Thursday, June 13, 2019

sharing in the joy

"Each saint in heaven rejoices over the glorification of the other... To use an example: See, we are standing together, and I have a rose in my hand. The rose is mine, and yet you no less than I rejoice in its beauty and its perfume. So shall it be in eternal life. My glory shall be your consolation and exultation, and yours shall be mine."

                                             -  St. Anthony of Padua from Magnificat, June, 2019

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

the annual weeds of June

I have talked about this before - in fact, I just looked it up in my blog archives and found it on another June twelfth! - how sweet the air is around here every June. I used to think it was fancy or exaggeration when poets exclaimed over sweet fragrances wafting along the breeze, but now I know I was mistaken.

The above is a clump of wild roses growing across our brook, along the bank. And I can smell the scent through my bedroom window. We did not plant it there, nor did the birds. You may read my previous post in the link above, or I can repeat the story now. We'd pruned several branches of the stuff from a bunch of it nearer the house, and then threw it over there, presumably to break down in the way of nature. But when it was time for all good roses to bloom, those cut branches bloomed! Without any root! And by now have established themselves over there, to look pretty and sweeten the June air.

Who can complain about such a weed? (And also - is there a lesson to be found in this? Because I'm sure there is one.)

Monday, June 10, 2019

the divine in the details

"The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life."

                                            -   William Morris

Saturday, June 8, 2019

"June in the Suburbs"

I heard a poem in a podcast but it doesn't seem to be anywhere online - nowhere. I took a chance and ordered a collection of the poet's work from another library, and bingo!

June in the Suburbs

Not with a whimper but a roar
Of birth and bloom this month commences.
The wren's a gossip at her door.
Roses explode along the fences.

By day the chattering mowers cope
With grass decreed a final winner.
Darkness delays. The skipping rope
Twirls in the driveway after dinner.

Through lupine-lighted borders now
For winter bones Dalmatians forage.
Costly, the spray on apple bough.
The canvas chair comes out of storage;

And rose-red golfers dream of par,
And class-bound children loathe their labors,
While pilgrims, touring gardens, are
Cold to petunias of their neighbors.

Now from damp loafers nightly spills
The sand. Brides lodge their list with Plummer.
And cooks devise on charcoal grills
The first burnt offerings of summer.

- by Phyllis McGinley

Friday, June 7, 2019

God bless Diane, the cat-mother

Two weeks had gone by since Diane came to tell me about Mr. Kibble's blindness, and I just never saw a time when she was home, I was free and it seemed good to go over there. So I finally just called her this past Monday.

She told me he'd declined since then; she's keeping him in the bathroom, she has to help him eat and drink, he is sometimes incontinent. She said he doesn't walk and she tries to move his legs so he doesn't lose the use of them.Every evening after supper she gets a latex-backed rug and lays it on the couch beside her and she keeps him on there for the evening. He gets lots of loving. We arranged that I should come over the following evening around seven - she would call me.

Well, Tuesday I was having my dinner and she called at 6:35. I didn't tell her I was eating - I just stopped and went over there.

He really wasn't as bad as I expected. I saw him in the bathroom in a little plush cat bed - she said he must have gone into it himself, so he does move around some on his own. She got the rug on the couch and we settled down. For a full half hour I petted him and talked to him like I'd always wanted to. He purred and seemed to listen to me. As for his condition, he tried to get up and move around a couple of times, and his movements were very jerky. It was clear that he'd had a similar spell to the one he had two years ago, only worse - or maybe because he's older, weaker. He was very happy for the affection! He's got a sore looking place on one corner of his mouth; Diane says he turns his head sideways to eat and I think that area gets irritated. She puts salve on it.

He is the dearest little fellow! As I always knew he was.

in better days

Thursday, June 6, 2019


To be a giant and keep quiet about it,
To stay in one's own place;
To stand for the constant presence of process
And always to seem the same.
To be steady as a rock and always trembling,
Having the hard appearance of death
With the soft, fluent nature of growth,
One's Being deceptively armored,
One's Becoming deceptively vulnerable;
To be so tough, and take the light so well,
Freely providing forbidden knowledge
Of so many things about heaven and earth 
For which we should otherwise have no word -
Poems or people are rarely so lovely,
And even when they have great qualities
They tend to tell you rather than exemplify
What they believe themselves to be about,
While from the moving silence of trees,
Whether in storm or calm, in leaf and naked,
Night or day, we draw conclusions of our own,
Sustaining and unnoticed as our breath,
And perilous also - though there has never been
A critical tree - about the nature of things.

