Monday, February 18, 2019

a melancholy truth

It's Presidents' Day again.

"It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression of the press could not more compleatly deprive the nation of it's benefits, than is done by its abandoned prostitution to falsehood. Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle."

                                       -  Thomas Jefferson, 3rd U.S. president

Saturday, February 16, 2019

fixed the pocket

I use this basket for current sewing projects; just the fact that whatever I'm currently making is kept in a nice basket lends an air of what? - romance to the project. I don't put the mending in there. It's really just a place to keep all the pieces together. What's in there now is the other summer dress I was going to make ages ago - I just haven't been sewing much.

Except last night - I "fixed" my brother's jacket pocket! I had to - he was supposed to go away this morning and was hoping to have sound pockets. I can't describe what I did, or how. I didn't take photos - if I had, they wouldn't have been clear. This jacket has sort of double pockets on each side, they're sort of side-by-side and one was shredding. I snipped off the shreds and examined it. If you've ever made a pocket, it's the two pieces, seamed together along the curved edge and then attached to the garment where you put your hand in. This particular arrangement had a third piece attached to the other two but sewn to an opening next to the other one, so there are two places to put your hand, right next to each other, with one of them zipping up, if you want. I have no idea how clear any of this is, but I managed to - very makeshift - whip up another pocket and stick it in there, all by hand because it was just easier. It worked!

He didn't end up going. But the fact that I had very little time made me force myself to charge ahead and do something that I had no idea how to do. (I prayed beforehand for help, and I guess I got it.)  Not sure it's the best way to do things, though - kind of a seat-of-your-pants experience.

Friday, February 15, 2019

the faithful companion

"Jesus, with a largess truly divine...  walks before us, his hands charged with gifts; he walks at our side with a beautiful countenance; he walks behind us with extended arms. He walks before us, to smooth the rough places of our paths; he walks at our side as a faithful companion, to cheer, encourage, console and defend us. He walks behind us, to receive us if we fall. He walks before us, that we may follow and imitate him; he walks beside us, that we may not grow lonely on the road, and he walks after us, to be the remedy of our evils."

                                                              - Peter, Abbot of Moustier, from Magnificat, February, 2019

Thursday, February 14, 2019

a little valentine cake

I like few things better than observing holidays - traditional ones, anyway. So, even though I had to go out mid-day, before I went I mixed up the dry ingredients for a banana chocolate bread from the latest Magnolia Journal magazine.

And then I got out the heart pan and baked it when I came home. Wasn't sure what we were having for supper, but had to make a Valentine's dessert! (we did not starve)

I was too lazy to put the excess batter into a cupcake tin, and I think that's why it sort of cracked - the pan was over full. Tastes delicious!

*I saw a youtube video the other day about aerating flour before you measure it. Well, we all know it's better to sift, but does anyone bother? Not me. But this person just ran a whisk through the flour canister - I can do that! So, that's what I did. A great idea.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

the barnacle

When I sit at my computer, Sweetie usually appears from nowhere; she either jumps onto my lap or gets onto the other end of the table, moving toward me, purring more and more loudly. It's hard to get away from her.

Earlier this evening, she did this. I read once that cats don't like wind. So as she approached, I blew in her direction; she stopped where she was and waited in that way animals do because they know we call the shots. This is where I feel guilty. I blow on her and she sits there, purring (because purring is the Most Important Thing she does), and I feel badly for thinking she is a pest. (she is, though)

I often let her on my lap, really. But sometimes she would get in the way, so I blow. It doesn't matter. We will repeat this whole performance tomorrow. And the next day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


I was going to have to make dinner after work today, as there were no leftovers - oh, how I depend on leftovers! Anyway, the prediction was snow with ice to follow, and so the library closed at twelve thirty - how convenient! I had plenty of time to make dinner, and even get a doze in beforehand.

Snow outside, a short day at work, a nap - all contribute to that feeling of hygge which is getting so much attention these days. Debra gave me this book for Christmas and I finished it the other day. Different from others I've seen on the subject, less wordy - more hyggelig, I guess you could say! Very pleasant.

I decided to finish working on my jacket repair. That may be a funny way of putting it, but I wasn't able to finish sewing it. I just could not get the needle in that last section; I couldn't make stitches hold there or figure a way to secure it, so I just decided to be done. And I put a safety pin in that last space to keep it secure. And I'm leaving it that way. I am tired of not being able to wear this coat.

But I already have another jacket repair awaiting me: my brother's favorite has a pocket that's wearing out. I can easily make a pocket, but I'm not sure he how much picking at this jacket he wants me to do. If I can just crudely attach it in some way that'll hold, without getting heavily involved in picking seams apart, that will be preferable to all parties.

