Coffee Chat - I Said I Would
Oh Hello! Do come on in. I'm a bit ready for company so I'm glad you could stop by. There's some gingersnaps with a bit of lemon curd filling. Sounds tasty, doesn't it? I made a cocoa ripple coffeecake Friday before the weekend, but it's all gone now. I'd suggest we go outdoors but it's quite warm out there which is nice but isn't if you've been working all morning and a good portion of the afternoon, too. We had quite a cool spell end of week and weekend. I didn't expect that and was quite shocked to read the weather reports and even denied they could possibly be right. Well for once they were right.
I had all day last Sunday alone here at home and I spent it cleaning, getting ready for Passover, planning how to use the last of the products that contained yeast. I decided to have toast for supper that night and to make French toast for breakfast, which took care of half the loaf of bread that we had on hand. In the end, I threw out the other half loaf and 1 packet of dried soup mix I'd bought to make a dip for chips. I was very proud that I'd managed to use so many things and that I'd kept a watchful eye on my pantry and hadn't overstocked those items.
The cleaning was a little more detailed than usual but that was because I just felt I needed to be thorough. The cleaning reaped far more dirt and crumbs than I might have imagined it might considering I do housework daily. I was surprised, but then again, I shouldn't be. I did say I was being very thorough, so I cleaned under the stove top and under the oven, dishwasher and fridge, places I normally swipe out about once every few months, not daily.
When John last played at the Seed and Feed one of the men came up to talk to him after his set. He asked about Passover and the purpose of removing the yeast from the homes. He and I talked a bit and then he said something that just startled me, because it seems to me it was point on. He said he'd been looking into the Jewish festivals and how they were celebrated. "It occurred to me that when Jesus returns, he'll continue to do as he did long ago, which is to follow these special commands God gave. I want to be able to participate with him." I confess that my own journey started the day I woke up to the fact that Jesus was Jewish, but I never thought about His return and my being prepared to follow Him then. I guess all this learning right now is just practice time...I like that.
I went shopping Sunday morning after cleaning was done. I purposely wanted to go early to the store to avoid the crowds. It was apparently just the right time to go because while the store was hardly deserted it was certainly not packed. It made shopping a good deal easier and every thing was well stocked. I nearly went nuts in the produce department. There were so many tempting items. I finally settled myself down and reminded myself that I had a shorter grocery budget for the coming two weeks. When I had my items on the conveyor belt later I realized that over half my purchases were fresh produce. I also bought flowers, my first bunch in so many months I can't even remember the last time I purchased any. I remembered every thing I'd meant to purchase except horseradish. And I didn't even think about that until Monday morning.
It was warm-ish that day, about mid-80s and humid. It felt like spring had properly arrived. I'd heard of a fast food place that sold chicken livers and stopped on my way home to treat myself to some. It was warm enough that I was just longing for a soda and I do love a good fountain soda...well that wasn't a good one. It didn't taste good at all. I threw it away without taking more than a sip. Yuck. Had I not been so anxious to get home I'd have gone back to return it. Duly noted, I'll not bother to buy a fountain drink from that spot in future. It was humid and uncomfortable outdoors that day, the air just felt thick and heavy. Needless to say, I was glad to get indoors and turn on a fan.
By the time I got home and unloaded groceries I had a headache and was feeling sniffly. Allergies. The haze of pollen hung in the air made the hills in the distance look like a yellow hued mirage. I took an allergy tablet after I'd gotten things put away, sat down in my chair and dozed right off. I am so sensitive to medicines that even a half dose of that mild allergy tablet zonked me right out...I'm sure getting up prior to 5a.m. helped, too. I was unable to work up much desire to do a whole lot more that day after my forced nap.
I was pretty pleased with what I spent on groceries over all. It's been necessary due to the way the pay periods fall to cut my grocery budget for one pay period in half, yes in half, and no I don't get to make it up during the larger pay period. I was careful with my purchases that day and even though I didn't shop at Aldi I managed quite well. I think if I go to Aldi and use as great a care as I used that day, I shall do very well indeed. I came in on budget (the new low budget) that particular week and all that I purchased was/is for this pay period. I shall only buy bread tomorrow while I'm out. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is over this evening.
