Baseball, Romance, and Jazz

Photo by Autumn Mott Rodeheaver on Unsplash

The World Series is on while I wash the lunch dishes at nearly dinnertime. A load of whites is agitating around in the washing machine, in the room on the back deck, as the evening goes from periwinkles and lemon ice to lavender, mauve, pale rose, hints of coral and cerulean. I’m playing old school jazz as I watch the score change on my cell phone just tuned to the headline scores. I wish I could listen to a game on the radio like my great-grandfather used to, as I really don’t have the time to watch the nationals eek out a better baseball score.

Never mind, I’m turning on the game. I have to see if these points wracking up quickly make for a good game….. they do. It was worth my time to turn on the game and get immersed in the plays. Yelling at a completely ridiculous call by what must be a biased umpire. That play was totally legit! Where were his eyes?! I am yelling at the television, my father and I, neither one of us sports watchers, totally involved with the call coming in from the head of the NBL umpires association.

There’s nothing more American than a baseball game. I picture Steve Rogers listening to the Dodgers on his front porch as Peggy mixes up cookie dough in an old and well loved mixing bowl of Pyrex glass. I just have finished watching the final Avengers film and Steve and Peggy dancing in their craftsman style home, with the windows open and the radio playing… Now when I say I want that, you can’t imagine how much of a dream that is. “Kiss me once and kiss me twice, then kiss me once again, it’s been a long, long time….”

It’s nearly November and all the leaves have escaped the hold each mother tree had on them. Now stark and bare, practically indecent, it’s just spread branches and trunks. Somebody get them a coat! I’m reminded of the Barney Miller line, “We caught a flasher.” “In THIS weather?!” for who wants to have an ounce of flesh exposed to the dry ice air? The wind pulls any moisture right out of every living cell and leaves behind a cracked and parched shell.

Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

The Washington Nationals have won the series after seven games. A historic game, just like the Cubs winning two years ago. Sports has been fun. And a week has gone by. The air is now balmy in the day. Nearly seventy and warm enough to dry laundry on the line. From freezing to balmy. Mountain life is lovely like that. The time change throws us all off, rushing around to find it is only 4pm with the sun gone. Thank goodness we are attempting to reorganize our schedules so we are up sooner in the day. It’s amazing what can get done when one is up before midday. A novel thought.

I’m sitting outside at this moment, it’s just after 5pm. Evening has come….

A rosy twilight settled in, pink hued glow over every building and tree, the sky pastel shades of pink, coral, baby boy blue. The oaks in their brown coats turned a shade more burnt sienna and bittersweet red, like the crayons in every child’s box of coloring supplies. It was a “La vie en rose” moment as if a pair of rose colored glasses had slipped over the world and people walked hand in hand up the sidewalks and past lit storefronts and cozy eateries. The scent in the air of damp leaves and wood smoke, fragrant from incense cedar and pine, alder and oak. The wood that burns in the wood stoves and fireplaces in the mountains is so much more fragrant than any other place. Everything smells so much better.

Right now the coffee I drink tastes like I was at my grandparent’s cabin in the Sierra Nevadas, in mid August or September, when the cabin gets a bit chilly in the afternoon because the wood stove isn’t burning and the sun is shifting behind the trees towards it’s western route. Miles Davis is playing “When I Fall In Love”. The trumpets just get to me and make me tear up. I was listening to a lot of Miles Davis as I slowly lost Rugburn a year and a half ago. Miles Davis and his jazz era has been hard for me to listen too in the last year because of that. I miss him a little too much these days.

The days are short, and time is sweet. Let me dream of baseball, and good romance and the sweet sounds of the best jazz music that makes your heart clench and cling.

Kate

Stains, Spots, And Smelly Clothes

Photo by Dmitry Arslanov on Unsplash

The cooking industry is murder on your laundry. I am sure that there are a lot of other industries that would be in that category as well, but what with spots, stains, sweat, and who knows what else, professional kitchens are a source of constant obnoxious laundry.

Take for instance this weekend when I accidentally had my gel pen leaking a bright blue spot through my apron onto my nice white chef’s jacket. I stared down at the spot remembering the ‘lovely’ accident of the sharpie mark on my sleeves one day when I didn’t click it closed. That spot is still there, albeit brown now instead of black due to several laundry tricks that never worked.  I was panicking a bit because a blue stain on white seemed impossible.

