remained quite smiley for sometime!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Blue Eyes

Remember this, taken just a day after our blue-eyed boy was born in August. Most of that caramel colored baby hair has fallen out and it looks like he might be a blondie like his sister. Drummer Boy's company always has their Christmas party two weeks after Christmas, usually in Nashville. Handy Man and I kept the baby overnight for the first time.
So big, almost five months already!
He has been pretty good with me this weekend, but still is crazy about his Pappy and likes to make conversation with him.
He's a snuggly baby that doesn't mind being smooched on-good thing. I had Handy Man move the feeder tray next to the window and he enjoyed watching the birds eat. All the seed on the pinecones is already gone as we've had more snow and nine degrees this morning- brrrrrr.
Peek -a-boo Gramerly!
Sweet dumpling!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Back to School

So, I returned to school this week and it was a wild one. Lots to make up from our Christmas week being cut short by snow, while still having to have 9 weeks grades in today. I find grades a very stressful part of my job. I would love to just be able to report on a child's improvement. When awards are given for all "A's" or "A's" and "B's," then getting a grade for some kids and their parents becomes far more important than what they are learning. I will never understand why learning to spell words for a test on Friday, in order to make a grade that will land you on the honor roll is more valuable than being able to really learn vocabulary and how to spell that word forever. People would probably be shocked at how many students will get a hundred percent on a spelling test in the morning and spell the word wrong in their writing in the afternoon. Whoa, a lot was accomplished there don't ya think. Ahh, don't get me started.

I love to read good books and to read them to my students, children, grandchildren, whoever will listen. I have found some wonderful books through the years at Chinaberry. Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forrest by Matt Haig was the last one I purchased. It was a huge hit. I never read long enough for my students, they were ever begging for more. The book was so loved I decided that something else must be done, so I let create a mural of the way they visualized the creatures. They did such an awesome job. I can't bear to take it down.

As I've mentioned before, I have two precious friends, retired teachers both, who come in to lend a hand and heart in my classroom. I have another teacher friend who also lends her time and wool dyeing knowledge. My students have no idea how blessed they are. We start weaving very early in the year. First, they use whatever yarn bits are available and that they fancy to make a bookmark. Then they made two bookmarks from yarn first dipped in three different mordants. The two on the left were white when first woven. Then they dipped the far left one in red cabbage juice and the middle one in some sort of weld and watched as the colors changed. What awesome projects.

During our pioneer studies, we made dolls. Each student made their own pattern. It was fun to see all their creativity at work. We ended up with a bride and many bridesmaids in the most interesting attire I've ever experienced at a wedding. That's the lovely bride in the front row in purple.
This week we started knitting. Good times. Children are so peaceful when they work with wool. I'm fascinated by the whole experience.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year Fun

Lest you think I spent the entire holiday cleaning, I will share some traditional New Year's Eve/New Year's Day fun. When the first gramerling came, Handy Man and I became the official keeper of gramerlings on New Year's Eve. This year we had Bean and Bugg. We've celebrated with a sleepover every year of their wee lives. I can't believe it's been seven New Year's.
We inherited a new train table, so Handy Man and Miss Bugg put it together on the the front porch, since we were having an unseasonably warm sixty degrees. Bugg told me she could do the screws, because she was the best puzzle maker. We worked on "Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey" which came out of my four year old in lots of variations through the assembly experience. She is really good at this kind of thing.

It was warm enough for a long swing time with tall tales of wolves and bears. This night for science, we experimented with the stuff in disposable diapers, grew an alien and invisible cubes, with lots of measuring. We watched movies, ate popcorn and fudge and stayed up very late. Bugg fell asleep in my lap. I love that.
Do you have a traditional New Year's menu? We always have corned beef, cabbage and black-eyed peas for good luck. Don't you wonder who starts that stuff? I decided I'd start my own blessing gems (gramerly made powdered sugar donuts) for breakfast. After breakfast we departed in our jammies and boots to the pine forest to collect cones for bird feeders.
We discovered a bird's nest blown out of the tree. We at first thought we discovered fairy beds of piled-up pine needles in one of the trees. Bean investigated further and realized the pine needles were camouflage for a different nesting spot.
We returned home to take down the tree. Bugg enjoyed helping and looking and cooing over all my sweet angel ornaments.
Time to make the bird feeders.

