Monday, July 30, 2012

Dogs are gross

Oh, sure. Make fun of me.
When I came into my bedroom this evening I found my dog was licking a shirt I wore on Saturday and left lying around. When I took it away from him I discovered the particular area of the garment that he found tasteful was the armpit.

Dogs have an opposite rule of fragrance to people. If it smells like an armpit, my dog wants to taste it. If it smells like poop -- indeed if it is poop, as in bird droppings on the sidewalk or another dog's pile of doo -- then he sniffs deeply and at length and has to be dragged away from it. And if it smells putrid, rancid, rotten ... then he rubs his face in it, rolls around in it, and wallows in it.

If my dog lived according to his own nature he would be a filthy, reeking beast. But under my care his is reasonably clean and not very smelly. Only his breath is beyond remedy. He loves me enough to put up with being deprived of the pleasures of stink, and I love him enough to try to keep him civilized.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Counterintuitive

Here's another quote from Lauren Winner's Still (in which she quotes St. Francis de Sales):

Francis de Sales, a seventeenth-century priest and writer, addressed anxiety in his Introduction to the Devout Life: “Unresting anxiety is the greatest evil which can happen to the soul, sin only excepted.” The anxious heart, in its flailings, loses its hold on whatever graces God has bestowed upon it, and is sapped of the strength “to resist the temptations of the Evil One, who is all the more ready to fish . . . in troubled waters.” De Sales’s antidote to anxiety is twofold, half positive, half negative: do pray, and do not do anything that might actually address the object of your anxiety (do not get online and check your bank balance; the action, far from steadying you, will just make you more frantic). “When you are conscious that you are growing anxious, commend yourself to God, and resolve steadfastly not to take any steps whatever to obtain the result you desire, until your disturbed state of mind is altogether quieted.”

The bold and underline are my own emphases. That's a very interesting approach -- counterintuitive.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Reading

I am reading Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, by Lauren F. Winner. I laughed when I came upon this because I could identify so strongly:

Because it is easier to read about prayer than to pray, I have shelves full of books: meditations on the Lord’s Prayer by a dozen different authors; scholarly accounts of prayer in the twelfth century, the eighteenth century; Hasidic wisdom on prayer; manuals for knitting a prayer rug, a prayer shawl, a prayer blanket, a prayer tree. (I don’t, alas, know how to knit.)

But she went on to offer this consolation:

Sometimes I think that all this reading gets in the way, that the books become excuses, something to do in lieu of praying. Other days, I know that to read about prayer is at least to indulge my desire, to acknowledge that I want this thing, that I long for it, even if this afternoon the closest I can get is reading voyeurism, greedy spying on other people at prayer.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Seasonable

It's not often that complaining gets rewarded, but I complained about the weather yesterday and then we had lovely weather this afternoon and evening.

Thanks! (You know whom I'm thanking, don't you? I had a religion prof at Calvin whose mom told him not to complain about the weather because "You know who sends the weather, don't you?")

Monday, July 23, 2012

Unseasonable

Generally, July and August are our two sunniest, warmest months in Northwest Washington. That's not to say they're very sunny or warm, but they're sunnier and warmer than the other, cloudier, cooler months of the year. But this year, July is trying to be like everybody else and is actually doing a darn good imitation of, say, February.

We did have some hot weather, but this morning was so cold and rainy I didn't even take my dog for his complete walk, and this evening is still quite cool.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Climate change

Well, after a rainy yesterday and a cloudy this morning, we had a sunny this afternoon and now this evening is a balmy one.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Rain and razz

Today we got the rain I smelled on the breeze three days ago. It was good to get a break in the heat. The weather seems to have been muggier this summer than I am used to here in the great Pacific Northwest. When it rains, it thunders, which again is not typical. Thunderstorms happen here but not frequently.

