Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I am in the process of getting 9 folks to take part in a Readers' Theatre on the Good Samaritan for July 11th. It is the middle of summer when lots of folks are gone, attendence is down, and it is hit and miss as to who is here on any given Sunday. I'm hoping that this will not be a lesson in futility!!! Perhaps, a bit of hope is springing up like those first tiny green strawberries of the season that contain the lusciouness of sunshine, rain and summer days in its wee being as one anticipates the deliciousness of the first ripe strawberry. I am praying that it will be so for this Readers' Theatre.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Last evening I was leafing through some Swiss & German fashion magazines that I always purchase each time we go over. It helps with my German and its always interesting to see the ads and read an article or two that interest me.
One of the magazines had one of those surveys on What Vacation Type you are. I dutifully answered the questions as best I could - one question didn't have one answer I truly liked so I made a best out of them, choice.
When I tallyed my score - wouldn't you know it - I'm a Contemplative Vacation Type!!! Obviously not the Adventurer, or Jetsetter.
Again, not surprising, that at my age, I am true to form.
Now, I'm really ready for a more contemplative vacation after the stressful, each day go somewhere and see something or someone vacation.
I suppose it's ok to be true to form, to know yourself enough, to know what feeds your spirit and soul, in what settings you function best.
If only I could get my form a little leaner!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Some days, I feel very old, older than my age.
Some days, I feel so much younger than my age.
Some days, I feel just so tired.
Some days, I feel so technologically behind the moon.
Some days, I wish an end to this dark night and to our limbo.
Some days, I am glad to be away from LH.
Some days, I just want to be home with LH and the boys.
Some days, I feel like I don't fit in anywhere.
Some days, I wonder why I am in the ministry.
Some days, I can't imagine doing anything else than ministry.
Some days, I long to retire and wish I had the funds to do so.
Some days, my spirit yearns to be free and do things without the need for pay.
Some days, I am just so lonely.
All days, I pray that LH would find a position.
Some days, God seems so far away, uncaring, unreachable.
Some days, my spirit seems to have left me and I keep searching for it, and longing
for it to return to me.
Some days, I just go through the motion.
Some days, I feel alive.
Some days, I simply wonder what God is up to.
Some days, I just need a hug and to be held, only there's none.
Some days, I feel like giving up.
Some days, I bubble up with hope.
All days, I know God holds me in God's love and care, even when I feel it not.
How are you today?

Saturday, June 26, 2010


We're invited to share 5 things we like or dislike about summer and so are you!!
1. Not having to wear pantyhose!
2. Seeing the flowers bloom and the garden grow.
3. The long evenings to sit on the porch or patio when I'm home.

4. Japanese beetle invasion we have faced the last three years and having to dust
with Sevin. Hate having to use that poison.
5. Hot, muggy, steamy days over 82 degees.

Friday, June 25, 2010


As I promised, more of Jazz!!!
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Oooo, I can't stop. Here's a picture of Jett with a bit of Jazz.
More of Jazz in next posting.
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This is the hat I wore for the wedding/renewal of vows.
Ohh, isn't this fun as I learn how to do this posting with a picture!!!
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Here's Daphne Duc who now graces our mantel and came from the English Heritage store, all ready with a name to be adopted.
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Here's the London designer purse I picked up in Wales. The photo doesn't do it justice. It is teal and the photo makes it blue. It's Suzy Smith bag. It goes with nothing and yet everything!!!
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Thursday, June 24, 2010


