Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas is over

Christmas goes by so quickly each year. Each year it is the same and each year it is different. This year I didn't put the glass ornaments up because of the October earthquake and I do miss them. I also did not put up the creches--saving them for good and for another year. The tree is pretty and the focal point of my Christmas. There were presents there and I am grateful.

Some of the things that remain the same are the beautiful liturgy, the glorious Christmas chant and the carols which I love. After the bombardment of cheap commercial music on tv and the onslaught from the retailers it is a gift to turn to a local classical music station and listen to nothing but Christmas music for 36 hours. (Well, not while I am sleeping, of course.)

The day was so beautiful with a marvelous sunset at the end. Friends brought me a delicious dinner and their company which made it quite different, more peaceful and more celebratory that any of the other Christmas's since Papa died. I do miss him more at this time of the year.

Hopefully, I will have another Christmas or two in this house, but I am ready to go. If a retirement community or religious community would take me, I would welcome the change. More about that, I am sure will come into this blog as 2008 goes by.

Our baby is growing and looks totally darling in his green and red Christmas suit. My family grew by more than double this year, so that is a blessing to reflect upon on Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pie for Breakfast

Apple and Pumpkin. Friends have been feeding me and the days are getting away from me! Chinese food for dinner Monday and a very enjoyable and challenging conversation with my friend who is an economist. He makes me think and stretch my brain! Thank you!

Yesterday lunch with my nearest neighbor and dear friend who also brought me the pleasure of an amaryllis last year. It was red and white and well-photographed. It will appear soon on my cards here. This year she brought me one which is supposed to be pink and white. We will see.

Last night dinner and presents with my dearest girl friend G. We have known each other since before our hair turned gray and our joints arthritic! Thank you!

So yummy food has been a theme for the last few days!

As if all this were not enough fun, UPS delivered the Amazon package that I purchased with my families gift certificate. How did they accomplish this so fast? I had just received the email about the shipment and it was at the door! So glad for this.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

third Sunday of Advent

The third Sunday of Advent is also known as the "pink" Sunday because of its traditional rose-colored vestments. Today three candles are lighted on the Advent wreath, the third one is the pink candle. This change in color signals that our waiting is nearly over, that only one more Sunday of Advent is left and then our Christmas joy will be complete, our expectation and hope fulfilled as we commemorate anew the Birth of our Savior, Jesus at Bethlehem all those years ago.

My Christmas tree is up and I am feeling happy about the coming holiday even though it will be, as all of my holidays are, a simple one. As all of my days are, actually! I will try to write some Christmas cards this year, I think.

This year, in honor of my new resolve to attempt to diet, I am not baking the marvelous goodies of yore. (I was one of those people who made a list of all the cookies I was going to bake and then made the grocery list and went out and hauled home enough butter to feed the neighborhood for a year. One year this extravaganza included eighteen kinds of cookies. Some of the recipes would be doubled and I frequently ended the baking at 11:00 pm dropping into bed exhausted and dreaming of more. I only stopped doing this when for several years running we had infestations of ants in the walk-in closet pantry in our kitchen. A mouth full of ants instead of a mouth full of favorite cookie was not my idea of fun. Now all those cookies would truly be extravagant considering how we are all trying to keep our carb and fat consumption low.)

Eighteen kinds of Christmas cookies! It's hard to believe. But we did share them. They went to the church coffee hour and as presents to many people. There are a few that I do miss. A wonderful recipe from a vintage Gourmet for Viennese Marzipan Stars. I made the marzipan too from an old cookbook of my mother's. A delicate lemon and pistachio cookie from Italy. Springerle, made with my great-grandmother's springerle board. These have no fat, but a great many eggs. In the last few years I have made only two: gingerbread and cappuccino flats. Chocolate!

By the third Sunday in Advent the baking would have been in full swing. This year it is sufficient to reminisce and I hope pick up my old missal and absorb myself in the texts.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is today. My new room, the one that M painted last summer has three pale green walls to blend in with a beautiful poster of Our Lady of Guadalupe that is now mounted where it is a focal point not only for the room but for me as I walk down the hall. I remember reading the story when I was still a child; roses and a miraculous and splendidly beautiful painting. It is one of my favorites. When we moved to California, we became much more aware of the contributions of Mexican culture to our area. Many of our fellow parishioners were several genaration Mexican as we had been several generation French Canadian. They maintained cultural heritage and so our parish celebrated a Posada as part of the Christmas pageant and the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

A mariachi band processed down the street our church is on, turning into the parking lot just before the beginnings of early Mass (I think 6:30 am). After Mass a feast was held in the Parish Hall. My late father relished the story of how he accepted a steaming bowl of minudo and when he ate it rather gingerly his friend's then six year old son, said, "Daddy if the man does not want the minudo can I have it, please?"

Today M is flying home to California after her first semester of college and I am tracking her flight via the Internet. I won't know the precise moment that she and her Mama greet each other, but I will be close.

Now if Our Lady will help me to find the thing in my house which is lost, I will be much happier tomorrow for M and I will have a much easier time decorating my Christmas tree if I have it. (It is a small notebook with the inventory of Christmas boxes.)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

December 8, 2007

Yesterday was Pearl Harbor, "a day that will live in Infamy" as Franklin Roosevelt said. The commemorations were not so big as they were when I was growing up--there are not so many veterans now who remember Pearl or the war that followed. Other wars too, have crowded into our consciousness and sixty-six years is a long time.

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. One of the beautiful Marian Feasts in the Catholic Church calendar and appropriately timed in Advent, which I have always thought is Mary's season, the time of the year when the feminine finally, only briefly comes the fore in the Church's celebrations and recognition.

Today is a crisp, cold clear day where I live, dry after a two day rainy spell and somehow it feels more like winter than the late fall that, technically, it still is here in California. The rain brought snow to the mountains so that skiing is now possible. The winter snow pack is also important to our well-being in this state that is so dependent on water from the winter wet season.

More later, perhaps.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Happy St Nicholas Day!

December 6, The feast day of St. Nicholas. I love St. Nicholas, far more so than Santa Claus. When I was growing up we always had chocolate at our plates on the morning of St. Nicholas Day. It was a German custom that Mama had grown up with since her German grandparents lived close by. She loved Christmas, the sparkling sweet pungent smelling tree with its glistening ropes that had been her mother's and all of the ornaments that she could collect. Mama began Christmas baking in October (shelling nuts) and November, baking fruit cake and making a confection known as brandy balls that didn't have to be baked at all. She played the piano and we would gather around it each evening after dinner to sing carols.

The creches are especially beautiful and I have photographed both of mine and put the pictures on cafepress on products. You can find them on the link to the left. Click on the Christmas link and the designs will open up.

No chocolate for me today as I discovered that most of the chocolate products I was consuming contain soy lecithin and soy is a no-no for the thyroid medicine that I take. I am almost at the point were I no longer miss chocolate. Almost.

Tomorrow is Pearl Harbor Day and then the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. A full week.

It has been a full week for me too as I got my goods ready to go to market in a friend's Christmas bazaar. I will know tomorrow how it succeeded. I have been on pins and needles all day. What if no one bought anything? Everything was so pretty! I loved it all and want it to go out into the world to gladden hearts and help make people's Christmas's pretty and joyful! I hope that it went well.

A joyous St. Nicholas day! I hope that he left goodies and treats--not coal in your shoe or stocking.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Winter is here!

Technically, winter may still be three weeks away but we are having a blast of cold Canadian air this weekend to remind us that weather is not under our control and even in Silicon valley is not always perfect! Very, very glad I don't live in Canada--or anywhere really cold. It is supposed to become cloudy tonight and therefore warmer.

Since it seems that wherever I set the thermostat, the furnace is going to run, I have set it back a bit and found my great outdoor vest to zip on. This is a garment made from polar fleece and wool. I have never seen another made from this mix--and would like more.

Even inside, a hat helps warm me and I wear knitted caps all winter long both day and night. (Remember, "Mama in her kerchief and I in my cap" from the Night before Christmas? There was a reason for that!)

Two pairs of socks help insulate my feet from the cold floor. A footstool or old pillow would help here. Our ancestors opted for the footstool. Most of the time I elevate my feet on another chair so they are level with my wheelchair seat. This counteracts the swelling from post-polio syndrome and lymphedema that I need to combat all year round and makes it easy to wrap up in a fleece throw.

Fingerless gloves help too. In fact, last year about this time I posted my directions for making fingerless gloves, also called wristers, on my Knitting soothes my troubles away Squidoo lens. Wristers make great Christmas presents, if you knit and they knit up very quickly. Some of my favorite yarn sources are posted on that lens too.

Even indoors, I wear a scarf or neck warmer all winter too. Neck warmers are also very easy to knit--just knit a tube. They are essentially the neck of a turtleneck, nothing more and ultra simple.

Last night I let my knitting fall to the tray table I set up across my lap and just enjoyed the Hallmark movie A Grandpa for Christmas. It was charming. I went to bed comforted and warm for a "long winter's nap".

Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent. It is one of the most beautiful times of the year in the Liturgy and, I think, the one season that the feminine most comes to the fore. It is such a shame that it gets lost in the shuffle of the commercial bustle. We need to reclaim it. (Wear a button proclaiming I keep Advent from my cafepress store--shameless promotion here--and join me in reclaiming this lovely season.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cold and crisp

I think fall is definitely turning into winter. It is decidedly cold in the mornings and this old body doesn't want to rise and shine!

The dryer repair man came and determined nothing wrong with the new dryer. One circuit breaker had popped, giving the dryer less voltage to work on. It is now running with the smallest load I could set up in it--hand towels. I'm betting it has popped the breaker again and will not dry the towels. Next call--the electrician. Oh, and the dryer vent cleaner cleaned the vent yesterday--guess what, it didn't need cleaning!

