Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Henry eats

Henry can often be found at mealtimes, graciously finishing off the other cats' leavings -


Saturday, November 11, 2017

golden leaves

At sunset the other day the tree in back had turned to gold.


Friday, November 10, 2017

more light in the hallway

We painted the dark paneling in the living room years ago, but never got around to doing the far end of the hallway.  Yesterday I decided to just do it, and was so anxious to get it accomplished that I practically slapped it on. The paint in the can was several years old and very thick and I had to stir in lots of water. The wall shelf also got painted.


And just like in the living room, the light color alters everything now - it almost looks stark. I may need to arrange things a little differently.

Benjamin Moore, Indian White, same as in the kitchen. It needs a new switchplate, but I like it.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

birthday fun and other things

Tootsie went home with her people on Tuesday. I miss her a little; it's much easier to see her good points when she's separated from the other cats and isn't stressed out. I miss seeing her curled up in a laundry basket, resting on the shelf above the radio and listening, trying to get into the fridge for some greens, "talking" to me and really seeming like she's giving answers at the right times, the way she would sometimes stick out her front paws in a stiff way when you pick her up, or curl her "arms" around your shoulder like a child and not want to be put down for a while.

Okay, enough sentimentalism - things are back to normal here, and simpler. And she is happy at home.

My brother turns sixty tomorrow. Today I made him a cheesecake. But Nancy and Eileen had us over for lunch on Monday - it was to be a surprise birthday lunch, and my brother was indeed surprised!  I'd made a cake the previous week, which Eileen picked up and kept in their freezer. Made the frosting on Monday morning, stuffed it in a cute bag with some candles and decorations and gussied up the cake after our meal while he was chatting away.



 It was a lovely lunch and visit, very Novembery and overcast. If there were no holidays to look forward to at this time, this month would probably drag me down, but as it is, when it gets cold and even gloomy, it just seems more cozy to me and I look forward gladly to what's coming. Their home is so charming (two artists!) and Nancy set a pretty autumn table. They have a squirrel creamer -



A good memory.


We were there till late afternoon, and even though it was sprinkling, When we got home I managed to get the last window washed before the cold set in, because it is much colder - tomorrow will be in the twenties! Everyone is saying how fast Thanksgiving is approaching, and I think it must be due to the deceptively warm October we had; it was like an extended summer. Now, it's like winter is upon us!



Wednesday, November 8, 2017

fir tree rock


The latest rock found at the library. This one is my favorite so far - I realized I am often attracted to winter tree designs.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

won't rest until I've got it

I was looking for something homemade at a bake sale, and spied a chocolate babka.


Well, it was fabulous! And I found out who made it - I want that recipe. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

surprise blossom

I really can't keep houseplants - we have one window where they'd get sufficient light, and the cats like to sit there (front picture window).  I do have one little geranium in a small pot because I love to smell the spicy leaves. It hasn't grown but since I don't fertilize it and don't water regularly, that shouldn't surprise. In fact, for at least the past week it has needed water and finally today I made myself do it.


How surprised I was to see a bloom! With a cluster of buds! Why? It was dry as a bone, and it's November, for Pete's sake. I immediately thought of poinsettias which set buds when they're deprived of light and water, but a geranium? Well. And in spite of the cat hairs.

Friday, November 3, 2017

eventually red

When the first cold night threatened, my brother picked all the tomatoes, pulled up all the plants and put the garden to bed. The tomatoes were entirely and thoroughly green. I put them in a bowl on the counter and was too preoccupied to do anything but let them be.



I was positive they were too unripe to turn red - don't they have to at least seem inclined to be red in order to turn? I guess not. I don't like the idea of eating green tomatoes, though - so I just ignored them. And it's taken about three weeks for the last one to start turning, but turn they all have. So you don't have to put them in a bag, or wrap them in newspaper or whatever "they" advise. Just let them alone. As long as it takes.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

for those who went before

Today of the feast of All Souls, and this is what Catholics believe. In case you've ever wondered.

