Just Ordinary Stuff

Gabe had a meeting at work today for just an hour so I decided to go along to pick up a few groceries and to look for shoes at Ross’s. I needed a pair of walking shoes, and as I was concentrating on the selection of very ugly tennis shoes, I heard someone say my name. It was my friend Amy who is also my girls’ piano teacher. Both of us live a half-hour from the Ross’s and we never see each other unless it’s at a lesson. But there she was and she said, “Did you see my text?” Only a few minutes before she had sent me a picture of a sign that she thought I would like in the home decor section. Then as she was checking out she looked up, and there I was. It was random and hilarious.

A group of friends and I are challenging each other to live sugar and flour free for a while. While I was picking up my groceries at Aldi, I kept seeing all the wonderfully affordable treats that of course had sugar in them. When I saw a bag of sugar free crispy chocolate wafers, I thought that I shall have my treat. It wasn’t until I had had a generous serving that I noticed the first ingredient: flour. Well duh. If I was going to cheat, I wished it had been an apple fritter.

When I got home my girls asked me why I bought another pair of shoes. I told them because the Chacos I bought online were too narrow, but I would put them in storage until Olivia can wear them. She tried them on just for fun and they fit her. What is going on with that?

I tried out my new shoes right away today since the sun was shining brilliantly and I needed to breathe fresh air. A while ago I downloaded an app that counts steps. I was not happy to see that it was only counting one mile and a few tenths for the stretch that I always thought was nearly two miles. Today I walked much further than usual, then I took the car and clocked miles and the app was wrong, for the record. I felt instantly healthier and vindicated.

The children are very close to their hundredth lesson in school, which seems like a good time to take a field trip every year. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny so the principal is taking the whole crew skiing. The teacher’s going to stay home and throw pots without any interruptions except the ones she imposes on herself. It’s probably better that way because watching her babies zip off down the slopes gives her mild panic attacks. Also she may need a rest for a few hours with a book considering the strenuous efforts to make sure everyone has their wool socks and their helmets and their goggles and fleece garments and extra gloves for when the first pair gets wet. Also the lunch bag. Edit: this was written yesterday. They went today, all but Olivia who wasn’t feeling well. I did read for a while, and I did throw a whole bunch of pots.

On the pottery end of things, it has been sheer pleasure since the turn of the year, when all I’ve been doing is whatever I felt like. There are a smattering of orders and a few brand new ideas on my drying shelf. I had a 5 gallon bucket full of trimmings and clay bits that had dried out so I took the time to rehydrate them and wedge them into shape so that I could use them again. I’m estimating that it was around 75 pounds of clay that would otherwise have been thrown into the trash, which is a thing that makes my frugal heart rejoice. As far as I know, all potters reclaim their clay bits but I don’t think it’s anybody’s favorite part of the job. Recently I bought a bunch of glaze and a stack of large buckets with lids so my next firing should have lots of fun experiments. Bonus points to those alert enough to spy my footgear. In January.


When my husband asked me what I want for Christmas, I told him I wanted a happy light to keep SAD at bay. Either it didn’t register, or he forgot what I said, but he gave me a really, really good fabric scissors instead, which I promptly named Off Limits. With such a good scissors, I decided I need to add to my fabric stash. The girls were given a whole bunch of beautiful scraps out of my sister’s fabric stash. We’ve been having a blast sewing play-all-day dresses and doll dresses and 9 patches and even funny stuffed animals. Rita has now expanded her family of dolls to five. Whenever she wants another child, she makes one and when she wants it to have curly hair, she pulls the yarn out of the inside of the skein where it’s tightly wound. All of them get tenderly dressed and cared for in her spot under the basement steps where she keeps house for lack of being able to use her squatter huts outside.

I gave myself a present and got 4 years of my blog printed in book form, complete with the pictures in the posts. It came in the mail today with a disappointingly thin paper-back cover, but for the children it’s like reading a diary of their childhood. So far no one has objected that these stories are on the web. Granted, it’s from when they were all quite little and they are amused by the stories, as if they are not the main characters in a family circus.

These days are very different. When the arguments simply don’t get settled without a Google search, (is there such a thing as military grade putricant for stink bombs?) I wonder how my mom did it when we were teens and tweens. She probably said, “Look it up in the encyclopedia,” or maybe she just said, “Nobody may talk anymore.” I do think we learn a lot of things by hashing them through with our siblings as we’re growing up, but my word, it can be exhausting for the mother. What was it they said in Cheaper by the Dozen? “Not of general interest…” Of course I only have one vote, but I have the authority to make it a heavily-weighted vote if I’m simply not interested in a continued discussion as to whether that was a red-shouldered or a red-tailed hawk soaring out of sight. (Also… no, son, we won’t be investing in putricant anytime soon.)

I do enjoy the conversations. It’s a season where we discuss many things more grown-up than we used to. Gregory and I discuss books and authors and I want to pinch myself, because this is one of my favorite conversations ever. I feel like I’m talking to my brother Nate 25 years ago, only I am the one telling him how to pronounce words he knows from his reading, instead of vice versa.

Our most recent audiobook binge has been The Wilderking Trilogy. The story is a fantastical parallel to King David’s story. My middle graders love it, but it’s the kind of tale I enjoy as well. There is a lot of great humor for those tween years, supplied by the Feechiefolk. I can tell it will be quoted many times in the future, especially since they are listening for the second or third time in as many weeks.

My personal re-read right now is Calvin Miller’s memoir, Life is Mostly Edges. Anyone who describes birth as “the umbilical trot that squirts us into the world” has my attention. He summarizes, “It was God who gave me the courage to walk the edges of a life that was never mine.”

So that’s what’s going on these days. The pond is frozen over, perfectly smooth and black, almost safe for skating. We’re drinking a lot of tea with honey and conserving our movements for a few more frozen months. But the days are getting longer, the sun’s rays slightly more direct every day, and I ordered seeds for the garden this morning. We’re doing all right.

And I have a guest post or three coming right up. Stay tuned!