Sunday, May 30, 2010

20 Years Ago . . .

I love memorial day. Honestly, I never thought of it as a patriotic holiday growing up. We did more honor to all of our departed ancestors than just military. A big part of that, I imagine, is the greater number of non military ancestors.
I have so many memories of memorial day (wow that sounds redundant!) But there is one memorial day weekend that will always come to mind before others. And it's been exactly 20 years ago.
(ok, so at this point my entire family knows where I'm going with this. But for the 7 of you I'm not related to, I want to share my tale. My family can just indulge me.)
My parents built a cabin. Determined not to go into debt for this luxury, they decided to quickly finish the outside and then complete the inside on a when-funds-available plan. This story takes place in the first year or so of the work.

I loved my Dad. Hero worshiped might be a better phrase. My father was not blessed with an abundance of sons. Knowing this, I was determined to be the second son my father never had. From my current adult perspective, I'm sure I was usually more hindrance than help. Nevertheless, I was a very willing extra 9 year old hand.
On this excursion, brick was on the list. It was one of the last things needed before the outside was complete. My dad took an extra day for the long weekend, and we headed up to get the brick laid.

I remember so many things about that particular trip: sleeping in the top of the camper with my dad snoring below. Getting all our water from our wonderful neighbors. My dad joking when I pointed something out "Second mistake I've ever made in my life. And the first time was only when I thought I was wrong but wasn't!". The beautiful sunny weather making the spring leaves glow on the mountains. Dad knew when the shadows started up the mountains across the valley, we better start cleaning up. He sent me over to clean out the mixer we were using for the mortar.

Honestly what happened next I've blacked out. One minute I was wiggling two plugs together to get the machine started, and the next I was sobbing in my dad's shoulder. Later my dad would tell me that he heard me screaming and knew exactly what had happened - my shoulder length hair was caught in the pulley. He jumped off the scaffolding and ran to my side, all the time wondering if it would be better to disconnect the power underneath me (a time consuming process), or go to the source across the street. As luck would have it, neither was needed. By the time he reached me my hair was no longer attached to my head, and I pulled away.
We were over an hour away from a hospital. He looked me over, saw there was no bleeding, and decided the best choice was to quickly finish cleaning up and drive home.

I still remember my mom's gasp of horror when she saw my head. I believe her next words were "has she seen a doctor?" She got on the phone to a nurse and described what had happened. That's when I learned just how lucky I was to only loose my hair. It could have taken off my face too.
And it wasn't all my hair, just the back. A few weeks later we actually thought to take a picture. I spent a hour today searching for that picture. I have no idea where it is! So here's my phenomenal artist rendition:
No, I didn't forget my face. There really was that much hair gone from the back of my head. Completely smooth off. And I got home around 8:00 pm on a Saturday night. Off my mom ran to the store to try and find SOMETHING to cover that up for Sunday. Armed with two clearance Easter bonnets, I at least could not horrify the ward the next day. She also picked up a cap for school (which required special permission to wear).
Later my dad would go back and dig out all the hair he could from that pulley. My mom carefully arranged it, sewed it into a strip of fabric, and I had a wig of my own hair. Every Sunday, we'd carefully brush it out and load it with hot curlers. Then Mom would pull back the remainder of my hair into an elastic and pin the wig on. I still have the wig (a bit worse for the wear!)

I only wore the hats for a few months school got out. By the next year enough had grown in that I was able to sport an awesome side pony tail until we cut it all short. But I learned a lot that year.

I learned how to roll with some punches. That it was easier to get help from a teacher than chase stupid boys around the playground to get my hat back. I learned that how I looked didn't change who I was. I grew confidant in my ability to handle difficult situations. I learned when life gets hard, there isn't much you can do except keep plodding on and make the best of it.

We are the sum of our experiences. While I'd never wish having the majority of your hair ripped from your scalp on anyone, this is one experience I am grateful for. Much of my confidence and "just go for it" attitude I can trace back to a small yellow cement mixer 20 years ago.

Happy Memorial day to you all.


I found the picture. My drawing had me loosing less hair than reality! This was taken a few weeks after, when my hair had already started to grow back. And to this day, I still seriously wish we would have taken 12 seconds to brush my hair. But at least I have the picture!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Piano Chair makeover

Some day I'm going to have a real piano bench. It will look beautimous in front of my real piano. Until then, we have a very nice keyboard, and a VERY old chair. Not old as in cool and antique, but old as in my-parents-had-thrown-it-out-and-I-rescued-it old. For the last 7 years it's looked like this at my house:

Obviously seen better days. It was actually coming apart in places and I worried anytime someone sat on it that it would collapse underneath them.
So I took it all apart, gave 'er a good sanding, tightened everything back down, replaced several stripped screws, added more screws and glue to try and overcome the support worries, painted the whole thing, recovered (and added a TON more padding) the ugly cushion and VOILA!
Ahh that's so much better!

