Thursday, October 9, 2014
Coffee Chat: Total Eclipse
We were up especially early yesterday morning, somewhere between 4 and 5 and again around 6:15 for me, which is when John came to fetch me to watch the lunar eclipse with him this morning around 6:30. We were up at 5am peering out door and window looking at the moon but besides being huge and blindingly bright, nothing extraordinary about it. I went back to bed. It's dark and I don't do morning dark as well as I used to and the bed had felt pretty comfortable over all. I left the curtain at the window pulled back and was watching the moon but my eyes would drift shut...and I went to sleep and dreamed I was riding about with the two teen daughters from "Modern Family" and the youngest, Alex had just indicated I really needed to put on my seat belt...Weird dreams after going back to bed are standard form for me, so not at all surprising that something totally unrelated to anything I know would be in my dream. John came in and flung open the door and said "Come watch this. It's so cool already!"
Now I don't know about you, but somehow when I'm dreaming and someone awakens me (or any sudden unusual noise) I feel as though I've bumped hard into an unseen object there for a moment or two and feel all disoriented and confused. But, with the curtain and blind still open, I could see that indeed a change had taken place in that bright moon and so I was quickly re-oriented and wide awake. I headed to the kitchen for my sweater and a cup of coffee. John had arranged two chairs atop the steps on the back porch facing west and we had a clear view of the moon which turned orange (it's called a Blood Moon when it does that). We watched as the earth's shadow eclipsed it. It happened gradually over several minutes time and we sat there waiting for the moon to reappear and talked a lot about spiritual matters and family matters and spiritual matters all over again. It seems if you have family you almost have to have faith to get your through, doesn't it? The air was warm-ish and soft and it didn't seem in the least strange to sit there in the dark, or almost dark really since the security light is at that end of the yard, too. That it didn't seem strange seemed strange.
I didn't get a photo of the moon nor eclipse. I hadn't had coffee yet, remember, so I hardly thought of the camera at all. Fortunately a favorite facebook page from St. Augustine featured a photo of the moon over the Cathedral Basilica...and isn't it awesome? That was prior to the Eclipse.
Well the moon never did recover, as a misty fog moved in and blocked out the stars and created an aura of light around the security light. John and I heard the sudden blast of bird calls that signals daybreak and I wondered at how they know. I mean not one bird but ALL of the birds began chirruping and whistling and trilling all at once. It was wonderful, really, but the noise, after the almost quiet we were sitting in was rather a shock.
Let me tell you about the 'almost quiet'...There was a time there before the eclipse when we were talking quietly, that I could hear the bell on the cat's collar tinkle, a sure sign she was walking about near the porch and John said to me in just a whisper, "Just watch these two...They've been at it for more than hour all ready." The cat walked across in front of us and Maddie chased her up the pecan tree. The cat sat there a moment or two then slipped down and ran under the carport under one the cars. Maddie chased her in between the tree and the car. Then Maddie whined and whined for the cat who slipped out from under the car because Maddie couldn't hear the bell tinkling over her whining and walked over to the porch and waited for Maddie to find her once more, then off they went back to the pecan tree. It went on over and over and over the whole hour we were there keeping watch. Apparently those two just have a life of their own in the dark hours. Who knew?
I've shared my wonders over the mystery of fog before: how it starts out as a mere wisp and slowly grows and grows and then it's covering every single thing. There was a nice warm breeze yesterday morning but it did nothing to prevent for moving in. Soon the dampness was dripping off the house. I reached up to touch my hair and it was wet through. I told John we'd have to hang the blanket to dry out before putting it away.
It was a short lived fog yesterday, gone soon after day light except for a stray strand here and there way up high in the sky. The fog was wispy and gray while the clouds were great white cotton candy sorts of clouds, so it was easy to differentiate between the two.
I've been watching the pecan tree a good bit the past few days; not because I'm waiting for pecans. I've inspected the tree thoroughly and from all I can see most of the nuts fell long before they got anywhere near mature and are lying about on the ground. There's a pair of squirrels that are gathering them and climbing the tree to reach the ten that have come closer to maturity. It is fun to watch them going up and down and back and forth. This afternoon one apparently got tired, and he stretched himself out on the top step of the plant stand beneath the tree and rested. He looked the same way the cat does on the porch railing...Silly squirrel.
John was happy I'd gotten up so early. He typically arises between 5 and 6am most mornings but I usually am more than happy to get an extra hour or two of sleep and don't put in an appearance until 7ish. Yesterday morning we were knee deep in household stuff by 7am. I made pancakes for breakfast and he started a load of laundry. I put some diced apple in the pancake batter, and when they were done cooking, I smeared them with soft butter and sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar. It doesn't take much but it does add something to pancakes for breakfast when you can have cinnamon sugar and fruit with them. In summer I often make peach pancakes and those are super tasty, too.
