Thursday, February 23, 2012

All in A Day

There comes a point during the day where I get frazzled. The living room has come unraveled, dinner is not quite started and I am left wondering what exactly I managed to do all day, because it feels like NOTHING! I know that is not true, so yesterday, as a project for myself I wrote down everything I did for the day. This Wednesday was more like a Monday... a day I dread at times, because I clean up the weekend mess that always happens despite our best efforts. Monday this week was a holiday, so everyone was home, and Tuesday morning I spent sipping coffee and indulging in pastries with a friend... so none of my usual clean up got done. So here was my Wednesday:
  • (7:00) I lay in bed. I woke up screaming a few minutes ago because Sylvan chomped down on my nipple in his sleep, and in my half sleep I was convinced that there was blood. Thankfully, it was my imagination playing tricks on me.
  • I dress myself, Ivory and Sylvan.
  • I make a smoothy: home canned peach puree, blueberries, strawberries, yogurt and bananas while Adam makes the coffee.
  • (8:30) I drive Ivory to school with Sylvan in tow. It is raining. When I get home, Adam is still around and I briefly wonder why I went through the trouble of taking Sylvan with me, in and out of the car, up the stairs and back again. Adam asks me to bring him lunch since we both managed to forget to make pasta to go with the sauce. I am slightly annoyed, but what else could I possibly be doing to might prevent me from bringing him lunch? Well nothing really, so I grudgingly agree.
    The rest of the morning happens in quick succession:
  • Take laundry out of the drier, put the next load in, wash dishes, sweep, wipe down all the counters. Sylvan is fussy, so he is riding on my back this entire time holding on to a bottle of milk.
  • (9:30) start bread dough in the kitchen aid, no time for kneading
  • sort the recycling and run it out to the curb
  • finish the dough, 1st rise 15 minutes

  • wash dishes
  • I pick out a program to listen to: Protecting the Global Food Chain. The program is about the importance of wheat breading and seed banking to sustaining the global food system. I thought it was appropriate since I am baking bread.
  • nurse Sylvan
  • start folding the laundry.

  • Make the loaves and put them in a cold oven. I add twenty minutes to the timer once it is preheated.

  • Start washing diapers and pull the clothes out of the drier.
  • Sweep bathroom
  • The program I was listening to cuts out and I pull up a new one. This one is entitled Farmer and Philosopher Joel Salatin. I make myself a mental note to check out one of his books from the library next time I am at the library without children and actually have time to peruse the shelves.
  • Fold laundry
  • pick up the living room, put away toys.
  • Pull bread out of the oven

  • put away the pans that Sylvan has pulled out of the cupboard
  • back to the living room
  • restart the load of diapers
  • start water boiling for Adam's lunch
  • vacuum the bedrooms
  • cook pasta, give Sylvan a snack
  • cut up Apples and Carrots, while I take a few bites of left over Minestrone
  • no time to wash dishes
  • gather up the library books I need to return. I grab my books and one of Ivory's books: Tadpole's Promise and throw them in a bag. Mine, because I have read them already and Ivory's because it is possibly one of the most off color children's books I have ever read and I refuse to read it to her ever again. 
  • I put Sylvan in the stroller, and then start the ballet of getting out of the door. Do I have the blanket? Nope, its still sitting next to the door. Snacks? Yes. Diapers? Yes. Adam's lunch. Yes, but it is threatening to leak so I opt to just hold it.
  • I rush to Adam's work, which is in the opposite direction of Ivory's school balancing his lunch in one hand and pushing the stroller in the other. Sylvan is asleep before we arrive. I drop off Adam's lunch grab a few bucks and then rush back across the neighborhood to collect Ivory. It is 12:00. What didn't get done in the morning, probably will not get done. We slowly walk down town to the library. It is bright and sunny. I even left my hat and gloves at home and I am hot after the quick jaunt through our neighborhood.
  • Even though Ivory still has 9 library books at home, I let her pick out 5 more. I grab 3 books for myself from the suggested reading kiosk at the front of the library. Ivory talks me into letting her play some games on the kids' computer, so I sit there clicking the mouse for her while she constructs stories and then sorts virtual recycling. She can't figure out the whole mouse thing... this is the first time I have ever let her play on the computer and it isn't much fun for me.
  • (1:00) I convince her to move on from her game and we walk to a coffee shop. My hands are cold, but I convince myself that it is just because we have been sitting in the cozy library for a while. I sip my cup of coffee and Ivory her chocolate milk as we both leaf through the pages of our books. 

