Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Peanut Brittle


A Mom kind of morning

I sprang awake at 6:30 this morning and although I could have slept in, I couldn't fall back asleep. I lay there thinking of all the things I could get done today on this 'at home' day. Heavy snow was forcasted so we got all our windows washed yesterday (other people's windows that is - mine are dirty). And as it is snowing heavily right now, I can't really go out and canvas. So I leapt out of bed and began by going to get my stuff from the Inner World School. Rhiannon and I walked home yesterday after the drop-in so my box of stuff and Dean's ghetto blaster were still down there. I have to have radio on or something while doing kitchen stuff. Then I made 2 batches of mayo. (I have been making my own mayo for 16 years and my kids don't like store bought stuff - not to mention it is expensive). Then I made a batch of bread which is currently rising. Then I made a double batch of carrot pineapple muffins which are cooked and cooling on the kitchen counter right now. Then I came down to check my e-mail and the blogs and it is only 9:30. Oh and I also put on a load of laundry. I love it when I feel so productive and get so much done in the morning! I love cozy, snowy days when it smells so yummy inside!

It doesn't look as though Martha is coming here for Christmas. She can't afford to get here. Probably better that way so her kids can be together for Christmas. What do you guys think of getting a sister package together or a family one, I don't care if brother's contribute and sending it to her? I could do my own from here. I know what it is like to be a single mom at Christmas. Very lonely and no one thinks of you. It doesn't have to be an expensive proposition - just some little pampering things that let her know that we are thinking of her. I think that she could really use some family support right now - especially if she is going to be successful in staying away. Anyways, what do you think? Does someone want to organize the Nanaimo contigent?

And Laura, have you done the sister's bike hike thing yet? I would really like to get it printed and send it down with my Christmas package. Could you please look at it and add your two cents worth and send it back to me?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A Million Little Pieces

I read that book by James Frey. I finished last night. I wasn't going to read it because I don't like being traumatized by books. But it wasn't too bad and it was about overcoming. There was, however, as I think Laura pointed out, a LOT of swearing in the book. I found his writing style very addictive - it just drew me in. I read half of the book last night. I was going to go to bed early as I was exhausted but I just read and read and read until midnight and finished it.

Now as for piano music, let me be clear. I enjoy the piano with other instruments and even by itself. But when it is by itself, it is not enough to occupy my mind. I wanted to do something else - like read - while I listened but I don't think that would have been appreciated - especially as I was near the front. I like to sing along with the piano. Maybe there is other music on the piano that I would have enjoyed more - more moody music like Beethoven or boroque music (sp?). But North American piano music from the 1890's on was.... not enough to stimulate me.

I am tired this week end and I am trying to relax. I have been working really, really hard. Canvassing 3 hours a day and then doing the stuff for the school and being a mom. I feel guilty because I haven't got Rhiannon to practise her instruments all week and she can't practise without me. Life just starts rushing, rushing, rushing at this time of year. I need to schedule my time better. I am not generally a live by a schedule kind of person but I think one would be helpful right about now...

It snowed here yesterday. We got about 2 inches and it is melting today. I was out canvassing while it snowed really hard and I actually got 5 jobs. That is exceptional. I guess no one wants to go out and wash their own windows in that kind of weather. It is supposed to get down to -16 with a high of -7 by Wednesday. If it gets that cold, we will be out of business. I am pretty much booked until Tuesday as it is. I'll have to wait and see what comes with the weather. Very often in the long term forcast, very cold weather is forcasted but it doesn't happen. It would be very good for the ice wine people, though. It has to be at least -8 at night for them to harvest the grapes. The sooner it happens, the more juice is in the grape and the more wine they can make.

They are planning Dean's Nana's memorial for either next week end or the one after. Bad for us. Next week end I am in a farmer's market in Armstrong on Saturday. The following week Dean is in Canmore for a big paying gig. We really can't afford to pass up on money making ventures at this time of year... If they have it next Friday, that might work out. Redfish is playing at the Nordic World Championships on Dec 3. $1000 for one 45 minute set. That is good! That is at night so it won't be affected by whatever they decide about the memorial service.

Well, I should go do something productive...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

What a Day!

