Monthly Archives: November 2009

Mission Accomplished!

The doily, it be done!  Take a look:

I tried to create a simpler alphabet than I’ve used in the past, and I am very happy with the way it turned out.  Worth using again.

I used size 20 white thread, intending to tea-stain the finished piece for an old-fashioned look; I normally use off-white thread.  But in the end, the client requested I just leave it white.  She plans to frame it on a purple background.

This is an attempt to show the edgeing detail.


Yay!  All done!  I hope to deliver it Sunday at church.


Morning Walks

I suppose I am at heart really a morning person.  I used not to think so; but I’ve now decided there is no better way to start the day (assuming I’m also starting out in  prayer and fellowship with God) than walking down to the pond at the end of our road and watching the sunrise.

pond photos 001Today I had the presence of mind to take along the camera.  There were geese out on the water, surely forty or fifty; I saw the ripples before the geese came into view, and wondered, because there was no wind.

pond photos 007The sun was just over the trees, out past the pastures below the dam, which were still shining since the sun hadn’t yet burned off the dew; on the shadow-side of the dam, over the water, the air was still thick with mist.

pond photos 008The pond– technically, our neighbor who grew up here corrects me all the time, it is a lake and was built years ago for erosion control and water conservation– and the cow pastures and the trees and the (quite limited!) wildlife, are just a little bitty snippet of nature; but this close to the highway and civilization, it’s the most I’m going to find.  Yet there’s an inherent quiet there, a wordless peace.

pond photos 005

Updated Lessons from a Large Cappucinno:

Amongst all the strange effects of large doses of caffeinne late at night, be forewarned… your immune system is likely to be suppressed from lack of sleep, and a few days later, your head just might be full of stuff that ought not to be there are you might be cuddling up to the kleenex box and your voice just might be gone.

Just so you know.

Television, by Roald Dahl

The most important thing we’ve learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set —
Or better still, just don’t install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we’ve been,
We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone’s place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they’re hypnotised by it,
Until they’re absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don’t climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink —
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
‘All right!’ you’ll cry. ‘All right!’ you’ll say,
‘But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!’
We’ll answer this by asking you,
‘What used the darling ones to do?
‘How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?’
Have you forgotten? Don’t you know?
We’ll say it very loud and slow:
THEY … USED … TO … READ! They’d READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching ’round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it’s Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There’s Mr. Rate and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They’ll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start — oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They’ll grow so keen
They’ll wonder what they’d ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

Is it possible…

… to have twenty-four ounces of hazelnut cappucinno yumminess at 10:30 p.m., do laundry and do blog updates and have an animated chat with someone until 3 a.m., sleep till 6:30, get up and still be on a caffeine high at 9?

I’m not sure, but I think, at any rate, the next time I go to the laundromat I’ll make that cappucinno a small.  🙂

Helen and Beethoven’s Fifth

(From Howard’s End, by E. M. Forster, ch. 5):

