Monday, October 29, 2012

A Rant about Cohabitation, of all things

[Emily and Steven asked what I'm writing about.  I said, "Living together before you're married." They said, "Why are you writing about THAT?"  And the answer is, I have my reasons but don't want to go into them publicly.]

I have never understood the appeal of living together without being married.

Obviously, there's the whole moral issue, an excellent reason to wait for marriage.

I just read an article listing a bunch of statistics about why cohabiting before marriage is a bad idea.

It had some good points but was badly written so I won't link it.

However, it said that cohabiting couples who marry are likely to divorce--something like 82% of them.  That's an alarming statistic.

Aside from the morals and statistics, in my observation, the benefits of living together are heavily weighted on the guy's side.  Especially since the girls/women I've known tend to assume this odd housewifely role in order to keep the guy happy so he won't leave.

This is just my observation.  I have no personal experience, and praise God none of my children have chosen such an arrangement. But I know people who have.

Like this one young lady.  She had the whole world before her to conquer, and she decided to live with her boyfriend.

Not that that always keeps you from conquering the world, but that's how it worked for her.

The boyfriend was not the most reliable character, and would travel for his work, and of course she wanted him to come back home to her, rather desperately, and had this niggling fear that he wouldn't.

So among other things she started ironing his shirts.

I am not kidding.   She IRONED HIS SHIRTS.

Now ironing shirts a man's shirts is not something I will just volunteer to do.  It is not fun.  I have lots of better things to do.  There are very few men about whom I care if their shirts are wrinkly or not.  I'll iron my dad's shirts because he's old, and my sons' shirts because they are my responsibility, but a man who is not my dad or my son would have to jump through some high, flaming hoops to get me to iron his shirts.  Such as:
1. Love me.
2. Prove himself honest, responsible, mature, financially stable, smart, kind, reliable, faithful, and good-looking.
3. Marry me.
4. Provide for me.
5. Change the oil.
6. Fix the furnace.
7. Go out in the cold and rain to make sure the cat is ok because I'm worried.
8. Answer the door when the Jehovah's Witnesses come.

And a lot more.  And then I'd iron his shirts, at least the buttondowns.

So here is our young friend, who in my opinion didn't require a blessed thing from this young man except that he luvved her in some fluffy sense.  She slept with him, she luvved him back, and she ironed his shirts.  I think she also cooked nice hot meals.

I wanted to rescue her, somehow, but you can't just rescue someone with such down-deep damage and desperation.

I will probably hear from people who will say that they have a wonderful equal-partnership equal-opportunity live-in relationship.

Well that is really none of my business.

In general, I think men like to enjoy benefits without commitment, and women tend to be desperate for luv, and when they live together without marriage, most of the benefits are the man's.

Here's what I wonder.  Why do modern women--who present themselves as liberated and smart and in control of their lives--not have the sense to hold off the good stuff until the guy makes some serious sacrifices for her?  Like marrying her.

Maybe they aren't as smart and in control as they think they are.

Yay for all the strong young ladies in my life who will make their guy meet a long list of criteria before they iron his shirts.

And for the young men who choose determined women who bring out their best qualities of strength and character and commitment and sacrifice.

Quote of the Day:
"Why does the word 'lisp' have an S in it, when people who lisp can't even say it?"

Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Book

My first boxful of books arrived today.

The title is Tea and Trouble Brewing, and it contains 34 of my Register-Guard columns/essays plus a few simple recipes, since we had four blank pages to fill.

This one is dedicated to my fine daughter Amy.  So, yes, I have to keep writing books until each of the children has one dedicated to them.

To order:
You can mail me a check for $15 per book, which includes postage.  My address is:
31148 Substation Drive
Harrisburg, OR 97446

Huge thanks to everyone who helped and encouraged me through the whole process.

There will be a blog tour coming soon.  It's a first for me--I think it'll be fun.

If you want to order my previous books--
They are $10 each plus $2 postage if you can't drop by to pick them up.
Ordinary Days
Upstairs the Peasants are Revolting
Downstairs the Queen is Knitting

Get a set of all four books for $40 which INCLUDES postage. [U.S. customers only.]
$35 for local folks.

