I hosted the monthly Rosary prayer gathering for October, yesterday.
As always, I did too much!
The day started out very well. I got up early and made the cashew curry to take to the temple. Then, I cleared the table in the family room. Then, I went to the temple for a brief visit. I was laughing at myself for participating in two different religious events from two different religions in one day, but that is me.
After I came home from the temple, I had some brunch, tidied my bedroom, and relaxed a bit while the eggs boiled and I posted about my visit to the temple.
Then, I picked up my friend and we did the rest of the grocery shopping, together. I bought the fruits and vegetables I needed for the dinner, while my friend bought some apple bananas for us to share and a container of yogurt as her contribution to the dinner. She also bought this can of chocolates and toffees that she remembers having at Christmas while growing up:
I started the cooking in the afternoon. Maybe it was finely dicing the three large onions for the curries, or slicing the 3 lbs. of smoked sausage and 3 bundles of spring onions, or not remembering to drink enough water or not yet taking the magnesium pill for the day, or a combination of everything, but I was sauteing the garbanzo beans when my right hand began to cramp. I continued to stir with my left hand and I felt my left hand cramping. I remembered what happened last year, when I was preparing for the almsgiving (that's when I fainted in the bathroom and knocked my head on the edge of the bathtub) and got worried.
I took my magnesium supplement and drank a glass of water. Then, I called my cousin P who had offered to come and help with the cleaning and asked her for help. There wasn't much cleaning left to do (only my bathroom, which I wasn't going to ask her to clean); but I didn't want my friend to be the only person doing the work while I rested and waited for the cramps to subside. Cousin came over and she and my friend R removed the dust sheets on the family room sofas, and set up the altar, etc., while I cleaned my bathroom. That's when my feet began to cramp! Oh, dear! I still had a couple of curries to cook and a few things to do!
I drank more water and I said a prayer to enable me to complete the preparations for the prayer gathering. My prayers were answered and the water and the magnesium worked! The cramping stopped. My cousin left as there was no more cleaning to do. I finished cooking the rest of the curries; everything was ready when the first guests arrived, a little after 8:00 p.m. The only thing I forgot to do was set out towels in my bathroom (I had removed the towels that were there and was going to put new towels when my cousin came back and I got distracted; didn't realize I hadn't set out towels till after everything was over! Oops! But I had set out guest towels in the other bathroom, which was the one most people used.)
Most of the regular prayer group arrived around 8:30 p.m. or shortly thereafter. I served them the snacks I had prepared. But we were waiting for one of my aunts and cousin and they delayed to come until about 9:20 p.m. Once they arrived, the prayers began.
My friend who conducts the prayers read a short inspirational story and led the reciting of the Rosary. Usually, the immediate members of the family who hosts (husband, wife, children, etc.) say the decades. When I host the gathering, since I don't recite the Rosary, my aunts, cousins, and friends say the decades. I sit and listen.
After the prayers were said, dinner was served. My cousins and friends helped to get the dishes to the table. I didn't take a picture of the table, but the dinner was served buffet style: rice, roast chicken surrounded with steamed asparagus, meat ball curry, cashew curry, salad of slices of cucumber, tomato, and red onion rings with halved hard boiled eggs around it, and more of the garbanzo beans. Only two of the aunts sat at the table, the rest of us sat around on the sofas and chairs.
Afterwards, the desserts were brought out and kept on the living room coffee table. I didn't make the flan because I felt it would be too much. As it was, we had a platter of fresh fruits (green grapes, red grapes, tangerines, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries), yogurt and treacle, the assortment of mini eclairs and cream puffs I had bought, a cranberry cake I had bought at the last minute to compensate for the lack of flan, a carrot cake one of my cousins had bought, a chocolate babka and a pumpkin chai spice loaf another cousin had bought, and the chocolate mints! One of my aunts brought a bag of guavas from her tree and I encouraged everyone to take some home with them, but I still have about 6 or 7 huge guavas left!
There were 15 of us at the prayer gathering and enough food for at least another 15 people! LOL. I had roasted two chickens, but one whole chicken was left untouched. I quartered it and sent three of the quarters home with my cousins and friend, along with some of the rest of the food. Two of my cousins and my friend R stayed afterwards to help put away the food, wash the dishes, and sweep the dining area. By this time, my feet were hurting from being on my feet so much. I froze some of the leftovers and kept a little of everything in the fridge for me for the week.
It was past midnight when my cousins who stayed behind to help, left. After my friend R who stayed the night went to bed, I video chatted with my daughter for a little bit, said my nightly devotions, and went to bed, myself. I was tired, but I couldn't fall asleep right away. It was 3:00 a.m. when I finally went to sleep!
Yesterday, I was grateful for:
- The opportunity to go to the temple in the morning.
- The opportunity to host the monthly prayer gathering
- My friend coming to help me
- My cousin coming to help me
- Two of my cousins and my friend helping me after the dinner.
Looking back, even though I did as much as I thought I could before hand, I realize that I could have done even more. I could have cooked the sausage when I bought it and frozen it; I could have done the same with the meat balls, too. I could have cleaned the house, earlier, too.
But the prayer gathering, itself, went off nicely and everyone enjoyed the meal afterwards. That's what matters.
Next month's prayer gathering will be hosted by my late friend's daughter in remembrance of the 1 year anniversary of my friend's passing. I asked if I could bring something and I was asked to bring a dessert, if possible.