Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Doing Nothing but Cooking on a Cold Weekend

Last week I wrote about volunteering on a cold day. Sunday, January 17,  I can say it was a day with nearly nothing on a cold day. When I woke up that morning the temperature was -12 (-23C). This weather was highly expected and forecasted in the weather reports. On the day before I picked up my older daughter. When we returned to my building we braved walking across the parking lot to the grocery store and picked up some things to get us through the weekend.

I made a salad and took wild rice soup out of the freezer for our supper. We watched TV during the evening. I had a knee injection earlier this week, and spent a couple nights with insomnia as my reaction to the kenalog med. Last night was great-- no insomnia and no pain. Didn't get up until 9:30.

We had brought cinnamon rolls home yesterday after having a late breakfast at a restaurant. They were easy to warm up for a quick bite with coffee and orange juice. Then I put together a quiche.

We enjoyed that about noon along with some fresh fruit. When I put this same picture on Facebook, four people asked for the recipe.

During the afternoon I went exploring in the closet for some craft items I need for a project. When I moved into this apartment in  2014 I put boxes on closet shelves just too quickly get things put away, spent the next 9 weeks in Poland, came home to two cataract surgeries which was followed in March 2015 by bad arthritis pain. I really didn't remember where I put what hoping I had labeled boxes correctly. Found half of what I need. Just now getting back to doing things like craft projects. I will plan a trip to a craft store sometime when the weather warms.

We spent the afternoon watching movies on TV. Noticed out the bedroom window I could see birds flying -- an odd view from the 6thlevel of a building on such a cold day. I went out to my balcony windows where I could get a better view. Quite a surprise -- I found a whole group of eagles soaring about. I wonder if they have to fly to build up some body heat on such a cold day. 

For supper we made a chicken recipe I got when volunteering in Romania. And it was cooked in one of my Polish dishes!

We did enjoy this and also had apple crisp for dessert later in the evening.

On Monday, January 18, which is a legal holiday in the United States, we just enjoyed leftovers. A relaxing weekend in a warm place with good food is the best way to spend a cold, cold weekend. And I hope the weather forecast is right -- this is the only one for this winter. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Volunteering on a Cold Day

What do I mean by a cold day? Sunday was almost the first cold day of the 2015-2016 winter in the Upper Midwest. That is what made it feel even colder.

This is what the Weather Channel showed early Sunday morning. -9 in Fahrenheit is about the same as -22 in the Celsius system.

Every morning I get a text message from the meteorology service of Minnesota Public Public Radio. Below  is what it said yesterday.

But this was a day for a volunteer effort to help people who have a much more difficult life than I do, even on a very cold day.

At my church we hold a "re-gifting sale" early in January. People bring things they have that are new or very gently used. They are sold at a discount with proceeds going to Mano a Mano. Mano a Mano seeks to help people in Bolivia who need health clinics, schools, water reservoirs, and help adapting their agricultural methods to the coming changes caused by climate change in Bolivia.

The term, re-gifting, may be unfamiliar to readers of this blog who arrive from other countries to this page. Today I happened onto a Facebook page that says this is a term that came from the Seinfeld TV series. It means giving away a gift one has received to another person  because one doesn't want the gift. Of course, in a real gifting situation one has to make sure the person who gave you the gift doesn't know you gave it to someone else. In this case, we bring things to the sale.

On Saturday evening my older daughter helped me carry down things from my apartment to the garage and we loaded up the trunk. I had things given me by two friends to take along in addition to the things I wished to donate.

We got up early on Sunday morning and grabbed a cup of coffee and a muffin. Then we set out, planning to arrive just after the 9 AM church service had started. I wanted the crowd to disappear form the door, so I could pull up very close to a door to unload all this very quickly. We were successful and even had the great courtesy of another woman arriving about the same time to help us unload and take all this up one level in the church building using the elevator (yes, I know it's called a lift in many other versions of English).

Once we had everything delivered we took off for breakfast and then I took her home. When I returned during the 11 AM service, I could see many things I had brought had disappeared, purchased by those who had attended the 9 AM service. The co-coordinators of the re-gifting sale were counting the money and already the sale has produced a bit more than $300. I don't know what the final total turned out to be because the sale didn't end until after the 4:30 PM afternoon service.

To the right is part of the sale table -- everything from candle holders to a baby blanket.

And  what a good idea -- taking things one doesn't want and use -- and turning them into money and giving them a home with someone who wants them.

And maybe here I should explain more. Example:  I took two children's books, brand new that I had always intended to use for teaching English. But I've had these for nearly 5 years -- and these are books that can age -- one was Anne of Green Gables and the other a children's book about Ella Fitzgerald. Both of these books are ageless, and now apparently in the hands of children who will enjoy them.

If any reader is interested in learning more more, please do click on the Mano a Mano link above. Donations are welcomed at any time of the year. Presently I'm helping, as a volunteer, to take paper records about donors from paper to an electronic form. I was surprised and gratified to find that in addition to donations from people in the United States, donations have been received electronically from donors in Canada, France, Germany, and Costa Rica.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Mundane Adventures

Life is not always travel and fun. Once in awhile the mundane things must be done -- and today, the first business day of 2016 was a indeed a mundane day.

First, I had a dental appointment. I knew I had a chipped crown and wanted to start any repair so it would not spoil my plans for going to Poland as a broken crown did last year. Good news, yes there is a chipped crown but it doesn't have to be fixed. But the dentist decided to do a fluoride varnish to keep my dental status as healthy as possible, this effort to help me manage the inflammation bothering my knees. Because of the varnish I couldn't eat or drink for one hour. Breakfast around 10:00 AM now seemed a long time ago, now that it was 1:30 in the afternoon.

So I adjusted my plans and went to do some shopping first at Target. Needed to get some things and walking around shopping counts towards the goal of walking at least 30 minutes everyday. Long lines at the check out because only 4 lanes were open.

And then finally I got to lunch at 3:15.

Walking about felt cold today. Winter may be arriving!

I searched out the address and hours for a nearby library branch, but when I got there I found no place to park. So I headed for the Dayton's Bluff library match feeling confidant I would find a parking place there. Got there and selected books. When checking them out I noticed books I had returned last week were still associated with my account. The desk attendant took the titles and said he would call the Highland branch -- where I left these books -- and figure out what had happened.

I am already distressed when people trash public employees. Our world turns nicely because so many of them do a very high quality of work.

So mundane!