Friday, November 6, 2015

some gentle domesticity for a change...

 Well again.  I managed to accomplish two projects in my kitchen today -- first I stemmed, seeded, and halved about a half-dozen small jalapenos for the freezer.  Double rubber-gloves, with talcum, so it appears I got the gloves on and off without transferring any pepper juice to my skin.  Not sure whether it was aerosolized pepper juice or flying talcum that made me cough, though.  Never mind, that chore's out of the way.  I cut the peppers in half lengthways and then later on I can pull out a chunk and mince it up fiercely while it's still frozen and relatively helpless...

Second job was a bit more complex; all "free gratis," I had come by some lovely fresh local dark red beets, about golf ball sized or a wee bit larger, as pictured above.  So I Harvard'ed them, just now, in memory of a Great Treat of my childhood.  The recipe (from the ancient Purity Flour cookbook)(that's the Canadiana part) calls for a double-boiler, which I haven't had for years, but I do have a serviceable steel bowl which fits tightly in my largest Paderno steel saucepan, and that did just fine.  I had enough beets for a small "non-Harvard" serving as part of my supper...the rest went into the recipe which claims to create 6 or 8 servings.  I'll bag single servings in Ziploc bags and freeze them.  Along with the sugar, vinegar, and flour in the sauce, instant minced onion was called for.  I used onion powder instead -- and looking for it in the cupboard, I found my jar of granulated lime zest, so the beets got a shot of that as well.  Doesn't seem to have done any harm!

The noon meal was DINNER, today -- and supper will be a sequence of small veggie nibbles.  I find I sleep better that way...and I am going to bed very early and then waking up between 2 and 5...This morning I sat up and finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society before breakfast...having picked it up for practically nothing in a thrift shop some time back; a very satisfying read, indeed.

So I don't believe there is anything in the fridge at this point requiring urgent processing -- a comfortable feeling.  I'll assemble some salads-in-jars for the weekend; then perhaps I can turn my flagging attention to something else.

The sermon is done.  LOVE-love-love the RCL readings for this the sermon is a revision of one I preached -- at least six years ago, maybe nine!  I was content with it then, and I'm content with it now (and I have a 'new' congregation, praise be--"fresh ears! fresh ears!").  

Snow threatening...glad to have winter tires already installed.  The 'new' congregation is 120 km away -- 75 miles as near as makes no difference -- with the likelihood of "black ice" here and there, it behooves me to leave betimes, between 7:30 and 8 a.m. for the 10 am service.  Coffee in my big mug, a couple of muffins and some fruit for a rolling breakfast.  And I'll be driving into the sunrise; need to sit up Very Tall behind the visor for a few miles anyway. 


Thursday, November 5, 2015

On matters military...

Well, there has been a good deal of jabber on the intar-webs and other media this week about the new Cabinet Ministers who were sworn in yesterday in Ottawa, and a lot of THAT has been swirling around something only semi-accurately labelled "diversity."  In practice, diversity appears to mean something like "different, but the kind of different we approve of, double-plus-good."

Case in point, the "diversity" of the new Minister of National Defense.  He is a Sikh -- a Lt.-Colonel in the Canadian Forces -- a decorated veteran of three separate tours of duty in Afghanistan, and a former detective officer in the Vancouver Police Department.  His photo in combat gear is posted above.

It isn't "diversity" that I applaud here.  Because he's not diverse, and neither am I.  What gives me great joy (other than just plain flat-out "purty," happy sigh) -- is "alterity."  Here is a person who is "other," not at all like me*.  And I think I am better off because that is so.

["not at all like me BUT ON MY SIDE" to be precise.]

Now I admit I am a foolish-fond old woman, and I can't help remembering that whenever "Punjab" showed up, in the funny papers, Little Orphan Annie's fortunes took a turn for the better.

One way and another, I feel more defended than I did last week.

Also, when he's not being a wild man in the Khyber Pass, he cleans up nicely.



Wednesday, November 4, 2015

of baking, and other things.

Working on what I guess is the NaBloPoMo 'thing' although not following any directions, just trying to get prose on the screen here every day before lunch, somehow.

Pause to deal with The Last Pan of oatmeal cookies (the pan that traditionally gets burnt to a crisp because the baker forgets to set the timer).  These are the variant called "Aggression Cookies" -- rumour has it that the recipe comes from the American Mental Health Association -- as a way to work off rage for which one has no legal outlet, because the cookie ingredients (butter/marge, flour, oats, dark brown sugar, a little baking soda if you happen to remember, I usually don't) are mixed in something huge like a jam kettle, with one's bare hands, until they are as close to homogenous as their nature allows.

