Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Sewing Days

Whipping the cream in Christmas Past

My family has many Christmas Dinner traditions, some so subtle that we don’t actually recognize them as traditions until they don’t happen.  One such was my mother causing a scene of some sort.  I miss this one sadly.  Sometimes I was humiliated, sometimes amused, sometimes annoyed, but never bored by her antics.  Another is the to-do over the whipped cream.  Yet another is that the person whipping the cream wears The Apron. My aunt Pauline made this apron  close to (or possibly even more than) fifty years ago for my Uncle Bill.  It was her own design, and everyone loves it.  Whoever is overseeing the turkey, making the gravy, (or whipping the cream,) usually wears it while he (at least it is usually “he” as she has many sons) is momentarily king of the kitchen. Recently my cousin Tim was visiting his mom, preparing a treat - in the apron, of course - and reminiscing about a visit from Uncle Tim, my Uncle Bill’s brother. Four year old Timmy had gotten up first, and come down to the kitchen were Uncle Tim was about to fix an “Uncle Tim fry-up.”  He said he would show Timmy how to make breakfast, and folded the apron so that it actually fit Timmy, and they cooked breakfast together.  Pauline told him that since he loved the apron so, he could take it home.  Tim was thrilled – so thrilled that his wife Michaella put a picture of him happily cooking in the apron on Facebook. 

This did not sit well with other traditionalists, and to avoid hurt feelings, Tim sadly brought the apron back so it could return to its status as “pro tem crown of the current kitchen king.” 

Pauline, seeing Tim’s disappointment, decided to reproduce the apron.  We traced out a pattern, made a trip to the material store, and spent a couple of fun days sewing it up.  What a success it was.  There were quite a few moist eyes around the table when Tim opened his gift.  Now Tim and  his family can wear the new apron at his house for the next fifty years at least, and all the brothers can continue to wear the old one when visiting their mother.  

Joe modeling the old and Tim the new aprons

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day

Christmas Cards

I am having a very lazy Boxing Day, recovering from Christmas. I think that is what Boxing Day is really all about.  For several days, my car was locked in my garage and I couldn’t get at it, so I walked, walked, walked to church about a zillion times – through driving rain and bitter cold, and with not that much time in between for sleeping.  Sort of driving and sort of bitter and only five times, an so not too terribly dreadful after all.  I just love to complain.  The singing, while stressful and energy sapping, was wonderful, and the family event was fun too.  No one acted up (actually there was only that danger from one person – the oldest one there, who should know better, but sometimes doesn’t.) 

This morning I was going through one of my gifts, looking for some chocolate that I knew was in the package, and realized I had missed one of my best presents which had been artfully hidden in the tissue paper.  Brilliant little Skat card ornaments, made by my wonderful Skat companions.  Are they not the sweetest?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Christmas!

I'm wishing a Happy and Blessed Christmas to all my wonderful blogfriends!  And incidentally, a Happy New Year too.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Slightly Horrible Day

Fixing it up.  Isn't it lovely?

By now, probably everyone who reads this blog has already heard me complain about my day on Sunday.  And heard, and heard, and heard. And doesn’t want to read about it now.  But, there might be someone who hasn’t, so here I go!  As I said, it was Sunday, so, after working till midnight the evening before, I drug myself out of bed at the crack of dawn to get ready for church. (At this time of the year, that may not be much of an exaggeration.  Dawn comes pretty late.) I had my tea, got dressed in my Sunday best, gathered my choir materials and keys, and was just having a final sip cup of tea when I heard, “Drip, drip, drip.”  “One of my roof gutters must be clogged,” I thought.  “The rain is dripping onto a window sill or something.”  I pondered this for a moment or so, and then realized that it wasn’t raining.  Yikes!  I went downstairs to my basement, and found the floor covered with water.  Once again,  I attributed the drip to rain.  This was not totally unreasonable, as it had been raining ferociously for several days.  Then I saw water spewing forth from my wonderful new(ish) water heater.  Aaaargh!  I called Dan the Plumber, who had put in the water heater, and I fear that he was still in bed. He told me how to turn everything off – the water heater and the water.  Actually, the heater had already turned itself off.  I had tried to turn off the water before calling, but was trying in the wrong place.  He quickly got dressed and was there in a flash!  I had to miss choir, and feared that I was going to have to miss work as well, since Dan the Plumber worked on it for hours, leaving at one point to go to the hardware store to get a part.  I kept calling the nurse staffing office with updates, and given that they were short of nurses that day, they were as interested in getting it fixed as I was.  And I was mentally calculating the huge plumbing bill that was growing more huge by the minute.  When it was finally fixed, just in time for me to get ready for work, wonderful Dan said that there would be no charge. “Warranty work,” he said. We argued about this a bit, but he was adamant.  Am I ever lucky to have such a great fellow to do my plumbing!

