Saturday, July 30, 2011

Further stitching

Well, I sat on the couch with my leg up, the TV remote, a glass of water, the phone, and my stitchery. I bought this project, which will one day be a pillow, in October 2010 and  started it in November. In February 2011, I posted a picture after I finished the yellow rose and bud, and now I have finished one red rose as well, and a bit more of the leaves.

What a revoltin' development

I haven't written for a couple days because I haven't felt that well--I have a bad leg. I did have a sore knee, then I rubbed an ointment on it, intending to soothe the ache. Instead I got a severe allergic reaction to the ointment to the point that my knee is covered with a weeping rash and my whole leg is swollen. So on this lovely summer Saturday, I'm limping around the house trying to think of ways to elevate my leg while still sitting comfortably. How I wish I had just stuck with Advil and Tylenol.

However, I am happy to report that I did see a hummingbird at my feeder this morning. It probably is a question of happening to look out the window at the right moment. I usually have a book or my Kindle in front of my eyes.

Currently reading on my Kindle: Mansfield Park. When all else fails, read Jane Austen.

I'm also following my sister to Alaska--vicariously, via her trip blog.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Overcoming sloth

Remember that old prose-poem, "Footprints in the Sand"? This is sort of like a short video of that.



Yeah, I know I posted this video on Facebook already. So what?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Stormy

Windy weather with a few drops of rain. Almost felt like autumn. I didn't mind because I found the cool refreshing.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Another Sunday night

The weekend is almost over. Tomorrow morning will be Monday. I feel okay about it.

It is just a little over three weeks until I get some family visitors I am very excited about and take some vacation time to enjoy their visit.

In other news, over the weekend I looked at various templates for this blog, but ended up just changing the font of this one to a larger size.

Currently reading on the Kindle: False Colours, by Georgette Heyer. I'm on a Georgette Heyer kick.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday

I sat out on the deck this morning for my morning coffee and pop tart (brown sugar cinnamon). The sun was so strong, it was really too warm to sit out, but I put on a hat to shade my eyes and a tank top to expose my arms and sat there anyway to read and consume. I finished reading a little essay I bought on my Kindle (a "Kindle single") called "Jesus Is My Gardener," by Wade Graham. He's a landscaper in Los Angeles, California, and the essay concerns Jesus (Jesús), the head of his lawn maintenance crews. Jesus and his fellow workers are from Mexico. It's a good little essay.


While I was sitting, reading, eating, sipping, my dog was outside with me, on his chain. Several times I heard a noise and looked up to see he had wandered around a couple posts, tangled up his chain, and was stuck. So I would have to put down my book and my coffee cup and go drag him around the posts in the opposite direction he had wound himself, to get him free. When he gets stuck he just stands and looks at me. He's helpless but hopes and trusts I will come rescue him.

Now I am going to drive to Muddy Waters coffee stand to buy a 16-ounce latte with a package of raw sugar for my dad, a 12-ounce mocha for my mom, and a 16-ounce mocha for myself, and I will sit and visit with my parents. Perhaps one of my out-of-state siblings will call while I'm there and I'll get on an extension and join the conversation.

Sometime this weekend my niece and I hope to go see the Harry Potter movie.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hitting the hay

Well, I guess I'll make an early night of it. I did sit on my deck in the cool of the evening, until the cool became chilly. Now, "It's time to hit the hay," as my grandma used to say.

Reading The Grand Sophy on my Kindle.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Workaday

Hm, well. I drove to work. I worked. I took a lunch break. I worked. I drove home from work. What is there to say?

On my lunch break I did wander over to the Wednesday farmers market on the Village Green behind Village Books in Fairhaven. I think 70-80 percent of the booths were organic vegetables. They were clean, large, beautiful vegetables, but I did not buy any.  There are a few food stands, but I packed my lunch in my purse. For two weeks after my job changed, I bought my lunches wherever I found a place, but those "Weeks of Spending Foolishly" are over, and it's back to my sandwiches from home.

I still haven't quite figured out what to do with myself on my lunch hour in my new work location. I basically want to sit someplace comfortable and secluded and read a book while I eat. I haven't found the perfect place yet. It may end up being my car.

Fairhaven is a hilly district and my knees have felt the inclines.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Good music

This is the hymn I sang on the drive home this evening. I only could remember the first verse and most of the third. The version below has a verse I've never heard before but like very much:

'Tis mystery all: th' Immortal dies!
Who can explore his strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
to sound the depths of love divine.
'Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
let angel minds inquire no more.
'Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
let angel minds inquire no more.



