Sunday, March 31, 2019

extremes of behavior

There's a fellow up the road who sells tires. His shop is behind another place and there's a bit of woods behind there. Periodically, my brother gives him bags of dry cat food - why? He has stray cats living inside the shop, and three of four shelters outside with a feeding station. We stopped by there after church to see; there was one sleeping in the window, a tough-looking ginger cat. They are safe in there, and cared for as much as he can. A good-hearted man!

I think the forsythia will bloom, after all! 

I think I was naughty today: at church, the pew I sat in had a stain on it from something dripping above. This is a recurring issue until the ceiling will be looked at, but my intent was to wet something to clean it off. I took my cotton handkerchief, but rather than go all the way downstairs to a sink, I dipped it in the holy water and used that. My knee has been suffering badly from arthritis lately, and I didn't want to go all the way downstairs to the bathrooms, although I am much improved. I don't feel as guilty about this as I probably should. I keep thinking of King David eating the showbread; of course, one can always find (good) excuses for one's errors. As for the hanky, I dried it out and will wash it by hand tomorrow and use the water in a plant.

Saturday, March 30, 2019


Tomorrow is the end of the month. Today was beautiful, in the seventies, I'm sure; March will go out like a lamb.

I could have washed another window, but I pruned the roses instead. Dolly came out with me and enjoyed it until the wild wind was too much for her. I was done anyway, and it was pointless to clean away the dead leaves in such wind. That can wait for another day.

I like pruning the roses. I like being deliberate when I cut each cane, each twig, with a particular result in view.

I have to admit that I don't take the same attitude toward cutting vegetables.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

keep getting up

"A monk was once asked, What do you do there in the monastery? He replied: We fall and get up, fall and get up, fall and get up again."

                                              - from Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict, by Esther de Waal

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

still blooming

The library's Christmas cactus is still in full bloom. (The link is from a three year old photo.) It did begin blooming in December, as it was supposed to, right when we were getting new carpeting and everything was in an uproar. I took some time off to avoid any new-rug smells which might have been bothersome, and expected I'd miss the flower show. When I came back to work, it seemed almost finished, but something made it rally and continue making buds - we don't know why! I checked it today and there are several more buds forming, so it isn't done yet. We're quite amazed.

I've finished reading the depositions from witnesses to the beginning of our War of Independence from Britain. As much as I love that era, I hadn't realized that there were provocations from the red coats which caused everything to escalate to the point of war; I guess I just thought that a war was the only way the forefathers could finalize the separation from the mother country.

"I, John Parker, of lawful age, and commander of the militia in Lexington, do testify and declare, that on the nineteenth instant*, in the morning, about one of the clock, being informed, that there were a number of the regular officers riding up and down the road, stopping and insulting people as they passed the road, and also informed that a number of the regular troops were on their march from Boston, in order to take the province stores at Concord, I ordered our militia to meet on the common in said Lexington, to consult what to do, and concluded not to be discovered, nor meddle, or make with said regular troops, if they should approach, unless they should insult or molest us; and upon their sudden approach, I immediately ordered our militia to disperse and not to fire. Immediately, said troops made their appearance, and rushing furiously on, fired upon and killed eight of our party, without receiving any provocation therefor [sic] from us."

The book contains quite a few accounts, all legal depositions, including that of Paul Revere, briefly describing his famous ride to warn the townspeople about the British. What Longfellow's wonderful poem doesn't get into is that our hero was accosted by the British afterward and told they'd "blow his brains out" - a familiar threat, according to many of these testimonies - but he said he had nothing to hide and told them what he'd been doing and they could do what they liked with him. They finally just confiscated his horse and he had to continue on foot. I'm glad this booklet crossed my path. It's enabled me to picture the circumstances of that night of ordinary men being extraordinarily brave. 

*almost everyone used this term, "instant", but not in the way we use it today

Sunday, March 24, 2019

looking for the reward

"We desire to be paid for what we do; and when we are truly wise, we work for God: we choose that profession, of good works, which he patronizes, and we are certain of our wages....Religion and work should never be disjoined.

For every good work, every kindly thought, or tiny act of humble helpfulness, God gives a reward, a merited return of sustenance for our souls, or answer to our pleading for some purpose. The orderliness of heaven cannot be disturbed, and if our free will is not given wholly to the act, in a consecration clear and sweet, the corresponding mercy cannot approach us. ... It may be fatiguing to think of meriting at each step, but it also fatiguing to study Greek or Mathematics. The things of most worth are not cultivated without labor. And to imagine that it would be more generous to do something for God without reckoning at all upon a merciful return from him of any sort, is not intelligent virtue...for God will give mercy in return to every act worthy of reward."

