Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This is most certainly true...

I was born and raised a Missouri Synod Lutheran, and while I rail at times against some of their more closed-minded attitudes, there is much about this system I celebrate because it is such a part of the fiber of who I am.  I got this as an email today from my mom, and while it is gently poking fun at Minnesota Lutherans, it also makes me smile because it is a reflection of my growing up in the church.  Enjoy!

This is most certainly true. Do you Lutherans remember this sentence?

> From Garrison Keillor:

> I have made fun of Lutherans for years - who wouldn't if you lived in Minnesota? But I have also sung with Lutherans and that is one of the main joys of life, along with hot baths and fresh sweet corn.

> We make fun of Lutherans for their blandness, their excessive calm, their fear of giving offense, their lack of speed and also for their secret fondness for macaroni and cheese. But nobody sings like they do. If you ask an audience in New York City, a relatively Lutheran less place, to sing along on the chorus of 'Michael Row the Boat Ashore,' they will look daggers at you as if you had asked them to strip to their under-wear. But if you do this among Lutherans they'll smile and row that boat ashore and up on the beach! And down the road!
> Lutherans are bred from childhood to sing in four-part harmony. It's a talent that comes from sitting on the lap of someone singing alto or tenor or bass and hearing the harmonic intervals by putting your little head against that person's rib cage. It's natural for Lutherans to sing in harmony. We're too modest to be soloists, too worldly to sing in unison. When you're singing in the key of C and you slide into the A7th and D7th chords, all two hundred of you, it's an emotionally fulfilling moment.

> I once sang the bass line of Children of the Heavenly Father in a room with about three thousand Lutherans in it; and when we finished, we all had tears in our eyes, partly from the promise that God will not forsake us, partly from the proximity of all those lovely voices. By our joining in harmony, we somehow promise that we will not forsake each other.

> I do believe this: These Lutherans are the sort of people you could call up when you're in deep distress. If you're dying, they'll comfort you. If you're lonely, they'll talk to you. And if you're hungry, they'll give you tuna salad!

> The following list was compiled by a 20th century Lutheran who, observing other Lutherans, wrote down exactly what he saw or heard:

> 1. Lutherans believe in prayer, but would practically die if asked to pray out loud.

> 2. Lutherans like to sing, except when confronted with a new hymn or a hymn with more than four stanzas.

> 3. Lutherans believe their pastors will visit them in the hospital, even if they don't notify them that they are there.

> 4. Lutherans usually follow the official liturgy and will feel it is their way of suffering for their sins.

> 5. Lutherans believe in miracles and even expect miracles, especially during their stewardship visitation programs or when passing the plate.

> 6. Lutherans feel that applauding for their children's choirs would make the kids too proud and conceited.

> 7. Lutherans think that the Bible forbids them from crossing the aisle while passing the peace.

> 8. Lutherans drink coffee as if it were the Third Sacrament.

> 9. Some Lutherans believe that an ELCS bride and an LCMS groom make for a mixed marriage. (For those of you who are not Lutherans, ELCS is Evangelical Lutheran Church Synod and LCMS is Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. When and where I grew up in Minnesota, intermarriage between the two was about as popular as Lutherans and Catholics marrying.)

> 10. Lutherans feel guilty for not staying to clean up after their own wedding reception in the Fellowship Hall.

> 11. Lutherans are willing to pay up to one dollar for a meal at church.

> 12. Lutherans think that Garrison Keillor stories are totally factual.

> 13. Lutherans still serve Jell-O in the proper liturgical color of the season and think that peas in a tuna noodle casserole add too much color.

> 14. Lutherans believe that it is OK to poke fun at themselves and never take themselves too seriously.

> And finally, you know you're a Lutheran when:

> *It's 100 degrees, with 90% humidity, and you still have coffee after the service;

> *You hear something really funny during the sermon and smile as loudly as you can;

> *Donuts are a line item in the church budget, just like coffee;

> *The communion cabinet is open to all, but the coffee cabinet is locked up tight;

> *When you watch a 'Star Wars' movie and they say,'May the Force be with you,' you respond, 'and also with you'.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Feeling sorry for myself.

