Thursday, March 28, 2013

Doritos and Kool-aid

We had a foot-washing service this afternoon at church. The foot-washing ceremony was not part of the faith community that I grew up in, but we have attended two churches since we moved to Missouri where it is practice, and it can be quite an amazing and moving experience. I note today that the new Pope washed the feet of inmates and women. That's what it is all about.

After we finished, the subject of communion on Sunday came up. The church pantry appears not to have any communion wafers. Sue wondered if I would be interested in making the communion bread and then said she would buy some if I did not want to. I volunteered to make it. Then we had a discussion about whether it should be leavened or unleavened, and did it matter?

Kim, who moved here with her family a few years ago and attends our church now, was the pastor of a church where she lived before they moved here. The Sunday service in her church was broadcast over the local community access cable channel in their town. She said she got into some trouble because in one of her sermons she told the people watching at home that if they wanted to participate in the communion service along with the congregation, and all they had in the house was Doritos and Kool-aid, then they should get the Doritos and Kool-aid and have communion along with them and that it would be OK.

It is hard to say what the bread was like that they ate at that last Passover meal before the crucifixion. Most of the ingredients in the communion bread I will bake  -- wheat flour, olive oil, honey, molasses and salt -- could have been used to make the bread in that last Passover supper.

We won’t be having Doritos and Kool-aid on Sunday, but it would be OK.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Rubber butter and other oddities

A string of sometimes peculiar, bewildering, funny, even somewhat alarming events that began with the strange photograph of the basketball homecoming queen have continued on and which I have had some trouble writing about. Several blog writers that I enjoyed reading very much have abandoned their blogs in favor of Twitter or Facebook or perhaps they didn’t intend to stop writing, it just sort of happened. I can see it happening here, and even if not another single person ever read the blog again, I read it and it has become a valuable memory keeper, so I really don’t want to let it lapse. As I have complained about more than once, I have been struggling since well…. since… trying to get some sort of balance back in my life and have not been very successful. At any rate… before too much more time passes: 

The magic microwave…

For about 2 weeks our microwave took on a mind of its own. When we opened the door of the machine to heat something, it automatically turned on and the rotating plate began to rotate. It was very disconcerting. When the item had finished heating, we had to be rather quick to open the door and grab what was ever in there so as not to expose ourselves to the microwave radiation, although I am not sure how dangerous an unshielded microwave really is (except I know they are not good for people whose heart rhythm is controlled by a pacemaker). Eventually the microwave died, and we struggled without it for 1 day before Richard high-tailed it off to the nearest major retailer in the area to buy a new one. I grew up without a microwave and my mother functioned just fine without one for many years, but my goodness, they are so convenient.

Rubber butter...

Without giving it too much thought, I stuck a piece of light-colored cheese (Havarti or Gouda) in the cubicle where we keep the butter. It wasn’t wrapped. My main guilty pleasure is a tablespoon of butter on my popcorn at night. Yeah, yeah, I know.  Sometimes I use olive oil instead. One evening I grabbed what I thought was about a 1-tbsp piece of butter and melted it in the microwave. It didn’t look quite right as I was pouring it over my popcorn, but I didn’t think too much about it until after I sat down and discovered that wherever the butter had landed, the popcorn was stuck together with this rubbery glop. I thought something was seriously wrong with the butter, so I told Richard I this rubber butter and did he have any ideas? He couldn’t figure it out either at first and then he said, “That almost looks like melted cheese….”

Of course. Once I realized it wasn’t mutant butter, it was quite tasty.

One in 20 people…

Having watched me slowly recover from a rather stubborn bronchial infection over the Christmas holidays, my husband began reminding me that I really needed to get a pneumonia vaccine. After he got pneumonia twice, he got the vaccine and has not had it since, and was very concerned that I might get it. So having become tired of being nagged, I made an appointment with the County Health Department to get the vaccine. While I was filling out the paperwork, I handed him the CDC handouts on the pneumonia vaccine the clerk had given me and he began to read it and then said:
“Did you realize that 1 in 20 people who get the vaccine will die?”


Ooops. I read that wrong. One in 20 who get pneumonia will die…
TV these days is filled with commercials for prescription medicines for which they are required to list all of the adverse effects of taking the medicine, and sometimes death is a side effect. That is not a particularly funny fact, but something about the situation tickled both of us and we burst into laughter, which perhaps caused some confusion amongst the clerks behind the counter; fortunately, the waiting room was empty.

