19 January 2009

Miracle Wrinkle Remover!

This is one of those confessions that makes people question whether you have a life: I iron sheets. I iron dishtowels too but somehow that seems less heinous. I don't even like ironing (although it's much pleasanter now that I can watch TV while I do it and, oh yeah, have enough head room to actually stand up straight). I've been reading Home Comforts, and the author keeps going on about ironing sheets. My initial reaction was precisely the one I mentioned above, but eventually--and I don't know what came over me--I said "That's it--I'm trying it."

And it is awesome.

I'm not saying ironing the bedsheets rocks my world, but damn they turn out soft. They don't even stay wrinkle-free for more than a night, but the softness lasts. Current weather dictates the use of flannel, and the iron turns that humble fabric into something far less prosaic. So now I iron sheets.

I've made this confession to few people, laughing in embarrassment whenever I have mentioned it. But as I was standing at the board earlier today, I got to thinking. One of my pet peeves is how everyone seems to be constantly on the run*, always busy, never slowing down. I'm not pointing any fingers here; I'm president of the local chapter of Type A personalities. The thing with ironing, though, is that it's not a fast activity. You can't speed it up or rush it or make it exciting. It forces you to slow down, to be aware of what you're doing, to move with care and deliberation. It gives you time to think (never a bad thing in my book). And in the end, you've accomplished something, whether that's improving your appearance with a wrinkle-free shirt or adding some softness and comfort to your life.

I don't know, but as far as I'm concerned, the life you have has to be measured by more than how full your day timer is. And you could do worse than breaking out the ironing board every couple of weeks.

*I'm not sure if it's a hazard of adulthood or just the age we're living in, but either way, I think we might all need to collectively slow down and take a breather once in a while.

14 January 2009

Cheap Thrills

I usually keep liquid Coffee Mate on hand to add to my crack iced coffee, but the cold weather lately has even me seeking out warmer beverages (I'm the nut who orders iced drinks and who craves DQ Blizzards during snowstorms). On a whim I experimented with what I had on hand and discovered that Caramel Vanilla Coffee Mate goes really well in hot chocolate (particularly Mexican hot chocolate) and Green Tea Chai. I'm sure it would work in regular Chai as well. Tasty, warm, and cheap--what more could you ask?

Now to solve the mystery of why I'm still finding pine needles all over the place a week after we took the tree down...

12 January 2009

Trends for the New Year!

Hello, all--hope you had lovely holidays and a promising start to 2009.

I love magazines, particularly decorating and garden mags. The photography alone is often worth the cover price. Even better is when publishers offer free trial issues to try to entice you to subscribe. After reading Canadian House & Home's January 2009 "Trends" issue, I'm really glad I didn't have to pay for it.

Right from the Editor's Page, I knew I was in for an unpleasant time. Quoth the editor attempting to justify trendiness in tough economic times: "At the end of the day, trends are about creating a sense of change and giving us a chance to experiment and reinvent ourselves."

This one brought out a snort of derision from this reader. Apparently one's existence is based on one's belongings, and a reinvention of self requires little more than buying new stuff. Excellent--we can all forget about taking classes, breaking bad habits, trying new things... we can just go shopping instead! But only as long as you follow the trends; simply changing something isn't enough--you have to change it the right way.

The next item that made me mentally twitch was the following decorating tip: "If you love a colour, if it makes you happy, then go for it--even if it's not a trend colour..."

Thanks for the permission! Can you imagine painting and re-painting your house according to the whims of fashion? Not only that, but choosing colours you don't even like simply because they're trendy? I sure couldn't. If you're not decorating your home the way you like it, you're really doing something wrong.

The article "25 Things to Eat, Cook, Buy and Read in 2009" was laughable. But at least now I know that tea is out while coffee is in; "butter is the new cheese"; the hot new carbs are whole grains; and food blogs are cool.

The silliest article was the one in which design "insiders" predict how we'll be living in the near future. Seeing as how so-called insiders are the ones who once predicted we'd be driving flying cars and eating meals in pill form by the year 2000, you can't really take their predictions seriously, but I have to wonder: do they? Do they honestly believe the future's going to be full of virtual dinner parties (you interact with your guests onscreen, thus avoiding the "hassle of travel") or that book lovers are going to replace their libraries with one or two electronic readers in order to save space? Does the U of T philosophy professor (somehow labelled a design insider) who prophesizes the demise of the car really think that anyone outside of major urban centres is going to give up driving (even in Toronto, a city with excellent public transit, just try to get from, say, Midland and Kingston to Bayview and Cummer without using a car. It can be done, but only if you've got several hours to spare for a trip that's around 25 minutes by car). His reason is worth a mention, as well. It won't be higher fuel costs or environmental concern that ultimately does in the auto; nope, according to our expert, "Creative workers no longer want to spend hours upon hours commuting." I'll let my blog readers ponder that gem. Meanwhile, if this article is to be believed, the future will be inconvenient, ugly (judging by the few included photos), and dull. For those reasons alone, I'm sure their vision of the future will stay in the realm of bad dream.

How's this for a trend for 2009: figure out what you like and then do it. With apologies to the people trying to sell magazines, I think I'll pass on the subscription and design my future on my own...