Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Hello from Sprainsville

Hello all, and my apologies for being so long absent! Please, join me for a cup of tea and something nibbly.

I had such ambitions for posting regularly every month this year. Who knew pandemics could be so disruptive? (answer: everyone.) We've been lucky here at my place and I hope the same is true at yours.

I have however been very very busy ensuring we stay lucky.  For example, there was a ridiculous amount of mask-sewing going on almost from the start, and then more so after I got spring-loaded scissors that hurt my hand a lot less...

until I realized how draggy it was to cart my sewing machine out of the way every time somebody else wanted to use the table. 


Silly me for making an office space that is also the best possible location for a Zoom call.

There was also a ridiculous amount of audiobook-listening while I did a huge run of masks at once so I could put the machine back into its cupboard for the long haul.  And a lot of time on a heating pad because I don't really have an appropriately ergonomic chair for that much hunching over the sewing machine. Plus of course, a lot of poring over desk chair options online. Then desk options online. I'm currently considering desk lighting. The fun never ends!

Somewhere along the way I discovered Tombow dual tip markers, and that's been a fun distraction.

Markers are much brighter than the sloppy swirly pencil sketching I did before I remembered colour.

In spring, we watched our garden wake up...


and I bought a hand grinder and coffee beans so I could make decaf espresso and improvised lattes at home,

and when asked, I rolled out crackers using the mandatory pandemic sourdough starter. 


Once it was robust enough, even though the temperature outside had gone far too high to justify setting the oven to 'insanely hot', I also made bread with the sourdough starter.

It tasted TERRible. Thankfully, we have an excellent bakery nearby with a stone oven where we can purchase sourdough bread which is the opposite of terrible. Dreamy, even. After I finally acquired some yeast, we gave up on the idea of baking with the sourdough. 

Mostly I just feed it, like it's a pet. 

A very demanding pet.

Seriously, every time I open the refrigerator the starter stares me down with a big guilt thing. I kind of regret introducing myself to the sourdough starter, but please don't tell it I said so.

I had more success with other baking. I offer as proof an orange-flavoured bundt cake...

 and a rhubarb pie:


Looking at these photos you'd think the cake tasted better. It was amazing, but the pie was truly the above and beyond dessert. Can't judge a book by its cover!


In fact there's been a lot going on in the kitchen here, and not just the full-on reorganization of my utensil storage which is the direct view from my favourite armchair and therefore needs to be pleasant.

Nope: I've also been cooking a ton of healthy meals. At first we felt takeout was a bit risky, and then we all noticed how much better we feel mostly eating fresh food prepared at home with less fat and salt. Another factor: we confirmed my long-held suspicion that I am a good cook. 

Go me! 

I've been able to sell even my pickiest housemates on bean soups. 

This is me, pre-soaking very pretty beans, back when I bothered with pre-soaking.

As I started to get more and more bored with 'celebrating me' every time the next meal rolled around, I discovered Staub cookware. Curious, I invested in one piece, and then several more pieces, every time there was a sale basically, which I have been using constantly. Don't get me started about how much I love these things. The ceramics are just as amazing as the cast iron!

 But do consider adding some form of 10" oven-safe skillet to your stash. 


You can set a piece parchment paper on top as liner and bake a gorgeous cookie in it, then lift out the paper, give the skillet a wipe, and make supper in it for a well rounded meal plus dessert.  And between uses, you can use the skillet for weight lifting. How great is that?


So far during the pandemic I have sprouted seeds for salad,


and sourced the perfect benches for our shady garden hideway,

and learned how to cut hair! 

(Please note the lack of pictures of freshly-cut hair.)


Have I been knitting? Not so much. Though yesterday I did ask someone to fetch me my knitting basket so I could have something to do with my hands while watching TV. (It feels weird to not be knitting but what isn't weird these days? Even after six months of this, I'm still not used to all the changes.) 


Just last week it occurred to me I'd like to have more down time. Somehow I've been so busy I've only binge watched something once since March, for one day. I felt I'd like to stop racing around the house, trying to cram more into a day than would fit, and just sit down. Breathe. Read a book in one sitting. Maybe bingewatch something. No cooking, no laundry, no problem solving. But I can guarantee you I did NOT on purpose, that same evening, step into a pothole while out on a perfect walk under a starry sky.

It was a complete accident I completely regret.

And now that I know how bad a sprained ankle feels, and how boring it is to lie around for days upstairs, far from the kitchen and laundry room, with my leg elevated - even when I can bingewatch things and ask other people to fetch the knitting basket! - I am definitely going to keep my mind on my feet when I'm out walking.

On the bright side, I had time to write this Hug today. And that was nice. I'm always grateful for the silver linings, even when the cloud is something I could do without.

Here's hoping you're finding some silver linings in all this too, or at least getting through it all right. We sure have had better times, haven't we. And hopefully, we'll have good times again soon.


Heather said...

Thank you for posting! Love the catch up.

Laurinda said...

It's been a while since we've heard from you! I'm glad you're okay, minus the ankle. I haven't done much knitting, except for little dish sponges. They're fast, easy, & useful

JackieLemon said...

lad to hear from you again. I've missed Hugs. Am glad you are as well as can be expected. Hope you have a quick recovery

Mary Keenan said...

Thanks guys! I've missed Hugs too Jackie, and you :^) Dish sponges are a wise choice for pandemic knitting I think Laurinda - engagement without commitment, which is all our attention spans can offer these days I find. And Heather, thank you so much for checking back in to find me!