Friday, November 30, 2012

Another Busy Day

Nothing to do with today's post, but a nice picture of the Seattle Art Museum camels

Several years ago, I had a patient, a very nice somewhat elderly (i.e, older  than I) man as a patient.  He was fumbling about with his cell phone, and obviously didn’t know how to use it.  I'm sure that I didn’t say, “How can you possibly not know how to use your cell phone?” because I absolutely understand how one can not know how to use one’s cell phone.  But somehow, an explanation seemed, to him at least, necessary.  He told me that it was a new one and he hadn’t quite mastered it yet.  He went on to further explain that he had recently washed his old one in the washing machine.  Now I understand how a cat can accidentally get in the dryer, but….   He said that he has a pair of those pants with lots of pockets – just the type I was gardening in (today, not then, of course.) He had gone through his pockets, before washing them, but apparently not well enough.  I thought of that man today.

I had been out planting bulbs in the rain.  I had debated about what to wear, and then decided that as it was laundry day, I would just wear the pair of pants I had on, the one pair I have that fits, and then do the laundry.  I planted my bulbs and felt very industrious and virtuous to boot, and came in, all muddy, to take a shower and do the laundry.  First, as it was “clean sheet day,” I washed the white, and then the dark.  I didn’t really have enough dark for a load, but I went around the house looking for semi-dirty things to wash.  Somehow, that assuages my guilt about a half full load of washing.  Later, as a reward for all this activity, I made a cup of tea and settled down with my book.  I realized I needed to text a friend, and reached into my pocket (of my second favorite pants, which don’t fit,) for my phone.  My heart sank.  It was that feeling when a sudden realization makes your stomach feel as though it is dropping with a clunk down deep into your lower innards.  How could I be so stupid?  Then I looked over to where I had been when I took off my pants for my shower, and there they were, hanging over the chair where I had slung them.  I realized that I had been really stupid, and gathered up that pile of colored clothes and washed them, totally forgetting to put in the main thing I had wanted to wash!  My cell phone was safe!  Sometimes too much efficiency can be a bad thing.

Likewise, only a pumpkin instead of camels

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Traumatic Couple of Days

The one incident-free item on the menu.

Do you ever have days when things just go wrong and go wrong and go wrong?  You think, “Well, I can’t imagine what else could happen!” and then you immediately find out.  I’ve had terrible battery karma lately.  First my glow in the dark alarm clock batteries went.  The clock required AAA’s and fortunately, I had two (antiques, I later realized.)  I put them in, and was pleased with myself for being so efficient.  The batteries lasted a grand total of two days.  Fortunately, this was not an emergency, as I have a little phalanx of (non-glow in the dark) clocks in my bedroom, all poised to make sure I get out of bed on time on Sunday mornings. However, later that evening, the batteries on my furnace thermostat went out.  I opened it up, confident that with my supply of various sizes of batteries, this would be no problem.  However, guess what!  AAA’s again!  It seems like not that many things take this size, so that made it also seem like the battery gods were aligned against me.  And this time it was more of an emergency, as with no thermostat, there would be no heat, and it was getting pretty cold. I joggled the batteries around a bit, giving a small boost to their lease on life, and then the next day, Margaret and I forged out through the winds and rains, battling the elements to get the necessary electrical gear.  I hoped that that would be that, battery-wise!  But such was not to be.

I was baking bread and a cake for my dinner with The Twins, and as I was using my wonderful electric scale to measure out the 500 gm flour for the bread, I was thinking that it seemed like an awfully lot of flour.  Then, I measured out the various dried fruits for the cake.  No way these fruits are going to fit into this little cake pan, even if there were no flour, sugar, or eggs, I told myself.  So I weighed a cup of water.  It weighed 162 gm instead of the usual 227.  Aaaaaaaargh!  Converting to cups, I remeasured the bead flour, and it was close enough to the right amount.  But not quite right.  I could add some more water to fix the bread problem, but the fruits were waaaaaay off.  Converting again, I calculated how many cups total of fruit I needed, and found that I had about 30% too much.   Well, I can save the extra fruit for some future cake.  Fortunately, I had not put in any the eggs, oil or sugar.  The scale’s battery must have been in it’s death throes as I was measuring flour for the bread, and just doing agonal breathing as I measured the fruit.  I have lots of non-AAA batteries, so I opened the scale up to find that it had one of those funny rectangular biggish ones. I had a few of those, but then I couldn’t figure out how to get the old one out!   I called my aunt, who reassured me.  “The Twins are clever.  They will be able to fix it.”  (This turned out to be true.)  “But I’m cooking now!  That will be too late,” I wailed.  I had expected to be cooking until about seven p.m., but, given all my unexpected culinary problems,  I finally dropped into bed closer to midnight.  

No more measuring problems with my dinner, but when I dropped my chopped onions from their storage container into the sizzling oil, instead of the expected “fwoosh” sound, there was a “clunk.”  There in the pan was the lid of the container, being sautéed along with the onions.  I managed to get it out without ruining either  it or the onions.  The rest of the dinner preparation was happily uneventful. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Stormy Days

Storm Damage in Seattle!

Not to worry!  You're in good hands. I'm an orthopedic nurse!

All well!  These days, they put human patients together with glue too!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Very Fun Day!

