Saturday, January 31, 2015

Thursday, January 29, 2015

In stitches

There's a page on Facebook that I follow called "Lost Pets of Whatcom County." It is to help pet owners find their lost pets, a cause dear to my heart. Once my dog was missing overnight and I was distraught. Fortunately, he had been picked up by animal control and was spending the night in the pound, not trapped somewhere cold, thirsty, hungry, bewildered, and wondering why I didn't come find him. A page like "Lost Pets" can only work if people look at it. But sometimes it makes me sad to see that every day there are several pets gone missing just in this county, and their owners are saying, "Please help me find my cat, my dog." They post pictures. Poor animals. Poor people.

Sometimes I feel sad about news and politics, too.

But on the up side, I knitted four rows this evening (knit 3, purl 1)--that is, if I counted correctly. I found that when I paused after a row of knitting, the next time I picked it up, I was wondering how many rows did I knit since the last row I purled? Much close examination and counting of what seemed to be rows would ensue. So I decided that every time I pick it up I will knit 3, purl 1, so that I always know where I am the next time. But at a certain point tonight I looked at my work and asked myself am I on my first or second row of knitting? Much close examination and counting of what seemed to be rows ensued. I did lay it down after the purled row so next time I know where to start and just have to pay attention so I don't forget where I am part way.

When I was  little girl (about 10) and my grandma taught me to knit, I would periodically get the stitches so tight on the needle that I could no longer poke the opposite needle through. Then I would give it to my grandma, and she would knit a few rows to get it to the right looseness. This time around, that's not happening. If anything, my stitches are exceedingly loose.

Isn't that interesting?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Longer light

Today when I left work, it was still light out. This is about a month plus a week since winter solstice. If the days shortened at the same rate they're now lengthening, probably the last time it was light when I left work was a month and a week before solstice. So I guess I drive home in the dark about two and a half months of the year.

It was dark by the time I got home, but the point is that whole drive was not in darkness.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Cloudy all day

As I was driving home, late in the afternoon, I noticed that Mt. Baker and the Twin Sisters looked pretty, even with the clouds low. I have often taken pictures of them on clear days, but not so many in this mood. So I drove out to the Hannegan Road, where the view is unobstructed and took a few pictures with my phone. They are not the sharpest, since it was a phone picture. Even though they are to the east, they pick up a little color from the sunset in the opposite direction.

Here they both are. Baker is harder to perceive, but the Sisters are quite visible:

And here is just Baker:

The fields have standing water in them because we have had a lot of rain and the ground is saturated.

Fun guy

I was at my sister-in-law's place today. It was unseasonably mild weather today, just like spring. (I saw later on the news that we almost set a record high temperature for January.) So we did a spring-like thing, and when I was walking out to my car, we wandered around her yard and looked at the flower beds. She has daffodils just poking their tips out of the ground.

Her son-in-law at one time set up some hollowed out sections of tree trunks as planters and planted young trees in them. The hollow sections are growing some pretty fungus.

Look at this:

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So cool. And this one has pretty fungus, plus the way the bark is separating from the trunk is pretty:

Nice, huh?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Just a quick thought related to the video I posted a few minutes ago. I once saw some TV event where they were paying tribute to Cass Elliot. The remaining living Mamas and Papas and Cass Elliot's daughter were all on stage, and Michelle Phillips said that Cass was in heaven watching them, sitting on a star and "wearing a size two." And I thought, wow, she really doesn't get it. Heaven is not where Cass Elliot wears a size two. Heaven is where Cass Elliot is her true self and she and everyone else can perceive her beauty. Because we're not blind there.

Winter's night

Hm. January. Not Christmas, not spring. It's a month.

It's amazing how quickly the holidays fade from consciousness. Three weeks ago, New Year's Brunch. Today, sack lunch.

I'm trying to stay awake until bedtime so that I can sleep through the night. I started to feel drowsy at 7:15 p.m., or thereabouts. Well, maybe I'll allow myself an early start tonight.

Good night to you. Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you.

Monday, January 19, 2015

This day

Today in the U.S. it is a holiday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He absolutely deserves honor. He lovingly stirred the conscience of a nation and greater justice ensued. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

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God grant that right here in America and all over this world, we will choose the high way; a way in which men will live together as brothers. A way in which the nations of the world will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. A way in which every man will respect the dignity and worth of all human personality. A way in which every nation will allow justice to run down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. A way in which men will do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. A way in which men will be able to stand up, and in the midst of oppression, in the midst of darkness and agony, they will be able to stand there and love their enemies, bless those persons that curse them, pray for those individuals that despitefully use them. And this is the way that will bring us once more into that society which we think of as the brotherhood of man. This will be that day when white people, colored people, whether they are brown or whether they are yellow or whether they are black, will join together and stretch out with their arms and be able to cry out: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Let it fly

