Thursday, March 27, 2014

the Rowboat with Tim

Earlier today I wrote out the sort of day I wanted for today. Turns out that what I wrote out became a reality and it was just the sort of day I needed to recharge and fell well rested in the way that makes me want to throw my head back and sigh a contented sigh of stable-ness. Most of the day was spent in Tobbit and now I'm back in there.

A bit before dinner, I headed inside for a stretch and to wash my lunch bags out. In washing the bags, I was given the lovely, lovely view of the back property of L'Abri. Back there, we have a few ponds and next to one of those ponds is an overturned rowboat. I decided that that was what I wanted to do with my afternoon. My ankle is keeping me from going for walks, but I could at least use my arms a bit.

Tim came upstairs and decided to join. I think two in a boat is more amusing than one in a boat.

We headed out back, flipped the boat over, and set out for pond-center.
And Pond North.
And Pond South.
And Pond West.
And Pond East.

It's a very tiny pond, but big enough to feel like you're can at least start to go somewhere.

In one corner, we found globs and globs of frog eggs, jellying it up on sticks and twigs. We read Lucy's latest comic, Grand Adventure (for sale here) and dreamed up boat dreams and conjured up boat stories. A lot of my dreams have been nautical lately (I know, I know, I have Tobbit - don't worry, I'm not giving him up any time soon) and to get on the water felt good, even if just in a wee little rowboat that leaked a bit, making the seat of Tim's pants wet. Carole's letter also got wet but it dried out perfectly when we got home.

The sun started its setting-process which made the light come through the trees in a perfect way and everything glowed in the way that things glow in Cascadia.

I felt refreshed and happy. It was an idyllic ending to a peaceful day. I am grateful to be here.

Thanks Tim.

The Day I Needed

Earlier today I wrote out the day I thought I needed
and then I lived it out.


The setting for the day was that folks were going kayaking and I just didn't have it in me. It wasn't just a physical thing, a lot of it was that I knew I needed some solid alone time to recharge.

I wrote up that, "I don't feel like I have anything in me. I want to go drive to a beach in Tobbit and take a nap. I want to make him curtains. I want to go share a spelt-bar with Emily. I want to hide in my bed and feel safe. I want to listen to the radio while tucked inside my sleeping bag. I want to listen to This American Life and to my dad singing those songs he wrote when he was my age."

Well, I'm pleased to report that now I feel like I have a lot in me. I feel full and much more solid.

The day started off by heading to the Knick Knack Nook where I found some things for Tobbit - magnets and some fixings to make Tobbit curtains. I ended up making them out of a small quilt (pillow-case size) which I sewed gold loops onto. They now hook up to Tobbit and cover the side-window completely. Project for the day accomplished!

The special find for the day, at the Nook, was 3 DVDs of the first season of Sesame Street. I've lately been getting into a bit of a Muppet-rut. I'm not sure when or how it started, but most-things-Muppet amuse me greatly.  I've been curious about old school Sesame Street and here it was. What did it cost me? Less than $0.50.

I then drove to Artisan Eats for a Spelt Bar (with a bottom dipped in chocolate) and a Pilsner brewed by the Steamworks Brewing Company of Vancouver. I first had it a few weeks ago and it's become one of my favourite beers. I just looked it up online and, as it turns out, I'm not the only one who finds it to be delicious. We shared thoughts and I appreciate the time I got to spend with her. After the word exchange, I got to work at writing postcards. Since I burned my hand, I haven't been able to be a good pen pal and it was time to try to catch up. Postcards are usually where I start in correspondences, especially if there's going to be, or has been, a major time gap.

After that, I dropped by the post-office, grabbed some stamps, and then headed over to the Ruddy Potato to buy a bag of chocolate to put in the women's bathrooms. With 8 females living in the house, our cycles tend to sync up and it was clear that more chocolate was needed in our lives. I think I'll leave it in [covered] bowls by the sinks.

