Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Resentful Day

I have had a house guest for a few days and those days have been very long ones.   My great-grandkitty, Bunny, was visiting while her Mum was traveling.  Bunny is definitely a character.  As Rebecca would say, she knows her own mind.  As my Aunt Pauline would say, she is a caution, and as my Aunt Dakki would say, she has spirit.  I won’t mention what I would say.

 You can see that Bunny is a beauty, and she indeed does have spirit – much like that of Gloria Swanson or Joan Crawford (or at least their public personas) – a diva to her core.

It was apparent from the start that Bunny resented having to visit Tobias and me.
Initially, she hissed at poor Tobias every time he tried to be affectionate, and would not give me the time of day.  When she settled in a bit, she became friendlier to both of us – letting me pet and caress her, and letting Tobias take his nap next to her.  But her mood was always a bit labile, and her bitterness continued! 

I understand that divas let their displeasure be known, and Bunny has done that.  She obviously resents being left behind by her mother, and feels that she would surely be a sensation if she too were to travel to New York! She showed her resentment is creative ways, as you can see.

The first shock!

The most awful shock!

By this time, not really a shock at all.

                                 I don't want this junk up here on my shelf!

That's better.

When it was time for Bunny to return home, her Mum was super happy to see her again. and Bunny was delighted to be back in her usual environs, and I have to confess that I was not distressed to say "Ciao" to her.  One person though, misses her, and has been looking all over the house for his fluffy friend.

Where is she?

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Spring Day

Van Gogh Spring Ordhards

Spring is finally upon us, in a manner of speaking, i.e., calendar-wise.  The weather has been fairly dull and dark, with the occasional ray of sun peeking through the misty, moisty gloom. On Sunday morning, buckets of rain hurtled down from the heavens, drenching everyone as they walked from here to very nearby there.  The vesting room in the Cathedral basement was flooded, and we had to paddle about to get our Sunday morning treats.  Later, in the afternoon, when the Schola ladies arrived, the water was inches deep, and the Schola burst into song – “Wade in the Water,” as that was what we had to do to get to our cassocks. 

Despite the dull weather, there are many glittering signs of Spring. The cherry trees are in blossom, the primroses are peeking up to greet us with their sunny faces, tulips and daffodils are basking in the occasional glint of sun.  The choir is singing Lenten music, and gearing up for Holy Week.  But the most cheering sign of spring is …….

A few years ago I was talking about my penchant for Peeps with some of my colleagues at work.  “Eeewwww!” they all said in unison, making faces of disgust. “Peeps are revolting!”  I was, of course, offended, but “chacon a son gout.”  However, a day later, another friend brought me a little Easter basket.  It had quite a few Peeps in it.  I was delighted, but as quick as a blink, my co-workers had gobbled up all of my Peeps.  This led me to believe that some must consider Peep-love to be a secret low vice - one which much be kept strictly secret - closet Peep eaters they were.  Rebecca, understanding my springtime needs, got me this new Peep bunny incarnation.  

Another sure sign of spring is Cadbury's Eggs.  Possibly better than Peeps, but one can't comfortably eat quite as many of them.  I had been resisting purchasing one, but Rachael surprised me with this little gift!  Yum.

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Mysterious Day

A few days ago, I was preparing an impromptu dinner for some friends who were in a hurry to get from here to there and didn’t have time to eat.  As I scuttled around, trying quickly to come up with a decent meal from a pantry (and fridge) almost totally bereft of food, I went to grab my sponge, which I had used just moments before…… and it was not there! It frequently is not there, but usually surfaces within a few minutes – twenty at the very most.  The guests arrived, and I still had not found it.  The dinner was eaten, the guests rushed off to their engagement, the dishes were washed (using the new sponge pictured), and still my sponge did not emerge.  Very mysterious.  It was simply gone!  And even more mysterious, it is still gone. 

My mother, like me, was a loser of things. Once on a shopping day, she purchased, among other things, a new pair of shoes.  She was quite pleased with her acquisitions, but did not tell us about them, because her shoes were a bit of an issue at our house.  She had well over a hundred pairs, and the rest of us felt that she did not need more.  (Rachael, who is so like my mother in many ways, seems to have inherited the shoe-love gene.)  Anyway, a week or so later, my Mutti began to get unpleasant whiffs of something amiss in her closet.  She let her nose direct her to the offender, and there, among the shoeboxes, was a packet of formerly frozen chicken, now bloody and stinky.  Yow!  She checked the freezer, and yes, there were her  new shoes.  My mother always liked a good joke, even if she was the victim, and confessed to the shoe purchase and her subsequent absent-mindedness.

