Saturday, June 30, 2007

cheesy art (in more ways than one)!

Just in time for the 4th! A man in Wisconsin has carved a 700-pound block of cheddar into a replica of Mount Rushmore. You can read the full story here. (Is it just me or does Washington look a little like a troll?)

I have relatives who live near Mount Rushmore, and I'll bet the reaction to this cheesy sculpture will be mixed. In fact, here's an early response from a local prairie dog:

(thanks to Offspring #2 for alerting me to the dramatic prairie dog on youtube)

Friday, June 29, 2007

It's time for the Friday Five: Gifts and Talents!

Sally's Circuit (Methodist) is having a "gifts and talents day" where they will be having a modified Myers Briggs personality test and looking at themselves "in the light of giftings" and the church. Sally states: "The idea is to encourage everyone with the news that there is room for you in the ministry of the church- and perhaps to discover where that ministry might be." Soooo, today's Friday Five is all about gifts and talents. Here we go!

1. Personality tests; love them or hate them?
I find them to be, for the most part, fun and interesting. Although they have their limits, personality tests can provide some useful insights. I even enjoy occcasionally doing the goofy internet quizzes such as "Which Starwars Character Are You?" [By the way, it turns out I am Obi-Wan Kenobi since I am "civilized, calm, have a good sense of humor...and can hold (my) own in a fight."]

2. Would you describe yourself as practical, creative, intellectual or a mixture?
Hmm... perhaps I'm "practically creative" -- as in "almost creative"! Actually, I like to think of myself as a mixture. (Doesn't mean it's true, I just like to think of myself that way!)

3. It is said that everyone has their 15 minutes of fame; have you had yours yet? If so what was it? If not, dream away what would you like it to be.
Well, I did receive that coveted "speed typing award" back in high school, but that only ate up about 2 minutes of fame. Actually I don't know that I'd want fame as much as influence and the resultant ability to make a real difference on issues such as poverty, climate change, etc.

4. If you were given a 2 year sabatical (oh the dream of it) to create something would it be music, literature, art.....something completely different...share your dream with us...
I'd love to write a book -- but I still need to find the topic!

5. Describe a talent you would like to develop, but that seems completely beyond you.
Tap dancing! I've always thought that would be loads of fun. Sadly, I think I might be missing the gene for it though.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

pic of the day

Take time to stop and (virtually) smell the...

I took this picture at the Portland Rose Gardens a couple of weeks ago (when the rels were visiting for graduation)... lovely spot!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

preheat your oven...

In honor of our recent comments/discussion on the 1965 "Betty Crocker's New Boys and Girls Cook Book" and in anticipation of the upcoming holiday, I present page 135: Drum Cake for the Fourth of July!

I know everyone is going to whip up this little creation, so I'll type out the recipe in case the print is too small in the picture:

"Bake cake batter in round layer pans as directed on 1 package of our devils food cake mix. Prepare frosting as directed on 1 package of our fluffy white frosting mix. Frost cooled cake. On sides of cake, press into frosting at angles striped peppermint candy sticks. Place a big red maraschino cherry at ends of sticks. If you like, cross two candy stricks on top of cake for drumsticks."

Somehow the maraschino cherries on the candy sticks sound a little weird to me now... But, hey, the cake looks pretty dang festive, so that's all that really matters.

Monday, June 25, 2007

count me in!

Anybody else up for this?
(Let's start with molasses cookies...)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

post on 'post'

I've been asked a couple of times (most recently by More Cows than People) to explain in more detail the term "post-Presbyterian" which appears in my tagline. Fair question!

To explain, I'll delve into a bit of personal history. My family and I attended the small, local Presbyterian church for about 13-14 years. Not one to be a slacker, I served during that time variously as Sunday School teacher, deacon, co-leader of youth group, newsletter editor, member of various committees, elder, clerk of session, etc. etc.

Our numbers gradually dwindled over the years (hmm...looking at my list of roles, now I gotta wonder if I was responsible for driving people away!!!) Anyway, I was part of a 'task force' to study the declining numbers issue and make recommendations. Long story short, the congregation enthusiastically accepted the need to "embrace change". A pastor was called to help us become a more culturally relevant, authentic faith community. This pastor totally fit the bill -- she was (is) awesome!

However, a funny thing happened on the way to the forum (er... sanctuary). In spite of what the congregation said (and in spite of considering themselves to be very progressive), they were totally resistant to change -- even to the smallest things (such as occasional use of CD during the service instead of piano)! It became apparent that the congregation really wished to remain status quo -- which just didn't work for me. So our pastor is now in Seattle and we (and another family) are dechurched.