Out they go on our re-purposed tree.
Between the flu, cleaning, loved one's having surgeries and being hospitalized, and oh, yeah, Christmas, Cluckingham Palace had been sadly neglected, so out to the coop, still in jammies and boots, armed with shovels and clean bedding, to clean-up our chickie girls humble abode.
Gee, I always clean-up every week. Now I know why- what a job! Bean and Bugg stuck with me though and we got it done.

Ahh, time for some fun on the awesome new jeeps!
By the time my co-celebrants headed home, I was exhausted. It was a Happy New Year!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Wow! 2011

2011 seems a very long way away from lots of years I remember, such as 1979, the year I married, or 1981, the year the first baby came. Hmm, guess that means one thing- I am old.

I'm not much of a resolution maker, but I do sort of like that "clean start" idea.

"Clean." I sure do a lot of cleaning to never even come close to covering all the areas that need to be cleaned. I spent from 9 to 4 yesterday, back at school, cleaning my classroom. I was born and remain Charlie Brown's Pig Pen. Mess just follows me around, surrounds me and routinely overwhelms me. Somehow my brain is wired wrong for neatness. To me, when things are put away, they are gone. If I need it, I want it out where I can see it. We do a lot of projects in my fourth grade classroom and at home, which requires a lot of stuff. Our last school week ended abruptly in the middle of the week due to snow, and project residue was in serious abundance. More on classroom projects later.
In addition to the messy monster being my constant companion, we seem to have more than our share of unusual happenings here at my house. I have friends who live in these amazingly beautiful, modernly designed and decorated homes. I refer to our very old, pieced together farm house as "The Munster's." Remember that show? Well, that pretty much explains things.
Well, the ice maker leaked under the cabinet next door. Being as said cabinet was constructed of pressed board, it rapidly sucked up the water, making it difficult for homeowners to be aware of problem (ice continued to spit out on schedule), that is until black mold started covering everything in the cabinet. So, in addition to classroom cleaning, I spent another day of my break finding a home for everything in that cabinet, until other options could be explored. This, of course, meant cleaning every other cabinet. Ugghhhhhhh.
In addition to my messy affliction, I suffer emotionally when parting with things. Rest assured the stuff from that live and growing cabinet was going nowhere else in my kitchen without some serious pitching.
I often wonder what other people do who always seem to have it altogether. I am the family fudge maker. When the fudge is done you have to have tupperware to put it in-big tupperware. Where does it go when you aren't using it? I make molded chocolates for Easter. Where do the molds go the fifty weeks of the year they aren't in use? And where, where are lids to the plasticware and where are the containers that go with the five hundred and thirty lids I have?Do you have them?
Okay, so first we drag out all lids and all containers and do a K-Harmony match-up. No match, you are out first. Next, review all candy molds. If melted chocolate hasn't crossed your path in recent Easters-out! Old food-history. How many platters can conceivably fit on a table at Christmas? Only the most memorable, or most beautiful make the cut. Seriously, I have never made more than one angel food cake at a time, so one cake pan bites the dust. The list was long and dirty and it literally took hours and a few tears.
Also involved was a trip to the Home Depot to find the stuff holders you see on the pantry door. A piece of the old wood organizer is still across the top. The rest of the old one didn't have large enough pockets to hold much, so it had to go as well. Ah, since confession is good for the soul, I will continue to embarrass myself by telling you that I don't like parting with old pieces of the house either. I like old. It's like I'm messing with things that were here before me and would remain after me if left alone. It's so yuckky to replace handmade wood craft with plastic coated junk. The original hand crafter, however missed the mark with what all was going in my pantry.
The result, a clean pantry, a big naked spot by the refrigerator, and busy workers at the local Good Will type store.
In addition to only using them once a year, some stuff is so hard to store. I ended up putting the candy molds in gallon zip bags and lining them up on a high shelf with other items used

The door has remained opened all week. I will mess it up, of course, but it will take me awhile. Until then, I'll just stop and visit it for a moment and sigh. My classroom won't last past the first day the kids are back. Well, here's to starting well!