Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Very Fun Evening

The French Skat deck has such sweet Queens (Damen.) That King looks pretty sweet too.

I miss my friend Tom every day and in so many - often surprising - ways.  One of them (you may think this shallow, but such things make life a better place) is our frequent card games.  This was so much a part of us and our life together.  We played Schafkopf or its younger cousin Skat with Becca, Rachael, or my aunt every weekend for years, and Klabberjass when it was just the two of us.  Tom’s family had been great Schafskopf players when he was growing up, and he taught the game to us.  As a kiddy, I played endless games of Casino with my Grandmother, and then with Rebecca and Rachael when they were kiddies. When married, Dennis and I played Cribbage for hours on end, and pinochle with his mother.  In college, I played bridge with friends, and thought it fun, but it can be such a snobby game and too often, there seems to be way too much ego invested in it.  Then it isn’t fun at all.  While I usually enjoyed it, I was also always a little intimidated - and occasionally very intimidated! The thought that a mistake will make your partner angry is not a happy thought.  Skat takes as much thinking, but it seems to be just for fun rather than ego enhancement, at least with the opponents I have had.  Consequently, ever since Tom went on to happier things, no doubt playing heavenly Skat with Sts. Hildegarde and Cunigunde, I have been wishing I had someone (actual sometwo as it is a three person game) to play Skat or Schafskopf with. I have been working on convincing The Twins that it is what we need to do, but they have remained dubious.  The rules are indeed a little daunting at first, but once you grasp them, it’s easy.  Well, Yay!  This evening, they agreed.  I was ecstatic!  We forgot to drink beer with our cards – beer being an essential part of the whole Skat mise-en-scène – and had tea instead.  But that didn’t detract from the thrill – at least I was thrilled.  I think they were less so, unless they were thrilled that I was so happy to be playing Schafkopf again. 

The Bavarian cards are a little more fierce.  Becca's favorite is the schellen Ace, as she thinks that dog looks like Margaret.  She is mistaken.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to the world’s most wonderful daughter!  She is the one who, when eight, noticed that everyone but me got a Christmas stocking, and so made me one and filled it up every year ever after.  And who, when nine, sang “You Light Up My Life” to me, brought home her school prize for the best essay all wrapped up as a gift for me, and who has been doing marvelous things ever since.  Becca, you really light up my life!

A Fun Day in Chinatown

Yesterday morning, I woke up thinking that I had a day before me with nothing whatever that I had to do.  What a fun (and somewhat unusual) feeling!   I immediately called Becca to see if she wanted to walk to Chinatown with me, and I was delighted when she said she did.  Of course, as soon as we got underway, I realized that I actually had many imperative little tasks that I should be doing instead of just having a fun day with my darling daughter.  Oh well! Why brood over the unfixable! There is always tomorrow, to paraphrase Scarlett O’Hara. 

Becca and I both needed things from the Chinese grocery stores, and  what fun place those can be with all their mysterious sights and scents. 

Some nice seaweed for salads!

I wanted ginger so we went to the spices and herb store and Becca wanted a particular sort of tea, so we went to the tea store. 

 Then a yummy lunch at my (current) favorite restaurant with its unusual dining room.

  Someone  is paying more attention to her phone than to her mother!
By the time we got home, I was done in, and decided that it would be sufficient to make a list of all the tasks I needed to do the next day.  That would be progress of a sort.  This morning I woke up, looked at the list, and felt a bit overwhelmed.  Well, first things first, so I worked the crossword puzzle.  As I was just finishing it up, Becca called to tell me that some yarn we had ordered had arrived.  Second things second, so I leapt on my bicycle and whipped over to her house.  By the time I got there, I was gasping for air and had white spots in front of my eyes.  This is a sign that I need to do this more often, I decided.  Later, home with my yarn, and recovered,  I managed to check a few things off my list before going to the Cathedral Kitchen.  Four of the usual washing up crew were not there, so it was a workout!  Looking over my  still to-do items now, I guess I have to quote like Scarlett O’Hara yet again.  Tomorrow is another day, and I do hope I can finally manage to check a few more things off that pesky list.  


