Friday, May 24, 2013


In my experience in the United States, people are either "Dog People" or "Cat People." As the graph above illustrates, not everyone is limited to those types of animals. So I am wondering about pets and experiences with them.

1. Are you a DOG or a CAT person? Or OTHER?
Definitely a dog person.

2. Who were the pets of your childhood and what were they like?
We had some goldfish that we usually won at the annual school carnival. When I was seven, we finally got a puppy, a fox terrier
mix we named Rex. He loved to go camping and hiking and we took him with us on every camping trip all over the US. He made his
last trip to Glacier National Park when I was 17. It was in Atlantic City, IA on our way home to Chicago, when we had to put
him down due to congestive heart failure. He was a great family dog and dearly loved.

3. What pets do you have now?
Two greyhounds - retired, rescued racers, Jazz and Renoir.

4. Have you ever had any unusual pets in your household or visit your home?
We did have turtles along with the gold fish. Those were the days you could buy turtles at a cheap department store in town.
They never did seem live all that long though. Then, of course, came the issue of salmonella and they were no longer

5. What have you learned from your pets? Give one recent example, if possible.
Every dog has given and taught me much. Rex was a confident and friend as I was growing up.
Earl - our first greyhound - rescued from a breeder that was shut down by the state of IL and very underweight when we got
him, was my soul mate. He had stared death in the face and was not fearful of anything. He was quiet but loving. He
spooned with me in bed and was a Pet Pal at the Children's Hospital in Cleveland. He taught me courage and patience,
and gifted me with a connection unlike any other, full of trust and companionship.
Baruch - our Beagle was a cutie with velvet ears and stubborn nature. He was a handful and full of the dickens! Always into
everything. He provided comfort and much amusement. He lived to be over 16 years old. He taught me, that God made
Beagles cute because they are so full of the dickens and God made greyhounds not so cute because they have such wonderful
natures. He also taught me that I would never have a beagle again. He was loved and spoiled!
Benny - our second grey - was a sweet and gentle as could ever be. He wouldn't hurt a fly. He knew every swear word and ran from
them and every clanking pot or dropped object that made a noise. He got better over time. He taught me to be more
gentle. He'd bark at the neighbor Dad whenever he yelled at this kids. Benny didn't like yelling. He didn't bark
really, except when he heard those kids being yelled at. I've never known a sweeter, gentler being than Benny.
Jett - our third grey was a looker, a charmer. He got by on his good looks - a beautiful fawn colored grey. He thought he
was still a lap dog. He was obviously well-treated and loved by his trainer, handler and owner. He would stand in
your lap straddling your legs and pressed up against you. He forgot that weighed 72 lbs and was way to big to really
be on your lap. He got away with a few sneaky things being the handsome fellow he was. Jett could charm the socks
off anyone!!! He charmed us and loved his chest rubs. He taught me to take time to be loved and that with good looks you
can get away with just a little scolding. He was an endearing soul and a bit sneaky - ate my sandwich off my plate while
I answered the doorbell!
Jazz - our fourth grey is goofy and has an irrepressible spirit. He's an overgrown, over-aged puppy. He bounces and wags his
tail with great enthusiasm even at age 9 and still runs laps! He gets excited over everything and loves to be hugged
and get his neck scratched. He teaches me to keep a playful, youthful spirit.
Renoir - our fifth and newest grey is a bit of an enigma. He is quiet, fearful of the outside world, wary of strangers. He
doesn't fully trust me yet, but it is coming slowly. We've had him for a year and a half. He's really quite a good
dog. He's the laziest grey ever. He doesn't do laps or play much with toys, just plasters himself to his LL Bean
bed - safe spot and secure. He is quick, strong and can turn on a dime. When he runs in the yard, he shoots off,
stops, and comes back with a quickness and tight turn that amazes. He's the one who pulled me down last
June and caused the quad rupture. He loves to have his thighs rubbed and massaged - must have had that done during
his racing career. He is teaching me to be stronger and he is learning to trust more.

