Thursday, May 5, 2016

a week left

Today she knocked over a large mug of water, all over my floor onto some packages.  Right now she's sleeping in my hamper - very cute.

Dolly is starting to get a wild look in her eye.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Monday, May 2, 2016

new blue door

I've been threatening to paint the inside of the front door, and I finally did it. Kind of a deep teal-ish, mixed up to match a stool we keep in the living room.

Much preferred to a dark and unappealing stain.

Friday, April 29, 2016

fields of gold

The grass in a large field on the main road in town is bright yellow.

Every time we go by we wonder at it.  It can't be dry grass - that wouldn't be so entirely yellow as it is.  A new kind of grass?  We've never seen this before. It was hard to photograph it accurately.

A cover crop, maybe?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Dolly's cushion

I guess you really can get used to anything, because it's been going rather well, this shifting and herding of cats. Except for one episode last week, when I was careless and let Dolly out of a room before I knew where Tootsie was. Before we knew it, she had Dolly pinned down on the living room floor.

a favorite spot - on top of the fridge

There is a nice, thick chair pad on a Windsor chair in a corner of the living room, and Dolly will often sleep there. One day, when it was time to put her in a bedroom so Tootsie could come up, I got the bright idea to take her, cushion and all, into the room. 

It is perfectly Dolly-sized, and she absolutely loves it. Most of the time, she'll stay on it, wherever you place it.  I take her in my brother's room - she stays and sleeps on it.  I bring her out and onto the living room window sill, and she stays there, too.

You know how cats like be on a defined space? Well, if it's also comfy, so much the better!

This cushion is our saving grace lately. And we've passed the halfway mark. Two and a half weeks to go. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

red buttons

Those metal buttons that came on the jumper were bugging me,

so I changed them. Just right.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Friday, April 22, 2016


It's Dolly's birthday today.  A cat's thirteen is 68 in our years; that's older than we are.

I don't like to think of that, but I think she feels well enough, and is happy. We are certainly happy to have her here.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

to Boston

Cheryl and I went to Boston yesterday - to meet Val!  Such fun!

We arrived first, and waited in this park for Val.

Cheryl, in her sweater she got in Ireland

Cheryl got a text from her, and there she was, practically across the street! It was noon, so we lunched right away, in the North End.

Very nice, but dessert had to be somewhere else, at a gelato and cannoli place down the street.

Paul Revere's house took very little time to go through. So strange, that it would be surrounded so closely by so many modern (relatively) buildings. 

Love the windows.

Val, in front of a gift shop

We went into several gift shops, which were all pretty much the same, but there was one which was inside the Union Oyster House restaurant. As we poked around I realized they were playing jazz - it sounded like Paul Desmond's saxophone. I said, "Dolly would love this place!". Val laughed. She knows me.

It was a cool day - the coolest day in an otherwise June-like week. We saw the harbor nearby, so we wandered over there. It was quite brisk near the water!

Very bracing. We walked around a lot, admiring the architecture. There's lots of it to admire in Boston, and not only the old buildings. Many of the modern ones were very pleasing. 

The Old State House, site of the Boston Massacre

famous patriot Sam Adams,  cousin to John, our second president

Cheryl and I wondered to ourselves at the small bag Val carried - she hadn't checked in to her hotel yet -  she was carrying her stuff around with her, but we marveled that she could make do with so little, even on a short trip.

Well, we got to see a little of what she was carrying; before we parted, she produced for each of us, a bag of homemade chocolate chip cookies and some candy, sweetly wrapped and decorated! 

 Gosh, Val! That little heart has an L on the other side - she made that, too! Did you have any room for your own stuff in there?

It was a lovely day. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

not baffled at all

I saw him climb right up there, no problem.  I think the hole gives something to grab onto.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Friday, April 15, 2016

copying a dress

When Lent began, I thought it would be good to have a project to work on a little at a time. I poked around my pinterest boards and decided to try and copy a dress.

(image originally from Blue Fish clothing site)

A rather funky style, but appealing to me.