We found our way to the Birmingham airport without any driving mishaps, however there was quite a backup that made me wonder if we would indeed, make our plane. Fortunately, we left with plenty of time to spare, and the back up began to ease after 20 minutes. We also had no long wait to get through security, always a plus!
Had a bite to eat - a brie, spinach, cranberry baguette. Rather quite tasty! And eventually, made our way to the gate.
Landed in Zurich around 9:30 pm. My darling LH said we need to get a cab to the hotel. I had thought there were shuttles but he didn't think they would run that time of night. ( I still beg to differ). We paid way too much for the cab ride (but supported a guy trying to make a living). It was very warm at that time of night - 72 degrees!!! Apparently, it had been in the 80's the past couple of days and our hotel had just gotten their air conditioner fixed!!! LH would've wanted to find another hotel had the a/c still been broken. Feel into bed and slept.
Had the most wonderful breakfast of the best croissants in the world, flakey and buttery, and airy, complete with jam, and cheese, and a hard boiled egg. It's been 5 years since I last had such a good croissant.
Took the Hotel Shuttle (free, mind you) back to the airport and got our rental car. This time it was a car not a minivan. Followed the Google directions to my cousin's place and found it without much trouble. Cool.
Got squared away in our quarters and talked with my cousin. He's one of our older cousins. It just doesn't seem we should be this old. All my memories are of 40+ years ago when we were all much younger!!!
We left for Basel and on the way with some time to kill and breakfast wearing off we stopped at an oasis over the Autobahn. Found a potted flower for my cousin, got some bottled water and some landjaeger - Swiss meat stick or actually long and rectangular. Again, it's been 5 years since having a bite of such a tasty treat. Looked in a couple stores and then we headed onward to Basel.
Now my cousin who had grown up in Basel, in a hotel there, told which street to follow to get to where we need to go. Saw the sign and followed it so well, that when the street sign showed the street veering to the left, I told LH to veer to the left, which he did, only too soon and all of sudden, there was a gate in front of us. We had landed in a parking garage!!! It was the Parking Garage of Hotel California - you check in but you can't check it!!
We followed the exit signs which lead us around and down one level, two levels, three levels and then brought us back up again. I thought we were going to be stuck in that parking garage for the remainder of our lives. Finally, the exit dumped us onto the street we were following to begin with. Whew!
Found my other cousin's house okay after that. My sister and BIL joined us as well and we had a lovely evening of warm Brie and grilled beef and horsemeat. No, I did not try the horsemeat. I just couldn't. I've eaten lots of stuff but horsemeat and dogmeat, I can't. LH did try it though. The salad was also very good and the Tiramisu for dessert was wonderful.
It was nearly 10 pm when we dropped my sister and BIL off at the Basel train station and we headed back to Zurich.
On Sunday, we headed to the cousin who's a year younger than I, and who just turned 50. She lives in Germany just over the border from Basel. So back to Basel we went and ventured into Germany. Fortunately, between Google directions and my memory, we found their place. Enjoyed a champagne toast, and brought some small gifts, including wild socks (every woman should have a pair of wildly colored socks at 50!!!), a pink sequined tiara, a "Look Who's 50" button, a stained glass angel, a small book, and a dichroic glass necklace. We had lunch at a wonderful place which overlooks a vineyard with views of Germany, Basel, and France! Had a very filling, delicious lunch. Since my cousin's soul mate is paralyzed from the waist down, he was tired after lunch and needed a rest. So, us two girls, sat in the backyard and chatted the afternoon away.
Too soon, it was time to leave and head back to Zurich.
On Monday, we headed into my Dad's hometown and where my Mom's mom lived and many relatives. We stopped in a couple grocery stores - LH likes a certain mustard in a tube. I was on the prowl for fresh cut flowers, but neither grocery store had any. So we made our way to the garden center/florist. Of course, they had some for a hefty price. Took one of the cheaper bouquets, still expensive.
Stopped at the Cheese store for some very fine variety of tasty, some more pungent cheeses. Then on to my Godmother's for a fine lunch of Salad, Surre Mooche, (beef cubes marinated in wine for a week) and mashed potatoes and gravy. Since she is now 77 years old, she needed a rest after lunch and her kids and grandkids and one sister who all came to lunch. They own their business and so the sons come in for lunch I would venture to say most every day. Chatted with my Godmother;s daughter who has 3 children and with whom we've stayed when in Switzerland.
Then it was on to the little flower shop where I found a lovely pot of mixed colored flowers for a good price to put on my parent's grave and a little bouquet for my greataunt. We took a moment to stop by my parent's grave so I could place the flowers and my grandma's grave. It's been 5 years since I was there last. Then we stopped to see the grave of my godmother's husband who passed away the end of March this year. I know my Godmother is very lonely in the evenings. Then it was on to visit my great aunt who was playing the Swiss National Card Game that afternoon. So, my Godmother took the very long way there and drove to my Mom's hometown which lies on a Lake and up the hill from the Lake. We stopped at a restaurant that has an outdoor terrace right by the lake so we had some 7 up and watched the swan family swim by and the mallards. It was unfortunately, just too hazy to see the alps from there. We did see the outline of a couple of them though. Then we drove further down to the end of the lake and around the other side!!!
When we arrived at the center, my greataunt was still playing cards. My God mother stepped in and took her place, and the three of us went to her apartment where she showed us pictures of her 90th Birthday party from last year. She has aged in the last 5 years, more stooped for a tall woman, using a walker and a cane and more wrinkled. Yet, she is mentally all there, still cooks a bit for herself, sounds like she always has if perhaps a bit more tired. She is the last blood link to my grandmother and mother. We kept the visit short and then headed back to my Godmother's, picked up our cheese and chocolate and headed back to Zurich.
LH was real good and patient, letting us ladies chat in Swiss.
I did fill him in on the drive back to Zurich. He can pick up a few words here and there.
What a grace and blessing to see my Godmother and my Greataunt at least one more time. They are the ones who connect me to my parents, and to the ones who no longer grace the earth but I will see again one day when my earthly life is over. I still remember them. So, wonderful to connect again with my second home, the land of my roots that still flows through me. It has been good to be back.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


