Thursday, August 26, 2021

from sublime to ridiculous

Someone gave this lovely basket to my brother filled with juicy tomatoes and even a dish towel. Very thoughtful. 

Tonight I combined all the cherry tomatoes with a can of cannellini beans, olive oil, salt, pepper and some chili powder, into the oven at 375 for somewhere around 40 to 50 minutes. Added some fresh Italian parsley and dried basil. I'd just seen an Elliott Homestead video where she made it and it caught my eye. Of course, I know my brother views small baked tomatoes as shrunken heads* - yes, I did remember it - but they were going to go and this looked awfully good. And it was! And he just came to me to see if he could eat the rest of it - yes!

*I had previously thought he called it bog people but now I realize it's shunken heads.

Before Henri the storm was due, I cut a clutch of red roses from the bush and brought them in.

They're still looking pretty good. 

The binding was disintegrating on my brother's summer blanket. I wanted to make a cotton binding to replace it, but I don't have any fabric which strikes me as really looking nice with it. Then I found a packet of blanket binding somewhere in a drawer. The blanket is tan, the binding light blue, but I like it.

It's a well-loved blanket with a patch, but we don't bother about such things - he likes it. And I realized after removing the old binding that it's there just for show, nothing is going to fray. There was only enough for one end and I'm going to leave the other end without.

In an etsy shop, there was a key fob with a saying on it:

"The problem with quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their validity."

-  Abraham Lincoln

Monday, August 23, 2021

the storms are past

 The storm moved more to the east and yes, we had lots of torrential rain but not as much as we feared. And, the winds were nothing like predicted for our area. I'm grateful. You know, you plan ahead for something, possibly destructive, and even when it doesn't come to pass, you need a day to just get over/process it, thank God, rest/recover, ponder it - whatever. Yes, you could go on with business as usual, but we are not machines. And we're still feeling the effects of it now, with tropical air and a soaking rain much of the day (but no "rivers" along the fence, as it didn't come down too fast).

A sympathy card came in the mail signed by one of Sweetie's doctors and two other employees there. This is not unheard of, but they each wrote a note inside! I was so sorry to hear about Sweetie. She was a very special cat - and so lucky to have such a loving family to care for her. Be comforted knowing you did everything you could. With sincere sympathy, and signed by the oncology doctor. Somewhere along the way, we'd heard there was a pet cancer center a couple of towns over which we had no idea of. We took her there in early spring, and even though by then Sweetie's tongue was infiltrated by the tumor, she still could move it somewhat and she still wanted to eat. They gave us a pill called Palladia, which is not chemo per se, but it can stop or slow down the cancer's growth. It seemed to, and Sweetie got used to us feeding her. It was a huge learning curve for all three of us, finding what foods were best for using in a syringe and what sizes of syringe are best. I will say that I'd always seen her as a difficult personality (Tortie!) but she surprised me, she was also willing to learn. She had to learn to get used to my brother trying to wash her feet and tail - you can't imagine how gross she got from the litter box. She had to learn to  let us feed her, but even when she gave a hard time she'd come back for more food, and she'd always come to us again at night, purring; she did not hold a grudge, she knew we were trying to help. 

This type of cancer, oral squamous cell carcinoma, afflicts many cats and it's fast and lethal. She lasted a year, which was way more than the three to six month prediction. But this statistic is based on most people having their cat euthanized, so it's not a true statistic. Apparently there is a very promising treatment, but it's still in trials in Illinois and they would not let us participate - my brother was in contact with someone involved in it; he really did a lot of research. We always figured the time would come when we'd have her put to sleep, but she had plenty of life in her and she wanted to keep going. Her mouth would get infected often, and she'd need Clavamox to be comfortable enough to eat. We always did what we thought best and were grateful for the doctors who could support us. 

Saturday, August 21, 2021

a hurricane cometh

Well, I don't mean to joke about it;  it's heading right for us. Technically, there's a hurricane warning at the coast - we inlanders have a tropical storm warning, but still. A lot of rain, a lot of wind. In these situations I like to cook as much stuff as possible, to have some food in a state of readiness, so to speak. I grated a huge zucchini our neighbor gave us and made a chocolate zucchini cake. I also put handfuls of it into our mac and cheese and there are still eight cups left; it filled a whole mixing bowl.

I've got some bread in the oven and there's a chicken that's defrosted - I'd like to cook it ahead of time. Maybe in the early morning. It might be nice to have some flavored popcorn. All the laundry is done, except for some towels I've been using this evening. 

 Two days ago we had a spell of torrential rain, and I got my camera. What looked like a small river was rushing along the side yard, to the street.

 Then I stood on the back step, and could see the water flowing right up under the bridge.

So, here we go again - I just hope it doesn't flood our property. 

Friday, August 20, 2021

our Sweetie pie

 Our poor Sweetie passed away on Tuesday. It was a long time that she couldn't groom herself or feed herself and we tried to do it for her, but it was hard.

I had forgotten that she ever weighed this much. We had to break with the traveling vet - she wanted us to euthanize her and she almost had us convinced to do it. But the reality was that Sweetie still wanted to come sleep on our pillows at night, purring like she always had, and even two nights before she died she came in my room, a creature of her little habits. She was a survivor and it was clear to us she wanted to keep going, so we did. And our local vet understood this. 

Fly away, little Tweetie Bird, fly away! Rest in peace.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

until the light of dawn

 Today was the most beautiful of days, not because we've never had such a day, but because it was more welcome after the previous several. Another cool night awaits.

Then stay with us when evening comes
And darkness makes us blind,
O stay until the light of dawn
May fill both heart and mind.

