Thursday, December 28, 2017


In this week between Christmas and the start of a new calendar year, I thought about gift-giving. Today's thoughts were posted a couple of years ago. May they speak to you as thoughtfully now as when they were freshly minted.


If I could give each of you a gift, I’d wrap up four nice boxes and in each one there would be a word you could treasure the rest of your life.

In the first box I’d put Hope. Without hope in our lives, we can grow afraid of the future. It all looks bleak. Or endless nothing. Or terrifying. But with hope, we can see something greater than the fears we live with.

In the second box I’d put Peace. My favorite definition is on a mug I use to drink tea each day. It reads: “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

In the third box I’d put Joy. A few days ago I read in a small devotional book this thought: “Joy feels deeper than momentary pride, satisfaction, or relief. . . . A sense of joy brings deep contentment and is often expressed by gratitude for what we’ve been given.” (Lelanda Lee, author)

And in the fourth box I’d put Love. Love encompasses Hope; it brings Peace; and underneath all Joy you’ll find Love.


Hope you had a blessed Christmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2017


I hope you aren't disappointed that I'm not posting bone-chilling photos of deep snow in my neighborhood. One year I put up a yard stick and was appalled at how much snow covered the inches.

The reason I'm not posting those b-r-r pics is that I have none this year. The snow we had a week or so ago has, courtesy of La Nina, melted away.

Instead, we're having clear skies--low temps--and wind. I could show you the sky, but haven't quite got the hang of photographing low temps and wind. The effects I can do, but the below-freezing cold and biting wind . . .?

What I do have are the final two Christmas gifts to complete: a small reading pillow (travel pillow form covered in favorite colors of the recipient) and the last stage--binding and labeling--of a bed-size quilt. No pics of either project--they won't be delivered until next week.

The biggest "project" is preparation for my Minnesota daughter's visit. A little light cleaning and straightening up, meal planning (with attendant shopping for ingredients), and locating and dusting off the Christmas DVDs and CDs--arrival is Friday by suppertime.

Also am practicing music for Christmas Day when I'll play the organ at my church. Wonderful old familiar carols that we sing only once a year for a few Sundays and other services during the Christmas season.

Wrapping gifts has become less hectic than in former years. I'm still not crazy about gift bags--there's usually one gift that doesn't want to be bagged because it's too big or odd-shaped or just plain ornery--but I have come to appreciate the idea that I can find a pretty scene on a just-right size bag, coordinate it with some nifty tissue paper, and hand it to a waiting, excited, recipient. But I still enjoy wrapping a box or a soft, squashy something in bright Christmas paper and sticking it together with tape, maybe topping it with a pre-made bow, or just wrapping it around and around with yarn. (Plenty of yarn at my house!)

As an aside: Maybe the thing I don't like about gift bags is that there's no anticipation--no shaking of the package, no feeling the size and shape and trying to figure out What It Is. Gift bags, it seems to me, are synonymous with instant gratification: Whip out the tissue, delve into the bag, and hey-presto! There's your gift. (Remember, I'm a dinosaur.)

Another plus for wrapped gifts is the recipient's opportunity to test one's skill in un-wrapping the gift, seeing what's inside the box, then re-wrapping so Mom doesn't suspect it's been opened. At least one of my four kids brought that skill to Expert level. (You know who you are!)

I received one gift already--my Ohio daughter brought me this large box, taped shut; and on the outside was a picture of what is inside. But to make sure she hadn't rescued the box from the recycling bin and filled it with something totally at odds with the picture on the outside, I asked. No, she said, it's just what it looks like. So now I have a Cuisinart electric kettle! She's had one for years and I've always admired it. If you're in the neighborhood and gasping for a cup of tea, I can whip one up in very little time.

