Lesson 1521 – New looks

By the time you read this I will already be in surgery getting a new look from my friendly oncology surgeon. (I’ve asked for the “Meryl Streep circa 2009” look, we’ll see how it goes.

I wrote about my little cancerous pre-existing condition during the whole healthcare debacle. It seems they found a tumor in my face and the only way to get it out is to get it out.

So in I go.

But no worries, in order to amuse myself, I get to endlessly repeat this joke:

Hey, does my face hurt?

No, why?

Cause it’s killing me!

 

(what? Too soon?)

Anyway, the face I’ve had for all these years will be looking a little different in the very near future. And so in preparation, I’ve tried out a few new looks.

Here’s the “I’m young and I get that whole emoji thing” look:

The “I shot an elephant in my pajamas” look: (and how he got in them, I’ll never know.)

The “I’m a dedicated gardener” look:

The retired beachcomber look:

The “I have (lots of) kids” look:

And the “everything is going to be just fine” look:

Catch you all on the other side. Go out and do something you love today.

 

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1520 – Barcelona – Day 1

It had been conceived during the holidays and grew to reality over the next few months. I had stopped over my friend Rosemarie’s house to drop off a gift and during our conversation, she mentioned that she was going to Barcelona in April.

“You should come,” she told me.

I thought about it for a minute. “Okay,” I replied. Having just come off of my Border-to-Border New Hampshire walk, I was game for more adventure. (Note – it’s a heck of a lot easier to travel when your kids are older.)

What followed was a lot of planning, some shifting of schedules, obsessing about what to pack (at least I didn’t have to worry about bears), and meetings over beer(s) where we’d each huddle over our guidebooks and pick out places that we wanted to see and visit.

The day came to leave. After finally saying “Frig it, if I don’t have it, I’ll buy it over there,” I was packed and ready to go. Rosemarie picked me up at 10 am and we drove to the bus station in order to take us to Logan Airport in Boston for our first flight of two flights.

When we got to Logan, the weather was rainy and foggy, conditions which threatened catching our connection in New Jersey, but because the Gods decided to smile on us, (and because Rosemarie is ADAMANT about getting to transportation centers early) we were able to get on an earlier (though slightly delayed) flight. It turned out that if we had stayed on our original flight we would have missed our connection to Spain – so yeah on Rosemarie.

Even with being booked on an earlier (delayed) flight, we still had time before we needed to board our first flight to New Jersey. What does one do in an airport with extra time?

BLOODY MARY(s)!

One, two drinks (along with a veritable salad served as drink garnishes) and we were ready to go. We got on the plane to New Jersey.

Of course, even with this earlier flight being delayed, we were still early for our final flight. What does one do again in an airport with extra time?

MORE BLOODY MARY(s)!! One drink, two drinks, why not? We weren’t driving the plane.

Of course there is always a logical consequence of drinking alcohol, but who cares! We were on a great adventure!

Our next step in the journey was boarding the plane that would take us across the ocean. It was this very one seen standing in the rain, which would transport us from cold and drizzly New England to bright and sunny Spain.

Was I nervous about flying in storm conditions?

Not at all.

Why?

Because BLOODY MARY(s)(s)!!

We finally got on the plane, took off, and for the first part of our flight, this is what I saw.

After a short while the view was this.

Rosemarie managed to sleep. Like a baby.

I didn’t. Not one wink. But who cared, tomorrow we would land in a place I had never stepped foot in before. That was certainly worth all the tossing and turning any maddeningly long flight could ever throw at me.

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1519 – Not for the faint of heart

I had wanted to start the week off writing about my recent trip to Spain and France (as you can probably figure out, I came home with some great stories) or continue with another chapter of Charlotte’s Web. But something happened the night I came back from my trip that takes precedence.

My flock was hit and it was hit hard by a vicious predator.

The night I got back, while I slept (I took some sleeping medication in order to overcome the jet lag) *something* got into our coop. Five chickens were killed outright and four were left wounded. By the afternoon two more had died. That left me with  two remaining ones that I thought had a chance.

The damage was frightening. Heads were crushed, beaks were pulled out. On two birds the bellies were opened and the innards eaten. It was a literal blood bath. Continue reading

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Lesson 1518 – Lessons Learned from Charlotte’s Web – Chapter 3

In Chapter 3 of Charlotte’s Web Wilbur the pig goes to live in the Zuckerman’s barn. At first it is lovely, warm and holds many new experiences. It’s got ladders, pitch forks, monkey wrenches, scythes, lawnmowers, snow shovels, ax handles, milk pails, water buckets, empty grain sacks, and rust rat traps. But soon the barn becomes familiar and Wilbur gets bored with his confinement.

Fern comes to visit Wilbur when she can, but Wilbur wants more. He realizes that he never has any fun – no walks, no rides, no swims. Bored, Wilbur says to himself “There’s never anything to do around here.”

“I’m less than two months old and I’m tired of living,” he adds.

