Monday, May 29, 2017

tomatoes from the old country

A friend stopped by and brought us three tomato plants: a Polish one like we had last year, and two Italian. From Italy - his grandfather's tomatoes, the seeds saved every year by his family! 

That's exciting.

Friday, May 26, 2017

hoping for hummingbirds

For a change, I bought a yellow hanging plant at the sale; it's lantana - something that's only an annual here. They said it should attract hummingbirds.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

neat and organized

This is how it looks when my brother does the garden.  I'm glad he's found time for it again.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

the second thing

"...the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper, the more 'literary' you are. That's my definition, anyway. Telling detail. Fresh detail. The good writers touch life often...So now do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life...Well, there we have the first thing I said we need. Quality, texture of information."

"And the second?"


                                                -  Fahrenheit 451,  Ray Bradbury

Thursday, May 18, 2017

coy peas

Today it was plenty over ninety, but I reveled in it - we've had so much chilly, rainy gloominess; it felt great! I made this favorite pasta salad.

And if you make it with pipette, the peas try to hide in them.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

it isn't perfectionism

"It is not doing perfectly this or that particular work or exercising a particular profession perfectly that grafts us into union with the Church; it is being so driven by Christ, wherever we are, that this small action of ours in the world is truly his.

It is not because we can organize the world that we will be grafted in marriage to the Church, but it is in carrying within us each person in the world, each person that we meet; it is not in organizing their lives for them but in giving them the right to live in our life; in sharing with them everything that we are, all that is ours, from our bread to God's grace."

-   Madeleine Delbrel,  from  Magnificat, May 2017

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Light Exists in Spring

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period -
When March is scarcely here.

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope, you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay -

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

-  Emily Dickinson

Thursday, May 11, 2017

"like a jewel from the bottom of the sea"

"The object of salvation is that which is unique, irreplaceable, incommunicable - that which is myself alone. This true inner self must be drawn up like a jewel from the bottom of the sea, rescued from confusion, from indistinction, from immersion in the common, the nondescript, the trivial, the sordid, the evanescent.

We must be saved from immersion in the sea of lies and passions which is called 'the world'. And we must be saved above all from that abyss of confusion and absurdity which is our own worldly self. The person must be rescued from the individual. The free son of God must be saved from the conformist slave of fantasy, passion, and convention. The creative and mysterious inner self must be delivered from the wasteful, hedonistic, and destructive ego that seeks only to cover itself with disguises.

To be 'lost' is to be left to the arbitrariness and pretenses of the contingent ego, the smoke-self that must inevitable vanish. To be 'saved' is to return to one's inviolate and eternal reality and to live in God."

                                        -  Thomas Merton, from Magnificat, May 2017

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

clouds of white

I had to put up this photograph of a local crabapple tree. Fabulous.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

let us rise

Let us rise in early morning,
And, instead of ointments, bring
Hymns of praises to our Master,
And his Resurrection sing:
We shall see the Sun of Justice
Ris'n with healing on his wing.

Go ye forth, his saints, to meet him!
Go with lamps in every hand!
From the sepulcher he riseth:
Ready for the Bridegroom stand:
And the Pascha of salvation
Hail, with his triumphant band.

-  from Magnificat, May 2017

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

When I bought this skillet last summer, I did wonder if I wasn't being greedy. After all, I had one very similar at home, one with the same heavy bottom and the same diameter on top.

This Calphalon is narrower at the base and a bit deeper, different enough for all kinds of cooking. and cleans up like a dream. I'm not feeling greedy anymore - I'm glad I bought it!

Monday, May 1, 2017

more from Mother Goose

There's been a chickadee flapping against our front windows yesterday and again today. I heard a tapping in the spare room and saw him trying to get in. It was so cloudy, it can't be that he was seeing his reflection; still, I headed over to pull down the shade but Dolly was there before me, leaping onto the sill and trying to get him through the glass. I think that scared him off.

Once I saw a little bird
Come hop, hop, hop;
So I cried, "Little bird,
Will you stop, stop, stop?"