Then the next day I got another gift--talking about tea reminded me. It's a large silver safety pin, on which several small charms hang: a teacup on its saucer, a couple of bead arrangements in crystal and silver, a silver heart, a spoon, and a silver tea kettle. This was made by the mother of my knitting friend, Emily. (Emily's mother is one of the most talented women I've ever met--her mind teems with ideas and images that she turns into things of beauty.)

One gift I'd rather not receive is already on its way--'way below normal temps starting Christmas Day and running through most of that week. Highs in the teens don't really do much for me--and lows in single digits? If I could find an office to register my protest, I'd do it, but I think they're already closed for the holidays.

Those of us with warm houses and full pantries can be thankful . . . and we can pray for relief for folks so much less fortunate than we are. If you're in a place where you can serve at a shelter, now's your chance.


I know I used this quotation from Charles Dickens a couple of weeks ago, but it's so appropriate right now. 

By the time another Thursday rolls around, most of us will have had our big dinners and our gift-giving and our holiday visits. We will be in the time of honoring Christmas in our hearts.

Blessings on you for a meaningful Christmas Day and season . . . from Thursday's Child.

Thursday, December 14, 2017


If you're doing a countdown, this is Day 11 before Christmas arrives.

Like many people, I'm finding a Monday holiday--not the usual ones like Memorial Day or Labor Day or Somebody's Birthday Observance--to be a bit, um, inconvenient. 

Christmas on Monday means Christmas Eve is Sunday. There was a bit of head-scratching, I'm sure, among the folks who plan and schedule and make things happen for Sundays. My contribution to December 24th is to be a communion assistant at the 9:00 AM service. Although I would like to be part of the late night service, starting at 11:00 PM, I live far enough from the church to accept that driving at night, in uncertain weather, on a hilly and very dark route, may not be the best thing to do.

Christmas Day service at 9:00 AM on Monday will find me on the organ bench. I can't think of a better way, or place, to celebrate this holy day.

Last week's grumps have gone away. Maybe it was the arrival of snow, enough to cover the ground and give us the White Christmas feeling. Or maybe it was the cold--some nights in the very low teens or--{shiver, shiver}--single digits. (I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the grumps got frozen out. And it couldn't happen to a better group, I say.)

One of my projects is now in the hands of the woman who performs her artistic magic on my quilts and makes them a thing of beauty. Just delivering the quilt to her lifted a large load off my life.

Yesterday I delivered the first of my veggie trays to people I want to thank for keeping my life on track. Today I'll deliver three more, and the last two on Friday.

Christmas cards and letters have been written and mailed. 

So, you ask, what have I left undone?

Well--haven't watched any Christmas movies yet. 

Or listened to Christmas CDs.

Or baked any holiday cookies or breads or cakes.

Or  bought any special clothes or accessories to wear to gala occasions. (This might be because I don't to go any gala occasions.)

And that's all right, all of those things I haven't done. Because I still honor the season of Advent, a time of waiting and watching and preparation for the birth of a baby who changed the world.

Eleven more days . . . Time to finish delivering veggie trays. And find the last couple of gifts that have eluded me thus far. And in just over a week my Minnesota daughter arrives for a week's visit.

I wish you peace as you put the final touches on your Christmas celebrations.

Thursday, December 7, 2017


Do you remember an old song that went like this?
Grumpy the Dwarf

     If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands,
     If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands,
     If you're happy and you know it,
          then your life will surely show it,
     If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.

I'm singing a new verse, that goes something like this:

     If you're grumpy and you know it, frown and growl . . . .

There's no really good reason for my current grump. But there are a lot of little idiotic reasons. Such as:

--my credit card payment, mailed 10 days early, at the Post Office, didn't arrive at the company that processes payments
--the credit card company wants me to pay up--I'm holding out for the check to clear
--the wind has picked up again, gusting along at 35-45 mph; certainly cuts into my going out for errands and exercise sessions
--my sleep patterns--if I can dignify them with such a term--are all topsy turvy, through no fault of anybody I know
--days melt away and I don't know where they go

That's enough to give you the idea. You probably have your own list.

