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Visiting neighbors.

2 Oct

Week and a half blog hiatus?  Check.

I’m back.  With a story.

The day was Monday.  I was in Austin at the library checking out baby name books [Concerned?  Don’t be.  They were for naming my baby confirmation tonight.] and running a couple errands.  I got home with just about 45 minutes left of daylight and Mabel & I needed to go for a walk pronto.

I ran upstairs, changed my clothes, and came downstairs to a knock at the front door.  I answered the door to find my neighbor there.  He’s in upper elementary school and he learned how to ride a bike this summer.  He rode his bike over as his older sister often does too.

L: Hi Alex!  How are you?
A: Hi.  Good.
L: What’s up?
A: Well, Rachel [the older sister] is at dance right now … so … I thought I would come over and visit.

How cute is that?  He thought he would come over for a visit!  I love it.  And so I ended up going for a walk with Mabel and a neighbor on a bike.  We did the cemetery loop, all the while Alex telling me about the types of vines that were on the trees.  Grape vines, wood vines, and one with red leaves he wasn’t quite sure about.  I learned a lot about vines that night.

On a related note, tonight one of the confirmation students was late joining the group.  Sorry, she said.  I was outside talking to Rachel.  She rode her bike here to visit you but I told here you were busy.

I love it.  I love visitors.

A Bavarian Blast.

21 Jul

I write from my private-room-shared-bath home for the next week at Madeline Island School of the Arts.  I haven’t been here long.  Since getting on the 6:30 ferry from Bayfield, I’ve unpacked and attended the wine and cheese party before coming back to my room to opt for comfy clothes and blogging.  My first impressions of the week to come?  This is not a place people my own age go. [One of the youngest people here.  Mostly retired folks.]  I share a bathroom with a woman named Bambi.  There are three classes going on this week; the instructor of the painting course is Spanish and attractive.  [Woman in my class says to me as he walks in, “I think we took the wrong class.  Our instructor didn’t walk in with a shirt half unbuttoned!”  … our instructor is also a woman.  Two older retired women I walked back to my room with said they were taking his class because he was cute.  Ha.]  Paul, a physics professor at Augsburg in Minneapolis is here while his wife takes a class; he offered to be my bike riding buddy.  And I’ve just been here for a couple hours!  I think there will be stories, folks.  Lots of stories.

Until more stories unfold, I must tell you about my day yesterday.  The Bavarian Blast in New Ulm.

New Ulm is about 1.5 hours from me.  I traveled there to meet my friend, James.  James is a friend from seminary, currently serving his first call in Pennsylvania.  He was in MN visiting his dad and en route to Iowa to visit his mom.  The Bavarian Blast in New Ulm seemed like the perfect place to reconnect.  Why not, eh?

What’s a Bavarian Blast?  Three stages of polka music.  Brats and strudel.  Beer.  Lots of guys with super white legs in lederhosen.  A viking.  A wiener dog race.  And – wait for it – people dressed as gnomes and morel mushrooms!  I kid you not.  It was an experience.  We ate lunch and enjoyed the polka music for awhile before leaving to explore more of New Ulm, including the downtown and the Herman the German statue.  [It’s a thing.]

Here’s what I walked away with: Friends are fun.  It was so great just to explore something new with a friend.  It was so great to laugh and catch up and hug.  I miss that – exploring random places and random events and having fun no matter the surrounding.  Le sigh.

Would I go to the Bavarian Blast again?  Eh.  It was $9 to get in.  $9 for three stages of polka music.  I could probably pass.  But make it an outing with a good friend and I probably wouldn’t put up too much of a fight. And the next time I would be sure to dance with a gnome.

Iced coffee shame.

9 Jun

For me, one of the sure signs of summer is iced coffee.  Granted, in this cool, rainy season we’ve been having, the term summer is pushing it.  But I still have iced coffee in my fridge.


I’ve probably told you before my process; I’m all too eager to share and talk about it.  I follow the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for cold press coffee.  A half pound of grounds to a gallon of water.  I let it soak overnight and strain it into a large liquid dispenser that lives on the middle shelf of my fridge.  It’s my coffee concentrate in my 20 oz. insulated kleen kanteen to which I add a bit of water, ice, and a generous dose of vanilla almond milk.  Shake it up, add a straw, and that is my perfect morning.

Every day, you will see it in my hand at church.  I never gave much thought to it; I simply am in the habit of always bringing my own coffee.  Sunday morning, Thursday morning, it doesn’t matter.  Me and my kleen kanteen of icy goodness.

I never thought it might look snobby.

I was at WELCA last Wednesday morning.  Before their meeting, they have goodies in the basement.  I sat down next to dear old Verna who asked if I would like coffee.  No thanks.  I have my own.

