Sunday, November 23, 2014

Meditation



“Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is and the tree is the real thing.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Friday, November 21, 2014

Gannets by Mary Oliver


I am watching the white gannets 
blaze down into the water 
with the power of blunt spears
 and a stunning accuracy— even 
though the sea is riled 
and boiling and gray with fog 
and the fish are nowhere to be seen, 
they fall, 
they explode into the water like white gloves,
 then they vanish, then they climb out again,
 from the cliff of the wave,
 like white flowers— and still 
I think that nothing in this world 
moves but as a positive power— 
even the fish, 
finning down into the current
or collapsing in the red purse of the beak,
 are only interrupted 
from their own pursuit 
of whatever it is that fills their bellies—
 and I say:
 life is real, and pain is real,
 but death is an imposter, 
and if I could be what once I was, 
like the wolf or the bear
 standing on the cold shore, 
I would still see it—
 how the fish simply escape,
 this time, 
or how they slide down
 into a black fire for a moment, 
then rise from the water
 inseparable from the gannets’ wings.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Goals for Next Week


Quilting
     Layer and baste quilt--done

Reading
    The Fall of the House of Dixie by Bruce Levine--finished. Excellent. 
     The Last Kashmiri Rose by Barbara Cleverly

Cooking
    Tuna Salad Sandwiches, Veggie Tray--done. 
    Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup
    Thanksgiving--done

Home
     Hang Italian Door Pictures 
     Garage--vacuum cobwebs and wash windows and blinds

Personal
     Learn how to use iPhone camera and how to post pictures to FB and blog
     The Barber of Seville. NYC Met simulcast to AMC theater--done







Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Around OakMeadows


Around OakMeadows

Well, here we are, not even Thanksgiving and we've already had some freezing nights.  I saw a Weather Channel map showing the Jet Stream looping all the way down to just above us.  I have read that as the Arctic warms, the Jet Stream becomes more unstable. Anyway, it's been cold.  The good thing about the cold weather is that the kittens have become very affectionate.  Everyone wants to nap on a warm lap. 

I have about decided that I will quilt the monster queen sized quilt myself. But I will violate my cardinal rule and start my next baby quilt before finishing my current project. That means I will have to get JMM to layer and pin the blasted thing so that I can baste it and then quilt it. Never, ever, ever again will I get carried away and make a big quilt! Never!

I've been cooking cold weather food-- Cassoulet and cornbread, Potato-Leek Soup, and banana nut bread. It is nice to not sweat while cooking.  And besides cold weather soups and stews make the house smell so nice and cozy. 

I am still plowing through The Fall of the House of Dixie by Bruce Levine. It is really good; I had never realized the opposition to the war within the Southern states. Good to know that not everyone wanted to go sacrifice so that the rich planters could continue with their slaves and entitlements. Well written, I will write a review after I finish it. At the other end of the spectrum was Stitches by Anne Lamott. Her first book was really good but it has been downhill after that.  Stitches had absolutely no point, no cohesion, no organization, and finally nothing to say. I read it in a day and a half thinking there must surely be some point somewhere, there wasn't.  I've just started The Last Kashmiri Rose by Barbara Cleverly. It is set in the last days of the Indian Raj, a time and place I know nothing about. But her writing is so clear and descriptive that I feel like I'm there in the heat and smelling the smells. Excellent so far. 

We went to the Houston Symphony last week. They have a Sugar Land Series where they perform at Sugar Land Baptist Church and we have tickets for the series of 3 performances. This was the first and was Beethoven's Fifth Symphony preceded by two other pieces. Excellent. Next month we will go to the Symphony and Chorale as they perform Handel's Messiah. I am looking forward to that. 

I haven't been contacted by GB again about our committee to find our member of BHS Class of 1965 since he showed me the shared data base. I am still in shock over Janie Clark's death. What a beautiful, sweet girl she was!

We were supposed to meet P&W&C&B for lunch at DiBella's in Galveston tomorrow but Paul has a full court docket tomorrow morning. So we will meet at Gringo's on Friday instead. 

All is quiet around OakMeadows.  Most of the birds have left and the goldfinches haven't arrived. JMM took the last hummingbird feeder down. But the raccoons, possums, and deer are still plentiful. I suspect we have an armadillo that is responsible for rooting up my path around the birdbaths and feeders.  The mockingbirds still have plenty of beauty berries and pyracantha to feast on. JMM said he saw a kestrel the other day. 

