Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Couple of Choir Days

The choir year seems to be both “heating up,” and at the same time, “cooling down.”  The activity apex is, of course, Holy Week and Easter.  We are all exhausted limp rags by the time we finish the fourth service of Easter Sunday.  Then there is a week of recuperation, and then things hot up a bit again.  Now, however, the “hotting up” involves not only several liturgical high points – Pentecost and Corpus Christi - but also our social calendar.  

In my case, this means another “Choir Treats” preparation event.  I have very mixed feelings about this – on one hand it is a lot of worry (I want folks to enjoy whatever it is I serve), and a lot of work in getting it all together.  But, on the other hand, cooking is one of my pleasures, especially when making food for friends, and I am always pleased when my offerings are appreciated.   Each week, there are two people assigned to bring treats, and so who one’s partner is plays a big part in the anxiety portion of this ordeal.  One time, my assigned partner went to Florida and failed to mention it. Another time, my collaborator just didn’t show up. Actually that happened more than once!  The last two times, my partner has been John (of Peggy and John), and this has significantly eased the culinary angst.  Not only does he bring a goodly portion of the fare, but in the morning, he fetches me and my food, and soothes my ruffled feathers when I begin to freak out.  “Think small,” he advised.  I took his advice this time, and thought much smaller.  I also didn’t wait, fretting all the while, till nine o’clock the evening before to begin cooking. Paced preparation is an excellent stress reduction technique.  I have to add here that I adore Peggy and John!

There I am at the end of the row, smirking at Archbishop Brunett
Another social choir event was a musical visit to the care facility where our beloved Archbishop Brunett is recovering from a stroke. Our performance was a great hit with the residents, some of whom have been Cathedral parishioners for many years. And our Archbishop was very pleased, as was I to see him and once again bask in the warm glow of his marvelous smile.  

Several more parties are in the offing, and then, after Corus Christi Sunday with its spectacular procession, summer vacation while we let the pros do the singing.  Now we are tiring and ready for that, but by September we will be in a fever to get back into those choir stalls. 

Thanks to John and Corinna for photos.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

More Mothers' Day

Well, yes, I know.  Mother’s Day was nearly two weeks ago.  And this year, we actually celebrated it on actual Mother’s Day – a great rarity in our family, as nearly every some one of us or both, is working.  We went to church and then brunch at a nearby French restaurant, the girls splurging on fancy cocktails, while I got dessert, which I very seldom do. 

I often hear women complain of the too-useful gifts they get.  Not me! Outrage over a Mother’s Day (or worse yet, Valentine’s Day) vacuum cleaner or toaster, is not uncommon.  One of the best Christmas presents my mother ever gave me was a vacuum cleaner.  I was grateful to her every time I used it and happy that I was not still using the hand-me-down horror that she has previously rejected and passed on to me.  

I’m not sure if this was the story of an actual friend’s mother’s courtship, or of the mother of a character in a book I read recently, (sometimes life and fiction melt together,) but one family frequently laughed about the father getting his potential sweetheart a toilet plunger as a lover’s gift.  That might really be going a bit far.  But……  I actually got a plunger for a Mother’s Day present, and I was thrilled.  It was a special plunger just for the sink.  I recently had to use …. I can’t even tell you – but when I told Becca about my stopped up sink and how I had to fix it, she was filled with disgust – as I had been at the time.  She primly told me that she has a special plunger dedicated to the kitchen. I was suffused with jealousy.  And I was very pleased with my unromantic plunger present.  It was just what I wanted.  Two other unromantic gifts were a cake pan – the very size that I had frequently needed to borrow from her in order to make cakes from my super English baking book, and, from Rachael, something else I particularly wanted – a bicycle pump.  Three gifts most practical, and most appreciated.  My girls are the best!

I tested the cake pan – it’s actually a “loaf” pan - last evening, and it worked exceptionally well.

Sherry Cherry Cake from Dan Lepard

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Fun Day at the Law Library

Rules and Regulations ~ lots of them.

Libraries are always fun, but some are more fun than others.  My pal, Peggy is a law librarian at the University of Washington, and she is very, very into that sort of thing.  She particularly thinks rules and regulations are fun, and is an expert on them.  Me – I am more inclined towards fiction.  She likes that too, and in that area, our tastes mesh nicely.  While I totally understand that rules and regulations are a necessity of life, I just am not that into the particulars of them – at least beyond the ones that affect me and mine.  Despite the rules and regulations, the law library is fabulous! 

Peggy took the Twins down into the secret bowels of the library to the rare books collection.  That was indeed pretty amazing!

Lots and lots of laws - church laws, state laws, every sort of laws from everywhen and everywhere!

