Thursday, December 16, 2010

The journey takes a detour or How much can I get done this week?

It is Thursday, December 16!

Does that sentence cause you to feel great pleasure that the holidays are nearly upon us?  Or, does it make you shake your head, gulp down your tea, and get moving in order to get one more "must do" checked off of your list?  I am in the second group.  Admittedly, I have a smaller list due to the size of my family and extended family, but I still tend to leave the "must do list" sitting, waiting for me to kick into high gear and finally get things done.

I still have baking to do.  That is one thing that I do tend to leave until I absolutely have to get it done in order for my goodies to be as fresh as possible as they are destined to be placed in attractive tins and given to those who are much loved and not inclined to bake treats for themselves.  On the list for my Friday and Saturday baking extravaganza are spice cookies, some decadent squares that have a little of everything in them, some chocolate fudge cookies that I insist are healthy for you since they contain oatmeal and some chocolate truffles.  I know that I will likely some brownies, muffins and maybe a few other little treats since I know that people who drop by for a visit count on my having a tray of goodies for them to sample as well as having a doggie bag of treats for them to take home with them.  So, my artistic journey this week is mainly a culinary journey that I enjoy for the most part.  I do get a little stressed when I get making all these treats and start planning what to make next while one item is already in the oven.  Multi tasking is essential in the kitchen when I start my baking spree.  I have been known to be baking late at night, making the apartment fragrant with the scent of spices but more importantly, the aroma of chocolate is so intense that one visitor insists that he can smell my brownies as he approaches the building where I live.

I am going to shake up my routine a bit this week and actually try to get things done in a timely fashion so that I head off to bed at a sensible time.  That time is not engraved in stone and is usually dictated by Molly Cat who lets me know when enough is enough and to come climb under the covers so she can snuggle down into the crook of my arm.  Bossy little feline!  But, she is correct in making me set a limit to my culinary adventures.  I do think that she is a little miffed that she does not get to sample any of the treats so I do tend to be a little more generous with the kitty "cookies" that I purchase for her.  We can both get back to normal in January and ration out the treats keeping our respective figures in mind.   Truthfully, I do not indulge in very many of the sweets and tend to head for the savoury nibbles instead.

This year, visitors will find a selection of savoury as well as sweet treats to indulge in and hopefully enjoy.  A tray of fresh vegetables along with a hummus or other healthy dip will be center stage.  The plates of sweets will certainly be noticeable, but maybe not heaped quite as high.  I will fill the treat bags generously so that guests will be able to enjoy these goodies in subsequent days with their tea or indulge and eat as they make their way home from my flat.  In terms of libations, I always have a pot of tea ready, in fact I always have several types of tea available, chai being the favourite at this time of year.  I have one friend who visits that I never seem to have something that appeals to him in terms of a beverage.  He is not a tea drinker nor a coffee aficionado.  He really does not like fizzy soda beverages and so I am at a loss as to what to offer him that he might enjoy besides a glass of water.  So, this year, I will have on hand the ingredients to whip up a cup of hot chocolate and a pot of simmering apple beverage with some holiday spices to make it special.  I have a small crock pot that I can fill with the apple juice and spices about an hour before guests arrive so that the flat will be redolent with holiday fragrances of the culinary type.

As I type all this, thoughts race through my mind of things I need to add to my shopping list and I stop typing to jot down the entry on a scrap of paper that I will likely not be able to find in my pocket when I am out to shop.   My memory is wonderful, but sadly short term.  I suspect that I am better to be making my list in a small notebook which I can tuck into my handbag and refer to as I make my way out and about.  I will get myself somewhat organized and get everything done, hopefully in a timely fashion that allows me to make sure that I have time to tidy the flat, eradicate any dust bunnies and dust off the top of the refrigerator.  I am sufficiently height challenged so that I am unable to see the top of this appliance and so I can say truthfully that it does not get dusted as often as it should.  And so, I will make a special note to myself regarding this chore.  I am thinking a large note taped to the door of the refrigerator saying "DUST ME" just might get my attention before the arrival of the first guests.

All through these preparations, I have not neglected my true artistic journey, the one where I get to splash paint about on canvases and hope to come up with something to hang in my personal gallery as well as post in my online gallery (  I have managed to paint 7 small canvases to hang in the dining area of my flat.  I am still debating on where they will all be hung and if all will be hung in one grouping or split into two.  I have put up pictures of these paintings for you to see when you read this blog.  I have also included the final result of my triptych of holiday art from last weekend.  The three paintings have been mounted on plaid ribbon and hung on the inner door leading into my flat.  The wreath that had been hanging there hindered the door from opening fully and so has been relocated to another door within the flat.  I am not one to decorate for the holidays, decking the halls is done with moderation since Molly Cat is still kittenish enough to want to tackle any ornament left within easy reach for her.  Maybe next year I will see if it is possible to bring out the small holiday tree that I like to decorate in unusual colours.  Red and green just do not capture my spirit, I am more a blue, green, purple and silver type of gal.  Those colours sing out to me.  I am feeling my inner artist calling out to me to indulge in some creative painting before I call it a day.  There just might be some holiday paintings involving some interesting colour combinations in my next post.

So, that is how my artistic journey has progressed this week.  I hope yours has given you as much enjoyment as mine has provided for me.  The main importance of all that you strive to do or get done right now with regard to celebrating the holiday season, is that you get to enjoy the season without having a melt down while trying to be a super hero and do more than is necessary to make your family's and friends' enjoyment memorable.  Sit down with that cup of tea or hot chocolate and ask yourself, "Is everything on my to do list absolutely necessary?"  My guess is that there are a few items that could be stroked off and no one will be the wiser.  Much better to devote some time to personal creativity which will provide yourself with a sense of satisfaction.  That sounds like a sensible and reasonable way to enjoy the holidays.  Even better if you can persuade family and friends to join in with you on a creative venture.  You will not only be making some art, but maybe even more importantly, you will be making memories.

Sincerely,  Rutheemac


Clay Ward said...

Sounds good. I try to put the camera away when with family and friends and focus on interactions. And art of course. Peas.

Ruthee said...

Yes, it's good to put away the camera at times, it can cause people to feel uncomfortable. Working on art is good if you can involve your family & friends or they enjoy watching what you are creating.