I'm liking these vases of evergreens

Monday, February 11, 2019

fixing a jacket

My beloved, two-dollar, washable parka needs repair and I'm having a heck of a time trying to finish it up. There's a flap across the back, and underneath this flap is where the lower section is sewn to a piece of lining. Well, it tore away all across and I've been working on it.

I first bound the lining edge with some bias tape, zigzagging it along to secure it better, then turning it under and whipstitching it on the other side. Now, I've been using a back stitch to re-attach the under piece back onto the lining.

I have been going from right to left, knowing that when I got near the end it was going to be really hard to get a grip on it to finish - oh, did I mention that it's got a filling, not down, but fiberfill - anyway, because of that the lining isn't hanging free at the bottom for me to reach under and get a proper grip on it. If you don't sew, or haven't ever looked at the way your coats are constructed you might not  know what I'm talking about, but I am wishing this last section could just be glued together and be done with it!

I guess I'm just complaining here. I don't think anybody's going to give me a better solution. I'd better get back to work.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

thanks for stopping by

Mr. Kibble showed up yesterday - I'm sure he's put on weight. I automatically fed him, and when I put the bowl down, I scratched his back! He liked it, but when he started to turn his head my way, I knew enough to move my hands behind my back. When he sees hands, he strikes out. But he wouldn't start eating until I was in the house - well, Rome wasn't built in a day.

He ate about half of it and looked at me. I told him he could eat the rest, or eat at home. (How hungry can he really be, anyway?) Diane's car was out much of the day, I noticed, and I think he was probably outside longer than he intended to be.

We don't want to give him too much food here, or do anything that might confuse him as to where he belongs. As long as he keeps going back there every day, all is well. He's learning, and meanwhile, it's very nice to see him now and then. He still has that way of looking at you.

Friday, February 8, 2019

sky drama

I'm always drawn to the dramatic contrast of dark and light up above.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

to be, or not to be

"Ours is a time of continual movement which often leads to restlessness, with the risk of 'doing for the sake of doing'. We must resist this temptation by trying 'to be' before trying 'to do'."

                                                      -  Pope John Paul II (from Magnificat)

Monday, February 4, 2019

fur, feathers and foliage

One week ago today, it was bitter cold; today our windows were open - I even wore my sandals!  Barefoot in February! In the house, that is - what with the oven and everything, I just got too warm.
I have to say it was lovely, although not normal. But two days ago, snow covered everything; now it is gone.

I took apart the wreath today. Sweetie helped me with the tree. The living room is back to the way it was. I've been bringing in evergreen cuttings, though.

My brother took a walk this evening, and ran into Diane pulling into her driveway. He asked about Mr. K. She said she lets him out on nice days, and when he's had enough, he comes back in just like that. Imagine - Mr. Kibble getting domesticated - will wonders never cease! God is good; there is no matter too small for the help of the saints.

Last week I'd set out a sturdy bowl full of bird seed, and placed it inside a container on the front step. I wanted something out there and safe from wind, but I never knew if any birds found it until the other day  - Dolly was making some cat noises as she looked out the window. There was the little wren at the orange feeder again, and also at the bowl! I'm glad somebody knows where this food is, although I'm not sure the wren wants to share her information.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

just the same

I have a little book of Christmas poems which I'm just about the put away for next time, but tonight I read this line which I have to share:

An angel stood with her
Who said, "That which doth stir
like summer in thy side
Shall save the world from sin."

That which doth stir like summer in thy side - how poetic that is! I am all amazement on rare occasions when I read something like this, a simile that surely no one else could ever think of.

A Lullaby 

Lullee, lullay,
I could not love thee more
If thou wast Christ the King.
Now tell me, how did Mary know
That in her womb should sleep and grow
The Lord of everything?

Lullee, lullay,
An angel stood with her
Who said, "That which doth stir
Like summer in thy side
Shall save the world from sin.
Then stable, hall and inn
Shall cherish Christmas-tide."

Lullee, lullay,
And so it was that Day.
And did she love him more
Because an angel came
To prophesy His name?
Ah no, not so,
She could not love him more,
But loved him just the same.
Lullee, lullee, lullay.

Janet Lewis

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

space age, 40's style

I always admired my parents' bureau set from the 1940's, with its blond mahogany veneer and ice blue futuristic-looking drawer pulls.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Mr. Kibble stops by

We had a surprise visitor yesterday morning after coming home from church. A black cat was crouched on the back step, with head turned outward. He didn't look like one of Diane's four black cats. I tapped on the glass and he turned - it was Mr. Kibble! Yesterday was very pleasant, sunny and in the forties, so it was a good day to let him out.

I called her today to get the scoop, but she wasn't available. I will simply have to put up with my curiosity until I can speak to her. We're hoping there wasn't a problem with her other cats, and that he just wanted to come out. So, we fed him of course - a whole can of food, of course - and he went back over there, which I was glad to see. But I was also glad to see his little face.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Dolly enjoys the Cambridge Singers

I use one of the end tables for a nativity, and I end up putting our cd player on a small chair on the other side of the room. Dolly likes that chair, but there really isn't a better location for it.

