Monday, March 29, 2010

When Rachael was wee, her favorite Sunday was Palm Sunday, because she loved listening to the readings – which are pretty intense, and also pretty long. I am always moved by them too, but this year I was little worried, as I appreciate them much more when I haven’t worked the evening before. I was scheduled to work on Saturday evening, and had put my name on the list of those willing to not work if fewer nurses than scheduled were needed. I was first on the list, and we had two more scheduled than are ever needed, so I was confident that I would not have to work. Utterly confident. Therefore, I got up early and swung into action. I cleaned the house, blocked my new sweater, did laundry, paid bills, and more. When I called to see who was getting the day off, I was stunned that my name was not on the list. I simply could not believe it. Oh well! I got to work, and looked at the list of applicants for the day off, and my name was not even on it. I had put it there weeks before, and some monster had removed it. I checked to see if I had requested the wrong day, but no. However, I felt good, and my patients were all nice, so I went with the flow, as they say. Then at nine-thirty, the nurse on-call got called in. To work for two hours! She had had to leave a friend’s birthday party and was pretty grumpy about it. Worse yet, she was called because all the nurses there were maxed out, and we were getting yet another patient. One patient! And the patient never came! At least not before it was time to go. I said prayers of thanks that my earlier prayers were not answered. I would have been really grumpy if I had been called from my cozy bed and book at that time. And all for nothing.
The Palm Sunday service was wonderful as usual – in fact even a little more wonderful, as we got these lovely palm fronds, donated by the Volunteer Park gardeners. Here are some pictures (taken by my friend Maria) of the Children’s Choir an the noon mass. And a picture of our procession last year. You can see, the special palm leaves really spruce things up quite a bit.
I had a nice nap between Masses, so I even enjoyed listening to the readings a second time. There were different readers, and somehow, this puts a slightly different slant on things, so it is not really like listening to the same thing twice.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A peaceful day

A walk down town is usually an adventure of sorts. And usually, I enjoy it quite a lot. Most often, I go through Virginia Mason, where I work, and can take the stairs, thereby avoiding a big hill. Nicer yet, I usually see some of my colleagues there and garner a smile and a friendly “Hi!” This is always a day lightener. Then I amble through the Freeway Park, an oasis – not really in the middle of downtown - but next to the middle of downtown. This is a rest spot for the city’s all too many homeless folk, office workers on their lunch breaks, conventioneers with pen holders in their pockets, and like me, people passing through on their way to somewhere else. It seems as though every time I walk through, there is a different landscape and a different population, both human and doggie.
Then on through the Washington Convention Center where I avoid another hill by taking three long escalators. Rebecca and I amuse ourselves by observing the convention attendees’ fashion acumen, nerd potential, and good humor quotient, and then deciding what the convention might be about. We are actually quite successful at this.
There is nearly always an art exhibit of some sort, and on this day, there were textile artworks. Here are two of them which appealed to me. The various art exhibits are often not your usual fare. As well as paintings and photographic images, there are sometimes exhibits of fabric, sometimes calligraphy, sometimes collage - the list goes on and on. We always stop to use the facilities on the second floor, with the mirrors which also go on and on, and this time there was a new installation – a super powerful hand dryer. It sounded like a jet taking off and felt like drying your hands in a gale force wind. Scary!
Finally, looking down on the street below, then one more escalator trip, and one emerges downtown, and can carry on with the mission which brought one – the dentist, a movie, or maybe shopping in the Public Market.
Some other Freeway Park pictures here (the top two.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A medicinal day

