Thursday, April 20, 2017




In the last few days, the trees have burst their buds in a delicate display of chartreuse, pink, white, and lavender lace. Beside every fence and lane are bright drifts of golden forsythia and purpley-pink mounds of azalea. I've donned my garden gloves and tidied the flower beds and pruned and nourished the roses. 

Last Thursday the David Austin rose catalog arrived in my mailbox--I haven't put it down since. Do you receive this wonder? It is a coffee-table-worthy publication of gorgeous photos, beautiful descriptions, and lots of helpful information and tips on growing English roses. I don't have any English roses in my garden yet (I have two floribundas: Moondance and Sunsprite; and two hybrid teas: Falling in Love and Let Freedom Ring; none of which are particularly happy with our New England winters--makes you wonder why they sell these varieties here), but I've told my family that my Mother's Day wish is for two D.A. English roses: The Lady of Shalott, and Mustead Wood--even the names are delightful to me.

Last week I saw the most dazzling sunset of my life right outside my door. The sky was lit up in every shade of pink (the photo above is completely untouched). I stood there marveling at the awesome play of colored light, and for just a moment I was enraptured and forgot all the earthly things: the bills and bombs and health concerns and dead fish. The only thing of true importance was the way the sky flared pink as the sun went down.

I'm still knitting my 'Fronds' nap blanket, but I've cast-on some socks, too. The pattern is 'Lace and Cable Socks' by Wendy Johnson.  I'm using Ivy Brambles 'Sockscene' yarn in the Secret Garden colorway. I'm obsessed with this yarn--it's all the colors of spring: moss, chartreuse, lilac, azalea, rose; sqeeeeee! I'll probably finish one sock and then cast-on a new project (my life is incredibly mundane, so I must insist on variety in my hobbies😁). I have an old skein of Dream in Color 'Starry' in the Some Summer Sky colorway that I want to knit into a Soft Sunday shawl by Suvi Simola next. When I'm finished with that project, I will knit the other lace and cable sock, and perchance get back to working on 'Fronds'. In between, I'll be painting rocks for our town's Kindness Rock Project (the ones in the photo above, however, are not mine; I tend to paint whimsical scenes and critters) and painting postcards and other little things. 

Easter was the strangest I've ever experienced. My older kids all had to work, so we didn't have dinner until quite late--after seven pm. We dined al fresco on the deck because it was 86 degrees (New England gets a few rogue summer days in the midst of our traditionally cool, wet springs). We colored eggs Friday evening, and I made Easter bread on Saturday. Sunday was sleepy and unseasonably warm. We spent most of the day lazying around and puttering in the garden. 

I'm reading aloud The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights by Sir James Knowles to my youngest (who is not quite eleven). It's an old and wonderful telling that has made me want to find a good novel about King Arthur to read myself. I've been looking at different books and series but can't decide. A lot of people like The Mists of Avalon, but I don't think it's for me. I love Mary Stewart, so The Crystal Cave is in the running. Are there any other King Arthur novels you can recommend to me? 

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. I intended to reply to each one, but time got away from me. It seems I rarely have the chance to be online for very long these days, which makes me wonder why I try to keep a blog at all. A great deal has changed in my life in the last few years, and in some ways blogging isn't the best fit anymore, but I really don't like Instagram. I do deeply appreciate everyone who takes the time to read here. ♥

Sunday, March 19, 2017

We ended up with about a foot of snow from the storm on Tuesday. As far as winter storms go, it really wasn't so bad. The rest of the week was fairly cold and sunny with beautiful skies. Although the landscape is white and wintery, about half the snow has already melted.

My Christmas cactus has been providing me with constant blooms and cheer since the end of October. I do believe this is the last blossom--it almost made it to Easter!

On the day of the storm, daughter no.1's work was cancelled, so she got to stay home and bake gingerbread cats and bears from this recipe--oh, so yummy!

My 85 year old writing desk. This year I am using an A4 size planner for my daily diary. I've written in it faithfully since the day after Christmas. Each morning I write down my thoughts about the day before. Here is my entry for yesterday, March 18th:
A beautiful day weather wise-45° + bright sunshine. There is still a ton of snow, but its slowly shrinking, and I can see a tiny patch of grass on the Lunds' hill. I did the bills this morning, and then the girls, L and I went to the movies! We had free tickets to a private showing of the new Beauty & the Beast, complete with a breakfast buffet, courtesy of one of our doctors.. The movie was entertaining. L rated it 6 out of 10. However, if I was a little girl, it would have frightened me; the imagery was grotesque-- but not the Beast; he was beautiful. Liz sent me a lovely card. She is worried that I'm sad. Am I? I don't know. Just out-of-sorts I guess. We watched Poldark last night + Francis died. In the past few months I have felt surrounded by death. Perhaps it is always here, but I'm just now more aware of it.
The moon this month has been particularly lovely, large and luminous. Now it is waning, but I still step out into the cold to look for it every night.

The gentle lilac light of the eastern sky at sunset sometimes holds my attention longer than the dazzling brightness in the west.

Daughter no. 2 made delicious, fluffy bread on Friday. Warm out of the oven with a bit of butter, it tasted better than cake.

No matter how much I dislike March, its skies are gorgeous.

