Saturday, July 26, 2014

And so to bed

Today I mowed the lawn.

I was going to write more about my day, and although the events were mundane, the writing would have been light and amusing, even witty. Take my word for it.

But I'm kind of tired, so forget it. Instead, good-night.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rain and Wind

I guess I was so tired the last time I posted that I took a 2-week break. We had a lengthy spell (several weeks) of hot weather (hot for Northwest Washington), but today we're getting well soaked with rain. That'll green up the lawn again.

My dad seems to be doing fine with his pacemaker.

I'm having good developments in my own life, but some of my friends and relatives are facing challenges. I have lots of reasons to pray for lots of people. I told one of them last Saturday night we should remember that when we don't know what to pray for the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groans too deep for words. Then the next day I went to church, and here was the text:

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)

The preacher pointed out that the text does not assume that most of the time we do know what to pray for but on those occasions when we don't the Holy Spirit intercedes for us; rather, it says simply, "We do not know what we ought to pray for." That's our state of being. And all the time the Spirit intercedes.

He also pointed out the Trinity in this passage: God the Father is listening to our prayers, God the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness and intercedes for us in accordance with God's own will, and God the Son, Jesus Christ, is "he who searches our heart" (cross reference Revelation 2:3: "I am he who searches hearts and minds"). The preacher suggested much of our praying should be listening for the Spirit to teach us the will of God so that we can pray for it. Also, that God chooses to act through the prayers of his saints -- thus we are his partners in accomplishing his will.

Good stuff.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Courage

Sooooooooooooooooooo tired. Saturday took my dad to the emergency room, and yesterday he had a pacemaker implanted to regulate his heartbeat. Today he came home. I've been spending a lot of time away from home, either at the hospital or with my mom at my folks' place. My sister-in-law (my hero) is still with my parents tonight.

I can remember an era when my bedtime was 8:30 p.m. I'm going to revisit that scene.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth

This evening I had a very relaxed, low-key celebration of the USA's Independence Day. My dad and mom came over, and so did my sister-in-law, and I made dinner: spaghetti, salad, warm French bread with butter. The spaghetti sauce was Prego traditional; I browned some mild Italian sausage meat to put in it. The French bread I simply buttered generously, wrapped in foil, and warmed up in the oven. My sister-in-law can't digest garlic, so I didn't make it garlic bread. The salad was a pre-made green salad, and I put out some different dressings, some croutons, and some sunflower seeds to put on it. For dessert, we had vanilla ice cream with raspberries and blueberries on it, to strike the red, white, and blue note. (I added chocolate syrup to mine, which has no symbolic significance. I just like chocolate.) The berries were local and in-season. The ice cream was from a local dairy business, Edaleen. My dad likes their ice cream the best, and he ought to know because he grew up on a dairy farm.

I had bought a nice Chianti to go with the spaghetti. While I was opening the bottle, I broke the cork, so that half was still left in the neck of the bottle. I went back in with the corkscrew, and when I managed to pull the remaining cork out, some wine splooshed out of the bottle, with some drops going on the floor and a few on my shirt. While sitting at the table, I at one point dipped my sleeve into the sauce on my plate. And during dessert, as I discovered afterward, I dribbled some chocolate on the neckline of my shirt and even inside my shirt on my bra. So, basically a typical meal for me.

My shirt and bra are in the washing machine even now.

Now it's later in the evening, and fireworks are popping all over the neighborhood. My dog, who is utterly neurotic about some things -- such as being left alone -- has no response at all to the booms and bangs. He is sleeping quietly.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Requesting quiet

This afternoon I went to the grocery store (Food Pavilion) and while I was shopping I noticed that the piped-in store music was instrumental and melodic, older tunes that I recognized but that were from my parents' era, sort of big-bandish. It was almost like Muzak, the store music of my youth. I liked it.

There are times when I'm in a grocery store and the music is so pounding that I think, Please. We're rocking out a bit too much, here.

Coincidentally, I recently read an article about supermarket music that linked to a much longer article by Mark Steyn about Alan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind. It contains this paragraph:

But Bloom is writing about rock music the way someone from the pre-rock generation experiences it. You’ve no interest in the stuff, you don’t buy the albums, you don’t tune to the radio stations, you would never knowingly seek out a rock and roll experience—and yet it’s all around you. You go to buy some socks, and it’s playing in the store. You get on the red eye to Heathrow, and they pump it into the cabin before you take off. I was filling up at a gas station the other day and I noticed that outside, at the pump, they now pipe pop music at you. This is one of the most constant forms of cultural dislocation anybody of the pre-Bloom generation faces: Most of us have prejudices: we may not like ballet or golf, but we don’t have to worry about going to the deli and ordering a ham on rye while some ninny in tights prances around us or a fellow in plus-fours tries to chip it out of the rough behind the salad bar. Yet, in the course of a day, any number of non-rock-related transactions are accompanied by rock music. I was at the airport last week, sitting at the gate, and over the transom some woman was singing about having two lovers and being very happy about it. And we all sat there as if it’s perfectly routine. To the pre-Bloom generation, it’s very weird—though, as he notes, “It may well be that a society’s greatest madness seems normal to itself.” Whether or not rock music is the soundtrack for the age that its more ambitious proponents tout it as, it’s a literal soundtrack: it’s like being in a movie with a really bad score.

I don't like loudness in general. I dislike it in restaurants when music plays so loudly that you have to bellow at the friends with whom you dine. It's not just loud music; I like less noise in general. I commute about half and hour each direction to work, and I generally don't turn on the radio. Even audio recordings of books get on my nerves after a while--this voice going on and on.

So I guess my attitude toward background music is: If you must have it, then let it be as unintrusive as possible.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Breather

This evening I planted some things. First, three snapdragons by the mailbox post.

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I saw these at Rite-Aid a  couple days ago, and they were such a beautiful glowing red color I couldn't resist. Some of them were flopping over, but I chose the three most upright ones there.

Then, two yellow rudbeckia.



My sister-in-law has some flowers much like this that she calls "brown-eyed Betty." I'm not sure mine are exactly the same, but they're close.

Next, I planted this purple salvia splendens.



I chose this one for its intense color, too.

All those were near the mailbox. Next, alongside the east side of the house, I planted two ornamental grass clumps of a kind called "sedge."





They were super-duper root-bound, so I hope they settle in okay. I tried to "stimulate" the roots (i.e., tear them loose) before I planted them, but they were really packed.

Finally, I planted five "woolly" sage plants by the guest room window.



In the spring, I had a big bush torn out of that place. It was a pretty bush, but I didn't want the window completely covered up, which it was doing.

Tomorrow I have guests coming, including my elderly parents, who both walk with canes, so I want to trim these bushes that are making the steps into an obstacle course.



However, I needed a break, so I came inside, drank lots of water, and edited these pictures, looked at Facebook, and so on until now it's too dark to work outside, so I'll have to do the trimming tomorrow. Meanwhile, there are plenty of tasks inside that I can do, most notably loading the dishwasher full of the dishes that are currently crowding my counter and sink. The wonderful thing about my home (dis)organization is that if you ever want to do housework, there are always plenty of jobs ready to do.