Thursday, March 26, 2015

foggy afternoon

With still much snow on the ground, today was in the fifties. It poured for a while and then got very foggy.

Maybe thunderstorms later.

make room

"The Lord does not free us from evils, but helps us to mature in sufferings, difficulties, and persecutions. Faith, therefore, tells us that if we abide in God, 'though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day', in trials...

Therefore, the more room we make for prayer, the more we will see our life transformed and enlivened by the tangible power of God's love."

                                                                   Pope Benedict XVI, A School of Prayer

Monday, March 23, 2015

classical Dolly

Listening to some Liszt -

because she gave jazz up for Lent.


"For Saint Paul, prayer is above all the work of the Spirit in our humanity, taking charge of our weakness and transforming us from men attached to the material world into spiritual men."

                                                    - Pope Benedict XVI,  A School of Prayer

Friday, March 20, 2015


At six forty-five this evening, spring arrived.

It's been snowing since midafternoon.

exhibit A

No winter lasts forever;
no spring skips its turn.

         - Hal Borland

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Winnie the Pooh's Chocolate Tea Bread

There's a little bitty cookbook in the children's section at the library, Winnie the Pooh's Teatime Cookbook.  And years ago I discovered a delicious chocolate tea bread in it. I thought I'd make it for Easter ahead of time, but the recipe wasn't in my box, and I could not find it online anywhere. So, here it is, in the interests of deliciousness:

Chocolate Tea Bread

2 sticks butter
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 c. cocoa
1 c. plain yogurt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 c. flour
4 oz. chocolate chips

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla till light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing rapidly. Gently mix in cocoa, yogurt, b. powder, soda and salt, then mix in flour*. Lastly, stir in the chips. Put into greased and floured 9x5 loaf pan and bake about an hour at 350 F. Leave in pan to cool with a towel over it. 

*and for the love of Mike, Pete, or whoever - put on your reading glasses so you know to put in one and three quarters cups of flour, not one and one quarter cups (which is what I did - well, it'll just be more fudgy, right?)! I'm writing out this recipe in large letters ASAP.

by the way - the illustrations are by Ernest H. Shepard.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"the only way to fulfill our life"

"And we learn from Jesus that constant prayer helps us to interpret our life, make our decisions, recognize and accept our vocation, discover the talents that God has given us, and do his will daily, the only way to fulfill our life."

                                                            -  Pope Benedict XVI,  A School of Prayer

Saturday, March 14, 2015

a paradox

"Adam and Eve thought that the 'no' to God was the crowning point of freedom, of being fully themselves. On the Mount of Olives, Jesus brings the human will back to unreserved 'yes' to God; in him the natural will is fully integrated in the orientation that the Divine Person gives it...Thus Jesus tells us that it is only by conforming our own will to the divine one that human beings attain their true height, that they become 'divine'; only by coming out of ourselves, only in the 'yes' to God, is Adam's desire - and the desire of us all - fulfilled: the desire to be completely free. It is what Jesus brings about at Gethsemane: in transferring the human will into the divine will, the true man is born and we are redeemed."

                                          -  Pope Benedict XVI,  A School of Prayer

Friday, March 13, 2015


for St. Patrick's Day, with my little statue I bought on Etsy.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

grass around the rose bush!

Well, it was just the other day when I was saying that I wouldn't be able to reach the roses to do my end-of-March pruning. But I guess I was wrong! We still have plenty of snow, but it's shrinking away from the edges of things.

There are some things you like to be wrong about. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

St. Gertrude of Nivelles, patron of cats

I have no remembrance of how I found this site - this blog with a post about the patron saint for cats.

And this image, so appealing with its bright colors, this nice woman and her little friends.

But you can bet she's going to have a place on this blog, along with St. Margaret of Scotland.

Monday, March 9, 2015

a little faster; just as good

Last week I got the idea it would be nice to have certain things on hand in the freezer; so, now there's pizza dough in there and today I made some biscuits with my favorite recipe from Food Network magazine.

Except that, instead of fighting with the sticky dough in order to roll it out and cut, I just grabbed little blobs and plopped 'em on the baking sheets. Just as tasty.

Lemon-Thyme Biscuits

2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 T. wheat germ
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
4 T. cold butter
1 c. buttermilk

Measure out the buttermilk and let the dry thyme soak in there a while. Mix dry ingredients, then cut in butter with pastry cutter or whatever method you like. Mix in the buttermilk. The dough is sticky, so knead it a little, then pick off rounded pieces and place them on cookie sheets. Bake at 425F for about 13 minutes. (If your sheets are thin, check for burning at the bottom.)  

slightly adapted from Food Network's recipe

Sunday, March 8, 2015

growing pains

"Our mothers were racked with the pains of our physical birth; we ourselves suffer the longer pains of our spiritual growth."

                                 -  Mary Antin,  from Simple Abundance

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


"If we follow the Good Shepherd - no matter how difficult, tortuous, or long the pathways of our life may seem, even through spiritual deserts without water and under the scorching sun of rationalism - with the guidance of Christ the Good Shepherd, we, too, like the Psalmist, may be sure that we are walking on 'paths of righteousness' and that the Lord is leading us, is ever close to us, and that we 'shall lack nothing'."

                                                                    -  Pope Benedict XVI,  A School of Prayer

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

too many potatoes

Because when I was sick and making a grocery order for delivery, I was so sure we were low on potatoes but didn't want to go way downstairs to look.  I ordered a bag, and of course we already had a full bag. Ahem.

