Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Muffins and more

I learned over the summer that my sister Jan had fallen into the apple sauce muffin trap. First, on a trip to Amish country last summer, she wound up with a lot of apples. In her amble in an apple orchard, she picked up a peck of apples. When she returned to the car, or more accurately, when Tom returned to the car, too, it turned out they had three pecks of apples. Or maybe four, I don't remember.

At home, she made apple sauce. And apple pie and apple crisp. And more apple sauce. Then she heaved a great sigh, bought a supply of half pint jars, and began canning applesauce. I heard Tom enjoyed the apple sauce and occasionally had a jar for lunch. She gave me a little jar, and it was darn good. (I must return the little jar!)

Then she told me Tom asked again for apple sauce muffins. Talk of nostalgia. When Mom was still alive, up to 1989, she made me a dozen apple sauce muffins to take to a show. They were my breakfast, and supplemented cheese sandwiches for lunch.

The muffins are made with apple sauce, oatmeal, raisins, some cinnamon. Fortunately Jan knows the recipe; I don't. However, I think that is the basic recipe. No flour, no sugar, no shortening. Or as an exhibitor friend who took one for breakfast said, "women always know how to put a days worth of essentials down your throat by breakfast!"

One day I came in from an appointment and found a dozen muffins on my counter. I also found a message on the phone:  "I left muffins on your counter!" I called at once to thank her. I had one for lunch every day. The day I ate the last muffin I also called her because I hadn't had a word with her since the day the muffins appeared. 

We caught up the news and then she said "How are your muffins doing?" and I had to confess the last one was gone. "Well, you're muffin-worthy," she said. And today I had a text, "I'm on the way over with more muffins." Since I seldom read my texts, I had no idea until there was a knock on the door, and Jan with a dozen muffins.

I'm down to one table mate at dinner this week, Rose Marie. Rose is a tiny little lady with snow white hair, who uses a bright red Rolator style walker. In good weather she tries to take a daily walk and generally goes around the building. Two sides of that walk involve public sidewalk. Yesterday Rose told me that as she came up along the side road a car pulled off the road beside her and asked "What are you doing here?"

"I live here," from Rose. "But what are you doing outside?" "Taking a walk!" said Rose and proceeded on her very slow way. The woman exited her car and confronted Rose. "Should you be outside?"  Rose realized she thought she was a Memory Care or Assisted Living resident, and told her the very large building behind her was the  Independent Living facility, where she lived. Rose isn't sure she convinced the woman, who thankfully left. Probably to go around the corner and call The Atrium.

Long ago, in a chat about my weaving days, I published this picture. In the olden days we applied to shows with slides of our work. Here is my photographer's model wearing one of the shirts in a size too large. Sigh. Anyway, this was "cool" in the '80's and '90's. There is no describing the "feel" of the cotton fabric. It had great hand.

I know the work of many artist friends from thirty, forty, fifty years ago routinely comes up for sale on EBay, but I never considered Jan's and my work to be that sort of stuff. It was way more "feel good" than artistic. 

Imagine my surprise when my daughter texted me this:

This seller knows nothing about presentation! Grrrrr. This is a lovely jacket, and looks nice hanging, without the wrinkles. The hem hangs even; I know, I pulled every thread for the straight of grain. I even painted the blue wooden buttons. Forty years ago we sold this jacket for about $125. Beth found it on EBay for $225, down from $250. I'll keep an eye on it and let you know.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Good grief

Next Tuesday, then again in November vaccines will be administered here. That is excellent, save the page of tiny print we have to fill out. So much of it runs together, I think it is unintelligible. So I will take my wallet of cards with me. They can white out and re-enter the info, though why it cannot all be done on a tablet I don't know. We all are quite adept at signing electronically--I think.

Another weekend has come around. As none of my relatives has offered some recreation, I guess I'll stick with slipping in my load of laundry on Sunday morning. I thought I'd rustle up Ruth and arrange a lunch at the Cabin. But I found her without car, as I had been early in the week. My problem was resolved on the day, but hers awaits a part. So, I'll wait for her call.

I think I must order a small, cozy bed for Kitty. She is making herself crazy trying to build a nest behind some of my studio shelving. Far be it from me to argue with an eight year old street cat. She will only sleep under the goose duvet when I am not here. She won't sleep on it. For one night she slept at my feet, and I thought Hooray, settled. But I guess it didn't suit, and nothing has since. 

All summer Kitty contented herself with the furniture, the sofa, a chair, my desk chair. But now that it's growing colder, she's on the hunt. Last year's winter nest of a carpet on a shelf is turned down this winter, and she's busy pulling my shipping envelopes down behind the shelving, trying to fashion a nest. I guess I must intervene.

In other news, romance is in the air. A former dinner mate, Margaret, now dines exclusively with Frank. Her former dinner mates are kicked to the curb, as is said. Both arrived here about the same time last winter. Margaret was seated at our table. Frank sat next to me in exercise class and we introduced ourselves. 

Frank told me his very first girlfriend, in the third grade, was named Joanne. But then Margaret recruited him to help her campaign for that supermajority constitutional amendment, and he went to sit by her. I figured it was just a pick up line, but I never did ask Margaret what his first girlfriend was named. And the supermajority need for an amendment failed. 

 In good news, remember Craig and Debbie? Craig has been carrying around a wedding band in his pocket since forever, and can't get her to say yes. Well, they are getting married, right here at the Atrium, in January, and we're all invited. He's one smiling man.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

It's been a year!

