Monday, October 27, 2008


This weekend: got up at 5:30 am two mornings in a row :(
Little Town Church had its annual Pancake Breakfast and Pantry Sale (no crafts this year). I think it went well, although perhaps a few less than last year. The bakery sold rather well along with fresh corn meal, homemade soups, quince jelly and jam and apple butter. I worked til 10:30 am and headed home for my afternoon Lutheran tutorial!!!
Yup, LH took me to the Lutheran church to go over the liturgy of the communion service and where to stand when!!!!
On Sunday, I drove the easy commute to TLC and the first service began at 8 am. I was not decent and in order when I missed the post communion charge, the assisting minister went to the post communion prayer, we sang "Thank the Lord" and then before the benediction, I squeezed in the post communion charge!!! It worked and God did not smote this low church Presbyterian!!
The second service went much better and the congregants were actually alive, awake and laughed at all the humorous parts in my "Zwingli Schtick". Yes, I've crafted a Zwingli Schtick!!!!!!!!!! Zwingli I can pull off. Calvin, I will not be able to pull off - the tall thin body is beyond my physical ability as is the long beard. Next year, I will have to come up a long lost letter from Calvin rather than portray him. Remember, next year, 2009, will be the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth!!! My Calvin Bobblehead is waiting to be a children's sermon next year!!
I took a long nap Sunday afternoon - just exhausted - and a long quiet evening.
I'm looking forward to sleeping in this week on my day off!!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008


Tell us about 5 favorite places you have lived in your lifetime.
1. Suburb of Chicago
2. Switzerland
3. Mansfield, OH
4. Cleveland, OH
5. Between Akron & Cleveland, OH

What did you like?
1. Suburb of Chicago - great place to grow up, access to the musuems, nightlife,
and Lakefront. What's not to like about Chicago? Great restaurants, shopping and
the most wonderful bookstore at the time - Kroch's & Brentano's (like Border's).
Could be in Chicago in 1/2 an hour. Traffic wasn't so bad in those days!!!
2. Switzerland - visited several times for weeks at a time, lived there a whole
summer. It's beautiful, clean, and simple. Lived with my Grandma
and travelled all over Switzerland, could speak like
a native.Enjoyed the company of all my relatives.
3.Mansfield - had my own apartment as I began my ministry. Smack dab between
Columbus and Cleveland
4. Cleveland - being close to the airport and city musuems, ball park, etc. The
West Side Market is great with fresh meat & veges of all kinds,
cheeses, bakery and imported goods.
5. Between Akron & Cleveland - the meadow behind our house, the spaciousness of
that, my herb garden and perenial flower beds,
quiet neighborhood

What kind of place was it?
1. A suburb, neat, clean with some green space
2. Countryside; hilly, could see the mountains on a clear day from my
Mom's hometown, green and fresh
3. Small town: hilly, lived in an apartment with a balcony overlooking a
a cornfield across the street.
4. Suburb: OK, close to stuff, working class neighborhood, a brick split-level
5. Small town: neat, clean, subdivision, middle class, a vinyl sided colonial

Anything special happen there?
1. Grew up, graduated from HS & Seminary, had my first kiss
2. Just being with relatives and meeting two guys I fell in love with
3. Got engaged and married in this town
4. Moved in with LH two weeks before our first anniversary,lost both my
parents during our stay here, got our Beagle, our first greyhound and second
5. We bought our first home! LH turned 50, our Beagle passed away, now
have two greys

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


On Saturday, LH and I went on the annual LH's church hayride, provided by a parishioner on their small farm. When we arrived and parked, there were 2 calves ambling in the pasture. We stopped and admired their cuteness. One cow walked away from us and looked like she had swallowed a rain barrel!! Very pregnant.
The hayride started a half hour later and we took the usual ride up to the higher pasture, across it and down to the corner that would lead into a field surrounded by trees. As we were coming down off the ridge, where we admired the lovely rolling countryside, all the cows were near the opening toward which we were driving and they did not seem concerned enough to get out of the way. They clustered together and a couple were butting heads. We got fairly close before they started moving away and the one cow had something sticking out her hind end. OMG! She was ready to give birth. The farmer jumped off the idling tractor and his two sons eventually joined him for it was obvious the cow was having trouble. There we sat, two wagons of church folks of all ages, kids and elders, watching the drama unfold and hoping to see the miracle of life before our eyes. The cow had more trouble and the calf was breech. With rope from a bale of straw, they tried pulling the calf, the rope broke. One fellow offered his leather belt and eventually, they pulled the still born calf free from its mother and got the afterbirth out. It was just so sad.
The blessing was, that we were right there. Had it happened after we had left the field, the cow might have lost her life.
And that's how a city girl nearly witnessed the birthing of a calf!! It was the most dramatic hayride I have ever been on and one which folks will be remembering for a long time as we all reflect on life and death, and the grace of God's timing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


