Saturday, July 30, 2011

A perfectly imperfect day

John and Peggy came for a fun evening of food and cards.   I felt that my dinner was pretty lacking, as it was dependent on fresh produce, and the produce was pretty lacking.  Hence…..   At least I like to blame it on the produce.  The company was not lacking, as Peggy and John are high on the list of the wonderful.  The cards were not lacking in the least, except that, not unexpectedly, I came in last.  Fortunately, I am used to this, and deal with it quite well.  Besides bringing their wonderful selves, Peggy, an avid quilter, brought me a lovely little Peggy-made packet for the small necessaries that one keeps in one’s purse.  It is pretty and perfect, impressive in its neatness  and exactness.  If I were to sew such a thing, it might look pretty, but it would not look impressively perfect.  I am a true blue imperfectionist.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A work day lunch

Generally speaking, I fix myself a nicer work lunch than I do a home-alone dinner, since I will eat the work lunch with my friends, and somehow, it seems more fun to eat with others, and hence more worth the bother.  On my days off, I often plan to make myself something  nice, but when the time comes to actually do it, I most often don’t.  A piece of toast with marmalade will usually do. Mornings before work are sort of a wasteland anyway, so preparing something attractive  seems like a good way to spend a bit of time.  Yesterday, I decided to use up some things in my cupboard and vegetable bin to make a pasta salad.  The result was particularly felicitous, I thought.  You might enjoy making it, or something similar, too, so here is what I did.

Colorful Pasta Salad

This is enough for two work dinners for one fairly piggy person.

6 ounces pasta, in this case, lovely little fiori,
One tomato, sliced and roasted at 375° for about 45 minutes,
Enough olive oil to lightly coat the pasta,
Juice from half a juicy lemon,
¼ teaspoon salt,
¼ chopped parsley,
Tablespoon chopped basil,
2 scallions, thinly sliced,
Half a cucumber, seeded and chopped into pencil eraser sized pieces,
¼ cup thinly sliced celery,
A carrot, blanched in boiling water for one minute and then julienned,
Strawberries, sliced,
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled. Leave this out if you are a vegan.

Roast the tomato.  Boil the pasta as directed, until nicely al dente.  Drain it and shake off any extra water.  Pour on enough olive oil to coat each piece. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and toss to mix it evenly.  Add the green leafies, the celery, cucumber, and the carrot.  Reserve the tomato, strawberries, and feta to toss in at the last minute.  It is a very tasty, as well as pretty, salad.

The tomato didn’t add much, and unless I had a really spectacular tomato, I would not bother with it next time.  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A three blog day

Today was really a three blog-worth day.  First, there was the St. James picnic.  This is always a major event of my summer .  Picnics are fun in any case, but this one has the added funness of seeing choir friends for the first time in a month.  Usually I also view the day as a giant photo op, and take lots of pictures, but this year, given that I was going to work immediately afterward, I was more interested in foraging for food.  The hot dog and veggie burger lines were unfortunately très long, so I settled for an ice cream sandwich, and a bun with mustard.  Actually, a bun with mustard and an ice cream sandwich is a pretty yummy repast, so I am not complaining. 

Then - a really major, major, major event at my job.  My unit is the first to move into our incredible new hospital facility, and today was moving day!  Our patients were transferred from funky to fabulous in not quite the blink of an eye, but almost.  I remained behind on the old unit to see to the last few to be discharged, and of course there were issues with all three.  Discharges can be so trying at times.  Two of them were easily settled, but the third required the higher powers of our already harried manager.  That group left grumbling about us, and we grumbled about them as the transporter wheeled them out of our lives, so it all came out even.   Well, not really.  They probably were still grumbling an hour later, but  we had smiles on our faces as prepared to move the final bits and pieces to our wonderful new digs. 

Packing up!

Maria at the new charge nurse station

Dr. Aaronson checking it out!

And what was the third blog worthy event?  Why, the weather!  Here in Seattle, the summer has been gloriously gloomy, with at least a bit of rain most days, and not much heat at all.  The roses and tomatoes are suffering, but I have not been.  Then suddenly, this morning, summer arrived.  Dreadful!  It was 90° on my front porch when I got home at five.  And 94° in my bedroom!  Ugh! 

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Boring Day

Rebecca is at work, and I'm sitting in her flat, waiting for the stove man to deliver her a new stove!  Why is it that when you have exactly your usual means of entertainment at hand - a good book, knitting, a cute kitty - it is still so boring to wait for stove men at someone else's house?  I am getting desperate for a cup of tea, but am afraid to make one lest the stove man come midway. I'm sure he will not come within the given parameters, because that’s the way of stove men.  But I am mainly reluctant because Rebecca always handles the tea making here, and I don't know where she keeps my favorite kind. That would be Pu Erh when I am visiting her.  I have different favorites for different occasions, of course.  Plain old Irish Breakfast when I first get up and until noon, and then lapsang souchong for later in the day.  And something more dainty when I have dainty guests.  Ana and I always enjoy a pot of flowering tea, but that is only for very special occasions. 

Hmmmm!  What to do!  Take some pictures, dream
about tea, forage for a cookie, write about my ennui, pet Maria, go back to my book. 

I keep thinking I hear stove men and have already put Maria in the bathroom once, but it is always false alarms!

Aargh!! Got a call from Rebecca!  The stove men are not coming at all today. Drat stove men!

