Sunday, February 22, 2015

Make Your Own Diffuser Oil

1/4 cup rubbing alcohol (vodka works too)
1/4 cup hot water
20-25 drops essential oil 
Swirl to mix.
One in the bathroom.
Use an essential oil you love:

• Eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender reduce tension • Peppermint energizes • Lemon, lemongrass, and thyme purify • Lavender, orange, peppermint, cedarwood, frankincense, and jasmine inspire a positive mental state and combat depression

One in the kitchen. The carved utensils in the ladyhead vase were carved by my great-great-great grandfather for my great-grandmother when she was a child.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Guest blogging, flower arranging

I've known Julie since I was 19; that's 37 years. We've written letters back and forth all this time.
Last week I sent her one that she wanted to repost on her blog, and with my permission she edited out the more personal stuff and did.
You can read it HERE.

I need a lesson in flower arranging. I cannot make a bouquet of flowers look right, no-how.


I put these in a vase on Friday night after getting home from work. I was tired and it seemed like a huge job by the time I cut the stems and so on, and I never did get them looking as stunning as they could.

I was going to read up online and get some basic tips, and then rearrange this bouquet and post a photo of the "after." But I don't feel like it now.

These flowers are cheery anyway, and remind me how much beauty there is.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

No Arithmetic

One thing about the work I do: the time flies by. Eight hours, 10, 12 ... nose to the grindstone and they're gone in a flash.
My friends say "Perfect job for you, Kathy." They're right. I'm all about reading and writing; this is play, for me. There are challenges, but they're right up my alley. They're the kind of problems I like to wrestle with.

I'm tired at the end of the day; I won't lie.
Also, I don't like being stuck inside on a sunny warm day.
I don't like having to hustle to go somewhere in the morning, any morning.
But reading and writing, and getting paid for it?
Seriously. Perfect.

Friends also tell me from time to time, "You've got a book in you."
I'm not so sure.
I tell them I don't have anything to say.
To write a book, you need something to say.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Someone You Love has Dementia

My "mother-in-law from heaven" has written an article that has been published in the WADENA NEWS this week. It's about her experience from the time of my father-in-law's diagnosis of dementia until now, when he is in a nursing home. Here it is: SOMEONE YOU LOVE HAS DEMENTIA.

As for the more mundane aspects of daily life, after carrying on about the recycling yesterday I cleaned up that cluttered corner of the porch and changed the system at our house. This laundry hamper was brought from the bedroom to the kitchen and will collect all the recycling until it's full. Then the garbage bag inside will be carried to the basement, where I will sort its contents into separate bags that are now lined up against a bare wall. When they are overflowing, then off to the recycling depot they will go.

Why didn't I think of this sooner?
It's because, when it comes to many household details, I don't dwell on them long enough at any one time to take action. I usually have a thought and then carry on to something else. It's why the Christmas tree was only taken down yesterday. For the past month, I just walked on by!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Polite and Gentle Bodies

My body speaks gently to me. First I think I'm hungry. I do nothing about it. After a while I know I'm hungry. Still I do nothing about it. I'm in bed, reading Alison Pick's memoir Between Gods about her reach for Judaism. I've eaten lots of granola lately — it's quick and easy, but I had a bowlful before bed last night and don't want it again just yet.

My body is patient. And then it is not. I start to burp; that's a message I've come to recognize as "Eat." I keep reading.

Then I feel nauseated. Belly is empty. Put something in!

It reminds me of Emil, newborn. How first thing in the morning he would be in his basket by the bed and I'd hear his sweet, patient ch-ch-ch-ch for some time, but I wouldn't hear it as a call. Loving my sleep, I wouldn't get up and feed him till finally he'd let out a wail and I'd realize he'd been asking politely, all along, till my unresponsiveness demanded something more forceful.

I go to the kitchen, not wanting to spend any time making toast, eggs, or oatmeal, preferring to read some more. Scott brought bananas home from Kelvington yesterday. One of those will do.

