Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why is it that every time LH and I go out to eat in a restaurant the salt and pepper shakers are always overfilled? When you go to shake out pepper you can shake 'til the cows come home and barely get a grain or two. When you unscrew the cap, pepper granules spill out all over the table. I am not a messy person, nor hard to serve or please. However, I do like to add pepper to my veges or meat or potatoes.
To all you restaurant supervisors/managers, please tell your wait staff NOT to overfill the shakers. They should be 3/4 to 2/3 filled, so that diners can shake out what they desire and not leave a mess for the busboy or busgal to clean up.
Thank you very much.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas came again this year, as it does each year no matter our circumstances or situations. Christmas finds a way to slip in beside us and settle in the manger of our hearts and lives. Each one uniquely different.
This year was no exception.
The Church of Another Denomination printed a very optimistic multitude of bulletins. There was great expectation and it was unfortunate that we did not come close to 200. 112 was the number. The head usher was a bit flumoxed that the candlelighting would be a bit different with ushers lighting the people at the end of the pew, instead of people picking up a candle and having it lit as they made their way back to their pew seat from
partaking of communion. A sort of dangerous practice and the first ones to commune would have their candles burning for quite some time.
Communion was also a wee different, as I again, had the manger with straw and a loaf of bread wrapped in white linen and offered a true invitation and my own Great Prayer of Thanksgiving which included the singing of "Gloria in excelsi Deo" refrain from Angels We Have Heard on High. The post-communion canticle was sung to "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"
and the "Lamb of God" was replaced by the fourth verse of "O Little Town of Bethlehem", which made for a festive communion. I intoned the words, "The Bread of Heaven come down for you" as I gave the bread to each one. It was visually and aurally rife and dripping with meaning and symbolism.
I got home about 9:30 pm and was mightily disappointed that the brie LH had bought was no good! There was quite an odor that wasn't obvious the day he bought it, but the rind was darker and not white on the bottom. So, fortunately, LH had bought some Jarlsberg Swiss and that sufficed but didn't go with the Nicolas Feuillatte champagne as well as Brie does. NF is my favorite champagne - bubbly but I never get a headache from it. It's crisp and clean - just like champagne ought to be.
Christmas Day we had a few more in the cavernous sanctuary than I had expected. I tried to do a pool - I came up with 25, one parishioner who helped light candles suggested 10, the assisting minister and organist didn't give an estimate - so I suppose I won since we had 38!!
I focused on the Isaiah passage and read a wonderful story by Norman Vincent Peale called "A Faraway Christmas". It was a very nice, warm service.
Afterwards, I got home earlier since there was no Sunday School and changed, had lunch, fed the greys, LH came home, had lunch then we opened our gifts and promptly went down for our naps. Late afternoon, we made several calls to our families and enjoyed talking with them and thanking them for their wonderful gifts. LH surprised me with a beautiful sterling silver bangle bracelet from the Scottish Jewelry Designer - Sheila Fleet. The three interlocking waved bangles move and change configuration which is evocative of waves. Truly unique and since I'm so intuned to water, it was perfect.
My brother-in-law and sister-in-law in Canada surprised me with a pair of winter olympic Canada mittens - red with a white maple leaf on each hand, just like the Canadian olympic athletes wore!!! They are great!!!
Although, we never did get a tree to put up, I bought a small swag of greens that I placed on a Christmas placemat and added a pine and cedar scented candle and it was lovely.
There was peace, a quiet joy, and a spirit of love that infused this Christmas. And hope was present as well. A quieter, low-key, simple Christmas but beautiful nevertheless.
I pray that Christmas crept in beside you and left you the gifts that your heart and spirit longed for - the Christ child - and a deeper connection and love for the Lord. May His peace be with you all these days of Christmas and throughout the New Year.

Friday, December 16, 2011


This Friday we're asked to name 5 items on our To-do List as Christmas
fast approaches and anything we've decided to skip this year. So, here goes:

1. Wrap staff gifts and write their cards.
2. Wrap LH's gifts.
3. Wrap SIL's gifts.
4. Cards and tip for newspaper carrier and mail carrier.
5. Launder white linen and white cotton towels for Christmas Eve
6. Order bread for Christmas Eve Communion service.(Threw that in extra, just a reminder for me!!!)
This year, I'm skipping baking Christmas cookies, putting up and decorating
a Christmas tree, and our Island Sweet & Sour Meatballs on New Year's Eve, we'll enjoy them New Year's Day instead. Can't stay up too late since we
have services on Christmas Day and New Year's Day! LH has to get the Brie for Christmas Eve. The champagne is already in the basement waiting to get

Saturday, December 10, 2011

In the thick of Advent, just some random thoughts and goodness:
1. Gifts have been wrapped. packaged and sent. Woohoo!!! Still have
to work on staff gifts and LH.

2. Christmas letters to overseas family and friends have been signed,
sealed and sent! Christmas cards still need to be done.

3. The sausage bread I made for the Advent potluck was a hit, again!
Came home with no left-overs, even though the recipe makes two
loaves and there was a table full of food. Guess who's making it
again this week? Dare I hope to bring some leftovers home?

4. The sermon for Sunday came together fairly well. Still have to work
on the Children's sermon. Cut lots of brightly colored ribbon for
worship so folks can shout out their joy and wave a ribbon. This
congregation needs play a little in the wake of all they've been

5. There was a package that came for me on Tuesday from a parishioner
from the last church I served. What a surprise! It was a green
prayer shawl and I've worn it every evening - enveloped in prayer
and warmed by love! What a wonderful gift to receive out of the blue.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

and I wonder where it goes so swiftly. Had a wonderful Advent 2 Sunday complete with a baptism of a beautiful baby girl, granddaughter of parishioner. I was so taken by her, I almost lost my place in the responsibilities of the parent section of the liturgy!!! What a precious handful to walk down the aisle with to meet folks.
Tomorrow will be our second Advent/potluck and I still have to prepare for the program.
Then there's the sermon writing for Sunday and final touches on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
LH and I decided not to get a Christmas tree this year. I will put up our nativity, hang stockings, and the candles are already in the windows glowing softly at night. LH did string lights on the newport plum out front and it looks nice.
With Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services, we will be ever so busy and so a simple Christmas seems to be in order.
I am still writing Christmas cards, the German Christmas letters are
done and awaiting LH's signature and paw prints (the greys' signatures), and there are still gifts to be wrapped and packaged to be mailed.
Seems I'm behind this year, even though I'm home more. Maybe, the older I get, the longer it takes to accomplish things. I don't know!
But, I am enjoying listening to the Christmas music and did my yearly, helped someone in need who came to the church whose need was different from
what the Salvation Army usually helps with. I was blessed to be a blessing and pray that the one helped would have fresh start. Then there was the
unexpected trip to the children's hospital to check on the custodian's son in ER and that went very well. We all continue to pray for the healing of this young boy.
So, although Advent appears to be moving swiftly there are those moments of pure grace, blessing and joy where time stands still and the Holy One enters in.
May you find those moments in your Advent season.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tired! After two days of cooking, working, writing a sermon, polishing silver, washing crystal and china, setting the Thanksgiving table, stuffing and roasting the turkey, decarcassing the turkey, and doing all the dishes by hand by myself, I'm tired. The silverware is back in its drawer, the china has been put back in the china cabinet, the tablecloth is in the washer, the stuffing has been frozen and the stock is awaiting being put in little tubs and frozen for any recipes calling for chicken broth.
We enjoyed a blessed Thanksgiving with LH's sisters and the food was good. They brought the green bean casserole which is always so yummy and some homemade banana bread.
The boys, Jazz and Renoir behaved very well, except for coming into the kitchen as the turkey was roasting and just sniffing the most wonderful aroma that, of course, for dogs is surround smell!!!!
Today, I am working on my Christmas letter in English and German. And trying to find a book I was going to use for my children's sermon Sunday. Haven't unearthed it yet.
Next will come the wrapping and packing of Christmas gifts so they can
get out in the mail.
But the weather is sunny and in the 50's and I have my butterfly bush and Siberian Iris leaves to prune. There will be a walk with Jazz and Renoir this afternoon.
Thankfully, I was gifted with a morning to sleep in, a quick run to the
grocery store for our weekly items, the bank, and the car wash. Errands accomplished and ran into no traffic and huge crowds where I went. WhooHoo!
I avoid crowds and the insanity of Black Friday.
Just going to enjoy the day and rest some.

Friday, November 18, 2011


1. Where will you be on Thanksgiving Day? With whom?
LH and I will be here at home and joined by my SILS, his sisters.
Jazz and Renoir are already salivating over turkey tidbits. We will
be missing LH's Dad who passed away last December.

2. Are there any family traditions or memories associated with Thanksgiving?
Most of them revolve around the food, the items made. I always enjoyed
wonderful Thanksgivings growing up with my family who learned to
make turkey and the trimmings as immigrants and did it very well.

3. What will be on your Thanksgiving menu?
Turkey! (Whoohoo!!) Missed it last year. Wild rice, rice, bread
stuffing made with Sweet Italian sausage, bacon, white wine, homemade
turkey stock, mushrooms and seasonings. Yum. Mashed potatoes, sweet
potatoes, wheat rolls, whole cranberry sauce, and SILS will bring the
green bean casserole. Pumpkin Mousse dessert will take the place of
Pumpkin Pie - so much lighter and easier to digest. A chedder cheese
ball will our appetizer. There will be drinks and Bella Sera Pinot
Grigio to complement the turkey. Oh, and homemade gravy.

4. Are you trying anything new this Thanksgiving?
Nope. Just the usual which we missed last year. Although, I may
have a Flying Elephant after dinner. (Amarula, Kahlua, & Grand
Marnier). Basically, a variation of a B-52 which uses Bailey's.
I prefer Amarula from South Africa.

