Monday, June 30, 2008

local vs. organic...

I am in the midst of a milk dilemma.

I generally use approximately 1/2 gallon of milk a week (sometimes more/less depending on what I'm cooking).  I prefer organic milk, and I also prefer local milk, and I also prefer low-temperature pasteurized milk (which is what you need to make cheese).

I have two options right now in my grocery store.
1.  Farmer's Creamery:  organic, low-temp pasteurized, non-homogenized, really really good milk from Amish farms in Iowa (about 150-250 miles away, depending on the batch).  Pros:  really really good--like holy cows good.  perfect for cheese making. Organic.  Cons:  only lasts 5 days, if I'm lucky, before beginning to sour.  Not really all that local though it does fit the locavore criteria.  Costs $4.99/half gallon!  Plastic bottle.

2.  Oberweis:  no hormones, low-temp pasteurized, homogenized, really really good milk from small-medium family farms in the immediate area.  Pros:  really really good.  Can be used to make cheese (though I haven't tried it yet, the pasteurization temp is okay).  Glass bottles that you return to be sterilized and reused.  Very local.  Local family owned business.  hormone free.  strict standards for milk quality.  from cow to my fridge averages 1-2 days.  has home delivery if I want that.    Cons:  not certified organic because the farmers do not use organic feed/pasture (though none are hormone or antibiotic filled cows).  They also home-deliver ice cream, which I think could be really bad.  home delivery price is $3.19/half gallon (not sure if there's a bottle deposit this way or if it's included in delivery/storage cooler fee or if they just assume they'll be picking up the bottle next week anyway), store price around $3.20-69 plus bottle deposit of $0.85.

Now, here's the thing.  I'm pretty committed to the organic enterprise.  I want to support that because I think it's the most sustainable agriculture we can use.  I am also pretty committed to the eat-local thing, again because I think it's the most sustainable thing to do.  But if I have to choose, which one wins?  For veggies and eggs I'm good because I belong to a CSA which is both local and organic. For fruit I have a harder time as there's no organic fruit grown around here...so do I go with non-organic or local?  And for milk...well...you see the dilemma.  What's a girl to do?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

teehee!

I think this weekend's Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me! was one of the funniest in a while. I should know, having listened to about 10 weeks worth of podcasts of the show over the past two afternoons.

Just trust me--go here and listen. It's 47 minutes well worth spending! If you don't have the full 47 minutes to spare, I recommend especially the Not My Job segment and the second Who's Carl This Time? segment. I laughed out loud, a lot, which sort of hurt where my stitches pull but I couldn't help it. :-)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

pretty good



Wolfgang Puck Organic Creamy Butternut Squash Soup is pretty good. In case anyone else is out there looking for liquid/soft foods other than ice cream and mashed potatoes.

Friday, June 27, 2008

gratitude

Gratitude is a good thing.  pastor peters tagged me to list 10 things I'm thankful for, so here we go...

1.  kitties.  they're so cute and they seem to know when you need some love.
2.  an oral surgeon's office staff that aren't annoyed when I call with my paranoid issues every single day, and a surgeon who would see me "anytime this afternoon."
3.  the clove oil stuff they put on the packing that went into my dry socket--that stuff is amazing.
4.  carol hoefer's mashed potatoes.
5.  breyer's french vanilla ice cream.
6.  people who take care of me by bringing me aforementioned food items.
7.  the library, where you can get free books!
8.  wireless internet at my house that means I can take my computer to my bed if I want.  (it's squishier than the couch...)  Then I can keep watching pointless tv on hulu or reading blogs or listening to NPR podcasts...
9.  my tomato plant, which is growing its first tomato right now!!!
10.  friends.  you know who you are.  :-)

ummm...up next...amy, songbird, ppb, and cheesehead.  :-)

numb again...