Well, yesterday was certainly eventful. I only liked the piano music, so/so. The beginning part when he played the rag tunes it reminded me of Grandma - when she would spend hours playing different ragtime tunes. But his show was geered to old people and I hate to say it, but I don't really like just piano music. I would have liked to read a book or something while I listened. It just doesn't engage me. Its funny how people are different. Rhiannon fell fast asleep before the intermission. I dozed off a little, too. The couple beside me was really, really into it, though. I prefer strings. They really touch my soul. Good thing I'm married to a guitarist! But it was ok and Rhiannon and I had a good time together. We went out for lunch at Boston Pizza (right across the road) in between swimming and the concert.

Then when I got home, I was working on sending out the invitations to the Inner World School Christmas Gala, Dec 8 and I got a call from Dad. He was on his way to pick up Mom from Martha's a week early and take the van back they had bought for her. I don't know if I did the right thing, or not (I think I did) but I got in the middle. I talked to Martha and to Mom and to Dad and got them all calmed down. Dad went back to Nanaimo and Mom is still in Cranbrook but not staying at Martha's (which is probably better). It was rather stressfull and all consuming for the evening to be in the middle of the drama. I was concerned about Martha feeling alone and there being a rift - there has been enough of those. Mom called me to thank me today so I think I did the right thing by getting involved.

While doing that, though, I forgot entirely about a client I had at 8:15 and I missed the appointment and didn't even think about it until I went to bed at 11:00. *sigh* I HATE it when I do that!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Fluffy Lid

The whole Okanagan Valley has been covered with a fluffy lid since the week end. Just a flat, fluffy lid. You can see up but only so far. The mountains are all cut off at a certain level which actually has the effect of making them look much taller and steeper than they really are. The temperatures don't vary much from 3 - 4 degrees. At least it is above freezing and we can still wash windows.

Today will be very busy. I am leaving in an hour and half to go canvassing for windows while Dean washes. Then he will take a break at 11 and drive me home to get changed and ready to go. Then Rhiannon and I are going to the homeschoolers swim. Right after that we are going to our next concert in the series we signed up for in September. Today it is John Arpin, a pianist who is supposed to be the king of ragtime. Should be fun. Dean will pick us up from the Performing Arts Centre at 3:45. I got up at 6 this morning to get everything done at home first. Gotta go pack our bathings suits...

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Pretty Darn Good Day!

Well, I have been offering a free drop-in on Monday mornings at the Inner World School where people just come and hang out with their kids for free and I have some art/craft thing to do and some games to play and sometimes we dance, etc. Well, I started around the second week or so in October - during the strike. Since then there are been only one or two families who come - not always the same people. On Halloween Monday no one came (which could be expected) but other than that, there as always been at least one family there for Rhiannon to play with. Well, today it was full. I had 5 families! One of the little boys came with is mom and newborn sister who came to my summer camp and gave me a hug. It was so good to see him and then some homeschooling families came. I was very happy to have so many kids there! It is good to see people being attracted to what we are doing there. I had out water colour crayons and I played alphabet bingo and a memory game with them. Gives me hope.

So that is my good news of the day. Dean is still not home. Their vehicle broke down just out of Kananaskis (sp?). They had to rent a UHaul to get home. He said he wouldn't be here until late. He didn't sound good. There was a cat in the house they were put up in, in Banf and he lost his inhaler and hadn't brought any allergy drugs with him so he was sounding all weezy. I'll be glad to see him tonight.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sunday Thoughts

I was listening to CBC while working in the kitchen this afternoon. I listened to a very interesting program - I think it was tapestry. They had some professors of religion and some religious leaders who were talking about environmentalism and religion. Their premise is that as we destroy the environment, we are destroying the work of God and how it is not so much in churches but out in nature that people have spiritual experiences. That is, of course, very crudely and briefly said. They were very eloquent and spoke to many things that I agree with and feel strongly about.