The hand towels can be strung out above the washer and dryer, if they come out wet. Clothes and sheets cannot. It is at moments like this that I find it difficult to find my blessings and be grateful. Life with a disability is not easy. That's an understatement. Yes, it certainly is. More assistive technology would be a blessing. Fewer restrictions on earnings for the disabled who, because of the nature of our health care payment system must rely on Social Security benefits, would also be a blessing, and in fact are a necessity.

Why can disabled persons who are blind have a substantial gainful activity level of $1500 per month while the "non-blind" can only earn $950 before losing benefits? Why is this income level not calculated as after tax rather than before tax? Wouldn't it make infinitely more sense to simply allow disabled people to work up to 22 hours per week, keep their benefits and be paid what is usual and customary for whatever type of work they are doing?

Wouldn't it also make marvelous sense to train people at their real skill level, recognize and encourage work-at-home possibilities (that are real and not scams) and help people find them? Many of the able-bodied "telecommute". Why shouldn't I? In a sense I am doing so right now, writing this blog post, shopping for supplies for my small business, tending cafepress/ and my Squidoo lenses.

In addition to three degrees from "world-class" or "first tier" universities I also have a myriad level of computer skills, design skills adn people skills that are underutilized. I need mentoring and networking and this should be part of vocational rehabilitation.

If there is any candidate for president who wants to take up the needs of the disabled, I will vote and campaign for that person (provided the rest of what he or she advocates isn't too far from what I too, believe). So far I don't see or hear anything that suggests the issue is even on the political radar. Disabled people vote. Our family members vote. Our caregivers and helpers vote. Even our neighbors and friends vote. That is a lot of people, a lot of votes.

I hadn't meant to be political today, but here it is. I think I may have said it before. I will say it again, I am sure.

The sun shines in and that is a blessing. The dryer is heating and that too is a blessing. Now I can do laundry again. (If the washing machine will just hold up!) Praise and thank God!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday again

Thanksgiving can't be over so soon! How did this happen? It was, of course, a week early this year. Still it does seem to have gone by too quickly.

I am still reinventing my desktop computer. It came back to me with no anti-virus or free firewall or free anti-spyware software. Hard to believe! Probably they just got tired of it. Still it makes for more work for me... Reinventing the dsl is also turning out to be a pain, but hopefully perseverance will pay off. I am learning more than I ever wanted to know about how the computer works! Not the first time. If only I had known to set a restore point before fooling with the software a few Saturdays ago, I would not be missing the controller for the cd-dvd drive on the laptop. Life would be so much easier! Why can't I make it easier?

I do seem to have a propensity for making things more difficult for myself. It would be good, now that I am officially old, to overcome this. Serious work ahead!

As I watched the news this weekend, I was struck by the incredible waste of energy poured into "Black Friday". Is it really necessary to have everything open, running full steam, lights blazing in the middle of the night in order to have good economic forecasts? We are a nation concerned about global warning. Or are we? The energy blitz of the this shopping frenzy certainly didn't show it. Gasoline is more expensive than ever, so there were people with their headlines on (of course, it was the middle of the night after all) circling the parking lots looking for a space, while helicopters flew overhead documenting it all for the news programs.

The same news programs showed the gridlock on Wednesday of people fleeing the Bay Area to drive somewhere else for Thanksgiving. (These were the people who weren't, presumably, going to shop on Friday. Maybe they shopped elsewhere and brought their bargains back with them, weighing down their vehicles and getting even poorer mileage.) More people than ever flew somewhere for Thanksgiving. Wouldn't it have been more sensible to give thanks in place? Wouldn't the Turkey and the trimmings taste just as good without all the travel?

We are almost six years into a war that most of us do not support, but that is costing us every day. At some point we do have to pay for it. Some effort to truly conserve energy would help a great deal, I think. If everyone would drive less it might show up in the demand at the pump and prices, if they didn't fall, would at least hold steady for a bit. We are paying more for everything that has to be transported, probably even the presents so eagerly purchased last week. We need a national time of reflection on more of this, but instead we are going to have a national spending frenzy to try to bolster a weak economy and stave off recession. In addition, we will have election primaries held too early, so that none of the real reflection and debate will occur--just the cosmetic, surface stuff of the elections as usual.

Well, that is enough rant for one day! Time for another cup of coffee!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


The day is beautiful and bright although a bit chilly. Still it is a gift in itself.
A friend brought a pie and it is baked and smelled wonderful. My dinner will be festal even though eaten alone.

Even though it has gotten notably chillier, roses still bloom on my front deck. I am going to peer out one last time before the sun goes down.

Moving a knitting project to a much longer (much needed longer) needle has allowed me to see how big this thing is. A garter stitch shawl of hand-dyed wool, it is beautiful and much easier to work on with the longer needle. I am grateful that I have a goodly collection of needles to play with and choose from for my projects.

I am thankful this day and wrote, "Give Thanks" at the top of my to do list for the day. Next, came "Praise God". Those should be at the top everyday.

One of the things that I am not grateful for is the constant steady flow of big, loud commercials for idiotically early day after Thanksgiving specials. 3:00 am, 4:00 am and 5:00 am are touted as the times for the sales to begin. Ruin Thanksgiving! This is absurd! I think a national boycott is called for. No one should start shopping until Saturday. And none of the "special sale" stuff if it is really junky.

There, that is out of my system. I will go back to watching EWTN as I work on a card project. It isn't nearly as loud, isn't obnoxious and doesn't have any of those icky, repulsive commercials.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giving Thanks

On this day before Thanksgiving I am reflecting on my blessings. Today is a cold day, colder than the preceding ones with a touch of winter in the air and in the chill from the floor under my feet.

I am grateful for

The furnace which is doing its best to warm my house.

Wool socks. A trick I learned from a friend the first year that I was a graduate student in Chicago ("and the weather today is cold, 10 degrees colder by the lake"). Wear two pairs of socks. Make sure that at least one of them is wool. It is better if they both are wool. This makes a difference inside too, especially if you are sedentary. A hat helps too, so I wear a knitted hat indoors even when I am sleeping. The goal is not only to spend less on heat, but to leave a smaller footprint on the earth. It really does make a difference, for I can set the thermostat two degrees lower than I would need to otherwise.

Space heaters. They help heat one room at a time so that I don't have to heat the whole house for just me as I move through the day from room to room.

Back yard garbage service. A service of my local garbage company. They come in, take out the cans, and bring them back in empty. A service for disabled and elderly people. My doctor was only too happy to write the note signing me up for this service. As I write this, I hear them outside coming and going for today is our recycle day as well.

My friend who brought Thanksgiving dinner early as lunch yesterday. Yummy food and beautiful fellowship. Thank you, F.

The eggnog, which I actually kept in the fridge since last Friday. That is also something to be thankful for. That I didn't just slurp it up over the weekend and have nothing left with which to celebrate! Gratitude for patience maybe?

The companies that deliver packages as I anticipate more goodies for my small business. Some should come today.

Computer technology! I am not a geek, but the number of hours I spend on this thing is amazing.
How many more things will I think of before tomorrow? I will try to keep track and post more.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Next Day

After spending last week reinventing the home business as sweatshop I held an open house yesterday. A neighbor who is a superb baker, and her two sons and one of their friends made this fun and a success by setting up a cookie and cider sale in my driveway. They do this from time to time at their own house which is on a busier street. The idea was to drive traffic to my house through their cookie sale. My friend makes the most wonderful pumpkin muffins I have ever eaten and the best snickerdoodles too.

Getting ready reminded me of all the times Papa and I had done this years earlier with another small business that I had. Without his help, I don't do it as well. He would have enjoyed this, I think and I missed him a good deal while I did the preparations. Still he was my greatest rooter-booster and I can feel him cheering me on. Even though I have never really had a success in my life (except academically), not long before he died, Papa told me that he was proud of me for trying.

So I will keep trying. Never give up. My goodies are nearly ready for the next time too! The prints from Adorama have made up nicely into cards. The Peace design that I love so much is beautiful with the colors around it. At the last minute on Saturday, I even managed to sew the Peace flags I had printed several weeks ago that sat patiently by the sewing machine waiting for me to come back to them. Miraculously, I managed to only sew one of them back to front. The ripper awaits. One was also printed on the paper backing side instead of the fabric side. Sigh. It sits near the printer waiting to be re-run.

My to-do list looks like a re-do list. A new variation on to-do lists! Sewing is fairly forgiving--usually one can fix a mistake. Knitting is very forgiving as it allows one to "unknit" what is wrong. I like knitting better, since it doesn't involve a machine. Sometimes one cannot escape the machine and I will have another date with the sewing machine for a "re-do" afternoon soon.

The knitting progresses too. One very large ball of yarn has transformed itself patiently into one moderately large shawl and a number of "fluff ball" scarves await Christmas distribution. The days are shortening, but are filled, so that when the shortest day passes it will be only a short while until Christmas and then the days will lengthen again. That is the part I look forward to.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Re-inventing the sweatshop, err I mean home business has kept me almost too busy this week. The cards are so pretty, the buttons are too and I even had a truce with my sewing machine long enough to sew four peace flags. Pretty, delicate things that are printed on fabric that runs through the printer. The back is then peeled away. I will use the backing paper for templates for other projects, so that it doesn't go immediately into the landfill.

