Friday, November 30, 2012

Dolly makes her mark

This picture doesn't really need a caption, does it?

 The bottom of the cabinet has a door (where the china is kept) and I'd primed one side already.  I was doing my work on the kitchen table with a drop cloth underneath - I had primed the other side and was washing my brushes. Suddenly Dolly ran up from the basement and leaped onto the table before I could do anything! I grabbed her and washed her little feet - she, who has such a dread of water. She didn't squirm or make a peep, the brave little soul. She had her big adventure.

As for me, I wasn't going to touch it up; I didn't want to wash brushes again. It was the inside of the door, and I'm going to be painting it tomorrow. The paint will probably cover it up. But if it doesn't, Dolly's paw prints will be there every time go in there for the china, and that will be OK.

feast of St. Andrew the apostle

The Word went fishing by the sea
where trolled the nets of Galilee;
borne on the wind, his call fell fair
on hearts of folk who labored there.
They left their nets and boats behind
for fishing of another kind.

The Word had left high heaven's home
to gather fam'ly of his own,
as mother, brother, sister claimed
all those who loved his Father's Name:
they set aside the ties that bind
for family of another kind.

The Word abandoned life and breath
to wrest the world from living death.
With nets and homes and dreams at stake,
the fishers followed for love's sake.
They left their very lives behind
for living of another kind.

O Word, along our troubled shore
where hungry shoals fall prey before
nets thrown by other hands than yours,
cast nets of love whose power endures:
draw us to leave all else behind
for you, the Life of all our kind!

(The Calling of the Apostles Peter and Andrew, by Duccio)

hymn from Magnificat, November 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

painting in the kitchen

I've been painting in the kitchen. This corner cabinet used to be blue, a pretty sky blue color.  But you know how the knots in the wood sometimes show through the paint? Well, it had been that way for many years. And rather than trying to match up the blue, I thought I'd use up some of the Benjamin Moore Indian White that we used for the walls here. So that's what I did.

I am thrilled with it! I hadn't thought of it as a cream before, but it seems very creamy to me now. And the white is a more updated look, I think.

The biggest challenge was keeping a certain person away from what I was doing -

I managed to keep her occupied on the sunny window till all was dry.

There's more to do - a cornice between the kitchen and hallway and a narrow molding along the ceiling all around the room, except where the cabinets are. I'll do it a little at a time, like the tortoise.

But the biggest part is done.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

when it snows

For those who don't live in a place where it snows,

I thought that maybe you might wonder about it.

When it snows - unless it's a real blowy snowstorm - everything outside seems hushed -

muffled by the falling white blanket, I suppose.

As it slowly piles up, and especially if there's nowhere you have to be, a peaceful feeling will start to come over you

and you may want to do something cozy, like curl up and read while watching snowflakes fall, or bake something sweet and filling like pumpkin pie.

If it's early in the season like now, you may get even out your Christmas music, if you haven't already.

The birds always come around to fill up at the feeders.

And you suddenly realize that it's pointless to resist the temptation to bring out at least one winter decoration.

Monday, November 26, 2012

a bright night

but the clouds are coming in - expecting a little snow tomorrow.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

" like the seasons people are"

"It is interesting to note how much like the seasons people are. I know some who are summer people, and I am happy to be with them. They are gay and easy and full of pleasant talk. But they would never do for an emergency. Then they are too busy or they are going away. There are people like spring, too, volatile and blowing away one minute and another way the next. They are charming. Autumnal people are sober and grave, I find, but with bursts of sudden color.

But winter people are the best and there are few of them. They are the friends who are deep and true, once you penetrate to the secret warmth. The surface may not be as gay and charming but under the austere surface runs the living sap of lovingkindness. These are the friends to call when there is an emergency, big or small. They are the ones who never expect gratitude for favors done, it is a matter of course to help out, think nothing of it.

But it is wrong to expect summer people and spring people and even autumn people to be different than they are by nature. We cannot all be alike, and indeed it would be a sad world if we were. How much better to enjoy the gift of personality which everyone has and not expect a summer person to sit up all night with you while you watch a sick puppy. Ask that of a winter person, but enjoy the summer people for what they do give and for what you give them."

                                         Gladys Taber,   Stillmeadow Sampler

Saturday, November 24, 2012

cold and windy with a deep blue cloud

Our mild weather finally turned today; it blustered, and this beautiful deep sky even produced a couple of flakes.

washing dishes

We don't have a dishwasher, and I've many times felt like I was spending half my day at the kitchen sink. But I also know that, human nature being what it is, an unwelcome task tends to loom large and also seems to take longer than it really does.

