Monday, February 28, 2011

Mr. Darcy gets romantic

I know, I know. I am behind. Way, way behind. I suspect I was behind before I got started but now that I have sweet darlin's to distract and delight me, I am even more behind than I was before! At any rate, here is the blog entry for Valentine's Day with my Mr. Darcy.

Mr. Darcy gets romantic a few times a year. Being the "darcyesque" guy he is, this is rare for him. He surprised me with a date to the Symphony's Romantic Music Concert and we arrived at the old theatre just in time to hear a wonderful soloist, Ms. Diane Penning, singing a piece from Don Giovanni. There was a duet from Kiss Me Kate with Mr. Ken Weber as well. A powerful piece from Phantom of the Opera, one of our favorites, was performed as well. Romeo and Juliet was so beautiful it made me cry! A piece from Camelot was passionate. I enjoyed the piece from My Fair Lady and of course West Side Story. Now I love Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Bizet, but what really entertained us at this concert was a little sideshow they planned. About midway through the concert, Scott Speck, our wonderful conductor, advised the audience that there would be a free dinner for two for the "happiest couple" present. A few songs later, they called out the name of this wonderful "twenty-something" couple who was then asked to appear on stage. He then called for chairs, a table and a service from the restaurant offering the free dinner. At this point, the vocalists, Weber and Penning begin to walk over mid song and "serve potatoes" and whatnot to the couple who are completely beside themselves with embarrassment. The conductor breaks to give the nice couple a dash of fresh ground pepper along with a chide that they should enjoy themselves and not rush but "hey the concert is almost over". It was hilarious. I am surrounded by several talented comedians daily and I get my fair share of hysterical laughter but this was a head tossed back laughter concert just about the whole way. It was lovely to have the play of the beautiful timeless music with the company of the on-stage farce. Our favorite part was when the male soloist, Weber, talked the guy into leaving the table for an off stage "phone call" and took over wooing and singing to the pretty young girl at the table as soon as the poor guy left! When the guy got back he was so put off by Weber that he poured himself an entire glass of wine and drank it in one long fantastic gulp! I don't know if they were "plants" but it sure seemed legit and they did a great job of making the whole concert thoroughly entertaining!

After we left the concert, Mr. Darcy being the classy guy he is took me to Ruth's Chris which was a nice unexpected treat. We had champagne, fresh cheesecake with berries, pecan crusted flounder, filet mignon, crabmeat stuffed mushrooms, and au gratin spinach. Okay, fresh bread and butter too! Those who know us well are familiar with our crazy healthy diets and what a break this was from the daily routine. I must say it was a glorious cheat that left me carb high for days afterward but totally was worth it! See the nice "high" expression on our faces! It's not the champagne! It's the carbs!!!

We arrived back home to relieve our gracious sitter, my grandmother, and to get back to the daily life of what happens when boy meets girl, girl falls in love with boy, boy proposes, girl accepts, and life our case, babies ensued and we have lots of proof of our love for each other walking around and chattering every day in our house. I hope your Valentine's Day was great too. I can't wait for next year's but I hope I get a date with Mr. Darcy before then!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A gripe on fashion-guest blogger

My guest blogger is not Lloyd Boston, but I do find him highly
entertaining all the same...
I am getting old.  In terms of years, I am middle aged.  In terms of attitude, I have been old all of my life, at least to a degree.  Maybe it is a function of age, or maybe it is a function of declining standards, but I am disgusted with sloppy people.  Fewer and fewer people dress decently in public anymore.  Dressing decently does not mean necessarily mean dressing up, although on some occassions to be dressed decently is to be dressed up.  Church is one of those occassions.  On other occassions dressing up is not required.  A working man is allowed to dress like a working man.  (I will abstain from discussing the dressing habits of "working girls" :-)  Work clothes, even if dirty and torn, are not inherently indecent because hard and dirty work is honorable.  Sloppiness is a different matter and poverty is not an excuse.  In times past, few were poorer than sharecroppers.  A sharecropper's best clothes may have been his cleanest overalls with the fewest patches.  In that case, wearing them meant wearing the best that he had and in doing so he was dressed decently.  The best he had, whether it was overalls or a suit, was what he wore to church, to town, or to any event that required such dress.  In fact, poor folks were often self conscious about dressing as well as possible.  Being poor does not preclude being proud.  Economic poverty is not inherently shameful.  Trashiness is.  Today, however, in the apparent quest for casual and comfortable, we have turned trashiness, and thereby shame, into a living art form.  Two of the most popular sizes for clothing are too large and too small.  Boys wear the tops of their baggy, oversized pants below their butt cheeks with the bottoms puddling around their feet.  Skinny pants might look fine on thin women, but they look ridiculous on men, no matter how thin.  Those most likely to wear sweat clothes to the mall are those who are most in need of wearing them for their intended purpose instead.  Hoodies are an abomination.  It is nearly impossible to wear them without looking like you just held up a liquor store.  Flip flops should be for flopping on the beach, not on the floor of the store where I buy my groceries.  Keep your toe jam to yourself.  I am not trying to be the fashion police.  On the contrary, fashion is the problem.  We would be better off with a lot less fashion and a lot more class and taste. 
Dressing decently used to be a sign of self respect.  Dressing sloppily was more of a sign of rebellion.  It was what hippies and ne'er do wells did.  Today, dressing decently is almost a revolutionary act in a society that seems to idolize slovenliness and irresponsibilty.  Viva la Revolution.

