Saturday, April 30, 2011

two eggs, so far

This morning I got a step stool out on the back step, and aimed my camera toward the nest -

so -  now we're trying to stay away from that door as much as possible.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

keeping celery

I've had such problems keeping celery from getting wilted and rubbery. Then I read - I think in Leila's blog, but I'm not sure - that you should wrap it in foil.  And it seems to work!  Thank you, whoever.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dolly eats her veg

Here we have the good girl eating her cauliflower - steamed, with tarragon - I never suspected that a cat would care for vegetables.
It started when she was eyeing our baked potatoes, but we thought it must be the butter. She'll eat them plain, though.

Then she tried winter squash, yumm. She does not like sweet potato, however.

The crucifers, now - she really enjoys them - broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts - did you hear me?
Maybe you knew this - but I never expected to see a cat eat Brussels sprouts. And like them!

Monday, April 25, 2011

very close neighbors

We came home from church Easter morning, and noticed this nest up on our drainpipe near the back door. It couldn't have been there Saturday - it was raining hard and blowing all day.  Somebody was working hard to build this nest, fast!

They left some of their building material hanging on the clothesline.

We wondered all day what kind of birds were going to be nesting there. It didn't look very large.
Later on I went out again, reached my arm up high, and tried to get a different view of it  -

It didn't look like anything was inside yet.

This morning I let Henry out to a flutter of wings, and I saw a robin fly over to a nearby tree. So! It's a robin's nest. And it's bigger now - they've built up the upper part with some muddy-looking stuff.

I don't know how long this takes, but I think we'll going to be using the front door exclusively pretty soon!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

the third day

(The Three Marys at the Tomb,  by Wm. Adolphe Bouguereau)

Three Days

Three days our world was broken; the Lord of life lay dead.
“Take up your cross,” he told us who followed where he led.
Would we now hang in torment with thieves on ev’ry side,
our Passover shattered, our hope crucified?
Three days we hid in silence, in bitter fear and grief.
Three days we clung together where he had washed our feet.

Three days and on the third day, the women came at dawn.
His tomb, they said, was empty, his broken body gone
Who could believe the story? The dead do not arise,
yet he walks among us, and with our own eyes
we’ve seen him at this table; we’ve shared his bread and wine.
Hearts burning bright within us, we’ve seen his glory shine.

Three days our world was broken and in an instant healed,
God’s covenant of mercy in mystery revealed.
Two thousand years are one day in God’s eternal sight,
and yesterday’s sorrows are this day’s delight.
Though still Christ’s body suffers, pierced daily by the sword,
yet death has no dominion: the risen Christ is Lord!

lyrics by M.D. Ridge, music by Gustav Holst

( I've been looking for the words to this all day - finally found them!)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

the suffering servant

"Behold, my servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high.

 As many were astonished at him -- his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the sons of men --

 so shall he startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they shall see, and that which they have not heard they shall understand.

Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.

 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.

 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.

 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.

 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?

 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

 Yet it was the will of the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand;

 he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dolly!

On a lighter note, today was Dolly's eighth birthday.  Here she is posing, against the sun, I'm afraid - with a cat you have to just take your opportunities when they arise.

I hope she had a good day; I sang "Happy Birthday" to her, and she yawned partway through, in the usual way of cats. I didn't take it personally.

She enjoyed the sun on the front window for quite a while

We tend to fuss over her regularly, so I don't know if she could tell it was a special occasion by the extra attention.  I have to say I was really lamenting the unfortunate communications barrier between homo sapiens and felines. I wanted her to know it was her birthday, and we were celebrating it!

I gave her a drink of water in a cut-glass bowl - why not?  She's an equal member of this household.

She is The Dolly.

Good Friday

"Have you ever loved someone and wanted desperately to somehow make him or her notice you and found yourself hopelessly unable to do so?...then you have felt how God feels in this world."

                  -   Ron Rolheiser, OMI    "Daybreaks: Daily Reflections for Lent and Easter Week"

("Crucifixion"  by Murillo)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

the {real}ity of Holy Thursday

We got this little acrylic "Last Supper" at the New York World's Fair. In the 1960's. Did you go to that?

Anyway, it's Holy Thursday, and the Last Supper is the reality of Holy Thursday, so that's where I'm coming from with this week's post.

this is what's {real} today:

Thank you, Leila; for this weekly sharing.