Lately I've become aware of how little time it actually does take to get the dishes done with some sort of a system. With one of my absorbent cloths under the dish drainer and a bowl of soapy water, I would say that I can get most everything washed and rinsed in only ten or fifteen minutes. This was a very interesting revelation. Something I was complaining about takes far less time than my imagination was telling me it was taking! (Now, there are usually only two of us eating, but I do seem to use a lot of pans anyway, so I end up with plenty of dirty dishes. And if I bake, etc. it does add up.) After washing I leave everything to drain for two hours, at which time they only need a quick wipe before they're put away.

Which leaves me plenty of time for gazing out windows.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

a gift from Val

I got an email from Val the other day - she had an extra copy of Susan Branch's cookbook, Autumn; would I like it?  Well, sure!

I expected it today, and I was right - it came

Val puts a lot of care into things - this was no surprise.

Dolly came over right away and fussed with the tissue wrap

and Val was apologizing for any cat hairs which may have come with the package - is she kidding? 

Thank you, Val!  All is just as it should be.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"November means Thanksgiving"

"November means Thanksgiving...It is more solemn than it was when I was a child and the world had never heard of missiles and bombs. In those days, it was just a family gathering when everyone ate too much and was grateful that the family could be together again, and there was always the idea that Thanksgiving would go on forever. There have been times since when it seemed doubtful. 

It makes Thanksgiving, for me, more sober...Thanksgiving should be a time of prayer, of feeling humble, and of reaffirming our faith in God. When the grandchildren are propped up on the dictionary and encyclopaedia and reach for a turkey wing, I look at them, and pray quietly that they may live in a world at peace."

                                           -  Gladys Taber,   Stillmeadow Sampler

Saturday, November 17, 2012

invisible zipper by hand

a nice thing about invisibles is that they don't show and you don't need to match them exactly

I got some velveteen for a skirt and thought an invisible zipper would be a better choice. But then realized that my new Janome didn't come with the proper foot and I need a Janome foot - of course. I could wait until I get one, or I could put it in by hand.  So far I've ripped it out twice.

Surely I'll get it in there and it will be a simple matter. Right?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

pre-Thanksgiving {p,h,f,r}

Joining Leila today for {pretty, happy, funny, real} -

The view out the windows when it's either dawn or dusk always draws me, and I get such a compulsion to get an image.


There's an aura of mystery about these two - night is coming, but not yet. And lights are sparkling through the dark.

On the far side of about two towns away from us there's a family style restaurant quite well known in the area. We don't get out that way much at all, but a few years ago we were there at this time of year and I sampled some of their cranberry sherbet  (they make their own ice creams) which is only available at this time of the year.

A friend heads out that way for appointments regularly, so I asked him last week if he'd pick me up some for Thanksgiving. He called them, but they said it wouldn't be ready for a month! How could that be?  I was quite cast down, until I remembered that I have an ice cream maker. I found a recipe online and was making my holiday dinner plans when he called me today to say I should look on my back step for a package.


He took a chance and stopped by there. This is the most delicious, creamy sherbet I've ever had, and the cranberry flavor is wonderful!  Ahhhh. And - it's a whole half-gallon!

I was menu-planning the other day - I keep my clipped recipes in a box from work, which previously held catalog cards - and Dolly simply had to insert herself in the box top.  She looks kind of weird here, doesn't she?  Like a grouchy Cheshire cat with an almost disembodied appearance.  So, that's my


I have a long shelf in my bedroom which runs the length of a wall; I keep fabric on it. About twice a year I have to throw it all down on the floor, refold it and get it back up there neatly.  It's time to do it again.

I blurred it on purpose; it looks much more palatable that way. Almost circus-y.

Thanks again to Leila.
round button chicken

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


"Holding a round, firm onion in my hand, I think how wonderfully it is made. The delicate papery skin is faintly pink or ivory, and the concentric circles inside are a marvel. Nature casually produces this gift to mankind and we take it quite for granted. Of course, everybody has onions."

                                - Gladys Taber,   Stillmeadow Sampler

Monday, November 12, 2012

a disturbing tale

Or rather, a Tale of a Disturbance.

My brother had another birthday and a friend was over.  I was washing a few dishes when they called to me - "You should take a picture of Henry like this!"  

I'd seen him looking that way before, but I dutifully snapped a picture. 

"Oh, no - from the other side!  You have to catch where his back foot is."  Poor Henry was sleeping, but I dutifully crept past him over near the window, and zoomed in to show his foot on the other side.

My brother said, " You're using the zoom?  It's not the same as being close to the subject." But poor Henry was sleeping.

He took the camera from me and went over near Henry, taking pictures; I saw an ear twitch just as I was wondering how he could be sleeping through all of it.  But then,

well, really.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

wisdom's gifts

Happy the man who meditates on wisdom,
and reflects on knowledge.

