Inspiration, Under the Bed

Spring Cleaning

It's been a while since I shared a story from One Generation to Another. This post was first shared May 6, 2008, but since spring has graced our neck of the woods early this year, and our gardens are waking up, I thought of this. I hope you enjoy it. 

So, it’s spring and any self respecting Pietrowski woman (mother’s lineage) knows what that means. It’s time to turn your house inside out and give a good shake. I remember coming home from school on spring afternoons to a house in total disarray. Given the fact that my mom’s house always appeared perfect, nah, dare I say WAS perfect, to walk into a house with curtains off the windows, mattresses turned sideways, and the contents of a closest spewed across the floor was a tad bit unsettling. It also meant…drum roll please…I needed to clean MY room.

In my opinion, my mom’s “thorough” cleaning was superfluous. Best I could tell she cleaned what was already clean. I could not make the same statement about my room. Sure, to live in my mom’s house the “observable” surface of the room needed to be clean, but she was moderately tolerant of hidden messes. Although I’m sure she probably laid awake at night tossing and turning thinking about the condition of my drawers, she chose her battles wisely, and reserved enforcing her standards of “clean” for those times of the year when her sanity hinged on “total tidy” compliance! True, there were times when I’d need to grab a ruler from the kitchen to try to unjam a constipated drawer, but I knew where everything was…in my drawer! Duh! But my mom had this misbegotten idea that when you opened a drawer you should be able to view the contents of said drawer. I kinda viewed my drawers as an archaeological dig…there were layers and stratas, and digging was often involved when I wanted to find a barrette or pencil. Truth be told, I often gave up and went and got a new pencil from the kitchen. (That’s why when I finally cleaned out my drawers I’d often unearth 2 or 3 dozen pencils!) But the bottom line was, when my mother spring cleaned, we all spring cleaned! So, on those spring cleaning days, I was apt to find the contents of my drawers spilled out in the middle of my floor with the edict…“Don’t come out until your room is clean!” I have this vague recollection of being chained to a bedpost, with days or perhaps even weeks passing, with mere life sustainable rations of bread and water being slipped under my door as I labored tirelessly in my room.

Although my memory has been known to exaggerate or even to reinvent itself, I am left with a strong disdain for spring housecleaning. But who can blame me? The minute it gets nice outside, I’m like an eight year old, mucking about outside, refusing to come indoors except for sleep and sustenance. The thought of spending time indoors, after being cooped up all winter, seems downright blasphemous to me! I suppose you could use this same argument to support spring cleaning. Arguably, we are probably programmed with a biological propensity to spring clean. It probably began with Neanderthal women. I’m sure that after being holed up in a cave all winter, with dismantled animal carcasses and putrid air laced with the fumes of the unwashed hordes, nice weather finally meant a garbage exorcism and the delousing of their abodes. Understandable. But I have the luxury of disposing of noxious substances throughout the year, and the corners of my house are not stacked with discarded bones and makeshift privies! So, when nice weather rolls around, my only spring inclination is to open the windows!

Probably the main reason I don’t spring clean is…I TOTALLY trash my house in the spring! Spring means the gardens are waking up, and I’m there to greet them. It also means rain and mud, mud and rain. Short of lightning storms, come nice weather, I’m outside gardening. Tim refers to my gardening technique as “full body gardening”. I start out each day with an innocent “stroll” through the gardens. If I see a weed I very daintily bend over and pluck it. If it resists I’m apt to kneel down to give it a good tug. If it is still stubborn I pull out my gardening wagon. Next thing you know my butt’s planted in the bed and the dirt is flying. (As I write this blog I’m picking spiders out of my hair, and the dirt embedded under my fingernails is free falling into my keyboard!) Since I move and rearrange plants in my garden with the same regularity that I shower and eat, my pockets and cuffs, hair and nails, transport the great outdoors indoors! Most people have wall-to-wall carpeting or hardwood floors…in the spring and summer we live in a dirt floored hovel! I just can’t be bothered to clean!

