Friday, May 27, 2016

in the blink of an eye

How fast things can change - one minute you're over here, the next over there. And you never expected it.

After making my own yogurt several times, and fully intending to continue, I find myself at a crossroads. A yogurt crossroads.

I bought some Siggi's, and it's so delicious I suddenly don't care about making my own anymore.

Over the past few years I can't tell you how many times I picked up a Siggi's, and then put it back. I can't say why; I don't know. But the week before last was different. I bought one. And as I was opening the container I said to myself why oh why did you buy this? You'll be so sorry when you taste all that sugar. 

But it didn't. Have the sugar. Well, not very much. And it was almost like there was whipped cream in it. (I actually dislike whipped cream, but when your yogurt has a whipped-like consistency, it's pretty nice.) So the next week I bought every flavor the store had. Maybe ten? Gone in three days. At a dollar seventy-nine apiece, that could be an expensive habit. And to think that a month ago I was pleased to be making my own for half the price of my (then) favorite brand. But even when you are trying to be careful and responsible with your food dollars, there are some things which are just worth it.

I may make yogurt again; I would like to try to replicate Siggi's. But things have changed.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

kind of blue

We're having a little heat wave, which is okay with me, because I have been longing to get entirely warmed up.  But it's tough on the furry people.

Dolly was especially languid today; she didn't even want to stir herself to go outside with me.

This evening found her on the kitchen table under the ceiling fan, with the radio playing Miles Davis' Kind of Blue. No kidding.

Monday, May 23, 2016

a sturdy basket

I knew Dolly was pining to go outside; I threw an old quilt under a tree.

A sturdy basket held whatever I could possibly need.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

little things

Debra had a birthday so we went to our favorite lunch place, where the food is good, the staff all so lovely, local artwork (for sale) on the walls and, at this time of year, beautiful plantings outside. Little tables outdoors too, but too cool for us that day.

There were catbirds flying to and fro, and I managed a very bad photo of one in the middle of this fence.

Our original idea was to go there each season, but we've decided we have to go every month. And that's that.

I'm currently working on making an unused jumper into a skirt.

I got this Eddie Bauer, linen jumper years ago at Goodwill and loved it for years. I can't tell if it's faded or not - it has a deliberately faded look to begin with. It will match one of my blouses very well.

Tootsie's people didn't only give us the miro-wood cat from Pitcairn Island, they also gave us a smaller wooden cat, made in Costa Rica. It reminded them of Tootsie, and they said - they said it, not I! - that it would be a Tootsie who was well-behaved and wouldn't cause Dolly any trouble.

It's cute.  They also gave us a copy of "Mutiny on the Bounty" with Marlon Brando. I've never seen it, but I look forward to it. Three thoughtful gifts.

Today I wound a hank of Cascade 220 into a ball, and didn't get one knot!  I guess I'm doing something differently.  It's a pretty light blue - a tweed - with colorful specks throughout. I've had it quite a few years and want to use it!

I added several small shawl patterns to my Ravelry favorites. It's a limited selection as I've got only one.

Friday, May 20, 2016

return of the catbirds

The catbirds are back - I heard one just now.  I have a fondness for them; they're related to my favorite, the mockingbird.  I don't know when they arrived, but I suspect they wait until all danger of cold is passed before their return.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pitcairn kitty

This wooden cat is a gift from Tootsie's people; it was made by a 90 year old man on Pitcairn Island from miro wood.  The color is really deeper than appears here - I lightened it up so you could see the face. It's nine inches tall. I love it!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

not enough forsythia

Last month our forsythia only bloomed on a small patch on the end of a row - and we have lots of it! It looked pitiful but I knew that our late-summer pruning was most likely cutting off the new growth, which is where the spring blossoms appear. It looked so pathetic that this year I am determined to mend my ways; last week I started early pruning - I want to get into some better habits.

What do you know, but today a lovely woman who volunteers at the library once a week mentioned how the forsythia didn't bloom this year. Anywhere in our area! So I asked Kathy if she has forsythia. Yes, and hers only bloomed on one stalk. Then Linda came in and said the same.

So it wasn't our fault, after all.  But don't waste any sympathy on us; if you're going to feel sorry, make it for a really good reason.

Feel sorry that the entire peach crop has failed in this state for the year. Now, that is a tragedy.

Sunday, May 15, 2016


Praise God in his holy place,
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his powerful deeds,
praise his surpassing greatness.

O praise him with sound of trumpet,
praise him with lute and harp.
Praise him with timbrel and dance,
praise him with strings and pipes.

O praise him with resounding cymbals,
praise him with clashing of cymbals.
Let everything that lives and breathes 
give praise to the Lord.

- Psalm 150

from a church in Dublin, Ireland

At this culmination of the Easter season, let us unite in a great chorus of praise in the Spirit, who is the life-breath of the whole world made new in the Death and Resurrection of Christ.

-   from Magnificat, May 2016

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Tootsie goes home

Tootsie's people came to get her this afternoon. She was pleased to see them.

While they were telling about their trip, she disappeared; I found her in the basement, and had to start up the vacuum in order to flush her out.

trying to figure out the storm window

They asked me, "Do you think she doesn't want to go home?"  But my feeling is she probably thought they had come along in order to move in with us, too.  

Dolly's already exhibiting signs of giddiness.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

birthday cookies

I made these bars today. 

They were very easy, and oh so good.  

And then I walked some over to Debra's, in time for her birthday. 

My slightly simplified version  -

Into your mixer bowl, put:
  • two and a half cups rolled oats
  • one and a half cups of flour
  • a half cup of whole wheat flour
  • one cup brown sugar
  • one cup of canola oil
  • one teaspoon baking soda
  • one half teaspoon of salt
  •  2 eggs
  • one tablespoon of vanilla
Mix well, then stir in some dark chocolate chunks, as many as look good to you; press the mixture into a greased 13x9 pan, and sprinkle more chunks on top, pressing them into the dough. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, and let them cool in the pan for half an hour.  Cut, and eat!

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.