26 February 2008


So my friend April went to Spain over the past weekend (jet setter that she is) and brought me back this cool stuff!

A beautiful pitcher to add to my collection, so that when people are admiring all of them (which happens really often, as you can imagine) I can say, "Hey! That one's from Spain!"

And this amazing print of some Gaudi catherdral... which I plan to mat and frame and hang in our bedroom.

On a completely different and unrelated topic (and forgive the font switch... I'm tired of messing with the HTML formatter which rudely changes all your settings every time you blink)... I am currently reading _Eat Pray Love_, by Elizabeth Gilbert and find it maddening and fascinating all at the same time. In a nutshell, it's a chronicle of this woman's search for the ability to be constantly "in tune" with God, but without ever denying herself any wordly pleasure. Yeah... I find it really hard to read anything without writing all over it and making notes in the margins, so when she implored a Balinese medicine man to help her learn "how to live in this world and enjoy its delights, but also devote myself to God," my marginal response was, "NOT POSSIBLE, lady..."

Anyway, here are more of my thoughts on why I simultaneously love and hate this book.

The "eat" part of her journey is spent in (where else?) Italy, where her main goal is to learn the art of pursuing pleasure.

I LOVE how she describes the food:
(speaking of a place in Naples, the Pizzeria de Michele, which supposedly has the best pizza in the world) "They have only two varieties of pizza here -- regular and extra cheese."

And as if that right there wasn't enough to make me want to move there indefinitely...:

"[The crust is] soft and chewy and yielding, but incredibly thin. I always thought we only had two choices in our lives when it came to pizza crust--thin and crispy, or thick and doughy. How was I to have known there could be a crust in this world that was thin and doughy? Holy of holies! Thin, doughy, strong, gummy, yummy, chewy, salty pizza paradise. On top, there is a sweet tomato sauce that foams up all bubbly and creamy when it melts the fresh buffalo mozzeralla, and the one sprig of basil in the middle of the whole deal somehow infuses the entire pizza with herbal radiance, much the same way one shimmering movie star in the middle of a party brings a contact high of glamour to everyone around her. It's technically impossible to eat this thing, of course. You try to take a bite off your slice and the gummy crust folks, and the hot cheese runs away like topsoil in a landslide, makes a mess of you and your surroundings, but just deal with it."

Now I'm hungry.

On the flip side, though...

I don't go for all the religion/spiritualism = hocus pocus crap. I don't like the whole "I pray to the Divinity and I am the prayer and I am the Divinity" hoo-hocky. It just doesn't work for me. I like the thought of dwelling in God and God dwelling in me, but it doesn't make much sense to me to think that God and I are one being as in "the drop dwells in the ocean but the ocean also dwells in the drop" sort of thing. The way she puts it all just makes it seem sort of like, I couldn't exist without God, but God couldn't exist without me either.... and that just... ugh... sends chills up and down my spine. I guess I kind of see God as, of course, my creator and kind of like my boss (an ultimately loving boss, thankfully) who blesses me to let me do some things for Him and in His name, but Who I also know could accomplish it all without me or anybody else's help, ya know? I dunno... this got a whole lot deeper than I had intended.

I did find this interesting concept, though, which is still sort of in the spiritual line of thought, but more pertaining to temporal relationships:

She had been talking to a friend she met at the Ashram in India about how she believed that an ex-boyfriend of hers had been her soulmate and she's lost him and was now totally at a loss... and here's what her friend said (he calls her Groceries and her ex-guy's name is David):

"He probably was. Your problem is you don't understand what that word means. People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that's holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it. Your problem is, you just can't let this one go. It's over Groceries. "

His whole point was that the point of a "soulmate" (er... somebody you want to call a soulmate but didn't manage to end up with) is to break down some of your personal walls and show you how capable you are of loving and being loved.

I could expound more, but this is already long and ridiculous and I've gotta get ready to go to a proofreading party, so that's all for now...