I'm hoping to have the book up on Amazon soon.  If you want it at your local bookstore, you can tell them to contact me.

Until then, the best way is to mail me a check with a note telling me what you want.


On Their Way

They really have "left the village, and mounted the steep*." 

Shipment Progress
Local Time
Portland, OR, United States
5:18 A.M.
Out For Delivery

5:14 A.M.
Arrival Scan
Louisville, KY, United States
3:37 A.M.
Departure Scan

1:36 A.M.
Import Scan

12:30 A.M.
Arrival Scan
Minneapolis, MN, United States
9:46 P.M.
Departure Scan

9:33 P.M.
Departure Scan

8:51 P.M.
Arrival Scan

7:59 P.M.
Arrival Scan
Winnipeg, MB, Canada
7:29 P.M.
Departure Scan

6:04 P.M.
Export Scan

2:52 P.M.
Origin Scan
3:42 P.M.
Order Processed: Ready for UPS

My new books are on their way!!!

*from Paul Revere's Ride

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Light Fight

According to people like James Dobson, normal couples clash over where to set the thermostat.  He's always hot; she's always cold.  Or vise versa.

We have the occasional difference, especially when camping, where it's a matter of covers rather than setting the thermostat.

Paul slides into a sleeping bag wearing minimal garments and slumbers happily all night long.

I wear a hooded sweatshirt, sweatpants, socks, layers, and garments.  And I pick the thickest sleeping bag, with a mat underneath, and I shiver and turn all night long.

But he always feels sorry for me in the morning, and gets the fire going to make tea, so it's not like we really clash over this.

Here's where we really differ: over light.

Maybe it's my genes from my Amish grandma, who waited to light the gas lamps until the sun had set and the lingering dusk had turned to darkness and we almost had to stab around with the fork to find the last bite of pie on our plates.

Light is good, but there's no need to overdo it.  That's my philosophy.

Especially in the morning.  In the morning, in a perfect world, I would slowly, slowly adjust my eyes to the dawn, shades drawn, and not switch on a light until I have that first cup of tea in hand some 15 minutes after I get up, and then only a pretty little 25-watt lamp back in the corner of the counter.

Not so my husband.

It's leap out of bed, march into the bathroom, and click click click everything is lit up like the OR at Sacred Heart about to host an open-heart surgery, Autzen Stadium hosting a night game, the old East German border back when a hapless escapee triggered the wrong wire and turned on the floodlights.  Brilliant light blazing everywhere is how he likes it, and he happily bangs and slams and flushes, then gets dressed and leaves the bathroom lights on and cheerfully marches on to the kitchen, where a single click lights the scene like a Broadway stage on opening night.

We note here that when we remodeled both the kitchen and the bathroom, he made sure we had light fixtures featuring numerous light bulb sockets--two hanging arrangements of multiple bulbs each in the kitchen; a row of bulbs all around the big bathroom mirror, plus a viciously bright heat lamp in the bathroom.

He just likes lots of light.

Meanwhile, I am still in bed, the covers over my head.  But I know I have to get up.

I squinch my eyes shut and force myself to stumble into the bathroom, missing the edge of the door if I'm lucky, and the blast of light assaults me like a physical force.  With one arm over my eyes I grope with the other--swatting desperately until I hit that switch and the floodlights switch off.  Blessed relief.

I slowly take care of the morning ablutions in semi-darkness, which is all anyone needs if you ask me, and then it's off to the kitchen to face the second assault of wattage coming at me like the Rough Riders charging up San Juan Hill.

I surrender.

We have never found common ground in this little battle of preferences.

Paul, wanting to do me a favor because of my winter depression, installed bright daylight-spectrum light bulbs in the office and sewing room.  The problem is, you don't need an overhead light when you're working on the computer.  The computer lights up, you know.

So I'll be working on the computer and he comes in and switches on the light, sighing, "I don't see why you sit there in darkness if you struggle with SAD all winter."

The truth is, it doesn't cross my mind to turn on the light.  The light from the computer is perfectly adequate for any computer work, obviously, and there's enough window light to do paperwork.