5. What is the weather forecast for this day (next Thursday)?
We pray it will be cold Wed. night to store the stuffing in the
garage overnight. We hope it will be in the 40's, cool enough to
offset the warmth of the oven and roasting turkey and the warmth
of our being together with family.

Bonus: Prayer, poem, song, or whatever you choose to exemplify your image of Thanksgiving (giving thanks).
This year around the table,
we'll count our blessings, one by one.
But we'll all be mostly thankful
if the turkey comes out done!!! (Martha Bolton)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

With the holiday season nearly upon us, I ran across this useful bit of information that might come in real handy!


Use as sandbags during heavy rains and flooding
Use as railroad ties
Use as speed bumps to foil neighborhood speeders
Use as bowling pins
Use slices in skeet-shooting competition

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Gift of Goodness -
In the congregation I was serving at the beginning of the year, I gave out star gifts on the Sunday before Epiphany as a way for them to be with the gifts of God for them in the coming year.
The star I picked (without seeing what was written upon it, which is the point of the Holy Spirit leading us to that which we most need) was "goodness". Great, I thought, somewhat sarcastically, now there's a hard one! I was thinking I would recieve one far more challenging. But this star gift of "goodness", was a reminder to me to look for the goodness that is everywhere and all around me every day.
I know I acknowledged the goodness of having an apartment to stay in while away from home, although, I struggle the whole time, with being away from home. I knew the goodness of coming home to stay!
This summer, I enjoyed the goodness of working in the garden, tending to our sick grey, the goodness of a cleaner house, the goodness of time with LH. Then there was the goodness of going to see my sister and being on Lake Michigan. The goodness of stopping by to see my niece and spend a wee bit of time together. I appreciated the goodness of an airconditioned van while driving in the heat and the goodness of an airconditioned home. The goodness of safe journeys and travel.
In an odd way, there was the goodness of my aunt's passing away. She was so ready to go for the past few years, had been longing for it, even within the mists of Alzheimer's. So, as sad as it was to lose my last aunt, there was goodness in her release. There was goodness in being to go
to Switzerland and to share what my aunt meant to me and my sister at her
Memorial Service. It was good to fly and be with my sister again, to see and be with my most of my cousins. I was graced with the goodness of spending a whole week with my closest cousin, to experience a part of Switzerland I had never been to, to share with one another the challenges and graces of our lives, to engage in deep spiritual conversations, to enjoy good food and a boccalino of wine as well as the beauty of lake and mountains.
Having to put down Jett was so very hard. The goodness was that he was
still with us when I returned home. The goodness was that he didn't have to suffer more than he did and love was there til the end.
There is goodness in this challenging interim that is so part-time and makes for some disjointed ministry, yet, there is time to read, to tend to our home, and do things.
Then there is the goodness of welcoming a new greyhound into our lives.
And that's when it hit me! Renoir is goodness, itself. All of our greyhounds have had a certain soul - Earl was without fear, stable, brave and giving. Baruch the Beagle was cute, but full of the dickens. Ben was a gentle, sweet soul. Jazz is our irrepressible soul. And now this one, Renoir, just plain goodness. Not one accident, did stairs, eats well, is quiet but curious, hasn't destroyed anything. Just pure goodness.
This year has been good, filled with goodness and it took a new greyhound with a good soul to point it out to me!!!
Oh, I may grouse about all the extra time I'm putting in for this interim, but it is good for me to serve again, challenging though it is.
My cup overflows with goodness, then surely mercy shall be with me all the days of my life. God has shone God's goodness in so many places in my life this year, many unexpected. And I am radiant with the goodness poured into my soul and spirit. What a gift to receive and be given this year. Thanks be to God!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

As of Monday, November 7th, we are the proud guardians of a new greyhound!
We spent most of the day travelling in my van to the Hoosier State to check
out three greys that we were matched for us - 2 males and 1 female. Jazz was a good sport spending 11 hours in the van and travelling in one day. He did kind of complain the last 2 hours for a bit. Not that I can blame him!
The female was a petite thing, but somewhat dominant and had a penchant for shredding her toys. Poor Jazz - he does not want his toy hoard shredded nor does he want to be dominated by a female! One male was a stunning grey - a red brindle whose brindling was very striped and looked like deep redwood. He also was a bit dominant and into everything. The very first male we saw was shy, white with "banana" brindle patches, long narrow muzzle.
We looked at him again after we looked at the others and he came into the room with more confidence the second time. Bright-eyed, curious, with a notch torn from his ear in a racing accident, he seemed to be the best fit for us and for Jazz. He also had been living at the rescue organization for a year. He's not quite 5 years old, raced in Iowa and Florida and had a decent racing record - won at least a dozen races! A champion!
He seems fairly bright. We will wait for his personality to really blossom in this coming year.
His racing name was from a movie, his nickname was from an animated movie and he didn't seem to care about his nickname at all. It drew nary a real response from him when we called him that. Hmmm...he obviously needs a new name for his new life. LH and I have been blurting out names since Monday. Nothing seemed quite right. Felt bad calling him "Newbie" because some day
he'll, hopefully, be the senior dog as Jazz is now.
Then yesterday evening, I looked at him and it hit me. Renoir! If Renoir had painted a greyhound - this one would've been it. There's just something about him - the white with brindle patches, the narrow muzzle, the bright eyes, his beautiful, elegant gait in the backyard - that brought up, Renoir.
Even better, he likes the name and reacts to it!!!
It's a funny thing, choosing a name. It has to fit the dog. The dog should react to it. The name gives identity. It belongs to us and becomes us. Where would we be without a name? Even a dog needs a name, an identity, to belong to the pack, to know they are counted as one beloved.
So, now we have a Music and Art theme going with our greys - Jazz and Renoir! Who would've thought it!
I can't wait for his personality to come forth. He handled the front steps after a 5+ hour van ride home with the greatest of ease and no hesitation. He has had no accident in the house and goes out. He is neat and clean, a picture of good health. I never thought I'd really be that taken with a white greyhound with brindle patches, but there is something in his eyes that shines forth.
We are thrilled to welcome Renoir into our lives and home. A masterpiece of a greyhound and already precious to me.
So, that's the Greyt news here after being busy serving the new church with an extra service this past All Saints Sunday afernoon - yup, two sermons this week and busily preparing for midweek Advent potluck gatherings, the pre-school chapel time, oh, and Christmas Eve - which isn't
planned out yet, and a baptism to plan on the second of Advent. Now, it's all about the Renoir for this week and the sermon for this Sunday!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sally posts:
Over the last few weeks I have been struggling with depression, I know that from reading other folks blogs that I am not alone in this, and from time to time if not suffering from depression that everyone feels down. With that in mind I wonder what lifts you? So I'd like you to share 5 things:

1. A Scripture- it might be a verse or a whole book!
Jeremiah 29:11-14 "For surely I know the plans I have for you, says
the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a
future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me,
I will hear you. when you search for me, you will find me; if you
seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord,
and I will restore youfortunes and gather you from all the nations
and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will
bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile."
This passage always gives me hope and assurance helping me to trust
in God.

2. A piece of music.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize - Marty Haugen & Dona Penna; We Come
Dancing. A powerful, upbeat song that inspires me.

3. A place.
Home with LH and my greyhound always comforts and supports me,
soothes me and uplifts me.

4. A person/ group of people
LH and my sister. They encourage and support me with their
wisdom, love, and insights.

5. Something you do...
Hmmm...some good Swiss chocolate and a glass of ice cold skim milk
always seems to help.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

as opposed to STAY CALM AND CARRY ON!
After a 3 hour worship and music meeting, we were all fried. I still working on the extra All Saints Sunday service and the Music Minister is asking me for a finished Christmas Eve service. Right! I am so not there yet, and I have to work on that in the next two weeks.
I am stessing and weary already over what is yet to come and knowing I am putting in way more hours than I am being compensated.
I still have to put together a children's chapel for the pre-school and finding CD's with songs they can learn, plus a Bible story and prayer.
They need at least 2/3 time to address and deal with and do what they need to deal with and do.
And into this craziness, I must stay firm, grounded in Christ and let the whirlwind swirl around me and try to be a non-anxious presence, honor their tradition and yet prod them into change.
I'm not thrilled with my Reformation Day Sermon, but we will all live through it. I'll pack my Gummi Worms, so the kids can have a treat in honor of good ol' Martin Luther and the Diet of Worms!!!
I think I'll go curl up for awhile while I contemplate Mid-week Advent Gatherings....