These are my thoughts on the matter. You know the 10th article of faith which ends with "that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisical glory". Now, I have thought about that quite a bit. What if God is not going to just miraculously return the earth to its paradisical glory. I know in my own life, things have not happened like that. Of course, God could make my life perfect and solve all my problems. But it seems to me that the purpose of my life is to learn. And I learn by sorting through my problems and gaining insight into myself. So, what if we are responsible to return the earth to its paradisical glory? What if it is up to us to learn to take responsibility for our effect on the world around us and to work together with each other to repair the damage and stop its progress? What if there will be no miraculous happening that will make the lion lay down with the lamb but that we (the lion of the developed western world) must lay down with the lamb? These are the things that I think about deeply. I believe that it is up to us to do these things. This is why I am involved in the Inner World School. I see it is a seed to change the way we relate to ourselves (where it always starts) and to each other and the world around us.

Anyways, these are my Sunday thoughts that I wanted to share with all of you!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Saturday, in the park, it must have been the 1st of July...

Sorry, that old song (you all are probably too young to know it...) went through my head as I was trying to think of a title. Today is Drew's birthday party day. I am tired in advance. I'm going to have 4 additional boys in the house - but only for an hour and then I am taking them to the pool. I learned long ago that it is best to have somewhere to go and something to do. They just have so much physical energy when they all get together and are excited! It is the loonie swim (meaning the public swim only costs a loonie) at 4:30 so that is perfect. I'll just serve snacks and cake and they will play a bit of xbox and then he'll open his presents and then we'll go to the pool. It should work, right? I am debating about whether I will stay with them at the pool. Maybe I should... I hate swimming in the pool. Really! How can people think it is cleaner than the ocean or the lake?! My skin is always sooo itchy from swimming in all those chemicals. and of course, I hate what it does to my hair. I have tried all kinds of different bathing caps but none of them work on my giant head. I own three of the biggest I could find but my hair still gets wet...

Dean's grandmother (known to all as Nana) died last week. She was 94. She had been gone for a long time. I think it was really hard for her when her arthritis got so bad she couldn't live on her own and then she had a stroke before Rhiannon was born and had to be in one of those long term care places where you basically live in a very small room. She was in a very nice place but I think it was really hard for her to be so dependent and she just slowly ebbed away. I saw her last the summer of 2004 with the kids but she didn't really know who we were. She enjoyed us visiting, I think, and we took her for a walk in her wheel chair and stuff. Apparantly she just stopped eating. She was ready to go. She died in Dean's mom's arms (it was her mother). There will be a memorial service in Penticton (where she lived for more than 70 years) in a week or so. Dean was sad and cried a bit but not that she is finally gone - she needed to go but just for the important part of his childhood that she was. He used to visit every summer from North Vancouver for at least 2 weeks. I'm glad that I got to know her while she was still 'with it'. She had a great sense of humour and loved all my kids - especially Drew - she had a thing for boys! The memorial service will be the first time I will be at something where his whole family is there. His brother will be there from Toronto and his sister from Kamloops and his cousin (he only has one cousin, can you imagine?) from West Vancouver.

Well, I had better go get ready for the party (why does one clean the house in advance of these things?! It makes no sense!).

Friday, November 18, 2005

A Lonely Week end

November 16 was mine and Dean's 8 year anniversary. It is funny how 8 years can seem so short and so long. I've never been with someone for this long. Phil and I were together for just less than 7 years. Kaetlyn was almost 5 when we split up. Wednesday was busy but we managed to spend some time together. Now he is gone - left early the next morning for Banf and he won't be home until Monday. I don't usually mind having time on my own but this week end, I miss him. I've let him closer to me than I think I have ever let anyone.

I made up a song yesterday on the spot while teaching the geometry class at the Inner World School. Here it is:

Isosceles, Isoscles it is a special triangle.
Isosceles, Isoscles it has two sides the same.

sang to a happy, little ditty that does bear some resemblance to a tune on the Caillou Christmas Movie that Rhiannon was watching that morning. I wish I could plan to have such inspiration - it just came to me as I was trying to get these 5 and 6 year olds to remember what an Isoscles triangle was - we were making them out of pipe cleaners. I sang it to them and got them singing it and then we marched around banging on drums while we sang it. It was brilliant! Next week we will work on recognizing them...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Decision

Well, I have made a decision of sorts. I am not going to go with the previously mentioned business idea. There are too many obstacles and also, too many requirements (like having access to a commercial kitchen or having a health inspection of my own kitchen) that just make it not practical. I have decided instead to work harder at marketing what I make and sell already. Well, really, this is a 'we' thing and not an I thing as Dean and I are working on it together. So if any of you have any ideas on marketing my hats or my peanut brittle, I am very open to suggestions and support is greatly appreciated. I am happy to ship hats anywhere for a sale. If I could sell 6 hats a day, I would be doing just fine.