The reason I frown and growl is . . . I can't do anything about the above items. Except fret. Or frown. And growl. None of which does any good.

It's pretty bad when Mickey has
the grumps.
The weather thing--windy/cold/wet/cloudy stuff--can't change it, but I've decided how to handle that. If I have to stay home, I'll do yoga stretches for exercise. Or watch a fitness video on the computer. Or take a nap. I've even done some of my shopping online (I know, some people do ALL their shopping online)--but that requires using a credit card, which, as we know, needs to be paid, and if not paid, or not recognized by the company as paid, results in a nasty-nice email . . . .

Okay. Enough of that. If I can't change the way things happen, what can I do--really--to adjust my attitude? (I can't afford the professional Attitude Adjustment, so it'll be DIY.)

1. I can find somebody much worse off than I am and recognize just how blessed I am. (This might lead to feelings of superiority, so I'll look for something else.)
2. I can quit buying things online. And stop using credit cards. (Last I heard, cash still works.)
3. I can declare a moratorium on the grumps--one way to do that is to schedule the grumps, say, every Thursday at 2:15 AM, for 5 minutes.
4. I can read something funny--humor does a lot to shift my mood. But it has to be real humor, not satire or the sarks. Funny movies or TV shows can do the same thing.
5. I can complain (if I really, really must)  in my journal, thus protecting my family and friends from the contagion of the grumps.
6. I can do something nice for somebody else. (You're on your own with this one--my something nice might not be your something nice.)
7. I can play some upbeat music--Vince Guaraldi Trio's CD, A Charlie Brown Christmas, makes me want to dance. 

Writing about the grumps and knowing you're right here with me (you are, aren't you?) lightens the load. 

May your days be merry and bright, and may the grumps never visit your abode.

Linus can put a positive spin
on nearly everything.

Thursday, November 30, 2017


A week ago we celebrated Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. For the past month, many folks have taken the challenge to find 30 ways to express their gratitude. 

In my neighborhood, the day after turkey day signaled the lighting of the Christmas lights, inflating of  the snowmen/Santas/reindeer that crowd every lawn, and decorating of outside bushes and trees and fences with glittery garlands and bright bows.

On Monday I made a foray into necessary shopping (no gifts, just food and paper products and vitamins)--and was greeted by the Salvation Army bell ringers in the foyer of Walmart and Christmas music on the PA system.

I'm. Not. Ready.

I don't mean: Help, my gifts aren't done! Or, what am I going to get Aunt Martha? Or, the house will never be ready for the family gathering.

None of these scenarios apply to me.

I'm not ready: Not ready to celebrate. Not ready to sing carols about a babe born in a manger. Not ready to bake and make candy and write Christmas cards and fill stockings....

It's too early.

I treasure this time between the autumn harvest festival we call Thanksgiving Day and the approaching winter solstice celebration that heralds Christmas. These few weeks of darker and darker days slow me down. There's time to pause and reflect--what is this time all about, anyway? Have I learned anything about myself and my relationship to the society I live in, and the people I know? Am I part of the eternal gift-buying, gift-getting? Does the idea of a Christmas gathering--a party by any other name--sound inviting?

Some people wonder if I've reached curmudgeon status. I say, not yet. I'm not bah-humbugging my way through the store. I'm not avoiding my relatives and friends. It's just--well, as Winston Churchill says, a time of reflection. 

So here are some thoughts about Christmas, and the celebration thereof for your own reflection:

God never gives someone a gift they are not capable of receiving. If he gives us the gift of Christmas, it is because we all have the ability to understand and receive it. 
     --Pope Francis

Christmas is a bridge. We need bridges as the river of time flows past. Today's Christmas should mean creating happy hours for tomorrow and reliving those of yesterday. 
     --Gladys Taber

Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won't make it 'white'. 
     --Bing Crosby


And for a light-hearted view:

One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly. 
     --Andy Rooney

What I don't like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.
     --Phyllis Diller

Wherever you live, however you celebrate Christmas (if you do), keep an open heart. Look for blessings.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Blessings from
     Thursday's Child

Thursday, November 16, 2017


If it's rainy/damp/chilling/windy where you hang out, you'll feel right at home with today's visit from Thursday's Child.

