Saturday, January 24, 2009


Being on a tight budget, for the last couple of years I have been struggling with what to take to potlucks. At home we normally eat food that doesn't transport well, or that needs to be cooked at the last moment. We've also been going very light on the meat, and heavy on the potatoes, rice, bread, pasta, legumes, frozen veggies, and canned fruit. For a potluck, you need a food of sufficient portability and sufficient size, food that is eaten on a plate (not out of a bowl or a communal pot) and which is considered "normal" enough to be eaten by regular people. On top of that, I need to find something that fits our budget. A nice fruit salad or veggie salad is rare enough around here that I can't really afford to take something like that to a potluck. Same for egg salad or deviled eggs. My recent solutions have been

-- steamed & buttered organic carrots
-- twice-baked potatoes
-- pumpkin pie (extra squash, lower sugar)
-- peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
-- apple Betty
-- baked beans
-- baked spaghetti
-- pizza lentils
-- bubble & squeak

(although the last two are considered "weird food" by many folks, and the previous two are standards that other people are sure to bring).

If anybody else has ideas for "More With Less" type of food that works well at a potluck for middle-class Lutherans in the Midwest, I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Back Home

Many loads of laundry.
Recuperating from driving through Chicago on a Friday afternoon.
Taking stock of where we stand with bread, milk, leftovers to use up, etc.
More time on remedying my computer's trojan horse. (By the way, just in case, don't anybody open attachments that come with my emails unless I tell you I'm sending an attachment and exactly what it is.)
Reading and filing the week's mail.
Hunting up a new place that does engraving.
Catching up on my "sunbathing" by roof-raking and then clearing the deck of snow.
Potluck food for Sunday dinner.
Gary and I discussing parts of our week.
Finally getting around to beginning to work on "Christmas cards."
In need of just sitting with my feet up.

Today's Laugh

A Dog's Diary:

7 am - Oh boy! A walk! My favorite!
8 am - Oh boy! Dog food! My favorite!
9 am - Oh boy! The kids! My favorite!
Noon - Oh boy! The yard! My favorite!
2 pm - Oh boy! A car ride! My favorite!
3 pm - Oh boy! The kids! My favorite!
4 pm - Oh boy! Playing ball! My favorite!
6 pm - Oh boy! Welcome home Mom! My favorite!
7 pm - Oh boy! Welcome home Dad! My favorite!
8 pm - Oh boy! Dog food! My favorite!
9 pm - Oh boy! Tummy rubs on the couch! My favorite!
11 pm - Oh boy! Sleeping in my people's bed! My favorite!

A Cat's Diary:

Day 183 of my captivity.

My captors continued to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from clawing the furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another house plant.

Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded. Maybe I should try this at the top of the stairs.

In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair. I must try this on their bed.

Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body in an attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little kitty cat I was. This is not working according to plan.

There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary confinement throughout the event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the food. More important, I overheard that my confinement was due to my powers of inducing something called "allergies." Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.

I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit.

The bird, on the other hand, has got to be an informant. He speaks with them regularly, and I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal room, his safety is assured. But I can wait. It's only a matter of time.

Friday, January 23, 2009

And There Was MUCH REJOICING!!!!!

My friend SK called to let me know the news:

Woodmans has found a location for a store in Menomonee Falls, and they've bumped it up ahead of the Sun Prairie store as the first one to build!!!! They are hoping to open in fall of 2010. (That's next year, for those of you who, like me, are still adjusting to the fact that 1987 wasn't just last year.)

I have to try to contact some people on the city's planning commission now....

Today's Laugh

Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

Everyone seems normal...
until you get to know them.

Never --under any circumstances-- take a laxative and a sleeping pill on the same night.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Today's Laugh

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

If you lend someone $20 and never see him again,
it was probably worth it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Today's Laugh

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Strength of Faith (3)

Cheryl made some points that relate very well to some of the things I'm fumbling to say.

Today's Laugh (or maybe not)

They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it's worked for over 200 years and we're not using it anymore.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cow Belles

While lazing on the couch to rest and recuperate recently, we watched one of our Netflix videos. The summary of the plot interested me, but I wasn't so sure what it would be like when we popped it into the dvd player and discovered it was a Disney made-for-tv movie.

Gary said he liked it. I thought it was fairly decent. As Disney tv movies are wont to do, it was a bit preachy in its attempt to teach teens to care about somebody other than themselves. But nevertheless, it was an okay way to spend some time while I was crashed on the couch.

There was one thing that bugged me to pieces, though. There are little things that show up in movies that betray the writers and producers and directors as being clueless about parts of real life, particularly things in nature. For example, we recently watched Bella. In one scene, there were comments about the forsythia and hyacinths blooming, but later in the day you saw people in tanktops at the beach and it was still light in the evening. There weren't many of those errors in Bella.

