Thursday, December 28, 2006
I saw this on another blog & thought it was pretty funny. If you have a 'Stat Counter' on your blog, you can log in to see your recent visitor activity. It is quite amusing to what people googled to end up on your blog. Here are some of the ways people got here:
- "Presbyterian decline"
- "high heels" & "scoring" -- hmmm, I'll bet that guy was disappointed!
- "Dubuque Theological Seminary"
- "baggy eyes at young ages and cures" -- glad I'm considered an expert at something
- A blog titled "Understanding the Body Language of Your Girlfriend"
I guess this means I am a baggy-eyed, declining Presbyterian in high heels who helps seminarians understand body language. Or something like that.
I'm on vacation this week, taking my last week off for 2006. I've got a bunch of stressful and important things going on right now, so I don't know that I've done much relaxing this week. A few things:
- If Presbyterians had "godparents" John and Pat Semanek would have been mine. Pat was a long-time friend of my mom's from her years teaching in Gilbert, AZ. John is currently on hospice care, slowing succumbing to Parkinson's disease. When a call came this week from their daughter, we thought John had died. It was Pat. She had a heart attack on Christmas Day. Somehow, John called 9-1-1. I cannot attend the memorial on Saturday and feel sad to miss that service. John & Pat were married on-air on a radio program called "Bride and Groom" in Hollywood, CA in 1949. Dick VanDyke and his wife were married on the same program (not the same episode). She was like a great older sister to my mom.
Here is an old picture of my mom and Pat (I am in utero...)
- Has customer service seemed really bad this Christmas? I had a terrible experience at Kohl's on Tuesday and another crummy one at Target tonight. Folks, at least pretend you care how the customer feels!
- I broke down and bought Tom his first action figure. It is a Superman doll and Tom is in BIG love.
- Our washing machine had a nervous breakdown earlier this week. It was a bout of paranoia, actually. You know how a washer won't spin if the lid is open? Well, our washer decided that the lid was always open, even if it was really closed. $170 later, it seems to be working. That seems like a steep price to repair a paranoid appliance, especially one that only cost $350 in the first place. And we only bought it 2 1/2 years ago!
- I borrowed "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" from my mom's library. I am now worried about the quality of my own punctuation.
- We made a fun trip to Trader Joe's this afternoon, to buy goodies for the New Year's Eve gathering we are having at our house. They have a spinach and artichoke dip that looks promising.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
I know I risk sounding like PeaceBang with this post, but I had to share with you all my Christmas gift high heels. My folks gave me a lovely gift certificate, and I happily spent a good chunk of it at the Nordstrom's outlet.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Monday, December 25, 2006
I wanted to post this photo of Lily in her Christmas dress... it was also my Christmas dress twenty-eight years ago! Can you believe my mother saved this for my little girl? Don't I have a darling daughter?
Saturday, December 23, 2006
We were telling stories at dinner tonight about times when Santa 'goofed' in delivering gifts. When I was in the 4th grade, I found what I thought was the most glamorous gift ever -- a white, fake fur coat. I circled it in the JC Penney catalog and made extra sure Santa knew what I wanted. On Christmas morning, when I opened what was obviously the box that held my snazzy coat... I found an ugly, bright pink jacket that looked like something the Michelin man would wear. I was sooooo disappointed. When I returned to school after the Christmas break, I was even more dismayed to learn that the girl I considered to be the dorkiest girl in my class got the SAME PINK COAT for Christmas. Oh NOOOO. God was merciful only in allowing me to live in a state with a few short months of winter weather... I willed myself into a major growth spurt by the 5th grade so I would never have to wear the icky pink coat again.
Friday, December 22, 2006
1. Favorite cookie/candy/baked good without which, it's just not Christmas. See the post I made last night about my dear husband and the Xmas cookies he baked yesterday: http://besomami.blogspot.com/2006/12/cookies-books-and-klezmer.html
2. Do you do a fancy dinner on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, both, or neither? Again, dh the chef will cook for us on Christmas Day (we have four church services to preside over on Christmas Eve... my Christmas Eve dinner will be the Subway sandwiches the choir is ordering to eat between the two night services). My folks, my brother, the two kids and I will be the gracious recipients of my husband's Christmas cooking.
3. Evaluate one or more of the holiday beverage trifecta: hot chocolate, wassail, egg nog. Hot chocolate -- yum. Wassail -- not really sure what that is. Egg nog -- ick.
