Granny’s Take on Holy Week

When I was a kid we still got  Good Friday and Easter Monday off of school.    Many businesses also operated on abbreviated hours during those days as well.  Growing up I often spent Easter with my Grandparents.   My Grandparents in Chicago would drive  from one edge of the state to to the other to pick me up; a long drive before the advent of the interstate system.  Being with them during  holy week  left memories about the holy season that has stayed with me all my life.

My Granddad was a Methodist minister, and Granny was the standard good minister’s wife.   She belonged to to all the ladies clubs and could be seen at church each time a service was held.   She rode shotgun and supported him and the message he delivered. My Granddad  went to work each day and I was left to spend the day with Granny.    It was she who shared with me that from her perspective that Easter was the biggest Christian holiday.  She felt that the rising of Christ clearly trumped Christmas.   The completion of miracle of the triumph over death for us was the single thing most important thing to a Christian, when Granny told the story.

One of my most vivid memories was of going to church several times during holy week.  Of course we went to church on Palm Sunday, the first day of holy week.   It was full of hymns that in my memory were the same ones sung every year.   It seems  that hymns sung were known to everyone in attendance; those who came to church every Sunday and those who only came a few times a year.  None of the mumbling along a note or two behind the organist, with people wondering who had picked this obscure hymn to sing. I always enjoyed it when the whole congregation could sign a hymn together, those who had wonderful voices and folks like me who were tone deaf and could not sing on key no matter the tune.    We would then go to church again on Maundy Thursday, the day of the last supper.      Finally Good Friday would come and we would go to church acknowledging the death of Christ. Lent always seemed like a time of a great dark cloud to me.   We’d get dressed up in our going to church dud and go to church over and over knowing what the outcome would be the same.

Granny would during the Easter season play Handel’s Messiah over and over.   It was through this repetitive exposure, that this I came to understand that this oratorio.   Granny caused me to  actually came to listen to the words and came to understand that much of it came from a version of the Psalms.  I love to hear it during the Christmas season when so many do public performances of this are done, but during Eastertide I dig out my classic version done by the London Symphony and the non-traditional Soulful Celebration.

Granny has long since passed away, and before that time it had been years since I spent any time around Easter with her.  Yet this holiday season I think of the foundation  and perspective they gave me.


Comfort Food – What is yours?

I have come down with one of the nastiest bugs that I have had in ages.    I went to the walk-in clinic after a couple of days, waiting for the virus to pass.   It turns I have a strep throat, a monster ear infection, and the beginnings of bronchitis.   Today I ended up feeling worse than I had in the three prior days even though I was now on antibiotics.  It turns out I was coming down with a migraine this afternoon along with everything else.   Life’s a bitch no two ways about it.

Each of us have memories of mother, grandmother or someone dear to our lives making something special to eat when we were in sick as children.   Tonight RangerSir offered to make my comfort foods: mother’s chicken with rice soup and tapioca pudding served warm with cinnamon sugar.     Mother’s chicken with rice soup is bland and thick, almost wallpaper paste thick, but nothing hits the spot better when I am feeling poorly.  Tapioca pudding is not something I crave any other time and once it cools it does not have the same appeal as it does warm.  Two of my grandmas made it form me.

As I write about my comfort foods, I come to realize they sure don’t sound like tasty treats, but they do the trick when nothing else will do.  I eat them when I don’t want to eat, it hurts to eat and nothing will stay down.    What are your comfort foods when you are under the weather?

Joy of Pets

blog-04-13I just spent the better part of the week on the road for work.   I am home again and reminded the joy of owning pets.  Each of them brings something different to the the household.   My dog brings a sense of spunkiness and a challenge of a stubborn personality.    My cat brings that that quiet acceptance.  All of it so enjoyable after a week away from it.

I Get My Best Work Done While He Sleeps

10 am isn’t too late for RangerSir

My husband is not a morning person.    The only times I have known him to look forward to getting up early is when he is either going fishing  or trying to experience some wilderness/wildlife that you can only see as the sun breaks in the morning.    I on the other hand am up at the crack of dawn and ready to go.   Though this can be a source of constant frustration after over 35 years together I have learned to embrace the man who is still sleeping.   He relishes his extra time in bed and I relish my time alone.

Yesterday while he was sleeping I spent the morning in my studio space making cards.   I had five cards I had created the base for, but they somehow became a mind cramp.   I had put them aside hoping they would once again move me.    They had sat there for several weeks.   I had received a new die packaged on  Friday. Time to pull those half-finished cards out and top them off with new creativity.   I listen to music and watched the world come alive outside my windows. It wasn’t long and my cards were finished.    I had not only used my new dies but finished off some odds and ends in my stash of trash and tried some techniques I had seen on YouTube.

This morning I spent some time again in my studio space, purging some things that needed to go.  I used to teach quilting and have quite a collection of reference books and patterns I used over the years.    I am finally ready to let go of some of them.   I also did some more dusting and cleaning as I found more corners that the chick dust had settled in.    It  got my creative juices going.    It was time  to spend a few minutes with all of you.  I knew what to blog about.

