“I am in very good anchorage here. Well supplied, and want for nothing.”
Jane Austen, Captain Harville in Persuasion
The above quote is from one of my favourite moments in all literature. It is the penultimate scene of Persuasion; the protagonist, Anne Elliot, is deep in discussion with Captain Harville, the close friend of her estranged love, Captain Wentworth.
It is a very important conversation and a crucial plot moment, but I won’t get into that because it would take me forever to get that out of my brain and onto the page. What I really want to talk about here is the turn of phrase Harville uses. He is a naval officer speaking in the terms of his trade; the “good anchorage” of which he speaks is Anne’s company and conversation. He’s fully enjoying where he is and has no need to hurry elsewhere. To me, the metaphor of being in good anchorage is just so perfect.
Most evenings, when the waters are still and all is quiet, I set anchor. I bring my basket of yarn from my room and set it beside me on the couch where I sit cross-legged in the corner. I pull the coffee table right up to the edge- laptop open, notebooks stacked, pens and pencils spread out. My phone is beside me on the arm rest and perhaps a cup of mint tea and some sort of treat. I’m completely boxed in with things, there’s no getting up to wash the dishes or go the bathroom. The couch is my boat, my anchors are down for the night, and it is good.
Sometimes Addison comes home from a meeting and wants to sit on the couch with me which is entirely covered with yarn by this point to which I reply, “Too bad, sailor- I’m the captain of this ship!” Just kidding, I let him join me.
Sometimes good anchorage is lying down in a patch of shade after a long walk in the sun. Or sometimes it’s with a pot of tea on my parent’s patio. And sometimes it’s in a totally staged photo. Not just the photo itself but also in the staging of the photo- in playing with pretty things, in pouring the tea while sipping a cup of coffee and arranging the autumn throw just so, in surveying the scene and thinking to myself, “I would like to sit there”.
I’ve never been a tidy person, so I don’t know why now, when the odds are more against me than ever, I have subconsciously decided to have a strong need for things to be shipshape. I crave control in the face of chaos.
Children are perpetual motion, spinning to bedlam. Unless you constantly chase after them with a broom, dustpan, mop, micromanagers from the lego movie, spray bottle filled with anti-stain solution, some tissue, and a damp facecloth, your house will definitely look like it got hit by a perfect storm of Duplo, snot, and peanut butter in about 10 minutes. And this is barely an overstatement.
The problem is, I can’t always chase my kids with all the aforementioned supplies because I need to do other things like nurse my baby, or look at Pinterest, erm meal plan for my family, so I leave the whirling dervishes to their own devices. But there is always a price to pay.
Like right now, for example, I’m sitting at my kitchen table writing this post while Mabel sucks on an orange slice and the other two are doing who knows what in the playroom (I did just give a half-hearted direction to put the lego away- so that’s totally happening).
The fact is, I’m a really slow writer but I’d like to be faster. So as training, I’m trying to see how fast I can whip off this post while racing against the Clock of Total Disaster; to just write and not care how mundane it is. I also really don’t want to wash my dishes.
And speaking of dishes; If I ever put my big girl pants on today, I will make a batch of this giant frittata for a week of breakfasts.
I’m stoked about this recipe because I kind of invented it. First, roast sliced potatoes (sliced into rounds like scalloped potatos, with some chopped up breakfast sausages, and a sliced red onion at 350 for 30 minutes. While it’s cooking, whip up a dozen eggs with a splash of cream. Take the pan out the oven, pour the egg mixture over, add a few tomato slices and some salt and pepper and put it back in the oven for another 30 minutes.
Cut into 12 pieces, put some in the freezer and some in the fridge for a few days worth of breakfast or lunch. It’s also a great potluck dish because nothing jiggles if you have to transport it somewhere.
Ok, I’ll end there. It’s time for me to put my micromanagers into action.
A dog-eared classic novel, a leather bound journal, your favorite mug, and, of course, a pot of steaming hot tea. All enjoyed under an autumn throw on a paint chipped deck overlooking the mountains and your neighbour’s vegetable garden. It’s one of those moments. The English language can’t quite sum it up, but the Dutch word “gezellig” captures it nicely. According to dutchamsterdam.nl “gezellig” is a crucial part of Dutch culture with no direct translation in the English language: “Literally, it means cozy, quaint, or nice, but can also connote time spent with loved ones, seeing a friend after a long absence, or general togetherness.” I’m not Dutch, but when I learned that there was a word for that cozy, warm, comfortable, glowy feeling I value so much, I wondered if there is perhaps a hidden strand in my DNA. I do have blonde hair and I drink a lot of coffee, so…
If all the Instagram photos of hot cups of coffee and open notebooks are an indication, Cozy is a culture which crosses national boundaries and Cozinesters are a tribe in themselves regardless of their ethnicity. I consider myself a life-long learner of coziness, I often find myself tweaking my surroundings to achieve that ultimate feeling of “gezellig”. So, (hashtagleaduptobigannouncement) as part of my study, I am developing a line of crocheted cozy-time accessories all of which are available in my little (very little right now :p) etsy shop.
