Sunday, November 28, 2010

A birthday!

Happy 39th Birthday, Dakki!  For the 47th time!


Rebecca prepared a phenomenal vegan feast - all super delicious, although the vegan ice cream and non-vegan frozen yogurt did not seem to be such great hits, to judge by the leftovers on the dirty dishes after. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

A choir day

A few months ago, Rebecca and I were shopping, when she said, “Lookit, Annie!  Lookit!  That’s just your sort of thing.”  Woodstock Salad Dressing.  And with little hippie flowers on the label!   I didn’t really think it was just my thing, but she was persuasive, so I bought some, and I found that it actually was my thing.  Delicious!  I put it on steamed green beans, and it was an enormous success, even among non-hippies.  I used up one bottle, had a hard time finding another, but finally did.  I suggested to her that with her finely honed sense of taste, she develop a recipe, and lo!  She did.  You can find it here

On Sunday evening, my ladies choir (formally known as The Women of St. James Schola) was having a second recording session for our soon to be released best selling CD.  We had a potluck for our dinner and breaks - much needed, as we were there from four till ten!  The session was fun, the food fabulous, including the potato salad I made using Rebecca’s recipe.  Hippie Potato Salad.  I’m not putting up a recipe, as the dressing is the most important part, and you can easily see what else is in it from the picture. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A cold, cold day

Once again, Seattle is incapacitated by snow. Folks from eastern snowy places sneer, and say scoffingly that Seattleites just don’t understand snow.  True that may well be, but maybe those sneerers don’t quite understand about hills.  When my uncle was in graduate school, he and my aunt (and several babies)  lived in Chicago, where folks understand snow very well.   My aunt was asking a friend for directions to something or other, and the friend said, “Go to the top of the hill and turn left.”  My aunt looked around for the hill, but didn’t see it.   “What hill?” she asked.  “This one right here,” the neighbor pointed.  Pauline still didn’t see a hill.  That might be basic difference in the understanding of snow. 

Ah, the traffic snarls! Click here for an astonishing example. I had to remain at work until the nurse replacing me got there, and I finally left at one-thirty in the morning.  It had taken him nearly eight hours to drive from where ever he lives – not that far.  Fortunately for me, he was supposed to be there at seven, so I only had to wait two hours for him, rather than six.  It had taken him eight hours to drive to work.  Most staff stayed the night, especially if they had to be back the next day.  I was lucky.  My walk home took no longer than usual, and was very pleasant.  I go through Seattle University, and there were students out enjoying a make shift snow festival of sorts, making my walk home an even happier event. 

The next morning I had three doctor appointments.  One of them had called in sick several days ago, and I had the option of rescheduling or going to his nurse practitioner.  I chose the latter.  The other two called in sick (one claimed to have emergency surgery, but I was skeptical.  That is always such a great excuse!) I went to the nurse practitioner of the surgeon, and I liked her very well.  Given that I had never seen that doctor, and the NP was great,  I am officially making the nurse practitioner my caregiver for ladies issues.  You can see the odious evidence of my appointment – way less awful than anticipated, due to her skill, and her caring and friendly attitude.  The NP of my primary doctor was wonderful too.  So a day that I had been dreading turned out to be not so bad, thanks to Deborah and Leslie, the fabulous NP’s.  Once again I walked there and home, and once again, it was a pleasant trip.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A brilliant autumn day

It was a sparkling fall day, so Samos and I took a walk in the Arboretum.  There was a bit of autumn color left, but the predominant theme was green and gray.  It was a day to marvel at mushrooms and the oft overlooked beauty of the tree barks – now exposed in all their wondrous variety.  We took quite a gander, and walked along the road, along some trails, and along what we thought was a trail, but seemed to actually be an underground stream bed, now coming to life after the recent rains. It was a morass of slime, and very slippery.  Several times, I had to squawk loudly and flail my arms about to keep my balance as I felt my feet skidding from under me as I made my way along through the goo.  Samos had his camera at the ready, so as to catch a snap of me when I fell into the very muddy morass, but he was disappointed.  I was mud to the knees, but managed to keep it that.