I also like the way they repeat the last two lines of the verse. I've been accustomed to sing the last two lines of the 1st verse (Amazing love! How can it be / that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?) as a chorus after each of the next verses.

This hymn brings to mind so many great passages from the New Testament. Jesus emptying himself of all but love: Philippians 2:5-11; waking, being flooded with light and having the chains fall off: Acts 12:5-10; the surprised gratitude for salvation, so very Pauline, as in I Timothy 1:12-17; and the no condemnation and approaching the throne boldly: Romans 8 and Hebrews 4:16.

Here's an article about the hymn that I found by googling, plus it has yet another verse. Yay!

Monday, July 18, 2011

E = - (W * t)2

Long day at work means short post on the blog.

The formula above is supposed to mean "Energy equals the opposite of work multiplied by hours, squared." It's a riff on E = mc2 (I don't think I can do superscript letters in blogger).

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Standing in the need of prayer

“Prayer is as vital as the air we breathe. If we don’t pray, we die—spiritually, that is.” Moses Chung, Director of Christian Reformed Home Missions.

I think almost every Christian would agree with this, yet how difficult to be faithful in prayer--at least for me.

This morning my allergies were bothering me a bit, and I considered staying home from church, but I went--albeit quite late. I am preoccupied with my work situation and I was reminded just by being in church and participating in the Lord's Supper, that my faith is not a means to the end of accomplishments in the workplace, but my work is a means to the end of becoming the person God wants me to be and living the life he wants me to live.

Ephesians 4:28 gives as job motivation: "doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need." That's a bit simpler than some of the career plans we sometimes make.

Waiting to see how things will turn out, I can remember that Joel Boot presents two comforting passages, one from the Bible, Jeremiah 29:11 (which by the way was in a letter Jeremiah sent to the Jewish people who had been defeated by the Babylonians, seen Solomon's temple destroyed, the David-descended king made a shameful captive, and themselves taken away from the Promised Land into exile):

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

And a poem by the mother of the poet Sietze Buning (pen name of Stanley Wiersma), which I too have read and loved:

Amen, Father, on your planning.
Amen, for you’ll see us through.
Amen, when the cross lies heavy,
Amen everything you do.

God spoke to me through our denomination's magazine, The Banner, tonight. May I have ears to hear.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Funny weather

It was cloudy, rainy, and cool most of the day, with on and off not-very-hard rain. Around 5:00 or 6:00 p.m., the sun came out. Around 7:00 p.m. some thunder peals and several short but heavy downpours. Then it felt kind of muggy.

It has been a little muggy the last few days, which is not the usual feel for Western Washington. In spite of the fact that it's a rainy climate, we don't usually have hot, humid weather. We're usually either cool and misty or warm and sunny.

Last March at the Home and Garden Show, a guy who was talking about solar power said that around here we get as many hours per year of sunshine as some other places we think of as sunnier, but the thing is we get the majority of the sunshine in July and August, which are our driest months, plus the days are still long, especially in July.

However, this has been a less sunny July than usual. I am not too bothered. I was bothered by the very late spring, how it was rainy and cold day after day until the end of June. But after a few hot, sunny days I'm always ready for a few days of rain again.

I just heard thunder again. We get one or two thunderstorms per year in the Pacific Northwest, which generally are not the violent thunderstorms they see in the Midwest in their summers.

Thunder used to freak out my cats, but it doesn't seem to bother my dog. Only three things make my dog agitated: the sight of another dog, the sight of a cat, and the sight of a mailman/delivery man (Fed Ex, UPS, etc.). He also will give a growl and bark if he hears someone come into the house until he can verify that it is someone he knows, like me or my parents, but he doesn't go absolutely bonkers like he does for the dog/cat/mailman.

Explanation

The reason my yesterday's post is called "Roger wilco" is because I felt like my body was sending me a message that I needed to go to sleep. "Roger" means "message received in full," and "wilco" means "will comply." I was saying that I had received the message from my body and would comply. But I was so sleepy I forgot to say so.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Roger wilco

I am literally falling asleep at my computer desk. A full work week, a Friday night visit to my sister-in-law, and now it must be to bed.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Good things come to those who wait

Ever since Monday I've been waiting, and now it's almost here: Friday. I've noticed that if you wait long enough, the weekend comes back. It only stays a short time, but then you wait some more and it comes again. My job stress goes up and down, day by day and sometimes hour by hour.

To comfort myself, I have turned to Georgette Heyer. First I read The Reluctant Widow, which I already had on my Kindle, and now I have downloaded The Talisman Ring. Well enough written to be a pleasure, witty enough to be funny, light enough to soothe.