Recycling would be a whole lot more convenient if the depot would take everything in one large bag, unsorted. When you have to keep it all separate, you have half a dozen separate bags and containers to fill with glass, plastic, tin, cardboard, newspaper and refundables before  you lug them out to your car. I still haven't figured out a system that doesn't look like a frigging pile of clutter all the time, or else requires numerous trips to the basement each day. Not that I've put my mind to a solution; meanwhile this mess in the porch makes me crazy. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Starting Starter

In recent weeks I've started baking bread again. Funny how you go from doing it week after week to not doing it for months. But that's me. I never stick to a routine forever — except the coffee-in-the-morning one.

Yesterday I mixed up a sourdough starter. It will sit on the kitchen counter for six days, stirred once a day, and then go into the fridge to be used once a week. One cup of the starter goes into each batch of bread; one cup of flour and one cup of water is added back into it. If the starter is not used weekly, you still have to discard one cup of it and add the flour and water. My disinclination toward wastefulness will help me stick to the baking routine. For a while.

Starter gives the bread an extra little flavour kick as well as boosting its superbread abilities; don't ask me what they are. Rising, I suppose.

Gord (if you're reading), you'll be happy. I know you like the sourdough bread best. Cross your fingers I keep up with the plan till next time you're out here. (And if you can lay hands on some soy grits, please do. Sourdough and soy grits in your bread cannot be beat.)

Lately I've found the bread itself bland. Sure it's 100% whole wheat flour so has plenty of heft; sure it's got sesame and sunflower seeds and is always toasted; sure the dough's been sweetened with molasses. And sure, I always eat it with real butter. But I miss the tang of sourdough.

Interested in trying starter yourself? You'll find the recipe here: CLICK.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sweet-Scented Treasures

From our visit to Cathy and Roger in Oakburn, we returned with many beeswax treasures.

One of the beauties of these items is the sweet scent, even when they are not burning.
Once in a while you get a whiff when you walk by.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Making Granola

Yesterday I made granola.
It's the first time in ages, since I haven't been to visit the "honey man" in some time.
But when Shelly and I went to see Cathy, we did some shopping in their warehouse.
They raise bees, harvest honey, sell it, and also make a wide variety of pure beeswax candles.

What I want to know is, what is the trick to getting the lid tightly onto these pails?
I put a hand on the middle and threw my entire weight onto it, like a Ukrainian dancer, and still the lid was loose.
I had to leave it till Scott came home with his superior strength.

Here's the granola recipe: CLICK HERE.
It came from Cathy (whose wax arts I wax on about in the next entry) about 30 years ago.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Talking to Lars

Saturday was Pat and Ivan's 57th wedding anniversary.
We went to the lodge where Ivan lives and made ourselves at home around the kitchen table in the activity room.
Scott brought his laptop to connect up with Ivan's cousin Lars in Sweden for a chitchat.

Pat, on the left, is standing behind Ivan's chair. Scott is in the hat, and his brother Bruce is far right. 

I always like to mention that Pat is my mother-in-law "from heaven."
She laughs at my wisecracks; only one of many reasons to love her.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Kitchen Table

Is there anything as pleasing as a library haul?
I think not.

Unless it's red wine, or a handwritten letter in the mail, or fresh flowers, or lotus candles made by friends.

Or a text from your sister, telling you she's finally repaired your broken stained glass:

Monday, February 2, 2015

Heeeeeeere Moosie Moosie

We’ve been calling Jenna Doodle into the porch before we go to bed, because we’re in deep cold: 30-below, at night. She is accustomed to being outside and has an electrical heating pad in her insulated doghouse, but still — 30 below is 30 below.

Yeah, sorry: A moose comes to visit and all you get are these lousy tracks.

And so, without the old dog barking her fool head off out there at night, a moose has been tripping right past our back step! We haven’t seen it; only its tracks and scat.

Who needs a dark doghouse when you can lie in the sun?

I put a dozen apple cores on the step for the moose before I went to bed last night but they didn’t turn its eye, apparently.

"Ain't no damn moose gettin' in here while I'm on watch!" Jenna's keeping a sharp eye on the back driveway where the moose comes in.
I keep looking out the window, too.