Sunday, August 28, 2011

The day after...

Home and having a Sunday "off"... unpacking, laundering, washing, throwing out, putting away... about to embark on the baking of a CAKE for family dinner tonight.

It was a great holiday. The return drive went smoothly; I took more breaks than I have usually done, and stayed reasonably alert, but omigosh, ruler-straight four-lane divided highway is NOT a stimulating way to end a long day's drive. Going the other way is much more entertaining as the highway climbs through a series of increasingly thrilling mountain passes.

The car went well -- there wasn't an annoying amount of traffic despite the season -- only a couple of stops to accommodate road construction. Gasoline in the mountains is up to $5 a gallon. Gulp.

I have some ambitions for the next time I make that trip -- some walks/hikes I want to be able to take, so there's some fitness preparation to be done over the winter.

And I think next time I will book the all-day Kootenay River raft trip too.

Meantime I need to do some map-work...and maybe invest in some of the large-scale topographical maps.

Pictures, soon.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Back again in the internet oasis and about to go back to the Falls and walk a little bit more ambitiously than the last time.

Another brilliant, brilliant day -- not hot, but the sun is v. assertive at these altitudes.

As always on holiday I make plans to revise the day-to-day when I get back to ordinary-level: purchase topographical maps, choose and fit the permanent car-picnic box, keep better records, REALLY find out how this camera works best...maybe this time?

Opened the curtains on the west-side of my motel room this morning to see the first light on the mountains across the valley. And what walked by, close enough to touch, but a very nice young white-tail buck...probably full of apple-sauce, bless him, there are a couple of derelict old trees in the next block. I admired him until he disappeared, then began getting day-ready, and there was a great uproar out that window, sounded something between a 'quack' and a 'mew' -- maybe most of all like a really annoying child with a new kazoo. Looked out again. Mrs. Whitetail went by, vociferating.

Got my opening-time dunk in the hot pool (102 F) this morning and then UP the delectable valley very briskly.

Lunch has been purchased, and I'm on my way again. Home tomorrow. Full of RESOLUTION.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


This is a quick update, I am having the first of the driving-breaks of today, having decided I will NOT drive longer than 90 minutes without taking a 15-minute stomp-around break.

I am stomping around, or rather, sitting in an internet coffee house, in the sparkling metropolis of Golden, BC. I am on my way to the Yoho Valley, and what is very nearly my favourite waterfall of all time.

Arrived at the Hot Springs last night after a 550 km drive (350 miles, ok?) which I stretched out to 7 hours, by taking 5, count'em, breaks en route. It was great. Weather was good, traffic was light, there was only a reasonable amount of construction and Offical Stupid on the road.

I saw a deer en route, and a young grizzly bear. He was ambling through an old "burn" area, minding his own beeswax as befits an Apex Predator. Looked glossy and well-fed.

This morning I left Favourite Motel Ever, and there was a mule deer right THERE at the end of the driveway eating leaves all as Mary-Oliver-ish as one could wish.

Farther up the road, kingfishers doing the Hopkins stunt, and even an encouraging show of ospreys, and lots of osprey nests. (I am very attached to ospreys.)

Nobody understands why I want to holiday in the Columbia Trench. But I was a little girl here, and I remember again that that was...sixty years ago. Sixty. How did that happen?

There is land for sale everywhere in the valley, and my mouth waters. My cheque-book, not so much.

I shall now pay this lovely young woman for a good cup of coffee, and the internet minutes, and go find a nice supermarket sandwich and some munchy vegetables for my lunch when I get to the falls.

I am having a TV fast, and reading, and reading...some Paintner, some Parker Palmer, some Rowan Williams...and P. G. Wodehouse, a great big omnibus edition of all his "clergy" stories. "Pills to Purge Melancholy" as Oscar Brand used to say.

Y'all be good. L8R.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Oooooooonnn the road ag'in...

So all inspired and fortified by an expenses-cheque in today's mail, I phoned the well-beloved Motel of Heavenly Comfort in the Place of Abundant Hot Water, and made reservations for four nights, and am away to the pointy bits of the province tomorrow morning, betimes.

