Getting Schooled

Appreciating the efforts of the labor movement by showing my own work – I made soap! Clockwise, starting at the top left – chai pumpkin (with actual tea and pumpkin puree), ginger calendula, goat milk & oatmeal (which the hubster suggested I call goatmeal, but I worried it would sound a little Sweeny Todd-ish), juniper forest, minty-mint, and avocado (with avocado puree). What an education I’m receiving, and part of the reason I am getting schooled! Soap making is one part dreaming, two parts science. So, as one would imagine, the dreamer in me is having to hold back on my “What if I…” questions a little while I figure out the nitty-gritty of the rest.

For instance, the color of the soap. I honestly have no idea what each batch will be. Take the avocado – my blend of oils was quite yellow with a very green avocado puree, and it turns out that beautiful creamy color. It also has an avocado shaped spot in the center where the soap turned to jelly while it was saponifying.

Saponifying! Where you mix room temperature water and lye to get a 180 degree chemical reaction (then cool), to which you add oil and whatever else strikes your fancy (well, almost), which gets crotch pot cooking hot, yet again, before turning into soap. It’s science! It is also crazy caustic in the nascent stages, so I wear an actual lab coat and safety goggles and gloves, oh, and garden clogs to keep the tootsies safe, too. The hubster loves my costume. Science is cute! Who knew?

And the results? Toot-tooting my own horn here, pretty damn snazzy! Of the seven I’ve made, only one batch turned out less than stellar, a lemon coconut milk, because I didn’t know (and the recipe didn’t specify) that milks need to be frozen because they are super-heated by the lye and can burn. Like I said, I’m getting schooled.

Fragrances fade or don’t come out at all as expected. The juniper forest (a nod to our sweet girl) was supposed be reminiscent of a forest hike but smells like something else entirely. I don’t know what, exactly, but I like it. Fresh! Colors are unpredictable and also fade. Texture can be tricky, too. Next time I make mint, I will puree the leaves, so that everything is super fine. No clumpy clumps of mint to drop in the sink. But goll-ee it smells delish (yeah Grandma, that’s a nod to you), and they all feel lovely from head to toe. So far so good! Closest friends and relations, get ready for the gift of soap.

And my other bit of schooling? I got a job! Who knew it was even possible after the hundreds of rejections I’ve received over the years. I caption calls for the deaf and hearing impaired. We call ourselves professional eavesdroppers and basically repeat, word for word, everything that the person (or machine) says to the hearing impaired into voice recognition software. It pops out on a nice little screen in the homes of countless thousands. It is super challenging and equally satisfying. Without our service, our clients would be drastically cut off from the outside world. I just need to sharpen my speed talking skills. Wowie, do people, myself included, talk nineteen to the dozen.