Sunday, January 27, 2013


Busy week and weekend. Some extra stresses at work, and I had study and preparation to do at home because my cousins did me the great honor of asking me to officiate my late aunt's interment and memorial service.

Below is a song that was not sung at the service, but the words were in the bulletin, with the information that it was sung at my aunt's mother's funeral.

Safe in the Arms of Jesus

Safe in the arms of Jesus, Safe on His gentle breast;
There by His love o’ershaded, Sweetly my soul shall rest.
Hark! ’tis the voice of angels, Borne in a song to me,
Over the fields of glory, Over the jasper sea.

Safe in the Arms of Jesus, Safe on His gentle breast;
There by His love o’ershaded, Sweetly my soul shall rest.

Safe in the arms of Jesus, Safe from corroding care,
Safe from the world’s temptations; Sin cannot harm me there.
Free from the blight of sorrow, Free from my doubts and fears;
Only a few more trials, Only a few more tears!

Jesus, my heart’s dear Refuge, Jesus has died for me;
Firm on the Rock of Ages, Ever my trust shall be.
Here let me wait with patience, Wait till the night is o’er;
Wait till I see the morning break on the golden shore.

Music composed by W. H. Doane
Words by Frances J. Crosby

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Comfort, comfort

Just a little over three weeks after we lost my uncle, my family has also lost an aunt.  I'm so thankful for my faith at a time like this. My aunt's daughter spoke to me tonight about this song.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A great man

And in honor of today's holiday, may I recommend:


Meanwhile, indoors, I ordered some lovely annotated editions of two Jane Austen novels, Persuasion and Emma.

Freeze and fog

After our cold, clear weekend last week, this time we had a foggy, cold weekend. This evergreen in the mist is to me a very Western Washington visual.

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From the back deck down to the creek, the view becomes misty.

But it was still cold. The water in this bucket was frozen.

And the pond was frozen, with leaves suspended in the ice.

St. Francis and the saxifrage were doing okay.

The deep freeze put the kibosh on the calla lily.

That pretty much happens every year. Every spring I buy a new calla lily.

And so the deck waits for spring. It's too cold to sit outside yet.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

How cold is it?

Brrrr. Brrr, I say. It's cold. If I were Johnny Carson, I'd say, "It's so cold tonight..." and my audience would yell, "How cold is it?" And I'd say, "It's so cold that ______________." The blank would be filled with a funny joke.

When I was in college, I heard a line of a play, I think it was by Thornton Wilder: "It's so cold, the dogs are sticking to the sidewalks." Makes no sense, but at that age I thought it was hilarious.

Know much about history?

Been reading some nonfiction lately. First I read Alison Weir's account of the Wars of the Roses.

I've always heard that was such a confusing subject, and it is, a little. It's not the war itself (or the wars--various conflicts over about 30 years time) that's hard to understand, but what I find difficult is the family tree of the combatants, especially because the founder of the Lancastrian side had children by two wives and a mistress. And Henry VII, who finally ended the conflict and founded the Tudor dynasty, was a Lancastrian by his mother and on his father's side the grandson of the wife of Henry V by her second husband, Owen Tudor.

At the end of the book, I felt that Weir gave quite a quick wrap-up to the whole Richard III and the princes in the tower events, but I went on to discover she had previously written a book about that before going back to investigate the Wars of the Roses. So I read that book.

In case you don't know, the Wars of the Roses were conflicts between two branches of the English royal family, the house of York and the house of Lancaster. One family had a white rose as their symbol and the other a red rose. I forget which was which. Finally, after they had pretty much killed each other off, the last Lancastrian, Henry Tudor, married the senior daughter of the Yorkists (most of their men being dead), Elizabeth of York, and thus reconciled the two sides. They were the parents of the notorious Henry VIII and the grandparents of the incomparable Elizabeth I.

Then I went back further in history and read a biography of Matilda, the wife of William the Conqueror.

So I guess maybe I do know a little something about history.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Saturday to the north

These striking mountains are in Canada (in the province of British Columbia). I wish I knew their names.

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They are visible from here in north Whatcom County.

My grandma (the flower-loving one, who also was a talented painter) included them in a painting of the family farm where my dad and grandpa grew up. At a later date if I can find a photo of that painting I'll post it.