-   Howard Nemerov

something positive about social media

With so little value in much of social media, the opportunity to see how it is in so many parts of the world is a positive. Yesterday a video appeared from a man who'd discovered a couple of lynx yelling at each other.  This kind of thing is fabulous, and you can hear this fellow saying so while he's filming. The cats paid no attention to him - they were concerned with their "discussion".  It was no doubt serious to them, but I have to laugh at the voices of these two who sound so much like aggravated humans. If it weren't for the internet, I'd never get to see this. Which is fine with me, as I'm happy to stick with mild little housecats.

Monday, June 3, 2019

what's been goin' on

I put a pot of water on to boil the other day and went to the basement quick to get some pantry items. I came upstairs in time to hear a pop and see a spark on the stove - I actually screamed, but was able to shut off the burner. There was no fire, thank God! The burner burned out near where it plugs into the stove - not very technical language, is it? I don't know what to call these pieces. But my brother instantly knew that Amazon would have the replacement coil. Why was I surprised at that? 

found this at a consignment shop - not sure yet what to do with it

Sweetie took a trip to the animal hospital last week. She threw up one morning and never ate again for the rest of the day - when I tried to give her water, she threw it up. We were nervous and took her for a ten o'clock p.m. appointment two towns over. Blood work, some Pepcid, something for inflammation and an antibiotic shot, and then she was able to eat a little before we left for home. Turns out she's got hyperthyroidism! And her liver numbers were sky high; an ultrasound was ordered a few days later. There are no lesions on her liver, and the levels went down quite a bit, but it isn't clear why they were so extremely high (ten times what they should be!). Not clear why she was sick all day, either. There's a cream we put on the inside of her ear twice every day - she's a little testy with that, but it's not too difficult - Dolly loves her ears rubbed, but not Sweetie. 8-O

A woman came into the library with a tote bag open along one side seam. She left it behind and said she didn't care much about it, but I thought it was kind of cute and could be fixed easily. I took it home, and it got buried beneath other things in the mending pile. But today was fixing day - I'll bring it to work and surprise her with it when she comes in - it's strong otherwise and still useful, not to mention the cute design it has.

my tablet looks like it's falling off an edge, but it's just distortion from the camera

Thursday, May 30, 2019

a white-flowered hanging plant, for a change

My co-worker told me there was a terrific plant nursery about a mile from my house - I had no idea the place was there.

I wanted a really nice hanging plant for the front. This is what I bought, after looking at them all. 

I forget what she said it is, but the leaves are velvety, almost like marsh mallow, the white flowers trumpet-like. It's kind of viney - it looks beautiful! 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

this day

This day the Lord has made his own,
Who broke from his confining grave.
His living presence fills the world
That by his Cross he came to save.

-  from Magnificat, May 2019

Thursday, May 23, 2019

the path of God

I sing as I arise today!
I call on my Creator's might:
The will of God to be my guide,
The eye of God to be my sight.

The word of God to be my speech,
The hand of God to be my stay,
The shield of God to be my strength,
The path of God to be my way.

-  from Magnificat, May 2019

Monday, May 20, 2019

a Mr. Kibble update

I finally got over to Diane's last Monday to see Mr. Kibble. We were petting him, Diane was kissing him, and he was cool with it all, the dear fellow! She said he'd had a growth on his lip which got  taken care of, and then he had a scratch under his eye. She had some ointment for it. She told me he seemed content to stay indoors, only going to the door to look out.

