Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend

Thursday May 26, 2016
Today after work Karen, Andrew and I attended a ‘Grow and Know: Berry Picking and Local Wine Tasting’ event sponsored by our local Farm Bureau, of which we are all members (it’s an add-on when you have insurance with Nationwide). Like most people in attendance that night, I suspect this was the first time they too had used their membership for anything. Karen was the first one to see the blurb and immediately texted me. I checked with Andrew and soon booked our tickets. It cost $25 to attend which included one quart of strawberries per person (though no one checked if you couldn’t quite close the lid after picking) and five samplings of wine (though Karen got more since she didn’t get her card punched at every table) along with an assortment of appetizers on offer: cheese naturally, to complement the wine, fruit, crackers and steamed asparagus wrapped with a couple kinds of meat.

My only criticism of the evening was there needed to be more seating as a lot of people seemed to be standing around not having somewhere to set down their plate and cup of wine. Other than that, the evening was absolutely fantastic. The weather was very agreeable – high 70s (but humid) with a gentle breeze and the sun shining overhead. We took turns saving seats at our table while one or two of us went to fetch another sample of wine. Our collective favorite was the 2015 Traminette from Soine Vineyards. In fact, Karen purchased bottles of that for both of us. I especially enjoyed our time chatting while we ate and drank and while picking strawberries. All in all it was a very enjoyable evening out and not too far away (Plain City).

Friday May 27, 2016
Tonight after work Andrew and I drove to our local branch of Micro Center for our free demo appointment to try out the new Virtual Reality system they sell there. Each time slot lasts around 15 minutes with about five minutes to get you in and out of the head gear (special goggles and headphones). There’s several situations you get to experience with one of the first being an underwater experience where you’re standing on the deck of a sunken ship while fish and various sea life swim around you. Even though I had seen it on the TV screen and read about it in advance, nothing quite prepares you for the enormity of the whale that swims up to you, looks you in the eye, and then swims off, but not before a downward tail flip. This gives you some idea of just how puny you are as a human and how absolutely gigantic blue whales are. I was completely in awe.

The Picasso in me enjoyed painting with light (you can switch your background so you’re in space or wherever else you choose) and then Jackson Pollack took over when I started throwing paint splatters everywhere.

I’m sure all the men probably most enjoyed the final demo which was an interactive video game in which you get to shoot down drones. If you miss and they hit you first, you’re struck by a laser rainbow, so it’s not too tragic a way to go. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed playing it, and was glad to hear Andrew had difficulty with it too, so it wasn’t just me being inept because I’m a girl.

Afterwards I popped in to the nearby Japanese Tea Room and Bakery and bought a bunch of pastries including a couple small sweet potato paste cakes that were absolutely lovely.

When we got home we watched a recording of "I'll Have What Phil's Having," where Phil was in Tokyo. Lucky for Phil the strangest thing he ate was an eel or perhaps a crayfish (which I think was still alive), though his companion wasn't eager to partake. Probably his bravest meal was a super spicy bowl of noodles, after which Phil said, "I need some chocolate," in which he and his traveling companion ate some sort of Western ice cream on a stick. My favorite moment was when he taught a Japanese family about "egg creams." I've heard of them, but since I'm not from New York, I'm not too familiar with them. Apparently there's no egg or cream (though there's milk) in them, so not sure how they got that name. How you make them is you put a little chocolate syrup in the bottom of a glass, followed by maybe half a cup or so of milk, then top off with Seltzer water, which fizzes up a bit like a volcanic eruption. One of the Japanese ladies made a funny face after trying hers and said, "Too sweet!" We bought Seltzer water this week so we can try making these at our leisure. I'll let you know how they taste.

Saturday May 28, 2016
Every holiday weekend, in between doing copious amounts of yard work, I try to squeeze in a project or two. I was planning on constructing my mosaic tabletop, but I still need a few more tiles, so that project is on the back burner for now. Instead, I purchased a couple colanders and some plants and made my own planters as inspired by an idea from Better Homes and Garden magazine. I’m just surprised Martha Stewart didn’t pounce on the idea first.

I planted two kinds of lettuce in the copper colander and purplish colored Bells Garden Rose in the turquoise Pioneer Woman colander. So far I haven’t had to worry about watering either one since it rained both Saturday and Sunday evening.
In the evening, in honor of Russ being in Japan, we decided to finally (after living so close for 10+ yrs) visit Kikyo, our local Japanese restaurant which is perhaps only a mile or so away. We both had had Japanese food previously as we had visited Akai Hana with Russ and I had had sushi on more than one occasion. Hence, it wasn’t very scary staring at an unfamiliar menu. We ended up both ordering a Bento box, but Andrew selected Chicken Teriyaki (since he couldn’t pronounce the name of one of the other menu choices) and California rolls, while I chose the salmon and 3 Fish Sushi for my specialized choices. Also in the Bento Box was a potato dumpling and deep fried vegetables (tempura). You get miso soup and a salad with ginger dressing as a starter. Suffice it to say we were stuffed and had no hopes of finishing everything, so we went home with almost the entire contents of a Bento box between the two of us, which was nice for leftovers.

