Monday, May 31, 2010

An optical day

Ah, the auntly eyes! Yet another ophthalmic adventure! First, Dakki got her miraculous cataract surgery, after which, true to form, she grumbled that now her one eye was better than the other (i.e., she could actually see out of it) and she was unbalanced. She wished she hadn’t had it done, and was still her old bat-blind self. At least her eyes were equal when she couldn’t see out of either of them. (Sigh!)
Then Pauline fell on her face downtown and got a black eye, and now she has had cataract surgery! She was supposed to have someone with her for the first twenty-four hours, so I stayed with her and we had a pretty fun day. She had to be NPO for the surgery, so afterward, we came home and had a nice late breakfast of Grapenuts, her favorite and her daily ritual. Then, as we hadn’t gotten home till towards the end of the breakfast portion of the day, it was soon time for lunch. I made eggs Benedict minus the ham, and with healthy Hollandaise sauce – made from buttermilk rather than butter. Much better for you. Joseph, who is just now eating only supremely healthy things, and who hates poached eggs, brought his own special organic health bread and cheese. Then, since we had had such a late breakfast, and consequently, a late lunch, it was soon time for dinner. Pauline had made a lovely minestrone the day previous, and we had that with fruit salad. Wow! By the time Joseph came for the night shift, I was full as a tick! What a day of eating – one meal on top of another – bing, bing, bing.

Here is Pauline in the recovery area, and later with Rachael, who paid a welcome visit to the patient.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A slightly horrifying day

Tom Jones is one of my most favorite movies, and the Seattle library doesn’t have it!! I know that they used to because Rachael and I watched it in the not terribly distant past. Ana had never seen it, so we decided to knit, have dinner, and watch it. The movie, of course, was wonderful. I can’t believe that it is almost fifty years old. I also can’t believe that most of my youthful friends (i.e., those under fifty) have not seen it. It seems so fresh and new. Talk about playing with one’s food! Talk about lustful eating! It was wonderful.
The next evening was choir practice night, and on the way home, I returned my library materials, dumping them into the after-hours slot. Several hours later, I awoke with a jerk, and realized that among my library returns was Tom Jones, which I had actually rented at the video store – worse yet, on Rebecca’s account. I was horrified. I set my alarm for the time the library opened the next morning, and called them the first thing. They were most sympathetic, found it, and set it aside on the reserves shelf. The special reserves shelf – the one where you have to ask the library lady to get your books.
What a relief it was to get it back.

Click here to see the funniest eating scene ever.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This morning I was telling Rebecca about the Pentecost celebration at church, and she said, “I expected to read about it on your blog.” Well, I told her, I hadn’t been able to think of anything to say, and I didn’t have a picture. So here is last year’s picture. As Pentecost is the birthday of the Church, the Cathedral is usually done up in a fairly flashy and spectacular way, and the music is generally weird and wonderful. This year, the décor was fairly subdued, considering, but the music was over the top! There are many who look forward the Pentecost service and its music with as much anticipation as they do the Christmas Midnight Mass music. And rightly so. The first year I was in the choir I could not believe it. At the outset, we sang an aleatory canon – one in which everyone basically “did their own thing,” within certain parameters. Then it all gradually came together in perfect unison - much like the apostles themselves, waiting, terrified in the locked upper room. I was amazed and elated. Afterward, when Rebecca and I were tittering in delight, our director thought we were laughing disrespectfully. We said no, we were laughing because it was so wonderful, thus mollifying him. And so it was this year. (Not the mollification, but the wonderful and weirdness of the music.) The mighty rushing wind swooped about us, birds tweeted, beauty was everywhere. Only this time, the aleatoary business went on throughout the whole Mass. The service, starting with the super bizarre, ended with the super traditional “Come Holy Ghost!” The musical gamut, so to speak.