So I am duly vaccinated. And as an aside, I have nothing but good things to say about our County Health Department. They provide a wonderful service.


Not only were butter and cheese melted. I had put my ski mask into the microwave to warm it up a bit because it was very cold out. Unfortunately, it was damp around the top because I had washed it out the day before and it had not yet fully dried. The heat from the microwave cause the damp parts to melt. So I cut those parts out and left the house and then got yelled at when I returned for not saying anything to Richard about the melted hat. The smell of the melted hat had convinced him that there was an electrical fire somewhere in the house.  .And now I really must wear another cap in addition to the ski mask to keep the top of my head warm, and very conveniently, my cousin in Hawaii sent me a new one.

We’ve created a monster…

We thought it was funny when the Molly Wog tore into a hole in the ground to get at whatever small creature was living there. Tree root in the way? Not a problem, she would just bite down on it and rip it out. On warm days, I would hook her to a cable and let her dig out there for an hour or so in the afternoon and then bring her in and clean her up.

And then she caught a mouse in the garage. She was very proud of herself, and carried it around for a while but didn’t eat it.

We have always had a mouse problem in the house – especially in the first new room we added on. This was Richard’s office, and there are quite a few small holes in the walls for cables for phone lines, Internet access, and the television, and the like.

After Molly Wolly Doodle got the smell of mouse in her nose, I guess she realized there were mice all over the place, particularly out there. Whenever anyone went out there, she came too, and for a while, she was content to sit out there and stare at the wall. And then one morning, perhaps a mouse actually did stick its nose out of one of the holes, but she went berserk and started to dismantle a book case that was in front of the hole, and then the DSL line was in the way, and so she just grabbed it and ripped it in half. Richard knew immediately something was wrong when the Internet suddenly went dead, and so we went running out there in time to stop her from doing any more damage or grabbing an electrical wire and electrocuting herself or burning the house down.

Shortly after we got her, we bought a wire crate for her, and fortunately, by this time, we gotten her quite used to going inside crate to eat her food and get treats. We keep the door shut to that area of the house, but unfortunately, there are several areas now in the living area where she thinks there might be mice. Now we don’t trust her to be by herself in the house, so she has to be locked in the crate if we both leave the house. Whatever hunting instincts were built into the big version of the Schnauzer breed have not been downsized in this smaller version…. And that's the truth... pbbtttt

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Behind the scenes

I did not have the privilege of raising a daughter, and if truth be told, I was terrified at the idea that I would give birth to a girl because I did not think I would be a good mother to a female child. Even so, I think I can do a fairly reasonable job of imagining what these parents of this young woman might have felt recently.

Your attractive daughter is a high school senior, and she is popular enough to have been nominated to be the Hoop Queen and will be crowned at the upcoming homecoming basketball, game. I am not sure how this is done at the local high school; perhaps the boys on the team pick the girls who will be candidates… or the entire senior class, or a committee, and then they are voted on.

Excitement and/or dread have been building for several weeks, getting just the right dress for the occasion, getting her hair done, and finally the big day arrives. You go to the homecoming basketball game and during the half-time ceremony your daughter is indeed crowned Hoop Queen. A photographer is taking pictures as she is crowned and photographs of the homecoming court, and you eagerly go to the newspaper office the following Tuesday to pick up extra copies of the paper to send to out-of-town friends and family.

And are in for a big surprise. The photograph of your daughter being crowned Hoop Queen is indeed in the paper; in fact, it is on the front page, at the bottom. There she is… a lovely picture of her back, and admittedly, the back of the dress that was chosen with such care does have some very interesting details. There is a perfect shot of her boyfriend, who is happily placing the crown on her head and grinning from ear-to-ear.

Richard informs me that it would violate the copyright law if I put this very strange picture on the blog without permission, so I guess “1000 words” will have to do. The newspaper redeemed itself a bit by at least printing on an inside page a picture of the queen and her court so their faces can be seen – just barely -- but we just could not figure out “what were they thinking…”

We do not hold ourselves out to be experts on newspapers or what makes a good newspaper, but we did publish a community newspaper for some years in Southern California, and there are just some things a good newspaper is supposed to do… and this was definitely not it.