Monday, January 31, 2011

Social Interaction

"I could use a little social interaction." (The Grinch, by Jim Carrey)

I love it when someone else says what I mean. The entire scene of this movie shares how the Grinch realizes he is stuck in isolation and loneliness. He needs the other scene, the social scene, and some face time with at best a long lost love (Martha May), at worst, others to annoy and offend. His attempts take quite a while to become successful. But with the help of little Cindy Lou, he is presented and eventually becomes acclimatized to the society of his childhood.

I sometimes feel like that, noticing the need for some social interaction. Talking to myself does not count. A little play time. Not offending or causing havoc, but fun times, laughter, and coffee. And chocolate. Especially chocolate.

Now, must pencil in a date and get social. We need to chat, face to face.

"Of course, when I say we, I mean you." (a different scene, The Grinch)

And me.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Season of Towels

Our closets runneth over. With towels.

When we first returned from France, we had a few towels. They (the towels) have since then been busy in our closets, erupting at every chance into a colorful plethora of absorbent comfort. Well, most are of comfort to me. Some I wish would disintegrate into lint in the dryer. Especially my husband's favorite (very well made, incidentally, and of high quality, or I could have ditched it years ago) blue, faded, edging worn into emptiness, ugly, thick, and never to die towel. Trust me, he would notice if it disappeared.

As I think deep thoughts, I've realized that my life has a towel cycle. I've gone through several seasons (cycles) of towels.

-Living at home with my parents and sharing towels with a family of six made us happy to have a clean, dry towel, any color, size, or pattern. We were not choosy. Just happy to be dry.
-Off to college years provided me with non-color coordinated towels of four of my favorite colors. This season of towels lasted well into our first 10 years of marriage.
-Wedding gift towels (for which I am forever thankful) kept us well supplied for at least 10 years of marriage. I believe there were some we did not use until close to the decade mark. We still (25 years later) have a few stragglers in circulation. Good Depression years training from my parents and grandparents makes me unwilling to throw out any usable scrap of fabric...
-When the aforementioned towels eventually fell to shreds, I went on a purchasing binge that spanned several sales seasons and stocked the cupboards. This season of towels carried us through raising our children and their assortment of friends, relatives, pets, and projects.
-Return from Europe season, featuring a previous purging of all extra towels, clothing, furniture, personal items...the current season of our lives. Middle-aged empty (??? seriously, they still live here much of the time) nesters with weekend kids and a precious grandson keeping piles of laundry rotating through the machines. This season has provided us with a mysteriously growing cupboard(s) of towels, many of which I have never seen before. I put them out for others to check, but no one claims a single towel. There are so many now, I have to sneak them into my grown children's overnight bags in order to clean out a little space. Anything with holes has gone migrated to the garage as engine work rags. Anything ugly and stained is hauled to school for craft and messy project cleanup. The rest lay folded and stacked in several different spots. Plenty of towels for plenty of reasons.

I wonder what season of towels comes next? Will it involve color matching? Super plush or bleachable? Monogrammed or floral? His and her? Bamboo? Natural fibers? Recyclable?

The fun is in waiting to find out. Meanwhile, I'll go fold the towels from the dryer, and try to find a stack that is short enough for a few more on top.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What I Noticed

I was in the noticing mood today. Some things I noticed:

The days are getting longer - it's no longer dark when I get home at 5
My husband loves my hair (best he says) in a very old-fashioned style, reminiscent of high school days
The snow bank in our back yard is ever shrinking, and the cut pine trees perched on top are getting shorter
My daughter texted AND called me today
I actually liked the way my hair curled today (first time this week)
I ate too many M&M's
Listening to The Horse and His Boy brings back great memories of grade school and my in love with horses and books (lifelong) stage
When I first get home after a long day, our house smells like my friend's house in Seattle. Can't figure it out
My family has not called me (extended) this week. My sister texted me once (maybe thrice), I haven't called them either (my fault)
There is more hair around the house than actually on the cat
All 4 of the chain link gates I unlock each day are sagging
Even chipper coffee baristas sometimes are not chipper in the wee hours of the day
Must. have. static. guard. in. the. winter
The moon has been beautifully full and large
My students have been doing awesome work ALL week! I have even caught them being kind to each other
My son checks in every day, by phone, regardless of where he is
I am tired of tater tot casserole
I really need to go shopping
My students are reading all the labels now, looking for grams and ounces
My hearing is definitely getting worse, and accents are much harder to understand
Dividing any candy between 8 students saves me lots of calories
I work in a school where we spent 30 minutes at our teacher's meeting in prayer, and then we were done with the meeting
Dust magically appears in my house
Tuna fish really doesn't smell good. It doesn't look good stuck between the stove and the cupboard either
I forgot to sleep with my nose ring in last night
I am on borrowed time for my mouth guard
Tomorrow is casual day, and I'm going to wear my Army Mom t-shirt
My husband left me a love letter on my mirror
Coffee pots get really gross
God's creation is absolutely amazing in it's intricacy and beauty
Kids cannot move with running and/or screaming. Walking is not allowed at recess
I have an excellent life

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What Do You Like to Read?