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Slowly I am getting to know what is wanted, needed at the church I am serving. Slowly, I am finished getting the beds ready for winter. If it would stop raining for a day or two, I could get it done! We've broken a record for the wettest year and it is only mid-October.
Slowly, LH an I are inching toward welcoming a new greyhound into our hearts and home. Jazz will have to get used to sharing again, but it will be good for him. We pray it will be a good match and slowly the anticipation of welcoming a new grey is rising up. How could we not give a second chance at life, at life with a home, with soft doggy beds, special treats, milkbones, good left-over tidbits in a meal, and lots of rubs, hugs, and scratches just where it itches and they can't quite reach, and love and tenderness to a hound who has never known such things but were mere whispers of something more beyond the track life with cold, steel, hard cages, mushy sometimes rancid food, handlers, trainers and owners who regard you as a commodity rather than a beloved pet, and always having to run faster and your best, to save your life? Yes, we are slowly getting excited to adopt a new grey even in the midst of what will be a very busy season in the life of the church and our lives as we serve them. But into this mess of busyness and holidays - we will make room to welcome a new grey and stretch the expanse of love we have and know.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Still trying to get into this new rhythm of being at the church one day a week and the two services on Sat evening and Sun. morning. Although, I will have to go in Monday evening for their church council meeting, and I am spending time at home, preparing and writing sermons. So, I am putting in more time than what is on paper. It's just that way, when part-time.
I spent some time in the garden cutting down some spent flowers and pulling grass where it ought not to be growing. In the back, I pulled the thyme (and lots of it), marjoram (not much) and my really spent tomato plants. I plucked a few tomatoes off and hope they ripen in a paper bag. I pulled weeds and planted my garlic buds. I have yet to cut down the oregano since the bumblebee was still on it.
I throw some fertilizer around, since I have to give back to the earth what it has yielded and given up in this growing season. I also put down a layer of Sweet Peet. What a beautiful thing Sweet Peet is! Dark, moist, organic and rich. It does the soil so much good. Every fall and spring, the back garden gets a layer of Sweet Peet and it has really helped. It felt good to give back after receiving so much - tomatoes, chamomile, parsley, sage, tarragon, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, hyssop, chives and garlic. I have made tomato sauce for lasagna this winter, pesto sauce - all frozen in cubes and ready to be used, and tarragon vinegar. I will have fresh and dried herbs to use at Thanksgiving and throughout the year. I feel truly blessed and know that the ground can rest in these next months. And spring will come and it will give and yield itself again.
LH and I are hoping also to welcome a new grey into our lives and home and provide Jazz with a buddy. Will see how that develops.
To Lutheran Chik, so sorry to hear of your health problems after a "routine" procedure. Prayers are with you. Don't know why your site won't let me leave a comment, so hopefully you will read this to know, prayers are with you.
I have been limping along with bursitis or tendonitis of the Achilles tendon and ankle joint. I guess the church is telling folks they have a "lame" interim pastor!!!!!!!!!
Slowly, it is getting better? with the pain traveling all around the ankle, but at least I can walk better now. Oh, the bane and blessing of middle-age.
I am feeling very blessed and graced in this season of harvest and thanksgiving. Eucharisteo arises from within and without. Thanks be to God!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

I am beginning this new interim. It doesn't help that they have a bad taste in their mouth from a not helpful last interim time 11 years ago. The fact that they have brought it up, shows it is still in their memory. I pray that my grounded, usually joyful, self and love will win them over. But, I remember that I am a woman clergy and that in itself will be a challenge, as well as their healing, moving forward, and preparing themselves for new leadership. I pray that I will bring some freshness and offer some healing for them in this time. I pray that they and I will renew our faith in God and God's goodness to us even in times of challenge and uncertainty. I pray that their anxiety will abate some and their fears will be transformed to hopefulness of God's endless possibilities.
As I prepared myself for this new challenge in serving and loving Christ's beloved that is this congregation of a different denomination, I thoroughly lost myself in Ruth Haley Barton's "Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership" which I would recommend to all clergy.
Ruth writes in such a loving, wise way using Moses as an example of leadership in ministry. Her practices at the end of each chapter are so helpful, prayerful and reflective. The prayers she has choosen for each
chapter are also so meaningful. This is not a book to read through quickly, but one that takes time for prayer, thought and reflection. She is very in tune with the isolation and loneliness of spiritual leadership. She points the way to the hopeful grace and freedom of being deeply grounded in faith and in an intimate relationship with God. I will probably re-read and reflect on this book often. And although, I know the process of discernment, especially with groups, she has a most wonderful, gentle and understanding way of explaining it and sharing it.
I would really enjoy a seminar with her - perhaps a RGBP's BIG EVENT! Although, I'm sure she would have a hefty fee.
So, I begin this new adventure to which God has called me, knowing it is a tender time in the life of this congregation, that I have much to learn about them and the way they do things, that I will be scrutinized, that I will need to stay very grounded, that I rely on God and God's grace for all I am and do and as I serve with wisdom, gentleness, peacefulness, joy and love. And in the wonderful mix of it all, God will be there for us all. Thanks be to God!

Friday, September 30, 2011


Rev Songbird writes:
I've got home on my mind: what it feels like, how we make it, what we carry from the past and how we separate other people's leftovers from objects that really reflect our identity. My family has had one home for the past 13 years, the longest I've ever lived anywhere. As the time when all the children are gone comes closer, I wonder where my next home will be?

So here are five questions about home.

1) Where was your first home?
A duplex in a very Italian Roman Catholic suburb just west of the Windy
City right across from the elementary school. We had a backyard with a swingset and a sandbox with little CAT tractors (from Dad) to play with. There were even garter snakes in summertime. This was my parents first owned home. Before,they had lived in an apartment. It was a brick two-story
with two bedrooms and one bathroom that 4 of us shared. We played in the
basement and I remember it getting flooded once with a 1/2 foot of water after a major rain. We played hide and seek behind the laundry sink and furnace.

2) Do you ever dream about places you used to live?
Not really. I dream of strange places that I have never been or lived.

3) If you could bring back one person from your past to sit at your dinner table, who would you choose?
Probably my Dad. He was a good dinner table conversationlist, although
somewhat argumentative. I miss him a lot and his wisdom.

4) What's your favorite room in your current living space?
Living room/kitchen - it's an open floor plan and where I spend the
majority of my time, aside from sleeping in my bed. Of course, I
do spend time in the den/sewing/ironing room where I'm on the
computer. But mostly, it's the living room/kitchen area where I'm either
cooking, preparing a meal or cleaning up, or on the couch reading or watching TV so I can be in company of our grey, Jazz.

5) Is there an object or an item where you live now that represents home? If not, can you think of one from your childhood?
My pillow/bed/duvet. They are comforting, warm, somewhat soft and
allow me to rest my exhausted mind and body. It is a retreat and
where I can sink into oblivion.
In our guest bedroom, there is picture of Gandria, Tessin,
Switzerland that hung in my parent's bedroom and reminds me of their
sanctuary in our home where all was safe and secure. Funny, it was only
this summer that I actually saw Gandria! It just represented Switzerland
and all our family ties - although my family is from the German speaking
part and not Tessin - the Italian part.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

So, yesterday evening I received a call from the church where I interviewed. I had thought that they would call their denominational office yesterday morning to ask what other interims they could interview. They did call the denominational office but to request the proper paperwork to be filled out. Apparently, I impressed these poker faced folks. It just goes to show you, that you never know. I think God likes to surprise one in that way. Just when you think it is over or hope shrivels up, bam! God puts it right in your face and surprises you.
I feel like I'm walking into the lion's den here. The folks are very wounded, anxious, fearful and I will have to win them over with gentleness, calmness, with the peace of Christ our Lord, yet challenging them with change, and to cheer them on into the new life God desires for them as a community of faith.
And I am the one who is anxious and fearful as well, learning a new liturgy and book of worship with which I am not familiar. Knowing that the position is so part-time, I will be limited in what I will be able to do.
And each church has some unique tasks and ways that they do things. I pray that I won't screw up the liturgy too much. I will be on probation for the first couple weeks, scruntinized under a microscope of can we live with this interim pastor? a female? one not of our denomination?
God has called me to walk into this lion's den and I hope that God has some more good surprises in store for them and for me as this interim unfolds. I pray God will give me the strength, the wisdom, the creativity, the love and the grace I will need to minister and serve these beloved of Christ.
God, you have opened the way for me to serve these your people, I hold you to your promise that you will be with me and providing me all that I need to minister well with them. Thank you, and may I find courage from all your faithful who faced fearful situations and continued to trust you for all things, for life. May I do the same. Amen.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Today I felt a bit like Hildegard von Bingen as I cut down my tarragon, washed some of it and some thyme that I inadvertantly pulled out while pulling out garlic chives gone crazy-wild, and hung them to dry. I also reserved a few sprigs and have made my own two bottles of tarragon vinegar which works really well in making Asian Cole Slaw and other salads where Balsamic may be a bit heavy. I made a concoction of white vinegar and added some malt vinegar and it will cure for 2 weeks.
I already made my own pesto with basil from the garden and it is now resting in our freezer, awaiting a bowl of pasta to coat and savor.
I imagined how Hildegard carefully cultivated, dried, and used the many variety of herbs to cure ailments in her time. Somehow, through time and different cultures there was a kindred spirit there between us of growing
and harvesting your own herbs and enjoying the fruits of your labor in the foods that you cook and create. You know exactly where it came from and it is way cheaper than McCormick!!!!
There are still a few more herbs to harvest that can wait yet - marjarom, the rest of the thyme, oregano, sage, and some hyssop. I have to pull the tomatoe plants tomorrow. Then when I return, I will work on the rest of the herbs and pull all the remaining weeds and grasses that felt entitled to encroach upon my garden, put down the Sweet Peet and Osmacote and it will be ready for winter. I will wait to cut the sage and rosemnary until closer to thanksgiving. It depends upon the weather.
To you, Hildegard, I lift my tarragon in praise and thanks to you for your incredible Christian witness and life, to your imaginative and creative spirit, and your soul of compassion and grace.
Interviews are interesting events, you just never know how it's going to go or what you'll be asked, or how people will respond. I've had my share of them. I don't get quite as rattled as I used to, perhaps, that's a good thing. This last interview is really up in the air.
They are a very anxious, wounded people and try as I did to be a non-anxious presence and assuring, I'm not sure they were convinced. I would be near totally opposite of what they have had in a pastor and that in itself, would be a good thing. Being of a different denomination might be a disconcerting factor to them although I have served in that denomination before.
There's just no telling what will come of that interview.
It will be as God deems best for them, for me. And I will live with that.
It certainly would be very challenging and there is some healing and process work that would need to be done.
In the meanwhile, LH and I will head for the Beach, even though it will be cool and fall and there won't be any sticking of feet into the cold water, and play and just be. I have some books to read and two still on the Kindle.
When we return, then I will actively seek what else might be out there and available. And will have to prepare the garden for winter and the flower beds as well.
I remind myself that I can only be myself and that God is in charge and to trust the slow work of God. Grant me patience, O Lord, and hopeful expectation for a place to serve. Amen.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

