A Friday List (I Hate Snow)

This is going to be one of those posts where I fill you in on what I’ve been up to lately. It’s all very random and eclectic. And maybe even slightly redundant.

1. I. Hate. Snow.

2. I haven’t been able to go shopping in two weeks. That’s enough to near kill a person like me.

3. I am not done with my gift shopping yet. You can imagine what kind of anxiety this is creating for a girl that is usually done in November. Multiply that by 11 when she can’t get out because she lives in the snowy equivalent of Egypt.

4. Even if I COULD drive in these conditions, I couldn’t because my car has decided that she’s just flat out tired of starting. A new starter was ordered and the farmer drove into town today to pick it up. Trust me, he’s very motivated to get this all fixed and get me back on the road.

5. I’ve got a little alliteration gift for you. Snow… Pretty prison. You’re welcome.

6.  Bad weather and cabin fever makes me cranky. I try to look on the bright side. I really do. Am I thankful for the snow and the benefits it has for our crops? Yes. (said through my teeth) Is my pocketbook thankful for the snow? Yes. (downcast eyes) But, am I glad that I can’t go to the city and toodle around to my heart’s content? NO!!! NO NO NO!!!

7. I’ve been baking. I made sugar cookies with vanilla buttercream frosting. The frosting recipe was not to my liking and I added a teaspoon of salt. Perfection.

8. I don’t like frosting.

9. I’ve been reading. I read The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks. It was really good. He has a way of putting love into the most beautiful words. Or, better said, capturing a feeling with words. And the letters his characters write…gets me every time.

10. The Longest Ride was a good book, but if you want to read a GREAT book, choose The Fault in our Stars by John Green. TIME Magazine called it the best book of 2012 and after reading it, I can see why. I’d usually steer clear of a book where the majority of characters have some form of cancer, but once I started reading the sample, it hooked me. It’s one of those books that will stay with you. Unforgettable. And I saw that the movie is coming out in 2014.

11. I actually organized my jewelry box and threw away everything that didn’t have a match. That’s when you know that cabin fever desperation is gettin’ real, folks.

12. I have read almost every monthly edition of Men’s Health that my husband owns. I am a wealth of trivial fitness knowledge now. (See second sentence of # 11)

13. I made my own laundry detergent and I absolutely LOVE it! I spent $27.29 at Wal-Mart for all the ingredients and it’s going to last me forever. I got the recipe from this website:  http://www.howdoesshe.com/cheaper-and-better-diy-laundry-detergent/. I have always tended to be kind of a Tide snob. Tide was the only detergent that ever made the farmer’s manure-caked, dairy-barn scented clothes smell somewhat clean. It got the stains out the best, as well. But, good night, does it get expensive! The biggest box Sam’s has to offer only lasts me a month and a half. I’m not a fan of liquid soap at all, either,  because it always leaves spots on my clothes, so I wanted a powder detergent. This recipe surpassed my expectations. Barn clothes have never smelled better. Stains are conquered. Money is saved (like, BIG time), and world peace suddenly became possible. Ya gotta try it! I promise you won’t be sorry. I gave some to my mother-in-law because 1) I like to share and 2) I had it running out of my ears. She loves it! The farmer has started calling me “the laundry goddess.” (I’m…still…not sure how I feel about that.) Even HE loves it! And I love it because it’s kinda fun to make (Peanut helps) and the best part is that I’m saving my family money and teaching my daughter a thing or two about domesticity.

P.S. It’s supposedly safe for front-loader and high-efficiency washers. I don’t have one of those, so I can’t tell you for sure.

P.P.S. I always worry about detergent fading my clothes quickly. I still use Woolite Extra Dark Care for all of our nice, dark clothing. However, this detergent recipe doesn’t seem hard on my clothes at all. And it’s a much better, more natural alternative to detergent you can buy. I also still use store bought fabric softener. I wouldn’t say it was necessary with as good as this smells, though.

