Let It Snow

We are still digging our way out from under a big blizzard that started late Friday, exploded on Saturday and continued most of Sunday, dumping over sixteen inches of wet snow that came down horizontally in a wind that at times blew over forty miles an hour. I went to the funeral of a good friend late Saturday morning in a light snowfall that barely coated the streets. By the time it was over, including a lovely catered lunch, there were whiteout conditions on the streets, and I crept home leaning forward over the steering wheel, barely able to see other cars on the street. Church services on Sunday were cancelled, I watched television and stitched and worked on Tying the Knot – which has a blizzard in it, so that was appropriate.  Work on TTK is starting to move along – hurrah!

The forecast says tomorrow, Wednesday, will be either lots of rain or some more snow. This is not exactly unprecedented for April in Minnesota, it often snows in April. But we did set a record for the amount of snow this past weekend. And unless it all melts by Wednesday – it’s trying to do that, but temps are hovering between twenty and forty degrees, so it’s slow going. The snow is cooling the air, which keeps the temperatures low, so I suspect Wednesday is more likely to see more snow or at best a rain and snow mix.

Perhaps we’ll see daffodils and tulips some time in June, and lilacs by the Fourth of July.

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Another Mad Hatter’s Tea

Just as a casual aside, during the Mad Hatters Tea on Saturday, I put out a sheet of paper and asked the guests to name words for hats: topper, helmet, bonnet, etc. I was amazed at how many there are. Here’s the list:

And here’s a recipe for really delicious cucumber sandwiches:

A loaf of cocktail bread
A brick of cream cheese
An 8-oz container of sour cream (or plain yogurt)
One envelope of Italian salad dressing
One tablespoon of milk
One big, fat cucumber, peeled and sliced
A jar of pickled ginger

I fancy-peel the cucumber, leaving green stripes, before slicing it.

Blend the cream cheese, sour cream, salad dressing, and milk, and spread the mix on the slices of cocktail bread (I like the rye). Top each with a slice of cucumber, and top that with a couple thin slices of ginger. The dark bread, pale mix, green and white cucumber and pink ginger makes an attractive display. And a delicious treat.

We served it with a selection of hot flavored teas, lemonade and cookies.

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Mad Hatters

The robins are back in force, singing their hearts out – and it’s snowing like this is the last chance it’ll ever get. Which is probably true, at least for this winter. After all, it’s April and even in central Minnesota it should cease and desist by April. What this probably means is that spring will be even shorter than usual, as in blizzard, then crocusdaffodilstulipslilacs for a week, then whew, it’s hot!

Easter was lovely. I served at the altar without tripping, or losing my way in the readings, or pulling a big candle down on my head while snuffing them. Dinner was excellent, but more, the company was also excellent. I love it when a gathering jells, when everyone talks and has something interesting to share. Because of all the walking and standing I did on Friday and Saturday, my knee had me nearly in tears, so Elizabeth, who has the gift of healing, laid her hands on it and in about twenty minutes the pain just slipped away – and is still mostly gone this morning.

And now I’m working on this coming Saturday when the women of the building I live in will gather for tea, cucumber sandwiches and cookies – and hats. I have a very large collection of hats to bring out and a surprising number of residents also have hats and we will dress up, and try one another’s hats on and act like sweet and delicately-bred ladies for a few hours.

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A Mix of Things

The knee aspiration went normally, not very painful. The result: no bacteria present. So it’s not an infection that is making my knee hurt. It is apparently just taking more time to heal than usual. I’m to be patient – a virtue I’m seriously lacking in.

I’m in the final stages of planning a big Easter dinner for eight, which is an excellent number. A spiral-sliced ham is the featured dish, and we’ll wind things up with cherry pie a la mode. I’m braced for a sigh when I step on the scale Monday morning, but it’ll be worth it.

I saw a robin on Sunday. He wasn’t singing his complex territorial song, but his wary cry – not the bark! Bark! Bark-bark-bark shout of danger nearby, but the in-between warble mix. He was sitting in a sunbeam on a high naked branch, his orange breast glowing. Probably just passing through, on his way to Canada, though he was alone, not with a mob of males. His appearance is another sign of early spring, along with a stronger sun, some budding on the trees, snow banks shrinking, and a “soft” feel to the air.