Yesterday evening I had Dolly on a leash outside and Diane called to me. She had some sorry news - Friday night she realized that Mr. K. has gone blind. We knew that his immune system isn't good - you can always hear his breathing at a distance, and it never gets better. Also, the periodic growths: last summer a couple of times he showed up with little things growing out of his forehead, which would get bigger and then disappear, I suppose getting knocked off when he groomed himself. He's older, his teeth aren't good and he has been on his own too long. But the poor little guy, to get this now, when he's finally in a place he can call home! We feel so badly about it.

enjoying a fine June day last year

Please remember him in your prayers.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

May, where are you?

I had polished these shoes last week, or maybe before that. They were nice and shiny and I put them away. Because it's May, after all, and who's going to wear black leather booties in spring?

Well, nobody, unless it's fifty degrees, or maybe even in the forties. And it was on Sunday, and I needed those shoes again. The weather man said it should be around seventy - it has been twenty degrees cooler than it's supposed to be. We are hoping today was the last of it; it's going up tomorrow, and at least till Sunday.

Monday, May 13, 2019

benefits from reading

"The only end of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life, or better to endure it."

                                               -   Samuel Johnson

Sunday, May 12, 2019

it's the balance

"It's the balance that counts all through life. It's the balance that matters in human relationships. It's the balance that matters in family life. There is a delicate balance, like the equal weight of two people seesawing, or like someone walking a tightrope. Too much on one side, too much on the other, and there comes the thud of one person on the seesaw or the fall of the person on the rope - the continuity of what was going on comes to a sudden stop. Balance is the very important ingredient in every area of life."

                                                  -  Edith Schaeffer, What is a Family?

Friday, May 10, 2019

feathers and flowers

Orioles come every summer, and I consider myself lucky to catch a quick glimpse of one whizzing by or high over head, but it's been several years since I've seen one, and I don't know their call to at least know they're around. But on Wednesday my co-worker said she'd had an oriole at her feeder, eating the black sunflower seeds -  that was unusual! So she put half an orange in the suet feeder for them because they really like sweet things.

Well - the next day while making my bed I looked over to my neighbor's apple tree, and there was an oriole, happily jumping from branch to branch, picking at the apple blossoms! He was there quite a while. I called Betty immediately. She emailed me later to say that right after my call she had seven of them in her tree! She got a photo of two, and sent it along. This is exciting; maybe it's a good year for them. (But I wonder if my neighbor's tree will still produce apples, hmmm.)

The cherry tree has been blooming for a week, through the mostly rainy and gloomy days and now the winds are blowing off the petals. The display was as beautiful as ever, but the tree itself now has a fungus growing up it. I suppose this happens on weak specimens and can't help but wonder if this will do it in.

I couldn't get a good picture of it, but the trunk below this part looks bad: a thick section of outer bark is coming away from the inner part - I could just pull it off easily, by the look of it. But it still wants to bloom.

I've noticed this with a little dogwood we got two years ago: even with an insect boring problem, it still bloomed, although it looked terrible and didn't produce many leaves at the beginning. It seems they still bloom, no matter what.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

cobbling a dinner together

Monday I made macaroni and cheese. That was the plan, anyway. I made the roux, then the sauce. I had only one bar of cheddar but almost eight ounces of leftover smoked gouda - good enough! I grated the gouda and reached for the cheddar - only to find that it was a bar of baby swiss! I had no idea how Swiss cheese would be in that dish and didn't think I should take such a chance: I told myself to be calm, and said a prayer for help. In the fridge I found half a container of cottage cheese, and maybe three tablespoons of grated Parmesan. That would have to do! I mixed it all up and added some rosemary. I then thought I could maybe use a little grated Swiss on top, so I grated some of that. Swiss cheese isn't salty at all, so I added salt and some onion powder, and then bread crumbs.

It was pretty good, actually. And I used up the cottage cheese, the gouda and the parm. We finished it up today.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

becoming alive

"It's now two weeks after Easter Sunday, and I suspect we've all returned to the routine of our lives. But according to this morning's Gospel, that's just where we can expect Jesus to reveal himself to us. 'Resurrection' does not happen apart from the routines of life but in them. Resurrection is not about escaping life but about becoming alive."

                                 - from here, and I hope they don't mind

Saturday, May 4, 2019

the quilt comes together

I originally began making this quilt because my knee was causing me a lot of doctor visits, x-rays, etc; I suddenly felt I needed a project. I began it, and then dropped it after having my wisdom teeth out - I was doing lot of reading then and didn't feel like sewing.

