Cooking Classes


A Day in the Life of a Substitute Teacher

Dear Teacher,

Well, it has taken a full year to form some kind of relationship with these kids.  I would have never thought it would take so long.  We have come full circle - Josh is not only speaking to me and asking me for school help but he defends me when Thomas is rude.  Tom must have had a bad day because he was somewhat defiant and rude, not like him.  Jacob is Jacob and not much change there.  He never was a real problem.  Rebecca has more respect, still has her naughty side but that can be fun.  The twins cling to me.  John, is still not wanting to do his work but doesn't whine, much!  Joe has such a deep, pensive side and I am always thinking he is weighing each and every word I speak.  And the last, but not least, why can't I remember the name!  He is so sensitive and caring.

You have been doing some wonderful projects with them.  Those birdhouses are amazing and they are so proud.  And they showed me all the flowerpots for your wedding.  They love tending the bedding plants.  The library is 100% tidier.  I am sure you will miss them.

All the best in your new life!  I have a sister living in Yorkton.  BTW.  Such a small world.

So I guess I told you all this to soften you up for the kids' request.  They are wondering if we could go on a hike to the coulee the next time I come out.  It would be in the afternoon and be called a part of our phys ed time.  They say 2 hours, but I say it would be all afternoon.

Thanks for calling me to sub for you all year.  It was a good plan to book me for the entire year.  If not, I may have quit midstream!  They were a tough bunch for much of the time but they are so much more respectful and open with me now.  I can say what I feel without creating barriers.

So today, someone asked me if it was a good day.  I quietly said yes, and how was it for you?  Hmmm, it was good.  Melt my heart.



Where Have I Been....

I have not posted in more than a week .... Sorry!  Somewhere along the line I have overloaded my schedule.

I retired from real estate three years ago and wanted a simpler existence, more time for me, follow my passions.  In the beginning it was fun.  I lived in Winnipeg for the summer.  Then I found a house sit opportunity in East Tennessee and lived in the country for 5 months.  It was so much fun and I met so many wonderful people and without even realizing, I had done something I always wanted to do - visit the South.  I would not trade that experience for anything.

My next move was to buy a house in a little city on the Saskatchewan prairies.  And, still I had so much time to relax.  I worked in my garden, volunteered in the arts community, and had picnics in the country.

I once said to myself, "If I could spend the rest of my life cooking, I would be happy."  Well, be careful what you ask for.  I am cooking all the time but rarely eat and I am exhausted.

At the moment I am a substitute teacher (with 12 school days in May), work half-time at a real estate office, sell my food at the Farmers' Market on Saturday and dabble in catering and cooking classes.  Phew!  I am tired just thinking about it.  Something has to give!  It will be a summer of contemplation.

Tonight I finally served myself a nice meal.  It was a very simple meal but I really enjoyed sitting down with it.

This is Tagliatelle with Smoked Steelhead Trout in a Cream Sauce .  Saute finely chopped leek and fennel.  Add the flaked smoked fish, a splash of cream and freshly ground black pepper.  Add the drained pasta and toss with the sauce.  Add some of the pasta cooking water if you need to loosen up the pasta.  Garnish and serve with grated parmesan cheese.

(I had previously written that this was whitefish. I have no idea where that idea came from!)


Thursday is Market Day

There is so much Market news.  Today we had a meeting with the City who are trying to develop a Market Square with hopes of revitalizing the downtown core.  They want us to join them and are trying their best to make it workable for us.  So that is exciting.  I hope we vote to join them on Saturdays.

But, I now digress.  I have the basement tenant from hell.  He has a job but has not moved his household to this city yet so is only here Monday - Thursday nights.   Perfect!  He works long hours and showers at  work or the gym and doesn't get home until late.  Perfect!!  He doesn't watch tv or eat here.  Perfect!!!

So what has this got to do with 'Thursday is Market Day' or that he is the tenant from hell?  Well, it turns out that my tenant changed his tune after moving in.  He showers here every day or sometimes twice a day.  I came home one Monday afternoon and he was already home and in bed.  I guess the leaving early and coming home late is an occasional routine rather than the norm.