Last Sunday when Brie and co. came down from Springfield, Skye was running a fever and feeling really punk.  It resolved into a terrible cold (along with a rash the first couple of days--my guess is fifth's disease, a common childhood ailment that looks like "slapped cheeks" and a fine rash on the trunk/torso).  Brie had her in to the clinic and she was given supportive treatments: mucinex for the cough, advil for the fever and aches, tlc...  Anyway, as the week wore on little miss sidekick generously coughed, sneezed, and shared everything in her small life with me, and as a result by the end of the week I had a sore throat starting, followed by a cough from hell that showed up in the wee hours of Saturday morning.  Over the course of last night, things have started migrating up to my sinuses, and I feel worse today than I did even yesterday (and yesterday was NO picinic).  I am not necessarily looking forward to another day in bed (although I did bathe, then play some EQ last night with Eric), but being upright isn't feeling so great right now either.  Still, Eric has an ot shift today, the boys are either gone or sleeping, Aurora is still out of state (bowling tournament), and Brie and Skye won't be back until later this afternoon (her guy is gone most of the week again for work, so she and the baby will hang with us), so I might as well just vegetate, read, knit, and/or watch the rest of Lost's episodes (I am halfway through season 5).  Seriously: what fun is a sick day if one is too sick to enjoy it????

Otherwise, things around here are pretty much status quo.  Nothing major going on, no significant changes to discuss.  Just plugging away at life, school, work (or job-seeking as the case may be) and other than the colds, everyone is healthy.  Now I think I need to find some more hot something (tea or coffee), and lay back down.  This lump of lead I call a head is throbbing!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Back from my travels!

It's been a busy week!  I am safely home from trips to Indiana and Florida, both of which were successful in their various agendas.  I am worn out though, and have a bit of a sore throat (changing weather/allergies I am assuming). My mental drive to be productive is not keeping pace with my physical lethargy these last couple of days and I am not sure if that is an indication that I need more coffee, or need to just rest and relax a couple of days.  The grey, gloomy skies don't help, and as Eric pointed out this morning on the phone, the day seems to drag when there are no obvious indicators of time's passage.  I told him I was gonna come home, turn on every light I could find, and even light a few candles just to erase the gloom!  He laughed at me.

I try not to get too political or hyper religious on my blog, but it is MY blog, and I read something today that really spoke to my heart.  It was a link posted on facebook to an opinion piece that had been published in the St. Paul MN paper:  This post, written about the Catholic Church's response to gays and the gay marriage initiative was spot on, in my opinion, and really reflects how I was brought up to view faith and my relationship with God. It is the same argument I used in talking to the Mo Synod Lutheran minister (who pushed my children and I away from the community church we attended because of his closed-minded, narrow attitudes) as to why I struggled with his teachings and hoped for less judgment and more tolerance; his response to me was that my "secular education had obscured my Christian upbringing" (or words to that effect).  Although it focuses on the Catholic church, it addresses the conflicts found in many faith groups.  Please, let me know what you think related to this!

Aurora is in Peoria this weekend at another college tournament, and Brie has taken her boyfriend and Skye to go cheer the team on.  Brie decided against running the Army 10 mile she had registered for (was to happen this weekend) when the people she had planned to go with bailed out, (along with not being as well-trained for it as she should have been).  Probably for the best, although I know she is disappointed.  Eric is working all weekend, and the boys too have their plans, so I am basically on my own, and I love it!  Just wish I could find my missing motivation to get things done... We have a red cross pickup on the 26th (clothing and household items drive) and I need to get a bag together for that.  I have many things I love but can't justify keeping because I just don't wear them.  I prefer giving them away where I know they will be used than just taking up space in a closet or dresser drawer.  Now to actually pack them up....

The October birthday celebrations continue.  I feel bad I haven't mailed out any cards, but I have tried to at least call, send emails, or do facebook messages to let people know I haven't forgotten them.  I also mailed out the shawl I made for my friend Erika today, as well as a package to Justin and Alexis of socks, underwear, and shorts they had left here in August (along with a treat of sorts).  I am grateful Aurora rode with a friend so I have a vehicle at my disposal for the weekend--helps to not feel stuck at home when there are things to do and places to be gone to! Besides the post office I took in the Fall Festival on Main Stree today (crafts, a chili cook-off, a car show, etc.) and the Arts and Crafts show at the high school.  I sometimes wish I had unlimited funds for some of the things I see and like.  There were some things I know I could make (or make better) that were for sale, while other things had me drooling with desire or shaking my head with "what were they thinking".  An altogether pleasant way to spend a gloomy Saturday morning!

Now though, I really need to find something to eat (coffee is delicious, but not terribly filling), and find the next item on my to-do list...  Or maybe I will just play some Everquest!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy 49th birthday to my "little/big" brother Erik!

Which reminds me, I have to call him either today at work or tonight at home to wish it to him in person...  Oddly enough, in many ways I feel no different at 50 than I did at 25, except for maybe a bit slower in some regards and wiser in others, heeheehee.

