Tuesday, December 6, 2016

snow soon

It sifts from Leaden Sieves -
It powders all the Wood.
It fills with Alabaster Wool
The wrinkles of the Road.

-  Emily Dickinson

Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas at the library

Well, we had lots of fun decorating the library last week, and I got some pictures.

We copied this from pinterest, and it looks almost the same.   The topper up close -

these page trees were on each end cap in adult fiction and non-fiction - twelve in all.

The main tree in front of the big window isn't that big, but Katie found a very large star in her basement (the girl is BIG on decorating, and good at it), which made a huge difference hanging above it.

I found it difficult to get a good photo of this, but it draws the eye very well; also looks beautiful at night driving by. All the ornaments are made of book pages: fancy star/snowflakes, a paper chain and little banner. Also, Cheryl found some ornaments she'd made a few years ago, clear balls with curled paper inside.

For a small tree, I made several of these -

we were running out of time, and those were quick and easy.

Here's how Katie's small book tree ended up -


At the end of the hall, we put another tree with some blue lights, then somebody made some stars.

Just right.

A menorah display near the elevator

and a book menorah, too

made with the Encyclopedia of Judaica, which happened to be dark blue. 

Trisha did a good job with the columns in the children's department.

Now they have pale blue snowflakes on them. And two columns downstairs plus one upstairs are nutcrackers.

Doesn't he look great? Katie did most of it. You can see here in the background how effective that big star is on the main tree.

A rather scrawny tree got a funky look with just two ornaments on it

Can you tell what they say?  Read and Books. And that's all for now. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

a certain "something"

"Advent is the time of expectation. True, Christ has already come upon earth. He has been crucified, and has risen. He is with us now, in his Church. And yet, somehow, as the season for commemorating his birth approaches, something stirs in us, something deep and profound, as if we are expecting a great miracle. 

As the Christmas season approaches, everyone feels a certain 'something' that cannot be put into words. There are no words that fit. We begin to realize that we are expecting 'something' - or 'Someone' - and we become a little bit more aware of our insides, of a 'burning' in our heart.

We will find that it is like a candle within us. It is not a big candle. We must keep this flame alight, so that it burns through the layers of whatever we have put on top of it, and allow the expectation that is within us to come forth.

This is so important because, if we can burn away each layer that we have put on through the years, then we will be filled with joy. We will become full of gladness, knowing that a great gift is about to be given to us."

                                          -   Catherine Doherty  

Friday, December 2, 2016

cake and tea

I have a birthday coming up, and Tracy, my pen pal, sent me a card with a sweet calendar inside, and a tea bag. Australian Afternoon tea.

I'm sorry, Tracy - I had it in the morning. It was good! I couldn't wait.

Today at work, Katie called me over to see something. It was on my desk. A winter cake!

She had signed up for my birthday. The tree is made from fresh rosemary; the "ornaments" are sugared cranberries. There are cranberries all around, too. The instructions can be found here.
A chocolate cake, vanilla buttercream. We even ate some of the cranberries! Okay, but raw cranberries are nothing to rave about, although I'm sure they were good for us.

Lovely, lovely surprises.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

"the time for rousing"

"Advent is the time for rousing. Humanity is shaken to the very depths so that we may wake up to the truth of ourselves. The primary condition for a fruitful and rewarding Advent is renunciation, surrender."

                                                        -  Fr. Alfred Delp

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

there's an elephant in the manger

I can't keep her out of there.

She knocked over the Blessed Mother once; otherwise, it's amazing how graceful cats are.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

heavy weather

but welcome. We are so in need of rain.

"For one look at stumps, and roots, and wild animals - and every other unlikely thing - tells...that awesome miracles of grace are about to happen."

-  Magnificat,  November 2016

Monday, November 28, 2016

decorating at the library

My co-worker Katie made this book tree the other day at work. No, she wasn't goofing off; we're trying to decorate the library this year with a definite book theme. So far we made a fairly large one in the periodical room, against a wall, very similar to this. Also a few small ones made of (unwanted) book pages, like this and this  - we really need to do a lot more of those.  In the children's department, we got Trisha to do this - isn't that cute?  We're trying, but the place is big.