Could something like this have happened to my sponge?  I was sure I hadn’t really left the kitchen in the time between its last use and its disappearance.  I checked the freezer, the vegetable bins, the garbage, and the food compost, but no yellow sponge peeked out of hiding.  The mystery remains!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Fun Reading Day

I just can’t seem to get away from our runs to the U District.  But this is really pretty tangential.  Once I get into really high whine mode, we slow down and smell the roses, so to speak.  In other words, we stop and look around in our favorite book stores.  The first one we come to is Magus Books, which always has a bargain book rack on the sidewalk in front.  We usually check over the current selection, and for the most part snobbily sneer at the offerings.  But every once in a while, there are some gems.  One day, I found several of these delights, priced at a dollar each!  But sadly, the store policy is nothing less that $4 on a debit card.  And I had no cash.  I was about to unhappily put my choices back, when the man said I could take them and pay next time.  Now this is excellent service.  And parenthetically, I actually did pay them the next time.  One of the books I found was “Hitty, Her First Hundred Years.”  I had never heard of it, but it was by Rachael Field, one of my lifelong favorites  - and on the cover, a gold Newberry seal!  How had I missed this?  Admittedly, I am not drawn to books about dolls, but I read Newberrys whenever one comes my way, and I have read Rachael Field since, when I was in grammar school, my mother brought me one (Time out of Mind) that she had enjoyed at my age.  I remember nothing about the story, but do recall sitting under a tree at a church picnic, unable to put it down, and being harassed to join the volley ball game.  (Ugh! Volleyball is a terrifying sport with that giant missile hurtling toward you, seeking to fracture your fingers or wrist, and then there is the verbal abuse you receive if you do the clever thing and duck.)

Anyway, this little book was a surprise and a delight!  I have recommended it to everyone I ever recommend books to, but the story of a doll elicits minimal interest.  In fact, no interest at all.  Sigh!  Poor them!  This was the best new-to-me book I have read in a long time. 
The heroine, Hitty, was carved from a piece of mountain ash by a tinker visiting a Maine sea captain’s family in the winter of 1820 or thereabouts.  The family was snowed in, so the tinker had to winter with them, and made the little doll for eight year old Phoebe Prebble, from a special piece of wood he had been carrying for years, telling her that the wood was good luck, as mountain ash was a sacred tree and one which wards off evil spirits. Phoebe sewed Hitty a chemise with her name stitched on it, and thus through her century of adventures, Hitty’s owners were able to call her by her proper name.  Speaking of “proper,”  Hitty is very.  She is a doll of a delightful personality, much concerned about propriety and her image.  She maintains her modesty and decorum throughout her world travels which include being lost at sea when her family’s whaling ship met disaster, becoming an idol among the cannibals on the island where she washed up, being part of a snake charmer’s paraphernalia in India, finally returning to America with a missionary’s family, traveling the Mississippi in a steamboat  and much more.  She always maintained her dignity, and always has perceptive and pungent comments of the doings of the humans around her.

If you enjoy reading excellent children’s books and you are not anti-doll, this book is a real winner.  And added bonus -- charming illustrations!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Fun Birthday

No, it was not Tobias's birthday, but Rachael's.  All the photos I took somehow got lost in my computer. So this adorable photo of my little man is to compensate.   

This has been a week of multiple blog-worthy events.  In fact, they left no time for actual blogging.  I have been remiss lately.  Plus, I am sure that you no longer want to hear about runs (actually slow trots) to the U District. My girls are determined that their old Mum should not become decrepit before her time, and demand that we frequently wear ourselves out (actually only I am worn one out) with this horrifyingly strenuous ordeal.  This has been a time taking activity, after which it takes me a day to recover. The most recent trot was on Friday, my little Rachael’s birthday. Rebecca and Rachael were polite and went slowly to accommodate their ancient forebear. I, however, did not view our pace as slow. By the time we got to the restaurant for our birthday dinner, my feet were nearly nonfunctional.  The lower half of me felt as though it were made of lead.  I recovered enough to stagger to the ice cream shop afterward, and then the inactivity on the bus ride home induced further foot paralysis.  Later we had Harry Potter desserts as requested by Rachael who had sent out links to appropriate recipes.  I made a treacle tart which was delicious, and Butter Beer which was not.  Even the determined Rachael could not drink it.  Rebecca had the wit to not even try. 

Peggy's beautiful and delicious salad

Among other blog worthy events was a hyper-fun Crafty Day and tea party hosted by the Darling Twins, with Peggy and Chris (both also darling.) 

And a terrific discovery in my skirt pocket at choir practice.  This had been there since some church fair (candy is often given out to entice customers to visit the various booths.) Those choristers sitting near me advised me not to eat it, as its age was unknown, but I am not so dainty.  Plus, one of my theories of life is that Tootsie Rolls to not go bad. 

