Monday, April 23, 2007

Four months later...

Remember when we moved in and I was bragging about my nice big pantry? In the almost four months since we've lived here, we've sufficiently made a disaster of our pantry. Picture the scene: there is no semblance of organization to the piles of half-empty granola bar boxes, four mostly-gone jars of peanut butter on four different shelves, cans of soup tipping off the box halves at a 45 degree angle, and a plethera of cough drops multiplying like bunnies (no, I don't think the cough drops belong in the pantry...) So today I finally tackled my pantry to organize it, something I knew was inevitable when I intially stocked it without labeling the shelves.

I used masking tape to label a shelf section for "breakfast," "snacks," "baking," "canned goods," etc. I even designated a place for the laundry basket. It's possible that I went overboard when I labeled "fire extinguisher," "onions," and "step stool," but at least there won't be any questions as to where those things go. I'm very proud of my accomplishment. Everything is organized and easy to find. How long should I expect to keep it like this?

In the process of pruning my pantry, I made two observations. First of all, almost everything I keep regularly stocked is some generic store brand. Don't get me wrong, there are some things that aren't worth buying unless they're the real thing (like Oreos), but peanut butter? canned beans and veggies and pie filling? Is there really that much of a difference? The second observation I made is that there is a serious mis-allocation of priorities. Check out whats wrong with these pictures. At least now I know I have the space and can call myself to repentance!

Snack shelf:

Year's supply of food storage:

Saturday, April 21, 2007

"Tennis lessons, my foot!"

I'm not the most well read person I know, especially coming from a family of English majors. But there is one fine piece of fiction that I wouldn't mind reading again and again and again...Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca.

Our heroine meets the wealthy widower, Maxim DeWinter, while employed as a "paid companion" to a woman vacationing in France. She is quickly swept off her feet while she supposedly takes tennis lesson, and returns with him to Manderley, his mansion estate, to become lady of the house. The problem is that the late Mrs. DeWinter, Rebecca, was the pinnacle of perfection. Everyone adored her, and although its been over a year since her tragic death in a boating accident, Manderley has not changed at all.

This 1938 novel may be dark and mysterious, but I love the heroine, who is strategically never given a first name. She is naive, fragile, stubborn, gullible, and incredibly insecure. She is constantly haunted by the effervescent Rebecca, whose memory lingers in every room of Manderley, in every desk drawer, and in every coat pocket.
2nd Mrs DeWinter: "Tell me, what was Rebecca really like"
Frank Crawley: "Well...I suppose she was the most beautiful creature I ever saw."
My life is in no way dark and secretive, I'm not terribly ignorant nor am I a pushover, and I'm not haunted by the memory of a former wife, but in many ways, I relate to this woman. I'm pretty insecure and naive about a few things. I thrive on complete openness and un-questioned admiration from my spouse, qualitites which the second Mrs. DeWinter languished for.

Perhaps one of the reasons I'm so drawn to this book is that in the end, when all truths have been revealed, the couple is finally able to embrace as husband and wife, completely in love, and total allies in their honesty.

Every time I read this book again or watch the brilliantly made film (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940), I get chills. The dialoge is smart and satirical, the story line exceptional with its surprises and secrets revealed. Even the casting of the film is great! I think about my favorite lines at random moments and am lured back into the world of Rebecca.

Here are a few brilliant lines for your reading enjoyment:

Nameless Heroine: "Oh, I wish I were a woman of 36, dressed in black satin with
a string of pearls."
Maxim: "You wouldn't be here with me if you were...Please promise me never to wear black satin or pearls, or to be thirty-six years old."

Maxim: "Which would you prefer? New York or Manderley?"
Heroine: "Oh, please don't joke about it."
Maxim: "I repeat what I said. Either you go to America with Mrs. VanHopper, or you come home to Manderley with me."
Heroine: "You mean you want a secretary or something?"
Maxim: "I'm asking you to marry me you little fool!"
(Then he tells her how he takes his tea, and urges her never to forget it...)

