I really should have started writing this post a few days ago, but I didn’t feel like forcing myself to do it. The words weren’t flowing. Well, here I am on the final day of the year and I really need to get these words out. This year, 2011, was a bit of a harder one than the last. I remember declaring somewhere that it would be a year of buckling down and riding out tougher times. I was right. That’s not to say that this was a bad year for me. I’m just likely to label it as a challenging one. Did I rise to the challenges thrown at me? I think I did.
Category Archive: domestic
There are always parallels between the environment you exist in and the state of being that you find within. For me it was starting to really become apparent in my condo. Over the past while much of my focus has been on other people. It’s kind of inherent in the job of coaching. It’s also a big part of improv. After all, improv tends to soar when you can successfully build links with others. In terms of self, I’ve sort of been putting my needs on the back burner. I found that this started to manifest itself in my living space by letting piles of clutter accumulate. A little bit here and there isn’t necessarily bad, but things started getting out of hand. This morning when I woke up I had to dodge and sidestep things all over the floor just to get out of my room. I knew that this wasn’t right so I set out today to get things in order.
This past weekend was somewhat filled with drama. I needed to channel my energies and this was a great way of doing so. My goal wasn’t necessarily to get my place spotless, but to at least get to a point where I could get it to a presentable state if I knew I had company arriving in an hour. Items were shelved, papers filed, rubbish tossed, and carpets swept. The compost bin was rather vile, but no longer so. After hours of back and forth, I ended up falling asleep on the couch for a few hours. Oops.
Well, at this point it’s neater. There are still small piles of clutter here and there, but nothing unmanageable on short notice. Seeing my place like this, I feel like a small sense of pride has returned. Contrary to how things may seem I really do care about my living space just like I really do care about myself and my internal states. Just like I had mentioned about parallels, to me having order inside and out is a sign that I want to be functional and not stumble over things that I’ve been careless to not deal with. It all matters.
I was planning on heading downtown. I wanted to get a haircut and catch a play that one of my improv teachers was putting on during the Fringe Festival. When I went online to buy a ticket, I saw that the Sunday show was off the site so I decided to just stay back home. I put a load of laundry in and started watching movies on Netflix. This is, I forgot about the laundry. It’s now really late meaning that I can’t run the dryer. I don’t know how far sound travels, and I don’t want to annoy the neighbours. So, if you look around my place you can see clothes on hangers all over the place. Yeah…I feel like I’m travelling and I’m in a hotel room. Not good.
I remember back when I was a lot younger the idea of a self-cleaning oven seemed ridiculous. I didn’t see any mechanism in there that would scrub the sides of spray any cleaning foam on the walls. It didn’t make sense at all. Eventually I learned that there was no scrubbing involved, and that the oven just cranks the temperature all the way up to burn everything into oblivion. Here in my condo I was actually rather excited to use the cleaning feature on my oven for the first time. I was fascinated by all of the blackened bits catching fire then burning away. Anyway, just today I had to run the oven through a cleaning cycle. The bottom of the oven was covered in a lot of greasy crap resulting from my pie making adventures. Since then, every time I turned the oven on it would be filled with smoke. Not good. I didn’t want to wait for it to go through a thorough cleaning so I just used the fast cleaning cycle. Well, within the first half hour it was already doing its thing. The oven got all smoky, and eventually it started seeping out. I had to switch off the circuit breaker switch for my smoke alarm because my place was getting a little bit too filled. My eyes were watering from all the smoke. I switched on fans all over the place and opened the balcony door. After another hour or two the smoke died down. Everything in the oven was turning to ash and it was wonderful. Makes me think, too bad there aren’t switches like that for rooms in general. I mean, not including the burning everything to the ground part, but imagine hitting a button and coming back two hours later to see everything tidy. Yes well, technology isn’t heading in that direction, eh?
Lesson: when coming back from grocery shopping make sure that you put anything frozen into the freezer right away. I left some ice cream bars out in the open for a few hours. When I realized it I put the box in the freezer to re-firm. Unfortunately the result was little bags of lumpen chocolate and dairy products. What a waste, eh?