That’s right, she said.  You don’t like ours.

Oh, snap.  I think I stumbled over some words about how it is just my habit to always bring my own.  It’s part of my morning routine.  Nothing against their coffee.  [Though, if we’re honest, church coffee? Lacks a little something-something.]  And then I said that in the summer, I preferred to drink cold and not hot coffee.

Cold coffee?  Oh, the horror.

I proceeded to tell her that I cold brewed it.  You mean it never gets hot? she asked.

Nope.  I think she lost interest after that, especially since the ladies across the table had picked up on our coffee thread to reminisce about egg coffee.  And, I think, she just wasn’t quite sure what to think.  Cold coffee.  I hear her saying that in my head like I hear Lorraine McFly telling Marty: Calling boys.  Sitting in parked cars with boys.  I never did that when I was your age.  I never called a boy or sat .. in a parked car .. with a boy.  That’s all in my head.  She wasn’t actually shaming me for cold coffee.  I think it was just something new in her world and for her, why change the life guarantee that coffee will always be hot?  Anything else just doesn’t make sense.

Friday Favorites.

7 Jun

There is lots to love this week, people.  Lots to love.

Let’s start here.  The 13 Creepiest Things A Child Has Ever Said to a Parent.  I came across this one morning and laughed the ENTIRE day about it.  I guess creepy translates to hilarious in my brain.

Continuing, I love Joss Whedon.  I couldn’t even tell you what exactly it is but that he is something akin to my perfect man.  Hilarious.  Red-headed.  You know.  Not only is he the man behind Dr.Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, he is coming out with a new movie, Much Ado About Nothing.  I will see it when it makes its way to small-town America but for this moment, read how he invited his own friends to be extras on the film.  He is so swell.

On another Joss note, he gave a commencement address.  It was awesome.  Here’s a taste –

Identity is something that you are constantly earning.  It is a process that you must be active in.

And how about this – my favorite pins:

Happy Friday, friends. 


A Muffin story.

30 May

I ate a muffin today.

Judy, the friend of my administrative assistant, stopped by.  And, like every other time she stops by, she brought us goodies for coffee time.  A banana chocolate muffin today.

Already not a huge fan of banana things except bananas themselves, I sat down at Marilyn’s desk to help her with some computer work and started to eat my muffin.  I was a couple bites in and Marilyn asked how it was.

I replied with some pretty non-committal language.  I mean, it was a good muffin.  It was fine.  It was banana so it would never rank super high on my list.

It’s made with mayo, Marilyn responded.

I stopped chewing.  What? I asked, my mouth still full of mayo muffin.

Mayo.  It makes it super moist.

I don’t care if it makes it moist.  Sour cream and yogurt would also make it moist.  Why not use those?  You don’t put mayo in a muffin!  I don’t care for mayo.  I never have cared for mayo.  And while mayo may belong in that potato salad at the potluck, mayo is not a breakfast food.  Mayo should not be in my muffin.

Now sure, being honest with you, truth is, I couldn’t taste the mayo, but it still took me a while to swallow that bite.  But just the thought of mayo in a muffin …




[This all kinda reminds me of the muffin video my sister and cousin, Sam, can quote the whole length of.  Check it out – it’s funny.]

Friday Favorites – a day early.

9 May

If you’re in the same boat as I, you need a little lift this Thursday.  It’s cold and rainy in Austin today.  The sun is hiding.  Then there is the perpetual busy, and glorious plans for an uninterrupted weekend, well, interrupted.  So, of course, instead of doing work, I’m taking this ten minute break to show you what cheered me up.

This.  This is all you need.

If you’re not smiling and laughing, I think you might be a lost cause for happiness.  It makes me so happy.  It also gives me a newfound respect and admiration of John Krasinski.  Him and his beautiful beard.

The Giant Mechanical Man and broken teeth.

30 Mar

Have you heard of The Giant Mechanical Man?  It’s a movie.  A delightful one.  It streams on Netflix if that helps you out, and is one my sister would definitely characterize as a Lindsay movie.  [Read: Indie-ish, odd, not mainstream.]


In the movie – in addition to a whole lot of other stuff happening with silver face paint and scenes at a zoo [I’m totally selling it, right? <sarcasm>] – two of the main characters have the same dream.  A dream about their teeth falling out.

I saw this movie weeks ago when Paige & Karen & I had a sleepover at the ROG B&B but it kept replaying in my mind this week again as my own teeth began falling out.  … say what?