My dear friend M emailed me today with this link

It is an excellent piece. How many times have I not been seen because I was not at eye level? How many times has some helpful person insisted on pushing and I have almost gotten my feet caught under the chair because they weren't paying attention to when I needed to stop? (I don't use the feet plates.) How many times have I been totally ignored and excluded from conversations that I would love to be a part of so that staying at home is less painful than going out somewhere and trying to be social? Too many!

Never mind. The sun is shining and won't be for long. The sweatshop is calling. Tomorrow I will set up a boutique and I do hope a few folks come.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Peace Cards, Remembrance

Making cards is tedious, but also pleasant work. The tedium stems from the repetition. The pleaseure from sitting in a sunny space enjoying the day. I am reminded of the admonition of my childhood to "offer it up". Good advicie that turns the most mundane and repetitious tasks to grace. One can offer it just generally, or one can offer it for a specific intention. Peace would be a good intention.

The prints came from Adorama so quickly that I almost wasn't able to obtain paper as swiftly. Fortunately, that problem was solved by a dear friend who made the paper store run. Now that I know what color I am using I can re-order from the net if no one is available to go to the store. Life sometimes does get complicated!

As soon as I figure out how to accept money through PayPal I will begin selling the cards here through this blog. There are Christmas designs and many flowers as well. (I think that I have never met a flower that I didn't think deserved to have its picture taken. We have also been the same way about Christmas trees.)

So back to work and trying to turn the work into a prayer. It was a good childhood, and it is good to remember what my parents taught me, especially in this month of remembrance.

Monday, November 12, 2007

November Remembrance

November is the month of remembrance. All Saints, the very first day of the month begins the sequence of remembrance. The next day, All Souls, continues this cycle, as we remember those who have gone before us but are not named in the Canonized Saints list. I like to think of my family as my private saints--when I ask for them to pray not too many other people are asking at the same time, so my needs are heard immediately. Shortly after my mother died, I discovered that she, who had been a lifetime devotee of St. Anthony, was a great person to ask to help me find things. I reasoned that most of the things I was looking for where here in her house, so who better to know where they were? I think Papa was a bit shocked at first, but he joined in--now he gets some of the same prayers. This is a strong connection for me, since I believe in the after-life and believe and hope that these good people whom I still love and miss, and who loved me, are truly in heaven. It is comforting to turn to them.

At the same time, I send there names to the Church to be remembered on the Altar for the month of November. Prayers should be acknowledged by prayers, I think.

For me there is a cycle to grief that ends with remembrance. Remembrance is a work of our hearts and souls that continues after grieving (which is organic and unavoidable) and mourning (which is a great psychological and spiritual work of our lives) have finished their cycles. Remembrance remains and it is our work too for it helps us stay grounded in the values of our lives, connected to those who taught us and who gave us those values and lives, as well as allowing their names, their faces, and their stories to continue.

I do this gladly for my family now and hope that someday they will do it for me.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day

Veteran's Day is a day of remembrance. I think first of my father who served in the Navy in World War II. His picture, in his uniform, is on the buffet across sthe room from me as I type this. A handsome young man. I can look at pictures that he took of me when I was approximately the same age and see the resemblance. I remember him, his service and his devotion and miss him today. I think next of my Grandpa, Papa's father, who served in the Army in World War I and fortunately was not shipped out. He spent his time in Newport News Virginia where he was joined by his wife, Marguerite, and where my father was born in 1920. I found Grandpa's record in the genealogy files online some years ago when I was doing research and the internet was so new to me. Marguerite's little brother, Gordon, who looks out of another family picture as a small boy in knee pants and Little Lord Fauntleroy curls, did see duty in the trenches in France and family memory says he was injured by mustard gas. His record, that I found online, did not mention that. But a letter Marguerite wrote to her sister Cecelia, which I am fortunate enough to have, inquires about him and mentions "terrible injuries". Before them, two generations farther back, Grandpa had a grand uncle who served in a Michigan Cavalry unit in the Civil War. He died comparatively young, in his early forties of lung problems and tuberculosis. He was on Sherman's march to the sea. His name was Frederick, too, like my father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

We are not a military family, but I am proud of thesew men, good Catholics, fathers, ordinary people full of kindness who served their country when she called and doubtlessly carried the shadows with them for the rest of their lives. Would we could do away with war, that the price of freedom was not so high. Simply today I give thanks, and I remember. Thank you, Papa, Grandpa and great-grand uncle Frederick.

My thanks as well to my friends who madee their careers in the military, not a popular thing to do. I have respect and gratitude to you; you know who you are.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tempus Fugit, again

Here I sit on Saturday afternoon and discover that the last time I blogged was three days ago! Well, it has been a little busy around here for the last two days.

Thursday my first print order came. These people are good and are they fast! The next day the second batch arrived. I now have about 450 prints that I will turn into cards to sell to anyone who wants one. I am folding white Astroparche as fast as I can to glue them unto. They will be very pretty; I am very pleased and will package them so that they look professional as well. Lot's of work for these tired old arthritic and polio bones and muscles, but I would rather try than give up.

Cards were one item that I could not find when I first began shopping on the internet a number of years ago. I hope that I can find a niche. Everyone, please buy my cards! St. Joseph, please send me customers.

According to my email someone bought an item at my CafePress shop today. Hurray! These notices make my day and gladden my heart. Thank you to whomever you are who bought a St. Therese throw pillow today.

Another thing happened today that was exciting and filled my heart with gratitude--a new dryer was delivered to replace the old one that broke and could not be repaired. I can have clean sheets and clothes again. This came as the result of the kindness of my church. Otherwise, I would be doing without for a bit longer.

So I have much to be grateful for this eve of Sunday and will try to get some work done tonight.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Yesterday and today I waited. While I waited I knitted. Somewhere along the way I made a major mistake. Over the next few days I will "unknit". Not as much fun as knitting, but the yarn is pretty. That will make the reknitting less tedious. At time I thought about starting a knitting business. I found that I could not knit fast enough and kept losing the scraps of notes that I took to turn into a pattern. No patterns emerged, except the patterns about myself that I learned from knitting--and other projects. Some of the current projects may go up on Etsy.

Part of the waiting consists in tracking packages through UPS. This is almost as much fun as ordering the packages or their actual arrival. I can track the packages I send too, one is on its way to my sister and I will know exactly when it arrives. This is fun, but probably not the most powerful thing the Internet is capable of giving us.

Yesterday while I waited for the UPS driver to collect the package I was shipping, I knitted and watched Oprah. The You Tube inventors were on. I haven't thought of using You Tube. (Somehow videos of me waiting and knitting don't seem like they would draw much of an audience.) Still it is rather interesting to play around with. Could I promote my Peace design with You Tube? More to think about.

It was a long day yesterday for another reason and that is that I had seen a blurb on Hallmark that they were going to show Pollyanna on Tuesday. I thought this would be two hours. It was three. Way past my bedtime! Still, it was a charming and sweet as I remember; the performances were quite good and it was stylized in a way that is so different from today's movies.s I remember when this movie first came out and that I went to the library in what was then my new hometown (we had just moved here) to find the book. It turned out to be a series, if my memory serves and it was long out of print already in 1960. Although it has not been a conscious expectation on my part, I have waited for a long time to see it again.

Tomorrow is another day and hopefully I will have more to say. Goodnight and God bless.

Monday, November 5, 2007

November and it is Going By Too Fast!

November 5 already! Whew, the time really is flying by. The leaves have turned. I love the golden and red light of autumn, the pumpkins and other squashes and the turning in. At the same time, because I live in California, I have the pleasure of going outside and watching the birds who still forage in my yard. Yesterday I watched while the hummingbird came bey and fed all around the big pineapple sage that grows on my porch. Just two years ago that was two cuttings from the bush in the back that we were not even sure would survive over the window. (It scan now be seen easily from the kitchen window.) M's kind care has made my plants grow and L continues the tradition for me.

My biggest project over this weekend was to copy files from the "big guy" or desk top computer to the laptop and then upload the images to AdoramaPix for printing. I happily await the email that says my prints are on the way. These will be made into cards for sale through this blog, I hope on Etsy--if I ever, ever get that up and running and through little boutiques at my house. So if you need cards--peace, flowers, Christmas, please keep checking back.

It is fun to review the photos and designs that I have made over the last two years. Papa shared his considerable knowledge and interest in photography with me all those years ago when I was growing up. A Mark IV little box camera was my first ever camera, followed by a beautiful Retina (used adn reconditioned, my graduation present from High School), followed by a Kodak Instamatic because the Retina had jammed and we couldn't get it repaired. Finally, nearly three years ago I invested in a beautiful digital camera and will write more about it later.

Backing up the files from a digital camera is one step in good disaster preparedness, as I believe that I have written in posts regarding my computer crash. Computers are subject to their own topical disasters as well as the natural disasters that can befall everything else.

Since November is the month of remembrance and one turns to looking at photo albums as one remembers and reminisces, I think it is also a good time to think about how to share and back-up family photos.

Some, a great many, in fact have been scanned and can be shared either on CD's or through file-sharing sites. I will be exploring what Adorama offers in this regard as well as other options and will report back.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Disaster Preparedness, 3

And then the earth shook! Just after I inserted my flower Tuessday night a 5.6 earthquake rocked our area. Not at the epicenter--for which I am thankful--nonetheless it felt real and reminiscent of Loma Prieta. Earthquakes are scary and unexpected, harder to plan for than hurricanes, harder to prevent than firestorms.

They remind us that we are not in charge. God holds us in His hands. I am particularly aware of this, since the thing that I fear most about an earthquake is walking around on my crutches as I do every day. Whil.e most people see me as being in a wheelchair, the fact is that I frequently stand up and move on my crutches through my hosue. I could not care for myself if I did not. I am no longer confident ehought to simply walk around the house for exercise though, because I am so scared of being knocked off my feet by a quake.

