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i think our goal is to become entirely self-sufficient. January 26, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 12:37 am

when i got home today, jim was researching wood smokers. even the completely accurate question of “where the hell do you think you’re going to hang a whole side a bacon? or a whole ham? you think our neighbours want it in the basement?” did not seem to make a difference. (“well it just needs to be the right temperature, and then you get a thing that tells you the humidity”)  i told him we dont need one right now. (“they come in electric, it’s better cause it regulates itself….”) i think i got home just in time.

he had also been researching other methods of curing meat. he explained the process to me – coat it in a layer of salt and curing salt, leave it in a bag in the fridge for a week….

we are getting this book at some point in the near future  http://www.amazon.ca/Charcuterie-Michael-Ruhlman/dp/0393058298/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b   but not the smoker. sausages are on our horizon. seriously, we should take the hint and just open up a progressive, hippe/yuppie-style food business.

in other ‘we are going to become entirely self-sufficient’ news, i had asked my mom about her old sewing machine a few weeks ago since i am looking to get my hands on one somewhere. she has an old singer, generally known for having been amazing quality machines but now have recently been slacking off. the word is – get your hand on an old singer, dont bother with the new ones. my mom found hers in the basement. yesterday, i was at her place and she brought it up. it comes in a huge wooden box that has a lock. the box is heavy and soild and made me think “this is a coffin”. the key is long gone, but luckily i totally fooled the lock into thinking that it was being greeted by the key again, finally, after all these years,  but really it was a screwdriver.

this thing has sat in our basement for about 20 years. i can only vaguely, blurrily remember my mom using it once or twice to make curtains or fix something. i remember being too small to see it properly – too small to see the tabletop. she bought it when she was my age now, and it was already second-hand by then. *

how much second hand? well first of all it looks like this

so my first hint that it was pretty darn vintage is that you crank it by hand. it makes a swish-swish, comforting sort of noise as the machinery spins around. theres no foot pedal and certainly no electricity. i wondered if maybe singer keeps track of its serial numbers, and maybe that would tell me how old it is. well they do. its serial number tells me it was made in the beginning of 1911.

so lets think for a bit – this machine has seen both world wars. its older than my grandma, who was a seamstress. it was probably outdated by the time she was working as a seamstress. its older than jims grandma, and shes turning 90 this year. google ‘fashions of 1911’ to see what it would have been making. my mom and i sat together in front of a computer for a long time looking at what comes up. think of all the woman who have sat behind it. most would now be dead and gone. how many houses has it been in? how many 5-year old girls learned to sew along side their mothers and grandmothers on it? after a little bit of twiddling knobs and looking for sliding panels, i managed to thread it. i pushed a dishtowel through it to see what it would do.

it made me a roughly strait line of nearly-even stitches. it still works. it needs servicing and it needs a wipe-down, but it still functions. its gorgeous. the front face, which you cant see in that picture, has a beautiful leaf-and-vine stamped metal plate – purely for looking pretty.

its going to stay with my mom and continue living in the basement until she decides what to do with it. its lovely and amazing and its a treasure, but i dont want it at my place. i will get myself a sewing machine from craigslist i think.

also, making blogs is getting addicting. https://saffronandjade.wordpress.com/ not that, you know, i actually expect it to turn into anything.



*speaking of being too small to see the tabletop – cordelia can now bump her shoulder on the table instead of her head. seriously, this is upsetting. how do i make her stop growing and keep her small and snuggily forever? will i seriously have to buy her a new snowsuit before the end of this winter?


January 21, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 9:25 pm

J: its bath time girls!
C: nooooooooooo!
J: yes Cordelia. you have to go in the bath, you smell like bum.
C: no. nooooo!
J: Cordelia, do you want to be clean or do you want to smell like bum?
C: I want to smell like bum!



