Monday, May 23, 2011

A Most Excellent Sunday

I had a great day yesterday.  Most of the day, the sun was shining, the grass was green, the wind was mild.  The day ended with a burst of rain and a vivid reminder of God's promises.

My day started, however, on a more questionable footing.  I was late for church.  But the pastor was late too, due to a baptism and communion at the earlier service at St. Petri.  So I was off the hook on that one.  I didn't have much hope when I was lovingly putting the finishing touches on our dinner before putting it in the oven to bake during church; I was still in my pjs; the little ones were dressed, but no sock/tights or shoes...Louisa says to me, somewhat exasperatedly, "Mo-om, we only have about 2 minutes to get to church."

But alas, I got there before the opening announcements were finished and so got all the important stuff.

We sang one of my favorite hymns in church.  In its entirety!  Luther's Nun Freut Euch (Dear Christians One and All Rejoice).  What awesome lyrics.  My favorite verses are 2 and 5, but really, how could one choose?

Fastbound in Satan's chains I lay;  Death brooded darkly o'er me.
Sin was my torment night and day;  In sin my mother bore me.;
Yea, deep and deeper still I fell;  Life had become a living hell,
So firmly sin possessed me.

He spoke to His beloved Son:  "Tis time to have compassion.
Then, go, bright Jewel of My crown,  And bring to man salvation.
From sin and sorrow set him free,  Slay bitter death for him, that he
May live with Thee forever."

After the kids and I got home from church, because there is no summer Sunday school, we had time to get everyone changed and the dinner on before Joe got home from his third service at about 12:30.

I also had a little free time and couldn't decide what to do. My front porch furniture was calling to me, looking all nice and white in the sunshine.  But I didn't want to just sit there doing nothing.  (Trust me, usually sitting doing nothing is not a problem for me, but yesterday I wanted to do something.)

I grabbed my crochet and headed out to the loveseat.  It had rained quite a bit overnight, so although the sun was warm and bright, there were still puddles on the porch.  I planned to sit in the bigger seat and have room for my ball of yarn off to the side.  As I opened the door to head out, I saw our big mama cat lounging under one of the smaller chairs.  I squinted evilly at her, mentally daring her to come play with my yarn ball.  I sat down, arranged my stuff, took up my yarn and hook... and there was the cat.  Didn't take her 20 seconds to join me.  So back in I went. 

I surveyed the lighting in the living room, weighing my desire to crochet, compared with my desire to be outside.  I put down the crochet stuff and, taking up my current book, I headed back out.  By this time, mama cat was back under the other chair, so I sat down in the loveseat once again to read.  (I just want to say here that somebody should make books printed in negative for those of us who like to read in the sun.  It's getting harder and harder, the older I get, to read in the bright sunlight.  But I always manage to do it a little bit each summer, squinting  to beat the band, trying futily to get the least amount of reflected sunlight as possible into my eyes, while still being able to make out the words.) 

I enjoyed about three squinty-eyed sentences of my book before mama cat joined me again.  She crawled up beside me under my elbow and started headbutting me to pet her.  I'm not a big cat person.  They are cute and all, but I'm allergic.  So I have to enjoy them from afar.  Usually, they don't bother my allergies outside, unless of course I pet them.  Which petting, mama cat was adamantly demanding to receive yesterday forenoon.  After I ignored her head butts, she started pawing me.  When that action failed to yield the desired result, she began scratching me.  Grrr.

After all the rigmarole, Joe was due home soon, so I came in, put down my book and went into the kitchen to finish the last minute dinner preparations.

I had fixed a pork chop and rice hotdish with celery, onion, garlic powder, and parsley, cooked in cream sauce.  We had steamed broccoli and cauliflower with butter and a squeeze of lemon on the side.  It was very good if I do say so myself.