This Anna Maria Horner pattern, which I had but hadn't used yet, seemed like a good place to start - it's similar enough. I redrew it, then cut it up into three sections. Using some Alabama Chanin organic jersey in a dark gray left over from a skirt, I was able to cut out the first two sections from it, and the rest is also AC fabric in persimmon. It was almost Easter when I hand-stitched the neck binding and tried it on. It was way too big, and after working on it for so long, I decided to put it aside.

I've been mulling it over and tonight I removed the neck binding. I'll also have to pick out the top stitching on the shoulder seams before I can take it up at the shoulders, but that's what I have to do.

I've also been wondering what to wear underneath it; in the above photo it looks like she's got a slip on! Don't worry - I don't expect you to like it because I do!  ;)  Anyway, I think I'm just going to make another persimmon layer at the bottom, instead of having to wear something underneath.  After all this, I hope it ends up wearable. It's an interesting exercise to try and copy something, and not for the faint-hearted. Wish me well!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

the cat came back

I opened the front door after work to get the mail, and surprised him on the step  -  he's coming more often now.

Then he sunned himself on the driveway.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

a thoroughfare for cats

Tootsie has returned for another visit.


It goes like this: my brother feeds them in the morning, shutting Dolly in his room to eat so Tootsie can come up for a while. Before he goes to work, he puts her back downstairs. After I've dressed and eaten breakfast, I put Dolly in somebody's bedroom and let Tootsie upstairs again. I need to get in the basement to do laundry and get food from the pantry, etc. After two or three hours I put her down there again and let Dolly out.  This goes on all day, trying to be fair to both of them. 

At least, that's the plan. Today when I put Dolly in the spare room she cried after just a few minutes. I can only ignore this for so long. I actually decided to let her out and see what happened. They went nose to nose and Tootsie got disturbed. I put Dolly in my brother's room. She cried to get out. I waited a while and let her out again. That was okay for two minutes, when I grabbed her before Tootsie could jump on her from behind.  Into the bathroom she went, in the window, where - believe it or not - she was quiet for quite a while. Till I switched them. It's going to be a long FIVE WEEKS. 

There is a nice tuxedo kitty who appeared at our front step earlier in the winter. Suddenly there he was, a cat we'd never seen, on our top step, looking at the house. We gave him food, of course. And he comes back every three or four weeks in the same way, suddenly on the top step looking at the front door. 

There's something nice and quiet about him.

I had fabric on the kitchen floor the other day and Henry came along to help me by batting around the piece of soap I was using for marking. Thanks, Henry.

This afternoon I stepped outside to shake a throw rug (we have plenty of those). I quickly realized I was shaking dust onto Sweetie, who was on her "porch" taking the air. 

I quietly turned the other way to do my shaking, and she watched me.  

It's Cat Central Station here. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

"moral freedom"

"To prefer noble failure to vulgar success is of the essence of moral freedom and human dignity."

                                        -  Harry Jaffa, speechwriter for Barry Goldwater, from National Review

Monday, April 4, 2016

some fruit for the robins

Today I had a feeling of being in a time warp - we just finished with Easter, and out the window the white has accumulated for two days. Everything now is completely covered, and I actually had a December-like feeling, as if we have missed summer altogether and it's time for Christmas again. I don't mind snow but March's mildness didn't prepare us for this.

Anyway, my brother came home from running errands and said so many robins were in the road looking for food, he had to slow the car down. We have a bird feeder, but they don't eat seeds. I quick cut up some apple and we threw it outside in places where they might find it. 

We think they did.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

how do you iron a wool sweater?

Forget the cat hairs. I love this sweater, a good sale from Garnet Hill. It's lambswool, so I wash it in a big pan and lay it flat on a dresser in the spare room till dry. And it gets wrinkled. Then, what?

Fact 1: Wrinkled things don't iron out without some water. Fact two: I know that if you get wool wet, and squeeze it, it will felt and be ruined. Fact three: There is a "wool" setting on the iron.  So I have to gulp and do it: spray the thing with water and then apply the heat.  It works, pretty much. All the wrinkles do not come out, but I'm afraid of overdoing it.  Wool is a funny and interesting substance.

Now, where's the sticky roller?

