Month: April 2020

100 Day Project, Day 24: Books – April Finished Reads

There were two things I really got into this month. One happened when Fionnuala started reading The Belgariad series by David Eddings to herself and one night I read a chapter to her aloud. As far as my children go she is probably the least into reading – usually she is just too busy to be able to sit down for a long period of time and devote her entire day to a book (also she doesn’t want me to read to her anymore). She still reads though and reads well so it isn’t a big deal. But I was pleased when she picked up this series, it is definitely a good one for her age and her temperament. Probably considered wholesome by today’s standards I’m really okay with that as reading material for my 9-year old. This is the Mister’s favourite series from when he was younger and so I read it years ago but hadn’t picked it up since. I’m currently on the fifth book in The Belgariad and then there are another five books in the continuing saga.

The other thing I stumbled across were the books of Scottish author Josephine Tey who wrote after World War I and, in relation, a newer historical mystery series written by Nicola Upson with Josephine Tey as the main character. If that sounds confusing that is because it is a bit.

I read Tey’s A Shilling for Candles last month and this month read The Franchise Affair which I think was one of the best books I have read so far this year. It was one of those books with observations so astute that I kept reading bits out to the Mister (whether he enjoyed me doing that or not I don’t even know.) I enjoyed it so much I would like to get my hands on a physical copy if I can find one – especially since Moira wants to read it as well.

I also read the first two of Nicola Upson’s Josephine Tey Mysteries An Expert in Murder and Angel with Two Faces. These books I can only get via the library ebook app so I have been waiting for more Upson and Tey books to become available all month. I’m rather particular in that I like to read things in order and so I wait. I honestly hate having my face shoved into my phone to read a book – I worry that the girls will think I’m on my phone ALL THE TIME but it really is a convenient way to get books out of the library because I certainly can’t buy every book I ever have an interest in reading. (Also great for days at the hospital since carrying things is hard for me.) I think one of the things I miss most about this whole isolation is not going to the library (which means I obviously have it pretty good).

Current reads include The Order of the Phoenix to Oonagh which we are powering through. Still sloooowly working on War and Peace although it has been mostly on hold since it is heavy and I got sucked into The Belgariad fantasy series.

What are you reading right now?

(These current blog posts are part of my #100dayproject and are written quickly and posted without significant editing. They are what they are, mistakes and all. Much like me.)

100 Day Project, Day 23

Well I did it. I made very ugly untraditional Onigiri today. I didn’t have any Umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums) but I did have mushrooms and fake chick’un from a local company. I used short grain brown rice too which has always been sticky enough for sushi and it worked fine for this. They don’t look pretty but there were no leftovers and Oonagh declared it the best lunch ever.

Now that the days are nice I’m trying to spend as much time sitting outside as I can. That still doesn’t amount to much time but there is something satisfying about taking my tea outside for a while. It would probably be even more satisfying if I left my phone inside instead of feeling the need to take photos of everything but it’s a hard habit to break.

Tonight the Mister took me for a drive so I could play PokemonGo for a while. I hadn’t been away from the house since Friday. He gets out every day for a run or a walk and we get the girls out most days (they all go for a walk or a bike ride around the neighbourhood) but my life had already shrunk before this isolation happened and I have to remind myself that there is a world out there beyond my walls and my phone.

We even had a dumpling fairy in the form of my friend Jocelyn show up for a chat (and dumplings from Hearts Choices vegan cafe) today. She has been spending a lot of time running errands/getting groceries for people who cannot and added us to her list today even though I told her we didn’t need dumplings (although we always want them). Visits have been far and few between and I’m usually okay with that (especially these days when there are children around all the time and half the day is spent in lessons) but seeing a good friend made a nice change.

I don’t know if it is the dexamethasone that has given me so much energy this week. It’s an anti inflammatory steroid that I used to take with my IV chemo. It makes my face red and keeps me awake all night (or would if I didn’t have sleeping pills to help) but seems to be making me able to do more this week. Not sure I want to be on it long term though – steroids can be tricky. Plus it gives me heartburn so I’m trading one thing for the other. And I’m still in pain most of the time but obviously less pain (or in a different location than last week) or I wouldn’t be able to get as much done. I guess one good week is a decent trade off for all the crappy weeks I have had leading up to this week.

We made more Sunshine Sauerkraut today too. Moira and I are addicted. It doesn’t help my heartburn at all to eat it but it is just soooooo good. This is currently my favourite breakfast. I need to go to bed now so I can get up and eat it again.

(These current blog posts are part of my #100dayproject and are written quickly and posted without significant editing. They are what they are, mistakes and all. Much like me.)

100 Day Project, Day 22 – More Cake

I kinda want to say, “this week’s cake is…” but it is only Tuesday and there are five of us so half the cake is already gone. So today’s cake is the Pumpkin Apple Upside Down Cake from the Minimalist Baker‘s cookbook (which I have taken out of the library many times but don’t own – which I should really remedy although her website is an amazing resource of recipes).

We decided to take a break from: working (Mister), playing on the Switch (all the girls – Moira’s main birthday present Animal Crossing just arrived yesterday so it is a very exciting day in our house), and laying down on a heat pad (me) to have tea together outside. I think tea and cake breaks are a necessity to our mental health right now.

