Sunday, January 30, 2011

Church Potlucks

Church potlucks have always had a special place in my heart, or should I say, stomach.  I never truly appreciated them until I was in college.  Then, anything homemade was wonderful, and a church potluck was nirvana. 

Potlucks feature several tables filled with steaming pans and crockpots of food, and pretty bowls of a variety of salads, including my favorite...jello fluff.  You stand at the beginning of the line, pick up your paper napkin, wrap it around your plastic silverware and stuff them in your pocket.  Then you pick up your stryofoam plate, and begin your perusal. 

Some things are obvious, like fried chicken, or meatloaf...but most are casseroles.  You kind of poke at them, trying to figure out their contents.  Then if it looks good, you have to make a decision.  Do I take a chance and take a full scoop, or just a dab. But if I take a dab, and like it, and come back, it'll probably be gone.  Hmm....

Going through a church potluck as a vegetarian provides even more challenges, as in, is there meat in this dish?  I took a big scoop of what looked like veggie lasagna today, but ended up picking out chicken from it.  (still tasty, once the chicken was gone).  Normally, I can be sure of getting some protein via the inevitable baked beans, but today, there was none.  *sigh*

Then you sit at your table, trying to separate individual dishes from the mishmash of stuff on your plate.  Some things are interpretable, but sometimes taste good together anyways.  Then there are the desserts.  If I haven't satisfied my sweet tooth with jello fluff, then I hit the desserts.  Today there was this awesome...thing. I don't know what it was...but there was a jello/pudding stuff in between cookies that had chess pieces on it.  It was fabulous...but no idea what it was or who made it. 

The best part is actually not the food.  The best part of a church potluck is sitting with friends at long tables, munching on unidentifiable food, and talking and joking.  Today I ended up sitting across from several kids, but still had pretty interesting conversations...and they got me laughing. 

So, despite the lack of baked beans (and jello fluff...sigh), it was a great potluck today.  And I left with an empty pan...(meatloaf went over well...even if my sons wrote 'eww' 'yuck' on the recipe years ago).

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Music permeates my life. It touches each and every part.  From the moment my radio alarm goes off, shocking me awake to a tune, to the music that sustains me through the work day due to an MP3 player I don't even understand, to the theme song on my favorite TV show in the evening...there is music throughout my day.  (the most shocking wake up song ever was in junior high when I awoke violently awake to the scream of  "Freak Out!")

I met my best friend through choir in high school.  Connie and I would keep each other on tune while we sang together in Girl's Glee.  She always covered for me during that song with the rolled 'r's that I could never do.  I stayed in choirs through high school, one in college (as well as piano lessons and hand bells).  I absolutely loved practicing my piano homework on the harpsichords in the college chapel. 

At my church, music is one of the most enjoyable parts of the worship service.  Thanks to a great trio of song leaders, I can sometimes pick out the alto parts...and when the music and singing comes together, it feels like flying to me.  I have sung solos there twice.  The first time I was nervous, the second terrified.... I have both a 'Bucket List', and a "Twenty Wishes' list (inspired by a Debbie Macomber book by the same name.)  On the latter list, number 14 is Sing a Solo with Confidence.  (there is no order to the list).  I hope to fulfill this wish sometime in the next year (or two). 

Music even influenced my naming of my daughter.'s the story.  My favorite author is Anne McCaffrey.  She created a character in my favorite series, Dragon Riders of Pern, who is a Harper, a teacher/arbitrator girl.  Her name is Menolly.  I couldn't figure out how to pronounce it, so I always read it as Melody.  It fit.  So, when I found out I was having a daughter, I decided to name her after this musical girl, thus Melody (for those who don't know, it's Cat's first name).

