Bits of Air

There are times I have those moments when I hear a bit of a song melody and cannot remember the title or how the rest of it goes, see a person on TV and something about them reminds me of someone that I can’t grasp, or the name of a person that I can picture in my mind and could tell you about them, but just can’t get their name to come to my mind. Those three things happened to me just in the last day.

I could go for a few months and not have that happen and then get that bit that just won’t let go. It comes out of the air when you least expect it and maybe are doing something totally unrelated and wham, it comes to me suddenly.

The other day there was a woman who was talking on TV and her mouth movement reminded me of someone. I stared at her and stared at her. I even asked the husband if that reminded him of anyone. I even took note of the show that was on so I could Hulu it later if needed be. The hubs couldn’t come up with anything although my little bits of ideas are so common to him that he pretty much disregards them. For his part I must say that they are inconsequential, just annoying to me that I can’t come up the name. I did end up coming up with who that person’s mouth reminded me of and it wasn’t anyone the hubs knew. Resolution.

I was talking to my mom who is the repository of all information that I can’t come up with in this regard. She has a mind that captures this and knows info associated with people that are connected with the community in past days. We all call her and ask how is this person related to that person and how did that come to be? She knows all that and is the keeper of that information. It will be a loss when that memory keeper departs as that is where some of our common knowledge is kept. We were trying to come up with the last name of a person that we surely knew. We ended up going onto another topic and WHAM, the name came screaming into my head and I just blurted it out. You know how that goes, if you don’t interrupt and just say it, it runs away again. There is some weight lifted when that happens. Tiny weight, but weight nevertheless. Resolution.

I was sitting in church this morning and was enjoying the beautiful piano music preservice. The musician was playing a song that I hadn’t heard in a while seeing that my former church was not into playing very many worship songs that I had enjoyed in my previous job and education. I could only come up with a three words and jotted them down on the bulletin so I could look them up when I got home. My brain just couldn’t come up with all the lyrics and it was like a pain, because I really know I liked that song.

The song ended up being “How Can I Keep From Singing?” How appropriate that something small can bring such a sense of resolution. It really doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things if I remember who that woman’s mouth looks like, what the name is or what that song was, but it does give a little satisfaction when I have trouble answering the big questions. The little answers are a nugget for my brain to smooth out. A small victory in the face of bigger more important ones that are never answered.

The most satisfying ones for me are the music ones. The other ones I learn about and then let go, but the music ones can be listened to in real time and then put on repeat. That is what happened today with the song that I remembered. How can I keep from singing?

Clare Hears A Lot

Clare is always amazed at the things she hears at the place she works. Last week there was a man that gave her a huh…moment. She had never thought about that subject before. That subject being inbreeding.

A man was helping his wife decide on what clothes to buy. His wife’s choice made him say that she looked Amish. He looked at Clare for backup. Clare said nothing. The man sat down and waited for his wife to return. He looked at Claire and commented on how the Amish seem to have their thumb on their women. She noticed he seemed disturbed about that and then he commented on how they must have to be concerned with marrying too close in family lines.

Clare told him that there was a farm in her neighborhood that was being looked at by Amish families for a resettlement just for that very reason. He said he didn’t know that, but then added that the native Americans have that same concern. Clare had never even considered the lineage of the First Peoples before this moment in the subcategory of inbreeding. She figured that there must be some stop gap measure in the tribes for this concern as well, but it had never occurred to her before this conversation.

Clare is often curious if things she hears is even true. Clare heard that there is a female worker that she had worked with a few times before that had a story that they are on the down low from a gang in a more western state. They have chosen to pick a name that is in a super obscure niche from the entertainment field of the 1980’s to use in social media rather than their own given name…if that is their real name. The worker is a slacker, has an attitude of superiority and could easily answer everyone with the term, “Bite me,” although I have never heard her use those words with her mouth, just her eyes.

There was a elderly lady who came into Clare’s store with her daughter who wanted to try on clothing. The elderly woman sat in a chair close to Clare and eyed her up. She pointed at various clothes hanging on a rack and wanted to know about each item. Where was it made? What is it made from? How much is it? Why is that one on clearance? Then finally she asked Clare what were her views of the government shutdown. Since Clare is being a representative for the place of employment she opted to just say, “It is really too bad for many people.” The elderly lady pushed Clare to be more specific in her answer and qualify her statement. Clare is not stupid and danced around the whole subject giving bland statements that could be taken any which way. The elderly woman got the message and soon stopped the grilling as she seemed to sense that Clare was going to not give her anything to latch on to.

Soon the elderly woman’s daughter came out from trying on clothes. Clare was grateful the the attention had now focused on the daughter and the mother’s growing acerbic tongue found its usual target. Clare was grateful, but felt a bit sorry for the daughter as they walked off with the demands and talk that they had fallen back into.

