Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Very Fun Evening

“Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
 There’s always laughter and good red wine.
At least I’ve always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!”

Look closely, and you can see the electrical towers!

That was certainly true this evening! Well, actually, there was laughter and lemonade.  It was the second official Camino Seattle walk, the first for Beautiful Beacon Hill, and the first for me.  And what fun it was.  We were supposed to walk and pray, as do the pilgrims on the Camino of Santiago de Compostela do, but after an initial prayer, we primarily walked and had fun.  Corinna and Maria, our leaders, found a picture of pilgrims walking along the route in Spain, and it could have been a picture of our very walkway on beautiful Beacon Hill, even with the electrical towers. 

 There were pilgrims of all ages.  Oldsters like me, and three in strollers!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Several-faceted Day

I was in a real funk!  Yesterday I did not do a single useful thing.  I knitted and read my book, which while possibly useful on some ethereal level, seemed like lazing around, vegetating and atrophying. In addition, I ate mainly junk food.  Depressing!  This morning, I walked to church and back  – not quite vegetating, but certainly not strenuous.  Then I came home and worked the crossword puzzle.  This wore me out, so I decided to take a nap.  When I woke up, I felt even more lethargic and useless.  Sigh!  I checked my phone to see if Becca had called me up to invite me over for tea and a little social knitting (somehow more useful than private knitting.)  But no phone calls or messages.  Heavy sigh!  I thought I should get up and go to the store to buy provisions for my upcoming work days, but the energy and verve were lacking.  I knew that when I had nothing to eat I would regret having been so lazy, but even this thought did not move me into action.  As I stared sadly at my phone, mirabile dictu, it rang.  It was Becca inviting me to cycle over.  I was thrilled.  By the way, could I stop at the market and get her a watermelon?  The long seeded kind, not the chic little round kind.  Of course I could and did. That monstrous vegetable weighed 16 pounds.  I thought that I used to lug Rachael about when she weighed 16 pounds, and she was not anywhere near this heavy.  I worried that it would affect my balance on my bike and cause me to crash, splattering it (and me) all over the street, but it didn’t and I arrived safely.  And there was my darling daughter waiting outside so that I didn’t have to carry the behemoth upstairs.  What a delightful girl! 

A month or so ago, we got yarn for a knit-along scarf.  As I expected would happen, hers was nearly done, and mine not yet begun.  I brought that along so that we could actually knit-along at least a tiny bit before hers was completely finished.  She warned me that first two rows were going to be tricky.  The fact that I forgot to bring my glasses made them a lot trickier.  I had a terrible time and had to keep undoing my stitches and starting over.  I think this cheered her quite a lot.  As you can see, hers (the blue one) is very attractive, while mine (the pinkish one) is a little hideous lump – rather like Eeyore’s balloon.  I am looking forward to working on it when I can actually see what I am doing.  I think this will make it go much more smoothly.  

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Fun Evening

According to the calendar, summer is here. Who would know!  Actually, it did poke its head out from behind the clouds a few times yesterday, but thunderstorms were predicted.  A sure sign of summer, however is the volunteer dinner at St. James.  This is a fun time to chat with folks that one too often just sees in passing -  maybe passing the collection plate, passing out meals at the Cathedral Kitchen, or passing by with the EM’s* in the Entrance Procession at Mass. 

One guest at each table was assigned to pass around the various dishes, and at our table, this unfortunate was John – and given that he had waiter experience in a previous life, he did an excellent job. I was relieved that I had the strength to remain mute when volunteers were summoned.

I was happy to see my fellow blogger – well, that’s not quite right! She is the keeper of my fellow bloggers, Lady Alice and Lord Cecil. 

And lots of other friends as well.

Given the state of Summer in Seattle today, it’s hard to believe that one year I didn’t go because it was too hot!  Today is lovely, cool, cloudy, and breezy.  Just my thing.