They're delicious too -- basically, it's shortbread with oats in it -- and all that squshing around in the butter and oats is very very good for one's cuticles.  So it's win/win!

And the last pan is now cooling.

I've been on a kitchen-jag the last couple of days, almost finished -- the aim is pre-prepped fast meals so as to free up time during the week for other, non-culinary, pursuits ...and also the avoidance of WASTE.

Meditating overnight on the angers of little children and how best and most wisely to engage with them, as an adult (well, officially, an adult).  All the little Things are pretty prompt in announcing to the cosmos when they're not pleased...but from time to time one or other of them gets "stuck" in that place.  It seems to Grandma, here, that helpless rage is a form of misery, and should be dealt with promptly, just like bruises and blisters and bleeding.  I can remember being SO angry as a child that I made myself ill... so I am cogitating on how as a Grandma I am going to handle these episodes.  (I get some opportunity to practise, too!)

Any thoughts on this?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

the first of the snow...

In a bit of a dark spot this morning -- not on my own account but on account of, on behalf of, people that I love.  But venting and grumbling and gnashing and damning-and-blasting on their account will do them no good whatever and will waste energy I might possibly use to better purpose.  So.

SNOW has definitely fallen this morning, and has lain around, for a while, some of it, on some surfaces.  So everything is nice and soggy including eight aspen trees' worth of leaves in my back yard on the trajectory between the trunk of Harriet-the-Chariot, containing summer tires, and Tohu-bohu, the Shed of Total Disorder--where the tires ought to be.  I see a soggy, muddy, chilly chore between now and lunchtime.

In and around that reality -- quite a lot of Italian grammar (less soggy), and a bowlful of beets to a) bag for the freezer OR b) Harvardize... and five pounds of ground beef to compose into cookworthy form (it's all in a lump, unfrozen, at this point)...and a recipe of sourdough/yogurt biscuits...and a PIE, God willing.

A little time with next Sunday's readings would not come amiss either.  I've had my hour with ("Just call me...") Lopez already, and it was a productive one.

Better push the laundry forward a bit also -- and iron the clean surplice, and the communion-kit linens (so I can return the latter to the parish I "borrowed" them from).  The life of a circuit-rider is practically and ethically challenging!!

Going to have penne for lunch with mushroom-enhanced red-sauce on it -- and some salad.

Plenty to keep one from brooding unhealthily on Original Sin, anyhow.

Monday, November 2, 2015

All those souls...

Working on some new disciplines here.

Yesterday was a good'un -- two church services in two different communities with (highly different) potluck meals after each.  My oath, those ladies can COOK.  Wow.  Anglican baptism with Eucharist in the morning, and preached; Taize singing, with no sermon, in the evening.

On the way home, before I reached the Big Highway -- here came the SNOW out of the north-west.  It was an interesting 120-kilometer drive home, but NO difficulty, lots of traffic but nobody doing anything quixotic in my vicinity.

Meditating on saint-ness...and its misunderstandings.  Things never yet quite adequately explained to my satisfaction.  Not "holy celebrity."  Not "co-dependent martyrdom."  The term "personal holiness" gets bandied about more than is useful or comfortable, (or it used to) and I have never ever heard it defined or illustrated as anything other than -- basically -- inexperience, of a particularly sidling, bridling, eyes-rolled-upward sort.  

Who was it, now, who said that the saint we most admire -- instinctively -- may be the greatest threat to our spiritual/moral wellbeing?

Ah well.  We sang Sine Nomine at least once, yesterday, all verses, although we could have had a bit more "WHOMP" -- (this is the hymn known in my household as "WHOMP For All the Saints" you understand).

So here's to the saints with some WHOMP in their natures.

The coffee's made, speaking of WHOMP, and this to-do list isn't going to do itself.  Defend yourself, Monday!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Celebrating "all them saints," this morning with the Giotto Madonna from Ognissanti in Florence (I see there is a splendid new book about the Umiliati as patrons of painters...)

And here we go, trying this blogging bit, yet again.  A timed exercise, this morning.

I am still trying to find a schedule that will accomplish the things that MUST be done (and there are more than a few, even among "the retired") and leave as much time -- and energy -- and daylight! -- as possible for the WANT to be done...the reading and writing, the small creativities, the sociable moments.