Yesterday I bought a toothbrush for our cat.  I didn’t know there were such things, but PetSmart has them.  And Java chewed on it when I showed it to her, a good sign.   It came with a little tube of cat toothpaste, which she licked a taste of off my finger, another good sign.  I wonder if she really will eventually allow me to brush her teeth?

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Love of Money, Part II

I was very briefly on television at the coin show on Saturday! Channel 11 came by to interview coin club members, and the producer found my display of “1,000 Years of English Money” to be photogenic. One question I was asked, “Do other collectors share your interest in medieval English coins?” And, caught unprepared, I blurted the truth, “No, and that’s a good thing, because it leaves more of them for me.” LOL!

Here’s a picture of me being interviewed.


The show was great fun, as always. The variety of money on sale at the show was mind-boggling. There was a bucket of Peace Dollars, badly worn or damaged, your choice for seventeen dollars. There was a Harold II (medieval English king) for eight thousand dollars. And the Harold was not at all the most expensive coin for sale, nor the Peace Dollars the least costly. Artisans from the Society for Creative Anachronism came to the show and sat hammering aluminum roundels into coins to demonstrate how money was made in England until around 1600.

Friday I am going to have that painful right knee “aspirated” to remove some of the fluid accumulating in it. I hope it reduces the pain and presume the result will be closely examined to see if it contains bacteria.

Speaking of the Society for Creative Anachronism, the local small publisher who brought out a new edition of Murder At the War is looking for a reader to help her turn the book into an audio version. That first novel of mine certainly has legs!

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Love Of Money

The chicken soup supper went off deliciously last Wednesday at St. George’s. I did not allow enough time for the vegetables to cook, however, but my problem was very capably solved by my assistant Elizabeth, who suggested then helped me transfer the mix of chicken, water, chicken broth, herbs, onions, carrots and celery into two big pots we put on the stove to properly boil. We added the spaetzle noodles, then transferred the soup back into the two very large crock pots in time (just in time) to begin serving at six pm. The carrots were at that perfect state of a hint of al dente. Got the recipe (for thirty!) off the Internet at JustAPinch.

May I mention here a forthcoming event? This coming weekend, March 16, 17, and 18, the Northwest Coin Club (of which I am a member) will be putting on a major coin event, The Money Show, in Minneapolis. One of the demonstrations will be how money was made in centuries past. Literally, made. As in using a hammer to bang a pattern into a round piece of metal. There will be lectures and an auction for the Boy Scouts. There will also be a “bourse,” a large room in which coins of many countries and eras (and prices) will be sold. For an exhibit, I, myself, will bring my “1,000 Years of English Money” collection, in which the oldest coin will be from the reign of King Canute (crowned in 1016) and the most recent from the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. There are a few gaps in my collection. Anyone out there have a Harold II, an Anne, or a William and Mary? Maybe I’ll find one at the show.

The location of the show is The Earle Brown Heritage Center, 6155 Earle Brown Drive, Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Y’all come!

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The Weather Outside is Frightful

Written Monday night:

Somewhere a little south of here, tulips are pushing their blunt noses out of the ground. Somewhere not too far south of that, blue and yellow crocus dot the fresh green grass. But outside my window a blizzard howls and the weatherman said not only to not travel out on the highway, but to not travel in the neighborhood.   I know spring will come, deep in my heart I’m certain of it, but oh gosh, it’s a wild, wild world outside tonight. God bless and keep the birds and squirrels and coyotes out in this weather.

Fortunately, I did my grocery shopping this morning, before the snow really got underway. Wednesday I have to prepare chicken noodle soup for thirty-five people coming to a evening Lenten seminar at my church. Would you believe I found the recipe on the Internet? Actually, it’s for thirty people, but I’m sure I can figure out how much more chicken base and chopped carrots and spaetzle noodles to add to the dismembered and deboned rotisserie chicken (a genius suggestion!) to make the soup go around. And this is Minneapolis, so after the snow stops around noon tomorrow, the streets will be passable Wednesday evening.   Already I’m thinking of the army of drivers gassing up their plows and waiting for the order to head on out. Because I’m not buying the chicken until shortly after Wednesday noon.

I’m working on a short story called Ear Witness – Nobody saw the murderer, but they heard the shot and can point to where it came from. Inspired because I’m going a little deaf in one ear and can no longer depend on my hearing to tell me where a sound is coming from.

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