Moira is trying her hand at creating recipes these days that she hopes to enter in to a competition. This morning we were treated to this: Apple Pie Vanilla Chia Parfait:

The use of the glass jar is purely for aesthetic reasons – this was a lot of parfait and Moira and I ended up splitting it. Everyone else ate theirs in small bowls. I’m already teaching her the “life skill” of taking photos of your food I guess. The day isn’t over either – we still have plans to make pumpkin buns (because I opened a big can of pumpkin) and possibly have a cookout later if the wind can contain itself (we have been trying to do this for a couple days but no one likes a fire outside in the wind.)

I know everyone who has a bit of free time between working from home and attempting to contain children and fitting in homeschooling and lessons is making sourdough bread and baking their way through this pandemic – but I honestly can’t think of anything I want to do more than bake and eat cake right now. I usually say I’m not even a fan of cake. I think it really depends on the type of cake though and I’m willing to expand my boundaries. Still haven’t made the Onigiri yet but the Mister got some mushrooms on his last trip to the grocery store so I think I will marinate them tomorrow and give that a try as long as my body will let me. I might pull out the fake chick’un from Hearts Choices (locally made plant-based meats and other goodies) and use that to stuff the Onigiri too. Cooking and feeding my family makes me happy even if I can barely stand upright at times. Fake it ’till you make it, right?

(These current blog posts are part of my #100dayproject and are written quickly and posted without significant editing. They are what they are, mistakes and all. Much like me.)

100 Day Project, Day 21 – Literary Witch: Virginia Woolf

Today felt like a productive day. I pulled out an old bullet journal and started a spread for this week. It was weird, and maybe a little sad, to look back at my old spreads and see my exercise schedules where I would have every day of the month planned to workout in the basement and do things like 90 Day something (I don’t even remember right now but I really liked it). Or my schedules of how many push-ups/planks/squats I would do which I did for quite a while trying to stay strong. Now, well we just won’t talk about how all of my muscle tone has faded away.

So, what do I need a schedule for? Lots of things really. Something to focus my mind and help me feel like I am contributing to this family instead of my husband feeling like he has to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. I know mothering is important so I don’t need comments about how I’m doing what I can. I know I am. But sometimes I feel less than.

Less than everything, really.

And now I’m starting another round of chemo tonight so we will see how all my plans work out this week once the chemo kicks in and I’m tired and nauseated.

Another thing I haven’t done in a long time is pull out my Literary Witches Oracle Cards. These are really fun. I’ve decided to pull one card a week to see what it tells me – or to see what I want it to tell me. *insert winky face here* The Virginia Woolf card is about developing a vision, innovation, and limitations. This was an apt reminder for me today since I am having to learn how to live with these new limitations that have been placed on me. My body is becoming increasingly limited and as a previously active person it is easy to fall back into the “if only things would go back to normal” frame of mind and getting depressed waiting around for something that will probably never come.

I think many of us are feeling that way these days. We are all under limitations at the moment with the Covid-19 pandemic isolation rules set in place and even when it is over what was once normal will not be the same. And who is to say it should be? I think learning to live with these limitations is making us be more innovative in some ways even if it is frustrating and born out of a necessity that no one really wants to embrace. What the world is going to look like when this is over and so many people have lost their jobs or whole industries are collapsing (tourism?) we don’t know yet. I certainly have no answers.

I don’t think I have a single Virginia Woolf book in this house. That’s kind of sad.

(These current blog posts are part of my #100dayproject and are written quickly and posted without significant editing. They are what they are, mistakes and all. Much like me.)

100 Day Project, Days 17 thru 19 – Cake

I’ve been having weird food cravings lately. Maybe not even cravings – more like fixations? I’ve been really wanting to make sushi rolls for the past two weeks but I’ve been in too much pain to do much of anything (especially anything that calls for standing for any length of time). And then my mum mentioned that she had made a cinnamon loaf and I immediately wanted to make a cinnamon coffee cake of some sort. Today, with a lot of help from Moira, I managed to accomplish this task. I followed the Cinnamon Streusel Cake by Vegan Richa. The only alterations I made were using all whole wheat flour and adding pecans to the streusel topping.

I also started thinking longingly of the Onigiri that we by from a small vendor at the Salt Spring Saturday Market when we have traveled to Salt Spring Island, B.C. They are always so fresh and delicious (and meat free) and come with a wonderfully umami miso dip. Just thinking about it is making me hungry. Anyway, this resulted in my watching videos today trying to figure out if I can make them at home. Someone pointed me towards a video thread of author Hiromi Goto giving a short demonstration on how to make them on Twitter. So not only is she a wonderful author but she is now my inspiration to make these and since I wanted to make them with mushrooms (like one of the ones I get on Salt Spring Island), I’m going to have to call them a Chorus of Mushroom Onigiri in honour of Hiromi’s brilliant novel.

“I like cooking because it is so rewarding,” said Moira about five minutes ago. I have to agree.

(These current blog posts are part of my #100dayproject and are written quickly and posted without significant editing. They are what they are, mistakes and all. Much like me.)