Sunday, August 31, 2008

On the upswing again

All right darlings, thank you for your kind and affectionate remarks on yesterday's disasters...

I am happy to say that things are better. Or perhaps, as they used to say where I grew up, "Pas trop pire" -- "not too worse." (Very Canadian, that.)

Daughter Unit and Wonderful SIL drove back to my house and collected spare car keys and brought them to me at MH & U, and I went home, abandoning the Monteverdi concert because I was just so sad and disgusted, and also apprehensive that whoever had stolen the handbag would put driver's license and keys together and get into my house in my absence.

And I was thinking with much chagrin and reluctance that I was going to have to get both house and car "re-keyed," and probably do something about changing church locks...and get new cards for vehicle registration and vehicle insurance, as well as driver's licence

And then the sad broke out in a new place when I reflected that my handbag also contained my journal, AND the most excellent fountain pen that I bought in Rome at the Cartoleria behind the Pantheon (wail softly), AND my most excellent pocket knife that I bought at the Visitors' Centre at Agawa Bay...

So I was in full pity-party mode at home, when the phone rang...and it was Daughter Unit...two of the young ladies in the visiting choir had been attending to their pre-concert needs in the women's washroom when one asked the other, "What's the priest's name, in this church? Cuz I think I've just found her purse..."

And except for the wallet -- money, credit cards, and driver's licence...the contents were all present and accounted for. ALL my keys and the fob that lets me into the church, and my registration and my insurance, and my cheques...altho' I'd already closed both those bank accounts.

It has just lightened the psychic load immeasurably.

Thank God, thank God.

And today hasn't been too bad at all. I fell asleep early, got up and sermonized between midnight and three, slept some more...

There is a golden wedding party here this afternoon and after that I am going home to have a nice, quiet evening, and tomorrow an altogether quiet day...

And then Tuesday, frontal assault on the financial institutions and the motor association!!!

And some new protocols and procedures for financial management including cash under the mattress!!!

I do wish y'all a most happy and restful Labo[u]r Day.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Oh, the tedium of it all.

So this was one of those maniacal, super-maniacal weekends: funeral yesterday, with a reception, long unbloggable story attached to that.

Then a wedding rehearsal -- at 7:30, why did I ever agree to such a late one? -- with musicians practising for a recital a week hence right until the very last minute. About 50 people turned up for the rehearsal, some of them even on time. It was basically our modern-language wedding service, with South-East Asian cultural embellishments. After an hour and a quarter of rehearsal, "Oh, we forgot the candle part, we have to do that too..." An inter-cultural compromise of sorts is forged.

Meantime our new cleaning persons had decided this would be the week they would strip and resurface the Upper Hall floor, assuring one and all that it could be accomplished in the twinkling of an eye.

Well, no, because the scratches and gouges turned out to be much deeper than they thought, and long ineffably boring story made short, it meant that TODAY, with this very large wedding at 12:30, they had to resort to the old-fashioned drum the Upper Hall is off limits, and the upper corridor is impassible with stacked furniture, and everything, but everything is covered in sander-dust.

Picture, if you will, a bridegroom and four groomsmen in black suits. Yes.

In the meantime there are complications with the wedding families' post-wedding lunch set-up in the Lower Hall;

And just to keep the pot a-boiling, visiting choir is in intense rehearsal mode for their Monteverdi concert tonight.

They swoop back into the church as the last notes of Mendelssohn are dying away, neck and neck with the Altar Guild who need to change all the paraments back to GREEN; for tomorrow...and here come the wedding party, "it's too blusterous out there to take pictures, can we take them in the church???" Halt the taking down of white hangings.

And somewhere in all this FUN...the Rambler's handbag went out of her office. Yes. Again. This time with ALL its contents. Some of them valuable and some of them precious.

I'm tired of this, tired of this work, tired of this place, and frankly, tired of these people. I'm going home.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Memes R Us...

How the Omnivore's 100 works:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.

