Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Busy Day

Every morning, before I get up – actually, before I even open my eyes, I make a little plan for the day in my mind.  It is usually fairly extensive and precise.  On most evenings, I am disappointed because I have miserably failed in the carrying out of this plan.  Rebecca tells me that this is my own fault, because my plans are unrealistic.  On rare occasions, I actually succeed in my doing everything on my agenda, but not often.  

On a recent day, my plan was:

#1.  Get up early, make tea, take Margaret for her walkies, drink tea while reading the newspaper, and do crossword.
#2.  Garden for a while until Becca calls to say that she has finished preparing her sauerkraut and is ready to go garden shopping. 
#3.Go to Becca's, eat a Madeleine or two, and then drive to the garden store.
#4. Buy some nice plants and in particular, an amaranthus.
#5.  Come home and plant the nice plants.  Work on tidying on the rest of the garden. 
#6.  Eat dinner.
#7. Go to bed, and there read and knit until the wee hours, making lots of progress on my Eala Bahn.   This seems like a not too ambitious plan for a day, and one which a person could reasonably expect to execute. 

This is how the day actually went:

Task #1.  No problem – almost. I got up, but not really early.  Otherwise, successful!  Drank tea, read paper, did crossword.
#2.  Total failure.  Evidently, Rebecca was very successful in getting up early, because I was just finishing the crossword when she was ready to go.  So I rushed around to get dressed and go drink more tea with her, and eat my Madeleine.
#3.  Success! See #2.
#4.  Failure!  Her primary garden want was a particular sort of marjoram, and mine was a nice amaranthus. We went to the garden store, and were both foiled.  No amaranthus at all, and plenty of marjoram, but not the right kind.  Becca suggested that we try some other fabulous garden store in Ballard.  Ballard is miles and miles away and involves crossing a big bridge.  Both deterrents in my hate-to-drive book.  But….. we needed our marjoram and amaranthus.  We got to the garden store, only to find that it no longer existed.  Foiled again!  “As long as we are in Ballard, let’s go to Joanne’s Fabrics and get cable needles.  I’ve gone to three knitting stores and can’t find the kind we like.”  So off we went to Joanne’s.  They, of course, didn’t have the cable needles we wanted.  Came out, had a parking ticket.  Grrrr!   Becca knew of another garden store nearby, and suggested we go there.  Hurrah!  They had my amaranthus, but not her marjoram.  Becca pointed out that now we were near the U District, and could just go to Weaver Works. Surely they would have our cable needles.  So off we went, and, in fact, they did.  By this time, we were starving, and not too far from a vegan pizza place we had tried to visit on another failed shopping day.  Happily, it was open, and the pizza was terrific.  We also got ice cream floats.  Actually, I got a health food root beer float.  The root beer was so healthy that it was sort of cloudy white color.  Becca swore that it actually tasted like root beer, but in my mind, something white can’t possibly taste like root beer.  Unless, of course, it is root beer ice cream.  But whatever it tasted like, it was yummy.

#5  I did manage to plant my plants and do a little other gardening, but by the time I was done, I was knackered.  #6 had already been taken care of on our outing, so I fast forwarded to #7.  Unfortunately, there were no wee hours for me, and I skipped reading or knitting and went directly to sleep way too early.  A total waste of a lovely free evening.  Yet another day filled with unfulfilled goals!!  But a fun day after all.  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Splendid Evening

Jim and friends

We heard that it would be wonderful, but nonetheless, I was amazed when I entered the Cathedral auditorium.  The room was all black velvet, silver, gold, and pearl.  If I had not recognized the door coming in, I would surely would have not known where I was.  Everything was fancy, including the guests.  And the occasion?  The thirtieth anniversary of our beloved choir director, Jim.  President Obama couldn’t make it, but everyone else did.  Many tears were shed throughout the evening, some by the guest of honor, moved by the many tributes – but quite a few other tears flowed as well, including a few from me.  It was a wonderful evening, celebrating a wonderful career, the wonderful music, the moving liturgies, coming from the Cathedral, seemingly channeled from heaven via Jim.

Maria, Rachael, and Corinna

Peggy and Clint

Oh, and, always important, the food was fine also.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mother's Day

It seems like we haven’t celebrated Mother’s Day on Mother’s Day in years.  One, or more often, both of us is working every time!  This may be the first time we have even celebrated it in May.  Generally we don’t get our Mother’s Day act together till June at the very least.   This year, I went to Becca’s house, expecting to just pick her up and take her to the opera.  But she had a surprise in store for me – in fact, several surprises.  Knowing that Eggs Benedict is one of my favorite and most sinful brunch dishes, she made vegan version.  Can you imagine?  Being vegan, it wasn’t even that sinful. And it was très yummy! Eggs Benedicimus maybe.  But there was more in store.  