So, I have an interview tomorrow for a very part-time interim in another denomination. I am anxious as I always am for one never knows what one will be asked. I will be praying much today and tomorrow, so that I can be a non-anxious presence to the ones who are really anxious and uncertain about their future and the journey of this interim time before them.
I will be learning new things all over again!!! That is the beauty and anxiety that comes with interim ministry - learning new things and reliance on God to make one able.
I am ready to serve again and have had a full summer off. (Almost guilty for having such time off and going to the Beach, visiting my niece and my trip across the pond - for I hear the tape in my head that those who don't work shouldn't spend what they don't have on such luxuries as vacation!) Perhaps, though, God was restoring my soul in this time after the year and half away from home and the need to let go of the congregation I finished serving. I was graced with the opportunity to attend my aunt's memorial service and to speak at that service (even if I stumble in my German) and I am so thankful and grateful to have been able to be there and be with what is now, extended family - all my cousins. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. And I know my Aunt was just tickled to see us all there together to take leave of her and her influence on our lives.
I supply preached at 3 different churches of this denomination this summer. Again, I see that as God preparing me for this possible new interim. Funny, that I never supply preached for my own denomination this summer!!! Makes me truly wonder at how God works so mysteriously and wonderfully.
The position is woefully part-time. However, I am thankful merely to be serving again. And will keep myself open to what may yet come to be.
It is difficult to make a life this way and to piece together some semblance of a life. LH and I both a have a few more years within us before retirement and it almost feels like retirement now. Only we can't afford to retire this early in life.
But I am grateful for this opportunity to serve and to minister and to get to know another community of Christ's beloved.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9-11 Anniversary:
I need and want to remember 9-11. The brave souls and innocent lives lost that infamous day due to extremist Muslim terrorists.
However, I am appalled at some of the gatherings taking place. The nearby big city has a display with a clear film on which people can write the name of someone they've lost in the past ten years. Come on. Why are you demeaning all who died in those attacks that Sept. 11th day and taking the focus off of them and onto your own lost loved ones who died that had nothing to do with 9-11?
This is not All Saints Day, which for all of you unchurched people, is a day of honoring and remembrance of all who died in faith - especially our loved ones.
Memorial Day is to honor and remember those who died in service to our country in past wars.
Veterans' Day is to honor and remember all who have served our country in the armed forces, especially survivors.
Sept.11th is to honor and remember those who lost their lives in the
World Trade Center, Shanksville and Pentagon, both civilians, flight crews,
firefighters, EMS, and police, in the terrorist attacks.
Why must event planners cloud the true meaning of these days by making of them memorial times for own loved ones and not keeping the proper focus where it belongs - less on us and more on others? It boogles my mind and totally frosts me. I find it terribly demeaning to the families and survivors of those attacks and those who lost their lives.
I pray that people would retain their focus on the true meaning of 9-11 and remember their own lost loved ones at another time, especially on All Saints Day. Come to church that day. Hear prayers for those we've loved and lost, light a candle for them, etc.
Just don't do that on 9-11. Think instead of those families, survivors and nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives senselessly to a terrorist attack on our nation.

Friday, September 09, 2011

From RGBP comes this friday five challenge:
I don't know about you, but I am a notoriously messy creative worker. My workspace at home, and at my office is always littered with books and papers and mail and pens and keys and mugs....and tschotske (momentos, weird things, etc.) I am looking right now at a pair of dice that someone gave me that have "God" on each side, so that anyway you roll 'em, you end up with God. Different, right?

So, this Friday Five is all about YOUR tschotske in your workplace. Describe five things in/on your workspace (however you define workspace--I tend to spill over onto bedside tables, end tables, coffee tables...create wherever I land) that are special to you! Bonus points for pictures!

When I am serving, my office has quite a collection of items, here are 5:
1. Broken mug from Athabasca, Canada. It is a wonderful hand thrown
green and natural glazed mug. I was broken-hearted when it slipped out
of my hand in the dishwasher and broke. I glued it back together and
it is now my pen and pencil cup and I still get to see it most every

2. Ironwood angel. I found this angel in St. Armand's Circle, Sarasota, FL
in 1997 when my Mom passed away. It is a simple carved ironwood angel
with halo and wings and was a comfort to me. The angel sits on the desk.

3. Antique painting of a Swiss field with mountains in background.
Although, I think it is a print and is yellowed from age. It hung in
my grandma's living room and I usually hang it on the wall where I
serve to remember my roots.

4. Pottery bowl. It is a small bowl which I threw on the potter's wheel
at a Princeton Con Ed class. A fellow student who was a potter glazed
it with blue fish and dots along the rim and then fired it for me. I have
it on a book shelf and
use it on Ash Wednesday for the ashes.

5. Lucite cross made from recycled used tea bags and painted with tribal
geometric patterns on each square bag that makes up the cross. It came
from Cape Town, South Africa and was made by a cooperative of women to
earn money. It reminds me of the congregation we worshipped with one
Sunday there.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