                        -  Rose Hawthorne, daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne and foundress of the Dominican Sisters for the Care of Incurable Cancer

Saturday, March 16, 2019

something to attain to

"The eyes of peacemakers are watchful, caring eyes and their fellow wayfarers find warmth in them like people at the fireside. They never find a motive for fighting because they know that they are only accountable for peace and peace is not preserved through battles.

They know that dividing a single atom can unleash cosmic warfare.

They also know that there is a chain that links human beings together and that when one human cell is torn by anger, jealousy or bitterness, the reaction of war can rebound to the end of the universe.

But because they believe in spreading love, they know that whenever a little peace is created, there is planted a virus of peace that is strong enough to infect the whole earth."

                                              -  Madeleine Delbrel

Thursday, March 14, 2019

one clean window - a beginning

Today was another beautiful day, in the fifties. I was just about to wash the floor when I had the idea to wash a window. Just one. In March.

You may recall that I never cleaned the windows last fall - last October was not conducive to window-washing. It's always my habit to do them in May and October if I can. You see, I like to wait for a day of mild breezes, such pleasant air that you just long to hang outside your windows and breathe it in. That's usually in May and October.

But weather isn't predictable anymore, is it? I realized I need to think outside the box, to seize my opportunities when they come.

So, when I also remembered that I had to hard-boil some eggs for my brother's lunch tomorrow, I set them on to boil and cleaned one of the kitchen windows. I took my time; I thoroughly enjoyed it. Then I washed the floor.

I have no idea when the next window-washing opportunity will arrive. I will look forward to it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

what turns us away from praying

"Prayer an interior attention and a conversion of the heart, because what turns us away from God and keeps us from praying is less the number of words than it is the number of desires or worries that preoccupy us."

                                         - Cardinal Jean Danielou

Monday, March 11, 2019

log cabin quilt

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I needed a sewing project. I have lots of scraps, so I am making a log cabin quilt. You can see how wonky my work is - this is how I operate. We will see how it turns out. I've got twenty eight squares, and I think I'll add one more strip and then stitch it all together. I feel very good about using up so many scraps! In this square are pieces from four dresses, one skirt and a pillow cover.

Friday, March 8, 2019

a little unexpected bit of history

Somebody returned an inter-library loan this morning while I was at the main desk. It was a small book, or booklet, of eyewitness accounts from the revolutionary days: Paul Revere's ride, the Concord fight, Battle of Lexington. It says, "Being the depositions and narratives of PERSONS WHO PARTICIPATED".  (caps their idea, not mine!) 

So exciting! Oh, did I say that I cancelled the return of this book to the owning library and checked it out to myself? Did I need to say that?

Thursday, March 7, 2019

caught red-handed

Picture taken through the curtain, in a hurry. He's actually sitting in the bowl of seed, which is in this urn. Hey, I don't mind - it's been cold.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

the creatures who come through

It snowed all Sunday night, and we got a lot. Now, it's cold and I'm keeping the bowl of bird seed topped up outside; the birds finally discovered it. The little orange feeder disappeared weeks ago - it was suddenly gone, but hadn't fallen into the bushes. So, if someone - a squirrel, or raccoon, perhaps - took it, that's fine with me.

But some of Diane's cats are hanging out underneath the little table near the seed. I see them out there, then open the front door and startle them. They're cute cats, and they look at me in wide-eyed nervousness, ready to fly if I try to come too close. I said to my brother, "The way most cats look at you is not the same look as the way Mr. Kibble always looked at you." He said something I hadn't thought of. He said, "Well, he was looking for help."

All those years, "asking" for food, roaming from place to place, keeping his distance. But yes, he was looking for help, he just didn't know how to go about it.

Monday, March 4, 2019

a surprise gift

When I arrived at work Friday, there was a package from Beth waiting for me - another crocheted bag with some goodies inside:  cucumber relish, and these -

Both are on the thin side and neither is sweet like jam. So, my favorite thing to do with these is put some in my tea, or heated almond milk. Last night I just boiled some water, and put in the cocoa topping with a bit of almond milk - no teabag! It gives just the right amount of sweetness.  We used the relish with meatloaf yesterday - thanks, Beth!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

bridges to God

"Those who live only for pleasure become cynical in middle age. A cynic has been defined as one who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing....

Once you realize that God is your begin to see that friendship, the joy of marriage, the thrill of possession, the sunset and the evening star, masterpieces of art and music, the gold and silver of earth, the industries and the comforts of life, are all the gifts of God. He dropped them on the roadway of life, to remind you that if these are so beautiful, then what must be Beauty! He intended them to be bridges to cross over to him."

                                                                     -  Fulton Sheen