Wednesday, August 21, 2013

An Unusual Day

As I mentioned in the long ago previous post, after the opera marathon, I took to my bed – sick as a dog.  (Question to self – why dogs? Margaret is never sick.)  I had the worst cold ever, and even, for a short while, actually considered going to the doctor.  And it went on and on, seemingly about to last forever.  I was almost out of provisions, and the only one of my nearest and dearest who wasn't working and has a car is Dakki.  She would be willing (happy even,) to shop for me, but she always manages to buy the wrong thing, no matter how specific my instructions.  Last time she shopped for me, all I needed was plain non-fat yogurt.  She got low fat vanilla.  Rachael pointed out that to Dakki, vanilla would be plain, and anything other than full fat would be the equivalent of non-fat – i.e. totally unacceptable to her. So sending Dakki to the store was a no-go.  

On Rebecca’s first day off, she volunteered to cycle over and shop for me, but by that time, I was ready to venture forth, at least as far as the grocery store. So we decided that I would drive to the grocery store, and she would come along for moral support (to me), and also support (to her) with her watermelon, watermelons being cumbersome to carry on a bicycle.   I also needed to pick up books waiting for me at the library. I told her about needing to go to my library on the way, and she said that no, we should go to her library, as she too, had books waiting. Given that I was the driver, and therefore in charge, we decided to go to my library. Suddenly, however, she brightened up, and pointed out that neither library was open yet, and by the time we had done our grocery shopping, we would be near hers, which would then be open.  Hmmmm.  She had a point, so we went to her library.  As we approached it, a huge truck was blocking the street we had planned to turn onto.  The car in front of us had the same idea, and after turning onto the blocked street, decided to back out of it.  Right into our car.  I gaped, frozen, and thought, “My Gosh!  That car is going to run into us!”  Rebecca too stared agape for a moment, and then said, “My Gosh! That car is going to run into us!”  Thunk!!!!  It did.  The poor woman driving it was horrifieded, while we just sat there in stunned amazement.  Fortunately, no damage was done to either car.  Just a few shattered nerves.  Minutes later, after I had dropped Becca, her groceries, and her books off at her house, I was driving up a narrow, quiet, tree lined street, and as I crested the hill I saw a gigantic  truck looming right in front of me, on my side of the street.  Once again, I gaped for a second and then slammed on my brakes.  A block later, I was about to go through a four way stop when it was my turn, and some car did not even slow down, but sped into the intersection, forcing me to slam on my brakes again.  Yikes!  What was going on today?  Was it mad driver Tuesday?  What a relief to arrive home.  I didn’t even consider taking a detour past my library.  The books would still be waiting when I had more fully recovered.  Anyway, Rebecca had leant me the new JK Rowling mystery (the one with 600 other library patrons on the waiting list) which she had somehow managed to check out, and which was not due at her library yet. It was super!

The pictures have nothing to do with this post, but depict my first real day out.  I helped Samos and Michelle paint Michelle’s kitchen, and then we all helped initiate Samos’s new canoe on its maiden voyage.  Such fun!  (Both painting and canoeing.)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Marathon Week

Opera House picnickers

Our picnic

It has been a marathon week!  Marathon opera and marathon pre-opera picnics!  What could be better?  Not much.  Becca wanted to go to Der Ring this year, but I was a teensy bit dubious.  Could I arrange my often uncompromising work schedule? Yes!  Could I stay awake for 17 hours of Wagner?  Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!  I had gone to two of them  about thirty years ago, and despite the fact that supra-titles hadn’t been invented yet, and hence I had only the vaguest idea about what was going on, I had enjoyed them thoroughly. I remember little about it besides the Walküre flying through the air on their horses, and Brunnhilde burning on her rock. This time, I could actually tell what was happening, and could fully appreciate what amazing jerks all those gods, giants and evil dwarfs were. Siegfried was a particularly annoying puppy!  The only really admirable character was Brunhilde.  Previously, I liked to envision myself as a combination of Dorothea Brooke and Florence Dombey.  Now I am adding Brunhilde to this totally unrealistic self-image.  Warrior saint!  Does that sound like me?  Hmmmm!  I thought not. One can only aspire.