What is merely conversation material for most people could be a serious disaster for me. While I check the check-lists of preparedness for the "big one" I need to remind friends that even a small one could land me in the hospital, or worse, nursing home. Check on me, please. I value independent living, but am not so independent that I don't need you.

So the checklist for a disabled person has got to include a support system that will designate someone who calls, and who then stops over if there is no answer. Someone has to have an emergency key too, to be able to enter to offer help. These things are never included in the standard checklists.

Perhaps a checklist for independent living would be a useful addendum in emergency preparedness kits and sites. There are many things that neighbors can do--but they need to be alerted and educated in order to do so. Only one friend called on Tuesday night to ask if I was all right. Another called the next day and then she said, "I should have called sooner." Look around you and see who in your neighborhood is a fragile, elderly or disabled person who might need a check-in after an earthquake, even a little one. Be there for that person.

Adopt a neighbor so that if you were to be turning off your own gas and electricity you would help that neighbor at the same time. Little things matter. Establish a relationship of kindness by bringing in the garbage can that has been left out, picking up the junk litter of free fliers and newsletters, mowing the grass or raking the leaves (especially if they are falling from your own tree). Then when the disaster strikes your neighbor will be comfortable with your offer of aid and you will remember to help. Who knows you may save life. Even more importantly, you may make a friend.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nearly Last Rose

Sunday I cut down what I think will be the last rose from this bush for this year. It may surprise me and bloom again for Christmas, but I don't expect it too. It was over six feet high, so I had to cut low and then whack the stem in half, no small task. It was covered with very large, very sharp thorns, which didn't quite defend it from me and didn't defend it from powdery mildew either. It is probably time to consider spraying them all again. The small yellow bush has a cluster of perfect sweet flowers, and the other two have a few. These roses have been such a blessing to me, growing as they do in their containers on my porch steps, where I can enjoy them so much.

Here is the picture that I took of the rose today. It is so large. I think it is Mr. Lincoln. It is also incredibly fragrant, but there is no way to share this over the internet.

The rose is so beautiful and inserting the picture has made me so happy (that after crowing quite loudly) I have decided that is my accomplisment for today and I will now raid the Halloween candy and go to bed! Happy day before Halloween.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Getting Started

I am off to a slow start this week. Which project shall it be? Self-employment can become unemployment all too quickly if one does not have a combination of organization and discipline. Routine helps too. Last night, I did not make my customary to-do list. Thought I could do it in the morning. That doesn't work as well as doing it at night. I sleep better and get off to a quicker start if the piece of paper is there with the tasks ready to be ticked off.

Today's list includes email which is done and this blog and then taking pictures. I have a totally magnificent rose that grew and grew and grew. At about 6'3" it stopped and put forth a bud which bloomed quite quickly. It is red, fluffy, large and fragrant and deserves to have its picture taken. A cluster of yellow roses is blooming on the porch steps (which have become a resting stop for planters, since I can't use the steps.) The chrysanthemum that must be six years old by now is blooming, too. My garden, even though it is mostly in containers amazes me.

Watching the cycle of the plants growing is a better reminder of the cycle of the seasons than any calendar alone can be. They have a certain inherent humility as well that inspires me and also draws my affection to them. The color show makes me wonder how God did this--how do the plants know that they are to be these colors? What delight, creativity and even whimsy the Creator displayed in making them all! Even more so in making us! Just as the plants diversity completes the garden, so too our diversity completes the communities we share.

Well, it is time to go take that rose picture. Peace to everyone today.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Saturday Fun

When I was growing up (in the house that I still live in) Fall Saturdays where devoted to yard work, garage chores and later baking as the holidays drew near. Today I combined all three with nostalgia and the help of a friend. The baking came first--I made brownies as cupcakes from a mix to decorate tomorrow with Halloween decorations given to me by a friend last weekend. Then, as I settled down to wait on hold for Big Ugly Cable Company to not answer the phone, a friend arrived and began whacking bushes. While I waited she whacked and filled my large yard toter for recycle. I did nothing but wait. Disgusted with BUCC and not wanting to miss the opportunity to visit with my friend, I hung up the phone, grabbed the garage key and wheeled outside. There was something I wanted from the garage, which I cannot enter so I wanted to make the most of the chance to ask for help. My friend obliged. I did not have what I wanted but she began to eye various piles and heaved objects around and eyed certain shelves. As she held things up for me to view, she said things like, "Do you want this?" "I can make it disappear." (She is an expert recyclers and drives a mini-van.) The upshot? A much tidier quadrant of my garage and many things on their way to the recycle. Just like old times--baking, yard and garage. I was reminded of my father as we sorted. He had saved scrap-metal intending to recycle it. Now it will go where it can be reused. he also saved spark plugs. There appears to be no way to recycle them. Sigh. If my sister and I had known about his cache, we would have buried one with him--or maybe a handful. That makes me wonder what future archaeologists several centuries hence would think finding spark plugs where someone had been buried. Maybe I should try to make a short story out of it. It was a fun day and I am grateful, as I always am for the friendship of this strong, smart woman. (She even found a tool that she could not identify. I didn't think such a thing existed on the face of the earth.) May she live long and prosper!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Disaster Preparedness, 2

Monday's post brought a very thoughtful comment from Rev Terrie Modesto, PhD, which I invite you to read. She suggests that we consider disaster preparedness as part of stewardship. This is a wonderful way to link our practical and spiritual lives.

I have continued to follow the news on the Southern California fires and am relieved to see that the weather is supposed to moderate. Still, I can't help but wonder what could have been done to care for the land in a better way that would reflect our stewardship and be preventative of quite so much destruction. Being willing to spend money to prevent catastrophe is part of stewardship too and this has been an issue in California, perhaps for decades. If we are willing to vote for the tax money necessary to pay the people who would keep our forests thinned (and willing to follow those policies)as well as for the equipment and personnel for firefighting, could the blazes have been contained more quickly? If our National Guard were not spread so thin would this have made a difference?

A little over two years ago as I watched the scenes coming from New Orleans, I thought that we need a national sales tax to fund disaster relief. I still think that would be a good idea. At the time I thought of the fund in terms of providing relief, rebuilding and premium reduction for insurers by taking some of the burden off of them and spreading it more widely. The last would make insurance more affordable to many who do not have it. In addition, now I see that such a fund could also help to pay for prevention--levees in flood prone areas, brush clearance and so forth in fire prone areas. Most people won't agree with this, but I put it forth and will try in the near future to blog about taxation--and how we spend our tax money as an extension of our stewardship.

Ultimately, preparedness and some types of prevention are up to us. To the extent that disasters are caused or exacerbated by human agency, so too they can be prevented and mitigated by our choices and our actions. Those are pretty powerful ideas, I think for they enable us to be stewards, to be strong, to build together.

Even though I don't see my blog as primarily political, I guess some politics are unavoidable, for I do not live in vacuum.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday again. Disaster preparedness

How can the time be going by so fast? I know, I know, it's creeping old age. The fall weather has become warm and brought firestorms to southern California. This is always so sad to see. If I had not flipped channels to the news last night at 10pm, but simply gone directly to bed, I wouldn't have seen anything about it until this morning.

How does the news influence our lives? Do most people have it on as a constant backdrop? I don't, but I rarely miss checking it once a day either on television or on the internet. Does it really help me to know and does it help the people to whom it is happening that I know? I sit here and ponder these questions and wonder further if the quesions themselves have any use. Sometimes the outpouring of charity after a disaster, especially a spectacular disaster, does help, of course. That outpouring would not occur if it were not for the news. Still, I wonder. The does the news make us voyeurs in other people's tragedy and sorrow?

How does this relate to a Christian life, a spiritual or contemplative life? On the one hand, I think it moves us to compassion for those in the news and to pray for them as though they were members of our families. It also moves us to send aid.

On another level, it may also remind us to take care and make our own preparations. Is the house and content insurance adequate for the area where I live? Do I have important and necessary documents, house title or mortgage, insurance policies, bank and credit account information stored in a safe place? Are business documents backed up and stored? What about family pictures? Pictures can be stored online and are much easier to share this way. Pictures that constitute a household inventory and a memory album of family treasures and heirlooms can be stored this way too.

Well, I didn't start out to write this, but this is what came out today. I hope it will be useful and I pray for the firefighters and people in southern California.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday, October 21

The sun shines brilliantly, though coldly into my house this morning and the furnace runs. Winter is definitely not far off. Pumpkins sit in my hallway thanks to the kindness of a neighbor who brought them from the High School fundraiser. I am blessed indeed by neighbors and friends and the sense of belonging to a community, even though much of it is virtual.

The readings for today can be found at
  • . I confess that I am not feeling inspired today by these readings. What would I do i f I had to preach on them? I think that I will simply be grateful that I do not.

    Today is the Lord's day, nonetheless. It is a beautiful day and therefore easy to give thanks and praise. I am praying too, for the recovery of a friend who is in hospital, for safety for travelers and for prosperity for those who are poor. May peace reign in our hearts and homes this Sunday and carry forth into our work week.

    Today is a good day to cook and knit and perhaps to sew, to spend a bit less time, perhaps in the pursuit of computerly things for even though I am housebound, I am determined to try to set Sunday apart and spend it somewhat differently from the other six days of the week, which do tend to merge together as one great long day punctuated by the daily necessities.