14. Peanut has done really well for as immobile as we’ve had to be in the past week and a half. She has started putting puzzles together all by herself and the look of pride and glee all over her face when she finishes one is enough to make anyone grin. She’s spent a day or two hanging out with Grammy. Grammy played cards with her and she was pretty excited about that. She’s helped me bake and cook and even clean house a time or two. It’s strange for me to have a child like her because when I was little, I’d rather have to do multiplication tables than bake or cook.  And I hated math. But, when she’s stirring laundry detergent or dumping flour into a bowl, I live right there in that moment because I know that THAT moment…right where I’m standing… is a memory. I won’t get the time back. And it’s a teaching moment. A moment that she’s going to look back on with fondness, as well. I read a quote the other day that really resonated with me: “The greatest gift you can give someone is your time.” Isn’t that so true? I know when I was a child-and even a teenager-it wasn’t the necessarily “memorable moments” that stuck with me. It was the little things. And it’s STILL the little moments that bring a nostalgic smile to my face.

15. I was ready to end this post somehow and re-read it in order to get rid of any mistakes, and I had to self-reflect and chuckle. I obviously have a bent towards the positive. That last paragraph was the silver lining–quality mommy time with Peanut. It’s like my subconscience looks for the bright side without my even knowing it.

Because is it just me or did this post end on a good note?

Faunching at the bit to get out of here but apparently retaining some questionable sanity,

Yours truly,

Breauna

Advertisements

Second Glance

Hi everyone! I’m baaaaack!! We’ve finally gotten settled in at my Dad’s, I got a wireless card so I could have internet access, I prop my phone on the kitchen window sill because that is the only place I can get reception, and I take trips to Wal-Mart for kicks because that is the only place close to go for entertainment. The farmer is calling this experience my warm-up for really living in the boondocks. My dad’s house is only 40 minutes from the city. Add another 40 to that and we’re at the distance it is from our farm to the city.

Needless to say, I. Am. Restless. I find myself, like a loyal dog, getting excited when I see headlights pulling into the drive. Mandy goes out to feed bales every night after work and Peanut and I tag along. Peanut loves to go feed the cows “hay bulls.” I see it as something better to do than pace the floors. My high-strung, constantly have-to-be-doing-something disposition is having a hard time acclimating to the slower pace. Maybe it’s just me projecting, but I think Peanut gets to feeling like a caged animal, too. It doesn’t help that neither one of us can go outside. Winter has finally settled upon the Ozarks.

However, I have been reading. My latest book was by Jodi Picoult. I love this author. In my opinion, she has a beautiful way with words and can convey emotions in a way in which I can only dream of possessing. Her writing is thought-provoking and vocabularilly (I’m pretty sure I just created a word) challenging. It caused me to have many discussions with my husband and Mandy about the hot-button issue at the center of this book.

This is the inside cover:

An intricate tale of love, haunting memories, and renewal, Second Glance begins in current-day Vermont, where an old man puts a piece of land up for sale and unintentionally raises protest from the local Abenaki Indian tribe, who insist it’s a burial ground. When odd, supernatural events plague the town of Comtosook, a ghost hunter is hired by the developer to help convince the residents that there’s nothing spiritual about the property.

Enter Ross Wakeman, a suicidal drifter, who has put himself in mortal danger time and again. Yet despite his best efforts, life clings to him and pulls him ever deeper into the empty existence he cannot bear since his fiancée’s death in a car crash eight years ago. Ross now lives only for the moment he might once again encounter the woman he loves. But in Comtosook, the only discovery Ross can lay claim to is that of Lia Beaumont, a skittish, mysterious woman, who, like Ross, is on a search for something beyond the boundary separating life and death.

Second Glance, Jodi Picoult’s eeriest and most engrossing work yet, delves into a virtually unknown chapter of American history — Vermont’s eugenics project of the 1920’s and 30’s — to provide a compelling study of the things that come back to haunt us –literally and figuratively. Do we love across time, or in spite of it?

Not only was this book hard to put down, it was extremely interesting. Jodi Picoult always writes about controversial topics at the center of the story with characters that really draw you in as well. Eugenics is the study of improving the qualities of the human species or human population by discouraging the reproduction of people with presumably inherited undesirable physical or emotional traits  and encouraging the reproduction of people with inherited desirable traits. Discouragement of reproduction was done by “voluntary” sterilization. Yet, just how voluntary it was is questionable.  I never even knew this was a small part of American history and was shocked to find out that it was. And that it didn’t happen too long ago.