I have really been working on sorting through my mixed feelings about all of this. Of course, I wish that I had enough to do at the Inner World School that I didn't have to do this. But doing this allows me to stay at home with my kids and homeschool Drew and Rhiannon and continue working on building up the Inner World School. So it is a good thing. I just get tired sometimes of pushing, pushing, pushing. Sometimes, I feel like I have been pushing, pushing, pushing forever and not getting very far. And I just want a rest. But no rest is in sight presently. So I'll just have to push on.

Snow is here. But not to stay, I don't think. It is pretty close to 0 outside and it supposed to be warmer in the next couple of days. The snow is pretty and Drew and Rhiannon had fun in it first thing this morning. It is warm and cozy in here with our wood-burning stove, crackling away. Dean has been busy splitting wood for us to use when he is gone. He leaves Thursday am early for Banff and area. He won't be back until Monday. I've been busy baking for him - making muffins and biscuits and stuff like that to eat while he is gone.

Well, this Chick is going to bed.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

My new business idea

Well, here is my new business idea. What do you think? We need something to take us through the next 4 months that there is no window washing here and peanut brittle and hat sales don't quite cut it...

Are you too busy or unable to cook and tired of restaurant food?
Would you like to eat wholesome food delivered to your door?

Let us do the cooking!

Order from our selection of homemade soups, salads and entrĂ©es delivered to your door. All meals made fresh in our kitchen with the best ingredients available – local produce when available. Purchase in single or family portions. Each meal is healthy, great tasting and easy!

Meals (delivered frozen)
Chicken tarragon soup
Black bean and sausage soup
Chili (vegetarian, beef or turkey)
Chicken Cacciatore
Spaghetti (vegetarian, beef or turkey)
Shepherd’s pie
(Diabetic information available upon request)

Salads (delivered fresh)
Greek salad
Garden salad

Baking (can be delivered frozen or fresh)
Muffins – Pineapple Carrot, Blueberry, Banana Nut, Saskatoon (while supplies last) – all muffins available in regular, low fat/low sugar and/or *wheat free.
Peanut Brittle (DK’s gourmet peanut brittle)
Shortbread
Sugar Cookies
Cherry Chew Bars
Chocolate Chip Cookies (available in normal or *wheat free)
*Spelt is used instead of wheat – add $1 per 6 muffins or cookies
(diabetic information available upon request)

Friday, November 11, 2005

In Remembrance

I want to tell you about my new business idea and see what you all think but that will have to be another entry because I have these things to say first.

Andrew and I went to the Remembrance Day service at the multiplex. We have it indoors now so all the old veterans can sit instead of march and stand in the cold. I think it is better, too because that way more people can see the service. I wept as I have wept the last couple of years. I think it is having a son that, for me, has made remembrance day so significant. It is by far boys and men who go to war. I dread to think that that could happen to my precious and sweet boy.

Together Drew and I have read books around this time of year that are topically significant. This year we read Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden which I have mentioned before. It was really well written and my heart was heavy reading in it about the realities of trench warfare and the senselessness of killing our fellow men and what men had to do to themselves to be able to do it. I weep for all the precious, sweet young men who served their country and were required to do these horrible things just to survive. I weep far more for those who survived and returned home changed and damaged forever than for those who died. I weep for families torn apart and decimated by war. I weep for the young German and Japanese men who died and I pray for us all. I think there is something very powerful in our whole nation joining together to honour our fallen dead and to pray for peace. I pray for peace. I pray for that the conditions that lead to war to be resolved in other ways. Isn't it truy insane that in the 21st century, we are still killing each other to get our way? I pray that my boy will never be called upon to do what others have done and even still do for our country. I pray to be better at having peace in my own home. I pray for kindness and understanding and acceptance. I pray for the whole world to understand that it is the power of love that heals and changes.

