Tuesday, April 28, 2020


I didn't iron Saturday, I was keeping my foot up. Consequently when I wanted a tablecloth for Sunday the two I think of at Easter were wrinkled. I used one anyway.

Cyndi was making masks and she came by with one for me.

My favorite color! I used it, so it got washed. It's cotton, and now it's wrinkled. I really don't want to leave it that way. Good thing I like to iron.

Monday, April 27, 2020

cute as a button

She still jumps up walls, trying to get things. Like the thermostat; she finally noticed it. And my brother said one day she hit the switch in his room and cut off the light. But at least she's too big to climb the shower curtain.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

the road to Emmaus

Fritz von Uhde

Today's gospel passage deals with the appearance of Jesus to the apostles while along the road to Emmaus. They were excitedly discussing the events of Jesus' crucifixion and his body later being gone from the tomb, according to the women who went there and saw the place empty and an angel telling them what had occurred. A stranger joined them and they were surprised to find he seemed to know nothing of these events. It was Jesus, however; they did not realize who it was.

This always puzzles me. The Bible says "their eyes were prevented from recognizing him". Did he look so very different from the way he always had before? Perhaps he was dressed in a different manner, with a hood obscuring his face - that might do it. Or is it simply as the gospel says, that God just prevented them from being able to recognize him. Mary Magdalene also had this experience, when she was first to see him after he rose but thought he must be the gardener. But the way the scene is depicted in art often indicates a mystery in Jesus' attire which could explain her confusion.


Anyway, the real point here is, God will find a way to make himself known to us, if we have our ears and hearts open. 

trying to leave winter behind

Where I live, April is supposed to be when spring begins to show itself. And it does; there are spring-flowering bulbs, shrubs and beautiful trees which bloom. But the warmer temperatures are what everybody is longing for, and this year we are still waiting. Today, it was very lovely and relatively warm, but that's just one day. I've heard the weatherman say more than once lately that the temperatures have been twenty degrees colder than they're supposed to be! So I'm saving my high hopes for May.

My brother's seedlings are still in the kitchen, struggling for the sunlight, but it feels too cold and is too cloudy to set up the greenhouse outdoors. It just doesn't feel right.

we've actually had flurries a couple of times lately!

I've been taking it easy for a few days, since I had a painful foot on Tuesday and actually had to go to the ER. It improved the next day but I've been keeping it propped up a lot to prevent a recurrence. This morning, Dolly surprised me by coming into my room - she poked around in the closet and then went behind my day bed, walking along the baseboard heater, behind my nightstand, around and out. She then sped out of the room, presumably excited at doing something she hasn't done in years. Boring stuff I suppose, but this was a Big Deal - she hasn't been coming into my bedroom since Sweetie came here, which I feel very badly about. But, our Dolly had a birthday this week - 17! - and maybe she's changing things up. I hope it continues!

The last couple of knitting projects I began ended up in nothing, but I tried another one yesterday. I have a large ball of wool, bulky weight, and decided to use it up for a bag. It's called the Aspen Bag, and I like it. My yarn is sort of a purply berry color and I'm supposed to use size 15 needles. I knitted eight rows but found the result to be looser than the photo. If I continued on that way, the bag wouldn't be suitable for anything heavier than holding pieces of paper. The directions don't mention any gauge and I always seem to knit the proper gauge except when using the large needles like 13 and 15 - I have a harder time keeping my tension with those sizes. So, I ripped it out and will try it with size 11s. If it looks right, I'll take a picture. It's not a felted bag, nor is it lined, so it's got to be snugly made or it'll stretch and sag. 

In a recent podcast of Speaking with Joy, Joy Clarkson said something that I thought was delightful:   "Snow is kind of the reward for how cold it is."  At least, I'm sure I would find it delightful in December, January, February - maybe even March! But April - no. 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

a resurrection of Christ in us

"It is the typical expression of divine power to make something from nothing. God has made the world where no world was, and God makes life out of death. Such is the God with whom we have to do. We do not come to God for a little help, a little support to our own good intentions. We come to him for resurrection. God will not be asked for a little, he will be asked for all. We reckon ourselves dead, says St. Paul, that we may ask God for a resurrection, not of ourselves, but of Christ in us."