-my grumpy "old" anonymous friend (who of course I find highly entertaining)

Lloyd Boston's new book is great, by the way, if you need some help outta that hoodie ;-) Farr and Garciaalso offer great go-to-daily style manuals. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Motivation in moments...

the sweet moment when a child begins to move around for
themselves, to explore and realize independence...
It's a lot of work. So why do we do it? I have a theory.

It's in the moments.

We carry a very heavy load for nine months, planning and making ourselves crazy, all for the moment we see that sweet face for the first time, for the moment our other children see that new human being, for the moment I remember why I got married in the first place to have this wonderful family.

I love the moment at the end of day when the truth slips out of my children and they share with me something that has been worrying them and mystifying them and I am able, perhaps with an answer or perhaps not, to be able to share a confidence with them.

The sweet moment we catch our children slipping off to dreamland, sleeping like an angel, is a serene joy and is second only to the moment when I realize all my work is done for that one day at least and I can finally go to sleep myself!!!

We work on manners for months on end to see our children pick up a toy another child drops and GIVE IT BACK TO THEM instead of keeping it for themselves.

We clean the entire house over and over and over only to see the moment when our children begin to pick up their own things to help out. Thank the Lord for these moments though few they are!

We talk about how to love your sibling as if they were your best friend like a rambling tape recorder for that one moment when they sit down for movie night and hold hands electively.

We plan, shop, wrap and decorate all for that moment when our children stand humbled by the magic and beauty of the sparkling Christmas tree for the first time. This moment always gets me teary.

We stay up late at night after a hard day of raising kids and running a house and errands for a moment of peace and quiet and calm.

We work through every letter sound in the alphabet ad infinitum for that moment when a child gets the thrill of "reading" a book for themselves for the first time. What a triumph!

We sit in church with wiggly worms for YEARS until finally everyone sits as they should and listens in mass. A moment for the angels that help me weekly I am sure!

I love the teaching moment when my children come to me with a question and I am able to answer in a way that reaches them.

When I am asked and don't know the answer, there is sometimes a priceless moment where they go and get the answer and bring it back to me, with a joyful grin of course! How I enjoy telling them "I don't know"now!

We say a meal prayer at every meal-even the snack for heaven's sake-and then one day I forget to say it and they all chime in perfectly in my stead. What a moment!

I particularly enjoy the moment when all of the children are old enough to "sit" at the table and we are able to eat as a family.

The moment I catch one child lovingly teaching another makes my heart beam.

I like the moment when I get to cuddle up with a child and a book and savor a shared story!

I like the purity of the moment when the children make up and say they are sorry after a spat and I am able to do the same when I have been thoughtless to them.

I remember all the hard work I put into building our home and how wonderful the moment was when Mr. Darcy carried me over the threshold-even though I was five months pregnant at the time!

We have been keeping our forest "fairy" houses up and we are rewarded each morning with moments of squirrels and birds darting in and out for shelter and food.

I enjoy the moments that come with all the firsts of childhood-feeding themselves, getting dressed ALL BY THEMSELVES, learning to ride something, learning to crawl, pull up or walk, learning to brush teeth or hair and learning to go to the bathroom unassisted. These may seem mundane to you but in my eyes they are the payoff for a lot of hard work and determination and I share the joy with my darlin's for each one!

I will go weeks without a date night with my husband, mostly due to our still nursing baby, for the moment when we can go alone and feel completely comfortable that all four of our darlin's are safe and happy and we are free to enjoy our timeless time together.

I cannot go without the moment first thing in the morning that I inhale the aroma of a fresh cup of well creamed coffee ALONE. My children will tell you this moment defines the rest of the day-in their darlin' verbage of course. A similar moment with a cup of hot tea in the afternoon assures the calmness of the afternoon and evening routine as well!

The many messages I leave in trying to get hold of friends and family who are, God bless us, as busy as we are, is rewarded in the moment when we finally catch up with each other and can connect again.

I remember as a young girl that I realized that life was made up of many moments of hurry up and wait. In case you didn't know me then, I was an introspective nerd. I have been unable to shake my "inner nerd glasses" off the tip of my nose so I had to start a blog to exercise her out! I have often contemplated how you must get no reward many times before you finish the race and see the payoff. I believe God was teaching me to reward myself with the idea that all things really do pass away and this constant state of change is a blessing. For someone who is a bit of a routine nut, this was a great lesson for me to learn.  At any rate, let me share with you my wishes for the moments in this day for which you have been waiting and watching. I celebrate with you the moments you will have this year that have been a long time coming. May they sustain you as you "patiently" wait for the rest. This patience is the lesson I hope I am teaching my children each day with the help of the most patient One of all. I pray he will continue to work on me and make me a worthy example for the darlin's at least! Heaven knows I need all the help I can get. ;-)