I am so very glad I bought those dutch ovens. I honestly didn't think I would be using the large one. That is a big ass pot. But I've used it twice now and both times have appreciated the width of it. Circumference? Diameter?
When I made jam in it, it provided a larger area exposed to the heat which helped the jam thicken faster as it boiled. And I used it Friday night to make chicken and dumplings and again, I had far more area in which to cook my dumplings and the more dumplings in the pot, the better. I've used the smaller one so many times already. Tonight, chili is simmering in it. It's such a good size for many of the meals I cook. And here's something else I've realized- the knobs on the lids are better and sturdier than the ones on the Le Crueset. I wish I hadn't had to discover this because the way I did was to accidentally (of course) drop the lid of one of those pans and damn if the metal knob wasn't made in two pieces and split almost in two leaving a very sharp edge on which I promptly cut my finger. The knobs on the "cheap" stuff, however, are all once piece. I checked after I broke the other one.
Luckily I can order a new knob from Le Creuset but of course it's going to probably cost at least $25 with shipping.
God I've been useless today.
The most exciting thing I did was to pot up a few rootlings.
The inspiration for this came with a new old pot. New to me. It was in the car that Mr. Moon bought and was detailing the other day. The lady had taken everything she wanted out of the car so I felt like it was okay to use. I mean, it's just a regular, used planter pot.
But it's pretty cool in a "modern" sort of way and was a good size for a starter home for the polka dot begonia stems I'd rooted. I'll give it to one of the kids. Repotting and potting plants always seems like a game of musical chairs to me. Or one of those shell exchange fests that hermit crabs have. If you've never heard of this or seen footage of it happening, I suggest you give over four minutes of your life to check it out HERE which comes courtesy of BBC Earth. But anyway, plants, like hermit crabs, do outgrow their homes and must be put into bigger pots while their outgrown pots can be used for smaller plants that need bigger homes right down to the ones that suit the babies.
Before you know it, you've changed the entire plant arrangement of your life and new plants, which need the most careful tending, have to be someplace where you will remember to water them regularly while rooting is established and so forth. That little table in my mud/laundry room is where I keep my most fragile rootlings and the kitchen porch is sort of the step-up nursery and by the time I was done today, everything had been rearranged. To add to the fun, any of the plants on the little porch that the chickens might enjoy pecking at must be elevated, otherwise, they'll be pruned down to the nubs. The birds seem to especially like begonias.
AND WHO CARES?
Well, I do. Sort of.
But that's the level of activity I did today.
Speaking of birds nibbling plants, yesterday while the boys were here, we saw Miss Tweety in the garden. Since Mr. Moon did his chicken-proofing, we had not seen one hen or rooster in there but suddenly- there was the tiniest chicken of all having her way with the dirt and plants. Turns out there was a hole in the fence that Mr. Moon and the boys fixed. Here's Levon, cutting the wire to get the job done.
I love that picture.
So. Chili's cooking, my man is out doing yet another manly activity and I'm just...here. Sunday. A thing happened yesterday that I've been thinking about and trying to process. August and I were reading The Five Hundred Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins which is a very good story and in which we were both totally invested when there was a part about someone getting a spanking. August laughed and laughed.
"Have you ever gotten a spanking?" I asked him.
He looked at me like I was insane.
"No," he said.
"I did," I said. And we went on but suddenly I remembered the last spanking I got. I had to have been at least fifteen, maybe sixteen, and my family had been on a camping trip attended by a lot of the teachers at the community college where my stepfather worked. There had been a boy there, one I knew well from school, and that weekend we sort of had our eyes on each other. It was completely innocent. Not so much as a hand-holding but my stepfather noticed. I realize now that he thought I was his and his alone and he couldn't say anything because that would have been too weird. But when we got home, I had to go to the bathroom, and I did, and I took the comics out of the Sunday paper with me and when I got out he yelled at me for avoiding the work of unpacking and not "helping your mother." This was something he lambasted me for frequently. I can remember him getting angry with me for not helping my mother bathe my little brothers and thinking, "Why don't you do it? They're your kids?" As far as I know, he never so much as changed one of their shirts, must less a diaper. And he certainly never bathed them. If Mother couldn't do these things, I did them.
But on this occasion, he was so angry that he actually hit my butt a couple of times. I was so shamed and humiliated. And I had no idea why he had gotten so worked up about me going to the bathroom when of course, he was just looking for an excuse to punish me for something that was as sweet and as natural as anything in this world could be.
When this memory hit me, I stumbled over my words as I was reading the Dr. Seuss book and had to pull myself together to continue. For some reason, it had never really crossed my mind how completely fucked up and weird and truly perverted that had been. I cannot remember if my mother witnessed this but I have the sense that she did. Did she say anything? Again- I don't remember. I don't know.
