Monday, August 30, 2010

It's Coming Along

Decorating by committee is a very slow process.  I could have done all of this in one day like I've always done but when my husband retired he decided he wanted to help. Now that's nice and all but what does it mean?

How a woman hangs a painting: It involves a hammer and nail probably barely big enough for the job and holding up  the picture to where we think it looks "about right", hammering in nail, realizing it's off a few inches, removing nail and starting over.  We know of course, that the offensive extra holes will be covered by the art we're hanging and if not, then spackle is a girl's best friend. Besides, right after this we have to make dinner and wash a pile of clothes.

How a man hangs a painting: The process begins with a lengthy evaluation of the contents of the workshop. A nail is not appropriate for the job and just the right screw must be found. Locate drill. Find appropriate bit. Locate measuring tape. Locate stud (This is the all important step). Do I need to go on? You can see where this is going. There is an inordinate amount of time spent tapping the wall, measuring, remeasuring and having me sit across the room to see of it looks okay. Bless his heart he wants to do it for me AND involve me which seems like an inefficient use of manpower but I'm keeping my mouth shut, sort of (does saying, "This is an inefficient use of manpower" count?).

The room we are redoing is a man room, the den. So it's all about football, geneology, and Civil War relics.

It's a little "art gallery" for me, but hey...if it makes him happy.

This wall will eventually have a very masculine distressed leather sofa, if I can find what I'm looking for.

Next up: fireplace makeover.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Kissing Frogs

My daughter is newly engaged to an adorable guy who we really like a lot. I think they're a great match and I have to say when my husband immediately got involved in the wedding plans that was a pretty good sign; just for fun though let's go over how we got here. What did she pass up along the way?

My all time favorite (I need a dripping in sarcasm font) was the atheist, football hating, (FOOTBALL HATING!) "what we need is another government program", Yankee that she had to drive everywhere because his license was revoked (DUI). Gosh, I thought he was a keeper. He was a lot of fun, though. Or should I say we HAD a lot of fun with him. As soon as he came in the door my husband and I began this conversation (imagine an accent straight out of Deliverance):

Him: Baby, kin ya run down to the corner store and pick me up a six pack o' beer an' git a couple o' them lottery tickets while your at it, and maybe some pork rinds?

Me: I done tol' ya. I ain't goin' to the dang store to git yore beer and lottery tickets, I'm a fixin to miss Dog the Bounty Hunter and I think some o' yo folks is gon' be on there.

Him: Ain't so. They was a sayin' they was gwin to be on that there Cops again.

Me: Well, hell. I don't know how come ya can't put a shirt on and run down thar yourself. It ain't like yore a doin' nothin' important like watchin' Nascar.

As I say, it really was great fun.  He didn't stay around long. We never did quite figure out what ran him off.

There were a number of unambitious "I don't know what I want to do" types.  A severe misstep when the girl is so fond of decisiveness and a plan. There were a couple who were darling and sweet as pie but...well, not too bright, he does need to be able to keep up with the conversation and understand that sarcasm in this house is an art form. Some of them were croaking loud enough from the beginning never to seriously be in the running.  And what did Mama do during all this? Nothing. I kept my comments to myself unless asked, knowing that...

she would make her way through the swamp, which she did and eventually ended up on a lovely beach.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Frog, Frog, Frog...Prince!

I like him. That's the good news. The better news? My husband likes him. Oh, and she loves him so, you know, that's a bonus too.  My daughter is engaged. He's a real prince and let me tell you, she kissed a lot of frogs to find him (more about some of them later).   From where I sit it's almost enough to make me believe in soul mates and happy endings and happily ever afters... oh, how I want to. But having just celebrated a twenty-seventh anniversary I know it's likely to be a lot of hard work in between the magic. Let's don't think about all that today, though. Today let's think about sunsets and endless possibilities and a fresh start with an entire lifetime ahead to get it right.  (Humor me just this once.)