My oldest aunt passed away last Thursday. I am saddened by her death, for it seems that with each aunt and uncle and parent who has died our connection to our larger family is lessening, fading. I don't really know my cousins - their lives are in Switzerland and mine is here. Oh, I know a couple of them fairly well, but they are so far away. Except for my annual Christmas letter, a stray and sporadic e-mail, I don't hear from them. They are busy living their lives and I am busy living mine, except for those moments, those times when I yearn for a closer relationship, to be more a part of their lives and they a part of mine.
I've noticed that it gets increasingly harder and more awkward to return to the homeland of my parents, to my second home. The ones I grew up with (well, saw every 5 years), the relatives I got to know, love and appreciate, the ones that warm my heart and soul with memories - are all gone now. Grandparents, all my uncles, my aunt, great uncles and aunts - except for the youngest have joined the Church triumphant. I miss them greatly at times. They were full of life, fun, work and toil, they were honest, salt of the earth folks, genuine and quirky.
I think I was amazed to learn when I was 6 that I had a huge family across the pond and over the alps. I miss the way it was when my parents and my cousins' parents were together. How they just connected, brothers and sisters, who remembered growing up together, hardships, school pranks, and as I reflect on that, how warm and connected I felt. Now they are all but gone, one aunt with Alzheimer's remains, and I miss that connection, the ties that were our parents that bound us together and now are memories we keep close in our hearts and store in our minds. It's just not the same any more. I miss them all so very much, even as I give thanks to God for the gift they were and the grace to have known them, if only in brief segments of my earlier years.
My aunt was the spittin' image of my paternal Grandma. Even her voice sounded like grandma's. They could have been twins and not just mother and daughter. With my aunt, I had a direct link to my Grandma who passed away when I was in 7th grade. I have her dark brown eyes, they always told me. I shrugged it off! Who wants to look like their grandparent? But, with the passing of the years, as I gaze at her picture, trying to discern just who she was and how we might have gotten along, I see her beautiful, kind, wise, strong, dark eyes, with just a hint of twinkle and that reflect a deep and abiding faith, I am thankful, grateful that my eyes are just like hers.
I last saw my aunt 3 years ago. LH and I drove to the Nursing home and she was still in good shape for 89. We had a most delightful chat in her room at the table and she even walked with her walker down the hallway. She shared a few things about her life that I never knew and most of the cousins don't know either. She gave me strength when I did my Dad's committal, her faith tapped into mine into all the faithful, that great communion of saints. She mentioned that getting married late in life to one 23 years older than she, was the most wonderful gift of her life. The 7 years they enjoyed together as husband and wife were the best years of her life. And her face shone with love and delight at the mere mention of that fact.
We will see one another again some day, Tante Dorli and I. It will be a wonderful reunion with all the relatives I knew and loved the best, whose faces, smiles, eyes, quirks, voices have left their imprint on my mind, soul and heart and with whom I will always be connected though the cable becomes a tiny thread.

Monday, October 20, 2008


This coming Sunday, LH and I are taking part in a pulpit exchange of our churches.
Kinda cool to think that Presbyterians and Lutherans are exchanging pulpits when Zwingli and Luther never could agree on the presence of Christ in Holy Communion.
It only took 279 years!!!!! Never, never give up hope!!!!
It is a bit challenging putting together a service for husband. I am anxiously awaiting his scripture choices so that I can plan one hymn and a couple prayers.
I am doing my "Zwingli" schtick with a couple modifications and updates for a Lutheran congregation. I am most nervous about the communion service since it has been awhile since I've lead the Lutheran liturgy. I'm desperately praying that I won't goof something up (ie: skip to the wrong preface, leave out part of a prayer, etc.) I figure if I do stumble in the early service, I can redeem myself in the late service. God gives me two chances to do it "right"! (Actually, God gives me chances over and over and over again to get it right, which is not necessarily about "doing it right"!) God is very forgiving - Lutherans, well, we'll see!!!
(in reference to giving to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's)

1) When was the last time you flipped a coin or even saw one flipped in person?
Long enough that I can't remember!!!

2) Do you have any foreign coins in your house? If so, where are they from?
Quite alot! They are from Switzerland, Greece, France, Philippines, Scotland,
Germany, South Africa and Canada. We always keep a few coins as souvenirs.
We also have Swiss Francs for our next trip.

3) A penny saved is a penny earned, they say. But let's get serious. Is there a special place in heaven for pennies, or do you think they'll find a special place in, well, the other place?
I could live without pennies and the country could save much in production without the penny. My vote is the nickel being the new penny and everything could be rounded off to 5 cents.