4. Candy canes: do you like all the new-fangled flavors or are you a peppermint purist? Neither, candy canes don't serve any useful purpose and can be quite dangerous, if licked into a pointy weapon by an intrepid almost-four-year-old boy. Bad idea all around.
5. Have you ever actually had figgy pudding? And is it really so good that people will refuse to leave until they are served it? Shrug. My husband's dear cousin and her husband are living in Scotland right now -- Kryna, can you give us the low down on this one? I know you've experienced lots of the culinary adventures of the British Isles... maybe you drink wassail with figgy pudding?
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Two sermons are printed out and sitting on the bookcase at my church office. Advent 4 -- I am considering the last in a sermon series about the names listed in Isaiah 9:6 -- the final being "Prince of Peace". Christmas Eve is a collaboration with four folks in my congregation who shared Christmas stories that I worked into a little homily.
Brett baked Christmas cookies for me today. These frosted cut-outs are my favorites. I have a slight stomachache because I've eaten so many this afternoon. Lily ate half a frosted cactus, exclaiming, "Mmmm, cookie!" Thomas sat his green frosted star cookie on his place mat and eventually gave it to Mami. I ate it.Tomorrow is my day off, but I have some writing to do. For now, I am happy to be ready for church this Sunday. I am engaging in a time-honored relaxation technique -- reading a old book, one which I am familiar with and don't need to read too closely. This allows me to read a page or two, then get up, putter around on the Internet, pour a glass of wine, return to the pages for a few minutes, etc.
We are listening to the Klezmatics' "Wonder Wheel" album. These are the imagined tunes for previously unrecorded Woody Guthrie lyrics... kind of a companion album to Mermaid Avenue and Mermaid Avenue Volume Two from Billy Bragg & Wilco. Very nice.
The kids are sleeping. I hear Lily cough occasionally. She coughs terribly for a long time after she recovers from a cold. I feel very content and warm in our little house.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
My favorite cartoonist is at it again! I am positive she is looking through our kitchen window, taking notes for her comic strip. I just had a similar (though less nuanced) conversation with my Thomas about this same issue when we were buying gifts for the Angel Tree at church. It's a good question -- how can we explain why rich kids get lots of presents from Santa and other kids don't? Most grown-ups never progress past this Jesus-as-Santa theology, I'm sorry to say.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Cool update on this story: Former bride-to-be and her boyfriend could not cancel their wedding cake on such short notice. So they are bringing it to church on Sunday for the coffee time after the worship service. I've heard of a birthday cake for Jesus, but never a wedding cake for the birth of Christ! They are handling this with such grace -- it is pretty neat to watch...
Last night, we were driving to a Christmas party at the home of two of my parishioners'. For some reason (possibly related to the Christmas carol CD we were listening to), Thomas mused aloud by saying, "I like Jesus." Not that he LOVES Jesus, but he likes him. Okay... we don't want to rush into anything too quickly! It is an eternal relationship, so be very, very sure before you make that kind of commitment (I know Reformed Christians... don't say it... Jesus has already made the commitment for us... )
So in the immortal words of the Doobie Brothers:
"Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah Jesus is just
alright with me, Jesus is just alright I don't care what they may say I don't
care what they may do I don't care what they may say Jesus is just alright, oh
yeah Jesus is just alright Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright,
oh yeah Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright I don't care what
they may know I don't care where they may go I don't care what they may know
Jesus is just alright, oh yeah Jesus, he's my friend; Jesus, he's my friend. He
took me by the hand; led me far from this land Jesus, he's my friend Jesus is
just alright with me, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah Jesus is just alright with
me, Jesus is just alright. I don't care what they may say, I don't care what
they may do, I don't care what they may say, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah."
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I just finished a lovely breakfast of cheese and crackers. I can eat this meal any time of day and will have just about any variety of cheese with any kind of cracker. Today it was sesame crackers topped with low-fat cottage cheese. In the evenings it is often extra sharp cheddar on Vinta-brand crackers. I love Havarti with dill, but don't buy that too often. I will even eat American singles on saltines if I am desperate.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
I'd love to hear what you all think about this article in today's New York Times:
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
Can I just tell you how much I hate ear infections, and everything having to do with ear infections?
Ear infections love Lily. I can understand why -- she is cute, smart, funny, silly, huggable, and an all-around great kid. So whenever ear infections are in the neighborhood, they drop in to get some good Lily time. Since June, Lily has been visited by ear infections five or six times (I've lost count).