Music is still an important part of my life.  There is always music running in the back of my mind.  My children know this, and have occasionally tormented my by calling me at work, and playing 'Banana Phone' or the "Hamster Dance", just to wedge that into my head....a sure way to insanity, I tell you.  I love many varieties of music... Josh Groban, bagpipes (esp Galiec Storm & Tartanic), classical (esp Pacabel's Canon, played on a harpsichord), Air Supply, Barry White, Pat Benetar, Newsboys, Third Day, and stuff I hear on 105.5 (though I'm terrible with song or artist names).  I love music...and it's part of every moment of my life.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

candalabras as an investigative tool

Here I sit, wondering what to write for tonight's blog...and while I'm wondering, I am also watching some old black & white movie on my wee little bedroom TV.  It's about a brother and sister who buy this out of the way house.  I think it's set in the fortys, because of the beautiful hair styles, and the shirt dresses the women wear.  Anyways, the house seems to be haunted.  And what does our hero and heroine do when they hear a mysterious weeping coming from downstairs?  They light candles, and carry them in those silver holders, and go investigate.

That makes me think of every old time monster movie I have seen.  The heroine always wears a willowy white nightgown.  And when she hears a bump in the night, she puts on a diaphanous robe, grabs up a lit candalabra, and heads out to investigate.  Me, personally, if I was asleep in such a situation, I'd take a moment, put on some pants (even if it was the fortys, I could grab my brother's pants, surely), and grab the poker from fireplace, then with a friend or two, I'd head out to bash whatever made the 'bump'. 

As I once read in a comic, 'women in willowly white nightgowns, who go outside with a candalabra, to investigate bumps in the night...deserve what they get'.    I agree.  Off to consider watching some more... nah... instead I'll turn to Enchanted, and watch people randomly breaking into song.  But that's another blog...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oh, the possibilities....

Some days, when the stress level of daily living begins to get to me, my mind drifts back to my childhood. I spent most of my day actively living in and with my imagination.  Anything was possible then.

I would have adventures on my purple two wheeler.  My sister and I would ride on the sidewalk (we weren't allowed to ride in the street-too young), making 'dinka-dinka' sounds when we would turn around to go back the other way.  ('dinka-dinka' is the sound of the turn signal in my parents' grassy green Duster car).  We might be cops in pursuit, or Indians riding our trusty steeds, or flying on our sonic spaceships...the skies were ours!

I played a game called 'Statues' with neighborhood kids... we'd spin madly about, until the main player called stop!  Then we'd freeze into whatever position we were in at that exact moment.  Then the 'seller' would go through his/her gallery of statues, and explain and sell them to the potential seller.  It was fun, and very imaginative.

My favorite game was superheros.  I remember pretending to be Catwoman (Julie Newmar one, of course), and standing next to a kid pretending to be Penguin...about to run, being chased by about a dozen superheros. 

I remember one night, my parents let me stay after dark, in the second lot across the street for a while.  I played a superhero there too, having adventures of my own making, and diving for the shadows whenever a car would venture by...

Thinking back, I realize that I don't want to go back to my childhood.  What I really want to do is to go back to that ultimate feeling of infinite possibilities.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Random Thoughts

Today my mind is all over the place.  I tried to read a magazine today and couldn't get through an entire article. (Got two Women's Day and a new Writer's Digest all today). What was I talking about? Oh, thoughts are all over the place.  So, today, this will totally be random thoughts. 

My daughter is currently sitting on my bed, watching Disney Channel (me too), eating Doritos that taste like meat... cheeseburgers.  Weird... the chips, not the girl.  :) 

I'm in the mood to do some sewing..but can't seem to get around to sitting down to do something I enjoy.  I like to make doll quilts.  Weird, eh?  I've made them for every young female relative I have.  It's fun to do patchwork and quilting in miniature.  I have the material laid out for it... but... maybe this weekend.  The days seem to rush's morning, I'm eating breakfast, then I'm at work, then home doing chores... making dinner..then bed then start over again.  *sigh*

Do I like jelly beans and Crunchie bars so much because they are truly delicious, or because they are harder to find here?  (jelly beans hard to find cept near Easter, and Crunchies only sold in Canada and Europe).  I wonder.....

Why do some people find so much fault with me being veg something to argue about?

Well, that's about it for tonight..hopefully I'll be more clear minded and coherent next time!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Moving Slowly

I try very hard not to take anything for granted in my life.  I prefer forethought to hindsight, despite how clear the latter can be.  But I realize now that I have taken simple movement for granted.  On New Year's Day, at 10:02pm, I broke my toe.  The one next to my baby toe on my right foot...and her two nearby friends are also fairly bruised up.  How do I know the exact time?  I was running through a darkened apartment, in a hurry to answer the ringing phone.  I forgot about the metal bed frame I had laid on my bedroom floor.  I ran into the bedframe at a run.  Pain radiated up my leg, but I managed to calmly answer the phone. It was a wrong number. 

The following day I went to Urgent Care, and found I had indeed broken a toe. For the past week, I have been learning what life is like for those who are not easily mobile.  Even now, when I am off the crutches, every movement on my feet has to be preplanned.  Too long on my feet, and it hurts, or worse, it goes numb.  I've spent a great deal of time sitting in a chair with my feet on a leather ottoman. 

Take today.  I had to do my bi-weekly grocery shopping first thing in the morning, because there was no way I could handle walking around Krogers after a full day at the office.  Going down the stairs to do laundry is an exercise in logistics.  And it made me miss out on my weekly session in the nursery....

Now I plan out my movements.  I know I have limited time on my feet, so I try to combine errands, tasks.  And I remember fondly about simply jumping up and running somewhere. Anywhere.

I will never take free movement for granted again.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I have always loved to read books.  I love to watch a good television show, or a well put together movie.  I have also loved to sit and listen to people talk.  All of these things have one thing in common-stories. I love to listen to stories.  The best kind are the true to life. 

I grew up listening to my father tell stories of his childhood, of growing up as a kid during a war.  He told of his father raising rabbits for the war effort, and about his ma's love of boats.  I've listened to my (great) Uncle Paul tell about how he and his brothers (including my grampa) got into trouble-from hopping trains to fights.  I've listened to my pastor's mother talk about when Tommy was a little boy.  I love to listen to my children retell stories of happy events in their lives. I've even talked to relative strangers, while sitting in the comfy green chairs at Barnes & Noble, and heard their stories of living, and learning, and working.

I truly enjoy listening to people tell their stories.  And listening to a person tell a story is better than reading even, because you see their memories play out in their eyes, and see the emotion of their hearts.  I can think of no better way to learn about people than to sit with them and listen to their stories.

Won't you tell me your stories?

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Today is the first day of the first month of the eleventh year of this other words, 1-1-11.  What is about the first of anything that is so daunting? Somehow the beginning of something is always so intimidating.  Simply starting a thing is the hardest part.  There is a quote I've heard, 'All journeys begin with a single step.'  I am a queen of procrastination.  Getting started on something is my biggest hurdle, that which keeps me from achieving my goals, my dreams.  Even little things...I waited until the day before my sister visited to try the patchwork cover for a composition book.  Yes, I ran into a few difficulties, mainly with underestimating what seam allowance to use, but it still came out beautifully.  I procrastinated at trying the puppy chow (people chow?) recipe with the substitution of the peanut butter with nutella, as I was headed to a peanut free gathering.  I made the batch less than 2 hours before I had to leave. 

Why do I do this?  Why do I procrastinate?  Because taking the first step, the first action, is so scary.  I have a big problem with fear.   Fear of conflict, fear of difficulty, fear of anxiety.  So, I tend to avoid situations that begat those fears....thus, procrastination. 

While I don't know how to overcome fear, and procrastination, I do know that recognising the problem is the first step in overcoming it.  As I used to hear on the G.I. Joe cartoons when I was a teen 'knowing is half the battle.'  So, now I know what the trouble is, and can work to combat it.  If I can take that first step.

And to hold myself accountable, here are my Five New Year Resolutions:
1. Eliminate debt by the end of the year (except for that incurred by #2)
2. Purchase reliable vehicle-preferably red
3. Finish and completely revise On a Moonless Night (a book I nearly finished writing during Nanowrimo)
4. Learn 200 signs (sign language)
5. Walk a million steps