Gifts of food …
Two meals from one veggie lasagne.
Chili with cornbread muffins and steamed greens. Enough for leftovers, my lunch today.
Pizza dough made from a Chickadee magazine recipe, using tomato sauce canned with neighbours last fall.
Banana muffins, finally made after days of planning to bake, with friends over to play and to eat the results.
The drier. The drier. The drier! After months of hanging laundry indoors, and despite the fresh spring breeze and welcome sunshine, I have been using our drier. Something had to give on the domestic front, and that is apparently my weakest point.
Just don’t seem to be getting to this virtual typing page as often as I’d enjoy.
Today I tried doing a writing afternoon–really a short amount of time, approximately two hours total–and approached it with the notion that if something got written, that would be pleasant, and if not, it would be two hours of not entertaining a three-year-old and an-almost-eight-month-old. Then I went off on a story-tangent and had a blast. Felt all revived and did not stress about getting everyone ready for the walk to school, or the after-school mayhem. I encouraged the kids to stay outside and play in the snow when we got home, and set baby CJ in the snow, too, with his little sock-mittens. He was enchanted. What is this stuff? What are the big kids up to? Loved it. Then we got cold, so came in for hot chocolate. I had done prep work for supper earlier in the day (turkey broth with noodles, and cornbread and baked squash), so just waited till Kevin got home to do the rest. It felt easier, more pleasant, though we ate a bit later than usual. More civilized. Mama hanging with the kids. I could focus better on their demands and issues and remarks. And Albus even studied for his French dictee tomorrow, which he’d been resistent to doing. I don’t know whether this is good mothering or bad, but I’ve been trying to encourage him to work a little bit in advance–to learn good study habits–and showing him how that little bit of extra effort pays off. Which it has. But the kid has this inborn confidence that he knows everything. I don’t want to shave that off of him; yet also want him to appreciate that hard work can be rewarding. Heck, not even hard work. Just a smidgen of labour. Just copy the darn words a couple of times.
I also got out for a haircut tonight. So it was a day of pampering and luxury, all-around. Then I raced home and washed the rest of the dishes with my fancy new haircut smelling pleasantly salon-ish, and put a tantrum-inclined Fooey into her bed (she was planning for a birthday party for her Pooh Bear tomorrow and had covered the bed in tea cups and plates; and I must mention that Pooh Bear is Poor Bear in name only; it’s a pink filthy stuffed bear with a stocking cap). We had to clear the bed, and I made promises about tomorrow’s party. After we’d kissed goodnight (a kiss-fest with CJ joining in), I heard her whispering to her bear: “Tomorrow’s your birthday!”
Then I hung the laundry that I’d washed first thing this morning. Funny thing, walking to school this aft, I walked with a mom I’d never met before, we ended up talking laundry–and it turns out she’s at least as obsessive as I am about not using the drier. She uses dowling tacked up to doorways, and hangers. I use ugly cheap racks and banister railings. We both have a constant never-ending flow of dampish clothes in progress. It was nice to find unexpected company in this particular domestic peculiarity.
Voice getting worse. I can now barely squeak, which is frankly quite a disadvantage with these children to round up and boss around. Heh. It is very frustrating to have to whisper things like, “Please don’t play in the leaves on the road!”
Baby CJ is playing with Little People and a pink pretty pony, sitting on the floor behind me, and F is having a playdate here with her best friend, but for some reason there seems to be more conflict between them this morning–and I’m having trouble helping problem solve. They just stare blankly at me as I hoarsely murmur, “You need to share with your guest,” and other anodyne suggestions. Last playdate they played for an hour with a couple of raggy Polly Pockets and Polly Pocket debris, alone, without a word of disagreement.
