Monday, July 18, 2011

B is for....

I like babies. I liked my own because they were mine. I like other people's babies because they aren't mine. I can play peek-a-boo with them and tickle them and cuddle them and then when they begin to cry or need to be changed or fed I can hand them back to their mothers. I once told a doctor I didn't know well that twenty minutes was my limit for listening to a baby cry. He stood silently for a minute and then quietly asked "What happens after twenty minutes?" "I begin to cry too" I confessed.

Ballerina, secret
An endearment from John which is also a private joke. The summer I was seven I took ballet lessons. I loved them but alas, I was not the graceful swan I wanted to be or thought I was. At the end of the summer there was a recital. My parents were unable to attend so a kind neighbor brought me. I made up for my lack of grace with enthusiasm and did a really grand grand-jete, landing in the laps of the people in the front row, collapsing two rows of chairs. I'm thankful no one was hurt. John, the perpetual optomist, claims he's scouring Ebay constantly and knows that somewhere, someone has a home movie of that and when he finds it, he'll bid as high as he needs to in order to win.

One of the most boring sports to watch, as are tennis, golf and car racing.

Betsy Wetsy
My favorite doll when I was five. I would give her her little plastic bottle of water and then change her diaper and usually all of her clothes as well. It gave me good practice for when I became a mother.

Bird, watching
My desk is right alongside a sliding glass door in the dining room. In the summer I open it and just have a screen between me and the outside. There's a snowball tree along the fence and in it there's a bird feeder. I keep several bird books and binoculars on my desk to watch the birds that visit it. Every March, when the Oregon grape flowers, I see a hummingbird. It's always just once and always just one hummingbird.

Blessing, it's a
This is on my list of most irritating phrases. It's usually used by someone who's hearing about a tragic or unpleasant event who feels compelled to say something and that something has to be to turn it into something it isn't. Sometimes it's best to just say "I'm sorry" and leave it at that.

Blueberries (see also: Corn, heaven)

Broken (promises, dreams, lives)
I have a strong sense of keeping promises, big and small. If I promise to keep a secret, I will. Broken promises cause one to lose trust. Broken dreams are difficult to bear. Broken lives can be mended but the seam showing where it was broken, the scar, remains forever.

Books, childhood favorites, Nancy Drew (see also: memorizing
license plates)
I loved the Nancy Drew mysteries when I was in elementary school and read every one published up to the time I stopped reading them.

I don't know how bumblebees fly, but I'm always delighted if I catch sight of one. They seem to be rarer and rarer.

Buttons, collecting
I collect buttons. I have a five gallon glass jar of mother-of-pearl (abbreviated to MOP to those of us who are collectors), dozens of carved MOPs, as well as jars of celluloid and metal buttons. I like unusual buttons in different shapes and have a collection of heart shaped buttons. I like buttons but I don't like sewing missing buttons onto clothes.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A is for...

A few years ago I read a book entitled An Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. and this blog is my own list. Each week I'll write about a different letter.

I worried a bit at first about what I should do if, after writing my list for the letter A, for example, I thought of other topics beginning with that letter that I wanted to write about. Oh, that was easy to solve! When I'm finished writing all the letters I'll just add an Addendum in which I'll include all the items I missed the first time around.

So here's my list for the letter A:
Alphabet, learning the (see also: Library card, my first)
My mother told me that I knew the alphabet when I was three. I was certain she was wrong, that I couldn't have been that young, but maybe I was. All four of my sons also knew their alphabet by the same age. And I don't mean being able to recite the alphabet either. I mean they could recognize and name the letters, both lower case and upper case.

Unfortunately for me, I learned it with the French pronunciation but began school in the United States. When the first grade teacher asked if anyone knew the alphabet I proudly raised my hand. She asked me to stand and recite it but after I said a few letters she said with disgust, "You don't know the alphabet! Sit down!" I was confused. It was only later that I realized the problem was that I was pronouncing the names of the letters in French, not English.

I also annoyed this same teacher by persistently asking her why letters had the shapes they did and why they were in the order they were. It wasn't until I was an adult that I found an entire book on this subject and was delighted to find that there were others who had not only wondered the same thing but had been persistent enough to find the answers.

Ants are fascinating little creatures and I spent many hours studying them the summer I was eight. They are also pesky. I am certain that the little town I live in is built on a giant ant hill as every spring everyone in town complains about the ants invading their homes.

Anxious, things that make me
Being on time
When I have an appointment I always work backwards. Let's see I need to be there at 8:40 a.m. It'll take me about a half hour to drive there--no, better make it 40 minutes because of rush hour traffic and 10 minutes to find a parking space and the right room. I'll leave at 7:50 a.m. That should get me there on time.

Remembering someone's name
I'm always nervous when I'm meeting someone new and I have to concentrate or I won't remember their name. When I do remember I'm inordinately proud of myself but I have been embarrassed on more than one occasion when I've not quite gotten the name right, like calling someone named Penny, Peggy.

Large groups of people
I don't like being in large groups of people and will do my best to avoid it. I've found this has gotten worse as I've gotten older. I don't know if it's from years of living in the country or just age but I don't go to any event that will have more than a hundred people if I can avoid it.

I love apples, especially the old fashioned variety which have a real taste to them. When we bought our country home we planted an orchard full of heirloom apple trees. My favorite is Sheepnose. They don't have a particularly great taste, I just like the name.

Apricots, fresh (see also: Rhubarb)
Fresh apricots remind me of when I spent two weeks at the home of a friend in Palmdale the summer after I finished first grade. Her mother bought two flats of fresh apricots. I had never seen this exotic and strangely colored fruit with its delicate scent before and I was entranced. My friend, whose name I've long since forgotten, and I ate so many we were sick for days.

I enjoy wearing aprons. They make me feel efficient and domestic. I like the bib style best as they protect more of my clothes. They need to have pockets too, to gather small objects I find in places where they shouldn't be--pens, rubber bands, paper clips. When we lived out in the country I would be able to see someone heading for our house long before they'd actually arrive. That would give me time to remove my apron and I would be able to greet them looking fresh and neat.

I also like collecting aprons, especially the glamorous, impractical ones made of sheer organdy with delicate embroidery and bits of lace. These are not for
wearing, only for display as the works of domestic art that they are.

Artists, folk (see also: Outsider art)
Folk art is made by those who are compelled to make art out of whatever materials they have lying about. If they make something functional they want it to be beautiful and elegant and whimsical too. They don't copy other people's ideas. You're not likely to find them taking art classes. They're not perfectionists. The art, the beauty, is inside them and they have to find a way to let it out no matter what. And they do.