In the spirit of counting my blessings, I'll mention that I answered a telephone survey this evening for some research group regarding health issues of Washingtonians. Based on the questions they asked me, I'm glad I don't have heart problems or a stroke, that I have not been the victim of domestic violence, that I don't struggle to be able to buy sufficient food, and that various other unpleasant things have not happened to me. In spite of my stress over my current job situation, I really am blessed.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A good word

Monday I was down, but Tuesday and today were better. And today a co-worker gave me a nice compliment that made my day.

Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. Proverbs 12:25

Life is short and we have not much time for gladdening the hearts of those who travel the way with us. Oh, be swift to love! Make haste to be kind. Henri Amiel

Kindness.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Right Field

Went to a get-together of Calvin Alumni this evening (that was the good part of today). I reminisced about my softball career and someone recommended I look up this song.



My experience was like that, except for the happy ending.

The bright side

Today at work was very much a Monday. Too much. But the evening was better.

The good thing about Monday: things can only get better.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Leit-Motif

There should be a word for this. It's where a thought, idea, image, phrase, verse, or something of that nature keeps recurring in different contexts, so that you feel God is bringing it to your attention. Like you sing a song while you're alone in your car, then on Sunday at church it's one of the songs in the service. Or the preacher preaches on a passage, then later that week the same verse comes up in a devotional. So here are some things that fit that description for me about now, which I share with you in case what God has to say to me is not for me alone:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saturday musings

Ah, the weekend. Blessed Saturday, the morning of no alarm clock (other than the dog). Slept until I woke up naturally, walked the dog in the sunshine, ate breakfast on the deck with the fountain plashing. Delightful.

I am reading The Twelve Caesars, by Suetonius, on my Kindle. My edition is an older translation, and in between the lives of the Caesars are essays by the translator, Alexander Thomson, regarding the literary figures who lived during the time of each Caesar. I was not expecting that, and the Kindle screen does not always give visual clues where one section ends and another begins, so at first I thought I was still reading Suetonius. When I read remarks like, "So and so was born before the beginning of the Christian era," I thought, "Oh, Suetonius is a later writer than I thought, maybe during or after the time of Constantine." But eventually I figured it out. Without having looked up any information yet about Mr. Thomson, he may be part of or at the tail end of the Victorian age because he will frequently say that while some writer produced many excellent and virtuous ideas yet his writing is marred by that indecency so common among the ancients, and just a little while ago I read him saying about one writer that certain of his passages could not be translated out of regard for decency.

So now I'll do a quick check online. Suetonius lived from approximately 70 to approximately 130 B.C. Ah, ha: discovered that the edition I am reading was published in 1909. The text link above is to the edition I'm reading, and I'm including a picture link to more recent edition, translated by Robert Graves. He's the guy who wrote the novels I, Claudius, and Claudius the God, which were made into a BBC miniseries in the 1970s. He also wrote a famous memoir, Good-Bye to All That, expressing his post-War ("War" with a capital W meaning WWI, "the great War," as it was called until WWII) disillusionment. Just looking up all those books makes me want to buy all of them. I have read the Claudius novels, but not for long time. I think I was in college (and that's a while ago now). I have picked up the memoir in a bookstore and been very engaged by the opening passages but didn't buy it. Perhaps I was at a moment where I just didn't feel up to post-War disillusionment.

But now, I am going to wash my hair, as a courtesy to the young woman who will be cutting and highlighting it this afternoon. She will wash it, too, and give me a lovely scalp massage at the same time, but I don't want her to have to handle less-than-clean hair. That would be a "not so fresh feeling." :-p

Thursday, July 7, 2011

TGIFT

Thank goodness it's Friday tomorrow. It hasn't been a bad week, really, but busy and stressful. Certain changes at my work--again, not bad in themselves--are taking some getting used to. And, my long-term employment is uncertain, so that's worrisome.

Two things I thought of. One is the movie Office Space. The main character in that movie feels trapped in his job and says to his co-worker, "What if in 50 years I'm still doing this same thing?" His co-worker replies, "It would be nice to have that kind of job security."

The other is yesterday I was driving home from work and thinking about my future, so I started to sing, "He's got the whole world in his hands." If you know that song, you know you can make up things to sing that he has "in his hands." I tried, "He's got my employment situation in his hands," but it didn't quite fit the rhythm of the song. I ended up with, "He's got our jobs and our schools in his hands."

