Saturday, April 27, 2013

Henry takes a drink

Here we have Henry taking a drink of water.

 He dips in a paw

then licks.

Apparently some cats do this if they don't feel confident about where the water level is.

Silly, but it reminds me of the story of Gideon! 

"The Lord said to Gideon: They that shall lap the water with their tongues, as dogs are wont to lap, thou shalt set apart by themselves; but they that shall drink bowing down their knees, shall be on the other side. And the number of them that had lapped water, casting it with the hand to their mouth, was three hundred men. And all the rest of the multitude had drunk kneeling. And the Lord said to Gideon: By the three hundred men, that lapped water, I will save you, and deliver Midian into thy hand..."

                                    Judges 7: 5-7

Thursday, April 25, 2013

sewing two by twos

For a patchwork quilt, twos together, three inch squares and a whole lot of 'em.

choosing the law of happiness

"He [God] has fashioned a law for us that will train us for eternal happiness. It is the law of love. Our life's work is to hear and choose this law of happiness over the law of sin and death. Thus do we take part in the work of Easter."

                                        - Magnificat,  April, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

Dolly at ten

Dolly turned ten years old today!  She started off her day by having breakfast in bed, then a nap.

Before lunch a little digestive, then napping in various places throughout the day.

Tonight, one more look out the window

and a little jazz before bed.

enjoying Nostalgia by Charles McPherson

afternoon in the city

Caravaggio came to town

at the museum in the city - but we couldn't take pictures.

a section where we could

Look at those wild colors (not Caravaggio's work)

Then a free jazz concert at the library up the street

where we strolled along a bit of parqueted sidewalk.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

with the sum of all our years

God of myst'ry, God of mercy,
God of glory, hid in light:
Let your face shine on your people
Where we dwell in dark of night.
Part the clouds that keep us from you,
Rend the heavens and come down,
Show your love at work among us,
Let us sing your great renown.

God of daylight and of darkness,
God of heaven, God of earth:
You are Lord of all our living,
Yours our tears and yours our mirth.
Hold us in the hands that made us,
Cradle all our hopes and fears,
Let us praise and give you glory
With the sum of all our years.

- Magnificat,  April 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

return of the daffodils

In the little bed beside the front steps were weeds and things I just couldn't get rid of. So in the fall I did what I'd read about so many times - covered the plot with watered-down layers of newspaper and some black plastic, with rocks to hold it all down.  I knew it would kill my daffodils, but I couldn't see any other way; I would just have to plant more.

Well, last week I noticed the edge of the papers were up - the side which was toward the sun. 

Those daffodils weren't so easily done away with, bless their sunny little hearts. 

Everything else seems to be gone. How convenient.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

a good substitution

Back when Hurricane Sandy was threatening, I stocked up on a few useful things, and one of them was a carton of oat milk. Well, I just thought it might come in handy if somebody was desperate. But we didn't need it, and I've been wondering ever since what to do with it.

Yesterday I pulled out my muffin recipes, determined to try them all and weed out the losers.  But at the supermarket I forgot the milk. 

Today I made cranberry-orange muffins with the oat milk, and you would never know! I don't remember the price of it, but there are several recipes out there for making your own, and I'm thinking it may be worth it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

"entrust the rest to the Lord"

"There are times when the burden of need and our own limitations might tempt us to become discouraged. But precisely then we are helped by the knowledge that, in the end, we are only instruments in the Lord's hands; and this knowledge frees us from the presumption of thinking that we alone are personally responsible for building a better world. In all humility we will do what we can, and in all humility we will entrust the rest to the Lord. It is God who governs the world, not we. We offer him our service only to the extent that we can, and for as long as he grants us the strength. To do all we can with the strength we have, however, is the task which keeps the good servant of Jesus Christ always at work: 'The love of Christ urges us on'."  (2 Cor 5:14)

                                                  -   Benedict XVI

Thursday, April 11, 2013

new chair pads

Ah, finally - how dilapidated the old ones were. I've done two so far, each a little different. And with more ideas on how to improve the next one.  

Friday, April 5, 2013

the love of Christ

"What will separate us from the love of Christ?"

                        -Romans 8:35

"Stern as death is love, relentless as the nether world is devotion; its flames are a blazing fire. Deep waters cannot quench love, nor floods sweep it away."

                                       - Song of Songs 8:6b-7a

Thursday, April 4, 2013

good enough for Henry

I got interested in an Amy Butler quilt from her book In Stitches, a throw made of heavier weight fabric of her own design, but which I intended to make with whatever I had at hand.

It consists of rectangles of different sizes, in fabrics lettered A to J (from fabric J, cut a piece 26" by 28", etc.), which are arranged in a certain pattern. So, without desiring to spend time planning or thinking about it too much, I began by reaching up to my fabric shelf, choosing something, and calling that "A". My only criteria afterward was that subsequent pieces not clash with the previous ones. And if I didn't care for the way it was coming out, I would just have to live with it! 

So that's what I did, more or less. 

It doesn't look too bad in this picture, but I'm not so keen on the dark patches; still, this is how you learn what appeals to you and what doesn't.  It ended up mostly pink and lime, so I decided green was best for the backing. I found some online at for a good price and bought enough to piece it to get the width I needed, but then decided - since it really wasn't a thing of beauty - that I didn't want to bother, so I ran the gingham up the center and cut off the long sides of the quilt to match.

Then it got machine quilted, horizontally in the mid-section and vertically at either end. 

Even though it's not really pretty, I enjoyed the process and learned a couple of things which don't work - so that's good.

We have another warm blanket in the house. And now it's folded up at the end of my mother's old bed, where Henry naps from time to time.

I'm sure he'll have no complaints about it.

(ssshh - he's on it already)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

a little night sewing

making time after work for finishing the last side of a quilt binding

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

cooking lamb chops

My mother usually made lamb chops for Easter. It seemed appropriate, with its relation to Passover and everything.  So after she was gone I knew I had to continue, but how?

In my mind, there was always a mystique about the way she cooked them. Sometimes they were thick chops; other times they were thinner. Always delicious. She had such a devil-may-care attitude about them. "Oh, just sprinkle them with lots of garlic powder - they have plenty of flavor." She would put them in a low-sided pan in the oven and casually leave them there till she was ready to take them out. As she got older, she'd use the stovetop instead. I remember once that she put one in a skillet on low, and took a leisurely nap! When she awoke and checked on it, it was just right.  Of course.

You can imagine my case of the nerves when I knew my time had come. Turning to Julia's The Way to Cook, I learned the differences between loin chops and shoulder chops. She said the shoulder chops were much cheaper and quite delicious enough. OK! Armed with that information I looked at them next time I was at the market. The loin chops were the thick ones, the shoulder chops thinner - all right! Now I was beginning to learn something. 

But, how to cook them? I was not looking for a recipe, so much as how to cook them - not the same thing. Poking around in the cookbook section next time I was at work, I found what I was looking for in The Joy of Cooking.  And this is what I do:

adapted from the Joy of Cooking

Salt and pepper your shoulder chops and brown them for two minutes on each side in a T. butter and a T. olive oil. Remove them from the pan and pour out most of the fat. Mince three garlic cloves and cook them in there till soft-ish, then add a half cup of white wine and half cup water. Reduce the liquid by half, then add tomato sauce of some kind (I actually used leftover Progresso Hearty Tomato soup!) - maybe a quarter cup, or just slosh some in the skillet. Put in two cups of chicken stock and some herbes de Provence or rosemary or whatever you want. Put your chops back in and simmer (braise) them about forty minutes or so.