Here I am looking like a peasant out for a day of mushrooming!

Blogger seems to be having issues with picture placement today.  Or maybe the problem is that I am having issues with picture placement. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

An odd day

 I was just thinking, “I love today!”  Those were my actual thought words.  My friends were coming to dinner and to play games after.  Super!  I was enjoying cooking for them, I love playing games (as long as I understand the game – not always a given,)  the weather was beautiful, and everything was lovely.  With this thought in my head, and feeling happy and invincible, I spilled my cup of tea on my foot.  Being momentarily quite buoyant, I quickly recovered my happy spirits.  However, I feared that it might be an omen.  It wasn’t.  Not really.  

When Becca is cooking for guests, her dinners are always complex.  She makes a little list of all the dishes she is prepariang, and puts it on the refrigerator for easy reference.  I thought that since my dinner was so basic and simple, this would be an excess of caution.  So no note.  I could easily remember it all. 
Later, after my guests left, and I was cleaning up, I went into my pantry and saw the bread that I had forgotten to serve still sitting there, glaring at me balefully.  As I was putting the remainder of the beet salad into a container, the feta which I had gotten especially for it and that I had forgotten to put on it whined, “What about me?” 

Oh well, I had a fun time, and I hope my guests did too.  I got to see Corinna’s new Ipad and Maria’s new retro photo phone app.  She took a sample picture of our cards for you.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Another busy day

First person articles in nursing journals frequently begin, “I work in a busy med/surg unit……”  Somehow, this always irks me, my hackles go up, and I read the remainder of the article with a jaundiced eye.  (I think “jaundiced eye” may be what my friend Tom used to call a Ryanism – something we Ryans all said, but that no one else in the world said.  My mother was the originator of many Ryanisms, and my father’s mother invented quite a few as well.  Oops!  Just looked it up and it is not a Ryanism at all, but is a real thing.)  Anyway, it is an annoying beginning to an article.  If you work in a med/surg unit, it is busy.  Period.  That said to prepare you, Ana and I had a very busy day.  We had an overly full agenda, and had to keep trimming items from it when we saw that we were never going to be able to do it all.   
A few weeks ago, we made crème brulée, and while it was super delicious, we later realized that each serving had a day’s worth of calories in it.  We decided to make tapioca brulée, and found it to be just as yummy.  Dakki had never had anything brulée before, and was amazed.  She had a lot to say as we were preparing it.  “What ever are you doing? Why would anyone want to do that?  This will never work.  Watch out! You’re going to burn the house down.  What’s the point?  Where did you get that thing?” and the like.  She was skepticism personified till she took the first bite!  Then she was a convert. 

Paramount on our agenda was watching “David Copperfield.”   That was a wonderful, misty-eyed experience.  Here we are in my freezing bedroom, just settling down to enjoy the movie.

We also blocked Ana’s most recent sweater, shown here in all its  glory.  Ana seems to be able to knit five of then in the time it takes me to knit one. 

PS We saw the lovely amanita as we walked to the store.  Look, but don’t  eat this one!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A sewing day

Every once in a while, one of my fellow bloggesses writes about her new or reorganized sewing room or craft area.  I have always found these posts boring, and wonder, “Why does she think we would care?”   Could the green eyed monster have been rearing its ugly head?  Was it that every time I wanted to sew on even a patch, I had to clear the dining room table, haul out my not-very-portable portable sewing machine, and then erect a spider web of extension cords to turn it on?  And if I actually wanted to make something, then I needed to also extract my ironing board from its lair and add to the already complex web of electrical cords?  And that then, if one wanted to use the computer for a quick game of Spider Solitaire, one had to become the spider oneself to traverse the web of cords surrounding it?  Suffice it to say, that I have long wanted a place where I could keep my sewing equipment set up.  When Rebecca was little, I had an area on our back porch.  There, I made most of the clothes for Rebecca and myself, shirts for my husband, and quite a few garments for my parents.  It was a pleasant place to sew in the spring and autumn, but in summer it was too hot, and in winter it too cold.  Now, I have an indoor place – and I am so pleased about it, that like those other bloggers, I have to share.  “Brag” might be a better word, I suppose.
The sewing machine you see has had its fiftieth birthday this year.  It goes backwards and forwards, and it has a button hole attachment, but that is about it.   However, it suits my needs very well.  Occasionally, I think about branching out into the more exotic when I see the fancy things other machines will do, but then I think of my faithful servant – a gift for my fifteenth birthday, and I do not want to desert her for a more up to date model. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A busy day