Putting the water heater in three years ago. Isn't the old one horrible?
So what started as a horrible day, ended up a mixed bag of a day, but mostly a good one. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Shopping Day

“I’m a little embarrassed about one of my purchases,” I told one of my favorite checkout ladies at my favorite grocery store.  Her eyes lit up, and she eagerly looked through the contents of my grocery cart.  When she saw what I was buying, she was visibly disappointed, but agreed that it was a necessary purchase, and only the tiniest bit embarrassing.  Then she happily told me of other patron’s far more embarrassing purchases, often hidden deep down under heads of lettuce and bags of apples. We could hardly stop shrieking with laughter, and got jealous stares from other clientele and employees.  Sorry, but this is a G-rated blog, so I can’t fill you in. Hint: it was not an incontinence product. That would no doubt embarrass me, but one would just have to get over it.  What in the world could be embarrassing from Grocery Outlet?  Well, these super tacky leopard print reading glasses are a little embarrassing, but they only cost $2, and I will wear them only in the privacy of my own home, and I am, of course, a consenting adult, so it’s okay, despite how hideous they are.  Hideous but sort of cute!

The real embarrassment? Well, I've been reading lately that chocolate is good for you in so many ways, so I decided to get some for medicinal purposes.  And why go half way? I went whole hog.  Yum!

Such weakness!  I feel like a piggy.  Sooo embarrassing!

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Lost Day

View from Queen Anne.  You can see an identical picture here.

I woke up still contented after the lovely dinner with The Twins on Queen Anne Hill at the fabulous Five Spot.  After dinner, we walked off a bit of our dessert, toiling up this humungous  flight of stairs (Queen Anne is full of flights of stairs,) to our parking spot, from which we drove around to some of the Queen Anne hot spots. 

We looked for St. Ann’s church, where once, in my mother’s youth, her underpants had fallen off as she came out of Mass.  She daintily pretended nothing was happening, stepped out of them and walked on. We have long wondered what the sexton thought when he found them.  My mother was always perfectly turned out, in beautiful clothes, but, needing to be economical somewhere, she wore her underwear until it was barely hanging on by the last thread.  Some economies can lead to trouble.

But how was the day lost?  After getting a new computer (several years ago) I tried to load my Skat game into my computer, and was unsuccessful.  So instead, I played Bridge with a computer character trio, and had been happy with that.  Suddenly, I was desperate to play Skat, and gave uploading it another go.  Finally I realized where I had gone wrong, and got it working.  I play with a couple of mousies, whom Rachael long ago named Rachael and Lillian. They nearly always win, and I am thrilled to win even a hand.  Winning an entire game would be out of the question.  These mice are smug, sarcastic little girls who tell me, if I lose a hand in the final trick, something like, “Kurz vor dem Locus in die Hose gegangen” (“Oops! Went in the pants right in front of the bathroom door!")  Or, when I lose earlier in the hand, “Der Ofen is aus!”  (The oven is out!)  They always have something triumphant to say when they win a hand, but never notice on the few occasions when I do.  Anyhow, they are sadly addictive, and I spent much of a potentially productive day playing with them. 

Later, when I went to the Cathedral Kitchen to help feed the hungry, I found that someone had made some super delicious fudge.  There went a weeks worth of healthy dieting.  In minutes.  Later, at choir practice, I found that a song I had thought was easy, and hence had not practiced, was not easy at all.  I should have been working on that instead of playing cards with mice. 

Oh well, my lost day was a fun day, so I am not too upset about it.