The skies last Monday were heavy as could be. John and I did housework in the morning hours. After dinner we drove to his work place to pick up his paycheck. I had forgotten to purchase horseradish Sunday and we made two stops looking for that. This year, instead of letting it sit forever and ever in the fridge and wondering if it's gone bad, I mean to put it in ice cube trays and freeze. Then I can pop one out when I want to use it. I like a bit of horseradish in my coleslaw dressing once in a while, and it's good for making a hot catsup or BBQ sauce, as well as making a lovely creamy sauce for roast beef, but I don't want those things all of the time. So into the freezer it goes.
John and I were headed home and as we came upon a road he mentioned that he'd been down that one recently as one side is his work county and the other side is our home county. I hadn't been down the road in ages. Every once in a while John gets wanderlust in him. He turned around and we went back to the road and down we went, riding along and enjoying the views. It's a lovely time of year for rides really, with all the dogwood blooming in the woods and the yards of homes full of lovely blooming flowers and trees and shrubs. When we came out at the other end, John had no clue where we were, but I did. I directed him and we had a very long country drive before we were done, coming out about 11 miles from home on another road than the one we'd been headed home on and adding about 20 miles to the odometer, I guess. It was lovely and we enjoyed it. It took perhaps 30 minutes of our time and was well worth the small splurge of time and gasoline.
When we got back home, we planned to pay bills, but each tackled other jobs first. John had need of a music stand that folds up so it's easily packed up to travel when he has an engagement. He'd found one for about $34 but decided there was a less expensive option. He purchased a butterfly bolt and a wing nut. Now he can break his stand down in seconds and it goes back together just as easily. He's such a smart man! I think the bolt and wing nut cost him a whole $2. We'd used the music stand just Friday when he played at the Feed and Seed and we both cringed as we placed it on the back seat of my car. Those seats are leather and one wrong move...Now the music stand can go in the trunk with the rest of the equipment.
My task was to get the elements of the Seder plate ready and to set out my dishes. I really should have taken a photo later that evening when we did the Seder. It was quite lovely. I found an Imari plate several years ago at the thrift store and it has seven sections, so we use that. I used one of Big Mama's sherbert cups as the container for the salt water and we arranged the other elements around that. I have a photo of the Imari plate here amongst the other treasures I gathered that day:
I reckon that purchase was made about four years ago now. And the curtains it sits upon are hanging at the guest room window now, the frame holds a lovely old flower print from a book. I so love thrift store shopping. On the day John played the Feed and Seed I went into my favorite thrift shop and found a pair of brand new sandals for summer for $2. I almost didn't purchase them...I'm glad I did. I've worn them twice this past week, including Easter Sunday morning. I expect I'll get to use them as often as I have the other things I've purchased.
When we had our Harvest session, I found that my purchases Sunday were spot on the amount of money I could spare for groceries. That was a great discovery, as I'd been especially careful. Now I know about where we need to be on that shorter pay period. I had planned to try and trim my grocery budget a bit further, but there's no greater incentive than 'have to', is there? Just briefly I want to address a few questions Sarah asked me regarding our Harvest time. We only have one bill that varies from a set amount: electricity. After years we can pretty much determine about how much our costs each month are going to be and we're seldom more than $10 off. The remainder of the bills are fixed amounts, so it's not at all hard to determine how much we need to set aside each pay period. Yes, we are paid every other week which means we get an 'extra check' twice a year. Because we pay our bills the way we do we don't have one full pay check as extra either time, but over the two months following that 'extra' pay period, we find we've no need to set aside half of one or three bills during a pay period. Those additional amounts are generally paid towards our loan repayment amount.
