Saturday, December 30, 2017

red and green and snow

We had more snow today - not much, but the Christmas lights inside sparkle so much more when it's darker out, so it's never dreary indoors at this time of year. 

I bought this armful of winterberry and greenery at the farmers' market about a month ago. I couldn't resist, although not quite knowing what I would do with it all. But there is a small plastic table on the front step outside - painted the same color as the house, so really you can't tell what it's made of - and a container on it. (I had planted nasturtium seeds there and was really hoping they'd bloom before the frost, but they didn't.) I looked at that empty (except for the shriveled nasturtium) pot every day, telling myself I really should empty it out and put it away. I'm glad I didn't! When I got home, those branches were easily pushed into the soft potting soil and there they've stayed since, merry and bright.

It's been unusually cold for December, in the teens during the day. I wonder what kind of winter we will have.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

"the luminous meaning of life"

"The newborn Child challenges us. He calls us to leave behind fleeting illusions and to turn to what is essential, to renounce our insatiable cravings, to abandon our endless yearning for things we will never have. We do well to leave such things behind, in order to discover, in the simplicity of the divine Child, peace, joy, and the luminous meaning of life."

                                                            - Pope Francis

Sunday, December 24, 2017

glad tidings

"Shepherds, rejoice! Lift up your eyes,
And send your fears away;
News from the region of the skies;
Salvation's born today!"

-  Isaac Watts

Saturday, December 23, 2017

getting ready

The weather people were predicting a warm day today, in the fifties, but it sure wasn't. We had ice all day and it's still there.

My brother had to oh-so carefully move out to his car this morning; to show me how icy it was, he placed the jug of ice melt on the driveway and it slid about two feet by itself. But the roads were okay.

I asked him when he wanted to eat tomorrow, since he'll be going out to help at the four o'clock Mass and then at the midnight. And then I realized the best thing to do is embrace this crazy schedule and make a brunch for after church, and with my birthday omelet fresh in my mind, I prepared as much as I could ahead of time. I made two omelets today, and I'm going to fill them with salmon, spinach and some cheese, so I also cooked the spinach and the fish ahead.

I can throw it all together as soon as we get home with homemade applesauce from a customer of his, toast and tea - I think it should hold us till he gets back in the evening, and then we can have soup and toasted cheese sandwiches. Cookies in between, of course.

I tried to do some last-minute cleaning today, after neglecting my usual routine this week. Thursday I ignored housework (except dinner and laundry) and finished the Christmas cards. Yesterday I focused on wrapping. I am realizing something that I didn't get before: if I devote a day to writing cards and ignore all else, it could be an enjoyable day, and I'd probably be able to do it in one day. But, because I try to fit it in with everything else I want to do, it drags on and I'm still doing it at the eleventh hour. This applies to any extra but important task, and I am beginning to see that I need to just embrace having to do it - the housework can be caught up (more or less) another time. I hope I remember this - I need to try it.

"I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them (as their God)."

Revelation 21:3

not for ourselves alone

"It is very important to remember during these few days before Christmas that we never receive any grace for ourselves alone but for the building up of the entire Mystical Body."

                                                      - Mother Marie des Douleurs,  from Magnificat, December 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Lamb Chop

If you're around my age, you may remember Shari Lewis, and Lamb Chop. Do you?

I was at the supermarket today and as I passed by the dog section on the way to get cat food, there was a plush Lamb Chop with antlers there, hanging up, apparently a dog toy. Three dollars and seventy four cents - half price.

What do you think I did?

Would there be any point to my insisting that I'm never drawn to silly Christmas decorations, that Christmas is a serious business to me?  But, Lamb Chop.

She's sitting in the little chair in the living room right now. She doesn't really have a place in our Christmas decor. But, she's Lamb Chop.

She makes a noise when you squeeze her tummy or her hand. I don't know where to keep it; I'm not sorry I bought it. It's Lamb Chop.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

running smoothly

I was relieved yesterday when the dough rose promptly, since the house is cool and I use as little yeast as I can get away with(out) when making bread.

Monday, December 18, 2017

so much to do

"Almighty and merciful God, may no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet your Son, but may our learning of heavenly wisdom gain us admittance to his company. Amen."

                                                  -  from the collect for the Mass of December 10th

Sunday, December 17, 2017

good finds

Recently I was able to unload some things at the thrift store, but then of course I also found some things:

  • a large, red basket with a handle
  • one pretty luncheon sized plate, deep blue with a raised  white snowflake pattern 
  • three wide mouth pint mason jars (see above), perfect for my overnight oats and so much easier to clean
  • two small half size jelly jars, all with lids 
  • a beautiful queen size cotton flat sheet, in a soft yellow and unusually heavy fabric for a sheet
  • one cotton pillowcase
Not to mention the two Christmas presents I found later at a consignment shop! All very useful items.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

way beyond sugar

It snowed a little more again yesterday. I was watching a movie (Maudie - excellent story) and afterward I looked outside in the light of the street light.