When we purchased my camera, early in the year, we looked for a case, and there were two choices - a crummy cheap one which you had to take the camera out of in order to take a picture,  or a superior one,  which was very expensive and had to be ordered from Japan.  I decided to use a case that I had on hand.  It was actually better than the cheap crummy one, and I was too timid to order from across the ocean.  So what a surprise to find that she had gotten me the lovely Japanese version.  Becca is more daring in her internet ordering than I.   The camera case came in a little box with the directions, “Before connecting, operating, or adjusting this product, please read the instructions completely.”

The instructions
I am certainly fortunate and blest to have such a wonderful daughter. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Long Wished For Day

Are there a few things that you have always wanted to be able to do while life was still good?  I don’t mean things like visiting Rome.  You could do that any time, given that you could assemble the necessary funds.  I mean things that were dependent on outside forces – like ride the space shuttle!  Although why anyone would want to do that, I can’t imagine.  No, I really mean possible things, but only possible if something else out of your power happens.  Since I was in high school, I had desperately wanted to sing in Mozart’s Requiem.  It was a dream that seemed destined to remain ever unfulfilled.  But then I was able to join the wonderful St. James Cathedral Choir, and two months later, we performed it. And have done every other year since.  When I hear the opening chords, I am always filled with a trembley happiness and am grateful for my good fortune – every time. 

Another very longtime wish was to see The Magic Flute, live.   I listen to it all the time.  In fact, when Rachael was a tot, she used to sing along with the Queen of the Night – and did it very well!  This, as you can imagine,  brought a particular grandmaternal joy to my heart!  I had seen Magic Flute movies and taped performances, but never the real thing.  Until now!  And how wonderful it was - exceeding my wildest expectations!  When the giant snake came in, breathing fire, the crowd gasped in amazement and delight.  The snake reminded me quite a bit of Margaret, and I was sad to see it so quickly slaughtered.  Everything was enchanting. When the Queen of the Night let us in on the secret of her broiling rage, the crowd went wild, as they say.  Papageno was adorable, completely upstaging the saintly hero.  Isn’t this the way? Saints can be so boring, but the naughty ones, the ones with the our own foibles and weak wills are so much more delightful. You can get a little taste this wonderful production here
View from Opera Heights

The third thing, my other lifetime wish, is to live on a little farm and have a goat.  This one will never be fulfilled, I fear.  Even if farm and goat were given to me on a silver platter, I know that I am far too lazy to take care of them.  So I will be eternally happy that the first two were granted to me. 

Becca knitting in the interval

A Debut Day

Tone Out #136

Wow!  I have made my funny paper debut!  Of course it is not on paper, as it is a webcomic, but still!   It’s written by the son and grandson (John and Ian MacKenzie) of my particular friend Martha.  She had her debut a few weeks ago. This comic is very funny, and I would love it even if I didn’t know the creators.  Warning:  Not always G Rated.  In fact, seldom G Rated.  But always funny, and frequently laugh-out-loud funny.  I am thrilled.  Now I am world famous!

And here is the link!  I'm sure you will want to become a fan!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Gratifying Day

Have you missed me?  I feel as though I haven’t been blogging in a while.  There have been two reasons --- I have been working more than I consider personally healthy, nursing patients back to vigorous strength.  This has left me with little strength for the more important things of life. Meanwhile at home, my computer has been in a terrible decline and seemed to be slowly approaching its final days.  I had been nursing it along also, but I could see that it was not faring as well as my human patients and that its end was near.  It was making sounds very similar to agonal breathing.  Worried that I would lose all my photos and precious writings, decided that I had better take action.  So I went to the Mac store and looked things over.  Kadey, the woman who helped me, was super nice, and turned what would usually be pretty a traumatic ordeal for me into a pleasant experience.  When I got home with my prize, I was all primed to transfer all my data from the old to the new, but it wouldn’t transfer.  Stress!  Crabbiness!  I called the Apple help number and the person who answered told me that there were “hot, sweaty babes just waiting to talk to me for only $$ a minute.”  I  was feeling a little hot and sweaty myself, but no doubt for different reasons than the hot sweaty babes offering to talk to me on the phone.  Needless to say, I was shocked, but then realized that I must have misdialed.  I am pretty dyslexic with phone numbers and usually get them wrong the first time.  I was already on the verge of being shattered by my computer ordeal, and this nearly tipped me over.  I dialed again and got a robot who kept asking me irrelevant questions, exponentially upping my crabbiness quotient.  Finally I reached a very pleasant fellow who helped me, and I got closer to my goal, but …. Continued Failure!  Better go back to the Mac store.  When I arrived in the morning, I told my sad story (leaving out the hot, sweaty babes) to the young man who first offered to help me, and he seemed not to take in my problem.  Kadey spied me and came over to help us out.  Without being told, she knew all about it, including the death throes of my old hard drive.  She brilliantly coaxed all my tons of data out of the terminal patient and successfully transferred it to my little neonate. She made it appear easy, but I decided that I could not have done it if my life depended on it.  I was sooooooooo grateful.  And now as I type away on my cute new Mac, I am still feeling grateful. 