I'm not there yet!  But partly in aid of that, and in reflection that I am now not just in the second half of my life but in the fourth quarter, in fact -- I've embarked upon the Ignatian Exercises ("in daily life" -- i.e., spread over 8 - 9 months instead of packed into a month).

It has been a long time since I undertook anything at even this modest level of discipline (an hour a day).  It's frustrating, but it seems to be helpful.  Good to be confronted again with the Principle and Foundation, for one thing.

Struggling with Ignatian "indifference" (easy come, easy go?).  There was a moment's insight yesterday when I realized that "greed for" (books, let us say, for example, yes) followed up by "neglect of" does NOT, arithmetically, amount to "indifference."  Or "detachment," if that word is more comfortable for you.

So at present I am doing some work "honorarily" at a parish in town, and doing Sunday duty, remunerated financially, at a parish out of town (with the same patron).  This assignment involves about 90 minutes driving each way.  It's eastward to work and westward home -- squinting into the sun, in other words.  But before long it will be dark both ways, as I know, which will solve that problem definitively.

Yesterday afternoon I began a big cooking binge, with the aim of having meals in the fridge or freezer needing only to be warmed up at mealtimes for the rest of the week.  We shall see.  Still trying to adjust my grocery purchasing to the reality of ONE two-legged occupant and ONE (very small) four-legged occupant in this abode.

Hallowe'en last night was not overwhelming.  I might have had a couple of dozen callers, most of them quite, quite young, and all of them very polite.  Trick'or'treaters in this area are heavily parent-accompanied...usually by shadowy figures out on the sidewalk, calling, "What did you SAY?" to cue the "thank you."  But one Mom appeared on my porch as the Seuss Cat, complete with goldfish in bowl, closely partnering her offspring as Thing Two, with a placard explaining that Thing One was felled by chicken-pox.  All this drama!  

It was mild enough for light jackets, fortunately. And then just before eight o'clock a very light rain began, and that was that -- turned off the porch light, blew out the pumpkin-candles, and firmly returned the left-over sweets to the freezer.  

And time's up.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Of time, and routines...

I have been cogitating (agitating the cogs) over what sort of schedule would best suit this semi-retired existence -- more and more truly retired all the time, I realize.

The problem has been that I can think of about eighteen different tasks or functions, each with a serious claim to be First Thing of the Morning. But how to rank them?

And the default resolution of that problem has been to stay in bed and ponder on the matter until either I fall asleep again or the external world intervenes in some fashion, usually less than altogether welcome.

(And yes, those of you with full employment, and/or families, and/or partners and/or roommates, and/or walkable dogs, etc., I can hear your unsympathetic snortings from here, believe me, and I do not blame you.)

For a week now -- a whole week! -- I have had a Trial Schedule working -- and I'm still doing it, which is both unusual and promising.  (I'm working on the general theory that as the day goes, so goes the life, and as the morning goes, so goes the day.  You see there are indeed macro-considerations in play here.)

2. Take morning meds if any as appropriate.
3.  Take large mug of plain hot water downstairs
4.  Ensconce self in library armchair with good light and resources at hand.
5. MORNING PRAYER according to the (old) Book of Common Prayer, without Scripture readings other than the Psalms appointed in the simplest of the reading tables.
5a.  Pluck Biblia Sacra (the Vulgate, that is) off the shelf and have a go at the morning's Psalm or Psalms in Latin, just to shake up the synapses.
5b.  Note prayer concerns in handy notebook by my left shoulder.  Then trot across the landing and hop onto the
6.  ELLIPTICAL TRAINER!!!  for a few more minutes/calories/metres-equivalent than the day before.  Keep heart rate under 150, mostly, and do a sprinting thing in the last 30-40 seconds.  Hop off (high side first!) and step into the laundry/furnace room to
7. SCOOP THE CAT'S BOX (loud cheers from the cat).
8. Wash hands, contemplate what needs to be taken upstairs -- clean laundry, food from the pantry or the freezer or both...

And there I am ready for my shower and my coffee and my breakfast.  And the rest of the day!

Serendipity -- my MP armchair is between the end of one old desk and the bookshelves.  Earlier this week I became aware that just abaft of my right eyebrow, on the shelf with "Eliot, George" and "Eliot, T. S." there was also "Edwards, Jonathan."  That's right -- "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" Edwards (although I've always thought that vice-versa would have made a much more interesting sermon).  

