Monday, January 2, 2017

The "Try and Do" List

Having come to the conclusion that there was so much to do that she didn’t know where to start, Mrs Fowler decided not to start at all. She went to the library, took Diary of a Nobody from the shelves and, returning to her wicker chair under the lime tree, settled down to waste what precious hours still remained of the day. ― Richmal Crompton, Family Roundabout
Happy New Year! Day 2 of 2017, and so far, so good. I woke up this morning, and I could see and hear and breathe and taste, even in the darkness. I'd say I'm doing pretty well, so far.

We headed back to the Island on New Year's Eve Day, which is the date we've travelled on for the last few years. It's generally a pretty laid-back time to travel: most people are staying put to do the fireworks and countdown thing rather than getting on a plane and going somewhere. I was relaxed as we entered security at Winnipeg Airport, and even took the time to take a photo of this mobile display before we went in:

The airport in Winnipeg amazes me these days. When I left home, there were two departure gates. Now, there are fifteen. There used to be one large hall before you went through security, with a video game arcade, a couple of restaurants, and a viewing lounge where you could watch the planes landing and taking off. I used to know the airport really, really well: my mom used to take my brother and I there on the odd weekend, and he and I would run around and explore the whole place. We rode the escalators, looked through the magazine shop, and played Pac Man. We even knew how to plug the meter if it got low. I guess that was her way of finding an open space for us to let off steam. Maybe that's why I always feel so at home in an airport... and why I'm so good at Pac Man.

I have some extra time off before I go back to work. I wanted to make the most of the time I have off (instead of doing my usual faffing around), and so, in an effort to be organized, I made a list. It's not so much a "to do" list, as much as it is a "try and do" list. It goes something like this:

1) Take a photo of my gift from Linette.

My Winnipeg yarn-friend and I have made it a yearly tradition to give each other a little handmade gift each year. This year, she got Olaf, and I got this lovely little Christmas tree ornament. I love the little beads and the vintage buttons she used for the star on top. She messaged me the day after we got together to ask me to take a photo of it for her, and so, voilĂ . Job done.

2) Make challah.

I've been wanting to try making this bread for a while. The reasons were purely aesthetic: it is such a beautifully crafted bread, and a girl I grew up with always shows beautiful photos of her handmade challah on her Facebook page. I had never actually ever tasted it before, but hey, it's bread. If you can put jam on it, I'm sold.

I impressed myself with how well I managed to braid it. I followed the instructions in the recipe and it turned out better than I imagined. Here's what it looked like after the second rise and with the egg wash brushed onto it:

And here it is cooling from the oven. I missed a few spots for the egg wash, but it was otherwise a pure triumph! 

And it is delicious: soft and pillowy inside, slightly sweet and somewhat laminated like a croissant. It slices well with a serrated knife, and toasts well in a toaster. I am trying not to eat it all in a day!

3) Reorganize my jewelry.

I am ashamed to say that I am TERRIBLE at putting my jewelry away. And I love jewelry so much that there is a lot of it strewn around the house: on the coffee table, in the bathroom, on my bedside table, and in my "jewelry area," which was just one of the surfaces in the office which I had commandeered for my mess. I was ruthless in this process: any costume jewelry I hadn't worn in a year was out. Anything that felt like a burden to keep was out as well. I have no "before" photos of this process - it was embarrassing how much stuff I had lying around - but here's what it looks like now, two boxes, with the "big thug" necklaces clasped together in the middle:

The box on the right was given to be my friends when I left home to go and work in the UK back in 1999. It has moved around with me ever since, but it wasn't really being used for much, apart from holding some momentos from my previous lives. I decided it was time to put it to work. 

Since there are only a couple of divisions inside the box, I needed some containers to keep stuff from getting tangled and mixed up. I lay in bed last night thinking about it, and realized that I had plenty of things in the house that would do the trick. My tea cup collection, while pretty to look at, are cups that have always been a tad too small for a barbaric gulper like me, and the my vintage ceramic candy dishes have sat on my shelf gathering dust as well. Coupled with a few extra boxes and little jars, they seem to make lovely little organizers:

Here they are with the lids off the candy dishes. It looks haphazard, but each container has a purpose: one is holding small, stud-like earrings, another is holding larger "regular wear" earrings. The corner is holding my bracelets, which I don't wear all that often, but I like to know where they are in case the mood hits me. The teacups are holding necklaces: necklaces with large pendants, necklaces with smaller pendants (with the chains draped to the outside to keep them from tangling). I have boxes for longer necklaces, and one corner has some of the larger statement necklaces grouped carefully together:

And to the left of that is my vintage jewelry collection, mostly necklaces again, but grouped in drawers according to size and "tangle-ability." I've laid everything in there carefully to keep them from getting all messed up. The box itself is a sweet little vintage jewelry box I picked up a few weeks ago, when I first thought about getting this all organized:

4) Knit, for heaven's sake.

My big Fleece Artist blanket-thing continues. It is now large enough to drape over my lap, and over part of the lap of the person sitting next to me (as I realized halfway through my flight - sorry about that). The ball is getting smaller, but I still have another ball from the same skein sitting in my knitting bag, which broke off when I was winding it. I won't lie: it's dull. I'm getting tired of it now, but it's got to the stage that I HAVE to work out it to get it out of my life.

In truth, it IS pretty. I'm still wondering what it will be in the end - it won't be large enough for an actual blanket, but maybe it'll be a nice throw? Or a centrepiece for the bed in the spare room? We'll see...

I have other things on my "try and do" list, but I've been trying to do only one thing from the list at a time, in order to give myself the time to rest as well. That has turned out to be a good rule for me, because I am nothing if I am not easily distracted. Besides, if I try to pack a bunch of tasks into one day, doesn't that turn a day off into a work day? I know what I'm like. A "to do" list becomes a "to conquer" list, and I am not in the mood for battle. Not just now.

Let's see: tomorrow, I can either clean and service my sewing machine or try to ply some of my handspun. Or I could eat some more bread. Decisions, decisions...

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