Domicile Love

Cleaning ones abode is a fact of life. Whether you actually do it is your own issue, but eventually you’ll have to dig yourself out of the laundry pile. Personally I approach housework as ‘House Love’. Corny,  yes- but to give a little attention to the place that shelters you is meaningful, no?

Except this.

cleaning racks

This is my absolute least favourite domestic duty. Cleaning my oven racks rank right up there with…- no they stand alone in that, yep.

 

It Takes a Village

IMG_5883

Because I live on a rock that I share with about 300 others, you get to know its people. Many I’ve known for over 20 years, others more recent. For me this is the longest duration in one community in my entire life – in California we moved several times: Garden Grove, Tustin, Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, and this continued when we relocated to Vancouver Island.

Landing here on this tiny Gulf Island I remember saying to my new husband (that would be Bob) that I have no intention of leaving. Of course this was after experiencing the grunting work of loading cars and boats with my things and barging across the waters to off load, then reload onto a truck to the final destination of Bobs house. Then off load. I ain’t doing that again, I think is what I mumbled under my breath. Little did it sink in then that this in fact would be a constant way of life. Hauling things. But I’m good with it now.

So this is home and I am surrounded by people who know me. They know my children. Our story.

And I know some of theirs, when someone gets married, when there is a new baby, when someone falls on hard luck, the fundraiser events. But because I’ve been working so much out of the home for many years these events have been more on the periphery of my scope. Acknowledgement, appreciation, yes – but also a little taken for granted.

Until now. Living in this community the more I am awakened to the profundity of it, the depths it reaches into what it means to know your neighbour, to be a part of this tiny part of humanity.

She was a gardener, taking care of others’ plants and flowers, she and her partner working together on landscaping jobs for about 15 years here and she passed away. She was in her 50’s and died of Lung Cancer a few days ago. And when I mentioned this one evening to a friend how many neighbours have passed my friend said, It’s our age. She said, there were three people in my condo on my floor that had died within a few years of each other.

I thought about what she said, but it wasn’t the same.

It was then that I realized what it is I am a part of here.  At that moment I came to fully understand the connectedness that resides here, what it means to be a supportive community, to BE IN a community. I realized how far on the sidelines I have dwelled.

It was an epiphany.

Because when I see Anne I can remember her husband, and see Liz and remember her husband, and see Pat and remember her husband, and see Veronica and remember her husband,  and see Keith and remember his wife, and see Shannon and remember her daughter, and when I see Dan I can remember his partner. And because I can see my neighbours navigating catastrophic life changes and doing the wrenching work of carrying on, of salving wounds. Of finding a new normal everyday.

I have newfound respect and even a reverence that wasn’t so present before as a resident here. Of what Home means, and Connection.

 

 

 

 

Washing up

 My kitchen sink

When we renovated the kitchen several years back we decided not to install a dishwasher thinking there is just the two of us, how many dirty dishes could there be? Not well thought out when one of us is a chef. I can utilize A LOT of pots and pans and cutlery when putting a meal together, but in my defense, I am a clean cook, meaning I clean as I go so I keep a handle on the fall out.

And although I find myself periodically pining for a dishwasher I do find it relaxing washing by hand. Sometimes. When I was younger living at home this was when I sang – over a hot soapy  sink, alone in the kitchen with good acoustics. Other times it seems as though my hands are constantly in the sink.

My hands, when I look at them I think of a commercial when I was a kid. It promoted a particular dish soap claiming you wouldn’t be able to tell who was the daughter and who was the mother by just looking at their hands. If my hands today were put up they would have no trouble guessing who was the mother; I’d win, hands down. I never wear gloves, my hands are in and out of water constantly when in the kitchen,  I should take out stock shares in Aveeno moisturizer.

But it’s all good; Bob washes up after dinner often, or in the morning before I get up – and to be honest washing up by hand is a meditative act. Hot water, fragrant soft bubbles and the slow action of rubbing a dishcloth around and around a plate gives you time to think – or sing.

 

 

 

Food Bomb!

Prepare to be bombarded by several foodie shots.

I thought I’d just get them all out there, some of the food I’ve made during 2015 (I don’t take pictures of ALL the food I make, ok I would but –  I forget to, or have eaten the thing before I think of a photo )

I am in the process of putting together a Food Blog, and when I get more organized and consistent I’ll put it up, but in the meantime …
Chicken breast with grainy mustard- yogurt sauce and quinoa

Chicken breast with a yogurt/dijon sauce and Quinoa with yam and kale

 

Pasta 2015

Hey, it’s pasta.

 

Stew, 2015

Beef Stew

 

Breakfast, 2015

Steak and eggs, guacamole and chipotle mayo

 

Chicken parma with pasta and veg 2015

Chicken Parma with pasta and veg

 

Grilled salmon, mango salsa, rice and veg 2015

Sockeye with mango salsa and I can’t remember what sauce that I put in there on the asparagus-

 

Roast beef in yorkies with sour cream horseradish sauce, ape's 2015

Some roast beef, caramelized red onion and yorkshires with sour cream/horseradish canapés

 

Nori cones, appy's 2015

Nori cones for canapes

 

apple pie 2015

Apple pie

 

Pistachio Biscotti's with white chocolate 2015

Pistachio biscotti with white chocolate

 

Chocolate cookies with pepitas, smoked paprika and flaked salt 2015

Chocolate cookie with smoked paprika and pumpkin seed and flaked salt

 

sourdough 2016, made with organic grape sour starter

Sour dough made with my grape sour starter

 

Grilled cheese with scallions and mushrooms 2015

Grilled mushroom, scallion and cheese

 

Wedding cheesecake I made, August 2015

A cheese cake I made for a wedding in August with lemon curd, baked meringue and blueberries -(along with 65 mini ones)

That ought to do for now – I hope I haven’t caused you indigestion, I’ll pace myself in future~

Book Haul

12440375_10153694593040733_849890796181652338_o

I’ve begun to sort through my bookshelves, time to let go of the unnecessary surplus of long-ago-already-read and unmemorable fodder and keep the gems, including any good reference literature that is just good to keep on hand for uh, reference. I found I have a lot of Spanish language education books. Which is good and I will keep them all, since I am on a continuous track of learning this language. I would hope. One day. If I keep at it. But I’ll know now not to buy yet another Spanish language education book.

The stack shown above includes some of the keepers. I still have two more bookshelves to thin down, and as I go through them I’ve pulled out ones I read many years ago and am reading them again, to refresh my memory, and because living changes us over time, my perspective might have changed over time, (I would hope beyond hope this would be the case) and I find I can understand or empathize with a character or author differently now whereas when I was younger I didn’t in the same way.

1655981_10153694593045733_8333758247423849684_n

All in all purging is a good thing, I feel refocused whenever I do one, no matter what thing I am purging. I feel finely tuned into what is meaningful to me by deciding what things to keep in my life. It’s a self-defining act really, wouldn’t you say ?

 

 

Freeze up

Protection ice floe

This is rather a rare occurrence for us west coasters to have our bay iced over for nearly 3 days, but there have been tales told that in the far past people have ice skated out to this little island.

The above photo is the third day as it’s finally breaking up. Bob and I have a welded aluminum boat which means it can take pushing through the ice, and we did. (This also scraps clean the bottom of our boat brilliantly too.) We went out to where our sailboat is moored and did a few circles around her to free her up and then we went all around the rest of the bay to break ice for those that are living aboard their boats and would have difficulty getting to shore with their row boats.

Off to a good start since this happened on January 1st  making it our first good deed for 2016!

Our sailboat in the icy bay 2016

gulls standing on ice