I am taking a sack of books, (none of that there newfangled e-book stuff) and two swimsuits and a big flooffy towel. And my medium binoculars, but not the great big Field Marshal Rommel Special ones, and my camera, and maps, and various guides to flora and fauna, and like that.

And I am going to revel in my Old Coot's discounted admission to everything. and sit and soak my miz'ry along with all the other OCs.

I really am all but altogether packed, so maybe I really shall get out of the driveway before 8 am tomorrow. It is a good long day's drive, but the roads are good.

Looking forward to it all very much.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


As I've been recuperating, intermittently and spasmodically, from a variety of orthopedic nuisances, I find I have developed something between a mantra and a war-cry: "All it takes is a little RESOLUTION," I say, grinding my teeth and endeavouring to Step. Out. without limping or hanging onto things. Or falling down, for that matter.

And as I think about my blogging practice... I think that what I have to blog about, these days, mostly, is a nosegay of RESOLUTION, thus: to attain a more enjoyable level of health and fitness; to improve the comfort and beauty of a. the house and b. the yard; to become a confident dog owner; to do such ministry as I am called to do and capable of performing.

And that is the stuff of this blog, for the time being.

Today: some time in the church office, some minor correspondence, preparation for a service of house blessing for an old friend (this evening); a couple of restrained meals -- I am eating up savoury left-overs from the student supper on Sunday evening -- and the beginning of a total blitz attack on the clutter and grime of the kitchen. "All the way to the back of every cupboard and drawer" is our cry.

I was amused, in passing, to note how very very "Standard Supermarket Fare" my so-called "Mexican" cookbook (of 40 years ago) really is. Fpr example, no cumin, no cilantro -- but salt, pepper, Tabasco, Campbell's soup. Tentatively, I think it might have been more accurately called "Gringo-mergent." tasty, though, my goodness. Excellent left-overs.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Re: 29c coffee drippers...

...cuz enquiring minds want to know.

We are familiar, right, with the big 6-cup drip cones that rest atop coffee pots?

We are perhaps also familiar with the small 1 or 2-cup drip cones that rest atop coffee mugs?

And their form is that of a modified, slightly flattened, cone with a small aperture in the bottom, arising out of a kind of plate that is broader than the opening of the pot or mug, right?

and into the cone portion, you put a paper filter in the appropriate size, or perhaps a so-called "permanent" filter made of very very fine metal screening?

OK! Now imagine the mug-sized filter in a modified shape. Out of the base plate rises a narrow cylinder, oh maybe an inch in diameter and an inch and a half tall, open at the bottom. The top of the cylinder flares into a cone. Inside, where cylinder and cone meet, there is a fine plastic grating of very narrow parallel slots (it doesn't remove).
And there is a second piece to the whole apparatus -- a removable cylinder just slightly smaller than the one mentioned above; it too has a fine grating at one end.

The coffee grounds go into this smaller cylinder. It is then inserted into the base cylinder and twisted so as to "latch" (a Tab A, Slot B arrangement).

Water goes in the top of the cone. It drips through the grating in the cone, permeates the coffee grounds, and drips out -- quite slowly -- through the grating at the bottom of the cylinder.

Coffee is slower than with a disposable filter, and, depending upon calibre of grind, can be a bit muddy. But nothing is thrown away, except the coffee grounds (and they go in the compost).

OK OK, I'll take a picture. But not right away. And now, back to the sermon.

Friday, August 12, 2011

the Friday Five

Over at the RevGals' place, Terri posted the following, and asked us to list five gratitudes we recognize in our life.

The Place I Want To Get Back To

is where
in the pinewoods
in the moments between
the darkness

and first light
two deer
came walking down the hill
and when they saw me

they said to each other, okay,
this one is okay,
let's see who she is
and why she is sitting

on the ground, like that,
so quiet, as if
asleep, or in a dream,
but, anyway, harmless;

and so they came
on their slender legs
and gazed upon me
not unlike the way

I go out to the dunes and look
and look and look
into the faces of flowers;
and then one of them leaned forward

and nuzzled my hand, and what can my life
bring to me that could exceed
that brief moment?
For twenty years

I have gone every day to the same woods,
not waiting, exactly, just lingering.
Such gifts bestowed,
can't be repeated.