All things considered, we ate rather well in England and tried many a thing. But why on earth, anyone would want to take a perfectly good pea and make them mushy is beyond me. Leave my peas intact as God made them, thank you very much!!!
The wedding (actually renewal of vows & reception) of my nephew and wife was in a lovely, little old church. Of course, most churches in England are centuries old!!!!
The service was simple, with three hymns, a reading from Captain Corelli's Mandolin, and of course, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, renewal of vows, a short message by the vicar, my prayer for the couple, and the blessing by the vicar. I don't know what the vicar thought as I prayed that my nephew and wife's marriage be a holy adventure, ever fresh like new fallen snow (it was 83 degrees and muggy that day), willing to try new and different trails and have the ability to meet the moguls of life with determination and flexibility. The two of them are both snowboard instructors and met on the slopes of Colorado. It seemed fitting for them and and they smiled and their eyes sparkled with amusement. The vicar, I don't know, because I couldn't see her face!
The reception was held in a Marquee (big, white tent) with chandeliers, a band, and catered. Outside there was croquet with mallets that looked like they were on steroids compared to the ones we play with each summer at the Lake, and lawn bowling.
Cocktail hour was Pimm's and beer.
Dinner was a catered affair of whole roasted pig, potatoes, rolls, stuffing, green salad and salads of all kinds: rice, couscous, pasta, and broccoli. Dessert was a fresh fruit cup - with or without a meringue shell, chocolate pudding, and some cheesecake. Everyone had champagne for a toast and the wine and beer flowed freely.
The food was simply scrumptious and delicious.
The band could have played some more slower, danceable numbers, but, I suppose we are now in the "older" generation!!!
The Loos were posh! Imagine, granite countertops, hardwood floors, modern looking faucets, wainscoated with chair rail, etc. They didn't look like portable potties here - you know the utilitarian blue fiberglass pods that every town puts up for their hometown festival. There was even piped in music - like Frank Sinatra!!!!
By midnight the festivities ended and we had to park our minivan on the street as the Hotel locks its parking lot at 11 pm!!!
The morning brought another English breakfast and a parting of our ways as LH and I headed to Herefordshire and the others stayed a day longer.
It was only good directions on Google and my eagle eyes (ok, not so eagle with trifocals anymore) that got us to the lovely cottage we rented for a week smack in the middle between Hereford and Ross-on-Wye in the middle of farms and fields. The hedgerow street became narrower the closer we got to the cottage, until it went beyond 1 lane with cutouts to pull in to let another car pass, to a more gravel land that tunneled into a wood totally cannopied by trees and then the turn off to the cottage. With the hedgerows so tall and grown, you can't see what's coming like a big potatoe truck right when we pulled onto one street and had to back out!
We noticed that there are lots of pubs in England, but not all of them are open, or serve food, or are open Sunday evening or open when you think they should be. Maybe, we just didn't have good luck. We ate Italian on Sunday night as it was the only place in Hereford serving food. One night, we wanted to try a local pub a couple miles away that had such good reviews from everyone who stayed at the cottage. They were closed due to a technical difficulty (broken stove, perhaps?).
Tried to eat in Ross, but the one place was closed and directed us to another place that was serving. At two evenings, we picked up interesting frozen/refrigerated dinners and heated them in the microwave, because our lunch was larger than we expected and our appetite for dinner was less. They have wonderful frozen dinners like shepherd's pie, tandoori chicken, curried dishes, and even paella. Sure beats chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and corn!!!!
LH likes grocery stores for whatever reason. We hit every major grocery store chain in Britain - ASDA (Walmart), TESCO, MORRISONS and SAINESBURYS. Not to mention SPAR (the 7-11). It does give one a pulse of the country, culture and people by revealing what they offer, how much items cost and what folks are buying and into.
We managed to visit Stonehenge, Salisbury - mostly the Cathedral with the most intact and legible copy of the Magna Carta, Stratford-Upon-Avon and Shakespeares'sights, and lunch at the Old Thatch Pub. Hereford and its cathedral with the Mappa Mundi - a Medieval map of the world and how they saw the world, a small art exhibit, a church that was half restaurant and have church right in the sanctuary, an old tudor house musuem and lots of walking, and a trip through Wales and all of its hills and sheep, and over the Cambrian mountains to the coast of Cardigan Bay where we visited a museum, walked the bay abit, had lunch, and I found a most beautiful teal purse by a London designer.
We never went to London and just enjoyed the English countryside and smaller towns and lovely sights. It was a good week, graced and blessed and we found our way back to our cottage every evening!!! Thanks be to God!