In addition to my staying awake issues, there was the issue of dinner.  If one is a minute late for the opera, one does not get in.  I have a lateness phobia anyway, and the “not getting in” bit only serves to enhance my fears.  The opera house is surrounded by bad traffic, another cause for anxiety.  So I made Becca be ready about two hours before it started.  She was a good sport about this, and brought her knitting to while away any excess time. We have diet issues, so the restaurant options are limited and our previous favorite opera neighborhood restaurant has seriously deteriorated lately, so we didn’t want to go there. Picnics were the answer.  Apparently many others felt the same way, as the area around the Opera House was filled with picnickers dressed for an evening out.  It was a tremendously fun week, and I am sure that I won’t wait another thirty years before I go to Der Ring again.  

The day after Götterdämmerung, the final installment, I woke up with a frightful cold. It must have been all the excitement. I have had to keep to my bed for the last two days.  Bummer. But I sure am glad my cold waited until after our wonderful opera days to attack.

The Old Me on the first night!  We're excited! 

The New Me!

Monday, August 5, 2013

An Unplanned DAy

Actually the day had been planned for weeks.  Ana was going to do some work at her job for a few hours on Saturday morning – work that had to be done when the offices were not up and running, as it involved telephones.  After that, we were going to watch our favorite PBS mysteries and knit all day, fix dinner, eat it, and then watch and knit some more. Pretty straightforward, right?  Well suddenly there was a family picnic with the Hawaiian Guppies, and I hadn’t seen them in ages, so of course, we had to go to that.  So the new plan was to get up early, feed the Furry Ones, fix my salad for the picnic, fetch Ana, go to the picnic, and then come home and proceed with the original plan.  I fed The Furries, and while Tobias was lingering over his breakfast, as he is wont to do, I took Margaret for her walkies.  Margaret and I just coming back in when a grey flash leapt over Margaret, between my legs, and through the door.  And was gone!  My darling kitten!  The one who in the past has shown no interest in going outside. I looked for him but he was hiding somewhere, or worse yet, exploring. 

The other few times he has escaped, he has quickly realized his error, and has appeared mewing piteously at the back door in fairly short order.   But not this time.  He was gone ALL DAY!  I was frantic.  Ana and I prayed to St Anthony, St. Jude, St. Francis and St. Gertrude, patroness of cats.  (We also did practical things like walk about calling him, but praying seemed actually more practical in the circumstances.)  Becca and her friend Tina prayed to All of the Above, and to God Himself, of course.  Nothing.  Finally Ana texted our friend Mia who is a very efficacious prayer.  She said she would pray for the safe return of Tobias as her Mass intention at the 5:30 Mass.   Sure enough, at about 5:45, guess who strolled in, casual and assured as Maurice Chevalier, but with hair a little ruffled and collar gone, a la Marlon Brando.  He accepted a few joyful hugs, and then said, “I think it’s dinner time, ladies.”  Ana and I quickly accommodated him.  What a wonderful fellow he is.  Now, of course, top vigilance at every door opening is once again in order. 

And lest I forget the most important thing of all -  Thanks, Mia! You are amazing!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Another Sporty Day

Whenever I work two days in a row, I awaken the next day feeling like a giant sloth drooping from her branch, avoiding every useful activity – almost too dazed to even nibble on the tender leaves of her tree.   It usually takes me until at least noon to emerge from the fog, and then my primary goal seems to be taking a nap. 

Such was the case yesterday.  I had planned (foolishly) to do lots of things, but the only crucial one was making a salad to take to The Twins’ for a fun evening of croquet! The afternoon was well advanced by the time I managed to summon the wherewithal to cycle to the store for ingredients.  When I got home, I felt a tiny bit energized and put on some bluegrass gospel music CD’s to cheer myself up.  That was very effective.  There is something about bluegrass music that is so happy-making!  Just like Bach! I finally became enthusiastic about my salad.  I had asked Rebecca for a pasta salad suggestion and she sent me several recipes, one of which had roasted lemon. That sounded tantalizing!  The recipe wasn’t a pasta salad, but I turned it into one, added roasted beets and a bunch of other vegetables.  It turned out to be extremely pretty and quite yummy!

Laughlin pears (almost)

Fruits of the Laughlin Acres

After dinner, we had tea in the Laughlin Acres, and a lovely game of croquet.   There are certain games that I never, ever win  - poker, gin, Monopoly are among them – and also croquet.  I used to play with my parents and brother, and later with my cousins, and usually would be on about wicket number two when the game ended. So I expected to come in last, and in this, I was not disappointed.  However, despite being behind at every point in the game, I didn’t come in waaaay last.  I was only a tiny bit last.  This was very gratifying.  I almost felt as though I had won.  

Elegant Tea Service, including special Good Friday tea cozy