Monday, April 30, 2018

The Quartet, plus a few more

"There is as much intrigue in this State House as in the Vatican, but as little secrecy as in a boarding school."

                                       -  John Jay to Lafayette, 1779,  from The Quartet by Joseph Ellis

Somebody dropped off this book at the library, and as anything by Joseph Ellis must be good, I am reading it. Aside from the fact that even then, intrigue at the Vatican seems to have been well-known, I am amazed at the state of the colonies at that time.  "In the year since the war had ended, a majority of candidates elected to serve in the Congress had declined, or just failed to show up, and on fourteen occasions no business could be conducted for lack of a quorum. More dispiriting than any clash of opinions was the pervasive indifference that rendered argument itself impossible."  The book is about how this nation actually came to be a union of states, because after the war, there was little interest in any sort of unity here. Mr. Ellis attributes the change of attitude to four men, mainly: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, with supporting roles played by Robert Morris, Governeur Morris and Thomas Jefferson.

"Before he departed for Paris, Jefferson was interviewed by a visiting Dutch nobleman, who asked his opinion of the current American government. The members of Congress are no longer, generally speaking, men of worth or distinction. For Congress is not, as formally, held in respect; there is indeed dread of its power, though it has none."

It's hard to believe, but I do.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

the Paschal journey

"Almighty ever-living God,
constantly accomplish the Paschal Mystery within us,
that those you were pleased to make new in Holy Baptism
may, under your protective care, bear much fruit
and come to the joys of life eternal."

-  collect from today's Mass, the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Thursday, April 26, 2018

a quiet time was had by all

I am always grateful for these peaceful cat moments. Everyone was very low key today, including me.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

for the Easter season, which it still is

Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,
Wheat that in the dark earth many years has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

In the grave they laid him, Love whom we had slain,
Thinking that he'd never wake to life again,
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

Up he sprang at Easter, like the risen grain,
He that for three days in the grave had lain;
Up from the dead my Risen Lord is seen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

When our hearts are saddened, grieving or in pain,
By your touch you call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

from Magnificat, April 2018

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

why we read

"...we are not reading for the mere acquisition of information but for the sake of relationships with knowledge, with words, with heroes, and with ideas."

                                         - Karen Glass

"If then, the manners and the destinies of men are shaped by knowledge, it may be well to inquire further into the nature of that evasive entity. Matthew Arnold helps us by offering a three-fold classification which appeals to common sense - knowledge of God, knowledge of men, and knowledge of the natural world."

                                         - Charlotte Mason

All from Consider This, by Karen Glass.

Monday, April 23, 2018

dreaming of pies

This is a picture of the blueberry pie I made for Easter dessert (we also had chocolates, and wonderful ice cream from a lovely place in the center of town). The blueberries were from a co-worker's freezer. She's had surgery and a slow recovery - my brother has gone over there a few times to cut her hair. He wouldn't take money, so she paid us in blueberries - so many!

Today we went there again and came away with So Many Bags of: frozen peaches, strawberries, black raspberries, and more blueberries. How exciting! Think of all the pies!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

our little queen turns fifteen, the rest of us being barbarians

Our girl has a birthday today.

 And she's quite well, thanks for asking.

The other day at work I had a sudden desire to read a gardening journal of some sort. I looked through the 635s and came up with Onward and Upward in the Garden, by Katharine S. White.
She was married to E.B. White - yes, him! - and these are essays published in the late 50s through 1970. I don't think I'll glean any practical advice from them, but the first few entries are critiques of seed and plant catalogs ; I've never thought deeply when looking at one of these, but now I'm thinking I've been remiss. 

She then moves on to books and here she speaks of a Mrs. Loudon, author of The Ladies' Companion to the Flower-Garden. 

"[Mrs. Loudon] even includes a few unpopular flowers, the most invigorating of which I think is

The Squirting Cucumber. An annual gourd-like plant, with woolly leaves, and yellow flowers, the fruit of which resembles a small cucumber; and which, when ripe, bursts the moment it is touched, scattering its seeds, and the half-liquid, pulpy matter in which they are contained, to a considerable distance. This quality made it a favorite, in gardens, a century ago, when some people were yet in a state of sufficient barbarism to find amusement in the annoyance of others; but it has now deservedly fallen into disrepute, and is seldom grown.

I'm afraid I know several little modern American barbarians who would be delighted if their grandmothers would grow them a supply of squirting cucumbers."

Don't we all. I may be one of them. :D

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Psalm 71

It is you, O Lord, who are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, since my youth.
On you I have leaned from my birth,
from my mother's womb you have been my help. 
My hope has always been in you.

I will declare the Lord's mighty deeds
proclaiming your justice, yours alone.
O God, you have taught me from my youth
and I proclaim your wonders still.