Okay, so today I thought "I hurt more than yesterday--that can't be good." Since I was sick yesterday, I was concerned that I dislodged a blood clot in all the throwing up experience. So I went back to the doctor's office, and got the hole poked (OW!) and was told yep--blood clot gone, dry socket here. That's apparently not good. So the man (the other surgeon in the office, not the one who did my surgery--he was at the other office today) numbed me up a little, then packed it up with some kind of minty fresh dressing and now it's supposed to get all better. At least, that's the theory. Here's hoping, because I feel like a big wuss because my mouth hurts and everyone says I should be better by now. Plus I want to eat. (just sayin'.)

In other news, I got my hair cut today and it looks good again!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

things which require opening your mouth...

...that you don't really think about until that's hard.

1. putting on chapstick/rubbing lips together.
2. licking your lips.
3. talking.
4. eating with a spoon.


Okay, so that last one seems obvious, but have you ever noticed how much you need to move your jaw in order to use a spoon? I'm just saying. Wow. and Ow. It makes the ice cream eating a lot slower than it might be otherwise. Too bad straws are out of the question because dang that would be easier!

I can feel the stitches with my tongue and they are driving me crazy. They're supposed to dissolve on their own after a while, but I keep wanting to poke them. According to my instruction sheet, that's a bad idea.

The pain is significantly less today--no vicodin involved (yet, anyway), just a little advil. A lot less ice today too. Still not much outside swelling, though one of the glands/nodes in my neck is swollen and sore. Still no bruising--hallelujah! I think I'm home free on that part. I think the fever business is past and though I was sick once this morning things seem fine now, and best of all: I'm HUNGRY!!! For the first time in days. Unfortunately I can't eat much because of the aforementioned spoon problem. And I would just about kill for some tostitos and cheese dip, which are definitely out of the question (not to mention being really bad for you...).

I am going to a meeting tonight, and I am determined to be cheerful even if it is at a Mexican restaurant and I can't have a margarita. :-)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

reading challenge 2008

Today I read Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier.  It was recommended by my PhD in English lit friend Jenny.  She said I should read a real book instead of just fluffy princess books.  :-)
It's a classic, of course...well written, real literature.  Compelling story, only a few typos in my copy (but they did irritate me).  Predictable ending, unfortunately.  But overall good.  I haven't seen the movie (a Hitchcock) and am not likely to, but I did spend an enjoyable day reading, even if I was annoyed at how nameless new girl is a doormat and how the dead Rebecca runs (and ruins) everyone's lives.  

Anyway, if you're in need of a serious-literature break from the fluffy princess books, this is a good choice.  but for a hurty-mouth day blurred by various kinds of prescription drugs?  Decide for yourself based on how vicodin works for you.  (for me?  not much.)  The book's recommended.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

teeth gone, pain here

Okay, teeth are gone.  I really was in and out in an hour, which is good because it means no complications.  I've already been crying (cuz, ow) and so I know my sinus cavities are intact (that was a concern).  The anesthetic has worn off so I can feel and move my chin, lower lip, and tongue....and also feel everything else.  No tingling or numbness in my bottom jaw either, which means he didn't end up injuring my nerve in my bottom jaw--seriously good news!  But when I take the gauze off (it says leave it for an hour then take it off...if it keeps bleeding, bite down on teabags--been there, done that already) it hurts like a lot of curse words that are inappropriate for a non-anonymous pastor's blog.  vicodin popped, to no effect so far (1.5 hours in to the 4 hours before the next one).  angel being watched through the tears.  jamba juice is hard to eat even with a spoon...mashed potatoes have just arrived for dinner!  hopefully my jaw will stop hurting enough to eat them.  

End of update for now...

update:  gauze is off, for now...and i DO in fact have a hole into one sinus cavity.  awesome. (that was my sarcastic voice.)  Vicodin's still not good enough, in my opinion, and the whole tea-bag thing has meant I'm not even tired.  I'm going to try to be tired now...

