Showing posts from August, 2011


The first time I met my mother in law was Easter Day at a family gathering. Dan and I were engaged and planning our wedding, but at the age of 28 we had skipped a lot of formalities such as meeting each others extended family, even though we had known each other for two years. We met at Eddie Bauer and were co-workers, then friends, before starting to date. Once we starting dating our relationship progressed quickly to an engagement. There really hadn't been tome to meet family. However, in the years before we met, my husband to be had gone though a rough patch and his family was protective of him. So, this family gathering, and first time meeting, held layers of emotion for everyone. I was fairly positive I'd like all of them, but not at all certain what they would think of me, engaged to their son, brother, uncle, before they'd even met me. I knew my mother in law-to- be had called my mother to inquire her opinion of this engagement and pending marriage. A protective ma…

Life Lessons

A reflection on the readings for Proper 17A:Exodus 3:1-15, Romans 12:9-21. Matthew 16:21-28

I remember sitting on the counter in my grandmother’s kitchen, talking to my mother on the telephone. Outside the window it was a glorious sunny day, light bouncing off the rock bluffs, scrub trees and pine which define the beautiful mountains that surround the Salt Lake City Valley. I have no idea what my mom and I were talking about, just the usual topics for a five year old and her mom. Suddenly everything began to tremble. My grandmother had decorative soup ladles and dishes hanging on her kitchen walls and I watched them swing back and forth before they crashed to the floor. Perhaps a minute or two passed as the earth shook and things clattered. As far as I know this earthquake in Salt Lake City didn’t cause any wide spread damage, I’m not even sure it was strong enough to be news worthy, but it left an impression on me.

Years later I am the mother of a teen age daughter whose high school …

Friday Five: Rainy Day

Sally, over at RevGals offers this Friday Five, wondering what we do on a rainy day:

1. At home? Sit in a room where I can watch the rain, read, listen to music, drink coffee or tea. Essentially enjoy and rest.

2. In your local area? I often think it would be fun to sit in a coffee shop and read, but in reality I find them noisy with people talking too loudly to one another or on their cell phones. So, if I really have to get out on a rainy day I may go to a movie or the library.

3. If you are away on holiday?If I am in my one of my dad's house in Utah (Escalante, southern Utah near Bryce Canon or Hanna in northeast Utah in the Uinta Mts), I prefer it not rain while on vacation. Although I did once have a lovely vacation on the Pacific shore of south western Washington state, where it rained most of the time, but made for delightful beach walks when it wasn't rainy. We read, worked on a jig saw puzzle, and took a drive down the coast to Cannon Beach, Oregon (it was sunny that day…

Monday Morning Musings

We've rounded the bend, so to speak. Although we may have more hot and humid days, the worst is over, at least in southeast Michigan. I do worry about our climate, about global warming, for it seems we seldom have a day of rain. Instead we have severe storms blow through with high winds, causing much damage to trees and homes. These storms carry buckets of rain which in a short amount of time flood basements, window wells, and streets. Then there's the high temperatures and drought in the south and southwest....I can only imagine what winter holds in store...

But on this morning, I am resting. Appreciating the bright sun and cooler temperatures, there's a chill in the air, hinting of autumn. Stirring memory senses of fresh crisp apples, and leaves changes color, of sweaters and jeans, and clogs, and homemade socks. I'm listening to Mozart, enjoying some coffee, and reading Mary Oliver:

"Mozart, for example"

All the quick notes
Mozart didn’t have time to use

In Which God Prevails, again

A reflection on the readings for Proper 16A, Exodus 1:8-2:10

During my vacation I read a number of books. One of them, Caleb's Crossing, was written by a Geraldine Brooks, a favorite author of mine. It tells the story of the first Native American to attend Harvard University in the 1600's. Brooks, a former corespondent for the Wall Street Journal covering the war in Bosnia, Somalia, and the Middle East, is now a Pulitzer prize winning novelist. Her books deal with struggles in society between the dominant culture and those marginalized by society and seen as threatening. My favorite book is called. "People of the Book." in it she tells the story inspired by the Sarajevo Haggadah. An Haggadah is a book used by the Jewish people at their Seder Passover meal to tell the sacred story of Exodus from Egypt.

I've attended several Seders and even a couple of delightful women's Seders created my rabbi friend Lisa and the female cantor at the synagogue in Illinois. …

Another perspective on "The Help"

For another perspective other than mine: go will be worth your time.

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Twenty Six

Yesterday my husband I celebrated our twenty sixth wedding anniversary. Traditionally on our anniversary we go to a movie and then later dinner in a nice restaurant. Tentatively we had planned to see The Help, but I changed my mind, in part because of the various perspectives critical of the movie. It's given me a lot to think about, but issues around "-isms" always do. Anyway, instead of a movie we went out to lunch, to the local Panera Cares. This is one of a couple of Panera's around the country that uses day-old food from other nearby Panera's, with only a suggested donation, for the coat. The intent is that those who can't afford to pay full price can pay what they are able while others may pay more (like we did) than the retail price. The food is always good, and the place was busy! Afterward ww walked our dogs, one of our favorite activities.

