Today is my day off and it really felt like it for a change. Whew….I went out to the farmer’s market, greenhouse. did laundry, had a nap, worked in the garden and had another nap. Since retiring I’ve thoroughly adapted (like a big time slacker and I deserve it) to the laid back routine of extra sleep, reading, theatre,writing, puttering, little drives to fun spaces, some gardening, some short walks, cooking a super healthy and gourmet farmstyle cusine, cleaning once in a while and visiting with friends and family. However, the puppy on loan has changed things significantly. Last week I ate cold meatloaf and pickles over the kitchen sink so she wouldn’t see me eat anything.
I offered to keep her last week to bond with Miss Moneypenny as she will be staying with me next week anyway to recover from some eye surgery to correct something called cherry eye, a common problem for little bullies.
Getting up to walk and feed her early has reminded me of my working days, but at least now after checking to make sure I’m dressed completely (long story) to walk around the quiet neighbourhood I don’t have to shower and do my hair or makeup (for days if I don’t want to), but instead crawl back into bed for another snooze before really getting up for the day. The puppy maintenance schedule is bathroom walk, feedings, more bathroom walks, cleaning up wet newspaper safety targets, floor washing, more feeding, more walking, some training for puppy kindergarten, more or the aforementioned, over and over….playing, hugging, cuddling….writing several email updates to my son working in a beautiful theatre about his puppy child….and so…when she went home yesterday for the weekend…..I missed her.
No worries though, by evening tomorrow she’ll be back and into everything, upsetting the retired apple cart big time. Surgery on her eye is on Monday morning and both my son and I will be worried, concerned and relieved when it is safely over. Just think, next week, I’ll be doing the puppy lifestyle all over again but this time she’ll be upset about wearing a cone protector around her bulky little neck, she will be wild as a bronco as she won’t likely have her quiet time routine in her crate due to wearing the cone….thank goodness we bonded this past week. I’ll let you know…….( in case you haven’t seen her picture yet, (gush from Nana)….see my blog post Precious Penny.)
Filed under cooking, family relationships, friends, gardening, health and wellness, humor, humour, pets, retirement, storytelling, teaching, theatre, Uncategorized
When the cicadas can be heard during the long hot afternoon it seems like summer is starting to turn to autumn. There really is lots of warm summer ahead but with that rattly sound overhead it makes me feel like time is short and overlooked and postponed projects must be done. Previously, once it really was fall, the pace of being back in class didn’t allow for home renovation and strenuous projects such as sweeping out the shed or clearing clutter from the basement. Everything had to be done in the hot summer and it was rather icky and annoying for me. Now in retirement, the pace doesn’t matter and it can wait for cooler days. Long hot days are great if you are sitting under a tree at the lake but not so great otherwise. Fortunately for me I have a partially shaded yard, some fans positioned around the house, cool drinks, good books and no real pressing schedule. A little guilt perhaps but I can live with that.
During this dry spell of activity due to the real presence of dry hot weather all that is palpable to do is the bare minimum. Laundry is manageable because of a new washing machine. Dishes are washed by hand as they accumulate. Bare minimum cooking is endured because we have to eat something. Yard work is almost nil except for watering the plants as the grass is too dry to grow and any weed that is still hanging on for dear life is ignored. The pets need some extra attention with the heat and seem to be content with staying under the bushes during the day and sleeping by the fan at night. Grocery shopping is also for the bare necessities and mainly consists of salad fixings and cold drinks. General housekeeping doesn’t happen. If the cleaning spirit moves then perhaps a blitz of five minutes of tidy up will sporadically occur. A leaky old dog necessitates some emergency damp mopping but all is forgiven.
Socially there is an effort to visit a few neighbours and family members. A wedding anniversary, friends and colleagues reunion, family suppers at the farm, a trip to a special tea room, and regular jaunts to summer theatre round out the month of August.
No plans for struggling back to a hot classroom for me. No need to buy school storybooks, decorative posters and other materials. No reason to plan, plan, plan for the year ahead.Things are different with retirement and responsibilities have changed in many ways.
After the dry spell, when the days are sweetly cool again and I can leave the windows open for the brisk breezes to blow through I will gather up my cleaning tools and sort through the books that need to be donated, the junk that needs to be carried away, sweep out the dusty old woodshed, fix the broken door frame on the shed, put in a new kitchen sink, trim the bushes and start cooking comfort food again. Once the baking heat is over maybe I will feel more like writing again. At present, it’s too much work, and I feel a little guilty about it.
But…I can live with it.
Filed under cooking, family relationships, friends, gardening, health and wellness, pets, retirement, teaching, theatre, weather, writing
If I try to remember,…. especially today,…. the window open and a cool spring breeze blowing the curtains I think of all the activity going on to prepare for family visitors ….. Vases of old-fashioned garden flowers on the kitchen table and on the corner of the sink’s counter….. The linoleum floor scrubbed with a pine scented cleaner….. An assortment of different patterned dishes and a mix of glasses and mugs set as carefully as possible on the kitchen table. A variety of vintage tablecloths added a dash of personality and style on any given day.
Several apple and berry pies would be ready on a pie rack and tea biscuits would be in the oven just as dinner was ready. A well seasoned roast with mashed potatoes, yellow beans,tangy cabbage salad, beet pickles, sliced cucumbers in apple cider vinegar, chili sauce, green onions , radishes and individual small glass bowls of canned tomatoes would typically be prepared for the family gathering.