The large book tree took three of us to build - there's more to making one of those than we expected. And then, of course, there's our regular work to do - but we have only this week to finish; there's a town wide festival next weekend. I'll try to take more pictures. Wish us luck!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Advent, already

Arise, arise to meet thy God,
Arise, O Israel,
Arise, arise to meet thy King
Whose beauty none can tell.
More fair is he than light of dawn
That breaks o'er hill and dell,
Or than the gold of ripening corn
In the vale of Jezrahel.

More beautiful, more beautiful
Than sheen of early morn,
O Israel, he is thy King,
Yet crowned with piercing thorn.
Then rouse thyself, awake from sleep,
Arise, O Israel:
Acclaim this King who is thy God,
Whose beauty none can tell.

-  from  Magnificat, November, 2016

Friday, November 25, 2016

parsnip soup

This is what you do if a friend gives you a pound and a half of parsnips:

Melt four tablespoons of butter in a large stockpot and add

  • one cup chopped onion
  • one cup thinly sliced carrot
  • one cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1/8 teaspoon of powdered savory
and cook together on low until things are getting soft, or until you're done dealing with the parsnips.

Meanwhile, peel and slice your parsnips in 1/8" slices, then add them in, along with five cups of chicken stock. Cover and simmer 25 minutes, then blend all or most of it. Add one eighth teaspoon of nutmeg and taste. Add salt if needed.  Lovely for a quiet and rainy Friday in November.

adapted from an Epicurious recipe

Thursday, November 24, 2016

a nice Thanksgiving

After working hard all week cooking things ahead of time, it was a berry nice Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2016

the best cheesecake, ever. period.

I made the Apple Cider Doughnut Cake from Honey and Jam for a co-worker's birthday. But that's not the cake I want to talk about.

My brother's birthday rolled around again, so it was cheesecake time. And even though I used to rave about that low fat one, I've since come around to the idea that low fat isn't so good after all.

I had pinned a photo of a very high-looking cheesecake with a thick chocolate layer on top. I didn't think the recipe mattered at the time; just the way it looked, higher than the usual, with that chocolate topping. But when I looked at the recipe I liked it. Now I've made it twice, and I still like it.

I made it for work, and everyone loved it. I did make a mistake that time, though - I made a salted chocolate for the top, and didn't like that. You see, the cake is hardly sweet at all! So, a salty topping isn't the right thing for it. I also didn't have the correct pan.

But you can bet I got one before I made it the second time - a seven inch springform - I had to have that height!  And you can see it's nice and high. I made the right topping, too.

This is probably what you'd call a French style cheesecake, and since my brother's always been partial to the New York style, we got him two pieces of that from the local Jewish deli. But you know, he said it didn't taste so good to him anymore. Folks, I think this is it.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

might be privet

-  some berries growing outside the kitchen window.

The little statue, from a consignment shop.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

magic next door

A tree in my neighbor's yard catches my eye when I go near the bedroom windows on the north side. Golden leaves above, and a golden pool beneath. My camera couldn't seem to see it as my eyes were, but I finally got it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

George Washington's patrimony

"Each of us is the parent of his life. Do we know that the first form of self-government is governing ourselves - not through indifference or rigidity, but through respecting our fellows and wanting to play an honorable part in the world? Do we derive our notions of respect and our definitions of honor from our ideas of right and wrong? Do we have the strength and the heart to make them real? We are all citizens: we pay taxes, and if we're not felons we vote. How well is the experiment of our country going? Do we love our rights so much that we would resent laws we had no role in making as slavery? Do we love others enough that if we had unwarranted power over their lives, we would struggle to give it up? Do we teach our principles and honor those who upheld them? Do we understand that liberty isn't a vacation from restraint, but a duty to govern? That is the model that Washington's life gives us; that is his patrimony."

                                                                        -  Richard Brookhiser,  Founding Father 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

another Dottie Angel frock

I wore my Dottie Angel frock the other day to a library class in another town, and I actually got some compliments on it. My feeling is that it looks homemade, but it's always nice to get encouragement. I was going to get a selfie when I got home, but forgot...