And was going to the window
To say, "How do you do?"
But he shook his little tail,
And far away he flew.

-  from Mother Goose

Saturday, April 29, 2017

the valiant cherry tree

Our dear little cherry tree is blooming hard.

There's a dead branch which needs to be removed, but the rest of it is adapting as best it can to its injured state

and doing a darn good job of it.

It's like a fairy thing.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


The library throw is all done, except for an identifying patch of some kind we want to attach. It's really hard to get an accurate photo of it; it's brighter than this.

After looking at several types of borders I decided to make a scallop, and this pretty iris yarn - with sparkles! - was perfect.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Rain on the green grass,
  and rain on the tree,

Rain on the house-top,
  but not on me.

from Mother Goose.

Monday, April 24, 2017

a buttonhole

I tried again with parchment paper underneath the fabric, but it still stuck in the machine, so today I made a buttonhole by hand. It wasn't so bad; the fuzzy fabric covers up my stitching, so I guess it's okay.

But this is why I wanted real buttonholes with these great buttons.  I only need to make two more, but not today.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

hymn for Easter Week

Glory to God! The morn appointed breaks,
and earth awakes from all the woeful past;
For, with the morn, the Lord of life awakes,
and sin and death into the grave are cast.

Glory to God! The cross, with all its shame
now sheds its glory o'er a ransomed world;
For he who bore the burden of our blame,
with pierced hands the foe to hell has hurled.

Glory to God! Sing ransomed souls again,
and let your songs our glorious Victor laud,
who by his might has snapped the tyrant's chain,
and set us free to rise with him to God.

-   from Magnificat, April 2017

Friday, April 21, 2017

a new life for my old robe

I am very happy to say that my robe is almost completed - I need to hem the sleeves and I can wear it tonight.

The buttons - which I really love - aren't on because the fuzzy chenille was sticking in the sewing machine and messing up the buttonholes - I wasn't able to make them. I think I'll have to do them by hand, which I dread. I once tried sewing buttonholes by hand and they came out looking awful, but I don't know what else to do. (please don't suggest bound buttonholes!)

You can see the yellow has a wavy stripe while the original is kind of a narrow line, but it doesn't seem to matter - I think it looks fine. I am relieved.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sweetie remembers

living outside.

But she really doesn't pine for the rough life, and she's adjusted to being a house cat when I never thought she could. She is content.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

a peaceful Easter

My Easter was so quiet - my brother was sick, so no company and almost no cooking; I heated up the lamb chops I had cooked ahead the day before!

Dolly and I sat outside for an hour in the 85 degree afternoon with a wonderful breeze blowing.

Very peaceful. He's feeling better now.

The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

- from Psalm 33

Saturday, April 15, 2017


What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down
Beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb I will sing; 
To God and to the Lamb, 
Who is the great I AM, 
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free 
I’ll sing His love for me,
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And through eternity I’ll sing on.

-  William Walker

Friday, April 14, 2017

who would have thought any more of His destiny?

See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted. Even as many were amazed at him - so marred was his look beyond human semblance and his appearance beyond that of the sons of man - so shall he startle many nations, because of him kings shall stand speechless; for those who have not been told shall see, those who have not heard shall ponder it.

Who would believe what we have heard? To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth; there was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him. He was spurned and avoided by people, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, one of those from whom people hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem.

Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, while we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins; upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed. We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; but the Lord laid upon him the guilt of us all.

Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth. Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away, and who would have thought any more of his destiny? When he was cut off from the land of the living, and smitten for the sin of his people, a grave was assigned him among the wicked and a burial place with evildoers, though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood. But the Lord was pleased to crush him in infirmity.

If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the Lord shall be accomplished through him.

Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear. Therefore I will give him his portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; and he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses. 

-  Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12

Thursday, April 13, 2017

the Last Supper

'Twas on that dark and doleful night,
When pow'rs of earth and hell arose
Against the Son of God's delight
And friends betrayed him to his foes.

