Saturday, August 28, 2010

Week of Cleaning

We've had a productive week. I've been wanting to really clean the house and we got a good start this week. We had a short visit from some relatives last Thursday and we used that as our motivator. I always need motivation for this kind of thing. Of course, Monday and Tuesday were absolutely sunny and beautiful but, alas, we were inside cleaning and dusting, getting rid of clothes to donate, putting stuff away and throwing stuff out. The kids were so great. They really worked hard and did everything I asked them to. Chad is great at organizing, Carmen is good at cleaning and putting things away and, Alec ... well, he's just good at obeying me when I give him an order. Todd got motivated to clean part of his side of our office room. Thus, I was motivated to clean my side ... at a future date. Priorities! Clean everything the company will see first, then move on to everything else.

Lists really help me. If I don't make lists, I get scatter-brained. Now I need to make new lists, with the next phase of cleaning. Though after this week, I needed a few days rest to recover.

Carmen has really taken an interest in the kitchen this summer. She wants to learn how to cook. She has been regularly asking to empty the dishwasher and learned how to fill it as well. Tonight, she was looking at a recipe for making pancakes. She said, "This doesn't look hard." I said that I'm glad she thinks that way. I am not a confident cook and pancakes scare me. But we will do it together and perhaps some of her confidence will rub off on me. Todd is the resident pancake maker in this family. Every time I make them, they turn out icky, like those thin, round rubber sheets you use to open a jar with. I can't see wasting good ingredients on my disasters. Chad likes to flip pancakes so perhaps I'll have them work together. Alec can help by eating them. Alec is growing fast this summer - his increased appetite is evidence of this.

I'm sad that September is a few days away. I hate September. Something to do with school starting/summer ending. I need to remember that our school doesn't start until October. Yippee! Perhaps September will be warm. One can always hope.

How many blog posts have I ended with that last phrase? Must write this on my list: Increase phrase repertoire.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

August ... Summer?

Honestly, we've tried not to complain but, seriously ... will we ever have a summer? We've had maybe a handful of days over 70 degrees and 4 days over 80 degrees - which were difficult because they appeared and disappeared sooner than we could adjust to. 65 degrees seems to be the norm and clouds, clouds, clouds, dark clouds frequently. Fog and drizzle appear from time to time - tomorrow is likely to be drizzly as well. I get up each day looking for something summery that will keep me warm. Call me quirky but I hate wearing winter clothes in the summer. Today I spent two hours in my comfy chair in the living room, snuggled under a blanket trying to get warm. I seldom get a chance to snuggle in my comfy chair so I didn't feel a bit guilty. Todd was sleeping (in between 12-hour shifts) and the kids busied themselves without disturbing Mom (for the most part).

Enough mild ranting. Chad is still enjoying his volunteer job at the museum. I took Alec with me last week to pick up Chad and we toured the museum a bit. Before I saw Chad, I met the lady that hired Chad and she told me how pleased they are with him. That makes me very happy.

I'm still trying to find a book to follow Tolstoy - no luck, yet. Big shoes to fill.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Two Milestones

I'm happy to announce what I consider to be a major accomplishment ... I have finished "War & Peace" by Leo Tolstoy. Regardless of what others may think, this book is not a boring read. Of course, this is my opinion (what else do I have to offer?) but I was really quite surprised when I began reading the first page. It wasn't what I had envisioned at all. Yes, there is page after page of war description, destruction and strategy (they were the pages hardest for me to get through) but I enjoyed the chapters relating the lives of several families of wealth and nobility in Russia. Todd and I decided that this book is the forerunner of every historical novel and soap opera that has been written since the mid 1850's. I also loved learning more about Russia and its people, at least from the very early 1800's. The book's time period is from 1805-1820, covering the War with Napoleon. I have learned a lot. I really knew nothing of this time period. Most of what I've read has been before the 1800's or after 1850. I also wasn't sure just when I would finish the book but I found that I really wanted to read it so it took priority over a lot of things (blogging, for example).

When I was growing up, "War & Peace" was always joked about and I knew that it was a big book but that's it. It has been on our book shelf (Todd may know where it came from) for a long time and a few weeks ago, I just picked it up out of curiosity. I'm so glad I did! The most interesting fact, to me, is that people really don't change, regardless of the time period. They just speak and dress differently.

Also of interest (and sadness) is the reality that Russia is up in flames this past week or so, with all the wild fires burning. Just last week, I was reading in this book about Moscow burning during the war. One of those coincidences I have sometimes.

So .... if you have a few weeks to devote to this kind of literature, I recommend it. Just skim over the hard-to-read horrors of war that are in a few paragraphs. Tolstoy had a sense of humor, though, which pops up in unexpected places. It compelled me to read a bit about the author as well, to get an idea of where he was coming from. Of course, I related all that I read to my husband and the kids heard quite a bit. I think everyone feels like they read the book through me so now they don't need to read it themselves!

During this frenzy of heavy reading, I did find time to celebrate our wedding anniversary. On Aug 6, Todd and I celebrated our 22nd year! We had a quiet lunch at a lovely restaurant in town, overlooking the river. Now begins year 23 - I am so blessed and thankful. He's my man!

We also found out that a nice couple I met at the Frances Mayes book signing I attended last spring (we've been emailing ever since) also got married on Aug 6, a year after we did! How fun to find that out! My parents also got married on this date, now that I think about it. Unfortunately, my father died a few months before I met Todd; my parents did, however, have a very good marriage. Yes, it was a good date to get married on!