    It will be generally admitted that Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is the most sublime noise that has ever penetrated into the ear of man.  All sorts and conditions are satisfied by it.  Whether you are like Mrs. Munt, and tap surreptitiously when the tunes come–of course, not so as to disturb the others–; or like Helen, who can see heroes and shipwrecks in the music’s flood; or like Margaret, who can only see the music; or like Tibby, who is profoundly versed in counterpoint, and holds the full score open on his knee; or like their cousin, Fräulein Mosebach, who remembers all the time that Beethoven is “echt Deutsch”; or like Fräulein Mosebach’s young man, who can remember nothing but Fräulein Mosebach: in any case, the passion of your life becomes more vivid, and you are bound to admit that such a noise is cheap at two shillings.  It is cheap, even if you hear it in the Queen’s Hall, dreariest music-room in London, though not as dreary as the Free Trade Hall, Manchester; and even if you sit on the extreme left of that hall, so that the brass bumps at you before the rest of the orchestra arrives, it is still cheap.
    “Who is Margaret talking to?” said Mrs. Munt, at the conclusion of the first movement.  She was again in London on a visit to Wickham Place.
    Helen looked down the long line of their party, and said that she did not know.
    “Would it be some young man or other whom she takes an interest in?”
    “I expect so,” Helen replied.  Music enwrapped her, and she could not enter into the distinction that divides young men whom one takes an interest in from young men whom one knows.
    “You girls are so wonderful in always having–Oh dear!  one mustn’t talk.”
    For the Andante had begun–very beautiful, but bearing a family likeness to all the other beautiful Andantes that Beethoven had written, and, to Helen’s mind, rather disconnecting the heroes and shipwrecks of the first movement from the heroes and goblins of the third.  She heard the tune through once, and then her attention wandered, and she gazed at the audience, or the organ, or the architecture.  Much did she censure the attenuated Cupids who encircle the ceiling of the Queen’s Hall, inclining each to each with vapid gesture, and clad in sallow pantaloons, on which the October sunlight struck.  “How awful to marry a man like those Cupids!” thought Helen.  Here Beethoven started decorating his tune, so she heard him through once more, and then she smiled at her cousin Frieda.  But Frieda, listening to Classical Music, could not respond.  Herr Liesecke, too, looked as if wild horses could not make him inattentive; there were lines across his forehead, his lips were parted, his pince-nez at right angles to his nose, and he had laid a thick, white hand on either knee.  And next to her was Aunt Juley, so British, and wanting to tap.  How interesting that row of people was!  What diverse influences had gone to the making!  Here Beethoven, after humming and hawing with great sweetness, said “Heigho,” and the Andante came to an end.  Applause, and a round of “wunderschöning” and “prachtvolleying” from the German contingent.  Margaret started talking to her new young man; Helen said to her aunt: “Now comes the wonderful movement: first of all the goblins, and then a trio of elephants dancing;” and Tibby implored the company generally to look out for the transitional passage on the drum.
    “On the what, dear?”
    “On the drum, Aunt Juley.”
    “No; look out for the part where you think you have done with the goblins and they come back,” breathed Helen, as the music started with a goblin walking quietly over the universe, from end to end.  Others followed him.  They were not aggressive creatures; it was that that made them so terrible to Helen.  They merely observed in passing that there was no such thing as splendour or heroism in the world.  After the interlude of elephants dancing, they returned and made the observation for the second time.  Helen could not contradict them, for, once at all events, she had felt the same, and had seen the reliable walls of youth collapse.  Panic and emptiness!  Panic and emptiness!  The goblins were right.
    Her brother raised his finger: it was the transitional passage on the drum.
    For, as if things were going too far, Beethoven took hold of the goblins and made them do what he wanted.  He appeared in person.  He gave them a little push, and they began to walk in major key instead of in a minor, and then–he blew with his mouth and they were scattered!  Gusts of splendour, gods and demigods contending with vast swords, colour and fragrance broadcast on the field of battle, magnificent victory, magnificent death!  Oh, it all burst before the girl, and she even stretched out her gloved hands as if it was tangible.  Any fate was titanic; any contest desirable; conqueror and conquered would alike be applauded by the angels of the utmost stars.
    And the goblins–they had not really been there at all?  They were only the phantoms of cowardice and unbelief?  One healthy human impulse would dispel them?  Men like the Wilcoxes, or President Roosevelt, would say yes.  Beethoven knew better.  The goblins really had been there.  They might return–and they did.  It was as if the splendour of life might boil over–and waste to steam and froth.  In its dissolution one heard the terrible, ominous note, and a goblin, with increased malignity, walked quietly over the universe from end to end.  Panic and emptiness!  Panic and emptiness!  Even the flaming ramparts of the world might fall.
    Beethoven chose to make all right in the end.  He built the ramparts up. He blew with his mouth for the second time, and again the goblins were scattered.  He brought back the gusts of splendour, the heroism, the youth, the magnificence of life and of death, and, amid vast roarings of a superhuman joy, he led his Fifth Symphony to its conclusion.  But the goblins were there.  They could return.  He had said so bravely, and that is why one can trust Beethoven when he says other things.
    Helen pushed her way out during the applause.  She desired to be alone.  The music summed up to her all that had happened or could happen in her career.  She read it as a tangible statement, which could never be superseded.  The notes meant this and that to her, and they could have no other meaning, and life could have no other meaning.  She pushed right out of the building, and walked slowly down the outside staircase, breathing the autumnal air, and then she strolled home.
    “Margaret,” called Mrs. Munt, “is Helen all right?”
    “Oh yes.”
    “She is always going away in the middle of a programme,” said Tibby.
    “The music has evidently moved her deeply,” said Fräulein Mosebach.
    “Excuse me,” said Margaret’s young man, who had for some time been preparing a sentence, “but that lady has, quite inadvertently, taken my umbrella.”