(All the following taken from Magnificat, November 2017)

"The commemoration of All Souls is rooted in the Church's strong conviction that we, the living, have a serious responsibility in love to accompany with prayer those who have died but who must yet complete the purificatory preparation every human being needs to be able to dwell in the all-encompassing love of God."
                                                     

Remember those, O Lord,
Who in your peace have died,
Yet may not gain love's high reward
Till love is purified.

With you they faced death's night
Sealed with your victory sign;
Soon may the splendor of your light
On them for ever shine!



"I would go so far as to say that if there was no purgatory, then we would have to invent it, for who would dare say of himself that he was able to stand directly before God. And yet we don't want to be, to use an image from Scripture, 'a pot that turned out wrong', that has to be thrown away; we want to be able to be put right. Purgatory basically means that God can put the pieces back together again. That he can cleanse us in such a way that we are able to be with him and can stand there in the fullness of life. Purgatory strips off from one person what is unbearable and from another the inability to bear certain things, so that in each of them a pure heart is revealed, and we can see that we all belong together in one enormous symphony of being."

                                                             -  Pope Benedict XVI


For all the dead whom we have loved in life: 
           Raise them up, O Lord.

For all the dead among those who have harmed us:
           Raise them up, O Lord.

For all the dead whom no one remembers in prayer:
           Raise them up, O Lord.



"If he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought."

                                            -  First Maccabees, 12: 44,45



Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Feast of All Saints

All holiness flows from God's holiness. Jesus Christ, God's Only Begotten Son, is the wealth of his house; the Spirit pouring out upon the world through his Death and Resurrection is the stream of God's delight and the source of life. These gifts of God's love are what make human beings holy.

                                                               - from Magnificat, November 2017

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

the final tally


A record: one hundred forty five kids for Halloween, and we didn't run out. Of candy. And Dolly didn't run out either (outside, that is), and Henry slept throughout despite the cold air coming in the door.

Monday, October 30, 2017

a library cat

We've got a cat coming into the library; he lives two houses away. He began by hanging around outside the front (electric) doors, greeting everybody who approached, and I mean everybody. He is the most friendly cat I ever saw, but he never came in. One day it was lovely and warm out and I set the doors to stay open; he came inside. Apparently it was the movement of the doors which he didn't understand, but now he's got it and he's in a lot.


He is just darling, and uses the library as a napping place - we don't give him food.


As far as I can tell, his people bother with him very little -  he's on his own a lot. Most of us here enjoy seeing him, but the last two library cats both met their ends getting hit by cars on this busy street.  I wish they'd keep him inside.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

m&m's and lilacs

As a lifelong chocolate lover, even as a kid, I felt certain they must serve m&m's in Heaven (and hot dogs in Hell, since I have never liked them). 


"I'm sure heaven is bounded by a white picket fence that never needs repainting, and with lilacs always in bloom hanging deep clusters over it."

                                                                 -  Gladys Taber Stillmeadow Daybook

Saturday, October 28, 2017

more cute rocks

I was beginning to think the little painted rock thing was past, when after two weeks, a new flurry of them have appeared.






Terrible photos, cute rocks. :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

falling

A lot of wind and rain yesterday, and leaves are starting to come down.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

desire for truth, need for good

"The various emperors of the world can strip the Church of every resource, discredit it in every way, make it powerless to do the works of the Gospel, but no one will ever be able to take the Gospel away, the joy of its Lord....No earthly authority will be able to possess the heart of man forever through the propaganda of lies, with masked promises and apparent democracies. The conscience can remain dazed for a long time, but sooner or later, something happens that reawakens and regenerates it, since at its root there is an indestructible core: the desire for truth and the need for good. Let no one be deceived: Christianity can be reduced to a visible minority, but it can never be eliminated, because the Lord said, Do not be afraid, I am with you until the end of the world, and because the human soul is made for God. And this is stronger than all of the persecutions and all of the lies that circulate so rapidly in the air today."

