Friday, March 23, 2018

heart to heart

"Only Jesus is holy, the only one pleasing to his Father. Only by allowing him to communicate his holiness to us can we be pleasing to God....It is only by entering into Jesus' relationship with God that we can be in his heart. The only begotten is in the bosom of the Father, nearest to his heart; the beloved disciple is on the bosom of Jesus and drawn by him into the Father's heart, with him, where he is."

                                                        -  Sister Ruth Burrows

Saturday, March 17, 2018

afternoon glow

On sunny days after a fresh snowfall, there comes a time in the afternoon when the sun shines so beautifully on everything. Previously I've been unable to capture it, but this time I think I have. So please, humor me.

It makes kind of a glow

see what I mean?

visible even through a foggy glass.

It doesn't look like this anymore - a lot of our snow is gone - amazingly and there are large patches of green here and there.  But not to worry - we may get another nor'easter on Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

March in New England

Last Wednesday we had a big snowfall, ten inches.

Even though I am wanting spring to come, a snowfall is far prettier than mud. And it's been melting down steadily, considering we had a lot of rain the two weeks before and the ground is saturated. There was some green grass beginning to show on the edges.

But today we had another all-day snow.

By now, you've seen this view almost as much as I have, but -

there is something about a snow day - nobody went anywhere today - that makes time seem almost to stand still. On snow days I never get the urge to try and do a million things. I did just what I had to,  then finished up an old knitting project and planned a new sewing one.

In between tea and cocoa.

Still -  I hope it's gone by Easter.

Monday, March 12, 2018

life is a struggle

You would think that the two biggest creatures in the house could handle the smallest person in the house, wouldn't you?

It was time to change the flea collars on Henry and Sweetie (Dolly had a reaction to hers, so she doesn't get one). Sweetie is a Very Cautious Person, and we barely got the thing on her. The next day the old one was removed. A day or two later we were able to tighten it. A week later, it's still got a long piece hanging there which needs to be trimmed (can you see it?). 

Of course, we could manhandle her, considering our size compared to hers, but we hardly want to do that. It is funny though, how resistant she is to any fussing around with her person. We're used to Dolly, being so compliant and trusting of us. Henry is sort of in-between. Anyway, thank goodness for collars that last eight months!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

nobility in small things

I finished my ankle warmers the other day by just joining the edges to make a tube. I thought they'd be too narrow, so I planned to knit inserts in them with extra solid colored yarn, like a stripe on each. But as I fussed over them I realized they would easily fit without stretching too much without bothering to knit any stripes. So. They are made with Adriafil Bi-Use, a most unromantic name for yarn, especially an Italian one, don't you think?

So hard to get a good picture, but I can still join Ginny's yarnalong.

I've been reading A Mind at Peace: Reclaiming an Ordered Soul in the Age of Distraction, by Christopher O. Blum and Joshua P. Hochschild.

The challenge of Christian life is to find nobility even in small things. We should not need trumpets sounding, red carpets under our feet, or laurels on our heads to remember our dignity and the higher purpose we are called to serve. ..In this sense, even one of the lowliest station can live a noble life.

                                      -   from  A Mind at Peace

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

meal planning this Lent

During Lent, I'm always so glad if I can arrange the meals so I don't have to be overly occupied with food.

This year it's casseroles on Sundays, something with ground beef Mondays (it'll be chili next time) and soup and sandwiches on Thursdays - all the other days are leftovers. It's working out very well, so far.

I found these multicolored baby carrots last week, and served them Sunday with butter and scallions, salt and pepper, along with steamed broccoli, mac and cheese with ham and blueberry pie for dessert. (we had company)

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

scent free

I like my flannel nightgowns in winter. I have two, but one is wearing thin.

The really quality ones, like L.L. Bean's, go for sixty dollars or more - Lanz of Salzburg's is around seventy. Then I found a used one on ebay for twenty five dollars, shipping included! But that blasted scented detergent people use - I washed it four times and it still smelled, even with soaking it with some vinegar and baking soda.

Well, I finally did what I should have done at the beginning: I soaked it in warm water with LOTS of baking soda. Of course, the smell disappeared right away. I did know that, but guess I forgot.

Monday, March 5, 2018

on our Lenten journey

"It is all right there in front of our eyes. We do not need to see new things. We need to see the same old things with new eyes. We do not need to hear a different voice. We need to hear the same old voice with different ears. We do not need to escape the circumstances of our life. We need simply to be more fully present to those circumstances. When this happens life is no longer lived on the surface. These are transfigured moments when the picture of our life becomes a window into a new world, and we come face to face with the glory of God. Then by God's grace, his touching us inwardly, we experience as sheer gift the world transfigured and creation filled with divine light. Circumstances haven't changed. We have changed, and that seems to change everything."

