Graduation Day

Actually, graduation has come and gone for Evan; grade 8, and Foster; grade 12.  In the packed weeks of June both boys received new ties and shirts, and borrowed shoes and graduated.  I am a maudlin mother, always tearing up at these little endings.  The little endings that roll into beginnings.  Then I wake up in the dark hours of morning, fear and anxiety grasping me.  I feel fear for them, because they are older now and I cannot control their future.  Gone the years that I controlled what they ate, what they wore, who they saw.

I am more of a caretaker now.  Make sure they eat.  Make sure they go to bed.  Set down some boundaries, and give reasons for them.  The 13 year old sullen, because he is 13.  The nearly 18 year old on the cusp of adulthood.

My role had changed and it happened so rapidly I can’t even remember just when the change came.  Reading blogs of younger mothers I can taste the joys and frustrations, I can smell the newborn and feel those sticky hands.  But my time has changed.  Moving forward from mother to me.

The other night I sat in the living room with Mat, the oldest and his partner Lu.  We had the television off and were talking and laughing, and I realized that this person was once my child and now he is an adult I like.  I like how he has grown up.  One done, three to go although daughter Morgan is 20 and technically a grown up.  She is a young 20, though.  But another person I like.

In August I’m having a gathering for my two graduates.  My sisters and maybe a few cousins will come and we’ll gather in the backyard, on the deck and probably in the garage.  We’ll eat burgers and salads.  I’ll make cupcakes with little eights and twelves on the top.

All we can do is allow time to move forward, and attempt to do it with grace and balance.

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Death and Red Currants

My friend Margaret’s sister died.  She was in her late 50’s and not well, ill with Crohn’s and many other ailments.  One of her friends called Margaret a few days ago to tell her she hadn’t been able to get in touch with Elaine for a week.  Fast forward to the super entering the apartment, and the sister, dead.

I’ve offered to go and help Margaret clean out her sister’s apt. this weekend.  Enough said.

Today I made a huge roasted chicken, even though it was very hot out.  And I made some red currant sauce, with the currants I purchased at the market last Sat.  After the chicken had cooled a bit, stuffed full of herbs and garlic, I took it apart and put it straight into the fridge.  Now I’m making some chicken stock with the carcass because I know it will make such good broth and can’t be bothered freezing it until the weather is cooler.  I’m to the point where I don’t really think it’s going to get cooler out.

Red Currant Sauce:

  • Around 2 cups of Red Currants, just past their firm stage.
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • one chopped shallot [red, from the garden]
  • around 1 oz of mystery booze given to us at yule by the old Italian fellow down the road.  It’s not too good, or it would be gone.  The recipe called for Port.
  • Sprig or two of rosemary and some other herbs from the garden.

Simmered all together for 20 min or so and then strained.  Made a jam jar full of sauce, which I’ll have with my chicken tonight.  Then maybe freeze the remainder.  Smelled so good while cooking.

After my stock is safe to leave on simmer on the back burner I’ll take youngest [13] to get his collarbone x-rayed. It was broken way back in May.

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No Amber, just quartz!  Guilt gone, I can happily use the stones in my broken crockery mosaics.  Right now they are on the windowsill of my kitchen.

Suddenly an intense urge to paint my diningroom and livingroom white.  Not stark white, but a softer version.  It is dark in my house, and when I see white in magazines it can be very fresh, very clean.  And of course bright.

We moved here nearly 4 years ago, and I had to paint every room in the house.  The previous owners, or those before them, had painted every room a colour.  The diningroom was shiny red.  The livingroom, hallway and up the stairs including the large bedroom were orange like a cantaloupe.  One small room was vivid green, and the other was red like coagulated blood.

And the tiny kitchen was cobalt blue.  Walls, cupboards and even inside the cupboards.

I went to neutral golds to match the stained glass, and soft greens.  Soothing.  But now clean white is whispering to me.

I heard from a friend that her sister has died, suddenly.  Brenda had Crohns disease, but I thought she was doing pretty well.  Need to get info about funeral arrangements, most likely in Toronto.

Today I want to do some cooking, even though it’s hot again.

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Old Stuff and a few treasures

I’m not sure yet what the title will be, so I will write first and see what developes.

The owner of the antique store where I work brought in some filthy pieces that someone had found in a barn.  Sometimes the items will make me ache, a kind of yearning for the past of the people who owned these pieces.  Two sad samplers done by Mary Moritmore in 1839 aged 10.  She lived in Hannaford Stokefleming, wherever that is.  Just touching these old scraps of fabric made me ache.  Long dead, long forgotten.

An old picture, very faded, of a house with a stone fence surrounding it.  I took it apart and emptied out the sawdust from some long dead creature and then put it all back together again.  And there were some tins, tobacco of course and two shaving stick containers.  These were full of stones.  I love stones.  Quickly I poured them into a baggy and bought them from Marilyn for a dollar.

I think they are old amber.  In the parking lot of the beer store after work, waiting for John I held them up to the sun, and saw that they are translucent, the sun shining through in a glow-y way…  Amber is mysterious.  I had snatched up the stones to use in my tile mosaics but am at a loss now.  They are not perfect, but rough and bumpy.

Knowing that I was scooping up something from Marilyn [although she does fine, she scoops too] I did feel a teeny bit guilty so I brought home a mirror to clean with varsol in the garage later to take back tomorrow.  Just cleaning the grime of ages off of old wood feeds my spirit somehow.

I have a chair in the garage to upholster.  It’s from another old house, a sad grimy house in Toronto where Marilyn acquired a lot of furniture last autumn.  The pieces were so neglected, and carried the grime that can only come from decades of sadness.  I became so sad that Saturday, alone in the store surrounded by these pieces from the Haunted Toronto house.

Eventually the furniture sold.  And I bought a chair as well.  It had called out to me, please re-upholster me it whispered.  It’s partially naked now, the straw of another century [or two] still in fantastic shape.  Some salvageable to use again.  I had purchased a gorgeous scrap of fabric a few years back, all reds and oranges and golds.  Just enough for that chair.

Another piece from the Haunted Toronto house I have here on a shelf above my desk.  A strange ceramic piece I keep my pencils in.

The old house in Toronto had been owned by the same family for 100 years.  It was downtown and one of those giant tall homes built at the end of the Victorian era.  The last owner was an old woman who lived there alone.  Her children all old themselves, she lived in squalor.  She was probably a miserable old thing ~ note to self : Dont’ become a miserable old thing.  But then she died.  And the children came, and sold everything.  What was left, came to my little store for a few hundred dollars.

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It’s been so hot…

… that the old tiles on my kitchen floor are buckling. A little part of me would love to peel them off, creating a project for John and I, but I am more cautious than I used to be. A project like that would involve moving major appliances into the dining room, and the removal of a sub-floor made of ply. Under that I’m sure is the original floor, but it too would have to be removed. It would be wonderful to have a vintage linoleum or wooden floor, but that might come in time.

The middle of a heat wave is not the time to begin such a project.

Yesterday I made spelt/kamut pizza dough in my Kitchenaide Mixer. I don’t usually make dough, having in the past been terrible at kneading, but I decided to try the hook and yes it did the job with no sweating on my end. The dough rose even though my yeast had expired in February, and the pizza dough was pretty good, if a little tough for my white-flour loving family. I made calzones and baked them on the barbecue. There was no way I was going to heat up my kitchen.

Appetites are so ‘off’ this week, and tummies are sensitive. My tummy is sensitive, hence the effort of spelt and kamut.

Later in the evening we cut short our Buffy-fest and watched giant dragonflies in the back yard chasing the mosquitoes and sat out there until I heard the bats wake up and the fireflies lit up the tree in the next yard.

Then the nightly tepid bath, and to bed with the fan.

This morning the rain is falling and the temps are dropping. Not yet in the house, but I know it will get better today.

Reading : A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

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Finally, a Beginning

It has been a difficult few months.  Sometimes when you are depressed, you don’t even notice until the whole thing begins to pass, lighten.  I am left with relief, a garden full of heritage tomato plants and cucumber and a recently filled rain barrel.

The heat has been brutal.  This week we have holed up in the house, unable to function normally.  The deck yesterday reached an unbearable 110.  I tend to switch to fahrenheit when the temperature tips over that 100 mark. It’s more extreme.  The kids have no point of reference, though.

When the heat breaks, I will go to the library and pick up my books.  When the heat breaks I will vacuum.  When the heat breaks I will go back up to my studio and work on some art.  When the heat breaks life might return to normal.

But today it’s going to be hot.

Next week I’ll be meeting a friend for lunch.  Today I might make pizza dough.  We can put pizzas on the bbq later.

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