I admit to breaking the rules of our subdivision this week. I break them every summer at least once. It is a ridiculous rule to begin with. I was even told by a parishioner once that the EPA would override this subdivision rule because it saves energy and is green.
This week, I put up my Swiss-imported portable laundry line that I have had for years. It's a big thick pole that opens into a huge square with four sides of lines and and 5-6 lines on each side. Like a big table umbrella. I had lots of laundry from the trip - cotton shirts, linen pants, a linen/rayon jumper, etc. I'm tired of cotton shirts shrinking in the dryer and usually line dry them now in the basement. But the days were warm and sunny, and I had a lot to dry.
So, I put up the laundry system and hung my shirts, pants, dress out to dry. And they dried quickly and well. There were no undies or unmentionables hung for the neighbors to see. Just outerwear.
And when I went to gather the dry laundry, it smelled so fresh and clean. Mmmm....I had near fogotten that wonderful fresh laundered, sun and breeze dried scent. It was so wonderful. I would like to do it more often, but don't want to press my luck. I saved lots of electricity by not running loads in the dryer. It doesn't smell as good when I hang it in the basement.
Frankly, I think temporary clotheslines should be allowed here. It is a such a green and energy saving way to dry your clothes or bedding. And the scent is luscious.
I doubt that any of our neighbors who can even see it will say anything.
I have never been reported as of yet.
So, every summer that we are here. I will break the rules and have the best smelling laundry of anyone and a few extra bucks in our pockets. And the planet is grateful. It doesn't bother me to see laundry flapping in the summer breeze. Surely the enormous children's play towers and stations are far more obnoxious than some laundry hanging from a line that can be removed as if it had never even been there.
Yes, I am guilty of breaking the rules. And I am not in the least, remorseful.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Six years ago, a most handsome, elegant and refined fawn colored greyhound came into our lives. He was wonderfully proportioned with nary any scars from his racing career. He had come from Ft. Myers and it was quickly apparent that he had been well loved all of his life. He always tried to get into one's lap even though he had long ago outgrown that possibility, but he took to standing over one's legs and pressing close to one's body. He loved chest rubs that lasted 15 minutes and always wanted more. He could charm the devil himself. He was a bit of a sneaky thief, stealing the last two bites of my sandwich off my plate when I went to answer the doorbell, and quick to sneak a lick off a plate when you weren't looking. He wasn't satisfied with mere kibble, he wanted left-overs added to it. He took to the couch and love seat, snatched pillows when he could thinking they were large throw toys. He was a lazy greyhound and only ran when the other greyhound got him going. He was content to be retired and a beloved pet and companion. He was even tempered and delighted in having the underside of his chin and neck stroked. He had one small flaw - he didn't like being disturbed when he was lying down and would growl and lash out. One greyhound rule is, never disturb a sleeping greyhound. Two greys we had didn't like to be disturbed and two don't mind at all. You just don't know with them. Jett, had been returned to USADOG after a family adopted him even though the organization didn't think it was a good match, the family wanted Jett. Understandably, because he was such a good looker. They had a small child who couldn't resist petting a sleeping greyhound and Jett growled and bared his teeth. The family returned Jett. How fortunate we were to take him home and give him the home he deserved. It was hard to ever be mad at him because he oozed charm. He moved with grace, light on his feet and with his size, his long tail carried elegantly. He charmed us with his good looks and endearing personality. He was easy to live with and a joy in our lives.
Yesterday, Jett crossed Rainbow Bridge. His cancer had tired him out, his leg wound oozing and bleeding with a stench that even daily cleaning could not erase. He wasn't eating much even when tempted with rice, and canned dog food and left-overs, although he greedily munched on Milkbones.
He was becoming thin and it wouldn't be long before he wouldn't have the strength to go out or stand up. His eyes were sad and said, "I had enough." He had problems getting comfortable lying down and even with some pain medication to ease the pain in his leg which he favored some, the delight was gone from his eyes. I knew it was time. I knew I couldn't let him waste away and lose all dignity. It was just a matter of days.
Thankfully, he waited until I returned home and was so joyed to see me. I know he missed me and Momma's rubs, hugs, and kisses.
And so, LH and I, had our beautiful beloved Jett put to sleep, and spared him some really awful last days.
I suppose that is the salve to my grief - that we spared him a few days of additional misery and that each day, each year he was with us, was a gift and grace and gave him a second chance at life. He was trusting and good with the doctors and all that he endured the past year and three months - two surgeries and recuperation. It's just that cancer couldn't be eradicated and his wound after this last surgery couldn't ever heal properly. I know we did the right and good thing by him and it eases the hurt just a little.
He graced us with his elegance and beauty and goodness and I am forever grateful. He rests in my heart and now bounds across heaven with Earl, Baruch the Beagle and Benny.
Perhaps, eventually, we may get another grey. For now, it's just LH, I and Jazz - our wild child grey, who has lost his buddy. Now, he'll get all the attention and all the left-overs!
Thanks, Jett, you were beautiful inside and out. Love you forever.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back Home Again - Part 2 -
My cousin M and I are only a year apart and relished the time together. We had some deep conversations and the week went by fairly quickly. We enjoyed strolling along Lake Maggiorie and went on two boat rides trying to keep cool - one on Lake Maggiorie and one on Lake Lugano. It worked. We put our feet into both lakes.
I enjoyed a wonderful porcini risotto one evening and the boccalino of wine to go with it and strengthen me for the bike ride back to the apartment!
I did have another first this visit. In the grand piazza, I had pesto gnoochi one evening and ordered my water (still, without gas) and the waiter brings a glass of water with a lemon slice and ice cubes!!!!
In my 46 years of travelling to Switzerland, never once have I ever something to drink with ice. I gazed in wonder at the glass. I held the glass up to my ear and swished it, just to hear the clinking of ice against the wall of the glass - all to the amusement of my cousin. She called the waiter over and had me tell him that this was the first time in all those years of coming to Switzerland to have ice. On such a hot day, it
was most marvelous and welcome. Before the waiter went home for the night, he brought a glass with more ice cubes for me to enjoy!! What a sweetheart!
We took the Post Bus and went into the Val Versace (Valley Versace) and no, it was not full of designer clothes! A wild and rugged valley with small villages and water that is emerald green, deep and clear. Folks were
lounging on the huge boulders worn smooth and cooling off in the waters of the river - that were cold and could be treacherous. The houses were quaint made of old stones with stone roofs. Banking on tourist trade, they sold woolen slippers, mittens, gloves, hats, felted wool purses, honey, polenta mix, risotto mix, balsamic vinegar, etc. The wool stuff was beautiful and artsy, all hand made and way over my budget. I came home with porcini risotto mix and polenta with truffle mix. That I could afford.
It was a very hot day, and the ride back by postal bus was very, very warm as the bus was full, some were standing, and the bus driver never thought to crank up the a/c by setting it higher and having the fan blower more. The economical Swiss - why it would consume more gasoline! Forget that everyone on the bus was hot!
The boat trip on Lake Lugano was wonderful and Gandria with its quaint old buildings can only be reached by water and is the most painted of all places on Lake Lugano. I could see why. There is a smuggling museum there - smuggling goods during WW 2- and it would be interesting to see some day.
Marcote was an enchanting village with an impressive cathedral. Also, must see one day.
Although, the day we went to Ascona, we missed the market day, I did find 2 nice boccalino's to take home at a cermaic/pottery shop.
I came home with some must have chocolate, only 1 bag of chocolate wafers as there was only 1 bag on the store shelf, and less cheese than I would have liked.
When one is dependent on other people for transportation, one is not as free to do things as one would when renting a car. It was so hot, that even in my family's home town, although they have a great cheese shop, I couldn't buy a thing, since it would all have melted into a summer fondue!
I was astounded once again at the prices of everything - clothing, shoes, purses, scarves, even the restaurant prices. I mean, 24 francs for proscuitto wrapped around cantaloupe slices! You can make it yourself for a third of the price!
Another thing that struck me this time, was whenever we used a public restroom - which for the most part are fairly clean - there was no soap. Sinks with water but not soap! For as concerned as the Swiss are with cleaniness, how germy are the people walking around?!!?
By the end of the week, my speaking and vocabulary had improved greatly. It only took me 5 minutes to come up with the word for broom one morning!!!! Yikes! When you don't speak a language for a long time you forget the simplest words!
To catch the flight home, I had to get up at 4:30 am, my other cousin L drove me to the Basel train station and we had extra time for cup of coffee, before she promptly put me on the wrong train. Thankfully, I had a couple minutes to take my luggage and pile it all on the train on the other side of the platform. Thanks, L!!!
I checked in fairly quickly and cleared security without much wait. I stopped and bought some chocolate and magazines (german ones to help me practice my reading and comprehension skills while seeing what's fashionable in Europe these days). When I boarded the flight, I spied my Comfort coach aisle seat and saw a middle-aged man in the window seat - black curly hair way past his shoulders and frizzed out, dressed in jeans and t-shirt, and wearing sunglasses. Slouched in his seat, when I placed my carry on in the over head bin, he turned toward the window with his entire body. He looked like a rock muscian and clearly didn't want to engage in any conversation. I have sat with some of the strangest people when I fly alone. Two middle-age guys right behind us were more talkative and flirted with the stewardess. Apparently, they were a rock band from Georgia who played in Bern. The guy I was sitting next to was a guitar player for the band!!! And he had no clue whatsoever, that sitting right next time was a pastor!!!!! What a picture! A rocker and a pastor!
By the time, I got to Atlanta, I was ready to exit the plane and stand for while in the passport and customs area. At least Atlanta had the a/c on! Then it was on to rechecking the bag and going through another security check. I had a two hour layover and I barely made it to the other gate with 15 minutes to spare. That's cutting things closer than I like.
I could barely sit for the last 1 1/2 hour flight to the North Coast. My tailbone was sore.
Thankfully, LH picked up in fairly good time and I was thankful to be home again, safe and sound. My bed never looked so inviting and the pillow was softly calling my name.
Another adventure and lots of family time, and beautiful scenery, long conversations, good food and wine, my soul has been refreshed.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back Home Again -
I thought I'd write before I left to fly across the pond to the land of Alps, Cheese, Chocolate and Watches, but there was too much to do.
I flew in last evening - exhausted, hungry, ready to be home and with a sore tailbone from sitting 11 1/2 hours on two planes. The main thing is that I returned safe and sound.
Switzerland was hotter than ever I experienced, which means that my summer travel remains true to form - no matter where I go, it is hotter than normal. I did miss our air conditioning greatly.
I met my sister in Atlanta and we flew over together. So, we were able to spend some time together as well. We must be sisters as we both were reading "The Help" - she had the paperback and I on the Kindle. She finished first although I was ahead of her to begin with.
She was a help to negogiate the train from the airport to Zurich main station, while I helped in getting us to a place where we had some transactions to make. I picked the lunch place and ate a most wonderful Zurich dish - geschnetzlets with spaetzli - chopped veal pieces on a cream sauce with wee dumplings along with some veges. It was delicious. My sister also got us from Zurich to Basel by train, something she's done many times. My cousin and her husband met us at the train station and we got all the luggage in as well as ourselves.
I was not feeling well, having a runny nose Tuesday night already. I had a bit of a sinus infection going on which coupled with being up 2 whole days and not getting any sleep on the plane certainly didn't help the situation. My cousin is a retired nurse and stopped at the drugstore where we picked up some sinus tablets - plant based, nose spray, and aspirin in a powdered form that mix in water. Believe it or not, all that helped and in a couple days, I was feeling better if still a bit congested.
WE enjoyed a lovely open house with wine and finger foods at my cousin's and several other cousins joined us as well. Let it be known that neither my sister nor I were overly talkative as we were trying hard just to stay awake!
On Friday, we went to the town where my Dad grew up and all my aunts and uncles spent much of their childhood. I still have relatives from my mom and dad there and where I spent most of all my times in Switzerland. WE stopped at the Flower Shop and picked up a couple small flowering plants -
one for our parents and one for my aunt. It was a very hot, sunny day. We visited my parents grave site and my grandma's before heading to my aunt's gravesite for the brief service where all my cousins gathered in the shade of the columbarium wall. The pastor was in his 50's, very pleasant and personable. He gave me an order of service for the church service which followed. He even played two pieces on the cello which he did wonderfully.
My one cousin spoke of my aunt's life when my aunt was young. I spoke about my aunt during our growing up years in Chicago, and my cousin finished with remembrances of my aunt when she retired and returned to Switzerland. The pastor referred to me as a sister in ministry!
Afterwards, we drove to a restaurant overlooking the local lake for a very fine lunch complete with wine and plenty of talk. How good to see my cousins gathered together. It is a rare occurance even for those who live over there. I saw my great-aunt and how wonderful to be together, catching up each other's lives and remembering our parents and aunt. My aunt who never married or had children must have been smiling down to see us all there to honor her life, to remember her and to bid her farewell as she has begun her new and eternal life with God. My sister and I were so very blessed that we went and were there.
It was so hot, that I nearly sat in the big silver urn that was full of ice and water to keep the white wine cold, but decorum dictated merely putting my hand in there and wiping my forehead!!!
I must admit, when I was with my cousin M in Ticino - the Swiss Riveria - we stopped in the grocery store one hot late afternoon after a very warm postal bus ride home from sightseeing - and I pointed out cheeses in the refrigerator section - to feel cool up my sleeve! And I opened the freezer door and stuck my face into the cooler to "look more closely at the fish!!!" My cousin thought I had gone crazy with heat and just cracked up. However, we cooled off nicely and quickly!
Ticino is a beautiful area of Switzerland with lush vegetation, various palm trees and Italian is spoken. The food, of course, is also very Italian, very good and as with the rest of Switzerland, also expensive.
Mostly, it was just too hot to eat and lunch usually consisted of liters of non-carbonated water for me, nectarines, and little tidbits of bread and salami, and even an ice cream or two. We stuck our feet into Lake Maggiore to cool off and spent time on the lakeshore where there might be a cool breeze. We rode bikes down to the lake and the bike ride created a bit of a breeze. Course I haven't riden a bike in over 25 years and eventually got the hang of it again. Even have some bruised legs to prove it - mostly from stopping and bangning into the handle bars!!!
Ascona is a lovely town with a beautiful lakefront. We had a fantastic dinner at a Grotto. It started with bread and 2 types of salami (all served family style - they bring you salami on a cutting board, you chop off the slices you want and the board then goes on to another table where the diners there do the same thing). That was followed by thin slices of beef tongue. Needless to say, we passed on that. I grew up having to eat tongue and am glad not to have to eat it as an adult. Then came salad. Followed by a plate of bow tie pasta with a tomatoe cream sauce that was simply wonderful with a bit of heat. Then arrived the meat with polenta with an incredible sauce. Wow! Following that was a variety of cheese also on a cutting board. And then came a simple dessert of small slices of bar cookies with fruit spread on them. The dessert was nothing to write home about - but by then, we were too stuffed to really want it any way. The wine was excellant as well.
Good thing we don't eat like that all the time!!!!
There is more to share but the laundry is crying out to be done, my pictures are ready to be picked up, and Jett is seeking more attention as the cancer advances. I don't know how much longer we'll have with him. His leg is looking much worse than when I left a week and a half ago. Even some of his chest lumps have bled a bit. He seems not to be much pain, but he clearly isn't a happy camper, but still has an appetite and still has life in his eyes. I pray he will tell me when he has had enough and we will let him go. But for now, he is still here and I can kiss his handsome face and hug him and rub him.

