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Oct
28
2010

Thoughtful Thursday

This will likely be my most controversial post to date so buckle up.  The following paragraphs might render comments I refuse to approve, depending on my mood. I might even get an email or two.  And when it hits facebook, I might see my followers number decline.  But, all I can say is: it was inevitable.

I am going to talk about Hallowe’en (and likely some other things too). And not in the general sense that it is a holiday. Which it is.  Or that I love it.  Which I do.  And I will go ahead and tell you what prompted this post, and what some may see as a rant. And those that see this as a rant, have never actually seen me rant ;)

NOTE: Since I wrote this I edited it to add some pictures I found of Hallowe’ens past.  Such sweet memories.  They are in no particular order.  Enjoy!

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I was in Wal-Mart yesterday afternoon killing time, buying a few groceries while Ben was in Chemistry class.  I was milling around the Autumn/Halloween section, disgusted mostly by the amount of plastic crap, when I hear this voice.  The kind of voice that makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.  That horrible grating twang of a grown man who insists on using phrases like “ain’t got no”, “you done it”, “I seen it”.  I am immediately put off by his grammar and his tone.  His little wife, a very petite woman in a dress and with her hair pulled into an extraordinarily tight bun, was pushing the shopping cart in front of him and she made some comment about the pretty Autumn wreath she stopped in front of.  And this gargantuan man says in a very gruff and loud voice “We ain’t a-gettin’ no Halloween stuff.  That’s the Devil’s day.  Woman, get a move on.”  I wheeled around to look at his face hoping he was making a joke or kidding.  But he glared right back at me with a very stern look on his face. And his poor “woman” looked like the chickens had got her biscuit.  Sheepish.  Embarrassed.  Just beat down.  Yes, I muttered a verbal abuse.  Yes, I questioned whether his parents were married when he was conceived.  Yes, he probably heard me.  No, I didn’t care.  Why are people like that?  You could tell he was just a barrel of laughs ALL. THE. TIME.  And that poor woman was in too deep to claw her way out.  And maybe she is perfectly happy being spoken to like she’s an idiot in public.  But all I could think was if he talks to her like that in public, how must he treat her in private?  I know, I know, none of my business.  NONE. My second thought was what a MORON.  Hallowe’en is not the Devil’s Day.  Not at my house anyway.  I knew, though, if I had the rest of my life I would have never had an intelligent conversation with him and furthermore, I didn’t care what he thought or believed.  But the fact that people, lots of people, are afraid of Hallowe’en has always baffled me.  Lots of things baffle me, though.

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Hallowe’en was a big deal to me as a kid.  It was my favorite holiday.  Still is.  All the fun, food, family and no pressure of gifts!  It’s not that I don’t love to buy for people, I do!  But it is a lot of pressure for some people and very stressful.  But all that is beside the point.  My point  is Hallowe’en is not evil.  Evil people may celebrate Hallowe’en.  They also may celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah.  There are evil people in all walks of life.  Some of them even walk around verbally abusing their wives in Wal-Mart and they HATE Hallowe’en.

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I hate generalizations.  And I am just as guilty as anyone at times.  But it irks me about myself and I try to keep a lid on it.  I really and truly do try to meet people as individuals.  And I don’t think any less of people who choose not to participate in Hallowe’en, even if I disagree with their reasons.  Those are THEIR reasons, therefore, none of my business.  And as long as they don’t try to convince me how evil I am for donning my witch hat in public one or two days a year (two parties this year – YAY!) then we will get along fine :)

