Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Hodgepodging Insomnia

 Getting the Christmas Tree

Join Joyce and the Gang

 She writes the questions;
we write the answers.
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1.  What's something blogging has taught you about yourself?
I find blogging to be much more difficult with cats than with dogs.

Tommy, inserting himself into the conversation

2.  Leftovers...are you in the 'reheat and eat' camp or the 'put them in the fridge until they spoil and then toss them' camp? What's your favorite thing to have leftover? What can you not abide as a leftover?

I'm totally in the reheat and eat camp, as long as the leftovers don't get shoved to the back of the refrigerator and resurface later with fur on them.  I try to keep track of leftovers, but sometimes... I mean, when the refrigerator has a ton of produce in it, it's not that easy! ANYway, my favorite thing to have leftover is beef pepper steak. What I can't abide as a leftover is anything eggy. Ewww.

 View from Highway O

3. 'Me time'...your thoughts?

My 'me time' is divided between 'God and me time' and 'cats and me time' - in that order. I read a lot during the day - and again at night when I can't get to sleep or stay asleep. My brother told me that he read that sleep deprivation is the No. 1 factor (even above diet and exercise!) in predicting (or getting?) dementia. I wish I could figure out a way to sleep more and better. I also pray when I can't sleep, so at least that's a good thing. Now you know what I'm doing in the wee hours between 3:30 and 5:30, or for about two hours after I've had five hours of sleep. I then usually get another hour or so of sleep after that, before Tommy wakes me. What would be my favorite thing to do during 'me time'? Find answers.

An old barn near Hayward, WI

4. When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?

I think they simply want someone who will listen to them, someone they know they can trust not to take the conversation beyond the two of us. And maybe someone who will help them mull things over and see things from a different perspective.

 Sunrise on November 28, 2017
The heavens declare the glory of God

5. If your childhood had a smell what would it be? Tell us why.

Well oddly enough, the first thing that came to mind was the solution used in the milking parlor to dip cows' teats in before putting the milkers on them. That iodine? smell mixed with whatever other cleaning stuff was going on in the barn. And probably cow bodies mixed in. For someone who spent little time in the barn except for occasionally doing milk dishes, it's remarkable that it was my very first 'smell' memory after reading that question. My second would be furniture polish. I was the designated polisher and had that job every Saturday morning before I could go play. I don't know what my younger sister was doing during that time, but maybe cleverly escaping Saturday morning chores. I might have been watching cartoons while dusting the living room furniture very, very slowly.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

So far I have the Advent wreath ready and waiting, the real Christmas tree on the porch up and lit, a star that a friend gave me last year is hanging on the porch wall, and the little fake tree is up in the living room. I have it decorated with lights only, but will probably take them down until the family is here at Christmas. Why? Because Tommy and Smokey enjoy getting into the tree, dragging the strings of lights down, etc. I really don't mind.


"You have heard of the supposed War on Christmas. But the real war is not about whether retailers use the word Christmas during December or not. In fact it is not even the Christmas season until Christmas day anyway. The real war is happening in many American churches. Its not a war on Christmas, its a war on Advent, and I want to enlist you on the Advent side. We need an Advent army that fights not with boycotts or browbeating, but with an invitation to a quieter, older path." READ entire article.

The chimes went wild yesterday.


Smokey, watching me make supper

I hope you're having a great week, everyone!


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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

It's the Hodgepodge, Thankfully!

 Thanksgiving (October) 2016 hayride
Our non-traditional Early Thanksgiving
This is the difference between celebrating Thanksgiving mid October
and celebrating it early November, (cold, drizzly, yukky) as we did this year.
Hopefully we can go back to October for next year.

Join Joyce and the Gang

She writes the questions;
we write the answers.
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and Join in!

Thanks, Joyce!

1. tightly do you cling to tradition when it comes to holiday gatherings and celebrations? For instance do you always do the cooking, never eat at home, always go to grandma's, never miss the parade, always watch football, never change the menu, always eat at 2 PM, etc.? Have you ever celebrated Christmas or Thanksgiving away from hearth, home, and family? How did that feel?

I'm not sure how tightly I cling to tradition, for my goal is to celebrate Thanksgiving with the family, whenever most of them are available to get together. Thus, our Thanksgiving this year was on November 4. What's taking the rest of you so long?? ;-) BUT, If Thanksgiving is going to be celebrated at our house, there will always be turkey and stuffing. It works out well for Mr. C. and me to roast the turkey (with stuffing) and ham here, cook the potatoes and squash, and ask the others to bring the other sides and dessert. We don't ever eat out for our family Thanksgiving. Never ever watching football is a time-honored tradition, and usually eating at 1 PM works best for us.

