Thursday, 29 November 2007

On Finding A Better Turn of a Phrase

Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning
And the first thing that I knew
There was milk and toast and honey
And a bowl of oranges, too
And the sun poured in like butterscotch
And stuck to all my senses

Oh, won't you stay
We'll put on the day
And we'll talk in present tenses...

Sometimes it's right there in front of you. I'd lost sight of the fact that the words you use will determine your path for the day. And so, a better use for the words from the title in my previous post...thanks to my favourite song. (which I wish I could find streaming somewhere for you, but the poetry is lovely anyway...)

Monday, 26 November 2007

Present Tense

Here always has been a little blurry to me. I'm a tad forgetful (ahem). Your name will slip through my mind like silken cobwebs, and unless I'm engrossed in a book or sewing or something that keeps my focus, I'm easily distracted and endlessly multitasking, sometimes spectacularly inefficiently.

The future, however, is bright and distinct. I can see it. No, not fortell it, just...see it. It's what helps me visualise a project, it's why I can see the potential in an apartment or house (something at which Mr. S. is completely hopeless, as he will willingly attest to), why I'm good in a pinch, and it's where I spend a lot of time in my head. Which is fine when you're alone. I used to sit and just watch trees and birds for hours when I was young. (I even wondered if I could make a living doing that...sadly, I think not.) At a personal (or personable, I guess) level, though, it doesn't work quite as well. There are benefits, but it's the downfalls that I'm feeling more acutely lately.

I don't think I want to be the kind of mother that isn't present. Someone who always has one of her feet (thinking-like) in the future....what needs to be done, planning, anticipating, lists, playing scenarios, worrying, constructing futures....can't be the greatest companion for a child. A child's life is NOW. I don't want to look into her eyes and be looking past her. Some people have a gift for being now, but it always has been a struggle for me. To quiet my brain. To breathe, mentally.

To stop.

Nice to Know (Bread Curtesy of Mr. S.)

To put the following in context, in her three years Safiya has always fallen asleep at night with me. And that's just the Way It Has Been. Today (conversation had whilst busy playing):

"So, what if Granny came and stayed all day...and didn't go home...and then Mama and Babo went out on a date and went to sleep with Granny?"


"So, you would be o.k. if Granny put you to sleep and then Mama and Babo came home after you had gone to sleep?"


(long pause)

"...but I still like Mama and Babo."

Friday, 23 November 2007

Tag You're It

I've been tagged by the lovely Jen. So here goes (funny, I'm usually the chain-breaker...see, it's just that Jen's so nice :-)

The Rules:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.


2. Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.

Random or weird. Maybe random and weird? You see, nobody thinks they're weird, but the nice thing is we all are, so let's celebrate a little weirdness, eh? And randomness...

1. If I make a mistake when I type (a spelling error, for example), I backspace all the way back to where the mistake was made, erasing everything in my path, and start over again. I don't know if that's weird or just a little obsessive-compulsive, but there you are...

2. Both polar-fleece and cotton balls are like nails on chalkboard for me. Serious goosebumps and icky-shivers. If you ever want to get me to confess something, just stick my hand in a jar of cotton balls...

3. I haven't brushed my hair for a couple of years. What? It's clean, just not brushed! My Mom needed a comb once at our place and the only thing I could find (to her utter bewilderment and slight horror) was Safiya's baby comb. Don't come to our house if you've got knots in your hair. Well, you can come over, we just won't be able to help you...

4. When I was little, I used to hide places and read. Everybody did, right? I lived on a farm...where I was supposed to work. So I took my books and I hid - in the empty giant wooden bins that were used to ship peaches to the canners. In trees. In the family car, lying down, with the window cracked for air just a little so that it wouldn't be noticeable. In the upstairs of the barn, where the baskets were kept - I would burrow in, making tunnels in the baskets, and bring a flashlight..."Oh there you are!" My Mom would say. I was really good at hiding :-) I don't really think behaviour like that is applicable to adult daily life, but wouldn't it be fun?

5. I can eat an entire jar of pickles. Just the homemade kind. In one sitting. Ask my Grammy about what happened to her stash of pickles when I house-sat one time for them...

3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

I echo Jen's sentiment about this part making one feel shy, but here goes:






4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.


5. Don’t break the chain!


And p.s. if anyone ever wants to pass around a meme/chain for weird or random things about their partners, sign me up! I could do, oh..."73 weird and random things about Mr. S." Ha!

Monday, 19 November 2007

Stepping Back, or Scenes From a Basement

This is the large picture. My "workplace". It's in quotes because I've gone back and erased that word and re-typed it a couple of times because my real workplace has no physical limits. It is the house, it is the subway, the city, our backyard. Wherever we are. Funny, when it's written like that it sounds like it's (that is, the mothering thing) following me wherever.I.go. Ha!

As for the tidy table, lest you get any false impressions, here is the other side of the room:

My pile of projects. I know where everything is, really I do. By the way, that table in the first picure? Best idea ever. The idea was planted in my brain by Martha's oversized ironing board, and then watered by the hearty recommendations of my friend Johanna. Made it myself for all of $60 (adjustable legs from Ikea, plywood from the hardware store, flannel and cotton covering from my stash - I keep it loose instead of staple-gunning it because the fabric does double duty at craft fairs). Handy-dandy, man. And here's the floor:

Sweaters a-waiting cutting up and considering. The rug also had a former life as a sweater. And the leftover studs (painted by Mr. S. - thank you, honey :-) are oh-so-perfect for stashing and stockpiling:

It is difficult to make basements look cozy in photographs, but this little piece of concrete and bare walls has definitely made its way into my heart.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Snapshot of a Saturday

A short dissertation on the picture above:

There is a spot of chocolate syrup on my sweater. I am wearing sweatpants in the middle of the day. My snack of choice is a heaping bowl of mashed potatoes with a side of horseradish, and the literature is an intriguing study of the gnostic gospels so that my mental appetite can also be fed. Holed up in the spare bedroom, pillows and comforter just so, I can read and view the trees outside at the same time, half their leaves still clinging in golden valiance. Just for an hour or so.

