Disclaimer: This is a very temporary morning schedule. On July 1 my excess vacation hours will disappear, so I use up 3 morning hours a day for fitness and cooking.
Last week the Little Free Library had a real treasure — The Holy Bible. This installment contained all four Gospels of the King James Bible in 12 cassette tapes. It’s read aloud by Alexander Scourby, apparently a famous distinguished narrator born in 1913, “known for his deep resonant voice and mid-Atlantic accent.” This looked like a good opportunity for Bible study. I rummaged in my closet for the cassette tape player, blew off the dust, and popped in a tape. Then I went off to do the chores looking forward to some background audio edification.
One chore of the day was already done; it was folding up the blankie roll and mat away from the sliding glass doors. That’s because a team of men were due to pressure-wash our balconies and clean off the moss.
Next chore was already completed too. That was putting on my compression hose, and getting right outside for a walk. It’s a little loop of 2.6 miles, greeting the school crossing guards and a security officer, and sometimes sharing neighborhood news with a circle of dog owners who gather on benches with their coffee to chat and let the dogs jostle and sniff. May and June are peak months for taking flower photos along the way, like this wood sorrel.
Then home at 6:30, to pop in the Bible cassette and work on some lymphatic drainage massage and a refreshing cold water splash in a washtub. The cold water notion came about from reading and watching Wim Hof, a 64 year old physical conditioning teacher in Holland. Wim once climbed Mount Everest equipped with absolutely nothing but a pair of shorts and shoes. Through breathing techniques and acclimating himself to both ice and desert, he’s set 26 world records for feats that would not even dawn on most of us. He seems a high-spirited guy whether relaxing in a tub of ice or making vegetable soup or playing the ukulele and singing flamenco ballads. Anyway, since January 1st I’ve been washing up in cold water every morning. It’s a slow methodical approach, starting with hands and feet and working the way up. When it’s over and the water rushes off, my first thought is “I want another cold bath!” It’s good for lymphedema, and even better for one’s mood.
Another chore in this warm time of year is watering the garden. That’s carrying a two-gallon bucket (16 pounds of water) down 42 steps and around the corner, then back up the stairs. The garden needs at least ten round trips of that a day, five in the morning and five at night. It makes good use of wash water from cutting vegetables and rinsing the blender.
Another is washing the laundry. For balcony cleaning day (all objects had to be removed from patios), the drying rack had to go in the bathtub. Otherwise it would be out on the balcony in the sun and air. It’s good fortune that the balcony is on the fourth floor, not visible from the ground. To be offended by the wash line, someone would have to film it from a drone. Hopefully local residents have more interesting things to do.
Then breakfast, a pot of the vegetable combo of the day. That’s some mix of greens, summer squash, onions, mushrooms, eggplant, tomatoes, and/or cabbage with beans or tofu. Then it’s packing a big salad and nuts and oatmeal or sweet potato, plus an improving book, and heading for the bus to work.
But that morning, there I was happily washing up in a little tub. Suddenly, I heard a man’s voice through the bathroom door. Oh my gosh! Was he someone on the pressure wash crew? They had planned to just maneuver up the outside of the building, not enter the apartments. What was the man doing in my kitchen? He was pretty loud, too, raising his voice to criticize something or someone — maybe my balcony? I threw my clothes on, cracked open the door, and then remembered that dusty little cassette machine. Either the tape was marred by a long blank pause, or the machine had stalled for some reason and finally activated again. That deep resonant voice was my introduction to Alexander Scourby, in a dramatic kitchen reading of the Gospel of Matthew chapter 23: “WOE to you, Pharisees and scribes, hypocrites!” If it sounded that arresting in my kitchen on a tape, it’s impressive to think how the actual event must have set those original listeners back on their heels.
Gosh, it’s time for the evening bucket trip right now! Those peas will be thirsty.