PS  When I open the little map to the right, showing from whence folks are looking at this page, there is always an ad or two which is somehow related to the content of the post.  Today's ad was for a treatment center for women with bipolar disorder.  Hmmmmmm!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Day at the Waterfront

I was thinking that not much blog-worthy had happened lately, but I was forgetting about a lunch date I had with Samos.  We went to the waterfront Red Robin, and I had a tremendous vegeburger.  The waitperson simply could not comprehend that I wanted onion, tomato, and lettuce on it, and none of that fancy stuff.  This included no cheese.  This latter seemed the most incomprehensible of all.  Finally Samos was able to clarify this to him, and then he seemed to refuse to bring the mustard and catsup – the sine qua non of a yummy vegeburger.  Nonetheless, our lunch was delicious, the setting was delightful, and the weather was perfect for dining alfresco.

From our table we could see this huge new Seattle Ferris Wheel. Samos was very interested in taking a ride on it, but I was not interested in the least.  There would probably have been vegeburger  (mustard, catsup, and all) everywhere.  I was willing, however to take a closer look.  This ferris wheel is the largest in the United States, but nonetheless is half the size of the London Eye.  Yowser! That one must be big.  I’ve been interested in it since I read a fun kiddy book, The London Eye Mystery.  Then we went for an ice cream cone.  I was already stuffed, but there always seems to be a spot in the tum for a bit of ice cream. 

Later, Samos’s sweetie, Michelle, came over to have a cup of tea.  I was going to say that we used my new tea cups, but actually, they are pretty old.  They were my mother’s and have been in a box in the basement for years.  I finally found a place to put them, and got them out.  This was their virgin outing, so it was sort of a ceremonial event.  Michelle had some ice cream with her tea, but I was ice creamed out.  I guess there isn’t always a spot in the tum – just most of the time.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Shopping Day

I made a trip to my favorite grocery store – Grocery Outlet – where you can get fabulous bargains on brands you've never heard of.  I needed three items, and as usual got way more than three, but that’s another story.  One of the things I desperately needed was dishwashing soap (or washing up liquid, as my friend Bethie would now say.)  I do most of my shopping at Trader Joe’s, but their dishwashing liquid is a little on the wimpy side.  Becca and I both tried to be PC and use ecological soap, but it just didn’t do its job. The greasy dishes were still greasy when the washing up was done.  A sad situation.  Sooooo, I have a guilty secret.  I use bad dishwashing soap.  Don’t tell a soul, please. Anyhow, sometimes Grocery Outlet has good soap choices, and sometimes it doesn’t.  It’s chancy, and I felt like taking a chance.  I headed right for the cleaning products aisle, and there was only one choice.  I was staring at it, wondering, when another woman came up beside me and stared and wondered for a while too.  “What do you think it means?” she asked.  “Non-Ultra?”    
“Hmmmm!  I was wondering myself.  Something other than Ne Plus Ultra, I am sure.”  She agreed.  We both also agreed that the price was right, and if it didn’t work, we weren’t out that much.  So we will see.  Non-Ultra is a pretty mysterious name for anything that wants to be sold, I would think.  

Saturday, September 8, 2012

An Eagerly Anticipated Day

The wonderful Bonnie and Dennis
Every year, after about the second week of June, our choir takes a summer break.  Usually, I am quite ready for this to happen, as sometimes being in a choir can be a lot of work, and there is nothing amiss about an extra evening free in a week (especially when one works evening shift.)  The feeling that choir vacation is great typically lasts about a fortnight.  Then, I am ready to get back in the saddle – or more aptly, choir stall – again.  So, I have to say that the beginning of the new choir year is something I look forward to all summer.  This year, our choir retreat was particularly fabulous!  It was, of course, wonderful to see all the friends that I hadn’t seen for several months, but there were a couple of particularly extra special tweaks.  We had a performance by an amazing violinist, Marianne Martinolia, a member Jubilate! – one the cathedral’s Youth Music ensembles. She was astonishing!  At the end of her breathtaking performance, the choir members were momentarily struck silent before erupting in violent applause.  It was a moving experience to hear such absolutely exquisite music.