BONUS: Pictures or anything else related to animals you love.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Spirited Pentecost -
All in all it was a good Pentecost Sunday which followed on the heels of a Presbytery meeting which entailed a two hour drive one way and having to leave early, so I could make dinner and go over all I needed for Sunday. We honored 5 young people who graduated from HS. I gave them my bits of wisdom in keeping faith that I roll into "diploma" and tie with a ribbon. They also received a cross bookmark with the words from Jeremiah, "I know the plans I have for you..." printed on them. Then, one youth was confirmed in his faith, wearing a white robe with a red carnation corsage. He joined the choir just last month and whether he realizes it fully or not, is indeed, living into his faith and using his God-given gifts for the good of the faith community. All in his quiet way. I made a cheeseball and brought crackers for the coffee hour for folks who want to avoid sugary cake and treats or can't have them. The service went very well, although a bit longer with the graduate recognition and the confirmation. But, there was good energy and we had some extra folks with and among us, even a family visiting whose youngest daughter will be baptized next Sunday after worship and Sunday School. Thanks be to God for the gift of God's Spirit and a wonderful celebration of young lives nurtured and growing in faith.
Why Not to Use Our Oven -
We are still awaiting the range repairman who has since told us that they are still awaiting the part. Sigh. It's been two weeks.
LH and I decided to make a cole slaw salad on Friday. It calls for some toasted slivered almonds, which I had. I place some on the pizza baking sheet on a piece of foil - saves having to wash the pizza sheet.
LH said the repairman told him how to operate the oven without the display. OK. He touched bake (the oven is set at 350 degrees as the default setting, you can go up and down from there). After several minutes, he checked the oven and it was still cold. So he hit cancel. Then he hit bake and one touch on the up arrow. And we heard the oven click on. Hurray! It beeped when it hit 350 degrees, great! I put the almonds in for about 4-5 minutes for a light toasting. We check on them in 4 minutes and the almonds were black charcoal bits on the pizza sheet and there was that awful burnt smell. I had just made bits of charcoal in under 4 minutes! I don't know what happened but obviously, the repairman was wrong and we shouldn't use the oven at all!!!! Lesson learned. Thankfully, it was just a few small nut slivers and not something major like a casserole, meat, or potatoes or corn bread!!! Or heaven forbid, my brownies!!!
Looks like we have to wait some more before our oven is functional again. Just like we're still waiting on the drywaller.
What is it with repairs and service people that takes so long to respond to phone calls and getting parts? Indeed it is a mystery to me. I return calls in a timely manner. It's just unbelievable at times.
I had planned to bake a batch of cookies this Thursday to take to the Therapy Center where I am still working out as a thank you since this will be my last full week there. I don't see that happening now. I will have to bake them after the oven is fixed and then just drop them off after the fact.
I just wonder how much longer it will be...

Monday, May 13, 2013

As if the car repair wasn't enough, LH called me two days that same week at work, letting me know that we had a leak in the entryway by the den. He could tell by the quarter-sized discoloration of the ceiling. The plumber comes Friday morning, cuts a whole in the ceiling and finds the leak. He points out the stalagtyte that had formed on the PVC pipe. Ok, it was small, but still that meant for the last ten years there's been that drip to make that mineral formation. He points to the PVC joint he cut out that the pipe wasn't glued all the way around just on one spot. Great! No way the inspector for plumbing when the house was built was gonna catch that one. A couple Ben Franklin's later, and the leak is fixed. Just a hole in the ceiling remains.
LH has been leaving messages for the drywaller for 10 days.
That weekend LH announces that we must've lost power since the stove display wasn't on. I didn't recall seeing the microwave display blinking. Turns out, the stove display panel is gone, kaput. The repairman has to order a new panel which will take at least a week. Meanwhile, we can't use the stove, since we have no way of knowing really what temperature it is or when the oven is preheated to that mystery temperature whose number is not displayed.
I'm beginning to think LH is spending far too much time at home!!!! He calls me with nothing but depressing news of things going wrong in the house!!!! It's time he finds a new position!!!

Saturday, May 04, 2013


It's May! And it smells so good outside. I can close my eyes and remember the golden hours after dinner as the days grew later and later, and we got to play outside until called home. It makes me want to go outside right now and play!

Of course, not all of us are in the northern hemisphere... plenty of RevGals and Pals are experiencing a season that is turning cold and blustery.

So to all of you, wherever you may be, how will you (or would you like to) play this month?

1. Tell about your favorite outdoor play
In May, I'm usually playing in the dirt! Pulling weeds, planting herbs, flowers, seeds, and tomatoes.
I do like to play croquet with the family at the Lake House, even though I usually lose.

2. Tell about your favorite indoor play
I've always like board games. However, with just LH and me, my play revolves around reading, or doing a crafty project.
I do play a dice word game from Switzerland. Just thirteen dice with letters and values and you put the dice together like
Scrabble. Course the words will be short as you join the dice together vertically and horizontally. It helps to keep my
mind thinking. Then, again, I do play a form of Solitaire on the computer way more than I should!!!

3. Tell about a game you (or your friends) created
I don't think we really created any games. We played the usual - Mother May I?; Red Light, Green Light; Freeze Tag; TV Tag;
Hide & Seek; Ghosts in the Graveyard; Kickball; and Badminton. Lots of outdoor games in Spring & Summer.

4. Tell about a game that is new to you
I played Jenga last year for the first time and lost every round up at the Lake House. For New Year's, I bought a Jenga and
my sister, BIL, LH and I played and we kept it going for a long time and the tower was really, really high. I did better
that night and didn't lose!

5. Tell how you would like to incorporate play into your workday
Sometimes, after working on items that tax the brain, I'll do a few rounds of Forty Thieves - a form of Solitaire and my
favorite - just to unwind and refocus. Or, I have gone to JoAnn, Hobby Lobby, Pat Catan's to look around and get ideas or
spark imagination. Most nights, I unwind with some TV - especially The Big Bang Theory!!!!