Monday, June 21, 2010


I'm back from our trip across the pond and getting over jet lag.
We arrived in Birmingham, England, but our luggage didn't! We were delayed an hour at OH airport due to bad weather in Chicago. When we arrived at O'Hare we barely had time to make our plane. I discovered that although I had been to O'Hare more times than I count while growing up, it has changed over the two plus decades. Things are not clearly marked - how is one supposed to know that the international terminal is 5? No where is it stated! I was livid that O'Hare is not better signed for travelers.
Consequently, I had to go to end of the United terminal, catch a bus to the next terminal - a minute ride across the tarmac. We were told to disembark while everyone was questioning, is this terminal E, F, or G? While the bus driver remained mute texting away. Fortunately, a security person was at the bus door indicating that we were to catch the elevated train to our proper terminal. Thanks a bunch! And what's with the texting during work and not answering people who are feeling lost?
I got the proper terminal and was heading to the gate when I saw the Swiss agent with my husband (we got separated in the long walk in the United terminal). It was 87 degrees, I'm wearing a 3/4 length sleeve sage green cotton shirt, with my LLBean healthy backpack purse (also green) carrying a green carry-on and alternating between wearing my sage green hat and carrying it (due to heat and sweating). The agent meets me and another couple from the same flight to O'Hare and whisks us to the front of the security line and we hoof it to the gate. We are the last 4 to board the plane. Whew! We made it! Too bad the air flow vents on this Airbus plane were non-existent and we were very warm throughout the flight.
After landing in Birmingham, hours later, we go to claim our 3 bags, only they aren't any where to be found. We go to the baggage service window and make a claim. I am tired, hot (it's hot in Birmingham, naturally, because we are there! It is an interesting phenonomen when we travel on vacation to cool spots and it's always hotter than normal. We are true to form there.)and upset, and say, "But I have my dress for a wedding!" The clerk thought I said wedding dress! I said it was a dress for a wedding. He scans the baggage claim tickets, gives us a computer slip with a phone number and tells us to call to check on our baggage.
LH and I, sans luggage, hit the Spar (England's 7-11) for bottled water, exchange some dollars and head for the rental cars. The car he ordered, they don't have and we get a minivan! Great. 2 people with 2 carry-ons, no luggage and a minivan!!!
LH gets acquainted with the van (this can take up to 20 minutes, sigh) And then begins, the stress of finding our way to Lincolnshire.
As always in a foreign country, the signage is different. Fortunately, you can Google your way through England and Europe!!! (before you leave!) I had my trusty Michellin map of England and off we went onto the freeway. LH is stressing over traffic, roundabouts and just driving once again on the other side. I am stressing over signs and reading the map and Google directions!!!! Nearly three hours later, hot, tired, stressed, and wearing the same clothes for two days, we arrive at the Hotel where seated at the outdoor patio, are my sister, BIL and niece having cold beers. We are happy to see them, happy to be there, all in one piece, and then we tell our tale of missing baggage. My BIL, bless his soul, runs across the street to Aldi, and buys 2 toothbrushes and toothpaste for us. We check in, carry our carry-ons to the room and go to Aldi's for deodorant and a razor for shaving face and my legs.
I hop into the shower and scrub away the travel grime and sweat. Did ever a shower feel so goood? Put on the same clothes and head downstairs. Where I am given a Pimm's that my niece ordered and LH a beer, bless her soul!
The wedding rehearsal is at 7 pm with dinner following. I mention that I didn't have to think about what to wear!!!!