Friday, August 12, 2011

RGBP'S Friday Five:

The Place I Want To Get Back To

is where
in the pinewoods
in the moments between
the darkness

and first light
two deer
came walking down the hill
and when they saw me

they said to each other, okay,
this one is okay,
let's see who she is
and why she is sitting

on the ground, like that,
so quiet, as if
asleep, or in a dream,
but, anyway, harmless;

and so they came
on their slender legs
and gazed upon me
not unlike the way

I go out to the dunes and look
and look and look
into the faces of flowers;
and then one of them leaned forward

and nuzzled my hand, and what can my life
bring to me that could exceed
that brief moment?
For twenty years

I have gone every day to the same woods,
not waiting, exactly, just lingering.
Such gifts bestowed,
can't be repeated.

If you want to talk about this
come to visit. I live in the house
near the corner, which I have named

(Mary Oliver, "Thirst", Beacon Press, 2006)

For this Friday Five I invite you to offer five gratitudes you recognize in your life.

1) That I am God's and beloved of God, even when I feel it not.
2) For LH, his steadiness, his love, his sense of humor
3) For my sister, she is my best friend and shares my history and is my
strength and encourager
4) For Jett and Jazz, our greyhounds. Especially, I am thankful for each
day and week we have left with Jett - our most handsome, elegant and
refined grey. He is such an endearing, good soul. The cancer is
advancing and I know our time together is limited.
5) For our home with the wide open meadow behind our fenced-in backyard
and all the beauty I behold from magnificent sunsets, to impending
storms, to bluebirds, meadowlarks and a variety of butterflies.

There is always something for which I feel gratitude. Even this dark night, for those moments of gratitude remind me that God is still with me and that I am still connected to God. I hope that this dark night will end with a glorious new day that dawns with life abundant and I will be serving a congregation again.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

It is a bit disheartening to receive a rejection of your dossier and not even be invited to an interview. Sigh. There are two other possibilities, neither in this state. So, maybe God is telling us, it's time to leave, really leave and begin anew somewhere totally different. Only, totally different is intimidating and scary. To pull up stakes and venture into the unknown is never easy. I doubt it was for Abraham or any of the disciples.
What if it doesn't work out? I've been down that road before. What if LH doesn't find any place to serve? What if I fail, disappoint, and let down a people of God? What then? I worry about these things.
But my faith also tells me that stepping out on faith is what we are called to do, no matter how scary, how inadequate, how uncertain and unsure one may feel. It's about trusting in God.
In this dark night of my soul, trusting has been a real challenge. The Great Silence has remained silent and I struggle sometimes to connect more deeply. I feel exiled in the wilderness and continue to walk an unknown path into an uncertain future.
God has fortunately provided me with three Sundays of pulpit supplying in three different Lutheran churches. This past Sunday, being a communion Sunday, I had to work with the new ELW and only messed up the prayer after communion, which I went back and did - only it wasn't unison, then added the blessing about being sent out to share communion, then the benediction, then the dismissal. All in all, not too bad for a low-church Presbyterian using the new worship book for the first time. I did enjoy sharing communion, blessing the children, but for the most part, I was constantly checking and rechecking what came next, what page I was to be on, etc. Here's hoping, this coming Sunday will go better.
I usually print out my communion liturgy and have the pages on the table. Of course, we, Presbyterians, can be creative with the liturgy and theme it for that Sunday's scripture lessons. I guess I just haven't been Lutheran in a long while and it would take a bit to get back into it.
In the meanwhile, I am working on what I'll be sharing at my aunt's memorial service. Trying to decide what clothes to bring with and keeping the weight of the luggage down to return with chocolate and cheese and some favorite things. It could be really hot over there where nothing is airconditioned and it could be coolish. Knowing my track record, it will be unseasonably warm!!!
So, I will not dwell on what is not to be and set my sights on what is before me, trusting that God will guide me and lead us into a future where life abundant yet awaits.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Memories -
I've been thinking about my Aunt who passed away in late June and what I will say at her memorial service. So many wonderful memories rise up that were lying dormant for years.
My Aunt lived in Chicago and was a nurse at the Prominent Hospital near the John Hancock building and indeed, she lived nearly across the street from it in subsidized housing for doctors and nurses.
Many times, my sister and I, rode the EL into the city where my Aunt would meet us, take us to lunch at Marshall Fields or let us look around. She always had something special planned like swimming in Lake Michigan at the beach, going to the Art Institute or a craft project or to eat couscous, frozen chocolate Frango mint pie or drink ginger ale. She took me to see David Copperfield before he was hugely famous, and I attended at least one National Geographic Society lecture.
I remember being excited to go and spend a weekend with her. She loved to read and when I was so enthralled with the Dr. Suess book, Green Eggs and Ham, she made me green eggs (with food coloring) and ham for breakfast once. I thought that was just the coolest thing and something my mother would never do!!!
Whenever my sister and I would go for a weekend, I recall that Mom packed a knitted dark brown with thin tan stripes bag with long wooden handles knitted onto to it and filled with our toothbrushes, toothpaste, brushes, pj's, fresh underwear and change of clothes. We would get on the EL, press our faces to the windows and watch the suburban landscape change to urban with little green space, except for a couple parks, highrises and graffiti sprayed public housing apartment complexes and we could see where the EL tracks would curve ahead and take us to the Loop.
I wonder now, as I think of it, what those on the EL thought of us, carrying that knitted bag, looking like immigrant children who spoke English flawlessly and spoke Swiss-German when we wanted to say things that no one else would understand. We carried no pink or lavendar princess or Disney inspired overnight bags, just that humble non-descript dark brown knitted bag. Thinking back on it, it just makes me wonder and I feel as though we looked like first generation ethnic children! And we were.
My sister still has the bag tucked away somewhere safe in her house. Memories of trips into the city and adventures with my Aunt are still contained in that knitted bag and in my heart.

Friday, July 29, 2011

RGBP's Friday Five: Decisions, Decisions (deja vu edition):

Today we play off of one of my favorite and most memorable Friday Fives to blog from: Decisions, Decisions posted by Songbird last July 23. I went back to that post to make sure I had new choices for you to make. I found out -- again -- that she was then, as I have been recently, in the midst of a discernment process and thinking about what goes into decision making.

A decision from history: There is a chair that still sits in the Assembly Room of the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall). Legend has it that it was George Washington's chair, the back carved with a half sun. Benjamin Franklin would look at it and wonder whether it was a rising or a setting sun. Eventually Franklin decided it was the hopeful symbol of the rising sun, a sign of the future of our new republic.

How do you decide? Check out the following pairs and tell which one of each appeals to you most:

1) Sunrise or Sunset -
Sunset. We see some of the most beautiful and incredible sunsets from
our backyard with the open meadow behind us. What's not to love? The
day softens around the edges, the colors are amazing: turquoise,
salmon, fushia, gold, apricot, lavendar, grey and blue. Sunsets can
say, the day is over, let it go, see the beauty, tomorrow is
another day, be thankful and go softly into the night.

2) To the Mountains or To the Beach -
Probably, the beach. I love to stroll along the beach, wade into the
water, watch the waves and ebb and flow. All very healing, restful,
calming. Even watching storms over the lake are so cool. Ocean beaches
are wonderful as well. I think the water is my main draw and just
ambling along the shoreline with feet in the water is for me, a great

3) Coffee or Tea -
Mostly coffee. Although I do enjoy a cup of Rooiboss - red African
bush tea.

4) Advent or Lent -
Tough one. I like the anticipation of Advent, but it's just so short
and so busy. It's hard to say I "enjoy" Lent, yet the 6 weeks offers
more preparation time. Lent is a more introspective time for me and
emotionally more intense.

5) "Raindrops on Roses" or "Whiskers on Kittens" -
I'd have to go with the raindrops on roses, since I'm not a big fan
cats. I love flowers and seeing their colors and even the raindrops
speak more to me than kitties. But little kittens are very cute.
Make it puppies and you have me there. Puppies are just too cute
and wriggly and snuggly, warm and fuzzy and I could never resist
a puppy. Puppies even beat raindrops on roses.

