Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Running Day

Feeling fit after our trot!

Rebecca and Rachael are both convinced that I am an out of shape bag of flab and on the verge of extinction unless I start up an exercise regime.  This seems to be a constant theme with them, and they are both after me to get into shape! 

Years ago, I worked in a clinic where they did all sorts of diagnostic tests.  If the test didn’t involve x-rays or needles, I was always happy to volunteer as a lab rat while they tried out any new equipment.  This was usually a lot more fun than sitting at my desk.  My favorites were new MRI programs, because one could actually take a little snooze in the giant tube and enjoy all those soothing noises. Once, they got new exercise stress testing equipment.  I suspected that sitting at my desk would be more fun than trying this out, but they were persuasive. Very persuasive, as they knew that everyone else there was on to them, and would refuse!  Later, after an exhausting and humiliating session on the stationary bicycle while wired onto all sorts of hideous machines, the doctor in charge said to me, “You’re not really fond of exercising, are you?” I was mortified and immediately took up swimming every day.  The first day at the pool, I did seven laps and then thought that the medics might have to come and assist me, gasping, out of the water. 

Rebecca finally nagged me and nagged me to start a fun (!) running - actually slowly trotting - program with her.  She drug me to the running shoe store where I unwillingly bought an extremely ugly pair of shoes, (see above photo,) and we went on our first trot.  We went quite a bit further than I expected, and when I staggered home, I felt much as I had years before, getting out of the pool after my first swimming ordeal.  My vision was blurry, my legs were trembly, my hands were shaky, my heart was pounding, and muscles that I hadn’t thought of in years were screaming.  I considered of taking an ibuprofen to help with recovery, but Becca said that ginger would be better, so we both had some.  Instant relief!  It was sort of a miracle.  Ginger cures everything that Tiger Balm doesn’t. 

The second day, we went even further.  (“Far” is a very relative term here. Becca and Rachael go for miles and miles.  I go for blocks and blocks.)  But I now I am a tiny bit enthusiastic and am looking forward to our next trot!

The REI foyer where we went to buy supportive undergarments for our exercise regimen.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Lovely Day

April 27, 1963

They have hardly changed at all!

Fifty years is a long time, no matter how you cut it!  And today, our friends June and Roger, a beloved part of our choir family, cut the cake at their fiftieth wedding anniversary party.  First, they renewed their wedding vows at a lovely ceremony at which the choir sang some of June’s favorites.  Coincidentally, they were some of my favorites too.  I’m always really, really glad whenever we sing “I Was Glad,” and this was a very glad occasion.  “Laudate Dominum” is, I think, one of the most beautiful things ever.  The choir sing exquisitely, despite there seeming to be a very high pollen count in the Cathedral.  I knew this because quite a few of them were seeming to have allergies.  There were hankies out and a lot of sniffles.

The top of the cake!  The rest was already eaten by this time!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Laundry Day

Tobias and friend

What a handsome fellow my kitty is!  Don’t you agree?  I’m sure you do!  Here he is, posing high up atop my washer and dryer with my precious plastic rat.  The rat was a gift from my jokester friend Samos years ago.  Once, when visiting, (Samos, not the rat,) crept upstairs and left the rat under my bed where it would leap out – at least I thought it was leaping out – the first time I looked under there.  Then he (again Samos, not the rat,) asked me to get something out of one of the storage bins I keep there. When I looked under the bed and saw the rat staring out at me, what a fright!  Actually, having had rats as pets, I am a rat fan.  He knew this, so he also knew that I would get a good start, but that I would not be too freaked out.  We all thought this was a great joke!  

Later, I put the rat in my pantry-laundry room where it still resides.  Then, it was in a very conspicuous spot on a shelf near the door.  Once when I was having a number of friends for breakfast, one of them, a macho, take charge fellow, opened the pantry door to get out the HP sauce, saw the rat, shrieked, and started beating at it with whatever it was he had in his hand.  Most likely, his egg spoon.  Rebecca and I were thrilled that our rat had had another sensational effect!  

Rebecca too is a rat fan.  Her little hooded rat, Sammy, was a darling family pet for years.  He was a very sweet and well behaved rat, living in a big cage next to my bed where he would join me when I was reading in the evenings.  He was a scrupulously clean rat, keeping his cage quite tidy, using only one little corner for his loo. He loved to sit on my shoulder as I read in bed of an evening, to receive the occasional sunflower seed treat, and to take the occasional nibble of one of my books.  Oddly, he only nibbled on the German books.  We speculated that perhaps Germany produces more tasty paper.  He frequently joined us at meals, going from plate to plate, sampling whatever we were eating.  Once, as we were eating breakfast, and Rebecca was telling us a fascinating story, Sammy, noting that we were all rapt in Rebecca’s tale, seized his moment.  Rebecca looked down at her plate, and her entire fried egg was gone.  Sammy had somehow picked it up and carried it behind the teapot where he was ecstatically munching in it.