But I don't think he ever hit me again although that was certainly not the last time he shamed me, humiliated me, made me feel dirty and guilty.
But I don't think he ever hit me again although that was certainly not the last time he shamed me, humiliated me, made me feel dirty and guilty.
Oh. The layers of the stinking, rotten onion we know as sexual abuse.
I will tell you that that boy ended up being the first boy I ever held hands with and that memory is as sweet as he was. Nothing can spoil that. I still dream of him sometimes. I hope he is still with us, as bright-souled as he was then.
Back to the present.
Levon doing man's work with his mighty muscles- he will have no memory of this, of course, but he will feel important and that will stick. Valued and important, builds confidence, spanking only builds resentment- we know that one..."spanking" why not call it what it is- physical abuse and bullying. I hate it when people my age say dumb stuff like " I was taught respect through regular beating because I deserved them and now I am a good citizen" , yeah, probably a bully citizen! Sorry for the childhood that you had to endure, I pretty mush hate your mom for allowing abuse. Mother's just do not let that slide!!! Mystery.ReplyDelete
Lot to unpack here. You're right about Levon. My grandchildren are being raised so differently than I was. Corporal punishment was as common as houseflies where I grew up. Schools approved it. I watched my mother, as a teacher, paddle children almost every day. Horrifying on many levels. I guess she thought she was doing the right thing. And yes- so many people love to talk about how they "took licks" at school or from their "old man" and how it made them stronger and better people which is bullshit and even if it wasn't, would still be wrong.Delete
What my stepfather did to me wasn't spanking, as such. It was hitting in anger. Anger that he had no right to at all.
And I don't know why my mother let things slide that should have made all of her alarms go off. Again- I guess she thought she was doing the right thing. But I will tell you that the anger I had for her prevented us from ever having a decent relationship.
MUCH not mush, I am not drunk...yet.ReplyDelete
Didn't even notice, girl!Delete
fascinating how some rather small and simple event can trigger a memory so powerful as your spanking......won't go on about that but I'd have plenty to say. I only had one in my life from my Father and it was not in the same context but it was memorable.ReplyDelete
You have chili.....I made a huge pot of pink beans with ham hock today, and spanish rice.....and the leftovers alone will feed me for days......since hubby is leaving manana for a week long trip to see his ailing Dad in Arizona....then Utah for mountain biking, it will be a godsend for me not to cook. Dog and I are solo-ing! Lunch with my bro one day...otherwise home and just being quiet, which I very much look forward to
PS one of your *rootlings* looks like a rabbits foot fern. Is it? I have one that has taken over my entire guest room! It's absolutely HUGE!Delete
Oh, Susan- I know you do look forward to some utter you-time. I love being alone too, but always knowing that it's not forever. I have looked that plant up and although some do call it a rabbit's foot fern, that's not what WE call one. And I do have one of those too!Delete
Levon's the one to learn skills from his grandpa and from other good men. The other three boys seem to have quite different interests from making by the work of their hands.ReplyDelete
August is interested in learning to do things with his hands. I think Owen probably is too. Not sure about Gibson but Levon is definitely the one who loves the hands on stuff. I was impressed with his strength!Delete
Hitting a child is just sickening. I understand how things like that can feel so humiliating and I truly think it ruins trust between adults and children, maybe forever. Funny how memories can catch a person of guard so many years later and all the shame and hurt can come rushing back in an instant.ReplyDelete
It's so true, Jennifer. Those memories are never banished, are they? They just lurk until something happens and then they burst forth again. Ugh.Delete
I think hitting a child is sickening too but I will admit that I've done it. I am not proud about that at all and have apologized many times. The kids generally laugh when I do that and tell me they deserved it but of course they didn't.
I like the word "harumph" even though I cannot recall ever slipping it into a sentence. Thanks for sharing that unpleasant recollection of your stepfather. It cannot be easy articulating such memories but it is probably healing to share them - a kind of purging. And that is indeed a lovely picture of Glen and Levon - teaching by doing.ReplyDelete
I like the word "harumph" too. It expresses so much. It's like a facial expression on the page.Delete
It is healing, I guess to articulate hard memories but more than that- it seems somehow necessary for me. Maybe I'm just weird but there is also the factor that I do not feel guilty at all about telling these stories- I was a child and was abused and that was not of my choosing, just as it is not of any child's.
Mr. Moon is a wonderful natural teacher, especially when he has such a sweet and willing student.
