Wednesday, February 28, 2018

good memories

"You must know that there is nothing higher, or stronger, or sounder, or more useful afterwards in life, than some good memory, especially a memory from childhood, from the parental home. You hear a lot said about your education, yet some such beautiful, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If a man stores up such memories to take into life, then he is saved for his whole life. And even if only one good memory remains with us in our hearts, that alone may serve one day for our salvation....and keep [us] from great evil.

                                                           -  Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

                                                     from Tending the Heart of Virtue, by Vigen Guroian

Monday, February 26, 2018

in the interest of warm ankles

I had two small skeins of this very vibrant yarn.

When I was preparing for work last Wednesday - the day it reached 77 degrees - I knew I wanted to wear my sandals, but it was cool in the morning; also, for all I knew the AC might go on there and I'd freeze. I found myself thinking a pair of ankle warmers would be ideal for both situations. After looking at several patterns I realized anything but the most simple stitch would be competing with these wonderful colors, so I just knitted and purled each skein until it was used up. Now these need to be joined into little tubes, but they could also stand to be just a bit wider, so I've fished around for some solid colors to add a bit of a stripey width.

I think I'm going to knit a narrow piece and then attach it to each side edge. Each leg may have a different color, as I've got very little of my "leftovers", but I think that will be okay. Stash-busting.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

transformation in Christ

"A tendency on massive display in our culture is the reduction of religion to ethics. Very much in the spirit of Immanuel Kant, many people today feel that everything else in religion - art, liturgy, prayer, mysticism, the sacraments, etc. - finally centers around and leads back to morality. How often we hear some version of the following: 'Well, as long as you're a good person, what does it really matter what you believe or how you worship God?'

...if you had asked one of the Church Fathers or medieval masters what Christianity is finally about, they would definitely not have said ethics. They probably would have said...becoming conformed to the divine nature. "

                                                    - Bishop Robert Barron

Lent is a time of transformation. As we gaze in the dark faith of prayer upon the glory of God revealed in Jesus Christ, we are transformed into his likeness. As we leave the work of prayer for the work of charity in our world, we live in his likeness.

-  from Magnificat, February 2018

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

a tantalizing spring preview

Who would think they could wear their sandals and bare feet in February?  But I did today.

Who would open a window and let February air in? We did, at work. It was near seventy degrees.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Friday, February 16, 2018

a prayer for Lent

or any time:

Prompt our actions with your inspiration, we pray, O Lord,
and further them with your constant help,
that all we do may always begin from you
and by you be brought to completion.

- from Magnificat, February 2018

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Jo strikes again and more mending

Jo continues to leave little rocks at the library; I almost missed this one the other day, laying as it was on our green and black stone counter -

an eggplant! 

I've got another pair of my brother's jeans almost repaired - two patches were required: one on the outside, one inside.

I just put the bit of fabric underneath here and zigzagged over the top.  It'll keep them going a little longer. Not rocket science, but he can't do it. It's good to know how to do a thing of use to someone. We all need to be valuable in that way; even something so simple.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Ash Grove, etc.

We sang this hymn at the end of Mass today:

Sent forth by God's blessing, our true faith confessing,
the people of God from His dwelling take leave.
The supper is ended. Oh, now be extended
the fruits of this service in all who believe.
The seed of His teaching, receptive souls reaching,
shall blossom in action for God and for all.
His grace did invite us, His love shall unite us
To work for God's kingdom and answer His call.

With praise and thanksgiving to God ever living,
the tasks of our everyday life we will face.
Our faith ever sharing, in love ever caring,
embracing His children of each tribe and race.
With Your feast You feed us, with Your light now lead us;
united us as one in this life that we share.
Then may all the living with praise and thanksgiving
give honor to Christ and His name that we bear.

It has a nice, lilting melody, but - the problem is that I've heard it before. 

Every time we sing this my mind goes back to the 1980's Pride and Prejudice with Elizabeth Garvie. During the party at the Lucases, Lizzie sings a song at the piano, and it's this one, with different lyrics, of course.  

Well, I happen to be reading another book about trees -  Fiona Stafford's The Long, Long Life of Trees, and in the chapter about the ash, what do you think I saw? 

Down yonder green valley, where streamlets meander,
when twilight is fading I pensively rove
Or at the bright noontide in solitude wander,
amid the dark shades of the lonely ash grove;
'twas there, while the blackbird was cheerfully singing,
I first met that dear one, the joy of my heart!
Around us for gladness the bluebells were ringing,
ah! then little thought I how soon we should part.

Apparently, it's an old Welsh song called The Ash Grove, no doubt familiar to my (2 or 3) English readers. Ha!

I do think I'm partial to this version; I did hear Lizzie sing it first. Here, two young women do it charmingly, with all the verses.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

more sashiko

My brother's jeans had a big tear at the knee where the machine won't reach. So I tried sashiko again; my rows are even this time! I hope it holds up in the wash.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

a pretty winter so far

So far, the winter hasn't been exactly run-of-the-mill. Much colder at times than usual, and the snowfalls - we've had several small to moderate snowfalls - they last a week or maybe just a couple of days, then melt. A few days later, snow again. For those of you who don't have snowy winters, I can say that this pattern is very nice, because it never stays around long enough to turn black from exhaust fumes, so the romance you get from freshly fallen snow remains - until the melting. How nice.

This picture is not from today, but it doesn't matter - it snowed today, too. Ice was also predicted, and the library closed early. We are all snug inside, thankfully.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

more rocks and a name, but still clueless

We keep finding the painted rocks around the library

and now the originator's name.

But who is Jo? We can't figure it out.

Monday, February 5, 2018

a convenient mistake

I discovered quite by accident that my sewing machine will also take my metal bobbins, which are left over from my previous model! I put one in without thinking; it actually fits in there better than the plastic ones.

So now I instantly have twice as many as I had before.

Friday, February 2, 2018

a thought and an idea

It's Candlemas, or the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. From Christmas Day to February 2 is forty days. Just like the forty years the Israelites wandered in the desert, like Elijah's trek of forty days to Mount Horeb, like Jesus praying and fasting in the desert for forty days, and the forty days from the resurrection of the Lord till his ascension, the number means something. It's the most important thing that ever happened on the earth and I'm never in a hurry to "put Christmas away", so I slowly undecorate, as I slowly decorated the house from the start of Advent up to Christmas Day.

In November the woman I buy my ground beef from sent an invitation to come to her house; during a weekend before Thanksgiving she sells crafts made throughout the year by herself and her family, some jams, and pickles. You can sit at her kitchen table and have homemade rolls and chili and brownies. She's been doing this for many years and always gets a crowd; she says she doesn't care if she sells anything, she just enjoys doing it and having this nice get-together. I bought the above wooden candy canes there, and have meant to post about this since the season began.

What a nice idea for any neighborhood! So I thought I'd share it.