January 18, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 10:14 pm

today after cordelia went to school and blaze fell asleep, i had a super nice, quiet hour and a half. i made a snack, sat on the couch, watched a documentary about 5 people my age in Ontario farming for their first year with very little  farming experience (if they can, I can, right?) and it was pretty encouraging. one guy lived at first in a lean-to he made with some plywood, then in a tent which he then built a little bit more around to make it more durable for the winter. He rented this fucking huge piece of land (for one person and a tiny tent) and entirely by hand, only by himself, built up a CSA garden. I kinda want to be his best friend. for those who were farming as couples, i wondered how stressed the relationship must be. how many fights? must be strong to get through those first 5 years together, at least.

it also made me feel particularity lazy by sitting on the couch and watching instead of doing. I was knitting though – that counts for something, yes?

tomorrow i am hennaing two pregnant bellies, one after the other, in two different cities. the first should be a little bit of a healing experience for momma, who has a horrible, devastating birth the first time around and has waited 10 years before getting pregnant again becasue shes so scared to go through another labour like that. the second belly is for a first baby. momma is moving through the transition process to becoming something new.

i think my illustrations might be doing okay. each one get dramatically better than the one before – though I expect that will taper out soon.

i think i will not be becoming a midwife. not right now, not sometimes in the near future. people around me are encouraging me, but it’s a little too scary right now. the scary part is i dont think it quite fits me – i do believe that if i wanted to become a midwife i could do it. i just think i cant take on that type of lifestyle. i dont think i want a regular full-time job, and a midwife is more than a full-time job certainly. my experience in working full-time jobs was that they drained me and i had not all that much left for myself by the end. i think i need to control my own schedule, with lots of things in it that i enjoy, not just one thing. i dont want to become one-faceted in 0ne job and let it take so much from me that i have nothing to do anything else with. i would like to cobble together a couple things until it suits me, and always have the flexibility to switch it up or add some or drop others as time goes. i could teach art lessons, i could expand my doula-thing into breastfeeding support and prenatal classes, i could get my own henna business up. i want to have my hands in everything, and not shut any of those doors. i feel like becoming a midwife would mean that midwifery would leak into everything around it, taking over. maybe at some point i’ll feel like thats what i want to do, but not now.

you also could have your placements at any location in ontario. there are no arrangements for students that come with families and young children – you have to go where they put you. its a lottery system. thats great for students with nothing to hold them down, but it would be very difficult for us to go to a new part of ontario while jim is in a) his Phd or b0 in a steady professor job. its a narrow market for what he’s planning to do, we kinda have to follow him to the jobs, theres not going to be a lot of space to follow me to the jobs as well.

if i were to go into the program part-time, it would take 5-6 years. Cordelia would be in school. blaze would be in school. we’d likely a third somewhere around that time. I thought to myself “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now” and realized that i might look back and think “dammit. why didnt i do it?’ so have to remember that theres a reason I didn’t plant that tree. there always is. I have sorted out what my reasons are right now. maybe in the future it will be time.



children live here January 15, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 12:44 am

at the end of the day, no matter how hard i try, the palce is a shithole. in fact the place is a shoithole every day, at every time.

today there is, on the floor, right now:
-scrambled eggs, which bindi is helping to clean up.
– a pair of toddler-sized jeans.
-a pair of toddler sized lime green underwear with a hedgehog on the bum.
-a stuffed tapir, who spent a lot of hte afternooon looking for his stuffer okapi friend (yes, the birthday okapi of grade 11).
-9 books.
-a pair of pyjama bottoms. or maybe a top, i cant tell.
-the bowl where probably the eggs started off.
-a red toothbrush with tigger on it.
-a plate. dont know why.
-a panda bear, made of straw and apparently a christmas decoration of some kind. its always the cheapest toys that they love the most.
-a dress, because when my kid gets home she immediately gets nekkid.
-a scattering of the ever-present cheerios, not necessarily from today.
-another bowl which might have originally been the keeper for those cheerios.
-a stuffed duck. stuffed ducks best friend, frog, is in bed with cordelia.
-one of jims shoes. cant see the other one right now, but thats normal.
– a shredded and completely unusable shoelace from one of jims other shoes, different pair. thought we threw this out? maybe i only threw it out in my head but not yet in real life. this happens surprisingly often.
– a potty. may or may not contain toddler pee. i’m not going to check right now anyway.
-a tired cat.

that’s only one room. okay, the cat is technically in the kitchen and i guess the dress is on the boundary line between living room and kitchen. I know for a fact that approximately 13,645 other books are on cordelias bedroom floor, where the girls pulled them all out today to read together.

back to the cheap toys being the most loved – the panda bear. balloons. these rubbery, plastic-y koosh-ball type things (three things i have yet to figure out but cordelia calls them pigs, one robot and one caterpillar) that my brother got for the girls from the dollar store. they have little lights inside that light up on impact. SO MUCH FUN. you wouldn’t believe how many times one toddler can climb a chair to toss this thing on the floor not at all in synchrony with her sister so they can laugh wildly together. stickers. that duck and frog which are the cheapest stuffed toys ever, the kind they give out at fairs when you win a prize at a ball toss, which is exactly how my two came to own these things. they are precious toys, apparently.