I saw the snow sparkle more than I had ever seen it. I called my brother over to look - it was not the usual sugary looking snow with sparkles here and there - no. The surface of snow was twinkling as if mirrors had been smashed and the bits sprinkled over all. I went to the back and turned on the spotlight. It reminded me of children's movies, when the special effects people add that Tinkerbelle-y fairy dust over everything - it didn't seem entirely real. I suppose it was more icy than usual?

Today it was back-to-normal twinkling.  But what a sight to remember!

Oh beautiful at nightfall
The soft spitting snow
And beautiful of bare boughs
Rubbing to and fro

- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

more mighty than any other power

"Christmas Eve is my favorite time.  The trappings are fun, the holiday exciting, but more than that, I feel it has a significance not lost in the glitter, not really. is good to remember that the carpenter's son was born, and taught, and died so long ago and yet is so alive, that we celebrate his birthday.   And what a miracle it is that down the centuries, in the midst of wars and destruction and famines and pestilence the spirit of this carpenter has proved more mighty than any other power for it grows and shines in our day as it did then.

Somehow I feel that at Christmas time, we may stop and look at God and let God look at us.  I think most mothers get tired during the Christmas rush. I do. There is always a low moment when I fervently wish it were just over and I could SIT DOWN. I wish it were August. And nothing at all going on.

And yet, when the children say 'Thank you for a wonderful Christmas, best we ever had,' and one child whispers, 'this was just all I wanted - how did you know?' and one child curls up to read the book you have chosen so carefully, and one says 'we never had such a Christmas,' suddenly then all the tiredness ebbs away, and a pure happiness floods in."

                                                     -  from Gladys Taber,  published in 1955.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

snowflakes and evergreens

A bulletin board at the library:

I work with some clever and artistic people.

(I had nothing to do with this.)

Monday, December 11, 2017

a memorable birthday treat

First of all, I would like to publicly thank Gail for remembering my birthday. I did not remember hers on September 23rd, not until I opened her card and then remembered. This also happened last year. But, she is organized.


Debra and I went to our favorite brunch place for a treat, and it was snowing. We arrived and were afraid they were closed because the parking lot was pretty empty. But that was because of the snow.

They specialize in omelets - at least they do on Saturdays, which is when we always go there. We both had the same thing: omelet stuffed with roast beef, onions in ale and honey, and cheddar. It was as good as it sounds! And some chocolate mint tea. (I ordered some from Amazon when I got home.) We never have dessert when we go, but for some reason (maybe the snow) we both had the desire for it. I had a Russian cream. How delicious, and I'd never heard of it! I googled the recipe later. I want to make it, fabulous stuff! Heavy cream, gelatin, sour cream, berry sauce - what a dessert! 

It was a delightful birthday treat.

just somebody's house along the way

Sunday, December 10, 2017

it happened yesterday

mid-morning, yesterday

a neighbor cat, watching the snow fall

afternoon, with the Christmas tree reflection

"The first snowfall is worth having winter for. First a few tranquil flakes float down, then they come faster, and with purpose. The old greystone walls silver over, the swamp wears a mantle whiter than foam. The pine trees on the slope begin to cast feathers of snow from their branches. Inside the house there is a curious luminous look to everything, and outside the sharp etchings of November begin to blur."

-   Gladys Taber from the December chapter of Stillmeadow Daybook

Saturday, December 9, 2017

come quickly

Come, quickly come, great King of all;
Reign all around us, and within;
Let sin no more our souls enthrall,
Let pain and sorrow die with sin;
Come, quickly come: for you alone
Can make your scattered people one.

Come, quickly come, true Life of all;
The curse of death is on the ground;
On every home his shadows fall,
On every heart his mark is found:
Come, quickly come, for grief and pain
Can never cloud your glorious reign.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

come and save us

The Lord will come and not be slow,
His footsteps cannot err;
Before him righteousness shall go,
His royal harbinger.

Truth from the earth, like to a flower,
Shall bud and blossom then;
And justice, from her heav'nly bower,
Look down on mortal men.

Rise, God, judge thou the earth in might,
This wicked earth redress;
For thou art he who shalt by right
The nations all possess.

The nations all whom thou hast made
Shall come, and all shall frame
To bow them low before thee, Lord,
And glorify thy name.

For great thou art, and wonders great
By thy strong hand are done:
Thou in thine everlasting seat
Remainest God alone.

"As servants waiting for the Master's return, we pray:

        Come, Lord, and save us!

From the emptiness when we do not recognize your presence:
         Come, Lord, and save us!

From the silence in which we do not hear your voice:
         Come, Lord, and save us!

From the darkness in which we do not see your light:
          Come, Lord, and save us!"

                - from Magnificat, December 2017

Friday, December 1, 2017

pretty knits

Every year after Thanksgiving a large tree is put up in the library, filled with knitted/crocheted items, mostly handmade but some purchased. Before Christmas everything will be donated to those who are in need.  It's nice to look at.

Here is something different - a baby sweater knitted in a thicker yarn. Pale pink rollneck with gray trim. What a great design!

I also spied this -

the rows of gold are like knitted smocking - if you stretch it out it's flat;  leave it and it's "gathered".
It would cover a little baby, but it really is much smaller than the typical baby blanket.

Two items which caught my eye.