Thursday, August 30, 2018

what faith isn't

" is not some backwoods idea that we attach to our real experiences and bring along with us as our spiritual luggage; and that rebellion, doing it oneself, ("building a better world"), is not the last cry of reason, but that on the contrary the person who rebels and insists on doing it all himself or herself is the person who does not understand and does not perceive who he or she is and what the world is. Faith is not some abstruse philosophy but finding one's way to wisdom, to understanding, to objectivity, to becoming aware of the whole of reality."

                                     -     Pope Benedict XVI from Magnificat, August 2018

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

at last, blossoms

I took this photo of the bean stalks over the weekend. It's really something to come out of the house and have this big, leafy thing on your right. But -

I was all prepared to tell the awful truth: that it may be an impressive looking beanstalk, but there has been nary a bean to be found on it.

And then, it finally happened - the next day, actually. On Monday, we saw blossoms!

Some pretty yellow ones

and some pretty white ones! And they're fragrant. I don't know why the two colors - it's all supposed to be Blue Lake.

But anyway - at last, blossoms!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

linen dress with lace hem

I got the lace hem attached yesterday so I could wear it today - what could be better than a sleeveless linen dress in the heat?

Anyway, I hastily took this picture before I left the house. I really love it! But it's not very much like the dress I pinned; this lace has a scalloped edge, so two rows of it wouldn't have worked and I'm not so sure an a-line would have looked well with the double row of lace anyway. But I love the warm, dark blue color, and the lace looks well with it, which isn't so apparent here.

I had bought this fabric at least two years ago for some project or other. I remember that I was disappointed when it came because it was heavier than I expected. It's perfect for this! The ever-present wrinkles in linen clothing aren't as bad with a heavier fabric, it seems.

Monday, August 27, 2018

cool before the heat

I took Dolly out this morning when the grass was full of dewdrops.

I threw a quilt over the wet and we stayed outside for an hour - my sit-upon came in handy.  I spent the time drawing up a tentative menu for Labor Day, and then we listened to a podcast. 

 A sunflower kept us company.

Inside, I quickly did some laundry, did a slap-dash job on the bathroom and spent the rest of the day in a leisurely fashion, staying as cool as it was possible to be. We're in a little heat wave.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

the queen of virtues

"Humility is the refusal to exist outside God. It is the queen of virtues."

                                                     - Simone Weil,  from Magnificat, August 2018

Friday, August 24, 2018

the "liberated" man

"The liberated man is not the one who is freed in his ideal reality, his inner truth, or his transparency; he is the man who changes spaces, who circulates, who changes sex, clothes and habits according to fashion, rather than morality, and who changes opinions not as his conscience dictates but in response to opinion polls."

                                           - Jean Baudrillard, from American Affairs, Summer 2018

I guess I'm getting a little political with the above quote, but this article by Gladden Pappin is riveting.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

the overflow

"God does not give his joy to us for ourselves alone, and if we could possess him for ourselves alone we would not possess him at all. Any joy that does not overflow from our souls and help other people to rejoice in God does not come to us from God."

                                              - Thomas Merton,  from Magnificat, August 2018

Monday, August 20, 2018

lace hems and peaceful kitties

Today Mr. Kibble spent several hours in a grassy spot near the driveway at the end of a hedge. He looked extremely content, as I looked out many times to watch him. This is what we want, to try and make it appealing here so he won't be drawn to wander anymore.

Last year I found out he'd been out Cyndi's way, which is a mile from here. A neighbor of hers feeds strays and has a nice place to shelter them, and he recognized Kibble from a photo. I started to try and imagine what would make a cat like him wander around away from people who are willing to feed him, like us and Diane.

I figured he would be motivated by hunger, a need for sleep and a desire to be safe. So, let's say we fed him in the evening. He would go to a corner of our yard to sleep and come out again in the morning for more food. Why ruin a good thing  -  what would make him go elsewhere? Well, I decided it must be that something would force him to move on whether or not he wanted to. Someone mowing the lawn, maybe - another cat or other animal disturbing his sleep - nobody coming to the door to feed him. That is all it would take for him to move on a little further; I'm sure he knew of a few places where he could get a meal, and quite a few more where he could sleep quietly. That is probably how he ended up way out in Cyndi's area, even though he was often in our neighborhood. The wanderer! And we never would have thought much about it if he hadn't shown up last summer in that sorry state, but now we feel more protective about him.

