My neighbor died, her funeral was on Monday, I didn't go partially
because I dislike funeraly, partially because I don't care for her
family, a bit because the weather was rough which meant I felt like
garbage, but mostly, because I wanted to remember her the way I had last
seen her. With her sitting on her hassock in the hall while I pulled
out pillows, blankets, king sized sheets for her queen sized bed, and us
talking about the things that us girls liked to chat about. While I was
over, she wanted me to take these flour sack towels with the days of
the week on them. I don't know why I love flour sack towels so much,
maybe they remind me of the good things about my childhood. Maybe
they're the best things to dry dishes with. Maybe I love their
versatility, their utility, and their plain jane unobtrusiveness.
Whatever the reason, I put them in my washer along with her new sheets, added soap, and brought them back to her clean, and
folded as well as a nine and an eleven year old can fold things.
Tuesday I did not want to vote. But I dragged myself off of the
computer, threw some clothes on, and headed to the bank where we are
allowed to vote. I saw a woman from church who had broken her ankle.
She's an EMT, she stepped awkwardly on an uneven surface, and laid in a
stranger's driveway while the owner, who had called due to heart
trouble, was attended to by her partner. I also saw our former pastor,
and his wife at the bank. I didn't say go up to greet them when I saw
them, but I walked out at roughly the same time he did, so I shook his
hand. Our former pastor's wife had never really said very much to me
even though I had gone to school with a son of hers, and been a member
of the conversation since we moved, so I was a bit surprised when she
started talking about my grandfather, who is also a retired pastor.
Sunday evening we went to my aunt's house as my aunt and uncle from
California were in town. I hate going to
other people's homes when the main dish is something my kids can't have.
My oldest daughter refused her chicken, and stared longingly at the
pizza as if it were a winning lottery ticket, or a magic wand that would
immediately transform her dull gray life into a spectacularly brilliant
rainbow colored one. While I was there, I talked to my aunt about my
grandfather. He's quite old, and I feel so bad for him because he has
output issues, but usually comprehends what people are saying to him.
He's trapped in a verbally impaired world, and for someone who made a
living speaking in public, I imagine that is very hard on him. He did
laugh when I made a comment about some people who wanted him to vote for
Barack Obama. My aunt had his voter registration information pulled,
and that was hard for me to deal with.
I went to church with my aunt and my grandfather. The print was
oversized, the people wore bizarre clothes, some of them hummed, a woman
sitting in front of me held the hand of another resident, and it hit me
then, that life is really about moments like that. Where nothing
matters except the people you're with, and the shared time you have
together. After the service, which I cried through as we sang a hymn
that my father wants played at his funeral, I went over to visit my aunt
for a few minutes. I ended up chatting with her longer than I had
expected to, and was almost late picking the girls up from school.
Last year, my yougest daughter's teacher was wonderful. She has
celiac disease, and was a tremendous resource for me and my family as
we navigated through going gluten free. During parent-teacher
conferences we bring in food for the teachers, as I was speaking with
her, I realized that she wasn't going to be able to eat the lasagna that
everyone else had. I told her I would bring her a meal, forgetting that
I needed to be back at school for the conferences we were scheduled to
attend. The chicken was not the greatest, I don't eat salad dressing,
and I didn't know what she could have, so I put together lettuce,
cucumbers, and chopped up a carrot that was on the cusp of needing to be
tossed, but I did the best that I could, and I know that she
appreciates the effort.
Parent-teacher conferences went better than I had expected. My
youngest does very well in school, almost never has homework after, but
she has self esteem issues. My oldest struggles more, but thinks better
of herself. She's becoming quite the tomboy lately, expressing interest
in hunting, fishing, archery, she wants a bow and arrows for Christmas,
and she loves her pink John Deere shirt that she wears with her Carhartt
camoflage pants. She's been getting up early to do her homework, as
long as she gets it done, we don't care when she does it, she had a few
things to finish this morning, but so far, it's been going better than
me nagging her after school although her clarinet practice has taken a
steep slide so she will no longer be allowed to choose when she can
Today I made two types of gluten free bread, and a batch of sweet
potato biscuits. The girls tried both breads, and preferred the cheaper
easier recipe, hallelujah! In addition to it being crappy bread, the
gluten free variety at the store is almost six dollars a loaf, and the
loaf is much smaller, and lighter, than a standard loaf of regular
bread. A couple weeks ago I ran the food down until our refrigerator was
almost bare. It felt so damn good to see the carrots were gone, the
apples were finished, we knew what was in the fridge, and the girls had
no choice but to finish the foods that were in the fridge since I hadn't
purchased anything else.
I had a set back recently in that area with Halloween, but we are
slowly getting back on track there. My aunt is quite frugal, and I need
to find ways to be more thrifty than I am now. My mother is going to
teach me how to knit. My husband's aunt gave me some free raspberry
bushes, and I will save quite a bit if I can make bread at home. On my
list is finding a local farmer to buy eggs from so we can find a
fresher, and hopefully cheaper source, finding more seeds so I can plant
a few vegetables next year, and being absolutely ruthless when it comes
to bullshit items at the store that aren't really food products.
Convenience is expensive, and I don't want to pay for it. I found a
recipe for making soap in a crock pot. I don't use mine for food, so I
might as well try to save my family money that way.
This coming Sunday is the final parenting class. I've been renting
CD's to listen to in my car, for two dollars a week, this is a sound
investment. I have learned more about parenting in the past couple
weeks, than I've learned since I first found out that I was going to be a
mother. I knew a lot about what not to do, but I didn't have the tools I
needed to be successful. A couple of classes and CD's are the tiniest
tip of the parental iceberg, but this is a step that I hadn't taken
before, and boy do I feel good about the new knowledge even as I grit my
teeth when my daughters flounce about, argue, or test me.
The class encourages people to find out what others are good at, and
praise them in those areas. I'm going to write more about the things I'm
good at, and hopefully I'll be able to add 'parent' to that list. By
focusing on what people do well, the areas where people perform poorly
come up as well. By giving my daughter praise for her A papers, we're
building her self image, and her self esteem. Yesterday her teacher said
she was the only student with an A+ on her Social Studies test. Her
attitude is better, I'm getting along better with her, and the class has
made me realize that despite its many challenges, parenting can, and
should be, fun.
I'm very tired, my body is sore, and I'd like to write more, but for now, this is it.