Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Farewell fall

No, the calendar doesn't yet say fall is over. (edited to add: now it does:) But here in the north we've had enough gentle snows and chilly temperatures to say "winter" is here. At least in spirit.

George burning a fraction of the several tons of leaves raked. ;)

Our Thanksgiving centerpiece!

I found these little trays at Sam's. They are so great for serving things like hummous and pita chips or chips and salsa, crackers and cheese, veggies and dip.

Tim will often complain that I don't explain myself clearly enough. If I needed to be reminded that he is right, this example did it. What I said: "Put the leaves in a bag and take them down to the marsh" What I should have said "Put the leaves in a lawn and leaf bag, take them down to the marsh and empty it, bring the bag back and refill it. " :)

What I am thinking:

"You're beautiful mom!" "Looking good, mom!" Words like this from my children warm my heart, of course. Even though I am decidedly less enthusiastic about my appearance. Sometimes I really wonder HOW they can make such comments. Free from guile, I know they aren't saying it just to win brownie points. And since trying to make someone feel good isn't generally high on their priority list either (I don't say they are unfeeling or uncaring, just that, as children, thoughtfulness isn't a well developed virtue. :)it probably isn't coming from there either.

I know that if a truly beautiful woman walked into a room, my little boys would never notice, or if they did, it wouldn't because of the way she looked. Gabriella may comment "How pretty!" but it would only be if she was wearing something showy. These thoughts have made me appreciate the fact that young children are attracted to beauty mostly because of an emotional attachment to the object of beauty. Or that an object ( or person :) becomes beautiful or attractive to them because of the fond feelings they have for it/them. I can see that many things will become attractive or repugnant to them based on this, many important things. Relationships, their beliefs, what they value. I'm very glad to be beautiful in their eyes because they love me, but I must also be careful that the things I believe are important for them to embrace become beautiful to them by cultivating positive emotions toward them.

Quotes I am pondering:

"On a huge hill, cragged and steep, Truth stands, and he that will

Reach her, about must, and about must go,

And what the hills suddenness resists, win so:

Yet strive so, that before age, deaths twilight,

Thy soul rest, for none can work in that night.

John Donne

Reading, Watching, Listening to:

Almost done reading "The Sisters" The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary Lovell

The lives of different families always intrique me, and this one, although obscure these days, was quite remarkable. They were a family of minor aristrocrats in England, although during WW2 nearly all of these sisters became "cause celebres". Two were fascist ( one called "the most hated woman in England", the other a fan girl of Hitler.) One a popular writer. One a communist, the last, became the Duchess of Devonshire. The whole book is both a fascinating history lesson and a study of family relationships. Of note is that the girls early education was provided by the "PNEU" system, now more popularly called "The Charlotte Mason Method" by home educators.

Listened to: The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maughm. "The Painted Veil" is one of my favorite movies, so I decided to actually read/listen to the book. It was remarkably close to the movie, except for a few things. The story of a spoiled, selfish girl who realizes the depth of character of her husband through adversity is thoughtfully poignant.

Watched: A new series I found at the library is "Royal Upstairs Downstairs" An antiques expert and a chef tour the great houses of England as Queen Victoria did during her reign. While that aspect of it is neither here nor there for me, getting a inside look at those great estates and castles is mind boggling. And what is even more interesting is that the chef goes "below stairs" and cooks up some of the period dishes using cookware, tools and ingredients from that era as well. While the chef (Rosemary Shrager) is a bit embarassingly over-enthusiastic at times, and the visit at each location is a little on the brief side, overall it is a very enjoyable series.

From the kitchen: I tried my hand at making "cake pops" for Gabriella's birthday. I had little princess ( what else?) do-dads that you put on top of them ( ie: the actual "pop" looks like the princesses dress) In that regard, they were cute, but TOO sweet for me. Not for the kids, although I can't say they flew off the plate. :)

From the schoolroom: OFF.FOR.TWO.WEEKS. :)

Comings and goings: Tim will have some vacation time this week, but I'm afraid the bulk of it will be spent carting boys to basketball practices and tournaments. Hopefully, we can eek out a little of it to do something fun ( not that basketball tournaments are not fun. ;) I hope to tackle some household projects (sort books, organize office) and have quiet New Year's celebrations that are relaxing. Christmas-time is fun, but grueling. There, I said it. :)

Streams of consciousness from a mother of 10 who usually can't collect her thoughts and finds commas a nuisance.