Monday, September 26, 2011

An uncomfortable day for Tobias

Rachael and Bunny on adoption day

I had a little houseguest recently, and like too many houseguests, she wasn’t very well behaved.  She was sweet and charming to me, picked up after herself, and was polite about her food, thus avoiding some of the main houseguest crimes.  However, she was very rude to my furry children.  Bunny is a relatively new family member, having been adopted by Rachael several months ago.  In her own home, she is delightfully well mannered.  She visited Rebecca and Maria for a day, while Rachael’s apartment building was being fumigated, and seemingly, Maria was a very poor hostess, hissing and spitting at innocent Bunny, until she (Maria) had to stay in the bathroom for the day.  Then Maria, in her fury, shrunk herself up just like rats do, and slithered out a window that was only opened a crack, onto the roof, causing terrible consternation.  When I heard about it all, I was glad that I hadn’t been there.  I would have been very upset about Maria being on the roof.  And I thought, “Poor Bunny!  Maria was certainly rude to her guest!”  Now I am not so sure.  I am beginning to suspect that Bunny might have silently hissed upsetting things under her breath to Maria as she emerged from her cat carrier.  Things like, “I am the most beautiful cat here, and everyone’s new darling.  You, Maria, are très passé!”  Maria, never the friendliest cat when it comes to other animals, doesn’t take this sort of treatment well. 

 When Bunny arrived here for a visit while her mom was out of town for a few days, she was a little more forthright.  She openly hissed and growled at both Margaret and Tobias.  Margaret is so self confident, that she was totally unfazed, and Bunny gave up on her pretty quickly.  Poor Tobias, always a gentleman, was polite to Bunny, and never spit back, but he was not happy about his houseguest.  He did his best to simply ignore her, and succeeded pretty well. Bunny was determined however, and followed him around, hissing all the while, even sleeping about a yard away from him, hissing all night long.  I kept waking up, hearing Margaret snoring next to me, and a low growl from the other side of the room where Bunny spent the night, keeping an eye on Tobias, never letting him forget that she was there and on the qui vive.  

Bunny hissing!
I'm sure Bunny was just acting out because she missed her mum.  She is usually a delightful kitty.  And, in fact, she was a delightful kitty during her visit, excepting for her distaste for my darling Tobias. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Yet another great day!

Fellow bloggers, Maria, Corinna, and Brian

Fun, fun, fun!  That is the Hunthausen Golf Tournament. I look forward to it anxiously all summer.  My friend Maria, who is in charge of it all, looks forward to it anxiously all summer as well, but I think her anxiety is of a different sort.  She lets me volunteer, and I feign working hard, but actually, I am just having a great time.  The idyllic surroundings – lots of trees, a fabulous fountain spurting up from a lovely lakelet, darling duckies, all go to make a delightful afternoon. I was a failed photographer this year, so I only have a few for you.  I was desperate to get a picture of the ducks who kept wandering right into the clubhouse during the pre-dinner party, perhaps looking for a glass of wine or - more likely, as they were ducks, a cocktail, but other party goers kept officiously shooing them out. 

Stacey and Archbishop Brunett

In addition to having a fun time, I brought home lots of swag.  There was a silent auction, and I won a nice little bag made by my friend Peggy.  There was a popular “wine roulette booth,” at which one paid the price and selected a cutely wrapped bottle of wine.  This would prove, in most cases, to be wine very ordinaire, or maybe a bottle of wine somewhat better than ordinaire, but there was a possibility of getting some spectacular vintage, which would, no doubt, be wasted on me.  I am certainly not among the wine cognoscenti, and am happy if it just tastes nice.

There was also a mystery gift table, and again one paid the price, with the potential of getting something fabulous – in this case, a huge Nordstrom gift card – but this is what I got.  Not something I would have selected, but he will be a good companion for my Garten Zwerge.

My cute new purse is in the background.