From there...well I don't know really what happened from there. We got caught up in watching a movie on TCM and while I watched it I worked Swagbucks until I'd made first goal. John hung laundry to dry and I did dishes and fed the animals and then the morning was practically over. Just like that. I made the bed and showered and got dressed and went to town and it was nearly 12 when I headed back home.
I went into town to pay a couple of bills, do some banking, drop off another bill or two at the post office. I went into the local grocery and bought a few items. I was pleased to find milk on sale for $2.19/gallon, a very good price. It was expiring today or tomorrow. I got a gallon but knew I had no freezer room for more. Still the savings will come in next pay period when I should only need to purchase a single gallon instead of the usual three gallons.
I came home and started dinner. I think John halfway expected I'd bring something home for dinner but I had a special dinner in mind and prep had been started yesterday. It was beef stroganoff, a meal I know he really enjoys and we have only occasionally. I was amused when he came in the kitchen after cooking had begun and he asked what I was making. I said "Beef Stroganoff." He exclaimed "Really?! You know what Stroganoff means in French don't you? Doggone Good!" Silly man, lol. It pleases me to please him and I seldom get to surprise him with a meal anymore as he's quick to ask what I'm making before I start. So it really was a sort of surprise meal to him today.
I had a small inspiration while I was cooking, one I'd like to try and work out some time really soon, of a beef Stroganoff soup...Doesn't that just sound good? It would have all the elements in a rich beef broth and I'd stir in sour cream when I served it. I think I could get away with lots of mushrooms and onions and only a bit of beef if I had a good beef stock for the base. And of course, I'd add noodles. Yes, this is definitely something I'd want to try...Or Ooh! Why not use mushroom tortellini instead of noodles? Oh my. I'm gonna have fun working this recipe out.
I started a project on Saturday that has a long completion date and a lot of hand sewing to do, but I'm so enjoying it. Originally it was planned for my guest area in the back room but you know, the way that room keeps bossing me about, I'm not at all sure it's going to be in that room, at all. Still, it's something I want to work on and so I am. It's a yo yo quilt top and I think it's rather pretty. This is just the first of many squares to come:
I was a little concerned over two or three matters yesterday afternoon and John was tired after a very hard 24hours of work. He closed his eyes after lunch and went right off to sleep and after a bit of minor housework and kitchen work, I slipped off to the craft table and sat down and went to work. I sewed and sewed. The house was quiet, the view out the window peaceful, the sun falling softly through the leaves onto the table where I was working. The golden rod danced along the edges of the yard in the breeze and those squirrels scampering back and forth. The little pile of finished pieces grew and grew and I realized I was very content. My mind, which had been scampering about much as those squirrels were, quieted and calmed and slowed. I thought of each incident that had made my heart ache or swell over the past several days and somehow clearer thinking prevailed. I had insights and revelations I hadn't had about situations and emotions that had been involved. And with each of those insights, my mind grew ever more calm and I felt fully at peace. It was a lovely time.
Speaking of lovely things: Do you remember some time ago I mentioned how I'd been missing Laine's Letters? I was going through various old files looking for them and found I'd deleted them entirely and then I went to the former website which had been closed for some unknown reason. It's my Sunday night bit of reading to read a handful of special to me blogs, one of which is Coffee,Tea and Me. And as I scrolled down and read the posts for the week, I clicked on a link Brenda provided and squealed...It was a blog that had a NEW letter from Laine. You can find it by clicking on the link. And here's the link to her archived letters. Apparently they disappeared from that site when the site was hacked but they have come back once more and everyone is over joyed. I can't wait to begin my acquaintance with Laine anew.
I was working in the kitchen yesterday afternoon and realized that my plan to reduce my time in the kitchen had worked pretty well. Big breakfast equals smaller dinner, and vice versa; planning ahead and prepping several meals at once have helped. What it hasn't help is my tendency to use the kitchen to avoid other jobs that I should/could be doing but just don't want to. Yes, my kitchen is my procrastination excuse! Recognizing that fact is a help.
Then today I sort of stumbled on another piece of the 'get out of the kitchen' puzzle. I thought we were going to be leaving home (plans changed at last minute) and so when I got up, I started right away to make dinner. I figured I'd leave home with it all ready to reheat. Having food already thawed and ready to make was a huge help this morning, too. And when our plans changed, I realized I'd just freed up a huge chunk of my day because the meal was cooked, the dishes were all done and all I had to do was put together a salad and reheat the entree.
That's when the bells started dinging and the whistles started blowing. I realized I had a winner of an idea. I did this back in my working days and it saved me a load of time in the evenings. Well, why not go back to that workaday habit? After all, my days are just as full of work still, albeit not office work. I had a morning in which I could work without having to stop. I loved it!
Well, time for me to get back to work and stop chattering away. Talk to you next week!