*Eucharistic Ministers

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Funny Day

This was kind of a funny day.  It was the funeral of my friend Gloria, sister of my friend Martha.  The funeral was lovely, and it was wonderful to meet Gloria’s daughter Portia, about whom I had heard so much.  The choir sang, and, in honor of Gloria, the music was alto-centric.  Even the sopranos had to pretend they were contralti for the morning.  We got to sing the wonderful bits about the sparrow in “O how amiable” – bits which are usually reserved for the tenors.  This made us all happy.  Well, what’s funny about any of that, you might ask!  Nothing at all!  It was wonderful.

The funny came before.  And after.  I had been a bit panicky about getting up on time, and had several alarms set, lest I sleep through one.  I woke up betimes, well before a single alarm had gone off, and so was able to read the paper, decide that the crossword was too hard to bother with, and then even read some, possibly finishing my book, one of my very favorites.  However, my book was not there! I had gone to sleep with it in my hand, and now it was nowhere to be found.  Margaret denied all knowledge of it.  I had to completely undo the bedclothes to find it hiding among the blankets.  Then, when I arrived at the choir practice area, wishing I had time to read the last few pages, there was no one to be seen – no one from the choir, I mean. So I decided to sit in a sunny spot to read until some of my co-choristers showed up.  Still no one came.  Finally I went in, and found that I misunderstood the call time, and was about 45 minutes early.  Growl!

Afterward, I went downtown to get some crossword working pens.

There were people being amusing, 

I only like to do them in red ink.  This has become a fetish of sorts.  I have no idea how it started.  But if I have no red pen and have to do the puzzle in black, I just do not enjoy it as much. To my horror, my last red pen ran out of ink several weeks ago, and I have been doing the puzzle it black since.  I’ve been looking for the perfect pen all that time, but perhaps my needs are too specific – not only does it have to be red, but has to be altogether a certain sort of pen.  The usual sources had red pens of the wrong type, and black pens of the correct type, but really - close, but no cigar!  So today was just the day to go to the office store and find the perfect pen.  The day was sparkling and golden, and the walk downtown was balm for the spirit.  So many interesting things to see and so many happy people to smile with.  

There were people being amused,

People sporting the latest fashions,

And the usual obscure signage.

Now I am looking forward to working on tomorrow's crossword with the perfect pen.  

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Sad Day

Farewell to Gloria Starett, a friend and fellow Cathedral Choir member.  On Thursday, Gloria suddenly winged her way to heaven and is now singing with the Choirs of Angels.  That group’s sound will definitely be enhanced by Gloria’s wonderful alto voice, and their rehearsals will now be a lot more fun with her quick wit and ready sense of humor.  We will miss your constantly kind and always cheerful presence, Gloria!

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Wet Day

The day began beautifully.

Last summer, Rebecca and I were walking across the Montlake Bridge when it started to rain.  The day was warm, the rain gentle, and by the time we got to Flowers, where we were going to lunch, we were completely dry.  Yesterday, I felt a sense of déjà vu when, as we were crossing that very bridge, once again on our way to Flowers, it started to rain.  Rebecca was annoyed because I had told her the weather would be fine, and she need not dress warmly. What a mistake! The rain was not at all gentle – the heavens opened, it suddenly turned chilly, we were soaked through in minutes. 

That quickly changed!

By the time we got to Flowers  – actually, well before we got there - we were shivering with cold, dripping with wet, and one of us was the teensiest bit crabby, blaming her poor mother for the weather. Or more likely, for her mother’s complete misjudgment of the precipitation potential. I was, in true mother fashion, feeling guilty about the whole thing. I had worn a t-shirt and thermal underwear – in other words a body hugging sponge.  Becca’s outfit was little better.  We ducked into a used clothing store, and bought ourselves new togs.  Becca wisely changed her clothes there. Then we went to the knitting store to use their bathroom so I ccould change.  The knitting ladies all clustered about Becca, clucking about her blue lips and offering sympathy. 