PPS:  now I have two different antibiotics, because the surgeon is concerned about the possibility of infection due to that exciting hole.  Do I take both of them?  Or just the new one?  I guess I'll have to call in the morning, because I'm confused.  And that's not a good place to be when there are prescription medications on the line, you know?

wisdom...

....teeth.

Mine are coming out in about an hour.  

Also, I just saw a cardinal on my balcony.

That's all for now...back later!

Friday, June 20, 2008

reading challenge 2008

I finished a few more books....

Leadership 101, an "interactive leadership training guide for students."  I'm using this with the new youth leadership team to develop leadership skills.  I had to cut some of it because it's not so Presbyterian, but quite a bit of it is useful and good.  Sadly, my least favorite part are the journaling prompts.  With a little more time on my hands, I would write my own.  Instead I just cut them out from the stuff we're using right now.

Today, my day off, I read The Rapture of Canaan.  It was really good--a novel about a girl growing up in a religious cult.  I couldn't put it down and ended up finishing it in only a few hours.  I don't want to write too much about it here because I'm afraid of giving it away.  Highly Recommended!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

teehee!

Okay, so I'm spending a little time perusing a book of new hymns to old tunes (New Wine in Old Wineskins) and I like lots of the stuff in it.

But this verse made me giggle and want to jump up and down on the chancel if we ever sing it.  Which would probably not be good.  Also part of it made me giggle in a way that says, "I'm 12 and can't hear anything without double entendre."

"God of ev'ry fresh creation, Tend us with a gard'ners hand.  On your people pour your Spirit, Water on a thirsty land:  Till we spring like grassy meadows, Poplar trees by flowing streams.  God of ev'rey fresh creation, Reawaken Eden's dreams."

teehee!

stuff

Actual stuff.

I have lots and lots of stuff--way more stuff than I need.  But this week I've also been acquiring more stuff.  I got new books, a new camera (crucial for that Scotland trip that's coming up in a month!), and a new bigger memory card for said camera.  I got a new phone (at last I could upgrade--my phone was being bad, bad, bad.  It would ring continuously even though the caller was long gone.  It would randomly turn itself off and on.  The volume would change.  The display might or might not work.  awesome.)  My new phone is purple and doubles as an mp3 player.  Now I'm figuring out whether I can bluetooth my itunes over and then turn them into ringtones--fun.

I am also ordering some new clothes for my summer adventures--a bathrobe (mmm, shared bathrooms), fuzzy flipflops, t-shirts, and a waterproof jacket.  Cuz, you know, in Scotland it rains and stuff.  

I don't think I've spent so much money on myself in a long time.  It's weird and a little scary--I don't like being such a consumer or materialist, and I don't like using my credit cards, but alas....unless I'm going naked for 1-1/2 of the weeks I'm gone this summer, I'm into necessity-land here.  

Well...back to the Bible in 90 Days....

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Extreme Hospitality--a sermon for Ordinary 11A

Rev. Teri Peterson
RCLPC
Extreme Hospitality
Genesis 18.1-15
June 15 2008, Ordinary 11A

The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, ‘My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.’ So they said, ‘Do as you have said.’ And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, ‘Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.’ Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.
They said to him, ‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ And he said, ‘There, in the tent.’ Then one said, ‘I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?’ The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, and say, “Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?” Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.’ But Sarah denied, saying, ‘I did not laugh’; for she was afraid. He said, ‘Oh yes, you did laugh.’


As many of you know, we here at RCLPC are in the middle of a summer of Scripture reading—we’re reading the Bible in 90 days. Each day we read about 12-15 pages, and each day I write some reflections about the reading on our church blog, and then each Wednesday we gather for an hour to talk about what we have read, to share our questions and insights, and to learn about some of the background. We are 15 days in right now, and today we’ll finish Deuteronomy. In 15 days we read the entire first five books of the Bible, often called the Torah, meaning law or instruction, or the Pentateuch, meaning five books. You may have figured out that that’s a lot of Bible reading!

