Monday, October 29, 2007


She walked into the group, holding a brown paper shopping bag -- not from a grocery store, but the kind you get from a boutique, with rolled brown handles and nice tissue paper. I've stopped into the store before, gently fingering the lotions and soaps, inhaling deeply the organic, milled scent. It's not really my style, but I wonder if it could be if I had the money.

She approached me and said, I have something for you. Because of what you wrote the other day. It touched us, as things are these days.

And I thought about the pink ribbons and the cardiac tests, so unexpected, and the quiet faithfulness that exudes from them. She who birthed and raised a family on the other side of the world. She who tells fabulous stories with a twinkle. She who laughs and sighs. She who says with assured determination, everything's going to be OK. And I believe her because I need to as much for myself as for her. And if it's not? I brush that thought away like the tears on my cheeks.

When we were in Hong Kong, she began. And she wove a story for me about Psalm 121 and the outreach and the image that I had painted, of God coming down the hill after us. So I thought you should have this, she said, pulling a mug with a lid from the bag, and telling me its story. I thought you should have this, and know how much it meant the other day to read your words.

I hugged her, breathing in deeply all that she is. And then she wrapped the fragile mug back in the same tissue that had come with the bag, the paper still holding the scent of fancy soaps in its folds, and handed it to me.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

posting, because it's tough to be a blogger without doing it

I'm tired of feeling like I can't catch up/keep up, and yet when I have time to do such things, I piddle it away.

Sometimes that piddling is in the form of self-care, so it's really not piddling, right? I hate it when I have to listen to my own sermons.

I burst into tears after seeing a piece of art in a most unexpected and unlikely place a couple of weeks ago. OK, burst is a strong verb, but "leaked into tears" doesn't have the same cliche-ness, even if it is more accurate and perhaps more poetic. I walked away from the print of a yellow house, but then went back, which is progress in and of itself. I've long tried to hold onto the idea that (when at all possible), it's best just to purchase that which moves me deep in my soul. The print is sitting in this room, and I find that I'm growing from it.

A dear woman gave me a gift this past week. I need to write the story behind the piece of pottery and why she gave it to me before I forget.

I woke up at about 4:00 this morning, and drifted between rest and restless for the next two hours, pondering the what-ifs, the what-nexts and the so-whats. Again, there's a reason that we write the sermons that we do -- we often need to hear them the most.

There is a break in the days to come, and for that I'm thankful. And giddy.

There are words and bits floating in my head. I thought about doing nanowrimo this fall, but not seriously. Of course I still have a couple of days to make some sort of commitment if only in my mind, right?

I raked leaves this afternoon, after confirming students and being relative-polite at parties. I love to rake leaves. And yet I wondered why my hands were tender as they cupped the cold wine glass -- really wondered, until I remembered. I'm sure there's a poem or a story in there somewhere about laying hands on crinkly-haired teen-age boys, glossy-haired teen-age girls, the leaves underfoot and my citified hands that gathered leaves and invoked that pesky holy spirit. but you'll note my awakening time this morning, and my lack of a nap (not that I'm a napper, but it's a good excuse) and realize that I simply don't have the creative bubbles within my syntax tonight.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Cooking with Pink Shoes

After a week of eating nearly every meal out, or at least very, very prepared, I was so excited to go grocery shopping last night! Joy! Divine! Pork tenderloin!!

Unlike my husband who would have come up with a plan for every meal and bought the ingredients for such meals, I perused the sales and purchased things that I figured I could make into a meal. Hence the following:

Discover that pork tenderloin is on sale for $1.99 a pound. Remember that we ate such a meal with friends a few weeks ago and it was really. really. really good. Buy two. Freeze one. Ignore the fact that you've never cooked one. Figure, it's meat -- how hard can it be?

Search for a recipe online. Don't write anything down. Vaguely remember words like: sear, apple vinegar, salt, apples, roast.

Consult pantry.

Realize it would be helpful to have a side dish. What goes with pork? Remember words like: apple. See things like potatoes. Start cooking.

Pour olive oil in skillet. Add kosher salt. And some pepper. And some vinegar. Wonder if you're making a salad dressing.

Heat. Hope that the tenderloin will fit on skillet that you usually use for pancakes. Figure you can cut it if it doesn't.

Wonder, when looking at the package, why this one is more than three pounds when almost every recipe calls for:
Tenderloin, 1-1.5 pounds. Figure you'll have to cook longer.

Open package. Realize that tenderloins are sold two-per package. Oh.

