Merry Christmas to all you lovely folks who visit me here at Nib's End.
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
My husband has dozens of nicknames for me. He has been home from bouncing around the globe since the week of Thanksgiving, and he is so happy to be laying in his own bed reading books with me next to him at night that he has begun calling me Cozy. It is cold and gray and snowy outside our windows on this first day of Winter, but it is snug inside our house. The wrapping, baking and cleaning are done; the tree and candles are shining in the twilight; there are harps and violins humming Christmas carols to cheer us, and family is due to arrive from the airport at any moment. Yes, I am feeling Cozy and it suits me just fine.
Saturday, December 17, 2016
God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing ye dismay.
Remember Christ the Saviour
Was born on Christmas day.
To save us all from Satan's power
When we had gone astray.
Oh tidings of comfort and joy!
Folks have been singing this carol for over four hundred years. It beautifully captures our celebration of Christmas in a nutshell. Except for that word merry...What particular need do the merry have for rest, for encouragement or comfort? My sister-in-law mentioned to me recently that she has always sung the first line: God rest ye weary gentlemen and was surprised to hear that she has been singing it incorrectly all these years.
So, whether or not it is correct, I am adopting her version because it makes more sense to me. With so much to become dismayed about in our crumpled old world, I am grateful for this season of celebration in which to remember that we need not be crushed by trouble, and that there is a comfort and even joy to be found in the hope of Christ who came to save us.
Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest - Matthew 11:28
And the weary world rejoices...
Thursday, December 15, 2016
As the thermometer drops to abominable temperatures and another snowstorm is forecasted, I am reminded that living in such a frigid climate has its advantages. With my refrigerator already full, I have the entire front porch in which to chill my berry butternut cookies before they go into the oven.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
My annual foray into the realm of Christmas crafting has, sadly, lacked inspiration this year. So it is that I turn to the true crafter in the family, my 11-year-old granddaughter, Girlybird. She made this ornament for my tree. It is one of those hit-the-nail-on-the-head kind of gifts that come along every so often and warms the cockles of one's heart forever after. She knows how much I enjoyed my Once in a Lifetime trip to London 18 months ago, and how I long to return to England someday.
I have many ornaments from past years that are precious to me, but this steadfast clothespin British soldier standing watch over our tree beats them all.
Sunday, December 11, 2016
Thursday, December 1, 2016
And then, the incredibly lovely pumpkin was banished to the back garden to make way for Christmas.
I suppose, if I am being honest with myself, I am secretly hoping I will wake one morning to find that my fairy godmother has been for a visit.
In which case, I will stick a sprig of holly on it and bring it back inside as a centerpiece for the holiday table.
Unless, of course, I am invited to a ball.
Thursday, November 24, 2016
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation:
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
I felt stylish in the outfit I chose to wear to church. Not chic—I don't think I'll ever pull that one off—but cute enough for comment. I don't often feel fashionable and, to be honest, I don't always try. I tend to focus on other things. Every now and then, however, I wake up to what's trending because it catches my eye and suits my taste. Leggings, for instance; I love wearing leggings, scarves and tunic dresses.
Low heeled boots are another example. I have foot problems that prohibit the wearing of high heels but I found these smashing leather kicks to finish my outfit:
Later, as I was shoving the shoes aside on the floor of my closet in order to vacuum up dust bunnies, I noticed that I had forgotten to remove the price tag from the sole of one boot.
Perhaps no one noticed.
Friday, November 18, 2016
We left windows open yesterday to let the late autumn warmth creep in. The french doors were ajar until midnight. It was a day out of season; a last grasp for something that has faded like an old woman wearing a short skirt and too much make-up. Just the same, no one was fooled. The parade of autumn is nearly over and the ticker tape of leaf fall swept away. Winter is just over the horizon.
Today is another sort of day. Bracketed by gray skies with fits of wind and rain, the lines are falling in familiar places. It is a berry cobbler and candlelight sort of day; just as it should be in mid November. Still, I left the bedroom window open a few inches because, in or out of season, I relish a curtain blowing day.
Friday, October 28, 2016
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Perhaps it was that second swig of cordial, but when I went inside, drunk with blue sky, bright leaves and the cider-snap of cold in the air, my usual whole grain toast for breakfast had lost its appeal. A little intemperate photosynthesis for this potted mum was needful.
So I made scones: weightless white flour, insubstantial sugar, pure butter baked into bites and dolloped with cream whipped into light-footed clouds, and the glad-hearted cheer of cherry jam.
What a pleasant way to convert light into energy.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
|Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889|
People turn their feet to listen
And truth is trampled in the rush to judgement.
A man shouts:
And there, beneath the wall of stone
With blindfold askew
Justice is executed.
~ Nib of Nib's End ~
This poem is a result of my frustration with what I hear in the news. And whatever the artist's intent may have been, his painting reflects my view of the State of our Union.
I, to say the least, am unhappy with my choices for the upcoming election. But I am not blaming the candidates; I believe they both represent a symptom of a much deeper problem...a problem that cannot be fixed by any political decision. So, despite my frustration, I am at peace. My hope is not in a candidate. My faith has never been in Democracy. I have put my confidence in a King of kings whose government is secure and whose reign is eternal despite how the mob may choose to represent it.
Thursday, October 6, 2016
Friday, September 30, 2016
My husband is funny. It is just one of the things I love about him. He makes me laugh and laugh. Many years ago, on our anniversary, I gave him this greeting card photographed by George Daniell because it reminded me of his continual cheerfulness and good humor. He is a clever punster and even though my daughters have often referred to his steady flow of wit as punishment, we would all miss it if the fount went dry. Wouldn't we, girls?