2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.

3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. (I'm going to put these in double brackets[[]] because I don't think Blogger supports strikethroughs).

4) Optional: Post a comment at Very Good Taste, linking to your results.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PBJ sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes It was made from saskatoon berries...yummmmmmm.
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn or head cheese
26. [[Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper]]
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac [[with a fat cigar]]
37. Clotted Cream Tea
38. Vodka Jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail (assuming oxtail soup counts)
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat's milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth $120 or more
46. [[Fugu]]
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV )
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads (making sure readers know this is not BREAD) And oh MAN are they good; lamb sweetbreads that is.
63. kaolin - (as in Kaopectate)
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain -- I don't suppose that Bananas Foster count here?
70. Chitterlings or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang Souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. 3 Michelin Star Tasting Menu
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

The Friday Five...

With thanks to Singing Owl, over at RevGalBlogPals, we have a Friday Five on the subject of Labor Day. Or, if you prefer, Labour Day. And we do. Prefer. (It's one of those Canadian things.)

1. Tell us about the worst job you ever had.

Well...there was a certain amount of merry "Let's all go and shovel out the sheep barn" activity in the first couple of years of my married life. My mother-in-law had a flock of sheep. It wasn't a job exactly.
On another plane, although shovelling was also involved, I was a marker-of-freshman-essays for about 10 years at Colourful U. That was frustrating...I kept thinking (wrongly) "If only I could get into the classroom, I could EXPLAIN these matters and then THEY WOULD UNDERSTAND."

2. Tell us about the best job you ever had.

Well...other than this one...there was my curacy at 'Tother Purty Church in Town; and there was the "adjunct faculty" position at seminary which gave me an office and faculty privileges while I was still a student, also an honorarium, in exchange for a 3 credit English course every year. That one was definitely full of joy. I could assign all kinds of reading without having to begin by fist-fighting the students over the Basic Assumptions, e.g. Christianity...

3. Tell us what you would do if you could do absolutely anything (employment related) with no financial or other restrictions.

I guess it would be, would have to be...... THIS. Or possibly, THIS, in a different geography...with more pointy bits and more water.

4. Did you get a break from labo[u]r this summer? If so, what was it and if not, what are you gonna do about it?

Yes...eight days driving about in Adjacent Province; a flying visit to Big Fat Eastern Province for a family gathering; a "working break" at a church conference centre in Adjacent Province. And so far that's it. Not enough. And no, I DON'T know what I'm going to do about it.

5. What will change regarding your work as summer morphs into fall? Are you anticipating or dreading?

Everybody chirps brightly about "when things pick up in September" and frankly, my heart quails as I have been running flat out, just ahead of the wolfpack, all summer.

Bonus question: For the gals who are mothers, do you have an interesting story about labo[u]r and delivery (LOL)? If you are a guy pal, not a mom, or you choose not to answer the above, is there a song, a book, a play, that says "workplace" to you?

I can't tell L and D stories here, my offspring read this blog. Workplace songs, h'm -- "Sixteen Tons"???

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Matters cultural...or, "I can haz a Tim's?"

I have realized that not everybody even in the notably well-informed and aware world of bloggery recognizes everything that "Canajuns" refer to as a matter of course.

So today's post is designed to clarify what is meant by the term, "TIM HORTON'S" -- the informal variant is "TIM'S."

Tim Horton's is a widely-franchised and very successful Canadian coffee and doughnut shop. The eponymous Tim Horton was -- I think it's fair to say, and if it isn't, my sports-mad offspring will correct me, publicly -- a journeyman player in the National Hockey League. Competent, but not particularly illustrious.

In his retirement, "life after hockey," Mr. Horton went into the retail doughnut business. There are now branches of this franchise from sea to shining sea (and from the River even unto the ends of the earth). Also in Afghanistan; the young men and women of the Canadian Forces overseas have to have their Tim's.

