25 August, 2012

Just me and the spiders

This week I've been learning the joys, and the loneliness, of solitude.

I recently moved into a new apartment and I have the whole place - a kitchen, lounge, flatscreen TV (not much on besides summer re-runs of The Mentalist) , spacious bedroom (my favourite feature being the light in the closet...genius!), cute little bathroom and a small porch complete with couches and candles - all to myself! I can keep the space neat and clean and clutter-free, I can cook and bake at any time of night or day, I can read, sleep, sit and think without interruption or housework or school work.

The peace and quiet is lovely!

But it's also surprisingly lonely.

In college I lived with 3 other girls...on a campus containing about 1500 chattering, sleep-evading, caffeine-loaded students. There were always people around, always someone to see, always someone to see you, seldom a moment alone. It was fun. And frustrating.

In Zim home is also crowded and loud, but in a different way. There's usually 6 to 9 other people in the house and that amount of people takes quite a bit of maintenance. The cooking, cleaning, driving, organizing, tea-making, eating, planning and talking seldom stops. There's always something needing to be done. Solitude requires a deliberate and determined effort at separation, something I didn't find very easy.

Now that I'm living by myself, I appreciate the chance for solitude. But the alone-ness will take getting used to.

One of the features of my new apartment is the abundance of spiders. They live on the ceiling, in the closets, above the doors and under the lamps. I'm not a huge fan of bugs but I don't really like killing them, spiders especially. It seems rather arrogant and thoughtless to kill bugs for the sake of it, simply because we humans are bigger and think they're yucky. After all, they got here first and they're useful in getting rid of the ugly bugs and stinging mosquitoes. And they're company. But they aren't the nicest roommates - they build their webs in new places each night so I get a faceful of fluffy web each time I walk onto the porch, they leave empty bug carcasses on the floor and sometimes (I admit) I find them a little creepy. But more than that, their presence makes me feel like my house isn't lived in (by humans, I mean. Or at least a human). So. There's my conundrum. The presence of the spiders goes against my clean, neat, house-motherly feelings but they're not really hurting me, they're useful creatures and they're company.

It's sort of the same way I feel about my solitude; I both appreciate it and I'm afraid of it.

I've taken to turning on BBC Radio in the mornings before work because I'm unnerved by the lack of people-presence. When I wake up now there's no hum of voices coming from behind the kitchen door at 6.30 in the morning, no warm pot of tea sitting on the counter or bowls of porridge steaming on the table. There's no yellow glow of light under bedroom doors in the hallway at night, no loud conversations and laughter over big suppers, no crowding around the kitchen table for tea and discussions, no one to eat my baking, not even the sticky slobber of dogs to greet me when I walk outside in the garden. I have the solitude that I've craved so often over the past 5 years but I'm not sure how I feel about it. I'm sometimes thrilled and embrace it wholeheartedly, but I'm sometimes uneasy and want to flee to find people, noise, and conversation.

So...what do I do with the solitude, and what do I do with the spiders?

For now, I think I'll let them stay. But every now and then I might just chase them both away to embrace a little more noise, a little humanness, and a little companionship.

23 August, 2012

Seeded fridgecake

I just made the best fridgecake I've ever tasted! And I just sort of threw it together with whatever I had in my kitchen. Here's how...

4 oz (1/2cup) butter
3T cocoa powder
2T honey
3T maple syrup
250g vanilla wafers
1/3C raisins
2T sunflower seeds
2T sesame seeds

Melt the butter on the stove, add the cocoa, honey, and syrup.
Crush the wafers. Add the raisins and seeds.
Combine the butter mixture with the wafer mixture until well-coated. Press into a small brownie pan and refrigerate for 2 hours. Annnndddd....voila! the seeds just make it yummo!