Strawberry season is over locally, and now it is raspberry season. Today and tomorrow are the Raspberry Festival in my hometown.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sunset

Lovely sunset this evening. I was inspired to sing "Sunrise, Sunset" while driving in my car. I pretty much knew the whole song.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sensor reheat

Well, this evening I watered my plants and it didn't make my supper late. See, last night supper was spaghetti, which involved boiling water for noodles and browning meat for the sauce. But tonight supper was leftover spaghetti, which involved sticking a dish in the microwave. Plus it tasted better tonight than last night.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Zephyr

I really should have watered my plants this evening, but I didn't. If I had done it after I walked the dog, it would have made my dinner late. If I had done after dinner ... well, I was just too lazy.

When I opened my kitchen window, the evening breeze smelled a little bit like it could rain. Maybe heaven will do my work for me.

I think they can just make it through tomorrow. Or maybe I'll get up early and water them before I go to work.

Hahahahahahaha. "Maybe I'll get up early." Oh, hahahahahahaha. Stop, you're killing me.

(I'm not a morning person.)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday was sultry and hot, while today was cloudy and cool. I'm wearing a sweatshirt.

Tonight I intend to go to bed early to have a truly good night's sleep before the work week starts.

One more day, and I'll post the answers to the Pride and Prejudice quiz.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Summertime

This evening I had a lovely meal. I prepared it in the reverse order to my eating. First, I took the leaves and stems off some local strawberries (Barbie's Berries) I bought this afternoon. They smelled so good, the essence of strawberriness. They looked perfect:



Just to gild the lily, I sprinkled a couple spoonfuls of sugar on them and stirred.

Next I made a big bowl of salad, with lettuce, onion, toasted pine nuts, bacon bits, feta cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Finally, I broiled a small steak. I poured a glass of burgundy.

I had a CD playing of light classical music (Peer Gynt "Morganstimmung", Clair de Lune, Fur Elise, etc.). I had a book to read (Ottoman Centuries, by Lord Kinross).

When I sat down at the table -- thankful for the blessing of such a life -- I ate first the steak, then the salad, and finally some of the strawberries.

A perfect summer dinner.

Friday, July 13, 2012

There will be a quiz

I write on my blog almost every day, but rarely attract a comment, and when I do get a comment, it's usually from my sister. (Thank you, Mavis. Keep it up.) That's partly due (I suppose) to the nature of my blog entries, which are mostly comments on the weather, pictures of my flowers, and the like.

But when I go to The Pioneer Woman's website, whenever she writes about something funny her kids or dogs do, she gets about 500 comments. I notice that she offers quizzes about movies and photo contests. Those call forth response.

So I thought maybe occasionally I could offer a quiz on subjects I know, particularly certain novels or the Bible. So here's the first quiz. If you know me, you won't be surprised that it's about Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Unlike the Pioneer Woman, I can't (at this stage) offer a prize, other than honorable mention. But, if you like, go ahead and list your answers in the comments. I'll provide the correct answers in a few days.

Here you go:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Amen

An evening prayer by St. Augustine:

Watch, O Lord, with those who wake,
or watch, or weep tonight,
and give your angels and saints charge over those who sleep.
Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ.
Rest your weary ones,
Bless your dying ones,
Soothe your suffering ones,
pity your afflicted ones,
Shield your joyous ones,
And all for your love's sake.

Amen.



Monday, July 9, 2012

Fleeting perfection

Tonight I ate a perfectly ripe banana. Just soft enough, but not too soft. No brown spots in the fruit, but the skin was dappled with them. (Glory be to God for dappled things.)

The perfection of a banana is brief, briefer than ... the blush of a rose.

How's that for poetic?

A thing of beauty is a joy ...
well, not quite forever.
I stole this picture from: Temerity Jane: Settle This XI: The Peak of the Banana. It came up when I googled "ripe banana."