This ain't Starbucks. There is one flavour of coffee (decaf is available). There is tea, also one flavour thereof; much is made of it's being "steeped" (think, "properly made"). There are doughnuts. There are muffins. Of late there are bagels, and even cookies, danishes, croissants, fritters and so forth. In season, there are fresh strawberry tarts. Year-round, there are "Timbits" = "doughnut holes."*

There is a small lunch-ish menu; varieties of soup and sandwiches, not too exotic but quite good and modestly priced. I believe there is chili, from time to time.

One other thing, from time to time during the year there is a Tim Horton's promotion called "Rrrroll up the rrrrim to win." During this outbreak, customers may find prizes listed under the rolled rims of their disposable coffee-cups... There are no public statistics on how many people scald themselves mildly because they are too impatient to finish their coffee before they dismember the cup.

In many places now "Tim's" shares premises with "Wendy's." (Are we clear, on what is meant by "Wendy's"? The Rambler lives to inform......)

*Ecclesiological note: "Timbits" are the staple diet of church youth groups of every known denomination...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

running, running

The expected high temperature today is 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

All this expanding and contracting in response to temperature changes can't be healthy.

I am continuing with the Catechesis. Hoo boy, this is counter-cultural stuff, very refreshing, but the absolute antithesis of the mindset that seeks a Sunday school curriculum, "so simple, a person could walk in off the street and teach it"...this one takes commitment, big time.

I've found I'm not in "the groove" of sitting all day to a single task however! Food for reflection!

A friend invited me over for dinner to share travel pictures...I arrived on her doorstep last night, a mere -- as it turned out -- 24 hours early...not my smoothest moment ever. With lightning grace, however, she incorporated me into last night's dinner party and cancelled tonight's -- the other guest for this evening had already "called in sick." I had a fine time and met some engaging new folks, we ate royally and talked and talked and laughed a lot...

On my travels once more.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Yes indeedy...

It is 97 degrees Fahrenheit in Prairie Metropolis this afternoon. I'm just sayin'.
Fortunately I've been in the basement of St. Whozis the Evangelist all day, except for a brief foray at noon to find lunch and to fill my gas tank...
I'm part of a small (i.e. "select") group participating in a formation session for The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Christian education for the very young on a foundation of Montessori theory. It really is most interesting and inspiring. Anybody out there have any personal experience with this program? It has some points of comparison with the "Godly Play" program, I believe, but perhaps that is just my ignorance of both, talking...

The wardens are coming in for a Corporation meeting in about 45 minutes -- setting up some agenda for next Monday, doing some pre-planning for the fall...

And then I have a why-be-Anglican conversation with another couple, in an air-conditioned coffee shop fairly close to home.

And tomorrow is also a day.

Yesterday was one for the books...starting with a poor night's sleep, one of those where you finally go down for the count about 4:30 a.m.? And we all know what THAT does to the alarm clock...
So I was hustling out a little behind schedule, and opted to collect coffee and carbs from the Nationally Syndicated Iconic coffee chain. Where they slipped me a day-old bagel. Trust me, you can tell. Did think of driving back and returning the merchandise, overhand, through the drive-through window...
HOT in the church even in the early service. Volunteer musicians of much talent but relatively little experience in liturgical accompaniment. Failure to communicate between organist and celebrant (not the Rambler, for once) as to "the note" to start the Sursum Corda; so that the organist realizes the world is waiting for her just as the celebrant gives up and launches into "The Lord be with you" SAID. Ruffled nerves resulting.
Two baptismal families, both most endearing, and two lovely children, the first an all-but-two-year-old boy, who is NOT sure he wants to cooperate with this strange lady ... helpful volunteers pre-service rushed to take over filling the baptismal ewer, and despite instructions to let the water run was "good and cold." Very refreshing, but the baptizands didn't think so.
No volunteers to make coffee, so Retired Grand Matron of all things Kitchenly was beseeched into service. In an endearing moment during communion she whispered to me, "ALL is UNDER CONTROL." This has been pretty much her mission statement all her life; she is a retired head nurse of Norse antecedents...
However she was assisted by helpers of no discernible competence, whose approach to the dishwasher was "push all the buttons, and then complain loudly that the equipment is a piece of crap"...
A third service mid-afternoon at a seniors' residence. We managed a congregation of four, ultimately; and my cherished senior lady in that group was back in hospital (fortunately just a few blocks away), so I went and found her, and we had communion also, but not until she had --characteristically-- introduced me to her roommate, "who is a lovely friend, and Roman Catholic, and couldn't she have communion with us?"
This communication somewhat impeded by confusion and sedation and the absence of her upper denture.
But we had our Communion...
Finished the day with a round-trip of about 80 kilometres, chauffeuring #2 son to collect a medium-large dog, and dog-trousseau, on behalf of friends who are mid-move and haven't yet found a dog-worthy new residence. The dog was very well behaved and charming and not nearly as large as I had feared. (I mean, what do YOU picture when somebody says, "Labrador Husky"?) "Down, Baskerville!"
The last major leg of the drive home was due west toward a spectacular oncoming electrical storm. Kind of a picturesque way to end the day. And the rain, although brief, cooled the air and we all slept soundly.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

