Thursday, November 13, 2014

Just a Housewife

A friend of mine called me out yesterday on the fact that I haven't
 blogged since Oct. 4th.  
I had no idea that much time had gone by.
I don't understand how time is flying so!

I don't mean this sarcastically at all!  I say 'amen!'.

I've really had no energy flowing toward the blog at all - and I bet it's
 been over a year 
since I've even read another blog.
Sad.
True.

I don't find much use with the Interweb these days, other than finding a good 
recipe, or sending an email here and there.

I'm kind of over it.  
: -)

In the past five weeks, I've been pretty occupied.
I spent a week in Missouri, helping my cousin paint rooms, lay new floors, etc.
Got home and jumped right into a large cleaning project that required barrels of elbow grease.

My friend's father passed, and she's prepping the house for sale.
I'm deep cleaning every square inch.

I've ALWAYS felt that I could be a house flipper - but Lord have mercy, I'm aching all over!
Why is it more fun to clean someone else's house?

This very day is the first day off I've had in the last two weeks I do believe.
I've spent the better part of the day moving the heating pad about my body and catching 
up on phone calls and messages.

I just pulled a batch of these out the oven...

Cranberry Harvest Muffins


It was whilst I was mixing the ginger into the batter that I started realizing the worth of a 'housewife'.
I really do prefer the term 'homemaker'.

I feel incredibly grateful that I'm able to stay home, and just do a couple of cleaning jobs a week, and even more so that I'm the kind of gal willing to make the sacrifices I make in order to that.  
Many people aren't willing to make them.
I think long term - in twenty years I'll be thankful that I had more time with my friends and family -  I don't think I'll mourn the fact that I lived without cable TV and a cell phone.

In the last two-ish weeks that I've been gone all day working, we've suffered.
Our nutrition has been poor.  
Aaron needed me a couple of times, and I was unavailable.
There has been a severe lack of 'cozy' going on here.
Glen's been lonely.
I've been so, so, so tired.
The catboxes were shameful.
Need I go on?

I'm certain that if I worked full time, all of the time, I'd get a rhythm going and be fine.
I'm telling you what though - I like staying home.
I like being on top of things, and preparing good meals, and not being stressed over laundry.
I love being here with Glenco gets home, and offering a warm muffin.
I love being a homemaker.

I think this applies to working and stay at home moms and dads, for that matter

Please, don't ever underestimate the value of 'us' stay at home'rs.
Whether you are raising little ones, or big ones.
Whether your nest is empty, or overflowing.
It matters.

If you are home, be home.
Be present.
Love your family, love yourself.
Bake some muffins, fluff a pillow, hug a neck.

And, never, ever - forget this....

When the Queen is Happy...


Saturday, October 4, 2014

You Say Goodbye, and I Say Hello



This is the mood I'm in today.
Bring it.
It's 35 degrees up here in NW Indiana, and I believe I can rest now, knowing that outdoor pursuits are laid to rest for the time being.

For some reason - I always feel in limbo at this time of year.
Fall - absolutely my favorite time of the year - but I'm left wondering if I should start pursuing indoor activities, or continue weeding, etc.  
You think it's all over outside, and then it's not - just kidding  - it is - wait, nope...

That's how it seems to me!  
Do I put the hoe away or not!?
Make up your mind!

With a frost due tonight - I can say - 
Goodbye.

Goodbye mosquitoes good bye fresh beans, goodbye humidity, good bye summer breezes in my bedroom window - goodbye grass mowing, goodbye zinnias
 (perhaps the hardest goodbye of summer).  

But, as I increase in wisdom and wrinkles, I'm realizing that behind every goodbye, 
 there awaits a 

hello.

Sometimes these hellos are unwelcome, as I've found out recently.
I did not welcome sorrow with open arms.
I did not.


And yet - with sorrow unwelcomed - there are still lessons if we search deep enough.

Oh how I'm embracing my friends and family now - oh how I make a point to contact my sisters daily - I never let Glenco leave without a hug and a kiss.  Family suppers are much more often.




Sometimes in death - we find life.

So, as I sit here robed in fleece, clutching my new favorite tea - 'Yorkshire Gold' - 
I'm feeling a goodbye in my heart, a so long to summer and all that it holds.

As you may or may not know, I strive to go the entire winter without complaining.
So I say this right now - 



Fall - you are welcome here!

You - in all your blaze of glory - even though you bring certain death behind you - I embrace you.
I will drink your tea, I will celebrate your pumpkin-spiced anything - I will revel in the color and texture you bring to our world.
I will embrace the condensation on my kitchen window whilst the soup simmers.
I'll slip on my fuzzy slippers with gratitude.
I will be thankful for a cupboard full in preparation of the cold.
I will marvel in the cyclical nature of things.

And I will make the most of you.

I will dive into my indoor pursuits with abandon!


I will find beauty and balance in all things.


I will continue to be the best Jayme that I know how to be - and I will continue to 
look for ways to improve and live fully.
As the leaves fall off the trees, I will let thought patterns and behaviors that do not benefit me fall.




Goodbye summer - hello fall.

What are you happy to say hello to at this time of year?

Bonus points if you say 'Downton Abbey'.