On a related note: Do I, The Housewife, promise to have and to hold my blog keeping it from becoming an all wedding all the time borefest, keeping myself (mainly) to the regular snarky commentaries and forsaking the temptation to vent every nuptial related decision, as long as me and my blog shall live?

...I do.
But would you want me to let you miss this?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pressure Cooker Childhood

Once again John Rosemond is the voice of reason in his Weekly Column (8/17/2010). Do we really need an expert to tell parents, and in this case grandparents, that it's alright for a 4 year old not to want to write his name or anything else for that matter? Has the importance of play been discarded altogether? When did flashcards replace mud puddles? When exactly did we decide that letting a child have a moment to think his own thoughts was a waste of time? We are doing our kids and especially our boys a great disservice by expecting things of them they are not ready for. Reading is a stretch for many boys even in the first grade, we'd get better results and the process would be easier for most of them if we let them wait until later. The fine motor skills needed for writing isn't developed enough at 4 in most boys to make that a reasonable expectation and add to that the fact that they are required to sit and be quiet and still for hours on end (with many schools shortening and in some cases doing away with recess) and we are setting them up for frustration if not failure.

In this scenario the child has more sense than the adults. Rosemond also endorses an excellent book that I consider a must for parents, The Hurried Child by  David Elkind. I recommend it because if parents would pay attention to what he has to say, children could be saved from much damage and frustration at the hands of overzealous, misinformed adults. And would it really be so bad if not only children, but their parents slowed down and took a moment to breathe, think, or converse someplace besides in the car on the way to soccer practice?

Many experts warn parents that some of these pursuits are too ambitious and in some cases harmful, but the calls for restraint seem to be going unheard.  Does a preschooler need French? Does a middle-schooler really need a personal coach? I can't help but wonder if childhood has gotten more competitive or if parenting just has.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Something Old, Something New

These two don't have a clue.
Twenty-seven years ago today we got married and it was hot. No, no, I mean literally it was really hot. The south in August? What were we thinking? Oh yeah, that we couldn't live without each other or something. We did have the good sense to get married
My Valium induced daze.

 indoors at least.  I wore one of those tragic Princess Di-wanna-be gowns, the theme for hair and clothes for that decade was "the bigger the better".  My mother passed out Valium to me and my bridesmaids at the church. It was lovely, well... the parts I remember.  It was also brief. My soon to be husband had one request, "Keep it short".  In true man fashion he was mostly interested in getting through the ceremony without any major mishaps like lighting my veil on fire with the unity candle and getting on with the honeymoon.

So here we are many, many years later. What we've learned would probably fill several books. How's it been? That would depend on the day you asked. Christmas morning with adorable children jumping on the bed to wake us up: fun. Nights with both of them sick: exhausting.  Lost in London looking for the site of William Wallace's execution: frustrating.  Trudging through snake infested waters dragging a canoe because the river disappeared for 2 miles while I was pregnant: terrifying.
Racing each other down a ski slope in the Rockies: exhilarating. Some days everything I said to him: irritating. Some days everything he said to me: infuriating. Watching our daughter graduate from college and our son graduate from high school recently: satisfying. The fact that we still enjoy kissing after all this time...surprising (unless you are our kids then it's disgusting). 

There were days when we didn't want to talk to each other and days we didn't want to talk to anyone else. There were a couple of times we nearly gave up, and periods of time when we would have given Dr. Phil a headache.  G.K. Chesterton must have been thinking about times like those when he said  "All human vows, laws and contracts are so many ways of surviving with success this breaking point, this instant of potential surrender. In everything on this earth that is worth doing, there is a stage when no one would do it, except for necessity or honor."                                        

We look back on a couple of those times now and think..."wow, that was close".  Now, we're both still alive so we're not quite able to call it a complete success yet, but the odds seem to be improving, right?

Monday, August 9, 2010

I'm Whining, Okay?