I have so far, found a trick by accident that works. So people who want to get stains out, get your pens ready and bookmark this post.

Lots of places said rubbing alcohol and vinegar rotated with table salt got the stains out. For me it was Simple Green worked into the stain and agitated out. I used diluted first to start rinsing it, but then full strength and scrubbed the fabric with itself until the stain was itty bitty. I will launder it as usual and expect it will come out.

For standard laundering of my regular whites, which are white, mind you, is Tide with Bleach. All of my jackets are from Happy Chef, so are that 30/60 cotton poly blend that you are not supposed to bleach. But Tide with Bleach is great because it doesn’t bleach but gets the grease and stains out. Odor too.  My aprons and jackets frequently smell of old flour and oil and fry oil smells. If you do a regular load of laundry with warm water (warm is a must, cold will not work) and if you can soak the load for a half hour in the soapy water then rinse twice, you will have sparkling clean shirts. I use it for my semi faded aprons as well since it breaks down the oils so well.

For spot treatment on every stain no matter what I use Dawn Dishwashing detergent. I like the ultra or concentrated ones as they work the best. Toothbrush, scrub it in, let it sit for a couple hours or days and bada boom, out comes the stain.

If the stain doesn’t work, consider trying hydrogen peroxide with the dawn. If it’s a colored item, rinse it out once the stain starts to fade otherwise you will have the color fade out because of the peroxide.  A trick for berry stains that has worked wonders, is to first treat the stain with the dawn. It will turn every berry stain into a blueish stain, then use the hydrogen peroxide to slowly erase the blue stain. Rinse.  Every single time it works.

Irish Spring original scent bar soap is excellent for getting out blood as well as sweat stains. Sweat smell too. I have always had a problem with body odor and washing with Irish Spring keeps it at bay, will break down the aluminum zirconium in most deodorant antiperspirants ,  and also helps break apart sweat smells. I have used Irish Spring for years, but I definitely have to use it now that I have switched from a natural deodorant to antiperspirant.

For oil stains, if it is fresh oil, sop it up with talcum powder. Not stuff with cornstarch in it, but actual talc. Raid your grandma’s powder tin, so long as you can handle the strong scent.  Use a small spoon or popsicle stick and apply a little mound over the oil spot. (I have never tried it on anything larger than a dime or quarter size)  Let it sit. For a while. Like an hour or two. Brush off with a toothbrush and repeat if the talc is oily and clumpy or the spot is still there. Repeat as many times as it takes to magically disappear the oil. Launder as usual, or use Dawn then launder. It’s seriously amazing. I have saved so many things from oil spots with this trick.

Definitely if you have a stain that you can’t seem to get out, do not throw it in the dryer or use heat. It always sets stains or oil marks. This is actually why my  chef’s jackets are never in the dryer these days. I never want to set a lot a stain, and sometimes I never know if I have gotten all of the stains. So best be safe instead of sorry and trying desperately to get stains out.

My mother is expert at getting stains out, more so than I am. I am notorious for cooking at home without an apron on. I splatter so many things. I am queen of that. And my dad is notorious for spilling on white t-shirts and brand new clean things, whatever they might be. So yeah, lots of years of stains. She probably has more tricks that even I don’t know, but these work like charms for me. So, if you work in a funky stain inducing industry, these might help.

On a side note about cleaning things, I have found that the kitchen is murder on my skin, producing a lot of blackhead and blemishes. A lot, and I wear a concealer that has sunblock in it, so it clogs the pores a lot. After I wash my face with hot water and a washrag at night, I clean my skin with rubbing alcohol. I have found it keeps the bulk of the blackheads at bay. I still get plenty, but it cuts down the bulk. And if my skin gets too dry, then I use Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner in the morning and I am good to go.

It’s the little things in life that make it easier. So any laundering or beauty care ideas for the cooking industry? Send them my way.  And hopefully these help anyone else.