4) How much did you get from the tooth fairy when you were a child? and if you have children of your own, do they get coins, or paper money? (I hear there may be some inflation.)
Let's see, back in the old days that would be a quarter! I hear kids get at least a dollar these days!!

5) Did anyone in your household collect the state quarters? And did anyone in your household manage to sustain the interest required to stick with it?
LH is the collector in our house although I contributed quarters that I had and received with him. He is also into numismatics and collects paper money from various and sundry eras and times, although mostly US.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I spent the weekend and my study leave attending the Radical Amazement retreat led by Judy Cannato in Michigan.
The journey began as a pilgrimage to the retreat center not far over the border from OH. I had a great drive up. Then I reacquainted myself with the center and stopped in the bookstore. Found a few items and then went to a couple places in town and had dinner.
Our first session that evening revealed perhaps 2-3 protestants out of 25, all women, and some really radical nuns!!! It makes me wonder if the priests at the churches they attend have any idea how radical they are!!!!!!!!
The retreat itself focused on Cosmology and I am still chewing on some of what was presented. The biggest sticking point for me was that Jesus was presented as human being filled with God's energy and highly evolved in the unitive state. Although I can appreciate this new terminology, there seemed to be no reference to Jesus as the Son of God. There is where I had the problem.
That does not mean I had no experience of the Holy and spent time with God. I enjoyed the times for reflection and prayer.
The book, Radical Amazement, by Judy Cannato will give you much to think about and consider.
The drive home was uneventful (thanks be to God) although there were lots of Sunday traffic.
It was a good time away and I sought a time apart, to be with the Holy One of Love, and to be stretched. That it was...

Thursday, October 09, 2008


I will be going on retreat tomorrow until Sunday afternoon and I am looking forward to the time away and apart. My Spirit needs this more than I can say. The leader is RC and I will probably be the only protestant clergy there, but that aside, it should be interesting and meaningful.
I plan to bring my journal and a couple books for hopefully some quiet evening time.
My hope is that there is some free time for reflection. We always leave a couple hours for that whenever we lead a retreat (our Synod's Spiritual Formation Team).
It will be much warmer than I had planned and am debating what I will wear, from long pants and sweater now to capri's and t-shirts. I had not anticipated that it would be this warm.
LH and the Boys will get along fine without me.
I need time with God away from here, to listen and to savor.
I will be off-line as well. I will resist the urge to bring my laptop and tap into the internet. A retreat means to me to shut down from the world and to come into God's presence itentionally and letting the rest of the world and its turmoil be held in God's hands, while my spirit focuses as completely on God as it can.
I will check back with you all next week. God's peace be with you, sustain you and keep you.

Monday, October 06, 2008


As seen at Lutheran Chick's "L" Word and therefore, tagged.
Bolded means I've tried it.