Wow! I haven’t written anything for a week. The week was very humdrum. Maybe that was it. I went to work, I came home, I went to work, I came home, etc. But there was one event. Poor Margaret had a sore toe, and so on Thursday, Rebecca and I took her to see her doctor. Her Uncle Leslie loved to go to the vet, and in fact, if the cat was going, he carried on so that we had to take him as well. Margaret does not feel this way. If she thinks the cat is going, she says, “Hah! Better you than me!” When she does go, she always behaves well, because she is that sort of dog, but she makes it clear that she would rather be elsewhere. This time, she had a “nose to toes” exam, and it was obvious that she found it very intrusive. The vet even sniffed in her ears. (Ick!) Her defense was to pretend that none of this was happening, and to stare off into space as if in another realm. Once her physical was done, and she had been a good dog, there were treats, so she quickly returned to this world, and to full attention. Here she is with her mom, and is saying, “Thank goodness that this undignified ordeal is over!”
Afterward, Rebecca and I went to the Vegan Loving Hut (!!) and had vegan mackerel. It was wonderful. It was some sort of gluten thing with a seaweed coating. Very fishy, and very tasty.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A pleasantly dull day

A remarkably uneventful few days! Was sick, got well, went to work, got up way too early, thanks to wretched daylight savings time, went to church way too early (see previous,) came home, took nap, went to church again. Pleasant, but not the sort of thing thrilling sagas are made of.
The most signal event is not really an event at all. I am reading Sylvia’s Lovers on my little ebook reader. This is signal in that I even have a reader, in that I got a book downloaded onto it, and that the book is Sylvia’s Lovers. As you no doubt know (or more likely don’t know, since it is not a best seller,) it’s by Mrs. Gaskell – authoress of Cranford which has recently been a Masterpiece Theater serialization. I have two very separate friends, one a literature professor colleague of my former spouse, and the other a well-read friend, who both claim that Cranford is the world’s greatest novel. When the first one (the friend of Dennis) told me this, I was astonished that anyone could think such a thing. Everyone knows that the world’s greatest novel is either Our Mutual Friend or Middlemarch, although I recently decided that it might possibly be Huckleberry Finn. Then when, years later, another absolutely unrelated friend said the same thing about Cranford, I was floored. I have to confess that rereading it recently gave me pause. Could they be correct? It is such a humble little jewel – perfect in its quietly restrained way. As to Sylvia’s Lovers, I had read it decades ago and liked it very much. I have been wanting to read it again but could not find a copy of it. So this is a thrill of sorts.
The primary disadvantage of the ebook reader, in my mind, is that you have to actually turn it off when you go to sleep. Generally, I drift away to the land of Nod with my light still on, and my book still in my hand. When the book crashes to the floor, it wakens me, and I groggily turn off the light. This won’t do on two counts. The crash would be unhealthy for the device, and the battery would run down. I don’t know why this seems like such a pain, but it does. I need to get a separate book for the final few minutes of every day. That will solve my problem.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

An eventful day and a couple of yucky sick days

What a week! There has been major change in my life, in that I now have an empty nest. Rachael, having turned twenty-one, and gotten a more full time job, has moved into her own digs. I had long feared the day when she would move out, and wondered how I would cope without her popping in to fill me in on the events of her day, without being able to chat through the wall when we are both in our beds, and without having a computer technician in residence. And she took Maria with her! What an emptiness when I staggered downstairs in the morning to make my tea, and there was no one yowling at me (see left) from the kitchen table, to hurry up and get her breakfast! Now there is only patient Margaret waiting quietly for her kibble.
Poor Rebecca was sick to her tummy on Saturday, and I think I caught it. While not as violently ill as she was, I have none the less eaten nothing for two days, and slept nearly constantly. There is the perfect level of sickness, in which one is guilt-free about calling in sick from work, but is still able to read and knit, and generally enjoy life. Sadly, this tummy trouble was beyond that, and was very unpleasant. I have not knitted at all, or read a word of my novel, and nearly fainted while taking Margaret out to go to the potty. That would have been most embarrassing. I’m sure Margaret would not have known what to do, and probably would have gone off and gotten lost. She is one of those dogs whose face (see right) is her fortune, as they say, and can’t be relied on to do the smartest thing.