The present day part of the book has to do with the question of whether or not you believe this is still happening. Cloning, gene replacement therapy, and mapping the human genome coincide with a lot of the same issues that eugenics scientists were raising back then. Whether you agree or not, it’s definitely something to think about. One excerpt Jodi Picoult used was  from a 1931 article in the Burlington Free Press from a lady that wrote in saying, “We are so careful in breeding our cattle to get good breeds, yet we give this human procreation no thought.” Or when Henry Perkins (a real person) wrote to the leader of a 4-H club this: “Dear Miss Leighton, I think I shall choose “Registered Human Stock” as the topic for discussion with the 4-H older boys the last of the month.” As a farmer’s wife, having genetically chosen humans like we genetically choose our cattle really resonated with me. I had to feed Peanut formula because I just never did make enough milk. The farmer jokingly referred to me as “a cull cow.” Never in my life was I so glad I was not a dairy cow. That I could be easily disposed of if I was not holding up my end of the bargain is a very scary thought.

This book provides for endless discussion and I could go and on, but I’ve rambled long enough. If you have something else for my tireless brain to toss around, shoot me a comment. I’ll let ya know what I think!

 

Much love,

The Dairymaid

Roses: My Book Report Without Totally Spoiling It

The story called Roses, by Leila Meacham,  is about two people who are very much in love, but not so much in love that they can’t see past a piece of land (Mary Tolliver) and pride (Percy Warwick.) The decisions they make and the consequences that follow is what this multi-generational saga is about.

Mary Tolliver is the sole heir of a plantation in east Texas called Somerset. Her father, Vernon, saw the same passion for cotton-growing in her that he had himself. Because of this, he saw fit to leave none of Somerset to his wife, Darla, and a small section to his son, William. Mary is just a teenager upon his passing, but she is internally happy about her inheritance because she knows that her mother and brother would have immediately sold it if her father had not given it to her. So, what was once a happy, loving family quickly becomes a resentful, unhappy one. I strongly disliked Darla, Mary’s mother. Even though it was Vernon who made the decision to give Mary Somerset, Darla blames Mary, too. Her last act was the ultimate form of cruelty a mother could bestow upon a daughter who’s just seeking her mother’s love and affection.

Mary is also in love with Percy Warwick, next in line to inherit Warwick Industries, one of the biggest lumber companies in the country. He’s also crazy about her. His best friend, Ollie Dumont, shares these same feelings for Mary, but steps back knowing he’s got no chance against the handsome and charming Percy.

Percy and Mary know they want to spend the rest of their lives together, but the thing standing in the way is Somerset. Percy wants a devoted wife whose whole world revolves around him and their children. Mary can’t offer this due to her undying devotion to Somerset and her father’s memory. Mary refuses to give up being the cotton farmer that is so innately a part of her. To separate her from Somerset would be to split her in half. She can’t be the woman he loves without Somerset. Even though it pains her and she knows she’s risking losing Percy, her life will always revolve around cotton. After a heated argument in which both Mary and Percy decide that there’s no reason to continue the relationship any longer, Percy takes off for Canada on a surveying trip and tries to put Mary behind him. No one knows when he will be back or how to reach him. It’s clear he wants it that way.

Mary pines for Percy and even decides that she’s willing to give up Somerset in order to be with him for the rest of her life. Not long after she’s made this decision, she realizes she is pregnant. After waiting for Percy as long as she can before her condition presents itself to the public, she convinces an all-too-eager Ollie Dumont to marry her and pass the child off as his own. The day they leave for their honeymoon is the day Percy comes home ready to tell Mary that he can live with Somerset, but he can’t live without her.

Roses is a story about the things people think are important. However, in the grand scheme of things, the decisions Mary and Percy made played out to forever make them miserable. Not only that, but seemingly put a hex on every person they encountered, with the exception of Ollie. The decisions they made not only affected their children, but their children’s children.

I found it hard to relate to Mary. Even though she was a kind, likeable woman, no piece of land is worth sacrificing the love of your life for. She, however, didn’t know the full cost her love for Somerset would cause her to pay. And it was completely foolish of Percy to let it separate them like he did. Upon becoming his wife and starting a family , her priorities very likely could have changed.

The story was tragic up until Mary decided that her “curse” was going to fall upon no one else that she loved. It was a very symbolic gesture when Mary gives Somerset to Percy in the end, even though it was too late. It caused me to really respect her for not letting her story repeat itself with her great-niece, Rachel. It took a lifetime of heartache for Mary to realize what’s really important in life, but at least she came to that realization before it was too late for Rachel’s happiness.

