Saturday, March 28, 2009

Settling In

Maggie and I are out of town for my sister's wedding shower. We stayed at my parents' house last night.

You know how you halfway wake up in the middle of the night and assume yourself to be where you normally are? A little unaware? Not really awake and coherent?

Last time I was visiting my folks and halfway woke up in the middle of the night, I assumed myself to be at the old house. But last night when I halfway woke up, before I realized that I was in the old bedroom I had while growing up, I assumed myself to be in my bedroom at our new house. I think that means the new house is definitely getting to be "home."

And now, for a day of seeing LOTS of family and old friends!

Today's Laugh

Women are like fine wine. They start out all fresh, fruity, and intoxicating to the mind and then turn full-bodied with age, until they go all sour and vinegary and give you a headache.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Men are like fine wine. They all start out like grapes, and it's our job to stomp on them and keep them in the dark until they mature into something you'd want to have dinner with.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Today's Laugh

Once there was an elderly gentleman that was suffering from Alzheimer's. His wife of 50 years loved him dearly, but she could no longer handle him. He would wander about, never knowing where he was or sometimes even who he was.

She took him to a nursing home. At the nursing home, while the wife was filling out paperwork, a nurse had the gentleman sit in a chair. The man started slowly leaning to his left. The nurse ran over and put a pillow on his left side to prop him up. A few minutes later, he started leaning to his right. Again, the nurse ran over and put a pillow on his right side. Then, the old fellow started leaning forward. This time, the nurse strapped him into the chair.

About this time, his wife, having completed the paperwork, walked over to him and asked, "How do you like the place so far?"

"It's okay," he said, "but they won't let me fart!"

Thursday, March 26, 2009


They've been lowering speed limits around here. The town council was noticing that they weren't raking in as many fines last year as they'd anticipated. Should the policemen write more tickets to make up the shortfall?

New laws are being passed. We have laws about keeping animals. Laws about licensing bicycles. Laws about running businesses and paying employees. Laws about keeping our grass short and our weeds trimmed. Laws about building permits. Laws about minors' work-hours. Laws about seatbelts. Laws about lightbulbs and toilets and grocery bags that aren't "green" enough.

There are so many laws that anyone can be caught. Anyone. No matter how much a person tries to toe the line. I've known for many years that anyone could be fined or maybe even arrested. But in the last couple of months, I've been even more aware of it. I remind myself that it's happening, and that I ought not be surprised if/when it happens to us or a loved one some day.

So, then, it does. A minor little thing, really. But when you have to decide whether to fight it, and take time off work and give up the pay), and maybe even have to hire a lawyer, it makes more sense financially to just go ahead and pay the fine. Even though you could probably fight it and win.

Kinda frustrating.
But I knew it was coming. I didn't know when. But it would happen.

And it will happen again, I'm sure.

Hypo-Allergenic Soap

Two months ago, I was nearly out of home-made soap. I intended to make some, and found that I hadn't washed my fat, and so my soap-making day turned into a fat-washing day. Since the soap has to cure for at least six weeks prior to using it, I am WAY behind now. I haven't made the soap yet, I am totally out, and even if I make soap today, I still won't have any until early May.

I can't spend $4-5 per bar on soap. That's the kind of soap that I need, but I can't afford it.

In late January and early February, I resorted to using the guys' soap (Zest or Safeguard or whatever happened to be cheapest) a couple of times a week, just to stretch out the days until my good soap had totally disappeared. I found myself itchy. One day at morning prayers, I was sitting in church, growing more and more itchy, in more and more spots, and having a hard time listening to the preaching because all I wanted to do was scratch! I couldn't figure out why for quite a while. When I did solve the mystery (that I'd just gotten out of the shower 20 minutes earlier and had used a "bath bar" instead of soap), I knew I had to eschew the guys' soap and find something for me.

The next time I was at Woodman's, I looked for some glycerin soap for a price that didn't send me into conniption fits. (They used to have it, but don't in Oak Creek.) I noticed instead Dial Basics (which used to be Pure & Natural). It was a three-pack for a dollar, and for that price, I figured I could risk testing it. I've been using it for nearly a month, and am not getting rashes or itching. You can even read the ingredient list and realize that it is not too too far off from what real soap is. This is good! Just thought some of you other itchy people might want to know.

Today's Laugh

A customer in the restaurant ordered a bowl of vegetable soup. After a few spoonfuls, he noticed a circle of wetness on the tablecoth right under the bowl .

He called the waitress over and said, "It's all wet here. The bowl must be cracked."

The waitress responded, "You ordered vegetable soup. There must be a leek in it."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Laundry Soap

I keep making the same mistake!

We usually use powdered laundry detergent. It goes in the bottom of the washer, and then you add the clothes.

