Sunday, September 15, 2019

things going missing

Don't leave any bills, or notes to yourself on the table.

They don't disappear entirely (so far), but generally turn up down the hall. On the floor.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

too close for comfort

If you want to know precisely how Sweetie feels about Annie, this photo tells it all. I was surprised the little one even jumped up there beside her; Sweetie didn't see her at first.

Monday, September 9, 2019

cream scones with currants

With my fall capsule menu in mind, what better thing to do with a box of currants than make cream scones and add some in?

They are in the freezer.

This little one had another shot today and she gained two pounds! In the last four weeks! That is double her previous weight, when we took her in. She still seems tiny to us.

Don't cats know how to look comfortable? But she was very tired from the shot, and the pill and the ride in that thing that she didn't like being inside.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

all buttoned up

I guess I'm a bit behindhand with the photos lately.....but I didn't take a picture. My brother asked me to look at his summer sport coat, the buttons. They were getting too loose, so I said I'd re-do them.

When I noticed the absence of a knot on the wrong side, I thought I'd better inquire into the right way - a.k.a. the neat way - to do it, and I found this video.

The original thread was similar to embroidery floss, so that's what I used. The instructions were thorough and very clear. All done!

This is a cute channel with two guys trying to show how to behave like a gentleman - good luck to them!

totally unrelated to the subject at hand

Thursday, September 5, 2019

so sweet

This is a very poor quality photo, but I had to take it anyway. Dolly was on the back of the chair and the next thing I know the little one is up there behind her. I guess Dolly didn't mind - at least, not for ten or fifteen minutes. Then she came down. But that little Annie, she doesn't give up trying to be near the Big Girls.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

the gift taking root

God of might, giver of every good gift, put into our hearts the love of your name, so that, by deepening our sense of reverence, you may nurture in us what is good and, by your watchful care, keep safe what you have nurtured.

-   from Magnificat, September 2019

Monday, September 2, 2019

a fall capsule menu

The idea of a capsule wardrobe is buzzing around in recent years. It has its merits and has given me something to think about. But from it I've suddenly got the idea of making a seasonal capsule menu!

It all came about a week or two ago - I made an Italian style macaroni and cheese. It was good! But I could feel myself falling into a habit of too much carb-y stuff at dinner, and I didn't like it. I'd been watching a few of Audrey's youtube videos about her ideas for capsule dressing, and it came to me that I could use this idea for menu-planning.

And so in a notebook I wrote down all kind of foods which seemed fall-appropriate to me. I went through my recipe box and removed all the ones I might like to eat over the next three or so months. I made a pinterest board with recipes I'd accumulated with seasonal interest.

Now I have lots of options! I feel so relieved, just to have these ideas at hand.

Today, for Labor Day we had a friend over; I made Emeril's sloppy joes, cukes cut up, and Anna's brownies, and there was ice cream. Carbs, yes, but it's inevitable at times, and it's a holiday.

Of course I can depart from it, but it's so helpful to be organized, isn't it?

Sunday, September 1, 2019

it's September

Where I live, in early September we are hearing something outside - insects of some sort making their constant sounds, a background to whatever we do in the house.  If we're quiet. This lasts all day, and through the night, but it sounds more interesting at night.  I wish I knew what they were; I envy the English, who all seem to know their wildlife and all the things in nature they're neighbors with. Families who homeschool also seem to know this, but for many it's lost knowledge.

In September we can expect the skies to get bluer as the air gets drier, but in the mornings fog will frequently appear. Of course it's cooler and more comfortable to sleep at night, but you can still keep the windows open. It is possible at some point that the furnace will turn on, if you let it. Everyone has their own opinions on the subject; many people I know are determined to tough it out until November.

There is goldenrod blooming, and the asters (Michaelmas daisies, if you like). And ragweed, which might make your head feel stuffy. Later in the month, the leaves start to turn and they could be bright orange, golden yellow or glowing red, and we spend the first part of the month wondering how brilliant the trees are going to be.

The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel -
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such,
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.

-   John Updike,   September

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

owning up

"Be your own accuser, and He will be your pardoner."

