I’m back in the saddle and anticipate updating my blog a little more regularly now that it’s colder and I won’t be spending so much time on the porch watching the hummingbirds. They have come and gone this year with nary a blog mention – not a lot else has got a mention actually. I’m too busy being retired.
I had an unexpected blessing last week when I went to a class at the quilt shop located directly across from our favorite French bakery, Douceur de France. En route, I stopped into the bakery to get some croissants and other delights to take home. I came out clutching several bags and boxes went round to the passenger side of my Jeep, managing to get the door unlocked and open without dropping anything. When I got into the driver’s side, it wasn’t my keys I couldn’t find, it was my sunglasses. And not just any sunglasses – these are prescription Ray-Bans and include every available bell and whistle: bifocal, non-glare etc. I automatically patted my head but they weren’t parked there. I got out, locked the doors, and went back into the bakery to ask if I’d left my sunglasses at the register while paying. Nope. The nice young man helped me look on the counters, but I said they must be in the Jeep somewhere. Outside, I emptied my purse and had a good hunt. Nope. I went back into the bakery. I’d been to the ladies room and although unlikely, thought perhaps they had been parked on my head and dropped off. Of course, there was a line for the loo. I had a quick look round. Nope. I told the cashier I was going to a class across the street and would call him later to see if anyone had handed them in. I got back into the Jeep, backed out of the parking space, drove through the potholed parking lot and onto a very busy three-lane road, turning left at the intersection and down the very bumpy residential road that leads to the quilt shop. There, I greeted the instructor who had just parked, moaned about losing my sunglasses, opened the back of my Jeep and unpacked the paraphernalia that accompanies every quilter to quilt class. I walked round to the passenger side to grab my bottle of water and, as I reached for the door handle, there were my sunglasses hooked onto the handle, saying, “Hi there!”
I can’t even recreate how they got caught there when I opened the door to put the croissants on the passenger seat. I must have had them in my hand when I unlocked the door. But, bless their heart, they clung on to that door handle for dear life the whole way over to the quilt shop. An unexpected blessing indeed!
If you are not a Christian or don’t, can’t or won’t pray, feel free to skip this post: My feelings won’t be hurt.
There’s a lovely walking trail on our apartment campus. It winds up and down for a mile or so with plenty of space each side for dogs to run. It doesn’t go anywhere – there’s a bench at the top where we turn and head back. It’s a great gathering place for anyone walking their dogs and we send group texts when we head out. Savannah and I rarely walk alone.
This evening, as I headed up the first curve, one of my favorite neighbors overtook me. He’s young, very handsome, which is neither here nor there of course, and a member of the Atlanta Police Department. He’s the complex courtesy officer so we can call on him if we are concerned about anything on site.
I asked Justin where Jack was. Jack is a young pure white German Shepherd – a pet, not a K-9 officer. Justin waved a key fob at me and said he had just walked Jack and had dropped a similar fob on the path. The fob was attached to an orange cartoon character key chain about two inches long. He was on his way back up the path hoping to find it. I promised to keep an eye out and started to pray. Although I knew that a trained police officer was much more likely to find anything that small than I was, I asked that I be of help to this fine young man who gives so much every day to our community. I asked that my eyes and hands be of help to him.
Justin was soon way ahead, walking from side to side and I met him on his way back as he ventured onto the grassy bank where he said he had been throwing a ball for Jack. I prayed harder. Suddenly, right there on the edge of the grass the orange key chain almost leaped into the air. I reached down and grabbed it and yelled for Justin. When I handed the fob to him, I told him I had prayed about it and he said he had been praying, too! Neither of us needed any more explanations – just the Power of Prayer at work again.
No, neither have I, but today I tried something that tasted remarkably similar to what I’m sure hippopotamus pee tastes like. I bought a can of Matcha Green Tea from Trader Joe’s. I love Trader Joe’s and the tea sounded healthy. It promised a bold, smooth flavor and when I read that it was produced in Japan, I was sucked in. I poured it into a nice clear glass. The color was a dingy greenish brown, the color of a river where hippopotami play. It was murky with bits in it – maybe tea leaves? I took a sip. Yuk. I was too mean not to drink the whole glass but when Cedric asked me what it tasted like, I said the only way to describe it is hippopotamus pee. The description was perfect and he didn’t question me further. I guess he used to drink hippopotamus pee when he was young … all Englishmen do.
If you haven’t read The Bricklayer’s Story by Gerard Hoffnung, do look it up. I had my own encounter with a barrel of sorts this morning, and Hoffnung’s monologue immediately came to mind.
I woke early especially for a Sunday morning, which is neither here nor there since every morning is ostensibly Sunday morning. My routine never varies: shuffle into the kitchen, press the brew switch on the coffee machine, pour milk into the milk frother, unload the dishwasher while waiting. My timing is impeccable. I also look cute. I have new pajamas. My husband, who never criticizes me, the love, gently suggested that I buy some pajamas and forsake the Home Depot T-shirt that has been my nightwear recently. Now I have some adorable cotton PJs – a pin-tucked top with spaghetti straps and cute billowy pants that make me feel like I am wafting through the Arabian Nights.
This morning, I had an extra task. I made yogurt last night. I know you are not surprised to learn that I make my own yogurt, but don’t be too impressed. All I do is pour milk into the container, add yogurt and press the button. It takes 10 hours and even has a chill cycle in case I sleep more than 10 hours. I feel about making yogurt much as I feel about using the slow cooker. I always tell people that slow cooking is not cooking, it’s just putting … you put the ingredients in the cooker and press start.
The yogurt maker sits on the shelf above the washer/dryer. It’s not very heavy and the shelf is not very high but it was definitely too early to be doing anything more strenuous than lifting a coffee mug. I stretched up to put the yogurt maker back in its spot, dislodging the pack of 10 paper towels balanced on the slow cooker that also sits on the shelf. Shielding my head as I let go of the yogurt maker, mercifully onto the shelf, I knocked off four packets of table napkins … bump, bump, bump, bump. Yes, I buy several packets at once. Again, mercifully, they were not heavy but the act of hitting my head made each of them drop over the edge of the washing machine. 170 disposable wipes followed – I buy in bulk on Amazon as it’s much cheaper!
So now I have a problem. I can’t reach over the machine because the sliding doors won’t let me and the angle prevents me from using a long wooden spoon or hanger to nudge the items up. I grab some tongs … remember, I’m still in my cute PJs and not feeling cute as I lie on top of the washing machine and gaze over the edge. I manage to get most of the wipes by judiciously grabbing them with the tongs. But all my lovely packets of table napkins are stuck. I have a beautiful beechwood 15-inch long dough whisk. It’s made in Poland, which is why I paid so much for it. Why can’t we make dough whisks here? Never mind, that’s a discussion for another time. I lean over and use the whisk to push one packet close to the tiny gap between the washing machine and the sliding door. Then I grab a large two-pronged fork from a carving set. I poke the plastic wrap with the sharp prongs and slowly inch the packet up until I can grab it. I do the same with the other three packets.
By this time, my coffee is cold. Cedric and Savannah are still blissfully asleep.