Friday, March 25, 2011

By The Way, Mom

Your muffins were a huge hit. Shared them with a couple of people at work. Made their day! And no, I didn't take credit for them. I like to brag about you. :)

And yeah, I enjoyed them, too. They're gone. :)

Love you, Momma!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

For The Record

In regards to the upcoming game, I'm rooting for...the Wildcats. I won't be destroyed if the Buckeyes win, though. It's a win/win for me overall.

Oh, and when I saw the matchup between Team That Christian Laettner Played For vs. That Team Up North, I said: "If both teams could lose, that would be PERFECT." Ah well.

If neither UK or OSU makes it, I'm rooting for Butler.

Comfort Movies

You've heard of comfort food. I was thinking about comfort movies recently. Have you ever watched a movie because you were having a bad day? What about when you were sick? (If you weren't sleeping?)

Mary Poppins is one of my comfort movies. Really - how can anyone, other than a complete cynic, or an inmate at Guantanamo Bay, keep from laughing during the scene at Uncle Albert's house? Or even hear the elder Mr. Dawes' voice without smiling? "A wooden leg named Smith!" It's like trying to keep a straight face while saying "You've got to put down the duckie" three times. But I digress...

Another Julie Andrews classic, The Sound of Music, is also one of my comfort movies. On bad days, it feels just as nice as a flannel blanket on a cold winter's day. "When the dog bites/when the bee stings/when I'm feeling sad/I simply remember my favorite things/And then I don't feel so bad!"

Hoosiers is another comfort movie. When I was a kid, the opening scenes of Gene Hackman driving through rural Indiana made me think of southern Illinois where my grandma lived. It's just a good story.

Some Disney movies are comforts as well. Although it depends on what kind of bad day/mood I'm in as to which one I end up watching.

Musicals like My Fair Lady and The Music Man are simply timeless and are good escape fare, with good music to boot. Clue is a comfort movie to me at times when I'm craving a good laugh.

The common thread in comfort movies (at least to me) is that when they're done, I feel better. Movies that are too cynical, or sarcastic (and most everyone who reads this blog knows how much I loathe sarcasm) or dark just won't do on bad days. That's why it's more difficult to think of films from recent times that satisfy that particular need. During the "Golden Age" of films, there was more of a balance between realistic/gritty films and upbeat ones. Life is gritty enough. Sometimes people just need an escape. The Matrix is an alternative world, but upbeat it ain't.

As for comfort food, the local grocery store was having a sale in their deli for fried chicken. Eight pieces for $4.99. Yep, I had a really nice dinner. :)

And no, I did NOT eat all eight pieces!

What are your comfort movies?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The (Original) Ides of March

Cassius: Fellow, come from the throng: Look upon Caesar.

Caesar: What say'st thou to me now? Speak once again.

Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March.

Caesar: He is a dreamer; let us leave him; pass.


Cinna: O Caesar -

Caesar: Hence! Wilt thou lift up Olympus?

Decius Brutus: Great Caesar -

Caesar: Doth not Brutus bootless kneel?

Casca: Speak, hands, for me!

CASCA stabs CAESAR in the neck. CAESAR catches hold of his arm. He is then stabbed by several other Conspirators and at last by MARCUS BRUTUS.

Caesar: Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar.

Dies. The Senators and People retire in confusion.

Cinna: Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead! Run hence, proclaim, cry it about the streets.

Cassius: Some to the common pulpits, and cry out Liberty, freedom and enfranchisement!

Brutus: People, and senators! be not affrighted; Fly not; stand still: -ambition's debt is paid.

-From William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Acts I and III

Monday, March 14, 2011

Yes, It's Still Winter

This morning, I woke to fat, fluffy flakes falling furiously. Quoth Mr. Frost:

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

"Dust of Snow"

"Someone conflicted much?"

Says my coworker after hearing this from me at break today:

"#$!%! #$!%! #$!%!! OSU and Kentucky are in the same bracket!?"

After which I remember the horrors in Japan and elsewhere in the world...bows head in shame. It's praying the Litany tonight.

Friday, March 11, 2011

"It's Friday, I'm in love..."

Did you really think the title of the post would be anything other than that? :)
On a more somber note, pray for our brothers and sisters in Japan. They will need our prayers for many days to come.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Thursday, I don't care about you..."

Well, that's not entirely true. Today turned out to be pretty good. After work, I went to a happy hour for a little while. It wasn't for anything special - we (coworkers) hadn't had one for months. Sometimes it's nice to hang out outside of work, you know? Then I drove home, swallowed dinner, and went to choir. Yes, this is my life. I go from happy hour :)

The lovely JR fell asleep during choir, but woke up before the end of it. She always has the greatest smiles for everyone there...soon she'll have teeth, too! Life goes on...

The column in everyone's home budget labeled "Gas" now shows "not enough".

Remembering the Holy Gospel from last night:
"And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." The Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter Six

There is one more observation from last night. When the pastor was distributing the ashes, he would say to each individual person: "You are dust, and to dust you shall return." Sobering truth indeed. For some reason, I favor the older phrase: "Thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return." Maybe it is a reminder of the longevity of the phrase, and the service to which it belongs. Or the fact that countless others have received the ashes on their foreheads, and have since gone home.

One last thing: Why, at the services that ask for silence prior to their beginning, are people so noisy? Infants and small children seem to know instinctively when they should be quiet, and they so often aren't.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Tuesday's gray, and Wednesday too..."