                                            -  St. Augustine

Monday, August 26, 2019

a little more order

At one of the thrift stores last week, I found a basket with a handle, just right for a grab-and-go sewing kit.

The contents are a little crowded - maybe I can take out some things.

Planning ahead for the day when the little one discovers the sewing supplies on my desk - and the sharp things that are in there. I'm aiming to make room for this basket in my bookcase, out of her way.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

a contrasting hem

I'm finally finishing up a summer dress I started way back when; I'm ready to hem it.

I had pinned this image from Anna's website, Pleasant View Schoolhouse, because it seems I'm often drawn to hems with borders: it's the third photo down, with her daughter wearing a dress that looks like the hem is bound with bias binding. I love this look!

I decided to try it with my blue floral, and use a contrasting color.

The ruby red looks nice with it, I think.

I was trying to figure out the best way to go about it; using double fold is the ideal, but I wanted to use what I had on hand and I liked this color. I stitched it on to right side, intending to fold it under and secure it in back, but that would make a very thin band at the bottom, and I like this particular width.

I'm just going to trim and zigzag the seam allowance underneath there, and then leave it be; it's bias - it shouldn't fray, right? I like that width - we'll see what happens! I'll only have to press out the fold line.

Friday, August 23, 2019

written with a sunbeam

"The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the Divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power."

                                                                -  Alexander Hamilton

Thursday, August 22, 2019

red and juicy

We're absolutely swimming in tomatoes. Which is a pretty nice thing. But it's not so much that I need to find a way to preserve them; I think we can manage to just eat them.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

utter madness

If we were sitting across from one another and talking, if you looked at my bare feet for any length of time, I'd start to worry you might tickle them.

You know how it is in the movies when something's going on just out of sight, and the main character is trying hard not to let on, but it's starting to get obvious? And they're making funny sounds in spite of themselves?

You know how the Three Stooges sounded - I think it was Curly, actually - that high-pitched whiny sound he made when the others gave him a hard time?

Have you seen Emma Thompson's "Sense and Sensibility"? I'm thinking of the scene where Edward has just arrived after the girls' father died and Margaret is hiding under the map table in the library. Edward and Fanny are in the room and Fanny talks of her plan to cut down some trees; Margaret makes some kind of noise from under there, and so Edward realizes where she is.

I was trying to have my supper - minding my own business to be sure - and the little Itty Bitty began hugging my ankles, gumming my feet, hanging on even when I raised my legs. It didn't matter what I did. With my mouth full, "mmmm!  ah! ooh! ha!" Afraid I'd choke on my food, I scooped her up and plopped her on the window sill in another room. But within two minutes she returned - refusing the give up her fixation on my feet. I had to put her in the basement and shut the door.

This is not a complaint. I'm just telling the story.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

a tiny fragrance

"[The Blessed Mother]...leads us to see in each other all the little virtues which make us dear to her, if we are sincere in our love of our Lord and of herself. No matter how ragged and unlovely a rosebush may be, it still has some bud upon it that has a lovely tint or a breath of fragrance, for which we like it, because the rose is so beautiful that a single petal is charming. So, if we strive to love heavenly things we become part of the family of the saints, and a tiny fragrance at least tells to whom we belong."

                                             -  Sister Rose Hawthorne,  daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne, 
                                                                                         from Magnificat, August 2019

Saturday, August 17, 2019

curtains down and chickens in the yard

Since I love linen and cotton so much, I am ironing two or three times a week. But I'm in trouble now, since a little cat has come into the house; she just has to attack the electrical cord. So the second and third times I made an attempt, I waited till she was asleep. This meant nothing, of course - she didn't mind at all interrupting her rest when there was a cord to be chewed. I finally put her in the bathroom while I finished.

Of course,I heard a loud noise in there, and found the curtain and rod half down, needing the help of some pliers before I could set it to rights. And the toilet paper, some of it unrolled, of course. But I refuse to switch to polyester on her account! Otherwise, she is entirely precious.

The people behind our next-door neighbors have chickens; I love hearing them and have wanted to get a look at them, but I'd have to go way around, as there's a high fence between their properties.