I will eventually get around to spring cleaning… in the fall…when I contemplate the long house bound months ahead, and I look around and say, “Oh, dear Lord! I think there are pumpkins growing under the dining room table!” I’m THEN hit with the urge to shovel out the dirt, flip mattresses and wash windows. General thought…if I’m going to be stuck in the house for the winter it’s going to be in a clean house! So, for everyone with the instinctual desire to spring clean, I say “Good luck, and I hope ya have a jolly time!” As for me…I'll be in the gardens! (And, an aside to my house…“I’ll see you in the fall!”)

Does nice weather bring on your urge to clean and organize? Or does nice weather bring on an Exodus from indoors to outdoors?

And Baby Makes Three


I hate keeping secrets... especially exciting and happy ones. But I've known about something for about 2 months and I've finally been given permission to blog about  it :) My youngest son, Drew, and his wife Meghan, are going to be parents. They are expecting their first baby September 25 and we are all soooo excited!
 
It has been 3 years since Pixie was born... before Wee Folk Art was created... so this time we will be able to share all our excitement and baby projects as we prepare for the new wee one. Yay!  

For the Birds!

One Is Silver and the Other's... Old


Lately I've been thinking about all the lovely new friends I've been meeting recently... many of them from the blogging world. It reminded me of this piece I had written for One Generation to Another March 9, 2008. So, for no particular reason, this is for all my friends... old and new!  

If you were ever a Brownie you know the song…

Make new friends, but keep the old,
One is silver and the other’s gold.

New friends are great! They’re kinda like a “do over”. I ran into a neighbor “boy” that was home visiting his parents. He is now married and he and his wife bought their first home. After we were chatting for a while he said, “Boy, I was a jerk in high school. I wish I could go back and apologize to a ton of people.” The truth is he was a jerk. He was a bully, and he and his friends terrorized many insecure classmates. A dear friend’s son was often the target of his cruelty. And perhaps not surprisingly, but totally irrational, this “jerk” was quite popular. I looked at this neighbor “boy” and I thought, “You know, I think you really have changed.” He was nice mannered, pleasant and very communicative. Anyone who met him now would have a profoundly different impression of him than his classmates and teachers did back in his high school days.

New friends fall into the category of “Variety is the spice of life.” As we go through our lives, interests change. Maybe in college you were the partying sorority girl. Now, by some cosmic hiccup you’ve become, of all things, a crunchy mom. How is that even possible? And although you hold tightly to your old friends, it’s wonderful to make new friends that share your present mindset. (There’s no way your still single college roommate who continues to party every weekend would give a flying leap that you found a supplier of organic diaper wraps!) So, new friends, with common interests, allow you to share a slice of your life…maybe, some day, they will become “old friends”, but for the time being, they enrich our lives and embellish our personal tapestry.

But this blog is really about “old friends”…those friends that have been with us through thick and thin. They’ve seen us at our best…and our worst. They may be people we talk to every day or just exchange annual newsletters with at Christmas time, but they are the people who “knew us when”. Several years ago I took an “old friend” to the community Bible study I belonged to. We’ve been friends since she was 16 and I was 19…so, hmmmm, OMG…34 years! Irrelevant, other than demonstrating that we’ve been together for a long time! Anyway, we were sitting in the pews of the church where a visiting speaker was talking about temperance. She was this little old lady, who was standing on a stool to be seen above the podium. She was waving her hands, slamming her fist on the lectern, talking about the evils of alcohol. Now, I can guarantee you, being raised Catholic, I had never once heard a sermon quite like this one. I think this is what Carrie Nation must have sounded like! Anyway, with a grin on my face, I leaned into my friend to make a comment, but when I turned around I noticed she had slid about 6 feet away from me. I whispered, “What are you doing?” And with a completely deadpan face she whispered back, “When the lighting hits, I don’t want to be sitting too close to you!” I faked a coughing attach, and made my way to the bathroom just in time to avoid wetting my pants! There wasn’t a single other person in that room who could have made that comment to me. She continually tells friends that the only time she ever got in trouble was when she was with me. When our children were young, her father always grimaced when she mentioned I was watching her kids and to this day he develops facial tics when my name is brought up! Old friends!