Most Fridays

Here's a story/memoir I wrote to be turned in to a cultural arts for the Homemakers group I'm a member of:

Most Fridays

There are a million and one different stories I could tell about my childhood. I was a busy child, always interested in many things, with parents who took the time to nurture those interests, so there is far too much to tell without writing a novel or series of novels. I spent time inside closed off in my room playing and listening to music; I spent time outside under my pine-tree playhouse inventing a rope and pulley system to hold my tea kettle over my imaginary campfire. Every day was full of excitement for me as I had the entire world as my own personal tea party, but I think the day I grew to look forward to most back then was Friday. Friday was the day that Pa and Jojo were home.

Before he retired, my grandfather (the aforementioned “Pa”) was a dentist with his own practice. Hygienists came and went, but, at least during my lifetime, my grandmother (Jojo) was his ever-present assistant, finishing his sentences and interrupting his stories each and every day over whoever the patient might be. Every day, that is, except Friday. On Fridays she finished his sentences and interrupted his stories at home because that was their day off and the day that I got to spend with them. Not every Friday was a big adventure. Sure there were times that we would venture into town and once we even went all the way to Nashville to visit Opryland. Most Fridays, though, we stayed within spitting distance of home. And that’s how I preferred it.

In the summertime, I spent a big part of my Fridays outside swinging on the tree swing or wading in “the branch,” a small creek that runs through my grandparents’ land. Some days I would explore the barn loft on the lookout for any new batches of kittens, which I knew I’d never be able to catch but sought after regardless. When I wasn’t or couldn’t be outside, there were always plenty of movies to watch or clothes to play dress up in. It didn’t matter if it was hot or cold, rainy or sunny; there was always something to do. Best of all, though, there was always something to learn. I guess most of the time then, I didn’t realize I was learning things I would hold so dear now, but these are the things that mean the most.

Some things that I learned no one had to teach me. I became well-acquainted with red clay mud stains and their tendency to stick around. I learned that the solidity of the topmost layer on the floor of the barn stall is no indicator of the layers that lie below. In a couple of cases gravity was my teacher as I went sailing off the side of a round hay bale or as I picked myself up from the creek bed having been the season’s unfortunate first and last rider of a grape vine. Once was enough to teach me that when you jump out of a tree your shorts don’t always follow in an intact fashion. When I got older, I found out that the left pedal on a tractor works in no way like a brake (and made it out alive, thankfully) and that riding a tobacco setter gives you a funny one-legged sunburn. There are other lessons that I learned simply by watching and following suit. For one thing, crumbled cornbread in a glass of milk is about the best dessert in the world and hulling green beans isn’t actually as fascinating as it looks.

The lessons I learned affected every sense of my body. I learned that there is nothing more beautiful than a white-board fence row full of bearded iris and that when the afternoon sun hits an herb garden, it smells like a three-course meal. I learned that you can sink up in freshly plowed soil about six inches and the feeling of it between your toes is one of the best feelings in the world. A sound that I grew to love after Pa pointed it out to me was the sound of the old peahen, Big Bird, calling his name: “Cliff-ooord, Cliff-oord!” Maybe, though… just maybe the most affected of my senses was my sense of taste. Jojo’s kitchen held such culinary masterpieces as macaroni ‘n’ cheese made with milk and butter and Velveeta as well as holy little wonders called “drop dumplins.” Be still, my heart!

In the end, though, the sweetest lessons I learned were those that I will forever associate directly with my grandparents themselves. You see, if I had never spent those days with Pa and Jojo, I might have never known that it’s okay for a grandmother to go down a slip ‘n’ slide in her underwear. I might have never learned how to make peanut butter cookies with the criss-cross shape on top or how to crochet. I wouldn’t have known that my grandfather’s favorite poem is “Jenny Kissed Me” or that we share a favorite hymn: “Sweet Hour of Prayer.” I would have never been forced to hug my cousin when we were so mad at each other we would have rather died (a practice which doesn’t seem quite so heinous now since I do actually still love the guy after all). I would have completely missed those lessons on making trips to the feed mill or to Baldock’s Lumber because, sure, we needed some ground feed or nails, but not nearly as much as we needed that Coke and Snickers. And I know that I certainly might need to know someday how to shop for and purchase a bushhog, which I most decidedly would not know had I not skipped the last half of my last day of high school to accompany my grandparents to Ben and Elmer’s. These are all important life lessons and just think what the consequences might be had I not been so blessed to have experienced them all.