If you want to talk about this
come to visit. I live in the house
near the corner, which I have named

(Mary Oliver, "Thirst", Beacon Press, 2006)

so here goes (only five?)

1. my possessions, privileges.luxuries -- as someone else said already, a house, a yard, a vehicle, clothing, books to read, food to eat.

2. the inheritance -- good genes, good health, good teaching, good models and examples.

3. today: sunshine, moderate temperatures, trees leafy in the backyard, geraniums blazing on the front stoop.

4. all the weird little bits of half-worn-out tin and/or plastic cr*p that make housekeeping so easy, that I reach for instinctively ...the cheese grater, the pastry scraper, the strainers, the dumb little 29c plastic coffee 'dripper' that doesn't need a filter insert...

5. more and more, the presence and witness and company of the RevGals.

Nefertiti the Wondercat says, "speaking of gratitude, how's the cat's breakfast coming along? Also the pothos is beginning to look a bit dry and weary. Just sayin'."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

just for now...

On Having Misidentified A Wild Flower
By Richard Wilbur

A thrush, because I'd been wrong,
Burst rightly into song
In a world not vague, not lonely,
Not governed by me only.

back later, I hope.

and here I am, after another good day. I made a pastoral call this morning -- getting mileage out of my new white blazer, and very happy with the effect of the white jacket over black clerical shirt and slacks...

Mrs. B and I had a mutually satisfactory time talking about the poetry we remember and how different it sounds to us in our "old age"...and how grateful we are to have been made to learn so much by heart when we were younger.

This led on to reflections on the pastoral and homiletic utility of English poetry in ministry to much they recognize, how much they remember -- I'm talking about things like Tennyson (In Memoriam and "Crossing the Bar") and Kipling and Browning and Leigh Hunt ("Abou ben Adhem").

It has been a very pastoral-visit kind of week -- this was the third -- and I have been writing thank-you notes, and I have a phone-call to make tomorrow -- then wallop the lections into submission for Sunday's sermon, and do the shopping and pre-prep for our students' supper on Sunday evening.

The sermon "series" is going well. I am working in part from Chrysostom's principles e.g. that Jesus ALWAYS knows EXACTLY what he is doing -- and that he is manoeuvring his auditory (sometimes a doubled one, disciples and crowd, or disciples and Syro-Phoenician woman) into seeing for themselves what they would resist if it were simply offered to them didactically. If there is a theme, it would be "Jesus is the Lord of Improv." (I have theatre-folks of great age and eminence in the congregation, and they leap about gleefully, within their limits, whenever I talk about the theatricality of the gospel stories. It is FUN!)

At the end of the day I had a good supper at home: a nice modest-sized piece of steak, a baked potato with a sliver of blue cheese, and a great wad of fresh spinach cooked helpless and anointed with balsamic vinegar. Introduced by a large bowl of salad -- as Peg Bracken said, it fills the stomach and tires the jaws, and that's all good.

Oh yes! a beautiful lunch with The Lady Father today, by way of celebrating BIRTHDAY!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


There’s a beautiful red streak in the western sky, fading fast – but bodes well, perhaps, for tomorrow’s weather. We had tremendous heaped up clouds by suppertime, and a few rumbles of thunder, but no rain to speak of. A convection weather phenomenon: Parkman talks about it in The Oregon Trail, and it was a feature of the first summer I spent in Prairie Metropolis. Cool brilliant morning, increasing dry heat all day, huge heaped cumulonimbus clouds in the west but dusk, a corn-cracking thunderstorm after dark, and “all is forgiven” sunshine again in the morning. What we get now seems much more erratic and extreme, but memory is deceptive, I know.