The rehearsal is at the church the next town over in a small and very old church, but quaint church. The vicar is retired and filling in the installed vicar and is very lacadaisical about the whole rehearsal, merely saying this is how I'd do it, but the vicar might have other plans. Great!
I am ready to fall asleep in my fish and chips at the restaurant!
I didn't get to present my nephew and his bride their Marriage Survival Kit since it was in the luggage.
Back at the Hotel we promptly fall asleep.
Lesson one - always carry an extra pair or two of underwear in your carry- on. I'm glad I did, along with a T-shirt and a sweater.
LH and I went into Lincoln the next day for sight seeing. AFter an English breakfast, a good night's sleep, and no thought of what to wear, the same thing we arrived in and traveled in, we called the baggage service, who informed me to call back later about our 2 bags. 2 bags? There are 3. Oh, do I know the number of the third bag? I read the number and say how could the clerk not see there were three bar codes, 3 claim tickets and only scan 2? Now, not only is there the stress of what I'm going to wear to the wedding, but which bag may not make it? One of mine with the dress for the wedding or LH's with his suitcoat and tie, dress slacks and shoes?
LH buys a pack of new socks and I got foot powder and anti frizz hair gel at Boots - the CVS of England. The hotel shampoo is drying out my hair horribly. We stop at some stores but with my ample figure nothing in my size. WE enjoy a lunch and hit the department store - also nothing my size. Leave department store totally depressed and as we walk to our parked van, right next to said dept. store, is a specialty size store. Yipee!!! Most of it is casual wear. I find a black/white sleeveless dress and a white shrug. Nothing fancy, just do-able. I can't take part in the ceremony in chinos and a t-shirt. We pass a shoe store that proclaims all widths and sizes. I find a pair of black sandals long enough and able to accomodate my bunions. Poor LH. He is resigned to his chinos and one fresh shirt.
As it is nearly 86 degrees, sunny, and muggy, we forego walking up Steep Hill to the Cathedral and opt to drive and park near the Castle which is just a block or two away from Cathedral. We pull into the parking lot, and another car pulling out, points to us and rolls down his window. I'm musing that I didn't see any indication that we had pulled into the parking lot the wrong way. The guy had an all day parking ticket and as it was just 3 pm, he passed it along to us!!! What a grace after all our stresses. We walked to the Cathedral and looked it over inside and out. Architecturally, one of the most interesting and lovely Cathedral's I've ever seen. Couldn't leave without picking up a wee church imp (the devil they say!). Don't we know about imps in churches!!!!!?
We are bushed and head back to Sleaford. I call about our luggage and am informed it is enroute to the hotel, but no time can be given. Ahhh, I'll have my dress for the wedding and LH will have his duds. In the meanwhile, I wet my hair and freshen up for the open house at the Bride's Mom's house. While freshing up, the luggage arrives. Glory, Hallejuah!!!! What a beautiful sight and thing to behold - mu luggage!!!
I pull out the gift for my sister - a hankerchief, all washed and ironed and embrodiered with "Mother of the Groom". I pull out the Marriage Survival Kit - a white satin drawstring bag I made to hold all the contents. And wearing my new black and white dress with shrug and sandals, off we go to the Open House.
We are relieved, joyous and finally, able to relax and enjoy the time with family and festivities.
Travelling is always an adventure. This was the first time in all of my world traveling that our luggage didn't arrive with us.
I think next year, I'm opting for a week on a beach with nothing to do and driving with our luggage. Lots less stress!!!!
(More adventures to follow)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