    If I were to work at it a bit more, every day could be prayerful for I have the gift of solitude in a neighborhood that is essentially quiet. Probably not quite as quiet as Thomas Merton's famous hermitage, and no Abbot to report to, but certainly opportunity abounds in my life for more thought and prayer. Abound. That is interesting for I have been thinking of abundance recently in the context of a conversation with someone who had obviously tuned into the modern concepts of the abundant life--making your dream come true, making abundance come to you--in monetary terms. While I certainly think that prosperity is blessing and it is one that I need a bit more of, there are other forms of abundance. Love, faith, kindness, friendship all come to me in abundance, in spite of my solitude. For these I give thanks and for setting Sunday apart from the other days.

    Let's be grateful for the Lord's day and make it a day of peace and rejoicing.

    Saturday, October 20, 2007

    Morning Magic

    This morning I walked into the dining room just as the hummingbird was visiting her natural feeder, the pineapple sage outside my kitchen window. By the time I turned around, sat in the wheelchair and parked my crutches, I was sure she would be gone so I just stood transfixed. This is a terrific way to start the day.

    Yesterday, my friend who came for lunch, found my favorite Bob's Red Mill Buckwheat Pancake Mix at our favorite grocery store, so now I don't have to order online. Flour is heavy and costly to ship. Buckwheat pancakes with yogurt cheese are really yummy for breakfast on a cold morning, though. So anticipation is high.

    Yesterday, I checked my email late in the afternoon and found two Cafe Press order notices. This makes three for one week! It's almost Christmas. Someone ordered a Gratitude sticker earlier in the week, which reminds me that I need to go back to Stickerpedia and put some more designs up. Then someone ordered four totes, an infant creeper and a mouse pad! Woo hoo! Someone else ordered a St. Lucy teddy bear. I was so happy. I am so grateful. What a delight! Thank you, thank you folks. It's a great weekend.

    My friend who whacks bushes is coming later, so it will be a full day, too. Right now the Fall light is shining red into my window, because the Pyracantha are so heavily laden with berries that they are determining the color of the light.

    Blessings to everyone! I feel like singing the praising Psalms today.

    Friday, October 19, 2007


    This week really has flown by so quickly! I hope to make Peace flags this weekend. They start with a piece of special cloth that is fused to a paper backing and designed to go through the ink jet printer. My ink jet printer is somewhat old, an Epson Photo Stylus 750, bought for its beautiful color technology and cherished for nearly eight years now. The first time I put the organza through the printer, I held my breath. Would this really work, or would it destroy the printer? The results were so beautiful I nearly cried. The ink is not permanent or water proof, however, so these flags will not last if displayed outdoors. This makes them perfect as prayer flags, though, since the idea is that the fabric should disintegrate, blow on the wind and become one with it. The word peace can disseminate, in many languages, all over the world. I love this idea and must remember to ask my sister if hers--the very first one has disintegrated yet. The next three that I make are destined for presents (well one is for me) and then I will begin to sell them. Look for me on Etsy, soon.

    Today it is trying to rain, but not succeeding yet. Then, according to the weather forecast, we should be getting some summer like weather for a spell. The long-term forecast for the next three months is for warmer than usual weather. This will be welcome. They are also forecasting rain. This too will be so welcome.

    Knitting progresses with long fluffy scarves of vibrant shiny yarn that works up quickly. With Halloween only two weeks away, Fall is flying fast. I love November, the month to remember, as it begins with All Saints and All Souls, progresses to Veteran's Day and ends with Thanksgiving. More about this as the time comes. Then, before we know it will be Christmas! The cycle ends and begins all over again.

    It is a lovely time of year. Time to make Peace flags and give thanks and make Peace.

    Thursday, October 18, 2007

    New Peace Button

    Cafe Press has launched 3.5" buttons on its site. My Peace design is now available along with the gratitude design and I Keep Advent. As I write this morning I am looking at a Peace flag I printed on cloth through my ink jet printer yesterday morning and I am happy. This is so cool! To print on cloth as well as a large variety of papers. While I ate breakfast, I pondered the design trying to remember all the languages. I can remember most of the languages. Spanish, Italian, Afrikaans (in honor of a dear family friend who nagged me and then recommended me to Stanford), Vietnamese for another friend, whose kindness, patience and wisdom inspires me. Tagalog in honor of my friend who brings me communion, Hebrew and Arabic. Russian is there, as well as Hungarian, Welsh and Icelandic. I will have to look them up though, to remember which is which. It is a long time since I fist started to work on this design.

    Yesterday I began to use my new nutrition software and see it as a tool that should help me. For the first time in a long time I did actually measure the fat I used to saute the mushrooms. Lo and behold, they would have sauteed with less. So next time, less is more. The simple leg lifts that I can do from my wheelchair are proceeding. Up from three reps once a day to five reps three times a day. Long way to go still, but something is better than nothing and movement is one way to combat SAD, which will come as daylight savings time ends.

    The week is almost over, Halloween is just around the corner, and there are so many projects calling my name! Maybe they were what kept me awake last night! In just this week I have knitted two long fluff scarves from Crystal Palace Splash, an eyelash yarn that is soft and shiny, great fun to work with. A third is well started.

    Pray for Peace.

    Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    Garbage Day

    Garbage day is tomorrow, so today is the day that everything is sorted. Life was easier when I was a child. Packaging was simpler and didn't have to be sorted into recyclable categories. Now preparing the garbage is a major task. The paper is recycled. Do the egg cartons count? The milk cartons do not count because they have had food in them. What to do with the new kind of packing peanuts that are made out of cornstarch and supposedly dissolve in water? I really don't want to make a mess or clog the drain. I suppose I could try holding one in my hand under the faucet to see if it really does dissolve, but that seems like such a waste of water. So they will be saved to be reused in packages going out. The cardboard boxes can go with the the paper.

    The upside of all this sorting is that the front hall will be neater, more like the entryway it was designed to be and less like my great storage area for things moving on. It was easier and neater when it could all just be thrown away. But I have developed the same conscious that everyone else has about recycling. Now if we could re-develop a national conscious about some other things as well!

    It is trying to rain today and that is a gift for we need the water, but it is ten degrees colder than the average for this time of year, which means that we will not be conserving energy as much as usual. Instead of sunlight pouring ion my windows while I type, I am relying on the overhead lamp. True it is pulled low and turned on to its lowest setting--which also has a compact fluorescent in it. Nonetheless, it is using electricity. So, of course, is the lap-top. Solar powered computers anyone? Hey, that's not a bad idea--maybe for those of us who can't afford solar panels, we could have solar gadgets and appliances. We already have solar powered calculators, why not lights and computers and even clothes dryers? I long for solar panels, but they aren't in my budget.

    Yesterday, my new nutrition software came. Now I will go install it and play and I hope that will be the focus of tomorrow's post.

    Sunday, October 14, 2007

    Sunday again

    October is going by too quickly! Two weeks and it will be Halloween. The weather is definitely winterish and I am digging out the woollies. Time to layer. Feet stay warmer with two pairs of socks, something I learned in my Chicago days. Layering is definitely a must and fleece blankets make good wraps. A hat may look silly inside, but who will see if I am simply typing away at my computer? Keeping the heat in saves energy and lowers the heating bills. Wristers, or fingerless gloves are the finishing touch, but I haven't started wearing those yet.

    Last night I picked up my knitting with the intention of watching the 10 o'clock news only to find the news delayed by a football game. Clicking around, I found Dr. Who on one of the local PBS stations. I love Dr. Who, Papa and I used to watch the doctor avidly in the eighties, and I was enchanted. The episode began in a creepy way and ended with pure magic. Love it, now I will have to find it again!

    It is Sunday, so I am determined to look up and comment on the readings. I find, because they are so truncated, that it is difficult to make much out of the first three readings. I would prefer slightly longer editions and more context. When I first started to post the Sunday readings, I was thinking "what would I preach, faced with these texts?" Two problems. The first is the inconsistency of my blogging over the past six weeks and the second is that to make more out of the readings I need to look them up on Saturday and ponder offline. So, here goes.

    The first reading is 2 Kgs. 5:14-17, in which a man is cleansed of his leprosy. The second is 2 Tm 2:8-1.3 If we are alive in Christ we will live, if we die with Chris we will live. So as we live and die so so we will have eternal life--or not. It is our choice.

    The responsorial Psalm is Ps 98:1,2-3,3-4, which contains the line "Sing to the Lord a new song for he has done wondrous deeds". What are the wondrous deeds in my life that I can be thankful for today? The birth of a baby who is still marvelous as he is about to be one month old his week; the feat of modern air travel that we take so much for granted that has brought visitors to me this month. I give thanks too for the lovely news from my god-daughter, E, that she is engaged. God is working in her life, in answer to her faith and to her prayers. What can I wonder over, ponder over and marvel at today, this Sunday, this Lord's day as I pause in my week's busyness? Will I sing a new song this week, one of praise and thanksgiving and will it heal the bleak parts of my soul? I think so, if I keep reminding myself to do so.
    Lk 17:11-19
    Ten lepers are cleansed but only one returns to give thanks. Where are our thanks, where is our gratitude

    Thursday, October 11, 2007

    Lazy Morning

    Still in lazy, vacation mode and I see that I haven't blogged in almost a week. In the meantime, I have discovered Adorama Camera in New York City, thanks to a suggestion form a friend. Adorama prints from digital photos and they have many, many sizes and four choices of paper. Sorry if this sounds like an ad, I am just so excited. I think that instead of making my own card prints on my wonderful ink jet printer I can have them printed. Now I won't have to worry about the dreaded trimming problem--not being able to trim evenly has left me six or more months behind on this project. So I have been resizing flower photos to make them the size of the prints that I want. Then the dsl will have to be reinvented so that it won't take all day to upload the images.