One year Mr. C. and I flew to London on Thanksgiving Day evening, although the kids who were left here at home had already had their Thanksgiving dinner with us before we left. So we were at St. Paul's Cathedral for the First Sunday of Advent. How did that feel? Pretty wonderful!

 Yesterday at 11:30 AM
From the Porch

 Yesterday at 1:30 PM
Same porch

2. it easy for you to ask for help or are you a do-it-yourselfer? How is that a good/bad thing?

It's not particularly easy for me to ask for help. I was raised to be a self-sufficient type, as were my parents, and I think we passed that on to our kids, which I now kind of regret. I say 'kind of' because I do love that they are responsible adults, thankfully. I don't think there is a fine line between being able to ask for help and being totally unable to do anything for oneself, but you know that old slippery slope.. I err on the side of self sufficiency, I guess. Not that I don't ask Mr. C. for help moving boxes of books (among other things), but you know it doesn't count that I ask Mr. C. for help. :-)  

On the other hand, I constantly ask God for his help and mercy. I would say 'often,' but I think constantly is slightly more accurate.

3. Abundance...what is there an abundance of in your kitchen?

Refrigerator magnets, mostly photos of the family, some souvenirs. This is limited to the refrigerator, thankfully. Oh. And coffee mugs. Yeah, quite a few. And I keep meaning to do a blog post on those mugs.

4. Name...the smallest thing you're thankful for? the biggest?
 She put on her builder hat and asked me what she should build.
I said, 'Build me a castle.' This was her response.
3.5 years old. What a fun age!!

The smallest: the Micro SD card for my camera. Technically, I'm sure there's something even smaller that I'm thankful for, like microsurgery. But...
The biggest: our family

But the by-far-way-biggest: God's grace in the person of Jesus Christ, Lord of all.

5. Key...What do you think is the key to living a more grateful life?

I think that every American should visit a third-world country to see how most of the world lives. That helps a lot. When you see the majority of people (including children) who struggle daily just to survive, it reminds us how trivial many of our 'needs' truly are.

6. State your own random thought here.

The you-know-whats are not allowed on the table or countertops, but it was sure nice to have Tommy's company as I was sorting through books yesterday in one of the bedrooms.

I'm thankful that Tommy doesn't have to be considered a meal.

 Happy Thanksgiving!


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I needed supervision.

Friday, November 17, 2017

More Photos of Canterbury Cathedral - Anglophile Friday

 Canterbury Cathedral Gate

This is another installment of our September/October England trip with my brother and his wife. A few weeks ago I showed you a few photos of the exterior of Canterbury Cathedral covered with scaffolding, and a few interior shots of the cathedral. So today, I have other photos to share, most of which I'm not thrilled with because of my new camera. What was I thinking! But, oh well.

Pulpit with Canopy or Tester overhead

 At the front of the nave, looking eastward toward the rood screen

 Past (east of) the rood screen into the choir (quire)

 Some tourist got into my photo.

Actually, that's my brother with his audioguide. Isn't he cute?
We all had audioguides, which are very helpful.

 High Altar

 Entrance, south
Steps with many centuries of wear
Becket Memorial
Becket Flame

If you don't know the story of Henry II and Thomas Becket, you can read it HERE . It's a tragic story of friendship, allegiance vs. conscience, and misunderstanding.

 Burial of Christ


"Items that are crafted for the Cathedral or given as gifts often have a tale to tell too. One such item is the bronze Burial of Christ statue located in the Corona also known as the Chapel of the Saints and Martyrs of our Time. It stands on a plinth to the left of the chapel.