Happily for me, the boys had a lot more work to do than the girls, as their part was longer and much more difficult. So for the four-hundred, seventy five millionth time in my life, I thanked God that I was not a boy. And, of course, that I was able to participate in such wonderful music!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A surprisingly nice day

How can someone who works only three days a week seem to have no spare time? I don’t understand it. It must be evidence of great disorganization! Or maybe over zealous plans and expectations. My goal for yesterday was to clean my bathrooms, and otherwise sit around reading and knitting. As usual, after a period of dearth, all the library books I had ordered came in at once. Why does that always happen? In order to get them done on time, I must now read incessantly and do little else. As to yesterday, I didn’t clean bathrooms at all, and did very little reading. My friend Paul invited himself to dinner, and I coldly said “No!” “We can just have a cup of tea for dinner,” he said. “Well, okay,” I replied, “but I don’t have time to cook much.” Of course, once I got going on the cooking, I over did it, but it was worth it. I had a pleasant day in the kitchen and a delightful evening with Paul. I was planning to make a salad and a ratatouille like dish, and that really was a meal in minutes. Had I done only that, I could have cleaned the bathrooms and made some headway on my library items, but it is such fun to bake bread, and why not make a little dessert and another salad as well? I had a pineapple, given to me by a friend, and that was to be the basis of my salad, along with the two mangoes and strawberries I had gotten the day before. When opened, the pineapple was a dry cardboardy like thing, completely flavorless, and the mangoes were decidedly not ripe. Oh well. Give the pineapple a toss, and make do as well as can be with the mangoes. I had a bit of wine open, and so mixed up what ingredients I had. It turned out to be one of the best salads I have made in many a day. The mangoes, while not ripe were flavorful, and I think it was better without the pineapple.

Here is a picture of Paul politely being ecstatic over his ice cream, and another of him simply being adorable. And here is a recipe for the salad. There is no basil in the picture because we had eaten it up. So yummy!

Surprisingly Yummy Salad

One mango, sliced up nicely
Strawberries, about eight of them sliced
An orange, a nice big sweet one, segmented and with membranes removed

1/3 cup white wine, in this case chardonnay
About 3 teaspoons sugar
About a tablespoon of orange zest from the above orange

A few basil leaves, cut into thin strips ( I am sure there is a proper culinary word for this, but I don’t know it.)

Mix the prepared fruit into a bowl. Add the zest to the wine. Add the sugar to the wine a teaspoon at a time until it is just beginning to taste sweet. Pour it over the fruit, and let it sit for an hour or so. At serving time, sprinkle the basil leaves over it. Mmmmmm!

Monday, May 17, 2010

A happy day

I have the feeling that I have lots to tell you, but now that I have a few minutes to do it, it all eludes me. What has happened lately that would be interesting to anyone other than me? Not much! One major event however, was the fixing of the frog water faucet near my front porch. A winter or so ago, the pipe froze and sprang a leak. The marvelous Ken came to the rescue and fixed it by cutting off the leaky part and placing a cap on the rest. The little frog lay nearby, sadly awaiting his re-enthronement, and no one seemed to care. Including me. Actually, I did care, but just not enough to do anything about it, or, more to the point, to even nag anyone else about doing something about it. I would pass it by, reassure myself that the frog was still there, see the little fellow languishing, and think, “I had better get that fixed,” go into the house, and promptly forget about it. Well! The marvelous Ken came to the rescue yet again, (without even being nagged, I might add,) and the froggie is happy again, adorning his faucet. I was thrilled. And yesterday, Becca, looking at the pictures in my camera, said, “He’s back!” “Who?” I asked. “Well, the frog, of course.” Later, Rachael was looking at the pictures, and said, “He’s back!” “Who?” I stupidly asked again. “The frog. And he is running water.” We are all happy about the seeming resurrection of the frog. Thank you again, Ken.

A few days ago, Becca and I walked to the University District, and even further to the University Village. I had thought this would be way to far, but she assured me that it was not. As always, she was right. We had a lovely walk on a sparkling day. When we were leaving her house, I realized I had forgotten my camera. “Don’t worry,” she said. “I’ll take pictures for you. You direct.” Somehow, that’s not the same. But anyway, here is one of the pictures she took. A horse and a lion.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A bloggy dinner day