First I want to complain...

Then I will post another post with other ideas I want to share. But just so you are warned, I'm complaining. About my period. This peri-menopause is for the.... birds? I used to have totally predictable, if not enjoyable, periods which has all disappeared this last year. It used to be spot, spot, trickle, normal flow, deluge, deluge, normal flow, trickle, spot and last for 7 days from start to finish with 3 weeks in between before the next one started. Now when they start is totally unpredictable could be 3 weeks could be 4 weeks or, more often, it could be 2 weeks (as I have mentioned before!) Well this last one (which is still going after a week) started with a wee trickle, trickle that went on for days. I thought that maybe I was going to get to experience these light periods I have heard about from others. Then yesterday - the day I had to sit all day in the Farmer's Market, it comes - SUPER DELUGE - the biggest deluge I have EVER had in my life!!! While I am stuck all day at the Farmer's Market and using super tampons and night time pads that I have to change every hour and still getting blood on my pants and some on the chair. (how embarrassing!) Then last night despite precautions, - ALL over my bed! Like that hasn't happened to me in YEARS - DECADES! And this after just having my period 2 weeks previously. How can my body have so much blood after such a short time?!?!! *sigh* and they say perimenopause goes on for about 10 years. TEN YEARS! I can't even think about it!

Thursday, November 10, 2005



Today I crocheted 6 hats and made 16 batches of peanut brittle which amounts to 32 300gram boxes (there'd be more if my family didn't nibble quite so much >:-[ ) Its 2:30 in the morning. I just have to print out the lables for the boxes and afix them - well, actually, I could probably take them with me. I'm doing the Christmas Farmer's Market to sell my hats and peanut brittle. I'm doing it with my friend (old neighbour) who knits slippers. Anyways, I'm really tired but here are two more hats that Kaetlyn modelled for me for my catalogue.

Monday, November 07, 2005

November 7, 1993

Today my boy is 12 and at 5'10" and with a moustache and deep voice, I think I have to face the fact that my boy is pretty near a man! It is such an amazing thing how they grow from less than a speck inside of you and then they just don't stop, they grow and grow and grow. And it all happens so fast. I can remember being like Sarah with it all ahead of me, wondering what it would all turn out like (I never imagined this, that's for sure!) and wondering what it would be like to be a mom, thinking that I knew. And now I have a son who is taller than me. It is an awesome thing to consider.

Drew's birth was a very healing experience for me. I had him at home with a midwife who was a member and a friend and just incredible. In fact, Drew is now sleeping on the futon he was born on. Weird, eh? (don't worry, it had a shower sheet over it - which I also still have saved in the bottom of my linen closet - just can't throw it away...) The midwife is also the one who really got me onto homeschooling which I started just one week before Andrew was born. Wonderful memories.

We had our family birthday dinner tonight. Erin and Justin came up. Drew ordered burritos from the family kitchen which I had to look up a recipe to make as I had never actually made burritos before. They were quite good. I think I will make them again - very filling. But I think I would make my own refried beans from black beans instead of kidney beans which agree more with my digestion tract, if you know what I mean. We had ice cream cake from Dairy Queen for dessert. His birthday present from Dean and I is his guitar. Erin and Justin got him an X-Box and Kaetlyn and Rhiannon haven't got him their gifts yet. He's going to have 2 parties so that way I don't have too many boys in the house at once. He's going to have a daytime party for his 4 friends around here (who are hyper and loud and I am not too fond of having in the house...) and then a sleep over party with a couple of more sedate friends from Coldstream by where we used to live. That way he gets his big 12 year old celebration and I will actually live through it. Because I don't think I could live through a house full of boys. No, I don't think I could. Imagine being Karen and not being able to send them home... 5 boys all the time...

Anyway, that is my day. Andrew is happy. X-Box made his day.