                                                 - Cardinal Angelo Bagnascofrom Magnificat, October 2017

Monday, October 23, 2017

meatballs, improved


We get our ground beef from someone we know who has a dairy farm, and the meat is rather lean - because they're dairy cows? I don't know. Anyway, it make for dry-ish meatballs. I once tried adding olive oil but it made no difference. Then one day I thought of adding some oats, my reasoning being that oatmeal is slimy and that might be a good thing. Well, it worked!

I put in about two tablespoons per cup, with everything else the same. The only time it doesn't work is when I forget to add it.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

another visit from Tootsie

If you've been reading here a while, you may remember Tootsie, previously Cindy, who used to live with us. Well, her people are currently cruising around Australia so we have her for six weeks.

yes, this is the best picture I could get

I can't believe how well things are going. This is how it was last time, and I've been dreading this visit for a year and a half because of the last time. But the best thing you can do when you dread something is to pray about it, and that's what I did. After all, we have another cat here now - I couldn't imagine how we were going to shift them around and stay sane. 

My brother announced she'd have to stay in the basement. I felt really bad, but you know what? She is more peaceful than she's been any other time we've kept her. You know how they say that children need to know there are boundaries? That dogs feel safer in a crate sometimes? Well, I realized something about this cat. She used to be so aggressive towards Dolly (and still would be if we gave her the chance) and now I get it that she feels threatened by other cats; this time she's in a space that's all her own. She doesn't see the others and they don't bother her. My brother built two wooden platforms up near each window (with bedding up there) and ramps to go up to each; on every nice day he removes the glass and she gets the fresh air and hears the sounds of the day. The pantry closet is there, a fridge, and washer and dryer, so we often go down to get things or do laundry. There's a lot of places to poke around and she has her own radio, which really seems to appeal to her and make her less restless. It's been three and a half weeks already - I can't believe it! The other day we found her sleeping in a laundry basket - so cute, but as soon as my camera appeared she started squiggling around and trying to pose. 

Anyway, thank God!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

not so much red, but pretty bright


Sweetie looks like a Halloween cat in this photo, with the mostly orange swamp maple in the background.

I look forward to the spectacle every year when this tree turns color and positively glows, even on overcast days, but usually with lots of red in it. They're warning us to expect more subdued colors this fall; so far, this orange is looking pretty wild to me.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

little handmaid (with a tail)

Sweetie sleeps with me every night. Way back I learned to keep a small container of her dry food nearby, because she will appear before me, purring loudly and trying to get onto the pillow above my head, kneading and pulling my hair, tail flicking around my face. Miraculously, I figured out that if I give her some food, she'll eat and either go away, or move to the foot of my bed. She's very cute, and very dear, and as my brother said - a barnacle. She sits there, waiting and hoping, and rather dependent on my response.


And when I see her like this, the passage from Psalm 123 *always* comes to my mind:

"...as the eyes of servants are on the hands of their masters, as the eyes of the handmaid are on the hands of their mistress, so are our eyes unto the Lord our God."

Funny little thing.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

an event

"Christianity is not an intellectual system, a packet of dogmas, a moralism; Christianity is rather an encounter, a love story; it is an event."

                                               - Joseph Ratzinger

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

my second favorite color

It's funny that on the same plant, you have green peppers, and then these, so thoroughly orange.  Why?


Anyway, they're always expensive at the store, so this is a treat. Tomorrow, into the skillet, my little pretties!

Monday, October 9, 2017

"even the sandwich tray"

After watching a film version of Mansfield Park, I decided to read the book again.

"A young woman, pretty, lively, with a harp as elegant as herself, and both placed near a window, cut down to the ground, and opening on a little lawn, surrounded by shrubs in the rich foliage of summer, was enough to catch any man's heart. The season, the scene, the air, were all favourable to tenderness and sentiment. ... it was all in harmony; and as every thing will turn to account when love is once set going, even the sandwich tray..."