Ana was coming over to watch a movie with me – Inspector Lewis, one of our faves. I planned to do things like garden, knit, or read all day, and make a meal-in-minutes just before she was due to arrive. But…. Rebecca had a lovely olive ciabatta recipe on her blog and I wanted to try it. After all, bread isn’t much work, and doesn’t really take much time. You just have to be there all day to watch over it. Right? Sabine had a lovely rhubarb dessert recipe on her blog, and I wanted to try that too. What better time than now? This meant that in addition to making it, I had to walk to the store to get the rhubarb. That only takes a little while, right? And what would be better with rhubarb apple crumble than some nice frozen yogurt from Heidi’s 101 Cookbooks blog. That only takes a few minutes to prepare. I have some nice asparagus; maybe, in addition to my avocado and strawberry salad, I should make an asparagus carrot salad, also from 101 Cookbooks. It looks pretty quick. Just blanch the carrots and asparagus and make the dressing. A snap. The real entrée that I had planned all along was a penne with tomato cream sauce, and it really is a meal-in-minutes, as well as being delicious.
My plan was to start the bread the evening before, fiddle with it in the morning, and then take the day off. But wait…. I had better get the desserts made, and then relax with my book. And the salads. I can do them early. And…. and… and … and…. And I ended up cooking all day, but I enjoyed doing it, our dinner was yummy, our show was good, albeit a little incomprehensible, and I had nice leftovers for work lunches. All in all, a very nice day.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A wet and slippery day

My Aunt Pauline was walking home in the rain from the dentist, when she approached one of those signs that say, “Construction! Next twenty feet of sidewalk CLOSED. Take two block detour ⇒ ⇒ to get by.” Naturally, in the wind and weather, she did not want to take the two block detour. There is one of those at my hospital, in the short distance between the exit I usually take, and my midnight bus stop, and I seldom want to go the extra distance. I frequently do what she did. In other words, I ignore the sign and creep by, taking care not to trip on construction materials or large chunks of concrete and at the same time watch for traffic so that I don’t get run over by some late night drunkard. At midnight after eight hours on one’s feet, or after the dentist any time, let alone in wind and rain, one just does not want to struggle that extra distance. So she didn’t. She carefully stepped through the construction debris, and fell flat on her face. She even broke her umbrella. When I heard the story, I was relieved that she hadn’t impaled herself on it, like some disgraced medieval statesman, flinging himself on his sword. Bleeding all over, she took the bus to the Urgent Care, where they were astonished that she had ridden the bus in that condition. “Well, how else would I have gotten there?” she later said. When the PA (Physician Assistant) assessed her neuro signs, one side of her face was all droopy – normally a bad sign. She pointed out that this was from the dentist, but taking no chances, he scheduled a quick little cat scan. All was well with her inner head, if not her outer head. Now she has two shiners (aren’t they sometimes called “mice”?), and a big scrape on her forehead. When I came to change the bandage, the scrape was several days old, and looking much better, but nonetheless… Perhaps now, after this object lesson, I will take a different exit and walk the extra few feet to my midnight bus stop.

This last picture is the amazing tree I saw out of her living room window as I changed the dressing. I once read an article in a medical journal which said that patients with a view of a tree recovered more quickly than those with no tree. This wonderful tree should surely speed her recovery.

You can click here to see the actual healing wound. It looked a lot more impressive in person.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Happy Mother's Day

Gosh, I haven’t reported on Mother’s Day. It was great. Nearly every year, either Rebecca or I, or both, work on Mother’s Day, and so don’t really celebrate ourselves till later. It was so this year. She worked from dawn to dusk, helping deliver those babies. Every choir “semester,” there is one Sunday which is boys only, and another which is girls only, thus giving half the choir a Sunday off. My evening choir though, is always girls only, so there is never a day off from it. Usually, on “Boys Only” Sundays I go anyway because I love to hear them. And usually, they sing with the children’s choir (the Schola Cantorum,) which I really, really love to hear. But this year, I decided that I needed a day of rest, so I did the Sunday Crossword instead. Rachael and I went out to lunch at my favorite Chinese restaurant, and then we all three met for dinner after the evening Mass, and after Rebecca’s work day. I had planned to have only a cup of tea for dinner, as I had a tiny headache and a teensy upset tummy, but there was French Toast on the menu, and I couldn’t resist it. Later, I wished that I had resisted, but there you are. I am weak. I came home and went straight to bed and to sleep. Nonetheless, I felt that I had had a lovely day with both of my girls, and the with the Sunday crossword.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A scatter brained day