Well, yesterday my brother moved the remote out of the way for her and there was enough room in front of the player, which is a flat design. I couldn't figure out if she wanted to be on the chair

or if she wanted to be near the source of the music. It was kind of loud, but she is a true music lover.

Both cats enjoyed it for hours - the Cambridge Singers' Christmas Night.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

laughing through the rain

Well, the pretty snow has flown and so have the frigid temperatures; today was in the fifties with pouring, pouring rain all the day long. Bill Bryson's The Road to Little Dribbling is keeping me amused. There aren't many books that can make you laugh out loud.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

thankful for Diane and the BBC

I cannot pass by our cat shelter without gratitude that Mr. Kibble is safe indoors and not struggling through the ice, snow and freezing cold. The challenge would have been huge.

And on that subject, it was coming to me over the past couple of days that I should go to the BBC and listen to the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols before it was too late; they stream it for only thirty days after the broadcast. (I was tuned in on Christmas Eve when Diane called to say she'd got Mr. K. in her house, and that was such welcome news I didn't mind the interruption.) I heard some of it last night, finishing it up this morning while getting ready for work with hardly an hour to spare - today was the last day to listen!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Jack came by

and outdid himself, I think. I hope the neighbors are enjoying at least half as many scrolls as we are!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

bright sunset, cold night

We saw a wren at my little orange feeder! I checked it afterward to make sure it hasn't covered up again with ice. Now we know they found it.

Hard are the nights now
The fields at moonrise turn to agate
Shadows are cold as jet

- from The Christmas Tree by Cecil Day-Lewis

at last, white

I don't know where I've been for the past week - distracted, anyway.

But we are having snow, finally. Snow actually on the ground, snow that makes it look like winter.

With a layer of icing on top. Not so welcome.  I made a mixture of seeds and peanut butter for the birds and hung it in front under the awning.

I hope they find it; small birds often hang around in that space, so they should. I had to bring it in to thaw once already, in order to chip off the ice layer. Tomorrow will be very cold, in the single digits, but only one day, thankfully.

Monday, January 14, 2019

three tins, three kings

I bought three of these cookie tins at the supermarket for twenty five cents apiece! Those ninety percent-off  sales are great.

the banshee

Sweetie hasn't repeated her performance of the other night, at least not so late. She can often be seen tearing around and crying out, but during the day.

The Three Kings got put away today, along with a few other things. I began setting out the Christmas decorations beginning at Advent (the advent of Advent - ha), gradually increasing the glitter and cheerfulness, and things will decrease in the same manner over the next three weeks. 

another in my tree collection

I suppose it seems like fussing, but it all has meaning to me, and I don't mind doing it this way. I know that I don't want to celebrate Christmas at my own convenience, but in a way which seems proper, according to our life and circumstances, and my understanding.  The feast of the Presentation is February 2, forty days after December 25, and I aim to have everything put away by then. A little at a time!

The Three Kings

Three Kings came riding from far away,
Melchior and Gaspar and Baltasar,
Three Wise Men out of the east were they,
And they travelled by night and they slept by day,
For their guide was a beautiful, wonderful star.

The star was so beautiful, large, and clear,
That all the other stars of the sky
Became a white mist in the atmosphere,
And by this they knew that the coming was near
Of the Prince foretold in the prophecy.

Three caskets they bore on their saddle-bows,
Three caskets of gold with golden keys;
Their robes were of crimson silk with rows
Of bells and pomegranates and furbelows,
Their turbans like blossoming almond-trees.

And so the Three Kings rode into the West,
Through the dusk of night, over hill and dell,
And sometimes they nodded with beard on breast,
And sometimes talked, as they paused to rest,
With the people they met at some wayside well.

"Of the child that is born," said Baltasar,
"Good people, I pray you, tell us the news;
For we in the East have seen his star,
And have ridden fast, and have ridden far,
To find and worship the King of the Jews."

And the people answered, "You ask in vain;
We know of no king but Herod the Great!"
They thought the Wise Men were men insane,
As they spurred their horses across the plain,
Like riders in haste, and who cannot wait.

And when they came to Jerusalem,
Herod the Great, who had heard this thing,
Sent for the Wise Men and questioned them;
And said, "Go down unto Bethlehem,
And bring me tidings of this new king."

So they rode away; and the star stood still,
The only one in the gray of morn;
Yes, it stopped, - it stood still of its own free will,
Right over Bethlehem on the hill,
The city of David, where Christ was born.

And the Three Kings rode through the gate and the guard,
Through the silent street, till their horses turned
And neighed as they entered the great inn-yard;
But the windows were closed, and the doors were barred,
And only a light in the stable burned.