Blue with cold!

I, the author of the fiasco, was punished by the horrible fabric softener smell on my otherwise nice new sweat shirt.  Warm and dry, we comforted ourselves with huge dishes of ice cream – just the sort of thing Mayor Bloomberg does not want us to eat.  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Somewhat Miraculous Day

I have lived in my house over thirty years!  Gosh, it sure doesn’t seem that long ago that Rebecca and I moved in.  The previous owner was, I heard, a rather eccentric lady – a nurse who walked her dog in her pajamas.  If you can imagine such a thing!  This sounds all too familiar!  Unlike me, however, she was a great gardener, and her yard was filled with a wonderful variety of flowers.  Initially, I rather let things go, being more interested in getting the inside (a mess compared to the garden) fitted up, and by the time Rebecca grew into being the family gardener, many of Sofia’s (for that was her name) flowers had faded away from neglect.  In one corner of the yard, there was a stand of poppies.  We both loved them, and tried, unsuccessfully, to give them life support and keep them from joining the other failed foliage.  When the last poppy died, well over twenty years ago, we planted others, but never with any success. We often reminisce about Sofia’s wonderful poppies, and speculate as to why we are incapable of reproducing them.  We had volunteer poppies of a quite different variety in a different part of the garden, but they were not the same.  Then, the other day, I was in the yard, and lo! One of Sofia’s poppies had resurrected itself.  After twenty years! I sent a photo to Rebecca, and she immediately texted back, “A miracle!”  And indeed it is a miracle. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Pym Day

Years ago, Becca, knowing what a Barbara Pym fan I am, gave me a little cookbook, written by Pym’s sister Hillary.  Becca made rock buns from it, and I remember enjoying them very much. In her wonderful novels, Pym frequently dwells on the meals, both the food, and on the little social mishaps that occur during the polite conversation. I always planned to make some special Pym dishes, but never quite did.  Finally I decided that I must, so I invited my favorite Pym fans, The Twins, for a Barbara Pym dinner.  Pym cuisine runs the gamut from scrambled eggs for supper (which we had,) to much more elegant fare (which we didn’t have)  - just as the Pym ladies are sometimes socialites with cooks to prepare the meals, but more often, working women who make do with tinned peas or beans on toast before they rush off to a volunteer at a church function or to an anthropological lecture in the evening.

Given that I was having guests to dine, it was suddenly the perfect day to work in the garden, then the perfect day to read in my Pym novel, then the perfect day to fuss about the table cloth – (which one is most Pymish?), ironing two of them before deciding on a third that didn’t need ironing, and then fretting about the table setting, etc.  I did manage to go shopping early on, but once I finally got going on the actual food, it was late and I was needing to watch the clock carefully and make speed.  No more dithering away the hours.  It was down to minutes.  So of course, I discovered that every onion I had was rotten!!  A quick trip to the store didn’t set me too far behind, but did amp up my flusteration level.  However, the dinner was fun, the food was good, and the carrot soup was the best I ever made. 

The Doubly Delightful Twins brought lovely little Barbara Pym place cards.  They knew I was fretting about the scantiness of my table Pymness. 

Later we played Clue, and I made an egregious and humiliating error.  I attribute it to leftover frenzy from my frantic last minute cooking, although it might have been the tastiness of the wine.  You can see the particulars here. So embarrassing.

Barbara Pym's 

1 pound carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped 
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups chickn or vegetable stock
 Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 2 oranges
Grated rind of 1 orange
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Cook the carrots, onion, and garlic in oil or butter until softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the stock, season, and simmer until tender.  Puree in a blender or put through a sieve.  Add the orange juice and grated rind, and return to stove.  Reheat add sugar, taste, and adjust seasoning.  Serve quite hot. 

I followed the recipe pretty faithfully, but I put in three garlic toes, as one didn't seem to be enough, and misreading the recipe, I put in the grated rinds of the two oranges.  It was delicious!