While I will admit to having some moments of confusion as I thought this week about Abraham and Sarah but read from Numbers and Deuteronomy, I have to say there is something really intriguing about this process. It has helped me make connections I might not have made otherwise. Sure, there are lots of names and numbers, but there are also a lot of stories and a lot of talk about what it means to be a community of God’s people. Granted, in the ancient near-eastern culture that was expressed by rules and regulations…and more rules and regulations…and then a reiteration of the rules in case you missed them…but still, I am intrigued by this idea. I also began to think about the fact that these books are called Torah, instruction, and they include so many stories like the one we read today. Clearly these stories are designed to tell us something, to show us how to be a community of God’s people.

So we head back to the story—Abraham and Sarah, in their tent, somewhere in Canaan. It’s the middle of the day. It’s hot. Sarah is stuck inside cleaning up and thinking about dinner. Abraham is sitting outside where it’s cool when suddenly he looks up and sees three strangers getting some rest in the shade under the oak tree a little way off. He jumps up, runs over to them, begs them to stay a little while, runs back, orders a servant to go wash their feet, orders his wife to bake bread even if it is 100 degrees in the tent, runs to the herd and chooses the best calf and orders a servant to kill, clean, and cook it…Abraham’s household prepares a whole feast of barbeque for these strangers, all from scratch!

This is a whole new level of hospitality from what we are used to. Normally if we are going to entertain, we plan ahead, invite people over, then prepare most of the meal before our guests arrive. If someone stops by unexpectedly, we offer a beverage, perhaps, but probably not a whole meal. The one similarity between my experience of hospitality and Abraham and Sarah’s is the part where Abraham stands by the guests while they eat. That sounds suspiciously like the way my grandmother and mother would always take the seat closest to the kitchen, and then would invariably get up to grab things for people throughout the meal, sometimes allowing their own food to get cold. I have had one experience, while I was living in Egypt, where my hostess set a table just for me, and then literally stood by, not eating herself but ready to get me anything I wanted and to serve me seconds, all the while commenting on my appetite and demeaning her own fabulous cooking skills. I can’t remember being so uncomfortable in any other situation—it felt so awkward to me. But that’s what extreme hospitality seems to look like, at least Abraham-style!

In our culture we have, I think, lost a little of the art of hospitality. We’ve turned it over the Hospitality Industry, to restaurants and caterers and hotels. A study done a couple of years ago found that Americans only entertain in their homes an average of 8 times a year, including holidays and family visits. That’s not a lot, really, and is significantly lower than at times in our past and compared to our sisters and brothers elsewhere in the world. So I wonder what this story might have to say to us? A simple “welcome the stranger” or “feed the hungry” isn’t going to cut it for us—we need some practice as well as the case study.

One place that we practice, I think, is right here. In worship we experience extreme hospitality—especially at the communion table, where Christ welcomes every single person, no matter who we are, no matter what we’ve done, no matter what we look like or how much money we make or who our family is or even how strong our faith is. When we come to worship, everyone is welcome. We have the experience of hospitality and we also practice extending hospitality to others. I would be willing to bet that there are people here today that you don’t know well. Take a moment to look around—sure, you see some friends and family, some long-time members too. Do you see anyone you don’t recognize? Anyone whose name you can’t remember? Anyone you’ve never seen before? Anyone you’d like to get to know better? We’ve all been welcomed here by God, now we practice welcoming one another.

You may be wondering how worship is a place where we can practice this most central of Christian disciplines—after all, isn’t it the other way around, with life being practice for worship? I don’t think so—I think worship is where we practice for a life lived with God, for an integrated, whole, and truly real life. And we practice in worship in several different ways. It’s where we practice prayer so we can pray whenever need arises. It’s where we practice praise so we can praise with our lives and our words when we’re outside these walls. It’s where we practice community so we can live like God’s people out in the world, building community across boundaries, breaking down walls. It’s where we practice peace so we can make peace in a world of violence. And it’s where we practice hospitality so that when we are actually confronted with a stranger or just someone who’s strange, we can offer hospitality and welcome just as we have learned it here. In short, it’s where we practice loving the way God loves, so we can love all the way out the door and into the world.