When Things Go Kaput -

Well, it's been a week of things going kaput!
First, the 'Fridge went out, at just 7 years old! It needed a new relay switch! Go figure - the replacement part is better than the original part!!! Thank goodness for good neighbors who have a freezer chest and room in it to put our frozen goods. LH laments the loss of his corn dogs (Yuck!). They have since been replaced!
Second, our oven is acting up. Went to bake a batch of my scrumptious brownies (as a thank you to our good neighbors) and it took over an hour to preheat to 325 degrees. I'm not sure it even reached that temperature. When I pulled the brownies out at the proper time, they hadn't risen and in the end where super gooey. Not good. Tried it the next evening to bake cottage fries at 450 degrees. It took over 40 minutes to supposedly reach that temperature. It took an hour to heat them enough. Of course, this happened on Friday evening before a three day holiday. Guess who's coming to our house today? Yup, the Serviceman who doesn't have enough to do!!!! Oh, and there was some smell of gas when the oven was on. The stove works just fine and there isn't any gas smell when the oven is off.
Third, on Thurs. evening, I charged up the battery of my 7 year old little digital camera. When I went to take a picture, I had a blank LCD screen. I charged up the other battery, and on Friday, put the other battery in and all I got were blurry purple streaks. Looks like the camera bit the dust. Course, it is 7 years old with only 3.2 pixels so its a dinosauer. But all this meant I had to get a new camera. Found a Nikon Coolpix that runs on AA Lithium Batteries and its red, cool!!!
Then I had to read up on how to use it, there's only a quick start guide. The owner's manuel is on a CD that you put into the computer. Now that's great. Say you're on a trip somewhere in the world and you don't have a computer, how do you access the info? Honestly!!! I had to run off at least one page that explained all the little icons that can appear on your screen. I may need to run off another page or two.
Mostly, I am thankful that these things went kaput now, before leaving across the pond. Could you even imagine the mess and stench of spoiled food in fridge and freezer after two weeks? Yikes!!! The oven will once again be working and I have a camera to take pictures with without hauling the big digital camera with interchangeable lenses.
Now, if I can just finish packing and try to get it in my head that 86 degrees here will not follow us over there. It will be much cooler. Hard to plan for that when one is sweating away.
I have my prayer all ready for my nephew and his wife as they renew their wedding vows with the vicar in front of family and friends. I have the Marriage Survival Kit all packed up. I have the Mother of the Groom hanky, ready for my sister. And all I need is to remember my hat for the dress. Just have to pack up a few miscellaneous items and my purse!! Then the adventure of this trip will begin...and with LH it's always an adventure!!!! How lost will we get from the airport to the Inn? From the Inn to the cottage in cow country GB? Only God knows!! I will try to keep my tongue quiet and only mention how far around the rotary to go - 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4. I am sure we will be going round them more than once.
So, I close my 400th post and pray a safe journey, filled with the goodness of being with family, celebrating a marriage, seeing sights, visiting relatives in Switzerland, having some fun, and returning safely in one piece. Be well and blessed in the meantime. And may nothing more go Kaput!!!