nap – she actually asked for one and is currently asleep!
house – I feel like my work is paying off at the moment
Mr Pink – I ordered him another bottle of Amenivast and that seems to be keeping him in my good graces.
reading – the last book of the Robin Hobb set, and, I’ve found a fun British spy/supernatural series that I’m on the second book of.
One of the great things about blogs are that you can read about the normal lives of people all over the world. About 10 years ago this was, as far as I could tell, pretty much what blogs were 90% of the time but now I feel like the majority are not very personal. Back then I set out to find blogs with different points of view, I looked for people who were very different so I could see how their life was. Usually it was similar, sometimes there was major difference or two, but unfortunately most of them would stop writing at some point. I was doing what historians love – diary reading – because while it might not be 100% accurate history, it does tell you what is important to a person in a certain time and place and that is an important thing for understanding the diversity of the world.
Recently a new blog friend found me and I’ve enjoyed her writing too and even though we are on different sides of an ocean (the small one though) our lives do mirror more or less. The fun with international blogging is sometimes you don’t know what the words mean, or, they mean different things depending on where you are. This weekend FancyPaper had a long post about ‘tea’ and I got a little lost because she was using the word to mean the drink AND the meeting of friends AND the food that goes with tea. We had a little conversation in her comments working that out, but, I think it does merit an American version explanation.
To start – I do know what correct Irish tea is, the drink at least, because I am genetically 75% Irish. I think that might be genetically more Irish then a chunk of the people living there…. My father, and all his known (to me) ancestry, are from Ireland and he lived there all through college and vet school until an American girl turned his head, married him, produced me (who apparently screamed too much as an infant), and then moved to the US for greater work opportunity and to be closer to my mom’s family (so other people would hold the crying infant). My mom, who decided to go to Trinity in Dublin for grad school, is herself 50% Irish from her mother who’s parents both immigrated in the 20’s?. Her father is 100% Maltese, an island near Italy that almost nobody knows about, but he and his family emigrated to the US in the 20’s(?) (mom, fill in these dates I apparently don’t remember and you didn’t answer the phone) *** If My parents, or, various great grandparents decided that Ireland was the place for them, I would probably be having tea with my ‘mates’ rather than coffee with my mom friends.
Here – In the Unites States, in the area called the midwest (former farm country) moms between 25 and 40 who have kids at home visit around to eachothers houses in the winter and parks in the summer to sit and watch the kids play. It’s a way to catch up, it’s a time to compare war stories or ask advice from others in the same situation. Most of us have something different to bring to the group; some have way older kids, some have medical backgrounds we quiz about rashes and viruses, talk rarely strays from domestic but its always fun and I never leave less happy than I went. With my group we have decided that food is a treat and not a requirement and coffee is usually offered by the hostess. Sometimes we are the test group for a new recipe from someone, sometimes the hostess just wants to bake and nobody minds that. We all bring snacks or lunch for our own kids with enough to share if that suddenly becomes the ONLY thing our 2-year-old friend will eat.
I’m not sure how much anthropology you might want of our lives. Coffee is the go-to drink and if we are at a park we all have our handy reusable to-go cups in hand. Tea is sometimes offered but considered ‘fancy’. Milk is always from the carton and just as often in flavored creamer form. I’ve been on the lookout for a milk pitcher so my kids can pour their own but they are just NOT A THING here! I can find tiny tiny ones, super fancy ones, but apparently if I ever go to Ireland that will be what I buy for myself.
All that is for my close friends, people I know well, for people I don’t know too well if I invite them for coffee, everything goes just a bit more formal but by formal we mean +food. I would either bring or provide a nice cake or muffins and talk would probably not veer toward diapers.
Maybe the old phrase “what if the queen comes!” meaning you need nice tea set and pretty curtains and a clean house means so much less here in a completely Royality free country and since there is no chance of a Queen, no need for matching cups or fancy silver…
On the other hand, Dinner parties are serious business! Even a casual get together in the evening usually includes matching wine glasses, cloth napkins, setting the table and artfully plating dishes. Maybe it is the mixed (+guy) company, maybe it is absence of children, but a dinner is always more formal for the table setting.
Who knows if the way it is with my friends here is universal for the US but it is my slice and I’m happy to share cultures.
ps. my kids are also growing up drinking tea prepaired correctly; warmed pot, leaves, boiling water…
Naps – I don’t bother trying, now she just passes out when we go get sisters from the bus. I predict she will be the bus sleeper next year. <- I typed this yesterday and ironically today, she fell asleep on the way to the grocery so is now napping and I have no oatmeal. I’ll take it.