So if you are in the market for a tea cozy, or need a little more gezellig in your life, please check it out. But as per usual, no pressure
Shop the Cozy Culture by tangledsunrise line of tea cozies here. If you are local to me (East Vancouver), you can order by email: firstname.lastname@example.org for free local delivery.
“I’ve heard it given through a truth, that as the world goes round, so it comes round again..”
Mr. Plornish in Little Dorrit (the movie, not the book)
It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post, so let me catch you up to speed.
Last July we moved from one East Vancouver basement suite into another one much more handsome, less hallway-y, and conveniently located in my parent’s house. We settled in as quickly as possible- I was nearing the boiling point of my pregnancy. Literally. It was a very hot summer.
In those last weeks before my due date, I developed a paranoia of going into labour at an inconvenient time such as in rush hour traffic, in the middle of a parking lot, or on a long walk. I had an irrational fear of becoming incapacitated and unable to protect my reckless toddlers from oncoming traffic or rabid dogs so I refused to go out alone with the kids for several weeks.
Instead, I spent the dog days of summer loafing around on a lawn chair in our new backyard while my toddlers played in a plastic sandbox with buckets of recycled water (you will recall the stringent water restrictions).
It was a happy and slow month. I nested to my heart’s content and packed and repacked my hospital bag which I never ended up using as our daughter Mabel obliged us by arriving right to our doorstep exactly on her due date (translation: we had planned a hospital birth, she was born at home, and it was actually awesome).
She was and is a mellow and squishy wonder.
Before all of that, I gave myself a nice long break from blogging (moving and birthing were quite enough for me). Then my computer broke which extended my break, but NOW I have a new-to-me laptop, a new camera, and I am back.
There was also fall and winter but they flew by so fast that I hardly know what to mention about them. I remember we ate a lot of breakfast for dinner.
Something about the sunny days and spring in the air has given me the urge to write again. In the winter I think about myself- I dwell deep in the cave of my introversion, I crochet hats, I write lists, I live inside my mind a lot. But in the spring, the season of new birth and new growth, I must express myself! I want to tell the world how I am feeling, what I am thinking, and how I feel about what I am thinking.
Actually, I don’t know if any of that is true. Am I more broody and introverted in the winter? Am I more expressive in the spring? I don’t know. Who cares. Here I am and here we are.
But while we’re on the topic of seasons, I would like to talk about seasonal creativity. Certain ventures are undeniably tied to specific seasons. For example, cold weather lends itself to staying indoors making cozy things, crafting in preparation for Christmas; whereas sunny days lend themselves to sunbathing on the roof or pulling out the camera to capture the new buds of spring.
However; apart from the natural seasons of creativity, I do feel my own tendency to pick up and put down projects at a whim. My craft bin is a jumbled mess of many different mediums and starting a new blog isn’t exactly a new thing for me (sheepish giggle). I used to feel uncomfortable with being so inconsistent but I’m slowly learning to accept it as part of my humanity. It is simply not in my nature to be 100% consistent (and thank God that it IS in His nature!).
I rotate through creative outlets the way I would get my newborn to sleep- through an elaborate pick-up, put-down, pick-up, put-down routine. The good news is, I have begun to notice something of a pattern in my inconsistency. I tend to cycle back to the same endeavors in one way or another. All the name changes and long breaks, all this rigmarole is just a game I need to play to keep myself engaged. It’s my way of harnessing the instant gratification monkey inside my brain. I also really like naming things.
Why am I sharing all this with you? Perhaps I just love talking about myself (perhaps?). Perhaps I am trying to explain my prolonged absence without seeming like a total flake. Or perhaps I am looking for a commonality because maybe you’re like me. Maybe you too are a person of many interests. Maybe you too need to be perpetually distracted in order to accomplish anything, and through the discovery of this common trait we can form a strong and lasting bond- a “you too?” moment, if you will. A moment in which our friendship can be born.
I realize that if you’re reading this, the chance that we are already friends IRL is quite high so picking up where we left off should be pretty easy. If you’re new here, let me explain: there was a thing that I did for a little while, and then I didn’t, and now I am again. Stick around. Or don’t; that is your prerogative (but I sure hope you do!).
Thanks for reading, friends.
Friendship is born at the moment when one man says to another
If you’re here it means you have scrolled all the way back to my oldest post on this site. Thanks for reading! And if you were hoping for more, don’t worry. There is more. This is, in fact, my fourth first post. Feel free to click on any of the following links to experience the full range of my creative expression on line.
Last summer I was blogging at this address. The summer before that, here. And before that, I was singing songs and strumming little tunes here.