Also a fun, fun outing with Samos to lunch and a visit to a très cute exhibit at the Asian Art Museum.  The exhibit included a sweet short movie with exquisite Japanese little girls in fanciful camo playing war games.  Hmmmm!  There seems to be a contradiction there, doesn’t there!

What else?  More runs to the U District, and another coming up this afternoon.    Sigh!  It is wonderful to be with my girls, and I am willing to suffer foot pain and exhaustion in order to have their delightful company.  I am a lucky mother and grandmother.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Another Sweaty Day

Beauty looking up

Whoa!  It’s been ages!  What a spectacularly lazy thing I am.  What have I been doing?  It seems like not much, but then again, it also seems like I have no spare time.  I understand that this is a common complaint.  Rebecca and I have been doing our twice weekly runs, and though short, they seem to take up a good bit of the day.  By the time we have drunk some tea, gone on our trot, often stopping at a lunch place, gone shopping, come home, drunk more tea, knitted a bit, the day generally seems to have been used up.  The more one goes on these trots, I find, the less hideous they become, and actually --- dare I confess it?  - are rather fun.  We frequently run through the Arboretum, one of the many lovely parts of Seattle, and always a varying beauty as the months and seasons go by. 

Or down

On a recent morning, we started from my house, and as Rebecca preferred a different sort of tea than that which I was drinking, I made her tea in a different pot.  For old time’s sake, I put it in one which was once my primary teapot, but which hadn’t been used in years.  As I picked it up by the handle ---

I stared agape as the tea gushed out over the counter, while Becca said, “Well, don’t just stand there.  Do Something.”  I continued to gape.  She grabbed a towel, and, trying to sop up the mess, sloshed the tea onto the cookie sheet of biscotti that I had just taken out of the oven.  They were now a soggy porridge rather than biscuits.  “No problem,” she said.  “Just roast them in a slow oven and they will dry up.”  She was right.  Actually their final texture was better than usual.  I don’t think I will try to reproduce it though. 

Speaking of baking, I have a lifetime history of lack of success making cheesecakes.  They have never been total failures, but have just not been adequately delicious.  My record has been broken now, as I recently made one which was really yummy, and not that much work.  You can find the recipe here if you want to try it.  It was super good.

It sunk in the center a bit, I'm afraid.  But still très tasty! 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Another Sweaty Day

I think I hinted in a previous post about what an unenthusiastic exerciser I am.  This has been a life-long truth.  I dreaded PE from the first grade onwards.  I probably would have dreaded it in kindergarten as well, but I don’t remember it happening there.  I imagine it did, but presented in such a way that the innocent didn’t suffer.  The nuns at my grammar school were not that into it either, but the head nun was an enthusiastic folk dancer, and this fell into the same horrifying category – physically coordinated things that I could not do and from which I endured great humiliation.  I loved swimming, roller skating, and riding my bicycle, but these were solo activities for which one’s performance was not judged.  So I could be not good at them, and still imagine I was doing well and have fun.  Then in high school came the shock and horror of organized sports – organized by a hideously enthusiastic and supremely athletic bunch on nuns.  This was a gruesome ordeal – gruesome before we even hit the games field.  We had to change out clothes in front of the other girls ( so mortifying,) and wear the most disgusting outfits ever.  Actually, not quite.  The class before us wore something way worse – a sort of one piece affair with an unflattering little skirt attached to an ugly blouse and puffy bloomers!  I could not believe it when I first saw them.  They were a minor consolation for the awful Bermuda shorts and blouse that we had to wear. 

When I was married, my husband Dennis was very interested in me being fit, and encouraged me to do push ups and jog around the block while he sat by and was encouraging.  Somehow, we both thought this was fun and funny. I am not sure why that was, given my disinclination for anything requiring exertion. 

My ideal exercise is turning the pages of a book, but as you can see, I have spent a lifetime of people wanting me to move more.  And Rebecca has joined this cadre of enthusiastic naggers.  She keeps sending me articles telling my how much healthier, smarter, happier, etc. I will be if only I get off my duff, and takes me jogging twice weekly.  Or maybe I should say weakly.  Anyhow, on our most recent run, I took her fabulous gift to me – my new brilliant phone – and it recorded our progress.  My phone had a GPS fluke and thought that I had gone much further and faster than I actually did.  We know this, because hers has been proven accurate.   I would like to think that I went as far as my phone said I did, but that would be fibbing.  Not fibbing though, is this photo, the first I ever took with it.  I said, gasping, “Let’s stop for a picture here.”  “No, no, we have to keep going,”  she replied. But she relented and I had a short breather so I could snap a pic for you.   

You can see a prettier photo from the same spot here