Thankfully, Paul has at least learned not to turn on the overhead light while I'm trying to sleep. I've learned to switch on the bright lights for him when I'm brushing my teeth and he's trying to shave.

We would both love to own the moral high ground on this but have to admit it's not exactly a moral issue.  But I have to admit that he has more Scripture on his side than I do, what with, "Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil," and all the verses about the perpetual light shining in Heaven.

But I am counting on God to give me a more light-tolerant set of eyes when I get there.

I don't want to go around Heaven with one arm over my eyes, walking into doors.

Quote of the Day:
"What if SHE doesn't like HIM??  That would be so awkward.  If her DAD didn't like it, they could just have a Romeo and Juliet.  Without the dying."
--Jenny, who likes to share her opinion on the various young courting (or potentially courting) couples in her life

Monday, October 08, 2012

Crunching Leaves, Skunks, and Such

We are having a long and dry and astonishingly sunny late summer and fall.  I mean, one sunny day after another, on and on--the kind of weather we desperately prayed for in June and July, and now here it is in abundance.

The leaves are starting to fall and they crunch underfoot.  Oregon people are not used to autumn leaves crunching underfoot.  It is fun.

*     *     *
So today Jenny was telling me how she argued with the Sunday school teacher last Sunday, enough so that he went home and talked about it with his family over Sunday dinner.

I sighed and said cynically, "We can't let those Sunday school teachers get by with false doctrine, now can we?"

Jenny said, emphatically, "No we can't!"

Why is it always my children who argue with the Sunday school teacher?  From the least to the greatest--well, maybe the middle boys are a bit less confrontational--but otherwise it's always been MY children who argue with the teacher while everyone else sits quietly with their quarterlies in their laps.

And some teachers are more amenable to this than others, shall we say.

I get blamed for a lot but I can assure you that this gene does not come from me.  I am not the sort who argues with teachers.

[As we speak, Emily is across the table eating an apple and reminiscing about the year she scared off one Sunday school teacher after another.  She doesn't remember how many.  She just remembers it seemed like new people all the time, teaching the class and "I didn't have any clue at the time I was chasing them off."]

[Except for this one teacher.  "Then later when he came and talked to Dad I just felt betrayed.  I just got this idea that he really valued my opinions and then to have him just GO TO DAD!  It's like a friend that's friendly to your face and goes to your other friend and says you're a big fat meany."]

Not my genes. I repeat.  Not mine.
*     *     *
 Hard to believe this sweet little baker would argue with anyone.
*     *     *

Speaking of getting talked about over Sunday dinner:

A certain young man from Holmes County, no less, that bastion of fancy Mennonites, is suddenly dating a certain young Smucker lady who ventured east for Music Camp.

He was in church on Sunday, we all met him, and we discussed him over Sunday dinner.

There is no surer way to get yourself thoroughly dissected and analyzed than to start dating a young Smucker lady and come to church with her.

We dissect kindly and lovingly, you know that.  But also thoroughly.

*     *     *
We have skunks on the porch.  They started coming and eating the cat food. Last night there were three of them.

So tonight we brought the cat food inside and, following a friend's advice, I set out mothballs to repel the skunks.

Five minutes later, two skunks clambered up the steps and snuffled all around the porch.

Emily said, "FAIL!"

That seems to be what young people say when things don't work.  Sometimes they say, "Epic Fail."

*     *     *
Jenny and I went and bought a twin-size hide-a-bed couch at the neighbors' garage sale.  We said we'd come pick it up in the van.  They said that last week they sold one just like it to three college guys who were fixing up their apartment.  They had come in a little Honda.  The three of them hoisted the couch to the roof of the car, then one of the guys climbed up and sat on the couch, and they drove off.  They had three miles to go.  Mrs. Garage Sale shook her head and said, "If their mothers had seen them. . ."

She also said they had taken a picture.  I told her to post it online.  It would go viral overnight, I'm sure.

*     *     *
Recently Jenny had a slumber party with the same two girls featured in my column four years ago that ended up appearing in...which book was it?  My new one, I guess.  Dear me, that one's been a long time in coming.