BONUS: Tell more about one of the pairs. Why did you choose it? Difficult or easy choice? A story from your own experience?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I am mourning the loss of Borders book stores which are in the process of closing. I enjoyed going to Borders, spending unhurried time to browse new releases, classics, religion, the bargain shelves, to get LH his Wegman calendar, Lang cloth calendars for the kitchen (which when the year is done, is washed and then becomes a drying towel), maps for the countries we visited and guide books, and all the fun stuff in their stationary section.
I could spend hours in a book store and every time I entered one, I was like a kid in a candy store; full of wonder, delight, and it always made me feel good all over. Going to the bookstore has been a salve for a sore spirit. It's not a place to hurry, but to take time, to find the right read, and to happen on something you hadn't known about.
Even when I was a child and would take the "EL" into Chicago and meet my Aunt at Marshall Fields, we would always stop at Kroch & Brentano' - the forerunner to Borders. What joy would fill me to behold shelves and shelves of books and to find something special and wonderful to read.
Book stores have always been a place of wonderment for me. And alas, they are going away. And I am, mourning.
As much as I also enjoy Amazon, sometimes, you just want to hold the book and read the synopsis before purchasing it or run across a book you hadn't noticed before. Shopping Amazon is just not the same as wandering in and around a bookstore.
It is a sad time for me. No longer will I be able to just be in a bookstore surrounded by wisdom, advice, knowledge and imagination. The Library for me always felt stark and cold, but the bookstore was crammed with possibilities and always a purchase.
So, I grieve this passing. We have a Barnes & Noble fairly close by, but I wonder how long they will continue to be around.
I am intrigued by the Kindle, but love to hold my books, and use a lovely bookmark to mark my place. I have held off giving in to e-reading.
But now, now, I am confronted by it and I can no longer ignore it or hold off. Borders is closing. Bookstores may be a thing of the past. And I have to make an unexpected trip to Switzerland. How can I justify bringing along three books - size and weight - when there are so many weight and baggage restrictions imposed by the airlines? The Kindle is lightweight and small and can hold several books. It just makes sense.
And so while I mourn the closing of a great bookstore, I am stepping out into the future and ordering a Kindle. Hope I can figure it out before I leave the end of August. I hadn't planned on making such a purchase but the time seems right.
I hadn't planned on going to Switzerland but with the death of my last Aunt, the one who met me at the "EL" station and took me to Kroch & Brentano's Bookstore, and is the last of my father's siblings and last of that generation, I am going to her memorial service. And getting the Kindle almost seems fitting.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Yes, we are roasting here in OH and aren't the only ones to do so!!
I am so very thankful for air conditioning and no power outages.
I was going to do some work in the herb garden - fix a tomato plant, weed some more and dig up some garlic -'s so flippin' hot! I still have to deadhead the other planter box of geraniums. That may be all I get to today while doing my laundry.
It is so good to be back home again. It just wasn't the same without LH.
I did enjoy some sista time!!! Had dinner out a nice french bistro on Bastille Day and we ate outside!!! Went to Talbot's outlet store and found two great blazers - one a grey boiled wool with cute gatherings on lapel and pockets. The price: about $22.00, regularly priced at $224.00. The other was a plum/raisin corduray blazer with shirring in front and back for $10.80, I can't even remember the regular price. Found some good red wine at Trader Joes and hit the Outlet Mall in WI with my sister - she found, I actually found the airy kinda crocheted cardigan, and with her store credit, and my contribution as a birthday present, she only paid $10.00 for it.
The Beach was...well...fishy! Dead alewives were strewn all over the beach washing up on shore. We raked dead silvery little fish with lifeless open eyes into piles then buried them in the sand in trenches. On Tuesday, the lake was calm and with great effort waves broke upon the shore. I was going to step into the cool water and walk along the beach. Unfortunately, along the shore the waves just brought in lake spinach and more dead alewives and not just a few that you could sidestep like on Monday. More's the pity. I did see a dead Coho salmon further up the Beach in the State Park area.
We enjoyed the most beautiful moon rises where it seems as though one cast a line far out over the edge of the lake and reeled up the moon from the horizon's edge.
We saw a fawn and doe, the little bunny, the robin mother feeding her two young, dragonflies and hummingbirds and the great blue herons who flew right over our part of the beach.
I had two days of alone time and read and wrote and gazed upon the lake. It was wonderfully restorative.
My sister and BIL went to the town's big summer one day event with several bands, crafts, and of course, fish fry mania with several service
groups offering a medley of fried fish and fries. The cold beer was refreshing.
We went to another town's art fest the next day and I found a new pottery mug with no room in our cupboard for it! And after discussion with LH, a digital pic taken by BIL and his email (I was without computer and internet service), I bought my first contemporary painting which will still need to be mounted and framed. Hope it gets here soon!!! I was really taken by the use of light color palette and some texture. IT just spoke to me and drew me in. Not too many contemporary pieces will do that to me. I knew it was a keeper and would go well on our dining room wall. I had to convince LH and I think we all did!!!
Came home with some local smoked salmon and fresh (but I immediately froze them) whitefish fillets that traveled back to the Windy City down to central IL University town, across IN, halfway through OH and up to NE OH all in a cooler with freezer packs. They made it frozen even with this great heat.
I also found a new brew in WI - New Glarus Brewing Co.'s Two Women. A very pleasant beer.
I savored a bottle of Mad Housewife Merlot at the Lake House. It was pretty good for an unknown CA winery.
I spent a late afternoon and night with my niece in Central IL University Town and got the grand tour and saw her cute, old bungalow freshly painted with some renovation and her huge garden with sweet corn, squashes, tomatoes, radishes, asparagus, lettuce, etc. We had dinner at a Barbeque joint - Cuban sandwiches with pulled pork and ham and cheese, red slaw and of course, a couple of beers. Then for dessert, we went to the cupcake shop - for Fudge Rush cupcake and she a White Chocolate Macadamia nut one. Simply delicious. We had time to talk face to face and I could admire all she's done with the house. I brought her down a contemporary artwork/painting she bought by a local painter who lives on the Beach and it will go very well in her dining room.
I had a very long drive home yesterday in very hot weather, but it was safe and good.
The boys, all my boys (greys and LH) will thrilled to see me as I them. I brought them treats TJ's Peanut Butter Flavored Dog Cookies, and some wonderful Tortuga rum for LH. So they were happy.
It is good to be home again. Time to pick up and deal with things and get ready to supply preach for a couple Sundays.
The summer storm is rolling in and I must tend my laundry.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Getting Ready -
The van is vacuumed out, the windshield is clean, shiny and new, and the dashboard and all is cleaned. Just have to go fill the tank so it will be full come morning.
Next comes the packing and it looks like it will be rather warm over the weekend up at the Lake House. Sigh...It must be me. Whenever we go on vacation, it is always hot even in places that "never gets this hot!", like the Dawson City, Yukon, Canada! Ha! Just wait 'til we arrive, you'll know hot!
I have a couple of items to make sure to bring back: Amarula and some Ewig Bros. smoked salmon.
Somehow, the adventure is not the same going without LH. In some ways, I can feel free to walk the beach and read by the Lake without him being bored. But, it's simply more fun with him and going to our usual haunts and discovering new places and things. I feel kinda bad leaving him with the dogs and working.
Yet, the pull to spend time with my sister and all the family I have left is too great not to take advantage of this inbetween positions time to make the trip. I hope I won't get too sleeply driving. I haven't pulled a 7 hour drive in years. I can do 4 hours fairly easy. It's just some parts of Eastern OH after Toledo and Western IN are so flat and dull and the with the rhythmic sound of the road seams under the tires I get lulled to sleep. Will need plenty of tunes and some M & M's for an afternoon sugar rush.
So, I will probably not be posting for the next several days and hope to have some things to post on my return.
I pray the time away, at the Lake will be healing, inspiring, renewing to my soul and my spirit.

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's been dry. And hot. The lawns have gone brown already and it's not even mid-July! I have been busy watering either the front flower beds or the back garden every evening. The Japanese beetles are back but not in the numbers they have been in the last three years. Could it be that we have actually decimated the population?!!?
It's been dry in my life as well. I've cleaned house, done laundry, cooked and made salads and marinated carrots that last for weeks in the fridge. I still have to vacuum out the van. That's for Wednesday morning when it's supposed to be cooler. Today, the van gets a new windshield, again. It's the second replacement. I don't know why rocks spewed up by vehicles on the other side of the road hit my windshield and not someone else's. I've never, ever had to replace a windshield on any of my vehicles before, let alone twice.
I am restless. I am not a good housewife. I need something more. I am going to take advantage of this free time and head to the Lake House for some quiet time by Lake Michigan and to see my sister. It's been 11 months since I've last seen her. It's time. I have books to take with me and my camera and my journal. They will be my companions. I will miss the boys.
I will be going on a shoestring and will miss visiting some of the usual places LH and I always stop at. I will squeeze in one or two. I pray that the snakes will make themselves scarce. Every time I am by myself, the garter snake appears and disappears in the yard or in the grasses by the State Park along the beach. I could do without the snakes.
I long to be working, serving, doing something useful and contributing to the household expenses. I miss church.
Aye, there is more to dryness than just the physical. There is a spiritual dryness as well. Part of the dark night of my soul. I continue to pray and to spend time with the Great Silence. And I have a few things to read that will water my spirit and keep me hydrated for a while.
Like the River Clump Birch tree in the backyard which is dropping yellow leaves like it is fall, I feel the same dryness and thirst, thirst for something more, thirst to serve, thirst to get on with this next chapter of our lives. I tend to the dryness through scripture, prayer, reading, journalling and still it is not enough to quench the dryness.
And so we, thirst in this dryness - the trees, the flowers, the herbs, the tomatoes, the grass and I. Longing for the refreshing rain from the heavens above, that quench and satisfy, revive and cool, and make all abundant and growing again.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