Are these two events (empty nest and a tummy striving, in a very unpleasant way, to be empty) related? One simply can’t say.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A successful day

On Thursday, Becca and I went on a long walk, once again across the dreaded University Bridge, and this time I was prepared for the ordeal – at least a little prepared. I can never be completely prepared for this sort of thing. It was still terrifying, but it didn’t make me cry. Quake and tremble maybe, but not actually cry. Whenever our choir sings in the upstairs gallery, I get woozy if I am anywhere near the edge. I am sickened when I see our conductor calmly directing us with his bottom just inches from the awful abyss. I’m sure he will suddenly fall over. Totally stupid, I know. I just can’t understand why such fear takes over when the victim, i.e. me, knows perfectly well that nothing bad can happen and the fear is totally irrational. It is so humiliating. But there you are! It is just beyond my control.

Here are some pictures of what we saw on our fun outing– quiche crusts awaiting their filling of eggs and cheese, and lovely Japanese bowls also awaiting their filling of miso soup or yummy udon.

I went back to the University District again today, and had a successful trip. I have tried and tried to download the New York Times do-crossword-puzzles-on-line thing, and have had no success. I downloaded it easily to one computer, but failed completely with the one I will be taking to Hawaii, aka the land of endless ennui. Several computer cognoscenti have tried to do it, but alas, also sine success. Desperate, I took my computer to the Mac store, where a nice man with parti-colored hair – brown and brilliant red, as well as many tattoos and piercings, did it in about two minutes. Then, triumphant, I visited poor Becca who is sick. I made her tea and cleaned her kitchen while she, on her sickbed, struggled with the Seattle Library system’s program for downloading library ebooks. I have wanted to be able to do this for a long time, since many books I want to read are only available in that format. Once again, I gave it my best, but failed at downloading. When I first tried, there was no Mac application. Grrrrr. Now, there is, but getting it onto one’s computer is an insuperable task, at least for me. However, happily, not for Becca, even when ill. So now I am prepared for two weeks of quiet away from the fray – prepared with reading material and crossword capability. We always take crossword books, but I want to be able to do the crossword of the day, so I can keep up with Ryan and Brian, my favorite crossword blog.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A super fun day

A nice start to the day was singing several chorales from the Messiah at Mass. We are singing the Lenten portions of it throughout this holy season. Unfortunately, I had misread the choir schedule, and practiced the wrong two. Fortunately, the ones we were singing were easy. And I have a head start on next week’s, which is not easy. Then off to Becca’s where she served Hamantaschen, traditional for the feast of Purim. Then off again to the opera. We decided to park at the top of Queen Ann Hill, where we were planning to have dinner later, and walk to the opera house from there. It is a pretty long trek, and I am pokey, so I was nervous about being late, (as I always am,) but Becca kept telling me we had plenty of time, and of course she was right. We had time to spare, get our opera nuts, and even knit a bit. The opera, Falstaff, was wonderful, as the Seattle Operas always are. The scenery was spare, but effective. Towards the end, Falstaff was supposed to be dropped into the Themes in a laundry basket, and I was wondering how they would do this. In The Flying Dutchman, Senta flinging to her death in the ocean had been a big letdown. This, however, was not. It was brilliant! Over went the basket, off the wharf with Falstaff in it, and there was sudden blue light and tremendous sparkles as the basket splashed into the water. The audience collectively gasped and applauded! The lighting fellow at the Seattle Opera is an alchemist, a genius.

Afterward, we walked back up Queen Ann Hill, – a much slower process than coming down. For you non-Seattle-ites, I must say that Queen Ann is a very tall hill! One can go up the sidewalk, or up a series of stairways. Many stairways. Somehow, when Rebecca said, “Let’s go up the stairs,” I hadn’t taken in what was involved. I didn’t start documenting our trek till stair set number three. When we finally, gasping, reached the top, and our pizzeria, Via Tribunali, we were rewarded with the best pizza I have ever had – at least the best at a pizza place. (Rebecca is a pretty mean hand with a pizza). It has an impressive looking oven, which performs impressively as well, given the absolute deliciousness of our pizzas.