I am sorry you were triggered. That is never a pleasant experience. I have never thought it correct to hit a kid and still recall some of the hitting I experienced. Have a sweet night.ReplyDelete
I'm so sorry, e. Unfortunately, when we were being raised, it was so common to hit kids. What a stupid way to discipline a child.Delete
Love the photo of Bop and Levon working together. Priceless memory.ReplyDelete
I'm sorry your memory was not a good one. Whenever I hear of spanking a child, I remember a former boss--he was a retired school principal who went on to become a state legislator (I was his legislative assistant decades ago) who fought hard to ban corporal punishment in state schools. He won that battle, but it was a very unpleasant fight. Sad to say. Some folks think domination and humiliation is how you get a compliant population. Too many examples around. Usually these are the same people who proudly say they were beaten as a child and they turned out great...and then you look at their current behavior/viewpoint on life and can only shake your head.
That former boss of yours gets my respect. When I was growing up, school principals' job seemed to me to be about 35% paddling kids. And I hear people now bragging, just as you say- about how they took licks, defending the people who hit them. I am so glad that corporal punishment in schools is no longer allowed and I'm sure that it's because of brave people like the man you worked for.Delete
I'm impressed that Levon has the strength to cut that chicken wire!ReplyDelete
I remember the last time I got spanked. I don't remember how old I was, must have still been in elementary school and I don't remember what it was I got spanked for but I remember when my father got home he confronted me in my bedroom, sat on the end of my bed, pulled my across his lap, pulled up my skirt and smacked me on the bottom three or four times. it wasn't the last time he hit me though. he slapped me when I was 18 and called me a bitch or a whore, something like that because I came home from my evening out in a different shirt in which I left and he didn't like my explanation. a story for another day.
Didn't you see Levon's muscles in that picture? Haha. He is a strong little boy, though. He got some real muscles when he was fascinated with digging. He dug for hours a day.Delete
There is something so very, very perverted about a father unclothing a child's bottom to hit it whether they are male or female children. And actually, for a mother to do it is just as weird. And fucking wrong. I'm sorry you have that memory and of the time he slapped you. He sounds like a real classy human being. You deserved so much better.
My father was firm believer in 'spankings'. They weren't spankings at all. He knocked me unconscious once. I was a very quiet. Fearful. When I was in 7th grade, my social studies teacher told us on the first day of school that we would not need our books for the first 6 weeks of school. I had one of my autumn bouts of tonsillitis and missed a week of school. When I returned to class, it turned out that in my absense, he'd told the kids to bring their books to class. I didn't have mine. He made me stay after class for a smack with the paddle. I'd never, ever been hit in school. Plenty of times at home. Never at school. I missed half of my next class because I explained to him very precisely why I didn't have my book. His offer was just a little smack. I told him no, that he would not hit me. And we debated that for half a class. I won. I walked out of there and I cried myself sick in the bathroom. I had been terrified, but I had this sure feeling that if I allowed myself to be hit at school, it would be just like at home. It would never, ever stop.ReplyDelete
Forgive my misspellings. I am surprised how emotional I am about that day, even 50+ years later.ReplyDelete
Did you misspell something? I certainly didn't notice. Your story, your words are so powerful. Oh, Debby! I'm so sorry that happened to you! Your father was vile and should have been put in prison. That's all there is to it. And that teacher was wrong as hell and I cannot believe you stood up to him. My GOD! Your spirit! I admire you immensely. Thank you so much for sharing that story. I appreciate your bravery and the spirit that I know you must still have. You are amazing!Delete
And may I ask- where was your mother in all of this? Was she living in the house where your father was beating you?
She simply spent her life trying to placate him. That was her first priority. The last time my father hit me, I was 42. He bloodied my nose.I knew he would never apologize, but I told him that I would not be back until he was ready to do things differrnyly. The next time I saw him, he was dying. My mother never forgave me. She believed that I deserved it.Delete
That is a wonderful photo of Boppy and Levon, such concentration in that little boy, I am sure he feels "I'm doing it!" Well, he has the right grandfather for that. I am sorry about the memory that hijacked your sweet time with August, I know how a shadow can suddenly fall across one's mood, and it can be so hard to keep going as if all is well. Thankfully, in all real ways, all is well in Moon land, still, I wish I could put my arms around till the shadow passed. I love that it didn't spoil things with that bright-souled boy. I love that description, too. Also, Debby's comment above made me want to cry. The wounds we carry, but it was just amazing how she stood up for herself, drawing the line, surviving.ReplyDelete
I love repotting plants. And I love those two pots. Dave has a HUGE Le Creuset pot and I've asked him to avoid using it if possible because it's so big it's hard for me to clean. But I think he likes it for the same reason you do -- increased surface area. I guess I should lighten up. LOLReplyDelete
As for the stinking onion (which is a great way to put it), the fact that reading a book with August triggered that memory shows the depth of those insidious scars.