We decided to stay home for dinner, mostly because we haven't found a favorite restaurant, yet. Usually we f…


Yesterday morning I posted a few, still forming thoughts, on "-isms" spurred by the critical acclaim at the box office, and the critiques, of the book and movie, "The Help." And, frankly I was also feeling irritable from watching an interview on "Meet the Press" with Michelle Bachman, who deflected every question with sound bite answers, like a "Stepford Wife," programmed with what to say but without a thoughtfully active brain cell supplying the ability to be insightful. Irritated because I can't believe anyone finds her, or any of the GOP/Tea Party folk, Presidential material. (Harsh words for me, a strident supporter of women in leadership, except her leadership style lacks integrity and intelligence.... really, I have to get off of this trajectory, I have other things I'm thinking about). There was a good YouTube clip floating around Facebook yesterday of a Republican talking about GOP reform, of wanting his party back, the reflecti…

Telling Stories

I've been thinking about racism lately. Actually I think about it a lot, along with the other isms. I thought about isms when "So You Think You Can Dance" ended up with two women as finalists. That's a first for these reality television shows, and kind of cool! Made me wonder what's going on? Of course my next thought was, "the white woman will win." I'm convinced that racism and sexism are so pervasive, so unconscious, as a cultural norm, that our group "think" lives into acts of prejudice and then denies it because of how the game is played. As far as that television show, it may be that Melanie really was the better dancer, but as a dance major myself, I couldn't be certain of that.

More to the point I'm thinking of the book, "The Help" and the recently released movie version. I listened to the book on my iPod while driving from Arizona to Illinois in 2010. I wrote about it here. I'm thinking about the comments th…

Friday Five

The Place I Want To Get Back To

is where
in the pinewoods
in the moments between
the darkness

and first light
two deer
came walking down the hill
and when they saw me

they said to each other, okay,
this one is okay,
let's see who she is
and why she is sitting

on the ground, like that,
so quiet, as if
asleep, or in a dream,
but, anyway, harmless;

and so they came
on their slender legs
and gazed upon me
not unlike the way

I go out to the dunes and look
and look and look
into the faces of flowers;
and then one of them leaned forward

and nuzzled my hand, and what can my life
bring to me that could exceed
that brief moment?
For twenty years

I have gone every day to the same woods,
not waiting, exactly, just lingering.
Such gifts bestowed,
can't be repeated.

If you want to talk about this
come to visit. I live in the house
near the corner, which I have named

(Mary Oliver, "Thirst", Beacon Press, 2006)

For this Friday Five I invite you to offer five gratitudes you recognize in your life.

Coming to t…

There's Something About Yesterday.....

Forty-five days of record breaking heat. Here in South East Michigan that means we just had 45 consecutive days with temperatures over 80 degrees. Admittedly, breaking a record that includes a high temp of 80 or more cracks me up. Especially after living in Arizona, with months of temperatures over 100, being the norm. But also because I am painfully aware of the people suffering through heat and drought in Texas and the southern states of US, where heat and humidity are common, but not months of over 100.

Truth be told, many of those 45 days the temps here were in the 90's and even a couple of days of 102. Working in a church without air conditioning, we felt the heat. I abandoned my alb, that polyester white robe that is tradition in the Episcopal church. I had the altar party wear street clothes, instead of robes they usually wear. Some parishioners were upset about this, I understand.

But yesterday the temperature dipped into the 70's, with low humidity and a low dew point…


Most Friday mornings you will find me at the local farmers market. It's close enough I could walk or ride my bike, but my husband likes to go, too, so we drive. And, anyway, we end up buying a lot. Or at least we did before our crop, from the church's community garden, was ready for harvesting. Anyway, I still go to the market for items I am not growing: sweet onions, Spanish onions, broccoli, fruit jams, and locally made cheeses.

Last Friday we bought a couple of ears of sweet corn, picked fresh that morning, their sign announced. I also bought beets to roast on the grill, delicious in salads. Arriving home I left the corn, in the plastic grocery bag, tucked up high and back on the counter, along with the beets, and a bowl of fresh fruit. Later that afternoon my husband and I took a walk to the nearby summer festival called, Dearborn Homecoming, it's a big deal around here. The park down the street was filled with carnival rides, food tents, artists tables, and two bandst…


Bach Adagios are keeping me company this morning. I rose early, fed the dogs, and brewed a pot of coffee. Carrying the steaming mug I plop myself on the sofa to read the NY Times on my iPad. Over the gentle notes of cello, oboe, and french horn, birds chirp and call. It is cool enough that I have doors and windows open, at least for now. Soon the heat and humidity will take over and I will close the house up. But for the time being, with dogs resting at my feet, and a cat curled up next to me, I am enjoying a rare morning of quiet solitude.

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RevGals Friday Five


It's true, I took a week off of work to clean out the basement. Sadly, to look at a before/after photo would not make it look like my time had been used wisely. Just about everything is still down there, it's just in a different pile. BUT... our church rummage sale this year is going to be very, very blessed.

I'm wondering if anyone else out there takes a week off of work to do a different kind of work:

1) Have you ever 'staycationed' in order to work on a project? If no, would you? YES! I am currently on a "stay-cation!" And, as I live next door to the church I am working hard to not go over and check on things. Actually, I'm sure all is going well. So, I am relaxing, exercising, reading, finishing knitting and cross-stitch projects I started years ago, and doing some work to settle into the house.

2) What project did you or would you tackle first? My first project was to unpack the box of knitting and cross-stitch and organize it an unused dresser…


The community garden is bursting with veggies. I am eating a cucumber a day and lots of cherry tomatoes. There is hardly anything as fabulous as homegrown tomatoes. And, although I didn't plant zucchini those who did are sharing from their abundance. Being the recipient of some neighborly zucchini decided to begin. My vacation with some baking. I made a hearty wholesome zucchini breakfast bread and a sweet lighter zucchini bundt cake with chunks of dark chocolate. Here's the recipe, adapted from one I found online.

Recipe: Whole-Wheat Zucchini Bread

Dry ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached white flour
1/3 cup or more of wheat bran
1 Tablespoon cinnamon ( or more)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:

2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil (or peanut)
3/4 cup plain yogurt (I didn't have enough yogurt so I included some sour cream)
1/3 cup mi…