Archive | learning

“Pepper-salts”

Hello Readers,
Today was a normal February morn. Two of us slept on the floor which has been quite common lately. Willin sleeps on his bathroom floor as sort of a ploy to get him to get up and use the bathroom during the night, and I sleep in a sleeping bag on my own floor because Rita was over and sleeps in my place in the bed. This morning was dreary, as if God had printed the day out with a black and white printer but it has reprinted now (2:25 PM) with full color.
Yesterday was cleaning day (how many times have I typed that sentence on this blog?) and a very long cleaning day at that. Sabrina was gone all morning so Bunny had to do the vacuuming and then when Sabrina did come back she had to cook lunch so she was still unavailable. Part way through cleaning time I usually flop down on the catwalk for a couple minutes. Some days I find another cleaner, broom or dust rag in hand, already flopping there. This time I sat with Birdie and Jube.

Randomly, I confided in Birdie that I cannot do somersaults. Not for the life of me! When I was little, I used to be able to do them all over the house, but lately, I have come to the conclusion that I’ve utterly lost my touch. A couple of months ago at Rita’s we all tried again, but, embarrassingly, in one of those we-must-be-on-drugs moments when we were all laughing to tears and squatting with our heads to the floor, my somersault only went half way, as in, I got onto my head and fell sideways in a very painful manner. I guess I just get kind of panicky half way through and give up on the the rolling over part. Well, Jube is quite the opposite. As a matter of fact, she doesn’t even kneel, but begins standing up. She also calls them “pepper-salts” which I think is perfectly adorable and post-title-worthy. Soon, Birdie went back to what we were supposed to be doing, and I tried to do a somersault. WARNING: the following information is highly embarrassing. By “try,” I mean, squatted down at the end of the catwalk and sat there, blood rushing to my upside-down head and tried to make myself push off. Then Jubilee-sweet Jubilee-a girl who’s name fits her better than a name ever fit a person-began cheering and instructing me in my pepper-salt. “You can do it! Let me help you! Just watch me!” (Then she does something amazing…) “See? You can do it! Try to do a pepper-salt!”

Also, it may be useful to remember a little of Jubilee’s past. She was a little late to walk, but when she did walk, she could suddenly run…and jump and climb and reach up to a bar on the swing set and pull her little body up. Yes, chin-ups.

Anyway, she was my instructor. She actually came behind me and pushed my rump. This was to no avail because I wouldn’t budge…I was too scared! I didn’t want to get half way up and snap my neck! I just kept saying: “My hands here? My head like this? My knees together? Apart? Push off with my feet or my hands?” Etc. Jubilee couldn’t have been a better teacher. Her energy is contagious. Then suddenly, in one of her examples to me, poor little Jube pepper-salted all the way down the first flight of stairs like a teddy bear! At the bottom, in a heap of arms and legs and tears, I ran and scooped her up. She was only scared-not injured thankfully, so she was soon in a state of recovery.
“If you could pepper-salt all the way down the stairs, I think I could do one-don’t you?” I said. I knew that if I said this, I would really have to push off and try. So I took my position and made myself roll over-perfect! A true pepper-salt! I would be embarrassed if any of you had seen our victory dance! I was, I’ll admit, quite proud. But, the lesson I learned wasn’t only how to do a pepper-salt, but also that there is something to learn from everybody-even four year-olds.

Everly Pleasant
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Lately…

This is a short account of what we’ve been been up to lately around here. Enjoy!

The latest project has been setting up a rock tumbler. They were all very excited (even though Bunny doesn’t look like it in the above photo.) Let’s see if they last the whole thirty days.
A lesson on rocks.


Cooking! We made a huge pot of dumplings this day, Birdie made lunch today and once we made porcupine casserole. I am quite sure that some of the kids really think we ate porcupine.

Hot tea! Especially with the following:


fireplace fires! And reading! See http://www.pleasantlibrary.blogspot.com/

Lite brite

Yesterday I set up a little studio in the doll room and traced the kids’ shadows.
This one is Bunny.

Willin

Birdie
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Snail Mail: A soapbox entry

Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I am a advocate for snail mail.
Back when I was your age, we used to LICK THE ENVELOPES. Can you believe that?
So tonight I shall soapbox (that was a verb) about letters. Enjoy the picture, quotations and opinions.

There must be millions of people all over the world who never get any love letters . . . I could be their leader.
Charlie Brown

Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls; for, thus friends absent speak
John Donne

And this is an excerpt from a wonderful book I received as a Christmas present called “What Jane Austen ate and Charles Dickens knew.” It is a book about the everyday life, details and culture of the English people of the 1800’s. Something to remember: M.P. means member of Parliament.
The chapter titled The Mail:
Letters!
Letters told you whether or not you had inherited the estate-whether someone had agreed to marry you-whether cousin Frank was lost at sea-whether a lost heir was actually alive and in New Zealand was now returning to claim his fortune. The mail was expensive except to M.P.s, who, until 1840, could “frank” it, i.e., send it free. Postage was billed on the basis of the number of miles the letter traveled in England, fourpence for the first fifteen miles, eightpence for the eighty, and so on up to seventeen pence for the letter going seven hundred miles. In addition, if you put any enclosures in the letter (even a second piece of notepaper)
the charge was double. And the recipient always paid, not the sender.
(it goes on to say that generous people allowed their relations/friends to write all the time despite the fact that they would have to pay to open it and that many people gave their mail to an M.P. uncle or someone who could “frank” it for them…)

More genteel ways to save postage included using lots of abbreviations in one’s letters and also “crossing,” or turning the letter at a right angle after one had written on a page and writing over it. In general, says Miss Bates of a correspondent to the heroine in Emma, “she fills the whole paper and crosses half. My mother often wonders that I can make it out so well. She often says when the letter is first opened, “Well, Hetty, now I think you will be put to it to make out all that checker-work.”
Until the 1840’s envelopes were not in widespread use so you wrote your letter on a sheet of paper, folded in up and then sealed it and that was you de facto envelope. In Jane Austen, we find the characters using a wafer to seal their missives. This was a small disk made of gum and flour which you licked and then stuck on to the letter to close it. Alternatively, there were seals-gentlemen sometimes carried them on a chain hanging from their waistcoat-which were dipped in beeswax or a similar compound that was melted with the aid of a little desk taper and then applied to the letter. Red sealing wax was for business, other colors for social correspondence, and black for mourning. “In those days there was an art in folding and sealing.” wrote Jane Austen’s nephew in a memoir to his aunt in 1870. “No adhesive envelopes made all easy. Some people’s letters always looked loose and untidy; but her paper was sure to make the right folds, and her sealing-wax to drop into the right place.”
(it goes on to say that in The mayor of Casterbridge a character seals her letter poorly, it opens and is read by the wrong person.)

The day came, of course, when letters were not the only means of communication across long distances in the country. By 1857 most of the large towns in England were linked by telegraph and in 1879 the first telephone exchange in the country appeared in London.

And this concludes Snail Mail: A soapbox entry. That was a lot of writing! I didn’t copy and paste that from somewhere…no sir! I looked at the book in my lap and typed like a mad woman!
Everly Pleasant

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