When Aldi is out of powdered detergent, you buy the liquid. It goes on top of the clothes. At least, it's supposed to. If you can remember.

But habit is habit. Normally, after I throw in the clothes, it's time to turn the dial on the machine, start it, and walk away. But with using liquid detergent currently, I keep finding loads of clothes that were washed with water only, no soap. Sometimes I just let it go, and assume the agitating and washing and rinsing will be sufficient. But gosh darn it, when you do it to the load of underwear last week AND again this week, it's time to throw 'em back in the machine WITH SOAP and run it again.


Jury Duty

What is the job of the jury? Is the jury's job to determine whether a person broke the law? Or is the jury's job to see that justice is done?

Let's say a man is on a jury. (I know this man well.) The case before him is a hit-and-run that killed a woman. This should be an open-and-shut case. However, the prosecutor is going to be on the ballot for an elected position, and he wants to look "tough on crime." So he goes for a charge of first-degree murder. The jury can't agree to that. The man was not guilty of pre-meditated murder. What he did was heinous, but it was recklessness and drunkenness. The community is shocked that the murderer could be freed. The instructions to the jury, however, were to determine whether the man had broken the law he was accused of. And he hadn't.

And then there are other possibilities. Let's say a person has a gun in a "no-gun zone." He is not intending to do any harm. Maybe a gun sat in the trunk of a teacher's car in the school parking lot. Or what if we make smoking illegal, and then someone lights up a cigarette in a public building? Do we find people "guilty" even if the law they broke was an unjust or unreasonable law?

A jury is the final chance for justice to be done:
for the guilty to be sentenced even if the charge against him cannot be substantiated, but he is clearly guilty of a lesser charge or if technicalities get in the way of his conviction,
and for the "guilty" to be let go if the law he broke is a bad law.
For more information, check out the Fully Informed Jury Association. I don't agree with everything there. But there is some basic information there that judges and the rest of the legal system do not want us to know about.

Today's Laugh

And another from Doug Larson:

Life expectancy would increase dramatically if green vegetables smelled like bacon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Getting Started

It bugs me to pieces that I'm getting warmed up and ready to start the day in the late afternoon.

I feel like such a fake going to chapel at 3:00, singing Evening Prayer (admittedly a bit early for that prayer office, but I love it no matter what time it is): "We have come to the setting of the sun, and we look to the evening light. We sing to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit..." Everybody else has done the bulk of their work for the day, and I'm just beginning to get started.

Tonight, as I was revved to start cleaning house about 6:00 or so, suddenly a thought occurred to me. It is ingrained in me that you finish dinner first, and then you get on to the big jobs.

We spent nearly 20 years eating dinner mid-day. My body is still adjusting to the change, but I'm gettin' there. But my mind adjusts slower. I used to spend the morning reading to the kids, or exercising, or having family devotions, or doing errands, or going on my paper route twice a week, or messing around with email, or supervising morning chores. And of course, making dinner. But once the dinner dishes were finished (somewhere in the vicinity of 2:00 or 3:00), then we could get serious about schoolwork or housecleaning or gardening or sewing or whatever. That gave us 6-8 hours for the rest of the day, with no big job (like supper) hanging over our heads.

Now, with dinner dishes finished somewhere around 7:00 or 8:00, it does not work well at all for dinner to be the signal for the day to "start." All day long, I know I should be doing this or that, but just can't get the day moving like I ought. Not until it's nearly time for Gary to be home and the family to be together again for the evening.

I wonder if recognizing how much I'm fighting well-ingrained patterns and bio-rhythms will help me fight it? (Boy, wouldn't it be nice if it turns out to be that easy???)


Bar = son of.
Abba = father.

We've heard those two words translated in other sections of the Bible. In today's story from the Passion according to St Mark, we hear about how Barabbas, the "son of the father" (the one who represents all us sons of Adam), is set free because the Son of the Father is condemned to die.

Curriculum Possibilities

I was in the library at Concordia University the other day, looking for some materials that I couldn't get (at least, not quickly enough) through interlibrary loan. And while there, I walked past their stacks and stacks of curriculum. Wow! If anybody ever wanted to compare different math textbooks, or a whole bunch of science curricula, or different history programs, a university library would be the place to go! Unless you're on staff or have a kid attending the school, you're probably not going to be able to check things out. But you can peruse to your heart's content while there. Of course, they're not going to have all the cool homeschooling products that are available these days, but nevertheless, there's a lot to look at.

Today's Laugh

The real meaning of plant-catalog terminology (from the Garden Digest website):

"A favorite of birds" means to avoid planting near cars, sidewalks, or clotheslines.

"Grows more beautiful each year" means "Looks like roadkill for the foreseeable future."

"Zone 5 with protection" is a variation on the phrase "Russian roulette."

