Thursday, January 30, 2014

Are you dreaming of such days?

"There he got out the luncheon-basket and packed a simple meal, in which, remembering the stranger's origin and preferences, he took care to include a yard of long French bread, a sausage out of which the garlic sang, some cheese which lay down and cried, and a long-necked straw-covered flask wherein lay bottled sunshine shed and garnered on far Southern slopes."

~from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham

Saturday, January 25, 2014

in front of the fire

I have had a wonderful day with two daughter- in -laws and a daughter.
The other daughter- in- law worked today but we all gathered around the 
table last night for food and much laughter. This was the first time since
Christmas but there was one missing: #4 son . He came home late last night from the mountains where it has been very cold and snowy and the ski resorts are singing hallelujahs. Earlier this week,  he sent photos from his apt. window that looks over campus. 

Hope you are warm where you are. When your kids are grown, they hang
together, so I am here in front of the fire in a quiet house. 

                       Looking out from son's apt. to Kings Street in Boone
                       and the campus of ASU and the mountains in the distance

Comradeship and serious joy are not interludes in our travel, but rather our travels are interludes in comradeship and joy, which through God shall endure forever. The inn does not point to the road; the road points to the inn. And all roads point at last to an ultimate inn. ( from Charles Dickens by GKC)

A Child of the Snows      by G.K. Chesterton                                         
There is heard a hymn when the panes are dim,
    And never before or again,
When the nights are strong with a darkness long,
    And the dark is alive with rain.
Never we know but in sleet and in snow,
    The place where the great fires are,
That the midst of the earth is a raging mirth
    And the heart of the earth a star.
And at night we win to the ancient inn
    Where the child in the frost is furled,
We follow the feet where all souls meet
    At the inn at the end of the world.
The gods lie dead where the leaves lie red,
    For the flame of the sun is flown,
The gods lie cold where the leaves lie gold,
    And a Child comes forth alone.
- G.K. Chesterton

Friday, January 24, 2014

Postage goes up

on Sunday. 
No mail on Sunday , so I say it should be 
on Monday.

I want one of these

just watching the snow fall ...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

cold but no snow

another image from Murmuring Cottage tumblr..... nothing like this here
but it certainly is cold. 

I keep thinking of Heidi. 
Going to start rereading it today. 
Going to make some sort of Jamie Oliver soup or chili.
Made Morning Glory Muffins this morning putting in hemp seeds, flax seeds,
nuts, and whole wheat flour and some of the carrot NAKED drink. 
Quite moist.

I always have wanted sheep. 

N.D. Wilson with my students. I cried this morning.  Something touched
me so deeply in the words at the end of chapter 8. Then I passed it 
to my daughter as I had tears. She said, " Oh, no. Now I am going to 
cry too?"

Good for our souls to have tears.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

onto onions

After dinner, lasagna was so good. 
Inspired to make English Onion Soup or these potatoes:

Making Lasagna, British syle

Yes, to my sister , who I introduced to Jamie Oliver's cooking 
and his British fanfare : Jamie Oliver's Lasagne. I had it 
at Jamie's Italian. I don't have any butternut squash so it is 
minus it. I used what I had in the house. He has said exactly
those words on his cooking videos. I wish I could get his beer
here in the States. I had it at his restaurant in Kingston Upon 
Thames. Waiting for the lasagna to cook, so here I am. 

This leek, spinach, and ricotta lasagna looks good too. 
I have learned about flavor from this Brit. 

From his 30 minutes meals...... a corker , he says:

Spending time with Jamie learning.
Well, I do have asparagus.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

a Sunday afternoon in England

My husband is catching up on Sherlock , well , starting it. 
Emma and I have seen Season 3. Oh my. Oh my. 
Benedict Cumberbatch's  real parents are his parents in the two last episodes. 
Steven Moffat's real son is in the last of the season. 
So here is the conversation my husband had with a son on the phone 
while we were on a walk today: " Has anyone said you look like Sherlock?"
" Yes." This son watches it for the writer. ( Steven Moffat) 
I have never guessed an episode.
Those watching Downton Abbey, keep on . It all ends well. Maybe fine is a better word. 