Right after re-hanging the bathroom curtains, I decided to shake out a little rug near the back door. I hung it over the railing and when I turned to come in, I saw them out near the brook, alongside the bridge. They were looking at me. They had escaped their area somehow!

I hurried to google my neighbors' phone number, but I got a message that their voice mailbox was full. I rushed around our side fence into the next-door yard and up to the big fence, hoping I could see someone in their back yard, but it was hard to see through the chain link. I called out, "Patrick! Desiree!" Only the rooster replied, and I didn't want to get him stirred up.

I've read too many blog posts from chicken owners who've lost them to predators. I called my brother to stop at their house on his way home from work. Well, they were sitting outside; apparently they let them out now and then. But I don't think they realized they came through the brook and over to our property. If there is a next time, I will try not to panic about it.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

summer soup and a big cat

I'm a little bit thrilled to have found a new soup recipe that's really delicious (even though I had to turn on the AC to make it). It is in this month's Better Homes and Gardens*, and I used our own yellow squash and tomatoes in it! (I did alter it slightly, adding two extra cups of stock and only half the amount of lemon juice) I have found, however, that my point and shoot camera never takes a good soup photo - the look is always so shiny and unnatural; I couldn't get a good one with the DSLR, either. You will have to believe me, that it was great.

We have tomatoes almost pouring in now, but that is okay. A lunch with a couple of them warm from the sun, cut up and sprinkled with bits of feta is perfect.

They've been digging up our street, redoing the storm drains which are about sixty years old, so that's welcome.

It' is a bit inconvenient getting in and out, especially when someone is coming over and they're not sure how to get to your house when the road is blocked off. But it does give the cats something to look at.

*If you look at the link, you'll see the recipe heading says it's made with cherry tomatoes, but when you read the recipe you'll see it's made with full-sized ones. I wouldn't use small tomatoes for this.

Monday, August 12, 2019

"do you remember an inn, Miranda?"

"Do you remember an Inn, Miranda?"  - Hilaire Belloc, "Tarantella"

Yes, do you remember an Inn,
Where chairs rocked, creaking,
On the long veranda,
Where beds were elderly
To match the plumbing
But the manager smiled at our coming?

Far from the highway where the traffic muttered,
It was clapboarded white,
It was greenly shuttered.
There peace descended
When night began
And we paid by American Plan.

Remember the lobster redder than the wine,
The breakfast dining-room
That closed at nine,
The wavy mirrors
In the first-floor Women's,
The waitresses all from Smith or Simmons
And the crickets loud
But the busboys louder
And the reek of the leek
In the weekly chowder
And the carefree luggage
That porters brought in
And the baths you could launch a yacht in?

Nevermore, Miranda, nevermore.
Only the faceless,
Duplicated door
Of a thousand Motels
From Taos to Truro
With Television built in the built-in bureau.
Only the wallpaper, self-assertive,
And the dusty coming
And the going, furtive,
And the Howard Johnson's
For a meal, en masse,
And the clink of the drink
In the toothbrush glass.
Only the guests, neither gentlemen nor ladies,
But Messieur the Buick
Or Madame, Mercedes
And the fee in advance
And the sleeping pill
For the traffic roaring at the sill.

Let my fly to an Inn like a sword to its scabbard
Where the crickets cry
And the walls are clapboard.
Till I find a rocker
On a long veranda
I'll motor no more, Miranda.

                                     -   Lament for Lost Lodgings, by Phyllis McGinley

Sunday, August 11, 2019

planning ahead

How lively a household can be with a little one running around! But I've started a pinterest board for soft Christmas ornament ideas.

Friday, August 9, 2019

may He scatter and brighten

May the God of infinite goodness scatter the darkness of sin and brighten our hearts with holiness. Amen.

                                                          - from Magnificat, August 2019

Thursday, August 8, 2019

twice the sound

I didn't always know that I could plug my tablet into the boombox or stereo to get better and louder sound. For under ten bucks, the cost of the six-foot long cord.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

simple green soup

Gretchen mentioned in a comment that she used a soup recipe from Laurel's Kitchen to use up the summer squash when it starts piling up. I had to do and inter-library loan because our copy was long gone.

