Lifestyles of the Chick and Same-us:Introduction

I haven’t written about my life raising chickens (Cornish Cross variety) over these past eight weeks. Thoughts and ideas are more manageable when an experience comes to an end…and today my life with live chickens has reached fruition, come full circle, ended.

All 17 (we lost one in the field a few days ago) are now tightly sealed in clear bags and organized like a grocery store display in my garage refrigerator. My family and I raised these chickens in our backyard, feeding them daily and watching, curiously, at their lives.

So this is an introduction to the totality of our experience which will be written in parts for you. You shouldn’t anticipate anything untoward or icky, some thoughts will be nuanced…you’ll still be able to drink coffee and eat your favorite snack while reading. This is just one of the things we learned Inside the Chrysalis this summer, and we want to share it with you.

Look for “Lifestyles of the Chick and Same-us” Part 1: Beginning with the End in a few days!

Chrysalis Defined

A few weeks ago, I was telling my Father-in-Law about my blog and how it would be great for him to blog so he could connect with other screenwriters. When I told him the name of my blog, he put his hands up and gave a waggle gesture and said, “ooh, sounds like crystals and new age.” Ha! What a strange impression, so I felt the need to explain to anybody else out there who isn’t clear on what a chrysalis is.

When my little ones were really little, I purchased Eric Carlisle’s book, The Hungry Caterpillar. I’m not sure if it mentions the chrysalis exactly, but it was a catalyst to spur me on to learn more about it. I found the transformation process fascinating. Then, we went to the zoo a couple of years ago and went through the butterfly exhibit. They actually have the chrysalis display for all to see, and they are beautiful little hard shells containing all the elements to produce a beautiful butterfly.

As the caterpillar approaches the metamorphosis stage, it actually spins a silk pad and pulls it over itself. What happens then is that this becomes a hard shell and the process of transformation begins. All the cells break down and begin to rebuild into a totally different creation. Those in science say that the caterpillar and resulting butterfly are as different as a field mouse and a hummingbird.

I feel as though I’m inside the chrysalis. The world around me is a treasure trove of wonderful, interesting and exciting things to learn and experience. And all of this knowledge is being used to rebuild parts of me that are lacking, or encouraging parts of me that are growing. I’m the only one living this life, and I don’t want to waste this gift. I do though, sometimes. I take people and things for granted, I don’t do what I should do and often do what I should not do. But one day I’ll be able to emerge in the glorious light of heaven, shake off the dew of living inside the chrysalis and flap my iridescent wings with a feeling of freedom! Mercy me until then!

An Amateur Foodie

For some people, food is necessary for filling one’s stomach, thus achieving a “full” feeling that keeps them going until the next grumbling on the “empty” radar. For me, food is a pastime, a hobbie, an event even. I love learning about food, what other people think about certain food, reading books about food, preparing food, growing food, sharing food, and of course, eating food.

According to Wikipedia, foodies are “amateurs who simply love food consumption, study, preparation and news.” Gourmets are “epicures of refined taste.” This is not me. I have to ask my husband what my soup is missing. I seem to know it’s lacking, but in what I couldn’t say, (oh the parallels I could go into). I just know what I like, and hope my family likes it too.

Like most of us, my food memories stretch back into childhood. My mother made coffee cake on Saturday mornings and Friday nights were reserved for dinners out. I had lobster for the first time when I was really young…poor future dates…oh wait, I married my highschool sweetheart and he’s frugal-nevermind.

For the past couple of summers I’ve read a food book or two. Michael Pollan puts out some great food reads, The Omnivores Dilemma and In Defense of Food. I have a couple of books about France and food is intertwined. So, as I was shopping yesterday (for food), a book captured my attention. A Homemade Life is a book about food and memories. Molly Wizenberg writes so well and delivers a recipe in each chapter. I’m on chapter three and can’t wait to try some of her amazing dishes and share them with friends and family. She also has a blog and you can link to it from this page on the left.

With seeds going in the ground and summer bbq season upon us, my mind is ready for heirloom tomato salad, crisp asparagus, bbq steak with gorgonzola cheese melted on top and flourless chocolate dessert with red wine reduction.

If you are a foodie and have a favorite recipe using green beans, I want to hear from you since my favorite way to prepare them is out of the can…no gourmets here!

