Saturday, August 25, 2012

In the Background

Image from Wikimedia Commons
Miniature by an unknown artist, about 1470.
This morning during breakfast, Lucy and her daddy were looking at and describing the pictures in No Roses for Harry.  There is a framed picture of a church on the wall in the background on one of the pages.  Daddy pointed to it and asked, "What's that?"

"Priest." (We respond to general topic areas, not specific questions)

"A priest is not a building.  What do we call the building?"

"Host!  Priest hold up a host!"  Lucy pantomimed the elevation.  (What ... you expected a two-year-old to directly answer the question?  Maybe yours does that.  Not mine.)

After a few more tries to elicit the response, "Church," Daddy and I both got the giggles.  He looked at me and said, "At two years old, if her description of Mass is 'the priest holds up the Host,' I'd say we're off to a pretty good start."

Friday, August 24, 2012

Going Back to Fix

I have played piano from the time I was a very little girl, and my grandmother was my piano teacher.  "Don't go back to fix!" my grandmother told me over and over.  "Don't go back to fix!" my mother would call from the other room as I was practicing.  Like many other beginning musicians, when I made a mistake I would stop and search for the right note instead of going on.  This destroys all sense of the rhythm of the music and makes the error more obvious.

I have been thinking about doing things at the right time lately, and I may have discovered the reason my efforts to make a schedule for myself have failed.  I "go back to fix."  If for one reason or another, I haven't done something at its proper time, I try to rush and do it now, before the thing I ought to do now.  This destroys the rhythm of the day, and makes me feel rushed and frustrated.  The last couple days I made a decision that, if I discovered that I had missed something on my schedule, then I would go on with what I should be doing now and pick up the missed thing if I had some extra time later.

The schedule (since someone will ask) consists of the hours of the Divine Office, everyone's mealtimes (of which there are many), laundry, dishes, other necessary chores, exercise for me, naptime, and some time for the little ones to have Mama's undivided attention.  I'm still tweaking things a little bit -- I'm trying to figure out when to feed Linus so that he's hungry enough to eat, but not crying for his next meal.  The last couple days have been very peaceful, and seemed to fly by.


... But in time he forgot what it was that he had wanted a week longer for.  If he worried at all after that, it was about his jobs at the hospital.  He planned them out, thinking how quickly he could stop that board creaking, or rehang that door, or mend that table-leg.  Probably he really became rather useful, though no one ever told him so.  But that, of course, cannot have been the reason why they kept the poor man so long. They may have been waiting for him to get better, and judging 'better' by some odd medical standard of their own.

At any rate, poor Niggle got no pleasure out of life, not what he had been used to call pleasure.  He was certainly not amused.  But it could not be denied that he began to have a feeling of -- well satisfaction:  bread rather than jam.  He could take up a task the moment one bell rang, and lay it aside promptly the moment the next one went, all tidy and ready to be continued at the right time.  He got through quite a lot in a day, now; he finished small things off neatly.  He had no 'time of his own' (except alone in his bed-cell), and yet he was becoming master of his time; he began to know just what he could do with it.  There was no sense of rush.  He was quieter inside now, and at resting-time he could really rest.

Leaf by Niggle by J. R. R. Tolkien

This section appears to be about a particular stage of purgatory, after the regrets have quieted.  I find it very interesting that Tolkien paints this bit as decidedly monastic and devoted to learning the proper use of time.  There promises to be lots to think about in this story ...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A New Skirt

On the day that threatened to turn into a disaster, I decided that it would be good for my mental health to do some sewing.  This is the result:  a full circle skirt for Lucy.

 Here it is all spread out, because it amuses the mathematician in me to see the geometric qualities of a skirt.

 All the seams are neatly finished on the inside -- mostly flat-felled seams, and a french seam to attach the top portion.

The recipient is delighted with it.  When I asked her if she wanted to try it on, she immediately took off the skirt she was wearing to put this one on.

Since I'm linking this post up at Needle and thREAD, here is one of the books I'm currently reading.  The title (under that inconveniently place library sticker) is Writing Picture Books.  With all the picture books we read around here, I sometimes daydream about writing one.  It would help, of course, to have an actual story idea ...   But unrealistic as my reasons for reading it may be, it has been an enjoyable read so far.

needle and thREAD

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Yarn Along

I've been knitting a top-down pullover for me.  I'm hoping to use up most of the cotton yarn I have in my stash and make something useful out of it.  I don't have much more to say about it right now, except that the Norwegian purl (with yarn in back) is a lifesaver for knit one purl one ribbing.

Tales from the Perilous Realm is a collection of short stories and poems by J. R. R. Tolkien.  It's been thoroughly enjoyable light reading so far.