Today was sufficiently busy—a 15 mile drive to meet a parishioner for coffee while the home-care worker helped her husband get his shower – and we discussed the challenges and general awfulness of dementia…there isn’t much one can actually DO, but to say, we’re here, we love you, keep us posted, don’t lose heart.
Then back to St. Curious, a fast check-in with our secretary before she wrapped up her morning’s work – then took the summer intern out for lunch and we planned the supper for the student group next Sunday evening. It’s TACO TIME, folks. I wouldn’t for a moment pretend this is authentic Mexican cuisine – ahhhhh, fond recollections of Senor Frosty – but my recipes are all highly doable. They’re from a little coil-bound collection a friend sent after she moved to Mesa, AZ. I believe it was published by Arizona Highways…illustrations are charming little paintings of Ibero-Americans, doing domestic things.
So the student group will get tacos, chicken enchiladas, “Spanish” rice, multiple-bean salad (why stop at three?), a jelled lime-yogurt-cottage cheese salad, and ice cream and “Mexican wedding cookies” (a particularly airy kind of shortbread) for their dinner. We decided that starting with gazpacho would be over the top.
Before summer is over, I’d like to give them a “corn feed”… maybe we could include corn at the concluding BBQ. I’ll have to think about it some more. We grow very nice corn in Prairie Province – especially the peaches’n’cream bi-coloured kind.
And I wrapped up the engaged part of the day with a conversation with one of the Saints of the Lord whose ministry has been refugees, immigrants, the unjustly imprisoned (she’s a pillar of Amnesty International). Trying to find sponsorship for an Afghani family now in hiding in a neighbouring jurisdiction…
Came home and had a large salad; #1 Son dropped by to do some chores, and I drove him back to the house he is “sitting” this week – then made my own supper and am eating it in a leisurely way.
Another pastoral visit tomorrow, and then some serious nouns + verbs work on Sunday’s sermon.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

birthdays, and so forth

Back at the blog...after a long hiatus.

I'm not sure why -- although I suspect I may have run out of "interesting" some time ago.

Today was a good day. Awake early -- between 3 and 4 a.m. -- and whirled around like Rambler-on-the-rotisserie for some time before I could get back to sleep.

Things to read were at hand -- a couple of New Yorkers and a TLS and a recent copy or Canadian Living -- also within reach I had the mug of tea I had taken to bed with me.

So eventually I managed what amounted to a night's sleep. And the morning was beautiful. Not a cloud, brilliant sunshine -- not too hot -- a lovely clean-rinsed feeling in the air. "Genu-wine, prairie-fine."

Up -- treated myself to a mug of coffee, and The Meds, and a cherry Danish (setting the tone of Untrammeled Self-Indulgence for the remainder of the day). Fed the cat, who was appreciative. Folded some laundry, and put it away.

Made myself tidy with a decent-ish dress and the New White Blazer, which seems more and more like an intelligent and timely purchase.

Went off and made a happy pastoral visit, returning a very handsome enamelled-cast-iron dutch oven to the kind lady who made chicken stew and rice for the gang who assemble on Sunday nights at St. Curious. She and her husband don't live all that far away. We had coffee and muffins and a couple of hours of good conversation all over the map -- family and work and ailments -- doggone, that tinnitus is a nasty plague...

Lunch had been on the schedule with a good friend from the last 35 years -- but good friend is down with a cold and a barking cough -- so I revamped the plan, and in sequence came home, checked mail and messages, off to the pharmacy and the clinic for the third and last of the Twin-Rix inoculations (keeping BE 5.0 in view!!!), scooted away downtown with a treat in view but the restaurant I had targeted closes in the afternoons ("is this any way to run a railroad?"), so instead of restaurant A + walk around at the fancy conservatory, I had restaurant B + brisk walk from car to meal and back again.

Off to St. Curious to check mail and messages; home; a nice home-made hamburger and a little potato-onion fry and about a bale of spinach salad.

And before dinner...a kind of a martini slushie.

All day long, delightful messages on email, facebook, and answering machine.

And that was birthday #67.

Good night, all. And thank you. Your friendship means more than I can say.