This week has just blown by. I have moved from visit to kitchen to visit and back without hardly a pause, it seems. It has been a struggle to enjoy each moment, rather than stress about the work (paid and thesis-related) that is going undone. I’m torn between being with my family during this short visit and actually doing the work I’ve committed to. Could there be a more “grown up” dilemma? I guess somewhere along the way, when I wasn’t looking, I became an adult. Although anyone observing my sleeping habits this week would put me firmly in the teenage years! Staying up until 1 am and sleeping in until 10 am is hardly the behaviour of an adult…
I wish I had decided that this would be a week of complete vacation from the outset. Then any work I got done (and there has been a little bit of that) would have been a bonus rather than the absolute minimum I can get away with. So much depends on perspective. Rather than look sadly at my untouched list of to-dos, I would be basking in the time spent with family and friends. Certainly my stress level would be lower!
I’m going to try to achieve this perspective this weekend, at the annual (small) family reunion of my Dad’s immediate family. Starting from when we leave the house this afternoon, any work I get done in the “off hours” is going to be the icing on the cake. My mission will be to see my family, relax, and have fun. Maybe writing it here will make it come true! I certainly hope so.
Even though my “work” output this week has been abysmal, I was still productive! I “produced” a total of 10 litre jars of peaches and 16 quart jars of chili sauce. The chili sauce is more of a tomato salsa, but that is what my grandmother called it so the name stuck. I make it every year for my grandfather since you can’t buy in the stores and he just loves it. It is an epic process, requiring a full day of peeling and deseeding tomatoes plus a full day of cooking and canning. On cooking day I had all four burners on the stove going at one point, plus some jars in the oven getting sanitized. My arms and shoulders were aching from all the lifting. The result is a sweet tomato and onion spread that goes great on pretty much any kind of meat. It is a delicious product, but what makes the work truly worth it is the look on my grandfather’s face when I deliver the jars. Having helped my grandmother with the canning process years ago, he knows exactly how much work it takes, and appreciates every bit of it.
And it is that appreciation that has kept me motivated to make this crazy, love-in-a-jar chili sauce four years running.