The parsley I used was some we had dried from our garden last summer.  We dry it on cookie sheets in the car or van, with the windows cracked open to allow the air to circulate.  I don't know where we got that tip, but it's really cool to have a giant solar dehydrator sitting in our driveway all summer.  But it's more handy yet when I remember where I put the stuff I dry.  I can't tell you how many times I searched throughout the winter for that jar of parsley that I KNEW we had, and couldn't find it.  But the other day, there it was in the very back of the top shelf of our spice cupboard.

The vegetables I cooked were from fresh.  I haven't often used fresh vegetables for the last several years.  Frozen is just way too easy.  Open the bag and pour it into the pot, right?  But of late, I'm trying to use more fresh.  Each time I shop, I try to get something fresh: green beans, brocolli, cabbage, sugar peas...  There is a specific reason I've made this change.  It doesn't have to do with freshness or nutrition or even taste, although the fresh steamed veggies are ever so much better tasting than the previously frozen steamed vergetables.  It's because all the frozen vegetable companies have gone to those stupid steamer packs that only come in small packages and cost way more.  Now that may be very convenient to most families who routinely cook for two or four people.  But let me tell you, it is a true bummer for some one who is accustomed to buying frozen veggies in the huge bags, two or three bags of each kind at a time. And how hard is it, really, to put a little water in the bottom of a pot and pour the vegetable in.  I suppose it's the clean-up that is saved on, by steaming them in the bag, but really...I wouldn't mind it if they offered those to the people who want to use them.  But do they think everyone will want them that way? (Sorry about the rant.  It' really, really irritates me.  Can you tell?)

I very much enjoyed the fresh steamed broccoli and cauliflower today.  And it's not really that much more work to cut and rinse it before putting in the pot. Totally worth the extra work.  (And this way, I don't give my money to the frozen veggie companies who can't accommodate my spending habits.)

After lunch, I lay down with Inge to get her to sleep.  She's in that stage at which she doesn't think she needs a nap.  But when she doesn't take one, she either 1) falls asleep at supper, before eating of course; or 2) is so beastly come evening that we all suffer.  So I've taken to lying down with her in the hopes I can coax her to sleep.  Yesterday was a successful nap day, both Inge and Mom were coaxed into a refreshing slumber.

After I crawled back to consciousness, I decided to putz around in my flower beds.  It was a good day for it.  After all the rain Saturday, even the dandelions came out easily.

Toward late afternoon I had made my way over to the bed that borders our driveway.  The evening sun was still warm.  The dandelions were still coming out easily.  The light breeze was from the east, from behind me.  But I tell you, sitting right next to Joe's 30 gallon garbage can of some sort of stewing deer head concoction takes a little bit of the joy out of working up the flower beds.  Pee-eew!  As long as I didn't inhale, I could pretend the day was still nice.  I'm sure he's working on some entirely important food preservation or hide tanning method or something.  I'm absolutely certain that when the grid goes down, whatever is brewing in that garbage pail will no doubt save the local economy.  Really, Joe, did you have to do it right in our front yard? 
"My husband, some hotshot.  Here's his ancient Chinese secret." 
But when Joe noticed me sitting with my nose pinched shut while weeding, he was kind enough to drag the sloshing mixture several yards further away.  Thank you, dear.

At another point in my weeding, shortly before it was time to head in, Donna ran up to the house from down alongside the church parking lot where the kids were playing.  Stark naked.  Covered with grass and water.  Yikes!  The kids were swimming in the ditch that separates the parking lot from the hayfield south of us.  Good gracious!  Stella and John at least had shorts on.  But Donna and Inge were stark naked.  And please recall that there are no trees at all between them and the highway.   Our poor members... naked pastor's kids in the church ditch.  I wonder how many phone calls were buzzing the local lines yesterday afternoon. Thankfully it was so beautiful out that maybe, just maybe, nobody was out driving.
The kids' wet clothes hanging on the rail to dry.  Won't work very well during the downpour.
The day was topped off by several beautiful downpours that rolled through the area after supper time.  It went from sunny and blue, to dark, angry and raining sheets in a matter of minutes.  Then the sun peaked through once again to give us a beautiful, bright, entire rainbow before another dark cloud rolled in, and again rained sheets on us.

No comments: