Thursday, November 29, 2007

Friday Five: Bah Humbug

Parishioners pushing for carols before you digested your turkey?
Organist refusing to play Advent hymns because he/she already has them planned for Lessons & Carols?
Find yourself reading Luke and thinking of a variety of ways to tell Linus where to stick it? (Lights please.)
Then this quick and easy Friday Five is for you! And for those of you with a more positive attitude, have no fear. I am sure more sacred and reverent Friday Fives will follow.

Please tell us your least favorite/most annoying seasonal....
1) dessert/cookie/family food

Anything involving marshmallows and/or coconut. Ambrosia, ewww!

2) beverage (seasonal beer, eggnog w/ way too much egg and not enough nog, etc...)

Well, I've never heard of seasonal beer (What? Is it red or green? Peppermint flavored?), but that would be it. (I am very fond of eggnog, even the really sweet stuff in the carton, and especially the real eggnog that is lovingly made by a psychiatrist I know. It will knock you down if you don't watch out!)

3) tradition (church, family, other)

Caroling. I know that sounds strange, coming from someone who loves to sing. But think about it: you have to march around outside, where it's cold as kraut, and that's not good for your voice anyway--and your poor neighbors have to get up from whatever they were doing, to stand in their open doorway with fixed grins, letting the heat out, as they wait for you to finish. I say, enjoy the Christmas concert and other singing at church, sing at home and in the car if you want to, and be done with it.

4) decoration

There is a neighborhood near here that is known for its elaborate Christmas decorations (and I would hate to live where the Christmas Police monitored my decorating and reprimanded me for not attempting to win what we used to call the Houston Lighting and Power Award). Last year as we slowly drove through that neighborhood (yes, you have to, everyone does), observing the yards in which Mr. and Mrs. Claus, elves, reindeer, gingerbread people, dancing candy canes, and, oh yeah, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph all cavorted together, I snidely remarked, "We've seen everything tonight except for Santa Claus kneeling at the manger." Turned the corner--there it was.

5) gift (received or given)

Toiletries! If I need soap or talcum powder, I'll buy it myself! (And just what are you implying, anyway?)

BONUS: SONG/CD that makes you want to tell the elves where to stick it.

The song than which there is no other...all together now...FELIZ NAVIDAD...FELIZ NAVIDAD...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Candy Cane Monday (on a Tuesday)

Mary Beth and Kim both tagged me for this one, which comes to us from PG:
Name five of your favorite all time gifts, either given or gotten:

1. Christmas 1968: The largish box wrapped with the familiar paper from our local bookstore turned out to be a boxed set of The Lord of the Rings. I had tried to read The Hobbit a few years earlier, but didn't like it. I was too young, I think. Now, at 12, I was ready for Tolkien. I plunged into the trilogy and never looked back. I still have those beat-up old paperbacks, and have read them many times.

2. Christmas 1981: The Scientist and I had been dating seriously for a couple of months. Engagement already seemed imminent (and in fact, was). On this, our first Christmas together, he gave me a place setting of my (soon to be our) everyday dishes. It came from Marshall Field (RIP) in the Galleria, and the plastic candy cane that adorned the package still hangs on our tree every year.

3. Same year: He had told me that when he was a boy, he always wished he could live in a castle. So I gave him one: a nice sand castle with a light inside, and it still sits on a table upstairs.

4. I wear more silver than gold. A few years ago the Scientist gave me a very simple and elegant silver chain, suitable for everyday wear. I have other similar chains, but that one is special to me.

5. Last year, I knew the Scientist was going to get me something from Chilly Body of Flowing Water. I had folded down strategic pages in the catalog, at his request. When I opened the box, I pulled out a gorgeous tapestry jacket that goes with nearly everything in my closet, and I was thrilled. I had never seen it in the catalog, and certainly hadn't marked it--but it was perfect. Who knows what I had intended for him to see on that page? It didn't matter! He was so glad that I loved it!

Hmmm...I'll tag Mindy, Jan, Dogblogger, and Mompriest!

Friday, November 23, 2007

To the person who found this blog by googling, "how cold do red heelers stay in [sic] until they should come in the house": For goodness' sake, bring your poor dog inside!

Post Thanksgiving Day Friday Five

1. Did you go elsewhere for the day, or did you have visitors at your place instead? How was it?

We stayed at our house, accompanied by my mother-in-law, who lives down the street, and my sister-in-law, who drove in Thursday morning from the metropolis five hours north of us. The Scientist went and picked up our friend Betty Jo, who has lived alone since her good friend Millie died in May. The day was quiet and relaxing (well, I relaxed once everything was on the table) and we all enjoyed it.

2. Main course: If it was the turkey, the whole turkey, and nothing but the turkey, was it prepared in an unusual way? Or did you throw tradition to the winds and do something different?

The only thing that was unusual about our bird is that I got it through the co-op this year, so it was supposedly free-range, all-natural, etc. I was a bit nervous about cooking a turkey without one of those pop-up things that lets you know when it's done, but it turned out fine. We couldn't really tell a difference in flavor between this and a supermarket turkey, but we felt virtuous anyway. ;) We also had ham because my SIL is not a turkey fan.

3. Other than the meal, do you have any Thanksgiving customs that you observe every year?

Not really. We're not big football watchers--and in any event, THE GAME (UT vs. Texas A&M) is played the day after Thanksgiving. (Breaking news: the Aggies just gigged t.u., 38-30.) We usually just spend the day cooking, eating, cleaning up, and visiting. And we always use the good china, silver, and crystal, which I love to do.

