Thursday, November 30, 2017

leftovers

Advent this year is as short as it can be. And Thanksgiving was as early as it could be, I think, so there's a long space in between which makes me feel in a kind of limbo. Many homes are decorating for Christmas, but I don't want to do anything until Advent begins. But it's almost here - I'll get out the window candles on Saturday evening.

I am finally getting to the bottom of the leftovers from Thanksgiving; there was a recipe in the newspaper today for a lentil soup with leftover turkey in it. I had no lentils, so I put in all the arborio rice I had and topped off the measuring cup with barley. I also mashed in the acorn squash remains - it tasted delicious, and I was relieved to make good use of the end of the turkey. I think I'll keep the recipe, even though I departed from it; it contains ground cumin and coriander, which are things I have, but would never think to put in soup. 

the mystery of evening


From Gladys Taber:

"There is always one moment in a day when I think my heart will break. Such a moment I think all women have, and men too, when all the meaning of life seems distilled and caught up and you feel you can never, never bear to leave it. It may be when you turn and look down a blazing autumn road or it may be when you see your house under great ancient trees or it may be, in the city, when you look up at a towering apartment building and see one light and think 'that is mine'. It may be any one of a number of things, according to the circumstances of your life.

But there is the moment, and all the heartaches and sorrows of your life suddenly diminish and only the fine brave things stand out. You breathe sharp clean air, your eyes lift to the eternal wideness of the sky.

Anybody has moments like this to store up, but some people are too busy adding up their frustrations to appreciate them. And yet all we need is an awareness of the beauty in life to make us richly content. My definition of happiness is just the ability to garner the perfect moments."



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

trees as air fresheners

"...depending on the tree species, they contain a selection of defensive compounds produced by the tree. These so-called phytoncides have antibiotic properties, and there has been some impressive research done on them. A biologist from Leningrad, Boris Tokin, described them like this back in 1956: if you add a pinch of crushed spruce or pine needles to a drop of water that contains protozoa, in less than a second, the protozoa are dead. In the same paper, Tokin writes that the air in young pine forests is almost germfree, thanks to the phytoncides released by the needles. In essence, then, trees disinfect their surroundings. But that isn't all. Walnuts have compounds in their leaves that deal so effectively with insects that garden lovers are often advised to put a bench under a canopy of walnuts if they want a comfortable place to relax in the garden, because this is where they will have the least chance of being bitten by mosquitoes."

                                                 - Peter Wohlleben, The Hidden Life of Trees 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

"a new kind of kingship"

"Jesus of Nazareth...is so intrinsically king that the title 'King' has actually become his name. By calling ourselves Christians, we label ourselves as followers of the king... God did not intend Israel to have a kingdom. The kingdom was a result of Israel's rebellion against God... The law was to be Israel's king, and, through the law, God himself... God yielded to Israel's obstinacy and so devised a new kind of kingship for them. The King is Jesus; in him God entered humanity and espoused it to himself. This is the usual form of the divine activity in relation to mankind. God does not have a fixed plan that he must carry out; on the contrary, he has many different ways of finding man and even of turning his wrong ways into right ways... The feast of Christ the King is therefore not a feast of those who are subjugated, but a feast of those know that they are in the hands of the one who writes straight on crooked lines."

                                                - Pope Benedict XVIfrom Magnificat, November 2017

Friday, November 24, 2017

excellent pumpkin pie



The pie was so good, and it tickles me that it's an English recipe; I am posting it here, and hope they (British Country Living) won't mind.

Mix together:

  • 3 eggs
  • 200 grams sour cream
  • 1 can (425g) pumpkin puree
  • 125g light muscovado sugar (I used light brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves 
  • zest from one lemon 
Put into your crust of choice and bake at 375F for 40 minutes or so.

I left out the lemon, not wanting to depart too much from tradition. And since I'd used up all my ginger supply in mixing up some pumpkin pie spice, I just put in 2 teaspoons of that. The pie was less custardy and softer than the usual, but very delicious. A keeper!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

James Madison's original proclamation for Thanksgiving Day

"The Senate and House of Representatives of the United States have by a joint resolution signified their desire that a day may be recommended to be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnity as a day of thanksgiving and of devout acknowledgments to Almighty God for his great goodness manifested in restoring to them the blessing of peace.

No people ought to feel greater obligations to celebrate the goodness of the Great Disposer of Events of the Destiny of Nations than the people of the United States. His kind providence originally conducted them to one of the best portions of the dwelling place allotted for the great family of the human race. He protected and cherished them under all the difficulties and trials to which they were exposed in their early days. Under his fostering care their habits, their sentiments, and their pursuits prepared them for a transition in due time to a state of independence and self-government. In the arduous struggle by which it was attained they were distinguished by multiplied tokens of his benign interposition.

During the interval which succeeded he reared them into the strength and endowed them with the resources which have enabled them to assert their national rights, and to enhance their national character in another arduous conflict, which is now so happily terminated by a peace and reconciliation with those who have been our enemies. And to the same divine Author of every good and perfect gift we are indebted for all those privileges and advantages, religious as well as civil, which are so richly enjoyed in this favored land.

It is for blessings such as these, and more especially for the restoration of the blessing of peace, that I now recommend that a day be set apart as a day on which the people of every religious denomination may in their solemn assemblies unite their hearts and their voices in a freewill offering to their Heavenly Benefactor of their homage of thanksgiving and of their songs of praise.

A Proclamation for Thanksgiving Day given at the city of Washington on the 4th day of March, A.D. 1815, and of the Independence of the United States the thirty-ninth."   
                   

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

preparation

No, I haven't been anywhere, except in the state of distraction.

It was supposed to rain in the morning and then clear up by afternoon. Then, it was going to rain in late morning and clear up in mid-afternoon. It ended up raining much of the day, and only clearing up right before sunset.


Quite a show.

I cooked the acorn squash, the Brussels sprouts and the pumpkin pie - a recipe from England, no less! It was in British Country Living last month and I determined to try it. It looks like a normal pumpkin pie, so we will see - tomorrow is the day.


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