Kate

Down Time, Not Writing Time – Writing 101 Day 9

When I’m not writing. Well, that’s pretty much just my life.  I get up, I take care of the house, I fix meals, I garden/farm… I exist.  Life is rarely me going from one point of writing to the next. It’s more of a “Oh, yay, I have five moments of time in between what I need to do and what I have to do.”  Right now, as I type, the timer just went off reminding me to swish the hand laundry. The delicates that have been piling up for way too long and all us girls in the house are completely out of favorites. It’s a desperate time. It really is quite traumatic when we run out of that favorite blue thing…

There, I have eight more minutes to type before the timer goes off again. My life has down time, for sure, but it’s sporadic. Right now, because it’s cold and wintery, I have evenings as my down time. I don’t take the daytime as I am usually rushing to get everything done before 4pm when I have to get outside to cover rows and rows of plants growing still, and finish up taking care of the chickens for the evening. Basically I have an hour and a half of time shot every evening…. Pardon me, there goes another timer for the washer…… And today it will be even worse as it’s supposed to be even colder, so everything needs a bit more cover tonight.

But when I do have down time and I’m not writing, I do have some other things I like to do. Usually they relate to writing, or reading. I read whenever I can. Right now I have about five books started and very little hopes on finishing any of them. I have a hard time finishing books now because 1. I write more than anything so books get put to the wayside; and 2. I don’t like half the books I start. The one exception this year was the Vampire Academy series and The Lady In Gold. Other than that, I can’t think of a single other thing I finished from the library.  I did have my book review books.

I visit the library whenever I can, but I haven’t taken much time to sit down and just read there lately. I get caught up visiting the ladies and I don’t sit down and read. Granted, it was summer mostly so I couldn’t take the time earlier this year. But I love to browse the shelves of the little library. Shelves I know so well. I could close my eyes and you could put me on any isle and I could tell you what was in front of me. Most likely. I might be a little off since they changed the shelves a little and moved everything over one shelf.

I enjoy puttering outside in the sun, but usually there is something that needs to be done so puttering is more of an actual job that needs doing. Yesterday it was spreading mulch and burning.  But when I can, I have my camera with me and I am busy snapping away for anything from the business, to my cards, to just fun. I enjoy getting up close and personal with things.

Life gets in the way of a lot of writing. The fact that I’m taking time out of my day right now to write is crazy. I should be vacuuming something or picking up something else. There is enough clutter right now to make a OCD person go completely insane.

But not writing gives me a chance to mull over ideas. Which I’ve said in the past. And usually after I do a bunch of writing challenges, I need a break. I should have probably taken a break after October and writing every day, but I liked the idea of a poetry challenge. And I liked keeping up the pace, even if I don’t post every day. If I just sit down and work on a sonnet, it’s still writing. So every day I’m trying to do that. I love it. And while sometimes I get a little burned out, it doesn’t happen enough to give up writing something every day.

Kate

The Romance of Hanging Laundry

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Victorian Laundry

Is there anything nicer than laundry freshly dried on the line?  There is a romantic feel to seeing white sheets blowing  in the wind, the smell of ‘country’ dried linens.  Yet in all reality, there is nothing romantic about drying laundry on the line.  It takes much more time, and at times, can be annoying when the weather doesn’t  cooperate.  It is far from the bucolic scene one imagines.  One tends to think of Victorian maids in flowing, white dresses gathering the laundry, or walking through the sweetly scented linens. Or maybe something out of Pride & Prejudice with the mid 1800’s empire dresses.  Add in a nosegay and you have the quintessential image.

I love to hang laundry.  To me there is nothing better than falling into bed at night with fresh air-dried sheets.  I love the rough texture of a towel from being dried in the sun and the wind.  Plus there is the added bonus of not using the dryer and using all the electricity.  That in itself is a major plus.

There are other things that one associates with the term ‘romantic.’ Picking berries is one such thing.  Though after spending the last few summers getting terribly scratched, romantic is the farthest thing from my mind.  Maybe if one were picking wild strawberries, but raspberries, blackberries, and anything else with thorns is not romantic.  Even though I know all of this, I still conjure up images of women in long, flowing dresses with their tin pails brimming with luscious, red berries, sun ripened and sweet.  Girls and women swinging their pails as they sing and leisurely pick plump morsels  of goodness.

Again, this brings to mind something out of a Jane Austen novel.  I can picture Emma Woodhouse, Elizabeth and Jane Bennett, and the Muskgrove sisters.  Maybe they have played up the pastoral and romantic style so one automatically thinks something like this when these tasks are undertaken.  Whatever the reason, none of these things are very romantic. It’s just a form of work, and work is rarely glamorous.

Signing off

~Kate