Fishing baskets made by Northwest Natives

The art is totally the art of local native tribes, except in the bathrooms and librarians’ break room, where the art largely is huge magnificent quilts – this time the art of local librarians, many of whom love quilts as well as laws.  Sadly, I didn't get any pictures of them.   

 The day was glorious, the campus was aglow with green, and we were having a great time!

"Mom, why won't you bring me?  I love reading, and am a big help to you when I sit on your book!"

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to my beautiful Mutti!

I imagine you with your long time card playing chums,  happily bidding six spades in that great Bridge Club in the Beyond.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Somewhat Mystical Day

The music at St James, while always spiritual, ranges from the serenely sublime, as in the quiet of the Gregorian chants, to the super spirited, as in a lively cantata, a spritely Bach gigue, or a soul stirring spiritual, and from old favorites like Palestrina’s heavenly Sicut Cervus, to the weird and wonderful sounds of Pentecost’s bird song or whooshing wind.  Last Sunday, however, it was spiritual in a different way.  The organ started moaning all on its own (a cipher, that’s called.)  When Father Ryan mentioned this happening at a huge papal audience he attended years ago, the moan immediately stopped.  Fr. Ryan congratulated himself on his mystical powers, and instantly the sound system let out a shriek.  What was up?  Speculation is that it was the Cathedral’s first music director, Dr Franklin S Sawyer, who moved the Cathedral’s music program into the big leagues. Dr Palmer, who died in 1935, occasionally becomes restive, and tends to make himself felt by fiddling with the organ or music in some way.  You may be skeptical about this, but I assure you that these things happen.  For years, I played the organ at the church where I was baptized by my Grandmother’s cousin, Monsignor Ryan – the pastor there for more than three decades.  Every year during Holy Week, most often at the Easter Vigil, Monsignor Ryan, who died in 1960, would rise up, and play some sort of joke on me.  Unlike Dr. Palmer's antics, Msgr. R's jokes never disrupted the service.  I was up I the organ loft, and only the soloist and I were aware of what was happening. 

But back to Dr Palmer.  Apparently, he has gotten restive in the past, and a group of choir musicians have gone to his grave and sung In Paradisum, the exquisite chant which is sung at the conclusion of every Cathedral Funeral.  This usually settles him down.  Jim, our director, said, “it’s time!” 

And so, Dr Palmer,
“May the angels lead you into paradise…. may the ranks of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, once a poor man, may you have eternal rest.”

or, if you prefer,

Picture of Dr Palmer from that best selling, fabulousest graphic history ever, of the Archdiocese of Seattle, A Journey of Faith by the adorable Twins, of course!   Thanks to Maria for the other pictures as well.  

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Fascinating Day or Two

Once again, I have zero fascinating items to report.  Well, that is not quite true.  I guess it depends on your definition of fascinating.  

Here is a fascinating picture of Rebecca's cat Sheena leading a dissolute life.  Sheena asserts that it is a fake, and that someone has tampered with her picture.  Who ever would do that, I wonder.

Also fascinating, this morning, I closed my nose in the car door.  This is hard to believe, but true.  And my poor nose is injured to prove it.  Sorry, but I am not posting a picture.

Comforting view on our run

Selfie taken while actually running along.  I don't look too unhappy, do I? 
Rebecca and I are still running (actually, slowly trotting) twice a week, and it is getting better. One day we went nearly five miles.  This must have been a fluke, as usually I am mewling, whinging, and pleading to stop long before that.  This morning we only went 2.5 miles because of potential heat (which, happily, never materialized,) and other errands, and look what happened afterward. (See above.)  The whole running thing is sort of torture, but I will do anything to spend time with my girl.  I keep thinking that it will get less torturous, but once I get fitter, we just go further and faster, so it stays equally awful no matter what. 

I am always envious when folks post photos of their artistic lattes.  Given that I never drink coffee, I just get boring foam on top of my chai.  No one ever bothers to make it cute.  So today, when Becca and I got creatively topped hot apple juice, I was quite pleased, and now can post my own drink picture. 

I had a fascinatingly intriguing post-birthday dinner prepared the always fascinating Twins, and as usual, they served up something special.  We had pasta puttanesca, an artistic and delicious salad as is their norm, and Pimm’s Cup for our beverage.  This latter is something I had encountered in books, but never in person.  It was fruity, somewhat mysterious, and hyper-delicious.  In fact, it is my new favorite quaff.  

Delightful and delicious salad

During dinner, there was a crash, and some abashed looking kitties!

They recovered in time to join us watching Rosemarie, a movie I had long wanted to see. 

When I'm calling you Oo-oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo-oo

There!  That was a load of utterly fascinating material!  What more could you want?