Now that I am old and grey-headed,
do not forsake me, God.
Let me tell of your power to all ages,
praise your strength and justice to the skies,
tell of you who have worked such wonders.
O God, who is like you?

You have burdened me with bitter troubles
but you will give me back my life.
You will raise me from the depths of the earth;
you will exalt me and console me again.

So I will give you thanks on the lyre
for your faithful love, my God.
When I sing to you my lips shall rejoice
and my soul, which you have redeemed.

verses 5, 6 16-22a &23

Friday, April 20, 2018

Thursday, April 19, 2018

this is just what leftovers are for

I had two leeks in the fridge, and lots of potatoes, so the other day I we had potato leek soup with BLTs. Today I planned to make minestrone for supper but mid-day felt so weary I knew it would be a mistake to force myself. 

almost minestrone

I had also defrosted leftovers early in the week, not knowing what I'd be able to throw together after work. There was some potato leek soup left, so I heated it up, added more broth and put in the remains of our corned beef dinner from St. Patrick's Day. With a few carrots and green beans also leftover, I think the potato and leek base was the perfect complement to the meat! A bit of toast and some butter - I do feel a lot better now and it was very little work.

Monday, April 16, 2018

June came by

this morning

June came by on Saturday; the temperatures were in the seventies, and how welcome that was! But she didn't stay, and April hasn't behaved like she's supposed to. Actually, April's behavior  is usually all over the place, but this year....  Let me just say that we had snow again last night and I had really thought that was behind us and I can see that this blog can all too easily descend into one long complaint about the weather.

Easter was lovely, although my brother had a cold. One week later, I came down with it, and then of course it always turns into bronchitis; it was particularly bad this time and I was home from work all last week. Thank God I'm much better but the coughing will take a while to go. Meanwhile, my brother kept getting days of tiredness and/or feeling like an elevated temp, and we realized that maybe our thing was a flu - and then on the radio this morning they said flu cases rose again in our state. And I was just saying that with all the talk of flu this winter, I didn't know a soul who'd had it.

I've spent much time on the couch near the vaporizer with a blanket and some books and magazines in between napping. But today I thought I should do more to get ready to go back to work, so I made bread (really the KitchenAid does the work) and found a nice simple recipe for potato leek soup; that was our supper with BLTs. The soup actually was kind of irritating to my bronchials while it cooked so I had to run the exhaust fan, but my hope is the leeks will drive out any baddies still lurking in our systems.

Sweetie had a birthday last week and we thought she was thirteen, but my brother saw Diane today and she said Sweetie is nine. Well, that explains her liveliness - I was always amazed at so much activity for her age. So she is our youngest one. And speaking of cats, last week I stumbled upon this lovely video on youtube . A young man in Istanbul has been taking in injured cats and paying for their treatments. He's a pianist and these cats have filled a void in his life but one cat in particular loves to sit on the piano, right in the middle, and this fellow just smiles and plays around him. The clip is five minutes - you have to watch the whole thing because it's a compilation somebody did from his videos. If you like cats, it will really touch your heart. God bless him.

Here is a picture from last April -

I wouldn't believe it if there weren't a date on the photo. That tree won't be blooming in April this year!

Friday, April 6, 2018

two quick snows and a wet cat

March went out like the veriest lamb of lambs. I had taken Holy Week off with an intention of doing spring cleaning. I've never done it this early but suddenly realized it might be a good thing to get it mostly out of the way before it became too nice out. I did quite well with that plan, but I was looking for the nicest day in the forecast to go outside and prune the roses. Saturday turned out to be the day;  it was so warm and sunny I had to remove my sweater and go dig out my sandals.

I cut some branches of forsythia and forced them in time for Easter, then stuck them in the "urn" in front.

They look as well today as they did Sunday, and considering the weather we've had... 

Monday early it began snowing, and snowed for a few hours, covering everything like this. By the end of the day it was mostly gone.

same day!

April snow. Which has been known to happen in these parts. Like again today, for instance. It snowed from late morning with big fat flakes, but didn't accumulate.  I didn't take pictures. A true spring is an elusive thing here - we really never get them properly.

We discovered that the Library Cat doesn't mind water - he sits in the sink under the trickling faucet and laps it up, not minding his wet coat.

He is lovely.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

a new world

"The tomb of Jesus was the tomb of a world that had ended... In this new world, the humanity of Jesus would no longer be bound by time and space. To experience his presence, his followers did not have to look back to the old world buried in the tomb. Jesus is not found in the past as a source of inspired teachings to be literally applied to our circumstances today. 'What would Jesus do?' is not really a Christian question. Instead, the Holy Spirit makes him present in every circumstance of our lives today. Our question is: 'What does Jesus want to give to us through what is happening?' "

                                                      -  Fr. Lorenzo Albacetefrom Magnificat, April 2018

The Empty Tomb, by Mikhail Nesterov