Fat Tuesday. Long day today. Worked late, drove home through the rain (of course). I drank a "fat" Coke this afternoon while listening to the Cards' loss to the Red Sox. If you want to win, don't give up a two-run homer in the eighth...

No more Coke after this; well, no pop anyway. Until the end of April. Maybe. I'd be better off if I never drank the stuff again. I gave it up for Lent back in college (around eight years ago) and made it through the whole season. Then I drank one the day after Easter and have never stopped since. Mistake. There's no excuse for not making it this time. Of course I'll keep you posted. :)

Tomorrow will be a long day, too. The choir is singing at Ash Wednesday service tomorrow night. I like the unique nature of the service. Everyone gets caught up in the special feeling of, for instance, Christmas Eve Midnight service, and hardly ever thinks about the fact that there's only one Ash Wednesday service a year.

Monday, March 7, 2011

"I don't care if Monday's blue..."

Monday - wash day. At least it is this week. Clothes and dishes. This sounds mundane, but right now it's comforting. The washer's going, the dishes are drying, and there's four more days to go until the weekend. Not that I'm counting or anything. :) There's something about every day of the week that is special. Particularly this week, Wednesday is special. Ash Wednesday this year comes late. I'm glad it won't happen this late again for another two-and-a-half decades or so. In my head, it should be halfway to Easter right now.

Is anyone giving anything up for Lent? A couple of years ago, my pastor gave a sermon on the importance of not complaining. Hmmm. That would probably be more difficult to give up than a favorite food.

What's good about Monday? Well, it's the first (work) day of the week. A day to start over, or again. A chance to set goals for the rest of the week.

Do I listen to my own rhetoric? Not usually...I'm feeling optimistic today. No idea why. I hope it stays around for awhile. It feels better than walking around feeling like Ziggy.

To end on a high note, the Cards won today! That's good news, no matter WHAT day of the week it is.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Good Day

This is a good day for getting indoor activities done. March is good for those types of things. I'm going to make cookies later. Which recipe? My favorite, of course!

Coffee Chip Cookies

1 cup of shortening (butter or margarine can be substituted)
2 cups of packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup of boiling (hot) water
2 TBSP of coffee (instant)
4 cups of all purpose flour (that's what the original recipe calls for, what other flour is there?)
2 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of baking soda
4 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips (24 oz., and do use semi-sweet. I used milk chocolate chips once and they weren't nearly as good)

Cream short and brown sugar in bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Combine water and coffee, set aside.
Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture alternately with coffee. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Yields 3 and 1/2 dozen.

These are really good with a fresh cup of coffee, or so I've heard. (Non coffee-drinking blogger here.) For myself, I favor a cup of cold milk. Or just by themselves, with no drink at all.



Friday, March 4, 2011

Nothing in Particular

There's been rain, thunder, lightening, etc. off and on for the last few hours. I had dinner, watched a funny YouTube video (the theme was Sheen or Gaddafi?), blogged, listened to the radio announcers get way too excited about bad weather, blogged, popped in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, worked on my ongoing-should-have-been-done-in-October-but-is-nearly-finished project, and tried to doctor myself. For those of you not on Facebook, I've started to predict the weather. Actually, more specifically, my left knee has started predicting the weather. I'm not too fond of the career change. I liked it better when it was unswollen and less tempermental and, you know, enabled me to walk without feeling like Frankenstein.

Here's a tip: never Google bodily ailments. Ninety percent of the results will list remedies that involve surgery.

Question: Does anyone know of a good substitute for salad dressing? I've tried to eat it dry (like Mom), but I need something else. Suggestions would be helpful.

Oh, and to satisfy you, the power has gone off, and back on again. Twice. So far. Today.



Sometimes I read things that just really hit home. Over at my pastor's blog (over on the left, W's blog) go and read about Noel. I didn't know him. His story shamed me. There are so many lonely, forgotten people in this world. Everyone should have a friend. After reading Noel's story, I thought about how many friends God has put into my life. I deserve none of them. If God were just in His dealings with us, no one would have friends. Who among us deserves them?
In the purest sense, Jesus' teaching to us that we should "love our neighbor as we love ourselves" to me means being a friend to the friendless. After all, He is. He loves people that no one on this earth even knows exists. Like Noel. Is Noel a lesser person because no one came to his funeral, other than his pastor? (And sadly, not all pastors do that.) Absolutely not!

One of the greatest comforts as a Christian is to know, even in my darkest moments, that I am not alone. As Lent approaches, the Church remembers the moment when the Son of God cried aloud: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?" (Matthew 26: 46)

In German, the verse reads: "Mein Gott, mein Gott, warum hast du mich verlassen?"
Verlassen in German means "abandoned".

Noel was not abandoned. He was remembered by his Savior. He is now at home, where there is no loneliness or abandonment.

Remember not only your friends, but those around you who may not have a real friend. It doesn't take much. I don't mean to lecture anyone - I fail in this way constantly. It's the little things that mean something; saying good morning, opening a door for someone, listening to someone talk (even if he or she has a tendency to rattle on).

"For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others?" Matthew 5:46-47, NKJV

May He grant us His love to love others. Amen.


Waiting For The Storm

Literally. Just heard some thunder in the distance. The rearview mirror view coming home was solid dark blue. The radio's on, and so far, so is the electricity. Please, please stay on. Severe thunderstorms in the area and I'm under a tornado watch. And the siren just went off. But no worries...yet. It's six o'clock and the siren always goes off now. Hopefully this will blow through before late night.