After our Harvest, it was soon sundown and time for Passover. I missed being part of a group Seder. It's such a lovely thing to eat and drink and go through the ritual ceremony even when there's just the two of us, but it's really lovely when there's a larger group sharing. The synagogue we attend had so many people participating that they sold tickets. We decided we'd rather just stay home, and it was nice. It's such a privilege to walk this path, it truly is.
On Tuesday, the threatening skies rained and rained and rained. I was not in the best of moods...seems I write that a lot lately, but it's true and I wouldn't have you think I was always a model of perfection. I'm not. I hurt due to weather changes, and I felt disappointed in life, in general. After these moods I'm always shocked at myself, because I am just as blessed as I was the day before when life looked pretty good. So while I am an optimistic sort overall, almost disgustingly so, when I fail and allow my mood to sink, I really go hard in the opposite direction and get good and grumpy. I don't do much by half measures, lol, not even bad moods. I had to go to town to bank and post office, but I didn't even bother with make up nor decent clothes. I figured I would be doing drive thru stuff anyway at both places so why bother? It was a misty blowing fitful rain, the sort that doesn't allow one to go without windshield wipers but makes them annoying as well. I must say the weather came nearer my mood than not.
I had taken a worship Cd with me and I played it the whole while I was gone. It did bolster me up and I decided that my real trouble was that I missed Granny and our Danny and my oldest daughter and grandchildren in North Dakota. All the above mentioned left in one way or another in April. I don't talk about Amie and those kids too much because frankly it is very painful to me. We've talked about visits but it's the usual old song and dance. Too much money required to get there quickly and not enough time to pull it off in the least expensive way. I don't let myself dwell on it. We have phone and texts and internet and I hear from Amie far more than I did when she lived closer by, but I am missing a great deal and now that she's pregnant with her fourth child, I can't help but think there are three grandchildren I've never had the privilege of getting to know, and soon two I will have never seen (the youngest and the one on the way).
I just hurt emotionally that day as much as I did physically. I decided to come down the road past Granny's house. Not the wisest decision considering the road is dirt and with all the rain was a slippery mess. My nerves were taut as piano wires by the time I reached her home what with fighting the slide of the car towards the ditches. I slowed down to look as I neared Granny's and decided today was the day to stop. The iris were blooming and clearly visible from the road. I pulled into the driveway and unlocked the gate and walked about the yard. It looked so pitiful with big broken branches and limbs down in the garden areas, and overgrown saplings and shrubs against the house. I walked about and gathered a few of some of the iris to bring home for a bouquet and then decided to dig up a rhizome or two of each and bring them home to plant. I wandered about the yard and picked up a few things. While the yard itself was pretty sad, somehow the iris beds had managed to stay clear of debris.
At first, when I arrived and saw how sad and neglected it all looked, I wanted to cry. Granny loved the outdoor work and kept her yard and garden pristine. Indoors you might find a bit of grit and dust but outdoors was prim. As I walked about the yard, the wind blew sharp and cold and the misty rain just soaked me right through. Something else soaked right through me besides that cold rain: peace. That same wonderful, cleansing peace that always came upon me when I'd sit on the porch with Granny and say nothing much.
Poor John. He knew I was in one of my moods when I left home. He doesn't care for them, but he doesn't kowtow to them either and I'm glad he doesn't. I hate being patronized for one thing and for another I loathe to be in a bad mood and have someone try and jolly me out of it. It makes me feel unreasonable as well as temperamental (ha! and don't I sound just so?). Well when I returned he looked at me with deep concern for a moment. I was muddy and wet and looked like I'd weathered a storm. I could feel my hair was dripping wet and I was sure it looked a mess as well. But when his eyes rested on my face, his worried look cleared. "I've been up at Granny's..." I said and he nodded. "About time."