                                                                                 Ralph Wright, from Magnificat, August 2021

Saturday, August 14, 2021

peace and coolness

 The windows are open, the air is cool. I may even get chilly tonight. What a relief, from the awful hot, humid days we’ve been having. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021



I think these tomatoes are beautiful, even though a bit gnarly. They're not ours. All the rain last month was too much for several of our plants; not the best gardening year for us.

I made a zip pouch today, using a different method and I like it much better. 

The previous one had hand stitching near the zipper, and kept getting caught in it - this is neater. The lining is from an old skirt of my mother's and the print is from Debra. I think the green zipper makes a nice color combination.

I'm finishing up A Circle of Quiet, and here she's talking about how we want to excuse ourselves when we do something wrong:

"We need to be forgiven:
     we need to be forgiven in this grey atmosphere which clogs the lungs [c1972] so that we cannot breathe, and breathless, spiritless, can no longer discern what is right and what is wrong, what is our right hand and what is our left, what is justice and what tyranny, what is life and what is death.
      I heard a man of brilliance cry out that God has withdrawn from nations when they have turned from Him, and surely we are a stiff-necked people; why should He not withdraw?"

                                                       - Madeleine L'Engle

Monday, August 9, 2021

local wildlife

My brother came in from doing yardwork and said he discovered grape vines growing across the brook. And grapes, planted by the birds, and he only found them after trying to remove some overgrown bittersweet vines - there were grape leaves, and grapes, behind a rhododendron and some arbor vitaes. I put on my little wellies and went out to see. 

I passed by the apple tree - it's getting more sun these days since the nearby tree came down, but it's scrawny.

There are plenty of small but clean looking apples, but the leaves look diseased.

I continued on my way. See the group of three arbor vitaes? The grapes are behind them.

I picked a few small bunches which were mainly purple. But why didn't I taste one first? They are as sour as a lemon. If we wait till they're bigger, or darker, I'm not so sure the sweetness will increase. So we're not sure what to do. The birds planted them, perhaps they should enjoy them. Or, whoever. Many of the leaves have scale, but the fruits all look perfect. I don't know what creatures would eat them - maybe foxes? Raccoons, opossums? I removed a thick bittersweet vine which was winding around a shrub nearby and left them.

 I realized I haven't seen any rabbits for several days, when they're usually around somewhere. Then it dawned on me that perhaps there are babies, and the family is laying low. So, I will be patient and hope to see some little bunnies in a couple of weeks, possibly.

This afternoon my brother called to me, to come to his window quickly, and look out. What did I see but a dinosaur walking down our street. I'm not kidding! It was one of the upright ones, T. Rex or something, but no worries because there was someone walking along with it. Of course we both said get a camera! but I had cat food on my fingers and was rather stunned anyway; it isn't every day - you know. But we both came to ourselves rather late and with our cameras ran out into the road. 

It was quite tall, as you can see. I remember one year before my neighbor-friend moved to Maryland - she called me one day to say a young deer had strolled up our street, and it seems she was the only one to witness it. This tops that story, I think. 

Sunday, August 8, 2021

a devoted friend

 "In the Holy Eucharist, our Lord is not the master who commands; he is not the king who gives orders and whom we cannot resist without incurring penalty. He is a friend, the friend who loves us madly from all eternity; a friend who since our birth has never ceased pursuing us with his love, crying out: My child, my brother, give me your heart. He is a devoted friend who has extended his arms for long years without becoming discouraged by our indifference and our refusal; for all that, a friend who can expect nothing from us, from whom we hold everything, who still prepares us for gifts without number, so that finally he will introduce us into his Kingdom, give us a share in his glory and his eternity, allow us to sit by his side, open his heart to us, and unite us to himself so closely that, according to his own words, we become one with him, just as he and Heavenly Father are one.

Well, represent to yourself, or rather imagine that's what it is, because it is the reality; imagine that you are going to receive a friend with no equal in the world, from whom you have been separated for some forty years, by your own fault; imagine that you have had some wrongs against him which he has completely forgotten, that he is eager to receive you into his arms, to press you to his heart, to give himself to you, to unite you to himself in the closest way possible in this world, to renew with you the relationships of a hearty, eternal friendship."

                                                             -  Blessed Jean-Joseph Lataste,  from Magnificat, August 2021

Thursday, August 5, 2021

returning to Thrush Green


Having finished the moving and dramatic story about The Dean's Watch, I've gone back to the safe and quiet Miss Read, where I'm going through the Thrush Green novels we have at the library, which isn't all of them, just the ones we own - I think I have four left. It's a little disconcerting to read them out of order; I've picked them up alphabetically, the way they were sitting on the shelf, and didn't think too much about it when I started. Now I may as well continue that way. 

As for Mariner, I *really* like it, but you may be amazed when I tell you it's about Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner - I am certainly amazed that I could enjoy such a book! We read Piranesi with Joy Clarkson's podcast and she had Malcolm Guite (author of the aforementioned) on one episode while they talked about a connection with the Rime and he said he'd written a book about Coleridge and how his life echoed the poem he was later to write. So, I ordered the book because I was intrigued by the conversation, mainly. When it arrived I was dismayed by the size - I tend to avoid thicker books but, too late - I owned the thing. Well, it is Very interesting. 

They've had ground turkey on sale every week lately at the supermarket so I've been getting it, but without having any real expertise with it. I made a meatloaf last week but it was awful; somebody somewhere said you should try to not overmix it, but that isn't easy. I decided that mushy bread crumbs might not help the situation, so today I made meatballs using quick oats and I lightly and carefully mixed. They were good! I think I've got it. 

There was a beautiful sunset the other night, all fiery purples.