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This was Hallowe’en 2000

Yes, I know what we celebrate as Hallowe’en today started as a religious holiday for Celtic pagans.  I have read lots about Hallowe’en and its origins.  But not much scares me and I don’t have a problem with those facts.  There are so many superstitions that were passed down to me by my aunts and uncles and grandparents that I learned not to let things frighten me.  In fact my grandfather, Daddy Tom to me, wouldn’t have liked it one tiny little bit that I own a black kitty.  He was scared to death of them!  My Daddy Tom was Irish/Scottish and whisky was his drink of choice.  Nowadays he would have been in jail or meetings but back in the day, he carpentered all day, and drank all evening.  And please PLEASE do not think I am speaking ill of him.  I loved him very much and he worshiped the ground I walked on.  He was my best friend when I was a little girl and when he died he was building me a country fair in his back pasture, complete with a ferris wheel.  By the time I came along he had stopped drinking and was legally blind from glaucoma.  But when he was a much younger man, drinking and driving was common.  I think drinking and anything was pretty common with him :)   Anyway, he had a bad car accident – bad for the car, he wasn’t hurt badly.  And you know what caused it?  A black cat.  Yep.  A black cat walked across the road in front of him and he panicked.  There is no way it could have been the fifth of whisky he drank.  Nope.  It was the cat.  Poor kitty. He was also deathly afraid of frogs.  That one I can’t explain.  Frogs??? Pretty harmless I think.

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Did you know that if you see a spider on All Hallow’s Eve, it is a dearly departed relative coming by to check on you?  Well, if you had grown up in my house, you would have known that ;)   My mom’s side of the family was a mixture of “old country”  and lapsed Catholics.  So tradition and celebration ran deep.  Things that people find offensive and evil about Hallowe’en were so much a part of my childhood, that I didn’t have any idea of any controversy until I was grown up.  When I was a kid, I went to Hallowe’en parties at CHURCH!  I won a costume contest when I was in the 7th grade at the Methodist Church Hallowe’en Party.  And what did I go as?  A black cat!  Dang, that was a cute costume!  Probably the one time in my life I didn’t go as a witch.

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I guess I should just get to my point.  If I can remember what it was.  Oh yeah, you can make something evil out of anything.  You can suck the fun right out of everything if you try hard enough.  Remember when I say this, where I am coming from and, please know, that if you believe the complete opposite, I accept that.  I won’t try to convince you I am right and you are wrong.  Everyone is entitled and, by law, has a right to their own beliefs.  That includes Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Pagans, Agnostics, Atheists, and everything in between.  Hallowe’en is not a religious holiday for me.  It’s not what I was taught. It is for some.  Christmas is not a religious holiday for some.  Even those that profess Christianity.  They see it is as evil.  Ruined by Santa :/ I was pretty old before I realized it was religious for some people. Christmas was all about Santa in my family. I happen to love the jolly old elf!   As an adult I realized I appreciated this about my family:  they may have been heathens, but  they weren’t hypocrites!  I say this to point out that you can’t lump people into categories with any accuracy.  You can, I suppose.  But you shouldn’t.  I have friends from ALL beliefs.  I love hearing about how they celebrate.  Their family traditions.  Some of those celebrations I wish I took part in.  Or could see firsthand.  I am fascinated by what makes people tick.  What makes them believe what they believe. And yes at times I have shook my head and thought what???  I am also fascinated by the fact that some people think what they believe is the only thing anyone should believe.

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There was just so much I never realized was taboo.  Don’t get me wrong, I was raised with rules and manners.  Keep your skirt down, your elbows off the table, your hands clean, your teeth brushed, your room picked up.  Do not talk back to your elders.  Follow the rules at school.  Make the best grade you are capable of.  If asked, tell the truth even if it gets you into trouble.  In fact always tell the truth.  Don’t hit people.  Don’t tell lies about people.  Be sure what you are about to repeat is not just gossip, that’s a waste of time and hurtful.  Always look out for the person who has no one else to look out for them. Stand up for people who don’t have the power to stand up for themselves.  Being poor is not a sin, or a stain on one’s character, but not sharing what you have is.  Do not mistreat animals or people, especially people less fortunate than you are.  There will always be someone who has more than you, but that doesn’t make them better than you.  It’s not what happens to you in life, it’s how you handle what happens to you.  At times these truths have escaped my judgment but I have never forgotten them.

What I wasn’t taught was that my idea was the only idea, that what I believed was right for everyone, that just because your mouth opened and shut did not make it a prayer book.  I am not sure exactly how that last one translates literally, but I heard it a lot and I got the gist.  I also learned that if my mom could find a cookie cutter for something it must a holiday and we were going to celebrate!