I've been living a lie.  I'd like to be completely honest with you (since we've become so close and all) so I feel the need to confess. I was going to use my closet as a makeshift confessional but if you saw my previous post entitled "How Much is Enough?"  you'll understand why that didn't happen.  Now my Dear Reader, take a deep breath and brace yourself....I have recently purchased and have been wearing for some time...reading glasses.  Shocking, I know. Are you okay? Perhaps I should have told you to sit down, but you are at your computer (so I assumed...). I put it off as long as possible, then I hid it.  Recently I decided to come out,  so here I am. What fun to get to add glasses to wrinkle cream. I am simply beside myself. 

My daughter has been trying to get me to give up the illusion of being able to read at a normal distance for some time. "Mom, it's no big deal I wear them because my eyes get tired after a while and it helps." Well OF COURSE it isn't a big deal to the 24 yr. old. When she puts glasses on to read people are going to see; intelligent, adorable, and sexy like the secretaries in movies who take off their glasses and take down their hair and are instantly transformed into ravishing beauties. Uh huh. At my age when I put on glasses people are going to see one thing: OLD.  Although in these pictures I'm contemplating whether they make me look smarter...I think I just look confused, don't you?

Now I must admit the ability to look over my readers at someone is a very powerful move.  What's better than looking old? Oh yes, looking old and authoritative, and angry (and on a really bad day, possibly bitter).  Now I know that those of you who wear glasses all the time don't see the big deal and just think I'm whining...but a lot of the aging process are things I have some amount of control over.  That control thing, I really like that. 

I've always read and watched television at the same time. I know, I know that is technically multitasking which we all know I can't quite pull off but let's move on.  One night about 2 years ago I was reading and looked up at the TV screen and .....I couldn't see it. It was blurry! Now my first reaction was that I thought I'd had a stroke or blown a blood vessel or something truly terrible, but when I later relayed the story to a friend she said, "How old are you?"  When I told her she said, "Oh well that just happens with age."  All casual just like that.  Like it's nothing.  Oh it's something!  I'm actually kind of surprised at myself for making such a big deal out of it. Oh, if you could could have heard me  20 years ago or even 10. I used to say the most absurd things like - "When my hair goes gray that's it, I'm not coloring it!"  What was I thinking? I can't imagine, and neither can my hairdresser.  I now say the same thing about all sorts of other things and wonder how long I can hold out on those.  

Like I said at the beginning, whining.  Sorry, but when did I say I wasn't shallow and vain? 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

It's Not a Lemon Cupcake

Well darn. I realize that on  The Professor and the Housewife  "about" page I said I would post the occasional recipe.  We are going to have much more luck with that when the weather cools off, y'all. When the temps are in the triple digits the most that can be expected of this housewife is for me to assemble food.  

One of my favorite things in the whole world is a lemon cupcake from a local bakery called Muddy's Bakeshop . But a girl can't have cupcakes every day (actually she can, but not if she wants to keep fitting in her cute jeans) so I've created a healthy little substitute to satisfy my craving for all things lemon.  

First you need to round up the usual suspects...okay some of you might call them ingredients: 

lemon (zest and juice)
freshly grated nutmeg

(Mine comes in a box but if we are all very nice, I have a  friend {Let's call her The Food Maven} who might share her delicious recipe for granola with us.)

Do I really need to tell you what to do here? Well, your brain COULD be on overload from stretching it  with Professor J.  Okay, put the yogurt in the bowl, squeeze in the lemon juice, add the lemon zest, nutmeg...(still with me?)

and top with granola.  If you use vanilla yogurt it'll taste just right if you use plain you may need a tiny amount of powdered sugar to offset the lemon. 

I know, I know, it's not a cupcake. But it is guilt free and delicious AND you don't have to cook it. 

There you go, a big bowl of lemony happiness to tide you over until you can get a cupcake. Pucker up!