But where the book opened, when I took it down, was his "Resolutions".  And I was stunned to see how often he re-made his resolution to "speak WELL of others," "speak FAIRLY of others": over, and over, and over.  To resist the temptation to DETRACTION, that besetting besetter.

I am working on that one, too.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Mysteries of ... Radicchio.

OK, I've just got a whole THANG going on here about radicchio, this week.  Bear with me.

Almost the first thing I learned, reading  Jennifer McLagan's Bitter -- I'd seen Tweets, I'd heard her interviewed on the radio -- was that radicchio is like roses; it comes in a huge range of colours and forms and variegations.  But if your food-distribution server is like ours, the kind you see probably looks like the little guys in the picture up top, there -- not as big as a red cabbage, tighter and tougher than a red lettuce.  Maybe you know it well and like it, maybe not; whatever.  In our corner of the cosmos, you can expect to pay about five (deflated, Canadian) dollars for a head of it.

But I have to step back a bit. In recent weeks I have been taking up space (= "filling the position") in an Honorary way (no filthy lucre changes hands, that is) at a parish I shall call Our Lady of the Lost and Found (with apologies to Diane Schoemperlen; whom, if you have not read, you should.  But I digress).  Up at OLLF, there, we are one of the weekly drop-off points for grocery hampers from the city food bank.  Normally we see somewhere between ten and twenty recipients.  The food comes in standard big cardboard boxes; the recipients re-pack it in their own shopping bags, or bags we provide.  We then break down the boxes, with great flourishing of utility knives, and stack them for "next week's truck."

Now if you've ever worked at or been served by a foodbank, you probably know that the array of comestibles provided is often... eclectic?  So people are quite liable to receive food that they may not even recognize, let alone like, and their children after them.  Like for instance those little narrow needle-pointed red Thai hot chili peppers?  I mean, really?  I suppose if a financially-struggling homesick person of Thai origin showed up at the depot, he or she would be enraptured.  But most of the rest of us, well, no.

But last week, the Strange Thing du jour was -- drum roll -- RADICCHIO.  Great big beautiful fresh unblemished heads of it.  Now at OLLF in the hall where the food is sorted and packed, we also have a "give'n'take" table.  You don't like Thai hot chilis, you put your package on the GT table.  And you can take anything OFF that table that you DO like.  There's a pretty good rate of flow-through; although we did have a challenging surplus of Thai hot chilis there for a while.

And last week, we had radicchio TO SPARE.  So here's where it gets kind of sticky.  I happened to be looking just as the first client strode up to the GT table and whacked down his head of radicchio.  And I gasped.  "But ... that's GOOD" -- I don't know whether I said it out loud or not. I wasn't assigning blame.  I was just so sad to see somebody who needs food rejecting or relinquishing or refusing or abandoning good food ("I like it" = "it's good" right?) -- nutritious, EXPENSIVE good food mind you...

So then I had to do the analysis.  People are allergic, sometimes.  People have dietary restrictions, sometimes.  People may not have proper food storage.  People may not have the wherewithal to store OR cook food -- they're in shelters or they're in friends' homes or they're in single rooms or they're in cheap motels.  People may not know what the heck it is that just showed up in the food hamper.

So i don't know what the answer is.  Part of me wants to set up a hot plate and a stock pot at one end of the church hall, and hurl the rejected groceries into one almighty no-two-weeks-alike slumgullion, meantime crying out in the wilderness -- "Look, look, you can eat this, this is so good, just do this and this and you've got supper tonight and lunch tomorrow...."

Then I go and pick up McLagan's book on hold at the Library, and she is rubbing my nose in it, for one delirious radicchio recipe after another comes tumbling from the pages.  I've just taken the Radicchio Pie out of the oven.  I'm working on repressing my gasps of distress on food bank days.

There's got to be a solution...

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Particularly, grandmothering the Infanta in the second picture.  And what joy it is. She is getting so leggy and "grown-up" -- full of little linguistic and imaginative ploys of one kind and another, Grandma struggles to keep up.  Such a blessing to be surrounded by her and her two cousins -- all these very different and utterly perfect young ladies!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

"Another Saturday night..."

I am baking, this evening.  Not this bread, exactly (it's clip art bread off the Web)...but my "white" bread that also includes wheat germ and instant oatmeal and sometimes a little cracked wheat for TEXTURAL INTEREST.  Didn't have any cracked wheat tonight, so it got bulgur instead (fingers crossed).  It's now in the second rise -- I find the oven with the light on is just the ideal temperature to make bread rise (or to get yogurt yogu-ing), without heating up the whole house.  Any more.  Than it is.

