It is a good day to spread joy! The sun has actual heat in its goodnatured rays. There is only a little snow and ice in the backyard, which is easily navigated in puddle boots. This is a good thing, since one of the children lost the felt liner for one of my trusty Sorels. I hung out laundry without snow boots on my feet for the first time in months. We are going to have a picnic at lunchtime, the birds are singing, and we are happy!
Since I packed February so full of activity, I have been doing catch-up in March. I have a teeny weeny little goal of clearing out all closets this month. One is done. About seven to go. I know…It’s probably not going to happen. The problem is an 832 page book that I am hopelessly stuck in as soon as the daily needs are met, and sometimes before. Admittedly, I need help with that.
Last week I got to spend 2 days with my sister in Ohio. I took only the biggest boy along to help with painting her little cubby hole storage closets in their new house. The thing about spending time with your sister is you don’t really have to do anything to have a good time. We did, however, paint the stripes in her crafting room. It took me an hour of figuring with graph paper to mark and mask the first half of the stripes wrong. The problem was a window that broke up the continuity of the wall and complicated the process. In the end, she figured it out with a cell phone calculator and I erased my marks and remasked. All was well, with beautiful fresh stripes of aqua and grey that will inspire creativity for years, I hope.
In the evening we hastily washed off the paint from our arms and left the children with my brother-in-law so that we could attend a Pride and Prejudice play at a nearby high school. It was really well done, and doubly amusing because I kept imagining all the dramas within the drama. I mean, this is a modern group of teenagers with attempted British accents, dressed in Victorian Era costumes. It was rich. The folks sitting directly in front of us seemed to be related to young Mr. Darcy. In the very end, during the quietness of a tender proposal scene, there was a literal snort of hilarity from the gentleman in front of us. I could only imagine how much joshing young Mr.Darcy had to endure later because of his excellent performance.
We lost our painting urge on the second day, and went shopping a bit instead. Of course. I like going to the Amish stores out there with all those rows of solid colored fabrics and practical household items. I like to watch the Amish, too, and eavesdrop on their conversations. I can’t quite fathom how they manage to live so well in such a limited way. It fascinates me, just like a tourist.
My sister took me to a basket shop in a Swartzentruber Amish home. It was scrupulously clean and neat, lighted only by the sunlit windows when she pulled back the navy blue curtains. The lady of the house was frying some lunch on the cookstove in the kitchen, so I frankly stared. This was a flavor of Amish I had never seen. Any surface that required paint was blue, colonial blue. Apparently that is the only color sanctioned by the church for inside use, although their barns are sometimes red. All chairs were wooden, no soft couches, but there was a sort of cot in the living room with a navy blue spread on it. The house had a Shaker feel in its stark simplicity. The only evidence of vanity I could see was a shelf in the kitchen with three colored-glass candy dishes arranged on it.
The baskets they make are Longaberger quality, for about half the price. They are durable and useful, yes, but they are also beautiful, with colorful reeds woven in patterns along with the tans and browns. I wished to visit with this lady, to hear what goes on in her mind, to get to know how she thinks. But I just politely made small talk and paid for my basket.
We had about four hours left in the day before I needed to start home. It was just enough time for me to sew a dress for my sister for her seventh anniversary. I did it in three hours, and it was fun, and the whole trip was fun.
Then I drove home in freezing rain and that was not fun, but it sure was nice to have a place to go and people who were happy to see me again.
I have been writing this post in spurts all day. Now it is nearly bedtime and the children are muddy and exhausted from all the unaccustomed tree climbing and bike riding they did today. Already we found a tick on Olivia, which is disgusting when you consider all the frigidity we have endured this winter. I thought those guys should all be dead.
Anyway, there you have it. It’s what’s been going on, minus a few details. 🙂