And cradled there in the scented hay,
In the air made sweet by the breath of kine,
The little child in the manger lay,
The child, that would be king one day
Of a kingdom not human but divine.

His mother Mary of Nazareth
Sat watching beside his place of rest,
Watching the even flow of his breath,
For the joy of life and the terror of death
Were mingled together in her breast.

They laid their offerings at his feet:
The gold was their tribute to a King,
The frankincense, with its odor sweet,
Was for the Priest, the Paraclete,
The myrrh for the body's burying.

And the mother wondered and bowed her head,
And sat as still as a statue of stone;
Her heart was troubled yet comforted,
Remembering what the Angel had said
Of an endless reign and of  David's throne.

Then the kings rode out of the city gate,
With a clatter of hoofs in proud array;
But they went not back to Herod the Great
For they knew his malice and feared his hate,
And returned to their homes by another way.

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

things that go "zoom" in the night

I was just dropping off to sleep, and later than I wanted to, when Sweetie began tearing up and down the hallway, into the living room, back to my bedroom, and back and forth again. A number of times. Not growling, but saying something like, "Woo!  Woo!". Needless to say I woke up, checked the time: it was one o'clock.

We had both been in bed over an hour and it's unusual for her to go wild so late, and all by her little self, unless she does it while we're sleeping and we're just unaware.

My researches tell me this is called the "nighttime zoomies".  It results from insufficient exercise during the day with too much energy to burn later. This really doesn't seem the case with her - she plays hard. But maybe we'll have to intensify that. I'm glad she's happy, anyway.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

a little forest

I realized somewhere along the Christmas way that I have a thing for tree decorations. Not decorations for trees, but tree-shaped ones.

So I made a little forest near the white nativity, with a mercury glass tree, a fir tree candle and a realistic one with "snow".

Just like a real forest where the trees don't always match.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Epiphany prayer

O God, whose only begotten Son
 has appeared in our very flesh, 
grant, we pray,
that we may be inwardly transformed
through him whom we recognize as outwardly like ourselves.

-   Magnificat, January 2019

Monday, January 7, 2019

too early!

November was unusually cold, and made us wonder what the winter had in store. It hasn't been steadily cold, though, since then, with temperatures being around the freezing mark one day and in the forties - or even warmer - for a couple after.

Yesterday, getting in the car to go to church I noticed the forsythia had the yellowish aura which it gets in early spring, before blooming time. I went up to it. There are three little blooms! 

Oh, dear. Poor forsythia! Please go to sleep now.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

the kind of schooling that's never done

Today is the feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

"God our Father, you gave your Child to make us your children. Raise us to full maturity in him through the school of the Gospel. We ask this in Jesus's name. Amen."

from Magnificat, January 2019

A wise old man I know - he's 101 - refers to his death as a "graduation". 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

thinking of the birds

I just read in British Country Living magazine that the birds will eat your leftover mince pies (we don't have any of that), cheddar cheese and even mashed potatoes! This, I want to remember. I also don't want to forget this: that when your wreath has served its purpose, rather than throwing it out you can hang it from a tree and the birds will glean nesting materials out of it come February.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

sharing, rejoicing, rearranging

I did make that resolution to chronicle all the treats my brother gets over Christmas. Had to abandon it - he was coming home late, laden with several packages of goodies; I'd be tired, the light too low to get good shots.

 Just use your imagination.

Use your very wildest imagination.

Then you might come close.

this is maybe a third of it

Anyway, the local soup kitchen got the store-bought things in tins. Not that we're ungrateful, or don't like those cookies - it's just too much for the two of us, and we don't entertain enough to use it all. He has many grateful clients - may God bless them all!

Coming home from Christmas dinner at Joanne's, I looked at the empty cat shelter and was so grateful to think our little friend is safe inside at Diane's. What a blessing! Looking back, we realize he has been wanting to get inside somebody's house for a couple of weeks, at least;  he didn't know how to be obvious about it. My brother brought some cat food over there later that day and Diane's husband said he just put the food inside - he came in and ate - he put some more further in - he came nearer and ate it, and then he just went downstairs to their basement where he spent much of his time there over last winter! Such a relief.

After taking this, I put away the shepherds and sheep - (how long would they have hung around, anyway?) - the three kings are on their way. "Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them."  Luke 2:20

Monday, December 31, 2018


"One doesn't ultimately ground hope on whether the world situation seems to be improving or worsening. It doesn't go up and down with the stock market. It's not based on empirical facts as these are reported - or distorted - in the news.

Hope is believing in the promise of God and believing that God has the power to fulfill that promise.

God has promised that history - our personal, communal and cosmic history - will one day come together in an ecstatic oneness, a heaven, a paradise, a community of life around Christ and in God within which there will be no tears and no death."

                                          - Fr. Damian Carr