Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Was the interesting title of an exhibition of art created by a woman I used to be friends with. One focus of her artistic interest was paper-making. She collected the lint – which happened to be from pink towels – from the screen in her dryer and used it to make fine paper in various shades of pink, from which she made a collage of sorts. I was reminded of this today when I peeled off pink lint from the towels in my own dryer. And then I thought about making paper from it, and then my Auntie Vera popped into mind. My father’s three sisters were all artistically creative in their own way; only Vera is still alive. I can remember so vividly one Christmas we spent with them when I was a kid. She had made the most amazing papier-mache ornaments using oranges and pears (and possibly small balloons) as the molds and had painted designs on them and decorated them in other ways. They were lovely. I think it would be fun to make something like that. The creativity gene that no doubt came from my grandmother manifested itself in my father in music, and musical ability is what I inherited as well. I have no skills whatsoever in the sort of craft that she was able to create, so the chance of lovely paper-mache ornaments coming from the lint in my dryer is remote indeed. Vera is a good sport. Once, my sister's pit bull mix came trotting to Vera, sniffed her shoe, and then hiked his leg and whizzed on her. He had never ever done anything like that before. We’ve been laughing about it ever since.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
I have very fond memories of Thanksgiving. It has always been one of my very favorite celebrations. And even as I write this, my parents, my brothers and their wives and children (one of whom is now married and will be bringing HIS wife!), and my sister and her husband and their children, and even some strangers to the family, are gathering to give thanks and enjoy each other’s company and good food. I’ve not celebrated Thanksgiving with them for many years, and I miss it. Growing up, the tradition was for me to get up very early with my Dad for the grinding of the cranberry relish, and he even brought it up when I spoke with him yesterday. They had a large metal grinder (maybe they still do!) with a hand-cranked augur that forced the food through disks with various sized holes. In this case, whole cranberries and oranges (and maybe something else, but I can’t remember). What a wonderful satisfying popping sound the cranberries made as they were ground up, and how wonderful the relish tasted later. Well, this is a day we set aside to think about being thankful. At the moment, the thing I am most thankful for is the power of forgiveness, not only the forgiveness God offers through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but also power of forgiveness to heal and restore that is offered by lowly mortals (thank you, Teri). I am thankful that I do not have to live under a burden of guilt. I try to be thankful all the time. I have not gone as far as the suggestion in the daybook "Simple Abundance" to keep a daily gratitude journal -- but I do try to find something everyday to be thankful about and I do try to take nothing for granted...
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Everybody who hates trying to get those tubes of biscuits to open raise your hand. I thought so. Usually what happens is that the tube does not pop when the wrapper is peeled, and so I’ll stick knife handle against it and maybe, just maybe, a little tiny pinch of biscuit will ooze out. I prefer to eat as little processed food as possible, and I have an oil-based biscuit recipe that I use when one of us gets a hankerin’ for biscuits so as to avoid the nasty hydrogenated stuff. But R occasionally picks up a tube or two of them when he goes shopping, and a few days ago, he brought home 4 tubes of the local generic variety (GAA!). So last night, I thought biscuits might go well with the shepherd’s pie I had made with some turkey, mashed potatoes, and leftover gravy from a Thanksgiving potluck we were at on Sunday. So I peeled the wrapper per the directions, and of course, the can did not pop open. So I tried whacking it a few times on the counter. That didn’t work, and so I yelled at Richard to come and help me. He began to beat the heck out of it, and in the process, the lid on the end flew off and biscuits were propelled out the end and onto the floor, the counter, the wall. We washed them off and ate them anyway
Monday, November 21, 2005
Groups of Christian high school students meet occasionally at the flagpole to pray for their schools and their classmates. Great idea. I am at the flagpole every morning to raise the flag. The spotlight that is supposed to shine on the flag has burnt out so now the flag must be taken down at the end of the day. The flagpole rope is not continuous: each end has clip and these are hooked together when the flag is not on the pole. The other day, as I stood there with the flag draped over my shoulders (must not let it touch the ground) and prepared to hook the first clip into the top hole of the flag, the thought passed through my mind “What would happen if somehow this clip ended up at the top of the flagpole without the flag attached, how would we get it down?” A similar situation happened twice over the summer with the bird feeders that hang suspended from pullies that are attached to the eaves of our house. It was a simple matter then to just get the ladder and pull the end of the rope down. But then I shrugged it off, because the only way for that to happen (I thought) would be for someone to unhook the clips and deliberately pull the rope. So I got the flag attached to the clips and started hauling it up (mentally humming the Star Spangled Banner), and it was almost to the top when suddenly to my great shock, the top clip holding the flag came unhooked and the flag fell to the ground. I was stunned. There was the first clip almost at the top of the flagpole. So I told the boss and he came out and jiggled the rope thinking maybe it would come down but he only succeeded in pulling it higher. “How are we going to get this down,” he says looking at me very intently. “We must have a flag. I’m to old to try to shinny up this pole.” I felt terrible. So I thought a bit, and called the volunteer fire department and asked if they could send a fire truck over with a ladder. I left to go to exercise class and when I returned less than an hour later, the flag was flying proudly at the top of the flagpole. The fire chief called city hall and they sent a utility truck. I noted the next day when I arrived at work that somebody else had raised the flag. Wonder why?
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Most people have experienced at least one cranky, miserable old person who has become that way either because of circumstance owing to ill health or bitterness for any number of reasons, or because they have always just basically been that way and their personality is now set in concrete. Today is my dad’s birthday. He is now 81 years old and, thank God, he is just the same, happy, cheerful and most definitely sometimes silly person today as he was when this picture was taken in late 60s, when he was in his mid-40s, I was a college student (19 or 20), and my sister was about 10 years old. This picture has been a source of hilarity in our family. I took after my father in the legs and hips and we both frequently stood one-legged at the sink while doing the dishes. He is no longer physically able to stand this way (and neither am I), but he still makes us laugh with his funny faces.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Being that I am a very uncoordinated and clumsy person (everything that I pour gets spilled, etc) I decided that after I got the filling for the custard pie prepared I would have R come and pour it into the pie shell because he, on the other hand, tends to be careful and meticulous (for now, I’ll skip his dropping a gallon of paint earlier in the fall) and very clean. So I opened the oven door, pulled the rack out slightly (naturally it tipped down slightly once it was pulled out), placed the pie shell on the oven rack, and invited him to pour the filling. And pour he did. And because the shelf was tilted slightly, it started to pour out the front onto the door and bottom of the oven. I got a pot holder and held up the rack. “Quick, get a cookie sheet.” So he got one and put it on the shelf under the pie to catch the overflow. After a little more slopping, he got the pie shell filled with as much as it would safely hold, and I took out the cookie sheet. But, instead of getting a pot holder to gently push in the oven rack, he just grabbed a wooden spoon and gave it a mighty shove, which sent wave of custard filling over the edge of the pie crust and created a nice lake of custard at the bottom of the oven, which promptly began to cook (the oven was blazing away at 450 degrees). When the pie was finished, I sprayed the inside of oven with oven cleaner and I guess I will be cleaning the oven today. The pie was good.