The Naked Meadow -
There are about 20 acres of meadow behind our house in the subdivision. The greatest expense in the HOA fees has been for mowing these past years.
This spring with all the rain the meadow has flourished and the grasses so tall that one couldn't even walk the 1/4 mile track loop. If you can even call a bunch of gravel with weeds and grass a track anymore.
We wondered if they were ever going to mow, knowing that once it gets dry, the meadow could be a tinderbox.
Well, on Thursday, the mowing began and at the end of the day, it was piled with cut down grasses and weeds.
On Friday, the serious work began. First, a machine that combed the cut mowing into neat rows, then they came through with a baler and then finally, the gleaner that rolled the remaining clippings into shredded wheat rolls. There must have about 25 shredded wheat rolls and about 4 wagonloads - overloaded with bales.
What a marvelous idea! To have the meadow mowed for hay - bedding for horses, for use in a dairy barn, etc.
The ones who did had all the equipment necessary and obviously knew what they were doing. They finished around 11 pm last night, loading the last of the rolls that look like ginormous shredded wheat. It was a very long, hot day of great physical labor.
I, who grew up a suburbanite of the Windy City, was amazed at the baler and curious about the gleaner and even got to see the machine burp out a finished roll!! Then, I was wondering how they got those rolls on a wagon and later that evening, I saw them with a lift fork and watched them load the rolls on the wagon.
Finally, a good use of all the meadow grasses and somebody will make some money selling it and we, are happy homeowners. Wish, I had thunk of it! A brilliant idea that is good all the way around.
And I could marvel at how it all works and is done!
The Japanese beetle war has begun for this year. All it took was a hot,dry day! Bag One - 8 beetles. Sevin - 4 beetles.
I don't really like to use Sevin on my flowers or bushes. It seems to speed the burning bush's turning to red and then dropping its leaves by the
beginning of September. We have honey bees, bumblebees, finches and hummingbirds that feast on the flowers and their seed. I have no wish to harm them or the flowers. So, with great reluctance, I resort to Sevin only when the infestation is great and their is Japanese orgy going on in my potentilla and burning bush.
There will be many more beetles to come as the day promises to be a very hot one and our morning rain is over.
For all the bags and beetles we have caught over the past 3 years, you'd think the population would have been greatly decimated. Time will tell, how we do this year!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Today was a day of puttering. After breakfast, I took in a pair of linen capri pants at the waist. Better now. I don't have to keep hiking them up.
Then LH and I drove to Trader Joe's since it was such a beautiful day. We found some of our favorite items and tucked them away in the cart.
I found it providential that TJ's had one last curled parsley plant left amongst their herbs. Mine in the garden is going to seed and isn't producing much. I toyed with the idea of buying a new parsley plant and there it stood before me. It was grown in Canada and is now planted in my herb garden. Perhaps, it will be more hardy because it was grown in Canada!
I pinched my geraniums deadheading them, which is a daily task. They do take tending and I am rewarded with lots of red blooms and red stained left thumb and index finger!
It is a breezy day, in the mid '70's with a bright blue sky and clouds that look like God spilled a bag of cotton balls that are now suspended in the sky.
I continue to read a novel I bought in England last summer and only now am getting time to read it.
Yesterday, I finished my dossier and will need to make some photocopies and send out a few.
I have yet to take my suitcase in from the garage and unpack it. That will happen tomorrow. Every day, I have something planned. Of course, there are all manner of things that need tending and doing. I am not at any loss for things to do. I could clean out all the cupboards (which do need it) and I could clean out the china cabinet and dust the glass shelves and wash all the crystal and heirlooms. Perhaps, that will happen before too long.
Today is a day meant for puttering. I haven't puttered in a long, long while. There is a quiet, slow, deliberateness to puttering. It is a different way to be, without deadline, without something just having to be done or someone to be seen, or a phone to answer, a sermon to write, or prayers to craft.
In the evening, I will water the front the flower beds as they need it. And tomorrow evening, I will water again the herb garden and perhaps even, give the tomatoes some tomato food. But that will be tomorrow. Today, I'm just going to putter and take the day as it comes - a gift to slow down and to just be. Thanks, dear Lord, for time to putter.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A New Rhythm -
I am slowly settling in to this new and different rhythm of being home and being between positions. I am working on my dossier. I am constantly having to remind myself what day of the week it is as my old routine and living from Sunday to Sunday has changed.
Each day, I put away the remaining stuff from the apartment. The little dorm coffee pot bit the dust. The water was so bad where I lived that even the PUR filter didn't help much and the vinegar and Dip-it cleaner didn't help and the water wouldn't even trickle through into the glass carafe. IT was only $15.00 two years ago, so I guess I can't expect much and it did last until my last day at the apartment although I had to start it before I showered as it took so long to brew.
Today, I have 3 lbs of zucchini (on sale at the grocery store) to shred in the food processor. I'll freeze it for later when I'll make the most yummy zucchini patties.
The kitchen and dining room tables need to be cleared off and decluttered and I suppose, I should dust.
Then it will be on to flesh out my statement of faith for my dossier and it will be done!!!
I weeded the herb garden where the chamomile grew wildly unrestricted and it was thinned out and the tomatoes were staked. There are three small tomatoes already on the plants. I cut down the unruly chives. I pulled grasses and weeds from the flower beds - some rather prickly things and thinned out the pincushions which the honey bees, bumblebees enjoy and the finches feast on for the seeds. The Dr. Suess flowers (bee balm) are blooming and the Coneflowers will soon be blooming as well as the Butterfly bush. Everything has grown tall, taller than last year. The potentilla bushes are scraggly and all over the place. Need to trim them next Spring. The Chinese Lanterns are profuse and I could pluck them when they turn orange and sell them for decorations!!! I pulled them all out last fall and they came back even more numerous this spring. It all started out with 2 little, weak stems!!! Be ye forewarned if you think of planting them!
So, it is a new, unsettling, different rhythm. I am not used to being without a paycheck or without serving somewhere.
The greys are happy that I am home and seem rather content with the situation, sighing, snoozing, and getting attention whenever they seek it out. However, my being home all the time does not contribute to the kibble in their dishes or cookies in the pantry.
The sooner my dossier is done and circulating the greater my hope.
I suppose I ought to enjoy and savor this breathing space and being home. If only I didn't feel so guilty over not working!
God gives us grace sufficient for each day and that is how I expect to live - day by day, one day at a time, in faith and in trust.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jett got his stitches removed Tuesday and the elbow is looking pretty good. He's still on antibiotics and the thankfully, we can no longer call him, Bigfoot!!! He's got a greyhound foot and lanky leg again!!
He's put on a couple more pounds slowly and that is good, too. We are so thankful that he is doing so well. Of course, Jett is still having to wear his two inflatable donuts on his neck to prevent him from licking the wound.
He'll feel even better when he won't need to wear them any more.
I have been working on my dossier and there's still more to update. Tomorrow will be a good day for that.
I spent 6 hours cleaning house today. Vacuuming door and window frames, corners from ceiling to floor and baseboards which LH neglected to do during my year and a half away from home most of the week. I am exhausted. I still have to dust and I need to vacuum the great room lamp shade. But it looks far more shiny and clean. I guess I forgot that two humans and two dogs can create such dirt. The shower stall is still a work in progress, but more clean than it was. The hard water here is always a problem. And LH forgets things like wiping down the top of the shower frame and door and the shower head. I suppose it takes a woman's touch to do those things.
I did a bit of shopping yesterday, which I haven't done in a while and really can't afford. But I did find a few things and the one t-shirt that matches the broomstick skirt (which were all on sale, plus an extra percent off coupon)and when I returned home much later in the afternoon and was cutting off tags to wash, didn't the t-shirt still have the plastic security tag on it. The darn salesclerk wasn't paying attention and forgot to check all the pieces and remove it. Now, I have make another 20 minute trip to the store (and the gas) and have it removed. Not my mistake, but it will cost me extra. It seems as though you have to watch each clerk whether at the grocery store ( not getting overcharged or getting the correct change back) and the other store clerks and make sure they do their job. Honestly, I, as a customer, shouldn't have to worry about such things and yet, I find I do. Whenever, I'm not paying attention to the clerk something goes wrong. Customer service is just atrocious in America. No one wants to calaim responsibility for making a mistake or missing up or not knowing the answer and the customer or client has to do all the leg work and checking, and double-checking. Certainly, there is much room for improvement in customer service in all aspects of the American life. Corporate, retail America, wake up and give us the customer service we deserve by providing you business. We should be treated well, not ignored because two employees are having a conversation about plans for the weekend and not acknowledging a customer's presence, or making mistakes that add extra time and effort not on the clerk, but on the customer. Some clerks just don't pay attention, or really care about what they are doing. It all just irks me.
Maybe, I'm just cranky from cleaning house all day!!!
At any rate, it's an extra trip I hadn't planned on making tomorrow when I could have been working on my dossier. But, it will get me out of the house for a bit tomorrow. So, perhaps, there is that grace in the whole thing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I am glad to be home again. I have unpacked most everything, except one suitcase and few things still on the dining room table. The greys are delighted to have me home with them. Bigfoot Jett is doing well despite his still swollen lower leg and foot. It appears to have gone down some, but he still has a bigfoot. Tomorrow he gets his stitche removed. I pray that Jett is healing well.
I am thankful that it didn't rain on Thursday and Friday as the meterologists predicted. Which meant that all the many trips up and down the rickety wooden steps on Thursday with clothing and bedding, and LH's and my trips on Friday with toiletries and kitchen stuff all remained dry.
I did much laundry and put all the extra bedding and clothing away.
It was strange to be home yesterday and not make the trip to the church town on Saturday after dinner. I have to get used to this new rhythm of not serving a church.
I spent the morning on the frustrating task of updating my dossier which didn't save the first time and I had to rewrite most of the narrative. Then I hit the wrong button and submitted the incomplete, darn thing.
Can they make it more complicated and frustrating? They also changed my number and password.
I think I'll let it go for awhile and then return to it or call headquarters and see how the can fix it for me to continue working on it.
At this rate it will take a week to get it done, especially if it doesn't save properly and I have to keep retyping the same darn info over and over again. What a complete waste of time!
As long as it takes to receive a call, you should only have to update your dossier every other year.
Today, I will be making macaroni salad for dinner. It's been a couple years since I made any and have a real taste for it. Homemade is much better than the stuff you buy at the gocery store.
We will be havng to live very lean without much income.
I did finish, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which I started last year!
Now, I can move on to a couple other books that have been waiting in the wings.
This will be a week of adjustment and back to regular house cleaning on days when LH is at the church so he is not underfoot! That will come Thursday!
Just glad to be home and will NOT miss the apartment where I roasted in the summer and froze in the winter.