                                                   -  Austin Farrer, from Liturgical Reflections

Thursday, April 16, 2020

a poem, maybe for the Easter season

I heard this read on a podcast and I immediately thought of Easter, the Resurrection, the road to Emmaus  -  our relationship with Lord in general:


In the woods I came on an old friend fishing
and I asked him a question
and he said Wait

fish were rising in the deep stream
but his line was not stirring
but I waited
it was a question about the sun

about my two eyes
my ears my mouth
my heart the earth with its four seasons
my feet where I was standing
where I was going

it slipped through my hands
as though it were water
into the river
it flowed under the trees
it sank under hulls far away
and was gone without me
then where I stood night fell

I no longer knew what to ask
I could tell that his line had no hook
I understood that I was to stay and eat with him

                                    -  W.S. Merwin

Monday, April 13, 2020

a wild wind, and not even Pentecost

It was violently windy much of today, with an inch or two of rain. I was defuzzing a sweater in the spare room when my brother called out to me - Did you see that? No, I didn't see anything. The top section of a tree in the back yard had come down.

That's a big piece. And do you see how the branches are curved downward on that tree? That's from the October snow we had in 2011. I think it not only bent the branches, but weakened many trees in ways that are only evident on stormy days like this one.

It happened that this was the cat food packet I grabbed on Easter, so we all had lamb for Easter dinner.

"Easter challenges us to believe in a way that Christmas doesn't. It almost dares us to accept and acknowledge a love and a goodness that is greater than anything we could possibly imagine."

                                                          -  borrowed from here

Saturday, April 11, 2020

"the darkness of God"

I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre,
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away -
Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations
And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence
And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen
Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;
Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing -
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth.

                              -  T. S. Eliotfrom East Coker

this was also from the daily Liturgical Reflections for Holy Saturday

Thursday, April 9, 2020

as parts of Christ

It's Holy Thursday. I've subscribed to a daily email during Lent from three women called Liturgical Reflections, and the following was one of the meditations:

"After Jesus had died on the cross, his disciples hoped to keep his body with them as a sacred relic. They shut it in with stone. The came to embalm it. St. Magdalene was disconsolate that she could not find it. But Jesus had given his body to them at the Supper in the form in which he meant them to have it, a form which did not involve its being stored on earth. He would continually give it them from heaven, where he lives. It is a heavenly being he bestows on us, it is in his heavenly body that he unites us. Lift up your hearts; by this sacrament, you are parts of Christ, and Christ is the heart of heaven."

                                                                         -  Austin Farrer   (emphasis mine)

This is the best explanation I've read about the Eucharist.

more bread, and better

I made another loaf of bread today, with a quarter teaspoon of yeast, again. I felt the previous one could have used a bit more water, or liquid, so I couldn't wait to try again.

Here's the recipe:

This is from a bread machine cookbook we withdrew from the library collection; it wasn't circulating. I grabbed it! So, I followed it, as far as ingredients went, exactly, except for the yeast amount, and also I melted the butter to add that more easily to the mix.

I used Steve's method as far as I've understood it, meaning that last night I mixed all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and then stirred in the wet. I'd whisked up the two eggs, added them to the milk in a two-cup measure and then topped it off with some water to make a full two cups. This was more liquid than the last one.

I really have to say that I don't know what I'm doing, I just do it anyway. I *felt* that I wanted more liquid - the crumb on the previous loaf was dense. Of course, it had more whole wheat in it, which may be why. I don't know. Also, leaving the dough on the counter all night, for about fifteen hours total made me nervous - milk, and two eggs! When I checked it it smelled slightly like alcohol rather than yeast. This made me wonder if I'd left it too long, but Steve advises eight to eighteen hours, so I wasn't concerned.