A goose overhears him, tells him about a loose board in the fence and convinces Wilbur to escape. When Wilbur sticks his head through the hole in the fence the goose asks him “how does it feel to be free?”

Wilbur escapes into the yard where Mrs. Zuckerman sees him and alerts Mr. Zuckerman and Lurvy that the pig is loose. They chase Wilbur who gets flustered and confused.

Finally, Mr. Zuckerman holds out a pail of slops toward Wilbur. He smells the warm milk, potato skins, wheat middlings, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, and a popover left from the Zuckerman breakfast.

“”No, no, no, cries the goose. “You’ll miss your freedom.”

But Wilbur follows Mr. Zuckerman back to the barn where he is rewarded with the slops.

“I’m really too young to out into the world alone,” he thought as he lay down.

 

Chapter 3 Lessons Learned

Look at all the wonderful things in Wilbur’s new home!  Some things are used in the summer, some in the winter, and some every day.

Lesson learned –Look around, there are a lot of things about home to love.

 

Wilbur becomes complacent in his new surroundings and gets bored, but ulatimately if he would just listen to himself, he’d know what to do.

Lesson learned – if you want to have fun– go on a walk, go for a ride or a swim

 

Wilbur wonders what it would feel like to be free and so he pushes his way through the hole in the fence.

Lesson learned – If you want to know what it feels like to be free, then you need to escape from where you are.

 

When Wilbur escapes, Mrs. Zuckerman sounds the alarm.

Lesson learned – Be careful, when you try new things, news travels fast.

 

It takes a bucket of slops to get Wilbur back into his pen.

Lesson learned – never underestimate the power of appealing to someone’s stomach

 

Having a full tummy and tired from his adventures, Wilbur takes a nap.

Lesson learned – there’s no place like home.

Bonus lesson learned – Remember, all moms have eyes in the back of their heads, if you’re doing something wrong, they’ll catch you.

 

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1517 – Hey, I tried

On St. Patrick ’s Day we took the kids out to dinner. Our family is not Irish, but because we have so many kids many people assume we are – so I think that kind of makes us honorary Irish.

Anyway, I’m still eating vegan and have discovered that it’s near impossible to order a vegan dish in a restaurant (unless you are happy eating salad and carrots sticks for dinner.) I did the best I could, so while everyone else got dishes like Buffalo chicken mac and cheese, lamb pockets, shrimp scampi, and yes, even a boiled corned beef dinner, I order Spanakopita  – which is a Greek and feta cheese pie.

I know, I know, feta cheese isn’t very vegan but I tried my best and it was lovely (and bonus points for being green.) This morning it’s back to oatmeal, lentils and beans with vegetables, and salads.

In just about a week, I’ll be leaving for Spain and France and veganism be damned, I assure you that I will be trying every new experience and adventure I come across (yes, I’m even determined to try Octopus.) My travel philosophy has always fallen along the lines of “when in Rome…”  Those of you who followed my border-to-border walk know that in the spirit of “Rome” I tried wild boar during that adventure (meh, it was okay, I don’t need to have it again, but that wasn’t the point.)

There will be time (roughly two weeks) after I return from Europe to clean up my diet and return to a vegan plan in order to be ready for my scheduled two (2!) skin cancer surgeries. (I’ll write more about that when I get back, don’t really want to deal with it now.) I firmly believe that nutrition and exercise (and water and hope) play a *huge* role in healing and disease management (whether it be from a chronic disease like Lyme disease or from something traumatic like surgery.)

And I plan to heal quickly so that I can attend a son’s college graduation in mid-May.

 

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1516 – Lessons Learned from Charlotte’s Web – Chapter 2

 

In Chapter 2 of Charlotte’s Web we learn more about the tiny pig named Wilbur. Fern adores him and takes very good care of feeding him before and after school while Mrs. Arable gives him his noontime bottle.

For the first few days Wilbur lives in the house but as he grows he is moved to a pen outside. It’s apple blossom season and the days are getting warmer.

Concerned that the pig might get cold when the temperatures drop, Fern is relieved to see Wilbur dig a tunnel  inside the straw in the wooden box house she provided which will keep him warm when he sleeps at night.

Each morning Wilbur walks to the bus stop with Fern and as soon as she gets home from school she plays with him. Oftentimes he’ll walk alongside her as she pushes a doll carriage and sometimes when he gets very tired she puts the pig in the carriage with her doll and lets him sleep while she carefully maneuvers the carriage so as not to bump it and wake him up.

As Wilbur grows, Mr. Arable tells Fern that it’s time to sell him. All of Wilbur’s brothers and sisters had already been sold. Pigs eat a lot of food and is not worth the cost to keep him.

Naturally Fern is upset because not only will she lose Wilbur but it’s very likely that Wilbur will end up on someone’s breakfast plate. As a farm girl, she knows what will happen.