Last night I had to rip back 12 rows on my nap blanket because I was one stitch off in the pattern. One stitch weirdly skewed the whole thing. So. Frustrating. But, I am no less determined to finish the project despite the constant set-backs. In fact, I really wish I would have used different colors for it. I have in my mind a solid gray background with color shifting leaves in the "lake front" colorway (Knitpicks' Chroma yarn) so, a second afghan may be in my future. : )

I read a thought-provoking essay this week by Phyllis Theroux on the topic of 'home'. She included a quote by Dag Hammarskjold which caught my attention:  
"To have humility is to experience reality, not in relation to ourselves but in its sacred independence."  
This is an idea I have contemplated often over the years, especially in becoming Catholic, which was a bewildering decision to many of my friends, but thankfully, not to my family since they are used to me doing things they don't understand: abandoning my 'career', having 'too many kids', practicing extended breastfeeding, bed-sharing, home schooling, having too many animals, living in a too-little house, etc., etc. My friends, however,--several of whom I lost over this decision--could not come to terms with why I would enter into a religious tradition historically steeped in scandal and which included some things I did not fully comprehend or embrace. The priest who gave me my first sacraments was confident that I understood and believed all I needed to in order to enter into full communion with the church. "The rest will come in time", is what he said. 

I stopped protesting the Catholic Church when I began to 'experience reality in its sacred independence'--when I began to acknowledge that if I really wanted to know a person or thing I had to relinquish my attitudes and beliefs and see it as it really is. It didn't happen overnight. It took about three years of inquiry, study, prayer, and living before I took formal steps to enter the Church. I can admit that fourteen years later there are still things about the Faith I don't understand or fully embrace (just as there are things about my husband I don't understand or embrace . . . but he is thee, and I am me, and together we are We). But I can also admit that it was only when I began to see God as having a will and life outside of my will and life--as sacred and independent--that I understood reverence, and my heart was stirred to the longing necessary for be-longing. 

Ms. Theroux writes about 'home' as a place in time. She identifies 'home' as the 'center of our universe', and the places where we live as "circles within circles" in time. She goes back to the place of her childhood where she "knows and is known by people whose memories are long enough to tell you how much around the eyes you look like like your grandmother" and who provide "a deeper context than you can give yourself." She writes about a beach that is the place of many important memories in her life. But, midway through her visit back 'home' she feels the pull of the place that is currently the center of her universe and longs to return to it. "I have sometimes viewed my house as a kind of exterior brain cavity, my thoughts contained within the folds of the curtains, leaves of the books, and dents in the sofa cushions." 

At the end of her essay Ms. Theroux asks, "But tell me this: Is the circumference where you grew up or where you're growing now?" This is an interesting question to me because it supposes a forward trajectory of growth in the human person. I don't want to make anyone's head hurt, but having experienced significant set-backs in the last two years, I just don't know if human development works that way at all. In every age I see myself trying to make sense of what I hear and see and feel while attempting to love and live peacefully with those around me. Sometimes I do all right, and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I think I did better in another time and place than I am doing now. There were certainly times in my life when things seemed clearer to me. But, oddly, despite my uncertainty, there has never been a time when I have felt more at home. 

Until next week. ♥

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The March moon is called the Worm Moon, but last night it was butter yellow and caught in the branches of our tree. I wanted to climb up and fill my cup with buttermilk moonlight.

March is my least favorite month of the year. Have I mentioned this before? I'm sure I must have. Last week was spring and this week is winter, and that is the miserably unpredictable dynamic personality of March. This morning the temperature was 10°F/-12°C. Oh, and a n'oreaster is forecast for Tuesday: up to two feet of snow, biting winds, and coastal flooding. Won't that be exciting?

I felt poorly for most of the week, so I pulled out a knitting project (one I started last spring) and attempted to work on it while I was resting. It is the kind of pattern that requires a lot of concentration for each row. Frustrating, really. But, the finished project--a nap blanket with a lovely fern pattern--is so lovely; I am determined to finish it this year. Progress, however, is slow. I spend a lot of time ripping back and re-knitting.

On Thursday we went to Winchester center and I remembered my camera. Winchester has such pretty shops and store fronts. At the left corner of the beautiful brick building (second photo from the bottom) is Book Ends, my favorite bookstore. I received a giftcard for my birthday, so I bought The Vicar's Wife, by Katherine Swartz. It's just the kind of book I like, and I am really enjoying it. All winter I have struggled with being able to read, and I have sorely missed time spent with books.

Daughter no. two baked scrumptious s'mores bars this week AND some super yummy blueberry muffins. (Oddly, there are fresh blueberries at a good price available at the grocery store just now). Every recipe we have tried from Monique's site (Diva's Can Cook) has been outstanding.

This morning I went to church, and after Mass I barely made it to the car before I started sobbing. I think it was the music. It was sentimental and sad and depressing.  It affected me deeply and not in a positive or relgious way. I went for the Sacrament, but I got a lot of other stuff that I didn't want or need. It made me think about how individual churches shape people's experiences and thoughts about God. Hmm.

I want to tell you how very grateful I am that you have followed me to this new blog. I think I will always miss my old blog (the name of which I cannot mention because You-Know-Who might Google it and find me here). Thank you for taking the time to read my rambling thoughts and for leaving such warm, kind comments. It is my intention to reply to every one--although it may take me the whole week to do it.

Until next week. ♥