                                                   -  Jane Austen Mansfield Park


"I would almost cut off one of my hands if it would enable me to write like Jane Austen with the other."

                                                   - Mary Russell Mitford

Saturday, October 7, 2017

on curtained window panes

It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes
and roofs of villages, on woodland crests
and their aerial neighborhoods of nests
deserted, on the curtained window-panes,
of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes
and harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests!
Gone are the birds that were our summer guests,
with the last sheaves return the laboring wains!
All things are symbols: the external shows
of Nature have their image in the mind,
as flowers and fruits and falling of the leaves;
the song-birds leave us at the summer's close,
only the empty nests are left behind,
and pipings of the quail among the sheaves.

The Harvest Moon
  by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Sweetie with apples

Many things have been conspiring against my cooking up our apples, so they sit in a bag on the kitchen floor.


 But today Sweetie discovered what a nice rumbling sound an apple makes when you roll it.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

the life of heaven

"Anne walked home very slowly in the moonlight. The evening had changed something for her. Life held a different meaning, a deeper purpose. On the surface it would go on just the same; but the deeps had been stirred. It must not be with her as with poor butterfly Ruby. When she came to the end of one life it must not be to face the next with with the shrinking terror of something wholly different - something for which accustomed thought and ideal and aspiration had unfitted her. The little things of life, sweet and excellent in their place, must not be the things lived for; the highest must be sought and followed; the life of heaven must be begun here on earth."

                                                        - Anne of the Island,  L. M. Montgomery

Monday, October 2, 2017

going beyond

"A person does not pray primarily to find himself, but to give himself, to enter into a plan of salvation that goes beyond himself."
                                     
                                                                  - Fr. Bernard Bro, from Magnificat, October 2017
                                                           

Thursday, September 28, 2017

the Church Mice

As much as I enjoy looking at the new picture books when they come into the library, it often seems they are written to show off the cleverness of the author, rather than delight and instruct the children. It wasn't always that way.

But recently I've been interlibrary loaning every Church Mice book I can get, by Graham Oakley. We used to have those where I work but they stopped circulating and had to be removed. He began the series in the seventies and they are dated, but since I remember that era (well!) I can relate, and they. are. so. hilarious. If you need a good laugh, and are of a "certain age" they would do the trick.


They're more wordy than the average picture book and the illustrations have lots going on. It may be that Mr. Oakley was also writing for the adults' amusement, but I'm pretty sure that kids would enjoy these stories, too.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

"things that belong together are sure to come together"

"I thought you'd come today. Things that belong together are sure to come together. What a lot of trouble that would save some people if they only knew it. But they don't... and so they waste beautiful energy moving heaven and earth to bring things together that don't belong."

                                                                               -   Anne of Avonlea

Monday, September 25, 2017

Saturday, September 23, 2017

a surprise find


In an unfamiliar supermarket the other day, and this was on clearance. I didn't know you could even buy sprouted wheat flour! Thought you had to sprout it yourself. I look forward to using it.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

round and round we go

"Everything that needs to be said has already been said", counseled Andre Gide, "but since no one was listening, everything must be said again."
                                          
                                      -    Philip Pilkington, in American Affairs 

Monday, September 18, 2017

pretty with pink


Could it be that our Dolly is secretly a little homebody?


Or is it just the color scheme?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

charming acts of randomness

It's a thing, I guess. On Facebook, so I didn't know about it, since I'm not there. But people are taking smooth rocks and painting on them. Then they leave them randomly about for others to find, and hopefully be delighted, amused or something else pleasant. In the past week, five of them have turned up at the library.