(Pictured: Joan Fontaine, who plays the second Mrs. DeWinter in the film Rebecca)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Favorite Things of Spring

  1. Sunshine
  2. The smell of freshly cut grass
  3. Butterflies
  4. Flowers
  5. The smell of blossoms on trees
  6. Flip flops
  7. Open windows
  8. Taking walks
  9. Birds chirping
  10. New clothes

Thursday, April 05, 2007

I was the One

Another episode of the Supermom story.

My Leah had a rough morning. She pinched fingers multiple times, took a few tumbles and made a few bumps, got her toes stuck under a door as it opened, all in a manner of a couple hours. Although there were many tears, there were fortunately no lost limbs and no blood shed. I became accustomed to her shrill cry of terror and the betrayed look on her face each time it happened, responding promptly with hugs and kisses, words of sympathy, and a story to draw her attention away from the blistered finger, scraped foot, or bonked head.

I noticed that all her owies in a direct or indirect way were my fault--they could have been prevented had I forseen any and all possibilities for injury. Imagine, for example, a padded house with no doors, hinges, drawers, couches to fall off of, rumpled carpet to trip over, stairs to fall down, slippery tile to slide on, or gravity for that matter. Unfortunately, my attempts at safety-fying my home only include outlet covers, cabinet locks, and stairway gates. Horizontal surfaces 4 feet above the floor are clear of everything but dust, doors are deliberately closed behind yourself, and the oven stays locked when in and out of use.

But even though I was the one who opened the door over a little bare foot, even though I was the one who put socks on a child who runs around on a slippery tile floor, and I was the one who didn't run fast enough when she climbed onto the couch and stood up to dance in victory, I was the one she came to for comfort. She still cried "Mama!" each time, ran to me, and clung to my shoulders in fear of being loose again in this terrifying and dangerous world which is the living room. Instead of being angry with me for not protecting her from the dangers of sliding kitchen drawers and slippery tile floors or the injustice of gravity, she comes to me to make it all better. She continues to find safety in my arms and even lets me cuddle with her as she falls asleep even though I was the one that was at the scene of the crime each and every time she was so unjustly afflicted . That is what makes me feel like Supermom.

Monday, April 02, 2007

April Fool's

Last April fools I performed two glorious pranks. The first was convincing my husband that my sister and her fiance had eloped. I called our home phone from the cell phone while laying in bed, then proceeded to have a fake conversation in the next room. I said things like, "You're kidding!" "When?" "Where did they go?" "Oh my gosh!". My clues had been enough. I didn't have to say anything when I returned to the bedroom, but just saw my husband sitting there in complete shock at the thought they had really done it. I had him going for about ten minutes until I chickened out.

Then I convinced my mom I was pregnant. Leah was only 4 months old at the time, I was working, Chris was still in school and had just had surgery. Pregnancy would have been...stressful to say the least. She believed me.

Yesterday I couldn't think of anything remotely funny, let alone brilliant. Short sheet the bed? That would have been suspicious because I've never made the bed on any normal day. Tell people I was pregnant? They would have believed me and congratulated me. Tell people I got called as the Relief Society President? Wait, that's only funny if its not true...

My brother Carl sent me this great link for free broadband from Google. It's very detailed...someone had way too much time on their hands.

Here's a link to some of the greatest pranks:

What were your famous pranks yesterday?

Sewing Bug

I got the sewing bug this weekend. Fortunately, I had 10 hours of conference time to work away. I decided to make two of the same quilt, that way I could keep one and give the other as a gift. I've finished the first one. The print pattern is kind of like the pattern on my baby blankie, although mine had a green background and border.

Check out my mitered corner:

I did the border by hand, which wasn't anywhere near as tedious as I thought it would be.

What's next, matching curtains?

Total time for this project: 10 hours (but I did start the second one too)
Total number of lifeline calls (to mom): 2