Still, I finished another; and I discovered that the light blue scarf I knitted seems to look rather nice with it.

I'm going to do one more in this fall color theme. Three seems like a good amount. For now.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

coins of gold

A spendthrift lover is the Lord
Who never counts the cost
Or asks if heaven can afford
To woo a world that's lost. 
Our lover tosses coins of gold
Across the midnight skies
And stokes the sun against the cold
To warm us when we rise.

Still more is spent in blood and tears
To win the human heart,
To overcome the violent fears
That drive the world apart.
Behold the bruised and thorn-crowned face
Of one who bears our scars
And empties out the wealth and grace
That's hinted by the stars.

How shall we love this heart-strong God
Who gives us everything,
Whose ways to us are strange and odd,
What can we give or bring?
Acceptance of the matchless gift
Is gift enough to give.
The very act will shake and shift
The way we love and live.

- from Magnificat, November 2016

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

instant warmth

This is a photo of two felted, lambswool sleeves off a thrifted heavy-duty sweater/jacket. Today's temperatures were in the 60's, but mornings are much colder. I went to vote this morning in my sandals and these new, heavy legwarmers. They look cute and I love them! All I did was cut - the fit is just right.

Monday, November 7, 2016

being ruled

"Men must live, one way or another, and if they cannot live by ruling themselves, they will submit to the rule of others."

                                              -  from Founding Father, by Richard Brookhiser

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Friday, November 4, 2016

fall beauties

I'm recovering from late nights watching the World Series. A very exciting one, too - the last game a nail-biter to the final moment, with a rain delay taking place right before the tenth inning. I'm very happy for the Chicago Cubs; one hundred and eight years is long enough to go in between winning the World Series!

Yesterday I was actually outdoors in bare feet; I was pulling the weeds and dead tomato plants from the ground. It was a little cool, but I didn't mind. It was too beautiful all around for me to be minding anything. A bit of sprinkling in mid-day, and then sunlight and leaves whirling late afternoon. November! It seems a nicer month than when I was younger. I had to bring Dolly out before supper, just for a little while. This season can seemed enchanted sometimes.

I was watering the plants at the library today, and dead leaves outside caught my eye.

But it was two weeks ago when we saw a fabulous rainbow, and it was the whole thing, too. At home they always appear in the back yard and I have to run to and fro to glimpse parts of them between the trees. This rainbow stood outside the old entrance to the library, and it was all we could do to not look for the pots of gold at either end. It was vivid, and double. 

I was intent on getting it all in, so it's distorted, and the colors are going by this time - but it was great!

Monday, October 31, 2016

an interesting thought

"The only joy in the world is to begin."

                -  Cesare Pavese,  from an article by Frances Mayes

Sunday, October 30, 2016

"for you love all things that are"

"Before the Lord the whole universe is as a grain from a balance or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth. But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things; and you overlook people's sins that they may repent. For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made; for what you hated, you would not have fashioned. And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it; or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you? But you spare all things, because they are yours, O Lord and lover of souls, for your imperishable spirit is in all things! Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little, warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing, that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O Lord!"

                                                    -  Wisdom: 11:22

Saturday, October 29, 2016

falling leaves

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day
Every leaf speaks bliss to me fluttering from
the autumn tree.

-  Emily Bronte

Thursday, October 27, 2016

way way way

too early.

October in New England will often give you temperatures from one extreme to the other; eight days ago it was over 80, and today forty degrees lower. But snow -  unusual in October; it just reminds us of that awful storm a few years back.

So the snow fell all today, and even now sleet is pinging on the nearby window. It was Mark Twain who said, "If you don't like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes." Yes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

the new Gardener

"O Lord our God, you have replanted on our earth the garden lost in Eden, and you have sent a new Gardener to till the soil plowed by the wood of the cross. He who is both the farmer and he seed has watered the earth with his life's blood, shed for our redemption. Make us grow in his likeness by the power of his word dwelling in our hearts. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen."

                                                   -  from Magnificat, October 2016

Monday, October 24, 2016

Sunday, October 23, 2016

windy day

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

-  Christina Rossetti