Tuesday was a Holy Day. We were to do no work that day and I'd planned ahead and had food pretty much prepared, so we could just heat and eat. After dinner, we settled in to watch our latest Netflix selection: "Lincoln" with Daniel Day Lewis. The focus was on the last three and half months of President Lincoln's 2nd term and the end days of his life. Enjoying history as I do, I really enjoyed the film and the portrait painted of this president and his family and political life. I must say that Lincoln, much as FDR seemed to lean heavily on his home as a place to think and work out matters of state. I was intrigued that William Seward was his Secretary of State. Later in the week I was further intrigued.
It cleared off Wednesday. The yard squished when we walked across it. That put an end to any idea of working outdoors. We settled to work here in the house. I cleared and cleaned and rearranged the canned food and baking cabinets. I cleaned the closet in my room, which I'd meant to do for some time and vacuumed all along the edges of the bedroom, that little 1/2 inch bit that the vacuum normally doesn't get.I worked pretty hard nearly all day long. I was so tired at the end of the day I didn't even care to reward myself with a spell of reading or genealogy or a game. I just wanted to sit and be still.
I was out with Mama on Thursday, when John went to work. I cleaned house before I left home, since I was up so very early that morning. I'd looked over my closet Wednesday and determined that I really needed only a white shirt or t-shirt. Just a plain white one and that was about all. I found one in the store where Mama wanted to shop, though I'd never have thought I might. White t-shirts are not typical of this store, usually. I looked over the clearance racks and found nothing much of interest and was about to head to the cash register when I saw one of those lovely jersey knit maxi skirts. That is one current fashion look I think is just lovely. Maxi dresses just look so feminine and pretty with skimpy sandals and a pretty necklace. It's a cool and pretty look for summers.
Typically the sizes at this store run a little smaller for tops. The bottoms generally run two or three sizes smaller. I didn't hold out much hope the skirt would fit but went to try it on anyway...I'm so glad I did. It's a perfect fit, right down to the length and everything. And it's a good match for that plain white t-shirt and those thrift store sandals. Mine is very similar to this one in style, though not in colors:
I look forward to using this piece in my wardrobe, but I want some leggings or thin knee length shorts or something to go under it. I am old fashioned in that I still feel a slip is appropriate undergarments but I've noted in summers past that a nylon slip is a lot like wearing a damp heating pad. I know what I am looking for, it's just a matter of taking time to shop.
Mama had the usual stack of magazines for me and coupons, too. Then she handed me a file folder. I am always pleased these days to see her with a file folder in her hands. It means that she's been through her own things and found more historical stuff to pass to me. This time there were photos of herself from several years of school a family mystery photo that we can't place at all, a photo of my great grandfather as a young man, and a booklet, first published in 1930 and republished in 1973. It was written by a man who grew up in the village of Culloden, Georgia in the mid 1800's. He went on to become a politician. He had a brief account of my great great great grandfather, not altogether flattering, but not a total slander either. I have reason to believe there was no love lost between the two men from another incident that took place a few years later but I have a feeling there's more truth than not. Ever have a feeling about someone? I've had a feeling about this particular grandfather's wife and sure enough, this politician confirmed it. If you weren't aware of ancient history you mightn't know just what he meant, but this day in time, it's easy enough to seek out information. Apparently the woman's personality was very unpleasant. Why I suspected this I can't tell you...
Anyway, I had some more housework to attend to when I got home, but I was just itching to sit down and read that little booklet. Finally that bit of work was done and I could indulge my curiosity. There was a map at the back that showed where my family members lived in relation to the town. There was the relating of a few members of the family and a brief bit of the history of the churches and schools. And then he mentioned schools in nearby counties...one of them where William Seward taught for a period of two years! I am forever fascinated by Georgia's history overall.