Sunday, July 8, 2012

If he will

Today I have been trying to plan for the future. I need to remember:

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. [Matthew 6:31-34]

And also:

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. [James 4:13-15]

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Mornings

I'm not a morning person, but mornings when I don't have to go to work are not so bad, especially when the weather is nice and I can enjoy my deck.

Yesterday when I went outside it was already hot! Imagine that. So I sat on the shady side of the deck in the rocker.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

I just did something

I just ordered a book from Amazon, and I got a laugh because when my order was complete it offered me a Facebook and Twitter option to post "I just ordered 'Ottoman Centuries' by Lord Kinross." It struck me as funny because it just seems like overkill to post "I just did that." I thought it's as if I would post, "I just flushed the toilet."

Everywhere you go you can Facebook or tweet, and some people worry about the privacy aspect of that. Who knows who's spying on you? That's true, but also if every detail of everybody's lives were made public wouldn't we mostly just die of boredom reading about each other? The only people who care where I am and what I'm doing at any given time are the people who care about me, and that's a miniscule portion of the world's population.

Update: I just drank some coffee.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

So dear to my childhood

Life does make us people in a hurry, and we need to stop for neighborliness, to sing, and to pray.



Andy Griffith passed away today. His wife said, "Andy was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called Home to his Lord."

Monday, July 2, 2012

Strange sensation

Yesterday I bought a pea and bacon salad in the grocery store deli. It has peas and bacon, naturally, and onions and water chestnuts, and there was an occasional cashew. I don't know exactly what the dressing was, but when I ate it tonight it tasted fizzy. It didn't really fizz, but the taste made my tongue feel the way it does when something's fizzy. I didn't like it. I tried adding more bacon bits, which I have on hand for salad, and some salt and pepper. But I still didn't like it, so I threw the rest away.

I thought the dressing gave my tongue a strange sensation. So I googled "strange sensation" to see if there was any song by that name, and there was: Strange Sensation, by Judi Valli. There also is a rock group with that name: Robert Plant and the Strange Sensations. I listened to both but, although they both were good in their disparate ways, they weren't my cup of tea. Or coffee. Or whatever.

I could remember traces of a song on the radio in my youth called Strange Magic, but again it's okay but not my fave.

By this time, I'm wandering far from the source of my mental associations, so although it has nothing to do with a fizzy salad, I have chosen a true favorite of mine, and that is "Good Vibrations," by the Beach Boys.



Kind of a funny looking crew. These dudes are not the mental pictures in my mind when I hear the song (I picture Southern California beaches, etc.), but I am touched by what a baby face the lead singer (Brian Wilson, I guess) has, and it's a constrast to the bearded fellow on the  Electro-Theremin, I guess it's called. Presumably, they're all lip-synching and air-playing because I've always understood "Good Vibrations" was a product of lots of work with electronic and recording devices in the studio and was impossible to duplicate live.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

June-uary

It has been a cool, rainy June. That is not unusual here in the Pacific Northwest. We occasionally get a warm sunny June, but that is the exception, not the rule. I told my sister-in-law a week or two ago that I thought it would do my flowers some good if they got some sunshine, but she said they are establishing good roots, and that as long as it's over 50 degrees, the roots are growing.

We have had some sunshine, just mostly not for an entire day, just parts of days.

In much of the U.S., the Fourth of July, aka Independence Day, is stereotypically a hot day, but around here we often are wearing sweatshirts and jackets, perhaps even dealing with drizzle. Last year the first really warm, sunny day of the summer was July 5, and they're predicting the same this year.

I googled June Gloom, which was a phrase I hear vis a vis a niece in San Diego, California. According to Wikipedia, that's a Southern California phrase and the more usual PNW designation is June-uary.

Of course, once we do get some hot weather, I'll be complaining about that. It's not really heat I want, just sunshine and pleasantly warm temperatures. What I want has nothing to do with what will happen.

It will be a weird work week: two days of work, then the Fourth, then two days of work.

I guess I should have said it was a cool, rainy June, since June is over. I forgot it was July already.