Friday, June 20, 2014

Quick takes


I haven't blogged in awhile.  Just .... life.  First I had this awful cold.  Then I got my birthday presents -- two kinds of wool -- so of course I couldn't blog because I was too busy spinning.  John was gone for a long weekend for his brother's wedding.  I looked up Call the Midwife online and discovered I had only five days to watch all eight episodes, so that took up all my evenings for a bit.  And then I stepped on a bee in my yard, and my foot swelled up and itched so that I couldn't do much of anything but try to stay off it.


Which, of course, the kids had no intention of letting me do.  If ever I feel like my average day is a lazy walk in the park and I just sit on my butt all day reading blogs, all I have to do is try a day when I actually try to sit down all day.  Things go to heck unbelievably fast, so I know I must be pretty busy on an average day.  Sure, I do sit around a lot.... in five-minute chunks, maybe.  But there's always someone needing something, and I jump up and down a lot.

Likewise, I don't really feel like I do much housework on the average day, but apparently I do .... because if I skip a day the house looks like a bomb went off and we have nothing to eat, wear, or eat off of.  I guess it's like college.  I always told people I didn't study much, and it didn't feel like I did, but somehow I never had time for other things so I must have been studying.  It's just that when something becomes a habit, you don't really take much notice of it.

What really makes me realize how far I've come is when I think of what used to pass as "acceptable" to me as far as housework goes, and now I do a great deal more, despite having more kids to distract me and more messes made.  I guess I just haven't noticed the progress I've made very much.  I am not at all "type-A" or "driven" or "organized," but you get into a rhythm and after awhile people start saying "how do you do it all?" or "you're a supermom!" and I realize I probably would have intimidated my new-mom self.


Right, so I had a birthday.  I'm 28 now, which kind of boggles the mind, but you know what?  The time has not actually flown by.  I do feel this old.  I think of myself at 18, and I hardly remember what that was like.

I was 18 when I met John, so I asked him if I'd changed much.  He said "a lot."  Apparently his impression of me at the time was that I didn't have very many opinions.  Well, I wasn't as opinionated as I am now, but I think a lot of that is that I was very shy about my opinions.  I was afraid of getting into a debate and getting argued down.  So I politely listened to him talk about the Latin Mass or the Civil War and disagreed with him absolutely, but I just smiled and nodded and asked questions like, "But if the South had won, who would have won World War I?"

I also was just beginning to be okay with emotions again, which meant that I was happy almost all the time, but absolutely prostrate with misery when I wasn't.  I didn't have a lot of emotional reserves.  I seemed shallow, but a lot of that was being very private.  I didn't want to talk about any of the things I felt deeply about (God, Regnum Christi, babies, the fantasy novels I was writing) so I kind of floated on the surface with everyone.  I didn't know how to make real friends, so I stuck with making the acquaintance of everyone.  People liked me, but I was in everyone's outer circle.

I'm really happy about how far I've come.  I have a lot more confidence, more courage, more strength.  I don't mind being opinionated, and I'm not afraid of getting into a debate about it.  My feelings are much harder to hurt, and if they are hurt, that doesn't stop me from keeping on with life.

It's hard to say how much of this is John's confidence rubbing off on me, how much is the strength you get from having kids, how much is from finally dealing with the trauma of Regnum Christi, and how much is just growing up.  But overall I'm pleased with the way I am at 28.

And, yeah, life is pretty good this year.


Have you ever had a bee sting on the bottom of your foot?  It happens to me at least once per year, because I'm an idiot.  I know perfectly well that walking barefoot through the clover is a dumb thing to do, but putting shoes on is such a hassle, so there you are.

Anyway, it never hurts that much at the time, but by the next day the itch is so extreme it's all I can think about.  All I want is to scratch it, but if I do the itch gets a million times worse, until I'm scratching at it madly and can't seem to stop.  I've tried all the treatments: baking soda, toothpaste, witch hazel, lavender oil, lidocaine spray, benadryl.  The benadryl at least lets me sleep at night, and thank goodness I'm not cosleeping these days so I could take it this time.  Nothing else does a lick of good that I can detect.

And, of course, it's not just scratching it that makes the itch a zillion times worse .... walking on it does just the same thing.  Feels nice at the time, especially when I'm walking on grass or carpet, because it scratches the itch, but the second I stop walking, the itch takes over and I'm involuntarily rubbing my foot on the ground to scratch that itch.  I can't seem to resist the impulse, even though I know it'll make it so much worse!  Shoes are just misery, because they touch the itch at every moment and shift around scratching it.

