Tuesday, January 29, 2019

space age, 40's style

I always admired my parents' bureau set from the 1940's, with its blond mahogany veneer and ice blue futuristic-looking drawer pulls.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Mr. Kibble stops by

We had a surprise visitor yesterday morning after coming home from church. A black cat was crouched on the back step, with head turned outward. He didn't look like one of Diane's four black cats. I tapped on the glass and he turned - it was Mr. Kibble! Yesterday was very pleasant, sunny and in the forties, so it was a good day to let him out.

I called her today to get the scoop, but she wasn't available. I will simply have to put up with my curiosity until I can speak to her. We're hoping there wasn't a problem with her other cats, and that he just wanted to come out. So, we fed him of course - a whole can of food, of course - and he went back over there, which I was glad to see. But I was also glad to see his little face.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Dolly enjoys the Cambridge Singers

I use one of the end tables for a nativity, and I end up putting our cd player on a small chair on the other side of the room. Dolly likes that chair, but there really isn't a better location for it.

Well, yesterday my brother moved the remote out of the way for her and there was enough room in front of the player, which is a flat design. I couldn't figure out if she wanted to be on the chair

or if she wanted to be near the source of the music. It was kind of loud, but she is a true music lover.

Both cats enjoyed it for hours - the Cambridge Singers' Christmas Night.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

laughing through the rain

Well, the pretty snow has flown and so have the frigid temperatures; today was in the fifties with pouring, pouring rain all the day long. Bill Bryson's The Road to Little Dribbling is keeping me amused. There aren't many books that can make you laugh out loud.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

thankful for Diane and the BBC

I cannot pass by our cat shelter without gratitude that Mr. Kibble is safe indoors and not struggling through the ice, snow and freezing cold. The challenge would have been huge.

And on that subject, it was coming to me over the past couple of days that I should go to the BBC and listen to the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols before it was too late; they stream it for only thirty days after the broadcast. (I was tuned in on Christmas Eve when Diane called to say she'd got Mr. K. in her house, and that was such welcome news I didn't mind the interruption.) I heard some of it last night, finishing it up this morning while getting ready for work with hardly an hour to spare - today was the last day to listen!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Jack came by

and outdid himself, I think. I hope the neighbors are enjoying at least half as many scrolls as we are!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

bright sunset, cold night

We saw a wren at my little orange feeder! I checked it afterward to make sure it hasn't covered up again with ice. Now we know they found it.

Hard are the nights now
The fields at moonrise turn to agate
Shadows are cold as jet

- from The Christmas Tree by Cecil Day-Lewis

at last, white

I don't know where I've been for the past week - distracted, anyway.

But we are having snow, finally. Snow actually on the ground, snow that makes it look like winter.

With a layer of icing on top. Not so welcome.  I made a mixture of seeds and peanut butter for the birds and hung it in front under the awning.

I hope they find it; small birds often hang around in that space, so they should. I had to bring it in to thaw once already, in order to chip off the ice layer. Tomorrow will be very cold, in the single digits, but only one day, thankfully.

Monday, January 14, 2019

three tins, three kings

I bought three of these cookie tins at the supermarket for twenty five cents apiece! Those ninety percent-off  sales are great.

the banshee

Sweetie hasn't repeated her performance of the other night, at least not so late. She can often be seen tearing around and crying out, but during the day.

The Three Kings got put away today, along with a few other things. I began setting out the Christmas decorations beginning at Advent (the advent of Advent - ha), gradually increasing the glitter and cheerfulness, and things will decrease in the same manner over the next three weeks. 

another in my tree collection

I suppose it seems like fussing, but it all has meaning to me, and I don't mind doing it this way. I know that I don't want to celebrate Christmas at my own convenience, but in a way which seems proper, according to our life and circumstances, and my understanding.  The feast of the Presentation is February 2, forty days after December 25, and I aim to have everything put away by then. A little at a time!

The Three Kings

Three Kings came riding from far away,
Melchior and Gaspar and Baltasar,
Three Wise Men out of the east were they,
And they travelled by night and they slept by day,
For their guide was a beautiful, wonderful star.

The star was so beautiful, large, and clear,
That all the other stars of the sky
Became a white mist in the atmosphere,
And by this they knew that the coming was near
Of the Prince foretold in the prophecy.

Three caskets they bore on their saddle-bows,
Three caskets of gold with golden keys;
Their robes were of crimson silk with rows
Of bells and pomegranates and furbelows,
Their turbans like blossoming almond-trees.

And so the Three Kings rode into the West,
Through the dusk of night, over hill and dell,
And sometimes they nodded with beard on breast,
And sometimes talked, as they paused to rest,
With the people they met at some wayside well.

"Of the child that is born," said Baltasar,
"Good people, I pray you, tell us the news;
For we in the East have seen his star,
And have ridden fast, and have ridden far,
To find and worship the King of the Jews."