I honestly had a really hard time putting this book down. I became attached to the characters and kept hoping something good would happen to them. The end is tied up nicely, even though I wish it would have gone a little further. There were times in the book I was a little confused, but reading on would clear it up. It was a heart-wrenching story, but definitely a good read. And it ended well. Mary saw to that.

Sorry if I just totally bored you,

The Dairymaid

P.S. If you’ve got any good recommendations, send them my way. I like books. Period.

Copyright. Breauna Krider. 11/20/11

n\Update on Roses (My review so far)

Things have been crazy around here lately. Not only have I been totally enveloped in my book, I’ve had to clean like a mad woman for house showings, do some minor Christmas shopping, and deal with my teething toddler. My lack of activity on the blog is apparent. I’ve also been writing down tips and advice for my daughter (in case anything were to ever happen to me) that will hopefully give her some guidance and make her life easier if she has to live some of it without me. It’s a very interesting project because, in a way, I’m learning about myself, too. I recommend trying it and seeing what you come up with. I think I’ll share with you all what I come up with.

Anyway, I’m really liking this book I’m reading. Roses. I don’t really know that I would compare it to Gone With the Wind, though. To me, it kinda stands alone. That, and the leading female is a lot more likeable than Scarlett O’Hara. Even though the back of the book says that Mary and Percy never end up together, you silently root for them all the way through their parts of the book. The romantic, hopeful side of me just keeps thinking that somehow they’ll make it to each other. It’s a very tragic, heart wrenching love story and the writer, Leila Meacham, does a really good job of making you feel the same feelings the characters are feeling. And the irony of it all. I’ve just reached the part where the book switches to a new generation. I’m about 3/4 done. (Note: If you want to strengthen your vocabulary, this book is a good one for it. I’ve had to get out the ol’ dictionary a few times and I’m no slouch when it comes to words in the English language.)

Now, I’m just hoping for a happy ending with the new generation of Warwicks and Tolivers. I can’t help it. Happy endings make me…well…happy. And I like to be happy. Tragic endings make me want to burn books and hate myself for wasting my time reading something that made me depressed. Think Thorn Birds. The movie Seven Pounds put me in funk for days. (Mind you, it was a wonderful movie, but one that I’ll be ok only seeing once in my life. Horribly tragic. ) There are enough depressing things to cope with in life. Books have always been a form of escapism for me and I like to escape to a happy place. Or a highly suspenseful place. It really just depends.

I would tell you a lot more about the book, but I know some of you might want to read it. I may say more when I finally finish it. A book report of sorts.

Just wanting to let you know I’m still alive,

The Dairymaid

Roses

I bought a new book yesterday.

It’s called Roses by Leila Meacham. Not gonna lie. The first thing that caught my eye about this book was the pretty colors. I’m a 26-year-old child. But, I saw the little words “Gone With the Wind” on it and that piqued my interest even more. I love Gone With the Wind. I love the book. I love the movie. I love the era. And I love Rhett Butler. I’m also a sucker for historical fiction. And epic love stories.  The review on the front cover said, “Like Gone With the Wind, as gloriously entertaining as it is vast…ROSES transports.” – People  (Sidenote: If you’re a guy and you haven’t read Gone With the Wind (and assuming you actually like to read), I highly recommend it. It’s not just a flowery, love story. It’s a classic for every gender.)

So, anyway, that’s what did it for me. If someone compares a book to Gone With the Wind, I’m gonna have to see for myself. It’s also a New York Times bestseller. Have any of you read it already?

For those of you who want to know what it’s about, I’ll just type what’s on the back.

“Heralded as the new Gone With the Wind” (USA Today), this acclaimed novel brings back the epic storytelling that readers have always loved — in a panoramic saga of dreams, power struggles, and forbidden passions in East Texas. Spanning the twentieth century, this is the tale of the powerful founding families of Howbutker, Texas, and how their histories intertwined over three intriguing generations.

Cotton tycoon Mary Toliver and timber magnate Percy Warwick fell in love, but because of their stubborn natures and Mary’s devotion to her family’s land, they unwisely never wed. Now they must deal with the deceit, secrets, and tragedies that surround them, and the poignant loss of what might have been–not only for themselves, but also for the children who follow them.”

Anyway, now I have every intention of immersing myself in this book. If you don’t hear from me for a few days, you’ll know that I’m somewhere in east Texas and that I can’t put the stinkin’ book down. I do that sometimes. This book is quite lengthy, though. So, I’m sure I’ll come up for air at some point.

Until then,

The Dairymaid