100 Day Project – Days 34 & 35: Literary Witch: Gertrude Stein

What do I know about Gertrude Stein? Not much to be honest. I know she was a contemporary of Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds and was in love with Alice B. Toklas with whom she was with for four decades. I haven’t read anything by her although have always been intrigued by her book The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas but it also sounds really weird in the sense that she wrote a biography of her life through the eyes of her lover. (When I was younger she always seemed kind of scary and bossy and thought it weird that Toklas was always referred to as Stein’s companion AND secretary.) As far as female writers living in Paris during that time go I’ve always been partial to Simone de Beauvoir (whose biographies I have read having spent one summer going through all of her works in order as their timeline appeared in her biographies – although I never did finish reading all of them).

The words associated with card are: making sense, frames, and new ways of seeing. I think we are all working on new ways of seeing these days. And if we aren’t we certainly should be. In terms of frames there are many ways to look at that but this week I’m going to take it literally because I bought a beautiful vintage photo frame a while ago and have done nothing with it so this week I am going to find the perfect photo for it. That’s the thing about oracle cards – you take what you need and leave the rest. There is an interesting (but long) biography on Stein over at The Poetry Foundation if anyone is interested.

(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 33

Credit goes to Sarah Lazarovic

The Mister and I have been talking a lot about what life is going to look like once this period of isolation is over. Our province is already taking steps to slowly start re-opening things. I’m going to come right out and say I don’t know what the answer is. I know a lot of people need to get back to work because they need a paycheque and those are the people I worry about. We were talking about someone complaining about wanting to get their nails done and while getting your nails done is definitely not an essential service I have thought off and on during this time about the women who work at nail salons. I’ve only ever had my nails done a handful of times. It definitely isn’t something I feel comfortable spending money on, but I remember the last two times I had them done (I think the last time was when Fionnuala was a baby) and there was a woman who worked at the salon who was from Vietnam and was sending money back to her family. I can only imagine how annoying it would be to have to listen to well-off women complaining about their right to have their nails done when you have to divide your paycheque between the family you have here in Canada and the family you are helping to support elsewhere. Those salon workers are probably not sitting at home right now comfortably pulling in a salary while they wait for their salons to reopen.

One of the things that I have enjoyed most about this time is how people have had to think twice about buying things. One day I wanted parsley for a recipe – it was definitely a “want” because the recipe could have been made without it – but how many people use up the entire thing of parsley when they buy it? So I texted a friend and her kids ran over to my place with some. That same friend was looking for specific books in a book series that I happened to have and I was happy to lend them. The sharing of food and tools and other things is hopefully making people think hard before automatically buying things. In the “before times” I could have sent the Mister to the store just for parsley and that parsley in my friend’s fridge might have ended up on the compost heap.

My biggest issue is with the travelers. If I have to hear one more time about how someone is immediately getting on a plane and leaving once this is all over I’m going to (silently) scream. International travel is one of the biggest culprits in spreading this virus and yet people will defend their right to fly with their dying breath. They may protest the oil and gas companies for providing the necessary fuel to support their travel habit – but they won’t actually stop traveling. I know, I know, it’s not like I don’t enjoy traveling either. But I am definitely thinking long and hard about where it makes sense to go and why.

(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 31 & 32

This week has been hard. In addition to side effects from the chemo medication making me really tired and not being able to eat much, one of my children developed a health issue that has resulted in a lot of work for me physically. (Laundry, laundry, and more laundry.) Plus it feels like this has been a highly emotional week for everyone. School work has taken longer, music practices have fallen by the wayside, and the weather wasn’t as nice as last week so I didn’t even get to spend as much time as I would like outside.

