Tuesday, December 29, 2015

"in the dark"

"New life starts in the dark. Whether it is a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb, or Jesus in the tomb, it starts in the dark. ..

Contemplating the Christ Child in the manger scene is not a matter of fleeting sentimentality but a wonderful grace and opportunity to let go of our bright ideas about God, so that our eyes are open anew to the God who is...God deliberately, mercifully, made himself small in Bethlehem at a predawn hour so that we could understand him, welcome him, and love him as the light of our life, a light that always shines in our darkness, a light that only love bestows and discovers."

                                                      -  "borrowed", from here

Monday, December 28, 2015

staying in

I saw this on a Tumblr blog, but don't know where it originated.

Too cute to resist, though.

*Okay - it's from Lily and Val

Friday, December 25, 2015

fun at Joanne's

Feasting, and always laughing,

and Teddy doing the cute cat thing and getting into a bag.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Love, the Lord is on the way

Stars, keep the watch. When night is dim
One more light the bowl shall brim,
Shining beyond the frosty weather,
bright as sun and moon together.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the star, is on the way.

Angels, announce with shouts of mirth
Christ who brings new life to earth.
Set every peak and valley humming
With the word, the Lord is coming.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the Lord, is on the way.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

homemade wrappings

I bought a pine cone and a chickadee stamp, and Cyndi gave me one for these trees and a couple of other things on my birthday. The snowflakes were borrowed. I also bought white and charcoal stamp pads. I'm determined to use my *free* wrinkled brown packing paper for gifts as much as I can, which means actually ironing it sometimes, but I'm doing that two or three times a week, anyway.

One difficulty I'm having is finding ribbon to match. This stretchy piece of silver came in handy. I have a lot to learn, and will get more practice later.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas card box

The cards we've received are usually put in a small basket, but this pretty box seems a better choice.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Love, the bird, is on the way

Birds, though you long have ceased to build,
Guard the nest that must be filled.
Even the hour when wings are frozen
God for fledgling time has chosen.
People, look east, and sing today:
Love, the bird, is on the way.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


and a good day for baking cookies and making curtains.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

a dolly-ism: keeping it all under control

However busy your holiday season,

make sure to stay on top of your Christmas card list.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

some Christmas sparkle

I grabbed the sparkling tree as soon as I walked into the museum gift shop. Funny how there are some things you don't have to think twice about.

Maybe fourteen inches high; a rigid narrow cone, with what seems to be a sequined trim wound round and round it, stiffened with something. The trim, if that's what it's made with, isn't totally sequined all along it, but it looks like a light brownish yarn or thread with some sequins dotted along it, which keeps the whole from looking garish.

It's on a shelf above the sink, a just-right mix of rustic glimmer.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Love, the Guest, is on the way

People, look east. The time is near
Of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able,
Trim the hearth and set the table.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the guest, is on the way.

Furrows, be glad. Though earth is bare,
One more seed is planted there:
Give up your strength the seed to nourish,
That in course the flower may flourish.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the rose, is on the way.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

the birthday

In case anyone wondered how my birthday went - it was very, very nice.

It started out, on the day, with a cake baked by a co-worker - birthday people always get a cake where I work - and it was a good one: chocolate, with pudding and sour cream in the batter, plus chocolate chips. And cream cheese frosting!  Yes, that was a big hit. Later, my brother got out of work early and picked up our dinners from a favorite deli in the next town. I got their mac 'n cheese, which is excellent.

The next day Debra treated me to lunch at our favorite brunch place. So much charm there

and even outside the place.

I had crab cakes! Deb had fancy French toast, with white chocolate and raspberries!

Later, two consignment shops - one with prices more like a tag sale, and I saw a metal angel with great personality.

One dollar. And a handful of linen napkins for three.

On Sunday, my generous brother picked up Nancy and Eileen  and the four of us went to the city, to the art museum, which has recently re-opened their cafe. So, a nice dinner there, and then a wander around the place to see the paintings, and their annual Christmas tree festival.

That's Nancy in the plaid skirt. She was stopped twice and complimented on her attire. (red tights, too!) She looked so festive.   

I wanted my picture taken with Vincent.

But I forgot to look at the camera. ahem.

This is a modern art area on a higher floor. Looking down, we were able to see a concert by a local black church choir. Such singing! It seemed like each one did a solo - they were all that good.

We so enjoyed the day!  And, I was successfully distracted from thinking about turning sixty. ;-)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

"He stirs"

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
 See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the Lord. 
Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day, and they shall be his people, and he will dwell among you, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. 
The Lord will possess Judah as his portion in the holy land, and he will again choose Jerusalem. Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the Lord! 
For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.

-  Zechariah 2: 14-17

mosaic at Church of the Holy Spirit in Chora, Turkey

Thursday, December 10, 2015

swirly bowls

I got these sturdy bowls for a dollar or two apiece at the supermarket - just a few, for the times when we need something microwavable.  The blue ones are cool to look at in summer; gold for fall into winter.