The Perpetual Organizer

Spring is generally a time of renewal, refreshment and reducing. People all over the world are spring cleaning, clearing and cl-dumping (I couldn’t find a third “cl” word). My, shall I say problem, is that I do these things in Summer, Fall and Winter! I seem to be on a perpetual organizing trip, one that never ends, stops or ceases.

According to a family member, a person can actually come into my home and get me organized. Arrange folders with all pertinent information inside, color-coordinate closet clothes and tidy knick knacks. This, I’m told, costs a fortune but is well worth it.

Now, I will say there have been times when I’ve gone about organizing. One day last spring I was inspired to organize my kitchen cabinets…or the things inside my kitchen cabinets I should say. I went out and purchased plastic containers for cereal, put dry goods in labeled mason jars and used CD bins to house potatoes, onions and garlic. A year later, the mason jars are still labeled but empty, and the plastic containers sit on the shelves, get this, right next to the boxes of cereal. What went wrong? Maybe I was better off with my disorganized, disheveled kitchen.

Because of the current state of things, I’ve been inquiring about “organization” to find out if my situation can be changed. The answer is “yes,” but it will be a lot of work for me, uggghhh!

I wanted to see if there was another suitable name for “organization,” so I did a search on a thesaurus website. When I typed in “organize,” it asked me if I meant “agonize!” Ha! The answer to that one is “yes!” Once I figured out the right search term, a few words came up that I thought were interesting. Here are a few: adapt, codify, classify, lick into shape (no joke), run and standardize. Some words were oxymorons having the opposite meaning: dispose and establish, set up and settle. This research didn’t help me very much. Do I dispose of something, or establish it? How do I classify mis-matched socks?

It just so happens that I was talking to someone today, and she mentioned that in the back of her car she has a bin that holds a change of clothes for every member of her family. This is a foreign idea to me since I can barely get clothes washed, dried, folded and put away in everyone’s dresser. How will I remember to change out the bin in the car? So I inquired about her organization skills. Highly organized. Another woman joined in the conversation, and she said that when her son was little, she cut out pictures of toys and put them on bins so her son could tell where each toy went. Another highly organized person. Two in the space of 10 minutes…interesting.

The picture-on-the-bin idea is not foreign to me, though I’ve never personally used it. My grandma takes Polaroid pictures of her shoes and tapes them to the shoe box before they do time on her closet shelves. I completely see the wisdom of this, but if I tried it, I just know Polaroids would come slipping off in my mad dash to get out of the house, and I’d come home to boxes, stray pictures of shoes and shoes that didn’t make the cut on my closet floor.

So, why do my efforts result in more work than before? It turns out we are supposed to start with organizing one thing. If you can do this for a period of time, then start another “one” thing. Also, really think about whether or not your ideas will work for your particular family. Will your children take off their shoes and carry them to the bedroom? Will you reload the plastic bins with cereal every other Sunday? Before you go out and spend money on all the fancy organizing tools (and there are a lot), write it down, think about it and try one thing.

I’m currently adopting the “one thing” idea. My laundry room has been clean for two days now. No piles of shoes or dirty laundry adorn the floor right now. I’m hoping to keep it that way, but wondering when I will really have it down. Do I follow the 21 day rule? I guess time will tell.

The hardest part for me will be maintaining what I’ve organized. In talking with people, it seems that the organizing is the easy part, but the maintenance is where people get tripped up. This is definitely my problem, and will be the hard work I mentioned before. I am a junk-drawer-thrower-inner, a land-as-they-may-shoe-taker-offer and a dirty-clothes-on-laundry room-floor throwin’ mama. In my haste, I don’t create waste, unless we’re speaking about time, but in my haste I create another -aste word that doubles for disorganized. Maybe…haste makes disorgan-aste?

If you are organized, or have any ideas that have helped you, inquiring minds are desperate to know. Maybe you have one of those fancy organizing tools that really works, a system that keeps certain things in order or maybe you have maintained that one area you struggled with previously. Help us to get organized, stop buying bins and create systems of maintenance. What will life be like in a tranquil, peaceful and organized home? I hope to find out! Thanks for your ideas!

Inside the Chrysalis

Welcome to Inside the Chrysalis…a blog about growth. Just as a butterfly is transformed into a beautiful new creation, we hope to transform into amazing, radiant and fresh creations with dazzling patterns and reflective color. Topics will vary depending on our daily experiences and will include subjects like gardening, cooking, studying, crossfitting, mommying, help-meeting, reading and anything else that comes up inside the Chrysalis! Thank you for joining us!
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