Before the mournful scene began,
He took the bread and blessed and broke;
What love through all his actions ran,
What wondrous words of love he spoke.

"This is my Body, giv'n for you,
Receive and eat the living Food."
Then took the cup and blessed the wine;
"'Tis the new cov'nant in my Blood."

"Do this", he cried, "till time shall end
In mem'ry of the Son of Man;
Meet at my table and record
The love and dying of your Lord."

Jesus, your feast we celebrate,
We show your death, we sing your name,
Till you return and we shall eat
The marriage supper of the Lamb.

- Magnificat, Holy Week 2017

(Jesus Washing Peter's Feet, by Ford Madox Brown)

"There is only one temptation. All particular temptations are expressions of this one original or 'primordial' temptation. This is the temptation to believe that the fulfillment of the desires of the human heart depends entirely on us. Dependence on another leaves us at the mercy of what we cannot control. Therefore, we are tempted to reject all forms of dependence. The most radical form of dependence is love. Therefore, the original temptation is to deny that our existence is a pure and perfect gift of an infinite Love that deserves to be loved in return. The fullest revelation that God is love is the Incarnation of Christ. Therefore, the primordial temptation is to reject the Incarnation and its consequences."

                                                     -  Lorenzo Albacete

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

probably Palestrina

They're hearing confessions three evenings this week and we were there last night. On my side we were lined up along the wall, and we kept hearing music - it was Renaissance music - faintly. We realized it came from the speaker nearby. What a brilliant idea! I said to the young man (teenage) in front of me, "nice music!" and he smiled and agreed. It provided the perfect background for Holy Week, and atmosphere for what we were doing there.

Miss Sweetikins had a birthday Sunday.She is twelve but no one could ever tell; she plays like a wild thing.  She and Dolly do not get along, and there's a lot I could say about that but I feel weary at the thought of it. Suffice it to say that Dolly is starting to be tired of staying in seclusion day after day and is coming forth way more than she has in ages.  Thank God!

from Magnificat:

"We have grown accustomed to making a clear distinction between Peter the rock and Peter the denier of Christ - the denier of Christ: that is Peter as he was before Easter; the rock: that is Peter as he was after Pentecost, the Peter of whom we have constructed a singularly idealistic image. But,  in reality, he was at both times both of these..."

                                                 -  Pope Benedict XVI

Like the rest of us.

Monday, April 10, 2017

that welcome yellow

The forsythia is starting. And the grass is brilliant green. And today it was 80!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

the meek king cometh

Holy Week begins today - I always want matzoh.

Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is he, Meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass.

-   Zechariah 9:9

Monday, April 3, 2017

cut it in two

I'd bought a quilt from Garnet Hill to throw on the back of a couch. It was a great sale - a twin size, all cotton. Because of that, it was very heavy; I couldn't imagine ever using it on a bed. Cotton batting may be better environmentally, but it weighs so much. I also knew it wouldn't fit in the washer. A dilemma.

It suddenly came to me; cut the quilt in half! So I did that, and each piece is on the back of one of the couches (they are more like love-seats, really). I have to think about what I'll use to bind the raw edges, but for now they aren't visible and I have two washable pieces.  It's manageable!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

history repeating itself

"The wicked said among themselves, thinking not aright:

  Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training. He professes to have knowledge of God and styles himself a child of the Lord. To us he is the censure of our thoughts; merely to see him is a hardship for us. Because his life is not like that of others, and different are his ways. He judges us debased; he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure. He calls blest the destiny of the just and boasts that God is his Father."

                                                           -   Wisdom: 2:1a, 12-16

"That is the key to history...Some fatal flaw always brings the selfish and the cruel people to the top and it all slides back into misery and ruin."

                                                          -  C.S. Lewis 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

winter not over yet

We had some sun today. I wanted to prune the roses, but we are expecting a "wintry mix" tomorrow - I'll wait.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

repairing my old robe

My beloved robe is wearing very thin in places, near the shoulders especially. 