The dinner was great too!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Gosh!  I have had three blog-worthy events this week, and as a consequence, have not had time to tell you about any of them!  The most signal of the three was the birthday of the world’s best daughter!  I won’t say how old she is, because that would cast light on what an antique I am.  She selected our activities for the day, and they were all the very things  I would have selected myself.  The thought occurs – was she just being a loving daughter, or is this what she really wanted to do???????    We walked to the University District for lunch at a vegan raw food restaurant.  This did not sound terribly appealing to me, but one can't complain on the birthday of one's little darling.   When Rachael, my other little darling was a very young thing, she read a James Bond novel, in which James was ordered to go to penal health spa so that the ravages of his bon vivant lifestyle with its copious martinis - “shaken, not stirred,” could be somewhat mitigated.   The first order was a raw food vegetable diet, to purge his body of the poisons he normally so happily imbibed.  Rachael was all enthusiasm, prattling on about our bodily poisons, and how we all needed to switch to raw foods.  I recall that the poisons in John Wayne’s body also came into the argument somehow.  Rebecca was game, so our family started out on a purgatorial (in several senses of the word) raw food diet.  It was grotesque.  Now, there are days when I probably actually do eat only raw foods, and I am happy and replete.  But Rebecca had gotten a cook book which offered recipes for ground up raw things which tried to mimic cooked things.  Like Bread! And failed horribly.  Blech!!! I dreaded dinner.  Our regimen lasted less than a week, and everyone was happy to abandon the experiment - bodily poisons not withstanding.
So, when Becca proposed a raw food restaurant, I had qualms.  But needlessly, as our lunch was fine.  Since my lunch had been so healthy and filling, I had some probably poisonous biscotti (doubly cooked) and a dish of ice cream (raw, actually) for dinner.  

We stopped at the Dahlia Garden on the way.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Pleasant Evening

Another celebratory meal out – this time with the Aunties, to celebrate Pauline’s birthday.  She gets a two-fer from Ivar’s each year as her birthday approaches, and this year she took us out.  (I thought it was supposed to be the other way around, but I’m not complaining.)

University and Montlake bridges

The weather had been hot, hot, hot for the previous week, and then made a sudden Seattle about turn and became rainy and chilly.  Everyone else was whining about the shift, but I was delighted.  I am not a hot weather fan.  The restaurant seemed not to have noticed the change, however, and the air conditioner must have been going full blast.  I am never one to complain about the cold, but I was wishing I had worn another layer.  You can see that the Aunties came fully prepared.  Their coats did not come off even once during the meal.  

Crews on Lake Union
Our waiter was adorable, and Dakki kept saying that he looked like President Obama.  He was handsome, but shorter, rounder, and altogether cuddlier looking.  We liked him a lot.  After Dakki expatiated at length on the similarity between the two, I took a look around to assess the other waiters.  They mostly looked like characters who would be hired by Sidney Greenstreet in some 1940’s film noir.  One was the spitting image of Joe Canino, the main gangster bad guy in The Big Sleep.  I pointed this out to them, and they were initially skeptical (as they are of most of my observations,) but after a few looks about, they had to agree.  Somehow, this cheered us even more, and our dinner was now not only delicious, but had the added flavor of being just a little illicit!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another fun, but slightly sinful day

I have had my same job for a big bunch of years.  When I first started working eight hour evening shift, there were about 15 of us. Nurses have come and gone over the years, and now, there are only three of us left! And I don’t mean just three of the originals, but three altogether.  We eight hour holdouts are a fast disappearing breed.  These days, twelve hour shifts are chic, but pretty grueling for those who do them – and that would be almost everyone.  They don’t seem to be offering eight hour shifts any more, so if you are a patient, you are almost guaranteed of having an exhausted person with sore feet taking care of you for at least part of the time.  Not ideal!   

We three old-timers met today for a jolly lunch outing at the fun and funky Luna Park Café.  I had probably the most unhealthy meal I have had in years, and it was delightful.  Hashed browns, cooked to perfection, and a “just the right degree of runniness” fried egg.  And to add to the total depravity of the meal, a gigantic strawberry milkshake for dessert.  Laura opted what she aptly called for the “typical sixteen year old’s lunch,” a milkshake and French fries.  Virginia was  more sensible and restrained with the fried egg and hashed browns, omitting the mortally sinful milkshake.  