1. Venison. Love it! If I ever hit one, I'm claiming it!!!!
2. Nettle tea.
3. Huevos rancheros.
4. Steak tartare. Had it at home and in Switzerland
5. Crocodile. Tastes like chicken!!!! Almost.
6. Black pudding. My people call it Bluetwurst, too. Not for me. LH really likes it.
7. Cheese fondue. MMmmm...made the Swiss way with lots of cloves of garlic, crusty french bread, and a touch of kirsch. Raclette is also very good and eaten with boiled potatoes. I even like to make grilled cheese sandwhich with Raclette cheese in the broiler. Smelly cheese is tasty!
8. Carp.
9. Borscht. Had it at a church I served. Bleech!!!
10. Baba ghanoush.
11. Calamari. Have made it myself!
12. Pho. No.
13. PB&J sandwich. Although, I had to have been in Jr. Hi before I ever had a PBJ sandwich. My Swiss folks never cared for it and we didn't even have it in the house. Every once in a while, I'll make one for myself.
14. Aloo gobi. That's a mystery.
15. Hot dog from a street cart.
16. Epoisses. Huh?
17. Black truffle. Other fungi, yes - procini, morelle, etc.
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes.
19. Steamed pork buns.
20. Pistachio ice cream. Does pistachio pudding count?
21. Heirloom tomatoes. I guess the ones my Mom planted which are
not always easy to find anymore, might qualify.
22. Fresh wild berries. One of the best things on earth - fresh raspberries. Have picked, bought them already picked. Also picked blackberries.
23. Foie gras. Not a huge fan.
24. Rice and beans. Like rice, not a bean fan.
25. Brawn, or headcheese. Again, a Swiss-Germanic thing. My folks loved it. I hated it. Yuck, made from pigs head.
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper.
27. Dulce de leche.
28. Oysters. Make mine Rockefeller!
29. Baklava. Now here's a sweet and tasty treat.
30. Bagna cauda. Never heard of it.
31. Wasabi peas.
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl. Hearty soup for a winter's day.
33. Salted lassi.
34. Sauerkraut. Ach, ja, mit cervelet und bratwurst!
35. Root beer float. Was a big thing in the early '70's, got over it.
36. Cognac with a fat cigar. How about just the cognac and nix the cigar?
37. Clotted cream tea. It doesn't even sound appealing. Make my tea natur.
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O. Sounds like a college thing to do.
39. Gumbo.
40. Oxtail. Makes a great soup, and for wonderful Osso Bucco. Excuse me, Osso Bucco is made with veal shanks and not oxtail. A simple lapse of body parts!!!
41. Curried goat.
42. Whole insects. I have my limits!
43. Phaal. What?
44. Goat's milk. Nope. Cheese made from goat's milk. I've had unpasteurized milk and a horrible tasting pasteurized milk direct from the milkman in Switzerland. We put Suchard Express (chocolate milk powder) into it to kill the taste. Finally, the milk in the box was SO much better!!
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$130 or more. How about some for a bit less $$? It's been smooth.
46. Fugu.
47. Chicken tikka masala.
48. Eel. Haven't ever eaten it and most likely won't. However, I do like my eelskin wallets and an eelskin purse would be nice.
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut. My greyhound's favorite sweet snack. I like the chocolate custard ones myself.
50. Sea urchin.
51. Prickly pear. Pretty sure I've had the jelly.
52. Umeboshi. Huh?
53. Abalone. Mom made it once. It was just like rubber. The one inedible meal she ever cooked.
54. Paneer.
55. McDonald's Big Mac Meal. Sometimes when we're on the road travelling we might get one and probably once a year otherwise.
56. Spaetzle. Knoepfli. One of my very favorite foods. Kinda messy to make, but delish. The Betty Bossi Spaetzli Maker helps and she even has a recipe for spinach spaetzli which are really great.
57. Dirty gin martini.
58. Beer above 8% ABV. I'm pretty sure I have some or one along the way.
59. Poutine.
60. Carob chips. Yup, used to use them when I made dog cookies.
61. S'mores. Sometimes I'll still make one in the microwave!
62. Sweetbreads. Use them in Pastaetli. Was a traditional Christmas Eve dinner at our house growing up. It always looked and smelled wonderful in it's delicious white cream sauce all poured into a flaky pastry shell.
63. Kaolin.
64. Currywurst. I've had wurst and I've had curry - just not together!
65. Durian.
66. Frogs' legs. Mmmm...tastes just like chicken!
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake. No, no, yes, no.
68. Haggis. Had it in Scotland and it was very tasty and good as long as you don't think too much about what it is.
69. Fried plantain. Does fried banana count? Dad used it in his African Country Chop
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette. I don't think so!
71. Gazpacho.
72. Caviar and blini. Can live without it.
73. Louche absinthe.
74. Gjetost, or brunost.
75. Roadkill.
76. Baijiu.
77. Hostess Fruit Pie.
78. Snail. Mostly as escargot!!! Tasty.
79. Lapsang souchong.
80. Bellini.
81. Tom yum.
82. Eggs Benedict. Enjoy them at least once a year when I make them New Year's Day.
83. Pocky.
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef.
86. Hare. Make mine Rabbit! Grew up with it and still make it from time to time. Usually it's domestic.
87. Goulash.
88. Flowers.
89. Horse. Had plenty of opportunity in Europe, just can't bring myself to do so.
90. Criollo chocolate. Don't know this chocolate. Make mine Swiss chocolate.
91. SPAM. Ughh, had it when we camped once or twice. I don't care for it and won't eat it.
92. Soft shell crab.
93. Rose harissa.
94. Catfish. Best Catfish I ever had was in Natchez, Mississippi at the Magnolia Grill or Restaurant or something like that, right by the Miss River. It was just the best ever.
95. Mole poblano. I've had them in the yard, but never eatin' 'em.
96. Bagel and lox. Love bagels not so much the lox, just too limpy and tastes like raw fish. Give me smoked salmon from Ewig Bros. in Port Washington, Wisconsin any day!!!
97. Lobster Thermidor. Love lobster anyway you cook it!
98. Polenta. Italian corn meal mush!!!
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
100. Snake.

Bonus round: Most unusual food you've ever eaten: Brains, when Mom substituted them for sweetbreads, not the same. Gemsbock, wild boar, Kudu, Arctic Char, Kingclip, Dolmades, strong mutton stew (in Greece), & Buendnerfleisch - air dried beef.

If you've read this consider yourself tagged! And provide a link to your place!