Hard to believe--one year ago Kitty went to the  vet for the first time. One year ago I had no car and was resigning myself to scavenging for rides. I wonder where I was going with that. I stopped to make lunch and lost it completely.

I did some housekeeping this morning. I looked in every cupboard and found my stash of light bulbs in the second drawer I opened. I replaced a lightbulb that went into the lamp when I bought it, probably about 2018. It's been in use all day every day. These bulbs are crazy long lasting now. And cost fifty cents each to throw away at the recycling center.

First thing this morning, after breakfast and the cat station, I went to the local BMV and transferred my old license plate to the new car. The road hog. The beast. The Honda my dinner mates assure me will drive on and on and on. I've had Honda motorcycles, though never long enough to test super mileage. 

My brother Walt once rode a Honda 750 year round, through sunshine and snow storms. He was being macho, as only Uncle Walt could, and rolled who knows how many thousands of miles. He finally got tired of carrying groceries on the bike, and went back to a car.

The Honda gets its first inspection Monday, by a local car dealer that will be its forever mechanic if I am happy with their work. In fact, I am so far. I took the Subaru to them when lights came on and they returned with a list of which I was already aware; it came with the car when I bought it. To sweeten the pot, when I explained the Honda's complaints, they said they would come for it. That way they have a ground zero to work from.

We had a mild winter here last year. I have no sense of what this will be. Like finding a new DMV, I don't know my way around Portage County. It's still very more rural than Summit ever was. Sort of the Summit County of my childhood. The Atrium, where I live, was the Sea World hotel. I visited Sea World with my children, and later with my mother, and we never would have considered staying at a destination hotel.

I look down on this courtyard every time I go to the elevator. I see friends basking in the sunshine down there, through the summer and early fall. Now I am seeing lots of birds gorging themselves on sunflower seeds, from the several plants residents have furnished the little buggers. 

It seems they also find sustenance on the top of the table umbrella and even under the rain guard. Yes, those are little birds backing out. Perhaps it only had something to do with sparrows, who I believe will inherit the earth.


Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Gone grippe

Did anybody's grandma get the grippe? Once when I went back to bed several mornings in a row, my beloved grandma told me I had the grippe, and to just sleep it off. That's not quite what I did, having a toddler and a husband, but tonight I can tell you, she was right! 

Kitty was so patient! Her box was cleaned once as late as two in the afternoon, when I finally got the meaning of the long, hard stare. Then she danced and chirruped around my feet like a new baby chick. 

Monday evening I was ravenous and sat in a stupor at dinner, eating all but the napkin. I excused myself and came up to bed, though I do recall Margaret patting my head on her way by. One last thought before I drifted off..."Tomorrow you will get up and get something done!"

And, I did. 

The periwinkle is off the loom, washed, dried, cut into twelve towels to be hemmed tomorrow. And now, a quandary. Some time ago I promised to weave colors in the order they were called out.

Under that scheme, the next color will be khaki, the grey/brown under the black, third from left, bottom. I have enough warp left for at least three more towel colors (an enthusiastic grandchild can wind a lot of warp!), so let's see what you like. Fair warning, that turquoise top row, second from left, actually is Christmas green. Everything else is pretty much as represented.

While I washed and dried the length of toweling, I amused myself with the saga of the washing machines. Here is the machine I use:

The first dial is for water level, then temp, then type of load, then start. For an entire year we residents worked out how to get our laundry done with one machine, the other being broken most of the time. It was identical, but past its prime.  

Then we had an influx of new residents, some of whom considered themselves laundry police. Apparently they were good for a little more than "monitoring" laundry. One day a new machine appeared!

I've heard the cleaning staff will give personal instruction on the use of machine. I've found there is enough interest in the beast to ease the use of the old machine, busy with my load of towel fabric in the picture.

Sunday, October 8, 2023


I hate being sick, but I am. It all started with a mortified toe and a long wait for the podiatrist appointment. An  x-ray was OK, but the lab work showed staph. In the meantime, I was on a course of doxycycline (because I'm allergic to penicillin), and that was the real problem, I think. 

By the end I barely functioned. Burning up, can't stay awake, weak. I guess I add it to the "cillins" I don't take. Fortunately this is the weekend. Both days the alarm rang at eight and I got up at nine thirty. Yesterday I even took a two hour nap. I'm burning up and don't have a temp, and I don't have covid. I brushed a year's worth of dust off that box to open it.

And poor Kitty. She says little, but puts on a class woe begone act that did not register with me until yesterday afternoon. Today I got her food and water done after breakfast, on schedule, but didn't get to the litter job until after a nap and lunch.

To add insult to injury, I lost one of the ski pads from my walker yesterday. Anywhere from the doctor's parking lot to mine. I arrived half way through a very good pizza supper and was struck by a giant wave of sick several bites into a marvelous white pizza from one of the Chicago or New York natives in the kitchen. Fortunately Amazon delivered another set yesterday, but I still need to muster the strength to make it happen. My daughter put on the last set.

Now the news. What the hell is going on? Why is Hamas putting Yael's life in danger. And by extension, her children and grandchildren. I cannot tell if she is in a town being evacuated, though I see all the towns along the Gaza Strip are being evacuated of civilians. Israel has responded with a declaration of war. Yael has posted she is safe so far, and frightened.

Keep her in your thoughts and prayers.