I had the most amazing weekend!  I spent 18 hours at the local sewing machine and fabric store (Jackman's Fabrics in Fairview Heights, IL) attending the Anita Goodesign's fall embroidery event and party.  I was seated at a table that had one sewing machine and 4 other women, one of whom actually lives here in town, just past the grocery store, and the others live in surrounding communities. Over the course of two days we shared the machine, laughed, learned from each other, made some fun projects, and discussed all the ways we are both similar and different!  I collected telephone numbers, and plan to use them; I also succombed to the lure of joining an "embroidery club" sponsored by the design company (two brand new embroidery design packs each month, plus bonus packs quarterly), enticed by all the bonus gifts they were offering to attendees, plus the additional enhancement of a "golden ticket" that offered a lovely bonus gift if drawn (I won a $400 value collection of Madiera embroidery threads!).  I also received many lovely attendance gifts (design packs), free meals (breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack, along with unlimited access to coffee, tea, or soda) and open enticement to shop the store itself during breaks or "non-driving" sewing time (we took turns making the projects, but got a cd with all the projects and instructions to bring home to do ourselves).  The only money I actually spent beyond the attendance fees was to join the quilting club (design packs that center around quilting and quilting themes), and when I shared with Eric all that I came home with he fully endorsed my participation.  By Sunday night my eyes were so dry and tired I didn't even want to knit during my favorite shows, so I just sat on the bed and relaxed while watching them, and Eric played EQ.

Now I need to slowly start gathering supplies to make up some of these design packs I got (for lovely embroidered quilts), meaning I need basics like muslin, lightweight fusible interfacing (for stability) and stabilizers.  I have plenty of fabrics to use as supporting fabrics, and I have plenty of on-hand things I can use to practice these new skill-sets with; it's just if I want to create any of the completed sets I will need further basic supplies down the road (a good use of those JoAnn and Jackman sales fliers and coupons I get!)  It won't replace the quilts I already enjoy making, but it will provide more variety and options for construction and quilting!  I am soooo excited to begin!

Today is one of those gorgeous fall days that just enliven one's blood and lift one's spirits: cool, brisk, but blue-skied and sunny.  I plan to sit outside with projects in hand and enjoy at least part of the day!  Being it's a holiday, many federal things are closed today, as is the public school for Rei (although the colleges are still open so Aurora and Brie have class), making it a quiet day for us.

Anyhow, I just wanted to share my happiness over the fun I had, and how refreshed and energized I feel by a weekend away from the norm!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

2 posts in 1 week!

I saw the eye surgeon today and am pleased to share that I have 20/20 vision now, albeit with a slight astigmatism still in my right eye.  That is what is causing the "ghosting" of the images I see (especially script).  This may or may not resolve itself over time as healing continues and my brain acclimates to the new signals it is receiving.  He pointed out that if needed we can probably correct that with a bit of lasiks, but not for at least 3 months.  I am fine with that, and generally can do the things I want/need to do without issue.  He also said midrange vision is generally the last to come back to clear, so that too may just be a part of the healing process.

I am quite excited: this weekend I am attending a machine embroidery event at the shop where I bought my machines from.  This will feature new designs and offerrings from a design company, along with making some items, free gifts, and door prizes, along with meals and snacks.  It is both Saturday and Sunday from 8-5.  I am psyched!  I will be having Skye 2 weekends this month, once for drill, and once because Brie is running in an Army 10K in Maryland (?) the end of the month, but this coming weekend is my own (Eric even works!) so I am looking forward to some fun, conversations, knowledge, and improved skill-sets!  I have never been to one of these before, so it will be something new for me to do.

Next weekend we are considering a trip to IN, taking Skye with us (because we'll have her), to go see Aurora's college bowling tournament, then visiting Eric's family up there.  I am not sure why, but I have been dreaming a lot about my in-laws and while I remember very few of the dreams, I wake up with them on my heart.  Given I really enjoy being with both of them, I am hoping this trip comes to fruitition.  Then I am looking at another quick roadtrip to FL to help Patrick take care of some outstanding business he needs to address.  Should be 2 travel days with a day there in between to take care of things.  After than things should start to normalize around here!

For those who follow my needlecraft projects, I have completed the applique on the final border of my Baltimore Album Quilt, a top I have been doing by hand for almost 20 years now.  I just need to miter the final 2 borders, and applique on the corner motif, then I can sew them to the quilt top, finally completing it so I can then hand quilt it.  It is so exciting to see the next phase of it coming to fruition, and my hope is that I can quilt it over the course of next year, finishing it exactly 20 years after it was started (more or less anyway).  I have also been working diligently on two cross-stitched projects that have been in the works for awhile: my Lady of Shalott is being backstitched and beaded (the border is labor-intensive), and a sampler called "How does your garden grow," which is made up of specialty stitches, beading, and cross-stitching.  I have two knitting projects going right now: my Evenstar Shawl, which I have almost completed chart 3 of, so it is about 3/4 completed; and an Estonian lace stole done in 50/50 merino wool and silk, which is my "simpler" project.  I have a couple of other things I pick up and work on in varying places of completion, but those are the priority.  I really wish my cell phone camera took better pictures because I could post photos of my progress on these things.  I will just have to get out my real camera and then I can do so.  I have been alternating between types of projects because they work my vision in different ways: some projects have finer details than others to be on top of, some have charts, graphs, or written instructions to follow, and all require varying levels of focus/attention to detail that help strengthen my eye muscles and vision (a nice side benefit AND justification for doing things I love--it's ohysical therapy and I am following Doctor's orders!)