And the people answered, "You ask in vain;
We know of no king but Herod the Great!"
They thought the Wise Men were men insane,
As they spurred their horses across the plain,
Like riders in haste, and who cannot wait.

And when they came to Jerusalem,
Herod the Great, who had heard this thing,
Sent for the Wise Men and questioned them;
And said, "Go down unto Bethlehem,
And bring me tidings of this new king."

So they rode away; and the star stood still,
The only one in the gray of morn;
Yes, it stopped, - it stood still of its own free will,
Right over Bethlehem on the hill,
The city of David, where Christ was born.

And the Three Kings rode through the gate and the guard,
Through the silent street, till their horses turned
And neighed as they entered the great inn-yard;
But the windows were closed, and the doors were barred,
And only a light in the stable burned.

And cradled there in the scented hay,
In the air made sweet by the breath of kine,
The little child in the manger lay,
The child, that would be king one day
Of a kingdom not human but divine.

His mother Mary of Nazareth
Sat watching beside his place of rest,
Watching the even flow of his breath,
For the joy of life and the terror of death
Were mingled together in her breast.

They laid their offerings at his feet:
The gold was their tribute to a King,
The frankincense, with its odor sweet,
Was for the Priest, the Paraclete,
The myrrh for the body's burying.

And the mother wondered and bowed her head,
And sat as still as a statue of stone;
Her heart was troubled yet comforted,
Remembering what the Angel had said
Of an endless reign and of  David's throne.

Then the kings rode out of the city gate,
With a clatter of hoofs in proud array;
But they went not back to Herod the Great
For they knew his malice and feared his hate,
And returned to their homes by another way.

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

things that go "zoom" in the night

I was just dropping off to sleep, and later than I wanted to, when Sweetie began tearing up and down the hallway, into the living room, back to my bedroom, and back and forth again. A number of times. Not growling, but saying something like, "Woo!  Woo!". Needless to say I woke up, checked the time: it was one o'clock.

We had both been in bed over an hour and it's unusual for her to go wild so late, and all by her little self, unless she does it while we're sleeping and we're just unaware.

My researches tell me this is called the "nighttime zoomies".  It results from insufficient exercise during the day with too much energy to burn later. This really doesn't seem the case with her - she plays hard. But maybe we'll have to intensify that. I'm glad she's happy, anyway.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

a little forest

I realized somewhere along the Christmas way that I have a thing for tree decorations. Not decorations for trees, but tree-shaped ones.

So I made a little forest near the white nativity, with a mercury glass tree, a fir tree candle and a realistic one with "snow".

Just like a real forest where the trees don't always match.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Epiphany prayer

O God, whose only begotten Son
 has appeared in our very flesh, 
grant, we pray,
that we may be inwardly transformed
through him whom we recognize as outwardly like ourselves.

-   Magnificat, January 2019

Monday, January 7, 2019

too early!

November was unusually cold, and made us wonder what the winter had in store. It hasn't been steadily cold, though, since then, with temperatures being around the freezing mark one day and in the forties - or even warmer - for a couple after.

Yesterday, getting in the car to go to church I noticed the forsythia had the yellowish aura which it gets in early spring, before blooming time. I went up to it. There are three little blooms! 

Oh, dear. Poor forsythia! Please go to sleep now.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

the kind of schooling that's never done

Today is the feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

"God our Father, you gave your Child to make us your children. Raise us to full maturity in him through the school of the Gospel. We ask this in Jesus's name. Amen."

from Magnificat, January 2019

A wise old man I know - he's 101 - refers to his death as a "graduation". 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

thinking of the birds

I just read in British Country Living magazine that the birds will eat your leftover mince pies (we don't have any of that), cheddar cheese and even mashed potatoes! This, I want to remember. I also don't want to forget this: that when your wreath has served its purpose, rather than throwing it out you can hang it from a tree and the birds will glean nesting materials out of it come February.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

sharing, rejoicing, rearranging

I did make that resolution to chronicle all the treats my brother gets over Christmas. Had to abandon it - he was coming home late, laden with several packages of goodies; I'd be tired, the light too low to get good shots.

 Just use your imagination.

Use your very wildest imagination.

Then you might come close.

this is maybe a third of it

Anyway, the local soup kitchen got the store-bought things in tins. Not that we're ungrateful, or don't like those cookies - it's just too much for the two of us, and we don't entertain enough to use it all. He has many grateful clients - may God bless them all!

Coming home from Christmas dinner at Joanne's, I looked at the empty cat shelter and was so grateful to think our little friend is safe inside at Diane's. What a blessing! Looking back, we realize he has been wanting to get inside somebody's house for a couple of weeks, at least;  he didn't know how to be obvious about it. My brother brought some cat food over there later that day and Diane's husband said he just put the food inside - he came in and ate - he put some more further in - he came nearer and ate it, and then he just went downstairs to their basement where he spent much of his time there over last winter! Such a relief.

After taking this, I put away the shepherds and sheep - (how long would they have hung around, anyway?) - the three kings are on their way. "Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them."  Luke 2:20