Friday, September 25, 2009

An unexicting day day

I’ve been sick all week! Fortunately, not too sick to enjoy ill health, but sick enough to not do much besides knit and read. What more could one ask?
Yesterday was my first day really out and about, and I had a date with the dentist. I planned to do lots of fun things after my appointment, and take lots of fabulous pictures, but I guess I wasn’t feeling quite that spiffy yet because I had a sort of lackluster afternoon, and my pictures are definitely lackluster as well. I met these two of Seattle’s Finest, and asked them some dumb question about what they were doing there. The one of them explained that they were on a coffee break, and that if an emergency happened, his partner (the human partner, not the horse) would handle it.

This horrible dress was in the window at Nordstrom's, and I am wondering who would ever wear it! It looks like it was knitted by someone on drugs. Actually it looks a little like my first knitting attempt - the shawl for my Grandmother that I knitted in Sister Hilda Marie’s eighth grade class. At the time, I thought it was a pretty cool accomplishment, and Grammer pretended to like it. But needless to say, I never saw her actually using it. It did have its own unique trapezoidal and holey personality. I would probably find these qualities unacceptable in a shawl I knitted these days.

I will let you guess what the third picture is.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A remembering day

My cyberfriend Barb, related some tales of her puppy’s recent antics, and one thing in particular reminded me of my darling little cairn terrier Leslie. I have a very similar bit of woodwork in my kitchen that my adorable Leslie ate, trying to burrow his way out. He had been put there for an hour while I was away from home, so that he wouldn’t eat anything he wasn’t supposed to and cause more damage. I thought the kitchen was the one room where there wasn’t much he could destroy. I was, of course, mistaken. Later, confined to the kitchen again, in desperation, he ate the whole floor. It was ugly anyway. Prior to that, (and the reasons for the confinement,) he had eaten a very old oriental rug, an early 19th century edition of Shakespeare with beautiful illustrations, and the stuffed koala bear I got at the UN when I was 13. He ate a nightgown while I was actually wearing it. How can this be, you ask? Well, at the same time, I had a cat who thought I was his mother, and nursed on my nightgowns in bed at night. Somehow, I thought this was happening again. But he was eating as well as nursing, and he ate a big hole. All this was in his first year. It's a wonder that he safely reached his first birthday and that there ever was a second one. *
This would be a tribute to his incredible adorability and sweeness. Later in life he stuck more to food, but still had a bit of an eating disorder. One evening after Becca had been making Christmas candy all day, she, Rachael, and I were in my bed watching Shirley Temple in Heidi. It was a dramatic moment in the movie. The Grossvater was driving his sleigh through the snowy town, calling, “Heidi, Heidi,” and Shirley was inside the Sessemann house weeping, kept in check by the evil Fraulein Rottenmeier. The three of us were weeping too. As our tears streamed down, I heard an ominous noise at the side of my bed. “Gnarrrf, gnoughk!” I looked down, and there was my little Lesile, staring at me piteously with his stomach heaving. I leapt out of bed, quickly moved him off the rug, and a stream of white foam spewed forth. Just like when you make divinity fudge! And it spewed, and spewed. He had eaten the remains of a ten pound bag of sugar which Rebecca had not secured! (Who would think they needed to secure the sugar?) Another time he ate a LARGE can of rolled oats and another, a large jar of peanut butter. These last two things also made him quite sick. The oats produced the effect that one would expect from eating lots of fiber. We had to tread carefully for several days. I might add that he got the lids off of the oat can and unscrewed the peanut butter jar himself. We had to get a sugar jar for the table – the kind you find in restaurants with screw on lid. He was not foiled. The oat can still has his little teeth marks on it and I have loving thoughts every time I see them. He lived to a ripe age of 16, despite his eating habits, and I still miss him every day.