Whoops, I’m losing baby CJ. He is crawling out of the toyroom and toward the stairs. I must figure some way to get him out of our bed at night. Somehow we’ve gotten into this unbreakable pattern of nighttime nursing, after which CJ refuses to go back to his own bed in the middle of the night, but screams and howls till I give in and return him to our bed, which is cozy and warm and has a permanently open snack-bar, so, really, I don’t blame him for wanting to hang out with us. But it’s taking a toll. I’m always waking in awkward positions, not to mention I’m always waking. In my experience, things have to get really very bad before I’m ready to make a drastic change, and my resistance and conviction are extremely weak at 3 in the morning. Downright anemic. I wonder what it’s going to take.
Kiddo has had it. Must change a diaper and try to get him down for a little nap, so we can make some muffins and hang some laundry.
Back. Baby asleep, girls playing beautifully. They just needed a change of scenery–upstairs an improvement on down.
Two tidbits from recent Globe and Mails struck a chord with me:
One was from Saturday’s paper, on cities which have car-free downtown cores (they were all European or Northern European, though apparently Montreal tried it for ten weeks this past summer, and a couple of big American cities are considering it). The planner who initiated this in Norway said that people are happier, more content, when their feet can touch the ground. As someone who has made walking part of our family’s lifestyle, that really resonated. Not that I don’t like a long-distance roadtrip with the iconography that accompanies that kind of journey. But for short hauls, nothing compares to putting one foot in front of the other. That connection to the earth.
The second item was a blurb in the Life section about the pleasures of hanging clothes to dry. It stated that some people (gasp!) actually prefer hanging their laundry to dry, not just because of the energy savings or because they’re eco-freaks, but because the task itself is very satisfying. Yes, yes, yes. Being outdoors, listening to birdcalls, hearing squirrels rustle the leaves, the patient task of shaking and clipping and pushing the line out over the yard … apparently others find this soothing too. Though I just heard on the radio that a mixture of rain and damp snow is in the forecast for today, so I’ll have to make-do with my indoor drying system. Brrr. The walk to school this morning felt a little bit like purgatory, with this chilly wind blowing against us. (Is purgatory cold?) But still preferable to strapping children into car seats, then unstrapping, and still having to run through the bleeding cold wind to achieve the final destination. If you walk everywhere, you’re much better prepared for the weather.
Snacktime now. Buttered bread and apples. And for me, more of my garlic-ginger brew, with apologies to all in breathing distance.
Writing morning. So obviously I’m hanging laundry on drying racks indoors instead, wondering whether I’ve crossed the line from earnest to obsessive. But for this indoor hanging system to work, I have to do a load of laundry every day (in addition to diapers) or else too much piles up and there isn’t room to hang it inside. It doesn’t look great, either, which is another downside to the system. Dampish underthings on racks about the house, with the overspill hanging off chair-backs, and over railings. Welcome, guests. Make yourselves at home. Dry your socks. Where was I going with this? Oh yes, I actually like the new system. Getting the clothes off the racks and into drawers is much easier than getting clothes out of baskets and into drawers.
I’m determined not to blog after my writing day. If it’s been a good writing day, I’m way too interior, and if it’s been a bad one, I’m wracked with self-doubt, either of which results in less-than-pleasant belly-button-pondering. I therefore vow to keep navel under wraps.
On late-night-canning with neighbour friends: I am a sad failure. Though I chopped and seeded half a bushel of roma tomatoes in company last night, I was zombie-like in my need of sleep by 10pm, and left said neighbours stirring a giant vat of tomato puree (with garlic, onions, basil, parsley, and grey salt), estimated cook-down time: three more hours. Actually, they sent me home. Not much point in three people standing around observing the evaporation process. Canning was to take place this morning. Apparently, the saints did decide to preserve on my behalf. The fate of that second half-bushel remains undetermined, though at the very least, I can be thankful it is not waiting mournfully upon my kitchen floor.
Tonight’s debate is: which debate to watch? And why would our broadcasters pit the Canadian leaders against Sarah v. Joe? There will be some channel flipping in our house tonight.