There were lots of them in Cow Belles. The movie is set in July, and the main characters protest about having to get up at 5:30 in the morning when it's still dark. In July? I think not. And then the cow barn had no manure. There was a scene were the main characters were doused in blueberries and blueberry juice. So they laundered their own clothes, clothes that didn't appear to be machine-washable in the first place, and certainly not something that could be washed in the kind of machines that they used.

But the error that bugged me most was the idea that money could buy anything. Now, part of the message of the movie was supposed to be that money is limited, to help teens understand that even rich people must limit what they spend so that they can be of service to their fellowman. And yet, there was a point in the movie where someone had sabotaged the cooler on the milk tanks so that the milk spoiled. The dairy couldn't fulfill their contracts with the stores unless they came up with some milk to use for cheese and yogurt and other products. The problem was coming up with the money to buy it. So the daughters of the dairy owner sacrificed some of their stuff to be able to buy more milk. But just where were they going to come up with this extra milk? Having the money to pay for it doesn't mean that hundreds of cows are suddenly going to give an extra milking that day. Mothers who nursed their babies know what it's like when you suddenly have to come up with extra milk because of a growth spurt in the baby, and it doesn't exactly happen immediately!

Similarly, later in the movie everyone had to come together to fix a problem with erroneous dating on some packages. They couldn't just put the correct date on the dairy items, but had to make more. Where'd they get the extra milk for that? And just how did they manage to make yogurt in only an hour or so?

There were so many things in this movie that just didn't make sense. I think the people who made the movie didn't care, though. They had a message to promote, and they could promote it without accuracy as to how cows are born, how cottage cheese is made, or that having enough money cannot make plants grow or animals produce milk.

Today's Laugh

One day a seamstress was sewing while sitting close to the river, and her thimble fell into the water. When she cried out, the Lord appeared and asked, "My dear child, why are you crying?" The seamstress replied that her thimble had fallen into the river and she needed it to help her husband in making a living for their family.

The Lord dipped His hand into the water and pulled up a golden thimble set with pearls. "Is this your thimble?" the Lord asked. The seamstress replied,"No." The Lord again dipped into the river. He held out a silver thimble ringed with sapphires. "Is this your thimble?" the Lord asked. Again, the seamstress replied, "No." The Lord reached down again and came up with a leather thimble. "Is this your thimble?" the Lord asked. The seamstress replied, "Yes."

The Lord was pleased with the woman's honesty and gave her all three thimbles to keep. The seamstress went home happy.

Some years later, the seamstress was walking with her husband along the riverbank, and her husband fell in and disappeared under the water. When she cried out, the Lord again appeared and asked her, "Why are you crying?"

"Oh Lord, my husband has fallen into the river!" The Lord went down into the water and came up with Mel Gibson. "Is this your husband?" the Lord asked. "Yes," cried the seamstress.

The Lord was furious. "You lied! That is an untruth!" The seamstress replied, "Oh, forgive me, my Lord. It is a misunderstanding. You see, if I had said 'No' to Mel Gibson, you would have come up with Tom Cruise. Then if I said 'No' to him, you would have come up with my husband. Had I then said 'Yes,' you would have given me all three. Lord, I'm not in the best of health and would not be able to take care of all three husbands, so THAT'S why I said 'Yes' to Mel Gibson."

The moral of this story: Whenever a woman lies, it's for a good and honorable reason, and in the best interest of others. (That's our story and we're sticking to it.)

Sunday, January 18, 2009


The uniforms for the girls at our church's school have white button-down blouses which are usually (always?) worn with all the buttons buttoned.

One day last week, with the bitter cold, it was funny to notice what the females were wearing during chapel. The moms and teachers all had on turtlenecks and/or scarves and sweaters. You couldn't see any neck on any of the women there. You know it's a cold cold day when a neckline like this is considered a "plunging neckline"! Maybe I'm an old fuddy-duddy, but for me WARM trumps FASHIONABLE.

Follow Me

So often I hear about "following Jesus" with finger-wagging and tongue-lashings about how we don't follow Him well enough, and how we have to try harder to follow Him, and Jesus commanded that we follow Him and so we just better start doing it.

Today Pastor was trying to explain that this is a "command of the gospel" and not a command of law. Now, I don't know about you, but I hear people all the time trying to tell me what I better do, whilst they deny that they're speaking Law, and insist that their demands are actually Gospel.

So today Pastor uses an example from a movie. He said it would be like the President in Air Force One or like Jean-Luc Picard in a Star Trek episode. You're in a horrible situation, the enemy is attacking, and you're all in need of rescue. Along comes the hero, grabs you by the hand, and says "Follow me." And you follow. You don't decide to follow. You don't "do something" in your following. You are simply compelled to be pulled along by the guy who's forging the way out of the mess and bringing you along with him.

Now, with that kind of explanation, even I can understand what he means by "a command of the gospel" and how it's really not a demand, but an invitation that not only invites but also gives us the ability to receive the invitation.

Today's Laugh

You say I should back up my hard drive.
But how do I put it in reverse?

(Oh, if only it were that easy, says the techno-phobe.)