Yesterday I had lunch at a favorite local restaurant, where they serve what a friend of mine calls "tavern food," like Swiss Steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans/corn/broccoli, and then there's a blue million sides you can choose from, and another dozen or so pies (or apple dumplings, now that the weather has changed).

One of my favorite meals there is chili--homemade, not too spicy, full of beef and beans and thick, and stove-hot. I even ate a couple of saltines (not gluten-free, but the only thing I'd put in such a heavenly chili.

To help you plan your shopping list or menus for the next few days, consider some of the following choices. They'll warm the cockles of your heart! (Whatever those are!)

(probably serves 6, if you add corn muffins on the side)

2 pounds ground beef, or whatever you have
1 32-ounce can chili beans
      3 6.5-ounce cans tomato sauce
      1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
      1 package chili seasoning

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir beef in the hot skillet until browned and crumbly, 5 to 7 minutes; drain.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Ready to serve.
You can add extra chili powder, if your taste demands it. But that makes 6 ingredients!

(serves 4-6, depending on appetites and how cold the day is)

2 c. (or more) leftover cooked chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-in. pieces
2 cans Bush's Beans for White Chili
Chicken broth, as needed for thickness you like
Small can (about 4 oz.) green chilis

The most work you have to do is cutting the chicken into little pieces. If you don't have leftover chicken, you can use canned. Or you can cook some chicken breasts and cut them up later.

The Bush's Beans contain all the seasonings--read the label; Bush's makes something for every taste!

Put all the ingredients in a soup pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let it simmer a while. Stir whenever you think of it. Since everything is cooked, it doesn't take long.

This one is great in a slow cooker, on LOW. Great to come home to....

(serves 6 or more--depending on how much you use of everything)

1 large can chicken (27-oz. size)
1 or 2 bags frozen mixed vegetables for soup
Seasonings: chopped onion/celery, minced garlic; salt and pepper to taste; herbs, if you like them
Quart of chicken broth or stock

This is another one for the slow cooker. Start it on HIGH in the morning, reduce to LOW if you're leaving the house, and it's ready for supper. For the above size can of chicken, add 1 c. uncooked white rice. Check later to see if more broth is needed.

If you prefer brown rice, cook it before adding to the soup.

If you don't want the rice, try quinoa or small pieces of pasta.

After several hours in a slow cooker, the rice or pasta may disintegrate; that's okay, because it thickens the soup.

You can also add frozen spinach or kale late in the cooking process for extra nutrition.

All three of these soups freeze well. I make one batch per month, then freeze in serving size boxes.

And as a plus, you can always substitute leftover turkey (light or dark) for the chicken. Saves you trying to figure out what to do with all the turkey people didn't eat at the holiday dinner. I recall getting tired of turkey sandwiches day after day.

By this time next week you'll either be back in bed after getting that monster turkey in the oven at some stupid hour of the night or you'll be enjoying a lazy late breakfast. See you then!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Brick quilt in
horizontal arrangement

I've long been a fan of the Tony Hillerman Navajo mysteries, featuring Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Sgt. Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police. The setting is the U.S. Southwest area known as the Four Corners--where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado meet. 

One of the attractions of these stories is the interweaving of Navajo culture. Jim Chee yearns to be a hataalii or medicine man. Yet he understands that his job as a policeman is philosophically opposed to the beliefs and practices of a shaman. Chee is a traditional Navajo.

Joe Leaphorn, somewhat older than Chee, is sometimes described as a pragmatic Navajo or an agnostic. His wife was traditional; and though Leaphorn knows the culture's mythology and beliefs, he cannot completely embrace them.