The blessings of the Lord on everyone!

Isaiah 50: 4-9a

"The Lord hath given me a learned tongue, that I should know how to uphold by word him that is weary. He wakeneth in the morning, in the morning he wakeneth my ear, that I may hear him as a master. The Lord God hath openeth my ear, and I do not resist: I have not gone back. I have given my body to the strikers, and my cheeks to them that plucked them: I have not turned away my face from them that rebuked me, and spit upon me.

The Lord God is my helper, therefore am I not confounded. Therefore have I set my face as a most hard rock, and I know that I shall not be confounded. He is near that justifieth me. Who will contend with me? Let us stand together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near to me.

Behold the Lord God is my helper."                                       

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"a different kind of power"

Another interesting excerpt from my meditations for Lent

"The gospels tell us that when people witnessed Jesus' life and ministry, they saw something that sharply differentiated him from others. 'He spoke with great power, unlike the scribes and Pharisees.' However, they use a curious word to name that power. They never say that Jesus spoke with great energia ('Wow, is he energetic!') or dynamis ('What dynamism!'). Instead, they use the Greek word exousia, a word with no English equivalent, but whose meaning can be conveyed in an image.

If you would put the strongest man in the world in a room with a newborn baby, which of these two beings would be more powerful? Obviously, on one level, the man is more powerful: he could kill the baby if he wanted. But the baby possesses a different kind of power, one that can move things muscles can't. A baby has exousia: its vulnerability is a great power. It doesn't need to out-muscle anyone. A baby invites, beckons, and all that's moral and deep in the conscience simply cannot walk away."

                             - Ron Rolheiser, OMI   "Daybreaks: Daily Reflections for Lent and Easter Week

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

bread making: Betty Crocker pumpernickel

I have made bread about five times in my life, and not for a long while. They all came out fine - one of them was pannetone, and that was especially good! - but I'm no bread baker.  However, I've been working myself up to this. And the time has come.

I tried a Laurie Colwin recipe which seemed simple enough, but it didn't come out - too heavy. I'm not sure what the problem was, and I want to try that one again at some point.  Last week I made up a batch of the 5 minute artisan no-knead dough, and baked a loaf a couple of days later, but it wasn't right. The crust was great, but inside it was too doughy. (The crust can be used for something; I put it in the freezer.) I tested the oven temperature and it seems fine.  I'll try the next batch at 25 degrees lower and bake it a bit longer.

Yesterday I had success - made a pumpernickel recipe from my 1975 Betty Crocker cookbook.

It's very whole-grainy, half rye and half all-purpose. Crunchy. My friend Emily was over today, and I was feeding her pieces of it with canola butter and honey - I think she ate half a loaf.  That's okay, I have another in the freezer!

"a gentle interiority"

Recently read this thought-provoking passage:

"Today I imagined my inner self as a place crowded with pins and needles. How could I receive anyone in my prayer when there is no real place for them to be free and relaxed? When I am still so full of preoccupations, jealousies, angry feelings, anyone who enters will get hurt. I had a very vivid realization that I must create some free space in my innermost self so that I may indeed invite others to enter and be healed. To pray for others means to offer others a hospitable place where I can really listen to their needs and pains. Compassion, therefore, calls for a self-scrutiny that can lead to inner gentleness.

If I could have a gentle 'interiority' - a heart of flesh and not of stone, a room with some spots on which one might walk barefooted - then God and my fellow humans could meet each other there. Then the center of my heart can become the place where God can hear the prayer for my neighbors and embrace them with his love."

                                              -    The Genesee Diary,     Henri Nouwen

Monday, April 18, 2011

forsythia in bloom

"...light of the Gentiles"

"Behold my servant, I will uphold him, My elect: my soul delighteth in him. I have given my spirit upon him, he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor have respect to person, neither shall his voice be heard abroad. The bruised reed he shall not break, and smoking flax he shall not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not be sad, nor troublesome, till be set judgment in the earth, and the islands wait for his law.

Thus saith the Lord God that created the heavens, and stretched them out; that established the earth, and the things that spring out of it; that giveth breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that tread thereon: I the Lord have called thee in justice, and taken thee by the hand, and preserved thee. And I have given thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles, that thou mightest open the eyes of the blind, and bring forth the prisoner out of prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."