Yesterday I laid it out on the floor to draw a pattern piece for the top part; the "skirt" is fine. It's a soft, dusty turquoise color which I couldn't match, so I bought some yellow - it will have to be two-tone. It's nerve-wracking to have to do this. I hope it comes out well!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

thankful to finish this project

I finished a third Dottie Angel frock - I had bought fabric for three of them last fall. I'm terrible at sewing bias binding around edges  -  can't seem to get it nice. So I made squares of grosgrain ribbon and stitched them in either corner of each pocket!

Very neat. But I can't wear it for a while.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

an instant breakfast

For some time, I've been making overnight oats for my breakfasts on work days. There are many recipes online, but mine is always the same. Into a pint mason jar I put:

  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • a pinch of pumpkin pie spice, or maybe cocoa powder
  • some raisins, dried cherries or whatever
  • a couple of blobs of natural peanut butter
  • almond milk
I like mine liquidy, so use plenty of the almond milk.  Stir up with a butter knife, add more milk, screw on the lid and shake. Make the night before you want it.

Three times a week, and I haven't tired of it yet.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

in good pastures

"I myself will look after and tend my sheep. As a shepherd tends his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so will I tend my sheep. I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark. I will lead them out from among the peoples and gather them from the foreign lands; I will bring them back to their own country and pasture them upon the mountains of Israel [in the land's ravines and all its inhabited places]. 

In good pastures will I pasture them, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing ground. There they shall lie down on good grazing ground, and in rich pastures shall they be pastured on the mountains of Israel."

                                                                        -        Ezekiel 34:11-14

Friday, March 17, 2017

Thursday, March 16, 2017

it's just a restaurant

Dolly, snug inside the folds of a quilt, didn't want to come out to eat although it was clear she wanted the food.

So of course she got what she wanted. And where she wanted it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


We had snow today. We're still having it.

It was a blizzard in some places- not here. Snow did fall all day, it became very windy at times, but I wouldn't say it was blizzarding.

Accumulations here are not as much as they could have been, everyone got a day off from work because travel was discouraged (banned, really) - the warmth of recent days is simply a fond memory.

No need to feel sorry for me, because it's typical of the month. This is March in New England!

Monday, March 13, 2017

the completed dress

This seems to be the best I can do to show the knit dress on. It's very comfy, as one would expect of that material.

I didn't seam the sections together; I placed one section under the other above it, top stitched on the machine, and then hand embroidered a herringbone stitch over it. I also herringboned along the neck. These were fabrics that I had, so I just put them together.

On to the next project!

Saturday, March 11, 2017


The library afghan is increasing, but not even a square yet, so I still don't know how big I'll make it.

Friday, March 10, 2017

an ideal snowfall

It snowed today, and conveniently fell on the ground, and almost not at all on the road.

It arranged itself perfectly on this fir tree,

and when it was over Tricia said it looked like cherry blossoms. It does, doesn't it?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

two-tone knit dress, finally finished

It was a year ago when I posted about this dress, and I guess I never said another word about it.

Well, I added that other layer of the persimmon knit, and wore it to work one day. I did not like myself in it. I was pleased that it came out well - it's interesting to try to copy something from scratch, but it didn't look well on. Surely it could be fixed in some way, but how? I left it hanging in my closet.

Then we had a mild spell last week and I was panicked that there weren't enough in-between-the-weather-extremes pieces in my wardrobe. I saw it hanging there and put it on. Immediately I could see that it was too long, so I cut off two inches (these knit styles are great - no hemming necessary) which gave the whole a better balance. I also modified the "points" at the sides, which seemed a little too extreme.

Now I have a new dress that looks good, is very comfortable, and I like it. And rather more "sedate" than the original. What took me so long?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


Of him who did salvation bring,
I could for ever think and sing:
Arise, you needy, he'll relieve;
Arise, you guilty, he'll forgive.

To shame our sins he blushed in blood;
He closed his eyes to show us God:
Let all the world fall down and know
That none but God such love can show.

-  Magnificat, March 2017

Monday, March 6, 2017

trees, like people

"The reason trees share food and communicate is that they need each other. It takes a forest to create a microclimate suitable for tree growth and sustenance. So it's not surprising that isolated trees have far shorter lives than those living connected together in forests."