Friday, August 17, 2012

How to Reboot the Morning

The night wakings last night tested the limits of my patience and physical endurance, and I got up to two cranky babies who wouldn't eat breakfast.  We went through the morning tasks:  changed diapers, got dressed, eventually ate breakfast.  But I was still feeling tired, cross, and crabby.  After I heard myself snap at each of them in turn, I took a deep breath and said, "Let's go into the other room, say some prayers, and see if we can reboot the morning."

I said the Guardian Angel prayer, a morning offering, and then began Lauds.  By some miracle, Lucy and Linus both played happily nearby.  When I got to the antiphon for Psalm 50, I stopped and stared.

"With a generous spirit strengthen me, O God."
Yes, God.  That is what I need.  Give me strength and generosity
to get through the day.
I can't say the rest of the day was perfect, but it was better.  I was still tired, and my nerves were still a bit raw, but I regained my equilibrium and my purpose.

Of course, I'm also praying for babies who sleep tonight ...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

A quick look at some of the fun we've had lately:
Lucy's first french braid.

Lucy had a sandwich for lunch, and so did her baby.

Linus will walk soon.  He's practicing.

Mama and Lucy had a tea party with apple slices and raspberry tea.  We even
managed to keep Linus from pulling the tablecloth off the table.

round button chicken

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ring Slings and Head Coverings

Veils and a hat in the Rogation Procession at Our Lady of
Clear Creek Monastery.
We arrived at Sunday Mass, a couple weeks ago.  I picked up the avalanche of toys Linus had thrown into the space between his carseat and the car door, tossing them back into the middle of the back seat when I will be able to reach them to give to him on the way home.  I unfasten Linus from his seat, pick him up, swing the diaper bag over my shoulder, reach into the outside pocket and find ...


I left my chapel veil at home.  I have been Catholic for eight years (all my "adult" life; I was received into the Church on my twenty-first birthday) and have worn a veil (or hat, or scarf, if I felt the veil might draw unwanted attention) all of that time.  I am acutely uncomfortable without one.

We went into the church and I checked the table by the door, where a basket of chapel veils often sits for those women who don't own one or, like me, forgot.  Not that day.

As I genuflect and get settled in the pew with Linus and Lucy and the diaper bag and their prayer books and holy cards, my husband whispers, "Is there anything in the diaper bag you could use?"  I shake my head.

I stand, holding Linus, during the Asperges, feeling the color rising in my cheeks, going over the contents of the diaper bag in my mind.  Nursing cover?  No, it has that helpful bit of boning, and it's far to brightly colored.  The ring sling is like a big shawl, and a nice unobtrusive khaki colored linen, but if I unthreaded it, the rings would jingle.  I was just pondering asking for my husband's handkerchief to tie over my hair, when I realized that I could pull the sling on through the rings, and then wrap it around my head and shoulders so that they would be mostly hidden.  I fumbled with it one-handed for a couple minutes, and by the Confiteor, had it settled and began to relax.

Not ten minutes later, my husband gave me look somewhere between panic and annoyance, while Lucy whispered "Poo-poo."  "I'll take her after the Gospel," I whispered.

As I took care of the diaper situation, I caught sight of myself in the bathroom mirror.  That's actually not half bad, I thought, and finally stopped worrying about my improvised shawl.  Later that day, my husband informed me that he was both amused and edified by my creative use of a ring sling.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Happy Bath

 Lucy recently discovered Curious George.  I checked it out from the library, and we read it about eighty-seven times, so I pulled out a couple of books I had as a child about Curious George.
Curious George rides a bike has become an instant favorite book.  We read it several times a day.  Like many toddlers, Lucy sometimes has difficulty transitioning between activities (read:  big-tears, screaming, falling-on-the-floor tantrums), particularly the transition from whatever she's been doing to bath-time.
Last night, about five minutes before bathtime, I heard her father reading this book.  It includes illustrated instructions for making paper boats, just like George.  I made a couple paper boats from scrap paper, and Lucy went very excitedly to go try floating them in the bath.
Sadly, one of the boats tore in the bath.  I quickly made a deal with Lucy that if she would get out of the bath and go put a diaper and pajamas on, then I would make her a new boat.  So we managed another smooth transition, with Lucy happily chatting about a "new boat" all the while.

I am so grateful for a peaceful bedtime with Lucy.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Yarn Along

I made the sample socks from 2-at-a-time Toe-up Socks, and they fit my little boy perfectly!  Thick, wool socks are a bit warm for this time of year, so they've now been set aside for a few months.

I read Unearthing Your Ten Talents by Kevin Vost.  It's a very readable summary of St. Thomas Aquinas' thoughts on growing in virtue.  It provided some food for thought, yet was a pretty quick and easy read.