Here are the two from yesterday, although later I saw a third as we were leaving, sitting on the copier. But this one was found in the young adult section


and Katie came across this one on the stairs going up to the children's department


So cute! A week ago a patron saw one on her way in, among the flowers in the big planter - it was a charming little cottage. And there was one on the bench outside that was painted to look like a cheeseburger! They all have the name of your town and the word "rocks" on the back, like "New York Rocks", for example.  Are they doing this where you live?

They're not for us; I guess you're supposed to take it and put it someplace where you think somebody else would enjoy seeing it. We left them, feeling this was up to the patrons to do.

It's nice to think that when somebody wants to drop off one of these, the library comes to mind.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

unexpected vegetable

At the beginning of summer, my brother was given a vegetable plant. He put the medium-sized pot in the garden near the house amongst the other things, and they grew up around it and he never actually put it in the ground. It got tall.

Last week I wondered about a pretty purplish flower on it, but he couldn't remember what type of plant it was.


Now we know. And there are two, growing out of a not-very-big pot. A nice surprise!

Friday, September 8, 2017

duty

"...Anne went herself to the east gable and sat down by her window in the darkness alone with her tears and her heaviness of heart. How sadly things had changed since she had sat there the night after coming home! Then she had been full of hope and joy and the future had looked rosy with promise. Anne felt as if she had lived years since then, but before she went to bed there was a smile on her lips and peace in her heart. She had looked her duty courageously in the face and found it a friend - as duty ever is when we meet it frankly."

                                                                  -   Anne of Green Gables, L. M. Montgomery

Thursday, September 7, 2017

time for applesauce

We're picking the apples now; they are quite small, but clear. The first batch of applesauce was bland - how strange! These apples made delicious applesauce last time. But anyway, I flavored the next batch and it was good. Lots of cooking ahead.


Sunday, September 3, 2017

for strength, not ease

Father, hear the prayer we offer:
Not for ease that prayer shall be,
But for strength that we may ever
Live our lives courageously.

Not for ever in green pastures
Do we ask our way to be;
But the steep and rugged pathway
May we tread rejoicingly.

Not for ever by still waters
Would we idly rest and stay;
But would smite the living fountains
From the rocks along the way.

Be our strength in hours of weakness
In our wand'rings be our guide;
Through endeavor, failure, danger,
Father, be there at our side.

-   from Magnificat, September 2017

Thursday, August 31, 2017

little buddy

She sleeps with me every night; she was just on my lap as I was typing.


Last night my brother referred to her as "the barnacle". 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

just a little blue cheese



I've discovered how delicious a garden tomato salad can be with a bit of crumbled blue cheese and vinaigrette.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

feral cats in Rome

I've been reading a new and very, very interesting book, The Inner Life of Cats, by Thomas McNamee. One chapter treats the feral cat issue, particularly in Rome, with more than 100 cat colonies; in one colony called Largo Argentina the population density was equivalent to 38,000 cats per square mile. 

"But studies have shown that where food is abundant, cats develop completely new systems of sociality that can allow for high density. Picture how New Yorkers and Parisians preserve their dignity on a crowded subway car."

In 1988 the Roman authorities forbade euthanasia of any cat or dog except those incurably ill or fatally injured, and in 1991 the Italian Parliament proclaimed that feral cats had a right to live free and couldn't be moved from their colony. 

There is a metro station in the city called Piramide (pyramid)  and "Adjacent to the Pyramid is their nighttime prowling ground, the leafy, cool Protestant Cemetery, where John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley are buried...Many of the monuments are fancifully ornate examples of the gravestone-maker's art, and the whole place is impeccably kept. Somebody, doubtless from the gattare (local cat lovers who leave food, and watch out for them, etc.), evidently picks up the cat poop, because there's none to be seen... Someone - the city of Rome? the volunteers? - has hidden audio somewhere in the ruins, so that at night the cats have classical music playing for them." (emphasis mine)

                                                

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

library volunteers


Surprise flowers, that is, growing outside the kitchen window at work.

