30 August 2016

I Expect You To Read This

I was listening to a podcast while jogging this morning.  (That sentence sounds really impressive unless you know how slowly I jog.  You know those sloths in the movie Zootopia?  Me.)  And in this podcast, they were talking about the force that expectations have on us; the expectations we have of ourselves and the expectations others have for us.  The hosts did their research, and interviewed scientists who also did their research.  They spoke to a blind man who doesn't live like a blind man because no one told him he had to.  And I got to thinking about how expectations have changed the way I live.

First of all, I would never have gone out for student council in school without the expectation that I live up to my siblings' reputations.  I probably wouldn't be a jogger if my sisters hadn't expected me to go with them.  My nose would never be without a book in front of it if society didn't expect me to take care of my kids.  Actually, society's expectations don't have much to do with it, it's mostly my husband's and my parents' expectations of me that get me to put the books down for a bit.

When I was younger, the expectation was that I was "the talented" kid.  People, mostly my family, expected me to sing and dance and write and play piano and do things they all could do, too, but because I was "the talented one" I got all the praise for it.

But what about my own expectations?  What do I expect myself to do?

That's where the questions got harder because the things I expect myself to do are hard.  I expect myself to exercise regularly, and eat the way I'm supposed to, and get dressed every day, and take care of my house and family in a manner that I'm proud of.  This time of year, I expect myself to make use of the free produce people give me, so I bottle and make fruit leather and zucchini bread, and all sorts of things that I technically don't have to do.  I expect myself to go to church, and manage money wisely, and write every day, and try to help people, if I can. That's to say nothing of teaching my children how to be responsible, faithful adults when they get to that point in their lives, and making sure my husband knows he's the best husband on the planet.

I mostly do okay living up to the expectations other have of me, and I mostly do okay living up to the expectations I have of myself, but when I fail, it feels devastating. It feels like I'm not enough, that what I do isn't enough, and that who I am isn't enough.

So, yeah.  Expectations have a big hold on me.  Think about what expectations encourage you to do.

18 August 2016

Welcome Home

Last month, my husband and I did the most grown-up thing we have ever done, and probably ever will do (aside from having kids, of course).  We bought a house.

Eek!  We bought a house!  (Yes, that is what happens in my head every time I say those words.  They are repeated with exclamation points, and squealed in a high-pitched voice that I can't duplicate outside my thoughts.)

And to welcome anyone that comes to said house, my husband bought Hopeful.


Cute, right?

Hopeful sits in his own little window overlooking the front porch.  


Can you see him in there?

So far, I've had three people either startled or laughing as I open the front door because they've just noticed the penguin checking them out.  What can I say?  Hopeful is a bit of a voyeur.

I'm hopeful that when the kids say goodbye to any future dates that may drop them off at the doorstep that there is a Hopeful voyeur watching everything they do.  And I'm hopeful they know that right behind that cute penguin is a dad polishing his rifles.  

I wish I could say I was kidding.

03 August 2016

Taste the Sunshine

I look forward to this time of year.  It's fruit leather time!  As a kid, my grandma would pick and pick and pick apricots and then spend days blending them all up, adding dashes of sugar and lemon juice, then letting the sun dry it all out.  The taste was quintessential summer - tart and sweet and sunshine.  The fact that it stuck to teeth and tongue and cheeks didn't hurt either.

This year, I didn't have apricots enough to make leather, but I did have plums.  Never made plum anything before.  Turns out, tiny plums take a loooong time to pit.  Tiny plums are not sweet.  But add a dash of honey and some time in a dehydrator that my husband surprised me with, and ta-dah!  Fruit leather!

I sincerely hope that many of you get to eat something that brings back childhood summers.  Soon.