The farm was near the Canadian border. They did own some land right on the border, and in those simple times sometimes took their cows across the border to get to a nearby road, then over to the border crossing and down the road and over to their main farm.

Here's the one, or the one pair, as you may look at it:

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And again:

And the other one:

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And again:

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You can see a tiny black cloud that was to the left when I took the first picture of this one, and when I took the second picture (directly above) it was in front of the mountain--just a little smudge at the top.

Yesterday and today have been overcast again. Actually, clouds and mist can also be lovely, but I don't have any pictures for that right now.

Saturday to the east and northeast

The mountains were stunning again on Saturday, so I drove around a little bit to take pictures. To the east are Mount Baker and the Twin Sisters:

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Just Baker:

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Just Baker again:

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Just the Twin Sisters:

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Just the Twin Sisters again:

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And to the northeast, some pretty mountains whose names are unknown to me:

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Friday, January 11, 2013


Today was a clear, cold day. In the afternoon as I drove from Bellingham to Lynden the view of the mountains to the east and north was stunning, superb. I didn't have my camera with me, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


In the morning when I wake up, I open the blinds and then I sit on the couch and stare out the window. Doubtless I am slack-jawed and vacant-gazed. Perhaps occasionally my eyes roll up and I snore lightly. But slowly, slowly I wake up and watch it get light outside.

This morning when it was light enough to see out the window, I saw snow. Not much, just a little.

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By the time I was ready to walk the dog, the snow was already starting to melt. The pavements were wet and slightly slushy, not frozen.

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I walked the dog and when we got home, I stopped to look at the little clay bunnies I set out on a patio table in the long-ago days of last summer.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I worked a rather long day today, but I did good work.

Chat show

I'm up late. Last night I went to bed on time, but woke up during the night so still didn't get a good night's sleep. So why go to bed on time?

Via Neo-Neocon, I watched this fascinating interview of Richard Burton by Dick Cavett. At one point,  Cavett says he couldn't keep a diary and when he did he found that reading back over it, seeing when he got up and what the weather was wasn't very interesting. That's a little like my blog sometimes (except I do find my own blog interesting to re-read -- doubtless because it's about me). Richard Burton said he keeps a diary irregularly but is able to sometimes work some part of it into an article he can sell to a magazine.

Here's the interview. It's about two hours long, and worth watching.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Playing hookey

I slept in and am missing church. Having a leisurely morning. My yesterday's illness is my excuse, but I still have every intention of going to an extended family open house this afternoon to see a cousin from Germany who only gets Stateside rarely. When you're a kid, if you stay home from school sick, then you can't play outside after school is over. But I'm not a kid, so even though I stay home from church, I will go "play" afterwards.

I guess the statute of limitations is up on my high school attendance, so I will confess that in my senior year I sometimes just didn't attend classes that I disliked. If it was the first class of the morning, I would leave campus before the homeroom where roll was taken and go have a little bite at a nearby McDonalds. By missing homeroom, I ensured that my name was put on an "absence list" that was distributed to teachers, so none of my teachers would expect to see me in class that day.

My good parents had no idea I did this. They raised me better than that.

In my defense, my first hour class that year was a French class where the teacher had truly dreadful body odor and who spit when he talked. My assigned seat was in the front row, so I would get droplets of his spittle on my desk and notebook. This revolted me intensely. That would be well over 30 years ago now. I wonder if he is still living. He of course seemed old to me then, but I have no idea how old he really was. He was a heavy smoker, which is partly why he stank. When the bell rang at the end of class, he was the first one out the door, and I presume he was running to the teachers' lounge for a cigarette. Poor man. I hope he lived to enjoy retirement.

Lovely thoughts for a Sunday morning. I should at least play some sacred music on a CD.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Busy work week and then today I wasn't feeling well, so just hung around home mostly reading, watching a little TV, mild internet surfing. Now to bed.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Back to the routine

Well, after a day at work, the holidays seem like a distant memory. Although I did promise myself as I drove home that this evening I could polish off the final olie bollen and the last of the egg nog tonight.

My tree is down. That was my big project yesterday.

I did keep my New Year's resolution last night by going to bed on time. I still was tired and spacey today, though. I must still need to catch up from staying up the night before last to welcome in the New Year.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Bright new year

It was bright and cold this morning.

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Frost outlined every little thing.

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Every leaf.

Every needle.

Every blade.

Happy New Year! God bless us every one.