Monday, August 21, 2017

an eclipse party

If there's an occasion which has some relation to my life, my beliefs, my interests, I want to observe it. Life's too short to ignore these. There was a partial eclipse today in our area - a reason for a picnic outdoors!


Ahead of time, I steamed green beans and popped corn. I dug up some old but still good D batteries and got the boombox outside so we could hear the classical station play sun and moon music (e.g., Clair de Lune, the Moonlight Sonata, Helios Overture  -  even Holst's The Planets).

The party started at 1:25 and ended at four, which is when it all happened. Our friend conveniently brought eclipse glasses, but my brother had made a viewing box just in case. Dolly also attended. (of course)


First, we had snacks. Izze Blackberry carbonated fruit drink and ranch-flavored popcorn (idea courtesy of Magnolia Journal).  The moon was going to cover one third of the sun; it was hot, humid and partly cloudy, but nothing that would obscure our view of the sixty seven per cent eclipse. I was pleased that even though the weatherman said the temperature wouldn't drop, it felt much better to me for much of the event, and only hot again when it was over. But it's funny that if you didn't know an eclipse was happening, you might well have missed it. It was just a matter of there being less sun, but clouds were coming and going anyway. My brother thought the light on the bridge looked artificial.


You tell me; I don't know, but he looks at things with an artist's eye, and I just look at them (and not too keenly at that). Anyway, we then had a big pasta salad with marinated artichokes, green beans, cucumber and black olives, with garden tomato on the side.

A sunny area across the brook:


You'd think, with two thirds of the sun covered, that it would have been darker than this. But anyway, it was nice that it happened on my day off, and nice that we got to experience it.


Afterward we had ice cream.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

summer with Dolly

Dolly and I are taking every opportunity for snatching alfresco hours.


I finally got this quilt bound. After four years. It's a fine size for putting under a tree and lounging.


Dolly's ablutions prevented her from appearing in this photo, but at least her leash was G rated.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

avocado pits in a glass

I just can't throw the avocado pits away - they look like burnished wood.


I'll keep them for a while.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Miss Prim

"It would be utopian to imagine that the present-day world could go into reverse and completely reorganize itself.  

We have...come to believe that contemporary life wears women out, debases the family, and crushes the human capacity for thought."



On whose blog did I first see this book? All I remember is that, curious, I sent out for an inter-library loan, it came quickly, and I couldn't put it down.

It's a story of a well-educated, modern woman who gets a job in a town that may as well be from the past, as far as beliefs and outlooks go. It takes her a while to see the value of this way of living. The author has something definite she wants to say, and I am just amazed that such a book can have been written today. A light, pleasant read with a serious message.

Friday, August 11, 2017

inspiration from Anna

Anna's blog has been such an inspiration to me over the years, and when Debra needed help planning the decoration for her reception, she came instantly to mind.


Anna is a busy person, but she seems to take on what comes her way with gladness, as coming from the Lord. And she uses what's available as if it came from God's hand, too. She hasn't said this to me, but that's my take on it - and I think I'm right. She doesn't want to waste time, so she won't be found wringing her hands over things; she just does what she can and then enjoys the rest. No looking back, like Lot's wife.  ; )  So I told Deb to just look around at Pleasantview Schoolhouse and she'd find plenty of inspiration. 


We ended up pooling our tablecloths, fabric squares and sheets together for table covers and the whole effect was so much prettier than we ever imagined. I gave up all my pint mason jars and Debra cut wildflowers the night before - each table got two of those.


She works full time and cooking all the food wasn't possible, so she got our favorite luncheon spot to cater - we made the appetizers. But, get a load of this salad - they know the importance of presentation:


They also put a nasturtium on the pasta salad! (that's why we love going there)

gluten-free lemon cupcakes from a local health food store - there was a cake, too


Entertaining on that scale was new to both of us, very interesting, and original, thanks to blogging friends.