Take a moment to think about our worship service—can you see the ways we practice together? Worship isn’t only about being filled up and feeling good, it’s about learning and practicing being people of God so we can walk this journey together. After all, practice makes perfect, right? When Jesus says, “be perfect as God is perfect,” he knows that we can’t be perfect. He’s telling us to practice for it anyway!

Today we have been baking bread here in the sanctuary, letting the smell of hospitality permeate our worship. Perhaps it’s what Sarah’s tent smelled like as she prepared dinner for unexpected guests who turned out to be God. The bread will be sent out with our bread-basket ministry this week, offering first-time visitors who leave us an address a sign of hospitality and welcome, a sign of new friendship, of God’s love for all. And as we leave today, we will borrow an ancient Celtic tradition of taking our practice of hospitality outside the sanctuary walls. When you leave you’ll be offered a bagel—in the Celtic tradition it would be an oatcake, but we’re in the Midwest!—and invited to break it in half and then share half with someone you don’t know well. Consider it a sign of hospitality and love taken outside this place and shared with the world that God loves.

Thanks be to God.
Amen.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

sometimes...

...people make me crazy.

...days that are sunny when you wake up turn out to be disappointingly cloudy.

...vacuuming counts as exercise (due to aforementioned clouds).

...you just have to start the day with a pedicure...even if it means reading the day's Bible in 90 Days assignment while your feet are in the spa pool.

...kitties are adorable.  Oh wait, that's all the time.  :-)

Monday, June 09, 2008

home

I ended my semi-contemplative retreat with a trip to the Indigo Girls concert, which was so fabulous!  Standing room only (the venue is always standing-room, I think), packed, hot, full of dancing and singing girls (and a few boys too).  so fun!
Then I spent Saturday sleeping in (got home from the concert at 2am!) and watching part of the movie Into Great Silence, following the lives of monks.  I was too sleepy to keep up more than an hour or so, but I plan to watch the rest anytime I need beautiful visual meditation.  It's so interesting.  Also, I sort of want a monk's cowl--that's the name for that robe with a hood, right?  I so want that.  Not enough to become a monk (that would be hard) but I think it would be so comfy and useful.
Yesterday was a full day of worship (another week in the swirling vortex of despair RE children's sermons...) plus an afternoon trip to the final CSO concert of the season with some church members (they offered me a free ticket!).  It was a great concert and we ate Greek food after--yum!  I'm generally not a huge fan of spending hours upon hours with church people after a long morning of...church people...but this was an offer I couldn't turn down.  Unfortunately I missed an awesome graduation party for one of our fabulous youth, but I hope she'll understand the double-booking problem.  I hope too that the party wasn't horribly rained out--we've had many consecutive days of thunderstorms, tornado watches and warnings, and various other severe weather alerts.  It's been crazy with the wind and rain around here!

Now, after that utterly boring update, I must return to reading Leviticus.  We're well on our way in the Bible in 90 Days!  I'm blogging about each day's readings over here, in case you're interested....

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

away and reading!

I'm on a retreat this week, which is so fabulous.

I've finished two books that I haven't posted about yet, too:

The Powers That Be--pretty much fabulous.  I'm ready to read it again already.  More on nonviolence later...

A Fatal Waltz--the third in the Lady Ashton series (basically a princess book, but about Society rather Court...but with intellectually stimulating content!  The heroine studies Greek, art, and antiquities!  And solves mysteries!).  Awesome.  I read it last night--in about two and a half hours, when I should have been sleeping.  I started at 11 and couldn't stop so didn't go to sleep until 1.30.  excellent!

Anyway, back to retreating...also, FYI, I'm blogging about the Bible in 90 Days readings (we are doing this at church this summer) over at the church blog.