February 29, 2008

Echoes

I think about Joe when I shower.

Well, really (Carol, it's okay to stop hyperventilating. And please, put the knife down! Now, back away, nice and slow....) I think about Joe when I get into the shower, then I laugh to myself and move on to other thoughts. It's nobody's fault; I just have a phonographic memory. You see, when Joe was in medical school, he did an internship (or something) south of us; Carol was north of us; and at least once I remember him flying by, stopping in to see us, and at some point in the visit taking a *very* quick shower. So quick that we commented on it when he came back from the bathroom (nosy, that's us!) In those days, Joe was often a little...late, and so he said he had become an expert on the quickest possible effective shower-taking technique. To wit, and I'm roughly quoting here: "You just *don't worry* about how warm the water is. Turn it on, jump in and start washing!" This is what pops into my head every day when I am decidedly NOT not worrying about the water temperature, but instead waiting for it to get warm.

Joe is not alone in my memory banks, not by a long shot. Actually, it's pretty crowded in there.

There's a whole category set aside for speechies, of course, though the one that crops up most often is, "It made a difference to *that* starfish." And I can never think of that speech without thinking of the same author's speech on popcorn; in regard to movie concessions: "Skip the stuff they squish on top; that's an easy way to cut the calories." I also remember that whenever we're at the movies, and we never do (skip it). From the same era, we are (I think I speak for Matt here, too), completely unable to avoid thinking of Eric whenever we think of any kind of pepper, whose speech on them was a staple of our diets for nearly a year. And whenever Emily crawls into a cardboard box to "take a BAFF!", I think back to that wonderful interp piece, "Days of Cardboard Boxes." It's about cardboard boxes. And what children can do with them.

Other speechies connect more to songs than to actual speeches, in part because we traveled so much with a constant soundtrack. I cannot hear "You're Unbelievable" without thinking of Danny; JJ gets "Say Goodbye to Hollywood", and really, all the team members from that era get to share Billy Joel's Greatest Hits volumes I and II. That's what happens when you listen to an album for nine hours with a set of people, give or take; wait three days, and listen to it *again* for nine hours with the same group.

Not all these echoes are happy. For instance, I was raised on musicals and have always loved My Fair Lady. I even got to teach it, reading the play first, of course. And that was nice. Until the day one of my former students--a grad--came back early in the fall to tell me that the one kid who had come into class the school year before *excited* about the musical, because he loved it, too...had just been killed in a car accident. Justin haunts me a little now whenever that music plays. I think of Jim when I pay bills--not just because I do some bookkeeping for Laurie, but because he's the one who first taught me to write when things were paid, how much, and by whom on bills, having done a fair amount of accountancy himself.

Others are just bizarrely mundane--like the Joe/shower thing--but apparently, permanent. I always open my bank statements the minute I get them (if children allow...), while hearing my grandfather's voice in my head. I shared my first checking account with him, and he impressed upon me how important it was to check your statements and balance your checkbook. I cannot even *see* a package of instant mashed potatoes--let alone eat 'em--without thinking of Paul. He either followed the directions so well, or did not follow them with so much elan, that I remember his particular instant mashed 'taters as being sublime. (It could have been an excess of butter. But they were yummy.)

So now I wonder, what strange and interesting echoes do other people hear? Do tell...I've made it lots easier to leave comments; they just take a little longer to show up. :-)

February 28, 2008

Nightgown Pics

As demanded by Tami, here are pics of the Great Gown Adventure.

(The camera is apparently on its last legs, but it suffered a miraculous rebirth just before being looked at by an actual repair-person, so we'll see how many shots we can get out of it before replacement!)

February 23, 2008

Muffins, Interrupted

Obviously, nobody tried to make the muffin recipe I posted back in November. Or if they did, they assumed the failure was their own. They would have been fairly flat muffins, as it appears that I left out some very key ingredients....well, I included not enough of one (baking soda) and entirely skipped the cream of tartar. Since the original recipe (that I tweaked) calls for 4 teaspoons of baking powder, and those missing items are the replacements....well, it's no light matter. And neither would the results be, without 'em!

Here is the corrected version. Humble apologies for the egg on my face (and let us all be thankful that I couldn't find my copy, but knew I had posted it, so printed it out and read it and realized it was wrong....I gotta pay my test-kitchen people more....)

February 18, 2008

What I Do Instead of Blogging...

Today, like everyone else in the PNW, I was seized with a strong urge to be outside (actually, I was outside yesterday, too). So the tomato bed of last summer is finally uprooted, the stringy disgusting tomato vines now chopped up and preparing themselves to finish their carbon cycles; all the leaves that got left on the lawn near, but not in, the garden beds, are IN the garden beds (better late than never...); and I planted a few early flower seeds, as well as peas (hey, it's President's Day. You're *supposed* to plant peas on President's Day. It's, like, a LAW.) and spinach and, being a gambler at heart, lettuce.

This weekend, I finally finished the Little Girl Nightgown Extravaganza of 2007. I had purchased (at a good discount, natch) several different flannel fabrics, intending to spoil my children rotten at Christmas. Laura has long adored the few nightgowns she has, and they're a lot easier for little potty-goers than zip-up footie pajamas; just lift, lower, and ....uh...."go"! I made one for Laura around her birthday, in November, then was busily working on more to get done in time for Christmas. Then I got sick, which killed most of December. But I had them all cut out (the gowns, not the children), so I couldn't put it off until next winter; they might not fit! But now, I'm done: there are two little gowns with kitties on them (one pink, one aqua--those actually made it under the tree, though it was a near thing!); three little solid-color gowns (red and purple for Laura, green for Emily); two white with capital letters all over them; and two white with pastel polka-dots.

I've been getting my sewing room closer to proper for a dust allergy sufferer. More plastic bins, and I'm in the process of washing my whole fabric stash, since a lot of it has been exposed to dust and such at one point or another. I have to do this gradually because, as one of my fellow coaches put it when I was describing what it's like to have little children and a dust issue, "My God, your washing machine must be running All The Time!" (and she was 100% correct; if it's not running, I know I'm getting behinder.) But the sewing room is getting better. There were a few things that I had to actually sew into a different status before they could be safely (i.e., without falling apart or tangling themselves impossibly in the machinery) laundered, and the nightgowns represent almost the end of that category. Finally, I'm approaching sewing nirvana because--don't laugh--Matt gave me an ironing board for Christmas (muttering all the while, but I really wanted it!). So now I have a very efficient set up with sewing machine at twelve o'clock, ironing board at nine o'clock, and serger at three o'clock, with just space for my old office chair to swivel between them. And, of course, tidy little containers for the sewing-room toys and the Little People, whose village has moved up there as well.

We've been trying a whole host of organic foods, but that's the subject for another post. As is the speech team, though I can say that their string of successes continues. And of course, as long as it's legal, I'm playing Scrabulous. I also had lots of catching up to do in general in January (not least of which was getting my strength back; I had a killer!), and am finally starting to feel like I only have "normal" things to do (payroll taxes are behind me at last, at last...now I just have *our* taxes to do, like everyone else :-) ). Well, you know, as normal as we ever get....