One wonderful thing I have been doing though is dedicating time to become a better sock knitter. If you’ve been reading through recent blog entries you know I was working on a ridiculous colour work sock. I’ve finished the pattern part of that sock but I’m still not sure if I feel the need to finish the actual sock except for fun – and it doesn’t feel like fun right now. What I want to do is get good at knitting socks for my family. My girls all like ankle socks and for the past couple years they have been getting socks from the Sketchers store and they barely last a season and it drives me nuts! Moira wears through her toes almost immediately and Fionnuala wears through the underside of her socks. It is such a waste to be buying those crap polyester socks that don’t even keep their feet warm and stink after a couple wears. Wool, even thin wool, is much warmer and is naturally deodorizing so it doesn’t stink like cheap polyester socks. Today I finished episode two of Earthtone Girl‘s No Fear Sock Knitting class and I’m really enjoying it. I’m looking forward to class three tomorrow – or maybe I’m just looking forward to going to bed right now because I am DONE with this week.

(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 29 & 30 – Cake & Chemo

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

At some point between Monday and Tuesday this new round of chemo decided to take effect in a big way and I woke up feeling like I didn’t sleep at all. I’ve got those heavily lidded eyes that sound romantic in cheesy novels but mostly just make me look slow and sleepy – which is exactly what I am. I made Lazy Cat Kitchen’s Vegan Chocolate Torte with Amaretto yesterday but I ate too much at lunch to have any of it – or to even eat dinner. Today at lunch I tried not to eat too much but I’m once again uncomfortably full which means it has less to do with the amount of food I’m eating and more to do with chemo side effects. I thought it was homeschooling and chores that were kicking my butt but it’s the combination of everything mixed in with my medication.

I will admit I’m not the biggest chocolate fan so I wasn’t really making this cake for me anyway. I mean, I made it because I wanted to make it, but I also made it with the chocolate lovers in the family in mind. It is luscious and fudgy and definitely a hit. It would probably be a good cake to pull out for Father’s Day or Mister’s birthday since he’s a big chocolate and almond lover.

The reason I searched out this recipe was a very large bag of slivered almonds in our pantry. I’ve decided right now is the time to start going through our over-packed pantry and find uses for all the obscure ingredients that have been gathering dust. The other day I made barley pudding for breakfast (kind of like rice pudding) because of an abundance of barley, a bag of stale raisins, and a can of peach halves.

I will probably make the barely pudding again so I can tweak it and then post the recipe if anyone is interested.

(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 28 – Literary Witch: Zora Neale Hurston

It was 12:30pm today when I realized that it was already lunchtime and we were still doing school work. Then the afternoon followed with our daily chore and spring cleaning out the front closet (including mopping inside the closet which probably hadn’t happened in years). Even though it felt good to get all of that done I was so sore and exhausted afterwards my whole body shut-down into some weird semi-conscious state where I was napping but also aware of everything that was going on around me yet physically unable to move.

At some point I did get a chance to pick this week’s Literary Witch and put Virginia Woolf away for now to make room for Zora Neale Hurston. This card brought back vivid memories of when I first read Their Eyes Were Watching God in an American Literature class in university and it being so different than anything I had read before. Coming from a very white conservative prairie city I just hadn’t been exposed literature that was so vastly different from anything my small world view knew about. I had spent junior high and high school reading Stephen King, John Steinbeck, and Thomas Hardy. My knowledge of the American Civil War came from the pages (and screen) of Gone With the Wind. Zora Neale Hurston blew me out of the water.

I remember reading Their Eyes Were Watching God a couple times the summer following that American Literature class. Laying on my couch in my basement apartment trying to avoid the sweltering Montreal heat. At some point before leaving Montreal I passed the book along to a friend and haven’t read it since.

This week’s card calls me to focus on stories: my own and others. And to listen – also to myself and others. I need to listen to my needs – some days I need to listen to my body and some days I need to ignore it and see how far I can push myself (which in a sense is listening to my wants because I don’t want to always have to step back and be that sick person). Times are also changing in our little family as people are growing and maturing. As the voices of my children grow older I need to start listening to them with new ears.

(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.)