Seeing her daughter’s distress, Mrs. Arable suggests that Fern “Call up the Zuckermans. Your Uncle Homer sometimes raises pigs.” The Zuckermans live down the road so it appears to be a good compromise.

Fern calls her Uncle who agrees to take the pig and the next day Wilbur is moved from his home under the apple blossom tree to go live in a manure pile in the cellar of the Zuckerman’s barn. Continue reading

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Lesson 1515 – Lessons Learned from Charlotte’s Web – Chapter 1

At a bookstore while I was digging out my debit card, the topic of conversation centered around a tiny “Charlotte’s Web” book pin I was wearing on my sweatshirt.

“I loved that book”, the clerk told me.

“Oh,” I replied, “I loved it too. My great-Uncle wrote it.”

He was duly impressed  and as I handed him my card, he asked me if I had ever met White. I replied that I had not. But while I never met him, in our household you knew his many books by heart and you could not escape knowing all about Wilbur, Charlotte and Fern.

More effective than any church sermon, I was constantly encouraged to “live like Charlotte.”

The other day when organizing my office, I stumbled across an old copy of Charlottes’ Web inscribed by my Uncle, nephew to White. Instead of continuing with the cleaning I sat down to read a chapter or two (or three.)

Just as before, my old friends came back to speak to me and I realized that reading the book with an adult perspective gave me a new appreciation for what we could learn from this charming story. Little did I know how much gentle advice you could glean from the story of a girl, a spider and a pig.

Wouldn’t’ that be a fun thing to write about, I thought to myself.

And so because it is the perfect project for this writer who love to share life lessons, here you go –  my take on lessons learned from Charlotte’s Web written by E.B. White starting at Chapter 1.

 

Chapter 1

Early one morning while getting ready for breakfast, Fern, a little girl who lives on a farm with her brother and parents wonders where her father is going with an axe.

“Well, said her mother, “one of the pigs is a runt. It’s very small and weak, and it will never amount to anything. So your father has decided to do away with it.”

Fern rushes from the table and wrestles her father for the axe. “Please don’t kill i!” she sobbed “It’s unfair.”

“Fern,” said Mr. Arable, I know more about raising a little f pigs than you do. A weakling makes trouble. Now run along.”

“But it’s unfair” cried Fern. “The pig couldn’t help being born small, could it? I I had been very small at birth, would you have killed me?”

Mr. Arable sends Fern back into the house and tells Fern that he will bring the runt into the house and she can take care of it and feed it with a bottle. Fern goes into the house and washes up. In the meantime her brother Avery comes downstairs and sees the pig.

Can I have a pig too?” he asks.

“No, I only distribute pigs to early risers,” said Mr. Arable. “Fern was up at daylight, trying to rid the world of injustice. As a result she now has a pig. It just shows what can happen if a person gets out of bed promptly. Let’s eat.”

Before Fern eats her breakfast she sits down and feeds the tiny pig by bottle. They hear the school bus honk and Mrs. Avery tucks doughnuts into their hands and rushes them out the door to get to school.

Fern delighted with her new charge, calls the pig Wilbur.

 

Lessons Learned

There are so many lessons from this one little chapter. Let’s begin.

 

If Fern hadn’t gotten up early enough to see her father heading out to the barn with an axe, Charlotte’s Web would have been a very short and incredibly sad story. Instead because of her getting up and joining the community and because she was vigilant to injustice, she was able to challenge it and bring awareness which resulted in change.

Lessons learned – Don’t stay behind, get up and join others. Speak out when you see injustice and act against it when you are able to. The sooner you address injustice, the greater your chances of stopping it.

 

Fern wrestles with her father for the axe.

Lesson learned – Don’t’ be afraid of someone who is bigger than you.

 

As a mother it now breaks my heart to read the passage where the father says that a weakling causes trouble. As one whose kids have dyslexia and who has been an advocate for adults and children with disabilities, I now see that Mr. and Mrs. Arable were wrong – not only do runts amount to something, but weaklings can contribute so very much to the community. Hooray for Fern being able to recognize this long before others did.

Lessons learned   Don’t discount people who are weak or small because even the tiniest of voices can make a contribution.

 

Mr. Arable decides to save the pig and gives it to Fern.

Lessons learned – Under the right circumstances people’s attitudes and behaviors can change.

 

Fern is delighted when she discovers that the pig is hers. Realizing it needs care, before she eats breakfast she sits down and feeds her new charge.

Lesson learned – sometimes the needs of others come before yours (you’ll fully embrace this concept when you become a parent.)

 

The school bus honks and Fern and her brother are rushed out of the house to catch it so they can go to school.

Lesson learned – Don’t’ underestimate the power and importance of education.

 

Finally, Mrs. Arable realizing that in all the commotion hadn’t had time for a proper meal, she takes care of her children by giving them doughnuts to eat on the bus and they go out the door.

Lesson learned – no matter what, take care of yourself by starting the day off eating a good breakfast.

Bonus lesson learned – Don’t forget to say “thank you” to your mom.

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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