Today it was actually only in the seventies, and with a much lower dew point - it was wonderful! I bound the armholes on my dress, and now have to figure out the lace.

It's really a deeper shade than this picture -  I want to put it at the hem. My inspiration is a dress I pinned, and I have two pictures of it -

Very interesting pockets, but I didn't have enough fabric for anything like that. I pinned it because I love the wide lace at the bottom - two layers of it! But black is easy, dark blue is another matter. I ordered wide dark blue cotton lace from two places, hoping one would match, and decided on the above. 

The other problem is, my dress is a-line, unlike this black one which seems like a very roomy shift. If you've got a wide trim, it's not going to look right attached to an a-line. I pinned it on today, and I think if I attach it kind of high up rather than at the edge, it might work. I hope!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

a joyful song

Sing to the Lord a joyful song:
lift up your hearts, your voices raise.
To us his gracious gifts belong:
to him our songs of love and praise.

For life and love, for rest and food,
for daily help and nightly care,
sing to the Lord for he is good,
and praise his name, for it is fair.

For strength to those who on him wait,
his truth to prove, his will to do
praise ye our God, for he is great:
trust in his name, for it is true.

For joys untold that from above
cheer those who love his blest employ,
sing to our God, for he is love;
exalt his name, for it is joy.

For life below, with all its bliss,
and for the life, more pure and high,
that nobler life which after this
shall ever shine and never die.

-   from Magnificat, August 2018

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Thursday, August 16, 2018


"What happens when we don't forgive? If someone did something wrong to me ten years ago, and I still don't want to forgive them ten years later, it means I am held prisoner by my past. It is as though a chain is holding me ten years in the past. I am not free to receive the graces of today."

                                            -  Fr. Jacques Philippefrom Magnificat, August 2018

Monday, August 13, 2018

summer dresses

I made another dress with my go-to pattern: a pull over the head a-line with short sleeves in a crisp quilting cotton, sort of a chartreuse with little orange metallic hash marks all over it. It looks much nicer than it sounds. 

Two previous dresses from this pattern are unwearable now for reasons I should be ashamed to admit; I had put them together so hastily that I did nothing to finish off any of the seams. Consequently, after a few washings the seam allowances raveled and then the seams became compromised with no way to repair them without making the dress smaller by taking in everything. Won't do that again!

After the chartreuse dress, I reached up to my stash shelf, pulled down some medium weight linen, and asked myself what I could do with it. I decided that the same dress would be nice, only sleeveless and with some wide lace sewn at the bottom. So, that's what I'm in the middle of now.

It's not as warmly colored as this photo; it's a deep warm blue and the bindings (I don't like facings) are gray. The lace hem will be the tricky part.

the land of Fancy

"Here is a country bearing a well-known name, wherein no chill mists press upon our spirits, and no rain falls but what rolls off our backs like April showers off the backs of sleek drakes; where flowers bloom forever and birds are always singing; where every fellow hath a merry catch as he travels the roads, and ale and beer and wine flow like water in a brook.

This country is not Fairy-land. What is it? 'Tis the land of Fancy, and it is of that pleasant kind that, when you tire of it, - whisk! - you clap the leaves of this book together and 'tis gone, and you are ready for every-day life, with no harm done."

                                                    -  from the preface to Robin Hood, by Howard Pyle

Saturday, August 11, 2018

another day, another baseball game

I was folding laundry in the spare bedroom and I heard someone talking. Had my brother left his radio on? But I would have heard it before. It sounded like it was in my room.

Sweetie was in the window, but my radio was turned on to - you guessed it - the ball game. She has done this before. And while I stood there, they got two home runs. I guess she's a real fan.

But she doesn't talk about it.