* The blogger program seems to be deciding where I should make a new paragraph. Please excuse disjointed paragraphing. J

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A comfort needing day

You may have noticed that I have been making many things tapioca lately.  A while ago, I read a recipe for tapioca pudding – the ordinary vanilla and utterly yummy kind, and also the ultimate comfort food - on the always reliable 101 Cookbooks blog.   I was itching to make it.  Last week Ana came to watch Deanna Durbin movies with me and to help make dinner, (she always helps make whatever we are having) and I decided to give it a go.  The recipe gave many dire warnings about not having the heat too high, cooking it slooooooowly so it would not burn and turn disgusting.  Ana was working on the garlic (this was to go into our entrĂ©e, not the pudding) and I was stirring on the pudding.   And stirring, and stirring, and stirring.  Finally, the suggested time had long passed, and I felt weak from so much stirring.  Ana said I maybe should work on the garlic and she would stir.  She told me I was being way too wimpy with the heat, and boldly turned it up!  And suddenly there was wonderful tapioca pudding – velvety, vanilla-y, and very, very tasty.  I had planned to take a picture and tell you all about it, but a certain little person came home and found it, and felt that she too needed some comfort, and so ate it up.  Just like Goldilocks! 

I woke up this morning in  dire need of comfort, so I made it again, this time being bold and turning the heat up right at the start. It was wonderful!

 The pudding requires two egg yolks, so I made some cute little meringues with the leftover whites.  Would you like the recipe for the meringues?  So easy!  Beat the two whites until they are very stiff, sprinkle in one cup of sifted powdered sugar slowly while the beater is still going, and continue to beat for ten minutes.  (This is the sort of thing I probably would never do if I didn’t have a Kitchenaid to do all the work.)  Add a little flavoring – vanilla, lemon extract, a bit of instant coffee, a sprinkle of cocoa – whatever!  With a bigger batch, you can divide it and make several flavors. Then, either spoon blobs onto an oiled cookie sheet, or squirt them out of a …… well, what might it be called?  a pastry bag with a biggish star tip.  Very impressive and very easy. Actually, they are a little culinary miracle! 

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A happy choir day

The choir year starts up this weekend, and I am, as ever, happy and excited about it.. While it is great to have the summer off, it is way more great to return in September. We always begin the year with a choir retreat which includes a choir blessing and dinner one evening, and an all-day day of voice technique review, lectures, lots of rehearsing, and lots of happy reunions with friends not seen for a while. We usually conclude with a Mass, and this year the Mass was the wedding of two parishioners. The groom, a singer himself, dropped in to sing a little Mendelssohn and give us a treat. He is a policeman, so the natural treat was wedding donuts. When he told us there would be donuts, we were thinking, donuts ordinaire. But no ordinaire here! Aren’t they beautiful? We were amazed.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Yet another too hot day

It’s very hot today, and I had to go shopping. All by myself. Two things to make me feel like I am not having a good day. Happily, I was shopping in Chinatown, which, like the Pike Place Market, is always interesting and a little less awful than other shopping venues. I had no adventures, just went, suffered some, and came home. I documented my trip slightly, and here are some pictures you might like.
To the right is Japanese paper – I always stop and admire it when I am in the Japanese book store. I also have to admire the little office and school gadgets and restrain myself from squandering money on them. Here are lovely pencils, and I think the other things are food shaped erasers, but I’m not really sure.
Lastly, some objects which were floating in little vats in the Asian food market. My questions is, “Animal, mineral, or vegetable?” I think we can probably eliminate mineral. They were situated sort of in between the vegetable and fish section, so their location was not a clue. They don’t really look like either. Or rather, they look a bit like both. Initially, I thought “bamboo shoots,” but they looked a little more fleshly than your run of the mill bamboo shoot. I asked the man what they were, but he didn’t speak English, and just stared at me uncomprehendingly. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sunday – gosh, that was three days ago, but I’ve been working ever since, and have nothing to report on that front – anyhow, Sunday was a very busy but fun day. My main agenda item was to clean the house, as there was almost a whole other Margaret spread out over the rugs, with big gobs of Maria as well. You barely could see the carpets through all the dog and cat hair. I went to church (first picture, our beautiful organ) and Joseph, apparently feeling frisky, brilliantly played some of my favorite Bach pieces. Real toe-tappers. After church, my friend Judy and I fought our way through torrential rain (Hurrah! Summer is over!) and went for lunch to a new-to-me Vietnamese restaurant. We had lovely golden papaya salad which was scrumptious indeed. It was so good that we gobbled it up before taking its picture. When we came out of the restaurant, the sun was shining brilliantly. (Oops! Maybe not quite over!). We passed a store with Vietnamese treats, cookies and candy, and stopped in to look at the wares. The proprietors were very nice and gave us samples of some of the sweets. Here is the proprietress, handing me my purchases. She was kind of fascinating, and reminded me of an Asian Tammy Faye. I bought some yummissima sesame cookies and some of Becca’s favorite type of sesame candy as a hostess gift because she was fixing a faaabulous dinner for us. Here are Dakki and Rachael enjoying a moment of postprandial bliss. And darn! I didn't get my housecleaning done.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A mostly fun day