Okay.  Not multiple teeth and not even a whole tooth.  It was Maundy Thursday and I had just gone to get the mail from the mailbox.  I was chewing gum.  La di da.  Sorting mail.  Blowing bubbles.  Opening letters.  Chomp, chomp, cho –

There is suddenly something very hard in my gum.  Upon further investigation, it’s a part of a tooth and it’s disgusting.  [Luckily, it doesn’t hurt.  A corner of a molar.  I have an appointment next week to get it checked out.]  Last year on Maundy Thursday, my heel broke during worship.  This year, apparently, it’s my teeth.  Should we cast lots for what breaks next year?  Maybe an arm or a leg?

A story of how I got left at the altar.

5 Mar

[A story of how I got left at the altar.]  It’s a snow day for the local schools.  The custodian came out to church while I was there and brought her kids along.  The youngest – we’ll call her T. – is always my biggest helper when she’s here.  She’s five -ish and eager to do anything.  Today, she helped me finish a bulletin board in the hallway and then she wanted to color on my white board.  Cool.  Go to town, T.

She finished the picture out of my view and then asked me to guess what she had drawn.  There’s no way I could have anticipated this one.  She turned the white board around –

T: That’s you.  (pointing to the purple lady)
Me: Cool.  What’s the red stuff?
T: Roses.  It’s your wedding.
Me: It’s my wedding?!
T: Yup.  And you’re surrounded by roses!
Me: Where’s my husband?
T: Oh.  He didn’t want to come.

Is this a prophet in my midst?  Is she telling signs of my future?

Me: He didn’t want to come to his own wedding?
T: Actually it’s not your wedding.  It’s your birthday party.  But he still didn’t want to come.  He doesn’t like roses.

A birthday party for me and I’m the only one who shows up.

At least I bought myself flowers, I guess.


A memo to the Batman.

13 Feb

[A memo to the Batman.]

To: The Batman

From: gnomepreacher [and her friends at Red Oak Grove]

I have two theories, Batman.

1. Bats simply follow you wherever you go.  OR

2. You brought one on purpose.

In my year and a half at Red Oak Grove, I have seen no bats.  I have heard no bats.  I have had no bats swooping at my head.  That all changed last Sunday … conveniently the Sunday AFTER you visited.  Hmmm …

I hadn’t walked into the narthex/sanctuary yet that morning; the organist was the first to do that.  I was in a different hallway, chatting with people who had just arrived when we heard a screech.  I can’t be exactly sure but I think it was something like this: AHHH!  THERE’S A BAT!

Because there was a bat swooping around in the narthex.  A bat, Batman.  Explain that one.  I will mention that because of our lack of bats, we do not have proper bat-catching or bat-fighting tools.  There was a broom involved and a trash can at some point.  I’m sad to say, though they tried, the bat did not make it out alive.  We lack the Batman skill.

[Gail: This is really just me wanting you to make sure Keith knows we have now had a bat!  Pass it on!]

that awkward moment –

28 Jan

[that awkward moment-] when you see that guy you used to email until you gave some lame excuse to stop because you thought you’d never see him face-to-face.

Let this be a lesson to all of us.

Of all my friends, Melissa is one of the most supportive of my desire to end my stylishly single lifestyle [shout out to Denise for that term] and the one most actively involved in helping that happen.  That being said, last year she scoured northeast Montana for available men.  She passed my email onto one said man and hoped I didn’t mind.

Gustav* and I emailed back and forth for a short while.  But I didn’t have a clue about what I was doing.  I didn’t know what could ever come of it.  He lived in Montana; I live in Minnesota.  There were a few other quirky things that I probably should have just let go of and not factored into my decision.  [I mean, Jef with one F from last season of the Bachelorette proved that adult men who skateboard can be cool.]  I didn’t want to lead him on or anything.  Admittedly, I was probably not the most concise or polite person when it came to that last email.

I’d nearly completely forgotten about Gustav with one V until I was on the train to Montana and I told Paige about it.  And then it all came screeching back again when we walked into church on Sunday morning.  There was a gentleman in the front row that could possibly be familiar to the photos we’d exchanged.

Shit.  Could it be?

We sat down across the aisle.  I leaned over to Melissa.  “Remember when I emailed that guy?”  There was a slight pause, she smirked, and said, “Yeah.  Gustav.  He’s sitting right there.

Double shit.

Who knows if he even remembered that one friend of his pastor’s with whom he shared his passion for skateboarding so many months ago?  That pastor from MN who now feels guilty and shallow and mean about how she may have acted a year and a half ago.  To his credit, he seemed very polite and nice and crossed the aisle to share the peace with us.  He was wearing shorts in the middle of winter but I can’t dock him for that; I knew another great man who did the same.

* name has been changed.

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