All throughout the winter, what I miss the most is the comfort of our curtains blowing in the breeze. The graceful dance of the curtains is one of my favorite things. No matter where I have lived, from childhood to now, curtains have celebrated the movement of life. Today, for the first time since October, windows are open and curtains are moving. Ahhhhhh.
Several years ago, we stopped using our dishwasher. It is not a popular decision when we have morning-after dishes to do for a potluck party for twelve. But the rest of the time, I find it meditative. My hands in warm water, memories of the people who shared our table, thoughts of delicious food, reflections on life, and clean dishes! I am grateful for the opportunity to commune with an integral part of our lives.
I am my mother’s daughter. She loved gadgets and I follow in her wake. You may have surmised by now that I will search relentlessly for just the right tool to make cleaning and maintenance easier. We have a vaulted ceiling and several nooks and crannies that are impossible to reach, even with a ladder and a dust mop. My checklist: 1) it should use our washable flannel-fingered dust cloths (an earlier post), 2) it should reach at least six feet, 3) it should have no plastic parts. Finally, I found the closest thing I could. I am grateful that we will at long last have dust-free (and arachnid-free) corners and ceilings that can be cleaned easily and regularly. This Swiffer duster has a six-foot reach. It easily accommodates those reusable flannel dusters. The expanding pole is aluminum, but It does have a plastic handle and a plastic swivel mechanism. How to justify buying plastic? Well, if we refrain from using the duster for sword play practice, it should last for the rest of our lives. We won’t put this plastic back into the waste stream. Not a perfect solution, but very close.
One of my favorite childhood memories is lying on my back on the hillside in Sherwood Forest (not that one), watching the clouds move across the sky, identifying their shapes, observing them change shape into something else yet again. The warmth of the sun, the rough, grass-and-moss-covered earth under my back, the drone of insects, the choral songs of the birds … I am looking forward to summer. My mother taught me to watch the clouds. I am grateful.
I am grateful every day for the work of Brandon Stanton, photographer and world-changer, on Humans of New York. He provides a connection to people around the world, seeing the good and the caring and the every-person-is-unique stories that help me maintain my positive beliefs about our globe’s inhabitants. The contributions Brandon has made are stellar … I highly recommend making his Facebook posts a part of your day.
I am grateful for the middle of the night for it is then that the scathingly brilliant ideas find their way into my world.
As part of my self-decided “gratitude therapy,” we are now meditating with Oprah & Deepak by “Manifesting Grace through Gratitude.” It’s a free, 21-day meditation that takes 20 minutes per day. (It began Monday, March 25th, and you need to start within 5 days to listen to each episode before it disappears.) We’ve already done two of these 21-day programs, “Perfect Health” and “Shedding the Weight: Mind, Body, and Spirit” and found them transformative. I am positive O&D knew that a meditation series on gratitude would be helpful to me right about now. Helpful for you, too, maybe?
In 2005, Winding Oak had been working for 17 years to provide print and website design to country clubs, asphalt testers, industrial researchers, small businesses, and a smattering of authors. At a weekend party, the woman below asked Steve and me if we would help her out on an upcoming project, the movie version of Because of Winn Dixie. She gave us until Monday to think it over. In that time, Steve and I talked about whether we should focus on children’s literature in our business … and the rest of that story is our history and future. I am grateful to Kate DiCamillo for opening our eyes to a path that has brought us so many good friendships and such enjoyable work. We love our Winding Oak family. If you haven’t yet read Kate’s books, you probably should. I recommend Leroy Ninker Saddles Up, my favorite of all her many heartwarming books.
Once we made the decision to put our microwave away in a closet, the re-learning began. How would we warm up food?
On the one hand, this feels slightly ridiculous because we didn’t cook with a microwave until 1982. I remember attending classes at Byerly’s Cooking School to master cooking in a microwave. The huge oven quickly became a kitchen staple, even when I did awful things like setting the timer for one hour instead of one minute and walked away into my office. (What happened? The interior of the microwave oven melted and so did the door.)
We’ve found two tools very handy for warming up food. Nordic Ware (shop local!) makes wonderful half sheet, quarter sheet, and large sheet baking pans. They’re very sturdy and easy to keep clean. With care, they should last us forever. http://bit.ly/2ueryar
To line them, and keep them looking clean, we use Lavangie silicone baking mats. They come in sizes that fit those baking sheets.
There. It wasn’t as hard to adjust to cooking without a microwave as we imagined.
Today, I am thankful for Luden’s cough drops. I have a four-day sore throat. Over and out.