                                                           - lifted from here

Saturday, March 3, 2018

in like a lion?

We say about March, that if it comes in like a lion it will go out like a lamb, or it's the other way around.

We had a nor'easter yesterday, with lots of rain and very strong winds, and we, who are the ones who don't lose power when everyone else seems to, actually were in the dark for a few hours overnight. So, I suppose that counts for "coming in like a lion". Except that the day before, which was the first,  it was very mild and pleasant.

So, did March come in like a lamb, or a lion?  Which day counts? I don't know.

Jo's work again. This one makes me think of sprinkles on a  doughnut; it was over near the coffee machine.

Friday, March 2, 2018

for those who need

Many are the needs of those around us; few are our resources; 
great is the generosity of God, and so we pray:

For those who go to bed hungry -
    that they may be fed by those who have more food than they need.

For those who suffer the diseases of poverty -
    that they may find help from those who suffer the diseases of affluence.

For those who are neglected -
    that they may find care from those who are loved.

                                                       -          from Magnificat, March 2018

Thursday, March 1, 2018

little things

What the rich man was looking for in fine garments and sumptuous dining he was meant to find in the beggar on his doorstep. For every person whom God puts on our path becomes the way to the fulfillment we seek. 

                                                              - Magnificat, March 2018


Why do you travel so far for what is so near? The smallest coin in your purse buys what is most dear.

                                                            - Charles Causley

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

good memories

"You must know that there is nothing higher, or stronger, or sounder, or more useful afterwards in life, than some good memory, especially a memory from childhood, from the parental home. You hear a lot said about your education, yet some such beautiful, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If a man stores up such memories to take into life, then he is saved for his whole life. And even if only one good memory remains with us in our hearts, that alone may serve one day for our salvation....and keep [us] from great evil.

                                                           -  Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

                                                     from Tending the Heart of Virtue, by Vigen Guroian

Monday, February 26, 2018

in the interest of warm ankles

I had two small skeins of this very vibrant yarn.

When I was preparing for work last Wednesday - the day it reached 77 degrees - I knew I wanted to wear my sandals, but it was cool in the morning; also, for all I knew the AC might go on there and I'd freeze. I found myself thinking a pair of ankle warmers would be ideal for both situations. After looking at several patterns I realized anything but the most simple stitch would be competing with these wonderful colors, so I just knitted and purled each skein until it was used up. Now these need to be joined into little tubes, but they could also stand to be just a bit wider, so I've fished around for some solid colors to add a bit of a stripey width.

I think I'm going to knit a narrow piece and then attach it to each side edge. Each leg may have a different color, as I've got very little of my "leftovers", but I think that will be okay. Stash-busting.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

transformation in Christ

"A tendency on massive display in our culture is the reduction of religion to ethics. Very much in the spirit of Immanuel Kant, many people today feel that everything else in religion - art, liturgy, prayer, mysticism, the sacraments, etc. - finally centers around and leads back to morality. How often we hear some version of the following: 'Well, as long as you're a good person, what does it really matter what you believe or how you worship God?'

...if you had asked one of the Church Fathers or medieval masters what Christianity is finally about, they would definitely not have said ethics. They probably would have said...becoming conformed to the divine nature. "

                                                    - Bishop Robert Barron

Lent is a time of transformation. As we gaze in the dark faith of prayer upon the glory of God revealed in Jesus Christ, we are transformed into his likeness. As we leave the work of prayer for the work of charity in our world, we live in his likeness.

-  from Magnificat, February 2018

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

a tantalizing spring preview

Who would think they could wear their sandals and bare feet in February?  But I did today.

Who would open a window and let February air in? We did, at work. It was near seventy degrees.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Friday, February 16, 2018

a prayer for Lent

or any time:

Prompt our actions with your inspiration, we pray, O Lord,
and further them with your constant help,
that all we do may always begin from you
and by you be brought to completion.

- from Magnificat, February 2018

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Jo strikes again and more mending

Jo continues to leave little rocks at the library; I almost missed this one the other day, laying as it was on our green and black stone counter -

an eggplant! 

I've got another pair of my brother's jeans almost repaired - two patches were required: one on the outside, one inside.

I just put the bit of fabric underneath here and zigzagged over the top.  It'll keep them going a little longer. Not rocket science, but he can't do it. It's good to know how to do a thing of use to someone. We all need to be valuable in that way; even something so simple.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Ash Grove, etc.

We sang this hymn at the end of Mass today:

Sent forth by God's blessing, our true faith confessing,
the people of God from His dwelling take leave.
The supper is ended. Oh, now be extended
the fruits of this service in all who believe.
The seed of His teaching, receptive souls reaching,
shall blossom in action for God and for all.
His grace did invite us, His love shall unite us
To work for God's kingdom and answer His call.