Clare spent the rest of the day doing a few errand when her job was through. She went to visit her father and found that her sister was returning the father back from an appointment. Clare greeted her sister and got a short, “Hey.” She asked if her sister was doing well and got a one phrase reply with no embellishment. Her sister did ask if there was any more to carry in the house. Clare told her that she had it all now and thanked her. They met inside while the father was taking off his jacket. Clare asked about the sister’s husband. The answer was, “Good.” Then Clare said to tell the sister’s husband that she said hello. Now here is the weird part. Clare hadn’t been in the same proximity with her sister for maybe over a year. This wasn’t unusual, but there was no reciprocity on the sister’s part in conversing. That is sort of when a person would like to hear something.

Filing In

One of the things I like about the church I attend now is that I feel like I am not going to check off a box on my to do list. I want to attend. I want to go. I don’t feel like I have go so people stay off my back. In some places I have been before it was an auto pilot event. I did get filled up and was able to fill up others from time to time, but there seems like a different feeling for me now.

I always noticed people filing into church before in different locations, but at this location it seems like there is a magnet inside the church and the people are a piece of metal. They are drawn, but drawn willingly. I could also be just putting that metaphor into this story and the others that are filing in are checking off a box too, but I hope not. I hope that I always feel drawn in and I hope that for the others that are walking into the church with me.

Grandma Knutzen’s Salve

When I was little my grandma made this wonder drug that was swabbed on all our cuts and scraps. It seemed like it was a miracle cure for everything. I just remember it smelled divine and since Grandma made it, well then it was.

Mom said that she had made it last when I was little. Apparently they made a great quantity and Grandma’s sister Ella and possibly her sister Pauline was involved too, but I think Pauline went to see Jesus before I was born and all the stories get jumbled up in my head. So, really who knows?

According to my aunt it is called Fever Sore Salve, but we never had cold sores and used it on everything else. The recipe is basic:

1/2 pound rosin, 3/4 pound of bee’s wax, 2 ounces Oil of Spike, 2 pounds kidney lard from a white barrow pig. Melt lard first, then put in bee;s wax and melt, put in rosin and melt, have three parts melter together inside of an hour. Have it boiling hot. Take from stove and set aside. Take the Oil of Spike and stir in right away. Stir with a maple stick and let stand. Cover with a cloth for 3 hours. Salve is done. Put in small jars.

I made this recipe 3 years ago. I have made some changes and asked lots of questions. Not too many changes were made, but not before I understood the why of everything.

I had no idea where to get rosin that I needed. I knew that I it is used in rodeo, baseball, gymnastics and stringed instruments. I didn’t know that it is from the pine tree sap. All I had ever seen of it really was on TV when I saw the bull riders, baseball player or gymnasts applying it for a better grip. There was a piece tucked into the fiddle case belonging to my Grandpa Spiegelberg for rosining up the bow. It was a chunk and amber colored. I used to hold it in my hand as a child. Rosin was mentioned in the John Denver song, “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”, and “The Devil Went down to Georgia” sung by Charlie Daniels (Rick’s favorite song).

Where would Grandpa have gotten rosin? Was it available from the lumber yard at that time? I had no idea, but I did learn that I had to get it on Amazon. There is a synthetic type, but I was interested in the closest thing to the real deal as I could get.

I reached out to an old high school friend because his son was going to start raising bees, but they had just begun so there was not a supply of bee’s wax from a local person. I could probably have gotten it at the honey farm in Redgranite, WI, but got lazy and bought it at a store in Oshkosh.

I didn’t know what Oil of Spike. Mom didn’t know either so I Googled it and it turns out it is lavender. Who knew? What a good idea. Was that easy to obtain back in the day? Where would people have gotten it? Did they get that at the pharmacy? I was not able to determine that.

I learned a lot about white kidney lard and why it was desired. I researched that and discovered that it is called leaf lard. Leaf lard is whiter than other lard. Perhaps they wanted the look of the salve to be lighter. I am not sure why a white barrow pig. A barrow is a male castrated pig, which was castrated at the age of 2 or 3 weeks of age. This is done to create a less aggressive pig. I have no idea why it has to be white or male. I am sure that a party colored pig or black pig would be equally perfect. Maybe that is the breed they happened to have as it is officially called Large White. I remember in the movie “Babe”, he refers to himself as a Large White.

I went to our favorite meat market in Oshkosh and ordered some leaf lard. I rendered it myself, because really…why not (later)? My mom had done it and I remember the cracklins. I was trying to be authentic and since I was working I had it in slow cookers for like 2 days. The house smelled like a ham sandwich. The clean clothes smelled like a ham sandwich. I wanted to go see young friend Sarah Bloom give her senior recital at the U and I since apparently the aroma had permeated every pore of my skin I too smelled like a ham sandwich. I decided not to go as no shower was going to make me smell like a good smelling woman and not a ham sandwich when seated at the concert hall next to someone who was looking at me like I was straight out of Ham Central. I told Sarah this and I don’t think she really believed me. Worst ridiculous reason for not going to something I had looked forward to. Rendering lard is a mess and when I wanted to make this salve again, I decided to buy it in handy pound blocks.

