Thursday, April 2, 2009

Quick Takes Friday

1. Finally getting the good long drink it's needed with the long-awaited snow, the grass is greening up here in Colorado and the lilacs are budding. We needed a little bad weather to bring out the good stuff. Isn't that how life is sometimes?

There's a snow shovel parked outside my front door and a row of snowboots is lined up in front of our statue of the Blessed Mother -- Our Lady of the Boots... But spring is finally on it's way. We're sure now because the meadowlarks are singing. That's the sound of spring here on the high prairies. In spring the snow snows, the wind blows and the meadowlarks sing.

I've always liked the idea of naming our property and for years I thought it ought to be called Meadowlark Hill in honor of our cheerful birds. But, though, I still love the meadowlarks, I've changed my mind. When we decided to stay put instead of moving, it seemed like we needed to breathe a new spirit into the place, by thinking about things differently, moving things around, and shaking out the cobwebs.

So, we're fixing everything now to suit ourselves, not to suit a potential buyer. We're re-thinking our choice of kitchen flooring and waiting until we can afford what we want, for instance. We're re-working our storage, thinking big about our gardens, and -- in maybe the biggest mental and emotional shift of gears -- we decided that instead of "Meadowlark Hill," we're going to call our place "White O' Morn." Because it's the name of the cottage in my all-time favorite movie (Do you know which one that is?), it makes my heart lift just to say the words. When I think of our home now and put it together with the that phrase, "White O' Morn," I have a whole different feeling about it. Instead of playing to a western homestead feeling, we're now planning to capitalize on the cottage look of our home and plant English country gardens, complete with trellises and roses. And...

2. We're finally drawing up the official plans for the long-held dream of an old-fashioned Mary Garden! By saving all our pennies and nickels (and sometimes quarters) over the last few years, we've painlessly saved over $125 which will go toward an outdoor statue of the Blessed Mother to bless our garden. I'm hoping to find a good version of Our Lady of the Smile. We've downloaded reims of information on Mary gardens and made a folder of ideas and a wish list of plants. We'll break ground as soon as the weather clears! I'll take pictures and post as we go.
3. Here (below) is one example of a storage problem we solved just tonight. Back in the olden days, before Tempurpedics, we had a waterbed. (Didn't everybody?) We got rid of the waterbed ages ago, but saved the underdressers. (Nobody with ten children would ever consider throwing away storage like that, you know!) These drawers got good use down in the cellar, storing off season clothing and the occasional bag of dry beans, but we think they work even better here in Dan's closet. This is where our washer and dryer used to be! Can you believe that? We've not finished it out all the way yet, but don't they look like built-ins? Plenty of room for shoes on the top, too. We're just so tickled with ourselves. This re-purposing perfectly solves our dresser space issues. Why did it take us this long to figure this out?

4. We didn't grow up very crafty children in our family. It just wasn't my Mom's thing. I liked to draw and make things out of paper and bits of flotsam and jetsam, but didn't learn to sew (and then only marginally) until I was an adult, never learned to knit, and only embroidered and crocheted a smidgeon. Which is no big deal to me; I've done fine with the small skills I managed to get. But, I really do want to give my girls the opportunity to explore these crafts. So, every once in a while, we trot out the fiber arts materials and have a go at it.

The girls have done a little embroidery, but that's an art that really requires an enormous amount of concentration and detail orientation. They make pick it up again later, but right now it doesn't hold their interest. We've sewn together a couple of times and everyone seems to like playing with the sewing machine, but it makes me nervous using it, so it makes me more nervous when they use it. And there's so much to drag out -- and then put back away when we want to use the dining room table... But it's an important skill for the girls to have, so I'm sure we'll do more real sewing as time goes on. But today, we got some crochet hooks and made a stab at crocheting. So far both Theresa and Cathy have the chain stitch down and seem to really enjoy the tactile ease of it. Tomorrow we move on to the single stitch, though. Wish us luck.

5. This is a tactile exercise the girls don't need any coaching on. Twister is the game of choice here since we found this set at a thrift store for three bucks the other day. Talk about your simple, silly games!

6. Speaking of exercise... I really hate speaking of exercise, but I hate doing it even more. Isn't that awful? I was the most active kid, too, and all my children are perpetual motion machines, but there's just something about the concept of exercising as a means unto itself that gets my goat. It seems so... so... well, unnatural! It seems that if I'm going to exercise, it ought to be the by-product of some natural activity.

I understand that in our modern, sedentary world, it's necessary for us to contrive the motion that was a natural part of life in the olden days. Most of us, for instance, don't walk anywhere; we drive, of course. We drive to the gym so we can walk on a treadmill. We don't knead dough to make our own bread, or pitch hay into any haylofts, or wash our clothes on a washing board, so we lift weights and do aerobics instead. It makes sense in light of our modern world, I know, but it just seems so wrong. Being fit and trim should be the reward for hard work, not vanity. Does that sound weird? Yeah, I know it does. But, anyway, there you have it, my moral justification for not exercising.

Weak isn't it?

And the reason I'm twenty pounds overweight. That and peanut M&Ms...

I was curious, though, to see how much a housewife (ahem! Domestic Engineer) like me burns off in a typical day of domestic engineering and child chasing. Check this out.

I burn:

30 calories for each hour I just sat down and ate!

38 talking on the phone with my sister for 15 minutes

76 calories blogging for an hour -- or taking a 15 minute shower
146 calories for the total of about 15 minutes going up and down the stairs
153 calories driving the hour in to Mass
163 calories for an hour's worth of ironing
211 for an hour of miscellaneous housework
240 for a half hour of moving around children and furniture to vacuum
326 calories for my weekly Saturday afternoon mop-athon
393 for an hour's worth of gardening
537 for eight hours' sleep
672 calories for 5 hours studying/teaching (Gotta love that!)

So that's 3,417 calories burned, and that doesn't even even including the child chasing or the hay I pitched today!

(But, gee, seeing especially as how it's Lent, howcome I'm not losing any weight, I ask you?)
*Have some fun with the Calories-Burned Calculator by going here.


When brothers agree, no fortress is so strong as their common life.

For lots of Quick Takes, run over to Conversion Diaries!


MightyMom said...

I should teach you how to crochet rosaries........

wanna learn? it's every bit as simple as what you've already done and you get the end result so fast that you're more likely to stay with it than trying to make an afghan or something.......

GrandmaK said...

Meadowlark Hill! I like that! Much better than "Keller's Corner. But when the kids were growing up that's how people identified our house in Bicknell! Have a grand day! Cathy

Lisa said...

OH, MM ~ Yes, you should! Would you?

Soutenus said...

One of my favorite homes was, Cynthiana Farm. There is something special and permanent about naming the place in which you live.

Right now we are living at our quaint little shop "in town" and we call home, "The Nest"

I am not familiar with "White O' Morn."
Enlighten me?

Lisa said...

Peggy ~ I meant to make note of that at the bottom, and just plum forgot! These days, when I blog, I blog late ~ and what brain I've got is tired... &:o) "White O' Morn" is the name of the little Irish cottage in the movie "The Quiet Man." Our house has a lot the shape and feel of an old world cottage, so it seems fitting...