Friday, January 30, 2009

New and Fun Things

You will notice, if you scroll down a bit through the links on the right hand side, that I have added an RSS feed to St. Anthony's messenger for the listing of the Saint of the Day. I notice that today is St. Hyacintha. I have never heard of this saint, but I am familar with the flower, so I will have to follow the link myself to find out more.

I have also been knitting this cold month of short days. New yarn from one of my most favorite EBay sellers, Over the Rainbow Yarn.

One project is now done, although this is what it looked like when I snapped a picture on Wednesday.

This is yummy yarn, handpainted in a subtle colorway that I think was called "Painted Plums".

More yarn arrived this week and it is shown in the next two photos.

I called the image, "Wild about Yarn" and then took a second one, "Wild about Yarn,2".

I am making simple, garter-stitch triangle shawlettes; mindless knitting for the hour so each evening that I watch mindless, "guilty-pleasure" television, usually re-runs of NCSI on cable with the space heater taking the chill off the living room and the clock ticking until it is close enough to bed-time to turn up the heat before going to bed. (If I don't start out warmed up and with the chill off the house, the electric blanket doesn't heat up enough. New technology.)

Probably the yarn has cost more than I have saved on the heating bill by rationing my use of it so tightly. Paying for the yarn, however is a pleasure, while the utility bill is not! The woman who handpainted the yarn is in business for herself and we all know about the utility companies...

So today I am grateful for sun shining on my keyboard and warming me as I type. (Although I will rejoice if we finally get rain, which we desperately need), for St. Hyacintha, whose name sounds like a flower and for yarn.

And I do wish I knew how to tell Blogger to insert the pictures where I want them instead of at the top of the typing block!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Yesterday I spent a good part of the afternoon outside, where it was a little too cold for comfort for this "old polio." My friend K was pruning roses and doing other things in my little corner of the outside world, so I couldn't resist. I had to go inside and grab the camera to record the fact that Spring is definitely coming soon.

First there is this glorious purple Iris, the gift of a friend who thinned her bed of Irises last summer. K planted them in the Fall and they have been fending for themselves since then.

I love the glorious color and I love the beards, too.

Then I was coming back up the ramp to my porch, I noticed the daffodil buds. Flowers will be here soon, I am sure.

We need rain. Who do we make a novena to for rain? I am so grateful for the flowers.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

January 27, 2009

I am stumped for a title today, hence the date. Cold sunshine lights my work space and we are definitely back to winter. The Amarylli on the kitchen counter don't seem to mind.

Last night this is how one looked.

A few hours later, this morning, I grabbed the camera again and took this shot.

The flower seems small compared to the first one that I had several years ago and I would prefer to see it bloom sequentially, as that first one did. Still it is thrilling to watch it go through its cycle and know that Spring will come.

I have been fiddling and fiddling with my Etsy shop and have decided that there are certain computer tasks akin to dusting in a brick and mortar store. About as interesting too! At least I am learning something every day and improving my presence and presentation on the web.

Yesterday I spent far too much time drooling over yarn because of a friend's blog post. So many colors, so much yarn, so little time. I will try to add a picture of my latest knitting project when I come back later. It is so pretty!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tulips, Let Love Bloom

To the right you can see a slideshow loading of various objects for sale at my Cafepress shop with a design that I am especially pleased by, "Tulips, Let Love Bloom". The colors are bright and cheerful, the design is suitable for Valentine's Day but will last throughout the year. It would be particularly pretty at this cold and dreary time of the year.

There are other designs there too and I particularly love the peace design that I made to honor my father and the love in many languages design. Now if I could just figure out how to promote myself more effectively and more efficiently.

Today we are getting drizzle instead of the rain we really need.

Today is also the day when I deal with re-arranging the Christmas decoration boxes. Every year I plan to do this so that it will make taking everything out and putting it up easier the next time. Every year, I do it again. Some year I may get it "just right". (Then I can die and go to heaven--if I haven't died already before I make this milestone achievement.)

I love the old, old calendar, the one that says the Christmas season ends on Candlemas, February 2. That gives me plenty of time to savor the decorations which do brighten the house during the dreary, short day month of January.

The downside is (why is there always a downside?) that by the time I have everything tucked away again, the rest of the world is getting ready for Valentine's Day... Oh well. Ash Wednesday is usually right around the corner too.

Two Amaryllis buds are starting to bloom on the kitchen counter. These are always so much fun to watch, for they literally change on an almost hourly basis. Another pot has a short bloom stalk--totally unlike all the others I have had which go so high that I have to move them away from the underside of the kitchen cabinets. It will be interesting to see if it just gives up on growing and goes right to blooming.

I am grateful for company for lunch today and cooking a nice meal to share as well as the flowers that will bloom soon.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Triumphs Large and Small

Tuesday I paused in my life and watched the inauguration. It was amazing. It was marvelous and I love the new President, his family and the joy and exultation that came to Washington that day. I hope that hope and patriotism and joy will prevail. That is the large triumph.

Last night and this morning I rejoiced and gave thanks as I listened to the rain, a sound we have not heard frequently enough this year. Everyone please pray.

I spent this afternoon in frustration trying to add a slideshow to this blog. Finally, it worked! Oh hurray!

The tulip design is a photo of one tulip that a friend brought me last Easter. I love the way the elements came together and the fact that while it would make a nice Valentine present, it can be used all year long. It is available at my cafepress shop. Click on the link to the right in the links section and then on the Valentine section.

