Thursday, October 31, 2019

wild but warm evening

Tomorrow is November, and it's seventy degrees out - now, at night! We bought loads of candy for the trick-or-treaters and then they said there was wild weather coming.

It was pretty wild - the wind, at least. But it's so balmy and moist out, it was really quite pleasant, and very little rain. So we still had over one hundred come. And they liked seeing the cats in the window.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

our mission

"God has created me to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission - I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next - I have a part in a great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do his work, I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep his commandments and serve him in my calling.

Therefore I will trust him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain; he may prolong my life, he may shorten it; he knows what he is about. He may take away my friends, he may throw me among strangers, he may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide the future from me - still he knows what he is about."

                                                       -   Blessed John Henry Newman, from Magnificat, October 2019

Monday, October 28, 2019

what happened to the light brown sugar?

I realized I was out of light brown sugar, so I bought some. That's it on the left; on the right is some dark. Do you see it? They are the same color. What's going on?

The next time I'm at the supermarket I'm going to examine every brand of brown sugar they have.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Thursday, October 24, 2019


When did I first mention they were digging up our road, and re-doing the pipes? June or July, I think.

two or three weeks ago - our front yard!

these dirt piles come and go

Yes, there is a toilet in our front yard. 

last week: The Grand Canyon

They dig these holes every day, then have to fill them up before they leave.

this was Tuesday

This crevasse at the end of our driveway is filled up, and they've moved up a house or two, inching their way along the street. They are entirely replacing the sewer pipes and hope to be done and paved before the snow flies. What a monumental job!

When they were underground in front of our house they saw our pipes; they told my brother they looked to be in good condition. Good to know!

Monday, October 21, 2019

the lazy way to ripen tomatoes

Not that I'm an expert on tomatoes, but I think it must be an old wives' tale that in order to ripen a green tomato, you need to wrap it up in newspaper and keep it in the dark. Not so!

When did I pick these? Two or three weeks ago, and every now and then I look inside the bag to see if any are getting the slightest bit pink. Then I put them on the windowsill where they finish turning red.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

healing the wound of individuality

"One of the things we feel after reading a great work is 'I have got out'. In the moral sphere, every act of justice or charity involves putting ourselves in the other person's place and thus transcending our own competitive particularity. In love, in virtue, in the pursuit of knowledge, and in the reception of the arts, we are doing this. Those of us who have been true readers all our life seldom fully realize the enormous extension of our being which we owe to authors. Literary experience heals the wound, without undermining the privilege, of individuality." *

                                       -  C. S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism

*all quotes are from the same section of the book, but I rearranged them

Saturday, October 19, 2019

bright October

Where I live, the month with the most sunny days is October. I wasn't sure this October was living up to it's reputation, but today was such a day.

We had a violent wind and rain storm Wednesday night which caused many colored leaves to come down before their time, along with quite a few branches; so I went outside to get some sunshine and fresh air. 

I started out wearing crocs because I expected the ground to be wet, but it wasn't. And, as I worked to pick up the sticks, I got warmed up enough to shed my sweater and shoes. There were no clouds. That's what October usually is around here - bright colors, sunshine and days made for being outside. 

The blue and gold perfection of October makes up for whatever was less than ideal about summer. If only it would last a little longer.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


My brother came home tonight to find his lower curtain down, rod and all.  I wonder how bad this is going to get. Before it gets better, I mean.

A small person can certainly cause a lot of trouble.

Monday, October 14, 2019


"Prayer follows an awareness of dependence: a little child relies on his parents for everything, and a child of God feels like this about his heavenly Father. So his prayer is a need, a life, a way in which the spirit expresses its sense of poverty and trust. The way to learn to be a contemplative is to learn how to ask. Through such an expression of dependence we come to recognize God's mercy, his goodness, his beauty, whatever attribute we are most drawn to, for he fulfills all our longings. Then petition is transcended, for God himself will open our eyes."

                                     -     Fr. Bonaventure Perquinfrom Magnificat, October 2019

Saturday, October 12, 2019

a visit with Vincent

My co-worker and I took a trip to a museum to see a Van Gogh display, and to hear an author speak on his biography of Vincent.

Horton can be found guarding the place

It was very well attended; he was to talk an hour. The president of the museum spoke first - she gushed too much and went on too long; it cut into his speaking time. Then, she introduced a woman who introduced the author - it was all a bit much. 

They insisted that he save ten minutes at the end for questions, which means he ended up speaking only forty five minutes. We both would have stayed another hour or two gladly, had he been allowed to keep talking. That was too bad.

can't be original, 'cause it wouldn't be in English, would it?

About the book: it isn't new. It was published in 2011, and they were even on 60 Minutes back then - I saw the episode. The biggest excitement about this book is their theory that Vincent didn't shoot himself, as is generally believed. At least, they feel that the evidence doesn't support it. It was some kind of accident but he didn't "tell" on anyone. A few years ago I inter-library loaned the book. When it came, all nine hundred pages of it, it was just too much to get involved in, so I sent it back. 

his brother

Afterward we went upstairs to see the exhibit. It was well done, extremely imaginative; it will be great for kids with lots of crazy inter-active things. 

try your hand at drawing a sunflower

Why didn't I take more photos? I should have. Here I am, sitting at the Cafe Terrace at Night.