It was a work day, and I was reading The Help. Wow! It was so exciting! Just one more page, just one more page, just one more page! (Actually, I was listening to an audio book while I sewed lace onto the tatty bottom of my petticoats.) Oops! I should have left for work ten minutes ago. Scurry, scurry. Finally, out the door 15 minutes late. I strode down the steps, and up the walk, when I suddenly felt unusual breezes under my dress. “Oh, No,” I thought. In my rush, I must have forgotten to put on my petticoat. What to do? Oh, well, I just will have to feel half dressed all evening. My uniform is a little bit see through, but not terribly. So on I went. A block or so later, I reached into my pocket to call my aunt and chat with her as I walked along. No phone. Wow! I really left in an hurry. What to do? I considered. I don’t really need to talk to my aunt now, and anyway, I can’t talk to anyone while I am at work. Then I started thinking - Did I lock my door? Or did I forget that like I forgot everything else? Aaaagh! That was the final straw! I turned around, and rushed back. The door was locked. I let myself in, and Margaret, who thought I was home from work already, was ecstatic. I ran upstairs to put on my slip and get my phone. No slip. I had made a pile of work clothes, and the pile was gone. It wasn’t in my closet where I put the next day’s clothes. Whaaa? I suddenly realized that it had been there all along, electrified by its recent run through the dryer, and was bunched up, clinging to my hips. I looked at my bedside table for the phone. No phone! My pockets are very full of nurse stuff, and sometimes a little impenetrable. I felt through them again. There was the phone. Three out of three. What a dummie I felt. By now it was pouring rain. I called my aunt again and asked for an emergency ride to work. She was happy to oblige, and so I actually got there on time, feeling stupid, but otherwise no worse for wear. Happily, I had a nice time at work, even after the ill-omened start. When I got home, I stayed up till three and finished the book. It sure was good.

I had no appropriate picture, so brilliant photographer Rebecca gave me two of hers. They represent my petticoats and the nice lace I had just sewn onto their bottoms.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A sweet day

My friend Mary Anne, a fellow Cathedralite and Family Kitchen worker, has started a candy company. And she is making candy exclusively from goat’s milk! I don’t mean exclusively in that there are no other ingredients – of course there are chocolate, sugar, and other candy necessaries, but the milk is exclusively goat. That’s pretty exclusive, if you ask me. I have a real weakness for goats. In my opinion, a baby goat is one of the world’s cutest creatures. Once I house sat for the owner of a goat, and I got to milk her every morning and pet her throughout the day. It was a thrilling adventure for me.

When Mary Anne started out, she did a lot of experimenting, and of course, some of the results were not as perfect as others. She frequently brought her “imperfectons” to the Family Kitchen, both for her colleagues and for the guests. And what she considered her failures, we considered scrumptious! Her Pastillas were the most delicious candy I ever ate! So occasionally, I have to splurge and get a few. I then hide them away from family and self, and have a special treat when desperately needed – like after a rough night at work, or a day of strenuous house cleaning.

Mary Anne’s candy is available in several places throughout the Seattle area. You can get some at the Pike Place Market, both at the Creamery and in the Blue Rose Dairy stall. This truly yummy treat is also available online.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A gamey day

A few weeks ago Ryan and Brian, everyone’s favorite NYT crossword blog, had a discussion of favorite board games. I mentioned that when I was young, my favorite was Careers. It had essences of Monopoly (syn: monotonous), but unlike Monoply, it was actually fun and finite. I would prefer having my eyelashes plucked to playing Monopoly. Other blog readers agreed that it was a good game – complex enough to be fun, but easy enough to be social. This inspired me to ask the family shopper to order me one. She did, it came, and last evening I played it with Maria and Corinna, both great game enthusiasts. I recall that in my youth, I had this game all figured out, and I usually won. That was another of its charms. Last evening, I not only did not win, I lost so badly that my opponents were giving me Opportunity Cards to get me out of the hole, and forgave my debts when I was about to go bankrupt. I just kept landing on "Unemployment Office," or "Hospital," or "Shopping Spree," and never on the good squares, like the ones that say, "Collect $3000 Now!" It was ignominious. But it was lots of fun. The dinner was good, the wine super good, and the company fantastic! What more could one ask?