This is indulgence.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Up the Walls

It's gorgeous, if cold, outside today; a sunny blessing in the middle of a rainy stretch of weather. So I've spent it taking "inventory" photos and updating the shop. Safiya has gamely been relegated to television company, which (my pride forces me to note) we haven't indulged in for many months. However, business takes time, takes it and sucks it up, spitting out keystrokes and hurrying footsteps up and down stairs before the light shifts. I am glad to have most of my things listed, all neat and orderly and accounted for.

And a very important thing that I've learned after one or two past time investment mornings like this: the rest of the day is my darling's. My eyes and hers, holding hands, running down sidewalks and kicking leaves. To make up for my distraction and a long morning in t.v. land.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Temporary Insanity and When Did She Turn Twelve?

This is why the first thing that every person says upon entering our house is: "That's a lot of apples."

Yes, yes it is. How did they get there? Under my mistaken belief that we are somehow homesteading instead of living in an urban home that is exactly fourteen feet wide. Must dive into canning applesauce...

Or, start drying apples. Today we dabbled in that, doing a little taste test of each variety: Mutsu (they're still in the oven!), Courtlands, MacIntosh, Golden Delicious...they ended up very yummy, nice and crispy and sweet. Safiya's reaction as she sauntered away with her little bowl of apple chips?

"Now that's a good snack!"


Tuesday, 6 November 2007

The Good Stuff

For a former farmgirl, I've got ridiculously sensitive skin. Today we indulged in one of the little routines around here; making lotion. This is adapted from Jackie French's Natural Solutions:

3 parts oil : 1 part beeswax, grated

(I use sunflower oil, as it's high in vitamin E, relatively inexpensive, and I can get it Canadian made. If I'm splurging I add some calendula oil.) Heat the oil and wax in a double boiler (or, um, extra-from-Value-Village-'cause trying-to-wash-wax-doesn't-work-pot balancing precariously over another pot) until wax is melted. Take off heat, add a few drops of essential oil, and slowly whisk in about 1 part water (keep whisking! or else it gets lumpy, and lumpy lotion? booo!) Keep in the fridge.


It's inexpensive, pure, and, having tried everything else including doctor prescribed? This is the good stuff, baby!

Monday, 5 November 2007


Safiya has taken to choosing her clothes more often these days. Here she's wearing one of my shirts as a dress, over her long-sleeved-t, topped with her tutu and a spiffy button from Sweetie Pie Press.

The kid has style, man.

And yes, we go out in whatever she's chosen to wear that day. Or whatever she's chosen to dress me in. One day, pre-jacket season, it wasn't until we'd returned from the grocery store that I realised I still had on my blue construction paper butterfly wings.

I think that we'll make that house policy; always keep your wings on when you go out :-)

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Random Fun

Safiya and Mr. S. have gone out for a bit, so I've got the house to myself, which explains more than one post in a day ;-) I'm sitting here listening to The Vinyl Cafe on CBC Radio. I could listen to those stories all day - they just leave your heart in the right place afterwards (sounds schmaltzy, but true!) Listening to radio is a pleasure that I've forgotten about lately. My Mom always had CBC on, quietly in the background for my entire childhood. And it's just come to mind that Mr. S. and I used to listen to Monday Night Playhouse pre-Safiya. Maybe we'll start that again, because I feel that my grown-up imagination's gotten a bit rusty lately...

And now, on a completely unrelated note: I saw this post on a new-to-me blog, so just for some Saturday morning fun:

The Name Game

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car),
Kitty None (I might start using that...)

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie),
Chocolate Peanut Butter Double Chocolate (a little weighty - how about P.B. Triple-C, eh?)

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name),
M-Sas (or, M-Sass, obviously)

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal),
Blue Cat

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born),
Renata St. Catharines (awesome!)

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first),

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink),
The Green Tea (that's the weakest superhero name ever)

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers),
Aron William

9. STRIPPER NAME: (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy),
Lilac Goodies (hee hee)

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ),
Eleanor John

And a few more…

11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter),
hmmmm can't remember...

12. SPY NAME/BOND GIRL: (your favorite season/holiday, flower).
Autumn Rose (better than Autumn Peony or Autumn Camellia, and yes, I'm cheating)

13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”)
Cherry Hoodie

14. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree),
Strawberry Jam Willow

15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”),
The Felting Storm Tour (cool!...that can be this blog's alter-ego name :-)

O.k., enough of that kind of silliness, now off to a different kind of fun - sewing!

Amateur Hour

Remember this post from February last year? Well.....that project, repairing the quilts, has been on hold since then. There's nothing like brisk November days to kick things back into gear. That, and the brown and yellow quilt is the one that Mr. S. uses, and every morning it looks like some fantastical cotton chicken has moulted everywhere...and I'm supposed to add that Mr. S. is none too fond of the taste of cotton batting...

This is what the edges that were still in good repair looked like. I don't know a lot about quilts, but I've never seen an edge finished like this before. This quilt is a hand-me-down from my grandmother, it's stuffed with cotton batting, and the binding is this thick cotton string encased in a tube and then sandwiched between the front and back. Anybody else familiar?

I had a whole lot of bias tape lying around - seemed like a logical thing to try...

Let's just say I had a little trouble. But you know what? It's done, it's serviceable, and it will not fall apart if I need to wash it. All in all, I'm pretty!