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My dad was raised Methodist and, periodically, we went to church when we were little, and even some after I was in high school.  But never on a regular basis.  When I was 9 my dad sobered up through AA and we all became friends of Bill W.  So that was our “religion” for many, many years.  And it kept our family together and my parents together and never once did I ever hear anyone browbeat or told what a horrible sinner they were for their relationship with the bottle.  Most of the people I met through AA had already been to Hell and not much scared them.  They were the most spiritual people I have ever known.  And I am very thankful they were there to prop my dad up instead of condemning him.  And of course I learned the Serenity Prayer, as every good meeting goer.  But I never once thought of the God of the prayer being just one certain one.  I figure  if a Hindu man or woman showed up needing a meeting, he or she would be welcomed with a hug, and quite possibly the worst coffee made by human hands.  I don’t think anyone would have thought twice if that person had added a name to God or even said gods.

I did have another point??  I suppose it would be if you don’t judge me for my religion or lack of religion, and even if you do, I won’t judge you for yours.

Happy Hallowe’en to all my secular friends. Merry Samhain to all my pagan friends.  Blessed All Hallow’s Eve and All Saint’s Day to my Christian friends.  If you don’t do any of them…Happy Thursday.  And have a wonderful weekend.

Aug
24
2010

I am not going to let Facebook ruin my blogging!

Seriously.  I find I update my facebook page and feel like I would be repeating myself here! Not so.  Plenty of people have not gone the facebook route.  Many times I wish I hadn’t! So I am going to make it right!  Starting today!  I am going to catch y’all up on what has happened in my life since I last posted and reinstate some things that kept me writing and hopefully you reading!

WOW, where to start? Go ahead and get that cup of coffee or tea and a biscuit and have a seat, this may take a while!  And I will try not to confuse you and keep my timeline straight.

It honestly isn’t like I have been holed up not living life.  Au contraire, mes amis! This Summer of 2010 has been crazy busy!  Gardening, mowing, kids, grandkids, short adventures, long adventures.  I will admit the cooking bug has been squashed in this horrible endless heat.  We have had so many days over 100 and even a couple with the heat index into the 100-teens.  I don’t know all the statistics but July broke records for heat and drought in my area.  I will never believe anyone who says “But it was a dry heat so it wasn’t so bad.” BULL!  Hot is hot.

Last time I posted was my birthday.  And it was a very very good birthday indeed.  Big OLD 51.  Not a milestone but something about starting on the second half of a century is kinda mind blowing.  I got this great wagon from Jerry.

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Isn’t she a beauty?  We have already put her to much use hauling pears from our one, insane pear tree.  These pears are inedible unless you are a raccoon or a possum.  And I forget how many Jerry said he hauled the last day he picked them up but it was a ridiculous amount.  They are gone and now the mama raccoon and her four little bandits are eating our cats’ food like crazy!  When Jerry gets home, if they are still around we are going to trap and relocate them before someone (namely Mo, Julius or Siobhan) gets hurt or killed.

Okay, so August moves along ~ rapidly it seems!  Jerry headed back to Tunisia the Monday after my birthday.  Here are a few pictures of the highlights of August. On the gardening subject, I have started some tomatoes I hope will be winter/greenhouse tomatoes.  This is a new thing for me.  I will see how it goes.  This is an early picture.  They are still alive, and have 6 little leaves, so that is a good sign, right?

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Oh and I have new overalls!  I bought these for myself – sort of a birthday present – sort of I fell in love with them and needed them!

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And the color is coffee!  Perfect!  And of course I needed new rubber boots and have been needing them for forever.  The ones I have are so dang heavy I can’t walk very far in them without getting leg cramps!

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Cute huh?

Okay, let’s see.  OH both girls, Hannah and Rachel started college yesterday.  That is sort of getting my cart before my horse in the timeline but it is pertinent to the next bit of what is going on and what will be going on.  So yes, they are both Northwestern State University Demons as of yesterday.  Hannah is in Accounting.  Rachel in Fine Arts.  I am sure as time goes on, they will provide me with tales to tell!