So now there is a little over an hour to accomplish something--else--before i have to go and attend to the final phase.  Meantime the dishes are washing...sun still quite high in the sky (eight p.m.), children playing in the back yard next door...

I have been moving piles of work material around from one desk to another, upstairs and would think with three desks, two full-sized Old Oaken Office type and one good-sized ladylike corner type, I would not have to resort to the eternal dining-room table in order to get anything REAL done, but that is often the case.

Getting a lot of reading done the last couple of weeks and I have confirmed what I suspected, that I CANNOT READ BOOKS IN BED.  Magazines, all right.  But not books.  Luckily I have two good comfortable well-lit Reading Stations, one upstairs (that is, on the main floor) and one downstairs (for hot days).

And on the reading list, or heap, at present?  Hermione Lee's biography of Penelope Fitzgerald.  Cheryl (Wild) Strayed's collection of the Best American Essays of -- some recent year.  Maeve Binchy's Evening Class.  Rick Perlstein's Nixonland.  Daniel Coleman's In Bed with the Word.  Ted Bishop's The Social Life of Ink. Ethel Wilson's Hetty Dorval and The Innocent Traveller. Lisa Deam's A World Transformed (on the spirituality implicit in mediaeval maps).  Miriam Toews' A Complicated Kindness. And Ann Patchett, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage.  Oh yes -- a 1907 English translation (Everyman edition) of the Essays of Giuseppe Mazzini (yes, the "Risorgimento" Mazzini).

Should keep me out of the pool hall, don't you think???  Books, and bread.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

pressing on...

We've been fairly busy with the Fete Nationale this week -- falling on a Wednesday, which makes it more difficult to "faire le pont" -- of all the days of the week, obviously, Wednesday is the most difficult to inveigle into a WEEKEND of some description.   Although the streets were pretty quiet at rush-time this morning; and school, of course, is out for the summer.  Great hootlings of young children next door with a combination of sprinkler and trampoline (and dog).

I managed to find the Actual Canajun Flag, eh, and its flagpole, and hang it on the front of the house in a truly Rural Illinois manner.  This is about the extent of my proactive patriotism at the moment.

I continue to "shop in the fridge" for the makings of my meals--too often in the past my practise has been to do a Monster Grocery-Shopping expedition, and then, exhausted, take myself out to eat.

But last night was a very special treat -- dinner with good friends -- I took some salad, and brought some (less!) back, which has now all been eaten.  And by way of an early supper, I converted some pollock-pretending-to-be-crab into a seafood salad suitable for sandwich filling.  I have eaten the sandwich...

Planning to tiptoe away and be faintly creative for a bit, later this evening...exercise a bit -- but I did walk today, a few blocks downtown; went down to buy a most excellent book (because just borrowing it from the Library, which I've now done twice, did NOT suffice) -- "The Social Life of Ink" by Ted Bishop (published last year).  And we have one, count it, ONE remaining independent bookstore (for new books) in the city, so rather than engage Amazon, I thought I'd go downtown.  FATAL...just inside the front door, a large table arrayed with soft-cover Canadian fiction, some of it classic.  And HALF PRICE.  Going to spend some time this next week with MiriamToews and Ethel Wilson.  None the worse for that.

Monday, June 29, 2015

All Monday, all day long

That picture has nothing to do with my day except that it may help at some point to remember there IS such a place and the Rambler HAS walked up and down those stairs, 'way back when.

A lengthy evening  yesterday -- rushed out of here, rushed back again to collect the shopping bag full of CRACKERS, to the pharmacy to collect my prescription, at which point the comedy really got under weigh.

I have come to a point where I appreciate -- and increasingly -- the presence of PHARMACISTS in my life...the consulting-pharm at my GP's clinic, the local pharm I consult when I need an immunization of some sort (immunizations are his passion, and he's very good at administering them), and a number, a gaggle, a constellation of pharms at the Major Retail Outlet where my prescriptions are on file.  A varied and multicultural crew.  I love them, I do.  

The last time I had a transaction, "Ahmed," which is not his name, bore a chart of medications in hand when he brought me my pills.  "Time for your Medication Review," he told me, sternly.  I fobbed him off on the excuse I had no time.  "Next time, then," he said, fixing me with a steely eye.  (You must picture my friend Ahmed as apparently ten years old with a vigorous but unconvincing fringe of beard after the manner of his people.)