After we got home, Andrew called me in to watch a short video where a man and his preteen son are in Tokyo visiting a store filled with dozens upon dozens of vending machines. First you have to feed your Yen note into a machine which in turn spits out several tokens depending on how much money you put in, then it’s just up to you to make your decision about what toy you want to purchase. The boy’s first choice was water bottle underwear, which are tiny knickers that look like they would perhaps fit an American Girl doll or something of similar size. Unfortunately for the boy, his had pink stripes, so a little too feminine for his liking. His father suggested saving it for his sister, but wouldn’t trade his pair of more neutral-colored underwear. 

The second choice was a machine containing what looked like little mushroom people with the head of a mushroom and the body of a human. The machine spit out a toy with the mushroom person kneeling as if praying, but according to the translation was actually, ‘severe abdominal pain.’ The father said, “Let that be a lesson to you all what could happen if you eat the wrong mushrooms.”

I think I could probably spend several hours in there trying to choose, while Andrew would probably decide in no time at all. Afterwards we watched the weekly installment of “Flying Witch,” which is an anime about a teenager training to be a witch while living with her cousins and aunt and uncle. Her older sister occasionally makes an appearance too.

Sunday May 29, 2016
Tonight I attended the First Mass of Thanksgiving of Reverend Stephen M. Smith. I’ve known Stephen casually for several years occasionally running into him on the weekends when doing work for the Arts & Environment committee of which I am a member. Stephen was particularly useful when we needed someone with some height since he’s at least 6’5.” One of our other committee members was absolutely thrilled to hear when he’d be ordained and I’m sure she was probably in attendance (which was on Saturday at the Holy Trinity Cathedral downtown), though I didn’t see her at mass tonight.

I had no idea what to expect and the only comparison I can make is that it reminded me a little of a very fancy wedding in which someone of some prominence was getting married. There was trumpet music playing when I arrived, and the Knights of Columbus were all decked out in their robes and fancy hats waiting for their cue to march in. I’m glad I arrived early as the church and parking lot soon filled up.

A choir of seminarians accompanied by the organ and a trumpet provided our musical entertainment for the hour and a half long mass. I have never seen so many clergy in one place as there were at least a dozen deacons/priests along with at least half a dozen altar servers (incl. the son of a family friend who was the official Missal Bearer). As part of the ceremony, near the end of mass Fr. Stephen presented a dozen white roses to the Blessed Mother (the statue of the Virgin Mary) while Ave Maria played quietly in the background.

Before the mass concluded, there was one more final ceremonial duty to be carried out, which was the gift of the Maniturgium to his mother and the First Stole to his father.  

According to:

“The manutergium (from the Latin manu+tergium = hand towel) was a long cloth that was wrapped around the hands of the newly ordained priest after the Bishop anointed his hands with the sacred Chrism (oil).  The purpose was to prevent excess oil from dripping onto vestments or the floor during the remainder of the ordination rites.

According to tradition the maniturgium is placed around the hands of the mother of a priest as she lies in the coffin.  When she arrives to the gates of heaven she is escorted directly to our Lord.  Our Lord says to the woman – “I have given you life, what have you given to me?”  She hands him the maniturgium and responds, “I have given you my son as a priest.”  At this Jesus grants her entry into paradise.”

The stole is what a new priest wears when he hears his first confession, and I believe it confers the same rights to the father as the mother when he enters heaven.

Stephen presented both to his parents in professionally framed large black rimmed display cases that were later on display in the school gymnasium where his reception was held after mass.

After chatting with some friends, I joined the long queue (at the school) who were lined up to receive a personal blessing from the newly ordained Father Stephen. I wasn’t necessarily planning on staying for that, but my friend convinced me to, and I’m glad I did. If nothing else it gave me a chance to personally congratulate Stephen and wish him well at the three parishes of which he will rotate while carrying out his duties as Parochial Vicar. I am both happy for him and a bit envious of this new, exciting chapter of his life upon which he is to embark.

Monday May 30, 2016
Like most Bank Holidays, we did a mixture of chores (pruning all our bushes) alongside a little well-earned R & R afterwards. We are grateful for our neighbor, Dick Miller, who was home and was happy to loan us his wood chipper to help facilitate our yard clean-up after Andrew had liberally pruned a row of skinny tree bushes alongside our east-facing fence. For his first time using a wood chipper, Andrew did a good job and managed not to accidentally cut off one of his own limbs, of which he was warned about by Dick. I couldn’t help but think of that gruesome scene in “Fargo.”

We decided to have our cookout for lunch since it would be our big meal of the day, so I started the grill while Andrew showered and we soon enjoyed our feta spinach chicken burgers with some lovely early in the season corn-on-the-cob (which I haven’t enjoyed for at least a couple of years due to various dental issues).

After lunch I watched the season finales of a couple of my favorite comedies (where in each show the families all go away for the summer; I am so envious!) and then worked on some projects in an art sketch book I bought last year.

Now it’s time for dinner, so I will end this here. Have a good week everyone!

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