Tuesday, February 26, 2019

and the month whirled by

I keep thinking we'll settle into some sort of retirement routine. So far, almost two months into it, nothing is routine.  My plan is to spend some "blog time" and then something more comes along.

Here's some highlights:

1. I'm enjoying cooking more than ever, and I've concluded it's because I'm less stressed by the work I was doing, and have more time. So we've had lots of guests at our table, including two students studying at a nearby seminary staying a week with us. I've made a lot of apple pies (I can easily get in a rut). I decided one day to actually measure what three cups of apples looks like inside the crust and discovered I've been doing it right by guessing all these many years.
2. I've been playing with table settings. A friend gave me the idea of setting the table even if guests aren't coming, to experiment and enjoy various settings. It's been fun and I guess it's basically playing with big girl toys.  And then I decided to use the setting and had folks over for dinner. I'm going to do this again. It's like therapy!
3. Believe it or not, 22 of us friends had an old fashioned hymn sing and we had so much fun. Most of us had grown up singing hymns so knew many of them by heart. I had to refresh my rusty piano skills. And we all want to do it again.
4. The fun of valentine's week was helping the grands to make valentines. 
And these flowers lasted over two weeks!
5. Bread night with our mentor group was a big hit. We talked about making a house a home, and then went over to the church kitchen to learn the art of bread making (the most fun was kneading). The girls went home with a loaf of bread that needed to rise in the fridge over night. The next morning the photo texts flew in of the freshly baked bread their families were enjoying!
 6. Our church had "Cooking for a Cause" week where women gathered in homes to make four meals (the organizers had purchased and portioned out ingredients) to be placed in the freezer. They will be used when a family or sick person needs a meal. It was an interesting and fun time, working with older women who all have different ways of doing things! I did not know most of them, so it was nice to get to know some new women.
7. I've been exploring my grandfather's boxes of old movies that my uncle passed on to me and deciding what to do with all of them. Some of them are cartoons he bought for his children, there are newsreels from the 1940s, as well as old family movies. One is my mother's graduation from college.
These are a bit of a burden to me but I'm trying to work through it all sensibly, and not panic! 

8. Spring is definitely here a little early, brought to us by two weeks of rain and a few warm days. 
I've had to mow our grass twice now. Word has it winter is returning tomorrow. 
9. No matter how warm a day, evenings are always chilly and it's a great time to crochet.
The grands have requested more "blankies" even though they already have them. 
I think they wanted new colors. Crocheting in the evening helps to keep me awake!

Sunday, February 03, 2019

linen or not

We have used cloth napkins most of our married life.  Not the kind you have to iron, mind you. 
Once or twice a week they get thrown in the wash. 
We each have our own napkin rings that let us know which napkin is ours. 
I use cloth for company too--even if they need to be ironed, I don't mind. 
Ironing napkins is rather relaxing, compared to some ironing.

The other day I used some old, thin linen napkins of my mother's. They were at least 
76 years old. I can remember my mom washing them, then sprinkling them with water 
and wrapping them up in plastic. She kept them like that in the frig until she had 
the time to iron them (or one of her girls were tasked with the job.)
You can see how thin they look here. As I was contemplating how to get these napkins crisp and lovely again, I heard an idea. Very simply: clean your countertop (I think it would have to be some granite-type surface, but not sure). Get the napkin wet and stretch it out well on the countertop.
In the morning fold it, using your fingernail to press a crisp crease on the folds.
It seemed like magic to me. I was amazed at how nice they looked.
This is probably some old-school method, but new to 
me and certainly was easier than ironing.
In my opinion, cloth napkins add a touch of elegance even to the simplest 
table setting. And nice paper napkins are costly. 
I'm looking forward to using these again and hope they will last a bit longer! 

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