So last evening was, in fact, "next time."  Evidently I had been Entered In The Computer....because the amiable underling found my little pack of pills and then, without relinquishing them, summoned the Indefatigable Ahmed.  With his blessed chart.  We had our Medication Review, by golly, no option was tendered -- and it was THOROUGH.   He was brooking no resistance from Grammaw, last night.

I find this totally endearing.  

Came home from the ordination -- long, and hot in the Cathedral, but not as crowded in the pews as I was dreading.  I didn't vest, "Hey!" I said, "I'm retired, no way I am putting on all that extra clobber..."  Nice music, good sermon.  Lots and lots of people to say hello to afterward.

Then at home, and managed with an unwary foot to encounter a piece of impedimenta in crossing the darkened living-room...broke the nail, tore the cuticle and obviously popped a little vessel  as well, everything impressively BLACK this morning.  But ambulatory -- up early, took Monday Morning Bone Pill -- started LAUNDRY -- about to get clad and haul off to the dealership for car-service.  Bus pass in hand so I can accomplish some bits of retail mayhem here and there before the car is ready.

Y'all take care.  Or, "stammi bene," out there.  Yes.


Sunday, June 28, 2015

One more Sunday (one more river to cross)

After the sacred nap -- should have gone to the basement for it, it is uncomfortably hot in the house -- WITH my library book (Hermione Lee's bio of Penelope Fitzgerald) -- huzza, at last and however briefly I believe I have sorted out all the Knoxes.  Including Evoe, who had nothing to do with olive oil.  Punch, rather.  Alas the book is too large for comfortable reading in bed.

I have that, and Nixonland, and various lighter things for this week's investigations.

Meantime: find clean shirt (black shirts in hot weather, NOT practical)... pick up prescription, collect student who needs transportation, don't forget crackers, and off to the ordination at the Cathedral.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Kraken Wakes (or at least, turns over and groans)

A short post this evening, just to say I'm still alive; coming to the end of my third "time" with St. Curious, later this week, with no very concrete prospects for further work after June 30.  Actually, I prefer the term "employment" (old joke).

For some time now I've defined my status as "semi-retired, and the rest Just Plain Tired"... and it's fairly close to the truth.  So I've been divesting myself of activities -- including pleasant ones -- that take more energy than is at my disposal at present.

Ideally, I would just sit down in a quiet, well-lit, place, and read, and read, and read, and read.

Still trying to organize the life-support activities (cooking, washing, etc.) to make that a live possibility.

But I'm not there yet.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy New Year, Happy Feast of Whoever It Is, oh, William Passavant? Nah, going with The Most Holy Name...

As a discipline, hello, I'm back.  We'll see what comes of this (and how long it might take).
What I have done today so far -- got up, made a mug of coffee, ran a bath, plugged in the car because I intend to drive out later and the temp is about -20 Celsius.  Checked for the newspaper which hasn't been delivered.  Also, made a list of what I want to GET TO today before I creep off to bed again at what will be, I hope, a decent hour.
I am getting my hair done;  I have to go to the Library, some out, some in.  Also to the bank to check balances and recent transactions; also to the post office to mail the last, almost, of the Seasonal Greetings; also purchase, at various places, candles, fertilizer for house plants, silver polish, impermeable bins for storing staple groceries, rum (or brandy), milk, bread, button thread to mend a braided rug, small gravel (about 200 lb, I think) for my sidewalks.  (GRUNDLING CRUNCHING SOUND ON SNOWY FRONT PORCH INDICATES ARRIVAL OF NEWSPAPER)
Upon returning home -- I need to parcel up half a dozen batches of  family letters for various recipients (purging my files), cousins, friends, children of long-ago bridesmaids now deceased; I need to read a lot of material on fundraising, call a meeting of a committee, negotiate tasks and timetables with a parish volunteer, invite another parishioner to stand for office; write a dozen letters, some seasonal, some condolence; write in my journal; set a batch of yogurt, do something creative with sourdough, also with cranberries, assemble manicotti in some quantity; set up my prayer/Bible station, set up my health journal, prayer journal, reading journal; vacuum the main floor thoroughly; feed the cat, refresh the litter box.
I need to finish reading Martin Marty, The Mystery of the Child and make useful reading notes on it.

Clear the dining room table (AGAIN), clear my desk, clear the end table next to the rocking-chair, purge the vegetable bins in the fridge

Work through two or three chapters in my Italian textbook, doing all the exercises and writing out the paradigms.

Also blog.

And thus, the Retired Life.

But I have now blogged!