    Sylvan nurses and then walks round and round the table, content and happy shoving cheerios in his mouth and chewing on apple slices.
  • (2:30) I had been hoping that both my children would fall asleep in the stroller, but since both of them are awake and now getting restless, we walk around the corner to the Children's Museum. It is cold, and windy. Just as soon as we walk in the door is ripped open and rain is flying vertically through space. It looks like it might never touch the ground.
  • I'm in trouble now. Ivory has a Dr.'s Appointment at 3:15, and in this rain, we are not going to get there. So I call Adam's boss (since Adam has, yes, once again lost his phone), figuring that the men aren't working in this weather anyway. I'm right. He gets the car and comes to get us.
  • Ivory and I make it to her Dr.'s appointment on time!
  • By 4:00 we are home and I scamper up and down the alley picking up my recycling that has blown everywhere. The cardboard is soaked and heavy and I can't find my bag of plastic bags anywhere. They are on their way to the ocean now despite my best efforts. Where was my curbside pick up I am paying for? I am unmotivated to put away the laundry I folded and cold, so instead I nurse Sylvan in front of the furnace and leaf through the pages of Signature Styles 20 Stitchers Craft Their Look by Jenny Doh. Snow is whirling out side.
  • (5:30) We make grilled cheese sandwiches out of the fresh baked bread.
  • (6:30) There is a lull in the snow and I drive across the Scott Street bridge to the Ceramics studio. I place the bowls I finished the night before on the shelf to be bisqued. 

    I mix a glaze and finally start throwing the pieces for a sculpture I want to build. A few pieces in, I almost give up, but then it just clicks and time and space suspend and hours later I have two trays full of these little mounds with holes in the middle. (Adam has picked up the kitchen, given the children baths and gotten both of them to bed.)
  • I get home a little before 11:00. I leaf through the pages of Signature Styles 20 Stitchers Craft Their Look again, waiting for Adam to finish watching Misfits. I am admiring these successful women who have managed to confidently surround themselves with happiness, beauty, inspiration and made a career of it.
  • We crawl into bed around 12:00 midnight, but I can't sleep. I have a brilliant idea for a coat rack that I want to build... well, Adam will have to build it.. it will be a collaboration really. I am cold. I haven't nursed Sylvan in hours, and I can't relax. I should have just woken him up, but instead I wait until he cries and a pull him into bed next to me and finally drift off to sleep.
I don't mind washing dishes, or folding laundry or sweeping, the constant ebb and flow of the chaos that surrounds me, but then for a bleak moment it can all seems so pointless, and I struggle find the courage sink my hands into the soapy water or lift that first piece of clothing and try to remember to enjoy the moment.  

Cuban Bread Recipe
from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads Revised and Expanded

5 to 6 cups of flour (up to half whole wheat flour can be used)
2 packeages dry yeast
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups hot water (120-130 degrees F)

- measure 3 cups of flour, the yeast, salt and sugar into the bowl and mix 
- add the water, beat with 100 strong strokes (or let your mixer mix it for 3 minutes)
- add the remaining flower until it is no longer sticky and knead for 8 minutes either by hand or with your mixer
- cover and let rise for 15 minutes
- shape into two round loaves and cut slits across the top with a sharp knife
- put the loaves into an unheated oven. set the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 20 minutes once the oven reaches temperature...   total baking time is approximately 30 to 40 minutes from the time the loaves are placed in the oven. 
- cool and then enjoy. 


  1. Tadpole's Promise: Agree with your evaluation! How DID this book win so many awards?!

  2. I have no idea. I guess it does wrestle with some big ideas, but there are much more eloquent and beautiful ways of conveying them to children.

  3. Thanks for posting the Cuban bread recipe, Heidi. It's tasty and so quick!

    1. It is my absolute favorite quick bread! I'm glad you managed to find it on my blog. :) I promise I will organize them some time soon.

  4. I finally made this for the first time! It's as yummy as I remember from lunch with the Wests. I even paired it with your broccoli soup, Heidi. :)

  5. I'm making this again, Heidi! So glad you have it posted online - I don't have time for a slow-rising bread today.