Friday, November 02, 2007

Health Insurance

If my neighbor is behind on his electric bill and is about to have his power turned off, I can pay his bill for him if I so choose. If I want to plunk down some tuition money for my son-in-law's account at the seminary, the sem thinks that's just dandy. I don't think our credit card company cares at all who pays my monthly bill, just so long as it gets paid.

Our health insurance is not like that. The premiums must be paid by the employer, on a check that has the employer's name and address on it. If the employer is behind on payments, no one else can "help out" and pay the bill. I'm not sure of the reasoning behind that. The health insurance people tried to explain it to me; it's something about the premiums being the responsibility of the employer, and so they cannot accept funds from the employee or from other entities. However, that really leaves an employee in a humongous pickle if, for some reason, the church treasurer cannot or will not pay the premium. No one else is allowed to step in with assistance. I cannot understand, though, why it would matter to the insurer where the premiums arrived from.

Dumb Cat

Rosie Cotton (the kitten) loves water. She always wants to stick her head down into our water glasses and have us share our water. She will knock water glasses over if she can't get her head far enough down in the glass to lap it up; that way she can drink the puddle. Do you have any idea how hilarious it looks to see a cat's head all smooshed up inside a clear glass tumbler?

She's figured something out. Toothbrushes mean water. If somebody is brushing teeth, that means the water in the bathroom sink will be running off and on, and she can lap up water from around the sink drain. After some pretty funny mishaps, she's gotten adept at jumping up to the sink to poke her nose into the toothbrushing business.

But her ears aren't quite finely attuned to the precise sound of water in the sink. If somebody goes into the bathroom and pees (which does happen, now and then, y'know, with six people living here) the kitten hears "water running." She comes in a hurry, barges in, jumps up into the sink, and is shocked to find the sink dry. Now, just what's up with THAT?

(It's good to have a clown in the house!)

And Now ....

the stove is not working. Looks like I'm going to be back to cooking at church and in the crockpots, like it was in September. Of course, one of the crockpot lids broke, so now I'm down to only one of those. Cooking at church is going to be a bigger pain than it was before, running back and forth in the cold, and carrying food back to the house through the cold.

Psalm 46:5

God is in the midst of her;
she shall not be moved.
God shall help her
just at the break of dawn.

Y'know what that means, doncha?
You go through the whole long dark night,
and finally the help comes with the morning light.
But you still go through the time of darkness when it seems there is no help from God.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Gina has a great blog post about her reactions to the liturgy when she first found herself in need of a church, and what it's like for an unworthy sinner to be confronted by the Gospel instead of moralism.

The Long Warfare

After two months of severe health problems for my dad, the doctors finally discovered the problem. Doctors don't often get the response, "Oh, good!" when they announce a cancer diagnosis. But when the doctors finally pinpoint a problem and have a surgery to correct the heretofore undiagnosed distress, it's really quite a relief.

The surgery was done. Recuperation has begun. And it's going better than the recuperation from last year's surgery.

One thing stunned me, though. After two days of my being in hospital waiting rooms, swabbing lips, adjusting pillows, holding hands, sitting with mom & sibs, eating cafeteria food instead of my own cooking, not getting much sleep, etc,

when I came home I realized that it was less stressful at the hospital than it is at home. There's something seriously wrong when being at the hospital while your beloved father is having surgery ... is a restful vacation compared to your regular everyday life.

I'm tired.

And when the fight is fierce,
the warfare long,
steals on the ear
the distant triumph song.
And hearts are brave again
and arms are strong.
Alleluia! (TLH 463)

One-Year Series

I really really really like the one-year series for the lectionary. I like that I hear the same readings over and over, out of the same Bible translation, and begin to learn them and the flow of the wording. I like how that familiarity (not unlike having memorized the catechism) informs our understanding of (and interpretation of) other Bible passages. I like that with the 1-year series I always know the flow of the church year. Having different readings on the third Sunday after Easter (for example) seems as unsettling to me as it would be to celebrate Thanksgiving in March or to celebrate Valentines Day in June.

I don't do change well.

Code "Speed"

People usually know that when the nurses "call a code" in the hospital, it's not a good thing. However, it IS very important to be clear on which "code" they're calling. We learned the other night that "code: speed" (at least at that particular hospital) is the code which intercepts a situation that's going downhill rapidly. It doesn't mean the heart has stopped or the breathing has stopped. It just means that they're taking measures right away to ensure that the patient doesn't get anywhere close to "code blue."

But when a person gets a phone call in the middle of the night and the message is that they "called a code" on a loved one, and that he's unresponsive, it's not QUITE time to panic yet.

Now, you're not going to remember that when you get a phone call at 2 a.m., are you?

Dry Lips

When people are on IV's after surgery and can't have anything by mouth, their lips get really dry -- dry to the point of splitting and bleeding. The hospital gives you little swabby things to moisten the patient's mouth and lips. But it just isn't enough to take care of the problem.

I have been very pleased with Vitamin E. If you take one of those capsules with vitamin-E oil, and poke a hole in it, you can squeeze the E-oil out onto the dry lips. (Or dry skin. Or split heels.) It's sticky stuff, but it does wonders to keep the moisture locked in. And the vitamin helps heal cracks.

Refrigerator Muffins

As per Rachel's request,

box of Raisin Bran or Bran Flakes (10-15 oz.)
2.5 cups sugar
5 cups flour
2 tsp salt
1.5 Tbsp baking soda

4 beaten eggs
1 quart buttermilk
1 cup olive oil (or other veg oil)

Mix dry ingredients.
Add wet ingredients.
Mix well.
Store in covered container in fridge for up to six weeks. (If they're going to last that long, make sure you buy eggs with a far-away expiration date!)

Bake in greased muffin tins, 15-20 minutes at about 375-400.
Makes about 5 dozen muffins.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

This Is the Feast

I love the canticle "This Is the Feast." It makes a lovely communion-distribution hymn, especially during Eastertide.

But I'm not fond of having it between the Kyrie and the Collect. Nothing wrong with it there, except that it displaces the Gloria in Excelsis.

There's so much to the liturgy. It is deep and profound. There is no way to plumb all the wonders of the historic liturgy. A long time ago I read an article that touched on another aspect of the liturgy that I'd never considered: the life of Christ being rehearsed each week in the structure of the Service.

We have the Old Testament hymns of the Church in the introit psalm. Then we pray for God's mercy. He answered that prayer in the incarnation of His Son, which we sing about in the angels' Christmas song (the Gloria in Excelsis). We hear about Jesus' ministry; we hear His preaching. Then we sing the Sanctus, joining in the hymn sung by the crowds on Palm Sunday: "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." Then we get to Maundy Thursday and the Words of Institution. That is followed by what happened on Good Friday: "O Christ, Thou Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us."

The canticles highlight (in chronological order) the most important events which accomplished our salvation. As nice as "This Is the Feast" is, using it in place of the Gloria in Excelsis disturbs this aspect of meditating upon Jesus' work to save us.