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Posts Tagged ‘aroma’

There’s a rhythm that beats from within …….

As I opened the front door this morning I was greeted by the glorious sounds of spring. The birds are all back and are beginning to do their fan dances to attract a mate. I was quickly brought back to reality with the recognisable stench of our resident skunk. He had awakened from hibernation and no doubt had had a nocturnal tussle right outside our front door. It is a vile smell and no amount of flushing with the garden hose could dull that impenetrable aroma. To add to my delight, today is a Show Day at our house. What a greeting this was going to be to all our prospective buyers.

skunkWC
Many of the ‘window shoppers’ are from the East so the layout of the house and its feng shui is vital. Already many had remarked that the patio door lined up with the front door. According to feng shui principles, this signifies that all the accumulated wealth would flow right out of the house! Now we could not have that happening! What about the fact that there were 2 large pots on either sides of the front entrance? In accordance with these very same principles, they are meant to act as bastions and therefore welcome in any guests/energy into the house. I wracked my brains …….what could I do to mask these factors which were playing havoc with the ‘energy’ today?
One of the big parts of winterising your house here in Canada is you need to drain all the outside taps and empty and pack up water features. That was it! My tranquil grey water feature was hiding and gathering dust right up on the top storage shelf in the garage. I gently pulled the ladder off its hook and slid it into position. Up I went like a spring rabbit. I leaned across and manoeuvred the heavy bowl to the side of the shelf. It wobbled and I took up the slack. Oh the spirit was so keen! There was no way I could get that huge dish off the ledge and down the ladder. That was if I did not want to somersault right off and onto the cement floor. I stood there and weighed up my options. I decided to take the sensible one which went so against my grain. I had to play the waiting game yet again. Big muscles and a steady hand were called for ……..and my son who had both those attributes was sleeping soundly.
I continued to clean and polish and the bright spring flowers were placed at strategic positions. I opened the door onto the deck and the fresh spring air blasted through the house. The sound of the returning mallard ducks could be heard from the stream below.
It is time to leave. Everything is ready. My water feature bubbles at the front door. The energy feels right and is here. You just have to open your eyes, ears and heart to feel it!
And the echoes of your melody will always live in these walls…..

Maison de Morkel jpeg

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You can call me queen bee…..

The bright face turned around in the queue at Starbucks. She smiled when she heard us discuss the prospect of our ‘grab and go’ breakfast. Changing her stance discreetly, she continued to examine our faces. I wondered what could possibly be of interest to her so early in the morning. I felt like I had egg on my face! Most of us were just trying to hold ourselves together before that first cup of coffee! The morning face had been slapped together haphazardly and all other faffing had been done in record time. We had a plane to catch and we still had to make it through the Seattle commuter traffic.

That familiar coffee aroma wafted through past us. Mmmm….. I could not wait to take my first sip of the delicious bean beverage. The intrigued onlooker darted another glance our way. Was it our South African accents? Did I have some remnant of our cuddles with the twins stuck to the front of my raincoat? I thought back to those two sleepy faces and their precious sweet baby smell. We were going to miss them but would keep a close watch through skype and rejoice in all their milestones.

Goodbye cuddles with Jack and Kate.

Goodbye cuddles with Jack and Kate.

The queue shortened and we placed our orders. In no time the frothy steaming cups were passed across the counter.

Two grande latté

At last, I made my way across to the service table to grab the cinnamon. In my mind this was the piece de resistance. Three shakes would suffice and I automatically continued my routine as if in my own kitchen.

How y’all doing?

I glanced up and there stood the friendly face of our gawker. Did I really need this now? All I wanted to do was to knock back my first cup and to be left to wake up properly.

The melodious southern twang continued to tumble out. The questions ensued and we gave answers between the first sips of our coffee. It turned out that she had been to South Africa and was drawn to us as it brought back so many happy memories. Her eyes sparkled as she recounted her trip up to Kenya too. Then she stopped, almost in mid-sentence and looked us in the eye.

Y’all look like Ken and Barbie!

There was much laughter. Those who were old enough to recall my favourite toy joined in. Maybe we could pass for Ken and Barbie’s grandparents!

What a delight our stranger was. She brought amusement and a feeling of rejuvenation.  On those mornings when we creak out of bed and dare to look in the mirror, I gently toss over my shoulder…..

“So how is my Ken doing this morning?”

Ken in his other role....

Ken in his other role….

Kate enjoys the sparkles that Barbie has to offer....

Kate enjoys the sparkles that Barbie has to offer….

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The mushroom cloud of gas ascended the staircase. It grew in intensity as more particles were exuded by the culprit. The whole house was asleep. It was not surprising, as it was 5 am in the morning and the temperature gauge outside on the deck read minus 9 C. I stretched in my comfortable warm bed and waited for the familiar sound of tea cups. This was our morning ritual…….give mom a cup of tea on waking and she could face anything that might come her way! So the rustling, banging and pinging of the security bell continued downstairs as doors opened and closed. My mouth was dry and I wondered if I should relent and assist the tea maker.  I turned over and decided against it, my bed was just too cosy. I was about to doze off again when my comfort zone was disturbed…….

“That damn chimney stack is probably churning something foul out into the atmosphere,” I shouted down to the tea maker. There was no reply but the flurry of activity continued. I stumbled down the stairs suffering from the effects of my lack of ‘the morning cuppa.’ The tea maker was anxiously sitting at the table with his eyes glued to the iPad.