An ongoing theme in the series is Chee's desire to be a shaman--also called a singer--who performs healing ceremonies. Here is the important part of the concept: HEALING is understood to be a restoring of the patient to harmony--returning him/her to the beauty of the Navajo way. In the case of terminal illnesses, restoring the patient to harmony before death can bring peace.

[As an aside: Other ceremonies performed by the shamans are indeed for the curing of certain conditions, such as traumas experienced by military personnel who return to their lives in the Navajo culture; others are for blessing.]

Many years ago I was introduced to another kind of healing service in the church. It was explained to us that this is not about curing a disease or condition; it is about reconciling the person to God.
Brick quilt in
vertical arrangement

Much as the Navajo longs for a return to harmony, to beauty, the healing service in the church where I worship now achieves the same sense of returning to one's original relationship with God. We might call that harmony. Or beauty.

About the same time I understood the difference between healing and curing, I discovered people I knew who were facing surgeries or treatments for cancer. And in the convoluted way that our own experiences meet and transform each other and intertwine, the concept of a healing quilt was born.

During my recovery at the hospital after my own surgery for cancer, my youngest daughter brought a quilt she had purchased at an estate sale, and placed it on my bed, to keep me company. She knew my interest in making quilts. She knew my grandmother had made many, many quilts in times past. 

I don't remember what that healing quilt looked like--it seems to live in memory as a blue and white quilt, with some red squares here and there. It had been well-used by its former owner, and had the softness of age.

But I do remember the sense of that quilt being there in the hospital with me for a purpose--just for me--no one else had one like it.

Since that time, I have made many healing quilts. They're made with love and prayer. They're made especially for one person, often in the colors they love or with which they decorate their homes. If possible, I make the quilt before the person has surgery.

Healing quilts are larger than lap size--usually 50x60 inches. I use three different patterns--a brick design in horizontal rows; a larger brick design in vertical rows; and two-inch strips. 

The healing quilts make no claims to cure illness; rather, they carry a message of love and good wishes and comfort and caring by the maker.

Recent healing quilt for a
friend at church

Thursday, November 2, 2017


Another week of variety . . . some things cancelled, others rescheduled for someone else's convenience; changes I could do nothing about, some I initiated myself.

For example:

Yesterday I changed my calendars (8 altogether) to a new month. Did you? Of course you did. So now we're all on the same calendar page, into the 11th month of the year. The joy for me in keeping 8 calendars (one in each room, basically) is seeing a new picture--sometimes nature, sometimes barns, sometimes family faces. One is based on Charles Schulz's Peanuts characters and there's a 4-block strip at the bottom of each month's page. November reports Woodstock, Snoopy's buddy, has decided to fly south for the winter--Woodstock then flies up and over Snoopy, lands on the other end of the dog house, and Snoopy says, "two and a half feet south."

Also yesterday I drove my friend Jane to the hospital for her colonoscopy; that turned into an all-morning event, as I waited for her to wake up after the procedure. While I waited, I wrote notes in two get-well cards and one (belated) birthday card; and I started a letter to my Arizona daughter. My current book reading is a nearly-500-pager from the library, hardback, newly minted in September this year, so I didn't want to risk spilling coffee on it or (gasp!) leaving it at the hospital. (More on the book below.)

Another of my self-initiated events, ongoing, is changing clothes--not just taking off nighttime clothes and putting on daytime clothes, but changing what's in the closet I use most. Little by little, corduroy slacks, heavy jeans, long-sleeved shirts, and sweaters/jackets/lined sweatshirts are front and center. Spring and summer wear migrates to the out-of-season closet. I know there are a few days of Indian Summer coming soon; I can suffer through that 60-degree temp easily--just take off a layer.

Reading: My current book is called The Woman Who Smashed Codes, by Jason Fagone. The subtitle reads: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America's Enemies.

