Sunday, October 30, 2011

Harry and Hairy

We are having a Halloween party tonight. That is, we are reading scenes from Harry Potter by firelight with Hairy Potter. And Tom, too.

Sunday morning sweetness

Instead of doughnuts at Coffee Hour this morning, Ella will be there in her Sunday best.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

First raking of the autumn

We went out and did a little raking in the yard. We will have to do a lot more later, when the trees finish their entmoot.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin eaters

The kitties were going crazy about the pumpkins even before we carved their faces on them. Happy hallowe'en e'en e'en.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Still on 4th Avenue

On 4th Avenue

It took 30 years or so, but these 70s buildings are starting to seem rather elegant.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


We've had delightful company this week. On Monday the famous blogger Joannamauselina came over, and tonight we had the delightful and lovely Celeste and the delightful and elusive Michael. We felt it was quite a coup to get them both at the same time!

Monday, October 24, 2011


Hairy is starting to look like a cat. What if he keeps getting bigger and bigger until he's the size of a lion?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

At a Cathedral

We happened upon an old church in downtown Seattle. Very lovely. Surprised it's not world famous.

In the garden

This flower is either really precocious or a late bloomer, depending how you look at it.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

In Renton

Our first visit to St Stephen the Martyr in Renton.

Friday, October 21, 2011


We ordered our pumpkins from Amazon Fresh. If there's anything left of them by Halloween, it won't be because Tom and Hairy didn't try to devour them.

Last night we had dinner at a house on Capitol Hill where Halloween is a big, BIG deal. Each house on their street is expected to be decorated with pumpkins, skeletons, cobwebs, and the like. On Halloween night there is to be a neighborhood flash mob where all the residents come out of their houses and perform "Thriller" in the street. Last year, the people across the street had 1,000 trick or treaters. She herself only had about 500-600 because there are about 30 steps up to the front door.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Grape jelly: the grand finale

It worked and it's delicious!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Spoiler alert

The sound of an ingenue's heart breaking will be heard at the end of Act III. The sound of a woman screaming and a man sobbing and a crowd cheering will be heard at the end of Act IV.

At Carmen

The audience is evenly divided between people who want to look really good and people who want to be really comfortable.


I think someone should write a song called "October Morn."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jam, continued

The recipe says we might have to wait a week for it to set. I'm not sure Hairy can wait that long.

Chimney sweeps

We are having the chimney cleaned today. The sweeps are not nearly as small, thin, pale, or sooty as I was led to believe by Charles Dickens.

The grape experiment

When we got home, we found our grape vines covered with luscious purple grapes! We are going to try making grape jelly. Stay tuned...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Home again

The dear kitties (or should I say cats? Great big cats) were really glad to see us. Not as glad as we were to see them, though.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Home, sort of

I won't attempt to describe our flight from Rome because it was indescribable. Suffice it to say that we missed our connecting flight and are now spending a few hours in Chicago. Just a few more hours...

Hello, Hairy!

Becky took this photo of Hairy wondering when we are ever going to come back.

Arrivederci, grafitti

Arrivederci, lemon trees!

On our way

This morning at the crack of dawn we bid farewell to Roma. We had such a lovely time with the Hungerfords and the Dominicans. I'm almost sad to go home again! But not quite.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

At Trinita dei Monti

The French church at the top of the Spanish steps is now operated by the Fraternity of Jerusalem. The candle holders are brightly colored. But it's rarest find any real candles in Rome - mostly electric or not at all.

And just down the street

San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane. But I think Bernini wins out over Borromini.

Sant'Andrea al Quirinale

The pearl of the Baroque! Where Father Ryan said his first Mass.

Today it's me; tomorrow it's you

This gloomy offering box adorns the church of Our Lady of Prayer and Death.

Vatican hedgehog

I never noticed the hedgehog and the other animals on Manzu's doors of death before.

Sunlight in the portico

After Mass at St Peter's the sun came out. Another glorious summer morning in Rome.