"May require support" means your daughter's engineering degree will finally pay off.

"Moisture-loving" plants are ideal for landscaping all your bogs and swamps.

"Carefree" refers more to the plant's attitude than to your workload.

"Vigorous" is code for "has a Napoleonic compulsion to take over the world."

"Grandma's Favorite" -- until she discovered free-flowering, disease-resistant hybrids.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Peter's Denial

In our Bible story today (from the end of Mark 14) we heard about Jesus telling Peter that he would deny Him three times. This contrasts two things.

First, Peter and Judas. Both denied their Lord. Both betrayed Him. But one was repentant and received the forgiveness won for him, while the other insisted on trying to pay for his sins himself.

Second, Peter and Jesus. While Peter denied and made a false confession, Jesus made the true confession. Peter feared harm to himself if he admitted that he was one of Jesus' disciples. Jesus, however, did not have merely threats to Himself, but actual beatings already starting at the high priest's house when He confessed what was true.

Peter could not remain faithful to his Lord. All fell away. Only One could do what He was called to do. His death and His faithfulness is what saves us from our faithlessness.


The catechism teaches us that "Amen, amen means yes, yes, it shall be so."

But we so often think "Amen" means "the end."

As Pastor Petersen stated, the pastor has things to say in the Service, and the people respond with "Amen" or "And with thy spirit" or whatever.

Somehow, whenever I hear a pastor say "amen" to his own prayers or to his own sermon, it somehow comes off more as "I'm done now" than when the people are saying "Yup, I agree, that's what I pray too, and God will be sure to do it."

Sixth Commandment

During chapel last week, the pastor asked the first- and second-graders to say the commandments. When he got to "What is the sixth commandment?" some of the kids started to say, "You shall not give false testimony..." while others were starting on "You shall not commit adultery." Thing is, when that happens, usually the kids hear classmates saying something different, and whether they're right or wrong, they second-guess themselves and get much quieter. So after some voices were saying "give" and some saying "commit," the voices became subdued. The kids did fine when Pastor asked the second time.

But put those two words in the airwaves together, and what do you get?

Pastor was walking out of chapel, shaking his head, mumbling under his breath, "You shall not get adultery. You shall not get adultery."

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I'm feeling very uncreative in the kitchen these days. Okay, so there are a couple of vegetables for dinner, and maybe some meat or legumes. But to fill us up, we need some carbs. Thing is, how many ways are there to prepare the starchy dishes? Sure, sure, there are minor refinements in how it's presented. But it seems like we're cycling through
1) potatoes -- baked, mashed, or oven-fried
2) wheat -- bread or ww pasta or cornbread
3) rice

What else is there? Sure, we could do the "variety grains" like amaranth or spelt or barley. But honestly, those are not something we're used to, and they just plain take thought to learn about recipes, and how early I need to start the dish, and other brain-draining efforts. I'm trying to convince myself that it's OK to make it simple and boring: an hour before supper each day, start either the boiled potatoes or the rice or the pasta-water. Or just slice the loaf of bread.

Can I convince myself that every dinner doesn't have to titillate the palate? It seems that I'm getting the most suppertime compliments when I dish up ham and au gratins, or hamburgers, or pizza. Hey, if it pleases them, isn't too expensive, and is easy, why do I yearn to be creative too???

Miss Manners Would Not Approve

Last Sunday, we invited ourselves over to the home of some friends. They were glad to have us. I felt rude asking if we could stop by, but the schedule and the direction we were driving permitted it. We'd also been happily rejuvenated the previous week when we invited some friends from church over for Sunday afternoon, and were hoping for another Sunday of relaxed and joyful friendship.

After a wonderful afternoon with our friends, I was still feeling a little rude for inviting ourselves over. But the hostess reminded me that you can only do that when there's a solid relationship of love already established. So the fact that I could ask if we could come over, and the fact that they welcomed our "intrusion," means that there's a bond there that allows for that kind of behavior.

A few days later, a different friend called and asked if her daughter could spend the afternoon at our house. She was as apologetic for making the request as I had been the previous week. And you know what? I was thrilled that she asked! That means she and I are good enough friends that she can ask a favor, and I don't even see it as an imposition in the slightest, but see it as a joy to have company from their family.

Being able to have friends like that, where we can butt into each other's lives, wow, that just gives me warm-fuzzies all over. I used to think that the sign of a "bosom friend" (in Anne of Green Gables lingo) was when I could work in their kitchen, and know where the glasses and the flour and the skillets and the measuring cups were. But inviting myself over (or being happy that somebody invited themselves over to my place) is a big thing too, just shy of kitchen-sharing.


There are robins in the back yard.

And the county has taken down the snow-fence along the roads.

Today's Laugh (Naughty Words)

Every time I hear the word exercise, I wash my mouth out with chocolate.