At the Antique Mall 

Samos and I were going to go out to lunch and to do some other fun thing. But what that other fun thing was, we hadn’t quite decided.  We thought about going for a canoe ride, but the weather was pretty dreary and chilly.  Very chilly! I had visions of the canoe tipping over and dropping us into frigid Lake Washington, ending up in pounds of sodden wet clothes, shivering and turning blue as we made our sad way home after the upset.  Ugh!  Canoeing was potentially fun, but also potentially horrible.  I timidly suggested shopping.  Not the most exciting thing, and something I loathe doing alone and quite enjoy if I do it with a friend. We both needed to go to the plant store and Costco, so I was pleased when Samos thought it a good idea. First Costco, where I planned to buy one thing  - Alka Seltzer, my ever faithful headache remedy.  Most folks don’t realize that each tablet has an aspirin embedded in it, and the fizziness seems to send the headache relief directly to where it needs to go.  Plus, it‘s fun to have all those tiny bubbles tickling your nose.  And with a teaspoon of Tang – a real treat!  I know, I know!  This sounds a little pervy, but when one has a headache…….    Well, I guess it is not humanly possible to go to Costco and buy only one thing, so I bought a bunch of things and then felt guilty.  I’m sure I really need them though. (Especially the Marilyn Monroe DVD's!)  

We visited an Antique Mall, where I actually did buy only one thing, and that was the treasure of the day.  I have my special silver knife, fork and spoon that I always use, but I was missing a real dinner fork.  Instead I used the salad fork of the set.  I had been looking and looking for a fork to match – looking for years, in fact.  One of the stalls had a big bin of silverware, so we looked through it.  There were spoons and salad forks in the proper pattern galore!  But not a fork.  Finally I found one! Heaven be praised!  I was really happy.  Samos thought I should look for a backup, but in the whole bin of forks, there was only the one.  Rather than be disappointed about no backup, this made my one treasure even more valued. 

Happy mealtime ahead!

Finally, after a trip to the garden store for leaf raking equipment (ugh!), we went to a restaurant which had been a favorite years ago, but had been closed the last few times we tried to visit.  We were thrilled to find it reopened and had a super yummy Ethiopian lunch. 

Special fork not needed.
When we got home, I was knackered after all that strenuous shopping, but I had to do a gardening chore – planting some bulbs.  I got dressed in my gardening clothes, stepped out onto the porch, thought, “Yuck!  It is really cold, crispy, drippy and draining.  Just not the weather to work outside.” I told myself that I would be so happy when those daffodils came out in the spring, but that thought was not helpful.   Suddenly I remembered that I had a big pile of ironing to do.  “I had better work on that,” I happily told myself.  So much more fun than digging in dirt.  It seems that most folks I know love to putter in their gardens.  Most folks altogether, in fact.  I envy them.  I love to have nice flowers, but dealing with them is pure drudgery.  If only I could enjoy it, how much more pleasurable would life be!  But……  I hate it.  I wonder if I can force myself to go do it now?  I will report back.  Maybe. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Humbling Day

No exciting events in the Joannaworld lately.  Rebecca, on the other hand has had a lot of excitement.  You can read about it here!  

I seem to have been spending more time than usual at church recently.  This is not due to an uptick in piety, but more to how things just happen to happen.   A few days ago, I went to the St. James Mass in Remembrance of the Deceased Homeless of Seattle.  I have planned to go to this every year, and I always seem to forget about it when the day actually comes.  This year, fortunately, a friend and fellow volunteer working with me at the Cathedral Kitchen reminded me and we went together.  Mass at St. James is always moving, but this service was particularly so.  The names of the fifty-seven homeless people who have died were printed on the order of worship, and after Mass, the cathedral bells tolled fifty seven times for the departed.    Patty Bowman, Director of the cathedral's social outreach program, gave a very moving reflection on the loss that we all share when our regrettable economy allows such pervasive homelessness to happen - and when we ourselves allow these unfortunate people to sink into invisibility.  She said that there are over 8,000 homeless in King County, and 40% of these are children.   Also, over 40% of the homeless men here are veterans, many of whom suffer from psychic wounds received during their military service - serving the rest of us, that would be. These numbers are truly shocking.

Several inter-faith groups presented hand knitted hats, gloves, and scarves made by their members.  Pictured is one four huge baskets of knitted things which surrounded the altar.   

Let's hope that either I remember to remember next year, or that some friendly soul reminds me again. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Happy Day!

Sooooooo relieved, and very happy!  Nothing will quite beat the emotions of the 2008 election, but this one comes close!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Another Up and Down Day

Sitting behind the orchestra at rehearsal. They will look much more formal the next night.

The last two evenings, All Saints Day and All Souls Day, are among my top favorites of the year - the rehearsal for Mozart’s divine Requiem on Thursday, and then the actual performance at Mass on All Souls Day.  Actually, I think the rehearsal with the orchestra might be my real favorite by a very slivery margin, as it is more relaxed, and we always get to sing Happy Birthday to our director.  How often do you sing Happy Birthday to someone you love, with a full orchestra accompaniment?  Not often! 

Then, after the rehearsal, I got home and found that some careless individual had parked his car in front of my driveway so I couldn’t get into my garage.  This was the third time in thirty years that this has happened, but oddly, the second time this week.  The first time was when Becca and I were going on an outing to the knitting store, and the car was a horrible phallic looking black thing, so I got a certain amount of schadenfreude having it towed.  Yes, evil, I know.  We were not in a rush, and so just had another cup of tea while we waited.  Last night  things were different.  I was tired, and it was a Volkswagen, so I felt badly about its owner’s distress.  (I guess this shows that I am a car-ist.)  But I had to get into the garage as the street parking is very limited at certain times. Earlier during the day, some little furry orange person had thrown up in my bed, so I had washed all the linen.  When I finally got in after the rehearsal, I found that the duvet was not quite dry. Grrrrrrr!  But I put it in the dryer, took a shower, moved my car into the garage, by which time the duvet was dry, and so I happily settled down with my book.  All in all, a very pleasant day. 

However, now that I consider, the actual Requiem Mass, with its mystery and glory, has to be the best of all.  Not relaxing, but wondrously wonderful.