Sunday, February 27, 2022

 The first reading at Mass today:

When a sieve is shaken, the husks appear; so do one's faults when one speaks. As the test of what the potter molds is in the furnace, so in tribulation is the test of the just. The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had; so too does one's speech disclose the bent of one's mind. Praise no one before he speaks, for it is then that people are tested.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 27: 4-7

Saturday, February 26, 2022

the breakdown

 All right, it took a while but we got Dolly's DNA results back. She has a less exciting, shall we say, bloodline than Annie, but they both have a common ancestor which I find a wonder.

I originally sent for Annie's because she has an exotic quality and we thought she might be part Burmese, and then there are always some folks who see a gray cat and think "Russian Blue". 

So, this was Annie's result:

  • 41% American Domestic
  • 13% Maine Coon
  • 12% Norwegian Forest Cat
  • 11% European Domestic
  • 10% Scottish Fold
  • 10% Sphynx
  • 2% Highlander
  • 1% British Shorthair
At first, my brother found it hard to understand why I had bothered. But after getting the results, and talking about how she looks like none of these breeds, realizing that appearances don't seem to mean anything, we both thought we might as well do Dolly. So, we did. 

Dolly's result:
  • 60% American Domestic
  • 13% Maine Coon
  • 13% Norwegian Forest Cat
  • 9% British Shorthair
  • 5% Scottish Fold
Our cats are both one quarter a large, very furry cat - Dolly one percent more than Annie - and I'm referring to the Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest. So why don't either of them look like it? A mystery. Although I will say this: if you've been around here a while, you may remember Yogi, Dianne's beautiful (or I thought so) cat who was killed by a car a few years ago. You can see him in this post. Dianne (I think I've been spelling her name wrong all this time) has three or four cats, very thick fur with neck ruffs and long noses, like Yogi here. They are normal size, but otherwise always make me think of the Norwegians, who often have this long nose, which gives them a beautiful appearance. We know Dolly's mother (Candace) looked quite like Dolly, but who was the father? Maybe one of these, or their ancestor. As for the Orphan, though, since she just appeared out of nowhere, her origins are unknown to us. But it's all very intriguing, isn't it?

Friday, February 25, 2022

sleeping in and catching up

 It was sixty-five degrees on Wednesday; today we have snow, and it was intense enough and icy enough this morning to close Town offices, and that includes the library. February this year has seemed an awful lot like March, with so many spring-like days. I definitely have spring fever. Meanwhile, I am making use of this extra day to catch up on undone things. 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

paczki before Lent

 My brother came home for lunch, and I heard him say, You'll never guess what I brought home. 

I think these are paczki; they always sell them at the store right before Lent. Like a jelly doughnut. The Polish lady brought them - she made them! He said she was upset - her home town is very near the Ukrainian border. It's horrifying. May God have mercy on the Ukrainian people.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

a day set apart

 I'm halfway through The Joy of the Snow, but no mention of her favorite author, yet. 

"...nearly everyone did go to church and Sunday was a day set apart, entirely different from other days, with a different flavour to it.

In town and city alike one awoke to a sense of serenity and quietness, unbroken until the bell-ringers got going in every tower and steeple in the land. But it was not noise they made, it was music. In the country the wind carried the sound of the bells over the fields from one village to the other, and in the towns there seemed to be bell-song at every street's end.

To what extent God himself mattered to each one only that one could have told you. But for the many I do believe that faith in God was deep and strong, and so his law as they conceived it was important, and sin mattered, and the discipline of their moral code was as binding as their faith and gave strength to the nation....I believe they had paradoxically a basic happiness that we have largely lost today because we no longer have their discipline."

                                          -  Elizabeth Goudge

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

making a plan and not sticking to it

 I've been planning the menus for the entire month, and even though it takes a while, I find it very freeing. It came during a podcast, and when it was mentioned, I had one of those "aha" or click moments, when I felt this was something I should try. Like I said, it takes time to view the whole month together, planning a balanced array of meals, but knowing at all times what I'm going to cook makes me feel a lot more organized. I love it! The time it takes to plan it is worth it to me, and I rather enjoy looking at the recipes in my monthly magazines and that I've collected, anyway.

And I only need to make three meals per week, since leftovers are what we rely on the rest of the days; I try to think seasonally and take into consideration any holidays, guests or any other things out of the ordinary. And I can change my mind, even at the last minute, and have done so several times, like yesterday. 

Yesterday I was planning to make a chicken puttanesca, although I have previously avoided anything called "puttanesca". A story: years ago, as a teenager, I was a nurses' aide. There was an old Sicilian lady named Maria who had dementia and was bedridden. We had to wash her at bedtime, and she would fight us off, calling us "putana!" Actually, I thought she was saying "butana", but I asked my father what the word meant. He looked at me sharply and said, "Who called you that?" I told him, and he said, "a prostitute". Poor woman! She didn't understand what we were doing to her.