The "unlikely heroine" is Elizebeth Smith Friedman--9th child of a Quaker couple, who went on to become one of the first codebreakers to work for the government. In 1917, she and her new husband, William Friedman, began codebreaking, and went on to decode messages for various government departments. Eventually Elizebeth worked for the Coast Guard and William for the Army. (And yes, Elizebeth is the correct spelling.)

If you like true stories about how our country survived during wartime, this is a book you might want to look for. The time span is 1917 into the 1950s. And the story could only be written at the present time because much of the information has been declassified recently, some of it within the past few years.

Another book you might like: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This is a novel, told in letters and telegrams. It has a light-hearted appeal, but is definitely a serious story. Time frame: 1946, just after the end of WW II; Guernsey was occupied by German troops for 5 years prior to war's end. (If your geographic knowledge is about like mine, I'll tell you--Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands, between England and France.)

I've settled the burning question of what to do about Christmas gifts this year. Since some of my family read this blog, I'm revealing no details. I mention it only to celebrate the removal of one thing from my always-full plate!

Hope your days are happy and filled with good things to do. As our season winds down and more hours of darkness show up, try to keep yourself from hibernating. Turn on more lights, if that helps you. Read some good books. Have a cup of tea or coffee with a friend. Or--if you really want to go retro--write a letter, by hand! Quite liberating!

Thursday, October 26, 2017


We're one month into our three-month season of Autumn, and in my neck of the woods, we're only just now getting real fall color in the leaves.

There are plenty of naked trees already; they lost their leaves early in the month. My back yard is filling up, but I'm sad to say they aren't the usual lovely gold, bigger-than-my-hand maple leaves that I've had year after year. On a cloudy day, I could look out and be tricked into thinking the sun was shining--those leaves reflected such brilliant light.

Last night's low was at or near 31 degrees, and tonight's won't be much higher. A quilt on the bed makes for a good night's sleep. Hot soup makes a substantial lunch, especially the thick kind with plenty of chicken, veggies, and rice. In a few days, I'll think about baking again--those banana brownies from last year are calling my name.

Here's a poem for you--not an autumn poem, exactly--but one I've always liked. Hope you do, too.


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference.

                                                             --Robert Frost

Thursday, October 19, 2017


Some weeks are in the Super class. Some weeks are, let's face it, the pits. And some are just in-between/okay/nothing special.

In the week since our last visit, I've had several good things happen. Such as:

Last Saturday I drove to Ohio to make strawberry jam with my daughter. We had a delicious time! There was--amazingly!--a little left in the pan after we filled all the jars, so we sampled it with toast with our lunch. Homemade strawberry jam--to die for!

The Tree Man, Dan, came with his helpers and trimmed back several large limbs on one of my big maples. The operation removed some already pulpy limbs; others had overgrown their boundaries and were threatening cars parked nearby. The best news was that what's left (it's a very big tree, obviously old) is quite healthy and should withstand further storms.

An email notified me that some gluten-free cookies I'd ordered will be shipped tomorrow, a good two-to-three weeks early! [Note: They came yesterday! I sampled them this morning while I wrote in my journal. Gluten-free shortbread--excellent with coffee.]

Yesterday, my quilting buddy, Jane, and I took a road trip; we went to Shipshewana, in the middle of Amish country, for a look-around at Yoder's Department Store (definitely department store--lots of everything, including plenty of our favorite thing--fabric). I found exactly the colors of flannel I needed for more NICU blankets. Jane picked out great print fabrics for pillow cases that will go to Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis.
A Tiffany's special--Tues & Thurs

Our road trip included lunch at Tiffany's, a home-cooking, family style, mostly Amish restaurant in Topeka, Indiana. My grilled chicken salad (the chicken is grilled, not the lettuce, you understand) was so large, I didn't eat much supper last night. I won't say we go to Shipshewana (only a few miles from Topeka) in order to eat at Tiffany's, but the two go together like a horse and carriage.