Becca was bored!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Culinary Day

Bobbie and Becca
I have mentioned several times that Margaret is a helper-girl with most household tasks.  When I iron, she always stands right over my feet, between me and the ironing board - just stands there, giving emotional support.  When I am vacuuming, she is always nearby rooting for me, and incidentally dropping hair and dander just to make the task more fulfilling.  But it is in the kitchen where her homemaker talents come to the fore.  As I chop vegetables, she is ever vigilant, making sure that nothing which might fall from the counter will sully the floor for more than an instant. 

When Rebecca and I were preparing noodles for our dinner last week, Margaret was in her element.  First, she helped Rebecca prepare the noodle dough in the food processor.  Becca had the processor on the floor, as every other surface was taken up by some other food preparation item.  Margaret was right there, giving tips and trying to lick any crumbs off the Cuisinart.  Then, when we were actually rolling the dough through the pasta machine, she was initially even more vigilant.  Eventually, when we had our giant lasagna noodles slung across chair backs, well out of her reach, she apparently got bored - totally indifferent to the business at hand.  Suddenly, I heard a yelp from Becca.  I turned around, and there was Margaret with  noodle in her mouth.  
A similar thing had happened when Becca was a little girl, and is one of her happy childhood memories.  She, my friend Fortunata, and I were rolling out noodles with the pasta machine, and laying them out on the kitchen table.  We all gasped in amazement as we watched one of the huge noodles slowly disappear over the edge of the table.  Our dog Bobbie Ross was under the table, being totally silent and unobtrusive.  As a noodle drooped over the table edge a tiny bit, he grasped it in his mouth, and not making a sound, pulled it under the table where he could slyly eat it.  We could not believe it.  We had not even known he was in the room.  What a clever dog Bobbie was!  Margaret was not quite so subtle, but as you can see in the picture, she did make a few tries at the noodle when our backs were turned, and actually managed to get a few nibbles off one of them. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Topsy-turvy Day

Rebecca and I were excited!  We were going to a book signing by Heidi Swanson,  the author of my second favorite cooking blog, 101 Cookbooks.  My first favorite, of course, is the blog of Rebecca Herself, found here.  The signing was in the evening, so I thought I would clean the house and vacuum in the morning.  I did the downstairs, left the vacuum cleaner at the bottom of the stairs – semi on the bottom step, as I took the carpet swoosher section upstairs.  Coming down, the cleaner on the bottom step made a sort of optical illusion.  (I comfort myself that this was true, and that I am not losing my mind.)  I thought the second step was the bottom one, and consequently launched myself into space.  As I hurtled across my entry hall towards my ceramic umbrella stand, I had visions of the terrible injuries I was going to do myself when I crashed into it.  It is astonishing how long it can seem to take to come to a landing, and how much one can envision in those fractions of a second.  When I landed just short of the umbrella stand, my stupid first thought was – Oh, no!  If I have injured myself, I will miss work.  Actually, I am usually delighted whenever I feel sufficiently under the weather to call in sick.  That is, at least as long as I don’t feel too bad to read or knit.  I sat up, assessed myself, and found that I was intact, except for a scraped ankle, but was totally shattered – all weak and aquiver.  I staggered to the kitchen, poured myself a cup of tea, and retired to my bed to drink the tea and then close my eyes until had I recovered somewhat. 

I was fully myself by the time Becca and I left for our adventure – where we were promised bubbly and treats, as well as book autographs. But, quelle horreur - as we approached the area of town where the event was – near the sports arena, we saw hundreds of folks heading the same way. Folks with green hair, green faces, and if not those, at least green jackets.  Aaak! A sporting event right near out book signing.  We knew that we were going to have to park faaaaaaar away.  But we are hearty, and didn’t really mind as the evening was fine.  Except that we were both a little desperate to find the ladies’ room!  As we walked along, making our way through the often drunken fans, we discussed the blog entry I would make. Suddenly my sandal, which was too loose, caught on a piece of air, or sidewalk, or something, and once again, I went lurching forward, landing this time on my knee.  Rebecca, horrified, was nervously tittering as she helped me up.  She volunteered to take a picture of my injury, and you can see it here.  This time, I was less shattered, fortunately, and I told her I was glad that, being so desperate for the loo, I hadn’t wet my pants in falling.  She positively chortled.  “That would have made for a very sad little blog post,” she comfortingly mused. 

We finally reached our destination, had some bubbly, and had our books signed.  I had planned to enthusiastically chat with Heidi about the great things I had made from recipes on her blog, and how much I loved it, but I was suddenly suffused with shyness, and said barely a word.  Sigh!