Thursday, March 31, 2016

a made up dinner

I left even thinking about dinner until late afternoon today;  I guess I was hoping that totalled up, the leftovers would amount to something tasty. And, they did!

What I had: some jars of homemade vegetable stock, leftover non-meat gravy, a few brightly colored bell peppers, a small portion of leftover minestrone, salmon in cans, rice, pasta.  I was getting an idea!  I sliced and slow-cooked the peppers in olive oil with a little onion powder, meanwhile heating the gravy. That was too thick and I added stock a few times, until finally I went and threw in the minestrone, which was no more than a cup and a half.

I cooked a pot of thin spaghetti, tossed some shredded parmesan into the sauce, and served the pasta, with peppers on top, chunks of salmon right out of the can (minus skin and bones) and that nice gravy.

And salad.  An inspiration!

Monday, March 28, 2016

simple dessert

Peach shaped glass bowls

good for filling up with chocolate pudding.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

"the vindication of Easter Sunday"

" We live in difficult times. We've only to watch the news on any given evening. If there's an all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving God who is Lord of this universe, his presence isn't very evident on the evening news... It's fair and reflective to wonder: Where is the Resurrection in all of this? Why is God seemingly so inactive? Where is the vindication of Easter Sunday?

These are important questions, even if they aren't particularly deep or new. They were the question used to taunt Jesus on the cross: If you're the Son of God, come down off that cross! If you're God, prove it! Act now! For centuries they prayed for a messiah, a superman, to come and display a power and a glory that would simply overpower evil, but what they got was a helpless baby lying in the straw. And when that baby grew up they wanted him to overthrow the Roman empire, but instead he let himself be crucified.

What the Resurrection teaches is that God doesn't forcibly intervene to stop pain and death. Instead he redeems the pain and vindicates the death. The Resurrection of Jesus reveals that there's a deep moral structure to the universe, that the contours of the universe are love and goodness and truth. This structure, anchored at its center by ultimate love and power, is non-negotiable. You live life its way or it simply won't come out right.

More importantly, the reverse is also true: If you respect the structure and live life its way, what's good and true and loving will eventually triumph, despite everything, like a giant moral immune system that brings the body back to health. God lets the universe right itself the way a body does when it is attacked by a virus. We don't have to escape pain and death to achieve victory, we've only to remain faithful, good, and true inside of them. God's day will come."

                                 -  from the meditation for Holy Saturday, from Daybreaks, by Fr. Ron Rolheiser

Thursday, March 24, 2016

the night in the Garden

"This night is not the first night that Jesus went with the Apostles to pray. He invited them to come away with him on another occasion, and when they got to the place, they saw a hungry crowd waiting and begging for food. Jesus did not look upon those people as an annoyance, but as the very face of his Father...

This is why the devil hates reality. This is why the devil deals in 'ifs'... On this night, he is counting on Jesus fearfully imagining all the suffering that lay before him. However, Jesus vanquishes the devil when he says to the Father, 'not my will but yours be done'. Original sin came because our first parents trusted their imagination of God over the reality of the gift of the beautiful garden around them... Reality belongs to the Father."

                                God our Father, let us not be gripped in the fear of our own imaginations, let us not be attached to our own ideas of how things are supposed to be. Let us face the reality of our lives with the certainty that all reality and all of our lives belong to you.

                                                           -  from Magnificat,  Holy Week 2016

Monday, March 21, 2016

here this morning, almost gone tonight

The weathermen didn't really say how much we were getting -

at least not when I was listening.

But it ended up three or four inches.  The forsythia got surprised by it.