Thus I decided to use the term "post-Presbyterian". It is really a "take" on the term "postmodern". Just as being postmodern means "after or in reaction to what is modern" (thank you,, my "post-Presbyterianism" is after or in reaction to my years as a Presbyterian.

I don't know what's next ... so for now I'm just in transition time.

Friday, June 22, 2007

requiem for licorice

It has been a week since I last saw Licorice. If he could have, he would have been home by now. He must have gotten into a scrape he just couldn't get out of. I love(d) that little kitty -- he is(was) so cute and mellow. Anyway, I made a video -- and I sincerely hope Licorice makes a fool out of me by miraculously showing up after I broadcast it on my blog.

(Hmm... it's more blurry and choppy than what I'd like.)

"Hot Town, Summer in the City..."

Revgalblogpals' Friday Five this week is all about summer! Here we go!

1. Favorite summer food(s) and beverage(s)
There are two foods that come to mind when thinking about favorite summer dishes. The first is potato salad (specifically my grandmother's recipe) because it reminds me of picnics, and the other is strawberry shortcake with lots (I'm talkin' LOTS) of whipped cream.
Although I rarely have it, I'd have to say my favorite summer beverage is 'red beer' (beer with tomato juice; must be ice cold). I know that's probably a weird one.

2. Song that "says" summer to you. (Need not be about summer explicitly.)
Well, what screams summer more than Sly and the Family Stone's "Hot Fun in the Summertime"?!

3. A childhood summer memory
My favorite childhood summer memory is water skiing on Lake Hoskins (near the little town in North Dakota where I grew up). Summers in the 60's in Dakota were idyllic.

4. An adult summer memory
The local annual flea market/4th of July fireworks display has etched itself into my adult summer memory bank. It has become a pleasant 'family and friends' tradition.

5. Describe a wonderful summer day you'd like to have in the near future. (weather, location, activities)
I'm looking forward to our family vacation in August with my cousin and his wife in Tennessee. They live on a beautiful lake near the Smoky Mountains (and have a boat--yippee!) He's also close to Dollywood which should be a kick in the pants.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

"Five Things I Dig About Jesus"

Diane tagged me for this meme. Here's the way it works:
(a) Those tagged will share "Five Things They Dig About Jesus".
(b) Those tagged will tag 5 people.
(c) Those tagged will leave a link to their meme in the comments section of this post so everyone can keep track of what's being posted.

Alrighty then! Here are my five things:
1. Jesus was Jewish and I dig Jewish guys. (Of course I do -- I married one!)
2. Jesus was all about compassion -- not just as an individual virtue but as an entire social and political paradigm!
3. Jesus used the language of paradox and I dig paradoxes. (Hmm... is that the plural of paradox? Fox, foxes; paradox, paradoxes. OK, works for me.)
4. Jesus sided with the marginalized and challenged the domination system of his day. You gotta love that.
5. Jesus knew how to have a good time at a party. (After just having thrown a party, I see this as a great quality.)

Always tough to know who to tag, but I'll pick:
St. Casserole
Hot Cup Lutheran
Presbyterian Gal
Prairie Pastor

Monday, June 18, 2007

worried 'bout the kitty

I haven't seen Licorice since Friday afternoon (and it's Monday night)! I am officially worried. I really, really love that little kitty. Hopefully he'll turn up soon.

*big sigh*

On a happier note, graduation weekend went well. It was great to see the relatives (my cookbook and video were both big hits!), we had a wonderful turnout at the party, and the weather cooperated (although just barely!) for the ceremony.

Guess I'll poke my head outside for the umpteenth time and look for Licorice. (Did I mention I really, really love that little kitty? Thought so.)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

as ready as I'll ever be...

I think I'm ready for Offspring #2's high school graduation this weekend. Let's look at the checklist:

1. House de-junked and cleaned? Check!
2. New sod completed on what had been embarrassingly dead front lawn? Check!
3. Party planned and platters purchased? (See -- I can do alliteration with the best of 'em!) Check!
4. Short video retrospective created of Offspring #2 to show to friends and family? Check!
5. Cookbook of grandma's recipes (along with old family photos) self-published as a surprise "thank you for coming" gift to the rels? Check!
6. Is Barb an over-achiever? Check!

Posting might be sketchy until next week...

BTW, is AWESOME if you ever want to self-publish something at reasonable rates.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Aargh! I've been tagged by Serena! I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Alrighty then. Here are eight (count 'em, eight!) random Barb factoids.