:-)


Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Pig Named Cool Whip

the contentment of pigs

I've been quite busy in my absence.
I still struggle with time management - trying to stuff 10 lbs of turnips in a 5 lb sack so to speak.

I still struggle saying no - cause I really do want to do everything.
The more I say yes, the more frazzled I become and the next thing I know I'm somewhere mid-week, bra-less, in my pajamas, overwhelmed, nursing a latte at 3pm. Sometimes it feels as if squirrels have nested in my brain, and I can't for the life of me think right or prioritize anything.  

When I get overwhelmed like that, I dream the craziest dreams.  Full color, feature length film type dreams.  I had such a dream shortly after picking up half a hog that I purchased locally from a gal that raised it humanely and organically.

Seriously

Let me talk about bacon for a moment before I tell you about the dream - did you know that half a hog only has about 8#s of bacon on it?  I'm not sure I can convey the disappointment I felt when learning this news.  The butcher had called me asking me gobs of questions like 'how thick do you want your pork chops?', 'do you want your bacon thin or thick?' - that's when I stopped him.  I asked him how much bacon there was.  "About 8lbs.".  My heart (and my stomach) sank to the ground.  I was hoping this half a hog would last us a year - until I could purchase another one.  There was no way 8lbs of bacon was going to last me much over a week, let alone a year - anyhow - I had the bacon sliced thick, but only had them process half of it.  I'm going to try to smoke the remaining 4lbs myself.  Stay tuned.  


The butcher also asked me if I wanted the lard.  I said yes, just because I thought if I had it coming, I wanted it.  What I would do with it, I had no idea.  Of course, if I were still baking pies daily, I could have used it.  I toyed with the idea of making soap.  It just sat in my freezer for a while, and just recently, I gave it to my homesteading neighbor - because I purchased a quarter of a cow and needed the freezer space.

Bacon

The meat, by the way, is incredibly delicious - and quite different from the pork I had been purchasing at the store.  I still struggle with eating meat - and if I think about it too much it truly bothers me - but for now - I do get my meat locally, raised organically - and it eases my conscious somewhat. I do know that I shan't raise my own birds for meat again, or at least at this writing, I know I won't.  We all know how I change with the wind though.  Don't be surprised if next week I'm ordering birds for butcher!

Back to the dreams - 

I dreamt I had a pig named Cool Whip and we were the best of pals.  Then, I dreamt about that bucket of lard.  I dreamt that I was slightly stalking Alton Brown.  I mean - I've got a total crush on the guy.  I drove to Cleveland to meet him - he was so kind. (that really happened, I didn't dream it!)



In my dream, Alton was avoiding me like the plague, until he found out that I possessed a bucket of organic lard.  The tables then turned, and he was pursuing me.
And that my friends - is the power of hog.

I'll close here with a recipe - it's for ribs (of course) by Alton Brown (of course).

My favorite rib recipe by far - although I do leave the chili powder out of the rub.


Til soon, 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Recommence




I've missed you.
I've missed me.
I've missed blogging.

Thank you a million times over for all the love and comfort you gave to me last month.
All the cards and notes did my heart a world of good.

I only have a moment today, but I wanted to thank you and let you know that I'm OK.

I'm just as squirrely as I ever was.

Talk soon.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Hair Past Six




It was just a hair past 6:00AM when I seated myself in my sister's Ford Explorer - put my coffee in the drink holder and buckled myself in.

We were headed to Missouri.
My haphazardly packed vintage suitcase was in the back, and I wondered if I'd packed a hairbrush.

My oldest sister Vivian had taken ill, and the Pastor was summoning the family to come.

At a few hairs past 6:00AM my sister's cell phone rang with the news that Vivian had been unable to wait for us, and decided to go on home.

I've never lost a sibling before.
It's a different genre of grief.



It's losing a partner in crime - childhood memories - it's squinting at the horizon line of life and seeing something that you couldn't quite make out before - and now it's coming into view more clearly.
Your own mortality.

I just wanted to share one quick thing - and honestly, I just don't have it in me right now to say anymore.



In the final two days of my sister's life - she kept talking about a black cat. 
She wanted a black cat - a stuffed one - a real one - a black cat.
None of us knew where this was coming from.
My sister bought a little black stuffed cat for her, and was bringing it to her.
One of her caretakers had a black cat, and was bringing it by for a visit.
We were all perplexed.

Until today - going through photos - I found this.


My sweet sister Vivian as a child with a black cat.

This photo just tore me up.

I found this sweater today when shopping for an outfit for the services:


I do believe it's 95 degrees in Missouri, but I'm wearing this to the funeral.

I'll be gone the better part of a week - I'm so not looking forward to all of this - 
if I cross your mind this week - do say a prayer.
My mind is aflutter with thoughts like 'is she whole now?' 'is her mind working fully?' and 'why is it that we consider her abnormal?'

My prayer for us is that we'd really really realize how brief our time is here, and that we'd begin to be kinder to each other.  We'd be more understanding, patient, accepting.  We'd put our phones down and look into each other's eyes and have deep conversations.  We'd listen more than talk.  We'd cherish each other. We'd take our eyes off of Facebook long enough to enjoy the sunset.  We'd spend more time with friends and family.  We'd take better care of ourselves.  We'd slow down.  We'd even stop more often.

It's over in a blink.