Thanks to Laura for photo
You can see that I am excited about the milkshake!  

Actually, we are all fairly healthy eaters.  What got into us?  It must have been the thrill of getting together on a non-work day.  But afterward, we walked some of our naughtiness off with a stroll along the beach at Alki. 

All in all, a very pleasant afternoon. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Day of Remberance

Icon of the Crucifixion of the Lord.  Joan Brand-Landkamer, Cathedral Iconographer

Ten years ago today, a thousand people spontaneously gathered in St. James Cathedral to share their shock and grief at the day’s terrible events, and to seek comfort in the communal outpouring of prayer.  Today we gathered again to remember that day.  The shock was lessened, but the grief was still raw and intense.  In the opening hymn, we asked “That, redeemed from war and hatred, all may come and go in peace.”  However, running though the scriptural readings and Father Ryan’s homily were  reminders of the need for, and prayers for, forgiveness.  In the Gospel,  Jesus tells Peter that he must not forgive only seven times, but seventy times seven times.  I am thinking that this goes for us too, and not just Peter.

The music, The St James Mass for Peace, was even more perfect than I could have imagined – from the still small whisper to the  clanging thunder of our voices raised in prayers.  But most moving of all, was the silence – the silence as the Mass ended and faithful exited the Cathedral, each holding a lighted candle, and uttering not a word.  

Thanks to Maria Laughlin for photos

Saturday, September 10, 2011

An Almost Autumn Day

Signs of Autumn (my favorite season,) are not only in the air, but also floating through the air and drifting to the ground.

Since I no longer have a “first day of school” every September, the big autumnal event is the reconvening of our choir after our summer vacation.  It’s wonderful to see everyone again, but most wonderful of all is the music! 

Sometimes when one practices the pieces all alone at home, they can be pretty blech!  Odd intervals, difficult rhythms – and often the one alto part just doesn’t make musical sense or sound very beautiful.  Then when we all practice together, the real music unfolds.   Our motet for Sunday looked challenging on the page, and I was suitably intimidated.   However, when we all sang it on Thursday evening with the piano as accompaniment, it seemed very nice, and nice even when I reviewed it by myself.  But at the rehearsal this morning, with the real accompaniment (or most of it,) it was a astonishing! The music ranges from the gentlest whisper to the thunderous outpouring of our prayer for peace. The Saint James Mass for Peace, sung to commemorate the tragic events of ten years ago, will be very fitting, and a very moving tribute  to those lost on that day.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A watery day

Another day in the dumps, only to be lifted out of the doldrums by lunch and a fun outing with Samos.  He fancied Indian food, and the restaurant we used to like has gotten yucky.  Where to go that wasn’t too far afield?  He knew just the place.  (Sadly, I don’t remember the name of it, or I would recommend it to you.) Our lunch was especially yummy, and it cheered me considerably.  We were in the vicinity of the Center for Wooden Boats, so we decided to take an amble around and look at all the waterside scenes and all the wonderful boats – everything from rowboats and canoes to tug boats, (everyone’s favorite, I think) and to some pretty big ones. Yachts, maybe.  I am not sure where ordinary boats end and yachts begin, I’m afraid.  