Is the past tense of knit knit or knitted? I wanted to say, "I knit(ted) two rows this evening, or to be more specific I knit(ted) one and purled one." But I wasn't sure which way to say it. So I googled "past tense of knit," and it turns out knit is a verb in transition. A transitional verb, as it were, which is not the same as a transitive verb. A transitive verb, if I recall correctly (and I think I do), requires a direct object. The verb hit (which rhymes with knit and, like knit in traditional usage, is not inflected in the past tense) is transitive. "He hit" is not a complete thought. The verb needs a direct object, as in "He hit the ball." Knit does not need a direct object. "I am knitting" can stand alone, or I can specify "I am knitting a scarf." Or perhaps I am knitting a nerd flag.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


I have not seen the heron again in the mornings walking by the creek; however, this morning the half moon glowing over the tree tops was also worth seeing. It was clear and sunny here in Lynden, beautiful vistas as I drove out of Lynden to go to work, then as I approached Bellingham I drove into a bank of fog covering that city. It cleared up by lunch time.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Some books

I'm reading two interesting books right now.

One is on my Kindle. It's Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi and it's written by Amy-Jill Levine, who is a New Testament professor at VanderBilt Divinity School. She is Jewish, and it's informative to read her analysis of what the parables meant to First Century Jewish listeners. She's completely respectful of Christianity, and take it on its own terms when she talks about it. She has little puns and jokes throughout her writing that I enjoy.

I already own a print book by her, The Jewish Annotated New Testament, that I have only dipped into.

The second book I'm reading is a print book, and it is The Decoration of Houses by Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman, Jr. Edith Wharton, of course, wrote those great books about New York society life, The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence, and another of her best known works is Ethan Frome. I believe Ogden Codman is the photographer who took the pictures that are included in the book. I wanted a print version rather than an e-book precisely so I could see the pictures. Wharton is writing for a wealthy turn-of-the-(last)-century audience, so she talks about your drawing room, dining room, ballroom, and so on. Not entirely relevant to my late 20th Century ranch house, but I am hoping to gather some useful principles, even if the details vary. And it's interesting just to read her descriptions of architecture and decoration.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Water fowl

In the mornings when I walk my dog, it's light out, so I often take him into the back yard and more or less walk the perimeter with him. Part of the perimeter is the creek, and on Thursday and Friday morning I disturbed a blue heron into taking off. Both times it was in the same section of the creek, where there's a gap in the shrubs behind our picnic patio. In the summer, that's where my great-nieces and -nephew go down to dabble in the creek, but in the winter the water is much higher and faster. I wish I had seen the heron standing in the water, but both times I was unaware of his presence until I heard the noise of his taking flight, but at least I do then see him fairly close up while he takes off.

Last week, I saw a couple of ducks swimming in the creek a couple times. When they realize I'm there, they just let themselves drift downstream away from me. I could see a male and a female, and downstream another male. They are mallards with the green head.

Here's a video from a couple years ago of ducks like these (or the same ducks?) in the back yard.

It's kind of a thrill to see those wild birds up close.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Still reading the Queen Anne bio.

One of the major events of her reign was the union of England and Scotland into one kingdom: Great Britain. One monarch ruled both countries starting with James (the 1st of England, the 6th of Scotland), who was already King of Scotland and then inherited the crown of England from Elizabeth I, but each still had their own parliament. Under Anne, the great-granddaughter of James I, the parliaments were merged. They are still united today. Quite recently, Scotland held a vote whether to continue with the union or separate and they voted to stay united. It was touch and go.

Another issue in Anne's reign was the emergence of party politics. The Whigs and the Tories formed parties and competed with one another. Prior to them, of course there were differences of opinion in Parliament, but not political parties as such. During our American Revolution, those who opted for independence were Whiggish, and those who wanted to remain British colonies were Tories.

And a third big item in Anne's reign was the 7-year War of the Spanish Succession. John Churchill was the great British hero of that war, which is why he became the Duke of Marlborough.

And then there was the question of who would become monarch after Anne died. Poor Anne was married to a Danish prince (whom she loved) and experienced I think 16 or 18 pregnancies, but had many miscarriages and several infants who died. She had one son who survived  until he was about 10 or 12 if I remember correctly, but then he died, too. So she had no direct heir. There was a Catholic Stuart in exile in France, Anne's younger 1/2 brother, although she claimed to believe he was not her father's son. But the main reason he was barred from the throne by an act of Parliament was that he was Catholic. Instead the crown was to go to a descendent of a Stuart princess who had married into Germany--George I of England, who also ruled the German province of Hanover. I think the law is still in place in Great Britain that the monarch must be a descendant of that one princess and also may not be or marry a Catholic. There is a British prince today, Prince Michael, a cousin of the current Queen Elizabeth, who gave up his right to inherit the throne (should everyone ahead of him in line die) by marrying a Catholic.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cozy with a book

Tonight I'm wearing my winter robe. It's dark purple and semi-fuzzy. Long sleeves, high neck. Feels so cozy.