This is desire to sleep in is not to say if we have plans he can’t be up on a Saturday morning, but you need to decide on what time you need to be out the door the night before  in order for it all to work.   RangerSir takes a minimum of  an hour to join the living in his own special way.    So if we decide to go to the city to shop big chain stores  at  8 am it  means he sets his alarm at least two hours before that and we don’t talk until we are in the rig driving down the road toward the interstate.   He gets ready in ways I can’t imagine, while he after all this time he is still astounded that I can go from bed to door in 15 minutes including a shower.

As I sit here writing about all of this I think he could be writing about how I am ready to be quiet each night by 8pm.  I am not a night owl when I don’t have to be.   He enjoys when I check out for the day it frees him to pursue things I don’t get.    If I had my druther we would not have TV while RangerSir finds it to be an unwind tool.    RangerSir  really enjoys good sci-fi of several different genres in books, movies and TV.  He looks forward to the time I curl up in my chair or bed, listening to my end-of day-playlists on my iPod.   He then drags out either DVDs of favorite series he is watching for the umpteenth time or streams a series that he has not had the opportunity to watch correctly (in order/without commercials).    Like my morning time it is his time to do just what he wants how he wants.

While we do so much together, our lives have naturally somehow have a built in time for each of us to recharge alone.   It wasn’t something we planned.   Life just worked out that way.

Another Sign of Spring

We just celebrated another sign of spring.   Our baby chicks are three weeks old and we moved them from living in my studio space to the shed outside Sunday.    It can never happen early enough for me and this year was the same.    I counted the days until they were mostly feathered out, because birds can control their body heat better with feathers  than when covered in down.   It finally happened this week.  My birds  were finally mostly feathered out.   I set up two heat lamps in the shed;  their target ambient temperature is 80-75 degrees.  I set up some shields to help their area to be as draft free as a corner in a shed can be.   Quite a challenge in an uninsulated shed, with a sliding barn door.   But by the afternoon I was sure we  could take them out and do right by them.

Last night’s low was 19 degrees, and we got 4 inches of snow.    This morning we found our birds setting under the heat lamps none the worst for wear.   It looks like tonight will be more of the same.    Spring in Montana what more can I say.


Long Days, Quiet Nights

Today folks are working more hours and getting away from work less and less.   They are plugged in and connected in ways we never dreamed of ten or even five years ago.   Folks check in at work after hours and when they are on vacation.   Either they are checking in or someone is calling them.  They are becoming stressed out because they are always on.  Always on call.   Always at least mentally at work.

I am getting ready for another week on the road.   Ramping up for all that I have to be prepared for when working away from the office is intense.  My daily pedometer has been logging less than 1,000 steps daily.   That tells you how tied to my desk I have been.    There is the juggling of my regular workday along with all the extras of preparing for presentations, meetings, collections of fees and more.    It always seems like folks know that if they don’t call me now they will be sunk for a week.   The interruptions are constant and my stream of concentration be broken over and over.    In spite of it all I plugged on working long days, most more than ten hours, to be prepared for this road trip.  Yet I did manage to find some way to create balance and limits while work was attempting to take over my life each day, I fought back with quiet nights.

When I worked, I worked, and when I was done I was done.    That meant at the end of the night  I closed the office door in the lower level of my house where I work.   The phone was no longer answered, the cell phone was turned off, and the work pc was turned off.  No calls. No text.  No email.   I might have worked long hours, but when I called it quits there was no going back until the following morning.  No one died.   No irreparable harm came to my employer.   Nothing happened that waiting for 12 hours caused the end of the world.

Each night RangerSir and I  ate a real dinner together.   It often meant we were eating at 8pm, but it was a meal, not something out of a box nuked.  Together RangerSir and I made dinner talking about our workday and catching up with all that brought us to this point in the day.   Once our meal was plated everything changed.   No work talk, not woe is me, or additional rehash of the trials of work.   We ate some nights in companionable silence other nights we talked about projects for the house or trips we wanted to take, news we had heard on the radio, or  a new playlist one of us was think of putting on our iPod.  Things of trivial nature, but definitely not work.

After dinner RangerSir spent some time with his favorite unwind the TV, and I with a book.    It did not make either of us any less tired, nor take away from the stress of our jobs the next day, but it did give us time to refresh our souls and enjoy a quiet night.

Chick Time

My one week old mixed flock of chicks for the year.

My one week old mixed flock of chicks for the year.

NOT as in babes, but as in the feathered kind.   Though it was not as planned I did end up purchasing chicks this year at the local ranch supply.   I bought a total of 15 baby chicks this year.   I was a test of my resolve to be a little less demanding of life.    I was not going to get exactly what I wanted because I refused to disrupt my life  to drive 100 miles one way one day and then 100 another the next day, during the work week none the less.    Instead I got part of my flock from the local store and a few days later I was out of town on business and picked up a few more birds of other varieties to round out my flock.  I picked what I though was the best of what was available.   No extraordinary measures this year to get the “perfect” flock.

As we were looking at the bill for our flock this year RangerSir commented as he does every year, “We don’t do this to save money.”  Oh so true.   Chicks don’t start laying for 16 weeks if you are lucky and I have had some go as long as 26 weeks before I saw that first egg.   That means all they are is eating and pooping machines while they mature.   Some of them will make their way to our dinner table, others will hang around awhile laying eggs for us and our friends.   There is a sort of satisfaction in growing your own food that we get that makes us go back each year and do this all over again.

For now they reside in the dog crate under the heat lamp in my studio space growing larger every day, while I count the weeks… until they can go outside and then start to lay