St Peter's at dawn


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Via degli Ibernesi

So called because it is where the college of the Irish Dominicans has been for some centuries. Shown here by moonlight and lamplight.

At the Fontana di Trevi

A visit here is de rigueur if you hope to return to Rome. It was so crowded that I think there are more people hoping to come back to Rome someday than are already here.


This is M looking at some of Father Paul's books. He's written a whole lapfull of them. He also read us an unpublished poem about the Via Baccina, which is nearby. It is full of history and romance, like most of Italy.

Father Paul also said that we missed the best part of class this morning. Turns out it went on for another hour after the break, with lively discussions of the spiritual life and the lives of the saints. "Oh well," said I. "One more thing to regret for the rest of my life."

After lunch

The community here is delightful. We had lunch with the priests who are from 20 different countries. Then we joined Father Paul and Father Luke on the terrace for Bailey's and some Italian liqueur. At 2pm!? This explains the need for a siesta in the afternoon. I always wondered.


It's supposed to get up to 84 today. Even the Romans are surprised how lovely it is.

This is the view from the top of the Convitto, with St Peter's in the distance.

A Mary shrine

This little shrine was put up by some of the Dominican brethren. One of them installed the neon Ave Maria and carefully wired it. You can see the cord stretching along about 50 feet of wall and out of sight. Another of the brethren cut the power supply.

Il giardino secreto

Not sure about my Italian there, but you get the idea! We are spending the morning at the Angelicum. This is a view from the lovely garden. With lizards darting by in the sun and branches laden with limes, oranges, and pomegranates, it's hard to believe we're in the middle of Rome.

In class

This morning we joined in Father Murray's class at the Angelicum - spiritual theology. The students are sisters, priests, and laypeople from all over the world. Father Murray's technique is to enter the classroom as the bell rings, sit down, lecture brilliantly for 50 minutes, finishing as the bell rings. No roll-taking, no discussion, no questions. Nice!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Still life, so far

We've had lots of fun adventures so far... What will tomorrow bring?!? A domani.

Pizza in Roma

Father Paul took us to dinner at this little place tucked into a tiny corner between two buildings. He says it's the best pizza in Rome; hence, it's the best pizza in the world. Father Paul has been busy nonstop since we saw him at Easter and has traveled all over. He fell in love with New York City. Everywhere he goes, the people are wonderful, beautiful, brilliant, and utterly delightful. He's enthusiastic about everything and everyone.

A special feast

Today is the Memorial of Blessed John XXIII and the 49th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. A good day to visit St Peter's and pray at his tomb.

A walk along the Tiber

At San Carlo

There are about a million San Carlos in Rome. We stopped at one where an ancient image of Mary is surrounded by ribbons and pillows announcing the birth or baptism of babies. Pink ribbons on the left, blue ribbons on the right. This baby is named Charlotte!

Sunlight in Santa Maria in Aracoeli

...which is famous for its extremely challenging staircase.

Room enough, and Rome enough

Our room is at the top of this winding staircase. You feel like you are on top of Rome! There's even a view of the tower where (according to legend) Nero fiddled as he watched Rome burn.

In Roma

We have arrived! This time we're staying at a residence for the Angelicum. We were dropped off at a nondescript door in a winding cobbled street. We rang, and two seconds later a window opened two flights up and the head of Father Murray appeared. We proceeded to be overwhelmed with hospitality, including lunch, which is really hard to come by at 2:30 in Rome! Delightful.

At Gate A18

We are en route to Roma. We staggered out at 6am. It took us about an hour and a half to get to the airport via underground, but since it took only about 8 minutes to get from the underground through check in and security, we broke even in the end.

The brand-new Terminal 5 at Heathrow is pretty amazing. I suppose the day will come when it seems hopelessly dated and inconvenient.

It will be hard for Rome to compete with Clapham - we had a grand time with our dear friends from Milton's Manor. Cheerio and see you on Boxing Day!

Monday, October 10, 2011

And from the top

A breathtaking and occasionally asphyxiating climb.