Last night I posted a video of the song, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God," because that verse has come before me several times at church and in other ways. I was going to say it has recurred fortuitously, but of course that is the wrong word. Providentially is more correct.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The sum of summer

You can say "Spring has sprung," and you could say, "Fall has fallen," but you can't really say, "Summer has summed," or, "Winter has ... winted."

On the other hand, you can use "summer" and "winter" as verbs meaning "to live somewhere," as in, "We summered at Martha's Vineyard and wintered in the Mediterranean." (I guess those are verbs for rich people.) But you can't say, "I springed in England and I falled in New England." You could say, "I fell in New England," but that would just mean you were klutzy in the Northeastern United States.

Anyway, summer has summed and I'm summering here in Lynden.

Monday, July 4, 2011

African Violet

I got this plant--when? I can't remember, but it was a gift, part of a pot of plants sent with a get-well message when I had a medical procedure probably a year or more ago. I transplanted all the plants from that gift into pots that are on the counter by my kitchen window. The African Violet had blooms when I received it, they lasted a long time, then went away, and now, look, new blooms are starting.


I'm so happy to do well with an African Violet. A dozen or more years ago, I tried to grow one in my office and nearly killed it, so I gave it to my brother-in-law, who has a gift for growing them. So I was afraid I would not be able to take good care of this one, but it's doing great. My kitchen counter and window must give the right light and temperature for it.

I like purple flowers. Other colors, too, of course, but purple has that certain something.

Happy Fourth

Today I set myself the goal of getting our "water feature" set up, and I accomplished it. First, I had to bucket all the old, yucky water out of the pond. Then I cleaned the plastic pond using paper towels and a white vinegar/water mixture--it had some green and brown slime. When it was all clean, I attached a new pump to the fountain. I was quite proud of figuring out how to do that on my own. I filled the pond with water, positioned the fountain, submerged the pump, and plugged it in. Nothing. I could feel the pump vibrating, and eventually I disconnect it from the fountain and could feel it pumping water, but no water was going through the fountain. By that time, it was late afternoon, and I was tired. I talked to my dad about it, and he came down to help. I thought the hoses must be plugged, but he blew air through them and found they were clear. It was the fountain itself, the manneken pis (replica of the famous Brussels fountain) who had a urinary tract blockage, as it were. My dad took him to the garage, where he cleared it out with a nail or wire or whatever he found there, and now his flow is free.

video

Getting the manneken pis set up is an important part of my summer. It's great to sit out on a summer day and listen to the water.

Little kids love the mannekin pis. They burst out laughing when you start it up and soon afterward announce their need for the potty. The power of suggestion.

This evening, my folks and I will observe the Fourth of July by eating a red, white , and blue dessert: strawberries and blueberries on vanilla ice cream. It is my dad's favorite brand of ice cream, a local product, Edaleen. My dad is something of an ice cream and milk aficionado, as he grew up on a dairy farm.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

God Bless America

My church is having a pre-evening service opportunity to come sing patriotic hymns (as tomorrow is Independence Day here in the U.S.), and I am going to go. I think it's appropriate to have this outside the service. We don't want to confuse the Kingdom of Heaven with any nation now existing on earth but, on the other hand, there's nothing wrong with loving the country you live in at this time.

It's supposed to be embarrassing to be patriotic--that it means you are blindly nationalistic and jingoistic--but it doesn't have to mean that. God made a good world and we can love it. In the good world is the good country I live in, and I can love it. In the spirit of Jeremiah 29:5-7, I can seek the peace and prosperity of the place where I live, and with the more reason as it's a country that has been a good home to me.

Anyway, I like to sing songs like "God Bless America" and "America the Beautiful," and I don't get the chance to very often because, as I say, it is gone out of style. I like to, and I find it moving.

In the words of Sir Walter Scott:

Breathes there the man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
"This is my own, my native land!"?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Watering

Late this evening, I watered my deck plants. I had noticed the pansies looked wilty this morning, but I didn't get to them. I felt too lazy to do it tonight but feared some plants might not survive the night without it. Several were droopy in the extreme. So I unrolled the hose and got to it. I run the hose at very low pressure when I water--a mere dribble. If the flow is too strong, it knocks the plants down and splashes the soil out of the pots, so I proceed gently. The slow flow means I have to spend a good amount of time standing over each pot, but that gives me time to look at and monitor the condition of all the plants, and just enjoy each one. Now tomorrow morning they'll all be perky again.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Working for the weekend

Today my job moved to a new location and company, which made for a long and tiring day. Nice weather, though, and now a 3-day weekend!