Pa and Jojo have a comfortable home filled with wonderful treasures and surrounded by hundreds of beautiful blooming things. They have a decent-sized farm, a few barns, and a nice herd of cattle. I’m sure some people would look at all they have and all they’ve accomplished and ask me what of theirs I’d most like to have someday. I’ve been blessed to have such people in my life and to share them with my sister, 6 cousins, 2 nephews and a niece, and now my own son. I have little pieces of them and their lives scattered all through me. So I think could answer that question very simply: I couldn’t ask them for any more than they’ve already given me.

-Megan Carter


08 February 2008

fast friday

So today has disappeared like a fart in a whirlwind and I really shouldn't be using time to write this post, but I wanted to, so hey...

Just wanted to start posting my daily projects (as I pretty much have a different one every single day).

Here's the first thing that I spent a significant amount of my morning doing was cleaning out my baker's rack. Ugh... what a mess. It's been my catch-all point for about the past year and a half. I also cut out a ton of paper hearts to stick up on the front door as well as the kitchen window. I made a V-day decoration for Scotty's jump-a-roo, but he seemed none too impressed. Ah well... that's a man for, ya.

Yaaaaaaay! I finally put together the highchair. Haven't tried it out yet... he may still slump to one side, but I guess that's what the fancy-shmancy 5-point harness system is for. My little baby all grown up and strappin' in like a race car driver. Yeehaw!

The trashy looking boxes you can see in the edge of the picture there are part of my stockpile of shipping materials for my newfound love of eBay selling. That's right... when you can't find any other place, just stack it up in the kitchen floor (or entrance hall, or office floor, or on the kitchen table, or right inside the bedroom door, etc.).

Just as a side note here (because I'm particularly overjoyed with it), I also FINALLY made myself a designated stitching basket. And just as another bit of a rave... the brand "I Love This Yarn"... well, I love it. "So, it's not just a clever name..."

And here's my latest longer(ish)-term project. This is a scarf that I started at the beginning of the week. I haven't had a lot of time to work on it, but it's about 3 feet long (I think) so far. My grandmother is actually using the same pattern (and the same color thread, I might add), but she left for a cruise this past Saturday, so I STOLE it from her. HA! That's what she gets for going somewhere tropical in February while the rest of us are wanting to hang ourselves by our underwear rather than endure a whole 29 days of gray blah-ness. No, really... today is very pretty and rather un-February like.

...but I'm still jealous.

Anyway, here's the pattern instructions. It's got a lot of stuff about the gauge and all that on there, but I didn't pay attention to it in the beginning and mine is turning out fine regardless.

Size 7.00 mm (K) crochet hook

With crochet hook ch 22. Dc in 3rd ch from hook and in each ch across - 21 dc's (turning ch-3 counts as 1 dc). Turn.

FOUNDATION ROW: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), work 1 dc in next 2 dc's, skip 3 dc's, * work (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) all in next dc, skip 3 dc's, rep from * across, end work 1 dc in next 2 dc's and 1 dc in top of ch-3. Turn.

NEXT ROW: Ch 3, work 1 dc in next 2 dc's, * ch 3, work 1 sc in next ch-2 space, rep from * across, end ch 3, work 1 dc in next 2 dc's, 1 dc in top of ch-3. Turn.

FOLLOWING ROW: Ch 3, work 1 dc in each dc and ch across - 21 dc's counting turning ch-3. Fasten off.


Like I said, I just swiped this pattern from my grandmother, so I don't know who to give credit to. Neither of us created the pattern, but I know somebody out there did. If you see this and recognize it as yours, please let me know so I can give you credit! I think it's gorgeous and had to share it!

(i. e., please don't sue me...)

That's all folks!

Happy Friday!