Now I've returned to it, and I have to say that as imperfect as it is, it's better than I thought it would be.

It's draped over my chair here. It was hard to get the colors right - the gold is warmer. Still, it's happening!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

the English man

There's man who comes in the library, and when I see him I always think he's English - I expect to hear the English accent when he speaks.  Everything about him - to me - says "English". But when he comes up to the desk, he has no English accent. He's American.

One day while waiting on him, we chatted a little. He told me he was English. They'd moved to Canada when he was young, and I forget how he ended up here. Funny! I did not tell him I thought he was English. But he came in today, and I was reminded of this episode.

Monday, April 29, 2019

a little bit of spring

Debra gave me a very small braid "rug", for lack of a better word. It's just like a braided rug, but only a few inches in diameter, the size of a doily. But if I used it for a doily, the prettiest part would be covered. I've been wanting to hang it up without knowing quite how, but today I just propped it in front of a white dish in the secretary - it's firm enough that it shouldn't flop or slide down.

Just right for spring.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Seven Stanzas at Easter

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells' dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that-pierced-died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time that will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck's quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

-    John Updike

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Dolly turns eighty

I put the harness on Dolly today and out we went.

It was beautiful outside. She trotted and I followed; we crossed over the bridge and went to the end of the property. There are more violas across the brook, a deep purple color.

Then I picked her up and we came in. She was content after that.

She had a birthday the other day - her sixteenth. That's like 80 years old, in our years.

She is doing well.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

especially at Easter

This page from a Sandra Boynton calendar has seen better days

but it's taped onto my desk area at work, and that's where it's staying.

Monday, April 22, 2019

before the lawn gets mowed

Little violas in the grass.

Praise to the giver of good!
O lover and author of concord,
Pour out your balm on our days;
Order our ways in your peace.

- from Magnificat, April 2019

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Psalm 88

Lord my God, I call for help by day;
I cry at night before you.
Let my prayer come into your presence.
O turn your ear to my cry.

For my soul is filled with evils;
my life is on the brink of the grave.
I am reckoned as one in the tomb:
I have reached the end of my strength,

like one alone among the dead;
like the slain lying in their graves;
like those you remember no more,
cut off, as they are, from your hand.

You have laid me in the depths of the tomb,
in places that are dark, in the depths.
Your anger weighs down upon me:
I am drowned beneath your waves.

You have taken away my friends
and made me hateful in their sight. 
Imprisoned, I cannot escape;
my eyes are sunken with grief.

I call to you, Lord, all the day long;
to you I stretch out my hands.
Will you work your wonders for the dead?
Will the shades stand and praise you?

Will your love be told in the grave
or your faithfulness among the dead?
Will your wonders be known in the dark
or your justice in the land of oblivion?

As for me, Lord, I call to you for help:
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Lord, why do you reject me?
Why do you hide your face?

Wretched, close to death from my youth,
I have borne your trials, I am numb.
Your fury has swept down upon me;
your terrors have utterly destroyed me.

They surround me all the day like a flood,
they assail me all together.
Friend and neighbor you have taken away:
my one companion is darkness.

Christ Crucified by Diego Velazquez

Thursday, April 18, 2019

"we have what we seek"

"The reason why we don't take time is a feeling that we have to keep moving. This is a real sickness. We live in the fullness of time. Every moment is God's own good time, His kairos. The whole thing boils down to giving ourselves in prayer a chance to realize that we have what we seek. We don't have to rush after it. It was there all the time, and if we give it time, it will make itself known to us."

                                                  -   Thomas Merton, from Seeking God by Esther de Waal

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

orange tulips in the kitchen

My brother came home with a tulip from a client - what a nice thing!

I like seeing kitchens with a plant on the counter or windowsill; we have very little room for that, but I am making it work.

They are right at the sink - I just shifted everything over.

And they don't seem to bother my breathing!

Monday, April 15, 2019

blooming and glowing

The forsythia is in Full Bloom; it's really glowing!

All my fears are gone - I guess forsythia is a hardy plant.