Friday the heavens opened and it poured all over again. It started about 5am and it kept up all day and all night, too. I've said before how glad we are for the rain after our drought years and I shall not complain about rain now. I really am grateful for every last drop. Mama worried Thursday that the fields were too wet for farmers to plant but that was put to rest when we passed a field with a tractor toiling along on Thursday and I do hope sincerely that farmer got his field planted and a few more besides before the rain came in. It wasn't a gully washing rain, just a normal steady rain but it didn't stop at all. It was a good day to spend time in the kitchen and I did, nearly all day long. By late Friday afternoon, I was more than ready to stop work and start the weekend. So I did. Perhaps I stopped too soon? Shortly after we'd had our Shabat evening, John mentioned he sure would like to have a steak dinner...Change of menu number one, after I'd spent all morning long working out a menu plan for the weekend...And then our youngest son called and said he'd like to visit us on Sunday. Change of menu plan number two...
There's not really anything to share about Saturday. I changed over my browser last weekend from FireFox which had frustrated me mightily for months and months to Internet Explorer and then to Google Chrome. I lost all my blogs, favorite lists, etc from Firefox, and the IE list was super old. So I spent my day trying to rebuild my blog list. Truth be told I haven't found a lot of blogs thus far this year that wowed me. I've added and deleted dozens. Part of that is due to my place in life. Part of that is due to my desire not to create dissatisfaction with what I have. Part is that many bloggers I like a great deal have stopped blogging. They've moved on to other things, which makes me happy for them. But the blog list has looked dismal with perhaps six or seven blogs. So I trolled about a bit, reading a bit here and a bit there.
John got news that day of when they'd be having Continuing Education classes at work. You know one of those days fell right smack of the middle of the week we'd meant to go on vacation. We'd discussed this and that and in the end decided to wait until after the CEUs were all done. We've had a few ideas of things we'd like to do, but no clear one yet. We'll work on that this coming week or so. John also got news of another engagement to play...that was overall a fairly exciting day, now I look back at it. I guess I was just so relaxed I failed to notice how bright the highlights of it were.
We got up super early Easter morning. It made me think of the Easter Bunny years. I had worried a little the night before about what to wear. You'd think that new skirt wouldn't you? Well it was chilly and I needed something warmer than that! As it was I was still fairly cool but I looked toasty warm compared to many of the women, girls and little girls who came into church with their Easter dresses and sandals, bare arms and legs goose-pimpled and blue. It was cloudy and misting rain, too. Brrr! Service was held in the new sanctuary which seats 1000. Honestly? I think folks ended standing about because the place was so packed and that was just one of 5 services that day! It's really a large church, huge for me, but I do like the preaching.
John joked after service that he'd gotten in his walking time that day. He'd let me off at the front of the building and then drive around back to find parking. He had to park at the very back of the parking lots. Quite a trek for me, too. Just as we arrived at our car, we got a text from our son that he was at the house...and he'd forgotten his key, which was silly, since I'd told him specifically to bring his key. It made John feel he had to hurry home. I wanted to hurry myself, but only because I was happy to have Sam and Bess come to visit.
Ha! I was smart on two scores. I'd planned at first to start the roast cooking in the crockpot. I figured it would be done about the time Samuel said he'd be here, but ...something just made me hold off starting that roast. I don't know if it was mother's intuition or what. It would have been overcooked by the time we arrived home, especially since he'd forgotten his key. So I started the roast the moment I came in and put it in the oven. Preparation of the rest of the meal was spread out over the hour and half the roast took to bake, so I had time to visit plenty with them.
While the food cooked the sun came out and shone. It didn't warm up a lot but a bit, which was nice. It was so good to see sun shining in the windows! Good food, good company, lovely sunshine...sigh. It turned out to be a lovely day despite the hurry and chilly early morning.
Today, of course, John was back to work. I made the most of the morning and early afternoon, working hard to get my chores taken care of...but I'm not through, not by any means. Tomorrow is another Holy Day and we do no work...I have meals prepped. I have a hair appointment and will go by the grocery while I'm out to pick up bread and purchase a couple of turkey breasts for the freezer while they are on sale. They will keep all summer long if I choose. I won't see these prices again until Thanksgiving so I want to take advantage of this last sale for many months to come.
Oh dear, the coffee and cookies are all gone! I guess that's my sign to get back to work. Lovely to visit with you once again. Talk to you later!