This morning my drive was foggy most of the way to Bellingham, then it ended quite suddenly. It's intriguing that fog is a cloud lying on the ground.

I'm reading a biography of Queen Anne, the last Stuart monarch of Britain. Her friend, then enemy, Sarah Churchill, first Duchess of Marlborough was quite a piece of work. (Those are the same Marlborough/Churchills from whence sprang Winston Churchill.) After Anne came the House of Hanover, which is the current dynasty, although their name has changed, first to Saxe-Coburg-Hesse when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, and then to Windsor during World War I, when they wanted to shed their German name.

Aren't those some interesting historical facts?

Monday, January 5, 2015


Today was back to work. It was a workaday day, but fine. No high ups, no low downs. Just ordinary, which is good.

My sister recently wrote a blog entry praising normal after she recovered from a severe bout of flu. After I had kidney stones, I looked up the Jewish prayer to be said after urinating (or other business):

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe,
Who fashioned man with wisdom, and created within him many openings and many cavities.
It is obvious and known before Your throne of glory,
   that if but one of them were to be ruptured,
   or but one of them were to be blocked,
   it would be impossible to survive and to stand before You.
Blessed are You, God, Who heals all flesh and acts wondrously.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


Well, I accomplished a couple things today. I paid some bills, so I will no longer have the lurking feeling that I have unpaid bills out there. I have as many things as I can on automatic payment, but a few holdouts make me pay consciously. And I did some laundry, so that I can feel the complacency that accompanies a stack of clean underwear. The only downside to the laundry was that, even though I checked every pocket before doing a load of darks, a tissue snuck into the washing machine, and all the clothes have white shreds on them. In some circles, that's a fashion statement. Right?

Wintry mix

Today there is snow on the ground. I was not expecting that. The forecasts I had seen said a warming trend and rain. But it's hard to get an accurate forecast when you live in a small town. All the local TV stations are based in Seattle, which is a couple hundred miles from here, so what might be accurate for them might not apply up here. I find the closest to my weather is if I can find a station that reflects conditions at the airport in Abbottsford, British Columbia, Canada. That's only a few miles away.

I was outside walking the dog around my back yard, which is in a declivity. I could see that in less sheltered spots the wind is blowing. It's cold. The snow is not deep, just covering the surface, if that. It is slushy, half snow half melted half rain. That's three halves. I did see some leaves with icicles hanging on them, because the snow melted, started to run off, and then froze. That's a silver thaw, but there's not enough snow to make it a true silver thaw.

Other than walking the dog, I've stayed indoors. If one has the chance to stay home in bad weather, one might as well. If today had been a work day, I would have ventured out, but I have seen plenty of reports today of cars sliding into ditches or colliding with each other and the like. No thanks.

So that's the weather report, I guess.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The play's the thing

Tonight when I took my dog for a little evening walk after dark, all the Christmas lights in the neighborhood were doused. One house did still have a lit tree in a window, but that was it. Yesterday, quite a few houses were still lit up, but now it's over.

For some reason, the first sentence I wrote made me remember the line in MacBeth, "There's husbandry in heaven tonight." Oops. I misquoted. Banquo said, "There's husbandry in heaven; / Their candles are all out." He was chatting with his son, Fleance, and their dialogue established that the moon was down, it was past midnight, and not many stars were visible. I taught MacBeth to high scholars a total of four times, I believe. Once as a student teacher, once each year that I taught in Christian schools (i.e. two years), and once when I taught English online. Or did I teach it online? I can't remember now. I know I taught Julius Caesar online and also at least one year in the classroom. I taught Romeo and Juliet at least once, to ninth graders.

I don't miss teaching. The classroom part could be good, but I hated, hated, hated grading papers. In fact, let's change the subject.

I've been thinking that it would be nice to go to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. I once mentioned that to my sister as a thing to do in the years that there is no Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College, and she seemed to favor the idea. The Festival happens every two years, and we just went there in April 2014. I think it would be nice to go to Ashland maybe in the fall. When I look at their schedule online, it looks like they fire up in June and start shutting down in October, so maybe September would be a good time for it. We'll have to keep thinking and talking about it, although we wouldn't want to wait so long that tickets sold out for the dates we want. It looks like one can already buy tickets online.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A most restful day

I stayed up last night to greet the New Year at midnight. I was with my parents I even was wakeful enough to stay awake a good hour or two after I came home. I woke up at 9:00 this morning and went to brunch at 10:30 with my parents, sister-in-law, niece, and two of my niece's children. I spoke to my sister on the phone in the afternoon.

At some point in the late afternoon, I felt sleepy, so I lay in the recliner with a quilt on top of me and my dog on top of the quilt, and it was so cozy that I fell asleep for hours. When I woke up, it was dark, and I wondered if I had slept well into the night, but it was only around 7:00. I got up and walked and fed the dog.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

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