Have I also mentioned that Lily is a crazy monkey? She is truly 'tiny, but tough' (a sweatshirt her Nana bought at H&M last winter had this phrase on it and it describes Lily perfectly).
So evidently Lily was running around her preschool class like the loco baby she is and ran into the corner of a bookcase. While the teacher was (trying) to hold an icepack to Lily's Giant Forehead Bump, she noticed that Lily had a fever. A 102 degree fever.
I showed up promptly and tried to take Lily to our pediatrician. This is an extremely un-Christian thing to admit, but I HATE the receptionists at our doctor's office. They lie when they say someone will call you back and generally treat you like crap. As you can imagine, I've gotten into it with these 'ladies' a few times. Brett even sent a letter to the doctor about it once. But I digress... so I tried to get into see the pediatrician yesterday afternoon, but the evil receptionist said the doctor was TOO BUSY, but with 102 temperature, we should go to urgent care. Great, thanks.
Did I mention that Lily was not acting sick at all? A pulsing forehead bump and a fever, and Lily was acting like Miss Cheerful Sunshine. Miss C.S. and I showed up at the pediatric urgent care around 4:30. Thank You Jesus, they were playing "Finding Nemo" on a big screen television in the urgent care waiting room. Kids were whining, crying and barfing all around us and Lily pranced around like the good fairy, uttering "uh oh, uh oh" at each child.
The staff at the urgent care kept Lily supplied in popsicles until we could see the doctor at about 6:15. Double ear infections. Very, very bad-looking ears, according to this charming doctor. "Poor girl, she is so brave," he cooed. Lily beamed and asked for another popsicle. Antibiotic and painkiller prescriptions in hand, we got home by around 6:45. I went to the pharmacy and got the Rx; Lily took the meds and slept through the night.
Miss Cheerful Sunshine greeted me bright and early this morning. She flitted around the house all morning, thrilled to stay home with Mommy while her brother went to preschool. We went to see the regular pediatrician late this morning. After racing past the evil receptionists, we talked to the doctor for quite a while. She pronounced Lily 'fine', with only a minor infection in one ear. I should quit the antibiotics, she advised. And then our pediatrician uttered the words that make me want to strangle her: "In Europe, they don't even treat ear infections with antibiotics." She had told me this approximately 487 times in the past 2 years. I know, I know -- I should be the kind of parent who doesn't want to give antibiotics. I know, kids can become antibiotic-resistant. But it feels so much better to be able to give her some medicine! And we don't even live in Europe!
So Lily is napping. She ate an enormous lunch and gave me a big kiss on her way to bed. I could probably learn something in the attitude department from Miss Cheerful Sunshine. But these darn infections vex me so much! I used to think I was a smart person, but I don't know how to deal with these unwanted visitors.
I'm tired. Will someone please bring me a popsicle?
The RevGalBlogPals offered up these five questions for the week:
1. A favorite 'secular' Christmas song. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire), by Nat King Cole.
2. Christmas song that chokes you up (maybe even in spite of yourself--the cheesier the better). "O Holy Night", any version, especially sung by Mahalia Jackson.
3. Christmas song that makes you want to stuff your ears with chestnuts roasted on an open fire. I talked about this on Reverend Mother's blog the other day -- anything by Karen Carpenter. "Merry Christmas, Darling" is one that our local Christmas radio station plays at least twice an hour. (On a mean/sad note... maybe Karen would have done better if she had indulged in a couple of chestnuts each holiday season. Poor girl).
4. The Twelve Days of Christmas: is there *any* redeeming value to that song? Could be a good test of whether or not you are developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder -- if you can remember what all 12 days as for, you definitely *have* PTSD.
5. A favorite Christmas album. We bought a Willie Nelson Christmas album in the WalMart in Harrison, Arkansas one year. We lived in Texas long enough to truly love Willie. (I was once hit on by one of Willie's band members while attending a concert at Stubbs' BBQ in Austin. Besides being twice or three times my age... well, that was the main reason it was weird.) Merry Christmas, y'all!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
I am home sick today. Not super-duper sick, just achy and tired. I am not in any shape to hang out at church all day and I don't want to infect anyone else with whatever this crud might be.