demeanour, and all that...

It's hot, folks, in these parts.

The wedding is over, and the wedding guests have departed. The groomsmen arrived at church in their street clothes, with their wedding garments on hangers, a prudent move, but one of them at least forgot to take his shed raiment with him...I need to box it up, I guess. (No, cancel that, it's clothing pertaining to one of the Fringe Festival productions happening here at MH & U -- "The Pre-Tenors" -- problem solved.)

Baptisms in the morning. I had a baptismal rehearsal this morning at eleven. It would have been simple if a) I hadn't had a commitment in the earlier morning at the opposite extremity of the conurbation and if b) the city fathers hadn't seen fit to rip up all, but ALL, the roadways between point A and point B.

With the result that I was 20 minutes late for my baptismal families, who (given the natural perversity of the fallen world) were all precisely on time. However they all hovered in the offing with much patience, paging me from time to time, until I arrived. They were even in reasonably good humour, and fully cooperative, and we had a fine rehearsal.

I thought to myself coming into the church, "SMILE, self, and tell them how glad you are to see them, and don't do your usual See How Fussed I Am act, it isn't pastoral." My default expression is GRIM, I've been told, by my nearest and dearest...and there may be something in what they say, at that.

Be that as it may the rehearsal went like a bomb, and then there was a wee hiatus before the wedding guests began to arrive, just long enough for me to scratch out an outline for Sermon #187 on I Cor. 13...

And THAT went like a bomb, I think perhaps the key to my ministry is caffeine, as I've consumed practically nothing else since dawn this morning.

Somebody's preaching in the morning and I fear it is me. I think I am going to summarize and transmit the remarks of the Chief Rabbi which he addressed to Lambeth a couple of weeks ago. Not being STOOPID, it didn't get a lot of publicity...and it ought to be heard!

and maybe it's time to find something a bit solider than coffee...

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Just a whole lot of fine things this week already under the general heading of the goodness of God etc.
A couple dropped by yesterday to arrange for their youngest daughter's baptism on Sunday. Two older children (girl, 6 maybe; boy, not quite 3) were in the party. To my complete amazement, the older children greeted me, introduced themselves, settled without to-do on the office steps (leading into the chancel) and were instantly immersed in...BOOKS... Later I took them on a walk around the inside of the church; they solemnly and politely observed from a distance while our substitute organist practised...and they went away very happy each with a copy of "Life in the Eucharist." Which the little girl promised to read to the little boy. You could have knocked me down with a stone block of wood... Children! Reading! I thought they were all extinct!