i just popped my breast out of my shirt accidentally (c’mon, you know you can do that – happens to everybody, right? low shirt, no bra, itchy cleavage – just hopefully not in public) and i remembered how im suddenly noticing that im back. Blaze weaned, milk dried up, I dont have to wear such mammoth bras anymore. in fact i dont have to wear a bra at all and i certainly haven’t been (which probably explains the secret attack-from-behind-snuggle-with-quick-squeeze i got today). my weight is coming back, my breasts went to their normal size, a size that i feared would just lead me on one of those ‘i cant catch up with my bodys changes as fast as they are happening’ goose chases for a few months AGAIN while i adjusted, but it actually didnt happen that way. theres this sudden sense of re-aligning with myself, a comforting feeling of having everything back, in the right place, at the right size. having these children move in and through and out me and then grow them for five months completely by myself (think about that – from poppy seed to 16 pounds for cordelia, closer to 18 for blaze – all me) and then i get my old breasts back again at the end of it. relieved. its a sign that maybe i didn’t give up everything. having my body come back to its familiar shape – i didnt realize how much i felt it was missing.

why isnt there more support for mothers about this? loosing your body and fearing that it will never come back to you, why dont we realize this is a fucking big deal? why isn’t anyone seriously talking about it? sure theres a push to make a mothers body more socially acceptable, and you shouldn’t buy the one-piece swimsuit out of fear or shame, but the actual period of time where women adjust to loosing what they thought was going to be their stable, adult body and shape. when literally everything else in your world is changed – everything – your body that’s you’ve known for years, that hopefully has become comfortable and safe, slowly abandons you too. theres no space for that.

i’ll always have those stretchmarks and that loss of elasticity in my stomach, and that scar on (sorry adam, if you are visiting today) the inside of my vagina from tearing while getting cordelia from womb to arms, (which i dont mind very much at all and probably doesnt even need to make this list). these are things that society and media teaches us we dont want, that we should be afraid of having appear on our bodies. theres nothing you can do to stop it – no creams in the world will stop your baby growing too fast for your skin to keep up. you have to make friends with whats left to you after all of that, and its so hard. these arent changes we scheduled, like a tattoo or a haircut. theses are things out of our control. the last thing that you counted on always remaining in your control – your own self – out the window.

one of the perks of being a doula means that i get to spend time with real bodies. there is a point in labour when a woman has somehow become naked. most of them just dont want clothes to touch them anymore. you have to make friends with your own body in labour. in fact you probably have to had made friends previously, as labour is no time to be starting shaky, awkward new relationships. some women haven’t. it’s a definite labour roadblock.

the other thing i’ve learned (and i mean really learned, as apposed to ‘knowing rationally”) from watching mothers and partners birth together is that you can still be loved even if you dont look the same anymore. this is fantastically freeing knowledge.


January 11, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 5:03 pm

megs belly

tree of life henna belly blessing with om & lotus
fertility belly


Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 1:08 pm

cordelia was telling jim this morning that her vagina hurt. she told him a few times, jim talked to her about it to try to diagnose the issue a litle bit more. we feared a urinary infection.

then she went and a had a huge poo. apparently it was a record-breaker, so i’m told. she was very proud.

then she told jim that it wasnt her vagina, but had apparently been her bum that was hurting, and all she needed to do was have a huge poo. now its all better!

then she spent a long time singing about it. she made up the song as she went, singing loud about how her bum hurt but then she went poo and then she felt better and how dad helped her wiped it……

its very strange to think that this weird little creature is going to one day be an adult human being, who probably wont sing about her huge poos.


winter survival guide January 6, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 9:06 pm

cause i feel it creeping in.

lets cover the basics:

-eat a good breakfast every day
-make a big effort to get enough sleep
-try to learn to be gentler to myself. i have to be my own friend.

now to make new habits:

-go outside somehow – even if its to the laundry room – every day
-get off the internet. i tend to try to escape the day by using the internet, but the internet never actually makes anybody happy
-only happy music
-make a regular schedule for time for myself
-read something (not the internet!) every day. a good book.