It was usually a tight squeeze around the table but the best part was being so close to the hot food on the stove for second servings.These simple meals at any time of the year in the old farm kitchen were made from what was in season or put by in the freezer or canned. Everything was homemade and took such effort and care to produce such memorable times around the table. A familiar prayer was always said by my parents before the meal.
Pots of tea and a gurgling coffee perk were at the ready throughout the meal and afterwards to go with more pie and date squares as dishes were washed by hand. Conversation was usually about the farm work, neighbours, family, weather and church. It was good talk. The dishes were slicked up fast and put away in the cupboard.
The simple and tasty food was a blessing and the basis for those gatherings and fondly remembered times.
This is the memory of the moment, especially today, pushing aside all the others competing to be brought forward ….I’m in the kitchen with my family just living the farm girl life…. I’m there again at the big, wonderful, tasty meal and the crowded table….A time to eat together, work together and drink all those cups of strong tea and over perked coffee…. As it turns out…. A time that is just part of me…. forever.
It’s three a.m. for crying out loud and here I am starting a new blog entry. During the month of July it gets hot around here and this throws off any semblance of a sleeping routine with me. I don’t do well in the heat so I snatch rest in the darkened, fan stirred livingroom siesta style when I can. Often it is too hot to do much around the house until the sun starts to go down so that’s probably why I am still up doing dishes and laundry and blogging.
I’m blogging in the tiny room off the kitchen as it is our only air-conditioned room in the house. It used to be a small garage years and years ago. I’ve painted it, added some cottage curtains, a sofa, recliner and tub chair, computer set up and television. The doorway doesn’t have a door on it as it opens into the entry way and kitchen. So the cool air gets lost for the most part into the rest of the hot little house. I think I will try to block off the doorway somehow with a temporary sheet or something. Now, you don’t get decorating tips like that often do you?
Just before dusk I supervised my young neighbour as he cut my grass for me . I had trimmed a few bushes earlier.So my yard which is on a curved village street open to kindly neighbourly scrutiny looks quite presentable, thankyou.
I’ve read excerpts from my three new books today. The walking book is a nice gentle read and not bossy in its approach to suggesting healing walks. It’s got me moving despite the heat wave but only in little circuits of increased walking. I’d cite it for you but I’m too lazy to get out of the chair and check the title and author. I think it is called Healing Walks for Hard Times. Anyway. it’s good and I’ll refer to it later, in another blog, maybe. Wait till there is a snap in the air this fall and you will see my dust!
The two novels are quite unusual. One is funny and off beat to say the least. It’s called Jitterbug Perfume. I read only a chapter or two but laughed at the absurdity of it. The other novel is rather challenging and complicated with six narratives going on to just sit and read despite being beautifully written. Cloud Atlas is more of a cool day book when it is raining outside and you need a blanket on your knees. It’s too hot to read much of it today but I’ll carry on with it when I can. A neighbour friend brought me a book last week called The White Bone and it is very different and epic in a Grapes of Wrath style but in this heat just reading it lulls me to sleep. It is the kind of book to read when I need to be wearing a wooly sweater and bed socks. Obviously my reading habits have something to do with the heat, hormone issues and my attention span.
Supper tonight was a skillet affair as my oven is on the blink. Some dishes are still soaking and that’s fairly typical as we eat late and then I often bake even later (when the oven works). Most of the laundry is folded and some of it is put away. The cats are out wandering in the moonlight instead of being safely asleep inside the house.Things just seem to be out of sync but that’s perfectly okay.
It’s the heat.
Recycling magazines is a good idea as they are expensive and many others can enjoy them once they have been read. Recently I was given a bag full of celebrity type magazines which were full of comforting news about the rich and famous. A few tidbits of this and that actually were of interest to me . The disturbing thing is that a great number of the celebrities in the articles I didn’t even recognize or know anything about their work. If a target audience is what they are seeking I must have missed the target. I’ve since handed on the magazines to a neighbour.
Of all the information I was impressed enough by one article to apply its information to my own life. One celebrity gave her opinion on diets and eating and suggested making soup as a way to handle hunger cravings while trying to control weight. This isn’t exactly earth shattering information. In fact, everybody knows this. However, it was the right timing for me as I was trying to cut back on eating junk between meals. So pans banging I washed up all the vegetables I could find in the fridge and cooked them up in water and a little broth. At least ten different vegetables were used in this soup. Some parsley, garlic and dried chilies in hefty spoonfuls got thrown in during the cooking process. A couple shakes of sauce was added instead of salt. In only a few minutes it was cooked enough and ready to cool before blending it into a smooth puree.
Of course I was too impatient and didn’t let it cool enough so it was very hot and flew out of the blender onto my palm burning it a little. Soon , after some pulses in the blender it turned into a very dark green smooth puree that looked liked baby food. However, it didn’t taste like baby food with those hot chilies and Worcestershire sauce. After two bowls I felt quite satisfied and not interested in chips, dip, pop or chocolate. There was enough for today’s lunch and it got mixed reviews from my adult son, but he ate it up.
So guess what is on the stove again? Tonight the amount of vegetables is only seven and no broth but in substitution I’ve added some canned tomatoes. The thing is that it is a step in the right direction. It’s a step I knew about all along but it took a self-absorbed celebrity type to smarten me up. You never know who you will find a connection with or who can give some sound advice.