Ice – there was a warm spell but there are still trucks out there, must still be icy, or, we have an extra high quota of idiots with trucks.
Organization – all the cabinets are done, moving on to the drawers next
Diet – yup, calling it a diet, I’m tracking food but just cutting out cookies really is putting me under my calorie count for the day.
Workout – missed boot camp AGAIN due to child virus (virus child?). Running and stuff inside as I can.
Pinterest suggested a 5 things to do at the beginning of the month list to me and for once, it was mostly things that I feel would be a good idea. One major item is run vinegar through your coffee machines. I have not cleaned them in months so yesterday I poured 2c of vinegar and filled the rest with water and let the coffee pot do its thing. The Keurig is a bit more of a trick and I was afraid I would be called away mid-process (of making cup after single cup to drain the tank) and poor Lars would come up for a cup and get fairly disgusting coffee. What to do?
Thank you former-work safety seminars! I never worked with a machine in my life, but, I was near an assembly line so I had to take all the safety courses. Lock out Tag out was particularly meaningful one because they had severed fingers and electrocuted people in the video and in general, it is a good practice. I could not really lock out the coffee machine but I did tag it.
After all that thought and sticker finding effort, Lars didn’t come up at all and I had uninturrupted time to do the whole job. I can’t say if the coffee was better today but I’m glad I did it overall.
The list had other useful things if you’re wondering. It suggests reviewing your budget, tossing anything questionable in the fridge (just did that) and setting a fitness goal (done).
I would say that the cold is getting colder but at a certain point you stop feeling the difference and then you need to check for lost body parts. Zoe is wishing for summer but this morning she was amazed at the ‘glitter’ all over the snow. We are lucky enough to have a sunny yet cold area. I think I would miss the seasons if we were in a single season part of the world so yesterday I started thinking of all the things that are extra good in the cold months.
Here are my G rated, with kids, without a PhD in craftology or golden mom halo ideas for super cold days;
1. Do the laundry and divert some of the laundry vent back into the house. We have a small hatch, probably intended for cleaning, that we open up in the winter so 80% still vents outside but the 20% we get makes the down stairs office tropical. Lars looks forward to laundry day in the winter (not so much in the summer).
2. Bake. Get that oven up to 350 and make cookies or bread or a roast…. Our house chimneys the heat from the kitchen right up into the living room so winter is the time for long bake lasagna.
3. Run the dishwasher during the day (we often run it over night) and when you open it up you get a nice steam facial, plus, warm dishes to put away
4. Dance like crazy to loud music. You won’t disturb the neighbors because your windows are shut and sound waves freeze at -20 and dancing makes you warmer.
5. Encourage blanket fort making – it is cozy in there. Bonus points for joining them in the fort but not required (see no halo clause)
6. Read books under blankets. An old standby but good
7. Move all your food outside and defrost the freezer and give the fridge a good cleaning.
8. Look outside for signs of life. This might sound silly, but, with fresh snow or when it is blowing and drifting there is a good chance to see fresh foot/hoofprints. My kids get a big kick out of the paths they see made by different animals. I wonder why deer seem to walk tree to tree… anyone know? I do not live in the woods so I’m not sure where the deer come from or where they go but they pass through. If you are ambitious you can hang and stock a bird feeder somewhere easy to see from inside.
9. Learn about passive solar energy by making like a cat and finding the sun in your house throughout the day.
10. Ignore the feeling that you should hibernate. My favorite phrase of the season is “humans don’t hibernate”. I still try and go somewhere daily and at -20 we run from car to door, but, even going to a friends house to drink her coffee makes you feel warmer.
Bonus; #11 – clean all the things, scrubbing walls or baseboards in the summer makes you sweat but in the winter it keeps you warm. I am not doing this one by the way, thats why it is a bonus…
ps. Just because my current definition of REALLY cold is anything under zero, I completely understand that yours might be 30 or under; cold is cold and this list should make you warmer. When I lived in Malta I felt like I was freezing to death in their ‘winter’ and I know in reality it was maybe 50 degrees but that still felt super cold in a house built for 102 degrees.
pps. I left TV and video games off the list because you don’t need me to tell you that it is a good way to pass the time inside and snuggled
I have reclaimed my cabinet from half empty boxes for under $5
This is my first craft that is totally unique as far as I can tell from my research on Pinterest and the world of web. When I make the next one I’ll take pictures along the way but here are the instructions if you feel inclined to make one for yourself. It is mounted on the door of my cabinet so it takes up some space on the shelf but not anywhere near as much as a box on the shelf.