Then I decided to SPEND my birthday gift card for a very high-end stationery store, so I had a lovely self-indulgent time perusing all, but ALL, the merchandise ("Would you care to fondle some pens?" was the proprietor's sympathetic question). Found some nice Monet water-lily note-cards, notes for the Daughter Unit and SIL, and an utterly chi-chi little pad of monogrammed purse-notes, in a fancy gilt cover with JOOLS on it, and a magnetic clasp.

And then I took myself to lunch (hedonism being the order of the day at this point). There are a number of high-end eateries in the same neighbourhood as the stationer. Most were busy, so I opted to try Il Violino, a recent replacement of a former favourite in a big old house, hoping it might be good...

AHHHHHHHHHHHH. "La gastronomia Italiana," indeed. Elegant, elegant, elegant, and sufficient in quantity, and not unduly expensive, even without the Seniors' 10% discount (next year, next year)...and with a lovely glass of Pinot Grigio...and I read ALL of Sinners Welcome (Mary Karr), over my lunch, including the essay on Poetry and Faith. I had been given her childhood memoir, The Liars' Club, by one of my wedding couples, with the encouraging review, "This book makes ALL our families look NORMAL." Loved it...and so ordered the poetry collection. My, my, my. I started "Delinquent Missive" --
"Before David Ricardo stabbed his daddy
sixteen times with a fork..."
and I thought, "Mary Oliver she's not"...but oh there are such interesting points of contact even so.

So one way or another yesterday was a bit of an ORGY. (We were due for one.)

And this morning the secretary/bookkeeper, safely returned from her vacation (in itself no mean blessing), reports that we are eighteen thousand dollars IN THE BLACK...and it's still only August, folks!!!

I have about six little tasks to do here and then I am skibbling home to do housework and call it a day off...funeral tomorrow, wedding Saturday, baptism Sunday...and it's going to be hot again this weekend too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ancient Lore befits a crone, I guess...

I was at dinner last night in a very very fancy venue with a Trusted Henchwoman, and in one of the intervals of henching, we tackled the dessert buffet, upon which we found an array of delights, including a platter of tremulous multi-hued wondrousness. Debate ensued upon the correct nomenclature for this marvel, and from the darkest recesses of my memory (using the term loosely), I dredged -- "That's BROKEN GLASS, that is; alternatively, especially north of the World's Longest Undefended Border, CROWN JEWELS."

And what it is, is, an unconscionable amount of Jell-O.

Herewith the recipe, if you've never had it, or if you've had it and can't remember how it's made.

The book I found it in calls it Mosaic Mold, but that's just WRONG. So pay no attention.

1 3 oz package lime gelatin
1 3 oz. package cherry gelatin
4 cups boiling water
1 cup cold water
1 6 oz package lemon gelatin (NOTE larger package, here)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup pineapple juice
2 2 oz packages of whipped topping mix.

Make lime and cherry gelatin separately, using 1 cup boiling water and 1/2 cup cold water for each. Pour each flavor into an 8-inch square pan. Chill until firm or overnight. Combine the lemon gelatin, sugar, and remaining 2 cups boiling water; stir until gelatin and sugar are dissolved. Stir in pineapple juice. Chill until SLIGHTLY thickened. Cut the firm gelatins into 1/2 inch cubes. Prepare the whipped topping mix as directed; blend with thickened lemon gelatin. Fold in gelatin cubes. Pour into a 12-cup ring mold or Bundt pan, chill until set; unmold by dipping pan BRIEFLY in warm water; turn out on a dampened plate.
Some folks sprinkle toasted coconut on it. You suit yourself.

I had a nice moment on the way to work this morning. At the coffee-shop drive-thru window, I could see the back of the bakery case, and a note to coffee-shop staff printed on a bit of tape: "PLEASE DATE FOOD." So I said to the bright young lady in the headset, "I like your sign, there; I've been dating food all my life, which is why I look this way," and to my delight it BLEW RIGHT PAST HER. "Oh, it's always a good idea," she said, with a puzzled look on her face. Some days I do love young'uns, bless their clueless hearts.