This was late morning. Now, it's 97 percent gone. March, in New England.

re-living Holy Week

  Holy Week commemorates the last few days of Jesus’ earthly life. And it is not an easy week. Holy Week is about real life, and so it can hit very close to home. It is meant to. We are invited to show up with all that we are and all that we have, because the Holy Week story is not just meant to be explained but to be embodied and lived. So just let the story be the story. It does not need to be explained, it needs to be experienced. It does not need to be understood, it needs to be lived. When we let the story of Holy Week be the story, we create room for it to become our story. We let it live in us.
   Saint Mark writes that Jesus “entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.” Only Mark offers us the opportunity to look around at everything. And maybe this is what we must do before going any further into this Sacred Week.
   Take a look around at everything in your heart. What do you see? Where does it hurt? What’s the pain? In what way is your heart broken? Are you carrying guilt? What are the things that you may regret having done or left undone that chain you to your past? What frightens you? Do you feel overwhelmed by life, as if you were drowning and want to escape? Are there fractured relationships? Is your heart filled with loss, sorrow, grief? Who are the loved ones who have died and you miss? What is the dis-ease of your heart? Take a look around at everything in your heart. This is what Jesus did and continues to do with us. Jesus does not just look around at everything, turn away and leave. He looks at it all with us so that he might take it with him and carry it through this Holy Week. And so must we. Jesus leaves nothing behind. And we must not either. Whatever we refuse to look at and bring to this week cannot be healed, cannot be restored, renewed, re-created or resurrected. 

                                                     -       a reflection from Fr. Damian, "borrowed" in its entirety from here

Sunday, March 20, 2016

plenty of corned beef

It's Holy Week, and I always want to have matzoh around; it seems fitting.

In reality, even though I love it, too much messes up the digestion - it's basically just flour and water.

I've been listening to this CD which Cyndi gave me a few years ago -

it was on repeat so many times, I think the cats got hypnotized - it was ten before seven and I realized they hadn't had their supper. Amazing that Henry wasn't asking for it!

We got lots of mileage from our corned beef and cabbage this year.  I bought two packages of the meat, and cooked one on St. Patrick's Day with the vegetables. There wasn't enough meat for leftovers on Saturday, so I cooked the other one.

Today I abandoned my dinner plans in favor of making a pot pie. There was a dill flavored dough in the freezer, so I took it out last night.  Into the casserole dish went the meat (there was plenty) and the carrots. I thought it should be without a gravy inside, so I baked it as it was, and made a gravy to serve over it. I know it's essentially the same thing, but the idea of some kind of gravy inside the pie with corned beef didn't sound right. So, we had it with the heated-up cabbage and some potatoes, and salad. Half of it is left, and we'll eat it on Tuesday after work!

Joining Rosie and Leila.

a kingdom not of this world

O Lord, 
we are so easily deceived still 
into expecting from you a kingdom 
governed according to the laws of this world.
Keep our eyes fixed on the triumph of life over death through the mystery of the cross,
so that we may grow into a deeper understanding
of the power of your law of love 
over the laws of human expectation,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

-  from  Magnificat, March 2016

Saturday, March 19, 2016

no salvation in politics

"There are momentous issues facing the nation. Some of them could inflict irreparable damage. But the revolution of 2016 is a manifestation of an unhealthy trend that finds Americans treating politics as if it were the wellspring of happiness and the source of redemption. This is a tragedy. Because, though politicians aren't always dishonest and superficial, they will always disappoint you. We're going to have to find salvation elsewhere."

                                          -  from an article by David Harsanyi in National Review

Friday, March 18, 2016

too soon

The daffodils awoke from their winter rest today;

I guess they didn't hear the news that a bit of snow is on the way.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

the agony

This is from the meditation for Wednesday in the fifth week of Lent, by Fr. Ron Rolheiser:

"In the Gethsemane accounts we're told that, right after being strengthened by an angel, Jesus gets up off the ground and walks with courage to face the ordeal that awaits him. His agony and the strengthening he receives within it readied him for the pain that lay ahead. Indeed, at the time of Jesus, the word agony had a double sense. Beyond its more obvious meaning, it also referred to a particular readying that an athlete would do just before entering the arena or stadium. An athlete would work up a certain sweat (agonia) with the idea that this exercise and the lather it produced would concentrate and ready both his energies and muscles for the contest.

The gospel writers want us to have this same image of Jesus as he leaves the Garden of Gethsemane. His agony has brought about a certain emotional, physical, and spiritual lather so that he is now readied, a focused athlete, properly prepared to enter the battle. Moreover, because his strengthening brings a certain divine energy, he is indeed more ready than any athlete."

                                                - from Daybreaks: Daily Reflections for Lent and Easter Week