Friday, August 10, 2018

keeping dry

There's a flash flood watch for our area from about now, until eight on Sunday morning. Where do outdoor cats go to stay dry?

After not seeing Mr. K. at all Wednesday or Thursday, he came this morning, later than his usual morning appearance, which is somewhere between four thirty and five fifteen. I asked him where he'd been, but he didn't say. We assume - and hope - that he's been over at Diane's. 

He has finally "discovered" the cat shelter and been utilizing it, which is huge to us. My brother tried last summer to get him into it and he did go in once, but Yogi was near and went in after him - Mr. Kibble just ran out the exit and took off. This year, he seems to have used it on some cooler nights for sleeping (it's hard to know exactly, as we don't want to peer into it and put him off), and when it's a bit warmer, resting on top as he's doing above. But it's been so hot recently that I think he's gone to  more leafy, shady places to snooze.  

The other day I fed him supper and then some thunder and lightning started up; I hoped he'd go into the shelter and realize that he could stay dry in there, but it didn't seem like he did. It's hard to know why animals do anything they do, there could be so many reasons. I'm sure that heavy rain would be loud on the roof, so that would probably scare him. I just hope he stays away from the brook area tomorrow, because after a heavy rain last week, it became a torrent (like last year)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

such easy iced tea

I used to make iced tea like this - which is the usual way, I think, unless you use a mix. Boil the water, steep the tea, and chill. But last year Carmella said she just puts cold water in a pitcher with tea bags and refrigerates it, removing the bags the next day. What an idea!

So that's what I do now, except I put it in a half-gallon mason jar and it goes fast.

Monday, August 6, 2018

hugging the fans

That's what we've been doing on this beautiful and very hot day. But now I'm putting on the AC.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Mr. Kibble: trying to help

Well, I left off last time where Diane had managed to get Mr. Kibble into her house. She later told me she was concerned that he wouldn't make it through the winter, so she and her husband managed to trap him in a large carrier they had. She is not afraid of cats, but I guess he kind of went crazy after being captured, but they got the whole business into the basement and left him alone for a while.

Later, she went down intending to let him out, but couldn't get near the door of it; she didn't describe his behavior to me, but I guess it was pretty wild -  she was at a loss until she eventually thought to remove the pins from the back of the contraption to take it apart, and then she ran upstairs. A few hours later, he had calmed down.

sunning himself recently atop the cat shelter - his new home, I guess!

This was early November, and they intended to keep him inside unless they could be sure he would stay close to home. He kept to himself downstairs most of the time; the other cats would go down, but there was never any trouble. Eventually, he did come upstairs at feeding times where he'd wait for food with the others, and that went well. 

But one day, there was a fight with one of her females, the only one of her cats who hasn't been neutered, a female house cat. Mr. K. bit her on the paw and stomach.  Diane felt she had to let him out. She doesn't know who started it, but she had to think of her own cat's safety. This was in mid-May. I didn't know any of this until one fine spring day I looked out to see him coming up our driveway; I called Diane and she told me the story.

So, between the two of us, and an elderly neighbor who also keeps dry cat food out, we have been trying very hard to keep our eyes peeled for him to keep him near so he won't be tempted to wander where we won't know how he is. 

To be continued. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

greenly summer

In spite of the extreme humidity we've been having, and knowing I could barely survive without the air conditioning, I am still glad for the long hours of sun and the bright green everywhere, the sounds of summer through open windows and warm breezes when they blow.

I thank you God for this most amazing day, 
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees,
and for the blue dream of sky
and for everything which is natural,
which is infinite,
which is yes.

-  e.e. cummings

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

building the spiritual house

from Magnificat -

"All of us are given a spiritual 'house' to build, to live in, and to hand on to future generations: what will yours look like?"

from Psalm 127:
If the Lord does not build the house,
in vain do its builders labor;
if the Lord does not watch over the city,
in vain does the watchman keep vigil.

In vain is your earlier rising,
your going later to rest,
you who toil for the bread you eat:
when he pours gifts on his beloved while they slumber.