    Working between two computers, as I still am, raises questions and choices. DSL or Google wifi? Network the two computers or not? I hate making decisions, I hate making choices, I want to go back to my nice warm bed. No I don't, I want to go forward. The trouble and the joy with modern technology is that it moves so fast, innovation is so constant, that if we don't make change from time to time, we miss out on really good things.

    The other evening I was uploading something from the laptop and discovered that since the laptop is on the dining room table and the kitchen is right behind me, I could putter about at kitchen chores during the wait. Couldn't do that if I were in the other room working at the desktop. On the other hand with the desktop hooked up to dsl I don't have to wait either. No, multi-tasking, no little exercises while I wait, just blink and it's done. Which shall it be?

    Another thing about the laptop that is going to be useful is the ability to share things with others without going into the office. My "office", actually one of the bedrooms in my house, is stuffed full and its difficult for someone else to pull up a chair! So now I can share Mary Kay, new photos of my grand-nephew or a web search right at the table where I normally sit with friends to converse. Blessed modern technology. How fun!

    Friends are coming today so it is going to be a social time. Part of the reason for the feeling of extended vacation mode

    Friday, October 5, 2007

    It's Been a While

    I see that I haven't blogged since Sept 25, over a week and that is not good. I have been having a wonderful time with my sister. Now she is in Phoenix with her son, daughter-in law and first grandchild. A is nearly three weeks old now and very darling. We are in love with "our baby" and I am hoping for more pictures soon.

    P was amazed by the change in the old master bedroom, dressing room and just kept saying how pleased she was. She was also pleased and surprised that her bed, the roll away that has lived in the front hall for many years, was made up and waiting for her. Since it was nearly midnight my time and nearly 3 am her time, it was even more welcome.

    We cooked and ate; laughed and ate, held a small "almost a yard sale" and almost got the dryer fixed. (Long story short, I am going to buy a new one.) Pat added her own special touch to the new room with the curtains she had made for the dressing room and little bathroom. This, with paint in the main part of the house that a friend did last year with help from P on all of the woodwork, is making my house come into the 21st century and I am gladdened each day by the beauty and the light. Where last year's visit was a work party, this year we played.

    We celebrated my 60th birthday, a milestone for me. Friends brought treats and flowers and a balloon and I was and am so delighted to be remembered. It was a fun birthday and included steak for dinner. (May as well, so long as I have the teeth to eat it with.)

    One present that I am going to give to myself is the software put out by the American Diabetes Association for cooking and diet tracking. Thirteen or so years ago I succeeded in losing a major amount of weight (probably about 50 lbs) with the Diabetic Exchange System Diet. Problem is I haven't kept it off. The pictures my sister took of me on the last day that she was here show too much person and it is time to take this seriously in hand. I am hoping that by blogging about this intention, I will do better at the attempts I need to make to reduce this person.

    Portion control is my biggest issue. I like food. I like to cook. I like to eat. The kitchen is properly equipped with all the usual equipment--measuring spoons, measuring cups, a kitchen scale. I even have a very nice small work table that is the right height for my wheelchair that M kindly painted for me last spring shortly before she began tackling the larger painting jobs. So the problem is that it is rather like backing up the computer--the tools are there, I just have to use them.

    I have eliminated the salt shaker from the table--something that I never thought I could do, because I don't want to take blood-pressure medication. Soy followed salt because research on the web showed that it binds with the Levoxyl I take for my thyroid problem. Thus I have broken the five food groups of chocolate habit that had developed through the last six years. (White chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, milk chocolate, baking chocolate and cocoa, in case you were wondering.) My cook book library includes several books devoted to chocolate and the recipe folder that went in my computer crash contained quite a few goodies saved from the web that I am probably better off without. To my chagrin, I discovered that almost all of the chocolate products I was indulging in contained soy lecithin. The next thing to go is going to be sugar and then calories will be monitored through the exchange system.

    Diabetes runs in my family and I do not want it.

    The computer recovery is going along nicely with most of the hardware reattached and found by windows xp. I have reinstalled most of the software, including the OED and all of the data that I recovered from my external hard drive. Now I need to redo a number of things that did not survive but can be remade--perhaps better. In the recovery process I discovered that I have a version of Corel Painter and was happy to find this. So things will come back to normal soon, I hope.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    Awaiting the Best Guest

    Cold this morning, quite warm this afternoon. In other words, the weather is seasonal for this time of eyar. A marked change from last week when we had a foretaste of winter or the weeks before that when the weather was hot, we are definitely into fall. The late afternoon sun slants into my dining room, the house is delightfully clean thanks to my dear housekeeper I who does the most wonderful job of keeping my house tidy and clean. The garbage waits for pick-up tomorrow and I wait even more eagerly for my sister's arrival.

    New grandmother that she is, I expect that she will be tired when she arrives close to eleven tonight and we will be so grateful to our dear friend J for retrieving her from the big airport. At least she is flying straight thorugh without the usual stops and starts, so that is a blessing. Her bed is made up in the newly painted "big room", which can double as a guest room now and I am so excited and happy--will be even more so when she walks through the door.

    In the meantime, I haven't gotten much work done but have tried to fix the prices that that price tool on Cafepress has ruined. It is a real shame that this is not working, for the new keepsake boxes are gorgeous. I just ordered three last week and they really are fine and elegant. I liked the old ones, so wasn't really pleased by the change. These are even better, lined with white silk velvet and backed on the bottom with black felt so that the boxes are non-skid and will not mar furniture. Truly exceptional.

    Saturday, September 22, 2007

    Computer Recovery

    Or reinventing the wheel, 101. I have made almost 30 cds of the beautiful graphics files recovered from the extended hard-drive. Gratitude has been a watchword here. Looking at some of them, I had forgotten how beautiful they were, how delighted I was when I first put them on the computer. Delight is a gift, one we don't give ourselves frequently enough. I am enjoying the recovery process in spite of its inherent tedium.

    A DVD burner is definitely on my Wish List!

    This morning I recovered a wonderful tool offered by a member of the CafePress community, Instant Cafe Feeder, and reloaded my google base which was about to expire.

    The keypad on the laptop doesn't feel quite so foreign and uncomfortable. I can almost type normally now. Of course, Dragon Naturally Speaking would be an even greater improvement! The Wish List is already growing! Not bad for someone who two weeks ago thought she might never touch a computer again.

    It is raining today, which is unusual in my part of the country. It seems to be a gentle, steady rain, one that is nurturing trees and plants long dry from summer and that will lessen the fire danger in this part of California. We can definitely hope so and be grateful.

    The first pictuires of AP have arrived via email. What a tiny cutie he is! We love him and are all marveling at this gift of a new baby in our lives. I prepare for the visit of my sister, P, who is this baby's grandmother and can hardly wait to see her. Do I have enough of her favorite tea? What would she like for breakfast? How will we manage without a rental car? Can I figure out how to use the vcr with the new remote that came with the cable upgrade (cheaper than the old plan, but different equipment) in time for us to watch movies?

    Gratitude is definitely a major theme of my day. Expectation is another.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    Cold weather is on its way

    Today feels like winter is on its way! The air is crisp, the sky is bright and the wind is whipping branches around. I love being indoors on a day like this. It should motivate me to clean and do indoor things. Unfortunately, there are so many computer related things to do. The back-up to cds is not complete. Re-installing hardware and software is only begun. My Cafepress shop needs working on and there a million emails that I should send. I think I'll just go take a nap.

    Seriously, I think I will go revel in the beauty and serenity of the studio and see what comes together. Serenity would be a gift today.

    I am reading Mark Helperin, Winter Tale, a glorious novel from the eighties by a man with a serious gift for both words and rhythm. (One of the characters has a 600,000 word vocabulary.)It is an amazing book and I may just go rejoice in it.

    Not much else is doing today so this is a short post.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    New Addition to our Family

    Last evening my sister called with the great good news. A has joined our family weighing in at one ounce less than his Papa weighed when he was born. We (P and I) are now officially members of the grand generation. Most of all we are happy to have a healthy baby join our family.

    How does it feel to become a generation older in one day? About the same as yesterday, with pretty much the same aches and creaks as I had yesterday. There is a profound mental shift though. Hope is in this little one, as is the future. I ontemplate and recognize that the greater part of my life is behind me now, not ahead as it once was. This is the same sense of bittersweetness that I felt watching M leave for college a month ago.

    More time is gone than remains. When I am weary of life, as I sometimes am now, this seems a good thing and a thing to be grateful for. I would not want to live forever in this life, nor do I wish to linger beyond the point where there is something to do each day; laughter to share, love to give, a prayer to be offered, a skill to teach and food to savor with friends. As long as those experiences remain, I am content and I am aware that while my body does not move as easily as it once did, it is still stolidly and solidly attached to my spirit. It is not time for me to go--yet. A's birth reminds me that time is coming for me though, and so I see that I need to ask myself what to do with the time that is left. Writing is a part of it as is the recovery of the graphics files from my computer crash. Savoring life is a part too.

    Today I will savor life, drink an extra cup of coffee this morning, await the appearance of a friend from high school and give thanks. Gratitude for life is a big theme for this day. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad!

    Monday, September 17, 2007

    Monday morning

    It feels like it is truly Fall now, even though the equinox is still a week away. The temperature in the house was 69 and that was with the windows closed. I am always glad to see summer wane, for my house holds the heat on a hot day too well and I would rather wrap up in all the wool and fleece I own than run fans day and night to try to cool down. Sounds like a cantankerous old lady, which I guess I am old enough to be--in a few more days.

    The sundflowers that were so glorious a month ago are bowing low to the ground now with the wight of their seed. Yesterday a small black squirrel ate and ate and ate from one of them leaving behind a pile of pod peelings--squirrels are definitely messy, messy eaters--and looking like she was not going to leave until the food was all gone.