It is not as fun to be sick as an adult. When I was a kid, my mom was the *best* at taking care of me when I was sick. She would buy 7-Up, Saltines and Popsicles for me to eat and let me watch as much television as I wanted. I also have good memories of her wiping my head with a cool washcloth and rubbing my back. Let me tell you -- no one does that for me now! And I always worry when I get sick that I am going to pass on my illness to my children. There is nothing quite as exhausting as trying to care for sick kids when you still feel sick yourself.
The one sick day "mistake" my mom ever made was allowing me to watch a creepy, creepy cartoon movie called "Dot and the Kangaroo". Already feverish, this movie made me feel so bad and hallucinatory... The wikipedia entry on this film refers to the 'controversy' surrounding its content: "Surrounding the first of the movies, titled "Dot and the Kangaroo," is some controversy and alleged drug references. Regardless of the nature or implications of the movie's script, numerous cannabis plants are visible in both the foreground and background of the movie on several occasions. Furthermore, Kangaroo gives Dot a root to eat, called the "Root of Understanding," but warns, "You mustn't eat too much ... If you eat too much, you'll know too much." Others claim that such occurrences are a mere coincidence."
My poor mom, she has felt bad for twenty-five years about allowing me to watch that movie! But I think it was more effective that any Nancy Reagan 'say-no-to-drugs' campaign ever was. I never want to feel like I did as a small child, watching a drugged out kangaroo... blech.
So I'm home today. I am going to try and finish my sermon, wrap some Christmas gifts and stay away from any odd Australian cartoons that might be on cable.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
Have a great week, everyone. I know things are crazy at our house between now and Christmas.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
If you have a couple of minutes, this is an excellent article. If you've ever attended or officiated a service like this, you will really appreciate this.
On Thursday evening, my husband and I attended a formal dinner at the country club near my church. An event this congregation holds at Christmastime is a "home tour" and craft fair. The home tour consists of someone in the congregation (or a friend of the congregation) opening their (large and lovely) home for the public to walk through and admire the fancy decorating. In their garage, a huge number of homemade crafts are sold. In conjuction with this event, there is a formal ("gala") dinner and a brunch at the country club.
We attended and enjoyed these events. It was just very different than how I imagined "doing church" when I was in seminary. I did, however, buy two beautiful, handcrafted Christmas stockings for my children (hooray!) and a bunch of other nice gifts.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Please pray for:
Margaret Bryant-Gainer, 38, Shenandoah Junction, West Virginia
Tina Busch-Nema, 48, Kirkwood, Missouri
Rev. Don Coleman, 69, a co-pastor of University Church, from Chicago, Illinois
Valerie Fillenwarth, 64, a homemaker from Indianapolis, Indiana
Philip Gates, 70, a retired school teacher from Prescott, Arizona**
Alice Gerard, 50, a freelance journalist from Grand Island, New York
Joshua Harris, 30, from San Diego is a graduate student
Melissa Helman, 23, a student from Ashland, Wisconsin
Martina Leforce, 22, Berea, Kentucky
Julienne Oldfield, 69, Syracuse, New York
(Katherine) Whitney Ray, a 17 year old college student from Indianapolis
Sheila Salmon, 71, Sebastian, Florida
Nathan Slater, 23, Berea / Edmonton, Kentucky
Mike Vosburg-Casey, a 32 year old piano tuner and chicken farmer from Atlanta
Grayman Ward, 20, a fitness equipment specialist from Raleigh, North Carolina
Cathy Webster, 61, a peace activist and grandmother from Chico, California
**Phil Gates is a member of our Presbytery. I've emailed him to ask how we can help. I'll let you know what I find out from him.
1) Do you observe Advent in your church?
Yes, those lighting the candles this year are those who have been baptized since last advent.
2) How about at home?
Yes, the kids have advent calendars from Trader Joe's and we are using the devotional book published by our seminary again this year. (www.austinseminary.edu)
3) Do you have a favorite Advent text or hymn?
I love the hymn "Creator of the Stars of Night"
Creator of the stars of night, Thy people’s everlasting light, Jesu, Redeemer, save us all, And hear Thy servants when they call...To God the Father, God the Son, And God the Spirit, Three in One, Laud, honor, might, and glory be, From age to age eternally
4) Why is one of the candles in the Advent wreath pink?
Uh, I thought they were ALL supposed to be blue?
5) What's the funniest/kitschiest Advent calendar you've ever seen?
See my husband's post about the advent situation at his church, in Guadalupe, Arizona.