Sear meat.

Peel carrots that you discover in fridge of unknown freshness. Lay them in the roasting pan to form a rack. Pour in vinegar, a little oil. Chop garlic to add. Discover shallot. Add sliced shallot to roasting pan.

Place tenderloin on carrot rack, put in 400 degree oven. Think that you have too much vinegar. Go about business of peeling potatoes to cook in the salt and pepper searing mixture. Do the same with an apple. Fry. See the bacon in the fridge -- think, "I like bacon and potatoes and apples." Give it a whirl.

Serve tenderloin in slices with the potato-apple-bacon concoction with some warmed dates because even though you love-love-love dates, you're not sure how you're going to finish the 3-pound container of them that you bought at your favorite warehouse store. Even though you're nearly half way there. (I would have done this differently -- maybe put the apples over the meat in the oven as I think the recipe originally suggested.) Add some of the pepper bread from TJ's that you bought earlier to the plates.

Pour the wine.


It's funny, because I never thought that I was the hiding type -- but I claim things about myself that allow me to hide -- age, vocation, my girly-ness.
Oh, I don't have to take credit/blame for my role in whatever it is that happens -- I'm too young to be taken seriously. They would never consider a woman. I'll just fluff my hair.
Ok, I'm not that girly. Really.
But as I've continued to walk through the crunching leaves, I know that I need to claim certain things about myself, deal with them, and keep walking.
It feels a bit like I'm coming out of my shell, though I've always been an extrovert.

This post brought to you by the letter 'v' as in Vague. Cheers.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

On the spot

I usually think of really great things to say, after the event is over.
Tonight I was thinkin' on the spot.

We headed to the Big Warehouse Membership Store of Choice tonight because we needed a few things. Tempermental Toddler was in rare form, but at every threat of tantrum we were able to head him off at the pass:
"oooo.... look over there!"
"you don't want cookies. that'd be silly."
"should I shnoogle* your elbow?"
"should I shnoogle your elbow, again?"

And then as we're heading out the door (and after he's eaten nearly the whole industrial-size polish sausage), he anticipates that the woman checking our receipt will draw a smiley face (instead of just a straight line) for him.
But she doesn't.
And he turns to me with those big blue eyes and says, "But where's my smiley face?"

To which I respond:
"She drew it sideways, buddy."
And away we went.

*Shnoogle: to snuzzle, snuggle, and zrbrt a child's elbow (or knee or nose or arm) while making the snuffling sounds.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I was tagged by RevHRod. This one comes in sets of four. They're a collection of strange little tidbits.

Four jobs I've held:
Doughnut Fryer, Pastie Maker, Book Seller, Camp Counselor

Four films I could watch over and over:
With Honors, Mona Lisa Smile, Beautiful Girls, Oceans 11

Four TV shows I watch (Tivo):
Grey's Anatomy, Bones, Iron Chef, Ace of Cakes

Four places I've lived:
By a river, near a great lake, near a bigger river, near another great lake

Four favorite foods:
Pizza, a hotdish that my family makes, bacon-wrapped dates, cheese

Four websites I visit every day:
bloglines, hotmail, cnn, google

Four places I would love to be right now:
On a friend's blue couch, in bed, at a baseball game, around a campfire

Four names I love but would/could not use for my children:
Josephine, Kofi, Marjorie, Sebastian

Consider yourself tagged if you want to play!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Cooking in our kitchen = adventure

4:45 in the afternoon
I open our fridge and see: a whole lotta nothing. Well, that's not true.
A whole lot of somethings that should be tossed, and not much else.
I glance at our counter and see three acorn squash from the farmer's market.

Slice the squash, put butter and syrup (brown sugar would have been better) in them and into the oven they go.

5:30 pm.
I decide I really want some sausage in my squash.
We don't have any sausage in the fridge.
But we do have apples, which makes me think.... mmmm apples and squash.
Slice and peel apple.
Chop in processor.

A look into the freezer reveals meatballs of unknown flavor or seasoning (I know they were purchased at the C@stc@, and were given shelter during the flood at a neighbor's freezer, but the identifying packaging is long gone.).

Defrost meatballs.
Add to apple-chop and process.

Discover some parmesan cheese.
Add to apple-meat-chop and process.

Scoop into squash, and return to oven with more cheese on top.

I love being able to pull together a meal out of what appears to be not much -- this had better results than some, but there's such satisfaction to this kind of problem solving! Perhaps because no matter how it turns out, it's done and over and all cleaned up.