Back in January 2020 I bought the Kindle edition of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill for $1.99. I was probably reading something else at the time, but thought the cover and description sounded fun and two dollars was not much to spend, even if I didn’t like it. It wasn’t until today that I started reading it. I’m kind of glad I waited because I really had no other delights to share today.
The author, Abbi Waxman, is clever and funny. Here’s the opening paragraph of the book:
Imagine you’re a bird. You can be any kind of bird, but those of you who’ve chosen ostrich or chicken are going to struggle to keep up. Now, imagine you’re coasting through the skies above Los Angeles, coughing occasionally in the smog. Shiny ribbons of traffic spangle below you, and in the distance you see an impossibly verdant patch, like a green darn in a gray sock.
Waxman, Abbi. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill (p. 3). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Practically every page is sprinkled with this kind of humorous writing. I highly recommend you put this on your to-read list. I think you’ll like it. I’ve already put all of her other books on hold at the library.
This evening while we were preparing dinner (leftovers from yesterday) I glanced out the window and saw four very large birds fly in a diamond shape over our house. My birdbrain kicked in and I shouted, “Great Blue Heron!” although I was not 100% sure that is what they were. A few moments later my suspicion was confirmed when three of the four flew back and I could see them better.
It reminded me of the day, long ago, when I stood in our upstairs bedroom and a Great Blue Heron flew past the window at eye-level. I could not believe my luck.
Dean had to go into work this morning so I had the house to myself. It was delightful.
This afternoon I spent all day in the kitchen making a few Greek dishes for dinner including avgolemono soup, something that I’ve been wanting to learn how to make ever since a friend made it for us in Pittsburgh in the 1980s. I also made pita bread, baked feta, hummus, and a lettuce Greek salad.
A few months ago Dean came into the kitchen, hungry and wondering when dinner was. I mentioned that I’d been cooking all afternoon and it would be ready when it was ready. He said something like “you always cook elaborate things”. I took it as criticism but when he said it was a compliment I let it go, although I still think he was criticizing me. Yesterday, expecting a similar remark, I said that I think that cooking is becoming a hobby. Now that I have the time to try new recipes I like to make meals whose dishes go together. He was impressed with everything last night. Delightful, but making it was delightful.
Alas no photos of dinner but a bonus delight in the way of Dr. Fauci on Dean’s computer from earlier in the week.
We have a multi-faceted crystal in the living room window that casts rainbows around the room on sunny days. Today as I sat on the sofa, reading a book, a light shone in my eyes. I looked up and saw that I was in the way of one of the rainbows. I moved my head back and forth while looking at the crystal and saw different colors. I was inside the rainbow. I was delighted that I could capture it with my phone.
Remember my wintersweet? I transplanted it earlier in the week and when I looked at it this morning I noticed that its secondary leaves were no longer just a nub. I don’t know if it was the transplanting or if it was a coincidence, but I’m delighted!
There’s a maple tree outside my office window and I enjoy watching its maroon buds swell as winter turns to spring. I was delighted today to see the buds are now tiny yellow flowers. Aaaachoo!
I talked about springsigns earlier, but today noticed the daffodils were popping out. I harvested a few for the kitchen.
I am quite the procrastinator when it comes to calling anyone on the phone. This includes calling for services such as repair. If there is an option to chat or email, I will take that any day. This week I made the commitment to contact people about various repairs. Yesterday’s connection with the Bosch people gave me the courage to contact other companies about repairs
In the last few weeks we’ve noticed an ever-widening gap between a few of our tiles in our kitchen. I noticed a small gap months ago, but Dean didn’t think it was a problem. Now it is a problem since the gap is a quarter-inch wide. We first considered fixing it ourselves; it only required us to remove the wooden transition trim between the dining room and kitchen and push the tiles inward towards the gap. This didn’t work because the smallest of the tiles are attached to the floor with some sort of adhesive. (The tiles have a tongue and groove and are not supposed to be stuck to the floor, but in this case it was necessary because they were tiny parts of the tiles.)
Anyway I contacted the first company (family-owned since 1923) on the list of recommended dealers for this particular product and the man who answered the phone was very nice and promised stop by the next day, a Thursday. He didn’t show up (or call). I called again on Wednesday because he’d mentioned he was tied up through Monday and he promised to stop by on Thursday. He didn’t show up (or call). I called him on Monday and left a message saying that if he was not planning on helping us out, just call and tell us and we’d move on. He never called back.
I looked at the list of dealers again and found another company that seemed promising (“family and friends” was part of the name). This time I emailed with the exact issue, a photo, and a plea to let us know if they were not able to help us since I’d already been ghosted by another company. These folks immediately returned my email, empathizing with me about the no-show/no-call company and saying they’d discuss it and get back to me with a time they could come fix it. Needless to say I was relived and delighted with that response.
As you may recall, we bought a teak outdoor dining set in the middle of winter. Dean put the set together in the dark on a freezing night just before a snowfall. In hindsight I think waiting until daytime and warmer weather might have been more practical. Anyway, I’ve been applying a teak protector on the furniture to keep it a honey-brown and noticed that some of the chairs were not put together well — in fact some of the chairs were missing dowels. I mentioned this to Dean, hoping he’d kept some of the hardware, but he hadn’t and instructed me to go to the hardware store to buy some.