Work on a healing quilt is nearly at an end. Only a few more finishing touches and I can deliver it to a church friend who had a cancerous kidney removed. After it goes to its new home, I'll post a photo of the quilt.

I've now made some decisions about Christmas gifting in my family. This has been a frustrating subject for several weeks, mainly because no ideas rose up and demanded to be The One Best Gift for whoever. 

Another deciding factor--besides time slipping away rather quickly--is that I've been asked to sub on the organ for the Christmas Day service. I couldn't say yes quick enough--that's my all-time favorite service to play. Now I have a few weeks to go through Christmas music from years gone by and pick out the piecesI want to play during the service, in addition to the hymns and carols already chosen.

Outside my window as I write this, the sun is making long shadows in my neighbor's yard; trees are dancing a little in the breeze. The temp made it into the upper 60s by late afternoon. Grass is still green, and, alas, so are the leaves. We haven't had enough cold weather or a hard enough frost to color the leaves (so I've been told) and the ones that are falling are either all brown or still green.

But the sky is that pure October blue I love. 

Life is still good.

Thursday, October 12, 2017


 I'm a little late reporting my reading for the past three months, so here's the score:

16 mysteries (all re-reads)
  1 non-fiction (a new quilting book)

12 mysteries (again, re-reads)
  3 non-fiction (another new quilting book and two memoirs)

  6 mysteries (yes, re-reads)
  1 sci-fi
  1 non-fiction

Total for 3 months: 40

The two memoirs are: 

What Comes Next and How to Like It, by Abigail Thomas
  Abigail Thomas would not be everybody's cup of tea, but I was entertained by her rapid-fire short pieces that chronicled a long friendship.

Leaving Church, by Barbara Brown Taylor
 Taylor is an Episcopal priest who left parish work for a different kind of ministry. I'm told that she later returns to parish ministry so I'm looking forward to the next volume. She's another one who doesn't pull any punches--her life is not always exemplary, and she doesn't gloss over any of it.

The non-fiction in September was The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, by Daniel James Brown
 There's a lot of information about rowing, but if you can plow through it, you'll hit gold yourself when you practically sit in the boat during the Olympics. The story follows all nine boys in the boat from their early years to college, through their training, and on to the Olympics, then afterward. Lots of good photos. And if you know anything at all about history, you'll appreciate what they did in a difficult time. Olympics in 1936 Berlin? 

Mysteries are from my own bookshelves: W. J. Burley (Supt. Wycliffe series); Agatha Christie (Miss Marple); L. A. Taylor (various stand-alones); Josephine Tey (also various titles); Jacqueline Winspear (Maisie Dobbs series).

Here's an update on our local library, damaged by fire on July 2nd:

Restoration has begun. Restorers have estimated 95% of the furniture can be restored. Paintings also. Books will be treated in special rooms of ozone (there may be other treatment as well).

In the meantime, a temporary library location is now operating out of a retail store area recently vacated. All new purchases by the library (they are constantly purchasing new materials in all media) will be catalogued and then available at the temp library.

In addition, Evergreen Indiana--God bless them!--makes it possible for patrons to visit other nearby libraries who are also in the Evergreen program--to browse, check out, and then return either to the library where the material originated or--easy-peasy--to our own library system! What I miss most of all is browsing--actually picking up a book, reading the covers, the inside flaps, starting the first page (if the author doesn't catch me by page 3, I'm probably not going to be caught later on). Now--browsing is back!

Last I heard, estimates for restoration of the original facility extend to around 12 months. That's next summer. Something to look forward to!

Autumn is slowly arriving in all its usual garb--not so colorful this year, at least not yet, so there's hope for a little while longer. We're hovering around the 50-degree mark, with frequent periods of rain--then whole days of sunshine and wind--then back to clouds and, eventually, rain. The last of the summer flowers are having a final fling, and the chrysanthemums are taking up the slack. In the meantime, the rain keeps the grass green.

Have a blessed week!

Last year's beauty