I had a little list tasks to accomplish today, and then the remainder of the day to squander as I would. And since this was my third day in a row off work - a thing that very seldom happens – I felt quite perky. When Rebecca called to see if I wanted to go the knitting store, I was pleased and surprised, for I hadn’t realized that she had the day off as well. To get to the knitting store, one must choose between two bridges over the ship canal, and we usually go over the Montlake Bridge and then walk through the University of Washington. Unfortunately, like my mother, standing on a chair to put in a light bulb makes me ill, and walking across these bridges is not my idea of fun at all. I just steel myself and forge on trying never to look down. We had not walked across the University Bridge in quite some time, and I remembered it as being worse than the other one, but I had forgotten how very much worse it actually is. Both of the bridges draw up for big boats, so the floors of them are hideous grates, through which one can see the actual water several miles below. Sickening! The sidewalk of the Montlake bridge is about five feet wide and the rails are attached to the sidewalk. On the University bridge, I now realized, the sidewalks are about five inches wide and there is a great chasm on either side, where the sidewalk is attached neither to the railing nor to the grate. It’s just suspended in midair. Super sickening. Initially, I was feeling quite brave and thinking it would all be okay as I took the first picture, but then I realized that we were not actually on the bridge yet, but rather, we were on the parapet just before it. Rebecca, feeling frolicsome, nearly flung herself over the edge, no doubt to upset me – which it certainly did, because I grabbed her back to save her from the abyss, and injured her knee in the process. Her wound is pictured here. Then we got on the actual bridge. I could not believe it. I was overwhelmed with terror and could barely make my way across. I kept telling myself that I was being ridiculous and there was no danger whatever, but that didn’t seem to help. I was almost paralyzed with fear and had real tears streaming down. I knew I was being was absolutely absurd. My mother did this sort of thing occasionally, and I was always outraged. Bad me! Between her gales of rude laughter, Rebecca kept offering words of encouragement. I kept telling her to stop talking, be quiet and just keep walking so it would get over with. Plus, I needed to concentrate in not falling over the edge. Later, she apologized for laughing, but I said I would have laughed at myself too if I had not been me. She admitted that she wanted to take a picture of me, but realized that that would be going too far. It certainly would. I hate having my picture taken at the best of times.
Once across the bridge, we had a nice time buying yarn, and there were no more terrors.
Also pictured here are some of the trees we passed on our way - while we were still safely on solid ground.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A mixed bag day

Yesterday, after a rough time at work the evening before, I woke up with a headache. Actually, saying that I woke up is a bit of an exaggeration, because I think I didn’t really ever thoroughly wake up – at least not till very much later. Thinking a walk would help my headie, I went shopping at Value Village for my new winter wardrobe, but I couldn’t find a single suitable thing. The walk did help my headache, but I think it was still silently lurking in there because though I found nothing for myself, I did find some cute Halloween socks for Rachael, but then forgot about them and turned in my otherwise empty shopping bag with them still in it. Then I went to the grocery store and forgot to get the most important thing of all– tea, which is a sine qua non of my existence. I tried all afternoon to take a nap but had constant interruptions – Margaret, Rachael, John the handyman. They all had crucial needs which trumped my nap need, or so they seemed to feel. The headache lingered till I went to visit my friends Maria and Corinna. It vanished as soon as I set out, and sad to say, returned as soon as I arrived home again. Hmmmmmm! What can that mean? This morning, it was still here, but in a lesser form – one that could be tamed by two aspirins.

I had a lovely time visiting the twins and looking over their delightful mini-museum of a house. Here is a very small part of a fabulously decorated refrigerator with magnets from everywhere. And some other marvels from their collections. And of course the twins themselves – the most marvelous of all.