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Organized Religion is Overrated

29 Dec

Or, welcome to Resurrection.

I got a call last night from our Senior Warden (comparable to the President of the congregation, I guess) that while our rector was on vacation this week, we did not have a supply priest. A case of “Did you do it? No, I thought you did.”  And so – one of us had to do Morning Prayer.

Well, the Senior Warden is also our piano player, so guess where that left me?  Long ago, one of our bishops told me I was what she referred to as the D.E.A.N. of the congregation: Doing Everything As Needed. I put on my alb, and soldiered forth.

Any layperson can lead Morning Prayer, and one of the best things about the Book of Common Prayer is that everything is all laid out for you. No guess work. I am currently the secretary for another parish, so I cranked up the computer and used their template to run up a bulletin for Ron to print off this morning. I also dug around in my pile of “stuff” and found one of my dad’s sermons that I was able to adapt to use this morning. It was a Christmas Eve service, so very little needed to be changed. I always enjoyed MP when we used it in the past, so it was a treat to be able to do this today.

I got a lot of nice comments – what else could they say? – but one person did shake my hand and tell me I did a very nice job – for a woman.

Yeesh.

 

Oh, MY!

23 Dec

We’ve always been able to let Blazer out when he needs to make a puddle (or anything else) and he will bark to come back inside.

A couple of days ago we discovered him out in the back yard, cavorting with a coyote. I put him out last night, and he barked to come in pretty quickly. When I didn’t hot-foot it to the door, he began barking again, almost frantically.  When I looked outside there was not one, but two coyotes out by the barn! No wonder Blazer wanted Momma to rescue him.

I think we’ll take the ol’ puppy for a walk at night, rather than let him have the run of the yard. We’re also going to stop feeding anybody out by the barn. No point in tempting fate.

An Embarrassment of Riches

21 Dec

Although I enjoy a cup of coffee, The Squire doesn’t like the taste of it. (I could dab it behind my ears and he’d follow me anywhere, but that’s another story.) I don’t really care for instant coffee per se, but I do like General Foods Orange Cappuccino. A lot.

The only place you can find it now is at Walmart, so The Squire orders it for me, and has it sent to the house. I simply will not set foot in that place. So – because the more you buy, the less is costs, he just bought me forty cans of the stuff! Lawsy! I put a half-dozen cans in the pantry, and then stashed the rest under the stairs.

Where I found a Keurig machine, of all things.

Neither of us have a clue where it came from or how long it’s been there. I called Eldest Daughter to ask if she knew anything about it, but No. I dragged it out, wiped it down, and cleared a spot on the counter for it, where it took up an inordidant amount of space. It heated up nicely, but when I tried to make myself a cup of Jitter Juice the machine made a horrible grinding noise, and then leaked all over the counter top.  Aargh!

At the moment it is back under the stairs, and The Squire has promised to “take a look at it”. I’m not going to keep it, because I don’t really need it, but we don’t want to donate it to a thrift shop if it isn’t in working order.  We shall see.

How to Make Three Big Messes . . .

20 Dec

. . . Out of a smallish one.

At the party on Sunday we needed some extra space for the hot food, so we unloaded what had been the microwave stand, and shoved it out of the kitchen into the dining room. I haven’t needed it a microwave since we remodeled the kitchen in 2013, and had been using it to store cookbooks. The Squire put them in a carton and stuck it in the laundry room.

I worked at my “temp job” on Monday, so he stacked every thing on the end of the dining room table for me to sort out when I had the chance. Honestly, he was hoping I’d dispose of some of it, but I am genetically unable to toss out any sort of printed matter. Pass it along, Yes. Trash it, NO.

So now, it is spread all over the table. I tried just making stacks of things. I have cook books and pamphlets from the 20s, 30s, and 40s. A book on how to use your new electric icebox. Another on what to serve and how to manage a dinner party if you do not have a maid. Back in the day, Baltimore Gas and Electric used to have two-page giveaways, full of hints and recipes.  (I have several years worth of those, if you’d like some.) Wartime recipes from both my mum and my grandmother. Betty Crocker recipes from the 50s and 60s.  And we won’t even mention the newspaper clippings!

The Wartime booklet is interesting. Hospitality during the war was an important way to enjoy companionship and keep up your spirits, but with butter and sugar – among other things – being rationed, it was tricky. Cakes were made with honey or corn syrup instead of sugar. Mum told me that even wedding receptions during the war were more akin to covered dish suppers than the catered affairs we think of today.

Speaking of newspapers, I found a 32-page Baltimore Sun insert from December, 1973, full of international recipes and stories from Baltimore homemakers. Bavaria, Russia, Poland, Romanian, Venezuelan, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Estonia, and the West Indies. You can gain a couple of pounds just reading this collection. Not just cookies, but meat and vegetable dishes, customs and traditions.

I’ll probably end up piling it all back onto the microwave cart, no further along than when we started.

 

Timing is Everything

17 Dec

Sunday was warm enough that we didn’t need to bother with coats.

Monday morning we woke up to snow!

The snow didn’t amount to anything – it didn’t stick to the roads or sidewalks, but the forecast was for dropping temps, freezing rain and sleet. The schools were originally opening two hours late, but they later decided to just close for the day. The outlook for today is a little bit warmer, but still grey and rainy. I think I’d rather have snow than this slop.

 

 

 

Warm Christmas Wishes

14 Dec

We are having our annual Christmas Open House tomorrow, and right now the temp is 48º. It is forecasted to be even warmer tomorrow.

One year The Squire and I went to Tennessee for Christmas, and it was unseasonably warm and rainy, just as it is here today.  The Squire’s folks had a space heater in the living room, and we were all roasting.  The Squire took off his jacket and I removed my blazer. His father called out, “Vera! Come turn up the heat. These young’uns aren’t wearing coats!”

Said and done.

The Squire removed his fisherman’s sweater and sat down in his T-shirt. I had on a blouse and a vest, so removing the vest was the best I could do. “Vera! Come turn up the heat. These young’uns are sitting around in their underwear!”

Said and done.

With nothing else to safely remove, I decamped to the back porch with The Squire’s youngest sister, and we did counted cross-stitch. About fifteen minutes later The Squire and his brother joined us, as did Vera and Dad. Richard got out his guitar and we all sang Christmas carols and hymns until it was time to go out for dinner.

I don’t think Dad ever understood why we all had to go outside when he believed we were cold.

Home On The Range

13 Dec

The Squire went to get something out of the car last night, and stuck his head in the door to motion for me to come outside.

The dog was racing and chasing, having a grand time – with a coyote!

We called the dog back to the house, but the coyote stayed out by the barn, cautious, but not particularly afraid, eating the food we’d put out for the foxes. He sat down and looked at us for a few moments, and then trotted back into the woods.