That's all the news from OakMeadows where the women are all retired, the men are busy with stamps, and the cats are all above average affectionately. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Goldfinches by Mary Oliver


In the fields 
we let them have— 
in the fields we don’t want yet— 
where thistles rise 
out of the marshlands of spring,
 and spring open— 
each bud a settlement of riches— 
a coin of reddish fire— 
the finches wait for midsummer, 
for the long days, 
for the brass heat, 
for the seeds to begin 
to form in the hardening thistles, 
dazzling as the teeth of mice, 
but black,
filling the face of every flower. 
Then they drop from the sky.
 A buttery gold, 
they swing on the thistles, 
they gather the silvery down,
 they carry it in their finchy beaks 
to the edges of the fields, 
to the trees, 
as though their minds 
were on fire with the flower 
of one perfect idea— 
and there they build 
their nests and lay their pale- blue eggs, 
every year, 
and every year the hatchlings wake 
in the swaying branches,
 in the silver baskets, 
and love the world. 
Is it necessary to say any
more?
 Have you heard them singing 
in the wind, 
above the final fields? 
Have you ever been 
so happy 
in your life?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Class Reunion


I graduated from Ball High School in Galveston in 1965. I enjoyed high school and look back on it with many happy memories.  Our 50th class reunion will be next year and there is already a committee of go-getters organizing things. I have volunteered to help on the committee trying to locate as many class members as possible. With Facebook and all the social media and many other resources online, we have a better chance of locating people than ever before. Yesterday, GB, who is the person heading this committee walked me through the Google shared data base that we are all working on.   There were over 300 names of our classmates listed on a Excel spreadsheet. Those that we have a confirmed address/phone number/email are highlighted in yellow and those who are deceased are highlighted in red. It was a bit unnerving to see how many of my classmates are highlighted red.  I knew about several of them but there were others that it was a total surprise to me to learn that they were dead.  I guess after 50 years it shouldn't be surprising but still. In another 50 years we will all be highlighted in red. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Around OakMeadows


We went to the Butterfly Festival in Mission, Tx which is located down in the Rio Grande Valley.  The weather was perfect and JMM and I had just a wonderful time. I'll bet you didn't know we have a National Butterfly Center--I sure didn't know that.  But thanks to Michelle and her beautiful blog Ramblingwoods.com, I have really gotten into butterflies. I joined the North American Butterfly Association some months back and they sent me the information about the National Butterfly Center and the Butterfly Festival. I have never, ever seen so many butterflies--literally hundreds--in one place. JMM took a day long field trip on landscaping for butterflies and I took a class on Butterfly Basics where we went all over the NBC with a guide identifying the butterflies and the native plants they were feeding on.  One of the guides had just celebrated his 85th birthday and other than being a bit hard of hearing, he was fit as a fiddle and certainly knew his butterflies.  There was an evening program on Moths that I hope to attend next year. There are, unfortunately, no photos because my camera is shot and I am still waiting for my new iPhone 6P.  So no photos until next year. 

We have moved into much cooler weather here. It is nothing compared to what is going on up north but for us Southern wimps--it is COLD.  I moved all the succulents indoors yesterday and the ones that are too big, I moved them to be sheltered from the wind and gave them a thorough watering.  My sweet cats are extraordinarily affectionate in cold weather. Nice to have a warm purring cat on my lap!! Another good thing about cold weather is that it is soup and stew weather. Tomorrow I am making cassoulet in the slow cooker and maybe a pan of cornbread. 

Speaking of water, we had to have a new hot water heater installed. We have been living on borrowed time with the old water heater for a year so it was expected.  There are 3 temperature settings on the new one so we had it set to the middle setting. Yikes! We were used to the old heater that produced rather warm water when turned all the way on so it was a shock to get into the shower with really, really hot water!  Had to turn it down to the low setting. I cannot imagine how scalding the high setting must be. 

I have been very frustrated with the quilt I am working on because of its size. Now that I am trying to handle the queen sized monster, I remember why I have only been making baby or lap quilts. I am considering paying someone to machine quilt it for me just to get finished with it so I can go back to my baby quilts. Ack!

Anyway, that's all the goings on around OakMeadows for now.