She will nourish him with the bread of understanding,
and give him the water of learning to drink.

He will lean upon her and not fall,
he will trust in her and not be put to shame.

She will exalt him above his fellows;
in the assembly she will make him eloquent.

Joy and gladness he will find,
en everlasting name inherit.
                             -  Sirach, 14:22, 15:3-6,     Magnificat,    November 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Friday, November 9, 2012

Henry goes for baroque

It struck me how he much he seemed to enjoy the Sunday Baroque stream the other day, and the Gabrieli brass music I'm playing again now.   Well, well!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

golden leafed skirt

Today I'm joining Elizabeth's needle & thREAD, because I'm working on a skirt for myself.

A few years ago I bought a beautiful yarn-dyed plaid from Keepsake Quilting - without any particular plan for it in mind - and recently decided it was just the thing for an autumn skirt.

It has golden leaves all over it!

I wanted to use up every bit to showcase it, so I just cut two rectangles, made big pleats and put in a zipper and a waistband; but when I tried it on,  realized that a big full skirt tends to look much better on real skinny girls. So, I took it apart and cut the pieces into the fullest a-line I could get out of it.

I'm halfway done with the waistband, and then all it will need is a hem. I hope I can finish it today.

I forgot to photograph my book, but I've been reading Stillmeadow Sampler by Gladys Taber, which somebody dropped off at the library. It's very pleasant reading, and I've posted a few quotes from it here lately.  In view of our visit last week from Hurricane Sandy, this passage caught my eye yesterday:

"A hurricane is preceded by a strange stuffy smell in the air. Nobody has ever mentioned this, as far as I know, but it is as if the whole air were shut up in a small space...Now when the sky takes on a greenish tinge and the air gets that funny smell, we mobilize. Fill pails, fill teakettles. Wash lamp chimneys, trim wicks. Lug in enough wood for a siege. Get out all the candles in the house. Make coffee. Stack bath towels for handy mopping when something gives way...Then we sit it out. 

Hurricanes can strike us all, one way or another. Even those who are outside the natural hurricane belt may be subject to hurricanes of the spirit, the heart. And there is only one way to meet any kind of hurricane: batten down, ride it out, face it with courage."

Can you imagine not knowing ahead of time that such a storm is on the way?  Anyhow, this book, published in 1959, is full of interesting details of a life much more in tune with nature than in our present day.

Thank you, Elizabeth!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Snow outside; me and the cats inside, listening to Gabrieli.  Every now and then we hear the wind.

Brass music, a snowy evening - it may as well be December!

Monday, November 5, 2012

"the main purpose of a vacation"

"I suspect that the main purpose of a vacation or a trip is to make home more inviting."

                          - Gladys Taber,   Stillmeadow Sampler

Saturday, November 3, 2012

a real good cookie

the last one

This is a real good cookie.

  I always think of spices in my baking at this time of year, so going through my untried cookie recipes, this one caught my eye - Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies; it's from Martha Stewart Living. 

I didn't follow it exactly. I was hurriedly trying to use up butter before the storm came and wiped out our electricity (which didn't happen), so I just put in what I had. Regular cocoa, not Dutch process. Just hot water, not boiling, for Pete's sake (boil one and a half teaspoons of water?). And I used plain old Baker's semi-sweet baking chocolate. That was interesting.

I will usually put in chocolate morsels rather than cut up chunks of chocolate - laziness, I guess. But I didn't have any. It was a pain to cut it into quarter-inch pieces; in fact they didn't always cut the way I wanted them to, so some of the pieces were more like a half-inch. That was the interesting part.

The bigger chunks made it a little trickier to roll them into balls, but oh - how nice it was to bite into those soft chocolate bits!  So, if you're thinking of making these, I wouldn't be too particular in my chopping.

 You may notice that this one has sugar on it - I forgot to roll most of them in the sugar, until the last small batch.  And I must have made them smaller, because I got over two and a half dozen. And they don't call for eggs, for some reason. But none of this matters.

They're Good. Here's the recipe.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

All Saints

"The saints cannot be possessive about the glory, the joy, the life that is theirs, united with him who did not clutch greedily at his own divinity but emptied himself for our sake, they too pour out the bliss that is theirs into the Body from which they are not separated, so that what they have, we too may have.

Our Christian life is not lived in splendid isolation; it is lived in this communion of saints, which means both the company of the holy ones, and the sharing in holy things. When we feel low and spiritually run down, we need not lose heart, because we are still one with those who rejoice with unutterable and holy joy in the presence of God, who already have the vision of light and life without ending. That is why it is so natural for Christians to pray to the saints."

                    -    Father Simon Tugwell, O.P.       Magnificat,  November 2012

(Adoration of the Lamb, by Jan van Eyck)