1. Water bottle(s) – I used SmartWater because the sides are straight and they are tall but the MOST IMPORTANT trait is that their diameter (measure across the bottle) is greater then the diameter of the top of a coffee pod so it easily fits. It is actually big enough for the Kcup to go sideways and that is even better.
3. hole punch
6. command strip hooks – I like the clear decorator hooks and I already had a batch but I also thought about using the ‘velcro’ picture hangers from 3M. My goal was to be able to mount the holders in my cabinet but also be able to take it down and put it up again easily.
1. measure the height of the space this will fit into, transfer that measure onto the bottle going from the bottom up (because you will be cutting off the top)
2. peel off the label. If you have a good way to get the sticky off let me know, mine are still sticky after just washing…
3. Hold the bottle and use the serrated knife to cut at the mark. The knife is way better then scissors, trust me (or don’t, go ahead and try but it will be messier), just saw into it but be really careful about where your fingers and other body parts are in relation to the knife.
3.1 (optional) cut the kick out of the bottom, use the knife to just take out the bump in the center. Or, heat it up with a flame and push it down from the inside with something (not your fingers) until it is flat.
4. drop a k-cup into the container so you see how tall you need to make the ‘hatch’ . Make a mark.
5. use the knife (did I mention it needed a pointy tip too?) to start the hatch and finish up with the scissors. Cut smaller first and then extend/even out the hole in a second pass.
6. put tape around the top.
7. use the hole punch to make a hole on the top back (the hatch is the front)
8. mount the command hook as directed but make sure it is in the right spot so your tube still fits between the shelves.
And thats it… I should stretch it out to get to 10… um, step 9 fill tube with all the stray kcups, step 10 hang it on the hook.
It is not the most elegant solution but I wanted something inside my cabinet not taking up more counter space.
Enjoy the project, it was 3.50 for 3 bottles of smart water at the grocery store and everything else I had around the house but if you had to buy the hooks and tape that would put the project around $10. If you have to buy scissors or a hole punch then you probably should not craft, just show this to a friend and hand them the bottles; preferably empty and sticky free.
I have like 10 things to blog about and none of them match so I’ll have to write the others tomorrow. Most notable ‘other’ thing is being nominated for an award! I love awards! I love that people even read much less think its good (big smile) but that gets its own post.
Today I had ‘off’ only Fiona, no workout, no real plans so it was a nice feeling of freedom to start the day. I got the girls ready for valentines day at school and packed them off with cupcakes. They were gone about 20 min before I noticed they had left their valentines cards at home so that cinched it, I was apparently leaving the house. Since I was leaving the house I thought I would go join the mom’s group at a local coffee shop because for once I could. Valentines delivered, arrive at coffee shop, order coffee, spy 2 women at a table – one with a little boy. “hummmm” I think “I don’t really recognize them but I’m bad with faces, one looks pretty familiar at least, I’ll just go over”. I smile and wave and they say “Hi!” and I say “so glad to see you!” and then I deposit my bucket of baby next to their feet and ask if I can step over to the sugar station for a second…
I pull up a chair and join into their conversation in progress. I say during a lull “I’m surprised not to see so-and-so, they had posted they would be here” and when the one I recognized said “Oh, I didn’t know there was a meet up! I was just here anyway going over a few things for a fundraiser but great to see you outside story time.”* ::mild embarrassment : Fortunately it clicks that I kinda know her because I have seen her for months at various story times and we talk easily on the relative merits of the two story times and how the new librarian has a very morbid choice in books**. Soon the other woman has to go pick up her preschooler and the lady I recognize and I end up talking for 45 min while her 2 year old and Fiona play nicely. We actually have a ton in common and exchanged info and it ended up being a very positive experience but driving home I thought about how badly it could have gone. She was not in Mom’s club, she was not anyone I knew more then a face in a room but the common bond of motherhood and coffee made it work.
In my head I’m still shy but I think I need to look ‘in the mirror’ and say that I’m really just not shy anymore. I’m not scared of what most people think and people not liking me does not bother me much anymore (one reign will cure or kill you of that- those who know what I mean, know what I mean).
If you are wondering, nobody from the original meet up actually showed up and all had terrific reasons*** really, I should have checked face book before I went but then again if I did I would not have officially met that lady I kinda recognized.
*not the conversation verbatim but the general gist
** one story time she had 3 books that all prominently featured dinosaurs eating children, or, animals eating each other. Morbid I say, morbid!
*** one reason was someone got a brick through their window and their diaper bag stolen. We do NOT live in that type of place but she said all her neighbors were hit too… I sure hope she had a super poopy diaper in that bag. I am very glad we park in the garage .