One part of the retreat which I always especially look forward to is the Blessing of the Choristers, and this year’s blessing was even more meaningful, as it included a blessing of two of our choristers on their 50th wedding anniversary.  And what an adorable couple they are – both now and then.  They hardly look a day older, do they?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Welcome Day

Well, my tablecloth, after unprecedented seamstress suffering, is finally complete, and had its virgin voyage (to my patio) this evening, enhancing a Farewell to Summer dinner with The Twins.  I cannot believe how much I endured making a simple tablecloth.  It should have taken about two hours instead of two eons.  Two separate sewing machine disasters – one a sewing machine fatality, and the other involving an unfortunate encounter with a pin, and a subsequent horrible trip to far off Ballard to get the new machine repaired after its run in with the pin. Then, when I tried to finish the table cloth up - tension troubles.  I just could not get the machine adjusted properly.  I was so discouraged that I nearly abandoned the whole thing and debated whether I could go through the rest of my life without a sewing machine.  I decided that I could not.  I determined to do the sensible thing, and have a cup of tea.  When I had pulled myself together and come back to try again, it was magically all fixed.  As I was sewing the final bits together I realized that I had made a sort of egregious mistake in the placement of the colors.  I was sure that I would hardly be able to look at it without shuddering.  But I told myself that a dinner with lots of dishes would distract the eye.  And it worked.  I had a lovely time with my darling friends, and I did not think about my sewing error at all.  

After dinner, we played Scrabble, a game which I have won about twice in my life.  I don't know why I am so bad at it.  This evening, as usual with Scrabble, things just seemed to be against me. 

Not even a clever player could make a good word from these letters. Or is IOU maybe a word? I don't think it would count.  And it isn't really a very good word.

Thanks, Corinna, for the photos. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Another Lazy Day

 I am having a week of staycation, and have plans to do all sorts of productive little home improvement projects. Instead, I have been “Ye of Little Energy” for the last few days. Early on yesterday morning, I started to work on my current sewing project, but was all too easily discouraged, and after about ten minutes, I decided that “maybe later” would be a better time to do it. So instead, I did several old NYT crossword puzzles that I had been saving for a rainy day.  It wasn’t raining, but there you are - I was feeling extraordinarily slothful.  Then I read a book, and a silly mystery at that. Not at all something uplifting or improving. Even knitting seemed too strenuous. Then I sat around feeling guilty about doing so much of nothing.  Today, I was determined to not totally fritter yet another day.  I went to church, where I met our newest parishioner, Julia – just arrived from under a cabbage leaf or wherever it is that babies come from.  Her big sister Ella is not quite sure what to make of it all, and seemed a teensy bit disgruntled at her new status in life.  “Big Sister” can be a difficult role at first, I would imagine.

Ella and her new sister Julia

Alexandra is expecting to become a big sister soon too.
On the way home from church I called Dakki and asked her to come for dinner and to watch a couple of Rumpole episodes.  That way, I would be forced to at least get moving enough to prepare something for her to eat.  I would also have to go to the store to get something to prepare it with. After doing the crossword puzzle, I forced myself into a semblance of action, and made a dinner which included this corn salad. It was quite quick and quite yummy. 

Then Dakki, Margaret, and I enjoyed watching poor Rumpole in his perpetual skirmishes with boorish judges and “She Who Must Be Obeyed.”   I plan to be energy itself tomorrow.  We’ll see. One can only hope. 

Dakki and Margaret enjoying Rumpole