I do have to admit I was a bit nervous about tearing apart a chair. But I'd read so many stories about how easy it is to do I decided to just go for it. It really is super easy to recover a chair like this!
(and look, my new living room paint color! I'll post a better one on the whole room once I figure out how I'm decorating the walls)


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Not much to say

Ok, so I really don't have anything to say (because I'm tired and don't want to edit the 12 posts I have started but need major work before I can actually use them.)

Nope. The whole point of this post is for my wonderful followers (all 16 of you!) to check out the new look around here.

I totally have this need to change things up, and OFTEN*! Plus I found some cool new sites (for free!) that helped me out.

Yup. I did all that changing all by myself. New header (SOOOOO much better!) Cute font titles. New background.

I'm totally rocking out in my contentedness right now.

If anyone wants to know where to go to have stinking cute stuff like me (or not. The options are endless!), just let me know!
*much to my Hubby's chagrin. I move furniture around like some people buy shoes. Which I would also like to do, but instead curse the strange genetics that landed me with honkin wide feet, so actually finding cute shoes in my size is an exercise in futility. Wow. I am so rambling tonight!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Joy . . .

is a fleeting thing. But when experienced, can bring glimpses of eternity to your soul.

A few days ago, 'Lil Flower slept from 9:00 pm to 7:00 am. I was stunned when I woke up to her crying and looked at the clock. She's only 3 months old, after all! I fed her, and she instantly went back to sleep. I debated on being productive or just going back to sleep. My bed was beckoning and I gave in. My Hubby rolled over and gave me a hug. Unable to actually drift of, my mind began to wander at just how marvelous it was to lay in bed, wrapped in my husbands arms, listening to the birds calling, sunlight drifting in through semi-clean windows.

A few moments later, Girly-Lou and Buddy come padding into our room. Amazingly enough, they were both happy, not fighting, or demanding breakfast. They climbed into our bed where we snuggled as a family, laughing and playing and tickling together.

This was joy. My soul felt full. I could not picture how this could be better, unless replicated in a few months when 'Lil will be old enough to join in.

My life is full of non - joy. Dishes. Laundry. Fighting children. Bills. Headaches. Dishes. Weeds. Bugs. Dishes. Lack of time. Did I mention Dishes?

But on this day, for this moment. I knew what joy was. My goal is to remember this feeling, and seek more earnestly to find it every day.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Comfort foods

My house smells like Thanksgiving.

Ok, not exactly, but there are some serious olfactory memories wafting around my head.

It all started with an amazing grocery store trip (saved more than I spent just shopping the butcher department). Armed with a sense of culinary adventure, I gathered my ingredients. After slaving for hours (cough), I had concocted a meal to please the most facile of palates.

I cooked a chicken.

This was a first for me. I'd never actually cooked a whole chicken. And it was really complicated too. I shoved the whole thing in my slow cooker and mashed some potatoes. But there was something about that aroma permeating every corner of my house today that made me reflect on comfort foods.

Just that phrase "comfort foods" brings a wealth of memories to me.
Thanksgiving feasts.
Toast with hot chocolate.
Raspberry jam.
Homemade bread.
And ginger cookies.

My mom made the best ginger cookies on the planet. Now, don't get confused. I'm talking about ginger COOKIES, not ginger SNAPS. The former are deletable, soft, delicate, with just the right ratio of spice to sweet. The later are rock hard, reek of cheap spices, and are as delicious as cardboard.

I can see her now as she patiently lets my sisters and I roll the dough in sugar, smearing it everywhere. She was always such a great sport. That homey smell bringing back so many memories. I could picture her doing the same thing as a young child with her own mother, generations of moms passing down this perfect recipe.

(That is, until I mentioned one time about Grandma's ginger cookies. Mom looked at me kind of funny and informed me that not only was this recipe from a friend, she hadn't even been making them that long. Fine. Ruin my picturesque daydreams. They are still one of the best cookies ever.)

Ginger Cookies
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar

1/4 cup molasses (dark)

1 egg

2 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cloves

1 tsp ginger

Cream shortening and sugar. Add molasses and egg. Stir in remaining ingredients. Roll into balls, and then in sugar. Bake @ 350 for 10 minutes

One of my favorite parts about these is they make the perfect circles without any effort. It doesn't matter how malformed my son's blob is, it still turns out beautiful. Ok, when he makes snakes they don't turn round, but if it's remotely spherical, it works.
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