Day 46: Sweet Relief

Andrew and Alex made plans to go away for a few days and asked if we’d take care of Mingus, their cat. We (I) love Mingus and was happy to have him stay for a few days. Mingus can be a delight.

As nearly always happens, however, Mingus escaped. Usually it is the fault of someone else, but this time it was completely my fault. I opened the kitchen door to empty the compost container and didn’t close the door after myself. As I walked up the steps, I saw movement (it was dark) and it took a few moments to realize that Mingus had gotten out. Again!

I knew he’d head towards the area under the deck and was grateful he did because he is pretty much stuck there (or so I thought) because the lattice openings are too small (or so I thought) for him to squeeze through. With Dean’s help (he made me a treat rattle out of cat food and a jelly jar) we (I) enticed Mingus to come close to us (me) (which he did from outside the underside of the deck), then I grabbed him (this time wearing protection) and carried him into the house, delightfully relieved.

It doesn’t seem so bad now, but it was an anxious half hour for Dean and me (mostly me, I think Dean was watching TV most of the time) — and probably a very happy half hour for Mingus (aka “the boy”, aka Mingo, aka Mango, aka little shit, aka hellcat).

Andrew had not left Bethesda yet, so I texted him, hoping he’d stop by and help.

Screenshot of a text message. Dona( 8 pm through 8:33 pm): Mingus got out. Under the deck. I'm sitting on the steps. He can't get past me. But... My fault. I left the kitchen door open when I was dumping the compost. Also my phone is low on energy and I'm sitting on the basement steps.
All clear. Mingus is inside
Andrew (an hour later): Omg I'm so sorry I missed this. Things are okay ?
Dona: Things are ok. no blood
Turns out he can get out from under the deck, this time he went back and I was able to grab him (thank you Ove Gloves).
Text messages during the crisis

The photo at the top of the page is from the last time he got out.

Day 45: Pain de mie

With Dean not eating much during the day — no sandwiches at lunchtime, no toast for breakfast — I’m not baking as much bread as I’d hoped to during my retirement.

That’s not stopping me from dreaming though. Or buying bread tools.

I was craving a peanut butter and jelly sandwich the other day and all of our bread was moldy. I was actually craving a pbj on Wonder Bread, so I decided to use my brand new pain de mie pan and make myself a homemade loaf of white bread.

While it was not Wonder Bread (and that is probably a good thing) it was delightfully close. Net time I will try to make a wheat loaf.

I only have a 9″ pain de mie pan and the recipe I wanted to use was for a 13″ pan so I had enough left over for two smaller loaves. Rupert approved.

Day 44: Call Back Yesterday Podcast

Every morning, while I am waking up I scroll through the recommended links that Google sends me. I ignore most, but this morning I saw a link to an article about the 40th anniversary of one of my favorite films, Somewhere in Time. The article referenced a podcast titled Call Back Yesterday that the creator, John Rabe, is proud to acknowledge is the only podcast about Somewhere in Time.

Rabe also acknowledges that the podcast might some sort of therapy for him, a way of dealing with his parents’ deaths within 9 months of each other when he was in his twenties.

There are a lot of delights in the podcasts, especially if you are as big a fan as I am of the film, but the biggest delight for me had nothing do do with the film, it had to do with Rabe’s vision of heaven, which matches mine. This is from Episode 2: The Critic’s Wife in which he talks to film critic and filmmaker Tim Cogshell about death. Rabe says:

“My parents are gone, they died 25 plus years ago. All their friends are gone almost. And I’m an atheist, Hey brother. But I have reserved … a space in heaven where they’re all together having cocktails. And maybe my dog, Kara is there too. And my dog Connor is there too. And I make that exception in my atheism.”

John Rabe
Call Back Yesterday Podcast, Episode 2

This is a lot like my vision of heaven. I mentioned it at both my parents’ memorial services, but here it is again:

I was 6 when my favorite uncle (Don — I was named after him) died in May of 1963. Several months later when JFK was assassinated I imagined my uncle sitting at a table in a bar with John Kennedy, drinking a beer. As more people in my life died they joined Don and Jack at that ever-growing table in the bar. The table is very, very long now and I’ve added a big-screen TV in the bar for the folks at the table to keep up with those they left behind.

Photo courtesy Universal Pictures.

Day 42: Sunflowers

Today we took a short walk at McKee Beshers Wildlife Management Area, about 30 minutes from our house. Part of it is a birding hotspot during migration — although I saw only few birds on this trip, the highlights being several eastern phoebes and a warbler — probably a black and white.

Non-birders know this park as the place to see sunflowers in the summer. Sunflowers are a delight, especially when you are in a field of them and they tower over even your 6′ tall husband. They don’t plant the tall kind anymore; the photo above is from July, 2009. Here are more from that day.

We went again, maybe two years ago, and saw some of the short variety. I prefer the tall ones.

Today, though, I was there for the birds and to use my new camera. I did see some beautiful yellow flowers though, and other delights.


As if that was not enough delights for one day, we also had delightful a visit from Andrew, Alex and their friend Marissa. I made deep dish pizza for them. Also a delight.

Day 41: Audible

I’ve been a recorded books fan for at least thirty years. I remember getting cassette tapes from the library for my long commute to work when I was a teacher. I went through many Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat novels on that commute.

I went through a period of not listening to recorded books much, but I am back to listening to them now, thanks to Audible. I share an account with my daughter, my son, and his partner. Together we have 127 audio books in our shared library. We have similar tastes, so we often read each other’s selections.

What’s delightful is when a particular narrator is perfect for the book. Often, for me, it is the author. Trevor Noah reading his memoir Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood might be the best book I have listened to in years. Back when I respected Neil Gaiman I enjoyed listening to him read his books. The latest narrator I find delightful is Joan Walker who is narrating My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, the book I am listening to and reading at the moment. She’s talented at making the characters’ voices resemble their personalities.

Day 40: Fredrik Backman

Have you met Fredrik Backman? I mentioned him on my Clutch Cargo Lips blog several years ago in my review of his novel, A Man Called Ove. I was annoyed at him for making it seem as if fifty-nine year old people were old. I have since forgiven him because he’s brought me so much joy by writing books about so many delightful characters.

I read Britt-Marie was Here last year and really enjoyed it. At our book group Zoom meeting last month I suggested we read another Fredrik Backman book and Diana (the unofficial book group leader) suggested that instead of everyone reading the same book, choose any one of his books to read and then tell the group about it. I chose My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry and am loving it (this is where we are introduced to Britt-Marie). I’m reading it on Kindle, and listening to it on Audible.

What I like about Backman’s writing is that his characters all well described — not physically necessarily; but their personalities shine in his writing. I feel that I know these characters very well.

In this time of hunkering down with only my husband, having a roomful of other people, thanks to Fredrik Backman, is truly a delight.