Today was a sort of busy day, doing a number of little tasks and clearing up a few messes. Nothing monumental, but nice to have done. I wanted to have a dinner with real food (as opposed to Cheerios or graham crackers, which might have otherwise been my dinner on such a day) – real food so that I would be perky and energetic for the day’s big event, singing Mozart’s Requiem at the All Soul’s Day Mass this evening. I wanted real food, but real food that could be prepared in about five minutes. I also didn’t want to go to the store, so I had to use what I had on hand. I decided to cook an acorn squash, and dress it up a little. The whole squash was a nice sized dinner for me, but it would also make a nice side dish for two.

Baked Acorn Squash with Cheese and Hummus

Cut a largish (about 2.25 lbs) acorn squash in half. Remove the seeds and set them aside. Scrape out the hairy part. Rub the inside with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Bake it at 350 for about 90 minutes, or until it is soft. Drop a bit of butter (hazelnut size) and a table spoon of grated cheese* in each cavity. With a spoon, moosh the flesh of the squash around until the butter and cheese are melted. Stir in a tablespoon of hummus into each half. Yummy.

Meanwhile, rinse the seeds, pat them dry, and place them in a bowl. Stir in a teaspoon of olive oil, some salt, a bit of garlic powder and a bit of onion power. Stir to mix. Spread the seeds on a cookie sheet (on a Silpat if you have one,) and bake with the squash for about 15 minutes, or just until they begin to brown. No picture of these because I ate them up too quickly.

*I used Quattro Fromaggio – a pre-grated mixture of Italian cheeses (Parmesean, Asiago, Fontina and Mild Provelone Cheeses) from Trader Joe’s.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A teary day

I occasionally ask myself what my favorite novel is. Often it might be whatever I am currently reading. No, it would definitely be something by Charles Dickens or George Eliot. But then, what about Huckleberry Finn? Hmmmmm. I think that when wondering about my top favorite novel ever, I most often return to David Copperfield. I first read it when I was in grammar school and was staying at the home of my mother’s friend while my parents were away. Mrs. Kilduff, was, in my mind the essence of kindness, combined with a certain exotic mystery and elegance. Her house was huge, surrounded by trees, and now I always picture it as if at night. The room where I slept was in a little turret, and had been the room of one of her sons. His childhood books were there, and one of them was a huge (just like the house) edition of David Copperfield. As I read it, I felt just like little David in his happy room in the Rookery at Blunderstone. The wind whistled and wailed about me, but I was snug with my literary friend. Now, every time I reread it, I return to that room, which was quintessential cozy. The edition was illustrated with stills from the Freddy Bartholomew and WC Fields movie, and these two star yet in my metal movie as I read the book. I love the engravings of Phiz, but between illustrations I return to Freddy and WC. Oddly, I have never seen this movie, but have pictured the whole thing in my mind as I read. I reread it every few years, and relatively recently listened to a CD audio book while I knitted. I had tried to download audio e-books from the library, but never could manage it. Finally, a week ago, I was totally out of books to listen to. Desperate, I gave it one more try. I conquered. What should be the first one? Well, of course, David Copperfield. Dickens’ novels were, to some extent, meant to be read aloud, and I have to say that I enjoy listening to them even more than reading them. This audio book is narrated by Fredrick Davidson, and it is beyond wonderful. He is a genius. Aunt Betsy has never been more wise and wonderful, Dora has never been more darling, nor Heep more wicked. And Mr Murdstone – Brrrrr. Pure evil! Listening, I have cried in spots (Peggoty at little David’s keyhole, for instance) where I never cried before. Now, as I approach the final chapters, I expect to have a very teary evening. I am quite looking forward to it.