Archive | March, 2018

Whose Idea Was This?

27 Mar

Every once in a while The Squire and I will play a little game called “Let’s Pretend We’re Moving”.

Yesterday morning we “played” in the back room.  We don’t have a basement, so this is as close as we can get. The dryer, the pet foods, the clutter and chaos of over 40 years in the same house have all ended up there. We carried everything into the kitchen, and piled it on the counters, the floor, and the chairs.  Bit by bit we moved it back into the back room, sorting it out and throwing away an incredible amount of stuff.   This photo was taken after we had gotten most of the things put away. Some items, such as the shredder and a bunch of electrical bits and bobs were moved out to the patio to await a yard sale, and the groceries eventually found their way to new spots on the shelves.

kitchen after

This picture was taken once the back room had been tidied to within an inch of its life. I keep my canned goods in magazine holders, and I found so many veggies that had been stuck on the shelf and then lost that I need to get another one next time we head to the store. All of the various boxes of pasta are corralled in one section, and I was amazed to discover just how many packets of Knox gelatin I had. What on EARTH was I going to make with all of it?!

shop after

The Squire got rid of a bunch of things he didn’t need any more and now he has space to arrange things to they are within view, too.

I just wonder how long it’s going to take us to get it all cluttered again?

An “Aha!” Moment

23 Mar

Last night I was chatting with a friend and she remarked that when she was a young girl her hair was the same shade as mine. “I washed it on Saturday night and wrapped it in a scarf, so it would be nice for Sunday. We only washed our hair once a week. You couldn’t get soap, you know, because it was rationed during the war.”  My friend is British, a war bride and closer to my mum’s age than mine.

And suddenly it all clicked!

I have several Woman’s Day magazines from the 40s, saved by my ever-thrifty mother and grandmother.  There are frequent articles about making-do, turning men’s unworn suits into clothing for the rest of the family, and such. Some of them referred to substitutes for soap. Fat is used to make soap – and munitions. It just didn’t register with me that there was a reason for the things my mother did.

We washed our hair once a week, and took three baths a week. Saturday night so we’d be clean for church, plus Monday  and Wednesday nights. You don’t sweat in the winter, and in the summer there’s nobody around to know if you stink.  And we always wore our clothes two days, letting them rest a day in between.  The idea of wearing things twice never fazed me, and I made sure our girls did the same. Even my uniforms at school were purchased with the idea you wore the blouses twice. Too much washing wears things out, and although nobody had a dryer in the 50s (and precious few in the 60s) bashing things around weakens the threads.  I much prefer to hang our clothes on the line; it’s such a Zen thing. Bend and reach. Bend and reach. No hurry, no pressure, no grabbing things out of the dryer before the wrinkles set.  I always told the girls, “that stuff in the lint filter is your underwear”.

So there is was. Not some aberrant behaviour on my mum’s part but a hold-over from the frugal days of World War II – the war her husband and her brothers-in-law were waging overseas.


Fire! Fire!

22 Mar

See the source imageRight after the first of the year we trotted off and bought one of those new super-duper smoke alarms. I will say it is not nearly as touchy as the old one, which would go into a purple swivit over boiling water.

This morning I slid a croissant into the toaster oven while I laid the dining room table for breakfast. By the time I got back the kitchen was full of smoke, the croissant was charcoal, and the smoke alarm was going full-tilt. The little lady who lives inside was yelling “Fire! Fire!” at the top of her lungs, Blazer was running in circles, and the cat took off for high ground. It took ten minutes with the window open and the fan going to clear the house.

I picked up the croissant with tongs and carried it ceremoniously to the trash can. It was too far gone to even make decent compost.

One Last Hurrah

21 Mar

Like the obnoxious guest who keeps coming back, Old Man Winter has been hanging around far, far too long.

Monday it was in the 50s  but yesterday morning the temperature dropped to the upper 30s, and it began to snow in the late afternoon. Now, “snow” here is a comparative noun. Or verb, depending upon your approach to these things.  Maybe we got a quarter inch, and although the forecast was for snow overnight, this morning was hovering around 32° F and it wasn’t snowing. At all. I had a 10:00 doctor appointment, but when I arrived the office was closed. At some point somebody had managed to come in to post a note on the inside of the glass door, but nary a word to the patients. I did stop at a pet store to buy bird seed and a brush for the cat, but those people don’t know what to charge. They wanted $10.50 for a five pound bag of peanuts, when I could buy two of the same size next door at Costco! And I am NOT paying $7 for a brush when I can -and did – get one just as nice at the Dollar Store.  Came on home and stopped to pick up a few odds and ends at the grocery store. The library was also closed – as were the public schools – so no joy there. Other people stock up on toilet paper when it snows (WHY?) but we stock up on books.

Shortly after noon it did begin to snow in earnest, but we only got 2 inches – max. A bit further north, Eldest Daughter said she had 4 inches, and the roads were slick.  At the moment it is 37° and by the weekend it will be pushing 50° again.

Ah. The Board of Education has announced the schools must find a way to make up one day to have the kids in school for a full 180 days. What on earth are they going to learn in one day? Yeesh.

Stop The Music!

19 Mar

Fr. B was away yesterday and we invited a former rector to fill in for us.