Well, two days later I could walk again without problems, but boy was it unpleasant at the time!


I got the kids a wading pool this past weekend.  It was only $10, and I've been wanting one to get us through some of the intense hot weather we're having.

What didn't occur to me was that now outside time is RUINED.  It used to be that the kids could sometimes play outside unattended because they knew the rules and followed them.  But they cannot be outside with a wading pool and not get in the pool.  And I don't want them to be in the pool unless I'm out there watching them.  So ..... no more kicking them out into the yard while I sweep the living room.

Also, we now have a "shoes in the yard" policy (on account of the bees), so they are doing their unauthorized climbing into the pool not just fully dressed, but with shoes on too.  Sigh.  I dumped it out today so we could get a break from it, but if the heat wave comes back I suppose I will fill it up and deal with the consequences.


So, Iraq is in bad shape, right?  I asked a friend of mine who lives there (well, in Kurdistan, luckily, which is quite stable and safe) what was going on, and she told me she can't understand why it's suddenly all over the American media -- the problems have been going on for six months, she said.  Her guess was that people are pushing Iraq to the front of the news because they are trying to sway public opinion to get us back there, which is as likely as anything.  Certainly I'm seeing more and more people suggest we should at least "do something."

I hate the American urge to "do something."  When the "something" involves military action, what we're saying is, "let's drop some bombs on them to show we care."  That won't cut it for me.  Just war theory requires a number of conditions before we can get involved, and one of those is a reasonable likelihood of success.

Does anyone think we have a reasonable likelihood of making Iraq peaceful in any permanent sense, especially with "just a few airstrikes"?  Our choices are either permanent occupation, or letting the place fall apart again as soon as we inevitably leave again.  If TEN YEARS couldn't do it, what will?

And that's setting aside the fact that Iraq's "legitimate" government under Maliki is hardly free, equal, or democratic, or that it happens to be allied with Iran.  This is Syria all over again -- there are no good guys.  There are bad guys and other bad guys.  If we give assistance against one batch, we are giving assistance to another batch.

No.  I can't support going back there.

Of course, it doesn't matter much what I think.  Obama still has the authorization to use military force which Congress gave Bush in 2002 and never revoked.  So he can waltz in there whenever he likes, and for once it would be perfectly legal for him to do it.

I hate helplessly watching while my government goes and kills people on my behalf.  And then I am expected to be grateful for it.


The garden is just ridiculous now.  We've reached the "jungle" phase of Virginia summer -- steamy heat interspersed with massive thunderstorms and pouring rain.  The plants LOVE it.  My biggest issues are keeping the tomatoes staked and the green beans from wandering everywhere.  The weeds have pretty much established themselves now; I try, but yikes that wire grass is awful.  Cuts up my hands when I try to pull it out, too.

Every single thing I planted has actually grown -- first time that has ever happened.  Usually there's at least one failure, but this time I had a bonus -- a pumpkin vine I didn't even plant growing out of my compost pile and right up the side porch.  Also quite a bit of dill self-seeded itself.  I had quite a bit of spinach before it bolted, more lettuce than I could eat which is now beginning to bolt, a few sugar snap peas to pick almost every day, and scads of chard which will keep producing all summer.  The other day I pulled half a dozen big beets (and oh dear, what a lot of greens came with them) and picked a couple cherry tomatoes.  The tomato plants are covered with flowers and green tomatoes, so the real harvest should be along soon.  The cucumbers, which were late in the ground and slow to get going, have flowers on them.  I picked one early broccoli floret and the cabbages are getting heads.

There is nothing more fun than heading out into the garden at 5 pm and going "shopping" for ingredients for dinner.  And then eating them before they've had a chance to notice they were picked!

I just need more recipes for chard.  I discovered you can make chips out of them, like you do with kale chips, and we like those, but I could still use some more ideas.  We had some in lasagna last night, and some in galettes for breakfast, and if the stuff lives up to its reputation, we'll be eating it for months to come.

Also, does anyone know a trick to keep things fresh in the fridge?  Lettuce especially .... I don't know if I've gotten spoiled, but a few hours in the fridge and it is just not the same.  It's limp and barely worth eating, and I don't know anything to do with wilted lettuce besides compost it.

How has your week been?

More quick takes at Team Whitaker this time, because Jennifer Fulwiler's on break.
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