I decided to try the company from whom we’d purchased the furniture (chatting this time) and within a few minutes was told that they’d send dowels to us at no charge. I guess we did spend a pretty penny on the furniture and it is under lifetime warranty, so I should not be surprised. But I was delighted nonetheless.
The temperature this afternoon made it into the upper 70s. Glorious! Delightful! This Carolina wren agreed with me.
I still have it
I’ve not thought about, much less worked on anything related to accessibility since the day I retired. I unsubscribed from my favorite accessibility email list and uninstalled all accessibility software from my computer. I found that thinking about it created anxiety and I didn’t want any more anxiety thank-you-very-much.
Then last week Clare asked me to help out with a PDF for her second job. Since I was converting a word file to PDF file I figured I would make it accessible too. That felt good.
This week she asked me to check the website for her second job and see what needed to be done to make it accessible (its a non-profit organization, but still should be accessible). So today I spent a few hours looking at it with my long-neglected accessibility perspective and sent the results to Clare.
It felt good to know that I still knew what I was doing. I’d gotten caught up on the fact that I was not the best in my field at work and the competition there was uncomfortable, thus my decision to retire early. But with something like this, I am the most knowledgeable person at the table (between Clare and myself and maybe the people who she works with) and I feel my confidence coming back. Which is a delightful feeling.
I’m on day 200! That in itself is a delight. I’m getting back to being able to recognize delights as they occur. Another delight.
ABW and Bosch
Our contractor suggested we use a company called ABW (Appliances a Better Way) when we were looking at appliances for the kitchen remodel. We did and they’ve turned out to be a good choice. We’ve had some issues with our Bosch duel fuel range. The door won’t close completely. Technicians from ABW have been out several times to try to fix it and it has never properly worked. Each time they have been out, they are empathetic with our situation as are the people on the phone when I call to tell them that the door is not closing, yet again and my trick involving rolled up dishtowels is no longer working.
The other day our oven became very slow to preheat (not preheating at all on bake or convection bake, but eventually preheating on convection roast). I am not sure if it is related to the door not closing (I am currently using very strong magnets to keep it closed). It would seem that no matter what the setting, it would either preheat or not, but I am not an expert. I called ABW and the woman I spoke to warned me that the range was out of warranty and we’d be responsible for the service call and parts. I mentioned that I was pretty fed up with the range and was thinking of scraping it for a different brand. She said she’d check with Bosch to see if they would pay for this repair since it was less than 6 months out of warranty and it was the same problem that we’d been having since we got the range.
I didn’t expect Bosch to cover it having overheard their service representative telling one ABW technician someone must have sat on the door for it to not close. Also, according to the Internet this is a common problem for this particular range (older versions, but the same general range model). But this morning I answered a call from Bosch who said they’d be happy to foot the bill for this repair. I told them this call restored my faith in their company. Delight!
Villeroy & Boch
Dean and I were given for our wedding a lovely tray and serving platter with primitive scenes of rural life in Belgium (Design Naif) and because of that we ordered that pattern for our “good dishes” with some of our wedding cash. We still use the set for only special occasions, the rest of the time it sits in our china cabinet. I still feel delight when I look at the patterns.
For years I acquired more of the set, either as gifts from my mom who picked them up at Home Goods, or by buying them myself. About 10 years ago I bought two pans with the same pattern and they lived on top of the china cabinet until this afternoon when I moved one in order to put a planter with a trailing plant in its place. I figured I might as well use these pans more than I’d done in the past. I don’t even think I’d gotten a good look at the design until today. They made me chuckle. One depicts a woman scrubbing the floor while her husband sits at the table enjoying a bowl of soup while the family cat sits on the table. The other is a little better, but even though the man is cooking something in the wood-fired oven, the woman is still working. At least the cat is off the table and warming itself by the fire.
Not a delight
I’ve decided to try to cook a recipe from my original Moosewood Cookbook each week and provide a rating in stars (0=inedible; 1=edible but won’t cook again without modifications; 2=Ok; 3=Good; 4=Excellent, will make again often). I’ve not yet rated anything as 4 yet. This week we had an excess of peppers and the remaining ingredients for a recipe I’d been meaning to try: Bulgarian Pepper and Cheese Delight. Don’t search for it on the Internet — you’ll only find Katzen’s updated version Bulgarian Pepper and Cheese Casserole.
Even though the name of this dish includes the word “delight” the finished product did not delight me, although all of the ingredients I used are things I like. The just didn’t work well together. The cheese topping didn’t blend with the onion/mushroom/pepper layer and neither blended with the bulgur layer. We ate most of the dish, but didn’t save what was leftover. I’m giving it a 1.5 star rating.
The weather is getting nicer (70° today) and I’ve been noticing signs of spring — daffodil and tulip leaves pushing through the soil, the crocuses popping up in unexpected places, birds calling to their mates (or potential mates), and of course the snowdrops. This reminded me of my teaching days and making my annual “Springsigns” bulletin board based on a book of the same name. I think I took a photo of it once, but have no idea where that photo is. And honestly, except for the name, I don’t remember much about it except the feeling it gave me knowing that spring was on its way.