9 year old girls at a slumber party:
Are all about being the same: hair, backpacks, etc.
Play with American Girl dolls.
Play American Girl cd's.
Talk about falling in love.
Eat a lot.
Stay up late and get up early, and they keep the parents awake.
Behave terribly the next day.

13 year old girls at a slumber party:
Like to be unique, to a point.
Like to dress up.  Not in like, Mom's bin of costumes in the attic.  Duh.  In, like, OUTFITS.
Like to take 435 pictures of each other in said outfits.
Listen to cool music.  Not like Katy Perry, but still cool.
Talk about boys.
Eat a lot.
Stay up late and get up early, but let the parents sleep.
Behave terribly the next day.

A slumber party photograph.

*     *     *
My old friends Mary and Marie came to visit me.  I would have loved to have hours more with them, but they had a tight schedule.  We have a long history, and it was wonderful to see them again.

*     *     *
Emily has been into cooking and baking.  She was teaching a little first grader and kept reviewing the "a-sound" flash card all week, which featured a big pink layer cake, which made her so hungry for a big pink layer cake that she made one on the weekend.

 Emily also made a batch of salsa which involved chopping some potent onions.  She said, "You're taking pictures??  Well, if you post them be sure and specify that this snorkel is SEWED on so I couldn't take it off."

"Ok," I said.

*     *     *
Jenny likes to cook suppers.  One evening a hot dog rolled under the stove.

*     *     *
This is as profound as my life gets these days.  Which is ok.

*     *     *
I miss my Kids Away from Home.
Like Amy, for instance, who worked at Grocery Depot all summer and brought me Provolone cheese and bargain dressings.

Quote of the Day:
"If you're gonna forget your lunch, hot lunch day is a good day to do it."

Sunday, October 07, 2012

October's LFH

Today's Letter from Harrisburg is about our day at the state prison.

Click here.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Help Wanted: Blog Tour Hosts

[Note--Many thanks to the bloggers who volunteered to help with this.  I think I have enough although I would have a hard time saying no to any more who show up.  I'll leave the post up in case any "tour hosts" want to check back on the rules.  Or if any of you have ideas on how it could be done differently/better.]

I have a new book coming out.  (The Lord Willing, I should add, since the files have gotten lost twice, once for me and once for the graphic designer.  I wouldn't think this book is of such importance that Sinister Forces would want to sabotage it, but you never know.)


The title is Tea and Trouble Brewing.

It’s my fourth collection of Register-Guard columns and is at the printer as we speak.  I hope to have the books in hand by the end of October.

This book is similar to the other three in content but is not being published by Good Books.  I’m self-publishing, which I did nine years ago and which is easier now on a number of levels—technology, support available, resources online, etc.

Not to mention a friend-of-a-friend graphic designer who designed the cover and pages, and arranged everything with the printer.

But this aspect remains: if you self-publish, you do your own publicity.

This still isn’t easy for the Amish girl in me, but I think it’ll be much easier than it was nine years ago, with being better known locally and with the internet to help me spread the word.

I also have people in my life like my sisters and Ellen Gerig who are happy to do publicity for me while I keep quiet.  I just love them.

I’d like to try something new this time: a blog tour, starting around the middle of November.

This is how it works:

YOU: have a blog and email me with your generous willingness to get involved.

I: assign you a date to post a review and giveaway.
I: send you three copies of my new book.
I: tell you which day to post your review/giveaway.

YOU: read the book (or enough of it to write a review, which is really only a few chapters).

If you wish:
YOU: email me a few questions about the book or anything else.

I: post the blog tour schedule, with links.

Then on the appointed day,
YOU: post the review/interview/giveaway.

And then
YOU: decide how to select a winner and mail them a book.
YOU: give away the third copy that I sent you to someone you know who needs encouragement.  We’ll do this instead of the annual Christmas book giveaway.

And then
I: thank God for people like YOU who are helpful and generous.
Here’s my email:

You can also email me any suggestions you have, since this is my first experience with arranging a blog tour.