With Rachel starting college, she is dropping the baking biz all together.  That was a given.  Baking does not fit in her very busy schedule.  So I did this order all by myself last week.

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NOT FUN by myself!  Yes, that’s 16 boxes you count!  Petit fours, decorated cookies, mini Bakewells, cream wafers, chocolate chips…but it all turned out lovely and the customer was very very happy.

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The person I made all this for is a friend from way back and she called yesterday to say it was all a hit.  So happy to hear that!  And I have a little baking order today and one for this weekend for family and I will try to get postings made of those.  But I learned a lot doing this big (to me) order by myself.  One thing, I want/need help for something that big.  Two, it’s not that much fun working in the kitchen by myself on something so important.  Three, I miss making soap.

There I said it.  I have been saying it to myself for 6 months. And to Jerry for almost that long.  Just blurting it out every now and again in the middle of a discussion that has nothing to do with soapmaking.  Then I would follow up with “I don’t mean that do I?”  I know how much he hated how the soap took over our house before.  Here is just a small example.  Look at all the soap stuff! My poor kitchen!

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He even built me a shoppe.

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And still there were oils in every corner, soap curing all over the place.  Stacks of wrapped. Girls wrapping soap.

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Boxes waiting to be mailed.  UPS delivered something nearly every day. And this was a picture of my porch ONE DAY the week before Christmas 2007:

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The post office sent a separate truck to my house. They were so excited!  So was I – as far as I know not ONE mistake in that day’s shipping!  Business was so good and then along came MaryJanesFarm!  WOW.  Amazing.

And then my mom got sick. And everything changed.  Everything.  Soap was WAY down on my list of things that mattered.

When I sold the internet part of my business and forwarded my wholesale customers information about the new owners, I agreed not to go back into the internet soap business and compete with the people I sold that part to.  However, I just learned last week that they are no longer making soap to sell.  And have closed their internet shop.  I found this out when an old customer of mine emailed me to say the site was down, she had been ordering from them since I closed, and I sent out an inquiry to try and help her get what she needed.  I got a response that said “I am still making soap, just not selling it at present.We have closed down the web site and do not now for the time being have an internet presence.”

WOW! Really?  So what does this mean?  Will they never?  Could I make and sell again without breaking my word?  I am still mulling all that over.  I never want to do wholesale again.  About all it did was keep a little money in the kitty for ingredients and work me half to death!  I don’t want to put up a website again.  For one thing I don’t want to maintain one.  That alone is a lot of work.  But I don’t think my making soap for customers who have asked for it since I quit, doing an catalog in pdf form and talking about it here and on facebook violates that.  Especially since they are no longer doing business.  It was almost like that was the door I was waiting to open.  I have not sold soap locally in over three years.  And that was always part of the agreement.  I could make and sell all I wanted to locally.  I don’t want it to get overwhelming again.   Some months I mailed 2000 bars of soap not counting the local wholesale and local retail.  It was too TOO much for just me. I always, ALWAYS, wanted to have my hands on every bar that left here. I never expected it to grow into something I needed to hire someone besides the girls to help with. And as girls grew up and got jobs outside home, they didn’t have time.  And now they are both in college.  And I don’t think Ben has one bit of interest in soap. Other than for his personal use ;)

So yeah…I’m a nut. That’s not news to anyone.  I have felt so happy since I decided to give the soap pot another stir.  I just have to keep it real.  Keep it manageable and do nothing to violate my agreement.  An agreement that may or may not exist any more.

Enough of that.  Here is what’s coming up.  Interviews this Autumn that you will NOT believe.  Seriously. I get butterflies just thinking about it.  Oh please, please, please don’t fall thru!  Opportunities of a lifetime!  To pick these brains!  And then share my pickins with you happy people!