Isn't that cool? But this is even better - 

my friend actually sitting in the bedroom at Arles - she could have lain on that bed, if she'd liked. They did a great job with it, didn't they?

part of the studio

Anyway, this man was so so interesting that we decided we should make the effort to read the book, so I ended up buying it. It may take me a year to read, and that will be fine if so. 

When we passed through the museum to leave, we ran into him, so I grabbed his hand and told him we would have gladly stayed to hear more and were sorry his talk was too short. I said this not for his benefit, but for the museum person who was with him. Maybe I should email them, too. 

Afterward, we had a tasty lunch and when we got back to town, stopped at a local and very popular bakery in the hope that we could get a piece of a fancy cake they'd advertised for that day - and wouldn't you know, there was one fat slice left! We finished it off, and both agreed it had been a very good day.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

warming up the house

I was resisting turning up the thermostat last night, but this morning I was too chilled in the house, so up it went, one degree. That helped, and then I cut up a butternut squash and put it in the oven for two hours. That always does the trick. And then I turned it back down when it reached sixty outside.

I also did my ironing, and the beef stew for dinner was on the stove a good two and a half hours. A lot different from yesterday when we were both at work; nobody at home makes for a cold house. 

The swamp maple in the back is getting that fluorescent look now. It wasn't being captured by my camera though, so I had to jump it up with the software.

Speaking of beef stew, I usually just wing it and it's fine, but I wanted to try a particular recipe. It was delicious! I had a bottle of beer in there, and Worcestershire sauce. I don't think to use that, but I will from now on. There was a dumpling recipe to go with it, but the pot I am currently using is high and not so wide - not so suitable for a batch of dumplings. So I put them in muffin tins, not being sure how they'd come out without the moisture and steam they usually cook over. But they came very well. I will keep this recipe!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

just hide the matches

The little orphan is slowly trashing our house. Pardon me if I'm repeating myself - I don't remember who I've said this to.

On Sunday she climbed up the plastic shower curtain liner, consequently poking a few holes in it. This reminds me of the fairy tale about the princess who sat atop a glass mountain, waiting for a knight who could ride up it and take her away. How do you climb up a plastic curtain? The holes are as high as halfway up.

My brother said when he came home for lunch yesterday, the bathroom towels had been pulled down into a heap in the tub - yes, she is slightly obsessed with the bathroom these days.

This morning, she kept going behind the umbrella stand in the living room which holds the flags, thereby pushing it out into the room, in the way of course. The ensuing conversation went like this:

me: She is trashing the place. But, I suppose as long as she doesn't burn the house down....

my brother: Hide the matches.

Did I say that she's precious, and as cute as a button?

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

just one thing at a time

"To live today well we also should remember that God only asks for one thing at a time, never two. It doesn't matter whether the job we have in hand is sweeping the kitchen floor or giving a speech to forty thousand people. We must put our hearts into it, simply and calmly, and not try to solve more than one problem at a time. Even when what we're doing is genuinely trifling, it's a mistake to rush through it as though we felt we were wasting our time. If something, no matter how ordinary, needs to be done and is part of our lives, it's worth doing for its own sake, and worth putting our hearts into."

                                                                 - Fr. Jacques Philippe, from Magnificat, October 2019

Monday, October 7, 2019

the rose remembers

Autumn Chant

Now the autumn shudders
In the rose's root,
Far and wide the ladders
Lean among the fruit.

Now the autumn clambers
Up the trellised frame
And the rose remembers
The dust from which it came.

Brighter than the blossom
On the rose's bough
Sits the wizened, orange,
Bitter berry, now;

Beauty never slumbers;
All is in her name;
But the rose remembers
The dust from which it came.

                  -   Edna St. Vincent Millay

Saturday, October 5, 2019

a good tomato year

As long as my brother has been doing the vegetable gardens, he apparently never knew about the "determinate" and "indeterminate" factors in growing tomatoes.

I think he learned from a friend's father in the neighborhood about gardening, and then it was just a matter of learning by doing - he didn't consult books, in other words.

But this spring, somehow, he heard about the two types of tomato plants, and he planted tomatoes that were indeterminate. And that is why we've enjoyed so. many. delicious. tomatoes this year. 

ripe ones I picked on Thursday

The weatherman said it would get down into the thirties last night, so yesterday as soon as I got home from work, I picked every thing worth picking.

Some partially ripe.

And lots of unripe tomatoes, the same shade of green as the small peppers there. We'll see if they all ripen. It was a good tomato year - the best!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

a bitter disappointment, or, all dressed up and nowhere to go

My co-worker showed me the newspaper clipping yesterday - George Washington was going to make an appearance at an historic house and it wasn't too far for us to get there! Too exciting. There was to be a wine tasting first and then the talk. We appeared, in the rain, after the wine but in time to see the man himself, only to find a full house and no way to squeeze inside the building. No way to see anything, even if we'd wanted to stand in the rain. We had to turn around and come home.

But we are hoping we can get him to come to the library. Who knows? After all, Queen Victoria came.