Sunday, February 01, 2015

Things I Learned in January

It's that time again--looking back on the silly/fascinating/trivial/profound things I learned in the last month, inspired by Chatting at the Sky

1. Home is here. In Tennessee. And there is a limit to the amount of time I can spend away from it.
I realized after our Christmas break trip to Ohio that I'm less and less inclined to call our trips north "going home" and more and more likely to say simply "going to Ohio." It used to be called "going home" both ways (which could be more than a little confusing). I'm not sure if my parents' move two years ago sealed the deal, or if time has just finally accumulated enough (we've been here almost a decade now), or what. But "home" isn't quite so much both places anymore; the scale has tipped in favor of HERE--Tennessee--the church and school and work and friends and life that we've established, that God has provided, in the mid-South.

In many ways I still hate being away; I wish grandparents were closer, wish we could know our nieces and nephew better, wish cousins got to play together all the time (wish we had free babysitting convenient and close). I felt the pull over Christmas break: I don't get to do any of the hosting; we don't get to spend any of the time off from work just hanging out with friends here. But...I am thankful that my life with Steve in Tennessee feels most like home.

2. Cello pens do not have an unlimited shelf life.
I stocked up on my favorite ballpoint pens long ago, and I still have a couple of packages in a box labeled "office supplies" upstairs. When I needed a blue pen recently and dug one out of the box, it wrote like crap. I tossed it out and retrieved another. Same story. I threw out probably half a dozen blue pens after attempting to write with them, finding the ink incredibly scratchy and prone to run out in the middle of a word. Back to Big Lots I go (for only a single package this time).

3. Coffee doesn't need as much sugar when it is really creamy. 
*cough* leftoverheavywhippingcream *cough*

4. I like my eggs fried crispy. 
I am just not a huge egg fan. My boys eat them scrambled/fried pretty much every day of the week, sometimes green and sometimes topped with cheese...honestly, I'd barf if I had to eat them every day that way. But my new favorite preparation method has made me more interested in plain eggs for breakfast again.

5. When hosting a 6:30PM party, be sure to clarify for your guests that no, they should NOT eat dinner before they come.
I hosted a going-away party this month for about 20 guests. I meant to tell them all that we'd have plenty of food, so they shouldn't eat ahead of time, but I kept forgetting. As it turned out, many of them weren't sure whether we'd be having dinner or just light snacks, so they ate before they came and I ended up with a ton of leftover food.

6. The day before Ash Wednesday is called Shrove Tuesday. 
I knew that "Mardi Gras" was French for "Fat Tuesday," but I'd never heard the term "Shrove Tuesday" before reading it in Lauren Winner's (excellent) book Still. The word "shrove" comes from a word meaning "confess." Interestingly/inexplicably, Shrove Tuesday is also widely known as Pancake Day, celebrated in many countries by eating pancakes.

7.The U.S. did not have a president from 1783-1789. 
During this period, the country was governed by the Articles of Confederation (before the Constitution had been written), and apparently the founding fathers were so afraid of returning to tyrannical rule that they did not even want to have an executive branch at all. Instead, the U.S. was ruled by Congress alone. Did I learn this in history class and just forget? I don't know--it came up during the John Adams miniseries Steve and I have yet to finish. I did some googling after the math for when he was president just wasn't adding up.

8. Strep throat symptoms are not always what you would expect. 
Elijah had his first-ever bout with strep last week, and it wasn't like I remember from my own childhood infections. His throat wasn't really on fire--it just hurt a little--and he randomly vomited once. The pediatrician said both of those things are very common. I was also surprised to learn that Jude was less likely to catch it; it's more prevalent in school-age kids, less for the youngest ones. The doc was right; Jude and the rest of us stayed healthy.

What did you learn in January?

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