Hats



They are more like toques only fancier than toques. Here are some pics of the latest ones that I took with Erin's camera. I've actually compiled a catalogue. Rhiannon has inheritted the giant head so this hat could actually fit a small adult head. The others are a medium adult and a large adult.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Longing for my home

Last night Dean and Rhiannon and I went to see a Gary Fjellgaard and Valdy concert up at OC (Okanagan College for the uninitiated) lecture theater. Dean had got the tickets for free because of his article that he did for the paper. We were right in the front row which wouldn't have been my first choice but it turned out to be an excellent place to sit - especially as I could stretch my legs out (and Laura knows how I get when I can't...). It was a really wonderful show. They were great entertainers - telling the stories that went with the songs and joking around. The music was soothing and the accoustics were perfect. I loved it. I love live music (especially live music that doesn't burst your ear drums).

As they sang all these songs of small towns and communities, I longed for my home - the place I consider my home town - Terrace. I am sure it doesn't help that Drew and I are reading a novel set in Haida Gwaii that describes the scenery up there in lush detail. After all these years, my heart aches for that place. It was so incredibly beautiful - the energy of nature was stronger than the energy of man (if that makes sense). It was still so wild and natural. I long to be there. Truly, if I could, I would move back in a second. My teen age years in Terrace were a gift. I had great teachers, good friends, good community. Some day I will return, I think. Whenever I go back up there (which hasn't been often - only three times since I left when I was 16 and one of those was for my grad) it is always hard to leave. I want to stay. It still feels like home to me. And none of my kids have ever seen it. I want to take them all to my 25 year grad reunion in 2008. Of course none of my friends (close ones, anyway) live there any more but I still love the place and the feeling of the community there. I think it was a good place for Doug too. He probably suffered more than me because he had to spend both grade 11 and 12 away from there. He had such good friends and we had friends in common. The best time he and I ever had together was there in our Theatre Arts class that we took together and with our mutual friends. We started to like each other then.

Ah nostalgia! This one never goes away for me, it always comes back. I don't miss any place like I miss Terrace.

I am busy making my hats. I make at least 3 a day. I made myself a little catalogue. I'll scan in a picture or two for you later.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Not as Exciting

Well, after Katie's blog - so suspenseful! - can anything else compete?! :-p What a story! And I really like the way Katie wrote it.

Well, nothing so exciting here. We had a fun Halloween. Luckily Rhiannon recovered in time. She had a nap and woke up totally recovered. We went trick-or-treating in the mall at 4:30, then came home and the kids went out around here. There were lots of houses who weren't doing Halloween. Sad. But Kaetlyn and Drew persisted. Kaetly went as a 50's chick and drew was a hippie. He started as a ninja with a costume that Erin made him but he didn't like the hood so he changed to a hippie which he was last year. Rhiannon was supposed to be a princess but changed a the last second to a tiger.

Anyways, Rhiannon got tired after only a little trick-or-treating - she hadn't had much to eat since being sick so her and I went home only to get home and realize that Kaetlyn had the house key (Dean was taxi-ing Erin around for work). So we trick-or-treated right close to our house and our cats (Tigger and Sheebah) followed us to every house. People would be afraid that they would sneak in their doors but they were just following us. Eventually Dean got home with the pizza (a Halloween tradition) and we got into the house. Kaetlyn and Drew were home shortly thereafter with their haul and we had pizza and they marvelled over their candy.

Then we went out to Coldstream where we used to live and trick-or-treated our old neighbours who always love to see the kids and then went to the fireworks/bonfire on the beach of Kal Lake. The fire was huge and the fireworks were spectacular - I love the ones that go under water and then pop up. Then home for excited candy eating and eventually bed. Dean stayed at home to hand out candy. We didn't really get alot of kids. We ate more of our candy then we handed out.

Some weird Halloween things: I actually had adults come trick-or-treating to the door! Two young mom's with a baby in a stroller only the mom's held out bags for themselves, too. And really, the baby is eating candy?! Then we had 2 teen age girls ring our bell at 10:21pm! I told them all my kids were in bed and we weren't handing out candy any more. Honestly!

So that was Halloween. Next I have a Famer's Market thing coming up next Thursday that I will be selling my hats and peanut brittle at along with my old neighbour who knits slippers. Today is busy. Rhiannon has a make up lesson for piano in 45 minutes and then we have a homeschooling activity at 1 and then I have clients at 6!

Whew!