My live-in daughter is funny too. She has a dry wit, and her one-liners keep both my husband and me in stitches.
I think I am funny, it's just that, more often than not, I am the only one who thinks so. I can laugh myself to tears over one of my own quips while my family looks on, baffled. On rare occasions when they join in, I feel quite pleased with myself.
Some people are just born with the ability to see the humor in things and the skill to bring others in on the joke. So it is, with the current political climate tempting us to despair, it seems we rely more and more on the funny people, the talk show hosts and wags of social media to assuage our distress. It doesn't really change anything except our own ability to bear the vicissitudes of life with a lighter heart.
"I'm at that age where I watch such things with two minds, one that cackles at these capers and another that never gets much beyond a rather jaded and self-concious smile, like the Mona Lisa."
~ Alan Bradley ~
"It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humor."
~ Charles Dickens ~
Monday, September 5, 2016
We bought a car with a sunroof and are enjoying another perspective as we travel through this world.
And while we truly appreciate the technology that brings us together when my husband is abroad, when he is home, we stay connected the old-fashioned way.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
It has been a hot, dry summer. I have lost patience with hand watering the shrubbery and flower beds. I have let the parsley frizzle in the herb plot and the rootbound mint wither in its terracotta pot. Only the basil receives the care it deserves. I find work to do in the shade of air conditioning. A volunteer cherry tomato vine flourishes between unkempt cracks of flagstones on the hillside beside the house, defying brassy skies and gifting my neglect with small globes of sweet red fruit. Every now and then, I give it a splash of water from the hose in gratitude.
The tail-end of August brings us a respite of showers, and despite the tropic weight of air that can make even a mosquito sweat, I am glad. The grass is green. The young birch in the back garden has ceased scattering handfuls of yellow leaves on the lawn. The delicate impatiens spilling artfully from its broken pot no longer swoons in the late afternoon sun.
Fungus grows in unexpected places.
Rain diamonds collect on gossamer strands of web.
Hence, I am not in accord with the weathermongers who, after only a handful of days of intermittent rainfall are already singing the tune they suppose we all wish to hear: rain, rain go away, come again some other day...
I and my tree fairy are quite content with gray skies and raindrops on the windows.
Friday, August 19, 2016
As many times as I have flown on an airplane, I have never lost the wonder of takeoffs and landings. I may snooze through the instructions from the crew on how to buckle my seatbelt or locate emergency exits, but I am always alert and looking out the window as the plane hurtles down the runway and leaps into the sky. I don't want to miss it. I still find the physics of flight incredible, and I don't ever want to take it for granted.
When my husband and I were in Seattle this summer, we booked a tour of the Boeing facility in Everett. My husband has been enamored with airplanes since he was a boy and knows all of their names as though they have been personally introduced. Even though I am not an airplane aficionado, I also enjoyed the tour.
We were thrilled to see a Dreamlifter unloading as we ended our tour. The Dreamlifter is currently the largest air cargo plane in the world, and the plane that transports sections of the Dreamliner from Japan and Italy to South Carolina and from there to the factory in Everett. Like a rare bird, there are only four of its kind. We watched as the entire mid-section of a Dreamliner fuselage was unloaded from the belly of the plane and stored in a nearby hanger beside its cockpit. I was reminded of the Bible story of Jonah inside the whale.
Then we watched as this behemoth of a plane lumbered down the runway for takeoff. It seemed too large and slow and heavy to fly...
But, of course, it did.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
From time to time, I check the statistics for the number of pageviews I have received on my blog. I want to know if there is anybody out there in the blogoshpere listening to me, or if I am sitting alone at my kitchen table talking to myself. Either way, it doesn’t change how often I post or what I write about. But it is fascinating for me to see that anybody in the whole wide world with a computer can drop by my place for a visit.
I realize, of course, that many of the numbers I see in my stats represent robots; so when I checked my statistics recently and saw a huge spike in pageviews coming from Russia, I knew that the robots were swarming. What I don’t know is why. Are they monitoring my shopping preferences? Is there a conspiracy to find a chink in my armor and hack my computer or infiltrate those who visit me? With all of the international travel that he does, do they suppose that my husband works for the CIA? There is a normal amount of paranoia that follows these thoughts, and I am wondering if just using the initials CIA (twice) in my post will attract even more traffic from the bots.
With the online presence of virulent viruses lurking nearby waiting to sneeze on me, invisible spiders crawling across my posts, cyber thieves crouching at my backdoor, and phishermen trolling for data, one feels vulnerable.
At times such as this I create my own unreality. I blame it on having grown up in the cold war era and watching too many Dr. Who episodes with salt-and-pepper-shaker shaped robots gurgling: Ex-ter-min-ate! So it is that, each day, as the attack of the Russian cyberbot hordes on my statistic pages subsides and the number of American pageviews increases, I feel more at ease.
Surely, none of the American bots could wish to harm a little gray-haired old lady such as myself….right?
Saturday, August 6, 2016
There were forest trees the size of giants on our vacation out west this year, and the ghosts of mountains haunted our horizons. We flitted between island and mainland on ferry wings, and I ate swordfish for the first time. Swordfish, you know, are the unicorns of the sea.
So it seemed only natural that I should also visit a troll. This one lives under a bridge in Seattle. Thankfully, he was turned to stone a long time ago and offers no threat to either billy goats or other passersby.
I have fist bumped a Pharaoh before, but never a troll.
The tats on this fellow are not his by choice. Some narcissistic little trolls who have not yet been turned to stone have been at work here. I saw their work in the mountain forest too, carving their names into trees so that we will never forget that trolls are, above all, despoilers.