I finished Susan Branch's A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English 
Countryside  this afternoon.
I have been in the English countryside in tiny villages , up to the Lake District, 
and up to York and down to Chawton.
We missed Beatrix Potter's journal and original Peter Rabbit letter at 
Victoria & Albert Museum in London. I raced into Emma's room declaring
what we had missed. She said : We must go back.
This is  a good book to read and don't get distracted by the quotes. 
They cover the pages because that is what Susan Branch does.There is more 
on her blog than in the book. 

You can read about  the trip on her blog. Susan's mentor was Beatrix Potter. 
See her Beatrix Potter bedroom here.

The first full day in England on her trip is here then onward on the blog.  

Friday, January 17, 2014

in the stack

I started this  book last night after the Opera. Turned off the light at midnight. 
He is arguing the validity in Letter Writing not against emails but examining
the value it has been and could be in the future. I have wondered if a couple
write love letters through emails .Has a generation lost sight of passing
letters down to the next generation? Will there be a stack of emails doing such 
or a file handed down?

 It is a grand day when my mailbox is full of letters to go and 
letters come back. Imagine: 

A dying art? Modern technology is overtaking letterwriting
A dying art? Modern technology is overtaking letterwriting

From the author...
The book celebrates the intrinsic integrity of letters that is lacking from other forms of written communication. From Roman wood chips discovered near Hadrian's Wall to the wonders and terrors of email, I’ve tried to explore how we have written to each other over the centuries and what our letters reveal about our lives. I consider the role that letters have played as a literary device in Shakespeare and the epistolary novel, and I consider some of the great correspondences of our time ...

I don’t want to spoil the ending of the book, but it does involve the late Queen Mother in an unexpected way.

Stodgy? In Letters of Note, the Queen gives President Eisenhower her recipe for scones.
Stodgy? In Letters of Note, the Queen gives President Eisenhower her recipe for scones. Photograph: REX/c.Everett Collection

Thursday, January 16, 2014

a blog and the opera tonight

Passing on a beautiful blog  on Antwerp, Belgium. 

I nodded to this comment and said audibly, "YES, I  felt exactly the same way."
Although I wasn't in Antwerp ( my son visited while in London) , but I had these 
thoughts  in London:

 I almost prayed for some kind of cataclysmic weather event that would keep us trapped there forever

A Bloomsbury Life

If we're bringing back knobby ornamental doors and rugs on tables, can we also bring back dusky medieval jewel tones like brown sapphire, smoky topaz, ruby and carnelian?

Going to the Student Night at the Opera. I was offered a ticket ( 5.00) at 2:00 
for tonight's 7:00. I just happened to be free.  Note the very last word is one of 
the books this semester in my class. Perking up for the Spirit to teach me more 

 Il Trittico 

Il Trittico is a triptych of one-act operas by Giacomo Puccini commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera.

Il Trittico premiered on December 14, 1918 at the Metropolitan Opera.

Performed in Italian with English titles.

The libretto for Il Tabarro is by Giuseppe Adami, based on the play La houppelande by Didier Gold.

The libretto for Suor Angelica is by Giovacchino Forzano.

The libretto for Gianni Schicchi is by Giovacchino Forzano, based on an episode in Dante's Inferno.

Monday, January 13, 2014

monday's musings

I spent time this week in the late 40's of Psalms. 
Today was 49 and 50. From Psalm 50 I looked up 
John Calvin's Commentaries and jotted down some 
points and words: 

It is good to know that the Lord knows the evil times we
are in and our hardships. He says in Psalm 49 noone
of great wealth can purchase for a price from God life
that will never end. Period. 

Psalm 50: Gather me my followers who pledge their 
troth  to me by sacrifice..... 