Back home now~

Here are pictures I took to while away the time.  One of Maria, and one of the  Raggedy Ann that I made for Becca when she was a baby.  She says that she still remembers me sewing on it, and being excited.  She had to have been well under two.  Also a cat she got as a being born present from my Uncle Robert.  You can see that these two are well loved.  Raggedy Ann has her stockings on sideways and only one arm, but Becca doesn’t care. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Dopey Day

I was so pleased with my swing and the little padding I made for it, that I decided to take a picture of it before settling in for a nice early evening read.  Minutes after this was taken, I picked up my book and flopped down, right onto my glasses.  No, they were not okay after the mishap, but being an orthopedic nurse, I was able to straighten them out.  I was nearing the end of my book when Rebecca called and invited me to tea.  Naturally, I was thrilled, leapt up, and cycled right on over there.  We had a pleasant visit, and then I cycled home.  As I pedaled along, I was a little concerned about the phone in my shorts pocket.  What if it falls out, I worried.  Maybe I shouldn’t carry it there.  I got home, all eager to finish my book, and …… no phone.  Oh, dear!  A near disaster!  I got my old-fashioned telephone and called myself.  I went to different parts of the house and called myself some more.  No little ring anywhere.  I called Becca.  No, I hadn’t left it there.  It must be lying in the road, I thought.  My early premonition was fulfilled.  (Are premonitions “fulfilled?”  I’m not sure. But you understand what I mean.)  I felt that I couldn’t stand to be even one day without a phone in my pocket. She said to come over and she would help me get a new one.  We could either order it, or go to the phone store, which was open late.  As I retraced my way back to her house, I watched for little phone bodies in the road, and kept thinking I had found it, only to actually find a squashed cigarette packet or a grey leaf.  Sigh!  When I got there, she was all comfy in her pajamas, and was on line getting advice from Anna the telephone woman.  Anna was a little unpleasant about the whole thing, and said we had to go to the phone store.  So we did, and I got a cute new one that takes better pictures than the old one.  Becca and I bought ice cream cones to comfort ourselves, returned to her house, figured out the new phone’s basics, and then I began to get nervous about riding in the dark without a light, so I shoved off and cycled home, with my eye still peeled for a little telefonino body.  More cigarette packets and leaves, but no phone.  I got home, eager to read the last few pages of my book.  I moved the other books and newspapers that covered my bed, and guess what I found!  Smirking out at me, smug at having not made any noise when I called it!   Oh well!  The new one is  pretty low tech, given the possibilities, but is nicer than the old one, so I am pleased. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

An Outdoorsy Day

I have been wanting to have a dinner outside for ages and ages.  Either my guests didn’t want to venture forth, or the weather was so uninviting that even I realized that it was not the best idea, or, as in the case with the last meal mentioned, Ana and I were so done in with our trek about town that it didn’t seem worth the effort.  So I was determined that this weekend we would have an al fresco meal rain or shine.  There has been a lot more rain than shine this year, and the weather today was rather iffy.  In the  morning it was beautiful, by noon it was looking a little ominous, but when dinnertime came, it was perfect. 

For years, Rebecca and I prepared a Fourth of July picnic in our yard, but for the last few, our work schedules interfered with our plans.  So while this wasn’t a Holiday Event, the menu included our traditional Fourth of July cuisine – Rebecca’s weenie bread and mock choux.  Also red, white, and blue potato salad, belatedly in honor of the day.  Our friends Martha and Joe joined us. Martha, a brilliant cook, brought tomato treats, strawberries, and the yummiest ever cookies – two types whose names I already don’t remember.  Italian though, and scrumptious.  

Red, white, and blue potato salad and mock choux

Martha took some great pictures, which were better than mine, especially of the food.  You can see them here.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A shopping day

A walk to Chinatown and then the Market! What a fun day we had.  Long ago, Ana and I decided to make our friend Mia’s meal-in-a-minute soup recipe.  This included pot stickers, which are one of my favorite foods.  Now finding frozen pot stickers is not difficult, but finding vegetarian ones is a little harder.  Maybe hard isn’t the right word – no special effort or talent is required, but luck is.   We were both keeping an eye out for them, and had been for several months, and then we both found them on almost the same day.  It was kind of mysterious how that happened.  So, having finally gotten the main ingredient, we took a trek to Chinatown to get the rest of the ingredients – actually, I guess we didn’t really need to go there for anything, but it is always a fun outing and I needed some sea weedy things which were not necessary, but which we added in.  And Ana really did need to go to the Market, so we mixed business with pleasure. 

Miso Soup a la Mia

2 tablespoons hijiki
10 shitaki mushrooms, soaked and sliced
1 large carrot, julienned
½ cup snow peas
½ cup onion, chopped
7 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 cup tofu, diced
4 tablespoons miso paste (we used half sweet white and half barley)
¾ lb fresh spinach
About 6 frozen pot stickers

Sesame oil

Bring 6 cups water to a boil.  Dissolve miso paste(s) in water.  Add grated ginger, onion, garlic, and pot stickers.  Cover and cook three minutes.  Add remaining ingredients.  Cover and cook additional three minutes.  Garnish with sesame oil.

A nice shandy was the perfect accompaniment.

 After dinner, we watched a Nancy Drew movie with Bonita Granville.  One of the main google searches which sends people to this blog is “pictures of Bonita Granville.”  So here, for your viewing pleasure, one is – direct from my TV screen to you!  

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Festive Day

A past Fourth of July with Tom, Margaret, and Becca
Happy Fourth of July to all of you.