I spent a little time knitting and indulging in "guilty pleasure" tv--NCIS. So all in all, not a bad day and I am grateful.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Catching up

I can't believe more than a week has gone by. Ah, how time can fly when one is having fun on Facebook! Among other things.

While the rest of the country has been freezing, it has been springlike here in California. The oldest of my daffodils already have buds. The flowers will bloom in succession this year, since all the new bulbs were planted in succession. It is fun to go outside and see the new little shoots poking up. January is a little too early, though, even here and I worry over them even as I admire them. Of course, with no rain, they have also needed to be watered.

I wish there were winter vegetables to accompany the flowers. If I live long enough...

Like everyone with in range of a newscast, I was amazed and heartened last week by the sight of people emerging from the plane on the Hudson. Is this a good omen for the year? I do hope so. Like over 200,000 other people I joined the pilot's fan club on Facebook.

The concert on the Capitol Mall yesterday was also amazing. It was touching and endearing to see and hear Pete Seeger and to sing along to "This Land". (We sang Climb Every Mountain and This Land is Your Land so many times in high school glee club concerts that I thought I would never want to hear either of them again. I had tears in my eyes yesterday as I sang along.)

It was wonderful, too, to see the Obama/Biden team journey to Washington by train, evoking images of earlier great Presidents, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and I think, Theodore Roosevelt who journeyed to their inaugurations the same way. I like Obama's sense of history, I like his brilliance and I hope and pray for him as he becomes our President.

While there is so much fear and despair in the air about the economy there is also this magnificent feeling of hope and joy. I hope the hope and joy win. I am grateful for the promises for the future that these days hold and these celebrations hold. May God be with us all.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Spring Fever in January

I think the temperature hit seventy this afternoon. I spent two hours outside keeping a friend company while she whacked a large bush at my front gate. Hurray! This is one of those projects that I have been wanting to see done for so long that I can't remember and I am almost ready to "cry for happy."

The sun is shining in. I am sitting here with my knitted hat off for the first time in at least two months and the knitted wristers aren't necessary to type. Sun shines in the window and music plays on the headset.

It wasn't until I was outside that I realized just how cranky I had become from being inside for so long. The days are also lengthening and a bit more sunshine helps so much.

The garage is too full, much too full. What does one do with an old "mangle" ironing machine? There was a time when I could whiz through much of our household ironing sitting in front of that machine. The beautiful mahogany cabinet that, fortunately, has been covered since Papa put it out there was so full of stuff that my friend could not budge it. It now awaits the summer when she will return from sailing. I would so like to retrofit it as a media cabinet for the living room.

There are bicycles, old wheelchairs, a cedar armoire and a blanket chest as well as a child's crib all neatly tucked away and helping to fill a space that for decades actually held a 1955 Chevy Bel Air two door sedan--slightly smashed by a falling tree limb as we drove home from Mass one Sunday. Five minutes one way or the other and the tree would have missed us. Such is life's timing!

The Chevy has moved on to a new owner who is happily restoring it. I would like to see a few more items move out this year. Maybe having the central space of the garage as a space is a goal for 2009; modest sounding but more daunting than it seems.

I am grateful for time spent outside, for that bush moving on, for my friend's help and I will be grateful when there is less stuff in my garage!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Epiphany 2009

Tonight my dear friend G, who is a nurse and is like another sister to me, came by with dinner and a piece of blessed chalk and the ritual for the Epiphany blessing of my house. This is a fine ritual and we delighted in saying the Magnificat and other prayers together. The inside top of my door now has the date and the crosses and the initials of the three wise men to bless my house.

Are the three wise men saints? I don't think I have ever thought of that before, more like folk legends or folk heroes, but they would be, I think, in the same category as the people in the Old Testament. Saints.

Then I wrestled my garbage out to the can and got a quite refreshing blast of cold, winter, night air. At the same time, I saw the daffodils poking up in various places. It was daylight a bit longer today and I noticed that, so Spring will come.

Epiphany, new beginnings--blessings, peace and a new year. I am grateful and hopeful tonight. Grateful for food and warmth (a space heater is warming me up along with fleece blankets wrapped around me and wool mitts on my hands as I type--fingerless of course), friendship and that the garbage is out in the can. Grateful too for the service called, "backyard garbage pick-up", by which the garbage collectors come into my patio and take the can out, empty it and return it to its place.

A good night in January.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Winter Tomatoes

These are a number of the tomatoes that didn't make it to become fried green tomatoes. Yummy as they are, I am enjoying them ripe. Tomatoes at Christmas and New Year's--definitely strange!

It is cold today and sunny. There is something pristine about the seer winter landscape that I love. It is so beautiful in its own way. The trees, barren of leaves, are almost sculptural. The light is different too, without all the filtered green of spring and fall as the leaves change the color of the light and provide shadow too.

I am looking forward to spring this year with new daffodils and tulips planted and two Amaryllis plants growing inside. Now is the time to plan the spring garden as seed catalogs supplant Christmas catalogs. The Christmas decorations will remain up a bit longer, though. I always have a hard time letting go of Christmas.

Tomorrow the New Year begins in earnest as the new work week starts. For those who are employed, I pray that your jobs will hold. For those who are seeking work, may your search be successful.

I am grateful for this time of visits from friends and Christmas, even though it has been cold and grateful too, that it wasn't colder. No faucet dripping to keep the pipes from freezing so far this year and we are on the lengthening day side of the solstice now. Much to be glad for.