I don’t think I mentioned this before, but in my condo there are no garbage chutes. I have to go down to the ground floor with all of my stuff and leave it all in the big garbage room. Really, it’s not that bad, but it’s kind of a pain. Just because I tend to be a busy person, I don’t bring my stuff down on a particularly regular basis. I’m not around enough to generate that much garbage. That’s fortunate. Thing is, I tend to generate a heck of a lot more recycling. It’s not uncommon for me to end up collecting several bags of paper products and empty plastic containers before I end up hauling it all downstairs.
Lately, I’ve doing a fair bit to get my affairs in order. As a symbolic way to get some order back in my life I chose today to bring my garbage and recycling down. Prior to actually doing that I spent a little while cleaning out the fridge. Very important because there was a fair bit of food in there that was well passed its prime. All in all I ended up hauling 5 bags of garbage down and several big bags of recycling. Now that it’s all gone, do I feel a little bit relieved? Yes. I mean, the extra clutter was making my feel bogged down, like I was holding on to a lot of stuff that served no purpose. Interesting when I word it that way because there are parallels to other parts of my life: I’m basically metaphorically in the process of decluttering my life. That’s a big step forward. Out with the old, no?
One thing about being out often is that cleaning up once I find me way home is kind of low on my priority list. I’ve written about this before. Anyway, because of the fact that I’m often out, I’ve thought about getting a Roomba for a while now. A friend has told me that her robot vacuums have done the trick for her. I knew that Canadian Tire sold them, but I was anticipating a day when that vacuum would go on sale. Just today I checked the site and found that the 530 model was on sale. The price was down to about $300. Nice! I took that as my queue. I ended up naming the Roomba Samuel.
Now, after charging Samuel and clearing my living room floor of obvious obstacles I let it run for about an hour. I was surprised to see that it actually did rather well. There were some moments where I thought that it would just skip over some dusty and dirty spots, but no, that sucker eventually got to some dusty patches on the floor and it made sure to scrub it. I eventually had to turn it off because it was getting late and I didn’t want to annoy my downstairs neighbours, All the same, the areas that it did reach are looking rather good. Samuel got stuck in a few spots so I have to do a bit of arranging to prevent it from getting caught. Otherwise, I almost feel comfortable non babysitting it next time I give it a run. Hello, clean floors!
Today I made a vow to myself to ensure that most of the meals that I eat come from home. At least, that’s the goal for at least the next month. I really have been eating out far too much. It’s kind of ridiculous. There’s no reason for me to be spending so much outside, especially when I’ve got decent cooking skills. All it takes is a lot of patience and good planning skills, right? It’s been a really long time since I’ve spent time making a good dinner. It’s not the first time I’ve complained about this. However, nothing much has changed, so it looks like I actually need to have some strong resolve to get back into the habit of things.
Today I decided that my first meal would be homemade chili. It’s something I’m fairly adept at. I went out to get some missing ingredients knowing that I already had ground beef in the freezer. When it came time to defrost the meat, I pulled it out and saw that the packaging date on the thing was mid-October. Holy shit, eh? I looked at it and it didn’t look horribly frost bitten. I smelled it and it wasn’t bad. I went ahead with plans. When the meat was cooked I noticed that the texture wasn’t quite the same as fresher meat. And the smell wasn’t as fresh either. Don’t get me wrong, it was still tasty, but I knew that it couldn’t be as good as it could be. So that’s when I knew I had to use other strong flavours to not let the meat overpower things. I used a fair amount of garlic, cumin, smoked paprika, and onion powder. I added a few squirts of sriracha for more heat. In the cupboard I spotted some 90% cocoa dark chocolate that I had sitting around. It was far too bitter for me which is why I hadn’t already downed it. I decided to chop it up and toss it in. It gave the chili a different character, but it wasn’t bad at all. It was really rich and dark. The end result was totally awesome. I guess you could say I ended up with a chocolate chili.
So yeah, I’ve got plans for what to cook and when. Just need to be careful not to get carried away and overeat. When I moved into my place I got into a habit of cooking a lot. Unfortunately my weight also ballooned. This time I’m planning on keeping it all in check. I need to keep honing the culinary skills.