He asked if he could bring a television for his bedroom so he could watch the NHL playoffs in bed.  How was I to know that he would rip out all my nicely Shaw-installed cables and take my digital box so I was left without any television service?  Every week is a new adventure.

But the proverbial icing on the cake was when I checked on my milk chocolate bars in my cold room.   I check on them to see if they have sugar bloom.   I have plans to make Gourmet S'More Kits for the Farmers' Market.  The labels and packaging are already prepared.  So this is where the market comes in.... He ate all but two of my homemade organic milk chocolate bars!  All my hard work was wasted on a person who would be just as happy with Cadbury's from the corner store.  But, I guess that would mean getting out of my cozy basement and getting in his car and p-a-y-i-n-g for his treat.

That is only the first of a list of the tasty treats he stole from my pantry and freezer.  Needless to say, I evicted him. 

Last Saturday was my first day at the Farmers' Market for the season and a good day it was!  My regular clients came looking for cheddar crisps (buddy ate 3 packages of them) of which I had only one package to sell, my homemade graham crackers and my spanakopita.  I had a large variety of products and the strategy worked.  It will be a good year!

Back to the Monday, Tuesday, routine thing.  There was a time when we had a regimen.  We had a routine and chores were done with regularity.  I remember those days and remember all those wonderful tea towels that my mother embroidered with the cute sayings.

I have never had such a routine but I think it might not be a bad idea to add some regularity to the tasks I usually do.

So now we are at Thursday and it is Market Day.  Our local Farmers' Market happens to be on Thursdays (and Saturdays).   Is that a coincidence? 

I sell bread, baking and such at the Farmers' Market and today I took delivery of my flour order.  It is so nice to go into my pantry and smell that fresh grain aroma.  I am so glad to be excited about getting back to the market.  When the season ended last year I was so exhausted and I wondered if I would want to return this spring.

Follow my 5 week journey recreating the weekly schedule of women in days past:
Monday is Washing Day 
Tuesday is Ironing Day
Wednesday is Sewing Day


Wednesday is Sewing Day

When I retired from real estate, left my real life in Calgary and became a gypsy on a mission to find a new adventure, I bought a brand spanking new sewing machine to replace my old Pfaff that had become very unpredictable.  Why?  Well, perhaps it was because I wanted to get back to my original passion of sewing.  Or perhaps it was just very practical.  At any rate, I could not imagine my life without a sewing machine. 

My very first and only sewing machine was a gift from my father when I graduated from high school and enrolled in the College of Home Economics.  My father taught me how to sew.   I would love to know how he learned.   It would not surprise me if he taught himself this craft.

Well, that state of the art Pfaff served me well but after a very fruitful life and gradual demise and it was time for something new.  I purchased a Husqvarna with many of the modern bells and whistles.  It is a beautiful machine and I am so afraid to even touch it!  So far I have only done alterations and mending while I build my confidence.

A home ec friend that had done some sewing for me when I was deeply entrenched in my real estate career recently tracked me down at my new address.  She had a beautiful piece of fabric that I had left for her to make me an outfit!  She happened to be driving past my little town,  dropped it off and it is now my project.  I have an instant, and free, outfit - should I accept the challenge.  Now the real challenge is to muster up the courage to cut and sew.  

Can you even imagine that at one time women spent their Wednesdays sewing?  It could be a blessing or a curse.  I would love to have the freedom to spend my Wednesdays sewing without any other obligations.  I wonder if those women from my mother's era felt the same.  Would this have been a respite from the daily grind or a chore?  I vividly remember the many hours my mother spent with her needlework and I know it was a wonderful escape from the day to day chores for her.  Perhaps that is why I cannot imagine my life without sewing.

Follow my 5 week journey recreating the weekly schedule of women in the past:
Monday is Washing Day
Tuesday is Ironing Day