With praise and thanksgiving to God ever living,
the tasks of our everyday life we will face.
Our faith ever sharing, in love ever caring,
embracing His children of each tribe and race.
With Your feast You feed us, with Your light now lead us;
united us as one in this life that we share.
Then may all the living with praise and thanksgiving
give honor to Christ and His name that we bear.

It has a nice, lilting melody, but - the problem is that I've heard it before. 

Every time we sing this my mind goes back to the 1980's Pride and Prejudice with Elizabeth Garvie. During the party at the Lucases, Lizzie sings a song at the piano, and it's this one, with different lyrics, of course.  

Well, I happen to be reading another book about trees -  Fiona Stafford's The Long, Long Life of Trees, and in the chapter about the ash, what do you think I saw? 

Down yonder green valley, where streamlets meander,
when twilight is fading I pensively rove
Or at the bright noontide in solitude wander,
amid the dark shades of the lonely ash grove;
'twas there, while the blackbird was cheerfully singing,
I first met that dear one, the joy of my heart!
Around us for gladness the bluebells were ringing,
ah! then little thought I how soon we should part.

Apparently, it's an old Welsh song called The Ash Grove, no doubt familiar to my (2 or 3) English readers. Ha!

I do think I'm partial to this version; I did hear Lizzie sing it first. Here, two young women do it charmingly, with all the verses.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

more sashiko

My brother's jeans had a big tear at the knee where the machine won't reach. So I tried sashiko again; my rows are even this time! I hope it holds up in the wash.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

a pretty winter so far

So far, the winter hasn't been exactly run-of-the-mill. Much colder at times than usual, and the snowfalls - we've had several small to moderate snowfalls - they last a week or maybe just a couple of days, then melt. A few days later, snow again. For those of you who don't have snowy winters, I can say that this pattern is very nice, because it never stays around long enough to turn black from exhaust fumes, so the romance you get from freshly fallen snow remains - until the melting. How nice.

This picture is not from today, but it doesn't matter - it snowed today, too. Ice was also predicted, and the library closed early. We are all snug inside, thankfully.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

more rocks and a name, but still clueless

We keep finding the painted rocks around the library

and now the originator's name.

But who is Jo? We can't figure it out.

Monday, February 5, 2018

a convenient mistake

I discovered quite by accident that my sewing machine will also take my metal bobbins, which are left over from my previous model! I put one in without thinking; it actually fits in there better than the plastic ones.

So now I instantly have twice as many as I had before.

Friday, February 2, 2018

a thought and an idea

It's Candlemas, or the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. From Christmas Day to February 2 is forty days. Just like the forty years the Israelites wandered in the desert, like Elijah's trek of forty days to Mount Horeb, like Jesus praying and fasting in the desert for forty days, and the forty days from the resurrection of the Lord till his ascension, the number means something. It's the most important thing that ever happened on the earth and I'm never in a hurry to "put Christmas away", so I slowly undecorate, as I slowly decorated the house from the start of Advent up to Christmas Day.

In November the woman I buy my ground beef from sent an invitation to come to her house; during a weekend before Thanksgiving she sells crafts made throughout the year by herself and her family, some jams, and pickles. You can sit at her kitchen table and have homemade rolls and chili and brownies. She's been doing this for many years and always gets a crowd; she says she doesn't care if she sells anything, she just enjoys doing it and having this nice get-together. I bought the above wooden candy canes there, and have meant to post about this since the season began.

What a nice idea for any neighborhood! So I thought I'd share it.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

a rare moment

with the two females on the windowsill, and nobody bothering anybody (i.e., Sweetie not bothering Dolly).  Ahh, peace.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

bright salad

At the library, our lounge has a window, but the little kitchen adjoining the lounge has a wall of windows, and on the other side of the kitchen is a meeting room, with more windows - and when it's cold out, a most inviting place to sit and have lunch if nobody's having a meeting there.

And that's what we did.

Monday, January 22, 2018

first thing

Glory to you, who safe have kept
and have refreshed me while I slept:
Grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake,
I may of endless light partake.

Lord, I renew my vows to you;
scatter my foes as morning dew;
guard my first springs of thought and will,
and with yourself my spirit fill.

from Magnificat, January 2018

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

blackbirds passing through

The blackbirds came by yesterday just like they do in spring and fall. But it isn't. I guess I'll have to call the Audubon Society.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

bakin' in the oven

I had to cook some bacon but didn't look forward to the hovering over it. So I looked up how to do it in the oven.

Foil-covered pan, cold oven, then turn it up to 375, twenty five or thirty minutes if you want it crunchy. A very easy cleanup, and I can use this method when I won't be needing the bacon fat, which tends to last me a while. So much better.