Flipping through books at the bookstore last night was awfully relaxing. Ryan made a cheese press for me for Christmas because we've both been talking about how eventually we'd like to make cheese... just to try it. I grabbed a book about cheese making (specifically Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll) and paged through it while sipping a chai from one last gift card. I just put a hold on it from the library, and have a sneaky suspicion that a copy going to end up as part of our permanent library when we get serious about starting. Its detailed. It has pictures. Exactly what I need.
The book suggested starting with a soft cheese or mozzarella. Will do. We eat a ton of cheddar cheese and I'd like to make it eventually... but do you realize how long it takes to make? (Not farmhouse cheddar, but real cheddar) Two to six months. Months.
Over the past couple years my definition of convenience foods has drastically changed. I used to think that convenience foods were basically just eating fast food. I considered box meals, that you just add water and meat to, real food. When I made a frozen meal straight from the grocery store's freezer section, I was proud that I "cooked." Oh silly, silly Nancy. Taking the time to put into food, real food, takes patience. To go from browning meat and dumping in a box to actually making the basic ingredients is quite drastic. I never really knew that those versions weren't really that good for you. To do things right takes time. Taking the time requires patience among other things.
I know that not everyone can afford to put time into things because they are busy making those all important ends meet, and I can respect that. But as a stay at home mom, time is my currency. I don't get paid an actual wage. It feels like a direct contradiction to our culture. To some extent, it makes me feel out of touch with my generation. I don't feel superior because I can do these things, but it does make me feel satisfied. It makes me feel like I'm doing what I was meant to do even if people do not understand it. I feel like more actual people (as in people I see in real life as opposed to finding a flock of like-minded people on the internet) are on the bandwagon of cloth diapering, so I'm getting less "are you freakin' crazy? You are turning your back on the best things about living in this century!!" (which, btw, is a direct quote from a well-meaning individual) But I still get the crazy-eyes from people when I say that I want(ed: check) to learn how to can, butcher a chicken (check), make pasta (check), keep bees, milk a cow, buy raw milk (or more accurately; buy a share in a cow and then get milk from my own cow... I think that's the loophole people have found since buying raw milk is illegal) from the local dairy, etc. That's okay. I think crazy-eyes are entertaining. We can't always live in the internet world where you can find half a bajillion people that agree with you and make you feel like you're on the sanest side of the spectrum.
While flipping through this book I started thinking about what this year has made glaringly obvious I am lacking; patience. Sometimes it was a survival thing which could be considered a good thing, as in I knew what needed to be done and just bulldozed through to get everybody where we needed to be because in the end it was hands-down the best. Most of the time it was a negative thing, as in I "knew what should be done" (not acknowledging that it was more subjective) and didn't give anyone else an inch to deviate from what I thought was the best course of action. Sometimes it is easy to (wrongly) justify impatience with people that "just don't understand our schedule." Kids demand a certain schedule, preparation, etc... but people don't have to understand our schedule because we are not the center of everyone else's universe. I might not be able to say "yes, we can" more often, but maybe with a little more patience I'll be able to pass a little more graciously. I wish I was more patient with Ace. I'm not crazy-nutso impatient with her, but I'd still like to have a few less outbursts of "JUST DO IT BECAUSE I TOLD YOU TOO AND YOU HAVE TO OBEY. MOOOOOVE." I'd like to have there be longer gaps between having to apologize to her. I'd like to have her as an adult say, "Mom didn't yell that often." Yes, it's wishful thinking, but wouldn't it be nice?
I'm going to concentrate even more on slowing down in 2011. Slowing down so that when bumps come they aren't quite so jarring. Slowing down because I need to have the umph in me to be able to extend patience to others; those that will love and forgive me and those that I don't know from Adam but God still commands me to treat them with respect. Slowing down because I will have to with two active kids to chase and with an infant strapped to my body (or so is the current plan), clinging for dear life while waiting for his little needs to be met.
Slowing down. Yikes.