So, I cut wedges and roasted some to go with the minestrone (with added meatballs - is it still minestrone with meatballs?) I made for our company.

But I need to do more.

Monday, March 2, 2015

beautiful wool afghan

I had forgotten about this

and came across it in the bathroom, top shelf of the linen closet. I'm pretty sure of who made it - it wasn't me!

It's very very heavy, so I know it's wool; and I'm wondering why I put it in the bathroom - I don't want it in a such a steamy place.

Neutrals, warm pinks and aquas - a real heirloom.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

planting seeds

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant."

                                                     -  Robert Louis Stevenson

Friday, February 27, 2015

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the mountains
from where shall come my help.
My help shall come from the Lord
who made heaven and earth.

May he never allow you to stumble!
Let him sleep not, your guard.
No, he sleeps not nor slumbers
Israel's guard.

The Lord is your guard and your shade
at your right hand he stands.
By day the sun shall not smite you
nor the moon by night

The Lord will guard you from evil
he will guard your soul.
The Lord will guard your going and coming
both now and for ever.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

a rose knit skirt

I bought the fabric months ago and put together the six-gore skirt, and then it sat waiting for my hand stitching; my second skirt of the Alabama Chanin style. I like the gray one with four seams - with this I'm  going a little fancier. Just a little.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

exhausted cats

because sleeping two thirds of the day is so tiring, you know.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

homemade breadsticks

When my cold was waning I had such a desire for a crunchy cracker or chip, and searched my cookbooks for recipes. But the bread sticks in Alana Chernila's Homemade Pantry are what caught my attention.

I made them yesterday. While it's very satisfying to eat them, it was a lot of work for just thirty two, which take no time at all to disappear. Rolling these little things between your hands wasn't as fast as you might expect - yeast dough isn't so biddable as Play-Doh.  And, unless I put in more salt than I should have (don't think so), they are quite salty. Still, I can't help thinking that if I could do it in stages it might be worth it to try again. We'll see. I'm enjoying them while they last - yesterday with hummus, today with peanut butter.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sunday, February 22, 2015

plenty, even on the parched land

If you remove from your midst oppression,
false accusation and malicious speech;
If you bestow your bread on the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted;
Then light shall rise for you like midday;
Then the Lord will guide you always
and give you plenty even on the parched land.
He will renew your strength, and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring whose water never fails.
The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake,
and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up;
Repairer of the breach, they shall call you,
Restorer of ruined homesteads.

If you hold back your foot from the sabbath
from following your own pursuits on my holy day;
If you call the sabbath a delight,
and the Lord's holy day honorable;
If you honor it by not following your ways,
seeking your own interests, or speaking with malice -
Then you shall delight in the Lord,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

- from the book of Isaiah 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

a true story

I brought in the mail. Dolly was on the back of the couch. There was a package. She looked interested. 

What is it?
"Dolly, Kiss My Face."

And then she did.

the dear girl.

Friday, February 20, 2015

"feathers on the windows"

"It was a very cold cold that there was not only frost but feathers on the windows most of the time ...and there was much snow and wild wind in birch and spruce. And never a thaw, not even in January, although Tillytuck was loath to give up hope of one."

                                          -    Mistress Pat,  L. M. Montgomery

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

why try to fast

" the new Adam. At the beginning of his ministry in the gospel of Matthew, we read, 'When He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He became hungry.' Hunger is that state in which we realize our dependence on something else  -  when we face the ultimate question: on what does my life depend? Satan tempted both Adam and Christ, saying, 'Eat, for your hunger is proof that you depend entirely on food, that your life is in food.' Adam believed and ate. Christ said, 'Man does NOT live by bread alone.' This liberates us from total dependence on food, on matter, on the world. Thus, for the Christian, fasting is the only means by which man recovers his true spiritual nature. In order for fasting to be effective, then, the spirit must be a part of it. Christian fasting is not concerned with losing weight. It is a matter of prayer and of the spirit. And because of that, because it is truly a place of the spirit, true fasting may well lead to temptation, and weakness and doubt and irritation. In other words, it will be a real fight between good and evil, and very likely we shall fail many times in these battles. But the very discovery of the Christian life as 'fight' and 'effort' is an essential aspect of fasting."

                                                      -   from the USCCB website

Monday, February 16, 2015

big bird

I was putting the finishing touches on Anna's coffee cake - the sour cherry version, in honor of President's Day (or, at least, the first president) - when my brother came in, saying, "Quick, grab your camera - there's a hawk in the front yard!!"  Well, we do see them now and then, but I washed my hands and went to the window. Wow!  This bird was a giant.

You know they're large, but it's another thing to see one sitting calmly nearby.

bigger than Dolly

He's gone now. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

a cat-shaped patch

The sheets covering the living room furniture have tears in them - mostly from Cindy - and the mending I did just made things worse. If you can't mend something invisibly, then I think it's better to be very obvious. So, with this wabi-sabi idea in mind, I made some patches and zigzagged them on. Of course one is a cat shape. The rest are rectangles.

I had to zigzag from the back, and hopefully can make the stitching into a design at some  point.

These at least have personality - next time, perhaps a sleeping cat shape!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Dolly sweet

Listening to Faure's Dolly Suite.  It was on the radio.

Well, I'm not sure how well she was listening. It wasn't jazz, after all.