And then, sigh, it was time to be cozy in Tobbit. I decided to skip the beach and drive back to L'Abri. I built a fire that did roar and quickly turned Tobbit into the snuggest little box-of-a-truck on Bowen Island. I was surrounded by my quilts, Grandma's stich-work, books, and all things needed for a restful afternoon.

I quickly turned on This American Life and got to work in making the curtains (attaching the rings) while listening to Ira talk about cars. It was good. After the episode finished, I listened to a few episodes of the More or Less Podcast, a statistics podcast from the BBC.

Then, I let myself put on the first-ever episode of Sesame Street. Oh man. Have you seen that yet? Have you? It's really, really, good and terribly, terribly amusing. I found myself guffahing to myself at the TV show that is meant for preschoolers.

And then I went out in the rowboat.

Overall, this day was what I needed it to be.

Hide Away

Photo by Roommate Liz

Today is one of those days I don't want to happen. I think Shark Week might be starting in the next few days. That's probably it.

I feel like I'm in a perpetual state of confusion and about-to-cry-ness. Highs. Lows.

Everyone is going kayaking and I was going to go, but I just don't feel like I have it in me.

I don't feel like I have anything in me. I want to go drive to a beach in Tobbit and take a nap. I want to make him curtains. I want to go share a spelt-bar with Emily. I want to hide in my bed and feel safe. I want to listen to the radio while tucked inside my sleeping bag. I want to listen to This American Life and to my dad singing those songs he wrote when he was my age.

Zum Glück, all of this is doable.

Edith Schaeffer Memorial Garden

I have a wonderful roommate.

I was chilling in Tobbit on a Sunday afternoon when I saw her open the doors of L'Abri, pull on her gum boots, and then head out into the woods. A few tens of minutes later, she reemerged with this creation.

Out of some moss, sticks, huckleberry branches, stems, leaves, and twigs, she had constructed a mini-scene that was dubbed the Edith Schaeffer Memorial Garden. Edith Schaeffer was the original woman and co-founder of L'Abri. She was into beauty and thought that we should surround ourselves with it (I think...). Edith is the reason why we put all of the peanut butter, jam, honey, yoghurt, and other food-items into small serving dishes each time we put them on the table. She's the reason why I can see 14 vases and pots of flowers and foliage when I stand in this one certain spot in the house.

The name of the creator and roomate is Liz. She's one of those wonders.
She is from Victoria, BC.

When I crawl into bed hating the world (sorry world...), her company is still welcome. We curl up on our beds and question what is and blubber out frustrations. We bounce ideas back and forth.

I'm really grateful for Liz.
She's cool.

Unattended Camera

I left my camera on the kitchen counter as I went to pack for the day. When I got back, these photographs were waiting for me. Emily. Tim. Matt. They have pretty faces.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

800th Post & Tim Tam Slam

This is my 800th published post on this blog. Jubilation!
It would take you 27 hours to read this entire blog if you spent two minutes on each post.
I started this blog in December 2009, so that comes to an average of one post every 1.9 days for the past 4.2 years, or so - and that doesn't even cover the 210 unpublished posts.

Sometimes I like to pretend my body is a champ at processing sweets and dairy and eat them.

Yesterday, the entire lot of folks at L'Abri were craving a Tim Tam slam. Well, most were craving and those who weren't were simply curious about the experience. After dinner, Jess (Aussie), Marianne (Georgia/W. Africa), Clair (Aussie), and I hopped into Tobbit and picked up a few things of ice cream, some cocoa, milk, and three packs of Tim Tams. This was a night worth celebrating, indeed. In partiallity, we were celebrating the announcement that Tim had been accepted as a worker (full time living at L'Abri, year round) at L'Abri. Pretty huge news.

If you're not familiar with a Tim Tam slam, I pity you. I'm not one to pity, but this is so, so good.

Tim Tams are a basic Australian chocolate cookie. "A Tim Tam is composed of two layers of chocolate malted biscuit, separated by a light chocolate cream filling, and coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate." (Wiki)

They are best known and loved and consumed by Australians and Canadians, and not so much by Americans.

We were lucky enough to have a resident Australian and Canadian to show the crew the ropes.