Red for Christmas time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

"a glorious crown in the hand of the Lord"

Today was a feast of Mary - the Immaculate Conception

(by Murillo)

I rejoice heartily in the Lord,
in my God is the joy of my soul;
for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation,
and wrapped me in a mantle of justice,
like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem,
like a bride bedecked with her jewels.

Nations shall behold your vindication,
and all kings your glory;
you shall be called by a new name
pronounced by the mouth of the Lord.
You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the Lord,
a royal diadem hold by your God.

- from the book of Judith, chapter 13

Monday, December 7, 2015

Henry eats a blueberry

There's no picture of it; it happened so fast. The blueberry container tumbled out of the fridge and they were all over the place. He seized his opportunity, and ate one.

I never give fruit to the cats; it can't be good for them - they don't show interest in it, anyway - cats can't taste sweet. So it's kinda funny that Henry ate this blueberry.

He's not saying if he liked it. He's not saying anything. But I say, "Henry, you'll eat a blueberry, but you won't eat my homemade roast chicken, or baked fresh fish." Really.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

light in the darkness

"Christ is the light not of our eyes but of our minds. In Advent, we cry out in the darkness: O Lord, make us see! As Christ comes to us in word and sacrament, in prayer and in daily life, we do indeed begin to see the world differently by the light of faith. We see by his eyes rather than our own. And as we see, so we live."

                                                      -  Magnificat, December 2015

Friday, December 4, 2015

about aging

It's my birthday!  I'm sixty. Nobody really wants to think of themselves as 60, but of course, we want to keep living. So it's not the worst thing, even though inside we're still feeling like we must be twenty five.  But I didn't have a real problem with this milestone - I mean, it is what it is.

A story:

 I remember my cousin Charlie, years ago, having a big problem with being thirty. He's more than ten years older than me, but at the time I thought, thirty? what's the issue with that? But I did have a real problem with forty. And I didn't expect that.

When I turned 36 I became aware of something inside me, something that was beginning to be alarmed at the idea of turning forty. I was surprised at it, and a little concerned, but it wasn't with me all the time. At thirty seven, it was a little stronger, etc., until I was 39 and I realized that I honestly didn't know what was going to transpire when I turned forty, because there really isn't anything you can do about it, is there?  Well, I mean, reasonably. But there was this dread within, which could only come to a head on the day, and - what would I do?  Go into a panic?  I didn't know.

At that time, I used to listen to Rush Limbaugh on the radio. I'm a political conservative, for the most part, and when he started his program, there was precious little in the media for conservatives - they are overwhelmingly Democrats and it is evident in their reportage. So, Rush was a real breath of fresh air; now I feel I've had enough of that kind of thing.  Anyway, one day I was washing the floor, and listening, and he (he's a few years older than I) said when he was a kid, he always looked forward to getting into his forties!  He could see that most folks were just finding out their place in the world in their twenties, getting established in their thirties, and by their forties, they were comfortable and knew where they belonged. I perked up at this speech, and it made me feel better. But for only a short while. Because I realized something: this "thing" within me was not a matter of logic or reason; if so, I could talk myself out of it. Even though I knew it didn't make sense, it was still there, and I didn't know where it came from - why it was there.

The day came - I was home, not working. I know what time I was born - 3:43 pm (EST) and during the day I'd find myself looking in the mirror, wondering if I'd flip out or anything. Suddenly, I realized the time had passed. I looked in the mirror; the realization came to me, deep within - I looked the same, I felt the same, everything was the same. That "feeling" fell away, and never came back.

This realization, of course, was nothing earth shaking, but the way it resounded within me was, I guess. I haven't had a recurrence of this either today, or ten years ago. It was all very strange, but I'm grateful, to say the least!

The end.  :)

Henry, who only worries about his next meal.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Hanukkah buns

A Jewish co-worker, for the past two years, has treated us to a Hanukkah lunch at work. She schleps in a big soup pot and skillet; she makes matzoh ball soup and latkes from boxes; she works hard, considering she's not a cook and freely admits it. So we have a nice, warm lunch and applesauce!

Well, this year it dawned on some of us that she might like us to chip in with something, so Cheryl is going to make kugel and I was thinking of rugelach. The problem was that the traditional fillings aren't chocolate, and that's what she was craving. So, I googled rugelach with chocolate filling. But, this is what caught my eye - we all agreed I should try them.

I was quite nervous about it - as much as I like to play with yeast bread recipes, I wasn't going to mess with this one. The rising times were longer than hers, and I think hers look nicer than mine. I think if I ever make them again, I'll give them a shorter second rise - mine look too puffy compared to hers. They are in the freezer, and our party is next Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

"the ancient dream of peace"

Behold a broken world, we pray,
Where want and war increase,
And grant us, Lord, in this our day,
The ancient dream of peace.

A dream of swords to sickles bent,
Of spears to scythe and spade,
The weapons of our warfare spent,
A world of peace remade.

O Prince of peace, who died to save,
A lost world to redeem,
And rose in triumph from the grave,
Behold our waking dream.

Bring, Lord, your better world to birth,
Your kingdom, love's domain;
Where peace with God, and peace on earth,
And peace eternal reign.

             -  from Magnificat, December 2015