"Collections revealed close up The statue consists of four figures carrying the body of Christ wrapped in a shroud. It is thought that the figures may represent apostles carrying Jesus to his burial place after his crucifixion. This is a popular subject in religious artwork and has been depicted notably by Michelangelo and Caravaggio amongst others. The statue really captures the struggle that the four figures are experiencing, both physically and emotionally; three are looking ahead of them, their faces lined with grief, whilst the fourth holds his head in his hands. Their clothes are thought to be a traditional dish-dash or thawb, a traditional African garment."  Read more about this sculpture HERE

 St. Eustace mural

"This wall painting, dating from around 1480, was uncovered in 1830 when lime wash was removed from the wall of the north aisle of the choir.  It shows the story of St Eustace, a legendary Christian martyr who lived in the second century AD.  The setting is a series of wooded landscapes with details of ships, hamlets, churches, castles, monkeys, and a river meandering to the sea.  The story starts at the bottom, with Eustace on his knees before his quarry, a white stag, between whose horns can be seen an image of Christ.  It ends with Eustace and his family roasted to death in a large bull placed over a fire (!)" - from

Some of the beautiful architecture
and stained glass

 Ancient monks' dormitory
within the cathedral close


 Another time, without scaffolding on the west end

 Fun traveling companions!

And see that sign?
Nicholson's. They're everywhere!

I think we'll now move on from Canterbury, although I could have stayed there a very long time. And I love that cathedral. As I've said many times in the past, it is truly an awe-inspiring house of worship.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Linked to Mosaic Monday


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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Hodgepodging Hibernation

Sunset walk on Sunday, Nov. 12
Our farm

All photos are mine unless credited to someone else.

Join Joyce and the Gang

 She writes the questions;
we write the answers.
Plug them into your own blog post
and join in!

1. What takes you out of your comfort zone?

Well, outside my comfort zone are definitely driving on winter snow and ice. We're coming up on four or five months of snow and ice. I'm already dreading it.

2. Your least favorite spice?

I can't think of a spice I don't like. I look at my spice rack and like all of them. My favorite is probably hot yellow curry powder from

 And funny, but that hot yellow curry powder
is in the pantry with my other spices
that don't fit in the spice rack.

Can you guess what the spice is, about middle of the bottom row? 

What're your favorite herbs and spices?

3. What's a small change you'd like to make?

About seventy-five cents. Okay, actually, I can't think of any small change I need to make, but can think of several HUGE changes I need to make and will most likely be making in the next year or two.
 photo via sprint movers
Really? Only ONE BOX per category???

4. Do you enjoy visiting historic homes? If so, of the homes you've visited which one was your favorite? What historic home near you is open to visitors? Have you been? Southern Living rounded up eleven of the best in the southern part of the US and they're as follows-

Monticello (Jefferson's home in Virginia), Nathaniel Russel House (Charleston SC), Swan House (Atlanta), Ernest Hemingway's home (Key West), The Biltmore (Vanderbilt home in Asheville NC), Mount Vernon (Washington's home in Virgina), San Francisco Plantation (Garyville, Louisiana), Windsor Ruins (Port Gibson Mississippi), Longue Vue House and Gardens (New Orleans), Whitehall (Palm Beach FL), and Pebble Hill Plantation (Thomasville GA)

Have you been to any on the list? Of the homes listed which would you most like to visit?

Do cathedrals count? They are historic homes of worshippers, aren't they. And I love visiting them all (and have visited many). And I've visited a handful of castles in England. They most definitely were homes as well as fortresses. As for the more common sense of the term, I enjoyed visiting The Biltmore and wouldn't mind visiting Longue Vue House and Gardens and San Francisco Plantation. Those sound interesting, and I'd like to visit Louisiana in general.

 Ely Cathedral
A favorite.
I guess they're all favorites.

 James J. Hill House,
St. Paul, MN
photo via Wikipedia

 Glensheen Mansion,
Duluth, MN
photo via

 Skipton Castle
North Yorkshire

  Castle Howard
North Yorkshire

Castle Bolton
North Yorkshire

5. What's something you think will be obsolete in ten years? Does that make you sad or glad?

I suspect that check-out people at a store will be less and less common, that credit cards will be a thing of the past, and maybe DVDs. None of this makes me sad or glad. And maybe the USPS will be obsolete. That would be kinda sad because Mr. C. and the postman have frequent, albeit brief, political conversations that we would miss. :-)

6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

 Neighbor Bill's Barn
Sunday, November 12

Random #1: I love that old barn just across the road.

Random #2: I can't believe that November is half over! I can't believe that gun deer hunting begins next weekend and my poor little eight or so deer will be having to run and hide.

P.S. About yesterday's post: Mr. C. and I watched the David Suchet version of 'Murder on the Orient Express' again. It's on YouTube and on Acorn. Anyway, although the photography and scenery and music were better in the newer movie, we thought, I will always prefer the Suchet performance as Poirot.  He portrayed a very real, deep, and intense moral struggle that was not as evident in the Branagh Poirot.


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