“What is going on?” I am not big ‘on the morning patience thing’ until my being has been gentle coaxed into consciousness. The magical powers of the ‘English Breakfast’ brew is a wonderful start to any morning. But this morning was going to be a challenge as I would have to face it cold turkey. It was soon to become apparent that I might need something a bit stronger than just tea. The tea maker looked up from the computer An antidote has to be here somewhere…………

Josh had been ‘skunked.’ The little bugger ran off when let out for his ablutions and got into a tussle with our resident skunk. Josh has been watching out for him for ages from the lounge window. He had stared out longingly with his jaws quivering and had built up quite an appetite for the little creature.. He was after all a true terrier! The sight and familiar scent of this ‘delectable morsel’ was just too much for him to bear.  He ran across and seized the moment. There was much hissing and growling. I don’t think he was expecting the retaliation that he received. The skunk furiously responded and did what a skunk does best……. Ready, aim, fire and the target was hit! Bull’s eye! The viscous yellow goop dripped off his head and down the side of his coat. Josh was suitably humiliated and ran back to the front door with his tail between his legs.

 

The look of shame......

The look of shame……

 

I was later to learn that this chemical is known as mercaptan.  It has a strong, sharp lingering smell and was vaguely familiar. My stomach turned as Josh was carried into the bathroom. A memory of a stench I had once endured came flooding back to me. We had lived near a paper mill in South Africa and had endured the ‘aroma.’ You never forget that especially if you combine it with ‘morning sickness!’ Josh hung his head in shame and despair. He knew he smelt awful. He could also hear from the tone of our voices and the odd cuss word that we were not pleased. We washed and scrubbed and still the odour lingered. Oh my, this was going to be a marathon.

Three days later we continue to wage the war against ‘the smell’ and wonder whether this is just another step in the direction of becoming Canadianised. Surely a really cold winter will suffice?

 

 

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Pastries and breads to delight!

Pastries and breads to delight!

A little bit of what you fancy!

A little bit of what you fancy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-alLxD6Zqwg

 

“The usual, ma’am?” 

“Yes please, a latté with one shot and a buttery croissant. Don’t forget the cheddar cheese on the side.” This is my favourite! I think you could wake me up in the middle of the night and I would devour it with the same enthusiasm. The flakey pastry, the aroma of the freshly brewed coffee combined with the cheese. This is manna from heaven!

I have discovered that Canadians are territorial when it comes to where they purchase their coffee. They all seem to make their usual stop on the way to work or to drop off the kids. Some establishments are even ‘drive thru’ which allow them to make a quick get away. But the less hurried one’s walk out with their coffee poised in the ‘Canadian Salute’ position. A smile breaks out once the first sip of caffeine hits their taste buds.

I, on the other hand, do not go in for the usual chain like establishments. Something quaint, intimate and personal is more my style. In this place I have become a regular too. Oh for someone here to know that I have ‘a usual’! There is a whole lot of comfort in that with so many unknowns. I gaze around and notice the magazines and daily newspaper lie ready for my perusal. The hat rack ready to receive my coat and the best……the croissants are fresh and ready to be eaten! While I order my coffee I notice a few of the other regulars. There is an elderly lady who slowly maneuvered herself around to her favourite corner. Her red velvet hat is perched at a cheeky angle. She eats alone but takes in her surroundings and listens to the chatter. She always orders an English breakfast with all the trimmings and elegantly makes her way through the whole lot. She smiles at those closest to her but seldom speaks.There is also  a quick visit by a hurried mother who charges in to grab a pastry for a fractious child and then darts out again. But most of us who visit this establishment have the gift of time to spare.

The warm coffee thaws my cold limbs and I feel the croissant that touches just the ‘right spot.’ This time I have Josh with me so I am perched outside in the street on a collapsible chair. If I am lucky a sunbeam might just touch the tips of my feet. It is less relaxing as I have to restrain Josh from any canine encounters. But he does initiate some conversation from passers by who are amused by his fervor. I  still receive the friendly greeting and get ‘my usual’ served up to me. The atmosphere stretches out onto the pavement. I savour it amongst my coffee spills from an overly zealous dog.

 

 

 

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It is March break and the cupboards are being raided by teenage boys in my house. In the mornings I find the empty bowls of ice cream and tell tale wrappers of the ‘good chocolates’. Nothing is sacred in the path of this mob, but I do so love the fact that they think it is cool to hang out at Maison de Morkel. They seem to have endless energy, probably the high carbohydrate diet of expensive chocolates allows them to stay up till the wee hours of the night. This results in me tip toeing around the place till lunch time so that they can get there 10 hours in. There are times however that I resort to ‘The Mother’s March’. This is when the scorpio in me rears it’s head. I rush around and bang doors, put on the dishwasher and the washing machine and for a bit of added crescendo…the tumble dryer!

 This whole exercise is marvelous for any deep seated tension that might be lurking in this stay at home and recently retired mother. It also has a profound effect on young men and they seem to respond by bouncing out of bed and stumbling down the stairs. The kitchen is obviously their first pit stop and they open the fridge as if at a bookshelf. They stare glibly into the shelves and scan the contents for delectable treats. These have been hidden by a much practiced mother under the healthier options. They continue to stare and the duration is usually influenced by whether their brains have kicked in yet. Once the IQ begins to function, the problem solving begins….where has mom hidden ‘the quick breakfast food’ this time? For those of you who are not familiar with the term ’quick breakfast food’…… this is the food that requires no cooking or preparing and can just be put into a mouth and swallowed. I have learnt that it is incredibly difficult for a teenager to try to wake up and prepare a sandwich or bowl of cereal at the same time. The brain just cannot do it!

There are those wonderful mornings when I wake up and smell the delicious aroma of flapjacks being tossed in the kitchen. Can you believe they are made from scratch?

 A greater force moves them to get up…. it is not the banging of household appliances….. it is far greater than that. Maybe it is a sudden surge of hunger pangs. Whatever it is, I am so grateful as the ‘Mother March’ does not have to  be executed and I can get to enjoy breakfast in bed!  

Flapjacks with maple syrup.....mmmmmm!

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