There are three Episcopal churches in Baltimore that are so high they look down on the Pope.  Grace and St. Peter’s (commonly known as GASP), St. Katherine of Alexandria, and a parish fondly known as “Smokey Mary’s” because of the amount of incense they use.  Our organist and Fr. Fill-in had been at St. Mary’s at the same time for a short while and had a chance to catch up during coffee hour.  The organist was relating an incident that occurred while he was still there, but after the Good Father had moved on.  The parish had a new priest, just in time for a feast in honour of the Virgin Mary, probably the Annunciation – also known as Maryland Day – which involved processing around the church with stops at stations depicting events in her life. During these stops, the organist  stopped playing so the prayers could be heard.

At the first of these stops, the music ceased and everybody was quiet. Except one woman, who abruptly stopped singing the verse she was doing solo, and asked, in a very loud voice, “What happened to the f. . .ing  music?”

Everybody turned to stare. The assistant raced up the side aisle, removed his vestments, stomped down the center aisle and just about dragged the woman out the door. He came back in. She did not.

And they shall be cast into outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.


Some schools teach that the state was named after Henrietta Marie, the wife of Charles I of England. Charles, you may remember, was having some trouble in the popularity polls and decided the best was to get rid of some of his Roman Catholic nobles was to send them off to the New World. After a six week ocean voyage, they arrived within site of their new home on March 22. They waited off shore until the 25th, which is, as I mentioned earlier, celebrated as the day the angel asked Mary if she was willing to bear the Messiah. They named their new colony Mary’s Land.

And it didn’t help poor Charlie at all, as he ended up getting his head chopped off, anyway.


Eye, Yi, Yi!

16 Mar

Well, it took me two hours to find out what I already knew. I have a cataract in my left eye.

I arrived at 12:30, and was taken back fairly promptly. A young lady verified my medical history and did an eye exam – vision test and glaucoma. I was led to a waiting room, and promised “somebody will come for you shortly”. Another young lady, who happened to be the granddaughter of an old friend, did a second eye exam, and then led me back to the same waiting room, and gave me the same line. We did this dance several times. Different women, different exam rooms, but I had at least five people staring into my eyes. And then I finally saw the doctor. Who did another eye exam.

Return to  different waiting area, and then I went into an office where yet another woman – this made six – set up the date for the surgery.

It took two bloody hours, and more traipsing around than really seemed necessary. Yeesh.

The Clock Family is Alive and Well

14 Mar

Neither of us are hoarders, and I really do try to keep a nice house, but the way things disappear around here is simply maddening.

I’ve lost a dozen linen napkins. They lived in the bottom of the corner cupboard for years and years, and now they are all gone. I can understand misplacing one, maybe, but the entire dozen? This is not the sort of item the common thief would want, is it? Most of our friends think we’re a little barmy for using “renewable” napkins instead of paper, but I don’t think anybody would take them just to make a point.

About three months ago I purchased three bundles of yarn to make a shawl. I got sidetracked and made something else while the shawl sat on the needles, but I’ve finally finished the first skein and now I simply cannot find the other two. I suppose it goes without saying that the yarn will have been discontinued if I go back to the store.

Anybody need a very short shawl? About 36 inches long and 16 inches wide.  Of course, if I unravel it to make a scarf or something, the other two rolls will show up.

A pair of earrings I lost several years ago turned up in a jacket pocket. It is not a jacket I’d have worn with those earrings, so I don’t know how they got there. A hot glue gun has been MIA for years. Even buying a new one didn’t make it show up.

And this doesn’t even begin to account for the things I just know I have in my dollhouse stash.

I just hope the Clocks bring this stuff back when they are finished.

(If you have never read Mary Norton’s marvelous book, The Borrowers, you really should. Pod and Homily Clock, and their daughter Arietty live under the kitchen in a large English house and . . . well, go read it yourself.)

Just Ducky

12 Mar

DSCN0514For the last couple of days we have seen a pair of mallards in our pond.  The drake is, of course, unmistakable, but the duck is so drab you’d think she was another species entirely.

They come fairly early in the morning, leave, and then come back in the afternoon, before flying away for the evening.

I really don’t understand how scientists can claim animals such as dogs and cats are colour-blind. If they were, it would not be necessary for female birds to blend into the scenery.  The male scarlet tanager is bright red, with black wings; his mate is a dull green and her wings are greenish grey. A male canvasback is bright white with a russet head, while the female is dusty grey with a darker grey head. God doesn’t want the females in danger while they are nesting.

Bread on Both Sides

7 Mar

When I was a kid I did not want to eat the heels of bread. I made it very clear I wanted “bread on both sides”. My grandfather would smile and nod, and agree those pieces were for the chickens.

Now that I make all of our bread, I’ve discovered the very best part is the heel of the loaf, hot from the oven, and spread with a good pat of fresh butter.

Life doesn’t get much better than that.


6 Mar

I put an inquiry on the local “Nextdoor” blog this morning asking if anyone knew what had happened last night, and one woman suggested I call the local police station and ask. Yeesh. How obvious is that?

And so I did.

Apparently it was a domestic dispute between a man and his dad. One of them was threatening to burn down the house, and “we took him to the hospital”. Not sure which “he” was “who”, but it wasn’t anything for us to worry about. No guns or loose cannons.