For a Tim Tam slam, you bite off two corners of the cookie - diagonally across from each other. Then, you get some hot cocoa, stick one corner of the cookie in the cocoa, and start sucking. Eventually, you'll get some cocoa running through your cookie. At this point, the entire cookie is full of warm, cocoa-cookie goodness. Take a bite.
Melted but still holding slight form.

Tim Tam Slam.

And if you're name is Margaret, you might end up writing this song after having three Tim Tams and a gulp of hot cocoa to wash it all down.

This is sung to the tune of, "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean."

My body threw up all the Tim Tams
My body thinks Tim Tams are gross
My body threw up all the Tim Tams
My body hates Tim Tams the most.

Up chuck, up chuck
My body thinks Tim Tams are gross, are gross
Up chuck, up chuck,
My body hates Tim Tams the most!

After a few cookies, I bolted out the door to keep myself from going into a binge. On the way home, I started to feel the urge to vomit (not self induced, just a simple bodily rejection). Once I was home, all the Tim Tams came back out and into the toilet. This morning, I wasn't hungry for breakfast.

My body hates Tim Tams the most.
But they are so delicious.

Tim Tams slams have been known to be habit forming, sometimes flourishing into an addiction.
Buy 'em here!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Ukrainian High Tea & the Talent Show at L'Abri

One of my favourite times of the week at L'Abri is Sunday evenings, high tea.

High tea is a time where a worker or a team of helpers craft together a special meal with some sort of activity for the community to participate in afterwards. Past activities have included games, book readings, story tellings, poetry writing and readings...

Liz and I were given the honour of putting on one of the high teas in the middle of term. For the weeks leading up, we discussed different meal and activity combinations such as camping and a scavenger hunt.

In the end, we decided on a Ukrainian theme and a talent show.
The meal would be comprised of борщ (borsch), варе́ники (varenyky), and капуста (cabbage). The dessert would be classic apple pie - Liz is a pie whiz and we couldn't miss this chance to whip up a pie.
The activity would be a talent show.

Liz got started on the borsch on Saturday night, prepping the beets to be cooked. In the morning, we both skipped church to rest and start working on the meal. We wouldn't be serving food till 6 or 6:30 PM, but there's a lot to do when you're feeding 13 people.

I started by peeling potatoes and Liz was the Queen of the Apples.
We progressed into make the dough and the filling for the varenyky.

Varenyky are Ukrainian dumplings. They're like pierogies but pierogies aren't Ukrainian. We would be making the dough with a kefir and the filling would be a simple with potatoes and cheese.

Two giant pots of borscht were concocted. It felt good knowing that, guaranteed, at least one part of the meal was ready and edible and in abundance.

The varenyky were time consuming but worth it. We filled sheet after sheet with the little dumplings and then put them in the freezer. The great thing was that we could cook them up in just a few minutes, right before the meal was to be served.

Mid-varenyky-fold, it was announced that someone had some archery equipment in her van.
"Archery?" "Archery!"
The lads of the house were especially excited. Most folks made a quick run for the outdoors while Liz and I stayed and worked in the kitchen. Jessamy Louise and Tim took pictures for me of the moment.

The presentation of the meal is also of some importance for high tea. At L'Abri, we like beauty and we strive to present things in a beautiful way. At one point, at L'Abri, I could count 14 different vases and pots of flowers and plants, all scattered about.

Liz not only is the Queen of the Apples and the Queen of Pies, she's also the Queen of Décor.

One day I saw her wander into the woods and about 10 minutes later, she came out with this in hand:

In the end, our table setting looked like this:

All credit goes towards Liz.

Cabbage was chopped into slices and then deliciously roasted.

Varenyky was pulled out of the freezer and then boiled.

And the meal was served.

After all that has been happening in Ukraine, it's been on our minds, hearts, and in our conversation lately. We said a prayer for Ukraine. I love that country.

The meal was delicious.

After the meal, we had a talent show. Here's a few highlights from it:

I'd love to add captions but that would take another hour of time that I don't have in me. I think many of them are best left un-captioned...
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