Every Wednesday morning I meet a group of “old friends” for coffee, aforementioned friend being among them. We’ve known each other for eons. I remember when we use to talk about “boys”, then babies and stretch marks. We’re still talking about stretch marks, but also about menopause, our husband’s heart attack, saggy boobs, and the grand babies. We also talk about politics, books, our children, and hot actors. (Quite true!) And we still talk about our youth. (Again, ask my pew pal about “chaps and the Marriot”…I think she blew the entire thing out of proportion…at least that’s what the guys in the band would say!) But, I digress…

But there you have it…our existence is a kaleidoscope of old and new friends, everyone adding a little to our life. As time goes by we find some of our new friends and acquaintances are temporary or “situational” friends, but some hold fast and become kindred spirits. I’ve forgotten the name of some friends I’ve made over the years, yet I am grateful that they were there when I needed them. But I must admit, I am every so grateful, and feel blessed, every time I think about my handful of close friends. The ones who knew me when…and to quote Simon and Garfunkel in their song Bookends…

Time it was and what a time it was it was,
A time of innocence, a time of confidences.

There is no overriding purpose to this week’s blog other than acknowledging the value of friendship. I wish all my friends out there, the old and the “new”, a lifetime of friendships that grow and flourish and bestow untold smiles upon your days!

Interview with Sarah Baldwin of Bella Luna Toys


 

We are very excited to introduce our newest sponsor, Bella Luna Toys, and specifically Sarah Baldwin; owner and Waldorf educator. In keeping with our philosophy of offering sponsorships to shops that reflect the values of Wee Folk Art, we can honestly say we would be delighted to own ANYTHING Sarah offers at Bella Luna Toys. We thought it would be great fun to interview Sarah so we all got to know her a little better. 

If you are a Waldorf parent, you will find Sarah to be a kindred spirit. If you're not quite sure what Waldorf is all about, Sarah does a wonderful job of sharing the basic philosophies and how they impact education and home. I am grateful that Sarah has taken the time to share her extensive expertise with us, and I know I am a little wiser after reading the interview.

Make sure you take the time to not only read this delightful interview, but to make your way over to Bella Luna Toys, and take a look around. I spoke to Sarah several days ago, and as the new owner, she has big plans. Over the next few months you can expect to see a new look to the website, and the addition of many wonderful toys. And, oh yes... I almost forgot... we talked about a super Give Away that is sure to excite all Wee Folk Art readers. You'll hear about that in a couple of weeks. Yay! For the time being, grab a hot beverage, a few quite moments, and enjoy getting to know Sarah. I know I did! If you have another question for Sarah, just post it in the comments and she'll answer it as soon as possible.   

Kimara: In a nutshell, what distinguishes a Waldorf classroom from a more traditional educational environment?

Sarah: There are so many facets and layers to Waldorf education that it is nearly impossible to describe it in a neat, tidy package, even though I am frequently asked to do so! Since I am an early childhood teacher, I will highlight three of the key elements that distinguish a Waldorf early childhood classroom from that of a more mainstream preschool.

• A homelike environment with an emphasis on natural materials

A Waldorf kindergarten is typically furnished to look much like a home, with silk curtains, wool rugs, a rocking chair and wooden tables and chairs. Teachers consciously choose playthings for the classroom that will nourish a young child's senses, and sheathe them in beauty. Toys found in the classroom are made from natural fiber and materials to nourish a young child's senses.

• Real work for a real purpose

Waldorf teachers model meaningful, purposeful work in the classroom by engaging in activities such as cooking, cleaning, baking, sewing or knitting. Outdoors, teachers may be found raking, gardening, filling bird feeders or shoveling snow. Out of imitation, children engage in, and help with, all these activities. The children are learning real life skills, as they become confident and capable helpers.

• Imagination and Play

Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, emphasized the importance of the imagination in childhood, and Waldorf educators believe that imaginative play is the key to creative thinking later in life. In a Waldorf early childhood classroom, ample time is allowed each day for unstructured, imaginative play without a lot of adult interference. This is when an observer might see children becoming cats and mice; witness tea parties in the play kitchen; boys and girls building large structures out of Waldorf wooden playstands draped with large silks; building with stumps and natural tree blocks; and other children donning capes and crowns to become princesses and princes. One might say that free play is the heart of a Waldorf kindergarten morning.

To read the remainder of Sarah's insightful interview, click HERE!

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