    The Pyracantha trees in my backyard, which truly after 50+ years are trees, are heavily laden with berries and I will have to get them trimmed this time, I think to keep them from falling over on the roof. They are a rich color and provide a rich backdrop for the dining room. They will also provide much food for birds and squirrels.

    Back to backing up.

    Saturday, September 15, 2007

    Computer recovery, backup

    The computer is back! The data is safe and restored from the backup drive. It is not arranged the way I expected it to be but it is there. I am so grateful and thankful and tired!

    Backing up pays off! I will spend the next week recovering everything into the order that I would like it in--which of course I will try to have be the way it was, even though it won't be. As I go along I will be copying to CD's because they are so much more findable and manageable than a 300 gigabyte hard drive that sits primly and pristinely on the empty desk top waiting for the return of the computer that drives it.

    My new back up scheme is planned to include cds numbered and labeled and then a notebook containing the number and label and the contents of each cd. (If I actually do all this, I will award myself five gold stars pasted across the outside of the computer case! WE all have good intentions!)

    Friday, September 14, 2007

    Crashing computers

    Soon I will face the acid test of repairing a computer: data recovery. That wonderful shiny stack of never used CDs should contain data. Why don't they? What on earth was I doing, or more appropriately, not doing? The external hard drive most certainly does contain data; the question is what data? Did I back up the truly crucial files as I think I did? Or not?

    Wednesday, ten months after I sent in the application, my copyright certificate arrived for a design that my heart is totally engaged in and that I spent many, many hours working on. I hope I have a back-up file! It is difficult to believe that I don't have a CD, boldly labeled--in purple ink--with the name of this design.

    I will also be looking at online services for bookmarks and file sharing although I have not been interested in them before. Fortunately, I had never figured out how to reconfigure my web-based email to put it on my computer. A year's worth of email at least, is still there. I can access with the lap top and simply pick up where I left off.

    On a lighter note I have discovered that one-half cup of yogurt cheese, about 1 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa, a 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract and a small amount of powdered sugar makes a smooth substitute for chocolate mousse, which I no longer make because the eggsco can't be cooked long enough to ensure that they are safe.

    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    Fall is coming

    Fall is my favorite time of the year. The shortening days mean an end to the languid schedule of summer, the crisp air has a freshness to it that summer smog can never match and cooler weather means that it is time to turn indoors and make soups and stews and bake bread. Thanksgiving and Christmas are nearing and I love these holidays. At the same time this is a difficult season for as the weather cools, my arthritis flares and as the holidays approach my situation of disability and home boundedness is intensified. It becomes more difficult to look outside my boundaries and
    be concerned about the needs of others.

    In addition, my computer crash makes me even more self-centered. The computer is my lifeline in so many ways. I shop, including for groceries via the internet. I set up appointments with clients and friends through email. I manage a Yahoo group and two small businesses. I even make doctor's appointments over the Internet and ask tech support questions online. I am helpless and hopeless if I am not connected. I blog and read other blogs. Sounds like a computer addict. Being without the computer (until this laptop came home and I began to be more comfortable using it) made me stop and see my environment.

    On the other hand, there is the information recovery project of using a different computer and that will go on when the big computer returns in another day or two. I have always meant to record user name and password data off the computer. I did list the old doc file, but that was several months ago and now I find that some of the more recent accounts aren't there. Back-up this information to a notebook. I have a pretty journal, handmade by a friend that will be used for this purpose from now on.

    In another day or two, I will find out what I really did back up from the old hard drive. Backing up--no more need be said!

    Last night I discovered another great use fore yogurt cheese. Stirred into the reduction of the pan drippings from my chicken strips and green beans, it made a stroganoff like sauce and was delicious. (I have also been using balsamic vinegar in place of soy sauce for quite some time in my "stir frys" so that reduces the salt in my cooking, makes for one less bottle to store and gets the soy out of my diet, since I cannot eat soy.

    Friday, September 7, 2007

    Computer Failure

    I push the button. Nothing happens. It doesn't register at first. I try again. The keyboard lights are on. Nothing else is happening. The computer is dead. It is four years old, ancient by technology standards. That was Monday. Today, Friday, I type awkwardly on a new to me laptop, purchased from, which just happens to be in my home town.

    It is slow agoling, slogging, actually. I cam connected by a dialup so slow sthat it seems antedeluvian. There is no spell checker operating here today and since the keyboard is too flat and too far away, I am making even more than my usual numnber of errors!

    Sunday, September 2, 2007

    Sunday morning

    It is beautiful, as befits Sunday. The temperature in my office is 69, up one degree from the time that I entered. Later, the weather forecast assures us, it will be hot. Right now I am wrapped in a fleece throw to ward off the chill!

    Today the first reading is Sir 3:17-18, 28-29. I particularly like "What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not." The second reading is Ps 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11 followed by the second reading from Heb 12:18-19, 22-24a, which contains the wonderful phrase "countless angels in festal gathering". Countless angels, countless, beyond counting, beyond imagining. I wish they could pause in their festal gathering long enough to push the low pressure down and the clouds and the fog back over us, who have been sweltering in the heat wave of this past week. Still countless angels. More than enough to go around. More than enough to help us in all of our needs. Countless angels, cherubim and seraphic and perhaps even more Archangels than the ones we know by name, Michael, Raphael, Gabriel. The Gospel reading for today is from Lk:14:1, 7-14. And those who are humbled shall be exalted. Hmmm. Not in this life surely.

    The sunflowers, bedraggled by the heat, and full of seed have nearly completed their life-cycle. Fall is truly coming.

    Saturday, September 1, 2007

    Heat and Weather

    The big question today is will it be hot or not? The heat wave finally really began to break yesterday and the 11:00 pm news showed fog, blessed fog moving into the Bay through the Golden Gate Bridge. Praise God! The difference that fog and no fog make is the difference between air conditioning and no air conditioning, for the fog and "offshore flow" are this areas' natural air-conditioning. I watched the outside temperature drop, and drop and drop and finally saw relief on the inside thermometer as well.

    The air coming in through my windows seems cool. The air blowing through the reverse air fan is cool. The forecast says 85 or 91. Which one is right and what will it really be?

    I hate being so preoccupied by the weather, but it does have one good result. It reminds me that I am not in charge. I do not make the weather. I only live with it.

    There is fatigue that comes with a heat-wave that is not like any other fatigue. Since I have post-polio syndrome, which has its own fatigue issues, avoiding the stress of undue fatigue is necessary. The days of a heat wave go away resting and watching the clock, resting and staying hydrated and running the cycle of closing and opening windows. I will pay a price for the heat-wave fatigue. It will be several days before I am back to speed--just in time for the next heat wave, if the weather forecasters are correct.

    It reminds me of how my ancestors lived and it reminds me that there are many other people, in this country and the underdeveloped world, who still live by the cycle of the weather and not by the convenient comfort of energy using cooling and heating devices.

    Convenience is almost the middle name of most Americans today. It is part of the "meism" of our consumer oriented culture. This week I could gladly have used a little more convenience. I long for air-conditioning.

    Thursday, August 30, 2007

    Weather and Invisible Poverty

    Yesterday we had the first spare day of the year. The temperature reached 92, or 94 or 96 depending on which weather forecaster was correct. In the heat of the afternoon my house felt like it was fighting a loosing battle against a heat monster threatening to beat it down. Five minute intervals crept by as though they were hours and every time I checked the clock it seemed the day would never end. At the same time California ISO was posting flex alerts because the demand for power was so great.

    Since I did not feel comfortable turning my computer on--and probably would have stuck to the keyboard if I'd tried to type--I turned on the television instead. Commemorations of Hurricane Katrina abounded. News reports that we are now spending approximately two billion dollars a day on the war in Iraq were interspersed with reports on the huge tasks still to be accomplished to bring the Gulf states hit by Hurricane Katrina back into the fold of the national economy.

    At the time the levees broke in New Orleans after the hurricane two years ago, I was struck by the images of the elderly and disabled stuck in the Astrodome and waiting for help that could not come quickly enough because of the water. One image in particular still stands out. A person in a wheelchair had died and someone had draped a blanket over the body and the chair. That person would have been me in a similar disaster. Two years later there are homes that have not been rebuilt, insurance claims that have not been honored and peoples lives that are still broken. Much healing is needed.

    What concerns me the most though, is the burden that is carried by the invisible poor in this country. No one marches on our behalf. No one protests when government benefits are cut and services not provided. The invisible remain invisible and the poor remain poor.

    Many of these problems could be solved with small changes. Increases in food stamps. Subsidies for computers, training in how to use them and networking to find work online could lift the homebound, or nearly homebound, invisible poor, if not into the middle class, at least into a more endurable level of poverty. Community service volunteer programs could help a great deal.

    An increase in the amount that social security disability recipients are "allowed" to earn would make substantive differences in the lives and independence of so many disabled people. There would probably be a concomitant decline in health care expenses, too for people who have something to do in the day, get up to do it and people who can take care of their own selves do not have to wait for someone to come and do something for them. In many instances, poverty is far more disabling than the physical disabilities that people cope with every day.

    In the year before the national election year, I would so very much like to see the needs of the invisible poor addressed as well as the needs of those who are seen in all of the media pieces. Lets make life more livable for all of the people in this great, but flawed, nation of ours.

    Tuesday, August 28, 2007

    Random Thoughts

    It was hot today and the house is cooling slowly so I don't have much energy or inspiration. Even the sunflowers seem to be feeling the heat as they are flopping over even before they go to seed.