It came out very well.

It's delicious!  The crumb looks better, I think - more holes. It could use a little more salt - next time! And maybe next time I can cover it with a wet towel - I do not like using plastic wrap.

Meanwhile, yesterday afternoon I was sitting at the kitchen table minding my own business when I noticed how the light was affecting the scene out the back window. I can never resist this drama, although I've probably taken this picture many times before.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

"drive from us the power of the enemy"

O God, who willed your Son to submit for our sake 
to the yoke of the Cross, 
so that you might drive from us the power of the enemy,
 grant us, your servants, to attain the grace
 of the resurrection.

-  from Magnificat, April 2020

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

fluffy and bright

The forsythia near the driveway is like a fluffy, yellow cloud.

Monday, April 6, 2020

beautiful spring, welcome

The birds don't seem to know about corona viruses; they were singing beautifully this morning.

It was a gorgeous, sunny day. The grass is suddenly green everywhere.

I saw my first dandelion.

Determined to survive.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

low-yeast bread success

I am so psyched: I baked a loaf of bread, using only a quarter teaspoon of yeast. It came out just fine!

the cauliflower has sprouted!

Ever since I stumbled upon Artisan Bread with Steve, a youtube channel, I was wanting to try his method. Over the past few years, my researches have led me to the idea that a long rise using less yeast gives much more flavor - it's a more natural way of doing things. So, when I find a recipe which interests me, I make it, but with less yeast than called for.

after mixing and sitting out all night

But Steve uses only one quarter teaspoon, and that's hardly any. And his recipes look good, but I wanted to understand the method. He uses more water, which enables you to proceed with less yeast, and no kneading. Like the 5-minute artisan breads. So, after doing more research, I discovered that a flour to water ratio is normally 5:3. But with wetter, artisan-type doughs, the water amount is about three quarters of the flour weight. So that meant I'd have to weigh my flour after measuring to determine how much liquid to add. But I did it, and mixed it, and after 18 hours I shaped it for the second rise.

ready for the second proof

Another hour and a half or so, and it was ready for baking. So now I have three methods of baking bread, and depending on how much time I have and when I'm available, making bread can be done around my schedule. Excellent!

prayer for Holy Week

"O Lord, we are so easily deceived still into expecting from you a kingdom governed according to the laws of this world. Keep our eyes fixed on the triumph of life over death through the mystery of the cross, so that we may grow into a deeper understanding of the power of your law of love over the laws of human expectation, through Christ our Lord. Amen."

                                                                   -  from Magnificat, April 2020

Saturday, April 4, 2020

bags that move and other things

I saw a cloth shopping bag scoot across the living room floor today; we're living in strange times.

On the subject of bags, I had to make a new one for the clothespins - the old was in tatters. I used a fabric which was I thought would last, but it was almost too thick to get through the holes.

You know, the holes on that metal piece with the hook? But I managed. And though the toile design isn't right side up all around, it does look springy hanging there.

On the subject of sewing, I dug out a jersey top I'd started to make a while back. 

My intention is to finish it. 

On the subject of finishing things, I washed the last of my turtleneck sweaters by hand this afternoon, and it's drying flat in the spare room. So glad that's out of the way!

And on the subject of doing things by hand, I polished my red shoes today. They've been looking sorry for a while.

I always air them afterward to get rid of the odor. Not the foot odor! The polish. :)

the bag mover

Friday, April 3, 2020

a little Camus

The neighbors hens wandered again the other day. I guess they know enough to only wander nearby.

At the library, we withdrew a few bread machine cookbooks, which I brought home. I like to try new recipes, and it's easy to adapt them for mixing by hand or with a mixer. And I'm especially eager to try a method that uses only a quarter teaspoon of yeast per loaf. It's on a youtube channel "Artisan Bread with Steve". I wish I knew a way to adapt his method for use with other recipes. For me, the less yeast used, the better.

Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world, yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history, yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.

-   Albert Camus*

No, I have not been reading Camus! This passage was in a magazine.