I love to read. I have always loved to read. I've spent (at least) thousands of happy hours lost in a book. Most of them good, excellent, or better. A few I've struggled for a bit, not able to get into them, and then plugged along, feeling guilty for wasting the time on something not interesting - and hoping things improve by the end. Now that I am more mature and have less free time, I don't feel too upset if the relationship doesn't work out. Some things are meant to be. Some books are to be read (by me).

The list is ever long and always changing - fantasy and make believe, historical, pioneer, classics, the books instead of the movies, series, comedy, adventure, travel, crafts, life stories,...what am I forgetting? The old comics, things with meaning, idea books, how-to books, children's books (this should be number 1), picture books, award winning books (Caledcott and Newberry, not necessarily the New York Times #1 Best-selling Books List, yikes)...some mystery (especially Nancy Drew-ish), horse books (never did grow out of that), new authors that have great style and imaginations, books by friends,...I like to follow author's. I've convinced my 2nd-3rd graders that Jan Brett is an amazing author and illustrator. She is. So is Madeline L'Engle and C.S. Lewis and Donita K. Paul and Terry Brooks and Eric Carle and once I even discovered a book by Madonna that was good (Mr. Peabody's Apples), but I haven't read anything else by her, and I probably wouldn't have picked it up if I had noticed the author. Not to say that she can't write, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Too many books to list. I need a personal library, with lovely comfy chairs, great lighting, a fireplace, good tables, excellent coffee, and beautiful views from the windows. Well, I can dream, can't I?

Another source of great books? Of course, Woman's Missionary Union and New Hope Publishers. Some excellent books for many different ages. I have many, many of the books sold by WMU and New Hope. It's not fair to talk about books without telling where I've found fabulous reading.

I started thinking about books after reading a devotion in The Daily Bread. It was about an author who was often told by various friends, "I have a book I want to write." He replied, "That's a worthy goal, and I hope you do write a book. But it's better to be one than to write one." (Daily Bread, January 18, 2011, by David Roper)

Hmmmm. I know what I like to read. But what kind of book am I? When others look or talk to me, what do they read in me?

"Clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart." 2 Corinthians 3:3

I wonder. What kind of book am I?

Monday, January 17, 2011

fake spring

What? The snow is all melted. Ok, the snow mountains in the front and back yards are still there, just much, much smaller. Roads are clear, except for piles of gravel and sand. Chinook breeze (and gale force blasts) have been blowing all day. Blue skies. Beautiful moon and stars. Walked out this morning to go get coffee with my coat on. Went right back inside and put it away. A thin sweater is more than enough. No gloves, scarf, or hat...Sunglasses were required. No heat necessary in the car. Iced coffee tasted superb.

All this fake spring (it IS still January, and not even the end of the month). My computer reads 50 degrees right now. It's almost 7:00 PM. In the fall, we call the short blast of summer before the real autumn Indian Summer. So what do we call the reverse in January where winter disappears for a short while and it seems to be spring??? Surely not Indian Spring! I think I"ll call it Pseudo-Spring.

It must be about time for a recurrence of winter. Blizzard, frigid temps, nasty roads, foggy and minimal line of sight, dangerous sidewalks, icicles, shoveling, hot cocoa...

I'm not putting away my sweaters just yet. No. Winter is not over.

Monday, January 10, 2011


slushy, icy, slippery, freezing, snowy, windy, sunny, rainy, slick

cold, warm, mild, frigid, blowing, snowing, cloudy, foggy, hazy, damp

brown, white, green, black, muddy, frozen, mucky, peaceful, hazardous, austere


crunchy, splashy, studded, squealing, noisy, spinning, whirling, silent


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Mama and Papa Bear

The great mattress flop. Sounds like an adventure or bad epic movie, right? Nope. Just life as usual for the Q's.

Flashback - Just a little over a year ago, the newly 'homed' Quantrell's found themselves in need of a bed. Forgetting that over the last almost 25 years they had required a king size bed, they decided to downsize to a queen. Note to self and all other bear families. Do. Not. Downsize. Beds.

Previous new mattress set = Pillow top. Tall. Ultra cushy. Expensive. Heavy. Beautiful with antique headboard acquired in our home transaction.

Back to the present - After realizing that the 2 nana and papa bears, the grandson bear, the cat bear, and any of the above combinations do not fit nicely on a queen bed, the Q bears decide they will buy each other a king mattress set for Christmas. And make it firmer, in order to be more comfortable and not as body dent-full. Reality check says since, the bears always required stretching space due to the 6'2" papa bear, they need to think wisely and not change that.

Fast forward - Cringing, at purchasing yet ANOTHER mattress set in barely one year, the Q bears found a great ??? deal on a king mattress set. Firm. HUGE. Roomy. Short (height) for the shrinking Nana Bear (Nana Bear had to crawl UP onto the queen bed).

Steps 1-25: Search entire town for best deal and what the Q bears need. Purchase bed. Transport bed. Rearrange entire house (deep clean under all beds). Play musical mattresses as beds are shifted from room to room to garage and back again. Do all associated laundry. Make several beds. Test beds. Sleep poorly for several nights as the Q bears adjust. Hard for Papa and Mama Bear to find each other in the large bed. Cat bear has plenty of room. The Q bears finally settle in. Plan for Grandson Bear to test it out soon. Sigh with relief.

Out with the Nana Bear bed. Too soft and squishy. Baby bear bed definitely too small. In with the Papa Bear bed.

Ahhhh. Just right.