    In spite of the heat, I finished knitting a scarf last night, one in a series of three. Each is a different color of Lion Homespun and a slightly different stitch pattern. I plan to write up a pattern for them to make available, either here or on Etsy and put them up for sale. They have been a pleasure to knit. The yarn was a rummage sale find by my dear friend L and I am also knitting some other sparkly yarn that she found for me. The sparkly yarn knits up long and narrow into a variation of what the maker, Crystal Palace Yarns, calls "jewelry scarves". I like the concept.

    Much work lies ahead for me to get my Cafepress shop, which I have been neglecting, ready for the coming Holidays. It seems sad in some ways that summer is ending, but Fall is my truly favorite time of the year. I need to return to two writing projects as well, one a memoir, begun just as summer was beginning and the other a long, discursive historical novel that I began too many years ago. Perhaps this will be the year...

    The studio is taking shape and I am very happy with it.

    Monday, August 27, 2007

    Another thing to do with Yogurt Cheese

    Today I needed to make lunch quickly because I was behind schedule, hungry and expecting my friend T, who visits me on Monday afternoons.

    The refrigerator contained whole wheat tortillas, yogurt cheese, applesauce (homemade by L and sugar-free) as well as baby greens labeled "spring mix" from Trader Joe's. These combined into one of the most delicious, simple things I have ever made and eaten. A high recommend.

    Monday is Shelf Day

    Two out of three of the shelves are up! Hooray!, hooray! This is so encouraging. The studio will really evolve and I will be able to play in there. My dear friend L accomplished this feat and brought coffee as well.

    The largest sunflower head has disappeared. I notice its absence as I peer out my office windows. Has it fallen off or has it had help? I will have to take a closer look at the back yard. I had been wondering if it was time to ask someone to cut it for me so that I could save the seeds to feed the hungry critters in colder weather. Looks like somebody may have helped her/himself knowing that I am an old pushover and will buy more!

    Today I switched wheelchairs. I have two. The seats sag over time because I spend so much time in them and because I am, unfortunately, rather larger than I would like to be. Gotta work on that. Fortunately, a neighbor of mine knows how to do the repairs and I have found a place on line to buy the parts from. More slow but steady progress.

    Wheelchairs should be covered by Medicare, but it is interesting how much run around one can get to actually get this done. I have paid "rent" on a chair from my own pocket and paid substantially more for a used chair than I should ever have paid. Again, I have simply bought one out of pocket to avoid the above racket. I am not sure how Medicare actually does things--I don't have the patient to wade through the regulations or to wait for hours on the phone to find out that I can't get an answer to my question.

    I would like to see health care reform as much as anyone in this country. More, perhaps than many others, who have no problems with their health care. I would like to see health care cost the same for everyone, have simple claim forms and be subsidized by the government for those who truly can't pay the full amount. I do feel strongly that we should all value health care enough to pay something for it. That is the beginning of what I would like to see. I will blog more in later posts, I am sure.

    Today is the Feast of St. Augustine. Doctor of the Church and necessary author for Western Civilization classes--and so much more. I should probably re-read Augustine at about this point in my life and see if I have the same reactions that I had forty years ago.

    Sunday, August 26, 2007

    Sunflowers and Squirrels

    The sunflowers continue to shine. Several have formed their petals snugly around the heads, which are heavy with seed. Now the squirrels are coming to investigate. It is so funny to watch them clamber around the flowers. One found a full, small pod and happily picked it apart, extracting the seeds in their shells, and then extracting the seeds from the shells. This provided my morning's entertainment. Of course, he/she did not clean up the resulting mess!

    My dear friend L brought delicious nigella seed bread and applesauce that she made after a day of harvesting and pressing apples on a small family farm. We ate yogurt cheese and eggplant sauce and carrot sauce (which would spark up cottage cheese quite a bit, too)and she described the process of pressing the apple juice. I hope that she blogs about this, so that I can link to her blog.

    Several ladies have come to my Mary Kay party and it is always fun to meet new people, to show my products and to see which things people choose for themselves. We have an extensive and beautiful product line of skin care products for men and women as well as truly lovely makeup.

    Soon I hope to be able to take customers into my studio and use my Mama's beautiful antique vanity to demonstrate products. I think that this will be so much more fun than hauling everything to the dining room table.

    It is a beautiful day and I am rejoicing that it is Sunday. The first reading for today Is 66:18-21. The responsorial psalm is Ps 117: 1, 2 and it contains the beautiful line, "For steadfast is his kindness toward us, and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever." This is a line worth meditating on all day. It is one that I will have to try to remember especially when I am in a cranky mood and wondering where God is in my life. Sometimes I feel that God has gone far away. The second reading is from Heb 12: 5-7, 11-13 and the Gospel is Lk 13:22-30.

    Today is also the feast of St. Monica. I need St. Monica for her example for perseverance. For more about her see the blog Monastic Musings, which has a beautiful commentary on her.
  • Saturday, August 25, 2007

    Saturday and Sunflowers

    I am getting ready to have an open house tomorrow for my Mary Kay business. The dining room is clearer, the dishes are washed and the bears and dolls who used to live in the living room are now in the studio. More paper clutter has been thrown out and boxes have been removed. I pull the boxes while going backward part of the way until I get to the part of the house that is wide enough to turn the wheelchair around in and then I push with my feet. This whole process reminds me that I am old and out of shape. I am getting it done though, one push/pull, pull/push at a time.

    I can see the sofa for the first time in over a year. There are too many books in this house and one of my jobs this week is going to be to figure out how to post some of them on Amazon. I have too many projects, too many ideas and even, for somebody my age, too many dreams.

    Somehow this has been a depressing and tiring day instead of an energizing one. Each time that I have paused and looked out the back windows the sunflowers have glowed golden and cheered me on. Just a few moments ago the top most one was translucent with the setting sun back lighting and shining through her petals. They are like elephants, so big that they are endearing. When it was windy a little while ago, they seemed to be dancing.

    I must return to my setting up and then post more tomorrow.

    Friday, August 24, 2007

    Happy Friday!

    I can now see my living room again! Hip, Hip, Hooray! More to go, more to go. Parts of the house still look like disorganization reigns, but progress is being made. I am so glad. Decluttering takes more time and energy than accumulating the clutter did in the first place.

    Soon I will be working in my new studio! I am determined to organize using containers that I already have on hand. New containers are simply expensive and can become clutter eventually in their own right. Better to reuse and recycle at home with baskets, certain boxes, plastic containers that I have set aside for this purpose.

    The sunflowers are heavy and rounded with seeds. They definitely have a life cycle that mirrors ours. The weather is cooler today, so they look less bedraggled. I feel less bedraggled! Each day now the sun is rising a little later and setting a little earlier. My father used to track this progress in the newspaper on the page with the weather information. Now I follow the shortening days on the net, on the weather site. Unlike the newspaper, the computer pages don't have to be hauled outside to be recycled! In some ways though, I miss the newspaper and I miss having someone to share it with.

    Only a few more days of August and then it really will be fall. The countdown to Christmas can begin anew. Let's make sure that Advent doesn't get lost in the shuffle this year!

    Thursday, August 23, 2007


    The sun has been setting behind the row of sunflowers as I have been at the computer. First the email that has built up while I have been doing other things away from the computer had my attention. Then loading my cafepress feed into Google Base took a few minutes and now I am finally attending to my blog post.

    The sunflowers are almost as big as dinner plates and absolutely lovely. Now there are half a dozen where earlier there had only been one at a time. They are rushing to flower and go to seed before the weather turns cold, thus fulfilling their destiny. I have seen this in plants before. A kind of quiet humility that humans do not have.

    These majestic plants are almost too big to be humble, but as the seed heads form the plant shrinks. The seed heads bend over and the whole plant reminds me of an old, old woman with osteoporosis. There is humility and waiting in it as time goes by. Waiting for fall, and waiting for the seeds to fall to the ground.

    Today I have been looking at my own life, sorting, sorting and throwing out more paper. The boxes are becoming smaller and the stacks will shrink too. My friend L, (she of the sunflowers and apple galette) took away a pile of things to be donated and now my garage sighs with a bit of relief to echo that of the house.

    Soon I will go and spend a few minutes in the big room just to admire how pretty it is and then go to bed and finish reading Water for Elephants. It is quite dark in just the short time that it has taken to write this. Fall is definitely coming soon.

    Wednesday, August 22, 2007

    Summer mornings

    Today we are having a bit of a heat wave and the routine is different. Wheeling around my house to close the windows that I wheeled around opening last night, I breathe in the cool morning air and give thanks for the bits of clouds still hanging on from the night sky. There is over an hour less of daylight than there was a month ago, still the heat hung on in the house last night. I often wish I could bottle it and keep it for winter!

    Then in the winter, I wonder if it will ever be warm again, knowing that it will and wishing I could bottle the cold air for the summer hot days.

    Today is a catching up day and at puttering pace. I need to "destage" the living room from the place where all the overflow went during the painting and put it back into its role as living room again. Sometimes puttering pace is steadier and I get more done that way than if I tried to push a faster pace. After all the next birthday says 60 on it, so nothing gets done as quickly as it once did.

    My Mary Kay products have been flying off the shelves this week and for that I am very, very grateful. Five things to be grateful for today

    1. The presence of M in my life and her help to me over the last four years. She begins college today.
    2. My sister, P, who is always there even though she lives 2500 miles away.
    3. My friend L, who helps me out and whom I can laugh with and enjoy life with.
    4. A surprise visit from my goddaughter, E and her boyfriend yesterday which was a delight.
    5. The hope of having a productive day even though it is hot.

    Ok, not a bad way to start the day.