Here is another pic of my handsome lad, looking like a great horned owl. Taken by Tobias's friend Samos. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Banner Day

Our beautiful cathedral

Whenever I am off of work for more than four days (this doesn’t happen very often,) I am usually eager to go back. I generally get over it quickly, and by the second day, I wonder what my problem was.  Whenever we have no choir rehearsal for some reason or other, I initially celebrate the extra evening in which I may do nothing.  But the evening palls very quickly, and I wonder what my problem was.  Due to our superhuman exertions during Holy Week and Easter, we didn’t sing on the subsequent Sunday and didn’t have a rehearsal during Easter week.  While singing in the choir is my favorite thing in life, I do enjoy sitting in the congregation, participating with them, and being inspired by the music in a more passive way.  But a (very) occasional week of that is enough!  So I was super excited to return to the rehearsal room on Thursday, to see all my friends again after a week apart, and to be a part of the marvelous music making that is our choir.  This was much more of a return than just choir members reconvening after a week off.  Jimour director, who had a grievous fall on Christmas Eve, soldiered through the Midnight Mass, despite what must have been incredible pain, had surgery on Christmas Day, and who has since been hobbling around on crutches or directing us from a wheelchair – for more than three months - was again upright on two unaided feet.  This was indeed a banner day, and a little post-Easter resurrection of sorts.   Thus, a grand evening in more than one wonderful way.

Back on two feet!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Easter Friday

Cherry blossom carpet

I’ve made many little mental blog entries but never seemed to have time to make real ones.  It’s yet another instance of seeming really busy, while in the end, having nothing to show for it.  Not even much knitting or reading!  Just dithering about. I’ve had lots of company.  That must be it!  Ana and I had a fun day knitting, catching up on Jonathan Creek, and taking a pleasant walk to Chinatown and the Panama Hotel (my new favorite) for tea. In years past, every Holy Thursday after Morning Praise, Rebecca, Tom, and I walked through the Denny Woo Garden to Chinatown and had lunch at Hing Loon.  

Pea Patches in Denny Woo Gardens

But Tom got sick and Rebecca got a job, so we had to go on other days during Holy Week, and finally we didn’t go at all.  I am always urging someone or another to walk to Chinatown with me during Holy Week, but it was no go this year, so I settled for Easter Week. 

Some residents of the garden

The weather promised to be awful, but we had a welcome sun break (sort of,) a fun walk, yummy tea, and a bit of knitting in a cozy atmosphere, and an almost finished mitten for me, along with sock progress for Ana. 
Ana's tea looked mysterious and flowery.

Mine looked like tea ordinaire

Home again, home again, joggity jog!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter Monday

Visitors from afar - Paul, Carolyn, and Thomas

I have had the loveliest Triduum and Easter in years!  My friend Carolyn stayed with me so that she didn’t have to commute to all the zillion services at which our choir sang.  I’m sure that the fun of her company was part of the wonderfulness. And on Good Friday,  adorable Paul, who came all the way from Germany for the St. James Holy Week services, and brought his equally adorable friend Thomas, visited us for breakfast.  That was part of it too. I did so enjoy their company. 

The Easter Vigil service is one of the most beautiful events of the year. We had to be there at six-thirty to rehearse and then finally dragged ourselves home at nearly midnight, but the time flew by amazingly with the lighting of the Easter fire, the readings and chants  - so ancient, yet always so new, the thrill of the neophytes in their new white garments. Everything glittering and golden. It’s all so exciting!  And when it was over and we got home, Carolyn and I immediately gobbled up the Cadbury’s Eggs which I had been saving and dreaming about increasingly for the last few weeks of Lent.  This year I was completely successful in my Lenten promises, one of which was giving up candy.  This seems like such a juvenile thing to give up, doesn’t it? I have been giving up candy since about the age eight.  Usually I have the occasional slip-up, but this time I conquered.   I have to admit that there were a couple of close calls.  Once, when we were grocery shopping, I bought Rebecca and I each a chocolate bar, and after paying for them, remembered my Lenten vow.   Rebecca was happy to take care of the matter for me and to remove temptation by eating both of them.  

I had planned to do nothing at all today except lie about and recover, but Becca invited me to come along with her on a nettle picking expedition. 

Stalking the wild skunk cabbage. They are getting bigger.

The Nettle Patch

The Pooped Pup

The nettle preparation

The  nettles are for soup, and great care is required in their preparation.  I forgot to bring gloves, and so just observed the actual picking.  I had a very unfortunate experience with nettles  years ago on the Hill of Tara. I won’t tell you where the ugly particulars, but I will say that it was pretty terrible.  Nettles can be dreadful things.  But tasty, Rebecca assures me.  Margaret wanted to come, and declared that she was up to the walk, but changed her mind early on.  She explained that she wasn’t tired, but all this talk of thistles made her nervous and so she needed a ride up the hill, lest she touch a nettle with her paw or worse yet, her nose.  I suspected that the thistle-fear was a fraud and a poor pretext in order to get a lift.

For yet further recovery, we worked on our current knitalong - a pair of mittens which we both thought would be easy, but are not.  They require a bit of speculation about the meaning of the directions, and considerable attention.  Somehow, doing this together makes it easier and more fun. 

The Knitalong Mitti