                                                    -   Peter Wohlleben, The Hidden Life of Trees

Thursday, March 2, 2017


Often on Ash Wednesday, you'll end up with a dark splotch on your forehead or maybe even a light one, but yesterday there was no mistake - I got a real cross. 

"During Lent, we who are dust entrust ourselves to the healing care of the Lord who promises forgiveness and life to the dust he has made and loves."

                                  -  Magnificat, March 2017

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

morning prayer

Rise, O glorious orb of day,
Draw the curtains from the sky;
Let your light in glad array,
All creation beautify;
Bid the fears of darkness born,
Melt before the light of morn.

Light transcendent! fill the skies,
Glorious Orb of heav'nly light!
Take the darkness from our eyes,
Fill our souls with visions bright.
Jesus, Light of lights, appear,
Rise upon our souls with cheer.

From your throne of splendor bright,
Shed your glory far abroad,
Let the wanderers in their plight
See the path that leads to God,
And upon their pathway shine,
Heav'nly Orb of light divine.

There no sun illumes the day,
Where the wanderers find their rest;
Moon nor stars their light display
In the kingdom of the blest;
For the Christ himself is Sun,
And the day is never done.

- from Magnificat, February 2017

Sunday, February 26, 2017

like June

Spring has gone away, and it's winter again now. But not before we had two more days of warmer, and yes - even balmy! - weather.

I had to work Friday, and patrons were coming in and saying it was over seventy outside, but we enjoyed it, too. We opened the front door and some windows and let the breezes blow in.

Yesterday was the same, though it wasn't supposed to be so warm. It was wonderful, and the sound of the blackbirds squeaking and creaking (what they sound like to me) was almost enough to fool me into believing spring had come. This doesn't happen too often. I'm grateful. Today it was thirty degrees cooler.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

spring, inside and out

They did say it would be in the sixties today, but it wasn't just a lovely, warm day - it was truly spring-like. I sat outside and kitted for a while, without a sweater. It was a bit cool, but really nothing. And the concrete step was warm to sit on!

I had a temptation to prune the roses or some such thing, but it's too early for that here. Very unFebruary-ish.

And inside my paperwhites are growing.

Monday, February 20, 2017

a pretty patch

I like my flannel nightgowns, and I got a funny tear on one of them. In front of the underarm, near the seams. A funny place, and the rest of it in good condition.

First I cut a piece of cotton and pinned it below the tear, intending to reinforce the whole thing and do some sashiko type stitching all around it. It was awkward trying to finagle it - I wasn't able to get the torn edges to meet back together again, but I stitched the piece with white thread all the way around the tear, and then did some reinforcing stitches in light pink, in three rows. I didn't think to take a picture, but here's the back:

You can see some of the stitches here.

When I finished the hand stitching, I still had the patch fabric showing through in the center - not that I minded that, but it was a thin piece of stuff, and I didn't think it would hold up to wear. I decided I had to make a patch to go on top.

I found some white sheeting and cut a larger triangle than the area I was patching, then pressed each of the sides under. I basted it on and then chose burgundy thread and a scallop machine stitch.

I'm all for making patches look obvious!  Here you can see just where it is on the nightgown -

So it ended up covering my hand stitches, but it's a learning process. I think I needed both a bottom and a top patch to keep the whole area strong, so all's well that ends well. I hope it holds up.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

fresh air and a fresh understanding

I actually had windows open today - and it's still fifty, even now! We'll be able to enjoy this warm-up for a few days.

Yesterday I read this:

"Jesus invites us this morning to deny ourselves - to realize that we do not know who we really are".
(emphasis mine)  It really struck me; this will be good to remember during Lent, which begins in a week and a half. Very good to remember - the purpose of Lent.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

coming along

I'm definitely the tortoise rather than the hare with most projects

not to mention that I do have other things to do at the library other than crocheting all day. But it is coming along. And it looks nicer than this picture.