Grandma said to use a maple stick. I thought it had some special mojo on it so that is what I used the first time and this time too for different reasons. When you use a scent and in this instance, lavender, there must have been a need not to have it taint wooden spoons used in the past. After you stir it with a maple stick you can just throw the stick away. I assume the maple stick was just the closest stick to the house. I knew that stirring it with a stick this time wasn’t a need as I could use stainless steel, but I used the stick because it was awesome to use a stick.

The differences this time then for this batch was that I put it all in glass containers, used processed lard, and put in one squirt of Tea Tree oil with all the other ingredients to give it a shot of an antiseptic quality. The down side of this is that I cannot share it with my Muslim friends because of Heir Piggy.

Other than that there is nothing wrong with looking into my memories and making something in the home arts field. It makes me appreciate the quality and time it took to make. When I read the ingredients on lotions and creams at the store they are full of bits that I am not on board with using or have no idea what they are. Besides, I loved my grandma and it is a connection with her that I can now share.

Hugged By a Stranger

I was at work today and was attending to these women that came over to look at clothes. The one that was trying the clothes had a huge amount that she took in increments to try on. The other was to stand out in the store and be the judge of the try ons. The try on person was disorganized and sort of annoying. I got the gist of their conversation that the one that was trying on was going on a blind date and her friend was going to help her decide on purchases. Since I jumped to conclusions and early judgements that I imagined that this date won’t go well as this woman was too annoying to be taken seriously by a date, let alone how her friend could put up with her. Then of course I was playing that in my head and decided that was just mean of me as I probably have been that person for one of my friends and made others go, “For heaven’s sake, why are you even friends with her as she is so weird?”

After the mental self castigation I concentrated on the patient friend giving honest and kind assessment to the clothing choices being modeled. She was super nice and she started telling me about how her friend was going on a blind date and she herself had been down that road. She told me how she was disappointed in the men that were available for her in her demographic. I told her stories of successful online dating successes that I knew personally about. We discussed the ways things have changed over the years in dating, how some men of a certain age might even feel more unoriented because of the fast cultural changes in the recent years and what that is like for them. We talked about age of men, thought process of men and changing expectations for women. It was a great conversation.

I was thinking that she was speaking in a way that I was in-tune to and thought, “I wonder if she is a teacher, but if you are a teacher why are you not in school?” Then my answer came as a young woman came near her. They talked like this young person was a former student. I heard the word retire and when she was done I told her that was was a former teacher.

Then we started talked about where we did out gigs, how it used to be about how great it was and how wonderful former students are. This person was on my page! We discussed the changes, what we thought were the causes, how we felt bad for the young teachers who don’t even how great it used to be and how thankful we are that they are there now.

She noticed my name tag, said my name, told me hers and hugged me telling me that it was nice to talk to someone that understands. Nice.

Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

I have always liked the thought of making resolutions and sticking with them, but like most people I have trouble keeping them. I have had some success and that’s what this entry is about.

The things I would like to resolve to change or expand on are typical of most. They are; get healthier, lose weight, stop cussing, write at least once a month in my blog, not say negative things about myself out loud or in writing although the tape in my head is pretty much on all the time, to find one good thing about people that are annoying to me, expand my flower garden, make sure I tell people how much I and love them, make homemade salve, making recipes that I have never tried, trying out lasagna gardening, hand write a note or letter to someone every month and more private challenges ones that don’t have to be out there.

I have good success in my one and done projects. Two years ago I made it the whole year without saying something negative about myself out loud or on the internet. I have had good luck at the letters, the blog, making up reasons why someone is annoying so I can try to excuse their behavior and making interesting food. The healthier and weight thing is just going to be an ongoing battle and that is ok. I sometimes say cuss words and have already broken this year’s trial, but tomorrow is a new day and it is something that I should do because I want to.

It is said that to make a goal you should make a plan of how to get there. That is a good idea, but I find it hard to stick with things longer than a little while due to me getting bored really fast. According to my mom it is a family trait from my dad’s side of the family. Example A would be the reason why my Grandma Sarah Spiegelberg made great pies (it is probably correct and meant for another very small blog entry. That is where I have to create small goals that have different ways of getting to the end and maintain that goal despite my gene pool.

There are some things that just won’t be resolved. There are some relationships that could stand a good tightening up, but for whatever reason that is most likely not going to happen. The real test of that is if I can let that go. I resolve to not let that go in some relationships and keep my heart open in most. The closer the relatives are the harder it is. When you rap on their proverbial door and they don’t answer or say they don’t need help that is the tough one.

I have read a few resolutions this year from friends, but mostly not as many as is common this time of year. Maybe they have been like my expanded flower garden. I expanded it and now it is too big to manage. Hopefully my good intentions and everyone else’s are not too big to manage.