                                             Isaiah 42: 1-7

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Holy Week begins

"Holy Week invites us to let go of self and embrace the Lord anew. To begin again! How desperately the current age needs to hear this Good news that we can all begin again! The real question is not whether we will mark time but how we will do so? For the Christian time is not meant to be a tyrant ruling over us with impunity. Rather, it is a teacher, inviting and instructing us to choose to enter more fully into our relationship with the Lord and in Him with one another for the world."

                              Deacon Keith Fournier of Catholic Online

( Entry into Jerusalem by Giotto)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tasha Tudor style shawl

This shawl was knitted by a co-worker - for herself - but apparently she didn't think she looked well in it.

It's styled after something Tasha Tudor often wore - instructions here - and we two were fascinated by her lifestyle, so my friend brought it in to work to show me and I fell in love with it. She told me to keep it!

I hadn't knitted for many years, but this shawl is what caused me to pick up knitting again, and I made one in brown. The lace gave me a bit of trouble, and it isn't as nice as Linda's, but it's good enough.

So now I have two of these lovely things. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real}


Today Leila is starting something new - {pretty, happy, funny, real}.  I think I can come up with at least one of those every Thursday, so...

This is my {pretty}

This is my {happy} - well, I'm the happy one because I'm finally trying the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day method - I took this photo right after mixing it up.  It's in my crock pot liner - so far, so good!

There was definitely a {funny}, but I was too busy with it to take pictures.  Henry - below -

was outside poking around in the muddy yard, and rushed into the house before I could stop him.  He's fairly new to us, and I'd noticed he isn't afraid of water, so I got a pan with water and put him in it. He didn't want any of it!  But he didn't run away, so I grabbed him again and brought him to the kitchen sink, where I was barely able to clean his dirty paws while poor Henry struggled to escape. Still, he didn't even try to bite me or scratch.   I have a new respect for him.   (This photo was taken earlier when he was wanting to sleep, hence the glaring.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

a funky lid

I don't know where my mother got this - most likely from one of those mail-order catalogs which offer oddities of every sort. 

It's a universal lid for pots and pans - universal because it's large (twelve and a half inches in diameter) - and is able to sit on any pot because of its slightly convex shape.

It curves a bit up at the edges, causing the steamy droplets to run back into the pot, rather than in a concave design, which makes everything run down toward the outer edges of the lid, and then drip all around the outside of the pot.

I use it a lot - it comes in handy when boiling starchy things. If you leave a lid on, the starch overtakes the situation and it bubbles over. If you leave a lid off, too much water may evaporate. With this, I can just open the vents - oh, I forgot to mention those -

and very little water is lost.  It's great for my minestrone; I use it with the vents shut for the first fifteen minutes of simmering, but when I put in the pasta, I open them and am able to cook it another fifteen minutes without losing the soup to the atmosphere!

It's large size makes for a tight squeeze on the small stovetop. It looks like a cymbal with a knob. But what I really want to say is, if you see one of these at your local thrift store, you may want to pick it up. It's a very useful item.

Friday, April 8, 2011

a "new" lamp

I've been wanting another lamp for my bedroom, but couldn't settle on anything. I was at the thrift store the other day, and as we were saying we should get going, ran over to the electric wares. Well! I got such a cute little lamp for $3.99.

It's perfect! The paint is peeling, but it's pink, blue and white.  It works! Even came with a light bulb! I think, when the weather is nice, I can spray paint it outside - a soft yellow.

It was probably made for a children's room.  Looks so good on my dresser!

I'm very grateful!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

"anchored in the rhythms of the ordinary"

From my booklet of Lenten meditations -

"Something inside us despises the ordinary. Something tells us that ordinary life, with its predictable routines, domestic rhythms, and conscription to duty makes for cheap meaning. Inside us there is the sense that the ordinary can weigh us down...

Life, Jesus assures us, is not meant to be lived in black and white, nor is it meant simply to be an endless cycle of rising, showering, going off to work, coming home, having supper, preparing for the next day, then going back to bed. And yet, there is much, much to be said for that seemingly small routine. The rhythm of the ordinary is, in the end, the deepest wellspring from which to draw joy and meaning."

Friday, April 1, 2011

out back this morning

I'm grateful it wasn't any worse than this - a dusting.   And it's gone already.  An April Fool's joke?