About Me

Life is learning. Life is change. Life is good. Life doesn't have to cost a lot. I want to make my life greener, healthier, and thriftier. And I want to enjoy doing it!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Kicking It Up

October, in retrospect, was a pretty lazy month for me.  For whatever reason, I had no energy and no motivation; I just couldn't seem to get myself going.  I'd look around at all the things that needed doing, and all the things I wanted to do, and then fritter away the time on things that didn't really need to be done just so I could fool myself into thinking I was actually accomplishing something.

It wasn't until Hallowe'en was almost upon us that I managed to pull myself out of that rut ... actually, to be honest, it was Big Guy who got behind me and shoved me out (without knowing that's what he was doing).  I'd pretty much decided to skip the whole Hallowe'en thing this year  -  no pumpkins, no candy handouts, just me and a good book on the sofa.  But when I got home from work Friday night, he proudly showed me the three gorgeous pumpkins he'd scored on his way home that afternoon, and at that point  could hardly say "That's nice, dear, but I'm not doing anything with them" ... So out came the stencils and paring knives, and by Monday afternoon there were three fairly decent jack-o-lanterns on the front porch waiting to have their candles lit, and a big bowl of (nice but cheap-on-sale) candy to hand out.

So today I'm cooking and pureeing the pumpkins, and toasting the seeds.  I think by the time I'm done I'll have at least two dozen pints of pumpkin in the freezer, and the toasted seeds will be a nice snack later when my friend D arrives for our usual Saturday video night.

I've started my Christmas planning too  -  this year will be my first time hosting the annual pre-Christmas family-and-friends open house, so in addition to my usual notebook lists of things to do and to shop for, there's a new page for party menu planning.  It's always nibbles and dessert-ish things, not a full meal, since people come and go throughout the day.  So far I'm planning to have:

spanakopita wedges
smoked salmon with dill mayo on baguette rounds
vegetable gyoza (maybe)
cheeses and cold cuts, with French bread and butter
the usual assortment of pickles and olives
shortbread, gingerbread, and sugar cookies
pumpkin tarts
mince tarts
lemon pound cake
coffee, tea, soft drinks

And I won't be spending as much as you might think.  Our local supermarket deli sells trays of cheese and cold cut "ends" for cheap; Costco has excellent, affordable gyoza, edamame, and pre-made spanakopita in the freezer section; our neighbour trades us his home-smoked salmon (fabulous stuff!) for firewood (which we get free), and I'll spread the baking out over several evenings after work.  No booze, since people will be driving.

Our tree won't be up yet, but I can do some nice decorating with fresh greenery from our own trees and the ivy I'll have to cut back by then anyway, and my stash of holiday-scented candles.  Fir swags along the mantel, bowls of fresh pine cones and shiny glass ornaments, and bouquets of candy canes in my crystal snifters ... quick easy decorating that will be almost completely free ... the only bought elements will be the candy canes, which we get every year anyway to hang on the tree  Oh, and a fire going in the woodstove, with the doors folded back so all can enjoy it.

I guess the best way to describe October might be to say that it was kind of a "burnout" month for me.  Or possibly a short-lived episode of depression  -  which I've never been diagnosed with, though it does run in my family.  I didn't feel depressed, really, so much as just really tired.  And I did have a low-grade sinus thing going on all month ... So, depression?  Virus?  Overwork?  I don't know, and probably never will  -  I'm just glad it's over!