Anyway, yesterday. I cut out more recipes from an old magazine and there was a mac and cheese with smoked salmon. It caught my fancy, but I had only canned salmon  -  and smoked paprika! Smoked something is still smoked something. I put dijon mustard in it, and a bit of leftover spaghetti sauce with half the can of salmon, because it is quite salty. It came out very well! A nice diversion from the plan. And the plan is still there, with all the ingredients in the pantry.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

thirty degrees colder

 We had two days of blissful fifty-something, and now it's going back to cold. It could have been late March. The weatherman was predicting a Sunday morning light snowfall - a dusting to an inch, as they were warning us of all week.

They were entirely wrong; we awoke to a steady snow, and Accuweather had changed their tune. It's now going to be three to six inches worth, and last until 6 a.m. tomorrow. How could they be so wrong?

We are wired to respond to atmosphere, heard from a podcast episode. Even though yesterday I was dreaming of spring, I will always love a snowy atmosphere.

One of the things on the reading challenge is a book by your favorite author's favorite author. Well, I hadn't thought about it, but Elizabeth Goudge would be a good candidate for mine. So I'm reading her autobiography to find out who was her own favorite - I hope she mentions someone! 

Annie was in a chair the other day, hanging upside down as is her wont - she has no qualms about falling on her head - and I actually saw her washing her face in that position. As if it were entirely normal. Well, she obviously doesn't have sinus problems - I could never do that.

My brother had to go to the pet store last night to get cans of cat food, since our local supermarkets don't seem to ever have it. He thought to ask them why this might be an issue, and the cashier said she heard it was the cans - they're hard to get. That doesn't seem likely to us - canned vegetables and soup aren't scarce. 

Thursday, February 10, 2022

such a jocund company

I almost had spring fever today. Outside, it looked like March - mud here and there, the grass that blah not-green color, everything ugly. I opened up the Wordsworth at the bookmark, and looked for something to speak to me.  I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o'er vales and hills, when all at once I saw a crowd, a host, of golden daffodils. 

I am liking his poems, for the most part, even though they're rather flowery. But I guess that was the way it was in his day? I picked up my British Country Living, to the bookmark.

Ten thousand saw I at a glance. An article on daffodil growers. Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

I looked outside again. It was a beautiful day. Spring is coming.

Monday, February 7, 2022

room in the Inn

 "The inn is the Church, which receives travelers who are tired with their journey through the world and oppressed with the load of their sins, where the wearied traveler discarding the burden of his sins is relieved, and after being refreshed is restored with wholesome food. And this is what is said here. For outside the Inn is everything that is conflicting, hurtful, and evil, while within the Inn is contained all rest and health."

                                      -  St John Chrysostom, from Homilies on Luke (10:34-35)*

*from Magnificat, February, 2022

Saturday, February 5, 2022

ice, but not ice cream


There is ice on the clothesline, and the thermometer outside my window is stuck on 34 degrees because ice got inside it. It would be nice to have temps in the 30s, but it's colder; we left work early yesterday because it was getting icy.

Inside, today was Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, but I didn't plan ahead, and there wasn't any in the house. No cream, either, so I couldn't make any. I usually have it with pancakes, so I made them anyway, and pretended. 

I stacked them up with butter and then scooped some of my plain yogurt on top. With maple syrup. It looks enough like ice cream, and it was good. 

The supermarket shelves are showing empty spaces and there was no cornstarch, and no baking powder I wanted to buy, just the one with aluminum. I will have to try the substitutions I've seen online. Apparently baking powder is just a construct, a convenience, and not a "real thing". It would be good to know how to do without it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

the brightest light that ever did shine

 Today we remembered the Lord's presentation in the temple. 

The bright lights of Christmas are shining with joy
From the heart of the city to the lonely confines
A lone Christmas candle in the window does shine
Welcoming Mary to come to our home.

O come to us Mary and bless our lives
There's a welcome and lodgings for you and your child
Banish all hatred and scorn from our minds
And fill with your love our hearts that are blind.

The moon and the stars illumine the skies
And the serene peace of Christmas is felt on all sides
The rich and the poor are all of one mind
Welcoming Jesus into their lives.

May the lights shining brightly clear the path that we roam
And let you, O Jesus, be our guide at all times
For the brightest light that ever did shine
Was your coming, O Jesus, into our lives.

translation of the Irish carol, Soillse Na Nollag

And thus ends the season of Epiphany, and the greater Christmas season.