There is a recipe here, but she also gives a version which is really just a vague guideline; so I cubed up as much zucchini as would fit in the pot and cooked it slowly in butter, with some basil, white pepper and salt. Then I added a quart of water and chicken base. Warmed it up, and put some of it in the blender with maybe a third cup of cottage cheese. Salt to taste. I will keep this recipe,

Thanks, Gretchen!

Monday, August 5, 2019

little orphan Annie

Can you guess? It seems we're keeping her. Annie, the orphan. Unless, of course, someone appears who has a claim to her.

How do these things happen? We certainly had no notion of it when we got up in the morning. And one week after Mr. Kibble passed away.

high and deep and wide

God, be in our thinking, always as a guide,
God, be in our yearning, high and deep and wide;
God, be in our caring, with us intertwined,
As we grow to love you, heart and soul and mind.

                                                                       - from Magnificat, August 2019

Sunday, August 4, 2019

I can't believe it

I was just thinking that it took Mr. Kibble for us to get to know Diane and Bill a little, and now we would probably slip back into our routine of keeping to ourselves.

Bill called this noontime - the boy next door found a little kitten outside and called them, so they took her (?) while they are trying to find out where it belongs. It's a friendly kitty, it must have a home and maybe just slipped out the door and wandered.

How do I know it's friendly? 

She is here, for the time being, because the poor little thing is afraid of their two dogs. That's why he called; could we take it for a while?

The poor little orphan.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

no more struggles

Diane called not long after we got home from Mass - Mr. Kibble wasn't doing well; she thought we might want him for a while to say our good-byes. Yes!

He was here about four hours; we prayed for him and sprinkled holy water on his little self when he seemed to struggle for breath. He was here with us on the kitchen table in his little bed the whole time, and we kept our vigil talking and stroking him; he gave up the ghost around four twenty.

With much gratitude to St. Joseph, for taking such good care of him all this time.

Kibble, in your orisons be all our sins remembered.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

too much self

I've been reading a lot lately, I guess - and too preoccupied to post here....

"I now think the rampant individualism of our current culture is a catastrophe. The emphasis on self - individual success, self-fulfillment, individual freedom, self-actualization - is a catastrophe. I now think that living a good life requires a much vaster transformation."

"For six decades the worship of the self has been the central preoccupation of our culture - molding the self, investing in the self, expressing the self. ...When a whole society is built around self-preoccupation, its members become separated from one another, divided and alienated. And that is what has happened to us. We are down in the valley. The rot we see in our politics is caused by a rot in our moral and cultural foundations - in the way we relate to one another, in the way we see ourselves as separable from one another, in the individualistic values that have become the water in which we swim."

                                                        - David Brooks, The Second Mountain

Not that I didn't already know this, but he puts it very well, and I think has enough popularity and maybe influence to really get the point across.

Monday, July 22, 2019

too true

We strive with all our strength and soul
To do what life requires,
And somehow while we're on the way
Fulfill our hearts' desires.
And often as the days speed on
Too hard our small hearts beat.
Be still, my soul, the Spirit sighs,
Go sit at Jesus' feet.

There is a road we see too well,
Its features fill our eyes;
A quieter path not far away
We barely recognize.
And we must find our way on both,
Or life is incomplete.
Be still, my soul, the Spirit sighs,
Go sit at Jesus' feet.

The many things we hope to do,
The wholeness God bestows,
The center that unites the two
Are closer than one knows.
There is in us a holy ground
Where prayer and labor meet.
Be still, my soul, the Spirit sighs,
Go sit at Jesus' feet.

-  Michael Hudson,   from Magnificat, July 2019

Saturday, July 20, 2019

dog days

A few days of excessive heat with air conditioner running morning and night; fit for eating light meals, quiet indoor activities and plenty of ice cream, iced tea and watermelon.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

a cheerful courage

Awake, our souls! away, our fears!
Let every trembling thought be gone!
Awake, and run the heavenly race,
And put a cheerful courage on.

True, 'til a straight and thorny road,
And mortal spirits tire and faint;
But they forget the mighty God,
That feeds the strength of every saint.

                                                                          - Isaac Watts, from Magnificat, July, 2019