4. The day after Thanksgiving is considered a major Christmas shopping day by most US retailers. Do you go out bargain hunting and shop ‘till you drop, or do you stay indoors with the blinds closed? Or something in between?

I never shop on the day after Thanksgiving! Early in the morning I lie in my warm bed with my eyes still closed, thinking about all of those poor souls shivering in the cold outside Best Buy or someplace, waiting for the doors to open so they can fight over the last Wii. Unh-uh.

This year we are engaging in a truly heartwarming exercise in family togetherness: rebuilding my MIL's fence. I spent most of today pulling nails out of rotten slats while my husband and SIL were re-digging post holes and setting new posts in concrete. We finally took a break for the traditional post-Thanksgiving leftovers feast around 3:00. We'll put up the new slats tomorrow. Sound like fun? Oh, and the Scientist and his sister are building a new gate too. I plan to supervise and offer sage advice.

5. Let the HOLIDAY SEASON commence! When will your Christmas decorations go up?

We usually manage to hold out until around Advent 2. But we both love Christmas, and look forward to bringing in the tree and getting the house decorated by mid-December at the latest.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Y'all, please read this. All of it.

The Lord bless and keep all of you who are called to be Ministers of Word and Sacrament (or whatever title your denomination gives you). I know you could not possibly do this work without the sustenance of the Holy Spirit. Every ordained minister who reads this today, you are in my prayers. I hope you get some rest tomorrow, and during Thanksgiving week.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

And so it goes

My Christmas present to myself arrived today. I received a big box from my favorite online clothing emporium--the one reminiscent of a chilly body of flowing water. I splurged and ordered a new dress suitable for the ballet, and a beautiful Christmas dress.

The romantic deep red velvet gown with sparkly buttons? Sack of potatoes.

But the strapless deep purple number with the matching wrap? Gorgeous.

Just thought I'd let you know. Carry on.

(P.S. This is how they get you into the bricks-and-mortar store: send a coupon good for 50% off any of the new styles of pants they've been flogging mercilessly in recent catalogues. Good only in the store, that is.)

Oh, and the landscapers will start digging our patio in the morning. I didn't know that was going to happen so fast. I took "before" pictures today.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


It means, an assortment of stuff. Here's mine.


Last Wednesday we spent the day attending funerals. The service in the morning was for a gentleman from our church, a retired and very distinguished professor. The service was traditional except for the granddaughter who sang "Let It Be" while the grandson accompanied her on the drums. I am sure granddad would have loved it, and would have been very proud of both of them. He was buried in a beautiful and historic old cemetery, not far from our home.

After going to the cemetery, we had a couple of hours to go home and catch our breath before the next service. This was for an old friend, a former neighbor who moved a few miles away several years ago, after living next door to us for twelve years. M was a fine neighbor, and we regretted having lost touch with him and his family after the move. He was a big, warmhearted guy with an infectious sense of humor. He had been an aspiring filmmaker who made several short films that received favorable attention, then left that behind, got married and became a dad--a wonderful dad. His son (whose handprints are in the sidewalk in front of my house) is 21 now, and at the funeral he sang a touching song called "Kindred Spirits" that he had written for his dad. M was born the day after I was born, which makes his death even more strange to me.

Several Saturdays ago, his former wife (the friend with whom I used to stand outside and watch the trick-or-treaters on Halloween) suddenly appeared on our doorstep to inform us that he was dying of cancer, and wanted to see us. We went to see him the next day. He was very weak but alert, and we were glad to see one another again. He died peacefully at home a few days later. The service was filled with remembrances, tears and laughter, and the music that he loved. I don't know that I'll ever hear Cheap Trick or Badfinger at a funeral again, but, that was M--he went out in his own way! The procession was at least a half mile long as we made our way back to the same cemetery we had visited that morning. After stopping by the house for a while (bearing my sweet potato pie), we were ready to go home and rest.

We hadn't been home long before the trick-or-treaters began arriving. Though we were so tired, they provided a pleasant diversion after a sad and exhausting day. Princesses and Spiderman seemed to be most popular this year.


What else is going on...well, we had workmen around the house all week long, putting up new siding and trim. They should start painting tomorrow. Our next major project, over the next few months, will be to transform our desolate back yard into a place we won't be embarrassed for friends and neighbors to see. We plan to put in a flagstone patio and, in the spring, to do some major landscaping. I'll have to post before and after pictures.


My mother-in-law is recovering from back surgery which took the pressure off of several herniated disks, and she is slowly improving day by day. My sister-in-law came down for the surgery and came back for several days after her mom got out of rehab. We will probably have a quiet Thanksgiving, as my MIL is not up for lots of company right now.


I was slightly taken aback to find that the reading level for this blog was "elementary school". But you know what? A number of my favorite blogs have the same reading level. I have deeply held beliefs and strong theological opinions, as those who know me well can attest. But it appears I would rather write about dogs, food, and travel! I think it's because I'm often writing in the evening, when I'm tired, and usually I just feel like writing about mundane, everyday stuff--like this. I hope you enjoy that as much as I do.

And so to another week begins.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A happy surprise

Awhile back, I was Mary Beth's 2000th commenter! Yesterday I received my prize! Isn't he cute?

Thanks, Mary Beth! Christmas is coming!