1. My summer job in high school was working in my parents' drug store (in a small town in North Dakota). Instead of getting much work done, I spent my time writing and illustrating a newsletter filled with stories about the shoppers who came into the store. Since I was writing it "on the sly", I named it The Underground Gazette.

2. I noticed on Diane's blog that she types 80 words per minute. Her sharing of this fact inspired me to present my factoid #2: I was awarded the coveted Speed Typing Award in high school. Oh yeah. Still have the small medallion. Yep, I beat out Ann Vefik. I think she's still bitter.

3. When I was in college I thought that writing movie reviews for Time Magazine would be my 'dream job'. So I majored in biology and went on to get a doctorate in optometry. Yeah, that's close.

4. When we were in optometry school my boyfriend (who is now my husband) and I went to the movies every Friday night without fail. It was a fun tradition. Next fall when we are empty nesting, I'll bet we will revive that old tradition.

5. The book My Antonia inspired me to do genealogical research for my family. My ethnicity is "Germans from Russia" on both sides. I do, in fact, love dumplings, kuchen, and even sauerkraut.

6. I find my kids so cool that even if we weren't related I would want to hang out with them.

7. I am not a great hostess (even though I try!), so the upcoming graduation party for Offspring #2 will probably be a teensy bit stressful for me.

8. Hmmm.... 8. What to write for 8. Dunno. Can I be done with 7? (Why yes, Barb, you can!)

OK, now to think of 8 people to tag. Geez. That's a lot. Can I just do 2? (Why yes, Barb, you can!)
St. Casserole

Sunday, June 10, 2007

missed opportunity

According to MSNBC, over 200 cyclists in "various stages of undress" took part in the "World Naked Bike Ride" yesterday on the southern coast of England to promote cycling and environmental awareness. Darn! Due to helping Offspring #1 move into her summer apartment, I was unable to participate!

OK. Truth be told, as much as I support their cause, I sincerely doubt I would have done the "nakie ride" unless I took the midnight to 1:00 a.m. shift... on a moonless night... with very fast pedaling.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


Offspring #1 will be taking summer quarter classes in addition to being in the Shakespeare Festival. So Hubby and I are in Bellingham this weekend helping her move out of her dorm room and into her summer apartment (not to be confused with her upcoming fall apartment so we get to do this again later)!

There is a bit of a wrinkle in that the current tenant is still in the apartment. (Offspring #1 is subletting for the summer.) College isn't over yet -- finals are this coming week -- so it's nice the current tenant is letting us invade the space and move stuff in. Next weekend would have been the time to move, but with the June 16th high school graduation of Offspring #2 (and family flying in), it's now or never!

This morning we need to figure out what goes in the apartment (and in what nook or cranny there to put it!), what goes into storage, and what goes home. Plus we need to pick up a couch (purchased from other college students for the whopping sum of $5.00!) College students are very laid back about moving, clutter, etc. Hmm... was I ever that way?

Anyway, I better stop blogging and get moving (in more ways than one).

(BTW, found the cute picture on via google images. Later this morning, I will be playing the part of the polar bear, and hubby will be the penguin.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


Cross out 'Alexander', write in 'Barbara', and you've got the title to my work day.
It was like that.

Monday, June 4, 2007

do the drew

WWDD? If you grew up in the 60's, that's probably the question you ask yourself when you receive a perplexing letter or wonder as to the whereabouts of a missing pet. Yes, What Would Drew Do?!

I ran across a book which has been a kick to read during my blogfast: Confessions of a Teen Sleuth by Chelsea Cain. (No, I didn't read any deep theological work during the blogfast.) Confessions is a parody of the Nancy Drew mysteries and is pretty darn funny. According to the novel, Carolyn Keene was actually Nancy Drew's college roommate, and she wrote about Nancy's adventures in order to make herself famous. However, since Carolyn messed up lots of the facts, Nancy Drew decides to set the record straight.

Our beloved titian-haired heroine writes about her life from her teen years through adulthood. Find out the real scoop on Ned Nickerson! Bess! George! Hannah! ... and other teen sleuths like Frank & Joe Hardy and Cherry Ames (Nancy's "nemesis").

Cain does a great job of poking fun at all the characters. I love how Nancy, even as an adult, just can't get out of her teen sleuth mode.

Nancy (talking to Hannah): I couldn't go to Ned's office party. I had to rescue Ned Junior from the old well in the backyard.
Hannah: But how did he get in the well?
Nancy: I lowered him. We were playing 'rescue from the old well.'

Yep, that's about how I'd picture Nancy as a mom! Anywhoo, if you want a quick, entertaining, mindless read (and if you loved Nancy Drew as a child), I'd suggest you pick up this parody!