Esther’s laughing at me…

a rainy day…cold outside, but i have the woodstove going strong.  Its one of those days when i feel smugly cozy here in my earthship house, my bare feet padding around on my heated concrete floor. I have a roast in the oven…and I have been making cookies since I have the oven going already.

its one of those ‘little house in the big woods’ kind of days…

as i was scraping butter wrappers while making cookies, i was sure my mother in law was snickering at me.  After i scraped the wrapper of all excess butter, i put that in the cookie dough and used the wrapper to grease the cookie sheet…and then i was pretty sure she was openly laughing at me.

you see, Esther and i… we were two very different people.  When I met her, she was in her 60s and set in her ways.  She had grown up during the Great Depression.  To say that Esther was conservative is…well, conservative. Her home was her domain- her kitchen especially, and everything was always in its place.  In my young mind (I was 25 when i first met her), she was impossibly old fashioned.  Esther did everything she did very methodically, very thoroughly and very well.  I, on the other hand, tended to fly by the seat of my pants in those days, making quick work of most anything.  She saved everything…the inside wrappers of cereal boxes, string, saran wrap that had been used previously, Velveeta cheese boxes and a myriad of other things.  She didn’t believe in microwaves, or coffee makers or ‘store-bought’ bread, preferring to bake her own bread, and boil her water on the stove.

I really never appreciated Esther’s conservative nature.  In fact, i scoffed at it in my mind, favoring all the things she eschewed.  Where she would make a package of chocolate chips last thru several batches of cookies, i relished dumping a whole bag into a single batch.  We were just different.

She passed away a few years ago, and it has only been recently that I have caught myself “schpauring” (the “au” has a sound like “aahh” in your throat).  Esther was full German and that was her word for ‘saving for the hard day’.  Schpauring was applicable to saving leftovers, or to storing a pair of worn out shoes for the day you didn’t have money for a different pair.   I reuse ziplock bags, and i store receipts in an old Velveeta box…and we aren’t so different anymore.

So Esther, rest well…the last laugh is on me.

beginnings and endings

a dear friend recently commented (we were discussing knitting) that beginning and ending a project were the hardest…the beginning because you were learning the pattern and reading directions etc, and the ending because you were letting go of something.

I tend to think that most beginnings and endings are difficult…

take vacations for example… as much as i like to think of myself as spontaneous, i am not really…i am a ‘closet-planner’.   My husband, on the other hand, is a spur of the moment person, who can decide on the way to a neighboring town for a grocery trip that we should all travel to Seche Hollow to see the fall colors…with 3 kids all under the age of 12 (one in diapers). This is a true story.  Let’s keep in mind that neither of us actually knew where Seche Hollow was, we had no clothes packed and about $125 between us (in an age before debit cards, credit cards, GPSs and cell phones).  His reasoning was ‘we are already heading in the right direction’.  And if we didn’t go right then, we would ‘miss the fall colors’.  Call me crazy, but after i stopped hyperventilating at the mere thought, i went along with it…reasoning that it would be >fun<.  Now that was a difficult beginning… we did make it to Seche Hollow, after a number of wrong turns, one down a section line and into a cow pasture (my husband REFUSES to ask anyone for directions- but that is a whoooole other blog post!).  And the colors were beautiful, the trees magnificent and the quiet was sacred…and it was hard to turn around and go home.

relationships can present some challenges in the beginning…some difficulties.  The normal ones are usually:

  • does he think i’m pretty?
  • did he really mean to slam the door in my face?
  • could i learn to handle his (insert annoying habit here)?

in our case, it was “why does he KEEP driving past my house in that loud pick-up!?”

Ending relationships is always hard, i think…whether a friendship, a business relationship, a marriage.  Always difficult to end, to say that you have learned all you could from one another, to admit that this is no longer serving the purposes that it was created for, to let go for another…always hard.

beginning something new…jumping in…in that moment, you are making a commitment to explore something different…to build something.  Whether its me trying to knit socks (which i have back-burnered for the time being), a new job, riding in a hot air balloon for the first time, or a new creative piece- you are finding your way…learning…and there is so much hope, fear, excitement, wonder…

i like beginnings best.