So let’s see.  Soap? covered.  Interviews? said all I can at this time.  Squeeeeeeee!!!!!!! Now…more stuff. I am going to reinstate and reorganize some “Days of The Week with NotQuiteJuneCleaver”:

  • Magpie Mondays ~news from here, chit chat, talkie, talkie, interviews{squeeeeeeee!!!!!}
  • Treehuggin’ Tuesday ~ pretty self explanatory – I’m a treehugger and I am going to talk about it on Tuesdays! Green products, etc
  • Wednesday’s Woman ~ I will introduce you to a blog I follow and the woman who writes it-maybe even a short little something from her
  • Thoughtful Thursday ~ What ever is worth thinking about. Words of wisdom from all sorts of people who have inspired me & made me think.
  • Foodie Friday ~ Recipes and menus, food photography, trends, you know – food news ;)
  • Simply Saturday ~ things that simply find themselves bound to Saturday – movies, books, gardening, housework
  • So…It’s Sunday ~ recapping my week, announcing what’s coming up the next week, soap news – stuff, know what I mean?

This does not mean I will post everyday but I will at least have an outline!

AND I would like to do a  Photo Contest every so often.  Working on the details of that. Will announce that pretty soon.

So…whew.  Told you it would take a while. Okay, that’s what I have in mind.  Actually I have quite a lot in mind.  But the things I am most excited about are stirring up some soap and the interviews.  Whoa, baby! So excited!

By the way peeps, I LOVE comments.  So leave me some, mmK?  I know you visit.  I have a stat counter!  But you never comment.  I don’t mean NEVER never…but I do love comments.  Nice ones that is ;) Okay, neither do I.  I visit the same wonderful blogs everyday but seems someone always beats me to the punch.  I think awwww someone already said that.  Well I have a new rule! I am not reading comments before I post mine.  If I repeat something well so be it!  I am saying my piece anyway!

Now for your Treehugging Tuesday Tidbit: Recycling Soup Cans – so cool! Click on the pictures to read all about it!

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See you happy folks tomorrow.  It will be Wednesday’s Woman so stop by!

Dec
04
2009

Happy Holidays Giveaway!

UPDATE, PLEASE READ: I just got this email from Joan – YAY!

don’t forget I will send the winner a copy of A is for Apron as well ~ joan

Thanks JOAN!!! How generous! The winner is going to be ONE LUCKY CHICK!

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As promised! I have to first introduce you to a wonderful apronista I met over at etsy.  I LOVE THAT PLACE! Anywho, her name is Joan and she lives – well not to far from me actually over in Texas.  I found her retro inspired aprons and ordered one – maybe 2 years ago. Look, I am not going to lie to you, Joan has the cleanest, closest, prettiest stitches I have EVER seen.  Where I sew, she is a seamstress!  I have since ordered several aprons from her and I also have a book she is featured in call A is for Apron. We have talked several times over the phone about aprons, family, cooking – you name it, we’ve covered it.  So when I found out Simplicity was putting two of her designs out in pattern form,  I was so excited for her and told her when it was out and for sale I wanted to do a giveaway!  The pattern is ADORABLE.  It’s two styles of aprons with Mother/Daughter sizes, plus potholders, sachets and felt Christmas cookie patterns!

Here is your chance to get this pattern, a apron kit (rick rack included!) with Christmas fabric and a “plate of Christmas Cookies” – all the generosity of Joan!  And I thank her so much for providing a great package for some lucky apron loving reader!

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Oh, the vintage bread bowl is NOT included.  That was my granny’s.

You know the drill…leave a comment, consider yourself entered to win.  But with a little twist.  Please share your very favorite holiday “kitchen” memory with us. It can be a favorite dish you cook, or decoration you put up…just something related to our “hearts of our homes” ~ our kitchens.  You have until next Friday December 11  to get your comment posted.  I will not put any names that come in after midnight CST on the 11th. On the 12th, Saturday I will draw the winner!   And if you would like to get an extra chance, take this button, post it on your blog and let me know, and I will add your name a second time.  Fun huh?

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So Happy Holidays from me and Momomadeit!  Oh…get over there and look at her etsy shoppe!  Here’s the lnk: Momomadeit!

Good luck everyone!

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