Thus saith the Lord.  Those who are married know the meaning 
of betrothed. Love this word used here by Calvin. 

Which brought me to being quiet and listening:

And don't we all, with fierce hunger, crave a cave of solitude, 
a space of deep listening --full of quiet darkness and stars,
until finally we hear a syllable of God echoing in the cave of our hearts?   Macrina Wiederkehr

"What I like doing best is Nothing."
"How do you do Nothing?" asked Pooh after he had wondered for a long time.
"Well, it's when people call out at you just as you're going off to do it, 'What are you going to do, Christopher Robin?' and you say, 'Oh, Nothing,' and then you go and do it. It means just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering."
"Oh!" said Pooh." 

— A.A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh)

( for those of you who love writing letters.... stamps are going up at
the end of the month so stock up soon)

Saturday, January 11, 2014


It was a grand Saturday  seeing my twin brother and sister and youngest
brother. My twin lives in NY, right where we grew up. He flew down for the 
weekend to go to a basketball game.My youngest brother usually gets to 
NY for a baseball game so this was my twin's turn. 

I started Mary Poppins, She Wrote : The Life of P.L. Travers on the ride 
back. We listened to Tim Keller sermons both ways. I feel full. 
Good food, good time, and good words. ND Wilson says in his book,
Death by Living that life needs to be spent. It was today. 

A great thought for writers from P.L. Travers: 

"During most of her childhood, Lyndon ( the L. in her name) was absorbed
by the experience of being a bird, brooding, busy, purposeful. She sat for hours , her arms clasped tightly around her body. 'She can't come in, she's laying, ' her family
and friends would say. ......The vision of herself as a mother hen suited Lyndon's 
theory that to write, one must brood......When interviewers spoke to her of inspiration,
she often said, ' I hate the word creative. Brooders. That's the word. I would say
there are brooders in life. That's why I've always had this attachment to hens and 
nests , not because of the egg, but the quiet brooding, pondering," In the kitchen 
of her last home in London, the dresser was covered with pottery hens. " 

This made me think upon my blogger friend , The Book of Common Life. 
She has Milk , one of her hens , on this post

My Christmas tree is still up and my blog headliner.
I will start with changing the headliner. 
Tree tomorrow. It was so cozy on the cold days to be in front of the fire 
and the tree twinkling.  I will miss it. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

First Monday

It is busy here.
How about where you are?
I am on my 4th load of laundry.
It feels like the former days : when the house was full.
Only 4 of us for laundry during the holidays .
I do love to do laundry & fold piles.

This Monday is bracing for a cold night. 
Flannel sheets on the beds.
Fire ready to be lit in the fireplace . 

" And now, let us welcome the NEW 
YEAR , full of things that have never been." Rilke

things that have never been-
love those words  

Friday, January 3, 2014

into the new year

I do like the even numbered years. 
This year starts with a Girls time with my sister. 
My only sister. 
Six brothers. 
We were outnumbered.
We stuck together. 

She is up at the coffee shop with my Emma. 
Her computer cannot get on wifi here. 
So odd. 
So Emma , who I am so glad is driving , went up 
 the street, then turn up the street to the 
coffee shop. Love this kind of times when there 
is time just for the two of them! My sister is our 
NYC travel companion.  

Watched all of the BBC shows and up to date like we 
lived in London.  Sherlock Holmes last night! It is good !
Will watch it again when it airs here. We had to wait 
for it to buffer so added 30 minutes to the show!! 
It is good. Yes, he is alive. 

Books to recommend:

new novel from  Shirley Hughes which is her first novel 
and I liked it.... for upper elementary and up to adults.
( like me) Great interviews of Shirley on the book site.

Her daughter's picture book:

adorable , funny book: 

 And a book I read in a few days over the holidays about a YEAR, yes, a year,
in the UK and Europe as a family. Starts in Oxford and I found myself quite