Tuesdays have become the day when all of my needs, both creative and emotional, are fulfilled in eight hours by my tribe of Attachment Parenting families. In the morning, the AP craft group meets at my house to learn a new skill or work on a project and share in the joys of parenting small children while playing with hot liquids and pointy sticks.
This week, Jen showed Kristen and I how to improve soap by milling it and then adding common kitchen ingredients. We started by grating twelve ounces of olive oil soap and melting it on the stovetop with nine ounces of water. Once you can trace a spoon across the surface, the soap is ready for whatever you would like to add.
Kristen added ground oats and cinnamon.
I added orange zest and cloves.
Once the ingredients were thoroughly mixed, we poured them into a shallow container and put them in the freezer to solidify. When the liquid has set, the soap needs to be left undisturbed for at least three weeks to dry. Then the bars can be cut, or milled again. As you browse the shelves of your favorite body store, you will notice the finest soaps have been milled at least three times. Something in the process of melting and remelting soap alters the chemical composition and produces a better soap.
After lunch, Owen and I head to aikido at Tenzan Aikido. Owen gets to run around, practice the disciplined spiritual art of aikido and play with his friends while I socialize with Sara and Rosie. This usually means that I knit while Sara reads to Rosie; I try to limit my interruptions to once per page. Today, I was (re)working the sleeve on my Café Bastille Cable sweater.
A few days ago I noticed that the sleeve seam was coming loose, and since the sleeves were not long enough, I decided it made more sense to try adding a few more inches than just tighten up the seam. Not sure how many more inches I wanted, I put the sweater on while I knit the shoulder. One of the mothers told me at the end of class that she and another onlooker were trying to figure out if I was knitting the sweater while it was on my body. That would be an amazing feat of flexibility! In the end, I decided the entire sleeve needed to be reknit because my gauge was tighter the second time around, which made the lower section seem sloppy. I frogged the sleeve and will redo it in the round using magic loop.
After aikido, we zoomed over to Salmon Bay to pick up Sophie from school, then zoomed back home to pick up a potluck dish I made during lunch for dinner at Sara’s house. To my delight, my zooming to and fro was so effective that I was able to spend a few extra minutes at home reading email, while Sophie and Owen played cards in the car; this met my need for a little solitude.
Sara had a bumper crop of six families arrive for dinner. As Matt and Sara tried to figure out how to fit everyone around the table, I caught up with Erika who had just returned from a nine-day Non-Violent Communication intensive in New Mexico. I am forever grateful to Erika to introducing me to NVC, also known as Compassionate Communication; it has changed the way I view the world and approach my personal relationships. Jen brought a fantastic twist on Cinderella for everyone to read: Cinder Edna. We shared great food and co-parented our large flock of children. It was a wonderful evening that met my emotional needs for connection and authenticity.
We managed to leave Sara’s without drama or hysterics, an improvement over last week, and get home in time for Sophie and Owen’s normal bedtime routine. Lance walked in the door just as we were starting to read our bedtime stories. He relieved me of my parental duties so I could join my knitting tribe at the Fiber Gallery for our weekly Sit ‘n Knit. I felt like Norm on Cheers as everyone told me how much they had missed me the last few weeks.
I love Tuesday.
PS. If you are interested in learning more about NVC, Marshall Rosenberg will be speaking at Town Hall on March 23rd. I saw him speak last year and can honestly say it rocked my world. I’m going to hear him again, but this time I’m taking Lance and hopefully a few friends with me.
PPS. The quinoa pilaf I’ve cooked two weeks in a row continues to please. The recipe, as requested, follows:
adapted from Cooks Illustrated
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 ½ teaspoons table salt
ground black pepper
2 tablespoons solid coconut oil
1 small onion , minced (about 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 medium cloves garlic , minced
¼ cup currants
¼ cup pine nuts , toasted in a small dry skillet over medium heat until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes
1. Melt coconut oil in large saucepan over medium heat; add onion and sauté until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes.
2. Add turmeric, cinnamon, and garlic to sautéed onion; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer.
3. Add quinoa and stir to coat grains with coconut oil; cook until toasted, about 3 minutes.
4. Stir hot water and salt into quinoa; return to boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 16-18 minutes.
5. Off heat, remove lid, sprinkle currants over rice in pan (do not mix in), and place kitchen towel folded in half over saucepan; replace lid.
6. Let stand 10 minutes; toss in toasted pine nuts, fluff quinoa with fork, and serve.