Patrick is thrilled that he may have found a job already at a local restaurant across the street from the high school.  He had an interview yesterday that went well, and he is cautiously optomistic.  No nibbles for Rei or Dan yet though. Aurora has this weekend off from bowling, then has tournaments the next 6 weekends.  I believe she said her team came in 2nd overall in the standings after last weekend's tournament, and she is quite pleased.  She placed 4th individually, which also made her happy (was 2nd after the first shift finished, and only dropped to 4th). 

Eric and I went to the Strange Folk Festival on Sunday and had a fun time.  I was disappointed the variety of crafters wasn't as large as it has been in years past, but many of my favorite vendors were there, as were the alpacas (sooooo cute!!!!) and the Southern IL Artisan's Guild.  I was given an opportunity to spin on a spinning wheel using an alpaca wool blend batt (I hope I didn't mess it up too dreadfully for the lovely lady who let me try), and I got many questions answered that I had floating around in my head regarding techniques and materials.  I bought a second spindle, some fun yarn I was fondling ("super ego" is the brand!), and received some much needed coaching/tuteledge from some drop spindle spinners.  I came home with my treasures (including a hank of practice fiber) and feel like I have really fine tuned my technique--I think I can now call myself a novice spinner vs. an aspiring one.

Anyhow, that is the updates for today on me (primarily) and my household.  Hopefully I will be back sooner than another month : )

Monday, October 1, 2012

September recapped...

Somehow the entire month got away from me with only one blog post...  I know some of it is due to the challenges I am still dealing with as my eyes heal, learn to function together, and reconnect with my brain in a meaningful way; none-the-less, I tend to limit my time on all screens except for my Nook: for whatever reason, the e-ink they use, the pale grey background, and the ability to change font size has made reading on that both easy and soothing!

My eyes are healing, and while I was very impressed with my post surgery vision in my left eye, for whatever reason (possibly the swelling going down) things have changed again and are not completely as clear (my eyes seem more balanced, but not quite in synch with each other).  I see the surgeon on Thursday morning, so I will ask my questions and follow up then.  Overall though I feel I am doing amazingly well and am quite content.

Eric and I made a round trip drive to Florida and back to pick up Patrick and bring him home.  Life down there didn't live up to what he had hoped for and he was ready to come home.  The trip down was fairly uneventful, as was the trip back, except for the GPS we were using: it was set to the fasted drive time for the trip down, but for the trip back was somehow set for "least use of freeways" and thus we were rerouted away from any sembelence of an interstate!  The drive was scenic, fairly direct, and generally comfortable, however it was also extremely looooooooooong!  The drive down was about 12 hours (plus a 3 hour nap in Alabama), while the drive back was 16 hours with only one break for dinner (we went to IHOP for a substantial meal vs fast food).  Patrick is glad to be home, and is already working to re-establish employment and re-connect with friends. 

Brie and Skye have gotten fairly well settled in Springfield, and we see Skye a few times each week, whether I babysit her during Brie's classes or not.  Skye is adapting, but does struggle a bit with leaving us when it's time to go home, because in her mind, home is still here.  Aurora is now in the swing of bowling season and she came in 4th overall (individually) in the tournament this past weekend (not sure how the team did as a whole), highest on her team.  School is also going fine for her, and she hasn't complained too much about her classes as yet :)

Rei has had a few downs at school over the past couple of weeks, but nothing he cannot bounce back from.  He just needs to get his head back in the game and rein in his attitude a bit.  Senioritis combined with girlfriend issues takes a toll on attention spans.  His grades are doing well still, which is nice to see.  Not much new or exciting is going in with the Minneapolis kids--life continues apace for both Liisa and Tony's households. 

Eric switched back to day shifts as of today which will let all of us get back onto a somewhat more "normal" schedule.  I am needing to look at ways to pass my time now as my eyes heal.  I am focusing on the household and "clutter" right now, as well as looking at what my options are for internships and/or employment, including the transportation issue.  Eric and I are brainstorming! 

I am fairly sure there is stuff I am leaving out, but those are the highlights for now.