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Just a few ordinary thoughts, to keep my hand in.

Just a few ordinary thoughts, to keep my hand in.

Up late trying to get a bit organized for tomorrow, started the bread my son has been requesting for several days, faithfully cleared the table of homeschool supplies and stuff I might get to–part of my new resolution to keep up with messes. Dishes cleaned and put away, during which I discovered that “quick wash” works just fine for most things using less power. My mom used to use a manual version of quick wash that was much louder than the electric one, and less effective if it was clean dishes she was after. She used it especially when riled and/or when she was tired of the old dishes and didn’t mind if a few more broke.

Plum Cocaigne cake, a recipe chosen to help with a seasonal abundance of that fine fruit, is baking in the oven. It’s supposed to be finger food for the discussion leader training I’ve been invited to attend tomorrow, but it’s looking tremendously juicy–better bring paper bowls and spoons. The first time the timer beeped I thought the screen said “ERROR” but it was only “END.” Will such a high-maintenance dish be frowned upon by the twenty-three fine women (not to say ladies, which has too many implications) who will be in attendance? And by the way, why was I invited? I was told ’cause I think and bring up good questions in our women’s Bible study. Backup discussion leader, to be sure–I probably wouldn’t have said yes otherwise, and it’s not just because of my busy schedule. I love facilitating discussions, asking questions, hearing what folks think, trying to bring some light, some syntheses, and some applicability. Yet I feel I’m a bit of an imposter, ’cause I feel my thoughts and feelings tend to stray a bit out of line. I can’t get much past the Apostles’ Creed any more. I credit the Presbyterians (and some others) for being open minded, able to discuss just about anything–well, you can find someone to discuss just about anything. And after all, I did bring up questions that seemed relevant, and there it is. If they only knew what I am capable of bringing up, but I no longer court controversy and try to provoke debate–it makes me tired and nowadays my relationships are more long term. Mustn’t burn one’s bridges. What I’m looking for now is truth and what to do about that, in the context of my life and personality.

Out comes the plum cake, in goes the flat bread. The other plums are drying in the heated, fanned machine on the opposite counter. They look remarkably like dried slug when ready, but taste much better. This is my first effort with dried plums, but I must lay in supplies for granola and energy bars as I move away from ready made bars and expensive dried fruit from the store. Apples will be next. Years ago I tried drying zucchini, and the result was in many ways like dried shitakes, but for now the zucchinis go into salads, under the grill, or into sauces and soups.

In other news, the garden spiders have covered our front bushes with beautiful webs of the asterisk joined by polygon type, some a foot in diameter. This morning my son and I hung out the windows to watch and photograph them, and film one that was in the process of building. Each day they grow fatter, and then they go to their secret places to build their egg sacks and wither away. Inside are the house spiders–really, these are the real names–up where the walls meet the ceiling. A few days ago my daughter and I watched while a crane fly tripped into a thread, and the owner snapped into action, lunging again and again to trap it, finally succeeding in winding up a few flailing legs. But the crane fly flew away without them. We don’t have much of a fly problem in our house.

The final loaf of bread is baked golden brown, and since I have an early start tomorrow, that’s all, except to say that I wish you the most beautiful quotidian mysteries. The Shaker hymn goes:

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.


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