Dog amenities

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

An Insomniac's Night

Wilkie Collins is one of my favorite authors.  Or at least, he wrote two of my favorite books – The Woman in White and The Moonstone.  These two are really at the pinnacle of the nineteenth century sensational novel.  They both could keep a very sleepy person awake all night.  The first time I read The Moonstone, many years ago when I was a married woman, I could not put it down, and had to read a few more pages, and then a few more pages, and then a few more pages until the very wee hours of the morning.  The next day, Dennis complained that I had stayed up too late reading.  “But my book was so good,” I said.  “You read it and you’ll see.”  So that evening, he started it just as I was drifting off to the land of Nod.  The next night, he was reading something else.  “Didn’t you like The Moonstone”? I asked, disappointed.  He looked a little embarrassed.  “I finished it,” he admitted.  "Just as you were waking up." See?  It is a real page-turner.  On the other hand, Wilkie Collins has written some of the most boring books ever.  The Dead Secret is a perfect example.  I can’t believe it is still in print.  It’s that silly.  One knows what the secret is on about page four - or maybe even page two.  I carried on because I could not believe that the plot could be so obvious, and hoped that some surprise twist might be coming.  As anyone who keeps track (on the sidebar) of what I am reading will know, it took me weeks to finish this one.  Then one night I simply could not go to sleep, and this book seemed like the perfect soporific tool to induce a snooze.  But no – I read on to the bitter end, and there were no surprises.  I turned off the light, hoping for a boredom induced torpor – but none came.  I staggered downstairs, eyes very bleary, and looked about for something else to read.  It had to be good, but not too good, since I did want to go to sleep before it was time to wake up.  My friends, The Twins, had been amazed that I had never read a Horatio Alger book, but I thought they sounded potentially dull.  I knew all about the “Rags to Riches if Only One is  Sufficiently Morally Upright and Industrious” themes, and that storyline did not have a lot of appeal.  Plus, I had never really had access to one of Alger’s books.  Or so I thought.  As I was searching my bookshelves, in my sleep deprived fog, through the haze, I espied an Alger book which I hadn’t even realized that I had.  The perfect thing!  It was fun to read, and actually did eventually  have the desired soporific effect. 

I might add that no golf club appeared in this novel, either onstage or off.  

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Fun Baking Day

Tom and Hairy!  What a couple of adorable kitties!  They, along with their mummies, invited me to dinner, and so I baked them a cake to welcome them. 

The Porter Cake was from my never-fail BBC cake book. Like every other cake I have made from this book, it was très yummy, and très time consuming to make.  I can’t believe the time estimates they give for preparing these cakes.  This one said twenty minutes to prep time, and it took me an hour and a half.  Rebecca says that it is because I am so inefficient.  Maybe so, but I can’t imagine anyone doing it in 20 minutes.  She says I waste time fiddling around, and my pantry is so poorly arranged that I can’t find anything.  I informed her that this is not the problem, as I recently, in my post-mouse cleanup frenzy, rearranged it.  I know right where everything is.  Sometimes.  Perhaps if I had a servant to prepare the cake pan (lined with parchment paper and buttered,) assemble and measure all the ingredients, chop the fruit, and then clean up afterwards, so that all I had to do was toss it into a bowl and stir ……..   Well then, maybe.  I think it took me the full twenty minutes to find the right cake pan.   Take a look at the ingredients spread out on the table.

This is not even all of them, because I usually put things away as I go.  You will notice that there are no eggs, no flour, no butter – the cake essentials.  And then have a look at the ensuant mess!    But it doesn’t matter – as long as one doesn’t really expect the prep time estimation to be remotely accurate -  because a twenty minute cake would not be much fun.  I had a lovely morning among my dried fruits and spices, chopping, measuring, mixing, sipping the other half of the Guinness – which I used instead of Porter - and looking forward to meeting Tomasina and Hairy.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Surgical Day

Occasionally, I look at Joannamauselina’s stats, and, more interesting than the numbers, at the things folks have googled to arrive there.  One common search thread is “hand surgery stitches.”  So, I anticipate that the quest for surgery pictures will bring a few visitors to this page as well.  The auntly surgeries and mishaps seem to be of world wide interest, while all along I had been thinking that interest would be limited to my more immediate family.  This is Pauline’s second hand surgery, (click here to see the first) and it looks pretty impressive, don’t you think?  Aunt Dakki’s eye surgery was photogenic as well. 

Every so often, Pauline and I have lunch – tomato soup, crackers, and cheese (Yum!) and I give her a mini pedicure.  Yesterday, I brought along some Mochi ice cream for dessert.  Now, I was forgetting that Pauline is the type of girl who eats pizza and French fries with a fork, so naturally, she would eat her mochi ice cream with a spoon.  And I forgot that she would be trying to do this with only one hand.  This proved difficult, but she was up to it.